Things between them are still weird, but they get better. Jared stops tiptoeing around him when he’s home, and Jensen learns to tamp down his anger and hurt. Even after three years, he still knows Jared, and there was a reason they were best friends Before. They watch the same movies on Jensen’s tiny TV, laugh at the same jokes, eat the same food. Before long, Jared manages to somehow get a job in a daycare, and he no longer has to spend the entire day in the apartment. Jensen will come home, sometimes too late to even see Hannah awake, and Jared will tell him about the kids, or, on his days off, about the children’s museum, or the zoo. Hannah’s become the common denominator, wormed her way into Jensen’s heart as surely as he thought she would with every “poppa” and “hi” and “kiss”.
Jensen’s studies are slacking a little, but he can’t bring himself to care. Instead of studying one Saturday, he and Jared head out to the aquarium, holding Hannah’s hand as she stares wide-eyed at the fish.
“You’re a lovely couple,” one prim woman says. “And what a beautiful girl.”
Jensen beats Jared to the punch, ducking his head and rubbing the back of his neck. “Thanks,” he says, and Jared beams the entire way home.
That isn’t to say that they don’t have fights, because they do. Jared will be tired, and Jensen will be stressed about something, and more often than not, one of them spends the night after an argument on the futon, waking up unrested and sore the next day, sniping. Jensen’s constantly worried that Jared will decide it’s too much, up and leave, take Hannah back to Texas, and now that Jensen knows her, loves her, thinking about her leaving is like a sharp stab to his chest. But no matter how mad Jared gets, he never uses Hannah as a threat, and slowly, Jensen begins to calm down.
Not to say that Hannah is easy, because she isn’t. For every two moments that Jensen realizes he loves this little girl, this girl who’s supplanted herself into his life like a very well-disguised alien, there’s one when he doesn’t know how he’s doing it. There’s screaming and mess and diapers and one very scary night when he and Jared have to take Hannah to the emergency room at three in the morning because she’s hot with a high fever, and Jensen spends five hours in sick worry, scared for his daughter and trying to calculate how much the ER trip will cost him. He’s getting no sleep, money’s tighter than ever between baby food and diapers, and any chance of having a second to himself--forget it. Between Hannah, school, and work, he gets no time for anything but sleep.
But he makes it work.
Every other week, Danneel takes Hannah for a couple hours when Jensen and Jared are free. The first couple of times, Jared naps and Jensen does his homework, but on the first gloriously warm day in May, Jared peers out of the window, and says, “I think I’m gonna go to the park. Read a book or something.”
Jensen surprises himself when, a beat later, he says, “Can I come? Got a textbook I gotta read before Monday.”
Jared blinks, like he can’t believe what he’s hearing, before he shrugs a little. “Sure.” Jensen can see how he bites his lips, and honestly Jensen’s a little nervous too, but they mostly spend the afternoon sitting side by side on a ratty blanket that Jared had the forethought to bring. Not talking, but it’s a comfortable silence.
From then on out, they kind of gravitate toward each other on the little time they have to themselves. It’s not where it was, not by a long shot, but they can talk now, watch a movie in the same room. Jared will fiddle with his wedding ring and Jensen will burn macaroni and cheese, and it may be dysfunctional, but it’s their family.
“You should take him out,” Danneel says one evening, playing peek-a-boo with Hannah. Jared’s out grocery shopping, trying to stretch their money as far as it’ll go, and Jensen’s about five pages behind in a term paper, but even so, he stops and stares at her.
“What?” he asks eloquently.
“Jared,” Danneel elaborates. “You should take him out.”
“Danneel, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard in a while,” Jensen scoffs, turning back to his research.
“No it’s not,” Danneel says, chipper for Hannah’s sake. “You’re friends now, right? And you’re married. And you’re an asshole when you’re not getting laid.”
“If Hannah repeats any of that, I’m telling Jared you taught it to her,” Jensen says grimly.
“Just think about it, dickweed,” Danneel says.
