“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder
Jensen is sitting in the living room, his head in his hands while he tries to stave off a full-blown panic attack when Clay comes stumbling in. He plops down in the armchair reeking of bourbon, his clothes all rumpled and with an obvious lipstick mark on his cheek.
Jensen practically jumps out of his skin.
“Colonel!” he squawks, “I didn’t- when did you-”
“Roque dragged me back ten minutes ago,” he pulls a bottle of whiskey out of freaking thin air or something, and takes a swig, “Meddling bastard.”
Jensen bites his lip to hide his grin.
Their leave had started yesterday but they were too shit tired to do anything with it until tonight when Clay had dragged them all out to a bar. Jensen, Pooch, and Cougar had gone home early when they had gotten just the right level of drunk, but Clay and Roque had stayed with the intention of drinking the bar dry. Clay must have run into a dangerous lady, or otherwise, he and Roque would still be there.
“Anyway,” Clay burps, “What’re you doin’ out here at … 4 pm, Jaysus Christ- shouldn’t you be cuddled up with my sniper.”
“Its … I’m just thinking.”
“Fuck just- … its Christmas.”
Clay squinted drunkenly at his watch.
“…in five days.”
“I know but, this is the first time in years that we’ve been stateside for the holidays and I … I don’t-”
Clay glared at him, his eyebrows sinking down so they were at their most judgemental.
“It’s Christmas, and you wanna take Cougar home with you…” he growls faintly, his red cheeks taking away some of the threatening effects, “…but you’re being an idiot about it.”
“Hey! I’m not being an idiot, I’m- …aw fuck.”
Jensen dropped his head down in his hands again.
It's true. He is being an idiot.
See he and Cougar started doing … whatever they are doing to years ago and have had little downtime since. A few weeks of leave here and there usually spent in whatever country they had been dumped in at the time. This is the first time they have been home for leave since he and Cougar got together, the first opportunity he’s had to take Cougar home to his family.
But he doesn’t know how to ask him.
Hell, he doesn’t even know if they’re dating.
They don’t go out together. They don’t kiss or touch in public, fuck you DADT. When they hang out it’s the same as what they did before they started whatever this is. Mostly they fuck, sleep in the same bed, share companionable company and Cougar puts up with his constant stream of words in the same way Jensen appreciates Cougars nonverbal tendencies.
Is that what Boyfriends do?
Or is this just something he and Cougar have along as they are in the same unit. As long as they are convenient to each other.
Jensen thinks this is the most likely option. He’s someone that Cougar can trust to have his back, he’s someone he can feel safe with. It's not a lovey-dovey boyfriends thing. They’re fuck buddies.
But is it okay to take your fuck buddy home for Christmas?
All these questions and more could be answered if he just walked down the hall and talked to Cougar but he’s too chicken shit terrified of breaking what they have by talking about it.
So here he is. Sitting in the living room with drunk Clay. In his dinosaur boxers,
"He’s in love with you."
Jensen looks up from his hands and gives Clay a pained look. He really doesn’t need this right now.
"No, he’s not. I’m- I’m just convenient."
"You’re a moron."
Anger rises in his throat. He doesn’t need this right now, he’s trying to panic in peace and the Colonel is shitting all over it. He opens his mouth to point his out but Clay glares him back into silence.
"Jensen nothing about you is convenient,” he growls and then raises his hand to tick things off on his fingers, “1. DADT and a dishonorable discharge at best. 2. We almost die every other week. 3.-"
He just gestures at him. Encompassing him from his spiked-up hair to the fluffy pink slippers on his feet.
"-none of that spells. Convenient. He sucks your dick ‘cos he’s in love with you."
"... Did you get drunk just to have this intervention with me?"
Clay takes a long drink from his bottle and slumps down further in his chair.
And … he may actually have a point, even if Jensen is unwilling to admit it.
Cougars military career is important to him, way more than Jensen’s own is to himself. Jensen joined up because he was desperate to get a source of income and health insurance then-pregnant sister who was potentially going to give birth to a child with a heart defect, thanks to her shitty boyfriend’s shitty genetics. But Cougar joined up because he was lost, he had no family or future, and the army gave him one. Even if Jensen sometimes wants to point out that he got taken advantage of by a recruitment officer and that the life the army gave him is apocalyptic compared to one he could have had as a civilian, but he always bites his tongue.
So, it wouldn’t make sense that Cougar would jeopardise his military career, his whole godamned life, for him.
