Jensen rubbed at the bridge of his nose. “I don’t care that your drink is sparkling and telling you to come fly with it, Jared. It’s three in the goddam morning. I’m sleeping.” His mobile phone lay next to him on his pillow, on speaker.
“You’re talking to me, you aren’t sleeping.” Jensen gritted his teeth at Jared’s flippant, more than halfway to drunk, tone.
“I’ll see you in the morning,” Jensen replied, instead of telling Jared to fuck off like he wanted to.
“Wait..!” Jared exclaimed.
Jensen turned his phone off.
“Go and tell her that I’m the richest guy under forty on the West coast.” Jared nudged Jensen towards the pretty brunette who’d been smiling at them all night.
“I’m not your pimp,” Jensen told him.
“Jensen...!” Jared whined.
“Fine,” Jensen growled, stalking towards the woman. It was just easier to do this than watch Jared pout.
Her eyes grew wider and wider as he approached. Perhaps he wasn’t looking his most friendly, Jensen mused. What the fuck ever.
He tried a smile. “Jared Padalecki would like to buy you a drink,” he said, waving a hand towards Jared who stood watching them, holding two champagne flutes and wearing a hopeful smile.
She fluttered her eyelashes. Jensen wanted to tell her not to bother, that Jared was a sure thing. “Oh.” She giggled. “I’m not sure if I should…”
Jensen mentally rolled his eyes. “He’s the richest man under forty on the West coast,” he repeated obediently.
“Oh.” Suddenly her eyes gleamed brighter. “In that case…” Her hips swayed enticingly as she headed towards Jared.
Fuck my life, Jensen thought.
Objectively, Jensen knew Jared was hot. Objectively, Jensen knew Jared was a nice guy. Objectively, Jensen could have fallen in love with Jared.
If Jared hadn't been the most self-involved, shallow asshole in existence.
So, objectively, Jensen knew that his heart was safe.
Except it really, really wasn’t.
“I'm going to marry her, Jen,” Jared stated, smiling dopily at Genevieve. “Isn't she the absolute best?
Jensen looked up from his iPad, over his glasses at Genevieve Cortese. “If you like them short, brunette and with a superiority complex the size of the Empire State, then yes, Jared, she's the absolute best.”
Jared glared at him. “You can't talk shit like that about my future wife!” he poked Jensen’s shoulder.
Jensen raised an eyebrow, “And yet, what do you know, I just did.”
“I should fire you,” Jared glared. “Jeff says I should totally fire you.”
Jensen barked out a laugh. “Please, Jeff calls me to thank me every day for keeping your ass in line.”
Jared's eyes were stormy. “I think that sometimes I give you too much leeway,” he said. “Maybe we should re-establish our boundaries.”
Jensen grinned. “Fine by me.” He looked down at his watch. “Hey, whaddaya know, It’s five pm and I'm off the clock. I’m outta here. No calls now.”
Jared looked a little panicked. “But what if it's an emergency?” he asked.
“Boundaries, Jared, boundaries.” Jensen picked up his satchel and slung it across his chest. “We'll both have to learn how to let go.”
Jensen walked out of the offices of Padalecki Industries at five on the dot for the first time since he'd started working for Jared.
He turned off his phone and hailed a cab.
Life was awesome.
Jensen was going to kill Jared.
He stormed through the front door of Jared's condo, making sure he slammed it satisfyingly hard behind him. “What the fuck is so important that you call me on my one day off in three months?” he bellowed.
Jared stuck his head out of his bedroom door. “Jensen, thank god you're here!” He motioned frantically for Jensen to follow him as he scurried back into his room. He was wearing a towel around his hips, and nothing else.
Jensen paused on the threshold of the room. He wasn't sure why. It wasn't as though he hadn't been in Jared's room before. Tonight, somehow, it just felt...different.
“Jensen.” Jared was using his extra whiny tone. Jensen usually wanted to stab himself in the face with his ballpoint pen when Jared got this whiny.
“What's the emergency, Jared?” Jensen tried to keep his voice even. He'd been enjoying a rare night of downtime, out on a date with a really nice guy who'd been asking him out for ages. Jared had scuppered any prospects of getting laid with one phone call. “I told you to only call me in the event of an emergency. Life-threatening, almost death, New York falling into the sea, emergency.”
