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Finding My Escape

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The shrill ringing of a telephone jerked Jensen Ackles back to reality. He was not, in fact, lying on the beach in Hawaii with his best friend Tom Welling. Nor was he married, nor was he dating, nor was he exactly sure where he was going in life.
He had little to nothing to complain about in life. Jensen was not poor, he was wealthy and living in a nice little apartment in Manhattan. He was not out of work, he was managing his bookstore well and people flooded in daily. He was happy for the most part, but he still felt like there was a little piece missing.

Of course there is the old cliché that you can never be happy without “that other half” or the love of your life, but Jensen was satisfied with the casual sex he got on weekends and the one night stands. He wasn’t looking for a long time commitment at this point in his life. Honestly, Jensen didn’t think he’d had a boyfriend since high school. Maybe college. Tom constantly told him differently, even more often now that Tom was about to marry his love of his life, Mike Rosenbaum. Jensen was truly happy for them both.

Jensen just didn’t see the need for him to have a big white wedding when he could just enjoy the free booze at maybe a few hookups at Tom’s. He didn’t get any brownie points for sleeping around so much but it was Jensen’s life and he was content with it.

Sure, there some days where he wished he could come home to more than a heap of unwatched television and microwave dinners. But the next day he would see the sunrise in his luxurious apartment at all would be well.

And then the damn envelope had to come in the mail, announcing the joyous bond of Tom Welling and Mike Rosenbaum.

It was in Hawaii and Jensen was taking two weeks off to enjoy the wedding, post and pre festivities. But Jensen had also gotten a damn plus one in the envelope and Jensen secretly wondered if Tom put that in there as a not-so-subtle hint to get his ass in gear and stop acting like a horny teenager.

All jokes aside, Jensen was leaving for Hawaii in two days and would hopefully find some inspiration for the book he was working on. It was a work in progress, or so he told himself. Every night he would open his laptop and look at the—how many pages was it now? 60? 20? 100? But he would look at the document and the words would turn to nothing more than smeared black pixels and he would drift off to sleep. He was always finding some reason not to work on it. He was too tired, he was too busy, he had no inspiration, etcetera, etcetera.

Jensen loved writing. He always had. It was the one thing that he could count on to calm him down and to make things worth living. He loved the clack of the keyboard and seeing words flow out from under his fingers onto the white screen on the computer. It was, and it shocked Jensen that he thought this, even better than sex. There was nothing more pleasurable to him that completing a page or two in the novel he was attempting to write.

Jensen’s heart broke a little more as he glanced down at the clock and saw it was only noon. Jensen’s bookstore closed at six and he could have sworn it was at least 4. “Danneel!” Jensen hollered at the redhead that ran the shop with him, and his best friend.

“Jensen!” Danneel shouted back.

“I’m going out to lunch. Want me to pick you up anything?”

“Are you going to the little deli down on 6th?”

“As always,” Jensen responded.

“Then grab me the usual. Vegetarian!”

“Danneel,” Jensen said, “I’ve known you since you were 5. I think I’ve got the vegetarian part down.”

“You can never be too safe, Jenny,” Danneel responded, poking her pretty head out from under the beaded curtain that concealed the back room. “And when are you going to invite me to go to Tom’s wedding with you?”

“Tom sent you an invitation too.”

“True, but I think we both know that neither of us are going to use that plus one. So whadda say we go together?”

The logic in Danneel’s statement annoyed Jensen. “Fine, Danni. We’ll go together.”

“Um, that is not how you ask a lady to go to a wedding with you.”

“No, but it is how I’m asking you,” Jensen replied curtly. He turned and left to go the deli, smiling slightly at Danneel’s frustrated and charming expression.

Dave’s Deli, while not very cleverly named, was very cleverly put together. It was small and charming and they hadn’t upped their décor since at least 1960, which gave everything a retro look to it. The waitresses were all sassy and the sandwiches were so big you could buy one and eat it for lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next day. Jensen stopped by Dave’s at least once a day and everyone there knew him by face and name. Even some of the regular customers knew him.

“Jensen!” Bob, the boisterous owner of Dave’s, clapped him on the back as he stepped in the door. “How are you today?”
“Same as usual, Bobby. Business is good at the bookstore, Danneel is cranky over some ex-boyfriend, and Tom is getting married.”

“Tom’s marriage doesn’t sound like same as everyday. What’s the guy’s name?”
Bob had been very accepting of Jensen when he came out and was like an uncle to Jensen. Bob often pushed his customers to Jensen’s bookstore and vice versa. Bob had originally thought that Tom and Jensen were boyfriends but Jensen quickly put those rumors to rest, assuring that Tom was too much like a brother for any romantic interest to develop. “Mike Rosenbaum,” Jensen said after a pause. “I’ve heard a lot about him from Tom, obviously, but this will be my first time meeting him.”

“Are you nervous?”

“Nervous?” Jensen pondered the idea. “Not really. Tom makes Mike out to be a really good guy and he loves reading so I think we’ll get along fine.”

“And what about you?” Bob said in a kind voice. “Find anyone?”

Jensen shrugged. “I don’t think there is anyone, Bob. Maybe I’m just destined to spend life alone.”

“No one spends life alone, boy. You’ll find someone, I’m sure of it.”

Jensen forced a smile at his friend and then said, “Danneel and I want the usual. And…” Jensen scanned the dessert display Bob was not-so-secretly proud of. “A piece of cheesecake.”

“All to go?”

Jensen smiled. “As usual.”

 

Any time Danneel got cheesecake from Dave’s Deli, she was in a good mood for the rest of the day. She smothered him with hugs and kisses when he brought her back the dessert and even deemed that he could go home early and pack for the wedding.
Jensen’s idea of packing was more like stopping at the bar on the way home and seeing if there was anyone that was willing to get drawn into a basket case like Jensen and go home with him. The answer was usually yes.

Already there were several guys—and a few girls as well—eying him from the other end of the bar. He had yet to determine if he wanted to take anyone home tonight. It had been a long day and it was only Wednesday in what was sure to be a long two more days until Friday. He wanted to get on the plane to Hawaii as soon as he could. Flying on a plane to a sunny beach to a hotel with an open bar and what was sure to be single, hot men was the only thing propelling Jensen to even finish the week. The bartender placed a whiskey in front of Jensen. “Courtesy of the gentleman at the end,” the bartender said. He seemed a bit bitter not to have hit on him first. Jensen tossed the attractive guy at the end a white smile and raised his glass to him. In return, the man stood and left his friend to go sit by Jensen.

Jensen was a bit put out by this, considering he’d been contemplating spending the night alone. But the closer the man got the more attractive he was. He had short blonde hair, a very fit body, and when he got close enough Jensen could see ocean-blue eyes. “Evening,” The man said. His voice was softer than velvet and 10 times as sexy.

Jensen leaned back in the stool and took a sip of his whiskey. “Hi. Thanks for the whiskey.”

“It’s my favorite. Figured I’d use it to try and pick you up.”

So he was blunt and straight to the point. Jensen liked that. He admired that. The quicker he introduced himself, the quicker he could take him home and bang him.

“I’m Jensen.”

“Jake.”

“Nice name.” Jensen took another sip of his whiskey. “Nice taste in alcohol, too.”

Jake flashed a smile. “I don’t hear your name very often. But I like it.”

“Well I’m absolutely charmed to hear that,” Jensen replied. A bit of his Texas drawl slipped into his statement but Jake didn’t seem to notice it.

“You’re here alone. Bad breakup or not interested?”

“Neither. I go for entertainment rather than commitment.”

“Interesting philosophy. I guess I can’t protest, considering I’m rather the same way.”

Then,” Jensen concluded, “why are we still at the bar?”

 

Jensen slammed Jake against the wall of his apartment and sucked on Jake’s tongue, which was wiggling its way into Jensen’s mouth. Jensen smirked at the moan Jake let out before returning the kiss furiously. Jake fumbled with the button on Jensen’s jeans before yanking them off along with his boxers. It was Jensen’s turn to moan as Jake’s mouth closed around Jensen’s dick, sucking and swiping his tongue on the head. Jensen thrust into Jake’s mouth, knowing exactly how far to go without choking him. Jake sucked harder, his tongue exploring every last inch of Jensen’s dick.

Jensen’s groans were rhythmic now. His breath came in short gasps and his thrusts into Jake’s mouth came more frequently. “Shit Jake… FUCK… uh… JAKE!” Jensen was cussing in between moans. With one last desperate, “FUCK!” Jensen came into Jake’s mouth and Jake swallowed all of Jensen’s cum dutifully and licked Jensen’s dick after, getting every last drop.

And it the morning when Jensen woke up from the greatest sex he’d experience in a long time he still felt a hole in his heart that not even the beautiful sunrise could fill.

 

Friday morning Jensen and Danneel sat in two worn down leather chairs in the terminal of JFK airport, waiting to board before the 10-hour plane ride to Hawaii. Danneel looked extremely cranky just by the thought of the long flight; Danni hated plane rides of any length. 10 hours would certainly be Danni’s hell.

Jensen tried to distract her by telling her about Jake. “He was attractive, really energetic, and—,”

“Jen, I love you and all, but the hookups are getting old. When are you going to actually meet a guy to settle down with?”

“I don’t want to settle down, Danni. This… this is working for me.”

Danni snorted. “Sure, Jen. Maybe if you were 20. But you’re 27, Jensen, it’s time for you to start considering a long term relationship. Tom has!”

“Because Tom and Mike are soulmates,” Jensen said, with some amount of disdain.

“Tom and Mike are happy together. And maybe they are soulmates.”

“There’s no such thing,” Jensen said. Danni rolled her eyes and faced away. “There’s no such thing,” Jensen repeated softly to himself.

Luckily the woman announcing over the loudspeaker that they were now boarding for whatever-flight-number to Hawaii and all Jensen could think was, now I’m escaping.

Chapter Text

The flight was as bad as Jensen had imagined. Danneel was cranky as long as she had been awake, always asking how much time they had left or bickering about the tight space before finally, finally, drifting off to sleep about 4 hours into the flight. Jensen had followed not long after and had slept through the entire flight thereon out. It was only the captain’s voice that was announcing their arrival in Wailea, Maui, that Jensen had been roused and then woken Danneel.

Danni peered out the tiny window of their airplane anxiously as if Tom was going to be standing on the runway welcoming them. Instead she saw Hawaiian night, an open blue sky and too many stars to believe. Danni asked Jensen, “Do you think that’s the ocean over there?”

Jensen peered out the window to see when Danneel was looking at. “No, Danni, I think that’s just more road. Probably can’t see the ocean from here.” Danni’s face feel and Jensen added hastily, “but we will, from the hotel. It’s on a beach and Tom even said he wanted to get married in a cabana.”

“How does Mike feel about that endeavor?” Danneel scoffed.

“Mike is as adventurous as Tom. Though not quite as casual, and so I doubt we’ll be surrounded by sand when the ceremony takes place.”

Exiting the plane was one of the things Jensen despised most about plane rides. There were people who held up dozens of others because they crammed their bag much too bulky into the overhead compartment and had to now squeeze it out, the people who took their time and chatted with each other in the aisle, and the people who pushed aside you in a rush to get out.

Jensen really just wanted to exit without being trampled.

When they did exit and stepped into the terminal of the airport, the first thing that hit Jensen was how different it was from JFK. It was warm, for one, despite the fact that it was November. And there were palm trees in pots scattered around the airport and lots of windows that would have let light stream through. At the moment, it just gave Jensen a view of the stars. Which, admittedly, was also quite different from New York.

Danneel snapped her fingers. “Come on, Jenny, let’s get our stuff and get to the hotel. I want to crash. It’s—,” Danneel checked her watch. “Just past midnight. Well past your bedtime, Jen.”

“You’re so considerate,” Jensen drawled. “Lead the way, princess.”

Jensen loved the Hawaiian airport. He didn’t know the name of it, or he forgot it in his exhaustion. But it was so open and fresh and quiet compared to the rush and chaos of JFK. It was a nice change of pace from shoving someone simply to cut off 30 seconds from your time.

Danneel was tapping her foot and humming while the waited to collect her bags and Jensen was so focused on tuning her out he didn’t notice a man come up behind him until he tapped him on the shoulder.

Jensen swiveled rapidly and then burst into a huge smile when he saw Christian Kane, another best friend of Jensen’s. “Chris!” Jensen exclaimed.

“Jenny!” Chris threw his arms around his friend, clearly not as tired as Jensen. “Hey, Danni, how’s it going?” He said, flashing Danneel a smile.

Danneel rolled her eyes. “You’re a 5 year old.”

“Ouch, Danni.”

Jensen snickered. “Tough love, Chris. Besides, it’s 6 am our time, we’ve practically been up all night.”

Chris shrugged. “There’s so much to do though! We’ve got drinks, and Tom will want to introduce you to Mike, and there’s an ocean! I got charged with the task of picking you up so I could drag you places.”

Chris’s enthusiasm was contagious and Jensen felt a smile growing on his face. “Okay, Chris, that sounds like fun, but I’m fucking exhausted now and Danni is cranky. Give us a few hours of sleep.”

“Fucking 10 hour plane ride,” Jensen heard Danneel grumble.

“You were asleep for 6 of those 10 hours, so don’t whine.”

Chris embraced them both again. “I’ve missed you, man,” Chris said into Jensen’s ear.

Jensen hugged Chris tightly. “Missed you too, Kane.”

The hotel was gorgeous. And not in that it’s-pretty-for-a-few-seconds gorgeous, Jensen could look at the hotel for hours on end and still find it the prettiest thing he’d ever seen in his life. It was tall and there was a cobblestone road leading up to the doors, lined with palm trees. Jensen couldn’t see around it but he knew the ocean and miles of sandy beaches hid behind it.

“I don’t ever want to leave,” Danneel sighed. “I want to live here.”

Jensen snorted as he dragged her into the lobby. “We can’t be here forever, Danni.”

“Well hopefully you can be here for two weeks!” Jensen heard a familiar voice call.

Jensen turned on his heel and saw Tom, tanned and wearing an awful Hawaiian print shirt. “Tom!”

“Hey buddy! How’s the big apple?” Tom asked as he embraced his friend.

“It’s definitely faster paced,” Jensen said. “But this is refreshing.”

“Yeah, it’s nice and relaxed here. I’d introduce you to Mike, but he fell asleep some hours ago. I wanted to stay up to welcome you. And of course, the ever beautiful Danneel.”

Danni hugged Tom hello. “Good to see you, dude. Excited?”

“Nervous. But I’ve never been happier, you know? Just… I’m just ready. I found Mike, and I know there’s never going to be another guy.”

Jensen clapped him on the back. “I’m happy for you, man.”

Tom smiled. “What about you, then, Jensen? Found anyone?”

“He’s found lots of someone’s,” Danneel mumbled behind him and Jensen aimed a kick at her ankle.

“No,” Jensen answered. “No one really. I’m just not looking for anything serious.”

Tom seemed saddened at this. “Come on, Jen, there’s gotta be a fairy tale life you’ve pictured yourself living.”

Jensen took his room key from the guy at the front desk. “No,” Jensen replied shortly. “There really isn’t.”

Jensen’s room was across the hall from Danneel’s. Jensen was grateful they weren’t sharing a room, as much as he loved her, but he was also happy that she was so close. Aside from Tom, who was busying himself with wedding plans, and Chris, who was busying himself with the bar, Danneel was the only person he knew on the island.

Danni had a habit of never getting up the morning. She was not a morning person, she was a night owl, and if you ever woke her up before she was ready to get up, you were going to get beat up. But Jensen wanted to explore the hotel they were going to stay at for two weeks and possibly see if there was anyone that was willing to explore him later tonight.

It was almost too pretty in the back of the hotel. Whatever Jensen could see was either perfectly manicured grass, pools lined with stones and—did that one have a waterfall in it? Barbeques in the backyards of the condos on the bottom floor, and far out past the green lawns, Jensen could see the ocean. It was beautiful and open and there was nothing quite as beautiful as the way the sun hit it and made it shimmer. The ocean appeared covered in diamonds and Jensen stood there transfixed for a few moments, only staring at the ocean.

“It’s pretty, isn’t it?”

Jensen turned to see the speaker, and grinned when he saw Chris and Tom. “Never thought you’d be one to appreciate nature, Chris,” Jensen teased.

“Nature? This is all man made, dude. It’s about as natural as Tom’s hair color.” That earned him a shove to the grass from Tom and a cackle from Jensen.

“Wanna go for a walk?” Tom asked, helping Chris to his feet.

“Not if you’re going to keep shoving me everywhere!”

“It’s not my fault you fall over easier than a baby.”

Jensen let out a breathy snort and stepped between them. I’d love to go on a walk.”

The three of them decided to take their walk down by the beach, where Chris had enthusiastically pointed out there would be a bar and mostly naked women. “And men,” He added hastily, remembering his two best friends were gay. “I mean, for Jensen,” remembering again that Tom was about to be married. Jensen and Tom had only laughed. It was a favorite pastime of theirs—give the straight guy a hard time. Chris hated them for it.

The sand was hot. Jensen had taken his shoes off halfway through because he was tired of sand slipping in and wanted to feel the sting of soft crystals against his feet. At first it had burned his skin, but now it was relaxing. Chris and Tom had quickly followed suit and Chris had then deemed it a rule to have your shoes off when you’re at the beach.

“I want to go in the ocean,” Chris declared after a while.

“We haven’t even had breakfast yet,” Tom replied.

“Exactly,” Chris reasoned. “We swim, work up an appetite, and then go get food. And…” He added tossing a glance towards some surfers.

“Straight,” Jensen and Tom said in unison. Chris snorted.

“Fine, but I’m going to find myself a girl if it kills me.”

Jensen laughed. “Just don’t go after Danneel, or she’ll be the one to kill you.”
Chris held himself up haughtily. “I’d like to think I could hold my own against Danni.”

“Sure, we’d all like to think that,” Tom said. “It’s embarrassing our best friend can get beaten up by a girl.”

Jensen howled at that statement and it was Tom’s turn to be shoved to the sand.

Jensen and his friends waded ever closer to the ocean. It was beckoning to the three of them, taunting them with its blue waves. Tom and Jensen stayed closer to the shore and stepped in slowly whereas Chris plowed straight ahead into the water with a big, “WOOHOO!” He plunged under the water and Jensen didn’t see him for a few moments.

When Chris popped up again he gestured to his friends and called, “Come on out! It’s awesome out here!”

Jensen turned to Tom and shrugged. He followed Chris’ suit and swam out to him. It was cold when he submerged himself and he came up for air gasping, “Shit!”

“It’s not that bad, pussy,” Chris teased.

“It’s not fucking ice water but that doesn’t mean it’s not cold,” Tom hissed, swimming up from behind Jensen.

“You guys are just wimps,” Chris announced. “I’m a man, and I could easily take on Danneel-,”

Jensen and Tom groaned together. “This? Still man?”

“I could do it!”

Jensen splashed water on his friend and cackled when Tom spluttered at the shock. “Sorry, too cold for you?” Jensen taunted.

“Ackles, you suck,” Chris responded.

“That’s it? We insult your strength and splash water on you and all I get is, ‘Ackles, you suck?’” Jensen snorted. Chris growled and jumped on Jensen, a relatively hard task considering they were all treading water.

And even when Jensen erupted in laughter with his friends, there still felt like there was an aching hole inside his chest.

 

The three of them had not anticipated going in the water and so they had no towels. They’d counted on the sun to dry them and so when they hiked back up to the hotel to get breakfast they left shallow puddles and sandy footprints. Chuckling about the morning, Jensen tried to ignore the hollow feeling he felt in his chest.

Maybe he could drown the damn feeling with coffee.

Chris is in the middle of a story about a girl he hooked up with in Florida while Jensen downs his third cup of coffee when Tom’s whole face lights up. He’s looking across the table at Jensen—no, just above Jensen’s head.

Jensen turns, and is met with a tall man with a small smile. He’s handsome, a different kind of handsome than what Jensen goes after. But only one guy can make Tom smile like an idiot. “You must be Mike,” Jensen says. He stands up to introduce himself and Mike shakes his hand firmly.

“I am indeed. I’ve met Chris,” Mike inclined his head towards the man, “So you must be Jensen.”

‘The one and only.”

“Well, Jensen, it’s so nice to meet you. Tom talks about you all the time. At first I thought he might leave me for you, but Tom put those fears to rest.”

“My friends have thought the same thing about Tom and me. But I always tell them that Tom is too gentle.”

Mike chuckles at that and Tom shoots daggers at him. “Well,” Mike declares, “he’s perfect for me.” Mike kisses Tom on the head before saying, “I’ve got to run now, my mom is flying in in an hour. But I hope to see you both at the welcoming party tonight!”

Oh right. Jensen had to go to another party alone, where the only company he’d really be seeking was a tall beer and maybe Danni’s.

“Don’t look so glum, Jensen, the party could be fun. Mike has tons of friends that are gay and single and I’m sure we could hook you up with one of them!”

“Thanks, Tom,” Jensen said genuinely. “But I think I’ll just stick to myself tonight. And maybe I’ll find some beach boy I like later in the trip.”

Tom shook his head. “You’re still going to give your speech tonight, right?”

“Of course,” Jensen replied. “I wouldn’t dream of not doing that.”

Chris leaned forward. “There’s lots of embarrassing shit about Tom in there, right?”

“Tons. Mike’s really gonna love you after my speech, deary,” Jensen teasingly pinched Tom on the cheek.

Tom swatted at his hand and groaned, “Out of all the idiots in the world, I get stuck with you two.”

 

Jensen knocked on Danneel’s door. It was noon; she was bound to be up by now. A sleepy Danneel answered the door with an exhausted, “Jen?”

“Hey, Danni.” He pushed past the redhead into her room. “Are you going to the party tonight?”

“Free booze and unattached men? Of course I am.” She yawned. “Though I’m sure I good chunk of those men don’t swing my way, so really it’s just the booze.”

“I went for a walk with Tom and Chris.”

“How was it?”

“They have the same attitude as you do about my casual hookups. Apparently, since Tom’s settling down I have to as well.”

“Well,” Danneel tried to reason, “he’s your best friend. He’s found happiness in a guy he loves, and now it’s time for you to do the same. Did you ever think that when your friends get on you about something it’s because they love you?”

“Not really, no.”

“Figures.” Danneel yawned again. “I’m gonna take a shower. And then get breakfast.” She glanced at the clock. “Though at this point it’d be more like lunch.”

“If you didn’t sleep in so late…”

“Shut up, Jen. You need a shower too, you smell like sweat.”

“Salt. We went in the ocean.”

“Go take a fucking shower, Jensen.”

Jensen shook his head at his bossy friend but left her room and shed his clothes in his across the hall. Unattached gay men. The phrase rang through his head but Jensen refused to act on it. This was Tom’s moment of glory, the moment where Tom was marrying the love of his life.

Jensen was not going to fuck that up by screwing around with some pool boy.

But god, how was he supposed to go 2 weeks without hooking up with anyone? Was he actually supposed to meet a guy, go on dates, do the whole “I’ll pick you up at 6” thing? That sounded so boring. And if there was one thing Jensen did not want to be, it was mundane.

After his shower Jensen curled up on the couch and flipped between channels on his TV, trying to find something of interest. It seemed to be the hour of infomercials though and Jensen wasn’t particularly interested in finding new ways to cut a bagel.

So he rifled through his suitcase before finding one of the books he’d brought with him and let himself get lost in the pages.

 

The party was as much as Jensen had anticipated it to be. Outdoors, so it was warm and you could see the sunset. The cabana was more of an open hut, with a straw roof and bamboo sticks holding it up. But they were grilling a pig in true luau fashion, and the open bar was lit up with flashing blue lights. On the stage the band was playing folky Hawaiian music and it was a reminder, along with the notecard poking him in his pocket, that Jensen was going to have to stand up in front of all these people and tell everyone how real love was when Jensen had been avoiding it his whole life.

That’s too cheesy. Too sappy. His speech was going to be comical. There would be laughter, there would be fond looks tossed at Tom and Mike, and it would still be sweet. Jensen was going to be a great best man.

But he was so fucking lonely.

He heard the raspy tapping on a microphone and looked up to the stage to see the lead singer trying to get everyone’s attention. “I’d like to welcome now Jensen Ackles, best man of Tom Welling, to the stage!”

There was clapping that sounded muffled and like thunder pounding in his ears. He was nervous. Jensen Ackles didn’t get nervous. He schooled himself and stepped up to the microphone, scanning the crowd until he found Tom, sitting with his arm around Mike’s shoulders. Tom’s encouraging grin sent a shock of confidence through him and he began his speech. “When I was 6 years old, I helped a boy off the ground who’d fallen from the monkey bars. 2 years ago I got to see him fall again—fall in love with Mike Rosenbaum. And in 14 days, I will see him marry the love of his life.”

Jensen was right; his speech made people laugh, smile, and he saw Tom even blink away a tear or two at a point. He concluded by saying, “enjoy the festivities, people, it’s going to be a fabulous 2 weeks! And all the love to the happy couple.”

Jensen stepped off the stage and was wrapped tightly in the arms of his best friend. “That was fucking amazing, dude,” Tom said sincerely.

“Just wait until you hear my best man’s speech,” Jensen joked. “It’ll make you cry.”

“I knew I hired a writer as my best man for a reason,” Tom teased. “Enjoy the bar.”

Jensen nodded and strolled over to the bartender. He didn’t even know what he wanted, all he knew is that he wanted something strong enough to wash away the feeling of emptiness speaking about love for 10 minutes had left him with.

“Nice speech,” Jensen heard a voice rumble beside him. Jensen jumped and turned to face a tall man. Like, really tall. And, holy shit, he was gorgeous. He was all muscle, and bronze as a penny. His hair was messy and long, but in a sexy way that Jensen didn’t think he could ever pull off. The man was smiling, 2 perfect rows of white teeth and symmetrical dimples. And of course, to make Jensen melt into a puddle, hazel eyes. Damn him.

When Jensen regained the ability to speak he said, “Thanks, I wrote it myself.” That wasn’t stupid at all, way to go Jensen.

But the man only laughed. “I’m Jared Padalecki. Your friend said you are a writer, it didn’t surprise me that it was so eloquent?”

“My friend…” Jensen scanned the hut to find his eyes landing on Chris, who winked and then nudged Tom’s shoulder to point the two of them out. Mike, Chris, and Tom were all watching them now. “Chris. Of course.”

Jared had a deep, rumbling laugh and it made Jensen’s legs weak. “I’m Mike’s old friend and best man. Guessing you’re the same for Tom?”

“I am. Jensen Ackles, I’ve known him since he was six.”

“I know. You mentioned in your speech.”

Don’t blush. Damn it. It was even harder with stupid Chris and stupid Tom watching. “Do you want to go outside?” Jensen asked.

“I’d love to.”

Jared led the way, Jensen forgetting his drink on the counter.

Chapter Text

It was cool outside. The sky was various shades of blue and a hint of purple far off in the east. There was a faint rim of pale blue on the west, the only indicator that it was not completely night yet. Jensen’s fingers had become entwined with Jared’s and he really had no idea how that had happened at all. Jensen blamed the handholding—and his clumsy stumbling behind the ever-graceful Jared—on the alcohol.

Had he even drunk any?

Too much thinking, Ackles. Jared led him a stone patio and sat on the edge. The hut was higher on a hill and the patio jutted out so you could overlook the whole sea and the unnaturally green grassy hills below.

“So,” Jensen started awkwardly.

“So,” Jared responded with much more ease.

Why was he so nervous? “What else did Chris tell you about me? Besides the fact that I was a writer.” That doesn’t sound self-centered at all.

Jared gave him another good-natured grin. “He said you were handsome, but I could see that for myself. He said you were funny and had a wicked sense of humor. You could be dorky sometimes, but were overall charming. I just had to wiggle my way under your armor.”

“My armor, huh?” Jensen made a mental note to punch Chris.

“He said you were the guy that wasn’t looking for long term. Just… casual hookups.” Jared shifted uncomfortably after saying this.

Forget about punching Chris. He was going to fucking murder the bastard. “Look, Jared--,”

“Jensen,” Jared cut him off. “Me too.”

Jensen gave a sigh of relief, and then blushed when Jared’s eyes crinkled with amusement. “Sorry.”

“Don’t apologize. I think you’re adorable.”

That’s always the impression Jensen wanted to leave on the guys he wanted to take home. Adorable. Puppies are adorable. Jensen Ackles was sexy. But when he opened his mouth to say something all that came out was, “I know.”

And Jared laughed again, and it was such a nice laugh that Jensen would humiliate himself in a hundred different situations if he could hear that laugh all the time. “You’re kinda cool, too. I guess Chris was right,” Jared mused. “I like you.” Then it was Jared’s turn to blush.

Jensen knew he must have looked like a fish with his mouth hanging open, but his surprise was too much. “So you’re not going to ditch me?”

Jared laughed again. Jensen felt like he was drowning in his laughter. “No, Jensen, I’m not going to ditch you.” Jared moved closer, until Jensen could practically feel Jared’s breath on his neck. “You’re too pretty to ditch.”

Jensen didn’t think about anything else before pressing his lips onto Jared’s.

 

Kissing Jared was not like kissing any other guy. It was slow and passionate at the same time it was hungry and furious. Jensen thought he was good at kissing, but here was Jared, pinning Jensen up against his hotel room wall and sticking his tongue down his throat like there would never be another time to do it. Jensen was moaning and sucking eagerly on Jared’s tongue, tugging on his long brown hair and desperately shoving his hands underneath Jared’s shirt to feel the hard abs underneath.

Jared let out a moan with the feeling of Jensen’s fingers running around his torso, tweaking Jared’s sensitive nipples and making Jared tear away from the kiss to groan, “Fuck, Jensen, you’re good.”

Jensen didn’t even want to speak, he simply went to Jared’s neck and started to suck and kiss him there. Jensen was addicted to the moans Jared let out as Jensen sucked and nuzzled Jared’s neck. Jensen kissed a trail down Jared’s neck and on to his collarbone—how did they lose their shirts? —and then down to Jared’s incredibly toned stomach. Jared moaned as Jensen licked a trail around Jared’s abs at the same time he undid the button on Jared’s jeans.

With Jared’s help Jensen managed to slide Jared’s jeans and boxers off and kissed a trail down to the base of Jared’s cock. The moan Jared let out when Jensen’s tongue explored Jared’s balls was inhuman. “Jensen… Jen…please…”

“What? Want me to suck your dick? Want me to let you come?” Jensen teased. Jensen himself was extremely hard and it took all his self-control not to jerk off to this gorgeous man in front of him.

Jared groaned, “Please, Jensen.”

Jensen gave a satisfied smile before wrapped his mouth around Jared’s—wow—huge cock. Jensen took Jared deep in his mouth and sucked on his dick. Jensen swirled his tongue around the head of Jared’s dick and let Jared thrust in and out. Jensen brought him to the edge and then moved his tongue to Jared’s balls before going back. He knew how to tease, and the mewling sounds that Jared let out, mingled with desire in his eyes, almost sent Jensen over the edge.

When he was done torturing Jared, Jensen took him into his mouth again and sucked harder than he had before. With one last moan Jared came in Jensen’s mouth and Jensen swallowed it all before licking Jared’s dick clean, relishing the sounds Jared made.

Jared’s knees were weak with the orgasm and he slid down on the wall until he was level with Jensen. “You’re fucking amazing,” Jared slurred.

Jensen let out a small chuckle. “Thanks.”

Jared’s eyes widened. “Let me…” He struggled with Jensen’s jeans until Jensen just took them off himself. Jared stroked Jensen’s dick and it was Jensen’s turn to moan, slumping into Jared lazily.

It didn’t take long for Jensen to come in Jared’s hand; he was already incredibly aroused from blowing Jared. Jared helped Jensen drag himself onto the king bed in front of him and as Jared was about to leave Jensen heard himself mumble, “Stay.”

“What?” Jared asked.

What? But Jensen found himself lifting his head and saying, “Stay tonight.”

Jensen convinced himself it was his dick talking, but there was a different part of Jensen that found comfort in the smile Jared gave him and the warmth of Jared pressed against his back. And whether it was from booze or exhaustion or pure desire, Jensen snuggled tightly against the tall body.

“G’night, Jare.”

“Goodnight, Jensen.” Jensen heard the amusement in Jared’s voice. He let out a content sigh and closed his eyes. Right as Jensen was drifting off to sleep he realized what he was missing.

The empty feeling in his chest was gone.

 

Jared woke up and felt something heavy on his chest. Not a figurative weight, there was something heavy lying on him. He and Jensen had shifted in their sleep and now Jensen was curled up on him with his head buried in the crook of Jared’s collarbone.

Jared gave a small smile. It had been a nice night. Not just the blowjob, which had been incredibly nice, but talking to Chris and meeting Jensen. Jensen was sweet. Jensen was sexy. Jensen was guarded, but Jensen had asked him to stay and Jared hadn’t remembered ever being happier. He liked snuggling with Jensen. Jensen was as warm was a radiator and he was so peaceful in sleep. His chest rose and fell as he slept and Jared wondered what he was dreaming about. His heart gave a little lurch at the thought of Jensen dreaming of him.

Is that the reason Jensen had a small smile on his face?

Jared closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He’d known Jensen for, what, 12 hours? The guy was hot as hell and sweet and wonderful and Jared wanted to know him so bad but Jensen…

Jensen could get any guy he wanted. He’d even said he was more of a one-night stand guy than a commitment guy.

But he’d asked Jared to stay.

Jared mulled these thoughts over and over again and didn’t notice Jensen starting to stir. He only realized Jensen was waking up when he heard a sleepy, “Jare?”

Jared looked down at him. “Shit! Did I wake you up?”

“No, I was gonna get up anyway.” Jensen realized he was practically sleeping on top of Jared. “Sorry man, I didn’t mean to fall asleep on you.”

Jared gave a chuckle and loved the way Jensen’s eyes lit up. “It’s cool. I haven’t been up for long.”

Jensen’s hand began tracing circles on Jared’s palm and Jared placed a soft kiss on Jensen’s head without realizing what he was doing. One night, Jared. You’ve known him for one night. But Jensen tilted his head up and looked gently back at Jared, inviting him in. Jared kissed him again, softly on his lips. His perfect, pink lips and Jared was so grateful Jensen’s eyes were closed or he would feel the same weak-knee roller-coaster plunge feeling he got when he saw Jensen’s emerald green eyes.

The kiss was slow but purposeful and Jared was lost in it. He didn’t even realize his hands were snaking into Jensen’s hair, but he shivered with delight when he felt Jensen’s hands on his hips. Jensen smiled into the kiss and mumbled, “I think it’s too early for this.”

“For kissing?” Jared pecked his lips again to prove a point. “It’s never too early.”

Jensen snuggled into Jared’s neck and peppered kisses along his skin. Jared titled his head to the side allowing Jensen more access to his skin. “God, Jen, where did you learn to do this?”

“Practice. I don’t know if you knew, but I get around.”

Jensen’s tone was joking, but Jared could hear a bitterness in Jensen’s voice that wasn’t there before. Jared pulled back and kissed Jensen’s lips again. “All I know is that you are a writer, you have a wicked sense of humor, and sleep like a cat.”

Jensen looked up at him again and in his bottle green eyes Jared saw a sort of trust that made Jared want to hold on to Jensen and never let him go again.

 

Jensen had left Jared in his suite to take a shower while Jensen left to get breakfast for the two of them. He tried to move as quickly and as inconspicuously as possible, because Tom and Chris had a nasty habit of popping up when Jensen least wanted them too and he still stunk like sex.

Jensen had known the guy for one night and still Jensen felt closer to him than he had any other guy. He’d been with him for one night! For all Jensen knew, Jared was slipping away as Jensen thought about the gorgeous, toned, funny, clever—

No, Jensen was not going to think about Jared leaving him. But that’s what Jared did, isn’t it? It’s what Jensen does, that’s why he and Jared meshed together so well. They both knew there was a chance in the morning that the other one would be gone.

And yet, the thought of coming home with breakfast for two and finding the room empty made Jensen’s heart ache in a way he wasn’t used to.

Jensen had made his way into the hotel buffet and grabbed two Styrofoam boxes to fill with food for him and hopefully, Jared. “Whoa, two boxes Jensen? Either you’re really hungry or there’s another guy waiting for you back at your room.”

The snarky, teasing voice was too familiar to Jensen and he spun around to see Chris’s smug form leaning against the doorway. “Well, Jenny? Just really hungry or did you fuck the guy I sent over to you? If it is the latter, then you owe me big time.”

“Shut up, Chris.” Jensen was flustered and he knew he was probably blushing as well.

“HA! I knew you’d like him. I told him all about you, how fun you were, how I was cooler but I mean, you were a mopey bag of misery that only sex could fix-,”

“You did not use those words.”

Chris raised his hands in defeat. “True, but if I had I bet Jared still would have come over to you. He was eyeing you like a candy bar all night.”

Jensen was definitely blushing now. “Fuck off.”

“Aw, Jensen’s blushing. Do you liiikee him, Jenny?”

Jensen stared at the ceiling, trying to get the blush to die down. “He’s a cool guy.” When Jensen looked at Chris there was no smirk or taunt in his smile, it was sincere joy. “I mean, I’ve only known him for a night, but still--,”

“Jensen,” Chris cut off. “I’m so fucking happy for you.”

And before Jensen knew what he was doing he was hugging his best friend, all thoughts of murdering him gone.

 

Jensen opened the door to his room slowly, praying, hoping, desperately begging for Jared to still be there. He’d carried two boxes of food back to the room filled with anything that they had at the buffet. He wasn’t quite sure what Jared would like, so Jensen just got some of everything.

Jensen almost jumped for joy when he saw a familiar, penny-colored body sitting on the bed with the TV remote in hand and flipping through channels. Jared turned to look at him, hazel eyes sparkling with happiness. “I was beginning to worry you weren’t coming back.”

“I was beginning to worry you weren’t going to be here.”

Jared grinned. “And give up someone else getting food for me? Nah, I was definitely gonna stick around.”

Jensen smiled at the ground. Dammit, what was it about this guy that made him so bashful? Jensen was the guy that made other guys blush. But here he was, staring at the ground at wishing so hard that he was again snuggled up with Jared in bed.

Jared stood up and walked like a fucking runway model over to Jensen, gently taking a box of food. “Thanks, Jen.”

“You’re welcome,” Jensen mumbled.

“Gonna eat with me?”

“I was thinking I was going to take a shower, actually,” Jensen said. He needed to get rid of his erection, fast.

“Well, hurry, I might not be here when you get out.” Jensen’s eyes widened at the thought and he almost dropped the other box of food. Jared shoved him playfully. “Joking, dumbo. I’ll be here for as long as you want.”

Jensen visibly relaxed and placed his food on the table across from Jared. “I’ll be quick.”

“Good,” Jared hummed. Jared kissed Jensen again and the slow, deliberate movements of Jared’s mouth on his were definitely not helping get rid of Jensen’s hard on. Jensen almost whined when Jared moved away.

If there was a world record for the fastest shower ever, Jensen surely broke it. He tried to wash his hair and his body at the same time and swore several times as he jerked off with soap in his eyes, but all he wanted to do was get out and see if Jared was true to his word and had actually stayed.

He slipped on the wet surface when he was climbing out of the shower, practically throwing himself out to get to the towel and then blissfully, to Jared. He scrubbed his hair with the towel and then his body, throwing shorts on and tripping out the door with his shirt only half on. Jensen was well aware of how desperate and needy he looked right now but he decided it would be easy to blame it on hunger.

Just not specify precisely what Jensen was hungry for.

Jensen rubbed his eyes again, trying to get the sting of shampoo out and then rubbed them again to see Jared, making sure he wasn’t just a beautiful illusion. But Jared’s amused smile remained in the chair along with the rest of him. Jensen felt a renewed pain in his eye from the soap and swore loudly.

Jared’s smirk faded to a concerned look, and he asked, “Does your eye hurt?”

“I just was clumsy in the shower. Got soap in it.”

Jared stood up and went into the bathroom. He returned to Jensen with a wet washcloth and said, “Open.”

It hurt like a bitch to open his eye but it felt so much better when Jared used the washcloth to dab at the soap and wash it clean. Jared’s other hand moved to Jensen’s hip and massaged the skin there and Jensen emitted a small moan. Jared’s charming smirk returned and he finished clearing both eyes of shampoo. “Better?”

Jensen nodded. “Much better.”

Jared kissed him again, and Jensen still hadn’t tired of the feeling of Jared’s smooth lips and the tiny scratch of his stubble. Jensen let out a content noise while Jared kissed him and Jared smiled into the kiss. “Just like a cat,” Jared repeated.

“Does that mean we get to sleep some more?”

“I was thinking of some other day plans.” Jensen almost let out a whine, but Jared added, “the beach was part of them.”

Jared in a swimsuit? Half naked Jared, running through the waves… Jensen felt a smile creep onto his face and Jared kissed it, taking the grin as a yes.

Jared picked up his discarded dinner jacket from the previous night. “I’ll meet you back in here in an hour? I wanna go home and put something more suitable on.”

Jensen nodded numbly, still processing everything. Breakfast with Jared, sex with Jared, day plans with Jared… it all was so different. Jared flashed his beautiful white teeth and Jensen’s stomach dropped. “See you in an hour,” Jensen managed.

“See you.”

Jensen sat on the bed and glanced at the box of eggs and bacon he’d brought home for himself. Jensen was sure it was all delicious, but he found he didn’t have much of an appetite. Day plans with Jared. Jared had planned a day with him. Jared wanted to spend time with him. He’d known Jensen for less than a day and neither of them had run away yet.

Strange.

And the weirder thing still was that Jensen, who hadn’t spent the night with anyone since his college roommate, didn’t find it weird at all.

Chapter Text

Jared still felt butterflies in his stomach from the breakfast and the sex. It hadn’t even once occurred to him to leave Jensen’s comfortable hotel suite while Jensen went to get breakfast. He couldn’t wait for Jensen to return and felt like a puppy dog waiting for its owner.

Jared was a lot of things, but a puppy dog was not one of them.

So why did this one guy, this one guy that he barely knew and that was so obviously hiding a million secrets, make him feel like one?

Jared had daydreamed about all the things the two of them could do at the hotel, and many of them included Jensen in little to no clothing. But Jared also pictured himself going out to eat with Jensen, and watching a movie with Jensen, and falling asleep next to Jensen and being with Jensen and—

And it was not right.

Jared had promised Jensen to be back in an hour. As he opened the door to his own hotel room he contemplated his options. He could not go back. He could leave Jensen hanging and avoid seeing him until the wedding.

Avoid hearing his laugh, seeing him blush, hearing his stories that were always so eloquent since he was a writer—

It would be hell to stay away from Jensen. Why was it so easy before, but now… now all Jared could think about was Jensen. Jensen’s perfection and his charm and the way that he made everything seem so easy. So relaxed. Jared so badly wanted to get under Jensen’s armor and for Jensen to feel as bubbly around Jared as Jared felt around Jensen.

Was it possible he did?

No. Jensen was probably just humoring him. No wonder he seemed so shocked when Jared mentioned day plans. Jared should just hide away out of embarrassment. Sounds like a plan.

But Jared found himself shedding his rumpled jeans and dress shirt and digging through his suitcase until he found his swimsuit. It was black and Jared hoped Jensen liked it.

