“The dogs miss you,” Jared says over Facetime.
He scratches Arlo behind the ears as he clambers all over him where he sits on the floor, trying to point the dog’s face to the camera. Hopeless endeavor.
On the other side of the screen, lightyears away, Jensen mops up the sweat on his brow. “They do, do they?” he smirks.
Just finished a workout when Jared called, Jensen still hasn’t changed clothes—still in that black tank that shows off his ever-increasing shoulders and biceps. Jared’s been tracking the changes remotely: the transformation of this man he fell in love with half a lifetime ago, back when he was slender-armed and almost delicate-looking, and so, so beautiful. Jared had been stunned to speechlessness at first sight, fumbling over his words, gibbering and babbling like he always does when he’s nervous, and it was a shock to find out how normal Jensen was, how down-to-earth, how easy to talk to—such delicate, fragile beauty didn’t belong on this plane of existence, Jared had always thought.
But there’s nothing delicate or fragile about the man on screen. He’s been growing out his beard for the show—his ‘castaway look’, as Jensen calls it—and beefing up, and Jared— well. He’d never been drawn to that kind of guy before, really. He liked working out himself, liked seeing the changes to his own body as he sculpted it into something new, and he’d always liked the feeling of… being bigger than Jensen, able to fully enclose him in his arms, cage him in as he held himself on top of him in bed, Jensen looking up at him with such fragility and vulnerability, and in those moments Jared had always felt like the luckiest man in the world to be able to see a side of Jensen that he never showed to anyone else.
But this man— this man on screen is powerful and built and, looking at him now, still toweling himself down, Jared feels a pull of want low in his gut, wonders what it would be like to be the one caged in for once.
They’ve been apart for so long—nearly four months now—and Jared misses him something fierce. The whole point of choosing to film in Austin was so he could be closer to home. He didn’t know then that ‘home’ would end up moving to Toronto.
He ducks his head, nearly overcome with emotion suddenly, unable to express any of this over such a crude method of communication. He misses touch. He wants to be enfolded.
He scratches Arlo’s head—poor substitute—feeling as forlorn right now as Arlo looks. He buries his head in Arlo’s soft white fur, just wanting…. he imagines Jensen’s beard rubbing against his face, on his torso as he drags it up and down his body. Wonders if it would be as soft as it looks or if it would burn like stubble. The last time they were together in person, Jensen’s beard had barely started growing, and Jared loved the burn of it, loved the angry red marks it raised, but he wants… god, he wants suddenly to know the difference.
He squeezes Arlo harder, a broken sound escaping deep within his chest.
“Jay?” Jensen’s voice, tinny through the cheap laptop speakers, nothing like the gruff baritone that always shoots through Jared like electricity.
He looks up, trying to convey any of this— a sliver. It’s hopeless. “God, Jen. I just— fuck, I fucking miss you right now so goddamned much.”
Jensen’s face softens, and his eyes— god, his eyes are the same, just exactly the same as the day they met.
“I know, Jay,” he says, soft. “Another four weeks. Just… fuck. Four weeks.”
Jared wants to fly up for a weekend. Would’ve a dozen times over by now, if not for this godforsaken pandemic and Canada’s quarantine laws. He’s proud of Jensen—he’s so very, very proud, but. This is the longest they’ve been apart since they first met… sixteen years ago, now? Getting on seventeen?
He shakes his head. They’ll make it through, they will. But god.
He tries to pull himself together, summon up some cheerfulness, some lightness. Even the video calls are too few for Jared’s liking these days—nearly impossible to find time between their busy schedules, and he doesn’t want to waste it.
He clears his throat. “You, uh, d’you schedule this workout for now on my account?”
Jensen grins, then ducks his head, looking almost bashful as he scratches the back of his neck. This muscle-bound, wild mountain-man, looking bashful . For him. “Just, you know, promo vid for Insta.” Then he looks back up and smirks wickedly at Jared. “Why, you like?” He makes an absurd muscle-man pose, flexing both arms, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.
Jared huffs out a laugh and rolls his eyes. “Stop fishing for compliments,” he says, grinning helplessly. God, he loves him. “Jen, god. Want your hands on me so bad.”
Jensen’s gaze turns heated. He moves closer to the screen as if that will bring him closer in reality. “Fuck, Jay, yes. You have no idea— god, been storing up all the things I wanna do to you.”
“Tell me about them tonight?” Jared says, a little breathless.
Jensen grins wickedly. “In great detail. Absolutely.”
Four weeks. They have four weeks. But for now, this has to be enough.