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The Arrow and the Aim

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Title from this lovely song of the same name by Nadia Reid.




It may be the noise from the tourists in the piazza getting the jump on the forecast heat that wakes him. Or it could be the dull throb in his right temple, a gentle reminder a week’s worth of evenings imbued with good wine and lacking in sleep is about the limit of his forty-year-old body’s tolerance.  They'd been away ten days.

Or, it may be the bright morning sunlight streaming in the ceiling-high window to fall across his face and shoulders, making him clammy and restless.

“Morning, Sunshine!” roars the belligerently cheery voice of the culprit responsible for the open drapes. Unless they never drew the heavy blue fabric the night before. Which was….possible.

Jensen winks one eye open, lashes a feathered blur fluttering against the glare until his pupil adjusts. He risks the second, his vision finally pulling into focus to settle on the silhouette of one Misha Collins, buck naked with his bare ass facing the bed while he faces out the window.

“Thank fuck,” Jensen begins, pausing to peel the remainder of his tongue from the roof of his mouth, “thought you were talkin’ t’me.”

His bedmate twists at the waist and raises an eyebrow. That eyebrow. “You are many things in the morning. Sunshine ain’t one of them.”

Misha isn’t wrong, but having already ascertained he’d woken up on the wrong side of the bed, Jensen takes offense anyway. He does at least have the wisdom to keep it to himself. “Wha’time s’it?” he asks scrubbing a palm across his face and through his hair, thumb catching on the stubble at the side of his head.

“About half-six.” Jensen gargles a groan. “Sweetheart, we have maybe a handful of mornings a year we wake up together, in Rome, and you want to waste them sleeping in? It’s Rome.”

“Who are you and where’s Dmitri?” Jensen asks, lifting his head to peer at the other man, now standing full frontal with obstinately folded arms. “He’s a lot less gay,” he adds, fully aware of the way his gaze traces the generous curve of Misha’s naked hip before drifting to the nonchalant dick hanging between his thighs as he makes the remark.

‘My apologies. I forgot you were the only one in this relationship allowed to use that particular term of endearment.” There was the eyebrow again. Maybe, Jensen weighs, obnoxiously provoking a little slap and tickle will help him out of his funk.

First, he has more immediate concerns, steeling himself to become vertical and pad to the bathroom where he takes a long leak and hastily brushes his teeth. A look in the mirror reveals he doesn’t look half as tired as he feels, which is a win when he has to last the long day ahead in a whirlwind of fan interactions in broken English under the eye of zoom lenses.

On returning, he finds Misha sitting up in bed scrolling his phone with one hand while sipping a tall orange juice from the other. There was also a steaming cup emitting the freshly-brewed aroma of morning antidote waiting on the opposite bedside.

“You’re forgiven,” he declares once he’s nestled back into the large square pillows and taken his first sip, then gotten over the garish clash of coffee and minty fresh flavors in his mouth. He should probably check his phone as well, he thinks, but that would require acknowledging his day has started and he has responsibilities.

“I wasn’t aware I required forgiveness,” Misha answers dangerously. Jensen risked a sidelong look and is met back—to his surprise—with one of inquisitive concern. “Everything alright?”

Its Jensen’s turn to raise a brow. “Peachy,” he insists, following up with a shrug at Misha’s continued stare.

“Okay,” Misha relents, returning attention to his screen and leaving Jensen with the feeling he’d probably missed an opportunity. But Misha is right: this is Rome, and he doesn’t want to taint a gorgeous morning (not that he’ll admit that aloud) with bullshit from outside their carefully tailored bubble.

“Why’d you ask?” Jensen enquires after draining his cup and looking for answers in the dregs at the bottom.

“Come here.”

He looks up sharply, knitting his brows at Misha patting the space between his knees where they're pulled up under the sheet. Putting the empty cup down, he shuffles his rear over to settle between Misha’s thighs and leans carefully back, guided by insistent hands on his shoulders.

