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[chapter one]

 

It wasn't the spiteful words, the hatred or the way they kept pushing him around that left Jensen without a choice. No matter how many times they tried to screw him over and manipulate his files to get him out of the firm, Jensen always swallowed it down. Usually it took a few too many beers to deal with, back at his lifeless apartment. Sometimes, he added tequila to the mix, depending on how bad the day had been.

But there was only so much Jensen could take until he simply had enough; when his trust was betrayed, his heart ripped out and stomped on; when he was played. For the first time in his life, Jensen was, maybe, willing to hand his heart over and allow someone else into his life. He should have known that it was nothing but wishful thinking, nothing but a dream to be good enough for anyone. That was the time Jensen snapped. So much so that the only option left was to put an end to his disaster of a life. Not that anyone would miss him. Except Chris. But his best friend was surely strong enough to cope. The man would be better off without Jensen's issues anyway.

 

 

Jensen had always been a shame for his family. The stuttering fag who never did anything right.

Until he was a little over seven years old, everything was normal, his childhood picture perfect. When his father lost his job, Jensen's world was turned upside down. The whole family had to suffer through the man’s outbursts, especially when he began drinking. At first it was only words of disgust and hatred towards Jensen, his mother and Jensen's siblings. It was the time when Jensen changed; when, out of fear, his speech became different. His nerves were always on fire and his brain too busy contemplating why this was all happening to them. Whenever he tried to ask his father a question, he was sent to his room, yelled at to be out of the man's hair already. When the verbal abuse turned physical, Jensen's voice closed off, his vocal chords not wanting to cooperate anymore and so the stuttering took a hold of his life. Which only added more fodder to his father's actions. Jensen was barely hitting puberty when he realized that not only his speech was different, but also his bodily desires. Telling his parents about his discovery, how he preferred boys over girls, wasn't necessary. While cleaning his room for him, his mother found not only his diary but also the couple of Playgirl magazines, which he thought were hidden good and proper.

It didn't take long for Jensen to get used to his father's beatings. How could he not get used to it when it happened almost every day over every little thing, especially the fact that he couldn’t turn straight on his father’s command?

With tear filled eyes, Jensen tried to reason with his father and explained that there was nothing he could do about who he was and how he felt. The fact that his mother only stood by and didn't protect him was by far the worst for him.

The only friend Jensen ever had was Chris, the town's rebel who caused more trouble than he did right. But deep down he was a good soul, the only person who didn't laugh at Jensen when he spoke. Chris had always been patient with Jensen and didn't interrupt him when his stutter was so bad that he barely got a three letter word out.

"We gonna leave this craphole." Chris had said shortly before Jensen's 18th birthday. As usual Jensen stayed quiet, a raised eyebrow and a confused expression all Chris had needed from Jensen to elaborate.

Chris knew about the beatings Jensen took at home, the indescribable suffering he had to go through by his father's hands and Chris couldn't watch his friend be tortured any longer. And so their plan was set: once Jensen turned eighteen, they would leave.

They left before Jensen's mother had a chance to say good morning. Not that she did that a lot back then anyway but Jensen still had a sliver of hope that at least at his birthday she would forget about the 'gay disease' he had. But Chris had already honked and Jensen grabbed his duffel bag and sprinted outside, his parents nowhere to be seen. It wasn't a Sunday so they had no reason to get up early and rush to church. Jensen was glad he didn't have to see either of them again. Doesn't mean it didn't hurt though. It did hurt, a whole lot.

Nashville was their destination, Chris suggested it. Jensen didn't care, as long as Chris was with him. Of course Jensen hadn't needed to ask why exactly they had to go to Nashville. Chris was always head over heels in love with his guitar and it was a given that he would give his musical talent a try in Music City.

Their first apartment was as crappy as could possibly be; it was loud and the walls as thin as tissues. The wallpaper came off if you sneezed a tad too hard and the wind blew through the old windows with an annoying whistle. But it was theirs and even the used couch from the Salvation Army felt more like home than Jensen’s parent’s house could ever have.

While Chris ran from audition to audition and earned his share by playing small gigs, Jensen was scrubbing floors and bussing tables at the diner across the street from their apartment. He didn't make much as a busboy, but still enough to afford night classes to get a diploma and the diner's manager never let him go without a huge container of leftovers that would last them at least two days.

For years, Chris had been his anchor and always offered Jensen a shoulder to cry on when memories took hold of Jensen's brain and he could barely move anymore. Nightmares tortured him for longer than he would ever like to admit but Chris was there, always.

His best friend's carefree spirit brought Jensen out of his shell enough to start living. Well, a little. He never really let go of his shyness. Jensen was still socially crippled and scared of the world outside their apartment. But eventually Chris managed to drag him out more and sooner than Jensen could have imagined he got a hold of his life and started to believe that not everyone was as cruel as his parents or the kids back at school. Jensen even scored a couple of dates here and there. Of course, Tennessee was almost as bad as Texas when it came to acceptance of homosexuality but there were definitely more gay cowboys in Nashville than back in Dallas.

Finding a date hadn't been much of a problem, thanks to Chris who was the perfect wing man. The actual problem was talking to said dates. Jensen's stutter never lessened, especially when he went out with a guy. Going on a date was nerve wrecking and the more nervous Jensen was, the more prominent his stutter became.

The first guy who ever asked Jensen out was as sweet about it as could possibly be. Turned out though, that he didn't care much about the words that came out from between Jensen's lips as long as the guy's cock would be allowed to push in and out of them. The asshole actually had the nerve to say exactly that to Jensen.

He needed a few weeks recovery time from this bad experience and he was more than glad that he never had to see this particular guy again.

The next one was bothered by Jensen's stutter so much that he went into a full out belly laugh when Jensen introduced himself.

With every failed date, Jensen began to believe that he'd probably die a virgin and slowly he accepted his fate and focused more on getting his diploma.

It was easier than he had ever expected. Most students in his night classes were much older than him and didn't bother about his deficit at all. They were mature enough to understand that Jensen wasn't to blame for it, that he didn't ask to be different. Then again, it was still a surprise, considering that even in his adulthood Jensen often crossed paths with people, young and old, who have never heard of common sense and maturity before.

But of course he couldn't stay in class forever, he had to graduate someday and with a lot of luck and the resume his professor handed him, he was set for a new life.

That's what he had thought. Turned out, he didn't like the job his college degree had earned him. Jensen never wanted to be an accountant, but there was only so much he could do for a living that didn't require constant chatting with customers, clients or whoever. So, rotting away in a cubicle and punching in millions of numbers it was then. Truth be told, Jensen couldn’t even remember what he wanted to be when he grew up.

The job definitely didn't fulfill him and Jensen had learned quickly that most of his co-workers were douchebags to an extent he didn't know existed. Up until he started his job, he was almost certain he had fought the nightmares away for good but then he was teamed up with Chad.

Chad Michael Murray, a man worse than every one of Jensen's tormentors from the past put together. Jensen was sure he didn't have 'fag' tattooed on his forehead but Chad had figured it out nonetheless and made Jensen's life hell on earth to the point where his nightmares came rushing back tenfold. It wasn’t so much as simply stating a fact that Jensen was gay but more more often than not, Chad used all his homosexual statements as insults. It all got worse with each passing week and every day Chad found a new way to mock Jensen’s stutter. Constantly interrupting him and making faces wasn’t even the most troubling Jensen had to deal with at that time. He knew he could handle it as long as Chris was around to ground him again, to shoulder parts of his frustration and restore Jensen’s faith in humanity. The problem was: fate didn’t see fit to make sure Chris was around.

Chris chose that time in Jensen's life to inform him that he scored some major deal and would hit the road for a couple of months. Timing had never been Chris' best trait but Jensen knew he couldn't have Chris around forever to pamper him.

 

 

"Are you sure? Jen, you've been weird lately and I'd hate leaving you if there's something going on."

Well, shit. Of course Chris could see right through him, could see that Jensen was hiding something. But Jensen didn't want to bother his best friend more than he already did over the last twenty years.

"A-All good. Don't w-w-worry." Jensen's smile was as fake as Dolly Parton's tits and he knew that Chris wasn't buying it. Even though he didn't want his best friend to leave him for six months, he also did want him to leave. It was about time that Jensen learned how to deal with his crap on his own.

If Chris knew about Chad and the shit he pulled to mess with Jensen at work, then Chris would probably end up serving many years in jail. Jensen couldn't let that happen. Jensen also didn't mention that, at work, he preferred not to talk at all most of the time. The mocking from Chad had turned Jensen slowly into a selective mute, which only made it worse. But Jensen decided it was better to not talk at all than have some douchebag mimic his stutter to rile him up. It was better that way. Jensen quickly got used to the no talking at all thing he had going on and only spoke at work when he couldn't avoid it. He should have thought about it a few years earlier, maybe then the torture at school wouldn't have been too bad.

"The day you learn how to lie to me, I'll eat my guitar and never play again."

Jensen didn't have an answer to that, he simply rolled his eyes and Chris got the hint.

"Okay, alright. But you gotta promise me that if anything happens, you'll call, hmm?"

"I'm g-g-good, r-really. J-Just leave." This time Jensen's smile didn't betray either of them, it was real because Jensen really wanted his friend to be successful with his music. It had been the man's dream since long before he even learned how to play a guitar and Jensen would never forgive himself if he was to blame for Chris never even giving it a try.

"Oh, and Jen? Don't forget to give the guy from last night a call or at least a text, you hear? I think he might be good for you."

Jensen glared at his friend, who picked up his suitcase and was as good as out of their door. The night before, Jensen went out to see Chris play a gig at a bar in town, low key and nothing really special. That was until the bar door swung open and Jensen's jaw dropped to the floor when some six foot four walking wet dream walked in.

 

 

The guy looked completely out of place and not at all like a country-loving person. But boy, did that man have Jensen's stomach dropping out and his heart beating heavily in his chest.

When the giant scanned the room, Jensen ducked his head and hid his face by taking long and slow sips from his beer.

The whole bar was cramped and Jensen's table was the only one in the room that held three empty chairs. Well, shit. He was just about to get up and maybe sneak backstage in search of Chris so as to avoid having to sit with the giant when said person walked up to his table.

"Hey there. Do you mind if I sit with you? This place is packed."

Jensen craned his neck enough to look at the raspy voice coming from above him and his breath got stuck in his throat when he got a better look at the giant. The guy was definitely the most gorgeous thing Jensen had ever seen and he knew that he'd make a complete fool out of himself if he was going to share a table with the man for longer than...longer than twenty seconds.

Jensen shook his head and waved to the empty chairs at his table, indicating that it was okay for the giant to take a seat. If he could steal a few glances throughout the night then Jensen would surely have enough jerk off material to last him a lifetime. Fuck, the guy's face was doing silly things to him.

"Thanks, man. I appreciate it. You know who's playing tonight?"

Jensen knew better than anyone else who was playing that night, but answering the giant's question meant that he would have to talk; not wanting to be rude though, Jensen simply nodded.

"You don't talk much, do you?" There was no mock in the man's tone and Jensen was surprised to find sincere concern in the words.

Jensen could feel his face heat up and his cheeks probably turned a vivid red. He pressed his lips in a thin line and shook his head in a clear no, his eyes looking anywhere but at the man across from him.

"Can't you or won't you talk? Because, uh, I can sign. I'm Jared by the way." The giant, -Jared-, extended a hand towards Jensen and when he took it in his own, Jensen could swear he felt some sort of electric shock going through his nerves. Jared's hand felt amazing in his own, it just... fit.

Now he had a bigger problem though; Jared seemed nice and not bothered at all that Jensen wasn't talking to him, but the man introduced himself and Jensen had no idea how to tell Jared his own name. It seemed that, at least outside of work, the whole mute thing wasn't as awkward as it was in the proximity of all the cubicles in the office. Apparently being mute was accepted, but having a terrible stutter was always, at least in Jensen's experience, an indicator for others to think that he was retarded. Or so they called him. He definitely preferred being the mute guy instead of the retard.

Suddenly, a shadow loomed over Jensen, a strong hand squeezing his shoulder. "Hey Jensen, I'm about to go on stage. Save me a seat and a beer, 'k?"

Chris gave him a knowing wink and Jensen was grateful that his best friend must have watched him and Jared. Leave it to Chris to save his ass. Jensen wanted to jump up and hug the man stupid. But then again, that would've looked weird or like maybe there was more between him and Chris. He couldn't let this happen, not that it would matter because Jensen was almost sure that a guy like Jared was neither gay nor interested in Jensen at all. Either way though, Chris always knew about Jensen's fear of talking to strangers and once again came rushing to him to make sure that Jensen was alright.

"You're Christian Kane, aren't you?" Jared's voice rang in Jensen's ear and it sent a pleasant shiver up his spine.

Chris offered Jared a smug smile but then shrugged his shoulders at Jensen. His best friend had always bragged about people actually recognizing him, and Jensen was always giving him the 'yeah, right' glare. But not once did Jensen actually doubt that Chris' talent would someday bring him further than bars and clubs in town.

"That's me, yep. And you are?"

"Jared. I'm Jared. Great to meet you.”

“Same, yeah. Wait, you look kinda familiar. Jared? As in…” Chris was all squinty eyed and Jensen wondered what that was all about.

“Uh, just Jared. Really. I've been to a few of your shows in the past. Pretty good stuff."

Even though Jensen was a little confused at the man’s nervous blush, he watched the interaction with wild fascination and was completely taken by the broad smile on Jared's face, dimples forming deep craters in the man's cheeks and Jensen's pants felt real tight all of a sudden. Dimples were definitely some kind of magic trick to get Jensen going. The ugly truth that he never got laid in his life was only adding to the fact that he got horny in two seconds flat when he saw someone as hot as Jared.

"Well, you're about to see another show then." Chris turned his head back to Jensen then and gave him a supportive smile, "… lemme know if you wanna leave early. I can always catch a ride from Randy."

Jensen nodded and gave his best efforts to hide the blush on his own face because he knew exactly what Chris was getting at. Sometime between running into Jensen at the playground and the present, Chris must have grown a gaydar without needing it. But, considering that he was Jensen's wingman, he might actually need it. So far, Chris hadn't been wrong once; too bad that most of the men Chris' gaydar pulled in were complete assholes. Despite that fact, Jensen wasn’t going to replace his wingman no matter what.

The night had progressed exactly like Jensen thought it would; he stayed silent, listened to Chris' soothing drawl and risked a look at Jared whenever he thought the man wasn't looking. Jensen was caught a few times too many though, but he had to admit that the nervous and silly smile from Jared was worth it.

When Chris called for a short break on stage, Jared filled the quiet with chatter about everything and nothing and Jensen couldn't help but listen, actually hanging on every word the man said. Watching Jared's lips move was slowly driving Jensen insane and he wondered how they would feel against his own, if those pink lips were as soft as they looked.

"So, you and Chris?" Jared asked, licking his lips on purpose because, again, he caught Jensen staring. The man was obviously teasing Jensen. Or testing the waters. Jensen realized that he didn't care because Jared was radiating such kindness off of him that Jensen was lost in a daze of fascination.

Jensen scrunched his brows together, silently asking what exactly the man meant and Jared understood the question without any words being spoken.

"Chris, is, uh, is he your boyfriend?"

Choking on his beer wasn't exactly the kind of way Jensen wanted to leave this earth, but the choice was almost out of his hands. The question was just too ridiculous because he and Chris? Yeah, that would've never happened. Sure, Chris was definitely attractive, his piercing blue eyes mesmerizing and he was always loyal to no end. But Jensen never, not once, thought about Chris like that. The man was like a brother to him. A very straight brother.

Shaking his head after spitting his beer across the table, Jensen mentally shuddered at the thought of him and Chris being anything other than friends.

"But you're seeing someone, right?"

Jensen had to give it to Jared, the man was persistent and didn't mind his one-sided conversation. Jensen would have loved to dive into the conversation and maybe get to know Jared a little better, but he was burned too many times, too often, and didn't want to push Jared away only because Jensen was incapable of forming sentences that wouldn't require the other person to wait minutes for a single word to be finished.

No, pretending to be mute was way better than drowning in even more embarrassment.

Jensen's blush deepened when he shook his head again in answer to Jared's question. Jensen was, even at thirty years old, so very inexperienced that he had no idea what to do or how to give Jared any kind of signal that would show how interested Jensen was in the other man. And boy, was that some understatement. Jensen wanted to drown in the other man's smile, imagined how Jared's long fingers would feel on his skin and Jensen's whole body was riddled with nerves when he pictured kissing the man.

Chris started playing again but Jensen didn't notice any of it; he was too lust drunk in every word Jared spoke and totally taken by the man's blinding smile.

Jensen was too scared to talk, too afraid Jared might think too that Jensen was the freak he's being accused of being so many times before. So, he did what he knew best; he downed his beer and turned his eyes away from the handsome man at his table. Jensen didn't hear a word Chris was singing; all that was audible to him was the rapid beating of his heart and the blood rushing through his ears.

He felt like an asshole ignoring Jared, but it was either he called the shots and forgot about the man or got his heart broken when the man figured out what's wrong with Jensen.

"Maybe you'd like to hang out sometime? You know, somewhere where it's not so loud."

Jensen made the stupid mistake and turned his eyes to Jared again and what he saw there made his knees weak. The man was nervously biting his bottom lip, eyes flickering anywhere and nowhere in particular. Jared was unmistakably flirting and trying everything in his power to get Jensen's attention. It was kind of cute and so fucking scary. Looking at the man wasn't the mistake though, shrugging his shoulders in a clear 'maybe' was.

"I don't mind, you know?" Jared leaned further on the table and stared right at Jensen. "Sometimes, when I'm on a roll, I talk enough for two. My roommate says I'm annoying and never shut up. Okay, he's got a point. But seriously, if you want, I'd really like to see you again."

Fumbling with the label of his beer bottle, Jensen weighed his options and eventually the last remnants of his bravery took over. Turning his palm up into a half fist, Jensen pretended to hold a phone so as to type. It took Jared a moment to get the hint and then fish his cell out of his pocket so he could hand it to Jensen.

With shaking fingers, Jensen unlocked the screen and went straight for the address book to type in his number and saved it under Jensen (txt only).

He handed the phone back with the first sincere smile in forever. A strange flutter in his stomach appeared when Jared returned his smile.

The next morning, Jensen woke to the sound of his cell chirping away on his nightstand. It was definitely too early for anyone to message him. Jensen bolted awake when he realized that nobody but Chris actually had his phone number. Except. Yeah, except Jared. The guy from last night.

Staring at his phone as if it was going to eat him alive, Jensen sat in his bed for long minutes until he finally grabbed it. The number was, of course, unknown to him and he opened the message with his heart playing ping pong in his chest.

 

Good Morning. Just checking if the number is real. Hope to read from you soon. -Jared

"Why are you so smiley today?"

Jensen was startled at Chris' voice and lifted his head to see his best friend looming in the door frame.

"J-Jared." Was all Jensen could get out and immediately started blushing again.

"Oh. Jared. He seemed nice." There was a proud smile tugging on Chris' lips and Jensen didn't want to know what it meant.

"Y-Yeah. W-Whatever." Clicking his phone shut, Jensen placed it back on the nightstand and got up to pad to the bathroom. Sure, Jared was nice but Jensen wasn't stupid enough to believe that he would ever had a chance with the gorgeous man.

"What? Come on, Jen. I think he was really interested in you. All gooey eyes and trying to strip you with the powers of his mind."

Jensen ignored Chris in favor for a long shower since he was awake too early on a Saturday morning.

Breakfast was mostly spent in silence and Jensen was thankful that his friend didn't pick up the subject of Jared again.

Until Chris left and told him, "don’t forget to give the guy from last night a call”.

 

Chapter Text

Jensen knew he wanted to answer Jared's text message and a few written words never hurt anyone but he was as scared as a kitten over what might follow. Jensen was sure that a guy like Jared had expectations and Jensen knew he'd never be able to live up to those.

It was almost noon when he sat in front of the TV and his cell buzzed to life, still where he left it in the morning. It could have been Chris who wanted to tell him that he was alright and arrived safely. Which was the only reason for Jensen to get up and check the cell. Definitely the only reason and not because he hoped that Jared messaged him again.

So, I just figured that a text at 6 am was a little too desperate. Sorry about that. I will try again tomorrow. At a more respectable time. Promise. -Jared :)

Jensen smiled at his phone and probably did so for a whole thirty minutes. But again, he closed it without answering and went back to the very uninteresting TV program, cell stored away in his jeans pocket. It took another commercial break before it vibrated again.

Oh, and if you're some 80yr old woman, please forgive me. This message was supposed to go to Jensen. He's this cute green-eyed guy I met. Kinda shy and blushing a lot. Did I mention cute? -Jared :)

Jensen had to admit: Jared was definitely something else. It felt good to be the center of someone's attention for once. Someone other than Chris, that was. Leaving the other man in suspense for a little while longer was Jensen's game plan because it was only a matter of time before Jared would give up and never message Jensen again. And it would have happened sooner or later, Jensen was sure of it.

What Jensen didn't count on, or forgot, was that Jared was really as persistent as he came across Friday night at the bar.

Monday morning, Jensen's alarm rattled him awake and his good weekend mood immediately shifted into annoyed and terrified. Two more hours and he was going to spend the rest of the day in his small cubicle, dodging whatever bullshit Chad and the others had planned for him for the week. If Jensen hadn't needed the paycheck so badly he might have quit, but it wasn't like he had any experience and could apply for a better position. Not with his... issues.

Everyone knew that his first steps would be a walk to the coffee machine to pour himself a cup to stay awake. Thing was, this Monday he was startled awake for a second time when he found a dead spider inside his cup. Everybody else would brush it off and think it was a coincidence, but Jensen knew better than that.

Another bad joke on his part was that after he got over the dead spider and rinsed his cup, he had to brew a new pot of coffee. Only God knew what they might have put in the hot coffee that was already made. He should've known that it wouldn't matter because the first sip of his freshly brewed coffee tasted a whole lot like someone dumped a bag of salt into the ground coffee beans.

He was so fucking tired of their sick games and not for the first time did he wonder what kind of ugly joy it gave them to mess with him day in and day out. He swallowed his anger down, said his coffee goodbye and went to work on the dozens of folders on his desk.

Jensen didn't even groan when he saw that every paper inside said folders was in disorder and not one of the papers were in the actual folder they belonged in. It took him a little over an hour to fix the chaos before he could start with his real work. The deadline his boss set for him was impossible to meet now but he was too mentally exhausted to care.

His lunch break rolled around sooner than he had expected; Jensen simply forgot the time when he was buried in his work. It wasn't as if he actually needed the break anyway; Jensen took every chance he got to avoid Chad and the others and he really didn't need them to mess with him in the company's cafeteria, in front of CEO's and other high horses.

Twenty minutes into the quiet of his lunch break, Jensen fished his cell phone out of his dress pants when it vibrated.

Fun fact: in the movies the guys always let the girls wait 3 days before they contact her again. I'm not saying I'm a girl, but according to my calendar we have reached the 3 days marker. -Jared ;)

Jensen couldn't stifle the snort that escaped his throat even if he wanted to. Thank God nobody was around to hear him. He still looked around to be sure though. All the cubicles around him were still empty and he sighed in relief.

Jensen had thought that Jared had given up when his cell phone remained message free almost all Sunday. He was just about to go to bed Sunday night when Jared informed him via text that he probably had no other choice but to accept a date with the eighty year old woman if the number wasn't Jensen's. Also, Jared said that he was about to start his shift at work. This little piece of information actually intrigued Jensen and he almost answered, only because he wanted to know what kind of job would require someone to start working at such an ungodly time. Of course, he didn't answer. Jensen went to bed with a silly smile on his face.

Jared was kind of right though, three days was definitely enough waiting.

Movies lie. -Jensen

Apparently not. Ha! -Jared ;))

Shit. That was probably right because Jensen had just proven his own statement to be wrong by finally answering the guy.

Jensen tried desperately to figure out what to do next and where to go from there. He had never been in a situation where anyone was actually willing to wait for him to answer a simple text message for three days and something told Jensen that maybe Jared would've waited even longer.

Three days aren't even that long of a time. -Jensen

It is, when your mind's circling around nothing but green eyes and freckles. -Jared ;)

Jensen read the last message over and over again, grinning at the words like a lunatic but when he heard chatter from outside the door, he pushed his cell phone back in his dress pants and returned to work. The chatter turned into whispers when all his co-workers returned from their lunch break and Jensen tuned them out as best he could.

Until Chad walked up to him, leery smile on his stupid face and elbow resting on Jensen's cubicle wall as if the guy owned the place. "Ackles, you got the Grayham file ready? Boss said he wants it at 2pm sharp and we still have to go over the numbers before we hand it over."

Jensen gulped visibly at Chad and he couldn't hide the nervous shake of his hands. Being teamed up with Chad meant that Jensen was doing the work and Chad earned the credit. Jensen didn't dare protest because how could he have done that? If it wouldn’t have been for Chad’s uncle working in human resources, the guy would’ve never gotten the job in the first place. Sending in a complaint would’ve bitten Jensen in the ass good and proper.

Jensen was nauseous and he knew that if Chad didn’t get out of his hair anytime soon, Jensen would puke. His stutter had always been at its worst when Chad was around. "A-Almost. I-I-I still n-n-need to f-f-fix...-"

"You gonna get that sentence out anytime soon? Preferably before I clock out."

Jensen took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a second before he spoke up again, "t-ten minutes."

"Ten minutes for what? To finish that damn sentence or get our work done?"

His throat hurt from the few words alone, the disuse of his voice making it even more difficult to get words out anymore and he sounded too raspy, even to himself. "T-The work."

Jensen did manage to finish their work in the ten minutes he had promised Chad and just as was to be expected, the douchebag received all the credit for it. The good thing about it was that, the sooner Chad would get a promotion, the sooner he was out of Jensen's hair. But then again, he might actually have more power over Jensen's work day and that was just as bad as his nightmares.

 

 

The minute Jensen arrived at his apartment, he lost his suit and tried to relax under the spray of a hot shower before he changed into something more comfortable. He knew there were still a couple of six packs in the fridge and when he thought about them, he let his mind wander into, for him, terrifying territory.

Too shaken by the day's events, Jensen thought it was now or never. Grabbing his phone from the kitchen table he took a picture of one of the six packs and sent it to Jared with a question mark right underneath it. He didn't have to wait long for an answer.

My hero! -Jared :)

A sad smile formed on Jensen's lips because Jared had no idea how much of a hero Jensen really wasn't. No. Jensen was a complete loser, a freak and no matter what would happen that night, Jared would realize as well that Jensen wasn't worth the time Jared invested in him. However, Jensen had to give this a try. Maybe he was desperate and Jared, well, the man practically offered himself up to Jensen so at least there was a possibility of finally getting laid before Jared could dump his sorry ass.

Rational thoughts be damned. Jensen had never been selfish and even though he had no idea how to seduce a guy, he would just act on pure gut feelings and porn movie knowledge when and if Jared showed up.

With yet another text message, Jensen sent Jared his address. Because, why not? Serial killers didn't have such honest eyes or stunning smiles. And even if they did, there was nothing left to lose for Jensen.

Jensen had no idea when exactly Jared would show up so he hurried to his room to change into his favorite pair of jeans, deliberately leaving his boxer briefs in the drawer. If, and that was a big if, he was getting laid that night, he didn't want any awkward fumbling with too many clothes. He only hoped that Jared wouldn't notice how inexperienced Jensen was. Even though movies lied, Jensen still always wanted his first time to be as romantic and meaningful as the screenwriters made him believe. Jensen never got what he wanted in his life though, so all he had left was hope of Jared being on the same page as him.

Just a little over an hour later, his doorbell rang and Jensen's stomach tied up in knots; nerves made his body shiver in a mix of anticipation and fear.

When he opened the door, the fear was immediately gone but it was replaced with so much lust that he was short of jumping Jared.

"Wow. Uh...hi, Jensen." A huge blush crept up on Jared's cheeks and Jensen had to admit that he had never seen anything cuter in his entire life.

He smiled up at Jared and stepped aside to let the man inside. Jensen didn't have to worry about the apartment, it was always more than tidy because he never had anything else to do besides cleaning to pass the time.

Jensen closed the door and when he took a step backwards, he stumbled into Jared who had chosen that exact moment to turn towards Jensen. His hands landed on Jared's biceps to steady his footing and Jensen felt hella awkward when he didn't let go right away. The guy was definitely built and Jensen wondered if those arms were as strong as they felt, if Jared could actually manhandle him like a ragdoll. Not that Jensen had dreamed of that ever happening, but if he had, he would deny it.

Eventually, Jensen did let go and ducked his head to hide the blush that was painting his face a very embarrassing pink.

"Sorry that it took a while longer to get here, but I was... well, I was kinda nervous and I got you this." Jared handed him a bag that Jensen hadn't noticed until it was dangling in front of him.

Jensen took the bag but he couldn't tear his eyes away from Jared's teeth nibbling nervously at the man's lips.

"Didn't know if you had one of these already and since you never really answered if you can sign, I thought... uh, you know, it could help. To uh, talk and maybe get to know each other?"

Opening the bag, Jensen found a kid's chalkboard. Right, rather play the mute than stuttering his way through a conversation. Nobody besides Chris ever bothered to help Jensen, to figure him out and make talking to people any easier on him. But, apparently, Jared really wasn't just anybody.

Without thinking, Jensen took the chalk board from the bag and smiled at it like a kid in a candy store before he pressed it against his chest and he then stepped forward to lean up and place a chaste kiss on the corner of Jared's mouth.

"You're welcome," Jared croaked out and blinked a few many times too often.

Jensen held his index finger up, wanting Jared to hold on for a second while he un-wrapped the chalkboard from its carton.

I never learned sign language, Jensen scribbled down on the board and held it out for Jared to read. It wasn't a lie but suddenly he felt guilty for lying about not being able to speak at all. In Jensen's case, gifting him with a chalkboard so they could communicate, was going above and beyond on Jared's end. Jensen wanted to believe so badly that Jared was seriously interested in him, and the gift should tell that much but the scared part of him wasn't buying the kindness yet.

"You can still learn if you want, that is."

Jensen wanted to roll his eyes in annoyance but he quickly remembered that this wasn't Chris he was talking to. But also, Jared didn't know that there was no actual reason for Jensen to learn sign language so he shrugged his shoulders, hoping that Jared understood the maybe without having to write it down.

"Okay, sometime. Maybe. But let me teach you the most important sign."

Jensen's brows furrowed in confusion but he watched Jared with interest.

Jared waited until Jensen was looking at his flat palm, the man then bent his thumb to hide it inside his palm and lifted his hand up to the right side of his mouth. It looked as if he was going to shout something, but Jared's lips didn't move. His hand though, was moving up and down, twice, right next to his lips. Jensen cocked his head at the sign.

"Beer." Jared explained. "It's the sign for beer."

Jensen chuckled at that and was surprised at the sound coming from his throat. Apparently Jared was too, but it formed a smile on the floppy haired man and Jensen walked past Jared, waving his hand for the man to follow him.

After getting one of the six packs from the fridge, they settled on the couch with a respectable distance between them.

Jensen popped the cap on two bottles and handed one to Jared before setting his own bottle down on the table to grab the chalkboard.

How come you know sign language? Jensen wrote and showed it to Jared.

"My dad used to be in the Army, before he met my mother. He was still a kid when they sent him out on the field for the first time. They were supposed to get some civilians out of the crossfire but before he knew what was happening, a bomb exploded in the house they were in. Both his eardrums were ruptured to the point where he lost his hearing completely. Basically, I could sign before I even learned how to speak."

I'm sorry, Jensen wrote on the board and he felt even worse than before because obviously Jared wasn't driven by prejudice like so many others.

"Don't be," Jared turned his head to smile at Jensen. A smile that turned Jensen's legs into overcooked pasta. "He dealt pretty well with it. Especially during my teenage years, he used it to his advantage. When I was yelling at him he just stared at me with a knowing smile on his face and turned to my mother to ask her what the hell I was saying. In my anger I completely forgot to sign and dad had never been good at lip reading. So yeah, that was kinda fun. For him. I just stormed off to my room and I heard him calling after me that I not dare bang the door close."

Did you? Jensen wrote down.

"What? Slam the door so the hinges were rattling?" Jensen nodded at Jared, lips curving up into a mischievous smile. "Of course I did. A short while later my mom came to my room and said my dad was asking if I did slam the door. Too bad she told him the truth."

Memories of Jensen's own childhood, of his father, came to him and he couldn't even imagine what would have happened to him, what his father would have done if he was slamming any doors. Jensen didn’t think about his parents very often but when he did, it wasn’t pretty. It had been twelve years since he last saw them and only God knows if they ever bothered to figure out where their son was or if Jensen was even still alive. He guessed they didn't give a damn, not after what they've done when they tried to set him ‘straight’.

Jared didn't seem hurt or uncomfortable when he talked about his parents and relief washed over Jensen. No kid in the world deserved to be physically punished for his or her mistakes and wrongs.

Something must have shown on Jensen's face because suddenly Jared shimmied closer to him, right leg tucked under his butt so he could face Jensen, "I take it you had your fair share of not so pleasant experiences? Kids can be cruel."

Jensen couldn't look at Jared, he was too afraid that his thoughts would be written right there in his eyes. Jensen was smart enough to understand that kids, yes, they could be mean but in Jensen's experience it were also grown-ups who made his life miserable, made him feel like he wasn't worth their time.

He didn't want pity, it was by far the last thing he ever wanted. Which was why the urge to change the subject was, in his opinion, very much necessary. Jensen wasn't ready to share his past with anyone, much less with Jared because he still had other plans for their evening.

Jensen was still lost with what to do, how to act and he tried desperately to get his nerves under control.

Jensen took the chalk back in his hand and started writing. Movie?

"Sure. I'd like to. What you got?"

Jensen began to scribble on his board again, you pick, and pointed to the huge shelf stacked with hundreds of DVDs and BluRays.

"Pretty Woman? Seriously? No wonder you believe movies lie." Jared took the DVD from the shelf and held it out for Jensen. This time Jensen did roll his eyes though.

"Let's just pretend it's not yours, okay?"

Jensen gave him a thumbs up and thankfully Jared put the case back in the shelf. It really wasn't Jensen's movie, though he would take the blame of owning it if only to save Chris' manhood from crumbling.

"Do I want to know what's in the cases without any labels on them?" Jared turned his head back to smirk at Jensen. "Yeah, those are definitely yours."

Jensen's eyes went wide and his face shot into being as red as a tomato. He silently prayed that Jared wouldn't ask more about those unlabeled DVDs, because yes, they were his and he definitely didn't want to watch porn with Jared. Everything Jensen knew about sex came from those black cases and if he ever had the nerve to get closer to Jared than sharing a couch then he didn't want the man to realize that Jensen could only do what these movies taught him.

"Ha! Got one." Jared pulled another case from the shelf, "Iron Man. I love that movie. All of them. The first one's my favorite though."

So did Jensen. It was one of his favorites as well, not to mention that Robert Downey Jr. was definitely a sight for sore eyes.

"That blush either means you're glad I didn't choose the unlabeled movies or you've got a thing for Tony Stark."

Jensen ignored the comment as best as he could and crossed his legs to get comfortable while Jared loaded the disc into the player. The way Jared shifted closer to Jensen when he took a seat was obvious and when their legs brushed against another, Jensen took his beer from the table and downed almost half of it in one go. He was really thirsty, no blame in that.

When Ho Yinsen began locking Tony Stark in his first suit, down in that cave, Jensen was startled by Jared's head falling on his shoulders. In the short amount of time they each managed to empty another two bottles of beer. Jensen wanted to be frustrated at being the most boring person ever when he got Jared to fall asleep during his, as he told Jensen, favorite movie. His brain caught up to the chance it gave him though, now he had the opportunity to look at Jared without being caught.

If Jensen thought that Downey Jr. was a sight for sore eyes then Jared was definitely able to cure blindness. God, the man was stunning, the most handsome thing Jensen had ever seen and the fact that this guy was actually in his apartment, on his couch and plastered against Jensen's side, made his stomach flip in every possible direction.

Swallowing thickly and licking his lips, Jensen brushed a few strands of hair off of Jared's forehead. It was as silky soft as Jensen imagined it to be. Another strand of hair was tucked behind Jared's ear and carefully Jensen stroked his thumb over the man's cheek.

Suddenly, when Tony Stark was just setting all his weapons on fire with his built-in flame thrower, Jared grabbed for Jensen's hand and stilled his movement.

Jensen wanted to apologize. He felt so fucking stupid, as if he had taken advantage of Jared. Jensen didn't have much time to focus on his thoughts and a way to tell Jared that he was sorry when Jared's face was right there. Right in front of him and the hazel gaze of the man bore its way into Jensen's soul. He thought he would go into cardiac arrest when his heart started beating crazily inside his chest but then it seemed like time stood still as Jared moved even closer.

“Sorry for falling asleep on you.” Jared’s voice was nothing but a nervous whisper and Jensen’s eyes were drawn to the man’s lips, the way they moved with every fluid word. “Been… working all day.”

Big hands roamed over Jensen's arms and didn't stop until they were cupping his face. Before he knew what was happening, Jared's lips met his own, nothing more than a careful brush of lips. When Jared pulled back, Jensen thought now or never and chased after Jared's mouth until he could capture the man's lips between his own again. He knew it was probably the worst kiss in the history of kisses but Jared didn't complain so Jensen didn't stop. It didn't take long for Jensen to regret going commando because the longer their lips devoured each other, the more uncomfortable he became by his hardening length rubbing against the zipper of his jeans. Only getting turned on even more by it, Jensen moved his body further against Jared's until he was straddling the other man.

Jared's hands were everywhere on him, stroking, caressing and when they crawled underneath Jensen's shirt to twirl his nipples, he remembered, from the many movies he had watched, how and where this was supposed to go.

Pushing all his nerves and embarrassment aside, Jensen began to circle his hips, pressing his ass deeper and harder onto Jared's lap.

Jared pulled back then, his breathing shallow and strained, "Jensen... should we... shouldn't we take this a little slower?"

Jensen didn't have to think about his answer for long because who knew when he was given the chance again to finally lose his damn virginity. He waited long enough and shook his head in a clear no. To get his point across, he crashed his lips against Jared's again. God, the guy tasted amazing; Jared felt amazing and the sweet moans that escaped his mouth were nothing short of intoxicating.

When Jared tried to pull him closer against his chest Jensen shook his head again. With trembling fingers, he pulled at Jared's shirt until the man got the hint and helped Jensen to free himself from the offending clothing. Jensen followed suit and lost his shirt only seconds later, landing it silently next to Jared's on the floor.

Jensen was surprised to realize that he obviously had more guts than he first thought; it also helped that he was completely lust drunk and the little buzz from the beer did the rest. Fucking his tongue in and out of Jared's mouth felt so much better than he could've ever imagined and no porn in the world could have prepared him for the many different sensations coursing through him.

Not wanting to drag this out longer than really necessary, Jensen acted on the raw want rushing through his body. Getting Jared's belt undone was another problem altogether; that thing was like Fort Knox. Or, Jensen was just too jittery to focus on the mechanics of it. Either way, Jared didn't hesitate in helping get that damn thing open. Up until then, Jensen was so focused on his own arousal that he hadn't noticed how hard the man underneath him was. Jensen did this and he felt a sudden rush of pride that he was able to turn someone like Jared on.

"God, Jensen..." Jared's hands took a tight hold of Jensen's ass, squeezing both cheeks hard, making Jensen almost jump at the touch.

"Want you so much, Jensen... but... but I don't..." No matter how silly Jared's voice made him, he still wanted the man to shut up already and get to the good stuff. Too bad Jared didn't get that memo. "...don't want this to be a one-time thing."

Well, that definitely got Jensen's attention. They locked eyes for a long minute and Jensen couldn't help the bittersweet smile tugging at his lips. If Jared only knew how much he wouldn't want Jensen, again, once he would figure out what a failure and freak he was.

Not wanting to spur Jared on into a whole conversation, Jensen shut the man up by sealing their lips together in a bruising kiss.

Scrambling off of Jared and to his feet, Jensen pulled Jared with him, leaving them both standing in front of the couch. Jensen pulled Jared down for another kiss and it took all his mental strength to gather enough bravery in order to guide the man’s hand to the front of his jeans. Jensen wanted his pants gone, and he wanted them gone fast.

Eventually, Jared got them open and started tugging on them as a gasp filled the air. "Jesus Christ," Jared breathed against Jensen's lips when he felt how very naked Jensen was under those jeans.

Jensen felt exposed and vulnerable all of a sudden but his pure want took over faster than he had time to put an end to their heavy make out session.

"Tell me you got stuff in reaching distance." Jared all but pleaded with him but Jensen hadn't thought that far. Sure, his brain had worked overtime to come up with the idea, hoping to use Jared’s interest in him to get laid, but that was about as far as he got. He didn’t actually think of the materials that were involved in the sheer mechanics of sex. There was probably still some lube left in his room but other than that? No. He never needed condoms before so he was more than certain that he wouldn't find any in his nightstand and digging through Chris' stack of whatever he was hiding in his room was out of the question.

Jensen shook his head and expected Jared to push away but the opposite was the case.

"Okay. Just... hold on." Jared grabbed behind himself to get his wallet out of his back pocket and flipped through it. "There should be... Fuck, where is it? Yes! There!" Triumphantly, the man held a condom up and almost blinded Jensen with his dimples.

Jensen gave him a confused look because he knew that the condom alone wouldn't be enough and Jared understood him right away as if he could read Jensen's thoughts. It didn't matter how eager Jensen was. He knew that with his lack of sexual experience, he definitely didn't want his first time to hurt more than he knew it would.

"Pre-lubed." Jared grinned at him.

Jensen kicked off his jeans and helped Jared do the same with his own pants. Scratching the back of his neck and biting his lip nervously, Jensen didn't know what to do next. He stood there, completely nude, nervous like the virgin he was. Jensen hated to be on display like that but Jared's hungry eyes made up for it in under a second flat.

"Couch?" Jared asked him in a hoarse tone and Jensen could only nod.

Willingly, Jensen let the man guide him until his chest was flush against the couch and when Jared pulled his ass up higher his breath got stuck in his throat and the blush from his face took over his whole body.

Before he could worry too much about how he might have looked to Jared, there was something wet and so very hot pressing against his hole. Nothing but Jensen's own fingers and his tiny green dildo had ever touched him there and he had to keep himself in check before he was screaming out his pleasure. It wouldn't have been funny if he was so close to having an actual cock inside of him but destroyed the moment by having a stutter attack. Yeah, not good. Jensen bit his lip instead and moaned like a needy whore when Jared's tongue circled around his ring of muscle. It was amazing, simple as that. Nothing could ever hold a candle to what Jensen was feeling, making him finally understand why the men in porn movies liked being eaten out or eating another man out. Before Jared, it was a mystery and something he thought could never be arousing. But according to his painfully hard cock and the greedy sucking Jared was doing to his hole, it was definitely the best thing ever.

Then there was something else and it felt an awful lot like a finger being added alongside Jared's tongue. The digit slipped in without any resistance and Jensen couldn't help but push his ass deeper against the finger. He wanted more, needed more. He was so close already and they had barely started yet. When he clenched his muscle, the finger was sucked in deeper and he had to bite his fist to keep himself from screaming when it stabbed his prostate dead on.

As soon as Jared was up to a third finger, constantly assaulting the sweet bundle of nerves deep inside of him, Jensen's body went rigid and he came untouched. He shot his orgasm out; thick white ropes painted the couch.

"Fuck. That's... that's the hottest thing I've ever seen." Jared rasped when he pulled his fingers from Jensen's still quivering hole.

Not caring about the mess he made, Jensen sagged down into his own come underneath him.

"Can you... turn around? Wanna see you." Jared all but whispered and who was Jensen to deny the man who had just given him the best orgasm ever, anything. His first not self-induced orgasm, to be exact.

Jared was kneeling between Jensen's legs when he leaned over to take Jensen's lips into another kiss. Jensen could taste himself on the man's lips and it was too good to be declared filthy.

"Need to be inside you."

Jensen couldn't do much but nod at Jared. His body was limp underneath Jared’s and his brain all fuzzy, still riding on the post orgasmic bliss. Scared. Scared is what Jensen was when he watched how Jared rolled the condom over his erect cock. The man was packing and Jensen was sure that this cock would never fit anywhere inside of him.

Jared proved him wrong though.

When he slowly pushed the cockhead inside and breached the first ring of muscle, Jensen thought he was going to explode. His whole body sizzled from the burn of the first intrusion and he clawed desperately on every inch of Jared he could reach. Every nerve ending underneath Jensen's skin was on fire and he pulled Jared down into a kiss to hide the pain he was in. Pulling Jared deeper too fast was a big mistake because in one fast thrust, the man bottomed out and filled Jensen like he had never been filled before. Jensen's chest was rising and falling rapidly, his breathing loud and labored and his blunt nails left marks all over Jared's back.

When Jensen felt a tear roll down his cheek Jared stilled completely and lifted his upper body to look at him. "Jensen? Are you... did I hurt you?"

There was so much concern in Jared's voice that it almost broke Jensen's heart. Instead, another tear followed the first one when he shook his head.

"Bullshit."

The accusation was delivered without any heat behind it but Jensen knew that if he didn’t do something, then Jared would put a stop to this. And that wasn't going to happen.

First, Jensen mouthed when Jared's eyes locked on his lips.

"You're saying you've never...?"

Jensen shook his head again and closed his eyes in embarrassment, turning his face away from Jared.

"Shit, Jensen. You should've let me know."

Jensen shrugged his shoulders and he waited for the moment when Jared would finally pull out and bolt. That moment didn't come, though. Jared cupped Jensen’s cheek and turned his head back so that he was looking at him. Jensen's eyes fluttered open to a smiling Jared. The smile wasn't mocking at all and that was one huge surprise for Jensen. It was a smile of understanding and that alone was reason enough for Jensen to shed another river of tears.

"Shhh. It's okay. Hey, I'm not mad, alright? I just wish I would've known so we could've had a more romantic set-up. You want me to stop?"

Shaking his head, Jensen hoped that Jared understood how badly he really wanted this to happen.

"Are you sure?"

Yes, Jensen formed the words with his lips and the second his lips stopped moving, Jared took them in a kiss while he began to slowly circle his hips. The raw need and desperation was gone and replaced with a gentleness Jensen didn't know existed. It kind of felt exactly how Jensen had imagined his first time, no rush or fast thrusts, only the slow and heated movements of two people making... love.

Jared tugged his arms under Jensen's and held his head in place to lazily brush their lips together, in sync with his slow thrusts, the man's upper body completely blanketing Jensen's. When Jensen finally got accustomed to the too full kind of feeling, he began to meet each and every one of Jared's thrusts and wrapped his legs around the slightly taller man's waist.

Jensen whimpered in pleasure, too many emotions running through him at once and Jared was right there with him. The man's moans enough to drive Jensen crazy.

"So good, Jensen. You feel... so wonderful. Gonna... Christ, I'm gonna come."

Jared pulled out almost all the way before he pushed his hard cock back inside Jensen's hole, this time with a little more force, and he repeated the movement at a more rapid pace until Jensen could feel how the man emptied his release inside the condom, Jensen's name on Jared's lips while Jensen dug his heels deeper in Jared's back, bringing them closer still.

Without warning, Jared's spent body crushed into Jensen's and he wanted to protest, tell Jared that he might need to breathe, but he still preferred suffocation over stuttering. Jensen stayed silent, their heavy breathing the only sounds filling the otherwise quiet room.

Jensen didn't know how much time had passed but considering he was still alive when Jared moved off of him and nestled himself behind Jensen, it must have been less than a minute. A part of Jensen's brain was sure that Jared would just leave and he already ached at the loss it would cause but Jared surprised him once again. The man stripped himself free from the condom when he realized he was still wearing it and sprinted to the kitchen to dispose of it before he all but jumped back onto the couch and curled his body around Jensen's again, strong arms sneaking around Jensen's waist and shoulder to hold him close.

"You alright, Jen?" There was a weird kind of pang shaking Jensen's heart upon hearing the nickname and it left a funny smile on his face. Not being able, or brave enough, to answer, Jensen could only nod.

"I should've told you this before, but...," Jared nuzzled his nose against the back of Jensen's head, "I won't be able to stay the night."

Though disappointed, Jensen nodded once again. He never, not for a second, believed that Jared actually wanted to stay so Jensen swallowed the sudden hurt he felt, down.

Jensen got what he wanted. If Jared chose not to contact him again, Jensen wouldn’t find any reason to be surprised.

Chapter Text

I know a great Italian place. Their menu is to die for. Do you like Italian food? -Jared :-*

Jensen stared at the message for a long time, contemplating if he should answer or ignore Jared altogether.

It felt as if Chris had been right, that Jared was really interested in Jensen but he knew that any kind of relationship that was based on a lie wasn't going to last. Not that Jensen expected Jared to be seriously interested in him anyway, much less want a serious relationship. His decision was made; he would let things with Jared progress for as long as he could keep his charade up. It was more than just a dick move but reality had never been kind to Jensen, therefore, it wouldn't take long for Jared to realize that Jensen wasn't worth it.

How does Saturday sound? -Jensen

He kind of wanted to see Jared, badly and as soon as possible, but was conflicted by thoughts that he didn’t. At least not when he had to work the next day and was trying to keep it together while Chad and the others played their twisted games with him. Jensen also didn't want to come off as clingy considering he got all emotional the night before, when Jared popped his cherry.

Awesome. Can't wait. Gonna pick you up at 7pm. -Jared

Saturday it was then. It gave Jensen enough time to put another work-week of hell behind him and be in a acceptable mood for their... date. Was it really a date? Jensen wasn't sure; something told him that it was though.

 

 

Jared couldn't wait for Friday to finally be over and done with and the last thing he felt like doing was going to his parent's for their weekly dinner. The week before he was able to sneak out early. Well, thank God, because if he hadn’t then he might have never met Jensen.

He barely knew the guy but somehow Jensen still managed to root himself into Jared's brain. Jared felt like a complete asshole when Jensen confessed of never having sex with someone before Jared. Nothing about the man said virgin and Jared had real trouble believing that someone as beautiful as Jensen didn't have men lining up for him. Sure, the man was shy and, before he had a couple of beers too many, reserved but wasn't that usually what intrigued people even more about someone? It was definitely a reason for Jared to chase after the man. There wasn’t literal chasing, but he knew right away that he had to see Jensen again after they met in the bar. And their night together only fueled Jared’s desire to see Jensen even more. Jared had always disliked one night stands and with Jensen he couldn’t possibly imagine not being around the man anymore.

"Jared? You with me?"

Lynne's voice shook Jared out of his thoughts and he blinked at the pretty brunette, clearing his head. "Yeah. Sorry. Was kinda far away." Jared wanted to laugh at himself. Looking at Lynne, he realized he was staring at her. The woman’s face was dusted in freckles and it didn’t take much of a push for Jared’s brain to imagine her blue eyes turning green. It wasn’t as if Jared actually wanted Jensen out of his thoughts, but he had work to do and whenever the man appeared in his head, Jared was completely and utterly useless. Love goggles and all.

"No shit. You've been away all week. What's wrong, dear?" The concern in Lynne's voice was almost too much for Jared to bear because he didn’t like seeing all these worry lines around her eyes.

"Not sure but I think... I think..."

"Don't strain yourself, sugar."

"I think I'm falling in love." Jared slumped his shoulders and sighed heavily at his confession.

"Aww, I love you too. You precious little overgrown thing. So, we getting married or what?"

"Haha. Not funny. Fuck, I'm so screwed."

"Language. Don't want those kids to pick up on your tongue." Lynne waved her hand in the direction of the kid's table.

Friday afternoons had always been busy at the shelter, especially when school was out and the kids stormed in to get their first and probably only warm meal of the week.

"Sorry. It's just... too soon and so damn confusing."

"Who said love was easy? So, who's the lucky prince?" Lynne turned her back to the tables in front of their counter to look up at Jared, patiently waiting for him to hand over all the information she wanted and needed to feed her curiosity.

"His name's Jensen. I met him last Friday. Jesus, can you believe that? I know him for a week and already I can't get him out of my head."

"Oh, precious. You got it bad."

"Tell me about it. He invited me over on Monday and I haven't seen him since." Jared stepped forward to half fall into Lynne's waiting arms. The woman wasn't the good soul of the shelter for nothing; she always knew how to comfort everyone who stepped inside. No matter if a homeless person asking for food or a bed for the night or, in Jared's case, to offer a strong shoulder for her volunteers.

"Alright. Cry time is over. Go get Brandon and his sister the chocolate pudding you promised them. Then you tell me all about your Jensen."

His Jensen. Jared liked the sound of that. Nodding at Lynne, Jared did as he was told and as he promised. Brandon and Clarissa were still munching on their bread, soaking the last drops of soup from their bowls with it. Their eyes were almost popping out when they saw the large serving of chocolate pudding in Jared's hands.

"Is that all for us, Mr. P.?" Brandon licked his lips, still hungry, while staring at the bowl.

"You can have as much as your little tummies can hold. But don't you overdo it."

Jared thought that Brandon's head was going to fall off with how hard he shook it in agreement. Clarissa eyed the bowl nervously and Jared's heart shattered at how scared the little girl still was around him sometimes. He placed the bowl on the table and knelt down next to Clarissa to be on eye level with her.

Tapping her tiny arm once, Jared waited for her to look at him. When she finally did, he raised his hands to show her he wanted to talk to her.

"Make sure you eat lots of the pudding before Brandon gets his hands on it. You know how much he loves chocolate pudding." Jared signed for the girl and deliberately didn't speak the words out loud along with the signs. He winked at Clarissa before handing her a spoon.

"What did you just tell her, Mr. P.?"

Jared began to speak and sign at the same time, so as to have both siblings understand him. "If you would've accepted my offer to teach you sign language, then you would know. Until then, it's Clarissa's and my secret." He ruffled Brandon’s hair and smiled at the siblings.

