summary. On December 5, 2007, Jensen gets kicked out of his network-subsidized apartment. Jared takes him in.
notes. 3500 words of domestic first time schmoop.
thanks. Everybody on my WIP filter, especially technosage, poisontaster and veronamay for the excellent concrit.
"I actually just sold my home in Los Angeles and bought a home here in Vancouver under the sort of optimistic hope that Supernatural goes for a while. I've been renting here for the last two seasons and I have two big dogs and it was mean of me to not get them a yard." - Jared Padalecki
"Supernatural will close on or around Dec. 5." - Vancouver Sun
Who grew up strong and brave and holy, loves me rough and tenderly
Can it be understood the reasons why you belong to me?
- Mirah, Promise To Me
On December 1st, Jensen finds a notice stuck to his front door. He passed the super on his way up and the heartfelt shrug makes sense now. The little sheet of paper says out, by Dec. 5th, midnight, and it's on The CW's company letterhead.
He should have read the fine print on his contract.
The first thing he does is call his mom. He flips his phone open, hovers over the entry marked home and when he presses to dial he's not really surprised to find he called Jared. Jared picks up and Jensen hears the dogs tugging at their leashes, can practically see Jared's flushed face at having just come in from the wind.
"Yeah? Jen, just a sec, lemme-"
There's some shuffling around, and Jensen hears Jared settle down. "Yeah? Sorry, the dogs. What's up?"
Jensen doesn't say anything for a long minute. He listens to Jared breathe, steady, sure, on the other end of the line. Finally, Jared says, "I'll be there in fifteen."
The whole set feels shaky, nothing for certain and in a business where no one expects to have a job in six months, that's saying something. Even the makeup artists stutter their brushlines, apologize, and Jensen sees Jared's knuckles white at the rests of his chair.
"Relax," Jensen's voice is sudden and Jared startles. Shannon swats at his head and Jared mock-whines, settles back down. His eyes are on Jensen the whole time.
Jensen's stuff is in boxes. His apartment was furnished when he got it and leaving it isn't really a problem. Being transient, being without a home - that's the problem. It hadn't taken him very long to pack at all - just some clothes, some books, music and a stereo and a laptop, a guitar, some knickknacks like his momma sends him.
Jared bumps into his shoulder, nearly makes him drop the box of DVDs in his hands.
"This mean I can borrow Transformers whenever I want?" Jared isn't looking at him, he's bending down to pick up a box labeled kitchen stuff.
Jensen rolls his eyes. "Yes, Jared, this means you can borrow Transformers whenever you want."
Jared laughs, stands up, and turning around to leave isn't too hard.
Harley jumps up into his face before Jensen's even taken his shoes off. He snorts, turns away and gets a cheek covered in doggy spit for his trouble.
"You sure it's not a problem? Because I could just ship all this stuff home, you know, or shack up in a hotel or something." Jensen waves around a box labeled clothes summer.
Jared shakes his head. "For all you know, this could blow over real soon. Shit, maybe tomorrow we'll get a call and next thing you know we're having to do weeks of reshoots because the writers want to change stuff, back to the grind, you know? Nah, best you just stay here. Easy as pie for me anyways, right?"
Jensen smiles, nods. "Yeah, got it, you want to mooch off the free work I provide, right?"
"Walk the dogs before dinner," Jared commands. Jensen sighs in resignation.
Jared helps Jensen move his stuff into the spare room/office. Jared's desk is surprisingly tidy, as if he'd just cleaned up, and there's more room than Jensen really needs, especially if he's only just staying for a little while.
There's a futon set up; it's dusty and it looks like it'd never been used. There's a striped blanket hung over the back and some pillows plumped up at one end. The window curtains are drawn back, and Jensen has a great view of the neighbours' backyard fence.
"We'll get you a proper bed. Or a cot, or something. I don't think the futon - don't think that's very comfortable."
"It's fine," Jensen sits down and the futon creaks mournfully. He bounces a little; it doesn't give at all. Directly in front of him is an air conditioner with vents aimed straight at him.
"I'll get you some more blankets," Jared says, "and I'll let you put your stuff away. You can use the closet - I don't have much of anything in there - and the desk is really just a place I throw junk mail, you can have it."
