And Jared laughs, a little out of control, as he licks up a path from Jensen’s collar bones up to Jensen’s eyes. Tongue meets eye and he feels Jensen recoil from the pain. He shoves Jensen back on the bed: their bed.
Alphas can scent when omegas are fertile, but only barely. It’s not as pungent as Jared has sometimes smelt around the betas at school. Apparently, biologically and legally, alphas really are only attuned to the way betas are about to be impregnated with their heirs.
Jensen’s an omega. His children will never be recognized as Jared’s, especially not with Jensen’s criminal history. Jared wouldn’t be able to tell for jackshit whether Jensen’s fertile, or care. Shouldn’t.
He smells it anyways: the way Jensen’s body is ready, even if nothing else about him is. Jensen’s scent is so sweet and so virgin in the air, sinking into Jared and right to his libido. And Jared’s not going to think about anything else.
“Come on, come on,” he murmurs, ripping apart Jensen’s shirt—Jared’s own, from high school when he used to wear metal band shirts and Jensen laughed at him before stealing them anyways, and Jared doesn’t know what it means that Jensen picks them out, now that Jared’s forbidden him from owning his own clothes. Right now he doesn’t care all that much. Jensen’s pliant beneath Jared’s fingers that run up and down his ribcage, and Jared grins, all feral.
“Jared—” Jensen starts, back arching up into the bite, and it’s the last genuine thing Jared hears from him all night.
“Shh,” Jared says, soothingly, possibly to himself. “Come on, then, let’s hear you beg.” His fingers rub at Jensen’s tailbone, slides tantalizingly low, circles around the tight ring of the slick hole that opens and closes against them. Jared licks up another path from Jensen’s shoulder, shoves his tongue into Jensen’s ear.
Jensen lets out a sob, and he’s so out of it that he moves away from Jared’s insistent fingers at his hole, away from Jared’s tongue fucking his ear. Jared laughs, low. But then Jensen’s scrambling into a corner of the bed that apparently both of them has come to think of as Jensen’s corner, because the alpha in Jared hesitates before following: because apparently even the alpha thinks Jensen needs at least one place he can call his own.
Jared doesn’t. Jared’s not going to let Jensen have anything that isn’t also Jared’s. Never again.
“Shh,” he says, and takes Jensen’s jaws in hand band kisses him. “Gonna make it good,” he promises, before he shoves Jensen back down on the bed, hard, twisted away, face down. Jensen’s probably suffocating. “It’s easier this way,” he promises, and dip his fingers once more around Jensen’s hole.
Jensen bucks underneath him, once, like it’s instinct and like he can’t help it and like he’s acting against his better judgment; but Jared’s bigger than him, has been for six years, and he easily presses down on Jensen’s thighs with his knees. Finally, excruciatingly, a slow first inch of his finger pushes inside. “Shh,” Jared repeats for the umpteenth time that night. “Gonna want it so bad in just a few seconds, Jen, gonna make you beg for it before I give it to you. All you ever wanted.” He grits his teeth. “The only thing you ever wanted.” He gets another half an inch in, and a howl in return, muffled. “That’s it,” he purrs, satisfied at the way the sob mixes with the shout of pain in Jensen’s hoarse voice.
“Gonna go wild, Jen,” he says, and doesn’t recognize his own voice. “Say you want it. Say you want me.” He presses down on a spot inside that heated flesh, gives up when Jensen does nothing but moan underneath him.
“Jared,” Jensen repeats, and it’s not what Jared wants to hear, but he doesn’t mind that the only thing Jensen can moan out is Jared’s name.
But then Jensen says, “Not like this,” like he wants nothing but Jared to listen, “not this, please,” and it’s begging but it’s not the type that Jared wants.
