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Rumble and Sway

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Dean is right in the middle of telling Crowley exactly where he can stick his shitty little plan when the call comes.

The moment is intense, all growled words and snarky tones with the implied danger of something big about to happen. When the film is edited and spliced, this scene will occur midway through the episode, and fans will undoubtedly buzz online about the unexpected twist that’s about to happen.

Just as cast and crew – and yes, the media…if they catch wind of it – will buzz about what is happening somewhere on set in the very real now.

On the sidelines, just beyond the cameras, Clif pulls the vibrating cellphone from his pocket just enough to glance at the screen. The number – hell, the area code – is unfamiliar, so he considers ignoring the call.

But…it’s Jensen’s phone, not his. And while Clif is privy to a lot of details in the boys’ lives, he doesn’t know every single phone number of every single person that could possibly call Jensen on any given day.

So, the call could be legit.

Or not.

His finger hovers over the screen, debating whether to swipe right and accept the call…or to swipe left – because that’s what voicemail is for.

But it might be an emergency, he tells himself. A gut feeling.

After all, the only reason Clif is carrying Jensen’s phone is because Jensen is currently Dean. And much like the character he plays, Jensen likes to be accessible to one particularly tall guy.

A tall guy who seems to find trouble without even looking.

That’s why Clif is the keeper of Jensen’s phone when he has a scene – in case someone needs to contact Jensen about Jared.

Clif glances at the pair of empty chairs across set, remembering Jared had gone to wardrobe to prepare for the next scene. And Sadie had gone with him – always with him – so Jared is probably fine. But…

That gut feeling comes again as the phone continues to vibrate, more obnoxious than loud. But the sound guy gives Clif the stink eye, so he takes a few steps further off set and answers the damn thing. What the hell…

“Hello?”

“Oh,” a female voice replies, as unfamiliar as the number she’s calling from. “Who…who is this?”

Clif arches an eyebrow.

If that’s the game she wants to play, then okay.

Let’s play.

“Who is this?” he counters. “You called me.”

 Well, she called Jensen…but whatever. Same thing.

Jensen’s business is Clif’s business, especially if it involves a potential stalker making crank calls.

“And how did you get this number?”

“I…” She takes a breath, sounding rattled. “I’m sorry. I just…there’s a guy here…the really tall one. And I think…I think he just had a seizure…or something? I don’t know. But I got this number from the back of his ID bracelet and – “

“ – shit,” Clif hisses and turns. “Wait a minute. I’m getting Jensen.”

The scene isn’t over, not even halfway, but Clif barrels straight for it. He feels someone try to grab his arm, hears the crew murmuring, sees Mark’s surprise and Jensen’s confusion, then alarm.

If Clif is interrupting a scene, there’s only one explanation.

Clif nods. “Jared.”

A flash of panic swoops through Jensen’s stomach as he snatches the phone.

“Jay? What’s wrong?”

“I…I don’t know. He just started shaking…”

Jensen blinks at the woman’s voice and cuts his eyes at Clif.

Clif shrugs.

“Who is this?” Jensen demands. “And where’s Jared?”

“He’s here,” the woman answers. “With me in wardrobe. I’m Paige.”

There’s a beat of silence.

“The new girl,” she adds when it’s clear Jensen isn’t making the connection.

“I’m on my way,” Jensen tells her and glances at Clif.

Clif nods. “You take care of him. I’ll take care of everything else.”

Thanks, Jensen mouths and roughly pats Clif’s shoulder as he jogs off set.

“Is there something I should be doing?”

“That depends,” Jensen replies, always calm and cool on the outside no matter how much he’s losing his shit on the inside. “Is the seizure over?”

“I think so. He’s not shaking anymore.”

“Is he conscious?”

“No.”

“Is he breathing?”

Jensen almost chokes every time he says those words, unable to imagine a world where Jared is not breathing…where Jared is not alive and with him.

Paige doesn’t respond.

“Hey!” Jensen yells into the phone. His tone sharp and urgent because this is not the kind of information you fuck around with, Paige. “Is he breathing?”

“Yeah. It’s just…”

Jensen feels his heart clench. “What?”

“I don’t know. He just sounds…”

Jensen frowns as her voice trails off. “Let me hear.”

