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Like the Back of My Hand

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Over the weeks that follow, there is a formulaic approach to the way Jared’s life works. Go to school, make good grades, do the chores, cook dinner, lie, sneak out, break the law, sneak back in, and then break the law some more.

Over the weeks that follow, Jared learns. 

Little things, big things, all surrounded by locked doors and shuttered windows and blasting music that never ceases. When they run out of tracks Jensen simply switches the c.d., pressing a finger to his lips in the short five seconds of silence while Jared stands or lies, depending on the time of day and what sort of mood Jensen’s in. It’s usually a good one. 

He learns some things that are pretty much simple touch and go, sort of the basic rules for kissing and touching that they forgot to put in those Human Anatomy textbooks. He learns that too much tongue is not fun when kissing; learns that teeth are only good in moderation as well. He learns that you can touch a lot while kissing, a fact which amazes him and he spends a whole afternoon laughing into Jensen’s indignant mouth because it’s weird, getting to press his lips to Jensen’s—dizzying kiss after dizzying kiss—all the while letting his hands wander from Jensen’s waist up Jensen’s sides and up to hook around Jensen’s muscled shoulders. 

He learns that there are other places to kiss and be kissed, not just the lips. The moment Jensen grins into his neck and begins to suck on the exposed skin under Jared’s jaw is the moment that Jared thinks he likes this kind of kissing best. Or maybe second best. He likes every kiss that Jensen gives him, from short pecks to slow swirling tongue to nuzzling nips along his jaw and collarbone. Like a greedy child with too many toys to keep track of, Jared spends the following weeks in constant pursuit of every possible kind of contact Jensen is willing to give him.

What’s even more exciting to Jared—more exciting than figuring out how to give the perfect hickie or how to slide your hands gracefully into someone’s hair—are the things he learns about Jensen himself throughout all this. They’re little things, subtle things, but each time Jared learns something new it’s like he’s earned another piece of Jensen, is just a little bit closer to pressing himself completely into Jensen’s world, stolen c.d.’s and all.

He can tell that Jensen’s holding back, really has no clue why but it shows in the subdued way Jensen sometimes kisses back, the calm control he keeps up no matter how hard Jared is trying to rev him up, make him enjoy it. It’s their own silent game of chicken, to see who gives in and kisses first, and Jensen usually wins. Not that Jared minds being the only eager one. He wants to know Jensen, takes every advantage he can to learn more, even with Jensen holding back. 

He learns that Jensen’s toes are perpetually cold, and that Jensen will unknowingly press them into Jared’s legs while they’re kissing and smirk when Jared gives a discontented squawk at the shivery feel. He learns that Jensen loves biting, loves to drag his teeth along Jared’s pulse point and grin into the space between Jared’s collar bone. Jensen likes to tease, a fact that infuriates and exhilarates equally. 

Jared tries more than anything to figure out just what it is that makes Jensen shiver or gasp into Jared’s mouth, but sometimes it feels like nothing gets a reaction out of Jensen. There’s one instance, when they’re kissing slow, Jensen taking the reins as usual and guiding Jared with gentle pressure and fingertips on Jared’s jaw, when Jared thinks he almost strikes gold. Jared had tangled his fingers in that light brown hair and scratched lightly at the back of Jensen’s scalp, and Jensen had shuddered, lips dragging wet and fast over Jared’s and his fingers suddenly gripping Jared tighter in a way that Jared knows is egging him on, asking wordlessly for more. But just as quickly as Jared thought he’d finally hit upon something Jensen had pulled away, stoic, walked straight to the kitchen and started washing dishes without so much as a word. 

Where Jared is all pent up energy and frustration, Jensen prefers to drag things out. It’s an odd balance, one controlled, the other chaotic. But that doesn’t stop Jared from trying to pick up on those details and intricacies, Jensen’s likes and dislikes. Every night he sneaks back into his room is another night that Jared wonders if he’s made more progress, pushed closer, touched more of Jensen than he has before. 

He gets a kick out of it. The pleasure in these lessons is not just in if Jensen can make Jared feel good, but if Jared can make Jensen feel good. He considers the day a true success if he can make Jensen inhale sharply and steal Jared’s own breath from his mouth, can make Jensen smile into a kiss or cause Jensen to thrust his tongue deeper into Jared’s mouth; commanding, demanding, and getting everything he came for. 

It doesn’t happen all that often—getting a reaction from Jensen--but Jared takes what he can get with a grain of salt, sees every bit of Jensen’s distance as a challenge, one more hoop Jared has to jump through to prove he can handle this. 

Regardless, he’s happy, walks home kissed and grinning stupidly. Kids disappear every day from the classroom, sirens screech every night on the streets, and Jeff’s never been busier with crime, but things are good. Jared feels good. 

It’s good for a while, it is. Until complications arise. 

***



Jared knows about sex. He swears on his life he does. When eighth grade became freshman year the first class on Jared’s schedule was Human and Governmental Reproduction, a mandatory credit for graduation and apparently a terrible class to take, based on hearsay. 