“Shut up,” Jared says, harshly, and brings up his free hand to grab Jensen’s hair. It never used to be so long, but then Jensen no longer has any say over what his appearances are. Jared pulls it back, purposefully doesn’t look at Jensen’s eyes, and slams it back onto the bed. He narrowly misses the bed post. “I’m going to own you.” His finger roots around further, and when he pushes in just a little deeper, Jared knows he hit the right spot by the way Jensen goes absolutely quiet and still underneath him.
“Ha,” Jared breathes, and then remembers about omegas and knots, and shoves in the second finger without ceremony, insistently pressing on the spot even as he pushes the rim apart, preparing Jensen’s hole and lighting the spark inside him that must be begging for it. Stretching his hole so far beyond its normal functions that it thinks of nothing but knots, and Jensen nothing but of Jared’s knot.
Jensen’s breaking underneath, tears streaming down in a delicious path down his cheeks as he bites his lips bloody in an attempt not to moan. That’s what convinces Jared, satisfies the animal inside him: that Jensen’s hurting himself, to not let Jared know that he’s aroused.
“Beg for me,” Jared says, quietly and steadily into Jensen’s ear, pressing down on the spot even as he ruts against Jensen’s thighs, his dick impossibly hard and begging to be wet. “Beg for me.” Please.
Jensen’s eyes are open wide, staring at the headboard as he’s rocked forward, rutted against, back, ruthlessly, his hole stretched open and his prostate rubbed so hard his dick must be crying even prettier than his wet green eyes with a touch of dandelion in them.
“Jared,” he says.
It’s not the sweet moan Jared’s been searching for. He hooks a fourth finger around Jensen’s hole, doesn’t push in quiet yet. It won’t be enough, not with his dick begging and begging and begging. “Yes, Jen?”
The voice is quiet, small. It’s not Jensen as Jared has ever known him.
Jared bites the back of Jensen’s neck, doesn’t register that it’s too bony for him to sink his teeth in satisfyingly. “Try again,” he murmurs, and tastes blood. He’s not bothering with Jensen’s pleasure anymore; he’s trying to stretch the hole as far as he can, trigger the omega in Jensen.
Jensen bucks then, writhing. “Please,” he cries, but when Jared looks over, fingers shoved in that tight pink hole, it’s not him that Jensen’s calling for: not the alpha with his knot already drooling against Jensen, smearing himself everywhere. Jensen’s calling for someone else as he pants, “Please, just, fuck me.”
Fuck it. Jared’s had enough. He hauls Jensen up, puts him on all fours, head shoved down and ass pulled up high in the air. He can’t get his head on straight, he doesn’t care that Jensen’s pretending or doesn’t want him, even as Jensen scrambles desperately against the sheets, pushing back as frantically as Jared’s dick rutting against the sweet flesh, bruising and marking.
All the alpha wants is his dick wet and the tiny unused space inside Jensen swelling up with Jared’s come and Jared’s pups.
The first thrust isn’t smooth and silky and sweet. It’s rough and catches on the edges and Jensen groans as Jared lays his forehead on the back of Jensen’s head so hard that they both lose balance. “Fuck, fuck,” Jared mutters and pulls out, feels the way Jensen doesn’t want to let him go as the rim of the hole drags so tightly on his dick.
The second thrust is a little sweeter. It feels like everything that makes up Jensen, every pound of flesh and every liter of blood, is pressing down on the path that Jared’s making inside Jensen. Jared circles his hips a bit, carving out a little more space for himself, little thrusts without pulling out.
“Good?” he asks breathlessly. He’s not expecting or wanting any response. A high whine’s escaping from the back of Jensen’s throat and Jared doesn’t think Jensen knows he’s the one making that sound.
Jared’s not expecting to last long. That’s not what this is about. After a few thrusts and bites, his knot begins to swell, and Jared makes sure to stay fully inside as it does so.
