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we must reinvent love

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So the thing is, Jensen is pretty much in love with his best friend.

And that sucks, because he’s known Jared since birth (their moms went to Lamaze together), and he’s pretty much a zero on the Kinsey scale (which is slightly questionable, when taking into consideration his flair for pink button downs, so maybe he’s a one). Point is, Jared is straight and Jensen is not. It’s unfortunate but he’s learned to deal. He just wishes Jared would stop walking around being such a hot ass, because it’s really starting to fuck with his head.

Jensen’s front door opens with a bang and then slams shut. Jared can’t even be quiet when his mouth is closed. Jensen rolls his eyes and pours out two bowls of Trix cereal. Jared ambles into the kitchen, eyes hooded and yawning. He pulls his bowl of cereal towards him while Jensen is still pouring the milk, and it splatters onto the kitchen table.

“Watch it, asshole.” Jared just grunts and slides the placemat across the small puddle.

“Jared!” The screech makes Jensen cringe and Jared slides back from his cereal just in time to catch a lapful of tweenage blonde girl. Jensen’s baby sister has been crushing on Jared pretty much since the day she discovered lip gloss, and no, Jensen is not thrilled with it.

“Hey baby,” Jared purrs, tucking Mac’s hair behind her ear and making her giggle. Jensen flushes red and then growls. He’s jealous of his little sister for fuck’s sake.

“Mac, extract yourself.” Jensen grabs the back of her shirt and hauls her backwards off of Jared’s lap, her socked feet slipping on the tiled floor.

“Jensen!” She screeches, “what the hell? Let me go! ”

As soon as he lets go of her shirt she stumbles backwards into him, making his back slam into the refrigerator. Magnets go flying everywhere as they land in a flailing heap of limbs on the kitchen floor. Jared snorts purple milk, spraying a fine mist of it all over the kitchen table.

“I give it a 9 for originality, but it’s lacking the grace required for the gold.”

By the time Jensen heaves himself up off of the floor, gives Jared the finger, and endures a few pithy smacks from Mac, his own cereal is soggy. He rolls his eyes and leaves it, snagging his messenger bag off of the table.

“Let’s just go to school.” Jensen smacks Jared on the back of the head on his way by, just for good measure.

Jared’s truck is older than he is, but not in the cool way. It has rust spots on the paint and a cassette deck. The ugly bench seat smells like sweat, tobacco, and Axe body spray. No matter how many times Jensen tries to tell him, Jared won’t believe that it doesn’t work like it does in the commercials.

Jared slams the door when he slides into the truck, fiddling with his cassette adapter and iPod until something suitable blares from the cheap speakers. He reaches across Jensen to grab something out of the glove box and Jensen presses himself back against the seat.

“Want a smoke?” Jared asks, lifting a box of those fucking ridiculous candy cigarettes to his mouth and extracting one with his lips in a way that might be hot if they weren’t, you know, fucking candy cigarettes. That doesn’t keep Jensen from buying them wherever he sees them, because they’re hard to come by these days and Jared loves them, even if they do taste like chalk.

“Do you have any real ones?” Jensen asks, slipping his sunglasses onto his face. Jared twirls his fake cigarette between his lips, candy pink tongue flicking out to draw it further into his mouth. Jensen tries not to get distracted by this. He fails, miserably, if he’s being honest with himself.

“That shit’ll kill ya,” Jared drawls, and Jensen rolls his eyes. The candy crunches a second later and Jensen looks over to see Jared licking chalky residue from his sugar sticky lips. Jensen suppresses a groan. Jared swings his truck onto campus, and Jensen purses his lips.

“This is the staff parking lot,” Jensen says. “You can’t park here, you ass.”

“What are they gonna do, spank me?” Jared grins and Jensen stares out of the window with a scowl. That’s exactly the visual he needs to get through Math class. Danneel’s persistent flirting will surely be much more easy to handle with the image of Jared being spanked (of him spanking Jared) to get him though it.

“Besides, I need some fucking caffeine, man. Do you want me to die?” Jared parks and grabs his backpack from the floor between Jensen’s feet. “Do you want me to be so exhausted that I chop a few fingers off in Woodshop? How would you feel then, Jen, huh?”

“Oh my god. Shut up and go get your fucking Red Bull.” Jensen hops out of the truck and slips his bag over one shoulder, walking side by side with Jared to the convenience store.

“Also, a messenger bag, really? Be more gay. I dare you.” Jared turns to grin at Jensen, who fails to mention that the door to the store is swinging open. When Jared’s head and the door connect with a loud crack, Jensen laughs so hard he doubles over. When he looks up to see Sandy holding the door open and Jared gaping like a fish, he has to grab the payphone to keep from falling over. He’s laughing that hard.

“That’s what you get, asshole.” Jensen sweeps by him and waves at Sandy as she gapes at Jared. “Morning.”

“Morning,” she replies. “Uh, sorry Jared.”

Jared just waves his free hand in a forget about it sort of gesture, the other hand cupping his nose. Jensen cackles with delight and pulls the door open. Once in the store, he grabs two Red Bulls and a licorice rope and sets them on the counter.

“Dude,” he says when Jared finally trudges inside, wrinkling his nose. “Can you get this for me?”

Jared flips him off with one hand while getting a five out of his wallet with the other. He’s multi-talented.

The licorice rope doesn’t really help him get through Math class. He’s got it wrapped around his neck a few times, and then his left arm, with the rest slung across the desk. It’s like a red, sugary python. The teacher is staring at him like she wants to say something about it but knows it won’t do any good, and Jensen just gives her a charming smile before sucking more red rope between his lips.

“That looks good.” Jensen mentally rolls his eyes before turning them sideways to look at Danneel. She’s leaning over her desk, pushing her cleavage up with her arm, and staring directly at Jensen’s mouth. “Can I have a bite?”

She’s no doubt picturing some sort of Lady and the Tramp scenario here, wherein Jensen lifts up the other end of his licorice rope and they chew it until their lips meet in the middle of algebra, and the class cheers and the teacher gives them an A. That so isn’t happening. The rope is like ten feet long, and just, no.

He rips off a piece from the end he isn’t chewing on and thrusts it out at her, because his mama still taught him some manners. She pouts a little but takes it anyway, wrapping her lips around it and pulling it into her mouth slowly. Jensen looks back at the board and smirks a little when she huffs. It’s either ignore her flirting or tell her that he’d rather fuck her ex-boyfriend. He chooses the simpler of the two.

He’s shuffling out of Math and heading towards Home Economics (which he pretends to hate but secretly enjoys; he’s just that gay) when Danneel catches up to him. She grabs his elbow and spins him around, making him nearly drop his licorice rope. He snatches it out of the air and coils it around his fingers, staring at her with a blank expression.

“So what are you doing this weekend?” Danneel asks, giving him a pretty smile. She really is a beautiful girl, nice and small. Maybe he’d even give her a shot if he weren’t sure she already had their first-born named. It’d be a surefire way to take care of that pesky virginity issue. It’s become more of a pressing matter since he turned 18, like it’s something he has to take care of before a certain deadline; sort of like a parking ticket. She would feel soft and small beneath him, but that doesn’t change the fact that he knows he would rather have miles of lean, sinewy muscle on top of him, pressing him down.

Speaking of, she asked him a question.

“Hanging out with Jared, probably.” He shifts his messenger bag and lifts the end of the licorice rope to his mouth absently. Her pleasant smile tightens, becoming a little terse as she gives a short, jerky nod.

“Ask a stupid question, right?” She laughs a little and Jensen gets this uneasy look on his face, because what the hell is that supposed to mean? “So what are you two going to do without each other next year?”

“Uh, I think we’re both going to state.” Jensen shifts awkwardly and scratches the back of his head. She laughs again; that short, bitchy laugh, and Jensen scowls, immediately remembering why he doesn’t really get along with Danneel. She’s sort of a bitch.

Jared pauses at the door to his Home Economics class and looks down the hall, spotting Jensen’s profile. He’s got miles of that ridiculous licorice rope curled all around him like a lasso or a snake, and Jared grins.

His smile falters slightly after he takes a few steps and sees that Jensen is talking to Danneel, and he feels something hot and unpleasant settle in the pit of his stomach. He hates Danneel. He doesn’t even really know why. She was a bitch in fourth grade, and she’s a bitch now. So that’s a good enough reason, Jared suspects. Plus, Jensen’s face is all pinched like he’s annoyed and maybe a little pissed off, and only Jared himself is allowed to make him look like that.

“Dude, the tiramisu ain’t gonna cook itself,” Jared drawls, slinging one arm around Jensen’s shoulders. Danneel looks miffed, and bares her teeth at Jared in what he assumes is supposed to be a smile.

“So did you two not go to prom because you couldn’t go together?” She asks, smiling innocently. Jared grins and takes one of the loops of licorice from Jensen’s neck and loops it around his own.

“Did you not go to prom because you couldn’t go with the whole football team?” Jared retorts automatically, grinning as Jensen tries to cover a laugh with a cough. She glares, and Jared wiggles his fingers at her before spinning he and Jensen around and leading him down the hall. The licorice around their necks stretches and pulls them back together as they walk towards their class.

“Don’t break it, asshole!” Jensen says as he and Jared both try to fit through the door at the same time. Jared blanches as Jensen elbows him in the ribs, and they finally stumble into the room. Jensen is grinning and chewing on his candy, and Mrs. Gamble gives them an exasperated look.

“Lose the licorice, boys,” she says fondly, “and wash your hands.”

Jensen rolls the licorice up and shoves it into its plastic bag as he and Jared gravitate towards their station. They wash their hands and Jared scowls at the directions on the board. “This is bullshit. Why the fuck do I need to know how to make tiramisu?”

“So you can draw attention away from your giant head,” Jensen retorts, neatly lining up the mixing bowls and spoons. Jared scoffs and begrudgingly puts on his apron, fumbling with the tie in the back. Jensen gets his tied on quickly and efficiently and rubs his hands together, surveying the table.

“You’re gay,” Jared retorts. “Baking comes naturally to your people.” Jensen dips his hand in the flour and smacks Jared across the face, leaving a perfect, powdery handprint on Jared’s right cheek. “Oh, it’s on now, bitch.” Jared’s got his long fingers in the chocolate powder when Mrs. Gamble’s voice makes them jump.

“Boys! We’ve got two weeks left. Please try to behave?” They grin sheepishly at each other. Jensen wipes his hand on a dishtowel while Jared tries hard not to bust up laughing. “Sandy’s partner is out today, so I’m going to have her work with you two.”

Jared freezes, and turns to find the girl of his dreams smiling sweetly at him. She looks down at the chocolate covering his fingers, like she’s afraid he’s going to touch her. He grins and wipes his hand on Jensen’s apron. To his surprise, the other boy grunts and pushes him away. He turns to find Jensen meticulously measuring out ingredients, determined to make the world’s greatest tiramisu, apparently.

“Hey guys!” She chirps, and Jensen gives her a meager smile before lining up his eggs. She turns back to Jared and crinkles her brow. “You’ve got – um.” Sandy laughs and reaches up with her tiny hand to wipe the flour from his cheek. Jared takes in a deep breath and thinks very hard about what exactly he should say, how exactly he should act. His stomach ties itself in knots and he lets out what can only be called a giggle. She gives him an odd look, but she’s still smiling, so he puts it in the win column. “I love tiramisu,” she says.

“Me too,” he replies automatically, which is a complete lie. He doesn’t even think he’s ever actually had tiramisu. He turns his head to catch Jensen giving him a look like he’s a complete moron before he goes back to stirring. “Gonna let us help ya there, Jen?”

Jensen doesn’t reply, just keeps stirring with his eyes trained on the bowl of tan goop like it holds the meaning to life or something, which is weird. Jared wonders what’s wrong; because Jensen seemed fine a few minutes ago, but then Sandy is touching his arm and he turns back to face her.

“What are you guys doing tonight?” Sandy asks, and Jared swallows hard. He doesn’t have anything planned, and was probably just going to end up in Jensen’s basement doing whatever. Something in the back of his mind is telling him that no, he really isn’t free, but the only thing he can think about at that moment is pleasing Sandy.

“I don’t know,” Jared says, aiming for casual. He leans on the counter and sticks his elbow in a blob of chocolate. He pretends not to notice, and prays Sandy didn’t. “There are a few things going on, but nothing definite.”

Jensen snorts, and turns a little. “Hey genius. Chris and Steve’s?”

Jared wants to bang his head on the counter. That’s right. They’re having a party. Jensen just reminded him last night. Jared doesn’t turn to look at Jensen, but instead smiles at Sandy. “There is this thing, but we can skip it, or whatever.” He can feel Jensen’s angry glare between his shoulder blades and he shifts his weight to his other foot.

“Oh,” Sandy says. “That sucks if you guys have plans. My parents are out of town, and I was thinking about maybe having a party. I wanted you two to come.” She has this adorable little pout, big brown eyes all sad, and Jared flips the bird to whatever plans he may have and takes a step towards her.

“Really?” Jared replies, trying not to show that he approves wholeheartedly of this idea. It’s the best idea ever, actually. It’s even better than that time he and Jensen set up a Slip n’ Slide in Jensen’s backyard when they were nine. And that had been a damn good time. “We’ll be there.”

“Awesome.” She gives him a blinding grin, and then bites her lip thoughtfully. She looks down at the counter, and Jared chooses this moment to thrust his fist in the air. He turns to look at Jensen, but he’s still looking down at the chipped counter top. Jared gets the overwhelming urge to hug his best friend then, but he has no idea why. He turns back to Sandy before he can act on it. She looks back up at him and smiles brightly. “I just need to figure out how to work out the drinks. You wouldn’t be able to help out with that, would you?” She says it like a joke, but her eyes are slightly hopeful.

“Sure,” Jared says, a knee jerk reaction telling him to please Sandy however he can. He feels Jensen stiffen next to him. Most likely because he knows Jared doesn’t really have any way to get enough booze to fuel a party as big as someone popular like Sandy’s would be. Sandy’s entire face lights up, and Jared’s heart thuds in his chest. Again, he arranges himself into what he thinks he should look like. His muscles are all tense, and he just hopes he doesn’t giggle again.

“You can?” She bounces a little and grabs Jared’s forearms. Suddenly, nothing else matters except making Sandy’s face stay like that, no matter what. So he grins and nods. “Do you have a fake ID or something?”

“Uh – yeah.” The oven door slams shut, and he hears Jensen stomp off. Jensen must be pissed because Jared is lying though his teeth, and Jensen is the sort of guy that always takes the moral high ground. Come to think of it, it’s something Jared has always admired about his best friend. He feels slightly guilty as Sandy continues to smile at him.

A heavy weight settles in the pit of his stomach, and it stays there as Jensen comes back to continue working on the tiramisu with cold eyes and Sandy commandeers his attention to talk about her party.

So, Jensen may be a little jealous of Sandy.

Jared has practically been in love with her since she moved here two years ago. And thing is, he’s jealous of her, but he can’t hate her. She’s gorgeous, sweet, and super smart. She’s an absolute doll, and he just wants Jared to be happy. That doesn’t make it easy to watch them together, because Jared is practically in love with Sandy, but Jensen is pathetically in love with Jared.

She didn’t even offer to help with the tiramisu they got an A on (all thanks to him), so Jensen thinks now he may have a real excuse to begin to dislike her.

“Jensen, we didn’t help at all,” she says sweetly, her face the picture of sincerity. “Let me do the dishes. I feel bad.” She sweeps all the dishes up into her tiny arms, and Jensen deflates. She really is too nice, and it’s not fair to be mad at her just because Jared thinks Jensen is invisible whenever she is around. It’s really Jared he should be pissed at. He’s furious with him. First he ignores him all through class to talk to Sandy and then just blows off the party Jensen has been looking forward to all week, and just including Jensen in his plans without even asking him. He may be acting like a jealous little girl, but at this moment he really doesn’t care. He’s hurt and angry and sick of feeling like he does for Jared. This has been the worst Home Ec period ever.

“Don’t be silly,” Jensen says tightly, taking the dishes from her and thrusting them into Jared’s arms. “Jared will do them.” Jensen gives him a menacing grin, teeth gnashed, daring Jared to argue. Jared knows that look - knows he’s pissed. So he huffs and takes the dishes to the sink. Sandy giggles and then turns to the station. She starts to clean up, and Jensen helps her.

