qblackheart (qblackheart) wrote in the8threalm,

The Courtship of Jensen's Co-Star: Twelve

oh, no
this couldn't be more unexpected
and I can tell I've been moving in so slow
don't let it throw you off too far
‘cause I'll be running right behind you

Jensen woke up to pounding in his head and nausea roiling in his stomach, both incessant and somewhat debilitating.

He managed to roll himself out of bed, belatedly remembering that there was no plush rug to cushion his fall in this room as he all but crawled into the bathroom and hugged the toilet, hurling until there was nothing left in his stomach to throw up.

Maybe an hour later, maybe more, still dry heaving, he cast himself into the tub and let the shower rain down on him, hot and punishing, and he hoped it was enough to get him clean, because there was no way he had the strength or the coordination to use shampoo or soap.

It took every ounce of energy he possessed to get up and get out of the tub, and it was an effort of will not to throw up again as he passed the toilet, which was still spattered with vomit. He slammed the door shut behind him and fell into bed, dripping wet, his head throbbing like it was being pounded into and split apart with a crowbar.

He was never drinking again, so help him God.

When he next woke up, naked and in a wet spot shaped like his body, he shuddered, tucked and rolled, wiggling until he was under the covers and dry, falling back into sleep just as soon as his head touched the pillow.

The third time he woke, it was to see the clock at his bedside proudly proclaiming the time to be just past two in the afternoon, and Jensen allowed his eyes to fall shut as sleep dragged him under again.

It was the dream he was having that roused him again, his heart thumping in his chest, panicked and beating like a drum. He had vague recollections of running through an unfamiliar house, in and out of empty rooms and dark hallways, chasing after something he was never going to catch, pursued by shadows closing in on him, stifling his every breath, screaming for his blood.

He managed to slow his breathing, and his heart rate with it, but the pounding in his head remained persistent, so he struggled out of bed, noting the gathering darkness outside his window and ignoring it as he found some Tylenol in his dresser drawer. Popping a few pills to stave off the pain, he returned to bed, weary in mind, body, and spirit.

He remembered it all.

Every time he’d woken, he’d remembered. He recalled the disgust and revulsion on Jared’s face every single time he closed his eyes, just as he was reminded of how he’d responded to Jared’s touch, slutty and begging for it, much like he’d done with that guy at the bar. Like a needy whore; he really couldn’t fault Jared’s sudden aversion to him. He wasn’t proud of his behavior, and he certainly wasn’t happy about it; it had all been a necessary evil. There was nothing left to do now except crawl between the sheets and fall back into slumber.

Jared banging on his locked door was what woke him for the last time that night.

“Jensen,” Jared yelled, “get the fuck up. You haven’t eaten all day.” There was a pause and a sigh loud and frustrated enough that the sound carried through the closed door. “I made dinner. Yours is on the table. You don’t want to see or talk to me, that’s fine. I’m going upstairs and I won’t come down again.” Another pause, lengthier this time. “Eat, Jensen. Please.” More silence ensued, followed by the sound of shuffling footsteps.

Jensen shut his eyes and buried his face in his pillow. He didn’t get up and he didn’t fall asleep again until the birds starting chirping outside, heralding the dawn of the new day he didn’t want to face.

when I'm around you I'm predictable
‘cause I believe in loving you at first sight
I know it's crazy but I'm hoping to,
to take a hold of you

When Jensen woke up on Sunday morning, it was around eleven, and he came wide awake almost immediately; there would be no hiding under the safety of his sheets today.

The first thing on his agenda for the day was to wash the bathroom, which he did quickly and efficiently while trying to keep the gagging to a minimum, thankful that the rancid odor didn’t make him puke again, before hopping under the shower and scrubbing himself clean. When he was dressed in faded jeans and a soft, worn tee, he ignored the rumblings of his stomach and surveyed his bedroom, noting all the things that needed packing, and wondering how much of his stuff had migrated to the rest of the house, and into Jared’s bedroom in particular.

This was not going to be a one-day job with just him doing the packing, and there was no way he was going into Jared’s room while Jared was still in the house. Perhaps he could get a few hours to himself tomorrow, he mused; their filming schedule recently had been staggered, with him and Misha doing a lot of their scenes together while Jared and…other cast members filmed their scenes. He was sure he could swing freeing up an hour or two with the production crew, so with renewed fervor, he opened the double doors to his closet and pulled out his two empty suitcases and the flattened cardboard boxes he’d never gotten rid of when he’d first moved in; foreshadowing, he supposed, but he’d never thought moving out of Jared’s house would ever come to mean moving on from Jared’s friendship.

He was making up the boxes and reinforcing the bottom panels with tape when Jared knocked on his door.

“Jensen, I’m going for a run with the dogs,” he said, his voice gruff as if he’d just woken up. “I bought bagels. They’re in the kitchen. Please…just eat something.” The words were followed by a quiet thud that made Jensen wonder if Jared had hit his head against the door, and then there was silence again.

