Jensen is in sort of an awkward position when Jared comes back from his last class on Friday.
He’s sitting cross-legged on the floor with his arms stretched over his head. Misha is standing behind him, pressing his knee between his shoulder blades and stretching his arms upward.
“Uh,” Jared says, raising one eyebrow. Jensen just stares ahead with a weird mixture of annoyance and concentration on his face. “Should I even ask?”
“Misha is aligning my chakra,” Jensen says, not sounding particularly happy about it. Misha pushes his body down until he’s folded nearly in half, forehead brushing the floor.
“Stretch your arms out in front of you,” Misha says, and he does. He lets out a harsh sigh. “That’s right. Take deep, cleansing breaths.” Jensen rolls his eyes.
“Okay,” Jared replies slowly. “But why?”
“My aura was murky,” Jensen says, and yelps when Misha kicks him in the ass.
“I did not say your aura was murky,” Misha replies. “I said you looked really fucking tense and that this would help you relax.”
“God knows he needs it,” Jared mumbles, and Jensen nearly flinches. He’s well aware that he’s been trying Jared’s usually unlimited patience.
“Misha is like one bad day away from becoming an axe wielding psychopath,” Jensen says, shifting and stretching even farther forward. He actually can feel himself loosening up a little, and he presses his forehead firmly against the floor, knees on either side of his ribs. “I figured if it can help him calm down, it’d be worth a try.”
“Yoga is the reason I’m not an axe wielding psychopath,” Misha says calmly, pressing his hands against the small of Jensen’s back and pressing down. He can hear bones pop and it feels awesome.
“The scary part is that I have no idea if you’re kidding,” Jared replies, and Jensen twists his head so he can see Jared. He’s staring at them with a slightly annoyed grimace, and Jensen figures it’s probably time to get Misha’s hands off of him and unfold himself out of a pretzel.
“Does it look like I’m kidding?” Misha replies stoically, sliding his hands up to Jensen’s shoulders and pulling him into a sitting position. Jensen rolls his shoulders and sighs.
“It never looks like you’re kidding,” Jared retorts. “Your face is like stone.”
“Oh,” Misha says, pressing his thumbs into the hollows behind Jensen’s ears and making him groan. “I was kidding.”
“Good to know,” Jared says. Misha pats his shoulders once and steps away from him. Jensen gets up and dusts off his knees before going over to Jared and giving him a soft kiss on the mouth. Jared exhales and presses a kiss to Jensen’s eyebrow.
“You guys are leaving, right?” Misha asks. “I might as well check you out while I’m here.”
“I’m ready to go,” Jared says, throwing his backpack on top of the small duffle at the foot of his bed. He looks at Jensen, and his eyes are cool. “Are we taking separate cars?”
“No,” Jensen says, eyebrows bunching in confusion. “Why would we?”
“I don’t know. We never talked about it, so I just assumed.” Jared replies, and Jensen reaches out to curl his hand around Jared’s hip, thumb skittering across bone. He hates knowing Jared is upset, hates himself for being the cause. But he just can’t help it right now. His heart is much too fragile to let anyone handle, even Jared. Especially Jared.
“If you want to, we can,” Jensen says uncertainly. “Or I can drive.”
“I’ll go with you,” Jared replies, reaching forward to grip the waistband of Jensen’s jeans. Jensen kisses him softly and wishes it wasn’t so obvious that he was holding back.
“Hate to break up the lovefest, but I’ve got a whole fucking floor of kids to check out,” Misha says, raising an eyebrow. “So if we could get the show on the road?”
Jensen turns around and meets Misha’s amused gaze. Jared’s fingers skim the thin skin of his hips and Jensen wishes he ran hot instead of cold at the sensation.
It takes them longer than usual to get home due to the Friday evening traffic.
Jensen taps out a nervous rhythm on the steering wheel as he turns into their neighborhood, biting his lip and glancing at Jared out of the corner of his eye. He’s slumped against the door, staring absently out the window.
Jared’s usual exuberance has dimmed considerably, and Jensen knows he’s at fault.
“Do you want to come in and say hi to my mom?” Jensen says as he pulls onto his street and spots his mother’s car in the driveway. “And then I’ll take you home?”
“Sure,” Jared says, sitting up and pressing his palms into his eye sockets. He looks tired and irritated. After what happened in the field the day before, Jensen had closed off even more, and he doesn’t even know why.
Jensen thinks this break will be good for them. He can spend some time in his own home with his family, and he can decompress. Recharge. Then everything will be fine. Hopefully.
But, of course Jensen knows what they say about best laid plans.
When they walk into Jensen’s living room, Donna jumps up off of the couch and pulls Jensen into a tight hug. All the breath escapes his lungs in a loud whoosh and he hugs her back.
“Mom,” he pants, shooting Jared a look. “Can’t breathe. Ribs cracking.”
“Sorry,” she says, pulling back. That’s when Jensen notices how upset she looks, eyes bright and lips pressed into a firm line.
“What’s wrong?” Jensen asks, tilting his head to the side. Donna runs her hand through her hair and gives Jensen a sorrowful look.
“Jenny, your grandparents are coming tonight, for Thanksgiving,” she says, voice full of regret. Jensen blinks a few times, confused.
“That’s a good thing, mom,” he replies, patting her shoulder. “I talked to grandma on the phone a few weeks ago and she didn’t mention it.”
“Not – not my parents,” she says, sucking in a breath. “Your dad’s.”
Jensen drops his hand and blinks, his stomach twisting uncomfortably. He swallows the sour taste in his mouth and nods. He feels Jared’s hand on his shoulder immediately, and Jensen unconsciously steps back towards him.
“Oh,” is all he can manage to say.
“I’m sorry, Jenny,” Donna says, looking devastated. “It was so last minute. I tried to convince them to go to your uncle’s house, but they insisted. They haven’t seen Alan and the kids in years – “
“The straight kids,” Jensen says flatly, feeling oddly cold despite the warmth in the room. “Not me.”
“I’m sorry,” she says again. “You know I don’t want them here, baby. Not after what they did to you.”