The hearsay turned out to be true, and Reproduction class was basically a nightmare, Jared’s only reprieve being the constant comments Chad made, snickering under his breath the entire time. 

He remembers lecturers and teachers and guest speakers from the Carrier Office, presenting sketches of various parts of the human anatomy, explaining the mechanics of sex and it was a parade of warning labels about pain and disease and Non-Inseminated Pregnancy, another law that could not be broken.

“The Insemination Process,” he remembers one teacher expounding, “was created so the human race could avoid the physical dangers and injuries that can occur during sexual intercourse. We streamline the process by selecting females with the most durable and promising genetics, and select sperm donators with the same qualities. Because the Carriers have the children, you are safe from having to worry about sex and touch, and should refrain from doing so.”

Sex, touch, anything physical, was depicted as graphically violent. They learned about intercourse and masturbation and all the things in between but the mechanics sounded gruesome, drawings pornographic and crude, nauseating to look at.

It’s because of that Reproduction class and every stern warning he’s ever heard in his life that Jared’s never touched himself, which doesn’t really present itself as a problem until Jensen starts touching him. 

The times Jared has let his hands wander were private moments, safe in the dark in his room where even he can’t see where his hands rove, fleetingly in the shower under the shield of water spray and steam. The few times he’d actually gathered the courage to touch his cock had been barely a graze of his fingertips along the length, nothing more. It had felt good, this he remembers, but warring terror and embarrassment had stopped him from going further. His experience with masturbation and sex in general started and ended with waking from restless dreams to a chalky mess in his boxers and sweat stinging on his skin.

The problem that rises with Jensen is not the lack of knowledge, but the decided lack of experience. Jared’s begun to learn that every single lecture he’d ever received from teachers depicting physical relations of any kind as painful, always painful, is pretty much bullshit. While his brain has been taught to associate this sort of thing with pain, his body associates it only with pleasure. However, that doesn’t make anything physical with Jensen, anything that pushes Jared a little more against that established boundary, less terrifying to think about or do.

So Jared does essentially know about sex. But on the other hand, he knows absolutely nothing about sex. There are a handful of small realities and facts that he’s able to keep track of. He knows that kissing Jensen might be the greatest thing he’s ever done in his free time. He knows that sometimes he wants to do more than kissing but he’s strangled by insecurity, incapable of making his body move through the right motions that coordinate with the knowledge of his brain.

He can’t help but think about Jensen’s lips on his constantly, can’t help thinking about Jensen’s hands on him, can’t help but think what could happen beyond that. While he’s aware in essence what more could happen, the inexperienced part of him feels as if he has no idea, but he knows the desire is there; strange and swelling and terrified deep inside of him every time Jensen so much as lays a finger on him. 

He can’t help but panic. Does panic eventually.

They’re heavily making out, and it’s great, Jensen fitting the contours of his body to match Jared and Jared loves this. Loves feeling every slight movement of Jensen over him as they kiss, and it’s going great, more than great, Jared kissing back with all he’s got, lost in a wave of heat that burns through him. Tongues swirling, wet taste that’s fast becoming an addiction, it’s all around Jared and he revels in it, running his hands along Jensen’s shoulder blades and down his back. Jensen’s hand marks its own path up Jared’s neck to tilt his head back, calloused fingers fitting under his chin like they were made for just that. It’s going great, fantastic, could not be better.

And then Jensen grinds against him, circular motion of hips over Jared’s just so and Jared feels it, line of heat that shoots straight to his cock, hardening immediately.

He nearly sends Jensen toppling off the bed he sits up so fast, bringing the heel of his palm to press at the abrupt bulge in his pants, blushing something fierce.

“What the hell?” Jensen tucks and rolls back, clambering right back up and sitting in front of Jared. “Did I hurt you?”

Jensen’s hands run a precursory track along Jared’s lips and cheeks, concern flitting over his pleasantly flushed face, but Jared pushes him away, feeling like an overreacting idiot.

“No, no, you were fine, it’s just--” Jared cuts off, utterly mortified.

Jensen raises his eyebrows. “Just what?”

The sentence comes out in an absolute rush of mush, and Jared nearly smacks his hand to his forehead:

“I’mgettingturnedonrightnowbutI’veneverreallytouchedmyselfsoyeah.”

Eloquent, Jared. Real eloquent.

And it’s not like this isn’t obvious information, what with the way Jared keeps his left hand pressed to the tent in his pants, ignoring the practically painful throb at the base of his penis.

“You’ve never jerked off?” Jensen looks genuinely shocked, brow furrowed, and Jared nods miserably in response. “Not ever?”

“It never really posed to be a problem,” Jared admits, and now he’s blushing for fuck’s sake, blushing from head to toe and Christ he actually wants to go and lie down in the nearest four way intersection, because this is so humiliating. “I never…It’s easy to deal with being turned on. Until you have something…someone, to be turned on about, you know?”

