He makes me feel like nobody else, nobody else
But, my love
He doesn't love me, so I tell myself, I tell myself
One: Don't pick up the phone
You know he's only callin' 'cause he's drunk and alone
The angry pop strains of Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” screech tinny out of Jared’s phone, cutting through his drunken haze.
He’d changed Jensen’s ringtone earlier that night after the shitstorm had erupted on Twitter, an event Jared can’t decide between labelling ‘Prequel-gate’ or ‘The Ultimate Betrayal’. He’s been leaning heavily towards the latter as the whiskey takes root in his gut.
He’s drunk enough now that he barely flinches when the song cuts off mid-word and then an angry ‘fuck you’ bleats through. Jensen’s text alert. Yeah, he changed that one too.
Keegan wanders in from the kitchen and eyes Jared for a moment where he’s slumped on the couch, his gaze flickering over to his phone, lying open on the coffee table in front of him. “That him again?”
Jared summons enough energy to lift one arm in a half-shrug, then lets it fall heavily back down to the couch.
Keegan sinks down on the couch beside him and picks up Jared’s phone. He lets out a soft breath, then holds the phone in front of Jared’s face, where the text alert is clearly visible on screen:
Jay. Will you just… pick up. Please.
Jared snorts and turns away, his eyes burning. Even as he turns, another ‘fuck you’ rings out, and he’s drawn back helplessly.
I’m begging you man.
Jared rolls his eyes, a surge of anger roiling up from his belly. Fuck him.
Keegan hums consideringly, tossing the phone absently between his hands. “Yeah, fuck him,” he says, echoing Jared’s thoughts.
After the news dropped about the apparently in-the-works-for-fucking-ages Supernatural prequel, after that fucker Kripke fucking confirmed it, after Jared’s first angry tweet, gut reaction to being suckerpunched, Keegan, hero of a friend that he is, called Jared with a terse, “Do not touch your fucking phone, I’m coming to pick you up. Be there in fifteen.”
Keegan had wanted to take him out, take him somewhere he could get properly shitfaced and scream to his heart’s content under the cover of ear-piercing rage rock—even the thudding bass of club music would’ve been better than nothing—but they both knew what a terrible idea that was, so they’d ended up at Keegan’s modest apartment in downtown Austin instead. Last thing he needed right now was for ‘the public’ to see him putting his fist through a wall.
‘The public.’ What a fucking joke. As if anyone fucking cares. He is a fucking joke.
“Everyone knew,” he repeats morosely for what must be the dozenth fucking time in the past hour. “Everyone fucking knew.”
“Well, ‘everyone’ might be…” Keegan starts amiably, but trails off after Jared throws him a death glare.
“He’s my best fucking friend,” Jared bites out, the words bitter in the back of his mouth. He lurches up off the couch, sways, unsteady and lightheaded, manages the two staggered steps over to the plate glass windows overlooking the twinkling lights of Austin. He rests his head against the cool glass, swallowing down bile. “Or was supposed to be…”
Jared, idiot that he is, had naively thought that things wouldn’t change. That things couldn’t change. After sixteen fucking years of living in each other’s back pockets, of not only not getting sick of each other, but getting closer than he’s ever been to another human being in his life, including any and every romantic partner he’s ever had— after all that, he’d just assumed… he’d just fucking assumed. ‘Makes an ass out of u and me’ his mind supplies helpfully. He bangs his head lightly against the glass, trying to extricate those thoughts. All thoughts, preferably.
He tries not to think about how the phone calls and the checking-ins had gotten less and less frequent over the past year as they both got insanely busy with their own projects. Tries not to think about the fact that they’d had more contact over fucking Twitter lately than they’d had through direct communication. Tries not to imagine them drifting apart completely. Irreparably. But this— this of all things…
Behind him, Keegan clears his throat, tries again. “So you gonna listen to that asshole’s explanation, or what?”
Jared chokes back a bitter laugh. “What possible explanation could there be?” He spins around, falls back heavily against the glass as his brain struggles to follow. “This was our show,” he spits out. “Ours. And he just fucking— without so much as a by-your-leave. Without a goddamn fucking single word.”
Keegan stands up, sympathy etched into his face, but Jared can’t bear to see it and spins back around, pounding his fists into the glass. “And I had to find out on Twitter ? On fucking Twitter?”
Keegan lays a hand hesitantly between Jared’s shoulder blades, rubbing in small circles as he leans his forehead on Jared’s shoulder. “Doesn’t deserve you, Jay,” he murmurs.
Jared shudders, his forehead rolling against the glass in denial. “Don’t— you don’t… can’t say that about him, you don’t fucking know him. He’s so… he’s such a— goddammit, don’t make me defend him, fuck. You don’t know.” He bangs his head against the glass again. Wants to be angry, and is fully aware his voice has turned plaintive and almost forlorn.
Keegan brings his other hand up to shield Jared’s head from the glass. “Stop that,” he admonishes quietly.
Jared digs his head into Keegan’s hand, crushing it into the glass, letting himself be steadied by the hand at his back, the body pressing into his side. “I just— I fucking miss him. So fucking much. I miss him and I hate him. How is that fucking possible? I miss him so fucking much and I hate him so. fucking. much.”
Like clockwork, like operatic fucking timing, Dua Lipa starts up again on Jared’s phone, and Jared startles, feeling the push-pull of it in his bones.
Keegan lets out a shaky laugh, slides his hand up Jared’s back to tangle in his hair, massage the back of his head. “You’re allowed, you know,” he says firmly. “You’re allowed to feel whatever the fuck you want for as long as you want.”
Jared lets his eyes fall closed, rolling his body to lean sideways against the glass and pulling Keegan into a crushing hug. “I’m so damn lucky to have you, man,” he says into Keegan’s hair. “You know that, right? Don’t know what I woulda done, you hadn’t come and got me.”
Keegan shrugs inside his arms, his voice muffled by Jared’s chest. “Hey, s’what friends are for, right?”
Jared chokes back something that’s half sob, half laugh, pushing Keegan away finally and scrubbing the back of his hand over his eyes, trying to ignore the wetness. Once upon a time, Jensen had let Jared wipe his wet, messy, snot-filled face all over the sleeve of his shirt. “Friends, right,” he echoes dully.
Keegan claps a hand on Jared’s shoulder, squeezing hard, brings the other to cup Jared’s jaw, his thumb gently swiping away the wetness on his cheeks. “For what it’s worth… I mean, I know it’s not my place or anything, but… I can’t see this as being… long-term damaging.” He gives Jared’s shoulder another squeeze, then drops his hands. “You guys will find your way back. I know you, man. The love’s still there. But hey, in the meantime, let that fucker suffer for a while in silence. You wanna create some anonymous accounts and start some shit on Twitter?”
There’s an evil gleam in Keegan’s eye, and Jared can’t help his lip curling up in a fond smile. “You’re a bad influence,” he says mock-ruefully.
“I am a great influence,” Keegan counters, “and you are lucky to have me. And he is lucky to have you too, and judging by the sheer number of missed calls tonight, he knows it and knows he fucked up bigtime.”
Jared sighs heavily, then wraps a hand around Keegan’s shoulders and presses a sloppy kiss onto his temple.
“I’ll pick up eventually,” he says. “But dammit, man is gonna have to grovel.”
“You’re worth it, Jay,” Keegan says seriously. “Fucking worth it.”