“Mom, it’s okay,” Jensen says, offering a wan smile. He can feel Jared’s hand, warm and strong between his shoulder blades. “They’re still a part of the family, as much as they wish I wasn’t.”
Donna looks like she’s about to cry, and that upsets Jensen more than anything.
“Mom, please don’t be upset,” he pleads. “This isn’t your fault.”
“I already talked to Sherri,” she says, steamrolling right over Jensen’s attempts to make her feel better. “She said that you can stay there. I don’t want to kick you out of your own house, baby. But I think it's best. Your father went to go pick them up from the airport.”
“Sure,” Jensen replies, shifting his weight a little. “That’s fine.”
“I’m so sorry,” she says again. “I want you to be with family, Jensen.”
“He will be with family, mom,” Jared tells her, and it’s the first thing he’s said since they arrived. He slides his fingers into Jensen’s hair, nails scraping against his scalp. Jensen instantly feels grounded, soothed. “We’re his family, too.”
Jensen is now even more grateful Jared agreed not to tell their parents about their fight. Donna doesn’t need another thing to worry about, not with Jensen’s absurdly homophobic grandparents coming to town. They completely disowned him when he came out – cut him out of their lives like he was never there to begin with.
He’s had nearly three years to get over it. It didn’t take him long to realize that with so many people that love him for who he is, two people refusing to doesn’t really matter in the long run. But still, he can’t stop the sting he feels when Josh and Mac get birthday cards and Christmas presents and he doesn’t.
Josh and Mac never open them, though. They refuse to, trying to support Jensen in any way they can. Jensen still doesn’t know how to thank them for that. He can’t imagine either of his siblings will be pleased by their presence.
“I know you are,” Donna says, breaking Jensen from his thoughts. “You’ll take good care of him.”
“Always do,” Jared says, slinging his arm around Jensen’s waist. Jensen melts against him – can’t help but remember how Jared was there for him during the fallout, when his grandpa that taught him how to ride horses down in Texas told him no grandson of his would be a filthy little faggot.
The amount of love he has for Jared still surprises him sometimes, especially when he realizes how far back it really goes.
“We’re gonna go,” Jensen says suddenly, wanting to get out of the house before they get there. He pulls himself out of Jared’s casual embrace and hugs his mother, rubbing his hand up and down her back. “Don’t be sad, okay? I’m not sad over it anymore. I’m just gonna miss you guys.”
“I hate this,” Donna says, pulling back to look at him. “You should be here. Not them.”
“I’ll be right up the street,” Jensen promises. “With plenty of people that love me.”
“Okay,” Donna says, but she still doesn’t look happy about it. She pushes his hair back and kisses his forehead. She hugs Jared then, stretching up on her toes to get her arms around his neck. “You two be good.”
Jensen gives her a comforting smile as they leave. He’s quiet as they walk back to his car, and he doesn’t even realize he’s staring up at his bedroom window until Jared puts a hand on his thigh.
“You okay, Jen?” Jared asks, and Jensen turns to meet his concerned gaze. Jensen manages a small smile and nods. “Don’t think about them, okay?”
“Forgotten,” Jensen replies. Jared bites his lip and looks down slightly.
“I hope you don’t mind staying with me,” he says, and the uncertainty in his voice breaks Jensen’s heart a little.
“Of course I don’t,” Jensen says. He takes Jared’s hand in his own, squeezing it gently. “I don’t know if I ever thanked you. For, you know – being there for me back then. It wasn’t the easiest time of my life.”
“You’re welcome,” Jared says simply, and Jensen leans in to press their lips together. He almost wishes his grandparents could see them now.
Fuck them both for thinking that a love like this could be wrong.
Jared fidgets as they enter his house. Whereas Jensen’s was empty with the exception of Donna, his is buzzing.
Mac and Megan bombard them as soon as they walk in the door, nearly taking Jared to the floor. Then the dog actually does take him to the floor, giant paws on his chest as he licks the crap out of Jared.
“Whoa, boy,” Jensen laughs, pulling the excited lab off of Jared’s chest.
“I still can’t freaking believe you waited until I moved out to quit being a baby about allergy shots,” Jared says to Megan, reaching up to scratch Rowdy behind the ears. “Do you know how badly I wanted a dog?”
“Well, mom didn’t want to have to take care of two overactive puppies,” Megan teases, and Jared sticks his tongue out at her. Sherri comes out of the kitchen and steps over Jared to hug Jensen, startling him by it.
“So you’re staying with us?” Sherri asks when she pulls away, and Jensen pretends he can’t see the pity in her eyes.
“Yes,” Jensen replies. “I’m going to require turndown service, breakfast in bed, and a twelve noon wake up call.”
“Right,” Sherri laughs. Jared picks himself up off of the floor. “You’re not a guest in this house, Jenny.”
“Oh, I feel so welcome,” Jensen says dryly, but he smiles at her in thanks.
“I know Jensen is prettier than me,” Jared says from behind his mother. “But could I possibly get a hug too?”
“I suppose,” Sherri says, pulling Jared into her arms. “We get the boisterous boys for a whole week!”
“Alliteration,” Jared says, voice muffled in his mother’s shoulder. “Nice.”
“Hey Macface,” Jensen says, pulling his sister into a headlock. “Can you go home and be with mom, please?”
“I don’t want to be there with them,” Mac says, looking up at him with pleading eyes. Jensen pulls on her ponytail and then rubs her back.
“I know, kid,” Jensen says, sharing a sad look with Jared. “But it’s not her fault. And I’m fine, okay? Don’t worry about it.”
“I’ll go with you,” Megan pipes up, coming to stand at her best friend’s side. “We’ll gay make out in front of them.”
“Please don’t gay make out in front of the geriatric Texans,” Jensen says, pushing them both towards the door.
“Fine, but I’m totally blasting Katy Perry,” Mac says, shaking her hips a little. Jensen just rolls his eyes.
The next day, all the boys decide to be awesome big brothers and take their little sisters to the mall – for reasons completely unknown to them.
The mall on a Saturday afternoon just may be Jensen’s least favorite place in the world, but he prides himself on being an amazing big brother. So he follows Mac and Megan into whatever store they want while the other guys pull the douchebag card and hang out in the food court.
