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Operation G.A.S. (and what happened thereafter)

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“This may be the best idea you've ever had.”

 

“Thank you. I like to think that every idea I have is greater than the one before. So yes, I'll agree with you: this is the best idea I've ever had. Will be right up until I have the next.”

 

“Or it could be the worst.”

 

Misha narrowed his eyes but then shrugged. “Improbable.”

 

Jared couldn't help the slip of a grin from sneaking onto his face. “Not impossible?”

 

“Of course not,” Misha snorted. “Nothing's impossible.”

 

“So you're saying that impossibility is impossible in and of itself?”

 

“I...” Misha closed his mouth with a snap. “Shut up.”

 

Jared simply laughed. “Come on, you practically hand delivered that one to me.”

 

“Yes, yes, you're very clever,” Misha grumbled, waving a hand as if it could encompass all of Jared's boundless, obnoxiously smug enthusiasm. “Can we get back to Operation: G.A.S.?”

 

“That's a terrible code name. Not very stealthy.”

 

“I sincerely doubt that anyone who might just happen to be listening outside your trailer door is going to hear G.A.S and automatically think Of course, that stands for Get Ackles Smashed! They'll think it has something to do with you and burritos and want to stay far, far away.” Sniffing, Misha said, “Besides, I didn't hear you making any better suggestions.”

 

Spreading his hands wide in a peace-making gesture, Jared said, “Okay, fine. G.A.S it is, then. Only...” he hesitated, and at Misha's expectantly raised eyebrows, said, “I just don't see how getting Jensen drunk is going to improve things, Misha.”

 

“Could it make it worse?”

 

Biting his lip before answering, Jared admitted, “Unlikely.”

 

“Well, then, what have we got to lose? This season's storyline is tough enough for the both of us without having to worry about how Jensen's going to play Dean off our characters. Well, that is, if the Winchester's Lord and Master makes a reappearance after episode two.”

 

While perhaps sounding a bit harsh, this was a true assessment going into Season 7. Jared and Misha were both handed extremely challenging roles: Misha as God!Castiel, Jared as a Sam who didn't know what was reality and what was a hallucination. Comparatively, Jensen's role as a Dean torn by his decisions of the past season should have been easy, but he seemed to be having difficulty tethering Dean to an attitude or mood. In some scenes he played him off as tetchy and volatile; in others, Misha could swear he could see that Dean was a hairline fracture from a sobbing breakdown. As someone who pulled his character's motivations and behaviors from real-life experiences, Jensen's portrayal of Dean was growing to be worrisome to his co-stars (especially Jared, as he'd apparently not spoken to him in over two weeks, which was highly unusual behavior), to the point where Misha declared that an intervention needed to be staged. The only problem with this was that Jensen was largely unwilling to talk about whatever-it-was that was bothering him, even with Jared, whom he usually told everything. And when Misha had tried to broach the subject with Danneel on one of the days she visited the set when Misha happened to be there, too, her response to him had been frosty, to say the least.

 

“You could just leave him alone, Misha. That would actually help a lot,” she'd said, eyes cold. Without further explanation she'd turned and walked away, water bottles in hand, presumably en route to make-up, where Jensen was getting ready.

 

Sighing at Jared's Look, (and such a Look it was, it deserved Capitalization) Misha said, “Hey, he's not talking to you, he's certainly not talking to me, and something's wrong. You've said it yourself. So I say let's take him drinking.”

 

*~*~*~*

 

It was simpler than it should have been, getting Jensen drunk. All it really took was a cooperative bartender, an open tab (on Jared's account, thank you very much—he insisted that if they were going to trick Jensen, it should be on his tab, as he was more likely to forgive Jared than Misha if they were found out, and reluctantly Misha agreed because hey, Jared was the one with steady employment now) and a few antics to distract Jensen from his constantly-refreshed beer. Jensen had a strict three-beer limit, claiming that anything over that and he couldn't remember exactly how much he'd drank, and he'd keep on going. The trick, Misha had declared to Jared while forming their plot, would be in getting Jensen to accidentally-on-purpose drink over that limit.

 

So they paid the bartender to switch out Jensen's bottles.

 

A bit of a drawn-out process, sure, because they had to time it exactly right to make sure that Jensen wouldn't notice when his bottle was replaced with a slightly-fuller one, but by the time what Jensen thought was his second bottle was drained (and really, in volume, was his third) Misha felt confident enough in the success of their scheme that he waved the helpful bartender away, and allowed Jensen to drink what he believed to be his third beer without the swapping. If Jensen had been anything approaching his normal self he would have noticed what was going on (or at the very least felt himself getting tipsy) and stopped, but he wasn't, so he didn't. All that just convinced Misha that what he and Jared had planned was necessary, possibly bordering into the “right thing to do”.

 

Jared didn't seem to agree with the operation's simplicity or righteousness.

 

“Are we sure about this?” he asked, staring at the flush climbing his best friend's cheeks.

 

We may not be certain about this, but I am. Besides, it's a little late to stop now, don't you think?”

 

“No,” Jared replied. “We could always get him home, wait for him to sober up and simply ask him what's going on. Which maybe we should have done to begin with.” At Misha's patented version of the hairy eyeball, Jared relented with, “Okay, fine. Jensen is a bit...withdrawn, right now. But it just seems like there should be a less complicated way here.”

 

“True,” Misha nodded. “We could have just roofied him, but where's the challenge in that?”

 

Jared laughed, but subsided at Misha's serious face. “Okay, so. Not gonna lie. The idea that you actually thought about doing that is kinda scary.” Sipping from his own beer, Jared leaned a bit closer into Misha's space and said, “I know we talked about how Jensen needs to get over whatever's eating him, but I almost get the feeling that there is more to what's going on here tonight than that.” It was his (not very) subtle way of probing Misha's motivations.

 

Misha shrugged. “Two nights from now could be my last on a Supernatural set. I think I've seen every single member of the crew drunk, from Sera to the set designers. Some of them several times—hell, I've had to peel your hung-over carcass off my trailer floor plenty of times. The only person I haven't seen is Jensen.”

 

“So this is a curiosity thing?”

 

Misha shrugged again. It was as good a reason for Jared to believe as any.

