Fandom: CW RPS
Word Count 10,700
Disclaimer Complete fiction!
Summary So Jared has this excellent idea to try and seduce the hot-ass violinist who lives in his apartment complex.
Notes Written for the excellent, excellent art done by tanpopo03 for the spn_reversebang challenge. Thanks to the awesome, awesome tanpopo03 for putting up with my my neuroses and to my lovely beta topsyturvy for talking me through everything! Go here for the beautiful art done by tanpopo03
When Jensen was ten years old, his mother decided that her life wouldn’t be complete if she didn’t force him to “develop some musical talent” by learning how to awkwardly play Hot Cross Buns on an instrument of his choosing. Jensen argued against it for two weeks, but she was adamant, researching music teachers and youth orchestra programs like Jensen would die alone and destitute if she failed to get everything just right.
Anyways, she dragged Jensen to an assembly at the middle school auditorium designed specifically for parents who wanted to force their children into a life of band geekdom. Twenty eighth graders clustered on the stage, nervously playing dumbed-down Vivaldi before a handful of mothers fantasizing about musically-gifted progeny and their children, most of whom were ready to cut off their fingers with butter knives to avoid being players in that very same concert three years later.
When the song had ended (unevenly, despite the conductor’s best efforts), the children in the audience were invited to come up and figure out which instrument they were best suited for. After some deliberation, Jensen picked up a tiny violin and decided that with little effort, he could play squeakily enough and loudly enough to dissuade his mother from forcing him to continue. Three days later, he was equipped with a violin of his own, unfortunate orchestra-dork label included at no extra cost.
It fucking figures that that violin was one of the worst best decisions he’d ever made.
In retrospect, Jensen knows that he should’ve made two trips up to his apartment. Juggling five full grocery bags, a six-pack of beer, and his computer bag seemed doable at the time, but now that’s he’s wrestling to unlock the front door to his apartment complex with his key fob whilst keeping everything in his arms from falling to the floor, he’s beginning to wish that he’d been practical instead.
Miraculously, he manages to pull the door open without smashing his eggs on the dirt-slicked linoleum of the entranceway. His head is down, trying to maintain his tenuous grip on his belongings while lurching towards the elevators, and that’s when he runs into a brick wall masquerading as a very tall man. Jensen stumbles three steps to his left but can’t quite keep his balance.
“Ow, shit,” Jensen says as his shoulder jams into the wall, losing his grip on two of his bags.
“Dude, I am so sorry!” Brick Wall exclaims, bending over to help Jensen pick up his wayward groceries.
“Don’t worry about it,” Jensen grunts as he tries to steady himself without losing more of his armload to the ground. He looks up to reclaim his bags and immediately feels himself blush because this guy? Yeah, this guy’s gorgeous and tall and he’s looking at Jensen with these big gray eyes, and Jensen’s brain’s just not wired to be faced with this much hot guy stimulation without losing some of its capacity for normal human interaction.
“No really, it’s totally my fault,” the guy continues. “I wasn’t looking where I was going. I was thinking if I should check my mail now, or if I should do it later, you know? Like, is there anything in there I need to look for right this second, or can I just wait until tomorrow when I’m feeling a little less lazy?” He trials off and rubs the back of his head, and if Jensen’s brain hadn’t been fritzing out, he might’ve classified the gesture as embarrassed.
“Really, it’s okay,” Jensen says lamely. “I wasn’t paying attention either.”
“Lemme at least help you upstairs,” he says, juggling one of Jensen’s bags from his left hand to his right. He’s got this earnest look on his face, and it might’ve made Jensen feel less stupid about the whole situation were it not for the fact that he went and fell over and shit. Jesus.
“Hey, no,” Jensen starts, but the guy waves one of his huge hands dismissively.
“It’s the least I could do after nearly knocking you over. Man, I hope there wasn’t anything breakable in these.”
“Nah, I don’t think so,” Jensen says, a little awkwardly. The guy starts towards the elevators before Jensen can insist that he doesn’t need the help, and if either of Jensen’s hands were free at the moment, he’d be considering face-palming at the whole uncomfortable situation.
“I’m Jared, by the way,” he says as they wait for the elevator, and now Jensen has a name to go with the dimples.
