Jared has been watching Jensen sling drinks for three months now, and the fact that this behavior can only be described as ugly desperation hasn't hindered Jared in the slightest. He sits on the left side of the bar, closest to the till. From here, he can watch Jensen maneuver from one end of the bar to the other. He can watch Jensen laugh agreeably and make small talk, pour alcohol and scoop up used cups and crumpled bills. Each time Jensen returns to him to ring up a sale, his bright green eyes slide over to Jared's cup, judging whether it needs refilling.
After the first week, he's stopped asking if Jared's ready to close out. Jared's gonna nurse his three beers until closing time. He's gonna drink in the sight of Jensen as long has he can, until the lights come on and he has to head home alone. Jensen hasn't, however, stopped asking Jared what he'd like to drink. There are only three beers on draft and they don't rotate, but Jared keeps asking if there's anything new. Anything to keep Jensen talking, keep that bright gaze on his.
"Another one?" Jensen has drifted back down Jared's way, his broad shoulders shifting under his tight, black t-shirt, tawny hair a little more tousled now that it's past midnight. Jared looks down. His third beer is gone, the glass empty. He'll order another one, sip it this time. He doesn't really have the cash to be buying a bunch of drinks every night, but he doesn't want to leave.
"Sure thing." Jensen scoops up his glass with sure fingers.
"It's Jared," he blurts out, in awkward introduction. He's terrible at small talk.
"I know," Jensen says. The corners of his lips pull up in an almost smile. "You've introduced yourself every time you've come in."
Shit. Jared does some quick math. He's been in nearly every other night—the frequency increasing in the past week—has he really introduced himself more than thirty times?
"Be right back," Jensen says, and then he is, but also he isn't. Every time he comes back down the bar, Jared stumbles over anything he might say to break the ice, then doesn't say anything, and can only stare in desperation as Jensen again walks away to bring drinks to another customer.
Before long, Jensen's turning off the music, his low, throaty voice rising over the noise of the bar, another night over and the bar is closing down. Jensen turns on the lights, the harshness making the scuffed floors and raw wood walls look sad and shabby. It's a small place, but it generally feels warm, welcoming. Jared stands and looks around, stretching to take the kinks out of his back. He's been perched on an uncomfortable barstool for hours.
"You must have work in the morning."
Jared jumps. Jensen is standing at his elbow, tray in hand.
"Nah. It's Friday," Jared says, and Jensen frowns and flushes a little, pink rising in his cheeks.
"Oh. Yeah." Jensen shrugs. "I forget sometimes that people don’t work on the weekend." He rubs at his lower back with his free hand. The t-shirt creeps up, revealing a little line of smooth skin and Jared's mouth waters.
"And feet. Bartending is no joke."
They make more awkward small talk as the last of the alcoholics reluctantly stumble out the door. It takes a bit of herding, but before long, the bar is empty and it's just the two of them standing at the exit.
"Closing time," Jensen says, hand on the door. His faint smile doesn't reach his eyes, doesn't create those fantastic crinkles that Jared's been wanting to stroke with a finger for some time now.
"I can help you close up." There's an embarrassing amount of desperation in Jared's voice.
"Help me close?" Jensen crosses his arms over his chest, which pulls his t-shirt tight around his shoulders and does fantastic things to his chest. Jared jerks his eyes back up to Jensen's face.
"You don't have to do that."
"I don’t mind."
Jensen shrugs. He strides over to the bar and tosses Jared a wet, white rag from behind the bar top.
Jared wipes down tables and flips up chairs. He wants to go slow to make it last, but settles for competent, methodical. He catches glimpses of Jensen's lean forearms flexing as he stacks glasses, the neat twist of his waist as he bends to straighten the bottles in the coolers. He can feel Jensen near and the awareness that sends tingles all over his skin.
Damn, he has it bad.
Before long, the bar is the least sticky it will ever possibly be and everything is put away. Jensen has been disappearing in and out of the back room, and Jared hovers, hesitating, then squares his shoulders and heads that way. He'll try for a phone number at minimum. He's not going to spend another stupid night wanting to say something and being too shy and too needy not to.
Jared follows Jensen into the storage room behind the bar. He's got his eyes on the shift of Jensen's ass in those tight jeans, and he runs into Jensen's back with an oof of surprise. The storage room is smaller than it looks. Jensen spins around and they're chest to chest.