 

A lot was said in the Supernatural fandom about Jared's large (moose like) frame or his (ridiculously) floppy hair, but what most fans missed in favor of Jared's physical assets was that, while not an intellectual in the traditional sense of the word, he had an innate instinct for people. Misha had watched Padalecki (literally) charm the pants off his future wife while they were filming Season 4 simply by intuiting what would impress Genevieve most and playing to her desires. He shouldn't have been surprised by what the man said next.

 

“We'll all still be your friends, Misha,” the big man gently told him with a nudge of his elbow. “It's not like when you leave we're all just going to forget about you.” Misha plastered a smile on his face (he wasn't an actor for nothing) and said, “Of course you won't, Jared. Like any of you could forget a face as handsome as mine?” Jared laughed, just like Misha expected him to. But what Misha was really thinking was:

 

It'd be nice to think so, but things change. You might keep in touch, Jared, but not everyone will.

 

Misha doesn't say this because then he'd have to explain why he thinks Jared would be the one to keep in touch and not anyone else (Jensen). He doesn't want to tell his friend that he knows that Jared probably isn't (realistically) going to 'go places' after Supernatural ends, not the way that Jensen will, and that's why Jared subconsciously was opening even more to their co-stars while Jensen was already distancing himself (which is what, Misha had realized before their excursion to the bar that evening, Jensen had been doing since the start of the season). Saying such a thing would feel like Misha was being mean and petty and slightly bitter, even with it being something he truly suspected.

 

This wasn't a random hypothesis, though—Misha had pieced together the differences in Jensen's behavior from when filming had resumed to how he had acted every other season until last May's wrap, had recognized the pattern of withdrawal. Skipping out on a lunch here, (not very) casually drifting away from the craft table when Misha approached there—they all added up to tell Misha that Jensen was distancing himself from Supernatural (Misha), getting ready for bigger and better things. Everyone's contracts were up in the air after this season, and everyone was whispering that they didn't know if Jensen would want to stay on the show.

 

Misha couldn't deny to himself those small slights and what they represented hurt.

 

He fancied he could see the future of his career, stretching out in front of him: He and Jared being the headliners of joint panels (instead of J2) for conventions in venues of decreasing size, trying to milk the one project that brought either one of them any sort of notoriety while Jensen was off either filming or directing; Misha and Jared, meeting for coffee in the same Vancouver shop they frequented now, discussing whatever bit part they'd managed to snag for the current cult tv show or the (gaggingly) bad plot to their latest SyFy Channel film adventure while Jensen walked an awards show carpet with his wife; Misha and Jared doing a 'celebrity' reality show on VH1 where they're in rehab, or at a weight loss camp (Misha supposed they'd both have to gain weight first for that one, but it shouldn't be that hard), or looking for a (skanky) date, while Jensen sat in his (city of the moment) home and looked through his pile of offers.

 

Just having a friend (especially one as awesome as Jared) through this parade of semi-celebrity horrors should have been enough for Misha; despite what he sometimes claimed, he had no desire to take over the world with either fame or a diabolical plot. It's not though. It's really not. He felt like the worst sort, to wish, even a little, that Jensen was the one willing to reach out to Misha, to let him know that they would all still be friends and one or the other of them wasn't going to run off and be a bigger star, to be the one willing to give him more than professional courtesy dictated.

 

Friends were difficult to come by for Misha. Oh sure, he could be gregarious and charming and have everyone (nearly anyone) tell him they loved him during the climax of a party—but true friends, those that stuck around for the long haul (like Vicky)...they were almost impossible for him to hang onto. (And he'd been so thankful for Vicky and her understanding that he'd married her, because it had just been such a wonderful and foreign thing to him at the time, to have someone want to be around him for more than a few weeks.) He was too weird, too changeable, too impatient, people said. It seemed Jared, though, was settling in to be a long haul friend, and Misha was grateful for that, he really was, but...

 

So yeah. Misha wanted to see the perfect Mr. Ackles drunk and confused at least once before he was deep-sixed from the man's life. If that made him petty? Then Misha was petty.

 

*~*~*~*

 

One thing Misha hadn't expected from this whole exercise was how tactile a drunk Jensen appeared to be. His third (really fourth) beer in and he was laying his head on Misha's shoulder and rubbing his hand down his thigh.

 

“I'm going to get us more drinks,” Jensen said, like a man declaring one of the secrets of the universe, like he was expecting a reaction of shock and awe.

 

Misha patted him on top of his head. “You do that, buddy.” Such cheeky behavior would usually earn Misha a smack, but Jensen gave him this (indecipherable) look and tripped away from the booth they'd migrated to and back to the bar. When Jensen returned, he had six shot glasses cupped in his hands of a clear booze.

 

Jared's eyebrows were nearly in his hairline, but all he said when Jensen sat was, “So what'd you get us?”

 

“Vodka,” Jensen said, with satisfaction. He picked up a shot and downed it, making a screwed up yuck-face after. Misha exchanged a look with Jared.

 

“What kind of vodka, Jen?” Misha asked, slightly amused.

 

“Don't know. Just said vodka and this is what I got.”

 

Misha couldn't stop his flicked brow. Jensen nudged a shot in his direction, saying, “What? This must be the stuff people drink, if he's serving it, right? So drink.”

 

“Yes, but usually...” Jared stopped talking, shrugged and took a glass. He downed it, made the same face Jensen had after drinking his, and mouthed the word 'horrible' to Misha, with a slashing motion across his throat.

 

“I'm going to regret this, aren't I?” Misha sighed. With a glance heavenward, he titled his own shot back.

 

He was right; he regretted it almost immediately. Whatever the bartender had given Jensen, it wasn't top shelf, but it would get him drunk fast, Misha was sure. He wondered if it was the same one that had been in on his and Jared's little game and looking over, sure enough, it was the same guy. He gave Misha a thumb's up and an exaggerated wink. Misha dredged up a smile and let Jensen press another shot into his fingers. After seeing that Misha had the glass, Jensen snagged the last filled glass, and Misha was actually tempted to take it from the man, but instead let him knock it.

 

Jensen was drinking, it was what Misha had wanted...but the sight of the now-empty shot glasses made him wonder if the game had turned in mid-play, if something had shifted that Misha was unaware of. He'd wanted to see Jensen lose some of his perfect control, sure. Maybe sing loudly and off key, dance with a few ugly chicks, the sort of things someone (Jared) could take embarrassing pictures of to pass around. The way Jensen was leaning into Misha's side, though, and the ferocity with which he was losing himself to the alcohol now...Misha hadn't wanted that.