The phone rustles as Paige moves.

Jensen listens to the ragged breaths and hears Sadie whining in the background.

The phone rustles again.

“Did you hear it?”

“Yeah. It’s fine.”

Jared always sounds like that after a seizure.

“Should I call 911? Or get the medic?”

Jensen shakes his head. “No. I’m almost there.”

Usually Jared doesn’t need – or want – medical attention, but Jensen will make that decision in a few minutes once he actually sees him.

“Where’s Sadie?”

Paige hesitates. “The…dog?”

Jensen snorts. “Yeah. The dog. Where is she?”

“Well, she’s been all over the place. She started freaking out…pacing and pawing at him before it happened.”

The trained behavior meant to alert of an impending seizure.

“Did Jared respond?”

“He tried but…” Paige sighs. “It all happened so fast.”

Jensen nods. “Yeah,” he agrees, knowing how helpless that feels. “Can you tell if he’s hurt anywhere?”

“I don’t know. He already had fake blood from the fight, so…”

“Yeah, okay. I’ll check him over.”

It’s not that hard to distinguish between real and fake blood – not in person – but fine. Jensen had rather check Jared himself than take Paige-from-wardrobe’s word for it anyway.

And he can finally see the wardrobe trailer up ahead…which is good because he was beginning to think they had moved the damn thing.

Jensen sighs, the sound loud and harsh with the intensity of his frustration and concern, before he fires off another question, keeping himself distracted.

“How long did it last?”

“Forever.”

Jensen hums.

He knows that feeling, too.

But this is important.

“Would you say less than a minute?”

“Um, probably?”

Jensen pinches the bridge of his nose, trying to keep it together even as he feels his patience running the fuck out on this woman.

“Where is Sadie now?”

Jensen’s tone implies he’s not getting the type of answers he wants, so he would like to speak with someone else, please.

If only…

Sadie would definitely provide the details Jensen needs.

The phone rustles once more like Paige is turning to look. “She was on top of him but now she’s nudging him and – ”

“ – wait,” Jensen interrupts. “Is Jared still on his back?”

“Yeah.”

“No,” Jensen snaps, annoyed he didn’t ask sooner. No wonder he could hear Sadie whining a few minutes ago. The dog knows how Jared should be positioned after a seizure. “Help her roll Jared to his side.”

Jared has never thrown up post-seizure, but there’s a first time for everything and Jensen isn’t taking any chances. Plus, a recovery position should help relax Jared’s breathing.

“Okay. Done,” Paige tells him and then gasps.

Jensen takes the steps two at a time and enters the trailer, ending the call now that he can talk to her in person.

“What?”

Paige stares up at him from where she sits on the floor in a nest of clothes tangled and scattered from the overturned rack nearby.

Big trees fall hard.

And so does Jared.

No way he’s not hurt somewhere.

Jensen sighs and crosses to him in an instant, joining Paige on the floor.

Sadie wags her tail in acknowledgement but doesn’t move, still bracing Jared from behind.

Jensen cups Jared’s jaw, checking and inventorying every single detail.

Paige scoots back, giving Jensen room. “I think he’s waking up.”

Jensen nods as Jared blinks at him. His eyes unfocused. His breaths still wheezing with more effort than they should.

There’s blood smeared along Jared’s hairline and down his temple, but Jensen knows that’s fake. Remembers the “injuries” from the scene prior to the one he was just filming.

But the scratch along Jared’s cheekbone is new and real and perfectly matches the end of the bar on the clothes rack.

Jensen ghosts his fingers over the torn skin – swollen and inflamed and oozing blood – and then gives Jared’s entire body a once-over, noticing scraped knuckles on both hands – evidence of how violently Jared must have been flailing at some point.

Jensen wonders about any injuries he can’t see and feels Paige staring at them as he catalogs Jared’s condition. Knows she’s wondering about the familiar way he’s touching Jared, about the nature of their relationship.

As the new girl, she’s probably already heard rumors – on set and online – and is now trying to figure it out for herself. Really good friends or…

“Hey. Do me a favor?”

Paige startles, then nods.

“Clif…the big bald guy…”

Paige smiles at the description and nods again.

“Go find him, then bring him here.”