“So you’re coming tonight, right?” Sandy asks, and Jensen smiles politely and nods. He’d rather not go. There are actually hundreds of other places he’d rather be, but he knows Jared will force him into it with his stupid floppy hair and puppy dog eyes. That, and whatever fucked up scheme he’s concocting in order to get the booze. “Good. I can’t believe we’re about to graduate. I’m going to miss you in Drama class.”

“It’s been fun,” Jensen says truthfully, because it has been. Sandy is awesome, and it certainly isn’t her fault that Jensen can barely look at her. It’s not like she’s in his way or anything. Sandy or not, Jared’s still straight.

Near the end of class, she makes sure they’re both coming to the party, and Jared nearly splits his face with a wide grin when she tells him to call her when they’re on their way. Sandy waves before bouncing over to her group of friends on the other side of the room. Jensen sighs and goes to hang up his apron. He turns back to find Jared grinning like an idiot at him, bangs in his eyes and flour on his cheek, looking completely adorable. He’s bouncing on his feet from all the excitement, and it’s actually sort of endearing. Jensen would like it if he didn’t feel like throwing up.

The door to their classroom opens then and Chad saunters in, his thumbs hooked in the straps of his backpack. He strolls right past Mrs. Gamble, who looks up and rolls her eyes. Chad comes to a stop at their station, reaching out to poke their tiramisu.

“Mine did not look like that,” he says in way of greeting, “it was like, lopsided and kind of runny. Good job, Jensen.”

“How do you know Jensen made it?” Jared asks petulantly, stomping one foot. Jensen raises an eyebrow and Chad rolls his eyes. By this time, Jensen has gone from angry to slightly miffed. He’s never been able to stay mad at Jared. Irritated as hell, yes, but never angry.

“Because if you had gotten anywhere near it, it would have looked like a pile of dog shit,” Chad replies. He grabs a plate and a knife and starts to cut himself a piece.

“Chad!” Mrs. Gamble calls, and Chad pauses and looks over his shoulder at her. “You aren’t even in this class.”

“I know,” Chad says. “I just want to try a piece of my friends’ crappy tiramisu, c’mon.” The teacher rolls her eyes and Chad grins as he puts a giant piece on his plate. Jared and Jensen follow suit, and they all carry their pieces to the cafeteria after the bell rings.

“I talked to Sophia again earlier,” Chad says excitedly, and Jared snorts.

“You tell her the time again, douchebag?”

“No. Asshole.” Chad huffs and pushes him, making Jared trip over his shoelaces and crash heavily into a row of lockers, nearly dropping his plate. Chad bursts out laughing and Jensen just dips his head and smiles softly. That’s just classic Jared - all beauty, zero grace.

“We talked about the weather,” Chad says proudly, giving them a smarmy grin. Jared and Jensen share a look over the top of Chad’s head. Jared makes a slow jerking off motion, and Jensen cracks up.

“So, we need like, a plan,” Jared says as they sit down at their usual table. Their trays are laden with crappy school food, and they throw their bags at their feet.

“For what?” Chad asks, his mouth full of pizza. Jensen wrinkles his nose and tears off a piece of his muffin. Jared sticks his straw in his giant fountain drink and leans in.

“We need to get booze for Sandy’s party,” Jared says excitedly, and Jensen zones out as Jared gets Chad up to date. Instead of listening to him talk, Jensen watches the way his lips move. He studies the brightness of his eyes and smiles at the way he gestures with his hands. He’s wearing a shirt that Jensen picked out for him at the mall a few months ago, and there is a hole on the right knee of his jeans that keeps getting bigger because Jared can’t stop picking at it. He smiles, and it lights up the room.

Jared means everything to him, and it’s a little overwhelming.

“I can use my fake ID,” Chad is saying when Jensen starts listening again. Jared rolls his eyes and, thankfully, finishes chewing before piping up.

“Your fake ID is for shit,” Jared informs him, stabbing at the mashed potatoes on his tray.

“Dude, it’ll totally work,” Chad says, nodding eagerly. “I’ll get the booze, and we’ll take it to the party. Jared, dude. You’re totally getting laid tonight.”

“I really could, huh? Man, what I wouldn’t give to get with Sandy.” Jared grins, all wide and bright, and Jensen’s stomach lurches.

He thought that he would get over this in time - that it was just something he had to deal with. But it’s getting harder and harder, and he doesn’t know how much longer he can take it.

He gets up quickly, grabbing his tray and bag and stepping backwards. “I – gotta. Uh, gym.” Jensen flees the cafeteria, ignoring Jared’s shout of protest.

Upon realizing that he actually has about forty minutes until gym class, Jensen sighs and makes his way towards the abandoned softball field at the back of campus. It’s tucked away under a canopy of trees, soft rays of light spilling through the leaves and onto the mossy concrete. The grass itself is slightly overgrown, weeds peeking up out of the pitcher’s mound, the dusty bases long gone. Josh was on the baseball team when he was here, back when this field was still used. Jensen remembers dollar hot dogs and flat soda while waiting for his brother to make another home run.

The field isn’t used for games anymore. The newer field on the other side of the school gets all the action now, and that’s perfectly fine with Jensen. He ducks behind the old dugout and plops down onto the hard packed earth, hands already digging around in his bag for his illegal contraband.

He lights the cigarette and then pulls his iPod out. He cues up some of Chris and Steve’s demos instead of the Broken Hearts Club playlist he created on a particularly emo night.

He thinks over this thing with Jared as he takes a deep drag from his cigarette. The smoke curls in a lazy blue cloud over his head as he leans back against the concrete, and he doesn’t come up with anything new. Jared is still straight. It’s still a lost cause. Jensen is still pretty much pathetic. Same shit, different day.

Jensen looks around, realizing that this may be one of the last times he sneaks behind this dugout to smoke, or think, or just be alone. Graduation is less than two weeks away, and he’ll have no reason to be on campus after that. Behind this old dugout is where he and Jared got drunk for the first time. Fourteen and buzzed, off of a couple of warm beers they stole from Josh and Jeff, who no doubt stole them from someone else.

Something sad curls in his belly as nostalgia takes over. He has the feeling things are going to make a drastic change, and not just because they’re about to graduate.

Jensen stubs out his cigarette on a mossy cinderblock and makes his way towards the gymnasium.

Jared ditches his English class.

It’s not like he feels bad about it. All their projects are done, and they’re just coasting until graduation. So he tells his teacher he has to go return a book to the library and just never goes back.

Instead, he’s stealthily working his way across campus towards the football field, where Jensen’s gym class is playing lacrosse. Jensen loves lacrosse. He played lacrosse all through high school and pretty much nailed them the championship. He had to listen to Jensen lament over the fact that he may never get to play lacrosse again, and then had to listen to him rejoice over it being chosen as their final unit in gym.

Cursing his tall frame, he ducks behind the library when he spots a hall monitor. After he rounds the corner, Jared makes a break for it and jogs out to the field.

Jared walks out from under the bleachers, sitting down on one of the benches on the edge of the field. It doesn’t take him long to find Jensen, even with the whole class wearing facemasks and the same uniform. He spots Jensen’s lean frame quickly. His gray Phys Ed shirt is slightly too small, thanks to a few too many washes, and his dark blue shorts hang low on his slim hips. He streaks across the field and flings the ball into the goal, and Jared realizes he’d forgotten how good he was at this game.

Jensen doesn’t seem to have noticed him sitting there, so Jared continues to just watch. When Jensen’s team calls a time out and they huddle together, Jared watches as Jensen pulls off his helmet and mask and lifts the hem of his shirt to wipe the sweat from his face. Jared’s gaze is inexplicably drawn to his best friend’s toned stomach, admiring the way sweat gleams off of his muscles. Jensen’s nipples are dusky and pink, and his lips are red when he bites them in concentration. Jared continues to watch until the huddle breaks and the team goes back to their game.

He shifts his hips and – wait, what the fuck?

The realization that he’s just spent the last five minutes lusting after his male best friend hits him so hard that he jumps and falls backwards off of the bench, landing painfully on his backpack. He’s pretty sure that’s his Geology textbook currently bruising his kidneys. He stays there for a moment, knees hooked over the bench as he marvels over his own clumsiness and the startling blue color of the sky. Anything to take his mind off of how fucking hot Jensen is.

It’s not like he never noticed it before. He knew Jensen was hot, gorgeous even. The general consensus around school is that Jensen is a total sexass, and most girls would do about anything to have a shot with him. (Jared always snickers at this, because Jensen? So gay.)

So it’s not like Jared didn’t know his best friend was smokin’, he’s just never looked at him, gotten half hard, and lumped himself in with all those girls that make goo-goo eyes at him. Until now, anyway.

Jared figures it’s about time to get up off of the ground, so he does. He leaves his backpack under the bench, dusts the grass off of the back of his pants, and watches Jensen. He feels jittery and nervous, and he’s about ready to do anything to break the tension.

Suddenly Jensen comes sprinting from across the field, stick up and eyes on the ball being passed to him. Jared reaches out and snags his fingers into the wires of Jensen’s facemask, intending to pull him aside. Instead, Jensen’s fast momentum causes Jared to surge forward as Jensen snaps back, and they both land in a heap on the grass. They roll slightly, and when they come to a stop Jared is on top of Jensen, their bodies flush together. In retrospect, this really wasn’t the best way to deal with the being half hard thing.

“Jared?” Jensen says once he gets his facemask and helmet off. He’s flushed, sweaty, and panting. “What the fuck, man?”

The ball goes sailing over them, rolling across the track and coming to a stop at the bottom of the bleachers. Jensen’s hands are gripping Jared’s biceps, his lacrosse stick resting across the small of Jared’s back. One of Jared’s hands is splayed on the grass next to Jensen’s head, and the other rests on one sweaty hip.

“Wrong sport, Padalecki!” Coach Morgan calls out from a few feet away. Jared looks over his shoulder at him and grins. “What the hell are you doing out here? You aren’t even in this class!”

Jared rolls his eyes and looks back down at Jensen, who has his jaw clenched and looks wildly uncomfortable. His hands slide slightly from Jared’s biceps to his chest, pushing slightly. One of Jensen’s teammates runs by to grab the runaway ball.

“Can you two fuck later? There’s a game going on!”

“It’s fucking gym class, asshole. Not the Olympics.” Jared gives him the finger and finally climbs off of Jensen, helping the other boy to his feet. They brush the grass off of themselves and Jensen looks up. He’s still breathing heavily and his sweaty hair sticks up in a million different directions. Jared clears his throat and grins sheepishly.

“What the hell, man?” Jensen says, watching a spot over Jared’s shoulder. Coach Morgan, probably. “If he makes me run laps again I’m shoving this stick up your ass and laughing as you cry.”

“Dude, we need to talk about tonight,” Jared replies, ignoring the obscene threat and bouncing on his heels a little. Jensen’s eyes bug out in a most unbecoming way, and he lets out a long-suffering sigh.

“Are you kidding me with this, Jared? It couldn’t wait until like, the hour and a half until school ends?”

“I ditched English and I was bored. Anyway, is Josh going to be in town tonight? Because I don’t know if Jeff is or not. I think he is, but I’m not sure.” Jensen isn’t paying any attention to him, and Jared has to snap his fingers in his face to get him to take his eyes off of the game. “Jensen! Josh?”

“I already fucking told you like eighteen times I wanted to go to Chris and Steve’s party tonight,” Jensen says, eyes still on the game as he slaps Jared’s hand away from his face. “What makes you think Josh and Jeff wouldn’t be there? Everyone is going to be there. Except us, apparently,” he adds, glaring at Jared. “And Josh will tell us to fuck off if we ask him to buy us booze for a whole party. For us, yeah. But not for the entire fucking school.”

“But – “ Jared starts, but Jensen cuts him off with a wave and an annoyed expression. Jensen looks back over towards the action on the field, letting out a growl of frustration and throwing his arms out at a particularly bad move.

“Padalecki,” Coach Morgan yells, and Jared’s head jerks up. “Get the hell off of my field before I figure out what class you’re supposed to be in! We need Jensen out here.”

“Just go, Jared. I’ll see you later.” Jensen scoops up his helmet and puts it back on before tearing off towards the game excitedly. Jared’s shoulders slump slightly, and all he can think about is Jensen’s annoyed expression. Jensen will do anything Jared asks him to, including skipping awesome parties and stopping in the middle of playing his favorite sport, and the thought makes Jared feel slightly guilty.

He watches Jensen for one more long moment, admiring the way he moves fluidly across the field. He’s graceful in a way Jared wishes he could be. The weird knot in his stomach doesn’t go away, not even after he leaves the field.

The last period of the day for Jensen is Journalism. And it’s sort of pointless by now, because the last issue of the paper has gone out and there is nothing left to do. Jensen spins idly in his computer chair, hands clasped loosely in his lap. The licorice rope is back out, hanging limply across his shoulders.

Kristen sits next to him, tiny legs folded under her in her chair as she talks his ear off. She smiles coyly and touches his arm, asking him if he’s going to the party tonight and batting her lashes flirtatiously. Jensen bites his lip and tries not to roll his eyes. It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate all the attention, he does, but he can’t give these girls what they want, and no tall, tanned boys have come asking for it.

His cell phone buzzes in his pocket, and he jumps a little before extracting it. It’s Jared’s name on the display, one new text. He gives Kristen an apologetic smile and flips his phone open.

Sry 4 interrupting yr game earlier. :(

Jensen feels his heart thump in his chest, and he grins widely. He’d been irritated with Jared earlier, but as he showered off the dirt and sweat after gym, he realized it was just misplaced frustration.

Everything is changing. Lacrosse had been something he loved, and it’s over. High school is ending, and he has no idea which direction his life is going. He’s heading for uncharted waters, and he’s freaking out just a little.

And Jared was just being Jared, all exuberance and flailing limbs. When he gets excited about something it’s all he can think about. Jensen has always admired that, and wishes he could be as free with his emotions. He doesn’t like that Jared is sitting in Photo, moping. Plus, Jared is the only one that can send a sad face via text message and not come across as a total dork.

“I gotta go, Kay.” He gets up and grabs his bag. “I’ll see you tonight, yeah?” Kristen looks slightly disappointed but smiles brightly at him, and he pats her shoulder as he walks away. “Hey Manners, I’m gonna go see what’s going on in Kripke’s class. Is that cool?”

The grizzly old Journalism teacher barely looks up from his magazine, but his lips curve into a knowing smile. “Sure thing. Say hi to Jared for me.”

Jensen grins and traipses out of the room. With a move like that, he can’t believe anyone thinks he’s straight.

Kripke teaches Photo three doors down in the visual arts building. Jared loves Photo class. Jensen remembers back in sophomore year when Kripke taught them how to make a pinhole camera out of a soda can. Jared became obsessed with them. All the crappy pictures are still pressed in his sophomore yearbook. A few of them linger on Jensen’s corkboard in his room, black and white distorted images of trees, water fountains, and one of Jensen himself, his face twisted into an expression of fond exasperation.

The classroom is loud and raucous, full of energy. That’s pretty much the usual with Kripke’s classes. He doesn’t give a shit what anyone does, as long as they turn in their projects on time. He missed it a lot when he moved on to Journalism, but he usually gets paired up with Jared on assignments for the paper. Well, got paired up. The graduation issue is out at the presses, and school is coming to a close. Jensen ignores the pang in his chest and saunters into Kripke’s classroom.

Jared is sitting at the computer station, his long, long legs hooked around a stool. He’s leaning forward, gesturing wildly to someone on the other side of the round table. His shirt has ridden up to reveal the small dimples at the base of his spine, tan skin stretched over lean muscle.

Jared is talking to Allie, who spots him sneaking up behind Jared and wrapping the licorice rope around his hands. He holds one finger up to his lips and she smiles, biting her lip to keep from laughing as Jensen pounces. He wraps the length of rope around Jared’s neck and jerks him backwards. He yelps and jumps off of the stool, slipping and falling backwards into Jensen. He has to throw his arm around Jared’s waist to keep them both from falling, and Jared whips around to face him. Jared lets out a booming laugh and wraps his arms around Jensen in a tight bear hug.

“What’s up, man?” Jared grins, and Jensen pulls back to pat his shoulders.

“Had to get out of there. Bell had her sights set, dude.” He gives a theatrical shudder, and Jared pushes him away.

