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Il Cielo in Una Stanza

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Italy was hot, and Jared was tired all the way down to his bones.

They’d flown halfway across the world to be here, and the week had been a whirlwind of tourist destinations and carb-loaded food and impromptu selfies with fans. It had been great, but after a full year of quarantine, it was also a lot. So when he woke up on the morning of his 39th birthday, he was very interested in slipping right back off to sleep for another couple hours and some seriously needed R&R.

The bed was empty next to him, plush white duvet rumpled and messy. Gen was out getting food, no doubt. She and the kids had made it a habit of bringing him breakfast in bed on his birthday for just about as long as he could remember, though this time he and Gen were flying solo. The villa they’d rented was blissfully quiet around him, and he sighed contentedly. He missed his kids, but it wasn’t hard to argue in favor of no little bodies jumping on the bed all around him and making it impossible to go back to sleep. It was still early in the states – they’d facetime him around lunch and wish him a happy birthday with big goofy grins on their faces and he’d cry a little because he was nothing if not a big sap.

The number 39 whispered inside his head in his internal monologue as he shifted against the sheets, flipping his pillow over to the cool side. Practically middle-aged. Ancient. The last, he heard in Jensen’s voice, and he grinned against the cotton of the pillowcase, pressing his face into the soft down.

Their relationship had been weird lately. In fact, weird was an understatement. Neither of them had adapted particularly well to being out of each other’s orbits, out of touch. Sure, they’d texted back and forth, had met up for a few brief weekends together, but it was like the end of Supernatural had been the end of them, in some ways. Jared’s grin fell a little. He shook his head, scratching the stubble on his jaw over the fabric, and wrapped his arms around the pillow, shifting to get comfortable. He didn’t want to think about the prequel, or Twitter, or the ass he’d made of himself, justified or not. But his train of thought had led him here, and he knew from experience it wasn’t going to let this one go. He groaned.

He’d been so thankful for Jensen when he’d finally brought himself to pick up the phone the night after shit went viral. He’d been afraid to answer every single time his phone blared Night Moves up at him that day, terrified of what Jensen would say, his reaction. But he’d managed to swallow it down long enough to hit the ‘accept call’ button with a shaking hand and face the music.

He’d had no reason to be worried, as it turned out; Jensen wasn’t just contrite, he was desperate. “Jay, man. I’m so sorry. This has been a fucking PR nightmare. I don’t blame you for being angry.”

Jared was silent as he listened, so relieved to hear Jensen’s familiar voice that his anger and guilt simmered down to barely a flicker in the pit of his stomach. Someone had talked about the barest hint of an idea Jen and Danneel had been tossing around. It had gotten to the ears of an entertainment columnist, and from there, it was either going to be rumors for months—being hounded for information during the time when Jensen was focused on The Boys—or just announcing it all and hoping that would appease everyone for a while.

“I didn’t even know you guys were thinking about this,” Jared had finally said, in his defense.

“But you did, Jay. You knew we weren’t gonna let the IP rest for too long.”

“Well, yeah. But The Winchesters? Dean narrating? I didn’t know shit about that!” He was still shell-shocked, frustrated, and hurt. How had Jensen not even sent him a single fucking text about this for Christ’s sake?

“Because I didn’t, either!” Jensen said. He sounded almost frantic. Jared had hardly ever heard him speak like this. “We were throwing around a dozen ideas, not even seriously. Just talking. As soon as we had an actual list to work with, you were gonna be literally the first one to know, Jay. But we had to scramble. The Winchesters was just, I dunno. The best we could come up with.”

Jared had laughed. “I don’t think most of the fans would agree.” And he couldn’t lie: there was a slight, bitter twinge of smugness in knowing that the news had been received so poorly.

But Jensen only seemed to agree. He mirrored Jared’s laugh. “Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up. I know, alright? We had a script commitment even before this, which is like, probably the only reason it might go forward, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it dies on the cutting room floor. Danneel isn’t happy.”

“Yeah, I bet,” Jared had breathed. He knew how awful negative attention felt. Even if he was still hurt at the situation, he wouldn’t wish that feeling on his worst enemy, never mind some of his closest friends. “Give her my love, okay? Tell her I’m sorry.”

“Yeah, Jay,” Jensen sighed. “I will. Love you, man. We good?”

Jared’s heart skipped a beat, just like it always did. “Yeah, we’re good. Always. Love you, too.”