He hoped Jensen liked it? He hoped Jensen was drooling, he hoped Jensen pinned him to the beach and kissed him until his lips were raw. Jared was not some teenage girl, picking out an outfit and hoping that her date liked it.

56 minutes to make his decision.

 

Jensen was pacing his room. He was in way over his head with Jared. Jensen never got nervous with guys. He was 6 feet 2 inches of pure confidence. But somehow, somehow, this charming, irritatingly handsome, funny guy had managed to—what was the term Chris used?—wiggle his way under Jensen’s armor.

Jensen had that fucking armor for a reason. It was so no charming, irritatingly handsome, funny guys could find their way into Jensen’s heart and then leave Jensen. Because that was the logical thing to do, leave the unpublished writer with so much shit in his life that every time he was alone he felt like there was a lack of oxygen in the room.

Fuck Jared. Fuck him and all his perfection.

He’d like to fuck Jared. He has fucked Jared.

Jensen fell back on his bed with a groan. It was thoughts like this that got people attached, and attachment led to pain. Jensen was not going let himself get hurt over a pretty face. Jensen was the guy that had one-night stands and no commitment.

Jensen dug through his suitcase to try and find his swimsuit. It was dark green. An old boyfriend had told him it matched his eyes. Jensen didn’t exactly go swimming in the Hudson on the weekends so he’d had very few opportunities to wear it.

And now he was going to spend the day with Jared. At the beach with Jared, maybe getting drinks with Jared, making fun of how silly Tom and Mike’s romance seemed. They would joke around, saying things like, “that would never happen to us,” and “marriage is ridiculous.”

But it would hurt Jensen’s heart because he’d love for Jared to look at him the way Mike looked at Tom, and he’d love to wake up with one person for the rest of his life. He liked curling up and seeing Jared’s eyes first thing and it didn’t seem ridiculous at all. But they would never do that because that’s not what they did.

And when this trip was over, Jared would be over, and Jensen would be alone again. It was a sobering thought and Jensen decided that he just wouldn’t open the door if Jared knocked. He’d just wait until Jared got the picture that Jensen wasn’t interested and that they should just cut the strings off before they were too strong.

It had been more than an hour. Jared had decided not to come. Jensen should be grateful, he should be relieved that he didn’t have to fall into this commitment thing, and that Jensen could continue to sleep around with no strings attached. He sank onto the bed with his head in his hands and continued to tell himself, this is a good thing. This is a good thing.

Good things hurt.

But he heard a knock on the door and his heart kicked up 20 notches, and he was pretty sure he broke the world record for time getting ready to go to the beach.

 

Jared had been standing outside Jensen’s room for 10 minutes before he knocked. He’d gotten to Jensen’s room early in case he froze up and couldn’t do it. Couldn’t go out with Jensen, couldn’t stare into the greenest eyes that existed on earth, and couldn’t see Jensen’s blush without wanting to kiss his pink cheeks.

Couldn’t do it.

But as soon as Jared heard a suitcase zipping up in Jensen’s room he found his fist knocking on Jensen’s door. Please open. Please don’t leave me here waiting for you.

Jensen opened the door with messy hair. His shirt was twisted, like he’d just finished putting it on in a rush. Jared nearly moaned with desire at Jensen’s dark green board shorts and his black V-neck. The little strip of tan skin exposed drove Jared up the wall and he had to resist slamming his mouth onto Jensen’s. It should be illegal to be so pretty.

“Hi,” Jared said. He knew he sounded breathless.

“Hey. How are you?”

“Pretty much the same as I was an hour ago.” Jared beat himself up for that, Jensen was just being sweet. A blush crept onto Jensen’s face and Jared kissed him quickly. “It felt like it was longer than an hour, though. Too long.”

And Jensen wound his fingers in Jared’s tee shirt and probably felt Jared’s fast heartbeat but Jensen still kissed him back and Jared knew Jensen still liked him. “Too long,” Jensen agreed.

Jared slid his hand into Jensen’s as they walked down the hallway to the elevator. Jensen stiffened and Jared immediately regretted it but then Jensen’s fingers wrapped around Jared’s like it was natural. Jared bit his lip to suppress the smile that was threatening to break out over his whole face.

Jared and Jensen held hands all the way down to the lobby until they saw Mike, Tom, and Chris huddled in the corner. Jared had a sinking suspicion they were gossiping about him and Jensen. Jensen froze like a deer caught in the headlights and Jared pulled his hand out of Jensen’s. It was just pure instinct for the two of them—don’t show emotion.

Jensen’s hand still dangled by Jared’s and every time it grazed his Jared felt his breath hitch a little bit. Tom was the first one to notice them, his face breaking out in a huge smile. Jared looked to Jensen’s face and saw that it looked almost nauseous. “We can leave,” Jared murmured into Jensen’s hair.

“They’ve seen us,” Jensen said with a grimace. “Let’s just get this over with. I want to go to the beach and tear that shirt off you.”

And Jared thanked god at that moment that Jensen couldn’t hear exactly how fast his heart was beating.

 

Jensen was not looking forward to speaking to Tom or Chris or even Mike about practically holding hands with Jared or the dopey smile he got on his face every time he looked into Jared’s hazel eyes, or the way Jared made him blush so easily.

Maybe they could discuss wedding plans. But as Chris pranced over to them Jensen could tell that was the last thing Chris was interested in talking about. Mike and Tom followed, and Jensen wondered if there was enough time to grab Jared and run out the front door.

“Hey, Jenny,” Chris said in a singsong voice.

“Don’t call me that,” Jensen gritted out.

“Why so tense, Jen?” Tom teased. “It’s so nice and pretty out. The 5 of us could go out and get some sunshine!”

“Or the four of you could go and enjoy a little double d--,”

Jensen kicked Chris before he could finish his sentence. “Jared and I were going for a walk.” He bumped Jared’s shoulder it what he hoped looked casual but when Jared looked down at him and grinned Jensen felt a dorky smile start to spread on his face. Damn Jared’s beautiful smile.

Mike raised an eyebrow suspiciously. “A walk where?”

“I don’t know. You sound like my fucking dad, Mikey,” Jared retorted.

“If you’re gonna act like an awkward teenager on his first date, then I will sure as hell act like your dad.”

Jared blushed at that comment and Jensen definitely didn’t find it the most adorable thing ever. Was this a date? No. This was two people going to have sex somewhere on the beach, and they were walking there.

“Jenny always had this big grin on his face when we talked about guys he liked in high school,” Chris said. “Just like the one he has on right now. What does Danni think of it?”

Shit! He’d completely forgotten about Danneel. “Uh, she, um-,”

“She thinks it’s adorable,” Danneel said, coming up behind Jensen and wrapping her arms around him. “Don’t worry about ditching me, Chris explained the whole thing. Besides, I was looking for some action myself and I didn’t need you hanging around and causing issues.”

“I do not cause issues. And I don’t have a stupid grin on my face!” Jensen glanced up at Jared. “Do I?”

Jared looked fondly at him. “No.” Jared kissed the top of his head. “It’s a very sexy grin.” And with that comment, Jared tugged Jensen away from their friends leaving them open-mouthed.

 

If Jensen wasn’t crazy about Jared before, he definitely was now. Jared had linked his hand through Jensen’s again and this time Jensen didn’t even hesitate squeezing it. Their friends had stared after them the whole way Jared and Jensen ran—or walked fast—out of the lobby.

It was gloriously sunny and the palm trees that towered over the stone pathway made for a perfect postcard. Jensen’s stomach felt bubbly as his hand curled with Jared’s and a kind of happiness that he usually only felt after a night of alcohol and bad chick flicks with Danneel.

Jared and Jensen slowed the pace as soon as the hotel was out of sight. They were on the edge of the hotel grounds and next to a steep path that led down to the beach. The water had that diamond covered look that Jensen thought was so inviting. And it the beating sunshine and the heat, jumping in the waves seemed like an even better idea than usual.

“Shall we?” Jared asked, holding his hand out for Jensen.

Jensen grinned and took his hand firmly. “Lead the way.”

The sand was as burning hot as it was the first time Jensen walked on it with Tom and Chris. But the feeling of tiny grains sliding through his toes and the sound of lapping waves is familiar. The thing that is so different from the first time Jensen walked on the beach is the feeling of a hand in his, squeezing his tightly. The sound of the ocean is mingled with Jared’s joyful laughter.

Jensen didn’t feel the desire to please Jared the way he did with Tom and Chris. With Jared, Jensen could just be himself at that was okay with him. He could be dorky, he could blush, he could make bad jokes, and Jared would still want to hold his hand. Tom and Chris would make fun of him, in a friendly way, if he was anything other than the sleep-around, arrogant guy who was scared of commitment.

Jared didn’t care. Jared was happy with Jensen, and Jensen was more than happy with Jared.

They walked all along the beach, just like in a cheesy romance movie. There wasn’t a golden sunset and there were screaming children, but Jared told jokes that made Jensen laugh and in turn, Jared listened to Jensen’s endless stories about his childhood.

“Tell me about how the 4 of you became friends. Danneel, Tom, Chris, and you.”
Jensen smiled at Jared’s request. “Danni I met first. We were neighbors, our parents were friends. They would go over to each others houses and Danni and I would wind up playing with each other. We’d run around in the grass in her backyard, or go on the tireswing in my backyard. Either way, it was me and her. We never thought it was weird for a boy and a girl to be friends. Tom I met when I was six. He fell off the monkey bars and other kids laughed, but I helped him up and we sorta just became friends.”

“How chivalrous of you,” Jared teased.

Jensen shoved him lightly. “Shut up. Danneel liked him too. Chris was my lab partner in 7th grade. We had so many projects to do he ended up hanging out with the 3 of us more often than not.” Jensen paused. “It’s weird, but I can’t imagine my life without them.”

Jared gave him a kind look. “It’s not weird. I can’t imagine my life without Mike. He’s like this constant symbol of comfort and without it… I just think I would be lost.”

“Yeah.” Really, Jensen? Yeah? You’re a writer, and you come up with yeah.

Jared gave him a soft smile and said, “Yeah.”

Chapter Text

Jensen and Jared had found a cove a little way from the hotel. It was secluded and the waves came slower and more quietly now, and palm trees shaded their little nook from the common eye. It wasn’t even visible if you didn’t know it was there; Jared and Jensen had stumbled upon it trying to chase the waves.

Behind the cover of plants and sea foam was a little pond made from water from waves that had come up too far and never returned to the sea. Sea glass was mixed with rocks and Jensen and Jared put their shoes on so they could look for the beautiful shiny glass without bleeding in the process. Jensen liked picking up the pieces of glass and watching the light seep through the surface and see it come out a different color. He glanced over at Jared. He was sifting through the sand to find pieces of glass and when he found one he liked it would place it in a pile beside him.

Jared’s pieces of glass were all green, as opposed to Jensen’s collection of clear, green, blue, and even an orangey colored one. Jared looked up and smirked at Jensen when he caught him staring. “Like the view?”

Jensen struggled to keep from blushing and instead shot Jared a glare. “Don’t get so high on yourself, Padalecki.”

Jensen turned his back on Jared to continue to find pieces of glass, still suppressing the urge to turn red. But he felt strong, muscled arms wrap around his waist and Jensen straightened up immediately. His whole body slumped into Jared’s warm arms and felt the press of Jared’s semi-hard cock against Jensen’s ass. “I want to be high on myself. I want you to think I’m gorgeous.” Jared kissed a line of kisses from Jensen’s ear to the bottom of his neck. “Because I think you’re gorgeous. I’d love to fuck you, Jen.”

Jensen was irrationally turned on from the way Jared spoke to him. It was sultry and alluring, and Jensen had to try with all his might not to tear Jared’s shorts off and fuck him where he stood. The two of them had long since lost their shirts and all that remained on the pair now were their swimsuits, and Jared was wearing his very, very low.

Jensen twisted in Jared’s arms so he was facing him. Jared slipped his hands down Jensen’s body and kissed him while massaging the tight muscles in Jensen’s back. Jensen let out a low moan and tangled his fingers in Jared’s long, brown hair. Jared smiled into the kiss when Jensen moaned and continued to rub out the tension in Jensen’s body, recreating the moan every time.

“You bastard,” Jensen got out between kisses. “Making me want you so bad.”

“I’m all yours, Jen,” Jared responded silkily. He nuzzled Jensen’s neck and sucked on the soft skin. “Yours for the taking.”

Jensen let out a shaky breath that screamed desire. Could he be more obvious? Jared’s mouth went back to Jensen’s and his hands continued to stroke Jensen’s body. When his fingers traced circles on Jensen’s sides, however, Jensen jumped back with a yelp.

Jared looked startled. “Did I hurt you?”

There was no way Jensen could stop the blush that was creeping over his face. “It’s nothing.”

“No, if you’re injured, let me take care of you,” Jared cooed. He pulled Jensen in and started to lick his sides, but Jensen twisted away with a giggle.

This time a knowing smirk—damn that gorgeous twist of his mouth—was plastered on Jared’s face. “Hm… Injured my ass.” Jared lunged forward and dug his fingers into Jensen’s sides again, tickling him.

Jensen burst out laughing, but this time Jared wouldn’t let him go. Jensen struggled against the taller man but Jared’s fingers explored every inch of ticklish skin on Jensen’s torso, from his hips to his underarms. Jensen eventually fell to the ground, and Jared fell on top of him.

Jared’s tickling fingers slowed until they were just stroking Jensen’s tanned body. “You’re ticklish,” Jared teased. Jensen shivered under Jared’s fingers, which now were not so much tickling as they were making little bolts of electricity zap through his body.

“You’re mean,” Jensen retorted childishly. It earned him a tickle from Jared and Jensen squirmed underneath him. “Don’t!”

“Sorry, it’s just really fucking adorable.”

Jensen pouted, and that earned him a kiss. “I’m not adorable,” Jensen protested, but Jared kept kissing him without a response.

Jensen felt himself go hard as Jared continued his trail of kisses down to Jensen’s chest and then his stomach. Jensen felt Jared’s erection pressing against his thigh and moved himself into it, letting Jared grind against him and let out a moan. Jensen grinned at the man in front of them, and then giggled again as Jared began to purposely tickle Jensen with his kisses. “Stop it, you jerk!”

Jensen felt Jared smile into his stomach but the kisses didn’t tickle anymore, and Jared’s hands started to slide Jensen’s shorts off him. Jensen moaned with delight as the kisses traced his hipbones and then down to his groin as Jensen’s swimsuit came off completely. Jensen’s breath was shaky and came in short gasps.

Jared’s kisses, accompanied now by his all too skilled tongue, trailed from his balls to his hips to his dick, all the while making Jensen groan with pleasure. “Jay…”

“Hm?” Jared was busy placing kisses on the inside of Jensen’s thighs.

“Please…” It was absolutely ridiculous how much pleasure Jensen was getting out of just kissing.

“Please what?” Jared taunted.

Damn him. No one made Jensen beg. Instead of giving Jared what he wanted, Jensen growled and lifted his head to glare at Jared. Jared only grinned and dragged a finger down Jensen’s sole. Jensen kicked out with a giggle, and it made Jensen all the angrier for being so ticklish.

“Come on, Jen,” Jared said. He placed a kiss on Jensen’s dick. “Beg, and I’ll give you the best blowjob of your life.”

The idea was so tempting. Jensen wanted to know what Jared’s gorgeous mouth would feel like around his dick. But his dignity was buried somewhere in his body and he pressed his lips tightly together. Jared crawled his fingers up Jensen’s sides, smirking when Jensen shivered. Jared followed his fingers and pressed his lips on Jensen’s, kissing slowly just the way Jensen was addicted to. “Beg for me, Jen.”

“Please, Jare,” Jensen whined. It shocked him to hear those words come out of his mouth. “Please, I can’t take it. Please, blow me.”

“More,” Jared said through his kiss.

Jensen whined and Jared smiled. “Okay, dumbo, I’ll blow you.” Jared kissed Jensen again before sliding back down on his body and wrapping his mouth around Jensen’s dick. The minute Jared’s tongue started to run across Jensen’s dick; Jensen arched his back and tried so hard not to come so soon. “It’s okay,” Jared crooned, removing his mouth from Jensen’s dick. “You can come.”

Jared’s mouth sucked back on Jensen’s dick and just hearing those words brought Jensen to the edge and then came in Jared’s mouth with a gasp. Jared swallowed it all and then kissed Jensen’s dick one last time. “So gorgeous,” Jared whispered into Jensen’s hair. “And all fucking mine.”

At those words Jensen bristled, not because he was upset, but because of the reminder that after one day he’d completely given himself to a one person. Not even a whole day. Jared noticed his displeasure and asked, “You okay, Jensen?”

Jensen nodded and kissed Jared’s temple. “I’m good. Just tired.”

Jared stroked Jensen’s hair softly and placed soft kisses on his ear. “You can sleep, Jen. Just sleep,” Jared cooed to him. Jensen felt guilty about not even jerking Jared off, but Jared’s voice soothed him to sleep quickly.

Jensen mumbled through his exhaustion, “Don’t go.”

“Don’t worry, Jen. I’m not going anywhere.”

 

For the second time that day, Jared woke up beside Jensen. This time it was on a sandy beach and he was lying on top of Jensen. There were grains of sand covering them both and Jared brushed some off Jensen’s perfect chest. He was breathing so calmly and rhythmically Jared panicked when he stirred, thinking he woke up. But Jensen only moved his head into Jared’s collarbone and fell back into sleep.

God, what his friends back in Chicago would say about this. Jared Padalecki, the tease, the slut, the guy who didn’t know the word commitment, curled up on the beach with some guy.

Not some guy. Jensen Ackles. Beautiful, kind, lovable Jensen Ackles. Jared snuggled up to him and wondered why Jensen was so guarded. Jared didn’t have a boyfriend simply because he hadn’t met the right guy. But Jensen seemed to be hiding something. He’d visibly stiffened when Jared had called Jensen his. Jared didn’t mean to, it just came out. But Jared wanted Jensen to be his. He wanted to wake up to Jensen’s beautiful green eyes and make Jensen laugh and hold Jensen.

And he wanted to know what Jensen was guarding so fucking badly.

But that’s not the kind of thing you ask a guy you’ve known for less than a day. Even if you’ve fallen asleep together twice and feel closer to him than anyone else you’ve ever met, you don’t go poking around in their personal business.

Jensen’s head rolled onto his shoulder and then fell in the sand. With an, “Uf!” Jensen woke with a start. He was startled and grabbed onto Jared.

“It’s just sand, buddy. Not going to hurt you,” Jared teased. Jared loved teasing Jensen; he loved the way Jensen’s eyes sparkled with laughter even when he tried to frown.

“Go to hell.” Jensen yawned and stretched, and Jared poked a space between his ribs that the skin was stretched out across. Jensen’s arms jumped down with a squeal. “Don’t tickle!”

“Sorry, sorry.” Jared kissed his nose to make up for it and Jensen hummed in forgiveness.

Jensen rolled Jared off him and onto his back. Jensen moved himself so his head was lying on Jared’s chest and stared out on the ocean. “How long were we asleep?”

“Long enough. What do you think the others will say when we tell them what we did?” Jared mused.

“We don’t tell them. We tell them we got lost if they ask.” Jensen knew Danneel wouldn’t believe him and would extract the information out of him as soon as they were alone. Chris and Tom would simply raise their eyebrows in suspicion, but drop the subject.

“We went walking and got lost?”

“Yeah. We did sort of get lost. And we were walking. We’ll just leave out the part where you blew me and I drooled all over you in sleep.”

Jared laughed. “You didn’t drool all over me. And you’re very hot when you’re asleep.”

Jensen purred with delight. “I know.”

“Such a fucking cat,” Jared said. Jensen nuzzled Jared’s messy hair for effect and it drew another laugh from Jared.

“Is there another wedding festivity to go to tonight?”

“Yeah,” Jared said. “I think it’s another party. But a party for a younger crowd, if you get what I’m saying.”

“More booze, less clothing?”

“And no sappy speeches.”

“My speech was fucking amazing,” Jensen snapped playfully. “It made you tear up.”

“Please, I was rock solid throughout the whole thing. I might have yawned.”

Jensen growled and tackled Jared, climbing on top of him. Jared grinned. “What are you gonna do, kitty?”

“First, I’m going to hit you for calling me kitty.” Jensen playfully swatted at Jared’s head. “Then…” Jared’s breath hitched as Jensen moved his mouth downward. “I’m going to repay you for your amazing blowjob.”

Jared let out moans that he had made Jensen let out hours earlier, and when he finally came he fell back into the sand, not caring how many grains covered his back. Jensen ruffled Jared’s hair affectionately. “We should probably go in the water.”

“Too sleepy.”

“We smell like sex, Jay, and we’re covered in come and sand. I don’t see a shower around here, so the ocean’s the next best thing.”

Jared crinkled his nose and held his hand up for Jensen to help drag him to his feet. Jensen yanked his… what? His lover? His fuck buddy? To his feet. Jared was heavier than Jensen, and Jensen stumbled back when Jared was on his feet. Jared caught him around his waist and pulled him in so Jensen was pressed against Jared’s chest. It hadn’t been on purpose, Jared just didn’t want him to fall.

But Jared stared into Jensen’s green eyes and thought, maybe it was a little bit on purpose.

But falling so hard over a guy he’d known for so little time was not on purpose at all.

 

Jensen and Jared spent about another hour in the oasis, swimming around and daring each other to swim as far as they could go, always trying to outdo each other. They spent a fair bit of time kissing and teasing each other in the water. Jensen didn’t remember the last time he’d felt this comfortable with a guy.

Oh wait. He did. And that had ended badly.

Jensen closed off and his smile slipped from his face as he recalled the memory. Jared noticed and swum back over to Jensen, wrapped his arms around his waist while he treaded water. “What’s wrong, Jen?” He asked for the second time.

Everything. Nothing. I like you too much. I want to run away and hide at the same time I want to keep you forever. “We should leave soon. It looks like the sun’s about to set.”

Jensen could see in Jared’s eyes that he didn’t believe a bit of what Jensen just told him, only nodded and glanced over the horizon to see edges of pink where the sun was going down. “Alright. I think we smell more like saltwater and less like sex, anyway.”

Jensen smiled and shoved him off. “I make sex smell good.”

“You make sex feel good, too.”

Jensen tried to hard not to be reminded of another voice that said those words to him and instead swum back to shore. He knew he was pushing Jared away, he knew Jared would leave him. It’s something that happened, people left him. He wasn’t good enough.

So his plan was always to leave people first.

It retrospect, it was a horrible plan. Especially since Jared took Jensen’s hand and squeezed as soon as they stood on the beach again. Jensen looked up into Jared’s kind hazel eyes and didn’t see the pity that was sometimes reflected in Danneel’s. He only saw trust and comfort and innocence. On an impulse, Jensen wrapped his arms tightly around Jared and clasped his hands together like Jared was going to leave him.

It wasn’t until Jared’s arms enfolded Jensen just as tightly that Jensen really felt like he was going to cry. He blinked away the tears and snuggled tightly into Jared’s chest. If Jensen could stay like this forever, he would. Jared was a surprisingly gentle hugger for someone who was all muscle.

Jared rested his head on top of Jensen’s—it was weird, Jensen was usually the taller one in relationships—and ran his fingers through Jensen’s hair with one hand. “You’re so kind, Jen. You’re so fun and I love hanging out with you,” Jared whispered to Jensen. Jared continued to murmur reassuring things into Jensen’s ear until he released his tight grasp on Jared.

“How can you know what I’m like if you’ve known me for a day?” Jensen asked.

“Because it’s in your eyes. You always have such gentleness in your eyes. You’re honest and playful and I trust you.”

The words broke Jensen’s heart in two, because he knew he wasn’t fully honest with Jared. “I trust you too.”

“Good. Now smile, dumbo, or I’ll have to tickle you again.”

Jensen shoved him away. “Don’t you dare!” But Jensen felt a grin forming on his face, the dopey one that only Jared could bring out.

Jensen still felt a little lonely, but Jared held Jensen’s hand tightly on the long seaside walk back to the hotel and Jensen felt the demon retreat back into its cave, not bothering Jensen for the moment.

It was no surprise to Jensen that the four of their friends were waiting for them on the hotel beach. Danneel was in a bikini that was too small to even be qualified as a swimsuit as all and Jensen felt his big-brotherly instinct kick in as boys eyed her. Mike and Tom and Chris were chatting, hopefully not but most likely, about him and Jared. They’d been gone for—Jensen checked his phone—7 hours. It was 8:00 now and Jensen saw the sky more pink that it was when Jared and Jensen had left their secret paradise.

“Do you think we can avoid them?” Jared asked Jensen. Evidently he was pondering their escape as well.

“Unlikely,” Jensen said grumpily. “They’re sitting right by the path back to the hotel. Unless you brought your rock climbing gear, we’re heading into a confrontation. Remember our story?”

“We were wandering down the beach and took a wrong turn. We got a little lost, but we found our way back with the help from a local.”

Jensen kissed his nose. “We’ll be fine. As long as Danneel doesn’t pry, that girl can fight like a lioness.”

“I believe it. She’s pretty fierce.”

“You don’t know the half of it. People always look at me like I’m protecting her, but she beat up a kid in 1st grade that took my pudding.”

Jared laughed, his loud wonderful laugh, and Mike looked up to see them. Jensen was sure after years of hearing that laugh it was impossible to meet. The other three looked up as well and sly grins broke out on their faces.

“It’s not too late to drown ourselves,” Jensen muttered.

“Suck it up, Ackles. It’s our friends.”

Their friends were perfectly okay with harassing them apparently. Danneel tackled Jensen as soon as she saw him and questions poured out of her mouth so quickly Jensen struggled to understand her. “Danni, slow down.”

Danneel took a breath and then asked, “Where were you guys?”

“Just walking along the beach,” Jensen said. It was a little too quickly, in a voice that said he was hiding something and Jensen cursed himself for his nervousness.

“Unfortunately we got lost,” Jared gave a pointed stare at Jensen. “And we had to ask for help on the way back.”

“I wanted to see if we could find dolphins!” Jensen defended, going along with Jared perfectly.

“How’d that work out for you, Jensen?”

“Shut up, gigantor.”

“Make me, dumbo.”

Jensen secretly loved when Jared called him dumbo. Or maybe not so secretly from the look Chris gave him. “You two have engagement rings yet?”

“Shut up, Chris!” Jensen growled. “Just because you haven’t gotten any action on the island.”

“Are you implying you have?”

Jensen blushed deeply, knowing he blew his and Jared’s cover. Jared jumped in. “He wishes he has.”

“Oh, so the handholding is just a gesture of friendship? And Jensen’s blushing like a teenage girl. That can’t possibly mean anything.” Tom threw in.

Jensen’s blush deepened. “I need different friends.” "So unloved," Chris joked. "Where is the respect? Is Jared the only one you love nowadays?" Jensen flinched at the word love and he saw Chris regret using it immediately. Mike turned to Jared, changing the subject quickly to cover up Chris's mistake. "Hey, Jare, i need some help with some stuff tonight so you might have to ditch Jensen for the evening." Jared's face fell and Jensen knew there was evident disappointment on his face as well. Chris, Mike, Tom, and Danneel burst out laughing. "I told you!" Tom said. "You owe me 10 bucks!" Jared and Jensen's expressions went from glum to puzzled. Mike explained, "Tom and I bet 10 bucks if I tried to separate you two for the evening you'd be upset." Mike chuckled again. "You two looked like kids that just had their teddy bears taken away!" Jared looked like he was going to punch Mike. "You'll stop looking at me like that when I tell you I don't actually need you for the evening. You can continue to fool around with Jensen for the evening." "I dont know what you're talking about," Jared mumbled. Chris scoffed. "You really think we didn't notice you two were fucking? I suppose the handholding was just so you didn't get lost, because apparently that can happen on a straight strip of beach." Jensen felt Jared’s hand slip into his.

“It’s so we never get lost ever again,” Jared explained.

Jensen looked up into Jared’s hazel eyes and saw underneath his kindness and his comfort, a fierce determination. And right in front of all their friends, Jensen kissed him.

Chapter Text

Jensen thought he would regret the kiss, especially because for the second time that day the pair left their friends with their mouths hung open and had run out on them.

But he didn’t. In fact, it was quite the contrary. He found it very satisfactory to show off that he was capable of being in a relationship—shit, no, that’s not the word—he was capable of sticking with a guy for more than one night. Jensen didn’t screw everything up, despite how screwed up inside he was.

And despite all the shit that was in him, despite all the crap he hid and the secrets he kept from the one guy that trusted him unconditionally, there was someone out there that proved that Jensen Ackles wasn’t worthless. And it filled him with a sense of hope and a longing to never leave Jared’s side again.

Of course that was impossible, given the fact that their hotel rooms were a floor apart and they had commitments that they had to fill without each other. Jensen called an employee in the bookstore to make sure everything was running smoothly and Jared took a business call from his real estate agency in Chicago. Apparently Jared was a big deal, and that fact made Jensen proud for some strange reason.

“Go big or go home, Ackles,” Jensen muttered to himself. He was alone in his hotel room. Jared had promised to return half an hour before the cocktail party tonight so they could arrive together and further astound their friends. There was no way Jensen was wearing the hideous puke green Hawaiian print shirt Chris had bought him, nor the flowery lei Danneel had picked up at the gift shop.

What would Jared like?

Something green. It showed off his eyes and as conceited as Jensen may seem, Jensen liked his eyes. It had always been a feature Jensen had displayed proudly, and it wouldn’t harm anyone if it got Jared drooling.

Jensen dug through his suitcase to find something that could seem casual enough for the party and still formal enough for an evening party. He should have just let Danneel pack for him; Jensen had no sense for fashion at all. In the end, he just stormed across the hall to Danni’s room and knocked on the door.

Danneel opened, looking as gorgeous as ever in a pretty coral colored dress. “Need tips on blowing a guy?”

Jensen crinkled his nose. “First off, no. Second, if I did, what makes you think I would go to you?” Danneel opened her mouth to protest but Jensen said quickly, “I need help picking out what to wear.”

Danni smirked and it reminded him of Jared so much that he wished he could run upstairs and kiss him, those long, passionate kisses that made Jensen feel like he was floating. Jeez, Jensen, get a grip.

“I’d love to. You know, you should have just let me-,”

“Pack for me, I know, I know. Just help me.”

Danneel shrugged and crossed the hall into Jensen’s room. He’d given her his extra key card, which may or may not have been a huge mistake. “Let’s see what we have to work with,” Danneel said. She picked through his suitcase, carelessly throwing his clothes around the room. Jensen frowned but said nothing on the matter. He was too desperate for her help.

“Wow, Jensen. You have all of two shirts that show off your eyes, and I’m pretty sure none of any of this matches. How you managed to score pretty boy last night is a wonder to me.”

Last night. It was another reminder that Jensen had only known Jared for a day and was crazy for him regardless. “It must have been my natural charm. Now Danni, please. I need to look good for-,” Jensen ended his sentence, but Danneel’s eyes were already sparkling and her smirk had grown wider.

“For Jaaareed. I know, you’re head over heels for the guy.”

Jensen’s smile faded, and Danneel’s sparkling eyes faded to pity. “Jen, you’ve gotta stop letting that guy ruin your life. So you made a mistake a million years ago.”

“Five. Five years ago.”

“And you’re still going to let it haunt you? You’re still going to let it keep you from getting close to Jared, who is sweet and genuine and would never hurt you? I know you, Jensen. You’re falling, hard. And if you don’t open up to the guy, you’re gonna lose him.”

 

Eventually Danneel had found a pair of khaki shorts she deemed appropriate and Jensen’s dark green button down that Danneel had bought for him a few years back. Jensen decided he didn’t look that bad, certainly enough to make Jared think he was hot. His eyes stood out, just as Jensen had wanted them to.

The party was outdoors this time instead of under the protection of a straw hut. The sun was all the way down and Jensen could see the stars. Their faces were illuminated by a large bonfire and a big was roasting over the far in true luau fashion. Jensen scanned the crowd of people for Jared. His eyes not-so-discretely looked over every person to try and find his tall, hazel eyed man whose laugh made Jensen’s knees weak.

“Looking for me?” Jensen heard a husky voice say into his ear and firm arms wrapped around his waist.

Jensen grinned and leaned his head back into a familiar muscled chest. “Hi, Jared.”

Jared took Jensen’s hands and spun him around so he was facing Jared. “You look… really nice. Your eyes stand out.”

Jensen silently thanked Danneel. “Thanks.” Jared was lit up by the firelight and Jensen knew if there weren’t so many people here, Jensen would fuck him on the spot. Jared was wearing a blue shirt that drew out the flecks of blue in his eyes, and Jensen thought he might just melt into a puddle. “You look really great.”

“Thanks. They’re serving drinks, some kind of Hawaiian alcohol. But I heard it’s strong, just what we need on a night like this, right?”

“I’m scared if I drink too much I might end up doing things to you I’ll regret,” Jensen replied. When he saw Jared’s eyes fall he added, “in public.”

Jared’s eyes lit up at the implication and he said with that adorable smirk, “I really think I might be okay with that.”

“As incredibly sexy as I find that, I would never hear the end of that from Chris. And I couldn’t bear him having that kind of blackmail over me for the rest of my life.”

Jared laughed, that loud laughter that made Jensen fill with bubbles. “I’ll go get us drinks.”

As soon as Jared had left eyeshot, Chris was by his side. “You are going to owe me for the rest of your life.”

“For what, exactly?”

“Are you forgetting who sent that piece of man candy over to you?”

“Did you just call Jared ‘man candy’?”

Chris shrugged. “This gay thing seems to work out better than being straight, so I might give it a try.”

“You’re a dick. And maybe if you stopped bugging me and started to flirt with a girl you’d get some action.”

Chris winked at him. “What’s the point of being friends with you if I can’t make you uncomfortable about sticking with one guy for more than one night?” Chris slung an arm around Jensen. “You know, it’s not a crime to be happy, Jenny.”

Jensen didn’t bother correcting him on the nickname. “He’ll leave me.” Jensen was startled at the openness at his sentence, the vulnerability.

Chris swiveled Jensen around to face him. “Jensen.” His voice was serious. “Jared is gaga over you. Mike says he hasn’t seen Jared smile so much in… ever! And even I can tell that he’s far gone. And you… well I’ve known you for long enough to know when you’re crushing, Jen, and this guy means something to you. And you mean something to him.” Chris paused. “You know, I think you should give him a chance. Don’t run away at the first sign of pain.”

“Love only brings pain.”

“Sure it does. But it also brings a grin to your face to big I’m scared it’ll break right off. Plus that adorable blush.” Chris spotted Jared walking back to Jensen with drinks. “Looks like it’s my cue to leave. I’ll leave you to it, Jenny.” He pinched Jensen’s cheeks and vanished into the crowd.

“What were you discussing?” Jared asked, handing Jared a blue drink.

Oh nothing. Just how much I want to be around you when I should have left last night. “Nothing. This is blue. Is it still safe?”

“I assure you, I’m not looking to poison you.”

Jensen shrugged. “To new discoveries.”

“And new people.” Jared and Jensen clinked glasses and Jensen took a sip. It was very strong, like a sweet vodka. But it was nice and Jensen decided that he liked it.

“It’s… interesting. I like it.”

Jared smiled, his teeth impossibly white against his tan skin. “Good. I was hoping you would. There was a normal looking cocktail but I decided that it was way too boring.”

“Yes, why go with safe when you could go with blue?”

Jared laughed, and Jensen found himself grinning like an idiot again. Why did this always happen with Jared? “You’re funny.”

“I have been told my wit is one of my most endearing qualities.”

“I can name a few more.”

Shut up. You’re not supposed to make me feel like this. We’re not supposed to feel about this. We’re supposed to leave at the first sign of emotion; we’re supposed to stick to sex. “Oh really?” Wow, Jensen, you suck.

“Yes.” Jared placed his drink on a table nearby and moved to place his hands on Jensen’s hips. “You’re so handsome.” Jared kissed him lightly. “And kind.” He kissed Jensen again. “And clever.” Another kiss. “And you make me happy. I feel comfortable around you.” Between each compliment, Jared gave Jensen a kiss, one that said Jensen was more than some useless sex toy.

Jensen moved Jared’s hands so they were wrapped around Jensen’s waist in the way that gave Jensen a sense of security. Jensen pushed his head into Jared’s collarbone. “You make me so happy. So much more happy than I thought I could be.”

A man began to strum a ukulele in the background and sing a soft song. A few people were out in the center now, slowly dancing in each other’s arms. “Jensen?”

“Hm?”

“Do you want to dance?”

Jensen looked up in surprise. “Yes.”

Jared led him out to the dance floor and took Jensen’s hands in his. Jensen rested his head under Jared’s again and softly hummed along with the beat of the ukulele. “So pretty.”

“What is?” Jared asked.

“Hawaii. The stars. The ocean. You.” Jensen blushed at the last one and ducked his head.

Jared cupped Jensen’s head and tilted it up so Jensen looked into his gorgeous hazel eyes that were sparkling in the firelight. Jared didn’t say anything; he just gave him one of the long kisses that Jensen liked so much. Kisses that didn’t say I want to have sex, kisses that said I want to lay on the beach with you and watch the sunset or watch a movie when it’s pouring down rain.

Jensen let out a sigh when Jared pulled away and wrapped his hands around the man’s waist. Jared encompassed Jensen’s shoulders with his arms and for a moment they stood still like that, just holding each other. Jared started to sway softly to the music and Jensen followed, still curled up in Jared’s arms.

“Jared?”

“Yeah?’

Jensen didn’t know how to continue. He really didn’t have anything to say. He just wanted Jared to talk. “Tell me about how you and Mike met.”

Jared beamed at him. “Okay. We were… 10, I think. 5th grade. And during recess everyone wanted to play kickball, because our school had an awesome kickball field. And who ever got their first got to pick teams. I got their first one day. Mike was new so people didn’t know him and he was still short so people doubted his ability. But he looked so shy and so nice that I just chose him to be on my team. Turns out he kicks ass at kickball, and Mike met tons of friends through kickball.”

“That’s sweet. You’re such a softie.”

Jared poked his side playfully. “Yeah. We just started hanging out, joking around and realized that we were definitely the coolest people ever so we should be friends.”

“Well you just hadn’t met me yet.”

“No, dumbo. But I like being friends with you too.”

“Friends with benefits.”

Jared chuckled and agreed. “Friends with benefits.”

Over Jared’s shoulder Jensen could see Danneel and Tom watching them. “We’re being spied on,” Jensen murmured to Jared.

“Are we?”

Jensen snorted. “ When are we not? Should we leave?”

Jared grinned. “No. Let’s give ‘em something to talk about.” And he kissed Jensen again, running his hands down Jensen’s sides and making him moan into the kiss. Jared’s kiss was hungry and passionate and Jensen explored Jared’s mouth with his tongue, letting out a tiny moan when Jared sucked on his tongue.

“You dick,” Jensen uttered to Jared as he pulled away. “Fucking kiss me like that and leave me hanging.”

“Who said anything about leaving you hanging?”

Jensen’s eyes looked up curiously at Jared and he found himself being pulled into another kiss and then pulled away, moving through the ground with Jared’s guidance.

They landed in a patch of grass, secluded from view. That perfect, impossibly well-kept grass. Jensen believed it to be fake but as he ran his fingers through it, the grass was soft and slid through his fingers like silk. But it was hard to concentrate on anything while Jared was kissing his way from your mouth to your collarbone.

“You’re more interested in the grass than me,” Jared said with a pout.

“Hardly,” Jensen replied. Jensen moved Jared’s lips back up to his mouth, letting Jared nip and suck on his bottom lip. “The grass can’t do the things you can.”

“Hm? What can I do?”

“Looking for compliments?”

“I’ve more than deserved them, considering I showered you with compliments earlier.”

Jensen shivered with pleasure at the feeling of Jared’s lips on his and his sweet words in Jensen’s ear. “You’re fucking amazing,” Jensen breathed. It was illegal to call him a writer he was so ineloquent.

“How?”

Jensen repressed a snort and said, “Your smile. It’s so perfect and white.” Jensen moved his head to place a kiss on Jared’s temple. “And your laugh makes me feel all bubbly. And your eyes… man… it’s illegal to be so pretty. And you’re so kind, and so gentle, and you make me feel…”

Jensen stopped his sentence. He couldn’t tell if he was blushing or not but he knew for sure that he couldn’t express into words anything more. What was he supposed to say? That Jared was a mistake, but Jensen was totally okay with that?

Jared looked down at him with his earnest hazel eyes and smiled softly. “I make you feel happy.”

There was so much more in it than just happiness, but Jensen was content with letting Jared fill in the words where Jensen could not. Jared could fill every hole Jensen couldn’t, Jared could patch him up, Jared could make him whole.

And if Jared left, Jensen would be nothing but empty space.

 

Jared led Jensen back to the luau after enjoying several minutes of rolling around on the grass. Jared loved the way Jensen described him. He loved the honesty he saw in Jensen’s eyes and the playfulness that danced in it when he shoved Jared off. He liked Jensen’s laugh and he liked Jensen, and Jensen liked him too.

That was enough to get Jared to stomach the sight of people cutting open a pig and practically dissecting it for meat. In the true spirit of luau, they’d roasted it over a fire and were now hacking it open. Jensen looked shocked at the sight of the whole thing and Jared chuckled at his expression.

Danneel came over to them with a plate full of meet and some sort of fruit. She tossed leis over Jensen and Jared’s heads. “Get in the spirit, dorks! Did you think you were going to sulk off to Jensen’s bedroom and fuck or something?”

“Maybe we were just enjoying each other’s company.” Jensen retorted, eyeing the lei with suspicious eyes.

“Right. I saw you two sneak off to the grass, we all did.”

“Who’s we all?”

“Oh, you know. Mike. Tom. Chris.”

Jared smiled as he ate. It was different to have people approve of the relationship he was engaging in and tease him about it, rather than roll his eyes as Jared took yet another guy back to his apartment.

“Well,” Jensen snapped, “did you ever think there could be a better use for you time?”

“Then making my best friend and his crush feel uncomfortable about their obvious adoration for each other? I really can’t think of anything I’d rather do.”

“I hate you.”

“I’d be offended if you didn’t. It would mean I wasn’t doing my job as ‘best friend ever’ right.”

Jensen shoved her away. “Go bug Chris. You two can sulk about being alone together.”

Danni shot him a look before stalking off indignantly. Jared shook his head. “You two are something.”

“You know a girl for over 20 years, you get to know her pretty well.”

“I can imagine. I can’t even remember a time where I didn’t know Mike.”

“But man, do they piss me off.”

“I suppose they would be boring if they didn’t,” Jared reasoned. Jensen shot him a look that said I-can’t-believe-you’re-defending-her but Jared only laughed. “You’re not 2, Jen, I think you can handle a little teasing.”

Jensen’s free hand wrapped around Jared’s. “Maybe.” He looked into Jared’s eyes and Jared felt his stomach drop. “Maybe I need someone to help me recover.” Jared pushed Jensen playfully and Jensen let out a peal of laughter, the ones that Jared loved.

After the luau Jared didn’t even realize he was following Jensen until they were at the door of Jensen’s room. Jensen certainly acted like it was the most normal thing ever. And he welcomed Jared inside and when he pulled Jared’s shirt off and pushed him against the wall it was evident Jensen wanted Jared to stay.