Jensen’s eyes shift downward to Jared’s crotch at that, lips quirking in a half smile and Jared’s almost positive that he wants to laugh, wouldn’t blame him if he did because this is nothing short of just plain old pathetic.

“Are you telling me that you’ve never had a…” Jensen trails off, raises his eyebrows as if Jared’s somehow supposed to fill in the blanks and know what the hell he is talking about.

“If you mean orgasm, then no,” Jared says bluntly. 

Jensen actually looks shocked. “Huh.”

“What?” Jared’s suddenly all too aware of how tight he feels, skin hot and bothered and insides curling with ripples of shyness. Because he doesn’t understand, he really doesn’t. That’s why he’s here, isn’t it? Because he wants Jensen to teach him, unabashedly and outright. So why does he still feel so embarrassed? Why is he so humiliated by the fact that he doesn’t know anything about touching or how to touch? Jensen has never made fun of Jared, maybe laughed when Jared eagerly chased after his mouth or smirked whenever Jared whined because Jensen suddenly pulled away from his lips, but never made fun of him.

It occurs to Jared for the first time that maybe he wants to impress Jensen. Wants to surprise Jensen and make Jensen feel good, and he knows he can’t do any of that because he’s still the sweet little never-been-touched virginal high school boy. He wants to, but he doesn’t know how to go about it. Because Jensen’s here to show and tell. Not enjoy. Jared knows this, knows it in the way Jensen always ends their enthusiastic make out sessions, knows it in the way Jensen is always the one to remind Jared that he has a curfew or a test to study for, knows it in the way Jensen’s always asking what Jared wants, never expressing desires of his own.

Jared knows that he’s here for the lesson. But he’s starting to wish there were other things to be here for as well. 

“Jared.” Jensen eases forward on the mattress and looms over him, curious, trace of a grin on his lips that Jared wants to latch right back on to, but can’t for fear of sending them both on the floor in a heap of limbs, “do you want to?”

“Do I want to what?” Jared blurts stupidly.

“Do you want to touch yourself?” 

“Well, I’ve sort of already done that. It’s kind of impossible to not do, you know, scratch an itch, wash your face.”

“Allow me to rephrase.” Jensen suddenly sits back on his heels, regarding Jared critically as he asks, “Do you want to touch yourself and orgasm?”

Oh.

Oh.

And suddenly Jared understands what Jensen is asking him and he wants to die right on the spot, because he isn’t supposed to want this sort of thing, because he isn’t supposed to think about or even talk about this sort of thing. Yet the notion is there, the inclination, the question. When he shakes his head, lips parted and mouth suddenly too dry to force out words, he feels more fumbling and awkward than he’s ever felt in his life.

“It’s okay,” Jensen says soothingly, like he can tell Jared’s totally panicking, cups a hand on one of Jared’s calves and strokes over the pant leg. “I didn’t expect you to have experience; it’s not a big deal. I just. I guess I just wasn’t expecting you to have never done it.”

“H--have you?” He stutters out the words, scrabbling for distraction from the fact that he is clearly the novice. He doesn’t like being the novice. He doesn’t like being one or several steps behind Jensen. He knows it’s not a race, not a competition, not a size-up, but he wants to keep up with Jensen all the time, and right now is no different.

“Loads of times.” Cocky grin back in place, Jensen swings over and off the bed and walks over to the record player. “Sometimes more than once a day.”

“More than once a day?” Jared’s eyes nearly bug out of his head and he can’t even be embarrassed this time. Was it really that incredible? He tries to recall the few times he’d brushed his hand along his dick under the shower spray, and how he had shivered and balked because in all of a few seconds his entire body was suddenly rigid with something…foreign. 

“Feels good, helps you relax, de-stress,” Jensen answers casually, examining one record label and tossing it aside for another. “It’s sort of like a morning routine, you know? Wake up, beat one off in the shower, and go and greet the morning sun.”

There’s a lump in Jared’s throat and an even larger bulge in his pants, but he doesn’t dare move, concentrating on the snick sound of Jensen flipping through his record collection and the alarming manner in which Jensen is so calm about all this.

“I wouldn’t even know how to start, to be honest,” Jared answers sheepishly, scratching at the back of his neck.

Jensen stares at him, eyes wide and thoughtful, like he isn’t quite sure what to think of Jared.

“C’mon.” With one finger Jensen sets the needle on the record and music blasts out of the speakers, same as always.

“Come where?” Jared stands, albeit a little awkwardly and not without a fumbling adjustment of his pants and a blush. He’s still hard, trying and failing to hide the fact as he painstakingly walks over to stand next to the record player. 

“Do you want to learn how to get off or not?” Jensen asks half impatient, half curious. 

“I…”Jared trails off into silence. He isn’t exactly sure if he wants to. He’s actually kind of terrified of the aching feel in his groin and the flush continually spreading throughout his body, terrified and exhilarated all at once. He can’t decide if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. “I don’t really know, I’ve never--”

He’s a train wreck, all nerves and inexperience and fuck this is so humiliating. Jensen seems to sense his oncoming panic, though, walks straight over Jared, straight into his space. 