They’d hung up, then, and the conversation had been playing on repeat in his mind ever since.

Jared punched the pillow, frustrated by his racing mind, and then sighed again, louder. He sat up and gave up the ghost. So much for sleeping in. He grabbed his phone from the nightstand and scrolled through social media mindlessly for a while. By the time he heard the front door open, he was feeling a little better, bolstered and warmed by the outpouring of birthday wishes sent his way from all corners of the world. Sometimes things could get toxic online, but he was so fucking grateful for his fans.

There was a quiet knock on the door, and it cracked open. “You awake?” Gen’s voice was quiet.

He put his phone down and stretched his arms over his head. “Yeah,” he answered. “Just got up.”

Gen opened the door the rest of the way and came into the room. God, she was so beautiful. Her long hair cascaded over her bare shoulders, his favorite sundress shifting around her body as she walked. She came up to his side of the bed and sat down on the edge, sliding her hand into his hair and kissing him deeply. He sighed into her mouth, smiling against her skin. She smelled like the Italian summer and powdered sugar.

She kissed his forehead and stood. “I’ll excuse the morning breath because it’s your birthday, but woof,” she laughed. “Go brush your teeth. I got breakfast. It’s out on the patio whenever you’re ready.”

He grinned at her and stuck his tongue out, pulling the covers off his legs and finally dragging himself upright. “Not eating in bed?” he asked.

“Not this year,” she called back to him as he padded into the master bathroom, scratching his bare chest.

He took care of the morning rituals: piss, brush teeth, wash face, get dressed. He slid on a pair of comfortable sweats and a soft, worn tee. He didn’t bother with socks or shoes – the tile on the patio was perfectly warm in the morning, and it eased the ache in his joints. He couldn’t pretend he wasn’t starting to feel his age, so small pleasures like sun-soaked terracotta on the soles of his feet had started to move up his list of favorite things in life.

He looked at himself in the mirror and was happy with what he saw, though. He looked healthy, handsome; smile lines crinkled the corners of his eyes. He wasn’t sure he would grow old gracefully, but he would at least do it with a sense of humor.

Gen wasn’t in the bedroom when he came back out, so he made his way out into the bright, inviting space of the living room. He could smell fresh bread and coffee on the breeze blowing in from the open patio door, and his stomach rumbled.

He heard Gen laugh as he made his way outside, and he raised an eyebrow. There she was, sitting in the sun with a smile on her face, seated so he could see her leaning into the table and taking a sip of her cappuccino. She laughed again.

As he got closer, the thin curtain that hung loosely over the door blew in the wind, and it flapped aside enough for him to see that she wasn’t alone out there – someone was sitting with her, back to him, silhouetted in a halo of morning light.

He stopped in his tracks for one long second, heart suddenly thundering. Then he stepped outside.

Jensen turned in his chair, hair longer than Jared remembered it, freckles darker, beard thicker. He was smiling. “The birthday boy joins us at last,” he said, and his voice shot straight through Jared like an arrow to the heart.

“Jensen?” he asked, like an idiot. “What the hell?” He felt his mouth crack into an involuntary smile of disbelief. He looked at Gen.

“Happy birthday, babe,” she said. She got up from her chair and walked around the little patio table to Jensen. She bent and hugged him to her for a long moment. He wrapped his arms around her and whispered something in her ear that Jared couldn’t hear, but it made Gen roll her eyes and grin.

They parted, and Gen came to Jared. She stood up on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. “I’ll leave you guys to it,” she said. “I’ve got some errands to run. We can all have dinner together later if you’re up for it.”

He looked into her eyes, so full of love, and kissed her. “Yeah, that sounds perfect,” he said. “Thank you.” He cupped her cheek with his hand.

She patted him on the arm, trailed her hand down it, and grasped his fingers as she pulled away, back into the villa.

He was still standing there when he heard the front door close a minute later. It jolted him from his thoughts and he felt himself jump. Jensen was peering up at him from his chair at the table, cup of coffee cradled between his hands. “Earth to Jarpad,” he teased. “You gonna come eat? Gen went all out.”

It was true: The table was loaded with fruit and pastries, and there was a rasher of bacon and a plate full of sausage that smelled amazing. Jensen was already digging in. An untouched cup of coffee steamed invitingly next to the empty plate in front of the seat Gen had been sitting at.