“Genevieve is coming over and I want to make sure I look perfect,” Jared began, heading into the endless depths of one of his several walk-in closets. “Of course it’s an emergency!”
Jensen gaped at him. “You have a date with your girlfriend du jour, and you called me to help you choose an outfit?” Jensen could feel the rage starting to shake through him.
Jared came back out of the closet. “Of course I called you,” he said, staring at Jensen as though he'd spoken Eskimo. “Who else?”
“It was my fucking night off, Jared! I had a date in the first time in for-fucking-ever, Jared, and you fucking called me to help you pick out an outfit so that you can bone your elitist girlfriend, Jared!” Jensen was sure there were whales in the Pacific who were hearing the sonic boom of his shrieking.
Jared's eyes were wide. “Holy shit,” he breathed. “You're fucking hot when you lose your temper, Jensen.”
“That's it.” Jensen closed his eyes, shaking his head. “I'm done.”
“Done?” Jared propped his fists on his hips. “You haven't even started helping me put an outfit together.”
Jensen stalked to the closet, pulled out a smart white shirt, a pair of dark blue jeans and Jared's most scuffed up, worn in boots. “Here.” He thrust them into Jared's arms. “I’m so over your shit. Consider this my two week’s notice.”
Jared was still guppying as Jensen slammed the condo door on his way out.
Jeff called him at seven the next morning. “You can't quit!” he shouted as soon as Jensen hit the answer button. “I will kill him and end you!”
Jeff Padalecki had the dubious privilege of being the de facto head of Padalecki Industries. He had been trying to get Jared to focus his considerable intellect on the family business. So far, so fail.
“Good morning, Jeff.” Jensen was proud of how steady his voice was. “How are you today?”
“Seriously, Jensen, stop fucking around.” Jeff sounded as though he was on the verge of a heart attack, which, having Jared as a baby brother was always a possibility. “I might actually throw myself off the Brooklyn Bridge if you leave.”
Jensen sighed. “I was on a date for the first time in forever last night, Jeff. He called me to help him pick out an outfit for his date with Genevieve. And then didn’t get why I was so fucking pissed at him.”
“He’s done worse shit,” Jeff pointed out.
Jensen nodded, even though Jeff couldn’t see. “Yeah, I know. But I’d like to not die before I’m forty, and right now, my ulcer is trying to eat its way out of my intestines, and I haven’t been laid in a year. I’m done, man.”
Jeff’s sigh was defeated. “I knew this was going to happen,” he muttered. “Jared needs to grow the fuck up and realize that the world doesn’t revolve around him.”
“Then stop treating him like a baby,” Jensen said before he thought about it. He gulped at Jeff’s suddenly loaded silence. “Sorry,” he said. “It’s just, he’s never going to behave like an adult if you keep letting him get away with shit all the time.”
Two weeks, Jensen thought as Jeff stayed silent. I have to just get through the next two weeks.
“Will you help me?” Jeff asked abruptly.
“Help you?” Jensen repeated.
“Help me move my kid brother from family waste of space, to functioning adult?” Jeff explained.
“You’ve got two weeks,” Jensen said. “After that, you’re on your own.”
“Deal.” Jeff sounded way too satisfied.
Jensen was screwed. He wasn’t sure how, he just knew it.
Jared sent him tickets to the Super Bowl.
Jensen gave them to his brother. Josh was thrilled.
Jared bought him a new Macbook Pro.
Jensen passed it on to MacKenzie. His little sister needed it for her crushing college schedule.
Jared hired a plane to spell out I’M SORRY JENSEN. PLEASE DON’T’T LEAVE ME! in giant fluffy letters in the sky. The office girls cooed and called it adorable.
Jensen pulled the blinds on his office window.
Jared sent Jensen a gorilla-gram that serenaded him with “Don’t Leave Me This Way” in a raspy baritone that sounded suspiciously like Kane’s.
Jensen yanked off the gorilla head and punched his asshole friend in the face. Fucking traitor.
Jared came to work at nine am on day five of his “Get Jensen To Stay” campaign. He went straight into his office, without hitching himself up onto Jensen's desk and generally annoying him. Jared replied to emails, read through reports and made some decisions that took Jensen by surprise.
Jensen left for the weekend. Jared was still in his office.
