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My Silver Lining

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Pitiful groaning roused Jensen from his first dreamless, peaceful sleep. He thought about punching whoever was making that noise. When he saw it was Jared, all thoughts of violence disappeared. “Jay?”

Jared groaned again. “Hurts, Jen.”

“What does?”

“Everything. My head. My ribs. My body. I want to die.”

Jensen stroked his friend’s hair. “Don’t talk like that. Good news is you can take more painkillers now.”

Jared smiled weakly. “Thank god.” He glanced at his nightstand. “I drank all the water… do you think you could get me some more?”

Jensen smiled. “So needy, Padalecki.” He laughed when Jared swatted his arm. “I’ll go get you some water. Okay?”

“Thanks, Jen.”

Jensen kept a smile on his face the whole way down the stairs. He grabbed some leftover pasta from the fridge and put in in the microwave while he filled up a glass of water. Never good to take pills on an empty stomach. Jared’s glowing grin and genuine positivity made Jensen feel like he could climb a mountain. But it wouldn’t stop him from double and triple checking the harness every time Jared had to do a stunt.

After the pasta was warmed up enough Jensen brought the water and the pasta up to Jared’s room. “Alright, Jay, I brought you pasta too because you need to eat somethi—Jared?”

Jared was sitting up on the bed and staring off into space. “You lied to me,” He said slowly.

Jensen’s brows furrowed. It was the one thing he’d never do to Jared, lie to him. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’d never lie to you, you’re my best friend.”

Jared still refused to look at him. “Last night. You said I never said anything, you said that you were out the whole night. You lied.”

Jensen’s blood ran cold. Did this mean Jared remembered what he said? That he remembered all of it? “Jay, I wasn’t lying.”

Jared finally looked at him, and the emptiness in them almost made Jensen’s knees buckle. Not once in Jensen’s entire life—or as long as he’d known Jared—had his eyes been empty. Sad, happy, angry, energetic, and his infamous puppy dog eyes were always on his face. Emptiness was something that Jensen didn’t think Jared was capable of pulling off, and Jensen knew something was horribly wrong.

“You’re lying again,” Jared’s voice cracked. “Stop it, please.”

“I’m sorry,” Jensen said. “I just…”

“If you say you weren’t thinking, I’ll punch you in the face. Concussion be damned. You didn’t—you shouldn’t have kept that from me,” Jared said. His voice was calm and it hurt more than if he had been yelling.

“Do you remember what you said?” Jensen asked hesitantly.

“Yes,” Jared said. He turned away from Jensen. “I told you I wanted to kiss you.”

Jensen barely heard him. “Jay…”

“I need time alone, Jensen.”

Jensen would have done anything to get him to take those words back. “Jared, I shouldn’t have lied. But I want to make sure you’re okay. With the concussion and all that.” Jensen placed the water and pasta on Jared’s nightstand.

“Go, Jensen,” Jared repeated. His voice was louder. “I need to sleep. Alone.” 

Jensen didn’t remember ever being this miserable in his life, not even when he watched his best friend get thrown like a rag doll and then find out he had a concussion and bruised ribs. Because now Jared was hurt and there was nothing Jensen could do about it. So he did what any mopey, heartbroken person would do. He curled up in his bed and tried to sleep off the feeling of misery that was eating him alive.

It was far at night when Jensen opened his eyes again. Or morning, seeing as it was 2:30 am. Man, he’d slept for a while. Though contrary to his former believe there was still an ache in his gut and the feeling like he was going to burst into tears. He was not going to cry. So he blinked and tried to stop the stinging in his eyes. He wasn’t going to turn into a puddle of misery because his best friend in the whole world and guy he was secretly in love with had rejected him like it was no big deal.

Admitting it to himself made matters a whole lot worse. Not even saying the words out loud, just thinking them—that Jared didn’t love Jensen like Jensen loved him, and was even embarrassed to have said something like that. Maybe Jared wouldn’t even want to live with him anymore. He’d kick Jensen out and he’d have to go back to an apartment, coming home to no one, no dimpled smile to light up Jensen’s world.

If Jared kicked him out, Jensen wouldn’t have a world.

Because fucking Jared was his entire world, and he was going to lose him. Because of something that slipped out when Jared was on painkillers and Jensen had lied because he’d thought that was the smart thing to do, the only thing that wouldn’t make him lose Jared. But he’d lost him anyway.

Jensen realized he hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast and slid out of bed as quietly as possible. He wasn’t willing to wake Jared; the guy needed his sleep. Jensen groaned when he reached their kitchen. They weren’t exactly the most responsible people when it came to food, and so the fridge was basically empty except for some milk and eggs and other useless items. Jensen sighed and grabbed bread from the cupboard and some cheese that probably was past it’s expiration date. It was better than nothing, and maybe Jared would speak to him if he was puking his guts out from food poisoning.

