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Nowhere I'd Rather Be

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Sway and Grind 
Open Road – Timestamp

If Jensen had one constant in his life it was his friends’ surefire talent to get on his nerves.

“Katie I love you and you know it, but if you bring up that damn club one more time—“

“Oh c’mon, Jen,” Jensen could hear the eye-roll in her voice without looking up from the textbook in his lap. “You can study another time. Tonight’s for celebrating. End of finals, winter break, any of that ring a bell with you? I know you’re kind of a nerd but staying home on a Saturday night is a whole new level of lame, even for you.”

Ignoring the excellent argument Katie just brought forth, Jensen didn’t lift his gaze up from his notes.

Starting to get frustrated by his lack of response, Katie seemed more determined than ever to convince him to come along to this new nightclub that opened up in Boston.

“Okay, imagine this. The place is packed; sweaty bodies everywhere, people are totally going wild.  And in the middle of it all, you and Jared, grinding against each other to the rhythm of DJ Loaf’s latest single—“

“You’re getting off track,” Jensen cut her off. “And the answer is still no.”

Because while Jensen would have loved nothing more than to get his sexy on with Jared on some crowded dance floor, he was also right in the middle of his preparations for the finals and he couldn’t afford to get distracted by Jared’s sweaty anything.

“How can the prospect of a sweaty Jared not convince you? The semester’s over, Jen. The entire fucking campus is out celebrating and you’re—“

“I’m here, trying not to fail my last round of exams I need to pass in order to get my degree.”

“Dude, you’re a genius! Do I really have to remind you of that? You could probably read that entire monster of a book in one sitting and still remember every word of it three years from now.”

Jensen frowned a bit at the exaggeration, but he knew better than to argue with Katie when she got like this. He didn’t know whether it was the image of Jared and Jensen together on a dance floor that got her so stuck on the idea, but she was nothing if not persistent. So much was for sure.

“Listen Katie…”

“No, you listen,” Katie spun Jensen’s office chair around and yanked the textbook out of his hands.“You can finish this another day. Tonight, you’re coming to celebrate the end of the semester with us, Mr. Overachiever. We’re gonna do something nice with your hair and put you in some obscene clothes and watch as Jared grows more possessive with each fucker who’s stupid enough to shoot you as much as a passing glance.”

Jensen’s eyebrows climbed up to his hairline and a slow smile tugged at the corner of his lips.

“You’re only doing this because you want us to have hot, possessive sex in the aftermath, aren’t you?”

And god, but the prospect of having Jared all hard and hot against him in some graffiti-smeared bathroom stall wasn’t going to leave Jensen’s mind anytime soon.

Damn Katie for making him think about that kind of dirty, hotter-than-hell shit when Jensen had already switched his phone off earlier, trying to avoid any distractions.

“Please, Jensen. C’mon,” Katie whined, clasping her hands together before slinging her tattooed arms around his neck and pulling him in for an awkward, mostly one-sided hug. “Please, pleaaaasee… please come with us tonight.”

“Why is this so important to you?” Jensen tried to ease out of the weirdly-angled embrace in order to look her in the eyes.

It wasn’t like the gang had never gone out without him before.

Sure, Jensen would join them if he could somehow arrange it, but he couldn’t remember ever having gotten cornered like this before.

Katie’s mouth tugged down at the corners, the smile from earlier now gone from her lips and there was a sudden frown marring her pretty features that didn’t sit well with Jensen.

Okay, something was definitely up here and it wasn’t just Katie trying to satisfy her kinky pleasures by watching Jensen and Jared make out against every possible surface of that damn nightclub.

“It might be our last chance,” Katie hesitantly started, chewing on her bottom lip. “To do this together. Before you guys move to New Haven.”

She drew in a small breath and then looked away, but not before Jensen caught a glimmer of tears in her eyes.

Well, shit.

“You know this isn’t goodbye, right?” Jensen asked softly, voice gentle and hesitant. “We’re still going to hang out and see each other, even after the move.”

“Yeah, no, I know,” Katie nodded and sniffed, gently extracting herself out of Jensen’s arms. “You’re right, you should study and I shouldn’t have bothered you with this. I’m sorry.”

And okay, for Katie to barge into his dorm room and be an annoying (and yet lovable) little shit- that was one thing, but to hear her apologizing for being her usual bratty self? That wasn’t something Jensen was used to. It wasn’t something he ever wanted to get used to.

“Woah, hold on for a second,” Jensen shot forward to capture her wrist. “Don’t just run off like that.”

Jensen gently pulled his textbook out of Katie’s grasp and dropped it on his workstation.

Then he let out a soft sigh and rubbed a hand through his hair. “Okay.”

“Okay?” She asked, her voice the perfect mix of skepticism and hopefulness.

Jensen gave her a smile. “Okay, yeah. I’ll come along.”

“Really?” Katie’s eyes widened and her voice got high-pitched with excitement.

“Under one condition,” Jensen held up a digit in protest. “If I agree to go to this club tonight, you’ll shut up and let me study in peace for the next few hours.”

“Done,” Katie grinned, bouncing up and down excitedly and clapping her hands.

Jensen sighed in defeat and flopped back into his seat, opening the book back up to the page he’d last worked on. It was about five more hours until he needed to get ready for the club.

Better kick it into fucking high gear.

“You’re going to have so much fun, Jen, I promise! I’ll invite Tom and Mike along as well. Danni already texted Misha earlier, so we should be a large group—“

“Katie.”

“Club’s pretty well-known in the LGBT community so there’ll be tons of hot guys on the lookout for some fun and—“

Katie.

Katie paused her impassioned rambling just long enough to see Jensen’s pointed glare before she blushed a little and cleared her throat. “Yeah, right. Shutting up, now. I got it.”

She mimed zipping her lips and tossing the key over her shoulder.

“I’ll just leave you to it.”

Jensen watched her go and waved at her in goodbye.

“See you later!” Katie grinned before ducking out the door and Jensen shook his head, a fond grin on his lips as he returned his attention to his textbook.

 

 

Jensen’s head was throbbing from the intense five hours study session he’d pulled, but the second Jared stepped off his Harley with that devil-may-care grin on his face and a dark V-neck that clung to his chest in all the right places, he knew he had made the right decision.

“Hey,” Jared pulled Jensen forward by grabbing a fistful of his shirt and Jensen’s eyes fluttered closed at the soft press of warm lips against his own.

“Hey, yourself,” He sighed into the sensation, melting into Jared’s arms.

“Not that I’m complaining, but weren’t you supposed to spend the night buried in books?”

Jensen sighed. “Katie asked me to come along.”

A small grin formed on Jared's lips. “And by ‘asked’ you mean she pestered you long enough to give in and agree to whatever she wanted?”

“That about sums it up, yeah.”

“Jen…” Jared stepped back to brush a finger over Jensen’s bottom lip. “As much as I’d love for you to join us, you shouldn’t do it just because Katie wants you to.”

“Relax, big boy, I didn’t do it just for her,” Jensen winked at Jared. “I’m coming because I want to.”

It wasn’t a lie.

Over the past hour and a half or so, the idea of having Jared’s firm, sweaty chest plastered to his back as they moved in sync, hearts beating in tune to the beat of the music, had become gradually more tempting.

“Alright,” Jared said and entangled his fingers with Jensen’s before nodding towards his Harley.

“Let’s get going, then.”

Jensen grinned as he let himself get steered towards Jared’s bike.

 

 

The club was on fucking fire.

The feeling Jensen got from the first second he stepped inside and slipped among the crowd was electric.

Jensen pulled out of his jacket, leaving him in nothing but a pair of ridiculously tight jeans and a forest green T-shirt that clung to his chest almost obscenely.

He had briefly debated putting on a Henley but then decided on something a little more daring, something that would allow Jared a glimpse of the pale, freckled skin beneath.

It was a flimsy material, thin and kind of see-through and Jensen had picked it because he knew it would drive Jared crazy, if not for the fact that it showed off the dusky outline of his nipples than because it would doubtlessly get him some attention from the rest of the male audience. He had styled his hair into a natural tousle rather than letting it curl against his forehead and borrowed a pair of battered looking dog marks from Steve’s necklace collection to complete the look.

Jared gaped at him when he slid out of his jacket to reveal his outfit. "Like what you see?"

"I always do," Sidling up close from behind from behind him, Jared slipped an arm around Jensen’s stomach, fingers sliding up to push the green cotton of his shirt above his belt buckle. “If I didn’t know it any better, I’d think you’d want to get laid tonight.”

As much as Jared loved Jensen’s college boy looks with the Penny loafers and nerdy glasses, these outfits usually didn’t get under Jared’s skin with so much vengeance.

They elicited more of a slow-burning need, something he’d gotten used to over the past months through heightened exposure; just like Jensen had learned not to get a raging hard on every time Jared was bent over one of his bike engines, muscles jumping tantalizingly beneath his heavily tattooed skin and the standard leather jacket.

So while Jensen knew what he was doing to Jared on a regular basis, Jensen in clubbing clothes was a whole new ballpark of heat and desire that Jared hadn’t been prepared for.

It was almost like Jensen had switched personas for one night; turning from Mr. Overachiever into Mr. I’ll give you a blowjob for a fifty and buy my own drinks, too.

“Oh, I am getting laid tonight,” Jensen said, eyes twinkling up at Jared in the relative darkness of the club.

Because no matter how hot and filthy people would get around them, the only person Jensen would want to get laid by was Jared and that bastard damn well knew it.

Jensen reached out to lightly circle Jared’s wrist with his forefinger and thumb, tugging him towards the bar, were Katie, Steve and Chris were already waiting for them.

They ordered a round of shots for the entire gang and not soon after, Jared squeezed Jensen’s arm and excused himself to go take a piss. “Be right back.”

Jensen gave him a nod and watched him go, mouth twisting aggressively around the straw of his gin tonic when he saw the appreciative looks Jared was shot as he moved through the crowd.

It was with equal parts of pride and possessiveness, that Jensen realized that Jared could literally have his pick at anybody in this club tonight.

He had the kind of face that stopped you dead in your tracks.

The tousled dark brown hair, thick and lustrous.

The eyes, a mesmerizing chestnut color with specks of silver light catching in them.

His face so strong and defined; his features molded from granite.

Jensen guessed Jared must have gotten used to the effect he had on the people around him, that sudden pause in a person’s natural expression when they looked his way, followed by an overcompensated glance to the side or an embarrassed blush.

Yeah, Jay could have had just about anyone, could have had someone with bigger muscles or a smaller waist, with blonde hair or a higher sense of self-worth.

Someone new and exciting with less emotional baggage, who didn’t wake up at night screaming or crying. Someone easy.

But he didn’t want anybody else.

And neither did Jensen.

His train of thoughts was interrupted when Katie slung a skinny arm around his neck and pulled him down to drunkenly press a kiss against the side of his face. “See? Told you, you were going to like it here.”

"You were right," Jensen chuckled and wiped some of Katie’s lipstick off his cheek with a slight grimace. “Didn’t realize how much I needed this after days cooped up in my dorm room.”

“You’re welcome!” Katie grinned so fucking wide, it nearly split her face open. “Now how long do you think it will take for you and Jared to get naked?”

“Shit, don’t encourage them,” Steve slurred from the side, downing a shot and slamming the empty glass back down on the counter. “It’s bad enough as it is.”

Jensen shook his head with a fond smile. “Think we’ll hit the dance floor first.”

Chris snorted into his glass, and Jensen narrowed his eyes at him as he coughed and sputtered.

“What?” he frowned. “It’s a night club. The whole point of being here’s dancing, isn’t it?”

Chris exchanged a knowing little smirk with Steve. “Good luck explaining that to Jay.”

Katie bit her lower lip and bounced back on her heels, looking nervous as she looked up at Jensen. “I might have tweaked the truth a tiny bit back at your dorm room. Jay's not really all that big on dancing. We’ve been trying to get him to do it for years, but he straight out refuses to move a freaking muscle every time we go to a club.”

And okay, Jensen could see why Jared- the notorious hard ass- wasn’t exactly keen on getting his dance moves on in the middle of a crowded dance floor.

He wasn't exactly the hip-hop type and there were tons of people, who didn’t like dancing, after all.

But Katie had made it sound so tempting back in the dorm rooms and Jensen's imagination might have run a little wild after that.

“You think I could get him to do it?” Jensen asked almost casually, lips quirking up into a daunting little grin around the rim of his gin glass.

He was holding Katie’s gaze, but he could feel the whole gangs’ attention on him, now.

Steve pulled a crumpled twenty dollar bill from his jeans pocket with a snort and slammed it down on the counter. “No fucking way, man. You can get him to do a lot of shit but not that."

Jensen’s grin widened.

The game was on.

 

 

Ten minutes and three shots later and Jensen was ready to move with the music, body relaxed and uncoiled as he laughed and talked to the others.

The vibe of the nightlife was like a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart; the combined feeling of being surrounded by so many people, laughing, drinking, feeling the steady thrum of the beat pulsate through every fiber of his being.

It was exactly what he had been looking for.

“I don’t know what’s going on with you tonight,” Jared grabbed him by the hips and yanked him backward until their bodies were pressed flush against each other. He leaned in to bite Jensen’s earlobe, chasing away the sting with a swipe of his tongue. “But I like it.”

“Good,” Jensen grinned and started to grind against Jared in little circles, swaying his hips in tune to the music.

Something flickered in Jared’s gaze, dark and dangerous and then his large hands slipped down to cup Jensen’s ass through the tight-fitting material of his jeans.

“Fucking tease,” Jared breathed hot and heavy against his ear. His dick was half-hard in his jeans and when Jensen captured his lips in a fiery kiss, biting and gnawing on them like he was starving for Jared’s tongue, it was all Jared could do not to drag him into a dark corner and have his wicked ways with him before the party even really started. “Keep that shit up and I’ll do you right here, give them all a front-row show.”

“No,” Jensen grinned, reaching back to gently pry Jared’s fingers away from his ass.

“No?” Jared repeated with a quirk of his eyebrow.

“First we dance. Then you can have me whatever way you want,” Jensen leaned in for another kiss, sucking in his lower lip and swiping his tongue over the older man’s lips.

“I don’t dance,” Jared hummed out against Jensen’s mouth.

“What do you mean?” Jensen pretended to be confused, feeling the alcohol buzz heavy in his veins as he leaned up to chase the Whisky flavor from Jared’s lips. “This is a dance club.”

Jared shrugged, pulled away just far enough to show Jensen that he was dead serious. “I just don't, alright?”

Fair enough.

Time for plan B.

Jensen pressed his index finger against Jared’s lips and then leaned in to whisper hotly into his ear. “Well, then I’m going to have to find someone else to dance with, won’t I?”

Jared’s eyes narrowed and his mouth opened in protest, but before he could do anything to stop him, Jensen turned around with a little wink that was purely teasing and mingled with the crowd on the dance floor.

He didn’t go in too far, just far enough to make himself noticed.

He could feel Jared’s gaze burning into him as he lowered his eyelids and started swaying his body in tune to the heavy hip-hop they were playing.

It didn’t take long before a firm chest pressed against his back from behind, unfamiliar hands settling on either side of his hips.

There was a fleeting moment of instant panic, of cold tiles and grogginess and a stranger’s hot whisper against his ear and just like that the breath was punched from Jensen’s lungs with enough force to leave him winded, body growing impossibly tense beneath the touch.

Jensen’s eyes fluttered shut for a second, the ghost feeling of somebody’s unwanted touch on his flushed skin, of somebody taking things from him he wasn’t willing to give.

For a second he regretted his choice to do this; to let himself get felt up by a stranger in some club just to win a damn bet.

But then his frantic gaze flew over to the bar and his heart rate slowed down when he saw Jared.

In the darkness of the club, all he could see was the angry twist of Jared’s lips and the dark, stormy fire in his gaze.

The eye contact grounded him, brought him back to the here-and-now; reminding him that Jared was watching, that he was there to step in if things got out of hand.

So, with his eyes still focused on Jared’s charcoal ones, Jensen focused on the way the stranger pressed against him; on the beat of a stranger’s heart beating against his spine.

The guy started moving against him, his hands gripping Jensen’s hips hard from behind.

He nosed at the back of Jensen's neck, squeezing him tighter and tighter until the pressure made it hard to breathe.

Jensen’s eyes fell closed as he tried to tell himself to relax, to go with it, just for a minute or two.

But he couldn’t do it.

Not when the guy’s hands started wandering and his lips latched onto Jensen's neck, trying to suck bruises into the skin.

Because dancing was one thing but this- this was more than just dancing. This was letting himself get touched and kissed by someone who wasn’t Jared- this was being felt up by a total stranger and he couldn’t do it. 

