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The Mask You Wear



Author name: [livejournal.com profile] painting_walls
Artist name: [livejournal.com profile] bflyw
Genre: RPS
Pairing: J2
Rating: NC17
Word count: ~22'000

Summary: Five years after Supernatural Jared wonders about his and Jensen's friendship as they seem to drift apart. In less than one year the daily calls have turned into few rare emails while Jared has been away working. When he comes back he's in for a surprise. Something has happened to Jensen and it has changed him. It's up to Jared to show that it really doesn't matter.

Click here to see the amazing art [livejournal.com profile] bflyw made alongside to the awesome banner.

------------------------------------------------------------------

From: J. Padalecki
To: J. Ackles

What are you up to?

I think that most directors are over-rated. Today mine told me that if I wanted to do some half-assed scenes I should do TV. WTF? I really wanted to tell some truths about TV work but I was actually able keep my mouth shut. Surprised? I know I was.

And my co-star is an annoying spoiled brat who thinks she's the next big thing. Reminds me of the one I had years back in that one TV-show... How long has it been now? Is it five years already? Wonder what he's up to these days since I haven't really heard of him.

Talking about the old times, I'm kind of regretting all the times when I complained about the cold. It's really a bitch to do long days in this heat.

-J

Jared clicked send and reread the email Jensen had sent to him a few days ago. It was the first message in weeks but Jared told himself that Jensen must be just busy. While Jared's latest jobs had had him away from home for months at a time, Jensen had managed to mainly stay in LA. They had met whenever Jared was around, which in the last months had been very little. Now Jared had been filming in Hawaii for months, only flying in to LA to do quick PR before heading back to the set.

Jared hadn't even heard from Jensen in weeks, which was odd since he could still remember how they had talked on the phone during hiatus almost daily even when they were spending most of their year stuck together at work and on their day-offs too. Now, in a long time, he hadn't heard a word apart from the emails that seemed to have lessened lately. And now when Jared actually thought about it, the emails had also been somewhat odd and they had been missing the usual "come and see me bitch" in the end. Thinking back, Jared remembered actually talking to Jensen in February, just before the disastrous Valentines Day with his current girlfriend, but not after. He had tried to call a few times but he had mostly ended up playing phone tag with Jensen's voice mail. Jared hadn't really paid attention to that just thought that Jensen must be busy with some new project and would call back when he had time. To Jared's surprise, he hadn't and Jared had been getting more and more concerned.

-----

"This is Jensen Ackles. I'm not by my phone at the moment but leave a message and I'll get back to you later."

"Jen, your voice mail message is retarded. Have you actually stopped using phones? I tried to call like a hundred and twenty times last week. I'm starting to feel like a big scary stalker. Call me."

-----

From: J. Padalecki
To: J. Ackles

I googled you. That's what you get for not answering your phone. Did you know that according to a site called something like "The Awesome Ackles Avenue" you are soul-searching in Asia? Or something like that. Is that true?

The other things that I found were even weirder. But even the fangirls seem worried. What does that tell?

-J

-----

"I think Jensen's avoiding me. I sent like twenty-thousand emails and calls keep going to voice mail and he's sent me like two messages in ages," Jared blurted out as soon as Chad answered his phone.

Chad Michael Murray was quiet for a moment before clearing his throat. "Do you know what time it is?" Chad asked and Jared winced as he realized that Chad wouldn't be up this early.

"It's the time normal people are already awake," Jared said. He knew that he shouldn't be so bitchy if he actually wanted Chad to help but he was getting really frustrated with the whole situation.

"Well, I'm up then."

"Great. So what do I do?" Jared asked.

"With what? You know that I don't speak Padalecki in the morning," Chad was clearly too amused with his own clever answers.

"Jensen. He's not answering my calls. I think he's been avoiding me," Jared said even slower than it was really necessary.

"Maybe he's busy?" Chad suggested and Jared could hear rustling like he was getting out off bed.

"I imdb'd him. He's not working." Jared felt stupid as soon as it fell out of his mouth.

It took more than ten minutes for Chad to actually stop laughing. "Since when has the internet turned into a reliable source?"

"But still..." Jared tried to keep the petulant tone out off his voice with little luck. "It just pisses me off. I've been calling like usual and emailing and I get these answers that don't actually say anything. I think something's going on and he's not telling me what."

"When are you coming around?"

"A week and half tops. I have a few scenes to redo but then I'm off."

"So, why don't you just relax a bit and go to see him when you get home. Maybe he's got a perfectly good explanation and you're just being delusional."

-----

From: J. Ackles
To: J. Padalecki

I heard that Tibet is real pretty this time of year. I forgot my phone in LA. Was visiting my folks for a couple weeks.

-J

-----

From: J. Padalecki
To: J. Ackles

Soul-searching in Texas?

I'm coming to LA next week. We should hang out.

-J

-----

"This time they actually said I'm done after tomorrow," Jared told his mom on the phone.

His mom laughed. "That's what you said two weeks ago before the last delay. When are you coming to visit? Do we have to wait until Christmas?"

"I don't know. I might have to actually spend time at my house for a change. I don't even know if it's still standing since I haven't been there in such a long time," Jared said. "And you know that Sadie and Harley don't like to fly and I don't want to leave them too soon with the sitter again."

"You might still want to visit us before you forget what we look like."

Jared hated this. The guilt-trips had been worse this year since he hadn't really had any time to visit his parents. And it hadn't been just about the visiting but also about not sending real letters or postcards, just emails and text messages.

"Honey, I know that you're busy but we would actually like to see you once in a while."

"I know mom," Jared said. "I'll try to come down in a few weeks and stay over for a weekend. But the day after tomorrow I'm going home to LA. I already got the flight booked and I called the sitter and I'm going to get the dogs as soon as I get home."

His mom laughed softly. "Always thinking about the dogs first. Never anyone else."

"What can I do? I'm whipped," Jared laughed stiffly and really hoped that this wouldn't lead to the usual question about girlfriends and if he had anyone that he was bringing home. "But seriously. It's going to be so good to be home. I haven't seen anyone in a long time. Last time I was in LA they had me run around for the PR meetings and then I had to fly back."

"Do you have anything booked now?" His mom asked and Jared let out a sigh as he relaxed again when the conversation steered off the area that he had tried to avoid since the latest break up.

"No, I have a few things that I might do but I thought I could take a few months off and see if there is anything else."

They chatted about his movie for a while before the line beeped and Jared had to take a call from his assistant. He promised his mom once more that he would call as soon as he knew when he was flying to Texas and yes, he had eaten his vegetables too.

-----

A few days later shuttling around LAX trying to get his bags together, he thought of calling his mom to say that he was safely home. He let the thought go as soon as it had came to him, figuring that he was old enough not to check-in after every flight. After all he had told his mom that he would be calling in few weeks about the details for his trip over. He pocketed his phone after sending a text to the dog sitter that he would pick the dogs up later in the evening, after he took his bags home. He hadn't had time to tell anyone else that he was coming. His thoughts drifted to Jensen and he found himself smiling at the ridiculous image of phoning Jensen and announcing that he had landed safely. He knew that Jensen would laugh at him for being so lame or just call him a girl. His smile faded a little as he remembered the many attempts on trying to reach Jensen in last 48 hours. Yesterday, he had tried to call Jensen a dozen times and had even left a couple of voice mails telling him that he was back in town and would really like to hang out.

When he finally got into a cab, he was so upset about the whole thing that he just gave the driver Jensen's address without a second thought. He could just drop by and see what was going on and then go to pick up the dogs. On the way, he tried not to think too much into Jensen not answering his calls. Maybe he had just been busy. It wasn't like Jared had been trying for days, except that maybe he had been. More than just days.

Standing finally in front of Jensen’s house, Jared felt weird. They had a long history of dropping in unannounced but even then they had always been talking about it before hand. Jared had to remind himself that this was actually Jensen, his best friend, and there was no reason to feel awkward standing there with his suitcases like a stray dog. He dragged his stuff up to the door and pressed his finger firmly on the doorbell. "C'mon Ackles, open the door already," he hollered, laughing as he finally heard footsteps on the other side. The lock clicked and Jared was just about to pull Jensen into a huge bear hug when he noticed that it wasn't Jensen on the other side, but Chris Kane, looking annoyed and wearing just a bathrobe. Jared's stomach turned and for a moment he felt betrayed not even knowing why. Maybe it was because Jensen had never said anything, and Jared had thought Chris was just a friend. And because Jared had never given any indication that he couldn't be trusted with this kind of thing. Jared shook his head a bit to clear his thoughts and greeted Chris as well-mannered as he could.

"Jared." Chris nodded at him. "What are you doing here?"

"I...," Jared felt speechless for a second and laughed nervously. Loss of words wasn't a familiar feeling to him and he definitely didn't like it. "I came to see Jensen."

"Did he tell you to come?" Chris stared up at him viciously blocking the doorway. Even though Jared towered a good amount of inches over him, he felt small under Chris' stern gaze.

"No," he said. "But I've been trying to reach him. We haven't actually spoken in weeks." Jared knew his voice sounded as desperate as he felt, but Chris still didn't move from the doorway. "Is something wrong?"

Chris sighed quietly and leaned against the doorframe. "You really don't know? I thought... He said things that made me wonder. You never said you don't want to see him again, did you?"

"No," Jared said quickly. "Why would I?" He felt his heart race in his chest. Why would Jensen think that? Because the only thing that would keep Jared from him was nothing, short of hurting his mother.

Chris moved aside and let Jared in. "When was the last time you spoke to Jensen?"

"Months ago, but we've emailed since then. He said he was busy," Jared said. "Is something wrong? And since when you have become his guardian?" Jared regretted this last sentence as soon as it slipped out.

Chris looked at him sternly. "Something happened and I've been here for Jen ever since. And apparently you haven't."

"But I've been trying!" Jared exclaimed. "He doesn't answer the phone, doesn't reply to my messages and sent me like two crappy emails telling me he was busy or just plain ignored that I had been asking where he is and how he's doing!"

Chris' expression softened just a bit. "He's had this idea in his head that you may not want to see him again. I thought you had said something to him."

Jared wiped sweat off his forehead and tried to breathe calmly. "I haven't said anything, and there's nothing that would keep me from wanting to see him. Nothing," he told Chris.

"Good."

"Where is he?"

"Upstairs."

As Jared turned to rush the stairs Chris grabbed his arm roughly. "There's something you need to know. In January, Jensen had an accident. He's been hurt and it's been hard for him to deal with everything. So, do us all a favor and promise me, that if you want to freak out, don't do it in front of Jen. Just walk out."

"I promise." With that Jared headed upstairs taking three steps at a time. He was on Jensen's bedroom door in a second, and then took a moment to even his breath and calm his pounding heart. He knocked carefully and waited for an answer. Normally he would have just rushed in, but something in Chris' words made him take his time.

"Chris! I already said that I'm not going," Jensen shouted from the other side of the door. Jared pushed the door slightly open.

"Not Chris." He stepped inside and saw Jensen sitting on the edge of his bed.

"Jared." Jensen's voice is suddenly rough and Jared couldn't quite place his tone.

"Jen." Jared hesitated before stepping forward. Jensen didn't turn around like Jared would have expected and Jared had to resist the urge to rush to him. He didn't know what had happened and why Jensen thought that Jared wouldn't want to see him. Jared bit his lip and cleared his throat. "What happened?"

Jensen was still and so quiet that Jared could just barely hear his ragged breathing. "Talk to me man," Jared tried. He got closer and sat on the other side of the bed. "What's wrong? Why haven't you replied to my messages?"

Jensen shrugged. "I’ve been busy. I thought you'd be too."

"That's bull!." Jared didn't really mean to sound so angry. "I mean, we've always been able to talk about things, you know. For years you were the first one I went to when something was wrong. I would still trust you with anything." Jared knew he was just rambling, but silence scared him more than sounding stupid. "We used to be around each other so much that I kind of miss it now."

Jensen laughed quietly. "I know." He swallowed thickly and turned his head just a bit to glance at Jared. "There's just... Something happened." Jensen tilted his head to one side and Jared could sense the quiet hesitation. Jared waited, impatient, not knowing if Jensen would actually tell him what had happened or just ask him to leave. Jared could hear Chris moving downstairs, clearly close to the staircase, probably listening if Jensen needed him. But still far enough to give them the space and time they needed to talk. Jensen rubbed his eyes with one hand and continued: "And I didn't really know what to do, you know. I couldn't handle it. Didn't want to handle it." Jensen paused, just a second or two, but Jared felt like it went on forever until Jensen spoke again. "And I thought that you... that you wouldn't... I didn't want you to see me like this." Jensen was not really making any sense.