 

“I'm gonna...” Jared made a shoo-ing motion towards the man's room, and Misha nodded. He'd be fine at the booth for a little while with Jensen. Or at least he thought he would be, until Jensen pressed him closer to the wall, the hand that had been on his thigh earlier returned and with an alarming upward trajectory.

 

“Hey! Hey,” Misha said, picking Jensen's hand up and setting it on top of the table. Jensen's response was to move in closer still, his nose nestling into Misha's neck.

 

“Ok!” Misha squeaked, putting his hands on Jensen's shoulders and pushing him slightly back. Misha was pleasantly buzzed, but Jensen's reasoning behind careful drinking was rapidly becoming apparent. To Misha, Jensen had the glazed eyes and flushed face of the truly drunk.

 

“Was'sa matter?” Jensen slurred, and yup, Misha thought, definitely drunk. (Mission accomplished?) “Isn't this what people do?” Jensen pressed. “Aren't you havin' fun?” He appeared distressed at the idea that Misha wasn't.

 

“Yeah, Jen, yeah I am,” Misha assured him. “Lots of fun.” Which, all things considered, Misha should have been. He'd accomplished what he set out to do, and winning was always fun. The only problem was that the completion of this particular goal didn't feel the way a win usually did.

 

“Good,” Jensen smiled dopily at him, green eyes slipping half shut. “Because I want you to be happy, Misha.” One of Jensen's hands came up and pawed at the side of Misha's face. “Always happy,” Jensen said as he began to pet Misha. The smile died abruptly on Jensen's face as he said, “You haven't been happy lately.” They were so close to one another that Misha could see every freckle on Jensen's face, even in the dimly lit bar.

 

Rational speaking with the drunk is an exercise in futility, but Misha tried anyways. This might be, after all, his last opportunity to speak with Jensen, (because despite what the fans wanted, he wasn't holding out hope for Castiel's return) and he wanted the conversation to be candid.

 

“I lost an awesome job, Jensen. Of course I'm not happy.”

 

“But you need to be happy,” Jensen insisted, voice rising in pitch, and okay, where the hell was Jared? Misha tried to look over Jensen's shoulder, but the man grabbed his face with both hands and smooshed their faces together, so they were staring at one another, nose to nose. “You...need...to...be...happy,” Jensen demanded, shaking Misha's face a little bit to punctuate each word.

 

“Okay! Happy!” Misha yelped, prying Jensen's hands away from his face. He was beginning to feel a little bit freaked out. He forced a gummy smile. “See,” he said through his bared teeth, “happy!”

 

Jensen pulled away from him, and Misha allowed himself a small sigh of relief. “No, you're not,” Jensen pouted, actually stuck out his lower lip and pouted. Damn it, the sight of his (former) co-star sticking out his lower lip like a petulant child should not make him hard (Misha thought he'd successfully quashed any and all such desires for Jensen a long, long time ago, only trotting them out to play when Castiel needed to look at Dean in a particularly soulful manner), but damn it again, he was straining his jeans at that little display.

 

Leaning his head back against Misha's shoulder (which did not help the hardness Issue at all) Jensen sighed, his moist breath skating gustily along Misha's pulse point as he said, “Me drinking was supposed to make you happy. But it hasn't and now all that's gonna happen is I'm gonna get sick.”

 

Alarmed, Misha tried to pull away from Jensen, but the other man had slipped his arm around Misha's waist in a moment of inattention. Did alcohol turn Ackles into an octopus? “Who told you that?” Misha asked, too surprised for subterfuge. “Jared?”

 

Jensen snorted. “Nope. Bar man.”

 

Piqued, Misha glared over at the bartender, who was obliviously wiping down his counter and laughing at whatever his co-worker was saying.

 

“Thought you were gonna take adv...advan....”

 

“Advantage?” Misha gently prompted.

 

“Yeah, that. Of me.”

 

That hadn't been the plan, but with the way Jensen kept wriggling closer, Misha was beginning to think maybe it should have been. He looked around once more for his co-conspirator, but Jared was no where in sight.

 

“I wouldn't do that to you, Jensen,” Misha settled for saying. Large green eyes looked up at him through a fringe of lashes, and Misha swallowed.

 

“I know. Told 'em.” Misha assumed Jensen meant the bartender. “That's why he gave me the shots,” Jensen said, a bit proudly.

 

“Because you told him?”

 

“Yeah,” Jensen breathed. His lips brushed Misha's neck as he spoke, and the older actor tried to suppress the full body shudder that wanted to wrack his frame. “You should be happy,” Jensen insisted, and yeah, Jensen's obsession with Misha's happiness was past just a little strange.

 

“I told you, Jensen,” Misha said slowly, “I'm just a little upset about leaving Supernatural.”

 

“Leaving?” Jensen pulled away just enough that Misha could see the alarm on his face. “Leaving leaving?”

 

How this could be news to Jensen, Misha had no idea whatsoever, and chalked it up to the alcohol currently swimming through his brain. He was officially ready for Jared to get his ass back here so they could leave, now.

 

“You've gotten at least the roughs of the first eight episodes of the season,” Misha said. “Have you seen Castiel in any of the episodes after the first two?”

 

“But if they call you back, you'll come, right?”

 

Misha couldn't give Jensen an answer to that. He hadn't really decided one way or the other himself; it wasn't like he could afford to turn down any offers that came his way on the off chance Sera and company decided they needed Castiel, though. Misha's silence seemed to be all the answer Jensen needed.

 

Jensen's entire face crumpled. “But I don't want you to leave!”

 

Could this, Misha thought blankly, be the root of Jensen's estrangement? Not that he wanted to distance himself from dead weight, but that he was dreading the separation? That he'd actually...miss them? Miss him, Misha?

 

“Jensen, I don't really have a choice in the matter,” he choked out.

 

He shoved his face right up into Misha's again. “I don't want you to leave,” Jensen repeated, pulling out the Dean growl.

 

Then Jensen kissed him.

 

“Mmrmph!” was Misha's witty response.

 

It was...pretty horrible, actually. Jensen's lips just smashed up against Misha's mouth, rubbing against Misha's lips like he was trying to exfoliate them with his own. There was too much (alcohol-soured) saliva and a sloppy tongue flopping against his lower lip. Jensen made an unattractively desperate, low noise in the back of his throat, causing Misha's already wilting erection to completely deflate, and that was it, enough, Misha was done, thank you very much.

