rating. PG, for the most part. Gets R-ish towards the end with a nice PWP finish.
characters/pairings. Jensen Ackles/Jared Padalecki. Minor OMCs + OFCs, with appearances by Sandy(?) and the The Amazing Mechanic!dogs Sadie and Harley.
warnings. General Narrative Strangeness, "experimental" "writing", a Scene (or several) of Much Discomfort, dubious science and some Fluffy Voyeuristic Porn.
summary. Jensen Ackles flies transport all by his lonesome - until the goddamn government agency that was supposed to find him Someone Special ends up finding him Jared Padalecki. IN SPACE.
notes. Written as a ten-part crack/happy serial, posted flocked. Gratitude to my dear flist - you know who you are. ♥♥! And especially to eboniorchid and belovedsnail for handholding, and to causette for the banner. :D
wordcount. Approx. 9100 long. Divided by section.
“Uhh,” Jensen said.
“Uhh,” Jared agreed.
Okay, so, space is really big. REALLY big. I mean, so big that if you even stopped to think about it too long your brain would explode, even though there are some people who think that space actually loops in on itself and while that’s all very good and all, Jensen’s been pretty far and he’s never seen any looping action so he’s going to operate on the assumption that space = infinite.
And it wasn’t like he couldn’t get dates, you know. He dated. He dated a lot, and often, and with very satisfied results on all sides. The fact that nobody called him afterwards was a testament to his maneuverability, not his skill. Besides, he figured if he made a deal like this, he’d have an extra hand to do all the work, and the whole sharing his life thing was a bonus, yeah. Space was pretty fucking big and it was worse when you were all alone and the shipboard computer sounds liking a fucking robot, which it was, and sometimes it was sort of nice to speak to a Real Live Person™ and the dogs never understood him anyhow.
So it wasn’t as if he was nervous or anything, not when the transport ship he was meeting docked, and if he wasn’t too disappointed when a tall gangly dude walked up to him, well, that’s because he thought the dude was his
bridecontract’s brother, or something.
Introductions consisted of the following:“Hi, uh, I’m Jensen.”At which point Jensen looked around Jared - he tried, anyways, dude was frickin' huge - and Jared flushed.
“Hey, I’m Jared.” There may have been vague handshake motions.
“Haven’t see a girl on this boat, eh?”
“Nawww, just me, I think. And the pilot, and his fucking - err, sorry - herd of cows. At least I hope those were cows, the extra heads made it kind of hard to identify and-”
“Girl,” Jensen said, and spoke slowly. “Have. You. Seen. A. Girl?”
Jared shook his head, kept his mouth shut.
“‘Cause I’m supposed to meet somebody here.”
“From an agency?”
Jensen eyed him carefully. “You didn’t eat her, did you?”
“I’m from the agency.” Jared said, kept his voice low and leaned in to whisper, “I’m supposed to meet some girl - Jen something? - apparently she needs an extra hand? Or a friend with benefits type deal? At least, I’m hoping, fucking - err, sorry - agency’s like selling yourself in slavery, but at least the money’s good and you’re pretty much set for life if you get a gig.”
“My name’s Jensen.” Jensen said irritably.
And you can pretty much guess what happened next.
Okay, so that didn’t go as planned at all, and Jensen was still trying to process the whole I just accidentally ordered myself a dude, and shouldn’t the government crack down on this whole mail order business anyways? Shit’s dangerous and Jared was staring at the dirt while they walked back to Jensen’s ship, this half-falling-apart piece of crap that was practically duct-taped together, the words HMS MORNINGSTAR scrawled across the side.
“You do know that the Morning Star is another name for the devil?”
“All the better to scare people off with.”
“And HMS is obsolete, by the way.”
Jensen shot Jared an annoyed look, but Jared kept his eyes on the ship. “Look, I know this is kind of awkward,” Jensen motioned vaguely at the space in between them, “but maybe we should take a look at the contract? I mean, uh, you seem like a really nice guy. A really nice... guy.”
“Yeah, I know.” Jared kicked at some innocent little pebble. “I was expecting a girl, you know.”
“Can I make a really bad pregnancy joke?”
“Fuck o- err, no, that’s okay, really.” And it was pretty fucking awkward. Jared kicked at some rocks again, face flushed, Jensen muttered under his breath at stupid bureaucratic mixups.