"Like what, Jen?" Jared had to ask.

"Like this."

Jared couldn't help the sharp gasp that escaped his lips, as Jensen turned around and Jared could see the other side of his face for the first time. The left side of Jensen's face looked just like he remembered. Just like Jensen was in the glossy photo he, for some reason, kept tucked in his wallet between the back seam and an old movie ticket. But the right side of his face was scarred and thick all the way from his hairline to under his collar. His right eye was milky white which created a huge contrast with his good eye that looked clear green in the bright sunlight streaming from the window.

Jensen sighed and turned away. Jared could see his shoulders hunch and he took a deep breath. "What happened?"

"Bad stunt that I should've had someone else do." Jensen rubbed his hands over his face and neck. Fingers nervously tracing along the scars on his skin. "Shouldn't have been so damn arrogant about the fact that I've done a good amount of my own stunts before."

Jared twisted the hem of his shirt in his hands as he nervously stared at Jensen's back. A million thoughts ran through his head and he tried to let out the most rational ones, but could only blurt out: "How come it didn't hit the news?"

Jensen's dry laugh echoed in the silent room and Jared could hear the bitter bite in his voice. "Not exactly Johnny Depp here. And it was only a small role in an Indie flick that no one probably paid any attention to."

"Oh." Jared felt speechless. Usually it was hard for him to be quiet if it didn't involve a scene he had to be in, or his grandmother scolding him for eating something that was supposed to be for supper. He reached out to place a hand on Jensen's shoulder. "Why didn't you want me to know?" He just had to ask because he couldn't figure out why Jensen would want to shut him out. Why wouldn't Jensen share something like this with Jared, who had really thought that they were best friends, or really close friends at least?

Jensen avoided Jared's gaze. "I don't know," he said unsurely and Jared couldn't really understand why he was lying. As Jensen didn't say anything else, Jared decided it was best to leave it for time being. He didn't really want to push Jensen because it seemed that he most likely had a problem with Jared knowing about the accident and Jared wanted to give him time to get used to that first before asking for a real explanation.

-----

Jared took a cab to home from Jensen's and called his dog sitter to get Harley and Sadie ready so he could pick them up on the way. In twenty minutes he stood on the front lawn of her house with Harley jumping on him and Sadie whining softly by his feet to get him to acknowledge her instead of Harley. He pet them both and scratched their ears as he exchanged a few words with the dogsitter about Harley’s diet. With a goodbye and a hefty check tucked into her hand, the dog sitter left Jared as he ushered the dogs into the car and told the annoyed looking taxi driver that he would pay extra for having the dogs.

At home he flipped absentmindedly through his mail dividing it into several piles according to importance. He thought about Jensen. He tried to reason why Jensen hadn't told him about the accident and ignored the feeling of hurt in his gut. Jensen probably had had just as hard a time with dealing with it himself and therefore was afraid that other people wouldn't accept him like that. 'But he told Chris', a small voice nagged in the back of Jared's head and he couldn't help recognizing the jealousy. Jensen had known Chris forever, and Chris had been around. Maybe he had found it out by himself? For some reason thinking about Chris made Jared feel like he was in third grade again and his best friend had invited someone else to see his new tree house first.

Jared let the dogs in the backyard and fingered the cell phone tucked into his pocket. He checked his watch wondering if Jensen was asleep yet and if he should call. Maybe to reassure Jensen that he wasn't freaking out. He quietly wondered if he had said or done something in the past that had made Jensen think that he would freak out because of this. He had an eerie feeling that Jensen had a point there, thinking he would freak out, because maybe he was? He couldn't really figure out, was it more of being shut out than the whole thing in general. Some part of him wanted to be mad at Jensen. Wanted to pick up his phone and yell at him for being a stupid asshole, and for not letting his best friend know that he had been in a life-threatening accident. No. Jared didn't really want to do that. He just had this sudden urge to rush back to Jensen's and keep him away from anything that seemed potentially dangerous.

------

Jared flicked his phone open and pressed down number four. He waited a moment for the line to open, tucking a twelve pack under his arm and locking up his truck. "Beer and football?" Jared asked as soon as Jensen answered his phone.

"Tonight?" Jensen asked.

"Now. I'm at you door. Open up." Jared pounded the door to let Jensen know he was actually there. Jensen sounded more surprised than anything and Jared wondered if Jensen had thought that he wouldn't call or stick around. Did Jensen really think so little of him? It bothered him and he quietly thought how had Jensen's other friends treated him? Then he realized how ridiculous the whole situation was. The only thing that had changed is part of Jensen's face and Jared couldn't really get how that is supposed to have an affect on anything. He wouldn't turn his back to a friend over something like this.

The door rattled open and Jared handed the beer to Jensen. "Put that in the refrigerator. I'm not gonna drink it warm." As he walked in Jensen just stood there with the beer and Jared turned to him. "What?"

Jensen was quiet for a moment then he looked down on himself and raised his eyebrows. "I don't see 'Padalecki's bitch' written anywhere on me."

Jared froze for a second and was just about to apologize when he realized that Jensen was only teasing him. "It's on your ass," Jared laughed and swatted Jensen's behind. "Chris still around?" He asked as casual as he could.

"Why?"

Jared shrugged trying to make it seem like it wasn't a big deal. He didn't really want Jensen to think that he was too interested in what type of relationship Jensen and Chris had. "I just got an impression that he was staying with you."

"He’s been crashing in the guest room. He was around after the accident but then somehow ended up staying after his lease expired and he didn't have a new place yet. Been too lazy to kick his ass out since he can whip up a decent meal every now and then." Jensen seemed to relax a little and Jared couldn't help smiling at him.

-----

A few days later Jared pulled his truck up to Jensen's yard late in the afternoon and felt weirdly nervous about the whole thing. Jensen had sent him a text about a barbecue he was having with his friends and it was the first in a long while. It really seemed like things were getting back to normal. As Jared let the dogs out of the truck and locked it, he really wished that he was right about the fact and that his and Jensen's friendship would take a turn back to what it used to be.

He took a step away from the car and it took him a second to realize that the leashes were tangled around his knees and he was already falling down. He was laughing as Jensen opened the front door, and all three Padaleckis were sprawled all over his front yard with Jared on the ground and Harley trying to pull him up by his sleeve and Sadie on the other side licking his ear, with honest doggy worry all over her furry face. "Find something?" Jensen asked and the dogs tried to rush to him. Jared cursed as the leash around his calf tightened.

"Do you mind that I brought the dogs?" Jared asked when he finally got up brushing dust out of his clothes. "They've been with the sitter far too much already. They barely know me anymore."

Jensen scratched Sadie's ears and shook his head. "No. I could really use some intelligent company anyway," he teased.

They had been hanging out a lot since Jared's movie had finally wrapped up and he was determined to take his time and find a good one next. And what he never really got around to telling Jensen was, he was trying to find something in LA. He had already explained it to himself that he just wanted to spend time at home for a while. If he worked in LA he would get to stay with the dogs and see his friends and it definitely didn't have any specific connection to Jensen in any way as far as Jared could see.

They went into the backyard and Jared nodded to Chris who was standing by the grill. Steve and a few other of Jensen's friends greeted him and he let the dogs off their leashes. Sadie nudged herself beside Chris and looked up at him with big sad eyes. "She knows who's in charge of cooking."

Chris leaned down to pet her. "All dogs love me."

"They love the fact that you're weak willed and give them treats easily," Jared laughed and took the beer handed to him and sat down to enjoy the company. He knew from experience that Jensen's friends could totally throw a decent barbeque where he could just chill and be himself. With his own friends they usually ended up in a trendy club and as much as he liked Chad and the guys, it was usually more tiring than relaxing to go out with them.

By the end of the night Chris had gotten his guitar out and was trying to get Jensen to sing with them. "C'mon, don't be a pussy," Chris said to Jensen.

"Nah," Jensen shrugged. "Why don't you get Steve to do it?"

"Because I hear him all the time," Chris said and just barely dodged the hamburger bun Steve threw at him. They all laughed as Harley and Sadie went after the bun that rolled on the grass knocking Chris over as they went.

"Just do it Jen," Jared coaxed and Jensen looked at him. For a second Jared saw something soften in Jensen's eyes. Jared didn't know what it meant and didn't really try to guess. Lately he had started getting these strange feelings around Jensen that he couldn't, or didn't want to, explain. And sometimes he had a vague feeling that maybe, just maybe, Jensen felt those too.

Jared had caught Steve watching the two of them and when Steve pulled Jensen aside to say something to him, Jared tried to tell himself it wasn't jealousy he felt before realizing that maybe Steve had just noticed the thing going on between Jared and Jensen. He didn't really know why he felt like he should explain himself to the guy somehow, but as Steve went back to Chris and challenged him to play one of the songs they were working on, Jared just pushed the thoughts as far into the back of his head as he could.

-------------------

"That's why I don't go out," Jensen said as a small child started to cry as they walked past. They had taken the shortcut through the park near Jensen's house to get to the nearest supermarket and on the way Jensen sheepishly had let Jared know that it was the furthest he had gone by foot in months. He had driven to the store once or twice but he had mostly gone to get basics from the little corner shop just down the street. Other than that he had been letting Chris do his shopping for him and taken full advantage of the take-away places around town. Jared secretly suspected that the handicapped sticker that he had seen in Jensen's kitchen had something to do with his reluctance to use his car but kept quiet since he didn't know if that was the whole deal or not.

Jared laughed softly. "I think it's just the ugly shirt you're wearing," he tried to distract Jensen from the topic that made Jensen clearly want to turn back and run even if he didn't say it.

"Says the fashion guru himself," Jensen said dryly, eyeing Jared's flowery t-shirt that was so bright Jensen had complained he needed to put his shades on to save the eyesight he had left when Jared had arrived at his doorstep demanding they go get food and hang out.

Jared muttered an insult under his breath, but secretly he really enjoyed the smile that spread across Jensen's face as they seemed to fall back into the friendly bickering they had kept going on for years while filming together. He hadn't really gotten a real smile out of Jensen since they started hanging out again even though he had tried on more than one occasion. Now he felt good about it and warm feelings fluttered in his chest as he saw Jensen relax a little. Jared couldn't quite place the unfamiliar feeling and he felt heat gather onto his face as he realized that he was staring and Jensen was looking at him questioningly, he quickly turned his gaze away, brushing the whole thing off as having been really worried about Jensen.

They never got around to buying real food, only sticking to candy, frozen pizzas and a twelve pack of beer. Jared almost got them thrown out of the store after acting out the best bits of his up and coming film with a banana as his gun. Jared knew he was making a total fool out of himself but getting Jensen to smile like that was really worth every single bad look he got from the other people in the store. And if someone managed to take pictures with their camera phone, he at least hoped that they were of him, since he really didn't know how Jensen would feel about getting unwanted attention. Jared thought that he should maybe tone down his behavior until he had talked to Jensen about it, but Jensen was still looking happy and that really felt like the only thing that should matter.

On the way back to Jensen's they ran into Chris who looked more than surprised to see Jensen that far from his front door. "I'm going to be at Steve's tonight. We're working on a new project so I might not be back until late. Or I'll just crash on his couch."

"I'm not your babysitter. You're free to come and go as you like," Jensen said and Jared just smiled at Jensen. Even though most of his attention was on Jensen he couldn't help but notice how Chris was all smiles as he looked at Jensen but how his expression got stern and harsh as his gaze shifted to Jared. If Jared didn't know better he would have sworn that the look on Chris' face was exactly the same as he remembered giving his sister's new boyfriend he really didn't trust. He sort of wanted to tell Chris that there was nothing to worry about but when he looked at Jensen he felt something that he really couldn't deny being there in the first place.

"You coming or what?" Jensen's voice cut in on Jared's thoughts. He shook his head to lose the uneasy feeling before nodding and going after Jensen who was already twenty feet ahead. As he caught up with Jensen he glanced back to see Chris watching them go with a narrowed look that was more suspicious than anything else.

-------------------

Back at the house Jensen popped the pizzas in oven and threw the candy to Jared. "Get the beer and set up the game." He smirked as he pulled a bag of chips from the cupboard. "Get ready to have you ass kicked."

"Madden?" Jared asked catching the chips flying through the air.

"Damn straight."

Two hours later Jared was feeling more than a little buzzed. Jensen uncapped another beer and yelped as Jared's team got another touchdown while Jensen's attention was away from the screen. "Not fair!" Jensen laughed and placed his beer down.

