Title: Love In Four Acts part 1
Characters/Pairing: Jensen/Jared, Steve Carlson, Chris Kane, Tom Welling, Mike Rosenbaum, Eric Kripke, Robert Singer
Word Count: 10,636 words in two parts.
Disclaimer: Anyone you know the name of I do not own.
Summary: If Jensen could have just learned to control his anger then he wouldn't be in the position he's in now. But then again if he had learned to control his anger, he wouldn't have ever known Jared as anything other than that klutzy kid.
A/N: Written for arlad who requested "klutzy drama geek!Jared, detention-forced-to-act Jensen" over at The Fall Fandom Free-For-All. Also this is not beta'd.
Act One – I Know What You Did Last Summer
Jared dropped down into a chair across the library table from Chad and, in deference to the school librarian stalking past, settled his books gently on the scarred surface before letting his head thud down on them.
He rolled his head to the side so that he could peer dismally through his bangs at his best friend. “I’m pretty sure I’ve crossed over into the seventh circle of hell.”
Chad snorted, “Well since I’m pretty sure high school is the ninth circle, life must be looking up for you.”
Jared groaned, rolled his head again so that he was once more resting his forehead against his calculus text book and gently began thumping it against the hard cover.
“Seriously Jay what’s with the dramatics?”
He sighed, feeling it pull up from his toes. “I was walking with Sandy, since her Physics class is on the way here and I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going…”
“Jared.” Chad groaned, half in exasperation, half in humor.
“And I didn’t realize that we had gotten to her classroom. Sandy must have stopped to say see ya or something and…”
“You stomped on her toes with your huge ass foot.” Chad guessed.
He didn’t have to be looking at his friend to know one eyebrow would be trying to become one with his hairline.
“What could be worse?” A Sharp intake of breath and Chad rushed on, “Jesus Jared did you break her foot?”
Momentarily he wondered if that would have been worse then what actually happened. Somehow he didn’t think so. “Backed into her and sent both of us ass over teakettle.”
Chad burst out laughing, “Oh that’s priceless!”
A sharp rapping at the far end of the table drew both of their attentions, to the hawk like features of the head librarian twisted in anger.
“Mr. Michael!” She hissed, “If you can’t behave in a manner suitable for the atmosphere of the library I’m going to have to insist that you leave.”
Chad managed to choke down his laughter and appear suitably cowed, “Sorry Mrs. Arnolds. It won’t happen again.”
She sniffed, “Be sure that such an outburst doesn’t.”
They watched her, in silence, as she turned on her heel and headed off in the direction of the reference section.
“Better hope nobody’s in make-out alley.” Chad muttered softly.
Jared sat up and began playing with his calculus text, flipping the pages back and forth slowly. “Yup.” He agreed absently, still mired in his embarrassment from earlier.
He saw Chad turn back towards him but didn’t bother to lift his eyes.
“Okay so we all know you’ve become somewhat of a klutz since your last growth spurt but there’s more to it then just that. What had your attention?”
He sighed again, really this was the part of the story he really didn’t want to tell Chad, knowing he was about to get even more shit.
“Have you seen Jensen Ackles today?”
“Jared.” Chad groaned again.
“He’s got to be wearing the tightest t-shirt I’ve ever seen and he’s got on those black jeans that hug his ass…”
“Ackles.” Chad muttered, “You almost smothered Sandy with your gigantic ass because you were staring at Ackles again. Seriously Jared?”
Heat flooded his face, “Yeah.”
Chad rolled his eyes, “Jay you have got to get him out of your system before you kill somebody.”
Jared let his eyes drop back to his hands. He knew Chad wouldn’t get it. Somehow his friend didn’t seem to understand that Jared’s fascination with Jensen was equal to, if not more then his fascination with whatever piece of eye candy happened to flounce down the hall in a short, tight, skirt.
At least Jensen seemed smart, Jared had seen him going into the classrooms where the advanced diploma courses where held. And he had over-heard him talking to his friends in the hallways, his deep voice sending shivers down Jared’s spine, debating various subjects intelligently. Whereas Chad’s conquests seemed to be more concerned that their hair and make-up were perfect at all times.
“Man the dude’s a cheerleader.” Chad continued, oblivious to Jared’s musings. “Just walk up to him and tell him you want him to fuck you.”