When he heard the front door slam shut a couple of minutes later, he left his room, resolutely trying not to let the mental images of Jared going down on him deluge his mind as he walked down the hallway and made his way upstairs. He ignored his hunger pangs and caffeine cravings and made quick work of getting whatever he could lay claim to out of Jared’s room (the hoodie that had taken up permanent residence over the recliner, the sleepwear in the dresser drawer, his stuff from the bathroom) before the actual act of separating his life from Jared’s got a little overwhelming and he returned to the sanctuary of his room, leaving behind everything else he had in the living room because he just couldn’t handle it right then.

Packing away half his closet wasn’t so bad, and he did it out of habit, leaving the expensive suits hanging in their protective bags. It suddenly occurred to him that he hadn’t called the hotel to book a room, and so he did that; he’d get Clif to help him move the rest of his stuff and drive him over there on Monday.

When he heard the front door open again, he glanced at the clock, surprised to see that in the two hours since Jared had left, he’d packed both suitcases to the brim. Of their own volition, his feet took him to the closed door of his bedroom and he listened as the dogs headed straight for the kitchen to their water bowls, Jared not far behind.

As he strained to hear Jared’s movements through the house, he realized how cowardly he was being – how pathetic, really – but he did nothing about it, other than slide to the floor, his back to the door as he sat there wondering how the most cherished relationship in his life had somehow ended up like this. If he hadn’t been sitting right there at the door, he might have missed the distant sound of breaking glass and Jared’s swearing coming from the kitchen; it wasn’t enough to get him to move, though, not when he heard Jared muttering and heading up the stairs.

A few minutes later the sound of water flooding the pipes echoed through the house and Jensen watched the digital clock at his bedside flash red at him as it counted down the twenty minutes it took Jared to shower. Ten minutes or so after that, he heard soft footsteps and the clicking gait of the dogs approach his door. He conned himself into thinking he could feel the actual heat of Jared’s body on the other side of the door but Jared didn’t say a word and Jensen sure as hell wasn’t ready to talk. The dogs snuffled and woofed softly, their paws scraping the wood at his back as they whined. He drew up his knees and rested his head on his forearms, but he didn’t open the door.

When pins and needles threatened and he couldn’t feel his ass for the numbness there, he jerked awake and, glancing at the clock, he realized that he’d been sitting there dozing for close to an hour. He yawned loudly and stretched his legs out in front of him, cracking his back and grimacing as hunger pangs hit him hard.

Orange Tic Tacs and a pack of cinnamon-flavored Trident did not a satisfying meal make.


Jared’s voice from just behind the closed door at his back startled him enough to gasp audibly.

“Are you awake?” Jared sniffed quietly when Jensen didn’t say anything, so he sat stock-still and waited for his heart rate to return to normal. “I made you some coffee. I have a thermos of it here. It’s still hot.” There were some scuffling sounds before Jared spoke again. “And I made dinner. Beef stir-fry and rice. I tasted it, it’s pretty good. You wanna…you wanna come eat some with me? Or without me? Should I bring you a plate?” Jensen’s eyes burned as Jared let out a shuddering breath. “Why’d you take your stuff out of our room?” He sounded as distraught as Jensen felt. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, sounding as though he was pressed up against the door on the other side, in exactly the same spot as Jensen. “Jensen? I’m so sorry. Please come out and talk to me.”

Jensen got to his feet and tried to walk away. He did. Instead he turned and rested his forehead against the wood. The temptation to give in and give up, turn the knob and forgive and forget and be forgiven, was so impossibly strong that he had to brace his hands against the door frame to stop himself from doing it. It took a herculean effort of will to push himself off and away, back to his bed to stare at his suitcases.

Right at the top of one of them was the Vancouver Canucks jersey he’d gotten at the Red Bull soapbox derby he and Jared had raced in last September. Both of them had gotten two jerseys each, one to auction off for charity and one to keep. He sighed as he stared at his name on the back: Ackles, 13.

Unlucky 13.

He turned, striding into the bathroom to splash some water on his face to wake himself up. But in trying to shake his morose mood off, he found himself staring into the mirror instead, wondering what on earth he was going to do. He hightailed it back into the bedroom before he could wallow in any more self-pity, every instinct in him clamoring to fix this rift with Jared before it was too late, before the cracks widened to chasms and there was really no turning back.

In the harsh light of the day, with sobriety now ruling his thought processes, his antics on Friday night seemed stupid; what he’d done to Jared and with Jared seemed unforgivable, and yet Jared was apologizing and giving him an out.

Also, he could really use the coffee.

He went back to stand by the door and Jared immediately spoke to him, making Jensen think that Jared was paying attention to his movements just as carefully as Jensen was listening for Jared.

“I got the paper yesterday,” Jared started, “I left it with your dinner that you didn’t eat. I wanted you to read it, but I guess I’ll read it for you now. It was kind of appropriate, I think. I’ll read mine first.” He took a deep breath as Jensen leaned his head against the doorframe. “Cancer. Sometimes you need to be disciplined, and sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind. Your instincts will guide you in the right direction but make sure to do things in your own time and in your own way. Put your best self forward when it comes to events that command your attention. Someone will serve up a whole new ball game, and you’re going to have to decide, once and for all, whether to step up to the plate or forfeit the game.”

