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This Is It

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Jensen really wished he had never opened that damn script. Okay, he was looking for a new project and happy about every script his agent sent him, but this one? Not good. Well, not the script as such. The script was okay. Not exactly Oscar material, but okay. He had done worse. It was more that… it was too close to reality. To what happened five years ago. And when he read it, it all came crashing back without a warning.

He scratched his head and reached for the phone. “Jared? It’s me. You free tonight? There’s something I’d like to talk to you about.”

Jensen had had a key to Jared’s apartment as long as he could remember and so tonight, like every other night, he let himself in. “Jared? It’s me.”

He could hear the wheelchair squeak on the hardwood floor before he saw Jared. “Hey,”  his friend smiled. “Good to see you.”

“Yeah, you too,” Jensen smiled back and dropped a six-pack onto Jared’s lap. “There are chips in the kitchen cabinet,” Jared said and Jensen went to get them.

Half an hour later they were in the living room, Jensen in the armchair and Jared spread out on the couch, both laughing at the stories they had shared. Not much had happened since they had last seen each other, but Jensen had known Jared all his life and there had never been a dull moment with him. He felt a little uncomfortable to ruin the mood, but he did it nonetheless. “There’s something I gotta talk to you about.”

“So you said on the phone,” Jared commented.

“I know. It’s maybe nothing or maybe I’m just an idiot, or…”

“Spill it,” Jared demanded.

“You know I’ve been looking for a new gig, right? Preferably a movie, even though TV would be fine too and…”

“Yes, Jensen, I know. Spill it,” Jared demanded again, looking rather amused than irritated.

“I got this script. And it’s basically… it’s…”

“Jensen?!” Jared said warningly.

“It’s our story. There’s this guy who has an accident and ends up in a wheelchair and I get to play his best friend who’s too freaked out to be there for him.”

Jared looked at him, questioningly. “And you’re thinking about not taking this job why exactly?”

“Because it’s us. Because we’ve been through this all. Through the awkwardness and the guilt and …”

“And that’d make you perfect for the role,” Jared finished his sentence. “Jensen, you have to go for it. You’ve been there with me almost all the way, you know as much about SCIs as your average guy in a wheelchair. They’d be idiots if they don’t want you for the role and you’d be an idiot if you wouldn’t take it.”

“You think?” Jensen asked. “You don’t think it would be… God, Jay, I feel like such a hypocrite. I’ve been the worst friend when it happened and now they ask me to do it all over again? I can’t. I’ve been there and it’s a place so dark I don’t wanna go there ever again.” He felt really awful about this but he also really wanted to take the job. Offers hadn’t exactly been plenty.

Jared pushed his legs from the sofa and sat up. “Jensen… that happened years ago. And it’s over. We had a few bad weeks but it’s just that. Over. I forgave you the minute you came back. You remember that, don’t you?”

Jensen looked at his beer as if he’d never seen a can like it. “You think I should take it?”

“Hell yeah. At least do not not take it because of what happened. You know I’m fine, right? I mean, I’m fine, my life’s good. And we’re best friends again like we used to since we were born. Maybe…” Jared hesitated as if he wasn’t sure he should say the next sentence. “Maybe it would even help you understand.”

Jensen looked up from his can and stared at Jared, his face an expression between surprised and bewildered. “Understand what?”

“That I’m really doing great. Maybe I’m even better than before.”




So Jensen took the role. And started filming a few months later. Like every time he worked out of town he tried to fly home every weekend and when he fell on Jared’s couch on a Friday night, he sighed, “It’s all your fault.”

“Filming so bad?” Jared asked and handed him a beer.

“Nah. Pretty relaxed, actually. The director is cool and the guy who plays my friend is nice enough. It’s just that… they talk so much. Even more than you when you’re drunk, if that’s even possible. They don’t take the script as given, but they talk and talk and never come to a conclusion.”

“What are they talking about?” Jared asked.

“About Evan’s character. You know, the guy in the wheelchair?”

Jared nodded. “Isn’t talking a good thing? Doesn’t it mean they’re putting their efforts into getting it right?”

Jensen looked at him and sighed again. “Maybe. If I had the impression that at least one of them had ever talked to somebody in a wheelchair.”

“All whiney?” Jared asked, smirking.

“All whiney.” Jensen nodded. “I mean, being whiney after the accident is fine, I guess, but like, forever? I don’t know anybody who’s that whiney because he’s in a wheelchair. Not you, not your friends, just nobody.”

“Did you tell them?” Jared asked.

“Nah,”  Jensen shrugged. “Not my cup of tea.”

“Maybe you should,” Jared said. “Maybe you are the only person on set who’s ever talked to somebody in a wheelchair. You should go and ask them why they think it should be like this.”

“You serious?”


“Okay,” Jensen said. “Maybe I will.”

When Jared’s phone rang a few days later he picked it up and smiled, “Jen, hi!”

“Can you come here?”

“Huh?” Jared asked. “Hello to you too. Come where? What are you talking about?”

“Here. Vancouver. To the set.”

Jared raised his eyebrows. What was Jensen talking about? “On a movie set? I? No, I don’t think so.”

“But you have to. Seriously. Because it’s all your fault.”

“My fault? I didn’t do anything.”

Jensen said, “Nononono, you did do something. You told me to talk to the guys here about how they have no ideas of SCIs and I did. And of course I had to tell them where my knowledge came from, so I told them about you. They’re asking you to come. Movie’s gonna pay for everything. Pleeeeezzeee?”

“You realize I have a job, right?” Jared asked, fully aware that wasn’t a good argument.

“You’re a writer, so pack your laptop and come. Come on, Jay, we dreamt about this when we were kids. Us together on a movie set.”

Jared smiled. It had been their dream. Jared had wanted to be an actor and Jensen a producer. They’d dreamt of winning an Oscar and being famous. But things were different now. Jensen had become the actor and Jared an author. An author who could easily work from everywhere. Or not at all for a few days.

“Okay, I’ll come.”

“Awesome. Ticket’s at the airport.”


When he landed the next evening, Jared was the last one to leave the plane, having to wait for someone to get him a wheelchair, because they had had him check in his chair. Frustrated as usual when he had to rely on other people, he let himself be pushed around in an old clunky chair and transfered into his own as soon as he got it back. What a relief.

He grabbed the backpack he’d brought at the baggage claim and strapped it to his back of his chair before wheeling through customs. 

Jensen was there to pick him up and waved and smiled at him. 


“Hey! I can’t believe you talked me into this. It took forever for them to find my chair.” Jared complained, but had a smile on his face.

“But still – here you are!”

“Yeah, here I am.” 


Jensen offered to take the backpack, but Jared shook his head. “It’s fine. Your car outside?”

“Yeah.” Jared followed Jensen to the rental and put the backpack in the trunk before transferring to the seat. Jensen stowed the wheelchair next to the backpack and slid into the driver’s seat. 

“So,” he started. “Production booked you into the hotel most of the crew is staying at, but I thought maybe you wanted to stay at my place? It’s not as fancy and it might be easier for you to get around in the hotel…”

“You’re not on the fourth floor with no elevator, are you?” Jared asked, but Jensen shook his head. 

“Ground floor. One step.”

“Then screw the hotel,” Jared said. “I definitely prefer staying at your place.”

“My place it is,” Jensen smiled and started the engine.

Jared had never been to the apartment Jensen rented, but it looked exactly like his condo in LA. It looked like Jensen. He had even put up the exact same pictures of his family and friends. Jared was on quite a few of them and he let his eyes travel over the older pictures, showing Jensen and him, standing at the beach in Malibu on one, all dressed up for his cousin’s wedding on another. And the newer ones. Again dressed up, but this time for his brother’s wedding and Jared wasn’t standing anymore.

“You hungry?” Jensen asked, pulling him away from the picture. “We could order pizza?”

Jared swiveled his chair around. “Yeah, sure.”

“Pepperoni as usual?”

Jared nodded. “Yepp. Hey, can I use your bathroom?”

Jensen knew that wasn’t really a question, this was Jared asking where it was and where he would find things. Jensen gestured towards a door. “In there. Towels are on the shelf to the left. Let me know if you need anything else.”

Jared grabbed a small bag from his backpack and disappeared behind the door while Jensen called the delivery service. Jensen’s bathroom was more spacious than expected, so he had not much trouble moving around. He found the towels easily and also checked the shower for accessibility. Luckily it was one of the level ones, without a step. He would be fine just sliding in and out.

When he returned a few minutes later he found Jensen in the kitchen, grabbing two beers from the fridge. 

“You want one?” he asked and held one out to him. 

Jared nodded and took it, then unscrewed it. 

“Pretty cool you’re here,” Jensen said honestly, “So I’ll drink to that,” and clunked the bottles. 

“I’m still not quite sure why they would want me here,” Jared said. “Any idea how tomorrow’s gonna look like?”

Jensen shrugged. “We can drive to the set together tomorrow morning and we usually have a quick stand up meeting before shooting starts. That’s where I can introduce you to everyone and I have this feeling that’s when the discussions will start and just get out of hand. As they usually do, only that tomorrow you get to be the judge.” He smirked. “I already love it.”

“Do they know who I am or what I do?” Jared asked. 

Jensen shook his head. “Nope, just that you’re my good friend and that you’ve been paralyzed for a little over five years.”

Jared rolled his eyes but Jensen smirked again. “Told you it was going to be fun.”

“Hey, you want me to show you around? It’s not much more to see, but I literally know every cupboard and every drawer in your apartment, so I guess it’s fair to return the favor?”

Jared put his beer on the kitchen counter. “Sure, lead the way.”

“This is obviously the kitchen. Fridge is here, glasses are…“, Jensen hesitated when he realized Jared wouldn’t be able to reach the glasses on the high shelf, so he took a few of them, opened one of the lower drawers which held mostly plates and put them there. 

“They’re here, where the plates are.” 

Jared smiled. “Thanks man.”

“Should have thought about that earlier, sorry. Cutlery is here and whatever food I have that’s not in the fridge is in that cupboard there.” He opened one of the larger cupboards and again Jared wouldn’t be able to reach the top shelves inside, but it wasn’t too likely he’d need the mixed pickles or canned tomatoes, so both of them let it slide.

From the kitchen they went to the living room, which had two large couches, a TV with an Xbox plugged in to it and some bookshelves. Jared couldn’t help noticing that it held all his books on a separate shelf and smiled. “People never ask you why you’re reading YA literature?”

Jensen shook his head. “Nope. Because a) I don’t bring many people here and b) by the time I bring them here, I probably bragged about knowing you anyhow, so I’m good.”

“You brag about knowing me?”

“Dude, you’re like super famous. Well, your books are, so yes, definitely bragging.”

Jared laughed and let his eyes roam over the rest of the books. There were more than in his apartment at home, which made sense, assuming he knew less people here and probably went out less. 

“You’ve already seen the bathroom, right? That door there is just storage, so unless you want to start cleaning my apartment you will probably not need it. Jensen was already turning towards what Jared assumed would be the bedroom, when he stopped. “No, wait, you’ll actually need the storage room, because I put the shower chair in there.”

Jared looked up at his friend. “You got me a shower chair?”

Jensen shrugged. “Apartment is only rented, so I didn’t want to…”

Jared interrupted him. “You got me a shower chair? You didn’t even know if I’d go to the hotel or stay with you.”

“Dude, I’ve known you all my life. I was pretty sure you were coming with me. And I also know you’d probably have been fine taking a shower sitting on the floor, but what a host would I have been then? And I really hope this isn’t going to be your one and only visit, so I believe I’ve invested money in much more useless things.”

“Thanks man, that’s super cool of you.”

Jensen grimaced not quite knowing what to say. 

“Bedroom?” Jared asked nodding towards the door Jensen was heading to before.

“Guest bedroom, actually,” Jensen said. “I’m afraid it’s super tiny, so if it’s too small for you to move around, I’m totally fine switching beds.”

Jared opened the door and looked inside. It was tiny. A bed, a nightstand and the room was essentially full with that. There was definitely no moving around in his chair in that room, but it was the bedroom, so no moving around required. 

“I’ll be fine,” he confirmed to Jensen. “No worries.”

“Okay,” Jensen nodded. “My bedroom is through here, so feel free to waltz in if you need anything.”

“Not sure about the waltzing, but yes, will do. Thanks man.”

“As I said, glad you’re here.”

The doorbell rang and Jensen went to open it. Jared went back to his beer in the kitchen where Jensen brought the pizza to. “Dinner’s ready. You want to eat in here? Or in the living room? Pop in a movie?”

“Movie sounds good,” Jared said. “As well a stretching out on your couch.”

“Living room it is then.” Jensen grabbed the pizzas with one hand and his as well as Jared’s beer with the other. “Can you grab napkins and two plates?”

Jared nodded and put both in his lap before following Jensen to the living room. He put both on the couch table, filled his plate with two pieces of pizza and put the plate, his beer and a napkin to the edge of the coffee table closest to the free couch. Then he pulled himself from his wheelchair on the couch and moved the wheelchair out of the way. When he was comfortable with the pizza in his hand, Jensen asked, “So, what are we watching?”

“Whatever. Nothing I have to think about.”

Jensen put something on and it was just like one of their usual evenings together. Pizza and a movie no one was really watching, instead they talked about their weeks and Jensen told him about the people who’d be there tomorrow on set.

When they went to bed, Jared realized that with his backpack in the corner of the guest bedroom and his wheelchair in front of it, the door wouldn’t close anymore. He considered getting back up again to put the backpack somewhere else, but he was tired, so he ignored it and left the door open. Jensen wouldn’t care.

Chapter Text

They had to leave at half past eight the next morning, so Jared’s alarm clock went off at six. He knew he took longer than the average person to get ready and he didn’t want to disturb Jensen’s routine. He grabbed his stuff, transferred to his wheelchair and went to the bathroom, not without taking the shower chair from the storage room. He showered, shaved and brushed his teeth, before returning to the guest bedroom to get dressed. Putting on jeans was always a bit of a struggle and not something he wanted to do in his chair if it could be avoided, so he was lying on his back, just wearing boxers and struggling with his pants when Jensen got up and passed his room on the way to the bathroom. He mumbled something that could have been “good morning” but halted his step when he saw Jared on the bed. 

Jared managed to pull the pants over his hips and closed the button and only realized Jensen was standing there when he sat up. Jensen was staring at Jared, taking in that well-trained upper body and the firm abs, just until the level of injury. Jared was staring at Jensen, embarrassed that he had seen him.

“You good?” Jensen asked and Jared nodded. “Yeah, I’m good.”

“Just grabbing a quick shower. I can do pancakes for breakfast.”

“From scratch?” Jared asked slightly surprised.

“From a box. But almost as good as your mom’s. Give me ten minutes.”

Jared transferred to his wheelchair when Jensen left for the bathroom, put on a shirt and wheeled to the kitchen. He didn’t bother looking for the pancakes but started a coffee. 

Jensen didn’t even take 10 minutes and Jared envied him. He missed being quick in the bathroom. 

Jensen gladly took the cup of coffee Jared handed him and started adding milk to the pancake mix. When he was flipping the pancakes in the pan he said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to intrude. I never thought about how annoying getting dressed still must be.”

“Not more annoying than every morning,” Jared stated dryly and sipped his coffee. 

“I just forget sometimes,” Jensen said. “And that’s why we need you on set today. It’s going to be awesome. You and me together on a movie set.”

Jared knew Jensen was sincere. About forgetting and about the movie set. He didn’t mind that Jensen forgot. He never forgot about the important things, like making sure venues were accessible and when it was okay to help and when not. And they always had wanted to be on a movie set together. Not exactly like this but who cared?

“Did I tell you they’re thinking about turning ‘In the Woods’ into a TV show?” Jared asked, breaking the big news.

“For real? That’s amazing!” 

“We are talking. Nothing’s final yet.”

“Just the fact that someone’s interested. Pretty cool.”

Jared nodded. “Want me to make you a director on one of the episodes a mandatory clause?”

Jensen let the spatula sink. “For real?”

“Just offering.”

“Wow. I need to think about that.”

“I take that as a yes. So – those pancakes done?”

Jensen nodded and let them slide on a plate. They had the pancakes at the small kitchen table with lots of syrup for Jared and less for Jensen and cleaned everything up afterwards. 

It was almost time to leave, but Jared decided to change into a button-down shirt and Jensen kept rummaging the drawer that held his keys. “Here,” he said and held out a key to Jared. “For the apartment. In case you want to get back earlier or something. Just keep it.”

Jared nodded. They’d always had keys for their respective apartments, so it shouldn’t have been a big deal, but it somehow felt more meaningful than exchanging keys for their apartments in the same LA neighborhood. Obviously it made sense while he was staying here and so he put the key in his backpack. He’d unpacked some things and again slung the now much lighter backpack over the back of his chair to follow Jensen to the car, where he transferred to the passenger seat and saw Jensen stow the wheelchair in the trunk.

They drove to the studios where most of the movie was shot and were easily let it. Jensen parked relatively close to the entrance though not on a handicapped parking space. He then led the way to the meeting room where the meeting was held and nodded for Jared to wait with him outside. It didn’t take long for Steve, the producer and Sera, the head-writer to show up and they seemed genuinely pleased to see Jared. 

Jensen introduced all of them and as expected they invited Jared to join the daily meeting. Steve introduced him only quickly as a consultant and then went to his agenda. He handed out new scripts to the actors and Jensen looked at it before rolling his eyes and handing it to Jared. 

“Hey Steve, I thought we had agreed that we’d take last week’s version of everything past page 70. This seems to be back to the one before.”

Jared scanned through it and scratched his head. This was indeed a different version than the one Jensen had shown him last week. This one too had the protagonist go through a failed suicide attempt but opposed to the other there was no turnaround. The protagonist never met the girl, never got close with his best friend again, never found a job. Instead he went home to live with his parents and just be miserable. 

“Yes, Jensen, it is,” Sera confirmed. “Steve and I talked about this and we believe this one is more realistic.”

Jensen looked at Jared for help. 

“What makes you think that?” Jared asked, already slightly annoyed with her. “That moving back home would be more realistic than living on his own?”

“How would he do that?” Sera asked. “With no help?”

Jared realized that Jensen was right. She had never in her life spoken to someone in a wheelchair. She had probably done an hour of research on Google, found some statistics and created the story.

“He could get help at the beginning. If necessary. But that wouldn’t necessarily mean he could get that help only at his parent’s house.”

Michael, the actor who played Evan, nodded. “Shouldn’t he be able to take care of himself once he leaves the hospital?”

“Rehab,” Jared says. “But yes. Essentially. And having friends or family come over to check on him or even hire a nurse is really different from needing to move back home.”

Steve looked at Jared. “How did you do it?”

“I did not move back home. My parents would have had to remodel their whole house and I had already moved away for college. So I moved to an accessible student dorm on campus.”

“So you had help there?”

“From friends mostly, yes. Obviously my parents came to see me and that accessible dorm had some nurses living close by for other more severely disabled students. So I wasn’t alone.”

“And today?”

“I live in my own apartment.”

“With help?”

“My cleaning lady comes once a week. But I guess that’s not what you meant, so no. No help. What would that help need to come for?”

Steve looked at Sera who started hectically scan some folders she’d brought. “But isn’t it that a very high percentage of peoples with SCIs move back to their parents?”

“If they lived there before? Sure. If they’re quadriplegics with much less mobility? More likely, yes. But paraplegics with a rather low level of injury who had already moved out before? I doubt it. I know only very few and they moved out quickly again. Because moving back to your parents can make you depressed and feel dependent and awful. But that’s surely not the end of it. That’s only what makes you realize that you need to test your limits and see how independent you can be. So it usually leads to the paraplegic moving out again.”

Jared had all eyes on him but easily held his ground. This was something that was pretty dear to his heart. A disabled character appeared in all of his novels, but the disability was never vital to the story. It was just a part of who he was. This movie was not Oscar material, but it was a movie that someone would get to see, so he really wanted them to get it right. To portrait it properly. 

“Why don’t you have Evan move in the same building as Alex? They’re best friends and even though this is rough on them, Alex would surely be willing to help. And what about a job? I don’t understand why Evan wouldn’t continue to pursue his career. Assuming he’s not originally a mountaineer.”

“But unemployment with the disabled” Sera started, but Jared interrupted her. 

“Is higher than with the rest of the population. Yes, agreed. Again, there are careers that can’t be pursued from a wheelchair and there are disabilities that will only allow for a very limited amount of jobs. Evan is in his mid-twenties, so he probably already had a job though we never learn about that. Which is super unusual. Either he gets fired – which happens – and he’s open to look for something else. Or he doesn’t get fired and should thus be able to return to his old job. Unless it’s really, really not working.”

Steve looked at Sera. “What is his job?”

Sera shrugged but Michael answered. “I imagined him to be something like an artist. Because he reacts so depressed and with so much emotion. I assumed he couldn’t be a corporate drone but needed to do something that involves more feeling. Maybe he’s a designer or an architect. Maybe even a sculptor.”

“Nothing he couldn’t do sitting down,” Jensen added.

Michael looked at their producer. “So Steve, how do you want to do this? Do we continue talking about the ever changing scripts every morning, losing time and money? Or are we going to do a movie? And if so, with which ending?”

Everyone looked at Steve, the whole meeting room full of people. Steve looked at Sera, then Michael and Jared. And then he said, “We need to fix this script cause otherwise we can just dump everything. So Jared, would you be willing to work with Sera on this?”

Jared’s eyes grew big. “You want me to work on the script with her?”

“Yes, please. A desperate please. We can negotiate payment later, but please help us.”

Jared looked at Sera who seemed as shocked as him, then at Jensen. Jensen was having a big grin on this face and nodded to him. Obviously. Jensen was always rooting for him and Jared was glad to have him in his corner. Because looking at Sera he would probably need it.

“Sera?” Steve asked. “Are you okay with this?”

She didn’t look thrilled, but she finally nodded. “You want to start right away?” she asked and Jared nodded. Steve nodded his okay and had the rest of the crew continue shooting on a scene that wouldn’t change. 

When Jared wheeled past Jensen to follow Sera, Jensen smiled at him and clapped him on the back. “You’re gonna rock this.”

Jared stopped and whispered, “Dude, I’ve never written a movie script.”

“And pretty sure Sera hasn’t published novels. You’ll be fine.”

Jared followed Sera to an office where she introduced him to Kim and Rob, who too had been part of the writing team. She told all of them to meet in the adjacent meeting room asap and they grabbed their laptops. 

Sera explained the situation to Rob and Kim. “This is our last chance to get it right, guys. Jared here is going to help with some real life experience to nudge the script in the right direction.”

Kim seemed to be staring at Jared and Jared started feeling really uncomfortable, when she blurted out, “Jared as in Jared Padalecki?”

Relieved that is wasn’t the wheelchair that had made her stare, he nodded. “Yes, that’s me.”

“Wow, my daughter will be thrilled to find out I’m working with you. She’s read all of “In the Woods” right when they came out and is such a fan.”

Jared smiled widely. “Glad she liked it.”

“We’re going camping this fall, so if we hate it we’re totally blaming you,” she said jokingly and Jared couldn’t help but laugh. “I can live with that.”

Sera seemed still oblivious to who Jared was, but Kim clued her in. “Did you read the books, Sera? They’re amazing. He’s such an amazing writer.”

Sera looked at him. “You’re a writer?”


“Is that why Steve got you here?”

Jared shook his head. “Steve has no idea what I do. Jensen Ackles, the guy who plays Alex? He’s my best friend and frankly – he was annoyed with the script and its lack of resemblance to everything he knows from me and our para-friends. So that’s why I’m here. If any of you has a problem with that, I’m happy to leave. Otherwise I’m glad to help.”

Sera looked around and when Rob nodded as well, she said, “Then let’s start. Where are we taking our hero’s journey if not stranding him home with Mom and Dad?”

“Are we still having him try to commit suicide?” Kim asked. “Or where do we start with the changes?”

Sera looked at Rob. “It was your idea, right? I think we can keep it. Any objections?”

No one spoke up, so they kept the suicide but agreed on going back to the drawing board for the rest of the script. They spent the rest of the day discussing what Evan’s alternative journey could look like and Jared’s suggestions were welcomed, and his expertise asked for in more detail than was usually considered appropriate. But Jared was glad to talk about some more private details of SCI’s in exchange for a better script. 

Steve came by around lunchtime, told them to use one of the PA’s to get take-out and made Jared a very generous offer for his support which he even increased when Sera whispered something in his ear. She probably told him that he was actually knowing what he was doing not only as a paraplegic but as a writer as well. Jared gladly took the offer and texted Jensen. “Looks like you’re stuck with me for now.”

Jensen wrote back not much later, “THRILLED”

They had Chinese take-out for lunch and when they split up for the day, they had put together a pretty decent outline on the white board and split up the scenes to write. 

Jared was wondering whether to stay and write a bit more or go home to Jensen’s when Jensen called. 

“Hey, I’m done for the day. You still here?”

“Yeah, but I can catch a ride with you and continue at home. If that’s okay for you.”

“Totally stoked you’re staying, so yes, definitely. Meet me at the car?”

“Will be there in a minute.”

Jared said good-bye to the writers and wheeled towards the parking lot. What a day. 

Being in a work meeting with Jensen had been fun. It had reminded him a bit of high school, because this had been the last time they’d been together in a working environment. But this was real and they were getting paid to be here. 

Becoming part of the writers team was an experience as well. He had never worked on a script before, but it wasn’t that much different than writing a book. Kim had helped out with the acronyms for the scene settings and he had to make sure to not start writing internal monologues but focus on the “show don’t tell” and even Sera seemed happy so far. The litmus test would be tomorrow’s meeting, when he’d  bring what he’d come up with, but he felt good about it. 

Kim had been super nice to him and so had Rob, and he was looking forward to tomorrow. 

He was also looking forward to going home with Jensen. It had been a while since they’d lived so close together, that they were actually going home together. Not that they had ever been apart for long, they usually spoke every day and saw each other every week even when Jensen was working out of the country. But staying in the same apartment was something different and so far Jared enjoyed it. 

There weren’t many people he was okay to share an apartment with for an extended period of time, but Jensen had always been and would always be the exception. Jensen was just Jensen. Someone so special to him that there wasn’t really a word for it. 

They went home together where Jared sat down at Jensen’s kitchen table to continue writing while Jensen put dinner together. 

“You’re typing furiously,” Jensen commented. 

“It’s coming pretty easy to me. Just like writing a diary.”

“Can I get some cool lines?”

“You’re getting your lines.”

“My lines?”

“As in 5 years ago lines.”

“You’re making me the bad guy?”

Jared looked over to him and shook his head vigorously. “No, not the bad guy. Someone who’s struggling as well. But someone who comes around. You were never the bad guy.”

Jensen came over to stand behind Jared, where he put his hands on his shoulders and had a closer look at the monitor. Jared couldn’t help but lean into Jensen’s touch. Touch was a rare thing for a single male paraplegic. 

Jensen read what was on the screen and looked at Jared in surprise. “That totally sounds like me.”

“Duh? Yes of course it does. This is you.”

“I did know you could write, but I didn’t know you could also write real people.”

“Thank you so much for your trust in me.” Jared said sarcastically but with a huge grin on his face. 

Jensen let go of his shoulders and returned to the food. “By the way – tomorrow is Friday and since I don’t need to fly home because you’re already here – we will go out for dinner because I love you like a brother but I don’t want to cook for you again.”

Jared laughed. “I can live with that. And I’m paying. Just make sure the place is accessible.”

“Have I ever not?”

“Nope, so don’t start tomorrow.”

“Are you about done there? Or…”

“I think I’m done for today. We can have dinner here.” He grabbed his stuff and brought it to the guest bedroom before returning to the kitchen. When he returned and set the table, he said, “This feels like being married. Coming home from work, wifey cooking dinner…”

Jensen threw the tea towel he had in his hand at him, but Jared ducked and the towel landed on the table.

They kept the friendly banter going through dinner and ended up in the living room, discussing today’s events.

“I really hadn’t thought they’d just keep you here,” Jensen said. “But maybe I should have known better.”

“It was quite hilarious,” Jared said. “Sera had no idea I could write, but Kim’s daughter is a fangirl so her Mom totally got it. I think she told Steve, because he gave me a hefty bonus.”


“He seems okay. And Sera was surprisingly civil. I had feared the worst after that stand up, but it was really okay. Hey, can I use your washing machine tomorrow? I wasn’t actually prepared for a longer stay.”

“Always, man. You can just drop your stuff in the hamper and I’ll put a load on later. And you can always borrow stuff from me.”

“Thanks, though I doubt I can squeeze into your pants.”

“Anything else you need for your prolonged stay?”

“I will need to hit a pharmacy for some stuff, but for now I’m good.”

“We can stop at one on our way home tomorrow.”

Jared nodded. “Sounds good, thanks.”