Jared blinked, then finally came to sit down opposite Jensen.

They were quiet as they ate at first. Jared sliced a croissant down the middle and loaded it with jam, sipped his coffee, and just watched Jensen – the way his hair was long enough to fall into his eyes now, the way his newly acquired muscles flexed under his shirt as he bit off a slice of bacon and reached across the table for a clementine.

“You look good,” Jared said.

Jensen looked up from peeling the rind back and grinned. “Heh. Thanks. They’ve got me at the gym five days a week.” He pulled a plump quarter of the fruit free and slipped it between his lips, chewing thoughtfully. “Dean Winchester would never.”

Jared smiled fondly, looked down at his lap, then back up at the man sitting impossibly in front of him. “What are you doing here, Jen?” he asked.

Jensen’s hands stilled, and then he put the rest of the clementine on the table in front of him. He looked over at Jared for a long moment, bottom lip pulled against his teeth in uncertainty. “I missed you, man,” he said, at last, then he shrugged. “There was a gap in filming and I could’a gone home, but it’s your birthday. And right now there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”

Jared felt his cheeks going red. Jesus, fifteen-plus years and Jensen still got under his skin with barely any effort at all. Jared looked at him, really looked at him, sitting there in his tight shirt and his broken-in denim with his big, stupid, earnest eyes, and he felt something swell like a balloon in his chest. “I missed you, too,” he said. “It’s been … it’s been a lot, lately, hasn’t it?” He still didn’t know where they stood, how it had all come to this new and unnavigable sense of distance between them that had never existed before. He was afraid to push too hard, to learn where the boundaries were and realize they came up far shorter than he wished.

“Yeah,” Jensen agreed. He leaned forward in his chair, elbow on the table, food forgotten. “I don’t like it.”

“No,” Jared said. “Me, neither.”

“Then let’s do something about it, Jay,” Jensen said, and a smile crept up into the corners of his lips. “You got me here. Let’s make the most of it.”

Jared found himself matching Jensen’s smile, returning his easy, infectious charm. “Okay,” he said, and he leaned forward over the table and kissed his best friend.



They were on the couch inside the villa, sunlight streaming in through the big windows and from the patio door, beyond which the rest of their breakfast lay forgotten. Music played softly through the space; Gen had left the radio on and someone was crooning in Italian. Jared didn’t understand a word the man was singing, but he suspected that right now, he wouldn’t have been able to understand even if it was in English.

Jensen was in his lap, straddling his hips, and his mouth was all over Jared, tongue sliding against the long stretch of his neck, laving over the dip between his collarbones, diving into his parted mouth, and sucking a gasp right out from his throat.

Jared’s hands were in Jensen’s hair, pulling, twining through bathwater blonde strands over and over, gripping tight as they kissed. He pushed himself up, ran his tongue against Jensen’s bottom lip, groaned when Jen sucked it into his mouth. “God,” he sighed, as Jensen’s hands ran up under the hem of his shirt, fingers ghosting over the muscles of his stomach. “Missed this. Missed you.”

“Yeah, Jay,” Jensen breathed back. “Too long.” He ran his hand down Jared’s side, fingers pulling at the skin, digging in, and dropped it to the full length of Jared’s cock through his sweats, achingly hard already. “Never stopped thinking about your big dick.” He squeezed, pushed his thumb against the ridge under the head, “how fucking good it looks when you come.”

Jared bucked up into Jensen’s hand, couldn’t stop it if he wanted. “Fuck,” he bit out, and swallowed Jensen’s filthy mouth with his own again.

Jensen stroked him through his pants until his balls were drawn up tight and full of come. He was gonna lose it any second, orgasm coiled tight like a beartrap ready to spring deep down in his belly. “Bed,” he growled into Jensen’s mouth. “Now.”

Jensen nodded enthusiastically against his skin, breath coming hot and fast. And Jared may have been another year older, but he could still pick the beautiful man on top of him up by the ass and carry him, legs wrapped tight around his hips, to the spare bedroom.

He licked into Jensen’s mouth again and then threw him bodily onto the bed, where he bounced with an oomph and the headboard shifted against the wall. Jensen was pulling his shirt over his head already, and Jared mirrored him, throwing his own shirt to the side before he slid his sweats and underwear off.