A cold shudder wracked through him and twisted around, pushing the guy away by the shoulder just far enough to set a clear sign.

The guy was about Jared’s size, tall, lean and handsome, with messy black hair and bright eyes.

Under different circumstances, Jensen might have jumped at a chance to get with a guy like him, but right here, right now, with Jared standing right across the room and watching them, he was about as interesting to Jensen as the dirty floor he was standing on.

“Hey,” the guy greeted over the loud beat of the music, a cocky little smile playing his lips.

Forcing a polite smile on his own lips, Jensen’s gaze flicked back to the bar to see that Jared had turned his attention away from him and back to their friends.

A pang of something, hurt or irrational jealousy or maybe disappointment, shot through Jensen at the sight.

Which was stupid, because he had been the one to walk away and let some stranger feel him up in front of Jared, but Jared was supposed to get all growly and possessive, not just stand at the bar and talk to Steve like Jensen wasn't getting hit on by some random sleazebag.

“I’m Jack,” the guy greeted with his dazzling smile still in place. “How come I’ve never seen you around here before? You new in town?”

“Listen—” Jensen’s gaze returned back to the bar and his heart kicked up a notch when he found Jared gone.

Had he left the club?

God fucking damn it.

Of course, he had left.

He was probably pissed and rightfully so.

What the hell had Jensen been thinking, toying with Jared like that, making him believe that he would actually be interested in anyone else when Jared was literally all Jensen could think about.

Jack,” the guy supplied with a snort that was half amusement, half bitterness over the fact that Jensen was so disinterested he couldn’t even remember his name.

“Right, listen, Jack, I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I’m actually here with someone.”

Jensen raked his hand through his hair, desperately searching the crowd for the familiar pair of hazel eyes he loved so much, a tattooed arm, a sharp jawline and wild mop of tousled bangs. Anything.

“Okay,” Jack replied, slowly, sounding entirely unconvinced, which only heightened Jensen’s exasperation. “I didn’t see anyone with you, so…”

Jensen knew guys like ‘Jack’.

Rejection wasn’t in their fucking vocabulary.

“Look, I’m serious,” he forced out, nearly hissing. “I’m not interested. Now fuck off.”

Maybe the aggressiveness was uncalled for, but Jensen had told the guy off twice already.

“Oh, c’mon,” Jack smirked, reaching around Jensen to run a hand over his hips down to the waistband of his jeans, trying to cover as much ground as humanly possible. “You don’t need to be nervous or anything. I promise I’ll take good care of you.”

Eyes narrowing to poisonous little slits, Jensen grabbed hold Jack’s wandering hand and forcefully yanked it away from his hip.

“In case you didn’t get the hint when I told you the last two times, it’s a big fat ‘No, I’m not interested in your dick’ with a very clear undertone of ‘get lost’.”

Jensen drove his point home by digging his fingernails into the guy’s wrist.

The guy looked absolutely dumbfounded for a second before his eyes darkened and his features twisted into a sneer. “Fine, suit yourself. You little—“

'Jack' didn’t get to voice whatever insult was on the tip of his tongue when two broad shoulders and a whole lot of leather entered Jensen’s line of vision.

Jared grabbed the front of the guy’s shirt and yanked him forward so hard he nearly tripped over his own sneakers. 

“I think he told you to fuck off,” he growled out in a tone that was two octaves deeper than his usual one. 

Jack’s eyes were huge and glassy as he shrunk under the six-foot-four wall of muscle and bristling fury that was Jared.

Some of the other people in the club had stopped dancing and turned to watch the scene unfold, their eyes filled with a mix of apprehension and excitement.

Jensen’s breath was kind of knocked from his lungs at the tone Jared had used.

There were probably about two million reasons why Jensen shouldn’t be turned on right now. But there was that static again, that crackling spark of electricity that always filled his lungs and nose and airways whenever Jared got like this.

When Jensen had been just this nerdy kid from Harvard and Jared had been the world’s most obnoxious hard ass and there should have been nothing between them, the crackling fire had made the hairs on the back of Jensen’s neck stand up.

But now it was strong enough to make him afraid for his own life, like if Jared turned around to look at Jensen or if he reached out to actually touch him, one of them would spontaneously combust from all that sexual tension.

“Get the fuck outta here before I change my mind,” Jared growled out and released Jack with a warning jostle.

The guy didn’t waste two fucking seconds before he scrammed, nearly tripping in his haste to get away.

Jensen figured he must have known how close he just came to getting his face bashed in.

As soon as he was gone, the crowd that had gathered around them dissolved and everyone went back to normal; feeding off of smiles and fast dancing.

The dance floor was vibrating, the sound of the speakers blared and Jensen felt like his eardrums were going to burst while the crowd was going crazy around them.

Yet, his heart was still in his throat and he didn’t dare to breathe in the wake of what had happened.

“Jay listen,” Jensen started in an attempt to explain, but Jared wasn't listening.

“You wanna dance?” he husked as he stepped closer.

His hazel eyes were charcoal black with anger or desire, Jensen couldn’t be sure.

He felt Jared's hand slide around his waist and under his shirt. “Let’s fucking dance.”

Without warning, Jared grabbed Jensen’s hipbones and yanked him around so that he was facing the crowd and Jared was behind him.

It made Jensen hiss, fingers twisting around to curl into Jared’s clothing, trying to pull him closer.

“Show me what you got,” Jared whispered hotly against his ear. He pressed his lips to Jensen’s neck, light brushes of his hot mouth across the nape, slowly trailing his way up to the sensitive spot behind Jensen’s ear.

Jensen tilted his head to the side on instinct, granting Jared better access and feeling Jared smile against his skin.

“Trying to get me jealous?” Jared’s fingers dug harder into Jensen’s waist as he slid his thumbs beneath the shirt that had ridden up on Jensen’s skin.

“It got you dancing, didn’t it?” Jensen panted out, unable to suppress the tremble that shot through his body at the intimate touch, each press of Jared’s fingers like an electric current hardwired to his groin.

Jared inched his fingers lower, dipping just beneath the front of Jensen’s waistband. “You’re lucky I let him live.”

Jensen’s eyes fluttered close and he let out a breathy moan, arching his back and grinding his backside harder into Jared’s groin.

“Jay,” Jensen’s voice had gone low and breathy with want when Jared’s hot mouth latched onto his earlobe from behind, sucking it into his mouth and grazing his teeth over the soft skin.

He was giving minute thrusts of his hips, so shallow no one near them would think it was anything more than two men clearly enjoying the night, when in reality- each movement was a statement of its very own; each thrust rubbing his hard length against the cleft of Jensen’s ass with purpose. He nuzzled lower, his mouth working at Jensen’s collarbone, teeth gently grazing the skin there and causing the tiny hair on the back of Jensen’s neck to rise.

Jensen was trying to keep up with the dance moves, but it was harder to concentrate now, with Jared’s lips and teeth and tongue working bruises into his neck, claiming him so publically and making him think of all the other things Jared could do with his mouth, which really didn’t help the uncomfortable tightness in his jeans.

Whatever reason he might have had not to dance, Jensen was beginning to realize that it wasn't lack of skill because Jared's movements were strong and sure, in perfect tune with the beat.

Every sway and grind of his hips, every bounce of his heels was smoothe; perfectly synchronized to the heavy beat of the music. 

Jared was actually good at this.

Much better than any of them would have probably given him credit for.

“Would ye’ look at that,” Jared taunted, voice nothing more than a breathy whisper against Jensen’s skin. “Not so fucking smug anymore, are you now?”

“I…” Jensen tried to form a coherent sentence, but the ache in his abdomen grew more painful by each second, the pressure building up to a point where it was unbearable.

Jared’s patience finally seemed to snap and he whirled him around, shutting him up with a brutal kiss; his long fingers tangled in Jensen’s hair and his teeth digging into Jensen’s pouty lips, biting, sucking, growling in a way that made Jensen feel bruised and vulnerable but also aching for more.

Jared was the one who broke away first, panting roughly against Jensen’s kiss-swollen lips. 

"Bathroom. Now."

 

 

The door handle to the restroom was missing and a sliding latch held the broken door in place.

Jared undid it and stumbled into a room that faintly smelled of piss and sex. It was grimy and the broken tiles on the walls were smeared with graffiti and lipstick.

The toilets had been removed probably a while ago but the counter was still there, a grime-covered mirror running along the wall in front of them and casting an infinitely repeating reflection of them.

Jensen’s breath was still punching in and out of his chest at a near frantic pace. It felt like his body was on fire- like his heart was beating outside of his body and he had lost all control over it.

He looked past Jared’s shoulder, hovering a step behind him and caught Jared’s eye in the mirror.

The moment was strangely intense, sending a ripple of excitement through Jensen’s very core.

Jared was oddly beautiful in the bright light of the fluorescent neon bulb above their heads- his Adam’s apple standing out beneath his corded neck as he ran a hair through the sweaty bangs of hair that kept falling into his eyes.

His shirt was crumpled, his eyes blown.

His lips bitten raw and swollen from all the kissing they had done.

Marked up.

The arousal, combined with the disorientation of the alcohol briefly overwhelmed Jensen, leaving him disconnected from the here and now as he broke away from Jared and let himself get backed up against the counter.

Jared didn’t waste any time and Jensen’s sense of reality was brought back with ferocity when Jared latched onto his nipple through the thin fabric of the shirt Jensen was wearing and dug his teeth into the nub until Jensen hissed out his pain and scrambled to tug on Jared’s hair to pull him back.

Jared grabbed the hem of Jensen’s shirt and gave it a tug, growling out in frustration when it didn’t immediately come off.

“Jay—J-Jared, wait. Hold on,” Jensen gasped and covered Jared’s searching hands with his own to stop him. “We are literally about to fuck twenty feet away from 200 people, any of whom could walk into this goddamn bathroom any moment.”

Ignoring his protest, Jared grabbed him by the hips and lifted him up onto the counter, groaning as their mouths meet in a hungry kiss.

Let them come.

Show ‘em what they can’t have.

“Gonna let me fuck you?” Jared bit harshly at Jensen’s bottom lip, tugging just enough to make him moan. “Right here in this shitty club with all these people just outside the door?”

“Yes, fuck. Do it.”

Jared roughly bit and kissed his way down Jensen’s neck and chest, stopping only when his lips reached the hem of his rucked up shirt. He ripped it off and swallowed Jensen’s whimper with his lips, before stepping back to yank his own jacket and shirt off.

“C’mon, hurry the fuck up,” Jensen breathed hotly, biting at the sensitive skin just below the tattoo on Jared’s neck. “Need you so bad. Now.”

Jared growled and tugged hard on Jensen’s waistband, nearly causing him to slip from the counter. His arms shot out to hold Jensen up and balance him, sending both their shirts and a soap dispenser off the counter to drop to the dirty floor.

He shoved Jensen back until his back and shoulders hit the mirror behind him while Jensen fumbled with his zipper, their breaths mingling hot and ragged between them.

Jensen spread his legs as far as he could with his jeans all bunched up around his ankles and Jared tugged him hard to the edge of the counter, wrapping an arm around his shoulders to steady him as their mouths met in a hungry kiss. “Should have snapped that fucker’s neck when he touched you. What the fuck were you thinking, letting him touch you like that, huh?”

“They said I couldn’t—“ Jensen broke off on a gasp. “Said I couldn’t get you to dance with me.”

Someone banged on the door and Jensen pulled away with a panicked expression on his flushed face, nails scraping down hard Jared’s back and making him wince.

“FUCK OFF!” Jared yelled and then laughed when Jensen gripped the back of his neck and slammed their mouths together once more.

“What happened to ‘let ‘em come’?” Jensen panted; a smug little grin slowly forming on his lips.

Jared grabbed his legs and yanked him off the counter before harshly spinning him around by the back of his neck and pressing him forward. 

Jensen let out a breathy moan as he fumbled to grip the counter and hold himself upright, pitched awkwardly forward at the way Jared had fit his hips snugly against his ass.

He knocked over a soap tray when he reaches up to slap a palm against the mirror.

Jared kissed a hot trail of kisses down Jensen’s back, stopping to bite at the knobs of bone and sucking possessive little marks into the wings of his shoulder blades.

“Open up,” Jared commanded in a husky, fucked out voice and Jensen’s lips parted on instinct as Jared shoved them inside. “Get them good and wet.”

Jensen’s eyes darkened as he curled his tongue around the digits, hollowing his cheeks out obscenely as he sucked at the fingers like he was starved for them, eyes hooded as he peered up at Jared.

“Fuck, you’re so hot,” Jared growled and kicked Jensen’s legs farther apart before pulling his fingers out of Jensen’s mouth and reaching down to line them up with Jensen’s tightly furled muscle.

He wasted no time in sliding one finger in, crooking it up expertly to try and find Jensen’s prostate.

Jensen let out a soft keening noise that further spurred Jared on and made him move his fingers back and forth, scissoring them as he surged down to claim Jensen’s lips yet again.

“God, please just—“ Jensen panted the words out, scrambling desperately against the counter as he pushed his ass back into the sensation of Jared’s fingers, itching for more. “Fuck me, Jay… need to feel you. Wanna feel you, c’mon.”

“Love it when you beg me,” Jared smirked against Jensen’s spit-slick lips, fingers teasing at his hole as he slid a third one in.

“Do it again,” Jared demanded in a ragged order, punctuating his words with a particularly harsh thrust of his hand. Jensen let out a startled sound at the harsh treatment.

“Jesus Christ, yes. Please- please fuck me. Want you so fucking much, Jared. Please.”

Jared grinned at the slight note of desperation in his voice.

"Well, since you asked so nicely,” he purred and pulled a condom from the back of his jeans. He rolled it on before grabbing the back of Jensen’s neck to bend him even further and pressing into him.  

They both moaned in pleasure, Jensen pushing back against his dick, even when the stretch was painful.

Jared started fucking into him, setting up a steady rhythm and looking up to catch their reflection in the cracked mirror before them.

Jensen’s face was flushed a rosy red, sweaty hair plastered to his forehead as he clutched the counter for dear life with one hand while the other was still propped up against the mirror.

His sweaty palm slipped off the mirror and Jared wrapped an arm around his chest to haul him back up, lifting him just far enough to make him watch their reflection.

He let his hand slowly trail up from Jensen’s sweaty chest over to his neck, thumbing the slight dip of his throat.

He held him there, his strong fingers wrapped loosely around Jensen’s throat without applying any real pressure, just resting there. Owning him.

“Look at us,” he husked, squeezing Jensen’s neck just the tiniest bit, just to make him feel the power- the vulnerability- just to show him who he belonged to. “Look at yourself. How hot you are, how much you like taking my cock.”

The pressure around his neck seemed to turn Jensen on even more because it made him gasp and grind back against Jared’s dick, hands reaching back to claw at Jared’s back. “Jay. Fuck. Harder. Fuck me harder.”

Jared actually growled at the words, his eyes near black with desire as the words tipped him over the edge of sanity.

He roughly grabbed a fistful of Jensen’s sweat-soaked spikes and pressed him down until he was completely bent in half and needed to brace himself on the counter to keep his footing.

The urge to claim and own was overpowering at this point and Jensen just let him take whatever he fucking needed, wanting it, even. Begging for it.

“Fuck, Jay. Jesus fucking—“ Jensen’s voice broke on choked-off cry when Jared’s fingers reached around to curl around his dick, starting to stroke him in sync with his erratic thrusts. “Oh god. Jared. Jay. I- I’m gonna—“

Jared actually chuckled at the absolute desperation in Jensen’s voice. "Love it when you get this desperate."

Sometimes it was hard to remember that Jensen was that same nerdy Harvard student he had been when they’d first met at the biker expo.

“Come for me, baby,” Jared prompted and angled his thrusts so that they hit Jensen’s sweet spot on every damn stroke, hands moving rough and fast on Jensen’s cock as he pushed him over the edge.

The sensations were too much and Jensen came with a strangled yell of Jared’s name that bounced off the tiled walls. His ass clenched down around Jared’s cock like a vice, so hard and tight and fucking perfect –and Jared’s rhythm faltered when his own orgasm hit him like a punch to the gut, robbing him of his breath.

He bit down hard on Jensen’s shoulder to muffle his own grunt against the younger man’s sweaty skin and Jensen barely flinched at the pain, he was so out of it- so delirious with his own pleasure.

He shuddered and they stayed like that for a few minutes; just trying to catch their breaths.

Then Jensen started shaking beneath him. He was breathing so fast, heart hammering wildly beneath Jared’s fingertips as he peered up at Jared’s reflection in the mirror with something akin to worship.

“Jay...” he whispered, his impossibly thick lashes clumping with moisture from the heightened emotion of it all and Jared felt a surge of possessiveness that it made him dizzy.