“There’s a little pasta left,” a quiet voice said from the doorway. Jensen bolted up and saw Jared casually leaning against the counter. He handed Jensen the half-full container. “Thought you might be hungry later.”

The gesture almost made Jensen tear up, but he remembered his promise not to cry. Jared placed the container down and gave Jensen a tight-lipped smile. “G’night, Jensen.”

The formality killed Jensen. “Goodnight, Jared.” His voice was barely above a whisper and for a second he feared Jared didn’t hear it. But Jared turned around and Jensen saw a hint of something in his beautiful hazel eyes before he climbed the stairs to bed. It was enough. Enough to calm Jensen’s rolling stomach and enough for Jensen to shovel down the rest of the pasta and even half a sandwich. The ache dulled a little bit because Jensen knew that Jared wouldn’t kick him out. They were still best friends, after all. Maybe there was some strain on their relationship right now, but it would go away. It had to go away. They acted like brothers on Supernatural, they shared everything together, hell, half of their fans thought they were fucking anyway.

It would go away. It would take time and patience, but time heals all wounds, right? So all Jensen had to do was wait it out. Wait out the feeling of his world ending. Because it would go away. Maybe he wouldn’t be able to stroke Jared’s hair or fall asleep with his head in his lap, and maybe they wouldn’t go back to joking and teasing each other. But they couldn’t ignore each other for all of eternity.

The thought alone helped Jensen drift off into a peaceful sleep, curled around his pillow like it was Jared.

Morning sunshine poured into Jensen’s room around 7:00. Acting like the pillow was Jared worked for about two hours, until Jensen woke up halfway through the night and realized that the pillow wasn’t Jared and Jared was mad at him and then Jensen couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night.

Jensen could have sworn someone was knocking on his bedroom door. Which of course was impossible because the only person that would be knocking is Jared and Jared is supposed to be sleeping and even if he wasn’t sleeping he was still mad at Jensen and therefore would not be knocking at Jensen’s door.

So Jensen rolled over in his bed and shoved his head under the pillow. The pounding on his door didn’t let up and Jensen eventually groaned, “Go away.”

“No,” The voice said simply. Jensen knew the voice wouldn’t be Jared’s but it didn’t stop him from being disappointed.

“Please,” Jensen replied. “Just leave.”

The door swung open and Misha stood there patiently. “So can I come in or what?”

“Or what.”

“You’re not going to make this easy, are you?”

Jensen shook his head into his pillow. Misha sat beside him. “Come on, buddy, I know you’re upset Jared’s hurt but-,”

“We fought,” Jensen blurted. “We had a fight.”

Misha pulled the pillow off Jensen’s head. “I know I joke a lot but I’m going to be serious now.” Jensen twisted his head to look at Misha. “Jensen… you and Jared are practically brothers. There’s not a fight in the world that could prevent you from being as close as ever.”

“What if…” Jensen started. “What if something happened, like one of us said something, and the other didn’t know what to say back, and it was really significant, and now we’re totally fucked?”

“Like, a serious confession.”

“No… like…” Jensen didn’t know how to finish the sentence. “Actually, yeah. Like a confession. But he wasn’t in his right mind. And I was stupid and I thought if I told him the truth that it would be worse, but turns out lying is what screwed it up.”

“You and Jared never lie to each other,” Misha said in puzzlement.

“Exactly.” Jensen turned back into his pillow. “So now I’m—we’re—totally screwed.”

“No you’re not,” Misha said with conviction. “Just be patient.”

Jensen nodded without truly believing anything. “Can you go? I mean, can you check on Jared? I don’t know if he’s okay or not and it would just be really helpful if… if I knew he didn’t roll out of bed and hurt his ribs or something.”

“Sure.” Misha patted his back. “It’ll be okay, Jensen. I promise.”

What do you know? Jensen didn’t spit out the words, Misha was only being kind. Jensen was the bitter one. “Thanks, Mish.”

Jensen lay quietly sulking for a few more hours. It felt like it had only been a few minutes when Jensen raised his head again and decided that curling up in a ball of self-pity would do no good. He didn’t bother putting a shirt on and trudged to the kitchen in sweatpants. At least he was comfortable. And maybe he could bring some food up to Jared and ease the tension that lay so heavily on their shoulders.

Of course, Jensen didn’t anticipate Jared already being downstairs, already chewing on a piece of toast. He smelled coffee brewing and it was too tempting to run back into his room and hide. Actually, hiding would probably be the worst situation in any case. So Jensen held his breath and walked into the kitchen beside Jared.

“Jensen,” Jared said. “We should, um, talk.”

Jensen sat across from Jared. “Yeah, we, we uh, should.”

Jared looked nervous. “I don’t know how to start.”

“I do,” Jensen started. “I shouldn’t have lied. But I did for a reason.” Jared looked at him suspiciously but didn’t say anything and Jensen kept going. “I didn’t want you to wake up and not remember, and if I told you might think I was crazy or lying. Especially when I wanted you to remember. Because I was scared it didn’t mean anything to you especially when it meant something to me.”

