Twenty minutes later Jensen’s pocket started beeping. Pulling the timepiece out, he pressed the button.
“Jen?” Chris’s voice sounded tinny in the VW bus.
“We’re here, Chris.” Jensen held the piece so Jared could hear. “Any more information?”
“Yeah, we found the next portal opening – someplace called Roswell?”
“You’re kidding, right?” Jared started laughing hysterically, tears running down his face.
Frowning, Jensen looked at him. “What’s so funny?”
“Don’t know about your world, Jensen, but here, Roswell is where an alien spaceship supposedly crashed.” Jensen watched Jared wipe the tears from his cheeks. “It’s just completely ironic, that’s all.”
“I’ll laugh when we get there. How far away is it?”
“It’s in New Mexico, which is almost across the country.” Jensen could see Jared’s mind working, calculating the distance. “It’ll be a stretch but if we take into account food, gas and sleep, we’ll just about make it.” He paused. “Jensen? Since you can’t drive the bus, I’m gonna need to rest sometime…”
Jensen knew what he was getting at. Any lengthy stop was going to give Sheppard and his men time to find them.
“Chris, Jared’s right. Since I can’t drive this thing, we’re gonna need to sleep at some point.”
“We can help with that, Jen. Steve’s figured out how to jam the signal for a short amount of time – a couple of hours at the most – so Sheppard can’t locate you. It should give you guys time to rest. But it’s not permanent so you’ll have to give us the head’s up when you stop so we can coordinate with your down time.”
Jensen sighed. It wasn’t ideal but at least it would give them some breathing room. “Thanks, Chris. Anything else?”
“Just…take care, bro.” Jensen could hear the concern in Chris’s voice.
“We will.” The timepiece became dark as Chris ended the transmission.
The bus was silent, each man lost in his own thoughts.
“Jensen…” Jared’s voice broke the stillness.
“Yeah?” He turned to the other man. Jared’s face was shadowed in the faint glow of the dash, but Jensen could see the worry.
“What…” He paused. “What happens if we don’t get to Roswell in time? To you, I mean.”
“Honestly, I don’t know. We’ve never sent a person across the portal before.”
Jared stayed silent for a moment. Jensen watched as he squared his shoulders, a determined look on his face. “Then we’ll just have to make sure you get there on time.”
Jared’s declaration was followed by a distinct growl of his stomach.
Jensen burst into laughter. “Sounds like a plan. But I think we need to feed you first. Wouldn’t want you fainting from hunger.”
“Hey now!” Jensen could hear the mock anger in Jared’s voice. “I’m a growing boy! I need my fuel.”
“Dude, if you grow any more, your head’ll pop out of the roof.”
“Smartass.” Jared was grinning.
“Better that than a dumbass.” Jensen grinned back. It relieved him to see Jared smile. He knew how serious the situation was and he didn’t want Jared to be any more freaked out about it than he already was.
“So – what’re you hungry for?”
Just like that, Jared’s innocent comment flipped a switch in Jensen’s brain. Hungry for you skittered across his cortex and an image of Jared, long-limbed, naked and splayed out across a bed as Jensen worshiped him with his mouth flooded his thoughts.
“Jensen?” Jared’s voice knocked him out of his quick fantasy and he thanked the gods that it was dark and he could hide his hardening cock.
“Uh, someplace with hot food and lots of coffee.” Jensen shifted into a more comfortable position and willed his mind to think of non-Jared thoughts. Kissing his grandmother, his third grade teacher, Admiral Beaver naked. Ew. That worked.
A few minutes later, Jared pulled into a gas station to check something on his phone he called Google Maps. “We need to see if we’re going in the right direction,” he explained, tapping on the screen.
“While you do that, I’m going to get something to drink. Want anything?”
“Water would be great. And some snacks. Oh wait, you’ll need money.” Jared dug into his pocket and tossed Jensen his wallet. “Don’t think your cash would spend here.”
Jensen climbed out of the bus and entered the gas station. Heading to the cold cases, he grabbed a bottle of water for Jared and what looked like a cola. On the way to the coffee pot he grabbed several bags of chips and a bunch of candy bars. Putting the items on the counter, Jensen filled the biggest coffee cup they had and walked back to the register.
The clerk on duty stared at him, then looked away quickly. Glancing up at the fisheye mirror behind the counter, Jensen realized why. Hair mussed, a dark streak of soot across his cheek, a bit of blood crusted on his forehead – he looked like shit.
