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[personal profile] kasman
title: Just walk beside me
verse: Battlements
author: goneahead and kasman
rating: R for the sex
pairing: Jensen/Jared
word count: 11,000
summary: Battlements fic. Jared and Jensen spend the day together. No, seriously, that's the plot.


title: Just walk beside me
verse: Battlements
author: goneahead and kasman
rating: R for the sex
pairing: Jensen/Jared
word count: 11,000
notes: This is all kasmans's fault. Totally.
kasman's notes: Yep, yep, it is.

~~+~~
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
~Anonymous
~~+~~







(Nov 2nd, Sunday evening) Jared finished the massage, snuffed out the candles. He climbed into bed behind Jensen, smiling at Jensen's incoherent mumble as he pulled him close and dragged the covers over. He checked, made sure Jensen was correctly positioned, then wrapped him in a hug. He felt Jensen melt against him, the close contact making Jensen relax even more--if that was even humanly possible. The perfect end to a perfect day. Jared pressed a kiss into the short hair at the back of Jensen's neck, and drifted off to sleep, still smiling.

He was startled into wakefulness when a hand landed on his shoulder. "Sorry," came Neil's soft voice, "I thought I should let you know that we're back--and in one piece."

They both grinned at the sleepy, protesting grunt from Jensen.

"Neil and Ty are back," Jared murmured in his ear.

"Go 'way, don' need Neil, jus' Jar'd."

Jared felt the hand on his shoulder vibrate and guessed Neil was suppressing a laugh, shrugged, "Whatever you say."

Neil's tone was amused. "Night, boss." Added as a softer aside to Jared, "And the pity of that is he won't remember a single word in the morning. Night, Jared--and thank you for today."

Jared turned his head, grinned, "Good night, Neil, and, uh, thank you--for trusting me."

"I never doubted you for a moment."

Jared's grin widened, "Then why all the phone calls?"

Neil arched an eyebrow, "Due diligence. It's in my contract."

Jared huffed a soft laugh. "Yeah, right, Mother Hen."

Neil gave Jared's shoulder a soft squeeze before quietly leaving the room.

I never doubted you for a moment.

Wow. Something inside Jared unclenched, the part that'd been telling him all day that he was going to mess up. He couldn't help himself, he tightened the arm he had around Jensen, pressed another kiss against the back of his head.

"Ngh, go to sleep, dude. Your dimples're buzzing, keeping me awake." Jensen's words were sleep-slurred, and he rubbed his head into the pillow, making the material rustle.

"Dimples don't buzz." And damn, he wished he had a tape recorder handy for times like this.

"Yours do," Jensen sounded completely self-satisfied.

Jared snickered, "Yeah, all right, if you say so. Good night." Jensen mumbled something else, already dropping back into sleep.

Neil trusted him. Jared closed his eyes, listening to Jensen's breathing evening out, letting the weight of what Neil had said sink in. He and Jensen had gotten to spend a whole day together, and that was because Neil trusted him.

It really had been a perfect day.

~~+~~


(That morning) "Neil, baby, you've already told him that--three times." Ty tucked an arm around his husband's arm, steering him out the sliding glass door, "Jared will call if anything comes up, won't you, sweetie?"

"Sure," Jared said, and added when Neil shot him a look, "Just enjoy yourselves, we'll be all right."

He watched while Ty and Neil got into the car--Jennifer's Lexus because Emilio had taken the SUV--then closed the sliding glass door. Just stood there for a long moment, his emotions see-sawing back and forth.

The house was quiet. Ty and Neil were off to celebrate Neil's birthday. Jasmine and Gabbi were at their grandmother's and Emilio was at David's, earning extra cash for some benefit going on that weekend. It was seven in the morning, and it was just Jensen and him until at least ten or eleven that night, maybe even later.

Part of him was freaking out, because this was a whole day, which was like a big, big, big deal. And yet, he also felt like... like it was a step in the right direction because he wanted, needed, to be a part of Jensen's life and this was a part of Jensen's life. He gave himself a mental shake, and went down the hall, stopping at the office to get Jensen's meds out of the safe.

He opened the door, half-expecting Jensen to have fallen back asleep but Jensen gave him a smile, dropped his voice into a conspiratorial whisper, "Is the coast clear?"

"Yep. Although it's your house, so if we trash it because we were left unsupervised..." Jared joked back, as he went into the bathroom, got a glass of water. He crossed across the room, raised the head of the bed and handed Jensen the paper cup with the pills and then the glass.

Jensen swallowed the pills, his smile widening, "I haven't trashed a place since we broke into Jim's trailer."

"I don't remember doing that." Jared feigned innocence as he sat down on the edge of the bed, took the glass back, "What do you want for breakfast?"

Jensen's smile widened to a grin, "You."

"You know, I think that can be arranged." Jared grinned back, set the glass and the paper cup on the table. He'd taken care of the other stuff earlier, when he'd first gotten up, so it was just a matter of getting them both into position. He dropped a kiss on Jensen's nose, "So I can manhandle you?"

"Depends." Jensen pushed himself up so Jared could help him with his shirt, "What do I get out of it?"

"Hmmm, thinking. Peace, love, and understanding?" Jared ducked in, dropping another kiss on Jensen's lips, then moved the pillows under Jensen's legs. He lowered the head of the bed, nudged Jensen over, then helped him strip off his sweat pants. He slipped out of his own pair of sweats and t-shirt, and slid into bed. He reached over, rolled Jensen on his side so they were facing each other, putting his own knee between Jensen's knees, "Better?"

"Getting there." Jensen tipped his head back, and Jared willingly dropped his mouth over Jensen's mouth.

Jensen had always been a good kisser, but there was an extra edge now, a certain hunger in the way that he kissed, and it always turned Jared on, made him achingly hard. He gave back as good as he got, caught Jensen's lower lip in his teeth, then chased Jensen's tongue, until the kiss dissolved into something more, something deeper that seemed to fill all the empty places inside Jared's head.

He felt Jensen's good hand hit his ribs, and he put his own hand down, helping guide Jensen's hand. It didn't matter anymore, it was still Jensen's hand skimming over his skin. Holy fuck, but he loved weekend mornings when they didn't have to be anywhere. Jensen's touch, the way Jensen continued to kiss, rough and messy and needy, it twisted something in Jared's chest, turning him inside out. He needed sex, needed to come, but he needed this even more.

And Jensen knew it. He slowed the rhythm, softened his kisses, his tongue turning lazy, teasing instead.

Jared pulled back, "Fucker."

It shouldn't have been so damn hot, the way Jensen laughed against his mouth, but holy shit, it fucking was. Jared caught Jensen's mouth, capturing that laugh and Jensen's tongue again, while he shifted his hips, changing the angle of his bent knee slightly, until he was at the right angle, and his cock was rubbing against Jensen's.

Oh holy fucking shit, it felt good. He guided Jensen's hand further down, waited until Jensen made a loose fist around their cocks, then closed his own hand over Jensen's.