The boy groaned at being scolded but Jared noticed the gleam in Brandon's eyes. The kids barely ever spoke to him. Depending on how badly stoned their mother was, their moods and will to speak changed. Still, Jared knew enough about Brandon, knew how much the twelve-year old disliked being kept in the dark. It was only a matter of time until he would find the courage and ask Jared to teach him. Jared wouldn’t give up on either of them, they both were blessed with bigger brains than their mother and he was sure that these two kids would find their way into a better future. If it meant he had to push them a little, so be it.

At 5pm, Jared finally had a few minutes for himself, Brandon and Clarissa had left, along with many others, a little over an hour ago. Aside from an elderly couple and a handful of regulars, the shelter was as good as empty. Jared gazed over the occupied tables to see if everyone was still set and he then headed back to the kitchen. He had to prepare everything for the nightshift, which included having gallons of fresh coffee, tea and cocoa ready for whoever walked in after dark.

Lynne stepped up behind him, her small hand rubbing soothingly over his lower back, "...why don't you go on home? You've been here since six this morning."

"Nah, I'll just bore myself to death and you know how I get when I'm all alone."

Jared turned and placed a thankful kiss on Lynne's forehead.

"Okay, then tell me about him. I've never seen you so hung up on someone." Lynne took two cups from the cabinet and handed them to Jared so he could fill them both up.

"Honestly? I have no idea what it is about him." Jared poured the first cup half full and filled it the rest of the way with milk, just how Lynne liked her coffee. "He's so damn beautiful and he blushes all the time. Seriously, that blush? The cutest thing I've ever seen."

Lynne took the more-milk-than-coffee that Jared handed her and sat down at their small table next to the massive fridge. "Will you tell him?"

Jared finished pouring his own cup before he joined his boss. "Hell no. I'd make a total fool out of myself. We've spent less than ten hours together; he'll think I'm some kind of nutjob. I really don't wanna scare him away before I actually have a chance to be with him. And who knows what he thinks about me."

"That's something you'll have to figure out, Jared. I take it he doesn't know?" Lynne's brows almost met her hairline as she spoke.

"About me? No. As far as I know, he has no idea who I am and I'd rather keep it that way for a while longer."

"To be sure he's not just another Kevin?"

"Exactly. I mean, I highly doubt it but Kevin was playing me for two years and I was buying each and every single one of his lies. If I had gone through with the marriage, he would've drained all my bank accounts. God, I was so blind and stupid." Thinking of Kevin made Jared shiver. Still, after all the time that had passed. Great disappointments are hard to forget though. Jared had been burned badly when Kevin turned out to be a gold digger and his every word nothing but lies to get to Jared’s money. He doubted that Jensen could be anything like Kevin; it was almost impossible, considering the shy and hurt glimmer in the man’s green eyes. But Kevin had him fooled for well over two years. If he and Jensen were going to work out, then Jared wanted it to be for the right reasons.

Lynne put her hand over Jared's on the table, thumb brushing over his knuckles in a motherly manner, "no, you were in love. It could've happened to anyone."

"I know. That's why this whole thing with Jensen scares the crap out of me."

"Why don't you bring him over some time, let me stick out my feelers and see what kind of person he is, hmm?"

"I really appreciate it, Lynne. But I'm not sure he'd like that too much. I have a feeling he's not doing so well around strangers."

"What makes you say that?"

"He's mute."

"And? Where's the problem with that?" Lynne shrugged both her shoulders. Nothing could ever scare that woman away and Jared loved her all the more for it.

"Like I said, he's really shy and I swear there is something else bothering him. When I met him at the bar last Friday he tried everything to avoid me. Even after I said it was okay and that I could sign, which he can't as I've learned, he tried to ignore me. He was blushing all evening, but there was so much fear in his eyes. It really broke my heart."

"Mhm. How do you, you know, talk to him then?"

Jared ducked his head, feeling like a little kid all of a sudden. "Text messages and I might have gotten him a chalkboard."

"Aren't you just the sweetest? So, when are you going to see him again?"

"Tomorrow. I asked him out to dinner."

Lynne gave him a knowing smile, aware of Jared's nervous grip on his cup. They finished their coffee and filled the time of their break with light chatter, Lynne going on and on about her plans for the shelter and what she needed to change over the next few months. Jared knew the shelter was in desperate need of more sponsors, more than him, his family and a couple of low profile companies in town. Lynne knew that all she had to do was ask Jared what she needed for her shelter but she would always glare at him in warning to better not invest more than he already did with his monthly donations and the volunteering. Truth was, he had nothing better to do with his money anyway.

At age twenty, when he was still in college, Jared’s nerdy side bound him to his computer for longer than his parents would have appreciated. But one thing led to another and his love for rock and country music had soon shifted his brain into overdrive. It took him two weeks to set up a website for newcomers to showcase their music. He never believed in having success with it, but he was bored. At first he didn’t have a clue how the music business actually worked but he knew one thing for sure: most musicians were totally underrated and they deserved a damn chance. Jared printed flyers en masse and shared them on campus, clipped them under windshield wipers and handed them out in bars. Sooner than he was able to blink, people were setting up accounts on his website and all he asked for was one lousy dollar to help him cover the server expenses. People really wanted their music to get out there in the world and so it happened that after less than a year, record companies and talent scouts signed up as well to look for fresh faces and new voices. It definitely helped that Jared didn’t stop bothering record labels with mails day in and day out until they finally checked his website out. Of course, he didn’t do it out of the goodness of his heart alone. His parents worked hard to get him through college and he wanted them to be proud of him and prove that he could do it on his own. The deal for record labels to sign up on his website was simple: they had to pay him a small commission if they took one of the artists under contract.

Five years after the first person signed up on his website, Jared sold his booming internet business for more money than he could count and definitely enough to put five generations through college. Giving his money to people who needed it more than him was supposed to be good karma and it always let him sleep peacefully at night.

Jared made a mental note of Lynne's complaints about the old furniture in the shelter. Yeah, they definitely needed a make-over. He smiled wickedly at Lynne when he remembered an ad in the newspaper from a furniture store trying to get more customers with their 35% discount on all living room products. Not that Jared was after any discounts specifically, he didn't need to worry about them, but according to the ad, the store was a family business of many generations and not some big ass company of money hungry CEO's. So, it was a good feeling to know he could help a small business out while doing something for the shelter at the same time. They probably spent more on the fancy ad than they could afford already.

The ring of his cell spiraled him out of his musings and Lynne gave him a smug smile when Jared could feel his own face light up at the sound.

Unfortunately, when he unlocked the screen it wasn't Jensen who messaged him. Jared had hoped Jensen would text him, but receiving more than one message from Jensen in one day was unlikely and more wishful thinking than reality. The man never really wrote much. Despite that fact, Jared hoped that this would change once they got to know each other better. The smile that was expectantly tugging at his lips was now replaced with a frown and an audible sigh.

Off in 30. -Chad

Aw hell. Jared had completely forgotten about his roommate. His friend for more years than Jared liked to admit, asked him to pick him up from work so Jared could drop him off at the body shop where Chad's car was in for an oil change. They became friends during their college years and when Chad's parents had kicked the man out, Jared didn't hesitate and offered Chad to share his condo with him.

Though his friend's parents acted on all the right reasons to kick their son out, Jared didn't like to see Chad living on the street or in some shabby room where he might have had to do some nasty shit to get the landlord off his back. Still, Jared knew their friendship was better going when they didn't hang out together too often. Not to mention that Chad seemed to have serious issues with Jared’s lifestyle. The man couldn’t imagine how two guys could possibly be more than buddies. Jared always accepted people’s opinions, valued most of them and took them to heart, but with Chad he knew, they’d never find common ground on the sexuality issue. It wasn’t that Jared accepted Chad’s view of sexuality but he found ways to look around it. Mostly, that involved not discussing their love lives with each other. It bothered him but, as much of a dick as Chad could be, he also had been one of the only ones to back Jared when he started his company. That type of loyalty is hard to fade out so Jared hoped he could somehow find a way to open Chad’s mind and strengthen their friendship.

Quickly Jared finished up at the shelter and gave Lynne another kiss on the cheek before he made his way to the other end of town to pick up Chad and then hurry to get to his parent's dinner in time. Being grown up, smart and having millions of dollars in his bank accounts were never excuse enough for his mother to slap him upside the head if he ever missed Friday dinner with the whole family.

Chapter Text

Quitting time was so close Jensen could practically smell it. He couldn't wait to get out of his damn cubicle and head on home to do nothing, except mentally prepare himself for his date with Jared the next day. Jared had been sending him text messages all week, just more random fun facts and other things that made Jensen smile so hard he thought his face was going to split. Guilt was still a constant reminder of his lie, but between texting back and forth and daydreaming about Jared, Jensen began to forget the world around him. He was beginning to get excited about seeing the man again, so much so that he didn't care at all when Chad called him out on his constant smiling face. Sandy, Chad's partner in crime, was just as bad and all the blood rushed to Jensen's face when she whispered to Chad that, "Ackles probably got laid." As if Jensen couldn't hear them. No, he had heard alright but he was still shocked that it had been so obvious that yes, he got laid.

Jensen grabbed his stuff after turning off his computer and made his way out of the building. The fresh air was much needed in clearing his mind from all the stupidity he had to deal with during the day. An incoming text message made him stop in his tracks.

Was just thinking about you. -Jared ;))

He was almost out of the door of the building when Chad brushed past him in a hurry and knocked Jensen’s cell to the ground. Silently Jensen prayed that the guy would trip and break his nose against the glass of the swinging door. Too bad it didn't happen. Instead, everything within him was shattering and breaking apart when his gaze followed his co-worker and tormentor.

Right there, leaning against a black sports car, was Jared, the strong muscled arms that once held Jensen so tenderly, crossed over his chest.

Jensen was just about to walk over to Jared when he remembered that the man shouldn't have any knowledge of where Jensen worked so feeling like he’s just been sucker punched, he scrunched his face up in confusion. Chad was running over to where Jared was just putting his cell back in his pocket and they greeted each other with a brotherly punch to the shoulder that spoke volumes.

Jensen felt sick to his stomach at the sight. He didn't want to believe what he just saw but there was no mistaking the obvious: Jared and Chad were friends. They knew each other.

Of course they fucking knew each other. Jensen was such an idiot. A good looking guy like Jared would have never been seriously into him. No. This whole bullshit facade of being understanding was nothing but one of Chad's fucked up ways to mess with Jensen. Since Chad was nowhere near being gay himself he most likely paid some good money to have his buddy screw with Jensen. Literally and figuratively.

Jensen was willing to bet his whole savings that the two men were probably laughing their asses off at the stuttering freak.

The way to the bus stop seemed to take forever for Jensen and each step made his stomach drop further.

Barely inside his apartment, Jensen kicked off his shoes and stumbled in a daze to the fridge. He definitely needed to drink himself into oblivion and figure out what to do. There was no way in hell he ever wanted to see Jared again, now that he knew the guy had tricked him. Jensen always knew that losing your virginity could cause physical hurt, but he was shell-shocked to realize it also broke him emotionally. He couldn't believe that he was stupid enough to offer himself up on a first date, that he gave up his virginity to Jared only because he finally wanted to get laid.

After the second bottle of beer, Jensen barely made it to the toilet before he emptied his stomach and slumped down on the cold tiles. His eyes burned with unshed tears and, since nobody could see him, he let them roll down over his cheeks freely.

In the moments when he let his heart make him believe that Jared was indeed a good guy, he thought that maybe, maybe he would have been brave enough to open up to Jared and hand his heart over to the other man. Now, Jensen was more than relieved that he had long ago given up on listening to his heart. After heaving again and pushing more bile from his throat, Jensen realized that his heart must already be too deep in or else it wouldn't have hurt so damn much seeing Jared with Chad.

As soon as his stomach calmed down enough for him to get on his feet, he grabbed for another bottle of beer and drank himself into unconsciousness.

Jensen wasn't surprised when he woke up with a splitting headache on the living room floor the next day. A careful look at his watch told him it was already past noon and that only reminded him that he still hadn't figured out how to cancel his date with Jared.

Even though popping a few painkillers and cleaning up the empty bottles didn't serve him the answers he needed so badly, it at least killed some time.

After a long shower, during which he tried to clean off the disgust he felt towards himself, he eventually padded to the living room and grabbed for his cell.

Won't be able to make it tonight. Something came up. -Jensen

Jensen didn't think a further explanation or apology was needed because when it came down to it, Jared would be the one who had to come up with an apology. One Jensen would never accept of course and the fact remained that Jared had no damn reason to be sorry for anything. Jensen was the only one to blame for his stupidity and that he walked right into Chad's trap. A trap that came in form of a six foot four giant who made Jensen's head spin.

Maybe tomorrow then? Have been looking forward to seeing you again. :( Miss you. -Jared :-*

Right, Jensen thought and was short of smashing his phone against the nearest wall.

Won't be in town for the next week. Family business. -Jensen

He turned his phone on silent and closed it shut. Jensen didn't need any more lies thrown at him. All he wished for was for his best friend to come home and maybe tell him that he wasn't a complete moron. But Jensen managed to fuck up in less than a week and okay, yes, he was a moron. Still, he missed Chris terribly and never needed him as much as during this time. Whining and pleading his friend to drop everything so he could come back was selfish and Jensen ditched the idea within seconds.

Monday morning, when his alarm woke him, Jensen knew that there was no way he could go to work. Not after he had told Jared he wouldn't be in town and, when Chad saw him waltz in, Jared was probably the first who Chad would call. Jensen called in sick for the next week and it was only half a lie, considering how crappy he still felt. Facing Chad or the others was bound to turn his nightmares into cruel reality and there was only so much Jensen could take.

He called Chris a couple of days later and his best friend noticed immediately that Jensen's stutter had become worse. Dodging his friend's worried questions wasn't an easy task but somehow Jensen managed to convince Chris that he was alright. Jensen was anything but alright though; never in his life had he thought that ignoring Jared's text messages would feel like such a punishment for his heart.

Night after night, Jensen had to cry himself to sleep. He wished so badly that at least one word from Jared had been true, that one of his gentle touches were honest and his smiles not hiding the game he was playing with Jensen.

Slowly, Jensen had to admit to himself how hard he had fallen for the man. He thought he was stronger than that, believed he had it under control. Truth was, Jensen wasn't holding the reigns to his heart and that alone made it all the more painful for him to deal with the situation.

Jensen sat at the kitchen table with a still empty e-mail open on his laptop. He didn't know how to start or how to find the right words but in the end he thought it wouldn't matter anyway so he began to write his resignation to his boss and after a couple of sentences, he hit send without any regrets.

He knew he would find a new job, eventually. Money would be tight once his savings were all gone but he'd rather starve than walk back and have Chad squirming in delight over his palpable misery.

What Jensen didn't count on, was that even after his resignation had been accepted by his boss, Chad still tried to play with him by making Jared send at least one text message every day. Jensen deleted all of them without reading them.

Three weeks later, Jensen had about enough of their shit.

Please do us both a favor and stop with the messages. -Jensen

After clicking the send button, Jensen deleted Jared's number from his phone. It didn't serve him the little piece of relief he hoped for. Instead, he started crying and he desperately tried getting his heart beat under control.

Jensen didn't know if he ever got an answer from Jared again. The day after Jensen had sent his last text to Jared, he crushed his phone and threw it into the nearest dumpster on his way to the RadioShack a few blocks away. A new phone had been long overdue and he knew Chris' number by heart.

He called Chris in the evening to let him know that he had a new number. Chris was the last person Jensen wanted to keep things from and once the man came back it would’ve been difficult to explain Jensen’s change of jobs. If he was ever going to find a new one, that was. Jensen kept his explanation as close to the truth as possible, telling Chris how he couldn’t stand working in a small cubicle anymore. Jensen stuttered his way through the lie of wanting to cut ties with all people who had his contact information, therefore, he had no other choice but to get a new number. Of course, Chris wasn’t happy with him drifting off into a deeper solitude but with the same breath he understood why Jensen had done it. Chris sounded proud and said as much, close to applauding Jensen for taking life in his own hands and stepping away from things that made his life dull. Jensen didn’t deserve any of his best friend’s cheering, but he was still adamant in never bothering Chris with the ugly truth of how people at work treated him.

Slowly but surely, Jensen managed to get through his days without crying... too much. Days quickly turned into weeks and those had fast changed into months. Jensen's heart still ached terribly and maybe movies didn't always lie because he had come to the realization that there was no way Jensen would ever be able to forget the man he had lost his virginity to.

And just how much he was probably never going to forget Jared was more than visible in the form of two blue lines on a plastic stick in his hands.

For weeks Jensen had been sick, his stomach rolling and growling in pain, and after two weeks he was sure that this wasn't just another stomach bug. His back ached, his eyes burned with tears and the most obvious factor of what might have been wrong was the change to his usual flat stomach.

At first, he didn‘t believe in the signs his body had given him and he was one hundred percent certain that he and Jared used a condom. Jensen saw how the man rolled it over his cock. It was as good as impossible to be pregnant and still Jensen couldn’t deny the tiny swell of his stomach four months after he had slept with Jared.

Jensen took a bus to Oak Hill, twenty minutes out of Nashville, in favor of not running into anyone he might know or who would recognize him. Mostly he was afraid of running into Chad or Jared. And those two were the last people he wanted to run into when he bought a pregnancy test. He knew that if his assumptions were correct then any test would come back positive the second he peed on it, considering the time gap between the present and when he had sex for the first – and so far, last – time.

It didn’t make fucking sense. None of it. Of course condoms could break but Jared would have surely noticed if something was wrong. Right? Jensen knew he was so damn screwed. He could barely afford living on his own; his savings were almost exhausted. Jensen only had enough left for food because, even though Chris was still on the road, the man didn’t stop sending his share of the rent. At first, Jensen had refused but now he was thankful that his best friend was a stubborn son of a bitch.

Jensen couldn’t care for a child; he knew as much. Now that he had actual proof that he was indeed pregnant, he was sure there was nobody out there who’d hire him. Being four months pregnant didn’t leave him with many options either. For a long time, his thoughts circled on abortion but it took less than five minutes on Google to figure out that he couldn’t live with that. But also, he knew he couldn’t live with a child. He’d been on the receiving end of cruel life shattering events. He couldn’t destroy another beings life, no matter how small. Besides, coming up with the cash for an abortion was an impossibility on its own.

Adoption was another suggestion, thanks to Google, and he toyed with the idea for well over two weeks. Jensen couldn’t fathom the idea of having a baby, Jared’s baby. It wasn’t so much a soul crushing thought of someday having kids of his own. He just never thought he would be given the chance of having a baby with someone. The last person Jensen could imagine having a child with though, was most definitely Jared. It still hurt to think about Jared, now more so than ever before, and no matter how hard Jensen’s brain tried to force him into hating the man, Jensen’s heart couldn’t do it. A small part of Jensen had fallen for the man and that hadn’t changed. It was exactly the part that, for a split second, made him think he could maybe shoulder the idea of raising a kid. But the bigger part of Jensen felt nothing but angry, seething rage for Jared screwing him over in more ways than Jensen’s stomach could handle. His fury towards Jared quickly bled over to the child growing inside of him and never in his life had Jensen be so determined: that child inside of him would never be a part of him or his life. Adoption was the best decision, for him and the baby.

The idea of giving the baby up for adoption was forged after Jensen had finally found an ObGyn to give him a check-up for a reasonable price. The physician had sensed right away that Jensen was neither cut out nor ready to be a father when he denied a copy of the ultrasound picture the doctor had offered. The ObGyn had then talked him through the process of giving the baby away once it was born and Jensen listened with an almost cruel excitement to each and every word the doctor spoke.

Jensen ignored the first flutter in his womb. There was no second-guessing needed over exactly what that feeling was. The slight flutter soon turned into actual kicks or punches; Jensen firmly tried to breathe through the ache it caused and prayed more often than not that time would go by faster and he’d have this pregnancy over and done with. But at only eighteen weeks along, he still had a lot of pregnant time ahead of him and the kid inside of him didn’t make it easy on him either.

His whole body felt foreign to Jensen, it was as if an alien had taken place within him and controlled his every step, thoughts and cravings. And cravings definitely were the worst of it all. Jensen fucking hated green beans, but he woke up from a short nap and his stomach was screaming at him to shove down some damn green beans. There was no need to search the kitchen; he didn’t have any vegetable close to what the kid wanted so badly at the moment.

“G-Gimme a b-break,” he cursed with a glare at the swell attached to his stomach. His only answer was a hard kick to his right side.

Jensen knew he wouldn’t find another quiet and pain-free minute until he fed the kid what it wanted and so he threw his hands up in surrender before cursing once again, “…a-a-lright. D-Damn it!”

He put on a pair of sweats and a sweater before he headed out and went on a hunt for beans. Wasn’t that just another reason to hate his damn life?

Chapter Text

“Tell me again why you’re dragging me to Sandy’s party when I already told you that I can’t stand her?”

Jared was beyond annoyed with Chad and the man’s ideas to cheer Jared up. He was sure that, at the moment, nothing and nobody, Chad in particular, would ever be strong enough to lift his mood. Still, he was driving to Sandy’s house with Chad aggravating him from the passenger seat.

“You gotta lighten up, Jay-Man. She isn’t as bad as you think and I’m sure she wouldn’t mind showing you a good time.”

Groaning in frustration, Jared slammed on the brakes and stopped the car. “You don’t fucking get it, do you? Chad, I don’t want a woman like Sandy anywhere near me. Hell, I don’t want any woman near me for that matter. Get it through your head already that there’s nothing but cock for me.”

“God, please spare me the details.”

That Chad had known all along that Jared was gay, didn't mean the blond understood what that actually meant. Jared often doubted Chad's IQ and the small homophobic tendencies the man spilled only aggravated Jared further. As long as Jared kept his sexuality to himself and didn't 'bother' Chad with it, their friendship was okay-ish. But Jared had a rough few months behind him and he had had about enough of Chad's attitude. “Maybe you need them though so you’ll finally understand it. I suck cock. I fuck ass. Hell, sometimes I don’t even mind getting fucked.”

“Alright, alright. Calm down. Then go get some cock because your foul mood is beginning to affect me.”

He glared deathly daggers at Chad; the man simply didn’t get it. Jared knew why he never told his friend about Jensen. Not only because Chad never understood the whole gay thing but, even more so, would he have never understood how head over heels Jared was for a guy he only knew a few days.

Almost five months and Jared still didn’t understand why Jensen had brushed him off the way he did. Knowing that he probably wouldn’t get an answer anyway, Jared had tried to call Jensen, only to find out that the number had been disconnected. Even a couple of visits to the man’s apartment remained fruitless. Jared felt like a stalker when he last drove up to Jensen’s apartment building. Eventually, he gave up. It didn’t matter that Jared thought maybe there had been something between them or that they could’ve become more. There was only his heart to blame for falling way too fast for someone he didn’t know anything about. At least now he could be sure that Jensen wasn't, like Kevin, after his money. Too bad this little piece of truth didn’t help him in any way to get over Jensen.

Rubbing the bridge of his nose, Jared opted for peace and quiet. "Listen Chad, I don't wanna fight, alright? I'm gonna need all my energy to fight off Sandy tonight. God, I can already feel a terrible headache coming."

"Good. There should be a convenience store somewhere around here. You go get some Advil, I still need more smokes."

They dropped the subject of Jared's mood and he was beyond glad that Chad finally quit yapping. The store was exactly where Chad had directed him to and after locking the car he followed Chad inside.

Jared greeted the cashier at the end of the store with a nod and a closer look at the man who was standing at the counter in front of him had Jared’s heart skipping several beats.

"I'm sorry, Sir. We're getting a new delivery tomorrow. You should check in then. Around noon-ish."

"T-T-Thank you."

Jared swallowed thickly when he heard that voice. He had never heard it before. Of course he didn't, as far as he knew the man was mute. This couldn't be right, couldn't be true.

In a fast movement, Jared pulled Chad with him in the next aisle.

"Wha...What?" Startled, Chad tried to slap Jared off.

"Chad. That guy there, the customer. Is he... talking?"

Chad peeked his head around the shelves, his hand holding on to Jared’s shoulder for leverage. "Aw hell no. Fucking Ackles." Chad sighed in frustration and Jared stared at him, more than just confused. "It's Ackles. And no, I wouldn't exactly call it talking."

"Chad, you know him?" Jared’s gaze returned to Jensen’s back as he waited for Chad to answer.

"Of course I know him. Stuttering freak used to work with me. Since he quit, I'm left doing all his work."

Jared’s brain took a few seconds to start working properly before Chad’s words sunk in. "He... stutters?"

"What, do I stutter now? Yes, Ackles stutters. Idiot can barely spill two words without interruption. Wait. How do you know him?"

Ignoring the insults Chad spat about Jensen, he went on, "just wait here, will you? I gotta go talk to him before he leaves."

Chad wanted to protest but Jared pushed him back in the aisle by his shoulders, giving him a warning glare. His brain was swimming with every word Chad said about Jensen. If everyone who ever regarded Jensen half as badly as Chad was talking about the man, then Jared wasn't surprised that Jensen preferred to stay silent.

He wanted to be mad for being lied to, but something told him that, considering the way Chad spoke about Jensen, the man already had his plate full with enough people giving him shit.

Jared left his hideout in the aisle in favor of stepping right in front of Jensen just as the man was about to leave. "Jensen...."

Never had Jared thought that a look alone could break his heart more than it already was. But Jensen's eyes went wide in shock when he stared up at Jared, pure horror and something like fury aimed directly at Jared.

Jensen's mouth moved as if he wanted to say something but nothing came out as his gaze shifted to something behind Jared. Or rather, someone, and Jensen's breathing was cropped short, nostrils almost flaring in fear.

"Happy to see me, Ackles? Jesus, you look like shit." Chad growled from behind Jared with a nasty smirk on his face and before he could make a move, Jensen pushed Jared out of the way and bolted through the door, shoulder connecting painfully with the glass.

Jared ran after him. When he grabbed for Jensen's arm, the man yanked his arm free and turned. Before Jared knew what was happening, Jensen drew his right arm back and his fist shot straight through Jared's jaw.

He was so shocked by it that he blinked away the sting and visibly shook himself out of the dizziness the punch left him with.

Chad chose that moment to walk up to him, "Whoa. Crap, the fucker can actually fight back."

"What’s your damn problem, Chad?" Jared growled, his hand coming up to his burning cheek.

"Ackles is my problem."

"Why? What did he do to you?"

Chad shrugged, unfazed by Jared and for the first time in his life, Jared was ready to kill a man.

"Nothing, really. I just don’t like the guy. He's annoying as all hell. Came to the firm around three years ago and the boss pampered him like a damn baby just because he's too retarded to speak. That was until I made it clear that he isn't the center of the fucking universe."

Jared didn't know what to do first, throttle Chad until his face was one with the ground or run after Jensen to make sure the man was alright. Suddenly all of Chad's words clicked together like a big puzzle.

Jensen had no actual reason to be mad at him, Jared didn't really do anything wrong. Sure, he had been a little persistent and pushy because all he wanted was to be with Jensen. None of that would have been reason enough for Jensen to react the way he did.

"You said he worked with you, for Keller Inc., as in past tense. When did he quit?"

"What the hell does it matter? Why are you so worried about the guy?"

"Just answer my damn question."

"Few months ago. 's not like I miss the idiot, you now?"

Jared was sure he knew the answer already, but he wanted his friend to answer anyway. "Was it before or after I picked you up from work? You know, when your car was in the garage. A Friday, a little over four months ago." It was the only logical explanation. If Jensen saw him and Chad in front of the firm, then Jared knew exactly why he cancelled their second date.

"After. I almost ran him over on my way out. Accidentally on purpose, if you know what I mean. As far as I know, he called in sick the next week and never came back."

Jared couldn’t ignore the pang of his heart, feeling such repulsion towards someone he thought to be his friend was a new emotion for him. "You, Chad, are the most disgusting piece of shit I've ever met."

"Hey now. I'm right here."

And boy did Jared wish Chad wasn’t because controlling his anger seemed almost impossible. "I'm going after Jensen now. When I come back home later, you better not be anywhere near my place."

"You're kicking me out? Because of Ackles? What, did you guys fuck or something?"

"Yeah, I'm kicking your sorry ass out. Just so we're clear, if I ever see your face again: run."

"You gotta be kidding me. Jay-Man, come on..." Chad reached out for him but Jared slapped his hand away.

"Don't ever talk to me again. Get out of my home, get out of my life and I swear to God, if anything happens to Jensen, if he's got so much as a scratch, I will use every single fucking cent I own to have you disappear." Jared was only being half honest. He might have had the resources to get rid of Chad, but Jared wasn’t that kind of a person. He cared too much about others and their well-being but Chad’s actions took away a huge chunk of the faith Jared had in humanity.

The audible gulp wrecking Chad's throat was proof enough that the guy understood perfectly fine that Jared was indeed not kidding. Jared always knew that Chad could be a real asshole and a douche but bullying someone because of their disability? Jared felt like puking when he thought about how much time he had wasted on their friendship, that he was stupid enough to surround himself with people like Chad.

Without another word, Jared pulled his car keys out and got into the car. He drove off in the direction he had seen Jensen running in. Only then did Jared realize that he was in the area where Jensen lived but if Jared had seen correctly, then the man wasn't running towards his apartment.

Driving further down the street, Jared spotted a figure in the distance who matched Jensen's physique and the clothing he was wearing. The rapidly encroaching darkness made it hard for him to tell for sure but he sped up so as to get closer.

When Jared thought he had finally caught up with the man, he watched the figure slip through a gate surrounded by trees and bushes. Stopping the car as close as he could to the gate, Jared’s eyes landed on the railroad sign he watched Jensen rush past. There was no way he would let Jensen get away before having a chance to talk to the man. No, he was going to make sure Jensen spoke to him before he could step on any train. Jared needed answers; nothing was more important to him at the moment than finding out if Jensen ending things with Jared before they had a chance to figure themselves out was all Chad’s doing.

Jared was going crazy and his heart was beating so terribly fast in his chest that he was close of passing out, until he finally spotted the man. There was no mistake; it was Jensen, standing on the edge of the tracks. The few streetlights gave Jared a better view of the man and what he saw shattered him to the core. Jensen had his arms wrapped around his shuddering form, his face scrunched up in pain and glistening with tears. His body was shaking like a leaf and Jensen's knees trembled as if they were about to break if he dare tried to take another step.

Slowly but surely, Jared realized that Jensen wasn't trying to run away by hopping on the next departing train. There was no platform to allow passengers get on board, nothing but bare railroad tracks and dryed grass. Jared was rooted to the spot, his legs paralyzed in fear. Whatever Chad had done, whatever Jensen went through in the past, it had obviously been too much for him and driven him to this impasse.

In the far distance, Jared heard a train closing in and Jensen must have heard it too. He watched how Jensen desperately fought against his sobs to catch a breath.

"Jen..." Jared heard himself saying and Jensen startled at the sudden sound of his voice. Finally looking at Jared, he could read in Jensen's tear-filled eyes how much hurt the man had been through and Jared wondered how he never noticed all this pain before. But the few hours they actually did spend together were probably not long enough for Jared to figure the man out. Still, he should have known better, should’ve been able to read the signs. He’s seen hurt, agony and fear before. During his time volunteering for the shelter, Jared learned how to read people, and fast. Jared felt like a failure.

"Please, Jen. Can you please take a step back?"

Jensen looked at him as if Jared had grown a second head. Instead of doing as he was asked, Jensen took another step forward, toe-tips reaching over the edge.

"I... I don't... Jensen, listen to me," Jared held his hands out, just how he learned to from his grandfather when talking to a spooked horse on their ranch. "I'm not sure what exactly Chad did or said to you, but whatever it was, don't... don't do this."

Jared took a small step towards Jensen but there were at least twenty more steps necessary in order to close the distance between him and the man. Jared knew he had to be careful while being fast at the same time. He had no idea how much longer he had before the train would roll in and he wasn't ready to find out what Jensen would do if and when the train was close enough to serve as Jensen’s death wish.

"You saw me with him, didn't you? At work? The day before our second date?"

A painful cry was all the answer Jared received from Jensen and it still seemed as if Jensen was locked inside his own head, completely swimming in his own world and not taking notice of anything around him but the plan at hand.

Jensen’s reluctance to communicate didn’t mean Jared would just turn around and leave the man to his fate, or decision. He kept trying, "Jen, I know you probably don't believe me, but I had no idea. I didn't know you worked there, much less that Chad knew you. He never talks about work and I don't ask."

Jensen seemed to be surprised by Jared's words or by whatever was going on in the man’s head, so much so that he stumbled and only got his footing back by flailing his arms for balance. Jensen glared violently at him when Jared took several more steps in his direction.

"Alright, okay. I'm not moving. See? Not moving. Don't do this to me. God, Jen, I can't lose you. Not again. Please."

With every word Jared knew he was wasting precious time because he was hit with a cold rush of wind when he practically felt how close the train was coming. "If you do this, if you dare jump when that train comes in... it'll kill me too."

A snort broke free from Jensen's throat, leaving his lips with a shiver of disbelief. When the squealing noise of the train filled the air again, Jared watched in slow motion as Jensen closed his eyes at the sound.

Jensen was waiting, patiently, peacefully.

None of Jared's words broke the man out of his plan.

Jensen's cries stopped when the noise became even louder and Jared watched in sheer terror how a calm feeling of peace washed over the man.

Jensen was ready to die, to end his life because of people like Chad. Jared resolved himself to making Chad pay for whatever he’d done to destroy Jensen in such a way.

The lights of the oncoming train illuminated Jensen's profile enough for Jared to see the man moving his lips. From the distance between them, Jared couldn't read them. They didn't matter though, all that went through Jared's head was move.

Not even aware of his actions, Jared put one foot in front of the other, his movements hurried and desperate.

Only seconds after the train's tires squealed louder, closer, Jared closed the last few inches with an almost jump and yanked Jensen to the ground with him. He didn't care how and where he grabbed the man, all he was thinking was getting the man off the edge and away from the tracks.

"NO!" Jensen screamed at him, feet kicking and hands punching and pushing everywhere he could reach Jared.

Jared held on though. He was laying half on top of Jensen, his arms pulling Jensen closer against his body. "Jensen, stop it!"

Pushing himself up on his hands, Jared loomed over Jensen, pinning the man to the ground by his arms when he wouldn't stop squirming around. "Stop it already."

Without wasting another second, Jared waited for his breathing to even out before he closed the gap between them and crashed their lips together.

"Don't ever... do something so stupid again," Jared whispered against Jensen's mouth and dived in for another kiss, completely ignoring the man's protests. He needed to feel that Jensen was breathing, that he was alive and not hurt, physically.

But with rage comes great strength and Jensen managed to push Jared off of him. Jared landed flat on his ass while he watched Jensen draw his knees against his chest and wrap his arms around them protectively.

"Go aw-w-way!" Jensen yelled at him, voice raw and strained.

Jared could only stare at the man's lips, the way they were moving, how actual sounds came out from between them. A surprised and proud smile formed on Jared's own lips, however, Jensen read more negativity into it than there would have ever been because suddenly one of Jensen's hands covered his mouth and new tears began to stream from Jensen's eyes.

"It's okay," Jared shimmied closer to Jensen again, arm reaching out to Jensen's hand on his mouth. "Jen, it's okay."

It was probably exhaustion that made Jensen give up the fight and eventually he allowed Jared to remove the hand from his lips. Jared bent forward then and placed another soft kiss on the man's trembling lips.

Though it wasn't exactly cold, Jensen shivered in Jared's hold and he still fought against having Jared too close. Not wanting to push Jensen further and scare him away, Jared rubbed a comforting hand over Jensen's arm, "let me drive you home."

Jensen shook his head frantically at Jared's suggestion but Jared wouldn't have any of it. "Yes, Jen. You need to get home and I won't let you walk all the way back to your apartment."

Jared got up and held a hand out for Jensen but it remained ignored while Jensen scrambled up on his own, only to stand on wobbly feet. Jensen didn't move any further and kept pulling at his sweater until it was back in place.

"Well, either you walk to my car or I'll carry you. Your choice."

 

 

Jensen didn't miss the determination in Jared's voice and a short moment later, he forced his feet to cooperate. The last thing he needed was for Jared to get any closer to him or touch him.

If allowing Jared to drive him home was the only way to get the man to leave, then, Jensen thought, he might as well get in the car.

Looking at Jared hurt so damn much and Jensen had never in his life felt so ashamed. There was no doubt that if Jared hadn't thrown him onto the concrete, Jensen would've jumped. Seeing Chad and Jared together again was, simply put, too much for Jensen's depression-riddled brain.

Jensen didn't understand why Jared stopped him; it would've been so much easier if he hadn’t. Jensen would've finally been at peace and no longer tortured by the aggravations of an adoption plan.

A hard kick to his bladder almost forced him to his knees but Jared was right there, supporting Jensen's weight. "Whoa, hey. Easy. Come on."

With Jared's arm around his back, Jensen managed to get to the man's car without any further distractions.

He was grateful for the silence during the drive. Jensen had expected Jared to start talking a mile a minute again, but nothing. He could feel Jared's eyes on him, how he studied Jensen's every move and twitch. Protectively, in order to hide what’s underneath his sweater, Jensen folded his hands over his lap, hoping his arms were enough to protect his secret from Jared’s eyes.

They had barely reached the apartment building when Jared cleared his throat, "...did you hear me? What I said back there?"

Jensen shook his head. He hadn’t heard anything but the flow of blood rushing through his ears, the adrenaline shooting up within his system.

Jared killed the engine in front of the building and turned so he could look at Jensen. "I swear, I had no idea of what Chad did to you. I've known him for years and that he can be a real asshole but I never guessed him to be such a bastard. Jen, I... I'm nothing like Chad."

Jensen turned his face towards Jared then, mouth gaping like a beached fish. There were so many things he wanted to ask Jared but his mind was blank. The baby kicked him again and he knew that he had to get away from Jared; all the evening's events were too stressful for him and it wasn't a surprise how much the unborn child didn't like any of it.

Nodding at Jared, Jensen bit the inside of his cheeks to stop himself from crying again. He groaned in pain when he stepped out of the car but didn't bother to stop in favor of getting inside. His stomach began protesting but somehow he made it into the building without drawing any attention to him. He was only a little disappointed that Jared didn't follow him but he really, very much so, needed to be alone and puke his guts out. Jensen had no desire of having any witnesses to his weakness.

The door didn't click shut when Jensen threw it and when he turned to see what was wrong with it, Jared towered over him like the damn giant he was.

"So yeah, you're kinda wrong if you think I'mma leave you alone right now. You can ignore me if it makes you feel any better, but I'm not going anywhere. If you want me to leave, say it."

Jensen clenched his jaw when Jared pronounced the word say like that but Jensen didn't have time to argue; his stomach was already rolling and his throat fighting against the bile rising up.

It wasn't morning sickness anymore, Jensen knew as much. The rush of adrenaline and all the fear from the last hour were getting to him and with shaking legs, he stumbled to the bathroom and locked the door behind him before gripping his hands tightly around the toilet. He knew Jared could hear him retching and heaving, but the man was still in the dark about Jensen's condition and hopefully Jared would blame the whole Chad dilemma on Jensen being sick as well.

It was almost funny how Jensen wasn’t even bothered by the stale taste in his mouth anymore. He by no means liked it, but even though his stomach was tense with the effort of puking, he was willed with the persistent craving for those stupid fucking green beans. Even at his worst, the kid wouldn’t stop begging him to get up and do as it wants.

He rinsed his mouth for longer than really necessary so as to buy himself more time before he had to go back into the living room. Jensen took a couple deep breaths and steeled his nerves, or what had been left of them anyway, and stepped back out of the bathroom.

Jensen found Jared standing at the kitchen window, the man’s shoulders tense; his gaze focused on whatever there was worth looking at outside, besides the dark. Jensen shifted from one foot to the other, teeth biting worriedly at his bottom lip. Jared said it was okay, and maybe he always spoke the truth, that he didn’t mind Jensen being mute; nevertheless, Jensen was still so very frightened to say anything. The few words he had spoken at the railroads felt like more than enough for one day. Jared now knew, though, that Jensen wasn’t mute, and Jensen didn’t even want to think of how mad the man must have been with him.

“How far along are you, Jensen?”

Jensen’s head snapped up at the question. He had so many different thoughts swirling around in his head and none of them were close to Jared finding that out. Jensen contemplated telling Jared, of opening up for once in his fucked up life but he wasn’t anywhere near ready to face any kind of shit storm that would follow such a revelation.

Gulping down a lungful of air, Jensen focused on getting his vocal chords to act in his favor before he spoke up, “you sh-should go.”

When Jared turned to face Jensen, he expected the man’s face to be filled with anger, but what Jensen saw broke his heart into a million pieces. Jared’s eyes were shining with tears and they were staring straight at Jensen’s stomach. With a soft thud, Jared dropped a handful of pamphlets on the kitchen counter separating the two men. Adoption pamphlets. Jensen had stupidly pinned them to the fridge. Then again, he didn’t expect to ever see Jared again, much less have the man in his apartment so that he could find these damn colorful papers that made adoption look like rainbows and happiness. Jensen supposed it was an unforeseeable result to a seemingly harmless action.

“I asked you a question.” Jared’s voice was pressing and Jensen nervously grabbed the pamphlets to get them out of sight. If he couldn’t see them, he didn’t need to think about it, right? Jared placed his hands on top of Jensen’s, with the purpose of stopping his hectic movements.

“Not your b-b-business.” Jensen closed his eyes when he delivered the statement with as much confidence as he could possibly gather, his nerves shaking him to the core.

At first, Jensen thought that Jared had finally given up his interrogation as the man walked around the counter and past Jensen; but, once again, Jensen underestimated Jared’s persistence. Jared took a couple steps backwards until he stood in front of Jensen, eyes flickering between Jensen’s hidden swell underneath the sweater and the pamphlets behind them.

“Are you sure it’s none of my business?” Jared stepped closer still until he was caging Jensen between him and the counter, his long arms holding on to the surface and giving Jensen no room for an escape. Jensen lied in answer with a short nod.

“Lift the sweater up, Jensen.” Jared’s tone was threatening and Jensen knew he should’ve been scared of the power the man held over him; he was anything but, though. Jensen hesitated for a long second until Jared’s brows rose and the man cocked his head in the direction of Jensen’s stomach.

Jensen’s hands were quaking with the effort of pulling the sweater over his rounded middle to reveal the shirt-clad evidence of his pregnancy.

Jared gasped in what Jensen guessed was a mix of shock and surprise as his eyes landed on the size of Jensen’s stomach. “I’m no expert but… but that looks like you’re at least… uh, eighteen weeks pregnant. That’s exactly how much time has passed since we’ve last seen each other. Am I right?”

“N-Not gonna k-keep it.”

“Well, I’m not exactly sure how it happened, maybe the condom broke or it was an old one, I don’t know and I don’t care. But either way, no child of mine is ever going to end up in the system. And that kid is mine; isn’t it Jensen?”

Jensen’s resolve broke more and more with each passing second. Deep down, he knew it was absolutely wrong to keep a father from his child and every kid deserved to know who its parents were but Jensen had nothing to offer a child. As fucked up as he was, how was he supposed to raise a child? Jensen was too screwed up, too socially crippled to be a good fit in a father-role. Not to mention that he had no idea how to feed himself for much longer, much less feed a child.

Jared’s slow and -hopefully- sincere smile directed at Jensen’s middle forced a nod from Jensen. Once the truth was out, Jensen didn’t feel relieved at all; he was scared, even more so than before. “S-Sorry. I… I didn’t w-w-want this to happ-pp-en.”

The silence Jared treated him with left Jensen trembling. There was anger in Jared's eyes and Jensen couldn't bear looking at the man. He felt like he was eight years old again, when his father had first raised his hand at Jensen and slapped him in the face for tearing his pants after falling off his bike. The rage in his father’s eyes was worse than anything he’d ever seen back then and the first hit was only the beginning of many more years of abuse to come. Jared’s eyes weren’t as threatening, but the fear of what the man’s expression could mean, what it could lead to, had Jensen’s heart racing.

He didn't mean to start crying again, but once the thoughts had entered his head, there was no stopping his tears.

"Hey... shhh." Jared inched forward, his arms that were just trapping Jensen were now stroking in a soothing manner over Jensen's arms. "Neither did I, okay? But it happened anyway and I'm not mad about it."

Jared's comforting voice only made it worse for Jensen to control his emotions. He didn't expect Jared to be so calm about the pregnancy but it didn't change the fact that Jensen wasn't ready for a baby. Jensen was frightened over how much his life had changed in less than half a year.

One of Jared's hands found its way to Jensen's, taking the shaking hand in his own and thumbing over the knuckles. "Can you feel it already? The baby, I mean; is it kicking yet?"

Jensen lifted his head to meet Jared's eyes and the anger Jensen had seen there only a minute ago was now replaced with a nervous smile.

Nodding in answer to Jared's question, Jensen lowered his head again. He didn't like being reminded of how badly the kid inside of him kicked and punched him; all day every day. Even more so, Jensen disliked it, would've rather it didn’t happen. Sometimes, the kicks were so hard that he was short of caressing his hands over the swell of his stomach to sooth it but he always stopped himself from touching his own middle. Feeling the kid from within him was bad enough but meeting each punch from the outside was, so he thought, a sure way of getting attached to the unborn. He couldn't get attached to it. Not when he'd never even get to see the baby after it was born. Jensen had already decided on forgoing his opportunity to see the baby. Now though, he had a whole new problem to deal with. Jared seemed excited, something Jensen couldn't understand, and Jensen could feel the twitch in Jared's hand, how the man tried to move his hands towards his belly.

"Would you let me touch you? I’d like to see if I can feel it too."

Jensen really didn't want that. He remembered how great Jared's hands felt on him, how well and truly Jensen enjoyed the man's skin against his own. But that was in the past; Jensen still didn't trust Jared. Jensen was too afraid that Jared would try and talk him out of the adoption once the man got any relationship with the kid. Listening to his head, rather than his heart, Jensen took a deep breath and focused on delivering a one-word answer. "No."

 

 

Jared felt as if he’d been slapped in the face. There was a baby growing inside of Jensen, his baby. Not nearly enough time had passed to wrap his head around the news but there was something like pure and utter delight and happiness bubbling in him at the fact that he was going to be a father. Despite that fact, his heart was being crushed by Jensen’s obvious rejection of their unborn son or daughter. It didn't make it any easier on him when Jensen refused to let Jared feel the swell that he could only consider as something beautiful.

"Okay. Too soon, I get it."

He hoped it was only a matter of time, but with the way Jensen turned his head away from him, he was almost sure that time wasn't the only issue.

"It might be a good idea if you lay down for a bit. You must be exhausted. I’ll… I’ll just wait here, alright? I kicked Chad out of my place, but if I go there now, and he’s still there? I think I’d do something really stupid."

Without another word or any physical answer, Jensen stepped away from him towards, what Jared guessed, the bedroom.

"Hey, Jensen?" Jared turned to stare at the man's back, noticing how tense Jensen's shoulders were at the call of his name. "What were you trying to buy at the store? I heard the cashier saying they didn't have it."

Jensen's shoulders fell and the pregnant man's head hung low as if in defeat. "B-Beans."

Jared scrambled his brain to catch the answer and what it meant. "Beans? As in kidney or green?"

"Green. H-Hate them."

For the first time in months, Jared carried a honest smile on his face. "So, I suppose it's not you who wants them, mhh?" Even if Jared didn’t know much about pregnancies, he did know that only a pregnant person would willingly eat something they usually hate. Cravings were a bitch. Jared learned that the hard way when his sister came to visit him and almost throttled him because he didn't have pumpkin pie at the condo.

With a nod in answer to Jared's question, Jensen disappeared inside the bedroom. Jared stood in the middle of the living room, thoughts whirling everywhere and nowhere and he never felt so weak in his life. Jensen didn't want him there, could barely even look at him, and when he did, all he could see in those mesmerizing green eyes was hurt. Chad had done one big ass number on Jensen and Jared couldn’t bear to think who else Jensen had to deal with. Jared was sure that it would take a very long time to earn Jensen's trust and make him believe that Jared wasn't anything like Chad. He supposed he'd have to die trying because while he could buy many things with his money, trust wasn't one of those things.

Baby steps, Jared thought. There was a pun in there somewhere and it made him smile once again. A baby. Jesus Christ, Jensen was going to have his child. Thinking of the man, throughout all these months, never being able to forget the few hours they spent together, the last thing Jared had ever thought possible was that he'd actually see Jensen again. Much less carrying a new life. Jared wanted to burst with pride but when his eyes landed on the many adoption pamphlets again, his feelings were shadowed with darkness and disappointment. He meant what he said; there was no way he'd allow Jensen to give their baby away. First, he had to figure out how to convince Jensen that Jared would do anything in his power to provide Jensen and the baby with anything they could possibly need. Most important and number one on that list: love. Everything else was only a matter of Jared's bank account.

However, at the moment, he had to reconsider his list of priorities. Not that he didn't want to shower Jensen with love, but the man was too saddened and confused to accept any form of affection. Beans it was then. Green beans.

Chapter Text

It wasn't even 10 pm yet, so Jared knew that his friend, Jeffrey, was probably still busy at the restaurant. Jared didn't give up and let the phone ring until, eventually, an out of breath Jeff answered his call.

"Jared, what can I get you tonight?"

Jared smiled, despite the fact that the man on the other end of the line couldn't see him. It wouldn't have been the first time that Jared ordered food for a late dinner or a party.

"Hey Jeff. I need you to do me a huge favor."

There was no heat behind the scoff Jeff let out and Jared knew right away that he could order whatever and Jeff would make it possible.

"Sure thing. What is it?"

"I'm running low on green beans and when I say I'm running low, I mean I don't have any and I kinda need as many as you can deliver. All shapes and tastes; salad, cooked, baked anything you can get your hands on."

Jared wasn't surprised by the silence. It was a strange request after all, but if Jensen wanted green beans, or their unborn child rather, then he'd get them their beans.

"Uh... okay. How many people we talking about?"

A snicker left Jared's lips before answering his friend's question. "One and a half. Can you also get me some plain; no seasoning or hot spices at all?" Jared had to make sure Jensen would have a wide variety of the green vegetable to choose from because not knowing much, or nothing at all about Jensen, meant that he also had no clue what kind of food the man actually preferred. Except green beans, at the moment.

"Anything for you. I expect a nice tip. Delivery to your place, as usual?"

Jared cropped his answer short and gave Jeff Jensen's address.

It didn't take long for one of Jeff's employees to show up and the man carried in box after box containing enough food to feed an army. Jared was sure he’d told Jeff it was a party for one and a half. Sometimes Jared threw huge parties though, either for his parent's anniversary or his sister's birthday so Jared wondered if Jeff might have mistaken the one for one hundred. In the end, it didn't matter. He wrote a check for Jeff and tipped the employee well enough to have the guy's eyes go wide.

Just as Jared went to close the door, it was pushed back and hit him in the forehead. "Fuck," he cursed and rubbed the reddening skin.

"What the... Padalecki? What are you doing here?"

Gulping at the use of his last name, Jared felt Chris’ eyes scrutinizing him. "So... you do know who I am, huh?"

"Well. Duh. Doesn't everyone?" Chris scrunched his face up in disbelief and shook his head with a mocking snort.

"Jensen doesn't. Unless you told him."

"Nope. Had the feeling you liked your privacy and mingling with the locals instead of being bothered all night. And after my last show in town, he never spoke of you again."

Jared lowered his head as if in defeat. Knowing that Jensen never mentioned him again hurt more than he could have imagined. Then again, not everyone was as stupid as Jared and fell so fast and hard for someone.

Chris kept this confused look on his face before he spoke up again, "anyway. How come you're here?"

"Uh... Jensen's asleep."

Chris blinked a little stupidly at him, "...okay. Naturally, that explains why you're here. Creepy much?"

"What? No. He was kinda... uh, exhausted and I told him to lay down for a bit."

Chris pushed further into the apartment and shoved one of his many suitcases in Jared's arms. He was somewhat lost and didn't really know what to do, wondering if he should just leave, so he held on to the suitcase instead.

"What's with all that food? You guys having a party?" Chris kicked his other suitcase aside and dropped his duffel bag to the floor before walking to the kitchen and eyeing all the boxes of food.

"Not really. Jensen wanted green beans and I don't know how he likes 'em best, so I got him sorta everything."

Eyebrow raising up so high it practically merged with his hairline, Chris looked at Jared as if he was crazy. "Jensen doesn't eat those. Matter-of-fact, he hates them."

"Yeah, I got that. But apparently the baby doesn't care about his taste buds."

"Right," Chris began in reply before his whole body stiffened and his eyes shot up to meet Jared's. "Wait. What now? Whose baby?"

Jared was suddenly rattled with nerves as he realized, too late, that he had just said something Chris apparently didn't know anything about. He gulped the lump in his throat down and when he tried to answer, no words came out.

"Mind telling me what's going on?"

"I'm sorry. I... I had no idea. I didn't know that you... shit." Jared brushed his hand through his hair, feet shifting nervously over the carpet; he might have fucked up.

"Are you trying to tell me that Jen is pregnant?"

Jared scratched the back of his neck in an attempt to calm his nerves, but of course it didn't work. He felt like a complete asshole because it wasn't any of his business to tell Jensen's friend about the pregnancy. Not that he could've known that Chris was just as much in the dark as he himself had been.

"So it seems."

"Okay. Let me get this straight. My best friend, who I've known for my whole life, is pregnant and didn't tell me. I'm assuming it's yours since you're here. What? You knocked him up and now you're… you’re… I don't really get it. He would have told me!" Chris' voice echoed through the whole room; he was loud and demanding, obviously pissed at Jared.

"I didn't know either, not until tonight. Listen, I like Jensen, a whole lot and we met only once after the night at the bar. I wanted to take him out on a second date but he stood me up, well, I guess he had his reasons and I don't blame him but that's not my story to tell. I've already told you more than I'm probably suppose to."

Jared's knees were about to give in; he didn't know how to feel about it all. His whole life had changed in a matter of hours. Legs shaking, he stumbled further into the living room and slumped down on the couch, face falling in his hands. "He doesn't want it."

He heard Chris shuffling next to him and then the couch dipped a little, Chris taking a seat next to him. "Come again?"

