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Scheduling Conflicts

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J2 Fic Post: Scheduling Conflicts
Title: Scheduling Conflicts
Author [info]lizzywinks
Pairing: Jensen/Jared
Word Count: 6700
Rating: PG 13
Summary: Jensen is newly single and finally knows what he wants -- all he needs now is for Jared to notice. And possibly some prompt medical attention.
Disclaimer: None of this belongs to me, none of this is real. Misha's hat, however, belongs to Noel Fielding.
A/N: This is for [info]bittersplendor for [info]spn_j2_xmas It's later than I hoped - I'm so sorry, but I hope I manged to hit at least some of the requests from your prompt list!
Warnings: All medical facts are almost certainly horribly inaccurate.

The sudden cessation of movement jolts Jensen awake, but it takes his aching body a moment longer to catch up with his brain that's already urging him upright before anyone notices he's somehow dropped off to sleep when he should have been going over his lines. Again.

"Hey, Jensen, sorry, but this is the end of the line. You all set back there?"

Jensen slumps back in his seat, relief making him limp. He's on his own in the car tonight, so there's no one there to hide his weakness from apart from the driver, Carl, who's new anyway. As far as he knows, Jensen's always acts like an ignorant douche and sleeps the whole journey.

He has to clear his throat a few times before he can find his voice to apologise and let Carl get the hell out of there, but instead of the breezy, "Thanks, man, I'm good," he'd intended, a wet, hacking cough escapes him instead. By the time he's got his breathing back under control enough that he no longer fears removing his hand from his mouth will result in his lungs sliding out onto the seat beside him, Carl is bent awkwardly over the seat back, one arm reaching for Jensen and the other scrabbling for the door handle. From the look of panic on his face, he's about two seconds away from yelling for help.

"No, wait, just... wait. I'm— I'm okay," Jensen insists weakly, scrubbing at his watering eyes, and sucking down great gulps of air that don't seem to be doing much to ease the tightness in his chest. Even through his blurred vision, he can see that the new guy is torn, unsure whether he's risking more trouble by ignoring one of the stars of the show and getting some assistance, or sitting tight and having to explain to his bosses why he has a dead, blue-tinged actor decomposing in the back of his car when it next goes in for detailing.

Jensen tries to sit a little straighter and look a little less like he's about to keel over, and he mustn't have done a completely half-assed job of it because Carl's hand lifts away from the door handle to join his other one on the seat back.

"You sure, man? Because I can—"

Carl is looking uncertain again. His eyes narrow on Jensen's face before shifting abruptly to peer out through the tinted windows into the gloomy clearing that's been designated for the crew vehicles for the night shoot. Looks like Jensen's awesome acting skills are on the fritz.

Luckily, Carl is too new to recognise anyone who basically isn't him or Jared, because his eyes slide right past James, who's directing the episode, searching restlessly for Jensen's not sure what. TV sets are pretty casual so the chances of him figuring out who's in charge by sight alone are slim. Jensen's not about to risk Carl working that out for himself and deciding to go rat him out to the first person he comes across though, so he sucks in one last painful gulp of air and reaches for the door.

Carl jerks round at the sound, worry and relief warring on his face. Relief wins out when Jensen begins sliding towards the door he's just opened.

"Um, right, well, guess I'll see you later, Jensen. Have a good one."

Jensen snorts, and clambers painfully out of the car, breath catching at the bitter cold. He feels more like he's just finished a twelve hour day than is just about to begin one. The door's barely shut behind him before Carl's gunning the engine and speeding back the way he came.

Jensen can't really blame him. It's a long, boring drive up to their current location, and Jensen spent it dead to the world, presumably snoring like a buzz saw, before capping it off with a generous spreading of his germs all over the guy's upholstery.

He should probably feel more guilty, but right now the cold night air is stabbing at him like a solid blade of ice through his chest, and his first priority is getting himself out of it and over to the very slightly warmer awning of the temporary catering truck. Coffee is his second priority with it's dual ability to warm both his shivering insides and already numb fingers.

His plan is thwarted by the arrival of Misha, who parks neatly up next to one of the crew vehicles and hops nimbly out of the driver's seat, his face flushed with heat from what Jensen's sure would have been a toasty warm car, and the ridiculous hat perched on his head — a dark fedora sporting a pair of black tufted rabbit ears. Jensen wants to believe he's wearing it as some sort of joke, but the sad truth is Misha probably just finds it a practical method of keeping his head warm, with the added bonus of, cool, rabbit ears.