Jared was very much okay with that.

They didn’t have sex. They didn’t do anything but curl up on the bed and watch the stars together, occasionally stealing a kiss. It was peaceful and romantic and Jared spent the night running his fingers through Jensen’s hair. Jensen bumped his head into Jared’s touch before he nestled his head into his favorite place on Jared’s collarbone while Jared continued to massage Jensen’s head.

Jensen’s eyes had shut after a while and Jared assumed that he had fallen asleep. He continued to stroke Jensen’s soft hair to remind Jensen that he was there and maybe weave himself into Jensen’s dreams. Jared let out a long sigh and then closed his eyes.

It wasn’t until Jared was on the brink of sleep that he realized Jensen was shaking.

Chapter Text

Jensen hoped with all his heart that Jared hadn’t noticed the way Jensen was muffling his broken tears last night. Jensen held back actual teardrops but it didn’t stop his body from shaking like a power saw.

Jensen didn’t really even know what he was crying about. Or, not crying about. All he knew was that Jared was wrapped around him and Jensen felt Jared’s hand running through his hair and it was all Jared, Jared, Jared. And then he was shaking and trying not to roll over and cling to the man like a weepy teenage girl.

Sun was streaming through the tight spaces in the blinds and dust particles in the air were lit up in little rays. Jensen stared at that for a while. It was the first time he was up before Jared and he got to admire Jared in his sleep now, the way his hair was splayed across the pillow and his mouth hung slightly open and his measured breathing. Jensen kept his head in the little nook between Jared’s collarbone and his neck that Jensen liked to snuggle in.

Jensen Ackles liked to snuggle. This guy was turning him into a puddle. Jensen barely stifled a groan, not wanting to disturb Jared. He was too pretty like this. Prettier than sunshine. He was like sunshine himself. The sunlight made his bronze skin light up and copper highlights in his hair stand out. Every muscle on his chest was visible and Jensen felt suddenly self-conscious about his own body.

Jensen knew he was attractive it was just that Jared was… well, he was Jared. And for the guy wanting to spend time with him was probably one of the most ridiculous things in the world. Jensen swallowed roughly and he was torn between cuddling tighter to Jared and burying himself in the pillow to disappear forever.

He chose Jared, and pressed his body into the warmth of Jared. Jared stirred and Jensen feared that he’d woken him but Jared simply shifted and threw an arm around Jensen in sleep. Jensen ignored the way his heartbeat beat slightly faster when Jared pressed his head closer to Jensen’s.

I should go to sleep. I should just fall asleep, right now, Jensen told himself. But he found it impossible to close his eyes and drift off when Jared was right next to him and curled into his body. If anything Jensen was more awake than ever. Jared was better than coffee.

But at—what time was it?—6:28 in the morning, Jensen needed green tea, not caffeine. Jensen lifted an arm gently and placed it around Jared. It made Jared move even closer to Jensen and snuggle tighter against him. Jensen found a new place for his head under Jared’s chin and shut his eyes, waiting for the comfort of Jared’s body to carry him away to sleep.

Jensen woke again probably hours later. His arms were curled around a pillow instead of the warmth of Jared’s body. Sunlight poured into the room now and filled every crack, which made sense since it was—wow—10:30. He lifted his head to look around the room for Jared. When he didn’t find him his face fell and he buried his head back into the pillow, inhaling Jared’s scent. He must have left. Jensen knew it was too good to be true, he knew he should have left while he still had the chance. Instead he got to feel this stupid, lonely—was that a door?

Jensen kept his face buried in his pillow but his ears tried desperately to hear anything that could possibly indicate Jared was here. Eventually Jensen thought he must have imagined the door click, because no footsteps sounded in the padded carpet floor of the room. “Damn it.” Jensen squeezed the pillow tighter and tried to pretend it was Jared.

Such a fucking girl.

Jensen was so busy trying to imagine the pillow was a living man instead of an inanimate object he gave a jump of surprise when a body slid in beside his and wrapped their arms around Jensen. “Shit!”

Jensen heard a chuckle. He would know that laugh anywhere and he knew the man would be wearing an all too charming smirk as he laughed. And he knew these arms, how many times had they wound around Jensen’s waist before? “Didn’t mean to surprise you.”

“Where… I mean, good morning.”

“You thought I left,” Jared said. Damn his intuition.

“No,” Jensen rushed.

“Aw, Jen, did you miss me? Did you think I’d bailed on you?” Jared tickled his stomach and Jensen giggled, internally swearing at Jared.

Jensen tried to wiggle out of Jared’s strong grasp but failed. Yes, dammit, he’d missed the giant and it had made him sad. So shut up, Jared Padalecki. “I just woke up.”

“Fucking liar. You were clinging to that pillow for dear life. It’s okay, it’s cute.”

“Shut up, Padalecki!”

Jared nuzzled Jensen’s neck affectionately. “I was just in the bathroom.” He paused. “I’d miss you too, Jen.” Jensen still didn’t look at Jared so Jared added, “and I’m sorry I made fun of you for missing me.”

“I am not a girl. I don’t need your stupid apology.” Jensen knew he sounded childish.

“I know.” Another pause. “Would you miss me?”

Jensen rolled over to face Jared and looked into his sweet hazel eyes. God, Jensen could never stay mad at those perfect honey-colored eyes. There weren’t words to describe how much Jensen would miss Jared, so he settled on kissing him instead.

“Is that a yes?”

“Shut up, Jared.”

Jensen and Jared lay in bed for a little while longer. They were wrapped around each other, Jensen having to control his breath so he didn’t hyperventilate. They were so close Jensen was sure Jared could hear how fast Jensen’s heart was beating. There was no effort to have sex, to give each other blowjobs, they only held each other and Jensen occasionally snuck a kiss onto Jared’s lips, loving the way Jared’s mouth moved perfectly against his.

After a while, Jared murmured, “We should get up.”

Jensen shook his head into Jared’s neck. “Don’t ruin my moment.”

“It’s 11:00, Jen. The others will wonder where we are; they’ll make assumptions.”

“Let them assume,” Jensen replied. He hardly believed the words that were coming out of his mouth. “Let them think we’ve run away and abandoned the wedding to sleep together late into the morning. I’m so comfortable I don’t think I’ll ever move again.”

“I’d love that, god knows how much I’d love that, but we’ve got obligations to our friends.”

Jensen groaned and Jared smiled that perfect smile. “I promise, we’ll spend a few hours with them and then I’m all yours.”

“All mine, or all mine with our friends spying on us?”

Jared kissed him slowly and Jensen savored it. “All yours, for the whole night. We can even skip the activity tonight if you want.”

“What is it?”

“Night swimming, I think.”

Damn Tom. Night swimming was Jensen’s favorite thing to do, he loved the uncertainty of where he was and the water that was so cold, and the rush of adrenaline when anything at all brushed against his leg. Tom knew this, too. “That’s tonight? I thought that was next week?”

“Mike said Tom moved it up because tonight was going to be a perfect night for it,” Jared explained.

That bastard. Jensen knew exactly why he changed it, Tom wanted to see if he would blow off his favorite activity ever to spend the night with Jared. “Let’s just go.”

Jared chuckled. “Really? Night swimming?”

“It’s one of my favorite things. Tom knows it, he must have moved it up on purpose.”

“He wanted to see if you’d choose me or night swimming.”

“Can’t I have you both? You can come swimming with me.”

“At night?” Jared questioned. “It sounds… dangerous. Isn’t that when sharks come out?”

“Yeah, and I hear there might even be great whites hanging around here.”

Jared pushed Jensen off him. “There is no way I am swimming with the risk of being attacked by a shark.”

“Would you swim with me if I promised I’d let you take my shorts off afterward?” Jensen baited Jared.

Jared seemed to contemplate the idea a little more. “Only if we spend the day with our friends.”

Jensen’s face soured, but the idea of seeing Jared in his bathing suit was too tempting for Jensen to say no. “Deal.”

“Seal it with a kiss?”

Jensen kissed Jared lightly. “Deal, you asshole.”

 

Jared decided to leave Jensen’s room to go get changed. Jensen knew he sounded like he was whining when he asked Jared to stay but Jared only promised to return as fast as he could.

“Less than an hour?”

“Less than half an hour.”

Jensen nuzzled his neck goodbye and nibbled his ear. “Hurry.”

“Jen… you’re going to make me want to stay,” Jared groaned.

“Then stay.” Jensen borderline pleaded.

Jared only pecked his check and left Jensen leaning against the doorway with a pout on his face. “I hate him,” Jensen muttered and shut the door behind his perfect ass. “I hate him so much.”

Such a lie.

Jensen curled up under the covers again and breathed in the scent of Jared that still covered the pillow. I don’t hate him. You should, a nagging voice in his head said. You suck at relationships and you’re going to screw this up. I won’t. You will. But props for trying.

Jensen tossed the pillow across the room and ignored the bickering voices in his head in favor of trying to get dressed without Jared’s face popping into his head every two seconds.

 

Jared slipped into his room gently. It had taken all his strength not to sprint back to Jensen as soon as he left and kiss him until Jensen’s lips were raw and then push him against the wall and do things he would regret when neither of them could walk properly. He shut the door and slid down against it. “What are you doing, Jared?”

“Obviously, you’re falling in love with the guy.”

Jared looked up with a start and saw Mike sitting on his bed. “How’d you get in?”

Mike waved a key card. “You gave me your extra, remember? Since you always lose yours.”

Jared regretted that decision. “Well, get out. I have to get changed.”

“First, we talk.”

Jared ignored him and went over to his suitcase to rifle through it and find something suitable to wear out with Jensen’s friends and he supposed, Mike as well. “Okay, I’ll start,” Mike said. “You’re nuts about the guy, right? I mean, you’ve blown me off every day you’ve been here.”

Jared felt a pang of guilt. “Mike, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-,”

“Jare, it’s fine. I’m happy you’ve found someone that you like hanging out with for more than one night. It’s a little shocking, frankly.”

Jared kicked his clothes across the room. “He’s just a guy.”

“And the sun is just a star. The difference is, our whole world revolves around the sun and without it, everything would be nothing. See the connection?”

“Not at all.”

“You can play dumb all you want, Jared, it makes no difference to me.” Mike shrugged. “Just remember, when you’ve got something good, it really sucks to mess it up.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Mikey.”

“I just want you to be happy.” Mike clapped him on the shoulder on the way out. “You deserve it.”

When Mike was gone, Jared kicked his clothes around again. His foot hit his suitcase and Jared swore. “The universe fucking sucks.” The throbbing in his toe only emphasized his point. But the throbbing in his heart when Jensen’s face popped into his mind, teasing him with that too cute smile on his face, made his toe seem like nothing more than a tap.

“Fuck, Jensen, what are you doing to me?” Jared sighed.

Jared was pretty sure he got dressed in record time and restrained himself from running down the stairs to Jensen’s room when the elevator was taking too long for Jared’s liking. When he heard the familiar ding! that meant the elevator was here, Jared jumped in and pressed the 11 button harder and more times than was probably necessary.

The elevator dinged again when the doors opened to Jensen’s floor. It seemed glad to be rid of Jared’s nervous energy as the doors closed quickly behind him. Jared tried to ignore the pounding of his heart and relax, focusing on one step after another on the way to Jensen’s room. He’d memorized the number of steps and turns he had to take, the number of doors he would pass until he was standing in front of Jensen’s. The number of breaths he had to take to calm down, and the way his heart would kick up when he looked into Jensen’s forest green eyes.

“Fuck,” Jared muttered when he was in front of Jensen’s door. “Fuck this.”

“Man, Padalecki, you’ve got a tongue.” Jared turned and saw Jensen and Danneel standing and watching him. Jared knew he was blushing, and tried to stammer something out but Jensen kissed it off his lips. “It’s okay, you should hear the things I say when I have sex,” Jensen muttered, too low for Danneel to hear.

That’s all it took. Jared growled at Jensen in a way that was way too sexual to be a friendly growl, and Danneel eyed them cautiously. “I’m going inside my room before you fuck each other in the hall, but I’ll see you two at noon.”

“Bye, Danni!” Jensen said cheerfully. He ushered Jared inside.

“What’s happening at noon?”

Jensen ignored him and handed him a cup off coffee. “Brought you something back. Mike told me how you liked it.”

Jared took a sip and smiled with pleasure from the hot drink. Milk and three sugars. “You’re perfect.” He kissed Jensen again, who tasted like cinnamon.

“Man, if I get this from coffee I am definitely finding a coffee maker.”

Jared put his coffee down and slid his arms around Jensen’s waist. His arms found Jensen’s ass and it was Jensen’s turn to buck into Jared’s touch. “We’re going out, Jare, we can’t.”

Jared asked, “Right. What are we doing at noon?”

Jensen smirked. “Pool party for the 6 of us.”

“I don’t have my-,” Jared stopped when he saw Jensen twirling Jared’s suit around his finger. “How did you get that?”

“Mike stole it for me and gave it to me. That way,” Jensen put his arms around Jared’s neck. “You could stay here with me.”

“That…” Jared looked for the right words to insult his friend.

“Meddling kid?” Jensen joked.

“I hate you.”

“I know.” Jensen winked. “It was evident from your expression in the hallway.”

Jared unwound himself from Jensen and glared at him as Jensen laughed. “Jen, you ass.”

Jensen only laughed. “Take me or leave me.”

Jared grabbed Jensen’s waist and slid his hand into Jensen’s shorts. “I think I’ll take you.”

 

Two hand jobs and 2 cups of coffee later, Jensen and Jensen were fast-walking to the pool. They were well aware they were sweating and were hoping the chlorine would mask the scent that said they had gotten more than friendly with each other in the morning. “This is your fault,” Jensen snapped at Jared.

“I didn’t exactly see you stopping me.”

“With those hands rubbing my dick? I’d be fucking out of my mind to stop you!”

Jared felt blood rush to his face, and remembered Jensen’s expert fingers on his dick. “You weren’t too horrible either.”

“Lots of practice.” There was that bitterness hidden under teasing voice that came out whenever Jared brought up the idea of sex. Jared caught his hand and stopped walking. He didn’t care that he was in the middle of the lobby and that anyone could see him.

“You know I like hanging out with you for more reasons than sex, right?”

Jensen’s thumb ran over the skin on Jared’s palm. “I know.” He didn’t meet Jared’s eyes.

“Well, then look at me.”

Jensen’s eyes were guarded again and Jared frowned. “I like hanging out with you. End of story.”

Green eyes softened, and the light seemed to return to them. “You don’t have to try and make me smile every time I get a little upset.”

“It’s my job as your…” Jared looked for the word to describe himself.

“My Jared.”

Jared beamed at him. “Your Jared.”

They arrived late, but that was only to be expected. It was 10 past noon when they arrived and they saw their friends curled up on lawn chairs around the pool, the one with the waterfall that always drew Jensen’s attention, no matter what was around it. Danni, Chris, Tom, and Mike were sitting side by side with towels thrown across two chairs. Of course, they’d put one on either side of the foursome so Jensen and Jared would be four people apart.

Jensen really, really needed new friends.

Jensen purposely took the chair far away from Chris. He was sure only Chris could have come up with this idea, but Tom had proved to be mischievous as well, moving the date of night-swimming up and making bets about their relationship with his fiancé.

Jensen huffed in frustration and threw the towel on his seat forcefully at Chris. He batted it away and smirked as Jared took a seat next to Chris, too far away from Jensen for his liking. “What’s wrong, Jenny? Don’t like the seating arrangement?”

“My hand just slipped, you dick.”

“Well then you’ve got quite an arm. I wonder if Jared can attest to that.”

Jared whipped his towel at Chris as well. “Don’t be jealous, Chris,” Jared teased, and it made Jensen all the more fond of the man.

Chris shot dirty looks at them both and sunk into his chair.

“Well, you two seem settled in.” Danni said, “And since I’m not going to attract any male attention sitting with you idiots, I’m going to go in the water.” Danneel smirked at Jensen. “Want to join me, Jen?”

Jensen glanced at Jared. He lay on his towel in his fucking black swimsuit and closed his eyes, the sun making his skin gleam and probably warm, Jensen could just taste the beads of sweat—

Jensen was practically drooling, and Danneel’s smug look said she knew exactly what Jensen was thinking. He shot her a fuck off look and responded, “I think I’m going to tan for now.”

“Your loss.” Danneel tossed her red hair over her shoulder and immediately attracted the attention of several boys around her. Jared lifted his head and winked at Jensen, giving him a delightfully evil idea.

“Danneel, baby, I’ll see you back at the hotel room!” Jensen blew her a kiss and the boys turned away with disappointed looks. Danneel looked absolutely murderous and Jared, Chris, and Mike cackled into their chairs. Even Tom couldn’t suppress a smile.

“Poor Danni,” Jared commented.

Chris snorted. “She’s grown up around guys her whole life. Poor us. I can’t tell you how many girls—or guys—have been scared off because they thought Danni was an overprotective girlfriend.”

“Did any of you ever consider her as…” Jared let his sentence trail off.

Jensen shrugged. “Not really. I tried to convince myself that she was ‘the one’ at a point, but I was lying to myself. It was right around the time I was beginning to like guys.”

Chris nodded. “She was always to sassy for me. Hot, but I want someone that won’t terrify me.”

Tom laughed. “Danni terrifies you?”

“That girl is a snake, man, she could destroy us all.”

Jensen rolled his eyes. “You big baby.”

“Says the guy who goes back to his hotel room to snuggle with a guy he met 2 days ago.”

It was like a slap in Jensen’s face, but he laughed it off and said, “I don’t see how those are related.” Jared picked at an invisible string on his towel and Jensen knew he was thinking about the irrationality of the whole situation. Jensen wanted to punch Chris.

“You wanna go in the water?” Tom asked Mike.

“You, half naked and wet? Absolutely.”

“It’s like a bad porno,” Chris muttered. “I’m going to go find a drink.”

Jensen and Jared were left alone, still four chairs apart. There was a sort of tension in the air that wasn’t there before. “Chris is an idiot,” Jensen tried.

“He is right.”

“No,” Jensen said. He climbed over the lawn chairs until he was sitting next to Jared. “He’s not. I don’t know what it is about you, Jare, but I feel like I’ve known you a lot longer. You’re my friend, you’re an awesome guy, and Chris is just jealous. You’re my Jared.” Jared didn’t respond and Jensen continued. “Come on, Jay, look at me. It doesn’t matter about how long we’ve known each other.”

“Don’t you think it does?”

“Do you like me?”

Jared nodded. Jensen smiled gently. “Well I like you too, so I think we should call it good and go with what we’ve got going on.”

“What do we have going on?”

Jensen pressed his forehead against Jared’s. “We’ve got time to figure that out. Right now, I just want to have fun with you without thinking too hard.”

Jared giggled. “Too hard to think on vacation, Ackles?”

“Too hard to think around you,” The words slipped out of Jensen’s mouth before he could stop them. Jensen immediately blushed and stood up, but Jared pulled him down and scooted over on the chair so Jensen could curl up next to him.

When Chris returned he groaned and buried his face in a towel. “Even when we try and split you up, you fuckers find a way.”

Chapter Text

The pool day was not as bad as Jensen had originally anticipated. Of course, it’s not like Jensen spent a whole lot of time conversing with his friends. Turns out kissing someone underwater is surprisingly romantic. And after a while the six of them just curled up on the poolside chairs and talked. About anything and everything. And when that got boring, they let the sun dry them off and lull them into sleep.

Mike had switched seats with Jared so Jensen and Jared could sit next to each other, not-so-subtly indicating exactly why Mike was moving. Jensen was caught between growling and blushing in embarrassment. But Jared moved his chair closer to Jensen’s and they fell asleep curled up together.

Jensen’s sleep was peaceful and dreamless, with a smile forming on Jared’s face as Jensen wiggled his head into Jared’s collarbone. Jensen saw a fond smile on Chris’ face, but he quickly schooled his features when he caught Jensen grinning at him.

Jensen was roused by Jared’s shoulder bumping into his. “Wake up, Jen.”

“No.”

“You’re such a child.”

“Why should I wake up?”

“It’s 2:00. We’re going out to lunch.”

Jensen yawned. “Lunch at 2:00. Sounds perfect.”

“Food is food.”

Jensen pushed his head under Jared’s chin to rest comfortably. “You coming?”

“What do you think, dumbass?” Jared replied.

“I think you’re sarcastic.”

“I think I’m going to push you into the pool.”

“Not that this banter isn’t adorable,” Tom interrupted, “But we should get going.”

Jensen opened his mouth to protest but his stomach growled and Jared gave Jensen that little twist of his mouth that Jensen loved so much. “Fine, you win, fucker.”

“That’s what I thought.” Jared said smugly. Jensen purposely tripped Jared as he was getting up but he didn’t make a move to stop Jared from wrapping an arm around his waist as the six of them went off in search of a place to eat.

“I heard there was a little shack around here that has seafood that’s supposed to be good. They’ve got all kinds of stuff too, and I think their happy hour starts early. Drinks and food sounds like a picnic to me,” Mike suggested.

Tom smiled lovingly at him. “You’re so clever.”

“Ugh, I can’t decide who’s worse, you or Jensen,” Danneel groaned. “It’s like a fucking PDA festival.”

“Sorry for being in love, Danni,” Tom teased. “Some people are just happy like that.”

Jared and Jensen stiffened at the implication and Tom stammered to recover. “I didn’t—I mean—me and Mike-,”

“Mike and I,” Jared corrected. The matter was dropped but an air of tension hung between Jared and Jensen that didn’t dissipate on the walk on the dirt road to the restaurant, or even when the six of them reached the restaurant. It was really like a shack, but a well kept shack. There was a large crab on top that was flashing a dim light, as if the light was dying. The words Crab Shack was printed beneath the crab but the words were so dirty from the air around it the letters were barely visible.

“It’s cute,” Danni said. “I love it.”

“It’s a little run down to be considered ‘cute’ Danni,” Jensen pointed out. “I can barely read the name.” Jensen felt strangely irritated at the idea of anything being cute. And there was that damn word again. Love.

“Crab Shack,” Chris said.

“I said barely, jackass.”

“I don’t think he’s forgiven me for the chair thing,” Chris whispered to Mike, loudly enough for both Jared and Jensen to hear it.

Jensen kicked a rock and it hit the back of Chris’s heel. He stumbled a little bit and turned to glare at his friend. “I’m gonna fucking-,”

“What? What could you possibly do that you haven’t already?” Jensen’s tone was light but there was an underlying frustration in the words. Chris looked startled at the tone of Jensen’s voice. “Sorry,” Jensen muttered. He kicked another rock to the bushes. Chris still looked unsettled and so Jensen added, “I don’t think I’m really that hungry right now.”

“Jen,” Tom tried.

“It’s fine, Tom, I’ll see you at the hotel.”

Jensen turned and walked along the road back to the hotel. He wasn’t quite sure what set him off or what exactly he was mad about. But he’d snapped at Chris and Tom and he was acting like a douchebag towards his friends and he just needed to take a breath.

Jensen heard footsteps padding after him. He was sure it was Danni; she always made sure he was fine. Fierce as she was, Danneel was a mother hen when it came to her friends. “I’m fine, Danni.”

“Well I’ll be sure to let her know.” It was a different voice, the familiar teasing voice that woke him up and lifted his spirits just hearing it.

“Jay?”

“Hey, dumbass.”

“You didn’t have to come,” Jensen said. He was secretly glad Jared had run after him because Jensen didn’t think he could find his way back alone. And the company was nice.

“What’s up, Jen?”

Jensen looked for more rocks to kick, but the dusty road seemed to be bare of anything hard at the moment. Jensen settled for kicking dust and scuffing his shoes.

“Jensen.”

“I don’t know, I just got upset. And then I was a dick. It’s nothing.”

“It’s something, Jen.” Jensen ignored Jared and sped up to get away from his obnoxious questions. But Jared and his fucking long legs kept up with him easily. “Talk to me.”

Jensen continued to ignore Jared. Maybe if he just stopped talking and looking at the giant then he’d leave him alone. But Jared poked him in the side and Jensen yelped. “Don’t!” Jensen exclaimed, breaking his vow of silence.

Jared grinned mischievously and tickled Jensen again. “Stop it!” Jensen squeaked out through giggles.

“Then talk to me.”

“Fine!” Jensen grabbed Jared’s hands and pulled them off his sides. “Have it your way.”

“So what’s wrong?”

“I don’t know. That’s the irritating part.”

“So, essentially, you’re acting like a teenage girl on her period.”

Jensen shot him an angry look and then sighed. “Essentially.”

“Well, I know there’s something that teenage girls always go to in times of emotional distress?”

“Chocolate?” Jensen suggested.

“No,” Jared said. “Boys.” And with that comment, Jared bent his head to kiss Jensen. Jensen made a sound in the back of his throat and twisted his hands in Jared’s tangled hair. Jensen was well aware he was messing it up more than it already was, but Jared let him pull his hair and dig his nails into his shoulders.

When Jensen pulled away, Jared moved to kiss Jensen’s neck. “Jare?”

“Hm?”

“What happens when the wedding is over and we have to leave each other?”

Jared moved his head from Jensen’s neck and looked into his bottomless green eyes. “We figure it out.”

“What if-,”

“Jensen.”

Jensen stopped his questions for a moment and then, “Do you think the others are mad?”

“Yes, Jensen. They’re furious and are plotting your demise as we speak,” Jared drawled sarcastically.

“You are a-,” Jensen’s sentence was cut off by Jared’s lips. “Unfair,” Jensen mumbled into the kiss.

Jared hummed. “Are you over your little tantrum?”

“Not quite.” Jensen replied, hoping for more of Jared’s fucking amazing kisses.

Jared must be a mind reader, because he responded, “I know what you want, you selfish jerk.” Jensen looked up at him with his sad green eyes. “You fucker,” Jared groaned. But his hands wound around Jensen’s waist and his lips found Jensen’s, holding him close and filling Jensen with joy.

When he felt the last knot of stress fade away from his chest, Jensen stopped—albeit momentarily—on kissing Jared. “Thank you.”

“It’s my job. I’d come after you even if you beat me down with a stick. Might even be a turn on, who knows?”

Jensen rolled his eyes and added, “It’s not often I have someone who’s dumb enough to run after me.”

“Well, it’s not often I have someone to run after.”

Jensen’s belly filled with butterflies at his comment and he smiled shyly at Jared. Shyly? Really? Jensen was never the shy one.

Fuck Jared, and all his stupid wonderfulness. Jensen hadn’t even noticed his feet had wandered back to the hotel. He assumed they were led there by Jared, his firm hand wrapped around Jensen’s and leading him back to where he belonged.

“You know, our friends are gone, and we did spent some time with them today…” Jensen said, letting his sentence trail off.

“Are you implying what I think you’re implying?”

“You promised me you would be all mine, Jared. I’ve cooperated with your stupid part of the deal, now you hold up your end.”

Jared grinned and kissed Jensen’s nose. “Fair enough, you dick. I’m all yours.”

Jensen’s face lit up and he grabbed Jared’s hand tightly. “Well, then we’re going to have a lot of fun, aren’t we Padalecki?”

Jensen led Jared back up to Jensen’s hotel room—which at this point was sort of routine for Jared—and silenced his phone. “I swear, there are no phone calls, and no texts, that are more important at the moment that doing whatever I want with you,” Jensen explained when he caught Jared’s suspicious glance.

“Now I’m getting nervous. I’m not going to get hurt or something, am I?” Jared’s tone was light but he was a little anxious at what Jensen had planned.

“Relax, Jare.” Jensen kissed him reassuringly. “I just want to make sure that there is no one that distracts me from you. And I promise, the last thing I could ever want to do is hurt you.”

Jared kissed him fiercely. Neither he nor Jensen were entirely sure where this passion was coming from, all the two of them knew was that if they didn’t completely devote themselves to each other right now, there would be no other time.

“This feels weird happening in the middle of the day,” Jared said when Jensen pulled out of a kiss to breathe.

“What?” Jensen said, yanking Jared’s shirt off. “Kissing?”

“I’m not so concerned about the kissing,” Jared replied. He pressed his lips to Jensen’s for emphasis. “I’m more thinking about what follows.”

Jensen smirked and slid Jared’s shorts off. They were still in their swimsuits and so there was nothing underneath but Jared’s dick. Jensen almost moaned at the sight of it, hard and practically begging Jensen to touch it, to suck it. “Look at your dick, Jay. It’s begging for me, it wants me,” Jensen teased.

“Jen, you ass,” Jared groaned.

“Not very good and persuasion, are you?” Jensen nibbled at Jared’s hips and relished the sounds Jared made. “I’m going to make you beg, Jare, I’m going to make you whine like you made me the other day.”

“Fuck,” Jared breathed. “Hell, Jensen, I can’t take it.”

“Just beg, Jay. You want me so bad. I promise you can have me.” Jensen ran his finger along the head of Jared’s cock and rubbed the leaking pre-come on it. Jared shivered and moved into Jensen’s touch. “Not yet, Jay. Beg.”

Jared shot him a death glare, which shifted quickly into a gasp of pleasure when Jensen stroked Jared’s dick again. “Jen… oh god, please, Jensen, please!”

Jensen was almost enjoying this too much to stop but the idea of Jared’s cock in his mouth was even more temping and he sank to his knees. He took Jared in his mouth, slowly and then faster, letting Jared buck into his mouth. “God… SHIT… Jen, you’re so fucking hot when you’re like this!”

Jensen couldn’t respond, he only sucked Jared’s dick harder as a thank you. Jared moaned and grabbed Jensen’s hair. Jared love the feel of his soft, dark blonde hair through his fingers and twisted it around his hand. Jared was careful not to yank too hard and stuck to letting out moans of pleasure that went straight to Jensen’s dick.

When Jared came—much sooner than Jared’s liking—he saw stars behind his eyes and fell limply forward into Jensen’s body. “God, Jensen, that was…”

“Amazing?”

“Fucking brilliant,” Jared corrected. He put his head on Jensen’s shoulder. “I’m exhausted.”

Jensen nibbled on Jared’s ear. “Well, we’ve got a long day in front of us, Padalecki. And I’m just getting started.”

 

Jensen lost track of the time they spent fooling around, cuddling and blowing each other and rolling around on the bed, screwing up the sheets that were so meticulously made by the maids. Eventually Jensen deemed it was enough when the two of them were so weak they could barely move their bodies.

“Holy shit,” Jared croaked. “Can we do that every day?”

Jensen let out a tired laugh. “I think we’d just curl up and die from exhaustion.”

“Every week, then. We’ll set aside a day and then we’ll do that.” Jared ran his fingers through his hair. “I don’t even know how many times I came.”

“4,” Jensen responded. Jared’s come was on Jensen’s stomach and his neck. “And I came 5 times.”

“Asshole, you got one more than me,” Jared teased.

Jensen was too tired to push him so he settled for pulling Jared’s arm around him. “I can try and go again,” Jensen mumbled sleepily.

“I’m not going to have you falling asleep with your mouth around my dick.” Jared paused. “Although, that would be the greatest blackmail ever, so maybe we should do it.”

“Offer’s off the table, jackass.”

Jared mock-pouted and kissed Jensen’s nose when he crinkled at him. Jensen tilted his head up and Jared found his lips. Jensen made a soft humming noise and opened his mouth so Jared could sneak his tongue in. They moved slowly and softly together, every action comfortable and intimate in a way Jensen wasn’t used to. But the idea of pushing Jared off and ending their “thing” here and now seemed unthinkable.

“I’m going to take a shower,” Jared murmured. Jensen nodded, still preoccupied with the amazing feeling of Jared kissing him. Jared rolled his eyes. “You want to join?”

“You’re amazing,” Jensen said. “Has anyone ever told you that? Because it’s true and you’re just full of wonderfulness.”

Jared rolled his eyes. “Shut up, fucker.” His smile was soft and teasing though and Jensen nudged him playfully with his shoulder as the pair went into the bathroom.

Taking a shower with Jared was almost better than fooling around with Jared. Jensen got to see his entire body, wet and warm, and the kisses Jensen placed on Jared’s neck alternated between licking off water droplets and sucking. “We’re supposed to be getting rid of the sex smell, Jen.” Jared let out a moan. “And you’re so not helping.”

Jensen purred and continued his trail of sucking and licking up to Jared’s ear. The whine of pleasure Jared let out was almost enough to make Jensen come again. Jared moved his hands into Jensen’s hair, massaging and rubbing the shampoo around. Jared’s hands were strong and capable and at the moment, turning Jensen into a pile of goo. “Asshole,” Jensen muttered into Jared’s shoulder.

They tumbled out of the shower 20 minutes later, clean and giggling from their experience. “Well,” Jared announced. “That was fun.”

“Certainly not something I’ve done before,” Jensen agreed. He kissed Jared again. “But there’s a first time for everything, isn’t there?”

Jared smiled. “Yeah, I guess there is.” His stomach growled. “Now we need to go get something to eat. I blew off our friends running after you and your stupid bitchfit.”

Jensen glared at him. “Sorry, I ruined your lunch, dickhead.”

“Hey, if it was going to be ruined by anyone, I’m glad it was you.” Jared flashed that sweet smile and Jensen melted. Jared noticed his hesitation at leaving and moved to nuzzle Jensen’s neck. “Chris isn’t mad, Jen. No one is. Just a little surprised.”

“So intuitive,” Jensen mumbled. He let Jared kiss his neck and then lead him out of the room.

They closest place for food was a little café in the hotel. It was in the middle of a grassy area, close to the pools, and was covered by a straw hut. The café itself was less of a café and more of a bar that served food. Which was fine, because Jensen really needed a drink.

Jared’s only clothing at the moment were his swim trunks and Jensen refused to let him leave to change. So Jared was stuck in his swimsuit and to tease Jensen further, he insisted on not wearing a shirt since it was “too warm outside”.

Jensen was greatly displeased with the amount of attention Jared got when they sat down to eat. It wasn’t like Jared really noticed any of the looks he got, and if he did he played if off like he didn’t. But guys and girls alike would stare openly at Jared. Girls would giggle and dare each other to talk to him, casually shoving one another. They didn’t bother Jensen as much because he knew they really had no chance. It was the guys that made Jensen upset.

They didn’t hide their interest in Jared either, but how could you? He was 6 feet 4 inches of absolute beauty. The sun in the background made him seem all the prettier, and each muscle was defined. Jensen knew he was drooling over him, barely picking at the plate of fries that were set in front of him. And he wasn’t the only one.

Jensen watched as guys—guys who were bigger, stronger, more shirtless than Jensen—eye Jared like a piece of meat and he resisted the urge to punch them and scream that Jared was his, not theirs. But Jared could go with whomever he wanted. It’s not like Jared was dating Jensen, or anything. But Jensen still felt his stomach clench up when a particularly attractive brunette come up to the table and smile a little too charmingly at Jared.

“I hate to interrupt,” He started, though his tone clearly stated that he couldn’t care less about interrupting, “But I was wondering if you were doing anything tonight… say around 5?”

“Um…” Jared glanced quickly at Jensen. “I don’t believe so.”

Jensen kept nonchalantly picking at the fries on his plate, ignoring Jared and the stupid brunette. He wanted to hit on Jared, let him. It’s not like Jensen owned the guy.

Jared seemed slightly disappointed at Jensen’s lack of response. “Yeah, no, I’m not doing anything.”

The brunette did this stupid little smile thing and Jensen dug his nails into his palm to keep from leaping up at the guy. Jared is doing something, Jensen wanted to yell. He’s spending time with me! But Jensen forced a smile and tried to calm the animal that was growling at him in his chest to do something.

“Well, that’s perfect, because I know a little… party,” The way he said party was so blatantly dirty. “And I was thinking you and I could stop by for an hour and then explore the sights around us.”

Fuck you, the monster in Jensen growled. Jensen tried to drown it out with a fry but it was hard to swallow when some douchebag was rubbing his hand on Jared’s way too gorgeous arm.

Jared sent another quick glance toward Jensen. Jensen was still smiling but it was so forced it was almost painful to keep it up. Don’t say yes, Jare. Please don’t say yes. “That sounds like a lot of fun,” Jared finally said. Jensen’s heart broke and it was pretty much visible in his eyes and the way his smile faltered. “But I think I’m going to spend the evening with Jensen.”

Jensen’s forced smile turned to an expression of shock, and then barely concealed delight. He tilted his head to his plate so Jared couldn’t see the grin forming on his face. Jared chose me!

The brunette gave a dirty look at Jensen before striding off to lick his wounds. Jensen doubted a man that pretty got turned down often. Jensen smiled smugly and picked up another fry, finding that he now was ravenous. “Jensen,” Jared said.

“Hm?” Jensen’s mouth was full of fry. “Wassup?”

Jared’s smile was too teasing for Jensen’s liking. “Were you jealous?”

“Of what?” A bit of fry fell out of his mouth. Wow, Jen, you’re really hitting home runs right now. It’s shocking Jared didn’t leave.

“Of that guy!” Jared laughed. “Ha! You were! You were so jealous!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Jensen was blushing again and he flicked a fry at Jared to try and distract him. “You’re insane.”

“So, you’d be cool with me chasing after him and telling him I’d love to go to the party? And then I’d let him play with me the way I let you do? After all, you’re not jealous.”

“Do whatever you want,” Jensen grumbled. His appetite was gone again. Jensen stacked fries on top of each other so he wouldn’t have to meet Jared’s eyes. He created a rectangular tower of sorts, and imagined it being a prison and throwing the stupid brunette inside it. Jensen knew his complexion matched a tomato at this point.

Jared laughed again, and Jensen resented him for laughing at Jensen’s jealousy. Not jealousy, Jensen reminded himself. Because they were not dating. “It’s sweet, Jen.” Jared teased. Jensen felt like punching him. “Relax, Jensen, I’m not going after him.” Jared’s hand brushed—purposefully?—on Jensen’s to get a fry. “I’m gonna stick right here with you.”

Jensen met Jared’s eyes. He hoped his blush was dying down but from the laughter that sparkled in Jared’s eyes Jensen could tell he was still pink. “Oh, shut up.” Jensen snapped. He threw another fry at Jared, and his neat stack of French fries came tumbling down.

Jared had a smug grin on his face for the rest of the time they ate, and Jensen glared at every guy that even tried to come over to the two of them. Each time Jared just got smugger and Jensen got more and more irritated with himself. Jensen told himself that he just didn’t want to be left alone like a loser, but he was well aware the thought of Jared with another guy’s dick in his mouth made Jensen sick.

Is that what jealousy was?

Jealousy was stupid, that’s what it was. Jensen snorted to himself. “Not everything is stupid, Jensen,” Jared said.

“What?” Jensen was startled. He realized he’d said the last sentence aloud.

“Not everything is stupid. You need a wider vocabulary. Use nonsensical or ludicrous at some point in your life.”

“You’re ludicrous.”

“And you’re absolutely adorable, Jensen Ackles.”

“Fuck you.”

Jared only laughed, that stupid—no, not stupid—foolish laugh. “Don’t think too hard, Jensen.” Jared teased. “I love the way you talk.”

The word ‘love’ hung between them awkwardly between them. They were quiet for a moment and then Jared broke the tension by flicking a fry at Jensen. Jensen laughed at Jared’s antics and a smile broke out on Jared’s face. “I wish you could laugh more. It’s so pretty.”

“I’m not pretty. I’m fucking awesome, but I am not pretty,” Jensen protested.

“Yeah, yeah.” Jared stole a fry from Jensen’s plate and chewed it thoughtfully. “Do you think the others know where we are?”

“Do you think the other’s care where we are?” Jensen countered. In truth, Jensen was not looking forward to seeing Chris. He owed him an apology, big time, and Jensen’s pride was a major roadblock in that particular department.

“Man up, Ackles,” Jared said. It was annoying how well Jared could read him.

“He’ll mock me.”

“No he won’t. And if he does,” Jared said. “I’ll just beat him up for you.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“We’re going to see him tonight at night swimming anyways.” Jared said. “Which reminds me, fuck you for talking me into doing that. When my leg gets bitten off by some great white shark-,”

“You’re not going to get your leg bitten off,” Jensen replied easily. “They don’t go after people, usually. I don’t even know if there are great whites around here. I just said that to wind you up.”

Jared glared at him. “You’re evil.”

“And you’re gullible. Which makes being evil all the more fun!”

“I hate you.”

“Oh, Padalecki.” Jensen kissed Jared quickly. “You wish you could.”

 

Jared does wish he could hate Jensen. Because, as he kisses Jensen goodbye at his hotel room and promises to see him later tonight, he realizes that hating him would be much easier than fucking drooling over the guy anytime he looked up at him with those incredibly sexy green eyes.

Jared hasn’t stopped thinking about Jensen. From the moment he stepped onto the stage and took Jared’s breath away with his eloquence Jensen has been permanently embedded in Jared’s brain.

And still, Jared didn’t hate him for it. Jared didn’t hate the way Jensen wore his swimsuit low enough that Jared could see his hips, the grooves that Jared would lick all night if he could, he didn’t hate the way Jensen blushed, or the way Jensen smiled and looked down when he was embarrassed, and he didn’t hate the way Jensen looked at him with blind adoration.

Jared should be able to overlook these things. He’d fucked guys before and moved on. Not guys like Jensen. What made him different? He just is.

Jared slammed the door to his hotel room shut and muffled his scream into a pillow. And the more Jared got to know Jensen, the more he liked him. Jared thought Jensen would be hiding a criminal record or something awful, but as Jensen’s wall came down brick by brick, Jared only learned things that made him more and more attracted to the guy. He was from Texas, he liked dogs, loved coffee, and wanted to write a book that could be published someday.

As long as he used more than “stupid” and “awesome” as adjectives, Jared was sure he could do it.

And now, Jared had to go night swimming with the guy. Jared could almost see Jensen lit up by the moonlight. His dark blonde hair would seem more blonde, his green eyes would be lit up like a cat’s, and every single drop of water would be visible. Jared let out a low moan at the picture in his head. Jared wasn’t at all scared of sharks. He was scared of ripping off Jensen’s shorts and fucking him in front of everyone.

Okay, maybe a little bit scared of sharks too.

Jared’s phone buzzed. It was a message from Mike. How’d your date with Jensen go?

Not a date, dumbass.

Uh huh. Sure were quick to run out on us. Jared could hear Mike's accusatory tone even through the text.

I wanted to make sure he was okay. Jared’s fingers typed excuses across the keyboard. You were concerned too. I just did something about it.

Whatever. Just be sure to remind your boyfriend that night swimming starts at 10:00. Tom recommends against drinking too much. Drowning would really put a damper on our wedding.

Selfish dick, Jared teased. He didn’t reveal to Mike how his heart had kicked up when he read the word boyfriend.

Unable to find something else to do, Jared fell back on his bed and decided to take a nap. Maybe when he woke up, he’d know what to do.

He dreamt about Jensen.

Chapter Text

Jensen was still staring into the mirror when he heard a knock on his door at 9:00. He looked at his body, at the muscles he’d been building up for years. Jensen had always been proud of his appearance; it got guys into bed in New York all the time. But he’d been staring at Jared shirtless all day and it was hot as fuck, but not exactly the best self-esteem boost. Jensen was sure one day, whether it was tomorrow or tonight or some other time in the few days they had left together, Jared would look at Jensen and decide he was much better off with one of the pretty boys that hung around the pool tanning.