Unless he thought it was worth the risk.
Unless he was in love.
Jensen squints at Clay.
“You know,” he says slyly, “I’m only saying this because I know your shit faced, but you make one hell of a gay relationship councillor, boss.”
Clay glares and then his head falls back against the chair and lets out a bellowing snore.
“Aw, just like a baby.”
After tucking Clay in under the manky couch blanket Jensen went down the hall and slipped into his room, trying not to disturb his other sleeping team members. The sight he is confronted with makes his heart clench.
Cougar is sitting up in bed, shirtless with the blanket gathered around his waist like a nest. The soft yellow light of the lamp illuminates his hair, freshly washed and left to curl on its own only to be dishevelled by the pillow, and the beautiful expanse of his skin, scars tattoos and all. He has Jensen’s special top-secret box of froot loops in his lap and when he comes in he looks up at him with wide dark eyes, mouth smiling mid-munch.
“Merry Christmas too me,” Jensen sings under his breath as his heart kicks up in his chest, “Oh god.”
Cougar raises an eyebrow.
“Nothing,” Jensen laughs and slides into bed beside him, kicking off his bunny slippers and grabbing a handful of loops from the box, “Midnight snack.”
“2.AM,” Cougar chuckles as Jensen shove the cereal in his mouth.
Jensen hums and leans in close to the other man, so his shoulder is pressed to Jensen’s chest and he can lean forwards to kiss his hair. A wave of warmth spreads through him. If he had his way this is how they would spend their whole lives.
Cougar leans into him, on of his feet worming under Jensen’s leg.
“Where did you go?”
Jensen closes his eyes. He loves Cougars soft night time voice.
“Clay is as drunk as a skunk in the living room. I was making sure he still had a tongue to swallow.”
Cougar rumbles a silent laugh.
“Roque scraped him off a dangerous woman, he wanted to gripe.”
Cougar turns his head so their noses brush. He has a dusting of loop dust across his cheek bone and if he wasn’t being looked at with such intent eyes, he would lick it off. Cougars hand finds his wrist and circles it.
“Are you okay?”
Jensen bites his lip. He mustn’t of been hiding his internal panic very well if Cougar was using multiple words to ask him about it.
“I’ve … I’ve been wanting to ask you something, but I’ve been, um … I wasn’t sure how to ask it.”
Cougar frowns softly, his hand squeezing Jensen’s wrist comfortingly. He nods, silently telling Jensen to go on.
“I … this is the first time we’ve had leave at Christmas and I was wondering if you would like to come home to spend it with me and my family- just Jess and Holly, you know how she loves her uncle Cougs. We don’t really do anything special, we just build snowmen on Christmas eve and there’s this light display we go to on Christmas night, and-and Jess always makes fried chicken cause we used to get Kentucky Fried when we were white trash kids and she makes it better than the Colonel ever could. We could make whatever you wanted though, we aren’t stuck in any traditions- and if you wanted to go to church, I know you were raised Catholic and its still important to you so we could go to mass if you wanted there’s a church near Jesse’s house I think and-”
Jensen only realises he is rambling when Cougar cups his cheek, cutting him off. He gulps and looks into Cougars happy eyes, noticing the soft smile on his face. His thumb strokes Jensen’s cheek and its sends a thrilled shiver downs his spine.
“I want to be anywhere you are,” Cougar whispers, “And we don’t have to go to church.”
All of a sudden, all those fears, all those worries, evaporate as if they had never existed because of course, of course that’s the answer this is Cougar we’re talking about.
Jensen turns his head into Cougars hand and kisses his palm.
“You know I love you, right?”
He phrases it as a question because his heart is beating too hard for a confession.
Cougar twist his body and pulls Jensen in, so their foreheads press together.
“Yes, I know,” he says, lips brushing against Jensen’s with each word, “And I love you.”
Jensen sighs out a relived breath.
“So, you’re gonna come home with me for Christmas?”
“Yes,” he lays a soft kiss on Jensen’s lips and then leans back, reaching for the loops again, “I will make Eggnog.”
Jensen laughs and snatches the box from his hands, dumping a whole lot of cereal into his mouth. Cougar, of course, tackles them back onto the bed where they tussle over the box until Roque bangs on the wall and yells-
“Quit fuckin’! Some of us are trying to sleep, you shits!”
Jensen falls asleep wrapped around Cougar, and with a cluster of froot loops digging into his spine. It’s the best sleep he’s ever had in his life.