So the thing is, like I said, space is pretty large. So big that people have a hard time finding each other, much less finding each other and actually liking each other. So the government set up this agency, pretty much this matchmaking agency that promised to “Search Our Rigorous Database To Find Your Most Likely Soulmate™!” And then they slapped some fees and some fine print on the bottoms hoping people wouldn’t notice, figuring that the promise of scientifically aligned matches would be worth whatever they were charging.
It was a pathetic ad campaign, Jensen had no idea what he was thinking and why he fell for it. Government probably just cut and run with his money, shipped out the wrong dude (dude. christ.) and probably didn’t give a damn about the whole WRONG GENDER thing. And it wasn’t like he had anything against guys – he liked guys, liked ‘em a lot, but somewhere in the back of his head he was thinking nuclear family (in space. huh.) and guess that wasn’t going to happen now. And he was supposed to get a bonus for reproducing, everybody too spread out and population dropping. Shit.
“You’re not going to get your money back, you know.” Jared said. Apparently, they’d been standing at the base of his ship for a while, Jared was waving his hand slowly in front of Jensen’s face, trying to get his attention. “The more you think about it, the more depressed you’ll get.”
“I haven’t slept properly in years,” Jensen explained, “this thing creaks. A lot. And sometimes I want to throw the dogs out the airlock.”
“You wouldn’t.” Jared’s jaw dropped, as if thinking who the fuck – err – have they put me with?
“Course not. I just, you know, think about it. Sometimes. Rarely, actually. More of a passing fancy, really.”
Jared twisted a bit, tried to hide his half shocked, half amused expression.
“I’m kidding, jeez,” Jensen dropped the cargo door, stepped up, and Jared followed. “I’d never do that to the dogs.”
Jared dropped onto a random bench and looked around. “This ain’t a big ship, huh.”
“Naw, just a little one. Too much to handle on my own anyways, the dogs help but it’s still a lot.”
Jensen wasn’t looking at Jared and was therefore unable to ascertain that Jared was, in fact, asking a rhetorical question, but Jared was going to forgive him on that one because they’d just met. And it was awkward.
“The dogs help?” Jared asked while Jensen puttered around idly tiding things up and then closing the cargo doors. He looked around over the ship – it really wasn’t big, maybe as big as his house was, and that’s actually really really tiny and wee compared to even regular-sized ships – like this one was custom made for slipping under the radar. The cargo area was-
“Yeah, yeah, hold on.” Jensen whistled, and Jared felt this rumbly sort of thing, like the stabilizers were crapping out, but no. It’s two giant huge dogs with frickin’ huge paws chasing each other through the narrow corridor and he was pretty sure they were going to either a) crash into the walls or b) kill each other in a fit of coincidence.
As you may have ascertained, Jensen has two dogs. They are large and mastiff-y, and amusingly enough, they are named Harley and Sadie. I, of course, have no idea where those names came from. Needless to say, they like Jared more than they like Jensen, which actually isn’t saying much but at least they don’t try to smother Jared with a combined body weight of about 160kg. every day. They’re big dogs. Smart dogs, too, Jensen only had to forget to feed them once – that was a long time ago and he really didn’t want to get into that right now.
So the dogs rumbled through the corridor and practically jumped them both; if there was suddenly a frenzy of dog licks and bumping into each other and all over laughing, well. Nobody was really going to object.
The dogs stopped barking, and Jensen helped Jared up. It was obvious Jensen was trying to come to some sort of decision – there was no backing out of the contract but that didn’t mean much, not really.
He sighed, rocked back on his heels and stared at Jared. “Can you cook?”
“Yeah?” Jared looked at him hard, as if thinking or I can learn really really fast!, a weird vibe in the air between them.
Jensen shrugged. “You can stay.” And that was that.
Getting off the planet was the first hurdle. This following information is irrelevant to the story, but interesting nonetheless. Jensen and his very crappy-looking ship were – and are – very good at doing what they do. That is, a superfast courier. Superfast didn’t mean much when everything traveled at near speed of light, especially between solar systems, but very few people were as good handling a ship and nearly all of them had much more expensive rates. So, Jensen was an intergalactic courier and he traveled a lot, very fast, and very often.
Actually, interestingly enough, apparently time slows down the faster you go, and once you get to speed of light it pretty much stops. Apparently. The science on this is ambiguous at best. Jensen liked the thought, though – meant that despite the fact he was about twenty-nine earth solar years old, his body was more like twenty-seven.
He did a lot of traveling.