But Jensen, Jensen clearly never got the memo, because he wails the last time Jared slams inside, a full knot now tied firmly inside the hole. Surrounded by warmth, Jared’s dick is pulsing, fast and quick and hard, and yeah, that’s something Jared’s never felt himself, trapped by another’s heat like that. Jensen’s never so much had a finger inside him before tonight, and a large knot pulsing inside, better than any vibrator, shooting come again and again to fill up the space Jensen never even knew existed inside him? It’s driving him crazy.
Jared wants to lick his mate and reassure him, but it feels like every pound of his flesh is rushing out from his dick, and he only pants and moans against Jensen’s back.
It’s hours before Jared pulls out. Jensen’s been limp on the bed for just as long, letting Jared fill him up. Even as Jared pulls away they both know what’s been done. Jensen’s scent is changing, and even as his dull eyes turn to look at Jared, lifeless, there’s a glow beginning in his cheeks.
Barefoot and tied to the kitchen sink, Jared thinks, and searches for Jensen’s lips. It ends up more of a lick than a kiss.
Jensen pulls away and limps halfway across the room before he pauses, and turns back to Jared. He’s looking for permission
And Jared, panting, sated, on the bed, has no idea how much of that begging was Jensen giving Jared what he wanted because he had no choice, and how much of it was Jensen actually wanting it.
Jensen doesn’t look hurt. He looks tired.
“Go,” Jared says.
Jensen does, and Jared feels the cold seeping in his ribs, spreading throughout his body and coiling around the loneliness in his chest. That’s the fourth time that he’s let Jensen go.
He’s never going to let Jensen go.
The beta is nice and charming and knows how to order her wine. She times her jokes well and praises his dogs, and her eyes are warm.
All Jared can think is that the beginning of her name sounds like Jensen’s. It’s the sound that’s on the tip of his tongue, tapping away at his teeth, throughout the dinner—
“You wanna,” she asks with a smile, a phone number written on a napkin that’s completely unnecessary because their parents set them up and Jared could move into her bedroom, tonight, if he wanted.
No, he thinks. “Yeah,” Jared says.
—and afterwards. Jared only remembers the bursts of smoke and fog and a dull grey smog, nothing like the burst of colors he forever associates with Jensen, even if Jared’s never fucked him.
It’s late when Jared gets back, and he’s quiet as he can be when he opens the door.
Jensen’s awake. He’s sprawled on the sofa, loose sweatpants, but the television’s off. He seems to be staring off into space but his fingers are tapping idly, an old habit Jared recognizes from years ago, faint memories of sitting under the sun on a rooftop patio: Jensen drumming on the guitar, Jared sitting or reading or napping but always listening to whatever Jensen was singing. Jensen likes to compose in his head, though he never writes anything down. It’s his escape.
This is Jensen, now, when Jared’s not home. He’s relaxed.
“Hi,” Jared says.
Jensen starts a bit, looks up with tired eyes that say he’s been reading far more than Jared would’ve liked. Jared gave him two hours on the computer before he left. He doesn’t want to know what Jensen’s been reading and writing, cringes when he thinks he might have to check the internet history. But just for a second, Jensen’s caught off guard, and Jared sees his friend in Jensen’s eyes, can almost smell the orange river and the sepia sun of many summers ago, before he’s locked away again.
“I didn’t,” Jared says. “Jensen, I didn’t.” He smells of champagne and perfume and grease, all the things Jensen’s not getting, and sex, all the things he’d promised not to.
Jensen doesn’t say anything, but his fingers aren’t drumming anymore. He’s not looking at Jared.
Jared licks his lips. “Come to bed,” he says, because he’s tired.
“In a bit,” Jensen says. It’s a stranger’s voice. Jared thinks Jensen might stay up all night sitting on the sofa if it means not getting too close to Jared, tonight.
“If you suck me off,” Jared says, and it comes out harsher than he means to, “I’ll let you sleep by yourself tonight.” He’s harsh because he needs Jensen to say no, to come to bed with him instead, because he wants to curl up in bed with Jensen and bury his face in Jensen’s hair and forget everything.
