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When Things Change

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It was Jared’s fault.
Well. Not just his. It was my fault too.
I was stuck in my head. Again. And Mish knew it. He was running interference and keeping the crew from bugging me, keeping the cast out of my hair. He was almost sleeping in my trailer, he was so dedicated.
And I let him.
Sure, there was a part of me that said, you don't need his help.
But there was the bigger part that said fuck it, and enjoyed the quiet his buffer bought.
Jared was in love. It was a stupid fast fall, one minute my best friend was drinking beer with me and the next he wanted to go out and buy a fucking ring.
Like.
That fast. It was funny at first, and then it was annoying. I was irrationally pissed and Jared was picking up on my attitude, even when I faked the smile, hung out with him and and Misha.
I wasn't present. I was pulling away, because I felt like I had already lost him.
Which was stupid. I knew it was stupid but logic was gone.
Here's the worst part: I'm in the same fucking place. I'd been dating Dee for six months and I adored her. I couldn't picture life without her. I knew I was in love and that I should be in the same fucking head space as Jared.
But something was making me balk. And maybe it was just that. Because as happy as I was--it felt. Off. Or maybe not off, maybe too right and that freaked me the fuck out.
Maybe because I've grown up with Jared and it's so. Fucking. Weird. To see him like this. Jared is the kid. The goofy prankster who will flip the script and be this quietly brilliant mind that can spin circles around me.
It’s a blow, to the old ego, that of the three of us, I’m the slow one. Misha is a genius. And Jared takes these logic leaps that would take me two weeks and a fucking textbook, and if I weren’t so fucking proud to have them as friends, I’d be pissed that they continually make me look like an idiot.
Of course, when I say that out loud, Misha gives me this ‘shut the fuck up, Ackles’ look and Jared actually says, Shut the fuck up, Ackles.
And that’s that.
But. He’s not the goofy kid right now. And he’s not the brilliant friend spinning philosophy and random, obscure pieces of trivia that how the fuck did he know.
He’s head over heels, batshit crazy in love with Gen.
And he’s going to propose.
Misha doesn’t know why that’s fucking me up.
Fuck, Misha doesn’t know what is fucking me up. He just knows I’ve been on edge and he’s done what Misha always does. He’s kept all the crazy at bay, giving me time and silence, watching with that unnerving intensity he’s picked up from Cas.
But now. Shit. He’s out with her. And I’m getting drunk.
Because as happy as I am for my brother. I feel like I’m losing something.
Dani will want this, next. I’ve already got the fucking ring--I’ve had it forever. Jared had asked me a million times what I thought, of ring after ring after fucking ring. And I think it bothered him a little that I didn’t do the same.
“When are you getting one?” He asked, a few days ago, when he finally showed me the damn thing, this gorgeous diamond set in a thin band, as pretty and fragile as Gen is. (Appears. Gen isn’t fucking fragile.)
And I shrugged. “I’ve got it.”
A family ring, that I’d had updated for Danneel. Two thin bands setting the square cut diamond. Shiny, pretty, whatever.
She’d love it. And a really fucking primitive part of me was dying to slide that fucker on her finger and watch the whole damn world realize. Mine. I locked that down.
But.
Then.
“Shit. I need to get drunk.”
It’s the first thing I’ve said since I landed in my trailer an hour ago. We’re done with filming and meetings--not a lot of shit to do tonight, not with Jared offset with Gen. Misha lowers the book he’s been reading and blinks at me, his eyes blurry behind the glasses that he wears when he’s tired and reading.
They make him look older, and--I’ll admit it, privately--dignified.
“We can do drunk,” he says, a sly smirk spreading. “But do tell, grumpy one. What is the occasion.”
I flip him off and grab my coat. “C’mon,” I say.
Misha uncoils from where he twisted up in my chair, shoves his feet halfheartedly into floppy shoes, and trails me out of the trailer.
“The occasion, asshole, is that it’s Friday and I’m tired and I want to.”
And Misha, fucking Misha. Smiles and nods, and off we go.

