Written for spn_holidays. Thanks to Hal for beta and cheerleading.
Jensen's kind of clueless.
They're in a bar in L.A. with a bottle of tequila, because Jensen just had his ass dumped and Jared's show's been canceled, and they haven't seen each other in almost a year. Jared looks good, and Jensen knows he looks like shit. They finish half the bottle and stick to old safe stories from years-ago filming, and by the end of the night they're blindingly, shit-faced drunk.
Which is why Jared's got him pushed up against Jensen's kitchen counter, hands digging into Jensen's hips and his tongue down Jensen's throat, and Jensen grips the counter because he's way too drunk for this, about to pass out drunk, so he says, "Jared, I'm gonna pass out," and Jared laughs into his neck.
"Yeah, just gonna put you to bed," he says, before Jensen passes out.
When he wakes up again, the house smells like frying bacon. For a second he thinks maybe Danneel'll come up and say she was just being a bitch and of course she didn't break up with him, not really, and Jensen can't believe how pathetic he is. Danneel would never make bacon.
"Nice place," Jared says when he makes it down to the kitchen, waving a spatula to encompass the kitchen, the wide terrace through the glass doors, the expanse of living room behind them.
"Yeah," Jensen says, because it is a nice place. It's spacious but cozy, and he bought it because he wanted to settle and he figured on Danneel wanting to settle with him.
"You don't care about the furniture?" Jared says, when Jensen heads into the living room with a plate piled with eggs and bacon. Jensen's about to ask when he turned into someone who cares about furniture when he remembers that the living room actually has pretty nice stuff.
"It's Danneel's," he says, and sprawls down on the couch.
Jared laughs a little. "Yeah, okay." They camp in front of the TV while Jensen drinks his coffee and eats as much of the eggs and bacon as he can without feeling the need to throw them back up. "So man, what happened?" Jared asks.
"She said I was uptight," Jensen says, and spears a piece of bacon.
"You are uptight," Jared says.
"Yeah, I am," Jensen agrees, too hungover to argue. "And apparently controlling and obsessive, and a bunch of other stuff." Jared nods to all of those things. "Asshole."
"What I don't get is how she's just figuring all that out now," Jared says, and Jensen throws a pillow at him.
"So what happened to your show?" he asks, and Jared shrugs.
"Yeah, it kinda did," Jensen says, and gets the pillow thrown back at him. A piece of bacon slides off his plate onto the couch and leaves a grease stain. Jensen rubs it into the upholstery with his toe. "So what are you gonna do now?" Jensen asks, and Jared shrugs.
"See if I can pick up any movies, maybe another pilot. Find an apartment."
"You want to move in here?" Jensen asks, and for some reason Jared thinks that's hilarious. Jensen waits for him to finish laughing his ass-stupid face off, thinking there's something he's missing but he can't be bothered to figure out what.
"Yeah, sure. Okay," Jared says.
Danneel's gym is on the way home from his, and it's not like he's following her or anything, he just ends up parking across from it for a few hours until he sees her car pull into the garage. A few minutes later she's walking down the sidewalk wearing those designer sweatpants Jensen always ragged on because they're so fucking Hollywood, and she looks happy, chipper even, like nothing's changed in her life at all.
When he gets home Jared's cooking dinner, some dubious stir fry that actually turns out pretty good. "So when'd you learn to cook?" Jensen asks.
"Sandy," Jared says, around a mouthful of snow peas and noodles. They're sitting out on the terrace, and it's hot, even with the sun behind the house.
"Whatever happened with that?" Jensen asks, and Jared shrugs.
"She's getting married next spring, sent me an invitation."
"You going to go?"
"Sure, why not?" Jared says, and he seems genuinely sincere. "I like the guy."
"Man, you are weird," Jensen says, and Jared just shakes his head like Jensen's the freak.
He calls Danneel after they've cleaned up from dinner, listens to her phone ring and stares at the closed bedroom door. After five rings she picks up.
"Why are you calling me?" she says, and at least she sounds tired.
