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Cheap Happiness

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The bar in Saltillo, Mexico, was dusty and maddeningly hot, sweaty, stiffling, but Jensen was working on it. The more he drank, the less he noticed the press of the people around him and the less he (he told himself) would start at the sight of the familiar hat on an unfamiliar head.

He'd told Pooch it was fine: A little vacation on his own wasn't going to kill him, he was fine, everything was fine, Pooch should go see his goddamn family. Jensen hadn't bothered to write his niece in months, and although there was a twinge of guilt, the apathetic grief twisting in his chest mostly drowned it.

The blur the alcohol created was nice. Everything was a little nicer, a little more distant the drunker he got. He felt like forgetting stuff when there were enough glasses in front of him. Like his middle name. (He'd only had it for a while anyway.) His niece's birthday. Cougar's death.

Cougar. Right there, right next to him.

Jensen smiles, although he was drunk enough that he couldn't be sure, but Cougar flashed a smile and said something. Something about ese and being drunk and yes, Jensen was a drunk ese, and wait, wasn't Cougar at the bottom of the sea?

“You're suh-sup'sed to be- dead-” Jensen slurs out, head tilting at Cougar dreamily, and he reaches out, straightening Jensen before he falls off his bar-stool.

“I'm not dead, amigo,” Cougar says, amused, only a blur to Jensen, and his voice is odd but he's smiling and looking at Jensen, whose chest hurts from constant grief and regrets that actually wake him up at night, so he leans in, kissing Cougar desperately, mouth probably foul from all the alcohol, drooly and biting.

Everything is oddly bright, and happy, for a moment, and there is a lot of stumbling, clumsy kisses, bumping into walls, furniture, everything, and for a night Jensen feels relieved, underneath Cougar, panting out his name in the dark room, partly just in his own head, like a prayer. Everything's fine again, and he thinks, before he falls asleep, that maybe Clay and Roque could be alive too, again.

Next morning he's barely awake but oddly sober, not moving, not indicting that he's awake.

The strange Mexican man with a cowboy hat (wrong shade of brown) and long hair (too long) is pulling up his pants quietly so as not to wake up Jensen, to sneak out, away from his once drunken one-night-stand. The sheets smell like sex and tequila, unpleasantly, and the sun is pushing through the curtains with cold-hearted determination. 

When he's gone, Jensen rolls on his back and watches the ceiling until he feels ready to go back down to the bar again.