Jensen brought Jared home with the doctor’s instructions to only give Jared pain pills every six hours and not let him perform any strenuous tasks. A concussion was not something to take lightly, especially when three bruised ribs were also involved. The whole way home Jensen asked Jared how he was feeling, if there was anything he could do. He was met with a sarcastic remark each time.
Jensen carried a wobbly Jared up to bed and tucked him in—“What am I, five?”—allowing Jared to take two pain pills before his head rested on the pillow.
“Jen,” Jared said. “I’m sleepy.”
“It’s the pills, the doctor said they would knock you right out.”
“You’re gonna stay, right? Like you did in the hospital?”
“Course,” Jensen said. “Got nothing better to do than watch your stupid ass.”
“You love my stupid ass,” Jared mumbled and Jensen didn’t respond because that was true in so many ways.
“Sleep, Jay,” Jensen replied. “You need rest.”
Jared struggled to keep his eyes open. “Slept in the hospital.”
“Don’t go,” Jared whined.
“I’m not,” Jensen promised. “I told you, I’m not going anywhere.”
Jared shook his head. “I mean stay here. In the room. With me.”
Jensen swallowed nervously. It was everything Jensen wanted, and in a scenario Jensen dreaded. “Jay…”
“Come on, I’m injured and broken. The least you can do is stay to make sure I don’t fall out and break another bone.” Jared grinned and all it took was his adorable dimples for Jensen to collapse on a chair.
“Alright, I’ll stay right here.” Jensen ran a hand over his face. “The things I do for you, Jared Padalecki.”
“Yeah, sitting in a chair must really take it out of you,” Jared mumbled. There was no venom in his exhausted voice. Jensen couldn’t hide his grin at Jared’s tone. “Shut up,” Jared said. “Asshole.”
“Go to sleep, Jared.”
“G’night.” Jared was asleep before Jensen could respond.
Jensen tried incredibly hard not to lie down next to Jared. His body—or maybe his hormones—was screaming for him to curl up next to the man he loved. God, fuck these emotions. Why couldn’t things just be simple? Why did Jensen have to fall in love with Jared, out of all the people in the world? He took a shaky breath and moved his chair closer so he could rest his hand on Jared’s head the way he did at the hospital. Jared seemed to lean into the touch even though he was asleep.
Jensen let his mind wander as he stroked Jared’s soft hair. The first time he’d met Jared his puppy dog demeanor had immediately attracted Jensen. He was sweet in a way that most people took for granted. Jensen knew it was special. He knew it was special to find someone who was gentle and kind hearted even to people he’d just met. Jared hadn’t held back when he’d met Jensen. He wrapped his arms around Jensen in a bear hug and Jensen had laughed.
They’d gone out for drinks after the first day of filming to get to know each other. They bonded over both being from Texas and Jared told him about his dogs. There was so much love in Jared’s hazel eyes when he spoke about his “kids” and his family. They ranted about their older brothers and younger sisters. Jensen had been happy.
He wasn’t exactly sure the moment that he’d gone from being Jared’s friend to being in love with Jared. It wasn’t far into filming. Season one was all about getting to know him. It was the moment that Jensen realized he’d be friends with Jared forever. Jensen had joked with Jared, calling him a teenage girl every time he told someone that Jensen was his best friend. “You’d suggested friendship bracelets once,” Jensen told his sleeping friend quietly. “Such a girl.”
Jensen almost groaned with his pathetic attitude. Jared wasn’t fucking dying, he was just sleeping. But Jensen had a tendency to over exaggerate everything. When he’d read the season finale of season two and found out Jared was supposed to die in his arms—he hadn’t handled that well either.
“I’m the girl, Jared.” Jensen laughed quietly. “Thank god you’re sleeping or you’d never let me live that down. Not letting you have more blackmail over my head than you already do.”
Jared shifted in his sleep and Jensen stopped his hand, fearing that he’d woken Jared up. Jared only let out a tired sigh and turned onto his side, facing Jensen. Jensen wondered what he would be like to wake up and see that face every morning. To have his ridiculously strong arms thrown around you in sleep. Everything Jensen wanted, everything Jensen couldn’t have.
Jensen pulled his hand away from Jared’s head and dropped it into his lap. Maybe the ache in his chest would go away if he slept a little. At the very least he could dream, and fantasies were almost always better than reality.
Jensen woke hours later and glanced at the clock. It was 8:00 pm. They’d been out for a while. Of course, they had also been at the hospital and at the set and worrying about Jared’s health, so maybe it hadn’t been that long at all. The doctor had instructed Jensen to wake Jared occasionally to make sure he hadn’t drifted into unconsciousness. Jensen touched Jared’s shoulder lightly and was grateful when hazel eyes looked up into his. “Oh, good, you’re alive.”