"Jensen, hey, man," Misha says, a huge grin on his face, blue eyes bright and alert despite the late hour. "You beat me up here." Misha rarely uses the crew transport to get himself to the location shoots, or even to set. He'd once apparently had a part in a low budget movie where the production company only been able to afford one car to transport the entire, although small, cast each day. The result had been everyone getting ferried to the remote set at the ass-crack of dawn, regardless of when they were needed, and all returned to their hotels after the last scene had been shot for the night. Apparently the lesson had stuck and he'd never risked being trapped by someone else's schedule again.

Jensen grits his teeth to stop them chattering and wraps his scarf a little tighter around his neck and over his mouth. "Technically Carl did," he mumbles. "But I helped by sleeping the whole way." He half regrets revealing the fact, but is less worried than he'd be if it had been James or an eager PA, or, God forbid, Jared lately. Since Jensen and Danneel had broken off their engagement last month, Jared has practically had him on suicide watch. An actual health rather than emotional issue might have resulted in him being frogmarched off set and tucked up in bed before he could gasp out a protest.

And it's not tucking he wants from Jared, even if it does involve a bed.

Jensen shakes off the stray, pointless, thought and focuses on reassuring Misha he's fit for duty.

"Still feeling like crap?" Misha's asks, peering at Jensen through the gloom.

"Better than yesterday," Jensen lies, and Misha only frowns at him a second longer.

"If you say so, man," he responds easily. "But," he adds, his index finger pointed directly at Jensen in a strangely portentous manner. "Billy, don't be a hero," he very definitely doesn't sing, but then adds a weird, shuffling little disco move when Jensen groans in recognition. "Don't be a fool with your life."

"Wise words," Jensen agrees, mostly in the hopes Misha will stop dancing, which he does to pull out his cell phone and start texting. He's humming in snatches under his breath, most of his concentration on his phone and all interest in Jensen's well-being apparently over.

It's not that Misha doesn't care, and he notices stuff, sure, but he doesn't mother-hen like Jared is prone to — and has suddenly taken to a whole new level recently — and Jensen is profoundly grateful for that right now.

"When's Jared getting back?" Misha breaks off to ask, as though his angel mind reading powers are actually real.

Jensen shrugs, the movement hidden by his heavy coat and scarf, and resumes his journey towards coffee and the almost certainly vain hope of warmer temperatures.

"Day after tomorrow," he says, his tone as uninviting as he can make it because he really doesn't want to be having a conversation about Jared. He's barely getting through the days and Jared's constant, platonic presence as it is. The last thing he needs is a bout of illness throwing him off balance and making him reveal things he's pretty sure won't be all that surprising to Misha anyway. He has some pride, after all. Just... not much.

That particular fact is driven home when Misha pulls off his ridiculous hat and drops it on Jensen's head, and instead of snatching it off, Jensen is just grateful for the warmth.

Misha looks more worried than approving when the hat stays firmly in place, but any further comment he might have been planning to make is prevented by the arrival of a PA with requests for them both to head off for make up and wardrobe.

Jensen spares the catering truck one last regretful look and follows on behind.

~*~

Two hours later and Jensen's really beginning to regret his whole 'take one for the team' attitude. He vaguely remembers when he cared that calling in sick while Jared was spending a long weekend visiting Genevieve in LA would mean delays in the shooting schedule, delays that would result in pushing back the wrap date for the Christmas holidays for the whole crew.

Now he just has a fuzzy longing to be home curled up in his warm bed with Sadie and Harley acting as dog sized hot water bottles heavy across his feet, while he lay cosy and content in his down-stuffed cocoon.

If he concentrates hard enough, he can almost make out the smell of chicken soup and maybe under that the scent of tea and honey wafting in through the door as Jared tries to be quiet, tiptoeing in and murmuring Jensen's name as he settles the tray down on the bedside table. If Jensen can feign sleep long enough, he knows Jared will ease himself down onto the bed beside him, reach out an arm to set his long fingers to the task of gently waking him by brushing soothingly through his hair, massaging his scalp and easing the almost permanent headache he's had lately from the harsh cough grating along his throat and vibrating in his head...

A sharp gust of wind slaps against the side of his face and jerks Jensen out of the happy daydream and back to the grim reality of the night shoot and the subzero fucking temperatures.

"Okay, ready to go again, guys?" James shouts over the howl of the wind.

No, Jensen thinks, nowhere fucking near. And he might actually have said it out loud he's feeling so bad by this point, but he can feel a cough tickling low down in his lungs and he knows if he opens his mouth to the pressing draft of icy air, there'll be absolutely no chance of holding it at bay.