It’s a pointless errand since Jensen knows Clif is collecting their things and pulling the car around as he speaks.

But Paige isn’t excusing herself to give him and Jared the privacy they need, so Jensen is doing what he does best – handling shit.

Paige gets to her feet.

“And hey…” Jensen calls before she turns toward the door. “Thank you.”

Thank you for staying with him. Thank you for calling.

Just…thank you.

“You’re welcome.”

Jensen holds her gaze. “And one more thing…”

Paige blinks at him.

“What happened here stays here.”

Paige glances at Jared sprawled on the floor, then back to Jensen. “I understand. But don’t worry. It says in our contract we can’t – ”

“ – I know,” Jensen tells her.

But shit happens. Lapses in judgment happen.

And this secret has been kept too well for too long by too many people for some new girl to ruin everything for five minutes of fame.

“I’m just sayin’…” he continues. “If this ends up on TMZ or some other bullshit outlet, guess who I’ll come looking for?”

It sounds like the kind of warning Dean Winchester would give if anyone threatened his Sammy.

And Jensen should probably care that the line between him and his character gets blurrier by the day…but he doesn’t.

Not anymore. Not when it comes to Jared.

Paige shakes her head. “I won’t say anything.”

“Good.”

She swallows and shifts under Jensen’s intense stare before wandering out of the trailer, dazed from all that’s happened in the past 20 minutes. It’s been a very interesting first day.

Jensen watches her go and then directs his attention to Jared as he makes an indistinct sound and rolls over, now laying on his back again. He lifts his arm, reaching for his scratched cheek.

Jensen intercepts, grasping Jared’s hand and lacing their fingers. He presses his lips to those scraped knuckles, tender and careful.

Jared stills under his touch and stares up at him.

Jensen smiles. “Hey, sweetheart. You with me?”

Jared just blinks at him.

No reaction. No recognition.

So, nope. Not with him.

Jensen ignores the tightness in his chest, reminds himself this is part of the process – the confusion, the silence, the blank stare.

Jared will come around in a few minutes.

Jensen just has to wait.

It’s the ebb and flow of their lives, the rumble and sway.

He sighs and rubs his thumb over the back of Jared’s hand.

“Jay. I’m right here, okay?”

Jared hums and turns, lifting his shoulders like he plans to sit up.

And no…not yet. Not on Jensen’s watch.

“Whoa. Hey.” He splays his other hand in the center of Jared’s chest. “Wait a minute, huh? Just relax.”

Jared continues to struggle.

Sadie whines and places a huge paw on Jared’s chest, right beside Jensen’s hand.

Jensen smiles, increasing the pressure of his hold. “Two against one, Jay,” he comments and feels Jared begin to settle, too sluggish to continue. “There you go. Just rest, okay? We’re gonna sit tight for a minute while Clif brings the car and then we’ll go home.”

Jared hums again and closes his eyes – floating…drifting…recovering.

A neurologist once described this phase as “control, alt, delete,” likening it to what occurs when a computer evaluates all of its systems as it resets.  

Jensen figures it’s probably an accurate description.

He sighs and shifts, trying to find a more comfortable position on the floor and brushes Jared’s bangs from his forehead, pushes a few strands of hair behind his ear.

“They’ll have to write this into the script now,” Jensen predicts, again ghosting his fingers over the long scratch on Jared’s cheek.

It’s not deep enough to require stitches or leave a noticeable scar, but it’s still something they’ll be dealing with for several weeks as it heals.

“Just like they did with the cast and the sling…”

Jensen pauses, remembering the countless injuries Jared has dealt with over the years due to falls caused by seizures.

Fans have been led to believe Jared is just rambunctious and accident-prone…and they’ve assumed Sam’s seizures in past episodes are so believable because Jared is an amazing actor.

But that’s only half the story.

Jensen quirks a sad, fond smile and cards his fingers through Jared’s hair, keeps rubbing his thumb over Jared’s hand.

“We should tell them, Jay,” Jensen whispers, too accustomed to keeping the secret about Jared’s epilepsy to say the words any louder. “They would support you.”

Supernatural fans were awesome like that.