"Is it my fault that your eyes aren't on the game?" Jared asked and made a face even if he knew how childish he must have looked at that moment. Jensen's eyes wrinkled with a wide smile and Jared felt his heart flutter. "You hair's getting long." He reached out and pushed Jensen's hair off his forehead.

"Should get it cut," Jensen said and leaned away as Jared's fingertips brushed gently against the scar running down his temple. The touch was soft, just barely there, but Jared could see how uncomfortable and tense Jensen was all of a sudden. Jared pulled his hand back and tried to look away. A sudden feeling of overwhelming affection rushed through him as he turned and his eyes met Jensen's again. He felt his heart pound so hard that he was afraid Jensen would hear it. He wanted to get up and run, tell Jensen that he had to go, but he just couldn't. Instead he raised his hand and slid a trembling palm behind Jensen's head to rest it right on the nape of Jensen's neck. Jensen's gaze shot up. His expression open and surprised. And for a second Jared saw something there. Something he couldn't quite recognize but which still made him feel good inside. Confident, and definitely without thinking, he leaned forward to breathe in the scent of Jensen's skin. He didn't even take a notice of how he was shaking all over. He just breathed in the scent of Jensen's aftershave, his shampoo and the soft, warm saltiness of sweat. Something that was just Jensen. Jared stayed there for the longest moment, resting his forehead against Jensen's hair, his nose pressed on Jensen's skin letting the silent realizations finally sink in. He was falling in love with Jensen. If he already hadn't been for years.

"Jared?" Jensen's voice was rough when he finally spoke like he hadn't used it for hours. The magic was broken so fast and Jared could feel the quiet shock settling into his limbs. Had he crossed the line? Done something he couldn't fix? He searched Jensen's face for signs of discomfort but found absolutely nothing.

As Jensen finally smiled carefully, hopefully, Jared's heart jumped and he took a deep breath. "Is there something? Do you think...?" He never got a chance to finish his sentence as Jensen leaned forward and brought their lips together. It wasn't quite a kiss, just Jensen mouthing on Jared's lips. Jared was still too shocked and frozen to do anything and it took a good while before he realized that Jensen was actually kissing him. As Jensen's lips parted slightly, his soft tongue lapping on Jared's lips, Jared finally relaxed and parted his lips to let Jensen in. Jensen tasted like gummiworms and beer and he was just so warm under Jared's touch. Jared could feel the knot that had formed in his gut melt down into a soft warmness spreading in his body.

Jared's lips felt hot and swollen but he couldn't let go. The need of having Jensen so close was too much and he pulled Jensen closer and leaned back. They fell on the couch in one big mess of tangled limbs; the game was still in the background, long forgotten. Jensen's hands were everywhere and Jared couldn't help sliding his under Jensen's shirt to feel his skin. Jensen was already aiming lower, his hand between them stroking Jared's cock through the worn denim of his jeans. Jared bucked his hips up to meet Jensen's touch. He could feel the heat of Jensen's arousal against his hip and just feeling that sent shivers up his spine. He couldn't do anything else except moan against Jensen's mouth, those fucking gorgeous lips he had never really thought of kissing before, but couldn't even begin to explain why he hadn't done this before now. Because this was amazing. And it wasn't just the touching, but the fact that it was Jensen who was doing the touching. Jensen, who he had worked with, lived with and loved. All these years maybe and he had had no idea.

"Jared?"

Jared was shaken out of his thoughts. He realized that he must have been spacing out on Jensen and shook his head a little to bring himself back to reality.

"Is this... Is this okay?" Jensen asked quietly, backing away just enough for their eyes to meet. The worry in his eyes was enough to bring Jared back to the present.

"Oh God yes," Jared said quickly as he pulled Jensen closer. "I want this. I want you." He couldn't say more and really hoped that Jensen would understand what he meant. That he didn't just want this but all of it. He wanted to touch and be touched and love and God he just wanted Jensen to be his. He thought he might have actually growled as he grabbed Jensen and pushed him down on the couch practically tearing Jensen's jeans open to get his hand inside, wrapping it around Jensen's leaking cock while desperately kissing Jensen. He pushed Jensen's shirt up with one hand to get as much skin to skin contact as he could with all the clothes they still had on. Clearly Jensen was already on the same page with him, yanking Jared's shirt open and sending loose buttons flying.

"Wanted to rip that hideous thing off you when you came over this morning." Jensen told him, gasping for air, as they broke the kiss and Jared laughed. It seemed like Jensen had been onto this for a while longer than he had, but he could ask about it later. Now he just cared about getting Jensen off and touching him everywhere with his free hand.

Jensen rocked up against him and Jared stroked him best he could with his hand practically trapped between their bodies. Jensen managed to get one hand between them too, just enough to open Jared's belt and push his loose jeans down. Jared closed his eyes when Jensen's strong fingers curled around the base of his hard cock and he almost came before Jensen had even a chance to move. He moaned into Jensen's mouth and moved his hips just enough for their cocks to rub together and it felt so good. They stroked each other and rocked together like teenagers trying to get off just by rubbing together. Jared felt Jensen tense up under him and as he had just managed to tighten his grip on Jensen’s cock, giving him a few more firm strokes, he felt Jensen coming between them and couldn't help but buck his cock against Jensen spreading the slick mess all over before adding his own to it.

------------------

The shift from friends to lovers seemed easier than Jared had expected. They were already so comfortable with each other. Most days they hung out at Jensen's house and Jared couldn't really tell the difference between the times they had been just friends and now. Except that now, when the newfound urges to touch Jensen hit him full on, he actually could do it. And when they sprawled out on the sofa to relax, Jensen was pressed tightly against him and Jared could just wrap his long arms around Jensen's waist pressing his nose into Jensen's skin and giving him soft kisses along his neck. It still surprised him every time how naturally they fit together. Even if he knew from long before that he was in love with Jensen, it was these little moments that made him realize how much he actually loved Jensen already.

When Jared had stayed over for the first time, it had been a bit strange since Chris had been there too. Chris had been the first to know about their relationship and Jared still felt uncomfortable around him. He was a little on edge, waiting for Chris to come and give him the third degree about dating Jensen. Jared figured out that Chris' version wouldn't only include 'don't hurt him', but 'hurt him and you'll find your balls nailed on the wall'. After a few awkward mornings, Chris had packed his things and told Jensen that his babysitting job was definitely over and with a heartfelt 'you know where to find me if you need me' he had moved his things to Steve's. After Chris had left Jared had felt the need to apologize.

Jensen just laughed. "It'll do Chris good to spend time with Steve. They'd finally get some work done and maybe get their heads out of their asses."

Jared raised his eyebrows. He knew he wasn't the most aware of his surroundings, but sometimes it felt like other people were light-years ahead.

"They've been circling each other since they met. Never admitted a thing, both of them dating practically every other person they meet, but never getting serious with anyone," Jensen explained. "Haven't you noticed? Chris can probably hide it better, but Steve, he's just as hopeless as Chris is blind when it comes to Steve."

That confused Jared a bit. "Is there something in the water?"

"How come?" Jensen asked.

"Since all of a sudden everyone seems to be a bit gay." Jared watched Jensen's expression change from confused to amused in the blink of an eye.

"Chris and Steve are hardly 'everyone'. They've always been... connected, I think," Jensen said, his face open and honest. Their eyes met and Jared's heart fluttered as Jensen's voice went real soft when he quietly added: "Like us."

--------------------

They never really talked about dating exclusively or being boyfriends but Jensen had made it clear from the day one that he wasn't going to see other people. As if Jared hadn't already known it. And when it came to Jared, he had always been the type to commit to one person. He didn't really like dating around, and because they were already so familiar with each other, Jared didn't really think they needed to date before being able to say that they were exclusive.

As days went by they easily settled in to a routine. Jared was bringing the dogs with him more and more and usually ended up staying the night. They slept close together, curled up on Jensen's bed and it felt like they had done it forever instead of just a few weeks. At first they had been wearing their boxers to bed, but when Jensen had told Jared, a little shyly, that he actually preferred to sleep naked, Jared had just laughed and wiggled out of his shorts and wrapped Jensen up into his arms. Their hard bodies pressed together under the soft blankets. Jared couldn't help but wonder a little why the whole thing never bothered him. He had never really thought about being with a guy. He was kind of waiting for the shock to settle in, the big identity crisis or something like that, but it never happened. Instead he found out that he liked touching Jensen and that he actually yearned to be touched by Jensen.

At times it seemed like Jared had woken up to something that he should have known years ago. He had a vague feeling of second puberty as he found himself hard in situations he had never even thought of. Like when he walked out in the backyard to see Jensen shirtless, doing his push-ups on the patio with beads of sweat glistening in the morning sun. In the beginning Jared had been quite content with only handjobs and making out. Although Jensen didn't really imply that he wanted more, Jared had a feeling that Jensen would have been perfectly willing to move faster if Jared would have wanted to. And he really did, even though he didn't always know what to do. Despite his lack of experience Jared had seen his fare share of porn that he shouldn't have been watching, and with a little imagination, he knew what to expect. He was quite sure that it wouldn't be hard to move forward with their relationship, but had some concerns that he wanted to ask Jensen first. He just didn't know how.

Then one night, when they were just watching TV Jared kissed Jensen soft on his mouth and slid his hand low into Jensen's boxers. He just had to break the kiss and look down. Jensen's cock was thick and flushed against his palm and Jared just wanted, needed, more. He kissed Jensen hard before sliding off the couch and kneeling in front of Jensen, pulling his jeans and boxers down. Jared didn't really know what he was doing, but Jensen's fingers curled into his hair, and Jared bent his head down to take Jensen into his mouth and right there he just quit worrying. It was harder than he had thought but he had had enough blowjobs to know the basics and as Jensen's breathing deepened and his moans grew louder, Jared was fairly certain he was doing something right other than just covering his teeth and adding suction.

Jensen's grip on his hair tightened and Jared had to brace his hands on Jensen's hips to hold him still. Even though he felt good and more content than a moment ago, he wasn't quite sure how to handle Jensen bucking up into his mouth. He backed off a little sucking just on the head, his cheeks hollow and his tongue stroking the underside. Spit and Jensen's salty precum dribbled down his chin and he wondered if it should feel ridiculous instead of being just fucking hot. His cock pressed painfully against the zipper of his jeans and he had to shift a little to adjust himself.

A dull ache spread across his jaw, but Jared didn't care. He wrapped his hand around the base of Jensen's cock to stroke in the pace of his sucking. Jensen's thighs spread obscenely wide even if his ankles were held together by his pants as Jared moaned against his cock. Without even thinking about it, he hastily licked two fingers and slid his mouth back over Jensen's cock. Trailing a spit slick finger on the soft skin behinds Jensen's balls made Jared shiver. He rimmed Jensen's ass with one finger and closed his eyes, just letting the noises Jensen made guide him as he gently pushed a fingertip just barely in. The hot softness closing tight around his fingertip felt strange and it made him wonder how in the world he could slide anything else inside. The thought of being inside Jensen had Jared squirming and writhing like he was in heat. He had to bring one hand down to rub himself through his jeans. His own heartbeat pounded in his ears and he could feel blood rushing down leaving him dizzy. Jensen mumbled something incoherent and tugged Jared's hair and, oh God, he knew Jensen was close. Probably trying to get him to back off. Jared just ignored him and leaned forward pressing his lips tight around Jensen's cock. Jensen balled his fists tightly in Jared’s hair and he could feel Jensen's whole body tense up as he came.

"Jay..." Jensen's voice was rough and breathless as he tugged Jared up into his lap. Jared wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and kissed Jensen, smiling against his lips. "Do you... I can..." Jensen's hand found Jared's belt and tugged it open. Jared felt himself blushing as Jensen's fingers met the damp cotton of his boxers. "That good huh?" Jensen smirked and pulled Jared into another heated kiss.

------------------

Going back to work always got Jared excited, but now he tried to keep his excitement tuned down. He didn't really know how Jensen felt about him bouncing happily in and out of auditions. When Jared tried to talk about it once or twice, Jensen had just dismissed the topic without an explanation and Jared really wondered if it was because Jensen didn't care, or if it just felt too bad.

They were at Jared's house when a new pile of scripts arrived from Jared's agent. With a bit of hesitation, Jared opened the package and spread all four scripts on the kitchen counter. "I'll read them later," he told Jensen after checking the notes and quick summaries provided.