He woke early the next morning, even before his alarm went off. Jensen had hit the gym during his lunchbreak yesterday but Jared was feeling anxious. He loved days spent plotting and writing but he always moved too little during those. His shoulders cramped, his back hurt and sleeping on Jensen’s guest bed instead of his own wasn’t exactly helping So he put on some sweatpants and a shirt, grabbed his phone and keys and left to go for a spin around the block. There was a park not far from Jensen’s apartment with paved paths and Jared went for his equivalent of a jog. He could feel his arms and shoulders hurt from the exhaustion, which was a much better pain than just tension. Back at Jensen’s he grabbed a bottle of water and opened the door from the kitchen to the patio. There was a step there but nothing he couldn’t handle, so he went outside to cool down before the shower. That’s where Jensen found him.

“Hey, I thought I heard something. You’re up early.” Jensen looked at him, all sweaty, and asked, “Wait, are you okay?”

Jared laughed at his worried face. “Perfect. I’ve been working out a bit and am pre-shower. Love your patio. Don’t you ever use it? It’s perfect for a barbecue.”

Jensen shook his head, wondering for a moment why that was. “Nah, never really used it. I usually work long hours and go home for the weekend, so…”

“We should get you a grill as long as the weather is still okay.”

“Later,” Jensen yawned. “Okay for me to hit the shower first?”

Jared nodded. “You’re much quicker anyhow. I’ll start a coffee.”

When Jared came back from his shower Jensen was sipping on the coffee and preparing oatmeal. 

“From a box?” Jared asked, but Jensen shook his head. “Just like your mom makes it. Sit down, it’s almost ready.”

Jared rolled his eyes and Jensen smirked. “No pun intended. You want applesauce or cinnamon with it?”

“Both,” Jared said. “Thanks.”

He poured himself a coffee and added some milk from the fridge before wheeling to the place at the table that held no chair. 

They ate in amicable silence, Jensen going through his lines for the day and Jared thinking about the new ending to the movie. And the oatmeal did taste like his mom’s.

They parked at the same spot as yesterday and joined the daily stand-up meeting that actually deserved the name today. It was over in less than ten minutes and everyone went their separate ways. Jensen went back to shooting and Jared back to the writer’s room. When on their coffee break, Kim approached him cautiously. “Jared?”

“Hm?” he asked over his coffee cup. 

“I… I told my daughter about you and she nearly freaked. Would you maybe sign this?” 

She held up the first book of the series. It was a used one, obviously read over and over again and Jared loved it. Aside from some promotion he’d done, he’d never met people who loved what he did, so he took the book and flipped through it. There were things underlined, exclamation marks and some hearts drawn into it and he smiled. “This alone totally made my day. So, yes, of course I will. What’s your daughter’s name?”


“Give me a few minutes, okay?”

Kim nodded and Jared took the book to the desk he’d been assigned in the office when they were not using the meeting room. He flipped through it again and realized that a lot of the underlining was under paragraphs he’d really struggled with and the hearts were next to things that had come easily. Just as it should be. He remembered writing those words, starting back at rehab to just have something to keep him busy. To have something to remind him of before. Of his childhood wandering through the woods with Jensen. It also reminded him of the time when Jensen had hid from him, too uncomfortable to be close. And it somehow hit closer to home than writing about it yesterday had. 

He tried to shake it off by writing a note to Amy and returning to work on the script. He went through all of Alex’s lines to make sure they sounded like Jensen before working on some transition scenes. They had another meeting in half an hour and he really wanted the first draft of the script to be ready for the weekend.

The meeting went okay and they were released for the weekend. He gave the Kim the book back and she loved what he had written. “Amy will be thrilled. This is so thoughtful. Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome. Tell her I loved to see how much she loves the book.”

“Will do. See you on Monday?”

Jared nodded. “Yes. Have a nice weekend.”

“You too. Any plans?”

“Hanging out with Jensen,” he said. “I think I need to take him shopping for a grill.”

“Then enjoy your steaks and see you on Monday.”

Jared called Jensen to see whether he would be off as well, but they were running behind schedule and needed at least another hour. He considered continuing to work in the office but decided on picking Jensen up and maybe get a look at what they were shooting. The PA who had brought them Chinese take-out yesterday recognized Jared and let him into the studio.

They were shooting a scene in the hospital; Jensen’s character was talking to Evan’s parents and some doctors and Jared saw why they were running over time. Jensen was a mess. He forgot his lines, stumbled over the words and the director called for a break. “Jensen, come here,” he shouted and talked to him in private. 

Jared was watching them from the background, uncomfortable but unable to look away. Like at a car crash. Only it was Jensen who was crashing. And obviously Jared knew why. This was what had happened that made Jensen run away. The doctors telling him and his parents that Jared wouldn’t walk again. And all of Jensen was fighting against going through these emotions again.

He considered intervening but decided against this. Seeing him would probably even make it worse for Jensen, so he considered leaving, but couldn’t.  He just watched and saw how after the break Jensen took a few more takes but was getting there. And then he was just the Jensen from back then and he was crying, and it wasn’t even acting anymore. The pain was real and raw and when the director cut the scene, Jensen stumbled away. Jared wheeled over to him and when Jensen saw him he stopped in his tracks. “Jared, I…”

Jared looked up to his friend, shook his head and extended his arms as an invitation which Jensen gladly accepted. He sunk into the embrace and whispered, “I’m so sorry, Jay. I’m so sorry.”

Jared hugged him tightly and let him compose himself before releasing the hug. Jensen cleared his throat, wiped the tears away and asked, “Shall we go home?”

Nodding, Jared wheeled towards the exit and felt Jensen following him, then a hand on his shoulder – as if Jensen needed to make sure that he was in fact real. 

They walked to the car and got in, driving quietly until Jensen stopped. “Here’s a pharmacy. Want me to come with you?”

Jared shook his head. “If you bring me my chair, I’m good.”

He went in and stocked up on what he’d brought too little of for a longer stay. Catheters, his antispasmodic and laxatives. 

When he came back to the car Jensen was leaning against the passenger door. “You got everything?” he asked. 

Jared nodded. “Yeah, I’m good for a few weeks. Thanks for the stop.”


They drove home, Jensen still really quiet. When they entered the apartment, Jared said, “You know we don’t have to go out tonight, do you?”

Jensen nodded. “I know. But I think it’s exactly what we need. Just give me a few minutes to freshen up, okay?”


Jared went to his room and put on his second to last fresh shirt. He really had to put the laundry in the hamper. 

He heard Jensen take a shower and decided to grab a beer and wait in the living room. He moved to the couch and stretched his legs and was halfway through the beer when Jensen joined him. Jared sat up, ready to head to the bathroom himself, but Jensen stopped him and sat down next to him. 

“You better?” Jared asked. 

Jensen shrugged. “Maybe that was my punishment for taking this job. Which is all your fault, by the way.”

Laughingly, Jared wrapped his arm around Jensen’s shoulders. “Just stop it. I’m sorry that was so hard for you, but you were amazing.”

“You know what’s amazing?” Jensen asked. “This. Us. That we’re still here, still friends.”

“Doing a movie together,” Jared added. Jensen nodded.

“Starving?” Jared asked and Jensen laughed. 

“Then let’s get you something. I love you, man.”

“Love you too.”

They hugged again, then let go of each other and Jared transfered to his wheelchair. He took a few minutes in the bathroom and then they were good to go.

Jensen had picked the sports bar with the best burgers in town. At least according to him. When they entered through the ground level entrance and the hostess showed them their booth, Jared knew another reason why Jensen had picked this bar. They had a booth that was missing the bench on one side and let Jared’s wheelchair slip in easily. With everything that had been going on today, he felt super blessed to have a friend like this. Who noticed things like this even when he went out without him and made sure he was comfortable. 

The waitress was a bit annoying but nothing that hadn’t happened before. Jensen made sure to never answer a question for Jared even though she kept directing them at him and after a while she got the clue. The burgers were really good. Soul food. Jensen’s mood improved by the minute and they started making plans for the weekend.

Being out with Jensen always felt easy. Comfortable. But today was somehow special. As if Jensen doing that scene had brought them even closer together. They were still joking around, half-heartedly watching the game that was on and sharing stories, but it felt even better than usual. Or maybe that was just the food.

They already had too much beer in the sports bar and went on to another bar for drinks that made Jared glad he was sitting down anyway.

They ordered a cab and when they walked outside to meet it, Jared felt Jensen’s hand on his shoulder again but suspected it was for his equilibrium more than for him. Whatever the reason, it still felt good. 

Jensen was pretty drunk as well and for some reason started singing 80s rock songs. Jared was somewhere between annoyed and amused and the cab driver laughed and was probably glad to drop them off. 

They returned to Jensen’s apartment and Jensen fell onto his couch. “That was a weird day,” he summarized. “And it’s all your fault. Days are never this weird without you.”

Jared laughed but refrained from transferring to the other couch. He was afraid he wouldn’t get back up again and sleeping on the couch was not a good idea for him. So he parked in front of this friend, for once looking down at Jensen, not up. 

“You need some water? Aspirin?”

“Later. Tomorrow. Not sure.”

Jared smirked and wheeled to the kitchen to get him some water. He parked at the same spot again and made Jensen drink it. He’d be so hungover tomorrow. 

Jensen reached out to Jared and got to his upper leg. “You’re the best, Jay. I mean it. You’re the best friend one can imagine. I’m so sorry I was such an ass back then. When my mom died you were there for me the whole time and I couldn’t do the same for you. I’m so sorry.”

Jared stared at Jensen’s hand on his leg. It felt weird to not feel it there. Still did. He’d gotten used to his own hands and elbows, but someone else touching him there was still weird. With every other person he would have said something, would have pushed the hand away, but Jensen’s was fine. “I know you’re sorry. And I’m telling you again that it’s fine. It’s been a few weeks years ago. And you were there for me. I remember you being there every step of the way for my rehab. So stop that guilt and forgive yourself, because I forgave you the minute you came back.”

Jensen looked at him dozily but didn’t say anything. His eyes kept falling shut and Jared could only smile at how warm and fuzzy that made him feel. He reached for the blanket on the other couch and draped it carefully over Jensen. Then he got more water and Aspirin and put it on the coffee table in front of him.

He'd already spun around, ready to head to the bathroom, when he turned back and carefully stroked over Jensen’s hair. “Sleep well.”

Chapter Text

Jared went to the bathroom to get ready and went to bed. This time he left the door to the guest bedroom open on purpose in case Jensen needed something. He couldn’t stop thinking about his friend in the living room. About how emotional working on that scene had made him. About how conscious stricken he obviously still was. 

All that while his life was great. He was still thrilled by the way Amy read his books. If someone had told him five years ago that he would prefer this life to what he had set course on, he’d have laughed. But this was good. Better.

He needed some time to fall asleep, but when he did he slept soundly until his set alarm went off in the wee hours of the morning. Quickly he switched it off and tried to wake up enough to go to the bathroom. With drinking as much as he had yesterday, he didn’t want to risk any accidents in Jensen’s guest bed.

He went to the bathroom, relieved himself and went back. Jensen was still in the living room, snoring slightly. Jared smiled at how calm and peaceful his friend looked. Just like a baby.

Back in bed he fell asleep again easily.


Jensen woke up when he thought he’d heard something. He needed a moment to put two and two together. So he’d fallen asleep on the couch, he’d probably had too much to drink because his head was throbbing and Jared was in the guest bedroom, and that’s probably what he’d heard.

He saw the water and the aspirin on the coffee table and gladly took both, before he needed to hit the bathroom. Not returning to the living room but wanting to spend the last hours or so of sleep in his own bed, he came past Jared’s room with the door still open. He looked inside and there was Jared, stretched out over the complete length of the bed, his long brown hair disheveled and a little smile on his lips. Jensen had forgotten how tall Jared was. That he was quite a bit taller than him. God, he felt like sneaking under the cover with him and get close. He tried to shake that thought of. This was college all over again. He remembered falling in love with Jared back then and he knew he still was in love with him, but he also knew that Jared didn’t love him like that. These thoughts needed to stop.


When Jared woke up the next time he wanted to go and work out, but when he’d made it to the kitchen, he decided against it. He wanted a coffee and some quiet. So he got the coffee started and opened the door to the patio. Transporting a hot beverage in a wheelchair sucked, but with only filling the cup halfway and making sure it wasn’t too hot to put between his unfeeling legs he made it out okay. He thought the patio was awesome. It was small, but surrounded by all kind of mature plants that no one could look into it. If not a barbecue, Jensen should at least get a small table to put the coffee on.

He'd been in for the third time to get a half cup of coffee when Jensen joined him outside. He put his hands on both of Jared’s shoulders and squeezed gently. “Hey! Thanks for the aspirin.”

“Anytime. You feel okay?”

Jensen nodded. “I’ll grab a coffee and be fine. And then maybe more coffee.”

Jared laughed. “Seems to be a coffee day.”

Jensen was back only a minute later, carrying one of the kitchen chairs outside and sitting down next to Jared. “Wow, it’s actually quite nice here.”

“So I keep telling you. We’re going furniture shopping today.”

“I thought you wanted to go sightseeing?”

“Can’t we do both?”

Jensen nodded and yawned. “Sure. After breakfast. And more coffee.”

Jared laughed at his look. “I’ll go have a shower and then we can talk breakfast.”

“Hey, you want to maybe go out for breakfast? I’m too hungover to cook.”

“Yeah, good idea. Though I could cook as well, you know that, do you?”

Jensen grinned. “I know what you call cooking, so yes, I know, but no thank you.”

Jared laughed and went inside to grab his things. He realized he still hadn’t put things in the hamper and put his dirty laundry in a pile on the floor to do that right after the shower. 

When he was still in the bathroom there was a knock at the door. “Hey Jared, those clothes in your room, are they dirty, shall I wash them?”

“Yes, please.”

When Jared came out of the bathroom a few minutes later and returned to his room the pile of clothes on the floor was gone just fine. But so was the shirt he’d put on the bed to wear today.

“Jensen?” he called out. His friend appeared, looking at a naked Jared with only a towel in his lap and forgot to breathe for a moment.

“Did you take the shirt and the pants that were on the bed as well?” Jared asked.

Jensen grimaced. “Shouldn’t I have?”

“Those were my clothes for the day. I do have another pair of jeans and briefs, but I’m now officially out of shirts.”

“You could go like this?” Jensen suggested. “I wouldn’t mind.”

“Hilarious. How long is your washing cycle?”

“An hour. And the dryer another hour. So you want to sit this out? Or borrow a shirt?”

“What’s the biggest shirt you have?”

Jensen disappeared and came back with a white t-shirt. When he held it up Jared could already see that it was too tight, but maybe it could do for the day. He took it, pulled it over his head and when he pulled it down, he heard Jensen gasp slightly. It was tight, but at least it was long enough.

“You should only wear tight shirts,” Jensen mumbled. “This looks amazing.”

Jared shook his head in desperation. “Can you be any gayer?” He asked and shooed him out so he could put on some pants.

When he came back out, Jensen had already taken a quick shower and kept looking with that weird look at him. A look he’d never seen on his friend’s face.

“So, breakfast?”

“Y..Y..Yes, breakfast.”

Jensen couldn’t help looking at Jared again and again. Okay, not looking. Staring. First naked Jared and then the shirt. That stretched over his broad shoulders and chest, over his triceps and those abs. He loved watching how it stretched even more when he was pushing himself forward. And yes, he was having really non-platonic thoughts about his best friend and he had no idea how to stop it. 

They’d gone for breakfast and were now crossing the parking lot to go to the Home Depot on the other side. Jared dragged him to the garden furniture department and made him look at small garden tables and chairs. Jensen picked one he liked and then started looking at grills. Jared was right, barbecue was an awesome idea. He got a smaller one and they headed to the check-out where Jensen heard an older couple behind them talk about them. Or more specifically – Jared’s wheelchair and how that could only mean that Jensen was his caretaker.

Jared must have heard them too but remained stoic – as usual when something like this happened. Jensen knew him though and could see his smile waiver a bit. 

They made another stop to go shopping for all things barbecue and spend the majority of the afternoon cleaning the patio and putting together the table, the chairs and the grill. 

Sightseeing got moved to tomorrow and firing up the grill got priority.

Jensen took charge of that and Jared cut up some salad. He did it on a cutting board put on his lap and was slightly annoyed with it. Jensen had only been half joking this morning – he wasn’t a good cook. Just good enough to not starve. But not having a lowered kitchen counter did not exactly make it easier for him. He missed his own kitchen.

When Jensen entered to get the steaks and set the table, he hesitated a moment when he saw Jared but didn’t say anything. 

When the food had been eaten it had already gotten dark, but they stayed on the patio. Jensen had moved the grill a bit closer to get some warmth from it and they were both nursing a beer. It reminded him a bit of all the nights they’d spend out camping, sitting around the campfire.

“Do you miss it? Being outside?” he asked.

Jared frowned. “I’m outside all the time. Probably more than you. And I’ve got the tan to prove it.”

Jensen smirked. “It’s called skin-type, dude. And I didn’t mean a jog in the park. I mean going camping, climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding. You know, things we did before.”

Jared shrugged. “Do you? Because I haven’t seen you take your bike for a spin in a while either.”

Jensen scratched his head and wondered if he should just let it slide. “These last few days, working on the movie brought back a lot of memories. But having you stay here, living here, made me realize I was completely unaware of some things I should have known, so… I just want to understand.”

“What kind of things weren’t you aware of?”

“I’ve never thought about how you put your pants on these days. About how my kitchen counter is hardly below eye level for you. These kind of things. And I’ve been thinking about yesterday. Why that scene totally killed me.”

Jared looked at him. “So?” He really wasn’t too interested in bringing up the past – again – but Jensen seemed to need it. So down the rabbit hole they went.

“When it happened, when I learnt you wouldn’t walk again, I could only think about all the things you wouldn’t be able to do anymore. We wouldn’t be able to do anymore. Because that’s what we were. The guys who were always outside, always doing crazy ass shit as far away from civilization as possible. Like the kids from your books just on speed. And I thought that when we wouldn’t be able to do that anymore, there would be nothing left for us.”

Jared interrupted him. “But that’s what I don’t get. Just because I can’t go and ride some mean downhill trails, why don’t you? And I know it’s not because life got in the way and we grew up. I doubt you’ve done any of the things we used to do since I got hurt.”

“Because those were the things we did together. I have never in my life done any of these things without you. And when you got hurt, I thought that I hadn’t only lost that, but also our friendship. I was responsible that you got injured and then I couldn’t see a future for our friendship, so I did the most cowardly thing and just disappeared. I obviously know now that that was stupid, but back then it felt like it. And without you there was just nothing left.”

“You could have found someone else to go cycling with.”

“At first I’d thought about it. But the first weeks I was completely out of it. But then we hung out again, you got better and I realized you were still you and we would still be friends – I didn’t want to take the time. Because time spent with you always felt more important.”

Jensen looked at him sincerely and Jared knew that he meant it. Not in a martyr way of denying himself what used to be their favorite hobbies. But because their friendship was more important than that. Jared had never before seen it that way, had taken quite some time to even realize that Jensen wasn’t spending his weekends on whatever adventure anymore but rather hanging out with him. First in rehab, later at home. Jensen, who flew home almost every weekend just to spend it hanging out with him and their friends.

“We could just do it again,” Jared suggested insecurely. “Go camping, I mean. Not mountain biking.”

“You can do that?” Jensen asked surprised.

“Why not? I mean it obviously wouldn’t be the same, no hiking in the wilderness and no bivouacking somewhere. But we could go to a campground, sleep in a tent and do some wheelchair accessible hiking trails, maybe go fishing.”

Jensen looked at him dumbfounded. “You mean that?”


“I didn’t think that even was an option. Why did we never talk about this? Why have you never brought it up?”

“Because it requires for you to sacrifice some of the fun and adventure that used to come with those weekends, and I didn’t want to ask that from you. You know how much I hate to inconvenience anybody. And my subtle approach didn’t actually work.”

“Your subtle approach?”

Jared released his brakes, wheeled into the house and was back a minute later with one of his books he’d grabbed from the shelf in the living room. He dropped it into Jensen’s lap. “I wrote an entire book about our young heroes taking their disabled friend on a camping trip. And I know you read it, because we talked about it. So up until just now I thought you just didn’t want to do this. But now I’m kind of confused.”

He wanted to wheel back to the other side of the table but Jensen grabbed his arm. “Don’t be. I’m just the same ignorant asshole person I was five years ago.”

Jared stopped his wheels and turned towards Jensen. “What the heck is that supposed to mean?”

“I’ve read your book. And loved it, you know that. But I never got the hint. Because I’m an idiot. That’s all there is.”

“You promise there’s not more to it? Because I really don’t want to drag you somewhere you don’t want to be.”

Jensen shook his head. “I promise. I’m so sorry, Jay, for not getting it.”

“So, camping then, huh?”

Jensen smiled and nodded. “Yes. But first I’m getting you something to put on because you’re stone cold.”

Jared rolled his eyes, but knew Jensen was right. He was usually too warm with this lower body not sweating properly, but tonight he felt cold. Jensen had already thrown a grey hoodie at him which he put on and now brought a blanket from the living room. When he stood next to Jared and handed him the blanket, he quietly said, “I’m really sorry.”

Jared wrapped his arm around Jensen’s waist and leaned his head against his friend. “Don’t. It’s fine, I should’ve just asked. And next time I try to be subtle, I’ll put something in the dedication.”

Jensen let his hand tousle Jared’s hair and was almost freaking out with all the emotions inside of him. “God, I don’t get it,” he said, pulling Jared even closer so that Jared hid is face in Jensen’s hoodie and wrapped both his arms around Jensen. “We talk all the time. In person, on the phone – not a day goes by when we don’t talk. But you’re telling me today that there’s still stuff you’re keeping to yourself not to inconvenience me? That’s just so… dude… Jared… I don’t even know what to say.” Jensen released the hug and kneeled down to be on eye level with Jared. He took his friend’s face between his hands, his fingers in his long locks, so he was looking at him and said, “I love you, man. You can inconvenience me as much as you like. If I could, I would trade places with you in an instant. Give you my spine, whatever. But I can’t. So can you, after all these years, please stop thinking about inconveniencing me? If there’s something you want to do or can only do with help or if it helps you that I dance naked on the street and meow like a cat – just let me know. I’m all in.”

Jared was half laughing, half crying and pulled Jensen into another hug. Jensen kissed him on the cheek before he rested his head on Jared’s shoulder and just held tight. God, Jared smelled good. He wanted to just carry him to his bedroom and … This really had to stop. He needed to stop fantasizing over Jared. 

“I don’t want to scare you away,” Jared said quietly. “I couldn’t live through that.”

“No fucking chance in hell,” Jensen said firmly. “You’re not ever getting rid of me. No matter what, I promise.”

“I’ll take you up on that,” Jared said, still trying to get his emotions under control. 

“You won’t have to,” Jensen said, running his hand over Jared’s hair and still not letting go.

“Do you have any idea how good this feels?” Jared asked after quite a while, his voice now steady. 

“You need more hugs?” Jensen asked.

“More anything,” Jared sighed. “Touch is a rare commodity when you’re in a wheelchair.”

Jensen hugged him even tighter before he let go. 

They looked at each other for a moment before Jensen got up again and Jared had never felt closer to anybody. Not his family, no ex-girlfriend. Jensen was his favorite person in the world.

“Another beer? Or something stronger?”

“Beer is fine. Thanks, Jen.”

Jensen handed him a beer just a minute later and Jared put the blanket over himself. Jensen had worked as a blanket as well, but now that he was sitting own his own chair again, instead of wrapped around Jared, that didn’t warm him anymore. At least not from the outside.

They sat in silence for a while, but then the conversation took up again and they discussed potential camping destinations.

Chapter Text

Jared was up early the next morning, hangover free and thus going out for a spin in the park. It wasn’t exactly the same as going for a run, but it cleared his head just the same. That feeling of closeness was still there. He’d known Jensen all his life and still so much had changed these last few days – that felt so strange. A good strange, but still strange. When Jensen had asked whether he should take the job, he had never imagined for all of this to happen. He loved being around Jensen so much, and he had never thought it would stir up so many emotions. Maybe it was the combination of doing that movie and essentially living together, maybe it would have happened with only one of these. He would never know. There was work at the script for him for at least another week, maybe two. Then he’d go back home and things would go back to normal. No daily freak outs for one of them. It did feel good to get some things out in the open, but this was getting a bit too much. He felt like he was stuck in a Hallmark movie. 

He thought about how he’d been proud to incorporate a disabled character into his book series without putting too much focus on him, but now that he learnt that not even Jensen had gotten it, maybe it was time to change that. Maybe it was time to make Fynn the protagonist of the book he’d been working on. He wouldn’t have to change the whole plot, just tweak the perspective. He would obviously need to put a lot more emphasis on his disability than when he’d just been a side character. But who if not he was equipped to do that?

In love with the idea and with inspiration already starting to flow, he hurried back to Jensen’s, took a shower and placed his laptop on Jensen’s new patio table. By the time Jensen got up and got a coffee started, he was already done with re-writing the first chapter.

Jensen placed a cup of coffee with just the right amount of milk next to him and asked, “You’re working on the script?”

Jared shook his head. “Nope, new book.”

Jensen sat down, still only wearing his pajamas. “I thought you were stuck?”

“Not anymore.”

Jared continued typing, only occasionally sipping from his coffee and Jensen was happy just to watch him. Waking up to Jared typing furiously on his patio? He could definitely get used to that.

“You still up for sightseeing today?”

“Yeah, sure. Just give me half an hour or so.”

“I need to take a shower anyhow and we need breakfast. No hurry.”

They didn’t hurry and made it to some of the sights, went out for lunch and when Jared thought they were done for the day and on their way home, Jensen took a small detour and parked the car in a parking lot.

Jared looked at him questioningly. “This the best coffee in town? Or something?”

Jensen shook his head. “Nope, biggest outdoor and camping store. We’re going camping next weekend, so time to equip ourselves.”

“I recall having a sleeping bag in my apartment.”

“Yes, but since you won’t be returning to your apartment before next weekend and we need to get a new tent and sleeping pads anyhow, we are going shopping right now.”

“We could wait until I’ve been home to collect my stuff?” Jared suggested.

“Yeah, and then it’s winter. Nope, not gonna happen. Next weekend it is and we’re starting from here because we’ve never been around here and it’s going to be awesome.”

He didn’t wait for Jared’s response but got out of the car to get the wheelchair from the trunk.

They went inside and hit the tents department first, checking out options for two plus luggage. Some were ruled out right from the start because they were too short for Jared which Jensen nagged him relentlessly about. They settled on one that was big enough to even hold Jared’s wheelchair if needed but not too big or heavy to be carried in a backpack. Jensen then picked a sleeping pad by lying down on a few and choosing the one that was the most comfortable. Jared knew this was going to be harder for him, so he got a salesperson to help. He was really helpful, they googled specifics and realized that the best choice for Jared would be the extra-large size of an inflatable sleeping pad with special foam inlays that should help best against bedsores. Jared thought of his cheap styrofoam mat he used to use back in the day and that was probably still in his basement. Sleeping bags were easier, they just made sure they got the Sasquatch size for Jared.

They also got a camping stove and some unbreakable dinnerware and had quite a load to stow into the car when they’d checked out.

“I can’t believe you just dragged me there,” Jared commented. 

“I can’t wait to try the things out.”

“Me either,” Jared said, pulling his small notebook from his pocket and started taking notes. 

“You got some serious inspiration, huh?” Jensen asked. It had been a while since he’d seen Jared take notes throughout the day.

“Yes. And I will need to get back to my computer to get some of it out. “

Jensen smiled. “All good for me. What do you say, I drop you of at home and get everything for burgers? From the grill?”

“Awesome, man. But we can also get things together.”

“Nah, I’m good and you can get behind that laptop of yours.”

When Jensen returned with the groceries, he smiled at the picture that awaited him. Jared working on the patio, looking engaged, happy and in flow.

He just let him know he was back, then returned to the kitchen to prepare dinner. He wondered if it should make him feel like the housewife to be cooking all the time, but Jared was a horrible cook and his kitchen wasn’t suited for him anyhow. And he looked so thrilled working on that book, Jensen wouldn’t interrupt him for getting tomatoes chopped. 

The week passed quickly with both of them working on the movie and Jared working on his book. Everyone liked the draft script they’d presented so writing was back to minor tweaking. Jensen didn’t have any more breakdowns and with all that they’d found a comfortable rhythm of living and working together.

When they left for work on Friday morning, they had packed the trunk with all things they’d need for their weekend trip. Jensen had to stow Jared’s wheelchair on the back seats, because there wasn’t any more space in the trunk. It was – at least for now – Jared’s last day working on the movie, so he said good-bye to everyone and promised to come to the first viewing.

Then he and Jensen were off to the mountains. They’d picked a remote campground that was rather empty during this time of the year but had a lake and some nice trails around.

It was almost dark when they arrived, so they set up their tent and got a pot of spaghetti started. Jared was sitting on his wheelchair cushion, wearing a hoodie and sweatpants, Jensen was sitting on a blanket next to him, in jeans and a softshell jacket, stirring the one-pot meal and sipping a beer. When the food was done, Jensen saw Jared cut the spaghetti into bite sized pieces and looked at him surprised. They’d had spaghetti before and he’d never done that.

