Rating: R for language
Word Count: 3,207
Summary: Jared shows up at Jensen's for Christmas.
Warnings: Christmas schmoop
Disclaimer: It's all a big fluffy dream of mine.
A/N: Written for saklani2, I hope you enjoy it, honey! Happy Christmas!
2nd A/N: Beta read by starxd_sparrow, wendy and earlofcardigans. Thanks for all your help, ladies! Also, a big thanks to hkath for helping me plot this out and doing the beta on the teaser fic.
Jensen stared at his co-star who was standing in the doorway with a Santa hat on his head, beaming down at Jensen.
“Jared? What are you doing here, man? It’s Christmas Eve.”
Jared rolled his eyes. “That’s the welcome I get?”
“Oh, sorry.” Jensen stepped back and motioned Jared inside, taking his small bag and setting it by the door.
“Um,” Jared said, fidgeting, “a hug or something would be nice.”
Jensen sighed and then reached for Jared, who grabbed him and smothered him in a typical Jared hug. Jensen breathed in deep, taking in Jared's distinctive scent, both familiar and sorely missed in the few weeks they’d spent apart.
When they separated, Jensen asked, “Seriously, man, what’s this about? Why aren’t you with your family?”
Jared sighed. “I just wanted to see you, okay? Is that a crime?”
“No,” Jensen said slowly. “But I’d think you’d want to spend time with your family, since they hardly ever get the chance to see you anymore.”
“Well, I wanted to spend time with my best friend,” Jared replied stubbornly. “Now, are you going to show me around or do I need to start hollering for your mama?”
Rolling his eyes, Jensen turned and walked into the next room. “Leave my mama out of this."
They ended up in the kitchen, where Jensen’s family was sitting around a large wooden table, arguing over who got the last piece of apple pie.
“Who was at the door?” Jensen’s mom asked without turning from the counter where she was scraping leftover mashed potatoes into a Tupperware container.
“Jared!” Jensen’s little sister, Mackenzie, spotted her brother's co-star quick enough. She jumped from her spot at the table and threw herself into Jared's arms.
Jared held her at arm’s reach after they hugged. “Damn, girl. Every time I see you, you just get prettier. How’s the job treating you?”
She rolled her eyes. “Eh. Not all of us can have the glamorous TV star lifestyle the two of you have.”
Jensen’s mama came over to Jared, wiping her hands on a dishrag. “Jared, it’s so good to see you, hon. How are you?”
“Great, Mrs. Ackles, thanks. I hope you don’t mind me barging in on you like this at the holidays.”
“Honey, you’re welcome anytime, you know that.” She smiled at him. “You hungry? We’ve got some leftover fried chicken and some apple pie.” There was a collective groan from the rest of the family, which came to an abrupt stop when she shot a dark look at them.
Grinning, Jared replied, “I’m always hungry, ma’am. Anything you got, I’d love.”
Jensen rolled his eyes, settling back in his chair with a toothpick in his mouth. Jared could charm a starving cougar.
An hour later, Jared followed Jensen up the stairs to the second story of the Ackles' home, pausing outside what was obviously Jensen’s room.
“I’m not staying with you?”
Jensen kept going to a door at the other end of the hall. “We do have a guest room, Jay.” He opened the door and waved Jared in.
Jared stood in the room, looking around. It was nice enough, the walls painted white, with a blue and white flowered border, and a double bed taking up most of the room. “It’s nice,” he said lamely.
Jensen came in the room and closed the door, going to sit down on the bed. “Something you wanna talk about, Jay?”
Clearing his throat, Jared sat next to Jensen. “The thing is, Jen,” he started, then came to a stop.
Jensen waited a moment. “The thing is?”
Jared cleared his throat again. And again.
“For God’s sake, Jared,” Jensen prompted, exasperated.
Jared shot off the bed and started to pace.
“Okay,” he said. “Okay, here’s the thing.” He stopped again, mumbled something to himself Jensen couldn’t understand, and then nodded. Jensen rolled his eyes. Clearly, his friend was losing his mind.
“Sandy and I broke up,” Jared said abruptly.
“Damn, man. I’m sorry,” Jensen said quietly.
“No, it’s fine.” Jared looked at Jensen. “Seriously, it’s fine. It’s good, actually. I did it, I broke up with her.”
“Okay,” Jensen said slowly. “You broke up with your girlfriend at Christmas?”