It was the fucking Apocalypse.
“Whatever the hell you’re doing, keep doing it,” Jeff told him later that night. Jensen was enjoying a bourbon on his tiny balcony.
“I’m not doing anything,” Jensen protested.
“Keep it up then,” Jeff said, disconnecting the call without saying goodbye.
Jensen watched the city lights and wondered if he’d wandered into an alternate dimension by accident.
Jared had sent him a couple of politely worded emails after he’d left, asking him simple things like, where were the last quarterly reports, and what time the board meeting at the end of next week was.
It was fucking creepy. Jensen wondered if he should call his local priest to do an exorcism.
Jensen thought about the last year, smiled a little remembering some of the fun times. Working for Jared wasn’t that bad, he knew. Most of the time had actually been great, but somewhere along the line, he’d changed.
The way he felt about Jared had evolved. Jared was charming, casual and disarmingly funny. He was reckless, careless and aimless too.
Jensen had wanted to hate him, but faced with the cheerful optimism of one Jared Tristan Padalecki, he'd been worn down until he'd become one of the many in the sad little “Jared is the Best Thing Ever” club. Jensen ended up hating himself instead for becoming a cliché.
It had become harder and harder to pretend that he was okay with Jared’s many…many girlfriends. The consolation had always been that Jared didn’t, couldn’t get serious.
Then Genevieve had come onto the scene, and Jared had changed. He’d raced around, trying to please her in a way that Jensen hadn’t seen before. The revolving door of Jared’s bedroom had become one-way traffic.
And it wasn’t like Genevieve was the Antichrist. Jensen snorted into his glass. She was as shallow as a rain puddle and pretentious on top of it. She was boring but not awful. Jensen honestly didn’t know what Jared saw in her. He snorted again. Maybe she was a tiger in the sack.
The bourbon roiled a little in his stomach. Jensen never allowed his mind to go there. It was bad enough that the raging hard-on he had for his boss hadn’t gone away over time. He refused to be the pathetic loser who jacked off to fantasies of the unattainable.
Later in the safe darkness of his room, he wrapped his hand around his cock and came hard at the thought of Jared’s pretty eyes staring up at him over his dick.
One week to go. Jensen was going to go blind. Or insane. Quite possibly both.
Genevieve perched on the corner of Jensen’s desk on the following Friday afternoon. “I hear this is your last day with us?” she said, mouth smiling but eyes hard.
Jensen leaned back in his chair, looking up at her. “Yeah,” he said, wondering if he might have been wrong about her. He thought the maybe she wasn't quite as bland or nice, as he'd imagined.
“Well, I’m sure you’ll be much happier wherever you go.” She ran a perfectly manicured finger over his day-planner. “You do have another job lined up, don’t you?” There was nothing casual in the question.
Jensen ran his tongue over his teeth, taking a moment so that he didn’t spit something vicious out. “No.” He kept his tone mild. “But I’m sure I’ll find something pretty quickly. Working for Jared, I’ve made some great connections.”
Genevieve’s smile turned bright. She looked like a shark. A great big white shark that was planning to have him for lunch. “Why don’t I put out some feelers for you?” she asked.
Jensen suddenly had a vision of working in a sweatshop in Katmandu. “Thanks.” His mouth curved in an equally insincere smile. “I’m good.”
“Well, you let me know, okay?” She hopped off the desk. “Jared would be so happy if we kept you in the family.” It was viciously insincere. She'd kept this aspect of herself well-hidden.
Jensen sucked in a breath. “That’s really nice of you.” He clenched his jaw. “I’m sure Jared would be delighted to know that you’re so concerned about me.”
“What would I be delighted to know about?” Jared came out of his office, catching them both by surprise. He’d been spending so much time in his office, doing actual work, that Jensen had started running out of things to do. It really was a good thing he was leaving.
Jensen stared down at his laptop. “Your…girlfriend offered to help me find a job,” he said with a tight smile, not meeting Jared’s eyes.
“A job?” Jared looked between them. “With Genevieve?”
“Well, he said he doesn’t have a job lined up for when he leaves today.” Genevieve sounded a little smug. She’d missed cue in Jared’s voice. Jensen, thanks to months of Jared-speak, knew he was pissed.