“Bar fight.” He figured that would answer most of the questions. It seemed to work because the clerk visibly relaxed. Paying for his purchases, he exited the store.
Climbing back into the bus, he handed Jared his water and his wallet. “Add clothes shopping to your list of stops.”
“Huh?” Jared looked up from his phone. “Clothes shopping?”
“Yeah. We look and smell pretty rank.” Jared raised his arm and sniffed, making Jensen chuckle. “Plus we’re going to need toothbrushes and stuff.”
“Okay.” Jensen watched Jared click off his phone. “We can stop at a Wal-Mart.” He started the engine and pulled out onto the road.
“So where are we in relation to Roswell?” Jensen fiddled with the radio, finding a station that was playing something that sounded like what he listened to back home.
“We actually are headed in the right direction.” Jared clicked the turn signal, merging onto the highway. “I figure we’ll get out of Richmond, find a Wal-Mart, get clothes and grab a bite at the McDonald’s. We’ve got snacks so we should be good to stop in about an hour. That sound okay to you?”
“Works for me.” Jensen settled into his seat. “Mind if close my eyes for a bit?” He needed a quick catnap to reset.
“Go ahead. I’ll wake you when we stop.”
The last thing Jensen heard before he drifted off was Jared’s off-key humming.
“Jensen, wake up.”
Jared spoke softly so he wouldn’t startle Jensen. The man was obviously exhausted. He’d fallen asleep almost immediately after closing his eyes. Jared had spent the last hour sneaking glances at him as he drove.
Jensen was beautiful as he slept. The lights from oncoming cars had illuminated his face, showing the lines and planes in stark relief. Jared had marveled at his long lashes and what looked like freckles sprinkled across his cheeks.
When they pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot, Jared had hesitated to wake him. Partly because he knew Jensen needed the rest and partly because he wanted to be able to look his fill without Jensen asking why he was staring at him.
Sighing, he put his hand on Jensen’s shoulder and shook him lightly. “C’mon, we’re here.”
Jared found himself pinned to his seat, Jensen’s hand circling his neck. Jensen’s eyes were unfocused.
“Jensen!” He managed to choke out the sound, bringing Jensen’s attention to him.
“Shit!” Jensen let go like he’d touched a hot pan. “Sorry, sorry.”
“What the hell was that?” Jared rubbed his throat.
“Didn’t know where I was for a minute.” Jensen reached up and moved Jared’s hand away. “Let me see if I hurt you.”
Jared felt Jensen’s fingers run across his neck. Hurt him. He’d forgotten for a moment that Jensen was a soldier. That he could subdue Jared without even thinking twice.
That concept had Jared silently whimpering YES! He swallowed, stammering, “I’m fine.”
“You sure?” His hand still on Jared’s neck, Jensen’s gaze was concerned. Jared knew if they didn’t get out of the bus right now, this instant, that he would do something reckless and stupid – like kiss Jensen.
“Yeah, let’s go.” Jared slid out from under Jensen’s hand and quickly exited the bus. He needed air.
They walked into the store and grabbed a shopping cart. “Clothes first?” Jared needed something to normalize the situation. He didn’t even know if Jensen was gay – not officially. And how did you bring that up? Oh, excuse me. I know you’re an alien and all, but do you like guys? Not that it would matter anyway. Jensen would be back home in less than seventy-two hours.
“Clothes work.” Jensen steered the cart to the men’s department. Shortly it was filled with several pairs of jeans, t-shirts, underwear and socks. Jared threw in two duffle bags to pack everything in.
They made their way to the pharmacy area to get their bathroom supplies. Weaving through the aisles, Jared tried to steer away from his thoughts.
“So, how different is my world compared to yours?” That was a safe topic.
“Not very much, to be honest.” Jensen tossed a 3-pack of toothbrushes into the buggy. “The names of stores and things are different, but other than that it seems pretty close.”
“I’ll bet you’re anxious to get back, though.”
“Well, other than hoping I won’t implode going through the portal, yeah.” Jensen held up a tube of Crest.
Jared nodded, taking it from him and adding it to their purchases.
“Honestly,” Jensen continued, “if it were under different circumstances, I think it would be interesting to stay longer. See what your world has to offer me.”