Jensen buys them each something sparkly and shiny from Claire’s, and then steers them in the general direction of Wetzel’s Pretzels. He drops down next to Jared with a tired groan and leans over to steal a pretzel bit from the tray in front of him.
“Thank you, Jensen,” Megan says, and flicks Jared in the ear as she sits down. Jared jumps and rubs at the side of his head.
“Jensen is a better brother than me,” Jared says simply. “I thought that had been firmly established.”
“Jensen is a better brother than all of you,” Mac retorts, pulling her hairclip out of the purple Claire’s bag and shoving it into her hair.
“Combined,” Megan adds, leaning over to fiddle with it.
“Ouch,” Josh says, wincing and putting his hand over his heart.
“Meh. I can live with it,” Jeff says, dipping a pretzel bit in mustard before shoving it into his mouth. “Jensen’s practically perfect in every way.”
“I will shove my perfect foot up your ass,” Jensen says menacingly.
“Whoa, wouldn’t wanna make Jared jealous,” Jeff replies, and Jared laughs so hard he nearly chokes on a bite of pretzel.
“You’re so disgusting!” Megan shrieks, throwing a balled up napkin at Jeff’s face. “You guys don’t really do that, do you?”
“Meg!” Jared shouts, and Jensen buries his face in his hands.
“Anyway,” Jensen says once he comes back up for air. “How are things at the homestead?”
“Oh god, dude,” Josh moans. “You are so lucky you were disowned.”
“Wow Josh,” Mac scoffs, glaring at her oldest brother. “Be less sensitive. I dare you.”
“What? It’s true!” Josh exclaims. “They suck. They keep saying how I should come work on the ranch this summer. Because yeah, that’s how I want to spend my last summer before grad school. Working on a fucking ranch in Texas and staying with my bigoted grandparents? Yeah, no thanks.”
“They asked me to come visit too!” Mac adds, rolling her eyes. “Like I wanna hang out with cowboy hicks chewing tobacco and bull riding. I told them that I couldn’t because you and your boyfriend were taking me up to San Francisco for the Gay Pride parade.”
“You think she’s kidding but she’s totally not!” Josh laughs, slamming his fist down on the table. “She said it right there at the dinner table. I thought grandpa’s head was going to explode. Funniest fucking shit I’ve seen in my life, dude.”
“Okay, one,” Jensen says, cutting Mac a look. “You and I need to have a talk about stereotypes. And two, don’t start shit with them, okay? And there is no way I’m taking you to Pride.”
“Fine!” Mac shouts, pouting and slumping back in her chair. Jared lets out a soft snort of laughter, but his smile droops as he looks over Jensen’s shoulder. His eyes widen slightly and Jensen whips his head around to see what has him so flustered.
Alexis Bledel, the other half of Jared’s most serious relationship before Jensen, is making her way towards them with a surprised smile on her face. Jensen feels his stomach drop.
They haven’t seen or heard from Alexis since the summer after she broke up with Jared, as she was a senior and headed off to Columbia a few weeks afterwards. She earned herself a permanent spot on the list of people Jensen would rather never see again, so of course she would randomly appear now, when the tension between he and Jared is so thick he feels like he’s drowning in it.
“Wow, hey!” She says once she reaches them. She looks great, blue eyes vibrant against pale skin. Jared, being who he is, gets up to hug her. It’s not a comfortable embrace, and he tries to hide his stricken expression when she kisses him on the cheek. Jensen’s eyes narrow and Jared looks so nervous that Jensen tries to push all lingering animosity aside.
“Hi Jensen!” She chirps, reaching out to pat his shoulder. Jensen blinks. Never once in high school did she greet him so fondly. It throws him off guard. “It’s really good to see you,” she says with a genuine smile, nodding towards everyone else at the table. Jared sits back down next to Jensen, scooting his chair as close as he can. She smiles fondly at them, head tipping to one side as her brown hair cascades over one shoulder.
“I heard the news,” she says, waving manicured fingers at them. “Congrats!”
“Uh, yeah,” Jared replies uneasily, sharing a look with Jensen. He takes Jensen’s hand, squeezes tightly like he thinks Jensen will shake him off. She looks happy, and Jensen wonders whatever happened to the spiteful ice queen he went to school with. “Six months and counting.”
“You mean to tell me it still took a year after I dumped you for being in love with Jensen to realize that you actually were in love with him?” Alexis asks, smirking. There’s no malice in her voice, just playful teasing. Jensen’s eyes widen slightly and he blinks. He wasn’t aware that he was the reason she broke up with him. “Jeez, Jared. I never would have pegged you as dense.”
“You could have told me that’s why you were dumping me,” Jared replies, and Alexis chuckles softly.
“Yeah, well, I was sort of bitter at the time,” she admits, smiling apologetically at Jensen. He doesn’t respond. He’s too busy counting back the days in his head, realizing with a pang that they were broken up on their six month anniversary. He squeezes Jared’s hand tighter. “It took me awhile to realize that you can’t fight fate. And you definitely can’t fake chemistry. I didn’t want to admit it at the time, but I have no problem doing it now. You two belong together.”
“Look at you, getting all deep in the food court,” Jared says, slinging his arm around Jensen’s shoulders and pulling him back against his body. Jensen looks up at her and for the first time in his memory, he gives her a warm smile.
Alexis just gives them a nod and walks over to Mac and Megan, who are busy eyeing her shopping bags with interest. “Hey girls, long time no see,” she says brightly. “I was just heading for Sephora if you wanna come with me?”
“Totally!” They shout in unison, getting up to follow her. Jared tells them to keep their phones on, and says goodbye to Alexis, fingers digging into Jensen’s chest.
“Why do I remember her being such a raving bitch?” Jeff asks once they leave, licking mustard from his lips.
“She’s calmed down a lot,” Jared says, resting his chin on Jensen’s shoulder. He does his best to relax into Jared’s embrace.
“Huh,” Jeff responds, and then turns to face Josh. “So what’s up with you and Sandy? She let you touch her goodies yet?”
“Dude, we’ve only been on two dates,” Josh says, giving Jeff a scandalous look. Jeff just rolls his eyes.