Jensen tipped his head in Bridget O’Malley’s direction; he had to hand it to the woman – she was remarkably adept at getting her pretend predictions to reflect the trials and tribulations of their fucked up lives. Jensen kind of wanted to find out if she really existed.

“She’s pretty bang on there,” Jared quipped, trying for playful and failing. “I kind of want to meet her.” Jensen tried not to smile at their synchronous thoughts but it was a lost cause. The smile slipped off his face, though, when Jared read his horoscope. “Pisces. Be patient. The news you have been waiting for is here. You may have to gently give chase when it comes to getting what you want, but use that impressive imagination of yours and ignore the competition. Keep your head in the game. You’re going to come out on top here, so let things unfold as the universe wills it. Heal a rift with a demanding loved one, and be quick about it.” Jared sniffed loudly. “See? Even Bridget wants us to not fight anymore.” Another pause followed by another sniffle. “I’m pretty sure she also wants you to put all your stuff back into our bathroom upstairs. And come out and eat, and have some coffee, and talk to me again.”

And seriously, how was Jensen supposed to stand strong in the onslaught of that? His defenses were not built to withstand Jared, never had been, really; every word and move Jared was making now was carefully aimed at his heart. It was making him melt and he was without recourse, left with no other choice but to open the door and go out there and let Jared take him over, use and abuse him until he was broken and bleeding, and there he went, getting stupidly melodramatic again.

The lack of nutrients in his bloodstream was obviously messing with his mind.

A soft shuffling just outside had him whipping around in alarm at the thought of Jared walking away, maybe for good, maybe giving up on him, maybe not caring anymore. He was at the door in the blink of an eye and he yanked it open, walking out and promptly tripping over something that sent him crashing to his knees, hard on the floor.

“Ow!” he exclaimed, in synchrony with Jared, because he’d tripped over Jared’s outstretched legs, and oh…

They stared at each other, unblinking, until Jensen couldn’t look anymore, at least not without letting something of how he felt show in his eyes. One of his legs was still draped over Jared’s legs, the points of contact between them warming him from the outside in, and he bent his injured knee, rubbing it for wont of something to do as he grimaced at the pain.

“Let me,” Jared said tentatively, reaching out to rub his knee instead, the warmth of his hand on Jensen’s skin through the ripped denim of his jeans soothing the pain a little. Jensen hardly dared to breathe as Jared kept his eyes trained on the movements of his hand, but the breath he was holding whooshed out of him in a hurry when Jared bent his head and placed a soft, lingering kiss on his kneecap. “I’m sorry.”

“Why do you do stuff like that?” Jensen blurted out before he could control his mouth.

Jared blinked at him. “I’m sorry! I don’t know what I was thinking! I just… You made me so angry and hurt and I just wanted to hurt you back…”

“So you sat out here waiting to trip me?” Jensen asked in bewilderment.

“Huh?” Jared shook his head. “What are you talking about?”

“You! With the kissing! My knee!”

“Oh.” Jared did that stupid slow blinking thing again, and Jensen rolled his eyes. “I thought you meant…”

Alarms went off in Jensen’s brain. Christ, he was so not ready to talk about this. Avoid, avert, sidestep, duck. Anything but meet this head on. “You promised me coffee if I came out,” he interrupted, the words exhaled out of his mouth with his breath.

Jared studied him like Jensen was the pinned bug to Jared’s entomologist, but he handed him a thermos. “Here.”


“You need to eat.”

“Later,” Jensen brushed him off, the scent and then taste of coffee making him a little delirious. He consumed half the volume in the flask before he sighed and leaned back against the wall opposite Jared, their legs parallel to each other.

“We can’t put off talking about this, Jen.”

“I know.” Jensen sighed. “You’ve got nothing to apologize for. It was me…”

Jared snorted. “You? I was the one who got in the way of you and…him. I’m the one who dragged you back here like you belong to me, like you’re some sort of possession, like I own you or something.” Jared looked disgusted and it was all directed at himself, and suddenly Jensen realized that he’d read him all wrong before. And if he needed further proof of that, Jared’s next words gave it to him. “I wouldn’t blame you if you never wanted to have anything to do with me again, or if you never wanted to even see me again, or if you…left me. I took what you really weren’t willing to give me and I can’t even remember if you consented…” Tears slid silently down Jared’s cheeks, and the sight damn near crippled Jensen. “So, it’s not you, Jensen. That was all on me.”

“And what about what I said?” Jensen reminded him, painful though it was. “In the trailer. What about that?”

Hazel eyes that he knew better than his own stared back at him. “Did you mean it?”

And that was it, the moment of truth; do or die. Jensen’s eyes didn’t waver from Jared’s, and they stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity.