Jensen laughed. "And I'm supposed to believe that you can hold your curiosity?" He took the scripts one by one, and paging through them quickly, picked one out smiling. "I like this one. You should definitely read it through." He tossed the script to Jared and leaned against the counter. "That fresh?" He pointed at the coffee pot and Jared nodded.

Jared watched Jensen move around in his kitchen and smiled at the ease. The line between his and Jensen's things was definitely blurring already and Jared felt his face flush as he caught himself thinking that Jensen's place was definitely more homey than his own, and maybe it was his house they'd sell when they moved in together. He opened the script, but couldn't shake off the thought. Moving in with Jensen. The thought felt better than he had ever expected, but he didn't want to tell Jensen yet. It was kind of soon, and they had never really talked about a future together.

He quietly moved back to the script, watching Jensen move in the edge of his vision. He heard the familiar sound of his cookie jar opening and glanced to the side to see Jensen's hand elbow-deep in the big jar. "Stay away from my cookies." Jared didn't really mean it. He was actually glad, because Jensen had lost weight since the beginning of the year, not much, but still more than would have been healthy. His appetite hasn't been great since the accident, he once told Jared, when he carefully brought the subject up.

Jensen settled on the other side of the table with a cup of coffee and more than a handful of cookies. Jared smiled at him over the script and for that moment he knew that he would never really feel like this about anyone other than Jensen. It sort of scared him to realize how quickly things had changed between them. They had been close before and then drifted apart for a while, but now they were getting closer than ever, and Jared couldn't help but to try and let things go as they went, because he felt that thinking too much into it would actually freak him out a bit.

---------

As Jensen sat quietly in the living room, his shoulders hunched and head low Jared realized that Jensen had done that a lot lately. Not that he was loud or out going but with Jared's constant talking he had barely said a word in days.

"Jen," he said and Jensen glanced at him quickly before turning his face away. "Is there something bothering you?" Jared went and sat beside him.

Jensen fingered the bracelet he wore on his wrist and Jared placed a steady hand over his trembling fingers. "Tell me what's wrong. It's not me going back to work is it?" Jared felt like he shouldn't been asking the question, but it had been on his mind for days now.

"No. I..." Jensen looked small and lost. Jared could see that Jensen was trying so hard to keep his composure and Jared resisted the need to pull Jensen close and rock him against his chest like a small child. "You hate it, don't you," Jensen said in a soft voice. Words rushed, tangled together, and Jared could hardly understand what he was saying.

"Hate what?" Jared didn't mean to sound so accusing.

Jensen looked away, his lower lip tucked between his teeth. He was quiet for a long moment before lifting up his gaze. "My bad side."

Jared rushed to pull Jensen close. "No, never," Jared whispered his lips brushing against Jensen's skin. "What makes you think I hate it?"

Jensen turned his head looking straight at Jared. "You never touch me there. When you kiss me on the cheek it's always the other side." Jensen's voice sounded even more hurt than he let his expression imply. "Even when we're outside you always walk on my left. Like you want to pretend you have a decent looking boyfriend and not a God damn phantom of the opera."

"No, Jen. No!" Jared couldn't find words to explain everything he wanted. "I just... I thought you didn't want me to touch you there." He lifted his hand and traced his fingers down Jensen's scarred cheek to his jaw where the uneven and thick line of scar tissue faded into a few smaller patches of lightening burn scars that followed the side of Jensen's throat down to his collarbone. Jensen breathed soft and shallow as Jared kissed his forehead carefully, right where the scar ran from his hairline towards his eyebrow. "When I touched your scars for the first time you flinched away. I thought that it felt uncomfortable so I didn't want to try it again. I didn't want to hurt you. And outside I thought that you'd want me on the side where you'd be able to see me."

Jensen leaned into Jared's touch where his fingers were still rubbing his cheek. "You really mean that?" He waited a moment for Jared to nod before going on. "I really don't want to admit it, but I'm scared sometimes. Outside I mean. It's hard to get used to having half of your vision cut off and things that happen unexpectedly, on my blind side, can be a little disorienting at times. But when you're there I feel safe, I guess, because I know that if I can't see something you can."

Jared felt like an ass. He wondered sometimes how it felt for Jensen that the accident had changed his appearance but the loss of vision hadn't really crossed his mind. "I never thought of it like that." He looked at Jensen his fingertips still gently touching the raised scar running along Jensen's collarbone.

-------

The next day Jared woke up in an empty bed. The sheets on Jensen's side were already cool indicating that he had probably gotten up a while ago. Jared got up and tugged his boxers on before heading downstairs. He could smell the coffee and heard a low whistle from the backyard. He tiptoed to the door more carefully than was really necessary, but at the door he was glad that he did. Jensen was sitting on the edge of the porch with Sadie curled up next to him as Harley ran across the yard after a tennis ball that Jensen had thrown for him and they all seemed so comfortable.

"Getting too old to play this early?" Jensen asked Sadie, his fingers tracing along the grey fur on her face. Sadie whined a quiet answer and rubbed her muzzle on Jensen's hand licking his fingers. Jensen's eyes went soft as he looked down at her and Jared could see a quiet understanding there. "Me too." Jensen's soft statement made Jared's heart clench at the words. He wanted to reach out, but held his distance just watching Jensen with Sadie.

Soon after, the moment was broken as Harley noticed Jared by the door and galloped to him. "Hey!" Jared stepped outside and Jensen looked up, his fingers slightly curled against Sadie's neck. She wagged her tail lazily but didn't get up and Jared laughed. "I think she always liked you better."

Jensen's expression was unreadable for a second before his features softened into a gentle smile as he looked down at Sadie. "I think she just knows that I can't tell her no when she decides to beg for cookies."

Jared smiled at that. "Do you want more coffee?" He asked. "I'm gonna fetch myself a cup."

"Sure," Jensen said and held his mug up for Jared.

Their fingers met slightly as Jared took the mug from Jensen and he felt little hairs in the back of his neck stand up. How had he ever got so lucky, he thought quietly before turning around to go inside.

------

It was Tuesday when Jared's agent finally called about the audition he had done a few weeks back. "They want you for the part," she told him rare excitement showing in her smoky voice. "The script is looking great! And the role they're offering? A real push forward for your career." She seemed truly pleased and Jared could sense that this wasn't really a call to ask if he wants the role, more a notice that he got it and was doing it. "And the figure they're mentioned, well, if you ever want to go over the top and buy six Porsches in different colors, you can."

Jared laughed at her and thought of his truck, full of dog hair and dirt-covered tennis balls and frisbees. "When does filming begin?"

"The 23rd of next month. They want to keep the schedule tight, get it in theaters before summer." She was quiet for a moment and chills crept up Jared's neck. He could sense that maybe there was something that she wasn't saying and that he really didn't want to hear.

"Is there something I need to know before I say yes?" Jared asked. He toyed with a pencil he had on the desk and drew a smiley face in the corner of a script he had been flipping through.

The silence drew long and thick before Jared heard her take a deep breath. "The first half films in Prague. They want authentic surroundings and thw casting manager that I was in touch with told me that they're currently looking at some local actors for supporting roles. It's going to be big."

It takes only a heartbeat for Jared to realize that she's talking about Europe. "I'm not doing it," he said a little too harshly.

His agent let out a gasp that sounded like she had just gotten kicked. "What? Are you fucking nuts Padalecki?" She all but screamed into the phone and Jared had to hold his cell at arm's length for a moment. "Don't you realize that this is the chance of a lifetime?" Her voice was tighter now and Jared wondered if it was possible to get an aneurysm from just being pissed off enough.

"I can't do it. Not now." Jared bit his lower lip and thought of leaving Jensen for months. He couldn't do it. Not while everything between them was just so new and fresh, and there were so many things still new and open between them.

His agent sighed. "Can you at least think about it?"

"No, not really."

------

"What the fuck did you do?!" Jensen circled Jared and if Jared hadn't understood how angry Jensen actually was, he would have made a comment about big cats and their prey. His hands were clenched into fists and his mouth drawn into a tight line when he didn't speak. Jared could see the anger flashing on his face and deep red rising up his neck. Jensen was furious and Jared couldn't really come up with anything good to say to make him calm down even a little.

Jared backed into kitchen. "Aren't you overreacting a little?" He tried to keep his tone light but Jensen wouldn't back down. He came closer and even though Jared was a good couple of inches taller, he felt Jensen trying to stare him down.

"Overreacting?" Jensen hit his fist on the counter and cursed, loud and angry. "I hear from your fucking agent that you're throwing your career away, and you say that I'm overreacting!." Jensen huffed and ground his teeth so hard Jared was afraid they were going to break into pieces.

"It would have been months in Europe," Jared reasoned calmly. He reached out to touch Jensen's arm but Jensen just yanked his arm back angrily. Their eyes met just for a second and Jared could see the green of Jensen's good eye darken. "I don't want to be away from you."

"I'm not your fucking charity case!" Jensen barked out. "Nor do I need babysitting even if you and Chris seem to think so! And I don't want you to put your career on hold because you've all sudden decided that I can't be on my own!"

"Jen, I don't think you can't be alone! But I don't want you to be." Jared bit his lower lip and tried to keep his voice level. "I want to be with you. And this, this is still new for us and I don't want to be away from you so soon. There will be other roles."

"According to your agent this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And it would only be two months! Three tops!" At that point Jared realized that Jensen might have actually spoken with Jared's agent, not just overheard something or seen the script. Jared wanted to yell at Jensen for prying but seeing the look on Jensen's face, he kept quiet and watched as Jensen sat down and set his hands on the table. "If you don't want to do it, then don't do it. But don't fucking tell me you'll skip it because of me." Jensen looked a little desperate and Jared didn't really know how to answer. "I just..." Jensen's voice wavered a little. "My own career is basically over if I don't want to play myself or some fucking horror movie monster." Jared opened his mouth to disagree but Jensen gestured for him to keep quiet. "I don't want you to put your life on hold for me."

"I'm not," Jared said defensively even if he couldn't come up with any real argument.

Jensen turned around and Jared could see how he leaned against the counter breathing heavy. "Jared. Could you just go now?" Jensen's voice was on the verge of breaking and Jared felt his heart stutter.

"Why?"

"Just go."

Jensen hung his head low and avoided Jared's gaze as Jared got up to reach him. "Are you breaking up with me?" Jared had really never felt so crushed by just a few words.

"No." Jensen breathed out. "I just... Can you just give me space to think all this through? Just for tonight. I'll call you in the morning."

----------------

When Jared left Jensen's that night he sat in his truck for an hour before being able to start it. He watched the light upstairs and wondered why it was suddenly so hard to breathe. He set his hands on the wheel and gripped hard trying to take deep breaths. He thought of getting out and walking back in, but Jensen had asked him to go and Jared wanted to respect Jensen's need for space.

On his drive back to his own house Jared thought of Jensen and how the last year had changed him. He could see a difference between Jensen now, and Jensen a year before. He thought about the past year and then he thought about his last Christmas spent back home in Texas. He had been in San Antonio while Jensen had been in Dallas. At midnight of Christmas Eve Jared had called Jensen. He didn't remember what they talked about, but he could remember the sheer joy in Jensen's voice. The memory made him wonder, if he had been already in love with Jensen back then, and if Jensen had felt the same.

As he parked his car and went in to let the dogs out, the realization of the fact that he might have fucked everything up hit him full on. He watched Sadie running after Harley in the backyard and dug out his cell phone. Searching out Jensen's number he toyed with the phone before scanning his contacts further and finding his mom's number. It was already late and his heart pounded real hard when he listened to the phone ringing at the other end. As he heard the familiar voice of his mom answer, he let out a deep breath. In the end it only took five words, "I'm in love with Jensen," but Jared still felt like he had run a marathon.

-----

"You did what?!" Jared had a strange feeling that maybe he was really being stupid because even Chad Michael Murray seemed to be on the same side as Jensen. And that was rare or nonexistent as Jared came up with nothing as he tried to remember if such a thing had happened before.

Jared shrugged his shoulders and studied a slight yellow stain on the pale carpet. "I don't want to be away from Jensen. Even he says I should do the role, but almost four months in Europe? That's just too much."

"You really are something else... And head over heels for that old dumbass," Chad laughed and munched on his pizza slice. "You know I really had no idea that you might like guys."

Jared shrugged lazily and watched Chad's expression which still seemed just curious and nothing else. He had been a little leery about letting people in on the change in dynamics of his and Jensen's relationship. But so far, Chad seemed to be okay with the whole thing. "What makes you think that I knew it myself?" Jared asked, raising his eyebrows. He scraped cheese off his fingers and reached over for more pizza waiting for Chad's answer.