Jared wasn’t going to read anything into that statement. Nothing at all. “Wouldn’t you miss your friends and family?” Okay, maybe he was reading a bit into it. But he couldn’t help himself.
“I’d miss Chris and Steve, but my family…” Jensen paused and rubbed the back of his neck. “My family doesn’t talk to me much anymore.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” Jared wasn’t going to press, even though he felt there was a story there.
“Yeah well, they weren’t happy when I brought my first boyfriend home in college and things went south from there.”
Jared quickly looked away from Jensen and towards the deodorant as his libido did the happy dance. They played for the same team! Now it was his turn.
Turning back, he casually watched Jensen to see his reaction. “Mine took it pretty well when I told them that was the reason I broke up with Genevieve.”
He saw Jensen’s eyes widen. “Wait, Genevieve? Your friend? You dated her?”
“Yeah, for two years.” Jared shrugged. “It took her literally smacking me upside the head to help me realize I liked guys and that she was a safety net.”
“Really…” Jensen looked lost in thought.
Jared turned back to the Right Guard stick deodorant and smiled. He wasn’t the swiftest at reading people, but even he could tell that his statement piqued Jensen’s interest.
Grabbing two, he tossed them into the cart. “I think we’re done here. Let’s go pay for these and grab food. Those snacks only held me off for so long.”
“How much of it did you eat?” Jensen guided the cart around a drunk couple with a baby.
“Um…all of it…” Jared blushed at Jensen’s laugh.
“Good God, Jared!” Jensen’s voice was exasperated but Jared could hear the humor in it. “How did your parents afford to feed you?”
“Hey if you think I’m bad, you should see my brother eat. He’s bigger than me!” Jared bounced along the side of the cart with a grin on his face.
“No thank you! One Sasquatch in my life is enough, thank you very much.”
Jensen stopped. “Oh crap, forgot shower gel.”
“I’ll go back and grab some.” Jared turned to go back. “Any particular smell?”
“Nothing fruity.” Jensen wrinkled his nose. “A manly smell.”
“For a manly man?” Jared teased.
“Damn right.” Jensen made a mean face then laughed.
“Okay, go get in line and I’ll be right back.”
Jared quickly headed back to the soap aisle. He found a shower gel that smelled of sandalwood. And tried not to imagine Jensen naked and wet in the shower.
On his way back to the registers he had to detour past an elderly couple and found himself in the family planning aisle. He stopped. In front of him were several rows of condoms. Should he take a chance?
Thinking about what Misha said about jumping off the cliff, he grabbed a box and a bottle of lube. Hurrying to the self-checkout, he paid for his purchases, bagged them and hid them under his shirt. He didn’t want Jensen to see them. At least not until he needed them. And God, he hoped he was going to need them.
Jensen had almost finished unloading the cart when Jared came back to the register.
“What took you so long?”
“Had to navigate around an old couple.” Jared hoped his voice sounded nonchalant. He didn’t think I had to buy condoms and lube in the hopes we might have sex would go over well in front of the matronly cashier. “Here’s your manly smelling shower gel. Sandalwood.”
“Excellent.” Jensen took it from his hand and put it on the belt. “I thought we could put some of the stuff in the duffle bags and worry about serious packing later.”
“That works.” Jared had planned on sneaking his purchase into his duffle as soon as he knew Jensen wasn’t looking.
“Your total is $371.55. Will that be debit or credit?” The cashier’s voice was bored. The final amount made Jared wince. He knew that Misha wouldn’t mind, but it still bothered him to spend that much.
“Credit.” He quickly completed the purchase, signing his name.
“Food?” Jensen motioned towards the McDonalds.
“Ohh yes!” Jared grabbed the cart and headed that way. “I need a quarter pounder with cheese in the worst way. Maybe two.” He heard Jensen chuckle. “What?”
“Okay, maybe three if I only get one order of fries.” They stood in line.
“How do you manage it?” Jared turned to see Jensen looking him over. He tried not to blush as he felt the other man’s eyes pause at parts of his anatomy and then move on. “I mean, you’re a big guy, I get that, but you’re also pretty fit. Where does all the food go?”
“My whole family is like this.” Jared gestured to himself. “Plus, I run every morning with the dogs and work out at a local gym.”
They paused so they could place their order. Jared ordered three double quarter pounders with cheese, large fries, a large Coke and a chocolate milkshake and flipped Jensen off when he commented about him creating a burger shortage.