It takes every last ounce of control he has not to growl at the rosy-cheeked PA who appears in front of him to relieve him of the huge puffy coat all the cast are given to wear between takes. The wind whips eagerly through the comparatively lightweight fabric of Dean's jacket, and Jensen would probably be reaching to snatch the coat straight back if he wasn't having to focus all his energy on not shaking visibly apart. Even the thermal layers he's wearing underneath don't seem to be making a dent in the bone numbing cold sinking its claws into his flesh.

Misha, of course, strips out of his own coat like he's in the fucking Bahamas, and Jensen watches balefully as he laughingly hands it over to the same PA, making her promise not to wear it the second his back's turned, because he can't vouch for exactly what he has lurking in his pockets any more.

The first scene they'd shot had been a pick up from the previous night of Dean and Castiel discussing the demon currently stalking them through the woods to the cabin they'd become stranded at. The porch of the cabin had provided some scant protection from the howling wind, but the next scene has them running through the woods, completely exposed to the elements. Thankfully it's pure action, no dialogue needed, but while the image of them crashing through the dense underbrush under a ghostly full moon might look great on screen, Jensen suspects that even a brisk walk is probably beyond him right now.

He knows distantly there's no way he's going to be able to get through the rest of the night's planned shooting, but his brain and his mouth no longer seem to be on speaking terms. The second he tells James he's done, they'll have to wrap for the night because the only scenes they have to shoot have both him and Misha in them, and there's no chance of rewrites at this late stage.

Maybe if he can manage just one full take, he decides muzzily, it'll make up in some small way for the disruption he's about to cause.

He has no idea whether he'd have actually managed it, because the freezing temperatures are affecting everyone. One of the tech guys stumbles over an icy patch of mud and almost takes a lighting rig down with him. When another crew member reaches out to help him, he misjudges the distance thanks to his heavy winter clothes and slips on the same ice. They both hit the ground hard, the lights teetering wildly before sliding almost gently down into a convenient puddle beside them.

A shout of "Cut!" goes up and there's a swarm of crew rushing to get everything set up again, good natured, and not so good natured calls — it's fucking freezing, after all — ringing out over the sounds of equipment being reset.

Jensen lets out a whimper, feeling humiliatingly close to tears, and is immediately overcome by a bout of coughing. He's aware of Misha moving away from him and moments later he feels the padded jacket drop around his shoulders. Jensen pushes his shaking arms through the sleeves with difficulty and hangs on tight.

"Thanks, man," he croaks out.

"No problem." A bottle of water is pressed into his hands, and Jensen fumbles at the lid through the heavy gloves he's rescued from the coat's deep pockets. When he raises the bottle to his lips, he's careful to only take a small sip, letting the water rest in his mouth to warm slightly before swallowing. He repeats the action twice more before his breathing begins to calm.

When Jensen finally manages to lift his head upright again, he finds Misha is watching him through narrowed eyes. "You know this is crazy, right? Dean only suffers pretty because they can work miracles with make-up — you just look like shit. Why don't you just admit you're done and let me call your better half?"

The wind is howling around them standing as they are in the middle of nothing, even the sounds of the crew working frantically a few feet away dulled by it. Jensen stills in his attempts to make himself as small as possible so he can use Misha as a windbreak, and tries his best to ignore the fact that Jared would provide much better protection, better still if he actually wrapped himself around Jensen to still his shudders. The unhappy reality of his situation burns all that much more painfully for the fleeting thought.

"Jared's in LA," he says dully, not having the strength to pretend he doesn't know who Misha's referring to, "and unless he's managed to earn a medical degree during the last three days, I don't know what help exactly you think he's gonna be."

"Freaking bronchitis, Jensen," Misha reminds. "Your doctor advised rest and fluids, not freezing your ass off at two in the morning in the middle of the Canadian North Pole. And, you know as well as I do Jared damn well wouldn't let you pull this crap, so either you tell James you're finished, or I'm calling in the big guns."

"He deserves a break," Jensen says, rubbing at his chest in a pointless attempt to ease the tightness. He's no longer sure himself why he's even bothering arguing at this point, because he's done. He ignores the sly voice that wonders just how far he needs to push before Misha goes ahead and makes the call anyway; he isn't quite that big of a loser yet, thank you very much. "And him and Genevieve deserve some time alone. I'm not going to be some pathetic third wheel when we're not even in the same fucking country."

"Dude, I get it." Misha lifts his hands placatingly, an expression of frustrated pity on his face. "You gave up a marriage and a future and a whole other, easier, life for him, and he didn't even realise it. But I'm willing to bet big you didn't tell him, which means it's not his fault you finally got a clue and then didn't have the stones to do anything with it. You shouldn't keep punishing him for it by pushing him away, man. It's not fair; to him or you."