But when he looks back Jensen’s going to his knees, smoothly, looking up with blank eyes. When Jared doesn’t move, Jensen slowly starts inching forward, still on his knees, not breaking eye contact as he crawls to Jared with a slow sinuous sway.
Intellectually Jared knows how much Jensen hates this. Two months ago he would have known from Jensen’s eyes. But right now he can’t tell anything from the way Jensen reaches for his zipper, not commenting on the stench of sex that must be coming from him. Can’t tell how much Jensen hates it even as he understands Jensen must.
He leans his head back on the wall and lets the hot warmth of Jensen’s mouth envelope his dick, and thinks about nothing in particular because he’s going to sleep alone, tonight.
Jared wants a fucking honeymoon. He wants to stay in bed all the time for at least two weeks, and order food in and send the laundry out. He wants to get wine delivered and find candles somewhere in the new apartment.
Jensen wants to go out. And it’s not candlelit dinners he’s looking for.
Jared leans on the counter and watches Jensen pace back and forth, alternatively cursing and pleading, before throwing his phone down in frustration and reaching for his jacket. Jensen is in his house and under his contract and Jared still feels like Jensen lives in a whole different dimension, caught up in this entirely different obsession that makes his breath come fast and quicken his pulse. It’s not fucking but Jensen looks delicious when he’s impassioned with frustration: and Jared never thought living together would stop them from having sex but apparently Jensen doesn’t want sex when Jared can take it any time, legally.
“I’m going out,” Jensen says, absently checking his pockets for keys. “I’ll try to be back early, but don’t wait up, yeah?”
“Oh,” Jared says, because that reminds him. “Wait, Jensen.”
Jensen’s walking up with a smile, and he’s going to give Jared a goodnight kiss which’ll progress into passionate making out. Jared’s very down for that. But first he has to remember his gift.
“Here,” he says, a little awkwardly, bringing up the box and handing it to Jensen, who’s looking at it in puzzlement. “I thought it might help, when you go out.”
It’s a really nice collar. Jared’s family was getting on his case about not getting one for Jensen, and Jared refused every suggestion his family made regarding Jensen on principle alone; then he thought about it privately. There were vague feelings that he didn’t want Jensen to think that he was cheaping out on Jensen; some other feelings on how Jared figures this is pretty much their marriage, and there’s nothing but some papers to show for it; and finally there was an overwhelming image of Jensen wearing nothing but a collar in bed that Jared is pretty sure short-circuited a lot of his thought processes.
Jensen’s gone completely still, staring at the thing in the box. There are little diamond studs along the smooth seams.
This is going all wrong, Jared thinks, exactly at the same moment as Jensen says, “What the fuck is this?”
Jared opens his mouth. Closes it. “You won’t get questioned on the streets anymore.” Which is a practical reason, but it’s also very easy for anyone who stops Jensen to look up his name on the registration and see that he belongs to Jared, legally. Asshole officers might call Jared to check, but—it’s not like Jared will say Jensen’s out without permission. Even if the phone calls are getting annoying. Even if it means Jensen will be home early.
Jensen snaps the box shut. He’s not looking at Jared.
“Jensen,” Jared says.
“I thought we were working on getting it annulled,” Jensen says. “Not conforming to it by buying fucking Omega collars.”
Jared licks his lips. “Is it so bad?” he asks.
Jensen jerks. He nearly drops the box, but he fumbles to catch it, and while Jared moved to catch it, too, he’s glad Jensen doesn’t want to drop it. He spent a long time in the store trying too—well. It doesn’t matter.
“I thought,” Jensen says. “Jared, you don’t—I thought you agreed with me. It’s not that I’m owned by you. It’s that I’m owned at all. You know that.”
“I’m not going to get a beta,” Jared says. “Jensen, you know I’ve never looked at anyone else. For years. I’m never going to consider anyone else, beta or omega. You’re it for me.” He says, “You have to believe me.” He tries, “This just, this ties us legally, right? Like marriage.”