"How can you miss something like that? Don't tell me that you just woke up one day and decided that you wanted to fuck Jensen friggin Ackles of all people." Chad's self-satisfied laugher filled the room and Jared felt his ears heat up and a flush rise into his cheeks. "Isn't it a little late to realize that you like cock in your thirties?"

"Chad!" Jared hadn't really wanted to discuss that with Chad of all the people.

"But for real though, you really shouldn't put your career aside. Don't you think that Jensen would be able to wait for a little longer after all these years? You two have always had this connection and even if you haven't been together before, I have no doubt that you couldn't handle being apart for a little while more."

Jared felt a little dumbfounded after that. He had known Chad was the one friend whom people always assumed to be completely unaware of his surroundings. But apparently that just gave Chad a better opportunity to observe others. "When did you start making sense?" Jared asked, not really knowing if he even wanted to hear the answer.

Chad looked at him disbelievingly and rolled his eyes. "Duh." Chad smiled with a piece of pepperoni stuck on his teeth. "I always make sense. It's just you who doesn't understand it."

Jared pressed his palm over his eyes feeling nauseous and too full of fast food. "Oh God." He rubbed his fingers over his temples and peeked at Chad from under his bangs. "When did my life turn into such an epic disaster?"

"Don't exaggerate. Why don't you just take the role and take Jensen with you?" Chad said casually, as if Jared should have thought of that already. "It's not like he's doing anything else except sitting at home moping."

Jared shot up from his chair and rushed to hug Chad. "Oh my God! Chad you're a genius!" He spun Chad around.

"Can't..." Chad's voice was muffled. ."..breathe."

Jared released his grip on him. "Why didn't I think of that? I have to call my agent. I have to call Jensen!" He grabbed his jacket and ran to the front door leaving a dumbfounded Chad standing in his living room. When Jared got the front door open he turned to see Chad one more time and smiled wickedly. "Don't get too big headed over the fact that you for once said the right thing."

"It was nice to see you too!" Chad hollered after Jared, giving him the finger.

------

After Jared had agreed to take the role, everything seemed to fall back into place. Jensen didn't seem as overjoyed about travelling as Jared was, but had agreed to go along.

"Couldn't stand you whining if I didn't go," Jensen said one evening when Jared paced around his kitchen worrying about all the tiny details he should already know but that were still left open. Jensen leaned against the counter and smiled. He seemed rather pleased with the whole idea of going too. He didn't seem as overjoyed as Jared, but Jared had a feeling that it had more to do with being out in public than going abroad together.

"I'm still not really sure I should be leaving the dogs with Chris and Steve," Jared said as he finally sat down and picked on a sandwich Jensen handed him. Chris and Steve who both had steady jobs in LA at the moment had happily agreed to take the dogs while they were gone. Since they were unsure of their return date, Jared's usual dog sitter couldn't commit to an undetermined amount of time. "I know they're your friends but do they know anything about dogs?"

"You know, I have lived with both of them," Jensen pointed out. "And I'm still in one piece."

"That's supposed to make me feel better about it? Really reassuring."

"Steve used to have a dog when he was a kid. And I think Chris' folks have one too. They can get advice from them if they have a problem. And you'll probably leave them a thousand and one phone numbers for every possible emergency that could occur." Jensen stuffed a piece of ham in his mouth. "Besides last time we were over, Steve said that he might want to get a dog now anyway."

"And you're suggesting they practice on mine? What if they get traumatized?" Jared said sullenly and Jensen snorted as he realized that Jared definitely wasn’t talking about Chris and Steve.

"Don't be a baby. You know they like the dogs and they're both responsible enough not to host wild parties or anything while the dogs are the." Jensen leaned closer to poke Jared on the side. "How was the meeting today?"

Jared had already been in and out of meetings for a few weeks. Mostly they were just boring repetitions of all the possible details they could throw at him before they could start filming.

"Great. Better than the one before. Oh, I got the film company to get a small flat, instead of just a hotel room for the duration of filming there. It will be so cool."

"So no room service?" Jensen laughed.

"Nah, but I'll get up in the mornings to make your coffee." Jared took a huge bite of his sandwich. He was grateful that it had worked out so well and that he could just take Jensen with him. "But I may be wanting to get some kind of reward."

Jensen raised his eyebrows and Jared tried to keep his libido under control as Jensen's tongue swept over his full lower lip. "And what would that be?"

Jared shook his head. "Nothing. I wouldn't get any work done if you keep that up." He kept quiet for a moment after that and then took a deep breath before the next subject. "The PR. They sort of want me to go to some events."

"Don't they usually? I've been thinking that they do that for living."

"They want me to take some skinny chick," Jared brushed his bangs off his face. "I might have to actually go. And it's pretty fucked up. Why do I have to start making some appearances all sudden?"

Jensen shrugged and Jared sort of regretted that he had said anything. His publicists hadn't been happy about him taking Jensen along, but there was nothing they could do short off telling him that maybe he should make some appearances with some model after he came back.

"I'll try to get out of it," Jared finally said and felt safer to just change the subject even if Jensen looked like he would have expected some other kind of a comment. "I got the flight schedules. We have a few days there before the shooting begins so we can just chill and try to adjust the time difference. And maybe do some tourist-stuff."

"That's cool," Jensen said.

Jared smiled wide. "Maybe we could google all the best places to go. I already heard that they have good beer so we gotta definitely go out and try it. I'm actually really glad that we're really doing this together. I missed you," Jared said and he had to laugh at Jensen's expression. "Not like that, since I didn't really think about it, but I've been so alone stuck in hotel rooms and shit. I kinda miss the old times. When I knew that even if I was away from everyone close to me I'd always have one person there who I knew and who knew me."

Jensen nodded. "I know what you mean."

"But this time is going to be weird. Not going to work together."

"That's fine," Jensen said. "I'll find something to do eventually." His smile was a bit secretive and Jared really wondered what that was about, but he was really glad that Jensen thought it would be okay. They both knew that the hours on set would be awfully long and it wouldn't be much of a holiday since the studios probably wanted to wrap parts shot on location as fast as they could to keep the costs down.

------

The first night in Prague went fast. They stumbled around the neighborhood to find a store to get some necessities. The studio had arranged for a scrimpy guy to be Jared's assistant for the duration of filming and had implied that they should use him for errands instead of wandering around a strange city by themselves. But they had spent the last weeks in LA, mostly in bed, just talking and making plans about what to do before the filming started and they were definitely going to make the most of the trip and neither one of them wanted an extra guy tagging along for what little time they had to spend together. Jensen had seemed relaxed and happy and Jared couldn't help falling even further in love every day. He had wondered if it would be good for them to spend all this time together, but on the way to their apartment it seemed like it was what he had always wanted. It would be a test to see if they could really live together. Well, they had already done that, years back in Vancouver, but it was different. Back then they had just been roommates and friends, no matter what the fans seemed to believe, and with their schedules they barely had time to hang out at home even when they would have wanted to.

As Jensen fixed something to eat Jared unpacked their things, figuring that it was better to do it right away. He emptied his own suitcases, the two of them, quickly before eyeing Jensen's bags.

"Jen!," he hollered to the other room. "Do you want me to unpack your stuff?"

"You can do it if you want, or just dump it in the closet and I'll go through it later."

Jared tucked Jensen's clothes neatly on the shelves of the closet and emptied Jensen's underwear into one of the two drawers. When he went for the other bag, where Jensen had put spare shoes and an extra jacket, Jared's hand met a small plastic bag tucked neatly between some toiletries and clothes. He pulled it out for a quick peek to see if it should go in the bathroom or into the closet. Jared felt his breath hitch as he saw what was inside. The condoms he could handle, but the small tube, clearly new and awaiting for the right moment, threw him off a little. He stared it, trying not to read too much into it. It wasn't that he had never used any, nor had used any with Jensen, but for some reason seeing a brand new tube let on the fact that Jensen had been thinking about it, was prepared for it. That thought washed the uneasiness out of Jared's mind and he shifted as the warm excitement settled in his body.

"Jay," Jensen hollered from kitchen. "Food."

Jared tucked the lube and condoms into a little drawer in the night table by the bed and took a deep breath before facing Jensen in the other room. He had actually thought that having sex with Jensen would happen later rather than sooner but now, he just looked at Jensen and felt so excited.

"Jen," Jared said quietly as he stepped into kitchen. Jensen turned around and smiled wide. Jared's stomach flipped around and he reached out to pull Jensen into his arms. He brought Jensen's chin up and pressed their lips together. "Turn the stove off. We can eat later," Jared murmured against Jensen's lips. He pushed his hands under Jensen's t-shirt to touch the skin of his back. He slowly led Jensen to the bedroom and pushed him down on the bed, tugging Jensen's jeans down. The rush of unfamiliar feelings washed over him. Just thinking about what he wanted made him hard instantly. Jared was struggling to keep himself in check since he didn't want to rush this experience.

Jensen sucked eagerly on the side of Jared's neck and Jared felt like a teenager fumbling with the buttons of Jensen's jeans before slipping his hand inside. Jensen's cock was hot against his palm and he shuttered as the thought of his cock inside Jensen hit him full on. He pulled Jensen's cock out of his jeans, dropped to his knees and sucked Jensen into his mouth. Jensen moaned softly as Jared's fingers brushed over his balls finding the sensitive spot behind them. Jared started circling Jensen's opening with his fingers. Then, letting Jensen's cock slip out of his mouth, he replaced it with the same fingers getting them nice and slick with spit.

As Jared was satisfied with the positive feedback that he was getting from Jensen, he coaxed Jensen to spread his legs a bit more so that Jared could slide a spit slicked finger inside him as he sucked on Jensen's cock. He moved his fingers carefully, knowing that the burn of not using any lube could be uncomfortable, but Jensen didn't seem to mind as his head tipped back when Jared pressed his tongue against the slit on the head of Jensen's cock. Jensen's moans grew into sharp keening as Jared curled his fingers just enough to hit that spot that made Jensen always break apart under his touch.

"God I love seeing you like this," Jared said pulling back enough to speak up, his breath hot against the sensitive skin.

Jensen tried to buck up into Jared's mouth and Jared flicked his wrist twisting his fingers viciously until they rubbed on Jensen's prostate. "Want you..." Jensen almost begged. "Want you to..." Jensen's voice broke into a low moan.

"Want me to what?" Jared asked even though he was almost certain he knew what Jensen wanted.

"Fuck me."

Jared looked up into Jensen's eyes to find his stare a bit unfocused and very needy. "You sure?"

"Yes!"

Jared reached over to the night table and pulled out the lube and a condom. He sucked Jensen's cock back into his mouth as he pushed two fingers in Jensen's ass not bothering to go slow. Jensen's knees fell further apart and Jared stretched him now with three fingers.

"I'm ready," Jensen drawled, bringing his hand down to Jared's cheek to get his attention. Jared withdrew his fingers to unwrap the condom and Jensen rolled over on his stomach.

"Hey, Jen," Jared reached up Jensen's shoulder wanting to pull him back around. "Wanna see you."

Jensen shrugged his hand away and pulled one knee up. "It's been a while. And you're not exactly small." He smiled easily over his shoulder and Jared's stomach flipped a bit. "We can do it face to face next time, okay?"

Jared knelt behind Jensen then bent over his back to kiss Jensen's neck finding just the spot on the side of his neck that made him lean into Jared's touch and make the sweetest sound. Jared rubbed his cock slowly and touched Jensen with just the tips of his fingers to make sure he was slick enough. When he finally pushed inside he had to hold his breath and concentrate so he didn’t just go slamming in deep and going too fast. "You okay?" Jared’s breath was ragged against Jensen's neck.

Jensen nodded as he turned his head to meet Jared's mouth with his and rocked his hips slowly to meet Jared's shallow thrusts to get him in deeper. Jared gripped Jensen's hips and threw himself into the rhythm of Jensen's movements going deeper and faster with every thrust. Jensen's back was slick with sweat against his chest. Jared pulled his mouth away from Jensen's and licked and sucked the soft skin of Jensen’s back. He tasted salty and sweet at the same time and Jared felt like he was going to explode any second. He bit on Jensen's shoulder and heard the low growl forming in Jensen's throat as he leaned his head back against Jared. Jared held one hand on Jensen's hip and slid the other under him to stroke his leaking cock. Jared mumbled incoherent nonsense into Jensen's skin and licked the red bite mark he had left on Jensen's shoulder. Jensen's ass clenched tight around Jared's cock as Jensen's body shook with the force of his orgasm. Jared couldn't hold back anymore and rocked his hips hard twice before coming too.