“What’s that massacre? You always eat spaghetti with a fork and a spoon.”

Jared puffed, somewhere between annoyed and embarrassed, and said, “I sometimes have problems keeping my balance when sitting upright without any back support. It’s not too bad, I’m pretty stable. But if I cut the spaghetti I only need a fork to eat, not an additional spoon and taddaaa, one hand free to save me if I fall.”

Jensen stared at him and Jared rolled his eyes. “You didn’t know that. That’s fine, you didn’t need to, up until now, because we never sat somewhere on the floor with nothing to lean against and me trying to eat.”

“You could lean against me,” Jensen suggested. 

“If we were having something that really needed me to use both hands for the food, I’d totally have asked. But I prefer being able to look at you.”

“Fair enough,” Jensen said and dug into his own food. 

When they were done, they cleaned the few dishes they had in the campground’s washing facilities. Jared opted to use the toilet when already there, so Jensen was on his own on his way back to their tent, when he passed a group of three campers sitting around a barbecue on tree trunks. They waved and he stopped to say hi. 

They introduced themselves as a group of friends from Vancouver. “Are you on your own?”

Jensen shook his head. “No, with a friend. You guys been here long?”

“Na, just a weekend trip. We do this all the time. You?”

“Same, though we’ve never been here and haven’t been out in a while. You got plans for the weekend?”

They were talking about rafting and rock-climbing when Jared caught up and stopped next to Jensen. Even though Jared was looking at Jensen he could feel the looks and almost hear the thoughts. “Is that the friend? He’s in a wheelchair. What’s he doing here?”

Jensen felt it too and felt how uncomfortable Jared was. He was already initiating their leave, when one of the guys asked, “You want to sit down?”

Jensen looked questioningly at Jared who nodded. “Sure, why not.”

Jensen sat down next to one of the guys on a tree trunk and Jared parked himself next to him. He expected the questions to begin, but the group was too polite and Jensen too quick. He easily made them pick up the conversation just where they had left it, so when the questions came, they’d all had a couple of beers and already learnt that those three campers were exactly like Jensen and him six years ago. And once again Jared realized that though he wished he could join them tomorrow, it was no big deal that he couldn’t. This was more important. Being outside, talking, meeting people. That was as important as getting that thrill.

Jensen kept looking at Jared, pleasantly surprised for the gazillionth time about how little Jared had changed. Jared was being Jared. He was silly and was laughing and telling stories and making everyone just fall in love with him a little. Like there wasn’t a single thing to worry about.

It was Andy who finally asked, “So, Jared what happened?”

They’d shared some of their adventures, so it was clear he hadn’t always been in a wheelchair.

“Accident when rock climbing.”

“For real?” Tobias sputtered. “No shit?”

Jared shook his head and sipped his beer. “No shit.”

“What happened?”

“We were rock climbing and I slipped and fell. And the rope tore.”

They looked at him in shock, so Jared answered the questions that always followed. “The rope was brand new, never used. It was a good brand I have never before or after heard anything bad about. I just lucked out.”

“Did you try to sue them?” Charlie wanted to know.

Jared nodded. “They’re paying a life annuity.”

“I don’t feel like going climbing tomorrow any more,” Tobias said jokingly and make Jared smile.

Andy asked, “What about your belayer?”

“I fell and bruised my tailbone.”

“You did? I didn’t know that,” Jared said, looking at Jensen.

“You were the belayer?”

Jensen nodded and looked at Jared. Jared who was still here, who was happy and whose biggest worry was that Jensen kept him away from his computer this weekend.

Jared answered the look and smiled. “Can we please talk about something else? Jensen has this unbelievable talent of somehow blaming this on him even though I have a court decision that clearly blames this on the rope.”

“And you’re still going camping?” Charlie asked.

“What does it look like?”

“Stupid question, just ignore him,” Tobias teased and the three guys started a friendly banter about who the biggest idiot was.

When they said their good-nights and Jensen was lying next to Jared in their tent, Jensen mumbled sleepily, “Thanks for saving me earlier.”

“Thanks for coming here. This evening was already worth it.”

“Thanks for hitting me on the head with it. Sleep well, Jay.”

“You too. Hey Jensen?”

“Can you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

Jared closed his eyes and just listened. “The wind in the trees. The crickets. The small waves.”

“Yeah. Sounds like coming home.”

“Yeah,” Jared confirmed. “Sounds like home.”

Chapter Text

For once Jensen woke up first, mainly because Jared had gone back to the toilet after they’d separated from the guys and not activated his alarm to get up early and secondly because they hadn’t been drunk enough to be hungover. 

He went to the little kiosk and got two coffees, of which he held one under Jared’s nose to wake him up. Sleepy Jared was probably one of Jensen’s favorite Jareds. His hair tousled, his eyes even smaller than usual and overall very relaxed. Jensen felt very much like lying down next to him and cuddling with him until he was fully awake.

Jared sat up, took the coffee and sipped it. “Thank you.”

“It’s not exactly Starbucks.”

“I was afraid we were doing this coffee free, so I take what I get.”

“I did pack instant.”

Jared grimaced. “That’s disgusting.”

They both laughed and Jensen went outside to get from the car what they’d brought for breakfast and get some water boiling.

When Jared scooted out of the tent, dressed in jeans and a white t-shirt, pulling himself backwards so his legs would follow, Jensen pushed his cushion close to him so he could once more sit down on it.

Jensen had already poured the hot water on the instant oatmeal they’d brought and was cutting up apples and bananas on the little board he’d brought.

Jared looked at him and smiled. “You are so good to me, man.”

“I know,” Jensen joked. “But we can’t have you flunk today just because you didn’t get enough to eat.”

“I thought we were going on one of this baby stroller friendly hikes, I doubt I can flunk on those.”

“Yeah, well, I’ll not be pushing your baby stroller uphill, so eat up.”

The hike they’d chosen was pretty flat and easy as long as it followed the lake but got a bit steeper when it turned away. Jared was doing fine, his morning jogs in the park and some weightlifting he’d done at home were enough to easily push himself up, even though he had a backpack attached to his wheelchair, just like Jensen was carrying one.

When they reached the first plateau, they stopped for a lunch break and enjoyed the view. They’d been walking in relative silence, but now Jared couldn’t stop talking, always mumbling around his sandwich, how pretty the view was or the flowers or whatever butterfly came by. He was like a little kid on a sugar high and Jensen couldn’t get rid of the stupid smile that this put on his face.

Not long after they continued their hike, they passed a rock where a lot of climbers were trying to get up. They stopped for a moment when they heard their names. “Jared, Jensen!”

It was Andy, Tobias and Charlie who’d seen them first and came over. “Hi, how are you guys?” Jensen asked and they smiled happily and sweatily and told them about the routes they’d climbed.

“You should totally try it,” Andy said to Jensen. “It’s just like riding a bike.”

“Only that I lost all my muscles, so no thanks.”

Jared looked at him, “No one’s expecting you to do a 5.15, man. Just try something easy.”

Jensen hesitated for a moment, obviously thinking about something, then said, “Only if you go too.”

Jared laughed, “Hey, paralyzed, remember?”

Jensen’s look got sincere. “There are disabled climbers who do just fine. I’ll go, if you go.” He looked at the three guys from last night. “Assuming we can borrow your gear.”

Andy nodded. “I wouldn’t have asked otherwise.”

Jensen looked at Jared and Jared stared back. No one said anything verbally, but there was a whole conversation going on between them. Finally Jared said, “Okay, I’ll try. But you’re belaying.”

Jensen nodded and Andy released his belt. 

When Jensen started on the route he’d chosen, he had to admit that Andy was right. It was just like riding a bike. Even though he was missing the muscles, the technique was still there. Hands and feet easily found their places and he was up on the top in minutes.

Andy made sure he got down okay and they all looked expectantly at Jared, who’d already put on Charlie’s belt and was wheeling as close as possible to the start of the beginner’s route he’d picked. 

Jensen made sure the belt sat firmly and the knots were tied properly. He then clinked the carabiner, pulled the safety shut and nodded. “You good?”

Jared bit his lip, obviously not completely comfortable. “Just remember – I’m only down if my butt is down. And don’t laugh.”

“No one’s laughing, I’ll totally kick anyone’s ass. You can do this.”

Jared nodded, looked at the rock and easily found two ridges that would allow him to pull himself up. It was easier than expected and he felt calm. He realized pretty quickly that he could have chosen a more difficult route and still be fine. It was like before, just only doing half of the work but double the effort. He only needed to worry about two places for his hands, no need to look for something to put his feet on, but he had to pull his whole weight with his arms. He too was up in mere minutes and when Jensen let him down, making sure to only release the rope once he sat on the ground, everyone came, cheered him on and gave him fist bumps and high-fives. 

“Man, you made that look sooo easy,” Tobias said.

Jared laughed and looked up at the four men towering over him.  “It was easy! Much easier than I thought.”

Jensen looked at him. “Wanna try another one?”

Jared looked at Charlie. “You okay with that?”

Charlie nodded. “Definitely. That was amazing, I’m totally rooting for you to do this again.”

So Jared climbed the intermediate route Jensen had taken before. And it was harder and it took him a bit longer, but he managed. And loved every minute of it.

When Jensen let him down this time, he laughed and said, “Dude, we’re totally going rock-climbing next weekend.”

“Yes! Just need to get my gear. Why haven’t we done this in five years?”

Jensen shrugged. “Because you were afraid of inconveniencing me. Idiot.”

They both laughed and returned the gear to Andy and Charlie. They stayed for a little break and when they waved their good-byes to continue their hike, the guys invited them to a barbecue at the lake that evening.

“You good on some grass?” Tobias asked.

Jared nodded, “Dude, I just went rock-climbing. I guess I can handle some grass.”

Everyone laughed and so they finished their hike. When they arrived at the campground, sweaty and happy, Jensen went for a really quick shower and drove into town to get some things to help with the barbecue later, while Jared took a much longer shower in the handicapped bathroom. When Jensen came back, Jared was lying on his sleeping pad next to the tent, taking notes in his small notebook.

“My shoulders might kill me tomorrow,” he said. “But that was so worth it.”

Jensen laughed. “You will survive. And we don’t have to do anything tomorrow, if you don’t want to. Or maybe find something less strenuous for your shoulders.”

“Let’s just wait and see,” Jared said.

“But you were okay, weren’t you? I mean, I was a bit afraid you’d freak out, but you weren’t even close.”

Jared shook his head. “I was great. No bad memories or anything. All good.”

Before Jensen even had the chance to lay down as well, Andy, Tobias and Charlie came by their tent on their way to the barbecue place at the lake. “You coming?” they asked.

Jared and Jensen nodded and Jared pulled his wheelchair to him, made sure the breaks were set and pulled himself up. Jensen helped putting the sleeping pad back in the tent, threw two hoodies at Jared and grabbed the bag with the groceries he’d gotten and dumped the cooler with beer on Jared’s lap.

The grass around the lake was a bit higher than Jared preferred, but not high enough for him to need help, so Jensen just wordlessly took the cooler from him, then went to help the boys get the barbecue started. Jared caught up quickly and handed out beers, while they checked what they had for food.

It was way too much for them and so they were full and lazy just an hour later and threw some wood on the barbecue to keep them warm. 

They talked about everything and nothing. About adventures they’d done, trips to make, routes to climb and rivers to raft. Jensen made a mental note to check out some rafting options that would allow Jared to join. 

Even though nobody mentioned Jared’s disability, they all mentioned how awesome it had been that he’d tried it and Jared could only agree that it had so been worth it. He tried to let it all sink in, the crackling fire, the cloudless sky full of stars so bright as they were only outside the cities and the voices of the guys laughing and joking.

When they lay in their tent later that night, Jared felt as if he were on drugs. So light and happy. Pure bliss.

It took him a moment to even realize Jensen was looking at him. “What?”

“You look so happy,” Jensen said.

“I am,” Jared said. “Deliriously. This was a perfect day.”

He rolled to his side so he could look at Jensen better and Jensen looked almost as happy as he felt. Jensen pushed a strand of hair behind Jared’s ear that had fallen into his face and Jared shuddered and reached out for his hand. “You are fucking cold.”

Jensen shrugged. “You should feel my feet.”

“Come here,” Jared offered, raising his arm, inviting Jensen to be the little spoon.

Jensen hesitated, but being cold and getting the chance to be so close to Jared won over everything else that ran through is mind.  Jared wrapped his arm around Jensen and placed his hand on his slim hard abs. “Thank you for today,” he whispered in Jensen’s ear, enjoying the close contact.

“Anytime,” Jensen whispered. “For you, anytime, Jay.”

When Jared’s alarm went off the text morning and he quickly silenced it, Jensen’s head was resting on his arm. Jared needed a moment to take that in, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. He soaked the feeling in, so he could remember it when he’d go back to missing physical touch. Jensen felt warm and looked so relaxed. Jared was conscious stricken whether to wake him to get up, but his body was giving none of the weird signals that would typically tell him it was now really time to go to the toilet, so he risked it and let it be. He wrapped his other arm around Jensen and closed his eyes again.

The next time he woke up it was definitely time to go, so he carefully slipped out from under Jensen as well as he could, grabbed his pack and pulled himself out of the tent and into his wheelchair, not worrying about still wearing pajamas but more about not making it in time. God, he hated this. This was exactly why he did set the alarm. He probably woke up Jensen.

When he returned to the tent, after having made it in time, Jensen was still in his sleeping bag and looked at him tiredly. “You okay?”

Jared nodded. “Bathroom break.” He lay down again, not quite sure if they were going to fall asleep again or get dressed, but since he needed to lie down for both it didn’t really matter.

Jensen rolled off his sleeping mat and Jared looked jealously at how quickly he slipped on a pair of jeans before leaving the tent. He came back with two coffees after a while and handed one to Jared who’d also put on pants, scooted out of the tent into the early morning sun and got some hot water started.

“Are you really going home tomorrow?” Jensen asked, when he’d gotten the instant oatmeal from the trunk. “It’ll be lonely without you.”

Jared felt the same. It would be weird to not live with Jensen any more. He had an idea though. “Hey, climbing next weekend? I can fly back up on Friday morning. So it’s only three days without your ugly face.”

“You’re coming back here? I thought we’d meet in LA”

“But you’re working on Friday, so you won’t be home before late. I can be here early afternoon and we can leave after you’re done filming.”

“My climbing gear is in my apartment at home.”

“I can bring it if you tell me where to find it.”

Jensen thought about it for a moment. “It’s in the basement. No elevator. But it’s on the lower shelf, so you should be okay.”

That didn’t sound like a fun trip down to the basement, but he would manage. “It’s a deal then.”

Jensen nodded and got the oatmeal done, including the fruits. “So, about today. How are your shoulders?”

“Quite okay. You want to go for another hike?”

“What do you think about canoeing?”

“Canoeing?” Jared asked.

“They rent them here on the campground, including life vests. We could just go on the lake, no rapids, no current.”

Jared spooned some of the oatmeal, before he nodded. “Alright, let’s go canoeing.”

They finished their breakfast and brought the tent down and packed everything in the trunk of the car as to leave their spot before check-out time.


The biggest challenge was going to get Jared into the canoe, but they were lucky that even though there was a little footbridge, it was fine to get in at the little beach and push the canoe in. So with some help from Jensen, Jared went over the sand, parked the wheelchair next to the canoe and transferred into it. Jensen then made sure the wheelchair was safely parked on the grass further away from the shore and came back to push the canoe with Jared in it into the water. He bristled shortly from exhaustion but managed just fine. He then climbed into the seat in front of Jared and of they went.

Jared struggled a bit with his equilibrium, only carefully pulling the paddles through the water at first, but once they’d found a rhythm, he just went with it and did just fine. 

Around lunchtime they reached a small town and Jensen suggested to stop there, have the sandwiches they’d brought, and he could go and try to get some coffee while Jared waited at the little footbridge. Jared nodded and managed to get out of the canoe just fine, sitting next to Jensen on the footbridge, their feet in the water and munching on the sandwiches. When they were done, Jensen started looking for coffee and came back not much later with coffee and ice cream from the kiosk nearby. 

“It’s super cute here,” he said. “Next time we need to take a bigger canoe so we can bring your wheelchair.”

Jared grimaced. “And then it falls in, and I’m scooting around on my butt for the time being? Not convinced.”

“Okay, maybe not. Then we need to come here by car.”

“That’s fine. Ice cream is good. Coffee as well.”

Jensen laughed and wrapped his arm around Jared’s shoulder, which made Jared feel all warm and fuzzy.

When it was time to get back, getting Jared in the canoe was a slightly more difficult procedure. In the end Jensen slipped out of his shoes and t-shirt and jumped into the lake, to hold the canoe steady while Jared lowered himself into it.

He then climbed up on the footbridge again, stowed his things in the canoe and got in himself, still not wearing a shirt. When they paddled back to the campground, Jared was left staring at Jensen’s freckled shoulders. They found their rhythm again quickly and Jared kept watching the muscles strain, strong but not bulky.

It was a really nice view. He hadn’t really dated since his accident, not because he hadn’t wanted to, but somehow the possibility just never arose, and he wasn’t exactly desperate to explain his physical limitations to a potential one-night stand. But right now, he wondered what it would be like to do this with a girl. What it would be like to look at female shoulders. And for some reason that didn’t seem half as attractive as looking at Jensen’s shoulders. God, this was weird. Maybe it was a good thing he was flying home tomorrow morning. He really needed some time to think. 

Jared’s last evening in Jensen’s apartment was spent with Chinese take-out, stretched out on the couch, reminiscing the weekend and watching movies. Jensen couldn’t quite wrap his head around the fact that Jared was leaving tomorrow and how empty that would make his apartment. He would be back on Friday though, that was good. Something to look forward to.

Jared was still beaming. Tired, but beaming and a tiny bit sunburnt. Jensen wanted to snuggle close to him again, just like they had last night, but without him freezing there didn’t seem to be a good enough reason. He was laughing at the comedy they were watching and looked so adorable that Jensen needed to get up and fetch something cool to drink. Or even better take a cold shower. 

Going to bed later, Jared was already lying down when Jensen passed the guest bedroom. He hesitated, then knocked and went in when Jared said so. 

Jared looked cozy and comfy and tall. He was all stretched out, the duvet only wrapped around his lower torso and some of his abs looking out from under the shirt. Jensen let himself fall next to him on the bed. 

“This is quite comfy.”

Jared nodded. “Yes, it is. Is that why you came by? You want to switch beds? If you came up with that 5 minutes ago, you could have saved me a few transfers.”

“Nah, I’ll be gone in a minute. I just wanted to let you know… in case this wasn’t clear… you can stay here whenever and how long you want to. I’ll buy you a drawer for your stuff, I can even get a part of the kitchen counter lowered.”

Jared looked at him, feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and smiled. “I know. It was clear but thank you for mentioning it. And I promise I will be back. I mean, I’ll be back on Friday and if you want to, I can bring some stuff to stay the week.”

“Don’t forget the climbing gear.”

“You totally have to pick me up from the airport.”

“I totally will.”

“And let’s get the drawer together. We can totally go to IKEA next week.”


They laughed and Jensen sat up, ready to leave, but looking like he didn’t want to. 

Jared put his hand on his arm right over his wrist and quietly said, “Stay. If you want to.”

Jensen looked at him surprised, but that suggestion painted a smile on his face. “For real?”

Jared shrugged and scooted closer to the wall, so Jensen would have more space. He had to move his legs with his hands to make them follow and reposition the pillow he’d put between his knees, but Jensen really couldn’t care less. Jared wanted him here. He’d only let himself fall on the bed to get a glimpse of what last night had been. He hadn’t expected this. 

He lay down again and turned towards Jared, so that they were looking at each other. There was a smile on Jared’s face again, which made Jensen deliriously happy. 

For quite a while no one said anything, they were just looking at each other and it did not feel uncomfortable at all. Nothing felt uncomfortable with Jared. Jensen put his hand on Jared’s neck, felt the soft hair and the warm skin. Jared was still smiling and for Jensen there was just nothing better than a happy Jared. 

Jared’s heart was beating fast and he found himself staring at Jensen’s lips. This was crazy. Why had he asked Jensen to stay? Because it had felt right. Because last night had felt right.

Because being close to Jensen felt great. That hand on his neck felt great.

He was glad he hadn’t fully closed the blinds, because otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to see Jensen. And seeing Jensen, like this, in his bed, made him feel warm and tingly and he thought he could feel the tingling even in his toes.  He put his arm over Jensen and pulled him closer, until their chests were touching, and they were hugging each other. 

Jensen thought his heart would stop when Jared pulled him closer, and it kept pounding in his chest when they ended up in a tight embrace. They lay like that for a while, breathing in the other’s scent, until Jensen wasn’t sure whether Jared would be able to feel the bulge in his pajama pants and turned around. He snuggled close to Jared and felt his strong arms wrapping around him. “This okay?” Jared asked.

Jensen turned his head to look at him and said hoarsely, “Very okay.”

Jared kissed him on the temple and Jensen turned his head back, before he couldn’t control himself anymore. This was the most unreal crazy good he’d ever felt.



When Jared’s alarm went off the next morning, Jensen was sleeping on his stomach, his hand on Jared’s chest. Jared smiled, but with the beer they’d had, it was probably safer to get up. He carefully put Jensen’s arm on the bed and scooted towards the end of the bed, only to realize that he couldn’t reach his wheelchair from there. He rolled his eyes, slid to the ground, pulled himself over to his wheelchair and up in it. Jensen stirred, but didn’t seem to wake up. 

Jared went to the bathroom, came back and climbed back in bed with Jensen. It wasn’t exactly gracious, and it did wake Jensen, but he only turned around, put his head on Jared’s shoulder and fell asleep again. Jared was still tired, but couldn’t do the same, his thoughts were spinning. Where were they heading? Was this it? Sharing a bed, cuddling? Or would this go further? Would they start a relationship? Do more than cuddling? Did this mean he was gay?

Jensen had always been gay, but Jared? Not so much. But all of a sudden the idea of making out with Jensen didn’t seem such a bad idea. Neither did trying anything else. 

He would still have to talk to Jensen about what worked and what didn’t, but it wouldn’t be half as embarrassing as talking to a stranger about it. Right now he was kind of glad that not everything worked as it should, because thinking about having sex with Jensen was such a turn on, that back then he’d have sported a huge boner. Today nothing happened down there.

So the big question was: Was Jensen feeling the same way?

Chapter Text

When they got up later, they didn’t talk about anything that had happened. Just pretended it was the most normal thing to share a bed with your best buddy when there was absolutely no need to do so. 

They had breakfast together and then Jensen needed to leave for work. Jared had already called a cab to take him to the airport but had few more minutes before it would arrive. 

“I’ll see you on Friday?” Jensen asked and Jared nodded. “Definitely. Don’t forget to pick me and the thousand kilos of luggage up. Not sure how good I’ll be handling it.”

“I’ll be there. Call me when you’re home?”

Jared nodded. “Will do. Say hi to the cast and crew.”

Jensen nodded as well and leaned down to hug Jared. “Bye, Jay.”

“Bye Jensen. See you on Friday.”

Jensen nodded and left through the door. Jared was turning around to grab his things and make sure he’d forgotten nothing, when the door opened again and Jensen came back in. He didn’t say anything, just came over to Jared and kissed him on the mouth, before leaving again and closing the door.

Jared was stunned. Well, that probably answered the question if Jensen felt the same way. He sat there with an open mouth at first, then let his tongue glide over his lips. He could taste Jensen there. Still feel his soft lips. Wow. Just wow. That made things easier. Or more difficult. He wasn’t sure yet. But it felt really good.

The doorbell brought him back to reality, indicating that the cab hat arrived. He grabbed his backpack, locked the door and wheeled out.

He was giddy with pleasure and nothing bothered him today. Not the annoying ground staff, not having to hand over his wheelchair to the crew, not even having to wait to leave the plane last. Jensen liked him as more than a friend. When he was in the cab on his way home, he even called his GP if he could squeeze him in this week. And that in addition to the PT session that was already scheduled for Tuesday. 

When he was home, he sent Jensen a text letting him know and decided to call him back later, when he’d be back from work. He called his mother instead, telling her about the good time he’d had and especially how awesome the weekend had been. 

She seemed genuinely happy for him, asking about the movie and his book and telling about his siblings and Dad. “Will you come over sometime?” she asked. “Maybe next weekend?” 

“I’m flying back to Vancouver on Friday,” he said. “Maybe stay with Jensen for a while. We want to go rock climbing for real.” 

“Be careful, hon,” was all she said.

“I will, Mom.”

She told Jared to give Jensen her love and Jared wondered for a moment if he should tell her about the kiss. By now she’d probably be fine with it, desperate to see Jared in a relationship.

Jared went grocery shopping and already missed doing it with Jensen. He went to his storage room in the basement and started looking for his climbing gear. He found a whole box with it, never touched, never unpacked since he moved here. But also not thrown away. 

When he was back in his apartment, he got his computer out and continued with his book. Filled with ideas from his own camping trip, the words just poured out of him and only the rumbling of his stomach broke his flow.

He had a quick sandwich and called Jensen. “Hey,” he said. “You done filming for today?”

“Hey,” Jensen answered quietly. “Yeah, running a bit over schedule today but I’m home now. It’s lonely here, no Sasquatch to feed.”

Jared laughed, “Can’t wait for Friday.”

“You’re still coming?” Jensen asked, as if that had ever been a question. And then it hit Jared. Jensen hadn’t been so sure of that kiss himself. Whether Jared would like it or whether it would throw him off. 

“Of course. I miss your food. Only sandwiches around here.”

“Could’ve gotten take-out.”

“Nah, been writing. Already found my climbing gear though. I will get yours tomorrow.”

“There should be climbing pants as well somewhere. Either in the same box as the belt and ropes or in my bedroom cupboard. Can you maybe check for that as well? I only have jeans here.”

“Will do. I might call you if I can’t find it.”

“Sounds good. And feel free to eat whatever’s in the fridge. I didn’t plan on not coming home for so long, I might have left something in that I better shouldn’t have.”

“Pants, fridge. Anything else? Mailbox? Plants?”

“No plants, but you could check the mailbox. Just make sure it’s not overflowing.”

“I will. Hey Jensen?”


“I’m not really only missing your food.”

“I hoped so.”

On Tuesday Jared had a meeting with his physiotherapist Marleen first thing in the morning and she was not too pleased. 

“Wow, you’re stiff. Have you been doing your exercises?”

Jared grimaced. Of course he hadn’t. He realized he needed to pack a yoga mat as well, to do better when he was going to Jensen’s this time. 

“Been travelling,” he said, and Marleen let it slide. “I’ve been rock-climbing though. And canoeing,” he told her, and she was quite interested in that. She even had some tips for him, suggested climbing with an additional chest harness, to give him some stability and avoid tumbling over. And to either put on heavier pants that would protect his legs, or even wear kneepads. She also mentioned that some disabled climbers tied their legs closer up to their chest, so that their center of gravity went up.

He promised to get a chest harness and to do his exercises, then he was off to Jensen’s.

He needed to get inside the condo first, because that’s where the key for the storage space was. He found the key easily and took the elevator down again. To the ground floor. Because for some freaking reason that elevator didn’t go to the basement. So he scooted down the chairs on his butt. He considered pulling his wheelchair with him, but he knew he had to take the climbing gear up as well and if he didn’t want to do this trip twice, it’d maybe easier to just do everything on his butt. So he did. Scooted through the basement until he found Jensen’s storage space. He really hoped no one was coming down here right now. He found the box with the climbing gear as dusty and untouched as his own and pulled it from the shelf. There were no pants in there, so he’d have to check the bedroom.

Getting back up with that box in tow was really annoying and by the time he was back in his wheelchair, he was really dirty. A neighbor joined him in the elevator and Jared was quite glad he didn’t meet her earlier while he was still scooting around on his butt.  He got cleaned up in Jensen’s bathroom, which was too small for him and got in his bedroom, which was way more spacious. He found where Jensen kept his pants, but he couldn’t remember what kind of climbing pants he wore, so he called him. The call went straight to voicemail, so he was probably filming.

“Hey Jen. I’m in your bedroom, looking for your pants. Can you give me a call? No idea what I’m looking for.”

While he waited for the call back he headed into the kitchen and checked the fridge. He cleaned out some things and put the trash bag next to the door, so he wouldn’t forget it. 

It had been a while since he had been in Jensen’s apartment. Jensen was usually the one coming over, though they didn’t live far from each other. Jensen made sure of it. Jensen’s always made sure of it. 

When they grew up in the same street, back home in Austin, that was just luck. But when they lived in the same building during college, even after he moved to the disabled student rooms? When they got their own apartments here? Jensen had always made sure. Even before the accident. 

Still waiting for the call, he looked around. Jensen’s guitar stood in the corner and Jared remembered the nights Jensen had played for him, had tried to teach him some. Seemed like a lifetime ago. 