And like I was saying, the first hurdle was getting off the planet. Jensen had done it by himself hundreds – maybe thousands – of times, but Jared was wandering around kind of aimlessly; picking up objects, setting them down, moving stuff around, and any second he was going to get knocked over by one of the dogs and their frenetic runs back and forth between the bridge and the engine room, and then he was going to get hurt and Jensen would be behind schedule or something and–
“Sit down.” Jensen said. Irritably. He pointed at the skinny co-pilot chair and Jared leveled a glare at him.
“You really think I’m gonna fit in that?”
“You really want to get flattened when gravity starts doing crazyass things to you?”
Jared smacked Jensen’s shoulder, and Jensen was suddenly weirded out by the casual touching; he hadn’t forgotten he’d paid for a bride and even though he’d got a dude, it was still– there were still– shit. Jared wriggled around trying to fit – his legs were jammed up awkwardly under the ship’s dash, and Sadie was nosing at his hands with a three-quarter wrench.
Jensen looked over, “Buckle yourself in.” Jared snapped the buckles tight across his chest and down by his hips, took the offered wrench and closed the buckle locks. See, the theory is that taking off into space was taxing on your system, and you could very well pass out. Being tucked in nicely kept you from banging around and breaking shit. The other prevailing reason was that if for some reason the ship lost compression, you wouldn’t get sucked through into space and there’d by something left to ship your family. Space travel was both sympathetic and cruelly pragmatic.
Once cruising speed was reached, everything was pretty much okay.
“If you’re going to stick around, you’re going to have to learn how to fight. Or run really really fast, but the best defence is a good offense.”
Jared giggled – strictly in his head! – at the archaic hockey analogy. “I know how to fight!”
Jensen rolled his eyes. “Naw, you think you know how to fight, all you really know are some pussy moves. Seriously.”
“I know Krav Maga!” Jared would have pouted if he thought Jensen would have fallen for it.
“That’s a good start, actually – dirty Israeli streetfighting from the twentieth century? Time-proven, that’s for sure. But fighting out here – it’s all in perception, I swear. I have this tiny piece of crap ship, and I’ve scared off people way bigger. Now, don’t take none of this personal, alright?”
Jensen picked up up a knife, this wicked looking serrated edge thing, and flipped it over, skill evident in his motions. “Scared?”
“Take me in a fight?” Jensen flipped the knife in the air again, caught it without even looking.
Abruptly, Jensen dropped the knife, started waving his arms around and screaming, “I’M GONNA EAT YOUR EYEBALLS WITH HOT SAUCE! I’M GONNA RIP YOUR EYELASHES OUT ONE BY ONE! YOU THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME? I’M GOING TO RIP YOUR SKIN FROM YOUR BODY AND MAKE A WALLET! AAAAAAHHHHHHHH-”
Jared flinched. Jensen settled down, shook his head and grinned.
“See? It’s all in the presentation.”
“You’re a crazy son of a bitch.”
“And doesn’t my mother know it.”
This is the Sort-Of-Serious Chapter.
They spent two weeks floating in space. Not floating, exactly, they were moving at close to speed of light the whole time, but it felt like floating, this weird mmmmmm in the air that meant you were moving but you can’t feel yourself moving and you can only wait to drop. Bizarre. And the stars on one side of the ship were so much brighter than the stars on the other side, due to that whole speed-of-light thing.
Their time was used as follows:1. Sleeping.The whole quarters issue could have been awkward, but it wasn’t. Jensen wasn’t exactly expecting to hop into bed with the girl he was expecting anyways – he set up a room (took him a while, too) but the pretty and soft feminine things he’d picked up weren't exactly appropriate anymore. Ended up giving his room to Jared (so he wouldn’t know the difference, hopefully) and took the room he’d set up. Packed up the pretty things and shoved them into a storage container somewhere on the E-deck, at least until he could sell it, or give it away.
Jared noticed, of course. Tried to hint that he was cool with pink, but he wasn’t sure Jensen got it.
2. Eating.As it turns out, Jared is not a half bad cook. I mean, he pretty much can only handle beans and rice, but it’s better than the reconstituted glop Jensen’s been eating. He was quick on the uptake, and kind of liked cooking – sort of like chemistry, and he’d always been good at science – and while they didn’t exactly eat the best food ever, it was cheap and filling. Good stuff, you know. Comfort food. Jensen had half an inclination that was more for Jared than for him, but he could hardly blame the guy.