“You seem tense,” Misha says solemnly, running thumbs each side of his upper spine to the base of his hairline, then adds “you are tense,” as he fans long fingers through Jensen’s hair.

“I’m a little flat,” Jensen accepts, eyelids fluttering shut as Misha begins to knead. Misha responds with a dismissive hum and presses harder, Jensen sinking further against him, head bobbing as the pressure points Misha hits swirl with pricks of heat.

Okay yeah maybe I’m a little tense, Jensen concedes to himself. Misha is also good at making him feel good, even when good isn’t what he wants to feel. Sure, they’d made each other feel like shit plenty of times over the last decade, but there was never an occasion when Jensen didn’t feel acutely safe under Misha’s hands. As well as a hundred other contradictory things.

The fingertips circle over his crown and back down his neck. Jensen tips his chin forward, letting Misha work into the top of his left shoulder. “I talked to Gen,” Misha murmurs behind his ear.

Jensen flinches a little and Misha pauses. “When?”

“Before you woke up. I wanted to catch her before she went to bed.”


“She’s fine, “ Misha assures. “He’s fine. I told her we had it under control.”

Jensen grunts, a noise neatly encompassing equal parts frustration, guilt, and irony. He’d meant to call her late last night, but then he and Misha had stayed too long after dinner finishing the third bottle of barbaresco. He’s not fine part of his brain pipes up, though Jared had seemed mostly back to himself in the evening, if a little subdued. The trip had been everything Jensen didn’t know he needed and a few things he did, but he hadn’t counted on his best friend’s mood resembling a heart rate monitor the past few days. That in itself was hardly unusual, but the timing had thrown him for a loop.

“This isn’t like the last time,” Misha says like he was reading Jensen’s mind.

The hands resume, plying and twisting and pulling him out of taut, lightening flashbacks. Helplessness is not something he’s ever tolerated well, and those couple of weeks—here—and then further from home in Australia before he made it back to Texas to confirm for himself Jared was actually still alive three years ago was one of the most powerless and strained periods in his life, the reverberation from those jumbled, panicked texts and then phone call he got from Switzerland evidently still able to catch him out.

"I know," he begins, then trails off because does he know?  "Thank you,” he mumbles eventually because now Misha was effectively taking care of the both of them. All of them.

A mouth presses a less-than-innocent wet kiss under his ear. “I have an idea,” Misha says, the dark whisper winding a shiver up Jensen’s spine.


“You’ll like it, I promise.”

Jensen knows Misha makes good with his promises, as a rule. “If you say so,” he sighs, by way of surrender.

“Let me up,” Misha commands with a businesslike tap on his arms, “then lie down, on your stomach but over a pillow.”

Squirming out of the way, Jensen lets Misha unfold from around him and then does as directed. He shoves a pillow below his belly button and smooths his chest over the silken cotton sheet to rest his right cheek on his crossed arms, then waits for Misha to reveal his plans. Misha, however, wanders away; to the bathroom or so Jensen assumes, confirmed when Jensen opens one eye to see him return shaking a small, recognizable bottle.

“Just going to get right to it?” he asks, not unappreciative. There’d been a lot more napping than sex during the past week.

He feels the bed dip as Misha’s knees land each side of his. “I wasn’t intending on fucking you,” Misha replies, tone wry but patient. It’s a contrast to the sudden impatience circling low in Jensen’s pelvis, not helped by the squirt of cool liquid on his tailbone followed by the press of Misha’s thumbs.

“Gonna fill me in, then?”

“Just relax,” Misha redirects, already focused.

Jensen doesn’t want to relax on principle, but the heels of Misha’s hands beginning to spread the generous portion of lubricant from the small of his back and across his hips in slow spans has his shoulders dropping and head sagging within a minute.