 

He tried pushing Jensen away gently, but the only reaction he got was Jensen somehow taking advantage of his preoccupation by thrusting his tongue past Misha's clenched teeth. So Misha pushed harder and was finally able to extricate himself from the clinging man by shoving him off with all his strength. Jensen reached for him immediately, apparently having realized that no really meant no in this case, babbling apologies.

 

Misha looked up to see Jared standing at the end of their booth looking utterly gobsmacked.

 

“Took you friggin' long enough,” Misha grumbled. “Jensen here was just about ready to take me in a manly fashion.”

 

Jared didn't say anything, just continued to stand there with his mouth hanging open. During this time Jensen was able to attach himself to Misha again, mouthing a slippery trail up the side of his neck.

 

“A little help?” Misha squeaked.

 

Jared shook himself. “Yeah. Oh, man... Yeah.”

 

Somehow between the two of them they were able to get Jensen back to Jared's house (Gen was out of town on an audition, and Danneel had gone with for moral support, so at least there wasn't anyone at home wondering where Jensen was) and onto the sofa. Jensen whimpered when Misha pulled away.

 

“Stay, I don't want you to leave.”

 

“I'll be right here, Jensen,” Misha said soothingly. “Go to sleep, okay.”

 

Satisfied with this simply reassurance, Jensen's head lolled to one side and he began snoring softly. Misha sighed and ran a hand down his face. Unlike Jensen, he was already (completely, damnit) sober again, but that didn't make him less bewildered or exhausted.

 

“What the hell happened, Misha?” Jared asked, staring down at the slumped form of his best friend.

 

“I have no idea,” Misha said. “You left and Jensen started going on about how he wanted me to be happy.”

 

“...Happy.” A smirk twitched at the corner of Jared's lips. “I'd say he was trying to make you happy.”

 

“Jared!” Misha hissed.

 

“Sorry,” Jared said, not sounding sorry in the least.

 

Turning his focus back on (kind of adorably) passed out Jensen (mouth slightly open, lips looking like a soft smear of pink against his Dean-worthy stubble), Misha said, “You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd say it almost seemed like Jen is suffering from serious character bleed. He was disproportionately upset with the idea that I'm not going to be on set anymore. ”

 

“Disproportionate to what?”

 

“Hmm?” Misha hummed, jerking away from staring at Jensen, feeling like he'd been caught doing something criminal.

 

“Disproportionate to what?” Jared repeated, sounding amused.

 

“Oh. To how he should be, I guess.” Misha shrugged. “He was almost as upset as Dean was when he realized what Castiel had done.”

 

Jared made a fascinated sound, and Misha looked up at him.

 

“What?”

 

“It's just interesting that you say that,” Jared said, with the slow cadence of a teacher trying to lead a student into making a realization.

 

“Why is that interesting?” Misha wanted to know.

 

“It's...” Jared twisted his lips as if he was trying to figure out the best way to say something, then said, “It's just what Jensen did is to you is what a lot of the fans said Dean should have done to Castiel.” Jared's wide shoulders twitched upwards in an aborted shrug (Gen disliked the habit, and Jared was trying to break it for her).

 

“What, kiss me?” Misha was incredulous. He'd poked around online a little bit right after “The Man Who Would Be King” aired, curious about the fan reaction to the first episode he'd basically carried, he'd mostly stuck to reviews, and then gotten too busy with his son and scheduled engagements to really sift through the majority of the fallout from “The Man Who Knew Too Much”.

 

“Well, yeah,” Jared said. “Take a chance, not let him leave without...” Making a frustrated sound, Jared said, “Tons of people claim that if Dean had just manned up and kissed Castiel, then the whole finale would have played out differently. That maybe Castiel would have chosen to listen to Dean. To stay with him.” Giving Misha an odd look, Jared added, “You haven't heard about this?”

 

Misha shook his head. “No, I've been busy with the cons and West and...no.”

 

“Huh.” Jared scratched at his chin contemplatively. “It's all Jensen could talk about for like a week, I swear.” Taking a good, long look at the Jensen, Jared blinked slowly and turned back to Misha. “I think you guys need to talk in the morning.”

 

“What? No!” Misha said. “No talking. I plan on not being here in the morning. In fact, I plan on being wherever the opposite of here is.”

 

“Mish, you're not going to be able to avoid Jensen forever.”

 

“Really? Because I think after episode one is in the can, I'm probably not going to have any reason to be around him. Avoidance should be easy.”

 

“Misha,” Jared said firmly. “How about this. I'm not going to let you avoid Jensen forever.”

 

Misha swallowed. When in doubt, bravado it out. “How're you going to stop me?”

 

(Very) seriously, Jared loomed close and said, “It's become very clear to me that you're more important to Jensen than either one of us realized. He's my best friend; I will lock both of you in a closet if I have to.”

 

Misha didn't doubt that Jared would.

 

“A storage closet,” Jared added. “On set.”

 

“Fine,” Misha conceded with bad grace. “I'll stay until morning.”

 

“And talk to Jensen?” Jared stressed.

 

“And talk to Jensen,” Misha grumbled.

 

Jared's smile turned bright and sunny. “Great!” he enthused. Then he giggled. Misha just wanted to curl up somewhere and sleep so he could pretend that night hadn't happened for a few hours, but he still asked, “What?”

 

“It's just...” Jared giggled again. “Misha, your face. You should have seen it, when Jensen--”

 

Annnnnd I'm going to go to sleep now,” Misha cut him off, standing up and hurrying towards the stairs. “Going to your guest room, night Jared!”

 

“Night, Misha,” Jared sang after him.

 

*~*~*~*

 

His head fucking hurt.

 

That was Jensen's first coherent thought upon waking. The next was Oh, shit. I didn't really do that, did I?

 

Opening his eyes, he saw the familiar outline of the arm of Jared's couch, and beyond, the archway to the Padalecki's dining room. Jared sat at the dining room table, newspaper spread out before him, a giant glass of juice held in his meaty paw. And to his right was Misha, looking rumpled and exhausted and delicious. The slighter man smacked Jared's paper out the way as he snagged a few strips of bacon off a plate sitting between them, exposing the long line of his neck and the livid bruise—no, the fucking bright purple hickey—marking his pale skin. The hickey Jensen could have sworn he was only dreaming about putting there as he'd apparently hoovered the poor guy.

