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To Be Or...Knot To Be??

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To Be Or...Knot To Be??

Chapter One.

'Oh my god, Jay, what does your mom feed you??' Jensen says, walking up to his best friend who's currently rooting around in his locker. 'You realise that when you're off sick, you're not supposed to come back even taller than you were before, right??' He shakes his head and opens his own locker. 'If nothing else, you're making me look short, which is really unfair because I'm not-'

He cuts off sharply when he feels a hand slap hard against his ass.

Fucking. Justin. Hartley.

Whirling round, he opens his mouth to tell the asshole to fuck off...again, only to freeze in shock when he sees that Jared has his hand clamped around Justin's wrist so tightly the guy's knees are buckling beneath him. 'Jared...'

'If you ever touch him again,' Jared growls right into Justin's ear, 'I'll break your fucking arm, you hear me??'

Jensen watches, wide-eyed, as Justin nods frantically, his face a rictus of pain and fear. But Jared doesn't let go. If anything, his grip tightens, and Jensen quickly shakes off his shock to hurry over to them. 'Jay, let him go. You have to let him go,' he begs, pulling gently on Jared's free arm. 'Please, Jared.'

He can't suppress the huge sigh of relief he lets out when Jared finally drops Justin's arm. Justin might be a grade A dick who can't seem to keep his hands to himself when it comes to Jensen, but he's not worth Jared getting suspended, maybe even expelled, over. 'Come on,' Jensen says, ignoring both the crowd that's gathered around them and Justin crouched on the floor cradling his already swollen wrist.

Christ, how hard had Jared grabbed him??

****

'Jared, are you...okay? You're acting a little weird?' Jensen asks as he flips his science textbook open onto the library desk.

Jared's eyes flicker up to his, locking Jensen in his gaze, and Jensen feels his breath hitch in his throat. He's never seen Jared's eyes look so intense, or so dark, and for a moment, he feels...caught. Like...like prey.

But then Jared laughs and shakes his head, sending his already messy bangs into artful disarray, and when he turns his attention back to Jensen again, he looks like his old self. Like Jensen just imagined it all. Which he probably did. Jared...he's fine. Jensen's sure he is.

'Yeah, sorry, still feeling a bit under the weather, you know?' Jared says, opening his own textbook.

Well, that explains it, right??

'Why didn't you say anything?' Jensen says, voice mildly chastising as he grabs his backpack from the floor and pulls out a Tupperware box. 'Here.' He places an orange and a banana in front of Jared, before extracting a bottle of water and handing that over too. He sees Jared's lips twitch like he wants to laugh at Jensen. Like he always does when Jensen gets out his Tupperware. Jensen gives a fake, long suffering sigh and says, 'It's fine, you can say it. I know you want to.'

'Say what?' Jared asks, picking up the orange and peeling it with his long, long fingers.

Jensen tries very hard not to be distracted. It's difficult, but luckily, he's had years of practice of trying to ignore Jared looking hot doing the simplest things, and he's pretty proud of how unaffected he sounds when he replies, 'That I'm a dork.'

'That's so not what I was thinking.'

'Sureeee, you weren't,' Jensen says, rolling his eyes. Even he knows it's a little dorky to keep Tupperware containers of food in his backpack.

'No,' Jared says, popping an orange segment into his mouth, 'I really wasn't. I was actually thinking how freaking adorable you are.'

Jensen feels his cheeks heat instantly, and his heart skips a beat in his chest. That's pretty much the last thing in the entire world Jensen had expected to come out of Jared's mouth, and his stupid, crush-addled brain can't help going offline for a second. Even though he knows, he knows, Jared didn't mean anything by it. And he certainly didn't mean it the way Jensen desperately wants him to. 'I-'

'Got any cookies in there?' Jared says before Jensen manages to get anything out.

The abrupt subject change, as grateful as Jensen is for it 'cause he still has no idea what he was going to say to that, takes him a little by surprise, and it takes him a few moments to compute what Jared just asked him. Eventually, he stammers, 'Oh, yeah, I...I've got some I made last night.' Diving back into his bag, he pulls out a second Tupperware box and hands it over to Jared, who immediately tears off the lid and digs into its contents.

'God, you're amazing,' Jared moans around the cookie in his mouth, and Jensen bites the inside of his cheek, hard, telling his body to calm the fuck down. Jared just loves cookies, and the ones he's devouring right now, the double chocolate chip ones, are his favourite.

It. Doesn't. Mean. Anything.