-----

We get wine for Misha because he’s being a pretentious ass and tequila for me for the same reason, and retreat to my apartment because neither of us have any desire to be around people. Misha takes one look at my fridge and orders Chinese.
He doesn’t ask about it until I’m tipping over that blurry line of tipsy and drunk.
Probably because he knows I won’t answer, until I’m drunk. We’re sitting on my couch, and his wine is long gone. He’s drinking some of my tequila, but in the kind of distracted, want something to drink way that means he’s not actually trying to get fucked up.
“Want to tell me what the fuck is going on?”
I give a sloppy shrug. He’s tilted toward me on the couch, his shoulder brushing mine.
Misha has been a fucking lifesaver, since I got over my own shit, and gave him a chance. It’s not like Jared, who I’ve grown up with, lived with, been homesick and happy and furious and terrified and every fucking emotion in between with.
Jared is like the other side of a coin, like breathing in myself, so familiar that even the differences feel like home.
Misha is like a warm coat. It’s comforting, and it hits all the right notes, when I need it. But it’s also different. Separate. I can shake him off, if I want.
The thing is. I don’t want. I like Misha. I like that he gets me on a serious level that Jared doesn’t. That he doesn’t push when I’m not ready to talk. He’s this crazy energetic bundle of insanity, and he’s got this life that is intimidating as fuck, with a wife he’s been with since fucking high school (and seriously, who does that?) but then he makes time for this shit.
To be a friend.
To care about me, as much as he cares about his fans.
“Is Vicki pissed? I thought you were going home this weekend.” I slur, ignoring the question.
He hums a noise, the vibrations of it running through my arm. “Mmm, no. She knew I was staying if you were still in this funk. She knows you too, Jay. We both assumed you’d need a friendly ear.”
I shift to look at him. “You blew off your wife on the off chance that I’d want to talk?”
Misha’s blue gaze darts to mine and he smirks. “Yes. So fucking talk.”
And when he puts it like that.
“He’s proposing tonight,” I say.
“You like Gen,” Misha observes, and I groan.
“I fucking love Gen. It’s not about Gen. It’s--” I break off, not quite able to put it into words. Rub my eyes.
“When I married Vicki, my best friend threw a bitch fit. I mean, granted, he hated Vicki. He was kind of a dick, but. He was also my best friend. And he was upset. I didn’t really get it. Didn’t get it for a few years, when I met up with him. We’d fallen out of touch, because, you know. He didn’t like my wife. But. He apologized.”
There’s this weird tightness in my chest and I look at the side of Misha’s face. He’s watching the tequila sloshing around in the bottle as he rolls the base around on his thigh. Staring off into nothing.
“Why’d he throw a fit?”
“Same reason you are,” Misha says calmly. “He was scared that things were changing.”
That. I let out a breath and then, “They are. You know I don’t like change.”
Misha finally looks away from the tequila to pin me with those big blue eyes. “You don’t have to like change, Jay. I get it. So does Jared, even if you’re being a dick. But you have to support him. Especially because you like Gen. Don’t ruin the best thing that’s ever happened to you because you’re fighting the inevitable. For both of you.”
I cock my head at him. Something he says sticks out. Bugs the hell outta me. “Why do you think he’s the best thing to happen to me?”
It doesn’t happen often, but I do it. I startle Misha Collins. Every fucking time, I feel like I unlocked some epic achievement because I startled Misha fucking Collins.
“I--he’s your best friend, Jay. That’s all I mean,” Misha stammers.
I wonder if it’s hard, being the new kid, the odd one out on our set. Trying to fit into the dynamic between Jared and I when we’ve had it for so long.
Misha never complains. He doesn’t even try to intrude on what I’ve got with Jared. It’s different, with the three of us. Good, but different.
But still.
“Jared is my brother,” I say, tilting my head back. “He’s this….force. The kind of brother that I’ll never get rid of. Fuck, he’s friends with Danneel. If I know anything, it’s that Jared will be crashing at my house and flirting with my wife and spoiling my kids for the rest of my life. And I’ll be rolling my eyes at his stupid bullshit, and fighting with him about whose buying the beer and talking about our careers and buying too much food when he visits because he’ll eat me out of fucking house and home.”
And saying it. Out loud.
It loosens all that tight angry worry.
Because it’s true. Whatever the hell else changes, Jared is going to always be my brother.
Even growing up and getting married won’t change that.
Misha is grinning at me, like he knows I just clicked, so smug and self-satisfied I want to smack him. I do shove him.
There’s a point. I was going somewhere with this shit.
“But Jared--he’s not my best friend, man. He’s my brother.”
Misha frowns, and his eyebrows furrow, and I sigh. “You, you fucking dumbass. Why the hell else would I get drunk and spill my feelings?”
I’ve done it again.
I’ve startled Misha fucking Collins. He stares at me with these wide, wide eyes, like he isn’t sure what to say, and I’m not sure either.
So I push to my feet, and say, “Don’t drive home. Crash here.”
“Jay,” he says hoarsely, and I pause, swaying on my feet, a little. “You too.”
I smirk. “Obviously. You fucking blew off your wife to play BFF, Mish.”
The strangely tender expression vanishes and he throws a book, the first thing he grabs, at my head. “You ass,” he snaps. I laugh as I duck away and retreat to my room.

----

The text is the first thing I see in the morning. Jared’s way too excited, SHE SAID YES.
Dumbass.
I type back. Of course she did. Congrats, brother.
Roll from my bed and pad over to the dresser, where the ring is sitting. Danneel’s going to love it. I need to just pull the trigger. Take her some place nice, something low key, ask her right. Not the fake romantic bullshit. Just. Us. And the rest of our lives.
My ring is there too. The one I’ve worn since I started Supernatural. The one that I’ll replace, with a wedding band, so soon.
Because she’ll say yes. Of course she will. And things will change again.
But not this. Not my friendship with Jared. Not Misha.
I jot down a note, knowing he’ll still be asleep, and jog down the hall. Misha is crashed out hard, sprawled across my couch with all the grace of a newborn foal--long lanky limbs and tousled to fuck hair, mouth hanging open and this peaceful look on his face.
I grin.
Dude looks so fucking ridiculous and so fucking right. Like where the hell else would he be, except crashed out on my couch.
I drop the ring and the note on the table next to him and slip out.
And later, when he wakes up and wanders into the kitchen where I’ve made coffee and tossed muffins from the bakery, my silver ring glints from his hand, next to his wedding band, and I don’t mention it. And neither does he.
But it feels right.
And when Jared shows up later with a case of beer and some steaks for us to cook, so fucking happy it makes me laugh and Misha grins in that sly secret way of his while Jared bounces around like a goddamn puppy, hearts and flowers in love and sharing it with us. That feels right too.
Because as much as shit changes. It doesn’t. Not really.