Tears began burning behind Jared’s lids and it was all just too fucking much. It was painful to learn that your unborn child wasn't wanted. "Chris, we don't know each other, but you gotta help me out here. I can understand why Jensen believes it's his right to be mad at me, there was a huge misunderstanding but I just... This is my baby, too and he doesn't trust me; he doesn't believe a word I'm saying. But that baby? I can't let him give it away."

With a thud, Chris fell back against the couch, a heavy sigh on his lips. "What the fuck happened here, man? I wasn't even gone that long."

"Talk to him. Please?" Jared wasn't sure if Chris was even still listening to him, but if the two men really were that close of friends, then Chris was probably the only person able to reach Jensen and get through to him.

"You bet your ass I will." Chris brushed his hand over his face and took a deep breath before getting up again. "Jared, if you've hurt him, I will end you. Are we clear?"

Jared looked up at Chris and the man's face was painted in protection and fury. Not being able to speak, due to the sob threatening to break free, Jared only nodded at the musician.

Without another word, Chris left Jared to himself and walked towards the room Jensen had gone into before. All Jared could hope for was that Jensen would explain the whole mess to Chris, that with his best friend, he wouldn't feel too vulnerable when speaking.

Jared busied himself with staring straight ahead. His mind running a mile a minute, he cursed under his breath at the heavy thoughts clouding his brain. Everything seemed so complicated despite being on the edge of having a simple explanation. Things could have been easier if assumptions hadn’t been made and wrong conclusions hadn’t been drawn. If, and only if, Jensen would actually had let Jared explain. After everything Jared had learned that day, he felt so far out of his comfort zone that he feared to go insane.

If Jensen was going through with his plan of giving their baby away, then Jared didn't know how he could possibly cope. He’d never thought of becoming a father. The whole disaster with Kevin served as a constant reminder of the dangers of getting tied too tightly to another person. They never talked about things that could have happened far in the future and Jared was okay with it. Children meant a lot, maybe too much, responsibility. Kevin had only dated him and lured him into an almost marriage because of Jared's money. It was an almost perfect scam and Jared was so head over heels in love with the man that he didn't want to believe anything could've been wrong in their relationship.

With Jensen though, everything was much different. If Jensen had known who Jared was and were anything like Kevin, then he wouldn't even think about wanting to give their baby away. Having Jared's child meant he’d receive enormous amounts of child support. Apparently though, Jensen was completely different from any person Jared had ever met.

Scrolling through his phone, out of sheer need to pass the time, Jared's fingers stopped at the entry of his lawyer. If Jared wasn't able to change Jensen's mind within the next few months, preferably before the baby was born, then he knew he would have to take legal actions. Should Jensen really stick to his plan of adoption, then Jared knew he had to make sure that he was going to be the one adopting his own child. Nobody but Jared himself was going to parent his baby.

What a mess.

Whereas Jared understood that Jensen was mad at him, even though it wasn't reasonable, he couldn't figure out why the man was so desperate and didn’t want their child. With each passing minute that he waited for Chris, Jared realized more and more how much he really wanted this baby. He caught himself smiling when he pictured what the little one would look like. If it would have Jensen's freckles and beautiful green doe eyes. Maybe it would have a tad of ginger in his or her hair or if it was going to be doomed because it would get Jared's nose.

After checking his watch for the hundredth time, Jared saw that more than an hour had passed and it was close to midnight already. Suddenly, the bedroom door opened and Jared's face fell when it wasn't Jensen who walked through the door. That would have been too good to be true.

"He wants you to leave." Chris clenched his jaw tight and Jared didn't miss the disappointment in the man's voice.

Jared got up from the couch, shaking his head like a stubborn child. "No. I'm not leaving."

"Jared, seriously. He wants you gone."

"Did he tell you? Everything I mean."

Chris squeezed the bridge of his nose, obviously annoyed, "if you're talking about your friend Chad, then yes; he told me."

"Did he also tell you how I sent Chad packing? That I want nothing to do with the guy anymore, not after what he did to Jensen?"

"I don't think you understand, Jared. This is my best friend we're talking about here. Jensen has been through hell his whole life. He doesn't trust people, like ever."

"Then please, explain to me, how am I supposed to prove him wrong? I don't want to hurt him. Jesus Christ, man, he's having my baby and I'm supposed to walk away from them? Sorry, not going to happen. I want this baby." Jared didn't know if he should be angry or hurt, but the ache in his heart grew with every passing second. He wasn't going to walk out on Jensen or leave him hanging. He wanted them to be in this together, more than he could've ever imagined. None of that could happen without getting Jensen on the same page as him. Before he even registered that he’d opened his mouth again, the words were already out, "...and Jensen."

"What now?"

Jared understood that there was no getting past Jensen's personal guard without giving him some sort of evidence that he was serious about Jensen and their unborn child, a child whose future was still in the balance.

"I haven't seen Jensen in well over four months, but this here..." Jared took his phone from his jean’s pocket and clicked a few buttons before handing it over to Chris to read. "This hasn't changed. In all this time, I kept wondering if this message was what set him off and made him dump me before we even had a chance to get to know each other."

While Chris looked dumbstruck at the screen of Jared's phone, Jared kept on talking. "I had no idea, whatsoever, what Chad did. Hell, I didn't even know they worked together, much less knew each other."

"You're serious, aren't you? About this," Chris held the phone up for Jared and pointed to the words on the small display.

Hey Jen. Just thought about you, again, and I hope that you're okay. Haven't heard from you in a while and I'm a little worried. I kinda miss your messages. You. Not sure how it happened or when, but I can't get you out of my head. God, this is stupid over the phone. I'd rather want to tell you in person, but I don't know when I'll see you again. So, the thing is, I think I'm falling for you. Like hard and I don't even know how you feel about me. Sorry, just had to tell you; had to get it off my chest. -Jared :-*

"Very much so." Jared answered without missing a beat. For months, it hadn’t been possible to forget Jensen and with the man being pregnant, Jared’s feelings for Jensen came rushing to the surface, tenfold.

In favor of walking into the kitchen to inspect the food, Chris ignored him for the time being. Jared was so damn lost. Was he supposed to actually leave now or wait until Chris had to get physical to get him out of the apartment? He had no damn clue but there was still nowhere else for him to go.

He watched how Chris took a couple of bowls from the cabinet above the sink. Rummaging through the drawers, he pulled out a fork and then went to load the bowls with two different kinds of green beans from the boxes.

Christ stepped around the counter, eyes still wary when he looked up at Jared and held out the bowls for him. Jared could only blink in confusion and hoped that this meant what it looked like.

"I told him about the War of Vegetables out here and he asked me to bring him some because apparently that kid doesn't let him rest until it's getting its green beans. Your kid, your responsibilities."

"Really?" Jared could feel the blush on his face, the stretch of his lips into a broad smile.

"Yeah. Really. Go in there and give him his food. If he asks you to leave, you'll walk out of here. Got it?"

"But..."

"No. No buts. Jared, he doesn't trust you one bit and you won't ever earn that trust by being a stubborn son of a bitch who doesn’t respect his wishes."

Thrusting the bowls into Jared's hands, Chris cocked his head in the direction of the bedroom and Jared didn't feel like arguing anymore. If those were the rules to earn Jensen's trust, then he was going to play by them.

Jared took both bowls in one hand to turn the door knob and the first thing he saw was Jensen's tear-streaked face, back propped up against the headboard and a huge pillow hugged to his chest. Jensen's eyes screamed hurt and anger and Jared knew, right then and there, that he would do anything in his power to take this painful look away from the man.

"Don't be mad, okay? Chris told me I'm supposed to get lost, but I was serious when I said I'm not leaving you alone. You and the baby."

Jared wasn't sure if it was his presence or the mention of their unborn child that made Jensen turn his face away from him. In the end, it didn't matter, because he had his own plan, and that was to win Jensen’s trust or, at least, fight for a future for their child in which they both played supporting roles.

"First of all, you don't have to hide, alright? Jensen, you can talk to me. I told you once I didn't have a problem with it when I thought you were mute. Do you think that being able to hear you will make me disappointed? Have you forgotten what I told you about my dad? I never lied to you."

Talking about his deaf father was usually not a problem and accompanied with a heartfelt smile, this time, however, it reminded Jared of their first date and how their lives will never be the same again since they’ve slept with each other. Jensen must have been hit with the same memory because his eyes found Jared's when he snapped his head back to him.

"Here," Jared spoke again, barely above a whisper and held one of the bowls out for Jensen to take it. "Eat something. If you wanna keep fighting with me, you'll need your strength."

Maybe it was the promise of more fighting, but eventually Jensen took the offered food, using the pillow he had clutched to his body as a makeshift table. Jared took the opportunity of a busy Jensen to sit down on the edge of the bed, on the far bottom. Getting too close to Jensen would have probably spooked the man even further.

While Jensen silently dug into his food, Jared watched the man, stored every freckle and line on Jensen's face to his memory. Not that he was ever able to forget the beautiful face anyway, but Jared had realized months ago that he could never have enough of the man. What he didn't miss was the exhaustion Jensen carried and not just from everything that happened that night.

"When was the last time you had a proper night's sleep, Jensen?"

Jensen shrugged his shoulders and ditched the subject or the chance of further investigation in favor of a forkful of beans.

"You really need to take better care of yourself. I can kinda guess your opinion on the matter, but I want our baby to be healthy and strong."

Jared witnessed the change on Jensen's face, lips letting go of the fork once again and from the nervous flicker of Jensen's eyes, Jared knew that the pregnant man was trying to speak; his lips trembling and eyes focused on the food in his hands. He waited, patiently, for Jensen to speak. Excitement to hear the other man's voice again bubbled up within Jared and he kept his own face expressionless, too afraid of Jensen reading it incorrectly.

"It's..." Jensen began and gulped down a lungful of air before he continued, "a-always hungry."

Jared mentally squealed in delight over those few words. It was so obvious how much effort it took Jensen to deliver them, how much concentration he put into speaking and Jared felt a sudden rush of pride over the fact that Jensen barely tripped over his words. Not wanting to verbally acknowledge his thoughts, he smiled instead, wide and happy.

"You've got permission to blame that one on me. I'm never not hungry and I could practically eat all day. I guess he got that from me. Or she. Do you..." Jared knew he had to treat the subject with immense care but the sudden change in his life had him excited, scared and happy all at the same time. "...do you know what it is yet?"

Jensen only shook his head in a strained no, surprise written all over his face.

"Maybe the doctor will tell us at the next check up?" Jared deliberately threw in the information that he was going to be there as well. He didn't really care if Jensen wouldn't want him at his side, but he made a promise to himself, that he wouldn't leave Jensen to deal with any remaining time of the pregnancy on his own. Jensen would just have to accept that.

Ignoring Jared's question for a long moment, Jensen placed his food on the nightstand and shimmied closer to it and opened the drawer, revealing the chalkboard Jared had given him all this time ago. A smile of epic proportions broke out over Jared's lips.

When Jensen took the chalk in his hand to start writing, Jared moved closer to the man, placing his hand on top of Jensen's to still his movements. The small touch alone was enough to have Jared's stomach do a funny flip flop and when Jensen didn't pull his own hand away, Jared softly brushed his thumb over Jensen's knuckles. "It's okay if you want to use the board, but I want you to know that... I... well, I love hearing your voice."

Jensen glared at him as if Jared was completely nuts and he was once again reminded of how difficult Jensen's life must have been, how many people mocked him, laughed at him for being different.

"I'm being serious, Jensen. When we first met, when you made me believe you were mute, I was... well, it didn't bother me per se. What shattered me was the thought of never being able to hear you at all, to hear you say so much as my name. If using the board is more convenient for you, I can accept that, but please understand that I won't give up hope, that someday you'll be comfortable enough around me to have a simple chat."

Jensen kept staring at him and Jared was so short of declaring his undying love for the man that he had to steer his brain away from imagining a future where Jensen and he would live happily ever after. He was so far away from that, it hurt like hell. Carefully, he pulled his hand away from Jensen's and waited for him to start writing.

Not having another check up. Jensen wrote down and showed the board to Jared. He didn't understand how Jensen could possibly not have another appointment with the doctor. When his sister was pregnant, she went to check ups at least once a month.

"But... why? I mean, doesn't your ObGyn want to monitor you... and the baby?"

Jensen nodded but once again turned away from Jared's gaze and it pained Jared to see the immense embarrassment on the man's face. The flush on Jensen's cheeks wasn't as cute as Jared remembered it because now it was layered with so much worry.

"What's the matter, Jensen?"

"N-Nothing."

It wasn't nothing, but Jensen was obviously tired of Jared grilling him with questions so he had no other choice but to drop it for now and wait until Jensen was ready to elaborate.

"You're aware I don't buy your ‘nothing’, right? But I get it. It's been just a little too much today." Jared gave his best effort to sound as comforting and understanding as possible and he appreciated the small nod in answer that came from Jensen. When the man, who carried his unborn child, teared up once again, Jared wanted nothing more than to wrap him up in his arms, soothe the hurt and force him to believe how serious Jared was.

As it was though, Jensen turned further away from him and shoved the pillow off of his chest and tucked it under his head. Jared caught a glimpse of Jensen's small swell when the man's shirt rode up and he had to restrain himself from reaching out and placing his hand over their child. He wanted to feel the little human being so badly his chest ached. Jensen wouldn't welcome the contact, that much he had made clear earlier and Jared could only pray that sometime soon he would be given the privilege to be an active participant in the pregnancy.

With Jensen ignoring him, Jared took care of the two bowls, picked them up and walked towards the door.

"T-Thank you." Jensen's nervous voice filtered through the air and shot right to Jared's heart. There was no way of telling what Jensen was thankful for, but Jared answered anyway, "you're welcome."

Chris was nowhere to be seen when Jared walked back out and through the living room. There was a note pinned to the fridge with Jared's name on it. He took it off and read.

Couch is yours for the night. My threat still stands: hurt him and there'll be hell to pay. He's really scared. Don't disappoint him.

It wasn't news to Jared that Jensen was scared; it was visible through every twitch of his body and every nervous flicker of his eyes. With a frown, Jared eyed the couch and he knew that there was no way he could sleep on it, not after what Jensen and he had done there. Though his physical longing for Jensen wasn’t as deep as the emotional longing he felt, Jared couldn’t handle being reminded of a time when he was able to be close to Jensen on all possible levels. He needed that now and waiting was one of the hardest things he’d done in a while.

Jared averted his eyes away from the couch, tucked Chris' note in the back of his jeans pocket and went back to Jensen's room. This time he did knock, carefully. He didn't expect an answer and simply stepped inside. Just like before, Jared sat down on the edge of the bed, closer to Jensen's torso this time. He wasn't sure if Jensen was already sleeping or just feigning it, nevertheless, Jared put his hand on Jensen's shoulder, squeezing it just so.

"I know I'm a pain in the ass and you're annoyed with me, but I really... really don't want to leave. I'll just get comfortable on the floor here and make sure you get your well-deserved rest. In a total non-creepy way, alright?"

Jensen remained silent, but Jared took it as permission nonetheless. When Jensen’s breathing evened out, Jared scooted down to the floor, back propped against the bed and he listened to the sound of Jensen sleeping for a while longer. He wasn’t going anywhere that night. He was right where he belonged.

Chapter Text

Just like so many nights before, Jensen was pulled into consciousness by his stomach, cramping and rolling. He really didn't want another accident like he had a couple of weeks ago when his legs wouldn't carry him to the bathroom fast enough. So he started awake fully and when he tried to get up, he almost kneed Jared in the back of the head.

The man was still there, still playing Jensen's guardian like he had any right to. If Jensen felt like being honest with himself, he'd have loved to admit how much Jared's actions really meant to him. Mumbling half a sorry, Jensen brushed past the sleeping man and stormed into the bathroom. His seemingly current best friend, the toilet, was gripped tight by his shaking hands.

He barely ever had attacks like this one anymore, the morning sickness was mostly gone but with everything that happened, it wasn't a surprise to Jensen how much his stomach acted up.

To Jensen, it felt like he was puking for hours, his body trembling, shaking and his blood running hot and cold at the same time. It was as if Death crawled its way through his insides. All of a sudden, something wet and cold was placed on the back of his neck. Jensen jerked away but a strong hand held him in place.

"Shhh, it's just me." Jared's low drawl invaded his ears and Jensen wanted nothing more than to tell the man to get away from him but at the same time he‘d been alone in his misery for so long that it was a relief to have someone with him. Someone taking care of him.

Jensen heaved again and Jared didn't move an inch; one of his hands held firmly to the washcloth on Jensen's neck, the other hand rubbing in a nervous pattern over his arm.

"Please tell me it hasn't been like this for the last months." Jared sounded almost desperate, devastated and all Jensen could do was nod. He could barely breathe, much less focus enough on answering.

"God, Jen. I'm so sorry."

Jensen didn't have it in him to react to the man anymore, his body growing weaker with each passing minute and, before he knew what was happening, he felt his knees shift on the tiles, his eyes grew heavy. It was only with thanks to Jared that he didn't end up face first in the toilet.

"Alright, enough. Jen, come on. You gotta lay down again. Please let me help you. Just this once."

Jensen knew that Jared was right; he really had to get back to bed before he passed out on the bathroom floor but the taste in his mouth took over and he pointed to the mouth wash on the sink, waiting for Jared to catch on and hand it to him so he could rinse his mouth.

Task completed, Jensen tried to get up on his own; his legs gave in and Jared was there, holding him upright before practically carrying him back to bed.

"Scoot over, grumpy. You can kick my ass and throw me out in the morning." Jared smiled down at him and Jensen was short of melting on the spot. Throwing up had drained him of all his energy and he wasn't strong enough to fight the man again so he did as was requested.

Jared pushed a second pillow under Jensen's head and covered them both with the comforter before he snuggled his large body against Jensen's. Instinct made Jensen want to protest, but for the first time in months, he felt safe again. Save and protected.

Come morning, Jensen had a lot of thinking to do: about Jared and how much of the man's words and actions he could believe to be true and the real Jared.

Jensen was already asleep when Jared nestled his head close to the man's small bump, cheek as close as possible in a supposed attempt to catch any movement from inside. It was either that their baby was sleeping and unaffected by Jensen's distress or simply too soon for Jared to feel anything yet. Only hours after learning he would become a father, Jared already couldn't wait for the beautiful bump to grow bigger, heavier and give him the opportunity to lay his hand on the taut skin, coaxing the unborn back to sleep if it was kicking up a storm in its belly home.

Sleep didn't come easy that night for Jared. Eventually, the relaxed and even breathing from the other man helped his own heartbeat to finally slow down enough to let him sleep. His last thought was that he hoped he would wake up before Jensen. And okay, maybe now he was really turning into a creep, but he couldn't wait to watch Jensen sleep, watch the man's handsome face without having to worry about Jensen judging him or turning away to tune him out.

Jensen was beyond relieved when Jared had finally left. It was thanks to Chris that the man did so. Jared had been clingy, without being clingy at all. The thought of Jared’s immunity to Chris' threats of getting the man out of their apartment left Jensen‘s head spinning. He was sure Jared would have stayed but, apparently, Jared had to work. When he offered to call his boss and get the day off, Jensen threw Chris a pleading look which his best friend understood right away and worked to send Jared on his way.

The second Jared left, Jensen could finally breathe again. Though Jared wasn't even annoying, not really, he made Jensen think. For months, Jensen had made up his mind and built himself an opinion of Jared. Yet, the guy did everything to prove Jensen's theories wrong and to be utter bullshit. He didn't know if he could believe the man, if Jared was serious. Chris had always been a better judge of character, except when he was being Jensen's wingman. It left him unsure of what to think over the fact that Chris wouldn't shut up, wouldn't quit telling Jensen that he should listen to Jared and at least try to believe him. Jensen was more confused than ever. He wanted to believe Jared, he really did. But he simply couldn’t; his brain wouldn’t let him.

Two days passed without a word from Jared and Jensen thought that, finally, he had figured the guy out, that Jared wasn't seriously interested in him, much less the kid growing inside of him. It only spurred Jensen in sticking to his original plan: he wouldn't keep the baby. It could kick and punch him all it wanted, but his mind was fogged with enough childhood drama and nightmares to last anyone a lifetime and without steady paychecks, he simply couldn't handle raising a child.

Which was just another subject Chris tried to argue about all damn day but, in the end, Jensen made it perfectly clear to his best friend that it was his life, his body and his child. The decision was made and nobody would be able to change his mind.

Except, Jared came back.

The doorbell rang and it didn't stop until Jensen opened the door, pissed off and brooding.

"Get dressed." Jared smiled down at him and Jensen felt like slapping the guy.

When Jensen looked down at himself, he raised his eyebrows at the taller man, because he was dressed.

"Well, uh... shoes and jacket."

Jensen looked down again and curled his socked toes. "N-No."

"Yes. Two days without me should be enough for you. Now, put on your shoes and jacket; I'm running kinda late."

"What?"

"I gotta be at work in less than twenty minutes and you're coming with."

The whole head-spinning dizziness hit him again and Jensen had no idea what the hell was going on. He had no intentions on going anywhere with Jared, much less his work place. Not wanting to draw out the process of getting the man to leave, he didn't even bother taking the time to hide his stutter any longer. "N-Not going w-with you."

"Yep. You will. All this time you thought I was in on what Chad did. I wasn't. Never. You made up your mind and won't budge on how you believe I'm some big asshole. Time to get to know me."

Jensen blinked stupidly at Jared. The man had a point, it was true. Though, he didn't understand how accompanying Jared to work could have changed any of this.

"Oh... and here, take this." Jared handed him a...lunch bag? Jensen eyed the paper bag in confusion but eventually took it from the man's hand and studied the contents.

"Crackers, in case you get sick again. And an energy drink, without caffeine, of course. I remember my sister was surviving off all this stuff when she was pregnant with my nephew. I'm not saying I'm worried about the upholstery of my car, I just really don't like it when you're sick. Kinda scared me there when you weren’t able to do much more than puke."

Jensen wanted to tell Jared that he wasn't actually suffering from much morning sickness, not anymore, but he could neither listen nor act past the rapid beating of his heart. Jared's rambling should've bothered him and pissed him off further, but it didn't. Instead, there was this stupid flutter in his every nerve again due to the way Jared's voice and all the man's concern took his breath and rational thoughts away. In the back of his mind, Chris' pleading voice appeared, telling him yet again to give Jared a chance.

"W-Will you..." Jensen took a deep breath before continuing; he didn't want to stutter too bad in front of Jared and make a complete idiot out of himself. "... leave m-me alone... w-when I come with y-you?"

Jared's face was cracking in half when he beamed mischievously at him. "Nope. Definitely not."

Jensen made his lack of enthusiasm clear with a throaty groan. He wanted to hate Jared. He really tried, but that ever present smile did things to him he didn't want to acknowledge. At the same time, Jensen realized that all the feelings he once had for Jared weren't gone. He had hid them, tried to ignore them, but they were still there, under the surface of all his emotional walls. Jared's smile worked like a wrecking ball and Jensen practically felt the crack forming in his well built up walls.

For a long moment, Jensen contemplated throwing the door closed but he had to accept that his heart wasn't on the same page as his brain. He didn't want Jared gone. No matter how often his brain yelled to get away, his heart was pushing him closer towards Jared.

With hesitation, Jensen put on his shoes and jacket, grabbed his keys and followed Jared outside.

He really wanted to know where they were going, what kind of field Jared worked in that would allow him to bring along a stranger. In favor of not speaking, Jensen stayed quiet and he was glad that Jared did the same.

After a ten minute drive, Jared parked his car and Jensen still had no clue where they were going. When Jared stepped out of the car, Jensen followed suit.

"I can never get a parking spot close to the building, 's why I always park here. You don't mind walking a minute down the street, do you?"

Jensen shook his head; he didn't mind. They walked in an awkward silence, Jensen unsure and so far out of his element that he felt like ditching Jared. The fact that Jared's body was closer to him than necessary, their hands almost brushing, didn’t go unnoticed by Jensen. With his hands shoved into his pockets, Jensen forced himself to avoid the contact his body began to long for.

True to his word, Jared stopped only a little over a minute later in front of a huge brick building.

Safe Haven, the sign on the lawn read and a closer look told Jensen that they were standing at a homeless shelter. A voice inside his head, probably the devil himself, told Jensen that this was most definitely the place he would end up in if he was going to keep the baby. Maybe, Jared was only there with him to show him what his future has in store for him. It was completely stupid, but Jensen was still depressed and ridden by crazy pregnancy hormones. Not thinking clear was just one of the many side effects.

"Here we are. This is where I work." Jared turned towards Jensen and explained, using his fingers to make air quotes as he said the word work. "I wouldn't actually call it that but, it’s what it is. I really love this place. My boss, Lynne, is great. A handful sometimes but a good soul. She's like a mother to me and one of my closest friends."

Jensen soaked up all the information but couldn't do much with it. He was positively surprised to hear that Jared had such a good relationship with his boss. What actually startled him was the fact that Jared knew about the shelter, worked there and obviously cared about other people's well-being. It was the first indication for Jensen that maybe Jared really wasn't like Chad. He doubted that Chad had ever stepped inside a shelter before, considering his attitude spoke against anything but selfishness.

"Well, let's get in then. I want you to meet Lynne. Don't worry about the people in there who might look at you funny, they don't trust strangers."

With practiced movements, Jensen pulled his jacket back in place, hiding the swell underneath as best he could. Walking through the doors, Jensen understood what Jared meant. Everyone, literally every head, turned and stared at him and he was hit with the same uncomfortable feeling he always felt when someone was looking at him like he was beneath them. Some squinted at him, others scrunched their whole faces up and then there were people who ducked their heads in what Jensen assumed was fear.

Jared was standing right behind him, towering slightly over him, but only when he stepped forward to reveal himself, did Jensen see the shift in the people's expressions. It looked like they were relieved to see Jared, as if their Safe Haven wasn't in any danger anymore as long as Jared was there.

"Mr. P.!" A little boy came running towards them and Jensen craned his neck to study Jared's face, perfect smile still in place.

"We've been waiting for you. Clarissa and I helped make pizza today and we saved you a slice." The boy seemed awful cheery and excited.

Jared crouched down to give the boy a fist bump and a short hug. "That's awesome. Thanks, buddy."

"Who's this?" The boy asked, eyes only leaving Jared's face long enough to look at Jensen.

Getting back on his feet, Jared placed one of his ridiculously large hands on Jensen's shoulder.

"Brandon, I'd like you to meet Jensen. Jensen, this is Brandon. He and his sister come here almost every day and they never leave until I cook them chocolate pudding."

"Hi, Mr. Jensen." Brandon extended his hand and Jensen had no choice but to accept it.

With a lot of effort, he answered, short but still polite. "Hi."

Jared must have noticed his nerves and took Brandon's attention off of him. "Brandon, have you seen Lynne around?"

"Yeah, she's in the kitchen with my sister."

"We'll go see here then."

Jared guided him around a few counters to the back of the shelter and before he knocked on a door, he turned to face Jensen again. "Clarissa and Brandon, they... uh, they're going through a rough time. Their mother is on all kinds of drugs and doesn't give a damn if her kids are out in the cold or, God forbid, if they have a decent meal once a day."

"O-Okay." Jensen stored the information and made a mental note to never mention the kids’ parents. If he was actually going to talk to them, that was.

"Oh, and Clarissa? She's deaf, just like my dad. It took me months to get through to her; she's always scared. Of everything and anything. And, shies away from anyone who can't sign to her because she can't figure out what they want from her."

Jensen nodded along, too stunned to understand what was happening to him, of what Jared was trying to do. Other than, proving Jensen wrong, of course.

When they finally opened the door, Jared knocking once to announce them, Jensen was confronted with a multitude of different scents. There was coffee brewing, hot water gurgling in a pot and two flour-covered people, who were obviously baking cookies, stared at them.

The girl, just like Jared had said, lowered her head and the woman Jensen guessed was Lynne, took a step to stand in front of Clarissa, shielding her. Jensen couldn't help but smile, a real honest smile, at the girl when her head peaked up from behind Lynne's shoulder.

"Hey you two." Jared greeted them and moved his hands alongside his words for the girl.

Lynne did the same, but held her hands up a little higher so Clarissa could actually see them. "Jared. It's so good to see you."

Lynne stayed put but her eyes traveled in question to Jensen.

"Mind introducing us?" With a raised eyebrow, half a smile and her hands moving all the time, Lynne addressed Jared again.

"Yeah. Of course, sorry. Jensen, this is my boss, Lynne. She steals cookies from Clarissa when she isn't watching and she never gives me a break until I make her coffee."

"I do not!"

"Do too. And Lynne, this, uh... this is Jensen."

Jared seemed nervous all of a sudden, his feet shuffling uneasily on the linoleum floor and he worried his bottom lip between his teeth.

"Oh my god. Jensen? Your Jens... I mean, the Jensen?"

Without further warning, the woman stepped away from Clarissa and rushed to Jensen, both her hands holding on to Jensen's biceps. "It’s so good to meet you. Really. I'm just... wow. Yeah."

Suddenly, she pushed up on her toes, wrapped her arms around him and hugged him like they'd known each other for years. Jensen didn't know what hit him.

Jared closed the few inches of distance that was between them and whispered to him, "I might have told her about you. After our first date."

There was nothing that could've explained Jensen why Jared would feel the need to talk about him and still, the confession had his heart thudding wildly. When the woman finally stepped back, Jensen mentally shook himself out of the weirdness of the whole situation. Nobody had ever been genuinely happy to be in the same room with him.

Lynne's hug-attack must have brought some sort of comfort to the little girl. She hopped off the counter she had been sitting on the whole time and took tentative steps towards Jensen, offering a wary smile and grabbed for his hand to place it in her own, much smaller one, to shake it.

Clarissa let go of him as fast as she had taken his hand and wrapped her tiny body around Jared, hugging him for all she's worth. She untangled herself from the man and began to sign to Jared. Jensen had no idea what she was saying.

When Jensen looked over to the man next to him, he was completely baffled at the flush staining Jared's face and the tremble of his hands when he signed back didn't stay unnoticed either.

"I'm working on it." Jared spoke and signed at the same time.

Both Lynne and Clarissa giggled then and Jensen was left wondering what they were talking about.

The little girl composed herself shortly after and began to sign once more. Whatever she said made Jared's blush deepen and his eyes locked with Jensen's when he answered Clarissa. "God, yes. So true."

"Well, seems like nothing changed," Lynne interrupted warmly and her honest smile was catching Jensen completely off guard, without knowing why.

Jensen gave Jared a questioning look and mouthed a 'what?' at him. Jared only shrugged sheepishly at him before leaning in once more to answer, "...Clarissa wanted to know if you're my boyfriend and then she said you're really cute."

This time, it was Jensen's turn to blush furiously and, as usual, he was at loss for words. He never had a boyfriend in his life, didn't even have a man interested enough to spend more than a messy date with him. Until, obviously, Jared came along. Jensen simply couldn't figure the man or his intentions out and trying to was so daunting that it drained Jensen.

Seeing Jared so carefree, so loved by others, made Jensen both sad and happy. He wished he could have what Jared had. People smiled around the man, enjoyed his company and let their walls down. Maybe, Jensen thought, it was time to start trusting the man more and quit his negative thinking of who he thought Jared was.

"Hey Jensen..." Lynne focused her attention back to him, "would you like a few cookies? We've made a bunch and I think Clarissa still has some homework to worry about and Jared?" Her gaze was bossy but still friendly when her head whipped in Jared's direction, "the mirror in the upstairs bathroom still needs to be hung up."

"Mirror? The mirror... in the bathroom? Oh, right. Yeah. Okay."

Jensen felt the strange change of air in the room and he wasn't oblivious to the lie spread between them. He was no threat to Jared and couldn’t think of a reason why Lynne was adamant in having him to herself for a little talk.

For Jensen it had been difficult enough to deal with Jared, to gather the needed courage to actually talk to the man, and now he had to figure out how to get out of yet another situation that forced him out of his comfort zone.

"So, cookies?" Lynne shoved one of the cookies under his nose as soon as Jared and Clarissa left the kitchen.

He couldn't fucking believe the man left him alone with this stranger. Lynne wasn't exactly terrifying or scary, but Jensen never liked being around people he didn't know.

Jensen shook his head at her question. Cookies weren't helping him; in fact, the smell made him kind of sick. To prove that point and support Jensen‘s refusal, the baby inside of him kicked him low in the stomach.

"Well, alright then. More for me. Or Jared. So tell me, Jensen..." Lynne turned concerned eyes at him, "how come you're here with him? There a reason?"

Once again, Jensen shook his head. He wasn't really in the mood to talk to anyone, much less Lynne and, truth be told, it wasn't any of her business why Jared dragged him to the shelter.

"Listen, Jared told me about you. And yesterday he called me, asked if it was okay for him to bring someone along. Honestly? I’m a little surprised, because up until today I was sure he'd finally gotten over you. Now here you are."

Shrugging his shoulders, Jensen held on to his paper bag more forcefully and took a seat at the table. The baby was giving him a hard time and obviously didn't like the mental stress he was in at the moment.

"I'm not trying to cause any trouble but what exactly do you want from Jared?"

The nerve of this woman. Jensen didn't want anything from Jared, at least, nothing he'd ever admit to wanting. All he really wished for was for Jared to leave him alone so Jensen could deal with what's left of his life.

"N-Nothing!" Jensen snapped. He wasn't aware of the fury in his voice until the word left his mouth. He'd had enough of the whole mess and was about to get up and run, but Lynne held him back.

"Okay, alright. I'm just worried about him. Jared's one of my best friends, he's a great man with a huge heart. I don't want him to get hurt."

Jensen scoff-snorted at that. The woman obviously had no idea what hurt really meant. Even if she did, Jensen was by far the last person on earth who would want to hurt anyone.

"Hey now, I didn't say you will hurt him, but ever since he met you... well, he didn't stop talking about you and when you turned him down I was here to pick up the pieces."

Jensen raised his head then, confused at her statement and he wondered what exactly she meant by that.

"To be more blunt, he was a damn mess. Heartbroken."

"W-What?" Jensen was sure he must have heard wrong because Jensen wasn't worth being heartbroken over.

"Jared likes you, Jensen. Believe me when I say, that since he started volunteering here, I've never seen him so sad. I don't know what happened or why you're here, but when you two walked in here... He hasn't smiled like that in months."

Jensen knew he had more thinking to do after today but where to start and where to end was beyond him. Thinking, however, wouldn’t do him any good; Jensen knew as much already. His decision was made and with him still without a job and Jared only a volunteer, neither of them had the money to raise a child. Jared would just have to accept that. Jensen had his work cut out for him, considering the fact that he already had a feeling that getting Jared out of his life would be difficult to accomplish.

He was more than happy when Lynne finally quit bothering him. Apparently, work had to be done and Jensen was glad to be left alone until Jared came back to the kitchen and get him the hell out of there.

 

Chapter Text

If it wasn't for Chris, Jared would have never known what Jensen was up to. Or rather, what he was still up to.

Jensen had hit his sixth month of pregnancy only a few days ago and sometimes Jared thought that finally, Jensen was stepping out of his shell and taking a step towards him. The case, however, was the exact opposite. It didn't matter how often Jared tried to reassure Jensen that he wasn't going to leave or neglect his responsibilities as the other father of their unborn child.

Jensen shut Jared out by turning off all his hearing. A blind man would be able to see how badly Jensen didn't want their baby, how much he rejected any reminder of the little human growing inside of him. No reasoning with Jensen was good or strong enough.

Jared had done everything in his power to prove that he wasn't out of the picture, so much so that he showed up every day - before, or after work at the shelter. Sometimes, when Jensen was in a good mood, he invited Jared inside; sometimes, he didn't. If Jared was honest with himself, he preferred the times Jensen slammed the door in his face and pretended he didn’t know him. Being in a close proximity with the man who carried his child drove Jared crazy, mostly due to the fact that Jensen ignored him and didn’t allow Jared near him.

More often than not, their baby seemed to torture Jensen's insides, punching and kicking and leaving Jensen breathless to the point where Jared rushed to his side in an attempt to offer some sort of comfort. It wasn't welcomed and Jared had been pushed away and out of reach more times than he could count. That had hurt. It hurt enough that it resulted in Jared’s sleepless nights and covered his face in tears.

All he wanted was to be a part of the pregnancy, to get to know their child. Even before it was born.

As it turned out though, Jensen never even bothered to consider Jared's thoughts or feelings. According to Jensen, or rather the man's lack of interest in everything, Jared was never supposed to see their child. Neither before nor after it was born.

After yet another unwelcome visit, Chris had pulled Jared aside. Jensen had just excused himself and used fatigue as a reasonable explanation to get away. Jared didn’t have it in him to stop the man from running off again; Jensen’s deliberate ways of showing Jared how much he didn’t give a damn about anything was almost too much for Jared to bear.

"He's got the appointment tomorrow." Chris whispered, even though Jensen wasn't in the same room anymore. Considering no one told him anything, most of all Jensen, Jared didn’t know what kind of appointment was up for discussion.

"What appointment?"

"Didn't he tell you?" Chris looked puzzled for a second, brows knitted together in disbelief.

Shaking his head and deliberately rolling his eyes, Jared answered with a slight snap to his words. "Chris, seriously? He barely talks to me as it is."

"The adoption agency called today. Apparently Jensen already picked out a family for the baby. They wanna meet Jensen tomorrow."

"Whoa. Hold on. What now? What do you mean he picked out a family? For what?"

"To adopt the baby, of course."

"We're talking about the baby that's inside Jensen now, right? My child?"

Chris nodded at him and his eyes were mirroring Jared's, unshed tears fighting to find their way out so they’d be set free. Jared wasn’t ready to get his hopes up just yet, but he was sure Chris had been on his side on the matter. Best friend or not, Chris seemingly didn’t agree with Jensen’s plan either.

"This is my baby! If Jensen, for only one second, believes that I'll let him give my kid away, he'll have another thing coming."

"It's his decision." Chris, still battling his own emotions, had difficulties backing Jensen up.

"It's my baby."

"I know. God, Jared, do you think I want him to do this? But I can barely get through to him anymore; I have no idea what his reasons are, he won’t tell me. He's hardly talking to me either, you know. All he said was, that this family seems like a perfect fit."

Jared couldn’t believe what he was hearing. This was completely ridiculous. There was no such thing as a perfect fit for the unborn child. A child he helped create. "Who are these people?"

"Jared, I can't tell you that. If I did, Jensen would have my balls."

"Well, tough. It’s either him or me having your balls. Now, gimme a damn name.” Jared lost his patience quickly; he didn’t even like himself at this moment. All his anger and the fear of never getting to meet his first child bottled up within him and he was short of losing his damn mind.

“And you’re going to do what with it?”

“Make sure that these people understand they better go find themselves another baby to steal.”

“Jared, you’re being ridiculous. They‘re not stealing any babies. It’s all legal and… -”

Jared cut Chris off and shoved him, hard, against the nearest wall. The man’s head hit the wall with a loud thud and Jared felt guilty immediately. But if Chris had the answer Jared needed, then he knew he wasn’t going to stop until the man would start talking.

“I don’t care about legal!” Jared spat, as close to Chris’ face as he could. “You fucking tell me who they are or I swear to God-”

“Jared!” The sound of his name being yelled at him by Jensen cut Jared deep. He had never before heard his name coming from Jensen’s lips. The man never offered more than short sentences and only enough to address Jared, he’d never used Jared’s actual name. He’d wanted to hear it for days on end but now he wished Jensen had never said his name at all. The hate with which it was spoken stabbed Jared, right where it pained him the most.

Jared let go of Chris then and turned in slow motion to look at Jensen. “Jensen…”

“Don’t ever t-touch him again!” Jensen spoke so fast his stutter was almost non-existent.

"Shit." Jared breathed out, short and strained. Jensen's eyes were layered with pure shock and the man was furious. "I didn't... Fuck, Jensen, Chris, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. I'm just..."

"Get out!" Jensen stepped closer to him, threatening finger pointing at Jared. Underneath the anger was a lot of fear and Jared wanted to smack himself in the head for how stupid he had been. Chris had once told him that Jensen’s life hadn’t been easy, quite the opposite, and Jared guessed that much himself. Jared should have known, however, Jensen had been harmed in the past, it was more than emotional wounds ripping Jensen apart. With the amount of hurt radiating from those green eyes, Jared could clearly see that physical abuse had been burned into Jensen’s memory as well.

Riling Jensen up like that, having the man mad at him, was definitely going to bite Jared in the ass and all because he didn't think. Well, the only thoughts on his mind were the ones of his unborn child. A baby he couldn't risk losing before he even had a chance to actually have it as part of his life. Not knowing what to say and short of giving up in defeat, Jared was beyond surprised when Chris took his side.

"Jensen, just hear him out, okay?" Chris was pleading with the pregnant man.

"No. He... he... h-hurt you."

"Yeah, well. Not really. Listen, you told me it's none of my business, but you gotta talk to him, man."

"There's n-nothing t-to talk about!"

Jared knew he shouldn't interfere and stay quiet for as long as it took Chris to, maybe, save his ass, but Jared had had enough. "Wrong. Jen, you can't do this. You can't make such a life changing decision without consulting me, without talking to me first. This is not your baby we're talking about, it's ours and I can't let you give it away because you hate me. What did our child ever do to you that you can't see past the option of handing it over to a couple of strangers?"

"It's m-my b-body, not yours."

"I'm not arguing with you on that one, but I have something called parental rights. Ever heard of that? And I sure as hell won't sign them over. Once our child is born, I will fight tooth and nail for them. That's a promise; I always keep my promises."

Jared heard his own voice, registered the words, and he was shell-shocked over how brutal they sounded, even to himself.

Chris still stood between them, his shoulders tense and Jared saw how badly the man wanted to put an end to this dilemma. Instead, he stayed silent for a short moment longer, "... both of you, stop it. This shouting isn't going to help either of you; much less actually do any good to the little one. Jensen, I love you like a brother, but you're being selfish. I still don't know what's gotten into you, but I don't want to be a part of this shit storm you guys are unleashing here. I'm out. I'm... I'm going for a walk, or... whatever. Just, do me a favor: don't smash your heads in. When I come back, you both have this shit settled."

Jared gulped at Chris’ outburst. For the first time, it was Jared who didn't want to be alone with Jensen.

Before Jared could voice his protests, Chris grabbed for his jacket and left without another word. Jared's eyes followed the man's back as he silently prayed for Chris to change his mind and walk the hell back inside. He didn’t; the door closed and Jared was lost as what to do.

Left standing awkwardly in the middle of the living room, Jared grounded himself enough to look up at the man in front of him. Jensen stared at him, anger still in place on every little line of his face.

"Can't... do... this," Jensen almost whispered. Every word, no matter how small or short, was thought through and followed by a long pause. "Need... it... gone."

"I don't. Jensen, I can't tell what's going through that head of yours, but whatever it is... this baby, our son or daughter, I'm not giving our child up. Not ever. For weeks now, I prayed that you had finally changed your mind and understood how much you're not alone in this. From the first moment I found out about the pregnancy I told you I was with you, every step of the way. Why can't this be enough for you? Why do you have to punish the baby for whatever's bothering you?"

"You... you d-don't fucking unders-s-stand."

"No, I really don't. I get it though; pregnancy is a scary thing to go through and I really wish I could say how proud I am of you for doing this. But I'm not. I'll be forever grateful that you're giving me my first child, but you gotta understand that I'm just so fucking mad at you right now. I'm not asking you to get along with me or like me and maybe even realize that I've never lied to you. All I'm asking is to understand that, if you really hate our child so much that you want it gone, then why are we even fighting? I want our baby. Put my name on the damn birth certificate after it's born and you can go your merry way. I won't stop you."

Jensen was barely listening to him anymore; the man seemed so far away that Jared felt all alone in the room. Not wanting to get pregnant was one thing, but starting a war like this, trying whatever it took to get their baby out of his life once it’s born, was eating at Jared. He had absolutely no idea why Jensen was so resistant to change his mind.

All his worry and fear over their child’s future was suddenly ripped away from him when Jensen’s eyes went impossibly wide, his gaze piercing and the man bent forward in what Jared could only guess was pain. Jensen braced himself by propping his hands on his knees. The man was shivering; his breathing too fast to be healthy and he screamed out in pain when he couldn’t hold himself up anymore, hitting the floor with his knees.

Jared was torn between throwing himself next to Jensen and wondering if he’d get punched if he dared to help. But when Jensen began to curl in on himself, legs drawn up against his belly, Jared couldn’t think anymore and acted on pure instinct.

“Jensen!”

“Nghhhh…” Jensen winced and groaned, his hands grabbing for Jared, pulling and holding on for dear life.

“Jesus, Jensen!”

With yet another painful groan, Jensen sagged down in Jared’s arms. He tried to talk to Jensen, pleaded with him to answer, but unconsciousness took hold of Jensen too fast.

Not good. This is so not good. Jared’s head was spinning, mind going mad with worry. Once he managed to hold Jensen with one arm, Jared had no other choice but dial 911. Whatever was going on with Jensen, the pain couldn’t mean anything good for neither Jensen, nor their unborn child.

Chapter Text

For over an hour, doctors poked, prodded and probed Jensen, while Jared paced the emergency ward up and down. In his twenty-eight years of life, Jared felt a lot of things: hurt, anger, disappointment, pleasure, adoration and love. But not once had he experienced being useless or helpless. There was nothing he could’ve done, nothing he could help with. Waiting. Waiting and praying that both Jensen and their baby were going to be okay.

After a heated discussion with one of the nurses, Jared finally found out who the doctor in charge was. The man had been reluctant in giving him any information; even when Jared had explained that he was the father of the baby and practically going stir-crazy, the doctor didn’t budge, only going so far as allowing Jared to see Jensen.

With his stomach tied in knots, Jared followed the doctor down the long corridor and almost walked into the man when he stopped in front of a door. “We had to give Mr. Ackles a mild sedative. He was wrought up and confused so it’s possible that he’ll be in and out of consciousness.”

“What about the baby? The medication… I mean, it can’t be good for the baby, right?”

“Like I said, it’s a mild sedative; it won’t affect the fetus.”

“Doc, you gotta tell me what happened. Jensen, he’s… he doesn’t talk. He can and could but he prefers not to. Even if you told him what’s going on, he won’t tell me. I need to know.”

Jared saw the change in the man’s eyes, the way the doctor considered Jared’s words and it was probably the desperation in Jared’s voice that finally changed the man’s mind.

“Mr. Ackles hasn’t really been taking care of himself.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m saying that he was extremely dehydrated. The fetus is showing signs of malnourishment and is two weeks behind growth. We have Mr. Ackles on an IV drip to supply him and the fetus with vitamins so as to hydrate him again.”

Jared was going to be sick. For weeks he witnessed the change in Jensen’s physique, how ashen his skin became, but he never thought that Jensen would neglect his body to such a severe extent. Jared blamed Jensen’s constant sickness as the reason for how much weight the man lost instead of gaining any with the progress of the pregnancy.

“But why was he in such pain? I don’t understand…”

“Due to the lack of food and fluids, not only did the fetus fail to grow as much as it should, but it also caused the amniotic fluid to deplete. The amniotic fluid serves as a cushion of all fetal movements; if this cushion isn’t sufficient enough, every little movement can be painful. We assume, his weakened body was too stressed out to handle the pain any longer; therefore, his system shut itself down to save him from it."

Jared was shocked. There was just no other word for it. His heart clenched in pain when the doctor told him how much danger his unborn child was in. Anger over how negligent Jensen had been rushed to the surface and Jared needed to take several calming breaths to get himself back in check.

However, anger was the last thing Jensen needed right now. With everyone’s best interest in mind, Jared had to hold it together. "What can I do, doc?"

"If the treatment goes as planned, he can be released by tomorrow. But once he's back home, you have to make sure he's eating at least three proper meals throughout the day. Liquids and vitamins are most important, as of right now."

Jared nodded along and made a mental note to stock Jensen's kitchen with anything that had ‘healthy’ written on it while watching Jensen like a hawk.

The doctor was called to another patient and excused himself, leaving Jared to his thoughts and he hoped that Jensen's mood was manageable when he entered the hospital room.

Just as expected, when Jared walked into the room, Jensen turned away from him. It had been a movement Jared was used to by now, almost as if Jensen felt that his troubles would disappear if he didn’t have to look at Jared. Or Jared would disappear. But it wasn't that easy to get rid of Jared.

Swallowing his hurt down, Jared ignored Jensen's reserved attitude and took a seat on the edge of Jensen's bed. "We need to talk."

Jared watched how Jensen kept his jaw clenched tight and, after a long moment of silence, Jensen shook his head in a dismissive ‘no’.

"You probably don't care but... but the baby is alright. I've been talking to the doctor but from what I gathered, it's been a close call."

A closer look at Jensen's face brought all the anger back to Jared in full force. Jensen was tearing up, face contorted in what Jared could only guess to be disappointment.

"I don't understand you, Jensen. I get that this isn't something we planned. Hell, you don't even give me the time of the day to get to know me. But this has got to stop, it's enough."

Except for the whisper quite sobs breaking free, Jensen stayed silent. Jared was unsure of how to react properly, whether to reach over and soothe the man or start screaming in frustration.

"Okay, Jen... listen. By now, you should know that I care about you and I only want what's best for you. The baby though, it's my number one priority right now. All I'm asking of you is to take better care of yourself. I'm not sure I'll ever get used to how much you hate me or if I'm able to actually understand it. However, there is something I can't accept: that you hate our child."

Jensen stirred at the rise in Jared's voice and Jared waited patiently when he saw how the man's lips began moving. "You... You've g-got no idea what you're t-t-talking about."

"No? Well, let's see. You've practically been starving yourself, so much so that the risk of losing our baby is sky fucking high and let's not forget the obvious: you actually said you want it gone. How can you hate someone innocent and vulnerable, so much that you'd rather want it dead?"

"Stop it!"

"No! Fucking explain it to me! Why the hell do you hate my kid and me so much?"

Jensen's eyes turned wild, his face a mix of anger and pain. "I don't hate her!"

Jared stared at the man, blinking dumbly and before he knew it, his eyes began to tear up at the evident truth in Jensen's words. Jensen looked devastated and like his own life was depending on delivering those few words. Having the short, hurried confession spoken out loud obviously pained the man, meaning more to him than he previously let on. When Jared looked past the pain and, for a second, forgot his own emotional turmoil, he finally registered what exactly Jensen said. Jared’s anger, over everything he had to deal with in the last couple of months, vanished into thin air.

"Her? A... a girl?"

Jensen choked down a sob; his hands shot up to his eyes, frantically trying to wipe away a stream of tears. Jared ignored the unspoken rule of not stepping into Jensen's personal space, in favor of cradling the man's face in his own hands.

"Jensen, hey... that's good, right?" Jared wasn't sure what to say, knew his words were kind of silly because it didn't matter if they had a boy or a girl. Jared was happy with either, but he was completely baffled by the fact that he now knew the gender of their baby; he didn't have to call her an 'it' anymore.

Jared wondered how long Jensen had carried this information, except, asking the man would only lead to more silence, so Jared made a mental note to ask Jensen some other time.

Instead of moving on from the verbal fight, Jensen was still stuck on their argument and repeated his earlier statement; every word was delivered with a long pause in-between. "I... don't... h-hate... her."

Jared cupped Jensen's cheeks more firmly, forcing the man to look at him. "And you have no idea how happy it makes me to hear you say that."

Growing bolder, Jared closed the mere distance between them and placed a soft kiss on Jensen's brow. He might have lingered there for longer than necessary.

"'s not right." Jensen mumbled while Jared pulled back slowly and fruitlessly tried to lock eyes with the pregnant man.

"What's not right? That you don't hate her? Jensen, I don't understand." Jared scrunched his face up in confusion. It was completely beyond him how Jensen could think it was wrong to feel anything but adoration for the life growing below his heart.

As Jared thumbed Jensen's tears away, he didn't miss the tentative way Jensen leaned in to the touch; it made Jared's heart skip a beat. Jensen had such an innocence and vulnerability about him in that moment that Jared thought he finally got to see a small part of the real Jensen, a part that Jensen had been hiding since the day they met.

"Don't... don't hate you... either." Jensen's voice was so low, Jared almost missed the words that would surely change their whole lives.

Heat rose up in Jared’s cheeks, a blush painting his whole body at the game changing confession. “That’s… Jen… I… then why are you doing all this?” Jared gave his best effort to keep his own voice understanding in hopes that Jensen would see that he wasn’t going to judge the man; not anymore. “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you and our… wow, our daughter. Why would you hurt yourself and her? Why, if you really don’t hate her, do you want to give her away?”

Jared realized that, maybe, his choice of words, his tone, was somewhat pressing but there was too much he didn’t understand, too many things Jensen didn’t tell him. And just how much pressure he exerted on Jensen was clear in Jensen’s cries.

The man pulled away and out of Jared’s hold in order to turn away, a movement Jared hated to admit having gotten used to already. Jared had seen a lot of despair in his life as a volunteer, but the way Jensen’s body was shivering and shaking in misery broke Jared into a million little pieces.

“I love her s-so much.” Jensen cried the declaration out into the pillow. Jared reached out to stroke his hand over Jensen’s biceps, a comforting offer that was swatted away by the other man with a hiss, “...you can’t help m-m-me.”

Jared couldn’t stop his own tears from starting to fall again. He thought he had himself under control, but he was failing miserably. Sure, he’d been mad at Jensen for a long time; weeks, months even but it was due to the fact that Jensen didn’t trust and believe him. But none of that changed the way he felt about Jensen, how strong of a hold Jensen always had over Jared’s heart.

“You’re right, I can’t help you but only because you don’t let me. Jensen, please tell me what’s going on in that head of yours. I’m begging you.”

Jensen shook his head and even though Jared didn’t see much because of the way Jensen tried to hide his face, Jared could still see that Jensen squeezed his eyes shut and struggled with all his emotions. As quietly as possible so that Jensen wouldn’t have a chance to turn away yet again, Jared rounded the bed and crouched down so that he was eye level with Jensen.

Not wanting Jensen to tune him out, like he used to so many times before, Jared took Jensen’s hands in his own, mindful of the IV hooked to the back of the man’s hand. “Should I go and get your chalkboard?”