He then turned it around on Jensen and teased him about watching his girlish figure when he ordered a grilled chicken sandwich, a side salad and a diet coke.
“Yeah, whatever.” Jensen took the tray and found a table close to their cart while Jared paid for the food. They sat down and dug in. Jared was starving.
He was on his second burger when he heard Jensen chuckle. “What?”
“I’ve just never seen anyone enjoy their food that much.” Jared watched as Jensen leaned back and sipped his Diet Coke. “Kinda makes me wonder what other stuff you enjoy.”
Jared almost choked on his burger. “Like – like what things?” Was he asking about sex?
“Well, this is the first time we’ve actually had a chance to breathe and I realized that other than your dogs and your friends, I don’t know much about you.”
Jared didn’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed. “Um, what do you want to know?”
“The usual stuff I guess. Where you’re from, stuff about your family.”
“Okay, well, I’m originally from a place called San Antonio…” Jared pulled out his phone and called up a map. Soon he found himself telling Jensen about his family and all the crazy things they did. Jensen countered back with stories of his own.
“And then, Josh jumped off just as the mower hit the pool. My dad was not happy.”
Jared was laughing so hard he had tears streaming down his face. As he wiped his face he noticed Jensen staring at him.
“What are you looking at?” Jared felt himself blush.
“You.” Jensen smiled and ducked his head. “You look good when you laugh. Happy.”
“Uh…thank you?” Jared was at a loss. He wasn’t sure how to respond. Was Jensen hitting on him or simply making conversation? Just as he was mustering up the courage to answer, Jensen spoke.
“Well…um….I don’t know about you, but I’m about to hit the wall.” Jensen stood and picked up the tray. “We probably need to get out of here and find a place so you can crash for a couple of hours.”
Jared silently cursed as he watched him dump the tray. The moment was gone. He could kick himself. He hoped Misha was right, but jumping off the cliff was hard sometimes.
Sighing quietly, he stood and followed Jensen, pushing the cart out of the store.
Forty-five minutes later they checked in to what Jared sarcastically referred to as a “no-tell” motel.
Jensen had to agree. The double beds covered in polyester bedspreads with the ugliest flower pattern he’d ever seen took up most of the room. There was a table and two chairs and an old TV. The only upside to the place was that the motel room door was on the back of the building - no one would see the VW bus.
They quickly unpacked the shopping bags and repacked everything into their duffle bags.
“I need to get out of these clothes.” Jared held up the front of his shirt. It was smeared with soot and dirt. “Do you care if I grab the first shower?”
“Nah, go ahead. Just don’t use up all the hot water.” Jensen made himself comfortable on the bed and tried not to think about all the bare skin that Jared was about to soap up.
He needed to focus on where they were going - not on the man who had started to sing an off-key rendition of one of the songs they’d heard on the radio. And not on how incredibly sexy that was.
Jensen sighed and dug the timepiece out of his pocket. Pushing the connect button, he contacted Chris.
“Hey bro. You stopped for the night?” Chris’s voice was gravely and Jensen figured he hadn’t slept much since this clusterfuck started.
“Yeah, figured we needed a few hours.” Jared’s voice got louder as he reached the end of the song.
“Man, is there a cat fight outside or something? What the hell’s that noise?”
“That’s Jared.” Jensen couldn’t help but grin as Jared started another tune. “He’s, um, in the shower. Singing.”
“Dude, that is NOT singing. That’s – well, I don’t know what that is, but it’s not singing.” Chris’s voice was disgusted.
“Yeah well, not everyone can sound like you.”
“So true.” The tone of Chris’s voice changed. “What’s he like?”
“Who, Jared?” Jensen was confused for a moment as his friend switched directions.
“Who else is there with you? Yeah, Jared.”
“Well.” Jensen frowned as he tried to figure out what to tell Chris. “He’s huge. Taller than me. And the guy can eat both you and me under the table. Oh, and he has dogs. But I think I told you that. And he’s got some really great friends who helped us get out of town…”
Jensen trailed off to the sound of Chris’s laughter. “What’s so funny?”
“Jen, did you even BREATHE anywhere in that sentence?” Chris kept chuckling. Jensen was glad he was on an alternate world or he would have decked him right there. “Seriously though, I can’t remember the last time I’ve heard you so – animated, I guess would be the right word.”