3. Learning About The ShipJensen handed Jared this huge manual on their very first day, this three-inch thick book with a cheery You and Your Hyperfast Light-class Spacecraft in big yellow letters, scattered through with diagrams. It took a little for Jared to get used to paper again, but once he did it was easy reading. Too easy– made him wonder if Jensen either dumbed it down or modded the ship up. He assumed “modded the ship up”.
4. Learning About Each Other.This, of course, was not an activity as such defined. It’s inevitable, of course, when you’re stuck in a tiny little ship with no other company, and it’s definitely a good thing, more or less. You learn all the crap and all the good stuff, and if you’re lucky the interesting outweighs not interesting.
By now they both understood the value of good company.
Jensen learned that Jared was of average education, from a trading family on the peripheral planets, had a weird and quirky sense of humour, and that he’d been so in the red he’d sold his name to The Database and agreed to be matched up with absolutely anyone in exchange for money to pay off his huge gambling debts and maybe enough to eat. And that he’d spent over a year on The Database before they matched him with someone, and they fucked it up in the process. Jensen wanted to fuck up their sysadmins so so bad.
Jared learned that Jensen dropped out in the eleventh form, hated to be interfered with, and was sarcastic more often than not. It took some getting used to. Hated decaffeinated anything, only managed about four hours of sleep at a time, talked in his sleep. Jared knew that because Jensen fell asleep in the pilot’s chair once, told him all about the internal guidance system featured on the ship. He didn’t understand a word, just threw a blanket over him and had a cup of thick coffee ready when he woke. Jensen was kind of hard to get a grip on.
And they talked a lot. Played with the dogs, dodged asteroids, pretended screwdrivers were light sabers.
But then two weeks’ were up, and they arrived on some absolutely godforsaken planet, and Jensen introduced Jared as his contract1 – knowing looks exchanged all around – and that was it.
1Just so you know - so you’ve got that in perspective – the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ were abolished in the late 23th century, as they were believed to be too archaic to accurately reflect the changing nature of legal unions. ‘Spouse’ went soon after, and ‘Contract’ was introduced due to its pragmatic accounting of the actual legal realities and its gender-neutral nature, as marriage laws (as referred to at that time) had standardized in the late 21th century. Some traditionalists still used the old terms, but these populations were small and generally descended from the Amish, Southern Baptist, or other rightish group of christianists.There is no sex yet, jeez, they barely know each other and Jared is kind of the shy type while Jensen will possibly sleep with anything in a skirt. Or out a skirt. Or possibly around a skirt. Actually, skirts have nothing to do with it.
Jared wasn’t sure if he was impressed or a little freaked out by that.
Anyways, as soon as Jensen uttered the irrevocable phrase1 ‘my contract,’, Jared snapped to attention, his whole body tensed and that fight-or-flight gut instinct? Yeah, it was pulling for flight. Not that he had anywhere to run, and he kind of signed up for this deal, but it was still scary as hell. All of a sudden he had no idea what Jensen expected from him, what he expected from Jensen, or where he’d even sleep tonight. It was a big mess and he didn’t want to fuck it up and he kind of didn’t notice when Jensen waved a hand in front of his face to wake up him. Didn’t work.
Jensen punched him in the arm lightly, and Jared flinched. The merchants Jensen was meeting were expecting at least a partner, so they had a room with a couple of beds set up, which was good despite the fact the room reminded them more of a prison cell than a guest room.
It was awkward enough brushing teeth and washing faces and doing all the getting-ready-for-bed stuff – they bumped into each other in the tiny ensuite, two full grown sleepy male bodies not intended for simultaneous sink use.
No sex, no kissing, no anything and as very little accidentally touching as possible. Don’t you think Jensen didn’t notice the awkward hanging in the air – he hadn’t meant to put it there, but he knew how these merchants worked and the boxes he’d been hired to transport and not look at were likely on the tame end of whatever they dealt with. Establishing a claim was the best way to not lose Jared, in the most literal way possible.
Sucked, but that was the way of the universe now. At least this far out.
He didn’t mind it, not really. Of course, he’d the one who’d paid for to not be alone, not the one who was basically drafted. It didn’t do much for one’s self esteem – what with having one’s closest... person skittering away at any hint of contact.
No matter. Jensen got changed quickly and efficiently, rolled onto the bed closest to the door and turned his back so Jared would have his privacy. Couldn’t sleep, so he laid there just listening to Jared listening to him, awareness tingling all over. It was strangely reassuring.