“And we could make a difference,” Jensen continues, thinking out loud. “We could put our names and faces behind a cause. And not just some celebrity cause-of-the-month but a real cause, Jay. One that affects our lives every day.”

Jensen nods, liking the idea more and more, and then shakes his head at his own rambling – rarely a chatterbox…except in these situations. Wanting to fill the silence usually filled by Jared, needing Jared to hear his voice.

Jensen sighs, his gaze flickering from Jared to Sadie as she helps keep vigil. “Good girl,” he croons, scratching behind her ears.

The dog accepts the praise but then shies away from his touch, reminding Jensen her primary purpose in life is being a service dog, so…

Jensen snorts at being reprimanded by a dog. “Yeah, I know,” he agrees and recites the words stitched on her red service vest. “‘Please don’t pet me. I’m working.’”

Sadie stares at him for a few seconds like she’s glad they got that settled and then sighs, laying her head on Jared’s arm.

Jensen smiles, thankful they have Sadie in their lives. Thankful she’s so sweet, so good with Jared. Thankful to breathe a little easier knowing she’s watching out for Jared when he can’t be there to do it.

Like today…

The guilt is always sharp and bitter, and Jensen rubs one hand down his face, then glances at his phone as it vibrates across the floor.

He recognizes Clif’s number and answers.

“Hey.”

“Hey. How’s our boy?”

Jensen smiles at the affectionate question. “Out of it.”

“Yeah,” Clif replies like he expected that. “How about the girl? She still in there? Need me to clear her out?”

“No, I took care of it.”

Their conversation sounds like an excerpt from GoodFellas.

“I sent her to look for you.”

Clif chuckles at the familiar ploy. “Guess she’ll be a while…”

“Guess so,” Jensen agrees and rubs his thumb over Jared’s skin, their fingers still laced even though Jared’s grip is lax.

“Well, everything else is taken care of. They’re gonna do other scenes…or whatever.”

Clif’s tone implies how much he doesn’t care about the disrupted filming schedule or the frantic scrabbling taking place across set to salvage the day.

It’s not his problem.

His two priorities are inside the wardrobe trailer he’s currently staring at.

“I’m outside with the car. You need me, or…”

“Nah,” Jensen dismisses, appreciating the offer but preferring to handle Jared on his own. “I’ve got him. We’re just gonna chill a little longer. Wait for him to come around completely.”

“Okay. Call me when you need me.”

“I will,” Jensen assures and ends the call.

In the next few minutes, Jared opens his eyes again, looking more coherent than the first time.

Jensen holds his gaze and smiles. “Hey. Welcome back.” He squeezes Jared’s hand and smiles wider when he feels a light pressure returned. “Well, that’s a good sign…” he comments and allows a few more seconds for Jared to regain his bearings before asking the question that’s been itching on his tongue.

It always seems like a strange question to ask the guy who sometimes knows Jensen better than he knows himself.

But it’s part of their routine, part of establishing orientation.

And maybe Jensen is a selfish asshole for skipping over the usual questions – Do you know who you are…where you are…and what day it is – and goes straight for the only thing he needs to know.

“Jay. Do you know who I am?”

Jared doesn’t reply for several seconds, but then…

“J’nsen.”

The name is slurred.

But the relief it brings is overwhelming.

“Mmhmm,” Jensen hums, knowing his voice will crack if he actually speaks, and smiles even wider, feeling his eyes crinkle the way they do when his smile is genuine.

Jared continues to stare at him. Everything is still hazy, yet he knows something has happened as his gaze begins to wander – slow at first, then quick and frantic as he tries to put the pieces together.

He had gone to wardrobe and then…

Jared blinks at the realization of what happened then, and returns his attention to Jensen for confirmation.

Jensen sighs and rests his hand on Jared’s forehead, his thumb rubbing at the frown deepening between Jared’s eyes.

“Yeah,” he says, simple but crushing.

Jared reaches for the hem of Jensen’s shirt and bunches the fabric, trying to ground himself as he suddenly looks like he wants to cry.

It breaks Jensen’s heart every fucking time – because Jared after a seizure is always a little more fragile, a little more vulnerable to tears and insecurities.

Even now, Jensen hears the unspoken questions.

Where? Here?

When? How long ago?

How bad?