Jensen was glad that Chris couldn’t see him blush. “Yeah, well…”
He heard Chris suck in a breath. “Oh my God, Jenny, you have the hots for this guy!” There was no way Jensen could miss the gleeful tone in Chris’s voice.
“Keep your voice down!” Jensen hissed the words even though he was pretty sure Jared couldn’t hear them over the shower and his singing.
“It’s about fucking time!” Jensen could just imagine the grin that covered Chris’s face. “What’s he look like? Other than being huge – which I assume refers to his height and not his -.”
“Chris!” Jensen didn’t want to hear the next word come out of his friend’s mouth. “That’s not what I meant when I said it and you know it!”
“Just yanking your chain bro.” Jensen could hear Chris’s chair creak as he got settled. “Relax, Jen. It’s just been a long time since I heard you this excited about another person. Your timing sure sucks though.”
“No kidding.” Jensen sighed. “It’s just my luck to find a guy that interests me on a parallel world that I’m leaving in about 48 hours.” He chuckled ruefully. “And did that sound as bizarre to you as it did to me?”
“Pretty fucked up, I’ll have to admit.” Jensen heard Chris pause. ”He’s that hot, huh?”
Jensen took a breath. “God, Chris, he’s gorgeous.” He couldn’t believe he was telling Chris this, but he needed to share with someone. “Just my type you know? Tall, built. Legs for days. Smart, with a wicked sense of humor.” He stopped talking for a moment. “Shit, I sound like such a girl.”
“No, you sound like someone who’s interested in a handsome man.” Jensen heard Chris push a few buttons. “What are you going to do about it?”
“What the hell can I do?” Jensen rubbed his eyes. “I can’t just say ‘Hey Jared, I know I’m leaving for my world in two days, and there are some mean fuckers chasing us who want to kill me and probably you too, but what do you say about a little somethin’ somethin’, just for fun’?”
“Yeah, probably not a good thing to say there, Jen.”
“Ya think?” Jensen glared at the timepiece, fully aware that Chris couldn’t see him, but for some reason it made him feel better. “Besides, I get the feeling he’s not a one-nighter.”
”Is that feeling coming from him or from you?” Chris’s voice was knowing. Sometimes Jensen hated that they’d been friends for years. Chris could always tell what he was thinking and called him on it frequently.
“Me. And that’s what sucks. I’d feel better if I didn’t feel that way, if that makes any sense.”
“In the convoluted way that you think, Jen, it kinda does. Jensen heard Chris sigh. “I don’t know what to tell you. You’re walking a fine line either way you go. Just be careful, whatever you decide.”
Before Jensen could reply, he heard the water in the bathroom shut off. His mind imagined Jared stepping out of the shower, rivulets of water sluicing down the curve of his back as he toweled himself off. Jensen pressed the heel of his hand against the base of his hardening cock.
“Listen Jared just finished, so now it’s my turn.”
“I’m sure. You know you’ll go blind doing that in the shower.” Chris chuckled.
“Shut up, asshole.” Jensen’s words lacked heat. “How much time do we have to rest? I want to give Jared as much time as I can.”
“I’m sure you do.” Jensen could hear Chris snicker. “I can give you four hours.”
“That’ll have to do. I’ll tell him.” Jensen set the alarm on his watch. “And you know I hate you, right?”
“Nah, you love me, Jenny boy.
“Only if you stop with the names, dude.”
“Uh uh. Listen. Get rest and we’ll talk tomorrow.” Jensen heard Chris pause. “And Jensen, sometimes you just have to do what’s best for you, even if it doesn’t seem like the right thing at the time.”
“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”
“You’ll know when the time comes, bro. Catch you later.” With that, Chris signed off. Which was probably a good thing, since Jensen’s mouth went dry and he wouldn’t have been able to speak coherently anyway.
Jared had just walked out of the bathroom wearing a pair of thin sleep pants and a tank top.
The pants rode low on his hips – a fact Jensen was pretty sure Jared wasn’t aware of. The tank top pulled across his chest, the fabric teasing his nipples. Jensen tried not to stare. Tried not to think about what those nubs would taste like if when? he swiped his tongue over them.
Thank God Jared was oblivious – he was too busy toweling off his hair and talking to notice Jensen’s distress.