****

Jensen really doesn't want to be paired up with Justin after what happened this morning, but he's the only guy on the cheerleading squad who's able to lift Jensen, so he really doesn't have much of a choice. He'd been kind of hoping that Justin's wrist would be too sore for him to come to practice, but obviously not, because when he and Jared - who insisted he was fine to wait and drive Jensen home like he usually does, despite Jensen's protests that he should go home to bed - stroll out onto the football field, Justin's already there warming up.

Jensen doesn't miss the dirty look Jared and Justin exchange as Jared goes to sit down in the stands, and his stomach gives a nervous flip as he starts his own stretches.

****

It's all going fine, Jensen's nailing his tumbles, the team are in better sync than ever, right up until Justin hoists Jensen up for his final pose and slides his hand inside Jensen's shorts to grope his ass. And even though Jensen's six feet in the air, and the fall is gonna hurt like a bitch, he starts to struggle. 'What the fuck, Justin??' he hisses, squirming in the other boy's grasp enough to dislodge his hand.

And enough to sent him hurtling towards the ground. He braces himself, hoping he doesn't break anything when he hits the floor, but...the impact doesn't come. Instead, when he opens his eyes, he finds himself in Jared's arms.

Jared fucking caught him. How did he even...

He doesn't have time to figure out how Jared somehow managed to get all the way over here before he hit the ground, because as soon as Jared's placed him carefully back on his feet, he's on Justin, twisting the other boy's arm behind his back at an alarming angle.

Fuck, fuck, FUCK...

The crack that follows makes Jensen's blood run cold as he rushes over to them and drags Jared away.

Justin's curled up in a ball on the floor, nursing his broken arm, and it's taking Jensen and two of his fellow cheerleaders to keep Jared from marching over to him and finishing what he started.

'Jared, stop! Jesus Christ, you've gotta stop!!' Jensen yells frantically as he feels his feet sliding backwards through the grass of the football field. How is Jared even doing this?? Jensen is using every ounce of strength he has to push against Jared's chest, and Danni and Chris have him by the shoulders, and he's still gaining ground. 'Listen to me, goddammit.'

Jared's eyes dart to Jensen's face then and just for a moment, just for an instant, Jensen could've sworn they were yellow. But between one blink and the next, the yellow is gone and Jensen's staring up into the same hazel eyes he's known since he was eight. Trick of the light. Had to have been. What else could it have been??

'Why don't we just go home, okay??'

Jared's face softens at the words, eyes still firmly fixed on Jensen's face, and he stops struggling against the three of them. 'Home?'

Jensen gives him a smile that feels more than a little strained and nods. He's never seen Jared like this...what if there's something really wrong with him?? But he can worry about that later, fix that later, once he's got Jared home and away from Justin before he does any more damage.

Speaking of which...Justin's on his feet now, stumbling towards them, his arm held awkwardly against his chest. Jared breaks free of their hold in an instant, shrugging them all off like it's nothing, but instead of rushing towards Justin like Jensen thinks he's going to, he just moves to stand in front of Jensen. Pushing Jensen behind him and shielding him completely with his body.

As he growls at Justin. Actually growls at him.

Justin looks as taken aback by that as Jensen, but he quickly recovers to spit, 'I'm reporting you for this, Padalecki, don't you think I won't. I'm gonna get you fucking expelled for this.'

Jensen feels more than a little stupid talking to Justin from behind Jared's back, but he's not going to risk setting his best friend off again by trying to move out from behind him, so he stays put as he says, 'You do that and I'll tell Principal Benedict how you've been sexually harassing me for over a year.'

'As if...' Jensen doesn't need to be able to see Justin to know he just rolled his eyes at him. The. Absolute. Dick. 'You can't prove I've done anything to you.'

'You saw him stick his hand up my shorts just now, didn't you, guys?'

'Yep,' Chris and Danneel answer in unison.

Justin splutters. 'You were in front of us, you can't possibly have seen-'

'Doesn't matter. It's all the proof I'll need,' Jensen says, cutting him off.

'You're still...you're still not gonna get away with this,' Justin snarls, but he sounds less sure than before, which makes the knot of tension in Jensen's stomach loosen slightly. Not as much as hearing him stomp off to the locker rooms does though. Finally putting some distance between him and Jared, and taking away the very real possibility that Jared might just end up putting him in the hospital.

Or worse.

He lets out a shaky breath, and ignoring the worried looks both Chris and Danni are sending his way, he says, 'Okay, where are you car keys, Jared?' Because no matter how crazy and erratic and downright weird Jared's behaviour has been today, Jensen knows Jared would never hurt him. They've been best friends for forever. He's...he's sure Jared would never raise a hand to him.

Like 99% sure.

He gets a sudden flash of Jared snapping Justin's arm like a twig, a look of almost inhuman rage on his face...okay, he's like 90% sure Jared wouldn't hurt him.

Which is still pretty good, right?

****