And Jensen tries not to--he really does. He and Jared aren’t there yet. It’s almost the end of the semester, and Jensen’s not taking summer class; just accepted a job charting at the university hospital to get some experience. But the idea worms itself into his head, just like his plan to get Jared to move to Boston, and before he realizes it, he’s paying more attention to things he’d been trying to ignore.
Like the way that Jared laughs now--not reserved like how he’d been when he’d first moved in.
Or how he looks sidelong at Jensen when Hannah does something funny, fond and amused, and Jensen’s stomach might clench.
And those mornings when Jensen wakes up to his alarm, Jared’s pillowed into his side, and Jensen’s tangled his legs in Jared’s and his side is tingling with the contact.
Things like that.
They’re not where they were, Jensen reminds himself, but then again, they might never be. And Jared’s already inextricably entangled himself in Jensen’s life.
It’s high summer when Jensen comes home to Jared dancing with Hannah around the family room with some scratchy old-time music blaring from the radio. She’s laughing, practically shrieking, as Jared holds her in his arms and twirls her around. He stops as soon as he catches sight of Jensen, who’s leaning against the door frame in his scrubs catching the show and blushes a brilliant red.
“You weren’t supposed to be home yet,” he accuses, setting Hannah down and striding across the room to snap the radio off.
“They let me off early,” Jensen says. “Don’t stop on my account. A little more practice and you can try out for Dancing with the Stars.”
“Shut up,” Jared mumbles, but he’s smiling, so Jensen knows he took the joke for what it was.
It’s then, with the color high in Jared’s cheeks and Hannah toddle-dancing at his feet, that Jensen can’t help himself. “Wanna see a movie?” he blurts, wincing a little. “I mean, when Danneel takes Hannah on Sunday? Maybe...a movie?”
Jared just kind of looks at him. “That sounds good, Jen,” he says. “I think the dollar theater’s got some we haven’t seen yet.”
Jensen doesn’t quite know if Jared’s gotten the hint, but he’s not elaborating now. “Sounds good,” he says easily, slipping into their bedroom to change.
They see something appropriately male, explosions and swearing, and a good detraction from all of the kid-friendly shit Jensen’s been subjected to lately. He and Jared share a tub of popcorn and their hands keep brushing, even though both of them try to ignore it. It’s not very date-y, but they laugh the whole way home, making fun of the bikini-clad sex symbol and the main lead’s funny-ass accent.
They’re outside of Danneel’s apartment complex, and Jensen knows he wants to try this--to know if things can work like that again. He takes a hold of Jared’s shoulder, stopping him and making Jared do a three-point turn to face him, still smiling over something they’d just been laughing at, and then Jensen just--just kisses him, right there on the street with his heart beating too loud in his chest.
He catches Jared’s lips on a gasp and any doubts he might have had instantly flare into practical nonexistence for that one second. It feels as inexplicably right as it always had, sparking in the base of Jensen’s spine and moving up. It’s quick, with just the slightest bit of tongue to make it not chaste, and when he pulls back, Jared looks like he was hit by a two-by-four.
“Jensen, what--?” he starts, looking dazed.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever go back to what we were,” Jensen says evenly. “But-- I mean -- I’ve been thinking. Maybe we can try? If you want to? I can’t say I’m still not hurt, because Jared, goddamn, what you fucking did to me--but. But what the hell? I never was that smart around you, and I just. You.”
“Don’t do this for me,” Jared says after a second, practically pleading. “Don’t do this because you think it’s the only way to keep me around. ‘Cause, Jensen, I can’t. I never did fall out of love with you, you know. Bastard. Serves me fucking right, huh?”
“Don’t know about that,” Jensen laughs, just a little. “And I’m not doing this for emotional blackmail. Jesus. I want to. Me, because of me, because I don’t know if I ever got over you either. But...slow? Maybe? If it stops working, if it fucks things up, we can go back to what we are now. Friends.”
Jared weighs the words for a couple of moments. “I’d like that,” he says finally.
“Good,” Jensen says decisively and then, “Let’s go get Hannah before Danneel decides she never wants to babysit again.”
Jared smiles, his eyes crinkling. “Okay,” he agrees, and when they get to the door, Hannah’s there, alerted by the buzzer and hugs them both around the knees.
