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Silly Love Songs

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PROLOGUE

Everything I do (I do it for you)-Bryan Adams

Jensen has always had big romantic notions. When he was little he watched Disney movies over and over and over and his favorite songs on the radio were always the ones about love. The ones that, he’s grown to realize, most people would consider cringeworthy. He’s learned to roll up his car windows before he starts singing along at the top of his lungs. If he didn’t sing along, though, he wouldn’t have gotten his fairy tale.

Long before his fairy tale starts, Jensen was a 13 year old boy, rushing home from the music store with a brand new cassette tape single shoved deep in the pocket of his oversized, hand me down jacket. He’s breathless with anticipation, and more than a little exertion, when he finally reaches his bedroom and the solitude that it gives him. His mom refuses to let him get a lock for it, so he leans back against the door as he looks around for something heavy he can shove against it to keep his little sister out. “Ah!” He exclaims, eyeing his dresser and the few short feet he needs to shove it across the floor to get it to press against his door. The time and aggravation will be worth it, he thinks, as he throws his scrawny, slight frame against the bulky piece of furniture and shoves it to where he wants it.

Panting and sweating, he throws his jacket off, but not before extracting his prize from the pocket, and throws himself onto his bed. He gropes for his Walk-man, a birthday gift from his best friend Jason, where he’d hid it between his mattress and box-spring lest his sister Mack find it and lose it like she has most of his other fun gifts. There’s no way to disguise the crinkle of the cellophane wrapper coming off the tape, but he hopes that Mack isn’t spying on him anyway.

Finally, his prize is free and he pops it into the walkman and pulls the cheap headphones over his ears before pressing play.

“Look into my eyes, and you will see, what you mean to me.” Bryan Adam’s raspy yet soothing voice wafts over his ears and Jensen closes his eyes and smiles, listening to the song he’d heard on the radio and could not get out of his head. Jensen listened to that song, rewinding and replaying over and over and over again, all night. And the next day, after school. And the day after that, on and on for a week. He never got tired of it.

He had no idea, but that was the beginning of a collection that he would build and depend on for the rest of his life. Music became his first love, his safe space and it was how he remembered so many important moments through his life.

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ACT ONE

I Want it That Way- Backstreet Boys (A duet with Danneel)

Dani flopped onto her back on the end of the bed, pulling the blanket up over her naked, heaving chest. She lifted her head to look down at Jensen, curled in on himself at the head of the bed, pillow covering his crotch. Between her legs pulsed, even though she didn’t actually desire Jensen, his touch felt so good.

“Why did we think this would be a good idea?” She asked, shifting uneasily-the first time she’s ever felt uneasy with Jensen. “When has fucking the gay out of someone ever worked?” She mused aloud crankily. Teenage hormones were raging for both of them as they looked at each other across the bedspread.

“If there was ever gonna be a girl, Dani, it would be you. You’re pretty and smart and I love you so fucking much. But, damn, your squishy curves don’t do it for my dick.” Jensen mourned as he lifted the pillow and looked down at the soft member in question. He shoved the pillow back down and looked down the length of the bed at his best friend in the world.

“It’s just… I mean. It’s hard.” Jensen whined, wincing only slightly as Dani’s crassly muttered, “No, it really isn’t” reached his ears.

“It’s hard to be alone. To hide who I am. I just. Ugh, this sucks.” Jensen threw himself across the bed, landing splayed out but safely in Dani’s naked lap. She sighed heavily, but her hand came up to card through his dirty blonde hair.

“It’s not forever. And it’s not like every single day is Valentine’s day or something. I don't have anyone either.” She professed and he snorted, craning his neck to get a look at her.

“That’s because no one at our school, hell in our town, could stand up to your standards Dani, damn.” She cuffed him upside the head but then went back to carding her fingers through his hair soothingly.

“I mean, okay, you’re not wrong about that. But still. We will find our people, Jenny. They’re out there, just waiting for us to find them. For now though, I’m happy to stay a virgin instead of trying to have sex with you again. Or, even better, let’s go back to watching the gay porn! I liked that a lot.” She laughed and Jensen shoved off her in mock disgust.

“I never should’ve shared that with you but, creepily enough, it’s kinda nice not to watch porn alone. You just keep your squishy bits on your side of the blanket.”

I’ll Make Love to You- Boys II Men

The morning after senior prom, Jensen woke up and rolled onto his sore side so that he could look at the warm body next to him in bed. He and Joshua had been dating secretly for a few months when they decided to come out at the prom. Jensen felt flutters in his stomach when he thought back to the night before and how wonderfully it had gone. They’d both looked so dapper in their tuxedos and Jensen just knew that the pictures taken the night before were going to look amazing.

Senior year and he had a steady, sane boyfriend and he no longer had to hide who he was. Just a few short weeks and high school would be a thing of the past. He was pulled from his daydreaming by Josh himself, rolling over and demanding morning breath kisses.

“I could get used to waking up to your face.”Josh smiled at him before he shoved himself out of the bed and headed, naked, to the bathroom to brush his teeth and start the coffee in the tiny coffee maker.

“I could get used to it, too. Too bad we aren’t going to the same college; I wish you were going to UC Berkeley with me and Dani,” Jensen lamented as he rolled over and stretched his back.

Josh flopped back onto the bed, blowing a raspberry on the exposed slip of Jensen’s hip, making him giggle and curl up. “Yeah, but Palo-Alto is only an hour and a half away, so it’s not like it’s too far to travel. You could always change your mind. Stanford has a good history program too and I know you got in.” Jensen scritched his fingers into Josh’s scalp and laughed back.

“UC Berkeley’s program is better and, as much as I wanna stay as close to you as possible, I’m forever afraid of Dani so I can not tell her that I want to switch schools.”

“Well then sweetness. We will have to make the most of the time we have left. How long before we have to check out of the hotel, because I’m pretty sure that your parents, cool as they may be with us, aren’t going to let me do this in their house,” Josh said as he lifted the blankets to cup Jensen’s butt cheeks in his big hands, pulling their naked bodies together as he laughed.

Weak-SWV

“Jason...psst...JASON.”

Jason looked around the hallway, trying to figure out who the hell was whisper-yelling to him when he finally spotted Jensen’s flailing hands around the nearest corner. He slammed his locker shut and headed down to his distressed friend. “What’s up Jennie-o?”

Jensen glared at him, though the overall effect was lessened by his size, Jason frequently called Jensen his little terrier, and the fact that his face was red enough that Jason briefly wondered if he was wearing makeup. “Is Momoa gone from the hallway yet?” Jensen whispered, standing up on his tiptoes to speak right into Jason’s ear.

Jason leaned back out into the hallway, eyes searching the crowd for the JV Football star in the grade ahead of them. He glanced the back of his head, hard to miss with that crazy hair, heading into a classroom. When he turned back to tell Jensen what he’d seen, Jensen was looking equal parts mortified and pissed-off.

“Jennie-o, you gotta tell me what’s going on. Momoa went into his classroom. Are you hiding from him? Did something happen? Was he picking on you?” Jason hovered over his friend, turning to glare out into the emptying hallway before Jensen slapped at his shoulder and shushed him.

“You’re not my mom, back off. No, I just… he’s not. I mean, he doesn’t. He’s just so.” Jensen muttered and stuttered with a blush as he looked at the cracked tiles of the floor beneath his feet. Jason felt his eyes widen and a grin break out over his face.

“Dude, do you finally have a crush? On MOMOA? Oh that’s fucking perfect! Dani is gonna owe me lunch money for a week.” Jason twisted and squirmed in imitation of a goofy little dance while Jensen stood, mortified and silent.

“I don't have a crush on Momoa, that would be ridiculous. I just get a little tongue tied when he talks to me and my knees feel all wobbly when he walks by and holy shit I have a crush on Jason Momoa. What a fucking gay cliche.” Jensen’s head dropped into his hands. Jason clapped him on the shoulder and boomed out a laugh.

“Welcome to puberty hell with the rest of us. Finally you get to know what it’s like to get weak in the knees when you’re talking to someone or popping random boners when someone walks by smelling good! AHHH, this is gonna be fantastic!”

“But no, this is horrible.” Jensen whined as he slid down to the floor, curling his arms around his knees.

All I want For Christmas is You- Mariah Carey

“Jensen thank you so much. Man, I never would’ve passed this class if it weren’t for you. How can I make it up to you? You sure I can’t pay you? You actually, like, totally saved my ass,” Sean Patrick Flannery was pretty enough, but thanking Jensen and begging to do something nice for him? Indescribable. Jensen was so grateful for the table between them as he shook his head in the negative.

“Sean, you did it all yourself, man. I just guided you. I was barely even a tutor, basically just a study-buddy. You don’t have to do anything for me.” Jensen protested, smiling across the table at the other boy, loving having all that focused attention of a good looking-boy on him.

“Can.. can I get you a Christmas present then? Something really nice?” Sean asked him, slowly, carefully, as though he were already thinking about what he’d get.

Jensen couldn’t help but smile. “Sure, Sean. If you want to get me a Christmas gift for helping you study a little, then I won’t turn it down.” He finished shoving his books into his backpack and thought about his little sister to get the rest of his semi to go away before he stood, swinging the bag over his shoulder as he did so. “I gotta get home now, though. Have a nice vacation!” Jensen smiled and Sean returned it and they went their separate ways.

Halfway home, Jensen began to sing the song stuck in his head, never thinking that anyone would hear him. “I don’t want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need, I don’t care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree, I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know, make my wish come true, all I want for Christmas is you!”

The first day of vacation was spent, as follows with his tradition, sleeping in until noon then calling Dani and Jason for an emergency shopping session. They survived the mall on December 23rd, with minimum damage, though Jason complained about fighting with an old lady for the last purple sweater on the shelf.

“Eh, you just want something to bitch about. Shut it. I wanna hear more about Sean’s ‘dreamy eyes and perfect smile’,” Dani teased both her friends with a single breath, leaving the whole car silent and mildly grumpy until she cranked the radio.

Christmas Eve passed quietly, dinner with the family then naps until Midnight Mass at their church for the candlelight service. Jensen was half-asleep when his mom yelled up the stairs that he had a visitor at the door. He stumbled down the stairs to see Sean in his living room.

“Hey, sorry to bother you but I wanted to stop by and give you the gift I got you, you know, for helping me pass history.” Jensen felt his face flush as his mom smiled indulgently at him.

“My little rockstar, tutoring others. I didn’t even know. And what a sweet boy you are,” Donna cooed at them until Jensen turned on her.

“Mom, I’m fourteen, not four! And Sean is sixteen!” Though he never did, all of them could clearly hear the sound of Jensen’s stamping foot.

“Hah, well, you’ll always be my sweet little boy, but okay, I’ll leave you alone.” By the time she was gone from the room, Sean had a flush on his cheeks, too. Jensen took one look at him and grabbed his jacket from the back of the door.

“She’s probably listening in at the door. Wanna go for a walk or something? I have a couple hours before church.” Sean nodded and shoved his hands into his pockets as Jensen worked his feet into his shoes and led the way outside.

“You having a good vacation so far?” Jensen asked awkwardly, not really knowing why the older boy stopped by; giving him a gift seemed to be a flimsy excuse.

“Yeah. Look, I have this gift for you and I don’t know if you’re really gonna like it but I talked to a few people cause you wouldn’t tell me what you wanted and so I really hope you do.” Sean rambled on and Jensen stopped short, looking up into his pretty eyes.

“You asked around about me so that you could get me something I really wanted?” His voice was “maiden in a bodice-ripper” breathless but he couldn’t stop it. He’d had a crush on the older boy since long before Sean asked for Jensen’s help in their shared class. The idea that he’d gone through so much trouble when Jensen was pretty sure that he would’ve loved a pencil from the other boy was making him lightheaded.

“Yeah, So….” Sean started and then leaned down really close, his eyes closing as he pressed his lips to Jensen’s slack ones. He recovered enough to lean into the kiss, briefly, before Sean pulled back to gaze down at him. “Did you like it?”

Jensen ran his tongue over his lips, stalling for time. Did he like it? Did he like that it was given as a gift? Did he like that it was from an older boy who he’d had a crush on for nearly a whole year now? He didn’t know which one to answer.

“I don’t.. I don’t… that was my first kiss.” He stuttered, then blushed and looked down at the ground beneath his feet. Sean lifted his chin with a finger and smiled at him.

“If that was really your first kiss, then I think that we can do better, don’t you?” And with that, they were kissing again and all of Jensen’s fears and insecurities were gone in the wam press of lips and the slick flicker of tongue over his lips.

I Can’t Make You Love Me- Bonnie Raitt

Dani cradled Jensen’s shaking body in her lap. She pet his greasy hair and rocked back and forth, cooing into his ear to try and calm him down. It had been three days of this and her heart was torn between broken and true, red-headed fury.

Josh, unable to handle the cruelty of his fellow classmates for the few short weeks between prom and graduation, dumped Jensen. Coldly and publicly. And then he had to go to the nurse’s office because Dani broke his nose.

No one hurts her Jensen. No one.

She lifted Jensen’s slight weight in her arms and pulled him, clothes and all into the shower. She could see the steam from the hot water falling on them but knew that neither of them was feeling it. She pulled Jensen’s soggy clothes off and tossed them out of the shower as she manhandled him so that she could reach his bodywash and shampoo.

“Baby it’s graduation. You can’t let him wreck you like this. You’re better than this. You’re better than him. We are going to show up to graduation and collect our diplomas and show him what he is missing.” She rambled as she ran soapy hands all over his skinny torso. Eventually she felt the heaving of his sobs subside and felt his slight weight lift off her, so that he was supporting himself on his own two feet as she soaped up and rinsed his hair.

She shut the water off and silently guided him out of the shower, wrapping him in a giant, fluffy towel and ushering him back into his bedroom. She turned her back to strip off her own sodden clothes and dry herself off and when she turned around Jensen was in motion. He was pulling his graduation outfit, the one they’d picked out together just a few weeks before, out of the closet and laying it across his bed so that he could start pulling each piece of clothing on. Dani stood silently and waited for some kind of signal from him.

“He never loved me. He couldn’t ever have loved me and treated me like this. I can’t make him love me; but I can totally make him regret letting me go. Let’s do this thing.” Dani smiled at Jensen’s grim face and stepped forward, grabbing her dress in its garment bag from where it was hooked over the back of the bathroom door.

“We are going to slay at graduation. And then we are never going to see these ungrateful people ever again.”

Kiss Me- Sixpence None the Richer

Spring Fling dances were just the worst, especially as sophomores; too familiar with the school to be awkward, too young and awkward to be cool. Jensen and Dani went of course, along with their friend Jason Manns, but they stood awkwardly on the side of the dance floor with all the other underclassmen that hadn’t been asked to attend by upperclassmen.

“Guys, why are we even here? We could be doing something so much more fun like, i dunno, trying to find a dead body in the woods and creating the next “Blair Witch Project” or something.” Jason whined. “I mean, Dani won’t dance with anyone here cause no one is good enough for her and Jensen won’t dance with anyone here cause girls are ‘gross’ and we aren’t allowed to let anyone know he’s gay.”

Dani’s jaw dropped open as she turned to stare at their friend. “What the hell goes on in that tiny brain of yours that you felt it was a good idea to spew all of that at us?” Her tone of voice dripped with disdain in only the way Danneel Harris’ could. Jensen silently cheered her on as he stared wistfully across the dance floor at all of the puppy love couples dancing and smiling and having a much better time than he was having. None of them noticed, at first, when Steve Carlson, a boy in their class that Jensen had a few classes with but didn’t know all that well, approached.

“Dani, nothing I said wasn’t true! You’re too good to lower yourself to even dancing with any of the guys here, Jensen is gayer than a three dollar bill and I’m not into this whole “coupling” thing! Can we just go, please? Everyone has seen you in your dress, isn’t that why we came in the first place?”

“Um, ‘scuse me Jason but I was wondering if I could just butt into your conversation for just a moment?” Steve stuck his smiling face between Jason and Dani to distract everyone and it worked; the three friends went silent and still as they stared at the newcomer in their midst. He cleared his throat awkwardly and focused on Jensen bashfully as Jensen tilted his head in confusion.

