It’s been six months since Jensen met Jared, four months since their first kiss, and two months since Jensen moved in with him and Sherri.
The major events in his life seem to be happening in two month intervals. In the middle of September they start college in the city, so that’ll be eight months. But the six month mark is sort of lacking so far. Sure, Jared is turning eighteen in a week, but that’s a major event in his life, not Jensen’s.
It looks like if Jensen wants his milestone to come on time, he’ll have to make it happen. He can do that, no problem. There’s already a plan half-formulated in his mind.
“Busy weekend coming up,” Sherri says a few nights later at dinner. They’re all in the living room with plates of food, ignoring the dogs’ pleading eyes as they watch television. “There’s Jared’s party on Saturday and then on Sunday my little boy turns eighteen. Shit, eighteen. I’m old.”
“Yep,” Jared says brightly, “To all counts.” Sherri hits Jared in the face with a throw pillow and he nearly drops his plate.
“And, uh,” Jensen begins. His cheeks turn pink just at the thought of his plan. “I’m planning something for Friday night. For the two of us.”
“Aw, Jen.” Jared looks over at him with a big grin. “You don’t have to do anything special for me. If you have a present you can just give it to me at the party.”
“No,” Jensen chuckles. “I can’t. Friday night, you and me.”
“Okay,” Jared agrees, nudging Jensen’s shoulder with his own before he shovels another Jared-sized bite of food into his mouth. Sherri looks over at Jensen with an arched eyebrow and a knowing expression and Jensen’s cheeks flush anew.
“Just as well,” Sherri says. “Friday night is margarita night. I’m staying over at Shelly’s.” She winks at Jensen when Jared isn’t looking and Jensen resists the urge to bury his face in his hands.
“Oh, really?” Jared asks. “I didn’t know that was coming up. Have fun.”
“Half as much as you do, I hope,” Sherri says, and Jensen lets out a squeak. Jared just continues to be oblivious, eyes locked on the television. He accidently drops a piece of potato salad off of his fork and Harley snaps it out of the air.
Jensen needs advice about this plan, but he usually gets all his advice from Jared. In this particular situation, that isn’t an option. His next choice would be the girls, but they’re out too. Jensen needs a guy’s advice. A gay guy, so Chad is out as well. His next option is Misha, but the awkwardness alone would kill him.
That’s how Jensen finds himself going shopping with Adam on a stiflingly hot July afternoon.
“I’m fucking sweating off my eyeliner,” Adam complains as they trudge across the crowded mall parking lot. “Is my hair getting puffy? I swear, heat and humidity are not friends of glam.”
“You look fine,” Jensen tells him. “Your hair is as straight as you are not.”
“Aw, that’s sweet,” Adam replies, tucking Jensen against his side. “Now, you said you wanted to talk? C’mon, girl. Spill.”
And then Jensen does. Adam is surprisingly sensitive and helpful on the topic. He doesn’t really tell him anything about what he’s planning that Jensen doesn’t already know, but he does calm his nerves and help him mentally prepare.
After they leave the mall, Adam even takes him a different kind of shopping so he doesn’t have to do it alone.
Jensen has this idea about his presentation. It’s either sweet, dorky, or just dumb. Possibly all three. Either way, Jensen spends a good chunk of his Friday afternoon banning Jared from his room and getting everything ready. He wraps Jared’s present, tidies up and changes the sheets on his bed, running his nervous fingers through his hair so many times it’s nearly standing up on end.
He goes to take a shower, tossing one last ‘enter and die’ at Jared before disappearing into the bathroom.
Once he’s done he changes into a pair of black boxer-briefs, his nicest jeans, and a green button down Adam swears makes his eyes the most gorgeous thing on the planet. He pops in his contacts and fixes his hair before staring at his reflection in the mirror and letting out a harsh breath. He gets to the living room just in time to see Sherri gathering her things.
“Okay, kids,” she says. “I’m out of here. Be good.” She gives Jared and Jensen each a kiss on the cheek and leaves with a flourish. Jared turns around, clad in a white tee and raggedy old basketball shorts, and his eyes widen when he sees Jensen.
“Whoa,” he breathes. “Hello, gorgeous. Are we going somewhere?”