“No leave!” she demands stubbornly, like they’re going to go and have her stay with Danneel again.
“Promise, sweetheart,” Jensen says, and that is that.
Things are weirder now, like they’re in an in between state that won’t dissipate. They dance around each other during the day, brushing shoulders on accident, sitting maybe a little closer on the couch. Jensen doesn’t know if he’s ready for this yet, and Jared’s obviously afraid he’s going to stop things, and it’s just...odd.
One evening over a dinner of spaghetti and canned Ragu, Jared meets his eyes across the table. “Um,” he starts, biting his lip, “you don’t have to...y’know, date me if it makes you that miserable. You could find someone else. I know we’re married and all, but I’m not some jealous housewife. I knew what I was getting into.”
Jensen levels a glare at him. “I’m already dating someone I like,” he grits out, “although I’m not sure for how long. He’s kind of a dumbass.” There’s that slow burn of anger that he has to tamp down, focusing on Hannah getting spaghetti sauce absolutely everywhere.
Jared snorts, a little amused sound. “Could’ve fooled me,” he says, almost to himself. “Never would have thought you were such a prude.” It’s obviously a joke, but it sends a shiver down Jensen’s spine. Jared’s kinda right, even though Jensen doesn’t care what he thinks. When they first started dating, it took a week before they were necking in Jensen’s backyard. And when he’d first started dating Chris, it was really more of a one-night-stand turned relationship than anything else.
He just shrugs and says, “You’re the girl in this relationship, Padalecki. Didn’t you get the memo? Pressuring your boyfriend for sex is a bad thing.”
“Shut up,” Jared laughs.
The bantering has always come easy to them, even back when Jensen would called Jared a poop-head and Jared would counter with an eloquent penis-breath. And somehow, the casual trade of insults and jokes makes things better. The more times Jared makes off-hand comments about Jensen and his pretty lips and gay-ass scarves, the easier Jensen finds it to breathe around Jared. The three year separation is there, but it’s slowly being chipped away.
Genevieve comes up to Boston for Jared’s birthday, and they spend the evening getting spectacularly drunk at Danneel’s apartment. Jared stays relatively sober, just a little tipsy as he makes sure Hannah doesn’t wake up and brain herself on something, but Jensen lets go. He doesn’t have work, he’s comfortable, he’s practically happy, and there’s never been a better reason to drink.
Jared guides them back home, Hannah pillowed on his shoulder and snoring softly, little baby breaths that Jensen can distinguish even though he’s pretty much gone. He practically falls down the steps, but Jared is amused, not angry.
“You lush,” he says, settling Jensen down on the couch as he goes to put Hannah in her crib. Jensen watches him as he leaves, stares at his ass for an inappropriately long time, and makes a decision that isn’t hampered by stupid things like sobriety. When Jared comes back into the room to manhandle Jensen into bed, he grabs the hand proffered but pulls Jared down onto the couch instead of letting himself be dragged to his feet.
Jared squawks indignantly as he loses his balance and half-crashes into Jensen. “What are you doing?” he complains, but it’s in good-humor. “You are such a fucking annoying drunk.”
“I’m doing what I want,” Jensen says, enunciating carefully, and before Jared can ruin it with his big, fat mouth, Jensen kisses him, wet and sloppy. He has no finesse when he’s drunk, but he wants to make-out, goddammit, and it’s been a long-ass fucking time.
Even as messy-headed as he is, Jensen doesn’t think Jared will be as into Jensen’s idea as Jensen is, but Jared’s as unpredictable as always. He makes this tiny little broken noise and uses both hands to pull Jensen closer, shifting so he’s half-lying down as he does so. Jensen settles on top of him, slotting into the divots and angles of Jared’s body like he always has, two pieces of the same puzzle.
Why the fuck did I wait so long, Jensen thinks, fucking his tongue into Jared’s mouth. Jared’s practically purring under him, not pulling away as he keeps a desperate hold on the back of Jensen’s neck. Like Jensen’s going to get up and decide this isn’t what he wants anymore.
What a fucking joke.