"Oh. Oh fuck, yeah." Jensen's eyes were half shut, his breath stuttering as Jared shifted again, his hand over Jensen's, stroking a steady rhythm; the world dissolving into just the two of them, heat and friction and hot, quick breaths. Jared sank into the sensations, letting it all wash over him, the drag of Jensen's dick against his, the rough pressure of their hands, the pure pleasure of Jensen's tongue thrusting deeper into his mouth, even the noises Jensen was making, because he was close, they were both so damn close--and then he was coming, and oh fuck, for a second he couldn't breathe, couldn't even fucking think, as the pleasure-pain of coming crashed through him.

~~+~~


For a couple of seconds Jensen just lay there, panting through the aftershocks. Then Jared moved Jensen's good hand, placing it on his own chest, before he slipped his arms around Jensen, pulling him close. And maybe Jensen was a bit weird, because while the sex was good--and hell, sex with Jared had always been good, even back in the old days, when often they were usually more asleep than awake--this was what he really looked forward to now. Jared had always wanted physical contact afterwards, but these past few months there seemed to be an extra closeness in the way Jared touched and held him.

Jensen pressed his forehead against Jared's, as his breathing and heart rate slowly dropping back to normal. He felt Jared's hand move, reach for his leg and then his back, pulling him even closer, his thumb slowly, steadily stroking Jensen's skin. He relaxed into the touch, smiling. It felt so damn good, comforting, normal.

Jared's stomach rumbled, and he pulled away a little, smiling back, "Sorry."

"It's OK. Guess we need to feed the bottomless pit, huh?" Jensen went for a joke, but deep down he didn't really want to get up yet. Getting up meant letting Jared help him, and while he knew it made sense, he still wasn't really sold on the idea.

"Yeah." Jared gave him a questioning look as he helped Jensen roll onto his back. "You all right?"

Jensen sighed, "Yeah. Yeah, I'm OK."

Jared looked at him for a second longer, got to his feet, "Good, cuz considering the very special breakfast you just had..."

Jensen pushed himself to a sitting position, happy to let Jared's kidding distract him, "I didn't know you were one of the four basic food groups..."

"Sure, protein. Lots of protein." Jared grinned, then scooped up their clothes from the floor, went into the bathroom. Jensen sat there, listening as Jared moved around. He felt a little weird, because he actually didn't hurt. Jared had given him a massage last night--enrolling Jared in a massage course had been one of the best things he and Neil had ever done, for both himself and Jared--and thanks to that and the sex, the muscles in his back were loose, relaxed.

Jared came back a few minutes later, dressed, with a wash cloth in one hand and clothes in the other, speaking in a cheerful drawl, "Come on, up and at 'em."

"You just want to eat." Jensen grumbled, but he let Jared clean him up, then help him through the rest--getting dressed, brushing his teeth, fixing his hair. He never knew quite what to do about Jared's cheerfulness--Jensen had learned the best way to get through the necessity of his morning and night routines was by shutting out most of it, but Jared insisted on joking around, touching him, slipping in a kiss or a hug. It was a lot more confusing than Jensen wanted to admit.

Jared wiped the hair gel off his hands, leaned down and draped his arms over Jensen's shoulders, smiling at him in the mirror, "What're you thinking?"

Jensen smiled back, "That I'm hungry."

Jared gave him a look, "Uh huh. All right, let's go see if I remember how to cook."

~~+~~


Jared stacked the pan and their dishes in the dishwasher, started it running, and followed Jensen into the office. With breakfast was out of the way, they could settle into their usual Sunday morning routine. He got Jensen's laptop set up for him, and then made his usual weekly call to his mother while Jensen checked his emails.

It turned out that some long-time neighbor was visiting his parents at their condo, and the phone call wound up taking a lot longer than usual, because his mother insisted on catching him up on everything. It was the kind of thing that usually annoyed Jared--he hadn't known the neighbor all that well, and her kids had been much younger than him, so it wasn't like he was even following most of what his mom was talking about. But Jensen kept looking over his way, making faces at him, and Jared found himself struggling to not crack up. He finally managed to end things by promising, for at least the fifth time, that yes, he would call next weekend.

He hit the end button and shot Jensen a look, "Thanks. I was trying to have a conversation."

"Riiiiiight." Jensen's smile was wide and unapologetic, as he tilted his head, pulled the headset off.

Jared shook his head, got to his feet, "You're done?" He was shocked. Jensen always spent at least an hour going through his mailbox, usually throwing out the excuse he had 'one more thing to do' when Jared or Neil tried to pry him away.

"Yeah, well," Jensen tipped his head back, catching Jared's eye, "it's our day together."

"Are you feeling OK?" Jared leaned over to shut the laptop, intentionally running his fingers through Jensen's hair, knowing it bugged him, "Maybe I should call Neil..."

"Fuck you."

Jared laughed, and helped Jensen to his feet. "C'mon, it's a nice day, let's go outside and get some sunshine."

"Yeah, okay, sounds good." Jensen obviously caught Jared's slightly amazed expression. "What? I'm not against going outside. Vitamin D is good for you." Jensen caught the movement as Jared grabbed a pile of paper off the fax machine, saw Jared's slightly guilty expression. "What's wrong?"

"Um, well, ah, I was kinda wondering if maybe you'd run through the script with me. I've got to look at it for tomorrow and, well, you know, comedy is kind of hard."

Jensen gave him a glowing smile, "Jared, I'd be happy to help you." He took a step, hesitated when Jared didn't move with him. "What?"

"It's just..."

"Jared, I'm happy to do this, and I'm glad you asked, OK?"

"Yeah." Jared realized then that Jensen really did mean it, and he felt something flip over in his chest. He smiled back, "All right, then let's do it."

~~+~~


It was one of those typical fall days in California. Yesterday's rain had vanished; it was sunny, and warm enough that Jared just pulled on a long-sleeved shirt and helped Jensen into a light flannel coat. They settled into one of the chaise lounges near the barbecue and pool area, Jared wrapping himself around Jensen, and Jensen leaning back against him so that they could both see the printed pages of the fax. They were still at it, with Jared complaining that comedy was a lot harder than it looked, when they heard the sound of a vehicle coming up the slope of the driveway. A few minutes later, Chris wandered around the side of the house, hair tied back, shades perched on his nose.

"Damn," he grinned at them, "if you two were any cuter you'd be... jeez, puppies maybe?"

Jensen felt the vibration through Jared's chest as he gave a silent laugh, could imagine the full-dimple grin that he was now turning on Chris. "Yeah, all right. Neil put you up to this?"

"Neil? Haven't spoken to him. No, I promised Jenny I'd take the boys shopping. Something to do with dinosaurs." He shrugged. "You girls doing OK here?"

"We're fine, Chris," Jensen responded. "And you can tell Neil that as well."