Again, Jensen only shook his head but at least the offer made Jensen look at him. It was a small victory.

“Jensen, I know life hasn’t been easy for you, that you’ve been through the wringer more often than not but can’t you at least try and give me the benefit of a doubt? Since the first evening we met, I can't get you off my mind; it’s driving me crazy. For the last two months, I’ve been at your place more times than I can count. Not only because you’re pregnant and I feel responsible. I mean, I do and I am but I can’t even fall asleep anymore if I don’t get to see you. I want to be pissed at you for giving me the cold shoulder but I can’t; it’s difficult to be angry with you because… Jensen, I… I’ve been falling in love with you from the moment we met. I love you, Jen. So much it hurts.”

Jared hung his head in defeat; he never thought that admitting his feelings out loud would drain him that much but it sure did. Drawing one of his hands back, Jared was left rubbing at his eyes in a desperate attempt to wipe away his own tears. As he looked back up, his gaze landed on Jensen’s blanket-covered swell. Jared was starving to touch the baby bump. Over the last couple of months, he observed how it grew into a breathtaking roundness and most of the time he had to look away; he couldn't bear seeing the evidence of a new life while it was forbidden for him to reach out and feel. Jared was once again hit with the pure need to brush his hands over his daughter and talk to her; tell her that he loved her too and wanted her to stay strong for a little while longer.

The thing was, not even Jensen himself acknowledged the bump, much less touched it. Jared noticed that right off the bat. It didn't matter how uncomfortable a kick made Jensen; he simply wouldn't touch in an attempt to calm their unborn. Another tear slipped from Jared's eyes as he wondered if their daughter could cry already, if she was aware of being deprived of love.

Eventually, Jared averted his eyes from Jensen’s distended middle, proof that their daughter was growing inside, and when his eyes fell back on Jensen's, the man stared at him. Jensen carried a mix of utter surprise and shock on his face and only then did Jared realize the man's labored breathing.

Jensen's lips trembled and Jared knew this form of nervousness meant Jensen wanted to talk. Jared waited, patiently, for the man to speak.

"You... love me?" Jensen sounded as weak as never before and in complete disbelief but his words were still strong and almost fluid.

Jared was aware of how faint his smile was, but he hoped Jensen wouldn't notice. These days it was difficult for Jared to find reason for a carefree smile. "Isn't that obvious?"

Jensen squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head while he tried so hard not to cry again. "N-Nobody ever loved m-me."

Now it was Jared's turn to let the tears fall, more than only minutes ago. Even after what he knew about Jensen, it was unbelievable how someone could possibly not love the man. Sure, Jensen was grumpy all the time, but that was mostly due to the pregnancy. There was so much more to the man and Jared wanted nothing more than to learn everything there is to know about Jensen Ackles. He deserved to be loved, unconditionally, and Jared hoped to be the one to do just that.

Jared couldn't handle the small distance between them any longer and took a seat on the edge of the hospital bed again, hands cupping Jensen's face while he brought their foreheads together, "...let me love you. Jen, I want to be with you. More than anything."

Ignoring the sob that wrecked Jensen's whole body, Jared leaned in further, bringing their lips together. It wasn't more than a brush of soft flesh; still, Jared put all his emotions into it.

Suddenly and far from Jared's expectations, Jensen kissed him back, the man's quivering lips pushing against Jared's. Before Jared had a chance of getting used to the kiss, Jensen threw his arms around Jared's neck. Jensen's hands were practically clawing at Jared's back, holding on for dear life. Jared could only return the action and placed a chaste kiss to Jensen's neck while pulling him closer against his chest. Jared's breathing sped up as Jensen's baby bump came in contact with the side of Jared's own stomach. It's the closest he'd been to their daughter since Jared crawled into bed with Jensen; the night Jensen tried to end his life.

Jared knew he would never forget that specific night; the memory of it too strong, though, he had to let go of these heavy thoughts for the time being and focus on the man in his arms.

"Please let me love you, Jen." He whispered against Jensen's skin, desperation and longing clear in his every word.

Jensen nodded while his tears soaked Jared's shirt. "I... love you." Jensen spoke these three words with so much fear to his voice that Jared could feel how scared Jensen was to admit something so strong.

Jared wanted to throw his hands in the air in happiness while screaming from the top of his lungs how much it meant to him that Jensen loved him. He decided against making a fool of himself and pulled back instead, bringing their foreheads together once again and offered Jensen his biggest smile. Dimples and all.

For the time being, Jared thought that finally everything was going to be okay and all their problems, and Jensen's plan of adoption, were off the table. But when Jared tried to lean in for another kiss, Jensen pulled back.

With his chin resting on his chest, Jensen began to speak. "This doesn't ch-ch-change anything."

Jared was confused at first, but quickly caught up to what Jensen meant. "Why?"

"I didn't hurt her on p-purpose."

Jared didn't think of Jensen as being one to harm anyone on purpose, but the facts told a different story. "Jensen, the doctor told me what's going on. He says you and our daughter are starving. Something like that doesn't just happen, unless you purposely don't eat." Jared wanted to believe Jensen's words and part of him did, but the doctor's diagnosis hung heavy over him.

"But I tried... I ate as much as I c-c-could whenever I got d-dizzy again."

Jared realized that Jensen had never spoken as much with him in one go, not without his board, so he kept all judgment out of his voice in favor of keeping Jensen talking. "You're supposed to eat more than that."

Jensen's stare directed a lot of anger and embarrassment at him when Jensen all but yelled, "... how? I can't afford it!"

Jared once again noticed that whenever Jensen was furious he barely stuttered at all. When Jensen felt confident, he obviously wasn't hung up on his thoughts and spilled them without worry. Someday, Jared was going to figure out how deep Jensen's stutter really ran. But for now, he was busy trying to figure out what the hell Jensen just confessed to. "What? Jensen, what are you not telling me?"

"Ever since I q-quit my job I've been l-l-living off my savings. I used the last few d-d-dollars I had to cover my share of this month's r-r-rent."

Jared was about to bust a vein. This couldn’t be fucking true. "Wait... just hold on for a second. Are you trying to tell me that you're broke?"

Jensen barely let Jared take another breath when he interrupted Jared, "... she deserves b-better than this, than me."

"That wasn't my question."

Jensen's eyes turned furious all over again, "I can't g-give her the life she n-n-needs and deserves, don't you g-get that?"

Jared felt as if he’d been slapped across the face and his head was spinning so fast he was close of passing out. "You want to give our daughter away because you've got no money? Why didn't you ask me for help? How could you keep this from me?"

"What could you p-possibly do? You volunteer at the... the shelter. Volunteer! I don't think they p-pay you enough to care for a child, if they pay you at a-a-all." Jensen was angrier than ever before and his words rang sharply in Jared's ears.

Now, finally, Jensen's whole behavior started to make sense to Jared. "They don't. But Jensen...-"

"No. Just no! I love her, okay? I f-f-fucking love her and I tried so hard not to, I tried, alright? And it's k-killing me having to g-g-give her away but I'm an unemployed loser with zero b-bucks to his name and you? What do you have?!"

"...something to tell you, I guess."

Jared couldn't believe what an utter idiot he was. All this time he thought Jensen's determination to give their baby up for adoption was a decision made out of hate towards Jared, out of anger because the man thought Jared was part of Chad's mocking. A million years wouldn't have been enough to convince Jared into believing that, of all things, money was a reason for this whole mess of heartache and worry. Jensen loved him; loved their unborn daughter. So much so that he was sacrificing his own chance of watching their child grow up so she would have a good life. A life Jensen thought he couldn't offer her.

"Jensen I... God, I was so stupid. I should have told you about me a long time ago but it never was the right time and you didn’t seem to give a damn if I was around or not, much less listen to anything I might have to say."

Jared understood now that if he hadn’t been so scared, of falling for yet another Kevin-like person, then he could have saved Jensen and their daughter from a lot of pain and definitely the hospital stay. Jared had never felt so guilty in his life as in this very moment. There was only hope left; hope that Jensen would be able to forgive him.

Jensen's whole body was shaking with rejection and Jared knew that if he didn’t start talking soon then he could lose the man for good. Jared ignored Jensen's cries and the strained panting in favor of getting his story out.

"A couple of years ago, I almost got married. His name's Kevin and, uh, well, I loved him. We'd been dating for about two years when he proposed and I said yes. My mother suggested a pre-nup because she had this weird feeling that Kevin acted strange and that something was off. I didn't want to listen to her at first but, eventually, I sat down with Kevin and asked him to sign the pre-nup. He freaked out, really freaked. He accused me of not believing his feelings for me."

Jared wasn't certain of what Jensen's reason to look at him again was, but Jared was glad about it nonetheless.

"I don't understand..." Jensen whispered while choking on air.

"I'm getting there. Anyway. The pre-nup stated that he would walk out of the marriage empty handed if he filed for divorce before the first five years of marriage. He screamed at me and through his rage he kinda let it slip that he had no idea how he could do that for five more years. All this time he played me and I walked right into his trap. If he had divorced me without a pre-nup being involved, he would've gotten half of my money."

As Jared looked up to meet Jensen's gaze, it was palpable that the pregnant man began to understand what Jared was telling him. Though, there was still a great amount of disbelief in his tone. "You make it… sound like... like..."

Not wanting to burden Jensen with more words to speak, Jared went straight to the facts. "... like a lot of money is sitting in my bank accounts. Jensen, I volunteer at the shelter because I want to, because the people there make me feel like I matter. Some of them might know I was luckier than them, but they still treat me like one of their own; like family. They value the things I do for them and not once ask for money. I wanted to tell you, I really did but more so did I want you to like me... for the right reasons. You could say I'm scarred and I was falling in love with you so fast that I was afraid of telling you and getting hurt again. All I wanted was for you to like me for who I am, not for what I own."

Laying his biggest secret flat out on the table felt good, like a step in the right direction and Jared could practically see how every single wheel in Jensen's head was turning. "Is that why L-Lynne asked me w-what I want f-from you?"

Jared knew that Lynne had asked Jensen a bunch of questions; meeting Jensen was her idea in the first place and coming clean about everything, was so damn long overdue. "Yes. She knows about Kevin and when I first told her that I'm scared of falling in love with you, she encouraged me to give it a shot; us. She's just worried about me."

"But... but what now? D-Does that mean you could k-k-keep her?" Jensen's eyes, for the first time, had a hopeful gleam in them but as quick as it appeared, as fast the hopefulness was gone, and it was replaced with desperation. "Will you l-let me see her?"

Jared was sure he hadn't heard right. After everything he just told Jensen, after finally admitting his feelings for the man, Jensen thought Jared would just take their child and run off. "We keep her. Jensen, she's our daughter. I feel sorry for the prospective parents you had picked out but this is our baby and nothing in this world can stop me from raising my own child. And more importantly: I don't want to do this without you. How could you possibly think I'd take her away from you?"

Something changed in Jensen's expression and it was difficult for Jared to figure out what that meant. "I'm not Kevin."

"Never believed you to be." Though Jared was afraid of every man being like Kevin, he didn't think of Jensen like that. Jared just thought it was better to be safe than sorry.

Still, Jensen curled in on himself, pulling his legs up to his stomach as far as his swell would let him. "I can't d-do t-t-this."

"Can't do what exactly?"

At first Jensen only shook his head, obviously done with their discussion but Jared wasn't done yet. With careful movements, Jared took Jensen's hand in his own and brushed his thumb over Jensen's knuckles. Eventually the small, comforting touch calmed Jensen enough to answer Jared's question. "Living in your p-pockets. That's not m-me."

Jared didn't think of Jensen as being very independent. He hated these thoughts, but the facts were laid out for him. From what Jared learned about Jensen, was, he had never really been on his own; Chris was a constant presence in the man's life. Jared wouldn't dare voice these thoughts because, obviously, Jensen wanted exactly that: to be independent. "Your only concern, as of right now, is to get better and grow our daughter into a strong and healthy little lady. Once she's born, you can go work your ass off if you want to. You don't have to but by the look on your face I guess that's not up for discussion. So, keep cooking until she's ready and the rest we'll figure out later."

Exhaustion was clearly visible on Jensen's face, his eyes tired and skin still so very pale. The verbal fight, the physical pain and the emotional ache had gotten the better of Jensen. Jared felt guilty for pressuring the man but apparently they more than needed to finally talk about them; about their baby.

Jared let it go for now and watched how Jensen's eyes drooped, sleep trying to lure Jensen in.

After Jared's heartbeat slowed down to a more stable pace, and Jensen finally found his way into a hopefully restful sleep, Jared rested his head on the bed as well. His hands never letting go of Jensen's.

Jared had closed his eyes for less than half an hour when he startled awake; a punch to his shoulder left him wincing.

"Padalecki! Wake up you asshole!"

Jared turned to the whisper-like yell and blinked his eyes awake, only to spot an enraged Chris. The man was pulling at Jared to get up and he got to his feet willingly; careful not to wake Jensen as he shushed Chris.

"What the fuck did you do to him?" Chris spat while dragging Jared further away from the bed.

"Chris, calm down. I didn't do anything." Jared made a great effort to keep his voice as quiet as possible.

"You're so full of crap. I was gone for an hour and when I come back home the hospital calls me to inform me that Jensen's here. What did you do?!"

Jared took a deep breath, closed his eyes for a moment and rubbed his hands over his face. Whereas he completely understood Chris' worry, Jared still wanted to knock the man on his ass so he would finally shut the hell up.

"It's not my business to tell you what happened; it's Jensen's job to explain that to you. But I would never do anything that could hurt him or our baby."

Chris clenched his jaw so hard, Jared was sure that teeth would start flying if he didn’t stop anytime soon.

"Chris...?" Jensen's sleep-ruffled voice passed through the thin air between Chris and Jared.

Before Jared could react to Jensen, Chris was already pushing Jared out of the way and rushed to Jensen's side.

"Hey. Jen, you okay? You scared the hell out of me." Chris sat down on the bed and carded his hands through Jensen's hair, cupping his face and staring at him like a freaked out mother hen.

"Sorry. I... I'm okay."

"You don't look like it." Chris pulled Jensen against his chest and hugged him for what it's worth, all while Jared stood close to the door and felt like an intruder.

"It's not Jared's f-fault."

Chris craned his neck to stare at Jared, then back at Jensen and after scanning Jensen's face the musician nodded. "Okay, I believe you."

"He... J-Jared loves me." Jensen spoke the words so quietly, Jared detected that disbelief and surprise was still present.

Again, Chris turned his head towards Jared, a skeptical eyebrow raised and Jared nibbled at his bottom lip before shrugging. Chris returned his attention back to Jensen, a snort coming from deep down, "well... duh!"

“You… you knew?” Jensen seemed shell-shocked while Chris shook his head at the situation.

“Jensen, I might’ve been the world’s shittiest wingman in the past, but I wasn’t wrong about Jared. Couldn’t you tell?”

Jared watched their conversation in wonderment of what exactly was happening between Jensen and his best friend. He was blushing lightly at the mention of his name, of Chris speaking so highly of him. Considering that only a moment ago the musician was ready to throttle Jared, this felt like a milestone.

Not wanting to be left out for any longer, Jared stepped closer to the two men, lip trapped in a nervous bite between his teeth.

Jensen shook his head at Chris’ question, almost as if he was ashamed of having to deny what Jared thought was obvious. As it seemed, Jared had been wrong about a lot of things regarding Jensen.

“Jensen… when Jared and you met at the bar, all these months ago, I knew he looked familiar. I actually said as much, but he gave me this strange look. He didn’t want anyone to know about him-“

Jared knew what Chris was trying to say, Jared had just told Jensen the same, only half an hour ago, but the man wasn’t given the chance to elaborate any further as Jensen interrupted Chris and directed this strange, more or less, upset look at Jared.

“H-How… how could tell Chris, b-but not m-m-me? I thought… I believed… I… I… you lied.”

The pleading sound of Jensen’s sadness and disappointment crushed Jared’s heart all over again and he knew that he wouldn’t be given any more chances if he couldn’t fix this.

“No, I didn’t lie. I just… well, I just told you that I was really afraid of opening up to you and I thought it was for the best if you didn’t know. The thing with Chris, why he knows… it’s because he’s a musician.” Jared stopped for a moment so he could sit across from Chris, both men on each side of Jensen while they tried to comfort him, tried to make him believe Jared. “I’ve been helping out musicians since my college years, getting their names out, supporting them to draw record label’s attention to them. It’s how I made a name of myself in the business. People like Chris, down-to-earth musicians, know my name and what I did for them. There might’ve been a couple of pictures of me on the internet, that’s how Chris knew my mug. I asked him not to tell you. I didn’t mean any harm by it, I swear.”

“He’s right, Jensen. Don’t be too hard on him, okay?”

“Chris, it’s alright. I… I should’ve told him from the start. I’ve been a coward, okay?” Jared couldn’t keep his eyes off of Jensen as he spoke to Chris and maybe it was the terrible light in the room or his imagination, but Jensen’s face seemed to soften. Jared took the opportunity of Jensen’s change in mood and shimmied closer to the man, taking Jensen’s hand in his own like he did before.

“I won’t keep anything from you anymore, I promise. No more secrets. We have more pressing matters to worry about at the moment, don’t we?” Jared dared a shy glance towards Jensen’s middle and was relieved as Jensen caved with a nod of agreement.

“About that. Why were you admitted, Jensen?”

Jared didn't miss how hard Jensen tried to avoid Chris's question and if Jared had to bet all his money on it, he dared thinking that Jensen's facial expression was full of shame. He hated seeing Jensen like that; couldn't stand the sheer vulnerability of a man who had, only shortly before, climbed a damn mountain of emotions to confess his love for Jared and their daughter.

"Chris? How about we let Jensen get some more rest and I'll explain everything to you; outside, preferably." Because Jared had passed Jensen over more times than he liked, he focused his attention back to the man on the bed, "...if that's okay with you, Jensen."

Jensen's nod came as a surprise to Jared and before Jensen could possibly change his mind, Jared tapped Chris' shoulder and cocked his head towards the door. With a short goodbye to his best friend, Chris left the room.

Instead of following the musician right away, Jared lingered with Jensen a minute longer. "Jen, I never wanted to hurt you. I'll make it up to you... and to our daughter."

At first tentative, but then ignoring Jensen's distressed posture, Jared leaned over to take Jensen's lips into a brief kiss. "Let me talk to Chris and if you don't mind, I'd like to come back when you're awake." Jared brought their foreheads together again and smiled down at Jensen, “…please. Don’t shut me out again. We’ll figure it all out, okay? You, me and the little one.”

"Okay." Jensen pursed his lips together, mind so obviously running wild with the day’s events. Considering Jensen’s answer was short and very quiet, Jared still believed it to be the most monumental word in the history of their relationship. Jensen agreeing on anything regarding Jared or their baby was significant and Jared knew not giving up had been his best decision. Ever.

Jared didn’t like leaving Jensen alone, but the man was way too exhausted to deal with anyone’s presence and then there was Chris; Jensen’s best friend, who deserved more than a fruit basket. Honestly, Jared hadn’t been thrilled to talk to Chris but it needed to be done.

The man was already waiting for him, face stern, yet eager with curiosity.

“So?”

“I think he’s gonna sleep for weeks now, he’s pretty much as exhausted as he could possibly be.”

So you told him. He seemed kinda out of it. Could you please tell me what happened? What's with the baby?"

Jared didn't miss how worried Chris was, his voice broke a few times during his questioning. Taking a seat on one of the chairs in the visitor's lounge, Jared motioned for Chris to join him. He had no idea how to break it to Chris but he supposed it didn't matter, as long as he was going to answer all the questions Chris had.

Starting with the diagnosis, of Jensen being halfway from starving to death, Chris went rigid and it took Jared a few minutes to calm the man down. Chris was angrier with himself -over not noticing how badly Jensen was doing, than with Jensen or Jared. It wasn't anyone's fault, not really. Jensen had trust issues and with those clouding the pregnant man's senses, it was a given that he didn't want to open up to either of them. While he didn’t trust Jared, he’d hid things from Chris because he didn’t want to worry him.

"All this time Jensen effortlessly -thank god I might add- tried to ignore the pregnancy because he believes that our baby deserves better. I had no idea he thought that way and I was shocked to hear that money was the reason for it. Can you fucking believe that? Money! Fuck. Chris, I can feed the whole state if I wanted to and here I almost lost my own kid because Jensen is broke..." Jared let his face fall in his hands, rubbing his temples in an attempt to calm down again. But it wasn't working, not at all.

"Come on, don't blame yourself, alright? You had your reasons and I'm not mad at you. Neither is Jensen, which, honestly is a huge surprise to me."

Jared registered Chris' words only minutes later as his brain began to clear again.

"What the docs say though? Jen and the baby gonna be okay?"

Nodding his way through his answer, Jared thought it was best to leave it at that, but there was so much more Chris needed to know. "It's a girl." The words were out before Jared had a chance to shut his big mouth.

"Oh... wow. Really? That's..." Chris couldn't finish the sentence, his eyes wet with unshed tears and Jared followed suit. Eventually, they both agreed on being man enough to cry in front of each other.

"Jensen doesn't... I mean, he won't give her away anymore, right? Now that you told him and all." Chris turned pleading eyes at Jared.

Shaking his head, Jared found himself smiling like a loon. "Nope. Don't think so. Jensen doesn't seem to like the idea of accepting any of my money. But it's not like I'm giving him much of a choice. He loves her, so much so that he broke down crying and screaming and I'll do anything to make him change his mind about the financial crap."

"Well, that's going to be fun." Chris oozed sarcasm and Jared didn't doubt the statement for a second. "Jensen is one stubborn bastard. I bet he's gonna make you stay at home while he's out working."

"Fine by me. As long as he's happy and our daughter with us, I don't care."

Chris' expression turned soft again and Jared couldn't, for the life of him, figure out what this look meant. "I... I'm going to be an uncle. Shit, I'm having a niece." The musician's eyes popped open impossibly wide before whipping his head back to Jared. "There's no way I'm ever going back on the road again. I mean... she's my niece and there'll be hundreds of teenage boys to kill if they so much as breathe in her direction. Oh God."

Jared couldn't help but crack up into a loud and booming laughter. Chris almost hyperventilated next to him and Jared had never seen something as funny and endearing in his whole life. "She isn't even born yet. Many moons will circle the earth before that day comes."

"Shut your face, Padalecki. We need to boy-proof the whole neighborhood."

Chris had a point. If the baby would be born looking anything like Jensen, then yes, a boy-proof neighborhood was more than necessary.

For now, however, the most important thing was to get Jensen back on his feet and stuff him with lots of vitamins so he and the baby could enjoy the last few months of the pregnancy.

Enjoying a couple more laughs together, Chris and Jared decided to watch out for Jensen and if he was getting pissed at them for pampering him, well, they would just take shifts of hovering over the man some more. Both, Jared and Chris, had to team up on this one and neither of them were going to budge on the subject. Project 'healthy preggers' was their number one priority.

Chapter Text

It had been a little over two weeks since Jensen was released from the hospital and Jared hovered over him ever since.

Every waking moment, Jensen spent wallowing in guilt. He felt guilty for doubting Jared, for all the accusations he hit Jared with. A small part of Jensen still didn't believe that, what was happening between them, was true. Each time, when Jared said he had to leave for a short while and didn't come back for a few hours, Jensen was sure that it was the time Jared would be gone for good.

Except, Jared busted through the door time and time again.

Jensen had no idea where Jared spent his time; except for when Jared had to volunteer at the shelter, but other than that, Jensen didn't dare ask. If Jensen listened to the voice in his head, then he was short of believing that maybe Jared was out with God knows who. The thought alone made Jensen shiver and, not for the first time, he felt something like jealousy. Questioning the man wasn't necessary though because, what became obvious was that, Jared spent at least an hour at the grocery store. Every day, Jared showed up with two huge bags of food and stocked the fridge until they were running out of room. He knew exactly what Jared was doing, still, he turned a confused stare at Chris, who only shrugged and grinned in delight. They were both adamant in never allowing Jensen to run out of food again; two against one – there was no chance for Jensen to fight them.

Jensen wasn't willing to risk ending up in an argument and was left nodding when Jared stared at him firmly while shoving yet another meal under Jensen's nose. If his watch didn’t betray him, Jensen had breakfast only five hours ago, but, apparently, that was too long of a time gap for Jared’s liking.

"Eat." Jared ordered, thrusting a spoon in Jensen's hand and directing a soul-melting smile at him.

Said smile only deepened when Jensen, without any protest, took the spoon and began shoveling his chicken and dumplings. It wasn’t his favorite dish exactly, but he watched Jared prepare it and the man put too much effort into it to let it go to waste. As it turned out, it wasn’t even that bad. It was pretty good and Jensen wondered if he liked it because his stomach started growling with the first bite or because Jared made it for him.

"Good. When you're done, I wanna take you someplace."

Jensen stopped mid-bite and looked at Jared in search for an answer.

"It's a surprise. It'll be great, I promise." Jared leaned over the counter Jensen was sitting at and placed a soft kiss on his forehead. "Keep eating."

It was equally cute and annoying. For the first time, Jensen felt as if his life was finally heading into a better direction. Whenever his mind ran wild and doubts clouded his senses, the baby punched him in the ribs or, to make matters worse, jumped up and down on his bladder. It was as if he and the kid had some sort of special connection, a bond that gave her the powers to read Jensen's mind.

Jensen supposed that this very special bond was what couldn't stop him from caring about the life growing inside of him. For so long, he tried to ignore the blooming love for the baby but, back at the hospital, the doctor practically forced him to look at the ultrasound machine, to see how much damage he had done. Jensen, by all means, was no expert, but as his eyes zoomed in on the tiny human on the screen, its heart still beating strong and fast, he couldn't help but let his tears flow. What he also noticed, was, that something was missing and when the doctor asked Jensen if he wanted to know what gender the baby was, Jensen nodded. There was no escaping his own heart. Jensen loved his daughter, always did, but admitting as much to anyone, to Jared of all people, was an emotional struggle for him. It didn't matter how hard Jensen tried in not getting attached to the baby, it was ineviteable and made it all the worse knowing that he couldn't keep her.

That was, until Jared told him about Kevin and the fact that Jared really wasn't anything like Jensen assumed. Still, Jensen felt more uncomfortable than ever and he hated the thought of being dependant on the man. This uneasiness wouldn't settle but Jensen also couldn't ignore that, obviously, he wasn't the only one who loved their baby. Quickly Jensen understood that his own concerns weren't as important as the reality of him having to adapt if he wanted to raise his daughter.

Another problem alltogether occured within Jensen's head, a question rather, and he wasn't sure how he could possibly voice something like that to Jared.

Hearing the words, listening to Jared's broken voice while he told Jensen that he loved him had Jensen's head spinning. Yet, he believed the other man. But why him? Why Jensen? It was impossible for him to wrap his head around it. There was nothing Jensen could possibly offer to a man like Jared.

Finished with his food, Jensen deliberitly didn't place the dishes in the dishwasher; instead, cleaned them by hand to buy himself some more time. Jared wouldn't tell him where they were going and Jensen didn't feel comfortable enough asking.

Jared must have sensed as much and was suddenly grabbing for one of the towels, taking over the task of drying the dishes. "You okay?"

No, Jensen wasn't okay. Not really. He was nervous and on edge. Not only because he had no idea what Jared had planned, but more so because Jared was there. Loving Jared, holding all these strong feelings for a man he still barely knew and carrying the man's baby was one thing, but showing and acting on his feelings was so new to Jensen that he was at a loss of what to do about it.

"Yeah, 'm okay." Jensen closed his eyes for a drawn-out moment, proud of himself for delivering an answer in Jared's presence, yet guilty again for lying.

"Are we okay?" Jared pressed and the worry of the man's voice didn't stay unnoticed to Jensen.

He really, so much, wanted to be okay with Jared but he had no clue how to accomplish that. Jensen was too inexperienced to grasp the meaning of what it might entail to love each other. What loving someone meant was clear to him, but loving each other, wanting to be with the other meant to start a relationship. Jensen didn't know the first thing about building a functioning relationship. Not with a man who made him all kinds of nervous.

Before Jensen had a chance of answering again, Jared stopped Jensen's hands and took the dishrag from him in favor of turning Jensen so they were standing face to face.

"Remember what you told me? In the hospital, I mean."

Jensen blinked up at the man; confussion forced his brows to scrunch up.

Jared brushed his thumbs over Jensen's wrists, completely ignoring the water dripping from Jensen's hands. "You said you love me. Yet, I can't shake the feeling that I'm making you uncomfortable; that you'd rather have me leave." Jared loosened his grip on Jensen's wrists, moving one of his hands to lift Jensen's chin up, "Do you want me to leave?"

"No." The answer was rushed and out before Jensen had a chance of thinking it through. Still, it was the truth; he didn't want Jared to walk away. The nervousness that came with Jared's company was terrifying but not for the reasons Jared seemed to assume.

Since Jensen's health was getting better, his body began to remind him that, deep underneath the broken surface, he was still a full blooded male. Having Jared around, caring about Jensen and their baby, had Jensen hot and bothered more often than not. Apparently, being loved and flooded with pregnancy hormones was a fast way of getting horny, despite how inappropriate acting on that feeling was at the current moment.

It didn't help at all, that, whenever he got a chance, Jared would find ways and excuses to touch Jensen. Be it an innocent squeeze to his shoulder or a brush of their hands. The worst, for Jensen's physical problem, were the shy kisses. Just like earlier, when Jared kissed his forehead or when the doorbell rang and Jensen opened the door to a smiling Jared; the man would always lean in and greet Jensen with a light kiss to his temples.

"Maybe you also remember, how I told you, that I want to be with you. For longer than just during the time of the pregnancy. Question is: What do you want? Are you willing to give us a chance?"

Jensen, after all the secrets he kept and lies he told, knew, that Jared deserved the truth. "I don't... d-don't know... h-how."

As he spoke, he watched how Jared's face fell and Jensen wanted to slap himself in the face for chosing the wrong words. Quickly, Jensen steeled his nerves and repeated his earlier thoughts, this time for Jared to hear, "...d-don't know the f-first thing about releationships. Never had one."

"Actually, you do know: love. Love's the first and definitely most important formula to a relationship. Time will give us the opportunity to figure out everything else."

There was nothing left to argue about. Jared was right. He had been right and honest from the very beginning but Jensen had never been as scared as he was in that moment. Scared of waking up one day and everything was nothing but a dream. Scared, that someday Jared would realize that there is nothing about Jensen worth loving.

Jensen knew that he would regret not giving this a shot. If he was going to miss the chance of being happy for once, he'd never forgive himself. Nodding was all Jensen was capable of. He was certain, soon enough, Jared would change his mind and Jensen would be left with a broken heart.

"If I wanted to kiss you now, would you let me?"

There was nothing Jensen wanted more in this moment; his heart racing terribly fast and his eyes lingered on Jared's lips. Completely lost at the sight and trapped in a trance-like state, Jensen mumbled, "uh-huh."

He wasn't sure if Jared heard him, but suddenly Jensen was slightly pulled forward, all while the taller man snaked Jensen's arm around his waist, bringing their lips together in a soft kiss as Jensen's hand fisted into Jared's shirt.

Jensen held on to the small of Jared's back, holding on for dear life and to stop himself from toppling over. The last time he was that close to Jared, felt the man's lips against his own, had been at the hospital. Yet, it felt like a first kiss all over again. Jensen was sure he was a terrible kisser, lack of practice and all that but, he was proven wrong when Jared whimpered into his mouth. Muffled moans from both of them forced them to step closer to one another in an attempt to intensify the kiss and act on their bodily instincts.

A thrill of excitement hit Jensen; his brain stuck on how amazing Jared felt and how, even though Jensen used to ignore and deny it, Jared’s presence calmed him. It was almost to the point where he dared thinking that Jared was the only one capable of making Jensen feel alive.

They kept kissing for what felt like eternity and Jensen mourned the loss of Jared when the man pulled back to fill his lungs with oxygen, "...yeah, I'm never gonna get enough of that." Jared chuckled at his own statement and leaned in for another kiss; not more than a brief touch of silky soft skin. Jensen wanted to drown in the taste but, carefully, he put a few inches of distance between them, drawing his hand away from Jared's back while doing so.

He didn't like his decision of stopping the intimate moment, however, Jensen was starting to get real uncomfortable in his pregnancy jeans. The last thing he wanted was to embarrass himself only because said hormones thought it was a great idea to get an errection from the small kiss they shared.

"You think, maybe, we can do that again? Soon?" Jared blushed and lowered his head.

The shy gesture almost had Jensen smiling. He couldn't even remember when his face morphed into an honest smile last; probably a very long time ago. But seeing Jared like this, close to being vulnerable, Jensen shut his doubts off for the moment. "Yeah," he whispered as he craned his neck enough to press his lips against Jared's one last time.

It was scary how quickly Jensen found himself craving Jared’s touches and it was completely terrifying to realize that his pregnancy hormonoes where not to blame for that.

A few hours and more stolen kisses later -Jared did the stealing-, Jensen found himself, trembling with nervous energy, in the passenger seat of Jared's car. Now that he knew about Jared, the car made perfect sense. Jensen had never given it much thought or questioned how the man could possibly afford it. But thinking about it now, Jensen should have realized sooner that a volunteer could never throw enough cash on the table to pay for such an expensive vehicle.

During the time after his hospital stay, Jensen listened with enough intensity to learn more details about Jared and the man’s life. For some reason, it wasn’t exactly a surprise to realize that Jared was, usually, a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. However, it was only another reason for Jensen to feel guilty. Whenever Jared spent time with him, which had been a lot in the last weeks, Jared seemed quiet, thoughtful and sometimes sad. Jensen supposed it was mostly his fault and he had a lot to make up for. Jensen knew it would take him quite some time to loosen up and step out of his well shaped shell of distrust and negativity, but he had to give it a try. So far, Jared had been immensely patient with him; it was definitely time to give something back. Nobody ever told Jensen how hard it was to give yourself over to someone, especially when you’re crippled with fear of being let down and hurt.

They drove for almost half an hour, to the outskirts of Nashville; the further they left the center of the city behind them, the more expensive the houses to their left and right became. Jensen still had no idea where they were going, until Jensen took a closer look: Page Road. He had heard about this neighborhood before; very secluded and only available to the rich and powerful. Jensen felt completely out of place and so many miles away from his comfort zone that he was sure the moon would be faster and closer to reach.

Shortly, after pulling into a driveway, Jared stopped the car in front of a Victorian Style… mansion. It was huge, massive and still seemed small, homey and welcoming. Jensen had mixed feelings about this place; his eyes were drawn to the many different colors dazlling him in a comforting way from the front yard but his heart was racing a mile a minute over the still unknown reason why Jared took him there. Tapping his heels up and down, feeding his nerves with more anxious energy, Jensen turned slightly to face Jared, a question already on his lips but when his eyes landed on Jared’s hazel ones, he felt as if looking into a mirror. Jared seemed just as nervous and it only made it all the worse for Jensen.

“It’s Friday.” Jared told him, as if that could‘ve possibly answered anything.

“Y-Yeah. I… I k-know.”

“No, well, yes. Uh, thing is, it’s Friday. Friday means I have to be here.”

Jensen kept on staring at the man, his head shaking in question and it was, kind of, adorable to see Jared trembling and stumbling over his words and making no sense whatsoever. Usually, after Jensen’s hospital stay, Jared didn’t leave Jensen and Chris’ place before midnight rolled around or he simply didn’t leave at all. Except on Fridays. The last two Fridays, Jared said goodbye to him in the afternoon but never offered an explanation of as to why or where he was going. Apparently, wherever Jared had gone to, Jensen was going there too, now.

“That,” Jared pointed to the house in question without taking his attention away from Jensen, “... is my parent’s home.”

Parents. The word alone made Jensen shiver, his blood running hot and cold, and he squeezed his eyes shut, hoping to hell that, if he opened them again, he’d be back in his apartment and everything was nothing but a nightmare. He didn’t want to be there, didn’t want to meet Jared’s parents or be involved in any family drama. He’s had enough of that with his own parents and it wasn’t a secret, not to him or his best friend, how that ended. Jensen didn’t want to be a part of anything like that ever again. “N-No. I… I, no. P-Please, j-just take m-me b-back.”

“I can’t. They’re expecting us. If I don’t show up, my mom’s gonna whack me senseless. My parents have a rule: Fridays are family time. Dinner to be exact. Mom and Dad are always holding family dinner on Fridays; she doesn’t accept any excuses. I could be at the end of the world and she’d still expect me to show up.”

Jensen’s stomach curled into one huge knot and the immediate change of emotional distress didn’t stay unnoticed to their daughter; she was kicking up a storm and using Jensen’s insides as a punching bag. What the hell was Jared thinking? He promised Jensen a surprise and that it would be a good one. This? This was anything but good. It was torture and Jensen could practically feel how his walls rose up higher in an attempt to block everything around him out and protect him from whatever there was to come.

Jared, Jensen was sure, was short of biting his bottom lip raw and bloody with how hard he bit down on it before speaking again. “Jen, please don’t be mad when I tell you what I’m about to say to you.”

Jensen wasn’t mad, he was furious and disappointed. Jared should have told him, asked him for crying out loud, if he was ready for this, if he even wanted to do this.

“After you were released from the hospital and things between us changed to the better, I… well, I talked to my folks. I told them about you and our baby. Chris said it’s going to bite me in the ass but…-”

“Chris?” Jensen was shocked to hear that obviously his best friend was in on all this and didn’t warn him. Though, Jensen wasn’t blind. Chris and Jared did get along well and as soon as Jensen had given Jared the cold shoulder again, to protect his feelings and stop them from bubbling up to the surface, Chris stepped in and cheered Jared up.

“Yes, Chris. Even though he said it was wrong to haul you out here without giving you a heads up, he thought it to be necessary. Anyway, as I was saying, my parents know and they’re excited; they really want to meet you.”

Jensen really didn’t want to meet Jared’s parents. All he wanted was to be left alone and back home where he could hide in his own four walls. But then again, the rational and logic part of his brain told Jensen that Jared’s parents had as much of a right to know about the baby as Jared did. Hiding the pregnancy from Jared had been a mistake, Jensen knew that by now, but understanding how these people could possibly be excited was beyond Jensen. They didn’t know him and Jensen was more than certain, that, once they got to know him, they’d realize that Jensen wasn’t good enough for their son. Jensen had never been good enough for anyone, not even for his own parents, how on earth could these people be any different? Taking a look at the house in front of them again, thinking about the rich neighborhood, Jensen was sure that Jared’s parents couldn’t possibly accept a jobless loser like Jensen for their son. In his mind, he built an opinion of the people Jared wanted him to meet. Considering the house, it was most definitely a sure sign for Jared’s parents to be snobs of the very annoying kind.

Protesting and asking again to leave was not an option anymore as Jared’s eyes were drawn to the house too, a small smile tugging on the man’s face and completely ignoring Jensen’s concerns. As he followed Jared’s gaze, Jensen was left staring at a frantically waving woman. Maybe it was Jensen’s wishful thinking or wild imagination, but, if this was Jared’s mother, then she definitely had an excited gleam in her eyes. Jensen had expected a woman in a cocktail dress and perfectly manicured fingernails, accompanied by professional make up and hair. The woman at the door, still waving at them, didn’t look like any of that. From what he could tell, she wore what looked to be comfortable jeans with a plaid blouse and her hair was a bit of a mess, as if she carded her hands through it a few times too often. And still, she had this whole southern charm going on.

It was kind of cute how the woman stared right back at Jensen and totally ignored Jared while doing so.

“Okay, I was wrong. I should have warned you because, as you can clearly see, they can be pretty weird and overwhelming.” Jared didn’t sound apologetic at all; his voice had a funny edge to it but for some very strange and unexplainable reason, Jensen found the corners of his lips pulling upwards into an amused smile.

Jensen ducked his head and hid his face in his palms, not caring that Jared’s mother was able to see him. “I… I d-don’t like this.“

This time, there was no mistaking the look on Jared’s face, that he was sorry and he told Jensen as much. Though Jensen didn’t agree to paying Jared’s parents a visit, he knew how to be polite. Throughout his whole life, there weren’t many people who greeted Jensen with politeness and they didn’t even care that he had done nothing wrong, which made it hurt even more. Jensen was a lot of things, but rude wasn’t one of them. Jensen weighed his options: either disappoint Jared and place a shattering sadness on his heart or make it through the evening, with people he didn’t even know by name. “What… w-what if t-they don’t like me?” Considering the woman’s wide grin, it was a silly question but, in Jensen’s experience, completely justified.

“You see her?” Jared cocked his head in the direction of his still waiting mother, "… she’s as excited to meet you as a kid on Christmas. I can’t remember the last time either of them greeted me with such enthusiasm. They’ll love you. After what I’ve told them about you, they do so already.”

Jensen swallowed down the lump of fear in his throat, “… what d-did you t-tell them?”

Jared took Jensen’s hand in his own, brushing his thumb over his knuckles in comfort, just like he did so many times in the last couple of weeks, “… how much I love you. Apparently I had a really stupid smile on my face when I told them that you’re all I can think of and it was enough for my mom to be all giddy and thrilled to have you over for Friday’s family dinner. Should’ve seen her face when I told her she’d be a grandmother again in less than four months.” Jared chuckled in pure delight as he explained and Jensen didn’t miss the sheer fervor in the man’s words. Jensen had no other choice but believe what Jared said and maybe, just maybe, Jensen would make it through dinner without breaking down or being judged.

“Okay, I won’t ask if you’re ready to go greet her, because you clearly aren’t. But I’m afraid that, if we let her wait much longer, she’ll refuse me dessert.“

If getting out of the car and meeting Jared’s parents was the step Jensen had to take in order to finally have a normal life, then his options were limited. He had to do this. “O-Okay.“

Jared was the perfect gentleman, probably to impress his mother more than Jensen, as he opened the passenger door for him. The situation was awkward enough, but with his six and a half months pregnancy belly, Jensen had actual trouble getting up and out of the car. But Jared was right there, hooking his large hand around Jensen’s elbow and pulling him out. Jensen tried to ignore Jared’s wink but he failed and found himself gaping at the gesture.

Jensen barely had his footing under control when Jared’s mother walked towards them, her eyes not leaving Jensen for a second.

“You must be Jensen!” The woman stepped right in front of Jensen and her infectious smile was almost as bright as Jared’s.

“Mom, hi. I’d like you to meet…-” Jared greeted his mother but was ignored as if he wasn’t even there.

Instead, the woman addressed Jensen again, “… it’s so good to finally meet you. This is so exciting.” Jared’s mother clapped her hands together, her eyes so full of joy that Jensen was completely lost at how to react to her. “Look at you,” she kept on without giving neither Jared nor Jensen the time for an answer. “You’re the most handsome thing I’ve ever seen.”

Jensen blinked at the woman, his brain spazzing at her compliment and only snapped out of his haze when Jared cleared his throat next to him. “Well, thanks a lot. And yeah, it’s good to see you, too, mom.”

Finally, Jared’s mother took her eyes off of Jensen and grinned at her son, “aww, you poor thing.” She stood on her tiptoes to give the man a peck and patted Jared’s cheeks. “Good to see you, son.”

At first, Jensen thought that Jared’s mother had finally given up on focusing on Jensen, but he was so very wrong. Suddenly, the woman stepped into Jensen’s personal space and before Jensen had a chance to get away, she threw her arms around him.

“Oh god, how rude of me." She said and pulled back, however, her hands didn’t let go of Jensen’s arms. “As you already know, I’m Jared’s mother, Sherry. Welcome to the crazy place that is our home," she said as she patted Jensen’s arm one last time before taking a careful step backwards. Jensen couldn’t help but wonder what must’ve gone through the woman’s head when she saw Jensen’s rounded middle; it was highly visible already and the bigger his belly became the more uncomfortable he felt – out of place and still like his body wasn’t his own. Ignoring his pregnancy for so long, trying to avoid the reality, took its toll on Jensen and only slowly did he begin to accept that the baby inside of him, the little girl, was his to keep. Jensen couldn’t fathom the thoughts of ‘what ifs’ and how much different the bump would feel, and how strange it did feel, if it wasn’t for Jared coming to the rescue. Without Jared’s support, Jensen would still be fighting tooth and nail against the changes of his body in a desperate attempt to ignore the baby inside of him.

Jensen watched Sherry intently and not only did she have the same smile as Jared, the woman also carried the same weird and yet affectionate gleam in her eyes when she locked her eyes on Jensen’s swell. For the first time, since finding out that he was pregnant, a rush of protectiveness hit him and he wanted to shield his daughter from any prying looks. Though, he kept his hands away from his middle; the concept of familial contact still an alien thought.

Also, Jensen didn’t miss the patience in Sherry’s eyes, the way she waited for him to say something while trying to hide her expectations. There was no doubt left in Jensen that Jared had told his family about Jensen’s refusal to speak in front of strangers. Even in front of Jared, Jensen still felt uncomfortable talking. Everything was just too new and he hoped that they’d all bear with him and give him the time he needed. It had been a lifetime since anyone welcomed Jensen to their home, however, he wasn’t the kind of person to step on someone’s toes. Therefore, he sent his negative thoughts packing for the time being and offered a careful smile to the woman in front of him. “Thanks… f-for having me, Mrs. P-Padalecki.“

Jensen blew out a relieved breath after thanking her and as soon as his body began to shake with nerves, he felt Jared’s hand reaching for his own. The touch calmed Jensen, so much so that he looked up at the man next to him and nodded with a slight smile in a silent thank you.

“None of that sweetheart. You call me Sherry or mom or anything of the like; we’re family here."

Nodding his way through the nervousness, Jensen returned Sherry’s smile. He couldn’t remember the last time he actually spoke the word ‘mom‘ and avoiding any more strange situations, he guessed it was better to go with Sherry. “Okay.”

“Good. Now, what do you say we go get inside and Jared can introduce you to Gerald? Right, Jared?”

“Right. Yes.”

Jensen followed Jared and his mother inside, deliberately staying close to Jared. It became obvious, with every passing minute, how much he needed Jared during this time. Being around strangers always had Jensen on edge and he had to realize that he finally began to feel comfortable around Jared. So much so that being at the man’s side comforted him enough to even out his breathing and relaxed him to the point where he actually believed the day couldn’t be that bad. Even if meeting Jared’s family turned out to be a disaster, Jensen was sure that Jared would be there to stop Jensen’s emotional fall.

“Sherry!” Jensen twitched as the loud muffled yell invaded the air when they walked into the house and instinctively, Jensen stepped closer to Jared. “Sherry? Your food’s about to burn!”

Sherry ran off, to what Jensen guessed was the kitchen and Jared chuckled while nudging Jensen’s arm before he spoke up to explain the situation, “that would be my dad. Sometimes he’s got trouble controlling the volume of his voice because, well, he can’t hear himself. His speech got worse over the years and doctors say it’s normal and a side effect to his hearing loss. It’s difficult for him to speak because, even though he knows how the words are supposed to be spoken, it’s hard for him to actually deliver them. You know how with blind people their hearing increases? One sense shuts off and the other takes over to make life somewhat easier for them. Well, it’s different for deaf people. Even if they weren’t always deaf, the loss of their hearing causes their speech to decrease, at least the quality of it. So, if he’s being loud, like you just heard, it’s not because he’s being rude.”

Jensen had never centered any thoughts about Jared’s dad. All Jensen ever wondered was, if Jared had been telling the truth and wasn’t bothered by Jensen’s stutter. So many times Jared tried to reassure Jensen that it didn’t bother him and it wasn’t until now, with Jared smiling down at him and talking about his dad, that Jensen was willing to believe him.

“The boys here yet?” The voice of Jared’s father rang through the air again. It sounded off and strange, yet, it held an excited tone to it.

Hearing the man’s voice left Jensen wondering how he could have ever doubted Jared. The man’s voice was so much worse than Jensen ever thought his stutter to be. It was difficult to understand the man, unless you paid attention to every word and thinking about it made Jensen realize that, while his stutter was often very bad, his words were still clear. Being confronted with the difference and yet similarity of their vocal problem, Jensen wanted to smack himself in the head over his stupidity. Yes, his stutter was annoying, it was embarrassing having to hope on the patience of other people when and if he had to talk to others, but he knew why his stutter was so prominent. Fear and nervousness made it all the worse and if he only had enough balls to trust people like he trusted Chris, then he knew that his stutter wouldn’t even be that bad. Jensen didn’t like holding grudges, much. However, he would forever blame his own father for the way he had to live his life in such terror and angst over connecting with people.

“Jared, Jensen, get in here.” Sherry ordered in a stern motherly tone. Whereas the woman was overly happy to meet Jensen only a short moment ago, now it felt like he’d been coming to their house forever. Jensen’s concern of being treated like a stranger vanished so fast his head was spinning at the sudden change of his emotions.

With Jared’s arm slightly wrapped around the small of his back, Jensen was guided deeper into the house; the rich smell of home cooking was almost enough to force him to tear up. Jensen always loved his mother’s cooking and he hadn’t smelled anything close to it since he ran away with Chris.

In the kitchen, pots and pans clanked as Sherry fussed around to prepare dinner. At the kitchen isle, an almost bald man busied himself with folding napkins. Never, not even with his own parents, had Jensen witnessed such an affectionate display of domestic bliss. The man wasn’t doing much, he folded napkins for crying out loud. Though, his calm demeanor spoke volumes.

“Finally.” Jared’s father said with a broad smile on his lips as he stood up and rounded the counter to greet Jensen.

“Dad, I want you to meet Jensen. Jensen, meet my dad.” Again, Jared nudged Jensen’s side a little in a comforting way to have Jensen’s nerves disappear.

“Happy to meet you, son. I’m Gerald.”

Jensen gasped when the man addressed him as ‘son’ but swallowed the surprise down in favor to extend his hand to Gerald. He lingered in the moment for a few seconds longer before he voiced his own greeting. “Nice t-to meet you.”

As Jensen spoke, Gerald’s eyes didn’t move from Jensen’s lips and immediately all Jensen’s fears came rushing back. The man squinted at every shift of Jensen’s lips.

“You okay, dad?” Jared rushed in, his hands moving to sign for his dad and obviously aware of the man’s stare as well.

“Yeah,” Gerald took a step back and whipped his head towards his son then back at Jensen. “Sorry, Jensen. When our son said you can’t sign, I thought it was finally time to learn this whole lip-reading thing. Damn, that shit’s hard. So, I have no idea what you just said and I’m going on a hunch and say that you said you’re happy to be here and that you love the crazy Padaleckis already and what a lovely home we have. Right?”

Jensen blinked up at the man, who was grinning as wide as his shoulders and before Jensen had a chance to say anything, Jared busted up laughing like a fool.

“Jesus Christ, dad. Give him a break.” Jared’s hands were flying through the air alongside his words.

“Alright alright.” Gerald sounded seriously apologetic but the moment of silence that followed wasn’t that uncomfortable. “Now, I’d offer you a beer to welcome you properly but you carry very precious cargo.” With a cock of his head to Jensen’s bump, Gerald put a hand on Jensen’s shoulder and squeezed it while smiling proudly at him.

Jensen didn’t want to open his mouth, wanted to stay quiet for the most part but his brain to mouth filter short circuited and he spoke before he could stop his tongue from moving, “y-you’re not mad.” It wasn’t a question and in his peripheral vision Jensen saw how Jared signed Jensen’s statement to Gerald.

Jared’s father seemed baffled and taken aback by the surprise in Jensen’s conclusion. “Of course not. Jensen; we are really excited for you and Jared. We’re more than happy to have another grandchild to spoil. Sure, we were somewhat on the shocked side when Jared told us because we didn’t expect him to become a father anytime soon. Doesn’t mean we’re not excited. We are. Very much so.”

The sincerity Jensen was hit with made him swallow down an emotional lump in his throat and the second he was able to breathe again the dam broke and his eyes began to tear up. He felt like a complete idiot when he realized that everyone was staring at him. Then Jared, again, was there and pulled him into a tight hug as if he knew exactly what was going through Jensen’s head. “Shhh, it’s okay.”

“Great. Now see what you did, Gerald. You upset the boy.” Sherry threw in in threat. Jensen was sure her face was scrunched up in anger to match her voice but Jensen was still pressed tightly into Jared’s chest, praying that his damn hormones would wear off so he wouldn’t look like a mental mess.

“What? I just said how it is.”

“We’ve had three kids, Gerald Padalecki. You should know better than to overwhelm a pregnant man. Now move that silly butt of yours and set the table. The others ‘gonna be here any minute.”

Jensen registered a slap being handed out and the laugh vibrating through Jared’s chest was proof enough that it must’ve been Sherry handing it out to Gerald.

“Told you they are crazy.” Jared pulled back and gave Jensen a soothing kiss on the top of his head. “You okay again?”

Jensen nodded at Jared whose, noticeable, priority was to comfort Jensen whenever it was most needed. “Y-Yes. Sorry about t-that.”

“Don’t be. I knew this would be a lot for you. But I wouldn’t have brought you here if they’d be anything other than happy for us.”

The next twenty minutes progressed without any more physical conflicts. Warming up with Jared’s parents was easier than Jensen could’ve ever imagined. Jensen even offered to help Sherry but she refused, saying he better sit and not overdo it. Jensen wanted to protest, but he guessed that Jared told his folks about his hospital stay and Sherry sounded too worried about Jensen to start any arguments. So, Jensen sat down just like she ordered him to. He silently, with puppy eyes and all, begged Jared to help him out and do something, because he felt like an idiot and completely useless. In that moment, Jensen found out that Jared’s loyalty to his family was so abiding that he turned into a traitor against Jensen; he shrugged at Jensen’s plea and said it was either Jensen being bored for a few minutes longer or Jared getting into trouble with his mother. For the first time, Jensen wondered what his and Jared’s life would be like after their daughter was born, if Jared’s loyalty would be as strong to him and their baby as well. Considering how devoted Jared already seemed, it shouldn’t even be a question to Jensen.