Jensen stares. “Marriage?” he says, and in that one incredulous tone Jared hears something crack. He thinks it’s his entire world; later, he’ll realize it’s finally the boundary between the two worlds that he and Jensen live in. But he doesn’t know it now. “Jared, this is the farthest thing from marriage.”
“It doesn’t have to be,” Jared says, desperately.
“It’s easier for you to say it when you’re the one with power.” Jensen’s lips are pale. “It’s easy enough to say you’ll be lenient. We’re never going to be equal when you hold that contract in your hand. No matter how hard you try.”
Jared stares down at his hands. “Yeah, well,” he says, tonelessly. “Better me than anyone else, Jen.”
And he knows that’s not the point even before Jensen opens his mouth, just as desperately as Jared had, that the problem is not that Jared isn’t the best person to hold the contract, of course not, how could it? But that contracts exist at all, and that no one in the world is good to hold such power over someone—
Jared tunes him out. And when Jensen finally turns to leave, the box lying on the counter, Jared’s right there, leaning on the door and blocking Jensen.
He doesn’t want Jensen to leave.
“Jared,” Jensen says. He’s staring again, and Jared is not sure what he’s thinking anymore.
So he says, “Give me a goodbye kiss before you go.” His hand is on the doorframe, higher than his head, and he knows it makes him look taller and he fairly looms over Jensen.
Jensen’s hand is on the doorknob. He doesn’t move for such a long time that Jared takes it, removes it from the knob, and tugs to turn Jensen towards him.
“You have to,” Jared says, and he means to joke, but it falls off flat and flops to the floor to die between them.
Jensen has to tiptoe to reach up. He brushes his lips against Jared, and he takes his hands out from Jared’s and they’ve both done this enough times for Jared to expect that Jensen will bring his hands up to Jared’s cheeks, but Jensen fumbles for the door instead. He leaves.
That’s the third time Jared lets Jensen go. It’s the last time he does, without Jensen wearing the collar and giving him a kiss.
“I’m looking for Jensen.”
Chris is a friendly guy, laid back most of the time, but there’s a quiet danger that lurks when he crosses his arms and leans back on his heels, watching. Half of it is that Chris has spent most of his adult years—and some teenaged ones—fighting at bars and running off the police. The other half is that Jared remembers him as the older alpha who was having gigs and giving tours, often with Jensen in tow, when Jared was still a teenager with programs clutched in his hands and his heart hammering as he stood in the crowd to stare up at them both on the stage.
Jared scratches his ankle with his other foot. “He’s not here,” he says.
Chris doesn’t move. “I heard you have his contract.” He says contract and not ownership because he’s hung out with the wrong crowd more often than Jared has.
“Yeah, well,” Jared says. “I don’t have him chained to the kitchen sink. You can try doing that. I like to live.”
He gets a bit of a smile for that, and more importantly a genuine crinkle in the corner of the eyes. “All right,” Chris says. And he adds, “You’re a good guy.”
“Warn a guy before you’re in town next time. I’m fresh out of eggs to throw at your concert.”
Chris is over thirty. He gives Jared the finger like they’re teenagers when he leaves.
As Jared closes the door he thinks that if there ever was a test, that was it, but Jensen’s not a morning guy; and when he goes back to bed Jensen’s still sleeping on his side. Jared draws the sheets back and goes to sleep.
“You own me,” Jensen says blankly.
"I mean, we've both been waiting for this a long time, right?" Jared laughs weakly. Even before Jensen turns his are you high look on him, he knows he’s being ridiculous. And offensive in every way to the cause that Jensen’s been fighting for—the cause that Jared’s supposed to be on, too. “Wow, fuck, okay, I’m sorry, Jensen, I shouldn’t be joking about this.”
Jensen runs a finger down the ownership contract that bears both Jared and Jensen’s full names, and damned if Jared hasn’t been hoping for a document with their names side by side like that for a long time: just not this one. Never this one.
