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It's What the Headlines Read

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Jensen's phone vibrates against the coffee table, unfamiliar 504 number popping up on the screen.

"It's them," he says. He thinks he says it in his head, but it's possible it slipped out if the reaction from the crowd is any indication.

The room, previously at a dull roar, stills almost completely for a moment, as if any movement at all might be enough to make the people on the other end of the line reconsider. Even Todd McShay seems to have been momentarily silenced.

But the calm passes as quickly as it came, the room exploding in a chorus of orders and celebrations, anxiety and predictions.

"Answer it, Jensen!"

"Pick up the phone!"

"What are you waiting for?"

He hears them—how could he not?—but it takes Jared's full-body nudge to snap him into action. Jared smiles. "This probably isn't a call you want to miss. You know, just in case you were thinking about it."

Jensen stiff-arms Jared with the hand not currently reaching for the phone.

"Hello?"

"Mr. Ackles?"

"Yes, sir?"

"How did you like the Super Dome when you visited, Jensen?"

*

With the twenty-seventh pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select Jensen Ackles, quarterback, Texas.

*

When the first round has wrapped with the promise of return and all the sideline hats have been given out like party favors, when all the flight details have been arranged and Jensen's received enough celebratory shoulder slaps that he's worrying about irreparable damage to his throwing motion, Jensen's ready to have the rest of the night—morning, whatever—to himself. A beer, maybe two, his best friend, and the promise of a crick in his neck the next day from falling asleep on the couch.

But there's no escaping the talking heads.

"You know, I'm a little surprised to see him go this early."

"I'm not surprised Ackles was chosen the first round so much as I'm shocked that Padalecki didn't come off the board earlier. Softest hands I've seen on a receiver at the college level since Larry Fitzgerald did his time at Pittsburgh—and not bad in the slot."

"Well, if there's one thing I've learned watching the Longhorns during the Ackles years is that whatever Ackles does, Padalecki isn't far behind."

"We did catch some footage from their joint draft watch party earlier."

"Teams considering Padalecki do have to look at a history of possible character issues. There was the altercation with the fan his sophomore—"

"Mel Kiper is the world's biggest shit head," Jensen says, just managing to get the television turned off before throwing the remote in disgust.

Jared turns to face Jensen, shaking his head. "What the hell does it matter what some loser with the worst dye job this century says? You got drafted. You are officially beyond reproach." Jared pauses to consider. "Well, maybe just out range of Mel Kiper's laser eyes."

"It's not me I'm talking about," Jensen says, looking away.

"Point stands." Jared brings his feet up off the floor, digging his toes into Jensen's ribs. "Come on, you couldn't at least have the decency to get drafted by a better team? I mean really, Jensen. The Saints?"

Jensen smiles. "Who dat, baby."

"What the fuck does that even mean?"

His toes continue their merciless assault as Jensen struggles to break free. "Get your feet off me, you freak."

"For someone who just had all their dreams come true, you've been kind of a surly bastard all night."

"It's a character flaw."

"We'll have to see what we can do about that," Jared replies, grabbing Jensen's arm and pulling him across the couch.

Their lips meet like they have hundreds of times before. Jensen flicks his tongue out, traces a path down Jared's neck and across the vee of his shirt, tastes the old treehouse in Jared's yard and the Texas locker room, the sizzle in the air right before a snap and the hot summer sun. Jensen pops the button on Jared's jeans as Jared strips off his shirt, precision in their timing achieved only through years of practice.

Jared's hot and hard where Jensen can feel him through his boxers, and he scrambles off the couch eagerly, movements just a little more frantic than usual, an urgency in his touch that wasn't there before.

"That's it," Jared says as Jensen guides his dick out. "You know what I like."

It's true, Jensen does. He's known since their junior year of high school, a weekend camping trip and a Jared that just couldn't keep his hands to himself any longer. Not that Jensen's complaining. They learned with each other, and the result is clear in the way Jensen can set Jared off with just a twist of his wrist and the light graze of teeth.

Jared moans, grabbing the back of Jensen's head. "Deeper, Jen."

Jensen opens his mouth wide and takes Jared in, cockhead bumping the back of his throat. Jared rises to meet Jensen's face, back arching as his hips keep unforgiving time. Jensen pulls back to catch a glimpse of Jared blissed out, thick trails of spit keeping his mouth connected to Jared's cock.

"So beautiful," Jensen whispers as he takes the head between his lips, hand working the shaft.

"You are," Jared says, and he sounds wrecked, like he's just run a dozen suicides. "Do you have any idea what you look like between my legs? On your knees, so eager for my cock?"

Jensen feels himself blush as he sucks on the head of Jared's cock, tongue chasing the taste of precome as warmth rises up his neck and across his chest.

"Oh, so good, Jensen. Look at that pretty red mouth. Gonna come."

Jensen takes all of Jared back in his mouth, lets Jared's come splash hot and thick down his throat. He pulls off before the last spurt, gets some on his lips and face. Jensen feels himself get dragged up Jared's body as he pulls off, Jared's tongue making quick work of the come Jensen hadn't managed to swallow.

"Love tasting myself on you," Jared says, moving down to suck Jensen's neck. "Like it even better when you're all sweaty—taste all that salt on your skin."

Jared reaches for Jensen's fly, but Jensen grabs his wrist. "Already took care of that."

"You never let me have any fun."

Jensen raises his eyebrows. "I had no idea my technique needed so much work. You never seemed to have any complaints."

"I'm a good Southern boy, Jensen. I was just trying to return the favor."

Jensen strokes Jared's hair off his forehead, meeting his eyes for the first time. "This wasn't about me."

Jared brushes a kiss across the shell of Jensen's ear. "I think this was about us."

"What if we never play another down together?" Jensen asks as he struggles out of Jared's grip. He's safer on the opposite end of the couch where he can stack pillows in between them (space space all we're gonna have is space), free to look away from Jared, who has always been able to disarm him with just a look. "There are a million what-ifs. You don't know, Jared."

"I do know that our families have spent Christmas together for the past twenty-something years. That neither of us has missed a Beach Week in our lives. That you just got drafted in the first round."

"This isn't like everything else. It's not just gonna fall into place because we want it to."

"You gonna stop calling me on my birthday?"

"What? Of course not," Jensen answers.

"You have plans on moving out of Texas, spending summers somewhere else?"

"You know I don't—" Jensen starts.

"Then I don't understand what the problem is," Jared answers, leaning across the couch to drag Jensen back in between the vee of his thighs. Jensen knows the moment Jared realizes the fight's gone out of him. "I know there are a million ways for this to blow up in our faces. But for right now, I don't think anyone one of them matters more than the fact that we're here. Together."

Jensen can't help the slow smile breaking across his face or the desire to wrap Jared up tight and never let him go.

"Good," Jared grunts. "Now put ESPN back on so that I can keep building evidence that Chris Berman is more robot than human."

Jared probably won't be drafted by the Saints tomorrow. Their wide receiver corps is strong, and what are the chances, anyway? Jensen knows he's gonna make some team real happy. He'll keep an eye on Jared's stats, glare jealously at the dozens of girls that just can't resist his damn dimples, and hope for a couple of weeks during the off-season. You don't get to be teammates with the boy next door forever. But you don't get friends like Jared but once in a lifetime.

And at least there's always the Pro Bowl.