Jensen doesn’t know how long they lie like that, making out, going from desperate to something softer, more familiar, lazier. It never devolves into anything more, but Jensen knows that it could, if he pushed. His lips are bruised and swollen when Jared finally breaks away gently, looking at him, his eyes liquid in the low-light, and Jensen rests his head on Jared’s shoulder.
“Good?” he asks.
“Dumbass,” Jared chides softly, running a hand down Jensen’s back. It takes them another twenty minutes before Jensen feels like moving, tumbling off the couch to make his way to bed, Jared right behind him.
The next morning, Jared is somewhat distant, something that Jensen picks up on even through his hangover. He mostly ignores it until he stops feeling like death, thankful that Jared had the forethought to take Hannah to the park instead of letting her bang on pots and pans all morning as punishment, but once he’s hydrated and feeling better, the situation doesn’t sit right with him.
“What’s up?” he asks, as he helps Jared clean up the dinner mess. Hannah is watching television in the next room, raptly engrossed with Dora’s adventures, and now seems like as good a time as any.
“What d’you mean?” Jared asks, but he’s avoiding Jensen’s gaze, which is a sure sign that something’s wrong.
“Jared,” Jensen sighs, annoyed. “Don’t play dumb.”
Jared’s shoulders tense, and he’s quiet for a while, rhythmically wiping the table even though it’s clean. Finally, he sort of collapses into a chair, takes a deep breath, and says, “It’s okay if you didn’t mean it.”
“Mean what?” Jensen asks, because he’s honestly confused here.
“Last night,” clarifies Jared, “The kissing. I know you were drunk.”
“Oh my God, you are such an idiot,” Jensen says. “Such a girl.”
“That’s great that we’re bringing up our daughter in an environment where girl is an insult,” Jared responds, but it lacks heat.
“Just because I was drunk doesn’t mean I didn’t know what I was doing, dumbass,” Jensen says.
“People do stupid things they don’t mean when they’re wasted,” Jared points out.
“If I was bothered by it, I’d let you know,” counters Jensen. “And I’m not, so you can stop acting like I’m gonna kick you out.”
Jared’s smile is genuine when he looks up, but he still looks unsure. “Well--okay. But if--”
“Don’t even finish that,” Jensen says. “We kissed, I liked it, you liked it, we should do it again soon. End of story.”
Jared doesn’t respond to that, and Jensen eventually turns back to the book he’s reading, something that was recommended to him at work. Ten minutes of silence pass, broken only by Dora’s annoying narrative, and then Jared speaks again.
“Did I ever tell you about when I was pregnant with her?” His voice is soft, but something stutters in Jensen’s chest--this isn’t something they’ve ever talked about, and suddenly he wants to know.
“No,” he says hoarsely, as though something’s gotten lodged in his throat.
Jared laughs, lowly and self-deprecatingly. “I was kind of stupid, you know? Didn’t figure out what was wrong with me for a long time. I just kept thinking of you, and Harvard, and how much I wanted to go to you and fix things, so I just thought being sick was my punishment, you know? For being a dick.”
Jensen is silent, doesn’t want to interrupt with something that will close Jared off, and he continues, stiltedly.
“When I found out, I wanted to tell you so bad, but I knew I couldn’t. I just kept thinking of your mom asking me to make sure you stayed in school, and you would’ve come back if you’d known. And after all that--I couldn’t.”
“You still should’ve,” Jensen murmurs, but it doesn’t have the usual edge. He’s bitter, thinking of his mom, and how things could’ve been if she hadn’t talked to Jared, hadn’t put the seed of his plan in his head. He wormed that story out of Jared a while ago, and thinking about it still makes something burn hot and terrible in Jensen’s chest. He loves his mama, misses her so much, but he can’t help but hate her a little too for this.
“Gen helped me a lot,” Jared says, ignoring Jensen’s interjection. “She was with me when I told my mama and Jeff, let me stay at her house till they calmed down. It was bad at school, once the news hit, and especially when I started getting big, but you know her.