“Have you ever met someone and right away, you wanted to know everything about them?” Jensen asked instead of answering Jared, his voice hushed and a little reverent. “Every small, stupid detail about their lives, every tiny, little thing that makes them happy or sad or mad, and every time you find out something new, all it made you crave was more? Like you could spend a lifetime with them and it still wouldn’t be long enough?” Jared blinked rapidly against the gathering moisture in his eyes. “Have you ever loved someone that much, Jay?”

Jared almost choked on his response. “Yes.”

“Me too,” Jensen whispered, wiping a hand down his face, not surprised that it came away wet, “and I didn’t mean a goddamn word I said to you in that trailer. Not one word…”

And before Jensen could blink or breathe, Jared closed the small distance between them, wrapping his arms around Jensen in a crushing hug as Jensen buried his face in the crook of Jared’s neck and tried not to sob like a lost little kid.

“Don’t go,” Jared begged, his fingers gripping the back of Jensen’s head, holding him close and immobile.

“I don’t wanna go…”

“Then stay.”

“I can’t do that either…”

“Just, please,” Jared implored him, “please…just give us a chance, Jensen. Give me a chance.”

Jensen pulled back in shock. “You want a chance?”

“I’m always gonna want my chance with you.” Jensen blinked and Jared rolled his eyes. “How do you not know how I feel about you?”

“You could have told me!”

You could have told me!”

“You know I’m no good at this sort of thing!”

“That is such a cop-out…” Jared shook his head. “You thought we were playing house, I thought we were building towards something…”

“You did?”

“I did.”

“Well, what about Genevieve then?”

“What about her?”

Jensen huffed out a breath and tried to push Jared away. Tried being the operative word. Jared held onto him like he would never let him go again. “Don’t pretend! I saw you kissing her on the back deck. On our back deck. In our house. You and her,” Jensen spat, irate and not afraid to show it now, and oh, this coming clean thing was cathartic.

To his eternal surprise, Jared smiled and his stupid dimples winked at Jensen, whose armor was already shot to hell, so he had no resistance to speak of; he leaned in and kissed the dimple closest to him, thoroughly annoyed when Jared’s grin grew. “That’s the first time you’ve called this our house,” Jared said, and Jensen flushed guiltily, but when he tried to look away, Jared caught his chin and held him in place. “You’re jealous of Genevieve?” he asked gleefully. Jensen glared at him, mouth pursed in fury. “I didn’t kiss her, by the way. She kissed me…”

Jensen snorted in disbelief. “Jesus, trite much?”

“What? She totally just launched herself at me and I was too surprised for a second to do anything! It lasted two seconds, tops!”

“Must’ve been the longest two seconds in the history of time,” Jensen retorted caustically.

Jared squeezed his chin. “I set her straight; I told her I wasn’t interested in being more than friends.”

“How are you gonna explain away your little private practice sessions, huh?”

“Jen, she’s new, and she doesn’t really know anyone that well.” Jared sighed. “She found out online that the fans kind of hate her and they’re criticizing her acting and it messed with her game. I just wanted to help her out because there was no one else she could turn to…”

“Convenient. And how selfless of you.”

“I was being nice, you jerk! And I asked you to join us every single time we went out!” Jared huffed and blew the bangs from his forehead. “You weren’t exactly welcoming…”

“Gee, I wonder why? Like I was gonna sit around and watch you two flirt.”

“Jen, most of the crew take their cues from us, you know? The ones who like you best, they tend to treat her the way you treat her. So that cold shoulder you’re giving her, it amplifies.” Jared shrugged. “It’s kind of mean. I felt sorry for her.” Jensen frowned, not liking the sound of that at all; even if he had been treating Genevieve like that, didn’t mean the crew had to, too. He had his reasons, what was their excuse? “Wow,” Jared said wondrously, but still smirking like the asshole he was, “you really are jealous, huh?”

Jensen pinned him with an arch look. “Need I remind you of what happened Friday night with Derek?”

The smile fell off Jared’s face. “Derek?” he asked, sounding strangled.

Jensen tried not to look smug. “Derek. See? I did get his name.”

“How nice for you!” Jared snapped. “Did you get his number too? I mean, why wait? Go call him!”

“How do you know I haven’t already?”

Jared took a couple of breaths through his nose, because his jaw was clenched too tight to do anything as he glowered at Jensen, and the grip he had on Jensen’s chin became painful. It was a little scary having all that intensity directed at him, but in such a good way, because holy shit, that stormy look in Jared’s eyes went straight to Jensen’s gut, and it felt like his entire body clenched tight with want. “Have you?”

Jensen wondered how long they would bicker like children if he kept on yanking Jared’s chain. “No. I’m hungry. You need to feed me.”

“That’s it?” Jared blinked at him. “That’s all we’re saying about this?”

Jensen reached up and circled Jared’s wrist with his fingers, his thumb unerringly finding Jared’s pulse as he held on, Jared’s hold on his chin still strong. “There’s really nothing between you and her? Despite the way she looks at you?”

“How does she look at me?”

“Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.”

“Okay, I won’t tell you that,” Jared imparted, his voice gruff, “but I will say this: When you’re around, and even when you’re not around, there’s not much else I notice.”

Jensen held his breath. “She looks at you like she wants you. Bad.”