“That’s two dates longer than it usually takes you to get a girl in bed,” replies Jeff.
“Sandy’s not that kind of girl,” Jensen pipes up. “And don’t talk about her goodies, asshole.”
“It’s different with her,” Josh says softly, and Jensen is surprised to see a blush rise on his cheeks. Josh starts talking about their last date, and Jensen knows he should listen but he can’t help but let his mind wander.
He looks down at Jared’s hand, warm and firm against his chest. People keep throwing around all these words that are supposed to describe them – fate, destiny, meant to be.
If that’s true, shouldn’t it be easy? If they really are fated to be together, why is he so scared?
He leans forward and places his elbows on the table, skin tingling where Jared’s hand had been. He doesn’t think he could survive losing Jared, but he can’t seem to stop pushing him away.
Jared doesn’t see much of Jensen on Sunday.
He leaves in the morning, before Jared even wakes up, for a lacrosse game that he and a few of the guys from his old team have been planning since October. Under normal circumstances, Jared would have gone with him, would have sat on the sidelines and watched Jensen while bemoaning his own lack of coordination. But he doesn’t bother. When he wakes up, he can’t even muster the energy to be disappointed that Jensen didn’t rouse him for a goodbye kiss.
He lazes around for a good chunk of the morning, eating cereal and watching cartoons with Megan. He takes Rowdy for a long, proper run. He hasn’t gone on one for a while, and it feels good to get his blood pumping. His shirt gets soaked with sweat quickly, even in the crisp air. His legs burn but he pushes himself on, feels the tension and stress leave him with every quick breath.
Rowdy barks once they near the park where the lacrosse game is going on and Jared slows to a jog. He spots Jensen quickly, since he’s wearing his old team jersey. He’s playing hard, knocking into other players and getting thrown to the ground twice in the short amount of time Jared watches. He’s pushing himself too hard, taking out all his aggression on the game.
Jared just takes a deep breath and tugs on Rowdy’s leash, leading him in the opposite direction.
By the time Jensen returns, Jared is already showered and dressed, lounging in his room and surfing the net on his laptop. He looks up when Jensen enters the room. He’s sweaty and red in the face, chest still heaving with exertion. His hair is messy, sticking up in damp spikes and his skin is streaked with sweat and dirt.
“Hey,” Jensen says, and pulls his shirt off. He sniffs it, nose wrinkling before he tosses it in the corner of the room. Jared’s dick stirs inexplicably in his shorts.
“Hi,” Jared replies, eyes immediately drifting to Jensen’s trim waist. The slight cut of muscle gleams from the thin sheen of sweat on his body, and Jared bites his lip at the sight of Jensen’s fingers unconsciously trailing across his tattoo. His eyes flick upward and he sees Jensen staring at him, eyes gone liquid. Jared rolls off of the bed, brushing by Jensen and swallowing hard as he takes off downstairs. He pauses at the base of them, holding his breath until he hears the shower start.
His dad is putting on his coat, and Jared goes with him to get the oil changed in his car just to have an excuse to get out of the house.
They’re gone for hours, hitting the grocery store when his mom calls them with a list. It’s dark by the time they get back, and Jensen is nowhere to be found.
Jared has never been so uncomfortable in his own skin. Ever since he can remember, since the day he was born, Jensen has been there. He’s been Jared’s anchor, his shoulder to cry on, his someone to lean on. He’s balanced Jared out and there was no problem he couldn’t handle with Jensen at his side.
But now the problem is Jensen, and Jared is floundering. He’s treading water, and he doesn’t think he can keep his head above for much longer. Something has to give.
When he calls Jensen’s cell it rings loud and shrill on Jared’s nightstand and he heaves a sigh. He pulls on his jacket and goes downstairs, finding his mother in the kitchen.
“Hey mom,” he greets her, biting on his bottom lip. “Do you know where Jensen went?”
“I don’t,” she replies. “He just said he was going for a walk.” She regards him for a moment, brows knitted in concern. “Are you boys okay?”
“I’m not sure,” Jared says, and the truth of that statement is like a punch to the gut. “I’m gonna go find him.”
He turns away from his mother before her eyes can go sympathetic, and he ventures out into the cool night air.
It’s not hard to find Jensen once he goes missing, not in his current mindset.
It’s cold enough outside that he zips his jacket up all the way and wishes he had put something more substantial than flip-flops on his feet. In the short amount of time it takes him to walk to the park, he works himself into a quiet panic. Jensen has been incredibly distant since they got back together, retreating further into himself each day. He told himself he would give Jensen time, that he would wait as long as it took for things to go back to normal. But it’s been even worse since they’ve been home. He knows a lot of that has to do with the fact that he can’t even go home and see his family because of his homophobic grandparents, but a big part of it is the awkwardness between them that hasn’t quite dissipated yet.
Not knowing where he stands with Jensen makes him feel horrible, like he can’t possibly relax. He’s terrified the feeling will never go away.
Being with Jensen is supposed to be easy. They were meant for each other. Why should it be so difficult? More importantly, why the fuck can’t Jensen just suck it up and get the hell over whatever it is that’s bothering him? Jared hasn’t done anything wrong, and he’s starting to get really sick of feeling like he’s being punished.
Jensen is at the park, just as Jared expected. He is sitting on a swing, the chains squeaking slightly as he idly pushes himself back and forth, toes dragging in the damp sand. The orange tip of his lit cigarette glows brightly against the dark sky. Jared is inexplicably nervous as he approaches, suddenly unsure if Jensen even wants to see him. That’s not a question he’s ever had to ask himself before and it’s sort of hard to swallow.
He settles to a stop a few feet in front of Jensen, clearing his throat quietly. Jensen looks up at him, resting his temple on his fist where it’s curled around the chain of the swing. He looks exhausted, stressed out, fed up, but he still gives Jared a tiny smile. It makes Jared feel a little better; even if it’s a poor facsimile of Jensen’s usual grin.
“Hi,” Jared says quietly, hating how tense this feels. They made up. They’re supposed to be fine, but it doesn’t feel like they are. Jensen doesn’t say anything, just nods and takes another deep drag of his cigarette. Jared watches as he tips his head back and blows smoke into the sky, watches the curve of his neck and the purse of his lips. The silence becomes too much for Jared to bear. The lump in his throat grows and he tries to swallow it down. “Um, I’m gonna – I’ll see you at the house, I guess.”