Before Jensen’s own family fell apart, he experienced the same kind of loyalty for his mother that Jared had for his. Never, not in a million years, would he have turned his back on her. That was before she turned her back on Jensen and left her son no other choice but running. But, Jensen supposed, in every healthy family relationship, one thing was an unspoken rule: you never, not ever, say no to your mother. Especially if she’s the one feeding you.

Other than Jensen, Jared wasn’t only allowed to help his mother, no, she playfully smacked him with a ladle and pushed him to the stove to get the casserole out for her. “I don’t see you having our grandchild, so get a move on and help,” Sherry said and turned her face to Jensen, giving him a wink.

As the food was done cooking and the table set, everyone, including Jensen, whipped their heads towards the backdoor. A little boy came crashing through it, completely out of breath. “Uncle Jareeeeed!”

Jensen watched how Jared practically turned into a beaming, smiling fool and Jensen was sure he had never seen anything more beautiful than Jared’s reaction to the boy’s greeting.

“Cody!” Jared picked the kid up and tickled him until the boy was kicking and screaming but still cackling like he was having the time of his life.

From the mere times Jensen actually did listen to Jared and didn’t ignore him, he learned that Cody was Jared’s six year old nephew. Another round of introductions was made as soon as Jared let the boy down on his own two feet again and Cody spotted Jensen behind the counter, next to Gerald.

Once Cody, to Jensen’s surprise, gave him a hug in greeting too, the boy’s mother walked in and her eyes went impossibly wide when she saw Jensen. Until that moment, Jensen started to feel okay-ish and less of a freak than he usually did, but the woman’s stare made him uncomfortable all over again.

“Okaaaay. Someone tell me who that is. Who are you?” Her head moved from one family member to the other and finally back on Jensen.

“Jensen, meet my sister Megan. Megan, the guy you’re still staring at is Jensen. He’s my…” Jared began to say but had trouble finishing and Jensen noticed that the man had his difficulties figuring out what Jensen was to him. Truth be told, not even Jensen was sure of what they were. They did, kind of, agree on giving themselves a chance to be with the other and it wasn’t a secret to either of them anymore that they had deep feelings for each other but other than that? Jensen had no clue if he was Jared’s boyfriend or… or whatever.

Before Jared or Jensen himself were able to fill in the blanks, Megan shook her head in complete disbelief, "what the hell could you possibly want from that dork I have to call my brother?"

At loss for words, Jensen lowered his head. He had no idea how to interpret Megan’s question: if it was meant as a joke or sincere concern over who her brother is spending his time with. Memories of his kind-of-interogation with Lynne popped back into Jensen’s mind and even though Jared’s boss had only Jared’s best interest at heart, Jensen still felt unworthy. The same feeling hit him again as Megan kept staring at him, obviously waiting for an answer from either of them. Jensen fidgeted on his chair, a riot of angst and heartache caused his body to tremble.

Jensen barely noticed what happened around him, his mind fogged with speculations and the urge to get away from these people was too strong.

"He's off limits, brat." Jared’s calm threat rang in Jensen’s ears and when he dared to look up again, he watched as Jared playfully shoved his sister.

"It's a free country, I'm allowed to voice my concerns that he's way too good looking for your mug."

Jensen was hiding in his own world, his head spinning and he was unable to comprehend the situation. Suddenly, his stomach’s skin tightened as his daughter begged for more room. Her kicks left Jensen breathless and he winced through the pain her physical dissatisfaction caused. Since he began eating properly again, the pain was bearable but in stressful situations like this one, his body had still been too weak to deal with it. It wasn’t as bad as it was the night he passed out, but still strong enough to force him on his feet in order to give the baby the space she needed to stretch. The last thing Jensen wanted was to draw more attention to himself, but that didn’t work so well when all of a sudden Megan gasped in surprise.

Jensen breathed through his pain and locked eyes with Jared to find some sort of comfort. The man searched Jensen’s eyes, silently asking if he was okay and Jensen found it strange, that, after only a few weeks they already had this whole reading each other thing going. It made it so much easier for Jensen; it gave him the excuse of not having to talk too much around Jared. With a nod of his head, Jensen reassured Jared that he was going to be okay and Jensen wanted to melt on the spot when he saw how relief washed over Jared.

“See, told you. He’s off limits.” Jared then said while knocking his shoulder against his sister’s and cocked his head at Jensen’s prominent swell that held their daughter.

Another gasp from Megan forced everyone to look at her. “Oh my god.” Five hurried steps later and Megan stood face to face with Jensen, her eyes glued to Jensen’s middle.

“So…” Jensen began and took a deep breath before he continued, “she d-didn’t know?” He asked Jared.

“Nope. The only one I left in the dark.”

Megan huffed in disappointment, “oh my god. You’re really pregnant, aren’t you?” She addressed Jensen again, who only nodded, too perplexed and still confused over the whole situation.

“Mom? Why didn’t you tell me? I mean, can’t you see? He… Jensen’s pregnant. Look at him, he’s all showing and… and he’s got a baby bump. He’s pregnant!” The last few words were nothing but a weird girly squeal and when Megan composed herself enough to breathe again, Jensen found himself being hugged for what felt like the hundredth time that day.

“Dear god! I haven’t even noticed. Jensen, you’re pregnant.” Sarcasm heavy in her every word, Sherry pointed at Jensen’s distened middle. What Jensen didn’t expect, was, for Sherry to step closer to Jensen and wrap her arms around his shoulder in a motherly hug. “Apparently, my daughter doesn’t like it when her brother’s boyfriend is more handsome than any guy she’s ever brought home.”

When Jared cracked up laughing at his sister, Jensen couldn’t help himself but join in. Immediately Jared stopped and gawked at him, his face a mix of utter surprise and wonderment and Jensen, for the life of him, was unable to figure out why the man was so taken aback. Jared took one of Jensen’s hands in his own and kissed his knuckles, another reason for Jensen to feel all strange, especially when Jared was so affectionate with him in front of his own family. Jensen’s father had never even allowed him to think of men in an intimate way and here, Jared’s parents didn’t even bat an eye. Sherry was smiling at them, Gerald rolled his eyes in mock-annoyance, six-year-old Cody said he was going to be sick and Megan, well, Megan kind of whimpered and bit her fist. Literally.

Jared leaned in, close to Jensen’s ear, then and whispered for only Jensen to hear. “I’ve never seen you smile like this. Please, don’t ever stop.”

Jensen tensed but immediately felt a rush of rich warmth spread through him as Jared’s lips pursed, just so, barely there, but enough to leave a kiss on Jensen’s skin. Right there. Right behind Jensen’s ear. Jared not only kept on turning Jensen’s life upside down, the man also managed to have Jensen’s body tingle in anticipation for more of these tiny touches. Jensen hoped, that when Jared brought him back home, that maybe… maybe Jensen could find enough courage to ask Jared to stay with him. In less than two weeks, Jared wormed his way into Jensen’s heart so deeply that, secretly, Jensen craved to be close to Jared, to be held. But most of the time he didn’t have the nerve to voice any of this to Jared. All Jensen could think of was to keep his distance, feelings or not, his anxiety over waiting for Jared to disappoint him or Jared not being serious about him, always took the better of him.

Jensen shut his dark thoughts off for the time being and enjoyed the attention Jared gave him. The attention everyone else gave him wasn’t settling well with him yet and Jensen knew he would need a long time to get used to people acknowledging him, seeing him, realizing that he actually did exist. It was a whole new world for him.

The rest of the evening, and dinner, progressed like nothing Jensen could’ve ever dreamed of happening to him. When finally, an hour too late, Jared’s brother Jeff arrived, Jensen didn’t even have time to let fear build up again. The man welcomed him to the family with a hug and a clap to his shoulders like everybody else did.

Time flew by too quickly for Jensen’s liking. Dinner was nothing short of amazing, the food too delicious to find appropriate words for it and it was obvious how every bite Jensen took made Jared happy, almost as if when Jensen was eating Jared’s life was perfect.

When the evening came to an end, Jensen’s fears came back. He was afraid that once he opened the door to leave the Padalecki’s house, he’d wake up and realize that everything, the love they showered him with, was nothing but a delusion. Jensen didn’t know how to cope with this kind of disappointment, because too quickly, in the span of a few hours, he got used to the comfort of Jared’s family.

Apparently, the feeling was mutual, because when Jared and Jensen did leave, Sherry and Gerald made it clear that from now on there was no excuse for Jensen to not show up for Friday’s family dinners. Not that Jensen would’ve ever had other plans on that specific day, but he was still hoping that their baby didn’t decide to come to the world on a Friday. He’d hate having to disappoint the people who so generously accepted him as a family member in such a rush.

As they arrived back at Jensen’s place, he was surprised that there was no waking up happening, that yes, everything still felt surreal, but the evening really took place and Jared’s family was as real as Jared. The man was there, walking Jensen to the apartment with no clear plans of leaving as he followed Jensen inside.

“Thank you.” Jared shyly said while he followed Jensen into the kitchen.

“W-What for?” Confused, Jensen tried to keep his eyes off of Jared and focused on something else; fixing himself a tea just so he had a reason to stay busy.

“For giving my family a chance to meet you.”

Jensen realized then, that he wasn’t the only one who had to deal with his fair share of fears. Jared sounded weak but still happy. With this fact lingering between them, Jensen knew it was about time to trust Jared more than he thought he was capable of only a few weeks ago.

“My parents… they… t-they didn’t care whether I l-lived or died.” Jensen placed the kettle on the stove and refused any kind of eye contact with Jared.

“Jen… God, I’m so sorry.”

Nodding at the sincere statement, Jensen kept staring at the kettle. “It’s okay.”

“No. It really isn’t. What happened?”

When he felt Jared shuffling his feet and moving closer, Jensen’s first instinct was to step away, but there was the need for Jared’s calming presence, the closeness of the man comforting him. “My f-father used to b-beat the shit out of m-me; started when I was barely eight y-years o-old. It… it got w-worse when my p-parents found out I’m g-gay.” What else was he supposed to say? It was difficult enough to think of his parents and it was worse speaking about them. But Jared had offered so much about himself that he deserved to learn the most important parts of Jensen’s life, the parts that turned Jensen into the man he was now.

For a long moment, Jared was awfully quiet behind him. As the kettle began whistling, Jensen wanted to reach for it, but Jared was faster and took the kettle from the stove, his body pressed firmly against Jensen’s back. “No child deserves that kind of abuse, least of all you. I won’t ever let anything happen to you or our daughter.”

Jared took Jensen’s hands in his own and at first Jensen thought that Jared was going to just hold him again. Then something happened that had Jensen’s breath caught in his throat.

“I know you worry and you’re scared. So am I, but I promise you that our little one’s gonna have a great childhood. She’s never going to have to face any of the things you had to deal with. I can’t wait to tell her how much I love her, but what she needs the most right now, is for you to show her that you love her.” With that, Jared moved Jensen’s hands upwards until they hovered over his baby bump.

“And you do love her, right?” Jared asked, thumbs rubbing over Jensen’s shaking hands.

Jensen nodded, a sob escaping his throat and tears began burning behind his lids.

“Then show her. Let her feel how deeply you care about her.” Jared brushed his lips against the back of Jensen’s neck before he placed Jensen’s hand on either side of his belly.

Unless Jensen showered, he didn’t dare touch his stomach and even then it had been hurried and with a vacant mind. Now though, he couldn’t ignore the pang of his heart. He dwelled in the moment as Jared’s hands guided him to explore every inch of his rounded middle. When they reached the underside of his stomach, Jensen felt a hard kick from the inside, but against his hands it was only a tiny flutter. Still, it was, by far, the most heartwarming moment of his life. If he could feel their daughter, then there was no doubt she could feel him too and recognize the way he chased after every new kick only to feel more of it. The moment had been so intense that Jensen was too far gone to care about his emotional state. While Jared rested his head on Jensen’s shoulder, Jensen let his emotions get the better of him and in a matter of seconds he started sobbing louder and let his tears fall without regret.

Jensen knew that not one of his tears would ever be enough of an apology for neglecting their daughter for so long but still, he hoped that someday she’d be able to forgive him.

“How’s it feel?” There was an envious touch to Jared’s weak voice, which only made it all the worse for Jensen. Sadness was clearly written in Jared’s words and his shaking hands were evidence enough of how badly Jensen had treated the man.

Jared, then, let go of Jensen’s hands in favor of wrapping his arms around Jensen’s chest. It was so obvious how much Jared wanted to feel it too, but still didn’t ask Jensen. In fact, Jared hadn’t asked Jensen to let him feel since the night Jared found out about the pregnancy. Though, Jensen always saw how Jared’s eyes lingered on the baby bump, how Jared’s fingers twitched to reach out. For so long Jensen hadn’t only ignored the baby’s needs, he had also done everything in his power to shut Jared out, to keep him away from the pregnancy and prevent the man from being a part of the things happening inside Jensen’s belly.

Not knowing how to possibly describe what he was feeling, as Jensen kept exploring his stomach, he grabbed for Jared’s hands and reversed their earlier position by placing his own hands on top of Jared’s. Behind him, Jared sucked in a sharp breath of surprise, the rise and fall of his chest moved strongly against Jensen’s back and only when he felt wetness coat his neck’s skin did he understand how big of a step he just took and what a gift it had been for Jared to finally have this.

A few times, Jared tried to speak and say something but nothing came out of his mouth, nothing but broken sobs of excitement.

Jensen leaned further into Jared’s body and let his head rest against the man’s jaw, skimming their joined hands over their daughter. “F-Feels good,” Jensen confessed and deep down he knew that, pregnant or not, it was one of the most amazing things happening to him when Jared touched him. His hands were gentle and very careful as they tried to find the next kick to Jensen’s skin. Long minutes passed, where neither of them moved, except their hands, and with the next hard kick, Jensen felt Jared’s lips spread into a wide smile.

“That’s… amazing. God, Jensen. I… I don’t know what to say. This is… I never thought you’d let me... Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Jensen wanted to say he was sorry, the words were already dancing on his tongue, but all of a sudden, Jared’s hands were gone from his stomach and held on to Jensen’s hips instead, turning him around so they were facing each other.

It was as if time stood still and the earth stopped moving when Jared looked at him; his eyes wet with happiness and a smile on his lips that turned Jensen’s knees into jello.

Shutting his brain up to stop it from getting involved and ruin the evening, Jensen acted on what his heart was screaming for as he leaned up to crash their lips together. Desperation was clear in his move but for the first time, Jensen didn’t care about showing what he wanted. Fortunately, Jared didn’t seem to mind and tightened the grip on Jensen’s hips to pull him flush against his body.

While Jensen had been too lost in the kiss, the way Jared’s lips fit perfectly with his own, that, at first, he didn’t realize how Jared moved him until the small of Jensen’s back connected with the counter behind him.

Jared’s hands wandered lower still, until they cupped the back of Jensen’s thighs and in one swift motion he lifted Jensen up as if he was as light as a feather. Jensen hadn’t realized the effect it would have on him, but having Jared mandhandle him like that surely had an immense impact on his neither regions. Thank god there was a 27-week baby bump covering everything below Jensen’s waist. He was glad, when Jared stepped between his legs to resume the kiss, that the man didn’t come further than to Jensen’s swell; otherwise Jared would’ve definitely felt how quickly Jensen’s pants tented.

Even though he was still mostly inexperienced, Jensen found himself mirroring Jared’s movements. Their tongues danced in perfect sync while their hands began tugging to pull each other closer. Without giving his fears much thought, Jensen couldn’t help himself as he wrapped his legs around Jared’s waist and opened his lips further to give Jared all the access to fuck his tongue in and out of his mouth. He hadn’t felt that much confidence in his doings since the first time they made out, the night Jensen went all or nothing… the night their daughter was conceived.

Even the sheer thought of that night had Jensen’s head spinning and made him whimper against Jared’s lips. Not paying his needy moans any attention, Jensen mentally started to let his walls crumble in the other man’s hold and gave in to Jared.

“Jen…” Jared pulled back slowly and brought their foreheads together while his thumbs sneaked under Jensen’s shirt and drew tiny circles over both sides of his swell. “Do you…”

Jared cut himself off and visibly shook out of whatever thought had been on his mind; taking Jensen’s lips into another kiss again.

But, Jensen’s curiosity made him snap out of his lust-induced stupor. “W-what?”

“Nothing.”

There was a lie in there somewhere and Jensen was proud of being able to detect it, of being able to read Jared. “P-Please. What did you w-want to say?”

“I…” Jared’s voice broke as he blushed with the sincerity his question seemed to hold. “I was about to… wanted to… and… and… I was going to ask if… well, if you trust me. At least enough to let me come with you to… I mean, to your next doctor’s appointment. I just… Jensen, I love you, both of you and I know I’ll meet her in a few months but I really want to see her, want to hear her heartbeat. Who knows if I’ll ever be given the chance again, to experience this part. But then I remembered that you don’t trust me. So… Forget I said anything.”

Jared leaned back in but Jensen didn’t let him; there was too much emotional pain on Jared’s face to just drop the subject and let it go like that. He couldn’t believe the things he’d done to Jared, how much hurt he put on the man’s soul only because Jensen’s fears ruled his life for too long. If Jensen thought that losing Jared would break his heart, then he had been wrong on all possible levels. Seeing Jared like this, all the excitement ripped from his eyes and still willing to be there, to be close to Jensen even though he made Jared feel like that because he was too stubborn and fixated on his own anxiety instead of trusting Jared’s words. It was in that moment when Jensen had to admit, that, yes, he actually did trust Jared. Of course there was still doubt hidden in the back of his head and trying to screw with his judgment, but deep down he knew that everything Jared had done and said so far seemed to be the truth. There was no reason to not trust the man.

“I’m scared.” Jensen admitted in a whisper and tried to cover his unease by hiding his face in Jared’s neck. “I… I t-trust you. B-But I can’t sh-shake that feeling that… that w-when I let you in t-then you’ll b-break my heart.”

“Oh Jensen.” Jared lifted Jensen’s head up, searching for eye contact and Jensen had to blink away the tears that were threatening to break free that the weight of his confession brought along. “Breaking your heart or abandon the both of you, or whatever else you’re thinking? That’s not going to happen. How could I be anything but forever grateful for what you’re doing here? Jen, you’re giving me the greatest gift of my life, you carry our daughter. I’m not going anywhere and it’s unimaginable for me that someday I might not love you anymore or worse, what you fear, that I’d break your heart.”

For Jensen, it was either taking Jared’s word for it and moving on, or he himself being the one to blame if Jared was indeed going to break his heart, only because Jensen kept on pushing the man away and so far out of his life that Jared wasn’t able to find a way back. Letting his heart decide, Jensen nodded slowly, “…okay.” To get his point across with more than the mere answer, Jensen took Jared’s hand back in his own, only to place it directly over his distened middle.

“’Okay’? As in okay I come with?”

“Yes.” Feeling the need to emphatize his statement, Jensen tightened his legs around Jared’s thighs and dragged him closer by the front of his shirt until their lips were close enough to pick up where they left off.

Jared’s hand was still trapped between them and Jensen didn’t even flinch away as Jared’s fingers danced underneath the shirt. Jensen moaned in pleasure and Jared swallowed every single little sound out of him while Jensen’s brain tried to comprehend the thrill that hit him with the feeling of Jared’s hands on him.

“Can I take you to bed?” Jared asked but then his eyes went wide as he realized what he had just said. “I mean to sleep. It’s been a long day and I’m worried that if we keep this up I won’t be able to keep my hands off of you. So… bed? Sleep. I… I don’t want to leave and if it’s not too much to ask for in one day, maybe I can stay? I’d really like to wake up next to you both.”

Jensen wanted to melt on the spot and it definitely was a close call. Yes, he wanted Jared to stay, more than anything. It’s what he wanted to ask him but he was still unsure of how to ask for it. Sharing a bed with Jared wasn’t exactly new to either of them. The night Jared saved him, the night his life turned upside down all over again, Jared didn’t leave his side and hopped into bed whether Jensen wanted to or not. It had been the first night in many long months where Jensen found a couple hours of peaceful sleep. But since then, he either remained on the floor, watching over Jensen or spent the night on the couch. Jared didn’t complain once and neither did Jensen find the courage to ask the man to leave.

The promise of waking up with Jared was one thing, but the way Jared included even their unborn child in his plan was a thing of pure delight. There was no way Jensen could possibly say no to having Jared next to him. All he had to pray for now, was, that hopefully his libido and hormones would play along and give him a break.

“I… I’d l-like that.” With his cheeks burning like fire and his skin flushing red, Jensen closed the gap between them to share another kiss with Jared. Not nearly enough time had passed to get addicted, but then again, Jensen had been addicted to everything that is Jared Padalecki from the moment they met.

Letting go of Jared’s lips, Jensen licked his own to chase the taste of the other man that was still lingering there. As he hopped off the counter, Jared didn’t let go, instead, he hovered to make sure Jensen caught his footing.

After Jensen had his brain back under control, the upper one because the lower part of his body was still very interested in Jared being as close as possible, he excused himself to take a shower. Jared was right, it was a long day and a shower definitely sounded appealing. Considering that he’d share a bed with Jared, Jensen turned the water temperature to the lowest he could handle.

The shower he took was different, very different from any shower he had ever had. He paid attention to his rounded middle; he didn’t just rinse and wash like usually. This time he made sure to cradle the swell for as long as possible. Wherever his hands were, his daughter chased after him to greet him with a soft kick. It didn’t hurt, which was a surprise and he knew he had to apologize to the baby girl growing inside of him, but the sobs that wrecked his throat troubled his speech too much. Though, he was sure, she understood anyway.

A little over three more months and she would be born; Jensen couldn’t quite grasp the idea of holding his daughter yet. It was too surreal to him when, for six whole months, he was sure he’d never get a chance of even seeing her. The thought of having so little time left caused his brain to spin for a whole nother reason. Up until Jared opened up to him, Jensen didn’t need to worry about anything nursery-like. While before he wasn’t able to afford as much as an onsie, now he had to figure out how to get a complete nursery altogether. Swallowing his pride down, Jensen guessed there was no other choice left for him other than playing by Jared’s rules and allowing the man to support him and their baby. There was only talking left; Jensen definitely needed to talk to Jared about that and figure out the logistics of it all. Especially the problem that there wasn’t a spare room in the apartment that could’ve been rebuilt into a nursery. Maybe Jared had an idea how to make this work because Jensen’s brain was too jumbled with the day’s events to think further than getting out of the shower and to bed. With Jared.

When Jensen came back out of the bathroom, Jared was still where Jensen had last seen him, in the kitchen. Jared made quick work of overcoming the awkward situation as he said he’d hop into the shower real quick as well.

While the other man was in the bathroom, Jensen retreated to his bedroom and took his bathrobe off in favor for a pair of boxers. Not wanting to cause any more awkwardness, Jensen went to bed and hid under the covers, far on the right side of the bed to leave enough room for Jared. No matter how hard he tried, Jensen still felt weird and exposed. It was totally stupid; Jared had seen more than Jensen wearing nothing but boxers. Then again, almost seven months ago, Jensen’s body looked different and he hoped that the way he looked now, big and very pregnant, was still pleasing enough for Jared to be physically interested in Jensen. Jared said that he wouldn’t be able to keep his hands off of Jensen, but the doubtful part of Jensen was still present. So much so, that he believed it had everything to do with connecting with their unborn child rather than being intimate with Jensen as a man he once desired enough to have sex with.

Jensen’s mind-boggling thoughts were suddenly interrupted and put to a stop when the bed dipped and Jared shimmied under the covers to press his still shower-damp chest against Jensen’s back.

“This okay?” Jared breathed into Jensen’s neck.

The comforting shiver that ran through Jensen’s whole body forced him to stay quiet and nod his answer instead. This was more than okay, he enjoyed the closeness.

“Mind if I hold you?” Jared sounded as insecure as Jensen felt and it had been shocking to see how much control Jensen had over Jared with the behavior he’s exhibited over the last weeks. Others might be proud of such power, but Jensen felt bad about it and hoped that now that he was ready to give himself and Jared a chance, he would finally get to see more of the happy Jared he once got to know.

A content breath escaped Jensen when Jared’s hand found its way around his middle again. Now that they’d come that far, Jensen had no clue how to not get addicted to everything Jared did.

A few times, Jensen thought of joining Jared’s hands, but he decided against it in favor of dwelling in the feeling of Jared touching him and exploring his skin to build his own very special connection with their daughter. What Jensen didn’t count on, or forgot to worry about, was the fact that obviously his baby hormones-ruled dick enjoyed the whole touching a little too much.

Jensen didn’t know where to go, where to hide his sporting erection. Shoving his ass back to get his lower body away from Jared would’ve only driven him further to the other man’s crotch and forward might have seemed like Jensen didn’t want the touches to happen. So… there was that.

When Jared’s hand found its way to the underside of Jensen’s bump, he tried to hold his breath but it was futile. The back of Jared’s hand connected with the waistband of Jensen’s boxers and it was unmistakeably clear how hard he was.

Immediately, Jensen’s breathing sped up and he wasn’t sure how to handle the situation, other than turning his face deeper into the pillow as he mumbled a broken, “…s-sorry. It’s… hormones."

“Hey, shhh. It’s okay.” With a tender kiss to Jensen’s neck, Jared kept on caressing the swell of their daughter but his hand deliberately didn’t move too far away from Jensen’s waistband. Before Jensen even had a chance to so much as think about any protests, which he definitely didn’t have, Jared gently pushed his hand underneath and inside Jensen’s boxers.

Whimpering in surprise, Jensen thrusted his hips just so, enough to leave Jared no other choice but wrap his long fingers around Jensen’s shaft.

“Let me take care of you, Jen…” Jared whispered into his ear while his hand began to stroke him in a slow rhythm.

It was perfect, simple as that. Since his first time with Jared, Jensen had been left to his own devices and he craved to be touched by another man like this. Never did he expect it would be Jared being that man again, which made it so much better and more than Jensen could’ve wished for.

Jared’s hand worked him steady and so gently, too gentle for Jensen’s liking and yet he didn’t want it any other way. With every stroke of Jared’s skilled hand, Jensen succumbed to his physical and emotional need. It felt like Jared touched him everywhere, his lips leaving trails of wet kisses all over Jensen’s shoulders and neck. The second Jared’s thumb began sweeping over his slit, Jensen was done for. All day he had been trying to cool himself off and think of anything but how his body reacted to Jared, but failing miserably was what Jensen had always done best and so it wasn’t too much of a surprise how quickly his body gave in to Jared’s hand.

What did surprise Jensen, was how badly he needed to see Jared. Without warning, and before his orgasm could be ripped out of him, Jensen turned around to face Jared. “Jar… Jay.” Jensen breathed heavily and he knew, that, even if he wanted to say something, he couldn’t. His whole being was too focused on the things Jared could do to him with his hands alone and so Jensen crashed their mouths together.

“You can let go, Jen. Want you to come. Want you to feel good.” Jensen barely heard Jared’s words, the rush of his own blood through his system too loud; so loud he was sure even Jared could hear it.

As Jared’s strokes increased in speed, Jensen pushed his body further against Jared’s, mindful of their daughter, and grabbed for every inch of the man’s body he could reach. If Jared was sporting scratches and bruises the next day, Jensen couldn’t find the peace of mind to care at the moment.

“God, you’re amazing.” Jared nuzzled his face in the crook of Jensen’s neck, scraping his tongue along the pulse-point.

Thrusting up into Jared’s hand a couple more times, Jensen gave in to his orgasm as it crushed through him and let his whole body tremble and his lips whimper.

When Jensen came down from his high and his orgasm had mostly worn off, he looked up at Jared, who was smiling at him like Jensen had never seen him smile before and, Jensen thought, maybe he had done something right. Or Jared was just overly proud of himself.

With a kiss to Jensen’s forehead, Jared eventually let go of Jensen’s now flaccid member and he knew he couldn’t possibly leave things as one-sided deal and, truth be told, he really wanted to get his own hands on Jared. “Do… do you w-want m-me to…-“ Jensen had no idea how to speak the words out loud, how to ask if he should reciprocate, but apparently words weren’t necessary between the two of them when Jared only shook his head.

“I’m good.”

Jensen didn’t understand, not at all, and scrunched his face up in question.

“Jen, do you have any idea how beautiful you are? Watching you fall apart like this… yeah, I’m good. And all sticky.”

Jensen’s eyes almost popped out of his skull when he realized what Jared had just said and there was no way of hiding the blush that stained his cheeks.

Too stunned to think, move or speak and still riding out his new experience of a perfect handjob, Jensen didn’t protest when Jared offered to clean them up before they could finally hit the pillow and get some rest.

And some rest that was. Jensen fell asleep faster than ever before in his life, which was only thanks to Jared’s evened out breathing coming from right behind him and his warm, naked skin covering Jensen. The last thing Jensen felt before his eyes were too heavy to stay conscious, was Jared’s hand holding their daughter protectively and whispering ‘I love you’ against the back of Jensen’s head.

Chapter Text

After an understanding of the confines of his and Jensen’s relationship had been established, Jared smiled more often, more than he remembered doing in months. Sure, Jensen was still wary in some ways and remained shy towards him but his whole demeanor had changed since Jared practically dragged Jensen into the lion’s den to meet his parents. The fact that their night together had given Jensen at least a bit of confidence didn’t go unnoticed by Jared. Jensen didn’t tense up anymore, well, less than before, when Jared reached out to search for innocent physical contact.

He learned early on that he had to be careful with that step in their relationship if he didn’t want to scare Jensen away. However, it was damn difficult to keep his distance. But now? Now Jared was surprised to find Jensen being the one trying to be close. It was a whole new level in their relationship and a major step towards a healthy and functional togetherness. Jared couldn’t hold back and when they were snuggled up on the couch; he let his feelings flow. “I love you,” Jared had said when Jensen was staring up at him and a small part of him hoped that Jensen would say it back. He didn’t. His face scrunched up in a forced smile and the man’s eyes were wet with doubt. Jared wanted to scream and cry in frustration. But he knew he had to learn that a relationship with Jensen Ackles wasn’t going to be easy, that there were millions of bumps in the road they had to master. Jared didn't give up; he only had to boost up his game plan a little and figure out a way of convincing Jensen of his honesty.

Jared’s emotions and his feelings for Jensen intensified when they walked into the hospital for Jensen’s scheduled check-up to make sure he was healing accordingly. The man had kept his promise and Jared smiled like a loon all the way on the drive to the hospital.

It was clear to Jared that Jensen was a man of his word, a trait that Jared valued highly given the fact that people often said one thing and did another if it meant a chance of getting close to his wealth. He’d found, over the course of interacting with Jensen, that the man had millions of qualities worth loving; he only wished he could've gotten Jensen to understand that. Clearly, Jensen was a loyal and kind person. It was evident in the way he interacted with Chris. He was easily wounded, giving evidence that he wore his heart on his sleeve. The fact that he was so skittish and untrusting of people wasn’t Jensen’s fault; it was at the fault of the people heartless enough to start wounding a gentle person such as Jensen early on in his life and killing all chance of him coming into his own with confidence. That was something Jared was dead set on amending as soon as humanly possible so that the world could see the Jensen he knew was buried deep down under all the pregnant man’s hurt.

Jared loved a lot of things about Jensen but it pained him that none of them were visible at the surface. Jensen hid them from everyone and Jared suspected that included Jensen himself. Over the time spent together, Jared had learned a lot about the man. It made his heart thump and his lips twitch into a smile when he thought about how perfectly they synched up. Jensen wanted a relationship based on loving the other person wholly and completely; exactly what Jared wanted. Once Jensen was brave enough to realize they wanted the same thing, Jared knew they would be just fine. They wanted the best for their daughter, and it was clear Jensen valued putting a child’s needs ahead of his own. It warmed Jared’s heart that Jensen was able to focus on that despite the horrible parenting he’d suffered through.

As they sat in the exam room, all the love flowed through him for the umpteenth time. Even with the doctor in the room, he still felt like this moment was a huge step between the two of them.

Dr. Greene, the same doctor who had treated Jensen during his stay a few weeks ago, was more than satisfied with Jensen’s condition, especially with the weight gain and his healthy skin color. Jared supposed Jensen’s colorful cheeks were partly his fault, since he sported a nice big blush when Jared laced their fingers together. Words alone weren’t enough to show Jensen how much Jared really was in and that he was going to be supportive, every step of the way. Jared made sure everyone around them would also see that he was with Jensen, that this beautiful pregnant man wasn’t alone. If it was up to Jared, Jensen would've never been alone again.

When the doctor announced it was time to see how their daughter was developing, Jared was more than glad that they were in a hospital because he was nervous as all hell. Jared’s blood circulation was practically cut off with all the nerves wrecking his body. He was lost in a feeling of both worry and excitement. If a simple ultrasound had him so on edge and close to passing out, Jared had no idea how to make it through the actual birth and being capable of supporting Jensen.

Still, Jared did his best to hide most of his crazy nerves and focus on the thrill it gave him as Jensen exposed his stomach to the doctor. A surprised gasp left Jared’s mouth when he, for the first time, got the chance to see the rounded swell in all its glory. Literally speaking, it was breathtaking and Jared’s heart clenched tight inside his chest. Pride and wonderment settled in so fast within him that he was sure he’d suffer from whiplash. Jared didn’t know where to look first; Jensen’s beautiful green eyes that didn’t let go of Jared’s, or the distended middle that held a new life. Their daughter. It was still unbelievable to Jared that the tiny human in there was half his doing, a part of him and would be so for the rest of their lives.

From the moment Jared learned about Jensen being pregnant, he was in love with the baby. And now, as the transducer moved slowly over Jensen’s stretched skin, their daughter’s little hands and feet moving excitedly and her heartbeat loud and clear for them to hear through the machine, Jared was hit with another realization, something he knew all along, but he kept it in the back of his mind since reality was much better. Even if it had turned out not to be Jared’s child growing inside of Jensen, it was still a part of Jensen and therefore enough to be loved unconditionally by Jared.

Tears welled in his eyes when he watched their squirmy little girl sucking on her thumb and, as she visibly stretched her legs, the transducer was slightly kicked out of the way.

“She doesn’t seem to like being on display today.” The doctor chuckled, but kept checking her stats and explained to Jensen and him that, apparently, Jared’s feeding marathon and mother henning had done the trick. Their daughter’s condition was on the uphill and measuring showed definite signs of improvement.

Jared couldn’t have been happier to hear these news. Jensen seemed just as relieved as he was; the man’s eyes shiny with wetness and Jared knew they’d be okay when Jensen blindly grabbed for Jared’s hand to squeeze it.

“Have you thought about a birthing method yet, Mr. Ackles?”

Jensen’s eyes grew wide, as if the doctor’s question startled something in Jensen that he hadn't ever thought about. Truth be told, Jared hadn’t thought that far ahead either. Of course a pregnancy wouldn’t last longer than forty weeks and the baby had to come out one way or another. However, the stress during the last months, the constant trying to figure each other out and get comfortable in the other one’s presence, was so time consuming that Jared truly forgot about the actual birth. It was completely beyond him how he didn’t spare a single thought on it before. The pregnancy was a sure fact; so was the truth that soon they’d both be holding a little girl in their arms. The detail about their daughter having to be delivered was, simply put, forgotten. Jared felt like a complete idiot and looking at Jensen made him realize that he hadn’t thought about it either. Jensen seemed terrified when the subject of the birth was brought up.

“I…” Jensen turned his gaze back to Jared and silently asked for help and an explanation they could offer the doctor.

“We haven’t decided yet, Dr. Greene.” Jared held Jensen’s gaze when he answered the doctor’s question and gave Jensen a wink of comfort along with a knowing smile.

“That’s okay. There are still a couple more months left to decide. As of right now, your daughter is still face down; perfect position for a normal birth, if that’s what you’re going to decide on. If it changes, we’ll have to talk about alternatives.”

Jared was sure that Jensen would make the right decision and whatever this decision turned out to be, Jared would back him up on it and agree. Jared knew, after everything he learned about Jensen, that he'd try his best to do what was best for their daughter; he hoped that type of consideration would one day transfer over to him.

When they left the hospital, Jared felt lighter; most of his unease had vanished with Dr. Greene’s words and now there was warmth accompanying him in the form of their daughter’s first picture, safely held between his fingers. At first, he wanted to store it in his wallet, but he simply couldn’t stop looking at it; at their baby girl’s beautiful face. All of a sudden, the reality of becoming a father hit him once again. Jared had felt her shift and kick underneath Jensen’s warm skin, when Jensen had first allowed the contact, an alien feeling that Jared had come addicted to from the very first second. Now, he had an actual image to the little human that overwhelmed him to a point where he was sure his heart was going to beat out of his chest. He was going to be a father; soon, a little girl would call him daddy and whereas this thought had never crossed his mind, not before Jensen got pregnant, Jared couldn’t wait for the life-long responsibility that was waiting to grab him and complete him.

Jared’s anticipation faltered when Jensen stuffed his hands into his pockets and didn’t, like they’ve done before, lace his fingers with Jared’s. The man was quiet and tense. Jensen hadn’t looked at the ultrasound picture once, didn’t even attempt to reach for it when Dr. Greene printed it out for them. Slowly, Jared began to understand that Jensen still fought against his fear of none of this being true and nothing but a bubble of imagination.

“You mind if we sit for a while?” Jared stopped in his tracks and turned to Jensen before he continued. “There’s an ice cream parlor around the corner, what do you say?”

Jensen blinked up at him and visibly shook himself out of whatever thought had crossed his mind. Jared didn’t want to know, yet, he wanted to know what exactly was going on in the man’s head, what thoughts bothered him. He had an idea, though, of what was going on. “My treat,” Jared pushed in a low voice and a light smile.

“I… I can p-pay f-for my own d-damn ice cream!” Jensen snapped and ignored Jared in favor of keeping up his pace.

They both knew it was a lie. Jensen couldn’t pay for his own ice cream. According to Chris, Jensen had borrowed fifty bucks from his best friend; just in case. Jared would never mention to Jensen that Chris told him about it because Jensen would flip a table if he knew Chris talked about Jensen’s financial problems with Jared. Not that Jared hadn’t already known what kind of dilemma Jensen was in, but having it out in the open that Jensen’s wallet was completely empty, then shit would hit the fan and that was something Jared didn’t want to happen.

The day after Jensen and he had been to his parents’ house, Jensen was gone almost all day; leaving Jared worried and on edge. Chris had mercy on him and explained that, apparently, Jensen couldn’t handle the whole being jobless and broke situation. So much so that he went out to a former employer of his to beg for a job as a busboy again. Jared didn’t like it, not at all. Jensen wasn’t sick per se, but definitely not in the physical condition to start working; not before his health was back to one hundred percent; even then, he would be so far along that he shouldn't think about working anymore.

Jared had to swear on his own life that he would keep his mouth shut and never mention anything to Jensen. Though, he couldn't just stand by and watch how Jensen struggled to keep it together while Chris was worried his gigs wouldn’t be enough to cover their bills and support Jensen without the man having to tell Jared. After pushing further and knowing that Chris was on his side, Jared offered to pay their rent for as long as it was necessary.

Chris tried to refuse but swallowed his pride in favor of helping Jensen. Both men had to agree on a complete different matter as well: living arrangements for when the baby was actually born.

Jared couldn’t even fathom the idea of not living in the same house as his daughter… and Jensen. Getting Jensen on board was a whole other problem altogether. However, he was sure that now was as good a time as any.

“Well, good then. I wait on this bench over there,” Jared pointed to said object to their left. “You mind bringing me a cone? Strawberry and chocolate.” Jared grinned devilishly at Jensen, who was completely dumbfounded but nodded nonetheless and went on his way in the direction of the ice cream parlor.

He hoped that Jensen hadn’t spent Chris’ fifty bucks yet, otherwise the man would have to find an explanation as to why he couldn’t come back with ice cream. Jared wasn’t keen on forcing Jensen into such an embarrassing position.

His worries were needless as, almost ten minutes later, Jensen came walking back towards the bench Jared was sitting on.

“Thank you.” Jared took the offered ice cream and waited for Jensen to take a seat next to him before he faced the man again, his right leg hooked under his left thigh. “Also, thanks for the ice cream.”

Jensen looked a little confused at that, eyes darting between his own cone and Jared. “What’s t-the first t-thank you for?”

“Being here,” Jared stated matter-of-factly. He had been so stunned over the doctor’s visit that he had completely forgotten to mention to Jensen how grateful he was. “Thank you for letting me join you today. I wasn’t sure if you’d go through with it and maybe tell me to get lost and get the check up over with by yourself. It… Jensen, I’m not sure you understand how much that means to me.”

Jared, who still didn’t let go of the ultrasound image, placed the picture on Jensen’s thigh, tapping it once before carefully tracing the outline of their baby’s face with his index finger. “She’s beautiful.”

Counting on Jensen’s reflexes, Jared removed his hand from the picture and only a second later the wind began touching it. Jensen was obliged to stop it from fluttering away; and he did. Jared leaned back against the bench and treated himself the ice cream Jensen had gotten for him while his eyes were focused on Jensen’s next move. It felt like a magic moment when Jensen’s fingers copied Jared’s earlier moves of touching their daughter’s face on the 3D scan. Just like he had to force Jensen to acknowledge their baby’s movements a few days ago, now he had to force Jensen to actually look at her; to see her and pay attention to the reality they’d have to face in the very near future. If that was the only way of forcing Jensen out and away from his walls, for their daughter’s sake, then Jared didn’t mind pushing a little more each and every single new day. They both loved their daughter, there was no doubt, but it was Jensen who was scared of showing it, afraid the little girl would be ripped out of his life before he had a chance of getting to know her.

Jared would make sure that that was never going to happen. He was going to fight for his little family until his last breath would squeeze through his lungs. Their daughter deserved all the love in the world. And so did Jensen. They both deserved each other and Jared hoped that Jensen would, someday, think like him as well and feel that he deserved to be an active member of their family.

Jensen was too stubborn and hurt to share much with him, so Jared took matters in his own hands. “I’m glad she’s okay, you know?”

Jensen’s eyes were still drawn to their daughter, his hand slightly shaking while he completely forgot about the ice cream that began to melt in his other hand. A nod was all Jensen seemed to be capable of, but Jared didn’t blame him; there was simply too much going on in Jensen’s life.

A single tear slipped from Jensen’s eye and Jared watched it, how it slowly wandered down his cheeks and landed right below the picture on Jensen’s thigh.

Without needing to ask, Jared took Jensen’s cone from his hand and dumped it, along with his own ice cream, in the trash next to their bench.

“Jen…” Jared spoke slowly and quietly while he sat back down, this time closer to Jensen than before.

It took the other man a long moment to realize Jared had addressed him and then turned slowly to face him. Jensen looked as if he was in an emotional battle between devastation and delight and Jared had yet to figure out which feeling was stronger. He hoped the latter and brought his hand up to cup Jensen’s cheek and thumbed the tears away. “I don’t like seeing you so upset.” Jared admitted.

“…not upset. N-Not really.” Lowering his head, Jensen tried to turn away from him to hide in his own world again.

Jared didn’t let him though, instead brought his other hand into the game and moved Jensen so he had no other choice but to look at Jared. “A few weeks ago, I said something to you; how mad I was with you and that, even though I wanted to be, I couldn’t be proud of you for having our daughter.” Jared wanted to say more but he was interrupted by a sob breaking free from Jensen and before the other man had a chance of escaping Jared’s hold, Jared pulled Jensen closer against his side until Jensen’s head rested half on his shoulder, half on his chest. “Hey… shhh. Jen, that was then. It was before I knew what you had to deal with and what was going on. I regret that I’ve ever said that to you and I’m sorry. I am proud of you.”

The next sob that wracked Jensen’s body made Jared shiver. All of his protective instincts kicked in and he wrapped his arm further around Jensen’s shoulder while he dared to snake his other arm around Jensen’s middle. At first, he only brushed his thumb over the bump’s side and when Jensen calmed more during his small touches, Jared risked more and spread his palm flat over the swell.

Their daughter was quiet and not even a tiny flutter was noticeable, much to Jared’s disappointment. However, he was more than satisfied that Jensen didn’t stop him and seemed to relax in Jared’s hold.

The bench wasn’t comfortable at all, but still, Jared didn’t move an inch so as to not disturb Jensen. He kissed the top of Jensen’s hair and neither of them spoke for many long minutes. Jared knew he had to talk to Jensen and he prayed that now was the right moment. He was nervous and afraid that Jensen would brush him off and draw all his walls up once again.

“Can I ask you something?” Jared’s voice was horse, as if he hadn’t used it in weeks and he was sure that even Jensen could feel how badly his body trembled.

At first he thought that Jensen didn’t hear him, but eventually a short nod brushed against Jared’s shoulder, “…s-sure.”

“We’re still… I mean, this is all very new to both of us and what I’m going to ask might sound too forward, but I can’t stop wondering what we’re going to do after she’s born.”

“What d-do you m-mean?”

“Chris and you; you’re living together and my place is at the other end of town. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time at your place; I enjoy every minute I get to be with you but even you have to admit that your apartment is kind of… well, small. Too small for the both of you and the baby.”

Suddenly the whole atmosphere changed and Jensen became skittish as he pulled away from Jared and practically jumped off the bench, the ultrasound picture cascading to the ground, and he directed a furious gaze at Jared. “I… I f-fucking k-knew it!”

“Jensen, what are you talking about?” Jared tried to reach out for Jensen but his hand was slapped away. He got up as well, only serving to scare Jensen further and make the man take several steps backwards.

“You’re not… you’re n-not taking her! G-Get the hell away f-from me!”

Jared felt as if he’d been struck by lightning; his brain was running a mile a minute until he finally put the missing pieces of the puzzle together. “God, Jensen. That’s not what I was trying to say.” Again, Jared took a tentative step towards Jensen, which only made the pregnant man back off even further.

“Leave me alone!” Jensen turned away from Jared and started running, actually running, away from him.

Jared was so shocked at first that he didn’t even understand what was happening. In hurried movements he picked up their daughter’s picture and sprinted after Jensen. “Jensen, wait!” He caught up with Jensen after only a few feet and grabbed for the man’s arm, “…wait, dammit!”

Jensen struggled to yank his arm free, but Jared was stronger. He knew he was probably hurting Jensen, but letting him go was out of the damn question. “Move in with me. Jensen, please. All I wanted to ask was, if you’d want to move in with me.”

Finally, Jensen stopped his erratic jerks and blinked up at Jared, “w-what?”

“Chris is awesome and I like hanging out with him. But, we’re going to be a family soon and honestly? I can’t stand the thought of not living with you and our daughter.”

Jensen kept on blinking up at him; the stare almost enough to drill a hole in Jared's face but Jared stayed quiet, waiting for Jensen to speak up.

“I d-don’t know w-what to say.”

Jared couldn’t stop himself from smiling even if he wanted to when Jensen’s face turned soft and friendly again. “Say you’ll move in with me.” Jared nibbled on his bottom lip, his eyes not letting go of Jensen’s as he gave his everything to read the man’s thoughts.

Jensen’s lids twitched nervously and he ducked his head to avoid eye contact. “I don’t like your p-place.”

“Jensen, you’ve never even been at my condo.” Jared shook his head in confusion. It was true, Jensen had never stepped as much as a foot in Jared’s apartment. Up until now, it didn’t even occur to Jared if Jensen wanted to see his place or not; he was very comfortable going to Jensen’s.

“Chad lived there.” The sound of Jensen’s voice was layered with something like shame and guilt.

Jared hadn’t heard a peep from Chad since the night he kicked him out of his life and that was exactly what Jared wanted. Apparently, while it had been easy on Jared to forget years of wasted friendship, Jensen was still troubled with Chad’s emotional torture. There was no evidence left in Jared’s condo that Chad had ever been there, but he supposed it was bad enough for Jensen to know that the man had once lived there. Jared couldn’t relate, but he still understood completely and the last he wanted was for Jensen to be uncomfortable.

Jensen had a point; and a really good one at that. The condo was by far no place for a child to grow up in. Sure, it was spacious with its four bedrooms and a clear view over Nashville with every wall covered in perfectly polished windows. Though, a child needed more than just stainless steel and a neighborhood that wasn’t exactly family friendly. There were no parks nearby, no playgrounds or anything green enough to be referred to as nature. “We’ll get a new place.”

“Jared… I… can’t.”

“Can’t or won’t?”

“Can’t. My… my r-room is b-big enough for a c-crib.”

Something flickered in Jensen’s eyes and for the first time Jared knew exactly what it meant. The flicker, paired with the increased stutter? Jensen was lying. And the way he kept avoiding Jared’s gaze gave him away. “We said no more secrets, remember? Your room might be big enough for a crib but you’d have to jump over it to get into bed or grab anything from your dresser. I don’t like having to bring it up again, but does this have something to do with money?”

“I… yes, but…” Jensen began to shiver, the burden of his financial situation seemed to weigh so heavy on him that embarrassment flushed his cheeks red.

Jared’s heart ached with Jensen’s discomfort and he did what he knew was the only thing to settle Jensen’s nerves; he ignored Jensen’s need for personal space and wrapped his arms around Jensen’s shoulders, and kissed his temple. It wasn’t a secret to Jared anymore that it was easier for Jensen to talk when the other person wouldn’t look at him directly and when he was given time to sort out his thoughts and concentrate long enough to speak. Patience was basically all Jensen silently asked for and Jared was always willing to give him that; especially if it meant he would open up to Jared at some point.

“J-Jared. I… I n-need to think about t-this.” Jensen’s voice quivered with a slight edge of fear to it.

The answer was more than Jared had expected; less than he hoped, but it was a move in the right direction and hope rose within him that Jensen was on the same page as him. Or would be in the very near future.

“That’s good enough for me. I know it’s sudden and rushed and even though I didn’t really think it through, it’s what I really want for the three of us.”

Jared pulled away a few inches, just enough to cup Jensen’s face in his hands again and, when he leaned down to take the man’s lips in a long kiss, he was surprise that Jensen welcomed the intimate contact and smiled shyly against Jared’s lips.

No matter the promise of thinking about it, Jared knew that, on his own, Jensen wouldn't bring the subject up again. It didn't matter though, Jared loved the man and their daughter, so much so that he knew he had to bring out the heavy artillery to make Jensen see how serious he was. 

Just like he had promised Jared, Jensen did think about it all. His brain was running hot and crazy every day, all day long. He thought that Jared was going to bug and bother him until Jensen would finally agree to move in together.

In Jensen’s world, the idea of being with someone, living with that person; a real relationship with a probable happy future sounded so unbelievable and ridiculous that Jensen had no idea how to understand what was happening to him and how much his life had changed.

He’d have been a liar if he said he didn’t want to jump at Jared’s suggestion, grab it and take the man up on it. Mentally, he already packed his belongings and followed Jared to wherever he wanted to take him, but the still lingering angst and doubt in his mind took over for him and held Jared at arm’s length. Jensen knew that Jared was the ticket for their daughter to have a decent life, a life their baby deserved and for her, Jensen wanted to say yes. But this wasn’t solely about their daughter because he had to realize that Jared wanted more than simply being a good father, he wanted to live with their daughter and Jensen. Of course, that’s exactly what he himself wanted too. However, he was more than glad that Jared didn’t push him for a binding answer. It gave Jensen enough time to go deeper, test the waters further and see how much patience Jared really possessed. Jensen was still scared shitless that he’d be left with a broken heart. For Jensen, it simply wasn’t plausible that anyone, much less Jared, was willing to spend an extended amount of time with a man as weak as Jensen. Looking past the distorted view Jensen had of himself was difficult. But, what he couldn’t look past, was, how badly his heart craved being with Jared, how much he loved him and nothing but the strong pull towards Jared had ever been so apparent to him.

Even though Jared didn’t mention his question of moving in together again, the weeks after he had asked Jensen were still strange; different somehow. Jared was different. Not in a sense that it made Jensen uncomfortable, but he hovered more than usual and was constantly nervous around Jensen. Jared waited for Jensen to speak up and tell him if he made a decision yet, but not a word about it left the man’s mouth.

Jensen was nervous too. Almost every night, when Jared snuggled himself around Jensen like a vice to cradle their daughter with his big paws, Jensen was so close to agreeing that his head was spinning. Jared did very funny things to his head and body. It took a lot of bravery for Jensen, but he accepted that Jared wasn’t going anywhere and so it became kind of a habit for them to share Jensen’s bed. They weren’t intimate with each other. Well, not that intimate. However, there was a lot of holding, kissing and shy touches. For Jensen, being held until his eyes grew heavy and Jared’s breathing against his neck, felt like heaven and lulled him into a peaceful sleep. Ever since Jensen first let Jared connect with their daughter and touch his baby bump, the man didn’t seem to ever want to stop and, whenever Jared got the chance, he would brush his flat palm over the swell, a dopey grin always on his face.

The further his pregnancy progressed, the more Jensen’s hormones tried to drive him insane. Acting on what his body longed for was a terrifying task for Jensen. He kept quiet and enjoyed whatever Jared was willing to give on his own. Jerking each other off was the furthest Jared allowed them to go. It was amazing, that’s for sure, and with his own hand wrapped around Jared’s thick length, Jensen came harder than it should’ve been humanly possible. Though, it grated on his nerves. He wanted more, dammit.

The mere memories Jensen had of their first night together were constantly drawn to the forefront of his brain, urging his hormones on and dragged needy whimpers and silent pleas out of him. Jensen managed to make Jared understand that he didn’t want to be pushed into anything, but how could the man miss how much Jensen wanted to be pushed when they were half naked and rubbing their bodies against one another? He wanted Jared; wanted Jared to fill him and screw him senseless but Jared didn’t even make an effort to go that far. Thinking about it and letting his doubts take control of his mind again, Jensen wondered if Jared was disgusted with him and his body. The change in Jensen’s physique was more than prominent and, at almost eight month, he was big, too big for his liking and maybe Jared didn’t like the difference either. When they, all these months ago, had sex for the first and so far last time, Jensen wasn’t exactly ripped but his stomach was flat enough to be appealing. Now, his middle was anything but. Jensen guessed that all Jared was interested in was their daughter underneath the huge swell and the physical attention he paid to Jensen’s belly was for their baby’s sake alone. Stroking Jensen, having him fall apart and make him shiver was probably just a way for Jared to keep Jensen on the hook and happy. Jensen waited for the other shoe to drop, for Jared to show his real face once his patience ran out when Jensen wouldn’t give in anymore.