 

Shit, double shit.

 

Stomach lurching, Jensen was up and off the sofa in a matter of seconds, feet carrying him past Jared and Misha's upraised faces.

 

“Jensen?” Jared called after him.

 

“Bathroom!” he managed to croak out. Jensen made it—just--to the toilet in time, collapsing to heave violently in the bowl.

 

A cool hand landed on his upper back, rubbing circles. The owner of the hand murmured soothing nonsense as Jensen retched and alternately wished for death. When he felt like his stomach couldn't possibly purge itself any more, Jensen leaned back on his heels, expecting to see Jared towering over him. Instead, it was Misha, holding a glass of water. Jensen was acutely aware of the sick on his lower lip, and felt another heave climb up his throat.

 

“You're okay,” Misha said, running his hand back down Jensen's back. The hand left briefly, and Jensen heard a cabinet open and close, the sink running. He leaned his face against the toilet seat and tried not to think about the fact that Jared probably had his ass on it not an hour earlier.

 

“Here.” Misha handed him a moistened washcloth, which Jensen took gratefully. “Wipe off your face, then take this,” he held out a small glass of water, “and swish and spit.”

 

“Thanks,” Jensen said, swiping at his mouth and (god, he was gross) chin. Taking the water and Misha's advice, he quickly swished his mouth out and spit the water into the bowl before flushing the entire mess. Then he shakily stood.

 

“Jared laid you out a toothbrush, figured you'd need it,” Misha told him, motioning to the supplies on the counter. He stayed while Jensen scrubbed his mouth, probably concerned about a repeat visit to the porcelain throne.

 

“Fucking vodka,” Jensen moaned when he was done. “I always puke when I drink vodka.” His hungover brain was not working on all cylinders, because he realized right after he spoke that all chance he may have had of pretending he didn't remember the night before was erased with that one statement.

 

Instead of immediately pouncing on it (for which Jensen was very glad) Misha clapped him on the back and said, “C'mon, buddy. Got a whole pot of coffee with your name on it. Plus some extra greasy breakfast goodies, if you're up for it.”

 

“You're a god among men,” Jensen said, and Christ, did the alcohol he drank last night burn away his internal filter? Or had he puked it up this morning?

 

“Nope, I only play one on tv.” Misha grinned, but it looked a bit strained around the edges, and no wonder. He'd practically molested the poor guy the night before, and now he was pronouncing him divinity?

 

Jensen wished he were still asleep and dreaming this nightmare and he could wake up and not have it be his real life.

 

“You okay, Jen?”

 

Jared was still holding court over his vast splay of newspapers, but there was a fresh, hot cup of coffee and a plate of food to his left, obviously prepared in anticipation of Jensen's arrival. Jensen sank into the chair.

 

“Will be, soon as I drink some of this,” he said, making a grabby hand at the coffee cup.

 

The night before wasn't mentioned again until Jensen got through three cups of coffee and a small plate of food. Then Jared gathered up his newspapers, taking care to fold the crossword outward, rose, rummaged a pencil out of the nearby junk drawer, and calmly and deliberately said, “I'm going to go sit outside and work on the crossword. Why don't you guys talk?” He gave Jensen and Misha equally fierce looks before turning and leaving the room.

 

“You don't want to do this either, do you?” Jensen sighed, pushing away his plate. Normally he'd take it to the kitchen and wash it up himself, but he was feeling suddenly irritated with Jared and had no inclination to pick up after himself.

 

“Not in the slightest,” Misha said, looking pained. “He threatened to lock us together in a closet if I didn't try to talk to you about this, though.” At the word this, he motioned to the hickey on his neck. “I take it you remember everything, then.”

 

“Oh, yeah.” Jensen hadn't meant to make it sound the way it came out, like a teenage boy who was bragging to his friends about making it to second base.

 

“Would have been easier if you'd at least pretended not to remember,” Misha almost whined.

 

“Sorry.”

 

Misha sighed and said nothing.

 

“How about...” Jensen began hesitantly, “I ask you a few questions, start first?”

 

Nodding, Misha said, “Okay. No objections.”

 

With a tight smile, Jensen said, “Great. So...why did you want to get me drunk? The bartender told me about some plan with switching out my bottles and...well, it sounded complicated, but the end result was me getting drunk. Which--” Jensen said pointedly, “it takes me more than four beers to get there, thanks.”

 

“Yeah, it apparently takes you four beers and a few vodka shots.”

 

Jensen watched as Misha tried to smirk his way out of answering and failed. Deflating, he said, “Fine. It was pretty simple. I'd never seen you drunk, and I wanted to.”

 

“That's it?” Jensen said, disbelievingly.

 

“Pretty much,” Misha admitted sheepishly. “I had reasons which seemed to make sense at the time, but yeah. Boiled down to me being a dick and wanting to see you sloppy drunk.”

 

That was 'pretty much' what Jensen had figured, but his heart still sunk in his chest. He'd allowed himself to hope that Misha wanted...well, that Misha wanted. It wasn't that Jensen thought that Misha was the sort of guy who'd get him drunk to make a move on him, the way the bartender had implied, but when Jensen had gotten close to Misha and he hadn't pushed Jensen away, he'd allowed himself to believe that Misha's years of teasing the 'uptight straight guy' were more than that, that he'd actually been attracted to Jensen.

 

The way that Jensen was attracted to Misha.

 

The attraction had crept up on Jensen. At first, he'd thought it was bleed from their characters, the way that Dean and Castiel would stare at each other, but Misha was just so different from Castiel that theory hadn't held water for long.

 

Misha was always touching him: light grazes of their shoulders, random hugs, spontaneous yet chaste public kisses...more than the physical interactions, though, was the way that Misha had unflinchingly accepted Jensen into his life, sharing anecdotes from his past, inviting him over for dinner, even encouraging Jensen to become friends with his son (so much as an infant could be someone's friend, Jensen supposed).

 

He'd pushed away his feelings, though, focusing on his marriage and spending more time with Danneel. All doing so seemed to highlight who he'd rather be around though, and frightened at his own disloyal thoughts, he'd confessed everything to her: how Misha made him feel, the things he wanted to do to him, everything.