The next morning, when they woke up and didn’t look at each other – getting dressed fast pants on backwards and shirts inside out and oh shit gotta fix the tags, faces all flushed – that was kind of reassuring, too.
1The outer planets being at this time similar to Gretna Green of the old Harlequin romance “novels” of the twentieth– and twenty-first centuries; the lack of official legal and/or religious sanctions on the outer planets meant that if you declared someone to be attached to you in some way in front of witnesses, it was legally binding. This led to very confusing legal/social relationships.Wasn’t quite so awkward, but it was about three days later, anyways.
“Pass me the five and half inch philips and the two millimeter socket driver!” Jensen was stuck under the moving engine block, wedged in halfway between life support and the waste canister, and it was pretty fucking uncomfortable.
“I’m in the frickin’ other end of the ship! You get it!” Jared’s voice was tinny over the intercom.
“I was talking to the dogs!”
Nothing but static. Sadie trotted up, tools in their pouches in her jaws, and Jensen patted her head absently.
Nope, nothing was awkward at all.Jensen gritted his teeth while Jared used his fork to make a volcano (not that he’d ever actually seen a volcano, but he could imagine from the history books his mom showed him1) out of some perfectly good rehydrated mashed potatoes and gravy. And a little synthetic carrot.
“Pass the salt?”
Jared handed him the salt, their fingers touched, the lights sparked out, and Harley whined.
“Harley? Can you get the breaker?”
The dog trotted off, and neither of them moved. It wasn’t as dark as you’d think – the windows were pretty huge and space was black but awful full of unimpeded stars. It would have been romantic if the electrical alarms weren’t shrill in their ears and Jensen thought that maybe the universe was against them.
The lights flickered on, the tips of their fingers hadn't moved.
“That happen a lot?” Jared asked, and he was sort of quiet.
“Never. Except for this one time...” Jensen trailed off. “It’s a terrible story.”
Jared grinned, rapped his knuckles against Jensen’s. “Naww, naww, don’t say that. Tell me.”
Jensen did, and it really was a bit of a terrible story. Jared laughed anyways, floppy hair and big white teeth. Jensen could barely take it, and if he thought about it much more it was going to drive him insane, what with Jared on the other side of the table looking all happy and contented and ridiculous and he should really switch the tracks on his train of thought.
“I am going to kiss you now. It’s going to be perfectly clinical, and then we won’t have this fucked up tension, and we can be friends again. Got it?”
Jensen wasn't sure this was a better idea.
“Got it.” Jared held himself still, didn’t mention that nobody said anything about tension, but he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t curious. Jensen got up and Jared did too, stood still while Jensen very carefully moved to press dry lips against Jared’s, who decided that dry lips were a not the best ever and so he moved to lick, caught Jensen’s mouth with the edge of his tongue. Jensen’s eyes widened, but he didn’t seem to mind at all.
If either of them were drunk or stoned on painkillers or on anything that could affect basic reasoning and/or inhibitions, the conversation after that would have gone as follows;Jensen: “Holy crap.”And each phrase would be interspersed with kissy-noises and hands over skin. *gags*
Jared: “You’re telling me.”
Jensen: “So, we alright?”
Jared [thumbs at Jensen’s jaw]: “Better than alright.”
Jared: “How about we go christen every flat surface of this boat – including the walls and the the ceiling in the non-gravity airlock - and traumatize the dogs while we’re at it?”
Jensen: “Sounds good to me.”
Since they were both scared out of their minds because Jensen didn’t want to be alone but didn’t know how to not be, and because Jared was still trying to get his mind wrapped around the whole “so I’m more gay than I thought I was” thing, the conversation that actually took place was as follows:Jensen: “What are you doing?”At which point – and by the way, I can definitely promise a weightless airlock sequence, because that is just too good to be passed up – Jensen stuck his palms flat on Jared’s chest and pushed away, wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand, and muttered shit fucking shit shit shit the entire time he was stomping back the bridge. Jared, meanwhile, was wondering if going faster than light meant you went backwards in time2, and if this rustbucket of a ship could manage it.
Jared: “What I’m supposed to.”
I am, of course, lying about both of those conversations. It didn’t happen either way. Obviously they have common sense, wouldn’t have wound up like this - not dead - without it. Not that this was necessarily the best of situations, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse and this was actually pretty fucking sweet, all things considered. They were both more or less reasonable men.