Misha works meticulously, thumbing out the knots along his lower spine first before moving higher, sculpting gullies and plains out of the meat of his back. First thing in the morning is a weird time to receive a massage and if he isn’t careful he’s going to lose all interest in the day ahead.

“Told you, you were tense,” Misha eventually declares, shifting to deep sweeps behind his kidneys, fanning towards his arms before reversing and ending with a knead to his rear.

“You’re usually right,” he grants, in a rare candid admission.

The man on his back shifts his weight slightly, edging over Jensen’s knees to concentrate his attention lower. “I wish that were true,” he answers, depositing another dollop of liquid on Jensen’s right thigh.

Jensen huffs in annoyance. “Bullshit,” he argues, something about Misha’s tone punching deeper because of the cleaving effects of his hands, now circling over his butt. “There’s nobody’s instinct I trust better than yours.”

He feels Misha sit back for a moment, movements paused. Then thumbs trace the peach of his ass before meeting over the join of his cheeks, not quite dividing the long line before circling around again. Then again.

“I’m not sure anyone’s said that to me before,” Misha eventually observes, tone contemplative. “Ideas, yes,” he continues before Jensen can protest, “instinct...I go with Vic’s over my own.”

Jensen begins mulling that over, but a grazing thumb over his anus turns his thoughts to smoke. Tensing, the reflexive urge to part his thighs is quashed by Misha’s pinning weight. He’s sure Misha notices, however, by the soft snort barely audible over the slippery slide of another pass. By the fourth, he’s beginning to relax into it once more, the apparent inclusion of his ass crack in Misha’s ministrations melding with the overall subduing effect.

“I would’a thought it was t’other way ‘round,” he slurs against his wrist, having finally lured his concentration back. “Ideas versus instinct,” he amends when he can hear Misha frowning, “Mr it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time.”

Misha remains silent as one of his hands grazes the back of Jensen’s thigh and skirts the underside of his flattened balls before the flat of his thumb returns to tease. It loiters in short swipes over the sphincter muscle, the responding desire curling sluggishly like a cat in sun.

“I look at our enterprises like this,” Misha finally says, sounding distant in Jensen’s ears as his hole becomes the delicious center of tightening concentric circles. “Most of the time I’m the arrow, but it’s Vicki who’s aiming the bow.” And with that a finger breaches him, easily pushing in his entrance and pausing there.

“Jesus,” he breathes, stifling a laugh. “You have the weirdest fucking timing, I swear.”

“Want me to change the subject?”

“Yes, you kinky shit,” Jensen replies, though his smile matches the one he can hear in Misha’s voice.

A dark, faint chuckle escapes from behind him. “Take a deep breath,” Misha commands, and Jensen complies without a thought. “Now exhale.” As he does Misha invades him, all the way to the last knuckle and he lets out a low groan of satisfaction.


“Mmph,” is all he has to offer as the digit drags back and then slides home again. Then again. It’s not enough and everything he needs at the same time.


Then Misha angles down, fingertip inching until he finds what he looking for and Jensen’s insides flicker on and hum like a new neon light.

“Mish,” Jensen growls, more a general statement than a complaint while Misha works at the spot.


“D’we have time for this?”

“I’m making time,” Misha answers in a tone that brooks no argument. Not that Jensen wants to argue, but he definitely doesn’t want to be left at full throttle if their engagements catch up with them. It’s happened on convention days before and it seldom turns out well.

His noise of reply dissolves as Misha begins to work his prostate in earnest and it’s not long until he’s reduced to nerve endings, all clamoring to align and fire off like they’re getting ready to play out the eighteen-twelve overture.

Misha’s free hand still idly sweeps over his hips and sun-swathed back, a counterpoint to the rising pressure low in his pelvis building from the point he’s manipulating with merciless crooks of his finger.

“Mish,” he rasps again, barrelling past the point of no return and knowing one syllable at a time is all he’s good for. “More.”