“Jared, wait,” Jensen says once Jared starts to turn around. He looks back at Jensen, who offers him a little smile and gestures towards the swing next to him. Jared takes a deep breath and sits down on it, fingers curled in a death grip around the chains. Jensen nods and takes another drag. Jared is reminded of countless trips to this very park, back when they were kids and nothing mattered. The last time they were here was just a few short weeks ago, when they couldn’t fall asleep without a goodnight kiss. Jared would give anything to go back to that.
“You’ve been walking on eggshells around me,” Jensen says sadly, flicking his ashes to the sand below. Jared shrugs one shoulder and runs his hand through his hair.
“I feel like I have to,” he replies honestly, and Jensen nods.
“You shouldn’t,” he says, rolling the butt of his smoke between his finger and thumb. A few tiny embers fall onto the frayed knee of his jeans and he brushes them away.
“I know.” There’s silence after that. Jensen opens and closes his mouth a few times, like he’s psyching himself up to say something.
“I’ve just been thinking,” Jensen says finally, digging the toe of his shoe into the sand. Jared’s heart leaps into his throat. “About growing up, and changing. Things change, right?”
“Not us,” Jared says, voice soft and desperate. “Not this.”
“You sure about that?” Jensen asks, smiling ruefully. Jared feels tears prickle behind his eyes and he’s ready to get down on his knees, grovel and beg Jensen not to end this.
“I’ve never been more sure of anything,” Jared replies fervently, barely resisting the urge to reach out and touch Jensen, to kiss him and make him understand. “Look, Jensen. I know I fucked up.”
“You didn’t,” Jensen says, furrowing his brow as he flicks the ashes off of the end of his cigarette. “She did.”
“Well, yeah,” Jared says, “but I never should have let her in our room. I never should have started that fight with you in the first place.”
“I don’t want to talk about that shit anymore,” Jensen says, stubbing his cigarette out in the sand and immediately lighting another one. Jared wants to tell him to slow down, to quit, but there’s a time and a place and it isn’t now. “I want to put it behind us.”
“Me too,” Jared responds quickly, eyes shining as he watches Jensen. He’s devastatingly gorgeous out here in the moonlight, and Jared wonders if there will ever be a day when the sight of Jensen doesn’t take his breath away. He doubts it.
“You told me once you’d never outgrow me,” Jensen says, voice cracking slightly, and Jared’s heart breaks a little. “Do you remember that?”
“I remember,” Jared replies softly, thinking of that sleepy conversation in the car, lost somewhere in the middle of a long stretch of highway. They’d talked of growing up. Jensen takes another deep drag of his cigarette.
“Do you promise?” Jensen whispers, throat working as he opens his eyes.
Jensen finally looks over at Jared, eyes glinting in the dim light of the moon. Jared scrambles off of his swing, nearly slipping in the sand as he comes to stand in front of Jensen, to grip him by the arms and pull him up. Jensen drops his cigarette without even taking a drag, and Jared crushes it into the sand.
“I promise,” Jared says, cupping Jensen’s cheeks, swiping his thumbs under Jensen’s eyes. “I swear to you that no matter how much I change, I will always need you. There will never be a day that I’m not in love with you, Jensen. Not in this life or any other. I swear.”
“I believe you,” Jensen says, a tear rolling down his cheek. Jared quickly wipes it away as he lets out a soft sob in relief. That one sentence packs a punch, sounds less like I believe you and more like I believe in you, in this, in us. Forever. “I love you so much.”
Jared can hardly breathe, he’s so happy. He presses his lips to Jensen’s in a soft kiss, wrapping his arms tight around him. Jensen instantly looks more alive, like an enormous weight has been lifted from his shoulders. His eyes are bright and he finally smiles.
“I love you too,” he says, pressing a kiss to the bridge of Jensen’s nose and underneath each eye. “We’re gonna be okay?”
“Yes.” Jensen nods, lips curving into a smile against Jared’s neck.
“You’re gonna stick around?” Jared whispers into his hair, hands coming to rest flat against the small of Jensen’s back.
“As long as you’ll have me,” Jensen says, the words sending a rush of warmth through Jared. He pulls back and looks into Jensen’s eyes, thrilled by the life he sees in them.
“So, forever then,” Jared states plainly. He’s never been more sure of anything, not in his entire life.
Jensen blinks and grins, bright and radiant. It’s the grin Jared has been longing for, the one that makes his knees go weak and his heart thump in his chest.
“I can live with that.”
Jensen feels giddy. He can’t stop laughing as Jared walks them backwards across the playground, little happy noises bubbling out of his lips before he can stop them. He doesn’t want to stop them.
They keep trying to kiss and walk at the same time, and they keep stepping on each other’s toes and nearly falling over. Jared finally just slips his hands down to Jensen’s ass and hoists him up, grunting with the effort as he carries him towards the slide. Jensen kisses his neck, slides his hands along the muscles bunching in his forearms and biceps. He loves that Jared is strong enough to carry him, to hold him up.
Jared sets Jensen down on the end of the slide and climbs on top of him, knees bracketing Jensen’s hips and pinning him to the bright orange fiberglass. Jensen lies back, hissing at the sting of cold plastic against his skin. He doesn’t have much time to feel the chill, because Jared covers his body like a blanket, long fingers buried in his hair as he presses their mouths back together.
Jensen lets out a tiny whimper, hands sliding down Jared’s flanks to rest on his narrow hips, thumbs finding their way under his thin tee.
He doesn’t know why he was so stupid, why he let himself think this could never last. It’s obvious by the way Jared looks at him, pure love and devotion in his eyes, that what they have is forever. He can’t believe he caused Jared so much unnecessary pain.
“Jay, I’m sorry,” he pants, but Jared just silences him with a bruising kiss. Jensen keeps his eyes open for a moment, until they cross and Jared is nothing but a blur. Then he lets his eyes slip shut and he goes pliant in Jared’s arms, slides his hands under Jared’s tee shirt and up his back.