“Since you’re wasting all your sexual prowess on bein’ gay and all, you could pass it on over to me,” Jared says slyly, and Jensen grins. “I’d put it to good use.”

“It’d take a lot more than my second hand sexual prowess to get you laid, Padalecki.”

“Hell, maybe I’ll just have you do the honors. Kill two birds with one stone.”

Jared grins, and thankfully the bell chooses that moment to ring, because Jared heads off to grab his bag and misses the way Jensen chokes on his sharp intake of air. He manages a bemused expression by the time Jared returns, like Jared’s comment was stupid, like that isn’t exactly what he wants more than anything.

Chad catches up with them on their way out to the parking lot, bouncing excitedly. He furrows his brow when they turn instead towards the staff parking lot.

“Ha!” Jared exclaims once his beaten up truck comes into view. “Told you it would still be here, asshole.”

Jensen bites his thumbnail, looking up at Jared’s flushed and happy face through his girly fringe of lashes. Jensen thinks he’s subtle, but he’s really not. At least not to Chad.

Chad can see the way Jensen looks at Jared, like Jared is the epitome of sunshine and rainbows and fluffy, yappy puppies. Sort of like Jared is everything.

Chad can see this, clear as day. Jensen is in love with Jared, plain and simple. It sort of makes Chad sad, because he also sees the other way Jensen looks at Jared. His eyes get sad, his expression pained like he realizes his feelings are hopeless, like his dreaming will get him nowhere.

But Chad, he also sees the way Jared looks at Jensen sometimes. Sort of like Jensen is the epitome of sunshine and rainbows, but he hasn’t quite realized it yet.

They just keep missing each other’s glances, and Chad hopes it doesn’t go on forever.

“What the fuck is this?” Jared shrieks, pulling Chad from his thoughts. Jared plucks a pink piece of paper out from under his windshield. It’s a ticket, and Jensen throws his head back laughing. He laughs with his whole body, eyes crinkling slightly and shining with mirth. Chad looks over to Jared, noticing the way Jared watches him with such open fondness. It’s no wonder half the school thinks they’re fucking.

By the time Jensen turns back to Jared with a “fucking told you, asshole”, Jared’s expression has been replaced with an annoyed one.

Chad sort of wants to smack them both - they’re so retarded.

“Dude, I gotta go to work,” Chad says, bringing his hand down on Jared’s shoulder. “Meet me after my shift, and we’ll go get that booze, yeah?”

“Sure,” Jared says dismissively, waving his hand. Chad rolls his eyes and walks off. Jared doesn’t believe he can do it, but that’s okay, because Jared and Jensen sort of only believe in each other.

“Dude, could you be more tiny?” Jared asks. He strips off another one of Jensen’s shirts and tosses it on the growing pile on the desk. Jensen plays Guitar Hero like he’s going for a fucking Grammy; just to avoid looking at Jared’s bare torso.

“Hey, I’m normal sized. You’re the giant freak,” Jensen retorts, wrist cramping as he blows through Carry On My Wayward Son on expert for the third time in a row. Jared huffs and flicks through Jensen’s shirts. “Why don’t you just go home and wear your own clothes?”

“No fucking way. My parents are getting ready to leave for their trip, and like, my mom thinks the house has to be spotless before she leaves for any period of time. Like if they die in some fiery car crash everyone will see her house and like, the one dirty dish in the sink and think she was a horrible person or something.” Jared turns, his bare torso displayed in all its tanned and toned glory. It’s not fair really. Jared was lanky as hell no less than a year ago. All these lean, sinewy muscles just appeared from nowhere and gave Jensen no time to prepare. Jensen flinches as he misses a series of notes during the chorus, and Jared ducks back into the closet. “You know if I go home my mom will make me, like, clean and shit.”

“Heaven forbid,” Jensen says dryly, flipping down the song list until he gets to Freebird. His wrists throb in protest. “Why don’t you just wear what you’re wearing now?”

“I can’t wear what I wore to school,” Jared replies, and Jensen can see his clothes flying to the floor in his peripheral vision. He has to pause his game as Jared steps in front of the television. Jensen looks up with an annoyed huff. This really isn’t fair. “Jensen, you look amazing. Please help me?”

“What is this, queer eye for the fucking loser?” His cheeks flush from the praise and he looks down, picking at the hem of his shirt. He’s wearing a dark green button down, sleeves rolled up to just below his elbows, and a pair of dark jeans that stretch tight in all the right places.

“C’mon, Jen,” Jared pleads, breaking out the puppy dog gaze. “Your gay-fu is strong. Help me.”

“You’re such a dork,” Jensen says, but he gets up anyway. Jared’s shit litters his room, like he half lives there, which is sort of true. Jensen goes though a small pile of clothes that rest on top of his dresser and throws a pair of faded, vintage jeans at Jared. “Those are yours. You left them here awhile back, and my mom washed them.”

“Awesome,” Jared says, and kicks the pants he’s wearing off without preamble. Jensen’s eyes bug out as Jared stands in the middle of his bedroom, clad only in a pair of black boxer briefs. His tan legs go on for miles, and Jensen blushes as he imagines them wrapped tight around his body.

“Uh – shirt. Something simple, because I doubt any of my button downs will fit you.” He flips through his closet, and eventually settles on a soft black v-neck sweater. It hangs sort of loose on Jensen, and he curses himself as he tosses it to Jared. He pulls it on quickly, and just as Jensen suspected, it clings to Jared in an almost obscene way. Jensen suppresses a growl.

The door to Jensen’s room slams open as Jared pushes the sleeves of his shirt up to his elbows. Mac comes into the room and throws herself onto Jensen’s bed. She never comes into Jensen’s room unless Jared is there, so Jensen has the customary moment of panic where he tries to remember if he left gay porn or lube or used tissues lying around. The area looks clean – well, clean of that - and Jensen sighs in relief.

“Jared, you look so hot,” she coos, flipping her hair over one shoulder. Jared grins and sits on the edge of the bed to put on his socks. He looks over his shoulder at her, giving her a wide smile.

“You have a poster of Zac Efron on your wall, baby,” Jared laughs, throwing her a wink. “I’m not sure I should trust your judgment.”

“Quit calling my sister baby, you fuckin’ pedophile.” Jensen smacks Jared again, and then settles back in to play some more Guitar Hero. He sort of thinks Zac Efron is a little bit hot too, but there’s no way he’s telling Jared.

“I’m only three years younger than you guys,” Mac replies, crawling across the bed to touch Jared’s hair. “Jared, you should totally let me straighten your hair. It would be like, so hot.”

“Uh – no. That’s alright,” Jared laughs, lacing up his shoes. Mac pouts and tangles her fingers in Jared’s unruly mop.

“You have to. It will look so good, right Jensen?” Jensen just waves one hand noncommittally. If his sister wants to gay up Jared and make him look like an idiot that’s fine by him. Jared eyes Mac wearily, and then finally relents.

“I’ll be back after my extreme makeover,” Jared sighs, and Jensen smirks as they leave the room. He uses the time to finish getting ready to go, fixing his hair and putting on his cologne.

He plays a few more songs on Guitar Hero and realizes he needs to stop if he wants to have any mobility in his wrists by the end of the night. After awhile, Jensen twists the lid off of his water bottle and takes a drink. Jared chooses that moment to come back into the room, head ducked shyly, and Jensen almost chokes on his water.

“Shit,” Jensen says, and Jared looks up with blushing cheeks. The silky, straightened strands of his hair fall into his face, like it just doesn’t know how to act when it’s not in its usual waves and curls. Jared pushes his hair to the side, grinning sheepishly, and Jensen doesn’t know whether to kill Mac or kiss her.

“Does it look stupid?” Jared tucks a few pieces behind his ears, letting some of the chestnut strands curve around his right eye. It looks far from stupid, actually. He looks gorgeous.

“It looks fine,” Jensen says instead, clearing his throat and screwing the cap back onto his bottle to have something to do with his hands other than running them through Jared’s hair. “Can we go?”

“Uh – yeah. If you’re sure it looks alright.”

“It’s fine,” Jensen says again, checking the time on his cell. “We gotta jet if we’re gonna meet Chad when his shift ends. Let’s go.”

They pull up in front of Jolly Market a little after six. Chad is leaning against the wall, taking a drag off of a cigarette. Jensen scrambles out of the truck as soon as Jared puts it in park and sidles up next to Chad.

“Gimme one,” Jensen says, and Chad rolls his eyes as he passes a smoke over to Jensen, who sighs gratefully and lights up. Jared marches up to them, big hands on slim hips.

“I’m not going to visit either one of you in the hospital when you’re dying of lung cancer,” Jared says haughtily, and Jensen and Chad roll their eyes and exhale at the same time.

“We’re not going to visit you when you give yourself brain damage from falling down too many times then, you gigantic loser,” Chad says, and Jensen chokes on a laugh. “And what the fuck did you do to your hair? You look like a Backstreet Boy.”

“Whatever,” Jared snaps back. “Let’s go watch your lame ass get kicked out of the liquor store.”

“It’ll totally work,” Chad says, stubbing his cigarette out on the bricks behind him. “Toby’s always works.”

“Who the fuck is Toby?” Jared replies, and then shakes his head and puts up a hand. “You know what, nevermind. I don’t give a shit. Jensen, give him the list.”

“You’re fucking ridiculous,” Jensen mumbles around his cigarette filter as he pulls a crumpled up piece of notebook paper from his front left pocket. “Just for the record.”

Chad snatches the piece of paper from Jensen’s hand and looks it over. “This is a shitload of booze, Jared.”

“Uh, I’m sorry. Isn’t that kind of the point?” Jared says sarcastically as he pushes Chad towards the store. He pulls a wad of cash from the front pocket of his jeans. “Here’s a hundred. Make it count. Now just go in there and fucking do it!”

“Alright!” Chad yells after grabbing the cash. “Let go of me, you handsy bastard.”

Chad rolls his shoulders back and heads for the liquor store while Jared and Jensen casually loiter against the brick wall of the donut shop next door.

“Oh dude. That drug store has the kind of lube I like and I’m almost out,” Jensen says after a minute or two, slapping Jared on the chest and heading towards the street. “Let’s go.”

“Why do you need lube, you fucking virgin?” Jared asks, looking both ways before stepping out into the middle of the street. Jensen gives him a pointed look, and then makes a loose circle with his fist. Jared rolls his eyes and punches him in the shoulder.

“Why can’t you just jerk off with whatever lotion you can find like every other guy on the planet?”

“Because like, it’s different,” Jensen says. “I’m much more thorough, and like – wait, I’m not going to go into detail about my masturbatory habits with you, asshole.” Particularly because Jared has frequently been the star of the show during his late night jerk off sessions. Thinking of Jared never fails to get him off hard and fast, leaving him panting, cheeks flushed with arousal and shame. He doesn’t know if it’s because it’s so forbidden, or if Jared is really just that hot. It’s probably both. “Now shut the fuck up and let me buy my lube.”

“Whatever, you fucking princess. I jerk with Jergen’s and I like it.” The bell above the door jingles to punctuate that profound statement, and the cashier gives Jared a scandalized look.

Jared has the decency to blush, and Jensen snickers to himself as he traipses down aisle four - family planning. After wrinkling his nose at the pregnancy tests and yeast infection creams (thank god he’ll never have to deal with that), he grabs his lube. He looks up and down the aisle before reaching out to snag a three pack of condoms, although he isn't sure what prompts him to do so.

He meanders back up to the counter and puts his purchases down along with a Dr. Pepper and a cherry Tootsie Pop.

“Why are you getting condoms?” Jared asks, loud and obnoxious, from right behind Jensen. He gives the cashier an apologetic smile.

“You never know what the night may bring,” Jensen says mischievously, knowing full well that they’ll probably sit in his sock drawer until he dies a lonely virgin.

“You’re right,” Jared says thoughtfully. “Give me one.”

“No,” Jensen replies as he accepts his change and grabs his bag. “Get your own.”

“There’s three condoms in there!” Jared shrieks. “What, you’re going to go from being a loser virgin to a super slut in one night? Give me a damn condom!”

“Get your own!”

“I’ve got an idea!” The cashier calls out, looking both annoyed and amused. “Why don’t you just use them to fuck each other, and get the hell out of my store!”

Jared and Jensen both freeze, heads turning to look at the middle aged woman. They crack up at the same time, laughing hysterically as they leave the store.

The laughter dies, however, when they look across the street and see a police car parked in front of the liquor store.

“What is that?” Jensen asks, swallowing hard.

“That is Chad being well and truly fucked,” replies Jared. “Without your six dollar lube.”

“What do we do?” Jensen asks, staring in wide-eyed horror at the sight before him. He squints, trying to see into the store, but the posters and advertisements covering the windows make that difficult.

“We flee,” Jared states, tucking tail and turning to run away. Jensen reaches out and snags the back of his shirt, holding him in place even as Jared struggles.

“But what about Chad? We can’t just leave him!”

“And why not?” Jared shrieks, twisting around until Jensen lets go of him. “There’s nothing we can do for him, Jen. He’s a dead man!”

“Jared, calm the fuck down,” replies Jensen. “They probably won’t arrest him. They’ll just take the ID and let him go with a warning.”

“And call his parents! And they’ll call our parents! And fuck that, I’m not going down for Chad. Let’s go,” Jared cries, reaching out to grab Jensen’s arm. “He can call us when they let him go. If they let him go.”

Jensen sighs and stumbles after Jared, giving the liquor store one last glance over his shoulder.

“So what now?” Jensen asks as he gets into Jared’s truck and buckles up. Jared puts his hands on the steering wheel and hits them with his forehead a few times, ever the drama queen. Then, he sits up and turns the key in the ignition.

“We go to Chris and Steve’s and harass our brothers.” Jared turns to grin at Jensen, and Jensen just glares back.

“I still think it’s fucked up,” Jensen says, “leaving Chad.”

“Jen,” Jared replies, “Chad will be fine.”

Chad is not exactly fine.

He’s nervous and sort of freaking out, reaching out to grab a bottle of Smirnoff when it happens.

“Stop right there!” Two voices call out in unison, and Chad freezes. When he slowly looks over his shoulder, he sees two police officers, hands on their guns. Chad nearly drops the vodka and squeezes his eyes shut. He is going to fucking kill Jared.

He’s about to take a deep breath and face his fate, when another two voices startle him again. The vodka slips from his fingers and he manages to grab it before it crashes to the floor.

“What are you fuckers doing here?” A guy shouts from the other side of him, and Chad turns to see him and a tall, dark haired guy both giving the cops the finger. Chad closes his eyes for a second and tries to shuffle out of the line of fire without being seen.

He’s waiting for these assholes to get shot or arrested, all the while trying to figure out how to get through the door without being stopped.

“You’re supposed to be out protecting and serving our fine little community,” the shorter guy says, “and instead you’re lurking in a liquor store.”

“Fuck you,” one of the cops laughs. “I will not hesitate to beat you with my nightstick .”

“I’d like to see you try,” the taller guy with the dark hair says, and they all start laughing. They shake hands and pat each other on the back, and Chad is pretty confused. He gets a better look at the two younger guys and realizes that he knows them, sort of. Their names are Mike and Tom, and they are good friends with Jared and Jensen’s brothers. He stands there, watching their strange interaction for far too long, apparently. One of the cops turns to look at him, raising an eyebrow at his panicked expression and the bottle of vodka in his hand.

“Hey kid,” the cop says, suddenly business like. “You got ID?”

“Um...” Chad starts, glancing towards Mike and Tom. They glance at one another and Mike walks over to him, slinging his arm around his shoulders.

“He’s with us,” Mike says, giving Chad’s shoulders a squeeze. Chad swallows hard and nods.

“Like an errand boy,” Tom adds, and Chad is so nervous that he just nods again. The cops chuckle and pat Mike and Tom on the shoulders. One of them even winks at Chad.

“Alright. We’re just in here for some road beers anyway,” the cop says. His partner chuckles and turns to follow him towards the back of the store. “You kids keep your shit together tonight. I don’t feel like arresting anybody.”

“I feel really safe in their hands,” Mike sighs, pulling Chad towards him. He finally looks at Chad, brow knitted. “Where do I know you from?”

“Uh, Josh and Jeff?” Chad squeaks. “I’m, uh, good friends with their brothers. They’re waiting outside for me.”