“Because he’s a stubborn asshole who quit on me on a whim!” Jared glared at her. “He doesn’t need another fucking job! He already has one! With me!”
Jensen bit his lip, trying not to laugh. Genevieve’s face went pinched and angry.
“Don’t you dare speak to me in that tone of voice, Jared Padalecki! I’m not some bimbo you can treat like crap.” Her hands went onto her hips and her eyes were slits. Like a snake, Jensen thought.
“Stop fucking trying to steal my …” Jared stopped and stared at Jensen.
“Your..?” Genevieve prompted, foot tapping. “What? Baby-sitter? Ass-kisser? Nanny?”
“Hey!” Jensen jumped abruptly to his feet. “You don’t get to judge him.” He sort of wanted to say that was his job but managed to keep the words in.
Jared put a big hand on Jensen’s shoulder. “It’s okay, Jensen.” His voice was strangely gentle.
Jensen spun around. “No, Jared, it really isn’t. She’s a trust fund baby, just like you. But instead of working, she does nothing with her day except having her nails done and shopping.” Somewhere, a little voice was yelling at Jensen to shut the fuck up before everything blew up in his face.
“You…Jared are you going to let him talk to me like this?” By now, Genevieve was red-faced and furious.
Jared shrugged. “I can’t fire him, he’s working his notice period.” He didn’t appear particularly concerned, especially after yelling at her that Jensen still worked for him.
Genevieve’s eyes flashed dangerously. She took a step towards Jensen, pointing a finger at him. “Listen to me, you pathetic excuse for a man, don’t think I don’t know your dirty little secret. Initially, I thought your little man-crush on Jared was sort of adorable, but now I think you need to leave.”
Jared stepped in front of Jensen. “I think you’re the one who needs to leave.” There was no kindness in his voice. And it was diamond-hard.
Jensen stared at the broad expanse of Jared’s back, heart beating like a jackhammer. This was completely fucked up.
“What?” Genevieve’s angry shriek could have cut glass. Jensen winced. Jared flinched, but he stood firm. “You’re going to choose him over me?”
Jared shrugged again. “I’ve known and trusted him for a year. He’s had my back and been a friend when he didn’t need to be. I’ve only known you for a month or so.” He paused. “Yeah, I'm going to choose him over you.”
Jensen swallowed hard.
“He’s fucking in love with you!” Genevieve threw this out like it was something disgusting.
“So what?” Jensen wished he could see Jared’s face now. “I should count myself lucky. Jensen’s a catch.”
Jensen gave a wet little snort, putting a hand over his face. This was not happening.
“Oh. My. God.” Genevieve sounded like she’d been hit across the face by a two-by-four. Jensen was prepared to offer to do the job. “You’re in love with him too!”
It was just too much. Jensen grabbed his satchel, ducked around Jared’s arm, and fled.
Drunk was awesome, Jensen thought, lying on the floor in the middle of his living room. He stretched out his arms and legs like a starfish, trying to reach the four walls with his limbs.
“Too short,” he mumbled. He squinted at the bottle of Jack that seemed to have moved a mile away from him. “C’mere, baby,” he crooned to the bottle.
The bottle stared at him. Jensen clicked his fingers, trying to get the bottle to come to him. The bottle remained unmoved. “Fuck,” Jensen breathed. “Mohammed, I'm coming to get you.” He rolled over onto his stomach and leopard-crawled towards the coffee table where Jack held court.
Thunder shook the apartment, and Jensen dropped to his belly, covering his head just in case lightning followed. The thunder stopped.
Jensen cautiously moved forwards again, but the thunder started up once more. Maybe Thor had a problem with him, Jensen thought.
“Jensen!” Thor thundered.
Jensen looked out of the window, up at the sky. “Thor?” he asked, just wanting to make sure.
“Jensen, you asshole, open this fucking door before I break it down!” Thor was outside his apartment. Jensen wondered if he looked like Chris Hemsworth. That would be awesome. Thor!Chris would totally make him forget about Jared.
“I’m drunk!” He yelled to Thor!Chris. “Are you coming to ravish me?”
“Oh my god,” Thor!Chris said. Jensen thought that maybe blasphemy was okay if you were an actual god.
Jensen made an effort to stand. The living room was doing the salsa. “I’m on my way,” he assured Thor!Chris.