“Chad!” Jared hissed, his gaze jumping to and fore, seeing if anyone had heard his friend.
“Oh come on.” He continued, “Cheerleaders are easy, everybody knows that. And, keep in mind I’m not gay; you’re a good-looking guy. I’m sure he’d do you.”
Jared narrowed his eyes, “Nice.” He growled sarcastically.
“Come on Jay. You are a big enough danger on your own, add Ackles as a distraction and you’ve become a disaster of epic proportions. Just fuck him or get fucked by him so that we can tone down the accidents.”
“Did it ever occur to you that I’m not looking for a quick wham, bam, thank you sir?” He grumbled.
“You can’t be serious.” He spluttered, “You want to have a thing with a senior?”
“The word you want is relationship Chad.”
He shook his head before he gave a whole body shudder, “That would be ball and chain.”
Jared stretched his legs out and leaned back in his chair, the train of conversation had suddenly taken an upswing. Chad would be easily sidetracked debating the pros and cons of relationships and the whole Jensen thing would be forgotten, at least for now.
“What exactly is it that freaks you out so much about having something more meaningful then casual sex anyway?”
“Casual sex can be meaningful.” Chad shot back, “Not to mention a whole world worth of different experiences.”
“Uh-huh.” He didn’t bother to try to hide his disbelief.
“No really.” He continued, “You get to experiment with different techniques, learn what you do and don’t like. What the girl,” he shrugged, “or in your case guy, likes. I’m becoming a sex god from all the knowledge I’m gleaning. Women will be lining up to have sex with me.”
Jared snorted, “The only thing you’re going to become is a walking advertisement for at least one STD.”
Chad rolled his eyes in disgust before looking away. “Whatever dude.” He mumbled as he scanned the room for, presumably, a new conquest.
Jared grinned inwardly, his friend would sulk for, probably, the rest of the period and by the time he remembered he was supposed to be grilling him about his crush on Jensen Ackles, they would be headed to their, separate, next period classes.
He flipped open his calculus textbook, hoping to get some studying done for his next period test, if he could stop the technicolor replay of his display in front of Jensen out of his mind long enough to concentrate. But his mind refused to focus on anything other than the small smile that had played around Jensen’s lips as he watched Jared try to untangle himself from Sandy.
He’s never going to see me as anything other than some klutz kid. He bemoaned silently. Why would he when really that’s all Jared seemed to be recently?
“Hey!” Chad smacked his arm to get his attention. “Check it out.”
“Fucker.” He grumbled but lifted his head to glare across the table at him. “How many times do I have to tell you that I’m not interested in whatever pair of tits you’ve decided to grace your time on?”
He sneered before motioning with his head towards the door, “I’m doing you a favor, smartass.”
Jared was pretty sure he knew who he was going to see before he turned his head but still found his heartbeat speed up as he watched Jensen move through the study tables, full of students and heading in their, his, direction.
He felt a stab of panic slice through him and his palms started to sweat. He’s not, he thought a little desperate, he’s not coming over here. He doesn’t even know who I am.
A flash of falling over Sandy and glancing up to see the patented Jensen eyebrow and that smile snapped in front of his eyes.
Well as anything other than some klutz kid. He amended silently, quickly thinking and then dismissing the idea that Jensen would be coming over to make fun of him. Jensen wasn’t the type; at least, he hadn’t seen any evidence to suggest it. If it turned out he was one of those assholes, it was going to totally ruin the perfect image Jared had of the guy.
Jared would probably never be certain exactly what happened or in what order but one minute he was trying to calm his racing heart and silently begging every deity he had ever heard of that he wouldn’t make a complete ass of himself in front of Jensen and then the next minute all hell seemed to break loose.
One minute, Jensen was walking in his direction then suddenly he was dragging another senior out of a chair sitting at one of the other tables and they were physically fighting, not simply shoving and tossing threats back and forth but fist throwing, shirt tearing, dragging each other to the floor, fighting. In the brief shocked silence, Chad had muttered “Holy fuck!” in a voice that sounded close to awe and then the head librarian and two of her helpers were converging on the scene and the noise they made seemed to break the spell. Students started yelling, screams of “fight” or “Jensen” or “Tom” almost drowning out the screeching of the three women trying to pull the two seniors apart.