Jared slipped out of him and a soft whimper escaped Jensen’s lips at the loss.

He didn’t even bother for a trash bin with the condom- this whole fucking place was a dump anyway- and stepped between Jensen’s legs before pressing their mouths together in a slow, sloppy kiss.

“Feel good?” Jared bumped their noses and foreheads together when they broke apart, one thumb drawing random patterns on the side of his cream-colored neck.

He set his mouth to the skin where his thumb had been and sucked a bruise into the flesh just to hear the way Jensen’s breath hitched in his throat and to feel the way his long fingers dug into the meaty muscles on his back.

“Mhhm,” Jensen sighed as his eyes closed and his forehead fell forward against Jared’s collarbone. "Always do."

Jared dug his chin into Jensen’s hair, catching a hint of Jensen’s lavender shampoo beneath the penetrant odor of piss and sweat and cheap alcohol.

Jensen slipped off the counter and Jared steadied him when his knees threatened to buckle, holding him steady. "Want me to carry you outta here bridal style, princess?”

“You can try,” Jensen huffed, lightly shoving Jared’s shoulder to push him back. His gaze flickered down to the pile of clothing on the floor and he shuddered at the prospect of having to put the sweaty, dirty fabric on again. “I can’t fucking believe I let you fuck me in this a cesspool of viruses and STDs. We probably both have AIDS now.”

Jared grinned and cupped the side of Jensen’s face before softly kissing him on the lips. “But what a way to go, huh?”

Jensen laughed at that, bright and brilliant, lighting up the whole fucking club with his smile.

He reached up to tangle his fingers in Jared’s messy hair and went in for another kiss.

“Totally worth it.”

 

 

They spent the rest of the night dancing and getting stupidly drunk.

Jensen cashed eighty dollars for winning the bet, only to end up spending it all on drinks.

Jared got teased mercilessly for his earlier performance on the dance floor until they pestered him enough to make him spill the beans about some long-ago street dance competition he participated in and it made Chris laugh so hard he was crying.

And in that moment, with Chris folded in half because he was laughing so hard and Jared grumbling something about ‘this is why I never told you fuckers’, time stood still for a minute and Jensen’s heart broke.

Not much longer and he would be moving to New Haven, leaving all of this- all of them- behind. 

Someone tapped Jensen on the shoulder and he half-expected it to be Jared, but to his surprise he found Katie grinning up at him, instead.

“Care for a dance?” she asked, cheeks still slightly flushed from her last dance with Steve. “Can’t promise I’ll be as good as Justin Timberlake over there, but I can try.”

Jensen grinned. 

He didn’t know what the future had in store for them or if they were ever going to have a night like this again, without a goddamn care in the world; just free and happy in every way that mattered.

He didn't know what tomorrow would bring, but tonight was theirs and they were going to make the absolute most of it.

Jensen knocked the rest of his drink back and slung an arm around Katie's neck. 

“C'mon," he smirked. "Let’s show these wannabes what we’re made of.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

As long as you're around
Open Road - Timestamp

"Do we really have to go to this thing?" Jared grumbled in a tight voice, discomfort etched into his jawline.

He was fumbling with his tie, muttering curses under his breath and growing more impatient by the second.

Jensen pushed Jared's tattooed hands away, taking the silk with his own fingers and weaving the tie into a Windsor knot.

"You don't have to come, you know?" he said softly. "It's not a big deal."

The New Year's Party at Yale University was a formal event with suits and champagne and lots of people who liked to brag about their flashy cars and shiny college degrees.

It was Jensen's first year as an Associate Professor, so he needed to show his face for at least an hour or so, shaking hands and making shallow conversation.

"And miss out on all the arrogant assholes treating me like I'm beneath them?" Jared snarked.

Jensen sighed and placed his hand on Jared's cheek, thumb tracing his cheekbone in a featherlight caress.

"Fuck them. We'll just mind our business and let them mind theirs."

"And you think that's good for you? Showing up with someone like me in tow? A fucking mechanic?"

"Careful," Jensen whispered. "That's the father of my kids you're talking about."

Jared snorted and pulled Jensen in for a languid kiss, their lips dragging lazily across each other as their eyes fluttered closed.

"I love you," Jensen breathed when they broke apart, just in case Jared hadn't gotten the message.

Jared licked his bottom lip and nodded, the tension slowly bleeding from his features under Jensen's worshipful gaze.

"Let's go and drink all the fucking free champagne we can find."

"Agreed," Jensen smiled, eyes twinkling at the thought of what the night held in store for them.

Good food, expensive suits and Jared kissing him breathless as the night sky above them exploded in a multitude of colors.

What was not to like about that?

Chapter Text

Home Sweet Home
Open Road – Timestamp

They bought a duplex just outside of Westville, New Haven.

The house had seen better days; twenty or so cycles of the season without any kind of maintenance had reduced it to the kind of place that realtors hated to list.

But for them, it was perfect.

Jensen thought it looked like a cut-out from an Architects Today magazine with those chipped window frames and the winding banister that was covered in wild leaves and vines.

It was beautiful in that old-world kind of way that Jensen had always been drawn to and he had loved it from the second he had stepped onto the creaking hardwood floor and bathed in the soft sunlight that filtered in through the French windows.

The backyard wasn’t all too big, but what it lacked in size, the house more than made up for.

They had a kitchen, a bedroom, a spacious living room and two extra rooms -one of which they’d use as a nursery.

Much to Jared’s pleasure the property included a garage with enough space for a workbench, a truing stand and whatever else he needed to tinker around with his Harley.

They had settled into their new lives well enough in theory.

In reality, they were both naked, their shirts and boxers were strewn across the hardwood floor and Jared’s tongue was pretty far down Jensen’s throat.

In reality, the only stick of furniture they owned was a mattress and they fucking lived on that thing.

They camped out on the floor, eating take-out and having picnics in the middle of the otherwise empty living room.

They ate when they felt like it, stayed up all night just to talk about the most random of things.

They vowed to never fall into a routine, to never go to sleep or wake up at the same time.

They made slow, gentle love at night, their features illuminated by the flickering light of half a dozen candles haphazardly set up on the floor around them.

It was ridiculously cheesy, but Jensen was in love and he was pregnant and despite the chaos and the new adjustments and the stressfulness of the past few months, he was pretty fucking happy.

Even when things were far from perfect.

“Fuck,” Jensen cursed under his breath and shivered when the duvet slipped from Jared’s shoulders, exposing his sweaty body to the crisp air.  

They used a beat-up space heater for extra warmth, but that thing had been broken long before Jared’s new boss had handed it to them.

“What?” Jared pulled away, still trying to catch his breath. “You okay?”

“It’s cold,” Jensen whined, rubbing his hands up and down his arms. “Radiator conked out again.”

“Damn piece of shit,” Jared made a move to get off the mattress but Jensen grabbed his arm to hold him back. “Jay, wait. We need to save money for that crib, remember?”

“I’m not gonna sit by and watch you freeze,” Jared said firmly, eyes glancing down to Jensen’s belly.

They had used up all of Jeff’s savings to buy the house and a car, but furniture and baby stuff was expensive and Jared’s new job at the auto shop barely covered their expenses as it was.

Jensen blinked up at Jared from behind thick lashes. “Body heat is pretty effective, I heard.”

“That so?” Jared cocked an eyebrow at him, lips quirking up ever so slightly.

“Yeah,” Jensen propped himself up on his elbow, watching the slow flicker of flames reflected in Jared’s gorgeous hazel eyes. “Did you know that our bodies produce enough heat in only thirty minutes to boil half a gallon of water?”

Jared snorted, already losing some of his earlier tension.

“We are the epitome of thermodynamics,” Jensen continued in a soft whisper, brushing his nose against Jared’s cheek, hands wandering over ripped muscle. “We can produce heat from all kinds of activities. Exercise, metabolizing food, maintaining homeostasis, sweating—“

Fucking ,” Jared suggested and Jensen laughed.

“I was building up to that.”

Jared chuckled and blanked Jensen’s body with his larger frame, sealing their mouths in a soft kiss.

Jensen grinned, struggling to tug the covers back up around them in order to trap some heat.

Jared caught up to what he was trying to do and moved the duvet all the way up around his shoulders before yanking Jensen further down into the warm cocoon of the comforter.

Jensen huffed out a soft laugh when Jared started kissing him beneath the blanket, long fingers reaching up to tangle in his luscious hair.

He sighed and closed his eyes, remembering the days, weeks, months he’d spent thinking he would never be able to feel happiness again, that he would never get to see Jared again.

And now he was lying here, four months pregnant with Jared’s child and in their new home.

“Hey,” Jared backed up a little and brushed a few loose strands from Jensen’s forehead.

Cupping his face in his hands and lowering his lips to Jensen’s.

It was chilly that night, the cold winter breeze seeping in from outside, but the kiss sent a wave of warmth through Jensen’s entire body- tingling from head to toe as Jared’s lips brushed his own.

It was all so much slower these days, so much more intense, because they didn’t have to be afraid of getting too invested anymore, of getting one another in danger.

Jensen swallowed thickly. “Hey.”

Jared rubbed his thumb over Jensen’s cheekbone. “I love you.”

And god, but Jensen was never going to get tired of hearing that.  

 

 

The first prenatal appointment in New Haven was both scary and uncomfortable.

There were too many thoughts swirling in his mind, too many things he was worried about.

By the time the doctor moved in with the gray plastic wand that was used for the examination, Jensen had convinced himself that something was wrong with the baby.

Jared seemed to notice his discomfort and squeezed his fingers with his own, lending reassurance.

“It won’t hurt him, right?” Jared asked softly.

Jensen would have probably laughed at his boyfriend if he wasn’t so touched by the sheer protectiveness in Jared’s tone.

“Not in the slightest,” the doctor softly reassured; her eyes warm and understanding as she set up the rest of the equipment.  “It will be over before you both know it.”

“Would you be able to see if anything was wrong with it?” Jensen hurriedly asked as soon as the doctor pressed the wand down on his stomach and started moving it around.

They had been to a doctor before, shortly after they found out about the pregnancy, but back then it had been too early to tell.

“I drank alcohol in the first weeks of the pregnancy. Not excessively, but still. And I smoked and participated in full-impact sports like boxing and lacrosse and—“

“If there’s cause for concern, I’ll inform you,” the doctor cut Jensen’s nervous ramble off with a soft smile. “As of right now, I can tell you that your blood tests came back looking good and that your baby’s heartbeat seems normal.”

Jared nodded in relief, “We’ve done everything by the book ever since we found out.”

Jensen damn near rolled his eyes at that because it just wasn’t fair that Jared was allowed to slurp his coffee and eat all that greasy take-out they got, while Jensen was force-fed kale smoothies.

“I see,” the doctor’s smile grew at Jared’s enthusiasm. “Would you like to take a look at your baby now?”

They both nodded and a blurred image filled the screen on the doctor’s computer.

Jensen sucked in a small breath and squeezed Jared’s hand tight enough to cut off blood supply.

“There’s probably not a whole lot to make out at this point, but see this little blob right here?” she pointed at a little dot of white with her gloved finger. “That’s the fetus. The overall development appears to be good for sixteen weeks, but I’d recommend an amniocentesis to evaluate the chromosomes, just to be on the safe side, given your medical history.”

Jensen’s brow creased with worry but he remained silent at the obstetrician’s comment.

They had briefly discussed the possible testing methods with their doctor back in Boston, but Jensen hadn’t been able to decide whether he wanted to do them or not.

In the case of amniocentesis testing, there was a .06-.86% chance of a procedure-related miscarriage and the mere thought was enough to turn Jensen’s stomach.

At Jensen’s age, this kind of test wasn't commonly used to detect any abnormalities, but it only made sense given his recent gunshot wound and the residual scarring.

“I assume your previous doctor has already informed you about the gender?”

Startled, Jensen sent a hesitant glance in Jared’s direction. “Actually we wanted to wait but—“

“Screw waiting,” Jared interfered. “We wanna know.”

The doctor took Jared’s lack of composure in stride and ducked her head to hide her laugh. “Are you sure?” she threw a pointed look at Jensen who opened his mouth, only to close it again.

He felt Jared’s fingers tighten around his own and swallowed. “Okay, yes.”

“Well, alright, then. It’s a boy. You’re having a boy.”

 

 

“What about Brock?”

Jensen shoveled a few more fries into his mouth, the phone precariously balanced between his ear and right shoulder. “Brock Padalecki? Do you want our kid to make it through high school or not?”

“Brock’s a real classic, but alright, grumpy. How about Elias?”

“Too biblical.”

“Jonathan.”

“Same.”

“Uhm…Samuel? Sammy for short.”

Jensen frowned at the speaker. “Seriously, Danny. Stop trying to turn our baby into Jesus Christ, Superstar. What’s with you and catholic names?”

There was an audible rustle on the other line and then the speaker croaked to new life.

“I opt for James, Lars or Kirk.”

At the sound of Chris atrocious suggestions, Jensen smiled so hard he thought his face would crack.

“Hey, Chris. Still a freak I see. And no, we’re not going to name our son after the band members of Metallica.”

“What about Alice for his first name and Cooper for his middle name? That way, you could give your kid the most badass name in history.”

Jensen’s heart ached at his friends’ banter and before he knew it his hands were shaking and his vision blurring.

He took a steadying breath, mentally cursing the damn hormones and forced his voice to remain unaffected from the sudden burst of homesickness.

“Listen, guys, Jared’s coming home, I’ll call you back, alright?”

“Yeah, sure. Tell that bastard to pick up his damn phone every once in awhile.”

“Will do. And Chris?”

“Yeah?”

Jensen licked his lips. “Tell everyone I said hi, okay?”

 

 

On his first day in class, he sat next to a bright-eyed, brunette with a kind smile.

She who was one of the few people who didn’t give him judging or disapproving looks when noticing the swell of his belly that he could no longer hide from the public at this point.

“Hi,” she gave him a bright grin and stretched out her hand. “I’m Sophia.”

“Nice to meet you,” he shook her hand with a shy smile. “Jensen.”

She frowned, probably never having heard the name before.

“You’re not from around here, are you?”

“What gave me away?” Jensen laughed, enjoying the for-once, unbiased conversation.

These days, most people were more interested in his pregnancy than in Jensen himself, asking him about his due date and a whole lot of other shit that didn’t really concern them.

But Sophia was different.

“You’ve got an accent for one thing. Besides, you don’t get those kind of exotic names around here,” she pulled a bunch of brushes and acrylic paint from her bag. “I could show you the campus after class. I mean if you aren’t too tired or anything.”

“Sure,” Jensen smiled. “I’d love that.”

 

 

“You sure you don’t want me to give you a hand?” Jensen asked, grinning around a spoonful of vanilla ice cream as he watched Jared trying to put their new dining table together.

“Stop being a dick,” Jared returned grouchily and Jensen’s grin grew a bit wider as his eyes roamed Jared’s body from head to toe, watching a bead of sweat roll down his arched spine and coming to rest in the dip of his lower back.

As much as he hated being treated like some delicate flower, Jensen also couldn’t deny how much he enjoyed watching Jared in his stonewashed overalls, showing off the muscles and tattoos beneath, enticing him to touch the sweat-slick skin.

He licked a drop of ice cream from his lips in anticipation, before raising his eyes to meet Jared’s.

“You know, for a guy who reassembles bikes for a living, I’d have expected a bit more technical deftness,” he teased, knowing full and well that his words were starting to get under his boyfriend’s skin. “I mean, here I was thinking you were good with your hands—”

Jensen’s sentence was cut short when a piece of bubble wrap hit him straight on the forehead.

He was shocked into silence for a second. “Did you just hit me with bubble wrap? Your pregnant boyfriend?” he mocked in fake-outrage. “That’s abuse, you know? I’m gravely wounded.”

“You were asking for it,” Jared replied as he attempted to tighten a stubborn bolt that refused to tighten. “Now would you please shut up and let me do this?”

He turned his arm and swore aloud when the skin of his hand got pinched between the wrench and the table where he was working.

“Wow, you really suck at this,” Jensen put his bucket of ice cream down before he gingerly slipped off the kitchen counter. “Here, let me show you how real men put together furniture.“

“Alright, that’s it,” Jared growled and one minute later, they were rolling around on the floor with sawdust in their hair and bubble wrap twisted around them, laughing so hard it fucking hurt.

 

 

“Wow,” Sophia said when she stepped through the doorway.

Her eyes were widening as she took in the flowing space of their living room, coupled with the French windows, the wooden elements, and leather furniture.

“Do you like it?” Jensen asked somewhat nervously.

Sophia’s gaze flickered from the living room to Jared. “Honestly? I’m not sure if I should be more impressed with your house or your boyfriend.”

Jared took his cue from that, stepping forward to shake Sophia’s hand with a cordial smile on his lips.