Jensen frowned at the thought. The idea of Jared sharing his perfect kisses with anyone, past or present, that wasn’t Jensen, was an irritating thought. Jensen chalked it up to not liking the feeling of rejection.

The knock came again and Jensen was reminded there was a presence there. “Coming!”

Jensen hoped it was Jared despite the agreement they’d made to meet at the beach. And it was strange to feel his heart drop when he saw Danneel leaning against the doorframe. It’s not like he was expecting Jared, but it would have been nice to see those sparkling hazel eyes. “Hoping it was someone else?” Danneel said knowingly. Her eyebrow was raised in a way that she knew exactly what was going through Jensen’s mind.

“I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about.”

“You know, he says the same thing when Mike asks him about you.”

“Who are we talking about?”

Danneel shoved past him into his room. “Aw, you got a view? Unfair.”

“So, now we’re just going to go into each other’s rooms.”

“Correction,” Danneel replied. “I’m going to go into yours. Unless, of course, you’ve got company in which case I think I’ll stay across the hall.”

Jensen groaned. “Danni, this is stupid.”

“There’s that adjective again. It’s okay. Jared finds it cute that you use it all the time.”

Jensen felt color rush to his face at the mention of Jared. “He’s just a guy, Danni,” Jensen hurried. He knew Danneel didn’t believe him and Jensen didn’t blame her; his blush and squeaky voice certainly weren’t making a convincing argument.

“Whatever, dude, do what you want. Fuck him, dump him, marry him, or date him. But Jared is a sweetie. I think you should hold on to this one.”

Jensen was toying with a string that was loose on his comforter. “It’ll be over once the wedding’s over,” Jensen said softly. He was aware of how vulnerable he sounded and didn’t like it one bit,

Danneel moved from her post at the window to sit beside Jensen. “It’s only over if you want it to be over.”

“Why would I want it to be over?”

Danneel let out an exasperated sigh. “All you ever do is end things, Jensen! And Mike said Jared was the same way.”

“Seems like all you ever do is gossip about me and Jared.”

“I can’t help it.” Danneel flashed a smile. “It’s cute to see you all giggly and happy. And don’t say you’re not,” Danneel quickly cut off Jensen. “Because you are. And we’re interested in it because it’s unusual. So yeah, we’re gonna gossip you dumbass.”

Jensen continued to pull at the string. “It’s just a fling, Danni. I know that’s disappointing to a lot of you guys but Jared and I are nothing more than two guys who both happen to be good at sex.”

“So you have had sex with him!”

“Well, sorta.”

“Well, sorta?”

“I’m not discussing my sex life with you, Danni!” Jensen exclaimed. Suspicion mingled with curiosity danced over Danneel’s face. “We’ve fooled around, and we’ve given each other blowjobs and such,” Jensen couldn’t believe he was actually talking to Danneel about this, “but we’ve never actually had, you know, sex.”

“That’s pretty much the first thing you do with a guy. Fuck him and then abandon him. I thought that was the ‘Jensen Ackles Guide to Life’.”

“Yeah, so did I. But then this guy comes in…” Jensen threw up his hands. “And I’m lost. I’ve tried to say no so many times, I’ve tried to cut it off because it’s stupid. And I can’t. I can’t look into his eyes and say ‘I don’t want to see you anymore’ because it would be a lie. And I just choke on the words.”

“Well, that’s how it is sometimes. Sometimes you meet someone,” Danneel said, “and you like them. And you don’t have to blow them off.”

“I don’t know how to do anything else,” Jensen said it a small voice. It came out almost as a whimper and Jensen hated himself for speaking that way and hated Danneel for making him speak that way.

“Well, dumbass, learn. Cuz Jared? Jared is gaga for you. Mike says he’s never seen him stick with a guy for this long ever. And it’s been what, 2, 3 days? It’s definitely a record for you.” Danneel must have seen something in Jensen’s eyes because she softened her tone. “What are you so worried about?”

“He won’t stay,” Jensen’s words fell out of his mouth. They were remarkably similar to the way he’d spoken to Chris. “No one ever stays. I’m not worth staying for.”

Danneel’s eyes looked heartbroken, then angry, and then sad. “You are an amazing guy. So amazing that I tried to sleep with you even though we both knew you were gay.” Danneel continued when she saw the smile on Jensen’s face. “Jen, you have so much to offer and Jared knows that. Jared appreciates that, and Jared wants to stick around. So let him for once.”

Danni looked expectantly at him, waiting for a response. “Jared’s a great guy,” Jensen finally said. “And I’ve got so much shit weighing me down I can barely walk. What person would want to stick with that?”

“Well, obviously Jared would.” Danneel stood up. “I suggest getting ready to go night swimming. Honestly, I’m pretty excited to see Jared in his bathing suit too because damn, that body-,”

“Out, Danni!”

She exited with a laugh and a wink. “Love you Jen!”

“You suck.” Jensen shut the door before she could make some innuendo about Jensen’s word choice. She was absolutely right about one thing thought.

Jared in a bathing suit was almost too much to handle.

 

Jensen was deliberately taking his time to walk down to the beach. He was excited to see Jared again, too excited for someone who’d known the dork for three days. But god, his smile and his laugh and his teasing—Jensen wanted to hold on to him and never let him go.

It was a foreign feeling and Jensen decided he disliked it. So despite his love for night swimming Jensen spent the whole, purposely drawn out stroll to the beach contemplating running away and not returning until the wedding. Jared would get over it relatively quickly. Mike had said he hadn’t ever stuck with a guy for this long. It shouldn’t be too hard.

But damn if Jensen wished that it would be. He wished Jared would miss him, he wished Jared would feel the same feelings about Jensen that Jensen felt about Jared. Jensen was so busy moping he didn’t notice he was at the top of the path to the beach and almost tumbled down.

“Woah, steady.” A firm hand wrapped around Jensen’s arm and righted him. Jensen turned to see Tom’s bright eyes smiling at him.

“Tom!”

“Yeah, you big jerk, I haven’t see you enough.” Tom hugged him quickly. “You’ve been spending all your time with Jared. Not that that’s a bad thing, I hear you two get along famously.”

“Have you been talking to Danni? Because you know how she exaggerates things.”

“We’ve all been talking to Danneel. Danneel would kill us if we weren’t talking to Danneel.”

“The sad truth.” Jensen grinned. “That reminds me, you asshole you moved night swimming up!”

Tom grinned bashfully. “I thought it might be a fun activity for you and Jared to do together.”

“Jared and I can find other stuff to do together,” Jensen replied. He blushed as he realized at the implication of what he’d said.

“Trust me, I more than know about what you and Jared can do together. But enjoy the party for now, okay?” Tom looked down at the beach. “I think someone’s looking for you.”

Jensen’s head snapped toward the beach. Jared was standing by someone Jensen didn’t know. The man was talking to Jared, or at Jared since Jared was more scanning the crowds than looking at the man who was talking to him. Jensen grinned as soon as he saw Jared. Tom pushed him toward the beach. “Go get your man, Ackles.”

“Fuck you,” Jensen replied playfully. He all but ran down the path to Jared. The sand was cool, which was a nice change from the burning heat that usually scorched Jensen’s feet when he walked anywhere. It made it easier to slink across the beach to find Jared.

Jensen’s eyes met Jared’s and Jensen knew his smile must have doubled in size. The expression on Jared’s face went from dull patience to joy and he politely excused himself from whatever the man was chatting on about. “You saved me,” Jared murmured when he reached Jensen.

“That bad?”

“I don’t even know what he was talking about. I got lost about halfway through the conversation. That’s when I started looking for you, hoping that you were going to swoop in and rescue me from whatever he was yakking on about.”

Jensen laughed. “So rude.”

“That’s me.” Jared glanced over at the man. He was already talking to someone else. “I think he’s recovered.”

Jensen felt an arm drape around his shoulders and he knew who it was before he even heard the lazy speech. “I don’t see how this is wedding thing. All we’re doing is swimming when it’s dark out.”

“Yes, but we’re all here together, Chris.” Jensen tried to explain it to his friend although he was right. “We’re celebrating the union of Tom and Mike as we swim.” Even Jensen heard the sour tone of his voice when he used the word union.

Chris shrugged. “I could come out here at night any time I want to and swim. But it’s gotta be a damn wedding festivity.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “I’m gonna go find some booze. Enjoy yourselves.” Chris smiled, but a real genuine smile that Jensen wished he could see more often. “And… be happy.”

With that last comment Chris was gone. “He comes and goes however he likes, doesn’t he?” Jared mused.

“Yeah, but he’s good company.” Jensen chuckled. “Most of the time. Some of the time he’s…”

“He’s Chris.” Jared finished.

“Do you want to go in the water now?” Jensen had a hard time concealing how excited he was to go swimming. His adrenaline was already up from the idea of what could possibly come out in the water at night.

“Are you sure nothing bad is going to happen?”

“Of course not. Something horrible could happen, but that’s what makes it so exciting!”

Jared looked even less enthusiastic to go swimming and Jensen tried to find the right words to convince him. “Look, I’m a certified lifeguard,” Jensen said honestly. “And I promise, there is nothing out there that I will let hurt you.”

“Would you fight off a shark?”

“To save your gorgeous ass? I’d fight off a hundred sharks!” Jensen tossed him a wink. “Now come on, I want to swim. It’s getting boring just talking.”

“I’m going to choose not be offended by that comment.” Jared kissed him and Jensen wrapped his hands in Jared’s hair. By now Jared had figured out exactly how Jensen liked to be kissed, slowly and gently. Jensen hated that Jared knew this and used it against him but wouldn’t turn down one of Jared’s absolutely perfect kisses for the world.

“Let’s go!” Jensen tugged Jared’s wrist gently and pulled him along to the water.

“Shit!” Jared exclaimed. “It’s freezing!”

Jensen rolled his eyes. “It’s not that cold. Just get used to it.” To prove his point, Jensen waded deeper and deeper until the water was up to his chest. Not wanting to be outdone, Jared followed and went even deeper. “Unfair,” Jensen whined. “You’re taller than me!”

Jared laughed and pushed off the sandy bottom, propelling him outward until he couldn’t touch the sand at all. Jensen followed, with a teasing grin. Jensen noticed a bit of fear in Jared’s eyes when he couldn’t touch the bottom and swam quickly out to meet Jared. “You know, you look really hot right now,” Jensen said in what he hoped was a sultry voice. He moved to kiss Jared again, not caring at all that other people could see.

The fear in Jared’s hazel eyes started to fade. “You’re trying to distract me.”

“I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about,” Jensen replied. They were treading water now. Jensen was soothingly stroking Jared’s hair. “I’m just trying to tell the sexiest guy here how much he’s turning me on.”

Jared giggled and nuzzled Jensen’s nose with his own. “You’re so sweet.” Jensen didn’t protest this time and instead wrapped his arms around Jared’s neck.

“I know.”

Jensen then suddenly ducked underneath the water with a yelp. Jared gave a cry of surprise and then exclaimed, “Jensen!” He pushed the water aside, trying to push away whatever had grabbed Jensen.

Jensen popped up a few feet away, laughing at Jared’s panicked expression. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it!”

Jared growled. “I swear, Ackles, I’m gonna kill you!” Jared lunged after him in the water but Jensen was fast—damn the fact that he was a lifeguard—and Jared knew he had no chance of catching him. When Jared was tired of chasing Jensen he started to tread water again. Jensen floated back to him with amusement in his eyes.

“Will you ever forgive me?” Jensen cooed, pressing a light kiss to Jared’s nose.

“Never,” Jared said. Jensen found it sweet that Jared cared about him. He doubted anyone else would really even bother with chasing after him.

Jensen hummed in his throat comfortingly. He’d discovered Jared liked the way Jensen sung and hummed. “Fuck you, Ackles,” Jared snapped. He knew Jensen what was trying to do. “I was scared.”

Jensen melted at his soft voice and kissed him lightly. “Okay, it was mean. I’m sorry.” His voice was sincere and Jared returned his kiss.

“I’m still mad, and I’m going to get my revenge.”

“I’m sure you are, Jare Bear.”

“Don’t call me that, dumbo.”

“You’re my Jare bear,” Jensen teased. “And you’re so fucking adorable.”

“I hate you so much. So much. I can’t even look at you.”

Jensen threw back his head and laughed. “I know you do.”

“You’re not even sorry. Scared me out of my wits, I thought something hurt you!”

“I’m a little sorry.” Jensen grinned. “But your face was priceless.”

“Okay, that’s it.” Jared dove forward and latched his fingers onto Jensen’s hips. “You are so going to get it.”

Jensen smirked. “What are you going to d—Jared!” Jared’s fingers scribbled up Jensen’s sides and he burst into laughter. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

Jared stopped and he gave Jensen one of the kisses that turned Jensen into goo. “I know you are. Just making sure.” Jared was smirking and Jensen decided that Jared Padalecki was going to be the cause of his death.

Even though they were treading water Jensen managed to fit his head onto Jared’s collarbone. He loved that he could hear Jared’s heartbeat, strong and sure. “Don’t fall asleep, Jen, I’m not sure if I can support us both.”

The night was so dark that you couldn’t tell where the sea ended and the sky started on the horizon. “It’s getting late.”

Jensen only smiled into Jared’s chest. He knew Jared could feel the curve of Jensen’s lips. “Then let’s go ashore. I want you all to myself.”

They took their time swimming back to shore. It wasn’t a contest like the time they’d swum out there. They spent their way back looking at each other, trying to hold hands and swim at the same time—failing miserable—and discussing anything they could think of. By the time they’d reached the shore, everyone else had left. “It’s just us,” Jensen stated.

Jared nodded. “Just us.”

There were a few large rocks in the shallower areas of the water. It couldn’t have been more than a foot of water but the rocks were embedded deeply in the sand. Jensen’s face lit up and he ran over to them. “I’ll finally be taller than you!” Jensen declared as he crawled on top of one.

The rocks were wet and probably slippery. “Jen, maybe you should get off,” Jared cautioned.

“Always worried about me,” Jensen crooned. “How sweet.”

Jared turned away to see if he could find any sea glass. He’d kept a lot of the green glass he’d found, trying to see if there were any that matched Jensen’s eyes. When he heard Jensen yelp he turned to see if he was okay. He was sure Jensen was just hiding behind a rock to scare him again. But just so be safe, Jared called out, “Jensen?”

When Jared didn’t get a response he became more worried but he didn’t want to be tricked by Jensen again. “Jen, if this is a joke it isn’t funny!”

All Jared heard was the lapping of the waves until a voice croaked, “Jared? I hurt something.”

There was too much pain in Jensen’s voice for it to be faked and Jared ran over to the rocks. Jensen was lying in the water between two of the larger ones, holding on to the side of a rock. “You dumbass, I told you to get off!”

Jensen gave a weak smile. “Just help me up.”

Jared wrapped one of Jensen’s arms around Jared’s shoulders and helped him to sit on the rock. “What hurts? What’d you do? How’d you do it?”

“You’re worse than Danni with questions,” Jensen said. When Jared glared at him he said with a sigh, “I was standing on a rock and I slipped. I think I twisted my ankle because it hurts like a bitch.”

Jensen’s eyes were slightly damp and pain echoed in his voice. Jensen smiled when he saw Jared’s concerned look. “It’s just a little twist, Jay. I’m fine.”

“Can you even stand?”

Jensen moved shakily off the boulder and gave another yelp of pain when he put weight on his ankle. He landed on his knees in the water. “I don’t think so.”

Jared groaned. “Jen…”

“I know, I know, I should have been careful.”

Jared scooped up Jensen in his arms. “I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

“So you’re going to carry me back to the hotel like I’m your damn damsel in distress?”

“You’re going to do stupid things, you’re going to get carried like a damsel in distress.”

Jensen groaned but pushed his head into the crook of Jared’s neck. Jared chuckled. “I should just get a tattoo there so everyone knows that it’s your spot.”

“Please do.”

It was night and most people were in their rooms. Only a few couples were out on the terraces and they were too engaged in each other’s company to really care about Jared carrying Jensen like his bride. It didn’t stop Jensen from blushing and Jared said, “Think of this as revenge for scaring me.”

Jensen growled but snuggled tighter into Jared’s arms. “You’re so comfortable.”

Jared buried his head into Jensen’s soft hair. “Mike likes to say it’s because of my big heart.”

“You do have a big heart. It’s full of love.” Jensen froze after that comment and Jared didn’t reply with anything but a kiss to Jensen’s head.

The rest of the walk was in silence. It wasn’t awkward, more of a comfortable silence that two friends shared when they had nothing to do but enjoy each other’s company. When they reached Jensen’s hotel room Jared gingerly placed Jensen on the bed. “Throw me my pajamas,” Jensen asked. Jared did as he asked and helped Jensen put them on without hurting his ankle. “I feel like a kid.”

“You pulled a stupid trick.”

Jensen smiled. “It was cool for a little bit. Right?”

Jared let out a breathy laugh. “Right.”

Jared didn’t hesitate as he climbed into bed beside Jensen. He took a pair of Jensen’s sweatpants and wrapped his arms around the smaller man. “Night, Jen.”

Jensen rolled over to kiss Jared one last time. “Thanks for taking care of me, Jare bear.”

Jared grinned at the nickname. "Any time, Jen."

"Hey Jared?"

"Yeah?"

"I was right. Night swimming was fun, wasn't it?"

"Go to sleep, Jensen."

They fell asleep like that, curled together with smiles on their faces.

Chapter Text

The light that was streaming through the curtains lit up Jensen’s face in a way that could only be described as angelic. Jared stared at him for a while, barely restraining a laugh as Jensen’s nose crinkled up in sleep. Jared remembered Jensen’s ankle had been hurt the night before—Jensen’s own fault, but Jared couldn’t help but pity him—and Jared hoped that he wasn’t hurting in his sleep.

Jared loved the feeling of Jensen’s hair as Jared ran his fingers through it. He loved how Jensen moved his head into the touch and sighed contently as Jared massaged his head at the same time he messed up his perfect hair. Jensen shifted in his sleep, rolling over so his head was nestled in Jared’s collarbone. Jared loved having Jensen there. He loved that there was something special about him that Jensen loved.

He loved Jensen.

It was a weird thought—no, an absolutely ridiculous and insane thought—and as soon as the three words flashed threw his brain Jared all but stopped breathing. He probably did stop breathing for a little bit. His heart was going at least 200 times too fast. He didn’t love Jensen. They’d known each other for less than a week.

But Jensen nuzzled Jared’s neck in sleep and those three words flashed through his head again. I love Jensen. Jared froze in place. He couldn’t love Jensen; it was probably just euphoria from the night swimming. They’d had fun and messed around and the sound of Jensen’s addicting laughter was still echoing and Jared’s mind. And it made him think that he loved him when really, it was nothing.

Jensen didn’t love him. So why would Jared love Jensen? The idea was too ridiculous to even ponder. Jared was just tired. He was exhausted and Jensen—sweet, loving, funny, wonderful Jensen—was lying across him and it was fucking with Jared’s head. It wasn’t love that Jared felt. It was lust.

But it didn’t stop Jared from continuing to run his fingers through Jensen’s hair, praying that he was wrong.

Jensen stirred a few minutes after Jared finished dealing with his inner crisis. Jared looked down to see sleepy, emerald green eyes staring up at him. “Hey, Jare.”

“Morning, sleepy head.” Jared grinned as Jensen yawned and snuggled back up to Jared.

“What time is it?”

Jared glanced at a clock. “9:30.”

“Awesome.” Jensen kissed Jared’s neck. “You’re really nice to sleep on, did you know that?” He put his head under Jared’s chin. “So comfortable.” He sounded like he was going to fall right back asleep.

“Wake up, Jen, we’ve gotta get up.”

“I refuse.” Jensen’s eyes turned to Jared’s. “You haven’t even kissed me good morning yet.” Jared laughed softly and kissed Jensen quickly. Jensen groaned. “That’s it?”

“Wake up and I’ll give you another one.”

Jensen glared at him. “I’m pretty sure that’s coercion.”

“I prefer persuasion.”

Jensen let out an irritated sigh but rolled out of bed. He yelped when he tried to put pressure on his ankle and stumbled back onto the bed. “Shit! I think my ankle’s still hurt.”

Jared frowned. “Well that certainly puts a damper on things.”

“Gee, you think?”

Jared rested his head on Jensen’s shoulder. “No need to be sarcastic.”

“I’ve ruined the whole day for us. I can’t do anything.” Jensen fell onto his back on the bed. “Just go out without me. I’ll be so boring, just sitting in one place.”

Jared smiled. “I’m not going anywhere without you. Even if I have to carry you.”

“Uh, that’s humiliating.”

Jared laughed. “Okay, so I won’t carry you. But we should put some ice on it. I’ll go grab some. I think the machine is down the hall so I’ll be super fast.”

Jensen grabbed his arm. “Wait! I got up, so you owe me.”

Jared rolled his eyes. “You child.” But he leaned in and kissed Jensen anyways, feeling Jensen smile against his mouth. Jared loved kissing Jensen. He wished he could do it all day. And it was a struggle for Jared to pull back and say, “I have to go get ice for you.”

Jensen whined and Jared ruffled his light hair. “I’ll be super fast, Jen.”

“You better be.” Jensen curled up with a pillow. “I’ll be waiting. In pain.”

“I feel so sorry for you. It’s not like it was your own fault for jumping up on the rocks when you knew it was a bad idea.”

“I get no sympathy? None at all?”

Jared smirked. “Not really, no. And I’m going to get you ice so shut the hell up.”

Jensen giggled and pulled the covers over himself. Jared doubted he would be awake when he returned.

 

Jensen wrapped himself in a cocoon of blankets. It wasn’t quite the same as Jared’s arms, but it was warm and Jensen was tired. His ankle hurt and every so often a flash of pain would jolt through it. Jensen could ignore it as long as Jared’s big hazel eyes were smiling endearingly at him, as long as he could hear Jared talk to him.

Jensen did feel guilty about making Jared get ice for him. Jared already had to carry him back from the beach and put him with his whining. Honestly it was a miracle. Even Danneel, and all her motherly instincts, would have told Jensen to suck it up by now. But not Jared. Jared was too kind and Jensen couldn’t help but wonder exactly what it was that drove Jared to continue to hang around him even in his awful moods.

That horrible thought that Jared had left and was not coming back went briefly through Jensen’s mind. He held on tighter to the pillow and tried not to think about Jared walking back to his own room, laughing at Jensen and how dumb he was to think that Jared cared about him, how silly he looked with a wounded ankle.

Jared was too kind. He would never do that to Jensen. At least, that was the hope Jensen was clinging to. Jensen ran his fingers across the soft pillow and imagined that it was Jared and he was exploring his gorgeous body with his hands. He knew how the muscle would feel under his fingers, hard and reassuring. He knew the feeling of Jared’s arms around his. He knew how they would wrap around him and hold him in a way that was promising and honest and safe and Jensen thought about that as he drifted blissfully back to sleep.

Jensen woke again to a soft voice saying his name. “Jensen. Jen, come on, I’ve gotta put ice on your ankle.”

Jensen rolled over in the bed and smiled when he saw Jared. He kicked the covers off and hugged Jared around his waist. Jared seemed somewhat startled, but he hugged Jensen back. “Jen? You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Now help me up so we can ice this thing.”

Jared rolled his eyes but moved Jensen into a sitting position. “I found this at the gift shop,” Jared said. He showed him the Ace bandage. “I think we should wrap it. It might make it feel better and it will keep you from rolling it again. Or, at least somewhat help you from rolling it again. You’re so clumsy so I don’t know-,”

Jensen hit his shoulder lightly. “Shut up.” He put his ankle in Jared’s lap. “Just wrap the damn ankle.”

“So bossy,” Jared teased. He held Jensen’s leg gently and began to wrap it, pausing when Jensen let out a gasp of pain. “Tell me if it hurts too badly.”

“You’re fine,” Jensen said. “You’re great.”

Jared only nodded and wrapped his ankle tightly while Jensen’s careful eyes watched him. They didn’t speak while Jared finished wrapping Jensen’s ankle. When Jared was done he took some ice that’d poured into a plastic bag and placed it on Jensen’s ankle. “Better?”

“Yeah,” Jensen said. “Much better.”

“Good.” Jared leaned forward and pressed his lips again Jensen’s. They moved slowly and Jensen pulled Jared closer, hungry to have all of Jared. They tangled their bodies together until it was impossible to tell whose limb belonged to whom.

“I want you,” Jensen breathed between kisses. “All of you.”

Jared’s lips wrapped around Jensen’s and opened up to allow Jensen’s tongue to snake in. He took in Jensen’s words and couldn’t think of a response beyond kissing Jensen again. “Wait until your ankle is healed,” Jared finally said.

Jensen pushed Jared onto his back and continued to explore his body with his mouth. “No.”

“Jen…”

Jensen sat back on Jared’s lap to look at him. “What are you going to say? I think we both know that we don’t have a lot of time left together.” Jensen said the words they’d both been so desperately avoiding. Jensen must have seen the sadness in Jared’s eyes. “Jay, I don’t know what I’m going to do when you’re gone. And if we see each other again at some anniversary party in 10 years and you’ve got another guy then I won’t be able to handle it, especially if we haven’t even fucked.”

“Jensen, what are you-,”

“Let me finish. There’s not going to be someone else, Jared. Maybe there will be for you, but not for me. So ankle be damned, I want you now. I’m not going to wait until it’s too late.”

Jared, for the second time that day, stopped breathing. Jensen’s eyes widened as he realized the gravity of what he said. “Shit, I didn’t—I mean, I don’t—fuck.” Jensen rolled off Jared and fell to the other side of the bed. “Leave me here to die now.” The pillow he’d buried his head in muffled his voice.

“Jensen.”

Jensen ignored Jared and Jared sighed. “Jen, please look at me.” Jensen refused to lift his head from the pillow and so Jared moved over to him and nuzzled Jensen’s neck. “Jen.”

Jensen lifted his head cautiously. “I didn’t think about that. I’m high off painkillers.”

Jared laughed lightly. “There’s no one else, Jensen. And I promise, we will eventually fuck. But right now-,” Jared kissed Jensen’s nose. “It’s 10 am. I want us to have all the time in the world to do whatever we want to each other.”

Jensen seemed to mull the thought over. “Fine, Padalecki. But you can’t tell anyone what I just said.”

“So, I can’t tell Danneel? Or Chris? I’m sure he’d love to hear it.”

“Fuck you, Padalecki. I pour my heart out to you and you mock me. It’s just cruel.” Jensen grinned and shoved at Jared.

“I’m sure the gang would love to hear about this too. Maybe I’ll put it in my best man’s speech. ‘Hey, by the way, Jensen Ackles told me this one thing once’-,”

Jensen tackled him as best as he could with an injured ankle and silenced Jared with a kiss. “You jerk,” Jensen mumbled against Jared’s lips. “I don’t know why I put up with you.”

“I make you laugh,” Jared replied. “I make you smile. And I put a love potion in your drink.”

Jensen laughed. “You do make me laugh. You do make me smile.” Jensen nibbled Jared’s ear affectionately. “You carry me all the way from the beach when I’m injured, and you manage to look better in my sweatpants than me. You put up with my friends and you calm me down when I feel like punching a wall.”

Jared closed his eyes and let Jensen’s words wash over him. High on painkillers or not, Jared could listen to Jensen talk this way forever. Jensen smiled at him. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you? Listening to me fucking spill my heart out.”

Jared grinned. “Absolutely.” He moved to kiss Jensen’s ear and then placed a trail of kisses down his chest and stomach. “I love hearing you talk this way.” He found every freckle and kissed it and Jensen let out a moan.

“Jay…” Jensen groaned. Jared could feel him getting hard. Jared’s hand moved down to stroke Jensen through his boxers and Jensen moaned again. “You bastard.”

Jared smiled through his kisses. “Want me to make you feel better?” Jared placed another kiss on Jensen’s chest, sucking on his nipple. “See if I can’t make the pain in your ankle go away?”

“Yes, Jare, please!”

Jared hummed. “Whatever you want, baby.”

The term of endearment made Jensen smile and he allowed Jared to slid his boxers off. Jared’s kisses went from Jensen’s chest down to his groin and kissed around his dick before taking Jensen fully into his mouth. “God, Jay!” Jensen gasped. “Fuck, oh my god!”

Jared’s tongue mapped out Jensen’s dick and Jared stifled the urge to smile at the sounds Jensen was making. He just sucked and licked up and down Jensen’s shaft while Jensen moaned and tugged and Jared’s air. “Jay, you’re fucking amazing.”

Jared only hummed to acknowledge that he heard. He knew Jensen would come soon from the cries he was letting out and with a final, “FUCK!” Jensen came in his mouth.

Jensen ran his fingers through Jared’s hair when he pulled away. He stroked and combed and pulled at the tangles. It felt really wonderful and Jared laid his head in Jensen’s lap so he could continue. “Do you want me to…?” Jensen’s sentence trailed off as his hand snaked towards Jared’s lap.

“No.” Jared only bumped his head into Jensen’s hand. “Keep doing this.” Jensen smiled and continued to stroke Jared’s hard.

Jared felt himself drifting off in Jensen’s lap. Jensen’s hands were strong yet gentle as they combed through Jared’s hair. Jensen looked fondly down at the man who was slowly falling asleep. “You’re crazy, Jared Padalecki.”

“You’re the one that puts up with me,” Jared mumbled sleepily.

“Trust me,” Jensen replied. “It’s not a struggle at all.”

 

The pair entered the lobby hungry and tired. “We overslept,” Jared mumbled.

“Technically,” Jensen corrected, “we were up by 10:00.”

“And then we chose to fall back asleep. It’s noon.”

“Honestly, I think it was worth it.”

“Because you sleep more than a cat. You’d sleep all day if you could.”

“Well it’s about the only thing I can do now,” Jensen said bitterly. He was leaning on Jared as he hobbled across the glossy floor. Jared’s shoulder still ached from where Jensen had punched him after Jared suggested the take the stairs. “I’m ruining the day for you too.”

“Jen, we’ve been over this. I’m choosing to hang out with your gimpy ass.”

“Trust me, my ass is in fine working condition.”

Jared laughed and Jensen drowned in the sound. God, he was so far gone over this guy. Thank god Danneel didn’t know the extent of his feelings or she’d definitely use the L word. And Jensen wasn’t quite ready for that.

“You’re something, Ackles.”

“It’s what keeps me interesting, Jare bear.”

“Aw, they have nicknames for each other,” Chris’ snarky voice found Jensen from across the lobby. “And Jensen’s draped all over Jared. Can’t keep your hands off each other for 5 seconds, can you?”

“I hurt my ankle, dumbass.”

Chris laughed. “What’d you do, trip over your own feet?”

Jensen mumbled, “I slipped off a rock.” He was praying Chris didn’t hear him but judging from his laughter, Chris heard him just fine.

“Jenny, it’s a miracle you’re alive.” Chris smirked and Jensen didn’t find it nearly as attractive as Jared’s gorgeous smirk. “Good thing you have Jared to watch out for you. Or, Jare bear as you call him-,”

“Go away Chris. I’m suffering enough already, do you have to make it worse?” Jensen was blushing, he knew he was blushing. He was leaning on Jared to keep him upright, a gimp, and now he was blushing. Man, Ackles, you suck.

Chris grinned. “Nah, man, it’s my duty as best friend to annoy the crap out of you.”

“Fuck you very much.”

“See you tonight, Jenny. The party’s gonna be off the hook. Booze all around!” Chris pumped his fist in the air. “See you too, Jare bear.”

Jared rolled his eyes but was too busy making sure Jensen didn’t fall over to respond. “Ignore him, Jen.”

“I need new friends. For sure.”

Jared chuckled. “Let’s go sit by the pool. We don’t even have to move.”

“And once again, I’m reminded of my crippled state.”

“You wimp, it’s just a hurt ankle.”

“Fuck you too, Padalecki.”

 

Jared and Jensen spent the day at the pool. Jensen all but growled if another guy came up to Jared. Jensen glared at Jared too, knowing that he found Jensen’s jealousy—not the word, wrong word, Jensen Ackles didn’t get jealous—hilarious.

“You know, I’m allowed to speak to other guys,” Jared told him at one point.

“You’re allowed to speak to them. They’re eye fucking you while I’m sitting right here.”

“Well if I were to run away I don’t think there’s much you could do about it,” Jared teased.

This time Jensen really did growl at Jared and refused to speak to him. Jared only laughed and crawled into Jensen’s lap, kissing him until Jensen forgave him. “I hate you, Padalecki.”

“You say that every day, but I still find you curled up next to me when you fall asleep.”

Jensen snorted. “You’re more comfortable than a pillow.” Jensen immediately blushed but Jared only smiled at him gently and wound his hand through Jensen’s.

“I’ve been told that I’m surprisingly gentle for someone who’s so muscled.”

“I never said that!” Jensen exclaimed

“What makes you think I was talking about you?”

Jensen huffed. “Nothing.”

Jared laughed. “I was, and you’re wrong. You said it at our little oasis a few days ago.”

Jensen blushed and he turned away. “You’re still a pain in the ass.”

“I know, Jen.” Jared turned to face me. “But honestly, if that was how you really felt about me you would have left me a long time ago, don’t you think?”

Jensen melted at the sight of Jared’s puppy dog eyes. “I don’t think I would ever leave you.” And with one more blush, Jensen kissed Jared.

 

The party was much different than Jensen had anticipated. Chris had said it would be, as he put it, off the hook, but even Jensen couldn’t describe quite what was going on. There was loud club music blasting through the speakers and everyone seemed to be holding some sort of drink in their hands. Jensen was worried the straw covering over the party would fall right off with the way the hut—why must everything be in a hut—was shaking the few poles holding it up.

No walls. That’s the one thing Jensen liked. There were no walls surrounding any of the locations the parties had been held and so Jensen could survey the night around them. And right now, his view was obstructed by partially or completely drunk 20 year olds.

Tom found them fairly quickly, his arm slung around Mike’s shoulder. “Do you guys like the party?”

“How did your parents agree to this?” Jensen yelled over the music.

“We told them the kids needed a night without cranky adults!” Mike hollered. “This is what we came up with and they didn’t seem too eager to join in!”

Jared shrugged. “Seems fun enough to me!”

“Yeah, Jenny, be more like Jared!” Tom yelled. Jensen shoved him off and grabbed Jared’s hand to find a bar. If drinks poured as smoothly as Chris had described, Jensen might actually be able to survive the evening.

Jensen remembered too late that he was in no shape for walking without Jared’s support and stumbled without much grace at all. Jared’s arms quickly caught his waist. “Sure you don’t want to take the night off?”

“I’m not going to miss this party,” Jensen replied, “just because I have a hurt ankle!”

Jared rolled his eyes. “This is the week of ‘watch Jensen Ackles make bad choices’.”

“Good thing I have you!”

“If you don’t kill me,” Jensen heard Jared grumble. He ignored it in favor of hobbling over to a bar and plunking himself down at a stool. The bartender—wow he was attractive—turned to him. Jensen looked around for Jared but he wasn’t next to him anymore.

“How can I help you?” The bartender asked. Wow his eyes were pretty.

“I don’t know much about Hawaiian drinks, maybe you can help me,” Jensen purred. Jared wasn’t here, that was fine.

“Then why I don’t I make you my specialty?” The bartender replied in a sultry voice, leaning across the counter to be closer to Jensen.

Jensen heard a throat being cleared and then an arm slung over his shoulders. “Sounds good for both of us.” Jensen looked up to see Jared with narrowed eyes. The bartender nodded and scampered away. Jensen didn’t blame him; Jared could be intimidating if he drew himself up to his full height.

Jared sat next to Jared and looked more than a little upset. “Jare, come on,” Jensen said. “Don’t be jealous,” Jensen teased lightly remembering how Jared had mocked him.

“Not jealous,” Jared said. He took a long drink of whatever the bartender placed in front of him and Jensen before hiding at the other end of the bar.

“Now you know how I feel when I see guys hitting on you.”

“Yeah, well I don’t hit back, Jensen.” Jared had his sad puppy dog eyes on and Jensen felt a tug on his heart.

Okay, he said Jensen’s whole name. Time to do major damage control. “Come on, Jare bear, you know you’re my favorite.” Jared didn’t look up from his drink. Wow, Ackles, you really have lost all your game.

Jensen racked his brain for things that could possibly make Jared less upset—it was just a little flirting, jeez (but hadn’t Jensen reacted the same way?)—and came up with nothing. “Okay, I admit it,” Jensen finally said. “I suck, and I flirted because that’s what I do. But it was nothing, I promise.”

Jared looked up at him with his usual playful eyes. “I know. I just wanted you to say it.”

“Oh, fuck you Padalecki!” Jensen shoved him but smiled at Jared’s familiar loud laugh. “Seriously, getting amusement at my expense. That seems to be a common pastime around here.”

“Sorry, Jen, you’re just hilarious.”

“I’m still hurt.”

“You flirted with the bartender, who’s to say I’m not hurt?”

“Call it even?” Jensen suggested.

Jared chuckled and kissed him. “You’re an idiot.”

Unfortunately, it was not the last time that Jensen would get hit on in the evening, and Jared definitely got several offers to “go outside and talk”. About an hour in Jensen was too glum to even notice his ankle hurt. “I can’t even dance with you. Maybe you should go hang out with one of those guys,” Jensen said.

Jared sighed. “I’m not going to throw you a pity party, Jen. I’ve decided I want to hang out with you and so I’m going to hang out with you. And you can’t run away.”

“So, you’re going to spend the evening trapped to the bar with a guy who basically is a downer and whines about everything?”

“Yeah, unless you’d rather me go after one of those guys.”

Jensen took a sip of his drink and glared at Jared in response. “You leave, Padalecki, and I’ll kill you.”

“Yeah, I figured that would be your answer.” Jared smirked and Jensen felt like kissing him and kicking him at the same time.

But after a while, Jensen could tell Jared was bored with sitting at the bar with Jensen. “Just go,” Jensen said. “Find Mike or Danni and dance with one of them. I’ll be fine here. Can’t run away, remember?”

Jared looked hesitant. “I’m not going to leave.”

“Go, Jay.” Jensen smiled. “I promise, the only guy I’m going to go home with tonight is you.”

Jared looked reassured but still a little guilty so Jensen gave him a little shove off the stool with his good foot. “Go, Padalecki.”

Jared kissed his nose. “Just remind everyone you’re mine.”

“All yours, Jare bear.”

Jared smiled and hopped off the stool to seek out one of their friends. Jensen didn’t lie to himself, it was a little depressing to watch him walk away. He heard a voice behind him, “Boyfriend?”

Jensen swiveled. It was another guy. “Sort of. We… it’s complicated.”

The guy nodded. He was tall, not like Jared tall but tall, and had kind brown eyes. “Yeah. My boyfriend broke up with me right before I was supposed to go to the wedding. I’m an old friend of Mike’s from college.” He held out his hand and Jensen eyed it warily. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hit on you. My name’s Matt.”

“Jensen.” Jensen shook his hand warmly. “Sorry, Jared’s just a little…”

“Possessive?”

Jensen laughed. “I just don’t want to screw things up with him.”

“Yeah.” The guy fiddled with the straw in his drink. “Too late for me, I guess.”

Matt had a boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend, back in Michigan who’d decided that Matt wasn’t exciting enough for him. “He wanted to do things that were to crazy. Bedroom wise, and outside. I just got tired of being taken for granted and I told him that. So he dumped me.”

Jensen frowned sympathetically. “Sucks, man. I haven’t had a boyfriend since college.” Jensen swallowed roughly. “That didn’t end well.”

“Wanna talk about it?”

Jensen looked up at this stranger and decided that hey, it’s now or never. So Jensen drank his way through the story and by the end he was so drunk he couldn’t quite tell what was up or what was down. “Shit, I think I’m drunk.”

Matt laughed. He was as drunk as Jensen. “We both are a little bit-,” He hiccupped, “-wasted. Guess that happens at weddings.”

Jensen whined, “I miss Jared.”

“He’s hot, man. How’d you get that piece of ass?”

Jensen didn’t know why, but it irritated him that the man called him that. “He’s sweet. Kind. Awesome.” Jensen giggled. “My friend Chris hooked me up with him. It was weird.”

Matt laughed and he almost fell off the stool. “Man, I think it’s time for me to leave.”

“Okay, Matt. See you… see you round!” Jensen called. With one last clumsy wave, Matt was gone.

Jensen took another sip of his drink. At least he thought he did, it was all a little hazy right now. Jensen felt a presence beside him and turned to see Jared. “Jare bear!” Jensen tried to hug him and tumbled off the stool. A flare of pain went through his ankle. “Shit!!”

“Woah, Jen, you’re wasted.” Jared stabled him. “How much have you had to drink?”

“I don’t know. I missed you, Jay.”

Jared sighed. “Well, I think it’s time to go back to the room. Come on, arm around me.”

Jensen obediently threw his arm around Jared. “You’re so strong, Jay. So strong and so hot.”

“Thanks, Jensen.”

Jensen let his head loll onto Jared’s shoulder. He vaguely heard a female voice say, “Is he alright?”

“I think so. Just had too much to drink. I’m gonna take him back to his room now.”

“Are you gonna stay with him?” The girl’s voice was so familiar.

“Yeah, don’t worry Danni. I’ll be right next to him.”

Jensen smiled. “You rock Jare.”

“And you,” Jared shifted his weight. “Need to work out.” Jensen only giggled and hung on to Jared’s shoulders.

 

Jared couldn’t believe how drunken Jensen was. Every time Jared would say anything Jensen would giggle and hang limply in Jared’s arms. Eventually Jared knew the walking thing wasn’t going to happen and picked Jensen up in his arms. “Déjà vu.”

“What?” Jensen mumbled.

“Nothing. Just don’t make a habit of making me carry you home.”

“Hm… are you Prince Charming?”

Jared groaned. “Jen. Stop talking.”

Jensen followed his order until they reached Jensen’s hotel room. As Jared was carefully placing Jensen on his bed he heard the sleepy question, “Do you believe in love, Jared?”

“Do I—what?”

“Do you believe in love? Tom and Mike do.”

“Um…” Jared thought about it. “Yeah, I guess I do. Do you?”

Jared didn’t know why he asked Jensen, it wasn’t like he could form coherent thoughts at the moment. “No.” Jensen replied. “I think love is a lie made up by movies.” He yawned. “I don’t believe in love, and I don’t believe in soulmates.”

Jared felt oddly saddened by that statement. “You need to rest, Jensen.”

Jensen wrapped his arms around Jared’s neck. “Stay with me?”

“Yeah, Jen, I’ll stay.” Jared helped Jensen get his clothes off and curl up under the covers.

“Jared?”

Jared stifled an exhausted sigh. “Yes, Jensen?”

“If love did exist, I’d love you.” Those were the last words Jensen spoke before he fell into an alcohol-induced sleep.

Jared closed his eyes and sat on the edge of Jensen’s bed. Eventually he stood up, looked once more at sleeping Jensen, and made toward the door.

Chapter Text

Jensen woke up alone in bed. He searched the room for Jared and when he found no one, he called out, “Jared?” His voice was croaky and he had a raging headache. “Shit,” Jensen muttered. “I’m never drinking again.”