“Not gonna happen.”

The grip Jensen had on Jared’s wrist tightened as they stared at each other. “Promise?”

“I promise.”

“Okay.” Jensen gulped, and then he was kissing the palm of Jared’s hand, his own pulse responding when he felt Jared’s pulse thrum under the light pressure of his fingers. Jared hugged him again, kissing his temple, the same kiss he'd given him a thousand times before but Jensen finally felt the intent behind it now: Hey, I’m here. I’ve got you.

I love you.

The truth was out now, out and in the open, out for Jared to see and reject, only he hadn’t, he’d embraced it and Jensen, and he wanted a chance, and suddenly Jensen was on the verge of hyperventilating again.

“Christ, Jen, breathe,” Jared said suddenly and Jensen became aware that he was gasping for breath. “Head between your knees, baby.” Oh, Jesus. Jared was going to be the death of him, Jensen thought, struggling to regulate his erratic breathing. “You okay?”

Jensen nodded and made to stand, Jared helping him to his feet. “I need food, I think. Stat.”

Jared’s mouth twitched. “All right.”

Jensen turned away but before he could take a step, Jared hugged him from behind, and kissed the back of his head. Then he led him into the kitchen and sat him down, serving up a healthy helping of the beef stir-fry that had been warming in the oven, and as Jensen dug in, Jared watched him for a few minutes before tucking into his dinner too.

Underneath the table, Jared’s long legs bracketed his, anchoring him close, keeping him grounded.

“I’ve got today’s paper,” Jared told him as they had dessert, one big bowl of strawberry ice cream and one spoon between them. “You wanna read it?”

“Gimme,” Jensen said, grabbing the paper and opening it up to the right page as Jared scraped his chair closer, draped an arm over his shoulder and fed him a spoonful of ice cream. “Cancer. Fate is sometimes fickle, so don’t leave everything up to her will. You are responsible for your own life and the path you take. You’re building up to something significant. Go for it and be confident and success will be yours. Expect your heart to…” Jensen paused, biting his lip, and Jared leaned closer to him, his mouth brushing Jensen’s cheek as he kissed him there.

“Expect my heart to what?”

Jensen cleared his throat. “Expect your heart to flutter for all the…right reasons. Let love guide you, always.”

Jared’s mouth pressed a trail of little kisses across his jaw until he got to that spot behind his ear, and Jensen tried to breathe as he whispered, “Read yours.”

“Pi…Pisces. Appreciate all the good of your current situation. There are so many reasons to be cheerful, even in the trickiest of circumstances. Patience is a virtue, so let things be and don’t force yourself on anyone or into anything right now. Good things come to those who wait and that which… that which you cherish the most, is on its way to you.”

Jensen looked at Jared; he'd already gotten whom he cherished the most, and boy, had it been worth the wait.

you're everything I'm wanting
come to think of it, I'm aching
on account of my transgression
will you welcome this confession?

After they’d done the dishes, and let the dogs out one last time for the night – Jensen taking a few minutes to play with them in the backyard because he’d missed them just as much as they’d missed him – Jared traipsed after him like one of the puppies as Jensen returned to his room to grab his pajamas and toothbrush, stalling in the doorway when he saw the packed suitcases.

“Let’s unpack these now,” he suggested, looking skittish, as if he couldn’t decide whether to follow Jensen into the bathroom or remain where he was, barricading the door against Jensen’s escape.

Jensen quelled the urge to laugh. “I’m not going anywhere. I gave you my word.” That made Jared perch his big body on the lone square foot of empty space on Jensen’s bed, standing – or sitting, rather – on sentry duty. Jensen shook his head and went to brush his teeth, and before he left the bathroom, he quickly switched out his jeans for his pajama bottoms.

When he came back into the bedroom, it was to find Jared in his closet, Jensen’s Canucks jersey hanging in there again. Jensen didn’t have the heart to berate him, besides which, Jared was distracted.

“Look what I found,” he said, holding out Jensen’s stack of postcards, all fifty of them bound by a rubber band, in the palm of his hand. Jared looked up at him as his fingers brushed the glossy surface of the postcard on the top of the pile. “You saved them.”

Jensen’s response was just the tiniest of shrugs, so Jared looked at the postcards again, then put them back onto the shelf where he’d found them. Then he picked up the little stuffed kangaroo with the red boxing gloves that Jensen had gotten him from Sydney. The toy kangaroo also sported a silky-looking red robe, just like real boxers had, with 'Jared' emblazoned on the back in yellow ribbon. “When did you get this?”

“When I went to Sydney for that CW thing.”

“That was a year ago, almost.”

“Yeah,” Jensen said, walking to Jared’s side and tracing the outline of Jared’s name on the kangaroo’s robe. “We’d just seen Kangaroo Jack – well, you made me watch it with you – and you kept saying how cool it would be to have a joey for a pet…” Jared laughed delightedly. “Meet Kangaroo Jared.” Jensen smirked, reaching up a little further back on the shelf and pulling down the second plush toy he’d picked up: a similarly outfitted koala, but with a blue robe and 'Jensen' embroidered on the back. “And his best bud, Koala Jensen. I got their robes to match…”

“…the colors of our marks on set.”