“You must be Sophia. Jensen’s told me a lot about you.”

“Only good stuff, I hope,” she winked at him and Jensen relaxed a bit as a conversation unfolded naturally between the three of them.

Jared offered Sophia a beer and Jensen snapped a few shots of the casserole he had made, before sending them to the gang.

It didn’t look anything like the picture in the recipe book, but their kitchen hadn’t burned down and given Jensen’s absolute lack of skill or talent in the cooking department, he considered that a win.

‘Did you make that? It almost looks edible.’ (Message from: TOM. Received at: 21:18 PM)

‘Who’s the chick? You guys into threesomes now?’ (Message from: STEVE. Received at: 21:19 PM)

‘If you are, can I join in on the fun? :D’ (Message from: KATIE. Received at: 21:19 PM)

‘Oh and I’m digging the new dining table. Hope you guys had fun breaking it in!’ (Message from: KATIE. Received at: 21:20 PM)

Jensen snorted and muted his phone, not having expected the onslaught of messages.

“What’s so funny?” Jared asked as he slipped an arm around Jensen from behind, pressing a soft kiss to the side of Jensen’s neck.

“Nothing,” Jensen closed his eyes and relaxed against Jared’s broad chest. “Where’s Sophia?”

“Bathroom,” Jared explained softly, nosing at the delicate skin behind Jensen’s ear and rubbing soothing circles into Jensen’s stomach. “She’s nice.”

“I told you,” Jensen smiled and stepped away before pulling on oven mitts and carrying the casserole over to their table.

“Hey guys, I don’t think the hot water’s worki—“ Whatever else Sophia was about to say was drowned out by the deafening sound of the dining table crashing to the floor in a pile of wood.

Before Jensen could even fully process what was happening, Jared’s arms wrapped around his middle, safely pulling him aside.

“You okay?” he asked, slightly out of breath and all Jensen could do was stare at the mess that used to be their table and was now little more than a pile of broken wood and porcelain.

With trembling hands, Jensen grabbed the phone from the back of his jeans and snapped another picture before hitting the send button.  

‘We broke it in alright,´he texted back and blinked at the mess on the ground for a moment longer before soft laughter started bubbling up from his throat, the irony of the situation sinking in on him.

His shoulders shook with the force of his hitched breaths and Jensen was glad that the laughter was covering up the sting of tears in his eyes as panic settled deep in his guts.

They couldn’t even put a goddamn IKEA table together.

What the fuck had ever made them think they could raise a child?

 

 

They decided to paint the nursery on a Saturday.

“What’s your favorite color?”

Jared turned his body towards Jensen.

His eyes bore into his boyfriend’s. “Why are you asking?”

Caught off guard by the intensity of Jared’s stare Jensen became more engrossed in the task at hand, painting the wall in front of him with steady, even strokes.

“There’s so much stuff I still don’t know about you.”

Jared frowned and looked into Jensen’s eyes, searching for some sign of the younger man’s usual sarcasm, waiting for a snappy comment or joke to follow his earlier statement.

But when nothing else followed, Jared knew Jensen was serious about this.

“Green,” he answered after a pause, studying the rich twirl of honey in Jensen’s bottle-colored eyes. Jensen’s eyes were the kind of green that made you smell pine needles and ocean salt.

It was Jared’s favorite thing in the world to watch them dance with laughter and glaze over with pleasure- to watch them light up like emeralds when he got lost in his art.

“Okay,” Jensen said as if to catalog the information in his brain. “What’s your guilty pleasure song?”

“My guilty pleasure song?” Jared repeated and cocked an eyebrow at Jensen.

“Yeah, you know, like a song that you really like but you’d never openly admit it.”

Jared snorted softly and scratched the back of his neck.

“I’m not sure you’re ready for that,” he said. “You might drop my sorry ass and decide to raise our kid with someone who has better taste.”

Jensen laughed and playfully shoved Jared’s shoulder. “Oh c’mon… it can’t be that bad.”

“Just remember that you were asking for it,” Jared sighed and dropped the paint roller to the newspaper covered ground before he started bouncing his legs to the sound of a beat only he heard.

He lifted his shoulders in tune with his body movement, rocking up and down, back and forth, the grin slowly widening on his lips as he started singing.

“I heard you good with them soft lips. Yeah, you know word of mouth.”

Tapping a finger against Jensen’s bottom lip, Jared winked at the younger man and slipped his arms around his waist, drawing him close.

“The square root of sixty-nine is eight something, right? 'Cause I've been tryna work it out, ow.”

“Rihanna?” Jensen’s tossed his head back in laughter, the rich sound of it echoing through the unfurnished room. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Undeterred by Jensen’s teasing, Jared leaned in to whisper the rest of the lyrics against Jensen’s ear.

“Good weed, white wine, uh. I come alive in the night time. Okay, away we go. Only thing we have on is the radio-oh.”

He fished his phone from his jeans and hit the play button, never once breaking his rhythm.

“Let it play, say you gotta leave. But I know you wanna stay- you’re waiting on the traffic jam to finish boy, the things we could do in twenty minutes, boy…”

Jared pressed Jensen up against him firmly as they moved in sync to the pulsating beat.

“Say my name, say my name. Wear it out, it’s getting hot, crack a window, air it out. I can get you through a mighty long day. Soon as I go the text you goin' right is goin' say—“

Jared’s voice stopped and Jensen didn’t miss his cue, chiming in full force.

“Ooh na na, what's my name. Ooh na na, what's my name. Ooh na na, what's my name. What's my name, what's my name.”

The song played on, even when their voices tapered off and their laughter turned into ragged pants of air, chest heaving from the impromptu dance session.

Still breathless and with their hands entangled, Jared pulled Jensen close for a kiss.

He was so lost in the moment that he didn’t feel the slight shift of movements until something cold and wet hit him in the face.

“What the—“ Startled, he pulled back, one hand instinctively reaching up to touch the giant wet streak of paint that Jensen had smeared all over his cheekbone and nose.

Jensen smirked mischievously up at him when Jared wiped the paint off with the back of his hand.

“You shouldn’t have done that,” he said and smiled before grabbing a handful of paint straight out of the bucket and smudging it all over Jensen’s face and neck.

Jensen sputtered and gave Jared a shocked expression, going near cross-eyed as he tried to assess the damage done to his face.

Using the moment of distraction to his advantage, Jared grabbed the abandoned roller from the floor, dripping more color all over both their feet as he wielded it like a weapon.

“Don’t you dare!” Jensen laughed, holding up a palm as if to try and stop him. “Jay, don’t .”

“You started this,” Jared stepped closer, holding the paint roller dangerously close to Jensen’s chest, purposefully avoiding his stomach.

“Jay… I swear to god if you—“

Jared stepped closer.

“Jay, stop it!”

Closer.

“No!” Jensen laughed harder as he was backed against the wall. “Don’t even fucking think—“

Jared stepped close enough until Jensen could feel his breath on his lips, the roller no longer between them, but moved to the side.

His free hand moved up to Jensen’s cheek and they shared a look before Jared’s lips landed on his own.

The paint roller hit the floor with a clatter as they kissed.

 

 

Jared was working the late shift. Again.

Jensen had offered to take on a part-time job as a barista or something, but Jared had made it very clear that he’d rather slave his days away in a coal mine than to let his pregnant boyfriend work.

His new boss thought Jared was a deadbeat or something, a kid from the streets with shit for brains.

“Now this type of exhaust pipe smoke means that—“

“I know what it fucking means,” Jared interrupted in a low growl, hackles rising at the guy’s audacity.

He had known his way around cars since he was fucking twelve years old. And he sure as fuck didn’t need some beer-belly douchebag to treat him like a good-for-nothing rookie.

“Oh yeah?” his boss asked with a disapproving frown, apparently not used to getting any sort of backtalk. “What does it mean then, if you’re so goddamn smart. Go ahead, tell me.”

Jared took a deep breath, reminding himself why he put up with the guy’s shit.

“It means bad fucking news,” Jared bumped his knuckles against the hood of the car. “The engine’s burning coolant or transmission fluid caused by a leaky head gasket or a crack in the cylinder head.”

His boss’ expression turned from mildly impressed to indignant in a matter of seconds. “Get the fuck back to work. I’m not paying you to lecture me, boy.”

Jared bristled and spat a glob of saliva to the ground, fingers itching to hit something.

When he got back home later that night, muscles sore and covered in dirt, only to find Jensen with an unlit cigarette dangling from his lips, shit really hit the fan.

“Jay, I can explain,” Jensen cursed under his breath, pulling the unlit cigarette from his mouth and carelessly dropping it to the ground. “I wasn’t actually going to smoke it, alright? I was just—“

“Save it,” Jared snarled and slammed the door closed with enough force to make Jensen flinch.

Sometimes there were days where they both seemed so on top of their game and then there were days like this, where the gravity of the situation came tumbling down on them and absolutely nothing seemed to work out as planned.

It was then, that Jared wanted nothing more but to grab his shit and drive until his mind felt detached from his body until all his thoughts and worries dissolved into nothingness.

“Hey—” Jensen tried to grab his arm, but Jared roughly shoved past him. “Jared, wait. I didn’t—”

“You can do whatever you fucking want to your own body,” Jared was fuming when he whirled around, face flushed red with hours of pent-up anger. “You will never ever hear me tell you what you can or can’t do with your own goddamn life. But don’t go and fuck up our kid’s lungs before it’s even born! You’ve got an MD, Jensen, what the fuck’s wrong with you?”

The words like a brick between them and the sting that saturated them made Jensen recoil like they burnt his very soul.

He looked pale and a sickened by Jared’s unexpected outburst, eyes wide and glistening with guilt.

They were standing opposite from each other; breathing heavily in the wake of their anger.

Jared knew he should offer up an olive branch instead of pouring gasoline on the fire, but things weren’t always that easy with Jensen.

Sometimes they needed this, needed to get all up in each other’s face before they could think straight again.

And given their entire fucked-up situation, Jared thought they’d had this coming a long time ago.

It was a goddamn wonder they’d held out so long without being at each other’s throats.

“All I ever talk about anymore, with anyone —” Jensen started, voicing cracking. “—is that baby. It’s like I don’t even have a life of my own anymore- like I don't have a body of my own. I can’t smoke, I can’t drink. I can’t go to the fucking gym or work or walk three steps without people giving me weird looks. So fuck you for standing there and judging me when you got no fucking clue what I’m going through!”

“You think this is easy for me?” Jared shot back, just as angry, just as frustrated. “I’ve been working my goddamn ass off for some ungrateful, macho douchebag who knows jack shit about the business and I’ve been doing it for you! I spend every goddamn minute of every day missing Jeff- missing my friends- missing Boston and yet, I’m here with you!”

“Yeah you are,” Jensen replied, huffing out a sad little laugh. “I’m sorry it makes you so damn miserable.”

The pain that had lurked just beneath the surface of Jensen’s words and expression now reared its ugly head and Jared’s anger drained out of him so fast it left him dizzy.

Clenching his teeth, he took a step forward. “You don’t make me... How can you even fucking think that?”

Jensen pressed his lips together hard to hide that they were shaking.

He looked so lost- so vulnerable in his oversized hoodie and with those wide, shimmering eyes.

“I wasn’t going to smoke it. I’ve had a crap day, alright? Sometimes it calms me down to just... pretend.”

"Why didn't you say anything?" Jared demanded and Jensen snorted out a bitter laugh at the question. 

"Jared, for the past week, I've barely even seen you! You're working all the time and when I'm not in class, I'm stuck in here all by myself. Who the fuck was I gonna talk about this with?"

Jared licked his bottom lip and took a deep breath, before stepping forward and wrapping an arm around Jensen’s neck to gently tug him in against his chest.

He could feel Jensen’s breath hitch against his throat and he closed his eyes, burying his nose in the younger man’s soft spikes and inhaling the sweet, flowery scent of his shampoo.

“I know it's tough. But we’ll figure this out.”

 

 

“You’re new around here, aren’t you?” the woman asked, toying with her purse.

Jared had fixed her Mustang in less than five hours, although it had been in a terrible condition when she brought it in.

It was painful to see such a gorgeous vintage car in the hands of someone who didn’t know how to appreciate it, but Jared knew better than to get involved in his customer’s personal business.

She looked like she had money, which was why Jared flashed her his best grin and laid on the Texan charm. If he played his cards right, he’d be able to get a nice tip out of her.

“You got a real special car there if you don’t mind me saying so.”

The woman blushed at the compliment, her smile widening even further. “My husband used to collect them. I sold most of them after his death, but this one I kept for myself.”

“You must have good taste, then,” Jared charmed, knowing full and well the effects he could have on an elderly lady like her. “But you should stop downshifting into first gear while the car is rolling. It’s spitting all the teeth of the gear shaft and it can do some serious damage to your motor if—“

“Jared,” a voice interrupted them and Jared looked up to find his boss standing in the doorway. “I got a guy named ‘Jensen’ waiting for you outside.”

The moment Jared heard Jensen’s name he panicked, a thousand scenarios flashing through his mind.

Forgetting all about his customer, he stormed out of the garage to find Jensen nervously pacing the parking lot. He didn’t look hurt and Jared sighed a breath of relief.

“Hey, what are you doing here? What happened?”

Wordlessly, Jensen pulled Jared’s hand to his burgeoning stomach.

Jared went still, confusion flickering in his gaze until he felt it; just a weak flutter of movement beneath his fingertips. Barely more than a light thump against his palm.

Jared flinched and his heart started racing in his chest, a wide grin slowly forming on his lips.

Their stormy eyes met over the smooth expanse of Jensen’s belly and there were a million things Jared wanted to say, but he was too choked up and too touched to do much more than smile.

 

 

All things considered, pregnancy could have been a whole lot worse.

Besides the less pleasurable side effects like the back aches and heartburn, there were a few upsides to the pregnancy that Jensen learned to value over time.

Like the fact that he was horny pretty much 24/7.

“Jesus, Jen, you couldn’t even wait till we got home, could you?” Jared growled, pushing him up against the wall of the IHOP's bathroom stall and kissing his way up to Jensen’s neck.

Jensen lifted a fist to his mouth to muffle his moans, the knowledge that anyone could walk in on them at any moment sending sparks of electricity up his spine.

As if on cue, a person came in; feet coming to stop in front of what Jensen assumed was a urinal.

“Turn around,” Jared hissed against his neck, lips brushing against the shell of his ear.

Jensen scrambled to comply, hands clawing at the graffiti-sprayed wall, trying to find some kind of purchase in the narrow space, which proved to be harder than expected with his belly in the way.

Jared shoved down his jeans and made quick process of his boxers while the guy shut off the tap.

“You got about thirty seconds to make some noise when that hand dryer comes on, understood?” Jared whispered hotly into his ear. 

Jensen nodded and opened his mouth for Jared’s fingers, smearing saliva all over the digits.

Sure enough, the hand dryer came on and Jensen whimpered when Jared yanked the fingers from his lips and pushed them into him from behind, breaching the tight ring of muscle.

The prep was hasty at best, not nearly thorough enough to take away the sting the intrusion would bring, but Jensen didn’t mind. He liked it rough, sometimes, liked to feel Jared for days afterward.

“I’m good,” he panted after a few last, hasty thrusts of Jared’s fingers. “C’mon, Jay. Hurry the fuck up.”

Jared didn’t have to be told twice. He spread Jensen open with his hands and pressed in, fully sheathing himself with a low, guttural groan.

“Oh god,” Jensen moaned, breath picking up as his fingers curled and uncurled against the wall.

Jared didn’t give him much time to adjust before he started rocking forward in slow, shallow thrusts of his hips.

"Shit," Jensen gasped out. "Harder, Jared. Come on.“

“Shut up,” Jared hissed when the dryer stopped and then paused for a second, waiting for the door to bang shut behind their unwanted visitor before continuing where they had left off.

Jensen moaned wantonly when Jared pulled out almost all the way only to snap his hips forward in a way that had him writhing against the wall, cock trapped between the cool tiles and his bulging stomach.

Jared held on to Jensen’s belly, fingers fanned out against the burgeoning skin as he fucked into him from behind, slamming into him with faster thrusts.

“Fuck, yeah, just like that—“ Jensen keened, tossing his head back onto Jared’s shoulder, letting it loll against the scalding hot skin, slivers of electricity shooting through his nerve endings. Jensen’s usual embarrassed, more reserved side was drowned out by need. “Jesus, Jay… f-feels so good.”

„Yeah you fucking love this, don't you? So big and needy and swollen with my kid, showing everyone that you’re mine.”

The last part was barely more than a growl, teeth scraping against the nape of Jensen’s neck as possessiveness flared hot in Jared’s gut like a red static clouding his senses.