He doesn’t need to apologize with words. He can say everything he wants to with his hands, with his lips. And he knows Jared will understand.
He arches up into Jared, sucks Jared’s tongue into his mouth and hooks his hands over Jared’s shoulders. Jared shivers slightly, and Jensen isn’t sure if it’s because of the cool night air hitting his bare skin or if it’s due to Jensen himself.
They kiss until their lungs ache for air and they pull away panting. Jared dips his head to press his mouth to Jensen’s neck, sucking and biting along the column of his throat. He feels his dick start to stir in his jeans, all the blood in his body rushing south fast enough to make his head spin.
“Love you,” Jensen pants, groaning when Jared nibbles on his sensitive earlobe. “Oh god, I missed you.”
Jared kisses his mouth again, and Jensen slides his hands down to Jared’s ass and pulls down at the same moment he arches up, making their hips come together. Jared moans into his mouth, hissing as he thrusts his hips downward into Jensen’s. His dick is a hot, hard line against Jensen’s belly and he boldly reaches down between them to cup him through his pants.
“Shit,” Jared grunts, tensing and biting down on Jensen’s bottom lip before he lifts his head to look down at him. Jared’s eyes are shining in the moonlight, hands strong and sure on Jensen’s hips, and Jensen suddenly wants nothing more than to have Jared naked with him, skin to skin as Jared pushes in and fills him up.
He nearly cries out in relief at the feeling, the relief of knowing that he isn’t broken, that there isn’t anything wrong with him and Jared loves him, will always love him and nothing will ever change that.
Jensen slides his thumb along the hard ridge of Jared’s dick and watches Jared lick his lips with rapt fascination.
“I don’t want you to fuck me,” Jensen rasps, and nearly grins when Jared tries to hide his disappointed groan, “but making love is such a fucking corny term.”
He watches realization dawn on Jared’s gorgeous face, his cheeks dimpling with a vibrant grin.
“Really?” Jared asks, and Jensen laughs, grinning so wide his cheeks hurt. He slides his arms around Jared’s waist and kisses him softly, tongue teasing at his bottom lip before he pulls away.
“Really.” Jared kisses him again and gets up, pulling on Jensen’s hips and nearly dragging him off of the end of the slide.
“Oh, I’ll make love to you,” Jared promises, and Jensen laughs gleefully as he gets up. Jared takes his hand and starts walking in the direction of his house. “I’ll make love to you so good, baby.”
“You will, huh?” Jensen asks, face splitting with a grin as Jared pulls him down the street. Jared tangles their fingers together and squeezes.
“I will light candles if you want, Jen.” Jensen laughs again and Jared pushes him up against a light post, leaning in close. The light casts a halo around his head, makes his skin glow. Jensen reaches up to cup his cheek and pulls him in, fastening their mouths together again. This kiss is hungrier, more desperate and urgent. Jensen slides his knee between Jared’s thighs and pushes up, not caring that they’re out in the open, rutting against each other in the middle of a peaceful street in suburbia. Jared sucks gently on his tongue and Jensen lets out a low moan, nipping Jared’s bottom lip when he rolls his hips against Jensen’s thigh.
The sudden blare of a car horn and the whoops and hollers of its passengers break them apart, causing Jensen to hit his head on the metal light pole. They stare at each other and laugh breathlessly, Jared’s fingers coming up to cup the back of Jensen’s skull before he does anymore damage.
“We should probably get inside,” Jared says, his cheeks flushed pink with pleasure. Jensen nods, his fingers skimming down the side of Jared’s neck like he can’t help but touch. Jared takes his hand again and they walk towards his house at a leisurely pace, but there is an urgency in their steps that they can’t deny.
When they burst through Jared’s front door, everyone’s heads pop up and Jensen freezes. He somehow forgot that Jared’s entire family was home.
“Uh, hey,” Jared says, squeezing Jensen’s hand and heading for the stairs, trying to look casual.
“Hey boys!” Sherri replies. “We were just trying to decide what to do for dinner.”
“We’re not hungry,” Jared says quickly, perching on the base of the stairs and keeping a death grip on Jensen’s sweaty hand.
“How are you not hungry?” Jeff asks, and Jensen squeezes his eyes shut.
“I’m just not,” Jared grits out. Jeff stares at them and his eyes widen slightly, and then he grins, soft and fond.
“Oh,” he says knowingly, and then turns to face the rest of his perplexed family. “Mom, you have to cook that huge meal soon. So why don’t we just hit Olive Garden?”
“Taste of Italy! Sounds great!” Jared replies, dragging Jensen up the stairs. “Bring me some breadsticks.”
Jensen laughs as Jared pulls him into his room and shuts the door, curling one giant hand around the spur of Jensen’s hip. He pulls Jensen towards his bed, grinning against his lips as he leans in for a clumsy kiss. After pushing Jensen down onto the bed, he heads over to his stereo and puts on some music, something soft but heavy enough to cover any noise.
“Subtle,” Jensen says, raising an eyebrow and sitting up on his knees.
“They’re gonna know what we’re doing anyway,” Jared says, flicking off the lights and pulling off his shirt. Jensen’s eyes land on his bare torso as he throws the garment to the floor. “I’d rather them hear the music than us.”
“True,” Jensen mumbles, quickly stripping off his pants and shirt while Jared kicks off his jeans. Soon they’re both left only in their underwear, and Jensen licks his lips as Jared approaches. Jared lets out a playful growl and tackles Jensen to the mattress, causing him to let out a little yelp.
It breaks the tension, and Jensen lets out a soft laugh as Jared props himself up over him. He trails his fingers up Jared’s arms, slides them into his shaggy hair and just drinks in his fill. Jared looks down at him with a soft, loving gaze, a small smile playing on his lips. Jensen reaches up to stroke his fingertip across them as Jared lowers himself. Their bare chests brush and Jensen’s mouth goes slack. Jared presses their mouths together, soft and sure.
It makes something break in Jensen, and he squeezes his eyes shut, wrapping his arms around Jared and kissing him desperately. Jared gathers him up in his arms, letting out a soft moan as Jensen licks into his mouth.