Chris rocked back on his heels, tipping his fingers in a salute. "I'll tell him that--if he calls me. Anyhow, I'm already late, so..." With that, he started moving again, cutting across the backyard to his sister's house.

"OK," Jensen turned his attention back to the dialogue, "let's run through this again."

"Yeah." Jared gave a small, frustrated sigh, and even though he knew he shouldn't, Jensen found himself comparing Jared to the way he used to be.

In the early days of Supernatural, Jared wouldn't have thought twice about doing a comedy bit, would've just jumped right in without thinking twice. Jensen had admired how nothing seemed to faze Jared. Now he wondered if maybe Jared'd been already trying to cover up some of his insecurities and he'd just been too caught up in other stuff to pay attention, see what Jared was doing.

"Hey, listen, it's just beats and delivery." He couldn't see Jared's face, but he could certainly feel Jared's tension, "Come on, let's do what we used to do, switch parts." He pitched his voice higher, "Deeeaaann, what're you thinking?! I can't believe you're even my brother!"

Jared managed, barely, not to laugh, "I did not sound that whiny."

"Sure you did. Now you be the hot, sexy secretary who wants to lay the boss, and I'll be the equally hot, sexy legal aide--who wants to lay the boss."

"It's comedy, Jensen--not porn."

"I got two words for you--legal debriefing." That was better. Jared was openly laughing now, and beginning to relax. Jensen scanned the page, "OK, from the top."

He ran through the dialogue, Jared throwing in the secretary's lines. He was surprised at how easy it was to slip into a role, already trying to flesh out a character from just a few lines on page. Even more surprising was realizing he really didn't miss it. Jensen had loved acting, but to be honest, he was glad it wasn't him who was having to go through the endless cycle of sides and auditions that made up such a big chunk of the job. It was a startling revelation.

"Uh, Jared, you're vibrating," Jensen commented, feeling the buzz of Jared's cell phone through his back.

"Yeah, uh, you think you could...?"

"Yeah, sure." He pushed himself up, allowing Jared to get a hand to his pocket.

"Neil," Jared said, holding the display up for Jensen.

Jensen rolled his eyes, knowing full well that Jared couldn't see him.

"Hey, Neil, putting you on speaker." Jared held the phone out so they'd both be able to speak and hear. "Having a good birthday?"

"Well, one of us is." Neil's tone was wry, "Apparently, my husband has a gift card to the most expensive outlet mall in the Los Angeles metropolitan area."

Jensen settled himself back against Jared's chest, "Well, it is your birthday."

"I don't mean to sound presumptuous with my employer," Neil's tone had become, if possible, even dryer, "but the normal practice is to give the gift card to the person whose birthday it actually is."

Jensen could feel Jared's soft laugh, grinned himself, "Consider it a bonus."

"Since I am stuck here until Ty comes out of the dressing room," Neil's voice had dropped into the bored tone he used when he was amused, "You can at least assure me that you both had something healthy for breakfast."

"Very healthy," Jared replied. "Scrambled eggs and turkey sausage,"

"He didn't even start a fire," Jensen added.

"How comforting. Perhaps I should point out it might be safer, in light of Jared's cooking skills, to order take out for lunch." Neil sighed, "I have to go, I am being summoned."

"Neil?" Jensen couldn't resist, "Make sure to take Ty to the boot store."

"Jensen, if I take my husband to a boot store, my next yearly bonus will be a renovation to expand our closet space."

"Bye, Neil." Jared hung up the phone, "Funny, I seem to recall it was somebody else who tried to set stuff on fire."

"Once." Jensen pushed himself up again so that Jared could put the phone away, "And it was mostly Chris and Steve's fault."

"Yeah, right." Jared slid his arms around Jensen again, "Who was it who decided to use too much lighter fluid?"

"I thought you wanted to run through lines." Jensen let his voice slide into a grumble.

Jared shifted, and there was a small huff of laughter by Jensen's ear as Jared held the pages up again, "Sure. How about you be the hot, sexy secretary this time?"

"Absolutely. But I think you have more of the ass for it." Jensen started with the first line of dialogue, and they ran through it a couple more times, until Jared had the scene cold.

"Thank you." The way Jared said it, Jensen could hear the relief in his voice, "Guess we should hit the video games now?"

"Actually, I want to walk." Jensen pushed himself up once again. To be honest, he really didn't, but the rain yesterday had meant canceling his usual swim, and he'd skipped his usual Sunday morning PT session. He was still loose thanks to last night's massage, and he was warm and comfortable, but he knew his muscles would start locking up if he didn't get up and move.

Jared's voice was heavy with doubt, "You sure?"

"Well, it's either that or go for a swim." He actually preferred swimming over the effort of walking, but he didn't want to go through the hassle, which would entail getting changed and into the pool, and then having to go through the bigger hassle of getting out, and dry and dressed again. "I need to stretch."

"OK." Jared scooted backwards, then got up. Jensen was reminded then why he usually avoided the stupid chaise longues--they were always too damn low. Jared reached down, all but picking him up as he helped him stand. Jared changed his grip on Jensen's arm, using his other hand to straighten Jensen's jacket, "Good?"

Jensen forced down the frustration, biting back the comment he would've made if Neil had been there. "Yeah, thanks."

"Hey." Jared was giving him another of those looks, "You know I don't mind, right?"

"Yeah, but... " He immediately bit back that comment, too. He knew people expected him to complain, or to throw a pity party for himself, and he fucking refused to do it. "Come on, there's a path this way."

Jared scrunched his face up, one of those rare times when Jensen couldn't figure out what he was thinking, but let Jensen tuck his arm in his, and opened the other gate, which led to Beth's side of the house.

When they'd bought the house, the front yard was already full of trees and plants to screen the place from the road. Beth had dismantled and dug up most of her old garden, which was more an open air studio for her photography business, and brought it with her. Not only the plants, but also benches and statues and arbors had been hauled over. She'd immediately commandeered the west corner of the backyard, and then used the move as an excuse to expand the garden. To be honest, it was the only part of the property beyond the pool that Jensen was familiar with, because she'd intentionally put in a wide, hard path so it was wheelchair accessible.

Jensen crossed the patio behind Beth's part of the house, and as they took the path, Jared looked over at him, his eyes soft, teasing. "I didn't know we were going for a romantic stroll."

It was romantic. Masses of roses and vines climbed over arbors and pillars, and rambled around statues and potted plants. Jensen had no idea how Beth and her gardeners did it, but he'd never seen the garden when it didn't seem like most of the flowers were in bloom. It said something that romance hadn't even crossed his mind--he'd just been thinking it was the easiest place for him to walk. More proof he needed to get his head out of his ass and start putting Jared in the center of his life.

They came upon a long curved bench, and Jared nodded at it, "You want to sit down?"

"No, the ponds are just ahead."