“It was hard without you though. Even though I knew it was my fault, I kept thinking about how things would be better if you were home. And when I went into labor--Jesus, it was the longest day of my life. She was so worth it, but I kept thinking about how you would’ve acted if you’d been there. I knew I was gonna call her Hannah if she was a girl, and Jesus, she was so small, and I was scared to death about what I was going to do with her. I couldn’t give her up; she was the last bit I had of you, but those first couple of months, I thought I was going to go insane, or accidentally kill her, and it was awful.”
Jensen swallows hard and grips the table. He wants to say something about how he’d give anything to have been there for her, but he can’t form the words without feeling accusatory.
“I’m sorry I took that from you,” Jared says quietly.
Jensen unsticks his throat enough to say, “I wish things could’ve been different. But. But they weren’t, so we’re gonna have to live with it.” It’s not an apology, but it’s not angry, not biting. It hangs in the air, and they don’t speak again till they go to bed, and Jared looks so forlorn, that Jensen kisses him goodnight, completely sober, leaning into him for a long moment that turns into several minutes, gentle, and somehow, it feels appropriate.
One time, when they were seventeen, Jared dared him he couldn’t go three months without coffee, and to prove a point, Jensen decided to show him he was wrong. It was hell the first couple of days, caffeine withdrawal headaches and the constant yawning, but once he got over that hill, he only vaguely missed it. When the time had come due, Jensen had crowed in victory and taken his prize--a week of whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it (and to be honest, mostly he asked for blowjobs because he was seventeen).
He was sure that now he knew he could survive without it, when he went back to drinking the stuff, he wouldn’t get as addicted. He was wrong. One cup a day quickly turned into three, and after six weeks, he was just as bad as he had been before the bet.
Kissing Jared is like coming back to coffee.
Even drunk, having Jared under him was like opening a door that had been locked for years, and now that Jensen has had had a glimpse inside, it’s near impossible to turn back. When they’re around each other, all Jensen wants to do is touch, lean into Jared’s heat and make sure that he was real, still there.
“You’re being weird,” Jared says one afternoon, narrowing his eyes. “What’s going on?”
“I am not being weird,” Jensen replies hotly, bending to pick up another duplo block before he steps on it.
“Yes, you are,” Jared counters. “Totally clingy.”
“You’re imagining things,” Jensen says loftily, but that night before they go to bed, Jensen’s quick, unplanned kiss turns into two turns into ten turns into twenty minutes of it before they mutually drift apart, lying quite a bit closer in bed than normal. When Jensen wakes up, he can’t swat at the alarm for almost twenty seconds because Jared is cushioned firmly on his arm and it’s fallen asleep. He has to shake it for nearly three minutes before the pins and needles go away, but there’s this warm pit in the bottom of his stomach that stays there until halfway through the morning when he has to deal with three rich kids who’ve snuck alcohol into the dorms even though they’re underage.
If Jensen stops to think about it, things have been progressing pretty much in the most fucked up order possible. He married Jared when he wasn’t sure he even liked him anymore, and now, six months after the fact, they’ve finally moved on to reconciling their relationship into something more than strained acceptance. And it’s hard, especially with life getting in the way, and Hannah, but as the new school year starts, Jensen notices how different things have gotten. He doesn’t look at Hannah and Jared playing with a knot of anger in his chest anymore, and she’s not a stranger. He knows she loves applesauce and hates mashed up peas, that her favorite show is Winnie the Pooh, and that they’ve read Paddington to her so many times she’s practically memorized it. He comes home, and she shrieks, “POPPA” and runs to him, getting her sticky fingers everywhere. He knows when she’s crying because she’s tired and can tell the difference from the sobbing fits she turns to when she’s mad, and it’s...well, it’s tiring as hell and draining and messy and gross but at the same time, he loves her more than he thought he’d love anything in the world, and that makes up for every time she’s puked on him or her diapers leaked or she’s spent the night fussing when he has a test in the morning.
And Jared--well, Jared’s not the same guy Jensen left in Texas, but he’s still so good at seamlessly knowing exactly what Jensen needs. Jensen didn’t think he’d ever forgive Jared for making the decisions he had, keeping Hannah a secret, but there are days when he doesn’t even think about it, doesn’t dwell on what he’s missed, because Jared’s here now. He’s here, and they’ve missed things, but they’re building back up to where they’d been once upon a time. Just with a lot more baggage. Things are sliding into place, slowly, and it’s not perfect; things never are, what with the stress and the no money, and the sniping over stupid things when they’re too tired or over-worked, but. But it’s them.