“Man did that feel great.” Jensen saw his head appear from underneath the terrycloth. “I should have left you plenty of hot water.”
“You sure you didn’t scare it away with your singing?” Jensen was trying to come up with anything he could think of to distract Jared.
“Bite me.” Jared dug around in his duffle and pulled out a hairbrush.
So not helping!
“Not unless you pay extra,” Jensen retorted then winced as Jared gave him a look. God, he was just digging himself in deeper every time he opened his mouth. He stood, trying to keep the front of his body tilted slightly so Jared wouldn’t see his erection. Blindly grabbing clothes from his duffle bag, he hoped he got something wearable. “Okay, think I’m headed to the shower.”
Sliding past the other man, he caught a whiff of sandalwood and outdoors mixed with something that could only be Jared.
Closing the door, he let his head fall back against the wall.
He was so screwed.
Jared watched as Jensen entered the bathroom and closed the door. Moments later there was a soft thud. He almost went to check but the sudden spray of the water against the wall stilled his movements.
Sighing, he picked up his pillows and fluffed them up against the headboard. He made himself comfortable on his bed and grabbed the remote to flip through the channels.
A few minutes later he’d cycled through what the motel had to offer and found nothing of interest. Looking around, he saw the timepiece on the nightstand where Jensen had left it.
Jared picked it up, turning it over to examine it more closely. His finger accidentally hit one of the buttons and the object made a beeping noise.
“Shit!” Jared began to put it down when he heard a voice from the speaker.
“Jensen, why’re you calling back? Is there something wrong?” It was Chris.
“Uh…it’s not Jensen.” He felt like an idiot.
“Must be Jared, then.” Jared heard a quiet chuckle. “Hey there, this is Chris if you hadn’t figured that out.”
“Hey, Chris. I didn’t mean to call you. I was looking at the timepiece and I guess I pressed a button.”
“Not a problem. How you holding up, man?” Chris’s voice was warm and it put Jared at ease.
“Just peachy considering that I caused my place of employment to burn down, discovered there are parallel worlds, was shot at by alien bad guys with laser guns and am in a shitty hotel on the run from said alien bad guys.”
He heard Chris burst into laughter. “Well, at least you’ve kept your sense of humor. That’ll help when Jensen gets cranky.”
“Oh great. When’s that going to be?” Jared wasn’t looking forward to that experience.
“In about four hours. The key is coffee, black, and lots of it. When he wakes up and starts to growl, hand him a cup and back away slowly.”
Jared smiled at the image Chris painted. “So…you’ve known Jensen for a while, then?” He figured he’d see what information Chris was willing to share with him.
“Known the boy since we were six and I hit him over the head with my plastic shovel when he tried to steal my dumptruck. We’ve been friends ever since.”
“That must have been fun growing up together.” Jared paused, wondering how he could ask what he wanted to know.
“Jared?” Chris’s voice was amused. “Son, I can hear you thinking from way over here. You want to know about Jensen but you’re too afraid to ask me.”
Jared instinctively ducked his head before he remembered Chris couldn’t see him. “Yeah. I mean, I kind of know some stuff. We traded some growing up stories, but that was about it.”
“Tell you what. You ask anything you want and I’ll either answer it or I won’t. Sound good?”
“What’s he like?” Jared blurted the question out before he lost his nerve.
He heard Chris laugh. “Going for the jugular right off the bat. I can respect that. Okay, here’s a crash course in Jensen Ackles. He’s moody, driven, a perfectionist, and a major pain in my ass when he thinks a job’s not going the way it should. He’s also brilliant, talented, way smarter than I am, has the best instincts of anyone I’ve ever seen and he’s right more often than he is wrong. Because he is the way he is, very few people get to see his soft underbelly, if you know what I mean.”
“You willing to share that with me?” Jared cocked an ear towards the bathroom. It would be just his luck to get to the good stuff right as Jensen finished his shower.
“Looking for the personal stuff, huh? I can’t share everything, because most of it’s not my story to share, but I will tell you this. Jen’s been hurt by a lot of people. His family, some friends – they weren’t too happy with some of his life choices. Then he got caught up in a few toxic relationships that did some damage, so he’s locked up pretty tight as a rule.” Jared heard Chris pause and quietly mutter something like ‘I can’t believe I’m saying this’ before he spoke again. “Whatever you did or said, or maybe it was your dogs - hell, I don’t know - for whatever reason, it seems as though Jensen’s decided to let you in.”