There were still the same pictures up, essentially the same as in Jensen’s Vancouver apartment. There were a few with Jared’s friends from that wheelchair basketball tournament. Jared made a mental note to call some of them. And there were quite a few with only Jared on them. Pretty new ones, from that party at Helen’s, from that day at the beach, from just hanging out at a bar. Which Jared only could identify because he remembered wearing that shirt and Jensen taking pictures. He hadn’t expected to be the only one on the pictures and surely not for them to end up on Jensen’s photo wall.

Then he smiled to himself. So maybe Jensen kissing him wasn’t a completely new and random idea? Maybe Jensen had been interested in him in that way for a bit longer than him in Jensen?

He would ask him that when he saw him next weekend. All of these relationship questions would have to wait until then. 

Finally Jensen called back. “Hey, sorry for taking so long.”

“No problem.”

“You still in my apartment?”

“Yes, so go, shoot. What am I looking for?”

“Grey pants, from this endurable material. It’s either in the closet where the shorts are, or very much in the back of the shelf in the cupboard behind my jeans.”

Jared put his phone on speaker and on the bed and started looking. He was almost toppling over, but successfully pulled the pants out from behind the jeans. “Got it. Need anything more?”

“No, I’m good. I need to get back on set. Can I call you later tonight?”

“Anytime Jen.”

“Later then.”

“Yes, later.”

Jared had wanted to go home after stowing everything in the trunk of his car, but decided against it and went down to the beach. He’d packed his laptop in case Marleen would have made him wait, but she hadn’t so he had full batteries and opted to drain them working from a café not too far from the pier. The waitresses knew him here, he did this quite often, and was brought coffee without being asked. He typed and got some pie and typed some more, sometimes letting his eyes wonder over the sea, the beach and the people taking a stroll. 

His eyes lingered when he saw that one of the surfers he’d seen before was pulling himself out of the water in a technique very known to Jared and indeed, there was a wheelchair waiting for him. Jared had tried surfing before he was injured, because living close to the beach, how could you not? It had however always rivaled with so many other sports that there never seemed time. Maybe when Jensen came back here, he should get him to try it out. 

Jared started thinking of all the other things he’d thought he’d never do again and found himself pulling up a spreadsheet and starting a list. He allowed himself to add everything he’d thought he’d never do again when he left the hospital, so a lot of things got a checkmark right away. The checkmarks on rock-climbing, camping and canoeing were fresh, but he was proud to put them. Surfing went on the list as well and when in the end he sorted this list alphabetically, it came right after sex and skiing.

He had an early dinner at the café and left afterwards. When he carried Jensen’s box in his apartment and put it next to his, he started wondering about how he would transport everything. He got a suitcase from under his bed that had four wheels and realized that he could probably just put it in front of his wheelchair and push it. But would everything he needed fit in there?

There was the climbing gear, which he unpacked from the boxes, sorted and put in plastic bags and in the suitcase. He also got one of his older yoga mats to put in there and Jensen’s climbing pants.

He would have to take a backpack again, but that was fine. He started packing some more clothes, some of the older outdoorsy ones and some nicer ones he could wear in case he needed to go to the studios again. Some more jeans and shirts than last time, so he wouldn’t end up in Jensen’s shirt again. It took him a moment to realize that he was essentially done packing and it was only Wednesday. His mom would be so proud, though it was really only a testament to how much he was looking forward to going back to Jensen’s. 

Jared had planned to watch a movie, but when he’d sat down on his couch and stretched his legs, he’d realized that even though he’d spent the afternoon writing, he was still good for another chapter. This felt like the first book had felt, when he’d just started writing and it hadn’t felt like a job or a chore. He was still glad that he could write professionally and would choose it over most other jobs, but there were a lot of days when he wasn’t in the mood, so he’d usually write a few hours in the morning, make sure he had a good lunch break and did something outside and then write some more hours and finish early. That had worked quite well for him the last years, had made sure he was writing and not just procrastinating and had also made sure he didn’t burn out. The way he was writing at the moment would have felt like too much just a month ago, but he was enjoying it so much, that it felt like a hobby again.

It was Jensen’s call that interrupted his typing, but he gladly took it. “Hey, man,” he answered it.

“Hi Jay. You good? Found everything?”

“Yeah. I even packed already. I should be okay with a suitcase and a backpack. I’ll need to hit the outdoor store tomorrow though, Maureen gave me some advice, so I’ll be looking for a chest harness and some pants to protect my legs.”

“Sounds like a good idea.”

“Yeah, thought so too, hence me hitting the store tomorrow. You need anything? Your gear seems fine, I will however buy a new rope.”

“Because you have such good experience with new ropes?” Jensen joked and Jared was glad that they’d reached a point in their relationship and in his post-injury life, that they could joke about something like that.

“Exactly. But I seem to remember that I bought a new one because the old one had been in use for quite a while, so yeah buying new rope.”

“You do that. Not sure about me though, I guess I’m good.”

“I’ll go tomorrow morning, so in case you come up with something, let me know.”

“Will do. You’ve been doing anything tonight?”

“I was out at the beach this afternoon, writing at that café. So I had planned to do nothing, but I’ve been writing again.”

Jensen seemed to be quite amused at that. “You’re working?”

“Yes, though it really doesn’t feel like it. I love it. What about you? Anything exciting?”

“We grabbed dinner and a beer with some of the crew, but I’m home already, so nothing spectacular. Kim was there, she said she missed you being around. And she loved what you wrote for her daughter, whatever that means.”

Jared laughed. “Kim’s daughter is a huge fan, so Kim asked me to sign a book for her and I did.”

“You probably wrote her a whole love letter.”

“Not a love letter, but yeah, more than my name.”

“You could write a whole book in a book as an autograph, so I hope she can still read what’s originally in there. The guys discussed if we should make this a regular thing, so maybe you wanna join next week? Meet them again?”

“Yeah, sure, sounds good.”

“Can’t wait for you to be here again.”

“It was weird being in your apartment today. Without you there,” Jared said. 

“It’s weird being in my apartment without you there too.”

“Didn’t we use to be our own persons?” Jared laughed. “When did we become so co-dependent?”

“Somewhen in the last two weeks,” Jensen said. “Isn’t it weird that it was only two weeks and now feels like my new normal? And this is not normal? This was our normal for years.”

Jared laughed. “We’ll be back to our new normal on Friday. Just two more nights.”

“You got plans for tomorrow? Except the outdoor store?”

“Check-up at my GP. Write some more though I haven’t decided on where.”

“Everything okay?”

“Maureen said I was a bit stiff and I already packed a mat, so I’ll be the super yogi in the guest bedroom next week. GP is just a check-up.”

Jensen was quiet for a moment. “Sorry I didn’t make sure you did your exercises. I completely forgot.”

“And I ignored it, so sue me. I’m old enough to take care of myself and I will. You are however allowed to worry and nag me about being a good boy.”

Jensen laughed. “Seems fair.”

“I spoke to my mom today, she says hi. She’s been bothering me to come home for a visit but I told her I was going to see you again. But sooner or later we have to show up.”

Jensen yawned. “She’s been bothering me as well, we should go there together.”

“Have you heard from your Dad?”

“Yes, but he’s Dad. He doesn’t care too much about visits as long as business is good and he’s busy. But we should go soon. See him too.”

“Not right now.”

“Definitely not right now, because we are going camping again this weekend.”

“Weather looks okay, I checked earlier.”

“Yeah, saw that too,” Jensen said and yawned again.

“Go to bed,” Jared laughed. “We’ll talk tomorrow.”

“Sleep well, Jay.”

“You too.”

Jared went to his early GP appointment with very mixed feelings. It was a check-up, yes, there was nothing wrong with him. But he wanted to talk to his GP about something and it was going to be embarrassing. When he’d been in rehab there had been talks about sex. About what would work and what not and he had only listened half-heartedly. It had been embarrassing and there had not been any need for talk. And there hadn’t been the need in the last years. 

Now there was Jensen. And even though it was clear they wouldn’t jump each other at the airport tomorrow and have wild sex all weekend, there was a possibility that their cuddling lead to more. And Jared wanted to know his options. 

His GP was quite happy with him and Jared got the all clear. He also got a prescription for Viagra which seemed super weird as he had considered it a drug for old people and now here he was, picking it up from the pharmacy.

He’d also gotten a bunch of brochures and he’d made a note to check the internet today, but first he was off to the outdoor store. 

He found the chest harness and the rope easily, then looked for climbing pants. There were plenty, but none of them from material as durable as he’d hoped for. He got some from a similar material as Jensen’s and asked a salesperson for kneepads. She sent him to the cycling department as he’d probably be happiest with those being used for mountain biking.

Yesterday he had added mountain biking to his list and it was probably one of the line items that would not get checked off. Being in that department felt weird. He felt super out of place.

He found the pads, got a pair that covered his shins as well and wondered if he should get it a size smaller because his legs had gotten so thin.

He went home and made sure to pack all his purchases, the ones from the pharmacy as well as the ones from the outdoor store, in the suitcase. 

After lunch he continued writing, though he stayed in his small office.

He called Jensen before he went to bed and made again sure he knew when to pick him up. 

Chapter Text

Jared was looking forward to seeing Jensen so much that he was at the airport too early and got bored before he even boarded. He then had to use the dreaded aisle chair to get in the airplane first, only to wait there again until everybody followed. The flight was uneventful, but in Vancouver they took forever to find his regular wheelchair again and he was stuck in the aisle chair until they had. So when he finally made it to the baggage claim there were hardly any people left and getting the heavy suitcase from the luggage carousel seemed difficult. He considered asking someone from the ground crew but decided to try it first on his own. It wasn’t pretty, but he managed without toppling over. Putting the suitcase in front of his wheelchair he pushed it towards the exit and through customs. 

There weren’t too many people waiting at arrivals any more, so he saw Jensen immediately. Jensen saw him as well and flashed a huge smile. He hurried towards him to hug him and Jared took in the scent and felt Jensen’s strong shoulders under his hands and he was so glad to be back.

Jensen took the suitcase and lead him to the car, where Jensen put the suitcase and Jared’s backpack in the trunk and Jared stowed his wheelchair on the back seat.

When Jensen sat down next to him, Jared put his hand on Jensen’s neck and looked at him for a moment, before pulling him closer and kissing him. 

Jensen, who’d been surprised at first, relaxed in Jared’s arm and kissed him back. It was a real kiss this time, tongues demanding entrance, tasting, nipping. When they came up for air, Jared had the most stunning smile on his face, and Jensen would have loved to just continue. 

“We need to get out of here or pay another hour,” he said. “And we’re still going camping today, so we need to get to my apartment to drop of the stuff you don’t need, get the stuff we will need and if we want to be at the campground before sundown, we need to get started right now.”

Jared still smiled that smile. “Too bad,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about kissing you for four days.” He kissed Jensen again, but shorter this time, and when they stopped, he let him start the car and get going. 

They went to Jensen’s apartment, repacked and got on their way to the campground. They had shared some looks while packing but had kept everything completely platonic. 

Only when they’d already set up their tent and pumped up their sleeping pads, they lay down on them. Jensen came back up only a minute later and moved closer to Jared.

“So you’ve been thinking about kissing me?” he asked, grinning mischievously. “Because I have been thinking about kissing you before and once it’s in your head, it’s so hard to get out.”

Jared pulled Jensen closer but didn’t initiate the kiss. “How long exactly have you been thinking?”

Jensen grimaced, remembering a certain college party. Remembered how it had been the first time since the accident that Jared had just been part of the party crowd and how his smile had lit up the whole room. And how that had given Jensen wobbly knees. “A while. Jay, trust me, I would have never made a move. If you hadn’t invited me to stay…”

“Stop it,” Jared said quietly. “I’m not complaining.”

Jensen’s grimace turned into a smile and he leaned down to kiss Jared. 

“Dinner at the lake?” he asked, when he came back up again. “I made wraps and we need to eat them today, so we could just take them and have them down by the lake.”

Jared thought of the slightly annoying grass he’d have to cross to get there but shrugged. “Sure, why not.”

Just like last weekend when they were having the barbecue with the guys, Jensen carried the food and beverages and left Jared to struggle with the uneven surface. Not that Jared would have wanted it any other way.

Where grass met sand, Jensen spread the blanket he’d brought and waited for Jared to catch up with him and transfer down to it. He handed Jared his cushion and started rummaging for the wraps and beer he’d brought. When he handed Jared both, he remembered what Jared had told him about his balance while sitting and instead of sitting next to him as he’d originally planned, he sat down behind him, wrapped his arms around Jared’s waist and carefully pulled him closer to his chest, so he would feel that human backrest. 

Jared got what he did and turned around smiling. “Thanks, man. And your food is awesome, I knew why I missed that.”

Jensen kissed him on the temple and had a sip from his beer. He tried eating but sitting behind the larger Jared essentially meant that Jared’s head was in the way. So he waited for Jared to finish and moved a bit further back. 

“You could sit here,” Jared suggested and pointed to the space between his legs. “And I can be your backrest.”

Jensen climbed to the indicated spot and felt Jared shift behind him, so that he’d lean slightly forward against him. Jensen finished his dinner and cleaned up a bit, before sitting down between Jared’s legs again. With their size difference it worked better this way as long as Jared didn’t need the extra stability. And wasn’t it weird, that Jensen was the little spoon?

With a beer in one hand, his other mindlessly stroked Jared’s leg until he realized that Jared was looking at it. At his hand stroking Jared’s paralyzed leg, touching him in a place he couldn’t feel. Which felt probably weird.

“You okay with that?” Jensen asked quietly. “I can stop.”

Jared shook his head and answered just as quietly. “No, it’s okay. It’ll just take some time to get used to.”

Jensen turned sideways so he could look at Jared and stroked over the beautiful, soft, brown curls. “I promise to you, we’re never ever going to do anything you’re not comfortable with. But you have to tell me because I’ll probably not figure it out on my own.”

Jared nodded. “Okay.”


Jared nodded again. “Yeah, promise. I’ve always hated someone touching me in places I can’t feel, but it’s always been better when that someone was you. So I’m trying to figure out how I feel about it now. Isn’t it weird for you? Knowing I can’t feel it?”

Jensen thought about it for a moment but shook his head. “For me it’s just your legs and I usually don’t think about the non-feeling part. I know I probably should but somehow the non-walking doesn’t necessarily translate into non-feeling in my head unless you remind me.” He hesitated again. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be and don’t change. Just maybe when we’re… you know… getting closer. There are some areas, especially around the level of injury, where I absolutely hate being touched, because the nerves are just so screwed up there and I might freak out a bit about it.”

Jensen let his head rest against Jared’s chest, listening to his strong heartbeat. He intertwined the fingers of his hands with Jared’s that was on the blanket for stabilization and said, “I can’t wait to learn everything about your body. Learn what you like and what you don’t and where to touch you and where not. But if you’re not comfortable with anything, I’m also fine with just cuddling and making out. Honestly, if that’s what we’ll be doing for the rest of our lives, I’ll die a happy man, because I never thought I would ever have that.”

Jared hesitated before asking, “How long exactly is “a while”?”

“About five years,” Jensen answered quietly. “Do you remember that party Lauren dragged you to?”

Jared was stunned. He remembered. That was during the first semester after his injury. Five years? “Why did you never say something?”

“I didn’t want to scare you away. I would have rather only ever been your friend than not have you in my life.”

Jared wrapped his free arm around Jensen and kissed him on the head. “You would have always been my friend. You’re still my friend.”

Jensen shrugged. “Just didn’t want to risk it. But maybe I should’ve. This feels so good.”

“You okay with us here? Outside?”

“Where people can see us?”

Jared nodded. 

Jensen shrugged. “There’s hardly anyone here and nobody knows us, so yes. Not sure about people who know us. I have to think about that.”

Jared kissed him on the head again and released his hand from Jensen’s to wrap it around him too, only to topple over. He held on to Jensen, who tried to catch him but wasn’t quick enough and fell onto Jared. 

They were both laughing, and Jared wanted to sit up again, but then he looked at the sky and said, “Hey, Jen, look at this. Isn’t that amazing?”

Jensen looked up and Jared was right. The sky was amazing. There were so many stars, the moon not quite full and Jared beaming was at least as good. Jared had laid down on his back and Jensen positioned himself, using Jared’s shoulder as a pillow so that he could look at the sky as well. 

“Remember when you were staying over and wanted to see the stars and we sneaked outside and lay on the lawn and fell asleep?” Jensen asked. 

Jared laughed. “Your mom had a heart attack when she couldn’t find us in the morning.”

“She even called your mom if we’d gone to your house,” Jensen remembered. It had been the summer they were eleven. The summer they’d been twelve had been the summer she’d died. He reached out for Jared’s hand and held it. “’s good that some things never change.”

Jared looked at him and Jensen turned his face towards him as well. “Sometimes change is a good thing,” Jared said quietly, his eyes on Jensen’s full lips. 

“Oh yes,” Jensen whispered, before turning around to kiss Jared. “Are you freaking out yet?” he asked.

Jared looked at him surprised. “Why would I?”

“You and I? I’m not exactly a girl.”

“I know,” Jared smiled widely. “You’re better. You’re Jensen.”

The whole time they’d spent at the lake, no one even came close to just passing by and Jared felt like in a dream. Just the two of them, alone under the star-lit sky. It was almost too good to be true. And he truly didn’t feel like freaking out. Quite the opposite.

When they later lay in their tent, making out slowly and softly, Jared really wished his body was more reliable. Not even whole, he was over that by now. Just more reliable. He was sure Jensen had a hard-on by now, even though both their lower halves were wrapped in their sleeping bags and they’d kept their hands to their arms and shoulders. 

Jared tried to push those thoughts away. It was what it was, and this here was great. Maybe Jensen was right, maybe this was so good, that it was enough. 

On the other hand, he knew they would go ahead and try things out. That’s why he’d brought the prescription after all. But tonight, here in the tent? That was not the time to experiment. That would happen later.

They kissed and hugged and tried to get as close as possible and when Jensen fell asleep in his arms, a smile on his lips? That was just the best feeling. 

They decided to take the hike again, only this time they were bringing their climbing gear and Jared felt a bit nervous. Excited, he told himself. Excitement was better than nerves.

They set up their things close to the rock, as there was only a father with his kid climbing on the other side. 

Jensen went first to try out the routes and let Jared know which were okay for him to try. They started with one they hadn’t tried last weekend and Jensen determined it too easy, so they tried another one which he found okay. Jared climbed it and did okay. The chest harness did give some extra stability and while he couldn’t feel a difference regarding the kneepads, he did realize that his legs were sometimes banging against the rock, so it was probably a good idea as well. 

He loved the exertion in his arms and shoulders but was also glad when he got a break and Jensen went again. He had wondered if belaying from the wheelchair would work but since he was back to almost his old weight, he felt good about it and Jensen didn’t seem to worry either. 

Jensen was just back down when they heard their names being called. “Jensen, Jared! Hey, you’re back!”

It was Andy and Charlie, two out of the three guys they’d met last weekend. 

“Hi! Yes, we are.”

They said their hellos and Jensen asked, “Are you staying at the campground? I didn’t see you this morning.”

“Nah, just came here for the day. Couldn’t make it in time yesterday and weather forecast for tomorrow isn’t too good either, so we just arrived and will be going home tonight,” Andy explained. 

He gave Jared a friendly clap on the shoulder. “Good to see you at it again. Been thinking about it all week.”

Jared rolled his eyes. “You’re exaggerating. Get ready and up there, you’re burning daylight.”

Jensen and Charlie discussed routes and sent Jared up one that was a bit more challenging and he needed a few tries to actually make it. When he came down from successfully reaching the top, he was beaming, and Jensen couldn’t help but smile back at him.

Charlie persuaded Jensen to go and try one of the harder routes and he did and failed. Charlie then did it, struggling but making it to the top and giving Jensen some tips. 

It continued like that, all of the four challenging each other to try new things, helping and giving guidance. They did lunch together, sharing what they had and when it was time to leave, they hiked back together and said good-bye to Andy and Charlie who took off right away. 

Jared and Jensen took a shower and cooked pasta on their camping stove, before turning in early. Jared checked the weather forecast and saw that Andy and Charlie had been right, it wasn’t too good and there was a high probability for rain. 

“Hey Jensen, can we squeeze the chair in here with us?”

“Want me to put it in the trunk?”

Jared shook his head. “Not if it can be helped. I’d hate to wake you up just because I need it tonight.”

“I don’t mind,” Jensen said. “But I don’t mind sharing the tent with your chair either, so let’s do that. If there’s not enough space, I might need to move closer to you.”

Jared smiled. “I guess I can live with that.”

Jensen laughed and kissed him. “I wanted to do this when you came down that climb,” he mumbled, their lips still touching. “You looked so happy.”

“I was. I am. And I wouldn’t have minded.”

“Good to know,” Jensen mumbled and kissed Jared again, before getting up to take the chair apart and put into the tent. 

When Jared’s alarm woke him the next morning, he could hear the rain falling on the tent. He sighed quietly. As if it wasn’t hard enough to leave Jensen and go out in the cold to go to the loo, now it had to rain as well, and the paths were probably muddy, and his hands would get dirty and he seriously considered just peeing in a bottle. But Jensen waking up and finding a bottle with pee in their tent? Nope, not gonna happen.

So he got up and out, put a rain jacket over his pajamas and gloves over his hands and was back not too much later. 

“Why do you always get up so early?” Jensen murmured, still half asleep. 

“Bathroom,” Jared answered and pulled Jensen close again. 

“You’re wet,” he murmured, before falling asleep again.

When they both woke up later, it was still raining. 

“No climbing today, huh,” Jared said.

“Nah, doesn’t sound like it,” Jensen replied and pulled up his phone to check the forecast. “And it doesn’t look like it’s clearing up any time soon. Shall we just pack up and drive home?”

“Yeah,” Jared yawned. “Give me five more minutes.”

“You can have ten,” Jensen joked and turned around so he was facing Jared. “Why do you always get up so early?”

“Bathroom,” Jared said again.

“Yeah, I get that, but I’m also pretty sure you’re paralyzed, and your bladder wouldn’t wake you.”

“Exactly,” Jared said, not exactly thrilled to be talking about this. 

Jensen looked very confused. “You’re going to the bathroom because your bladder is not… oh,” he interrupted himself. “Now I get it. Accidents.”

Jared nodded, blushing. “Yes, accidents. And I’d rather not have one when I’m sleeping in a tent or next to you, so I take an early bathroom break.”

“You don’t have to do that for me, you know that, right? I mean in case it wasn’t clear, I have a washing machine and it’s really no big deal.” He smiled at Jared warmly and pushed a strand of his hair behind his ear, before kissing him lightly.

“Thank you,” Jared said, still pretty uncomfortable. “But I’d rather not take the risk.”

They listened to the rain some more, then decided that Jared would go and check-out and Jensen would just put everything in the trunk as quickly as possible. They’d stop for breakfast on their way home and worry about drying the tent back at home.

Chapter Text

The little breakfast joint had been much nicer than anticipated and Jensen’s mouth still watered thinking about the French toast. 

Back at his apartment he’d hung up the wet tent in the shower while Jared made sure their sleeping bags were dry before rolling them up again. 

It was raining here as well, so they moved to the living room, sat on the floor next to each other and raced each other on Jensen’s Xbox, until Jared started distracting Jensen by letting his hand slowly crawl up under his shirt and tickling him. 

Jensen tried to keep calm at first but had to give in the tickling and started laughing hysterically. Jared somehow managed to get his car over the finish line and raised his hands in triumph. “Who’s the champion now?”

Still laughing, Jensen took the controller from him, stood up and put in on top of the bookshelf, out of Jared’s reach. “Nooooo,” Jared whined jokingly. “That is so unfair.”

Jensen sat down, straddling Jared. “No, you deserved it. With distracting me like that.”

“I could do it again,” Jared said smiling and let his hands find the hem of Jensen’s shirt and slipped under it. Jensen’s back was hard and muscular, his skin soft and smooth.

This time Jensen didn’t stop him but enjoyed the feeling of Jared’s long fingers on his back. His hands were rough, calloused and the best Jensen had ever felt on his skin. 

He kissed Jared and started to mimic his actions, letting his hands slip under his shirt, making sure to reach up far to avoid the level of injury where he’d mentioned he didn’t like to be touched.

Jared broke the kiss to ask, “Can I?” indicating he wanted Jensen to take off his shirt.

Jensen nodded and raised his arms so Jared could pull the shirt over his head.

Jared swallowed. He’d seen Jensen shirtless a gazillion times in his life, but this now felt as if he was seeing him for the first time. The muscular chest, the broad but not too broad shoulders, the strong but not bulky arms. He knew Jensen worked out, but he was glad he wasn’t bulking up. He liked the lean but strong look. 

He let his fingers travel over Jensen’s collarbone, down his arms and up again on his sides, which gave Jensen goosebumps. Jared kissed the crook of his neck and let his fingers travel over his nipples, which made Jensen moan.

Jensen gripped both of Jared’s hands with his to stop him and asked, “Shall we maybe take this to the bedroom?”

Jared nodded and kissed Jensen again, before reaching for his wheelchair. He pulled himself up into it and looked up at Jensen who’d been watching him. “It’s kind of hot when you do that,” Jensen said.

Rolling his eyes, Jared followed him to the bedroom and parked in front of the bed. 

Jensen grabbed the hem of Jared’s shirt and started pulling it up over his head. He too had seen Jared shirtless before though not so often since the accident. His shoulders were incredibly broad, his arms strong from pushing the wheelchair and his chest defined, Jensen couldn’t stop himself from letting his fingers trail over the muscles. 

Jared breathed harshly, gripping Jensen’s shoulder’s tightly. 

“Come here,” Jensen said, patting on the bed next to him.

Jared turned his chair, locked the brakes and started to transfer, only to stop and look at Jensen, “You really like watching me do that, don’t you?”

Jensen grinned. “Especially shirtless.”

Jared rolled his eyes again but transferred to the bed. 

“Lay down,” Jensen asked. “I wanna learn.”

“Learn what?” Jared asked but obliged already, pulling his legs onto the bed and straightening them out. 

“Where it’s okay to touch you,” Jensen said and stretched out on the bed as well, turning to his side so he was facing Jared. He stroked over Jared’s soft hair and said, “I guess here is okay?”

Jared smiled. “Yes. But there’s something you should know.”


“You know that I have a neurogenic bladder, do you? So even if it should be empty, there’s the possibility that…”

Jensen kissed him. “I know. I don’t care. Want me to get some towels, just in case?”

Jared bit his lips. “Maybe that’s not such a bad idea.”

Jensen got up quickly, got some large sauna towels and spread them under them. Then he asked sheepishly, “So where were we?”

Jensen slowly worked his way down, taking his time. He stroked over Jared’s shoulder, his arms and hands, his chest and Jared obviously liked it, smiling, relaxing and closing his eyes, just enjoying. 

When Jensen continued letting his hand wander further down Jared’s abdomen, Jared tensed, looking at him. “Still okay?” Jensen asked. “Or not?”

Jared took a deep breath. “Still okay. But getting close. Around the height of my navel, that’s where it starts.”

“Can I try to touch you there? Or rather not?”

Jared hesitated. “Maybe not quite yet?”

Jensen nodded. “Okay. I’ll just kiss you instead then.” He followed the previous path of his fingers with his lips and chuckled when that made Jared groan. “Jen…”

“Yeah? Want me to stop?” he teased.

“No, don’t stop. Don’t…”

Kissing his left nipple, Jensen used his hand to play with the right and he’d obviously found a sweet spot. Jared continued mumbling incoherent things until he turned over, pushed Jensen’s hand away and said, “My turn.”

He let his lips and fingers roam over Jensen’s body and over the bulge in his pants, making Jensen moan. Jared chuckled because he loved it, loved the sound Jensen made. 

He pushed himself back up to kiss him and while they were making out, he let his hand slip into Jensen’s pants. Jensen sucked in a deep breath when skin touched skin and when Jared wrapped his finger’s around Jensen’s dick and started moving, he closed his eyes and started moaning.


Jensen still lay on his back, Jared’s upper body pulled on top of him, holding him close.

“I can’t believe you just did that,” Jensen whispered. “I’ve dreamt about that.”

“I can’t believe I made you feel like that,” Jared answered. “Look like that. Sound like that.”

“Was that okay for you? I mean… Are you not freaking out? You were straight just a week ago.”

“Loved it,” Jared said and meant it. There was no freakout in sight. This felt right. “I could watch you come apart like that all day.” He let his hand travel south, but Jensen stopped him. 

“Later,” he promised. “I need food now.”

“Food sounds good,” Jared confirmed, and his stomach rumbled.

“Want me to throw something together? Or order pizza?”

Jared looked at him and smiled. “Pizza. Not because I don’t like your food, I do. But because that means we can stay in bed until it’s here.”

Jensen laughed and reached for the phone on the nightstand, making the call.

When the doorbell rang, Jensen got up to open and while he paid and took the pizza to the kitchen, Jared transferred to his wheelchair and joined him. 

They were both only wearing jeans, shirts discarded in the living- and bedroom and neither of them minded but each stared shamelessly at the other one’s chest.