“No, I’m cooking,” Jensen replies. “But if you wanted to go get cleaned up, that’d be fantastic.”
“The things we do for love,” Jared says airily, winking at Jensen and giving him a quick peck on the cheek before disappearing down the hallway.
Jensen starts making a quick, simple pasta dish that Sherri taught him and he knows Jared loves. He sticks some garlic bread in the oven and throws together a quick salad before setting the rarely used dining room table and lighting one candle in the center of it and dimming the lights.
For once in his life, Jensen is glad Jared takes the longest showers known to man. He’s already making their plates when Jared finally emerges. His hair is styled and he’s wearing nice jeans and the dark red button down Jensen loves.
“Whoa,” he says when he walks into the dimly lit dining room. Jensen sets their plates down and wipes his hands on his thighs.
“Too much?” Jensen asks as he glances between the table and Jared. His boyfriend comes up and kisses his temple before sitting down.
“No,” he replies. “It looks fantastic.”
Jensen nods and goes back into the kitchen. When he talked to Sherri about his dinner plans, she told him they could each have one glass of wine. So Jensen pours some red wine into two pretty wine glasses and brings them out to the table.
“Ooh, fancy,” Jared says as Jensen sits down and sets his wine glass in front of him.
“A toast,” Jensen says as he holds out his own glass. “To adulthood.”
“To our future,” Jared replies, and clinks their glasses together.
The wine helps relax Jensen a little, but he’s still fidgeting slightly when they finish their meal. Jared sops up the last of the sauce with a piece of bread, so Jensen assumes he did a good job.
“Ready for your present?” Jensen asks as he leans forward to blow out the candle. Jared nods and wipes his mouth with his napkin before jumping up.
“Hell yeah. Is it a pony?” Jensen chuckles as he leads them down the hallway to his room. He takes a deep breath before he pushes the door open and goes in. Jared stumbles to a halt at the sight of the large wrapped box sitting in the middle of the floor. “Holy shit. Is it a pony?”
“Just open it.” Jensen laughs as he sits on the edge of his bed and smoothes his hand across the freshly washed sheets. Jared tears into the paper with a vengeance, revealing nothing but a plain brown moving box. He tears off the tape and flips it open eagerly, sending packing peanuts flying everywhere.
“There’s nothing in here,” Jared says as he shoves his arms into the peanuts. “Oh, wait.” He pulls out another box wrapped in different paper and raises an eyebrow at Jensen, who merely grins. “Creative.”
Jared tears the paper off of the smaller box to reveal – more packing peanuts. Jared laughs as he pulls out yet another box. He repeats the process through two more boxes, until he has a small square box wrapped in plain blue paper in his hands.
“I’m losing hope that this is a pony,” Jared tells him. He has packing peanuts in his hair and there is shredded wrapping paper everywhere. So much for cleaning his room. Jensen opens his mouth to say something but snaps it shut again, swallowing hard. With every box Jared uncovers, he gets a little more nervous.
Jared opens the last box and shifts the peanuts around until he extracts a tiny white gift bag. He looks up at Jensen and he nods, biting back a nervous smile. Jared sticks his tongue out of the corner of his mouth as he unties the bag and sticks his hand inside.
Jared extracts his hand with a furrowed brow and tosses the bag aside. He turns his hand over and opens it, and his eyes widen when he spots the single condom and small tube of lube resting in his palm.
“Happy Birthday,” Jensen tells him, proud of the way his voice doesn’t waver. He’s nervous as fuck, but he wants this.
“Wow, Jensen,” Jared says, closing his hands around the objects and looking up at him. “This is – wow. Are you sure?”
“Jared,” Jensen says with a small smile. “It’s not like this is a spur of the moment decision. I mean, I’ve obviously planned this out.” He gestures around at the giant pile of wrapping paper and packing peanuts that was once his bedroom floor. “I even went condom shopping with Adam.”
“Oh, babe,” Jared chuckles. He looks down at his hand and back up again before finally climbing to his feet and coming over to sit next to Jensen on the bed. “You’re really sure.”
“Jared,” Jensen says, taking Jared’s hand. “I trust you. I love you. I want to be with you.”