“Jensen,” Jensen says, wishing that he was better at this small-talk thing Jared’s trying to get going. He shuffles his feet, looking at the little lighted buttons that indicate which floor the elevator’s on, trying to use telepathic waves to make it come to the ground floor faster. Of course, it seems to be stuck on two, because elevators only come when Jensen’s too far away to make it into them.
“Haven’t seen you around here,” Jared says. “You new to the building?”
Jensen doesn’t really know how to answer this question without feeling like a loser. Yes, he’s sort of new--moved in about a month ago after he’d finally saved enough money to afford rent on an apartment that wasn’t a shithole--but a month’s long enough for him to have met the neighbors, and he hasn’t bothered to do that yet.
“Kind of,” he deflects, letting Jared hold the elevator doors open for him.
“What floor?” Jared’s got his fingers poised over the button pad like an over-zealous four-year old.
“Four,” Jensen says.
“”Hey, so am I!” Jared exclaims warmly, and whoa--if Jensen was a girl, his knees might’ve gone weak at the sight of Jared’s crooked smile. “Dude, you must’ve moved into Gabe’s old place. If I’d’ve known, I’d definitely have stopped over. Are you a vampire or something? ‘Cause I’ve never seen you waiting for the elevator or anything--I thought the landlord just hadn’t found anyone to move in yet.”
“No, no nocturnal lifestyle here,” Jensen says a little slowly. “We probably just have opposite schedules or something.” The doors open again, and Jared takes the lead, even though technically Jensen should be showing him where to go. He waits by the door as Jensen unlocks the deadbolt and then follows him inside.
“Where do you want these?” Jared asks as Jensen puts his own bags in a haphazard pile outside the doorway to the kitchen.
“The counter’d be great,” he says as he heads back to the bedroom to put his computer on the desk before he accidentally smashes it too. When he comes back, Jared’s already gathered the rest of the bags into Jensen’s kitchen and is standing in Jensen’s little living room, sort of staring at his violin case.
“Um, thanks for the help,” Jensen says, because he’s not sure if he should be defending his violin or not, what with the way Jared’s fixating on it. But then Jared turns around and his smile’s wider than ever.
“So you’re the one who plays the violin,” he says, and Jensen’s cheeks go bright red again. “I was wondering if it was someone actually playing or just Mrs. Robinson listening to the classical music station too loudly again.”
“Uh, no, I play,” Jensen mumbles. “I didn’t know anyone could hear it through the walls--sorry. You should’ve just banged on the door or something. I would’ve stopped.”
“Hey, no way, man,” Jared says, and he’s smiling even wider than before. “You’re really good! You play professionally?”
“Nah, just a hobby,” Jensen says, shifting uncomfortably under the praise.
“We should play together sometime,” Jared says, and what? Either Jensen’s brain hasn’t fully recovered yet or he’s just not capable of following Jared’s train of thought. Whichever way, Jensen can’t find something to say in response, and he ends up giving Jared what must amount to a completely clueless look.
“I mean,” Jared continues, and Jensen’s not entirely sure, but he thinks that Jared’s finally catching up to this whole blushing-like-a-prepubscent-girl game Jensen’s got going on, “I play too. Not the violin--the cello. Is that weird of me to ask you that? I feel weird.”
“Nah,” Jensen says, glad to once again be on common ground. “But maybe you should give me a clearer path to the door. You never know if I’m gonna have to run away from the crazy, let’s-play-our-instruments-together guy who followed me inside.”
Jared laughs, this loud, belly laugh, that makes Jensen’s mouth turn up into a smile. “That was a joke, right?” he asks. “You don’t really think that I’m going to chop you up and hide you in the walls, yeah?”
“You’re too nice of a guy for murder. Maybe low-level stalkerdom, if you’re feeling ambitious. But--I don’t know. I kind of feel like I’m in seventh grade again with this whole let’s make music idea, you know?”
“Come on,” Jared wheedles, his dimples out in full-force. “You have a violin, I have a cello. Together, we could probably play loud enough to annoy the Adams’ teenage son into never coming home.”
“Is he the one who’s always screaming about how horrible his life is?”
“Before blasting My Chemical Romance loud enough to hear in the lobby? Yeah,” Jared says.
“Well,” Jensen hedges, and then makes a split-second decision that may or may not be directly influenced by Jared’s undeniable status as a hot-ass. “I guess. But I’m holding you to that promise. If I have to hear any more emo rock after this, I’m rescinding my offer.”