“Ngh… y-yeah. Yours,” Jensen agreed readily, voice shaking with desperation and Jared fucking thrived in it. “All yours… so fucking full… so big with y-your—god, fucking— Jay!”

Jared peppered kisses to his shoulder while he fucked harder into him, one hand still splayed on his belly while Jensen continued to produce a string of nonsensical shit, his mouth expelling every senseless thought that grazed his mind.

Jared started jerking him in time with his thrusts and the stimulation was too much as Jensen came with a shout, head falling forward and body shaking all over as shot after shot pulsed out of him and spilled all over the bathroom stall tiles.

Jared’s pace stuttered and with a muffled grunt he came, slumping forward against Jensen's back.

“Holy shit,” Jensen groaned, panting against the graffiti covered wall. Jared was still buried deep inside of him and Jensen kind of wished he would stay there forever. “That was amazing.”

“Yeah,” Jared agreed as he withdrew with a wince. “And we’re going to do it again.”

“Again?” Jensen asked, still out of breath from riding his high.

Jared flipped him around and pulled Jensen’s jeans back up, shaking sweaty bangs from his eyes.

“Let’s grab dinner on our way home. Food first, then sex.”

Jensen looked up at Jared with a lazy grin, cheeks flushed and lips bitten raw. “Marry me?”

 

 

“Hey there, champ.”

The words were a feather light whisper in the night, pulling Jensen back from sleep and slowly bringing him to consciousness.

His eyelashes fluttered open and he became aware of his surroundings, recognizing the dark blue linen and mahogany bed frame as their bedroom.

He could feel rather than see Jared on the mattress beside him and he could tell, from the unusually soft nature of his tone, that Jared wasn’t talking to him .

“I don’t know if you’re listening, but… it’s your dad.”

The gentle words were accompanied by a brush of fingertips against the swell of Jensen’s stomach and Jensen forced himself to lie perfectly still under the loving caress.

Since that first time Jared had felt their little boy’s movement, he’d started talking to Jensen’s baby bump at night, usually whenever he thought Jensen was asleep or too out of it to notice.

“Can you keep a secret?” Jared traced a fingertip around Jensen’s navel. “I’m nervous. For the first time in a long time, it feels like I’ve got no fucking clue what I’m doing.”

Jared’s voice wavered and Jensen’s chest ached at the heartfelt confession.

“I didn’t exactly have the best childhood,” Jared continued. “But you will.”

Jensen swallowed around the sudden lump in his throat.

“You’ll have birthday parties and school plays and we’ll embarrass the hell out of you by sitting in the first row and taking a ton of pictures,” Jared let out a shaky laugh, wiping a hand over his mouth. “I’ll show you how to drive and how to fix up a bike and how to pick up girls.”

Jared swallowed and grew serious again.

“And Jensen… he's so much better with kids than I am and he's... he's so smart. He’ll show you how to split atoms or cure cancer. With any luck, you’ll win a Nobel prize before you turn twenty.”

Jensen felt his lips tug up at the corners.

Their son was about pear-sized right now, and Jared was already planning his future.

“I probably won’t be the best role model or anything. But I want you to know that I’ll always be there for you. That I’d die for you in a heartbeat. That I’d do anything- give anything- to protect you.”

No longer able to keep up the pretense game, Jensen shifted minutely under Jared’s touch and peeked up at Jared with one eye.

Jared shifted his jaw, eyes flickering to the side in an unnaturally bashful gesture.

“You heard all of that?”

“I did,” Jensen whispered before gently cupping Jared’s chin with his hand.

Their eyes locked in silence for a minute or two before Jensen pushed himself up on his elbow and pulled Jared in for a kiss that was pure comfort, packed with five months’ worth of fear and worry and cluelessness.

They broke apart with their foreheads still touching and their mouths brushing, hot air passing from one to the other in silent intimacy. “Just for the record? I don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about.”

 

 

Jensen didn’t particularly like to clean up or anything, but it was quite obviously something he’d need to get used to, now that he shared a house with one of the messiest persons on earth.

Cursing low under his breath, Jensen grunted as he tried to retrieve a balled up sock from underneath their bed. He wrinkled his nose before tossing it to the pile of dirty clothes in the laundry basket.

With an impressive lack of his usual grace, he overbalanced trying to get back up and barely managed to catch himself on the dresser that was next to their bed. “ Fuck .”

Breathing heavily, Jensen was about to turn back around when he noticed that the top drawer was open. He started to close it when something caught his eye.

He frowned; heart sinking with dread at the dark metal that gleamed almost dauntingly from inside.

With shaking fingers he opened it and then slammed it closed again on a harsh breath, heart racing wildly in his chest as the realization sank in.

That night, when Jared got back from work, Jensen was sitting at their dining table with a .45 Magnum in his hands.

Jared stopped dead in his tracks when he spotted the gun.

“Were you gonna tell me about this?” Jensen asked, voice trembling at the unwanted memories the weapon brought forth.

The last time he’d seen a revolver up close, had held one in his hands, he had been forced to point it at the man he loved with the intention to kill .

“It’s for protection,” Jared sighed,

“Protection from what?” Jensen demanded angrily.

Jared squared his shoulders, gaze fixated on a point above Jensen’s shoulder. “Don’t make a fucking scene, Jensen. It’s just a gun.”

Jensen nodded, silently working his jaw as if to digest the words and then he slammed the revolver down hard against the surface of their table, leaving an indentation in the wooden surface as he stood, chest heaving as the anger he thought he was no longer capable of feeling rose to the surface.

“Just a gun?” he seethed. “How can you say that to me with a straight face? After everything we’ve been through?”

The only sound each person could hear in the silence that followed was the pounding of blood in their own ears.

Jared briefly closed his eyes before opening them again; gaze unapologetic and hard.

“How can you expect me not to bring one?” he asked, voice laced with steel. “Especially after everything we’ve been through?”

It had been so easy to pretend, so easy to imagine them having that white-picket-fence life, far away from all the shit that had nearly broken them both.

But it had been an illusion.

“You think someone’s gonna come after us,” Jensen said in a shaky tone, voicing a fear he’d been carrying around with him for a long time.

“Look,” Jared sank down into one of the chairs opposite from Jensen and washed a callous hand over his features. “Just because we’re starting a life of our own, doesn’t mean we can let our guard down, Jensen. Don't you understand that?”

Jensen swallowed thickly, a sense of nausea overcoming him.

He got up on wooden legs and grabbed his coat from the hanger on the wall.

“Yeah, I understand,” he murmured and slammed the door closed in his wake before Jared could say more.

  

 

“What about Jared Junior?“

“We’re not naming our son after you,” Jensen rolled his eyes at the ridiculous suggestion.

“What’s wrong with Jared?”

“The name or the person?”

“I’m not even going to fucking answer that,” Jared replied in a huff. “How about Damian?”

“I wouldn’t wish that name on my worst enemy.”

“Harry?”

“That’s even worse.”

“Morgan?”

“Isn’t that a girl’s name?”

Jared lifted a shoulder in a half-shrug. “It could be a boy’s name, too.”

“Well, it sucks, either way,” Jensen sighed. “And I’m starting to run out of ideas.”

“We could still name him Jared.”

“You’re really not letting this go, are you?”

“It’s a good name,” Jared’s lips lips curled up just the slightest, a sign that he wasn’t being serious.

“Maybe. But it’s just not right for our son.”

“He’s barely more than a lump, Jensen. I don’t think he gives a shit.”

“Don’t call him a lump,” Jensen complained. “This is important, alright? His name will affect him for the rest of his life. It’s one of the few things we give him that he’ll keep forever.”

“What about the whole ‘we are giving him life’ thing?”

“Well, technically I’m the one who’s going to give birth, so if anything, I should get final say.”

“If I recall correctly, I played a not-so-insignificant role in the baby-making process.”

Jensen’s mouth was half-open in protest, when their son suddenly decided to join their conversation by kicking him in the bladder.

Jensen gasped, his palm instinctively coming down to rest against his stomach.

“Wow. He so doesn’t like where this conversation is going.”

“He giving you trouble again?” Jared quirked an eyebrow at him in mild amusement before leaning down to press a kiss to the soft skin below Jensen’s navel.

“No more than usual,” Jensen grimaced at the discomfort. “I think he recognizes our voices.”

“Course he does,” Jared said. “He’s a smart kid.”

“Yeah, well, I would appreciate it if he stopped kicking me in the bladder.”

“You hear that, champ?” Jared tapped a finger against Jensen’s belly. “Jen would like you to stop kicking his organs. So settle down in there before we name you Clarence.”

His only answer was a much softer push; barely detectable beneath Jared’s palm.

“See? He listens to me,” Jared said triumphantly and then straightened up again to steal a kiss from Jensen’s lips, his hands never once wavering from Jensen’s skin.

“Yeah,” Jensen grinned, his voice filled with fondness. “Let’s see how long that lasts.”

 

 

Jensen woke at 4 AM because their son had recently decided that lying with his head pressed against Jensen’s bladder was his favorite position.

Being the stereotypical pregnant person, Jensen waddled off to the bathroom and then back to the bed, snuggling up to Jared in an attempt to go back to sleep.

But when 4 AM turned to 5 AM and Jensen was still tossing and turning without any success, he grabbed his cell phone from the nightstand and rolled out of bed, stumbling towards the door.

Downstairs he sank his favorite spot on their leather couch, turning on a small lamp on their end table, while the fingers of his other hand cradled his stomach.

That was how Jared found him in the morning, with rumpled clothes and pillow-hair, eyes red-rimmed with exhaustion as his hands moved over a piece of paper almost frantically, brushing angry pencil strokes against the sheet.

Jared could tell that something was up from the way he was white-knuckling his pencil.

“Hey,” Jared rubbed at his eyes, making his way over to the couch in a pair of loose-fitting pajama pants and with a cup of steaming coffee in his hands. “You been up all night?”

“Pretty much,” Jensen murmured tiredly and it was only then that Jared noticed the pair of headphones that were stretched across Jensen’s baby bump, connected to the Ipod in his pocket.

Jared smirked and Jensen blushed, embarrassed at getting caught. “It’s supposed to be good for them... Regulates their breathing pattern when they’re agitated.”

“What are you playing?”  

Jensen put his half-finished sketch aside and sheepishly revealed the screen of his Ipod to Jared, who promptly started laughing. “Mozart? Wow, could you be more clichéd?”

“I don’t think he likes it,” Jensen sighed and Jared smoothed his hand down his stomach until he felt a strong kick. “Fuck. Did you feel that?”

Jensen gave Jared a ‘duh’ look. “Yeah, Jay… it’s inside of me. Of course, I fucking feel it.”

The smile slowly disappeared from Jared’s face when their son delivered a few more powerful blows to Jensen’s stomach, causing Jensen to wince in discomfort. “Does it hurt?”

“Kinda,” Jensen admitted. “I don’t know what’s up with him today, he seems pissed.”

Jared thought about it for a moment before he snatched Jensen’s Ipod from his lap and started browsing through the various artists. “I’d be pissed too if somebody forced me to listen to Mozart for hours on end. Have you tried anything else on him?”

“No, I haven’t 'tried' anything else on him. He’s not a lab rat, Jay. We can’t experiment wi—Hey!” Jensen tried to retrieve his Ipod but Jared was much faster, easily holding the device out of reach.

“Stop it! Jay, I’m serious, we can’t just play metal or something to him when—“

“It’s classic rock, okay?” Jared chuckled softly, before wrapping both his arms around Jensen and maneuvering the other man around until he was snuggled up against Jared’s back.

“Jay—“ Jensen protested weakly, trying to slip the headphones from his belly, but Jared grabbed his hand, holding it in place.

“I put the volume on low,” he explained softly. “Let’s give it a minute, okay?”

Jensen was still reluctant, but he didn’t find it in himself to fight Jared, still drained from lack of sleep and physical exhaustion. “Alright, just for a minute.”

Together, they settled back against the cushions and Jensen closed his eyes, comforted by the faint whiff of aftershave that clung to his boyfriend, mixing with the crisp, clean smell of shampoo and something else- something familiar and masculine and uniquely Jared.

Jensen snuggled further against him, inching as close as physically possible and Jared realized that his boyfriend was well on his way to falling asleep.

He huffed out a soft chuckle before maneuvering them so that he was lying on his back with Jensen sprawled out on his chest.

It was a tight fit between the three of them but it was surprisingly comfortable.

Jared slid an arm behind his head as a makeshift pillow and wrapped his other arm around Jensen to keep him from falling off the sofa in case he tried to move around in his sleep.

He reached down to touch Jensen’s stomach, only to find that the baby had finally settled down.

“Told you,” he smiled warmly against Jensen’s neck, stroking a thumb against his bare skin where the shirt had ridden up on Jensen’s hip. “No one can resist Black Sabbath's Solitude.”

“Mhhm,” Jensen hummed and buried his face in the curve where Jared’s shoulder met his neck.

Smiling fondly, Jared reached down to slip the headphones off of Jensen’s belly.

Jensen didn’t stir, his breathing already evened out into sleep, so Jared smoothed the hair from his forehead before planting a reverent kiss against his temple.

He knew that they had a lot to think about in the next few months. A lot of decisions to make.

Their future as a family was still to be decided, and they both knew that their involvement in South Boston’s crime scene could still pose a threat to them.

They would have to discuss jobs and family and a million other things that would eventually make up their lives.

But at that moment, all those things faded into the background, losing their importance.

All that mattered was the heavy weight of Jensen in his arms, his heartbeat matching Jared’s and the occasional flutter against the centerfold of his palm.

 

 

A crisp, white blanket of snow had smothered the campus of Yale University.

It almost looked like someone had spread a sparkling white sheet of crystals over the thick brick walls and put the entire complex to sleep.

Jensen’s breath rose in puffs to join the freezing chill in the air as he strolled through the arched entryway that led from Yale’s flowing space to the bustling streets of New Haven Green.

His heart did a little flip when he spotted Jared jogging up to him from beneath a bus stop.

“Hey,” Jensen grinned and tilted his head up for a chaste kiss. “What are you doing here?”

“Will let me off the hook early. Thought I might be here in time to catch you after class.”

“I’m starting to like your new boss,” Jensen pulled away with a smile. He reached out to take Jared’s hand, tangling their fingers together. “Care to grab an early dinner with me?”

“I think I came up with a name,” Jared blurted out so unexpectedly that it threw Jensen off course for a second.

He blinked up at Jared in mild confusion.

“For the baby.”

“Alright," Jensen bit his bottom lip to hold back a smile. "Let me hear it.”

“It’s… it was Jeff’s idea. But it used to be quite common where we lived in South Boston and I've always kinda liked it, even back then.”

Jensen cocked an eyebrow, a flicker of excitement settling deep in his gaze. Jared could feel his fingers twitch nervously in his hold and proceeded to squeeze them even tighter.

“You gonna keep me in suspense much longer?”

“Kelly.”

Jensen was silent for a second, blinking snowflakes from his lashes as the name rang through his mind.

“Jeff says it was his father’s name. Translated from Gaelic it means 'strife'  and I had to think about how much we’ve been through and I don’t know, man. I just got that feeling. It sounded right, you know?”

Jensen heard him out without offering up a single word in return.

After a beat of strained silence, Jared’s expression fell and he wiped a hand over his mouth.

“You don’t like it. That's... it’s cool,” Jared feigned indifference, lifting a shoulder in a half-shrug. “It was just an idea. It was probably stupid anyway. I mean it's kind of feminine and—"

“Jay.”

“Forget I ever said anythi—” the rest of what he was about to say got muffled when Jensen grabbed Jared’s neck and pulled him down for a kiss.

“I like it,” he spoke softly, teasing Jared’s lips with his own.

“Yeah?” Jared’s eyes lit up like a thousand suns and when their son didn’t so much as stir at the words, Jensen knew that the decision had been made for them.

"Yeah," He nodded and stole one last kiss before reluctantly pulling away, his own smile matching Jared’s. “Kel it is."

 

 

Chapter Text

Pretend It's Just Us 
Open Road – Timestamp

“Who are these two? Norah didn’t tell me we got newbies this week.”

“That’s because Norah didn’t know they were coming. Nobody did.”

James paged through the portfolio from the photo shoot listlessly at first, then with a hint of impatience, like he usually did when he didn’t particularly like what he saw.

The first few shots between the two men were a little awkward, their bodies too far apart, their faces angled away from the camera. But then they seemed to have gotten the hang of it and on page five, James’ jaw dropped a little.

The two guys couldn’t have been more different if they tried; one was tall-dark-and-handsome; tattooed and brooding with a long curtain of unruly hair framing his sharp features.

His body was sculpted like a Greek god and James guessed that, looking the way he did, he could have easily worked in the porn industry.