“Uh, yeah,” Jared looked a little guilty. “It just sorta happened.”
Jensen waved that away, figuring Jared didn’t need the guilt trip. “Okay, so why did you break up with her? Last I heard, you guys were happy.”
Jared sat back down next to Jensen, sighing. “Yeah, the thing is? We’re actors, Sandy and me. We’re really good at putting up a front.” He was quiet for a long moment, making Jensen wonder if it was his turn to say something.
Before the silence stretched into a really uncomfortable one, Jared added, “I kinda like someone else, anyway.”
Ignoring the ping in his heart, Jensen looked at Jared. “Already, man?”
“No,” Jared mumbled. “It’s been there a while, I’ve just---I’ve been ignoring it.”
Jensen really didn’t want to hear about it. Because the thing was, it was okay for his heart when Jared was with Sandy, it was safe, but now he had someone new? Already? And Jensen’s heart wasn’t completely ready to let go of the split second of hope he’d just had.
“Well,” he finally said, “I guess it’s good that you guys broke up, then.”
A long silence pervaded the room.
“Sandy okay?” Jensen finally asked. He felt awkward asking but he was genuinely concerned.
Jared fell back on the bed and stared up at the ceiling. “I don’t know. She won’t talk to me. I tried calling her twice, but both times it went straight to voicemail and she hasn’t called back.” He sighed, a loud whoosh of air. “Dude, seriously, I feel like shit about it.”
Jensen shifted so that he was facing Jared again. “Look,” he finally said, “all you can do is what you think is right, okay? You thought breaking up with her was the best thing you could do, and it probably was. It’s okay to feel bad - you’d be a shitty person if you didn’t - but don’t beat yourself up about it either, ‘cause that’s not going to do anyone any good.”
Another long silence descended, then Jared sat up again. He clapped his hand on Jensen’s back and left it resting on his shoulder, a warm weight. “Thanks, Jen.”
Jensen forced a smile, trying desperately not to focus on Jared’s hand . “Don’t worry about it, man.” He stood up. “I’m going to go to bed, okay? We’ve got to get up early to go to Aunt Susan’s for Christmas pancakes.”
Jared looked surprised at Jensen’s statement. “Yeah, okay,” he said, sounding disappointed. “Night, Jen.”
“Night!” Jensen fled the room for the safety of his own bedroom.
Jensen was startled out of a troubled sleep when the bed sank beneath the weight of someone lying down next to him. Jerking away, he raised his head to find Jared lounging inches away, clad only in his boxers.
“Jay?” Jensen asked, fairly calmly he thought, considering he’d only been asleep an hour. “Is something wrong?”
“I can’t sleep,” Jared replied, not looking at Jensen.
“Um.” Jensen wasn’t sure what to say. “Okay?”
“Jensen, how come you didn’t ask who I like?”
Jensen’s heart clenched. “None of my business, Jay.”
Jared finally looked at him, turning his head and locking eyes. “Bullshit. We don’t hold for that ‘none of my business’ stuff, and you know it.” A beat passed. “So why didn’t you ask?”
Jensen pulled himself into a sitting position and rested his head against the wall. Raising his hand and running it through his short hair, he tried to think of a reasonable excuse. “I guess,” he finally said, “I don’t really want to know, okay?”
Jared moved his head so that he could look up at Jensen. “Why not?” he asked, sounding affronted.
“Jared…” Jensen trailed off.
Jared moved quickly, sitting up and looking Jensen in the eye. “Seriously, Jensen, why the hell wouldn’t you want to know?” He sounded tense.
Jensen’s eyes fell to the bedspread, focusing on trying to spot the different colors of the plaid in the dark. He stayed quiet, hoping desperately that Jared would figure out that he didn’t want to talk about this and go away.
“Jensen,” Jared said, sounding frustrated, “will you please look at me and answer the damn question?”
Jerking his head up, Jensen glared at Jared. “You don’t even know do you, Jared? How long have we known each other now? Three years? And you still don’t fucking get it. Why the hell do you think I don’t want to know? Because it hurts! It hurt for three years to watch you with Sandy, and it’ll hurt for however long you’re with this next girl, okay?”
Jared stared at him, shock plain on his face. The anger fled as quickly as it had come, and Jensen felt hollowed out, as though someone had carved a hole in his stomach.
Quietly, Jared spoke. “I knew, Jen. I always knew.”