“I’d, uh, I’d heard a rumor that Jensen here might be kinda like me...you know, bi? And I came over to ask if it was true and if so would you feel brave enough to have a dance with me?” He turned his head and addressed Dani directly, “Everyone knows that if they upset Jensen Ackles in any way that it’s you they answer too and I was hoping that you wouldn't need to give me a whoopin’ like you gave to Michael Rosenbaum in the fifth grade when he tried to beat up Jensen?”

Danni batted her eyes at him silently for a few beats before bursting into loud, guffawing laughter. “Oh man, Rosey is never gonna forget that and no one would ever let him. Good, just as I planned. Now, Jensen can speak for himself but since I know him so well I know that the look on his face right now means that he’s been struck a little dumb. So, yes, you may dance with Jensen, his romantic heart would just love that. He’s not bi though, he’s totally and completely gay. My sweet little bottom boy.” Dani laughed and the whole group turned red as she laughed.

“DANNEEL!” Jensen whisper yelled as he stamped his feet and turned the color of tomatoes in the summer.

“Oh honey, it’s true. And Steve doesn’t seem to be scared away by it. Now, I’ve been seen in my dress, you go have a dance and then we can leave and that way all three of us get to do something we wanted to do tonight.” She blew a kiss to him across the few feet of air between them and Jensen said nothing, holding his hand out to Steve and letting him guide out onto the dance floor.

Once they were there Jensen felt nothing but awkward but Steve pulled Jensen’s hands up to his shoulders and put his hands on Jensen’s slender hips before starting the “middle school sway” of all slow dances and suddenly, it was perfect.

My Heart Will Go On- Celine Dion

“Why didn’t I ask him to walk me home?” Jensen mumbled through tears as he and Dani and Jason cuddled on his couch. “Why didn’t I just ask him to see me home, he always walked me home after dates.” He cried, pressing his face deeper into Jason’s shoulder as Jason and Dani’s eyes met tearily over his head.

Jensen and Steve had been dating off and on since that homecoming dance in sophomore year;both of them agreeing that they didn’t want to be alone, nor did they want to come out, they kept it very platonic at school and in front of their friends and family. Not even Dani and Jason knew the full extent of their relationship. The night before last Steve has asked Jensen out to a movie and they went and had a lovely time, chatting and holding hands and kissing. After the movie had ended, they’d snuck behind the movie theatre to make out a little but when it became too serious, Jensen pushed Steve away as he usually did.

“Time to go.” Jensen huffed, pushing Steve away lightly even as he licked his lips and rubbed his legs together.

“Yeah. Yeah. Maybe. Maybe next time?” Steve asked, and that was new. Jensen paused and opened his eyes in the dark alley-light. He looked across the way at Steve, handsome, lovely Steve.

“Maybe. We gotta plan…” Jensen trailed off as Steve got close and kissed him again, so gently he wasn’t sure it had even happened.

“I got my brother’s truck. We just gotta pick a weekend. You think about it you know I ain’t gonna rush ya.” Steve offered another smile and dashed out of the alleyway before Jensen could say another word and he walked home in a daze.

It was odd that he didn’t hear from Steve the next day, but sometimes Steve went fishing with his brothers and cousins on Sundays and couldn’t get away. But then he wasn’t at school Monday and Jensen became worried. Steve never missed school, not for anything. Then, during second period, Jensen, Dani, Jason and a few other kids that Steve was known to be friends with were summoned to the counselor's office and given the news.

“Steve Carlson was killed Saturday night. We don’t have a lot of details right now, his parents just asked that we contact you, as his friends, and let you know. They’re in shock right now and would really appreciate if you didn’t come to them. They promise to let you know when they’re having a service for him. We’ve called your parents, and you’re all free to go home for the day and the rest of the week so that you can grieve. Take today at least, and if you’d like to come back earlier than next Monday have your parents call and we can discuss it.”

Jensen was in shock; he felt Dani and Jason wrap him up in their arms. He felt them helping him pull on a jacket and get him out of the school without seeing or speaking to anyone.They went to Dani’s house, as her uncle was a police officer and would be able to get her the details that they wanted.

Jason busied himself tucking Jensen into Dani’s bed, sitting by him and keeping a steadying hand on his back while Dani found out what she could. She came into the room a little bit later with a grim look on her face. She curled up behind Jensen on the bed and beckoned Jason to curl around them, too.

“He was hit by a drunk driver. He was crossing the street towards his house and the guy hit him hard. He tried to run, too, but Steve’s mom saw the whole thing happen, which is another reason she’s in shock right now. Poor lady, I can’t imagine,” Dani cried into Jensen’s hair.

Jensen couldn’t imagine either. He didn’t want to imagine. He wanted it all to be a bad dream. He wanted Steve to walk through the door and give him that goofy smile of his and wrap him up in a big hug. He felt fresh, hot tears stream down his cheeks into his pillow.

La La La- Jay Brannen

“What is it about me that makes this happen over and over again?” Jensen cried into Dani’s couch as she dug into her freezer for the Ben and Jerry’s she’d hid there for breakup emergencies. He lifted his head as she triumphantly marched back into the room, pint of Half-Baked and two spoons waving in the air.

“Well, babe, the nice reason is cause you’re what’s called a people pleaser.” Dani announced as she plopped down on the couch, offering him a spoon before shoving a spoonful into her mouth and talking as she chewed. “Which means you’re a bit of a doormat. Add to that the soft bottom boy, librarian aesthetic you got going on and you’re gonna get a lot of boys sniffing around for your asshole and not much more.” She finished with a loud swallow and looked at him through narrowed eyes, “the cocksucking lips, too, baby.”

“Jesus, Dani, you’re so crass.” Jensen shoved her away and chewed through his own mouthful of ice cream thoughtfully. “I mean, you’re gross but I’m pissed cause you’re not wrong.” He dramatically threw himself back onto the couch with his hand over his eyes.

“I just want someone who likes me! Who wants to stick around past the first fuck. Am I that ...that...khaki that no one wants more than a fuck and a suck? I mean, Welling didn’t even RECIPROCATE! I had to take care of it myself.” He cried, rolling over so that his head was in Dani’s lap and she could play with his hair.

“I know I’m a romantic. I know I want this romantic fantasy and I know we are only twenty and there’s a lot of life left but each time just gets worse. Each guy, each decision. Ever since fucking Joshua, may his butthole itch during a job interview, every dude I take a chance on gets fucking worse. Next time it’ll probably be Lucifer himself.”

“Pretty sure Lucifer isn’t into your skinny ass, Ackles, but you never know. You gotta be a little less free with yourself. Don’t give it all away so soon, make them work for it.” She crooned to him, stroking his hair with one hand as she searched out the remote with the other hand. “C’mon, we will watch some bad tv and you’ll feel all better.”

 

 

 

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ACT TWO

Jared stood in the doorway of his new apartment building and tried not to sigh with relief as Chad slammed the bed of his truck shut, waved goodbye and drove away. Chad was his best friend since they were in diapers and Jared never would have been able to move without his help but there was only so much CHAD anyone could handle at one time; even if that one was his best friend who wanted to remain his friend. He huffed back up the stairs to his landing, smiling at the crooked *j2* apartment number on his door. He looked at the somehow pristine *j1* on the front door of the other apartment on the landing and hoped that his new neighbor hadn’t been bothered by all the noise they’d been making.

He walked back into the living room of his tiny new apartment and grunted; there were boxes everywhere. His work had really only just begun and he’d been up since seven, hassling Chad to get him out of bed had taken too big of a chunk of the morning. He started in his bedroom, assembling his too-small bed and making it with freshly washed sheets so that when he was too tired to keep working he had a place he could crash in relative comfort. This new apartment brought with it the end of his nights crunched onto a couch to sleep.

From there he headed into the living room, setting up his modest entertainment center so that he could listen to music while he finished the living room and kitchen. He put his iPod into the dock and pulled up Sirius XM to the Lithium channel before turning it up just loud enough to hear through the whole apartment but not so loud that he’d be pissing off his new neighbors on the first day.

He was neck deep in the cabinets, putting away coffee cups the first time he heard it; his neighbor singing. Jared’s speakers were pumping out Godsmack so he dashed back into the living room to turn the music down and headed back into the kitchen. The man had the voice of an angel but form the first verse that Jared could focus on, he knew that his neighbor had horrible taste in music. He laughed aloud when he focused on the song, technically “More than Words” could be played on Lithium XM, though Jared couldn’t really remember Extreme sounding quite as nice as his neighbor did. He set his elbow on the counter and smiled at the wall that the music was coming from, head in his hand. He could listen happily for hours and not really notice the time going, the man’s voice was so beautiful and so soothing. Until the song ended and he switched to a soulful version of a boyband song that Jared was honestly glad that he didn’t know.

Making a mental note to make sure that he met this neighbor at his earliest chance, Jared yawned and stretched sore muscles and headed back into the living room to lock his door and shut down all his electronics to end his long day. The problem with mental notes, for Jared at least, is that without a constant or physical reminder, he never remembered anything. As soon as his head hit the pillow and he drifted off to sleep, the mental note was forgotten.

The days after moving in passed in a blur. The job site was short-handed which meant Jared was pulling longer shifts than usual and doing the work of three people in the process. He loved his job but he worked so much in the first two weeks of moving that he never ventured into the kitchen of his new apartment except for morning coffee before the sun was up. He was too tired for the supermarket and much too tired to try and cook after his long shifts, too eager to get home and lie down. Finally, a Friday arrived that had Jared leaving work on time at four and with no plans to return until Monday morning like the rest of the crew. In celebration, he stopped at the overpriced supermarket that was on his walk home and picked up a potato, steak and some broccoli. On a whim he wandered into the cold beer aisle and was contemplating the merits of spending ten dollars on a six pack of microbrew when he was distracted by the most incredible looking man walking down the aisle towards him.

He was dressed conservatively, Jared liked to call it sexy librarian; khakis with button down shirt and honest-to-god sweater vest. The man had artfully tousled red-brown hair and the most adorable nerd glasses perched on his nose. And he never once glanced in Jared’s direction. It was all of Jared’s favorite things. And then, Jared gasped aloud when the man turned and bent down to reach a 24-pack of bottled water from the bottom shelf and an ass that would make angels weep wiggled at him. The man seemed to be struggling a lot so Jared placed his basket on the floor and went over, lifting the water easily and placing it in the man’s cart. Up close, he was even more attractive, especially when Jared realized that the clothes he was wearing and his demeanor made him appear much smaller than he actually was; he was nearly as tall as Jared was. When grateful green eyes turned to Jared’s, he knew that he was lost.

“Thanks for that. I’m not usually quite this helpless but it’s been a really long time since I lifted anything heavier than a book for work…” He trailed off with a sweet little smile and gently pushed his glasses back up his nose.

Jared was enamored, “I’m glad I was here to help. I’m Jared and you are..?” He held out a hand and the man took his large, calloused hand in his own soft academic one.

“Oh, man, Sorry, I’m Jensen and I’m kinda shy and very socially awkward,” He paused, rubbing his forehead with two fingers as he winced and continued, “as you can tell from the way I just offered up that information.” A sweet, pink flush passed over his chiseled from marble features. He relished the feeling of Jensen’s hand in his own and held it too long before he could force himself to let go.

As he stared into Jensen’s eyes he totally forgot that they were standing in the middle of a supermarket; the moment felt far too intimate for the setting. He shook his head and turned to pick up his basket up off the floor. He turned back around quick enough to see that Jensen had been checking him out while his back was turned and his heart was lifted.

“We really should do this somewhere other than the supermarket, I think.” Jared proposed, stepping close and lowering his voice to flirting levels.

“Oh,” Jensen squeaked, “Uhm, that could be. Yeah. Lemme, uh, lemme hold your phone and I’ll give you my number?”

Jared, impressed with the newfound and unexpected boldness of his sexy little librarian, unlocked and handed over his phone with a smirk. He waited patiently but couldn’t hide the grin on his face when Jensen’s voice squeaked again as he handed the phone back.

“Just, uh, text me or something so I can save your number, too. And we can make plans to meet up.”

“Jensen, I can’t tell you how much I’d love that.” He was laying it on thick, he knew it, but Jensen was hitting every single one of his buttons so hard that he was sweating a little bit. He liked it. He stepped back and very obviously looked Jensen over from top to bottom. “I really like your glasses. Really rocking the hot librarian thing.” He could have clapped a hand over his mouth, he was so shocked as to what had just come out of it. He could tell that Jensen was shy and skittish, almost, and he had a very strong feeling that he shouldn’t scare him off.

Jensen’s eyes went wide behind his glasses and his skin turned the color of the fresh, cherry tomatoes in his cart before he whispered, “thanks, text me,” and dashed off down the aisle away from Jared.

When Jared finally made it home after paying for his groceries, walking home, and stopping to check the name on the mailbox of his neighbor so that he didn’t keep calling him “voice of an angel dude,” said neighbor was in his kitchen singing “faith” by George Michael. Mister J. Oakley, at least that was what Jared thought was written on his mailbox, had a better voice than whatever Jared could find on the radio at any time, so he left his radio off and let Oakley serenade him while he cooked. Secretly, though, he was thrilled that his dinner was finished when he heard

“someday somebody’s gonna make you wanna turn around and say goodbye.

Till then baby are you gonna let it hold you down and make you cry”

through the wall and he escaped into the living room as quick as he could.

He could stand the Beach Boys. He could even handle the Mama’s and the Papa’s. But he drew the line at Wilson Phillips.

He didn’t know how long it would take for Jensen to finish his shopping and get home, though he looked and didn’t see Jensen when he was checking out himself, so he waited until he was halfway into his steak before he picked up his phone. He thumbed through his contacts and chewed thoughtfully until he got to the name ‘Jensen’ with the “nerd glasses” emoji next to it and couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled out of his lips.

-so ARE you a sexy librarian?- he hit send before he could really think it through and rolled his eyes at himself for his idiocy. He popped another bite of potato in his mouth and was chewing slowly when the (...) of a text being composed popped up.

First was the blush emoji, followed by -do you really like the sexy librarian thing?- He placed his nearly-empty plate down on the table in front of him and relaxed back into the couch as he decided how to answer. Jensen was already a contradiction to him; shy but very forward and Jared didn’t want to scare him away.

-I like you- he cautiously sent back.

-I’m glad cause I think I like you too- Jared was about to reply, feeling like a teeager with a crush, when he saw that something more was coming from Jensen, so he waited.

-I don’t want to scare you off but I just got out of an ugly almost relationship. Can we go slow?- Jared blew out a shocked breath; he hadn’t expected Jensen to be so upfront about anything.

-How about a group meeting? Magillicuddy’s on Sunday for the Cowboy’s game?- Jared liked this side of Jensen. He began to type quickly. He wanted to make sure that Jensen knew they could go as slow as Jensen wanted.

-Cute and a Cowboy’s fan? How’d I get so lucky? Slow sounds alright and a group sounds interesting. I’ll bring my friend Chad. He’s an idiot but harmless.-

Another blush emoji -sounds good. I’ll be with my friends Jason, dumb but harmless and Dani who is whatever the opposite of harmless is, but I’ll keep an eye out for you, don’t worry-

-Do i worry your friends?-

-Let’s just say, for now, that they’ve had reason to worry in the past but I’m cautiously optimistic that you won’t worry them-

-You’re cute so I’m going to do my best to live up to your optimism. Gonna finish my dinner and have sweet dreams about libraries. Sleep sweet to you, k?-

-Thanks jared, looking forward to Sunday. Sweet dreams.-

When he headed into his kitchen he could still hear his neighbor singing sickly sweet songs about first love but it suited his mood so good that he found himself smiling and tapping his toes as he cleaned up. And when he turned off the lights and headed into bed, for the first time in weeks, he wasn’t so tired that he barely made it to his pillow, but instead was able to relax fully and drift off with a smile on his face.