“Hey,” Jensen brings his hand up to Jared’s cheek, strokes along the line of his jaw, slow, gentle, murmuring against his lips, “it's okay, I've got you, you're okay.”

Jared nods, leans down to kiss him, but Jensen pulls back, regarding him cautiously. There’s a minute or so of contemplative silence, and then he says, “I'll show you what touch is like. I’ll show you how to touch yourself,” he speaks slowly, carefully, as if the wrong word or syllable will send Jared running, which is absurd because Jensen’s words are doing nothing if not holding him straight to the floor, “if you really think you're ready for it.”

He pauses, raises his eyebrows inquisitively, Jared realizing that he’s asking a question right this moment. Normally Jensen doesn’t ask, just does. But this is clearly some new line they’re crossing, judging by the concern in Jensen’s tone. The gentility of that tone is what causes Jared to relax. The nerves are still there, but arousal is laced in with them, especially with Jensen looking at him like this, so intently, like Jared’s the only important thing. 

“Yes,” Jared breathes. “God yes.”

“But if you're not...” Jensen’s all business now, speaking clearly so Jared hears every word crystal clear, “if you're not okay with what I'm doing, at any point whatsoever, tell me. If anything bothers you, just tell me ‘not okay’.” He stares Jared down, practically stern. “Not ‘don’t’ or ‘stop’. Those words can be part of the fun if you want to play it that way. But you tell me ‘not okay’ and I’ll stop. No matter what,” he finishes. “Are we clear?”

Jared can’t even picture a situation where he’d consider telling Jensen to stop, can’t imagine circumstances where ‘not okay’ would ever be okay. But he nods vigorously. They’re clear. 

When Jensen takes another step toward him, it’s predatory, catlike; Jared can’t look away. Then Jensen’s leaning forward, brushing lips at Jared’s ear, breathing the words against him. “I'm going to show you what it's like to touch yourself,” he informs Jared, voice low, matter of fact, “I'm going to let you see it, feel it. Is that what you want?” He lifts one hand, pad of his thumb dragging over Jared’s lip. 

Jared can’t think of anything he wants more in this moment, can’t think of anything he’s wanted more in his entire life, says “Yes” against Jensen’s thumb like it’s a prayer and a blessing all at once.

“Okay.” Jensen keeps his thumb on Jared’s lip, leans in just close enough to kiss, but not quite. “Then you do every single thing I tell you to, unless you don't want to. And if you don't want to, you tell me ‘not okay’. Anything else and I'll keep going. Do you understand?”

And Jared does understand, emanates as much of that understanding as possible and nods again, unable to speak. 

“Okay. Good.” The voracious smile that curls over Jensen’s face is dangerous, and he nods back in response, pleased. “Now I'm in control.” 

Then he takes a step back, opens the bathroom door. It’s with a great summoning of gumption that Jared follows after, hardly in control of his own legs at this point. He’s a wooden puppet and Jensen’s the only one who can pull his strings. He looks around the tiny bathroom, small and crowded with a sink and a shower, and a small mirror in front of the sink. 

Jensen stands in front of the mirror, and Jared stares at him, shrugs because he really doesn’t know what he’s doing and he’s really starting to feel like a genuine idiot all over again.

“Take your shirt off,” Jensen says softly, and in the crappy overly bright lighting of the bathroom his eyes suddenly look dark, oh so dark as Jared unceremoniously reaches and pulls off his shirt. 

Jensen’s seen him shirtless lots of times, touched him shirtless and kissed him shirtless, but he never once looked at Jared like he’s looking at him now. Like Jared’s a snack that Jensen wants to gobble up. It should be weird, standing under that penetrating gaze, but a shiver wracks its way up Jared’s spine, especially the moment his shirt falls to the tile, a small puff of air fluttering through it.

Jensen doesn’t have to ask Jared to walk over to him, because Jared goes willingly, and he stands in front of Jensen and looks into Jensen’s dark eyes and Jared has no idea, no idea whatsoever, what’s about to happen next, so he stands in Jensen’s personal space and lets Jensen look him over with hungry eyes, and he waits.

“Turn around. Face the mirror,” Jensen says conversationally, and Jared does.

“Unbutton your pants, pull them down. Pull down your boxers as well.”

Jared stumbles for a minute, pauses as his hands flutter nervously around the fabric and metal of own belt buckle. He’s seen himself naked a million times before, dressed himself every morning to go to school and washed himself in the shower. This won’t be anything new to Jared. But undressing himself in front of Jensen, touching himself in front of Jensen…

It’s a whole new level of up close and personal. Even to Jared, who’s been up close and personally suffused to Jensen’s lips for a good month or so now.

The thing is though, Jared knows more than anything else this is a challenge. Jensen is still waiting for Jared to scare off, to go back home, to pretend none of this ever happened and forget it all. He sees it in the way Jensen meets his eyes in the mirror.