Jensen’s head jerked back, and he felt as if he’d been slapped. He started to stammer out a broken, “H-how,” but Jared’s hand shot out and rested on Jensen’s bare knee.
“It’s fine, Jen,” he said, sounding as though he were trying to sooth a wild animal, “it’s fine. “
How the hell could this be fine? How the hell could things ever be fine again? Jensen thought, suddenly exhausted.
“Seriously, Jensen, it’s fine.” Jared sounded desperate.
Jensen rested his head against the wall again and closed his eyes, feeling weary and wasted and just kind of wrecked.
“Yeah, sure, Jay,” he finally said, voice hoarse. “It’s fine.”
They sat in silence for a long time before Jared spoke again. “I fucked it all up, man.”
Without opening his eyes, Jensen asked, “How? Seems to me I’m the one who fucked things up.”
“I shouldn’t have asked why you didn’t want to know. I shouldn’t have pushed. ‘Cause I knew, Jen. I knew why you didn’t want to know. But I had this plan, okay? You’d ask and I’d tell you and then things would sort themselves out. And I fucked it all up.”
Jensen cracked an eye and focused on Jared. “You had a plan? For telling me about your crush?”
Jared looked down at the bed. “It’s not a crush,” he mumbled.
“Of course it’s not,” Jensen sighed. “So tell me, Jay, who is she?”
Jared moved quickly, coming closer to Jensen on the bed, until their legs were brushing each other and Jared was in Jensen’s personal space.
“I need you to understand something, Jen,” he said quietly. “I need you to know that it wasn’t always supposed to be like this. ‘Cause I loved Sandy, I did, but then I met you and it all went to hell.”
Jensen opened his eyes fully and looked at Jensen, not understanding.
“What?” he asked, totally confused.
Jared rolled his eyes. “You, Jensen. It’s you, okay? The crush, the love, whatever you want to call it, it’s you.”
“Me?” Jensen said, dumbly.
“God, yes, you.” Jared squeezed Jensen's knee gently. “It’s always been you. Since the first day.”
Jensen wasn’t sure what he was feeling. Hope, yes, but there were a dozen other emotions swirling around inside him, twisting and rising and fucking him all up.
“I think,” he began, then broke off when Jared leaned in, so close that his breath ghosted across Jensen’s lips.
“Yeah?” Jared asked breathlessly. “What do you think?”
Jensen cleared his throat nervously. “I think we’d better get to bed. Um…I mean, you in your bed and me in mine, okay? We gotta get up early tomorrow.”
Jared sat back, hurt. “Yeah, okay.” He got off the bed and walked to the door. “Night, Jen.”
And Jensen was left on his own, staring at the wall in front of him with blind eyes as his mind tried desperately to process what had just happened. Was it even possible that this wasn’t a dream? And was he ready to deal with it? Because yes, he loved Jared. Had since they’d met. Had been in love with him for almost as long, but now? Things were changing, and Jensen didn’t deal well with change. He’d been okay with Jared and Sandy, even though it had hurt. It had been normal and safe and he hadn’t had this terrifying feeling in the pit of his stomach like he did now.
He closed his eyes and slid down so that he was laying on his back. Suddenly, all he wanted to do was sleep and try to forget everything that had happened in the past hour.
His last thought before he slid back into sleep was that he should have let Jared kiss him.
After a restless night, Jensen was in no mood for Christmas pancakes at his aunt’s the next morning. When he emerged from his bedroom and went into the kitchen where his family was gathered, the first thing he saw was Jared charming his mother, all dimples and slow drawls.
He stalked over to the coffee pot and grabbed one of the clean mugs. He snarled a “Good morning!” at Jared and poured his coffee in silence.
His mama caught his eye and frowned. “Well,” she said in a slightly irritated voice, “you certainly woke up on the wrong side of the bed. And on Christmas morning, too.” She walked up to him and said quietly, “Better watch yourself, dear.”
Shamed, Jensen apologized to the room in general and leaned against the counter, sipping his hot coffee. He caught Jared’s eye and noticed the look of confusion on his friend’s face.
Sighing, Jensen went to his mother and pulled her aside. “Listen,” he said quietly, “would it be okay if Jared and I didn’t go to Aunt Susan’s today?”
She raised an eyebrow. “Jensen, it’s tradition that we go for pancakes at Susan’s on Christmas Day. She’ll be hurt if you don’t show up.”