Jared had been raised believing that Saturdays were for cleaning and ordering your life. Since it had been a few weeks of Saturdays working the chores had piled up so Jared woke up with a plan in his head. Laundry and vacuuming and he was going to scrub the toilet because, as his mother said, he is not a savage nor was he raised by one. When he made his way into the kitchen for coffee-flavored motivation, he was a little disappointed that J1’s apartment was silent enough that he wouldn’t be providing Jared’s soundtrack for the day.

The day passed in a blur and seemed to drag along forever, but at the end of it Jared’s apartment was spotless and all his clothes clean when he finally allowed himself to sit on the couch and turn on the tv.

Sunday dawned bright and cold and the perfect day for beer and football. He showered and shaved carefully and then pulled on the jeans that his friend Gen swore made his ass look amazing and his well-worn and much-loved Emmitt Smith jersey. He pocketed his keys, wallet and phone before heading out and walking the few blocks to Chad’s apartment so that they could walk over to the bar together.

Chad barely took one look at him before his mouth started running. “Must really like this guy cause you got those ass-hugging jeans on. I mean, damn Jay, how do you even fit in those bad boys? Are you even wearing underwear, you man slut?”

“I’m sorry, “Jared started, shaking his head and sitting on the couch, “how can you, Chad the wonder-skank, call me, Jared the rehymenated, a man slut? Is it opposite day?” He yelled without taking his eyes off the TV because Chad was changing his clothes in the middle of the kitchen. Over his life, he’d seen more of Chad’s naked ass than anyone should be subjected to, gay or not.

“You are just jealous about how beloved I am. Hah, bet I can score some random chick’s number before you even get a flirty giggle out of your little nerd.” Chad held his hand out to seal the bet and, as reluctant as Jared was to bet on anything that had to do with Jensen, he took it because Chad needed to be knocked down a peg. Or four.

Jared was so excited and nervous about this semi-date that they were walking in the entrance to the bar before he was really ready. Nonetheless, he scanned the room until his eyes landed on Jensen at a high-top table in the middle of the room. There were a few empty chairs and one other dude sitting with him, with dark hair and an epic beard. Jared took one step towards them when he was grabbed by the bicep and he turned to see Chad, eyes fixed on the bar.

“Smokin hot redhead at the bar ordering. Target acquired.” Chad grinned at Jared caught a glimpse, just enough to assure himself that the woman was way out of Chad’s league.

“Pffft, Good luck with that. Lick your wounds before you join us and bring me a beer when you do drag yourself over to socialize.” With a laugh and a pat on Chad’s shoulder for luck, Jared was back off towards Jensen, drawn like a magnet.

“Jared this is Jason, Jason this is Jared. Jared, you’re just in time for the greatest show on earth. Some douche-bro just walked over to Dani and started hitting on her. Even from this far away this is always hilarious! C’mon, watch with us!” Jensen was so excited he was practically bouncing in his seat and Jared sat himself directly across from him so that he could keep looking at him. Jensen caught him looking and smiled. “You’re missing it.” He added softly, almost embarassed and Jared turned his gaze towards the bar, knowing full well exactly what he was going to see.

And he was right; said douche-bro hitting on Dani was, of course, Chad. From where he sat now Jared could see her model-perfect face and even as it contorted to show clear disgust with whatever Chad was saying, it was never less than beautiful. He laughed aloud as Dani physically removed the hand that Chad placed on her shoulder, twisting it back until the whole bar could hear him yelp in pain.

“Oh, well, you’ve not met yet but that’s my dumb-but-harmless friend Chad hitting on Dani, which I assume is short for something slightly more feminine? I TOLD him that she was way out of his league, but he just doesn’t listen. Like a puppy who pees in the living room. Guess we will have to go back to crate training, heh.” Jared laughed at his own awful joke but loved the fact that he could hear Jensen laughing along with him.

They quieted down and watched, rapt, as Chad tried to be smooth and alluring and failed miserably. Every single word that came out of his mouth was either cut off or greeted with the most incredible looks of disdain from Dani. Chad, as per his usual MO remained unfazed and visibly enamored, especially when she flipped her hair in his face as she grabbed her drinks from the bar and marched back their way.

“Dani that was awesome, as usual. This is Jared.” Jensen shyly offered as he reached across the table for his beer. Dani lifted a beer to her lips for a swallow and that left the very pink concoction in the highball glass for Jason. Jared blinked at him.

“What? They’re good!” He defended as he daintily took a drink from hs straw. Jared blinked again and turned his best smile and biggest dimples to Dani as he pulled out her chair.

“Please, I beg of you, don’t judge me by Chad.” He held his hand out to shake as he stood next to her chair.

“Chad? Who the hell is Ch-wait.” Dani deadpanned, “is that the name of the dudebro that just tried to grope me at the damn bar? The one who couldn’t take the smallest, simplest hint that I was emphatically not interested?” Her beautiful face showed nothing as Chad picked that minute to show up at the table and hand Jared his beer. She refused to even really look in his direction. “This doesn’t bode well for you Jared but Jensen is so in love with those deadly dimples and your easy smile that I won’t take points off right away.”

Chad chose to ignore the things coming out of her mouth and make goo-goo eyes at Dani as she continued to ignore him completely. “Jared, tell us about yourself. Make a good impression to make up for your...friend. The things I do for you, Jensen.”

“Okay, well, I’m currently a steel worker with a background in math and mechanical engineering. I just wanted to get out there and work with my hands while I still can, and see this stuff up close, and then I’m hoping later I can get a desk job doing the designing. I was born and raised in Texas and I’ve known this...what’d you call him? Douche-bro? Since we were in diapers. That, by the way, was longer for me than it was for him.” Jared paused for the laughs from the table and the offended, wordless shout from Chad.

“I dunno Dani. What would you like to know? I’m an open book, here. Can I ask about Jensen?” He snuck a peek across the table as Jensen, his stomach swooping at the pink and happy flush on his cheeks.

He pushed himself over the top of the table so that he could whisper in Jensen’s ear “is it the beer or is it me that’s making you blush like that? Cause I like it.” He pulled back a little to look at Jensen’s face again and loved the way that Jensen flushed a deep pink in reply. “I see,” he grinned and leaned back down into his chair reluctantly. Jensen was so intoxicating up close.

“Ahem. Keep it in your pants boys; there’s football on the TV and redneck Texans all around us. I just got my nails done and I hate to waste a good manicure by getting in a fight.” Dani laughed and Chad made a nauseating coo-ing noise next to her.

“Ugh, Jensen, I love you but if this is what it’s going to be like, I’m not babysitting anymore dates. You two look like you’ll be just fine without us adults here.” Her words were drowned out by a massive groan; Romo had just thrown an interception instead of a touchdown and the natives were drunk and pissed-off.

“And another thing, we are not coming back to this bar, Jenny. Do you know how many groping hands I had to endure walking back and forth between the table, besides his two?” Dani whined as she tipped up her beer and let the last few drops splash over her outstretched tongue.

Chad whimpered and jumped up from the table. “Who needs a beer? Me and Dani? Okay, I’ll go get them.” And he was gone through the crowds, faster than Jared had ever seen him move before. In fairness to Chad, Dani’s face upturned with her tongue sticking out was something that transfixed even him and he was pretty damn gay. He was only half paying attention to all that because Jensen was berating Dani for being a judgemental bitch and he was so cute.

“Excuse me for a minute from your bitch-fest, Jenny.” She turned to address Jared and his goofy grin, “Do you wanna crawl under the table and suck his dick right here? I think that would be less embarrassing than sitting at a table with a grown man making the smitten faces that you’re making.”

Jared didn’t even have a minute to process that before Jensen’s chair was being pushed back and he was rounding to table to get in Dani’s space. ‘What. The. Fuck. is your problem? You on the rag or something, bitch? You have been horrible all freaking day.” Jared felt his eyes go wide as he sat back in his chair to get away from the fur flying between the two friends. He looked over at Jason to take a cue from him only to see that Jason was packing up their things on the table and getting up.

‘There’s no dealing with it when they’re like this and I, for one, don’t want to get arrested again. You grab him and I’ll grab her and let’s get them outside.” Jared nodded and gripped Jensen’s biceps, shoving and guiding him towards the front as Jason did the same with Dani though the two never took their eyes from each other as they were pushed. Even though it felt like he was holding a ball of fury, Jared relished the closeness of their bodies as they pushed through the door into the cool Texas sunshine. As soon as the door closed behind them, Jensen and Dani burst out laughing, wrapping their arms around each other and giggling like kids. Jared was stunned silent.

“Holy shit Jenny, we haven’t done that in ages. I forgot how fun it was!” Dani cried into Jensen’s shoulder before letting go and turning to face Jared.

“I’m sorry to do this to you and you’re probably going to think I’m such a bitch but we came up with this in college as a way to ditch guys that couldn’t understand the meaning of ‘no.’ Best way we ever found to get rid of a hanger-on douchebro.” She giggled in his face and Jared turned to glance at Jensen, flushed with beer and flirting and fake fighting but smiling.

“So, lemme get this straight. You just made up that fight so that we could ditch Chad, my best friend, while he was at the bar getting you a drink?” Jensen, Dani and Jason all went still and silent in the wake of his question.

“That. Is. HILARIOUS. OH my god, I’m going to tease him for fucking ever about that. Ditched before he even got a date!” Jared started laughing and had a hard time stopping, bending over at the waist and tears coming out of his eyes. “Oh shit. This deserves a treat, you guys, I haven’t laughed this much in a long damn time.” Jared straightened up and looked around, wiping tears from his face.

‘There’s a Five Guys up the block, burgers and fries on me.” Jared and Dani let out a whoop of joy, joined arms and turned in the direction of the restaurant but Jensen stayed silent and looked up at Jared.

“Sure you’re not upset?” He asked softly and shifted to stand next to Jared, close enough that Jared could smell his cologne.

“Nah, I mean it. We’re all good, and Chad will be fine too. It’s not even the worst way he’s been ditched.” Jared added conspiratorially as he pressed a soft hand to the small of Jensen’s back to get them walking.

Once the orders were placed and they were happily stuffing their faces, Dani wiped a smear of burger grease off her cheek and looked very seriously across the table at Jared. “Dude, you’re alright by me. Smart and cute and you make ridiculous heart eyes at Jensen so, you know, I give you my blessing.. Or whatever. I’m not crashing another date.” She finished by dragging a fry through the pile of ketchup on the torn brown paper bag serving as a fry holder and waved it back and forth between Jared and Jensen. “I dub thee safe to date.”

Jared nodded his thanks absently and shoved the last bite of his burger in his mouth and turned to look at Jensen who was making a choking noise. Jensen’s mouth was hanging open as he stared across the table at Dani in disbelief.

“You are so embarrassing; I can’t believe that you’re my best friend.” Jensen turned another, deeper shade of pink as he dropped his head to the tabletop. Jared reached over and placed his hand flat on Jensen’s back, thrilled at the feel of Jensen’s body heat.

“Aww, it’s okay. My best friend is Chad; Dani is way better.”

“Well, yeah, that’s true. See, he’s smart Jenny. You’ll be fine. C’mon, I ate the last of the fries, time to head out.”

Jared wasn’t ready to say goodbye for the day but he felt good. They headed outside the restaurant and Dani and Jason stood a respectable distance away as Jared said goodnight. “This was a lot of fun. Can.. do you want to see me again?” He asked, tentatively but holding eye contact. He smiled when Jensen nodded up at him and couldn’t stop from bending down for a peck on the cheek.

“I’ll text you?” He asked, breathless and happy and had to stop himself from stealing another kiss when Jensen nodded and turned to walk over to his friends. He watched Jensen walk away, smiling like a doofus the whole time, and snorted to himself when Dani pulled out her keys and they all climbed into a cherry red 1970 Chevell SS. Figures a girl like that would drive an american classic muscle car.

He walked home with a bounce in his step and a smile on his face, probably scaring the people he passed along the way but he didn’t care. He was feeling good from the flirting and the date and the promise of more to come and he looked to his neighbor’s door and made an instant decision. He let himself into his apartment and grabbed a scrap of paper, scribbling a note for his singing neighbor.

*I love the serenading but I was wondering if you take requests? Like, anything from the last decade? The nineties are dead and gone. Signed-Kitchen wall buddy =)*

Before he could doubt himself too much, he slipped the note under his neighbor’s front door and ran back into his apartment, locking the door behind him,. He stripped off his clothes, dropping them on the floor to deal with later and rubbed his hands over his body, trying to decide if he wanted to jerk off or just go to sleep. At the thought of jerking off with Jensen firmly placed in his mind, his body throbbed, but he stopped himself, not wanting to spoil his innocent memories of the night. He gave his half-hard cock a consolatory pat and threw himself between his sheets and he was asleep before he knew it.

As he was getting ready for work Monday morning, he saw his scrap of paper had been returned with neat, orderly handwriting underneath his own chicken scratch.

*Challenge accepted Mister “Listens to Lithium XM” Signed- the 90’s will never die as long as I’m around!*

As Jared laughed he headed into the kitchen for a cup of coffee and he heard movement in the kitchen next door. He quietly put the note and his cup down on the counter and waited.

“I threw a wish in a well,

don’t ask me I’ll never tell,

I looked at you as it fell,

and now you’re in my way,

I trade my soul for a wish,

pennies and dimes for a kiss,

I wasn’t looking for this but now you’re in my way.

Your stare was holding,

ripped jeans, skin was showing,

hot night, wind was blowing,

where you think you’re going baby?”

He shoved himself back from the counter in a flash, penning and note and pulling on his shoes as he promised himself Starbucks on the way to work.

*Of all the songs you could choose... Of course you know, this means war. I have way worse taste in music than lithium. Signed- Oh god anything just not that song again.*

As he descended the stairs from their landing, he heard melodic laughter coming from behind the closed door of J1; the kind of melodic laughter that should be expected from someone with such an amazing singing voice. Between the date with Jensen yesterday and his neighbor’s amazing sense of humor, Jared showed up to work and even Chad’s epic bitching couldn’t derail his good mood.

“Man, I can’t believe you ditched me like that! Bros before - “ Jared held up a hand to stop the words coming out of Chad’s mouth.

“If you call Dani a ho, I will absolutely tell her about it and me and Jensen will sell tickets to the epic asskicking that she gives you. And laugh. I will laugh so damn much.”

“Whatever. What kind of friend are you anyway? Let’s just shut up and work. Traitor.” Chad pouted as they rode the construction elevator up to the top of the new office building that they were working on together. As the door released for it to open, Chad reiterated the same thought he had at the start of every shift.

“I hate working up here man. The extra hazard pay is nice but someday I feel like it’s not going to be worth it.”

Jared pulled the safety harness up over his work coveralls and supplied his daily answer as he locked them into place, “Man, you worry too much.”

Between the joking interactions with his neighbor in J1 (he’d heard a lot of eighties cock rock and was awoken wednesday morning by a particularly lovely and yet still cringeworthy version of “walking on Sunshine” which is how Jared discovered that his bed was pressed up against the wall next to his neighbor’s) and flirting via text with Jensen, the week flew by and it was Friday before Jared even registered it. He and Jensen had plans to meet up again, for drinks and dinner at a local steakhouse for a proper date. When Jared showed up at the Vince Young steakhouse he immediately felt out of place; it was not the type of place that a construction worker would frequent. He ignored the Maitre’D and made his way over towards the bar area keeping his eyes peeled for a sign of Jensen until he found him, seated alone and sipping on a drink at the bar. He slipped onto the bar stool next to him quietly.

“You smell good. You’re really in metal work and construction?” Jensen asked, not even lifting his eyes from his drink as Jared signaled for the bartender.

“Well that’s an interesting conversation starter and I’m not totally sure what those two thoughts have in common but yeah, pretty sure I spent my day soldering metal together at the top of the new high-rise downtown. And I’ll take the compliment, cutie.” The bartender smiled at Jared with a look that would normally have Jared smiling and flirting back but with Jensen right there he found that he wasn’t interested.

“Uh, I’m sorry, I haven’t seen - I mean can I just get a - what do you have on draft?” Jensen cut through his stuttering with a laugh and signaled the bartender so that he could order for him.