 

Danneel's advice had been simple and to the point: Stay away from Misha. Be professional at work, but nothing more. Jensen prepared to content himself with this sort of relationship with Misha, knowing his wife was right and if their marriage was to survive Jensen's crush (as she called it, and Jensen wasn't inclined to disagree) that he'd have to do as she said. It wasn't like he wouldn't see Misha at all, Jensen had told himself. He'd still see Misha at work, and hopefully whatever-it-was would work its course and that'd be that.


Then came down the news that Misha was demoted from a series regular to recurring guest star. He'd gone to Sera and flat out asked her what the writer's plans for Castiel were, claiming that he'd like to know so he could prepare for Dean's reactions. Sera had given him that blank look some baby deer get in car headlights that seemed to be permanently on her face, all wide eyes and confusion.

 

“Well, Jensen, he was supposed to die last season, but you know Eric...decided to keep him around at the last minute. But we'll probably wrap up his story line and move on. The whole angel-demon plotline is pretty played out. People want us to go back to what the show started out about.”

 

What the show started out about? Jensen had wanted to scream. Anyone with two eyes and a brain in their head could watch the past episodes and realize the show had always been about angels and demons—there was no other plotline to go back to, because that was the plotline. It would be like CSI deciding that they needed to step away from all the 'solving crime stuff', or The Vampire Diaries to suddenly not have vampires. Jensen wondered, bitterly, if Sera was going to find him a wave pool with a shark for Dean to jump over, maybe with Sam riding piggy-back. They could run it in every episode's 'previously on', just to make the new writing direction super clear to the audience.

 

What bothered Jensen more than his disgust at the show's writers, though, was his reaction to the (personal) implications of Sera's words. Wrap up his story line and move on. Meaning that Castiel was no longer going to be on the show. Which meant that Misha—funny, whip-crack smart, kind Misha—wasn't going to be around any longer. At all. Jensen had already scaled back their relationship to a purely professional one, but then to hear that he wouldn't even have that anymore had just quietly destroyed him. And that's when he realized he didn't just have a crush on Misha.

 

He was in love with him.

 

Jensen became moody and withdrawn after that, but he had no idea how to handle the personal revelation. He still loved his wife as well, so it wasn't like he was eager to run out and get a divorce or anything, but at the same time, it didn't feel honest staying with her when he was in love with someone else, and another guy, to boot. So vows or not, Jensen had quietly filed the paperwork, wondering what the hell he'd say to his parents when he finally told them.

 

Hey, mom and dad. You know that wonderful woman you accepted into your family and hearts with open arms? I'm divorcing her because I'm hot for some guy's dick. My soon-to-be-unemployed, married-with-a-kid co-worker's, actually.

 

Yeah, that would go over well.

 

But he still filed, and he went to work and tried to pretend nothing was wrong, even as the days seemed to race closer to the last one Misha would be on set, and Jensen still hadn't figured out how to mend the rift he'd created in their friendship with his distance. It echoed a bit too closely what had happened to Dean and Castiel at the end of Season 5—Dean pulling away to live an apple-pie life that he discovered he didn't really want, only for it to be too late, and Castiel gone, embroiled back in the deadly bureaucracy of heaven.

 

Jensen really didn't want to fuck things up the way Dean had, thanks.

 

So instead he'd done nothing, and when Jared had called him up and said that Misha had suggested they all go out and get drinks, Jensen had accepted. Then when he discovered what Misha wanted from the outting, to get him drunk, well, Jensen figured it was a small thing, all considered, and he'd do it. Because, he'd thought maudlinly, even if Misha didn't want him, Jensen wanted to make Misha happy, if just for a little while.

 

“What about you?” Misha broke apart his circular thoughts. “Why'd you drink when you knew what I was up to?”

 

Jensen shrugged. “Wanted to.” Sniffing, he added, “Danneel and I are getting a divorce,” because it was true, even if it wasn't the whole story.

 

“Oh, Christ. Jensen, I'm sorry.” Misha laid a comforting hand on his forearm. Jensen looked down at it, could feel himself blushing. He wondered what sort of person he was that his pulse could go racing when a friend comforted him over the dissolution of his marriage, that all he felt was the thrill of the touch and none of the sadness for the life he and Danneel could have led that Misha clearly expected. “I had no idea.”

 

“I know,” Jensen said. “You're actually the first person I've told.”

 

“That's why...with the...” Misha motioned to his neck, which Jensen thought was odd. Misha was usually the least shy person about sex that Jensen knew.

 

“No,” Jensen admitted, suddenly tired and wanting everything out in the open. “That was because I've wanted to do that for a long time.” He looked away, unable to keep his eyes on Misha's face.

 

“...Jensen,” Misha said, and he sounded almost scared. Jensen wasn't certain because he didn't think he'd ever heard Misha honestly frightened before, but he was too afraid himself to turn around and confirm the emotion. “You're not getting a divorce because of...and this is egotistical I think even for me, but I've gotta ask...you're not getting a divorce because of me, are you?”

 

“What would you say if I told you I was?” Jensen finally turned to look at Misha, and yes, he looked frightened. Actually, Misha didn't look too far off from the way he'd played Castiel when facing down the hooker in Season 5, all huge eyes and short, hitching breaths.

 

“...I...”

 

“Look, you don't have to say anything,” Jensen said, taking one of Misha's hands and gently squeezing it. “Yes, I'm...interested in you.” Misha made a quick trilling noise in the back of his throat, like a bird call, but Jensen pressed on with, “But that's not why I'm getting a divorce. Well, it is, but it isn't. It's...damn. It's kinda hard to explain.” He began rubbing his thumb across Misha's knuckles. Misha didn't pull away, and Jensen was glad because he found the motion soothing.

 

“I'm divorcing Danneel because I'm not committed to her in the way I should be,” Jensen said. “I love her, yeah...but I realized I'm not in love with her. And it's not fair to either one of us for me to keep her stuck with me if it'll just make us both miserable just because I'm afraid of what people will say if 'loyal Jensen' gets a divorce.”

 

Misha made that noise again, making Jensen wonder if he was alright.

 

“Misha?”

 

“I'm okay,” the smaller man finally gasped. “Just processing.” Seemingly shy blue eyes peeked at him from under a smudge of dark lashes. “I thought you were trying to ditch Jared and me because you were focused on your next big thing.”

 

“What?” He told Misha he was interested in him and divorcing his wife and that's what Misha came out with?

 

“You were...” Misha cleared his throat. “You were putting all this distance between everyone, not just me. Even Jared said he hadn't properly talked to you in a while, and I thought...that you were doing the Hollywood asshole thing and stepping away from the little people who will hold you back.”