Jensen blushed. “Yeah, well…”

“And you got these a year ago.”


“When you gave me the watch and the didgeridoo.”

“Uh huh.”

“Why didn’t you give me this…?” Jared paused, blinking at the stuffed animal in his hand and looking from the kangaroo to the koala as realization dawned. “That was when Sandy and I told you about the engagement.” Jensen held his breath. “Jensen?” Jared asked, but Jensen was busy fiddling with a loose lacing on the koala’s tiny boxing glove. Jared, never one to exercise patience, tipped his face up, and their gazes locked. “Jensen, how long…how long have you…? Jesus. How long?” All Jensen could do was try to swallow past the sudden lump in his throat, and Jared’s hazel eyes softened to warm brown, the color of Jensen’s morning coffee. “Over a year?” He nodded curtly. “When? God, Jen, tell me!”

“I don’t know,” Jensen hedged, his voice husky. “Seems like forever. But maybe the first time I realized… It was when you showed up to A Few Good Men.” He laughed at the irony of it, but Jared had gotten this haunted look in his eyes that Jensen couldn’t quite decipher. “What?”

“That’s a long time to…feel that way about someone and be around them as much as we’re around each other. Especially if you thought you were the only one feeling… umm, all those feelings.”

“Feelings?” Jared nodded, biting his lip as he warily studied Jensen’s face. “You mean, like…love?” he asked, his voice a whisper as he tried not to laugh at Jared’s awkwardness.

Jared’s breath whooshed out of his body in relief. “I wasn’t sure if we were calling spades spades yet.”

Jensen chuckled, wrapping his arms around Jared’s waist as he rested his head on Jared’s chest, right over Jared’s steady heartbeat, because he supposed he could do that now. He couldn’t hold back the pleased little smile that broke free at the thought, his own heart beating like a drum when Jared’s arms encircled him. “It’s okay.”

“It’s really not.”

“Well, I love you, so it will be,” Jensen assured him. “I’m sleepy.”

“Quit trying to distract me, I… What?

Jensen smirked and nuzzled the spot on Jared’s cheek where his dimple usually peeked through. “Missed sleeping with you…”

Jared crushed him to his big body, and when he spoke, there was a quiet sort of desperation in his voice. “Say it again.”

“Should’ve been paying closer attention the first time.”


“Jared. Let's go to bed.”

“You don’t fight fair.”

“Why do you sound so surprised at that?” Jensen laughed at Jared’s exasperated expression, but then the look on his face morphed into fondness and before Jensen knew it, he was being kissed to within an inch of his life, sweet and scorching hot, but far too short.

Before he could lodge a formal complaint, Jared was dragging him out of the room and up the stairs, Jensen almost tripping behind him. Jared caught him before he could fall, kissed tender apologies all over his face and then placed the plush kangaroo and koala high atop a dresser in their – their – bedroom where the dogs couldn’t get at them.

“So tomorrow after work,” Jared told him as he waited for Jensen to slip under the covers before turning out the lights and getting into bed himself, both of them facing each other for once, Jared’s arms immediately finding purchase around his body, “we’re gonna come home, get you unpacked, and maybe we can look into moving some of my stuff out of the closet so you can move your stuff in, and I’ll clear some dresser drawers for you too…” Jared kept talking but Jensen stopped paying attention after that.

He felt a moment of insane panic. What the hell were they doing? What had he done, declaring his undying love for Jared while sacked out on the floor in the same hallway where Jared had blown him, out of anger and jealousy, no less, a couple of nights ago? Somehow he’d expected this whole thing to have been more…well, just more…epic, maybe?

“Stop that,” Jared muttered, “stop panicking. Just trust me to take care of you, that’s all I need for you to do.”

“What about loving me?” Jensen asked before he could muzzle his mouth.

“Oh boy,” Jared smiled, stroking the backs of his fingers over Jensen’s cheek, “I don’t know how not to love you.”

Jensen blinked. “Oh.”

Those long, perfectly calloused fingers stroked gently all across Jensen’s face: across his cheeks, following the path of his accursed freckles, along the edges of his eyes, the planes of his forehead, down the slope of his nose and over his mouth before settling on his cheek, Jared’s thumb nestled in the little dip of Jensen’s chin. Jared inched closer. “Do you remember – after Sandy – you said, one day...one day, I would find that all the empty spaces she left behind would be filled again? That I would be whole again – and happy… Do you remember?”

Jensen remembered; he remembered everything. “Yeah,” he managed to say, his throat dry, and his voice hoarse.