And looking at Jensen, suddenly his fingers are taking on a life of their own, fiddling with his belt buckle and unbuttoning and unzipping his jeans and shimmying until they’re a puddle tangled around his feet. Then it’s just him, in his boxers, standing in front of the mirror. 

If Jared is good looking, he’s never realized it before. Doctors used to tell him he’d make an excellent Donator for a Carrier one day, but he always thought they were just being nice. He’d always felt too gawky and boyish to even consider the fact that he might be attractive, and has only recently begun to understand what his body really looks and moves like. He’s almost certain now that the doctors were wrong, because Jensen seems neither impressed nor floored by Jared’s genetics. Standing here, in his blue striped boxer briefs and wondering if he could possibly get any more red in the face, Jared’s pretty sure that if Jensen hasn’t touched him by now, he’s pretty much immune to Jared. 

Or is he?

Keeping his eyes locked on Jensen’s in the mirror, Jared snags his fingers on the elastic waist band of his boxers and pulls down, past his miles long legs until the cotton material hits his ankles. Through the wall is the pounding and banging of loud angry music, but the only thing Jared can hear is the sound of his own heartbeat in his ears and the sudden sharp intake of breath from Jensen.

He turns around to get a glimpse but Jensen suddenly wraps a possessive arm around Jared’s waist and spins him around to face the mirror again, pinning Jared’s back and ass flush against his body. He can’t really escape because he’s got his jeans and boxers wrapped around his ankles, and to be quite honest, Jared finds he doesn’t really want to escape. Jensen releases his hold slightly, not crowding, and whispers, “Look,” into Jared’s ear.

Jared looks. And what he sees makes him inexplicably hard. There he is, almost too tall to fit in the mirror, tan skin slightly pink with blush and muscles tense with the sudden exposure and his cock, hard, sticking up and looking just as red as Jared’s face is right now. Prickles of apprehension start to rise in the back of his throat and he wants to look away, wants to look away and pull his pants back up and stammer out apologies but he can’t because everything about Jensen has him cemented to the spot, and he couldn’t move if he tried.

“Okay,” Jensen’s voice, deadly calm and twice as quiet, barely more than a whisper in Jared’s ear, “Now. Reach out with your hand, and grab your cock.”

Jared’s limbs are suddenly not his own anymore, once again a marionette on strings, and watches from outside himself as he reaches a large and shaky hand and brings it to wrap around his cock. He can’t exactly pinpoint who’s in control of his limbs anymore, whether it’s him or Jensen. But it doesn’t particularly matter because the second he wraps his fingers around his cock Jared’s head snaps back and holy shit. A wave of…something, washes over him, like fresh blood rushing through his veins mixed with caffeine and fire and he’s suddenly alive, so alive and so hard and so turned on and he’s never felt anything like this in his life.

“Good.” The word against his neck nearly causes Jared to jump out of his skin; he’d barely even remembered Jensen is here. “Step Two comes the fun part. Stroke it.”

“Stroke it?” The crack in Jared’s voice is a canyon, and he’s pretty sure his voice has disappeared almost entirely.

“Up and down, move your fist up and down,” Jensen instructs softly, bringing one hand midair to demonstrate the motion and Jared shivers, stomach muscles clenching.

Jared does what Jensen says, and the second he does he’s pretty sure he’s blacking out because stars are exploding beneath his closed eyelids and his hips are suddenly thrusting forward and it feels so good, so damned good that Jared can barely stand, can barely breathe as he strokes experimentally, slowly, up and down his dick. Jensen’s all around Jared, whispering encouragements in his ear and telling Jared to keep going, yeah, just like that and Jared has to be dying, has to be fading and disintegrating into a million sparks of heated pleasure that all come from the feel of his long nimble fingers on tight, hot skin.

And underneath it all is Jensen, Jensen muttering instructions and sin into Jared’s ear, telling Jared how good he’s doing and how pretty he looks and Jared hangs on to his every word, follows every instruction like it’s gospel, and with the way it’s making Jared feel right now, well, it sort of is. 

When Jensen tells Jared to twist his fist on the upstroke, Jared bites his lip so hard he almost breaks the skin, has to take a good fifteen seconds to remember how to breathe before he can even move. When Jensen tells Jared to brush his thumb over the slit of his cock, Jared moans at the sensation, soft and gasping. The sound surprises both of them, and for a second neither of them moves, Jared suddenly so mortified he can barely speak. But then Jared meets Jensen’s hooded eyes in the mirror and Jensen says, “Do it again.”

So Jared does, thumbs the slit of his cock, skin sliding over the slippery substance at the head, and moans again, mouth open and eyes rolling back in his head because it feels so fucking good he can barely stand it. 

It stretches on like that forever, Jared pressed up against Jensen and running his hand over his cock, making breathy moans in the damp and slightly stale bathroom air and thrusting into his fist as his skin gets hotter and tighter and his world starts to go tunnel vision. 