Jared yawned. Jensen shouldn’t find it adorable but dammit, he does. “Yeah, unfortunately. I feel like hell.” Jared stretched and winced as his ribs gave a flare of pain. “Can I have another pill?”
“Six hours, Jay. It’s only been 4.”
“Jennnn….” Jared whined. “It hurts.” Jared looked at him with puppy dog eyes and Jensen nearly caved.
“When it’s your safety at stake, the eyes won’t work, Jared.”
Jared weakly swatted at his friend. “Whatever you say, Jen. I’ll get you to give in to me eventually.”
Jensen ignored him. “Hungry?”
“Always. Gonna bring me breakfast in bed?”
“It’s 8 at night.”
“Dinner in bed?”
Jensen stared into Jared’s teasing eyes and then sighed in defeat. “This is a one time thing. And it’s only because you’re injured, so don’t go getting ideas once you’re healthy.”
Jared grinned. “Getting food delivered to me in bed? I might have to get injured more often.”
“Please don’t,” Jensen blurted. “I mean, I don’t want to be stuck watching you for the rest of my life.”
Hazel eyes smiled up at him from under his too-long hair. “You’re stuck with me anyway, I might as well get something out of it.”
Jensen rolled his eyes. “I’m gonna go order a pizza. Okay with you, princess?”
“Fuck off, Ackles.”
“Love you too.”
Jared’s laugh followed Jensen downstairs to the phone. He ordered a large pepperoni because Jensen knew even in his condition Jared’s appetite would not be diminished. He also saw they had a missed call from Misha and Jensen dialed his number.
“Jensen,” Misha said. “How’s Jared doing?”
“Lazy but alive,” Jensen responded. “We’re ordering in tonight. He’s bitching about the pain but it’s nothing he can’t handle.”
“Good, good.” Misha paused. “It’s nice that you’re over there with him.”
“Well, we do share a house.”
“I know,” Misha sounded defensive. “Just that, you know, you guys have a good relationship.”
“What are you saying?” Jensen asked.
“Nothing. The crew here just wanted to make sure he was going to be okay. Call me if he gets better?”
“Yeah, sure thing Misha. Bye.”
“That was weird,” Jensen muttered to himself.
About 10 minutes later the pizza arrived. Jensen carried the large box up to their room with two water bottles—to Jared’s disappointment, he wasn’t allowed to have alcohol—and found Jared sitting up. “You found the energy to move your body 90 degrees. Congrats.”
“Shut up.” Jared’s eyes lit up when he saw the pizza. “Food!”
“And water.” Jensen tossed a water bottle near him. Jared frowned. “You’re not allowed alcohol, Jared, and there is no way I am going against what the doctor told me. You’ve got a concussion.”
Jared rolled his eyes. “Whatever.” He opened the pizza box and gestured to the space on the bed next to him. “Come sit, Ackles.”
Jensen curled on the bed with his legs tucked under him. Jared looked at him funny. “You okay, Jen? You’re sitting straight as a ruler.”
Jensen nodded jerkily. “Just… thinking.”
Jared pushed the pizza box at him. “Well, you look like you’re going to have an aneurysm. Less thinking, more eating. Okay, Jen?”
They sat there eating for a while. Jared put on a movie but Jensen couldn’t think about anything except how shiny the pizza grease made Jared’s lips. They were attractive before, but now they were fucking addicting. Jensen kept sneaking looks at them throughout the movie. It was a horror film but nothing shook Jensen. Not when Jared was next to him. Jared, his rock, his anchor, his everything.
Jared, who was injured.
Jensen felt his bright mood slip a little and Jared groaned. “Come on, dude, you’re bringing me down! It’s just a little bump. I’m gonna be fine.” He knocked his shoulder with Jensen’s. “But I need you to keep up a good attitude. Only one of us is allowed to mope about me being injured.”
Jensen ignored him and looked at the clock. “It’s been 6 hours, do you want more meds or are you fine without them?”
Jared grabbed the bottle out of Jensen’s hands. “Fuck yeah, my ribs are killing me.”
Jensen rolled his eyes. “I’m very concerned for you.”
“I’m aware,” Jared replied after he swallowed the pills. “Because you haven’t fucking smiled since I got injured.”
“I’ve smiled!” Jensen said indignantly.
“Yeah, but not a you smile. You’ve been smiling like someone is taking a picture and you have to fake it. A you smile is full of happiness and it goes all the way to your eyes. Why won’t you smile?”
“Because I have to look at my bedridden best friend,” Jensen snapped. He ducked his head. “Sorry. It’s not your fault.”