The touch slows to an idle, letting him have a moment’s respite. “I told you, I’m not fucking you,” Misha says, admonishment lurking in his gentle tone, and Jensen moans like the whiny fucking baby he is. “Just relax, detach from your thoughts and be present in your body. And remember to breathe.”

“You try that yoga bullshit when you have a finger up your ass,” he grumps, pushing up seeking more even as he says it.

“You say that like you think I haven’t.”

Typical Jensen thinks, squeezing in a resigned noise before Misha’s movements resuspend him up in a web of sensation, increasingly strung out by directionless impulses picking up speed around his belly and limbs.

“Breathe,” Misha says again, low, soft and close, and it’s only then he realizes the weight has gone from his legs and Misha is leaning over him. The flicks over his prostate have slowed again and he listens, matching is breaths to the languid rubbing inside. “That’s better. Now keep those inhales deep and slow for me.”

Jensen does, for no other reason than Misha commanded it in that hushed ‘there’s no point in challenging me’ tone he uses sometimes when Jensen knows means he’s in determined, nurturing hands and Misha knows Jensen wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else. He does breathe, resolutely pulling air down into his lungs like a tide before letting it recede as pressure and movement propel him on. With his mind on his breath, he feels more like he’s floating; wafting on the tide, bobbing about on small waves of pleasure until suddenly they’re not small waves at all but getting steadily larger and more rhythmic from behind his balls and dissipating up throughout his torso. Then he’s just being tossed, splashing up against the edges of something and drawn out to sea again and it won’t stop, it won’t stop and it’s only then he realizes he whimpering into the corner of a pillow clenched desperately in the grip of his left hand. Whimpering like he’s in pain but he’s really really not, and the pillow is kinda damp with saliva or maybe sweat because now he can feel that he’s covered in a sheen of the stuff and he's suddenly aware he has no idea how long he’s been like this.

Then Misha stills and slowly withdraws, and Jensen moans, whines because it’s a relief but he’s jittery and feeling kinda high and not necessarily in a good way. He lifts his head and risks a look over his shoulder to spy Misha stretching straight arms behind his back and arching his neck to one side. “Sorry,” he says when his gaze falls back on Jensen. “Just needed to rest my back.”

Jensen wants to say something - issue an apology or a ‘serves you right’ or something, but swallowing a coarse “mm” is all he’s got.

“Actually, turn over,” Misha continues with a no-nonsense beckoning palm. Jensen shuffles dutifully, yanking the pillow wedged half under his butt to toss it unceremoniously on the floor. It’s only then as his dick is freed from its previous confinement and slaps against his abdomen that he’s confronted with how fucking hard he is, and apparently, judging by the smears cooling on his skin, leaking like a faucet with a worn washer.

Letting an instinctive hand reach for it he really shouldn’t be surprised when it’s unceremoniously batted away just before his fingers make contact. “Not yet,” Misha murmurs, then narrows his look. “You okay?”

“That a trick question?” Jensen responds, honestly having no idea whether Misha wants him okay or not, but the yet in Misha’s admonition eases his mind. Then Misha slides a hand between his legs to cup and roll his balls, still sticky and smeared with silicone lube and Jensen’s arousal leaps to attention again. Letting his knees fall open he invites Misha to return to the full-but-empty feeling inside him, but Misha seems intent touching him externally again, drifting one palm up Jensen’s arm and across his chest while the other concentrates on his knees, thighs, and sac. It’s maddening but lulling at the same time, but he lets his eyelids close as his muscles quickly loosen again until he’s lax and cool.

“Good,” he hears after a few moments, and his speculation on exactly what Misha is referring to is circumvented by a finger sliding neatly home again. It’s entirely pleasurable, but he hisses nonetheless as he’s sucked up in a vacuum of whatever state this is beyond arousal. This time, flat on his back he’s aware of his skin heating to a sweat again before a current zaps along the prickling moisture. But it doesn’t matter because down there Misha is playing him like a violin, pressing up, over and round with a cadence just uneven enough to keep Jensen off-kilter and unable to get a handle on release. Then the waves gradually roll back, stronger but irregular this time, and he knows he’s lost control of his lungs but the way his thighs are shaking. He wants to come—so badly—but somehow it feels like he’s beyond that, overshot it maybe and trapped in some holding cell where the overwhelming pleasure could spin into pain on the head of a pin.