Jensen wraps a leg around Jared’s hips, letting out soft whimpering moans into Jared’s mouth as they rock together. Jared finally pulls away once Jensen is nearly dizzy and his lips are numb and swollen. Jared grins at him with pink lips, chest heaving with breath. Jensen slides his hands down Jared’s back, tipping his head back when Jared trails soft, slick lips down his neck. After a light nip at his collarbone, Jared keeps moving down, pausing to curl his wet tongue around a nipple.
Jensen hisses and arches up, fingers unintentionally tugging at Jared’s hair. Jared lets out a soft chuckle that tickles Jensen’s oversensitive skin and untangles Jensen’s fingers from his mop of hair, threading their fingers together and pressing their joined hands against the mattress.
Jared trails his tongue down the center of Jensen’s stomach, and Jensen can do little more than collapse against the bed and get lost in the sensation of being with Jared again, being in Jared’s arms and having his mouth on him. It leaves him breathless and wanting more.
Jared traces Jensen’s navel with his tongue before dipping it inside, fingers curling around the waistband of Jensen’s briefs. Jensen sucks in a deep breath, keeping his eyes squeezed shut as he wordlessly lifts his hips. Jared presses a soft kiss low on Jensen’s belly, and his muscles tense and quiver against Jared’s mouth as he slowly pulls off Jensen’s underwear.
Jared’s fingers trail down Jensen’s legs and Jensen feels his cheeks heating up when Jared kisses the arch of his foot as he tosses the briefs aside. It feels like their first time all over again. Jensen is so nervous that his stomach is in knots and his heart is pounding in his ribcage, but just like the first time he knows he’s never wanted anything more than this.
Jared gently pushes Jensen’s thighs apart and lays his forearm across Jensen’s hips. His intention is obvious, that much is clear by the way he slides his tongue through the groove of Jensen’s hip. Jensen lifts his head, ready to open his mouth to protest but he doesn’t get that far before Jared’s hot, wet mouth descends on him.
The sudden pressure and suction is nearly too much for Jensen to take. Heat spirals up his spine and his lips part around a loud moan. Jared sucks him eagerly, tongue teasing under the head as his long fingers wrap around the shaft. Jensen is nearly driven out of his mind with the pleasure and he bucks up against Jared’s mouth, cupping Jared’s face in his hands. He swipes his thumbs across Jared’s hollowed out cheeks and then traces his lower lip, stretched wide around Jensen’s dick.
“Jared,” he gasps, pulling back from his mouth once he feels the telltale tingling at the base of his spine. He doesn’t want to come like this. He wants Jared buried deep inside him, wants to look into his eyes and have access to his gorgeous mouth. “Stop, Jay.”
Jared pulls off with an obscene pop, back arching as he looks up at Jensen with glittering eyes. Jensen bites his lip and jerks his head back, gesturing Jared toward him. Jared grins and surges forward, pressing their mouths together. Jensen moans at the taste of himself and spreads his legs wider, making room for Jared’s slim hips.
“Come on, Jared,” Jensen breathes, one arm slung around Jared’s waist as the other cups his cheek. “I want to feel you.” Jared slides one hand up Jensen’s flank, making him shiver with anticipation. “I want you inside me.”
Jared grins, soft and beautiful and fond, and Jensen’s heart skips a few beats.
“Whatever you want, Jen,” Jared says, surging forward to reach for the nightstand. Jensen’s face gets smashed against Jared’s broad chest. “Just let me – ah, get the stuff. Gotta reach.” Jared rummages through the nightstand and Jensen laughs, biting playfully at Jared’s chest. He pushes Jared’s underwear down as far as he can with his hands and then skillfully maneuvers them the rest of the way off with his feet.
Jared’s dick drags hot and slick against his stomach and Jensen bites his lip, reaching down to wrap his fingers around it. Jared yelps and cracks his head on the headboard.
“Smooth,” Jensen laughs, and then pulls up on his dick and presses a suckling kiss to the smooth skin of Jared’s chest. Jared trembles slightly and makes a tiny squeaking noise, his body suddenly tensing. Jensen feels hot wetness against his thigh and Jared collapses on top of him, face buried in Jensen’s neck.
“Wow, so that just happened,” Jensen says, and everything is quiet for just a moment. Then Jensen lets out a booming laugh, head thrown back as his eyes fill with tears from laughing so hard. Jared bites down hard on Jensen’s neck, but this just makes Jensen laugh even harder, stomach clenching from the force of it.
“I hate you,” Jared mumbles, and then rolls onto his back. Jensen turns his head and they stare at each other for a moment, and then Jensen starts laughing again, shaking his head back and forth and slapping a hand over his mouth. Jared snorts and then starts laughing as well, cheeks reddening as he slides his fingers into his hair.
“Your fault anyway,” Jared mumbles, looking completely adorable. Jensen wipes the tears from his eyes and takes a calming breath. “Being so fucking hot.”
“Yeah,” Jensen breathes, stretching and reaching down to swipe his fingers through the come cooling on his hip. “It’s too bad. I really wanted to get fucked tonight.”
Jared lets out a strangled noise as Jensen brings his fingers up to lick them clean, tongue curling seductively around his fingers.
“But if you can’t keep it up,” he says teasingly, looking up at Jared from under his lashes with an exaggerated pout. Jared narrows his eyes and rolls over on top of Jensen, pinning his hands to the bed and wiping the smirk from his face.
“Give me two minutes,” Jared says in a raspy voice, and Jensen raises his eyebrow in question. Jared slides down Jensen’s body and licks his come from Jensen’s hip, looking up at him with hooded eyes. Jensen bites his lip and lets out a loud groan when Jared traces the crease of Jensen’s thigh with his tongue. Pushing Jensen’s leg up and back, Jared leans in to swipe his tongue across Jensen’s tightly furled hole.
“Fuck,” Jensen groans, tilting his hips up and burying his hands in Jared’s hair.
“In a minute,” Jared mumbles, his lips brushing Jensen’s slick hole. He spreads Jensen open with his thumbs and works his tongue inside. Jensen pants, pulling Jared in by his ears. Jared rims him eagerly, tongue pushing past his entrance and teeth scraping tight, pink muscle.