Maybe Jared was in the bathroom again. Maybe he hadn’t actually left him. God, he was hammered last night. It was ridiculous. Had he said something that had offended Jared? “Ugh.” Jensen was sure he had. He was going to swear off alcohol. Especially with the lurch his stomach gave. Jensen fell out of bed and crawled to the bathroom as fast as he could. He still had trouble walking and with no Jared there was no one there to support him.

As soon as he reached the toilet he threw up what seemed to be the entire contents of his stomach. “Oh, fuck me,” Jensen moaned. He retched again and pressed his head against the cool tile of the floor to find some relief. “I’m an idiot.”

He was alone, in the hotel room, throwing up. Jared had left him because he was an asshole when he was drunk—he didn’t even remember what he said—and all the pain he was in was deserved for whatever he’d done. “Shit.” Jensen remembered that Jared had to carry him back, again. No wonder Jared had left. “Just kill me.” Jensen threw up again, emptying his stomach and then some. He didn’t remember the last time he’d felt this awful. “God, kill me now.”

“I think he has other things to do,” a familiar voice said behind him. Jensen rolled on to his back to see Jared smirking at him. Jensen almost launched himself at the man out of gratitude but as he opened his mouth to say something, more vomit poured out. “You look like hell.”

“Feel like it.” Jensen replied.

“What do you remember?” Jared asked.

“You having to carry me. Again.” Jensen dry heaved into the toilet. “I don’t remember much past that though. I must have said something, you left. I’m sorry, I don’t know what it was but I’m sorry I didn’t mean it.”

Jared looked amused. “You didn’t say anything, Jen. I left to find Advil.” He threw a bottle of pills at him. “It might help the headache go down. “

“You didn’t leave?”

A strange look passed over Jared’s face but then it was gone. “Of course not. Wanted to make sure you lived through the night, dumbass.”

“I don’t deserve you.” Jensen threw up once more. “How is there even anything left?” He took a couple of pills with a glass of water Jared handed him. “Thanks, Jay.”

Jared smiled. “Anytime. You need anything else?”

“Danneel,” Jensen croaked. She was his go to source of comfort in a hangover. “Please, I need Danni.”

Jared nodded. “I’ll be right back.” Jared turned to leave, but came back into the bathroom to kiss Jensen’s head softly. “As soon as possible.”

Jensen arched into Jared’s touch. “I don’t deserve you,” Jensen repeated.

 

Jared’s heart still ached as he went across the hall to Danneel’s room. He’d made it halfway to the door last night before he’d returned to Jensen’s bed and held him throughout the night. Jared woke up at 6 and left quickly to go for a run and find some medicine for Jensen. Jared knew he’d have a wicked hangover.

“Danni?” Jared knocked on the door. “Danneel, open up please.”

The door opened and Jared almost jumped back in shock at seeing Chris standing in boxers. “Yo.” Chris rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and they widened when he realized it was Jared. “I can explain.”

Danneel stepped into view wearing a bra and underwear. “Who is it?” Her eyes widened comically. “Um, hey, Jared.”

“I’m going to ignore this situation for the time being,” Jared said. “Jensen’s whining for you,” He said to Danneel.

“Hungover, is he?” Danneel yawned. “I’ll be right over.” She threw on a robe and crossed the hall.

Jared stared after her in disbelief and then turned to Chris. “Not judging or anything, but what the hell?”

“I guess you can come in.” Chris opened the door a little wider. “No use standing out in the hall.”

Jared stepped inside. “You gonna explain?”

“Danneel and I were both drunk and sexually frustrated. What else is there to explain?” Chris shrugged. “She never gets hungover. It’s super unfair. We just decided since we’re not going to get any action, we might as well…”

“Fuck each other.”

Chris nodded, and then bolted to the bathroom to throw up. “Jensen always likes have Danni around when he’s hungover. She is like a magic cure for him.” Chris took a sip of water. “I, on the other hand, lie here in pain for hours.” Chris fell on the floor. “Headaches, vomiting, the whole shebang.”

Jared knelt beside him. “Jensen was really trashed last night.”

“I heard. Kinda funny. He never gets wasted. He’s the responsible one, if you can believe it.”

Jared smiled softly. “Yeah, I can.”

Chris turned to him and rested his head on the toilet seat. “He’s nuts about you, you know. I know it takes him a little bit of time to open up but-,” He turned to the toilet to throw up again. “He’s a really great guy.” Chris paused. “He’ll kill me for telling you this so you can’t breath a word of it to anyone.”

Jared nodded and Chris continued. “In college, someone hurt him. Like, really badly. It was mean and cruel and it really fucked Jensen up. That’s why he doesn’t really open up to guys. It’s why he is the way he is. I’ll let him tell you the rest.”

“Why’d you tell me that?”

“Because I want you to know, Jared,” Chris dry heaved into the toilet. “It’s not because of you that he’s all closed off. It’s because of some dickbag in college. You’re healing him, bit by bit. And it is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. He used to be such a loving, open guy. Now he’s just… well, he’s not.”

Jared felt even more conflicted. “I just feel like… like he’s going to push me away.” God, Jared, you’re telling all this to Chris of all people?

“He will. He’ll push and push and push and close himself off. He’s mad at the world, Jared.” Chris dry heaved and groaned. “Fucking alcohol, man.” He paused. “Look, you’ve gotta be patient. It sucks, majorly, but if you come back every time Jensen pushes you away then he will open up. I promise.”

“Why aren’t you making fun of me?”

Chris laughed through his pain. “I make fun of Jensen because it’s hilarious. And I make fun of the two of you together because I’m a teenager at heart. But it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate seeing Jensen happy for the first time in a long time.”

Jared heard a groan from across the hall, followed by Jensen’s call of “Jared!”

“Man, if he’s yelling for you across the hall he must really be desperate,” Chris teased. “Go, I’ll be fine alone. I promise.”

Jared gave Chris one last grateful smile and crossed back into Jensen’s room to see him kneeling on the floor of the bathroom with Danneel rubbing his back. “Jare bear,” Jensen whined.

“He’s been pining for you,” Danneel teased. “You vanish for five minutes and he turns into a teenage girl.”

“Fuck you, Danni.” Jensen groaned.

“Fuck Jared, man.” She winked at the taller man. “I’m gonna go grab coffee and check on Chris.”

“Wait, what? Check on Chris-,”

Danneel cut Jensen off. “Bye, Jensen! Bye Jared! I’ll pick you up some coffee!”

Jensen looked at Jared. “What’s she talking about?”

Jared sat by Jensen and rubbed his back like Danneel had done before. “You weren’t the only one that got a little drunk last night.”

Jensen groaned. “Did they sleep together?”

Jared was silent and Jensen let his head fall onto the seat of the toilet. “God, people just can’t keep their hands off each other. What is it about this place that makes us all horny?”

Jared laughed and stroked Jensen’s hair soothingly. “It’s okay, baby, it’s okay.”

Jensen looked back up at Jared, briefly shocked at the term of endearment. “Are you sure I didn’t say anything? You’ve been acting weird all morning.”

Jared contemplated telling Jensen everything, all the love and the feelings that Jensen mumbled out. “You said something, but you were so drunk I couldn’t make it out,” Jared finally said. “I swear, it was like speaking to a baby. Just nod and pretend like you understand.”

“You jerk,” Jensen groaned. “I’m an awful drunk. Don’t ever let me drink again. If you care about me, you’ll never let me drink ever again.”

“Well, I must really hate you then because you were the most hilarious drunk I’d ever seen, and I definitely want a repeat.”

Jensen was about to retort but dry-heaved into the toilet and groaned in pain. “This sucks.”

Jared scooted closer so he could rest his head on Jensen’s shoulder and continue to run his hands through Jensen’s soft hair. Jensen put his head in the little nook on Jared’s collarbone. “It’s okay, Jen, I promise I’ll make it better.”

“You have some magic hangover cure now?”

“You could start by not bitching so much. This is your own fault.”

“I know,” Jensen said. “I know, and so is the ankle. And I’m ruining your vacation. Just go hook up with a pool boy or something.”

“They’re way too boring for me.”

“Aw, I’m not boring. How sweet. This dry heaving and whining must really be a turn on.”

Jared snuggled closer to Jensen. “Your existence in general is pretty much a turn on, Jen.”

“I’m flattered.”

Jared continued to soothe Jensen. “I’ll ignore the sarcasm because you look so crappy right now.”

Jensen leaned into Jared’s touch. “Don’t leave, ever.”

“I don’t have plans to. Where exactly would I go? I have a sinking feeling you’d find me.”

“Yeah, well you’d want me to find you so it’s all good.” Jared poked Jensen’s side and chuckled when Jensen flinched away with a giggle. “Oh shut up,” Jensen snapped.

Jared kissed a trail from Jensen’s collarbone up to the sensitive spot behind Jensen’s ear. “Sorry, Jen, it’s just really adorable.”

“I cannot stand you. Just leave.” Jared made to stand up and Jensen said quickly, “Wait, no, don’t go!”

Jared fell beside Jensen, laughing, and Jensen hit him lightly on the shoulder. “You’re mean,” He mumbled.

Jared leaned into kiss him but Jensen turned his head. “So mad you won’t even kiss me?”

“I’ve been throwing up all morning. Trust me, you don’t want to.”

Jared ignored Jensen and kissed him slowly. Jensen refused to open his mouth but Jared still sucked on Jensen’s bottom lip. Jensen let his head fall back into Jared when Jared pulled away. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“Do what? Kiss you? I love kissing you.”

Jensen looked into his honest hazel eyes. Jensen was at a loss for words. No, that’s a lie. Three words hung at the tip of his tongue, three words that Jensen was pretty sure he’d lost the meaning of until Jared, and it would only be too easy to blame saying it on the alcohol if Jared left him. “I love… kissing you too.” Jensen finished lamely.

Jared seemed disappointed by Jensen’s answer and Jensen panicked. Did I say it wrong? Was I supposed to do something else? Damn it, Ackles, just get out. He turned his head back to the toilet and pressed his head to the cool surface, willing Jared to ignore him. Jensen let his eyelids fall shut in hopes of concealing the longing he knew was blatantly displayed in them

They jumped back open when Jensen felt a pair of arms wrap around his waist. Jensen buried his face into Jared’s collarbone. “You’re the amazing hangover cure,” Jensen muttered into Jared.

Jensen felt Jared’s body shake with laughter. “I know. It’s one of my many appealing characteristics.”

“I’d list more but I think I might throw up in the middle and that might lessen the effect of what I’m going for.”

“Just a little,” Jared teased. He pressed his lips to Jensen’s forehead. “Just a little.”

“Ugh, the PDA is killing me.” Jensen turned to see Chris’s teasing and pale face in the doorway of the bathroom. “Move over, Ackles, you’re not the only one that’s about to puke.”

Jensen attempted to argue but eventually just scooted over on the floor. “How much did you drink?”

“No more than Danni, but that girl is made of steel. It’s just cruel, Jenny.”

“I know. But I mean, it didn’t stop you from ‘hanging out’ with her last night, did it Chris?”

Chris glowered at him. “If I wasn’t hungover, I would kill you.”

Jensen smirked. “Thank goodness for hangovers then. Is Danni going to get coffee?”

“Danni has returned with coffee,” The sassy redhead said from the doorway. “For all of us.” She handed out coffees to the three of them. “I figured Jared would need one too, considering he has to put up with your sorry ass all the time,” Danneel said to Jensen.

“I bet Jared loves Jensen’s sorry ass,” Chris muttered.

“Hangover or not, I am going to kill you,” Jensen snapped.

Chris only smirked before doubling up over the toilet. “Fuck alcohol, man. I’m sticking with water for the rest of my life.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Jensen agreed. He slumped onto Jared. “Amen.”

“Wow,” Mike’s voice said from the entryway in Jensen’s room. “I guess the gang’s all here.”

Mike and Tom joined Danneel in the doorway. “So, it’s two sober and two hungover? Poor Danni and Jared, having to take care of you two losers,” Tom drawled.

“Jared loves hanging out with me,” Jensen retorted before dry heaving over the toilet.

“Yeah,” Tom said sarcastically. “You’re a real catch.”

Jensen huffed and then resigned himself to lying on the floor. “Help me out, Jare, I’m going against these bozos alone.”

Jared snickered. “I took pity on him. He needed someone to care for him.”

“Mend his broken wing,” Chris added. It earned him a punch from Jensen. “Ow, jackass, that hurt!”

“Yeah, well pick your words more carefully.”

“The two drunks are fighting!” Danneel exclaimed. “Someone get a video camera!”

“You guys are awful. Chris and I are suffering and you are mocking us.”

Jared laughed and kissed the spot by Jensen’s ear that made his limps turn weak. “Out of love, Jen.”

He said love—shit, what do I do—do I say love? Jensen tried to conceal the pop rock feeling bouncing around in his stomach. Should I say I love him? Not in front of our friends. “It’s a funny way of showing your love, Jare bear.”

“I can’t get over that nickname,” Chris scoffed. “It’s like you’re a group of little kids.”

“Least I’m getting laid.”

Danneel shot him a look. There was word hidden beneath that look, a very significant word, but Jensen ignored that so he could lean into Jared. “I like Jared, and Jared likes me.” Jensen said simply. “If I call him Jare bear or Jared or fucker is entirely up to me.”

“I think you have called me all of those,” Jared mused.

“Out of love,” Jensen replied. The words slipped out before he could stop them and he turned his eyes to the ground quickly.

Jared only cuddled up beside Jensen. “It’s a funny way of showing your love.”

Jensen smiled, and hid his head in the nook of Jared’s shoulder.

 

When Jensen and Chris had finished whining and throwing up and their headaches and subsided a little bit, the six of them decided it was a beach day. “We need to tan,” Mike declared. “I am not getting married as white as a ghost.”

“I’d marry you no matter your skin tone,” Tom had cooed and made them all look away in mock disgust.

And that’s how they ended up on beach towels with sunglasses on, feet buried in the sand and feeling relaxed for the first time on this vacation. “This is wonderful,” Danneel said. “There is nothing about this I dislike.”

“Well, I mean, the loud screaming children isn’t exactly something I am eager to blog about,” Chris replied.

“Always the sarcasm, never the sweetness. Try a little love, won’t you Chris?”

“Darling, this has been working out for me.”

“Yes, somehow it is. Got me into your bed last night, god knows how.”

“What?” Mike and Tom exclaimed at the same time. “How did this happen?” Tom asked. “Why did this happen?”

Danneel sighed. “Drunk and sexually frustrated 20-year-olds do not exactly have the best judgment. Chris was sex, and I wanted sex.”

“That’s not bad judgment, that’s just dumb.” Tom paused. “Was it good sex?”

Danneel winked. “Very good.”

Chris leaned across to high-five Danneel. “Yeahhh buddy!”

Danneel rolled her eyes and lay back down on her towel. “I’m going to take a nap.” She put her headphones in, which was Danneel speak for “don’t fucking talk to me”.

Jensen laid his head on Jared. His eyes were shut so Jensen could examine him in great detail. Jared didn’t need to tan. He was golden and gorgeous and all muscle. His copper highlights in his hair shone under the sunlight and Jensen thought he was so beautiful it hurt. Out of all the people in the world, out of all the people Jared could be with, he’d chosen Jensen.

Major flaw, dude. Jensen rolled onto his back with a sigh. Jensen couldn’t even think the word love without choking on his sentence. Jared was an idiot for even sticking with him for this long. And it raised the question Jensen asked every morning when he woke up—

Jared had left every guy he’d ever slept with. So why had he stayed with Jensen?

Oh right. It's because they haven't had sex. "Why haven't we had sex yet?"

"We have."

"Not real sex, Jare."

Jared sighed. "Patience is a virtue, Jen." His hazel eyes were closed but Jensen knew they were laughing at him.

Jensen drew nonsensical patters across Jared’s shoulder. He occasionally let his finger trace the firm collarbone where Jensen loved to rest his head. Jensen watched a smile form across Jared’s face, though his eyes remained closed. “Jen…”

“Jay…”

Jared opened one eye to look at him. The twinkling smile that lit up his hazel eyes made Jensen feel like he was sitting in front of a campfire. “You don’t know what you do to me.”

Jensen slid onto Jared’s lap, not caring that there were kids or that he was in front of his friends. “I really, really, think I do.” He kissed Jared and let the taller man wind his fingers through his short hair, pulling Jensen closer.

“You fucking tease,” Jared muttered into Jensen’s ear. “The things I’m imagining right now.”

Jensen smiled against Jared’s cheek. “I’d let you.”

“I know, you asshole.”

“You guys have to do this here?” Mike groaned. “Out of all the places?”

“The beach makes me horny,” Jared retorted.

Jensen laughed and rolled off Jared. “You’re the greatest.”

“Fuck yeah I am.”

“Tommy, what’s the wedding thing tonight?” Chris asked from his lazy position on his towel. “If you say another party I’m boarding a plane here and now.”

“I dunno. Mike?”

“Relax, Chris. It’s movie night.”

“Great. More opportunities for couples to share their love and for me to sit alone, moping.”

Danneel snorted and the others realized she was awake. “I rocked your world last night, Kane, don’t go bitching about being alone.”

“Want a repeat?”

“You should be begging me, sweetheart.”

Jensen ignored their debate. “I still find this incredibly weird.”

Jared nodded into Jensen’s shoulder. “Let them have their moment.”

“Is that what we’re calling it now? A moment?”

“You choose a word then.”

“I would have chosen fucked.”

Jared rolled his eyes. “For a writer, your vocabulary is surprisingly limited.”

“I suppose that’s why I’m unpublished.”

Jared stroked Jensen’s hair comfortingly. “I thought it was because you weren’t done?”

“Well, I mean, that too.”

Jared laughed. “When are you going to let me read this phantom novel, anyway?”

“When I’ve decided it doesn’t suck.” Jensen was very shy about letting others read his writing. So far in his life, Danneel was the only one to read anything he’d written.

“You don’t trust me with your writing?”

“It’s not that I don’t trust you it’s that…” Jensen stopped. “I dunno. Sometime, I promise, you can read it.”

“I’m going to hold you to that, Ackles.” Jared gave Jensen a kiss before shutting both his eyes again. Jensen sighed and then found the place on Jared’s shoulder to curl up and let the sun tan him.

 

Movie night was some horror flick. Jensen wasn’t sure what it was or what was going on. There were a lot of screaming girls and buckets of blood but Jensen had kept himself preoccupied by finding the pieces of popcorn with most butter and eating them.

Jared, however, was riveted to the screen. Apparently Mike and Jared loved horror movies and Jared had seen any movie that could be classified as horror that had ever come out. Jensen had been impressed until he got a rundown of Jared’s favorite death scenes and Jensen wanted to puke again.

Jensen’s head was lying on Jared’s shoulder as he picked through the popcorn. Jared had long since finished his and would occasionally steal some from Jensen. As long as it was the less buttery pieces, Jensen was okay with it. His lips must have been shining from the butter; Jared’s certainly were. It made them seem all the more kissable but Jared was more interested in the damn movie than Jensen.

He knew he sounded like a rejected high school girlfriend. But Jared was his only entertainment if he wasn’t going to watch the movie. Eventually Jensen turned his eyes toward the screen to see if there was any interest at all to the screaming at the blood.

There wasn’t. Not really. Jensen hadn’t been following enough to know the plot and all he could think about was the irrationality of the idea that one person had THAT much blood in their body.

“You’re bored,” Jared whispered to him.

Jensen wanted to lie but it wasn’t like it would really be offending Jared. “Not bored… I just haven’t been following. Horror isn’t really my genre.”

“Yeah, I pegged you as more of a rom com guy.”

Jensen snorted. “Rom coms can be very classy movies. And I just don’t like the feeling of adrenaline and all the screaming.”

Jared placed his head on top of Jensen’s. “Let’s leave then.”

“No, Jare bear, you love horror movies.”

“Almost as much as I hate that nickname.” Jared kissed the top of Jensen’s head. “But I can’t even talk to you here.” He slipped an arm around Jensen’s waist. “Now, are you going to take me back to your room or not?”

 

At this point, Jensen referred to it more as our room than my room. Jared’s clothes lay scattered across the floor and his toiletries lined the counter next to Jensen’s. But the disorderly state of their room or how many pairs of Jared’s underwear covered Jensen’s floor were not his main concern at the moment.

Right now, all Jensen could think about was Jared’s lips on Jensen’s. Jared sucked and nipped, his mouth opening and allowing Jensen’s tongue to find its way inside. At the moment all Jensen cared about was the way Jared’s hands snaked around Jensen’s body and his lips trailed to his neck. Jensen only paid attention to the muscle of Jared’s body, the indent of Jared’s hipbones, the feeling Jared’s hands sent through Jensen’s body as his hands wound under the waistband of Jensen’s boxers.

“God… fuck, Jare!”

Jared pulled his lips off Jensen’s neck to say, “Not Jare bear?”

Jensen glared and pushed Jared onto the bed to straddle his waist. “Oh, Padalecki, you’re so…”

“I think the words you’re looking for are ‘fucking amazing’.”

Jensen kissed him roughly at the same time he started to pull of Jared’s shirt. “All mine.”

Jared undid the button on Jensen’s shorts at the same time Jensen pulled Jared’s shirt off. Jensen tried as hard as he could to keep his lips on Jared’s throughout the endeavor, moaning as Jared ran his fingers across Jensen’s skin. Each article of clothing they pulled off each other landed on the floor beside the bed until he was just Jensen and Jared, only and entirely themselves.

Jensen wasn’t quite sure why he felt so nervous. He’d had sex before; he had it weekly in New York. But this time, with Jared staring at him through lidded hazel eyes with pupils blown wide in lust, Jensen felt a passion that he never felt in New York. Jensen kissed Jared again, gently.

“You taste like strawberries,” Jared murmured to Jensen.

“You taste like candy.”

Jared laughed and kissed Jensen again. The kiss was longer and Jared’s strong arms came to wrap around Jensen. He pushed Jensen onto his back without breaking the kiss and Jensen’s stray arm reached to the nightstand. He’d stored lube and a condom in there somewhere.

Jensen broke away to breath. “I have to see, Jare.”

Jared pouted and Jensen wacked his head playfully. Jensen grabbed the lube and the condom and tore the wrapper with his teeth—“what are you, a savage?” Jared had mocked—and unrolled it onto his dick. Jensen flipped Jared onto his back and placed a kiss on the spot that Jensen so loved to put his head.

"Tell me if i hurt your ankle," Jared said quickly.

"I'm not a china doll, Jare."

Jared took the lube from Jensen and put a generous amount on his hand. Jared slicked up Jensen’s cock, twisting and pulling making Jensen moan with pleasure. Jensen took the tube from Jared next, maneuvering Jared’s legs so his hole was visible. Jensen took one slicked up finger, then 2, and then 3 and widened Jared until he was ready for Jensen.

Jared moaned as he felt Jensen’s cock line up with his ass. “Fuck, Jen, do it already!”

“So needy,” Jensen teased. He pushed his cock into Jared’s hole, gently and slowly at first so Jared could get used to the feeling. Jared’s breathy was heavy and Jensen whispered to him, “Don’t worry baby, I got you, I got you.”

Jared nodded. “I’m fine, I’m fine.” That all to gorgeous smirk slipped onto Jared’s face. “Now come on, Jen, what’re you waiting for? Danneel to walk in with a camera?”

Jensen growled and slowly pulled out and pushed in again. He moved slowly and then faster making sure to hit Jared’s prostate each time. They were both moaning and Jared let out a particularly loud, “Fuck!” When Jensen started to stroke Jared’s cock as well. “Fucking hell, Jen!”

Jensen grinned down at him and moved faster. He could feel his orgasm building. Jensen loved the feeling of being inside Jared. It was less like sex and more like… he cut his thought off as the feeling of pleasure overtook him completely. “Fuck, Jay!” He pumped Jared’s cock faster.

Jared moaned and arched his back. “Fuck!” He screamed before coming in Jensen’s hand. Jensen gave a cry as well and came inside Jared, slumping down on top of him like a tired dog.

“Jare…”

Jared gave him a tired smile. “That was awesome.”

Jensen smiled and gingerly pulled out of Jared. He rolled up and discarded the used condom. Jared still had the exhausted, pleasure-induced smile on his face and Jensen stroked Jared’s sweaty mane until it could sort of qualify as orderly. “Jen?”

“Yeah, Jare bear?”

“You said it.”

“Said what?” Jensen was confused.

“Baby. You called me baby.” Jared was smirking again.

Jensen rolled of Jared and snuggled tight against him. “Shut up, Jare.”

“Don’t you mean baby?”

“I’m going to sleep.”

Jared laughed and nuzzled his head into Jensen’s neck. “Goodnight, baby.”

“Don’t make a habit out of this.”

Jared giggled. “Okay, Jen, just when we’re alone.” He kissed the back of Jensen’s neck. “That sex was worth waiting for, wasn’t it?”

“Go to sleep, Jared.”

Jared chuckled again before wrapping his arms around Jensen and closing his eyes. Jensen grinned and pushed himself into Jared’s embrace. It was almost wrong to call it sex it was so intimate. It was pure and real and honest and probably the best sex—if you could use that word—Jensen had ever had. He almost felt like he should say making love.

But there was that damn word again. Jensen shook his head and tried not to think about anything but falling asleep in Jared’s embrace. With one last smile Jensen admitted to himself that Jared was right.

Jared was worth waiting for.

Chapter Text

Jensen woke up beside Jared again. It wasn’t a surprise. At this point, not waking up next to Jared would be a surprise. It was a little pathetic, in Jensen’s mind, that he’d gotten so dependent on some guy that could do so much better than Jensen.

Jared stirs and turns sleep-heavy eyes to Jensen. “Hey, baby.”

“Gonna keep calling me that?”

“Always. Maybe I’ll even start doing it in front of our friends.”

Jensen would go to his deathbed denying butterflies danced in his stomach when Jared said “our friends”. He’d never admit how much he liked that Jared wanted to stick around with him. Not even under duress. “I’d leave you faster than you could blink.”

“Are you implying we’re together?”

Jensen blushed. “I’m not implying anything.” He pushed out of Jared’s grasp and onto his feet. It was probably the fastest he’d ever gotten up, disregarding again the fact that he’d hurt his ankle and once again collapsed. “Fuck.”

“Take it slow, hot stuff.” Jared leaned over to help Jensen back onto the bed. “Since when were you big on getting up early?”

“It’s not early. It’s-,” Jensen checked the clock. “8:00.” Definitely too early to wake up on vacation. “Not early at all.”

Jensen knew Jared saw straight through his lies. “Okay, Jen. Just come lie down a little longer.”

Jensen definitely didn’t feel disappointed when Jared didn’t call him baby. “I think we should…” Jensen’s sentence was cut off by Jared’s lips, dragging him back on to the bed.

“I think we should lie down a little longer, baby.”

Jensen smiled. “You’re so embarrassing.”

“Aw,” Jared cooed. “You’re embarrassed by me.” Jared buried his face in Jensen’s shoulder. “We’re practically a couple.”

“Do we have to get matching shirts?”

“I bet Chris would get them for us if we asked.”

Jensen groaned. “God forbid we ever ask Chris for anything regarding our relationship.”

Jared laughed. “I think we’ll be truly desperate, at that point.”

“No amount of desperation could drive me to Chris.” Jensen smiled. “Though if you’re ever in need of cheering up, Chris is the one to go to.”

“I believe that.” Jared drew circles on the palm of Jensen’s hand. “He seems like the kind of guy that could make you laugh no matter what.”

Jensen felt his small falter, but the kindness in Jared’s face brought it back. “No matter what.”

Jared’s circles traced all the way up Jensen’s arms and then traced Jensen’s neck, his collarbones, his chest, his nipples. He felt them harden and automatically blushed. “I love your blush,” Jared said. “I love how happy your eyes look when you blush.”

Jensen frowned. “I hate my blush. It makes my freckles stand out. And I look like a fucking teenage girl.”

“Yes, but you’re my teenage girl,” Jared teased. “And I love your freckles. Every one of them.”

Jensen smiled shyly. “I don’t.”

“You should. They make you all the more gorgeous.”

“Can you name something you don’t like about me?”

“Why would I do that?”

“I dunno, you like everything!” Jensen said. “There’s so much not to like!”

Jared frowned. He pulled Jensen on top of him. “Is that what you think?”

Jensen tried to roll of Jared but his arms held him fast. Damn his strength. “Forget I said anything.”

Jared leaned up and kissed Jensen. It was gentle and kind and full of sweetness and it made Jensen feel warm from his toes to his heart. “There is nothing not to like about you, Jensen. Not a thing.”

Jensen stroked Jared’s soft hair. “Every morning turns into a love fest with you.”

“I’ve been told I’m like a puppy dog.”

“Cuddly and soft?”

“Persistent and loud.”

Jensen laughed loudly at that comment and the traces of his bad mood vanished. Jared had a particular knack for making that happen and Jensen made a mental note to punch him for it. If Jensen wanted to suffer, then he would suffer. Jared seemed to know what he was thinking because he said, “It’s my job to put a smile on your face, baby.”

Don’t ever stop calling me that. Even in front of our friends. “Well, I’m not paying you for it.”

Jared hummed. “I think your smile is payment enough.”

And with every word Jared spoke, Jensen fell that much harder.

 

Jared was trying to desperately to crack away at Jensen’s armor. He’d gotten a few chips in over the past few days and a large one this morning. How could Jensen think he was less than perfect when all Jared saw in him was amazing? He thought of what Chris had said about the jerk in college who’d fucked up Jensen.

Jared would gladly beat up the asshole that hurt Jensen. He’d beat him up, and then yell at him and try and make him feel as small as he made Jensen feel. God, what Jared would do to know what he’d done to make someone as loving and as wonderful as Jensen think there were imperfections. Jared only saw gold when he looked at Jensen. Jared was so head over heels there must be hearts in his eyes when he looked at Jensen.

There were clouds overhead. Nothing dark or intimidating, but it was certainly different from the clear blue skies that they’d been blessed with the past days. How long had they been on the island now? Six days?

Six days. Six days, and Jared was drooling over Jensen like he was shiny toy. A shiny toy that still looked like he was made of sunshine even under the cloud cover. Lucky bastard. Jared knew Jensen would still tan, too.

Jensen was looking at him funnily. “You okay, Jare?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I’m more than fine, I have you, Jared wanted to say. But he knew better than to push at something that wouldn’t bend.

Jensen shrugged and looped his hand through Jared’s. It was the first time Jensen had taken Jared’s hand and not vice versa. As they walked through the grounds surrounding the hotel Jensen looked skeptically up at the clouds. “Think it’ll rain?”

“Maybe. Hawaiian rain is nice though, it’s warm and you can run around in it.”

“Will there be thunder?” Jensen asked.

No. And if there is, I’ll protect you. “I don’t know. It’ll probably just be a little rain and then it’ll be over. Quick. Nothing big.”

Jared was wrong. Around 1:00, buckets started to pour down on the two of them. They were standing on the beach when it started to rain—pour—and they were almost immediately soaked to the bone. Jared was right though, the rain was warm and it really was nice.

Jared tilted his head towards the sky so the ran could soak his face as well as the rest of his body. His eyes were shut and he breathed in the cool scent of rain. It mingled with the seawater. The combination was all Hawaii and all peace and Jared could have stayed there forever. The sand was as drenched as the two of them and it solidified under their feet. Jared missed the soft grains that his feet would sink in to.

“Jay, are we just going to stand in the rain?”

Jared looked over at Jensen. Jensen seemed much less impressed with the weather than Jared, staring apprehensively at the clouds. They were dark and loomed overhead. They melted into one giant mass and commanded the sky. “You don’t like it?”

“It’s pouring, Jared. We’re soaking wet!”

“It’s warm. Like swimming standing up.”

“If I want to stand in warm water, I’ll take a shower.” Jensen looked bitterly out at the ocean. The waves came stronger and faster and the pale blue was more navy. “Even the ocean is pissed off.”

“I think the ocean’s having a great time. How many times can it go nuts like this?”

“It’s Hawaii, Jare bear, it rains all the time.”

Jared wished Jensen could love the rain as much as he did. “You live in New York,” Jared tried. “It must rain all the time there!”

“It does,” Jensen said. “But it no way does it mean I like it.”

“You don’t have to like it, you just have to be used to it.”

“Unfortunately, I’m not used to it.” Jensen frowned. “Come on, Jare, let’s go inside.”

Jared kicked at the sand. It didn’t scatter like it usually did and only left a rough, toe-shaped indent. Jensen sighed at his reluctance. “If there’s lightning, we’re going in.”

Jared’s whole face brightened. A small smile was even creeping onto Jensen’s face. Jared kissed him furiously before running into the ocean. He felt more carefree than he had in a while and threw all his inhibitions away. Jared could almost hear the raging howl of the wind carry them far away as Jared drank in the sound of Jensen’s laughter. “Come in and join me!”

Jensen looked at the waves. “I think one of those could just know me over.”

“I’ll protect you from the big, bad, waves, Jensen. I think one of them was almost a foot high!”

Jensen glared at Jared’s taunting. He stepped into the water and moved slowly to Jared as opposed to Jared’s eager bounds. “It’s fucking cold, Jare.”

Jared sighed and met Jensen halfway. He didn’t seem to be willing to go past his knees which was ridiculous given they were already soaked to the bone. Jared was going to mock Jensen more but he saw goosebumps on his arms and instead, Jared enveloped Jensen in a warm hug. Jensen stood stiff for a minute and then looped his arms around Jared gingerly. “Still cold?”

Jared felt Jensen’s lips curl up into a smile. “A little.”

Jared held him tighter. “How about now?”

“Perfect.” Jensen’s green eyes turned to look into Jared’s and Jared felt all the air leave his lungs. “Absolutely perfect.”

And Jared, damn him, couldn’t help himself. He kissed Jensen again and they remained like that for a while, kissing while the waves lapped around them.

“You know,” Jensen said after a while. “I really like this thing we’ve got going on. But I’m practically as wet as the ocean.” Jared chuckled and Jensen slapped his arm. “Grow up.”

Jared ducked his head in a way that he knew Jensen found adorable. “Sorry, Jen.”

“That’s not going to work, Jared.”

“You sound like a concerned parent.”

“And you sound like a little kid. So why don’t we act our age and-,” Jensen cut himself off. A clap of thunder echoed in the distance. “We’re leaving.” Jensen turned and fled from the ocean like it was in flames. Jensen was limping due to his ankle but he still moved fairly quickly.

“Jensen!” Jared groaned and chased after him. The waves slowed him down but he caught up to Jensen quick enough after he’d gotten out of the water. “Jen, slow up. There’s no monster.”

“I told you, if there’s thunder, I’m going in.”

“You said lightning.”

Jensen stiffened and quickened his pace, which was surprisingly fast considering his ankle hurt. “Same thing,” He muttered.

“Jen!” Jared kept pace with Jensen. “Baby, slow down, it’s okay.”

Jensen slowed his walk when Jared spoke to him again. “I’m fine,” Jensen said briskly.

“I know,” Jared said. “I know, baby, I know.”

“You said you’d only call me that when we’re alone.”

Jared waved his hands at the almost vacant hotel grounds. “No one’s here, Jen. It’s just you and me.”

“Yeah, because they were all smart and got out of the rain.” There was another clap of thunder and Jensen jumped. “Now come on,” He gripped Jared’s shirt and tugged him along. Jensen winced when he put pressure on his ankle.

Jared followed Jensen—without much grace and with much stumbling—trying to figure out what had Jensen so freaked. It was just small storm. They happened all the time. But every time there was a roar of thunder Jensen picked up his steps a little more. “Jen,” Jared tried. “It’s just a storm.”

Jensen ignored him. “Let’s just get inside.” The only real relief that crossed Jensen’s face was when he pushed open the lobby doors and fell inside the hotel. They were dripping and many of the hotel staff barely concealed their grimaces at their appearances.

Jared glanced at Jensen, expecting to see embarrassment, but his face was blank except for the determination to get upstairs as quickly as possible. “Jen, it’s just a little thunder and rain,” Jared said again. He didn’t get a response from Jensen this time. His green eyes were as cloudy as the storm clouds as he stood with his arms crossed by the elevator.

Jared suspected that Jensen pressed the button for the 11th floor about 10 times more than was necessary. Jared passed it off on Jensen being cold, and that’s why he was shivering too. Jensen was rock solid most of the time, and a silly storm couldn’t set him off.

When they arrived at Jensen’s door and the two of them stepped inside—it was still fairly odd to Jared that he spent more time in Jensen’s room than in his own, when was the last time he even slept without Jensen?—the first thing Jensen did was step inside the bathroom with the call, “I’m going to take a shower!”

Jared knew he hadn’t wanted to get so wet and felt guilty for making him stand out in the rain just because Jared wanted to experience the warm rain of Hawaii. He groaned and stripped off his soaking shirt. It didn’t make much of a difference; Jared was so wet his bones were probably damp.

Jensen was probably pissed at him. Jared was sure this was true when Jensen stayed in the shower for almost twenty minutes. Eventually Jared knocked on the door and said, “Jen? You good?”

Jared heard the shower stop and the curtain being pulled back. “I’m fine,” Jensen’s voice was strained. “Absolutely fine.” The second time he was quieter and Jared knew he wasn’t supposed to hear it.

“Shower’s all yours,” Jensen muttered. He came out in just a towel wrapped around his waist and Jared stopped himself from pinning Jensen against the wall and kissing him until his lips were raw. He settled with gently touching his lips to Jensen’s and stepping into the bathroom. Jared had figured out Jensen was freaked out by the thunder. As soon as Jensen had gotten back into the room Jared had realized it. He tried to convey to Jensen that he was safe with his kiss, that nothing bad was going to happen to him.

The mirror was still steamy from where Jensen had taken his shower. A shape was traced in the middle and even though it had almost fogged over, Jared couldn’t mistake that the lines curved into a heart.

 

Jensen got dressed quickly. He’d fucking drawn on a heart on the mirror for Jared and now regretted it. He knew Jared would think it was stupid. Jensen hoped it had fogged over by now while he sat on the bed and tried to block out the thunder. “It’s just a little storm, it’s just a little rain and thunder.” But the next clap of thunder resonated around the room and Jensen almost fell of the bed.

Jensen knew that Jared thought it was stupid to be scared of storms. But Jensen had always hated them. Rain, he was okay with. Absolute downpour with lightning and thunder? Jensen was not okay with that at all.

He wasn’t sure exactly when he’d started being frightened by storms. Probably when he was a kid. Mack had always hated thunder, but she was never scared of it like Jensen was. Josh would have laughed and told him to grow up. So Jensen faced the horrible storms alone. Still did. There was no way in hell he was going to let on to Jared that he was terrified of a little wind and rain.

Not terrified. Just a little freaked out.

The door to the bathroom opened and Jared stepped out. “Can I borrow a shirt? I think the only one I have is soaking wet.”

Jensen nodded and offered Jared one of Jensen’s shirts, along with a pair of Jared’s dry sweatpants. Jared smiled gratefully and Jensen found a little bit of tension ease away with just those dimples. But thunder sounded again and Jensen dropped the clothes. “Shit, Jare, I’m sorry!” Jensen scrambled to pick them up and handed them to Jared.

“Jen, it’s alright. It’s fine.” Jared had such a calm voice that for a minute, Jensen thought everything was calm and fine and they weren’t being pounded by rain and a storm. A flash of light, vivid and bright and visible even through the closed curtains, brought Jensen back to reality.

Jensen slunk back to the bed and squeezed a pillow until his hands were white. When Jared got dressed he sat beside Jensen and rubbed circles on his back in the soothing way that he’d done when Jensen was too hungover to function. “I’m here, baby, it’s okay.”

“It’s just a stupid storm,” Jensen muttered. But he didn’t move away from Jared’s touch, if anything he moved into it.

“I don’t like whales,” Jared finally said. “They’re huge and scary and I don’t get everyone’s fascination with them.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” Jensen asked. He knew. He knew Jared was trying to make him feel better about being scared of the rain.

“I just thought you should know. Being scared isn’t lame or childish. It’s a human emotion. And I’m scared of whales.” Jensen chuckled, despite himself, and Jared rolled his eyes. “Yes, it’s dumb. But I’m scared.”

“It’s still better than being scared of a storm,” Jensen said. “It’s just a little rain and wind. You love the rain.”

“Warm rain in Hawaii? Sure.” Jared waved a hand at the window. “I’m not so crazy about this.”

Jensen fiddled with the invisible string on his covers. “I don’t like being scared.” Get a grip, Jensen. What are you, 12?

“One more way we’re like each other.” Jared gave Jensen a comforting smile.

You’re such a wimp, Ackles, being scared of a stupid storm. Just grow up. Jensen’s breathing evened out but at the next burst of thunder Jensen jumped again and jerked his ankle painfully. He let out a mix between a yelp and a mewling noise. I’m pathetic, Jensen thought.

Jared’s firm arms steadied him. “I got you, no worries.” His arms didn’t leave Jensen even when he was firmly on the bed. Jared wrapped himself around Jensen and Jensen folded into his warm embrace.

No. Bad. Let go, don’t show weakness. Push away. But Jensen clung to Jared like he was his teddy bear when thunder sounded again. It rang in Jensen’s ears after. “I really don’t like storms.”

Jared started to rub his back again and Jensen sighed contently. He hadn’t even noticed they were lying down until his head found the pillow. Completely enfolded in Jared, Jensen felt warm and comfortable. Jared kissed Jensen, first on his lips and then a trail up to the sensitive spot behind his ear. He nibbled and sucked gently. Jensen let out soft moans and snuggled tighter to Jared. Jensen regretted this when he felt Jared smirk. Jensen knew what was coming and he tried to escape but Jared started to tickle him and Jensen erupted into loud laughter. “Stop! Jay!”

Jared ignored him and tickled him until his laughter drowned out the thunder. Eventually Jared stopped the tickling and kissed Jensen’s flushed faced. “Asshole,” Jensen snapped.

Jared refused to let Jensen squirm out of his grasp. “Just trying to make you smile, baby.”

Jensen’s anger melted with the sound of Jared’s voice and he kissed Jared back. His warm lips pushed the sound of thunder right out of Jensen’s chest and slowed his rapidly beating heartbeat. “It’s just a stupid storm,” Jensen mumbled again.

“Nothing stupid about it. “ Jared ran his fingers through Jensen’s hair. He practically purred under Jared’s touch. Jared let Jensen rest his head on Jared’s collarbone and said, “I got you, I got you, I got you baby.” Jensen let Jared’s heartbeat relax him but he didn’t miss Jared’s last quiet comment, “And I’m never letting you go.”

Jensen didn’t jump at the next clap of thunder.

 

They had lay in bed, a tangle of limbs, until a soft knock rapped at the door. “Jen, you in there?”

Jensen recognized Danneel’s voice. “Yeah, Danni, we both are.”

Danneel didn’t even ask who the other person was. “Well… you good?” Danneel was well aware of his phobia of storms.

Jensen smiled at Jared. “Yeah, I’m good. I’m really good.”

Jared cuddled against Jensen. “I’m good too,” Jared said softly to Jensen.

“Danni? You still there?”

“Yeah, Jen, I’m here,” Danni called. “I just came to tell you that Tom and Mike are getting pizza in their room. It’ll just be the six of us, if you guys come. Whatever activity they had planned tonight is off. So. Their room is on the 14th floor. 1409, I think. So, um, join. If you want.”