Time slides by more fluidly now that Jensen feels he hardly has any to himself. September melts into October, and they’re dressing Hannah up as a bumblebee, taking her around a nice neighborhood to get candy that they’ll all share, and then November, with the bitter wind and the goodwill scarves and Thanksgiving with Jared’s misshapen pumpkin pie and a rotisserie chicken because neither of them want to bother with a turkey, even though Danneel pitches in to mash some potatoes and heat up a green bean casserole. They laugh at Hannah, who somehow manages to get half of her dinner on the ceiling, and then they hunker down and watch football and then Home Alone on TNT, laughing at Marv and Kevin and Harry.
Jared and Jensen agree that Christmas should be low-key this year, considering that Jensen has to make his tuition payment, and there’s groceries and other expenses baked into their small budget. Jared gets a free Christmas tree from someone, and they make paper ornaments to decorate it with, threading string through some of Hannah’s messy drawings to hang on the branches.
“Pretty!” Hannah says happily, fingering a snowflake that Jensen painstakingly cut out of paper.
“You always were good with your hands,” Jared leers, and Jensen swats him.
“Not in front of the kid,” he grimaces, but it’s good.
They walk Hannah around the city to see the lights, wrap her up in a coat and mittens and they ooh and aah at the large Christmas trees and holiday displays. Hannah goes to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap and immediately freaks out--Jensen buys the photo on principle even though it’s overpriced. They both spend a lot of time scoping out goodwill and dollar stores, because even if she’ll be more interested in the wrapping paper, Jensen wants to do this for her.
And, he thinks, he’s ready for that last step between him and Jared too.
They’ve been holding off on full on sex through some unspoken agreement. Jensen wasn’t ready, and Jared didn’t push, and now it’s become this sort of thing. When they aren’t too tired and actually have the luxury of a little stolen privacy, they sometimes jerk each other off, and once, after Jared had a little too much to drink one night, he’d given Jensen a spectacular, unexpected blowjob that wasn’t mentioned in the morning, but now, now Jensen thinks it’s time. He wants it. It’s been six months of pussy-footing around their relationship, and he’s sick of ignoring the way that he’s pretty much fallen in love with Jared again. The bastard.
He doesn’t want to make a thing of it--not like it’s not special, but he doesn’t want to make it worthy of a corny lifetime movie either. This is Jared--the guy who’s watched Rudolph with Hannah eight times in the past week, listened to her talk his ear off about the “abobidimal-snomman” that’s she’s equal parts in love with and terrified of. He’s the one who calls Jensen a dweeb and cooks macaroni and cheese for the sole fact that he loves it and wears pink just because.
This is Jared. The same Jared he’s always been.
Finals have been over for a couple of days, and Jensen is just reveling the sudden burst of time he doesn’t have to spend studying. It’s snowed, hard enough that the plows haven’t had time to catch up and the cars haven’t made a sloppy gray mess out of the streets, so they all bundle up, Hannah looking like that kid from A Christmas Story, to go play in the snow. It’s cold but not unbearably so, and the snow is that perfect packing kind. Jensen feels hella stupid rolling a snowman for Hannah, but she’s delighted with it, shrieking with laughter. At one point, Jared yells, “Hannah, get papa, get him!” after giving her a handful of snow, and she chases Jensen with a childlike war-cry.
It’s a good day.
They come home and Jensen gets out the Swiss Miss, making sure it’s cooled down enough before he gives some to Hannah in a sippy-cup. They watch Rudolph again and Jared plugs the tree in so it’s the only glow of light as the sun goes down.
“I never liked this movie, you know,” Jensen murmurs. Hannah is too engrossed to care, waiting for the Abominable Snowman to make his appearance so she can scream and demand they turn it off.
“You always took things too literally,” Jared replies, stroking a hand through Hannah’s hair. “You were a stick in the mud even when we were little.”