The first time Jensen heads down the hall to Jared’s apartment, he feels like an idiot. He’s holding his violin case and a little collapsible stand, and he almost turns back three separate times before he knocks.
Jared pulls the door open almost immediately, and Jensen wonders if he’d been waiting just inside the apartment. Jared throws his arm out invitingly, and Jensen steps into an apartment that’s practically a mirror image of his own with different family pictures on the wall.
“You came,” Jared says, and Jensen doesn’t know exactly where his unerring enthusiasm is coming from. He’s seen Jared three times since running into him in the lobby, and Jared always makes time to stop and talk. Jensen doesn’t understand how anyone under retirement age cares enough to know everyone in the apartment complex, but Jared is friends with every geriatric couple living in the building, if the stories he’s told Jensen are anything to go by. Last time they met, they’d talked for nearly half an hour in the hall before Jared remember that he was late. It’s strange--Jensen hasn’t found a friend this quickly in his entire time in the city.
“Yeah,” he says. “I figured you know where I live and you’d just annoy me if I skipped out.”
“Yup, that sounds like me.” Jared smiles. “Anyways, I picked us up some music at the store down on Eleventh. I don’t know what you like, so I just kinda choose at random. Hope that’s okay.”
“Yeah,” Jensen says again. “I play just about anything, so.”
It ends up that Jared’s kind of an under-exaggerator. Some music ends up being about thirty different pieces, ranging in difficulty and genre, everything from Mozart to pop-culture compilations. Jensen almost feels like he’s taking lessons again in Mr. Novak’s old-lady living room.
They end up playing a duet by Glière, a composer that Jensen’s not sure he’s ever heard of. It takes them a few tries to get the tempo right, and the volume, but then they’re playing, actually playing, and Jensen’s not sure he can remember when playing his violin last felt like this. The low cadence of Jared’s cello vibrates through the air, a perfect counterpart to the higher notes Jensen’s producing. It’s regal, slightly mournful at one point, and Jensen’s not sure if it’s the music or the way they’re playing it, but it’s coming easier than it maybe should. His fingers are shifting perfectly into position, and his bow is pulling the melody from the strings with little effort. Jared’s vibrato makes his notes rich and low, and Jensen shivers from the sound of them together.
Jensen can practically feel the mellow vibrations of Jared’s notes in his bones, and the way the music is coming together is almost overwhelming. Caught up in the way Jared’s playing, Jensen misses a note and then plays the next one off-tune on accident. He cringes internally and pulls his fingers tighter together, accounting for the sharpness of his mistaken note by making sure his fingers fall into the correct position again. Forcing himself to concentrate on his own sheet music, he slurs his eighth notes to match what the count is, rather than what Jared sounds like. But it’s too hard to hold, trying to go against Jared’s musicality to follow the technicalities on the page, so he lets himself fall back into the adjustment, and things are right again. He quickly shifts his wrist into third position to execute some higher notes on the E string, and their harmony is pitch-perfect.
They finish the song and look at each other. Jared is first to break the silence. “Told you this was a good idea,” he says, beaming.
“I’ll never doubt you again,” Jensen says dryly, as Jared reaches down to choose something else for them to play.
It sort of becomes a routine for Jensen to head over to Jared’s a couple of nights a week. At first, they just played together, but then Jared weaseled him into staying for dinner, and now it’s become more natural and less “let’s make music together”, and Jensen can’t say he’s too upset over that. He tries to gauge to see if Jared’s a let’s-eat-pizza-and-drink-beer-and-talk-a
Their friendship doesn’t stop Jensen from looking at Jared and thinking about Jared doing things that friends don’t do together unless they’re in it for benefits. He feels guilty about it sometimes, but he can’t help it. There’s just something about the way that Jared plays his cello, how his hair falls into his face when he’s concentrating on the notes, and sometimes when he gets caught up in the music, Jensen can’t help staring. He plays like an artist, like the only thing he was born to do was play that cello.
