The first week back at school after winter break starts out fine: new classes in the new year means he has to find the rooms again and figure out how he's going to get to each one on time, remember how to play basketball on a team in the gym instead of in the driveway with Chad, and try to ignore the fact that Jensen has started to apply to colleges for real. He knew that last one was part of the deal when he and Jensen admitted that what they were doing wasn't fucking around so much as actually dating, but it still sucks to think about.
Unfortunately, because Jensen is doing just that he's starting to freak out a little, and he's ignoring Jared as much as Jared is trying to ignore reality. Jared sees him once on Monday for about five minutes between classes, and then he has to run off to a meeting with the college counselor. On Tuesday Jared gets a peek at the list of colleges the counselor has recommended for Jensen, and it feels like his heart has stopped in his chest. They're good colleges. There's an Ivy on the list.
Jensen doesn't make a big deal about school, clearly pretends not to give a shit, but he's not an idiot. He's not looking at state schools. Fuck, Jared thinks, he's not even looking at local schools.
He doesn't get to bring it up, though, because the bell rings and he has to go to drama class. Jensen smacks him on the ass as he leaves, and it doesn't do a thing to make him feel better.
They both have practice every day after school, and Jensen drives Jared home on Wednesday, strangely quiet. Jared's not pulling his own weight in the conversation either, slumped against Jensen's window, damp and shivering from his shower after practice and exhausted by the week already. He has three projects due on Monday that he was supposed to have done over break, and they're all maybe half finished. Plus all the new homework for the week so far.
"Friday," Jensen says when he drops Jared off at Jared's house. Jared leans down to look into the car at him, and the car's heat warms his face.
"What about it?"
"We'll do something that doesn't suck," Jensen says, shrugging. His music is a little loud, and Jared wants to reach in and turn it down so he can hear better, ever.
"Big plans," Jared says sarcastically, and he knows he sounds like a dick.
"Okay, jackass," Jensen says, making a face, "I'll think of something. Don't be a bitch."
"Sorry," Jared mutters. "I'll see you tomorrow."
Jensen pulls out of the driveway before he's inside the house.
Thursday he hangs out with Chad and Gen at lunch, the three of them bundled in their coats, sitting on the bleachers by the soccer field. It's quiet there, and freezing, and Jared's worried that his balls are going to fall off or crawl right up into his body if he stays out too long. Gen leans against his side, trying to steal his warmth, and Chad runs his mouth about how awesome he is at skiing since he went with his parents to Tahoe for Christmas. Jared stayed home and hung out with Jensen, and he already misses him. It's stupid.
His grades for the fall semester are on the table when he gets home just in time for dinner, and his dad pats him on the back and says, "Good job, kiddo." His mom gives him a pleased smile and a thumbs up, and Jared opens the envelope. He's done well-- he's done as well as he does every semester, and there's nothing much to be said about it. There's a lot to be said about Meg's grades slipping, though, and they spend all of dinner on the subject until Meg looks like she wants to cry and Jared feels like hiding in his room forever so his mom and dad will stop trying to compare the two of them.
Friday afternoon cannot come fast enough, but Jared has to get through three morning classes and two afternoon classes and then practice after that. English and bio drag forever, even though he loves those classes, and he slips out of drama early.
"Hey." Jensen's voice in the empty hallway, five minutes before the lunch bell, makes Jared jump.
"Fuck," he says, palm over his thundering heart, "warn a guy."
"Sorry," Jensen says, not looking all that sorry. He sidles up to Jared and slides his arm around Jared's shoulders over his backpack. He's smiling, and it makes Jared's mouth twitch, but he's too pissed at everything to give Jensen a real smile in return. Jensen frowns at him a little, brow furrowing, and then says, "C'mere, crybaby."
Jared flushes, irritated and embarrassed, but he lets Jensen drag him into an empty classroom. Jensen doesn't turn on the light, just shuts the door behind them and envelops Jared in a hug. He's warm and firm and strong, and Jared swallows hard and hugs him back. Jensen doesn't let go, just nuzzles his face into the crook of Jared's neck and breathes against his throat. He squeezes him until Jared lets out a sigh, relaxing, and even then he keeps holding on.
All the frustration and angst of the week starts to leak out of Jared, seeping away like Jensen's drawing it from a wound. He hugs Jensen harder, tighter, and Jensen leans away to kiss his temple.
"Almost," Jared says, and Jensen laughs.
"Greedy little bitch," Jensen accuses, but he says it fondly. "Hurry up, the ice cream's gonna melt."
"What? What ice cream? Dude, it's freezing out." Jared hasn't stopped hugging him, and is just talking into his ear.
"I fucking know that," Jensen says, "I walked six blocks to buy you Ben and Jerry's from the FastMart on 22nd."
"Because I like you, dipshit." Jensen kisses him again. "You done crying?"
"I'm not crying," Jared protests.
"Sure," Jensen agrees, and laughs when Jared tries to punch him in the stomach. "Come on. Danneel wants to have people over tomorrow night, but we can just hang out after practice tonight, if you want."
"Yeah," Jared says, starting to smile. "That sounds like it won't suck."
"Jerk," Jensen says, giving him a shove, and then he grabs Jared again and hugs him once more for good measure. "So fucking insolent."
"Whatever," Jared says, "you love me."
"You wish," Jensen replies, kissing him.