Who saw? Who else knows?

Jensen shakes his head. “Don’t worry about it, Jay,” he soothes, wrapping a gentle hand around Jared’s neck and pulling him up, slow and smooth. “It’s over. And everything’s fine now.”

Jared lets out a shaky exhale and wraps his arms around Jensen’s back, clinging to him.

Jensen feels the shudder of silent tears and hugs tighter, holds Jared closer. “I’ve gotcha,” he murmurs and presses his lips to Jared’s temple.

They sit like that for several minutes with Sadie now sitting beside them, patient but alert. Ready to do whatever Jared needs.

And so is Jensen.

He closes his eyes and presses another kiss to Jared’s temple.

Jared turns his face into the crook of Jensen’s neck and sighs, his breath warm over Jensen’s skin.

Jensen opens his eyes, sensing the worst of the emotional fall-out is over, and rubs Jared’s back.

“Were you here?”

“Not when it happened,” Jensen admits and ignores the stab of guilt. “But I got here as soon as I could.”

The words always feel lame and insufficient.

But Jared never hears them that way.

“I know,” he whispers, so much love and trust in those two words. He nuzzles into Jensen’s neck, that safe place he seeks comfort and protection. “S’okay.”

Jensen smiles, soft and fond, because Jared is now soothing him.

It’s such a Jared thing to do, and Jensen feels the pressure of love swelling in his chest.

He keeps rubbing Jared’s back as they continue to sit on the floor, slotted together like they were made for it, made to dovetail into the other’s soul.

And maybe they were.

It sure feels that way.

Jensen’s smile lingers at his sappy thoughts as he glances at Sadie watching them.

“I guess it happened here?”

Jensen nods.

“Who saw?”

Jensen turns his face into Jared’s hair, inhales his scent before he answers. “The new girl.”

“Paige.”

Jensen nods again. Of course Jared would remember her name.

“Is she okay?”

And of course Jared would ask that.

Jensen kisses the top of Jared’s head. “She’s fine. A little rattled but fine.”

Jared leans into Jensen, once again nuzzling the space between his chest and shoulder and neck – a comfort-seeking gesture.

Jensen holds him a little tighter.

“Who else knows?”

“The usual,” Jensen tells him but doesn’t elaborate. “And I warned Paige before she left.”

Jared smiles, knowing exactly what kind of warning Paige received.

“I’m not sure how long it lasted,” Jensen continues before Jared can ask. He rubs his hand across Jared’s back. “But I don’t think it was too bad this time.”

Jensen feels Jared sigh against him.

He sighs as well.

“Anyway…you ready to head home?”

Jared hesitates. “What about – ”

“ – they’ll film something else,” Jensen interrupts, knowing the direction of that question since Jared is always embarrassed when everything is rearranged because of him. “Everyone understands, Jay. It’s fine. It’s not like they don’t have a shitload of scenes to do.”

“Yeah. Scenes with us.”

Jensen shrugs, feeling Jared’s head lift with the motion. “What can I say? I’m fresh out of fucks.”

Jared snorts a laugh, sounding tired but more like himself. “We should probably change…”

“Why?” Jensen counters, not interested in wasting time or energy on that task. “It’s not like we’ve haven’t ‘borrowed’ costumes before.”

Jared snorts again and pushes back.

Jensen steadies him as he moves. His hands resting on Jared’s shoulders as he holds him at arm’s length, just looking at him.

Jared smiles, shy and self-conscious. “What?”

Jensen leans forward, kisses his lips. “Nothing. You just scared me.”

Jared’s eyes mist. “I know. I’m sorry.”

Jensen shakes his head. “It’s not your fault, sweetheart. I’m just wondering if maybe we need to check in with your neurologist, maybe adjust your meds. Seems like you’re having more and more breakthrough seizures these days.”

Jared nods but doesn’t say anything.

And Jensen doesn’t push the issue. They’ll talk about it later.

He kisses Jared again, reassuring and soothing. “Does this hurt?” he asks, his touch light and careful as he skims over Jared’s cheek.

Jared winces and lifts his hand to follow Jensen’s. “Yeah, kinda.” He frowns when he finds the scratch. “What happened?”