Jared’s head spun. Was Chris saying what he thought he was saying? Was Jensen interested in him? Suddenly, everything that happened earlier that evening washed over him and he felt sick. He’d jumped off the cliff, but he’d forgotten about what might happen when he hit the bottom.
“What am I supposed to do about that Chris? He’s going back to your world in less than three days.”
“You’re both adults, Jared. Just make sure your decision is best for both of you.” Chris’s voice was certain, like he knew exactly what Jared was going to do. Jared wished he had that faith.
“Listen, I’ve got to go so I can keep monitoring the feed we’re using to jam your signal. Whatever happens, it’s gonna be okay.” With that, he was gone, leaving Jared shaken and unsettled.
The shower turned off and he heard Jensen moving around the bathroom. Jared crawled under the covers and turned his back to the bathroom door. He heard the door open and felt the puff of steam roll out into the room.
“Jared?” Jensen’s voice was soft. Jared pretended to be asleep. He knew it was the coward’s way out but he had no clue what to do with the information Chris had shared with him and he didn’t want to talk to Jensen until he could wrap his head around everything.
He heard Jensen get ready for bed and waited until he was sure the other man was asleep before rolling onto his back to stare at the ceiling. Jensen’s soft breathing and Chris’s words opened parts of him he didn’t know were there. Closing his eyes, he willed himself into an uneasy sleep.
Sheppard was livid. They’d followed the motorcycle for almost an hour before he realized that the two men on it weren’t Ackles and that oversized sidekick he’d managed to attach himself to at the warehouse.
He was tempted to shoot his men on principal, but restrained himself. Ordering them to turn around, they headed back to the bar, passing it as they travelled in the opposite direction. Sheppard mentally cursed the tracker’s inability to effectively keep tabs on the timepiece. If it had worked as it should, they wouldn’t have wasted an hour following the decoys.
His thoughts were interrupted as the tracker began to beep. Sheppard smiled to himself. Things were looking up.
“Gentlemen, it looks like we’ve got a bead on the Commander and his Sasquatch again. Let’s try not to fuck this up, shall we?” He settled in his seat. “Remember, we need to know where they’re heading. I’d rather not be stuck on this ball of dirt any longer than we have to.”
Sheppard dug out his pack of cigarettes and his lighter. He lit up and took a drag, watching the end glow orange. Blowing out smoke rings, he contemplated what he was going to do to Ackles when all was said and done.
He was going to make him pay for bringing them here. And it was going to be beautiful.
Jensen was in the middle of a dream when the world started shuddering. For a moment he thought it was an earthquake – then he realized it was Jared shaking the bed.
“C’mon, Jensen. We need to get going.” Jensen opened an eye and saw a grinning face. Fuck. Jared was a morning person. God really must hate him.
That thought did a one-eighty when Jared took Jensen’s hand and wrapped it around a cup of black coffee.
“Don’t spill,” he said, getting carefully up from the bed.
“God I love you,” Jensen murmured as he tilted his head to inhale the scent. He slowly sat up and took a sip, moaning at the taste.
“Is that comment directed at me or the coffee?” Jared was packing his bag.
“The coffee. Haven’t slept with you yet.” Shit! Jensen couldn’t believe he’d let that slip out. He glanced at Jared to gauge his reaction.
“The day’s not over.” Jared’s comment was flippant but he was blushing as he put the last items in his duffle bag.
Jensen didn’t know what to say so he took another sip of his coffee and tried not to will himself somewhere else.
“I’m going to head to the bus. We head out in ten, does that work for you?”
Jensen watched Jared hoist his bag onto his shoulder.
“Yeah, that’s enough time.” Enough time for me to get my head out of my ass.
“Okay then.” The door clicked behind Jared and Jensen was alone in the room.
Quickly getting up, he pulled on a pair of jeans and one of the new t-shirts they’d bought the night before. All the while mentally kicking himself.
What the hell possessed him to make a comment like that? Out loud? Jensen blamed it on lack of caffeine.
He put on socks and his boots before rapidly packing what little was left to go into his duffle bag. He thought about Jared’s reply - The day’s not over - and wished they weren’t in this situation. That he had more time to figure things out.
Jensen sighed as he put on his jacket, shouldered his duffle bag and headed out the door. Life just sucked sometimes.