“Oh,” Tom says. “Jared and Jensen. Those crazy kids probably turned tail and ran at the first sign of flashing lights.” Chad immediately turns towards the windows, squinting angrily at the vacant parking space where Jared’s truck was.

“Son of a bitch!” Chad yells, fuming. Mike and Tom laugh. Chad can’t really blame them, though. He would have done the same thing. He huffs and turns back to Mike and Tom. “So are you guys like, friends with those cops?”

“Slater and Michaels?” Mike asks, and he and Tom share a laugh. “You could say that.”

“We uh, went on a ride along with them once,” Tom adds.

“Best night of our lives.” Mike grins at Tom and then turns towards Chad. “You’re no doubt trying to get some liquor for some underage high school party, right?” Mike asks, and Chad nods.

“No problem,” Tom says. “Get your booze. We’ll get you to the party.”

“Sweet,” Chad says, beaming as he grabs another bottle. The cashier doesn’t even card him, and he leaves the store with Mike and Tom, arms laden with a huge bag of booze.

When Jared and Jensen pull up to Chris and Steve’s, the place is already packed. Jared has to park his truck down the block, and they walk up to the house together. This is where Jensen wanted to be tonight, and he gives Jared a surly look. Jared gives him a guilty little smile and Jensen rolls his eyes.

They spot Jeff’s car as they make their way through the crowded front yard and push themselves through the open door. The place is crawling with people, and Chris and Steve have all their equipment set up on a tiny makeshift stage in the corner of the giant living room. They’re fumbling with microphone stands and amplifiers in a way that lets Jensen know they’ve already knocked back a few this evening. Even if they are drunk, the music will still be awesome. Well, it would be, if they were staying.

Walking into Chris and Steve’s house is sort of like walking into San Francisco in the 60’s. It’s all peace, love, and happiness. The weed flows as free as the beer and no one cares who’s making out with whom in the corners. You can kick back and relax in a place where no one will judge you. Chris and Steve’s is a place to have fun and be yourself, plain and simple. Jensen really digs that.

They both take a shot or two, just to get the night started. Jared gets up on his tiptoes to try and spot either one of their brothers in the sea of people, but to no avail. He purses his lips and scans the crowd while Jensen watches Chris and Steve pull on their guitars.

A short burst of feedback blares through the room and the crowd hushes almost instantly as Chris steps up to the mike. “Okay, we’re back after our much needed break,” Chris says, toasting the crowd with a bottle of Corona. “It’s time to keep it goin’.”

Steve steps up next to Chris, whispering something in his ear and pointing into the crowd. Jensen gulps as Chris’s gaze lands sharply on him and he grins.

“Look who’s here,” Chris says into the mike. “Josh’s little brother! Get up here, man.” Jensen rolls his eyes. Chris and Steve are some of his best friends, and they damn well know Jensen’s name and how much he hates that Josh’s little brother shit. Jensen just shakes his head. “C’mon now! Josh’s little brother is a great singer. Get up here and sing with us!”

Before Jensen can protest again, he’s flanked on either side as two guys grab his arms and drag him towards the stage. A quick glance side to side confirms his suspicions, telling him that his attackers are none other than Josh and Jeff.

“Let me go, you fuckers!” He yells, but they just laugh. He hears Jared cackle from somewhere behind him, obviously making his way through the crowd as well.

“Sing, little brother.” Josh gives him a wicked grin as he and his best friend push him onto the little stage. Chris and Steve smile and clap him on the shoulders, and then Chris drags him over to his mic while Steve steps up to his own. Chris reaches over and plucks a shot glass of tequila from a barstool in the corner and hands it over. Jensen wordlessly slams it back and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.

“Seriously now, y’all,” Chris says, keeping his arm looped around Jensen’s shoulder. “This here is Jensen. He’s a good friend and a mighty fine singer, so let’s give it up.” A smattering of applause fills the room and Chris turns to grin at Jensen.

Thing is, Jensen and Chris have made out. Like, a lot. Chris isn’t gay, not really, but after a few beers and a good show, he’ll make out with pretty much anyone pretty and willing. And Jensen? He’s pretty much always willing. It’s not that he has feelings for Chris, he doesn’t. But Jensen can’t deny that the guy is hot and making out is really fun.

Chris finally removes his arm from Jensen’s shoulder and places his hands reverently on his guitar. He shares a look with Steve, and they both nod before starting to play. Jensen recognizes the notes immediately, and it instantly sets adrenaline running through his veins. He spots Jared giving him two thumbs up from near the front of the crowd, and Jensen flashes a grin before leaning in, sharing Chris’s mic and singing the first words right along with him.

”It’s been a long time since I wore this rattlesnake smile. I know my friends haven’t seen it in quite awhile.”

Jared has seen and heard Jensen sing plenty of times. He’s usually pretty shy about it, but Jensen has never really been shy around Jared. He assumes it’s because he’s been around Jensen since birth. He’s always been a constant fixture in his life. Besides, it’s kind of hard to be shy around someone after your mom dunks you in a bathtub with them as a toddler.

Jared has even seen Jensen sing with Chris and Steve before, but tonight is different somehow. Jensen is really into it, leaning in and battling Chris for dominance over lead vocals, when usually he’s content to do backup. He’s putting everything into it, like he’s got something to prove.

It’s not long before sweat beads on Jensen’s skin, tiny little beads of moisture on his hairline and neck, and Jared finds himself watching the way Jensen’s cheeks get flushed and the way his mouth moves as he sings. Boy’s lips are fucking obscene, and Jared finds himself licking his own subconsciously.

Chris eventually steps away from the mic and Jensen winks at him, wrapping his long fingers around the stand before taking over the song on his own. During the bridge, when it’s all guitars and no lyrics, Jensen takes a step back and grins. He’s flushed and sweaty, lips shining. Chris takes a step over to him and nudges Jensen with his shoulder as he plays. Jensen looks over at him and Chris leans in, lips parted and shiny as he kisses Jensen, right there in front of everybody, right up there on the fucking stage.

Jensen’s body stiffens at first, and then he leans into Chris, reaching up to grab the back of Chris’s neck as they kiss sloppily. The crowd cheers, Jeff wolf whistles, Josh shakes his head, and Jared feels slightly sick to his stomach.

His eyes stay glued to the kiss, like a train wreck or a fatal car crash. Jensen’s pink tongue plunges into Chris’s mouth and Jared swallows hard. He doesn’t like that Chris is kissing Jensen. He doesn’t like it at all.

When he realizes that the feeling he’s currently experiencing is jealousy, he takes a few stumbling steps backwards. He wants to know what it would feel like to have Jensen kissing him, to have Jensen all soft and pliable underneath him. He wants to go up there and punch Chris in the face. It’s a shame, because he usually really likes the guy.

Jensen bites down on Chris’s bottom lip and fucking tugs. Chris fumbles over a few notes and they pull apart, gasping into each other’s mouths.

They pull apart in time for Jensen to pick back up on the vocals, his voice slightly raw and breathless. Jared stands there motionless, eyes locked on Jensen as he sings.

”Now come over here and give me a kiss,” Jensen sings, and Jared swears that Jensen’s eyes flicker over to him before he hams it up, puckering his swollen lips at the crowd.

And thing is, Jared sort of wants to. He wants to grab Jensen and pull him into a dark room. He wants to find out what those plush lips feel like under his, what that freckled skin tastes like. Jared’s pulse pounds in his ears and he takes a few stumbling steps back.

When the song ends, Jared barely notices. He watches Jensen like he’s watching a dream, foggy and disconnected.

“Damn, boy.” Chris’s voice registers, but Jared doesn’t look at him. “Who the hell are you singing for?”

Jensen’s gaze lands on Jared, his skin tinged pink as he sneaks a peek at him from under his girly eyelashes. The look is gone before Jared even realizes what it might mean, and he takes another step back into the crowd. They start up a new song, Spirit Boy, and Jared can’t breathe.

Jared isn’t big on epiphanies. He’s the kind of person that lets the chips fall where they may. There have been times when he finds himself in a situation without the knowledge of how he actually got there, and that’s usually okay with him. But right here, right now, he knows what an epiphany feels like.

He wants Jensen. He wants Jensen. He wants his gay best friend, wants to kiss him and touch him. It’s too much to process, considering he spent the majority of Home Economics earlier in the day thinking about what Sandy’s tits might feel like under his palms. This could fuck everything up, and when a soft feminine hand grips his arms and turns him around, he’s glad for the distraction.

“Wanna dance?” The girl is tiny, short and tan with long dark brown hair. She’s got huge tits and a tiny waist, and Jared finds himself nodding before he even really processes the question. She drags him away from the crowd, away from Jensen, and lifts herself up on her toes to wrap her arms around his neck. He dances with her, his hands curling around her curving hips. Another body comes up behind him, and a strong, masculine chest presses against his back. He looks down to see male hands on his hips and he swallows. The shots he threw back when he got here are warm in his belly, fucking up his head along with all his conflicted emotions.

He’d almost forgotten Chris and Steve’s no questions asked, anything goes rules when it comes to partying. He figures fuck it, and leans back against the guy’s chest. The girl’s eyes light up and her fingers tangle in his hair, pulling his head down. Before he knows it, they’re kissing. Her tongue is soft and insistent in his mouth, and one of the guy’s hands is rubbing circles on his stomach. He doesn’t even realize that he can’t hear Jensen’s voice anymore or that the song is different. All that matters is that right now he’s distracted from being so damn confused.

When the girl pulls away from his mouth, his undulating hips stutter to a stop when he sees Jensen over her shoulder, watching them from several feet away. It’s hard to tell due to the distance and the smoky air, but Jensen looks hurt. His eyes are glassy and his lips are pressed into a firm line, and when he realizes Jared is watching him he turns. Jared watches him make his way through the crowd and to the front door. Both his dance partners are holding onto him, kissing his neck, when all he really wants to do is follow Jensen.

“Mind if I cut in?” Jeff’s voice startles him, and his brows furrow as his brother grabs his wrist and yanks him forcefully away from his dancing partners. After a few confusing moments of thinking Jeff actually wants to dance with him, he finds himself being dragged into an empty bedroom.

“What the hell?” Jared demands, wrenching his wrist free from Jeff’s grasp. His big brother looks at him with something like disappoint in his eyes, and then he pushes his hair back from his face.

“Look, Jared. I get that his feelings aren’t mutual, but do you have to be so damn insensitive?” Jeff actually looks a little pissed, and Jared shakes his head, like that’ll make him suddenly understand what the fuck his brother is getting at.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“I could feel Jensen aching from where I was standing, Jared. I just don’t see why you had to do that in front of him.” Jared blinks, and then finally understands. Jeff is pissed at him for dancing like he was, for making out with that girl. But why?

“I don’t get what the problem is. Jensen was making out with Chris up on a fucking stage, but that’s okay?”

“That’s completely – wait. Why do you care who Jensen was kissing?” Jeff replies, and Jared throws his arms out to the side in frustration. Fuck if he’s telling his big brother that he was jealous.

“I don’t. Why would Jensen give a shit who I dance with?” Jared is honestly confused, and Jeff’s hardened glare softens after a moment, his brow crinkling in confusion.

“So – you really have no idea?” Jeff says, and then takes a fidgety step backwards. Jared stamps his foot against the threadbare carpet.

“I have no idea what this entire fucking conversation is about, Jeff. Care to enlighten me?”

“Jensen is upset,” Jeff says instead, taking a step towards the door. “Maybe – I think you should go talk to him. Maybe listen to what he’s trying to tell you.” At that, Jeff opens the door and steps out, letting light, smoke and dirty country music come flooding into the room. Jared blinks, and takes a step to follow his brother, to force him to knock it off with the cryptic shit and tell him what the fuck is going on. But the words Jensen is upset take over his mind, and suddenly his number one priority is to make those words untrue.

The air outside is slightly cool, but still muggy and heavy. Jensen isn’t anywhere near Jared’s truck, so he takes off on foot, jogging in the direction of Jensen’s house. It’s not long before he spots Jensen up ahead, head and shoulders slumped and hands buried deep into his pockets. Jared’s heart gives a small twinge, and he jogs to catch up with him.

“Jen! Why’d you bail on me, dude?” He says, breathless, and reaches out to grab Jensen’s elbow. He wasn’t expecting to see Jensen’s eyes all puffy and red, like he just got done crying or is trying really hard not to. Jensen never cries. The last time that Jared knew of was two years earlier, when his great-grandmother died and Jared held him, letting him cry himself dry into Jared’s chest. “What’s wrong?”

Jensen’s eyes dart around Jared, like he’s looking for an escape. He takes a step back and wraps his arms around himself. Jared takes a step forward and places his hand on Jensen’s shoulder, his thumb skirting up the side of his neck. “Talk to me.”

“Stop.” Jensen reaches up to pull Jared’s hand away, thumb pressing into his pulse point briefly before letting go. Eyes trained on the ground, he speaks softly. “I can’t – I don’t think I can do this anymore.”

“What are you talking about, Jen?” Panic bubbles up in Jared’s chest at those words, at the broken look in Jensen’s eyes. Fix it, his brain supplies. Whatever the fuck you did to hurt him, fucking fix it.

Thing is, Jared has no clue what he did. He doesn’t realize his hands are shaking until he reaches out to touch Jensen’s arm, and he visibly flinches when Jensen takes a step back to dodge it.

“This,” Jensen says, gesturing to the empty space around them like that answers the question. “Helping you on your never ending quest to get into Sandy’s pants, spending every waking second with you. I can’t do it anymore.” He takes a step back then, even further away, eyes wide like he’s surprised at what he said. Jared is just sick of being so damn confused.

“Are you breaking up with me?” He asks weakly, trying to ease the tension. Jensen gets a wounded look on his face, all deep and sorrowful. “Jensen,” he says, taking a step forward and turning so he’s standing on the edge of the curb, the dark street to his back. “What is this about?” When Jensen doesn’t answer, he tries a different approach. “C’mon man, let’s just go to Sandy’s party and relax.”

Jensen pins him with a fierce glare, eyes going dark and angry instead of sad, and Jared knows he just said the wrong thing. Big time.

“You don’t even get it, do you?” Jensen takes a step forward, his voice raising. Jared blinks, because really, he honestly doesn’t. He gets that he’s missing something. He just doesn’t get what it is.

“I obviously don’t, Jensen. So why don’t you explain it to me?” He raises his voice right back because frankly, he’s tired of this shit. He’s confused and tired and just drunk enough for it to be unpleasant, his face burning and his stomach rolling slightly.

“I’m in love with you, asshole!” Jensen cries, and Jared takes a surprised, staggering step back. “I love you. I want you. I actually care about you, and you don’t even give a shit. It’s all about chasing after Sandy, and you can never see what’s right in front of you. It just really hurts to know I can never be what you want and I’m sick of dealing with it. I’m done.”

Jared doesn’t know what to say. How do you react when your best friend tells you he’s in love with you? Part of Jared thinks he should be happy. After all, was he not just thinking about how much he’d like to kiss Jensen back at the party? But the other part of him is telling him no, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. The smart thing to do here would be to go somewhere quiet and talk this out.

Thing is, Jared never claimed to be the smart one.

“So if I don’t return your big gay crush on me, we can’t be friends anymore? That isn’t fucking fair, Jensen.” He’s going for venomous, but it comes out sounding sort of pathetic and hurt. Jensen takes a deep breath and steps up to Jared, raising his shaky hands to Jared’s face.

“That’s not what I’m saying,” Jensen mumbles, and his voice is thick with unshed tears. Jared stands stock still while Jensen’s nimble fingers slide across his eyebrows and down his cheeks, and he lets out a startled gasp when Jensen kisses him. It’s pleading and desperate, Jensen’s full lips press up against his unresponsive ones, and Jensen’s fingers tangle in his straightened hair.

“Jen – “ Jared pulls back when what he really wants to do is kiss him back, bite at that fleshy bottom lip. Jensen nods, hands sliding down to Jared’s shoulders. He presses his forehead against Jared’s chin and Jared swallows, his fists clenched at his sides.

“I’ve wanted to do that for a really long time,” Jensen confesses. “And now I’m going to lose you.”

Jared pulls back at that, the words startling him. He can’t even imagine his life without Jensen. His chest aches just thinking about it, and he shakes his head. A tear slips down Jensen’s cheek and he curses himself, wiping it away furiously.