“I love you,” Jared repeats. They both lean in and meet in the middle, lips pressing together reverently. Their hands twist in each other’s clothes, all eagerness and want, and soon they’re both in their underwear. They’re tangled up on the bed and Jensen can barely breathe from all the kissing. Jared finally pulls away and he sucks in a deep breath.
“Okay,” Jared says roughly. He puts the condom on Jensen’s chest and sits up. “You take that, and let me just – “
“No,” Jensen says shallowly. He takes the condom and holds it out. “No, I – I want you to do it.”
“Oh, okay.” Jared blinks and takes the condom back. “I just thought, well – “
Jensen closes his eyes for a moment. He knows that Jared topped in his first and only sexual experience, that’s his preference, and Jensen is touched that he’d give that up for him. But that’s not what Jensen wants – he wants Jared all around him, on top of him, in him.
“I want you in me,” Jensen says on a shaky exhale. “It’s – that’s how I pictured it.”
Jared just smiles at him and leans down to kiss him again, one hand placed lovingly on his cheek. Jensen trembles slightly as he kisses back, nerves he just can’t seem to shake no matter how badly he wants this to happen. He hooks his fingers in the waistband of Jared’s underwear and pushes them down, cupping the firm curve of his ass.
Jared kisses his way down Jensen’s chest, pausing to show his nipples a little extra attention before his lips make their way down the center of his stomach. He pulls Jensen’s underwear down slowly, lips following the curve of his hip. Once they’re both naked, Jared grabs a pillow and slips it under Jensen’s hips before leaning over him and kissing him again.
“Tell me if you want me to stop,” Jared says, and Jensen chuckles as he kisses the tip of his nose.
“I won’t want you to,” he assures him, “but okay.”
Jared kisses him again and slides back down Jensen’s body, sucking his cock into his mouth as he parts Jensen’s legs. Jensen lets out a low groan, but the pleasure is gone as quickly as it started as Jared pulls off to press his lips to the crease of Jensen’s inner thigh. Jensen’s breath hitches as Jared pushes his legs open wider and parts his cheeks with his thumbs, exposing him.
Jared has never really touched him here before. There have been quick brushes of his fingers, but he’s never looked at him like this. Now Jared’s fingers are touching his most intimate area, rubbing little circles against the tight muscle. He presses a kiss there and Jensen gasps, flushing red.
“You good?” Jared asks, and his words tickle Jensen’s inner thigh. He nods and clenches his fingers in the sheets when he hears the snap of the lube cap. He lifts his head to watch Jared rub some of the clear fluid between his fingers, and he sits up to meet Jensen’s eye before bringing them back to his hole. He just rubs tight circles against it, not pressing in yet. Jensen lets out a soft little moan, legs falling open wider as he feels the muscle start to relax.
Jared adds more lube and slowly pushes the tip of his finger in. Jensen gasps and keeps his eyes locked on Jared’s face. He pushes the finger in a little further and looks up at him questioningly. Jensen nods and gives him an encouraging smile.
Jared spends a long time preparing him, working him open on his fingers in such a way that Jensen feels no pain. The intrusion feels a little weird at first, a strange pressure that doesn’t really feel good or bad, but soon it starts to feel pretty amazing.
Jensen lets out a needy little whine and then bites his lip, surprised at the sound. Jared spreads his three fingers open and it stings a little, but it’s nothing Jensen can’t handle.
“Ready?” Jared asks breathlessly, and Jensen nods. Jared’s fingers slip from his body and that little whine escapes again. Jensen watches as Jared rolls the condom onto his hard cock, and he swallows nervously. Jared lowers himself down on top of Jensen and his arms immediately go around his boyfriend’s broad shoulders. Jared is trembling slightly and Jensen presses a kiss to his lips.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” Jared admits as he smoothes Jensen’s hair back from his forehead. “But – “
“It’s going to at first, I know,” Jensen breathes, curling his fingers in Jared’s hair. “I’ll be okay.”
“I love you.” Jared says those three words all the time. Not a day goes by that Jensen doesn’t hear it, but he feels this one more than the others. It makes his heart clench.
“Love you,” Jensen replies, and Jared smashes their mouths together as he pushes in. Jensen gasps into Jared’s mouth, fingers pulling at his hair as the sudden pain makes him arch up. Jared stills, immobile as stone. He doesn’t even try to deter Jensen from yanking on his hair.