They ate the pizza in the kitchen, right from the box, before returning to the bedroom. Jensen put on a movie on the TV at the foot-end of the bed and cuddled close to Jared who was lying on the bed again. They watched until Jensen realized Jared had dozed off and looked so cute, that he couldn’t help but start touching him again. 

He kept to the upper part of his body and soon Jared looked at him sleepily. 

“Want me to touch your legs?” Jensen asked with a careful smile. “I get to touch you and you can continue sleeping.”

Jared smiled as well. “Go ahead,” he whispered. “It’s okay.”

“Can you take these off?” Jensen asked, pulling at the pants.

Jared nodded. “Yeah, okay.” He opened the buttons and helped Jensen pull the jeans off of him. 

Jensen eyed him from head to toes and looked so lovingly that Jared didn’t mind lying there with his too thin legs wearing only his boxer briefs. After kissing him, Jensen moved next to Jared’s feet and rubbed them. “So soft,” he chuckled. “They feel like baby feet.”

“That’s what you get when you don’t walk on them.”

“I never thought about this, but they feel awesome.”


“Okay, enough with the feet,” Jensen said and let his hands trail up Jared’s legs. They were a bit colder to the touch than he would have expected, but not freezing cold. Jared was looking at him, but didn’t look uncomfortable, so he was probably good to continue. The knees were a bit too bony but Jensen loved how they felt, because they were Jared’s. He knew he was head over heels in love with him and he still couldn’t believe they were here. Together, in his bed. Him and a more or less naked Jared. Who allowed him to touch his legs even though he didn’t like it with anyone else. He touched his upper legs, his bottom as far as he could reach it with Jared lying on it and hesitated.

“Go on,” Jared whispered. “I’m game.”

“Same rights for all?” Jensen asked, before letting his hand roam over the front of Jared’s boxers.

“Kind of,” Jared said. “Though little Jared might not be as interested as little Jensen was.”

Jensen grinned. “So you keep saying, but right now he does seem interested.”

“Really?” Jared asked. 

Jensen kept grinning and started pulling Jared’s boxers down, so he was completely naked. “God,” Jensen whispered. “You’re so fucking hot. All 6’4 of you.”

Jared rolled his eyes, but didn’t say anything, because Jensen touching him? That was hot. 

Jensen touched him again, wrapped his fingers around his dick, until he seemed to remember something.

“I might have read about this,” he said. “You get an erection because I touched you, but you can’t feel it, so it’s not really doing anything for you, right?”

Jared blushed but nodded. “It’s pretty hot to see you touch me, though.”

“And that turns you on?”

“Yes, very,” Jared whispered.

“I might have an idea then,” Jensen said, grinning. He moved up, letting his fingers play with Jared’s nipples again and when Jared was moaning, moved further down, taking his dick into his mouth, making sure Jared had a good view of what he was doing. 

The erection didn’t hold too long, but Jensen didn’t mind. Instead he kissed his way upwards, very aware that he was kissing his way into the zone Jared hadn’t wanted him to touch before. He kept a close look at him, ready to stop immediately, but Jared seemed fine, even moaning when he’d reached the height of his navel. Jensen smiled and stayed there, slowly kissing his way from left to right and back again, staying at the same height for now. And boy did Jared like that. Jensen added his fingers to the mix, slightly caressing him and when he looked at Jared again, he was breathing heavily, his face flushed, shudders running through is body. 

“God, Jen, that… god…”

Jensen let one of his hands travel up to Jared’s chest, stroking where he could be sure Jared could feel it, but let his other hand and mouth stay where they were, until Jared shuddered heavily and even though his dick was still soft and flaccid, Jensen knew that he’d come.

Jared pulled Jensen up to him, hugging him tightly, cheek to cheek, not speaking for a while.  

Jensen could feel a tear running over Jared’s cheek and pushed himself up to stroke it away. 

“You okay?” he asked quietly. “Was that…”

Another tear followed, but Jared shook his head. “That was perfect Jen. I hadn’t thought I’d be… you know… able to feel like that again.”

Jensen kissed the tears away and whispered, “It makes me so happy that you let me do that.”

“I hated that area of my body, for me it felt worse than feeling nothing. I would have never thought that…,” he stopped. 

“…that that was your new hot spot? I don’t actually like people touching my dick either, so it probably makes sense. Somehow?”

Jared nodded. “Somehow. And I didn’t even pee myself. Though that will happen. Just so you know.”

Jensen was still looking at Jared from above, still pushed onto his arm. He used his free hand to stroke Jared’s hair, playing with the strands.

Jared reached out, put his hand in Jensen’s neck and pulled him close for a kiss. This here, just lying next to Jensen naked, kissing, touching, skin to skin? This was the best thing. Ever.

It took Jared quite some time to get his emotions under control and his feelings sorted, all while he hugged Jensen, unwilling to let go. It was true what he’d said. He hadn’t thought he would ever enjoy physical contact like that again. Sex. But he had and maybe it was true what they said in all those flyers. Maybe the brain was the biggest sex organ.

And to have that with Jensen. Of all people in this world. Jensen. Who had always been there, who’d been the best friend one could wish for and now this. The best lover. Boyfriend, Jared thought and had to smile. 

“Jen?” he asked.


“I want to go on a date with you. Dinner, movies, whatever. The whole works.”

“Tonight?” Jensen asked, looking at the clock.

Jared shook his head. “No, not tonight. Somewhen this week. I want to do this properly.”

“You want to go on a date?”


“We’ve had dinner and movies about 3000 times in our lives.”

“But never a date. Dude, we kind of had sex today, but never a date, so…”

“Kind of?” Jensen asked, grinning. “Because I definitely recall some things that definitely make this sex in my book.”

Jared blushed again, because he remembered how hot Jensen had looked when he’d given him the blowjob and because he remembered how he would have never managed to have real sex today. As in penetration. But he was glad Jensen considered what they did sex as well.

“I… I have…” God, why was it still so hard to talk about this. “I have stuff I can take. To make it last longer. If you want to have real sex.”

Jensen looked at him, somehow horny and concerned at the same time.

“We don’t have to,” he said. “And this was real sex. Because I definitely came.”

“I know we don’t have to,” Jared said. “But I thought maybe we wanted to. You know, try it?”

“Have you ever done it with a man?” Jensen asked. 

Jared shook his head. “But I assume you have?”

Jensen nodded. “Yes.”

“Top or bottom?” Jared asked. 

“I’ve tried both,” Jensen said, “But I prefer to bottom.”

Jared swallowed. He knew he wouldn’t be able to feel it. But Jensen would. And right now, the idea of him fucking Jensen, seemed like the hottest thing possible.

Jensen looked at him and said, “If you’re thinking, what I am thinking, then we should definitely go on that date.”

Jared nodded. “Thursday?”

“Thursday. And I never thought you’d be the guy to put out on the first date.”

Grinning, Jared said, “Yeah, me neither. But right now, I’m thinking you should get rid of those pants, because I’m naked and you’re not and that’s not really fair.”

Jensen had been wondering where this was leading. If they’d get dressed and go back to their game in the living room or if they’d stay here and watch the movie. Slipping out of his pants and boxers, he had a pretty good feeling that it was going to be neither.

Chapter Text

Jensen had to go to work on Monday and was running late, because Jared kept pulling him back into bed. 

“Tonight,” Jensen promised. “But now you have to let me go.”

He kissed Jared one last time before leaving. 

Jared fell back onto his pillow and a huge smile spread over his face. Last night had been fantastic. When they’d just stayed in bed, more or less ignored the movie and just continued discovering what worked for them. He chuckled when he remembered the blowjob he’d given Jensen. It had been sloppy and messy but Jared had really wanted to try and Jensen loved it. Jared was still surprised how naturally it happened and how surprisingly not-weird it had been. This was not about being close to a dick and doing things with it he hadn’t considered before. Being intimate with Jensen was only about making the other feel good and it didn’t really matter how, as long as they were both comfortable with it. This was maybe the biggest change to pre-injury sex and surprisingly it had nothing to do with his SCI. Before, sex had been about getting off. About him reaching an orgasm and then, yes, as an afterthought, making sure it was enjoyable for her as well. Now for him it was all about Jensen and about himself as an afterthought. And Jensen had been all about making him feel good and that’s what made it so great.

He shrugged off the thoughts, got up and into the kitchen, where he started to work on his book, drinking the coffee Jensen had made. 

A few hours later he went out for a run, did his exercises, took a shower and made himself a sandwich before returning to work. The book still came easily to him, though his mind was distracted today. His thoughts kept wandering back to Jensen. He’d always known that they were soulmates. Best friends just destined for each other. But not once in all that time had he considered that they would fit so well together in bed as well. That they could make each other feel like they’d done yesterday. A stupid grin appeared on his face when he just thought about it. 

He kept wondering when one of them would start freaking out. This was Jensen. The boy from next door he’d spent all his life with. Whom he considered a brother. A brother he’d given a blowjob yesterday. 

But it didn’t freak him out. It had felt so right. Being with Jensen felt nothing but right.

Jensen came home late from work. The now finalized script had let to some rearrangements in the scheduling and Jensen was paying the price today.

Jared had worked all day and was now reading in Jensen’s bed when he entered. 

“Hey,” Jensen smiled. “I wasn’t sure you’d still be up.”

“I wasn’t sure myself,” Jared smiled. “But then again I wasn’t sure if you’d want me here or in the guest bedroom, so I thought staying awake was safer.”

“Because I would have just rolled you off the bed if I found you here sleeping? No, I definitely want you here,” Jensen smiled back, standing in the door and looking at the sight in front of him. Jared in his bed, reading, waiting up for him. He couldn’t believe how lucky he was. “Let me just get ready and I’ll join you in a minute.”

It was closer to ten minutes and Jensen looked really tired when he switched off the lights and lay down next to Jared. They lay on their sides, looking at each other and Jensen whispered, “I’ve been thinking about you all day. I missed you.”

“You saw me this morning.”

Jensen hesitated, fully aware that Jared was right. “I know. It felt like a dream, you know? This whole weekend felt like a dream and I was afraid I’d come home and we were back to the friend zone.”

“Nah,” Jared said, “I like it here. In the boyfriend zone.”

Jensen smiled. “Is that what we’re calling it?”

“I don’t know what we’re calling it. But this is no longer in the friend zone.”

“I’m so glad it isn’t,” Jensen whispered. “You can’t believe how happy this makes me. To have you here, in my bed. In the boyfriend zone.” He kissed Jared and yawned. “I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I’m so tired.”

Jared looked at him and couldn’t believe he had not noticed Jensen being in love with him for years. It was so obvious from the way he looked at him, there was no mistaking this for friendship. 

“That’s okay. Turn around. Let’s just sleep.” He outstretched his arm, allowing Jensen to move under his cover and pulling him close so that his back was against him. 

“Good night,” Jensen murmured, already half asleep.

“Good night.”

The next day, when Jensen was already at work, and Jared took a break from writing, he remembered something and sent Jensen a text. “Are we still going to that meeting with the crew today?”

“If you want to?”

“Not sure I can keep my hands off of you.”

Jensen sent a smiley back. “Meet me there? Or shall I pick you up?“

So they were going. Wow. Their first time out together meeting people they knew. 

“We can meet there. I can get a cab.“

He returned to his laptop, trying to focus on the book, but not really getting anywhere.

What was he going to wear? 

He pushed that ridiculous thought away. He knew all these people, he wouldn’t need to impress anyone and he was going there with Jensen, who couldn’t care less about what he wore.  

Just like yesterday he went for a run, did his exercises and showered, but today he did it a bit later, so that he could get dressed right away. He put on jeans as usual and a black button down shirt that was long enough for his torso even sitting down and called an Uber.

When he was driving there, Jensen texted him that most of them were there already and that they were in the adjacent room to the right.

Jared found them easily, hopping over one little step to get there. He only had eyes for Jensen who was smiling at him widely, so he was quite surprised when he heard someone else squeak his name and found himself in a hug. It was Kim.

“It’s so good to see you“, she said. “Writing has not been the same without you.“

Jared laughed. “Two weeks with me spoiled you for life?” he joked.

“Sera is not quite as much fun to work with,” Kim laughed, “But don’t tell her.”

“Is she here?” Jared asked.

“Never,” Kim said. “She’s too important for this.”

Jared saw that Jensen had removed a chair from the table next to him, but Kim wasn’t quite letting go and so he watched her pull a chair from the tables at the front to sit down and talk to him at eye level.

“So, what have you been up to?” she asked. 

Jared shrugged. “Writing, I guess. And Jensen and I were camping the last two weekends, which was awesome.”

Kim started a question, “Can you…” but stopped herself and said, “Stupid, of course you can go camping. Fynn does it as well.”

Jared couldn’t stop laughing when she said that, and Kim was lost. “Why was that so funny?”

“Because I literally sent Fynn camping to get Jensen to go camping with me, but he didn’t get the memo. So it’s quite hilarious that you got it.”

Kim shrugged. “I’m a writer. I get things. He’s an actor.”

Jared was still laughing. “That sounds like an insult when you say it.”

“No, no, no, no insult. Just that… I mean don’t you do that too? Look at things very closely, because you might need them in your writing? I do it all the time, it drives my kids nuts because they can never keep anything from me.”

Jared shrugged. “Sometimes. And sometimes not.”

A waitress came and asked for their order and was back a minute later with a beer for Jared. 

“What are you writing?” Kim asked. “More ‘In the Woods’?”

Jared smirked. “Yes.”

“Aww, that’s amazing. Amy will freak out if I tell her.”

“Don’t get her too hyped up, no idea if this will ever get published.”

“It will,” Kim smiled. “But if it doesn’t, I demand a copy anyhow.”

“If it doesn’t, I guess that can be arranged. So how’s Amy?”

“Good. School keeps her busy, books keep her awake at night. Mornings are awful,” Kim laughed. “But no, we’re good.”

“What about when the movie is done, do you know what you’ll do then?”

“I’ve sent out a few scripts, but so far nothing. That’s okay though, something will come up.”

Jared nodded and thought about how awesome it would be to work with Kim on turning ’In the Woods’ into TV scripts. He needed to call his agent about the negotiations. 

Jensen called his name and pointed to the place next to him. Only then did Jared see the waitress come back with the first meals and reluctantly Kim got up and went back to her place. 

“Kim?” Jared called out. “Don’t leave without giving me your number.”

She smiled. “I won’t.”

Jared easily maneuvered his wheelchair through the maze of legs and chairs, greeting whom he hadn’t already and parked himself next to Jensen.

“Hi,” Jensen said and smiled widely. “I thought I’d lost you to Kim.”

“Never,” Jared whispered smilingly to him, before paying attention to the rest of the people. 

They talked about everything and nothing and Jensen found himself looking again and again at Jared, who managed to keep their side of the table entertained with little jokes and stories just like he always did and it made his heart beat faster just knowing that Jared would go home with him later.

When Jensen went to the bathroom after they’d eaten, Kim stopped him on his way back.

“Why didn’t you tell us you were together?” she asked. “You are adorable.”

Jensen raised his eyebrows, surprised and slightly embarrassed.

“Um, it’s a pretty recent development,” he said. “How did you know?”

“Please, you just have to look at the two of you. How you’re looking at each other. Like I said -  adorable.”

“Don’t go spreading the news,” Jensen asked. “We haven’t quite decided whom to tell.”

“My lips are sealed,” she laughed. “I’m happy for you and Jared. He’s a great guy.”

“The best,” Jensen said with a beaming smile.

“See, there it is. No idea how anyone could miss that.”

“It’s Jared,” Jensen said simply, like an excuse. “I mean, he’s always funny and entertaining and so easy around people. And he’s in a wheelchair, so I doubt people wonder too much about his actual love life and rather assume he doesn’t have one.”

Kim shrugged. “Maybe. People are weird. Has he always been like this? “

Jensen nodded. “Always the heart of every party. After the accident he became a bit less silly, but yes, the same guy. It’s probably true what they say - if you were happy before some dramatic accident changed your life, you’ll be happy afterwards. And if you’re unlucky the most awesome lottery win won’t change that.”

“How long have you known each other?”

“Forever. We were still in diapers when we met.”

Kim swooned. “Awww, that’s a story right there, just asking to be written.”

“It’s just life,” Jensen said. 

“All stories are just life,” Kim said. “Who else would write stories about two best friends since being in diapers hooking up 25 years later if not life?”

“I don’t know,” Jensen said. “Some chick?”

Kim laughed and Jensen returned to his place, whispering to Jared, “Kim knows.”

Jared smirked. “She is scarily observant.”

They didn’t leave too much later and when Jensen was driving them home, Jared asked, “So Kim figured it out. Are you okay with that?”

Jensen nodded. “Yeah, I like her, she’s nice. What about you?”

“I’ve been wondering about when to tell whom. Shall we tell our families? Our friends? Wait for them to find out?”

Jensen shrugged. “You know that my dad likes you, but you also know he’s not exactly supportive of my lifestyle, as he calls it. Unless you absolutely can’t wait to tell your parents, I’d rather wait until I see him to tell him in person.”

“So he doesn’t just hang up on you?”


“I want to tell my parents, but I’m probably okay with telling the occasional friend for now.”

Jensen smiled. “That’s okay. Thank you, Jay.”

Jared nodded, looking out of the window and wondering for a short moment, whether this meant that Jensen wasn’t sure of their relationship. That he didn’t want to tell his father because he wasn’t sure it was going to last. But when they stopped in front of Jensen’s apartment, Jensen took his hand and said, “For me this is it, Jay. You and me. Us. Like this. It is so much better than I’d ever imagined. I would love to tell your parents, because I know they’d be supportive. But we can’t tell your parents and not my dad.”

“I wish your mom was still here, I think she’d be rooting for us. We tell them when we go home,” Jared nodded. “And I feel the same, in case that wasn’t clear. Like you said, this is it. This is the best I’ve ever felt. You’re stuck with me.”

Jensen smiled and leaned over to kiss Jared. “And we haven’t even been on a date,” he said when they came up for air.

“We have been on a million dates. We just never called it that.”

Jensen nodded. “Okay, you’re right. So, what are we going to do on our million and first date?”

Jared smiled at him. “I’ll figure something out.”

Chapter Text

Jared was getting ready for his first official date with Jensen when his phone rang. He saw his agent’s number and answered. 

“Melissa, hi.”

“Jared, hi! I would ask you if you were sitting down but I guess I don’t have to bother with that.”

Jared hated these kind of jokes but let it slide. “What’s up?”

“It’s a deal. They’re accepting our terms and “In the Woods” is being picked up for a whole season.”

Jared almost dropped his phone in surprise. “A whole season? We were hoping for a pilot, maybe half a season.”

“Full season. You’re the executive producer responsible for the writers and have free reign on who’s going to be on that team, you get to veto their casting choices, Jensen get’s to be a director if he wishes and they’ve even accepted our financial offer.”

“Mel, that’s amazing! No idea how you did that.”

She chucked. “Jared, have you checked the YA bestseller lists lately? There hasn’t been a month in the last years without one of your books in the top ten. They should be happy to have gotten this deal.”

“I’m pretty happy as well,” Jared said. 

“Me too,” Melissa said, probably thinking of her commission. “They’ll be shooting in Vancouver, but you can host your writers team wherever. They suggested to do the official signing ceremony in Vancouver, but if you prefer to have it in LA they’re flexible.”

Jared shook his head disbelievingly. “I’m actually in Vancouver, so that’s just fine. I can’t believe it, they accepted our offer? We’re getting that crazy amount of money just so that they can use my books?”

“You have to share a bit with your publisher, but yeah, they accepted. So if you’ve been holding out on a major vacation or anything - you’re probably good to book it.”

“I’ll do that once it’s signed.”

“I’ll tell them that you’re fine with Vancouver and let you know when it’s happening. Probably some time next week, but I’ll call you.”

Jared nodded. “Alright. Thanks, Mel.”

“Anytime. Say hi to Jensen.”

He laughed. “Will do.”

He hung up and raised his hands into the air. This was such a good week. And now he scored that deal. He’d hoped for it, because he just loved telling stories and he knew bringing them to the screen would make them accessible for many more people. He couldn’t wait to tell Jensen, but he would do that during the date. For which he’d planned on burgers and maybe movies, but now he felt he should up the ante. 

He picked up the phone, calling a different restaurant, lucky to still make a reservation for tonight.

Jensen came home from work and went to take a shower before asking from the bathroom, “So, what am I going to need to wear.”

“Smart casual,” Jared shouted back and found himself facing a slightly annoyed Jensen.

“Whatever that means.”

“Jeans and button down shirt will be fine.”

“I should have never let you decide where we’re going,” Jensen cursed slightly. 

Jared shrugged and continued buttoning his own shirt. “I wanted it to be special. So don’t whine.”

They took Jared’s car and drove towards Stanley park, which was kind of what Jensen had expected. But then Jared didn’t turn left but kept going straight and parked at the tower hosting a fancy revolving restaurant.

“You’re crazy,” Jensen said. 

“I hear it’s got good food.”

“I hear it’s got good food, the most amazing view and prices above our typical range.”

“Yeah well, I got something to celebrate, so come on.”

They took the elevator up and were greeted by the maitre d’. When Jared gave his name, they were lead to a place at the window already missing a chair. 

They took a moment to enjoy the incredible view. It was already dark outside, but the city was illuminated by a million lights and looked fantastic. The waiter came with two glasses of champagne and introduced himself, leaving the menus for Jared and Jensen to chose. 

Jared raised his glass and said, “I have some good news.”

“Better news than a window table at this restaurant,” Jensen joked.

Jared nodded. “Yepp. And I’m telling you now so you don’t open the menu and look for the cheapest thing on there.”

“Yeah, well. Just an underpaid actor, Mr. Hotshot Author.”

“And that would be Mr. Hotshot Producer as well. The TV show is happening. Negotiations are finalized, contract signature will probably be next week. Mel called earlier and says hi.”

Jensen got big eyes, his glass in his hand, but then decided against clinging it, but got up and walked around the table to hug Jared. “That is fantastic. God, I’m so proud of you.”

“Thank you. Though it was probably Mel’s negotiation skills.”

Jensen shook his head. “They would have never even talked to Mel without your books. I can’t wait to see them on screen.”

Jared grinned. “Me neither.”

Jensen went back to his chair, but put his hand on the table so that Jared could accidentally touch his. Yes, he did feel like a teenager on a first date, which was strange, because this was Jared and man, was he head over heels for him. 

“Does that mean you’re staying in Vancouver?”

Jared shrugged. “I could. But I don’t have to. They’ll be shooting in Vancouver, but writers can be wherever. I just can’t move them all the time in case this continues for more than a season. I’ll probably wait to see who’ll be on the staff and then figure out where to place the offices. It’s a writers team, so they can work from wherever most of the time. So what I’m saying - I’m pretty flexible.”

“I’d love to stay here,” Jensen said, looking out of the window again. “I love the city, I love Canada, I love working here. But if I want to continue working as an actor, I should be closer to L.A. At least until I’m super famous and they’re hiring me without casting,” he smirked. 

“You’ll get there,” Jared smiled. “You’re awesome.”

They continued chatting over dinner, enjoying the amazing food and the amazing view and when they took the elevator down again and sat in Jared’s car, he asked, “I know we joked about dinner and movies, but it’s probably too late for that. Do you maybe want to go for a walk before going home?”

Jensen nodded. “Yeah, I don’t want this to end.”

Jared smiled at him. “You know what? It’s not. Not if we don’t want it to.”

Jensen smiled back. “Yeah, It’s not.” Then he added, “Let’s still go for that walk.”

Jared drove them to Stanley Park and they walked along the waterfront, again enjoying the view and each other’s company, and Jared agreed with what Jensen had said earlier. He too loved the city. And maybe there was a way to stay.

“Can we… can we maybe try to have sex?” Jensen asked hesitantly, when they were back home and in the living room. “I mean as in intercourse? I don’t mind if I top or bottom, I would just love to try it. If that’s okay for you?”

Jared turned bright pink but nodded. “That’s okay, I mean, we joked about putting out on the first date, but… “ He took a deep breath. “…but…”

“Spit it out,” Jensen said. “It’s some paraplegia thing I’m completely unaware of, isn’t it?” he asked. 

Jared nodded. “I can’t bottom,” he said quietly. “Definitely not tonight. Because if I do it’ll most probably make my bowels purge. Some pee is one thing, but that’s a whole other ballgame, so not happening. At least not tonight. I mean, it can happen but it really depends on my bowel routine and…”

Jensen leaned over to kiss him. “That’s fine with me,” he said. “But can you top?”

Jared nodded. “If I take something now, I just need the pill to work and then that should be okay. We might need to be a bit creative on how to get me hard, because the pill will only make it last longer. And we will have to be careful. ”

Jensen kissed him again. “We will be careful.”

“You need to promise me to not let me hurt you.”

“I will. So, you’re taking that pill or what?”

Jared’s cock was rock hard and so was Jensen’s. Only that Jensen hadn’t had a little blue helper. Just a naked Jared. Who was playing with plenty of lube and Jensen’s asshole. He was stroking it carefully, then he inserted a single finger and felt the resistance before it slipped through the tight ring of muscles. Jared had no idea how he would ever fit in there. 

He slowly fucked him with the finger, then he entered a second. Fucking and scissoring he slowly stretched Jensen’s hole until he could enter a third finger.

“You want to straddle me?” Jared asked, his voice hoarse. 

Jensen nodded and climbed over Jared who’d been sitting on the bed. He kneeled down, his knees on either side of him and brought himself in position. Jared looked in wonder when his cock disappeared into Jensen, even though he couldn’t feel it. Jensen didn’t move at first, tried to get used to the feeling of Jared inside of him. Then he began to move and Jared couldn’t stop watching. He couldn’t feel his cock inside of Jensen, but he could see it and that was pretty amazing. He needed one hand to make sure he didn’t top over, but wrapped the other around Jensen’s dick between them.

Jensen was flushed, breathing heavily and little beads of sweat forming on his forehead. He fucked himself on Jared’s cock and it was the hottest thing Jared had ever seen.

“That feels so good,” Jensen moaned. 

“And it looks so hot,” Jared added. “You look hot.”

Jensen smiled at him and changed his position lightly, moaning even more and slightly shuddering with every move. “That’s it, I’m gonna… Jay,” he stuttered and shot white spunk onto Jared’s chest, while wrapping his arms around him and grabbing him tight.

“That was amazing,” he muffled into Jared’s neck. “I’m sorry you…”

“Psh,” Jared said and silenced Jensen with a kiss. “Don’t. It was amazing for me too. Watching you like that.”

Jensen stayed seated for a moment, before slowly getting up and getting a washcloth from the bathroom, cleaning both of them up. He then climbed back into bed and lifted the cover Jared had pulled over himself. 

“It’s kind of weird to see little Jared so interested,” Jensen admitted.

“You don’t have to tell me,” Jared sighed. “I know.”

“Too bad that he’s only mimicking interest,” Jensen said. “I would love to take advantage of him.”

“Sorry,” Jared shrugged. “Unless you want to go again?”

Jensen shook his head. “Dude, no, I’m not 15 anymore.”

He let his hand walk over Jared’s body instead, playing with his nipples and slowly going south, before sitting up and moving between Jared’s legs, from where he continued kissing and caressing his body and especially his erogenous zone around his level of injury. 

Jared kept looking at him, needing to see what he was doing to match it with what his body was telling him and when Jensen took Jared’s still erect cock in his mouth, continuing to caress and grinning at the sounds he elicited from Jared until he orgasmed.

“I love dates with you,” Jared panted. “We should do that more often.”

Jensen grinned. “Yeah, let’s do that.”

The morning after next, when Jensen was at work, Jared started worrying about the signing event. Jared had no idea what to expect and called Melanie to at least get info on the basics.

“I got the invite,” he told her. “And I can definitely be there, but do I need to bring anything? Can I bring Jensen? What do I have to wear? Are we sure it’s accessible? Do they even know I’m in a wheelchair?”

He heard her suppress a giggle at the other side of the line. 

“Calm down. You’ll be fine. Yes it’s accessible, I checked with them, so yes, I assume it’s common knowledge you’re in a wheelchair. Yes, you can bring Jensen if he’s free, no problem. I’ll be there in advance to check the contracts one last time and make sure they’re good for signing and no one’s slipping us anything we don’t want in there. They’ll send someone as well to do the same, so when you and the big bosses come, you don’t need to bring anything, unless you have a lucky pen you want to sign with.”

“No lucky pen,” Jared said.

“Then you’re good. Wear something nice. Slacks and a button down is fine, you can wear a suit if you want to but it’s definitely not a must. There will be pictures taken, so whatever makes you comfortable that’s not jeans and an old t-shirt is fine.”

“Okay, I can do slacks and a button down. I hate suits because I need them to be tailored to fit and I don’t have one here.”

“That’s fine. Just get there on time, there’s probably some time for small talk and introductions and then someone will say how great it is to make this deal and blabla and it would be nice if you could say something likewise. Doesn’t have to be a speech, just something along the lines how honored you are and then they sign the contract and you sign it and maybe there’s some champagne and maybe not. I don’t know. There’s no chance you can mess this up unless you don’t sign.”