“This can’t be constitutional,” Jensen says. “How is it not infringing on basic human rights to put ownership up to auction without any notice? What happened to due process?”
Jared spreads his hands. “I really don’t know,” he says. “I’m so sorry, Jen, my parents—”
“Why can’t you just let me go?” Jensen asks. He’s frozen in place, his expression calm, but Jared knows that expression and he knows that Jensen’s mind is rapidly shooting through all the possible explanations, shifting through Jared’s motivations and emotions, sniffing so close to Jared’s innermost thoughts. He’s no bitch in heat, Jensen; he’s a bloodhound, with a finer sense of sensing people out than Jared’s ever seen.
“You’ll just be put up for auction again,” Jared tries to explain. “You can’t be an unclaimed omega at twenty-seven. C’mon, Jensen,” he laughs a bit, but it feels so fake to his own ears that he knows Jensen must hear it too, a fake voice pretending to be so genuine, especially when Jensen usually knows Jared’s feelings better than Jared does himself. “If you had to be—if it had to be documented anywhere, better me than anyone else, right?”
Jensen looks at him, and Jared sees the way Jensen’s pupils are suddenly shaking, doubt and suspicion and fear, and the rest of Jensen’s body has become completely still like he’s trying to hide his emotions from Jared.
It’s not a very good effort. Jared can tell how suddenly unsure and afraid Jensen is, of him. But Jensen doesn’t want to hide himself completely from Jared yet, he can’t, and when Jared hesitantly pulls him in, Jensen still follows: it’s still two boys lying in each other’s arms, hiding from the world, when they kiss.
Jared can’t even begin to explain how many ways this is wrong as he stares down at the papers.
“No,” he says, weakly.
“Honey, it’s all legal, don’t worry,” his mother smiles reassuringly. “It was long past time that someone claimed Jensen; he’s past twenty-five, for heaven’s sake. He was up for public auction, but he has a citation; he wasn’t very expensive, so you don’t need to worry about it. Just think of it as a graduation gift.”
Jared’s not sure if she’s referring to “it” as Jensen’s contract, Jensen’s ownership, or Jensen himself. He only knows that this is the end of the world as he knows it, because with this everything he and Jensen hoped for and wanted their entire lives is rapidly disappearing.
“You’ve been hung up on him for so long,” his father says, and puts up a hand when Jared jerks his head up. “I know you were good friends when you were younger. It happens to the best of us. But your mother and I were afraid that—considering recent events, you won’t be able to settle down without him.”
Yes, Jared wants to settle down with Jensen. Unfortunately, an ownership is not exactly what he had in mind.
“Jensen’s going to kill me.” Jared doesn’t actually mean to say that aloud. He’s mostly thinking of Jensen’s lips as they wrapped around his cock last night, eyelashes fluttering up to glance at him and the private smile that lingered as Jared begged him to oh my god, Jensen, please just, please just do something, I’m going to die here. And the delicate licking along the underside of his dick; and the clear laughter of Jensen’s, pure happiness, as he swallowed Jared down and leaned against him, exhausted and content.
“Well, that’s what you’re going to have to work on,” Jared’s father says, his mouth thinning a little. “He’s an omega. You’ve been taught how that works.”
Yes, he has, but Jared doesn’t think omegaist theories are what his parents thought he was taking in college. He buries his face and laughs, verging on hysterics.
What scares him the most is how much his inner alpha rejoices at the ownership, purring at the thought of having Jensen, body and mind. It’s been begging for Jensen for so long, for so many years, for all that makes up the omega in Jensen and all that Jensen is: the long fingers at the guitar and the tilt of his head towards the sun and the angle of his hips against Jared; and really, who’s the animal here, compared to all that makes up the alpha in Jared and all the desire packed away in the tiny unused spaced inside Jared, filled with Jensen’s warmth and Jensen’s colors?