A couple of minutes later, they went around a bend in the path, and saw the ponds. Water splashed down a couple of low waterfalls, into a pond, and then down another waterfall, into a much larger pond. On either side, low rambling roses and green hedges stretched out towards the distant trees that edged this side of the property. Their arrival must have startled one of the native turtles that inhabited the pond--it skittered off the rock where it'd been sunning itself and into the water with a splash, surfacing near a reed bed on the other side, from where it looked back at them with a steadfast gaze.

Jared whistled, "Holy shit, there's more garden."

"Yeah, well, the place came with the original four acres." Jensen slowed as they came to another bench.

"Four acres?" Jared kept a hand under his elbow until he was seated, then sat down, too. "It doesn't look that big."

Jensen glanced over at the ponds, and it suddenly hit him that he hadn't been out here since May, proof of how much his life had changed since the last surgery. Before, when the pain had gotten really bad, he'd spent hours out here. The sound of water, watching the wildlife, it'd helped, especially when he was too fucked up on drugs to be able to focus on work. Thanks to the surgery, he'd lost the strength he'd worked so hard for, and he suspected the hardware in his back had permanently screwed up his balance, but it was all worth it--anything was better than the constant, grinding pain he'd been in.

"Jensen?" Jared slipped an arm around him, "What were you thinking earlier?"

Jensen hesitated. He knew what was bothering him. At least he thought he did, but he wasn't really sure how to put it into words.

"It's really beautiful here," Jared said softly, filling the silence.

"Yeah, it is." Jensen licked his lips, stalling, because he knew Jared was trying to nudge him into talking, but he wasn't sure how to answer.

Jared unwrapped his arm and stood, only to kneel in front of him. "Hey." He crossed his arms, propped them on Jensen's knees, "You know I don't mind helping you, right?"

He dragged back on a smile, because Jared was looking at him much too intently, "Yeah, I know."

"OK, well, the other half of that is you can talk to me. I--" Jared bit his lip, "Look, you've always been willing to be there for me, and I know I haven't--"

"Jared--"

"No, it's true. There's been a lot of times when I should've been there for you, and I wasn't, and I get why it's gotta be hard for you to rely on me now--"

"It's not that." Jensen cut him off, wishing Jared would stop trying to take the blame for everything. "It's just--it's different, OK?"

Jared tipped his head back, studying him for a second. "Different? Like me and Neil? Or like, now--and back then?"

"All of it." Jensen knew he said it too sharply, but how was he supposed to explain it a way that made sense, when it didn't even make sense to him? For the past couple of months, he'd started looking forward to the weekends. He liked watching TV together on Friday nights, and getting to spend the first hour or so on Saturday and Sunday mornings alone with Jared. Especially since he couldn't help but notice how different things were between him and Jared now. The Jared he used to know would've never been happy to just spend time with him.

And yet, once the weekend inevitably arrived, he found himself confused.

He liked being alone with Jared, but he also hated having to rely on him for help. Hell, he hated relying on anybody for help. Neil understood that, tried to give him space, and did things as quickly and efficiently as he could. Jared was just the opposite, always in Jensen's personal space, using everything as an excuse to touch him or joke around. He realized Jared's gaze was boring into him, searching, concerned.

"Look," he tried again, sighed, "I--this is hard." Jared's concern turned into a frown, and Jensen gave him a rueful smile, "Stop looking so worried, you haven't done anything wrong."

"Good to know."

"Come on. Come, sit beside me." Jensen waited until Jared settled on the bench again, slipped an arm around his shoulders. He still didn't know where exactly to start, found himself fumbling for words, "I guess, I'm just getting used to, I don't know, everything."

Jared's frown deepened. "You mean, me helping you?"

Jensen nodded, "But it's not you, or anything you're doing, it's just... " He trailed off, still searching for the right words.

"Different?" Jared let his arm slide down further, tightening the embrace, "You know, my shrink, she says that people don't really bring baggage into a relationship, it's more---more like we bring bad habits and patterns." He stopped talking for a moment, staring out at the pond. "When I was with Sandy, I was already avoiding stuff by drinking. And the things she did, it was because she already had, like, a pattern, things she did because that was how she was used to coping with losing her parents and all. I should've gotten her help, but instead, it was like her way of dealing with stuff just fed into my way of dealing with stuff, and then when you and I got together, I kept doing the same stuff."

He opened his mouth to point out that Jared needed to stop blaming himself, but Jared shook his head, "What I'm trying to get at is that one of bad habits I learned from Sandy was that everything was supposed to be 50/50."

Jensen shut his mouth, startled, because that was what a relationship was, making sure things were fair for both partners.

"Yeah, I didn't get it at first either." Jared unwrapped his arm, and leaned forward, his elbows on his knees, eyes fixed on the ground, "When Sandy and I were together, if we bought something, we each paid half. If we went on vacation, she would book the hotel room, and I'd make the plane reservations, then we'd split the cost. But we were doing that with everything else, too. If I wanted to go out with my friends, and she didn't want to, then I'd get mad because I'd already gone out with her last weekend, and I thought she owed me. It was like I was carrying this scorecard around in my head."

He raised his head, glancing over at Jensen, "After Sandy and I broke up, and we got together, you and I started doing the same exact thing, but my shrink pointed out that relationships don't work that way. If you love somebody, you should be willing to give 100% every day, no matter what. Maybe the other person is having a bad day, and they can only give 20%, so you have to give 80%, but it's OK, because then the next day something happens and you can only give 30%, and your partner will give 70%.

"You know," Jared dropped his voice, talking more slowly, "when I first started helping you, it was, uh, kind of weird, because I found I really didn't mind doing it, and I know that back when I was drinking, I... I would have." He gave a small shrug, his eyes sliding away, "But she made me realize that it's actually a good thing, because I'm not thinking about how you're supposed to meet me halfway anymore."

Jensen found himself trying to wrap his head around what Jared was saying. It felt almost like a slap--or a wakeup call. He'd always thought that a relationship meant two equal partners, and he'd always assumed that meant making sure things were 50/50. The bit about keeping a scorecard hit close to home, too. He didn't want to admit it, but the past month he'd been feeling resentful. October was always a hectic month for CGI shops, and he'd been struggling to juggle his own job, along with all the decisions and other stupid B.S. that kept coming up for the marriage ceremony, because it was too much for Jared to cope with.

"Jensen?" Jared looked back at him.

"When you put it that way, it does sound pretty fucked up." Jensen forced himself to keep his eyes on Jared's face, but now he was thinking about other crap he'd pulled--like being less than understanding about Jared's freak outs over his two year anniversary a couple of weeks ago. He forced his right arm to move, and Jared took the hint, sat up and reached for his hand, "I should've said this before, but I--I'm glad you keep insisting on helping me, and I'm sorry I keep biting your head off."

Apparently Jared hadn't expected him to be that candid, because he stared at Jensen for a long second, then he leaned in, with a slight smile, "So you admit that I have the right to nag?"

"No. But I should be thanking you for nagging." Jensen turned his head, letting his forehead rest against Jared's, "I don't like the way we used to be." As soon as the words slipped out, it dawned on him that maybe he could've been less blunt, but Jared's other hand came up, thumb tracing along Jensen's jaw.