Guy number two was well-defined but not exactly muscle-packed.

His lips were downright pornographic and James would have bet good fucking money that he could have easily led a straight guy to temptation if he wanted to.

He was the stereotypical sunny surfer boy with bright eyes and a wide smile and to see him paired with a tattooed bad-boy type was something they rarely got to see in their line of business.

James couldn’t really describe it, but every once in awhile, two models created what was called an ambiance .

Like the push-and-pull of two opposing sides of a magnet, a combination like that could often translate beautifully in photographs; could create a spark of fire, a sense of curiosity.

And these two guys, whoever the hell they were, certainly had sparked James’ curiosity.

The way they touched and looked at each other was both playfulness and shameless desire all at once and it was hard to find models who could capture that kind of emotion in a single shot.

“You know them personally? How come we’ve never worked with them before?”

James flicked onto the next page and nearly swallowed his own tongue when he spotted a picture of the two men kissing.

It was a fantastic shot, their mouths aligned so that you could only see a hint of the taller guy’s tongue delving into the shorter guy’s mouth, his thumb resting intimately against the corner of his lips.

“Because they’re not professionals. Their names are Jared and Jensen. One of them is a mechanic, the other one a Yale student. This was their first gig in front of a camera.”

“Okay, let me get this straight. You’re telling me that this is the work of two rookies?”

“Yeah.”

“And they are a couple in real life?”

“Incredible, huh?”

James slammed the portfolio shut and took off his glasses.

“Incredible?” he repeated in a huff. “Do you have the slightest idea how much money we could make with them?”

James thought that inadvertently, they had stumbled across a gold mine, here.

These two were gorgeous and they obviously had some of the best chemistry James had ever seen in his twenty years as a photographer.

And from the looks of it, they were utterly, hopelessly in love with each other.

People would eat this shit right up.

"I want their last names and phone numbers." 

 

 

“So he was full-on filming you while you were getting your dirty on?” Sophia asked and bounced Kelly on her hip from where she was trying to spoon-feed him. “What a creeper.”

“Yeah, no kidding,” Jensen snorted and licked a glob of baby food from Kelly’s pudgy fingers, causing the little boy to bubble out a chortled laugh.

Kelly’s laughter filled the room, the gentle sound of his giggles making the lamplight brighter and the air warmer. It felt like being dipped in sunlight.

Jensen’s own smile grew at the way Kelly clapped his hands excitedly, bouncing up and down Sophia’s hip with sparkling eyes and his mouth wide agape.

It was never hard to feed Kelly.

The kid inhaled food like he thought he wasn’t going to see more for a few weeks.

If there had ever been any doubt about whether or not Jay was Kelly’s father, this would have been a clear indication that yeah, Kelly was pretty much a miniature version of Jared, from his crazy food cravings, down to his dark curls and the cute button nose.

Which was totally unfair, because Jensen had done all the work.

Jensen gently wiped the smudged baby food from Kelly’s chubby little cheek and then blew a raspberry kiss to the rosy skin there, before he refocused his attention on Sophia.

“I was sitting in Jared’s lap,” he continued. “About to take my shirt off… and then we just kinda heard the ‘click’ of the camera going off.”

“What did you do with the body?” Sophia dead-panned. “I mean, someone taking creepy pictures of you when you are half-naked and about to give Jared a ride? Yeah, I can’t see that going over well.”

Jensen’s eyes flickered to the side.

“Jay uh… he broke the guy’s camera in half,” he explained with a shy little dip of his head. “Slammed him up against a wall. It was kinda hot.”

“Yeah, you two are weird. You need to see a doctor,” Sophia shook her head.

“I am a doctor,” Jensen shot back automatically before gently prying Kelly from her arms. “So, anyway, turns out the guy’s one of New York’s most well-known photographers.”

“You didn’t actually believe him when he told you that?”

“Not at first. But then he handed us his business card and said some shit about how he’s running a new fashion line and how he’s still on the lookout for some extras for the job.”

“Oh my god. Don’t tell me you actually fell for that.”

“It sounded legit,” Jensen reasoned with a loose shrug.

Then he huffed out a laugh, shaking his head at the strange take their trip to New York had taken.

“You had no idea what you were in for, did you?” Sophia asked, barely able to suppress a smirk.

Jensen just smiled at her, letting the silence speak for itself.

Some adventures were best had in private, after all.

 

 

They came to New York for a night, which, if it hadn’t been for Jensen’s very convincing ways, Jared would have never fucking agreed to in the first place.

Manhattan greeted them with its cracked sidewalks like the jagged gap-toothed grin of an old junkie.

The only splash of color in the grime-smeared mass of concrete around them came from the lurid graffiti on the sidewalks and the dull shine of distant traffic lights.

Out of the corner of his eyes, Jared felt the empty stares of homeless men and women from their cardboard covers in nearby alleyways.

Hookers stalked the streets in their skimpy outfits and stood out of the crowd of coffee-drinking business monkeys like a sore thumb.

Jared barely suppressed a shudder.

Born and raised in Texas, he had never gotten the hype that revolved around the Big fucking Apple and he would have lied if he said that he was looking forward to going there for some boring-ass art exhibition.

But the guy who had invited them just so happened to be a friend of Jensen and had rented an entire art studio in Manhattan to show off a couple of photographs.

And apparently, that was reason enough for them to drop their one-year-old off at Sophia’s place and take their bike all the way to New York.

The thing was, Jared knew Jensen well enough to recognize the true intention between their spontaneous trip to the city.

In between art school and taking care of Kelly, neither of them had had a real chance to get out and do stuff together anymore, like going for a three-o'clock bike ride or visiting their friends in Boston.

Things were complicated if you had a child that relied on you for everything.

Being a parent was a full-time job and it took a lot more out of them than they were ready to admit.

Their nights were often short-lived and riddled by nightmares and when they actually got a few hours of decent sleep in, Kelly often woke them with his cries, demanding attention.

From time to time, they asked Sophia to babysit Kelly for a few hours when things became too much.

But this trip was more than just the usual search for stress-relief.

This was a chance to have a whole day to themselves, an entire day in New York, just the two of them like it used to be before they both found nine-to-five jobs and were too busy paying bills and changing diapers to spend some god-honest alone time with each other.

So when Jensen had casually suggested going on this trip, Jared hadn’t argued.

He hadn’t complained or asked questions or told Jensen how fucking much he hated New York.

He had simply lifted a shoulder in a half-shrug and said okay, let’s fucking do it.

The smile that Jensen had given him was worth more than the money their spontaneous little trip had cost them.

The blowjob that had followed would have been worth a whole damn year in New York, but Jared wasn’t actually going to tell Jensen that.

They took the metro to Manhattan in silence, staring at each other over the heads of the other passengers with an intensity that sent chills down Jared’s spine and made his fingers itch with the need to touch.

Jensen’s leather jacket was open, revealing the thin tee he wore beneath, the tip of his new tattoo peeking out from beneath the threadbare fabric.

Jared was addicted to Jensen’s tat.

He had spent hours tracing it with his tongue, kissing the delicate artwork that was now permanently displayed on Jensen’s body. He had traced the ink with his fingers, over and over again.

Had made Jensen come with only that, just his mouth against Jensen’s sweat-slick skin.

“Wipe that smug smile off your lips,” Jared rolled his eyes with mild affection in his tone.

“Me?” Jensen dug his teeth into his plush bottom lip as he toyed with the hem of his shirt. “Smug?

The moment was broken when they got off at their stop and jogged up the stairs into the heavily-trafficked streets.

Jared fished a wrinkled pack of smokes from his jacket pocket and wrapped his lips around the end of a cigarette before lighting it up.

“It’s not even real fucking art,” he said, blowing a cloud of smoke out into the cool city air, feeling the numbing buzz of the nicotine as it took control of his body. “It’s just a couple of pictures.”

Jared had never been a big fan of photography.

He didn’t believe in the whole ‘a picture says a thousand words’ crap because nothing spoke as loudly as actions and there wasn’t a camera in the world that was able to capture as much meaning as a simple look or gesture could.

“You don’t think it takes much to do what he does,” Jensen stated, sending him a sideways glance.

Jared lifted a shoulder in a half-shrug. “Guy takes a few random shots with his fucking cell phone, rents some fancy-ass loft in Manhattan with his daddy’s money and he calls himself an artist .”

They stopped at a red light and Jensen reached up to wrap his arm around Jared’s neck.

“Some people say it takes a lot to capture the perfection of one moment for eternity.”

Jared stared down into Jensen’s startling green eyes and reached up to cradle his face with his palm.

As the street light turned green and the other pedestrians started moving around them, Jared was still staring down into those emerald pools.

“They’re fucking wrong.”

 

 

“You think he’s okay?”

Jensen was checking his phone for the one-millionth time to see if there were any missed calls.

“He’s fine,” Jared responded calmly.

“I should probably call them, see if everything’s alright.”

“You’ve called them twice already,” Jared reminded him patiently, drowning the rest of his glass of champagne and swapping his empty glass for a new one.

“Yeah, but—“

“Jensen!” a cheerful voice greeted and they both whirled around in time to see a tall guy with gelled hair and a wide smile approach them.

He was wearing an Armani suit and what looked like a Rolex and Jared barely suppressed the urge to roll his eyes. “I’m so glad you made it!”

“Michael, it’s good to see you,” Jensen shook the guy’s hand. “Thanks for inviting us.”

“This must be your boyfriend, then. Jayden, is it?”

“Close enough,” Jared responded with a small smile and shook the guy’s hand.

Nobody could say that Jared didn’t have manners if he needed to.

“Michael, this is Jared,” Jensen introduced politely and entangled his fingers with Jared’s.

“Oh, I’m sorry, man. You’d think I’d remember your name after all those stories I heard,” Michael laughed and clapped Jared’s shoulder. “He never shuts up about you.”

“That right?” Jared gave Jensen a fleeting sideways look and Jensen covered up his blush by throwing a hasty glance around the room and changing the topic. “Your work is fantastic, Michael.”

“Yeah? You like it?” Michael’s grin widened.

To tell the truth, Jensen wasn’t particularly into photography, either.

The art displayed on the white walls around them was too incomprehensible, too sterile for his liking.

Jensen liked to show things as they were; he liked to draw tears and laughter; crowded markets or streets, where life was captured at its most vivid.

He couldn’t get excited about cubes and geometry.

If a picture took actual brainpower to figure out what they were all about, Jensen couldn’t be bothered.

Art had to come from the soul, not from the mind.

End of fucking story.

“Yeah, yeah it’s- it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen,” Jensen said and it wasn’t a lie. “Listen, Michael, as much as we love the exhibition, would you mind if we stepped outside for a minute to make a call? Our one-year-old is staying over at our friend’s place tonight and—“

“Sure thing,” Michael said and pulled a set of keys from his suit pocket. “Second door on your left will lead you to an elevator. Take it to the top floor and get out on the rooftop. It’s a bit windy up there but you should have a decent reception.”

“Thanks, man,” Jensen gave Michael a warm smile before he tugged on Jared’s hand and dragged him across the room towards the exit.

 

 

Beyond the rim of the sixtieth floor of the rooftop, the bright city likes of New York twinkled dauntingly all around them.  

Moonlight spilled onto the marble floor and a majestic view of the city’s skyline appeared in startling beauty behind the banister’s glass insets.

Rows of towering skyscrapers stretched high above them, some still alight from within and some reflecting the flashy neon colors of Time Square’s myriad of colorful billboards.

Jared was standing with his chest pressed to Jensen’s back, his strong arms slung protectively around the younger man’s middle as they stared at the ant-like creatures that crowded the streets below.

They had been out here long enough for Jared’s body warmth had started to seep out of him.

Jensen was shivering against him, too, but neither of them was quite ready to move.

“Do you think we are assholes for waking him just to hear his voice?”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Jared snorted out a soft laugh.

Trust Jensen to feel the need to travel all the way to New York on some impulsive whim, only to end up spending half-the-night on the phone with their son because he couldn’t bear to be separated from Kelly for longer than ten minutes at a time.

“Overbearing, maybe,” Jared said and turned Jensen around in his arms so that they were facing each other.

He grabbed Jensen’s wrist and tugged on it as he made his way to a small couch in the corner of the rooftop, sinking down into the cushions and watching as Jensen sank down into his lap.

The city was ablaze with lights and noise around them, drowning out the sound of their rapidly beating hearts as Jared’s hands settled low on Jensen’s hips and pulled him close.

Jared slammed his lips against Jensen’s and knocked all the wind from his lungs in the process.

Jensen hardly had a moment to react, before Jared pressed his tongue against the seam of his lips and with a grant of access, delved inside.

It was a hard kiss with the strong scent of champagne exchanged in the intermingling of billowing, hot breaths.

Jensen’s arms reached up and tangled around Jared’s strong neck, arching up into the taller man’s broad chest and letting out a soft moan.

He could feel the burn of alcohol and cigarette as it rolled off their tongues and seeped down his throat with every bite off teeth and push of Jared’s tongue against his own and then, just when they were about to lose themselves completely in the moment, they heard it.

It was barely audible over the sound of honking and police cars that was New York’s nightlife, but they both still froze at the sound.

Jensen’s heart kicked up so fast, it knocked the breath from his lungs.

His fingers dug hard into Jared’s skin and Jared’s hold tightened impossibly around his waist.

A gun.

That was Jensen’s first thought; that someone had snuck up on them while they had been too distracted to notice.

That someone had finally found them, after all these years.

That someone had come to kill them.

His second thought was of Kelly and of how fucking glad he was that they had chosen to call him, to hear his voice one last time before—

“Get off me,” Jared bit out under his breath, his muscles coiled tight beneath Jensen’s fingers, pulse beating wildly under the skin of his neck.

He didn’t wait for Jensen’s reaction before he flipped them around, changing positions so that Jensen was safely hidden behind Jared’s muscled frame.

Jared made to get up and Jensen’s arms shot up, fingers tangling in his shirt. “No, wait —“

Stay ,” Jared growled out and then stalked off to where a person stood barely hidden in the shadows behind them.

He didn’t have anything on him for protection, no gun, no knife, no nothing and Jensen’s heart was in his throat when he saw the person move out of the shadows holding… a camera in his hands.

Jensen closed his eyes as a wave of rippling relief crashed down over him, so hard and overwhelming that he couldn’t brief for a second or two.

Then the reality of what was happening dawned on him.

Someone had been watching them- taking pictures of them kissing and holding each other.

A shiver coursed down Jensen’s spine and his relief was short-lived when Jared walked up to the guy and slammed him up against the nearby wall with enough force to shake him to the bones.

“Shit,” Jensen’s body unfolded on its own accord and he was at Jared’s side in a flash.

“Dude, I’m sorry, I-I just came up here to have a smoke and—“

“And you thought that stalking us with your fucking camera was a good idea? You take photos like that a lot when nobody’s looking? You jerk off to them at home, you fucking perv ?”

Jared was livid and Jensen couldn’t really calm him down, because the shock of hearing that noise- of thinking that it was a cocked gun instead of something as innocent- as harmless - as a fucking camera, had settled deep in his bones.

He knew that Jared had thought it too.

He had seen it in Jared’s eyes, had felt it in the twitch of his muscles, in the way his whole body had stilled against him; tense and rigid with mind-numbing panic.

For a moment, they had been back on the streets of South Boston, back at that warehouse with Lucian and for that reason alone, Jensen would have done nothing to stop Jared from bashing the guy’s face in, not even taking the fact that he was a creepy pervert into consideration.

“Answer me, you motherfucker!

“I’m a professional,” the guy hurried to explain, stumbling over the words in his haste to get them out. “I swear I didn’t try to- I couldn’t help it, alright? I’m doing this for a living and—”

That’s when Jared punched him.

Hard.

Jensen flinched when Jared’s fist impacted with the guy’s right cheek.

It had been so long since Jensen had seen this side of Jared, the impulsive hot-headed side.

The violent side.

Jared hadn’t hit the guy nearly as hard as he was capable of, but the punch he landed still looked powerful enough to force his facial bones into the rest of his head.

The guy flew back into the wall of the elevator, the back of his head hitting the door with a ‘thud’.

“You’re a professional what? A professional creeper?” Jared pulled the guy back to his feet with no apparent ill effects, no broken nose, no blood, just swaying lightly.

“I’m a- a photographer. Shit, man, that really fucking hurt .”

Jared snorted, spitting a glob of spittle to the ground.

“Yeah? Well, I used to kick ass for a living.”

“Looks like you’re not the only professional around here,” Jensen snarked.

“Listen, I’m sorry,” the guy said. “I shouldn’t have taken that shot without asking you and—”

“Give me your camera,” Jared demanded, not justifying the guy’s apology with an answer.