Later, Jared’ll remember which path he took, which red lights he ignored. He’ll remember the phone call that he took at 3 a.m., and Jensen’s tinny voice over the telephone in the short five minutes he talked to Jared.
In the moment, though, Jared doesn’t think of anything except how to get to the station as quickly as he can, and cursing himself for not realizing what was going on earlier.
At the station is Jensen, looking defiant and also ashamed: but the shame is for Jared only. Jared spends his entire summer paycheck bailing Jensen out, and then wraps him up in a blanket before putting him in the car and driving. Jail isn’t the best place for an omega, and fuck, he hates that he’s scenting Jensen, making sure there hasn’t been anyone, but Jensen’s giving off so much scent of fear even if nothing in his physical demeanor gives it away. And fuck, Jared hates that he didn’t even know there was an omega protest tonight, let alone that Jensen was leading it.
“Where are you staying?” Jared asks, his eyes on the road.
“At Chris’s,” Jensen answers. “Jared—”
“Come home with me,” Jared says.
Jensen’s quiet. “You’re twenty-one,” he says. “Fuck, Jared, I can’t get you into this.”
“But you’ll get Chris into it?” Jared’s knuckles are white on the steering wheel. He know he’s being ridiculous. Chris is an alpha who view Jensen as beta, or maybe even an alpha; hell, maybe he thinks of himself as an omega, or maybe that there’s no difference between any of those genders. Jared has no idea; he’s not that far along in his Theory of Gender course yet, he’s not even graduated yet. He doesn’t know his own mind, and the only thing he knows is that he loves Jensen and they belong together.
At least the largest piece of Jensen’s trust lies in Jared. Jared just wishes is lay only in Jared. He doesn’t want to be the biggest part of Jensen’s life, he wants to be the only thing in Jensen’s life. Especially if Jensen’s going to be out and getting into trouble.
He sets his teeth as he makes a right turn that Jensen tells him to make.
“Jared,” Jensen says softly.
“I just don’t understand,” Jared says, even though he does. Jared’s still young and lives with his parents and doesn’t know which way is up and which turn is right without making an L with his left hand. Jensen doesn’t have any use for him.
“Right here,” Jensen says, and then he puts a hand on Jared’s biceps, hesitantly.
Jared curses himself again because not once in his life does he want Jensen to be unsure about touching him. He puts the car in park and turns around fully to look at Jensen.
“It’s for us,” Jensen says. He looks steadily at Jared. “It’s for us. I mean, there’s a greater good out there. But it’s for us, Jared.” He says, “I can’t mess this up, when it means everything to me." He says, "Us together means everything to me.”
Then Jensen says it: “I love you,” he says, so softly that it completely destroys Jared, turns him inside out and turns the entire world upside down. Jensen brushes his lips against Jared’s before he jumps out of the car.
Jared reaches out a hand, makes to catch Jensen’s sleeves because fuck it, he’s taking Jensen home if it kills him, but his fingers close around the empty air. And he’s so powerless to give what Jensen wants, to let Jensen stand next to him at cocktail parties drinking champagne and wearing perfume, and walk down the aisle towards Jared with a smile on his face and a ring on his finger.
As if feeling the sheer power of Jared’s desire and despair, Jensen hesitates one last time with his hand on the car door. “Your parents,” he says.
“It’s fine,” Jared lies. He’s dizzy with how empty he feels.
That’s the second time Jared lets him go. He watches Jensen go up the stairs in quick steps, open the door, and walk in the house that he’s staying in with his own friends, almost hears Chris call out from the kitchen. Jared’s just as miserable as the first time.
When he gets home, his entire family’s awake, and his mother yells at him and he almost hits his father. He does trade punches with his brother, later, after his parents have given up and gone to bed. When he gets to his own bed he puts the pillow over his head and screams a bit, then cries. He doesn’t even feel like twenty-one; he feels like sixteen again and watching Jensen on the stage with his guitar and the spotlight just missing the tips of his hair, and aching to his very core when Jensen finds him so easily among the crowd and smiles for Jared alone, just for Jared.