“Jensen – I.” Jared sighs and takes a few steps backwards, looking at Jensen. His eyes are big and bright green, sorrowful like he’s already mourning the loss of their friendship. He doesn’t know what to say or how to make it better, so instead he sighs, stumbling backwards off of the curb.

It’s that moment that something connects with Jared’s hip. Hard. It swings his feet out from under him and he vaguely registers that it’s a hood he’s currently rolling across before he falls off of it. He lands hard on the pavement, managing to keep from cracking his head on it.

After shaking the stars from his eyes and internally checking for broken bones, he realizes that he’s fine, aside from a bruising ache on his hip.

“Holy shit!” Jared looks up to see a familiar face leaning over the door of a Prius. It’s Jeff’s friend Mike, the crazy motherfucker, and Jared’s groan has nothing to do with pain. Mike is staring at him like he’s trying to decide if he’s okay before he busts up laughing.

Jared pushes himself up to his elbows and flicks his gaze towards Jensen. His friend is breathing heavily, eyes wide with panic. Once he sees that Jared is okay, relief flashes across his face. He finally settles on looking wildly uncomfortable, and Jared knows their important moment has been ruined.

“I just got hit by a fucking Prius,” Jared says, letting his head drop back to look up at the stars. “That is such a blow to my dignity.”

“Don’t knock my car. I’m environmentally friendly and shit,” Mike says, leaning heavily on the door to his car. “And why were you in the middle of the street, douchebag?”

“Hey Jared,” Tom says, stepping out of the passenger side door. “Fancy meeting you here. And what Mike means to say is he’s sorry he almost killed you,” Tom says, glaring at Mike.

“Are you going to live?” A third voice calls out, and Chad climbs out of the back of the car. “Please say you’re okay. I want to start laughing.”

“Chad?” Jared says, pulling himself into a sitting position. He really is fine. Mike was probably going eight miles an hour when he got hit, and knowing Mike, he probably saw Jared in the street and hit him on purpose. Just for laughs. Mike is that kind of guy. “I thought you got arrested?”

“I didn’t. And thanks for leaving me, fucker!” He pulls something from the brown bag in his hands and throws it hard. Jared has no time to react before a lemon hits him square in the chest, knocking the wind out of him. “I got the booze. Let’s go!”

Jared rubs at the spot on his chest and looks over at Jensen, who gives him a wistful smile paired with the saddest eyes Jared has ever seen. After a moment, his features harden and he looks over at Chad.

“I’m bowing out, guys. Have fun.” Jensen juts his chin out and Chad gives him a sympathetic smile. Jared watches as Jensen walks away, head down and hands deep in his pockets, and he knows he should follow. Instead he gets up and dusts the dirt off of the back of his jeans.

“Let’s do this,” Mike says, slinging his arm around Jared’s shoulder. He climbs in the backseat with Chad, who gives him a disappointed look and shakes his head.

“I hope you know I think you’re a complete fucking idiot,” Chad says pointedly, “and not because you got hit by a car.”

Chad doesn’t say a single word to him for the rest of the ride to the party. When they arrive, Chad just thrusts the bag of alcohol into his arms and says, “I hope she’s worth it.” Mike and Tom take off for Chris and Steve’s, and Chad disappears into the house.

Jared stands there, staring dejectedly at his shoes before someone calls his name.

The party is in full swing by the time Jared gets dragged inside by Justin Hartley. Justin is a jock, and sort of a dick, and Jared doesn’t think they’ve had a conversation since they were ten. But apparently the booze in his hands makes them friends or something, and Jared wrinkles his nose as he’s pulled through the crowd of people. Crappy 80’s music blares from the speakers and people are dancing (well, at least Jared thinks that is what they’re doing, because all the undulating hips just look spastic and weird and not at all sexy).

Justin helps him line up the booze on the island in the kitchen, and Jared looks up at the same moment Sandy enters the room in a purple halter-top and a denim skirt, long brown hair curling softly over her shoulders. She’s smiling her sweet smile and looking at him with those pretty brown eyes. “Jared!” She cries, and Jared supposes this is the moment his heart is supposed to give a little flip at the sight of her. Really all he feels is fond admiration for the beautiful girl in front of him, and the tense, jittery feeling telling him he should be elsewhere. Like maybe in a dark bedroom in a house on a maple lined street a few blocks away with black and white pictures from a pinhole camera stuck to a corkboard. Like maybe with his best friend.

Sandy flings her arms around Jared’s neck and he hugs her back, burying his face in the soft curls of her hair. His hand nearly spans her back, and her skin is soft and warm beneath his fingertips. It’s everything he should want, but it feels like a hollow victory. Sandy pulls away, sliding her hands down his chest and tipping her head back to look him in the eye.

“Are you okay?” She asks, and Jared can feel his face fall because no, he really isn’t. Not at all. Sandy gets this adorable little crinkle in her brow and looks around, her eyes darting around the house before landing back on Jared, concerned. “Where’s Jensen?”

Jared feels his heart trip a little at the name, shoulders slumping slightly. “He’s not here,” Jared replies, and Sandy looks thoughtful for a moment. She suddenly grabs his hand and pulls him towards the stairs, and Jared can do little more than stumble after her and give her back a puzzled look.

Across the room, Chad glances up from his conversation with Sophia to see Jared climbing the stairs behind Sandy, her fingers intertwined with his. He sighs sadly, and Sophia follows his gaze. She watches Sandy and Jared for a moment before giving Chad a curious look.

“My friends are idiots,” Chad says, smirking and taking a sip from his cup. Sophia gives him a warm little smile over the rim of her cup, and his heart skips a beat.

“Jared and Jensen?” She inquires, and Chad gives a slightly startled nod. “They’ll figure it out eventually.”

“Let’s hope,” Chad laughs, resting his shoulder against the wall. “I, for one, am sick of dealing with them.”

“Why have you never really tried to talk to me before?” Sophia asks suddenly, and Chad flushes pink. He opens and closes his mouth a few times, and then takes a drink from his cup.

“Well, I mean – have you seen you?” Chad finally says, and Sophia laughs softly and ducks her head.

“I’m glad you’re talking to me now,” Sophia says, and Chad’s whole face lights up.

“Yeah,” he says, leaning a little closer. “Me too.”

Sandy closes her bedroom door behind them, and Jared sits down on the edge of the bed nervously. All he could think about for the past two years was being right here, in this very position, and now all he can think of is ways to let her down easy.

“Jared,” Sandy says, all soft and sweet as she sits down next to him on the bed. “What happened? Did you and Jensen have a fight?”

Jared looks over at her, startled to see her caring, concerned expression. This is definitely not what he imagined happening when Sandy dragged him upstairs. “Uh – what? I mean, yeah, sort of.” He ducks his head, brow crinkling. He can count the number of actual fights he and Jensen have had on one hand, the last one being when Jensen melted Jared’s GI Joe with a magnifying glass. They were twelve, and the fight lasted a day and a half. Jensen bought him a new one, fresh in the box, with his allowance. Two days later they blew it up with a firecracker. All was well.

“It’s sort of obvious,” Sandy says, distracting Jared from his thoughts. “I mean, you’re here without him, and you look like someone just killed your puppy.”

“Oh,” is all Jared says, and he pushes his hair back from his face. His chest is all achy and his stomach is turning. And not to mention that he’s really fucking confused.

“It’s alright,” Sandy says, rubbing soothing circles on Jared’s back. “You guys are perfect. You’re like, the couple all other couples aspire to be. It’ll work out.”

“Yeah,” Jared replies absently. He shoots up when he finally realizes what she said. The look he gives her is incredulous. “Wait - what?”

“What?” Sandy repeats, her brow crinkling.

“Me and Jensen – we’re not – I mean, we’re not together. Not like that. I’m not – I’m not gay. Just he is.” Jared stammers, feeling his cheeks heat up. Sandy’s eyes widen and she puts her hand over her mouth.

“Oh god,” she moans, and then grins sheepishly. “I’m sorry. I just assumed. You guys are just so close. Oh wow.” She giggles, and Jared stares at her in horror.

“I’ve had a crush on you since you moved here!” Jared blurts, and then claps both hands over his mouth. Sandy stares at him for a second, and then busts up laughing.

“I totally would have made a move on you if I hadn’t though you were in love with Jensen,” Sandy laughs. “I mean, the way you guys look at each other. It’s intense.”

Jared thinks on that for a long moment, and finally turns towards Sandy. She cocks her head at him, eyes all warm and sympathetic. She puts her hand on his thigh, and there was a time, yesterday even, when the action would have driven him crazy.

That’s when it hits him, right there in that moment. He’s in Sandy’s bedroom, her hand is on his thigh and she’s close enough that he can smell the soft floral scent of her perfume. All this is going on, and all he can think about – all he wants - is Jensen.

He is well and truly fucked.

“Can I tell you something?” Jared asks, gnawing on his bottom lip. Sandy puts her hand on top of Jared’s and grins.

“Sure!” She chirps, grinning and bumping her tiny shoulder against his. Jared looks at her, taking a deep breath and closing his eyes for a moment.

“Jensen told me he was in love with me tonight,” Jared says slowly, and his eyes widen as he says it aloud. Sandy blinks, and then smiles warmly.

“I’m not really surprised,” she replies. “Boy looks at you like you gave him the sun and the moon.”

“Also,” Jared continues, swallowing hard. He looks at her, voice slightly hysterical. “I’m pretty sure I’m having some sort of existential crisis.”

“And why is that?” Sandy asks gently, picking up one of Jared’s giant hands in her tiny ones.

“I’m pretty sure I love him back, and I’m just having a hard time working past the whole suddenly realizing I might be gay or at the very least bisexual thing.” Sandy gets up, shrieking and bouncing up and down. Jared stares at her, throat working and mind racing. “Alright,” he says, smoothing his palms down his thighs. “I’m pretty sure I’m in love with Jensen. So I like my best friend who happens to be a guy. That’s okay.” He pauses, staring straight ahead. “Yeah. Great. No, that’s fine.”

“Jared! Don’t get all freaked out and weird on me!” Sandy shakes his shoulders. “You two are so meant to be together. You’re going to be a perfect couple and you’ll have hot, glorious, life affirming sex. And we’ll all go shopping together because I’ve always wanted to be a fag hag. It’ll be the start of a wonderful life together. Don’t ruin this for me!”

Jared stares up at her as she shakes his shoulders, panic in his eyes. Sandy nods and pulls on his arms, trying to get him to stand. “Come on,” she says, “I’m taking you to Jensen.”

Sandy pulls him down the stairs, and Jared struggles not to trip. “Move it, people!” She cries. “Man having an existential crisis here. Give him some room!”

Everybody turns to look at them, and Jared ducks his head to hide his flushing cheeks. Sandy pulls him over to Sophia, who is engrossed in conversation with Chad.

“Sophie,” she says, “you’re in charge. I have to take Jared to get his man.”

“Sandy!” He shrieks, and then turns towards Chad and Sophia when they start to cheer. He stares at them, eyes wide in surprise, and Sophia kisses his cheek.

“Go get him, tiger!” She calls out, tipping her beer cup towards him.

“It’s about damn time, asshole,” Chad says, and punches him hard on the shoulder. Jared laughs and laughs as Sandy pulls him out towards her car. This is going to work out. He’s sure of it.

The house is dark and empty when Jensen trudges inside. His parents are going to be gone overnight for some wine tasting thing with Jared’s parents, and Mac and Megan are staying at Jared’s house. The Ackles and the Padaleckis are fucking weird, Jensen thinks. Five sets of best friends. They all get along so disgustingly well, and Jensen’s a little bit sad that he fucked it up.

He trudges upstairs without turning any lights on, startling and nearly falling down the goddamn stairs when his cell phone trills in his pocket. The tiny flare of hope that wells up inside him is quashed when Chris’s name flashes on the screen, with a picture of him flipping off the camera phone while wearing a Stetson is displayed above it.

“Hello?” Jensen answers, voice tired like he’s aged ten years in the last thirty minutes.

Hey kid,” Chris answers, voice soft and compassionate in a way he very rarely ever is. He sounds a little drunk, soft around the edges and warm. Jensen can hear the barely concealed noises of a party in full swing in the background, like maybe Chris shut himself in a bedroom just to call Jensen. The thought makes him smile a little. “You alright? You bolted outta here like a spooked colt. Your brother was worried.

“I’m fine,” Jensen lies. All’s quiet for a moment as Chris pauses, Jensen listening to the sounds of his breathing as he toes off his shoes and flops down onto his bed.

It’s Jared, isn’t it?” Chris asks, and Jensen groans. He isn’t sure what it is about a fifth of tequila that turns Chris into a hot, young version of Dr. Phil, but sometimes Jensen likes it. He isn’t sure now is one of those times.

“Does everyone know?” Jensen asks, throwing his arm across his eyes. He hears Chris chuckle softly on the other end of the line, and then a soft, long intake of breath like Chris is smoking. Jensen craves a cigarette so bad he can taste it. Or pot. Pot would be good about now.

Everyone except your boy, it seems. Stupid as a bag of rocks, in my opinion,” Chris drawls, and Jensen stares at the ceiling. He switches the phone to his other ear and takes a deep breath.

“Yeah, well,” Jensen sighs, “who asked you?”

Why don’t you come back over here, Jensen? We could wind down. Or get wound up, if you’d prefer,” he says in a low, seductive tone that has Jensen biting his bottom lip. It’s severely tempting. It would be a welcome distraction. But in the morning, when he woke up tangled in sticky damp sheets, he would just regret it.

“Josh is going to kick your ass if you keep this up,” he says teasingly, instead of the yeah, okay that’s threatening to slip out.

I ain’t afraid of that asshole,” Chris says fondly. He pauses for a moment, and Jensen turns to face the wall. “You sure you’re alright? I don’t like to think of you hurtin’ over there all by yourself.

“I’m fine,” Jensen says again, pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. There’s a sudden burst of noise in his ear. Music, voices, and Chris’s amused shouts.

Put it on speaker,” a familiar voice says, and the music quiets again as the phone beeps in his ear.

Hey little brother!” It’s Josh and Jeff, sounding buzzed but concerned, and Jensen’s heart swells.

Did my punk ass idiot of a stupid little brother find you?” Jeff asks, and Jensen bites his lip.

“Yeah,” Jensen says. “He did. I told him,” Jensen blurts out. “I told him everything.”

And what happened?” Josh and Jeff say in unison again, and Jensen hears scuffling on the other end of the line along with Chris’s rumbling laugh. He doesn’t quite catch it all, but he gets murmurings of he’s my brother, asshole and only because you won’t trade with me, selfish jerk. Jensen sighs and Chris pointedly clears his throat. “What happened?” They say in unison again, urgently.

“He didn’t say anything,” Jensen says, voice trembling slightly. “And then he went to Sandy’s party.”

He left you? That little asshole,” Jeff says. “I’m going to kick his ass.

“He’s your brother,” Jensen reminds him, and Jeff snorts.

And? He’s also a blind, stupid little shit who can’t see a good thing when it’s right in front of him,” Jeff says. Jensen feels his eyes get a little wet. He’s so lucky to have like, fourteen older brothers that look out for him. Even if one of them constantly tries to get him in bed.

“All that is well and good,” Jensen says, “but the fact of the matter is that Jared is straight. So it’s all kind of a moot point anyway.”

Come on,” Josh says, a smirk evident in his voice, “everyone is a little bit gay.

Hey, quit looking at me, asshole,” Chris says suddenly.

I made out with Jeff that one time,” Josh says casually, and Jensen chokes on a gasp.

“Excuse me? When did this happen?” Jensen inquires, feeling a smile tugging at his lips despite himself.

DUDE!” Jeff shrieks. “We were fifteen, and it was a game of truth or dare! And I only did it so Kristy Burlington would think I was hot and let me touch her tits under Eddie Wilder’s basement stairs! And we agreed never to speak of it again, douchebag!

Whatever,” Josh says. “You liked it.

Jensen laughs, fingertips digging into his stomach as he listens to them. He suddenly wishes he were there with them, and wonders whether it’s sort of pathetic that he’s about to graduate from high school and pretty much all he wants in that moment is a hug from his big brother.

Jensen,” Josh says, voice softer now, full of brotherly concern. “Why don’t you come over, kid? I promise I won’t let Chris molest you.” A pause. “Ow! Don’t hit me, fucker.