Jensen heard her footsteps receding. “You wanna go?” He asked Jared.

Jared shrugged. “Pizza is pizza, man, no matter where we get it. Plus this way, someone else is paying for it.”

Jensen felt himself smiling giddily, the smile that only Jared brought out in him. And no matter how hard he tried to smother the smile Jared brought it back out again. “Okay, Jare bear, we’ll go.”

“You can’t call me Jare bear.”

“You can’t call me baby.”

Jared placed a kiss on Jensen’s nose. “You’ve called me baby too.”

“Yeah, once.”

“It’s been more than once, dumbo.”

Jensen shoved at him playfully and staggered out of bed. “Well, I’m starving. I don’t think I’ve had anything other than coffee all day. It’s fucking 7:00 already.”

Jared grinned. “Your own fault, dumbo. How’s your ankle feel?”

Jensen put some pressure on it and found that it didn’t hurt as bad as it had in the past few days. “Fine. Really, it barely hurts.” Jared looked at him skeptically. “I’m fine, Jare. I don’t need to lean on you all the way up the elevator.”

Jared rolled his eyes. “Okay, just want to make sure you’re not hurt.”

“How thoughtful of you.”

Jensen did end up leaning on Jared for most of the way up, his shoulder brushing Jared’s or Jared’s arm around Jensen’s waist. Jensen just didn’t mention that it was because he liked being close to Jared. If Jared wanted to think it was his ankle hurting, that was fine. Nothing wrong with being a little weak.

Oh my god, I’m a girl, Jensen thought.

The pizza was warm and waiting for the two of them inside Tom and Mike’s room, along with everyone else. Tom had gotten cheese and sausage just the way Jensen liked it. “Ooh, yum!” Jensen exclaimed. “I’m starving.”

“Well dig in before Chris eats it all,” Danni teased.

“I hate you, Danni. You’re a wicked girl.”

“Aw, thanks Chris.”

Jensen took a piece and didn’t think twice about finding a piece for Jared that had lots of meat on it. It’s something he’d learned about Jared; he loved pizza with lots of meat. Jared beamed at him when he remembered and it sent warmth all through Jensen’s body.

The rain still poured down outside and it was dark enough to be midnight, despite it only being 7:15. “Wanna see if there’s a movie on?” Mike suggested. He and Tom were curled up together and for once Jensen wasn’t cringing away, internally mocking the openly romantic couple. He supposed it would have been too hypocritical since Jared sat pretty much as close to him as Tom did to Mike.

Jensen nibbled at his pizza. “I’m not watching a horror flick.”

“Or some cheesy rom com,” Jared added with a smile directed at Jensen.

Danneel looked between them. “I feel like there’s an inside joke I’m missing.”

“Nah,” Jensen said. “Just two friends eating pizza.”

"Sure..." Tom drawled. "Friends." He flipped through the channels before Jensen could retort. "Oh, look, The Breakfast Club!"

Chris groaned. "That movie is so lame, man!"

"Um, that didn't stop you from staying up until 1 am to watch it with me your sophomore year of high school."

Chris blushed. "Shut up."

Danneel laughed. "Let's watch it."

Jensen looked up at Jared. "You seen this movie?" He whispered.

Jared nodded. "Who hasn't?"

"You like it?"

Jared grinned. "It's cute. And you know, one of those girls kinda reminds me of you." Jensen punched his arm and turned to the movie. Jared slung an arm around Jensen's shoulder.

Chris rolled his eyes at them and then jumped at the sound of a branch hitting the window. “Man, when it rains, it pours.”

“What?” Jared asked.

“It’s an idiomatic expression,” Jensen explained. “It sort of means that when one bad thing happens, a lot of bad things happens. It’s not raining, it’s pouring. Not really meant to be used to describe actual rain.”

“Could it be used the other way?”

Jensen looked at Jared. “What do you mean?”

“Like, when one good thing happens, a lot of good things happen.”

Jensen tapped his chin. “Well, people might look at you funny if you use it that way. It’s not really how it’s used.”

Jared gave that bright grin. “Well, I’m going to use it that way.”

Danneel smiled too. “I like it. It’s optimistic. A nice change from all the pessimism.” She tossed Jensen a glance and he glared at her.

“So Jared,” Mike said. “Is it raining good things in your life?”

Jared turned to Jensen and Jensen felt himself blush. “No,” Jared replied. “It’s pouring.”

Chapter Text

When the movie was over and Tom and Mike had kicked everyone out of their room, Jared partially wanted to go to his room and make sure that everything was still there. Jensen seemed to know what he was thinking because he said, “You wanna go to your room for tonight?”

“I just want to make sure everything’s still there. My laptop and clothes and stuff, you know?”

Jensen nodded. “Okay.” He kissed Jared quickly. “So I’ll see you in the morning?”

Jared stopped. “Whatta mean?”

“I thought you said you wanted to stay in your room tonight?”

“I want to check on it. I still want to spend the night with you.” Jared blushed. “I mean, if that’s okay.”

“You really have to ask?”

Jared laughed at Jensen and kissed him quickly. “Can I bring more stuff down?”

“Absolutely,” Jensen replied. “You won’t have to dash out every 30 minutes to grab clothes or something.”

Jared snorted and pushed him playfully. “I’ll be right down.”

“Okay.”

Jared turned to go when Jensen touched Jared’s arm softly. “Jare?”

“Yeah?”

Jensen looked up at him with his green eyes. They looked like a child’s eyes, wide and curious and innocent. “I… I’m glad I met you.”

Jared thought, for a brief moment, Jensen was actually going to tell Jared he loved him. The hope was quickly squashed. But hearing those words, hearing Jensen say something as soft and as sweet as them with no hint of sarcasm, was almost as good. “I’m glad I met you too, Jen.”

Jensen kissed him and Jared knew it was meant to be swift. Jared didn’t care though; he wrapped his arms around Jensen and held him tightly to his body. Jensen smiled into Jared’s mouth and Jared knew, somewhere, Jensen did love him. Even if it took Jensen a while to realize it. Jared would wait.

No matter how long it took.

 

Jensen walked—or trudged—back to his own hotel room. He could blame the slow pace on his ankle but in reality, he was just thinking over things. Thinking over everything. The foreign feeling of happiness that flooded his chest and filled the hole that used to be there. Jensen was smart. Jensen knew what the feeling was and he knew what he was expected to say. But dammit, he didn’t want to say it outside his best friend’s hotel room.

And apparently, he didn’t want to say it on the beach either, or in the sunset, or under a starlit sky. It was hardly the scenery preventing Jensen from letting those three little words spill from his mouth. It was his own cowardice. The last time Jensen had thought it would be a good idea to expose himself in the way he had by saying those words, Jensen had gotten hurt.

Jensen didn’t want to get hurt again. He was tired of being hurt. He just wanted to enjoy Jared. And when the wedding was over, Jared would be over. Jared would get on a different plane to a different state and lead a different life that didn’t include Jensen. If Jensen said those words to Jared, then it would be too painful to watch him leave.

Too much would be lost. Not to mention how vulnerable Jensen would be. And Jensen was not vulnerable. He was strong and—okay, maybe scared of storms—he didn’t say things like love to people he’d known for less than a week. Even gorgeous, hazel eyes and bright-smiled people like Jared. It just wasn’t something Jensen did.
Wasn’t something anyone should do.

Jensen arrived at his hotel room before he realized it. It was like he’d been programmed to walk there. Another example of how he was more metal than he was man. Eat, sleep, walk, talk, etc. Jensen was loveless and cold and depressing. Danneel was right; he was a walking cloud of pessimism.

Inside his room was as bleak as his attitude. The curtains were shut and so anything beautiful that may appear in Hawaii was invisible to him. The lights were off and clothes were scattered without any organization at all. Jensen picked up one of the shirts that was lying on the ground and he recognized it as Jared’s. When had he become one of those guys who had guys stay the night? And not just stay the night—Jared had clothes here, Jared had things here, and Jared was all around him. Everything he looked he saw pieces of Jared.

Jensen flopped onto the bed—messy from rolling around with Jared—and buried his head in the pillow. You really need to rethink your situation, Ackles. Jared isn’t going to stick with you for long, not when he is the amazing guy that he is.

Jensen groaned at the voice in his head, “Shut up.” He let himself slowly drift off to sleep, still clutching Jared’s shirt.

 

Jensen felt someone shaking his shoulder what seemed like hours later. Looking at the clock it was only 10 minutes. The mysterious hand gently rousing him from sleep belonged to Jared and Jensen gave a sleepy smile. “Hey, Jare.”

“Hey baby. Man, you look exhausted.”

“Fell asleep.”

“I know, I’m sorry I took so long. I really wanted to make sure everything was in order.”

“S’okay. Just come sleep.”

“Sounds good,” Jared agreed. He pulled off the tee shirt he was wearing and slid in beside him in just his sweatpants. “Do you intend to sleep in all your clothes?”

“Too tired to move,” Jensen replied.

Jared chuckled. “I don’t know why you’re so tired. But here, come on, I’ll help you.” Jared carefully lifted off Jensen’s shirt and undid his shorts.

“Trying to get me naked, Padalecki?”

“As much as I’d love that,” Jared said, “I’d rather not have you fall asleep in the middle of sex.”

Jensen laughed sleepily. “I would never.”

“Did you take a sleeping pill or something? You’re falling asleep as we speak.”

Jensen shook his head and blinked several times to try and wake up. Jensen squeezed Jared’s arms to try and find some sort of stability. “Your clothes.”

“Yeah, my clothes are fine, Jen.”

“No,” Jensen protested. “They’re here.”

“Okay, Jen, you’re acting like you’re high.”

Jensen took a breath and tried to form coherent thoughts. “You have clothes here, and stuff here, and you’re always here.” Jensen held up the tee-shirt to show Jared. “It’s like you’re here, even when you’re not here.”

Jared looked more confused than ever. “Do you want me to move my things?”

“No. I like having you here. I just don’t know what to do about it. And I might screw it up.”

Jared smiled and helped Jensen into a pair of sweatpants. “Well, it’s a good thing someone in this relationship knows what they’re doing. I won’t let you screw anything up.” Jared gently tugged the tee shirt out of Jensen’s hands. “And you can always keep my tee shirt if you do screw things up.”

Jensen placed his head on Jared’s collarbone. “Good.”

Jared rolled his eyes and let out an amused huff of breath. “Okay, Jen, we’re going to go to sleep now.”

“Okay.”

Jared lay back on the bed with Jensen still curled up in the comfortable nook of his shoulder. “Jen?”

“Yeah, Jare?” Jared paused for a minute and Jensen raised his head to look at him. “You okay, baby?”

Jared smiled when Jensen called him that. “Yeah, Jen. I’m good.”

“Good.” Jensen curled up to Jared’s body. “Then I’m going to sleep.”

Jared ran his fingers through Jensen’s soft hair. “Goodnight, baby.”

“Goodnight, Jare bear.”

 

The morning was clear. Jensen could tell there were no clouds in the sky just from the little bits of sunlight that were peeking through the cracks in their blinds. Jensen was relieved about this; he didn’t want a repeat of yesterday where he’d clung to Jared like he was his only protection. Of course, it wasn’t all bad. Jared was incredibly comfortable to cling to and Jensen hadn’t exactly hated having someone hold him while the awful storm rolled around.

Jensen looked over at Jared. He was lying on his back with his arms over his head. Jensen quietly slipped out of bed and carefully pulled back a curtain to see the sky for real. It was the usual blue without a cloud in the sky. Jensen let out a sigh of relief. The only signs that a storm had been here at all was the paved pathway, which was darkened by the rainwater. Other than that it looked like a regular day.

Jensen stood by the window and examined everything, from the palm trees beneath his window to the water that faded into the horizon. He realized he’d never actually looked out the window. It was a perfect landscape and Jensen would love to paint it—if he had a shred of artistic talent—but he decided to capture it in the only way he knew how.

Jensen went as quietly as he could to his suitcase and pulled out his notebook. He stood by the window and started to write. Jensen tried to capture the high of the palm trees, how they stretched into the sky, and the way their leaves bent like natural canopies. The perfection of the green grass and the way Jensen could see the shimmer of the water all the way from his room, how it sparkled like diamonds and was as smooth as glass.

Jensen wrote and his pen moved like silk across the paper. It was nice, relaxing, to see words come from him that weren’t “stupid” or “awesome”. He liked being able to go back and fix things. He couldn’t do that in real life. There were scratches all over his paper from places that he’d decided to change things. The million things Jensen wished he could change in real life; just take a pen and scratch it out.

Jensen had become so involved in his writing that he didn’t notice anything else that was going on around him. He dropped his notebook in surprise when arms wrapped around his waist and a head rested on his shoulder. “Writing?”

“Jesus, Jare, you scared me!” Jensen turned to face the taller man. Jared was smirking at him. “And yes, I was writing.”

Jared kissed him quickly and Jensen gave a little yelp of surprise. “Sorry, I can’t help it. Every time I see you I want to kiss you.” Jensen blushed and Jared continued. “I love that blush. Can I read what you’ve written?” He picked up the notebook and handed it to Jensen.

Jensen took the book from Jared and gazed into his kind hazel eyes. “I mean, it’s just something that I wrote quickly—it’s not good—it’s just, I did it really in a rush-,”

Jared cut him off with a kiss. It was one of the slow ones that Jensen loved and wanted to hold on to forever. Jensen twisted his hands in Jared’s hair and did hold on to him. When Jared pulled away he murmured, “See? Can’t help it.”

“You’re coercing me into showing you my writing.”

“Of course not,” Jared said indignantly. There was a teasing smile on his face as he nuzzled Jensen’s neck. “And besides, your writing is fabulous. I’m absolutely sure of it. Danni told me that it was some of the best she’s ever read. But I promise, I’ll never make you do something you don’t want to do.”

Jensen’s heart melted. It was shocking how easily Jared could do that to him. “Promise not to laugh when you read it.”

Jared held out his pinky. “Pinky promise.”

“You’re a child.” But Jensen looped his finger through Jared’s and Jared leaned in for one more quick kiss.

“Sorry,” Jared said without sound apologetic at all. “I can’t help it.”

 

Jared couldn’t imagine why anyone as talented as Jensen wouldn’t run around and shove his writing at everyone in the streets. He devoured the words that Jensen had written about the view from their hotel room. It was poetic and eloquent and it made Jared smile with every word. It was all Jensen. Not the guarded Jensen who blushed every time Jared gave him a compliment; this was honest, caring, writer Jensen. Jared wished he could see this Jensen all the time.

When he was finally done reading the story, he looked up at Jensen. Jensen looked nervous and was sitting on a chair in the corner with his knees curled up like he expected Jared to toss the notebook aside and run out of the room. “Jen, come here,” Jared asked gently. Jensen didn’t move and Jared tried again, “Baby, would you come here?” Jared knew Jensen loved when Jared called him that, not that Jensen would ever admit it.

Jensen cautiously stood up and walked over to Jared. Jared pulled him onto his lap so Jensen was facing him. “What’d you think?” Jensen asked shyly. God, Jared loved that shy voice.

Jared pressed his forehead against Jensen’s. “It was amazing, Jen.” Jensen started to pull away like he didn’t believe Jared but Jared pulled him back. “Jen, listen, it was really good. I liked it a lot. I loved it.” Almost as much as I love you.

“Really?” Jensen’s voice was skeptical.

“Really.”

“Do you-,” Jensen stopped. “Do you want it?” He gently tore it out of his notebook and offered it to Jared.

Jared took it eagerly and Jensen smiled so brightly it made Jared want to hug him until Jensen couldn’t breath. Jared didn’t know what else to say, so he leaned in and kissed Jensen.

What? He couldn’t help it.

 

Jared and Jensen had flung open the curtains so they could fully appreciate the way the sun streamed in. Jensen’s green eyes had little flecks of gold in the sunlight and he looked softer and happier in the sunlight. Jared ran his fingers through Jensen’s hair and would occasionally press his lips to Jensen’s neck. Jared so badly wanted to tell Jensen he loved him. But Jensen—as much as Jared adored him—was like a skittish dog. You had to be careful and gentle to earn his trust. Jared refused to fuck something so special up. So he was going to take it slowly. It had only been a week, after all.

A knock on the door pulled Jared out of his daydreaming. “Are you both decent?” Danneel’s voice called.

“Yeah, Danni, we’re good!” Jensen responded.

Danni slid the door open. Jared knew that she must have his extra key card, like Mike had his. “Hey, Danni,” Jared said.

“Morning, Jay.” She eyed Jensen, who was snuggled up against Jared. “Have a really good morning?”

“I know what you’re inferring, Danni, and no, we just sat here and admired the view.”

“Whatever you say, Jen.” Her teasing smile told Jared that she was just messing with Jensen and Jared placed a gentle hand on Jensen’s shoulder to console him.

Jensen leaned into his touch. Jared would never get tired of the way Jensen looked up at him with honest joy in his green eyes. Jared used all his self-control not to press Jensen against the bed and kiss him. He could do that later. But Danni was here right now. Show restraint, Jared.

Danneel smiled at them both. “Just came to tell you that tonight we’re doing some sort of clay pot painting or something. And there’s a volleyball game at 2:00. Whatever you guys are into doing. Or do nothing, at this point I feel like you two will do whatever the fuck you want and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Jensen said. “Haven’t you always told me to think for myself?”

“Oh, shut it Ackles.” Danneel left with another fond smile.

“Do you ever get the feeling the others get a lot of pleasure out of our… relationship?” Jensen used the word relationship hesitantly.

“Yes,” Jared agreed, “quite frequently. You’d think there were more things to find enjoyment out of on Hawaii, of all places.”

Jensen giggled. “I’m gonna go grab coffee. You want anything?”

“Nah,” Jared sprawled across the bed. “I think I’ll just take a shower while you’re gone.”

Jensen kissed him fleetingly. “Sorry,” He teased. “I couldn’t help it.”

Jared pushed him playfully and he heard Jensen’s laughter as he left. When Jensen was gone Jared picked up Jensen’s story again and let his eyes skim the beautiful words. It was all Jensen. Jared’s eyebrows furrowed. There was something dark on the back and he flipped it to see a few words crossed out. It took Jared a while but he finally pieced together what they had said.

"But there was none so beautiful as his hazel eyes I loved."

 

Jensen knew painting would be dull. He was absolutely right. It sucked it so many ways. They had different pots available for them to choose, coil pots and flower pots and smooth tiny pots and it was all so cutesy and somewhat annoying, in Jensen’s opinion.

But Jared was so optimistic about things and he even pulled the “Do it for Tom” card, which is how Jensen ended up sitting at a table under a canopy and painting a stupid little pot. “You do realize there are so many more things we could be doing with our night, right?” Jensen muttered to Jared.

Jared swiped a stroke of purple down his pot. “We can watch the sunset and pain. And enjoy the night with our friends!” Jared leaned over and gently bumped his head against Jensen’s. “Come on, Jen, be open minded.”

“I don’t want to,” Jensen muttered. His pot was all purple so far with no variation whatsoever. That is, until Jared took his paintbrush and painted a red stripe down the side. “Jared!”

Jared only smirked. “It needed more than one color.”

Jensen wanted to be mad but Jared’s eyes were too full of laughter. Instead, Jensen picked up his own paintbrush and let a stripe of orange fall down Jared’s pot. Jensen laughed at Jared’s indignant look and Jared put a dot of purple on Jensen’s cheek. “Now you match your pot!”

“I hate you, Padalecki.” Jensen wiped the paint off before it could dry. Jared ignored his comment and leaned in to kiss Jensen.

“Always so romantic. It’s annoying,” A voice said behind them. Jensen swiveled in his seat to see Chris holding his own pot that had a very crooked skull and crossbones on it. “You like it?” Chris asked.

“It’s a little dark for me,” Jared said. “But creative.”

Chris looked smugly at Jensen. “Your boyfriend likes my pottery.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Jensen replied. He turned back to his own flower pot and tried to make the red stripe look purposeful. Chris frowned at the lack of response.

“You’re so boring.”

“Keep walking, Kane.”

Chris huffed and walked away with his skull and crossbones displayed proudly. Jared rolled his eyes with a grin. “Your friends are…”

“Absolutely insane.”

“Insane or not, I am forever grateful Chris shoved me over to you that one night.”

Jensen painted a red stripe on Jared’s colorful pot. “Well let’s not tell him that. His ego doesn’t need any more inflating.”

Jared laughed and flung his arms around Jensen. It didn’t take as long as usual for Jensen to melt into his warm embrace. Jensen’s heart started to flutter when he realized how much he liked Jared and unraveled himself from Jared’s arms. Jared looked confused at first and then slightly hurt. “Jen?”

“I’m going to go get some air.”

“We’re outside.”

“I just need to take a breath.” Jensen tried to give Jared a reassuring smile. “I’ll be back, I promise.”

Jared still appeared puzzled but allowed Jensen to walk off without him. He walked away, down the stone path leading to the pools and kept walking until he didn’t realize where he was. Jensen ended up on the beach and sat down on a piece of driftwood that had embedded itself in the sand. Jensen wondered if it would drift away again eventually. It may seem permanent now but eventually the tide would just wash it away and then the wood that seemed so strong and it would never leave, the wood that had provided a comforting place to sit, would be gone forever.

So simply. Just because of one wave that was stronger than the rest, this huge log of driftwood would be gone.

Jensen really was a walking cloud of pessimism. He’d been laughing and enjoying painting with Jared and then stood up and walked away because for some stupid reason, Jensen decided that it was more fun to be miserable. Why be happy with the sweetest guy ever when you can be fucking miserable?

Jensen kicked sand with his feet and winced when he hit a rock with his toe. “Shit!” He muttered when pain seared through his foot. He massaged his toe and stared out at the water, all the while trying to get the pain to subside.

“Want me to do that?”

Jensen looked up to see Jared standing at the base of the path that led to the beach. “I know you wanted to be alone…” Jared’s sentence trailed off. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay.” His voice cracked at the end of the sentence.

Jensen moved over on the driftwood, silently inviting Jared to sit. He did and wrapped an arm around Jensen’s shoulder. Jensen leaned into the touch and rested his head on Jared’s firm shoulder. He let out a long sigh and Jared rubbed Jensen’s shoulder comfortingly.

“Whatever it is, Jensen, it’ll be okay.”

It’s not okay. There’s nothing about this situation that is okay. “It’s fine.”

“I don’t know why you don’t trust me enough to tell you what’s hurting you.”

The pain in Jared’s voice was enough to make Jensen feel like he was a baby killer. “Jay…”

“Jensen, I’ve done nothing but trust you. It’s weird, it’s so weird. I’ve never felt this way about anyone in the whole world. And I know you’ve never spent more than one night with a guy. How can I judge you for that when I’m the same way? But you’re hiding something.” He paused. “I just want to help.”

“You can’t help, Jared. And I don’t want your pity.” Jensen knew his words were harsh and Jared didn’t deserve them. Jared didn’t even move his hand from Jensen’s shoulder. In fact, he held Jensen tighter.

It took that one gesture, that one tiny gesture of comfort that made Jensen crack. It was one tear, and then another, and then Jared was cradling him as Jensen let out shaky sobs into Jared’s chest. His fingers were curled in Jared’s shirt and Jared only rocked him as if he were a child.

Jensen’s tears dwindled and he was left with the humiliation of weeping in Jared’s arms. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Jared—damn him—was still full of compassion. How could anyone so kind remain single for so long?

“Well, I got your shirt all wet for one thing. You left the party, you had to deal with my crazy emotional breakdown…”

Jared only smiled. “We all breakdown sometimes, Jen.”

Jensen could tell Jared was dying to know what drove Jensen to this point. His respect not to ask almost drove Jensen to tears again. But he restrained himself and only said, “Do you want me to explain?”

After a thoughtful pause, Jared nodded.

Jensen took a breath and started from the beginning. “There was a guy. In college. I didn’t really come out until college, and then sophomore year I met him. His name was Eric. I don’t remember much past that. Except he had blue eyes. It’s what made me so crazy about him. Those pretty blue eyes.” Jensen let out a breathy snort. “I gave up myself for a pair of blue eyes.”

Jensen swallowed before continuing. “I met him at a party. A frat party. My friend convinced me to go; to relax instead of studying all the time. Eric was so kind and so gorgeous. He was a junior—or was he a senior—I don’t remember. But he came up to me and started hitting on me. Of course I was taken aback. It shocked me beyond belief, that this gorgeous guy could possibly want me. But he continued to hit on me and then he took me up to a bedroom and we had sex. Not even good sex as I look back on it. Just meaningless, drunken sex.”

Jared squeezed his hand. “You don’t have to continue.”

Jensen shook his head. “I do. You trust me, and I’m going to tell you the truth. We started going out. We kissed, we had sex, we hung out all the time. I fell so hard, so fast. It scared me. My friends were happy for me—except for Chris. He always thought there was something off about him and tried to warn me away. I thought he was jealous, which is ridiculous. But I was so naïve. I should have listened.”

Jared’s eyes looked concerned and it fueled Jensen to continue. “2 weeks into our relationship I knew I was in love. I told him one night, after sex. He started laughing. I didn’t understand why until he called his friend. I’ll never forget his words. ‘I won, you dick! He just said he loved me.’ He made me say it again to prove it to his friend. I was just a bet.” Jensen paused. His heart stopped beating. “I ran out before he could see me cry. But I did, I cried for days, and I didn’t eat. After that, I decided that love was a miserable monster.”

Jensen shrugged casually. “The end.” He looked up to Jared for a response. Jared’s hazel eyes were unreadable.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because,” Jensen started. “Because I liked you. A lot. And I wasn’t sure how much you liked me. I didn’t want you to laugh at me, or turn me away, after spilling my soul and telling you a stupid story about why I don’t fall in love after knowing you one week.”

Jared looked hurt, which was not the reaction Jensen was expecting. Pity, maybe, compassion, definitely. But hurt? That was not on the list of emotions that were supposed to be seen in his eyes.

“So, you refuse to like me,” Jared said slowly. “And you didn’t trust me. Because of something that happened in college?”

That was so far off base. “No! I just… I wasn’t used to what I was feeling.”

“Well I’m not used to it either, Jen, but I still… I still feel it.”

Jensen almost whimpered. “I don’t—I can’t—it’s just that, you’ll leave me.”

“You really think that little of me?”

Jensen dug his nails into his skin. He really wasn’t good with words tonight. “It’s what I’m used to.”

“Well, get over yourself.”

Jensen raised an eyebrow. “Get over myself?”

“We’ve all been through hell, Jensen! You think I haven’t suffered? You think kids in high school accepted me? Thought it was cool that I was gay? They beat me up, they stole my stuff, they threw food at me. I was miserable too.” Jared stopped himself. “It never stopped me from feeling the things I do about you, because I knew you’d never hurt me like that. I just thought you believed the same thing about me.”

“I do! I just can’t say things like that, I just can’t feel things like that. Especially after this little time.”

“Well I can, does that make it wrong?”

“Can what?”

Jared threw up his hands. “Can love you, Jensen! I love you, you idiot, and you haven’t even made an attempt to return it. I’m tired of making excuses. I try and convince myself you’ll come around, but you won’t. And I’m not going to sit around and wait!”

Jensen stood in shock. “Jare…”

“Whatever. It’s not important. What’s important is that I love you, and you don’t give a damn what happens to me.”

“That’s not true!”

“Then prove it!” Jared roared. “Say you love me. If you really cared, then say it.”

Jensen swallowed and was silent. It was response enough for Jared. The pain in his eyes inspired Jensen to say something, anything. “I’m sorry,” Jensen said. “I’m so sorry, I’m so, so sorry!” Tears were filling in Jensen’s eyes and he saw Jared’s eyes dampen too.

“Save it. I need to leave,” Jared said softly. “I need to go.”

“No! No, Jare, please don’t go,” Jensen begged. “Please, please stay.”

Jensen saw Jared hesitate as he stood up and Jensen hoped for one brief moment Jared would turn around and forgive him. But then Jared walked away until he was nothing more than footprints on the beach. Jensen could see the individual toes, the way the sand scattered where Jared stepped angrily. Jensen stared at his footsteps for a long time. He tried to recall times when Jensen’s footsteps would mingle with Jared’s. Eventually the ocean came up high enough to wash the imprints away, and Jensen was all alone.

Jared was Jensen’s driftwood, and the waves took him away.

Chapter Text

For a minute, Jensen wished his ankle still hurt. Then he could call Jared—or anyone—for help. Instead he was alone and moping and he’d lost the best thing he’d ever had. He’d fucked it up, he knew he couldn’t blame it on anyone. Jensen fumed. He couldn’t even really blame losing Jared on Eric. He could blame losing his sanity on him, he could blame becoming a loveless monster on Eric, but he could never blame losing the sweetest, most loving person Jensen had ever met on Eric.

This one was on Jensen.

It was the kind of sadness you can’t put into words. The kind where you can only blame yourself and the kind you want to curl up under the blankets and never move again because you screwed up. The feeling ate you alive and filled you with misery that you didn’t even know was possible to feel. Jensen wasn’t mad at Jared. He really wasn’t. Jared had loved him and Jensen had lied. Jensen didn’t blame Jared. He just wished he could explain things better.

Jensen was a damn writer and he was worse with words than anyone he knew.

He remembered Jared’s words from last night. I won’t let you screw anything up. But I did screw it up, Jensen thought. I screwed it up and I lost Jared. He let out a sigh. Maybe I deserve this. Maybe this misery is punishment for being such an asshole before. Either way, Jared was gone. And the hole in Jensen’s chest was wider than ever.

It felt more like a gash. Like a knife had been driven inside him and sloppily cut out a section of him that could never be replaced. Jensen let his head fall in his hands. He couldn’t even cry. He wanted to cry. Crying would be cathartic. Instead the sadness ate him alive.

Jensen was an asshole for not crying.

But he couldn’t. The tears just wouldn’t come. Jensen let out a shaky breath. Maybe he should just stay on the beach. He would sit on this piece of driftwood and never move again. Maybe he’d learn to feel human emotion while he sat here drowning in self-pity. See? I knew you would fuck it up, the little voice said. I knew there was no way he would stay with you.

Jensen felt like punching himself. He moaned and willed tears to come. He willed any sort of something to come. A scream, a tear, anything. Instead a little voice said, “Jensen?”

“Go away.” Jensen didn’t care who it was. It wasn’t Jared’s voice and he was the only one Jensen wanted to see at the moment. “I’m not speaking to anyone.”

“Jen, talk to me.”

Jensen could place the voice. “Danni, I can’t. I’m-,” Heartbroken? Moping? Desperately awaiting Jared’s return so I can beg for forgiveness? “-busy.”

Danneel snorted in disbelief. “Yeah, you look it.” She sat on the driftwood beside him. It was the same place Jared had sat before. Jensen whimpered in sorrow. “Jen, come on. Talk to me.”

“I didn’t say I loved him,” Jensen said. “He said he loved me, and I didn’t say I loved him.”

Danneel raised an eyebrow. “So, that’s the only reason you’re sitting out here like someone ripped your heart out and Jared ran back to his room in tears. He said he loved you and you didn’t say it back.”

Jensen shrugged. “Well, there’s more.” Jensen kicked the sand and hit another rock. Dammit. “I told him about Eric.”

Danni’s eyes widened. “Why?”

“Well, first I broke down in tears. Then I told him about Eric, and then I said I was incapable of loving anyone and basically inferred he meant nothing to me.” Jensen ran his feet back and forth across the sand. “So, I suck.”

“You don’t suck, Jen.” Danneel placed a hand on his back soothingly. “You’re a lot of things Jen, and some of them are good and some of them are bad. But I love you for all of them and so does Jared. You fucked up, so what? You can fix it.”

“You didn’t see the way he looked at me.” Jensen laid his head on Danni’s shoulder. “There’s no way I can fix this. I didn’t even respond when he told me he loved me! I just sat there in silence. I’m a robot.”

Danneel smiled comfortingly. “You’re not a robot, Jenny. It’s just… you’re not used to feeling this way before.” It was a lame cliché and they both knew it.

“I don’t know how I feel about him.”

“Do you love him?”

Jensen cocked his head. “What?”

“Do you love him?” Danneel repeated.

Jensen pondered it. “I don’t know.” What a lie. I love him. “Do you love Chris?”

Danneel looked at him in astonishment. “Of course! But not in the way I think you’re asking about.”

“You slept with him.”

“Do I need to remind you of all the guys you’ve slept with? How many of them did you love?”

Jensen shrugged. “I’m a loveless robot.”

Danneel stroked his hair. “You love me. And Tom. And Chris. And we love you. I don’t know, Jensen, doesn’t sound like you’re a loveless robot to me.”

“I should have said something.”

“Well,” Danneel stood up and dragged Jensen up too. “You have a week to figure it out. And if you do love him,” Danneel looked dead into his eyes. “Tell him.”

I have it figured out. I do love him. “He won’t talk to me.”

Danneel threw her hands in the air. “You make no effort in relationships! If Jared means anything to you at all, you’ll figure this damn mess out and you will fix it, Jensen Ackles, or I swear to god, I’ll tie you to a boat and throw you into the ocean!”

Jensen sighed. “I think I’m better at breaking things.”

Danneel’s soft smile returned to her face. “It’s easier to use a hammer than a glue gun.”

Unfortunately, Jensen tended to always take the easy route. “Will you walk back with me?”

“Of course, Jen. I’ll be here the whole time.”

Jensen nodded. “Okay.”

 

Jared didn’t care that he looked like hell. He knew he looked like hell. Tears were falling from his eyes and didn’t look like they were going to be stopping any time soon. His and Jensen’s pottery lay abandoned under the canopy but it was the last thing on Jared’s mind.

Jensen didn’t love him.

Every signal, every movement Jensen made that Jared took as a sign of love, was all just a lie. A big fucking lie. And he couldn’t decide whom he was angry at exactly. He was angry with Jensen and he was angry with himself and he was angry at the world.

Jared ran into the hotel and collapsed into the elevator when it arrived. He didn’t even know what floor he had pressed to step out of. But he stumbled out into the long hallway with dry, stinging eyes and desperately looking for somewhere to hide. He heard a voice behind him say, “Jared?”

Jared turned quickly and saw Chris. He was looking at him with concerned eyes. “Jared, are you okay?”

Do I look okay? Jared wanted to ask. But as he opened his mouth more tears streamed from his eyes. “Chris,” Jared’s voice was shaky.

“Woah, it’s okay, it’s okay, I got you.” Chris moved forward and caught Jared in his arms. “I got you, it’s okay. Come on, my room’s this way.”

Chris gently helped Jared stumble into his room and then sat him on his bed. Jared was still letting out shaky sobs and Chris gave him a glass of water. Jared gulped it down but was sure that part of the water was his tears. Jared wanted to yell at Chris. He wanted to scream at him, tell him it was his fault for introducing him to Jensen. He wasn’t even sure what he was doing at Chris’s room. Chris was a jerk. No, Chris wasn’t a jerk. He just didn’t take life seriously enough.

“Jare, come on. It’s gonna be okay.” Chris sat next to him and rubbed his back soothingly. “Whatever happened between you and Jen, it’ll be okay.”

Jared managed to stammer out, “How’d you know it was Jensen?”

Chris gave a humorless laugh. “I’ve seen tears of joy, tears of happiness, and plenty of tears of heartbreak. I know which are which pretty well by now. And since Jensen was the only one you were, um, with, I figured… Besides, you’d be with him right now if it weren’t...” Chris let his sentence trail off.

Jared wiped his eyes with his sleeve and tried to stop the flow of tears that incessantly poured from his eyes. “He doesn’t love me,” Jared choked. He was well aware of how much of a teenage girl he sounded like right now.

“Did he tell you that he didn’t love you?”

“In not so many words,” Jared managed to squeak out.

Chris sighed. “Look, Jensen is kind of clueless when it comes to love. I mean, he’s my best friend and I love the guy but after… I mean…”

“He told me about,” Jared sniffed, “Eric.”

Chris looked surprised. “What’d you think of that story?”

“I think it made me angry, and then I ran out on Jensen after insulting him.” Jared knew now how stupid he was, how ridiculous his actions were. “I just… I felt mad.”

“At Jensen?”

“At everyone. I just-,” Jared stopped himself and looked at Chris. There was no sarcasm in his eyes, only sad understanding. “I just really wanted him to love me. So I guess I deluded myself into thinking that he did love me.”

“Can I tell you something?” Jared nodded. Chris took a deep breath. “After Eric, Jensen sort of just… fell of the tracks a little. He acted like he was okay when he wasn’t. I know Jensen. I know what he was like before that asshole and I know what he was like after. And the Jensen before never would have slept around like Jensen does now. But even under all the crap that he had weighing on his shoulders… I knew he was still Jensen, and so I just hoped he’d stop being this senseless guy and be my friend again. And I know you think I’m a jerk for teasing you guys all the time, but the last time I saw Jensen this happy was when he…” Chris stopped. “Actually, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him this happy. He’s carefree like he hasn’t been since Eric.”

Jared sank into the bed. He looked like a dejected puppy dog. “I don’t know what you’re trying to say.”

Chris frowned in pity. “I think you do, Jared. Jensen is the kind of guy that won’t ever believe he’s got anything good. He doesn’t realize how much he loves you and he doesn’t realize how much you love him. Eric sorta made him feel like he was worthless. I mean, he treated Jensen like shit when he was in the relationship and then revealing he was just a bet… it fucks a guy up in the head.” Chris looked at Jared expectantly but was met with a blank stare. “Come on, Jay.”

“Chris…”

“I told you, Jay. I told you it’d be an uphill battle. I was half unconscious and 100% hungover at the time but it holds true. Jensen is a pain in the ass. He’s pessimistic and lonely and annoying and when he looks in the mirror, he hates what he sees because he doesn’t think he’s capable of being loved. But he loves you, Jare.”

Jared’s heart ached for Jensen. Jared ached to hold Jensen’s soft hands and stare into his green eyes and make him blush and see his bright smile. He felt his anger ebbing away until he wasn’t even quite sure what he was angry about. “I just left him there, Chris,” Jared said helplessly.

“He’ll forgive you. Jensen’s all love inside.”

“Doesn’t seem like it.”

Chris laughed humorlessly. “I haven’t seen him stay the night with a guy in years. I think he’s got a little love in there for you.”

 

Jensen let Danneel guide him up to his room. Jensen fell on his bed with the world buzzing in his ears and not really focusing on anything that was going on around him. It was all a blur. The only thing that went through his mind was Jared, Jared, Jared.

Immediately followed by gone, gone, gone.

Jared was gone. It made Jensen’s chest hurt in a way that he wasn’t used to. He’d only ever felt this awful before in his life. And Jensen knew it was right to keep that part of him locked away because as soon as Jared found out, he’d run. It had been smart to stay guarded. It would be smart to only fuck. Commitment was the stupid thing. Commitment got you hurt.

Lying got you hurt.

Jensen ignored the pitiful look Danneel gave him and let her wander out the door with one last sad smile. He pitied himself enough; he didn’t need Danni to pity him too.

It would be overwhelming.

 

Jensen lay in the same position on his bed for three days. It seemed like longer. It was only when Danneel pranced in and announced that he’d been lying in bed for 3 days that Jensen realized how pathetic was. And really it didn’t bother him. He was moping. He was missing his Jared.

Jensen assumed Jared must be fine. He walked away from Jensen with nothing more than a passing glance. Jensen begged him to stay and Jared didn’t even turn around. Jensen felt an unexpected flare of anger towards the man he’d once clung to tighter than his teddy bear during thunderstorms. It vanished as quickly as it had come. Jensen pictured Jared’s kind hazel eyes and the pain that Jensen had put in them. It was his fault. The damn little voice in his head was right.

Jensen had screwed it up.

And he wasn’t going to fix it. He’d made no effort at all to fix the mistake that he’d made. Not even Danneel wanted to look at him. Jensen couldn’t blame her; he was nothing but self-loathing and negative energy. No one in their right minds would want to hang out with him.

Except a tall, hazel-eyed, big-hearted man whom Jensen had scared off within one week of knowing him. He’d wanted to hang out with Jensen. He’d wanted to stay the night with Jensen and hold Jensen when he was scared and kiss Jensen when he was sad. Jared had looked into his eyes and told him that he was flawless. He’d made Jensen feel happier and more whole than he’d felt in years.

Jensen didn’t feel worthless. When Jared laughed or smiled or teased Jensen, Jensen felt like he’d found something that could never be lost. He looked at his bed. It was empty. Of course it was empty, it wasn’t like Jared was going to come knocking down the door and tell Jensen that he forgave him and loved him and it was all okay. That shit only happened in movies and rom coms.

Jensen choked on rom coms, remembering the way Jared had teased him about liking the movies. He remembered sitting with Jared and watching the breakfast club and it being okay and happy and never thinking that anything could ever go wrong in their relationship. Of course, he’d thought the same thing about Eric.

Jensen felt sick. How could he possibly compare Jared, who was nothing but good, to Eric, who was nothing but bad? Jensen fell back on his bed in resignation. He didn’t know what time of day it was. He didn’t know what day it was. The only thing that really register was that there was no arm to through over him and cuddle and there were no candy-flavored kisses that would fill Jensen with warmth.

All fucking alone.

Jensen could lie here in self-pity for the rest of his life. It would certainly be easier than getting up and facing the rest of the world.

Or he could go get drunk.

Jensen managed to throw on a pair of shorts and a wrinkled tee shirt and exit the hotel. The sun burned his eyes; it had been days since he’d bothered to leave. His curtains had been closed and his body had been too sore to really move at all. Jensen walked towards the poolside bar that he and Jared had shared fries at—what was it? Four days ago? Five?—so long ago. But Jensen ignored all that and sat down at the counter. “Beer,” Jensen grunted at the man wiping down the counter. He nodded, as if he could sense that Jensen was fuming.

“You look like you’re having a bad day,” a voice said behind Jensen.

Jensen turned quickly. He prayed it was Jared but he knew the voice belonged to someone else. He gave a smile of relief when he saw it wasn’t one of his friends. He didn’t need any more lectures on fixing things. “Hey, Matt.”

Matt sat down beside him. “Good to see you survived our alcohol binge.”

“And you.”

“Jared take care of you?” Jensen’s face feel at the mention of Jared and he took a sip of his beer. Matt seemed to get the message. “I guess it’s complicated became…”

“It turned into me screwing it up, yet again.”

Matt frowned. “It’s okay, man, it’ll work out.”

Jensen huffed. “Except it won’t. I really screwed things up. Big time.”

“You wanna tell me about it?”

Jensen looked at Matt. He hadn’t known him for very long, but maybe that would make it easier to pour his soul out. “I told him about Eric. And then he told me he loved me, and I said I was a loveless creature and basically inferred that he meant nothing to me. Even though that’s not true, he does mean something to me. I just…”

“You don’t know how to say it. I get that. Sometimes it’s hard to put those things into words.”

Jensen laughed, but he found nothing funny about the situation. “I can’t ever put anything into words. I look at him and I get lost. And he found me every time.” Jensen ran a hand through his hair. “Hell, I don’t even know what that means. I just know that I felt like I was wandering around without a purpose, and he gave me one.” Jensen laughed again. “Let’s see if I can use more cheesy clichés, shall we?”

