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Hellhounds, and the People Who Love Them

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They’re the strangest hellhound pups Jensen has ever seen. Even young, hellhounds are supposed to be terrifying beasts, fearsome enough that Jensen is the only veterinarian in the state who will allow them into his practice.

These two are pretty much the antithesis of fearsome and terrifying.

One has somehow skipped right over the trademark red eyes and settled on, of all things, green. He’s a wily thing, and a troublemaker, and he’s nipped at Jensen’s hand more than once while he administers shots and medication. But fearsome? Hardly.

The other is large for what Jensen’s put their age at, a few pounds heavier than his brother, and he keeps staring at Jensen with the most soulful gaze. His ears are too large and floppy, his keeps tripping over his gigantic paws, and he looks ridiculous…but somehow adorable in a way no self-respecting hellhound, even a pup, should ever look.

Jensen has designated them Dean and Sam.

“Dr. Ackles?” his assistant says, poking her head into the open exam room.

He places Dean back into the kennel with Sam, giving them both a quick pat before he closes it and turns to her.

Genevieve is grinning at the two pups, obviously as taken with them as he is (though he, at least, has the self-respect to never admit to it), as she tells him, “Your three-thirty is here.”

“Damn, already?” he asks, the Texas sliding smoothly into his words, even after years of living away from his home state. "What's the name again?"

“Collins,” she responds, flipping open the file she carries. “Imp, a nine-week old black lab. New client, just here for the last of her shots.”

That’ll be Misha then, he remembers suddenly. An old college friend, and he’d been surprised to see the familiar name on the schedule. He nods to her and steps out, prepared to greet the blue-eyed man from his memory…

…but it’s not Misha standing in the waiting room. Instead there’s a different man, one with tanned skin and dark hair flopping into hazel eyes and a ridiculously wide grin stretched over his face. He's sitting on the floor as a puppy wriggles and bounces all over him, and the man’s laughter sparks something inside Jensen that he thinks he’s far better off ignoring. He takes a breath, releases it slowly, and clears his throat.

The man looks up with bright eyes, grin still firmly in place, and stands – or rather, bounds – up (and up, and up, and Jesus, he's as tall as a tree for God's sake), the puppy still in his arms as she desperately tries to lick his face. “You must be the infamous Dr. Ackles!” the man says cheerfully.

There's a very familiar accent there, and Jensen is forcibly reminded of all things home. Porn star good looks, ludicrously awesome personality, and he's from Texas? This guy cannot be for real.

Jensen gathers himself (and more specifically, his suddenly-awake libido), and replies: “Yes, and you are definitely not Misha Collins." He raises an eyebrow.

“Aww, man, of course you know him. Guy gets around, doesn’t he?” The man – Misha's friend, apparently – looks perturbed for about a fifth of a second, before he’s shrugging and thrusting a hand out, still entirely too cheerful. “Name’s Jared. The smarter and more attractive member of the household," he says with a wink.

Roommates, then, and not in a way that will stop Jensen's decidedly inappropriate thoughts, since last he knew, Misha was happily wooing young women whenever and wherever he could find them. Jensen allows his lips to slide up into a smirk. “Is that so?” he asks, reaching out to shake the man’s hand. Jared has a firm, energetic grip, and his ridiculous grin gets somehow impossibly wider. Jensen clears his throat again as he lets go, and gestures for Jared to follow him to the exam room.

Just before Jared walks in, he happens to glance into the other room, and catches sight of the hellhound pups. His eyes widen, but he doesn't look alarmed, Jensen is surprised (and pleased) to note. “There’s something you don’t see every day,” he says, glancing at Jensen. “Where’d they come from?”

“I found them this morning on the doorstep,” Jensen replies with a small sigh. “In a basket, for Christ's sake. They seem tame enough, I just finished treating them before you came in.”

Jared watches them for a long moment, laughing as Dean tackles Sam and starts chewing on his brother’s ear, and then he seems to recall himself. He shoots a guilty little smile at Jensen and follows him into the exam room with Imp.

Jensen sets about checking the pup over while Jared looks on with an amused smile. The only difficult part of the exam is getting her weight, but Jensen bribes Imp to stand still with a small treat, and he manages an accurate reading even while she squirms happily on the scale. As far as he can tell, she never even feels the needle when he administers the last of her shots, and overall, the check-up goes quickly and painlessly.

Jared doesn't say much throughout, but as they head out toward the waiting room to settle the bill, he glances over at the abandoned hellhounds again. "What'll happen to them now?"

