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The Invitation

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It arrived on a Tuesday.

It had been left on his doorstep in a white envelope embossed with his name.

You are invited to a private performance of Jensen and the Slayers this Friday night at Freaky Fantoms. The band will begin playing at 8 p.m. Beforehand, there will be a silent auction of various donated items including band paraphernalia. Proceeds to benefit the local Austin charity Always Keep Fighting.

His hands trembled slightly as he re-read the invitation. His fingers itched to tear the paper into a million little pieces and send them to Jensen.

But the fucker knew he wouldn’t. Not when the proceeds benefited the charity he founded and was CEO of.

Damn Jensen Ackles.

He realized he was still standing at his front door, staring at the invitation. He looked up to see Mrs. Watson watching him. He sent a flash of a smile Mrs Watson’s way along with a wave and unlocked his front door, escaping inside.

He didn’t bother turning on lights and only went into the kitchen to get some ice, dinner would be a liquid one. He went to the liquor cabinet and picked up a bottle of Scotch and a glass.

He sat on the couch in the dark and for the first time in months let his mind drift, let himself remember.

It was his 21st birthday and his friends had taken him to a dive bar to celebrate. The bar was too small, too cramped for a man his size, but the crowd was friendly and there was a live band.

The first thing he noticed was how amazing the music was, the band was tight, the lead singer had a deep growly voice that Jared was drawn to. The second thing he noticed when he got a good view of the stage was how insanely beautiful the lead singer was.

The third thing he noticed, after the band took a break and Jensen, the singer in question, offered to let Jared buy him a shot of whiskey, was how adorable his freckles were and the green dye haphazardly dotting his spiked hair.

“Shouldn’t that be the other way around?” He signaled the bartender. “It is my birthday after all.”

“It is?” Jensen asked and pressed closer to Jared. “How ever should we celebrate?”

The band had a driver – a big burly man named Clif who offered to drive them to Jared’s apartment. They had barely pulled away from the bar before Jensen’s hands were inside Jared’s jeans and his tongue was inside Jared’s mouth. He tasted of whiskey and smoke and Jared was instantly addicted.

Jared thought that Jensen would be rough and demanding, and the whole experience would be a bit of a wham-bam-thank-you kind of thing, but instead Jensen was slow and careful and he teased Jared with fingers inside of him, caressing his sweet spot and with his lips on Jared’s nipples, tugging and licking and Jared writhed and whined and came twice before Jensen thrust into him for the first time.

Happy Fucking Birthday indeed.

Jared got his bachelors and immediately went after his law degree, Jensen played dives and clubs and private parties and weddings and when their stars aligned, Jared watched the band perform and then they spent the night together, exploring, tasting, testing, teasing and then it might be two weeks or three months but there was always a next time and a time after that.

And it wasn’t just the sex, it was that Jensen let Jared see a side of himself that he never let anyone else see. The side that wasn’t loud and proud, or careful nonchalance. The side that loved bad Kung Fu movies and lazy days at the lake and deep-fried food and endlessly harassing Jared about his adoration of all things purple. Jared knew just how grouchy Jensen was before he had his coffee and how tender he could be late at night. They would text each other random things out of the blue, they would share gifs and jokes in dm’s, they would try to outgross each other as they ate dinner at Jared’s kitchen table, dressed only in their boxers.

Jensen showed up – unannounced – at Jared’s law school graduation. He brought Jared a pair of Gucci sunglasses that he insisted were meant to be worn in court and after Jared celebrated with family and friends, Jensen took him to the Bahamas for their own private celebration.

By the time Jared was settled at his position in the public defender’s office, Jensen’s band was branching out. What had started out as a college band, then a local band, was now booking regional gigs. Jared was happy for all of Jensen’s success, celebrated with him when he got an agent, and was proud to be the band’s biggest fan. “In more ways than one.” Jensen teased as he sank to his knees in front of Jared, tongue sneaking out to taste and to sweetly torment.

Jared had dreamed all of his life of being a lawyer, of defending people who had no one else to defend them, of making a difference. But for every victory, there were at least two defeats. For every innocent client, there were clients guilty of acts of such cruelty it made Jared sick to his stomach to even look at them. The good old boy network still in full force even in the world of me too, the delays and the defeats and the seedier side of life – and some of the seediest wore expensive suits - every day Jared was losing himself more and more.

He was almost three years in his job when Jensen landed a record deal and a chance to cut an album in Nashville. He was happy for Jensen – truly – but he felt that the more Jensen soared, the more he just faded into nothing.

The day he helped a woman who most assuredly had beaten her child into a coma walk free, Jared came home, climbed into his bathtub and cried until there was nothing left.

It was 3 in the morning when he woke Jensen up in his hotel in Nashville. Jensen was there, leading him to bed, just a few hours later and despite the calls from his producer and his agent and his band members, stayed with Jared through that long, brutal weekend, held Jared in his arms, sang to him soft and sweet.

Two days later Jared quit his job. He took the small trust fund his grandparents had left him and started Always Keep Fighting. He took no salary, as he was lucky enough to have money in savings to live on and paid his staff’s salary through grants and private foundations so that all the money he raised could help the citizens of Austin with a variety of needs – with a focus on mental health and awareness.

Jensen and Jared still hooked up and they still hung out but in public Jensen became distant, treating Jared more like a good friend than his lover of almost a decade. Jared knew that some fans of Jensen’s music were conservative, and that since he was on the brink of something maybe big Jensen didn’t want to alienate anyone, but Jared found himself wanting more, needing more. He was getting older, his foundation was getting noticed and things were going well, and he wanted to share his whole life with Jensen not just random bits and pieces of it.