Misha's right, but damned if Jensen's about to admit it. After acting like a complete dick to Jared for weeks, he definitely deserves to be the first to hear it, and to have the opportunity to take a swing at him if he's angry enough. Jensen's hoping it won't actually come to that, but the thought of what it might do to their friendship sends a shiver completely unrelated to the weather through him.

Misha's expression is more pity than frustration by now, which doesn't actually make Jensen feel any better or more inclined to continue with the conversation. He knows Misha isn't trying to be cruel, though, so he needs to come up with an answer that isn't, "mind your own damned business" even if it isn't exactly the truth. Jensen sucks in a fortifying breath to steady himself, and immediately regrets it when it burns like fire going in and sets off another painful coughing jag.

By the time he has it under control, he's hunched into a weird sort of half stoop, Misha acting now as cover from prying eyes as well as protection from the elements. His gratitude for that kindness fades quickly when he realises the stabbing pain in his back isn't completely down to his aching lungs; a good half of it is thanks to the heavy thumps Misha's administering to his tensed back.

He twists away from the jarring blows, and is rewarded by the removal of Misha's hands. The pain is still there though, and this time when Jensen tries to breathe, he seems to be taking in a frighteningly small amount of air. His breath stutters in his chest as his stomach rolls sickly with the beginnings of panic.

"Jensen," he hears Misha saying sharply. "Where's the little puffer thing the doctor gave you?"

And now Jensen is really panicking because he knows exactly where the inhaler he'd been prescribed is — sitting on the coffee table in front of the TV where he'd fallen asleep waiting for Carl to arrive to pick him up. When he'd woken to the sound of the horn, he'd dashed for the door, checking his pockets for his keys and phone and never giving a thought to the little blue device he'd had for such a short time and hadn't needed to use yet.

"Can I get some help over here please!" Misha's voice is loud with fear chasing along the edges. Jensen's never heard quite that tone from him before, and if he wasn't already terrified, he would be now. A million images fly through his head, the clearest of him lying wide awake in his bed, ignoring the soft tapping on his door the morning Jared left for the airport.

He'd never even said goodbye.

Everything goes a little fuzzy after that, but it doesn't seem like much time has passed before he hears James' voice next to him raised in question and Misha's hurried explanation. But time doesn't seem to be moving at a normal speed and it could have taken them an hour to respond to Misha's call for all he knows. Except if that was true, he's pretty sure he'd be dead by now, because the whole oxygen situation really isn't improving any.

Jensen struggles to tune everything out, including Jared, especially Jared, because he needs all his concentration focused on sucking in one painful breath after another, trying to keep the panic at bay so his heart isn't racing in his chest, fighting against his lungs to take in air.

He's vaguely aware of other voices over his own wheezing, and then hands guiding him, half carrying him out of the bright lights of the set into a less well lit area, blessedly out of the sharp bite of the wind. He navigates steps and a doorway, and when he feels the backs of his knees hit something, he sinks down without a second thought.

"Jensen. Jensen, can you hear me?" someone asks. He opens his mouth to respond, but cool fingers brush against his lips and he closes them again. "Just nod if you can for now, okay?"

He does, and feels the same fingers reaching for his wrist, closing over it to take his pulse, while someone else is easing him out of the padded jacket. The silence from the roar of the wind outside finally penetrates the wild clamour in his brain, and he opens his eyes to discover he's sitting in a small room, warm and practically bare apart from the chair he's sitting in. Crouched next to him is a slim blonde woman he half recognises as the onset medic, and he feels his terror lessen slightly and the mad gallop of his heart start to slow at the reassuring sight — for a moment he'd been certain it was just them alone in the wilderness, and he's pretty sure Misha's first aid skills would have finished him off if the not being able to actually take in air thing hadn't managed it first.

His breathing is still harsh and painful, but slightly easier now, and the flood of relief that realisation brings leaves him blurry around the edges as he starts to come down from the adrenaline high. He's vaguely aware of answering some questions, Misha answering others, and then a clear plastic mask is being carefully fitted to his face, elastic ties holding it in place.

He jumps in surprise when the machine attached to the mask and tubing is switched on. It vibrates loudly against the table as the compressed air releases a fine mist into the mask, some of it escaping from the holes in the side to leave the air foggy around him.

"Try to breathe normally, Jensen," the blonde says, and Jensen nods, settling heavier into the chair. His feels almost boneless, limbs too heavy to move, and he's aware of a film of sweat settling cold and clammy over his skin under his layers of clothing. He's too tired to do anything about it though, or even particularly care right then, so he settles instead for watching hazily when James comes forward to lean in close and tell him to take it easy and not to worry.