"I don't know," he says, and there's a long silence.
"I'm coming over soon to pick up my stuff, okay? And to drop off the keys."
"If I tell you when, you're going to be there," she says, and Jensen can't pretend that's not true. "Just--I don't want to do this," she says, and hangs up. Jensen stares at the phone and thinks, easy for you to say.
He goes downstairs and Jared's got a game on and a couple of beers already out on the coffee table. Jensen grabs his and slides down on the couch, bitches about watching the Spurs but Jared won't give him the remote, so he drinks his beer and watches the game, and it's actually a good game, too, for the Spurs.
A moving truck's parked in front of the house when he gets home from the gym, and Danneel's on the curb directing the guys carrying out all the furniture.
"Jensen," she says, when he pulls up and gets out of the car. She's not at all happy to see him, but otherwise she looks good. Her hair's red again, and Jensen wonders if she went straight to her stylist after walking out, because that really is so Hollywood.
"What the fuck," he says, but it's all her furniture, so he can't really protest.
"I cleared out my things from upstairs," Danneel says, and thank god all the bedroom stuff is his. "We'll be out of here in ten minutes."
"Yeah, okay," Jensen says, and it's fucking killing him that she's right here and he can't touch her, he's nothing to her, and he thinks he should go inside because you can't get much lamer than hanging around the woman who just dumped you.
"Jensen," she says, and she sounds like she's trying to be nice, or at least understanding. "Have you been following me?"
"No," Jensen lies, and goes inside so she can't see his face.
When Jared gets home, Jensen's on a pile of pillows in front of the TV with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders.
"Christ," Jared says, and looks around the empty living room wonderingly.
"Yeah," Jensen says. He raises his beer bottle and drinks.
"Dude, why the hell are you wearing a blanket?" Jared asks, and Jensen shrugs. "Christ," Jared mutters. He disappears into the kitchen. When he gets back he has a couple more bottles of beer, and he steals one of Jensen's pillows. "Tell me there's something better on than this," he says, and Jensen doesn't even know what he's watching, except that it seems to have something to do with landscaping.
He gives Jared the remote, and Jared drinks his beer and flips through channels.
"Thanks," Jensen says.
"Whatever, man," Jared says. "It's not like I don't know your issues." Jensen thinks he should work up some affront for that, but he just finishes the beer in his hand and starts on the one Jared brought out for him. "What're you doing tomorrow?" Jared asks.
Jensen thinks. "I thought I'd sleep in. Maybe mope around a little, make a list of how my life sucks."
"Dumbass," Jared says.
Jared knows this place from a friend of a friend, and it's nice, not too overpriced, for L.A., anyway. Jared sits on all the couches before letting Jensen make any decisions.
"Just because you have freak legs doesn't mean I need my couch oversized," Jensen says.
They compromise on the size and Jensen picks out a couple of chairs to go with the soft leather couch that he calls brown and Jared says is ochre. He gets a new dining room set, too, even though he and Danneel never used the old one, and for the hell of it some new stuff for the terrace. Then Jared makes him buy bookcases for all the books he doesn't have and some tables, and a new coffee table, because he'd forgotten about that, and by the end of it he's going out of his mind.
Jared works out some sort of express delivery and takes him to lunch. Jensen's been vocally hungry for two hours now, and he doesn't even look at what he's eating, can't remember what he ordered except that it's a sandwich that cost like eighteen dollars.
"Seriously, man, you need to get over this," Jared says.
"Get over what?" Jensen asks, and Jared rolls his eyes.
"I know you were together for a while, but stripping your house of all the furniture is pretty final."
Jensen shrugs and eats his sandwich. Jared looks at him speculatively.
"You need to get laid."
Jensen considers that. It's been a while, not counting whatever he and Jared ended up doing that first night, the details of which he's a little fuzzy on. "Yeah. Okay."
The bar Jared takes him to is far classier than the one they drank the tequila in. They find a table, Jared gets the drinks, and when he comes back he's got two women with him who slide into their table and smile.