 

“Hold me back?” Jensen wondered if they were even having the same conversation anymore, because what Misha was saying made no sense.

 

“You're destined for big things, Jensen,” Misha said, a little impatiently. “You've got the looks, the talent...everyone says that if you were on a different show you'd have a case full of Emmys by now.” Quieter, Misha added, “You're not like Jared and me.”

 

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Jensen asked, affronted on their behalf, even if it was Misha saying it.

 

“Just what it sounds like,” and yeah, that was definite peevishness in Misha's tone. “You're the total package, Jensen. Jared's a nice guy, but the few films he's done outside of Supernatural haven't exactly blown up the box office, and he hasn't branched out into directing like you have or even writing.” Pointing to himself, he said, “Of the guest spots I've gotten on other shows I'm best known as the guy who could blow himself on Nip/Tuck. Not exactly the type of role a guy makes a name for himself with. And I'm not getting any younger. I'll be consigned to quirky side-kick roles, maybe a few villain spots on sci-fi or fantasy shows, and that's it. But you...” Misha shook his head. “Even if you don't act after Supernatural, you have real possibility as a director. You could even get into producing. You're the one with the real talent, Jen.”

 

Jensen was quiet for a few moments. Then, in a very clear voice, he said, “Bullshit.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“Just what I said, Mish. Bullshit.” Angry, Jensen released Misha's hand. “Putting aside the fact that you pretty much insulted my best friend with your little speech there—how can you see yourself that way? My acting has grown leaps and bounds since you've come on the show. Having you to act against has been a god-send, man.” Quirking his lips, Jensen added, “No pun intended. I'm not talented, not any more than you. You just make me look good.”

 

“I think you look good, period, handsome.”

 

Misha and Jensen both paused. Jensen wondered if Misha meant any of the things he came out with, or if they were just the result of being a natural flirt and always wanted to increase the levity of a room. If he meant that he really thought Jensen was handsome.

 

“That wasn't appropriate. I'm sorry,” Misha said, finally. He stood, from the direction of his movements and the hunch of his shoulders intent on running away. Jensen couldn't accept that. He grabbed Misha's wrist and pulled him close.

 

“No, don't be sorry,” Jensen said. “Please don't be sorry for saying something like that.” Jensen moved closer, trying to read the expression on Misha's face, trying to see if what he was about to try would be accepted. Misha's mouth was soft-looking and inviting, there was no resistance to his him—so Jensen dipped his head, taking the chance.

 

Misha was just as sweet as Jensen remembered from the night before. The faint taste of coffee still lingered at the corners of Misha's lips, but overlaying that was the freshness of Misha himself, the same taste Jensen had chased past the tang of alcohol hours earlier. Flicking his tongue out, a quick touch, had Misha opening his mouth, and Jensen took full advantage of the invitation, pushing closer still. The slide of Misha's tongue against his own was electric. Turning the smaller man, Jensen somehow managed to push him atop the dining table without breaking the kiss. Jensen's plate and coffee mug were swept to the floor, unimportant compared to being able to touch more of Misha.

 

Pulling away, Misha gasped, “Much better than last night,” sounding satisfied, pleased even, and he reached to pull Jensen down to him again, but his words gave Jensen pause.

 

“Better than last night?” he teased. “What, was I bad or something?”

 

“Horrible,” Misha said, dead-pan. Jensen couldn't tell if he was serious or not.

 

“Just have to make it up to you today,” Jensen murmured, finding Misha's mouth once more.

 

Then it was a flurry of lips and teeth, hands and the press of newly-bared skin against skin. Jensen had Misha's shirt off and his pants unbuttoned, his hand easing into his underwear, concerned only with more. The thought that he currently had Misha pinned to Jared's dining room table didn't enter his mind, nor that until last night Jensen had never touched Misha with intent before.

 

No words of concern about Misha's wife were passed between them, and really, none were needed. More than once Jensen had brought himself off to the idea that if anything were to happen between he and Misha, there would be no cause for Jensen to feel guilt, not really, because Misha didn't have the sort of marriage that Jensen had with Danneel. Not exactly the stuff of typical masturbation fantasies, maybe, but it worked for Jensen.

 

“Thought about this,” Jensen said, breaking away when Misha's hand trailed down Jensen's stomach before catching on the top button of his jeans. Misha slipped the button free and eased the zipper down with one hand before reaching inside and palming Jensen through his underwear.

 

“Me too,” Misha said, causing Jensen's dick to swell further.

 

“Damn it, Misha, touch me,” Jensen growled. With a chuckle, Misha complied, pushing aside Jensen's underwear, making Jensen's cock jut, free from any constraint, between their bodies. Jensen grabbed one of Misha's hands and shoved it in his own face, demanding, “Lick it.”

 

“Yes, sir,” Misha smirked, tonguing Jensen's hand.

 

“Yeah, get it really wet,” Jensen ordered, waiting until Misha had soaked his own hand with spit before taking it and wrapping those long, thin fingers around his dick. Misha jacked him, once, a quick tease, and Jensen shivered and growled, “Again.” When Misha complied, Jensen moaned, saying, “You thought 'bout this?”

 

“Yeah,” Misha said breathlessly. “Didn't imagine you to be such a toppy bastard, though.”

 

That sent a whole new cavalcade of images through Jensen's lust-soaked brain. “You thought about me on my knees?” he wanted to know. “Taking your fingers and uuunggh--” he broke off when Misha twisted his wrist on the down stroke. Scrabbling his hands with renewed vigor at Misha's pants, he jerked them down. Spitting into his palm, Jensen grasped the other man's cock, determined that he wasn't going to go off without Misha losing it, too. “Opening me up?” Jensen continued. “Sliding one inside me, maybe two...” The word two was bitten off and broken, as Misha was panting harshly against the crook of Jensen's neck, his hand jerking Jensen with increasingly desperate strokes. “I have a v-virgin ass, you know,” Jensen said, almost conversationally.

 

“Oh, God,” Misha moaned. “Would you s-shut up?”

 

Jensen increased the pace of his strokes, reveling in the slick feel of the pre-come leaking from the head of Misha's dick. He could feel his own cock dripping, making Misha's hand sloppy with himself and Misha's spit. “What's the matter, Mish? You gonna come?” He gripped Misha a little harder, stroked a little harsher. “You gonna come, just from me talking and my hand on your dick?”