Jensen squeezes his eyes shut and blows out a harsh breath as he waits to adjust to the intrusion. It doesn’t feel good right now, all painful pressure, but he knows it will get better. He just lets Jared keep kissing him, questing brushes of his tongue and little nips of his teeth helping to distract him from the burn.
Soon enough, it fades and Jensen clenches experimentally. Jared jerks slightly and Jensen takes pity on him, kissing the tip of his nose as he lifts his feet to wrap his legs around Jared’s hips.
“I’m good,” Jensen whispers, and Jared searches his eyes for any trace of a lie. Jensen just smiles at him. A wide grin splits Jared’s face and he slowly pulls out, only to thrust in again. It still burns, but with each slow thrust the pain ebbs away until pleasure overpowers it – until he barely feels any pain at all.
“Oh – oh, Jared,” Jensen breathes, digging his fingertips into Jared’s skin as he rolls his hips to meet Jared’s thrusts. Their mouths meet again, because if they’re not kissing they’re staring at each other with wide-eyed awe, like neither of them expected how amazing it would feel.
And it’s not even the physical aspect of it. There’s a hint of tears in Jensen’s eyes because his heart is pounding so hard, beating for Jared like it serves no other purpose. He’s safe and cared for and loved. Jared is in him and around him and part of him, and being fused together like this without room for so much as air between them – it’s overwhelming.
Jensen can’t stop his mouth from moving. He doesn’t even know what he’s saying, all he knows is that he’s happy. He’s so in love it hurts to breathe and he doesn’t ever want it to stop. He wants to be with Jared forever, he wants to never let go.
It’s amazing how something as natural and primal as sweat-damp skin against skin can invoke such intense emotions in him. He didn’t think his heart could hold anymore love, but Jared went and proved him wrong yet again. He can have whatever he wants, love as hard as he wants, and no one can ever stop him.
Jared looks into his eyes and Jensen can see exactly what he’s feeling reflected there. They’re on the exact same page and Jensen cries out when Jared hits something inside of him that makes stars burst behind his eyes.
Jared’s hand wraps around his leaking dick and strokes once, just once, and that’s all it takes. Jensen shouts out and arches up, back coming up off of the bed as his orgasm hits. It’s white-hot and intense, and he can’t seem to stop coming. It streaks his chest and stomach and he digs his fingers into Jared’s shoulders so hard he leaves little crescent marks behind.
Before he’s done shaking, before he even comes down, Jared bites down hard on his collarbone as he comes and it’s like he starts the whole process over again. Jared cries out and digs his nails into Jensen’s hips, and the sharp edge of pain brings him back to reality. Jensen collapses against the bed just as Jared drops down on top of him. The lack of air is stifling but Jensen never wants him to move.
They’re quiet for a long time, just trying to regain their breath as their hips twitch slightly with delayed aftershocks. Finally Jared lifts his head and presses their mouths together, so soft and sweet that Jensen’s pounding heart skips a beat or two.
“I love you,” Jensen pants, but the words don’t seem like enough. There are no words to describe what he feels for Jared – it’s impossible to express. Jared seems to understand this, because he swallows the words eagerly and kisses Jensen in a language entirely their own.
He speaks to Jensen with the soft press of his lips and the gentle touch of his hands, repeating it over and over until Jensen is gasping all over again.
They whisper to each other for hours, and Jensen laughs breathlessly in the pale moonlight.
[second epilogue – 2 ½ years later]
Jared wakes up with the sun in his eyes. He groans and scrunches his face up before rolling over to get away from the light. He meets the long expanse of Jensen’s body, warm and naked under the covers. He’s sleeping on his back with his arms crossed under his head and his legs slightly spread.
Jared runs his hand along Jensen’s bare stomach and hisses slightly when his erection brushes Jensen’s hip. A mischievous smirk pulls at his lips and he crawls on top of Jensen’s body, leaning in to kiss his parted lips.
“Mmm,” Jensen sighs. He stretches out his arms and wraps them loosely around Jared’s thickly muscled shoulders. “Someone’s up.”