He manages to raise his hand to pat Misha's arm in thanks when he does the same, and then he's watching the door close behind them both.

The blonde, Abby, he remembers her saying now, putters around while he sits there, drifting comfortably as the tightness in his chest lessens, and the harsh noise of the nebulizer drowns out any other sounds from outside. He feels cut off and protected from the shitstorm he's sure to have left behind, and he's feeling selfish enough right then to not be anything but grateful for the fact.

He's blinking slower and slower with each passing minute, and might have been close to actually falling asleep when the door of the tiny trailer smashes open against the inner wall, caught by the wind and making the whole trailer shudder with the force of it. Jensen jerks around at the same time as Abby to see Jared topple in, wrestling the door closed behind him.

If it wasn't for his less than stealthy arrival, Jensen might have imagined he'd conjured Jared up out of sheer longing. All of the dark, scared places inside him light briefly up and then stutter and dim back down into the same confusing mixture of want and fear Jared's presence has been causing lately. Jensen forces his aching muscles into action, sitting up straighter in the chair, and the movement finally seems to unglue Jared from his frozen position by the door.

Jensen feels his heart beat briefly speed up, before settling down into a more even, although definitely faster rhythm as Jared walks stiffly towards him, his long legs looking as though they're not quite sure how to make the short journey. Jared's face is white and his hair is curling crazily around his head from the wind, pointing up in every direction and none of them flattering.

"Jen..." he breathes, eyes raking over Jensen's face, as though it'll provide the answer to all his questions. Jensen opens his mouth to ask some questions of his own, like how is Jared even here, but he chokes on his next inhalation instead as he sucks down an unexpectedly large mouthful of the medicated mist.

Jared blanches and reaches out a hand that falls short of actually touching Jensen, before he's turning towards Abigail, a fierce frown lowering his brows.

"What's wrong with him, why's he got that thing..." Jared waves his hand vaguely towards the mask and equipment. "Are you even licensed for this?" he interrupts his own question to demand, eyes narrowed and suspicious. "Shouldn't he be in a hospital?"

Jensen watches in startled surprise at the scene unfolding in front of him. He's never seen Jared act like this with someone on set before, with anyone really — Jared's momma raised him right; he's pretty sure he'd be getting a sharp smack to the back of his head if she could see him right now. Abby briefly meets Jared's scowl with a fierce frown of her own before turning towards Jensen.

"Jensen," Abby asks, ignoring Jared entirely, "are you happy for me to discuss your condition with Jared?"

They might not often have need of the rotating onset medics, but it would be pointless for Abby to pretend she didn't know who Jared was, despite how pissed she obviously was with him right then. Jensen opens his mouth to respond, and to ask Jared what the hell he thinks he's doing, but settles for nodding instead when Abby again raises her finger to her lips to stop him.

Jensen listens in silence, not that he has much choice, as Abby fills Jared in, feeling himself flush when she gets to the part where he'd forgotten his inhaler, and then wincing when Jared shoots accusing eyes at him when she answers his sharp question about when he'd been prescribed it in the first place — the day Jared had left for LA.

Jared finally trails off into silence when the last of his questions have been answered, but his face is stiff and unhappy, and he isn't meeting Jensen's eyes any more.

Jensen fights the urge to apologise, firstly because he can't actually speak right now, but also because if he does, he's as good as admitting the timing of his visit to the doctor's office wasn't a coincidence. He settles instead for dropping his gaze to his muddy boots, grateful that he has an excuse not to talk.

The room must be warmer than Jensen realises, or maybe it's Jared's usual furnace-like internal temperature, because he's distracted from his floor-gazing when Jared strips out of his heavy coat and drops it carelessly onto the table by the door. The collar catches on his hair, pushing it briefly into his eyes before he's dragging his hand restlessly through it, the movement jerky and tense.

He isn't aware that his head is swivelling to track Jared's pacing figure across the floor in front of him until Abby rests a hand on his shoulder to gain his attention.

"Jensen, try and stay still if you can and keep your breathing nice and slow. Jared," she says in a very different tone, "maybe you'd be happier waiting outside?"

Jensen's gaze shoots to Jared, because as much as he doesn't want to talk, he doesn't want Jared to go, but the sharp movement causes the elastic on the mask to catch and tug on a strand of hair. When he jerks in surprise, Jared is there in an instant, his hand pushing Jensen's aside to soothe away the sharp sting and gently smooth out the twisted elastic. Jensen nods his thanks, and hopes his eyes aren't as pathetically wide and needy as they feel, still not quite over the stab of fear that he might have finally driven Jared to give up on him.