But then, then Misha stops—or almost stops, maybe taking pity on him for a split second before his cock is embraced in a slick palm-slide and just like that he is in pain, or a kind of pain. The exquisite kind of pain when an orgasm unleashes, cracking like whip and leaving him airless in a silent scream as he comes and keeps coming.

It seems like an eternity before his ears stop ringing and he’s fully inhabiting his body again, stomach covered in rapidly cooling liquid despite the warm morning. Maybe Misha notices too because Jensen opens his eyes to see a magically appearing washcloth in his hand that then cleans him with practiced efficiency.

Resisting the urge to close his eyes again, he keeps them on Misha’s face until he drops the soiled cotton and studies at Jensen with a contemplative look.

Jensen stretches experimentally, and can’t feel a single twinging muscle or morning-stiff joint. He lifts his head to languidly fold one arm behind it. “Well, buongiorno to me,” he smiles sleepily, getting a crooked one in return. “Also fuck you, now I just want to sleep for the day. Why’d you do that?”

Misha’s expression deepens to a smirk. “Why? Because you needed to relax.”

“There’s relaxed, and there’s orgasm-induced coma.”

“Are you making a formal complaint?” Misha asks, starting to sound huffy.

Jensen takes a moment to think carefully about his next words but is filled with a swift swell of emotion, probably, he thinks in no small part to the gallon on cum just wrung from his body in spectacular fashion by one of the loves of his life.

“Like I said, I trust your instincts,” he offers, finding Misha’s hand where he’s resting it on a tucked leg. Jensen winds his fingers through and knits them together. “And your aim,” he adds, pursed lips twitching. Misha’s eyebrow mimics in response like maybe Jensen’s lost it a little and he’s not sure whether to be amused or concerned. “I’m serious,” Jensen goes on, “it’s really difficult not to be in love with you when you know exactly what I need. And when, and why.”

“That’s backhanded even for you,” Misha says, bemused.

Concentrating on playing with Misha’s slender fingers, Jensen ignores him as he gathers what he wants to say, no doubt fuelled by sex hormones. “It’s not just here,” he says, awkwardly lifting Misha’s hand to make a push-pull gesture between them, “it’s everywhere...and not just me, ya know?" He pauses to smile because the thought hits him with acute clarity even though he's not sure he's making sense. In fact, he's sure he's not making sense and he doesn't really care because that's all Misha's fault.

"I love Dee even more because of you.” Misha’s brows knit a little. “Both of you, in fact,” he plows on, “but mostly you. I know she’d say the same thing about me, but I’m not sure you know the influence you’ve had on her.” His throat actually feels goddam lumpy thinking about it because it’s absolutely true in too many ways to count, not the least of which is a deeper sense of herself and purpose, and he has no idea how to thank Misha for that when all he has is the love he can afford to give.

He doesn’t realize what he’s said until he notices Misha holding in a laugh. “That's not what I meant,” he grinds out as his lips catch a smile too.

Misha successfully composes his face. “Well, there was that one time—” he muses.

Memories flash across Jensen’s mind. “That one time was fucking hot,” he concurs wistfully.

“Weird. But yes, definitely hot.”

“You like weird,” he notes, somewhat redundantly.

“So do you...and one of the reasons it was hot is because it was only ever a one-time thing,” Misha reminds him. “I know that look,” he adds, issuing Jensen a pointed one in answer to whatever his face wearing.

Jensen reigns in a pout. “Want me to do anything for you?” he asks, the feeling of imbalance still nagging at him.