Jared chuckled. “Not even jeans and a ratty shirt?”

“Not even that. You’re the hot shot here, remember that.”

“They are paying big bucks though,” Jared sighed. “And what about the publisher? Don’t they need to sign too?”

“Shouldn’t you be used to the big bucks by now?” Melanie asked. “And no, because you have a smart agent, they only have a license to publish, not a full assignment. The part you’re giving them is between you and them. By the way - is it time to start negotiations for a new book deal?”

Jared thought of how easy words were coming to him at the moment and how much he enjoyed writing. “Yeah, I guess you can start that. One book for now, as usual,” he said. 

“I know, I know. Still don’t know if that’s smart or if you could get more money out of them for a multiple book deal, but one is fine. We can do them one by one.”

“Thank you,” Jared said. “I really don’t want the pressure of having to write more than one book on me at any given time. That TV show is going to cost a lot of time, so one book only. And an easy deadline, if you can manage,” he pleaded. 

“I’ll see what I can do. Assuming that TV deal should increase book sales, I think that’ll be easy negotiations.”

“So I’ll see you at the signing then?”

“I’ll be there,” Melanie promised. 

The actual event was much less spectacular than Jared had thought it would be. 

He and Jensen went to the offices and yes, everything was accessible. Melanie saw them coming and waved them in, introducing them to everyone from the production company, informing them they were waiting for someone else to join them any minute and starting small talk. 

Jared didn’t mind that, he only minded that everyone was standing around and he was getting cramps in his neck from looking up. 

Then the actual signing happened and he had to stall his pen several times for the photographer before one copy was handed to him and one to the representative of the production company. 

They were each handed a glass of champagne afterwards and only then did the speech come about how honored everyone was and Jared said something sweet about how he couldn’t wait to see his characters being brought to life. 

“Why didn’t they just send the contract by mail?” he asked Jensen when they were in the car on the way home. “Why make such a fuzz about it?”

Jensen looked at him in wonder. “You still don’t get it, do you?” he asked.

“Get what?”

“How crazy successful you are. Shouldn’t the money they’re paying you be some kind of indication? I mean, you’re usually so smart, why are you so oblivious about this?”

“Because this is not exactly Harry Potter we’re talking about.”

“No, it isn’t,” Jensen confirmed. “Because they turned Harry Potter into movies, not a TV show. But you’re so much closer to Harry Potter fame than you think.”

“That’s just not true,” Jared said. “Everyone knows J.K. Rowling. I don’t think she could just go for a walk around Stanley Park without anyone noticing her.”

“Because she’s been much more willing to throw herself out there,” Jensen said. “You’re happily hiding at home, doing two readings per book and not doing photos except a headshot for the back of the books. And I’m not saying you should change that, just that you probably have the chance to do it differently if you wanted J.K. Rowling fame.”

“But I don’t want that.”

Jensen laughed and rolled his eyes. “I know. But that doesn’t change that your books are playing in the Champions League of YA literature. And that’s why they didn’t just send the contract with mail.”

“You want to do something crazy?” Jared asked. “Go somewhere, do something? I mean - they are paying me a lot of money.”

“I want to get take-out for dinner and go home,” Jensen said. “And this weekend I want to take you rafting, because there’s a company that’s fine taking you and it’s not far from the campground we’ve been to.”

“Rafting?” Jared asked.

“Yes, rafting. You can swim, right?”

Jared rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I can swim. As you very well know.”

Jensen grinned. “Then we’re doing that. If you want to, you can pay for the campground. I’m paying for rafting.”

Jared flashed him a big smile. “I can do that,” he said. “And I’ll even pay for take-out tonight.”

Chapter Text

They had put it off for weeks, had gone rafting and rock climbing instead and when shooting for the movie was finally done and they’d flown back to L.A., they’d tried surfing. 

Jensen loved collecting checkmarks on Jared’s list even more than Jared. 

But now it was time. Their bags were packed in the trunk of Jared’s car and they were on their way. 

They’d thought it would be fun to drive from Los Angeles to Austin, turn it into a road trip, but work had dragged and now they had to be there in four days for their high school reunion, which didn’t leave much time for sightseeing on the way. They were heading down I-10 and planned for a three day trip, stopping around Phoenix and El Paso for the nights and had decided to do the sightseeing on their way back. 

They had taken Jared’s car so they could switch up the driving. It was easy enough to disable the hand gas and have Jensen use the car the normal way, but driving Jensen’s car was impossible for Jared. 

“Hey, so what did you like better,” Jensen asked. “Rafting or surfing?”

“Rafting,” Jared said. “Definitely more fun and it mattered less that I did it without my legs. Don’t get me wrong, surfing was fine, but I wasn’t a big fan before and it didn’t exactly get better. But rafting I’d do again, that was fun. I’m just glad I didn’t fall into the water, I think Adriana would have completely freaked out.”

“Come on, she was nice enough.”

“Yes, she was. But she also worried a lot more about me than about everybody else.”

“She liked you,” Jensen assumed.

“She wasn’t flirting, she was worrying.”

“Isn’t that what girls do?”

Jared laughed. “No, that’s not what they do. Man, was there ever any doubt you were gay?”

They were talking about everything and nothing. Remembering the first time they drove this road and wondering what coming home as a couple would feel like. They hadn’t told their families yet, as they’d agreed, but they knew they needed to tell them. They’d also decided they wouldn’t hide at the reunion. They wouldn’t go in holding hands either, but when someone asked about their love life - and someone would - they’d tell them. 

“Did I mention how much I love Vancouver?” Jensen asked. “Navigating life there is so much easier than in Texas.”

“I love the water. And the mountains. If we get the option, we should move there,” Jared answered.

“You mean if I get the option? You can work wherever.”

Jared shrugged. “Yeah.”

“I have been thinking about selling my LA apartment for a while. I’m hardly ever there any more.”

“If I keep mine, we’d still have a place to stay there.”

“We could upgrade in Vancouver. Get an apartment that’s actually accessible.”

Jared smiled at Jensen for that. 

“Did you ever think, growing up, that we would have discussions about our multiple apartments in multiple cities? Sometimes, looking back, this is so crazy,” Jared said. 

“You mean when we had to beg our parents to give us a bicycle for Christmas and yours really wanted to do that but didn’t have the money for all three of you and so they only gave you a voucher for half a bicycle and made you work for the rest? Yeah, I remember. I remember wanting to do a lot of things and not being able to, because they were too expensive. Especially after Mom died and we only had Dad’s income.”

“Yeah. Not that it was bad in any way and we did so many things that weren’t expensive and it was awesome. But just thinking about how far we’ve come from stocking up supermarket shelves to discussing apartments.”

“With the money from your deal and your choice on where to work, you could make Vancouver happen for you. Get an apartment there or upgrade to a house.”

“Where will you be?” Jared asked.

“Where work takes me,” Jensen said. “And if I’m not working, I’ll be where you are.”

Jared smiled. “And then we get that apartment? Together?”

Jensen nodded and smiled as well. “Yes. Let’s do that.”

Jared parked the car in the driveway of his childhood home and looked at Jensen. 

“So I’ll be seeing you tomorrow?”

Jensen nodded. “I’m dreading this.”

“You want me to come?”

Jensen shook his head. “No. I want to get this over with. And I don’t want you smack in the middle of what’s probably not going to be the best evening in the Ackles’ household.”

Jared took his hand. “I wouldn’t mind.”

“I know. And you’ll get your chance to charm my father. Tomorrow.”

Jared nodded. “Promise you’ll call if it gets really ugly.  Or just come over. You can always stay with us.”

“I promise,” Jensen said and kissed Jared good-bye. 

Jared grabbed his wheelchair from behind the passenger seat, put it together and transferred to it, all while Jensen got their bags from the trunk and dropped Jared’s in his lap before waving good-bye. 

When he’d walked a few steps over the lawn to his house, Jared shouted, “I’m right next door.”

Jensen smiled and nodded, then walked further.

Jared rolled up to his parents’ front door, which opened before he had a chance to ring the doorbell or find his keys.

His mother was right there and he heard footsteps from all over. She’d probably made sure Megan and Jeff came over as well. 

She hugged him. “It is so good to see you! You look great!”

He smiled at her. “I feel great.”

Megan was next, hugging him and Jeff too gave him a hug. His father was a bit slower, growing older, but he also greeted him at the door until Jared’s mom told everyone to get inside and sit down as dinner was ready. 

They sat as they’d always sat. Sherry and Gerri on one side of the table, Megan next to Sherry at the narrow end and Jeff and Jared on the other side. 

The chatter was constant, everyone was talking and laughing and eating and Jared knew he’d be fine telling them. So when they had ice cream for dessert and Megan looked at him and said, “You look ridiculously happy,” he blushed and nodded.

“Aww,” Megan said. “What’s her name?”

Jared grimaced, took a deep breath and said, “Jensen.”

Megan shook her head, “No, I meant…”

Jared nodded. “I know what you meant. The answer is still Jensen. We… we’re together. As in together together.”

He looked around, trying to understand the reactions he was getting. 

Megan seemed super surprised, she’d definitely expected for him to hook up with a girl. Jeff seemed less surprised or maybe he just didn’t care. It was his Mom, who had a big bright smile on her face and said, “I knew it. I’m so happy for you, sweetie. You do look happy.”

“I am. He’s the best. I mean, he’s still my best friend and we’ve known each other forever, so I can’t remember a less non-awkward relationship. “

The surprise on Megan’s face had disappeared and she was now smiling as well, but it was Gerri who made clear what the consensus would be. “I see only advantages. One less name to learn. No awkward meet the parents. If he makes you happy, I’m happy.”

Jeff tousled Jared’s hair. “I always knew you were a girl, hair and all.”

Not being able to simply kick him under the table, Jared reached out for Jeff who tried to duck away, but underestimated the length of Jared’s arm. His hand full of Jeff’s hair, Jared said, “Because you have such a manly haircut?”

“Did you smear your ice-cream in my hair?” Jeff asked.

“Not yet,” Jared commented, but let go of his brother. 

“Hey Mom,” Jared then said. “Jensen was freaking out a little, because he believes his father might not take the news as well as you, so I told him he could come over if it’s too bad.”

Sherry looked at her husband and back at Jared. “You might be right,” she said. “And of course he can always come over.”

Megan smiled at Jared. “Jensen has always been family. I’m thrilled for both of you.”

Jared smiled back at her. “Thanks, Meg.”

They moved to the living room after dessert and after helping Sherry in the kitchen. 

Jared talked about the deal he’d made for “In the Woods” and how they hoped to stay in Vancouver.

Megan told them that her architecture degree was coming on great and to save the date for her graduation. Jeff had a new job at a hospital he told them about and how Kristy was doing with the baby. 

Jared promised to come visit them and bring Jensen, when his phone vibrated in the breast pocket of his shirt. 

He took it out and saw that it was a message from Jensen. “Can we meet at the playground?” he asked. 

“Give me 5 minutes,” he wrote back. 

Jared looked at his family who’d continued talking and said, “I have to leave for a moment. Looks like Allan isn’t exactly rooting for us. I’ll go and meet Jensen for a moment.”

“You should bring him here,” Sherry said. “And tomorrow I’ll go and rip Allan a new one.

Gerri looked at her. “You won’t. But maybe it helps if we talked to him. Now Jared goes out to see Jensen and if they want to, they know they’re always welcome here.”

Jared passed the armchair his father was sitting on on his way out stopped to hug him. “Thank you, Dad.”

Gerri held him tight and kissed him on the cheek. “Always.”

Jared grabbed his keys and his jacket and wheeled outside. He knew they’d probably be talking about him, but he wasn’t worried. Him ending up in a wheelchair had been much harder on them than this. They all loved Jensen and they were all completely supportive. His Mom would probably have a rainbow flag in the garden by tomorrow lunch time, just to go on Allan’s nerves.

It wasn’t far to the playground they’d spend a good amount of their childhood on and he found Jensen sitting on a swing. Luckily for him there were now rubber mats under it as opposed to grass and sand as there used to be. 

He could wheel right up to Jensen who looked sad and tired. “Hey,” Jared said and then added quietly, “I guess he didn’t take it too well?”

Jensen shook his head but didn’t say anything and Jared could feel the tears that were threatening to fall. He put his hand on Jensen’s shoulder and it didn’t take long until Jensen grabbed his hand tight and started to cry. 

Jensen slid off the swing and next to Jared’s chair, so that he could hide his face in his jacket. Jared wrapped his arms around him and held him tight until Jensen leaned back and wiped the tears away. 

“What happened?” Jared asked. 

“He really doesn’t like the idea of us,” Jensen said, his voice unsteady and his nose clotted. “I should have known with his stupid pastor preaching like that every week.”

“What did he say? Did he throw you out?”

Jensen shook his head. “No, nothing that drastic. I’d just been hoping he’d be okay with it, you know? I didn’t exactly expect him to start preparing the wedding.”

“The wedding?”

“Dude, you know what I mean. Not literally. But show his support openly. I would have been fine with that, you know? If he’d decided not to tell his friends or whatever. But he told me that it couldn’t be. That it wasn’t an option for me.”

“Your Dad? Or were Mack and Josh there as well?”

Jensen shook his head. “Just Dad. God, I wish my Mom was still here. Maybe she would have been on my side. Our side,” he added. “But no. She isn’t and I miss her so much and he expects me to break up with you and finally marry a nice girl from church. I told him I wouldn’t, so he decided to not talk about it for now.”

“Maybe that’s the best you’ll get from him for now?” Jared asked. “Maybe he needs some time to get used to it?”

“How long did your parents need to get used to it?” Jensen asked. 

“About as long as I needed to tell them. They’re totally fine with us as long as you make me happy. Megan’s thrilled.”

“See? Isn’t that a normal reaction? Hell, even if he’d needed a moment or even a night and just told me so - but he took just seconds to tell me how this was not an option. He doesn’t care about my happiness, just about what people from church might say.”

“I really don’t know what to say, Jen. I wish I could make it better somehow.”

“You’re here,” Jensen said. 

“You want to come to my place? My parents would love to see you.”

“Maybe later?” Jensen asked. “I’m still trying to wrap my head around how this is going to move forward.”

He was back on the swing, but they were holding hands. “I think you have three options,” Jared said. “Either you go back and play his game. Ignore our relationship, don’t ever mention me or us again and you should make it through the weekend and probably Christmas.”

“An awful option,” Jensen said. 

Jared shrugged and continued. “I think it’s preferable to option two. Go back there, grab your bag, tell him that either he comes around or you’re out. Which is going to be even more awful, because he still lives next door to my parents, where we then might spend Christmas.”

“I agree, that’s even worse. What’s number three?”

“Give him some time. Just a little. Maybe spend the night at my place but go back tomorrow and tell him that options one and two don’t work for you and that you need them to be okay with us.”

Jensen rolled his eyes. “Still awful because I doubt it’s going to work.”

“If it’s not working tomorrow, maybe the day after. Or maybe when you call him for Thanksgiving or maybe it takes them till Christmas. Maybe you need to talk to Mack and Josh and see where they stand on this. Maybe they can help. But I really think he will get there. It’s just a much harder way for him than it was for my parents.”

“Will you still come with me?” Jensen asked. “Tomorrow?”

“If you think that’s good idea?”

Jensen nodded. “I think it might help. Because I think when he hears about homosexuality, he has a certain picture in their head. But he knows you and I doubt that you fit that picture.”

“If you want me to, I’ll always be there,” Jared said. 

“I’m so glad you’re here.”

“I’m glad you called.”

Jensen leaned forward to kiss Jared and Jared happily leaned in to it, still tasting the salty tears on Jensen’s lips.

When they stopped, Jensen said, “Now I definitely can’t go to your parents.”

Jared got what he meant and said laughingly, “You need a cold shower?”

Jensen shook his head. “No, not really I’ll be fine. Give me a minute.”

“We need more than a minute to get there anyhow, so come on,” Jared smiled and started wheeling back. 

Jensen’s hand was on his shoulder just a moment later and so they made it to Jared’s house.

Jared opened the door with his key and shouted, “We’re back!”

His mom came and pulled Jensen into a warm hug before shoving him to the living room. They were all still where Jared had left them, except for Gerri who’d gotten up to greet Jensen. 

Jensen sat down on the couch next to Jeff, who looked at him and asked, “Do I need to give you the big brother speech?”

Jensen shook his head. “No, you don’t. I’m really not in the mood for it today. And in case that wasn’t clear - I’d rather kill myself than hurt your brother intentionally. And I promise not get him pregnant.”

Jared had stopped his wheelchair next to Jensen and they shared a smile. 

Megan chuckled. “You two are adorable. I’m sorry, if your Dad can’t see that, Jensen.”

Sherry smiled at him as well. “I’ve never seen Jared so happy and something that makes my son so happy can’t be wrong. This has always been your home too, Jensen, and that’s how it’s always going to be.”

Jared felt Jensen choke up again and wrapped his arm around him. Jensen moved to the very end of the couch and leaned his head against Jared’s shoulder.

“We’re gonna talk to Allan tomorrow,” Jared explained.

“Need back-up?” Gerri asked.

Sherry sat up. “We can invite him over for lunch,” she suggested. “Maybe that’ll help?”

Jared looked at Jensen, who was still in his arm.

Jensen sat up, took a deep breath and shook his head. “Thank you, Sherry. That might be easier, but I don’t think it’ll help in the long run. He’d probably be nice enough during lunch, but I don’t want him to be nice in company. I want him to be okay with us.”

“I’m so sorry, hun,” Sherry said. “If there’s anything we can do, just let us know. Anything, really.”

Jensen smiled a sad smile at her. “Thank you. It really means a lot.”

Jeff spoke up for the first time, patting Jensen on the back. “It really shouldn’t need to. I mean damn, Jensen, what happened to your Dad? He used to be so nice and easy going.”

Jensen shrugged. “He’s still nice as long as you fit in with his beliefs.”

“But you’re his son. Unless you become a mass murderer, shouldn’t he be okay with who you are?”

“Jeff,” Gerri said.

“No, Dad, this makes me really angry. What is this, the Dark Ages?”

“Only next door,” Megan commented dryly. “Rip in the time-space continuum. You should call Mack though. I bet she’s fine with this.”

“Guys, thank you for all the support. But for now I need to fight this fight alone. I feel bad enough that I’m dragging Jared into it.”

“Don’t be,” Jared said. “This is about us. And we’ll figure it out.”

Jensen nodded and looked so sad, that Jared wanted to wrap himself around him to protect him from the world. Instead he put his hand on Jensen’s neck, felt the warm skin there and the short hairs. 

Jeff had to leave shortly after, claiming he had to work tomorrow and after saying good-bye, Sherry started re-arranging sleeping arrangements. “Jared, I had planned for you to stay in the guest bedroom downstairs, but it has only a twin bed. You boys could stay in your old room with the queen, but it’s upstairs and…”

And no elevator. Jared smiled at his mother. “Upstairs is fine, Mom.”

He would spend the whole weekend crawling around the house on his butt if it meant sharing a bed with Jensen.

He used the downstairs bathroom to get ready for bed, then started his way up the stairs. When he reached the first floor, Jensen, without being prompted, went down to bring his wheelchair and bag up.

Megan and Sherry had made the bed for them and when Jared wheeled in, Jensen close behind him, they told both good night.

Jared changed on the bed and asked Jensen, “You need a shirt? Toothbrush?”

“Your Mom gave me a toothbrush, but if you have a spare shirt?”

He threw a shirt at Jensen, who quickly changed into it, switched of the lights and sat down next to Jared on the bed.

“I meant what I said earlier,” Jensen said. “I’m sorry to drag you into this.”

“You dragged me nowhere. Don’t blame yourself for any of this. I’m so glad you’re here, I’m so glad you called. I’m so sorry this his happening, but it has nothing to do with us, if you know what I mean. We are just meant to be,” Jared said quietly. “No matter who is rooting for or against us.”

“We are meant to be?” Jensen asked, a smile playing around his lips. 

Jared looked at him and took his face between his hands, careful not to lose his balance. “Yes,” he whispered. “Don’t ever doubt that.”

Jensen’s lips were warm and soft and didn’t taste like tears any more when Jared kissed him. Jensen wrapped his arms around him, causing him to topple over and Jared laughed, pulling Jensen tight.

“I can’t believe we’re in your old bedroom,” Jensen whispered.

“I can’t believe I’m making out with you in my old bedroom,” Jared added.

“I could think of some other things we’ve never done here,” Jensen said. “But your sister is right next door.”

“I can be quiet,” Jared said. “But can you?”

“No promises,” Jensen said and caught his breath, when he felt Jared’s hand slip in his boxers and close around his cock.

Chapter Text

It was Megan who woke them up for breakfast the next morning and even though Jared only put on sweatpants and a hoodie before a quick stop at the bathroom, Jensen was already waiting for him when he got back. 

Jared transfered to the floor at the top of stairs and let Jensen pass with his wheelchair before going down the stairs on his butt. 

Downstairs he transfered back to his wheelchair and when he’d placed his feet on the footrest, he realized Megan had been watching from her place at the table. 

The look on her face showed some unease and Jared found confirmed what he’d told Jensen. For his family it was easier to accept that he was gay for Jensen than that he was in a wheelchair. Maybe if they’d see each other more often and maybe if he’d moved back here when it happened, then maybe they’d be completely comfortable around him. Like Jensen. A lot of ifs though, so maybe they wouldn’t be. Who cared really, if his sister watched him transfer from the ground to his chair? He didn’t mind. 

They weren’t really hungry, not with what lay ahead of them, but they managed to eat and keep up a conversation with Megan, Sherry and Gerri.

After breakfast and taking a shower, Jensen asked, “Can we go see my Mom first? I want to tell her too.”

Jared took his hand and kissed it. “Want me to come with you?”

Jensen looked at him. “I’m nor sure I ever went to go see my Mom without you and I’m definitely not starting now.”

“Then let’s go,” Jared said. 

The graveyard was pretty empty, most people were probably still at church. They found Donna’s place easily, having been here so many times. As usual Jared stayed a bit behind when Jensen stepped up to the grave. 

“Hey Mom,” he said.

He put down the flowers he’d brought and cleaned up some dried leaves. He then turned around and held out his hand for Jared to take. He pulled him closer and Jared helped steering until he parked next to Jensen.

“Hey Donna,” he said quietly.

“We’ve got something to tell you,” Jensen started, still holding Jared’s hand, his grip getting tighter. “Jared and I, we’re together. For real. Finally. And it’s new and exciting and familiar and I’ve never felt anything like it. And I told Dad yesterday and … and… God, I miss you so much and I wish you were here to tell him that it’s okay. That I’m not doing this out of spite or to hurt him, but only because I love Jared. Because I do. I mean, I always have, but this is different. And so much better. And it hurts so much that he can’t see that.”

Jensen wiped his tears away, never letting Jared’s hand go. Jared leaned against Jensen as best as he could and said, “We could really use your help right now. My parents are good with us, so don’t you worry that we have a place to come home to. But we’re going to see Allan later and I wish we could say the same for him. I’ll have Jensen call Mack and Josh for backup, because I think they’ll be okay. I really don’t know if there’s a quick fix for Allan though. But it doesn’t change anything. I know Jensen doubts it but this is about us, not about Allan. He can be as homophobic as he likes, it’ll never change how much I love Jensen. You know I’ll take care of him. I always have, just as he always has for me. Not even Allan can change that.”

Jensen smiled at Jared and Jared pulled him down for a hug. 

“I don’t know what I would do without you,” Jensen said and Jared kissed him on the cheek. 

“You wouldn’t even be in this mess. Or how many boyfriends did you bring home?”

“I’d rather be in this mess with you.”

“So do I,” Jared replied.

They walked back to their car and got in, but Jared didn’t start the engine. “Call Mack,” he told Jensen. “See if she’s available now.”

“I can call her after we’ve spoken with Dad,” Jensen argued, but Jared shook his head. “Do it now. Then you know and know how to handle your father.”

Jensen sighed but nodded. He pulled out his phone and dialed his sister’s number, putting her on speaker.

“Jensen, hi!” she greeted him. 

“Jared’s on speaker,” Jensen told her and Jared said hi as well.

“Mack, I need to tell you something,” Jensen said and with a look at Jared corrected himself. “We have to tell you something.”

“You finally decided to take your co-dependance to the next level and are doing each other?” she teased him.

Jared started laughing hysterically and Jensen hid his face behind his hands, glad that Mack couldn’t see him.

“Yes, that’s pretty much it,” he summed it up.

“You’re kidding me.” Mackenzie was stunned.

“No, we’re not. I mean, it didn’t quite go like that, but the result’s the same. I’m with Jared.”

“You are kidding me,” she repeated. “Because that’s way too cute to be true.”

Jared pulled himself together again and helped Jensen. “It is true, Mack, I swear. You can ask Megan, we told my family yesterday.”

“That it sooo awesome! If you two get married Meg’s going to be my sister. Are you two going to get married?”

Jared was laughing again, but Jensen replied, “That’s not on the radar. So you’re okay with this?”

“Of course it is. If you’re happy…?“

“I am.”

“If you’re happy I’d be thrilled to meet whoever makes you happy and if it’s Jared it’s even more awesome because it’s Jared. You were kind of my big brother anyhow, so why wouldn’t I be okay? This is great news! I can’t wait to call Meg and… oh shit, you told Dad,” she suddenly realized. “How did he take it?”

“Not well,” Jensen sighed. 

“Aw, I’m so sorry,” she said. “What did he say?”

“That me being in a relationship with a man is not an option.”

“Hilarious,” Mack replied. “Who does he think you are? One of his projects at work?”

“I don’t know. I certainly don’t feel like I’m more than that to him.”

“Jen, just ignore him,” Mack suggested. “Either he’ll come around or not, but don’t let your happiness depend on his approval.”

“I find that a bit easier said than done,” Jensen sighed and forced a smile when Jared reached out to cover his hand with his own. “It’s Dad. He’s our only parent left.”

“Mom would have known how to handle him,” Mack said.

“I agree. We’re actually at the parking of the graveyard. Just went to see her.”

Mack was quiet for a moment. Then she said, “You know, even if he hates the idea of you being gay, I wish he was okay with you being with Jared. What you guys have - it’s special. He should know that.”

Jensen was fighting tears again, so Jared said, “Thanks, Mack. We really appreciate that. Do you have any idea about Josh’s stand on this?”

“Not really. I never discussed LGBT-whatever things with him. I know he still goes to church, but I don’t know about how strict his is. You should call him. He’s definitely not worse than Dad.”

“I was hoping he was closer to you than Dad,” Jensen sighed. 

“I’m so sorry, Jen. Jared, you hug him from me, you hear me? And call Josh. Now. Let me know what he said.”

“Already on it,” Jared said and wrapped his arm around Jensen.

“I will,” Jensen said. “Thanks Mack.”

“Always. Love you guys.”

“Love you too.”

Jensen hung up and looked at Jared. “Josh?”

Jared nodded. “Yes, Josh. I’m with Mack. It’s not going to be worse than your father.”

Jensen nodded and dialed Josh’s number but he didn’t answer. Jensen left him a message asking to be called back.

“Now what?” he asked Jared.

“We could stop somewhere for a cup of coffee, see if Josh calls back and then go to your Dad?”

“What if Josh calls and we’re in the middle of the café and I’m outing us to everyone there?”

Jared smiled at him. “I wouldn’t mind, but I guess that wasn’t the plan. Let’s get a coffee to go and have that somewhere more quiet. And if Josh doesn’t call back, we face your father anyhow.”

“I’m glad Mack’s okay.”

“Did you ever doubt that?” Jared asked.

“Not really. But of course she’s right. My happiness doesn’t depend on his approval. I’m not even that close to him. If I have you and Mack and hopefully Josh I should be okay.”

They got a coffee and parked themselves at a bench in the adjacent park. Jensen was pretty out of it, too nervous to concentrate. “He’s probably at church,” he said about Josh. “That’s why he couldn’t answer.”

Before Jared could even say something, Jensen’s phone rang. “Josh,” he told Jared before answering it.

“Hey Josh!”

“Jensen, hi! You okay? Aren’t you in Austin this weekend?”

“Yes we are. And I’m okay, don’t worry. I put you on speaker, Jared is sitting next to me.”

“Hi Jared!”

“Hi Josh! How are you doing?”

“I’m good. Sorry for not answering earlier, I was at the gym.”

Jared looked at Jensen, trying to get him to calm him down. No church, just gym.

“No problem,” Jensen said. “We just wanted to tell you something, so you don’t hear it from anyone else.”

“Sounds serious,” Josh commented. “What’s up?”

“Jared and I are together.”

“Weren’t you always together?” Josh asked confused.

“No, I mean as in together together. Seeing each other. As boyfriends.”

“And I mean - weren’t you always together?”

“What?” Jensen squeaked. “No, we weren’t. You thought we were together this whole time?”

Josh and Jared started laughing and Josh said, “I really thought you were and just weren’t telling people. Like you didn’t want Dad to know.”

“We were really just friends,” Jared confirmed. “Though rumors have it that Jensen would have started this relationship way earlier if I’d given him the chance.”