Jared put his head in Jensen’s lap. “S’okay. I’d feel the same way if you were hurt, I guess.” A smile started to creep onto Jensen’s face and Jared continued, “I mean, I am the better looking one so it’d be more of a tragedy if something injured my face, but I think someone might miss you.”
Jensen laughed and from the dimples on Jared’s face he could tell it was one of the “you smiles” that Jared had mentioned. Jensen tried not to think about how nice it felt to have Jared’s head in his lap. “You’re such a kid, Jay.”
Jared hummed contentedly. “Can you run your fingers through my hair again? That felt good.”
Jensen stroked Jared’s hair and his eyes closed gently. Jensen was grateful that Jared wouldn’t be able to see the blush spreading across Jensen’s cheeks. He could hear Jared’s breathing even out and eventually the younger actor had fallen asleep in Jensen’s lap. Jensen continued to pet Jared; Jensen didn’t want Jared to wake up if he stopped.
Jared was okay. Jensen repeated this phrase to himself over and over. It was obvious he was okay; Jared had a smile on his face even in sleep and he’d eaten about half a pizza. Jensen was more worried now that he might accidently blurt out his feelings for Jared. There was really only one way that could end, and Jensen was not going to screw up his friendship because he was dumb enough to fall in love with the sweetest guy in the world.
Jared was relying on Jensen to take care of him as long as he had a concussion. As soon as Jared was healthy, it would go back to the usual routine of Jared flirting with girls and Jensen pining from the sidelines, always being introduced as the best friend and always wanting more.
Jensen couldn’t sleep with those thoughts running through his mind. He played over the scenarios one by one in his mind. How many ways could Jared reject him if Jensen confessed his feelings? How badly would their show be affected? Were there any positives? Well, Jensen wouldn’t go to sleep feeling like bricks were pressing against his chest. But he might go to sleep in some other house, far away from his best friend.
“Jared, you’re gonna be the death of me,” Jensen whispered to the room. “Gonna be the death of me.” His hands combed out the knots in Jared’s silky hair. “You’re so wonderful, Jare. So kind. Funny and charming and witty. You make me smile even when I think I can’t. I’m not sorry I worry about you. I just want to make sure you’re safe. That’s what friends do for friends.” Jensen checked to make sure Jared was asleep. “And I’ll always do it for you because I love you. Even when you’re lazy or you’re late in the morning or you whine or you eat everything in the house and I have to run out for breakfast I love you. I think I might even love you more.”
Jared shifted slightly and Jensen froze. His eyes were still shut and Jensen resumed his activity of carding his fingers through Jared’s hair. “I wish I’d gotten hurt and not you. I don’t like seeing anything bad happen to you.” Jared’s head pressed into Jensen’s touch. “Such a puppy, Jay.” Without thinking about it, Jensen pressed a kiss to his temple. “Such a fucking puppy.”
It was around 2 am that Jared opened his eyes again. Jensen had drifted in and out of sleep during the four-hour period, always glancing down to make sure Jared’s breathing was steady. When Jared opened his eyes this time they were glassy with sleep and the affects of the medication. “Jen?”
Jensen rubbed sleep out of his eyes. “Whadda need, Jay?”
“Jen, my head hurts. And my chest.” Jared was definitely a little out of it and Jensen pressed a hand to his head to make sure Jared didn’t have a fever. Jensen let out a sigh of relief when he felt normal.
“I can’t give you any medication for a few more hours,” Jensen told him. When Jared’s eyes turned sad Jensen wanted to take back the statement and do whatever he could to make the pain go away. “Can you sleep?” Jensen asked him. He resumed combing Jared’s hair and that seemed to relax him.
“Jensen,” Jared mumbled.
“You’re an amazing friend,” Jared said. “You’re so awesome. And pretty.”
“Pretty?” Jensen repeated amusedly.
“Yeah,” Jared spoke with his eyes shut. “Especially your eyes. So green. And your lips… Jen, you’ve got the most perfect lips. I bet they’re perfect for kissing.”
Jensen’s eyes widened. “Jare, you should get some sleep.”
Jared blinked but his eyes fell closed as he exhaled loudly. “I wish I could kiss your lips, Jensen. I wish I could kiss you. You’re my best friend. But I don’t…” Jared shook his head in concentration. “I’m tired.”
“Go to sleep,” Jensen said hoarsely. The night was hardly turning out like Jensen expected it to.
“You’ll be here when I wake up?”
Jared settled comfortably into Jensen’s lap. “Someday. Someday I’ll kiss you.”
Jensen bit his lip and stroked Jared’s back as he fell asleep. “I’ll kiss you back,” Jensen murmured to Jared’s sleeping form.
That night was very different than what Jensen was expecting.