Jensen huffs another laugh and lets out a deep breath. “No thanks, guys. I think I’m just going to take a shower and go to bed. I’m really beat.”

Alright,” Josh says. “You know where we’ll be, if you need anything.

“Yeah, I do,” Jensen says fondly.

G’night, kid,” Jeff says. “And for what it’s worth, I think you would make an awesome brother-in-law.

“Bye,” Jensen says, quickly ending the call. He feels his eyes glass over with moisture and he bites his bottom lip against the swell of emotion. The Padaleckis are his family. Jared is his family, and above all else, he hopes they can remain friends.

He lets his cell phone drop down to the bed next to him, lying there until the backlight clicks off and he is bathed in darkness. With a huff, he rolls off of the bed and walks slowly towards his bedroom door.

On his way out of the room, something catches his eye and he slows to a stop. It’s a framed photo on his desk of him and Jared taken shortly after Jared’s sixteenth birthday. It’s the two of them, arms wrapped around each other, holding out their brand new driver’s licenses with stupid grins on their faces. Jared had made Jensen wait four agonizing months so they could get them together. In the end, it was worth it.

Their moms had loved the photo so much they framed it and gave Jared and Jensen each a copy. They quickly pronounced the gift lame, but Jensen knows for a fact that Jared has his up in his room too.

Jensen stares at the photo, realizing that not even two years ago, he and Jared had just been best friends. Everything had been so easy, so simple, before white hot want began to claw at Jensen’s belly. It had only gotten worse from there.

It’s strange to know that his future with Jared is now uncertain. They may now part ways and see each other only on holidays when they both happen to come home, sharing awkward conversations and only being in the same room because their families are so close.

The thought makes Jensen ache even more, and a melancholy frown pulls at his lips as he knocks the picture over on his way out of the room. The heavy frame makes a resounding bang as it falls face down. Jensen barely hears it as he makes his way towards the bathroom for a shower.

Once in the shower, he turns the water on as hot as he can stand it and presses his forehead against the cool tile. He tries to empty his mind and relax, but he can’t. All he can think about is Jared, and how much he’s going to miss his best friend.

He knew as soon as he realized what these new feelings for Jared were, that this would end badly. And now it has. His eyes glass over again but he refuses to let any tears fall.

He gets out of the shower and towels off, avoiding his reflection in the mirror as he scrubs the towel through his hair and brushes his teeth. He doesn’t want to see his pale, sad face and red eyes. He pulls on a thin pair of cotton pants and yanks the bathroom door open. A burst of steam follows him out into the hallway, and he trudges towards his bedroom. He feels bone tired, and he just wants to curl up and sleep.

He jumps a little when he enters his bedroom, because Jared is sitting on the floor, back leaning against his bed and his long legs splayed out in front of him. He’s got the picture Jensen knocked over in his hands, and he looks up when Jensen walks in.

Jensen’s breath catches in his throat as their eyes meet, Jared’s eyes glassy and sad. Jensen sags against the doorframe and looks away from Jared. He crosses his arms self-consciously across his bare chest. He doesn’t want Jared to see him like this; pale and tired with red rimmed eyes. Especially when Jared himself is the cause.

Jared stands up slowly, clearing his throat and setting the picture frame down in its original position on Jensen’s desk. He looks at it for a second and then flicks his gaze towards Jensen, who tries very hard not to look at him.

“Can we talk?” Jared asks, voice small and rough. Jensen finally looks over at him, wincing slightly as he nods. He’s shocked to see Jared in his bedroom, but he can’t help but fear the looming conversation. Jensen walks over to his dresser and pulls on a plain black tee, wiping a few stray drops of water from the back of his neck. He faces his bed, his back to Jared, and waits for the other boy to start talking.

Jared knew the moment he let himself into Jensen’s house with the key that was given to him back in the third grade that he had fucked up big time. He should have gone with Jensen instead of Chad. He should have talked to Jensen. He should have kissed him back.

And while he’s glad that he got some sort of closure with Sandy, he knows he has some work to do. He felt miserable after realizing what he did, brushing Jensen off after his best friend had laid his heart and soul bare. Jared just stomped all over them, and he hopes he can make it right.

He studies the tense lines of Jensen’s back, noticing the way the tag sticks up out of his shirt. Jared clears his throat and takes a step forward, swift fingers deftly tucking the tag back underneath the black cotton. Jensen shudders as his fingers ghost across the back of his neck and Jared lets them linger there for a moment, feeling silky skin under his thumb.

“What do you want, Jared?” Jensen grits out, ducking away from Jared’s hand. Jared mourns the loss of that heated skin under his hand. He wants to touch Jensen. He’s always touching Jensen like he needs it - has been for years, and he feels really stupid for not having this particular existential crisis a bit sooner.

“I wanted to see you,” Jared says softly, and Jensen slowly turns to look over his shoulder at him. His eyes are curious but guarded, his lips still turned down into a slight pout, and Jared takes a step forward. “I wanted to talk to you – to, to say I’m sorry.”

“So do it,” Jensen says, turning fully around. His arms are crossed and his expression is carefully blank. Jensen has never cut himself off around Jared, not once. It stings, but Jared knows he deserves it.

Now that he’s facing Jensen, he isn’t quite sure how to proceed. He doesn’t know how to express what’s going on in his head, and it’s frustrating because Jensen usually just knows without Jared having to say anything at all. But now, Jensen is just staring at him with fierce green eyes, bitten red lips turned down into a slight frown of displeasure.

“Sandy thought we were a couple,” Jared blurts out suddenly, and Jensen’s eyes widen slightly but his expression doesn’t change other than that one tiny hint of mild surprise. “She’s always thought we were a couple.” Jensen raises one elegant eyebrow, still staring unnervingly at him. “She came up to me and asked if we had a fight because I looked so sad and you weren’t there,” he continues. “And we talked and she helped me realize something.”

Jared takes another step forward so that he is so close to Jensen that he has to look down slightly to meet his eyes. Jensen takes a half step back, but he drops his arms to his sides and meets Jared’s gaze, and that lessens the tiny sting Jared felt when Jensen stepped away from him. “She helped me realize that even though I’ve had this crush on her for two years, I never once pictured her in my future.”

“Okay…” Jensen trails off, looking away from Jared. He rubs the back of his neck, a sure sign that he’s nervous, and Jared notices that his damp hair is just starting to dry. Tiny droplets of water cling to the ends of hair around his ears, and it’s insane how much Jared wants to run his fingers through it and get that wetness on his hands.

“It was always you,” Jared says quietly, and Jensen’s eyes snap back to his in an instant. Jared is looking at him seriously, but there’s a flush of color in his cheeks. He’s pretty sure his heart is beating out of his chest and Jensen is still just staring at him, full lips slightly parted.

Jensen stays silent, his eyes flitting to Jared’s mouth and back again. Jared’s heart beats even faster.

“Whenever I thought about my future, it was always you I saw. Not Sandy, not anyone else – it was you. You’re the one that knows me – knows how to make me laugh. And I think I never really knew what it meant until tonight, until you told me how you felt.”

“What?” Jensen finally breathes after a few agonizing moments of silence. Jared’s frustration grows and he takes a step backwards, digging his fingers into his hair. He closes his eyes for a moment, trying to figure out just what to say. He needs Jensen to understand.

“When you were kissing Chris, it was like, the hottest thing I’ve ever seen,” Jared confesses. Jensen blushes scarlet in an endearing way and his hand returns to the back of his neck. Jared takes a deep breath and continues, voice low and soft. “And it made me jealous. I – I wanted to be the one kissing you like that.”

Jensen looks at Jared for a long moment, his eyes full of emotions Jared can’t quite decipher. Jensen’s features harden, lips pressing into a firm line, and Jared swallows.

“Then why didn’t you say anything when I fucking spilled my guts to you on a street corner?” Jensen yells, looking hurt. “Why didn’t you kiss me back?” He asks, softer, voice breaking slightly on the last word.

“I was confused, Jen! I thought the universe was playing some sort of cosmic joke on me.” Jared tries to crack a smile, but it falls a little flat. “Well - and then Mike hit me with his car.”

“You were confused,” Jensen repeats slowly, crossing his arms over his chest again. “And what – now you’re not?”

“No,” Jared replies sheepishly. “I’m pretty sure I’m still confused, but not about this – not about us.”

“What are you trying to say, Jared?” Jensen looks exasperated and angry. “What do you want?” Jensen throws his arms to the side, giving Jared a challenging look.

“I want – Jen,” he takes a step forward and puts his hand on Jensen’s arm, looking into his eyes. “I want you. I want to try. I want us.”

“And then what if we try and you decide this isn’t what you want,” Jensen replies softly, looking up from under his lashes. “What if you decide it would be easier to run off and be with some pretty little girl than to be with me? You can’t – don’t do that to me.”

“Jensen,” Jared replies softly. “You’re my best friend. You’re usually the first person I think about in the morning and the last person I think about before falling asleep. You mean so much to me and – and I would die for you.” He pauses, taking a deep breath and putting his hands on Jensen’s shoulders before he can get anymore melodramatic. His fingers skim up the sides of Jensen’s neck, thumbs fitting underneath Jensen’s jaw as he shudders and closes his eyes. Jared leans in, resting his forehead against Jensen’s, eyes closed and voice barely a whisper. “If that’s not love, I don’t know what could be. It’s not my fault I’m too fucking stupid to realize it.”

Jensen’s hands come up to rest on Jared’s forearms, their noses bumping together as they share the air between their lips. “Jay, I – “ He cuts himself off, his thumb brushing the pulse point on Jared’s wrist.

Jared feels split open and raw from his confession, and he doesn’t know what else to say to make this happen. So instead, he cups Jensen’s face and kisses him.

Jensen’s lips part on a soft gasp and Jared flicks his tongue over them before kissing him again, more firmly this time. One of his hands grips Jensen’s hip and he pulls away, chuckling softly.

“Jen,” he breathes, his lips ghosting over Jensen’s, “kiss me back.” He presses a soft kiss to the corner of Jensen’s mouth and murmurs, “I want you to kiss me back.”

And then, Jensen does.

When Jared feels Jensen’s lips open under his, his stomach flutters and he thinks finally, but he knows he hasn’t been waiting nearly as long as Jensen. He places his hand in the middle of Jensen’s back and kisses him eagerly. It feels like he’s wanted this forever, or at least he should have been.

Jensen is an amazing kisser, with full plush lips and a sinful tongue. Jensen’s hands land on Jared’s hips, thumbs skirting the flesh revealed under the hem of his shirt. It’s Jensen’s shirt, and the thought makes him a little dizzy.

Jensen is shaking, just a tiny vibration in his hands, and Jared knows he’s doing the same thing. Jensen lets out a soft whimper, a tiny noise in the back of his throat, and it makes Jared’s head spin. Jared tries to shift his head to the side, smashing his nose against Jensen’s. They pull apart sheepishly, Jared biting his lip as Jensen wrinkles his nose.

They watch each other for a moment, their harsh breathing the only sound in the room. Jensen looks dazed, and he reaches up with a trembling hand to brush the hair away from Jared’s face. He cups Jared’s cheek, his thumb skimming across his cheekbone. He leans back in, but stops, green eyes flickering between Jared’s eyes and mouth a few times before he finally closes the distance between them.

Jared kisses him slow and intense, cradling the back of Jensen’s head in one giant hand as he learns the curves of Jensen’s lips, the velvet smoothness of his tongue.

It’s incredible. He’s had a few girlfriends, and kissing always sort of felt like a warm up. Granted, kissing was usually the main event, but it never felt like this, like he could stand here in the middle of Jensen’s bedroom and just kiss and kiss until he passed out from lack of air.

Jensen sags against him, like his knees just aren’t strong enough to keep him upright. He braces himself with his hands on Jared’s chest, palms flat against smooth muscle. Jared catches him, wrapping strong arms tight around Jensen’s waist.

Truth is, his legs aren’t feeling very strong either. He’s dizzy with lack of oxygen but the word stop isn’t even in his vocabulary right now, much less an actual option.

Jared backs them up until the back of his legs hit the edge of Jensen’s large bed. He pulls away, staring at Jensen in shock and awe. He slides his hands down Jensen’s forearms, long fingers circling delicate wrists. He slides his thumbs across the thin skin there, feeling his rapid pulse.

Jared sits down on the edge of the bed and looks up at Jensen. A sudden swell of emotion hits Jared as he looks up at his best friend, seeing the surprise and disbelief in his eyes. There’s also heat there, a look Jared has seen directed at him before but could never place until now.

It all feels unreal, and Jared’s chest tightens as he looks up at Jensen. It feels like fate, sort of like this moment was meant to be. Still, that can’t erase the nerves that make him shake as he grabs Jensen’s hips, thumbs rubbing at the skin stretched tight over his hipbones. He slides his hands around to Jensen’s back, feeling Jensen shudder as his hands slip under his tee shirt and up his spine. He leans in and presses his forehead against Jensen’s stomach, inhaling the scent of his soap. He closes his eyes, taking a deep breath and reminding himself that this is really happening.

The feel of Jensen’s hands on him, soft and hesitant on his shoulders, brings him back to the moment. He presses a soft kiss to Jensen’s stomach through his shirt and looks up at him with liquid eyes. He twines their hands together, marveling at how well their fingers seem to fit. Finally, after taking a deep breath, he lays back on the bed, pulling Jensen with him by their joined hands.

Jensen comes willingly, sighing contentedly and draping himself over Jared’s body when Jared’s arms come around him in a strong embrace. Jensen props himself up over Jared, chest heaving with the quick breaths that Jared can feel against his moist lips.

Jared closes his eyes, tilting his head up and skimming his cheek across Jensen’s jaw. The faint stubble he feels against his skin sends a shiver down his spine, reminding him of exactly what he’s doing, and who he’s doing it with. He nudges Jensen’s chin up with his nose and presses a kiss to Jensen’s neck.

They move languidly, slow like any sudden movements will break the spell they’re caught in. Jensen pulls his head back, staring into Jared’s eyes. He opens his mouth like he’s going to say something, but he closes it again. He rests a hand against Jared’s cheek and leans down, slowly pressing a kiss to the mole under Jared’s eye. He kisses the sharp tip of his nose next, and then his eyebrow as his fingers slip into Jared’s hair. Jensen’s lips are soft and reverent, and Jared can feel the heat from them even after he’s moved onto a new spot.

His heart is beating wildly because this is probably the single most intense moment of his life. He’s never felt more… loved. Jensen is sprinkling kisses across his face like an act of worship. Jensen, one of the most important people in Jared’s life, is kissing him like he really means it, like he never wants to stop, and it’s making Jared’s head spin.

Jared puts his hands on either side of Jensen’s face, thumbs stroking across his cheekbones as he kisses him again, a little deeper this time. They kiss hungrily, nipping at each other’s lips and letting soft moans escape.

Jared has no idea how long they kiss. It feels like forever and mere moments all at once, but his lips are tingling and swollen and he’s dizzy with lack of air. Jensen’s arms are shaking with exertion from holding himself up, and Jared realizes that he’s trying to keep his hips from making contact with his own. That doesn’t sit well with him, not when he needs to feel everything, so he grabs Jensen’s hips with both hands and pulls him down flush against him. Their kiss breaks on a gasp, and Jared groans when he feels Jensen’s dick against his hip, hard and hot through the flimsy cotton of his pants.

Jensen tries to lift his hips up again, a gorgeous flush spreading across his cheeks, but Jared won’t let him. He digs his fingertips into Jensen’s hips and pulls him back down, bucking his own hips up against Jensen’s. A soft whimper escapes Jensen’s swollen lips and he buries his face in Jared’s neck, kissing and sucking there as their hips start to move together.

It feels different, but so fucking good, and Jared is so turned on he can barely think straight. His dick is painfully hard, denim rubbing rough against it. He flips them over so he’s on top of Jensen, propping himself up on one hand so he can watch Jensen’s face when he begins to roll his hips fluidly against Jensen’s, and he certainly doesn’t disappoint. Jensen moans, squeezing his eyes shut and tossing his head back. He grabs Jared’s hips and moves with him, fingernails digging into the flesh just above his jeans.

Sweat gathers at Jensen’s temples and along his neck, and Jared leans down to lick his way up the smooth column of Jensen’s throat to his lips, kissing him hard and deep.