“Maybe that’s the vibe I got,” Josh said. “Well, then that’s settled. Glad not having to learn another name.”

“That’s what my Dad said,” Jared snorted. 

“And no weird meetings with unknown parents. It does sound like a sweet deal for both of you.”

Jensen sighed. “We are going to talk to Dad after this and I’m not looking forward to that meeting. Unknown in-laws sound quite okay in comparison.”

“Shouldn’t I be the one complaining?” Jared asked. “It’s my father-in-law-in-spe, not yours.”

“No one gets to complain,” Josh told them. “And if Dad doesn’t approve? So what. You live two states away and see him a few days a year. You’ll manage.”

“We’re considering moving to Canada,” Jensen commented dryly. 

“For real?” Josh asked. “Or because of Dad?”

“For real. They’re turning Jared’s books into a TV show and that’s probably going to happen in Vancouver. And we really like it there, so yes, we’re considering it for real.”

“Wow, congrats, Jared. That’s sounds like a big deal!”

Jared smiled. “It is, I’m pretty stoked. And you’re right of course. Mack said something similar.” He looked at Jensen. “I think having Mack and you in our corner really helps.”

“Always. Dad’s pretty old fashioned in his believes. Very conservative. Let’s just hope you two can pull him into this century. And if not, Mack and I will be around. I’m already planning a vacation in British Columbia if you really make that happen.”

“Guest bedroom is all yours,” Jensen offered. “Whenever you want to stop by.”

“We’ll do that. And I’m happy for you guys. I really thought this had been going on for years.”

Jared and Jensen looked at each other and smiled. “Nope, still pretty fresh.”

“Whatever. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, say hi to Dad and have a safe trip home.”

“We will. Thanks Josh!” Jensen said and hung up. 

Relieved he put his phone away.

“Two done, one to go,” Jared summed it up. “In addition to the Padaleckis, the majority of Ackles’ is already on our side.”

Jensen nodded. “That’s really good to know.”

“Then let’s face the big boss.”

“What’s this, a video game?”

“Yeah, let’s level up, man.”

They got back to the car and drove to Jensen’s house.

Jensen let them in and called to announce their presence. “Dad? We’re here.”

His father appeared, a smile on his face for which Jared couldn’t quite make out if it was fake or real, and while he didn’t completely ignore Jensen, he looked at Jared first and said, “Jared, it’s so good to see you! How are you?” 

He came over and shook his hand and Jared smiled, “I’m good, Allan. How are you?”

“I’m good. You boys hungry?”

Both shook their heads. “We had breakfast with my parents,” Jared explained.  “But I wouldn’t say no to another coffee?”

Allan smiled. “Coming right up.”

He disappeared into the kitchen and before following him, Jared and Jensen shared a look. What was this? What were they supposed to do? Just ignore it?

They followed Allan to the spacious kitchen and Jensen sat down at the kitchen table, automatically pushing one chair aside to make space for Jared. While the coffee maker was gurgling in the background, Jared did what he was good at. Small talk with Allan, making it really easy for him to engage in conversation without talking about the big white elephant in the room. 

Jared asked about friends and work and told him about his books, about the deal and how excited he was that they were turning it into a show. 

He pulled Jensen into the conversation by having him talk about the movie he’d made.

It was just like any other time visiting Allan, really, except that something in their relationship had changed and they ignored it for now. No touching, no smiles directed at each other, not even a look that could have made her uncomfortable. 

Jensen hated it. 

“So, today’s the reunion,” Allan said. “Any idea who’s going to be there?”

Both shrugged. They weren’t really in contact with a lot of people from High School and had been too busy to check social media to find out. 

“What was that girl’s name that you always hung out with? Sandy?”

“She’s not coming,” Jared said. “She’s nine months pregnant and didn’t want to travel.”

“Too bad. But that means you’re still in contact?” Allan asked. 

Jared had no idea where this was leading, but he nodded. “Yeah, occasionally.”

“And what about others? Any girl you can’t wait to see again?”

There it was. This was Allan trying to interest him in girls. 

“No,” Jared said, leaning back in his chair. “I thought it was clear I’m in a committed relationship. I’m not interested in girls outside platonic friendship. Or anybody else, really.”

Alan said, “But you were always interested in girls.”

“Probably because I never even thought that I could like boys. And to be precise, I don’t like boys. I like Jensen and only Jensen. And if he happens to be a man - well, than that’s what it is.”

“But why would…” Allan started, but Jared interrupted him.

“Love, Allan. There’s no other why than that. And that’s why there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. With us. I love him and he loves me. He makes me happy. Being with him makes me happy. And isn’t that everything that should count?”

“Not if it is like that. Not if you’re men.” he said and Jensen stood up, therefore indicating he was ready to leave. Jared released the brakes of his chair and felt Jensen’s hand on his shoulder.

“We understand this isn’t easy for you,” Jensen said. “And we understand that you might need some time. But we neither want to come here and hide who we are and be set up with girls, nor do we want to leave and never talk to you again. So we’ll leave for now so you can make up your mind. We’ll stop by before we leave, but feel free to call if you change your mind.”

He gave Jared a small push and Jared wheeled towards the door. “Bye, Allan,” he said, before leaving the kitchen and then the house. Jensen followed him seconds later, having grabbed his bag from his room.

“He’s unbelievable,” Jensen said, when they were outside. “Set you up with a girl from High School?”

Jared shrugged. “He only knew me with girls. But yeah, it sucked.”

“You were amazing,” Jensen said, calming down a bit and smiling at Jared. “I really wanted to kiss you.”

Jared smiled back at him. “Do it,” he said. “I kind of hope he’s watching through the window.”

Jensen laughed and leaned down to kiss Jared. “You’re the best,” he whispered. “And I’m kind of homeless.”

“I’ll gladly climb up and down the stairs so we can share my bedroom,” Jared said.

“I’m really sorry about that,” Jensen said, when they started walking back to Jared’s house.

“Not your fault my parents build a two-story house. No one’s fault really. It’ll make me appreciate our apartment even more.”

Chapter Text

They returned to Jared’s parent’s house to freshen up and get ready for the reunion.

When they left, Jared drove them and asked, “How do you want to play this? You still okay with telling the truth if asked? Or shall we keep it quiet? A lot of these people still live here. Most parents do. So I totally understand if you want to.”

Jensen hesitated. “Yeah, maybe. I’m not sure.”

Jared reached for Jensen’s hand and held it for a moment. “We’ll keep it quiet. And if you change your mind, just let me know.”

“I’m sorry,” Jensen said. “I’m really sorry about this whole crappy trip.”

“Don’t. We knew it’d be difficult and we couldn’t continue avoiding it. So I’m glad we’re here.”

Jared parked the car on a disabled parking spot in front of the school and could already see people stop to see who was getting out. With all the stress with coming out to Jensen’s father he’d completely forgotten to worry what it would be like to face his old classmates from a wheelchair. Well, maybe it wasn’t a good idea to start now. 

He grabbed the parts of his chair, put them together and transferred in it. When he closed the door, Jensen was waiting for him, waving to the people who’d looked over.

“You okay?” he asked Jared.

“Let’s do this.” 

Jensen was standing at the bar, sipping a beer and looking at Jared, who was at the side of the dance-floor, talking to some old friends. 

Sophia got herself a drink and stood next to Jensen, following his gaze and seeing Jared as well. 

“You two still hang out?” she asked.

Jensen smiled and nodded. “Always. How are you, Soph?”

“I’m good. Got married last year. Have a good job in Dallas. What about you? Heard you got into acting?”

Jensen nodded. “Yeah. Not exactly an A-list actor, but it pays the bills.”

“And Jared?”

“He wrote a series of books that’ll be turned into a TV show. Job-wise he’s probably doing better than most of us.”

“Jared wrote books?” Sophia asked. “I didn’t know that.”

“You should google them sometimes. It’s young adult fiction, but they’re really good.”

“I will,” she said. 

Jared was laughing and more and more people were gathering around him. Jensen wondered if he should join them, as sooner or later this would end up in the inevitable Q&A round of “what happened”. But he stayed with Sophia for now, who had been watching Jared as well and said, “You know what’s the weirdest thing about Jared being in a wheelchair? That he’s finally sitting down properly.”

Jensen looked at her and raised his eyebrows. “What do you mean?”

“Don’t you remember how he drove the teachers nuts because he would always sit down on his chairs the wrong way?”

Jensen remembered. Not only in school, but everywhere they’d sat down. Dinner with the Padaleckis, dinner with the Ackles. Studying. It was always Jared with the back of the chair between his legs or at least him trying until one parent or the other told him to sit down properly. 

He smiled sadly. “I remember. But he’s never sitting still, not even now.”

Just when he’d said it, Jared shifted in his chair as he did all the time. For pressure relief and out of habit. Jensen wanted to go over and hug Jared, just because he realized that he still hadn’t figured out everything Jared had lost. Because this weekend sucked and because he just realized he was still doing what his father expected him to. 

That over there was his boyfriend, his soulmate and the guy he wanted to grow old with. But instead of shouting that out to the world, they were staying apart, pining at each other from afar, just because his father was uncomfortable with him being in a gay relationship. 

He hesitated, but when he realized that the Q&A session over at Jared’s must have started, because everyone was looking at him and no-one was laughing anymore, he excused himself and went over. 

He stood behind Jared and put his hand on his shoulder, relieved that Jared seemed fine. He was talking about the accident, but he wasn’t tense or uncomfortable. Still he turned around when he felt the hand and smiled at Jensen.

Jensen had heard the story a million times and had told it a thousand times himself. He probably felt just like Jared. It didn’t make him tense up anymore, it didn’t hurt or make him uncomfortable, but it wasn’t his favorite topic either. So he just listened in, admiring how easily Jared told the story and his development until today, mentioning how he worked as a writer, that yes, he had been rock-climbing again and no, he did not spend his days crying in his bedroom. 

Jensen’s heart hurt with all the love and admiration he felt for Jared in his moment, so when someone asked Jared if he was in a relationship and when he felt how that made Jared’s shoulder tense under his hand, Jensen put his other hand on the other shoulder and answered for Jared, “He is.”

Jared turned around to look at him, surprised at the answer and what it indicated. They shared a quick look, that silently asked “You really want to share this?” and Jensen nodded.

So Jared turned back to the audience and said, “Yes, I am. With Jensen, actually.”

The reaction to that announcement was quite interesting to watch. Half of the group grimaced and would probably need to confess tomorrow in church that they had actually talked to such abominations. The others smiled genuine smiles and Felicia, whom they had never been close with, because she’d been a bit of a nerd, said, “I think that’s the cutest thing I’ve heard in a while. You were inseparable back in school. I’m really happy for you.”

Jared felt the grip on his shoulders get stronger and he knew Jensen struggled. This is what his father should have said. Some others joined in with Felicia’s sentiment and those were the ones that stayed when the others left. 

Jensen took that chance to sit down next to Jared, still somewhere between sad and angry that a girl they’d hardly spoken to in school was more supportive of their relationship than his father. 

Jared must have known how he felt, because he wrapped his arm around Jensen’s shoulders and Jensen felt some of the anger and sadness just seep out of him. This was where he belonged. Next to Jared. And if his father couldn’t see or understand that - too bad for him. He would neither hide nor pretend this was just a fling. As he’d said to Jared just some weeks ago - this was it for him. 

They stuck with the ones who rooted for them during the rest of a reunion and it was a good evening. They exchanged numbers with some people they’d lost touch with and others, like Felicia, who they’d never been in touch with before. 

They drove back to Jared’s parents house when the party was over and it didn’t take long before they made their way upstairs. 

The next morning they had breakfast with Jared’s parents, then decided to get away from the family drama for a bit and went on a hike along the Colorado river. They’d been here many times before, but never as a couple. They kept it quiet though, fully aware that they could run into any of Jensen’s father’ friends or just some homophobic Texans. This wasn’t exactly Vancouver, as they had reminded themselves on the way here. Jensen would put his hand on Jared’s shoulder like he often did, and for Jared it had become the next best thing to holding hands. They stopped for a quick lunch and Jensen had an idea. “Hey, you want to play mini golf?”

“Mini golf?”

“Did that ever make your list?”

Jared was still frowning. “Mini golf?”

“Sure, another checkmark for you. Come on, let’s go do Peter Pan’s.”

Jared wasn’t convinced, but nodded. He had no doubt that he would somehow manage to play mini golf. Come on, it was mini golf, not mountaineering, but he tried to remember the last time he’d played mini golf and that was probably during middle school with his parents. Jensen seemed dead set, so he followed him. 

Jensen got them their balls and golf clubs and looked at Jared. “So, East or West course?”

When Jared rolled his eyes, he went to the first hole of the East course where he waited for Jared. “You want to go first?” he asked.

Jared shook his head. “I still need to figure out how to do this. Do your thing. And don’t cheat.”

So Jensen went first, getting the ball up the curved hill just right with his second hit. 

Jared went next, trying to get the hang of hitting the ball right without falling out of his chair, but managing okay for a first timer. 

They continued through the course and when Jared had gotten the hang of how to hit, he actually started to enjoy it. The friendly banter he had going on with Jensen turned into friendly rivalry, each of them completely overdoing their victory celebrations after every hole they managed to beat the other in. They were already at hole 14 when someone called out to them. “Jensen! Jared! Hi!”

The looked around and saw Felicia waving at them from hole 16. She was playing with a bigger group of people, maybe six or seven, almost all guys, and were hence moving much slower along than Jared and Jensen. They waved back at her and caught up with her group at hole 18. 

“Hey,” they said when coming up to her. 

“Hi,” she greeted them. “Want to squeeze in between us? We take forever.”

Jared shook his head. “No, we’re good. No hurry.”

“Pretty cool you play,” she told Jared. “Didn’t know you could do this from a wheelchair.”

Jensen grinned and said, “He needed some persuasion. But this is another checkmark on the list of what-people-think-people-in-wheelchairs-can’t do.”

Felicia smiled. “I bet that list has a lot of checkmarks.”

Jared and Jensen both grinned. “It does,” Jared said. “Even though I don’t think mini golf was even on that list.”

Jensen shrugged. “Just put it on and check it off right away.”

“That’s the spirit,” Felicia laughed and said, “Hey, we want to go to the Picnic after, grab something to bite before maybe hitting a bar or so. You wanna come?”

Jared and Jensen looked at each other, shrugging. “We don’t want to intrude,” Jensen said. 

“You’re not. Hey guys? These are Jared and Jensen, we went to Highschool together. Jared and Jensen, these are Ian, Julie, Matt, Rob and Alan. We went to UT here together.”

They waved at each other and played the last hole, before walking over to the food truck park. “So you went to UT Austin?” Jared asked. 

Felicia nodded. “Yeah. We all majored in math. They all still live in town, so when I come to visit I try to meet them.”

“Where do you live now?”

“In LA.”

“We kind of live there too,” Jared said. “Though we’ve spent more time in Vancouver than in LA lately.”

“Why LA?” Jensen asked. “I mean, we went to school there and I wanted to be an actor, so the town made sense, but as a math major?”

Felicia shrugged. “I double majored in math and music and went to LA because I wanted to do something in the entertainment industry.”

“Right, I remember you playing the violin,” Jared said.

She nodded. “Yeah, that’s why I got accepted. I could have gone to Julliard, but I liked Texas.”

“So, how is the entertainment industry working out for you?” Jensen asked.

She shrugged. “Okay. Looks like I found my niche in web series.”

“Like online shows?” Jared wanted do know.

“Yeah, Youtube mostly. I was cast in a TV show here and there, but nothing steady, so we came up with the idea of web series. You should check it out.”

Jared and Jensen nodded. “We’ll definitely do that.”

“So, you’re an actor?” she asked Jensen, who nodded. “Yeah. Just finished filming in Vancouver, that’s why we spent some time there.”

“Anything else on the horizon?”

He shrugged. “It’s Jared’s turn for now, but I’m looking into some options.”

“Jared’s turn?” she asked.

Jared smiled up at her. “Yeah, I just signed a pretty cool deal. They’re turning my books into a TV show, so that’s the next big thing on our horizon. I’ll be producing, so once we’re back home first task is to put the writers’ team together.”

“Your books?” she asked, then got big eyes. “Man, I’m such an idiot. You wrote “In the Woods”. I love your books, but I had zero idea that I knew you. Man. They’re awesome!”

“You read my books?” Jared asked. 

“I love books,” Felicia said. “And video games. And social media. I love too many things. And yes, I read your books and they’re awesome. I even reviewed them on my channel. And I always thought they could take place here. “

Jared laughed. “They do. I just never wanted to make it too specific. And now I have to check you out on Youtube.”

“You do that. And when a new book comes out, I’m calling you for an interview,” she laughed. 

“Yeah, we can do that.”

They arrived at the Picnic and went to grab some food. As often with food trucks Jared was too far down to properly place an order, but Jensen sent him to reserve a table and made sure he got what he wanted. 

Felicia’s UT friends warmed up to Jared and Jensen when they sat at the picnic table, all at the same height and easily chatted away about things they were doing or planning. They asked about life in the movie industry and told them about life in the IT world and how Austin was the place to be and much more affordable than Silicon Valley.

They went on to check out a new brewery afterwards and ended up in a club that was too loud for proper conversations and Jared and Jensen excused themselves after a while, saying goodbye to Felicia and promising to stay in touch. 

“Sometimes I think Austin isn’t too bad,” Jensen said when they were lying in Jared’s bedroom later. 

“It isn’t,” Jared confirmed. “And it’s home.”

“But I like Vancouver better,” Jensen said. “I might even like Canada better. Not even sure why.”

“Not as hot? Not as many Republicans?”

Jensen laughed. “Nah, it’s just a feeling. Maybe because you and me started in Vancouver.”

“We actually started in Austin.”

“You know what I mean.”

“I do. What about LA?”

Jensen shrugged. “Not my favorite city. Too big, too snobby, too expensive. But it’s where the business is and where we have a lot of friends.”

“I don’t really care where we live,” Jared said. “As long as it’s us living there.”

Jensen smiled and nodded. “Yeah, same.”

“So we’re starting our way home tomorrow?”

“Should we tell my Dad goodbye?”

“We can. And we promised to stop at Jeff and Kristy’s.”

“Then we’ll do that. First my Dad, then your brother. And then back home.”

They went over to Allan right after breakfast the next morning. As last time he welcomed them in, offered coffee and when they’d parked themselves around the table, asked, “So how was the reunion?”

“Good,” Jensen nodded. “It was fun to reconnect with some people and connect with some we weren’t even friends with in school.”

“That’s good, that’s good,” Allan said, listening only half heartedly. “Are you driving home? Any plans for the road trip?”

“Yeah, we planned some stops,” Jensen said. “But we’re pretty flexible, so if we don’t want to stop or stop for two nights instead of one, we can just do that.”

It went on like that and Jared started to get anxious. Was Jensen for real? Was he willing to just ignore what had happened and pretend everything was okay? Pretend that they weren’t together?

He kept on chatting with his father, carefully dodging the topic of their relationship until Jared put his hand on Jensen’s arm to get his attention and remind him that his was time to leave if they wanted to stop by Jeff and Kristin and still get somewhere today. Jensen all but shook off his hand which made Jared look at him incredulously. “I’ll go and load my stuff in the car,” he told him. “Thanks for the coffee, Allan.”

“Bye Jared,” Allan told him. “Have a safe trip.”

“Thank you.”

Jared wheeled outside, still shaking his head. What was wrong with Jensen? Letting Allan get away with this was one thing, but shaking off his hand? 

He thought about going over to his parents’ house, but since no one was home anyway, he got in the car and stowed his chair behind the passenger seat, then turned on some music. Jensen was going with option 1, the one he had essentially ruled out on the playground during their first night here. Jared got that he didn’t want to lose his father but hiding who they were, even shaking off his hand from his arm? They weren’t making out or anything, it was just a hand.

Jared sat there for a few minutes, listening to the music, trying to understand what had just happened, when Jensen came and sat down on the passenger seat.

“What was that?” Jared asked bluntly. 

“I don’t know,” Jensen shrugged. “I didn’t want to upset him.”

“Like that? For real? We’re doing this whole drama weekend only for you to cave and pretend we don’t exist?”

“You know I never meant for this to be a drama weekend. And I never meant to just cave. But I don’t really see another option. If I don’t want to lose contact to my Dad, we might have to accommodate him.”

“I did not come out to everyone to accommodate your Dad. I thought we came out so that we wouldn’t have to.”

“I wish it was that easy.”

“It is. If you’re just willing to give your Dad time to come around.”

“But what if that’s not enough? What if he doesn’t come around and I never hear from him again? I can’t have that.”

“And you’re willing to play his game to have that? Really?”

“Yes, Jared. Really. I hardly see him anyhow and we’re considering leaving the country, so why not? Why not play his game when we’re here?”

Jared rolled his eyes and sighed. “Because it’s not us. Because it’s just an act. I don’t think that’s how it should work.”

“I agree that it shouldn’t. But I think it’s probably the only chance. So I’ll go with this for now. And if you don’t agree - well, then we’ll have to agree to disagree on this.”

Jared sighed again but didn’t talk back and started the car instead.

“Let’s go see Jeff,” he said. 

Jeff and Kristy lived about an hour away and they didn’t talk much during the drive. It felt slightly more uncomfortable than usual, but not overly so. 

When they arrived, Jeff with baby Ashley in his arms opened the door. 

“Hey,”  Jared smiled widely when he saw them. Jeff leaned down to hug him, careful not to drop the baby and Kristy appeared behind him. 

“Hi Jared,” she said, hugging him as well. “It’s so good to see you.”

They greeted Jensen as well and went to the living room, where Jeff dropped Ashley in Jared’s lap. Jared made sure to support her, but she’d grown a lot since he’d last seen her and she was looking at him, trying to grab his nose. 

“She’s so adorable,”  Jared smiled and pretended to give her his finger, only to pull away before she could grab it and tip her nose. She giggled and made Jared giggle as well. 

“How are you?” Jared heard Jensen ask Jeff and Kristy. “Is she letting you sleep okay?”

“I wish,”  Kristy sighed. “But I think it’s pretty normal. So we’re okay. Tired but okay. But Jeff’s telling me you two got big news?”

Jared looked up from Ashley and his eyes found Jensen’s, who looked at him with this soft look. 

“Yeah,”  Jensen said and reached out for Jared’s hand that wasn’t busy holding Ashley. 

Jared smiled at him. “Yeah,” he repeated.

Kristy smiled widely. “When I met Jeff you two were already hanging out all the time, so it’s about time.”

Jeff corrected her. “They’ve always hung out. Since the day they met, which was probably the day Jared was born.”

Jared and Jensen looked at each other again and shrugged. “Not much later, yeah,”  Jared confirmed.

“What is that like?” Kristy asked. “I mean, obviously you don’t have to answer, but isn’t that weird, if a relationship changes like that?”

Jensen looked at Jared and said, “I’ve been in love with Jared for a while, so I’m still stuck between “yes, finally” and “oh no, please don’t wake me up”. It feels unreal, because I’ve wanted this so badly.”

Jared pressed his hand. “Our relationship has undergone some changes before. When Jensen’s Mom died and he essentially started living with us. When I had my accident. This is another change, but like the other ones, once we got over the initial shock, it feels like a natural evolution. There’s nothing weird about it for me. It’s actually much less weird than meeting someone new and having to figure out everything at once.”

“What’s it like going from partners to parents?” Jensen asked. “I’d think that’s a pretty big change as well.”

“It is,”  Kristy confirmed. “Especially if it comes with taking time off from work to take care of the little one. My whole life feels different. A good different, but still different.”

“And she is so cute,”  Jensen said. 

Jared looked down at his niece again and re-started the finger game. “I could do this all day,”  he smiled. 

Chapter Text

They’d made it home. Jared had been still slightly annoyed at how Jensen handled his father and Jensen had been annoyed that Jared was annoyed, but they’d talked about it again and again during their road trip. In the end Jensen had promised to not call his father unless he called first and apologized. Something they both doubted would happen, but Jensen agreed with Jared that he needed to take a stand.

They’d done some sightseeing on the way but were glad to be home now.

When they stopped at Jensen’s apartment, he asked, “Are you going to stay?”

“Do you want me to?” Jared asked. 

Jensen nodded. “Definitely.”

Jared smiled. “Okay, I’ll stay then.”

They got out of the car, Jensen grabbed their bags and went to the door. He unlocked and went inside, waiting for Jared to follow. When he was inside he heard a noise and came back out to see Jared lying flat on his back, grimacing in pain.

“Gosh, what happened?”

“I fell,”  Jared said as if that wasn’t obvious. “Casters got stuck somewhere.”

Jensen looked and saw the doormat, that could have cause that. He had never seen Jared trip over a doormat, but he was tired and maybe hadn’t paid attention. 

“Are you okay?” Jensen asked. “Want me to help you up?”

“No, I’m not okay,” Jared spat. “And yes. I don’t want to spend the night here on the floor.”

“What is it? Are you hurt?”

“My shoulder,” Jared said. 

“Okay, I’m going to try and help you up without hurting your shoulder further, but no promises. I could also call an ambulance.”

“No ambulance,” Jared said. “But I might need to see a doctor.”

Jensen nodded and pulled the wheelchair from under Jared. Locking the brakes he put it next to them and then picked Jared up, careful not to touch his shoulder. Still Jared hissed in pain and Jensen could see that the shoulder was probably dislocated. 

“I’m taking you to the hospital,” he announced. “In the best case it’s only dislocated.”

Jared rolled his eyes. “Because I always get the best case scenario.”

They somehow got Jared in the car and back out of it in front of the hospital. Jensen pushed Jared inside and not only was Jared quiet about it, Jensen could feel how it was eating him up. He essentially never allowed anybody to push him around. Inside they didn’t have to wait long until they were called into an examination room. 

The doctor who checked Jared gave him some pain killers and relocated the shoulder before sending them of to get X-rays. Jared still wasn’t speaking and after a while Jensen gave up with his pep talk. They’d see what came out of this and they’d deal with it. Just like every time Jared got hit with a curveball.

The doctor analyzing the x-rays looked at Jared and said, “You’re not going to like this.”

Jensen put a hand on Jared’s good shoulder, feeling how tense he was. 

“You’ll need surgery on your shoulder. It’s nothing major, but we need to fix some tendons. We can do that tomorrow and you should be out of here in another day or so.”

“But?” Jensen asked, feeling it coming.

“But you won’t be able to use that shoulder for at least four weeks. No wheeling, no transfers.”

Jensen looked at Jared who closed his eyes, but couldn’t stop the tears from falling.

“He’ll be okay though?” Jensen asked. “After the four weeks?”

The doctor nodded. “Yes. I don’t expect any permanent damage. Shall we get you to a room then, Jared?”

Jared opened his eyes and nodded. 

Jensen knew overwhelming this was for Jared and feared how hard this would hit him. And rightly so. Jared stopped talking, only stared at the wall or the ceiling of his hospital room and withdrew from everything. 

Jensen tried to entertain him, tried to joke or just chat with him, but nothing changed. 

Staying as long as they let him, Jensen only went home for a shower and a quick nap before returning to the hospital first thing in the morning. He only stopped quickly at the store Jared got his wheelchair from to have them check it out. 

When Jensen entered the room, Jared was lying on his left side, his back to the door so Jensen couldn’t see whether he was awake or still sleeping. 

“Hey,” he said quietly, but Jared wouldn’t answer.

Jared didn’t speak the whole morning and it started to freak Jensen out. When he was taken for surgery, Jensen stayed behind in his room, occupying the space in his bed Jared had just left, taking in his scent, fighting the tears that threatened to spill. What had Jared done to deserve another curve ball like that?

After a while he went to find the OR and waited for Jared to be done, pacing the floors of the waiting area and drinking too much awful coffee from the vending machine. He remembered the first time when he’d paced in front of an OR, when it had been his mother they’d operated on. He remembered how he and Jensen had stayed with Mack and how Gerri and his dad had told them that his mom had passed away. He remembered how Jared had been there. Jared had always been there. He couldn’t remember a single day in his life on which he had felt bad and Jared hadn’t been there. But now he wasn’t. He had felt awful and was being operated on and Jensen didn’t know how to make him feel better.

It took quite a while until they wheeled Jared out, his right arm bandaged to his chest, almost making him look like he wore a straight jacket.

“We’re taking him to observation,” the nurse said. “You can visit him once he gets back to his room. Shouldn’t be too long.”

Jensen nodded and went back to Jared’s room, switching on the TV but not really watching, doodling on his phone but not really watching, looking out of the window but not really watching. 

He worried about Jared. Not so much because of the surgery, that seemed to have gone well. But because of his mental health. He knew from previous episodes that what helped Jared most was to spend time outside, to work out, maybe go for a run. Yeah, it didn’t look like that was happening any time soon and it was driving him nuts. What was there to do for him to make him feel better?

“I hear you’re cleared to go home tomorrow?” Jensen asked when he entered Jared’s room the next day. 

Jared only looked at him. “I’ve been thinking” he said.