“I don’t think,” Jared continued, “after Sandy, I mean… Yes, I was hurt; it was rough, but I never felt that way – not really. Never hollow. Never like I was missing something vital, and never like I was aimlessly drifting like I did after my breakup with Alexis.” Jared paused and blew out a breathy sigh. “I used to wonder – no, I used to angst – over why I didn’t feel that way after Sandy, because I was with her longer, and we were supposed to be getting married, but it… I never felt...broken. Not from the moment I called you, to the time you showed up on our doorstep.” He paused, his thumb caressing Jensen’s chin as he pondered his words. “I keep remembering what you said that night… I keep thinking about it, Jen, and I don’t think I’ve ever been lonely like that since I met you.” Jensen looked at him, startled, and Jared, his chest rising and falling with the deep breath he took, smiled. “You. You fill up every empty space in my life, and when something’s not right with you, and you won’t talk to me… That’s when I feel broken, and when you’re not around, that's when I feel like I can’t breathe right and when you are...”

Jared paused and Jensen’s heart pounded, his blood thrumming through his veins, as everything, even the sound of his own breathing, seemed too loud in his head. “When I am… What?”

Jared licked his lips, his other hand forming a tight fist as he gripped Jensen’s t-shirt. “When you’re close, I’m good. I’m golden. I think that was the moment for me. It was right there in front of me the whole time, but that was when I saw it, you know? When you got here – after I called off the engagement – it threw me. I mean, I should’ve been tied up in knots over ending things with her, and yet…all I could see and feel and want…was you. You’re the whole reason I… No. No, the truth is that I broke up with her because of the way I felt about you. I was so confused… I was a mess. And Sandy and I were fighting all the damn time and it got a little ugly. I was in a bad place in my head. Talking to you kept me sane, and then you came home to me… It hurt to look at you sometimes and not be able to tell you how I felt, or touch you the way I wanted to, because I had no idea how you felt… I couldn’t – still can’t – breathe sometimes, but even that feels right… It’s like I don’t know how to be happy without you anymore.” His jaw ticked as he clenched it, but his gaze and the sincerity in it didn’t waver. “I don’t want to know, either. I want you with me all the time. All the time. I want to be able to reach out and know you’re close enough to touch and I want to fill up every lonely, empty space in your life…with me.” Jared blinked rapidly to dispel the tears in his eyes and then leaned forward until their foreheads touched. “I love you.”

Too choked up to talk, Jensen closed the distance between them and claimed Jared’s mouth with a kiss that was a vow and a promise all in one.

When he could finally pull his mouth free, a good long while and many lazy, sticky-sweet kisses later, as they both teetered on the edge of sleep, exhausted and still clinging to each other, he spoke.

“I love you too, Jay.”

could this be out of line?
to say you're the only one breaking me down like this
you're the only one I would take a shot on
keep me hanging on,
so contagiously

When Jensen woke up the next morning, pulled to consciousness from a pleasant dream he couldn’t quite remember, he found himself spooned into Jared’s front, as usual, with one notable exception. Before, they’d both been careful that the lower halves of their bodies had stayed separate – or Jensen had been careful, and Jared had been a clinging vine – but now, it seemed that his body’s internal safety mechanisms had shut off; Jared was accessible and Jensen had a VIP pass.

He flushed hotly when he realized that Jared’s morning wood was snug in the crease of his ass, Jared’s long legs entangled with his, Jared’s arms caging his body, his right arm substituting for Jensen’s pillow while his left hand, fingers spread wide and possessive, rested right over Jensen’s heart. Jensen entwined his fingers with Jared’s, moving them until he could rest his cheek against the back of Jared’s hand. He smiled, unable to resist placing a kiss there, the springy little hairs on Jared’s knuckles tickling his skin.

Last night, they’d made out like a couple of teenagers, but there had been no getting off. It had been…nice. Heady. Exciting in that slow burn sort of way that only served to make him want more, and that was something Jensen had never done before because his MO was usually have sex first, ask no questions later.

It was different with Jared. It meant more. It meant everything.

They may have not talked about the nitty-gritty details yet, and there were still a lot of rough edges to smooth out in their relationship, but this right here was as close to perfection as Jensen had ever gotten.

“G’mornin’,” Jared breathed into the nape of Jensen’s neck.

Jensen sighed happily and snuggled closer, Jared’s hold on him reflexively tightening. “Good morning, sunshine.”

“You’re coherent.” Jared levered himself up onto his elbow and stared down at Jensen’s smug smirk. “Did you sneak downstairs for some coffee already?”

“How could I? You have a death grip on me.” Jared loosened his hold and Jensen tightened his. “Wasn’t complainin’.”

“Turn around and gimme a kiss.” Jensen hastened to obey the softly spoken order and he was duly rewarded for it, and, if mornings came with kisses like this – slow and sweet and soft, despite the morning breath and lingering drool – then bring ‘em on; maybe there was hope to be had for Jensen’s heretofore repressed inner morning person.

Jensen kept his eyes closed for a moment as Jared pulled a fraction of an inch away, and when he opened them again, he found Jared looking at him with something akin to awe. “You’re beautiful,” he murmured, his gaze hovering over Jensen’s face like a physical caress. “Do we have to go work today?”

“Unfortunately,” Jensen replied, finding his voice and kissing Jared just because he could. “The dogs…”

“They can pee on the floor,” Jared joked, covering Jensen’s body with his as he rolled over, smothering him in the best way possible. “I wanna make love to you.”