“He’ll have the marshall, that way I can try it, too.” The bartender turned away with a laugh and Jensen finally aimed those beautiful green eyes up to meet Jared’s.

“What did you just order for me, beautiful?” The words were low and husky and Jared couldn’t help himself around Jensen. They were sitting close enough that Jared could feel the heat of Jensen’s blush coming off his fair skin.

“You know” he started conversationally, “I really want this to be a relationship and not just some mindless physical marathon. And when you talk to me like that, Jared, it makes me want to drag you back to my apartment and ride you like a new pony.”

Jared swallowed hard and forced himself to acknowledge the bartender as the man dropped off his drink. His hands were shaking and his head was empty of anything but thought of a naked Jensen riding him like a pony.

“That sounds awesome, let’s do that.” Jared forced out, trying not to let his dick lead the way out the door.

“Ackles, table for two?” The Maitre’D stepped between them and asked quietly, and Jared took a moment to compose himself before getting down off his stool and following them into the dining room. Jared stumbled when Jensen turned and winked at him before gesturing to the Maitre’D to lead the way.

“Apologies for my friend, new legs.” Jensen joked and the Maitre’D gave the customer service laugh that everyone knows while Jared felt his face start to flame with embarrassment. They were seated at the table with the dropped of menus before Jared spoke again.

“How can you tell that I’d want to be ridden like a pony? I mean what if I-”

“Oh Jared, don’t embarrass yourself by even trying to ask that question, okay? I’ve made relationship mistakes aplenty but I’ve never once mistaken a bottom for a top.”

Jared paused for a moment, his lips on the edge of his glass, clearing his throat and attempting to control the impulse to throw Jensen over his shoulder and caveman their way out of the restaurant. He finally took another sip of the drink that Jensen had ordered for him and glanced up to see Jensen’s laughing green eye focused on him over the top of his menu.

“You are a horrible, flirty tease. However, I’ll stay because I’d make a spectacle of myself if I try to stand up and leave.” Jared said when he finally found his voice.

Jensen’s eyes went wide and he lifted the tablecloth to peek beneath the table. He sat back up with pink ears and a smile on his face. “Yeah, but what a spectacle.” With a wink he dropped the tablecloth back into place and turned back to his menu.

“I think I’ll have the prime ribeye and asparagus with bearnaise. How about you, Jared? What do you want?” Jensen laid his menu down and folded his hands over the top of it as he looked across the table at Jared.

“I want… I want to kiss you. I want you to stop flirting so heavily that there’s not enough blood in my head to think or air in my lungs to breathe.” Jared looked at Jensen’s shocked face and continued. “Oh, you mean for dinner, don’t you? Bone-in New York strip, rare, with potato gratin. We can share our sides.”

The smile that grew across Jensen’s face made Jared’s heart thump wildly in his chest. “Those were very good answers.” He offered.

Dinner was excellent and the company was even better. They flirted, they drank, they enjoyed incredible food in a romantic setting. Jared was, for lack of a better word, giddy at how well he and Jensen continued to get along. The more they talked the more they had in common and the things that they didn’t have in common (Jared was a Spurs fan whereas Jensen was a Maverick’s fan) they could still talk about. Everything between them was new and exciting and yet the longer the date went on the more it felt like they’d known each other their whole lives. When the cheesecake they shared for dessert was no more than a smear on a plate, Jensen excused himself to the bathroom and Jared snuck his debit card to the waiter to pay for dinner.

“Wouldn’t you like to see the total so that you can -”

“Nah, man, look I’ll level with you. I swear to you there is more than enough money on there for drinks, dinner and a tip cause you were awesome, but I totally know I don’t want to see the total before you run the card. I trust you. I just really want to impress this guy I’m with and I don’t want to have him see me wince as I sign the check.” Jared smiled and the waiter gave the first genuine laugh from a staff member that he’d heard the whole time they were there. He left and returned with the slip in record time and Jared was able to finish signing as Jensen sat back down.

“I asked you out. Unspoken rule is that I’m supposed to pay,” Jared offered as Jensen pouted cutely.

“Nah, none of that, put the lip away; it’s too cute I can’t handle it. You can buy coffee on the way out.” Jared rounded the table and pulled out Jensen’s chair, placing a gentle hand in the small of Jensen’s back to guide him towards the door.

“What make you think I’m going to let you walk me home?” Jensen sassed back at him, batting his eyelashes over big green eyes.

“I bought you dinner,” Jared interjected when they got outside, “but I never asked to walk you home. I asked that you buy me a coffee before we each go home. If you want to come home with me or take me home with you, I wouldn’t be opposed but,” Jared paused and took a breath before taking a chance, “I feel a little bit like I need to be gentle with you. Let you lead the way. So I’m not going to push.”

Jensen stopped dead still in the middle of the sidewalk, causing Jared to bump into him. “Really?” He asked, hope mingling with doubt in his tone and clear on his face.

‘Yeah, really. I’m not a monster. You lead, I’ll follow. C’mon.” Jared pressed a gentle hand to Jensen’s lower back and steered him down towards the coffee shop on the corner. Once settled with their coffees at a corner booth, Jared smiled.

“All this time I feel like I’ve talked about myself through both our dates and all our texts. What do you really do? You work with Dani at the University, right?”

Jensen gulped his coffee and nodded. “Yeah, well, we grew up together but we both ended up going into the same field, well, adjoining fields. She’s an archaeologist, think Indiana Jones without Nazi’s but with tits, and I’m an anthropologist and we both decided to specialize in Ancient Norse times. Vikings, you know?”

Jared nodded slowly, “The only thing I know about Vikings is they worshipped Odin and Thor, the marvel superhero.” Jensen’s jaw dropped briefly. Before his eyes lit up.

“It’s actually really fascinating times. They traveled the world a lot more extensively than most people think and had a lot of influence over various cultures along with interbreeding. Plus the way they handled running a household and women warriors and their system of math and I could go on and on and I would bore you into a stupor.” Jensen trailed off, seeming to shrink in his seat.

“No, stop that. Whoever told you that you talking about something you’re passionate about is boring needs a knock upside the head. I mean, you’re pretty stinkin cute on a regular day but then you get all animated and your face lights up and you start to talk really fast and it’s really attractive. So, if you want to educate me on Vikings and their way of life, please feel free to do so.” Jared said with complete honesty.

“I’ve been with a few people that made me feel like the most boring person in the world and it’s made me adapt a lot of behaviors. I’ll be honest, you are the first person to ever talk to me like this. I like it. I think I’ll keep you around for a little while.” Jared smiled and flushed a little, pleased that he’d read Jensen correctly.

“But anyway, I don’t really want to talk about work right now. Hmm… let’s see. What kind of cliche, getting-to-know-you conversation can we have? What kind of music do you like?” Jensen asked over the rim of his coffee cup and Jared couldn’t help but think about his neighbor for just a moment.

“Usually I prefer 90’s alternative and rock, the stuff I grew up with you know? But against my will I’ve been listening to a lot of sappy love songs lately and I haven't’ hated it.” Jared could feel the smile on his face as he spoke about it and hoped that Jensen wouldn’t ask any more questions since he wasn’t sure how he was going to answer anything pertaining to his neighbor.

“What an unexpected answer. I feel like there’s more but I’ll let it go for now considering the panic in your eyes. I like all music, really. We sang all the time growing up and there was always music playing in my house. A lot of the time it was Christian music, ugh, but at least it was music, I suppose.”

The conversation continued to blossom over their coffees and Jared began to resent the fact that the night was going to end at some point. He knew that Jensen wasn’t ready to go home with him, and that was fine, but he just loved spending time with him and didn’t want it to end. Apparently he had tuned out of what Jensen was saying at some point, because when he refocused on the conversation he got a shock.

“...and I suppose that’s why I prefer to power bottom; to stay in charge.”

Jared could feel the body-warmed coffee dribble out of his mouth and down his chin as his jaw dropped open. He looked across the table at a smiling Jensen. “Fuck, that’s hot.” Jared sighed as he tried to wipe the coffee off his face and shirt.

Jensen came around the table with a napkin to help. “You don’t mind that I like to stay in control, do you Jared?” Jared shook his head mutely at the question and tilted his head up as Jensen started to wipe the coffee stains from his skin.

“Good boy.” The words were whispered, barely even audible, but they made Jared break into a sweat. He whimpered, once, and shifted in his seat. They both turned their heads as the rumble of a true muscle car sounded outside and they saw Dani, there to pick Jensen up and take him home.

“Text me tomorrow?” Jensen asked and Jared could have cried as he reached under the table to palm his erection. He watched Jensen’s eyes follow the movement of his hand as he squeezed the obvious outline in the leg of his pants. Jensen leaned forward to whisper in his ear.

“If you stroke that big boy and come thinking of me, you should text me a picture.” With that, he straitened up and turned to grab his jacket but Jared’s cry of “you’re mean” made him turn and wink before he left the coffee shop. Jared gabbed his phone and shot off a quick text

-really mean-

Jared took a moment to compose himself before standing and heading home, trying to use the cool night air to calm himself down but he was still turned on and about half hard when he finally arrived home. He spared a glance for his neighbor’s door and wondered if he was home as he unlocked the deadbolt of his own door. Still clutching his phone he began to pull off his clothes and toss them to the floor as he made his way into his bedroom. He threw himself onto his bed and pulled the waistband of his boxers away from his stomach, snapping a pic of his pubes and the base of his cock before he could think better of it. He hit send and held his breath.

It was so all-encompassingly quiet in his room that he heard his neighbor go into his own bedroom and click on the light. He could hear J1 singing but it took a moment before the sound translated into lyrics he could understand.

“I close my eyes and see you before me,

think I would die if you were to ignore me,

a fool could see just how much I adore you,

I’d get down on my knees

I’d do anything for you.

I don’t want, anybody else,

when I think about you,

I touch myself.”

Jared couldn’t decide if his heart was going to stop or to beat so hard that it would come out of his chest. He shoved his hand into his boxers and gripped his cock, listening to his neighbor sing and thinking about Jensen.

He was so close, so on edge from all the flirting, so pent up from how long it had been since he’d been with someone else that he just couldn’t make it last. He was pumping his fist up and down and then fingering the head and the sensitive, dripping slit when he heard his neighbor belting out the last verse of the song and he came all over his boxers and his hand.

He lay prone and forced himself to breathe, to try and come back down from the high and as he did he snapped another picture of his fingers covered in spunk and the wet spot on his boxers, hitting send while his head was still fuzzy and muddled from the orgasm. He laid there and listened to the sounds of his neighbor getting ready for bed and he began to feel guilty. Was what he just did cheating? He was thinking about one man and listening to another. Had he been thinking about both of them? As he began to sink into guilt he felt his phone buzz in his hand. He lifted it without thinking and began to read through the message.

- Looks delicious.- as he was trying to decide if he was in the right mind to reply, he got a picture from Jensen of pursed lips and blowing a kiss. He felt a half-hearted throb of arousal but instead of replying he took a picture of his post orgasm face.

-till tomorrow-

With that, Jared tossed his phone to the bedside table and let the sound of J1’s soft singing lull him to sleep. A night of rest didn’t resolve the guilt or confusion that Jared was feeling but when he made his way into the bathroom and peeled the sticky boxers off his matted pubes, he was reminded as to why he needed to clean up after coming. As he showered he thought about his interactions with his neighbor, whose name he didn’t even know.

As he strolled into his kitchen with a towel slung around his hips so that he could start coffee, he noticed a scrap of paper slid under his front door. He debated not picking it up and stopping all interaction with Jay, but he knew he couldn’t do it. The gentle song-based flirting wasn’t harming anyone and it had made Jared happier and lighter-hearted than he’d been in years.

He finally stooped down to read the note once he had a strong cup of coffee in hand.

Sorry about the singing last night, I was in a great mood and had to find a way to express it. Hope it didn’t keep you up and that this morning’s song selections an, in some way, make up for it if it did.

As Jared finished reading the note he heard Jay start singing next door and it was so unexpected and different that he laughed aloud as he dashed through the kitchen looking for a working pen.

Keep that kind of singing up and I might start singing along. Ps, that should have sounded more like a threat than it did

And before he could think about it he stepped into the hall in his towel to slide the note under Jay’s door. When he stood back up he could hear the singing get louder and steps nearing the door so he dashed back into his apartment. Though he was torn about his desire to meet Jay Oakley of apt J1, he knew he didn’t want to meet him in a towel. And, true to his threat, as he headed into his bedroom to pull on clothes and get ready for laundry day, he was singing along.

“What's with these homies, dissing my girl?

Why do they gotta front?

What did we ever do to these guys

That made them so violent?

Woo-hoo, but you know I'm yours

Woo-hoo, and I know you're mine

Woo-hoo, and that's for all time

Oo-ee-oo I look just like Buddy Holly

Oh-oh, and you're Mary Tyler Moore

I don't care what they say about us anyway

I don't care bout that .”

When Jared sat down for his lunch of the leftover pizza from the middle of the week, he finally picked up his phone to text Jensen, only to see texts from Chad and Jensen and even one from Meghan. He sighed and started with his sister, who was checking up on him, making sure he was still alive because he never came home anymore and didn’t he know that they’d like to see him once in awhile. He gritted his teeth through the whole conversation and his reheated pizza grew cold and gross as they texted.

After the interaction with Meghan, he needed something that would help him relax so he ignored Chad’s texts and went right for Jensen’s, but before he could get there he heard an actual knock on the wall. He looked up as though there would be something to see and saw nothing, of course, except for his wall.

“Anyway, here’s Wonderwall.

Today is gonna be the day

That they’re gonna throw it back to you

By now, you should’ve somehow

Realized what you’ve got to do”

Mood already lifted immensely, Jared smiled down at his phone, ready to see what Jensen had sent him the night before after he passed out.

The message chain started with a photo of a very nice stomach. Then a peek of a hip. Then an awkward angle of an exposed buttcheek. Jared wanted to bite it. He felt his mouth well up with saliva as he squinted at the pic on his phone.

-i like the power that comes with the tease-

-you have, from what i could see, a very nice cock-

-i would really like to get to know it better-

-what are you doing tonight?-

Jared curled his palm around his balls and tried to force himself to think before he replied. What was he doing tonight? Jensen, hopefully. He texted that thought along to Jensen as he shoved himself up off the couch, dumping his uneaten lunch in the trash and heading towards his bedroom.

-wanna see a movie? We can sit in the back row and make out like teenagers-

Jared tossed his phone onto the bed and jumped in the shower, scrubbing the sweat from all the chores off.

-well, I was angling for an invite to see your apartment, finally, but you’re right, that’s better- was the reply waiting on his phone when he got out of the shower. He checked movie times and shot back a list of the movies he’d be willing to pay for but not see as he pulled on some comfortable but decent looking clothes.

-Silver Linings Playbook! I love Bradley Cooper!- Jared laughed and checked the time for the movie, buying tickets online as he meandered back into his living room to pull on his shoes.

-first of all, do I need to be jealous and second of all I’ll meet you there in 10?- He grabbed his keys and his wallet and headed towards the door without waiting for a reply, eager to meet up with Jensen. Eager to get a closer look at what the pictures had shown him.

-sounds good. Can’t wait to see you again-

While he was locking his door, he could hear Jay in his apartment near the door and for some odd reason, Jared hustled away. He’d made his decision that flirting through a wall via song lyrics was not doing anything to harm his potential relationship with Jensen but that meant that he never wanted to meet his neighbor face to face. He already knew enough to give him a minor crush on the man but he liked Jensen a lot and didn’t want to jeopardize that by meeting his neighbor.

He ended up watching a lot more of the movie than he intended and liking it more than he ever thought possible. Well, he liked the taste of Jensen’s butter popcorn-flavored mouth even more than that and when they ended up pressed together under the overhang of the marquee, he ended up explaining that fact to Jensen and most passers-by.

“Come home with me?” Jared tried so hard to phrase it as a question, but he had one of Jensen’s strong thighs rubbing against him as they panted and made out against the brick wall of the movie theater and Jared knew that his brain wasn’t running on all cylinders.