He guesses at least some of what he's feeling must have shown on his face when Jared sighs heavily and drags another chair over to drop down into it, close enough that Jensen can feel the warmth of his body all along his left side.

Abby hesitates and then turns away to start foraging in her medical bag. In the unexpected moment of quiet companionship, Jared reaches out his hand to rub his thumb along the tear in the knee of Dean's jeans. If he'd been feeling stronger Jensen would, or at least hopes he would have pulled away from the touch, but as it is he lets the tiny rhythmic motion relax him and feels his eyes start to slide closed again.

Jensen only stirs when Abby returns to check the nebulizer and gives a satisfied nod when she sees he's inhaled all of the medication. When she switches off the machine and lifts away the mask, the abrupt silence it leaves behind in the room is suffocatingly heavy. Jensen tries to focus on the positive, because his chest is feeling much looser now, but the embarrassment and awkwardness seeping into his skin almost makes him wish he still had the distraction of struggling for each gasping breath.

"Okay, Jensen, you did great," Abby murmurs. "I just want to have another listen to your chest and then we can see about getting you out of here."

Thankfully, Abby only partially adjusts his clothing and wriggles her hand under the many layers of Dean's wardrobe to place the stethoscope. Jensen doesn't particularly want to expose any of his body to the still chill air, but more than that he hates the thought of feeling even more vulnerable and exposed to Jared's assessing stare.

When he turns to look at him though, Jared doesn't look pissed any more. His hair has fallen back into its usual soft curling mess around his face, and now that he isn't frowning, Jensen can see dark lines of tiredness under his eyes, and the pallor beneath his tan that still hasn't quite left him.

Jared catches his scrutiny, and smiles weakly, the hand resting still now on Jensen knee clenching reflexively before he stands up to lean against the table facing him. Jensen misses his touch almost immediately, coldness spreading from his leg to the rest of his body as though Jared was the only thing keeping him warm.

"Sounds much better," Abby says, interrupting his thoughts. She smiles brightly when Jensen nods forcefully.

"Feels much better," he agrees, his voice croaky and nowhere near as strong as he'd like. "Thanks, Abby, I'm sorry about this; it was my own stupid fault, I should have remembered—"

"No need to apologise, Jensen, that's why I'm here."

"Um, yeah," Jared says, tugging at his collar. "Thank you for taking care of him, Abby, and I'm sorry for acting like an asshole. I didn't know and he just... I mean, he looked so. And I. I was, you know, worried," Jared mutters, a flush of color high on his cheeks.

Abby's tensely held shoulders drop, and she melts like everyone else does under the sincere intensity of one of Jared's apologies. "No need to feel bad," she says immediately, "it can be scary walking in on something like that."

Abby blushes when Jared gives her a beaming smile of thanks, and Jensen watches with a mixture of amusement and irritation when she fumbles slightly as she packs up her equipment. The Jared Padelecki apology special — success guaranteed or your money back.

She's calmer and back to her normal assured self when she repeats his doctor's instructions on rest and plenty of fluids, and advises him to get himself checked out tomorrow, but that he should be fine to head home tonight and get some sleep. When she leaves the trailer to let James know what's happening and make sure transport's on its way, Jensen nurses a vague, cowardly, hope that Jared might follow her.

No such luck.

Jared's back to leaning on the table in front of him after helping close the door behind Abby and the wind's attempts to tear it from its hinges. The flush has faded from his cheeks and he doesn't look embarrassed anymore, just determined. Unfortunately, it's taking what seems like the last of Jensen's strength to just remain upright; no way in hell is he ready for this conversation. It doesn't look like he's got much choice in the matter though, and if it does have to be now, he might as well get his own questions answered first.

"What are you doing here, Jared?"

Jared jerks, looking surprised, and Jensen feels a little better about his own nervousness.

"I got finished quicker than I planned in LA," he says evenly enough though. "Misha called and left a message, pretty much as soon as he arrived on set, I think. I came here straight from the airport. He was worried you were being a stubborn idiot and were sicker than you were letting on. He wanted me to call you, but I thought I'd just head up here and surprise you instead, so, you know, surprise," he says, the word ringing slightly hollow.

Jensen winces and reaches up a hand to rub at his neck. "You didn't need to," he says, ignoring Jared's bitter-sounding snort, "but, um, thanks, man, it was nice of you to... worry about me."

Jared's smile is wide and empty, and so lacking in warmth Jensen actually shivers. "So, looks like it was a bit more than 'just a cold' then?" Jared says into the brittle silence.