There’s this weird build picking up in Jared’s gut, and suddenly he can’t seem to hold up his own weight anymore, content to sag against Jensen’s chest and try to remember the process of inhale and exhale as his hand continues to move on his cock. There’s a sudden cliff that Jared feels he’s approaching, and it’s too much at once and he’s starting to get a little freaked out because what is happening?

“Why are you stopping?”

“I can’t,” Jared pants, and it sounds like he’s dying, breath coming out in bursts. “It’s, it’s too much.”

“Don’t freak out,” Jensen’s voice is soothing and sure and somehow manages to make Jared relax. “Just go with it. Okay? Trust me. Just, just ride it out.”

Jared’s not entirely sure what the ‘it’ he’s supposed to ride out is, but he nods, swallowing gulps of air like he’s asphyxiating, bringing his hand to his cock again and gripping loosely, trembling as he brushes his fingers against it and fists it once more. Something damp is pooling at the tip of his dick, but he can’t even be bothered to ask what it is, lost to sensation and feeling and Jensen whispering “Good, yeah, like that” in his ear.

“Feel good?” Jensen asks, smiling because Jared’s sure it’s pretty fucking obvious that it feels good. Jared responds with a garbled phrase caught on a hitched inhale.

“Now.” Jensen’s hands brush lightly over his waist, thumbs rubbing comfortingly at the skin of his stomach. “Now think about me. Think about me touching your cock.”

Oh my fucking God. Jared’s knees threaten to give out and let him slam into the porcelain sink, but Jensen’s grip is firm and warm and Jared can feel every inch of him through his clothes, heated skin and firm muscle gripping Jared and Jared is going to fucking die. The image rises up of Jensen leaning over Jared with that same knowing smirk and wrapping his hand around Jared’s cock, those coarse pads and thick fingers that Jared has memorized and felt on almost every inch of his body. And it’s incredible. 

He actually feels the liquid heat in his stomach pooling higher, reaching a new summit that he wasn’t told to prepare for and he’s rising to meet it, hips thrusting of their own accord into his hand, fast and hard and his hand is wet with something, wet with something that is Jared, or is from him at least. He doesn’t know where this heat is taking him, but he can feel the pressure in his stomach as something bright and white hot and furious begins to make his vision go blurry, the bathroom lights around him flickering as his eyes roll in his head and he closes them, turning his face, resting his sweat slick forehead against Jensen’s neck as he tries to remember how to breathe.

“No.” Suddenly Jensen’s wrist is clamped on his, stilling him completely. Jared lets out a strangled, wounded noise and looks up at Jensen, and Jared thinks he might cry if he doesn’t keep going. But Jensen isn’t even looking at him, eyes instead locked on the sink mirror, spattered with water and rusted around the edges, but clear enough that Jared can see the two of them; Jared’s naked back to Jensen’s clothed chest, Jared’s flushed face, his even more flushed cock. The image is obscene, pornographic in a way that Jared isn’t prepared to deal with because not only is he touching himself, but Jensen is watching him do it, his gaze a limelight on Jared’s one man show. It’s so wrong, so against the law, and it is so fucking hot.

“I want you to watch.” Jensen’s lips settle against Jared’s ear, breath scorching and damp and Jared can barely keep his eyes open. “Watch yourself. I want you to watch yourself come. You need to see. You need to understand.”

‘Understand what’ are the words Jared wants to say, but he can barely make his lips move, that same strangled sound making its way out of his throat, and Jensen grips his wrist tighter, pulls Jared’s hand up and down his cock, showing Jared what to do, guiding Jared through the motions, and Jared is going to pass out but he does what Jensen says, eyes locked on the mirror, on the image of him jerking himself off, Jensen there every step of the way.

He knows Jensen will stop if he so much as blinks, so Jared makes that mirror his god, stares and stares at it with worshipful and wide eyes as Jensen follows the motion of his wrist and Jared pants and Jensen encourages and Jared moans, embarrassed and quiet but moans all the same.

Then out of nowhere, Jensen’s lips are at his ear, still not touching, but their temperature warm and inviting and Jared would kill to get Jensen to kiss him but he knows without asking that that’s not what this moment, this cramped bathroom, this yank and bottoming of Jared’s innards, is for.

But Jensen starts whispering in Jared’s ear, and Jared’s knees start to buckle in earnest. “Look at you Jared. You don’t even need me anymore. You know how to touch, where to touch, you know how to make yourself feel good, how to make yourself sweat and writhe. Look at you.”

And maybe Jared should be looking at himself, but in that small two by two reflection all he can see is Jensen, all pink lips and five o’clock shadow and strong arms where he holds Jared up, so maybe Jared is missing the point of this lesson after all. Because the only thing, the only explanation for the way his cock is aching impossibly hard, the way his legs are boneless and the way he can’t seem to breathe, is because Jensen is looking at him, touching at him. Even if it’s not necessarily the way he wants Jensen to touch him in that moment, the entertained fantasy of what Jensen can do renders Jared into pieces. Because he’s looking at him looking at Jensen, looking at Jensen looking at himself jerking off, and somewhere in between the vicious cycle Jared’s eyes meet Jensen’s in the same pinprick spot in the mirror.