Misha glances away. “We've used up our time,” he says.

“What is the time?”

“Half-seven. Time you got in the shower.”

“Holy fuck.” Jensen crunches to sit and wonders where an hour had gone. He wasn't late yet, but he could be, depending on what frame of mind he'd find Jared in. “Join me?” He asks, nonetheless, trying to stave off the echo of worry at the back of his brain despite the bone-deep slackness he was unable to completely enjoy.

“I've already had one, and we certainly don't have time for that.”

Jensen looks his face over and for the first time notices his even skin and hair that's not sticking up in fifty different directions. “Course you have,” he mumbles, reluctantly disentangling their hands to find Misha's had been a little sticky. “You go wash up while I get my shit together,” he suggests, regretfully hauling himself off the bed and over to his case to fish out some clean underwear. He makes sure they're unremarkable this time so he's not tempted to get into trouble, then checks his jeans have hung themselves smooth in the closet before making his way to the bathroom.

When he emerges, Misha is dressed and fussing about in his suitcase. Jensen takes in the faded black tee and jeans together with those ridiculous blue trainers and shakes his head. “Didn't know it was casual Sunday,” he observes. Misha squints at him. “Lost somethin’?”

“Thought I had another clean shirt.”

“Wanna borrow one?”

“No!” Misha objects, a little too quickly. “No, I'll just wear an old one with a jacket.”

“With those shoes?” Misha just rolls his eyes, not taking the bait. “Why don't you wear this one?” he offers, pulling a button down from a store bag sitting on the floor, not giving up. “I haven't even worn it yet, it's still new. You— we won't cop shit for it.”

“Jensen, I'm not wearing your damn shirt.” Misha peers at him and Jensen abruptly feels under scrutiny. “Why do you want me to?”

Don't kink shame he wants to say, and it would complement your eyes but instead, he opts for “Why? Because your instincts don’t extend to your wardrobe," said with the requisite amount of affectionate friction.

Misha’s stare flattens, so Jensen turns to pull his t-shirt from the hanger and pulls it over his damp head. “We agreed to try to only do the swap thing on purpose,” Misha says softly, already distracted by his phone.

“Hey man, it's just a shirt,” Jensen says with forced nonchalance while shaking into his jeans. Then he silently tucks the checked shirt into his backpack anyway.

“It's never just a shirt,” Misha murmurs absently, and ain’t that the truth. “By the way, I talked to Jared,” he adds, making Jensen spin on the balls of his feet.


“He's fine. Ish.”


“I just wanted to check on him—make sure he was mobile, I didn't want to give him the third degree.”

“Okay,” Jensen says, unconvinced, and already thinking of ways to keep his errant best friend distracted and engaged. They should probably all skip the liquid lunch today too.

“He’d just got off the phone with Gen.”

Jensen sighs. He usually loves these Sundays, but this year everything feels a little off. He knows Misha knows it too. “So I don’t need to go see him? We’ve a few extra minutes?”

Misha shrugs, too casually. Jensen eases his eyes over him then steps forward, gently confiscating the phone before tossing it on the bed and cupping Misha’s face in his hands. Large blue eyes search his in return, so when he matches their tender sweetness in the drawn-out kiss he deposits on Misha’s mouth he’s not surprised when his friend is the first to pull away.

“What’s that for?”

Jensen glances at the clock beside the bed as a variety of answers present themselves, some sappy as fuck and some his standard smart-assery. “Thank you, Mish,” is what he says in the end, not knowing how to make Misha know it’s for more than just this morning, or this trip. For more than his attentive, intuitive care: of Jensen's body and mind, of his family and everywhere their worlds intersect.

For more.
And everything.

The creases at the corners of Misha’s eyes deepen, just enough for Jensen to know he’s pleased, so he decides approximately seven and a half minutes of making out is as good a way to demonstrate his devoted gratitude as anything. After all, what's the hurry.