He managed to reach the front door. The door handle kept moving away from him. He eventually managed to get a hand on the handle and twisted.
Jared was standing on the other side of the door. “Thor?” Jensen shook his head. “I mean, hey Jared.” He swayed a little. Jared’s hand shot out to keep him from falling back onto his ass. Jensen was a little bit mad that Thor had dumped him. Gods were fucking fickle.
“You are so drunk.” Jared’s grin was blinding. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you drunk.”
Jensen weaved his way back to his sofa, flapping a hand at Jared. “Tha’s cos ‘m a perfessional.” His little hiccup at the end of the sentence wasn’t helping. “Plus, ‘m not drunk.” The bourbon waved hello from the depths of his stomach.
“I wanted to talk to you.” Jared’s hands were big and careful as he helped Jensen sit down. Jensen sort of tipped over, face mashing into the butter soft leather of his sofa. Jensen was going to marry his sofa. It was true love.
Jensen turned his face towards Jared, scowling up at him. “Don’ wanna talk t’you.” He was so done talking to Jared. Forever. He felt his throat close up. He would never get to see Jared again.
“You left before you finished your last day.” Jared changed tack so fast that Jensen struggled to follow the conversation. Alcohol brain was a little slower than normal brain it seemed.
“So what?” Jensen folded his arms across his chest. It was kind of hard to do while lying down, on your side. Jensen totally rocked it though. “Take it off my last paycheck then.”
Jared seemed to have disappeared. Jensen blinked. He must be seriously drunk to be having a conversation with an imaginary Jared.
A glass of water popped up in front of Jensen. He might have given a little squeak of shock. He would deny it to his dying day. “Drink this.” Jared was back. He held out two aspirin with his other hand. “And these. You are going to feel like utter crap tomorrow morning.”
“Shut up, ‘m fine.” Jensen drank the water, the aspirin sticking to the back of his throat. He gagged a little. Water ran down his neck and into his hair. It felt amazing.
“You should probably go to sleep,” Jared suggested, crouching in front of him. “I can wait to talk to you when I know you’ll actually remember that I’m here.”
“I’m very bendy,” Jensen blurted. Jared stared at him, mouth open. “Just thought you needed to know that.”
“Okay then.” Jared seemed to be fighting a smile. Jensen was going to miss his stupid smile.
“I like your stupid smile,” he said, Jack was flirting with Jared from out of his stomach without his permission. Jack was a fucking boss-friend thief!
“Thanks?” Jared sounded as though he wasn’t quite sure that was a compliment.
“It works with your stupid dimples,” Jensen explained. “Together. Smile and dimples. Stupid. But good.”
Jared did smile then. Jensen was so very fucked. “Thanks,” Jared said again. “You should get some sleep, dude. You’re going to feel like absolute shit in the morning.” He pulled a throw from the leather armchair and tucked it over Jensen.
“’Kay.” Jensen snuggled into the sofa. “I never get hangovers,” he confessed, eyes closing.
“Oh, babe, I think you’ll be suffering from one tomorrow.” Jared stroked a hand over his hair.
The room tilted a little, spinning in a dizzy pirouette. Jensen forced his stomach to stop spinning in a counter-twirl. “Love you,” he said to the sofa.
“Love you too,” the sofa whispered back. Jensen was sure that someone kissed his forehead.
Jensen was going to die.
No, he was actually dead and this was Hell.
He cracked an eye open and the bright sunlight made his eyeball bleed. He gave a little yelp and slammed his eye shut again.
“I’m dead,” he groaned. “My body is decomposing because that can be the only explanation for the taste in my mouth.”
A snort of laughter made him open his eyes again. Sitting up too quickly sent his stomach doing the bossa nova inside his abdomen. He clapped a hand in front of his mouth, and hurtled towards the bathroom, not bothering to find the source of the noise.
The great white throne welcomed him as he emptied the entire contents of his insides. He was vaguely aware of a hand on his back, strong and steady.
When his body had finished reminding him that he wasn’t eighteen anymore, he dropped his forehead on the seat of the toilet. If his mouth had tasted like death before, now it tasted like something Joe Rogan gave to the contestants of Fear Factor to eat.
“You done?” he recognized Jared’s voice and barely managed to control the little flinch.