Jared leaned back a little to rest his head against the ship’s wall, but he accidentally smacked himself – audibly! - on a high shelf; he groaned and half-laughed, Jensen smiled and reached up enough to rub lightly, moved to be pressed up against Jared, canted up hips and bones almost in alignment.
“Good night.” Jensen said, quietly. Jared nodded, sighed deep.
Jensen turned around and went back to his quarters to toss and turn for three of his allotted four hours of sleep. Jared went directly to his bed and – rough hands hard cock fuck fuck fuck, je- – jacked off before he could even think of thinking.
1Volcanoes at this time being only present in the wild; their large numbers and unstable properties having driven them to extinction on the central planets. Reports from galactic news agencies suggest they are still at large, on the very outer edges of the known universe.
2This had only been tested in laboratory settings, although some settlers claimed that ships equipped with hyperfast engine blocks and certain modifications including subsonic compressor belts and removed government spyders, may have resulted in hyperlight speeds. Of course, considering that these settler inevitably "rewound" themselves back to before the modifications, it was hard to judge the absolute veracity of those claims.On their first anniversary, Jensen would be missing one or two nonvital body parts, and Jared would be beat straight to hell. I’m just warning you now, but I wouldn’t worry because ultimately it’s irrelevant – true love wins out and all that. Seriously.
But that’s pretty far off yet. Right now, Jared is perched awkwardly on a barstool in Jensen’s mother’s kitchen – she invited him to call her Sally, but he was pretty sure that wasn’t actually her real name and he had the vague feeling she might hit him if he called her Ms. Ackles, and calling her Mom was just plain weird when he was perfectly happy with his own mother, and she tugged at his arm lightly while pointing to the old-fashioned electric stovetop.
“Would you like some tea?” she asked quite politely, and Jared kind of looked at Jensen in supplication.
“Jared loves tea. Don’t you, sweetie?”
He thought to himself that Jensen’s bed was going to be shortsheeted later, definitely. And this “sweetie” and “honey” and “sweeting” and “muffin” and whatever other godforsaken pet names Jensen could come up with – that all had to go. Had to go.
Sally poured him a cup, this slightly atrocious gold edged mauve monstrosity, and then pushed them both towards the slightly fur-covered and definitely overstuffed loveseat, which had a full and clear view of the picture window.
“Your ship, Ms. – Sally. Sally. Your ship is truly unique.” Jared kept his eye on the ceiling fan, as it looked like it could detach at any second.
“It’s been my home for twenty years, Jared sweetheart. I practically raised Jensen here.” She leaned over and patted his arm. “It was hard on him, growing up in an archaeological relic, but I made sure none of the other boys bothered him about it. Want to see some naked baby pictures?”
Jensen dropped his head to his hands.
“Thanks, Sally.” Jared patted Jensen’s knee lightly. “I’m fine.” He figured he’s better toss an innuendo in there before she did it for him. “I get more naked Jensen than I know what to do with already.”
Jensen nearly fell off the couch.
Sally beamed at him. “Good! Good! Glad to know m’boy’s getting a little action. Never thought he’d settle down, though.” She pursed her lips, and leaned over the edge of her overstuffed armchair and grabbed a packet of papers.
“So, now that you’re all settled, don’t you think it’s time to adopt?”
“Mooo-oom,” Jensen nearly whined, “we’re too young for that right now.”
Really. It was pretty uncomfortable, but in that this is pretty damn funny sort of way. Jared could barely hold in laughing while Sally insisted that she wanted grandkids and Jensen insisted that they had a lot of time of think about it, if that was even something they wanted to do.
But right now I’m guessing that you are wondering why they are even at Jensen’s mom’s ship in the first place. See, Sally was a professor, but only a moderately successful one on a moderately sized planet with a much higher than average ratio of citizen donors and local government sponsors. She always bemoaned that her talents were being based on average students, but she could hardly complain with the massive grants she always managed to swing for her research on mid to late twentieth century living arrangements and floral decor – apparently the university president’s contract was big on that. Long story short, she could afford Jensen’s transport fees and she never really minded giving her son a break from whatever shady kids he was dealing with. And she wanted to meet his nice young man.
It was as good an excuse as any. They all settled down to watch Fight Club on a rickety old antique HD-DVD player.Jensen woke up. He was leaning back, had an arm wrapped around Jared who had his forehead on Jensen’s shoulder and a hand draped over Jensen’s thigh. He blinked his eyes open, barely managed to hold on before Jared slid down facefirst into his lap. He closed his eyes, stretched a little against the deep ache in his back and across his shoulders.
