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Can't smile without you

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Cougar is staring at his ceiling when the vibrating of his phone cuts through the silence of his own thoughts. Without looking, he grabs the phone off the nightstand. 3:27 am. An unknown number. That's not unusual though. A lot of his acquaintances change phones more often than their socks. Not enough people have his number to be worried.

Sitting up he answers the call with a simple "Si?"

"Yeah, hi, do you know a Jake? Blonde, like 6 feet, glasses, makes a lot of dumb jokes?"

For a moment, Cougars heart stops beating. He doesn't recognize the women's voice. It's not a good sign. If Jensen went and got himself into trouble, then... Then... Then it's actually none of his business. Not anymore.

Still. Better to not show his cards just yet. Find out what whoever this is wants.


The few seconds till he gets an answer seem to stretch into an eternity during which all the worst case scenarios keep flashing through his head. Jensen, kidnapped, zip tied to a chair, unconscious. Jensen, dead in a ditch somewhere, his glasses fallen off his face, blood running down his cheek. Jensen, on the run from some bad people, one step ahead but just barely.

"He's drunk out of his skull and your number is the only thing he's getting together at this point. Can you pick him up? Or contact someone who can?"

The relief running through Cougar is almost embarrassingly strong. Jensen is okay. There is no mortal danger. He is just drunk.

Abruptly he remembers that it actually is none of his business anymore if Jensen is alright, that he gets home okay. Still. He had never been good at saying no where Jensen was concerned.

Already grabbing for his pants, Cougar asks: "Where is he?"

As soon as he enters the bar, he immediately spots Jensen's slumped form on a bar stool, his head pillowed on his arms. When Cougar comes to a stop next to him, the other man raises his head, looking at him from slightly unfocused blue eyes.

"Cougs?" Jensen narrows his eyes and stares at him, like he's not sure what he sees is real.

When the bartender, who introduces herself as Theresa, walks over to them, Jensen gives her a wide, toothy grin and leans forward, pointing at Cougar. His bar stool rocking dangerously he slurs "This is Cougar. He's the best!" drawing out the vowels to ridiculous lengths.

Theresa just raises an eyebrow. "So you're the infamous Cougar. He's been talking about you the whole night." Cougar's heart rate definitely doesn't pick up. He's far too professional for something like this. Especially because it doesn't mean anything. Jensen talks about a lot of things. "You're gonna have your hands full with this one. Get him home, his tab is settled."

Getting Jensen up and out of the door isn't easy. He can barely put a foot in front of the other, let alone stand on his own.

They end up with Jensen's arm slung over Cougar's shoulder and one of Cougar's arms around his waist to hold him up. It's not as bad as it could be. They carried each other out of much worse situations. At least no one is shooting at them.

The bar is just a few blocks away from Jensen's flat so Cougar decides against calling a cab. Maybe the cold air will sober Jensen up a bit.

Jensen's warmth against his side is far too familiar. He missed this, missed Jensen like he'd miss a limb. It would be so very easy to forget everything that happened, just for now, and pretend everything is still okay between them. Cougar never was much one for deluding himself and it's scary how much he wants to. Just this once.

Jensen keeps babbling on about some thing or another, like he always does, but the slurring makes it impossible to make out details. Resolutely staring forward, Cougar ignores whatever it is the other man is saying and continues dragging him forward, determined to just get the whole thing over with.

After having to frisk Jensen for his keys, while he kept giggling and repeating that he was ticklish and two flights of stairs during which Jensen kept getting heavier with every step, they finally reach the flat.

They barely make it to the bedroom before Jensen slumps forward. Cougar can only just prevent him crashing face first into the floor.

When Cougar successfully manages to maneuver Jensen on the bed and pull off his boots, the hacker is already out cold. He reaches for Jensen's glasses and gently removes them, when the blue eyes slowly blink open once more.

A slow smile spreads on Jensen's face and he looks at Cougar with so much affection, blindly grabbing for his hand. Suddenly it's difficult to breathe, cause it reminds him so much of how things used to be. Ignoring the mumbles of what sounds like "Missed you so much" he pulls his hand away and leaves the room, withstanding the temptation of turning around.

When the door closes behind him with a final click, he takes a deep breath to calm himself down. Whatever that last thing Jensen said was, it was just the alcohol speaking. If Jensen really missed him, really wanted to see him, talk to him, he could have called. The first days, after Jensen had left with a "I'll you know... see you around..." Cougar felt his heart stop, every time his phone vibrated in his pocket. Hoping that maybe Jensen reconsidered, or just to at least tell Cougar what he did wrong. But three months had gone by without even a single message.

Biting his lip, Cougar forces his thoughts away from their breakup. Almost mechanically he takes some Advil from the cupboard and leaves them with a bottle of water on the counter, where Jensen will see them in the morning. Without any more hesitation he pulls the door closed after him.