Jared comes. Or at least, that’s what he thinks it’s called, what Jensen had called it anyway. But what it should be called is dying. Or exploding. Or spontaneously combusting because Jared is more than sure he’s doing all three at once. Because one minute he is here in this bathroom and the next he’s in shards, the world whiting out and visions of spinning galaxies assaulting his brain as every inch of his skin simply sings with good feeling. Head thrown back, mouth locked in a silent ‘O’ of surprise, because as much as he had been imagining whatever ‘coming’ was supposed to be it sure as shit wasn’t this. He’s aware of a weird pulsing in his dick as his hand continues to move of its own accord, fast against his cock, and he’s sucked under a current of pulling friction and a rip-tide of white heat. He doesn’t even realize he’s stopped breathing until he’s gasping for air.

He calms, seconds, minutes, centuries later, his body folding into limp, buzzing, spineless muscle and if it weren’t for Jensen’s vise like grip on him he’d be a dissolved puddle on the floor. And amidst the choking, now receding pleasure is Jensen, breathing just as hard as Jared and gripping Jared like he might dissipate into smoke if Jensen so much as moves.

It seems eons before either of them can string together a phrase of coherent words. Surprisingly, it’s Jared, eyes closed head tipped back against Jensen’s salty neck. “What. The fuck. Was that?”

“That,” Jensen starts to loosen his grip, only to tighten it again as Jared starts to slump forward on legs like Jell-o, “was an orgasm. Pretty fucking awesome, huh?”

“I think you need to check my pulse,” Jared mumbles, “’cause I’m pretty sure I just had a stroke.”

Jensen laughs and nudges Jared forward, walking Jared’s limp body forward a few steps until Jared’s bare thighs hit the cool porcelain of the sink.

“You good to stand?” Jensen’s smirk is evident, but Jared can’t really think up a retort. Give him a second.

Jared nods, lifting his head up as Jensen steps away from him, taking his heat with him and Jared’s shocky skin is suddenly exposed to the cold air of the bathroom. He feels over exposed and over sensitive, and he looks down to the sink and his shaking hands and there it is. His come, all over the edges of the sink and on the hand that had been jerking his cock. It’s murky white, sticky, stringy, it’s a little gross. Jared doesn’t realize he’s laughing until Jensen asks why.

“Sorry, I just,” Jared touches the mess, laughter bubbling past his lips and biting a grin. “It’s so….weird.”

“It’s come.” As if that statement will bring explanation and understanding to the gooey substance on Jared’s palm. With an exasperated sigh Jensen suddenly lifts Jared’s wrist and dabs at it with a wash cloth, cleaning Jared. “It’s not supposed to be candy.”

Jared continues to chortle, and then shiver as Jensen cleans him in the sink, washcloth rubbing the sink and Jared’s hand, before handing Jared the washcloth to take care of the rest until he’s clean, no evidence of what just transpired other than the smell of sex that lingers in the bathroom. Jensen even bends down and pulls Jared’s boxers and pants up, zipping up the fly with deft fingers and a devilish smile that Jared wants to cover with his own, even in the post-coital giddiness he seems to be suffering from. 

“Sorry,” Jared mutters. “I didn’t mean to close my eyes towards the end there it just…sort of happened.”

“Apology not necessary,” Jensen shrugs, then grins. “It was pretty hot, either way.”

Jensen smirks to himself at Jared’s blush, satisfied, and Jared uses the pause to wrap himself around Jensen as much as he can without toppling them over, kissing Jensen full on the mouth.

“Easy there, tiger.” But Jensen’s laughing into the kiss, reciprocating just as enthusiastically. “No need to thank me.”

“You--” Jared can’t even push out a thank you because there’s still a buzzing in his brain and he’s pretty sure there are strange forces at work because he can’t take his lips off of Jensen’s, not for the life of him. He isn’t sure of much in that moment but he’s sure that he wants to strip Jensen of his pants and do to Jensen what he just did to himself. It’s possible that he’s a little high from his first orgasm, but he finds he doesn’t quite care enough to stop.

“Glad to be of service.” Jensen’s lips are at Jared’s jaw again and he scrapes his teeth along the bone, laughing again when Jared shivers.

***

 They’re sophomores when things really start to change. The end of that summer on the road and the beginning of fall blows in an entirely new Chad. Or maybe a Chad that Jared saw coming from a thousand miles away but didn’t want to recognize. 

But whatever the reason, Chad comes back more surreptitious and giddy than ever. He’s barely there when fall comes around, dust in the wind that shows up to class twenty minutes late, if he even shows up at all. Chad’s always been a screwball, so the teachers roll their eyes when he strides in, halcyon in the moments Jared has him. He cancels plans on Jared, shirks their hanging out like chores he doesn’t want to complete and Jared can take a hint. 