“Yeah,” he rasped, throat raw. “I don’t actually think I can vomit up my spleen.”
Jared chuckled, tugging him up and back. Jensen fell against Jared’s chest. He tried not to think about how good it felt to have Jared supporting him like this. He was too busy dying. “Looked like your body was trying to reject all its organs for a moment there.”
Jensen couldn’t even muster a glare. Jared was way too comfortable behind him. “Shut up, asshole,” he responded.
“Ah, so now the true Jensen Ackles shows his colors.” Jensen could hear the smile in Jared’s voice. “You’ve been keeping him in line for the past year.”
Jensen lurched to his feet, heading for the washbasin. He splashed his face with cold water and brushed his teeth. Feeling semi-ready to deal with Jared now, he turned to face him.
Jared was sitting on the toilet, with the seat cover down, watching him. “Hey,” Jared said, eyes shuttered. “Feel better?”
Jensen shrugged. “I’m obviously not going to die.” He felt weird and not a little uncomfortable. “What are you doing here?”
Jared raised an eyebrow. “You don’t remember last night?”
Jensen froze, mind racing. What the fuck had happened last night? It was all a black hole of Jack Daniels and misery. “Uh,” he said. “No.”
Jared’s eyes went a little misty. “Oh my god, the best night of my life and you were too drunk to remember it.” He lifted a hand to his face. “You were so tender, so loving. You made my first time so special.” He stood up and started towards the front door. “I feel so fucking cheap and used.”
Jensen hurried after him, head protesting at the sudden movement. “Jared! Wait! God, I’m sorry. Please, I’m not like that. I’m not that guy.” He felt even sicker than before he’d hurled.
He grabbed Jared’s arm and spun him around. “Stop, fuck’s sake, man. Just let me think.”
Jared kept his head down and his shoulders were shaking. Jensen was horrified. He’d made Jared cry!
Then Jared raised his gaze and the asshole was laughing. “Oh god, your face!” Jared wheezed. “You should see your face!”
Jensen felt every molecule in his body go scarlet with embarrassment. He should have remembered Jared's propensity for unbelievably stupid, ill-timed practical jokes. He opened the door and shoved Jared outside. “You are a dick and we are abso-fucking-lutely done.”
“Jensen!” Jared protested, suddenly realizing that he was on the wrong side of Jensen’s front door.
The slamming of the door hurt Jensen’s head, but it was as satisfying as hell. Except Jared shoved it open about a second later. “Don’t be a drama queen,” Jared told him, storming back in. “We need to talk.”
“So you just like fucking with me then?” Jensen knew he sounded bitter. He was bitter. He went into the kitchen to get some coffee.
Jared trailed after him. “I was just having a little fun.” Jared looked apologetic. “I stayed on the sofa all night after I put you in your bed. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
Jensen closed his eyes and leaned on the kitchen counter, hands clenched into fists. “You’ve had fun at my expense for the past year, Jared. I think I’ve been a saint when it comes to you.”
Jared edged closer. “I don’t want you to be done with me.” He put a hand on one of Jensen’s. “I want to fight with you every day.”
Jensen shook his head, not looking at Jared. “I can’t.” He took a deep breath. “I’m sick of fighting with you because the way I feel about you makes it hard to be objective.”
Jared moved a little nearer. “I kinda counted on that,” he confessed. “I’ve kinda counted on that most of the past year.”
Jensen looked at him now. “So what? I was your toy to play with?” He hurt a little at the thought of being used for Jared’s entertainment.
Jared shook his head vigorously. “I counted on you to be there for me, Jen.” It was the first time he'd called him Jen. “I never realized how much I relied on you until you quit.” He squeezed Jensen's hand carefully.
Jensen took a breath and tried to ignore his stupid, hopeful heart. “You just got used to me being there as a safety net.”
“I got used to you,” Jared insisted. “I think I'm genetically incapable of functioning without you.”
“As your assistant,” Jensen added. “No wait, what did Genevieve call me? Your nanny.”
Jared's beautiful face twisted a little sadly. “If you think I'm that fucking shallow, then maybe this was a bad idea.” He let Jensen's hand go and turned once more to the front door. “I'm sorry I ever made you feel like you were anything less than vital to me.” He didn't look back as he walked out.
Jensen called Steve. “I think I just fucked up,” he admitted.