“Hi,” Jared says softly as he reaches down to slide his hands between Jensen’s legs. He cups his thighs and parts them to make more room for his hips. Jensen languidly brings his knees up and lets them fall open as Jared settles between his legs. He licks and sucks at Jensen’s neck and he tilts his head back, moaning softly.
“I don’t suppose I’m getting any more sleep,” Jensen says quietly. He smirks when Jared shakes his head against his chest. “Didn’t think so.”
“Want you,” Jared breathes as he reaches down to touch Jensen’s entrance. It’s still a little wet and swollen from the night before and Jared slides a finger in without resistance. Jensen shudders and digs his fingers into Jared’s shoulders. “Still open and ready for me. Can I have you?”
“Mm, yeah.” Jensen lifts Jared’s chin to kiss him as Jared slowly enters him. Jensen moans brokenly into his mouth and Jared’s fingers dig into his sharp hipbones. “Feels good.”
Just as Jared starts to pull out, there’s a loud pounding on the door. Jensen freezes and clenches down painfully around Jared’s cock as his cheeks fill with blood.
“Hey! Are you boys up?” Sherri calls out. “It’s almost lunchtime.”
“Uh, five minutes!” Jared calls out. Jensen narrows his eyes and slaps his hip painfully. “Ow, fifteen! Fifteen minutes at the very least!”
They can hear her laughter as she walks down the hall, getting quieter until it disappears altogether. Jared looks sheepishly down at Jensen and bites his bottom lip. Jensen chuckles softly and kisses Jared delicately as he wraps his legs loosely around Jared’s waist.
When Jared doesn’t move Jensen just raises an eyebrow and slaps his hip again. “Did you wake me up for nothing?”
“Mm, definitely not.” Jared buries himself deep inside Jensen again. Jensen groans, arching his back and pushing back against Jared. He cups Jensen’s cheek and kisses him deeply as he thrusts into him, swallowing every sound he makes.
He pulls away when Jensen starts mumbling about how much he loves him, because, well – that he wants to hear.
Jensen is currently freezing his ass off in the city park while he walks Harley and Sadie with Jared and Sherri.
He’s still not sure how he got roped into this group activity. Home is warm and toasty and has hot chocolate and Christmas specials on TV. The park has none of these things – just frigid air that gets progressively cooler as the sun sinks closer to the horizon.
He zips his jacket up a little more and wraps Sadie’s leash once more around his wrist. She may be getting on in years but she still hasn’t given up her penchant for running off.
Harley trots dutifully alongside Jared, pausing every so often to sniff at the winter air. The park is expansive, covered in open grassy fields and walking paths bordered with tall, neatly trimmed hedges.
Jensen is surprised at how green everything still is. The grass is lush and thick and nearly all the trees dotting the park are some sort of evergreen. He breathes in deep and smells wet dirt and pine mixed with the subtle, barely there scent of Jared’s cologne. Then again, Jensen could probably pick up on that scent in the middle of a crowded room; he’s so attuned to it.
“It was nice seeing Josh today,” Sherri says, breaking the comfortable silence that had shrouded most of their leisurely walk. “Logan is growing like a weed.”
“Right?” Jensen replies, getting the same goofy smile he always does when he thinks of his nephew. “Yeah, it was nice to get the whole family together.”
Josh lives in San Francisco, across town from Jared and Jensen’s school. But they rarely make the drive into the suburbs, so Sherri doesn’t get to see them that often. They’re in town for Christmas and he even managed to snag Mackenzie so they could all have lunch together.
He and Jared are thriving in San Francisco. They share a crappy studio apartment over a coffee shop near campus and pay the bills by working random jobs. Jensen pretty much sticks to waiting at high-end restaurants, but of course Jared is a little more eclectic.
He’s been a barista, worked at a daycare center, been a janitor at an art museum, dabbled in the fine art of dog grooming, and even spent one random and baffling month hawking souvenirs on Alcatraz Island.
He’s finally found his calling. He now works at the same place he’s been volunteering since his freshman year – the gay and lesbian youth center. It doesn’t pay an insane amount, but that doesn’t matter to Jared.
Jensen volunteers there in his free time, and they’ve been angling to get him a paid spot as well. He’s seriously considering it. He thinks maybe he could help other kids that were just like him, tell his story.