“Not tonight. Wanna make it…” Jensen trailed off, turning his head to the side shyly, but still Jared could see the flush on Jensen’s face.

“Special. Wanna make it special for me? Oh, me too. Lemme. Oh.” Jared replied interspersed with wet, sucking kisses at Jensen’s neck and jawline. “I have a thought. Let’s go away for a weekend. Just two nights. I did some work for a friend out in Dripping Springs on their vacation rental house and they said anytime I wanted to get away it was mine. Nice little country farmhouse on a few acres. Privacy. Peace and quiet. No friends, no work, no city noises. Think about it?” Jared begged between kisses.

“I don’t need to think about it. Call them, ask if we can have it next weekend? I want you. I want peace and quiet and no interruptions. Fuck me, is that all you? Dammit. One more week, big boy.” Jensen panted as he writhed in Jared’s arms, making sure to rub his hip up and down the bulk of Jared’s cock, clearly outlined in his jeans.

Jared forced himself to take a step back, breathing deep and trying to calm down. “Next weekend it is. I can’t wait to get my hands all over you, but right now I need to pull myself together.” Jensen nodded his agreement, darting around so that he wasn’t between Jared and the wall anymore.

“I’m gonna start walking so that you can calm down enough to not get arrested for indecent exposure.” Jensen added with a kiss to Jared’s cheek, “I’ll text you tomorrow. Can’t wait till next Friday.”

He didn’t let himself watch Jensen walk away; it wouldn’t have helped in the least. He breathed, staring at the mortar between the bricks in front of him and thinking about Chad’s pimply ass to calm himself down. He made the walk in record time after he realized that it was warm enough to strip off his sweater and walk home with it covering the bulge of his cock to stay decent.

Jay’s apartment was quiet and dark and Jared was thankful for the reprieve. He knew, he just knew, that if Jay was going to do any singing tonight it would end in a repeat of the night before and he didn’t want that. He wanted to fall into bed and think about Jensen and only Jensen.

He’d saved the semi-naughty pictures that Jensen had sent earlier in the day and once he was comfortable in bed and the light was off, he pulled his phone close to his face to see them a little more clearly. He idly flicked his thumb across a nipple as he examined the pictures. He imagined trailing his fingertips over the skin on display. He imagined tasting it. As he slipped his hand into his boxers and rotated the picture of Jensen’s cheek to better imagine being between them, his phone pinged with a message.

-What are you thinking about- Without much thought to the consequences of his words, Jared replied before pulling up the saved image again.

-what your skin tastes like and if you like to be eaten out-

He curled his fingers around the base of his cock, imagining being between Jensen’s spread thighs, face covered in saliva as he ate that perfect ass for all he was worth. He imagined Jensen returning the favor excitedly; he could already tell that, though Jensen may be seemingly shy in the real world, he was going to be enthusiastic in bed. Eager to try everything.

-are you sure you’re real?- A text banner appeared and Jared was so tempted to call Jensen. To hear his voice as he stroked his dick. To listen to Jensen pant over the phone in his ear.

-I’m real. My dick is real too and really excited to properly meet you-

He pressed his head backwards into his pillow as a pulse of desire rippled through his body. He couldn’t ever remember being this gone over someone so quick before. He certainly had never jumped into the sex so enthusiastically before.

-do we wanna do this now? Is this just a tease?- he texted before Jensen could reply again. Jared was nervous that the buildup would be too much. He didn't want to set unreachable standards.

-yeah, it's a tease, but also a preview. C’mon Jared. Gimme a preview. What are you thinking about for next weekend?-

Jared groaned and shoved down his boxers, twisting in the bed as he thought about everything he was going to do and how he wanted to tell Jensen.

-everything. You make me crazy. You've made me crazy since we met in the store. Your tight body. Sweet ass. Fuck. I might not even be able to tease myself, gonna go straight for your little ass. Can you come just from being eaten out Jen?- Jared could feel saliva pooling in his mouth at just the thought. Jensen looked and smelled so good he just knew that he would taste good too. He was so lost in his thoughts that he almost missed the phone vibrating in his hand.

-hell yeah I can. Can squeeze your dick so good. Gonna fill me up nice big boy? Want me to ride you, or do you wanna throw me down on my hands and knees?-

“Fuck” Jared breathed out into the dark air of his bedroom. A hot pulse of want coursed through him, the images making him cross-eyed. He wanted it all and told Jensen so via talk to text as he couldn’t focus to type. He sped his hand up on his cock.

-oh good boy. Nice subby top, you are, huh? Are you stroking that big cock and thinking of me?-

“Yes” he whined into his microphone, not realizing he sent it as an audio file. His hand was a blur on his cock, his hips held high and tight, his stomach tensed with the closeness of his orgasm. His phone buzzed again and he forced his eyes open to see a video message.

“Come, but not again until you see me on Friday. Come now.” Jensen’s beautiful, face told him via his phone and he obeyed, coming all over his hand and tensed stomach, groaning so loud he nearly embarrassed himself with it. His phone buzzed.

-show me- Jared grinned. Jensen was his dommy, kinky dream boy. He angled his phone to catch the light on the splatters of come on his hand and snapped a picture, sending it before he grabbed his boxers and wiped himself off. His eyes were drooping before his phone buzzed one last time.

-good boy. See you Friday-

Jared floated through Sunday, ignoring his phone unless Jensen texted and hiding in his apartment, going so far as to go to bed early on Sunday night so he could pretend to be refreshed and ready to work on Monday.

“The fuck, dude, you can't take two seconds to text me? Where the fuck were you all weekend? Jesus Jay I'm only your best friend. Can’t just ditch me to go get some ass.” Chad seemed overly angry so, as much as Jared wanted to talk about Jensen and their amazing weekend, he apologized quickly even while he was certain his face wasn't showing how ridiculous he thought Chad was being.

“Like you never have? Anyway, that's my bad. Sorry dude. What did you do this weekend?” And they were off, hooked into their safety harnesses and working away at the top of the skyscraper. Even after all this time, Jared had to remind himself not to look down lest he get dizzy and be unable to work, and he managed to fake it to give Chad a chance to make fun of him but Chad didn't react the way he usually would, teasing and making fun.

“Dude, be careful. You know you get dizzy if you look down. Are you alright?” Chad was nearly panting with worry, right in Jared’s face, not helping the dizziness.

“Chad, man, what is with you mothering me? I'll be fine, you know that.” Jared batted Chad’s hands away and hung back in his harness, taking deep breaths of the slightly thin but clean air.

“Shut up asshole. Just cause I don't want to watch you fall off the damn building…. whatever fucker. You don’t care so let's just work then.” And with that, Chad shut down, his lips pressed together in a thin line and his face clearly showing frustration and an unwillingness to talk. Jared chewed at the inside of his lip and focused on the work, wondering what was wrong with Chad. They'd been friends for such a long time but Chad was such a “DUDE” he didn't open up to anyone. Something was wrong but he clearly didn't want to talk to him about it.

Jared tried not to let his feelings be hurt about that since he knew that wasn't how Chad was. Either he'd get over it or he wouldn't but Jared pushing the issue, especially on top of the building while they were at work, wasn't the answer. They made it through the day, both of them stony faced and silent by the end of it, and Jared headed home to plan for the weekend.

-all set for the weekend. How early can I pick you up Friday?- Jared texted as he threw himself into his bed. He could hear J1 softly singing next door, something sad and slow, and he was pretty sure it was a prettier version of Celine Dion of singing about her heart going on, but Jared was trying to tune it out-he wanted to be happy not depressed at love lost.

-eager big boy?- Jared grinned as he wiggled his shoulders into his pillows.

-sure am. House is ours and I’m tempted to pack now-

-bad news big boy- Jared’s heart dropped, he was so looking forward to spending a weekend alone with Jensen. He watched the little ‘typing’ bubble and held his breath waiting for the bad news.

-i was hoping you could pick me up and we could go together but I have to work late on friday. Was thinking you could head out to the house and I can have Dani drop me off when we are done at work- Jared grinned at his phone; he’d been wishing there was some way to get up to the house ahead of Jensen and set things up and it looked like that was going to work out for him.

-oh, well, I suppose that’s alright. Gives me time to get ready for you and make you dinner-

-gonna spoil me this weekend? Alright, sounds good. Gotta go big boy, big week at work and I can’t have your gorgeousness distracting me. Sleep sweet-

-you too Jen. looking forward to friday-

Jared tossed his phone onto his bedside table and folded his hands under his head thinking about the weekend to come. His ears picked up the sound of Oakley singing next door and he closed his eyes and let it help him to sleep.

“The strands in your eyes that color them wonderful

Stop me and steal my breath

Emeralds from mountains and thrust towards the sky

Never revealing their depth

Tell me that we belong together

Dress it up with the trappings of love

I’ll be captivated, I’ll hang from your lips

Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above”

Considering that Chad was still not talking to him, clearly acting pissed off every minute they were together, Jared expected the week to drag on and on but it flew by and it was Friday at quitting time before he could blink. He left his harness in his locker with safety goggles and hard hat and was just turning to leave when Chad stopped him.

“Hey, look, I’m sorry that I’ve been a pissy bitch this week. I’ve just been trying to figure out some stuff and you know how I can be sometimes. Plus, I kinda feel like you’re all into Jensen and you’re just… I dunno… like, leaving me in the dust? Whatever. I really am sorry and I wanna buy you dinner to make up for it?”

Jared froze and stared at his friend. Not only were those the first words that Chad had spoken to him since Monday morning, it was also one of maybe a handful of apologies that he’d been given in their entire friendship. And Jared was about to throw it back in his face by telling him that he’d planned a weekend away with Jensen. He took a deep breath and opened his mouth but Chad cut him off before he could speak.

“Or not, you probably have plans with Jensen this weekend. I’m such an idiot. It’s cool. Have a good weekend.” And Chad marched off before Jared could say anything at all leaving Jared worried and confused. He started walking to the car rental place to pick up the truck he’d rented for the weekend and nearly walked past it as his mind was racing. He didn’t know what was going on with Chad but he didn’t want to lose his friend due to his relationship with Jensen. He picked up the truck and continued to puzzle about what he was going to do as he stocked up on groceries and headed home to grab his bag to hit the road.

J1 was crooning in his kitchen when Jared was leaving and he paused, listening to the lyrics and wondering how it was possible that the man knew Jared’s moods so well. He scribbled a quick note

Liking the sweet and sexy music tonight, puts me in the mood, lol. Have a good weekend, sing as loud as you like, I’ll be gone till sunday night

“I don’t wanna stop just because

People walking by watching us

I don’t give a damn what they think

I want you now

I don’t wanna stop just because

You feel so good inside of my love

I’m not gonna stop no no no

I want you”

The house was warmed up and clearly the owner had stopped by to turn on the lights, though the house was so far out in the middle of nowhere that they didn’t even need to lock it, which was odd to Jared after so long living in the city. He lit a fire in the bedroom fireplace so the room would warm up before Jensen arrived, turned on the bluetooth speakers in the living room and kitchen area so that he could listen to some music and headed into the kitchen to unpack the groceries and start cooking.

By the time that he heard the distinctive sound of Dani’s Chevell rumbling up to the house he was finished with all the cleanup and warring with himself about starting to eat the garlic bread before Jensen showed up.

“You are just in time, dinner needs a few more minutes but you saved me from eating all the garlic bread myself.” Jared announced as he heard the door open. He didn’t turn around until a warm body was pressed up against his back and kisses were being peppered across his shoulders.

“Mmmm, you cooked for me? You are going to spoil me. I think I’ll keep you.” Jensen sighed as they hugged and Jared felt shaky all of a sudden.

“Keep me? We haven’t even slept together yet. I could be total shit in bed.” He laughed, leaning down for a kiss.

“Well, if you are shit in bed, which I doubt but fully intend on judging for myself all weekend, I’ll just keep you as a little house-husband. Do my chores, do the cooking, look pretty around my house.” He declared with a thoughtful look on his face. “So, house-hubby, what’s for dinner?”

“Well, since I can really only cook a few things and we had steak last weekend I thought I would try something different.” Jared bent down and lifted the pan out of the oven where it had been staying warm. “Chicken Paprikash, recipe handed down from my great great great something or other grandmother who lived in Hungary. I really hope you like it.” He added, bashfully, as he whisked in the sour cream and portioned out two bowls over egg noodles.

“I set the table and there’s a bottle of wine and glasses too, if you wanna head that way with the garlic bread.”

Jared looked at Jensen who looked frozen in place for a few, long heartbeats before the most beautiful smile that Jared had ever seen blossomed over his face. “Jared Padalecki you are amazing. I can’t believe you made a family recipe for me. Amazing.” Jensen looked like he might start to cry but instead he grabbed the garlic bread and headed over to the dining room table.

Jared sat and watched, nervously, as Jensen dug into dinner. After his first bite, Jensen put his fork down, stopped chewing and lifted his head to look Jared in the eye.

“This is fucking incredible. I can’t believe you made it. I’ve never had anything like it. Oh man.” Jensen dug back in with a large mouthful and chewed noisily before speaking again. “Maybe I won’t keep you as a house husband. You keep cooking for me like this without sex to burn off the calories and I’ll get fat.” He dove back and and Jared thought his heart could burst as he tucked into his own meal. About halfway finished, Jared slowed down so that he could savor what was left in his bowl. He sat back in his chair and looked across the table at Jensen.

“So what made this week so stressful?”

Jensen looked up adorably licking a smear of sauce from the corner of his mouth. “Well, it was a grant proposal. Dani and I have this theory that a whole lot of my recent research points to a lost settlement at a certain latitude of the upper part of Sweden and we could learn a lot from it. Especially if there’s burial grounds like we think there are. So we set up a proposal for a grant so that we could go on a dig. I want to go so very badly. I almost never get out of the library, which I’m fine with usually, but this could be a chance to see history and to hold it in my hands and just the thought has me so excited!” Jensen finished and Jared could hear the excitement in his voice. Immediately he began to hope that the money was granted to them for the opportunity.

“Sorry, I know I get a little excited about this stuff and my nerd starts showing. But really, I’m here with you and wanting to enjoy the weekend. Can I take your plate? How was your week?” Sometimes when Jensen got excited he began to speak without breathing and Jared worried a little but it seemed that Jensen was used to talking as fast as his brain could think. He followed behind Jensen to the kitchen, leaning against the counter with his wine as Jensen washed their plates.

“My week was alright. Something is going on with Chad and it’s bugging me, but he won’t talk to me, not that it’s anything new.” Jared took a long sip of wine with his eyes closed, not noticing Jensen coming up to him and tucking himself under Jared’s upturned chin.

“I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do?” Before he could think about his answer Jared was replying, “well, I think to him you might be part of the problem” and watching Jensen’s face go white.

‘No! No, I didn’t mean that. Look, it’s been me and Chad, Chad and me for a really long time, you know? He’s offensive and weird and it’s hard for him to make friends and he gets jealous when I have someone new in my life that I want to spend time with. You’re not the problem, it’s all in his head.”

Jensen had pulled away and drawn inwards, making himself look small and lost. He was looking down at his sock clad toes on the kitchen floor and Jared had the urge to drop to his knees and grovel for his thoughtless words. So he did. He put his wineglass on the counter and thudded to his knees, scooting across the kitchen floor until he could wrap his arms around Jensen’s waist and lay his head on his hip.

“I’ve been between friends before and it didn’t end well for me Jared. I don’t want to come between you.” Jensen whispered but gave Jared hope by combing his fingers through his too long hair.

“You’re not, you won’t. Can I tell you something?” Jared asked, waiting for a nod or agreement to go on before adding “I hope this doesn’t scare you but I just have this feeling about you. About us. I think….I think it’s something special. Don’t tease me too much about saying it like that. I just feel like this… this is important.” As he gestured between his chest and Jensen’s.

“I agree. And I won’t tease you too much. That kind of tease isn’t my style anyway.” Jensen replied with a wink. “C’mon, take me on a tour of this place. It’s gorgeous.”