“Clothes rack,” Jensen explains but doesn’t dwell on it…and doesn’t allow Jared to dwell, either. “We’ll take care of it back at the house. Does anywhere else hurt?”

Jared sits still for a few seconds, his attention turned inward. He glances at his hands, his knuckles stinging from the raw scrapes.

“I know,” Jensen tells him. “They’re already on my first aid list.”

Jared smiles, not surprised that Jensen has already cataloged the injuries he can see.

“Anything else?”

Jared shrugs. “Just a headache. And it feels like someone beat me with a stick.”

Jensen nods – that’s all normal. “At least they didn’t use the ugly stick,” he quips, trying to lighten the mood.

Jared hums a laugh and tips forward, resting his forehead against Jensen’s. “Can we go?”

He sounds exhausted.

Jensen kisses those lips brushing against his. “Yeah. Clif’s waiting outside.”

Jared pulls back and blinks like he’s surprised…but he’s not. Clif is always nearby, keeping watch over them as Jensen keeps watch over Jared.

Jensen reaches for his phone still resting on the floor and sends the call. “Hey. We’re coming out…” He pauses. “Ha, ha. Very funny.”

Jared twitches a smile at Jensen’s dry response, knowing Clif made his usual joke about them actually coming out.

It’s not like they haven’t discussed it. The pros, the cons.

At this point, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. It’s not like the entire fandom doesn’t already have its suspicions.

The way they look at each other, the way they touch.

“Stevie Wonder could see that shit,” Chad had once said, describing how obvious their attraction is with his classic Chad charm and candor.

Jared’s smile lingers as he watches Jensen.

“Yeah,” he answers and glances at Jared. “Yeah, he’s fine.”

Jared squeezes Jensen’s hand and glances at Sadie. He rubs her head, always feeling a little guilty when it takes him so long to remember she’s there.

But Sadie never seems to mind, seems to know Jared has other things to sort out.

“Yeah, okay. See you in a few…” Jensen says, ending the call and shifting his weight to stand. “You ready?”

Jared nods, watching Jensen get to his feet and shove the phone in his back pocket while keeping one hand on Jared’s shoulder like Jared is an unsteady baby who hasn’t yet mastered sitting alone.

Something about that is sweet and adorable, and Jared smiles as he grasps Jensen’s outstretched hand.

“Careful,” Jensen warns and helps him to his feet, as slow and smooth as he helped Jared sit up earlier, and then holds him in place until he finds his balance.

Jared inhales a shaky breath and swallows, looking a little pale.

Jensen leaves one hand on Jared’s shoulder and uses the other to tuck hair behind Jared’s ear. He cups his cheek and waits.

Jared smiles and turns his head, kissing Jensen’s palm. “I’m okay.”

“You better be, Padalecki,” Jensen grumbles but returns the smile and the kiss before he starts walking, keeping one hand fisted in the back of Jared’s shirt while bracing the other along Jared’s waist.

“Sadie…” Jared calls and the dog falls in line beside them.

They shuffle more than walk but finally reach the door.

Clif is waiting for them, the backseat door of the SUV flung open behind him. “Hey, guys…” he greets like nothing has happened and backs down the stairs, helping Jensen guide Jared down each step.

Jared’s smile is strained. “Hey.”

“Almost there,” Jensen tells him, his voice soothing in Jared’s ear.

Once they’re settled in the backseat – the door closed, the SUV moving off the lot and out to the highway –  there’s no more talking.

Jared is beyond words at this point, drowsy and quiet as he floats in the post-seizure exhausted haze. He leans against Jensen – his head resting on Jensen’s shoulder, his hand in Jensen’s grasp from when Jensen had grabbed it once they were settled and alone together in the car.

Or practically alone.

It’s not like Clif doesn’t know about them, hasn’t known along. He guards their secrets – all of them – as well as their physical well-being.  

Jensen kisses the top of Jared’s head and closes his eyes as they ride home with Sadie laying in the seat on the other side of Jared.

Half an hour later, they’re in their bedroom. The shower is running in the room behind them; the water warming up as Jensen helps Jared out of Sam’s clothes before he sheds Dean’s.

It’s a familiar routine, as well-rehearsed as any of their scenes on set. This quiet winding down.