-------------------

In the morning Jared woke up with Jensen sprawled almost on top of him. He threw an arm over Jensen's waist and coaxed Jensen to roll onto his side. He lazily nudged the bruise that was the shape of his mouth on Jensen's shoulder with his nose and edged closer so his chest was pressed against Jensen's warm back.

"Too early," Jensen mumbled and pulled on the covers trying to get them over his head. "Go back to sleep."

Jared laughed softly, kissing the back of Jensen's neck and slid his hand down to stroke Jensen's cock. "So you're not up for this?"

Jensen's breathing deepened and he leaned against Jared. "No," he said and Jared didn't believe him for a moment.

"You’re sure?" Jared nibbled Jensen's nape carefully with his teeth as he felt Jensen harden under his touch.

"Yeah," Jensen's voice almost broke down before he got a single word out.

"So, you wouldn’t care if I stopped right now?" Jared said teasingly and let go of Jensen's cock. He laughed as Jensen's hips snapped forward to meet his touch again. "Somehow I didn’t believe a word of it."

Jensen made a frustrated noise and Jared let Jensen grab his wrist to drag his palm back to Jensen’s cock. Jared wrapped his fingers around it lazily and listened as Jensen's breathing went ragged and Jensen's hips rocked slightly. Jared kissed and bit Jensen's neck as his own cock started to really become interested in Jensen's ass rubbing against it.

"Are you up to round two?" Jared asked and tightened his fingers and stroked Jensen harder.

Jensen let out a small breathy laugh. "You need to ask?" he said before turning around in Jared's arms. He pushed Jared onto his back and reached down to the floor to fetch the lube where Jared had dropped it the night before. He took Jared's hand coating two fingers and then straddled Jared's lap. Jared didn't need more encouragement to reach down and start working Jensen open for him. He bit his lower lip to concentrate on not getting too excited as Jensen's cock bumped against his. A moment later, Jensen lifted himself enough to reach over and get a condom, rolling it on Jared’s hard weeping cock. Jared watched Jensen's face in awe as Jensen lowered himself on Jared's latex covered cock. Jensen had his eyes closed and as he slid down taking Jared fully inside his lips parted. He moaned softly and Jared wanted nothing else than to buck up in earnest, but he wanted to let Jensen set the pace even if it killed him. Jared stroked Jensen's thighs, his fingers working steadily over flexing muscles. Jensen moved slowly at first, clearly trying to find a good angle. He tilted his hips a bit and threw his head back keening quietly as Jared lost his calm and bucked up.

"Mmmm shit!" Jensen leaned forward, his head tilted to the scarred side and for a moment Jared thought that maybe Jensen was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. The scars made him look rough, but not really disfigured like Jensen seemed to think.

Jared gasped as Jensen changed the angle again and had to grab him by the hips to slow him down a bit. "Don't wanna come yet," he said, words rushing out, tangled together, and Jensen just smiled wickedly. Jared was trying his best to think about anything other than blowing his load right now in Jensen’s incredibly hot ass. Jared thought that he was in control until Jensen brought his hands down to Jared’s chest and started to slowly, teasingly twist Jared’s nipples. "Fuck Jen!," Jared breathed out and gathered all the power he had left to roll them around so Jensen was on his back. Jensen whimpered, but lifted his legs to wrap them around Jared's waist.

"Tell me," Jared said. "If this is too much." He took Jensen's wrists and pinned them above his head bending down to mouth the ridge of the scar that ran down Jensen's jaw. He had noticed that there was a tender place where the scar stretched over Jensen's jaw bone and right now he felt like he could get away with sucking on that spot. Jensen moaned and his legs slipped down to rest against the backs of Jared's thighs as Jared rocked his hips forward hard. The noises Jensen made as Jared went deeper forced Jared to hold his breath and try to hold back his orgasm. He could feel Jensen's cock strapped tight between their stomachs, hard and leaking, and Jared wanted to slip his hand down and make Jensen come right at that moment. He let go of Jensen's wrists and angled his hips better to hit straight on that perfect spot inside Jensen that made him make those delicious noises. Jared pressed his mouth on Jensen's neck trailing down to bite his shoulder. Jared pulled back for a moment to watch Jensen and to gather enough strength to pull himself up enough to slide his hand onto Jensen's cock. Jared tugged it slightly and Jensen's hips rolled under him. He really, really wanted to tease Jensen and slow down a bit but knew he didn't have enough self-control in him to do so. Jensen tensed under him, his hips stopping as he moaned and brought his hand up to pull Jared's mouth on his. Jared’s movements were quick, rocking his cock into Jensen and Jensen came. Jared couldn't even think about holding back after that, not with Jensen's ass tightening around him so much that he felt like he couldn't even breathe.

-------------------

"Honey, I'm home!," Jared laughed at his own remark as he threw his keys on the little table by the door and laughed as he saw Jensen sprawled on the floor with his laptop, papers all over and a streak of black ink smeared on his unscarred cheek. "Been a creative day?"

Jensen scrunched his nose and collected his notes before shutting down the laptop. "Maybe."

"Is it any good?" Jared's tone was light, joking, but he was getting more and more curious about Jensen's writings everyday. Jensen hadn't let on at all what he was working on. All Jared knew was that it was most likely a screenplay of some sort. And knowing Jensen, he wouldn't see it until it had been written and re-written at least twenty times, or at least until Jensen thought it was perfect.

Jensen shrugged. "Could be." He pushed his glasses up and stroked his thumb over his good eye. Jared took notice that Jensen had been doing that a lot lately, but he figured it had more to do with long hours staring at the computer screen than anything else. Jensen had adjusted to seeing with one eye better these days, but there were still times he would knock something over since estimating distances wasn't so easy with one eye.

"Feel like eating out tonight? I found this place yesterday where they're supposed to have the best lamb chops in the whole city," Jensen asked, smiling, and Jared couldn't help smiling back. He was exhausted but dinner with Jensen sounded good.

"How far is it?" Jared asked.

Jensen shrugged. "Not in walking distance, but we could catch a cab. I put down the address."

Jared tossed his jacket over the couch and smiled at Jensen. "Okay," he said. "Just give me a minute to change."

Jensen shook his head. "No need to. It's not a formal place. More like a pub if anything." He put his papers away and looked down at his own clothing, just jeans and a gray sweater. "This is what I'm wearing."

Jared laughed. "But you'd look good in rags," he teased and pulled Jensen in for a kiss.

-------

The days on the set had been longer this week than they had been the whole time they’d been there and Jared hadn't really had any time to spend with Jensen. He had called Jensen on breaks and tried to stay awake for more than half an hour after he'd came back to the apartment but it hadn't been so hard after all. Jensen, who had just spent the first few weeks wandering around the city, had actually managed to find something he really wanted to do. Jared wasn't sure how serious Jensen was with the script but it seemed that Jensen had decided that it would be finished, and it would be damn good too. He seemed to spend most of his time alone on his computer or on the phone to Jim or Eric or whoever he got to play his writing mentor that week. Jared chuckled to himself at Jensen’s eagerness and printed out a time zone sheet and taped it to the fridge door to remind Jensen that he couldn't just call people anytime he wanted to. He didn't think that Jensen had failed to realize that the time difference was actually so huge, but after a call from Eric saying that even he really wanted to help and loved Jensen's new ideas he wouldn't do it at 3.30 in the morning. Jensen had just smiled and told Eric he'd email new stuff over and won him over again. Although two days later he called Eric at nine local time again forgetting about the time difference. It was all good and Jared really liked that Jensen had something to do. Even if it meant the no one talked to them when they got back to the states.

-------

"I just wanted to make sure that you don’t open your present alone," Jared said in a hurry.

After finally returning to LA and tossing the idea back and forth, they had finally decided to spend Christmas Eve and Day with their own families, Jared in San Antonio and Jensen is Richardson, and then meet up on the 26th to spend the final days of the year together at home. When they had said goodbye earlier that morning in the airport in Dallas, Jared had wanted nothing more than to bundle Jensen up, tuck him under his arm and take him along. But he knew that this was a big deal for both of their families and they'd need a bit of time to adjust before they could spend Christmases in one place.

Jensen’s rough laugh sounded wonderful in Jared's ears and he could almost see Jensen smiling on the other end. "I thought I probably should," Jensen said and Jared could hear the rustle of wrapping paper. "Oh, you ass. Why do you think I need this for?" Jensen laughed but Jared could hear disappointment in his voice.

Jared felt sort of bad now. "I thought that you'd like it when I'm not there." He grimaced as he cursed himself for looking like an ass who gives his boyfriend a sextoy for Christmas. "And it's not your real gift anyway. There is a second one. Get your duffle and look in the inside pocket."

"Oh," Jensen sounded surprised. "Hold on a minute."

Jared could hear Jensen unzipping the bag and digging around. He waited a minute for Jensen to unwrap the little box and when Jensen let out a slow low noise that could have been a breath, could have been a word, but the only thing Jared could do was wait for him to actually say something.

"Is this... What does this mean?" Jensen asked softly and Jared rubbed his chest hoping the pounding of his heart would slow down.

"It could…," Jared whispered. "If you want it to?" This wasn't quite like he had imagined this going but he couldn't change anything now. He had wondered if custom made jewelry for their first Christmas was too much but he had seen some of the designs and thought of Dean's ring. Jensen didn't ever really wear jewelry but Jared remembered that he had really liked that ring and sometimes kept it on even when they weren't filming. He hadn't actually given much thought to the fact that it could mean much more than just what he had thought but it didn't really scare him that Jensen thought it was more. Maybe it really should be more.

"It's a bit soon," Jensen sounded hoarse, like he had been holding his breath for a long time.

"It could just be a promise of something more," Jared said. "When we want it to mean more we could add something more to it."

Jensen's breathing evened out a little and his tone was soft when he spoke again. "I'd like that."

Jared smiled. "Look closely at the design on top. There is a small bend in the middle where they can add a stone. Did you try it on? If the size isn't good they can fix the fit in the shop," Jared rambled. "It's not a big deal I already asked about it and then..."

Jensen let out a low chuckle that made Jared finally shut up and listen for a moment. Jensen was quiet for a moment that felt like forever. "I love you." Jensen's voice was soft and barely there when he finally spoke, but Jared could still hear it perfectly clear.

The line rattled with the static as Jensen stayed quiet before Jared answered with a quiet "me too."

--------------------

"You know, you could've invited him to spend Christmas with us," Jared's father said from the doorway as Jared put his phone away.

Jared stopped in his tracks. He didn't dare turn to face his dad. "How did you...?" Jared croaked out feeling much younger than his years. He guessed that there wasn't much his father could say or do about his relationship with Jensen, but just knowing that wasn't enough to make him feel comfortable since he really wanted his parents to be okay with it.

"It's obvious. C'mon, let’s have a drink." Gerald turned to go back to the living room.

Jared followed him a beat later and tried to keep his cool. He felt very anxious as he sat on the plush leather couch in his father's study. His dad brought out a bottle, poured some of the amber liquid into two glasses and handed Jared one. The gesture made Jared smile a little as he remembered not ever having had drinks with his father before, aside from the glass or two of wine at the dinner table.

Gerald placed his glass aside before speaking. "You're always on the phone with him and when you're not, you're talking about him. And the way you talk about him doesn't really hide anything." He smiled, slow and content and Jared's stomach settled a bit. "You’ve always spoken of him with such compassion."

"How long have you've known?" Jared asked taking a small sip from his glass.

His father sat on the other end of the couch. "I’ve suspected it for some time now, but from what I've seen and heard in the last months, has firmed up my suspicions. And your mother actually let slip something that gave me the impression that she knew something I didn't. I assume that this hasn't been going on long?"

Jared couldn't do anything else except stare. He hadn't really thought that anyone would have noticed anything between him and Jensen before because there hadn't been anything to notice. "Suspected?" Jared somewhat choked out even if he felt like he should be grateful that his father was taking this so well.

"Yeah. It was around about the time that you two lived together," Jared's father said and his smile turned more sheepish than Jared had ever seen him and Jared had to laugh a little. Jerry continued, "I don't really know if any father would like to believe that of his son, but there was a time when I thought that I saw something there that you weren't telling us. And I have to admit that it made me uncomfortable. I think it was sometime after the engagement with Sandy broke. I was convinced that whatever was going on between you and Jensen was the cause of it. It was really odd when the show ended and you got together with that girl..." Jared noted the change in his father's tone and grimaced as he realized that about everyone else had been right about the girl he had dated. "I was going to ask you about it, but never got around to actually asking it."