"Me too."

Maybe what he'd said had been less than tactful, but from Jared's reaction, it had obviously been the right words. "I'm gonna do my damnedest not to let it happen again."

"Me too."

They both fell silent, listening to the sounds of nature around them. Jensen nestled into the warmth of Jared's arm, and Jared seemed happy just to sit with him.

"This is nice," Jensen finally said, his voice a little husky with emotions he was still trying to process.

"Yeah, it is," Jared agreed, "but I'm just wondering if maybe we shouldn't..." He stopped, interrupted by the alarm on Jensen's wrist monitor, grimaced as he released Jensen's hand to shut it off. "Saved by the bell, I guess."

Jensen sighed. "Yeah."

Jared stretched, got to his feet, "Well, come on, we need to head back, otherwise, you'll have to pee on Beth's roses, and I'm not so sure she'd like that."

Jensen accepted Jared's assistance to stand without argument. He'd stiffened up in the time they'd been sitting, was ready to get moving again, and he'd also taken Jared's words very much to heart. "Pretty sure she wouldn't," he grinned, tipping his head back, "And what were you about to say... before, I mean?"

"Um... that we should head back?"

Jensen looked at him, but Jared seemed relaxed, so apparently whatever he'd meant to say wasn't that big a deal. He let it go, let Jared take some more of his weight, "OK."

~~+~~


They walked back towards the house, Jared trying not to worry, and largely failing. It'd been a fairly long walk out to the pond, at least for Jensen, and sitting on the hard concrete bench hadn't helped. Jensen was moving slower, leaning more heavily on him. They reached the end of the path, where it dead ended into the flagstone patio behind Beth's side of the house. Jared noticed there was another path connected to the patio, one that ran in a large sweeping loop around the side of the house, and he was reminded, again, that the property was huge.

"Does that lead to the front yard?"

Jensen glanced over, checking to see where Jared was pointing, "I don't know. I guess so."

"You have been in your front yard, right?"

"No." Jensen paused, waiting for Jared to open the gate.

Jared had meant it as a joke, and for a second he was floored--how did a guy live some place for over three years without setting foot in his own front yard? He opened the gate, curiosity getting the better of him. "But you've been to Beth's and Jennifer's, right?"

"Yes. Dennis' birthday generally falls around the time of Superbowl, so we have the party at their place."

Jared made sure the gate was shut behind them, guided Jensen to the patio door that led to their bedroom. "And Jennifer?"

"Never had a reason to." He said it matter-of-factly, and Jared waited, expecting Jensen to say something else, or at least acknowledge that was a little weird. Instead, Jensen looked up at him, "What?"

"Nothing." Jared helped Jensen into the bathroom and through the necessary task. "You want to sit? I'll get your chair."

"Yeah." Jensen nodded, grudgingly admitting he needed to sit down, "Thanks."

Jared walked down the hall to the kitchen, still thinking about what Jensen had just said. It couldn't just be an accessibility thing--Jennifer's house was a single story guest house in the backyard of the most accessible house Jared had ever been in. At the very worst, all it could have is a couple of low steps at the front. No, this was something else. He frowned as he crouched to disconnect the power cable to the chair, puzzling it out.

He and Jensen had always been at opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to socializing. Jensen liked to stay at home, or maybe go to a party at another friend's house, while Jared preferred to go out. Now, though--he could actually count in his head the number of times he and Jensen had gone anywhere since they got back together. Jensen had become a recluse--albeit one surrounded by friends--and it wasn't healthy.

Jared unplugged the chair, threw it into neutral. Maybe he should drag Jensen over to Jennifer's for supper--

His phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket, looked at the screen, and shook his head as he answered, "Hey, Neil."

"Hello, Jared. I've been informed that there is a container of diced chicken on the bottom shelf of the second refrigerator, along with a container of fresh salad dressing." He heard Ty's voice in the background, and then Neil spoke again, "There's also a bag of salad mix in the produce drawer."

"Thank you. Give me a minute." Jared hit the mute, dropped the phone in his shirt pocket, so he could maneuver the chair with both hands. Although he was sure this was Neil's excuse to call and check on them, he was grateful because that solved two problems. He hadn't given any thought yet to lunch and if they had something healthy, he wouldn't feel that guilty about ordering something unhealthy for dinner. He'd made the mistake of giving Neil access to his medical records a couple of months ago, and of course, Neil had immediately zeroed in on his ALT and cholesterol numbers. The result was he was now eating healthier than he had in years--and although he wouldn't admit it out loud, feeling the better for it.

Maybe burgers or fried chicken--or even pizza. Pizza sounded awesome, in fact.

He steered the chair down the hall, to the bedroom, and into the bathroom, pulled the phone back out, hovering as Jensen pushed himself up. "Sorry, I'm back. And yes, I'll make something healthy for lunch, despite the fact you said we could order takeout."

"Is that Neil?" Jensen gave an eye roll as he sat down.

"Yep. Here," Jared held the phone up to Jensen's ear, while he repositioned Jensen's right arm.

"I thought I was getting rid of you for the day." Jensen listened, then threw his head back, laughing at whatever Neil said, and Jared's heart stuttered. God, how he loved seeing Jensen like this--happy and relaxed.

"Yeah, he is. Yes, I will." Jensen pulled his head away, "Ty wants to talk to you."

Jared dutifully put the phone to his ear, "Hey, Ty."

"Hey, sweetie." He could hear the concern in Ty's voice, "How are you doing?"

"I'm--" Jared stopped himself, because he'd been about to say 'fine', but truthfully, he hadn't really been paying much attention to where his head was. And he didn't know how Ty managed it, but he almost always saw through Jared's attempts to bluff. "I'm...I'm good. Really." He was a bit surprised to find out that he meant it. He was a little jittery, still worried that things might go bad, but he also felt like maybe he was finally getting a chance to be Jensen's partner.

"All right, baby. But you call us if you need anything, OK?"

"Yes, Ty." Jared hung up, shaking his head at the mother hen tone he heard, although deep down he didn't actually mind. Ty was just Ty.

Thanks to Ty's forethought, lunch was easy. The only thing Jared had to be careful of was checking the salad mix. Although it was already shredded, he knew Jensen wouldn't eat anything he had to fight with. He carefully picked out a few bigger pieces of lettuce, then cut up some tomatoes, and mixed it all with the chopped chicken and the dressing, tossed the contents of the bowl to blend in the dressing.

At one point, Jared looked up, caught Jensen watching him, a slightly sleepy smile on his face. He was feeling a little sleepy himself. While it hadn't exactly been a strenuous morning, at least for Jared, they'd spent a lot of time out in the sun, and that always made him tired.

Jared split the contents of the mixing bowl between two smaller bowls, then rinsed the oil off his hands, dried them on a towel. "Tap or cold?" he asked, holding up a plastic cup.