Matt smiled kindly. “I guess they must be true cheesy clichés if you feel that way. You do feel that way, don’t you?”

“Absolutely. I doubt he’ll listen to a word I’ll say to him after the way I treated him. Took him for granted and then left him hanging. I let him walk away, Matt. Just watched as he left. I should have followed him; I should have tried harder to hold on to him.”

“It’s no use regretting what could have been, Jen.”

“I just feel… I feel like it’s not over. Like there’s something more I have to do.” Jensen groaned and let his head fall on the table. “I sound like a teenage girl. How does he do that to me?”

“Well, you’re a very pretty teenage girl.”

Jensen laughed. “Thanks, Matt.”

“Have you tried talking to him?”

“No. I bet he’s over it by now. Over me. I bet he’s out having a good time with some guy who won’t screw things up and who will know how good he’s got it while he’s got it. I decided to wait until I’d lost it.”

“We all make mistakes.”

“True, but I feel like I do it more than others,” Jensen replied. “Pointless, unattached sex was so much easier.”

Matt patted him on the back. “Yeah, and I’m sure it felt really good too. Having nothing to come home to but cold leftovers and occasionally some stranger’s dick.”

Jensen snorted. “You don’t know that. Sometimes it was warm leftovers.”

This time Matt laughed. “You’re a piece of work, Jensen.”

“Believe me, I know.” Jensen took another sip of his beer. “It felt like there was a hole in my chest. And I was totally okay with that because there was nothing in the world that could fill it. And then Jared comes along and suddenly it’s all okay.”

“And now Jared is gone.”

“Thanks for the reminder.”

Matt shrugged. “Do you really want people to sugar coat things for you? Tell you that if you sit here and drink your feelings everything will magically get better? Because that’s a load of bullshit.”

“I know that too.”

“So,” Matt concluded. “Why are you sitting here bitching to me?”

Jensen stood up but wobbled on his ankle. “Shit!” He fell into Matt and practically knocked them both over. Matt managed to catch up and they were laughing and it felt good to laugh about something after sulking for days. His laughter quickly vanished when he glanced over Matt’s shoulder and saw Jared staring at them both. His expression was unreadable. Jared’s eyes, which were usually full of emotion, were closed off and vacant.

“Jared,” Jensen said hopelessly.

Matt turned and quickly released Jensen’s arms. “Um, it’s not what it looks like.”

“No,” Jared said sharply. “I’m sure it’s not.” He turned on his heel and left with the same broken walk that he had a few days ago.

Jensen looked at Matt. “I have to—I mean—I want-,”

“Just go,” Matt replied. “I promise, it’s more important than finishing your beer.”

Jensen turned and practically sprinted after Jared. His ankle wasn’t as healed as he thought because he stung every time he put pressure on it but Jensen was determined to find Jared. Apparently he’d waited too long. Jared had disappeared and for a tall guy, he managed to do that very well. Jensen looked around everywhere before falling into the manicured grass and calling in a hoarse voice, “Jared, please!”

There was no response. Of course there was no response. Jensen’s head fell into his hands. For the second time in the course of only a few days he’d lost Jared. He was either remarkably stupid or remarkably—no, he was only remarkably stupid. Nothing else could explain how twice he’d managed to lose the only person he’d ever loved.

Fuck love. All it ever brought was pain. Pain and loss.

Of course, maybe that was Jensen’s fault for being such an asshole. Both scenarios were entirely possible. Either way, Jensen was hurting and his solution was to curl up on the impeccable grass in front of everyone and try desperately not to break down into sobs. Because this time, there was no Jared to hold him.

 

Jared barely managed to reign his tears in until he reached his room. As soon as he flung the door open he fell inside and fell against it as he slammed it shut. Jared sank down to his knees and took deep breaths to keep heavy tears from racking his body. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t you think you’ve cried enough?

It didn’t matter. The sight of Jensen and the other guy holding each other, laughing together and carelessly sharing a beer—it was too much to handle. Jared knew that Jensen didn’t love him but he expected a little bit of sadness, a little bit of remorse. Turns out it was just empty hopes. Jensen couldn’t care less about the mental state of Jared. He couldn’t care about the fact that Jared was pining for him. Jensen was just going to drink his fucking beer and let that other asshole run his hands all over him.

It hurt Jared to think about some other guy holding Jensen the way Jared used to hold him. It hurt to think of Jensen looking at some other guy with his beautiful green eyes and laughing at another guy’s jokes and letting another guy… just letting another guy near Jensen was enough to make Jared’s lungs contract and all the air flow out of them.

No more tears. Jared didn’t want to shed another tear over Jensen who clearly didn’t give a damn about him. Chris was wrong. Jensen didn’t love him. Jensen was a—

Jared couldn’t even finish the sentence. Because of course he still loved Jensen. Of course he still dreamed about him and of course he missed him. Jared always hoped that Jensen would just turn up at his door and say that he was sorry, that he loved Jared too and it was just a mistake. That the other guy was no one important and there was only one person in the world that Jensen fell asleep thinking about. Jared wished Jensen felt all the things about Jared that Jared felt about him.

But clearly, he was wrong.

Jared felt something jabbing him in the thigh. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a balled up piece of paper. Lined notebook paper, with neat handwriting spelling out some of the most poetic descriptions of the ocean Jared had ever read. The black ink spiraled around the paper. It became nothing more than blurs as Jared felt his eyes water. He balled the paper up again and tossed into the trashcan.

Jared sighed and looked at the metal can that now held the one thing of Jensen’s that he had left. And without even thinking he walked across the room and picked up the story. Jared smoothed it out and let the black words swim across his vision.

“But none so beautiful as the hazel eyes I loved.”

Chapter Text

Tomorrow was the wedding. Tomorrow Jensen would stand across Jared at the alter—albeit, behind the couple getting married—and Jensen would have to force a smile as he watched two people promise to love each other forever.

He was happy for Tom. Tom was his best friend; of course Jensen was happy for him. But he felt the stinging pain in his chest when he realized that he would never find that happiness. It hurt even more when he realized he had found that happiness and then had been too stupid to realize that he had found it. And after the wedding… Jared would be gone, and Jensen would be apart from him and that would be that.

It would all be over, and Jensen didn’t even get to say goodbye.

Jensen thought back to Jared’s words what seemed so long ago. We’ll figure it out. He thought back to his own words. I like Jared and Jared likes me. If he could alter that statement he would. He would in a heartbeat. He would tell Jared outright that he loved him, whether his friends judged him or not it would hardly matter to Jensen. He loved Jared. And Jared was pissed to hell at him. Not that Jensen really blamed him.

But the thought of seeing Jared at the wedding… Jensen knew he’d be so handsome. So confident. Jensen would listen to his speech and he would weep when he heard it. Jared had refused to let him read it because he wanted it to be a surprise. He wanted Jensen to be impressed by his writing, he had teasingly said, “You’re not the only one who can write prettily, Ackles.”

Jensen had smiled and laughed and told him that he had no doubt it would be amazing, and that he would love it beyond measure. Jared had kissed him and melted Jensen’s heart.

There was no one to melt his heart now. No one to flick food at him and tease him and comfort him and kiss him and love him. Instead, all these amazing things about Jared would be with another man. Jared would come home to someone else, he would kiss someone else, and he would tease someone else. It was like a sucker punch to Jensen’s gut and he almost doubled over with the pain he felt in his chest. “Fuck me.”

“I think that’s Jared’s job.”

Jensen turned to the door. Tom was leaning against the frame. “Danneel gave me your key. Hope you don’t mind, I just wanted to check on my best man the day before the wedding. Bachelor party is tonight, you know.”

Jensen sighed. He knew he had to go for Tom. But the thought of seeing Jared was more painful than Jensen could put into words. “It’s not his job anymore, Tom.”

Tom came into the room and sat beside Jensen on the bed. “It’s never too late, Jenny.”

Jensen shook off the nickname. “It’s over, Tom.”

“Why do you say that?”

“It just is! That’s what happens in relationships, isn’t it? They end.”

“It didn’t end for me,” Tom said softly.

Jensen looked at him with sad eyes. “You’re better than me, Tom. You’re the guy that defended me when people picked on me for being gay even though it hurt your reputation. You’re the guy that proves love exists. You’re creative and kind and gentle to everyone.” Jensen gave a dry laugh. “I have sex to try and fill a gaping hole in my life. Does it really surprise you that I believe love is a sham?”

“But if you love Jared, then you must know it’s not a sham.”

“I don’t-,” Jensen started, but Tom cut him off by simply raising and eyebrow. “Okay, for a few days I thought I did. But you can’t fall in love with someone in just a few days. It’s too early. It’s too hard.”

“Well, I knew Mike was the one after about 4 hours with the idiot.” Tom smiled fondly. “It’s not about time, Jensen, it’s about…” Tom thought. “It’s just about the way you feel.”

“Well, I feel shitty. I’m sorry, Tom, I just… I don’t think I can go tonight.”

“Because you don’t want to see Jared. Well, he’ll be at Mike’s bachelor party.”

“I do want to see Jared. Hell, I want to see Jared so bad it hurts. I don’t want to see Jared with another guy. If there’s a stripper at Mike’s party…”
“Then I’ll kill him,” Tom said with a teasing smile. Jensen didn’t return the grin.

Tom looked at Jensen with pity. God, he was sick of these pitying looks. He wasn’t some sad puppy that needed comfort. He was a fully-grown man. “Jen. Come on. Jared is just as cut up about this as you are.”

“He’ll get over it,” Jensen muttered.

“If someone who couldn’t admit he loved someone is sulking in his room, how do you think someone who could admit it feels like?”

Jensen refused to accept Tom’s logic. “Jared’s tough. Strong. He’ll recover.”

“That’s all you have to say? He’s strong; he’ll recover? What the hell?”

“What do you want me to say?” Jensen was almost yelling.

“I want you to say you love him!” Tom was yelling. “I want you to man up for once, Jensen, because guess what? Sleeping around isn’t going to last your whole life. But Jared will. So stop acting like a stubborn teenager!”

“I do love him!” Jensen yelled back. “Don’t for one second think I don’t! But I’m not going to waste my life chasing around something that’s just going to end badly.”

“What makes you think it’ll end badly?” Tom’s voice was gentle.

“Well, it didn’t work out so great the first time!”

“Lower your voice, Jen.” Tom took his hand gently. Jensen looked at it and was reminded of another hand that took his.

“I do love him,” Jensen repeated. His voice was broken. “I do love him.” Jensen heard the little voice in his head again. It doesn’t matter if you love him. You screwed it up. Are you going to cry? You’re pathetic. “Shut up,” Jensen snapped.

“What?”

“Not you, Tom,” Jensen said quickly. “No, just my head being crazy. I’m fucked up, remember?”

“You’re not fucked up, Jen. Just a little… lost.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“I only speak the truth.”

Jensen kicked the ground. It wasn’t sand; it was hard carpeting and his toe stung with the blow. Fuck. “I don’t want to go.”

Tom touched his shoulder gently. “I’m not going to make you do anything you don’t want to, Jen. But, you will be at the wedding, right?” Tom bit his lip, like he actually believed Jensen would skip.

Jensen tried to smile reassuringly. “Of course, Tom. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

“Okay, good. Besides, the party tonight will probably just be some stupid games and alcohol. Nothing really worth going to.” Tom tried to conceal disappointment in his voice.

Jensen hated letting his best friend down, especially all that Tom had done for him. “Tom, I can go.”

Tom smiled at Jensen. “It’s up to you, Jenny. Besides, I think Chris will get drunk enough for all of us.”

“You think he’ll sleep with Danni again?”

“No way. She’s too smart to repeat.”

“10 bucks.”

“Alright, Ackles, you’ve got yourself a bet.”

Jensen grinned. He felt bad betting on his friends’ sex life. But it was a distraction from the ache of losing Jared felt like and that was very welcome at the moment. He didn’t exactly have any sex life of his own to bet on. He just had empty promises and wasted words.

Tom seemed to notice Jensen’s attitude quickly change. “Look, Jen, don’t worry about tonight. It’s just a stupid party.”

“Yeah, but it’s your stupid party, and you’re my best friend.”

“And you’re mine, Jen. Which means I’m not going to force you to go out and fake a smile and pretend to have a good time when really you’re hurting. Stay in, watch a movie with Danni. She’s still bitter about not being invited.”

“She’s a girl.”

“Try explaining that to her,” Tom responded. “She just yells sexism and runs off.”

“She’d probably be crazier than all of us at the party.”

Tom laughed. “Yeah, but that’s because Danni is cooler than all of us.”

Jensen drummed his feet against his bed. “Yeah, she’s pretty cool.”

Tom patted Jensen gently on his shoulder. “Well… think about it. It’s worth your time, you know.”

Jensen knew he wasn’t talking about the bachelor party.

 

Jared was staring at his suitcase. All of his things had reappeared in his room one morning while Jared was out for a run. Jared thought about running down to Jensen and thanking him even if it wasn’t him. Jared just wanted an excuse to talk to him, to see his green eyes smile.

Jared wasn’t used to being in his room. For a week he stayed with Jensen, not even bothering to check on his own room. He’d had no reason. Now he was curled up in his sheets with an empty room and an empty heart.

Every so often Jared would glance at the clock. Time seemed to move slower when you were sad. Seconds turned into hours, and hours into days. It would stay on the same minute forever and Jared would watch the red numbers blink at him. They judged him too, asking him why he wasn’t outside, why he wasn’t enjoying Hawaii. Jared snorted. Now he was personifying clocks. It was possibly a new low for him.

Jared didn’t leave out of fear of seeing Jensen laughing with that guy again. He didn’t want to see it. He didn’t want to walk down to get breakfast and see Jensen getting that other guy coffee. It would feel like the universe was laughing at him. It outright sucked. And this was an optimist speaking.

Jared didn’t want to go to the bachelor party. He didn’t want to go to the wedding. All he wanted to do was go home and pick up some guy at a bar and maybe find a way out of this insane pain he felt in his chest. This ridiculous longing he felt for Jensen even after all the shit they went through. Jared still didn’t feel as though Jensen deserved his anger. But Jared felt an obligation to himself—a strange, crazy obligation—to remain furious at Jensen.

Jared was Mike’s best man. He should go to the bachelor party. He should go and support his best friend despite the way he felt at the moment. But he looked outside at the sunny weather, the same sun that he’d lay under with Jensen only a few days ago, and resigned himself to curling up under the covers.

He never noticed one of his shirts was missing.

 

Jensen woke up on the day of the wedding with red-rimmed eyes. He’d skipped the bachelor party and instead cried himself to sleep clutching Jared’s tee shirt. Jensen had given Jared’s other clothing to Tom to put back in Jared’s room. Jensen noticed the soft black tee shirt buried under his bed and it felt too much like Jared for him to put it back. It felt too much like home. So he’d hung on to it and slept with it ever since Jared had left him.

It was cheesy and pathetic. But Jensen was desperate.

Jensen Ackles didn’t get desperate. He wasn’t needy and sad and pathetic. But Jared turned him into all of those things. And for that, he resented him. Jensen also knew if Jared ever knocked on Jensen’s door and told him he loved him one last time Jensen would throw himself into Jared’s arms and never let him go ever again.

Jensen stared at the suit hanging on his closet. He could skip the wedding. He could throw up or run away or fake his own death. Jensen gave a small laugh. He was willing to do all this to avoid seeing Jared. Avoid having his heart broken again.

Jensen Ackles didn’t get heartbroken. He was better than that.

And even more so, he wasn’t in love. Heartbreak happens to people who are in love. Jensen ran his fingers through his hair and for a second imagined they were Jared’s hands. Fuck, who was he kidding, he was so in love with Jared.

Jensen put his suit on and looked in the mirror. Aside from the bloodshot eyes, which he could probably blame on alcohol or something, Jensen looked mostly presentable. He could stand in front of a group of people and smile for his best friend and not get on his knees and beg for Jared to forgive him. He was stronger than that.

Jensen picked up the notecard that he’d written his best man speech on. It wasn’t the best thing he’d ever written but ever word he wrote came out bitter. Eventually he ended up writing a story about Tom and him in high school. It was crap but it was better than scorning the “sacred bond” of marriage.

Someone pounded at his door and Jensen knew it was Danneel before he even opened it to see the dark red hair. “One minute!”

He flung open the door and Danni’s pretty face took her breath away. Her auburn curls fell around her shoulders and her makeup looked like it was done professionally, though Jensen knew she’d done it all herself. She wore a pale blue dress and a sneaky smile. “Hey, Jen.”

“Danni, you’re gorgeous.”

Jensen could have sworn he saw Danneel blush. “It’s just something I threw on.”

“You’ll steal the show tonight, Danni. Tom and Mike will hate you because all eyes will be on you.”

“Shut up,” Danni swatted his arm playfully. She was grinning widely. “You don’t look to bad yourself.”

Jensen mock-twirled. “You think I’ll win prom queen?”

“Without a doubt.” Danneel’s smile turned momentarily said. “Tom wanted the four of you to meet up before hand in the lobby.”

Jensen already knew who the four of them were. Tom, Mike, and, “Jared?”

“I told him it was bad luck to see his bride before the wedding. He shoved me out of his room but agreed that you’d just wait at the alter together.”

Jensen thought he could just about marry Danneel. He didn’t respond; Jensen knew Danneel could see the relief on his face. “Well, Ackles?” Danneel looked at him expectantly.

“Well what?”

Danneel held out her arm. “You gonna walk me to the wedding or not?”

 

Jensen didn’t think he’d ever been in a more awkward situation in his entire life. He and Jared were standing at the alter together, pointedly not looking at each other. They looked everywhere else. They looked at their friends, the ceiling, the floor, the flowers lining the entrance to the cabana. But not once did they make eye contact. It broke Jensen’s heart. He imagined what they would be doing a few days ago. Teasing each other, laughing, Jared would tell Jensen he looked pretty as a princess and Jensen would tell Jared he was a jerk. Jared would make a joke that someday, he and Jensen would stand under this alter. Jensen would blush but secretly hope it would happen.

Instead a cold blanket of silence surrounded them. Despite the warm weather Jensen shivered. For a second, Jensen thought he saw Jared through him a glance but it was quickly gone.

Tom and Mike had decided to walk down the isle together. It was sickeningly romantic. Jensen had returned to criticizing their relationship now that Jensen was alone again and had spent the past few days sulking in his room.

A hush fell over the crowd and the shadows of two grinning grooms entered the cabana, followed by the men themselves. They didn’t want to play the traditional song when the bride walks down the isle and instead had chosen a Hawaiian love song. It was sweet and played on the ukulele and Jensen was loathe to admit that he liked it. It was another reminder that Jensen was alone.

The ceremony was beautiful. Tom and Mike both had tears in their eyes and when they said, “I do”, Jensen about cried with happiness for his friend. He met Jared’s eyes for a second. Jared quickly directed his attention the ground and Jensen fought back a whimper.

The newly weds were to exit first and everyone else would join them at the reception soon after. Jensen ran his finger across the notecard in his pocket and held his breath.

Just one thing, Ackles, just one thing you can’t mess up.

The reception was beautifully decorated. Elegant and flowery and exuding love. Everything Jensen had been insulting for the past 5 years. A breeze flowed through and ruffled the tablecloths. Jensen was expected to give his speech soon. He and Jared had no specified who would go first and so Jensen hoped that before long, the two of them would have something figured out. He was about to ask Jared when Jared tapped his wineglass gently. Immediately, everyone’s attention was directed to the tall man.

“Well,” Jared started with a smile. Unless you knew Jared you couldn’t tell it was forced. There were no dimples. “I guess it’s time for me to make my speech.”

Jensen held his breath. He hadn’t heard Jared’s voice in a long time. He’d forgotten the honey quality, the warmth it spread through Jensen’s body. “I met Mike when we were young…”

Jared spoke eloquently. His words flowed perfectly together and made everyone laugh and Mike blush. It wasn’t until the end that Jensen felt his eyes filling with tears. Jared had moved him to tears and dammit, he was going to weep in front of the entire wedding party because of a few pretty words his ex-fuck buddy had said.

Ex-lover.

Did it matter? Jensen blinked rapidly and so badly tried to hold back his tears. When Jared was done everyone applauded and Jensen shakily got to his feet to make his speech. Shit shit shit shit shit I can’t do this. He fingered the notecard in his pocket and then felt himself crumple it into a ball.

“Well I don’t know how I can follow a speech like that!” Jensen started. What a stupid thing to say. A small murmur of laughter when through the crowd. “I also met Tom when he was young. Crazy, ridiculous, fun, and inspiring. From the moment I helped him up off the woodchips I knew I would want to be his friend forever. He looked at me gratefully and it was the first time I’d had a friend that wasn’t a girl.” Jensen tossed a wink to Danni and people laughed again.

“Tom has taught me a lot. He’s taught me how to laugh. He’s taught me how to cry and he’s taught me not only to pick others off the ground,” –more laughter— “but to pick myself up as well. He’s taught me to be brave, and,” Jensen took a breath and shot a quick look at Jared. “He’s taught me how to love. I don’t always tell the idiot how much he means to me, but I hope he knows. And I hope that Mike will let him know every day that he’s found someone really special.”

There was applause for Jensen as well but he barely heard it. He hardly heard Tom’s, “Man, that was awesome,” and he completely missed the tears in his eyes and the grin on Mike’s face. All that mattered to him was Jared.

He was staring at his plate, and he hadn’t looked up since Jensen started his speech.

 

Jared felt his breath catch in his throat from the moment Jensen had started his speech. It was everything Jared knew it would be. Absolutely perfect and wonderful and it made Jared’s knees weak. He’d kept his eyes on his plate so he didn’t have to meet Jensen’s brilliant green ones but Jared had almost looked up when Jensen said he’d learned how to love. He gently picked at his salad and occasionally lifted a leaf of lettuce to his mouth.

It tasted like air.

Jared heard Tom speaking in a soft voice to Jensen. “Jen, eat something.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“You haven’t eaten in days.”

“I had coffee.”

“You think that’s a suitable substitute for actual food? Eat something, Jensen. For me.”

“Aw, Tom, don’t pull that card.”

“I’ll pull it all I need to if it gets my friend to actually eat something. You plan to starve yourself or something?”

Jared didn’t catch Jensen’s next statement but Tom’s tone was sad when he said, “You’ll always be amazing Jensen, and beautiful. Just eat.”

Their conversation was cut short with the announcement that the cake was being cut. It was in the front of the room and it was towers of white icing and purple spirals. Mike and Tom went to the front to cut it together. Jensen’s eyes were downcast. It hurt Jared. He liked Jensen’s smile.

After Mike and Tom had fed each other—a pointless display of affection that made Jared nauseous—Jared stood up with the rest of the party to get a piece of cake. Jensen didn’t budge. He kept his eyes focused on his salad like it was the most interesting thing in the room.

Without thinking, Jared grabbed two pieces of cake. He wasn’t going to let Jensen starve himself, even if Jared was mad at him. He sat by Jensen and it was clear Jensen was shocked by the way he looked up like a deer caught in the headlights of a car. “Jared?”

“Hi, Jensen.” Jared handed Jensen the piece of cake. “I got you cake.” He was well aware of how stupid he sounded and wished he could delete the last 5 minutes of his life.

“I’m not hungry.”

Jared sighed. “You should eat, Jensen.”

Jensen looked at him with sad eyes and Jared could have sworn they were bloodshot. Almost like he had been crying—but that was a ludicrous theory. “I’m not hungry, Jared,” Jensen repeated.

Jared cautiously took Jensen’s fork from beside his arm without thinking. He put a little piece of cake on the fork and looked at Jensen. “Open,” Jared ordered.

Jensen looked hesitant and a little angry at first but then opened his mouth and allowed Jared to put the fork with cake in his mouth. “Now close.” Jensen did as he was asked without complaint this time. “Is it good?”

Jensen nodded slowly. “Yeah. It’s good.”

Jared allowed himself to smile softly and proceeded to feed Jensen the rest of the cake bite by bite. Jensen complied with his childish requests to feed him; all the while his green eyes seemed to stare straight into Jared’s soul. It was unnerving at the same time it was romantic. When the cake was gone, Jared asked, “Do you want more?”

“No,” Jensen’s voice was so soft Jared could scarcely hear it. “That was enough. Thank you.”

Jared nodded. “Yeah. Um. You’re welcome.” His heart was beating way too fast. Jared picked up his own fork and began to pick at the remaining piece of cake. “Um, so-,”

Jensen cut him off. “Jared.”

Jared looked up in surprise. “Yeah?”

“I never wanted things to end like they did. I never wanted to hurt you.”

Jared felt an unexpected flare of anger. It wasn’t fair, Jensen was just being kind. “Well, you did hurt me.”

“I know.” Jensen looked to be on the verge of tears. “And I’m so sorry.”

“I don’t care.”

Jensen nodded, like he accepted that. “I get that. And so I’ll… see you round.” He stood up and left. Jared watched him leave and sit beside Danneel. She put an arm around him, not unlike the way Jared used to.

The first dance was announced and Tom led Mike out onto the floor. Jared barely stifled a groan. Fucking couples. He’d be all alone, again. He even saw Danneel lead Jensen out on to the floor. He feeds the asshole cake, and this is what happens. He is abandoned. Again.

“Hey, buddy.”

Jared saw Chris standing beside him. “Hey, Chris.”

Chris sat next to him. “Look, I’ve got my dignity on the line here. I love girls. I’m straight. But it’s pretty clear I’m not getting any action tonight and you look like you need a friend so…” Chris stood up and offered his hand to Jared. “You, um, wanna dance with me?”

Jared raised an eyebrow. “Dance with you?”

“Well, I figured that since neither of us can dance who we really want to dance with we might as well have a pity-dance together. Sound good?”

Jared felt his face break out into a real smile. “Yeah, okay, I’d love to dance with you.”

Chris and Jared swayed on the dance floor with Chris’s hands around Jared’s neck. Suddenly, Chris burst out laughing. Jared looked puzzled. “You okay?”

Chris managed to squeak out, “We’re two sorry sons of bitches, man!”

Jared started to laugh with him. There was no humor in the situation and it hurt but Jared laughed and laughed with Chris until they were doubled over and hanging on to each other for support. When they straightened up and wiped tears from their eyes, Chris said, “You know, he really does love you.”

Jared knew who he was talking about. “Why does everyone keep pushing this subject?”

“Because, man, we’re your friends. We annoy the hell out of you and always, always, always,” Chris placed a hand on Jared’s shoulder, “look out for each other. Now dance with me, you asshole.” Jared smiled and placed his hands on Chris’ waist. For the time being he ignored the weirdness of the situation and just danced with Chris.

When he saw Danneel dancing with Tom Jared realized Jensen was gone.

Again.

Chapter Text

The first thing Jensen did after he fled the wedding was bolt his room door and grab his computer. He wanted to book a flight home as soon as possible. According to his schedule at the moment, Jensen was going to take off on a flight leaving tomorrow night at 8:00. Danni was on the flight with him, no real surprise. But it was an indirect flight with a stop in… Chicago.

Jensen knew that was the flight Jared would be taking. Jensen had caught a glimpse of Jared’s ticket the one time Jensen was even in Jared’s room and at the time had been overjoyed that they could spend any time they had left on the trip, together.

And Jensen may have also been scheming to get Jared to stay on with him until New York.

Not that any of that mattered now. Jensen wanted to get the hell out of this place, far away from Chris and Jared and their laughter. Did Chris think he was just going to sleep with all of Jensen’s friends? That’s fine. Chris can sleep with Jared if he wanted. Jared was really nothing special.

Except that you love him, the little voice nagged. So, obviously he’s something special. Jensen snorted. “Now you’re supportive,” Jensen snapped at the air.

Jared offered Jensen an olive branch. He’d fed Jensen cake at the wedding. Jensen knew Jared must have overheard Tom telling Jensen to eat because he’d been practically starving himself.

It wasn’t that Jensen was starving himself. Jensen just mixed up the hole in his stomach with the hole in his heart and in turn, had decided to ignore them both. Jensen couldn’t force food down his throat if he tried. The only time he’d managed to choke down a bite of something without throwing it up immediately afterward was the cake Jared fed him. Whether it was really good cake or the gentle hazel eyes that were begging him to eat, Jensen didn’t care. All he really cared about was the tiny flicker of something that had flashed in Jared’s eyes.

Jensen hoped with all his heart Jared didn’t hate him. Jared fed him cake to keep him from starving and Jensen stood up and left him. He just got up and walked away without so much as a kiss goodbye. Though not kissing might be a good thing; Jensen didn’t think Jared would react kindly to Jensen kissing him without really apologizing.

You did apologize. Obviously not enough. Ackles, you’re losing it. Damn right he was. Jensen groaned. He was having arguments with voices in his head. So, either he was brilliant or absolutely insane, and brilliance doesn’t lead to holding your head in your hands in a hotel room in Hawaii.

After ditching your best friend’s wedding and the love of your life.

None of the things particularly ring of brilliance. Why had Jensen left again? Oh right. Plane ticket. Jensen opened his computer and typed in some airplane company. Was it American that Danni had booked for them? Or Hawaiian Air? Jensen ran a hand down his face. He needed his little red-haired friend. Eventually Jensen ended up scanning all the airlines. He just wanted a flight out of there, and now.

But apparently, leaving Hawaii is almost as common as going to Hawaii. Flights after flights were booked full. There was a flight leaving in an hour… Jensen glanced at the mess in his room, plus transportation and security. He let out a sigh. Trapped here for another day.

Jensen drummed his fingers on the desk. Maybe he could take a day trip to some exotic, far away place on the island way out of cellphone range for the day. Return at six, grab his stuff, and head away for the airport. Seemed simple enough.

Jensen cracked his sore neck. There were more holes in that plan than Swiss cheese, who was Jensen kidding? For one, Danni probably wouldn’t let him leave the room without a babysitter, namely herself, and she would always steer him in the direction of Jared. They all would. Jensen wondered when their friends would stop trying so hard to get two people together who were clearly happier alone.

Though, was Jensen happier alone? He certainly wasn’t happy right now. And he didn’t have any alcohol either, which amplified the sorrow of the situation and added at least 10 points of self-pity. He probably should have stayed at the wedding. He probably should have stayed when Jared sat down beside him and started talking. Or, the best idea of all, he should have kicked Jared out on the first night so none of this chaos ever occurred in the first place.

Jensen never would have gotten hurt, he never would have gotten so drunk that his hangover sent him reeling into Chris of all people, he never would have hurt his ankle on the rock. Jensen frowned. He never would have found the beautiful oasis, he never would have had some of the most mind-blowing sex ever, he never would have woken up with a smile on his face, he never would have had anyone call him baby with a teasing smile, he never would have been comforted during a thunderstorm. He never would have fallen in love with Jared Padalecki, and he never would have been happy.

Jensen wanted Danneel so badly right now. But she was still had the wedding. She had the sense to stay and not run away when things got rough. Danneel was the sensible one in their relationship.

Jensen wondered if Jared was still at the wedding. Jensen half hoped he was. If Jensen was going to be miserable, that sucked, but at least the guy Jensen loved could be happy. That’s all Jensen wanted.

Jared should be happy.

 

Jared was unhappy. After he’d realized Jensen fled the wedding he’d untangled himself from Chris with a rushed apology and dashed out as well. Jared didn’t know exactly what he was going to do. Hug him? Yell at him? Punch him? Kiss him? All Jared knew was at that moment, the most important thing in the world was finding Jensen Ackles.

The search was futile. Jared ran around the grass and searched the pools and even sprinted to the beach but he couldn’t find Jensen anywhere. If he wasn’t outside, Jared knew exactly where he would be.

Jared bounced on the balls of his feet waiting for the elevator to arrive. It didn’t come fast enough and when Jared finally had arrived at Jensen’s floor and stood outside his door, Jared felt his heart stop beating. Jared was going to knock and Jensen was going to open the door and then slam it in his face.

I can’t do this, I can’t do this. Jared felt his heart in his throat. The last time Jared remembered being this nervous was the state championship for football in high school. And here Jensen Ackles was, with his pretty green eyes making Jared turn into a puddle of nervous energy.  I have to do this, I have to do this.

Jared knocked gently, and prayed with all his heart that Jensen would open.

 

Jensen heard a knock on the door. He assumed it must be Danneel. She knew he had left and was probably here to check on him. Make sure he didn’t do anything stupid.

Too late.

Jensen sighed and went to the door. He really wasn’t in the mood for a lecture. He didn’t want to cry again or hear about how Jensen just had to go up to Jared’s room and apologize and tell him that he loved him. Jensen didn’t do that shit. Jensen was the guy for one-night stands and empty promises.

Just like the promise Jared gave him. You said you wouldn’t let me screw this up. Jensen bit his lip. You said you’d never let me go. Jensen barely choked back a sob when he opened the door and said, “Danni, I’m not in the mood! I just want to-,” Jensen stopped in the middle of his sentence.

It was Jared.

 

Jensen actually opened the door. Jared didn’t know what he was going to do at this point. Jensen’s green eyes were as beautiful as Jared remembered but there was an edge to Jensen’s voice that wasn’t there before. “You want to what?” Tumbled out of Jared’s mouth.

Jensen’s mouth was hanging open. He snapped it shut quickly and said, “Nothing. Thought you were Danni.” He cleared his throat. “What are you doing here?”

“I don’t know.” Jared replied honestly. “You left the wedding.”

“So did you.”

Jared’s throat was dry. “Yeah, I did.”

Jensen looked expectantly at him. “Is there… is there something else?”

Yes. No. I don’t know. “No.” Wrong word. Wrong word. Change it. “I mean, yes. No. I don’t know!” Wow, Jared, you really fucked that up.

“It’s okay,” Jensen said. “You don’t have to know.”

Jared almost let out a sigh of relief. “Okay.”

“So…” Jensen swallowed. “Why don’t you come back when you do know?”

Jensen wasn’t going to invite him in. Jensen didn’t love him. Jensen didn’t care at all. Fuck, why did I even come? “Yeah, so, I’ll see you later.”

“Bye, Jared.”

“Yeah.” Really? Yeah?

Jensen looked somewhat crestfallen. “Okay then. I’ll see you.” Jensen shut the door before Jared could respond.

Well, fuck. What did Jared think was going to happen? Jensen was going to welcome him back with open arms? Not even caring about everything that happened between them? But they managed to be civil with each other, and that was more than Jared could say was true of them a few days ago.

It didn’t help the ache in Jared’s chest. Jared had a feeling the only thing that would make this particular ache go away was a certain green-eyed, bright-smiled, charming-beyond-belief writer. But that person was unavailable and so Jared was left with this cold lonely feeling in his chest.

“Fuck!” Jared said loudly when he entered his own room. He slammed the door shut and yanked his tie off. I’ve lost him, Jared thought to himself. I’ve lost Jensen.

And that was something Jared absolutely did know.

 

Jensen managed to fall asleep around midnight. He wasn’t going to deny that a pair of pretty hazel eyes danced in his vision long after Jared left and even haunted his dreams. Once again, Jensen had turned Jared away when more than anything he’d wanted to hold onto him and fuck him late into the morning. Instead Jensen fell asleep cradling Jared’s shirt and imagining it was Jared.

Truly. Jensen was a pathetic sight.

When Jensen managed to roll out of bed in the morning—it must have actually been late afternoon from the way the sun was glaring through the curtains—his body ached and his stomach was demanding food. He threw on Jared’s tee shirt and a pair of ratty sweatpants. It’s not like he had anyone to impress.

A knock made Jensen slightly more alert. Maybe it was Jared. Maybe he’d had some kind of epiphany and had come back to Jensen. Jensen was so filled with this fantasy that the disappointment of seeing Danneel rather than Jared outside his door must have been plastered across his face.

“Don’t look so happy to see me,” Danni snapped.

“Sorry,” Jensen replied glumly. “I was just-,”

“Hoping I was Jared, I know I know. Sorry to disappoint.”

“I’m not disappointed to see you, Danni,” Jensen protested. “I just wish you didn’t have to come comfort me every time I get a little upset.”

“Running away from the wedding and hiding yourself away in your room is a little upset? I’d hate to see what happens when you’re really upset.”

“Okay fine,” Jensen snapped. “I’m miserable. Is that what you want me to say?”

Danneel patted his arm gently and led him to the bed. “Of course that’s not what I want you to say. I’m your best friend. Best friends want their best friends to be happy.”

“I’m not happy.”

“I noticed.” Danneel bit her lip. “We’re on the same flight as Jared, did you know that?”

Jensen nodded. “I found out when we were still… I was scheming to get him to come back to New York with me.”

Danneel looked said. “There’s still time, Jen.”

“No,” Jensen replied. “There’s not.”

 

Jensen spent the day moping with Danneel. She ordered ice cream sundaes and they curled up together on the couch. Some movie was playing in the background but Jensen ignored it. He rested his head on Danneel’s shoulder and let her run her fingers through his hair. He imagined they were Jared’s, and the thought lulled him to sleep.

Jensen was woken by Danneel lightly shaking him. “Come on, Jen, let’s get you up.”

“Why? What’s the point anymore?”

“You have to pack, dumbass.” Danni threw a pair of underwear at his head to emphasize her point. “Also, you might want to wear a shirt other than Jared’s when we meet him at the airport.”

“Danni, no, I can’t—I don’t want—if we see him-,”

“Pack first, Jensen, babble like an idiot later.”

“Are you packed?”

“Of course.”

Of course. Danneel was the responsible one. “Wanna help me?” Jensen asked.

Danneel sighed. “The things I do for you, Jensen Ackles.”

“Yeah, throwing clothes into a bag is such a strenuous task. Forgive me for burdening you down with this.”

“You’re shockingly unorganized for someone who owns a bookstore.”

“Shut up, Danni, and help me pack,” Jensen retorted. He threw articles of clothing into the bag but refused to remove Jared’s shirt. It was comfortable and the scent of candy still lingered on his shirt. It was almost as good as having actual Jared wrap around him.

Danneel cautiously tugged on Jensen’s shirt. “Come on, Jen, change.”

Jensen pouted. “Danni…”

“Jensen. Take the shirt off.”

Jensen glared at her and stripped Jared’s shirt off and threw it in the suitcase. After he’d found a suitable replacement—one that didn’t smell like Jared and wasn’t as comfortable, Jensen finished packing. “Happy?”

“No.”

Jensen punched her lightly on the shoulder. “We’re not actually going to have to carpool to the airport with Jared, are we?”

Danneel sighed loudly. “No, you crybaby, we’re not going to carpool with your ex-lover, who could be your current lover if you manned up and talked to him.”

Yeah, well, Jared always did call him the girl.

 

The ride to the airport was nerve racking at best. He’d hardly been able to stammer out congratulations and goodbye to Tom and Mike before they boarded the taxi taking them away. Jensen knew he’d see Jared. And he wanted to see Jared. But Jared was still this thing of uncertainty in his chest. One minute Jensen loved him and the next minute, Jensen hated him. Jensen didn’t want that uncertainty in his life at this moment. He was too busy trying to figure everything else out without dealing with the crisis of whether or not he loved Jared Padalecki.

Jensen let Danneel do the talking, both at check in and security. Jensen probably would have forgotten what to say anyways, and he’s dangerously close to snapping at anyone who so much as looked at him funny. Danneel was the only one trained to work with Jensen when he was in such an explosive mood.

They made it all the way to the terminal before seeing Jared. He was sitting in a worn leather chair by the window and had his earbuds in. Jensen swallowed dryly. There were two seats on either side of Jared and Danneel had the scheming smirk on her face that only meant she was concocting a plan to get them together. Before Danni could do anything, Jensen turned on his heel and made towards Starbucks. Danneel caught his arm and he said immediately, “I need caffeine, Danni!”

“More than the 3 cups you’ve had already today? I’m surprised you’re not bouncing off the walls.”

“Shut up, please.”

“Alright. I’ll take your bag and find a place to sit.”

Jensen watched her cautiously. “I don’t trust you.”

“Good,” Danneel chirped. She snatched Jensen’s back and pranced off. “Enjoy your caffeine!”

Jensen huffed and considered not going back at all. He stumbled over his words when the barista asked him what he wanted and could barely get out, “Black coffee.” She smiled flirtatiously at him and chatted him up the whole time he was waiting for his simple cup of coffee. Jensen resisted the urge to tell her that he’d rather bang her male coworker, or even more preferably, Jared.

When she’d finally handed him the steaming cup of happiness, Jensen walked as slowly as possibly back to the terminal. Maybe he could kill time waiting for the plane and by the time he got back, they would be boarding and Jensen wouldn’t have to speak to Jared at all.

Jensen stopped in his tracks when he reached the terminal. Danneel had plunked their stuff right next to Jared and she was engaged in conversation with him. Shit, shit, shit, shit. Jensen took a deep breath. He could either man up, or he could run away as fast possible. There was no doubting what the more appealing situation was. But his legs disobeyed his brain and carried him to Danneel and Jared. Fuck.

Jensen sat beside Danneel and tried not to look at Jared. Jared seemed to be of the same mindset because he ignored Jensen ferociously. It was sad, that two people who’d used to be so in love where reduced to ignoring each other. Especially when the only thing that was going through Jensen’s head was, I love you, I love you, I love you.

And I’m so sorry.

 

Jared was sitting one person away from Jensen in the terminal. It would be too easy to reach across and grab Jensen by the collar and kiss him. His heart sped up and it beat so loud Jared was sure that everyone could hear it. It seemed to be pounded to a beat, almost like it was saying Jensen over and over again.

Jared had no idea what Danni was saying to him. He’d become vastly unfocused as soon as Jensen and all his perfection had sat down next to Danneel. He’d refused to look at Jared and so Jared returned the favor. Jensen was holding coffee. So his caffeine addiction hadn’t changed.

When they began boarding Jared ignored Jensen at all costs, but gently brushed Jensen’s hand when Jared leaned down to pick up his bag. Jensen shot up like he’d been electrocuted. “Uh, sorry,” Jared mumbled.

“It’s fine,” Jensen said. “I’m gonna, uh, go.”

Jared watched him go with sad eyes. “Goodbye,” He muttered to thin air. Jared boarded the plane and saw Danneel and Jensen sitting a few rows in front of where Jared was supposed to sit. Danneel was talking Jensen’s ear off while Jensen was biting his lip in a way that Jared knew he was anxious. Before Jared could even think about it, he touched Jensen’s shoulder reassuringly before walking up further to take his seat.

Whether or not Jensen loved him, Jared loved Jensen.

 

Jensen fell asleep much sooner on the plane than the last time. He fell asleep on Danneel’s shoulder and let himself dream of Jared.

The plane shook and Jensen woke. It was landing. “Are we in New York already?” Jensen’s voice was heavy with sleep.

“No,” Danneel said hesitantly. “Chicago.”

Chicago? Chicago. Jared. “Oh.”

A few other passengers were disembarking and Jensen not so subtly looked for Jared amongst the bodies. Maybe he was going to stay on the plane until New York just for kicks. Maybe he wouldn’t leave.

Jensen’s hopes were squashed as he saw the tall man walking through the isle. He didn’t glance at Jensen as he passed and Jensen missed his soft, comforting touches. How could something so perfect go wrong so quickly?

Jensen kept his eyes trained on Jared the whole way he was exiting the plane. By the time Jared had left completely, Jensen felt like his lungs were contracting. Danneel touched his arm softly. “You have 45 minutes, Jensen.”