Jared raised an eyebrow. “It meant something to you? What could that possibly mean, that you liked that I was out of my fucking mind?”

“Yeah, exactly. I hoped you weren’t out of your fucking mind because… it meant something to me.”

Jared’s skepticism turned to confusion, which turned to understanding, which turned to shock. “You… it meant something… because you…” Jared’s head fell back the chair. “Because you would kiss me back.”

Jensen was pretty sure his complexion matched a tomato. “Doesn’t matter. Like you said, you were out of your fucking mind.”

The coffee was ready and the red light blinked at them. Jensen kept his eyes on the table and Jared kept his eyes trained on Jensen. “Jensen,” Jared said softly. “Jen, look at me.”

The nickname almost made Jensen turn his head up to his best friend, but there was no way he was letting him see the shame that dotted his face. Jensen heard Jared’s chair scoot closer and then one of Jared’s strong but soft hands cupped Jensen’s chin. “Jen, look at me,” He repeated.

Jared’s hand helped lift Jensen’s head until his green eyes met Jared’s hazel ones. “Jared…”

Jared’s eyes didn’t hold anything except kindness and compassion. “Do you mean that?” Jared asked quietly.

“Do you?” Jensen replied just as softly.

Jared smiled. “I asked you first.”

Jensen felt a shy smile spread on his face. “Yes, dumbass, I meant it.”

Jared’s grin grew wider. “I meant it too. Even if I was only partially conscious. Funny it took hitting my head to finally see straight.”

Jensen laughed in relief when Jared’s arms wound around him. “Oh thank god,” Jensen breathed. He looked up to see the familiar amusement in Jared’s eyes. “You nearly gave me a heart attack.”  

Amusement faded to something else, something like shyness. “Jen…” Jared’s other hand reached over to touch Jensen’s cheek, so his head was cradled between Jared’s gentle hands. Jensen put his hand on one of Jared’s and shut his eyes gently. He felt a smile growing on his lips, because the thing he’d wanted for so long was right in front of him. “Jen,” Jared repeated. “Can I… can I kiss you?”

Jensen nodded shyly. He didn’t even respond before Jared’s lips were on his, soft and soothing and a hundred times better than any fantasy Jensen could have ever imagined. Jensen gave a soft moan and his fingers found their way into Jared’s hair, twisting it around his fingers. Jared’s hands wrapped around Jensen’s waist and he pulled them together. His mouth opened and Jensen followed suit, tongues dancing like it was a routine they’d practiced hundreds of times before. Jensen didn’t want to pull away even for air, but when he became lightheaded—whether it was from the ecstasy of the kiss or lack of air, Jensen didn’t know—Jensen gently removed his mouth from Jared’s. He couldn’t control his smile this time, and Jensen even let out a little bit of a laugh. Jared pressed his forehead against Jensen’s.

“I’ve never been so grateful for painkillers in my life,” Jared murmured. “Thank god I hit my head.”

Jensen laughed and pulled Jared in for another kiss. “Silver lining.”

“I got you,” Jared said. “That’s not just a silver lining… that’s like, Christmas and birthday and every other great thing in the world combined.”

Jensen let Jared’s warm embrace enfold him. “10 bucks says I’m happier.”

Jared laughed in his shoulder. “You’re on, Ackles.” Jared kissed his temple. “Hope you’re not a sore loser though.”

Jensen combed his fingers through Jared’s hair, just the way he liked it. Jared let out a little moan of happiness. “Feels so nice, Jen.”

“You should be in bed,” Jensen hummed.

“Come with me?”

“Okay, Jay.” Jensen helped up his best friend. “I’ll come with you.”

Jensen lay in bed for the rest of the day. The difference was that Jensen was lying next to Jared with his long arms curled around him. And he was so happy he could hardly sleep, rather than so miserable he felt like he was going to die.

“Jensen,” Jared mumbled. “Stop thinking so much and go the hell to sleep.”

Jensen put his arms around Jared. “Just can’t believe you’re actually here with me.”

“Well believe it, asshole, because I’m not going anywhere.”

“So romantic,” Jensen teased.

“Hey, I’ll never admit to being a romantic.” Jared snuggled up to Jensen. “Now can we please sleep? I’m tired.”

Jensen stroked his hair. “Okay, we can sleep.” Jensen curled up. “You’ll be here when I wake up, right?”

“In my condition? I’ll be here all week.”

Jensen laughed and let his head fall into the pillows. “See you when I wake up, Jay.”

“See you, Jen.”

Jensen fell asleep in the place he’d dreamed about for months, and knew that when he woke up the beautiful man beside him would still be there. Better than any fantasy, better than any dream, better than picture Jensen painted with his mind when the name Jared Padalecki came up.

Because maybe it didn’t come about in the best of situations, but Jared was right. There was always a silver lining.