"Hi," Jared says.
"Hi." Jensen's got one golden eyebrow cocked. His mouth is still that faint, almost grim smile, then he parts his pink lips and swipes his tongue over the full, bottom one.
Jared leans in before he can lose courage. His nose bumps Jensen's and then he adjusts, and he's got full on mouth-to-mouth with the guy he can't stop thinking about. Jensen tastes like whiskey, and his kiss is tentative, unsure, for one long moment, before his tongue plunges slickly into Jared mouth and one of his large, capable hands comes up to tangle in Jared's hair. Jared purrs a little as he feels Jensen take control, just what he likes. His mouth is hot and demanding, and Jared gives back as good as he gets, feels the heat rising in his face as the kiss goes on and on.
As Jared gets more into it, he can feel Jensen pull back. There's a stiffness, where before Jensen was pliable in his arms. Jensen steps back. They stare at each other for a minute. This close, panting into each other's mouths, Jared is more aware of the height difference between them, the way he's looming over Jensen, the way he looms over everyone. Is it too intimidating? He doesn't want Jensen to pull away. He doesn't want this to end.
Jared drops to his knees, watching the way Jensen's eyes widen with shock and then flare with heat. It might be a mistake, too fast, but Jared wants him badly and he's been shit so far at explaining himself. And getting on his knees has often been the quickest way for Jared to signal to the few partners he's had who he is and what he needs. Jared fumbles for Jensen's belt buckle.
"Jared." There's a tremor in Jensen's voice. Jared looks up, and Jensen is frowning down at him, the same look on his face he gets when he's about to toss some asshole out the door. Jared settles back on his knees, spreading his thighs wider, his hands easy and light on Jensen's lean hips. He licks his lips. He knows how he looks down here on the floor.
Jensen's brow furrows, but instead of grabbing Jared by the arm and hauling him off the floor, he steps closer, crowding, the front of his jeans brushing Jared's face. Jensen shoves a thumb in Jared's mouth, calloused and rough, and strokes over Jared's tongue.
He pulls his dick out and Jared lunges for it, taking in his mouth in one huge gulp. Jared knows he should draw it out, should tease, but he's been hungry for Jensen for so long. One quick breath and then he's down to the root, suckling strong, his tongue stroking up and down. He's inhaling Jensen, the taste and the smell of him, the swollen length filling Jared's mouth.
"Stop." Jensen's voice is breathy and rough. He hauls Jared to his feet, the corded muscles in his arms flexing. They stare at each other. Jared is nearly vibrating out of his skin with need, dick throbbing in his pants, so aroused that his gut is aching with it. Jensen's stares for another moment, that same hard expression, his eyes hot and aroused. He yanks at Jared's pants, opening and tugging them to tangle at Jared's ankles along with his lucky boxer shorts.
He's face down over a stack of crates before he can even nod, legs spread, the edge of the thick plastic digging into his stomach. Jared gasps as he feels strong hands on his bare ass, rasping over sensitive skin. Fingers slide into his crease and trace his hole with casual competence. One finger traces his rim and eases away, then returns wet, probably slicked in Jensen's mouth. God, Jared pictures it, that finger eased into Jensen's kiss–swollen mouth and his brain nearly whites out with need. The finger strokes him teasingly, rubbing in a slow, deliberate circle.
"Got a condom?" Jensen asks.
Fuck, he's so unprepared, and stupid. But in Jared's defense, he was planning on maybe a fumbling and awkward early morning breakfast date at the 24/7 diner across the street. Not being ass up in the backroom of the bar, about to get fucked by his crush.
But Jensen doesn't hesitate. Jared hears Jensen spit into his hand and then two fingers are sliding into his ass. They ease in faster than they should, making Jared's breath catch, and he flushes with embarrassment as he remembers.
"Uh, before I came here tonight I might have—"
"Fucked someone else?" Jensen's voice is cold. Cruel. As merciless as the two fingers being shoved inside Jared, pumping in and out roughly, hours-old lube making a squelching sound. Jensen crooks his fingers and Jared yelps, going up on his toes.
"Fucked myself. Alone. Th-thinking about you."