Jared stood up and brushed off his knees out of habit. “Just like that?” He asked as he gestured to the back of the house where the bedroom was.

“Well, yeah. I think this has the potential to be important, too. And, I trust you already, Jay. So if you tell me that Chad not really approving isn’t going to hold you back then I have to trust you. I’m too trusting of a soul, really. Oh my god, this bedroom is amazing!” Jensen exclaimed as he walked into the room, lit only by firelight. Jared had turned down the sheets and tucked lube and condoms in one of the drawers when he lit the fire earlier. He was looking forward to seeing how Jensen’s skin looked in the firelight and loved the blush on Jensen’s cheeks when he admitted as much.

“Slow down cowboy, I believe I was promised some pampering?”

Jared allowed a slow smile to spread over his face and let his dimples show clearly. “Why I believe I can handle that too. If you’d please step through that door onto the patio?”

With a curious look, Jensen led the way onto the private patio and started squeaking with excitement as he toed off his socks and started to unbuckle his belt.

‘We are doing this right now. Get naked handsome.”

Jared froze, his head spinning. Sometimes Jensen could go from one mood to another so fast that it almost gave him whiplash. They’d been so serious in the kitchen just a few minutes ago and now Jensen was down to skin-tight, teal boxer briefs and a smile. “C’mon big boy, if you’re suddenly feeling shy, I promise I won’t peek!” And with that, Jared felt teal, body-warmed fabric hit his face and heard a splash.

“That’s a dare if I ever heard one.” Jared shouted as he pulled his shirt off and shoved jeans and boxers down in one movement. His dick, no longer fully soft but not hard yet, swayed with the movement of his hips as he made his way to the hot tub and stepped in, seating himself a foot away from the tempting creature waiting for him.

“I peeked, I’m sorry, but it’s even better than your pictures. But, I mean really, how often do you come along and meet a size queen, power-bottom? I’m a catch.” Jensen said with a twinkle in his eye as he inched closer on the hot tub seat.

“You were a catch before I knew any of that about you. And I still don’t yet. Not really. Not till-” Jared’s sentence was cut off by Jensen’s lips. With eyes closed, he reached across to where Jensen was and pulled him close, until Jensen was sitting in his lap, nestled close while they kissed.

“I hate to break the mood, because I’m really liking us right where we are, I was hoping I would get a chance to spread you out across that bed in there and take my time the first time.”Jared murmured between kisses and gasps as they pressed closer and closer together until their cocks were pressed together and rubbing with each undulation of their hips in the hot water.

“Mmmm, yeah. Plus I think,” Jensen started, distracted briefly due to the need to suck Jared’s earlobe into his mouth,” I think we are going to have to take some time working that bad boy into me. It’s been a while and you… you are a big boy.” He punctuated his statement by reaching between them and curling his palm around the head of Jared’s cock.

Jared sucked in a breath through his teeth at the feeling of Jensen’s hand on his cock, wrapping his arms around Jensen’s back and lifting him out of the water.

“Hold on,” he hissed as he walked them, naked and dripping, back into the bedroom and kicked the door shut behind him. He lightly tossed Jensen onto the bed and walked into the living room to shut the lights off. He grabbed a towel on his way back into the bedroom and, though he had only been gone for a minute at the most, Jensen was asleep and dead to the world. He stopped and waited for a moment before stepping into the room and pulling the door shut behind him.

As much as he wanted to and as eager as he was to finally have sex with Jensen, he wasn’t the type to wake someone who clearly needed their sleep just so that he could have sex. So he tamped down the fire and turned all the lights off before maneuvering Jensen’s naked body under the covers. He debated if it would even be okay for him to climb into bed or if he should sleep in the living room, but Jensen rolled over in his sleep and flung his hand out, as though he was searching for something and Jared took the chance. He slipped into bed and curled his big body around Jensen’s and instantly, Jensen calmed down and relaxed back into Jared’s embrace. With a kiss pressed into the top of Jensen’s soft hair, Jared closed his eyes and let himself drift off to sleep.

Singing awoke Jared the next morning. Something slow and sweet and gentle. Jared opened his eyes to a pair of beautifully smiling green eyes and a plate of warm pancakes being waved in his face. He blinked and sat up for a morning kiss.

“You could have woken me up last night. Hell, you could’ve taken me in my sleep and you didn’t. You respected me enough to just climb into bed and hold me as I got the best damn night’s sleep that I’ve had in … oh ...probably years. So, well you deserve more than pancakes really but you didn’t have any bacon in the fridge.”

Jared smiled through a mouthful of pancakes and leaned forward for a kiss. “I’m a gentleman, I would never. Plus, I know how you like to be in control and if you’re asleep you can’t push me around. And the bacon is in the fridge in the basement; it’s always stocked.”

Jensen threw his head back and laughed while Jared continued to shove pancakes in his mouth.

“I knew a house like this in the Texas countryside would have a second fridge full of meat somewhere, but I didn’t want to explore too much. So what did you want to do today?” He asked, a glint in his eye. That was when Jared noticed the pattern on Jensen’s lounge pants.

“Ninja turtles?” Jensen blinked and tilted his head in confusion. He opened his mouth to speak, shut it and finally looked down and caught a glimpse of his pants. He flushed all the way down his chest to his navel.

“I usually do laundry on Sundays so these were all I had clean and I didn’t want to pack NOTHING so… why, you got a problem with ninja turtles?”

Jared shook his head and tossed off the covers to get out of the bed, heading towards his bag on the floor. “On the contrary.” He offered, bending over and digging in his bag for the lounge pants that he packed, ninja turtles in a different pattern. He stepped into them and was pulling them up his legs when he heard a giggle from the bed. He looked up to see Jensen, still beautifully flushed pink.

“How do you do this to me? I feel like I have whiplash or something; one minute you’re turning me on so bad that I can’t breathe and the next you’re pulling on ninja turtle pajama pants and the bounce of your dick is making me giggle.”

“Funny, I feel the same way. C’mon, we never did have a full tour last night. Let’s start there and then we can figure out what we want to do.” Jared grabbed his plate and headed out towards the kitchen to the sound of Jensen wolf whistling at him and telling him what an incredible ass he has.

Jared showed Jensen the underground pantry and the two guest rooms off the other side of the house before they ended up back in the living room. It was shaping up to be a traditional Texas winter day; cool and gloomy and there was definite rain in the air.

“Movie marathon in our pajamas?” Jensen suggested and Jared agreed.

“I’ll get snacks and blankets, you find a movie to start with.”

Halfway into Lord of the Rings, Jared looked down at where Jensen was curled up on his chest to see that he was asleep again. His heart swelled that Jensen felt so comfortable with him as to just be able to drift off with him even though he was sad that they might not be able to finally have sex this weekend, if Jensen was so tired. He slipped a hand into Jensen’s tee shirt and gently rubbed his thumb back and forth across his stomach, loving the feel of the soft, warm skin under his palm. Jensen rolled in his arms, moving so that they were chest to chest and Jared’s hand was low on Jensen’s back. Low enough that when he spread his fingers he could feel the swell of Jensen’s peach of an ass. He swallowed thickly and tried to focus on the movie but his dick was already chubbed up in his lounge pants and he could feel the prickle of sweat on his scalp.

Jensen writhed in Jared’s arms, rubbing their bodies together sinfully and he had to bite back a moan at how good it felt. He stretched his legs in an attempt to shift Jensen's weight off his cock and onto his hip. But just as he shifted his hips, so did Jensen causing their cocks to thrust against each other and he couldn't keep the moan inside this time.

Suddenly, mischievous green eyes were looking up at him. “Oh yeah?” Jensen asked, shimmying his body evilly up Jared’s so they could kiss.

“God, you're a tease even in your sleep.” Jared groaned, his head tilted back as soft, sleep warm lips kissed down his jaw and his neck to nestle in the dip of his throat.

“Mmmmm, yeah I am. But I promise I always follow through.” Jensen grinned up at him and curled his hips back so that his ass was in the air, enticing, too far away and facing the wrong direction.

“What, exactly, were you thinking you'd like to do to me, Jared? Hmmm? Should we talk it over?” Jensen asked before pressing his lips to the immediate left of jareds nipple and sucking a large bruise into the skin there. “Don't you mark up pretty. Cmon, get your hands in there. I give you permission to leave some fingerprints on my skin.”

“I don't have any patience for your teasing anymore you sexy bastard. I want your ass.” Jared groaned, arching his back up to press his chest into Jensen’s mouth.

“I do love a man who knows what he wants. You want me to sit on your face? You feel like you deserve that?” He asked even as he shifted back onto his knees and inch his pajama bottoms off. Jared bit at his bottom lip and watched, enthralled, as those pants exposed more and more skin that he wanted to touch and taste.

“Smother me.” He gasped, slipping down so that Jensen could crouch over his head. He watched hungrily as Jensen tossed his pants over the back of the couch and knee walked up his torso until the tip of his cock was hanging over Jared’s mouth.

“Do it.” Jensen ordered and that command zinged like lightning through his body; he’d never been turned on by being ordered around before but there was something about Jensen that made him crazy in all the best ways. He parted his lips and licked them before lifting his head the barest amount to get the mushroom head into his mouth. He closed his lips softly behind the head and looked up, just holding it there, waiting for instruction.

Jensen looked nearly feral when he threaded his fingers through Jareds hair and snarled just how perfect Jared was. He levered himself up and pressed his hips forward, slowly fucking his dick into Jared’s welcoming mouth. Jared focused on keeping his mouth as soft but tight as possible as Jensen fed him his cock all the way until it hit his throat. He rolled his tongue on the underside of Jensen’s pretty cock, loving the way he could feel it swell in his mouth and the sweet drip of precome on his tonsils.

“Fuck, were you made just for me? Open up baby.” Jensen crooned and Jared loosened his lips and reluctantly let the cock slide out of his mouth. He quickly kissed the tip before Jensen could move away too far and watched, excited, as Jensen spun around and wiggled his ass down onto Jared’s face.

Jared managed to get out, “may I use my hands” before he was smothered exactly where he wanted to be. He groaned, his tongue flashing out over the sweet, pink hole in front of him. He felt hands on his stomach, fingers spreading and sliding down until the fingertips slipped under his waistband and pulled the soft cotton away from his hard and leaking cock.

“Perfect, you’re perfect. Yes, Jared, I want everything you’ve got and I want it all over me.”

Jared whined when Jensen leaned down and it angled his ass away from Jared’s tongue. He sucked Jensen’s perfect balls into his mouth just to feel him shake a little before finally lifted his hands and used his thumbs to pull Jensen’s cheeks apart so he could see the hole in front of him. He dove back in, tongue first, groaning at the taste of Jensen’s insides. Musky and sweaty and perfect. He curled his tongue and pressed in for more of that taste as Jensen wrapped a hand around his cock and pressed those plush lips to the head and sank down, down, down until he could feel the tip of Jensen’s nose pressed up against his balls. He nearly forgot what he was doing when Jensen pulled off with a filthy sounding ‘slurp’ and they both dove back in for more. He could feel the aborted little twitches of his hips as he tried to fuck up into Jensen’s mouth, but Jensen was holding him down.

He pulled away for a breath and to spit onto his fingers as he pressed one up into Jensen trying to get him open and loose enough to take his cock. He sunk all the way into the root of his finger on the first try and pulled out to gasp at the perfect, tiny wink he got in return. He pressed back in with two fingers, pausing at the first knuckle to rub along Jensen’s insides in an attempt to get him to relax a little.

“Fuck, you got big fingers, too.” Jensen groaned, as he laid his forehead on Jared’s hip and arched his hips so that Jared had a better angle.

“Lube and condoms are in the bedroom.” Jared said as he corkscrewed his fingers in a little deeper, loving the squeeze and the needly sounds it was driving from Jensen.

“I don’t think I can walk there. Or wait.” He got in reply and he tried to make himself focus on something other than the hot, tight clutch of Jensen around his fingers and the almighty throb of his cock at the thought of being inside there. He was about to suggest cooking oil and no condom when Jensen cut him off.

“You’re not having me dry, big boy. Get your tongue back in there and eat my ass while you fuck me with those big fingers. C’mon baby, do it.” Jared felt that zing of pleasure at being ordered around again as he did what he was told, mouthing and licking and sucking at Jensen’s sweet hole with everything he had, until he thought he could come simply from the pleasure of making Jensen come.

He felt the head of Jensen’s cock hit his collarbone and start to spurt, come spraying down his chest and onto his belly as he contracted around Jared’s tongue and fingers. Jensen bounced and bucked his hips all through it, making a mess of everything as he came. Jared was sweating and near to tears with the need to come before Jensen dismounted from his face and straddled Jared’s knees, his warm, soft hand curling around Jared’s balls

“Jerk yourself off for me. Come all over your stomach and I’ll clean it all off you.” He commanded, flicking his tongue out over his bottom lip as he did so.

“Oh god, oh fuck, Jenjenjenjen..” Jared’s mouth ran away from him as his hand moved on his cock. He could feel Jensen’s palm cradling his balls up close to his body and his fingertips stroking the sensitive skin behind them as he closed his eyes and let go all over himself. Stars burst in front of his eyes as he let himself be messy like he never was. He could feel his come splattering his stomach in warm, sticky globs. He kept his eyes closed until he felt Jensen start to move and opened his eyes to a pink tongue trailing up his still-tensed stomach muscles to clean up all the combined come splattered there.

“Gonna be the death of me.” He breathed, smiling down at Jensen, who shrugged, nodded and kept licking.

That night, after a mediocre dinner from Jensen of overcooked pasta and dry, tough meatballs to which Jared had said nothing but his face said plenty. Jensen exclaimed “I’m smart, pretty and love a big dick but I can’t cook. I can’t be perfect,” and folded his arms across his chest while he pouted. Jared had shoveled a few mouthfuls of food into his mouth and wrapped Jensen up in his arms, pulling the not-that-much-smaller man into his lap.

“You’re perfect for me. I’ll do the cooking from now on, babe.” He announced with a kiss on Jensen’s cheek and a pinch to his hip.

“I order a real mean takeout.” Jensen pouted even as he leaned forward for the bite of mushy pasta that Jared offered.

“I’m sure you do, baby. You done? I still need to get you stretched out across the bed.” Jared pressed kisses into Jensen’s neck behind his ear and down his neck as far as he could reach before Jensen jumped off his lap and tugged his arm to make him follow.

“Dishes can wait. I need your dick.” Jensen stated, marching his way into the bedroom and turning to shove Jared down on the bed before climbing onto it after him.

“Pants off now, Padalecki.” The next few minutes were a blur for Jared. A blur of skin and kisses. Of soft grunts and the sounds of skin on fabric before skin on skin. The wet sounds of lube and crinkle of condom wrapper and finally a whispered “are you ready?” before Jensen was sinking down on his cock and Jared could do nothing but look up at the face of the angel riding him.

“Damn, Jared, big cock filling me up so right..” Jensen’s head was thrown back as he rocked up and down and Jared could do no more than hold onto his sweaty hips and watch as Jensen used him for both of their pleasures; and it was a beautiful thing.

“Can’t wait until we can do this bare. Wanna fill me up, Jared?” Jensen asked and without stopping the movement of his hips curled down so their faces were close enough that they were breathing each other’s breath. “If you come inside me would you eat it back outta me?” He punctuated his question with a clench of his body around Jared’s cock and Jared was done.

He forced his hips up hard and held Jensen’s hips still as he pulsed and came into the condom at the thought of coming into Jensen bare and getting to suck it back out of him. He opened his eyes as he came down and began to rock Jensen on his still hard cock.

“Jerk me off and I’ll keep-”

“No, want you to ride my face again.Wanna eat my come outta your sweet ass. Please?” He winced as Jensen pulled off his cock quickly, angling himself around to sit on Jared’s face again. Jared felt Jensen grab the hair at the top his his head and pull, directing him the way he wanted him.

“Couldn’t be more fuckin perfect if I made you. Do it, eat me out.”