Jared lowers himself to his elbow, so now his entire body is flush with Jensen’s, still kissing him as his other hand wanders past the loose waistband of Jensen’s pants. His fingers slide along the bare skin stretched over Jensen’s hipbones and then lower, following the cut of his hips until his fingers reach coarse hair.

He pulls away from Jensen’s mouth, both of them panting, lips shining obscenely in the moonlight filtering in through the window. Jensen’s pupils are blown wide, and he looks up at Jared with pleading eyes, giving a short, jerky nod. Jared lets his hand slip lower, his fingers sliding along Jensen’s shaft. Jensen lets out a little gasp, and Jared adjusts his hips to give himself a little more room. Jensen is already sticky with pre-come, and it slicks the way when Jared wraps his hand around Jensen’s dick for the first time. Jared swallows hard, watching Jensen’s face carefully as he gives an experimental squeeze, sliding his hand up and letting his thumb slip over the head.

Jensen moans low in his throat and arches up, eyes squeezed shut and head tipped back. Jared starts a rhythm, jerking Jensen almost like he would himself - just a little hard, thumb sliding across the head every few strokes.

Jensen is biting on his lips, squirming and keeping his eyes closed. Jared reaches up with his other hand, cupping Jensen’s cheek and sliding his thumb under one eye. Jensen gets the hint and opens his eyes, meeting Jared’s gaze. Jensen grabs his face and kisses him, tongue plunging into his mouth almost frantically now as Jared ruts against his hip.

Jared rolls to the side a little, pulling away from the kiss to look down Jensen’s body. He takes his hand from Jensen’s face and slides his shirt up his stomach, thumb circling the navel a few times before he slides his hand lower. He slides Jensen’s sweats down over his hips, pulling them down Jensen’s thighs as he watches his dick slip in and out of Jared’s fist.

He’s almost surprised at how hot he finds it, the dark red head of Jensen’s cock slipping through his fingers, clear liquid leaking from the tip and making his hand sticky. Jensen moans again, the sound like an electric shock to Jared’s own dick. He leans down to press a soft kiss to Jensen’s bare stomach before looking up at his face with hooded eyes.

At that moment, Jensen is the hottest thing Jared has ever seen. He watches Jared, eyes full of wonder, sinful cherry red lips parted. Jensen reaches down to fumble with the button of Jared’s jeans at the same moment Jared tries to get Jensen’s shirt off with one hand, the other still wrapped around his dick. They end up getting tangled up in their clothing and they break apart, chuckling nervously and shedding the rest of their clothes.

Once they’re done, they turn to each other, both of them blushing furiously as they take in each other’s naked bodies. Jared is the first to make a move, pushing Jensen down into the pillows and climbing on top of him. Their lips come back together as Jared’s hand wraps back around Jensen’s dick. Jensen reaches down to return the favor, grasping and pulling in such a perfect way that Jared can’t even focus. He stops kissing, just watching Jensen’s face as they jerk each other off.

Jensen looks dazed, panting and looking up at Jared like this might be a dream, like he’s afraid of waking up. Jared presses his lips softly against Jensen’s, assuring him. Jensen pants out Jared’s name desperately, his hips jerking as he comes. It slicks up Jared’s hand and Jensen’s own thighs, Jensen moaning and gasping as his orgasm rips through him. His hand falters on Jared’s dick, but he doesn’t even notice, too fascinated by the ropes of milky come pooled in the crease where Jensen’s thigh meets his groin.

He runs his fingers through it, smearing it across Jensen’s skin, following that crease down and back. His wet, sticky fingertip brushes Jensen’s hole and he bucks his hips, tilting his head back as he arches up. Jared is fascinated by the reaction, and before he can even think about it, he gathers up more come on two fingers and hooks his thumb under Jensen’s bent knee, pulling his legs apart a little. He presses his fingertips against Jensen’s hole, rubbing Jensen’s own come into it and watching the way the muscle flutters. Jensen spreads his legs wider, canting his hips up in such a pretty invitation, and Jared slowly slides the tip of his middle finger inside of Jensen.

Jensen moans loudly and Jared is fascinated, slipping his finger in further before pulling it out and circling his hole again. Jensen sits up, grabbing Jared’s forearm and leaning in close.

“That lube is in the pocket of my jeans,” he pants, shyly meeting Jared’s eyes. Jared just nods, leaning in to press a quick kiss to Jensen’s lips before scrambling awkwardly off of the bed. He finds Jensen’s jeans and shoves his hand in the right pocket, closing his fingers around the items and pulling them out. He stares down at the lube and the condoms in his palm, swallowing hard. His heart is pounding and he’s dizzy from all the emotions swimming through his head. He turns to look at Jensen, spread out naked on the bed. His knees are bent and he’s got his hands over his eyes, chest heaving like he’s as nervous as Jared is.

He looks gorgeous, and Jared can’t deny that he just wants to get back in that bed and never come up for air. At that moment, he can’t think of a single reason why he shouldn’t do this with Jensen. It all seems to make so much sense. It’s like their entire lives have been leading up to this moment. He can’t help but get dramatic, because that’s what he does and this is Jensen. This is his best friend and he’s about to sleep with him. More specifically, he’s about to sleep with a guy, when up until an hour ago the thought of doing so had never even occurred to him. This has the potential to go so badly, but when Jensen looks over at him, eyes questioning and hopeful, Jared knows his decision is made.

He wants this. Whatever may happen in the future, he wants to experience this with Jensen. There are no lingering doubts as he climbs back onto the bed, only the desire to make this perfect for Jensen.

This is his virginity. It’s the first time for both of them and Jensen is so trusting and beautiful that Jared can hardly even breathe, his hands shaking as he slicks his fingers with lube. Jensen hisses as a cool drop of it hits his belly, and Jared smiles. He kisses the inside of Jensen’s knee, biting softly as he circles his entrance again, one slick finger sliding in slowly to the knuckle. Jensen gasps as he starts to move his finger in and out, their eyes locking as Jensen starts to roll his hips with Jared’s hand.

“More,” Jensen gasps out, and Jared pulls out only to slowly push two fingers back in. Jensen hisses and reaches down to grab Jared’s wrist, holding him still for a moment. Jensen blinks and flexes experimentally.

Jensen is so hot, clenching Jared’s fingers like a vice and he really has no idea how his dick is supposed to fit. Jensen lets go of his wrist then, nodding and rocking his hips. Jared starts a slow rhythm, his other hand bracing himself up as he leans down to suck and kiss at Jensen’s inner thigh. His cock is hard again, leaking against his pale belly. Jared leans down to lick at the stickiness below Jensen’s navel. Bitter flavor bursts across his tongue, but it’s not unpleasant.

He slides up Jensen’s body, pressing light kisses to his neck and jaw. He can feel Jensen open up a little around his fingers, and he presses his lips to Jensen’s as he adds a third. Jensen seems to barely notice, too busy shoving his tongue in Jared’s mouth and rolling his hips in an obscenely hot way.

“Do you want me to?” Jared mumbles against Jensen’s mouth, his free hand pushing Jensen’s hair back. He can feel Jensen trembling beneath him, stretched tight and aching, and he holds his breath while waiting for the answer.

Jensen stares up into Jared’s eyes, almost black with lust. He’s so nervous he’s shaking but he wants this, and he finds himself nodding. He puts his hand on Jared’s cheek, sliding his thumb along Jared’s bottom lip.

“Yeah,” Jensen says, sliding his hand down Jared’s neck and chest. Jared lets out a breath and nods, withdrawing his fingers. Jensen sighs from the loss and lifts his head, watching as Jared rolls on a condom with shaky, inexperienced fingers. He has no idea what he’s doing, but neither does Jensen really, and that’s okay. He sits up, wrapping an arm around Jared’s shoulder and whispering in his ear.

“Breathe,” Jensen says, trying to make himself follow his own advice. “Just go slow, Jared.” He presses a kiss under Jared’s jaw. “It’ll be so good.”

Jared nods, watching Jensen as he lies back down. Jensen watches as he slicks himself with lube, eyes widening slightly at the sheer size of Jared. He lets his legs fall open as Jared positions himself, one hand resting on Jensen’s hip and the other on his dick. He can feel the blunt head at his entrance and meets Jared’s questioning gaze. Jensen nods once and reaches up to place his hand over Jared’s heart, bracing himself for the pain.

Jared pushes in slowly, and it hurts. Jensen’s eyes slam shut and he forces himself to breathe. Jared places both hands on Jensen’s hips, rubbing soothing circles with his thumbs as he buries himself deep inside. It seems to take forever, and Jensen digs his fingernails into Jared’s chest, eyes screwed shut and breath caught in his throat.

“Do you want me to stop?” Jared sounds ragged and worried, and he pauses until Jensen forces his eyes open. Jensen wants to say yes, because god, it fucking hurts, but he shakes his head and lets out a breath. He slides his hand up to the back of Jared’s neck and watches him, his eyes open and wanting.

A few more seconds, and he’s in. Jared’s hips are snug against Jensen’s ass, and it’s the most amazing thing Jensen’s ever felt. The boundaries of their friendship have been shattered, every unspoken rule broken, and Jensen knows things can never go back to the way they were, not after he’s felt this.

“Wait,” Jensen says, surprised at how rough his voice is. He takes a deep breath and kisses Jared, waiting as the pain subsides. Jared’s arms are shaking as he holds himself up, sweat dampening the dark curls at his temples and the back of his neck, but he stays perfectly still.

Jensen squeezes the back of Jared’s neck, shifting his hips experimentally. Jared hisses, dropping his head down to nuzzle at the sweaty juncture of Jensen’s neck and shoulder.

“Oh god, Jen. You feel so good.” Jared’s voice sends shivers down his spine and he relaxes, spreading his legs wider and lifting them to wrap loosely around Jared’s slim waist.

“Okay,” Jensen says roughly. “Do it.” Jared props himself up on his arms again, studying Jensen’s face for any signs of discomfort. When he finds none, he pulls almost all of the way out before pushing back in slow and smooth. Jensen groans, back arching obscenely as he clutches the sheets in one hand, the other still gripping the back of Jared’s neck.

It still hurts, but it’s amazing because it’s Jared. He feels so safe with Jared, and he can’t believe he ever entertained the thought of trusting anyone else to do this.

Jared grabs Jensen’s hips and sits up a little, changing the angle and completely blowing Jensen’s fucking mind as Jared hits something inside him that makes him lose it. He moans and arches up, fucking back against Jared and writhing on the bed.

The best part, besides the stars exploding behind his eyes and the pleasure crackling down his spine, is watching Jared’s face. He forces his eyes to stay open, taking in the way Jared stares down at the place where their bodies meet. Jared is biting his lip and groaning, letting his eyes squeeze shut for a second before he forces them open to look at Jensen again.

Suddenly, Jared surges forward, slamming so deep inside of Jensen and smashing their lips together as he continues to thrust. Jensen’s cock is trapped between their bellies, hard and leaking. Jared wraps one arm around the back of his shoulders, lifting him off of the bed slightly as they kiss, his other hand squeezing Jensen’s hip hard enough to bruise as he slides into Jensen over and over.

Jensen feels his eyes itch, tearing up slightly because this is it. This is what he’s wanted, what he’s been waiting for and it hurts but it also feels so fucking good and it’s Jared. Jensen peppers his face with kisses, moaning whenever Jared hits that spot inside of him.

“Oh shit,” Jared says, sliding one hand up Jensen’s belly to rest on his chest. “I’m not – I’m almost there.”

“Me too,” Jensen pants. “Touch me. Please, Jared, come on.” Jared barely wastes a second before wrapping his giant hand around Jensen’s aching dick.

It’s only a few seconds before Jensen lets out a shout, heat and electricity exploding through his entire body as he arches up and comes. He falls back to the bed, gasping for breath and forcing himself to stay coherent enough to keep his hips moving with Jared’s.

“Come on, Jared,” Jensen pants, his hand coming up to tangle in Jared’s hair. “I want to see you lose it.”

Apparently that does it, because Jared throws his head back, the hottest noise Jensen has ever heard coming from him as he stills inside of Jensen. For a second, Jensen curses the condom because he wants to feel everything. He wants to feel Jared’s come hot inside of him, dripping down his thighs.

He pushes those thoughts aside as Jared collapses on top of him, gasping into Jensen’s neck. He swears he can feel Jared’s heart beating against his chest and he takes a deep breath, willing his own to slow down. Jared gathers Jensen up in his arms, placing wet kisses up the side of Jensen’s neck and jaw to his lips. They kiss for awhile, tongues colliding lazily as they both try to recover.

After a few moments, Jared pulls back to look at Jensen. The intensity of his gaze makes Jensen shiver but he can’t look away, his eyes locked to Jared’s. There is something like surprise in Jared’s eyes. He looks almost in awe of Jensen and what just happened, his fingertips affectionately tracing the side of Jensen’s face.

Jared puts his hand on Jensen’s hip and pulls out slowly, his eyes flicking back up to Jensen when he lets out a soft hiss.

“You okay?” Jared asks, softly touching Jensen’s glistening, swollen hole with his fingers. Jensen’s hips jerk and he nods, shifting his hips a little. Jared sits up and pulls off the condom, tossing it in the trashcan next to Jensen’s desk. He doesn’t waste any time lying down next to Jensen, their shoulders bumping as they stare up at the ceiling.

Their breathing returns to normal but Jensen’s heart is still beating rapidly. He’s not sure if it’s from the mind-blowing orgasm or the fear of what happens now. Just as the moment threatens to get awkward, Jared speaks in a low, falsely cocky tone.

“So, uh… was it good for you?” Jensen looks over to see Jared wiggle his eyebrows comically. Jensen can’t help it, he laughs, long and hard, and rolls on his side to face Jared and kiss him, still chuckling against his swollen lips.

Jensen pulls away and rests his head on Jared’s shoulder, letting out a soft sigh as he rests his hand on Jared’s sweaty stomach.

They’re both silent for a while, but this time it’s comfortable. Jensen’s eyelids droop closed as a content smile plays on his lips. He can feel Jared’s fingers idly playing with the damp ends of his hair and he presses a lazy kiss just above Jared’s nipple. He sort of wants to lick it, to bite down on it, but after two orgasms he’s pretty worn out. Maybe after a nap.

“Hey Jenny?” Jared asks, and his voice is so soft and hesitant that Jensen doesn’t even reprimand him for the nickname. He tenses instead, closing his eyes and bracing himself, because this all feels too perfect.

“Yeah?” Jensen rasps out. Jared must feel him tense, because he wraps his arm tighter around Jensen, fingertips curling around Jensen’s arm.

“I was just wondering how long you’ve, uh – liked me? I guess.” Jensen groans, feeling his face heat up. He lifts his head to bury his face in Jared’s neck.

“About a year,” Jensen mumbles, giving Jared’s neck little suckling kisses in an attempt to distract him from the conversation. But then he lifts his head and meets Jared’s curious gaze, and something compels him to continue. “I think I realized it when my appendix burst in your kitchen and you freaked the fuck out and called 911.”

“I didn’t freak out!” Jared exclaims, affronted. Jensen snorts a laugh and traces Jared’s collarbone with his fingers.

“Dude, you cried.” Jared gives him a withering glare and Jensen just laughs, ducking his head and pressing a kiss under Jared’s jaw.

“Whatever, asshole. My best friend screamed and like, passed out mid chocolate chip cookie. It freaked me out.” Jared tries to sound offended, but he lets out a soft sigh and tilts his head to the side to expose more of his neck to Jensen.

“Yeah,” Jensen replies once he gets down to Jared’s collarbone, his tone serious again. “And then you were there with my parents when I woke up from surgery and you missed that huge party at the lake to be all bedridden with me, even though you knew that Alexis would probably dump you for ditching her.” He curls up against Jared and pillows his head on Jared’s chest. “I think it sort of hit me that night, when I was lying in bed wallowing and you showed up with Chinese food and shitty horror movies and that ended up being even better than partying at the lake.”

“That was a great weekend,” Jared replies, fingertips trailing up Jensen’s spine. “We watched every single episode of Family Guy.”

“What the deuce?” Jensen quotes in a near perfect Stewie impression. He hides a yawn behind his hand. He feels sated, calm and happy. And he really sort of wants to fall sleep all wrapped up in Jared’s arms.

Jared yawns, long and hard, before turning onto his side and pulling Jensen into his arms. He buries his face in Jensen’s neck and lets out a content sigh.