Jared stirred, Jensen shook his head a little and tried to wake up all the way. They were on a park bench, on what looked like a main planet. A diminutive young lady stood in front of him, she was very pretty, longish dark hair and a wide open smile. Jensen could’t help but grin back.
“What can I do for you, hon?” Jensen asked, slow and easy.
“Are you Jensen Ackles?” She sounded awfully hopeful.
“Yeah, I’m Jensen.” He sat up a little straighter
“Look, there’s been a mistake, and the only thing you have to do is say you’ll have me instead.”
6 HOURS EARLIER
(because that hasn’t been done a million times already)
Jensen was strapped to the pilot’s chair, hand out to grab the offered screwdriver from Jared’s hand – just looked away from up front for a minute, managed to stifle a smile at Jared while he tighten down the straps across his chest, tried not to think too hard about how it was their anniversary (not that he’d been keeping track, obviously. But that was the same day Sadie learned how to fetch the 5,75 instead of the 5,55, all by herself, and that was momentous) and he kind of felt a little fluttery, like maybe he was in love with his very best friend and they had barely kissed once and that was a long time ago but instead they talked all the time and sometimes they just hung out and read books and when he laughed at something he’d read Jared never indulgently asked what the joke was and that was something he’d always admired, and sometimes Jared would share the blanket he’d brought when he’d arrived, this thin and lightweight thing that stretched far across between them, and Jared’s heat slicked along it, and the ship never felt cold, and even the dogs liked him better now, and Jared always had that wry sort of grin nowadays, and if he thought about this much more he might have a sugar overdose-
And then a low sort of rumble, a kind of low-pitched growl that was making everything shake, the dogs were whining.
“Jensen?” Jared’s eyes were wide and he was whiteknuckling the copilot’s armrests.
The room was wet. Wasn’t dark, it was sterile and clinical, and the mirrors on the ceilings and the walls looked two-way. Everything was shrill, a high pitched scream in his ear and he thought he’d go out of his mind with it.
Tried to close his eyes but that wouldn’t work, either. He couldn’t see Jared, had no idea where he was and that was even worse because if he could just look at him for a second, maybe know he was okay, then this would work itself out, they were laughing at him and he nearly pissed his pants in fear–
“Do you know where you are?”
He shook his head, hadn’t a clue and really didn’t care as long as they stopped the ringing in his ears. They wouldn’t let him close his eyes and the air was stinging.
“Your contract, Jared Padalecki...” the voice trailed off, as if waiting for Jensen to finish the sentence. He had no idea what they were looking for.
“Your contract...?” Trailed off again. Jensen tried to think up something witty, ended up with yeah, my contract.
“Owed us a lot of money. A lot of money. Do you want to know how much?”
Jensen didn’t say anything.
“And all I want to know is how he ended up so happy. Huh?”
“D’you want me to lie or do you want me to tell the truth?” Jensen squirmed in his bonds.
“The truth, obviously, I could have cornered you in some dirty bar and gotten whatever I wanted to hear, isn’t that right?”
“Maybe, not anymore.”
The voice moved, ran a hand down Jensen’s arm. Jensen flinched.
“We bribed the sysadmins, you know. They don’t care, they’re just minimum wage slaves. But Jared... you know, we paid the sysadmins to match him with the worst possible match, the absolute worst possible person, completely wrong in every single way, and they waited a fucking year just to make it sweeter. And you know who they picked? You, Jensen. How’s it feel? Knowing that the pretty little wife you wanted, all those kids you aren’t gonna have... that’s all Jared’s fault, every last bit of it.”
Jensen closed his eyes and thought about how that didn’t matter.
“We’re gonna let you go and live with that now.” The pearl-handled grip of a real old pistol came at his face and he was out.
Jensen didn’t need any time to think at all. The girl – who we may assume was named Sandy, although there is no conclusive proof – smiled very prettily, cocked her hip and prepared to wait but Jensen shook his head, reached down and bumped his knuckles against the inside of Jared’s thigh.
“No way, sweetheart. I’m happy. But I wish you the best of luck, alright?” Jensen had no idea what she how she was going to react – for all he knew, there was only one perfect person for everybody else, but that seemed statistically impossible. And he was beat up enough for one day. And he had a headache.