And the day Jared's patience with him ran thin came a few weeks after the question of moving in with him.

A few days after Jensen, accompanied by Jared of course, went to his eight-month-check-up, he woke with a start and found the other side of the bed to be empty. Jared's side of the bed was made and the man nowhere to be seen in the room. Jensen disliked waking up alone; he was already too used of having Jared next to him. However, it wasn’t unusual. Twice a week, Jared would get up before the sun rose to take on an early shift at the shelter. Today though, Jared had told him he’d have the day off so Jensen supposed that Jared was probably still there.

Jensen pushed himself up and padded to the closet to put on a pair of sweats, the waistband pulled tight underneath his bump. When he passed the full-length mirror in the hallway he stopped to admire his distended middle. Jensen wished he would’ve been able to acknowledge his daughter before Jared stopped him from going through with his adoption plans. Now it was safe to say, Jensen was happy how things turned out. He wasn’t ready to fully trust Jared yet, but he didn’t doubt that Jared truly loved their baby and that was enough for Jensen to believe his daughter would be living a life without worries. However, a small part of him couldn’t ignore the fears that maybe he wasn’t going to be a part of the baby’s life.

Jared was amazing and built this bubble of contentment for Jensen to dwell in. So much so that it seemed too good to be true. As he splayed both of his hands over his unborn baby girl, she woke up as well, kicking her feet against one of his hands close to his ribs and Jensen smiled down at the little bump in his skin that appeared with every move. “You think… your other… d-d-daddy’s being honest with us?”

Another kick against his hand was all the answer he received from his daughter. He kind of hoped that one kick meant yes in bump-language.

As Jensen entered the kitchen, disappointment settled in his gut because Jared wasn’t there either. However, Chris stood behind the counter and smiled at him. “Good morning you two,” he said with a nod to Jensen’s bare stomach.

Jensen made his way to the kitchen table and lowered himself with great effort onto one of the chairs. “’Morning. J-Jared left?”

“Yeah. About an hour ago. Breakfast?”

He tried to let the disappointment fade and nodded at Chris. Breakfast sounded really good at the moment and, according to the little punches inside his belly, his daughter wanted some of the delicious smelling bacon and eggs, too.

Usually it was Jensen who prepared breakfast, but since he and Jared shared a bed and Jensen slept better than ever before in his life, it was difficult for him to crawl out of bed and trot to the kitchen. Chris didn’t seem to mind and he had a weird joyful glimmer in his eyes when he put a plate in front of Jensen.

Chris poured a cup of coffee and Jensen made grabby hands for it. But Chris only rose an accusing eyebrow at him and handed Jensen a cup of tea instead.

“So, have you made up your mind yet?” his best friend wanted to know while he took a seat at the table as well.

Immediately, Jensen regretted that he ever told Chris about Jared’s question. Then again, Jared would’ve probably told Chris anyway. “Not r-really.”

“Why do you always gotta be so damn stubborn, Jen?”

He glared at Chris and let his fork clatter to the table. “I’m not! Okay?! I… I just don’t know if…if I can f-fucking t-trust him.”

A snort escaped Chris’ throat as he shook his head in utter annoyance at him. “Are you fucking kidding me? The guy’s head over heels in love with you. So much so that it’s almost pathetic.Cute, but pathetic. He’s exactly the kind of person you’ve been hoping to meet all your life and now that he’s here, you kick him left and right.”

“I… I don’t. It’s just…”

“Yeah, Jensen. You do. Jared’s here every damn day. After work he leaves only long enough to grab a few clothes and comes right back to our place. Jared’s toothbrush and razor are in the bathroom, for fuck’s sake. He chips in with groceries, man. Jared practically lives here.”

Jensen swallowed thickly. He knew all that already. Jensen wasn't blind, but Jared’s reason to do all that was growing inside of Jensen and he said as much to Chris, “…b-because of the baby. That’s… that’s why he’s here.”

“Wow. You really are an idiot. Jesus Fuck, Jensen. If it’d only be about her, then he’d just sit back and wait until she’s born. Haven’t you noticed how he clings to your every move and word? Jared really does love you and I’m so damn tired of seeing him cry like a baby because he doesn’t know how to act around you. He’s fucking scared that you’ll send him packing one day.”

Head snapping up at Chris’ words, Jensen gulped at what his best friend told him. Sure, he had noticed Jared’s behavior around him and Chris had told him before that he had caught Jared crying, but the part about Jared being scared? That was definitely new to him.

“Oh, don’t you look at me like that.”

“Jared’s… he’s… s-scared?”

“You bet your pretty ass he is. In fact,” Chris stood up to grab an envelope from the counter behind them and put it on the table. “Jared gave me this before he left; said he’s pretty certain that even though he might never be good enough for you, at least this’ll be enough proof for you to see how serious he’s always been about you.”

Jensen pulled the envelope closer and his heart skipped several beats. His whole chest felt too tight to be healthy and his stomach dropped a few inches. Whatever was inside the brown envelope, Chris’ words sounded an awful lot like Jared had given up on Jensen, on them. Jensen didn’t know he was crying until he furiously wiped the back of his hands over his eyes. “What… what’s in-inside?”

“No idea. He didn’t tell me.” Chris shrugged.

Opening the envelope seemed the only way to find out what was inside so Jensen shoved his plate aside and opened the envelope with trembling hands.

A bunch of papers ended in his hands and on top of the pile was a handwritten note from Jared himself. New tears welled up and dropped down on his stomach when he read Jared’s words.

Dear Jensen,

I’m sorry you had to wake up and realize I was gone. I wanted to wake you before I left, but you looked so peaceful and I couldn’t bear the thought of interrupting your sleep.

These last few months have been an emotional rollercoaster ride for the both of us but I wouldn’t want it any other way. There have been times in my life when I thought I was the luckiest and happiest man on earth. But it wasn’t until I found you again, until I knew about our daughter, that I fully understood what the true meaning of happiness really entails. I love to remember the first time you kissed me and the way my stomach did a flip flop. It was then, when I knew that I was gone and going to fall in love with you.

Every time you look at me, my stomach still does an acrobatic flip flop and I love every second of it.

However, some days I’m sure that, no matter how much I love you, my feelings aren’t strong enough to reach you. I know that you love me too, maybe not as much, but that’s okay. I’m sure I’ll find a way to live with it because all I can think about is being with you. What I can't live with is the fact that you don't trust me. It hurts to be confronted with constant doubts and accusations. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why you’re doubting my every word and how, every day, you wait for me to show my bad side. Truth is: I don’t have a bad side. Especially when it comes to you and our daughter. All I want is for you to be happy and for our little girl to have the childhood you were so terribly robbed of.

Regarding our daughter, I trust your judgment and that you’ll always do what’s in her best interest. You are what’s best for her. You always were and forever will be. There isn’t anything you wouldn’t and weren’t willing to sacrifice to offer her the life she deserves. She deserves a life with you.

For weeks now you’ve been dodging any subject that would lead back to me asking if you’d want to move in with me. Please believe me when I say that I’m just as nervous about it as you are. I’m still hoping. I’ve never been a quitter, not when it comes to people I love the most.

Knowing that you’ll make the right decision, you’ll find some important documents enclosed to this letter. I would have rather given them to you in person, but I’m a coward and fear your reaction to them.

The documents you’ll find inside this envelope won’t, hopefully, change anything between us. When I say I want to be with you, then I honestly mean it that way. I’m hopelessly in love with you and what I wish for the most is to, someday, be able to tell you how much without your eyes questioning my words.

Maybe these papers will help you believe some of the things I keep telling you; that everything I’ve said and done in the past months isn’t only because of the new life we’re about to welcome soon, but because of the fact that I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love you.

These documents are all bulletproof and signed. There are no loopholes and the best lawyer in the country couldn’t possibly rescind them. I want you to decide your future and the future of our little girl.

Here’s to hope that my love is going to be enough to be a part of this future.

I love you.

Jared.

For a long, drawn-out moment, Jensen could only stare at the handwritten letter. It felt like a slap in the face; a slap of reality and Jensen’s heart sank with the heavy weight of guilt. Tears rolled down his cheeks with no intention of ending and Jensen pulled a free hand to his mouth in an attempt to stop another sob wrecking his throat.

“Jensen? What is it? What’s it say?”

Distantly, Jensen heard the worried voice of his best friend, but understanding the man’s words was impossible.

When Jensen put Jared’s letter on the table and revealed the first set of papers from the pile, a chocked gasp tortured him. It was hard to breathe and his lungs felt as if they were about to collapse.

“Jensen?” Chris was suddenly right next to him, grabbing Jensen’s shoulder and not letting go until Jensen snapped out of his haze.

“This… he’s… Jared…” Jensen couldn’t possibly put into words what he was looking at; the words on the document became blurry and Jensen’s head began to throb.

Chris snatched the documents out of his hand and Jensen didn’t have enough strength left to stop him.

“Termination… uh… Termination of Parental Rights. What the fuck is that, Jensen?” Chris read and took the seat next to Jensen. He seemed just as surprised as Jensen was, however, Jensen was more shocked than surprised.

“He’s… Chris… Jared is s-signing h-his p-parental rights over to m-me.”

“Yeah, I get that. But why? This is insane.”

“Because… b-because he loves me.” Jensen had been so close of blacking out that he had to grab for Chris’ forearm. He squeezed until his knuckles turned white. “Jared really loves m-me. He does. And… and I… Chris, what did I do? What now? I… I love him and… and… I can’t… can’t l-lose him.”

“Hey! Jensen, come on. Calm down. Think about your daughter; you can’t freak out like this. We’ll figure it out, alright? Breathe, okay? Take a deep breath, buddy.”

Jensen couldn’t for the life of him figure out how much time had passed, but Chris kept talking to him, his arms slung tight around Jensen’s shoulders until he calmed down again and his breathing evened out.

“What’s the other stuff about?” Chris asked, Jensen seemingly forgetting that there were more documents he pulled out of the envelope.

With a light shrug, Jensen slipped out of Chris’ hold and took the remaining documents to read them: A contract of sale of residential property. Jensen wasn’t sure that he saw right, but it was right there, in black letters, that Jared had bought a house in Jensen’s name.

“Holy shit,” Chris whispered in a long breath when Jensen held the document so his friend could read it. “This is… wow. Jensen?”

Wow wasn’t exactly the kind of wording Jensen would’ve used, but it definitely cut to the point. Jensen wanted to be mad at Jared, because that’s the one thing Jensen didn’t want from Jared: money. But he thought about Jared’s words from the letter again and also what Jared said to him a few weeks ago when Jensen argued that his room was big enough for a crib. It wasn’t. Both knew that much. He didn’t have it in him to be mad at Jared anymore. This was for the baby’s future, for their daughter to have a home to grow up in.

“Well, congrats. I guess you’re a house owner now.” Chris slapped him lightly on the back and chuckled in pure delight. “Have you read this?” Chris pointed to the sales price and deposit section of the sales contract of the house.

Jensen could only nod in shock. “It’s too m-much.”

“I don’t think Jared cares that much, not if he, as it says there, paid cash. He loves you Jensen and all these papers here? Jared wants you to live; he wants you to be happy. Can't you finally see that?”

Again, Jensen only nodded. Yeah, he finally understood. According to all these different papers, Jared made sure that the ball was in Jensen’s court now. As soon as their daughter was born, Jared had no right to her whatsoever; without Jensen’s permission, he wouldn’t even be allowed to see her, much less claim visitation rights. With a house to his name, Jensen was left to decide if he wanted to live there or sell it for profit. Of course, that’s not what he wanted, but the right was his. Jensen grabbed all the documents and ignored Chris so that he could read them all over again. Every single piece of paper made his emotional walls crumble to the ground and shatter into billion pieces. It wasn’t until he ended on the last page of the sales contract again that he noticed another document on the bottom of the pile.

“There’s more.” Jensen looked at Chris for some kind of help in understanding what was happening.

“Like what?” Chris leaned over to see what Jensen was looking at. “Oh.” He exhaled when his eyes landed on the document that read Child Support Agreement. “But… I don’t understand. If he’s signing his parental rights over he wouldn’t even have to pay, right?”

“Yeah.”

Chris smiled at him and it seemed like they were both thinking the same. It turned out, Chris was the only one to voice them, “Jared isn’t an asshole who’d just step away from his responsibilities.”

“I’ve… been s-so stupid.”

“Yeah, stupid enough to get a house, full reigns on your daughter’s life and a five thousand dollar child support agreement.” Chris’s snort made even Jensen smile. “And… check the fine print, Jensen. That’s a monthly settlement and it’ll increase with each of the little lady's birthdays, including full coverage of any and all college costs.”

Jensen didn’t feel stupid because a better life for himself and his daughter was laying right in front of him, but stupid because he was too fear-ridden to see how honestly Jared had always spoken about his feelings and wishes; everything was true. Jensen still didn’t want any of Jared’s money. He wanted Jared.

“Chris? I need to f-find him. Do you… d-do you have any idea where he’s at-t?”

Chris’ eyes kept darting back and forth between Jensen and all the documents on the table. Then he smirked at Jensen, “my bet? He’s right… there.” With his index finger, Chris tapped on the address of the house from the sales contract.

Jensen struggled to make sense of that and he couldn’t see Chris’ point.

“Seriously, Jensen. I’m sure he’s there. Jared knows you love him, a blind man can see that and it’s true what he’s saying here in the letter,” Chris waggled Jared’s letter in front of Jensen’s face before he added, “you don’t trust him. You and I both know that and so does Jared. All this stuff here? These contracts and settlements? He’s giving his own daughter up to show you how serious he is about you.”

The way Chris put it brought a whole new light into the situation and something uneasy settled in Jensen’s stomach. “Right. What does that s-say about him, though? Does he really l-love our b-baby? I mean… I… I could take all this crap and leave and he’d n-never see her.”

“Would you do that to him? Would you ever forbid him to get to know his own child or deny your daughter to know who her other father is?” Chris dared with both eyebrows raised as high as his hairline.

“God no! Never! Jared loves our d-daughter. Up until I had this envelope I… I thought he lied to me so… so he could snag her away f-from me.” Jensen let his face fall into his open palms and a hard kick to his ribs forced a whimper out of him.

“See, that’s what he’s writing about: he knows you’ll do the right thing. Signing his parental rights over to you won’t change the fact that you want him to be a father for her. If you ask me, that’s more trust than you deserve.”

Jensen had to ask himself if he was strong enough to finally trust Jared. And even though Chris thought he wasn’t deserving of Jared’s trust, he hoped it wasn’t too late to make up for that.

Chapter Text

For well over twenty years, Jensen and Chris had been inseparable due to Jensen’s screwed up childhood and the beatings of his father. Chris was his best friend, mentor in every-day-situations, voice of reason and, last but not least, his shrink of choice. In Jensen’s eyes, Chris was a saint and for Jensen it was easy to trust the man with his life. Jensen never kept anything from Chris, or not for long at least, but this time he had to leave Chris behind and go do something on his own.

With the envelope on the passenger’s seat of Chris’ car, Jensen made his way to the address from the sales contract. He had to punch the address into the GPS because he had absolutely no idea how to find the place on his own. Jensen barely ever used the car. It took three years of encouragement and pushing from Chris until he eventually agreed to get his driver’s licence. Jensen still preferred to take the bus but in that moment, he had no time to wait around for a bus to show up. He didn’t really like driving that much, but sometimes it was plain necessary.

The neighborhood he turned into was quiet, the houses small but each with lots of space inbetween and spacious front yards. A few of the mailboxes looked as if a car bumped into them or a kid kicked a soccer ball against it. The cars that parked in front of some of the houses were, to Jensen’s surprise, normal. It was clearly a middle-class neighborhood and for some strange reason Jensen liked it immediately. Remembering the Padalecki’s house, or mansion rather, Jensen thought that Jared must feel completely out of place in this area. But then again, Jared often expressed how much he liked Jensen's and Chris’ place, which was even less than middle-class.

As Jensen spotted Jared’s car outside a house only a quarter mile down the road, he turned the GPS off and slowed the car down. Up until now, his nerves were calm and settled. The closer he came to the house that was supposedly his now, things changed and his heart was short of beating out of his chest. Slowly, he had to realize that, for the first time in his life, he wasn’t scared. No. Jensen was excited; excited to see Jared and tell him what he really wanted. This was a completely new feeling for him and he wasn’t sure how to handle these kind of emotions.

Jensen parked the car right behind Jared’s and turned the engine off. He was glad to finally get out of the car since it was a tight fit with the big bump in the way. He took a deep breath and waited for his heart rate to slow down before he grabbed the envelope and walked around both cars in the direction of the front porch. Every inch of the house was beautiful and Jensen was more than happy that Jared had picked this kind of property out instead of some upper-class object. The house that held his own name on the contract wasn’t perfect by other people's standards. In fact, the walls seemed to be in desperate need of a new coat of paint and the fence could used a fixing as well. The few flaws he spotted were exactly what made the house beautiful and in Jensen’s eyes perfect.

When he rounded the garage, envelope with his documents clutched to his baby bump, and the front porch came into his view, he noticed Jared right away. The man sat on the bottom of the stairs with his hands rubbing over his face. Jensen took a closer look and what he saw made his stomach curl and his heart broke at the sight. He saw Jared tearing up before, but this was something completely different. Jared was practically bawling his eyes out; they were blood-red and his face shiny from the salty wetness. There was nobody else to blame for this but Jensen and his doubts in the other man. Jared didn’t notice him yet and it gave Jensen time to think of a proper approach and what to actually say to Jared. Hopefully it wasn't too late to fix things between them.

With calculated steps, Jensen walked closer to the other man. “Jay,” he whispered when he was right in front of Jared and placed his free hand on top of Jared’s head to card his fingers through the silky strands of hair. An incredible warmth rushed through him, just like it always did when he's so close to the other man.

Jared blinked up at him with wide teary eyes. “You came.”

Jensen wanted to stay silent, the way Jared had always accepted him and their conversations of few words but the envelope felt like a burning weight against him and that burden reminded him that he owed Jared more than just a nod. “Yes. I… I’m s-so sorry, J-Jared.”

Finally, Jared got up from his sitting position and the move forced Jensen’s hand to fall to Jared’s arm, still holding on.

“Are you angry with me?” Jared asked sheepishly, looking all of five years old.

Jensen shook his head. There was no reason for him to be angry with the younger man. “Only… with… myself.”

They stared at each other for many heartbeats and Jensen was at a loss for what to do next or even what to say. Not wanting to let this turn into an awkward first-date-like situation, Jensen grabbed the little courage and bravery he had and held the envelope up. “I d-don’t want… any… of this.”

Jared wetted his lips nervously and blushed. “Oh. But… I mean, if you don’t then… at least for the baby? I know you never wanted my money, but it’s all for her. Well, except the house, but you can keep it until she’s eighteen and sign it over to her, right? It could be a nice start for her then and the child support, you could just save it all for our daughter. You don’t have to touch it if it makes you uncomfortable." Jared scratched the back of his neck and took a deep breath, visibly trying to get all his thoughts out. Jensen wanted to interrupt right then and there, but Jared began rambling again. "I just thought I’d make sure you wouldn’t have any financial problems and don’t have to worry about keeping her or not. All I want is for you to be her dad and not someone else. You can count it as insurance in case you can’t find a job after she’s born. God, Jensen… please? For our little girl? I want her to live with you more than anything else and-“

“Oh my god. Shut u-up!” Jensen huffed and exhaled long and hard when Jared finally quit his rambling. “You are… w-what I want.” Jensen thrusted the envelope in Jared’s hands and smiled up at the man. “Do with it whatever… wh-whatever you please. I was… an… idiot and you sh-shouldn’t have to d-do this.”

Jared still stood there, quietly sobbing and staring at Jensen without any intentions of saying anything, so it was left to him to break the man out of his trance. “Say… say you l-love me, Jared.”

It took the man another few heartbeats until he pinched his eyes closed for a second and visibly shook himself to say what Jensen had asked of him. “I’m in love with you.” Jared’s voice broke a couple of times but, for the first time, Jensen didn’t feel a twist in his guts when he heard the words. "Jensen, you have no idea... You drive me crazy, sometimes; when you try to ignore me, I want to scream but then when you've got your hormones under control again and you search me out, all I can do is hold you and everything is right again. I don't ever wanna let you go, you hear me? God, I love you."

Trapping their daughter between them, Jensen leaned in close and pushed up to crash his lips against Jared’s. The kiss was hard, desperate and sloppy. Jensen didn’t care how frantic his lips chased after Jared’s mouth, he just needed. He needed to feel the soft texture of the man’s lips and with a push of his tongue between Jared’s parted lips, he ripped delicious moans out of him.

Jared was the first to break the contact and it forced a broken whimper from Jensen. But then he remembered where they were and that they were on display for half the street.

He licked his lips to follow the taste Jared had left on them. Jensen ducked his head in a shy gesture, a blush mirroring Jared’s flushed face. “What now?” He asked, hopeful that Jared would help him figure out where to take it from there.

“Well, we’re… uh… here,” Jared cocked his head to the house behind him and pointed his thumb to it. “Would you at least, you know, take a look? Maybe you like it and make your decision later. The house is yours; whether you want it to be or not. Either you move in or sell it, but it’s definitely yours.” Jared rubbed the back of his neck and shrugged mischievously at him.

When Jensen was still a kid, he always wished for a nice home like this. Sure, his parent’s house was bigger than the one he and Jared were standing in front of, but in that moment, a feeling of home saturated his senses. Jared was right, like so many times before, Jensen had only two options and selling the house, just because he didn’t like the idea of accepting any of Jared’s money, felt wrong. Jensen had to realize that even though Jared’s acts of kindness were to prove his feelings for Jensen, but when it came down to it, he realized he also did it for a reason they both felt was most important: the best for their daughter.

Instead of telling Jared exactly that, Jensen threw the few bits and pieces of pride he had out of the window and let his mouth take over. “You were r-right. I… I… can’t fit a c-crib in my room. I can’t… even,” Jensen had to take a deep breath and get his nerves under control. Jared deserved a lot and honesty was number one on the list of things Jensen owed him. “… can’t even af-f-ford a crib.” The confession didn’t roll easy off his tongue; it was difficult and hurt to admit that he wasn't able to provide one mere piece of furniture for his child. Jensen felt defeated, helpless and ashamed.

He wasn't given the chance to break down because suddenly Jared was right there again, lifting Jensen's chin up and slotting their lips together. Jensen's heart was hammering away in his chest and with every tiny touch, every little nibble of affection against his lips, he slowly relaxed.

"Let me show you something." Jared whispered between kisses and smiled with relief when Jensen nodded.

Jared took Jensen's hand in his own and pulled at it carefully, an indication to follow him.

Without asking any further questions or stopping the man, Jensen firmly squeezed Jared's hand and allowed himself to be lead into the house.

When they entered, Jensen noticed right away that it was completely empty; unfurnished. Not even a single coat hook or a clock was to be seen at the walls. Something must have shown on Jensen's face, probably the worry of how he was supposed to get any furniture for the place, because Jared stopped when they stood in the middle of the empty living room.

"I know it doesn't look like much. Yet. But I didn't have a lot of time to set it all up for you. And, well, I wasn't sure what you'd like so I'd rather you pick furniture and drapes and all that out. All I was able to fix yet is a guest room upstairs and… yeah, well, something I want to show you."

Again, Jared offered too much so selflessly and it left Jensen feeling unbalanced. It brought his sense of unworthiness back and he felt a sudden emptiness in the pit of his stomach. Even reminding himself that Jared wanted to do this all for their baby didn't help Jensen to ease the tension in his bones. "Jay... I... I told you."

"Stop, Jensen. I get it, okay? You said it before and I know you'll say it again. You don't want this, you don't want any of my money. How about I make you a deal though?"

Jared sounded too eager for Jensen to risk wounding the man any more than he had already done and Jensen's curiosity won this time. "What... k-kind of deal?"

"I know there's still some work to do around here, most of the walls need new wallpapers and I'd rather we rip that carpet out and get you new flooring. The kitchen is okay-ish and has all the necessary appliances you'll need; there's also a washer and dryer left from the previous owner. I checked, it all works. I want you to live here, if you like the house that is." Jared took a deep breath, obviously surprised by his rambling again.

Jensen intentionally kept quiet, listening and waiting for the other man to keep going. There was still a deal to be explained and Jensen couldn't wait to hear what that was going to be.

"Anyway. You wanna go back to work after our daughter is born, right?"

"Yeah. I... I'm trying to... f-find a job already."

"Yes," Jared leaned down an inch to place a kiss on the corner of Jensen's mouth. "I know. So how about you go pick out all the furniture you need, let me pay for it and once you get a job you can pay me back. Every single cent. Call it a loan; no interest and open account terms. Would that make you feel better?"

The idea wasn't bad, not at all. It was smart and Jensen actually liked the sound of it. What he didn't like was the fact that he'd be in dept to Jared. But he also knew that he had zero alternatives. Even if he bought the cheapest furniture and only the smallest amount of bedding, clothing and dishes, they would still be talking about a few thousand dollars. Even if Jensen was actually able to find a job, he'd still need a lot of time to accumulate the type of money he needed to make a house a home.

"Jensen... say something."

He took a long look around the room and the rest of the two-story house he could see from where they were standing. There was something about this house that calmed Jensen; some of that comfort was definitely because Jared was there, too but the house itself spoke to him. Not literally, that would be all kinds of creepy, but Jensen felt as if he belonged there. He and the baby. And Jared.

Jensen wanted this house. He wanted to live there and build himself and their daughter the home he never had. A warm place of security and love. "Okay."

Jared stared at him then shook his head out of whatever thoughts were on his mind, "Okay? As in okay?"

A smile tugged at the corners of Jensen's lips and he nodded up at Jared, "yes. This house... it... it f-feels good. I think I'd l-like to... live here." Jensen let out a long sigh of relief. It felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted off his shoulders when he finally spoke out loud what he had been thinking the whole time since he arrived at the property.

There was no warning as Jared threw his arms around Jensen's neck and the action startled him but when Jared's lips ghosted lovingly over Jensen's temples, the world felt right again.

The envelope Jared had been holding in his hand the whole time scattered to the floor and within a heartbeat Jared was on his knees in front of Jensen, cupping the big swell of their unborn daughter with both hands. "Did you hear that, Bean? Your daddy said he likes it!" Jared sing-songed to the belly in a child-like voice. The pure bliss in Jared’s expression told Jensen a lot of things, and the most saddening was, that obviously not only Jensen carried a heavy burden on his shoulders. Jared seemed lighter, almost as if the rainy cloud that’s been hovering over him finally vanished.

Jensen wanted to be offended that Jared called their daughter Bean, but he had to admit that the display in front of him was the most adorable thing he had ever seen. His heart melted at the fact that Jared actually had a nickname for their baby. Soon they'd have to figure out an actual name.

Just like he did outside on the front porch, Jensen brushed his fingers through Jared's hair, nails gently scraping over the man's scalp.

Jared's tender touch to his middle made Jensen nervous and it got even worse when Jared lifted Jensen's shirt up to brush his lips over the stretched skin and peppered kisses all over it.

The position Jared was squatting in, his face so close to Jensen's crotch and the man's breath warming his skin, became too much too soon and when Jensen looked down at Jared, his breathing turned shallow as adrenaline coarsed through his veins. "J-Jared..."

At the call of his name, Jared stopped the movement of his hands and lips and looked up at him. What Jensen saw made him shiver. Jared's eyes were dark all of a sudden, pupils growing wider with every passing second. Without taking his gaze away from Jensen, Jared trailed his hands over Jensen's sides and further away from their daughter until his fingers had Jensen's hips in a bruising grip.

Jensen hissed at the hard touch but at the same time the grip didn't feel strong enough and he tightened his own hold on Jared's head and tugged the silky strands slightly. He watched in pure fascination how Jared's Adam's apple bobbed up and down rapidly and the way his lips slowly parted.

It had been days since Jared touched him and brought him to completion. In fact, it was too long for Jensen's hormones and he felt ready to combust if Jared didn't do something about it soon.

"Jen...?" Jared seemed confused and yet it sounded an awful lot like he was asking for permission.

Rooted to the spot, his blood pumping violently through his veins, Jensen knew that, if Jared wouldn't stop staring at him like that, he'd lose it. Neither of them moved; only Jared's hands seemed to move on autopilot. The man's grip loosened somewhat, but only enough to rub his thumbs along the waistband of Jensen's pregnancy pants. When Jared slowly pushed the waistband down and over Jensen's belly button, he couldn't ignore what Jared's gaze meant.

Jensen was about to drown in Jared's eyes and the way his fingers moved over Jensen's bare skin; Jensen's brain short circuited and he lost all ability to think straight, much less make any sense. "You... w-wanted to show me s-something."

Blinking in surprise, Jared nodded but didn't really seem to care about what Jensen said. Instead, he moved his hands to the small of Jensen's back. While his mouth came closer to their daughter again, Jared finally broke their eyes' connection and kissed the swell lovingly; his fingers brushing over Jensen's ass cheeks and squeezing it with soft touches.

"Later." Jared mumbled against Jensen's shivering skin.

His brain still too caught up on what was actually going on, Jensen didn't realize how Jared tugged at his pants, pushing the waistband further down until Jensen was left standing, awkwardly in his boxers with his pants pooling around his ankles. "Wh... What are you d-doing?"

"Loving you." Jared smiled up at him and peppered more kisses along Jensen's belly.

When Jensen didn't answer, Jared took it as a sign of agreement and nuzzled into the fine hairs that lead to Jensen's slowly hardening member.

"Oh! Oh... god." Either Jensen was dead already, or seconds away from dying.

Jared's breath fanned over the underside of his swell, palms flat on each side of Jensen's hips and with every nibble and shy kiss to Jensen's waist, Jared pushed his boxers down until cold air hit Jensen's growing erection.

All Jensen could do and get out were quiet whimpers of lust. This was so not what he expected to happen when he decided to drive up there.

"Jen?" Jared asked with eyes set on him.

There it was again, the request for permission and Jensen questioned the man's sanity if he thought Jensen would say anything other than yes to whatever Jared wanted to do to him. "P-Please..."

A small smile tugged at Jared's lips and less than a heartbeat later Jared's tongue sneaked out from between his lips to pepper kitten licks over the head of Jensen's cock. While Jensen held onto Jared's shoulder for dear life, he squeezed his eyes shut. Too many sensations at once took over his senses and the more Jared lapped hungrily along Jensen's shaft, he was sure that he wasn't going to last long. Jensen has fantasized for so many years about this moment finally happening, and now with Jared's sweet pink lips around his arousal, it was too much to keep himself composed. They had never done this before and Jensen was sure that dying during his first blowjob was going to be really embarassing.

As Jared's mouth closed completely around Jensen's cockhead, he let out a hoarse cry of raw need. It was wet and warm and everything inside of him screamed and thrummed in pleasure. Jensen always wondered what it would feel like to have someone going down on him and he had to admit that all fantasies and imaginations weren't enough to describe the heat that spread through him with every slow bop of Jared's head.

With the next upstroke of Jared's lips, Jensen's hips snapped forward an inch. He didn't mean to and it made him feel stupid but when he tried to apologize, Jared only winked up at him and pulled Jensen by the hips deeper into his waiting mouth.

Jared's forehead kept knocking against his baby bump and whereas Jensen thought it should bother Jared that their daughter was in the way, it only seemed to turn the man on even more. When Jared swallowed all of his hard length down, he let his forehead rest against the swell, hands cupping their daughter, all while Jared's tongue played at the underside of his shaft.

Jensen was unwraveling quickly and looking down at Jared, watching the man practically devouring him and actually enjoying doing this to him, was Jensen’s undoing. Every attempt at warning Jared proved to be unsuccessful as he maintained his hold on Jensen.

Even though it shouldn’t have been possible, it felt as if Jensen’s cock thickened even further, the shaft hard and pulsing inside Jared’s mouth as his orgasm was all but ripped out of him.

Jared didn’t let go of him, didn’t pull away until he was sure that every milky drop of Jensen’s climax was sucked out of him. Jensen was so blissed out and spent that he had to hold on to Jared’s shoulders for support.

Together, they slumped down on the hardwood floor, Jensen’s moves similar to what he imagined a whale would look like performing a tango, but with Jared’s support, he managed to get into a somewhat comfortable position. It was kind of an awkward situation for a short while, with Jensen’s pants and underwear still tangled around his ankles and Jared just staring at him. Jensen was aware of how much of his naked body was on display and when he attempted to shy away, Jared gave him a stupid dimpled smile that made Jensen's brain feel like it was about to melt.

“I love you,” Jared said and didn’t give Jensen any room for an answer as he leaned in to brush their lips together all while his right hand found its way over Jensen’s swell again.

Jensen dwelled in the moment of afterglow and the intimate privacy they shared. Everything felt familiar and yet completely new and exciting. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the house or because he finally let himself be pushed into Jared’s waiting arms. Nothing had ever felt so right for him before and, thankfully, Jensen was strong enough to shut the doubting voices inside his head out for the time being. He loved Jared, with all his heart, and, in the end, it wouldn’t matter if Jared would dump him now or ten years down the road; it would crush him either way. However, for now, he wanted nothing more than to hand his heart over to Jared and offer the man enough trust to not break it.

Rolling his half naked body further against Jared, Jensen couldn't ignore the hardness practically stabbbing him in the hips. Jared was rock hard against him and avoiding contact now was impossible. It was a new kind of pride Jensen felt when he realized that this was partially his doing. Then there were his hormones, not the crazy ones Jared mentioned earlier, but the ones that turned Jensen's libido into a hungry wolf and made him long for more. It took all of his nerves but eventually he asked Jared what he wanted to for months. "Jay... will you... would you s-sleep with me?" However, Jensen was too afraid to look at Jared when the question left his lips. Hiding his face in the other man's chest didn't help him though, the sharp intake of a surprised gasp from Jared made him shudder and again, Jensen felt stupid. He knew he shouldn't have brought it up, it was too much too soon.

"What?" Jared breathed out heavily. Jensen wanted to hide himself further, but Jared carefully pushed himself away and up to look down at Jensen.

Squeezing his eyes shut, Jensen tried to apologize, "I... I'm s-sorry. I shouldn't... shouldn't h-have said anything." With that, Jensen attempted to stand, reaching for his pants in the process and trying to yank them up. He felt like a complete idiot and all of a sudden nothing made sense anymore.

"What are you doing, Jen?" Jared stopped Jensen's hands.

"Getting d-dressed. Obviously I thought wrong." Jensen hissed, disappointment and hurt clouded his words.

"Thought wrong about what?" Jared wanted to know.

"I... I thought that... that you w-wanted more. Apparently not. You always touch me and... and you m-make me f-feel good. You've just g-given me the first... whatever. Forget it."

"Jensen, of course I want more. I want you, I always do but... I can't. I could, but I don't think I can. I'm scared. What if we hurt her?" Jared's voice turned into a quiet and scared whisper while one of his hands held on to the swell of their daughter.

Jensen was shocked and surprised at the same time. Now he really felt like an idiot, because once again Jared proved him wrong. Jensen's negative thoughts would someday turn him into a hermit again if he didn't stop assuming the worst of everybody, especially Jared. So far, the man had done nothing wrong and never treated Jensen and their unborn daughter with nothing but the kindest intentions. And this, this was just one of Jared's thouroughly thoughtful ideas. Whatever the man did, everything was for the right reasons. It was Jensen who continued to screw things up with his insecurities. He needed to think, he needed to think fast and fix this, again. "I'm sorry. It w-was stupid of m-me to assume..."

Jared, for the first time, cut him off mid-sentence, "...shhh... it's okay, alright? You wouldn't be the Jensen I love so much without all this negativity that's buzzing around in your head. It's a part of who you are. How about we forget this little conversation for now and we discuss this all further after dinner tonight?"

With his eyebrows wiggling suggestively at Jensen and his face coming closer, Jensen nodded and waited until Jared closed their distance to kiss him again.

“Show me… n-now?” Jensen asked when his curiosity took over and his brain was running at full speed again to remember that Jared wanted to show him something inside the house.

Jared smiled against Jensen’s lips and nodded, “... definitely.”

Holding his hand out for Jensen, Jared was the first to get up and Jensen took the offered hand because he knew there was no way he would’ve been able to get on his feet by himself. Jared held on to his hand all the way up the stairs and only let go when they stopped in front of closed door.

“Over the last few months you’ve been pretty unpredictable, which is, why I didn’t fix anything in this room yet. I haven’t been at the shelter for as many hours a week as I told you. I’m sorry that I had to, well, kind of lie. But I wanted to surprise you.” Jared said sheepishly with a hint of guilt to his tone.

The excitement in Jared’s eyes was enough for Jensen to let the subject of lying slip. The man obviously had reason to keep something from Jensen and with every passing second, Jensen’s own excitement grew and he couldn’t wait to see what Jared was hiding behind that door.

When Jared opened the door, the first thing that hit Jensen was the distinctive smell of paint and sawdust. After forcing his nausea over the smell down, Jensen’s eyes landed on a crib. “Oh god…” Jensen’s voice cracked and he could already feel a sob threatening to break free. Without wasting any time, he walked past Jared and over to where the crib was placed underneath the wide window. For a long moment, Jensen only stood in front of the crib, staring at it in surprise and a whole lot of disbelief. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing and only when he brushed his hand over the white wood did he realize that this was real.

“We Padaleckis have a tradition…” Jared began to explain and walked up behind Jensen and wrapped his arms around Jensen’s middle. “It goes way back, over many generations. When we become fathers, we’re the ones who take on the responsibility of protecting our loved ones; we want our new family additions to be comfortable and safe. The first comfort a baby feels are the arms of their parents, the second will be when they peacefully sleep in their beds. This tradition was probably founded long before you could buy a crib at every second store in town. And I believe that, whoever started it, didn’t think there’d be Padaleckis who didn’t know the first thing about joinery. I might’ve had a little help from my dad with the construction manual.”

Jensen had expected a lot of things, but this was definitely the icing on the cake. “You… you b-built this?” He asked Jared and craned his neck to lock eyes with the other man.

“Yeah, I did.” Jared smiled at him proudly and leaned down to place a kiss on the corner of Jensen’s mouth. “For her.” He added with a soft brush of his hands over their daughter. “I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but it’s a tradition and I’mma be damned if I’ll be the first to break it. When I was born, my brother’s crib became mine and apparently I loved to jump around in it and my dad had to fix it up before they could use it for Megan.”

They shared a secret smile and Jensen couldn't stop ghosting his hand over the crib. "It's... beautiful." And it was. Finding words, to describe the detailed work and effort Jared put into crafting their daughter's bed, seemed impossible and every carved line of the material showed how much love was part of the work.

"I hoped you'd like it." Jared smiled against his neck.

"I love... it. She... she'll l-love it, too. Thank y-you."

Jensen turned and wrapped his arms around Jared's shoulders. He put all his emotions into the gesture and he was sure Jared could feel how much this moment meant to him, how much the gift meant. He had done Jared wrong so many times and as soon as these thoughts entered his mind, Jensen was crushed with another wave of guilt. However, Jared's presence and the way he held onto him forced the negativity away as quickly as it appeared.

"Jay... are you... are you g-going to live here, too?" The question was out before Jensen realized he opened his mouth, but he needed to know because he couldn't imagine living in this house alone, much less further away from Jared than before.

"Are you asking me to move in with you, Mr. Ackles?" Jared chuckled and smirked devilishly at him.

"Yes." The answer was out before Jensen had a chance to think it through. And honestly, there was nothing to think about. He swore himself that he would start doing right by Jared and offer the man more trust and definitely a whole bunch of honesty from now on. This was only the start and nothing had ever felt so right in his life before.

Jared's beaming smile was enough to let Jensen's heart hammer away in his chest and he was sure, that, after dinner, it was going to beat even faster.

Chapter Text

Up until a couple of hours ago Jensen wasn’t keen on the idea of spending his birthday away from Chris. He always spent his birthdays with his best friend. Not that they actually did anything out of the ordinary; it was just them; hanging out, preferably at home, order take out, sip beers and simply enjoy the day. But with Jared in his life, Jensen had to realize that changing his birthday-routine was only one of the many changes the man brought to Jensen’s life.

So it was, after an almost fight with Chris over how stupid Jensen had been yet again, that Jensen agreed on going out with Jared. He had no idea what Jared had planned, all he knew was that Chris and Jared teamed up. Again.

Chris has never gotten him a present in the past. The fact that he did this time left Jensen suspicious. It was the first clue that something was up. However, Jensen didn’t think much of it.

A shirt. Chris had given him a name brand shirt, one that was probably expensive. It was as weird as it was comical. Leave it to Chris to suck at picking out gifts. Nonetheless, Jensen hugged him and thanked him for the gesture.

Jensen’s world was thrown into a flurry of activity when Jared rushed in, kissing Jensen and leaving his head spinning when he left just as fast as he arrived. But, of course, not before Jensen said he would go out with him.

It was a date. After all the painful emotions, the physical sickness and the constant whirlwind that was Jared turning his life upside down, Jensen found himself excited. There wasn’t a time in his life when Jensen felt giddy about anything, not that he remembered at least. It was new. Thanks to Jared. Everything Jared did to him was new and, to some extent, exciting. It was all still so damn terrifying.

The only thing keeping him sane was Chris constantly reassuring him that the night was going to be great, that no matter what, Jared would always make sure that Jensen was comfortable and happy. Another feeling Jensen hadn’t been familiar with: happiness. Though here he was, heavily pregnant with Jared’s child, his heart thumping wild for a floppy haired giant and a happy future just around the corner; ready for Jensen to reach out and grab it.

If it wasn’t for Chris, Jensen would have freaked out already. But as it was, Chris was right there, helping him to get dressed and pick out the most elegant black pregnancy dress pants he had to go with the new white button down shirt. Jensen was set on the idea that he looked ridiculous and out of place; Chris wouldn’t have any of it.

“You look amazing, Jen. The puppy’s gonna shoot in his pants if he sees you.”

The puppy being Jared. And seriously, “Dude!”

“What?” Chris looked surprised, as if it wasn’t obvious that his statement was absolutely true. “Just sayin’ how it is. Jared’s crazy about you and you lookin’ like this? Yeah, he’s gonna have a hard time. Really hard.”

Jensen didn’t want to go further into the subject of Jared being hard. And when did Chris start appreciating a man’s appearance?

Chris’ phone began rattling to life somewhere in the living room just as his best friend had finished tying his shoelaces. It was pathetic, really. Well, not pathetic per se, but definitely physically impossible for Jensen to bend down and do it himself. Another reason to be mad at Jared, not because of the immense swell keeping Jensen from doing normal tasks, but for making him wear dress shoes. However, Jensen found it difficult these days to be mad with Jared. Four more weeks and Jensen would finally be able to see his toes again. All of a sudden he was hit with a rush of sadness. After months of ignoring the growing bump, Jensen finally managed, with thanks to Jared, to appreciate his pregnancy; to see it as the miracle everyone else in the world described it as. Now Jensen wanted nothing more than to keep his daughter to himself for a little while longer. It was a mix of guilt and selfishness; the need to make up for lost time.

Chris came back to Jensen’s room with an apologetic look on his face, “change of plans.”

Jensen sighed in relief. Maybe Jared did have some mercy in his bones and cancelled. But then again, it would only suck more to be stood up. When he reached for his tie to get rid of it, Chris stopped him. “Whoa. No. You’re still going out with Jared. He just called. There’s been… uh, I don’t know, some kind of emergency and he’s being held up.”

“Oh. Why… w-hat’s the change… changes?” Jensen asked with a light flutter of disappointment in his tone. Jared could have texted Jensen but instead chose to contact Chris.

“He asked me to drive you to Stoney River.” Chris shrugged his shoulders, already on board with whatever Jared told him.

There was just one thing, “isn’t that… in… in Franklin?” Jensen wanted to know. He knew Stoney River. He had passed it a couple of times, but never actually dared to set a foot in the place. There were at least a dozen of reviews of the restaurant in The Tennessean every week. One of the best steakhouses in the state, known for its excellent menu and ridiculous prices. They probably have a dress code too, Jensen wouldn’t know, but now he understood why he needed to dress up.

“Yeah, it is. Jared said he made reservations and you should get the table before they cancel it for not showing up. So we better get going, it’s a thirty minute drive with the crazy traffic.”

Chris was off, Jensen sensed it the second Chris said the word ‘reservations’. Chris never lied to him, never did anything upsetting to Jensen. Now though, Jensen witnessed how his best friend lied through his teeth. Something wasn’t right, but whatever it was, Chris seemed to be doing it without meaning any harm, because his best friend carried an exciting gleam in his eyes, a joyful smile playing on his lips. It was the only reason for Jensen to not question his best friend’s behavior.

During the drive, Jensen wondered what it was that forced Jared to be late like this. The man knew damn well that Jensen hated being thrown into uncertain situations. And this was just one of those moments. Jensen showing up at a restaurant, making sure they will keep their reservation meant he had to communicate with people. People who weren’t Chris or Jared. People who didn’t know him. People who might judge him. A storm of uneasiness settled deep in his guts, a wave of nausea crawling up his throat and it left him shaking. So much so that even his daughter began complaining; a set of strong feet kicking their way along his ribs. The abuse to his bones made him gasp and suck in a sharp breath. With both his hands sprawled over his swell, Jensen tried his best to soothe her and calm her down.

“You okay?” Chris asked with a heavy load of worry in his voice; his eyes darting back and forth between the road ahead and Jensen to his right.

“Yeah. Yeah, it’s… she… she’s kinda agitated.”

Chris reached over to squeeze Jensen’s shoulder in an attempt to make him feel better. It barely worked, but the sentiment made it better anyway. “I bet she’s running out of space in there, too. Considering how tall you both are, especially your giraffe of a boyfriend, I bet my ass she’s gonna be four feet at birth.”

Chris chuckled in pure delight at his own words, Jensen though, he was anything but happy about it. With wide eyes he looked over at his best friend, a stare strong enough to kill a man. The thought had never crossed Jensen’s mind. The thought of how tall his daughter could be and become. Yes, Jared was a few inches taller than him and logic made it clear that they wouldn’t possibly be able to make anything but giant babies. But now that the thought was out there Jensen remembered his doctor’s question. The question of his choice of birth. There was just no way he’d be able to give birth without being knocked unconscious or under the influence of morphine. Or whatever the strongest painkillers a hospital had to offer.

Finally at the restaurant, Jensen managed to store all thoughts of giving birth in the back of his mind. He still had four more weeks to worry about it. Chris dropped him off right in front of the entrance and when Jensen looked at him pleadingly to go in there with him, the man snorted in a funny way and told Jensen that he wasn’t part of this year’s birthday celebrations. He had a point. And it sucked that Chris was always right.

Smoothing down his tie, deciding again that he looked like an idiot, Jensen made his way inside the steakhouse. He was surprised that the first scent that hit him was… nothing. Not really. A faint smell of fruit hit his nostrils. Not that Jensen expected to be greeted with the smell of grease and grossness in a place like this, but it was still a surprise. He was thankful for it, really. Even though morning sickness was long gone, some scents still made him heave and shudder.

The restaurant was busy, almost all tables already taken from what Jensen could see from his spot at the entrance. So, maybe Jared had been right about their reservation.

A young brunette in her early thirties walked towards him, with a friendly sparkle in her eyes and an adorable bright smile on her red lipstick-covered lips. “Good evening, Sir.” She greeted, her voice sure and without the usual accent Jensen was expecting. She opened a black leather binder in her hands and only looked down at it long enough to find whatever she was looking for. “Do you have a reservation for tonight?”

Jensen gulped, hard. This was the moment he dreaded, the moment of having to speak to someone who didn’t know him. He felt his lips trembling, his hands starting to sweat already and he was lost. Jensen had no idea how to explain to the woman that Jared made reservations. Jensen didn’t know how these things go, what to say. All he croaked out was “Padalecki.” She surely must have had Jared’s name in her leather thingie.

All of a sudden her smile faltered and replaced with a sceptical look of ‘bullshit’. “One moment please.” She turned around, looking for something or someone and when she found it she flipped her fingers above her head. Seconds later a rough looking guy made his way to them.

Jensen wanted to run out and away. This was a disaster already and he had no clue how to excuse himself, other than bolting. What the hell was Jared thinking leaving him to deal with this mess?

“Mr. Morgan, there is a misunderstanding here.” The woman said, a shy expression making her forehead crinkle.

“Hello.” The guy, Mr. Morgan, greeted Jensen and extended a hand.

Not wanting to be rude, Jensen took the offered hand and swallowed his non-existing pride when he answered a small, “Hello.”

“What’s the problem, Kira?” Mr. Morgan looked puzzled at the woman.

“This gentleman says he has a reservation. Under the name Padalecki.” She pronounced Jared’s name as if she knew the man.

Mr. Morgan made an ‘O’-shaped face and turned his attention back to Jensen. “Oh wow. You must be Jensen!” There was a clear sign of surprise and excitement in the guy’s words. In order to defuse the tension from the woman, Mr. Morgan turned to her, “Kira, sweetheart. This is Jensen Ackles. Jared made the reservation. It’s all good.”

Jensen knew he must have gaped like a dying fish, because this was plain weird. He himself didn’t know the guy. Like, at all. But it seemed that the man knew him and that was strange. He even knew Jared. First name basis and all. And when the name Jared fell, Kira seemed to relax and understood what was going on. Everyone was on the same page except Jensen, of course. He didn’t understand any of it all.

With a friendly nod towards Jensen, Kira closed her leather binder and left the two of them standing there.

“So, you’re Jensen. I’m Jeffrey. Jared told me he’d bring you tonight.” There was a proud smile tugging at the guy’s lips.

“Okay?” Jensen said. He had no doubt now that Jared must have had been to Stoney River a few times.

“Alright, uh, I’m happy to finally meet you. The kid told me a lot about you. And when I say “a lot,” I mean it. Like, he doesn’t shut up. Jensen this, Jensen that, Jensen here, Jensen there. And… of course, about…” The guy bit his bottom lip at the corners and cocked his head with a happy gleam towards Jensen’s middle.

Wanting to protect his daughter from the stranger’s eyes, Jensen moved his hands to his bump, as if he could hide the huge swell with his palms alone. Jensen had many strange moments in his life, many unexplainable things happening to him, but this situation was probably the tip of the iceberg. He had no idea who Jeffrey Morgan was, he didn’t remember Jared ever mentioning him.

“You have no idea who I am, do you?” Jeffrey asked, a small look of disappointment drawing his mouth downwards.

“No. Sorry.” Jensen managed to sputter out without stuttering. He also made a mental note to fry Jared for all of this. The guy should have told him that he would run into people who knew about him.

“I’m the guy who made sure you had a lifetime supply of green beans a few months back. Jared made me cook up all we had in the kitchen.”

Oh. Oh. That explained a lot. Jensen remembered the beans just fine. They were terrible. For him, because he still hated them, but his daughter made him eat them.

“Anyway. How about we get you seated? I reserved a nice table for you two in the far end of the restaurant. It’ll feel like you two have the whole place to yourself. Follow me, please.” Without another word, Jeffrey turned on his heels and started walking, Jensen, unsure of his everything, followed the man to said table.

Morgan was right, the table was very secluded; it was away from everyone’s eyes and the chatter from the other guests was barely above a whisper. Right next to the table was a honest to God fireplace and Jensen hoped that they wouldn’t turn that thing on because he was already sweating as it was. But still, the restaurant was a pure jewel; elegant, romantic and completely out of Jensen’s league.

“Get yourself comfortable. I’m sure Jared will show up any minute now. Kira’s tending your table for tonight. If you need anything, just let her know. I’ll be sending her over right away in case you want something to drink while you wait.”

Just like Jeffrey Morgan promised, Kira showed up only two minutes later and with great effort Jensen ordered a glass of water. The woman looked at him kind of funny. Maybe it was frowned upon to order water in a high maintenance place like this. But with his nerves all over the place and his patience running thin, Jensen was sure his stomach couldn’t handle anything else. And alcohol to calm him down was out of the question anyway.

Jensen busied himself with counting the toothpicks on the table. When he was done he moved on to tracing the lines of the cotton napkins. After finishing this task as well, he figured staring at the glass of water in front him would do. The minutes ticked by slower and slower, to the point where he thought ‘fuck it’ and reached into his pants pockets to get his phone. Only to find out that he must have forgotten it at home. Great. Without his phone he couldn’t even call Chris to come pick him up again. This was a complete mess and he didn’t even care what kind of lame excuse Jared would come up with.

He emptied the last quarter of his water in a long gulp and was about to get up and out when an all out of breath and sweaty Jared appeared in his line of vision.

“Jensen! God, I’m so sorry.” Jared panted, his hands gripping the leather of the bench opposite Jensen for support.

Setting his jaw straight and glaring, Jensen didn’t say a word. He was pissed, for good reason. He waited almost an hour and after Jensen learned that people knew Jared around here the man could’ve called the restaurant to let Jensen know. Anything, really, would have been fine. But sitting there like a loser was torture for Jensen’s sanity.

Still only looking at Jared and fuming inside, the other man moved from his spot behind the bench to sit with Jensen; turning enough to look him in the eyes. “Jen, I’m really sorry. I had to take care of something and… and they didn’t hurry. I told them I would come pick it up over two hours ago but it wasn’t finished. And then… rush hour happened. I think I might get a ticket for speeding.”

Jensen loosened his strong features and blinked at Jared, nodding a small affirmation of understanding. Whatever Jared had to pick up it was obviously important to him. More important than Jensen.

“Don’t be mad, please. I didn’t mean to ruin your birthday.” Jared begged with him and while Jensen intended on giving Jared a difficult time, the man’s puppy eyes got the better of him. That, however, didn’t mean Jensen wouldn’t expect a further explanation some time later.

“You’re… here n-now.” There it was again; a small stutter, a reminder of how much Jared messed with Jensen’s head and how nervous he still got whenever he was around the other man.

Jared practically beamed at him, his dimples on full display when he leaned in to capture Jensen’s lips in a soft, warm kiss. “Gonna make it up to you.” Jared whispered promisingly between kisses.