"Tap, thanks."

He nodded, poured water for Jensen and juice for himself. Set their food and cups down.

"Two meals in one day?" Jensen's mouth quirked up. "You got any other hidden talents I should know about?"

An idea wriggled in then, and Jared went with it. "Actually, I was thinking, we could order take out tonight--maybe pizza? If we went over to Jennifer's, she could hide the evidence."

"I'd love pizza. And I'm sure the kids would, too." Jensen was eying him, though, seeing right through his flimsy excuse to get them out of the house.

"I'll call her later, then." Jared kind of wanted to press the matter, but he already knew that no matter how many times he brought it up, Jensen didn't see anything wrong with the fact he didn't go anywhere. Jared let it go for now, silently resolving he was going to get better at dragging Jensen out more. He picked up his fork with his right hand, wrapping his left hand around Jensen's right hand.

Jensen actually ate two-thirds of his lunch, and then Jared nagged him into drinking most of a second glass of water, while he put the dishes in the dishwasher. He turned, yawned. "OK, I'm ready for a nap, even if you're not."

Jensen gave him an eye roll, but followed him to the bedroom anyway. He got Jensen settled, then slid into bed beside him, tucked his arm around Jensen, pulling him close.

"Jared?" Jensen's voice was low, sleepy. "Are you OK?"

He knew what Jensen was asking, and he didn't really have an answer. Being alone with Jensen for a whole day was big--huge, in fact--and he should be freaking out. Except he wasn't, not really. He thought about that for a moment.

He knew his worst freakouts always occurred when things were going well. So did this mean that... no, he wasn't going to go there, they were having a good day, a great day, in fact. He wasn't going to self-sabotage this.

"Jared?" Jensen asked again.

"Yeah," he said, somewhat tentatively, then with more conviction. "Yeah, I'm good." Jared knew he'd never had much of a concept of personal space, but he'd also discovered that there were definite advantages to this, since it meant he was able to feel Jensen’s body suddenly relax, the tension leaving him completely. Not that Jensen had ever really minded when Jared invaded his personal space.

In fact, with him and Jensen, it was usually the case that the closer they were, the more they touched, the better it was for both of them. It hadn't taken either of them long to work out how much Jensen craved touch, and in particular, his touch. It was also one of Jared's best ways of gauging how Jensen was actually feeling--what his mouth didn't say, his body did. Jared knew without doubt that he had been believed when Jensen relaxed so quickly.

He pressed closer, half-listening to Jensen's steady breathing, let himself relax, drift down into sleep.

~~+~~


Jensen's arm jerked, pulling Jared out of sleep. He opened his eyes, then realized it was just a muscle spasm. He sneaked a peek at the alarm clock, was surprised to see he'd slept for over an hour and half. Jensen's arm jerked again, and he reached down, gently put it back on the pillow, snuggled closer.

He was happy.

The thought came out of the blue. That was the weird, elusive feeling that he'd been trying to put his finger on all day. He had Jensen, he'd made his two year anniversary, and he was happy. Jared lay there, not sure what exactly he was supposed to do, or how to process that. He couldn't remember the last time he'd felt.... Well, this OK, both with himself and where his life was.

Jensen stirred beside him, and he dropped a kiss on the nape of Jensen's neck, "You awake?"

"Yeah." Jensen was still waking up; he slurred the word a little.

He moved again, and Jared figured it out, got up and grabbed the urinal. "Here. I got it."

Jensen pulled a face, but let him handle things, "Shouldn't have drunk that second glass of water."

"You needed it. You'd been outside, walking around." He heard the definite nagging tone in his voice, and threw Jensen a smile, "Sorry."

Jensen gave him a feigned look of shock, "You're not freaking out about anything and you're not nagging. Who are you, and what have you done with my fiancé?"

"Shut up." He got up, dropped another kiss onto Jensen's forehead, went to empty the urinal. Came back and helped Jensen get up. "I'll call Jennifer while you check your email, see if she's willing to order pizza--and hide the evidence."

"Actually, I was thinking video games." Jensen leaned against him, tipped his head back, "Krystal or Amy will call if there's something urgent."

"I think," Jared wrapped his arms around Jensen, letting himself just enjoy holding Jensen, being with him, "we've been replaced by pod people."

"Probably." Jensen's laugh was quiet, more of a vibration, "Next thing you know, I'll start listening to Neil and you'll start listening to Mike."

"Then we'll get married, have a bunch of kids..." Jared let Jensen go, but sneaked in one more kiss.

"Buy a new house, because this one is too small..." Jensen teased back, as Jared followed him out of the room.

"And a minivan. Don't forget the minivan." Jared matched his steps to Jensen's slower ones, hovering until they reached the couch in the living room.

"Riiighhht." Jensen pulled another face when Jared put a hand under his elbow, supporting him as he sat down. "Emilio would shoot both of us if we bought a minivan."

Jared laughed, remembering how much Emilio had bitched last month when the SUV was in the shop, and he'd had to use Beth's minivan. He waited until Jensen was settled, then pulled out his cell phone.

Once he'd made arrangements with Jennifer to come over for dinner, he crouched down to get the game console out of the low cupboard under the TV and connected it up. It was an old Atari that his brother had brought with him when he came to LA for a medical conference in early October. Veronique's parents, Jeff's in-laws, had kept it in good working order, and sent it, along with a number of games, and while it lacked the pizzazz of a more modern console and controller, Jensen had found the standard Atari joystick was easier to use. To be honest, they 'd both found that the simpler games could be challenging as well, and fun, and it was actually helping Jensen's fine motor skills, since he could use the controller properly with his left hand, provided it was held down well enough not to move.

Jared stretched the cables across the floor and stuck the joystick down onto the Velcro tab Ty had attached to the arm of the couch when they'd finally gotten sick of searching for duct tape or other more inventive ways to hold it steady, and thought fleetingly of the high-tech, multi-system, customized accessible hand control he'd ordered as a Christmas gift Jensen a few weeks before. "OK, is that good?" Jared asked, checking how he'd positioned the controller.

Jensen reached for the joystick, made sure he could comfortably maneuver it and reach the button, and gave a nod, raised his elbow so Jared could slide a cushion underneath his arm to stop the edge of the controller from rubbing against his hand.

"Frogger?" Jared asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Yup." He tilted his head, gave Jared a relaxed smile.

"Didn't really need to ask, did I," Jared grinned, and crouched again to sift through the box of games for the right one, slotted it into place.

"Why mess with a classic?"

Jared got up, went over and sat down beside him. "Thank you."

Jensen raised his eyebrows, "For what?"

He grabbed the second remote, snuck in a quick kiss, "Because you make me happy."

"Uh, you're welcome." Jensen was looking at him a little too intently.

He smiled, knowing exactly what Jensen thinking, "I'm not about to freak out, I promise." He leaned in, snuck a quick kiss before starting the game. "And now? I'm going to kick your ass."