She chewed on the end of her pen, sighed, and dug a notebook out of her bag, crossed out a line. “That’s okay. I have a list here, apparently there are three or four ideal people.” She flipped to the back of the notebook, “and they made me pay extra for the worst match.” She snapped the book shut. “Funny, huh? You’ve got a few choices when it comes to your contract, but at least you only have to avoid one.”
She sauntered off, and Jensen didn’t realise Jared was awake until the hand over his leg tightened enough to get his attention.
“Your perfect girl, huh?” Jared’s voice was very flat. Jensen looked at him carefully, decided that a joke would be better than something serious.
“You’re my perfect girl. And now I have to go home and cook us some dinner, wench.”
Jared smiled, leaned over, kissed him square on the mouth.First, unlike the dogs, the ship cannot be traumatized.
Second, unlike the dogs, the ship is outfitted with security cameras that take stop motion images of every part of the ship on a rotating schedule of approximately one image every thirty seconds, every minute or so on lesser-used parts of the ship. Like the nongravity air lock.
Third, unlike the dogs, the ship is aware of what it is seeing.
The order of events it observes is quite straightforward.1. Jensen, holding on to Jared's arm, looking back over his shoulder to shut the door behind him. His shirt is half unbuttoned and one end is untucked, his hair is mussed and his eyes are smiling. Jared is pulling back, leg sticking out about to trip Jensen forward, mouth open in the formation of a vowel. Both of them are baring teeth and licking lips, eyes on narrow focus.
2. Jared's mouth over the pulse at the base of Jensen's neck, body bent down to cover and arch. The camera angle doesn't provide Jensen's expression, but the hand splayed over Jared's lower back, fingers trailing beneath belt bands, thigh stuck between Jared's legs, was evidence enough.
3. Flight suits mostly shed by both parties. The ship had deactivated auditory observation, and so it can only decipher speech based on visuals. Jared's mouth is slack, eyes closed, and based on analysis the sound in this moment is "uv" or "of" or something similar. Jensen's palm is flat on Jared's stomach, sliding down with full contact.
4. Jensen is touching his mouth to the side of Jared's jaw, his thumb caught at the soft place under Jared's shin, tipping his face up because of the slow rotation of their bodies. Jared is tasting the skin at Jensen's temple, running his thumb over the inside of Jensen's other hand.
5. The ship has concluded that it cannot categorically know what either party was actually thinking, therefore private conjecture was perfectly admissible. Therefore. Lips bitten slick and red, Jared's fucking smiling above him, looking down like this is exactly what he wants and fuck if it isn't. Floppy hair covering his forehead, curling up at the edges to frame his face, this is exactly what Jensen didn't know he wanted, wouldn't have known. The ship considers that private conjecture is not preferable to observing firsthand.
6. Firsthand. Jensen is suspended midair, lines crinkling at the corners of his eyes. He is naked, muscles relaxed. Jared is floating above him, reaching down to apparently position Jensen's knee around his hips, other hand holding on to the curve of Jensen's ass.
7. Jensen's head is flung back, his shoulders are pressed against the airlock ceiling and Jared is between his legs, hands on waist to hold them together against the nongravity floating them apart, flat of tongue against Jensen's cock taking a long lick up, two of Jensen's fingers curling around on strand of Jared's hair.
8. The ship experiences a malfunction resulting in audio transmission instead of visual. It understands the following: "jen- jen, i- / i know, okay? i know, me too, it's okay, just go easy / fuck, fuck jensen, i wanna learn every-" although the series of soft moans and low-pitched growls and words it hadn't heard before is beyond its comprehension.
9. The ship overrides the stop motion controls. Neither of them are holding on to anything but each other, and the ship is slightly concerned that one or both are liable to knock themselves out. Jensen is wrapped around Jared tightly, hands braced at Jared's shoulders while Jared sinks in, snaps his hips and shudders against Jensen's body with little to no preamble, almost too fast to catch. Jensen laughs while Jared flushes deep red, then Jensen chokes when Jared slides a hand between their bodies, does something that has Jensen writhing, breathing speeding up before the ship reactivates stop motion controls.
10. Jensen, leg up over Jared's hip casually, foot hooked over carefully. Olive green flight suit floating midair, obscuring camera visibility of their faces. Jared's flanks are red with fingerprints, his back is bare. Their chests are heaving in time, slowing down and likely both are already too relaxed to move.
The ship can no longer distinguish two individual bodies. It shuts its cameras off, turns up the warmth in the airlock, dims the lights.