"Abby," says one, and "Alex," the other, and Jensen nods and shakes their hands and starts on the beer Jared brought for him.
He actually ends up having a decent time. Jared picks up his slack in conversation and entertainment, the women are hot and smart and funny, and don't seem to mind that he's contributing zero to the conversation. Near the end of the night he loosens up, remembers what it's like to flirt and how to put your game face on, and they're appreciative of that, too.
He makes up an excuse for the lack of furniture back at the house, and they sit out on the terrace with a bottle of wine and a fairly nice view of the valley.
Jared's getting on gangbusters with Abby, so Jensen focuses his attention on Alex. She does costume design for some indie studio and they chat about the business for a bit; she doesn't watch TV and only rents period movies, and it's nice getting into it with someone who doesn't know who he is and seems to like him regardless. Not that he's much of anyone in L.A.
He goes into the kitchen to see if there's more wine, and Jared comes in a few minutes after.
"So hey," Jared says. "They're up for, you know."
"What?" Jensen says, looking through cabinets because he's sure there's more wine but the cooler is empty. He stands up and catches Jared's grin. "You're a sick fuck," he says, because it's not at all something he expected Jared to come up with. Chris, maybe, but not Jared.
They end up in Jensen's bed, and Jared and Abby are going at it like they're on the clock, but Jensen wants to take his time and Alex seems cool with that. He runs his hands down her arms, thumbs a nipple through her bra before she reaches back to unfasten it, and it's been four years since he's touched a woman not Danneel like this.
She lets him spread her out on the bed while he licks down and tongues her clit, slow and easy, and it's all about finding the right pace, the right pressure, and not fucking it up once you found it. He moves with her when she grips the sheets and rocks her hips up, sucks down a little until she comes.
She wants to kiss him, after. Danneel always hated that.
There's a choked sound next to him, and Jensen looks over just as Jared's coming, Abby on top with her breasts gleaming a little with sweat. Jared nearly throws her off he's bucking up so hard, eyes closed and lips parted open, and it's almost as hot as Jared's eyes on him when he sinks into Alex, hot and tight and wet, Jared and Abby curled up less than a foot away. When he feels the brush of Jared's fingers over his lips he closes his mouth over them without a thought, licks and sucks them down.
The women are gone by the time he rolls out of bed, and Jared's out on the terrace with a bowl of cereal.
"What happened to the sweet young thing I knew," Jensen says. He sits down and sips the coffee he just poured, props his feet up on the other chair.
"Admit it, you feel better."
"Yeah, well. Who knew you were such a kinky freak," he says, but he's not complaining. He figured Jared would be pretty damned pleased with himself, and he is, but he also looks a little tired and off his game.
"Everything cool?" Jensen asks, and Jared nods.
"Yeah, course." Jared runs his hand through his hair. "I've got a meeting about a script later. Fuck, I'm tired."
"Go back to bed, man. I'll wake you before you have to go."
"Yeah," Jared says, and rubs at his eyes. "Okay."
Jensen goes in search of breakfast once Jared leaves, finds some cereal not laced with sugar and eats two bowls. His bed is a testament to disasters everywhere, so he strips off all the sheets, finds a clean set and puts the old ones in the washer, decides that's enough domesticity and hangs out watching whatever's on TV.
He goes upstairs to wake Jared, and he's never really looked at the room since Jared moved in. It's weird seeing all of Jared's stuff in place of Danneel's extra clothes and shoes, and it's not like the guy brought a lot with him but it still feels so his.
Jared's sprawled out across the bed on his stomach with a pillow tucked under his head. Jensen sits on the edge of the bed and puts his hand on Jared's back, rubs a little with his thumb until Jared opens his eyes and looks up at him, sleepy and open, and Jensen's chest twists because he knows that look and he can't go there, can't do that again, but he can't look away, either.
"Hey," Jared says, and Jensen lets his hand drop.
"You've got that meeting," he says, and Jared nods. Jared slides his hand down the sheets until it touches the edge of Jensen's. Jensen lets it rest there a moment before he leans back, breaks the contact. "Hey, what'd you do with the dogs?" he asks.