“You’re such a hick,” Jensen counters. “Stick in the mud--who even says that anymore?”
“I do,” Jared says, sticking his tongue out.
“You only like this movie ‘cause you were hot for Herbie,” Jensen says.
“A., that’s completely disgusting,” Jared points out, “and B., maybe you should take some pointers from him. Pliers are a way to a man’s heart.”
“Shhhh,” Hannah fusses irritably. “I wanna hear! Too loud!”
Jared rolls his eyes at Jensen, “Sorry, baby,” he placates, cranking the volume up a little, and Jensen lets his arm fall over Jared’s shoulders, Hannah sandwiched between them.
By the time they’ve eaten, a DiGiorno pizza that Jared got on sale, and gotten Hannah bathed and ready for bed, Jensen’s made up his mind. His heart is racing, even though he knows he’s being stupid, and after they put Hannah into her crib that’s getting too small, Jared has asked him five times why he’s so fidgety.
“No reason,” Jensen lies after the last repitition.
“Whatever,” Jared says, raising an eyebrow.
Jared flips some mindless sitcom on the tv after he gets sick of doing a half-assed job of cleaning up the kitchen, settling into Jensen’s side. For a couple of minutes, Jensen continues to pretend to read, watching Jared out of the corner of his eyes, seeing how Jared’s dimples appear when something funny happens, the shake of his sides as he laughs quietly so as not to wake Hannah up. Slowly, Jensen sets the book down, and when Jared looks up at the noise, Jensen kisses him.
Jared’s immediately on-board with the plan, grabbing ahold of Jensen’s forearms as though to anchor himself and kissing back, following Jensen’s lead. It’s a slow burn, and Jensen is happy to stay like this for a while, in the low light from the kitchen and the glow from the Christmas tree, kissing Jared till he’s stupid with it, slow and heavy and turned on. Jared’s arching into his touch, skimming his hands over every bare bit of skin he can find in retaliation.
Everything becomes mindless sensation after a while, as Jensen struggles to get Jared’s shirt over his head. Jared’s brushing his mouth over every inch of skin he can get at of Jensen’s, sucking little marks because he knows Jensen likes it. Their hips have fitted together, and Jared’s thrusting up in little movements, not enough to do anything, but it takes the edge off, the slight friction of it.
After the second time they nearly fall off the couch, Jared breaks his mouth away from Jensen’s and laughs breathlessly. “Maybe we should go to the bed before someone gets a concussion,” he suggests, but there’s something serious underlying his tone. Like he knows where Jensen wants this to go.
“Mm,” Jensen agrees, but it’s easier said than done. Jensen just doesn’t want to let go and Jared won’t stop kissing him, even after Jensen untangles himself from Jared’s body to stand up, pulling Jared along with him. They sort of stumble-walk over to the bedroom, spending an eternity necking against the door frame, until Jensen thinks he’ll burst from the steady thrum of want that’s running all over his entire body.
They’re still half-clothed as they creep into the room, Jensen trying his hardest to keep quiet, especially as Jared’s hands are all over him.
“If you wake her up, I’ll kill you,” Jensen hisses, but Jared just kisses him. Hannah’s a heavy sleeper, especially at this time of night, and unless she has a nightmare, they’re pretty safe. Plus Jared had found one of those folding screens women used to change behind to partition Hannah’s side of the room from there’s, so there’s that added promise of not scarring their kid with sex.
Jared distracts him by deftly unbuttoning Jensen’s jeans, and Jensen just growls and pushes Jared backwards onto the bed. Jared’s pants are already undone, and Jensen doesn’t know when that happened and doesn’t care--he just wants them off. He nearly trips over the cuffs of his own jeans as he struggles to pull Jared’s off by the leg, but after catching himself on the bed, he’s out of his pants, and Jared’s in the same state.
After all this time, being with Jared like this is almost like being drunk. Jensen doesn’t even pause to take his underwear off, just brackets Jared, who’s looking at Jensen with these wide eyes. Jensen’s head is heavy with it, and he can’t help it, has to kiss Jared’s swollen mouth, mindlessly rutting down. The friction is maddening, and coupled with the way Jared is kissing him, Jensen feels wound up tighter than a drum.