 

“You...utter bastard,” Misha snarled. He wrapped one leg around the back of Jensen's knee, using it to push Jensen closer. Jensen fell against Misha, sending the smaller man sprawling so he laid full out on the table, one leg dangling over the edge while the other was still wrapped around him. Jensen himself was half-laying, half-leaning on Misha. Their cocks brushed together and both men moaned, each scrabbling a hand downward in an attempt to increase the friction. Their hands collided and, wrapping their fingers together, it was Misha who began to jack them together, their dicks hard and hot and wet against each other.

 

“I'd let you,” Jensen gritted out through clenched teeth. Misha spasmed, clenched his jaw and jacked them faster still, moving their hands in a flurry. “I'd let you spread me out, finger me loose, and then fuck me open.” Jensen licked Misha's jawline. “Wanna fuck me open, Misha?”

 

At the sound of his name, Misha cried out, loud and wordlessly, spilling slickly over their joined hands. Five harsh tugs later and Jensen followed, spurting across his own stomach and dripping down Misha's wrist, thick and hot.

 

“Guys, I heard a shout, is everything—holy shit!”

 

Jensen would have turned around to face his best friend, but he thought maybe the sight of his bare ass and the scent of sex heavy in the air was traumatizing enough—there was no need for Jared to see Jensen's now super-sensitive cock, dribbling out the last of its come, and with a possessive flare he realized he had no desire whatsoever for Jared to see Misha, dripping and spent. Misha, who'd had a few more seconds than Jensen to float through his pleasant post-orgasmic fog, pushed at Jensen's shoulders, making a distressed sound.

 

“What the fuck, you guys...that is...that's my table!” Jared howled. “I eat there! Gen eats there! I mean...Christ.” It sounded like Jared had turned his back on them, and peeking over his shoulder proved to Jensen this was the case. “I'm gonna go back outside for a minute—only a minute—and when I come back, please, please, both of you better have your sweaty asses off my table.”

 

“Jared, I'm sorry, I'm--” Misha was babbling, pushing Jensen off. Jensen allowed him, righting himself on trembling legs. He handed Misha his t-shirt, while Jensen eased himself back into his pants, zipping and buttoning them. Jensen still been wearing his shirt while he and Misha had rutted on the table top, and it was now a mess, covered in come—and the top band of his pants didn't look much better.

 

“Uh, we're dressed,” Jensen said to the back of Jared's flushed neck. “Can't really say we're decent, but...not naked.”

 

Jared turned around, his eyes zeroing in on the spots on Jensen's stomach. He scrunched his eyes shut, tight, and said, “Gen is supposed to host a dinner party next week. With her parents. I don't know how the hell I'm supposed to get through it, knowing you and Misha had sex on the table we're gonna eat at.”

 

“Uh...I'll buy you a new one?” Jensen was a bit surprised at Jared's reaction. He's expected there to be more shock at the fact that they'd had sex, not a strange sort of brotherly acceptance. True, he was freaked it'd happened on his dining room table (which, fair) but he didn't seem freaked out by the idea it'd happened at all. “You seem surprisingly okay with this. I thought...”

 

“You'd better,” Jared muttered, then said louder, “You thought I'd be screaming about Danneel?” His eyes skirted past Misha and fixed on a point near Jensen's feet. “She told Gen. About the divorce.”

 

“Oh.”

 

Misha shuffled on his feet. “Maybe I should go, give you guys time to talk?”

 

“No!” Jared almost shouted. Then he blushed. “No, Misha, it's okay, you can go if you want, but I thought maybe you'd want a few more minutes with Jensen here and...Christ, I can't look at either one of you right now and have a serious conversation.” Jared's eyes remained firmly fixed downward. Jensen wondered how long he'd do that when in Misha's presence, and some sort of caveman throwback liked the idea that Jared wasn't able to look. Ridiculous but true.

 

“Go,” Jared motioned with his hand. “Upstairs, shower, and for God's sake change your clothes, both of you.” To Misha, he said, “Jensen has a couple sets of stuff in the guest room you slept in last night. Just please, please don't defile my shower, too?”

 

“No guarantees,” Jensen called out cheerfully. He snagged Misha's hand and said, “C'mon, let's leave the room before Jared pops a blood vessel over there.”

 

They took turns showering in the guest room's adjoining bathroom. One of Jensen's extra set of clothes were baggy on Misha, the collar of the t-shirt slipping low enough to reveal a hint of his clavicle, the jeans riding barely staying on his hips, the bottom hems pooling around his bare feet.

 

“I like the way you look in my clothes,” Jensen said, the caveman apparently still awake within him.

 

“Jensen,” Misha said, bright blue eyes looking up at Jensen from Misha's perch on the edge of the guest room's bed, “What is this? Between us?” His hair layed flat, black-brown and glinting, against his head, the ends curling as it dried.

 

He hadn’t been expecting such a question from Misha. Whenever he'd allowed himself to imagine them in this sort of situation, it had always been Jensen who'd had to finally break down and ask Misha for a label. Jensen was pleased to be surprised.

 

“Whatever you'd like it to be,” he said easily, meaning it. “I want to be your friend. And obviously, I want you.” Jensen felt himself blush, but continued on. “But I don't want you to feel, like, obligated or anything, just because of what I told you about me and Danneel, or what happened today.”

 

“I...” It was Misha's turn to flush, and Jensen thought he'd never seen Misha looking more adorable than with a blush high on his cheeks, hair wet and in Jensen's clothes. “I want you, too.” Fiddling with a small hole on the thigh of his jeans, he said, “I have for a long time.”

 

Jensen felt himself smile. “Well, okay then,” he said.

 

Misha smiled back. “That's it?”

 

“What more does there have to be?”

 

Misha's smile morphed into a full-out grin. “Well then. What's next, Mr. Ackles?”

 

“Next?” Jensen leaned down and teasingly kissed Misha's cheek. “Next, we'll go downstairs and clean up Jared's dining room. And then, we're going shopping.”

 

“Shopping?” The confusion on Misha's face was endearing. Jensen couldn't resist kissing him full on the mouth, briefly. Pulling away, he confirmed, “Shopping.”

 

“And why are we going shopping?” Misha asked, brow arched.

 

“Because,” it was Jensen's turn to grin, “we owe Jared a new table.”