Jensen was still giving him a look, but his lips twitched up, "Bring it, Shorty."

~~+~~


"So, are we doing this?" Jared asked. He dropped the pile of pizza boxes on one of the kitchen counters while he felt for his phone, noticed Jensen was already pushing himself to his feet. Jared sighed and shook his head, scrolling through the phone for Jennifer's number. "Hey, Jen? We're coming over now, can someone please open the gate for us?" He grinned at the response, "Yeah, he's a stubborn fucker, all right. Be there in a few," he ended the call, and grinned again, "Come on, let's go."

He picked up the pile of boxes, waited for Jensen to grab a loose hold of his arm. He paused again to flick on the outside lighting before opening the glass door and the screen to let them both out, then closing both behind them.

Jennifer met them, leaning against the opened childproof gate, grinning from ear to ear. "What did we do to deserve this honor?" she asked with a cheeky grin. "It's only taken three years." She put her hands out to take the pile of boxes from Jared, leaving him free to assist Jensen.

"Blame Gigantor," Jensen responded, his voice amused, eyes flicking over at Jared.

"Blame him? I'm going to thank him." Jennifer's grin broadened, "You need to get out more, boss, even if it's only to the other side of your own backyard."

Jared was shaking, trying very hard not to laugh. "See, I told you."

Jennifer paused at the top of the low step, leaned up and gave Jared a peck on the cheek. Jared blushed under the attention, ducked his head and concentrated on supporting Jensen up the step. Jennifer had been hard to win over, very hard to win over. It was gratifying she was now accepting him as part of the extended "family"--that her initial enmity had faded.

She opened the door, and they were immediately greeted by cheers of, "Pizza! Pizza!"

"Yes, pizza." Jennifer put on her mom voice. "Which none of you are getting unless you put those books away like I asked. And those socks, too, Miss Traci Jacqueline Kane."

The threat worked, sent kids scampering, while Jennifer set the boxes on one of the table. Jared followed her, one hand still on Jensen's arm.

Jennifer's place was not what Jared expected. The short hall opened into a large sunny room that was a combination living room and dining room, and spilled into a decent size kitchen. She apparently wasn't afraid of color, which was obvious from the red leather couch and matching armchair, to the Fiesta dishes in the pine china cabinet, and the kitchen cabinets painted in cheerful yellow and green. Instead of art, she had quite a few large framed photos of the kids, which Jared guessed that Beth had taken.

Jennifer waved at the diorama at the other end, "Sorry, we'll have to eat around the Jurassic age, Caleb has a school project he's working on."

"That's OK, the T-Rex looks mostly harmless." Jensen let Jared pull out a chair for him. "But is it supposed to be that color?"

"No. Which is why you should never send my kids and my brother to buy plastic dinosaurs." Jennifer walked into the kitchen, pulling out plates and cups and napkins. "You end up with a glow-in-the-dark diorama. Here. Set the table."

Jared obliged her, while the kids came back in the kitchen. Caleb and his two sisters immediately started talking about pizza and the books their grandmother had sent them, while Jake crawled into in a chair at end of the table, quietly observing the hubbub. Jared put down the last plate, reached for him, "Hey, buddy. Why don't you sit with me?"

As he expected, Jake latched on and Jared found himself wondering, again, how the kid was ever going to survive kindergarten.

"Caleb, butt on seat, please." Jennifer handed Jared a knife, began passing out pizza, "Here you go, Jake, but you need to sit in your own chair. Caleb, sit, now."

Jake wriggled off Jared's lap, and onto the chair next to him, stared dubiously at the pizza. Jared looked at Jensen, amused, as he cut Jensen's pizza into more manageable pieces. Of course Jake would be the one kid on Earth who had issues with pizza.

He remembered then. "Jen? Do you have jalepenos?"

"Yes. My brother throws a hissy fit if I don't keep a jar around." Jennifer finished pouring juice, put down the jug, and crossed to the fridge. She set the jar in front of them with a teasing smile, "You're going to ruin perfectly good pizza."

"Only way to eat it." Jensen shot back.

Jared forked out a few sliced jalepenos, "That enough?"

"Yeah." Jensen picked it up, half-closing his eyes in pleasure as he ate.

Jared sat down with a smile at that. He picked up a slice, trying to remember the last time he'd had pizza. It had to be--shit, it was back when he was working on the mini-series. Barely five months, but it seemed a lifetime ago. He was suddenly very much aware of how lucky--how very, very lucky he was.

Alcohol had meant everything to him. He'd let Jensen go, lied and pushed away his family and his real friends--he would've probably even lost his career if Mike hadn't showed up. Getting through his first year of sobriety hadn't been bad--but the last year had been brutal.

If it hadn't been for Chad and Jensen and the shrink...

"I'll eat that if you don't."

Jensen's voice pulled him back. "Sorry. Just thinking." He looked over, saw the worry in Jensen's eyes. He reached over, wrapping his hand around Jensen's right hand. "I'm good. Really."

"Uh huh." Jensen raised his eyebrows, his expression saying that he would be asking questions later.

~~+~~


Jensen leaned hard into Jared's body as they walked back to the house. The night air had cooled substantially, and he found himself seeking Jared's body heat; he was hurting some, and ready to wind down the day. Jared had also fallen silent, hadn't spoken since Jennifer had fiercely hugged him before she let them out of the gate.

They were almost to the door, when Jared finally spoke, "You know, earlier, what I was thinking about was--well, how lucky I am. I love you."

"I love you, too," Then he mentally kicked himself, because the look on Jared's face told him that a lot more was going on in Jared's head--he just wasn't saying it. He waited as Jared fumbled the door open, then waited again for Jared to close the sliding glass door before speaking. "Jared?"

"Yeah?" Jared raised an eyebrow and smiled.

"Thank you for today and, uh, everything. It's been really good, just... us."

"Not a problem," Jared pulled him closer, "I kinda like being with you."

"It's been a really long time--like, years--since we did anything like that, just hung out for a whole day. " He let Jared take his weight, suddenly feeling tired and glad to be back home. Tipped his head back, "So yeah, thanks..."

Jared took the hint, dropped a soft kiss on Jensen's lips, "I've enjoyed it, too."

"And... well, you haven't even looked like you were losing it, not once." He gave Jared a smile as Jared stepped away to unplug Jensen's chair. "I know this kind of stuff is hard for you, and I--I'm really proud of how you coped today."

Jared crouched down to unplug the power cord from Jensen's chair so it could be used. "I... well, uh, I don't know what to say." He stood up, ran a hand through his hair self-conciously. "I'm just..."

Jensen nodded, "Yeah." He accepted Jared's hand to sit, started the wheelchair in the direction of their bedroom, then reconsidered and turned it to face him. "I'm pretty damn lucky, too." For a long moment they just grinned at each other. Jensen spoke first, "Come on, let's grab a shower and watch a movie before we turn into total girls, and if you're good," he winked, "I'll even let you give me a massage."