Jared speared his tongue into the gaping pink left behind by his cock and did his best to make Jensen crazy. It didn’t take long. Jensen was thumbing at the head of his cock, not stroking just rubbing a little as Jared tongued him and soon Jared could feel the clutch of Jensen coming on his face. Jensen collapsed on him and Jared wiggled and twisted and shoved until they were lying curled together, Jensen fucked out and mostly asleep on his chest.

“Shoulda done that sooner.” Jensen said into the sweat and come smeared onto Jared’s chest. Jared laughed, shaking Jensen and making him whine.

“No arguments here. Sleep Jen.”

When they woke up in the middle of the night, they foraged dinner from the sparse shopping still in the fridge and headed into the master bathroom’s walk-in shower to clean up which gave both of them a chance to observe the slight but enjoyable height difference as Jared shoved Jensen up against the wet tile wall and fucked him bare before pulling out and coming all over his naked ass.

The next morning, Jared woke up to a happy humming of a song he couldn’t place and a plate full of bacon.

“Got the bacon this morning. Needed the protein after last night, stud.” Jensen laughed at him as he swept the hair away from his face and sat up in bed, reaching for the bacon.

Once he had a mouthful of bacon and his eyes were no longer in danger of falling back closed, he looked up and studied the beautiful man across from him. Jensen was smiling, his face and entire demeanor bright and happy. HIs hair was tousled and when he shifted his legs the waist of his lounge pants slipped down to expose a smudged bruise on his hip in the shape of Jared’s fingers. Jared felt his whole body heat up at the sight of that bruise and he wen silent, staring at it. Jensen paused and traced his eyeline, laughing aloud when he saw what Jared was preoccupied with.

“I’ve got more than that one bruise, big boy. I’ll show you if you finish your breakfast. We really should get our use out of the privacy before we have to head back into the city.” And with that, Jensen pushed himself off the bed and headed back out of the bedroom, humming that same tune. “C’mon lazy bones. I wanna have a picnic before we gotta head home. Want to ride you outside in the sunshine.” Jared tossed the blankets off at Jensen’s tease and headed into the bathroom to brush his teeth and pull on some clothes. HE looked out the window as he brushed and had a thought, pulling the foamy toothbrush out of his mouth to yell out the door, “Isn’t it a little cold out there?” He didn’t have any issues with sex outside, but if it was as chilly as it had been the day before it would be uncomfortable.

“You thinking about chickening out on me, man?” Jensen’s head popped into the bathroom and Jared snorted, spraying toothpaste foam.

“Not me, just wanted to make sure you were going to be warm enough.” He replied, his tone somewhere between a tease and genuine concern.

“Well, I’m pretty sure that the two of us could work up a sweat.” And with another wink, Jensen was gone and Jared was suddenly hard enough that his head was spinning a little.

Their picnic consisted of two travel mugs of overly sweet coffee, the last of the garlic bread from Friday night, the rest of the bacon from that morning and some dubious apples. Jared had grabbed a thick blanket from the linen closet and spread it out over a patch of grass in the sunshine and they enjoyed a picnic brunch before Jensen stripped them both down, climbed on top of Jared and rode him enthusiastically until they were both spent. Jared reached up and curled his arm around Jensen’s sweaty back, pulling him down so they lay chest to chest in their little patch of sunshine and come down together.

“Don’t want to go back to reality.” Jared sighed into Jensen’s sweaty hair as his eyes closed and he felt himself drift back to sleep.

“Mmmmm” Jensen rumbled back contentedly on his chest.

They overslept, causing a mad dash through the house to turn off lights and put dishes in the dishwasher as they threw their things intermingled into the truck. And hauled themselves in after, getting onto the road much later than they’d intended.

“Drive through for dinner?” Jared asked, one hand on the wheel and the other resting on the bench seat next to Jensen’s thigh.

“Yeah. Gotta get home and try and stay up to do some laundry. Might be tough though, SOMEONE didn’t let me rest much this weekend.” He joked.

“Yeah, huh, wonder why that happened. We got about two hours on the road, if you wanna find something on the radio and crash. I won’t need directions to your apartment for a while.” He slipped his hand up Jensen’s side until his palm rested heavy on the back of his neck. Jensen yawned through his mild glare.

“You just want road head.” He accused with a yawn as he shifted onto his side and lay his head on Jared’s thigh.

“Not this time. Rest, Jen, I’ll wake you when I get off the highway and hit a drive through.” He reached over and turned the radio on low enough to hear and settled in to drive them home. About an hour and a half later, he pulled into the parking lot at Sandy’s burgers and reluctantly turned to shake Jensen awake so they could both eat.

“Whazzit?” Jensen jackknifed up, barely missing bumping their heads together and Jared couldn’t stop himself from laughing.

“Food.” He pointed to the brightly lit burger joint and watched Jensen rub his face and fumble for the door handle.

“Fooood.” He stumbled out of the truck and Jared followed in amazement.

“Is this always what you're like when you get woken up?” He asked, pulling the door open so that Jensen could go inside to order.

“Mmmhmmm, s’why I got up before you. Cause I didn’t want you to see me like this, but I guess my secret is out. FOOOD.” He groaned as the smell of greasy, delicious burgers and french fries wafted over them.

They ate themselves silly and each got a milkshake to go. When they hopped back in the truck, Jared turned to Jensen, waiting. Jensen turned big eyes to him. “What?”

“Directions to take you home?”

“Pfft, oh yeah. Uh, it’s West sixth street?”

Jared went still. “Are you fucking kidding me?” He deadpanned. Jensen shook his head.

“No, why? What’s wrong?”

Jared turned to face forward, hands wringing the leather wheel. “That’s where I live. How is that possible? What apartment?” He turned the key in the ignition and listened as the truck rumbled to life before he pulled onto the road.

“Jay one.”

“But the name on that apartment is, like Jay Oakley…” Jared replied slowly, realizing as he said it that the name was scribbled at best and he’d never been sure of that. He also felt a sense of calm roll over him and realized that he’d been carrying a lot of stress over the mild flirting he’d been doing with his unknown neighbor. He realized he didn’t have to worry about it anymore, because of course it was Jensen. Jared smiled; Jensen really was perfect for him.

“Jare...Jared. Are you cute note guy?” Jensen asked quietly. Jared couldn’t help but laugh.

“If you’re asking if I’m apartment Jay two, the answer is yes. This is pretty ridiculous and unbelievable, you know.” He still felt conflicted about this reveal for some reason. Jensen had been living next door to him all this time.

“Hey! Sing for me. I love your voice!” He poked Jensen’s ribs just to see him giggle.

“Dance, monkey, dance?” Jensen asked, reaching for the radio. The first station that he turned to was just starting a song and with a giggle in his voice he turned the radio down low and started to sing along.

“I gotta tell you what I’m feeling inside

I could lie to myself but it’s true

There’s no denying when I look in your eye

Jay I’m outta my head over you

I’ve lived my life believing all love is blind

But everything about you is telling me this time

It’s forever, this time I know and there’s no doubt in my mind”

Jared pulled into his rarely used parking space behind their building and killed the engine. He turned to Jensen who looked like he was feeling just as awkward yet pleased about the situation as he was.

“Welp, this is weird. Can I walk you to your door this time?” Jared asked, grabbing his bag and opening the door.

“Your tongue has been inside my ass so I’m thinking you can do pretty much anything you want.” Jensen replied so casually that Jared actually tripped over his feet with shock. He cleared his throat and squeaked an affirmative sound back while Jensen laughed at him.

At their landing, Jared turned and was planning on placing a soft, sweet kiss on Jensen’s lips but was yanked down by a forceful hand on his neck before Jensen crashed their mouths together. He dropped his bag and grabbed Jensen’s hips, lifting the smaller man into his arms as they kisses pressed up against Jensen’s door. Finally, Jensen dropped his feet to the floor and gently pushed Jared away.

“I do have to do laundry. And sleep. You are far too enticing for your own good and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that we live next door to each other now.”

“Not just now, we always did.” Jared supplied, and they both paused.

“Touche. Regardless. Go inside there and I’m going to go inside here and we are going to try and get some rest tonight. You are distracting. Good night Jared, Thank you for the weekend.” Jensen rambled before slipping into his apartment and shutting the door decisively in Jared’s face.

Dazedly, Jared let himself into his apartment, bypassing the pile of laundry he’d left out to do when he got back home and headed into his bedroom. He dropped his bag at the foot of his bed, pulled off his clothes down to his boxers and lay himself down on his bed. When he closed his eyes he could hear the rustling of Jensen doing the same in his own apartment before it got very quiet. There was a soft knock on his wall above his bed and he smiled, answering back with a knock before he heard Jensen’s beautiful voice singing, starting at the end of a song.

“Oh can’t you see it baby

You got me going crazy

Wherever you go

Whatever you do

I will be right here waiting for you

Whatever it takes

Or how my heart breaks

I will be right here waiting for you”

ACT THREE

“Jensen are you sitting down?’ Dani asked over the phone and Jensen couldn’t help but sigh with exasperation.

“Dani I’m always sitting down. I work in a library. What’s going on?” He shoved his reading glasses up so that he could rub his dry eyes.

“Look, UMC Brackenridge just called here for you. They have Jared in the ER and you’re listed as his emergency contact. They need you to come down to the trauma center as soon as you can.” He barely heard Dani finish speaking as spots were dancing in front of his eyes as he fought against the urge to faint. Jared was in the trauma center. He had to go, he had to get there right away.

“Jenny, I’m on my way to you. Stay where you are, I’ll come get you and we will go together, okay. STAY THERE. I’m coming honey.”

He didn’t notice them getting into the car or speeding to the hospital, too focused on remembering his giggly, sweet goodbye with Jared that morning over bagels and coffee. Jared had kissed him deeply and ignored Jensen’s worry at the high winds that day, wondering if they would have Jared do something safer than work on the top levels due to the weather. He felt Dani steering him up to the counter in the ER so that he could find out what he needed to do.

“Hi, yeah, I got a call I’m Jensen Ackles and my boyfriend Jared Padalecki was brought in? I’m his emergency contact and I don’t know what happened or what I need to do or anything.” He could hear the shaky tears in his own voice and the nurse must have found some sympathy for him.

“Why don’t you go sit down right over there, I’ll get his file and find out if you can see him, okay? Drink a cup of water.” She gestured to a water cooler and a set of unoccupied chairs near a window and Dani thanked her before steering him over in that direction. Before he could sit down, however, Chad was there.

“This is all your fault. He never had any accidents before. But now, all he can think about is you and making extra money for you and spending time with you and now look! Look! He fell off a goddamn building. If he doesn’t make it I don’t-” Chad’s throat closed up with panic and fear causing his words to cut off. Jensen pulled Chad into a hug even as Chad fought against him.

Jensen tried to soothe Chad even as his words were penetrating through Jensen’s fog of terror and worry. Jensen was going to push the blame aside and focus on keeping himself and Chad calm for Jared’s sake; he could sink into blame and self loathing later. He had to be strong.

“How far did he fall?” He asked softly, rubbing his hand up and down Chad’s back.

Chad rubbed his face back and forth in Jensen’s shirt, wetting it with tears and who knows what else before he pulled back to answer. “Fifteen, maybe twenty feet? His harness… I’ll never be able to… Jensen. He’s my best friend. I can’t lose him.” Chad’s face went pink and then red as he tried to hold back the tears, but they burst out of him and that was when Jensen started to cry softly too. He tucked Chad’s face back into his shoulder and maneuvered them down into the chairs. He looked up to see both Dani and the nurse heading their way and when Dani got there, he gently guided Chad over to Dani so that he could stand off to the side and speak with the nurse.

“Here’s what we know so far Mister Ackles. Mister Padalecki was brought in from the work site. There are severe facial injuries along with a head injury and some damage to his legs. We can’t tell yet the extent of the damage to his bones because he is unconscious and we needed permission to start running diagnostic tests beyond basic life saving measures. That’s what we need from you.”

“Yeah, okay, what do you need some signatures? Whatever you need just go in and make sure he’s okay. That’s all I want.” The nurse had Jensen sign a few forms and then left him there with Dani and Chad and the faint hope that there would be news soon.

New didn’t come for another four hours when a tired looking trauma doctor came into the waiting room looking for Jensen.

“Mister Ackles, can I speak to you alone?” Jensen stood up, shaking his head and holding Chad’s hand tight in his own.

“Doctor Morgan? Anything you say to me can be said to them as well. We are all family here.” Chad turned red-rimmed eyes to the doctor who looked hesitant but after a moment’s pause nodded and took a deep breath.

“Alright. First let me say that Mister Padalecki is very lucky but he will have a long, difficult road of recovery ahead of him. It seems as though he was able to correct slightly as he was falling to land on his feet and pitch forward, which is why he has such extensive face and head injuries. He’s broken all the bones of the forefoot of his right foot and all his toes on the left. He then pitched forward, hitting his face and head on the partially finished floor of the building he was working on giving himself a severe concussion. The biggest issue, however, is the fact that when his head hit the floor, he fractured the c1, c2 and c3 vertebrae. Since he was unconscious we were unable to x-ray but when you gave us permission we took him in and performed a ct scan to see these fractures. We were expecting to see them, but the extent of them is still unknown. For now, he seems to be resting, he did regain consciousness for a short period of time and was able to answer a few basic questions so his memory and speech seem to be unaffected at this time. For now we have him in a private room in the trauma center and he’s in a halo cervical collar until we can truly determine the extent of the fractures of his vertebrae.”

“But he’s going to be okay?” Jensen asked shakily, his arm curling over Chad’s shaking shoulders, despite Chad’s repeated attempts to pull away from him.

“He should make a full recovery, in time. He’s still young enough to heal. He may have a limp or other mobility issues but we won’t know that for some time, yet.”

“When can we get in to see him?” Dani asked from Jensen’s other side and he was so grateful for her being there.

“Well, I can let Mister Ackles in for a brief time today since he is listed as emergency contact but for you two it won’t be until visiting hours start tomorrow at nine in the morning. We are going to be observing him very closely tonight. So, Mister Ackles if you’d like to follow me. After you see him I highly suggest that you head home, take a shower and change your clothes and get a decent night’s sleep before you return in the morning.”

For the first time since he’d heard the news, Jensen felt like he was going to pass out. His head started to spin and he couldn’t focus his eyes. He leaned back into Dani who caught him and started speaking softly into his ear.

“Breathe for me, Jenny. In and out and in and out just like that, c;mon. You got this, you can do this, you just need to breathe, there you go. C’mon, don’t you wanna go see your Jare-Bear? There you go. Okay, up on your feet now.” She leaned him forward until he was standing under his own power. He nodded at her and the doctor.

“I don’t know how I can make myself leave, especially after you let me see him, but okay. I’m ready.” Doctor Morgan nodded and turned to head down the hallway. He scanned his ID badge to let them onto the ward and immediately stopped at a handsink.

“Due to the delicate nature of some of our patients I have to ask that you stop and wash your hands here Mister Ackles, and I’m also going to give you a face mask to wear for your duration on the Trauma ward. I also need to tell you something else.” The doctor paused and Jensen looked up from where he was burning his skin in an attempt to get his hands clean.

“Mister Padalecki took a lot of damage to his head and face. He is nearly unrecognizable. I do not want you to panic further when you see him. He was on a breathing tube for a while, but he is hooked up to many monitors in addition to having iv in both his arms. There’s extensive bandages under the halo brace that I mentioned but there’s also large portions of his bruised and abraded skin left uncovered.”

Jensen took a deep, shaky breath and let it out until he decided that he could speak. “I understand. I mean, I know what you’re trying to tell me. I can handle it. For him.” He truly believed it until the doctor nodded and handed him a mask to hook around his ears and over his nose and mouth and proceeded him into Jared’s room.

Jared’s hair had been shaved away. His face was swollen and bruised, covered in scratches. There were IV in both his beautiful hands and the sounds of the machines beeping were deafening.

“Jared.” He whispered, unable to keep it in. He barely noticed Doctor Morgan murmuring “I'll give you a few minutes” and slipping out the door. He stepped up close to the side of the bed and held his shaking hand over Jared’s, just barely letting his fingers drop down and brush over the exposed fingertips.