Jensen shifts awkwardly in his seat. "Jay, look, I'm sorry, but I really thought it wasn't that big of a deal—"

"Bullshit," Jared says pleasantly. "You knew, Jensen, you just didn't want me to know and cancel my trip."

"No! I wasn't... I mean, yeah, I didn't want you to have to do that, but it wasn't because—"

"Bullshit," Jared says again, less pleasant this time. "If you don't want me around, Jensen, you just have to tell me. I'm not gonna fucking force you to endure my company."

"You aren't! That isn't what—" but raising his voice is obviously just the latest dumb move in a night already packed full of them, and Jensen freezes when he feels a cough building. His hand flies to his chest in fear that the choking feeling will return with it, and he presses down hard. When he discovers he can cough somewhat normally, only his aching ribs protesting the action, he slumps back boneless against the chair, weak with relief and panting slightly, because that shit had been scary, and he isn't ashamed to admit it.

He jumps when Jared's warm palm settles briefly across his forehead and then lifts, fingers softly soothing away the sweat that has begun to settle there.

"Sorry, sorry," he finally calms down enough to hear Jared murmuring over and over from the seat beside him. "Forget it, Jen, don't worry. We're good here, no problem. We just need to get you home and to bed."

Jensen feels a second's guilty relief at the reprieve and then shakes his head, hand coming up to tug gently at Jared's wrist. Misha's right, this isn't Jared's fault, and Jensen needs to man up and admit what's going on.

"No, Jared, I'm okay and you were right," Jensen says, twisting in his chair to face him. "I was hiding how crappy I felt before you went away, and I did wait until you were gone before I went to see that doctor, but not because I didn't want you to stay."

"What?" Jared snatches back the hand Jensen hadn't even realised he was still clutching by the wrist, leaving him feeling immediately bereft. "I knew it! Why the fuck—"

"Because I did want you to stay, dumbass," Jensen cuts him off. Jared's mouth snaps closed with a huff, and if he wasn't so scared about the consequences of what he's about to reveal, Jensen would be grinning at Jared's offended expression. "You've been," he continues carefully, "I mean since Danneel and me split up, you've been really... full on, man."

Jared winces, looking shamefaced. "I know, I'm sorry, but I was worried; you just shut down and you wouldn't talk to me, Jen. I didn't know what was going on with you. Hell, I thought I was your best friend but you spoke to Danneel more than me afterwards."

Jensen doesn't bother to deny it — Danneel had been the one to break it off, the one to sit him down and make him admit his feelings for Jared. He'd loved her even more for being strong enough to spare them both the heartache going ahead with the wedding would have eventually caused, and then for not turning her back on him while he struggled with the fallout.

"I know," he says simply, because there's no way can he explain all that to Jared right then. "I wanted to tell you, Jay, but it was... complicated."

"I get that, but, god, Jensen, some days you acted like you hated me," Jared says, blinking rapidly. "I know I can be pushy and annoying sometimes, but I just wanted you to talk to me, man, to let me help—"

"You couldn't, okay?" Jensen says, guilt and embarrassment making him sharp. "There was no point burdening you with it because it wouldn't have helped anything; you were the one person I couldn't talk to." Jensen feels a little thrill of panic as Jared looks briefly stunned, before the expression clears to leave an odd tension behind in its wake.

"What? Why?" Jared moves in closer, until Jensen can feel the warmth of his breath against his cheek. "I don't get it. I thought we were friends, Jen. What couldn't you tell me?"

"Jared—" Jensen begins, a fine trembling starting up in his limbs as his heart sped up in his chest.

"Why was I the one person, huh, Jen?" Jared reaches out a hand to grip Jensen's wrist, thumb stroking softly against his jumping pulse point. "Did you think I wouldn't get how you were feeling? I'd been through it myself, you had to know I'd understand better than anyone."

"No, you and Sandy... it wasn't, wasn't like that for me—"

"I think maybe it was exactly like that," Jared breathes against his ear, and Jensen feels his heartbeat ratchet up another notch.

"Jared, what are you doing?" he mumbles. The smell and the closeness of Jared is having the same affect as always, but tonight he's got no defences left to even attempt to control it, meaning Jensen is about half a second away from making a complete ass of himself.

"I loved Sandy, and I knew we could be happy, but I realised that she would always be second best for me, and she deserved better than that."

"Jared—"

"God, Jen," Jared says, the sudden disturbing confidence draining abruptly away to leave him looking scared and stupidly young in the blink of an eye. "Please tell me that this sounds even vaguely familiar, or I'm—"

Jensen lifts his hand and clamps it firmly across Jared's lips, groaning when he feels his tongue sweep out to lick a warm stripe across his palm.