“So where’s Matt on this fine evening?” Jared’s voice distracts Jensen from his thoughts.
“Visiting his parents in Sacramento,” Sherri replies. “Which is good. I get my boys all to myself tonight.”
“So, it’s been almost two years that you’ve been with this guy,” Jared tells her, pulling at Harley’s leash when he stops to sniff at a most interesting spot of grass. “When’s he gonna make an honest woman out of you?”
Sherri blushes. She actually blushes. It’s amazing. Jensen chuckles and bites his lip in amusement. It was sort of weird when Sherri started dating again. Jared didn’t handle it as well as he thought he would. He was almost always standoffish and disparaging of every guy Sherri met, but then Matt came along. He and Jared just clicked instantly, much to everyone’s relief.
“I don’t know,” Sherri mumbles as she shoves her hands in the pockets of her coat. “We’re living together. That’s enough for now.”
“Living in sin,” Jensen adds, wiggling his fingers in Sherri’s face for dramatic effect. She rolls her eyes and bumps into Jensen with her shoulder. He stumbles, Jared laughs, and Sadie barks.
“Live by example, Mom,” Jared says, snagging Jensen by the waist with his free arm and pulling him in close. “I made an honest woman out of Jensen, shit, over a year ago now.”
Jensen flicks the end of Jared’s nose. Hard. Jared laughs and takes Jensen’s hand to thread their fingers together. Jensen admires the plain silver band on Jared’s ring finger; an exact replica of the one he is wearing.
They aren’t actually married. Not on paper, anyway. They traded their rings while crammed into a bathtub in a hotel room in Lake Tahoe on their second anniversary. That’s all they need for now.
Jared and Jensen hold hands as they walk the dogs and Sherri trails behind them. Jensen gets distracted by the feeling of Jared’s thumb moving back and forth across the back of his hand and doesn’t hold Sadie’s leash tight enough when she spots a squirrel or a leaf or shit, air and takes off running.
She yanks the leash out of Jensen’s hand and turns a corner, disappearing behind the tall hedge. Jensen shakes his hand free of Jared’s and runs after her.
“Sadie girl!” His shoes skid on the damp pavement as he turns the corner. He sees her sniffing at a pair of jogging shoes, and he doesn’t look up at the person wearing them until he has her leash in hand. “Sorry, she’s just really –“
Jensen cuts himself off, freezing when he looks up to see his mother staring back at him. She’s wearing a frumpy tracksuit and her hair is pulled back into the messiest bun Jensen has ever seen her wear.
Donna looks just as surprised to see him standing there as he is to see her. Jensen has managed to go more than two years without laying eyes on his mother or father. He and Jared only live an hour away so it’s not like he’s never in town – they just don’t exactly run in the same circles.
Jensen swallows hard, frozen in place as his heart leaps up into his throat. For a moment he’s seventeen again – cowering and afraid.
A whirlwind of questions race through his mind. Does she miss him? Does she regret it? Does she know that she wasn’t invited to her only grandson’s second birthday party because Logan’s gay uncles are his favorite people in the world? When did she take up jogging? When did she get so old?
Jensen lets out a shuddering breath as they continue a hideously awkward staring contest. Somewhere on the periphery of his awareness he can hear Jared calling for him. His voice cuts off mid-syllable.
Jared is a strong, silent presence at his side in under a moment. He takes Sadie’s leash and doesn’t say anything, doesn’t touch Jensen – he’s just there.
He’s there, just like he always is. Always has been.
Jensen lifts his chin a little but he’s still frozen to the pavement. His mother swallows hard and her thin lips twist into a grimace before parting, mouth opening like she wants to speak.
“Jensen.” She says it like she’s greeting the mailman – cordial and unfamiliar. Jensen’s lips curl up in a wry grin and he shakes his head infinitesimally. He doesn’t know what to say. He’d scream at her but she isn’t worth the breath in his lungs.
His hand closes into a fist at his side and Jared’s fingers curl around his wrist, thumb slipping under his rubber bracelet. It’s not the same as the first one Jared gave him – that one broke long ago. Jensen had worn it until it was cracked and brittle and it fell off of his wrist. He barely had time to mourn before Jared was slipping a new one on.