The sounds of pounding feet coming from behind him made him aware of another senior, Mike Rosenbaum, was up and sliding across the table that Tom Welling had been sitting at before Jensen had dragged him out of his chair. He watched him try to pull Jensen off of the other boy, just as another couple of seniors sprinted past.
“Jen!” One of them called.
“God damnit Jensen!”
It took the three of them to heave Jensen up and off the pinned Tom before it finally filtered into Jared’s confused mind that the other two were Steve Carlson and Chris Kane, although he couldn’t be surprised, he knew the two late comers to the fight were friends of Jensen’s. Although pressed about it, he would have said that all five of them had been friends at the beginning of the year, only now, watching Mike pull Tom up while shooting dark looks at the other three, it would seem that something had changed the status quo. His eyes shifted to Jensen and the others, Steve had his face pressed against his ear and Jared could make out his jaw working as he whispered something and Chris was pushing him back with both hands on his chest.
“Out of my library!” Mrs. Arnolds spat, one long bony arm raised, equally skeletal finger pointing towards the door. “To the office now!”
“Whatever.” Jensen growled and shook off his friends before stalking from the library.
“You too Mr. Welling.” She shook the arm still pointing towards the door.
Tom tried to smile but winced as it pulled the muscles in his cheek and Jared vaguely realized that Mr. Kripke was going to shit when he saw the black eye that Tom was going to be sporting shortly, if the swelling around his right eye was anything to go by.
“Yes Mrs. Arnolds.” He hung his head and Jared had a sneaking suspicion that he was using his training in drama class to try to sooth the woman. “I’m sorry about all this.”
However it seemed the head library was not moved by his display, “Now Mr. Welling.”
His air of regretfulness seemed to fade as his eyes hardened, “Right away.” He grumbled before he too turned on his heel and stalked from the library.
“What the hell?” Chad muttered.
Jared shook his head but didn’t turn to look at his friend as he watched some of the other students mill around at a loss. “I have no idea.”
“Ahh Mr. Welling and Mr. Ackles.”
Jensen shut his eyes while he listened to the principle, Mr. Kripke, shut his office door and moved to settle in front of them at his desk.
He wasn’t surprised that they had been sent into the principle’s office together, Kripke was nothing, if not efficient and if he was going to have to take time in his day to expel two students for fighting, he would do so as quickly as possible.
Jensen felt his heart sink, his parents were going to rip him a new one for this. After the last time, he had been warned that there would be hell to pay if he was caught fighting Tom again and yet he had still gotten into a scrap with his one time friend. And what really picked his ass about it was that it wasn’t completely Tom’s fault. So maybe Tom had called him a pansy-assed faggot but honestly he didn’t have to let it get to him. But after everything, after the summer and the first three months of school, he could admit that he was just looking for an excuse to take his frustrations out on his ex-friend. In hindsight though, he wished he could at least contain his anger until they were off the school grounds.
He snorted silently, too little, too late to be considering that now.
“I’d like to say I’m surprised to see you boys, again, but unfortunately, I’d be lying.” Principle Kripke settled more comfortably in his chair and tapped the tips of the fingers of his right hand against two folders he had carried into the room with him. “In case you two have lost track in your busy schedules let me remind you boys that this is strike three.”
Tom groaned off to his side, “Mr. Kripke…,”
The principle held up his hand, “Don’t bother Tom.” He warned low, “I don’t want to hear the excuses again since we all know that’s all they are.”
He glared back and forth between the two of them, “Unless of course one or both of you is willing to come clean to what’s going on with you?”
Jensen didn’t even bother to glance at Tom from the corner of his eye, knowing that the other boy would be squirming in his chair and it was a balm to his bruised dignity. It would go a long way, if he opened his mouth and spilled the whole sordid tale to the principle about what had happened between them but his pride wouldn’t allow it. He could have cared less if the truth had gotten back to Tom’s parents but to admit that he been played by someone he thought had been a close friend was just too much to bare, so he’d keep his mouth shut. If Tom wanted to come clean, then he’d speak but until then he’d take the consequences silently.
Principle Kripke sighed, “No?” He spared a glance at each of them before he shook his head.
He cleared his throat and picked up the manila file folders, “Okay.” He started slowly as he tapped them on his desk, “Well the good news is that I’m not going to expel you boys, though it is completely within my right.”