It's humiliating, and risky, to admit it, but Jared is so turned on, so desperate for this to happen, to finally be as close to Jensen as he'll allow him, that he doesn't care. He cranes his neck to turn his head and look at Jensen. Jensen's staring down at him, brow glimmering with sweat, green eyes looking nearly black beneath his furrowed brows. He's still mercilessly fucking Jared with his fingers, the lean muscles in his arm flexing with the effort. Then he pulls out his fingers, spits on his hand twice, and slicks up his dick. One second later he's pushing in, slow but steady, and Jared groans at how good it feels. They're both being stupid, he knows it, but he can feel Jensen, raw and hot, tunneling inside him and turning him inside out, and it feels amazing.
Jensen fucks him over the crate of booze. His hips slap against Jared's ass in regular rhythm, the angle just right, sparks flying behind Jared's squeezed shut eyes. Jared wants it to last forever, but he can hear Jensen panting, their skin slicked more and more with sweat. Jensen mutters a curse, reaches around to pull on Jared's cock, and Jared comes screaming. A few quick thrusts later and a quiet shout and Jensen follows him over the edge.
He comes down to earth a few moments later, panting. The edge of the crate is still digging into him, and Jensen is withdrawing, leaving him wet and used and open, fuzzy-headed with how satisfying it all is.
"Hey,” Jensen says. “Okay?"
Tender hands help ease Jared from his sprawled position over the crates. He's trembling, legs shaky as a newborn colt. He reaches out and places his hands on Jensen's shoulders, steading himself. That same hesitation is back in Jensen's posture, tension in his face, but he reels Jared in and holds him, hand at the back of Jared's sweaty neck, fingers kneading and petting.
After a long moment, Jensen pulls away first. Jared stands, shivering, feeling cold on more than one level. Jensen briskly wipes himself down with a rag, swipes at Jared's come on the crates, the spatters on the floor. He grabs a second cloth from the stack of clean bar rags and catches a drip of liquid as it runs down Jared's thigh. Jensen swipes at the mess efficiently, trailing it back to Jared's ass and then catching Jared's hand, positioning it in place to catch the mess slowly trickling out of him.
"Can I come upstairs and clean up?"
Jensen startles. "You know I live upstairs?"
"You may have mentioned it a few times," Jared says, smiling.
They add to the pile of dirty rags in the basket by the bar and turn off the lights. Jared follows Jensen up the narrow staircase that leads to the apartment above the bar. He's been wondering what it looks like, what it says about Jensen. About who he is when he isn't working in the bar.
The door swings open revealing the living room. It's small, but cozy. The floor is light wood, covered in warm wool rugs. Jared clocks a battered guitar in one corner of the living room, an older stereo system snugged up against two boxes of records. He smiles and turns, mouth open to ask Jensen about his musical tastes, if he really likes that old honky-tonk he sometimes plays over the speakers in the bar downstairs, when he notices a dark, tousled head reclining against the back of the couch.
"Misha," Jensen says.
"Mm?" The head turns. Big blue eyes flick from Jensen, then to Jared. Then a man is standing and stretching in the middle of the room, making it feel smaller, claustrophobic. He's rumpled from head to toe, his shirt untucked and taut over his middle. Jared blinks. It's the same t-shirt he's seen Jensen wear behind the bar several times before. His heart drops into his stomach.
"Hush." The man, Misha, playfully holds a finger to his lips. Jensen smiles then, a real smile, wide and bright. He walks over to the couch and gently lifts a sleeping child into his arms. The child has a tumble of white-blond curls, eyelashes long and feathery over his or her cheeks. The kind of toddler that looks to be about two or three, that genderless looks that says neither boy or girl. Jensen tuts as he carries his little bundle towards an opened door off the living room.
"I can't believe you let her fall asleep on the couch," he calls softly, voice full of playful reproof. He disappears and Jared is left hovering, sharing a room with…
"Hey. I'm Misha." Misha steps over, reaches out and offers a hand. There's a ring on it. Jared numbly shakes it.
"Jared! Uh, I mean, hey, Jared, nice name. Uh, nice to meet you. Heard a little bit about you. I'm Misha."
"So you said." Jared looks around, feeling wretched. Of course Jensen is already taken. Of course he's married. But then why did he let Jared kiss him? Why did he turn Jared's brain inside out over a stack of crates? God, Jared can still feel how Jensen stretched him out, still feels tacky and wet and used. Does he not care? Does Misha?
He looks around and wonders which parts of the room are the parts that are Misha's. The guitar? The well-watered collection of ferns clustered on the windowsill?
