Jared’s rocking on the back legs of the kitchen chair, the latest script propped up on his knee, marked with tons of notes and underlined sentences, a yellow highlighter clasped in his teeth. When Jensen walks in, bare feet padding across the linoleum, so quiet that Jared doesn’t hear him until he sees him, he startles enough that he nearly topples backward.
Jensen doesn’t say a word, doesn’t look at Jared, just walks over to the window, fogged up and dotted with raindrops, and stares out at the little of what he can see of the backyard. There’s a strange tension in his back, his shoulders, his breathing sounds louder, heavier.
Jared watches him for a moment, worried, but still shallow enough to notice how the Iron Man T-shirt, so full of colors once and rather loose, clings tighter to Jensen’s frame, embracing his biceps and tapered waist, copying the hard bones of his shoulder blades. His eyes drop lower, to the tattered back pocket on Jensen’s jeans, to the perfect ass underneath them, and, distracted, he bites hard on the sharpie in his mouth, tasting plastic.
It’s Jensen’s voice, low and a little rough at the edges, that makes him look up, “Tell me something funny.”
The chair hits the floor with a deafening thud as Jared sits upright, “What?”
“Something funny. A joke… Anything.”
“Because if you don’t—“ Jensen pauses and turns around, looking at Jared. His eyes appear a notch darker than their usual color, his lips a little puffed. The lines at the corners of his mouth seem a bit deeper, more obvious. He waves the thick book in his hand towards Jared, almost accusingly. “Because I just finished this, and if you don’t make me laugh, I’ll probably start crying.”
Jared stands up, moving closer to read the title. The Book Thief.
He remembers Jensen buying this one. On Saturday, a few weeks ago; another rainy afternoon spent in a bookstore. Jensen could walk miles around the isles, head tilted slightly to the side, mouthing the words of titles or names, tracing his fingers over their thick and thicker spines. Looking for the one. Or ten. Jared could spend hours just sitting there, watching him.
“Don’t laugh. It’s really fucking sad, ‘kay?”
“I’m not… laughing.”
There’s a single tear clinging to the brim of Jensen’s lashes, fat and glistening, reluctant to fall. Jared puts his hand on Jensen’s cheek, his fingers curling around the line of his jaw, his thumb grazing the tender skin beneath Jensen’s eye. He’s not thinking, he can’t be.
“But, Jensen… you’re already crying.”
Jensen blinks and the tear drops, sliding over Jared’s thumb. “That’s ‘cause you suck at telling jokes.”
“I know… I’m sorry.” Jared doesn’t really know why he’s whispering, imitating Jensen’s tone.
Another tear falls down on Jensen’s mouth, his upper lip, and Jared couldn’t stop himself even if he tried. He leans in, eyes locked on Jensen’s, his thumbnail following the contour of Jensen’s bottom lip. He kisses him, and it’s weird, odd, and strangely natural. Like it’s always been there; unspoken, unlabeled. But there.
Jensen’s lips are soft, warm, damp and salty. He’s frozen at first, too surprised, but soon he melts into it, against Jared, lips parting in a silent invitation, just enough. The kiss is like a liquid, smooth, sliding and slipping, tentative. Like a first dip into a lake. It’s hard to stop.
“She dies, huh?” Jared asks when he pulls back, holding onto the hem of Jensen’s T-shirt, afraid to let go.
“Wait... Did Kripke write that?”
Jensen chuckles, this little surprised, bemused sound that soon turns to laughter. Warm, sweet and infectious. His tongue sneaks out, just the tip, licking their common spit off his lower lip, and it probably shouldn’t look as hot as it does. He puts his hand on Jared’s chest, rather cold, but firm. “I’m not, uhm… entirely complaining, but… Why’d you do that?”
Jared shrugs, smiling, relieved. “I couldn’t think of anything funny.” And because I love you.