It was late fall, Jensen was driving, and Jared was trying hard to find a way to casually ask about Jensen’s long-range plans for them, when a song came on the radio. It was one of Jensen’s songs he had recently recorded Cursed Thoughts and Jensen looked at him with wide, wild eyes and quickly pulled over to the side of the road.

“Do you hear that?” He asked Jared, turning the volume up to an ear-splitting level. “You hear that right? I’m not imagining it.”

“Fuck Jensen, you are on the radio.”

Jensen burst out laughing, Jared exited the Jeep, Jensen crawling over the middle and following him. They stood on the side of the road, laughing and dancing and shouting at all the cars that passed by. Jensen grabbed Jared, pulled him into a hug. “There is no one I’d rather share this moment with.”

He pulled away, grinned at Jared as the last of the song faded. “I’m going to sign something for you so you can say you knew me when.” He raked his hands over Jared’s chest. “So, do you think here?” Then he squeezed Jared’s groin. “Or should I autograph this beauty?”

The band was scattered around the state, it took hours to call them all and family and friends and by the time they sunk into bed, they were exhausted. Jensen was leaning over him as Jared laid on his back, gifting him soft sweet kisses, hands gentle on Jared’s hips.

And because Jared was the dumbest dumbass ever, he chose that moment to bring up the topic he’d been dying to approach for a long time. “I want us to be a couple.”

“We are a couple.” Jensen replied, lips on his neck, marking Jared with the gentlest of hickeys. “One you plus one me makes two.”

“No.” Jared scooted up to a sitting position, dislodging Jensen, instantly missing the contact. “A real couple. A couple that holds hands at music festivals instead of being just two bros hanging out – “

“I apologized about that.” Jensen mumbled. He was getting that stubborn set to his jaw but once Jared had started, he couldn’t stop himself.

“- and go to our family and friends’ get-togethers as each other’s plus one and maybe even live together.“

Jensen was getting off the bed, looking for his pants. “Jesus, Jared, I just started getting some momentum for my band and you want me to blow it all up?”

“It’s not the 1950’s Jensen. No one will get a shit if we are together.”

“You know that’s not true; people will care, some will care a lot. Can we please not do this tonight? I will think about this, us, I will. But if you make me choose between my music and - don’t make me do this.”

“I just want you to be mine. I just need you to be brave.” It was like his mouth had just untethered from his brain, words just flowing out unheeded.

Jensen was pulling on his boots. “I love you. But I can’t let my band down, won’t let them down. We’ve worked so hard and we’re so close. This is so fucking unfair. You are forcing me to be the villain here Jared.”

Jared pulled his legs to his chest, didn’t even bother to hide the tears. “I just want what everyone else has.”

Jensen was standing at the doorway. “Fuck what everyone else hasI I thought what we had was special, unique. This was the happiest day of my life Jared, my music being heard, and shared and – I - I just – “

And he was gone.

That was nine months ago.

Jensen and the Slayers got a national tour opening for Imagine Dragons . Rumors circulated they were already working on their second album.

Jared no longer listened to the radio on his commute to work - hearing Jensen‘s voice hurt too damn much.

And now –

This.

He changed his mind about going two hundred and five times between Tuesday and Friday night and changed his shirt thirteen times before leaving his house but Friday at 8:10 p.m. he was standing at the door at the private club handing the doorman his invitation.

The concert had already started. Jared found a place to sit in the back. He declined a drink, he wanted to be clear headed in case he and Jensen spoke.

Jensen was as beautiful as always, hair a bit more tamed, clothes a bit more loud. He was wearing a purple shirt, and Jared’s heart did a flip at that, mind skipping back to Jensen teasing him about his love of that the color, black pants that were molded to him and Jared – Jared was lost in the sight of him, in his music. lost as if the last nine months had never existed.

Several songs later, some songs achingly familiar and some brand new to him, Jensen began introducing the band. “Jason on guitar over here…Chris on bass, we got Tom on – “

Jared realized he missed the band as a whole, missed seeing them and laughing at their jokes and blushing at their innuendos.

“And I’m Jensen.” Jensen continued. “And that really tall fellow trying to hide waaaaay in the back is Jared. And oh yeah, by the way, I’m in love with him.”

And as Jared sat there stunned, the band launched into a song that Jared had never heard before, but he was pretty sure the golden boy with sunflower eyes described in the chorus was him.

When the song ended, Jensen handed his guitar to someone and jumped off the stage, headed right to Jared. Jared didn’t even realize he was standing until the moment they collided, grabbing each other, pulling each other close, clinging.

“Fuck Jared I missed you so much. I’m sorry – “

“No, I am. I should have never - “

“No, let me be the wrong one damn it.” Jensen tilted his head and they were kissing, drowning in each other. Gradually Jared became aware of the stares. And the camera clicks.

“Uh, we have company.” Jared said, pulling away, trying to separate himself from Jensen.

But Jensen was having none of it. Instead he grabbed Jared’s hand, stood by his side, let the people take their picture. “Public enough for you? “ Jensen asked. “I could pull you on stage, sing Wind Beneath My Wings to you – “

Jared interrupted that horrid thought by pulling Jensen into another kiss, cameras be damned. He leaned over Jensen, whispered in his ear. “This is your invitation to take me home and ravish the hell outta me.”

“You were always my favorite groupie.” Jensen smirked and then pulled Jared pass the crowd gathered around them, out of the club and into the night.

Jared woke up the next morning sore, sated and with a sleeping Jensen snuggled next to him, the early morning light caressing his face. Jared pulled Jensen closer, closed his eyes. They had the rest of their lives to make decisions, plan their future. Right now everything he wanted, needed was asleep beside him and Jared had never felt more at peace.