Misha rambles on, "Yeah, well, just babysitting tonight. Gotta do what you can in this gig economy. Car service, dog sitter, child minder—"
"Babysitting?!" Jared exclaims.
"Yeah, whatever pays the bills."
"You're his babysitter?"
"Um, I've also been his friend for a long time," Misha says. His gaze is gentle, knowing. Like Jared has "I have a big dumb crush" written on his forehead.
It's a rush of relief and Jared doesn't know what to say. Jensen has a kid. Jensen is apparently, thankfully, not cheating on his partner with Jared. If a quickie in the back room of a bar can be considered anything.
"Misha." Jensen is standing in the door. He looks more relaxed and intimate than Jared has even seen him. Comfortable in a way that he doesn't seem to be when he's talking to Jared. "It's late."
"I should go," Jared says, feeling awkward. He desperately wants Jensen to tell him to stay. But this isn't a date. He doesn't even know what this is.
"You should," Jensen agrees simply. "I'll walk you out."
"I like kids," Jared blurts out.
Jensen frowns. Then he shrugs, taking Jared's arm firmly and tugging him to the door. "I like them, too."
Out in the street, Jared glances back over his shoulder. He can see the silhouette of Misha and Jensen standing at the window, watching him. He waves goodbye, feeling wretched, but hopeful. Jensen seemed like a fortress tonight, only opening up for the time it took for him to his take his pleasure.
That's not what happened. That's not what happened, Jared reminds himself firmly. Maybe it's just going to take a little time. Jensen has a kid, maybe he's not willing to open up. Maybe he's been hurt before. Whatever the reason, Jared's has to keep trying.
He'll be back at the bar tomorrow night.
Misha is standing by the window when Jensen returns from letting Jared out. Jensen joins him and they both watch Jared cross the street, glance up at the window, and raise a hand in acknowledgement to wave goodbye. They even watch him hurry away down the street, shoulders hunched.
Misha reaches over and punches Jensen in the chest.
"Shush! You'll wake Mae!" Misha reaches over and twists Jensen's nipple for good measure.
"That was Jared? Jared the tall drink of water with the tight little ass you've been mooning about for months? The guy you've been leading on and teasing and torturing?"
"I haven't been that bad," Jensen says defensively. He hasn't been teasing, exactly. It's just that he wanted to make sure Jared was serious. Then one night bled into the next and the rush of power it gave him was heady. Jensen likes being pursued.
"What is your problem?! Why didn't you ask him to stay?"
Jensen folds his arms. "Where's he going to sleep?"
"Text me next time you're crashing here, jeez. You're the only full-grown adult I know with a job and a kid who's still fucking up on a regular basis."
"Pipe burst in my shithole apartment. It'll be fixed tomorrow."
"I should take back my key."
"You know, he probably thinks I'm your wife. And you're Mae's baby daddy."
Jensen's mouth drops open.
"You didn't think of that?"
"Shit." Jensen looks worried.
"Don't worry! I let him know we weren't together. Damn, you’re dense. I mean, I tried. He has it bad for you. I could see it on his sad puppy face when he walked in here. Um, he may still think you have a kid, though."
"I told him I was your babysitter."
"I had to come up with something!" Misha puts up his hands. It makes sense in a way. Jensen's always been close with Misha, his ex-boyfriend, really his first love, and he hates trying to explain to new people that their relationship has weathered a breakup, Misha's two marriages and two divorces, and the adorable daughter that Misha adopted and who is probably the only reason Misha's holding his life together right now.
"You're a menace."
"Hey, at least you know he likes kids." Misha widens his eyes and pulls his mouth down in a soft, piteous pout. It’s a poor imitation of the needy expression often on Jared's face, but Jensen snorts with amusement. He turns back to glance out the window, even though Jared is long gone. He can still feel him though. Feel Jared's mouth on his. Feel Jared coming around his dick, feel Jared's dick jerking in his hand.
Damn, he hadn't expected to take it that far tonight. But he hadn't been able to resist. Jared on his knees, eyes soft and slick pink mouth opened, had eroded his control. He'd been dumb tonight, but it had all felt so good.
"Don't you think you're playing a little too hard to get? You could let him know how much you like him, too."
Jensen shrugs, smug smile playing at the corner of his mouth. He pulls the blinds closed against the coming gray of the morning and yawns.