Jensen had his hips up, feet planted on the blankets as he worked at the zipper on his fly. Jared licked his lips, watching, before he crawled up between Jen’s legs on all fours and ripped the jeans down his legs with a single yank that made his cock spring free, the head dripping and coated with precome.

Jared’s face was there in an instant, mouth and nose pressed against the delicate skin where his thigh met his groin. He breathed in, suffocated himself on that familiar scent, and took one of Jensen’s balls into his mouth, sucked around the smooth, clean-shaven skin, rolled it against his tongue.

Jesus, Jay,” Jensen groaned, hands coming down between his legs to tangle in Jared’s hair. Jared licked slow and deliberate up the seam of his balls, turned the tip of his tongue into a sharp point, and dragged it along the underside of Jensen’s leaking cock. He took the base into his hand and looked up, watched Jensen watching him—pupils dilated, cheeks pink—and he circled the head of Jensen’s cock with the flat of his tongue, slid his lips down around it, and moaned low in the back of his throat at the taste.

“Yeah,” Jensen panted. His hips bucked up, and Jared let him fuck into his mouth shallowly, never breaking eye contact. He knew Jensen loved this, loved watching his cock disappear into the wet heat of Jared’s mouth, loved watching the desire in Jared’s eyes as he swallowed him down deep. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he was saying, half-delirious, with every cant of his hips. “Your fucking mouth, Jared. Your fucking cock. God. You gonna let me fuck you?”

Jared groaned around the plush, velvet weight of Jensen’s dick, closed his eyes, and slid his mouth down until Jensen was all the way at the back of his throat, pushed up against the soft roof of his mouth. Jensen hissed at the sensation, and Jared heard his head fall back against the pillows with a quiet thump. He held him there, deep as he could take until he was dizzy with the need to breathe. He slid off, quick and dirty, and gulped air into his lungs, lips wet and fuck-swollen, still dragging against the slick head of Jensen’s cock.

“C’mere,” Jensen said above him, and his hands were under Jared’s armpits, hefting him up until Jared was on top of him, kissing him deeply. They rolled their hips together, frantic like teenagers, rutting against each other, cocks caught in the perfect, tight trap of their bodies.

Jared was so hard he was almost blinded by his need, and Jensen was just miles and miles of naked, freckled skin under him. All his. “Mine.” He echoed his thoughts into Jensen’s mouth.

“Yours,” Jensen agreed fervently, hands sliding down Jared’s back to his ass, gripping tight. “C’mon, c’mon. Wanna make you come.”

Jared reached up, pulled open the drawer of the bedside table, and came back with a bottle of lube and a condom. He passed them to Jensen, rolled over onto his back against the cool fabric of the blankets, and caught his breath for a second.

He watched Jensen roll the condom on, amazed. His arms were so sturdy, hands so sure, calloused from stunt work, and still golden from his time back home in Texas. He was so fucking beautiful, and Jared found himself floating somewhere overhead, watching from above, unable to believe his luck as he waited to get fucked by a man who understood him better than anyone – who had been there for longer than even his wife. “I can’t believe you’re here,” he heard himself say.

And then Jensen was smirking, condom on, lube shining on his hand and his cock, and he crawled forward, a dangerous look in his eye. He spread Jared’s legs around his hips and leaned into his face until they were slotted together again. “You better believe it,” he purred, and suddenly he was pushing against Jared’s hole. “I’m here, Jay,” he said, head of his cock slick and insistent. “You gonna let me in?”

“Fuck,” Jared whined, drawn-out and just this side of embarrassing, as Jensen slid into his body. His arms came up, wrapped around Jensen’s back, fingers scrabbling for purchase over his sweat-damp skin. “Yeah,” he said, and then Jensen was kissing him and he was lost in a haze of pleasure and low, stretching pain as their bodies rocked together.

Jensen had always taken his time fucking Jared, agonizing slides almost all the way out, holding … holding for so long they were both driven crazy with it, and then pushing in deep, all the way to the root, balls slotted up against Jared’s ass. Over and over he fucked him like that, and this time was no different. He rolled his hips, not so much thrusting as just dragging the hard length of his cock against the walls of Jared’s body. Jared, for his part, was trying his best to be patient, letting sparks of arousal shoot off behind his eyes as the head of Jensen’s cock brushed over his prostate. His cock twitched, and a bead of precome leaked onto his stomach.