His dark gaze flicked down to an expensive SLR camera hanging from around the guy’s neck.

“Look, I’m going to delete the pictures I took right in front of you if that’s what you want.”

“What I want,” Jared repeated slowly, in a low growl. “Is for you to give me that camera.”

“Alright, alright,” Reluctantly, the guy lifted the camera from around his neck and switched it on. “It was just two shots, alright? I barely even got you on it. It’s mostly him and the way the light caught on his face when you kissed him—”

And wow, the guy must have been dense to say that.

Jared grabbed his two-thousand-dollar camera and smashed it against the wall beside the guy’s unsuspecting face like a fucking piñata.

The screen cracked and the lens broke, a few chunks of plastic, metal, and glass falling to the ground in an irreparable heap of shards.

Jared stomped down on the SD card for good measure, crunching it beneath his boots.

“Hey! What the fuck? Do you have any idea what that thing cost me?!”

Whatever little patience Jared might have still had, snapped at the words.

He grabbed the guy by the collar of his expensive polo shirt and yanked him close until they were nose to nose.

“Listen up you spineless piece of shit cause I ain’t repeating myself,” he growled out, his eyes near black with anger. “You seriously think you can come up here, snap pictures of my boyfriend and walk away with them?”

Jensen watched the scene unfold in mild awe, stunned at the realization that the mountain of a man who used to cage-fight and shoot guns and get into fucking brawls on a daily basis because he let no one walk over him, was the same guy who tenderly rocked Kelly to sleep at night.

“You pull a fucking stunt like that again and I’ll make you wish you had never been born, got it?”

“Y-yeah, I got it,” the guy nodded his head hastily and Jared released him with a jostle.

Jensen would have expected for him to tug tail and run.

But the guy surprised them both when he merely straightened out his rucked-up shirt and brushed some invisible dust from his jacket.

“Let’s go back inside,” Jensen sighed, and tugged on Jared’s arm, but the guy wasn’t quite finished with them, yet.

“You could make a lot of money, you know?”

Jared turned around slowly, his hackles rising again in obvious anger, but the guy just pulled a couple of business cards from his jacket pocket and handed them over, one palm extended in a placating manner as if to soothe an enraged animal.

“I’m just saying, I’ve been in the business for long enough to know that you guys, you could get real big if you wanted.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Jared bit out, scrunching the guy’s business card up into a ball and dropping it to the ground. “You seriously trying to recruit us?”

The guy shrugged. “I get paid to find potential in people and tonight I found it without even looking.”

“Yeah, well, thanks but we’re not fucking interested,” Jared rubbed a hand over his mouth and then stalked off, Jensen standing there for just a moment longer before he followed Jared back inside.

 

 

It wasn’t until much later, when they were back at the hotel and lying in bed, sweaty and exhausted and tangled together, that the events of the night fully caught up with them.

“It’s weird,” Jensen said softly, drawing random patterns against Jared’s skin with his fingertips.

“What is?”

“I thought he had a gun; that someone had finally found us."

Jared was silent, but Jensen could tell that he was listening from the way his neck muscles shifted.

“You thought so, too,” Jensen said. “I could see it in your eyes.”

Jared said nothing, opting to let the silence speak for him, instead.

For a long moment, the only sound in the hotel room was their uneven breathing.

“I thought about Kel,” Jared started and then paused again, licking his cracked lips. “About how fucking glad I was that he wasn’t with us. That he was safe .”

And yeah, Jensen could relate to that because their son had been his first thought too, before any concern for his own life- or hell, even Jared’s life, had crossed his mind.

“To think that it was just a fucking camera guy… to think that this- this fucking idiot had been standing there in the shadows for god know’s how long and taking pictures of you—”

“Pretty sure he took pictures of both of us,” Jensen threw in, but Jared wasn’t listening, his hands already curled into fists as anger welled up inside of him.

“I should have punched his fucking lights out.”

“You did,” Jensen snorted. “Broke his fancy-ass cam, too.”

“Served him right,” Jared huffed out a lungful of air and they both fell back into a comfortable silence.

After a minute or two, Jensen finally eased off of Jared’s furnace-like body, untangling himself from the other man’s sweaty limbs and sliding his legs off the edge of the mattress.

Jared sat up in bed as well, propping himself up on his elbow, but not making a move to follow Jensen; giving him the space he needed.

“I feel so stupid,” Jensen admitted in a soft whisper, eyes fixated on an undefined blank spot at the wall.

He shivered lightly and wrapped the sheets a little tighter around himself.

Jared was quiet, not prodding for information because Jensen was going to open up all by himself by the time he was ready and Jared knew it.

“I thought we needed this,” he continued in a ragged voice, running his palm across his mouth. “I thought maybe if we went on this trip and spent some alone-time together, that it would get better.”

“That what would get better?” Jared prodded.

“The nightmares, the panic attacks. The tension. Everything .” Jensen swallowed. “But we can’t even hear a camera flash going off without thinking that we’re about to get killed.”

Jared was quiet for a long moment, just letting the words sink in.

He was quiet for so long that Jensen had almost thought he wasn’t going to get a response at all.

Then he let out a heavy sigh and pulled on Jensen’s arm, gently twisting him around until their eyes met in a captivating hold.

“Look at me,” he ordered softly, even though their gazes were already locked in a clash of colors.

“I wish I could tell you that it’s all gonna get easier, but I can’t. I can’t do that because you and I- what we have- the shit we’ve been through together, it’s not fucking normal, Jensen.”

“But—”

“Look, I know it’s been hard lately,” Jared cut him off gently, swiping a thumb underneath Jensen’s eye as if to brush away invisible tears. “And I know Kel can be a handful.”

“He’s perfect,” Jensen countered immediately, his voice thick with emotion.

Jared smiled and leaned in to press a tender kiss to the corner of Jensen’s lips.

“Yeah, he is,” he breathed out against Jensen’s cheek. “But that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to take a break from him every once in awhile.”

Jensen’s mouth opened and closed in protest, but no words made it past his lips.

“Next time you need some time to clear your head, just say the word,” Jared urged in a whisper.

He slid his hand up to tangle in Jensen’s hair and gently tugged him down into a slow kiss. When the younger man was properly lightheaded, Jared took a step back, eyes flicking down to Jensen’s lips.

“Wanna go for a walk?”

Jensen cocked an eyebrow at him, lips caught between his teeth. “It’s three in the fucking morning.”

Jared’s mouth curled into a lazy grin. “I thought New York was the city that never sleeps.”

Jensen blinked at him in surprise.

They had one fucking day, one night left to do whatever they fucking wanted, to pretend that things were easy and leave all their responsibilities in the rearview mirror for a couple of hours.

And maybe, just maybe, that was exactly what they both needed.

 

 

Jared bought weed on the street corner of some shady alleyway in Brooklyn and they started passing a joint back and forth between them as they walked down the relatively empty streets.

Somehow, and neither of them would later remember how exactly it happened, they ended up on Time Square and it was every bit the meddling, light-flooded monster it was on TV.

“You ever been here before?” Jensen asked and Jared marveled at the multitude of colors that reflected on his face from the flashing neon lights and billboards all around them.

“Couple of times,” Jared shrugged as they flopped down on a graffiti-smeared park bench. “You?”

“Yeah,” Jensen answered in a small voice. “I have an aunt who lives here. We used to…” Jensen’s voice trailed off, swallowed by the traffic. “ Before .”

It was as close as Jensen ever came to opening up about his family.

Jared knew that this wasn’t the time or place, but one day they would have to deal with that particular can of worms and Jared had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be pretty.

The moment was broken when a soft giggling sound had them both look up and spot a couple of girls on the sidewalk of the street.

They had their arms slung around each other and from the intimate way they were leaning against each other, it was easy to tell the nature of their relationship.

“They’re about to kiss,” Jensen commented in a raspy voice. “Maybe we should call our friend the photographer and tell him to break out the camera.”

“Don’t think he’s gonna be taking photos anytime soon,” Jared reminded him with a soft chuckle and then turning back to Jensen, pulling his legs up and across his own lap, like they were lying on their fucking couch at home and not on some dirty-ass park bench in the middle of the Time Square.

“Maybe you should take a picture for yourself, then,” Jensen suggested and wrinkled his nose, obviously feeling the effects of the weed and going with the flow. “I mean, I personally don’t get the appeal, but you’d probably think it’s hot with you being into girls and all.”

Jared snorted. “There’s only one girl I’m into.”

Jensen looked adorably confused for a second and if Jared couldn’t help but laugh at the flicker of god-honest jealousy crossing Jensen’s features as the words fully sank in.

“I’m talking about you, you idiot,” Jared snorted and slid his hand up Jensen’s thighs to his hip.

“You’re the idiot… idiot ,” Jensen responded and then frowned at his own words.

“Right,” Jared agreed slowly, fishing a half-emptied flask filled whiskeyhisky from his jacket pocket and taking a sip of his drink while Jensen’s blown pupils stared intently down at him. “Remind me to help you work on your comebacks, cause they fucking suck.”

“Those girls…” Jensen shot another glance back over the shoulder to where they were making out, now; endless legs, skimpy-looking outfits and shiny, long hair. “You really don’t find that hot?”

Jared saw the ruse for what it was.

“You wanna know what I find hot?” he asked, sliding his wandering fingers beneath the fabric of Jensen’s black shirt and causing him to shudder at the touch.

“What?” Jensen asked, taking a hold of Jared’s silver flask and sitting it down on the bench beside them, so that he could loop an arm around Jared’s neck.

They were staring at each other with a liquid gaze and Jared’s heart sped up impossibly at the intensity of the moment, the loud beat of his heart as it pounded away in his chest.

The sound of blood rushing to his ears, drowning out all else.

You.

“Yeah?” Jensen drawled out the word, a hint of Texas shining through.

He smiled and Jared’s hands tightened around him, enjoying the way Jensen’s muscles flexed beneath his fingertips, the skin radiating warmth, despite the cool breeze of the night.

“Yeah,” Jared replied slowly, their breaths intermingling. “You- in your slacks, brushing your teeth or spilling coffee all over your tie in the morning.”

Jensen rolled his eye; blushing lightly at the words.

Jared leaned in to whisper against Jensen’s ear, feeling the other man’s breath hitch against him. “You all flushed and sweaty and writhing against our silk sheets.”

“Shut up,” Jensen dipped his head and shoved at Jared’s chest as his cheeks heated up even further, coloring a deep shade of red.  

Jared caught Jensen’s wrists and pulled his hands close.

“The way you look when you fall asleep at night, with your reading glasses still on and drooling all over your smart-ass college books.”

Jensen groaned and rested his forehead against Jared’s shoulder, breathing in the scent of pine and firewood that was Jared’s aftershave. “Shut up, Jay, I mean it.”

“It’s true,” Jared replied. “My whole fucking definition of hot is you .”

He reached up to lift Jensen’s chin with his fingers.

The world around them was fast and bright and distracting, but they only had eyes for each other.

Jared was slightly drunk on alcohol and he was definitely high on weed and Jensen and he never wanted for any of it to fucking stop.

“Sun’ll be up, soon,” Jensen sighed softly, words slightly slurred as he leaned into Jared’s touch.

“We don’t have to leave until five,” Jared reminded him and then yawned, because even if they were both used to little to no sleep, it would probably still do them good to catch a couple of zees back at the hotel before they settled in for a long ride on the Harley. “Wanna go back to the hotel?”

“I think we should call him.”

Jared frowned. “Call who? Kel’s probably still asleep-”

“No, the guy… the guy from the rooftop.”

Jared snorted and shook a few strands of loose hair from his head. “Why the hell would we call him?”

“He said we could earn a lot of money,” Jensen scrunched his eyes up as if he was thinking real hard.

Jared chuckled and steadied Jensen's swaying body by tightening his arms around him.

"This shit's hitting you way harder than I thought."

"I'm serious,” Jensen insisted stubbornly. “We could make some easy money."

Jared's throat tightened at that, because hell yeah, they could use a little extra cash on the side, but easy money was usually dirty money and Jared didn't want to even think about Jensen lowering himself to the kind of work that would be required in order to get it.

"We don't fucking need that kind of money."

"Yeah we do," Jensen sighed, sobering up a bit. "What if Kel wants to go to college? He won't always live on baby food and diapers."

Jared shook his head and stared off into the distance.

"I'll have my own garage by then. You'll be working. We'll deal with it, earn that money another way.”

Without blood or drugs or fucking perverts, who are lusting after them from behind a fucking lens.

Jensen blinked and his frown deepened.

He said nothing though, so Jared let out a sigh and lowered Jensen’s legs to the ground before getting up from the bench and pulling Jensen along with him. “C’mon, you hungry?”

Jensen bit his bottom lip in contemplation and Jared brushed his fingers through the younger man’s brunette hair, just to feel if it was as soft to the touch as it looked.

They had about another hour or two before the sun would go up and Jared intended on making the most of it.

Maybe they could stop for a couple of burgers at Shake Shack’s and watch the sun going up over the tree crowns at Central Park.

“Sure,” Jensen yawned and gave him a dopey look, pupils blown and reflecting the colors of the huge Levis Billboard behind them. “I could eat.”

 

 

In the end, somewhere between Central Park and chasing the taste of caffeine off each other’s tongues, Jensen managed to punch the guy’s number into his phone and call him.

Jared damn near made him drop his cell phone in an effort to wrestle it out of his hands.

But by then it had been too late and Jensen was already confirming times for the photo shoot.

Jared wasn’t pleased, muttering and grumbling all the way to the guy’s studio, despite Jensen’s attempts to convince him that this was a good idea.

Eventually, though, when they stepped off the elevator into a light-flooded loft that was surrounded by glass windows and giving a beautiful view over the city, Jared was starting to think that maybe the guy hadn’t been lying about doing this shit for a living.

Lining the white walls, were photographs in all sizes, most of them black and white, and yet stunningly beautiful.

It was mostly close-ups of people or studies of certain body parts, like a flexing back muscle or chapped lips curled up into a smile.

It should have been simple, boring even, but it was nothing short of breath-taking.

“Are you here to see Mr. Vargas?” a young woman with a neat bun and framed glasses piped up from behind a reception desk.

Jensen was the first to rip himself out of his rigor. “Yeah, uh, we have an appointment.”

The girl didn’t ask for their names.

She just typed something into her computer and then grabbed a set of keys from her desk before leading them back to the elevator.

“He’s expecting you.”

 

 

The guy’s name was André and turns out he hadn’t lied to them about being a professional.

Jensen eyed himself skeptically in the full-length mirror of the dressing room, running critical eyes over the pair of black boxer briefs he was wearing.

Beside the skin tight pair of skinnies and the plain black silk robe he’d been handed, his body was more or less exposed to the public eye, lithe muscle beneath pale, freckled skin.

Some messy haired intern with nervous eyes and coffee breath came to tell him that the photographer was ready for him and it wasn’t until then that the situation fully sank in on Jensen.

With the effects of the weed slowly waning off and the full exhaustion of having stayed up all night slowly making itself known, Jensen tightened the silk robe around his middle and tried to swallow past the feeling of insecurity and panic that had started growing in his chest.

The make-up artist had been a bit overzealous with the foundation and Jensen barely recognized himself in that damn mirror, with his hair gelled and styled into a natural tousle and his cheekbones highlighted.

Although he had been the one to insist on doing this, he couldn’t help but feel slightly panicked at the prospect of having a balding photographer yelling ‘Give me more sex appeal, baby’ at them.

The briefs were a little too snug and if their special buddy ‘André’ was planning on shooting him straight on, there might be some fucking issues with that because there definitely was nothing left to the imagination.

A sharp knock on his door caused Jensen to startle and blink awake.

He ambled forward and opened it just far enough to see who had come for him.

“You just about done in there, princess?” Jared leaned in the doorway with a casual look in his eyes and Jensen tried not to roll his eyes at the way Jared’s eyes immediately dropped to his crotch, despite it being hidden behind the silk robe.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Jensen said, surprised to see Jared not only fully dressed- but also wearing what looked like a very expensive, well-cut suit that looked like it was fucking tailored right onto his body. “That’s what you’re wearing?”

Jensen had expected for them both to get dressed in high ends men’s fashion.

He had foolishly assumed that whatever style the photographer would go for, it would apply to both of them, meaning Jared would be dressed in nothing but scraps of black silk, too.

Now he felt decidedly underdressed, which, come to think of it, was probably the point.

Just imagining how those photos were going to look, Jared totally dressed – from head to toe- in his expensive suit and the leather shoes and Jensen in nothing but a pair of boxers, barely covering his fucking crotch.

“I think I’m not getting the artistic vision here,” Jared frowned and Jensen snorted in agreement.