And there went his ability to breathe or speak or move again.


And huh, that was his voice talking, unbidden. Jared’s shocked face kicked his brain back into gear as he held on when Jared scrambled to get away.

“No, not no,” Jensen said, not very coherently, but to be fair, he hadn’t had any coffee yet. “Just, not right now.”

“Oh,” Jared nodded a little too tentatively, “okay.” His head cocked to one side enquiringly, kind of the way Harley’s did sometimes. “Later? When we get home?”


“You’re still mad at me about what I did Friday night, right?” Jared looked positively terrified. “I didn’t mean to be so rough, Jen, I’m sorry…”

“Jared, I’m not some delicate little flower here,” Jensen huffed, “you don’t need to use kid gloves. ‘Sides, I liked…what you did Friday night. It was hot.”

Jared blushed and grinned like a loon, smug and shy and goddamned delectable. “Then I don’t get it.”

“I just…” Jensen drew in a deep breath. “Don’t laugh at me, okay?”

“No promises, Ackles.” Jensen pinched his belly and Jared yelped and capitulated. “Okay, okay!”

“I just want…more of this.”


“This…” Jensen blushed as he tried to come up with the right words. “I want to be bound to you.”

“Bound?” Jared blinked, his eyes rounding in surprise. “Like, you want me to tie you down?”

“No! No… Uh…maybe later.”


Jensen groaned in embarrassment. “Shut up. I just meant I want to be bound to you, for good. I want more of this… romantic stuff,” Jensen told him, keeping his eyes on Jared’s face no matter how tempting it was to look away. “I want...I want to woo you.” Jared blinked, his mouth dropping open in surprise, and Jensen grimaced, his tongue tripping over itself as his brain tried to explain and not make him sound like the biggest dork on the planet. “It’s just that I’ve never felt like this before, and you’re the one who keeps telling me how important love is…and I just want to show you. How important you are to me. Because you are, Jay. You’re everything and I want this to last forever, and I don’t want you to have any regrets and I want to do this right, and I know you’re not a girl, but I want to romance you. Because apparently the way to a Cancer man’s heart is with romance. With a lot of food and candy thrown in there ‘cause it’s you…and oh God, I'm shutting up now...”

Jared looked stunned speechless. He gulped and swallowed and tried to speak three times before he was successful. “You wanna woo me?”

Jensen nodded and as usual, once he got going, his stupid mouth and ridiculous brain didn’t know when to stop. “I wanna flirt with you, and buy you dinner, and write you a love song and sing it to you, and cuddle on the couch, and see Poland with you, and go diving with you and…put your picture in my wallet.” He paused to breathe and leaned up to nuzzle Jared’s face with his. “I want everything. I want to do everything with you.”

“God, Jensen – you are so fucking adorable sometimes,” Jared declared, like that was the best and worst thing ever, and then he kissed him. Soundly. Then he laughed at him, the little shit.

“Dorky. I know, right?” Jensen closed his eyes in despair at Jared’s teasing look. “I can’t help it.”

“It’s a good thing I find it so romantic.”

Jensen regarded him through one open eye, and when no ridicule was forthcoming, he deemed it safe to open both. “You do?”

“I do. Hot, too.”

“Awesome.” He grinned toothily and Jared laughed again and kissed him hard.

“So I was reading online again,” Jared told him, as he stroked Jensen’s head.

Jensen groaned. “Oh God…”

Jared chuckled. “Don’t worry. It was just this thing on ‘How to Get a Pisces Man to Chase You,’ and I may or may not have committed it to memory. I was getting pretty desperate.” Jensen grinned like a fool. A fool in love. “It said Pisces men don’t chase anyone. They’re too passive, they kind of hope that love will happen if they just hang around long enough. Sound familiar?”

Jensen ducked his head into the crook of Jared’s neck, and no, it wasn’t hiding, it was just that Jared smelled so good. His voice, when he finally dared to use it, was muffled. “Maybe.”

“It said you have to try and be everything he wants if you want your Pisces man to chase after you. And you shouldn’t be around all the time, because how can he chase after you if you’re always in his face?” Jared shrugged, and Jensen was dislodged from his not-hiding place, and when he looked at Jared, it was to find him looking a little guilty. “That part I really can’t do too well. I always need to be around you.”

Jensen cleared his throat, mighty pleased that Jared was apparently just as far gone as he was. “What else did it say?”

“It said if you could get your Pisces man to yearn for you…”

“I yearn.”

“You do?”

Jensen nodded earnestly. “Yeah. So much.”

“Well, if you get your Pisces man to yearn for you, to long for you…”

“I long for you,” Jensen confessed unabashedly. “I long for you all the damn time.”

Jared smiled, a little secretive and a lot smug. “Then mission accomplished,” he said, one long finger gently bopping Jensen on the nose. “I got you.”

“You did,” Jensen breathed, against Jared’s lips as his mouth descended on his. “You got me good.” 

Tags: j2, qbfic, rps, the courtship of jensen's co-star

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