"Yeah, it sounds familiar," he admits hoarsely, and pulls back when Jared lets out a whoop that vibrates down his whole arm. When Jared realises Jensen is pulling away, he lunges forward.

"What are you doing?" Jared grumbles, attempting to wrestle Jensen carefully into place, and growling softly when Jensen stubbornly refuses to co-operate. "This is the part where we kiss!"

"Can't," Jensen says, breathless again, but with happiness this time. "I'm infectious."

"Are you fucking kidding me?" Jarred demands, managing to finally catch hold of Jensen's hands to trap him in place. "I don't care if you're a drooling snot monster— I've waited nearly six damn years for this. We are so kissing right now."

"Gross," Jensen snorts. "And, no, Jared, wait, please. Just... wait."

"Why?" Jared practically whines, his lips set in a pout of epic proportions.

"Because, cooties aside, you're still with Genevieve," Jensen reminds, sobering slightly, because he might have been jealous as hell of pretty much everyone Jared has ever been with, whether he'd admitted it or not, and he's right, six years is a fucking age, but Genevieve is his friend too. He can't do this to her, especially not when he hopes she'll still be calling him a friend six months down the line.

"Oh, right," Jared says, sounding relieved. "Also not an issue." Apparently happy all stumbling blocks are totally out of the way now, Jared begins edging towards Jensen again, attempting to sneak behind the hands Jensen is still holding protectively out in front of him. He appear completely confused by his lack of progress, and when Jensen raises his eyebrows meaningfully, Jared seems to take it as some sort of weird come-on and just redoubles his efforts.

"Focus, Jared," Jensen orders, pushing more firmly against Jared's muscled, very muscled, chest. "How isn't it an issue?"

Jared lets out a heavy groan and sinks back into his chair. "Okay, okay," he finally concedes grumpily. "That's why I went down to LA this weekend. I've known for a long time how I felt, but I couldn't say anything while I thought you were happy with Danneel. When the two of you broke up, all I could think about was that this might be our chance. Finally. And I didn't want to miss it this time. But I couldn't tell you right off because it seemed wrong to, I don't know, pounce while you were vulnerable, plus there was always the chance if I moved too soon, it would end up just being a rebound thing, which, oh god," Jared says, looking suddenly sick, "this isn't, is it, Jensen?"

"No," Jensen admits, feeling a prickle of heat travel up his neck. "I'm, you know, bound, or whatever."

Jared's grin is blinding, and Jensen has to nudge him with his knee before he continues. Once he's finished grinning stupidly back himself, of course.

"Oh, right, so yeah, I knew I had to tell you, even though it wasn't looking very likely you felt the same way with you being all distant and dickish most of the time," Jared adds fondly, "but I didn't want to string Genevieve on whichever way it went. She's okay," he adds at Jensen's frown, "I think she always knew — she told me to tell you she hopes you get everything you want for Christmas."

Jensen feels the last of his reservations curl up and disappear, leaving only a shimmering happiness in its place. "You broke it off with her on the chance that I might have felt the same way?" he asks, just to be sure.

Jared spreads his hands wide. "I'd give up a hell of a lot more that than, Jen, for a chance with you."

"Yeah," Jensen gets out through the stupidly huge grin that's spreading across his face. "I think that deserves some kind of reward."

Jared leers over at him, his own smile softer now and only tugging at the edges of his mouth. "That's what I've been saying, man."

Jensen leans forward, his hands dropping to land heavy on the tops of Jared's thighs and he feels the muscles immediately clench. Jared's eyes drift closed and he tilts his neck back, throat swallowing heavily as he parts his lips to run his tongue over his lower lip.

When Jensen's chaste kiss lands on his cheek, Jared bolts upright, fire in his eyes.

"That's my reward?" he demands.

"I told you," Jensen says, waving a hand towards his mouth, "infectious."

Jared's responding deep growl sends a shiver down Jensen's spine. "And I told you, I. Don't. Care," Jared mutters, ducking his head to nip sharply at Jensen's jaw with each word.

"Fine, but don't blame me if you have to spend the holidays confined to bed."

"Don't worry, Jen," Jared says happily, mouth edging its way up and puffing out warm breath against his own, "that's exactly what I had planned anyway."

When their lips finally meet, Jensen can't help but think it isn't such a bad idea either.


~fin~


Prompt: humor, protective!Jared, possessive!Jared, romcom situations, banter, schmoop in just the right amount, mild angst, happy endings.