For a few more minutes they just stayed like this, enjoying each other’s company, being close and sharing innocent kisses. The fact that nobody could see them brought a rush of comfort to Jensen and didn’t make him shy away.

Eventually they let go of each other and Jared took a seat across from Jensen.

Many questions whirled inside Jensen’s head, dozens of things he wanted to know and yet, he didn’t find enough courage to ask anything. He fixed his eyes on his own hands, fingers drawing small circles on the table.

“You’re still pissed.” Jared broke the silence between them. “I wanted this day to be special. Guess I screwed up.” The man sounded defeated and honest.

Jensen chewed on the inside of his cheeks before he managed to look up at Jared. He was shocked to see the younger man almost close to tears. It made his blood run cold and he felt like an asshole. He knew he should have apologized for behaving like a spoiled brat, but all that came out was, “I’m starving.” Jensen offered Jared a small smile, hoping it was enough to get the tension out of their space.

After Kira brought them the menu, Jared chose the River’s ‘Cowboy-Cut’-Ribeye Steak and Jensen went with the Filet Mignon. He left it to Jared to place their order and was glad that he only had to speak to their waitress again when he wanted his food with a glass of ginger ale. Jared picked the same drink.

“No wine?” He asked Jared, once Kira left their table. It surprised him, because if he could he would have gotten himself a nice glass of red wine with their steaks.

“Would like to, but we’re pregnant.” Jared answered with a slight look of shock in his eyes.

“Uh…” Jensen began but was at loss for words, because clearly Jared wasn’t pregnant. Unless there was something Jensen didn’t know yet. “You… n-need to tell me s-something?”

Jared burst out laughing then and Jensen couldn’t help but join in. Jared’s dimples had this effect on him.

“No. God. I mean, I wouldn’t mind but I’m just being supportive. Is all.”

It’s one of the sweetest things Jared had ever said to him. Sure, Jensen wouldn’t be offended if Jared had gotten himself an alcoholic beverage, but at the same time it was yet another proof how deeply Jared was involved, how much he still wanted to be a part of this and be supportive.

When their orders arrived, they retreated back into a familiar and comfortable silence as they enjoyed every fork-full of delicious beef. It was amazing. Jensen couldn’t remember the last time he had such an incredible prepared meal. Jared seemed to enjoy his steak just as much, if the little moans on his tongue where anything to go by. Nobody should have had the right to look so pleased and sexy while devouring food, but Jared managed yet again to surprise Jensen. There was something new to learn about the man every day and Jensen found himself staring more at Jared’s mouth than his own food in front of him.

Jensen became hungrier by the second and none of this hunger had anything to do with food. It had been two days since Jared spent the night with him. Two days since Jared’s mouth and hands had been on him and the need to have the man’s fingers crawl over his skin grew heavier the more he focused on how sinfully Jared licked his lips clean of the residual steak taste.

In a moment of inadvertence, Jared caught him mid-stare, “You okay?” There was a hint of worry on Jared’s face.

“Yeah.” Jensen snapped his eyes back up, off of Jared’s lips and to the man’s eyes.

“Not hungry anymore?” The man wanted to know as he pointed with his fork to Jensen’s neglected plate.

“Very.” Jensen swallowed, licked his lips and drew his eyes to Jared’s shiny mouth again. His brain short circuited when Jared’s lips parted slightly. “But not... for food.” Jensen added in a whisper.

He obviously wasn’t very subtle. Suddenly Jared’s feet under the table found their way to brush against his, the man’s calves tangling around Jensen’s. “Is that so?”

Their waitress chose that moment to interrupt them and Jensen wanted to murder her. “Is there anything else I can get you?”

Jensen only shook his head, because all he wanted was to leave the restaurant and go home, maybe continue the conversation with Jared on more intimate grounds. The way it shaped up, Jensen guessed that Jared was on board with that idea. It only proved to be right, when the man winked at him; then gave his attention back to Kira. “No, thanks. We’re ready to head out.”

“Of course, Mr. Padalecki.” With that being said, the waitress sauntered off.

“That’s okay with you, right?” Jared searched Jensen’s face for an answer. “I kinda got the impression that you’d rather leave.”

Jensen didn’t want to be there in the first place, but he couldn’t say that to Jared. They had barely been there for two hours and it was already more than Jensen could handle. And if he was being honest, he got really uncomfortable sitting in one place for so long. The bench surely was good quality and made for long stays, but with his pregnancy so far along, he‘d rather not be sitting for too long. His body began to ache in all the wrong places. “Yeah, I… I kinda… need to stretch my l-legs.” And just as the words were out, their daughter decided to become the world’s next boxing champion. Jensen winced and clutched his hands to his middle, the sudden pain making him gasp.

“Hey, Jen… you okay?” Jared practically jumped out of his seat and plastered himself next to him, both their hands covering the swell in an attempt to stiffle the ache.

“I… I will be.” Jensen choked the words out and took a long calming breath. The further along his pregnancy got, the more intense those kicks became and it was the only reason why he couldn’t wait to have her out and in this world already. “She’s not… v-very happy lately.”

Jared stroked his palm soothingly over the swell of their daughter and leaned in to press his lips against Jensen’s temple. “I’m sorry. Let’s get you home and comfortable. We can relax at your place, if you’re up for it.”

Jensen was completely on board with that idea. He really didn’t want anywhere else to go but on his couch or into his bed. Preferably with Jared.

Jeffrey Morgan came to their table again. “You guys leaving already?” The man looked disappointed.

“Jeffrey, hey.” Jared greeted the man in the same moment as Jeffrey leaned down to take Jared into an earnest hug.

Jensen felt lost, like he was intruding and didn’t belong. His nerves were on edge already but now they became the distressed kind of nerves. For the first time, he experienced something close to jealousy. He didn’t like it one bit the way Jeffrey clung to Jared, his face too close to Jared’s.

“Jensen,” Jared pulled away from the man and fixed his eyes to him again, “I want you to meet Jeffrey. He’s been a friend of mine for almost ten years and Lynne’s husband.”

Jensen’s eyes went wide in surprise. A minute ago, he had thought that maybe there was something between the two men that needed explanation, but hearing that the guy was married to Lynne, Jared’s boss from the shelter, calmed him almost instantly.

Jeffrey offered him his hand again and Jensen happily shook it, a content sigh leaving his lips.

“We’ve met earlier. But I’m glad your man finally got you here.” Jeffrey grinned like a crazily happy person at Jensen.

He would have liked to be more polite and actually talk to the man, but he still felt off and his body wasn’t allowing him the benefit of a good time either. Everything seemed to hurt and their daughter began to kick up a storm inside of him again.

Jared seemed to have read Jensen’s thoughts and understood that Jensen wasn’t up for any form of conversation. “We’ll probably come over more often, but we’ll have a few crazy weeks ahead of us.” Jared explained and apologized for them.

“I bet,” Jeffrey chuckled. “But hey, don’t be strangers, alright? And Jensen? Whenever you’re up for it, I’d love to have a little get-together. I need to figure out how you deal with this guy day in and out. You must’ve nerves of steel.”

“Hey!” Jared interrupted and threw a light punch to Jeffrey’s arm.

Jensen guessed that Jared must have filled the man in on Jensen’s issues, because no matter how much he didn’t talk, Jeffrey wasn’t bothered by it. And that was something he only knew from Jared himself.

“Alright you three.” Jeffrey said with a wink towards Jensen. “Jared, clear your tab on your way out.”

Jared began laughing, threw his head back and let his dimples pop, “as if.”

There was a whole lot of confusion whirling through Jensen and he wondered if Jared was serious or not. He sure as hell didn’t have enough money in his wallet to cover their bill and there was no doubt that Jared knew as much. He swallowed hard and for a second he thought about offering to wash the dishes in the kitchen.

“Let’s go, Jen.” Jared stated as he got up from the seat and held his hand out for Jensen.

On their way out, Jensen stopped them in their tracks, “Jay…” he began and swallowed hard before he continued, “the tab.”

Jared leaned in and placed a soft kiss at the corner of his mouth, all while his arm slung its way around the small of Jensen’s back. “It’s all good. Jeffrey will just take it out of my share.”

“Huh?” Jensen was sure he looked slow to catch on, but Jared, as always, understood and smiled down at him.

“I’ll tell you in the car.”

With that they left, Jensen felt odd about the fact that they left without leaving any cash behind to cover their bill. He felt like a thief. It was stupid, because obviously the people from the restaurant knew Jared; if they didn’t then they wouldn’t have let them walk out.

Once inside the car, Jared leaned over, invading Jensen’s personal space to chase after his lips. There was a faint taste of steak left but underneath Jensen couldn’t help but notice the sweetness that was pure Jared.

“Jeffrey used to cook at the shelter.” Jared began explaining once he pulled back and started the car. “They didn’t know who I was when I offered to volunteer. I just… you know, I never liked the idea of anyone knowing who I am or what I own.”

Jared pulled out of the parking lot and onto the Interstate. “I knew them for longer than two years before I kind of let it slip. I didn’t mean to, but it happened. By that time I already knew that Jeffrey was saving up for his own restaurant. So, we, well, I… uh, I teamed up with him. He loves to cook and I love to eat. Perfect combination, right?” Jared looked over at Jensen, dimples perfectly set in place and a shy blush painting his cheeks. “I gave him the start up cash he needed to get started and he’s paying me back in steaks. And I’ve been taking full advantage of it for years now.”

Huh. Apparently Jared had always been the kind of guy who couldn’t help but support the people dear to him. It was always refreshing to find out yet again that obviously Jared really was an honest man. One with a big heart that seemed too good to be true. Too good for Jensen; he thought in hindsight.

“That reminds me…. God, I’m so stupid.” Jared clicked his tongue.

Jensen saw the opportunity, and he damn well took it. “It r-reminds you, that… that you’re stupid? A fault conf-fessed is half redressed.” Jensen kept his eyes straight on the road but he couldn’t hide a smirk.

“Yeah. What?” The man shook his head and turned to face Jensen. “I’ll remember that. Payback’s a bitch.” There was absolutely no heat behind the words, Jared’s smile covered the entirety of his face and Jensen couldn’t resist as he returned the affection.

“No, but seriously. You’re good with numbers, right?” Jared placed one of his hands on Jensen’s hand, giving it a slight squeeze.

“I’m an accountant after all.”

“Right. So. Uh, we both know you’re looking for a new job. I mean, not right now of course. But after Bean is born. You could... uh. Just a suggestion, okay?” Jared squeezed his hand again and when Jensen looked over he came to witness a completely nervous Jared, lip biting and eyes flickering back and forth. “Jeffrey’s book-keeping is a mess. His tax adviser threatened to kill him a bunch of times in the past. Maybe you’d like to use your skills for the restaurant? I don’t know if that’s even what you wanna do but it could be a start. You’d be able to work from home or set up an extra office at the restaurant. Whatever you want. If you’d want that.”

Jensen wasn’t sure he had heard right, because that? That was exactly the kind of opportunity he had been waiting for. His fingers itched to grab that chance but then he was reminded with what Jared just told him. Jeffrey Morgan and him were business partners, which would have made both of them Jensen’s boss. He still wasn’t happy with the idea of taking any of Jared’s money and working for him was exactly that; taking Jared’s money. But he had to work for it, he wouldn’t get it for free. Working from home and never having to deal with ignorant co-workers? That almost sounded like a dream to Jensen, but his options were still limited. And book-keeping was a piece of cake, a walk in the park. He had done more than that at Keller Inc. “You’d be… my boss.”

“Not really. Sure, I hold fifty-one percent of the business share, but that’s just on the papers. I go there to eat, not to do math. I trust Jeffrey enough to know that he’s not screwing anything up. He can hire and fire who he wants. Also, he signs the paychecks, not me.”

“I’ll t-think about it.” And he promised himself that he would, in fact, think about it. He already did, but Jensen never made decisions that fast.

“Awesome!” Jared exclaimed in excitement. Maybe that could actually work. There was no other job offer waiting for him and a new job, after their daughter was born, would be a nice addition to a whole new future.

After a ten minute drive, Jensen was confused as to where Jared was going. The man knew the way to Jensen’s place and Jared also knew that Jensen wouldn’t go to his place. The house they would move in to sometime soon wasn’t in that direction either. It left an uneasiness in his gut and before he would start to squirm and freak he needed to know what was going on. “Where… are we going?”

“It’s a surprise.”

Jensen wanted to protest and tell Jared that no, he didn’t want more surprises, or any surprises at all. But the man looked at him with such adoration in his eyes, that Jensen couldn’t say no. Instead, he smiled at Jared.

It was easier than Jensen had first thought, to simply accept what Jared was doing, rather than going against it. A small bubble of peace rose in him and he didn’t try searching for a fraction of strength to burst it.

After about ten more miles Jared stopped the car in the parking lot of the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. Jared turned the car off, unbuckled his seatbelt and shifted in his seat until he was facing Jensen. “Okay, truth is, I wanted you all to myself today.” Jared chewed on his bottom lip, like he always seemed to do when nerves tickled his body. “I know that you’ve been uncomfortable as of the last few weeks. Physically. So we’re not going to do anything strenuous. All I want is to spoil you a little.”

Jensen wanted to object and the second he started to move his lips Jared held his hands up to interrupt him. He usually didn’t do that. Jared had always been the one person who patiently waited for him to speak, but this time was different. “It’s your birthday. And as your boyfriend I’m allowed to make this day somewhat special for you. We’re going to enjoy ourselves, relax and you don’t get to say no this time.”

The shit-eating grin on the man’s face showed that there was no room for arguments. And truth be told, Jensen really liked the idea of having Jared all to himself. Sure, they always had time for themselves, but at the apartment there was always the possibility of Chris showing up at random times. “Let’s go and r-relax.”

The younger man sighed, a frustrated sigh and rolled his eyes, “Jensen, please. Just this…. wait. Did you just not put up a fight?”

“Huh. I guess I didn’t.” He shrugged at Jared and unbuckled himself before he slowly stepped out of the car. He barely managed without toppling over because he couldn’t see his feet, much less the ground beneath him. Before slamming the door shut, he smirked at a very confused and puzzled looking Jared. “You coming?”

When they stepped into the hotel, Jensen felt as if he entered a whole new world. He had seen his fair share of luxury; always dangling in front of him and never anything he could have. He didn’t care much for materialistic things, or not at all. When he still could, he had always enjoyed the fact that he had to work for a living, put his brain to good use. Now, Jared brought him to a place that smelled of wealth, greed and haughtiness. One look at Jared though, and Jensen realized that even the other man felt somewhat out of place. It was weird, knowing that Jared had no need to worry about money and yet he was just as uncomfortable as Jensen. The only proof of Jared being part of this end of the food chain was the watch around his toned wrist. That thing alone was probably worth more than Jensen had earned in a year at Keller Inc. Funny, how Jensen never paid attention to those little details, but then again, he never gave a shit about any of this. For all he knew, Jared could have worn a Hello Kitty watch and Jensen’s heart would still beat faster whenever he looked at the man.

After Jared received a keycard, for what Jensen guessed would be their room, they made their way to the elevators. Only when the man hit the button for the suite on top did Jensen get nervous again. Without awareness of his actions, he stepped closer to Jared, their sides pressed flush against one another and he desperately reached for Jared’s hand, lacing their fingers. He needed some form of confirmation that this was okay, that this was typical Jared - going above and beyond. The small touch, their palms pressed together, always enough to calm Jensen and steady his breathing.

The elevator dinged only moments later, announcing that they had reached their destination. Jared tugged at his hand lightly, “come on.” The man leaned down, his breath fanning over Jensen’s skin as he pressed their lips together. A short caress, not more than a peck, but enough to weaken his knees. The small show of affection made all his previous uneasiness crumble.

Once inside their room, Jensen’s eyes went wide, a surprised gasp escaped his lips. It wasn’t just any normal hotel room, the entryway alone was bigger than half of his apartment. Their hotel room was an apartment. The size of a house, but definitely a suite one could have lived in for the rest of their lives if they had the resources. When they walked further inside, they stood in the middle of what seemed to be some sort of living room and next to one of the three couches were two travel bags. One of them looked an awful lot like Jensen’s. He hadn’t seen the bag in years, it was stuffed somewhere inside his closet, ever since he and Chris had moved into their apartment.

Jared must have followed his gaze and saw the huge imaginary question mark floating over his head. “I had some help. Picked your stuff up from Chris earlier.”

Of course. Team Jared and Chris. Always plotting. Now Jensen understood why his best friend had been lying. He chuckled at the thought of an uncomfortable Chris digging through all of his stuff to pack the bag. It wasn’t a problem for Jensen, because Chris knew more about him than anyone else and it was his best friend who wouldn’t even take his clothes out of the dryer. “We staying… the night?” Jensen dreaded carefully, even though the answer was obvious.

“Mh hm.” Jared’s arm caressed his way around the small of Jensen’s back, turning them both so that they were face to face. “And we should get right on the subject of relaxing.” The smug curve tugging on the man’s lips forced Jensen to take a shallow breath. “How about I let some water run and we take full advantage of the oversized bathtub I know for a fact that the bathroom holds?”

There was a promising edge to the man’s words, something Jensen didn’t get to hear very often. Not like that. His mind raced with thoughts of what such a promise might entail, where it wasn’t only him but also Jared who would be stepping into a tub. Naked. Both of them. At the same time. The idea of finally seeing the man completely nude again made his head fuzzy. A small part of Jensen wanted to push sadness to the surface when he was reminded that he had only ever seen Jared naked once. Even now, after all these months, Jensen never had been given the chance of appreciating the miles of ripped muscles he knew were hiding underneath Jared’s clothing. Giddy with excitement over the prospect of finally been given this particular chance, Jensen inched his smaller form closer to the man in front of him, rolling the balls of his feet forward to reach up and capture Jared’s lips in a soft brush with his own. The man tasted, as always, amazing, his pink lips shiny, hungry and the death of any man’s sanity.

Jensen didn’t care if he came across as needy, it shouldn’t have been new to the other man that Jensen wanted more. Hell, he told and asked Jared as much before and he was dead serious about it too. His hormones were driving him to the nuthouse at full speed; if he didn’t get Jared to do something about that soon, then Jensen was ready to kill someone. Anyone. Everyone.

Bringing both his hands up to cup Jensen’s face, Jared lingered, his mouth not once letting go of his as he backed them up, small strides in a direction Jensen hoped to God was the previously mentioned bathroom. The longer their mouths tangled and explored, the more their lips swelled from the assault of kissing, the more Jensen wanted to scream. He was hot all over, his skin burning with desire to have his boyfriend closer still. He gasped as he realized that for the first time he himself had thought of Jared as his boyfriend. There were numerous accounts when that specific term was brought up, but he never dared letting it get to him. Apparently the taller man had a wicked way of crawling into Jensen’s brain and leaving him silly.

Once inside a new room, Jensen cracked his eyes open for a short moment, studying their surroundings. When Jared pulled back from their joined lips, Jensen felt a sudden rush of disappointment but a reassuring wink from the other man was surely making up for the lost contact. Clicking the door shut, Jared returned to him, placing his huge paws on either side of Jensen’s hips, digging, scratching and pressing them into his bones with uncertainty. They just stared at each other for longer than it had any right to be comfortable, but Jensen was ready to drown in the man’s eyes. They shone with adoration and longing, something Jensen still learned how to handle, how to express. Although Jared had mostly rid him of his shyness, he had still not found enough confidence to fully open up and utter the things he wanted, the emotions that partially crippled him and the bodily needs he battled against. If he listened to his heart, the little twinge that always screamed for his attention, then he knew that Jared wasn’t going to hurt him. Jensen had done and said many hurtful things in their last months together, especially in the first few and no matter how much he burned the man, Jared had always come back; with open arms and a heart to take. Which was, why Jensen needed to step out of his stupor instead of revert to old habits. Soon they would be living together, they’d have a newborn to care for.

This exact thought spurred him on. The need to prove himself to Jared, to once again show that he wanted them to be made his next move easier than he had first thought. With tentative and still nervous moves, he mirrored Jared’s action, placing his trembling hands over his boyfriend’s protruding hipbones. Not hesitating again, Jensen pulled at Jared’s shirt, tugging it out of the man’s pants. The swell of their daughter didn’t allow him to step much closer, but he didn’t stop until his bump pressed softly against Jared’s flat stomach. He leaned up, fever like warmth rose within him as he pursed his lips, melding their mouths together once again. A feeling of immense comfort and coming home spiraled through his veins when Jared returned the kiss with fervor.

Jensen’s hands made their way underneath the soft fabric of Jared’s shirt, the man’s skin warm and inviting, a magnet for his palms to stroke over.

He had barely moved his hands further around his boyfriend’s back when Jared panted into his mouth, “one second.”

Jensen was too stunned to make out what was happening. A second ago he had his mouth full of tongue and hands groping over ripped abs and now he blinked stupidly at Jared for pulling away. He turned around to see what the hell was wrong, ready to kick and yell, but then he took a better look and his head lolled sideways. The view was mesmerizing. Jared was bent over the bathtub, or jacuzzi. Something like that. It really wasn’t much of either but it was huge and could probably hold three of Jensen’s size. The water started running and Jensen hoped the sound wouldn’t attract his bladder anytime soon. But what actually turned Jensen’s mouth into a desert was the fine curve of Jared’s ass, the way it stuck out towards him. He could have watched Jared move around the tub for an eternity, every movement stretching Jared’s pants tighter around his bottom. Yes, the sight was worth abandoning their kiss. Still, Jensen wanted the man’s hands back on him sooner rather than later.

When Jared finished whatever he was doing, he turned and reached behind Jensen, flipping a switch. The light dimmed, replacing the daylight-like brightness with a soft orange tone that resembled the flickering of candles. Jared’s eyes were locked with his again, their color gone in wake for darkness. Jensen wasn’t sure if the light was to blame for the missing mixed hues of Jared’s eyes or if there was a complete different reason for the man’s eyes going that dark.

For a moment, Jensen was at loss but then his brain kicked back in and he couldn’t get past the longing to feel Jared’s skin under his fingers again.

As soon as he came in contact with the heat radiating off of the taller man, Jensen’s body shivered, sparks of electricity bolting against his nerve endings. He wanted to touch, caress and see all of Jared. To reach that point of satisfaction he had to do something and Jared’s waiting stare propelled him into action. If he overanalyzed and thought everything over for too long he knew Jared would be able to look right through him. The man had this kind of magical talent. It scared Jensen, it terrified him that Jared was able to read him like an open book, but so far, it never ended in any tragedy, it only brought him here, it brought him closer to the man. Shutting his brain off for good, Jensen went for bold. He had done it before. Sure, if he hadn’t been so bold all those months ago he wouldn’t have had that belly to show off. And now, now it was time to show this side of himself again. He had done it once, he could do it again.

Trying to get Jared’s focus off of his eyes, Jensen crashed his lips against Jared’s again, diving in and it didn’t take his boyfriend longer than two seconds to open up and part his lips so he could sweep his tongue inside. While distracting Jared, dragging moans out of his parted lips, Jensen removed his hands from underneath Jared’s shirt, long enough to maneuver them to the hem. Unpracticed and muddled with nerves, Jensen began to open the first button, slowly moving on to the second and then the next. A low growl of appreciation coursed through the air as Jared’s hold tightened on his hips. When Jensen unbuttoned the last piece of plastic, Jared shuddered, a jerky breath travelling over Jensen’s mouth as they stopped their onslaught of tongue and lips.

The moment all the buttons were undone, Jensen shoved the shirt over Jared’s shoulders, sleeves tugging down in slow motion over strong biceps until it clattered to the floor with a soft thud. Jensen gasped and swallowed hard at the sight. The man’s chest, abs, happy trail… everything was already branded into Jensen’s memories, but many months ago he was too desperate to get laid to pay too much attention to the sheer handsomeness that was Jared’s amazing build. After only one time, he barely got to see Jared without anything covering his upper body, and even when he did, it was only for a few seconds when the man changed clothing. Now, he finally had the opportunity to admire the way every muscle gracefully curved under skin and over bones. Before Jensen had a chance to actually reach out and stroke his palms over the man’s torso, Jared beat him to it and grabbed for Jensen’s shirt, opening each button while his eyes stared straight ahead, boring their way into Jensen and ripping every ounce of coherency out of him.

He shivered, a bolt of warmth and lust rushed through his blood when Jared held on to his wrists and then pulled him in to bring their lips together for another soft heated kiss. At first Jensen didn’t register what was happening but as soon as his hands came in contact with Jared’s belt he realized that Jared was the one guiding his hands, resting them on the buckle for Jensen to figure out what to do. His first instinct was to shy away again but Jared looked at him with pleading eyes and Jensen found himself fumbling with the belt buckle. He knew exactly what he wanted, what Jared wanted him to do, but the buckle played against him, making the opening process more complicated than quantum physics.

Jared bent his head, enough to brush his stubbled cheek against Jensen’s and whispered close to his ear, “I love you.”

Jensen sucked in a heavy breath. It was exactly the kind of encouragement he needed to fulfill the literal task at hand. Jared always had this special way of shoving confidence at him, either by saying words he needed to hear the most or simply by being patient with him; never a sliver of judgment in the younger man’s expressions. With a swift push and pull the belt buckle was undone and Jared smiled against Jensen’s cheek, leaving the spot tingling. Too stunned by his accomplishment, Jensen froze. Not for long though, because Jared returned to Jensen’s clothing again, copying his movements and taking over the act of pushing his hands inside the waistband of Jensen’s pants and carefully rolling them over their daughter’s current residence. Jared didn’t go further, Jensen’s pants didn’t offer any buttons or zippers. The perks of pregnancy clothing. It all clicked into place then, why the man copied Jensen’s doings. An indication of showing Jared what Jensen wanted. Jared wanted to be guided, for Jensen to take the reigns and tell, in a matter of body language, what to do next. He didn’t know if he could do that, if he had the mental strength to take the lead. He was given the power, the control over them. Jensen was the one in charge and he felt floored with how much Jared trusted him. Why was he even surprised anymore?

Craning his neck slightly, eyes following the sound of the faucet filling the bathtub, Jensen prodded his brain into action. Not as skittish as before, he balled both fists around Jared’s waistband and tugged at it until the material slowly glided down his legs on its own. Jensen guessed that this was Jared’s reason for always wearing a belt, pants simply didn’t stay up on their own. He wanted to chuckle at the thought but the moment was too serious, too promising.

Jared kicked off his shoes and stepped out of his black pants, all while sliding his lips over Jensen’s again, their mouths never apart for too long. Proving his earlier thoughts to be correct, Jared’s hands made their way over their daughter, sprawling both palms flat on each side. Jared trailed kisses along Jensen’s jaw, teeth scraping, nibbling and lips sucking a wet path down to his collarbone. Further, lower, the man’s lips hot against his sensitive skin of the swell. The pleasure of Jared’s gentle caresses was quickly crushing him, his arousal building, rising. Jensen was a heartbeat away from begging, however, his breath got knocked out of his lungs when Jared shoved his pants down and he didn’t stop going further until he had helped Jensen out of his own shoes so he could step out of his pants as well.

Instead of feeling excited, Jensen’s brain served him up with a heavy dose of insecurity, followed by an unpleasant quiver. Even though he was still in his boxers, he felt exposed and on display. There was always black or white with Jared, never an in between. Either Jensen had been annoyed and closed up in defending himself or he had been shut down to feeling anything at all. He had never been confident enough to actually let himself feel what he wanted to. He had no idea how to allow himself to be content and relaxed around Jared but he knew they had to reach that part of their relationship.

In spite of his inner turmoil, Jared, yet again, managed to calm him as the man carefully stepped around him. His long arms wrapped around Jensen’s middle, lacing their fingers over their unborn and resting his chin on Jensen’s shoulder. “So beautiful.” Jared hushed in a whisper against his neck. “The things you do to me.”

Taken by the confession, Jensen’s head lolled back to rest on Jared’s shoulder.

“You have no idea, do you?” Sloppy kisses were peppered over the back of Jensen’s head and all he could do was shake his head. He had an idea, but hearing was always different. It made things all the more real.

“Driving me crazy.” Another brush of lips was added to the collection and Jensen shuddered over Jared being so close to him.

Suddenly, Jared unlaced their fingers, playfully tip toeing his hands from the front of the baby bump to the sides until he rested them for a long moment on his hips again. Jensen didn’t have time to think or dwell over the gesture because he felt his boxers being pushed down. Jared kept a firm hold of him so he could get out of the underwear completely.

Jensen wanted to fold in on himself; he squeezed his eyes shut and tensed. No matter how badly he wanted Jared, all of him please, the fact that he stood fully nude made his nerves strain in restraint. However, his body had none of it, the close proximity he shared with Jared, the fine touches enough to let his blood rush to his groin. He felt pathetic for being embarrassed, they had sex before for crying out loud. They made, though unintentionally, a child. Jared even gave him his first blow job not long ago and sure, the handjobs they traded happened mostly under the covers but still, there was no plausible reason for Jensen to feel that way.

With a safe and gentle nudge Jared held him at the hips and guided him to the bathtub and motioned for him to get in. The water had perfect temperature and Jensen couldn’t wait to sink into it and hide away under the white bubbles. Within a second of his body being underwater, Jensen closed his eyes and calmed his nerves. He heard Jared shuffle around but couldn’t focus on anything else but having his growing arousal hidden. Jensen’s eyes snapped open when he felt Jared stepping in too, carefully lowering himself behind Jensen. Unsure of what to do, he stilled every movement. Jared took the reigns back and pulled Jensen flush against his chest, the man’s long, very long, legs set around Jensen, caging him without a chance to go anywhere.

Resting his back against Jared, Jensen felt himself relax a little. So much so that he was on the edge of being lulled to sleep, the type that was bound to be the most comfortable sleep he had ever had. Jared was comfortable and strong in ways that could hold Jensen together.

They enjoyed the warmth, the quiet and Jensen couldn’t keep his eyes off Jared’s hands, how they lovingly roamed over their daughter with fascination. After a couple of minutes, she began kicking wherever Jared’s hands moved and Jensen smiled at the little bumps forming on his skin; the way his belly bent and pushed against Jared and chased after his touches.

“Does it hurt?” Jared suddenly broke the silence when a stronger kick landed on his palm.

“No. Feels good.” Jensen sighed into the air. “She knows… knows it’s y-you.”

“How can you tell?”

Right, Jensen was once again reminded of how little he shared of his pregnancy progress with Jared. Guilt made his tongue stumble. “When she’s going all… crazy, then.. t-then I only n-need to touch my belly and she calms d-down. When you touch her, then… she’s r-ready to w-w-wrestle.”

It made perfect sense for Jensen yet at the same time it was completely unbelievable how an unborn child could read them so well by touch and differ her actions. She somehow knew that Jensen needed her to calm down when she kicked too hard or too often and his body was sore. With Jared, she was full of energy and played with him. The baby had them all figured out.

“I can’t wait to meet her.” A whisper of breath ghosted over Jensen’s neck. “God, I love her so much already.”

Jensen didn’t say anything to those words. He couldn’t tell Jared that he himself wasn’t ready to let her go just yet, that he wanted her to himself for a while longer; he wasn’t ready to share her with anyone yet. Not even with Jared. It was cruel in some way, which was why he kept his mouth shut. Truth was, he knew that when their daughter was born he wouldn’t actually have to let go and lose her, but he did have to share her because there wouldn’t only be Jensen waiting for her and love her. No, their baby had two fathers waiting for her, ready to love her unconditionally. Something he himself never had: loving parents. His daughter would have a better life than him. And all of it was going to be with thanks to Jared.

“There’s still a little birthday gift I wanna give you.”

Jensen tensed again and tried to get out of Jared’s hold. The man knew that Jensen didn’t want anything. Everything so far was more than enough.

Jared tightened his hold around him, “I know. I know. It’s not for you exactly. Took me a while to get it done, which is why I was so late today. It’s for our little girl and I want you to hold onto it until she’s here.”

Loosening his grip on Jensen, Jared reached for his discarded pants on the bathroom floor and fished a small flat jewel box out and placed it on the part of Jensen’s baby bump that was above the water.

Careful, so as to not let it tumble into the water, they arranged their arms so that Jared had his hands around their daughter and Jensen’s arms above his to reach the jewel box.

“Open it.” Jared told him while placing a chaste kiss behind his ear.

His fingers trembled a little but eventually Jensen steadied them enough to click the box open. His breath got stuck in his throat when his eyes landed on a tiny silver bracelet. It was teeny, mere inches in circumference. Jensen swiped his fingers over the small raised embossed elements on the plate. Sun, Moon, Star. Three symbols, parts of a larger picture that will always work together. Jensen sniffled against the tears that began to well up behind his lids.

Jared took Jensen’s hand in his own and together they traced the Sun, “ancient people thought that the Sun was who gave life to humans and animals. They thought that the heat of bodies came from the Sun. That way, the Sun was seen as a life giver.” Jared explained with something that Jensen deciphered as pride and excitement. When yet another soft kiss was added to his temple, Jensen realized what, or rather who, the symbol was meant to be. Jensen was supposed to be the Sun.

Together they moved the pads of their fingers to the next symbol, the Moon. “The Moon has a female nature. It was identified with women because the lunar cycles are linked to the physiological cycles of women. The Moon also represents renovation and is related to the unconscious, to mystery.” Jared chuckled at the last word. “And our daughter is exactly that, a mystery. Because let’s be honest. We both still can’t explain how it happened. But I’m thrilled nonetheless.”

Jensen joined Jared and couldn’t stop himself from smiling along. It was true. They both had no explanation for it, they had no clue what went wrong and they would surely never get an answer to it either. Something else caught Jensen’s attention though. He wasn’t great at astrology, but while most of his life was spent as a hermit, he read a lot and put in many hours of Discovery Channel, “Isn’t the moon… supposed t-to be silver?”

“Yeah, that’s right. But it’s also the golden middle in this constellation.”

Jared had a point. Their daughter was the golden middle, the one constant between them. Without the golden mystery they probably wouldn’t have ended up together. The golden child that made them be, Jensen thought to himself.

Without further explanation, Jared tapped on the nine-point star of the bracelet and Jensen couldn’t wait to hear what description the man would tell him about the symbol.

“Stars can have different meanings, depending on how many points they have. A star in itself symbolizes the battle against darkness.”

The frown that appeared on Jensen’s face was short of destroying the mood, because it was a perfect explanation of who he was in their relationship: the darkness that clouded over them and more than once tried to break them apart. That left Jared to be the one of them who constantly gave his everything to fight against Jensen’s negativity.

“Nine points stand for three things. First there’s success. I don’t know which kind of success but from my perspective I’d say it’s a huge success that you’re here with me.”

Jensen’s frown disappeared in an instant and he snuggled his back deeper in Jared’s chest.

“Then there’s stability and positivity. There’s nothing I’m more positive of other than that we’re going to make this all work. You, the little one and me. I want us to be a family. Sometimes it hurts to think of how badly I really want all of this.”

Jensen’s heart rate sped up, the muscle beating against his chest and an exhilaration spread through his very core like wildfire. Wrapping himself around Jared was out of the question so all Jensen could do to show some form of appreciation was to crane his neck far enough to get his lips on Jared’s. He put all his emotions into the gesture and hoped that Jared understood.

At first their kiss was delicate, shy and unhurried but when Jared took the jewel box off his belly and replaced it with his hands again, Jensen couldn’t help the moan he transferred over his lips. His boyfriend parted his lips to swipe his tongue into Jensen’s mouth, he swallowed every moan out of Jensen’s mouth, only to make him moan even louder and work him up to the point where Jensen couldn’t ignore their arousals. Jared’s flesh grew heavy and hard against Jensen’s back, the man’s cock rubbing against his skin.

Not knowing where his sudden bluntness came from, Jensen panted when a tremor of lust shook his insides, “bed.”

 

Getting out of the bathtub was more complicated than Jensen had thought. He made it out, alive, but without any grace and it was so unsexy that he was sure the mood had been killed instantly. If it hadn’t been for Jared hoisting him up then he might have never made it out. He felt like a stranded whale and he probably looked like one, too. He groaned in frustration and Jared had the nerve to laugh.

“I’m so sorry. Jen, I…” Jared trailed off and fell into another fit of laughter. “I shouldn’t have gotten you in there in the first place. I wasn’t thinking.”

“Right.” Jensen huffed and puffed, stretched and rubbed the small of his back.

Jared grabbed two bathrobes that the hotel provided and helped Jensen get into one of them before slipping into one himself. The man cupped Jensen’s face by the cheeks and gave him a quick peck, “you’re too cute when you’re annoyed and all pissy.”

Jensen huffed again. Whatever, the mood was gone. He felt like killing a bucket of ice-cream and stewing in his foul mood.

One of them was always the one to never disappoint. Jensen wasn’t that person. But Jared was. Because once he had pulled Jensen along and into the bedroom Jensen’s mood shifted to aroused immediately. Something about Jared always worked him up, especially now that he and a bed were in the same room.

Jensen sat down on the edge of the bed and waited for Jared to join him, but the man just stood there; stared at him and Jensen rubbed the back of his hand across his face in an attempt to get off whatever Jared was looking at.

His boyfriend squinted at him, stepped closer and pulled his hand away. The way Jared stood in front of him, the belt of the bathrobe so close to his face, Jensen wanted to reach out and rip it open like an eager kid at Christmas. He looked up at the same time that Jared lowered his gaze. When Jared choked on a sharp intake of breath, Jensen realized that he had moved his hands and opened the knot of the belt.

Lowering his gaze again, Jensen was only inches away from Jared’s length. He knew that, with what he had in mind, he could either make a complete fool out of himself and fail or could finally give Jared something he’s always wanted to do.

“Jen…” The man whispered and covered Jensen’s hand with his own on the belt of the bathrobe.

Jensen licked his lips, he was so close to the object of his desires and all he had to do was lean in, but fear made him look up again, “I’ve never.”

They both knew that Jared was the only one he had ever been with and so far his boyfriend never let him reciprocate. “You don’t have to.” Jared shook his head and offered Jensen a smile he was more than familiar with. It meant he understood and it would still be okay if Jensen didn’t go down on him.

But he wanted to, he wanted to so badly. Not voicing any of this, he leaned in eventually. After their mishap in the bathroom, Jensen wasn’t surprised that Jared had gone soft again. He only hoped that he would be good enough at this to change that again. Unsure of how to start, Jensen wrapped his hand around the base, stroking once, twice and brushed his lips against the tip. Licking them again to get them wet he closed his eyes and snaked his tongue out to slowly circle it around the head. Memories of all the porn movies he had watched came to mind and he remembered how these men always moaned how great the guy tasted. Jensen didn’t taste anything yet, there was nothing and for a short moment he thought, well, obviously movies still lie. However, he wanted to make sure and parted his lips to cover the crown fully. Jensen had no clue what to do with his tongue but he recalled how Jared had done it to him that one time, so he tried to copy what made him fall apart. Rolling his tongue around the cockhead while it was still fully engulfed in his lips proved to be easier than he had first imagined.

“Oh God!” Jared growled and the man’s hold tightened over their joined hands while his other hand shot to Jensen’s head.

He was afraid that Jared would just push him down on his length, but this wasn’t some cheap porn movie, this was him and Jared. Jared who never did anything wrong, who would never hurt him.

Driven by that fact, Jensen opened up further, pushing his lips another inch down on Jared’s thickening length. With a firm hold on Jared’s shaft, Jensen managed to carefully bob his head up and down. Swallowing his own saliva that built with the sucking was somewhat difficult but after a few tries he got the hang of it and returned to bopping his head. Jared’s cock grew heavier, the warm flesh a solid and comfortable weight on his tongue. In the distance he still felt Jared’s hand on the back of his head, slowly rubbing downwards along his neck, nails scraping his scalp in a thoughtful manner on their way down.

With his next move, he became braver and went down deeper on the growing shaft, his tongue flat against the underside where it leisurely cast over the bulging vein. He didn’t dare opening his eyes, he dwelled in the sounds coming from the man above him, a mix of moans and pleas with an edge of desperation. If Jensen had known how to do it he would have smiled around the cock in his mouth. He might’ve needed more practice to do that. There was a bubble of hope that he would get more chances of doing this because the longer he had his lips wrapped around Jared’s cock, the more he wanted to keep going, the more he wanted to sink down completely. His own growing arousal was evidence enough of how much he enjoyed doing this to his boyfriend.

Jensen hollowed his cheeks out, twisted his wrist and stroked the shaft a couple of times before he sunk so far down that he felt the cockhead hit the back of his throat. Too much. Too far. His brain was all fuzzy and his gag reflex set in. Jensen wanted to cover it, but he couldn’t help himself when his throat began to constrict and he gagged at the sudden intrusion. Tears built up and he gave his best to blink them away. He was a damn idiot if he ever thought he could do this.

Jared pulled back immediately when Jensen began choking. Jensen didn’t want to look at the man, didn’t want to see the disappointment in his eyes.

“Slow, Jensen. You…” Panting, Jared’s whole body shivered around him, “you gotta go slow.”

Jensen pulled off all the way, “‘m sorry.”

“Whoa, no. Nothing to be sorry for. This is... wow. Yeah, fucking amazing. Just don’t hurt yourself, okay? We’ve got all night. But we can stop if you want.”

Even though Jensen used to be a quitter, he wasn’t ready to stop just yet. And knowing that Jared wouldn’t lie to him, that he really liked this, then Jensen wanted to give it another try.

Several calming breaths later, Jensen wrapped his lips around Jared’s cock anew, this time he kept a slow pace for quite some time. Only when a salty drop of precome hit his taste buds did Jensen increase the bopping of his head. Not that Jensen would have ever admitted to it, but he knew what come tasted like. It might have been his own, but when you’re a thirty year old virgin, you have to try some things on your own.

However, Jared tasted different, the flavor not like his own; it was better. It practically exploded on his tongue and he sucked harder, faster; he needed to taste more of it. He hollowed his cheeks out again, tongue twirling in rhythm to the movements of his head. He only went as far down as to not hit the back of his throat again and covered the remaining length of Jared’s erection with his fist.

Jared mewled and hissed above him, a sign that he was doing it right. He felt the light snap of the man’s hips but pushed against it.

“Holy hell…. Jensen!” Jared was a shaking mess, his hand grabbing onto Jensen’s head for some sort of support.

Jensen changed the angle, turning his head sideways and went down faster; the man’s cock twitching and pulsing inside his mouth. Jared’s hips began to stutter again and Jensen still tried to get him in deeper. He didn’t gag this time but Jared was the one almost choking on a breath.

“No… nononono. Jen, you…. fuck, you gotta stop.”

Yeah. No. That wasn’t gonna happen. He made it this far and Jensen wasn’t ready to stop yet. He finally had the balls to do this and didn’t want to let go until he finished what he started. Above him, Jared kept on begging, telling Jensen to pull off but Jensen wasn‘t having any of it. With every new shuddering plea, Jensen bobbed his head faster, his lips wrapping tighter around the vibrating flesh on his tongue.

“I’mma… Jen, I’m gonna come. Please.”

There was a hungry tone of desperation in Jared’s voice and it hit Jensen right in the heart. He didn’t know what possessed him but when he realized that Jared couldn’t hold his climax back any longer; Jensen pulled almost all the way off, only the tip of Jared’s cock remaining on his tongue. He dared to look up, search out Jared’s face and the second their eyes locked Jared’s orgasm ripped through him.

The warm and salty evidence of it shot in long ropes over Jensen’s tongue. He tried, as best he could, to get all of it, but it was just another thing he needed more practice of. Whatever he could get, he swallowed down and when he finally managed to pull his gaze off of Jared, he sucked the man’s cock back into his mouth. He knew it was messy and he probably looked like the rookie he was but he didn’t fucking care. For once in his life, he didn’t give a damn about anything because he was hit with a huge mountain of pride that he had just done this to Jared. He made the man beg and fall apart. Boy, that felt good.

 

Jared was dying. Or already dead. He couldn’t remember his name or tell up from down. The heat rushing through his system made his heart race so fast it was short of shooting out of his body. Every hair on his body tingled with the sensation of his orgasm. The aftershocks of it remained present, so much so that his knees were about to give and all that kept him from falling was Jensen’s hold on his hips.

Jensen was sin personified, his mouth the epitome of lust. For months Jared had this filthy little thought in his head, what it would be like or feel like to have Jensen’s lips wrapped around his cock. Seeing Jensen actually doing just that was the death of him. If he hadn’t known any better he would have guessed that it wasn’t the first time Jensen gave head. Sure he was overly shy at first and his body covered in a deep red blush but once the awkward moment of Jensen gagging passed, the man was unstoppable. A pang of possessiveness hit him, the same feeling he had after taking Jensen’s virginity. There was just something special about being someone’s first. Nobody was ever going to be able to claim this experience again, nobody would ever have the power to be locked in one’s memories this way. And Jared knew he had created exactly this memory for Jensen.

As soon as Jensen let go of Jared’s oversensitive flesh, he couldn’t stop himself anymore. He bent down far enough, palms framing Jensen’s face, and dove in to lick his way inside Jensen’s mouth. The taste of his own climax strong and visible in the few flecks still lingering on his boyfriend’s chin.

When his breathing was back to somewhat normal again, Jared broke their connection in favor of joining Jensen on the bed. Instead of sitting next to the man, he propped himself up with his back against the headboard. Jensen gave him a confused look of disappointment, though it was quickly replaced with a flush when Jared held his hand out for him. “Get up here.”

Reluctant and unsure, Jensen shimmied his body towards him and Jared dismissively shook his head when Jensen went for a spot next to him. Jensen gulped when he understood that Jared wanted him up there, on his lap. Once seated on top of him and straddling his hips, Jared rid the man off his bathrobe. Jensen tried to stop him, the ever present shyness made the man tremble but Jared didn’t stop until the white fluffy clothing was off and on the floor, leaving them both fully naked.

Jared shivered when he realized that Jensen was rock hard, a heavyweight trapped between them. He smirked up at the man on his lap, pride crawling through him at the thought of Jensen getting turned on from the blowjob.

Before Jensen had a chance to hide away from him, Jared stopped his frantic movements by holding on to Jensen’s hips.

“Last time we were in this position…” Jared pressed his thumbs into the man’s hips, moving his flat hands in small circles towards the huge swell, “you blushed, just like you do now.” The words only deepened Jensen’s red skin color. “Couldn’t wait to get my hands on you.” The need to touch Jensen only intensified since then and even now, after orgasming harder than ever before in his life, Jared still couldn’t stop his hands from roaming over Jensen’s flushed body. The sight in front of him, the most beautiful man he had ever seen heavily pregnant with his child, was enough for his spent cock to twitch in interest again.

“The way you moved,” Jared circled his hips underneath Jensen, visualizing his statement, “your sheer determination to seduce me blew my mind.”

Bucking his hips a little to cause the smallest friction, he watched how Jensen’s eyes rolled back into his head, lips quivering with shocks of pleasure. The baby bump was so huge already, Jared didn’t have enough room to get his hand on Jensen’s cock so he carefully nudged him until Jensen bent his back and held himself up by his hands on either side of Jared’s legs.

“You were so needy.” Wrapping his hand around Jensen’s leaking cock, Jared couldn’t keep his eyes off of Jensen, head thrown back, lips parted and hips shaking in search for release.

“Still… needy.” Jensen growled and thrusted his cock into Jared’s fist.

That was new. Well, not really. Jared knew that Jensen wanted more, he even asked Jared to sleep with him. The problem was, Jared wanted that too. He wanted to be inside Jensen all the time, the need to feel Jensen around him had always been strong. But he was afraid of hurting Jensen or their baby. And then there was the whole problem of the uncertainty of their relationship. Jared didn’t want it to be like all they enjoyed about each other was sex. No matter how often he wanted to give in, he couldn’t muster up the nerve to go through with it and sleep with Jensen. He needed to be sure that they were on the same page first, that they both wanted to be together, that they both could lose each other in the other one’s embrace.

“Jay.” Jensen’s plea ripped him out of his thoughts as his hand sped up, increasing his strokes.

The man was writhing over him, hips jerking uncoordinatedly and Jared didn’t know where to look first. Jensen was a mess of raw need and pre-orgasmic bliss.

It was a tight fit and a little difficult but Jared made it work. He brought his free hand to his mouth to slick his fingers, then moved them between them as well, caressing and rolling Jensen’s heavy balls in his palm before slowly ghosting his fingers lower, farther; the tip of his middle finger pressing against Jensen’s opening.

“Fuck!” Jensen screamed, pushing his ass against the light pressure of Jared’s finger. “Please. Jay… please.”

Hearing Jensen beg, using his voice, Jared was never getting tired of it and he never wanted the man to stop. Whenever they were close, touching each other, getting off on their hands wrapped around their cocks, Jensen was always quiet, never brave enough to speak and tell Jared what he wanted.

“You’re so fucking hot like this.” Jared scraped his thumb over Jensen’s cockhead on the next upstroke, smearing the precome over the slit. “Wanna come, don’t you?”

“No. Yes. God!” Jensen’s whole form shuddered, his movements erratic and his arms visibly shaking with the effort to keep himself upright.

Not wanting to have Jensen topple over and hurt himself, Jared pulled his hands off of his boyfriend, much to Jensen’s dismay.

Jared spread his legs enough to let Jensen sink in between. The look on Jensen’s face was priceless, and deadly. “Can you lay on your back?” Jared knew that the man was mostly uncomfortable on his back these days, but he still needed to know if it was okay for now.

“What?” Jensen scrunched his whole face up, probably thinking of slapping Jared unconscious.

Jared didn’t wait for an answer and pushed Jensen until he was laying flat on his back. Jensen’s only answer was an ‘uff' but Jared didn’t want to wait any longer to get his hands back on the man. He shimmied and shuffled until his chest hit the mattress and his mouth was wrapped around Jensen’s beautiful cock. He moved his head up once or twice before he let the cock slip free and he shoved his hands underneath Jensen’s ass, holding him up and spreading both cheeks. Jensen had no chance of moving, Jared’s tight hold made it impossible for him to do anything but take what Jared offered.

No warning given, Jared pushed his flat tongue against the hot entrance, licking a long stripe of spit and precome up to his boyfriend’s balls and back down again.

“Oh no…” Jensen mumbled while his hands thrashed on the sheets, pulling and pushing.

Jared chuckled against Jensen’s ass, mouth spreading in a wide smile, “oh yes.”

Hoping that Jensen was able to hold this position for a little while longer, Jared made good use of his tongue again. He licked, sucked and practically devoured Jensen’s ass with fervor. It had been too long since he was so close to the other man and he was starving for it. So much so that he pushed his tongue inside the tight heat as soon as the ring of muscle began to give. It was way better than the first time, the last time, Jared had had Jensen at his mercy. But so much had happened between then and now, their whole lives were different and yet, it still had the feeling of being the same. The memories made him rigid, his own need taking a hold of him as he realized that it was so much like all these months ago when Jensen gave himself over to Jared. The musky taste of Jensen, the labored breathing from the man in his hold, it all forced Jared to give more, do better and feel and watch how Jensen lost it.

After another stab of his tongue and more sucking, Jared licked his way back up to Jensen’s neglected cock, lowering the man’s ass again. The second he went down, engulfing Jensen within the warmth of his mouth, Jensen threw his hands in his hair, tugging and fisting in earnest.

“Al….Almost. Fuck, Jay!” Without realizing what he was doing, Jensen pushed Jared’s head deeper onto his cock.

Jared took it all, didn’t mind Jensen dominating him in this rough way and he didn’t stop until he deepthroated his boyfriend. He hummed in pleasure around the thick length between his lips, hollowing his cheeks until Jensen went completely crazy. When Jensen’s hands loosened their tight hold on him, Jared began moving again, bobbing his head up and down in a fast yet steady rhythm. Jared was ready to keep going forever. However, Jensen’s frantic movement and thrusts stopped completely when he screamed out as his orgasm punched every breath from his lungs. Tasting Jensen on his tongue, hot climax running down his throat, had Jared diamond hard again in an instant. Jared didn’t let go, suckled and lavished the silky flesh until Jensen’s whole body spasmed underneath him. This man was going to be the death of him.

Feeling the need to wrap Jensen up in his arms, Jared moved his body upward and lay on his side next to Jensen. Jensen turned to him, body as close to each other as possible until they were face to face.

“Hey.” Jensen’s breath, still uneven, filled Jared’s senses with more emotions than he knew he could feel.

“Hey yourself.” Jared brushed his knuckles over Jensen’s cheek and closed the mere gap between them to take the man’s lips into a lazy kiss.

Jared wanted to ignore his painfully hard cock in favor of watching Jensen’s blissed out eyes droop. But knowing that Jensen wanted more for a while now, Jared really couldn’t wait to give Jensen what he once asked for.

“Remember what I told you at the house?.”

Jensen eyes fluttered, blinking a bit too quickly, still riding on the highs of his orgasm and not able to properly react. “Mh?”

“Why I didn’t want to sleep with you.”

At the memory, Jensen’s face morphed into one of coyness and disappointment. Before Jensen had the opportunity to tune Jared out again, he spoke up again. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to, you know, have actual sex with you. I always did, still want it. I’ve been losing my mind with how much I want you. But I didn’t lie when I said I was scared of hurting either of you.”

His hand moved on auto-pilot, placing his palm protectively over their daughter. Feeling shy all of a sudden, Jared ducked his head to escape Jensen’s intense stare. “So, I was kinda out of options and called Dr. Greene.”

“You did… w-what?“ Jensen wasn’t mad at him, that was good. Not so good was the fact that he snorted in delight.

After calling the doctor, Jared had to realize that yeah, it was silly to worry that much, but he had to be sure and get a professional opinion on the matter. “Well, I asked him if it was safe to have penetrative sex during a pregnancy.”

“It is.” Jensen shimmied closer still, lips brushing over Jared’s forehead and lingered there.

“I know that, too. Now.”

“Yeah?”

The hope of more to come in Jensen’s voice made Jared look back up again. “Oh yeah.”

Jared leaned back in, Jensen’s plush, bow-shaped lips parting for him without second thoughts. He dragged this kiss out, his tongue tangling in a synchronized dance with Jensen’s. Jared didn’t let go, his body always in need of being flush with his boyfriend’s; hands roaming and exploring until he rested them over their unborn girl. When he felt a soft kick to his wrist, he smiled against Jensen’s lips. It should have been odd, the realization that there was a baby with them, right there while he dragged all these delicious moans out of Jensen, but it wasn’t. The flutter was really proof that the baby was okay and that Jared was silly to worry in the first place.