“You have to be okay Jare. I can't. I can't do this without you.” Jensen leaned down and pressed a soft kiss through the face mask to the undamaged skin on Jared’s fingers. He heard the door open and deliberately ignored the doctor’s soft cough to let him know that his time was up.

“I love you. I'll be back first thing in the morning. You rest tonight.” With one more longing look and a wish in his heart that Jared would just open his eyes, Jensen kissed the fingers again and stepped back towards the door. His throat was choked up as he tried to thank the doctor for the time so he couldn't get the words out. Doctor Morgan placed a heavy hand on his shoulder and turned jensen to face him.

“Your friend is young and healthy and strong. We have every reason to believe that he will come through this with nothing more than a few scars and some possible stiffness. Have faith Mister Ackles and get some rest tonight; he is going to rely on you heavily in the days and weeks to come. In addition to some sleep I suggest that you pack a bag for him before you return. Many patients feel more comfortable surrounded by their own things and we've noticed that it does help them heal faster.”

Chad was gone and Dani was waiting when he left the ward. She drove him to their building silently and he waved her off at the door, begging emotional exhaustion and the desire to be alone to process.

He let himself into Jared’s apartment, the one that had been used as nothing more than a storage space for a few weeks now, and was immediately surrounded by Jared’s scent; his shampoo, his cologne, and he noticed with a grimace, his body odor. A gym bag lay just inside the door with unwashed workout clothes hanging out the top. He shoved it aside with the tip of his shoe and headed back into the bedroom, his body throbbing with longing. He lay himself down on the messy, unmade bed and let the tears start to flow.

When Dani showed up to take him back to the hospital in the morning she found him dry eyed, showered, dressed and with a bag of Jared’s favorite things by the door. He nodded and placed his coffee cup into the sink as soon as she walked into his apartment.

“Great, good, let’s go. Thanks.” He mumbled as he picked up the bag and headed down to Dani’s car.

The ride was stilted at first, in a way that the two hadn’t felt in some time. Dani cleared her throat a few times and opened her mouth to speak, but kept shutting it with no words coming out.

“Dani. Tell me what you want to tell me; it’s not like to to be timid. You’re making it weird.” Jensen finally said with a small grin and Dani nodded silently as she pulled into a parking space at the hospital and turned the car off. The sound of the engine cooling and ticking could be heard clearly in the silence.

“Dani-seriously, what-”

“We got the grant, I got the news after I dropped you off last night.” She said, unwilling to raise her eyes and look at him.

“Dani, that’s good news, why are you acting like it’s not?” Jensen asked cautiously, wringing his hands on the straps to Jared’s bag.

“Because, we have two weeks to assemble a team and leave. So either you leave Jared like this, which I know you won’t do or you don’t get to come on the trip and since it was your research that led us to it and you’re the one that wanted to go in the first place I don’t see how you could not come with us.”

Jensen felt a sweat break out over his scalp; it's an impossible choice. He can't leave Jared, especially now. But also, he can't not go on this dig he's been working for it his whole life. The whole dig was his idea from his tireless research. He let out a breath he didn't know he was holding and turned to face his best friend.

“I can't deal with that today. I just can't-you can't make me decide. Not today Dani.” He cried, tears slipping down his cheeks at the torture of his impossible decision. Dani cupped his face and wiped away the tears with her thumbs.

“Don't think about it. Just focus on Jared and what he needs. Gimme a call if you need me. Love you Jenny.”

Jensen sniffled and flipped her the middle finger as he got out of the car but flashed a smile at the same time.

“Love you too. Talk to you later.”

He didn't notice Chad’s truck in the parking lot but it was impossible not to notice him at the nurses station. Chad was waving his arms frantically and his voice was getting louder and louder. When Jensen got closer he could see Chad hadn’t shaved or even showered and he couldn’t be sure but he thought Chad was wearing the same clothes he’d had on the previous day. He rounded on him, finger shaking as he shoved it in Jensen’s face.

“YOU! You’re the reason they won’t let me in to check on Jared! This is all your fault and I hate you I hate you I hate you.” Jensen tried to stay calm, he tried to catch Chad’s upset, flailing arms as he screamed but deep down, it hurt. He took it to heart. He’d come between Chad and Jared even though he’d tried not to and seeing Chad’s upset and pain when everything else was so painful was hard to brush off. He clamped his arms around Chad in the parody of a hug and looked over at the nurse to see what was happening. Thankfully, she seemed sympathetic rather than angry.

“The doctor didn’t have you sign the release form last night that allows other people in the room. Sorry, but it’s a legal requirement.” She shook her head and held out a clipboard with a sheet for him to sign as he tried to keep Chad contained.

“You’re doing your job. It’s okay, we are all just worried. Can we both go in, now?” He asked and she nodded.

“You sure can Mister Ackles. He was awake this morning and was even able to eat the protein shake we made for him. He will be happy to see you both.”

Jensen smiled at her gratefully and gently shoved at Chad to get them through the doors and onto the trauma ward. He stopped at the sink and washed his hands, elbowing Chad none-too-gently to make sure that he did the same.

“I’m not going to fight you at all, but I am certainly not going to fight you in there, got it?”He asked through clenched teeth as he dried off his hands. Had he not been watching Chad so closely he never would have seen the angry, short nod but he did, so he nodded in turn and headed towards Jared’s room.

Jared was awake, groggy but awake, when Jensen walked into the room. Since he’d been in the night before, he was prepared for how Jared looked and, in fact, looked better than Jensen’s memories of the night before.

“Hey Jared.” He whispered, as he dropped the bag of JAred’s things by the bed and stepped up close to run his fingers over an exposed and undamaged section of skin on Jared’s arm.

“Jensen. Chad.” Jared was cold, distant. He wouldn’t look over at them and Jensen felt his heart sink. He expected something other than this cold greeting. He expected Jared to be happy to see them or… something. His first thought was that Jared was blaming him the same as Chad. Chad who was still frozen over in the doorway.

“Jay, man, you scared me so bad. Your harness just twisted and snapped and I thought..I thought… I thought you were a goner.”

“Well, so sorry I scared you Chad.” Jared mumbled through scratched and swollen lips. Jensen froze, pulling his hand away and chewing at the inside of his lip. He’d never heard Jared sound like that and couldn’t imagine what was going through Jared’s head.

“Did you talk to the doctor so far today?” He interjected, trying to draw fire when Chad was already so messed up over the situation.

“Nah, they just left me in here to rot.” A little drool dribbled from the side of Jared’s slack and damaged mouth and, without thinking, Jensen reached over and thumbed it away. No one was expecting the way Jared tried to finch away but couldn’t due to the halo. “Ow fuck. Leave me alone, both of you.” He growled and Jensen’s insides turned to liquid.

“What..Jay, man, you can’t…” Chard started and even came closer to the bed finally, but Jared just got louder.

“Both of you out.” He struggled to raise his arm and point at the door but the bandages proved too extensive.

“We will leave now Jared, and I’ll be back later when you’re more up for a visit. I brought some stuff, it’s in the bag. You can have a nurse go through it for you, see if there’s anything you want. I called your mom, but I told her not to come up yet. Told her that you’d call when you could to tell her yourself.” Jensen said, shoving the tears down until it felt like he was walking on them.

He’d looked it up the night before; anger from the injured person was incredibly common. Jared wasn’t really angry at him. Only, Chad was really angry at him and he was overly emotional and and and and so many ands.

He turned away from his injured boyfriend in the bed and walked out with his head held high, knowing that Chad would be following him soon. He heard the soft but definitive thud of something hitting the back of a hospital door before he felt Chad join him in the hallway.

“Threw something at you?” He asked as they walked.

“The remote.” Chad answered.

Jensen nodded and pushed open the door to the lobby. “At least it wasn’t a bedpan.” He tried to joke but Chad wasn’t having it. Chad rounded on him, grabbing his shirt and pushing him across the room.

“We aren’t friends. We will never be friends. You stole him from me and then it’s because he was all distracted by YOU that he got hurt in the first place. You better hope we won’t end up here at the same time, next time.” And with that, Chad let go of his shirt and slammed his way out into the parking lot leaving Jensen shaking and unsure of what to do.

He started walking.

Every day Jensen showed up at the start of visiting hours with another small item to help Jared recuperate. Every single day for a week. And every day he was met with cold stares and a handful of words. By the seventh day, Jensen had grown to dread going to the hospital. He’d finally worked up the courage the day before to tell Jared that the grant had been approved and Dani was in the final stages of planning for the eight to twelve week expedition. Jared’s eyes had flickered to his face when he talked about it in a way they hadn’t since before the accident and he’d been hopeful for more but it had ended there. Jared had turned back to the tv before he could mention anything about if he was planning on going or not.

That morning, he lounged and lingered in his apartment before heading down to see Jared. He signed himself in at the nurse’s station but before they could say anything more than hello he was gone through the doors and the handwashing station.

He pushed open the door to Jared’s room with a forced smile on his face only to be greeted with something that he never thought he would see from Jared. He was kissing Chad. Or, rather, Chad was kissing him. Jensen’s whole being went into shock and he just stood there, frozen, in the doorway. Waiting for it to be over or reveal itself to be some kind of horrible walking nightmare.

It wasn’t.

Chad finally pulled away and Jensen watched as he and Jared stared into each other’s eyes. He cleared his throat softly, waiting for them to turn and face him. Chad’s eyes were steady, cool. Jared’s were blank.

“What do you want?” Chad asked, casually cocking a hip on Jared’s bed and putting an arm around Jared’s back.

“Well, I was hoping to visit my boyfriend but I don’t see him anywhere. So, I guess I’ll just drop off this… stuff here.” He held out a bag full of fresh-baked pastries from Jared’s favorite bakery and dropped it on the floor. “And say goodbye. I’m heading to Sweden in a couple of days. If either of you two see my loving boyfriend….tell him that I really loved him. Tell him that I said, I TOLD him, I wouldn’t come between friends again. Tell him goodbye.”

Without waiting another second, Jensen turned on his heel and walked away, holding the tears in until he’d left the hospital. When he made it outside, with trembling fingers, he pulled out the phone and texted Dani to come and get him.

-----------------------------

Jared watched as the love of his life walked out the door and he said nothing. Jensen would have stayed. He would have forgotten all about his once-in-a-lifetime trip and stayed to help Jared who felt like he was half of himself. Jared was so sunk in self-loathing over being hurt on the job, not noticing that his harness was damaged and allowing himself to be so seriously injured, that when he’d seen Chad leaning over to kiss him he just let it happen. Jensen deserved better than him. He deserved someone that could take care of him, financially, emotionally, sexually and Jared was damaged goods. He had to wreck it beyond repair.

He knew it was over and he knew that it was his fault; he deserved it. He’d never find someone as perfect as Jensen again. He turned to Chad, who looked nervous but happy. How dare he be happy right now?

“Get.Out.” Jared gritted through clenched teeth. He raised a shaky, bandaged hand and wiped his mouth, clearly implying why he was incapable of verbalizing.

“But..Jay, man, you can’t…” Chad trailed off when Jared glared at him.

“I can. I will. I do. I want you to leave. I wanted Jensen to go on that trip. I didn’t want to break his damn heart. Get the hell out.”

“Jay, it wasn’t just for Jensen. I mean, I’m...I think I’m in love with you.” Chad said softly, staring at his feet.

It made Jared pause; he’d never heard Chad sound like that before. He turned to face his friend as best as he could in the halo brace.

“Chad. You’re not in love with me. You’re confused, maybe lonely. Look. Do you wanna have sex with me?” Jared asked, not trying to be unkind but he wasn’t certain that Chad was just confused.

“NO! I mean, I… don’t think so? But, I like, I’ve missed you lately. And I dunno how to handle it when you aren’t there. And just. All kinds of, like, loving feelings are in my head.”

“Chad. I’m sorry that you feel like I ditched you for Jensen. But you’re not in love with me. You’re lonely at best. Look, we will figure it out. I’m done accidentally pushing you away. And I’m gonna need you, buddy. One day at a time?”

Chad nodded and sat down, ridiculous adoring look on his face replaced with puzzlement. “Why’d you let me kiss you. You knew Jensen was on his way.” The usual sneer in Chad’s voice when he mentioned Jensen was subdued, but still noticeable.

“Jen-” Jared felt his voice crack and a tear slipped down his cheek. “Jensen needed to go on his work trip and he would have skipped it for me. I couldn’t let that happen. He deserves better.” More tears slipped down his cheeks unchecked as he felt Chad pick up his hand.

-----------------------------------------------

Another beautiful, freezing morning at the dig. Jensen sat near the dig site, bundled from his top to his toes, and watched the sun come up over the water. He missed Jared. He figured he would probably always miss Jared. He felt someone come up behind him and hand him a thermos of hot coffee.

“Pretty sure he was my soulmate. The love of my life.” New day, same words. He’d said them every day since they arrived in Sweden, thinking about how Jared was the only person who’d ever liked listening to him talk about his work. He choked up and forced himself to take a breath before gulping at the coffee. He felt a hand press down on the top of his head.

“I know sweetie, and if i could fix it for you or make you stop hurting, I would.” Dani’s soft voice rang out in the cold morning air. “But I can’t fix it for you. So, for now, come with me. I think we are going to find something special today. I can feel it.” She had such a sound of contained excitement in her voice that Jensen couldn’t help but find himself breaking out of his funk.

“Yeah, let’s go. I am ready for something amazing.” He stood up and dusted off the seat of his pants, linking his arm with Dani and letting her tug him along towards the actual dig site. He slid down the frozen dirt into the actual dug hole and picked up the sieve while Dani picked up a shovel and began to dig gently.

Mid-morning, he and Dani were in the dirt, sifting through on their hands and knees and starting to find tiny fragments of ceramic pottery and ornaments made of chiselled and carved stone that was clearly man-manipulated. They were getting excited when, suddenly, all of the workers fell silent. Jensen looked up and around to see why everyone had fallen quiet at once and couldn’t see a reason. He was turning to Dani when a voice rang out in the air.

“You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs

Well I look around me and I see it isn’t so

Oh no

Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs

Well what’s wrong with that

I’d like to know

Cause here I go Again

I love you, I love you

I love you, I love you”

Jensen would know that off-key but beautifully enthusiastic singing anywhere and he stood up, his head flying from side to side trying to find out where he was. He caught a glimpse of Dani’s amused but proud smile and knew that, eventually, he would have to thank her for this somehow but he had more pressing matters at the moment.

Finally, at the edge of the dig, he saw the familiar silhouette of his beautiful Jared. Without thinking, he clawed up the side of the pit and threw himself into Jared’s strong arms.

“Oh god Jared. I forgot, did I hurt you? Are you okay? What are you doing here?” The words came out in a rush as he pulled himself out of Jared’s arms and dropped back to his feet so that he could get a look at him.

“I’m fine, you can’t hurt me. I’m here for you. I fucked up and Chad was confused and feeling things he didn’t know how to deal with. And then I felt like I was holding you back. But as I was doing all that rehab and coming home to my empty apartment every night and I realized I fucked up. I can’t live without you. You are the single best thing that ever happened to me and I don’t want to live without you anymore. I couldn’t take the chance of waiting until your dig was over, so I contacted Dani and after a lot of grovelling and a few expensive gifts” Jared paused for Jensen’s exclamation of “I knew those chocolates were a gift Elta Danneel Harris!” and laughed as he ran a hand down Jensen’s arm, “She and I came up with this crazy plan. I didn’t want to interrupt your dream of holding history in your hands but Dani said you were missing me a little and not having as much fun as you could be having, anyway.”

“That sneaky bitch, how I love her.” Jensen went still and silent then, chewing on his lip as he thought. Jared reached up and touched the lip that was clenched between his teeth to make him release it.

“Tell me what you’re thinking, beautiful. Have a got a chance in hell?” Jensen looked up meeting Jared’s insecure look.

“You sang for me. You have all the chances.” and he placed a hand on Jared’s neck to pull his face down for a kiss.