“About?” Jensen asked, still surprised Jared actually talked.

“Us,” he said. “I don’t think us being together is a good idea.”

Jensen’s jaw dropped. “What?”

“I mean it.”

Jensen shook his head. “Again, what? What in the world would you make say that? Is this still about my father?”

Jared shook his head. “No. This is about me. Us.”

“Yeah, that’s what makes it so freaking unbelievable. Because “us” were doing great just a day ago. So let’s for a moment assume this is about us. What’s the problem here?”

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“Do what exactly?”

“Be with you. As in more than friends.”

“But why?” Jensen asked. 

“Because we were never meant to be more than friends.”

“That’s the most idiotic thing I’ve heard in my life,” Jensen spat. “What the heck is wrong with you?”

“Nothing is wrong, Jensen. I’m just coming to my senses.”

Jensen shook his head. “Definitely not. But you know what? If you don’t want me here and don’t want me to take you home tomorrow, just find someone else to help you. Call me when you see straight again.”

Jensen stormed out of Jared’s room, not looking back, just running to the car and screaming once the door was closed. What the hell just happened?

He drove home, though he couldn’t remember anything about the drive. He slammed the apartment door shut once he was inside and saw Jared’s bag that was still in the hallway. Awesome. 

What the heck was wrong with Jared? Was this just his depression kicking in? Did he really think they should not be together anymore? But why now? They’d just come out to their families, had just gone through all the mess with his father and now that was all for nothing? That didn’t feel right.

Jensen put the clothes from their trip in the washing machine and wandered aimlessly through his apartment. His thoughts kept spinning in circles, he just couldn’t understand why Jared wanted them broken up. They’d hardly ever fought in all their years of friendship and now he broke up with him like this? Why? Why would he do that? Because of the accident? It was just a shoulder injury, he’d be fine in a few weeks. 

Once he’d put the laundry in the dryer, he went out for a walk to clear his mind, but no clearing happened. He grabbed a pizza on his way home and ate it in front of the TV, not even following the movie that was on. 

He folded the laundry and decided to drop off Jared’s at his apartment and see if there was anything he needed. Only when he entered Jared’s apartment did he realize that they were supposedly broken up. What was he even doing here? 

The apartment felt empty and wrong without Jared in it and Jensen somehow kept listening for the rubber of Jared’s wheels on the hardwood floor, but there was nothing.

Jared had broken them up, even though he had confirmed to him time and time again that he was happy to have taken that step. To have left the friend zone. But why change his mind now? Jensen was more than frustrated.

He still put the clothes in the drawers and made a quick check of the apartment. It was all cleaned up and there was nothing spoiling in the fridge as Jared had cleaned everything out before their road trip. So Jensen only aired it out, got the mail from the box and watered the few plants Jared had. 

When he left and locked the door behind him, he wondered briefly if he’d be back. What if the breakup was not some weird spur of the moment thing as he thought it had to be? What if this was what Jared wanted? What if that meant they couldn’t be friends anymore, because how could they ever be friends again after they’d been together like this?

Back at his apartment Jensen went to bed early but couldn’t sleep. He kept tossing and turning and missed Jared like crazy.

Chapter Text

The next morning Jensen woke up and the memories hit him like a punch in the gut. Jared was going home today and he wasn’t invited. Jared had broken up with him and he still had no idea why.

He grabbed a toast from the kitchen but wasn’t hungry, so he didn’t even butter it but threw it on the table. He went to the living room and curled up on the couch, too sad and tired to do anything but wonder what Jared was doing. 

Around lunchtime he took a shower and ate the stale bread from the kitchen table, then went back to the couch.

It was already afternoon when his phone rang. He didn’t know the number, but answered anyhow. “Yeah?”

“Hello, we’re calling to let you know that the nurse scheduled for this evening has called in sick and we don’t have anyone to replace her.”

“Nurse?” Jensen asked irritated.

“Yes, the nurse scheduled for Mr. Padalecki. She won’t be able to come over tonight. We couldn’t reach Mr. Padalecki on his phone, but this was the number the hospital gave as emergency contact. Will you be able to relay the information to him?”

“Yes, yes I will. Thanks for calling.”

Jensen hung up and stayed seated on the couch. The hospital had arranged for a nursing service to take care of Jared. Which made sense if Jared had told them that he lived alone and had no family nearby. 

Suddenly the coin dropped. 

That was why Jared had broken up with him. Because Jared had assumed Jensen wouldn’t be around to help him and he would rather rely on a nursing service than go through the hopes of Jensen being there for him and then get those crushed. Again. This really had nothing to do with his father and not even with the injury as such. This was Jared pushing him away so he wouldn’t get hurt again.

And he had let him alone for two days, essentially confirming he was right.

Jensen got up, grabbed his wallet and a jacket and was out of the door in a minute. He got take-out from their favorite Chinese place on the way to Jared’s apartment where he let himself in and found Jared on the couch. He was wearing black sweatpants and a white t-shirt. Only his left arm was actually inside the black hoodie, the right was tightly pulled to his body by a shoulder strap. His hair was a bit tousled and his locks curled behind his ears in a way that Jensen had to remind himself that they were broken up and that he had to keep his hands to himself.

“Hey,” he said when Jared looked at him surprised. “Nurse called in sick.”

“And what are you doing here?”

“I just told you, the nurse called in sick. I’m here to help you get into bed.”

“I didn’t ask you to.”

Jensen rolled his eyes. “I know. Bad luck. I’m here, so let’s do it. Have you eaten?”

Jared shrugged and Jensen took that as a no. He put the Chinese food on the table next to Jared and got forks from the kitchen. He handed Jared his favorite dish and said, “Eat up.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“You still need to eat. Come on. Or do I need to feed you? I can do airplanes and everything.”

Jared cursed something ineligible and grabbed the box. Holding it in his right hand, the one in the shoulder strap, he ate with his left hand. It took him longer than Jensen was used to, but he managed. Jensen watched him and ate as well, but didn’t interfere and didn’t talk. The fact that Jared hadn’t thrown him out felt like the first victory. When he was done, he took the boxes and threw them in the trash, then got Jared’s pills from the perfectly organized dispenser and a glass of water. “Here,” he said and handed him first the pills and after he’d put them in his mouth, the glass. 

Jared kept staring at him, as if he thought that would make him go away, but he hadn’t said anything like that and Jensen was sure he was right. Jared didn’t want him gone, he only wanted to protect himself from Jensen leaving again. So he just wouldn’t. 

“How’s your back?” he asked, knowing that being in one place all day, even if it was the comfy couch, wasn’t good for Jared’d back.

He shrugged. “It’s been better. I miss being mobile, that always helped. But no, I’m stuck with that awful hospital chair because mine doesn’t have handles.”

“I’m sorry, that sucks.” Jensen said, not adding that he was working on a solution for that, fearing that it might fall short. “You want to move to the bedroom? Take a shower?”

Jared shook his head. “Bedroom yes, but I kind of showered this morning. So I’m good. You will need to help me in the bathroom, though. Or get another nurse here.” Jared blushed. 

“I’ll help,” Jensen said. “Just tell me what I need to do.” He was pretty sure Jared couldn’t catheterize himself and would need help in that department, on the other hand the nurse probably only stopped by in the morning and the evening, so that didn’t work with his usual schedule. “Let’s get you to the bathroom,” Jensen said, pretty sure that mystery would solve itself there. 

He pulled the wheelchair next to the sofa and helped Jared to sit upright. He put the transfer board Jared pulled from behind the couch between Jared and the chair, just like he remembered from when Jared was first injured and Mike, the physical therapist, had taught him. Instead of two arms Jared only wrapped one around his neck and there was the shoulder to be considered, but it worked pretty much like back then. Jensen helped Jared’s hips over the board and he sat in the chair without any visible pain. 

Jared made sure his feet were on the footrests and Jensen released the brakes and pushed him to the bathroom. When Jensen closed the door, Jared looked at him. “I need you to pull down my sweatpants, but I don’t want you to freak out.”

“I won’t,” Jensen promised and helped Jared out of the hoodie. 

“I’m off oxybutynin for the day, so I can use a condom catheter and a bag. Since that’s not such a good idea for the night, I still take it for the night and cath as usual in the evening and morning.”

“So you need me to take off the condom catheter and the bag and help you cath yourself? I can do that,” Jensen said, trying to comfort Jared who was obviously close to freaking out, judging from the color if his face and the sound of his voice. 

Jared took a deep breath as if he wanted to say something, but then didn’t, so Jensen took over. “Okay, then let’s get those sweatpants down. Arm around my neck so I can pull you up a bit, okay?”

Jared obliged and Jensen pulled the pants and briefs down, revealing a condom catheter Jensen had never seen on Jared  and a bag attached to his leg. He carefully pulled off the condom and released the velcro that attached the bag to his leg. “Does this go into the toilet?” he asked. 

Jared nodded and said quietly. “Yes, and it does get cleaned out. First with water, then with water and vinegar. It’s left to dry overnight so I can use it again tomorrow.”

Jensen nodded and did as he was told, quickly cleaning the bag. Then he turned back to Jared. “So, what now?”

“My normal kits are in that box there,” he said. “Grab one, wash your hands.”

Nodding, Jensen did as he was told. He grabbed a washcloth and held it toward Jared. “Does little Jared get a wash as well?”

Jared nodded, still blushing. “There’s a special soap,” he murmured and Jensen saw it and put some on the washcloth. Washing Jared’s private parts was much less weird than he had expected, though he was glad this happened after they’d been in a relationship and he’d spend some time with Jared’s dick in other situations. After cleaning Jared, Jensen washed his hands again and per Jared’s guidance got the catheter, lubed it and together with the help of Jared’s left hand, inserted it into his urethra, making sure the other end ended over the toilet. 

While they were waiting for Jared’s bladder to empty, Jared holding things in his left hand,  Jensen wrapped his arms around Jared and kissed him on the cheek. “You can stop being embarrassed,” he whispered in his ear. “It’s okay, I’m here, we got this.”

Jensen knew that Jared didn’t have a hand free to push him away, but he could have said something to make him stop. He didn’t though, and Jensen took that as a good sign. 

When he was done, Jared pulled out the catheter and Jensen threw it in the trash. 

“So, pajama pants? Or are you sleeping in sweatpants?”

Jared shook his head. “No, that’s too warm. They’re on the stool there.”

Jensen grabbed them and helped Jared to put them on. “Okay, shirt next?” This time Jared shook his head. “No, I’ll just keep this one on. I’ll take a shower tomorrow morning and get a fresh one then. It’s not my favorite thing to change at the moment.”

“Okay. So toothbrush then?”

Jared nodded and Jensen put toothpaste on his toothbrush and water in a glass and handed the toothbrush to Jared who started brushing. 

When he was done, Jensen wheeled him to the bedroom and helped him transfer to the bed and position pillows so that he would lie in a way that was good for his back and his shoulder. “You comfortable? Need anything?”

“My cellphone,” Jared said. “Just in case. It’s still in the living room.”

Jensen nodded and went to the living room, making a decision while there. He put the phone on Jared’s nightstand, not even sure he would be able to reach it in case something happened. 

He carefully sat down on the bed next to Jared and looked at him. “I don’t agree with you, you know,” he said quietly. “I think us being together is the best thing that’s ever happened to both of us. So I’ll ignore what you said for now and stay. I’ll be sleeping on the couch, so if you need something, just yell, okay?”

Jared looked at him with big eyes, but didn’t say anything. Jensen leaned forward, kissed him on the forehead and found himself pulled into a one-armed hug. When Jared released the hug and Jensen sat back up, he gently stroked over Jared’s hair and smiled at him. Jared tried to smile back though not completely managing. He still hadn’t said anything and Jensen was okay with that. “Sleep tight, Jay. I’ll be just next door.”

Jensen got up and walked to the door from where he smiled back at Jared before switching off the lights. He made himself the sofa Jared had been lying on and used the bathroom before making himself comfortable. 

In the middle of the night Jensen woke up. When he realized that he was in Jared’s living room, he also realized what had woken him. Jared. 

He tiredly shuffled over to his bedroom and found Jared crying. Jensen sat on his bed and touched his unhurt shoulder. “Hey, Jay. What’s up? Bad dream?”

“Jensen,” Jared said surprised, as if he had forgotten that he was staying in the living room. “You’re here.”

“I said I would. Are you okay?”

“I’m really not,” Jared said and tried to take a breath which sounded more like a sob. “I’m completely screwed up, inside and outside. And I’m so sorry, Jensen.”

“Hey, it’s okay.”

“No, it’s not. I’m so screwed up, I even tried to break up with you. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to, but nothing feels right at the moment and… and…” 

Jensen squeezed himself in the bed next to Jared, making sure he lay on the left side of the bed as not to hurt his shoulder. He stroked over Jared’s hair and brushed away some tears before cupping the back of his head in his hand. 

“I said it’s okay. I love you. I’m not going anywhere. I’m sorry it took me two days to figure it out.”

“I’m so sorry I said that. I love you too. I was scared you’d leave again, but then you left because I told you to and it was awful and…”

Jensen smiled at him, fighting tears himself. “I know. But I won’t. I promise. I understand that you need some space, and if you need that, just tell me. But I’m not leaving. Not ever. You’re stuck with me for life.”

Jared finally smiled a real smile back at him. “I’m okay with that. Very okay. But I can’t promise I won’t be frustrated. This really sucks,” he said, motioning to his shoulder.

“I know,” Jensen said softly, his thumb stroking Jared’s temple. “But it’ll pass. You’ve overcome so much worse.”

“Because of you,” Jared said. 

“And here I am to get you through this as well. If you’ll let me.”

He nodded. “Stay here, please?”

“I just said I would.”

“No, I mean, stay here in bed with me?”

Jensen nodded and kissed him. “I’ll just get my pillow and blanket from the living room.”

Jared nodded. “Okay.”

Jensen kissed him again before getting up quickly to get the bedding from the living room then lay down next to Jared again. “If I’m hurting you in any way, you let me know,” he demanded and Jared nodded. “I will. But not having you here hurt so much more than the shoulder ever did.”

“Then let’s not do that again,” Jensen said. 

“Yeah, let’s not,” Jared replied. 

The ringing of Jared’s phone woke them up the next morning. Jensen handed it to him quickly, seeing it was the nursing service calling. “Oh oh,” he said. 

Jared answered the call and rolled his eyes. “Yeah, fantastic. No idea why I hired you. So, let’s just cancel the contract, okay? You’re not fulfilling your obligations, so I’m cancelling. Yeah, I’ll manage. Bye.”

He looked at Jensen, who said, “Cancelling again?”

“Yeah. So I cancelled. That’s okay, right? You’ll be here to help?”

Jensen smiled at him and very very carefully hugged him. “You don’t even have to ask,” he said. “So I remember something about a shower this morning? You want to do this?”


Jensen grinned. “Can’t wait to get you naked.”

“My shoulder is not up for funny games,” Jared warned. 

“I know. I still like you naked. So let’s do that.”

“Only if you get naked as well. We can shower together.”

“Absolutely,” Jensen said. “Is there another way to do this?”

Jared rolled his eyes. “Well, the nurse did not get naked.”

“Was she hot?”

“Not my type,” Jared replied. “Too many boobs, too little dick.”

Jensen smiled at him. “You are feeling better.”


“Come on then.”

He helped Jared up and into the chair, then pushed him to the bathroom where he helped him undress, catheterize himself and transfer to the shower. Only then Jensen quickly shed his own clothes and joined Jared in the spacious shower, taking the removable shower head in his hand. 

“The shoulder shouldn’t get wet,” Jared said. “It’s not a big deal if it gets a little wet, the bandage needs to be changed afterwards anyhow. But don’t drain it.”

Jensen nodded and started showering Jared from the bottom up. He was just asking how that was supposed to work with washing his hair, when Jared crouched forward a little, letting his head hang. Jensen got his hair wet, then handed the shower head to Jared and grabbed the shampoo. He massaged it into Jared’s scalp, who really seemed to enjoy it. Then he took the soap and generously lathered Jared in it, before taking the shower head back and rinsing him off. A few drops ran down his back and made contact with the bandage covering his sutures, but it wasn’t too bad. He wanted to shut off the shower to help Jared out of it, but he shook his head, took the shower gel instead and squished something on his good hand, starting to lather an already wet Jensen. Jensen smiled and kneeled down to allow Jared better access, taking the shower head to wet his hair and shampooing it himself, all while Jared’s hand all of a sudden seemed very interested in Jensen’s private parts. When he wrapped his hand around Jensen’s dick, he was glad he was already kneeling down, or otherwise his legs might have buckled. 

He continued rinsing himself, while Jared continued stroking his dick, until he was all clean and Jared said hoarsely, “Stand up.”

Jensen obliged and felt Jared’s hand on his ass, pulling him closer. With Jared sitting and Jensen standing, Jensen remembered how Jared had called his height an ass-level view of the world, which meant that Jensen dick was pretty much eye level with Jared and he was definitely taking advantage of that. Jensen had to reach for the shower wall when Jared wrapped his lips around Jensen’s dick, sucking and licking, all while slipping a finger into Jensen’s hole. It didn’t take long for Jensen to come, not with the view he had and that finger and mouth just rubbing him so good. 

Jared sheepishly smiled up at him through his wet bangs and Jensen crouched down to kiss him deeply. “I would return the favor,” he mumbled. “But I think we need to get out of this shower first.”

Jared nodded and waited for Jensen to switch off the shower and give him a towel. Jensen however only wrapped his towel around himself and started drying Jared, being super careful with his shoulder. Then he helped him back into his chair, changed the bandage for a fresh and dry one and started dressing him. He suggested a button down, as it would be easier to put on with the shoulder but Jared shook his head. “I don’t want to wear one at night and then I would have to switch into a tee later today anyhow.”

Jensen shrugged and helped him into the white t-shirt he knew was one of Jared’s biggest. He helped him slip in the right arm first, then the head and then the other arm and Jared didn’t hiss or anything, so he took that as a good sign. He then carefully put the shoulder strap back on, attaching the arm to his body so it wouldn’t move and hurt his shoulder. Only then did he put boxers and sweatpants on Jared and said, “I can put that condom catheter back on. But we can also let that be and have you take your meds.”

“Jensen…,” Jared started but Jensen put a finger on his mouth. “I know. Bathroom every four hours. We can do that. Unless you really don’t want to.”

“Oxy it is,” Jared said. “Thank you, Jen.”

“I told you you don’t have to ask. Just tell me, okay? By the way, did we forget your bowel program?”

Jared shook his head. “No, it’s due tomorrow. But I’m so doing that on my own.”

Jensen nodded and handed him his toothbrush. “Okay, breakfast then?”

Jared, already brushing his teeth, nodded. 

“Let me get dressed first,” Jensen said, as he was still wearing only his towel. 

Jared shook his head. “Don’t worry. You’re a hot nurse. Don’t need clothes,” he said, his mouth full of foam.

Jensen laughed and kissed him on the head, before slipping into boxers and a shirt from Jared and yesterday’s pants. He then pushed Jared to the kitchen, and, after checking what was available, started a breakfast of scrambled eggs with bacon and toast. 

When they were eating, Jared again only with his left hand, but managing this specific dish quite well, Jensen said, “I’m going to pick up some things from my apartment after breakfast, okay?”

Jared smiled. “You look kind of cute in my shirt.”

“I can’t believe this fits you,” Jensen said. “I can wrap this around me twice.”

“That’s not true,” Jared said. 

“Still,” Jensen said. “Getting my own stuff.”

“So you’re moving in?”

“Yeah. Until we start looking for that place in Vancouver we were going to get. I was going to sell my apartment, do you remember?”

Jared looked at him. “I remember. I just wasn’t sure that was still on the table.”

“Dude, nothing has changed. I’m not holding anything your depressed injured asshole-self said against you. But if we’re moving in with each other, I won’t be able to go home if you pull a stunt like that again.”

“I already promised I wouldn’t do that. And we need to get a big enough place anyhow. With working space we can lock ourselves away in if necessary.”

“Own rooms seem like a good idea,” Jensen said. “For you to write and for me to do whatever.”

“I like writing in the middle of things,” Jared said. “But yeah, sometimes it’s good to have a quiet office somewhere.”

Jensen got up and started putting the dishes in the dishwasher and cleaning the kitchen, before saying. “I’ll not be gone long. Want to sit on the couch or stay in the chair?”

“Couch,” Jared said. “This thing is awful.”

Jensen kissed him on the temple before pushing him to the living room and helped him transfer to the sofa, making sure he was okay and had everything before leaving for his apartment. 

Just when he’d packed a duffle with things he’d need at Jared’s for the next few days, his cellphone rang. It was the store he’d brought Jared’s wheelchair to. “Hey, just wanted to let you know that the chair is ready for pick-up any time.”

“Wow, perfect timing. I’ll be there in a few,” Jensen said, and excitedly rushed down to his car. He drove to the workshop which had adjusted Jared’s wheelchair for one-armed drive and got a quick explanation of how that worked. As they hadn’t changed the geometry of the chair, it would still fit Jared the way it was and he could just take it with him. 

He then drove back to Jared, leaving the chair in the entrance area as a surprise, only entering the living room with the duffle across his shoulder.

“Hey,” he said. “I thought about grocery shopping, but I didn’t want to miss the four hour window.”

“It’s still almost an hour to go,” Jared said. “But thank you.”

“Better safe then sorry. I could use another coffee. Want one too?”

Jared nodded. “Yes please.”

They had another coffee and just chatted until Jensen’s timer rang, alarming him of the four hour window.

“You set a timer?” Jared asked in awe. “That’s so sweet of you.”

“Hey, it was my suggestion so I make sure I keep up with your schedule.”

Jared was already sitting up, waiting for Jensen to align the wheelchair and the transfer board, when Jensen said grinningly. “Wait, I have a surprise for you.”

He walked the few steps to the entrance to get Jared’s wheelchair.

“You had it repaired? Finally? But it doesn’t have handles and you can’t push my shoulder.”

Jensen grinned. “Not only repaired. That’s why it took so long.”

“Don’t tell me you had handles installed.”

Jensen shook his head. “Nope, rather the opposite.” He turned it so Jared could better see the left wheel, which now had two rims instead of one. Jared looked at him confused.

“It’s a one-armed drive mechanism,” Jensen explained. “The smaller rim wheels the right wheel. You push both, the chair goes straight, you…”

“I can drive it on my own?” Jared asked incredulously. “This day is turning out to be better and better.”

“Want to take it for a test drive to the bathroom?” Jensen asked and Jared nodded. “Yes. Definitely.”

Jensen now aligned the transfer board with the wheelchair and helped Jared transfer - this time without any armrests getting in the way.

Jared then tried the two rims and essentially got the hang of it, though he did bump into the coffee table struggling with not having the finesse, but grinning widely when he made it to the bathroom. 

“I didn’t think I could love you more,” Jared said, looking up at Jensen. “But you did this for me and it’s so amazing. I didn’t even know something like this existed. I thought people would just get electrical chairs.”

Jensen smirked. “That’s what I thought too, so I was phoning around if we could rent one. But then the medical supply store asked why I wanted that and that your chair could get this instead.”

“I really love you.”

“I love you too. Glad to see you smile.”

They took care of Jared’s immediate business, then Jensen said, “You could join me on that grocery trip.”

Jared looked at him, still smiling widely. “Nope. Not today. But while you’re grocery shopping, I will wheel myself out on the patio. Without anyone helping. And that will be awesome.”

Jensen smiled back at him, because seriously, who could resist smiling Jared. “Be careful. Take your phone.”

“I will.”

“Okay. So grocery shopping for me then. Anything you want to eat?”

“Burgers. No wait, that sucks with just one hand. I don’t know.”

“I’ll figure something out,” Jensen smiled. “I won’t let you starve. I mean, i could alway puree the burgers and you can eat them with a spoon.”

“That’s disgusting. But you could do chili or some curry or something that you can actually eat with one hand.”

“I will. I’ll be back soon,” Jensen promised. 

“I know,” Jared replied, waving him goodbye with his left hand when he left the apartment. 

When Jensen came back a bit more than an hour later, he’d brought enough food to last them a week. He found Jared on the patio, reading a book, his skin glowing from only an hour in the sun.

“Hey, I’m back,” Jensen said. “You need anything?”

Jared shook his head and lifted the sports bottle he’d obviously brought outside. “Nope, I’m good, thanks”

“I’ll put the groceries away. Holler, if you need anything.”

Jared nodded and continued reading. When Jensen came back some time later, placing some sandwiches on the table next to Jared and sitting down on a chair. Jared put the book on the table and looked at Jensen. “I feel like I should be sending a thank you card to that sick nurse.”

Jensen raised his eyebrows. “Why would you do that?”

“If she hadn’t called in sick, everything would still be the same as yesterday. And just 24 hours ago I felt awful. I was hurting and alone and wanted to hide from the world and never come back out.”

“And now?”

“Now I feel so much better. The shoulder still hurts, but I’m neither alone nor do I want to hide, and that’s just thanks to you. And I’m not sure you would have come if the nurse hadn’t called in sick, so I feel like thanking her.”

Jensen took Jared’s left hand in his. “I would have. But you would probably have tried to throw me out again.”

“Which I couldn’t without a nurse.”

“You could have. But it wouldn’t have ended pretty,” Jensen stated.

“It would definitely not have ended with a blowjob in the shower, so no regrets. Thanks for coming, Jen. Thanks for keeping up with me even when I didn’t trust you to.”

Jensen smiled at him. “You are such a sap. And I’m sorry there’s reason for you to not trust me to keep up with you. You know how sorry I am about that. But I swore to you I won’t do that again and here I am. And I understand, okay? Or at least I try. I’m not an expert on depression, but it’s pretty obvious that just lying in front of the TV is not making you feel better, so I’m glad you’re out here, fighting it. And I’ll be here fighting with you, in any way you need me to. I promise.”

“The doc said my shoulder should heal okay and while I won’t be able to use the shoulder, I should be okay with using my right hand more during the next days. That plus that awesome one-hand drive will make it okay. I’m pretty sure. I’ll still need help with transfers and and you’ll need to help with my exercises and check for pressure sores tonight, but when I can put my own sandwich together and, you know, do my bathroom stuff, I will be okay.”

“I know you’ll be okay,” Jensen said. “Because you always turn out okay.”

Jared wheeled himself closer to Jensen and leaned over to kiss him. “Thanks to you.”

“Don’t sell yourself short,” Jensen whispered into the kiss. “You’re just that awesome.”

Jared laughed and used his left arm to pull Jensen into a one armed hug. 

“So, what do you want to do?” Jensen asked, when Jared released the hug. “Stay here? You could also transfer to the lounger. Or we can go somewhere if you want to. I remember taking a certain someone for ice cream when he was in way worse shape.”

Jared shook his head. “Ice cream once my right hand feels okay to use. I’m okay just hanging out in the sun reading my book. If you want to go and work out or whatever, just go ahead.”

Jensen shook his head. “Nah, I’m gonna stay here as well. So, transfer to the lounger?”

Jared nodded. “My back will thank you for it.”

“Come on then, Jared’s back. Let’s do this,” Jensen joked and got the transfer board from the living room before helping Jared to move to the lounger. 

They spent the afternoon in the sun, the only interruption a bathroom break for Jared and a coffee break for Jensen. 

When it was closer to dinner time, Jensen disappeared in to the kitchen, having come up with an idea while shopping today. He came out to the patio with a tablet full of bite sized mini burgers and fries, putting it on the stool between the loungers.

“You made me little burgers?” Jared asked. “You’re the best boyfriend ever.”

“You wanted burgers you can eat with one hand. So here you go.”

Jared smiled at him happily. “You’re awesome.”

“I just hope they taste okay.”

Jared slipped one into his mouth and nodded. “They’re delicious. Not that there was any doubt.” He looked at Jensen, who ate one too, smiling around it. 

“What have I done to deserve you?” Jared asked smilingly. “Seriously, Jen, I have no idea how to ever pay you back.”

Jensen swallowed and took Jared’s hand. “This is not a credit. Just us.”

“But you’ve been doing so much for me. Yesterday and today, but also after the accident. I know you don’t mind, but sometimes I feel our relationship has mostly been about you taking care of me.”

Jensen looked at him sincerely and said, “That’s just not true. Do you remember when my Mom died and Mack was still in the hospital? You kept us sane and together. If you hadn’t taken care of Mack that night and if you hadn’t stayed with me the next weeks, I’m not sure we would have made it.”

Jared frowned. “But I didn’t do anything. You weren’t even talking for most of the time. I just didn’t want you to be alone.”

“And I didn’t want to be alone. And you knew. And you stayed. You essentially moved into my room when I wanted to go home. If this had ever been about giving credit, it would have been you who gave it first and me who#s still paying it back.”

Jared looked at him and nodded, understanding. “But it’s never been. This is just us. This is how we work.”

Jensen nodded. “We take care of each other. We always have. And we won’t stop. Not now, not ever.”

“I think you really like me,” Jared said.

Jensen smiled at him warmly. “No shit, Sherlock.” He gave him a quick kiss and said, “Now eat your burgers.”


The End (for now)