He gets that there’s a girl that Chad’s in love with, whatever that means. He gets that she’s got lips sweeter than cherries and she smells like freesia and he gets that they have a song together. Chad whispers these things to him amidst lectures in Algebra and Jared listens, sees the burn in Chad’s eyes and he doesn’t know what to do about it. 

Chad’s a firework gone off too early, caterwauling and flashing his way right into trouble like he has since they were kids. But this is a different kind of trouble; one Jared’s not sure Chad will be able to get through in one piece. 

Chad shows up to Jared’s house half way through the night, out of his mind with panic, says she got mad at him and asked him to leave and they fought and she doesn’t want to do this anymore. Chad wrings his hands and he’s stopped wearing gloves, Jared notices. Chad’s always had a bad habit of forgetting them, but this is deliberate because Chad doesn’t notice it as he twines his fingers together and tells Jared that he doesn’t know what to do, that he has to see her again, that he’ll probably die if he doesn’t. 

Jared doesn’t get it. Why her? Why this girl? Jared’s more than aware of the larger Dealer community, has spotted them once or twice and known them by their darker clothes and cautious looks. They travel together, stick to their own, flit around the shadows. It’s easy to find another Dealer if you’re already part of that world; that’s what you’re supposed to do. From the grapevine Jared has derived that it’s uncommon to use a Dealer more than once and certainly not more than twice. And frequently is just asking to get caught. So what is it about this girl that has Chad so on edge and begging for another hit? What makes her so special?

Chad just looks at Jared like he’s the stupidest person on the planet and says, “I dunno man. Sophia just is. She’s funny and sexy and she likes the things I like and we click.”

Click. Like Sophia is a moiety and Chad’s her other half and they fit. The image doesn’t quite sit well with Jared, because that’s not how humans work. They’ve got their gloves and their head nods and their distance, always their distance. Humans don’t go in pairs. But Chad looks at him with blue skies in his eyes and Jared’s conviction falters because what if. 

His best friend frets and then comes up with some cocksure plan to get her back, to win her affections in full. He climbs down from Jared’s window the way he came up, grinning like a Cheshire Cat, his summery smile the only thing Jared can make out in the dark of the night, where the wind howls and chases away the remnants of solstice with each passing day. 

“Thanks Jay,” he shines. 

Jared opens his mouth because now, now with Chad hanging on the trellis outside his window and Chad almost swallowed by the dark and now would be the time to say something. I’m worried or Be Careful or I miss the nights where we stayed up and slept on ice cubes. But he says nothing, keeps words where he keeps his other cares, tucked away and safe from sight. And Chad climbs down the trellis and vanishes into the dark, evanescent and scorching Jared’s line of vision. 

He never finds out exactly how Chad’s crazy scheme goes down, guesses that the results were successful because Chad skips school for three days, calls once to leave an overexcited message that crackles with static while Chad shouts into the phone with laughter and Jared can’t even tell his words apart. 

He never finds out the results, but he does find out the consequences. 

They come for Chad the day he returns to school, swaggering in and bleeding sparks and laughter and Jared’s so relieved to see him, even though he looks like he hasn’t slept in a while, even though he’s got small bruises along his neck that look like smudges that Jared sometimes makes on his drawings. He’s a little worn out but he’s happy, and he turns around every few minutes or so to shoot Jared beams of sunshine with his smile and Jared is thankful for them, so thankful he doesn’t even notice that the teacher has been called out of the classroom and that the Principal is standing in the doorway, grim set to his posture. 

The removal of Chad from school is essentially quiet. The officers file in and ask Chad for a word. And Chad, the idiot, has the gall to smile, shrug his shoulders in a ‘what can you do?’ gesture and swing out of his seat and follow them outside. Mr. Beech walks back into the room, and the Principal leaves, both looking stricken. 

Jared waits for Chad to come back, stays after class and even asks Mr. Beech anxiously if he knows where Chad went. Mr. Beech just shakes his head and says there was an emergency situation and the Police had some questions for Chad, tells Jared to go home and not worry about it, and how is Jared’s Lincoln Douglas Debate Speech going? 

That night Chad doesn’t call, doesn’t text, doesn’t show up at Jared’s front door with jingling car keys and a craving for soda. 

The next day Chad isn’t at school. 

That weekend Chad isn’t at home. 

Autumn drops into winter and the air turns cold without the sun to warm it. 

Chad doesn’t come back for six months. 

Jared walks by his house every day after school just to check for a sign of return. The Murrays won’t open their door to Jared, but he knocks on it just the same each time he shows up, walks around the side of the house to see if he can spot Chad playing outside.

The sycamore in the backyard is visible from the street, their makeshift tree house still nestled along the branches, but it’s barren, dried out. The haven of Jared’s thirteenth summer is devoid of pigment or strength, suddenly appearing a lot smaller to Jared than it ever had before.

Dying.

Already dead.