“I know, mama,” he replied, genuinely contrite, “but Jared’s got some stuff going on and I really think he needs to talk about it.”
She thought it over for a moment, her brow furrowed then glanced over to where Jared was staring into his coffee cup with an intense expression on his face. Jensen rolled his eyes at his friend, the man looked like he hoped he’d discover the meaning of life inside that cup, for God’s sake. So fucking Jared.
She turned back to look at Jensen with a resigned look on her face. “Fine, Jensen. But you have to call Susan and tell her why you’re not coming, and you’d better promise to make it up to her.”
“Done,” he said, smiling a little. “Thanks, mama.”
She “hmmed” in response and walked back to the counter to rinse out her coffee cup.
Jensen looked over at Jared, meeting his eyes and giving a subtle nod, conveying the need to meet upstairs. Turning, he walked toward the steps and felt, rather than heard, Jared follow.
A moment later, they were in Jensen’s room again with the door closed and silence ringing loudly around them.
Jensen cleared his throat. “I got us out of breakfast.”
Jared looked surprised. “Okay.”
“I thought we should talk. More, I mean.”
Jared looked tired. “Can’t we be done with the talking, man? I mean, we’re men, for God’s sake. Men don’t talk.”
Jensen laughed, he couldn’t help it. Jared cracked a smile at the sound and suddenly, the tension in the room evaporated.
Moving to the bed, Jensen sat down and looked at Jared. The slamming of a door from down below sounded through the room, signaling the departure of Jensen’s family, and he relaxed a little more.
“Jared,” he said patiently, “sit down, okay? I promise, it’s gonna be fine, the talking.”
Jared walked over and sat down cautiously next to Jensen.
There was another long silence, then, “We really gonna do this, Jared?”
Jared looked over at Jensen. “Do what?”
Jensen rolled his eyes. “You know, have a…relationship thingy.”
Jared laughed. “God, you can barely even say the word. You’re pathetic. And seriously, man, with the way you threw me out of here last night, I can’t believe you even want to.”
Jensen looked down at his sock clad feet. “I was confused,” he mumbled.
He could feel Jared’s gaze on his face and finally turned his head to look at him again.
“And now you’re not?” Jared asked, looking a little confused, himself.
“No,” Jensen admitted, “I still am. I just figured, well, I mean, I’ve wanted you for three years, right? It’s stupid to say no to anything you want to offer.”
Jared’s eyes turned hard at his words. “What’s that supposed to mean, exactly, Jensen? ‘Cause I was under the impression that you actually cared about me. And what, you’ll take whatever I’m offering? You think I’m offering a no-strings attached blow job or something? Fuck that.”
“No!” Jensen retorted. “That’s not what I fucking meant, and if you’d use your brain for a second, you’d know what I did mean!”
“Well clearly,” Jared drawled sarcastically, “I don’t know what you meant, so why don’t you explain it to me, genius?”
Jensen huffed out a breath. “Look, I just meant – God, this is so fucked up! I’m in love with you, you know that! So yes, I’ll take what you’re offering. And I don’t mean that in an asshole way, I mean it in a ‘I’m so desperate that I’ll take whatever crumbs you’ll give,’ kind of way.”
Jared’s eyes softened. Reaching out, he carefully took Jensen’s hand. “I’m not going to give you crumbs, Jensen. I’m kinda in love with you too, you idiot. Can’t you see that by now?”
Jensen stared into Jared’s eyes, searching desperately for a sign that this was real, that Jared wasn’t suddenly going to wake up and change his mind, tell Jensen that it was all a joke or something. But all he saw was sincerity shining out at him.
And he smiled, because maybe, finally, things were going to be okay.
“So,” he said, nervous again, but happier than he’d been in years, “what do you wanna do now? We’ve got some time to kill before everyone gets back.”
Jared started laughing, a giant guffaw that echoed throughout the room.
“I don’t know, Jen. We could play some video games, I guess.”
Jensen laughed in return and was trying to figure out something else to say when he was tackled to the bed, not having noticed Jared’s movements.
He lay flat on his back and stared up into Jared’s eyes, his breath suddenly gone.
“Got a better idea, though,” Jared said mischievously. He leaned in closer until his lips were only a breath away from Jensen’s. “No running this time, okay?”
Jensen looked into Jared’s eyes and took a breath. Reaching up, he twined his fingers in Jared’s hair. “Not running anymore, Jay.” And he pulled Jared down to meet his lips with his own.