Just returning from his grocery run two days later, he comes home to Jensen sitting in front of his door.

Cougar comes to a stand a few feet in front of Jensen, raising one eyebrow in question. He takes in the other man's face, the bitten lip, the bloodshot eyes, the dark shadows under them.

Jensen scrambles to his feet, nearly falling on his face in the process, until he's standing in front of Cougar, his shoulders hunched and looking at the wall somewhere behind his left shoulder. Cougar is always surprised at how small Jensen can look when he gets like this.

"Uhm, I just wanted to... you know... say thank you... for getting me home..."

Cougar simply shrugged to imply a "You're welcome.", knowing Jensen would understand and tried to move past him to the door.

Rubbing his neck Jensen blurts out "I... can I come in? I need to talk to you."

Cougar knows, he should probably say no, send him away, but looking at Jensen, he just can't bring himself to do it. His self-preservation instincts concerning Jensen went to shit a long time ago.

He opens the door to his apartment and motions for Jensen to follow him. Jensen hovers a few steps behind him while he packs away the groceries, as if afraid Cougar would make a run for it, if he leaves him alone for a moment. The whole time all the possibilities of what Jensen could want keep running through his mind.

When he's done, Jensen awkwardly trails after him to the living room, sitting down across from him.

"Thanks again for two days ago.. that first of all... I mean, you didn't have to, in your place, I'd have probably left myself there..." He shrugs, still looking everywhere but at Cougar.

The way Jensen behaves, makes Cougar's chest hurt. They never used to be like this, always at ease in each others company. But now Jensen looks uncomfortable just being in the same room as Cougar, let alone talk to him.

"So thanks for getting me home, even though I was completely smashed... And despite being drunk as fuck, I still remembered your phone number, which is pretty impressive, you gotta admit that... But... that's not where I was going with this, sorry... I just... I miss you. I miss you horribly. I got drunk to forget about you at least for one night, and all I could think of was you."

Cougar expected Jensen to say many things, but this hadn't been one of them. He had spent the past months, days, minutes carefully stomping down on every shred of hope and now that the words hang in the room between them, he wants nothing more than to ask Jensen what he is saying. But the words seem to be stuck in his throat, like they are so often, and Jensen just barrels on.

"I don't want to be broken up with you anymore. I never really wanted to be broken up with you. Breaking up with you was the most stupid thing I ever did. And I did a lot of stupid things, but this one takes the cake. And I -"

"Then why did you?"

And just like that, his words are back, burning in the back of his throat like bile. Because that's the big question. Has been ever since Jensen walked out of his apartment and out of his life. Sleepless nights and equally sleepless days spent thinking about the possible reasons. Thinking about what he did wrong. Thinking about why he wasn't enough.

"I just... When we got together it was the best thing that ever happened. And I didn't even dream of this ever happening cause well... you're you... I figured I had no chance in hell... and then I had and you wanted me and everything was great. And then suddenly we had our lives back and we were free to go wherever and you didn't have to put up with me anymore. People never put up with me for long if they don't have to. And even if they have to they usually don't. I figured it was only a matter of time until you thought about it and realized you didn't have to be stuck with me. So I thought I'd make it easier on both of us."

He trails off after that, picking on a loose thread at the sleeve of his hoodie.

"You're right." Jensen's head snaps up at that, finally looking directly at Cougar. For a split second there's hurt in his eyes before they seem to shutter, going blank. He stands up from where he was sitting at the very edge of his seat.

"Yeah, great we got that covered, I gotta go now, I have a thing to -"

"That's the most stupid thing you ever did.", Cougar grits out.

After all the shit they went through together, how could he just leave Jensen. He would've died for Jensen, nearly did on a few occasions.

The other man is still standing, frozen in place, his eyes wide. Jensen's mouth opens and closes, no sound coming out.

"So, was that all you wanted to say?", Cougar asks.

Jensen looks down again. "Actually no. I came here to ask you... To ask you if there was any chance... any chance at all that you might take me back. Because you took my drunk ass home even though I broke up with you and I now realize that that's a pretty stupid thing to base this upon, because it's been three months and you're probably so over me and -"

"I'm not."

"So, do you... would you... do you think we could try again?"

Cougar pulls Jensen towards him and envelops him in a tight hug. Burying his head in the crook of his neck, Jensen clings to him like a lifeline. Like he's afraid Cougar will disappear as soon as they stop touching. Cougar just closes his eyes and revels in the feeling of having Jensen in his arms again and holds him tighter.

Everything is not magically alright. There will have to be talking and they can't just pick up where they left. But they have another chance and maybe, hopefully, that will be enough.