Jared turns to leave but Jensen catches his arm. "Thanks-"
Jared moves, as if to shrug off the gratitude but Jensen doesn't let him. "Really, Jared - thanks. I don't know what I'd do-"
"You'd have been fine, you'd probably be back home with nice warm weather, just a flight away."
"Maybe," Jensen says, "but then I wouldn't be able to mooch off your cooking, would I?"
"True," Jared agrees.
Jensen almost forgets about Christmas. It feels late, weirdly enough - Canadians and their Thanksgiving right around Halloween threw off his internal clock. He feels like he's late already. He should really leave Jared's house before he settles in too easy.
"You planning on heading home to see your folks anytime soon?" Jensen isn't looking at Jared. He's looking at blogs and news and flickering YouTube images of writers striking.
"Yeah, thinking of flying down on the 20th, maybe come home January 3rd or 4th." He looks at Jensen, tilts his head a little. "Why, you planning something else?"
Jensen shrugs. "Naw, just wondering when I should book my tickets, is all." A TV Guide article's headline scrolls across the screen: NO END IN SIGHT!
Jared buys a giant turkey. It sits defrosting on the counter and they both look at it balefully.
Jensen pops the cap off another Molson. "You've never done this before, have you?"
"... no. My mom always does it, she spends, like, twelve hours on it."
"We could look on the internet."
"Or I could just call my mom."
Jared calls his mom and gets the busy signal; he hangs up before the message thing clicks on.
"So, you have no idea what 'baste' means, so you've decided to just deep-fry the whole thing?"
Jared unboxes the fryer. "Yeah, sure, why not? I'm sure it's possible."
Jensen slumps over in his chair.
They have grilled turkey for dinner, side of mac and cheese and a pre-made salad.
"Baby steps, Jensen, trial run before Christmas," Jared says around a mouthful of food. "Next year, actual turkey. We'll make turkey sandwiches for weeks after."
Jensen is warmed by the idea of making plans like this, by the assumption he'll still be here. He prys the cap off a beer, swallows it down. Belly full, both of them warm. Jared falls asleep on Jensen's shoulder, and Jensen doesn't even notice. Optimus Prime growls on the TV, his computer-generated voice echoing through speakers.
His mom calls, and Jensen doesn't make it to the phone before the answering machine kicks in. Why are you still up there?, her voice teases, I hope it works out, honey, you know I do, but if there's some time you should come home.
Jensen yawns, scratches his belly. She has a point - she always does. His cell phone vibrates and nearly rattles off the counter and he catches it before it falls; flips it open.
Hey, Jensen, it's me, I'll be home in a little while, anything I need to pick up on the way?
"Yeah, just a sec-" Jensen pads over to the 'fridge and opens the door, bends down to peer in. "Yeah, uh, gimme some milk - 2%, not that skim shit, you cheapskate - and looks like we're out of eggs. And beer, bring home some of that Storm, on Commercial Drive downtown? That on the way?"
Not so far off, yeah. That it?
"Yeah, I think so."
Alright, I'll be there soon.
"Right, see you soon-"
Jensen hangs up before he spits out the words on the tip of his tongue. He pauses, then whispers: "See you soon. Love you."
On the other side of town, Jared listens to the blank air for a second. He takes a deep breath then flips his cell phone closed.
By the time Jared figures out that Jensen is head over heels, the leaves are budding new again. Jensen's been living in Jared's home, in his back pocket, for the last five months.
He doesn't do anything, doesn't let on. He's not sure what exactly he's waiting for.
It gets too easy to think in terms of we and us. The first time Jensen finds his phone bill in with Jared's vet reminders and junk mail it throws him off.
He's already got his coffee ready by the time Jared gets back with the dogs and when he realises he automatically stirred in cream and sugar just the way Jared likes, he's surprised, unsettled. Jared stomps through the door, the dogs tumble in after, and he opens the fridge and pulls out a beer. He pops the cap, swallows long, then turns to face Jensen.
"Maybe I should go," Jensen says. He leans against the counter and looks at his too-sweet coffee dejectedly.
"Or you could just, you know." Jared lifts his beer as if offering. "Stick around, you know? I bet you'd just get in your momma's way, and why go to LA and get drunk when you can get drunk here and I can make YouTube clips?"