Jared wasn’t even that much taller than him, but between the two of them, he was the decidedly alpha male, while Jensen was slender and slightly less masculine- what, with the long lashes and the pouty lips.

Jensen was starting to understand that that was probably the reason why the guy had been so fascinated with them in the first place because it was a pairing that was going to be great on film.

“Jen?” Jared asked, giving Jensen a slightly impatient look. “I asked if you were ready.”

“Sorry, blanked out for a second,” Jensen nodded and bit his bottom lip before following Jared out of the changing room.

They went outside into the studio and Jensen took in the white screen and tripod with weary eyes, still teetering on the edge of admitting that they’d both been high and slightly drunk when they’d agreed to do this.

But Jared would probably punch him if he ran off now, especially after they’d both gone through the process of getting make-up applied and getting dressed in ridiculously expensive clothes.

With yet another yawn (they really shouldn’t have stayed up all night), Jared wandered towards the professional looking equipment and crouched down in front of a complicated looking piece of the camera set-up before pressing a random button.

“Jay, don’t ,” Jensen protested but by then it was already too late and the flashlight went off just as Jared contorted his features into a ridiculously unattractive grimace. “You’re an idiot.”

Jensen lightly shoved Jared’s shoulder and crouched down beside him, pulling his lips apart with his fingers and rolling his eyes back in his head while Jared laughed and pressed the button again, capturing the dorky expression on film.

They both snickered, possibly still feeling the after-effects of their high when the photographer stepped through the doorway of the studio with a blond woman in tow.

“Having fun?” the guy called them out with amusement in his voice and Jensen got up with a start, hastily smoothing his palms down his robe and stuttering out an apology. “Sorry, we were just—“

“It’s alright,” André said and walked over to them.  He was wearing a black overall and he had the matching bruises on his swollen jaw to fit his outfit.

Jared smiled a little at the sight of it, smug bastard that he was.

“I’d rather have you two warmed up, anyway. Guys, this is my assistant, Norah. Norah, these are the boys who smashed my two-thousand dollar camera.”

“Pleased to meet you,” the assistant bit out from behind a gleeful smirk and Jensen blushed a little at the odd tension between them all.

Jared didn’t seem to have the same inhibitions.

“So what’s with the dress-up game? Did you forget his suit or do you want him half-naked for a fucking reason?” Jared asked with a cocked eyebrow, never one to beat around the bush.

The photographer grinned a little at them before shooting Norah a glance.

“See? I told you they’d be perfect.”

He turned back around towards Jared and nodded at the blue chaise lounge that was set-up in front of the white screen. “I want you both exactly the way you are, buddy. Preferably on that lounger.”

“Yeah, listen up, buddy ,“ Jared growled out the word, taking an intimidating step forward and stabbing a finger at the guy’s chest like he meant to point a loaded gun at him. “You’re already on my fucking shit list and the only reason why we’re here is because he wanted to come. So if you want us to play dress-up and pose for your fucking camera? You’re gonna have to play by my terms.”

André just looked at them both, his gaze flickering from Jared to Jensen and then back again.

“What are the terms, then?” he asked, probably realizing that Jared wasn’t fucking around.

“I sure as fuck won’t take orders from you or your little Barbie PA there, so we’ll find our own poses and you can either take it or leave it,” Jared explained in his best no-nonsense voice, ignoring the look of shock and indignation on ‘Norah’s’ face. “It’s just me and him. You try to pair us with any other models and all bets are off.”

“Anything else?” André asked with a hint of impatience in his voice.

“No touching,” Jared declared in a voice that was pure threat  like he was seriously going to kill someone if they so much as thought about getting too close to them.

Jensen rolled his eyes. “Alright, now that that’s out of the way, can we get started?”

“Gladly,” the photographer smirked and gestured towards the chaise lounge. “Why don’t you sit down and make yourselves comfortable before we start? I’d tell you what position to get in, but apparently, my advice isn’t needed.”

They would have had to be deaf not to notice the snark and sarcasm in his voice, but they chose to ignore it as Jensen fumbled with the knot of his robe and failed to open it, his fingers shaking so hard.

“Let me,” Jared insisted in a gentle voice and pushed Jensen’s hands out of the way, before opening the robe for him.

A flash went off and they both started a little, heads snapping up and blinking against the brightness of the lamps directed at them.

They weren’t even fucking undressed, yet.

What the hell was the guy’s deal?

“Just pretend I’m not there,” André instructed and Jensen’s eyes narrowed a little because it was hard to pretend that they were alone with half a dozen of cameras pointed at them from all angles.

He shuddered when Jared slid the silk robe off of his shoulders and drew in a hasty breath when the flash went off again, wincing a little when Jared’s palm came to rest on his shoulder.

“Relax,” Jared whispered and Jensen took a steadying breath as he stared up into Jared’s eyes.

It was just a couple of pictures, after all.

And the sum they’d been offered was bordering on ridiculously high, for the fact that they were total rookies at this and didn’t have any fucking experience at all.

They could do this.

For Kelly, they could do this…

That was what Jensen kept telling himself as they were splayed against that fucking chaise lounge, Jensen with an arched back and Jared leaning over him, their faces mere inches apart as the photographer hovered three feet away from them, fingers snapping on the button.

The whole thing was a lot more erotic than it probably should have been and Jensen was in serious need of a bucket of ice water in his crotch because it was taking all his brain power not to pop a raging hard-on and frighten the photographer and his assistant half to death.

“Yeah, that’s good, just try to arch your back a little more,” came the photographer’s instructions and Jensen’s thigh muscles tensed and quivered as he tried to do as he was being told.

It brought their faces even closer together and Jared’s heartbeat faltered for a second beneath Jensen’s fingertips as he took in a breath of hair. Jensen smirked and it became a little easier to ignore the ache in his thighs and back as he knew this whole setup was having as much of an effect on Jared as it had on Jensen.

“Spread your legs a little further. Jared if you could move up your knee, just a little— right, just like that.”

Jensen obliged, willing his dick to cooperate as Jared’s knee pushed up higher against his thigh, holding him open. Without being instructed to do so, Jared grabbed Jensen’s hands and moved them up above his head, in a familiar position.

Jensen blinked up at Jared with hooded eyes, licking his lips and Jared lost control for a moment, delving down to crash their lips together in a brief but intense kiss that stole both of their breaths and left them winded.

The flash went off a couple of them, but they’d learned to ignore it.

“Guys… guys, that’s enough. Get back in position, c’mon,” the photographer sighed and Jared broke away with a cocky little wink that totally did not make Jensen’s heart skip a beat.

“Jared, take off your jacket and open a few buttons of your shirt,” André said and Jared, for once compliant, did what he was told, smoldering in the way he slid the suit jacket off and opened one button after another without taking his eyes off of Jensen.

Jensen just lay back, propped up on his elbows and enjoyed the show.

He tried to focus on the job instead of messing with Jared.

After all, he could be smoldering too, if he wanted to. And judging from the way Jared was staring at his mouth, he was doing a pretty damn good job at it, too.

“Jensen move your knee a little, to the right. Stop. Yeah, that’s perfect,” the guy kept up a string of randomly muttered instructions, but neither of them was really listening.

“You good,” Jared asked as he pulled Jensen up from the chaise lounge and against him.

The new position showed off Jensen’s back muscles, while also displaying Jared’s tattooed chest.

This whole shoot was about selling high-end men’s clothes, but Jensen was pretty damn sure that nobody would pay the fucking clothes any attention if this campaign was ever published.

“Yeah, you?” Jensen whispered as Jared’s palms slid down to the waistband of his boxers in an intimate touch.

Jared’s cologne smelled so good that he was having a hard time resisting the urge to lean in and sniff his neck.

Instead, he leaned in to ghost his mouth along Jared’s jaw and hovered over his racing pulse point, shivering at the soft scratch of stubble against his cheek.

They were both fully aware of the photographs being taken, having gotten the hang and changing positions every few seconds without having to be told so.

“You’re gorgeous,” Jared’s eyes had taken on a dark glimmer that usually meant he was about two seconds away from losing control.

His hands were moving down Jensen’s back, fingertips just barely sliding beneath the elastic band of Jensen’s black briefs. The sexual tension in the room was thick enough to suffocate them all and Jensen stared at Jared’s mouth like he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to kiss it or fuck it.

“You’re not so bad yourself,” Jensen whispered before moving his hands up to grip Jared’s tie, wrapping it around his hand and tugging Jared down hard, so that their mouths were hovering mere inches apart from each other.

Jared’s breath turned a little ragged as he dragged his tongue over his chapped lips in a definite invitation for a kiss… or a blow job.

Either way, it sent currents of electricity right down to Jensen’s crotch.

“Alright, guys, that was great. Time for a new position,” André ruined the moment with an ill-placed interruption and Jared’s eyes flickered to the side as he swallowed, Adam’s apple bobbing visibly beneath the inked skin on his neck. “Jared, lie back down on that chair. Jensen, I want you to straddle him. You could grip the sides of his dress shirt like you’re about to rip it off…”

Jared arched a brow at the guy. “You do know the difference between provocative and fucking pornographic , right?”

André chuckled a little at that. “There’s nothing pornographic about these as long as you keep it in your pants and do as I tell you. James is going to gloat forever about you two… these shots are amazing.”

Jensen grinned slightly as he started unfastening Jared’s tie, leaving it to hang loosely around Jared’s tattooed neck instead of taking it off entirely. “How much is that shirt worth?”

André frowned at the question. “Why are you—“

Jensen didn’t just pretend to rip the shirt open, but he actually did, buttons flying to the ground around them as he yanked the smooth fabric apart with a sharp outward twist of his elbows.

Jared’s chest was rising and falling with every panted breath, his tattoos dark and alluring and right fucking there in the bright gleam of the lights around them.

Never having been really good at resisting temptation, Jensen leaned in to brush his knuckles against the hair before moving his fingers up to Jared’s throat and letting the digits curl around his strong neck.

Jensen was straddling Jared, pupils blown as he stared down at his boyfriend from behind thick lashes and fuck, yeah, Jared was definitely into this.

Jared reached back to grip his ass with enough force to make Jensen gasp.

“Move your hands, Jared… you’re blocking the view,” André said, continuing to move around them and snap one photo after another while Jensen’s mouth hovered over Jared’s neck.

The words got under Jared’s skin, though, probably reminding him of the fact that his boyfriend was currently displayed to two complete strangers in a position that was usually reserved for Jared only .

“You’re not supposed to take shots of his ass,” Jared snarled, body coiled tight as he narrowed his eyes at the photographer. “And you sure as fuck won’t be publishing that shit.”

“Alright, have it your way,” André sighed like Jared was some bratty model diva, who needed to have his way. “Then move your left hand over his thigh like you did before… yeah, that’s it."

Jared’s fingers lightly moved up Jensen’s thigh, warm hands sliding over Jensen’s goose-bumps in a way that was sensual and teasing all at once.

It was definitely what they were going for, but it did nothing to quench the rising desire in Jensen’s chest. Slowly but surely, the building tension was driving Jensen out of his mind.

They changed positions a few more times, getting a bit bolder as the shoot continued and teasing each other mercilessly as one hour turned into two.

By the end they were kissing so much that André and Norah had to stop the shoot a couple of times and get their makeup reapplied because their lips were all kiss-swollen and their hair was a mess and the Jared had somehow lost all of his clothes but his suit pants, which Jensen was absolutely not to blame for… okay, maybe he was , but it was Jared’s fault for being so fucking hot.

After two and a half hours of non-stop modeling, André called a cut.

“We’re good, guys. I’ve got some amazing shots,” he said and fiddled around with a computer while Jensen pulled his robe back on.

“Look at this,” the photographer waved them closer and they ambled over to where their photos were now displayed on a high-tech set-up of about four computer screens.

The shot he picked was one of their very first ones, with Jensen still in his silk robe and Jared smiling down at him with a softness in his gaze as he opened the robe.

Jensen’s throat constricted a little when André showed them another take with them on the lounger, lips curled up into matching grins as they cracked up over something one of them had said.

Jensen was pretty sure they hadn’t actually been posing when the picture of them was taken.

They’d just been goofing off in between shots.

“This one’s pretty amazing,” André commented as he showed them a picture of Jensen straddling Jared’s waist, Jared’s fingers splayed possessively against the sensual curve of his back while their lips hovered mere inches apart.

He clicked his mouse and the next picture robbed Jensen off his breath.

It was the one with Jensen’s fingers curled around Jared’s throat and Jared’s chest on full display, tattoos gleaming dauntingly on his torso.

Jared tensed beside Jensen and they exchanged a look in silence, realization hitting them both at the same time as they came to a wordless agreement.

“Alright, I’ll let you guys off the hook,” the photographer sighed and rubbed his neck. “Norah will write you a cheque and—“

“Yeah, I don’t think so.”

“What?” the guy paled a little and the smile slowly slipped from his features. “What are you saying?”

“You’re not taking using those for your campaign.”

“Excuse me?” André sputtered, his gaze flickering from Jared to Jensen as if Jensen could somehow change Jared’s opinion. “You can’t be serious.”

“Look, we’re sorry, but… this is,” Jensen swallowed and took another glance at the photographs. “It’s too private.”

The pictures were doubtlessly the work of a professional.

They were fucking perfect, from the way he had captured the little moments in between, where they’d made each other smile and laugh, to the way they’d kissed and looked each other once their inhibitions had given way to love and desire.

But this was too private, too intimate.

This wasn’t just a couple of aesthetic photographs.

This was their whole fucking relationship in a nutshell, from the way they looked at each other, to the little wrinkles around their eyes when they laughed at something the other had said or done, to the intimate, private way they touched each other- like their bodies were made to fit together, like their souls were made to complete each other.

It wasn’t just about showing off their bodies, even though that played a part, too.

Jensen had fewer problems showing off his ass on a fucking billboard than he had with people seeing the look of pure adoration in his eyes when he looked at Jared.

But modeling was usually done between strangers who barely even exchanged a couple of words before they started getting real close and personal with each other in front of a cam.

It was about superficial attraction and fake emotion.

And there was absolutely nothing fake or superficial about what he and Jared shared.

There was so much more going on behind the surface that most people didn’t know about and they liked it that way; didn’t feel the urge to share their life story with the rest of the fucking world.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” André huffed out an incredulous laugh. "You're seriously backing out on me now?"

“Look, how much do you fucking charge for an hour?” Jared asked snappily, not in the mood to have a discussion. “We’ll pay you for your time. But you aren’t getting the rights to those pictures.”

Jensen felt his heart swell a little at the words.

They had come here to earn money and yet, here Jared was, offering up to pay a photographer they sure as fuck couldn’t afford just to keep those damn pictures to themselves.

Jensen reached down to take a hold of Jared’s hand, silently tangling their fingers together.

He felt like there was an important life lesson in there, somewhere, but he couldn’t be bothered to figure it out.

Money had never been all that important to them.

It sure as hell wasn’t important enough to share this- what they had - with the world.

 

 

They were in the parking lot, leaning against Jared’s Harley and about to leave New York behind.

Jensen was staring down at one of the photographs they had shot- Norah had been nice enough to actually print it out for them before they left.

He was brushing his fingers over the pic almost lovingly, tracing Jared’s exposed back with his thumb.

“So there goes Kel’s golden ticket to Princeton,” he joked and took a last drag from his cigarette.

Jared snatched the photo from Jensen’s fingers and stared at it for a second before he pulled out his golden zippo and flicked it open.

Jensen didn’t protest when Jared held the photograph up between them and set it on fire, watching as the flames licked and bit away at the black and white picture of them.

Jared dropped the burning film to the ground and stomped out the burning embers with his boots, crushing the last remnants of their photo shoot beneath his soles, after they had made André delete it all.

Jensen had the secret suspicion that Norah might have printed a few copies for herself, but he didn’t care as long as their work didn’t get displayed publically.

“He could still become a mechanic,” Jared suggested, a slow smirk growing on his lips and Jensen snickered before he pulled Jared closer by his leather jacket and slid their mouths together in a lazy kiss.

“Knowing how much he worships the ground you walk on, he probably will,” Jensen sighed, his heart aching with how much he already missed Kelly, after just a day apart.

“He could become a photographer,” Jensen dead-panned.

“Or a model,” Jared suggested.

“Hell, no,” Jensen snorted and shoved Jared’s chest.

They traded knowing smiles and then Jared stomped their cigarette out on the ground.

“Let’s get going…” he said and swung himself onto his bike, waiting until Jensen fell in place behind him.

Jensen tightened his hold and settled his chin down on Jared’s shoulder, sending a last, lingering look towards the towering skyscrapers and crowded streets all around them.

He hid his smile in Jared’s neck when the Harley came alive with a roar, thinking about everything they'd seen and done in the past 24 hours.

Maybe New York wasn’t so bad after all.