Jared laughs and shifts up, the mood broken. "You're just wondering that now? They're with my parents, man. I'll bring them out once I find a place."
Jensen doesn't say anything about how Jared hasn't done a whole lot to find his own place, because the thought of living alone in this house makes his stomach turn.
"Yeah, okay," he says. "Better get your ass up."
Jared takes off for his meeting and Jensen grabs his gym stuff, drives down to the gym and does an hour on the treadmill, music blaring in his ears, his legs and lungs burning like fire.
He calls Danneel on the ride home. "Jensen, you need to stop," she says when she picks up.
"I just thought. You know, we could talk," Jensen says, and he must sound even more pathetic than usual because Danneel's voice softens.
"This isn't easy for me, either."
"Just tell me," Jensen says. "You know."
"You know why," she says.
"No, I really don't."
"Jensen," she says, and he thinks she might be crying. "I don't know," she says, and he can tell she does know. "It's just that, you have this perfect person in your head of who you want to be with, who will make you happy. And I felt like I wasn't measuring up, and I just can't." She takes a breath.
"I'm sorry," Jensen says, and now he knows she's crying.
"Take care of yourself," she says, and hangs up.
The light turns green, and he drives the rest of the way home thinking that for one day, one fucking day, he'd like not to be himself.
They get parts within a week of one another, Jensen for a small-budget comedy that's actually pretty funny, and Jared as the supportive and never-laid friend in some romantic dramedy, which Jensen ribs him about to no end. They barely see each other, leave notes for one another in the kitchen with grocery lists and bills and mutual bitching when the cable goes out. Jensen's tired but it's a good tired, an accomplished tired, and when Jared goes on location for three weeks, he tells himself he's too busy to even notice.
He doesn't think about Danneel, at least not much. He calls Alex and they go out a couple of times, but they both know it's not going anywhere and neither of them have time for a quick drink, much less dating.
Filming ends for his movie, and a week later Jared's back from location with just a few more studio trips to go. He looks healthy and good and more like the old Jared, and Jensen's been so wrapped up in himself he never realized that old Jared hadn't been around much.
They're sitting out on the terrace with Chris and Steve, drinking Chris's scotch and talking history and general shit, and Jensen feels right with the world for the first time since Danneel walked out. Jared disappears, and after a while Jensen goes looking for him, finds him in the living room dozing on the new couch.
"Move over," he says, and Jared makes a face but moves his legs so Jensen can sit down. He puts his legs back over Jensen's lap. "Jesus, you're freakish," Jensen says. He spies a Sharpie on the coffee table next to a pile of blank DVDs; he makes a grab for it, lifts Jared's shirt to draw a happy face there.
"Dude, that's, like, toxic," Jared says.
"Probably," Jensen agrees. Jared's skin jumps when he presses down on it with the pen, and he draws a second happy face next to the first, hand brushing up against Jared's stomach as he makes a small swirling circle under his navel, focusing to keep the pen steady.
When he glances up Jared's eyes are dark and fixed on his, and he lifts his hips when the back of Jensen's hand brushes over his crotch. Jensen ignores the invitation and starts working on Jared's other side, just above his hip where his jeans are riding low, draws random symbols and faces while Jared shifts on the couch with the movement of the pen.
Chris rolls his eyes at him when they leave. Jensen flips him off, goes back to work on Jared, who finally grabs the pen from him.
"Turn over," Jared says in a rough voice that Jensen feels everywhere, and he doesn't care what they're doing, doesn't want to think, just rolls onto his stomach. He lets Jared lift his shirt over his head, shivers when the cold pen touches his back. Jared draws a long line between his shoulderblades, warm hand on his hip, thumb brushing the curve of his ass.
Jared leans over his ear. "I think I'm gonna fuck you, Jen."
"God," Jensen breathes. He pushes back hard against Jared's hand.
"You gonna pass out on me again?"
"No," Jensen says, and presses his forehead into the couch because Jared keeps fingering the crack of his ass through his jeans.