"Fucking ha ha," Jensen perches on the sofa arm. "Seriously, you've got to be getting sick of me." He nods towards the dentist's appointment reminder stuck to the 'fridge door and the three pairs of shoes crowding the mat by Jared's door.
"Not so bad," Jared says. "I don't mind."
They watch movies every night, and without fail Jared will fall asleep on the couch.
Jensen doesn't pay too much attention to it, even though he probably should. It's not like Jared underneath him is something all that common. He just isn't going to question it right now, not while Jared breathes deep in his sleep. He wheezes and Jensen can't deal with it. He stretches up to grab a blanket and he pulls it over them both, tugs it up to his ears.
Jared's eyes are closed. He looks comfortable, warm, like he's settled.
Jared's plaid shirt is soft under his hands.
Jensen loads the washer and tries not to think about how his clothes are all mixed up with Jared's. Whites first, colours, darks, all enough for three loads. Jensen already knows it'll take an hour and half to run them all through.
Harley's been keeping him company. Jensen reaches into the cupboard above the machines, pulls out a milk bone. Harley pants, catches it in the air when Jensen tosses it.
Jared's at his desk. He hadn't been using it, but since Jensen moved in he's been spending a lot of time on it: reading news, following what's going on. Sera emails him from New York; Jared reads aloud the funny parts and skips the parts about how she has no idea what's going to happen. Jensen goes back and reads them later anyways.
Jared clears his throat. "Look, there's something. Look, this isn't too weird. This situation."
Jensen looks at him, then looks at the rumpled bed covers carefully, then back at him.
"Not that weird. I mean, sure, yeah, but it could be worse."
"True," Jared nods. Jensen looks at their fully-clothed bodies, the pillow creases on Jared's cheek, the ruffle of his hair. They're still on the bed, lying beside each other. The TV in the room is on; the DVD menu must have been playing all night. Jensen has the sound loop stuck in his head.
He's still asleep, he's not really thinking about anything. Leaning over and opening his mouth against Jared's is no big deal, nothing surprising; even his taste and the tilt of his head is familiar. Jensen doesn't even notice he did it until he gets up and Jared's stupid beeswax lip balm tingles across the curves of his mouth, the line of his lower lip.
Jensen takes off for L.A. and when he leaves he tells Jared, "I'll be gone a week or so, no big deal. Back before you know it, you'll want to kick me out."
Jared nods, his eyes look greenblack in the early morning light. "Drive you to the airport?"
Jensen shakes his head and the cab pulls up curbside already.
Chris coughs as he lights up and in the dark the cigarette tip glows burning. He sticks another cigarette in his mouth, lights it and hands it to Jensen.
"Still living with Jared? It's been a while, you got to figure out something more permanent, the whole thing doesn't look like it's letting up, you know?"
Jensen breathes, blows a smoke ring. It floats up and disappears. He meets Chris' eyes and then drops his glance to the ground.
"Already?" Chris shakes his head disbelieving. "You told me nothing was going to happen, you told me..."
He trails off. Jensen lets the cigarette burn down halfway, nearly to his fingers. He drops it before it burns him, grinds it under the heel of his shoes. Embers scrap across the pavement.
When he speaks his voice is raspy. "He doesn't know, didn't, don't know now. I left, uh. Came here, figured I'd steal all your liquor."
"Fuckin' mooch," Chris mutters. "Get back inside, it's freezing out here. I'll even buy you a beer and let you crash on the couch."
Jared's staring at the bottle's bottom-glass; light refraction across his kitchen table. Their kitchen table. Jared doesn't really know the difference. He considers the ramifications of drinking this much Coke this late at night.
There's a shuffle at the door, the bell rings and Jared gets up but Jensen opens the door, knocks the sides of his boots against the frame to get the snow off. He walks in like he's family.
"Back now?" Jared asks. Jensen nods in affirmation, repeats "Back now."
Jensen spreads Jared out over the uncomfortable futon, pushes his limbs apart and stretches him wide. Jared yawns mockingly, says, "You gonna get this show on the road anytime soon?"
"Fucking yeah," Jensen says. He pushes the messed-up blankets off the bed, bunches them all over the side closest to the wall.