Now Jared just felt guilty for not telling his father when he had told his mom. It really surprised him that in the end it had been his father who guessed what was going on without being told. "I told mom a while back. Sorry, I should have trusted that you would be okay too," Jared said finally.

"That's okay," his father said kindly. "I assume that it's a big thing to deal with since you've always just dated girls. Or at least never introduced us to anyone except girls."

"It's just been girls," Jared said. "I've never... Jensen…, he's just different. We have this connection and I don't really know how I could be with a guy that isn't him." He stayed quiet for a moment, long enough to try and wipe the stupid lovesick expression from his face that seemed to materialize there whenever he mentioned Jensen. "Do you think that anyone else has noticed? Jeff and Megan maybe?"

"Not that I know of," Jared's father told him. "And you should know that I'm not going to say anything. It's definitely up to you when you tell them. Although I was going to talk to your mother about this when she seemed to know it too but then I remembered that you're actually old enough to tell me yourself when you're ready to."

-------------------

After Christmas things seemed to ease up for a while. Jensen's parents had actually started calling again and they were really trying to deal with the relationship. Not that there was much that they could've done aside from not keeping contact, which Jared thought wasn't ever going to happen, but Jared was happy to see the change in Jensen as he finally realized that he could have love and his parents acceptance.

After a few weeks of shuttling back and forth between their houses Jared realized that most of his everyday things were one by one left at Jensen's place. Even his dogs had bowls and bags of food in both places. He mentioned this to Jensen and Jensen just laughed; the corners of his eyes wrinkling along with the joyful sound of his laughter that made Jared's heart skip a beat. They hadn't really spoken of moving in together but it seemed that it would be the next logical step to take. Jared thought that he would give it a little more time and let things go at their own pace the way they were supposed to go. He thought that maybe sometime in the spring they could make the move. In the end it was simpler than he had thought. A week later he was the proud owner of the key to Jensen's front door and a promise that he could use it whenever he wanted to. And most days after filming, he really wanted to.

They quickly fell into a pattern of Jared either staying the night or, if he for some reason needed to be at his own house, dropping the dogs at Jensen's in the morning so they wouldn't have to spend the day alone. It was practical for everyone and had an added bonus of Jensen having the distraction around to remind him to feed and water himself as he tended to get lost in working.

When Jared opened the front door to Jensen's house after a day of meetings for publicity events and promo interviews he almost tripped over a loose shoe as he walked in and tried to push the dogs off him to actually get inside. It took a moment for him to count to two and then three before realizing that there was one extra running around with Sadie and Harley. A little brown puppy yipped excitedly at him and then quickly moved away as Sadie growled at it.

"Easy girl," Jared soothed her but a moment later saw that it was okay as the puppy seemed to realize who was in charge and backed off a bit. Jared laughed as he noted that backing off meant changing directions and completely forgetting about Jared in favor of finding a shoe to chew. He wondered whose dog it was since he was certain that Jensen wouldn't get or even want another dog. And if he ever did, he wouldn't do it without asking. "Jensen?" He hollered and picked the puppy up tugging Jensen's sneaker out of its mouth before ushering his own dogs out of the front hall.

"In here!" Jensen's voice came from the study.

He was on the couch with his laptop and there was another guy beside him his back to the door. They were sitting a little too close for Jared's comfort but he tried not to let it bother him. Jensen was typing something on his laptop and then turning the screen towards the other guy. "Something like this?" Jensen asked and Jared saw the guy nodding. Jensen looked up at Jared and smiled, open and happy and Jared couldn't help smiling back. The guy turned to look at Jared too and the sudden flash of jealousy he had been feeling washed away as he recognized Jeffrey.

"Hey man! Is this little devil yours?" Jared greeted Jeff and untangled sharp puppy teeth from his sweater sleeve before settling the wiggling dog on the floor.

Jeff laughed and looked fondly at the puppy that already had its teeth firmly on the corner of the rug. "Yeah. I finally gave up on not having any dog hair in my wardrobe. And on not having any shoes that have all the parts intact." Jeff chuckled as he eyed the abandoned half chewed shoe.

Jared smiled at Jeff, knowing that after Bisou Jeff had actually said that he wouldn't get another dog. Not with his schedule. But Jared had always suspected that Jeff might break that vow sooner rather than later. "How did you end up here?"

"Jensen here tells me that he has a perfect role for me in his script," Jeff said. "Haven't seen the whole thing yet but it's looking really good. I really hope that some studio will pick it up soon, and that they'll give me the role."

"They should," Jensen said. "It's sort of written for you."

There was nothing that indicated anything more in the statement but somehow it made Jared a bit irritated. He liked Jeff and really had hoped they could hang out more now when they all were more permanently in LA. Jared turned to Jensen who looked absolutely sheepish as Jared's eyes met his. Jared had tried to pry on Jensen's writings for weeks and now Jeff got to know what Jensen was writing before Jared had even a clue. And Jensen had written a role for Jeff? Jared sort of wanted to make a scene but knew that it wouldn't really do any good to make himself look like a preteen girl who couldn't deal with sharing his boyfriend. Maybe Jensen wanted him to see the script when it was finished? Jared tried to hold on to that thought even if some jealous streak in the back of his mind said that maybe Jensen didn't trust him.

------------------

Jensen was in his study talking animatedly on the phone as Jared came back from a long walk with the dogs. "Just a minute," Jensen waved at Jared when he peeked into the study and turned his back on him to fumble over the papers scattered on his desk. "Yeah, I really think that the character would work better that way and I can’t say that I wouldn't want to steer the story in that direction." Jensen found a page he had clearly been looking for and scribbled something on the side margin. "Yeah. That's what I meant." Jensen waited a little for the other person to say something. "I know. And I'm so God damn nervous about it. They told me that they'd contact me after the meeting on Friday, and even if they decide to pick it up, it still might never make it.”

Jared leaned against the doorframe and watched Jensen scribble down some more notes with his phone tucked between his ear and shoulder. He really seemed better these days, more adjusted and confident, and Jared couldn't help the uneasy feeling in his gut. He hated himself for it but he couldn't help thinking that maybe now when Jensen was finally getting back on his feet, he wouldn't need Jared anymore. That he would move on and find something better.

Jensen dropped the phone with a sigh after he ended the call. "I never actually realized how fucking long these things can take. And I'm the lucky one who got things this far pretty quickly," he walked to the door and pulled Jared closer for a kiss. "Did I ever tell you how hot you look like that," Jensen said and slid his hands under Jared's shirt to rub on Jared's sweat slicked chest.

"No," Jared breathed into Jensen's skin.

"Take this off," Jensen told him, tugging on the shirt and Jared let Jensen help him get out of the damp t-shirt. Their mouths met again as soon as the shirt was out off the way.

Jared pushed Jensen back a little and led him to the couch. "You want to?" He felt his blood rush down as Jensen nodded and pulled his t-shirt over his head. Jared attacked Jensen's mouth and let himself lose control a bit. Jensen clearly didn't mind and Jared bit Jensen's lower lip as Jensen tugged Jared's running shorts down. Jared felt his face heat up a little as Jensen's fingers brushed over his already hard cock. He wondered how Jensen always made him feel like a teenager, as he was afraid that everything would be over way too soon.

Jared tried to push Jensen down on the couch but Jensen resisted. "Let me show you something," Jensen said. "You'll like it. Trust me."

Jared couldn't really form words to answer as Jensen's fingers curled even tighter around his cock. He let Jensen lead and turn him around. As Jensen pushed him forward he almost went face first on the couch before he got his limbs under control and knelt on the edge instead. Jensen leaned over his back guiding Jared’s hands to hold the backrest. Jensen kissed the back of his neck, biting gently on his shoulder before sliding down. Jared's brain took a moment to kick in before he realized what was happening, as Jensen settled behind him and spread Jared open. For a moment Jared felt panic. He had never bottomed and even if it was Jensen he wasn't quite ready for it yet, at least not like this, frantic and bent over a couch.

Jensen's mouth felt hot against him and Jared let out an embarrassingly high noise as Jensen's tongue flickered on his hole. It felt odd, like he should be weirded out by it, but it was actually really hot. Jensen had one hand between Jared's thighs and the other on his hip steadying him. Jared let his head fall against the back of the couch. He couldn't really think anything past how he truly and absolutely wanted this and how fucking stupid he had been to think that this would be gross somehow.

"Is this okay?" Jensen asked softly and it took a moment for Jared to even understand a word or to realize that Jensen had withdrawn his mouth and was rubbing a finger over Jared's opening.

"Yeah," Jared managed. He heard a small snap of the lube bottle opening and didn't even care. He wanted to beg Jensen to fuck him right there and then but it really seemed that he didn't need to beg. Jensen opened him slowly with two fingers that rubbed deliciously over his hole before slipping in. The slight burn only made him want more. Jared bit his lip trying to hold himself up and not collapse over the couch.

"Move for me," Jensen said slowly pushing Jared further on the couch for a moment. Then Jensen moved to Jared's side sitting down and pulling Jared towards his lap. "I want to be in you."

Jensen's words made Jared shiver. He let Jensen pull him down and settled on Jensen's lap feeling more than a bit awkward with his long legs. He thought that he would prefer face to face but it seemed easier with him just turning the other way. He wondered for a second if he should pull Jensen up and drag him to bedroom but as he felt Jensen's cock pushing against his ass, hard and ready, he really didn't have the patience for waiting until they'd be upstairs. He lifted himself off Jensen's lap just enough to let Jensen guide him by the hips and felt Jensen's fingers gently brush over his lubed ass as Jensen guided himself inside. Jared's thighs trembled as he tried to hold himself up to go slow.

Jensen stroked his palms slowly up and down Jared's sides and whispered: "Just let go. Relax."

Jared let his muscles go lax and slowly took Jensen fully in. He leaned back against Jensen's chest trying to even out his breathing and relax enough to move a bit. He had been on the other side enough times to actually have imagined how this would feel but he’d never even been near the real thing. He had been right about the slight pain and how fucking amazing it really was to be this close, but there were no words for the fullness he felt. He carefully rocked his hips experimentally and moaned as the new angle brought on very different sensations.

"You're so fucking hot," Jensen said, his voice husky and dark, and Jared couldn't really remember him ever sounding like that. Not that he would actually recognize it, since his brain went mostly blank as Jensen's wide palm brushed against his cock before Jensen wrapped his fingers around it and stroked up and down in sync with Jared's movements.

Jared leaned his head back on Jensen's shoulder. Jensen mouthed Jared's neck and Jared tried to turn his head around to kiss Jensen. The angle was a bit off and he could feel the strain of the strange position in his neck but Jensen's mouth was just so wet and warm he didn’t care. Jared almost came off the couch as Jensen's cock hit just that perfect spot inside him. He tried to tilt his hips to get Jensen even deeper if that was possible. He moaned against Jensen's mouth knowing that even if he couldn't yet enjoy this as much as he should be, just thinking about Jensen fucking him this way was enough to send him over the edge. He was so fucking close! Jensen jerked his cock and he couldn't really think about anything anymore except the amazing burning stretch inside him and the sparks that went through him. Jared seriously thought that Jensen was purposely driving him insane. Jensen was now hitting that good spot with almost every thrust and Jensen's hand was slowly and methodically stroking his swollen member, Jensen's other hand was on his chest and Jensen was pinching his nipple with just the right amount of force. Jared felt like his whole body was a boneless bunch of nerve endings in Jensen's lap and he couldn't really even breathe. Jensen's teeth traced his jaw and neck and Jared tensed his thighs to fuck himself on Jensen's cock and that was it. He couldn't take it anymore. He couldn’t help but let out a yell as Jensen's fingers tightened over his cock and he came all over himself and Jensen's fingers and the Goddamn carpet. Which he couldn't fucking care less about since Jensen was in him and Jensen was coming in him and it was all so amazing.

------

When the shooting in LA was finally over, they had a few weeks before Jared needed to any major PR for the movie. They spent most of their time at Jensen's place, but Jared had one major concern. Harley had been limping for a few weeks on and off and Jensen had taken him to a vet when Jared had been stuck at the studios, and the news wasn’t entirely unexpected. Harley's old knee problem had caused arthritis and the vet hadn't given them any good news.

The whole situation with Harley was getting to Jared and he didn't really want to deal with it and at the same time he was still worried that Jensen was mostly done with him. He hadn't really spoken to Jensen about it since he didn't want Jensen to know the direction of his thoughts if it wasn't even remotely true. Maybe he was just delusional and there was nothing wrong between them. He couldn't really understand why he was being so insecure about their relationship. He thought that it was mostly because in the beginning Jensen had been so broken and now he was getting more of his confidence back and starting to work again, even if it wasn't in front of the cameras anymore and rather behind them. And Jeff. Fucking Jeff...