Jared reaches up to wrap his hand around Jensen’s dick, squeezing tight and pulling up. That combined with Jared’s mouth on his ass sends Jensen over the edge and he groans as his orgasm hits, quick and intense.
Jared is suddenly looming over him, a smug expression on his face. His chin is slick with spit and Jensen’s hips jerk with an aftershock.
“As you were saying?” Jared teases, and Jensen glares up at him as he pants. He’s trying to think of a witty retort when suddenly Jared’s lubed finger slides inside of him, and his brain is wiped of every thought other than yes.
Jared barely waits before sliding another finger inside. There’s a slight pinch, a tiny reminder that it has been awhile, no matter how easy it was to fall right back into it. Jared senses his slight discomfort and adds a little more lube, his free hand sliding up Jensen’s stomach and chest.
He slides up Jensen’s body, wrapping his hand around the back of Jensen’s neck as he fingers him, slick digits stretching him open.
“Good?” Jared asks huskily, and Jensen nods absently. His mouth goes slack as Jared pushes in a third finger, kissing the bridge of Jensen’s nose as he does. “I missed this.”
“Missed your hands,” Jensen pants. “Your mouth.”
Jared kisses him then, effectively ending his rambling. It’s more a clash of teeth and tongues then any real kissing, and Jensen whimpers in frustration when Jared withdraws his fingers. Jared rolls him onto his side, lifting one leg up to rest on his hip.
Jensen closes his eyes and takes a deep breath as Jared’s chest presses against his back, and then he’s pushing in. Jensen lets out a loud moan, fingers clutching the sheets. Jared prepped him enough that he barely feels the burn, just the amazing slick glide of Jared’s bare cock sliding into him. He rolls his shoulders back enough to guide Jared’s mouth to his, kissing him and panting into his mouth as Jared bottoms out.
“Jen,” Jared gets out in a strangled voice, and Jensen groans. He pushes back against Jared’s hips and lets his leg fall behind Jared’s ass, opening himself up wider. The position doesn’t give Jensen much leverage but Jared seems content to do all the work. He slides one arm under Jensen’s neck as he reaches up to tangle their fingers together. Jared’s free hand goes under Jensen’s knee to hold him open as he starts to thrust into him, deep and slow.
Jensen lets his head loll back onto Jared’s shoulder, reaching back to dig his fingers into Jared’s hip. Jensen closes his eyes and just lets himself feel nothing but the slick drag of Jared inside of him, filling him up. It’s amazingly perfect, and Jensen takes a deep breath at the sudden swell of emotion that rises up in his chest. Every time Jared touches him, his skin burns like a mark is being left.
Jared twists his hips and presses against Jensen’s prostate, and Jensen just surrenders to the pleasure. He licks the sweat from his upper lip and trusts Jared to hold him together even when it feels like he’s going to explode.
He trusts Jared with everything, and just lets go.
Jared’s eyes are wet and his chest is tight. There’s so much emotion boiling inside of him that he can barely contain it. Being with Jensen again is fucking explosive.
The only problem is that he can’t get close enough in this position, not nearly close enough. He pulls out of Jensen and nearly grins when he lets out a soft shout in protest, fingers scrambling at his hip. Sweat stings the red marks he leaves behind, but Jared barely notices. He grabs Jensen’s knees and rolls him onto his back, slipping between his legs and sliding back inside of him.
They moan in unison, and Jensen’s eyes flutter open, lashes clumped with moisture. The pure adoration he sees in them makes Jared’s heart beat a little faster, and he slides his arms under Jensen’s shoulders, pressing their bodies so close together that not even air can find room between them.
He can feel Jensen’s dick, rock hard and pulsing, trapped between their bellies and he kisses him as their hips roll together.
“Love you, Jen, fuck,” Jared pants, and Jensen licks his lips and tangles his fingers in Jared’s damp hair.
“Love you, baby,” Jensen responds, voice fucked raw. “More, c’mon. Please.”
Jared responds by angling his hips so he’s hitting Jensen’s prostate on every stroke, pounding hard enough to make Jensen cry out. His skin is flushed pink, glowing with perspiration, and Jared buries his face in Jensen’s neck.
Being with Jensen like this again makes him deliriously happy, and it’s not just because of the sex. It’s the intimacy of it. When they’re connected like this, so entwined that it’s almost like they’re two halves of a whole, Jared’s faith in them is firmly reestablished.
It’s healing, like they’re forging their bond all over again and it’s stronger than ever. The past is the past, and it can stay there. They have their entire future to worry about.
Jared bites down on Jensen’s neck, hard enough to bruise the skin as he fights to stay in control. He wants to lose it with Jensen, watch him come apart underneath him.
“Come with me,” Jared breathes, hot and low in Jensen’s ear as he reaches between them to wrap his hand around Jensen’s dick. That’s all it takes, just that one touch and Jensen cries out. Jared pushes in one last time and lets go when he feels Jensen come into his palm.
His orgasm is intense, enough to white out his vision as he lets out a harsh sob. He can feel his release inside Jensen, hot and slick as he continues to thrust into him until they’re both spent.
He collapses onto Jensen, sucking in huge gulps of air. He’s close to tears, so overwhelmed by it all. He slips out of Jensen and rolls them onto their sides, both of them boneless as they tangle their limbs together.
When he finally opens his eyes, he can feel wetness in his lashes and he nearly sobs at the sight of Jensen, looking at him with such a reverent gaze that it heals every single scar on Jared’s heart.
“Thank you,” Jensen rasps, putting his hand on Jared’s cheek and thumbing the mole next to his nose. “For not letting me go.”
“Couldn’t,” Jared says, voice thick and deep. “I love you too much.”
“I love you,” Jensen repeats, so much feeling packed into those three syllables that Jared can’t help the tear that slips from his eye. Jensen laughs, soft and shaky as he blinks away the moisture in his own eyes.
Their lips meet in a soft kiss, hands roaming lazily along sweat slick skin, and Jared knows he’d never even consider letting go, not ever. Not in a million years.
Jensen is in his heart, in his soul and in his blood, and he’s never giving that up.
Onto Part 8.