It's not an accident. Neither of them have done this before: not with each other, not like this with anyone else. There are no drugs, no alcohol, nothing but the edges of something stretched too thin and finally snapped. Jared's on his back, he hooks one of his legs over Jensen's shoulder and arches up, presses his cock against Jensen's belly. Jensen slides his forearms under Jared's shoulders and tugs, tries for leverage, tries to get deeper. Jared wraps his arms around Jensen's back and pulls him in, Jensen can hardly move without feeling like he's rubbing up every inch of his body, all his bare skin, against Jared.
Later, Jared leverages up, runs his hands over Jensen's hair. Jensen's stretched out in front of him, settled in easy between his legs. His head in his Jared's lap, pillowed on a thigh while he lazily licks up the underside of Jared's cock, gently takes Jared's balls in his mouth. He eases down, licks him open and slides a finger, fingers, himself- in, and he feels like his flesh is burning. Like he's on fire.
"Hey, hey, c'mere..." Jared's words trail off into Jensen's skin.
"Mmm, wha? What time's it?"
"Five, I think? Still used to the early calls."
Jensen yawns, turns over and faces Jared. "You wake me up this early again with no need, I'm gonna take you out back an' screw you."
"I'll set the alarm," Jared says.
Jensen's agent calls in August, she says, "Jensen, listen, you're just sitting up there waiting for this strike - there are fucking tons of scripts, stuff already written, you could definitely be working instad of just sitting around up there."
"'M not just sitting around," Jensen argues. Sadie puts her head in his lap and he scritches behind her ears. "The networks and the writers are gonna hash it out, I know it. And besides, the SAG contract is up pretty soon, right? Last thing I want to do is sign on to do a film and then have to quit it because of a strike. Bad for everybody."
She makes a harrumph! sound. "Nobody knows for sure, and- Jensen. You aren't doing anything up there besides waiting. Just, I don't know. Come to L.A., at least do some parties. I can set you up with this gig..."
Jensen tunes her out. He barely notices when she finally hangs up.
"Cheryl called today," Jensen whispers, "my agent? She wants me to do some stuff in L.A., be 'seen' and shit. I think she's got a point. I'm doing shit up here, might as well get stuff done."
"If you go, I really will stalk you and put up drunken clips on YouTube. You'll have to pay me to take them down. You sure you want to do that?" Jared's voice is a low growl, it rumbles and Jensen barely hangs on to his laugh.
"Maybe I'll buy a camera, one of the microscope ones, and shove it up your nose, then I'll send 'em to Discovery, make them write a doc about your freaky self."
"Don't bother," Jared laughs, "Stay with me instead."
The sound of his voice tickles though the hairs at the back of Jensen's neck. They're in Jared's bed, in the master bedroom of his home and Jensen's gotten used to it. Gotten used to the way the sun lights up through windows and skylights in ways that it didn't in his apartment, how everything is clearer. He's used to the dogs and their walks. He's used to the way Jared wakes up early, tosses around, then falls back asleep, his arm around Jensen and a leg slung between Jensen's thighs.
"Okay," Jensen murmurs, the syllables hot against the base of Jared's throat.
They spend the rest of the summer at Jared's great-uncle's ranch, far away from L.A. and Vancouver and everything. It's not a working ranch, just a hobby farm with acres of wide open space.
Everything's pushed back; production, writing, hiatuses all mixed up and so what they've got is an awful lot of time. Jensen learns how to rope a steer, Jared only falls off his horse about a dozen times and the dogs spend all day getting dusty. When they all get back to the house Jensen hoses them down, turns it on Jared and fully expects it when Jared throws his wet shirt arms around Jensen's body. Makes him shiver.
No one questions them, least not that they can hear. Wouldn't matter anyways, because Jared would fold himself up next to Jensen like always and in the morning Jensen would make two coffees and a skillet full of bacon and eggs with a side of toast. Like always.
On the first day back Jensen realizes that their chairs are too far apart. He gets up, shoves some cables around and plunks his chair back down right beside Jared's, so close they're touching. The camera screen is right in front of him. Jared is making kissy faces and his mouth is the only part of the frame in focus. Jensen laughs and the sound of it echoes into the boom mike.
Kim flinches from his headphones and throws his hands up. "Guys- it's not vacation anymore!"
They make apologetic sounds nearly in unison and when Jensen looks he sees Jared mouthing later.
Jensen nods, mouths back saying, later, when we're home.