"Sure." Jared dropped a hand on his head, fingers ruffling Jensen's hair, grinning at the scowl Jensen threw at him.

~~+~~


Jensen sat down in the shower chair and Jared let go of his arm. "Give me a sec, OK?

Jensen gave him a curious look, and Jared grinned back at him. He'd gone step-by-step through the rest of Jensen's nighttime routine, carefully following Neil's instructions to the letter--mostly because he'd been looking forward to this. He stepped out of the huge shower enclosure and stripped off his clothes.

"Since Neil's not here, I thought..." He stepped back in, and caught Jensen's expression. He swallowed a sigh and moved behind Jensen. He leaned over, wrapping his arms around him, "Hey, I just want to shower with you, that's all."

Jensen nodded, and Jared didn't have to see his face to know he wasn't convinced. He wished there was some way to convince Jensen that the whole sex thing wasn't that big a deal. Over the past four months, through trial and error, they'd discovered Jensen performed better if they spaced it out and had sex every other day, sometimes every couple of days if Jensen was really tired. He knew it bugged Jensen, but he honestly didn't mind. Jared knew enough now about spinal cord injuries now to know that they were lucky if that was the biggest problem Jensen had in that department. And yeah, OK, there was also the intercourse thing, but it wasn’t that big a deal either.

"Come on, relax. How often do we get to shower naked together?"

Jensen was still tense, but his tone turned dry, "I think most people shower naked. At least, I hope so."

It was a start, and Jared straightened with a chuckle, reached for the shampoo. "Yes, but most people don't get to shower with me. Tip your head back."

Jensen tipped his head back, "Not so sure showering with you is a perk..."

"Shut up." He began working the shampoo in, "I've been looking forward to doing this for a while."

He had, too. He began massaging Jensen's scalp and was rewarded a second later by Jensen making a small, happy sound. Jared grinned to himself, slowed his hands some more. His thoughts from early came back and he was very aware of just how much of his life he'd totally missed because the only relationship he'd ever cared about was the one he'd had with alcohol. He knew he'd taken showers with Jensen before, but he couldn't even remember anything specific. Shit, but he'd missed so, so much, and if he hadn't gotten sober, and if Jensen hadn't take him back...

How had a fuck up like him gotten so lucky?

Jensen was completely relaxed now, and he reached for the sprayer, put one hand above Jensen's eyes, as he rinsed the shampoo out.

"You didn't have to stop."

Jared smiled at the slight whine in Jensen's voice. He put the sprayer back, reached for the liquid body soap and a washcloth, "Yeah, but now I get to feel you up."

"Pervert." Jensen's tone was teasing, but he was tensing up again.

"Yeah, well, I can't help it, " Jared knelt, reached for Jensen's left leg, "You're sorta hot, you know."

"Sorta? Thanks."

Jared laughed as he began lathering Jensen's skin, being extra careful of the hyper-sensitive patch by Jensen's knee, "You're welcome."

It took another fifteen minutes to finish the shower, help Jensen dry off. He tossed the towel in the laundry basket, then wrapped his arms around Jensen, letting them both enjoy the contact of skin on skin. Jensen leaned into him, and Jared took more of his weight, happy to just be here. With Jensen.

Simple, uncomplicated.

Everything else seemed really, really complicated lately--Jensen's job, getting physically ready for his next role, the interviews he had to do next week, trying to squeeze in his meetings and the shrink and the wedding...

OK, maybe not the wedding. It dawned on him that he had no idea what the cake was going to be--or even if it'd been ordered. Which was kind of funny.

Jensen pulled back at his giggle, gave him a look, "Do I want to know what you're thinking?"

"No, not really." He ducked his head, Jensen's mouth sweet heat against his. Oh holy shit, but he loved kissing Jensen. Especially naked. He felt Jensen's right leg tremble and he broke it off, "Come on, let's watch a movie."
~~+~~


Jared inserted a disk into the DVD player, and while it loaded, slid into bed and positioned himself and Jensen in a comfortable cuddle; Jensen leaning back against him, with Jared's legs either side.

"All good?" he asked, snagging the remote from the nightstand and hitting “play".

"Uh huh," He didn't have to see Jensen's face to know he was smiling as the familiar jungle noises and music of the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark kicked in.

It was still Jensen's favorite of all the Indiana Jones movies. They watched as Indy was outsmarted by the wily Frenchman Belloq in the opening sequence, and Jensen reached out, his left hand groping for a hold of Jared's. Jared wrapped an arm around him, dropping a kiss on Jensen's head as he settled against him.

Jensen finally managed to wrap his fingers around Jared's hand, gave it a squeeze. "Thank you," his voice was tired, husky, "for today. I... uh... it's been... we should..." He took a breath, “We need to do this more often. We make a pretty good team, you and me."

"Yeah, we do," Jared agreed softly. "And yeah, I'd like that. Now watch the movie, dude. No more chick-flick moments."

Jensen was definitely sleepy, his laugh was very close to a giggle. "You're not Dean."

"No, and you're not either." He dropped another kiss on Jensen's head, and waited for it. Sure enough, Jensen slowly let go of his hand as he dozed off.

Jared waited until Jensen's breathing was even, then muted the movie, and gently rolled him on his side, head against his chest so he'd be more comfortable. Jensen didn't even wake, and Jared smiled to himself, ran his hand over Jensen's jaw, then gently carded his fingers through the short hair at the nape of Jensen's neck. He noticed again how beautiful Jensen was--the slant of his nose, the long eyelashes, slight scattering of freckles. He was also warm, and the mattress top was soft, and he let his mind drift, content to simply watch Jensen sleep.

His phone vibrated. He inched over, snagged it from the nightstand. Checked the number, rolling his eyes because it was Ty. "Hey, Ty."

"Hey, sweetie. We're going to catch a movie--so we won't be home until eleven. How was the dessert?" Ty had called earlier, while they were playing video games, and Ty, being Ty, picked up their earlier conversation as if no time had passed.

Jensen mumbled in his sleep, and Jared switched the phone to his other ear, gently rubbed Jensen's back. "Actually, we never got to it. We went over to Jennifer's and ate instead."

"See, baby?" He could hear the warm approval in Ty's voice. "I keep telling you--you're good for him."

Yeah." Jared continued to rub, and Jensen's breath evened out again. "And you can tell Neil we're fine--in fact, Jensen's already asleep."

"Sounds like you could use some extra sleep as well." Ty made a small clucking sound, "You've been training way too hard."

"I'll go to bed as soon as I give Jensen his meds--promise."

"All right, we'll be home at eleven, all right?"

"Yes, mom." Jared hung up, amused. Ty reminded him a lot of his mom sometimes--they had this weird need to constantly repeat themselves. He glanced at the time, saw it was nearly an hour until he had to wake Jensen, give him his meds and a massage. He set an alarm on his phone just in case, and then went back to watching Jensen sleep.

~~Finis~~
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June 2012

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