Sadie no longer wears her service vest but lays on the tiled floor nearby as they shower together. The warm water and steam just what they need after one hell of a morning.

Jensen hovers with a steadying hand as Jared bathes, helps him wash the fake blood from his hair, gently cleans the cut on his face and once again kisses those scraped knuckles. He glides his hand over the small of Jared’s back and Jared leans closer, their naked bodies pressed together under the stream of water.

"I love you," Jensen whispers in the lingering silence, and Jared smiles in that soft, sweet way he always does – like living sunshine, like personified goodness.

It loosens the knot of leftover anxiety in Jensen’s chest.

“I love you, too,” Jared tells him and nuzzles into Jensen’s neck.

They stand that way for several minutes, hugging each other as the water continues to pour over them like it can wash away every bad thought, every unimaginable possibility that haunts Jensen after one of Jared’s seizures. After the adrenaline is gone and Jensen can torment himself with what ifs.

He sighs and wraps his arms tighter around Jared, feeling Jared’s arms wrap around him as well as they hold each other until the water starts to cool.

Jensen kisses Jared, slow and intimate, before shutting off the shower and reaching for their towels.

They dry off in silence, Jensen keeping an eye on Jared as his movements become a little more sluggish and uncoordinated. His exhaustion closer to the surface now that he’s relaxed.

“Come on,” Jensen says and wraps his arm around Jared’s waist, leading him back to their bedroom.

Sadie follows behind, watching them dress in sleep pants and t-shirts before crawling into bed. She settles in her bed as well.

“You know I prefer to sleep naked,” Jared mumbles into the pillow and Jensen laughs.

“I know, stud,” he agrees and rolls his eyes.

Like either of them are up for what that leads to right now.

Jared sighs as Jensen reaches for him. “We should be working.”

“Jared…”

You should be working,” Jared amends at Jensen’s tone and shifts beneath the blankets until he’s comfortable. His legs wrapped around Jensen’s, his head on Jensen’s chest, arm draped across Jensen’s waist.

“No,” Jensen assures him. “I’m where I should be.”

Jared hums a content response as Jensen kisses the top of his head.

“Go to sleep, Jay,” Jensen tells him, knowing Jared will sometimes fight fatigue like a stubborn child.

But rest is what Jared needs, what his body is craving as it continues to recover from the morning’s seizure.

“What are you gonna do?”

The question hints at the clinginess that lingers post-seizure. Jared wanting to know where Jensen is, needing to know he’s nearby.

Jensen quirks a fond smile and cards his fingers through Jared’s hair, a guaranteed way to lull Jared into the pull of sleep. “I’m gonna sleep, too,” he replies, because a nap sounds damn good right about now. “Then maybe read or do a few things online.”

His tablet is within reach. He can check whether news has leaked about what happened.

It’s not likely. But it is possible, especially with the new girl in the mix.

Jensen sighs. “But don’t worry about that now.” It’s advice both he and Jared should follow. “Just go to sleep and rest. I’ll be right here, okay?”

There’s movement under the blankets as Jared slides his arm up Jensen’s chest and holds out his pinky.

Jensen snorts. “You’re such a dork,” he grumbles but links his pinky with Jared’s, sealing the promise.

Jared is smiling at him with that drowsy, loopy expression he gets when he’s tired. “You love it,” he quips, his hand retreating back under the covers, resting on Jensen’s chest as he snuggles into Jensen’s side.

“I love you,” Jensen replies, kissing Jared’s temple.

Jared hums, still smiling. “Love you,” he murmurs.

It’s the last thing he says before he drifts off to sleep.

He’ll be out for several hours now. And that’s good…except Jensen is left alone with his thoughts.

He lays there, trailing his hand up and down Jared’s back, replaying what happened earlier and more keenly aware than usual of the pressure of Jared’s ID bracelet digging into his chest.

It’s Jensen’s number that’s on the back.

It’s Jensen that Jared chooses to keep around his wrist.

It’s Jensen that Jared wants someone to call when he can’t, when his world is shaking apart.

Jensen closes his eyes, overwhelmed by how much he loves the man sleeping in his arms.

When Jared wakes, it will be dark outside and Jensen will be where he promised – right there beside him.


END