Then Jared's tugging him up and steering him up upstairs; he loses his jeans, hands shaking a little, gets on the bed on his knees because he wants it from behind, wants Jared in him deep and fast and hard. Jared pulls him up against his chest, hands splayed out on his thighs.
"What were doing down there, Jen?" Jared asks, and Jensen closes his eyes because Jared's hand's on his dick now, stroking over the head.
"What," he manages, because he really doesn't need a session on his fucked-up psyche, especially not when drunk. "God, fuck," he says, when Jared's hand closes over his cock, strokes down. He pushes into his hand, feels the press of Jared's cock on his back. Jared knows exactly where to get him off, what spots to linger on; he thumbs a nipple and Jensen lets his head fall back on Jared's shoulder.
He sprawls forward when he comes, fucked-out and buzzing, like it would take a CAT truck to scoop him out of this bed. There's the chill of lube on Jared's fingers in the crack of his ass, and he makes a half-hearted effort to get his knees under him, because he really does want to get fucked. Jared helps him with it, slings an arm under Jensen's waist to hold him as he presses fingers into his ass, slow because it's been a while since he's been fucked by a guy.
Jared eases in but Jensen pushes back against him; he wants it to hurt a little, and he knows that's messed up, but he knows this is all wrong, anyway, there's a reason they stopped doing this. And Jared's making all those sweet, happy Jared noises, stringing words together like he always did, and it's making things worse, making this fist in Jensen's gut tighten even more.
Then Jared goes still, his lips on the back of Jensen's neck, arms tight around him; it's almost like floating, this utter stillness. He can feel Jared's pulse. "Jared," he says, and he doesn't recognize his voice.
Jared's arms tighten. "I know, Jen," he says. "I know."
For once he's up before Jared, and he makes an honest stab at breakfast though the toast comes out burned and the eggs are runny and vaguely sickly. Jared eyes them warily when he finally comes downstairs.
"I'm not sure how to take this," he says, running a hand through sleep-flattened hair. "Do I have to actually eat that?"
"Yes," Jensen says, and makes him go out on the terrace while he brings the food out.
Jared offers to wash the dishes after, so Jensen hangs out in the kitchen, thinking he could make a grocery store run later. He makes a list of what they need on the notepad they keep on the fridge.
"So hey," Jensen says. "Are you going to bring the dogs up?"
Jared pauses with his hands still covered in soapy water. "Look, I know you love me," he says, and only Jared could get away with saying something like that, because it's true in the way he means it and also true in the way he doesn't. "But friends who love each other and fuck isn't what I'm looking for."
"Yeah, okay." Jensen rubs the back of his neck. "I -- "
"You don't have to say it."
"God, shut up," Jensen says, and it's all right there in his chest, squeezing so he can't breathe, and he doesn't know how to let it go. "That's not what I want either," he says, and it turns out it wasn't as hard as he thought.
Jared clears his throat. "Then yeah," he says. "Yeah, I can do that."
He's at a coffee shop downtown when he sees her, at a corner table by herself reading a paperback. "Hey," he says, and Danneel looks up.
"Hi," she says warily, but she doesn't say anything when he takes the other chair.
Jensen asks about her current projects, she asks about his, and he's there almost thirty minutes, getting up once for coffee. He forgot how easy it was to talk with her when they weren't dealing with everything else, and remembers why they got together in the first place. When he leaves she kisses him on the cheek.
"Hey," he says. "There's hope, right?"
"For you and me?" Danneel says, wariness back.
"No," Jensen says, because that wasn't what he meant. "For me."
Danneel laughs. It's a warm laugh, teasing. "Yeah," she says. "Maybe."
When he gets back to the house Jared's on the couch watching one of those eighties John Hughes movies, and Jensen can't believe what a sap he is. He pushes Jared's legs aside and settles down on the other side, grabs Jared's feet and rests them on his chest. He's glad he got the bigger couch.
"Your feet stink," Jensen says, and Jared wriggles his toes. Jensen rubs them until the movie ends.