Jensen tried to ask Jared about it, about why Jared decided to start playing. Jared had talked about his momma and about starting on a tiny viola when he was too young for a full-size cello. Jensen told him once that he was good enough to play professionally, but Jared laughed it off, rubbing at the back of his neck and deflecting the question, and Jensen wonders if someone’s ever given him shit about playing. Because that would be totally fucked up--he doesn’t see how anyone who’s seen Jared play could possibly have anything negative to say afterwards.
Anyways, respect for Jared’s mad cello skills aside, Jensen really would prefer it if he would stop being so fucking adorable. Jensen’s a single, gay man in his sexual peak, and it’s getting hard (ha, literally) to pretend that he’s in it for the bromance when what he really wants is Jared spread out on his bed, looking like every wet dream Jensen’s ever had. But Jensen isn’t sure he’s getting any signals outside of friendship from Jared, and he’s too much of a pussy to try anything.
Which is why he’s particularly surprised when Jared finally mans up and asks him out.
“Hey, if I ask you something, will you promise not to hate me if you don’t like what I’m saying?” Jared says, after they’ve finished off their takeout, some Indian stuff that Jared liked and Jensen remains skeptical about. Jensen’s on his third beer, savoring how it mixes with the curry flavor at the back of his throat, and he’s relaxed and maybe slightly buzzed, sitting on Jared’s ridiculously comfortable armchair.
“Who says I don’t hate you already?” Jensen says. “I’m only tolerating you because sometimes you give me free beer.”
“Haha, very funny,” says Jared. “I’m being serious here, man.”
“Unless you’re about to tell me that your favorite food is baby stew, I think it’s safe to say that I won’t hate you in the morning,” Jensen says.
“Come on, Jensen,” Jared says, deadpan. “You know that I only eat kitten soup. Babies are too tough for my stomach.” Jensen laughs, and Jared’s face morphs into the same serious expression its had since the conversation started. “No, seriously.”
“Totally serious,” Jensen says, only he adopts a valley girl accent, which makes Jared swat him in the shoulder. And Jensen can’t take that shit without retaliating, so it kinda turns into a manly bitch-fight until Jared’s beer almost spills.
“Enough!” Jared says. “Just--look. Will you go to dinner with me?”
“Didn’t we just have dinner?” Jensen asks, because his brain has been effectually distracted by how very, very good Jared smells tonight. And maybe also because he’s just finished his beer, and that buzz is definitely settling in.
“I mean, like dinner dinner,” Jared says, staring down at his lap.
“Does Indian not count?” Jensen asks, because he’s still not getting where Jared’s trying to go.
“I mean dinner! Like dinner and maybe a movie! A date, you retard!” Jared says. “Jesus. I’m cutting you off. You get stupid when you’re drunk.”
“I’m not drunk,” Jensen says reflexively and then it catches up to him. “Wait--you mean like a let’s go out and eat and then maybe do other stuff date?”
“I take it back,” Jared says. “I can’t date someone as dumb as you. My momma wouldn’t approve.”
“You’re serious?” Jensen says. “You want to date me?”
“Look, I’m sorry.” Jared looks a little scared that Jensen’s about to deck him. “Just forget I said anything.”
“No, no, no,” Jensen says. “I mean, yeah, I’ll get dinner with you. You just kinda caught me off guard, you know?”
“Yeah?” Jared says, smiling, and Jensen’s head kind of feels like it might come off his shoulders and his stomach is a tight knot of happiness. He’s ecstatic, and scared that he’s misreading the situation even though he’s clearly not, and Jared’s still smiling.
“Took you long enough,” Jensen returns. And then, “Wait, wait, wait. Was the whole “let’s play our instruments together” just a ruse to get into my pants?”
“Jesus, shut up!” Jared exclaims, crumbling a napkin and throwing it at Jensen. Jensen lobs it back, and Jared mocks his aim and calls him a girl and it’s like Jared never asked Jensen out in the first place. Except for the fact that he totally did.
Jensen doesn’t stop smiling until he falls asleep, and even then it’s a close call.
If Jensen hadn’t known Jared before their first date, if Jared had asked him out in the elevator the first day they met, Jensen isn’t sure that he’d want to go out with him again. Because Jared might be gorgeous, but their first date could maybe go down in the books as being one of the most awkward experiences of Jensen’s life. And he’s pretty shy sometimes, so he has no shortage of those.