As Jensen pulled back from their kiss for air, Jared took the opportunity to let his lips wander over Jensen’s perfectly chiseled jaw. Every sense of time seemed lost to the both of them. Jared was locked in a trance-like state, his mind running wild on all the emotions he set free when his mouth sought more, covering more ground, Jensen’s skin warm and inviting. There was a primal urge rising within him, the impulse to take and claim, but he needed this to be extraordinary, the way their first time should have been. Jensen was pliant, bones limp and breath hitching whenever Jared’s hands began to run over a newfound inch of body that he hadn’t reached yet.

Giving in to Jensen’s delightful whines, Jared untangled himself from the man, “be right back.” Jared said in a whisper, trailing his mouth over Jensen’s lips. Quickly, he reached for the lube that he had hid under the pillows before he returned to take Jensen back into his hold. Jensen was completely out of it and oblivious to what just happened. Jared hooked his arm under his boyfriend’s thigh, pulling it over his own while his leg slipped between Jensen’s. The position was perfect, their daughter trapped snug between them and Jared’s hand free to slide over the exceptionally shaped globes of Jensen’s ass. Jared squeezed, hard enough to make Jensen whimper against his chest. Behind Jensen’s back, Jared clicked the cap of the lube, the sound enough to startle Jensen back into the here and now.

“What… where’d you…?” Jensen panted, his eyes full of energy and curiosity.

While Jared squirted a good amount of the lube over his hand, he held Jensen’s lips hostage. “When I brought our bags…” Jared leaned in for another short kiss, “...I might have…” another flick of tongue, “prepared a little.”

Jared watched the wheels in Jensen’s heard turning, “you planned this?” There was no judgment, no negativity in Jensen’s question, only bewilderment.

Yes, he had planned this, not exactly like this, but he knew that if Jensen still wanted, then Jared wanted to be prepared. Before he gave his boyfriend an answer, Jared moved his lube-coated fingers between Jensen’s crack, slowly rubbing up and down, stroking and teasing at the puckered entrance.

The satisfying sounds from Jensen intensified when Jared carefully pushed the tip of one finger inside and kept on massaging the muscle until it gave a little. Jared waited for Jensen to accustom himself to the intrusion before he pushed in further, crooking his digit as the second knuckle breached the resistance.

Jensen shifted his arm, laying it over Jared’s to claw his blunt nails into his bicep, urging him on to go further. It was so obvious how badly Jensen wanted him to go faster, deeper and immediately get to the more intense parts, but Jared knew had to take his time; didn’t want Jensen to be uncomfortable. So, as much as Jensen’s pleas and groans tried to lure him in, Jared did take it slow. Willing his own needs to the back of his mind, he focused on Jensen alone, giving the man the pleasure he so damn well deserved. Inch by inch, he slid his finger deeper inside Jensen’s hot walls, giving his boyfriend a second finger only when the rim relaxed enough to slide in easily.

Jensen cried into his chest, words slurred and morphed into gibberish with the buzz of satisfaction, his hand pushing and forcing Jared’s arm down for better access. As his fingers began to slip in and out of Jensen’s rim without any trouble, Jared began to scissor them, spreading Jensen’s hole wider.

“More… please.” A muffled whimper vibrated through Jensen’s throat and Jared sought out Jensen’s mouth, capturing his boyfriend’s lips in a hot kiss until his tongue fucked into Jensen’s mouth in rhythm to his fingers.

Jared was so aroused with Jensen everywhere around him, that his skin was burning up and he felt like he‘d crawl out of his own body if he didn’t get to be inside Jensen anytime soon. But it was too good to stop, Jensen moved so temptingly as he pushed his ass deeper on Jared’s fingers.

Suddenly and out of the blue, Jensen pulled back, shoved Jared’s hand away and out of him. “Enough.” He huffed in Jared’s face, pupils blown wide and lips quivering. “Fuck me or I’m leaving.”

Jared gulped at the unforeseen turn of events, at the fact that Jensen’s outburst was demanding. For a split second, Jared was taken aback but as soon as his mind reminded him of the seriousness of the situation, he had a whole new problem at hand. Jensen was too heavily pregnant to bend in any of the ways Jared wanted. But Jensen didn’t wait for him to figure out a solution as he pushed Jared down so that his back was flush with the sheets as his boyfriend dragged his body over him, straddling Jared and holding himself steady with two palms pressed to Jared’s chest.

“Jesus, Jensen.” Jared was completely gone. He hadn’t seen that coming. He should have, but he was fully caught off guard by Jensen’s confidence.

Taking a look around, Jensen grabbed for the lube and shoved it in Jared’s hands with an intense expression turning his eyes almost black. “Now!” Jensen all but commanded.

Jared barely got the tube open at the sight. It was the sexiest he had ever seen Jensen, the ultimate turn on. Having Jensen’s weight on him was amazing, the way he looked down at him, Jared could have shot his load right then and there. As it was though, he feared the deadly Ackles stare and hurried to coat his own cock with lube, the contact with his throbbing flesh almost too much. Putting his free hand to good use, he helped Jensen to lift his ass a few inches, pushing him up by the thigh enough to line his dick up with Jensen’s eager opening.

Moving his hand back on top of Jensen’s thigh, Jared rubbed and squeezed the flesh, pushing the man slowly downwards in the same time as he bucked his hips upwards, breaching the head of his cock through the first ring of muscle. He wanted to die on the spot, this was what he wanted for so long but it was what scared him the most. Jared stilled his movements, taking in the man above him, watching Jensen’s expressions thoroughly, trying to find the right moment to keep going. Jensen took every breath from him, when he, again, ran low on patience and moved his ass down on Jared’s cock in slow but strong movements. Jared wanted to stop Jensen, wanted to tell him to take it easy but he couldn’t fucking think, much less talk. Jensen practically forced his ass down on him and he didn’t stop until Jared was balls deep inside of him.

“Fucking finally.” Jensen groaned, chest heaving with effortful breaths, skin glistening with sweat.

After Jensen seemed to have recovered and his breath under control he began moving, and boy, did he move. Jared didn’t know what had hit him, Jensen was going to kill him. The man pushed his hips in figure eight circles on Jared’s cock, squeezing his tight hole around Jared’s shaft so hard Jared saw stars dancing in front of his eyes. There was no chance of him holding on for too long, though, he didn’t want this to end. Like, ever.

Jared held on to Jensen wherever he could, hands roaming and squeezing until they found their way to the prominent swell. When Jared began to rub his hands over the bump, Jensen lifted his ass up and slammed back down, knocking every breath out of Jared’s lungs while doing so. Jensen was on a damn roll, he was going crazy on Jared; shit, this was the hottest he had ever seen Jensen. It was messing with his mind how different Jensen was, how he simply let go and took what he wanted. If sex was what broke Jensen out of his shy shell then Jared thought, he should have fucked the man months ago. And here, while giving in to their physical needs, Jared saw a part of Jensen he had only seen once, back on the day when the man had invited him for beer and ended up sprawled all over Jared.

His boyfriend didn’t even think of stopping, or going slower. Jensen all but rode Jared into oblivion, groaning like a mad man and crying out moan after moan. As Jensen’s strength was yet again about to lessen, Jared supported him, hooked his forearms under Jensen’s thighs and fucked up into him, going harder and more brutal when Jensen screamed at him to fuck him already. The tip of Jensen’s cock was bright red, almost purple, leaking in earnest. When Jared shoved his hips deeper inside Jensen, the man mewled, panted and scratched his nails over Jared’s chest. Jared tried to hit this specific spot on every new thrust of his pelvis, wanting nothing more than to see Jensen fall apart on his dick. He wasn’t sure for how much longer he could keep this up before coming and coating Jensen’s insides with his orgasm but he wanted, needed, Jensen to come first. Jared needed to feel Jensen clench around him. He kept his pace up, pivoting his hips to change the angle slightly, driving his cock even harder over Jensen’s sweet bundle of nerves.

“There! Jay… Jay… I’m close. Please. Come on!

Jared wanted to pull Jensen down and suck those words right out of him, but he couldn’t do that without squishing their baby and he wanted to scream out how unfair this position was. Instead he kept on pumping his cock into Jensen’s tight channel.

After a handful more thrusts, Jensen’s whole body shuddered above him so that he was vibrating around him, thighs tense, hands grabbing for his biceps and head thrown back as his climax rippled through him. Jensen’s cock pulsed and spurted ropes of his second orgasm over Jared’s abs, painting his stomach white.

Feeling Jensen constrict around him, pulling his cock deeper inside his ass, Jared lost all ability to hold back. With Jensen’s name on his lips, he let his orgasm take a hold of him and emptied his seed inside his boyfriend.

They didn’t move for what felt like forever, both staring at each other, smiling, trying their best to control their breathing. It was Jared who eventually helped Jensen lower himself next to him and finally, damn finally, Jared was able to kiss Jensen to an inch of his life.

“You okay?”

Jensen shook his head, “yeah. More than.” And for the very first time Jared got to witness the most sincere and happy smile he had ever seen on Jensen’s face.

It felt as if a wrecking ball did a good number on Jensen’s self-built walls of protection. Looking deep into Jensen’s eyes, Jared couldn’t believe how full of life they suddenly seemed. He would always do everything in his power to keep this expression on Jensen’s face. “Do you even realize how happy I am with you?” Jared heard himself whisper. He didn’t mean to say it, it was a thought in his brain but he was too blissed out to find his brain-to-mouth filter.

A tiny part in him hoped that Jensen would say the three magic words to him, but the smart part of him was glad that Jensen didn’t say anything. Jared way dying to hear Jensen confess his feelings for him again, but he’d rather hear them when Jensen had all his senses together and not drunk on a post-orgasmic high.

Someday. Someday Jensen would say it. Jared had never given up on Jensen and he never would. For now, it was enough to watch Jensen’s bright eyes and see the love he had for Jared.

 

 

***

Chapter Text

Ever since their night at the hotel, Jensen couldn’t deny the obvious. Something had changed between him and Jared. It felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off of Jensen’s shoulders; he felt lighter and joyous, he was happy. He thought it weird that sex was the magic key to give their relationship the much needed push. Then again, many of Jensen’s doubts came from Jared denying Jensen too much physical contact. Whereas their first time together had been kind of rushed, the night of Jensen’s birthday was filled with emotions. Their coupling washed away so much negativity that Jensen couldn’t wrap his head around how easy it seemed to be with Jared and accept the man’s love.

“Hey lazy bum, I need the Windex.” Jared’s voice echoed through their empty living room.

Jensen looked up from his perfectly comfortable makeshift seat of pillows and boxes to find Jared expectantly blinking at him. “‘m busy.” Jensen retorted, folding his arms over his thirty-eight-week pregnancy bump and craned his neck to the Windex sitting beside his feet.

“Yeah? Doing what?”

“Cooking. She’s… almost done.” Jensen smiled down at his belly and rubbed clockwork-circles over their daughter.

“Excuse accepted.” Jared stepped down the ladder from where he cleaned the top windows and joined Jensen on the boxes. “One more window, then we can head out. You feeling okay?” Jared laced their fingers together over their daughter and bent over to give her a kiss through the belly.

The concern in Jared’s voice was palpable and filled Jensen’s nerves with guilt. He had overdone it in the last week. They knew they had to get the house ready since it was getting very close to his due date. Their small guest room was already filled with boxes and bags, stuffed with clothing and toys, diapers and anything else their daughter would need in her first year on earth. Jared’s family was adamant about making sure that neither Jensen nor Jared had to worry about buying anything for her. She was pretty much set. Cody, Jared’s nephew, gave them his favorite stuffed teddy bear and placed it in the crib. Jared said it was only a matter of time before Cody would knock on their door and demand his teddy bear back.

They picked out flooring and wallpaper a week prior and Jared insisted that they hire people to do the actual labor, since Jensen could barely walk for long stretches of time anymore, much less fix any floors. But the things he could do, he had done. So much so that he was hit with premonitory pains. Jared almost lost his shit and hovered like a mother-hen. The doctor, however, gave them the okay that everything was perfectly fine and their daughter wasn’t ready to show herself yet. Still, Jared didn’t allow him to do anything at all. Except, hand him a rag or, like now, the Windex. Jensen was just too comfortable to get up and Jared’s face showed that it was absolutely okay to stay put.

“I’m fine.” Which was the truth. His body was sore all over, his feet about to kill him and his back short of breaking, but other than that he really was fine.

All they needed now was furniture. And as soon as Jared finished cleaning the last window they made their way to the store.

Inside the store Jensen immediately regretted that he wanted to go on a Saturday. The place was crowded, too loud and Jared used his elbows to make room so nobody was coming too close to Jensen and their unborn. It was cute. And annoying. But cute.

Equipped with pen and paper and the measurements of the layout of their house, they walked to the nursery section of the store first. Before Jensen had a chance to aww and oohh at dressers, changing tables or rocking chairs, Jared pulled him aside.

“I know we had a deal about this whole furniture business and it’s a crap deal. We’re gonna live in the house together, so that makes half of the interior my problem. And Bean is half mine too. So, if I catch you checking any price tags I’ll carry your hot ass out of here and continue on my own. Got it?” Jared raised a determined eyebrow and popped both his dimples.

There was no actual room for arguing, but Jensen wouldn’t have been Jensen if he didn’t at least try to have it his way and stick to their deal. “I won’t let you…-”

“I’m not kidding.” Jared interrupted and pushed his pointer finger in Jensen’s chest. “I’ll manhandle you back to the car in front of all these people.”

Jensen, not at all ready to be embarrassed, made his annoyance clear with a strained huff and groaned, “hate you.”

“You’re a shitty liar.” Jared cupped Jensen’s face and smacked their lips together in a quick peck.

Truth be told, Jared had a point, even Jensen had to admit that it was only fair to go fifty-fifty on everything. There was, however, still the nagging feeling in his gut that Jared wouldn’t accept a fifty-fifty arrangement either. Jensen didn’t like it one bit. Jared had already done too much, paid for too many things. Whenever Jensen went to his check-ups, he never received a bill afterwards and some days he found new clothing in his dresser that he knew for sure he’d never bought. When he mentioned it to Jared, the man only shrugged his shoulders and said ‘I know nothing’. It didn’t sit well with him because Jared knew exactly how Jensen thought about all of this.

Too excited to start a fight, Jensen let it go for now and took Jared’s hand in his own to finally get going.

Picking out the perfect furniture to match the crib Jared built took over an hour and Jensen was ready to fall asleep on the next best changing table. It would have been a tight fit and a hassle to get up there but he was so damn exhausted and they still needed to find furniture for all the other rooms. The good thing was, that they seemed to have a similar enough taste, making it easier to agree on the interior.

Together they decided to leave the guest room unfurnished for the time being and carried on picking out things for the living room. It was a given that they needed a big couch, big enough so they both could be comfortable on it without squishing each other. Testing the couch and making sure that they could even lay on it next to each other, Jensen almost fell asleep. That was, until Jared was plagued with an insight. “Not so happy about the material of this thing. I mean, seems difficult to get come out of it.”

“Oh God.” Jensen let his face fall into his hands and was so close of running away, pretending that he didn’t know the guy who he just tested a couch with. As it was though, he couldn’t get off of the couch without Jared helping him up. He was a stranded whale in the depths of embarrassment.

“Maybe a leather couch would be better.” Jared dead-panned, ignoring Jensen’s dilemma.

Because the man was still discussing bodily fluids they might leave on the couch, and Jensen had no strength to pull himself off the couch, he reached for the price tag and studied it. Maybe that would get him out of the store and away from Jared before people ended up giving them strange looks.

“Nah!” Jared slapped his hand away. “Last warning.”

Jensen rolled his eyes. In disappointment. So, that didn’t work.

Ten minutes later, Jensen shook his head when Jared went on a hunt for a sales clerk to ask if the couch they’d tested came in leather. The longer their shopping trip went, the more uncomfortable Jensen became. He didn’t actually walk that much, he rested his aching body wherever he could and still, his belly didn’t stop giving him troubles.

After finding a fitting wall unit, a coffee table and some shelves the cramps in his middle became really fucking distressing; to the point where he was hit with the first wave of nausea in weeks. He swallowed against the bile rising in his throat and took a few calming breaths.

“Whoa, shit. Jen.” Jared was at his side in an instant. “What’s wrong?”

Passing another rush of queasiness, Jensen slumped against Jared, “‘s okay. Just… got a l-little sick.”

“We’re going home. You’re all pale.” Jared was frantic, worry made his voice hitch.

Jensen didn’t want to go home, not yet. He felt like crap all of a sudden but so far, for the most part, he was actually having fun and he wasn’t going to put an end to their shopping trip yet. The sickness would surely go away. “No, I’ll be… okay. Just… water?”

“Yeah, if you’re sure.” Jared didn’t believe a word Jensen said, it was visible in the tremble of his lips and fear in his eyes.

“I’m sure.”

“Alright. I’ll go get you some water and you sit down. Don’t move. Okay?”

Jensen nodded and without protest he let Jared help him into a comfortable sitting position in one of the bigger sized beanbags close by.

While his boyfriend was on his way to get him some water Jensen did his best to breathe against the cramps wrecking his body. The premonitory pains were almost as painful and Jensen remembered that Dr. Greene said it was normal and could happen often so close to the due date. The thought was enough to calm Jensen down and even out his breathing. A couple of minutes later, the cramps faded and Jensen took a lungful of air in relief.

Lost in thought, and in wait for Jared, Jensen didn’t realize the man approaching him. Only the voice forced his head to snap up and his blood ran cold.

“Now look at that. The great Ackles. How’s it going fucker?”

All the difficulties in the past nine months, the trust issues and massive doubts in Jared, all of it, this guy was the one to blame. Chad Michael Murray.

Jensen knew he couldn’t let the man rile him up or else his daughter would start going nuts and he had about enough of those cramps for one day.

“Get lost.” Jensen mustered up all his courage to deliver the words, not wanting to draw more of Chad’s attention to him.

“Aww, why so cranky? I missed you. It’s been quite boring at work without you.” The spiteful tone in the guy’s words was about to cost Jensen all his rationality. “Looks like you’ve been quite busy though, getting knocked up and all.”

“Get LOST!” He repeated his words, this time louder and a few other shoppers turned their heads towards him, but Jensen didn’t care.

“Meh. Come on, bet you missed me too.” Chad frowned in mock, trying his best to make fun of him and kicked his foot against Jensen’s.

“I doubt an immature douchebag like you can be missed.” Jared’s voice arose from behind Chad and Jensen took a relieved sigh.

Chad’s face fell in shock and Jensen felt a hot swoop of satisfaction at the sight. Chad barely had any time to look at Jared as he turned and Jared’s fist started flying, sending Chad face first on the floor. Jensen winced at the loud crack and twitched backwards in his beanbag. Never had he guessed Jared to get physical,  to hurt anyone, though, Chad deserved it and when he saw the perplexed look on Jared’s face it was clear that he himself hadn’t thought himself able to be violent.

People left and right gasped in horror and hurried away, Jared seemed like he couldn’t care any less. In fact, he crouched above Chad and hooked his hand in the collar of Chad’s shirt, pulling him closer to his face. “Did you just harass and kick my pregnant boyfriend?” Jared’s voice was incredibly loud, loud enough so everybody around them was able to hear.

“Wh...what? No!” Chad was freaked out, eyes wide in fear.

Jared let go of Chad’s shirt and shoved him back onto the floor, the back of his head hitting the floor so hard Jensen was sure the guy would end up with a concussion. “I’ve warned you!  Don’t talk to Jensen, don’t even dare look at him. And, just so we’re clear? I will ruin you. That’s a promise, Murray!”

Jensen knew he should have done something and put a stop to this, but deep down he was too paralyzed with the fact of how far Jared was willing to go in order to protect him and their child.

With shaking legs and a fast blooming bruise on his jaw, Chad scrambled to his feet. In that moment a security officer showed up and pushed himself between Jared and Chad. “Back off, gentleman. Someone care to explain what’s going on here?”

Jensen watched how Chad tried to speak but swallowed his words before he opened his mouth. It was Jared who regained focus and addressed the officer. “I was getting some water for my boyfriend and when I came back the guy attacked him.” Jared explained in a calm demeanor, smoothing down his shirt.

The officer took a quick look around until his eyes landed on Jensen, scanning his pregnancy bump, “is that correct, Sir?”

There wasn’t an actual attack happening, not physically and the kick wasn’t exactly hard, but if confirming Jared’s statement was a way of getting the smallest amount of payback handed to Chad then he was completely on board with that. “Yes.”

“Alright, I see. Well, I’ll have to ask all of you to follow me to my office if you want to press charges and I need everyone’s particulars.” The officer explained, his voice steady and yet concerned.

“Sir, uh, if it’s okay I’d rather take care of my boyfriend now and leave my ID with you. Would that be doable?” Jared asked the officer and didn’t wait for an answer while he retrieved his wallet and pulled his ID out.

“Oh. Of course, yes. Are you gonna be okay, Sir?” Jensen nodded at the officer’s question. “Good. But you,” the man turned to Chad, “are coming with me.”

With that Jensen finally felt like he could breathe again, but then Jared practically crushed into him and did this whole hovering and worrying thing again. The annoyingly cute thing.

“Jesus Christ, Jen. You okay?” Jared said, suddenly coming back to his senses, his hands grabbing all over Jensen’s body, patting and searching for any damage.

“Uh-huh. Not sick any… anymore. Thanks… you know… f-for…” Jensen didn’t exactly know what to say or how to say it. All he knew was that he finally got to witness what Jared had tried to drill into his brain for twenty weeks: Jared was nothing like Chad. More so, he knocked the bastard on his ass for screwing with Jensen. For all the crap Chad had pulled in the past, Jensen couldn’t help himself but feel malicious joy.

“Are you kidding me? He had it coming. And you’re welcome.” Jared kissed him, a short connection that only ended when Jared remembered why he left Jensen alone in the first place. “Here, drink that.”

Jensen took the offered water and took a few big gulps. “Can we… k-keep going?”

Jared looked at him as if he was crazy, took the bottle back and checked if the lid was fully closed. “No, we’re going home. We’ll worry about the rest later.”

The concern in Jared’s eyes almost made him agree, but Jensen was doing much better. “I’m okay. Really. Let’s… l-let’s go get a dining table and a bedroom.”

There was no denying the reluctance in Jared, but Jensen had, until Chad happened, a pretty good day so far and it was fun. He and Jared needed this day together, do something normal, something good; something domestic. Jensen's insecurities often made it impossible for them to be comfortable around each other. They needed to bond, as a couple. Even after all this time, their relationship was still new, and, days like these were necessary to deepen their connection. Eventually Jared gave up and helped him out of the beanbag to keep going.

Everything was going okay and Jensen felt fine, until he didn’t anymore. They had just picked out a dining room set when Jensen’s world almost turned black. While Jared scribbled down the item numbers, Jensen had to sit down again and treat himself to more water. He tried his best to hide his uneasiness from Jared and, thankfully, succeeded. It was a close call because if Jared had noticed then he would have carried Jensen out of the store in a heartbeat.

Even though the dizziness eased down, his body felt still strange and his bump a little tighter than usual, but he breathed through it and off they were to find themselves bedroom furniture. The house was already equipped with big enough wall closets, so all they really had to worry about was two dressers and a bed.

Jared had this weird wicked look in his eyes when he pointed to a bed he liked, “wanna test it out?”

It sounded tempting, to lower his aching body down on the bed. But he would have probably dozed off, so Jensen declined. “You g-go ahead.”

When Jared frowned, Jensen wanted to kiss it away and hop on the bed like a fawn. Jared pulled him closer then, wrapping one of his arms around his back and the other one soothing over their unborn. “But you gotta like it too. See if it’s cozy enough to…” Jared looked at him with something like hope in his eyes, “...to make more of these.” His eyes didn’t leave Jensen’s and his hand stopped on the top of the baby bump, thumb brushing it lightly.

Until things with Jared progressed and Jensen finally allowed the man into his life, he was sure that he wouldn’t even have a chance of seeing the baby he carried grow up. And now Jared, randomly, threw in that he wanted more? Jensen was tired of being pregnant, exhausted from the constant ache in his bones and he definitely didn’t miss the morning sickness. He wasn’t, by any means, ready to think about going through all of this again. All Jensen wanted was to get this pregnancy done. The thought of going through all of this again terrified him. On the other hand, the idea of Jared wanting to do all of it again, was an honorable proof of love. Yet, Jensen hoped they wouldn’t touch that subject again for a long time to come.

“You’re thinking too loud.” Jared nudged him with his hips, pulling Jensen out of his funk. “Someday, you know? Maybe?” There was a frame of sadness clouding Jared and it pained to look at.

In the end they did decide on the exact bed Jared had pointed out. Jensen trusted Jared’s judgment after his boyfriend tested it good and proper. They surely received a few too many side eyes when Jared started jumping and bouncing on it, but Jared was right: it had to be tested thoroughly.

Close to paying for their furniture, all item numbers written down for the cashier to place in the order, Jensen got nauseous again. His whole belly began to cramp up and hardened in an instant. He could barely breathe anymore, the pain shooting through his abdomen and around to his lower back. The death grip he had on the register so as to not fall on his ass turned his knuckles white. Jared was engrossed in his conversation with the cashier, babbling on and on about the furniture needing to be delivered by the next day and they would like to pay for the service to get all furniture put up.

Jensen tuned everything out then, the cramps in his middle became too severe to focus on anything else. Something was off and he didn’t understand why this agonizing pain wouldn’t stop like it did before, instead it only intensified. Lightheaded and totally out of his element, Jensen flailed. His hands loosened their grip on the register in favor of searching Jared out. Jensen couldn’t help himself in this situation and hoped to God that Jared knew what to do; that he could make it stop. “Jay!”

“Oh crap. Jen… Jensen, hey!” Jared wrapped his arms under Jensen’s, holding him upright. “What’s wrong? Jensen, say something.”

Jensen wanted to tell Jared, but all he mustered to express was, “hurts. Hurts so much.”

“Are you… Jen, are you in labor?” Jared practically screeched at him, eyes wild in horror.

That made sense. It was the only logical explanation for the seething pain that made Jensen almost pass out. “Fuck.”

He didn’t want to be in labor. Not yet, not now. Jensen wanted painkillers for a reason; he didn’t want this kind of torment and he didn’t even decide on a birthing method yet. This was too soon, he still had two weeks to go.

Somehow Jared managed to hold Jensen upright and get him the hell out of the store. Jensen barely remembered how Jared got him to the car, but the next thing he knew was that when Jared pulled the passenger seat back to give Jensen enough leg room, his middle contracted even worse than before.

“I’mma get you to a hospital, Jen. Hang in there, okay? You’ll be fine. I promise.”

Jensen wanted to scream that Jared couldn’t possibly know that. Who the fuck knew if he was going to be fine. He didn’t feel fine. Not at all. He was in terrible pain and he’d rather drop dead than experience this bullshit. The rise of his body temperature made him almost burn up and Jared’s hand holding on to his was too much, he swatted it away in favor of pressing both his hands to his middle.

Everything outside seemed to fly by, Jared’s foot a solid weight on the gas pedal and after another bump in the road there was a strange wet noise piercing Jensen’s ears. He wasn’t sure if he really heard it or imagined it. However, when the seat underneath him was flooded with wetness, he couldn’t deny that he definitely heard it. His pants and everything else around him were soaked in the smudgy fluid. It was then that he realized he should have gone to a damn birthing class, Jared had said as much to him, but Jensen didn’t want to. Now he wished he had or else he wouldn’t feel so helpless.

“Jay… Jared, my water…” Jensen tried to explain the problem at hand, but another pain made him cramp up.

“You want your water? Are you thirsty? Should I stop and get you more water? Can’t that wait? We’re almost there.”

There was something close to rage bubbling up in Jensen and he turned to glare at his boyfriend. If he hadn’t been too busy with pressing into his middle, he would have smacked Jared in the throat. “My water broke!!!” Jensen yelled, making Jared jump and almost hit his head on the roof of the car. Served him damn right.

Jensen was barely able to control his rage. He wasn’t exactly angry, but he was in so much pain that he didn’t know what was up and down anymore.

“Shit. Oh shit. Okay. There, see. We’re here.”

Fucking finally. Jensen eyed the entrance of the hospital and he knew that soon a doctor would come, give him a shitton of medication and make all the ache go away. It was that specific thought that let him breathe again.

Jared scrambled out of the car and hurried to Jensen’s side, pulling the door open so fast it slammed back into Jared’s legs. Jensen was miserable; he felt like Death trying to pull him under and Jared was no fucking help at all. His boyfriend didn’t know where to put his hands or what to do.

“I’ll get help. Don’t go anywhere.” Jared ordered. As if Jensen was capable of doing anything, much less getting out of the car. Sport cars and pregnant people didn’t mix well.

Without waiting for an answer from Jensen Jared was gone, long legs rushing into the hospital. A minute or two passed and slowly the cramps lessened. Though, Jensen was still nauseous and he felt disgusting with all the amoniac fluid and sweat pooling on every inch of his skin.

A moment later, Jared and a nurse came running to him with a wheelchair. Together they heaved him out of the car and into the wheelchair. The thing was less comfortable than the car but soon enough the nurse brought him to the labor and delivery ward and into a room. By that time, Jensen felt almost okay again. There was still mild pain scratching at his insides, though it was bearable.

Jared tried to hoist him up and help him to the bed, but Jensen stopped him. “‘s okay. I… I can do it. Doesn’t h-hurt anymore.” It was only half true, but for some strange reason he didn’t want to burden Jared any further.

Except, as soon as he stood on his own two feet, his middle contracted again and forced him to fall into Jared’s waiting arms. He tried to remember how much time passed since the last contraction and it came with a shock to realize that it hadn’t been more than five minutes. The realization made him dizzy. Maybe he really was in labor. Not that the whole water breaking incident wasn’t proof enough. Jensen had foolishly hoped that it was all a fluke. It wasn’t.

The contraction made him tense up so much that he didn’t have enough strength to get into bed until the pain stopped again.

Once he was settled in the bed, two nurses entered his room and poked and prodded at him. Already worn out and too tired to be of any use, Jensen didn’t argue when Jared helped him into a hospital gown while one of the nurses strapped a belt around his middle to monitor their daughter’s heartbeat; another one to check on the progress of his contractions. The machine had been on for half a minute when Jensen cringed and rolled into himself with a new contraction wrecking his body. This was all going too fast for his liking.

“Just ride this one out, Mr. Ackles. We already informed Dr. Greene and he’ll be with you shortly.” One of the nurses explained and Jensen was beyond glad that he didn’t have to worry about a new doctor, that Dr. Greene would be there.

True to her words, Dr. Greene came bursting through the door only ten minutes later.

“Jensen, Jared. Didn’t think I’d see you two so soon again.” Dr. Greene smiled at them and Jensen found it difficult to return the gesture.

Jared greeted the doctor first, walking up to him to shake his hand. “Yeah, neither did we.” Jared pulled his hand back and went back to stand by Jensen’s side, taking his hand in his own and stroking the knuckles softly.

Dr. Greene stepped around the bed to greet Jensen and checked the monitors at the same time. “Looks pretty serious. Guess you two gonna have a baby today.” The doctor placed his hand on Jensen’s shoulder and squeezed it lightly in a friendly manner.

“Jensen, since when have you been having these contractions?” Dr. Greene asked and waited patiently for Jensen to answer.

Ever since Jared had first taken him to the gynecologist, the doctor never batted an eye when Jensen needed longer to explain and talk. By this time Jensen was comfortable enough to talk to the man without being riddled by nerves.

“Few hours. I mean, I… I f-felt sick for a couple of d-days now, but since noon it’s gotten worse.” And as soon as the words were out, he proved his point by riding through another contraction, turning his middle into a rock hard mass of flesh and skin.

“I’ll have to take a look and see what we’re dealing with, okay?” Dr. Greene put on a pair of gloves and sat on the end of the bed. “When you’re ready, I need you to bend your legs and lift your bottom up an inch.”

In an instant, Jensen wanted to hide away in his old self, shyness and embarrassment making him blush and turn away towards Jared.

“I’m right here, Jen.” Jared whispered and leaned in, cupping his face and kissing his forehead.

He never liked it one bit when Dr. Greene did these physical exams, although Jensen knew they were necessary. When Jared held his hand again and gave him a reassuring smile, Jensen angled his legs and gave Dr. Greene the okay to proceed.

“Not gonna lie, Jensen, this will be rather unpleasant but I’ll be as gentle as possible.” Dr. Greene sounded apologetic and Jensen squeezed his eyes shut, tugging at Jared’s hand to pull the man closer to bury his face in the crook of Jared’s neck.

Dr. Greene was right, it wasn’t pleasant at all. It felt wrong enough having anyone other than Jared touching the most private and intimate parts of his body but now everything was also very sensitive and he was aching all over, down to his toes.

“Jensen, I assume you’ve been in labor at least since this morning, if not longer. You’re at eight centimeters already.” Dr. Greened snapped the glove off, threw it away and checked the monitors again. “You’ve been here for less than half an hour and already your contractions are coming in very short intervals. Two to three minutes max.” The doctor checked Jensen’s pulse when he saw Jensen’s breathing going haywire. “If it’s any consolation, you can consider yourself lucky. Others need around two days to reach this point of labor. It surely will become more intense now, but it’s not long till you’ll be at ten centimeters.”

Jensen didn’t want to be at ten centimeters. He wanted to go ten months back in time and undo every single one of his decisions. Especially the one where he thought it was a good idea to get laid. But then again, when he looked at Jared, a man who was obviously in love with him and never letting go of him, maybe ten centimeters weren’t that bad after all.

For the next hour and a half, Jensen was tortured with one contraction after another and he was so done with everything that he couldn’t take it anymore. At his worst, he begged Jared to get a nurse. Instead of a nurse, Jared came back with Dr. Greene in tow.

“Can you… Doc, please… J-Just… cut her out.” Despite always saying he wanted meds, Jensen had been trying to make it without any painkillers. Now though, it had come to the point where it felt like his body was trying to tear him in half. The pressure in his lower abdomen was, simply put, horrible. “Or painkillers. Please.”

“Alright, Jensen. Let me take another look and I’ll see what I can do.” Dr. Greene got himself a glove again and sat down on the bed, helping Jensen to bend his legs.

The second the doctor’s finger came in contact with his opening, Jensen hissed in pain and fought against the touch. “I know it hurts. I’m sorry, almost done.” Jensen didn’t want to know exactly what the doctor was doing, all he cared about was that hopefully the man would get his hand away already. “You’re at ten. Within the next few contractions you’re gonna feel more pressure and the need to push will set in.”

After another contraction Jensen felt exactly what Dr. Greene meant. The pressure travelled lower into his abdomen and he was sure that he was going to fucking die, it was too intense and the pain crippled him. “Meds! Gimme everything!” Jensen barked at the doctor.

Something on Dr. Greene’s face made Jensen cringe. The expression he was wearing was not the agreeable one Jensen had been hoping for. “I’m sorry Jensen.”

That was not what he wanted to hear. Not at fucking all. “Now!” He yelled again as his body forced him into a sitting position, the ache in his back almost worse than in his belly.

“No matter what I give you now, it won’t help. The effect won’t set in until you’re already pushing and then it won’t do you any good anymore.” Dr. Greene had the decency to blush but all Jensen wanted was to kill the man. This couldn’t be happening.

With the pain taking a hold of him, and fury clouding his common sense, Jensen snapped his head to Jared, fist grabbing into his boyfriend’s collar and he pulled, hard, until his face was right in Jared’s. “You gonna get me something or I swear to God.”

Jared swallowed, his eyes pleading and lips quivering, “we gonna be all right, Jen. We can do this, okay?”

“We? WE?” Jensen pushed Jared back on his feet as he pulled his legs up against his stomach, the previous mentioned need to push too strong to ignore. And Jared was useless. They couldn’t do this, Jared couldn’t do jack to make this better. It was all Jared’s fault that he ended up there in the first place. “You… you did this to me.” He snarled at his boyfriend. “Fuck! This hurts!” Jensen eased his back onto the pillow again but regretted it the second his stomach cramped up all over again. He pushed his body forward again, arms wrapped around his legs. “Need… to push.”

“Okay, Jensen.” Dr. Greene stepped back into his line of vision, both hands covered with gloves when he set up the bed, lowering the foot part so he could step right in front of Jensen. “You need to breathe. In through your nose, out through your mouth. With the next contraction I want you to push as hard as you can, you have to push right down into your lower abdomen, where the pressure is the worst.”

Jensen heard the man, and he also heard an order in there somewhere. “Don’t tell me what to do!”

Jared’s hand found its way to Jensen’s shoulder, holding on for something like reassurance. Which didn’t do any good. Jensen turned to face Jared again, “you’re no help at all.”

“Jen, I just…” Jared began but pressed his lips together again before he could speak any more.

With the next contraction Jensen pushed, he bore down with all the strength he had left in his weakened body. Whatever was happening down there, he was more than certain that his ass was going to be ripped apart into a million pieces; the feeling of a thousand needles torturing him made his whole body burn in agony.

One of the nurses came back into the room, taking a spot next to Dr. Greene for support.

Jared, persistent as always, didn’t even think of leaving Jensen alone, “Babe, please, can I do anything?”

Oh, there was definitely something Jared could have done, “yeah. Don’t… d-don’t ever fucking touch me again!”

“You don’t mean that.” It was more a question than a statement.

“I hate you, Jared. So much! I’m gonna… gonna kill you. Oh fuuuck!!!” Jensen screamed out when he felt something, almost as if his birth channel widened even further.

Jensen didn’t see the guilty and questioning look Jared threw to the nurse, he was too caught up in his pain. In his misery.

“He doesn’t mean that, right?” Jared directed his question to Dr. Green and the nurse.

The nurse smiled at him reassuringly, “don’t worry dear. Out of all the patients this week, he’s the calmest.”

“Are you serious? This is what you call calm? What…what can I do? I need to help him.” Jared’s eyes teared up, he felt as helpless as Jensen said he was and it was eating at him that there was nothing he could have done to make this any easier for Jensen.

“There isn’t much you can do. As unsatisfying as it may sound, all you can do is be here, the rest, well, he has to work through it himself.”

Jared thought the words over for a few long moments. And while watching Jensen curling up in more pain, Jared figured, that, Jensen usually needed physical contact to get through whatever plagued him. Kicking off his shoes, Jared didn’t hesitate when he crawled onto the bed too, settling his own body behind Jensen’s. His chest was flush against his boyfriend’s back. Jensen was too tense for Jared’s liking but, according to the nurse, there wasn’t much he could have done about it. Being there for Jensen, that? Yes, that he could do.

Jensen was short of losing his damn mind. He had told Jared to never touch him again and now the damn giant, who was obviously to blame for his pain, had the nerve to plaster himself behind him. He wanted to kick and scream and he even thought as far as getting Jared kicked out of the room. But then Jared’s arms wrapped around his middle, always trying to make life better and easier for Jensen. After another contraction, Jensen let himself fall back against Jared’s chest and he had to realize that this was exactly what he needed. Jared never failed to make Jensen question himself and his decisions.

“Perfect.” Dr. Greene’s excited voice rang in Jensen’s ears. “I can already see the head. Jensen with the next push you’re going to have to pull your legs against your chest in earnest and bear down full force. Give your everything and don’t stop until I say so. Can you do that?”

Jensen wanted to shake his head in a no, because he was sure that he couldn’t do that. Not anymore. He was too exhausted and his body grew heavier with fatigue. All he wanted was to quit and black out. Let them deal with this mess. They would surely figure out how to get that baby out of him if he couldn’t handle any more pushing.

“Jen, you’re stronger than you think. I know you can do it and I’m right here, you hear me?” Jared pressed himself further against his back as his hands found their way under Jensen’s knees, joining his own hands. “If anyone can do this, then it’s you. I won’t let you give up. Not ever and definitely not now.”

The tone of Jared’s voice made Jensen snap back into the current situation and out of his deleterious thoughts. Jared had never been wrong about him, the man had never dared to lose faith in Jensen. He wasn't going to take the opportunity to prove Jared wrong. Jared was everything that anchored him, the person who wasn’t only willing but damn determined to push Jensen out off all the negativity he surrounded himself with. Maybe it was time to believe Jared, again. He wanted their baby, loved her so much that he was ready to sacrifice a future with her if it meant offering her a better life. Jared was the one who didn’t think twice when he promised to provide for their daughter’s life. How good would this promise be if Jensen was giving up, if he couldn’t do this. Realization hit him straight to the core, nobody but he himself was able to bring their daughter into this world. He had to do this, suck it up and give it his all. Jensen knew that, no matter how much pain he endured, it was going to be worth it in the end. Burying his own suffering far back in his brain, Jensen focused solely on delivering their daughter.

With the next contraction, Jared helped him pull his knees up while Jensen bore down as hard as he could, eyes squeezed shut and screaming through the seemingly endless pain.

“Come on, Jen. You can do it.” Jared pulled harder at his legs when Jensen’s strength gave.

Through the strain of pushing, Jensen practically yelled into the room, “of course I fucking can!”

“More. More, more. Come on, Jensen. Don’t stop.” Dr. Greene cheered him on.

And Jensen did. His lungs screamed for a breath and he could feel the way his whole body turned red with the effort.

“Perfect!” The doctor praised. “Head’s all out, Jensen. You’re doing great. Now, relax a second and take a breather. Worst part is over, okay? On your next push, push down hard again. Once the shoulders are out, you’re as good as done.”

Jensen sagged back into Jared’s chest, both their bodies heaving.

“Give it two months and you guys need to start making pigtails.” The nurse told them, her eyes showing nothing but excitement.

“W-What?” Jensen was confused.

Dr. Greene obviously knew exactly what the nurse was talking about and took one of Jensen’s hands in his own, guiding him towards their daughter’s head. “She’s got a full mop of hair.”

“Oh my god.” Jensen choked on a sob. It was weird and surreal that, after all these months of carrying their daughter, she was right there. She was real. “Jay…”

Jared was just as gone as Jensen and couldn’t help himself from following Jensen’s hand. The position didn’t give him much room, but somehow he still made it and joined Jensen’s hand, carefully brushing his fingertips over their baby girl’s head. He wanted to say so many things, how amazing it felt being able to touch her, to feel the realness of her being, but every word was drowned out when tears welled up in his eyes and his throat constricted with too many emotions at once.

“Oki doki, here comes the next one.” Dr. Greene informed Jensen, as if he couldn’t feel for himself what was about to happen.

Hands shooting straight back behind his knees, Jensen bore down again and gave a final push to deliver their daughter completely. Once he felt her body slip free and out of him, Jensen collapsed into Jared and let his legs fall onto the bed.

In the distance, Jensen heard gurgling and sucking noises and when they stopped a shrill wail boomed through the room.

“Oh my. What a precious little siren.” The nurse cooed as she picked their baby girl up. “Come on, beautiful. Time to meet your daddies.” Having the baby in a secure hold with one arm and careful of the umbilical cord, the nurse pulled Jensen’s hospital gown out of the way and placed their crying newborn on his chest.

As soon as Jensen had his daughter with him, he was at a complete loss for words. Millions of emotions rushed through him and he was not able to voice one of them. He let tears fall down his cheeks as her wet and warm body squirmed on his chest. Jensen was suddenly hit with fear of loss and wrapped his arms around his daughter, the need to hold her and never let her go again stronger than he ever thought to be possible. “Hey baby.” He couldn’t stop kissing her head and when he began to slowly rock her, her cries died in an instant.

“Who’s got the honor of cutting the cord?” Dr. Greene interrupted the quiet.

The answer was shot out of Jensen faster than a bullet, “Jared.”

Jared blinked back into the world, his brain was running on highspeed, his eyes glued to their baby girl on Jensen’s chest. “Me?” He had hoped to be the one disconnecting their baby girl from Jensen, but it was still surprising that his boyfriend didn’t even hesitate on his choice. “Yeah. Yes.”

Still wrapped around Jensen Jared had to shimmy his frame so as to almost kneeling next to Jensen.  Jared was more than glad that he, before getting Jensen into the hospital, told the nurses at the desk he wanted a private room for his boyfriend. They didn’t have to leave the room and the birthing bed was big enough for the both of them.

The nurse handed him a pair of surgical scissors and showed him where to cut the cord. His hands were shaking so badly that he almost dropped the scissors. “It’s not gonna hurt her, right?”

The nurse smiled at him knowingly; she probably hadn’t heard this question for the first time. “No, she won’t feel any of it. Go ahead, dear.”

He didn’t think it was that difficult, but the umbilical cord was actually quite hard and he used both hands to put enough pressure on the scissors.

Once he cut the cord, Jared handed the scissors back to the nurse, who had wrapped a warm towel around the baby and finally Jared turned to look at Jensen and their little girl. She was beautiful; Jared didn’t know how better to describe her. Her forehead was still angrily wrinkled from all her crying, her eyes closed tightly and her tiny button nose buried deep in Jensen’s chest. All Jared wanted was to reach out and touch her, hold her and kiss her precious pink cheeks, but he also wanted for Jensen to enjoy this moment for as long as Jared was able to hold his patience. He knew Jensen needed this moment more than anyone else. His boyfriend’s eyes were bloodshot and it was obvious to Jared that some of the man’s tears weren’t solely happy tears. Jared could imagine what went through Jensen’s head; thoughts of what he had been dead set on all these months ago probably serving up the torture of guilt and regret. Jared had promised him that he would never take her away from Jensen and now he needed to make sure that Jensen understood the truth of that statement. He had never seen anything more amazing than the picture in front of him, the way Jensen clung to their girl and his lips never seeming to stop peppering her with kisses. Jensen was already head over heels in love with her. With the back of his hand, Jared tried to wipe his own tears away, but it was fruitless; he was a complete mess of happiness and fascination.

The movement must have caught Jensen’s attention and for the first time since he gave birth, Jensen looked at Jared. A bright smile, full of pride, greeted Jared and he moved in, capturing Jensen’s lips into a kiss. “She’s amazing, Jen.” The words were spoken softly, only for the both of them to hear. “You are amazing.” Jared’s heart was about to explode out of his chest as reality kicked in: they had a daughter, they were fathers now. After all the heartache and constant worry they were finally here. Exactly where they belonged, where Jared wanted them to be right from the beginning. “I love you so much. Both of you.” This time Jensen initiated the kiss as he removed one hand from their girl in favor for cupping Jared’s face.

“Do you…” Jensen began to whisper between them, “want to hold her?”

Jared studied Jensen’s face thoroughly, searching for any sign of reluctance over handing their daughter over, when he only saw sincerity, Jared’s excitement got the better of him. “Oh god, yes. Please.”

When Jensen first placed her in his arms Jared was completely paralyzed, his hands looked too big in comparison to the tiny body of his daughter. He was sure to break her and it scared him that he was now responsible for her. He and Jensen were to keep her safe. It was terrifying. An innocent, tiny human who would be dependent on them for many years to come. She started to squirm again, pretty little bow-shaped lips quivering. Jared didn’t want to fail this moment, he needed to show her that he was capable of taking care of her so he cradled her in the crook of his arm. “Hey princess.” Of course, as to be expected, she didn’t react. So far, spit bubbles and cries were her only way of communication. Jared traced his fingers along her chubby cheeks and didn’t stop exploring, memorizing every inch of her little body. His eyes came to a stop at her closed eyes and he was mesmerized how long her lashes already were, just like Jensen’s.

“Jen, she’s perfect.” Jared tore his eyes off of her and smiled at his boyfriend. But as soon as his eyes landed on Jensen he was crashed with worry. Jensen looked content until now, exhausted but happy. However, now he seemed to be in pain again. “What is it?”

“Ugh… hurts.” Jensen curled in on himself again, hands gripping his middle. “God.”

Dr. Greene and the nurse, who Jared had completely forgotten where still with them in the room, rushed back to stand in front of Jensen. “Well, looks like you’re ready to deliver the afterbirth. Jensen, it’s gonna hurt again, but it won’t be as bad as before, okay?”

Jared watched in horror as Jensen suffered through the pain. He felt completely useless again and all he could do was hold their daughter securely in one arm while holding on to Jensen with his other hand. Immediately, Jensen took hold of him, his grip on Jared’s forearm bruising but he didn’t care. If it helped Jensen, then he surely wasn’t going to complain. His boyfriend just went through delivering their daughter, which was way worse than what Jensen did to his arm.

As Jensen yelled through his pain, their daughter began wailing with him, completely aware of her daddy’s distress and Jared did his best to rock her gently.

Jared was shocked when he saw Dr. Greene pulling at the umbilical cord.

“Jensen, I’m going to try and help you deliver the placenta faster. I’ll have to put some pressure on your uterus at the same time as I’m carefully pulling the cord. I need you to push as soon as I knead downwards on your middle. Got it?”

Jared’s eyes snapped back and forth between the doctor and Jensen. It sounded terrible, he didn’t want to see Jensen in any more pain. Then again, he also wanted Jensen out of the pain as fast as possible.

Jensen nodded at Dr. Greene and held on to Jared’s arm with a death grip.

“I’d like to think you’ve done that before. You’re all done, Jensen. Great job.” Dr. Greene praised again and Jared sighed in unison with Jensen, when his boyfriend fell back onto the pillow, breath short and ragged.

Their baby girl’s cries intensified and he wanted to cry along with her. He didn’t know how to help her calm down. The nurse must have sensed his internal struggle, or experience told her what was wrong as she walked around the bed on Jensen’s side. “What do you say, wanna try feeding her? She seems hungry.”

Drained from hours of painful labor and delivery, Jensen didn’t trust his voice enough to speak, so he simply nodded. He never really gave breastfeeding much thought, all he knew was, that, sometimes it wouldn’t work. Though, he was determined to try and made grabby hands at his daughter. The hesitation in Jared’s posture was kind of cute. Jensen guessed that they would both end up trying to hog her for the rest of forever. Their daughter’s wailing eventually convinced Jared to hand her over. Jensen had no idea how to proceed and turned a pleading stare at the nurse, who understood him right away.

“Try to sit up a bit, hm?” Jensen shimmied his butt up while Jared rearranged the pillow behind him. “Alright, just hold her like this.” The nurse propped his daughter up in his arm, mouth facing Jensen’s nipple. “Give her a minute and she’ll figure out where her dinner is.” Again, the nurse adjusted her, carefully nudging his daughter’s chin closer to his nipple.

The first contact of his daughter’s lips were odd, it felt strange. After a few experimental nips, she latched on and Jensen gasped at the sudden pull. The greedy sucking noises coming from his daughter drowned everything else around him out. This was some sort of magical moment for him, nobody else but he could give this to their baby girl, nobody but him would ever have this special bond and connection with her. Jensen smiled at how eager she was, definitely a Padalecki, considering how messy of an eater she was. Even though this was a moment between him and his daughter, he wanted to somehow share it with Jared. So, trying to make this possible, Jensen made more room for Jared “Come.” Jensen cocked his head towards the empty space to his right and Jared all but beamed at him and settled his large body against Jensen’s, Jared’s head resting half on the pillow and half on Jensen’s shoulder.

“I can’t believe she’s finally here.” Jared breathed against his neck while his hand covered Jensen’s on their daughter’s tiny butt. “So, you gonna tell me which name you picked from that list or wanna name her Bean?”

Jensen snapped his head to Jared. He didn’t know Jared had any knowledge of the list Jensen had hidden in his bedside table. They had talked about finding a name for their daughter, but somehow never ended up with a decision. So, Jensen had scribbled names down he thought would be fitting. “How do you… know about that l-list?”

“Well, I didn’t. Not until two nights ago, when I had to get something out of your bedside table.” Jared smirked against his shoulder. Jensen turned beat red in an instant. Two nights ago, Jared had spooned up behind him and when Jensen’s hormones got the better of him again, pleading with Jared, begging his boyfriend for sex, Jared obliged. While he retrieved the lube, he must have seen the list.

He looked down at his daughter then, her expression happy and satisfied, and he was sure that a name wouldn’t matter, it wasn’t what was going to define her. Nonetheless, Bean wasn’t going to happen.

“Jen, come on. One name was highlighted with like twenty circles. Which one is it?” Jared nudged his nose against Jensen’s jaw.

“What… if you d-don’t like it?” Legally, Jared didn’t have a say in the whole name choosing issue, but Jensen wanted him to; he needed Jared to be on board with the name. If Jared didn’t like it then they would have to find something different.

“Remember when I told you that I trust your judgment, that whatever you decide on her behalf won’t be wrong?” Jensen remembered it perfectly, the letter Jared had left him spoke volumes of how much Jared trusted Jensen with his decisions.

“Stella.” Jensen whispered down at their daughter and a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. He had never said it out loud before and it felt right hearing it. “Stella Eve.”

Jared was almost silent next to him, only humming as he placed his thumb into their baby girl’s palm and she clutched to it right away while she kept on suckling at her milk bar. “That’s a wonderful name. I really love it. Hey Stella.”  

“You do?”

“Absolutely.” Jared’s smile was infectious and Jensen returned it happily, leaning in to kiss Jared again.

When Stella went fitful again, the nurse helped Jensen to settle her onto his right nipple. This time she started sucking without any fuss. That moment, Jensen thought to himself, was perfect. If all his troubles in the past, all his insecurities, the mental suffering and sleepless nights were fate’s way of bringing him here? Then all of it was more than worth it. A feeling of utter relief washed through him, affecting every inch of his body and his nerves, for the first time in his life, were at a complete ease. He was calm and looking at Jared, the way his mouth smooched over Stella’s feathery hairs, Jensen wanted to cry over the sheer happiness he finally got to experience.

Jensen knew it was safe to change, that he had to, especially his attitude regarding everything that involved Jared. For the sake of their relationship and for Stella.

Jared still kept brushing his mouth over the top of their daughter’s head, his arm snaked around her and fingers playing with Stella’s towel-clad feet.

“Jay?” He whispered into his boyfriend’s forehead and smiled at the man when he looked up at Jensen. “I love you.”

 

***The End***

(until I add more stories to this verse)