Sighing, Jensen stops walking and rubs the bridge of his nose. He hasn't wanted to think about that. "No shelter in their right mind will take them, and how many people do you know looking to adopt a hellhound? I'd take them myself if I had the space, but…"

"You mean…" Jared stops, looking horrified, hugging Imp to his chest. She nuzzles under his chin and licks at his neck, but he doesn't even crack a smile this time, staring at Jensen with his jaw hanging open.

"No one ever said this was a glamorous job, buddy." Jensen cringes, immediately feeling like an unprofessional idiot, and swallows down the defensive tone. But he can't help the way he still folds his arms over his chest like that will somehow protect him from this particular atrocity. "Just like everyone, I have things I sometimes have to do that I don't want to. It's part of the job."

"But…" Jared looks ready to cry, gazing at the pups with his heart in his eyes.

Jensen's seen that look before. Despite himself, hope flares in his chest when he sees it now. "I wish there was something I could do, but there really isn't," he says carefully. "You're better off not thinking about it."

"But they're just babies," Jared says mournfully. "They haven't done anything wrong, and as long as they're not trained to, they won't." Without a word of warning, he turns to Jensen and plops Imp in his arms before kneeling beside the small kennel that Jensen really needs to get around to moving into the back area.

"Jared –"

But Jared's already putting his hand up to the crate, letting the pups smell him and lick his palm through the thin metal bars. They climb all over each other, trying to get closer, tails wagging something fierce, and as Jared scoots closer, Jensen's heart does a funny little skipping thing in his chest. Jared turns to him with a sorrowful gaze. "These little guys couldn't hurt a fly, let alone drag a soul to hell, for God's sake. People are idiots."

Jensen could already tell Jared was a bit of a bleeding heart, but this viewpoint still manages to surprise him. He's not sure he's ever met someone with the same mentality as he has about such a misunderstood breed. "Look, Jared –"

Once again, he's interrupted. "I can't take them both." Jared scritches Dean underneath his chin as he speaks, which the pup accepts with a blissed out expression and a lolling tongue. "Misha's place only allows for two pets, and with Imp…" He shoots a quick glance over his shoulder at Jensen, biting his lip. "But I could take one," he says softly. "I'd hate to split them up, but if it would mean they both…" He stops, swallowing hard.

Jensen's already opening his mouth before he even knows what words are going to come tumbling out. Somehow, when he says, "I think I could probably get away with taking one home," he still manages to surprise himself.

Jared's eyes light up, and his smile comes beaming out, bright as the goddamn sun and just as capable of making Jensen go hot all over. "Really?" he asks, all but bouncing on his knees.

And, well, he's already said it, hasn’t he? He sure as hell won't take it back now. He slants a look over at the pups, finds Sam watching him with an expression that can only be described as hopeful. For the love of – "Yeah," he replies, resigned. "Yes, really. You sure about this?" At Jared's eager nod, he shakes his head, but he doubts Jared misses the smile he tries to hide. "Let me get the paperwork for this lunacy."

~

Genevieve is all too happy to look after Imp while Jensen and Jared look over the paperwork to adopt the abandoned pups. The retriever is worn out anyway, having spent the last half hour being introduced to the hellhounds to see how they would interact together.

Jensen wasn't surprised to see Imp becoming fast friends with Sam and Dean, and a quick phone call Jared made to Misha cemented their plan.

This is probably one of the crazier things Jensen has done in his life, but sitting on the exam room floor with Sam curled in his lap, watching Jared play a gentle game of tug-of-war with Dean, he thinks it may also be one of the best.

"You know what this means," Jared says conversationally, slanting his eyes over to Jensen and looking far too innocent.

"I can only imagine." Jensen smirks, balancing his clipboard on his knee as he writes.

"Well, they're brothers, right? I mean, we can't split them up forever, it wouldn't be fair!"

Jensen stops writing. Looks up into Jared's guileless eyes. "So what you're basically saying is, I'm stuck with you now."

Jared beams. Jensen wonders if his face is someday going to freeze like that.

"Well," he says, a little hesitant. God, when was the last time he even went on a date, let alone tried to be smooth about it? "I guess this means we should probably do a getting-to-know-you-dinner, then."

"Obviously," Jared replies, nodding sagely. "For the sake of the dogs."

"Obviously," Jensen agrees.

They glance at each other.

Jared's the first one to crack, but Jensen's laughter follows close behind. From his lap, Sam peers up at him curiously, and across the room, Dean plops down on his butt and, Jensen would swear, all but rolls his eyes at them.

Jensen should have known this would be his life someday. Dog lovers never get to lead normal, boring lives. This was why his parents had wanted him to be a doctor, or a lawyer.

Jared glances at him with a shy smile and his sasquatch-sized heart in his eyes, and Jensen promptly decides that normal is overrated anyway.