They go out to dinner, but Jensen hasn’t gotten used to the fact that he’s allowed to like Jared as a sex object, and Jared is just really bad at this whole dating thing. Conversation’s always been easy between them, but it’s like someone erased their ability to talk to each other, and these long silences keep cropping up between their conversations. Their waitress doesn’t take the hint that they’re actually dating, and she keeps hitting on Jared, and Jared’s really bad at rejecting her advances, and all in all, it’s a pretty terrible night. When it’s over, Jensen slips into his apartment, and Jared disappears into his with hardly a goodnight said between them. Jensen spends the rest of the night moping about the shitty state his life is in and how their friendship has entered fubar territory.
He’s still in a crappy mood the next evening, sitting on his couch half-heartedly watching Will Smith blow shit up, when someone knocks at the door. Jensen half-considers ignoring it, but the person on the other side is persistent, banging. Jensen is beginning to wonder if he’s forgotten to pay rent or something, but when he gets to the door, it’s Jared on the other side, slightly flushed.
“Listen, this is really fucking stupid,” Jared says, stepping right into Jensen’s space before he can react. “Look, I really like you okay? And I’ve wanted to kiss you since I knocked you over in the lobby, and I’m not gonna let one bad night ruin it.”
“Anyone ever tell you that you suck at this?” Jensen asks, a bit faintly, because Jared’s right up in his face, determined and right fuckin’ there.
“Shut up,” Jared says, and he steps impossibly closer. “I shoulda done this last night. Shouldn’t have been such an idiot.”
“Done what?” Jensen says, and then Jared’s huge hand is cradling his jaw, tilting Jensen’s head up. Their teeth clash at first, but Jared barely pulls back before he tries again, and it works this time, wet and hot and hungry. Jared’s hand is cradling his jaw, licking the bitter tang of coffee from Jensen’s mouth, his tongue thrusting thickly against Jensen’s until all Jensen can think about is getting closer together. His hands settle on Jared’s hips and he tugs at Jared until there’s no space between them. Jared pulls back slightly and Jensen chases his lips until they’re kissing again, making out like teenagers in Jensen’s doorway.
Jared pulls back again and Jensen lets him, his lips tight and tingling. Smiling widely, Jared says, “Come out with me again. I promise not to freak out this time.”
“Freak out?” Jensen murmurs, resisting the urge to brush his fingertips against Jared’s face.
“Yeah, you know,” Jared says, ducking his head abashedly. “I was kinda nervous last night.”
“You girl,” Jensen says.
“Shut the fuck up,” says Jared playfully. “You’d better agree to come out with me again. I’ll just bug you until you do.”
“Oh god,” Jensen mutters. “Fine, fine, whatever. It better be good this time, or else I just might have to move away.”
“If things go wrong again,” Jared says, leaning closer, “I’ll even help you pack.” Jared brushes his lips against Jensen’s again, and it’s different this time, gentle and exploring. Tangling his fingers in Jared’s hair, Jensen lets himself fall into Jared’s space, and it’s so good, Jensen kind of wishes it could go on forever.
Their next date starts off with a forty-five minute car ride, most of which is spent stuck in traffic. Jared won’t tell him where they’re going, and they spend almost ten minutes arguing over whether surprises are for girls, during which Jensen has to defend his manhood on three separate occasions. Jensen would be annoyed, but Jared keeps making him laugh with his crazy non-sequiturs, so he lets it slide . Their conversation is back to normal, none of that first date shit, and Jensen’s so relieved he could almost cry.
“Jesus,” Jensen says after Jared makes a split-second decision and ratchets around a corner going about twenty miles faster than he should’ve. “You drive like my blind grandmother.”
“Fuck you,” Jared laughs. “We’re almost there, sweetheart. I’ll drop you off and you can get us seats like a good girlfriend.”
“I will stab you,” Jensen says, picking up the thread of their earlier conversation without much effort. He considers making a lewd joke, but the accompanying gesture would be lost if he had to perform it while sitting in the car. Jared pulls into a parking garage, almost side-swiping a little Toyota trying to find a parking space.
“I’m never driving with you again,” Jensen says once his feet are back on solid ground. “Shit was fucking dangerous.”
“Fuck you,” Jared says again. “I am an awesome driver. I’m practically Vin Diesel.”
“Yeah,” Jensen says deadpan, raising his eyebrows at Jared. “More like Alicia Silverstone.”