“Not the first time, Jen,” he said unhelpfully. “Whatcha do this go-around?” Besides being Jensen's oldest friend, Steve was relentlessly practical. It helped when dealing with the rest of their friends. Most of them were just a little off-centre.
“I got drunk last night,” Jensen began. Steve's snort basically said - “color me surprised, douchebag” - but Jensen carried on regardless. “Then Jared came over. I may have called him Thor. I think. I may have told him I loved him. I know I blew chunks this morning when I woke up. Then I may have fucked it up by insulting him.”
Steve was silent for a moment. “That's a lot of may's in one sentence, man.”
Jensen barked a laugh. “He thinks I think he's shallow.”
Steve cleared his throat. “That's not the worst you've called him.”
Jensen nodded, even though Steve couldn't see him. “He said shit, Steve. Shit like, he doesn't want to be done with me. That he wants to fight with me every day.” He sucked in a breath, rubbing his hand over his eyes. “He said he wasn't able to function without me. That I was vital to him.” Jensen's eyes burned.
“Jen.” Steve's voice was low and careful. It spoke volumes to Jensen.
“I think he told me, in his own stupid Jared way, that he loves me.” Jensen prayed that Steve would disagree.
He didn’t. “Dude, you fucked up.”
Jensen's laugh was a soggy, pathetic thing over the huge lump of self-loathing that had lodged in his throat. “Yeah.” He scrubbed at his face. “I thought so too.”
“I think you're going to have to eat the entire humble pie.” Steve sounded a little too cheerful at the prospect. “Quite possibly several of them.”
“I hate my entire life,” Jensen told him.
“Suck it up, asswipe.” Steve was ruthless. “You want your boy, you're going to have to make the first move.”
“But...” Jensen refused to admit that he sounded just like Jared at his most whiny.
“No buts.” Steve cut him off. “You've been sitting on yours for a year, and now, when you finally get the chance to do something, you fuck it up.”
“I was drunk!” Jensen knew it wasn’t an excuse.
“That’s not an excuse, dickhead. Go get your guy. If you don’t, then I ‘m afraid we can’t be friends anymore. I don’t hang out with chicken-shits.” Steve ended the call.
Jensen threw himself onto the sofa. Everything hurt. He’d deal with the problem of Jared once his head stopped trying to climb off his body in search of a new one.
Jensen straightened his shoulders. He lifted a hand to knock at Jared’s door. He’d waited until Sunday morning dawned bright and full of promise, and empty of hangovers from hell.
This wouldn’t be that hard, right? Just confess to the person he’d spent most of the last year with that he was in love with him and deal with the fall-out. No problem.
“Jensen.” Jared’s voice sounded tired through the door. “Can we please not do this?” He didn’t open up.
Jensen stared at the door. Of all the possible permutations, and there had been an actual spreadsheet, this had not been one of them. “Jared, come on, just open the goddamn door please?”
Jensen could actually hear the sigh that gusted out of Jared. Then the locks clicked over and Jared swung the door open. He looked awful.
“You look like you were on a bender,” Jensen told him.
Jared’s mouth tightened. “I didn’t sleep much.” He still hadn’t moved from the doorway.
“Can I come in?” Jensen had never had to ask before. He had keys to Jared’s penthouse, but considering that he was no longer employed by Jared, letting himself in hadn’t seemed like the appropriate thing to do.
“Why?” Jared asked bluntly. “You need to shit on me a little more, make me feel more stupid and useless?”
Jensen gaped at him. “Jared.” He stopped. “I never thought you were stupid or useless.” Jared snorted, stepped back, and went into the living room, Jensen at his heels. Jensen soldiered on. “Aimless maybe, a little lazy, for sure…”
Jared’s smile was a little sad. “Way to make me feel better, dude.”
“No, wait!” Jensen put a hand on Jared’s arm before he could turn away. “I’m serious.” He needed Jared to understand this. “Do you honestly think I would have stuck it out for as long as I did if I didn’t like and respect you?”
Jared stared at him. “You got paid really fucking well,” he pointed out.
“I’m not someone who believes in the power of the mighty dollar, Jared.” Jensen decided that it was time to lay all of his cards on the table. “I stayed because I like you, like the person you are, even though you drive me kinda crazy.”