“You’re moping,” Jensen says, because he’s scary-perceptive like that and he knows Jared, knows him better than anyone else in the world.
“I’m not,” Jared says, but he draws up his gangly legs anyways.
Jensen’s eyes soften. “C’mon, Jared,” he says, and sidles up closer. Jared promptly puts his arm around Jensen because—because they’re sitting on the edge of the rooftop patio that looks out at the river running through the city, and the sun’s setting and bathing the bridge across from them in the color of autumn that Jared will never get tired of. And because Jensen’s leaving.
“It’s not that far,” Jensen says, after a bit. He’s gently scolding but his head’s leaning slightly on Jared’s shoulder, and Jared counts that as a win. Jensen so rarely leans on him, the runt who follows him and Chris on their gigs with mooning eyes.
“Canada is far,” Jared says. “And it’s a long time.”
“But I’ll be back,” Jensen says, and it’s the way he says it. He sounds so sure, so confident, like there’s absolutely no way that he wouldn’t come back.
And that should make it okay, that Jensen’s coming back after he gets his degree in Canada because he can’t get a Bachelor’s here; and Jared buries his lips on the crown of Jensen’s head because otherwise the words I don’t want you to leave in the first place is going to drip out without his permission, vomiting out the insecurities haunting Jared.
Jensen pulls away, and Jared feels the cold seeping in his ribs already, the loneliness coiling there; but then Jensen leans forward and kisses him, sweetly, softly, rubbing like a butterfly, a fluttering touch that fills Jared up in ways that all the passion and rough kissing in the world couldn’t.
“I don’t,” Jared says when Jensen slowly leaves his lips, and he doesn’t know how to chase Jensen, and he doesn’t even know what he doesn’t.
Jensen does. Jensen catches his hand and entwines their fingers together like they belong just like that, together forever. “You’re so beautiful,” Jensen says quietly. “You’re going to be even more amazing when I come back. You’ll have found your way here, Jared, because you’re allowed to. And when I come back, we’re going to show them together. Show the world. That this is the right way to be.”
Jared can’t find the words because Jensen is the one who looks so beautiful in the sepia tone of the sunset and so strong in his determination, and Jared’s not like that, not that strong, but maybe that’s what Jensen means: Jensen needs Jared to be strong, so that when he comes back to Jared, they can be together. Them against the world; and how could they lose, with Jensen looking almost supernatural under the soft sun and Jared knowing he can do anything, absolutely anything, when it’s for Jensen?
“Yes,” Jared says, not even knowing what he’s saying yes to.
“There’s my big strong alpha,” Jensen says, laughing a bit, and leans forward again for another kiss. This time Jared knows how to respond.
The next day’s the first time Jared lets Jensen go. He’s miserable for weeks afterwards, even with Jensen emailing and calling him all the way from Toronto, but his lips tingle every time he remembers the autumn flooding Jensen’s eyes when he kissed Jared. He holds on to that memory for four long lonely years.
When Jensen comes back, Jared’s waiting at the airport with a sign that carefully says Jared Ackles and Jensen only waits to laugh his guts out before he drags Jared in for a kiss. Jared’s taller than him now, and he loves the feel of how Jensen fits perfectly against his frame and how rough Jensen’s lips feel against his, chapped from the flight. How closely they fit together, no gap at all between their bodies as they devour each other in public with no care.
And now that he’s older, Jared can scent Jensen, the fresh smell of a virgin omega drifting up to him, and while he never doubted Jensen, it still satisfies something deep inside him to know that Jensen never lied, that he’s been waiting for Jared for four long years just as Jared has for Jensen, and they’re both laughing too hard at nothing as they walk out together, hand-in-hand and Jensen’s meager luggage behind them.
They’re going to live happily ever after.