"Fuck," Jared punched the punching bag in his gym and wiped sweat off his brow. "Fuck, fuck fuck..."

For the next fifteen minutes he kept the same pace he had had for the last hour before winding down and doing a couple of stretches. He saw Chad leaning against the door frame with his sunglasses pulled on the top of his head.

"How did you get in you fucker?" Jared asked throwing a sweaty towel at him.

Chad threw the towel back and didn't look amused. "You should learn to lock the front door. And get some real watch dogs... The ones you have didn't even get up from the couches as I walked through the living room."

"That's because you smell so fucking bad that they recognize you before you're even in this part of the city," Jared told him and grabbed his water bottle. "Did we actually agree on meeting today or are you just here to annoy me?"

"Grumpy much?" Chad said before walking out with Jared on his tow. "I just wanted to see if you're still in the neighborhood and haven't moved to Canada to get gay married to Jensen."

Jared fought the sudden urge to make a face at Chad's statement. "I've been staying at Jensen's place most of the time. The dogs like it there." He kept a short pause to take a gulp from the water bottle. "And no, we're not getting gay married in Canada."

"The dogs like it there?" Chad looked amused. "Just the dogs?"

"Jensen feeds them from the table," Jared explained, not really giving Chad an answer he was clearly fishing for, and rubbed a towel over his face. "Do you mind if I take a shower? I’ll just be a few minutes. There's beer in the fridge."

Chad just laughed and turned to go to the kitchen. "Make yourself pretty. I'll wait in the living room."

When Jared was finally out of the shower and got fresh clothes on he walked back downstairs. Chad already had his feet kicked up his coffee table and a beer in one hand. "Could you even pretend you had some manners?"

"Nah," Chad raised his beer. "So, what's up? Haven't really seen you in ages and every time I call you're somewhere with Jensen."

Jared shrugged and flopped on the overstuffed armchair. "Just been busy. The movie is finally wrapped and the publicists are driving me mad with all these interviews. They're really trying to get it out sooner than anyone would think it could be done."

"And?"

"And I kinda want to spent the rest of the time with Jensen even if he's ignoring me half of the time now since he's really busy."

"What's he working on?"

"A script. It was supposed to be a TV pilot I think, but all of a sudden it turned into a movie and now he's got two studios interested in it already. It's odd, since I've never really thought he was into writing, but now everything's happening really fast and he's got some really influential people who believe that it could be big. And it's really somewhat amazing since he really thought it would just end up nowhere or we'd need to try and pull some strings to try and get people to read it, but he only send it to couple of places and they actually liked it. Without any help at all..." Jared rambled and felt a smile tugging his lips even he hadn't really felt like it before.

"And you're so proud that you can barely handle yourself?" Chad raised one eyebrow and in Jared's opinion looked more comical than whatever impression he was going for.

"Yeah. I think," Jared tried to sound enthuastiac about it and mostly failing.

"What's the problem then?" Chad asked.

"Nothing," Jared rubbed his neck with his right hand. "It's just... I don't know. It's stupid really. There's no problem and I'm just being an ass for thinking that maybe now that he's back on his feet he wants to move on. I honestly want him to get to do everything he wants, but it's like, since we got together I've had him all to myself. And now, I think I've been cast aside..."

"If he's even half as crazy about you as you're pathetically in love with him I really don't think that that's even possible," Chad laughed. "Maybe you should just relax a bit. Support him but don't think too much into it. It kind of seems that you're just overthinking this. You've been together since last autumn right? Maybe you're freaking out because this is the longest relationship you've had since, since Sandy, and now there's enough time passed for it to really get serious. And with the accident and all that crap that happened you're probably just worried that something might happen?"

"Maybe," Jared said.

"And he's like only been around you and the couple of friends he's close to and now when he's expanding his social circle again.”

"Don't hurt yourself with such big words," Jared teased half-heartedly.

"Shut up you ass," Chad said and took a sip of his beer. "I just mean that maybe you think that now that he's comfortable going out he'll find someone else. But think about it, if he had wanted you to just be there for his comfort I don't think he'd have taken it as far as finally telling his parents even his they went psycho about it..."

"They didn't go psycho, they just..."

"Didn't talk to you guys for a couple of months?" Chad grinned. "Well, maybe not psycho, but you said that that was expected right? Would he gone through that crap just to get you to stick with him until he got better? And aside for all that, they guy is clearly in this for life. Taking you and your mutts in like a bunch of strays he's not planning on finding new homes for."

Jared sunk deeper into the chair. "God help me. I'm getting relationship advice from a person who gets married every second year to someone who's like barely legal..." For that he got hit but later, examining the slight bruise on his shoulder, assumed that he might have deserved it.

-------------------

"You know, my doctor told me that there is a possibility of having skin grafts done or this other type of surgery that's supposed to make the scarred area smoother without actually removing the scar I think," Jensen said suddenly. He looked up from his plate at Jared and then quickly back down. Jensen scratched the corner of his eye as he spoke and Jared noted that it was something that Jensen often did, but probably didn't pay any attention to it. His fingers trailed and picked the raised scar that went down to his cheekbone before curving up to his temple and finally disappeared into his hair with a thin stripe of scar tissue showing where the hair wouldn't grow anymore. "It wouldn't make me look like before, but it would be an improvement. It would smooth out the worst parts."

Jared raised his eyebrows. He knew about Jensen's appointment the week before, but Jensen hadn't really spoken about it. He had only mentioned that the doctor was recommending a surgery to loosen up the scarred skin on his neck that was really tight. It really bothered him and it didn’t really seem to improve with the on-going physiotherapy, which Jensen had agreed to do. It wouldn't be anything too major. "Probably fifteen times easier than when they tried to sew the corner of my eye back together in the first place", Jensen had said. But other than that Jensen hadn't really been comfortable enough to go into more details.

"Do you want to do it?" Jared asked. He had wondered if Jensen would get anything done to make himself look more like he used to, but Jared didn’t care either way. He would support Jensen whatever his decision. He had gotten used to how Jensen looked and even if Jensen had his insecurities about his looks, Jared would never want him to change.

Jensen shrugged half-heartedly. "Maybe. I've been thinking about it. They said that they could do it at the same time I go for the surgery on my neck," Jensen said. "It would make the healing process a little longer but the actual surgery wouldn't be much different. Especially if they did the thing to just smooth out the scar."

"You know that I'll support you whatever you decide to do," Jared told Jensen.

"I got some leaflets if you want to see," Jensen shrugged. After that he stayed quiet for a while and Jared had a moment to lose himself in thought. He was shocked out of it by Jensen's laugher, loud and happy sounding. "But you know if they do the skin grafts, then I'd have pieces of my ass over my face," Jensen wheezed as Jared looked puzzled over the sudden outburst.

"What?"

It took a moment for Jensen to finally stop laughing enough to explain that if he needed skin grafts they'd probably use his own skin, taking it from his lower back or his thighs for the corrections on his face. Jared smiled and felt content that Jensen could actually laugh at this, even thought his laughter had a bit of a hysterical edge to it.

-------------------

"I've been thinking," Jared scratched the back of his neck thoughtfully as he stepped out of the shower.

"And that's a good thing?" Jensen asked looking more than a little sceptical.

Jared smiled, tossing a towel to Jensen and fighting the urge to forget the talking and do something else instead. "I thought about the premiere. And how we've never really talked about this stuff. But I'd love you to go with me." Jared felt heat built up under his skin. "As my date."

"You... oh," Jensen's mouth formed a perfect o as Jared's words sunk in.

"It's not like people are not aware. There've been more than a couple pictures of us together," Jared shrugged. "It's not a big deal."

Jensen looked troubled. "It kind of is," he bit his lower lip nervously and Jared could see the pink of his tongue as he quickly traced the scar in corner of his mouth with it. "I mean, a few blurry pictures or a dozen or so that mostly just look like we're friends is nowhere near going somewhere as a couple."

"Would it be a bad thing?" Jared asked. "There will probably be some bad feedback, and I know that it'll have an affect on the job offers but in the end, it would be worth it. You know that we're financially stable, and I'd definitely be content on doing some indie stuff, or maybe going into producing or something. It would be nice to work behind the camera for a change."

Jensen didn't look any more convinced than before and there was something about him that Jared couldn't quite put his finger on. They just stood there for a moment, Jared with a towel thrown around his waist and Jensen drying out his hair with his face turned away from Jared. Jared could see Jensen's eyes following his every move through the foggy mirror.

"Is this about your parents?" He finally asked and saw Jensen's shoulders tense and his movements slow down.

"Maybe," Jensen shrugged. "I don't know. You know they're trying to adjust and I think my mom is starting to finally realize that I'm not the only one investing in this relationship, but that’s not the whole problem."

Jared felt somewhat ashamed of the fact that in the past few weeks he had been thinking it was the other way around but it clearly wasn’t. "Then what it is?" Jared asked keeping his voice low and even.

Jensen turned and looked straight at Jared. "I know that it shouldn't be like this. But sometimes it still feels that you could do better. Like you shouldn't get yourself labelled over someone like me." Someone damaged. Jensen didn't say it, but Jared knew it was what Jensen meant.

Jared reached over to grab Jensen's wrist and pulled him carefully closer. "Yes I should." Jared told him and brought his hand under Jensen's chin to tip his head back just enough to coax his gaze away from the floor then said, "Because I love you."

-------

"Jenny!" Jared tried to throw his arm over Jensen's shoulders but ended up mostly sprawled all over him. The premiere that night was as crazy as they had expected it to be. A lot of flashing lights and too many glasses of free champagne and Jared had held Jensen's hand on the red carpet like that was what they had always done. Well, it wasn't really that far from how he had acted in the past at other events they had gone together and he wondered if he should have known that there was something there even back then when he had had this ridiculous habit of being draped all over Jensen anywhere they had gone.

The questions on the red carpet had been more subdued than they had expected and they had ended up answering more than a few questions that they felt were actually worth it. They would definitely be the stars of the tabloids in the morning, but Jared couldn't care less. He had had his fair share of bad gossip and untruthful articles especially in the past few years when his second movie after Supernatural had been a box office favourite.

Jensen was drunk and happy and his whole body was a warm line against Jared's as Jared got them new drinks from a tray that a passing waitress was carrying. "Here," he handed Jensen one of the glasses and wondered if he should have actually been more professional and not gotten drunk. Jensen took the glass and smiled widely and Jared really couldn't resist. He caught Jensen's jaw in his giant paw and brought his mouth down on Jensen's. This was something they hadn't agreed on but Jared was a bit too buzzed to really care. The flashes behind them didn't come as a surprise even if the press access to the party had been pretty limited.

"They're taking pictures," Jensen whispered in Jared's ear as they pulled off the kiss and Jensen leaned against Jared's shoulder breathing warm air over his skin.

"Let them," Jared whispered back. He pulled away from the hug and raised his hand to cup Jensen's face with his fingertips slowly stroking over the scarred flesh. "I have all that I need and the only thing that a couple of photos would do is to show people what I have and what they're missing."

"You giant sap," Jensen laughed and their lips met again.

Jared wanted to let his hands wander after bringing them down from Jensen's face but settled to placing one hand on the small of Jensen's back and broke the kiss again to whisper: "Come home with me."

Jensen's soft 'yes' felt like the promise of something more to come in the near future than Jared had let himself expect, but he knew that maybe it didn't only mean this moment.

-end-


Author's notes:
Well, here it is, the longest story I've ever written. It might not have turned out exactly like I imagined, but I'm still pretty much satisfied. I'm not native english speaker and writing over 20'000 words was hard. There are things that I wished to do differently but who knows, maybe I'll even try and write a sequel to answer all the questions that are left unanswered in the story.

Big thank you's to my awesome beta [profile] siriusslash who worked her ass off to correct my grammar and point out when I couldn't even be understood. If there are any remaining mistakes, they're all my doing since I might have changed something after she worked her magic on the final draft.

Thanks also to [personal profile] bflyw for beautiful art. I love what you did with Jensen's face :)

Additional thanks to [personal profile] ladyjanelly who read through the story when I got really stuck and gave me great pointers. And all to other people who listened me whining about the story too.

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Date: 2017-09-11 05:05 am (UTC)
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From: [personal profile] masja_17
A lovely fluffy story! Thank you!

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