45 minutes. Jensen swallowed. This wasn’t some cheesy movie where he would get off the plane and chase down his love of his life. This wasn’t how things were going to end. Jensen was going to stay put on the plane and not move and inch because this wasn’t some cheesy rom-com with a fairytale ending.

When the words rom-com flashed through Jensen’s mind he saw them again as Jared whispered them to him at movie night, and teased him throughout the vacation, and held him during the thunderstorm, and every image they’d ever shared flashed through Jensen’s mind just like it was a horribly made love story.

Without thinking Jensen pushed Danneel’s arm off and ran off the plane. He didn’t care that he looked desperate or pathetic or that what he was doing right now went again every principle that Jensen had ever instilled in himself. He ran down the terminal and skidded across the tile floor of the Chicago airport and scanned everywhere looking for Jared. Dammit, he was so tall! Why couldn’t Jensen find him?

“Jared!” Jensen yelled. “Jared Padalecki!” Many people turned to look at him but none of them were Jared, so why should Jensen care? “Jared!”

“Jensen?” A familiar voice was quiet next to him. Jensen turned and saw Jared frozen to the spot a few yards away.

“Don’t go,” Jensen squeaked out. “Jared, don’t go.” 

“I have to go, Jensen.” Jared looked puzzled. “Why are you here?”
“Because I love you,” Jensen cried. More people glanced over. “Because I love you and I loved you from the moment I met you and I’m sorry and the only thing I want right now is for you to come home with me. I don’t care about the bad shit that happened, Jare, I just want you. I love you and I should have told you sooner. Please, Jared, please don’t leave me.”

Jared took a cautious step forward and then stopped. “Jensen…”

“Please, Jared. I love you. I’ll say it every day, every hour. Every minute! Just don’t go.” Jensen hadn’t begged anyone like this, ever.

Jared just looked at him. “Jen,” Jared started. Jensen’s heart fluttered with the nickname. “Jen, I—I’m sorry.” With the last comment, Jared turned away from him.

Jensen watched him walk away. He didn’t even feel mad. Jensen wasn’t sure if it was even sadness that he was feeling. It was more like an empty, hollow, worthless feeling. Jensen slowly walked back to the airplane and took his seat by Danneel. She seemed to understand how it went just by the broken look on Jensen’s face.  “I’m sorry, Jenny.”

Jensen nodded into her shoulder. He didn’t say anything; any words that came out would have been mingled with tears. Instead he just buried his head in Danneel’s soft hair and let her soothing voice put him to sleep.

 

Jared slammed the door to his apartment much harder than he needed to. It was clean and organized, just how he’d left it. Jared didn’t bother flicking the lights on. All he wanted to do at the moment was make his way to the bed and curl up and sleep. For hours. Days. He had to process what Jensen had told him.

So Jared was wrong. Jensen did love him. And even if he’d told him in a crowded airport loud enough for anyone within 10 yards to hear, the most important person that heard it was Jared. Jared had heard it, and he’d felt it, and he’d loved the sound of Jensen finally, finally, opening up to someone. It didn’t explain why Jared had left him though. It was a lot to think about and the only thing that would really help right now, was alcohol and sleep.

Jared lay on his bed and stared outside. It was dark and the moonlight glinted off buildings. Jared wondered if Jensen could see the moon right now. He closed his eyes and tried to imagine Jensen’s voice filtering through the holes in his heart and filling them up. Jared repeated Jensen saying, I love you, over and over again. It still didn’t make any sense to him.

Jared fell asleep late, overthinking everything.

 

Jensen was impressed with himself. He managed to mutter a goodbye to Danni, stumble up the stairs into his apartment, and collapse into bed all without breaking down into tears. He’d even managed to form coherent thoughts for a part of it.

But now Jensen was alone. And he opened his suitcase and dug through it until he found Jared’s soft black tee shirt and slid it on. As soon as he inhaled the sweet candy-like smell, and felt like Jared was there with his arms wrapped around him, Jensen fell back on his bed and dissolved into tears. Too many times had Jensen cried over this asshole, but Jensen still meant everything he’d said at the airport.

I love you.

Chapter Text

It had been a week since Jensen watched Jared walk away at the airport, and Jensen decidedly hated the world. He didn’t want to be at work. He didn’t want to speak to anyone. People kept asking where certain books where, did he have works by this author, etc. Jensen just wanted to yell at them and say go look for the damn books yourself. After Jensen snapped at a couple for giggling too loud Danneel had moved him into the backroom to sort books.

“It’s my store, I can do what I want,” Jensen snapped.

“You can’t be an asshole,” Danneel snapped back. “Or you won’t have any customers to support the store.”

“Fuck the store. I don’t care what happens to it.”

“I’m done with this emo shit, Jensen. You can throw your own pity party, or you can call the guy you’re fucking in love with and straighten this mess out.”

“He just left me, Danni!’

Danneel gave him a sad smile. “He was probably just overwhelmed. It’s okay, honey, call him. It’ll work out. True love always finds a way.”

“I don’t believe in love,” Jensen muttered as he turned to look at the books. He didn’t get a response from Danneel and when he looked over his shoulder, he found that his cellphone was lying on top of a stack of books and Danneel had vanished.

Jensen picked up the tiny plastic iPhone that Danneel thought would be a good birthday present. Jensen hardly did anything other than call Danni and occasionally, his mother. He picked it up and turned it over and over again in his hand. Jensen needed advice. Danneel would tell him to call Jared. Tom was on his honeymoon, Chris would tell him to get drunk. His mom would coo over it, Mack would tell him to buy Jared flowers. Jensen sighed. That left one confidant. He flipped through his contacts and when he found who he was looking for his thumb hesitated over the call button.

“To hell with it,” Jensen said. He pressed call and listened to the telltale ringing that said his call had gone through. He tapped his foot anxiously and waited for an answer.

“Josh Ackles speaking,” His brother’s familiar voice filtered through the speaker.

“Hey, Josh.”

“Jensen?”

“Yeah.”

Josh’s tone immediately turned less serious. “Hey, Jenny, how’s it going?”

“I need help.”

“With what, little bro?”

“Would you believe me if I said guy problems?” Jensen asked quietly.

You have guy problems? Haven’t you banged every guy in the Big Apple by now?”

“Shut up, Josh. This is serious,” Jensen snapped.

“Okay, okay, Jenny, what do you need?”

“Advice,” Jensen started. “I sorta met a guy… and then I completely screwed it up.”

“Where’d you meet him?” Josh asked.
“Tom’s wedding.”

“Oh, yeah, how’d that go? I was offended that you didn’t ask me to be your plus one.”

“Shut up, Josh. And it went well. I mean Jared, and we had a good time, and then I screwed it up.”

“How? Tell your big brother what went wrong.”

Jensen spilled everything. How happy he was, how he fell in love, the night at the beach where Jensen told him about Eric, the awkward moments to follow, and confessing his love at the airport. “And then he walked away, and now he’s gone, and my life sucks.”

Josh was quiet for a second. “Jensen, it takes two to tango.”

“What does that mean?”

“Well, maybe Jared needs to meet you halfway. Call him, Jen.”

“I can’t,” Jensen whined. “I fucking poured my soul out in the airport and he left me.”

Josh made what sounded like a sympathetic sound. “Little brother, if someone told me that they loved me in an airport surrounded by people I’d freak out too, no matter how much I loved them. He was just scared.”

“He’s in Chicago. I can’t possibly get through to him.”

“Yeah, except cellphones were invented, dumbass. Just call him.”

“What if he doesn’t answer?”

“Then call him again,” Josh said simply. “And again, and again, and text him, too. Let him know that you’re not going to give up on something that means so much to you. Let this guy—Jared—know that you really do love him. Enough to jump off a plane and rack up and expensive phone bill.”

Jensen pondered the idea. “What if he’s with someone else?”
“He’ll never find a guy as great as you, Jenny.”  

Josh’s words were light but Jensen knew he was dead serious. “Thanks, Josh.”

“You’re welcome, dumbass. Now, are you going to call the guy or not?”

Jensen felt a smile break out on his face for what seemed like the first time in a long time. “Absolutely.”

 

Jared’s life had become monotonous. He slumped in his chair during business meetings and lived off caffeine and granola bars. He found his brain wandering more and more, each time going back to the three words Jensen had yelled at him. There was no sign of uncertainty in Jensen’s eyes, no walls, no guards. It was the first time Jensen had been honest, and Jared had left him alone.

Well, maybe not the first time. There was the thunderstorm and the nights on the beach and the drunken evenings together. There were times where Jared caught glimpses of who Jensen Ackles really was.

It was lunch time but Jared hadn’t eaten a proper meal in days. During lunch these days, Jared usually sat in his office alone and read a book or tried to finish a tedious report or file paperwork. He wondered what Jensen was doing at this time. Maybe he was reading. Or working on the phantom novel. Jared let a tiny smile slip onto his face. You promised you’d let me read it, Jared thought, and someday I will.

Jared’s hand slid into his pocket and felt a piece of paper that was crinkled up inside. Jared had carried Jensen’s story with him every day since Jensen had torn it out of his notebook. He read it when he got up and used it as a lullaby before Jared fell asleep, imagining Jensen reading it to him in his strong voice. Jared had read the story so much he’d memorized almost every word and the graphite was smeared from Jared’s fingers running across it and smoothing out the creases. It was cheesy and pathetic that Jared kept it so close to him. Especially since some of the words were so blurred Jared could hardly distinguish one elegant letter from the next.

A knock on his door startled him. “Come in!” Jared called, quickly stuffing the paper back into his pocket. His assistant Sandy entered quietly.

“Hey, Jared, just wondered if you wanted lunch?” Sandy asked. Jared knew Sandy was concerned about him. Jared had gone from eating everything to eating nothing in two weeks.

“No, Sandy, that’s okay. You go out.”

Sandy looked sad. She came all the way inside his office and shut the door behind her. “I think maybe we should talk about what happened at the wedding.”

“You’re a psychiatrist now?”  Jared smiled to tell her he was teasing.

“I’m your psychiatrist,” Sandy clarified. “Now come on, what’s wrong?”

“I met someone at the wedding.”

Sandy looked puzzled. “I think that’s a good thing.”

“Yeah, if it lasts.” Jared played with a pen on his desk. He didn’t want to lift his head and see Sandy’s eyes filled with pity. “If you screw it up, it feels like shit.”

“Jared, how could you even be capable of screwing something up?” Sandy’s words were meant to be soothing but Jensen winced. It was another reminder that he had screwed it up.

Jared turned to look at her. “I fell in love with him, and I fell in love very quickly.”

“And he didn’t love you?”

Jared shook his head. “He did love me. He told me at the airport a week ago. And I just… turned and left him.”

Sandy’s eyebrows furrowed. “Why?”

“I don’t know!” Jared blurted. “I don’t know why I left him and I don’t know why he told me he loved me and I don’t know why he loves me and I don’t know why I love him but I do and it hurts, because he’s gone, and it’s my fault!” Jared let out shaky breath. “Sorry.”

“And so you thought starving yourself was a good idea?”

Jared thought back to Tom saying a similar thing to Jensen, and Jared feeding Jensen cake, and Jensen’s trusting green eyes. “Nothing I do is a good idea.”

Sandy frowned. “Well obviously this guy disagrees.”

“Jensen,” Jared said. Sandy raised an eyebrow. “His name is Jensen,” Jared clarified. “And he has emerald green eyes and a laugh that is the epitome of happiness and love. And he makes me smile and my heart feel like it’s floating. And I love him.”

“And he loves you?” 

Yes. “I think so. He told me he does.”

Sandy rolled her eyes. “Does he love you or not, Jared?”

“Y-yes.” Jared stumbled over the world.

“Do you love him?”

“Yes,” Jared replied with conviction. “I love him.”

“Well, then call him and get this whole big mess straightened out. It’s not worth fussing over. Love is love and it’ll all work out.” Sandy gave him a reassuring smile. “Now, you wanna go grab lunch?”

Jared hopped up. “Absolutely.” He felt hungrier than he had in days. In Jared’s eagerness to leave, he forgot his cellphone and missed the metal object vibrating on his desk as he left to eat with Sandy. The screen was lit up with a familiar name that Jared never saw.

Jensen.

 

Jared didn’t answer when Jensen called him. Jensen contemplated calling back immediately but decided to give Jared some time. Maybe Jared wasn’t ready to speak to him after Jensen’s earth-shattering confession. Jensen was curled up with blankets and Chinese food late Saturday night with the feeling of rejection. Josh had told him to call again, and maybe he would. But for now, Jensen was going to watch SNL and try and laugh.

Matt had been texting him lately. He and Jensen had become good friends and Matt had started seeing a new guy. After many minutes of assuring Jensen that Richard wasn’t going to do anything stupid and that Matt could take care of himself, Jensen gave Matt his blessing.

Matt was an ear to listen when Jensen needed to scream about his missing of Jared. He was in California and had asked Jensen to fly down and visit him. But the sunshine might remind Jensen too much of Hawaii and Jensen didn’t feel like breaking down into tears.

Jensen was doing that a lot lately. He was pretty sure he was turning into a teenage girl, and he’d told Danneel that. She’d told him he’d be a very pretty girl and then left to arrange the books.

Jensen didn’t mean to pester his friends with his adamant affection for Jared. It just sort of… happened. When he thought of Jared, love poured out of him along with the sadness that came from not having him. It was irritating. But it was Jensen.

SNL was flashing colors across the walls of his dark apartment. Jensen hadn’t gone out drinking since Hawaii. It’d only been a week, but it was more for Danni to raise an eyebrow in suspicion when Jensen declined her offer of a beer. Jensen didn’t want to go out and maybe find someone else or maybe get drunk and maybe forget about Jared for a few hours. Jensen wanted to remember Jared and every second they were together.

Hence, Jensen was lying on his couch texting Matt, alone.

 

Jared spent the Saturday night out with his friends. Or, coworkers really, since Jared had no lingering attachment to any of them. It was a horrible thing to say but it was the truth. Jared found his optimistic attitude quickly slipping into pessimism. His views got darker and darker the longer he went without Jensen. Jared sipped quietly on a beer while his coworkers got drunk and placed bets on sports games. Once upon a time, Jared might have joined them. He might have gone over to the cute brunette guy eyeing him across the bar. But Jared didn’t think of doing any of those things.

Those things were pre-Jensen Jared. The dark, cloudy, miserable, in love Jared was post-Jensen. Jared snorted to himself and downed the rest of his beer. His “friends” were to drunk to notice that Jared was sulking and so Jared eventually just got up and left.

The Chicago night was brisk. A better word would be freezing but Jared could hardly feel the cold anymore. It just felt like night and coldness and darkness were all a part of him. Jared rolled his eyes at his attitude. Might as well dye his hair black and pierce something that shouldn’t have metal jewelry in it to complete his emo attitude.

The crinkled paper was still balled up in Jared’s pocket. It was so worn it felt more like cotton. Jared sighed and ran a finger over it. And maybe it was the alcohol speaking—or thinking—but Jared decided he needed to fix this. And he made an irrational decision and ran home to act upon said decision. It would probably be a mistake and Jared would regret it later, but for now all Jared saw was a pair of green eyes dancing in his mind. Love does crazy things to a person, Jared thought with a dopey grin.

Sandy was right. Love is love, and it’ll all work out.

 

Jensen thrust open the door to his bookstore Monday afternoon forcefully. Danneel had become tired of his negative persona and casually suggested Jensen take the morning off. She’d hoped Jensen would relax a little bit, but he felt just as bitter.

The store was blissfully empty. Not many people had a craving for books at 3:00 on a Monday afternoon. They craved sleep and caffeine, a juxtaposition that Jensen was desperately in need of.

Matt had mentioned dropping by to see him when he got a chance. “I’m going to pull you out of your pathetic, self-pity filled lifestyle,” were Matt’s actual words. At least he was honest. Jensen was full of self-pity and he was pretty pathetic at the moment. He couldn’t recall the last time he actually ate a healthy meal. Jensen had consumed nothing but black coffee and whatever junk had been lying around his apartment. Right now it was mostly stale potato chips.

Jensen hadn’t been able to write in days. He’d opened his computer and looked at the story and nothing had come to mind. Jensen thought about killing off all the characters and ending the story there. It would do a fairly good job of reflecting his sulky mood. Danneel frequently steals looks at his writing and Jensen was sure a massacre of his fictional characters wouldn’t score him any sympathy points.

Instead Jensen filed papers in his office on the second floor of his bookstore. He mixed up letters and everything was out of order. Jensen would make the old cliché of comparing it to his life, but he’d done enough of that in Hawaii. Jensen knocked a stack of papers off his desk that had finally been organized and they lay in a mess across the floor.

Fuck clichés. His life was out of order.

Jensen fell into his chair with his head in his hands. “Fuck my life.”

“Jensen!” Danneel’s loud voice called from below. “Come down here, please!”

“Fuck off, Danni, not now!” Jensen didn’t care if customers heard him. His life was a mess enough already, what could a little more damage do?

“Get your fucking ass down here, Jensen Ackles, or so help me god I will drag you down by your ear!”

There must not have been many customers. Danneel was always very even tempered when people surrounded her, even when Jensen was concerned. Jensen sighed and pushed himself out of the chair. “I swear, Danni, if it’s some stupid paperwork crisis or the books or out of order or some shit like that, I’ll-,” Jensen stopped halfway down the stairs with his mouth agape.

At the bottom of the stairs, leaning awkwardly against the counter, was Jared.

And Jensen took a step forward and promptly fell down the stairs.

“Woah,” Jared said. He rushed forward and caught Jensen on the last step. “Don’t want you hurting your ankle again.”

Jensen blushed. Dammit. Why did he always blush around this asshole? He almost felt a smile creep onto his face before he remembered the airport. “You left me,” Jensen said before he could stop himself.

The hesitant smirk dropped off Jared’s face. “Oh, yeah.”

Danneel cleared her throat, “I’m gonna…” Danneel pointed towards the door and scampered away. Jensen hardly noticed.

Oh yeah? You left me there like an idiot! And all you have to say is ‘oh yeah’?” Jensen felt his voice rising. “I—I told you I loved you.” Jensen’s voice cracked and he saw a flash of guilt in Jared’s eyes. “And you left me.”

Sadness fills Jared’s eyes. It’s open and honest and all Jensen wants to do is fall into Jared and have the taller man wrap his arms around him like he did so many times before. Jensen digs his nails into his palm to try and stifle the urge.

“Jen…” Jared is utterly heartbroken; Jensen can see it. “Jensen, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have left. I should have stayed, I should have listened. I was scared.”

“Of what?” Jensen looked straight into Jared’s hazel eyes and the myriad of colors makes Jensen dizzy with love. “What could you possibly be scared of?”

Jensen mumbled something and Jensen raised an eyebrow. Jared cleared his throat and repeated, “You leaving me.”

Now it was Jensen’s turn to feel guilty. He’d made Jared feel like Jensen would run at the first sign of danger. “I didn’t mean to make you feel that way.” Jensen took a slow step forward and caught Jared’s hand. “Jare, I’m not going anywhere. I love you.” Jensen’s heart stopped. Shit. Out of all the things to say, Ackles, you go with that. “I mean—it’s not like—I mean I do love you—I just, shit, Jared-,”

Jensen didn’t get another word out. Jared surged forward and pressed his lips against Jensen’s. It was soft at first, but Jensen tugged on Jared’s hair and Jared opened his mouth and allowed Jensen’s tongue to sneak in. Jensen moaned in the kiss and let himself explore Jared’s mouth. It was everything Jensen had been dreaming of since their fight. It was warm and gentle and loving.

When Jared finally pulled away for air, Jensen whined. Jared gave him that little smirk and said, “I love you too, baby.”

Jensen whimpered and threw his arms around Jared’s neck. Jared stumbled back with the force of it but his hands eventually found their place on Jensen’s waist. Jensen squeezed him tightly and tried to convey every emotion that he’d been hiding away for the past few months. “God, Jared, what are you doing here?”

Jared smiled into Jensen’s neck. “You didn’t think I’d let you escape that easy, did you?”

Jensen let out shaky laugh and found that he was crying again. “Dammit, you asshole, you always make me cry!” Jensen playfully punched Jared’s shoulder and Jared laughed that beautiful loud laugh and Jensen felt bubbles fill up his body. “I missed you,” Jensen gasped. Tears still dripped from his eyes.

Jared thumbed away the tears and kissed Jensen’s cheeks until the tears stopped. “I missed you too, baby.”

“I love when you call me that,” Jensen admitted.

“I know, stupid,” Jared replied. “You blush every time I call you that.”

Jensen opened his mouth to reply but once again, Jared had taken his breath away. “Oh.”

Jared laughed and hooked his arms around Jensen’s knees so his legs were wrapped around Jared’s waist. Jared plopped him on top of the checkout counter and pressed his lips to Jensen’s neck. “I’m sorry, Jensen.”

“Me too.” Jensen moved to find Jared’s lips. “I’m so sorry.”

Jared pushed his lips firmly against Jensen’s. “God, I love you.”

Jensen pulled Jared in close to him. “I love you too, Jare bear.” Jared nuzzled his neck and tickled his sides. Jensen squirmed and giggled, and no longer felt like killing off his book characters.

They were wrapped around each other happily when Jensen’s phone went off. “You’re fucking kidding me,” Jensen mumbled into Jared’s mouth. He grabbed his phone. “What?”

“Funny way to greet your sister.” Mack’s familiar voice came through the speaker.

“Mack! Hey girl!”

“Josh called me about your crisis. Did you call him?”

Jensen smiled and pressed speaker. “Yeah, I called him. But that jackass didn’t answer.” Jensen smiled jokingly at Jared and he pinched Jensen’s side.

“Aw, that’s too bad. You should call him back.”

“I think that would be unnecessary.”

“What?” Mackenzie yelled. “No, you love him, you told Josh that he was the reason that you were happy for once!”

Jensen blushed and avoided eye contact with Jared. He kissed Jensen’s temple lightly and rested his head on Jensen’s shoulder. “I love you baby,” Jared murmured.

“It would be unnecessary,” Jensen replied, trying to focus with Jared kissing his neck, “because he flew in from Chicago to be with me.”

“What?” Mackenzie was so loud Jensen winced. “He’s there?”

“Hi, Mack!” Jared called. “How’s it going?”

“Jared? So you two made up?”

Jensen snickered. “Just have to have make-up sex and we’re all good.”

“Ugh, TMI Jenny.”

Jensen and Jared laughed together. “Bye, Mackie!” Jensen cheered. He hung up the phone before hearing her response. “I need to be with my boyfriend now.”

Jared kissed Jensen’s nose. “I believe you said something about make-up sex?”

Jensen grinned and pulled Jared out the door, quickly slipping the sign to closed.

 

Jensen doesn’t slam Jared up against the wall in his apartment the way he did in Hawaii. They don’t move frantically. They go slowly and gently, savoring each kiss and each touch they place on each other. Jared slowly eases Jensen’s shirt off and kisses his bare stomach. Jensen shudders and pulls Jared’s shirt off as well, while Jared undoes Jensen’s button on his jeans. Once they’ve both kicked their pants off, Jared’s hand sneaks inside Jensen’s boxers and massages Jensen’s dick. Jensen moans and feels himself become hard. “Jare…”

“Shh,” Jared presses a finger to Jensen’s lips. “Let me take care of you. Let me make love to you.”

“You’re pathetically cheesy,” Jensen sighs. Jared’s hand feels even better than he remembers.

“And pathetically in love,” Jared adds. He presses a light kiss to Jensen’s lips. “Love you, baby.”

“Love you too.”

“I’ll never get tired of hearing that.”

Jensen smiled at Jared’s sappiness and reaches up to pull Jared’s own boxers off. Jared mimics his motions until they’re both naked in raw. If Jensen thought the first time was intimate, it was nothing compared to what it felt like now. “Fuck, Jared.”

“Soon, baby.” Jared pressed another gentle kiss to Jensen’s mouth. Jensen sighed contentedly.

“Fuck me, Jare.” The words poured out of Jensen’s mouth. He didn’t think he’d ever bottomed before, but the idea of having Jared inside of him filled Jensen with longing. “Please.”

“You sure?” Jared’s voice was tentative but his eyes were filled with lust.

“Shut up, Padalecki, and fuck me.” Jensen’s voice was certain this time. Jared smiled and leaned in to kiss Jensen again. It was longer and more passionate, and he tugged gently on Jensen’s lip before pulling away. “Gonna kill me, Padalecki,” Jensen breathed.
“Gonna fuck you first,” Jared murmured. “Long and good, baby.”

Jensen moaned at the thought. “Counter,” Jensen gasped. “By my bed.” Jared leaned over and found lube and a box of condoms waiting. He reached for a condom but Jensen grabbed his wrist. “Wanna feel you.”

“You sure?”

“100 percent. I’m clean, and I love you.”

Jared’s smile lit up the room. “I’m clean, too, and I love you too.”

“I know. You told me today after flying out from Chicago. Will you get in trouble for that?”

“Loving you? Absolutely.” Jared’s grin was teasing and Jensen relaxed. “Honestly, I’ve missed two weeks of work and now I take another one off? I better just quit before they fire me.”

“You loved that job.”

“I was good at it,” Jared corrected. “I hated the conferences and shit. It was too boring.”

Jensen giggled. “Enough talk, Padalecki, I want you in me.”

“So needy.” Jared slicked up his fingers and gently pressed one inside Jensen. He groaned in pleasure and Jared pressed another finger inside. “God, Jensen you feel so good.”

“Fucking tease, you’re gonna make me come already.”

Jared laughed and pressed three fingers in. Jensen let out an inhuman moan and Jared lined his dick up with Jensen’s hole. “Ready, baby?”

“Anything for you, Jare bear.”

Jared kissed him before sliding into Jensen. Jensen winces at the sudden intrusion, despite Jared’s dick being lubed. “It’s okay,” Jared said softly. “I got you, baby.”

The term of endearment relaxed Jensen and Jared was able to move all the way in. “Gonna move, Jen, you good?”

Jensen looked into Jared’s beautiful hazel eyes and smiled. “Yeah, Jared, I’m really good.”

 

Sex with Jared was amazing. There was nothing that compared to feeling Jared come inside him while he cried Jensen’s name, and Jensen coming without even having Jared to touch his dick. All it took was his boyfriend—it sounded so weird to use that word—hitting Jensen’s prostate hard and lovingly each time.

When they were too exhausted to do anything but pant and stare at each other, Jensen pulled the blanket over them. “I’m tired.”

“Sleep, Jenny.”

Jensen rolled his eyes. “Fucking nickname.”

“It’s cute.”

“I hate you.”

Jared snuggled up to Jensen and pressed ticklish kisses to his neck. Jensen bit his lip to stifle a laugh. “You couldn’t hate me if you tried,” Jared taunted.

Jensen smiled at Jared. “You wanna move in?” Jensen’s eyes widened as soon as he said the words and tried to stammer out an excuse, but Jared kissed it away.

“You mean it, Jen?”

Jensen took a deep breath. “Of course. I love you, and I don’t ever want to be away from you again.”

“You’re pathetically cheesy,” Jared teased.

“Throwing my words back in my face. I see how it is.” Jensen kissed Jared’s nose. “Well, then I guess I’m obligated to say I’m pathetically in love.”

Jared grinned, all dimples. “I know. You yelled it in an airport.”

Jensen laughed. Only Jared could make him feel so carefree and joyful. “Alright, asshole, let’s move in together.”

“Perfect.” Jared’s eyes seemed more gold than anything in the darkness. “And now let’s sleep. I’m not sure how much longer I can listen to you talk.”

“Shut up.”

“Goodnight, Jensen.”

Jensen placed one last kiss on Jared’s lips. “Goodnight, baby.”

 

Jared woke up alone in bed. A little note rested on Jensen’s nightstand. Jare bear, I didn’t want to wake you. At work, breakfast in kitchen. Stop by if you get a chance. Love you so much, Jensen.

Jared smiled. “Love you too, Jen.”

Jared ate the bagel Jensen had left out for him—it was true, New York bagels are amazing—and swung by Jensen’s store. He was at the counter, smiling and talking to customers. Danneel stacked books with a fond smile on her face. Jared felt himself grin as well when Jensen threw up his hands to exaggerate his story.

“Jared!” Danneel squealed. Before he knew it, he had an armful of a red-headed girl. “I’m so happy to see you!”

“You too, Danni.”

“He’s my boyfriend, get your own!” Jensen called.

“You can share,” Danneel shot back mockingly. Jensen laughed and returned to his amused customers.

Jared went over and slid behind the counter to wrap his arms around Jensen’s waist. Jensen smiled and turned to look up at him. “Trying to work here, baby.”

“Sorry, am I distracting you?” Jared looked up at the customers Jensen was checking out. “Isn’t he the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen?”

“Adorable,” A girl agreed.

“You should see him when he’s jealous.”

“Fuck off, I wasn’t jealous,” Jensen snapped. “Go read a book or something, Padalecki.”

“See? Adorable.”

Jensen’s patrons laughed and Jensen finished checking them out with a barely concealed smile. “I hate you.”

“I know. Thanks for the bagel.”

“You’re welcome. It’s from my favorite little bakery. I’ll take you when you move out here.”

“You’re moving?” Danneel shrieked. “Really?”

Jensen sighed and looked away. Jared rolled his eyes at his boyfriend. “Yeah, I’ve gotten bored with Chicago. I’m giving my notice today.”

Danneel couldn’t conceal her delight. “This is amazing! We should go out to dinner to celebrate!”

Jensen sorted books behind Jared. “Danni, Jared probably just wants to relax.”

“Sounds great,” Jared replied to Danneel.

“Fuck,” Jensen muttered. Danneel and Jared only laughed at him.

 

After dinner, which Jensen admitted was very fun, Jared went back to his apartment and they curled up. Jensen was more relaxed than he’d been in years. They lay in bed with their arms around each other surrounded by moonlight and comfortable silence. “I love you, Jensen,” Jared said softly.

“I love you, Jared. So much.”

Jared let out a sigh. “I’m so happy.”

Jensen smiled. “Me too.” He buried his head in Jared’s shoulder, the little crook that was designed for him. “Me too.” And for once, Jensen meant it. He didn’t need sex or booze to escape from the world, or long plane trips to Hawaii. All he’d ever needed was Jared. Jensen internally groaned at the cliché, but he no longer cared.

He’d found his escape. 

Chapter Text

2 years later

 

Jensen flipped through folders on the counter. “Jare bear, do we really have to do this?” Jared kept staring at Jensen’s computer. Jensen had finally finished his book, which Jared had dubbed “the phantom novel”, and Jared had been reading it ever since. “Jared!” Jensen repeated.

“Huh?” Jared looked up. “Sorry baby, I just really love your story.” His smile was blinding and Jensen’s irritation ebbed away.

“Be that as it may, we should really look through these together,” Jensen replied. He gestured at the many binders and stacks of paper on the counter. “I don’t want to plan this whole damn thing by myself.”

“So needy.” Jared stood up and joined Jensen at the counter. Jared’s arms wrapped around Jensen’s waist and he kissed Jensen’s neck gently. “If I’d known you were going to be so demanding I might not have said yes to you.”

“You were dying to have me propose to you,” Jensen retorted. He played with the band on Jared’s finger. “Though if I’d known planning a wedding included binders and papers, I might not have proposed.”

“You were dying to propose,” Jared teased. “And I thought you were the girl in the relationship.”

“Fuck you, I’m masculine.”

“I never doubted your masculinity, Jenny.” Jared smirked at him and Jensen punched his shoulder.

“I hate you.”

“Funny words coming from my fiancé.”

Jared moved out to join Jensen two years ago, and Jensen still hadn’t become tired of waking up next to the giant. He loved him so much it hurt sometimes. “I love you, Jared.”

“I love you too, Jen. So much.”

Jensen sank back into Jared’s warm embrace. Jensen and Danneel still worked at the little bookstore and it still was booming with business. Jared had quit his job with vigor and moved out to New York. His lovable personality quickly earned him a job at Jensen’s favorite bakery down the street. Who knew Jared loved to bake? And the free cupcakes were a bonus.

“Did you ever think you were going to get married before, Jare?”

Jared hummed into Jensen’s neck. “Sure. Though, maybe not to someone who didn’t believe in love and complained about everything.”

“I do not complain about everything!” Jensen protested. “And I love you!”

“I know. It makes me wonder what I did to deserve someone as amazing as you. What makes me stand out from every other guy in the world?”

Jensen turned in Jared’s arms so they could press their foreheads together. “There’s no way you could ever be compared to any other guy in the world. You’re…” Jensen didn’t know how to describe the person he loved most in the world. “You’re my Jared.”

Jared chuckled. “You’re my Jensen. My adorable, funny, fantastic Jensen.” Jared kissed his nose.

The two of them had moved into a studio apartment by Washington Square Garden. It had lots of windows and allowed pets, which fit into Jared’s plan of getting dogs once they were married. When their lunch schedules synched up, Jensen and Jared would sit in the park and eat without really speaking. Just enjoying each other’s company.

“Did you ever think you were going to get married?” Jared asked.

“No,” Jensen replied immediately. “I didn’t think anyone would ever stick around long enough to love me.”

Jared’s arms wrapped tighter around Jensen. “God, Jensen, there is so much to love about you. I loved you from the minute I met you. I just wish you could see how much to mean to the world. To me.”

Jensen buried his face in Jared’s collarbone. “You tell me every morning.”

“But you still don’t believe me.”

“I believe you,” Jensen lied.

“Lying to your fiancé, Jensen?” Jared teased. “This could possibly damage our engagement.”

Jensen laughed and slung his arms around Jared. “I’ve never felt so happy.” He kissed Jared firmly. “I’ve never felt worth anything. And you come along… and you fucking flip my world upside down. And the weirder thing still is that I don’t mind. I’m so glad you came.”

Jared kissed Jensen’s head. “Me too, Jen. So fucking happy.”

Jensen reluctantly extracted himself from Jared’s grip. “Come on, baby, we’ve got to plan this thing.”

This ‘thing’ being our wedding? The single most important even in our lives?”

Jensen snorted. “Considering you’ve been sleeping or reading every time I want to plan it, I haven’t found a sense of enthusiasm.”

“That’s because I know what we’re going to do already,” Jared responded. “Clothes optional wedding, ice sculptures, releasing doves,” Jared raised his voice over Jensen’s laughter. “We’re going all out, baby.”

Jensen’s giggling died down. “You idiot. Chris would really take advantage of the clothes optional.”

“Might find him a wife.”

“Honestly, I think he’s still on his ‘enjoy life single’ track,” Jensen said. “But he’ll find someone.”

“We can encompass him into our family,” Jared suggested.

“No fucking way.”

Jared grinned. “Okay, no Chris. But seriously, we should have it in Hawaii.”

“Tom and Mike already did that!”

“But we met there,” Jared whined. “We fell in love there! On the beach, in bed, night swimming—it was all how I fell in love with you.”

Jensen wanted to get married there too. It was the most important place in their relationship. “I’ll think about it.”

Jared’s eyes lit up, because he knew Jensen would say yes eventually. He always gave in to Jared and it annoyed Jensen to no end. “I love you, Jen.”

“I said I’ll think about it. Not yes.”

“Close enough!” Jared chirped. “Now what’s next?”

“Um, we’ve got to…” Jensen eyed the binders. “We’ve got to go out to eat, because these things are pissing me the hell off. I’m craving cupcakes.”

Jared grinned. “Oh thank god, I thought I’d actually have to work at this shit.”

“Remind me why we’re getting married?”

“Because you love me,” Jared cooed, wrapping his arms around Jensen again. “Because I’m amazing. Because I make you laugh. Because I love you. Because we’re so happy together.” He peppered Jensen’s neck with kisses.

“Get off me, asshole.” He pushed Jared off him playfully. “So needy.”

Jared laughed, and it filled every hole in Jensen that had ever been there.

 

Jensen and Jared ate their cupcakes underneath a tree in Washington Square Garden. Jensen had gotten plain chocolate, as usual, and Jared got some colorful, cocktail looking cupcake, as usual. Jensen always said that he and Jared were like their cupcakes. Jensen was plain and repetitive and Jared was spontaneous and adventurous. Jared would reply every time that Jensen was original and special, and there was nothing plain about him.

It never failed to melt Jensen’s heart.

Jensen leaned against Jared’s firm shoulder. “Maybe we should do what we always do with our wedding.” Jared’s brows crinkled and Jensen elaborated. “Make it ours. Unique, special, different. We never thought we’d be here with anyone. Let’s do it our way. Not clothes optional,” Jensen said quickly when Jared’s mouth opened. “Let’s do it together. How we always do things.”

Jared’s face lit up like a Christmas tree and Jensen was reminded why he loved him. “Okay, Jen, sounds perfect.”

Jensen smiled. “Good. You and me, baby, till the end.”

 

Jared never thought he’d fall asleep every night looking at the prettiest guy in the world, and wake up next to him. He couldn’t possibly imagine having a bagel ready in the morning for him and fixing coffee for someone just the way they liked it. It was all still new to him, even after two years.

Jared wished he could show Jensen how much he meant to Jared. Jensen was the core reason Jared fell asleep with a smile and woke up early to kiss him goodbye. The sunlight filtered through the windows and illuminated his face. It was what Jared liked best about having a condo with so many windows. Every morning it would look like Jensen was an angel, golden and pure. Jared would never be as elegant as Jensen, but he was okay with that. Jensen was perfect enough for the both of them.

Jared twisted the ring around his finger. Jared still remembered how he felt when Jared and Jensen had been sitting in Washington Garden eating cupcakes and Jared had bit something hard. The cupcake was Hawaiian themed and the little band had fallen into Jared’s hand. Jensen had looked so nervous. His green eyes were sparkling with uncertainty but the grip on Jared’s hand was tight. He’d hardly heard Jensen ask, “Will you marry me?” because he’d been so overcome with emotion. He’d remembered holding onto Jensen and hearing Jensen say, “I love you,” into his ear over and over again.

Jared was so lucky with this asshole.

He wished he could just tell Jensen that. He’d hopped his tear-filled yes had been enough, but Jared knew Jensen still felt meaningless when he looked in the mirror. He knew that Jensen thought Jared would leave him, that Jared would find someone better. Jared knew there was no one better. He wanted to take away the sad look in Jensen’s eyes and only see the smile.

After two years, the sorrow was finally starting to fade. It lifted Jared’s spirits in a way that he didn’t think was possible. “What are you doing to me, Jensen?”

“Feeding you a love potion,” came the sleepy reply. Jensen’s eyes opened and he turned to Jared. “It’s in the Chinese food.”

Jared laughed. “That’s why it tasted funny.”

Jensen smiled and curled into Jared. “Morning, Jare.”

“Morning baby.” Jared gave Jensen his usual good morning kiss. Jensen kept his eyes shut a little bit after he pulled away and hummed contently.

“You wanna lay in bed with me al day?”

“You ask that every day, Jen.”

“Someday you’re going to say yes to me.”

Jared laughed. “We’ll see, baby, we’ll see.”

“Love you, Jare.”

“Love you, Jensen.”

 

Jensen didn’t—couldn’t—ever imagine being as far gone as he was with Jared. It seemed impossible, his love for the tall man. But every time he saw Jared it seemed more and more rational.

Danneel was sitting on the counter and flipping through a tabloid. “I don’t understand how you read that trash,” Jensen said to her.

“It’s not trash. It’s informative gossip.”

“Trash,” Jensen repeated. “Or is it a way for you to fantasize about one of those movie stars being your boyfriend?”

Danneel swatted his head with the magazine. “You get engaged and become all high and mighty, is that the way it is Ackles?”

“It wouldn’t kill you to date. You and Chris could be fuck buddies, like you were in Hawaii.”

Danneel snorted. “I have standards.”

“Come on, it’d be cute. You and Chris, me and Jared, Tom and Mike. Romantic.”

Danni rolled her eyes. “More like a bad exert from a 90s sitcom. I’ll find a boyfriend on my own, but thanks for the concern.”

Jensen shrugged. “You’ll end up with him. I’m sure of it.”

“Didn’t know you were psychic, Ackles.”

“What kind of best friend are you if you didn’t know I was psychic?”

Danneel laughed. “Idiot.” She ran her fingers across her cellphone and then picked it up.

“Gonna go call Chris?”

She blushed. Jensen didn’t think he’d ever seen Danneel blush. “It’s just for the sex.”

Jensen’s laugh followed her out of the room.

 

Jensen bounced on the balls of his feet in what Jared called “the green room”. It was the little room where the grooms—who weren’t allowed to see each other—would be getting ready separately in order to walk down the isle. They’d bickered about whom would be the one to walk down the isle before coming to an agreement that they would just do it together.

Like everything they did.

Jensen didn’t think he’d ever been this nervous in his life. His heart was pounding and he felt like fleeing. “I can’t do this.”

“Can’t back out now, Jared’s waiting for you!” Tom’s voice said from the doorway.

Jensen turned to look at his best man. “What if I’m making mistake?”

“You’re not.” Tom placed an arm on Jensen’s shoulder. “I was petrified before I married Mike. Absolutely terrified. I almost bolted. But when I saw Mike, waiting for me…” A dreamy look overcame Tom’s face. “It was like every worry I ever had just vanished. He was my sun and my moon and my world. If Jared is that to you, then I promise, getting married will be the best thing you’ve ever done.”

Jensen fiddled with his bow tie. “What if he stops loving me?”

“If he hasn’t stopped loving you by now, he never will.”

Jensen smiled. “I love him.”

“I know. It’s written all over your face.”

Chris’s head popped into the room. “Yo, losers, we’ve gotta get this show on the road.”

“Just giving Jensen a pep talk,” Tom said.

Chris grinned. “Dude, Jared is bouncing like a puppy. It’s sickeningly adorable the way he talks about you. You’re freaking him the fuck out, get out there into the isle and walk down it with him!”

Jensen grinned. “Eloquent.”

“Hey, you’re the writer. I just want to make sure you don’t fuck this up.”

“I won’t,” Jensen said confidently. “This is one thing I’m actually sure about.”

“Well, I’m sure you’re wasting him. Get your ass out there, Ackles!” Chris exclaimed. Tom gave him a reassuring wink and left Jensen alone for a few minutes.

He took a deep breath. “I can do this.” Jensen left the green room to find Jared outside waiting for him.

“Ready, baby?” Jared asked softly. God, he was so fucking handsome in his tux. Jensen forgot how to speak for a moment and Jared raised an eyebrow. “Jen?”

“Oh! Yeah, no I’m ready. Can’t wait.”

Jared smiled and offered his hand. “Well then come on, dumbass, we’ve got an alter to get to.”  

Jensen took his hand and looked into Jared’s hazel eyes. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Jared squeezed his hand. “Forever.”

Jensen felt his heart fill with an impossible amount of adoration. “Forever.”

Jensen squeezed Jared’s hand as he walked down the isle and saw people dabbing at their eyes. Danneel caught his eye and was almost sobbing. Jensen gave a little smile at all this people around him. All the people that made him believe he was worth something. All the people that loved him despite his flaws. And Jensen looked at Jared and saw the grin on his face. That idiot made him believe in love, and Jensen vowed never to forget the way he felt about him.

And Jared, without even knowing it, filled the hole in Jensen’s chest. It never ached again.