“Jesus Christ, Jared,” Jensen was panting. “Look at you.” He leaned back on his knees, pulled Jared’s legs wider, watched himself fuck in and out in slow, shallow thrusts. He brought one hand up under Jared’s knee and held on, fingertips brutal against the sensitive skin. He wrapped the other hand around Jared’s cock, stroked him in time with his agonizing pace. “So fucking big,” he whispered, looking down at his hand, at how Jared’s cock looked massive in his fist. Jared watched, too, as the head of his dick disappeared under Jensen’s slick fingers and he slid up and over with a tight, hot grip.

He was losing his mind, pushing his hips back into Jensen’s cock, canting up to fuck his hand, overwhelmed by sensation everywhere, none of it enough. “C’mon, Jensen. God, fucking move.” He lifted his hand from the bed and reached out, pinched hard at one of Jensen’s nipples.

Jensen growled and it turned into a low, dangerous chuckle. “Alright, yeah. Okay. Gonna fuck you until you’re seeing stars, Jay. Gonna fuck you until that big cock comes all over us. That what you want?” He leaned forward, hand leaving Jared’s cock and going to the pillow by his head, almost folding him in half. His hips ground against Jared’s ass, hard and unforgiving.

“Fuck, yes,” Jared cried. And then they were really going at it. Jensen groaned like a desperate animal and fucked into him in earnest, slamming all the way in, cock sliding against Jared’s prostate with every desperate snap of his hips.

Jared could hear himself – tiny, keening breaths punching out of his lungs. He didn’t care. It had been so long. Jensen was right here, fucking him stupid in a bedroom in Italy on his birthday. His eyes locked with Jensen’s, and he couldn’t stop it. “I love you,” he said. It left his lips like a prayer.

Jensen fucked him into the bed, losing his rhythm, close to the edge. “Yeah, Jay. God. I love you, too.”

And then Jared was coming, long, thick ropes of it coating his stomach and chest, balls clenching up tight and pulsing through each new wave as it wracked through him. Jesus fucking christ, he did see stars.

Jensen groaned above him, slid his hand from over Jared’s head to his stomach, rubbed the hot mess of come there into Jared’s skin, up his chest, and over his pecs.

Everything went still as Jensen came, clenching so hard that Jared could feel it. “God,” Jared whispered as he watched Jensen’s eyes close, listened to the broken, satisfied groan that ripped from his throat.

Jensen went totally boneless, tilted forward until their sweaty foreheads were pressed together, breathing in heaving lungfuls of each other’s air.

Then Jensen kissed his forehead, beard scratching against his skin, and he pulled out slowly, collapsing onto his back on the bed beside Jared. He carefully slid the condom off and tossed it into the trashcan under the bedside table, and then they were both staring up at the ceiling, sated and lazy and in love, just basking in the presence of one another that had been absent for too long.

Jared finally broke the silence. “How long are you here for?”

Jensen turned onto his side, propped his head up on his hand. “‘Til Wednesday night,” he said, and Jared’s heart swelled. It was longer than he’d expected. He stretched his neck until he could brush Jensen’s bicep with his nose.

“How long has Gen known?” he asked next, easy smile on his lips.

Jensen yawned, and Jared thought about how jet-lagged he must be feeling for the first time. “Couple’a weeks. It was her idea, actually.” His fingers tangled lazily in Jared’s hair. “And Danneel’s.”

Jared snorted and let his eyes close, drowsy despite the early hour. “Figures,” he said. Put the two of them together and they’d move mountains. Jared remembered when Dan had almost convinced them all to buy a big farmhouse together, raise chickens and live in weird domestic bliss. Gen had been her most fervent supporter, but in the end, it had just looked too much like a commune to be realistic. He wondered fondly about what their lives would be like now if they’d gone through with it, though. One big, happy family. It was a nice thought, but harder to imagine now than ever before.

As if reading his mind, Jensen flopped back onto the pillows and sighed. “We’re gonna get through this, Jay,” he said.

Jared turned until he was looking into Jensen’s eyes. They were so clear, so present, and they wavered with tired determination. “Yeah,” he said. “I know.” He scooted over until his head was on Jensen’s chest, and they wrapped their arms around each other.

It wasn’t long until Jensen’s breathing evened out underneath him, and Jared felt his own eyes sliding closed. He pressed a soft kiss over Jensen’s steady heartbeat and smiled. Happy Birthday to me, he thought to himself as he finally drifted off.

It looked like he’d get to sleep in, after all.