“Did you just make a Clueless reference?” Jared asks. “Man, you are so fuckin’ gay.”
“You got my reference and you’re wearing a pink shirt,” Jensen says. “You should not be throwing stones here.”
“My shirt is the epitome of masculinity,” Jared says haughtily as they exit onto the street. He takes a left, and Jensen follows him into a little coffee house type deal.
“Or not,” Jensen says. He gives the shop a once-over, feeling kind of skeptical. He’s not sure he understands why Jared would drive all the way downtown to get some coffee. Jared wraps one of his bear paws around Jensen’s hand and pulls him to a little table in front of what looks to be a little stage meant for gothic chicks to read their emo poetry to a group of adoring gothic dudes waiting to get laid.
Jared seems to pick up on his confusion. “You’ll see,” he says, trying to be enigmatic. Jensen instead looks around to see if he can find a flier advertising what they’re waiting for. There are several brightly colored pieces of paper affixed to a bulletin board in the corner, but they all contain band names that make no sense to Jensen, and he gives up after a while. Jared buys him a coffee, and Jensen is maybe on his way to forgiving him for the disaster of their first date when the staff members start setting up the stage. Before long, four chairs are arranged in a semicircle, along with four music stands. Jensen’s maybe a little closer to figuring things out, but he’s not quite there yet.
A few people trudge up onto the stage, each holding their own instrument. Two violinists, one violist, and a cellist, and Jensen’s about ready to tell Jared that not everything they do has to revolve around music for them to have a good time.
But then the quartet settles, and they instantly go into an instrumental version of Carry On My Wayward Son, and it’s fuckin’ awesome. They follow it up with Metallica and some Aerosmith, the violinists’ fingers fluttering against the strings in a phrenetic rhythm, drawing out the melody with quick, smooth movements of their bows. Jensen’s completely caught up in the music, so he doesn’t even notice it when Jared moves his chair closer.
“Told you you’d like it,” Jared says in his ear as the quartet gears up for another song.
“Dude,” is all Jensen has time to say before they’re flying into another song. Jared trails his arm on Jensen’s chair back, and the brush of his fingers against Jensen’s arms makes his skin tingle.
Later, they’re back in the car, and Jared is once again trying to run every single other car off the road. Jensen hardly notices.
“How’d you know about them?” Jensen asks, because he’s enough of a dork to admit that Jared hit the nail on the head for their date tonight.
“I don’t know. Just heard about them before, I guess?” says Jared. “I remembered about them, and I kinda stumbled across their performance tonight on accident.”
“Lucky accident,” Jensen says.
Jared smiles coyly and slants a quick look sideways at Jensen. “So you’re gonna let me surprise you another time then?”
“Maybe,” Jensen hedges, but he can’t stop himself from smiling.
“Yeah sure, whatever,” Jared scoffs. He pauses for a second and then continues, “So, I kinda have something to admit.”
Jensen’s instantly wary. “This isn’t where you tell my that your name used to be Jaredina, is it?”
“Jaredina is a beautiful name,” Jared jokes. “My parents were very inventive. Nah, man. Just...I lied when I first met you.”
“About not knowing you before we ran into each other? I mean, I technically didn’t know you know you, but I’d seen you around.”
“I don’t get it,” Jensen says. “Why would you lie about something like that?”
“Um,” Jared says. “I sort of thought you were really hot? And I wanted to get to know you but I didn’t know how, so I kind-of-on-purpose ran into you?”
“You knocked me over on purpose?” Jensen says. He kind of wants to be angry, but the situation is so wholly ridiculous that he can’t muster anything besides amusement. “Dude, you smashed my groceries so you would have a reason to talk to me? You’re such an idiot.”
“I’ll make it up to you, baby,” Jared says, and he wiggles his eyebrows suggestively.
“Oh, my God,” Jensen says. “You really were using my violin as a reason to get into my pants. You’re like a creepy pedophile music teacher trying to seduce his jailbait student.”
“Shut up!” Jared says, swinging at Jensen blindly with an open palm.
“Come on, now,” Jensen says. “Our relationship’s already built on lies. Let’s not add domestic abuse to the list. I gotta keep some of my dignity.”
“Bite me,” Jared says, but he’s grinning widely, and Jensen’s pretty sure that he’s getting lucky tonight.