Jared sat on the sofa and Jensen fell into the nearest chair . “So why did you quit?” Jared asked, hunched over and miserable. Completely unlike the larger than life, brimming over with energy, guy that Jensen had been around the past year.
“I quit because I couldn’t stand watching you get closer and closer to someone else,” Jensen confessed. “When you told me that you were going to marry Genevieve, I knew that it was time for me to get out.”
“But…” Jared shook his head. “I don’t understand.”
“God, Jared, you’re going to make me fucking say it, aren’t you?” Jensen threw up his hands. “I couldn’t handle watching you fall in love with someone who wasn’t me!”
Jared stared at him. “Because you’re jealous?” He sounded incredulous.
“Because I’m jealous.” Jensen nodded. “Did my mini-meltdown on Friday night not tell you anything?”
Jared shrugged. “You were pretty drunk, dude. I think at one point you actually proposed to your sofa.” A tiny smile ticked up the corner of his mouth.
Jensen groaned and dropped his face into his hands. “I should just never be allowed to be around people,” he said.
A big hand pulled at his arm, and Jensen dropped his hands. “So did you mean it?” Jared asked, eyes very earnest.
“Which part?” Jensen asked. “I’m not really into sex with inanimate objects…” Jared’s eyes darkened a little. “Nor do I actually want to marry my admittedly awesomely comfortable sofa.”
“You said “I love you”, just before you passed out,” Jared said. “Were you talking to me?”
Every defense kicked in, and it was on the tip of Jensen’s tongue to vehemently deny his feelings, but then he looked into Jared’s eyes. There was so much hope there that Jensen couldn’t lie any more. “Yeah,” he admitted.
Before he could take another breath, Jared had hurled himself at him, arms wrapping around him like a pair of hairy boa constrictors. “You are such an asshole!” Jared told him. “I’m not letting you go again,” Jared warned him a moment before he kissed him.
Jensen was entirely okay with that as Jared mapped his mouth with his tongue. Then he pulled back and stared down at Jensen. “Are you coming back to work for me?” he demanded.
Jensen shook his head. “I think it’s better that we don’t work together.” He rested his palms on Jared’s hips. “I can find another job.” He stared into Jared’s eyes. “So, since when are you gay?” he asked.
Jared glared at him. “You do know there is such a thing as bisexual, right?”
Jensen grinned. “You’ve never given me any sort of indication that you like dick, man.”
“Excuse me?” Jared looked affronted. “It’s not as though you told me that you were gay!”
“Seriously, Jared?” Jensen raised an eyebrow, moving a little restlessly against Jared. “You never thought about the fact that I talked about dating guys might be a bit of a clue?”
“Eh,” Jared shrugged. “I've learned not to take anything for granted with you.” He pulled Jensen closer. “We need to talk about how this is going to work, then.”
Jensen leaned back, looking into Jared's eyes. “We go out to dinner, make out a lot, see where it goes.”
Jared nodded. “We date,” he said.
“We date,” Jensen confirmed.
“Okay,” Jared agreed. “There's the new Spiderman showing at the AMC,” he suggested. “We can catch the matinee and have dinner after?”
Jensen grinned. “Sounds like a great first date.” He felt like he was filled with helium and about to fly away.
“You still over my shit?” Jared asked, a twinkle in his stupidly pretty eyes.
“Yeah.” Jensen leaned forward, pressing a soft kiss on Jared's mouth. “Totally over it.”
Jared smiled against Jensen's mouth. “I'm just going to have to give you more shit. You know that, right?” He bit at Jensen's lower lip, making Jensen groan.
“I'm sure you will.” Jensen moved his hips a little, making sure the pressure against Jared's cock was light and fleeting. Jared's responding moan was satisfying.
“You know I'm a little bit crazy about you.” Jared opened his mouth, let Jensen sweep his tongue in.
Jensen brought his hands up, and he pulled Jared closer. “I know,” he smirked. “Princess.”
“You complete asshole,” Jared protested as Jensen pushed him down on the sofa. “I'm totally Han Solo!”
Jensen laughed into Jared's mouth. “Not a fucking chance, Leia. You'll always be the Princess.”
Jared wrestled Jensen beneath him and proceeded to kiss him into submission.
Jensen had learned how to resist Jared. He was practically an expert after all.