Jared makes this little noise that means he’s close, and it takes all of Jensen’s willpower to pull away. “Wait,” he whispers, but he finds he doesn’t know how to word this anymore. He rolls off, ignoring the little noise Jared makes, and rummages under the bed for the condom and lube he stored there earlier.
“Jensen, what?” Jared asks under his breath, sounding annoyed and turned on and Jensen doesn’t even say anything, just plops the condom packet and the tube of KY on Jared’s belly. He still can’t form the words for what he wants to say, but Jared’s shocked expression is enough to tell Jensen that he gets it. He grabs Jensen’s bicep hard, and pulls himself half up.
“Jensen,” he starts, pausing for a second, searching his face. “Are you sure?” It’s a silly question, makes Jensen feel like he’s a fourteen year old virgin, but Jared looks drop-dead serious.
Jensen just kisses him, doesn’t want to put it into words everything that’s come back to him in the past twelve months, everything he’d tried to forget about Jared in those three years apart. He cups Jared’s chin, the kiss surprisingly soft, and when he breaks apart, all he says is, “Please,” like it’s the answer to what Jared was asking.
Jared’s nodding before Jensen finishes talking, and if this didn’t feel so important, Jensen would call him a slut. There’s no question about how this is going to work out--even though they used to switch off back when this was practically a daily occurrence, Jensen needs to be the one inside Jared tonight. He doesn’t care if it’s selfish of him or presumptuous, but he wants that reassurance. Jared cants his hips up as soon as Jensen’s hand touches his thigh, allowing Jensen to pull his underwear off, and Jensen can’t stop the punched gasp when he finally reveals the entirety of Jared’s body. It’s dark in the room, but Jensen can see the glow of Jared against the bed, debauched and here and Jensen’s.
Jensen slides one lubed finger into Jared, gently, slow, and Jared keens high in his throat, stifling the noise at the last second by shoving his fist into his mouth. Jensen’s thorough with the prep-work, just barely keeping himself from humping the bed as Jared fucks himself down on Jensen’s fingers. Jensen keeps kissing Jared’s stomach as he works, keeping grounded.
“Jensen, stop teasing,” Jared breathes, writhing, and that’s how Jensen knows it’s time. He slides his fingers out of Jared, who groans with it, and then kicks his boxers off and hastily puts the condom on. Slicking his cock with lube perfunctorily so this isn’t over before it starts, Jensen lines up and begins pushing in with little thrusts of his hips, inch by inch, inexorable. They’re face to face, and Jensen has to kiss Jared to keep quiet. The gripping heat of him is too much, too familiar, and Jensen’s losing his head over it.
There’s something heavy about how they’re moving together, not desperate like Jensen thought this would be. Jared is kissing him sweetly, running his hands up and down Jensen’s back as they rock together, and it’s intense in a way that Jensen wasn’t expecting. Jared’s fingers clench in the skin of Jensen’s back, and without thinking, Jensen snakes his hand between their bodies to start fisting Jared’s cock. His orgasm comes as almost a surprise, punching out of him, cresting for what feels like forever, and Jared’s not far behind, spurting wetly between them, mewling into Jensen’s mouth.
Jensen keeps kissing Jared, even as he comes down from his high, not ready to let that connection go. Even after he slips out, he only takes a couple of seconds to dispose of the condom in the trashcan before he slides close to Jared again. He knows he should probably find his sleep pants so Hannah doesn’t surprise them in the morning, but he can’t bring himself to move away, and eventually he slips off to sleep, Jared’s head pillowed on his husband’s shoulder.
Things are different after that, but somehow, in between all of that time, they've become them again. Jensen wakes up one morning and looks at Jared, messy-headed and still asleep, and realizes that the anger he'd been harboring has ebbed away, unnoticeable until it's gone. This is his Jared, always has been, and yeah, they've been through shit, but they've come out on the other side, still together.
It might have taken some time, but right then, at that moment, they're exactly at the place Jensen always thought they'd be: together, living a life that they made for themselves.
Which is exactly how it should be.