Jensen finds comfort in the simple touch and he opens his hand to let Jared thread their fingers together. His mother’s eyes scan over their joined hands and her eyes widen slightly when she sees the ring on Jensen’s finger. She looks over to see the matching one on Jared’s hand and looks wounded, eyes going wet and anguished.
They’re both deer stuck in a headlight, unable to tear their eyes away from one another. But then Jared squeezes Jensen’s hand slightly and Jensen turns his head to look at him. Nearly three years and his beauty surprises Jensen over and over again.
Jensen looks at his mother one last time, at the thin line of her lips and her dull, watery eyes. His shoes scrape against the sidewalk as he walks past her with Jared’s hand in his as if there was no interruption at all.
As soon as his mother rounds the corner and they are out of sight Jared stops, slipping one hand through the ends of both dog leashes and pulling Jensen into a hug. Jensen rests his chin on Jared’s shoulder and takes a deep breath as the dogs nudge his thigh. He blinks when he hears the quiet, muffled sound of his mother’s voice just around the corner.
“Thank you,” she says thickly. “For taking care of him.”
“You don’t have to thank me,” Sherri replies. Jensen lets out a tiny gasp and Jared holds him tighter. “He’s an amazing person, Donna. I just wish you would have given him a chance to show you that.”
There’s a brief moment of silence and then the soft sound of sneakers against wet pavement as Sherri turns the corner. Jensen looks at her with wide, wet eyes shining with gratitude and adoration. Jared pulls back from the hug and kisses Jensen’s forehead, threading their fingers together again as he holds both dog leashes in the other.
Sherri puts an arm around Jensen’s shoulders and pulls him in close to kiss his temple.
“You good, Bean?” She asks softly. Jensen gives her a watery smile as he nods. “Awesome. Now, I was thinking. We can stop by the grocery store later to get the stuff to make that pie you like.”
“The apple one with the crumblies on top?” Jensen asks shakily. Sherri chuckles as she nods and kisses Jensen’s temple again before letting go.
Sadie lets out a sharp bark, killing the moment and making Jensen chuckle. Sherri pulls a chewed up old rope toy from the pocket of her jacket and waves it in the air. Both dogs go insane, wiggling their butts and barking loudly. Jared lets go of Jensen’s hand and unhooks their leashes.
Sherri throws the rope as hard as she can towards the center of the field and the dogs tear after it, quick and muscular, like puppies rather than tired old hounds. Jared gives Jensen a quick grin before running off after them.
“I don’t think he’s ever really going to grow up,” Sherri says exasperatedly, and Jensen snorts. “Oh well. Adulthood is overrated anyway.”
Jared engages in an epic game of tug-o-war with Sadie, both of them playfully growling at each other. Jared finally rips the rope from her mouth and thrusts it up in the air, doing a little victory dance in the middle of the grassy field.
“I am the champ – oh shit.” Harley lets out an enormous bark before jumping at Jared, hitting his chest and taking him to the ground like a sack of potatoes. Sherri and Jensen both hiss and let out little relieved sighs when Jared just laughs and rolls around in the grass with his dogs.
Sherri heads out to join them, dropping to her knees and laughing as Sadie licks her face. Jensen watches them with such open fondness it’s a wonder his heart doesn’t burst out of his chest.
It took Jensen awhile, but he’s finally realized that you can’t choose the family you’re born into. They may be your blood but that’s no guarantee that they’ll be with you forever.
You can choose the family you’re a part of. The people that are there for you, the ones that love you unconditionally and live to make you smile – those are the good ones, the ones to surround yourself with.
Jared calls out Jensen’s name and then howls, causing both dogs to join in. Jensen rolls his eyes and heads out towards the pile of Padaleckis with a spring in his step. Jared surges up and grabs his hands to pull him down to the ground. He laughs as he lands on top of Jared and grins when Jared kisses the tip of his nose.
Harley puts his paws in the center of Jensen’s back, making him groan out loud into Jared’s mouth. Sherri laughs so loud it nearly echoes through the trees.
This is Jensen’s family. This is where he belongs.
Onto the soundtrack.
Onto the author’s notes and art.
Back to the master post.