“Sleep,” Jared whispers, slipping one of his thighs between Jensen’s, and really, he should have pegged Jared for a cuddler. Not that he’s complaining.

“You’re going to be here when I wake up, right?” Jensen asks, and instantly cringes at how vulnerable he sounds. Jared tightens his hold, lips pressed firm against Jensen’s neck.

“Have I ever let you down before?” Jared asks around a yawn, and Jensen smirks.

“No,” Jensen whispers, but Jared is already asleep. It’s not long before Jensen joins him, the small smile never leaving his face.

Jensen feels like he’s waking up from a dream, groggy and disconnected. He blinks a few times, the early morning sun making it hard to focus. Once he does, all he can see is miles of tan skin in front of his eyes. His head is on Jared’s chest, fingertips resting idly underneath a nipple. Jensen sucks in a huge breath, afraid to move.

This isn’t the first time they’ve slept in the same bed. It isn’t even the hundredth, but it’s so different. For one, they’re naked, and Jensen’s morning wood is pressing up against Jared’s hip. He lies there, perfectly still, waiting for Jared to wake up and inevitably freak out. His heart beats a rapid tattoo against his ribcage as he works himself into a panic without even trying.

“Tell your brain to shut up,” Jared murmurs sleepily, and then turns to embrace Jensen. He wraps his arms around him and buries his face in Jensen’s neck, one leg slung casually across his hips. “I’m not changing my mind about this,” Jared says, voice sounding sleepy but sure, muffled against Jensen’s sleep warm skin. “So you can quit waiting for me to freak out or whatever the hell it is you’re doing, because it isn’t going to happen.” Jensen laughs breathlessly, relief calming him almost instantly. He slides his hand down Jared’s back, looking over his shoulder at the firm curve of his ass.

“Gonna pin me, Jay?” Jensen smirks, cupping his cheek and squeezing. He feels Jared’s dick twitch against his thigh, and he hitches his hips forward a little. “Gonna let me wear your letterman jacket?”

Jared lets out a soft growl, and suddenly Jensen is on his back and Jared has his wrists pinned to the pillow above his head. Jensen moans, back arching up a little. Jared kisses him, deep and sure, and then pulls back slightly to look at him.

“What do you want us to be, Jen?” Jared asks, voice light but eyes serious. Jensen flushes and bites his bottom lip, wrists flexing against Jared’s strong hold. He’s never really been embarrassed or shy around Jared in his entire life. Other people, sure. But Jared? He’s never felt the need to hide.

“Are you going to make me say it, asshole?” Jensen smirks, green eyes shining as he bucks up against Jared. A groan escapes Jared’s lips and he reaches between them, grasping Jensen’s dick loosely.

“I think I’d like to hear it,” Jared retorts softly, fingers still a loose circle around Jensen’s aching dick.

“I want you to be my boyfriend, you fucking douchebag,” Jensen grits out, hips pumping into that cruelly loose grasp.

“Then I’ll be your boyfriend, asshole.” Jared grins and bites Jensen’s chin. Warmth spreads through Jensen, and his heart threatens to pound out of his chest.

“So uh,” Jared starts, sliding his hands up Jensen’s sides. “Wanna make out?”

Jensen tosses his head back and laughs, bright and happy, and then flips them over so he is on top of Jared. He presses their lips together, and it’s not long before they’re sweaty and writhing, bodies pressed so tight together that there is no air between them.

It’s late morning by the time they finally roll out of bed, glistening with sweat and happy.

“My ass hurts so bad,” Jensen whines as he pulls on his sweatpants. Jared smirks and slips his hands around Jensen’s waist, fingers digging into the round cheeks.

“I’ll kiss it better later,” Jared mumbles against his forehead before pressing a soft kiss there. “But for now, I need food.”

They race each other down the stairs, and Jared wins only because he has freakish praying mantis legs and Jensen’s ass is one giant burning ache. Jared stumbles to a stop at the bottom of the stairs. “Oh, fuck me.”

“Sure thing, sugartits. Just let me grab a bowl of cereal first.” Jensen’s eyes widen when he catches up with Jared, and for good reason. His living room is full of douchebags.

“Morning little brothers!” Jeff and Josh croon in unison, nursing venti Starbucks lattes. They’re sprawled across the couch with Chris at one end while Steve sits on the floor between Chris’s legs. Chad is sitting in the recliner eating Jensen’s cereal, and Tom and Mike are sitting on opposite ends of the coffee table playing Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots. Jensen didn’t even know they still owned that game.

“What the fuck are you all doing here?” Jensen asks, trying hard to keep from limping as he walks towards the kitchen.

“You fucking slut!” Josh calls out, and Jensen turns to see him pull a twenty out of his pocket and toss it at Jeff.

“Told you he’d put out on the first date,” Jeff replies, and Jensen hides his face in his hands.

“Go easy on him guys,” Chad chuckles. “He had a long, hard night.” He wiggles his eyebrows for emphasis, and Jared throws a pillow at his face.

“So what’s the verdict?” Steve asks, smirking up at them. “Are you guys the new golden couple or what?”

Jensen looks over at Jared, eyes slightly hopeful. Jared takes a step over to him, giving him a meaningful look and bumping his hip against Jensen’s.

“Looks that way,” Jared says, draping his arm over Jensen’s shoulders. Jensen beams and looks down, trying to hide his flushing cheeks.

“Well hell,” Chris hollers, slapping his thigh, “it’s about goddamn time.”

“Wanna go to my house?” Jared asks Jensen, pulling away from him slightly. “Maybe we’ll get some privacy,” he adds, glaring at his brother.

“Don’t bother,” Jeff says, getting up. “We just wanted to be here for the walk of shame.”

“Yeah,” Josh adds, getting up and grabbing his car keys. “We’re going to the Waffle Barn anyway. And you guys aren’t fucking invited because you smell like gay sex. Let’s go.”

Chad sets his cereal bowl down on the coffee table and stretches before getting up to join them. “What, so are you guys like friends with Chad now?” Jensen asks, and Chad shoots him a mock glare.

“Chad!” Mike shouts, wrapping his arms around him. “Yeah, this fucker is great.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Chad pushes Mike off of him and grins. “They’re dropping me off at home. I’m hanging out with Sophia today.”

“When the fuck did that happen?” Jensen asks incredulously, sharing a look with Jared.

“Hey. You guys finally fucking isn’t the only awesome thing that happened last night,” Chad says. “Call me when you come up for air.”

“Later,” Jeff says, cuffing Jared on the side of the head. Josh follows suit with Jensen and they all file out.

“Finally,” Jared sighs, and gives Jensen a little smile before they both head towards the kitchen. They don’t even have to say anything. This has become a ritual. They each grab a giant bowl from the cupboard and retrieve their cereal boxes from the pantry. Jensen fills his bowl with Trix and Jared takes Honeycomb. They pour milk over the top and grab spoons before retreating to the living room.

They plop down on the couch and put their feet up on the table. Jensen turns on the television and finds cartoons and they eat their cereal in silence.

They’ve done this on countless Saturdays, but this time is a little different. They’re sitting a little closer, thighs brushing and elbows bumping. They keep sneaking glances at each other when they think the other isn’t looking.

It feels like every other lazy Saturday, and when they switch cereal bowls halfway through and share a soft kiss that tastes like sugary milk, that’s just a bonus.

[epilogue – two weeks later]

“Dude,” Jared says eloquently as he sits down next to Jensen. “I feel like Green Day’s Time of Your Life should be playing or something.”

“Ah, the quintessential end of an era song,” Jensen mumbles around the filter of his cigarette as he tries to light it. “Fitting.”

“This is like, sad. I didn’t think it would be, but it is.” Jared leans against the rough cinderblock back of the old home team dugout. He sighs and slumps down, causing Jensen to squawk around his cigarette and haul Jared up by his shoulders.

“Dude, you’re gonna snag your robe,” Jensen says, holding his cigarette with one hand and smoothing down the back of Jared’s navy blue graduation robe with the other. Jared rolls his eyes and sets his cap, carefully, on the ground next to him.

“Don’t worry about it, mom,” Jared replies, and Jensen makes a face.

“You just ruined any chance of me giving you a clandestine blowjob behind the dugout,” Jensen tells him, and then wraps those plump lips of his deliberately around the filter of his cigarette as if to show Jared exactly what he’s missing out on. Jared narrows his eyes and shifts his hips a little.

“Bitch,” he mumbles, and then looks around. He can hear the band playing and the murmur of the crowd, the soft breeze carrying the noise down from the football field. “How much time do we have?”

Jensen stubs his cigarette out and hauls up one side of his robe, digging into his pocket to get his cell phone. He glances at it and slips it back into the pocket of his slacks. “About thirty minutes until we’re required to be on the field, although technically we’re supposed to be lining up in the gym.”

Jared sighs and looks around. He actually is surprised to realize how sad he is about leaving high school. He turns to look at Jensen, studying his boyfriend’s elegant profile. He’s got his eyes closed and his head tipped back, a slight crease between his eyes like maybe he’s thinking the same thing.

“You’ve gotta be at least a little bit sad,” Jared says, poking Jensen’s hip with one long finger.

“Not really,” he replies without opening his eyes. “The only person I ever really gave a shit about at this place is going to college with me, so I’m good.”

Jared smiles, his heart thumping a little faster at Jensen’s words. It’s only been two weeks, but this is by far the best relationship he’s ever been in. And it’s with Jensen, his smart, funny, gorgeous, asshole of a best friend.

“Oh honey,” Jared coos, “I didn’t know you cared!”

“Who says I’m talking about you?” Jensen questions, smirking. “I’m talking about Sophia. Girl’s a fucking wildcat in the sack.”

“You’re such a fucking liar, you queer.” Jared laughs and then leans over to plant a sloppy kiss on Jensen’s lips. He sort of misses and catches the corner of his mouth and the side of his chin instead. Jensen snorts and turns slightly towards Jared, putting his hands on either side of Jared’s face and kissing him soundly.

Jared teases at Jensen’s full bottom lip with little licks and bites, his fists bunching in Jensen’s robe. It seems sort of wildly appropriate, making out in this spot that’s been their refuge for four grueling years of high school. It’s kind of like leaving their mark, making it clear that they’ve made it together. Together. Like lovers. The thought still makes Jared’s head spin.

Jensen growls a little against Jared’s lips, which Jared has learned to mean he’s getting really fired up. These last two weeks have been great, just wrapping up classes and graduation practice, using the extra spare time to learn each other’s already familiar bodies in a new and intimate way. Jared catalogues every noise Jensen makes, every spot he likes to be touched or kissed or bitten.

Jensen lifts one knee in an apparent attempt to straddle Jared’s lap and get some serious dry humping started, but he seems to have forgotten that he’s wearing a robe. The material stays pinned to the ground by his body as he tries to jerk up, and he overbalances and slips, falling across Jared’s lap and nearly face planting in the dirt.

Jared tosses his head back and laughs so hard his stomach hurts. Jensen pushes himself up and knees Jared in the junk as he goes to sit back down next to him. Jared’s laughter turns into a coughing fit and Jensen smiles serenely.

“Sorry!” He chirps. Jared looks over at him, watching him bat those ridiculous gold tipped lashes, and he tackles him to the ground. “Jared!” He laughs, clutching Jared’s biceps as Jared’s mouth attacks his neck. “You asshole. You’re going to get me all dirty. It’s going to look like I had a quickie in the dirt in my graduation photos.”

“So we should probably have a quickie in the dirt,” Jared says, lining their hips up and grinding down, “just so it’s justifiable.”

Before Jensen can respond, Jared kisses him, his tongue plunging into Jensen’s willing mouth. He grinds his hips down into Jensen’s, content to get off just like this, even if it does mean he’ll have to endure a three hour graduation ceremony in sticky slacks.

“Whoa! Public sex alert!” A familiar voice calls out, and Jared and Jensen scramble apart.

“Kinky. But you guys should probably hang a sign or something. Warning: Gay Sex Ahead. Enter at your own risk,” Josh says, holding his hands out and miming a sign. Jared gets to his feet and glares at Josh and Jeff as he brushes the dirt from his robe. Jensen comes to stand next to him, and he doesn’t even have to look to know Jensen is blushing.

“You said enter,” Jeff chuckles, and then they both laugh like idiots.

“Can we help you?” Jensen asks, crossing his arms over his chest. Jared, however, is just thankful for the loose hanging baggy material of his robe, because his raging hard on still hasn’t gone away. Not even the appearance of Josh and Jeff can undo the effects of Jensen’s lips on his skin.

“Yeah,” Jeff says. “You can stop being little douchebags by hiding out in our spot.”

“Uh, wait,” Jared says, holding up one finger. “Don’t you mean the spot you bequeathed to us when you two assholes graduated?”

“And look at you back here defiling it with your homo love,” Jeff replies, giving the spot a slightly nostalgic once over.

“Look at Mr. Graduate over here. Busting out bequeathed,” Josh laughs, and Jared flips him the bird.

“The ‘rents are searching high and low for you, actually,” Jeff says, and then nods at Josh. “But we wanted to find you first.”

“Why? What’d we do?” Jared says, and Jensen laughs next to him. Josh and Jeff just smile warmly as Josh pulls an envelope out of his back pocket.

“We just wanted to give you your present.” Josh hands over the envelope and Jensen takes it, looking from Josh to Jared with a curious expression. Jared shrugs and looks over Jensen’s shoulder as the shorter boy opens the envelope. He pulls out some official looking forms. He and Jensen share a quizzical look and when Jared leans in closer, he realizes that they are housing forms naming him and Jensen as roommates in their dorm next year.

Jensen looks up at him then, their noses grazing from being so close. They grin at each other, bump their foreheads softly together, and turn back towards their brothers.

“Guys,” Jensen starts, “this is awesome. Thank you.”

“Yeah,” Jared adds. “How’d you swing this?”

“It’s really no big deal,” Josh replies. “There’s this girl – Becky, that I hang with. She works in the housing office and she hooked it up.”

“And we were going to do this before you guys even started fucking,” Jeff says, “but now it’s just an added bonus. Because now we won’t have to deal with your whiney, horny asses on our doorstep every time your roommates put scrunchies on the door.”

“Is this Becky girl going to take it back once she realizes what a dick you are?” Jensen asks, but his eyes are soft and pleased.

“Dude, it’s not even like that. She’s just a friend who enjoys abusing her authority. But her friend Crystal -” Josh lets out a low whistle and then smirks. Jared and Jensen laugh, grinning hard as Jensen puts the papers back in the envelope.

“We’ll take that for now,” Jeff says, taking the envelope back, “since apparently y’all like to roll around in the dirt in expensive clothes.”

“Thanks guys,” Jared says sincerely, his eyes full of fond affection for them. “This is seriously great.”

“Yeah,” Jensen adds. “Just – wow. Yeah. Thanks.”

“Dude,” Jeff says, cutting Josh a look. “We gotta get out of here. The gay is catching.”

“True words,” Josh says, nodding. “Now get the fuck to the gym. Because I didn’t put on a goddamn tie in ninety degree weather so you two could fuck your way through your graduation ceremony.”

Jared and Jensen grin, brushing all the dirt off of each other’s robes until they look as good as new. They grab their caps and put them on, both of them reaching out at the same time to move the tassel to the correct side of each other’s caps. They laugh and lean in, going to kiss but unable to because of the brim of their caps. They laugh again and tilt their heads enough so they can manage, sharing a quick kiss.

“Oh my god, dude,” Jeff says, putting his fist up in front of his mouth. “I’m gonna be sick.”

“You two just gave me diabetes. Thank you for that,” Josh says. “Get your asses to the gym.”

Jared and Jensen wave their hands, their eyes only for each other. Josh and Jeff roll their eyes and walk back towards the football field.

Once they’re alone, Jared reaches up and tugs on Jensen’s tassel playfully. Jensen smiles, a private smile that only Jared gets to see. His eyes are bright and green, cheeks flushed with pleasure, and Jared falls a little bit more each day.

“Are you ready for this?” Jared asks, smoothing his hands down Jensen’s arms. He feels a little nervous, and for a moment he isn’t sure whether or not he means graduation or their future together. Jensen looks into his eyes and he seems to know exactly what Jared is thinking, just like he always does.

“We’re gonna be fine,” Jensen says, winking at Jared. Jensen twines their fingers together and leads Jared away from the place they’ve known for years and towards the graduation ceremony, towards their future – together.