Jensen felt his shoulders lighten; maybe he would manage to keep this from his parents, the stinging of his split lip reminding him that there was physical evidence of the fight but he could talk his way out of that. He was on the cheer squad and accidents sometimes happened and as long as Principle Kripke wasn’t going to call his parents he might still be able to keep his truck and continue school.
“The bad news is that after the last fight and the subsequent pathetic excuses, I took it upon myself to call your parents.”
Shit! Shit, shit, shit! His father might be more of the line of thinking that nothing would work bad habits out of his children like hard work. But his mother, his mother was diabolical and could come up with the most evil punishments at the drop of a hat.
The memory of his older brother, Josh, and him having to sit in separate corners of the family room picking negative colored fuzz balls off of a white fuzzy blanket and black fuzzy blanket separately after being caught trying to smoke their father’s cigarettes when they were kids, flashed through his mind. It had taken them hours, Josh working on the white blanket with black fuzzies and him with the black with white fuzzies. And that had been one of her nicer ideas.
If they weren’t being expelled then there had to be some sort of punishment that fit the crime and if his mother was involved, it was a foregone conclusion that both of them would have preferred expulsion.
“It was decided in a meeting with your parents that instead of expelling you boys and losing any chance at the colleges you have applied for, that steps would be taken to find a way to make you boys at least manage to work together without open hostility.”
He couldn’t help it, he and Tom had been friends since middle school and the other boy had to know that his mother probably had a hand in this punishment, and he hoped that he was just as worried about this as he was, he snuck a glance at him out of the corner of his eye. He wasn’t disappointed; Tom had gone completely white.
He wanted to crow, wanted to shout “serves you right” at him, since it was Tom’s fault they were where they where but even the thought, no matter how right it felt, would serve nothing. Instead he kept his mouth shut and waited for the blow to come.
“In that vein it has been decided that you,” he gestured to Tom, “will help out with the cheer squad until their competition. And you, Jensen, shall be Tom’s stand in for the next school play, in case it arises that he can’t make a show.”
“What?” Tom yelled as Jensen sputtered, “When you mean help out? That doesn’t mean that he’s going to have to learn the routine does it?”
Principle Kripke shrugged, “That’s up to your teacher Jensen.”
“But he doesn’t act.”
Tom’s arm swung into his field of vision and he had to clench his hands tightly in his lap to stop himself from grabbing it and breaking it, if for no other reason then to ensure that he wouldn’t even be considered as anything other than a water boy. Tom Welling learning cheers, what the hell was the world coming to?
“Well you’d better be prepared to help him out then Mr. Welling.” Principle Kripke continued, “Because it’s either this form of detention or expulsion. Which would you prefer?”
Jensen knew his answer, his father would send him to military school if he got expelled, and maybe his dad had more or less accepted that his son was gay but he didn’t think a school full of jarheads would. Still he kept silent waiting for Tom to decide what he wanted to do, refusing to seem desperate to stay, waiting for his one time friend to do it for them.
“Well what’s it going to be boys?”
He felt Tom shift and look over at him but refused to acknowledge him or the pounding in his heart.
“Fine.” Tom finally grumbled.
Principle Kripke raised an eyebrow at him, “And you Mr. Ackles?”
He swallowed and managed to keep the relief from his voice, “Works for me sir.”
Principle Kripke smiled, it did nothing to make Jensen feel better about not being expelled.
Jared settled into the corner of the drama room, waited for the rest of the cast and crew to make their way in from their lockers and allowed himself the luxury of a four year old and sulked.
Chad had helpfully reminded Jared, as they walked out of the library after the fight between Jensen and Tom, that that was the third time the seniors had been caught fighting on school grounds and everyone knew what that meant.
Expulsion. Period, end of sentence, thank you and goodnight.
His friend’s words had sent him into a funk for the rest of the day and it wasn’t just because he wouldn’t be seeing Jensen anymore, although that was a big part of it. There was also the fact that the Drama Club had exactly six weeks left until it was supposed to put on “A Few Good Men” but Tom had been cast as Col. Nathan Jessep and with no stand in cast they were pretty much screwed.
Usually Jared wouldn’t be so worked up over it, sure he liked Drama and all, but he was only in the class for the easy credit. But this time around there had been extra credit offered in all the Drama classes for those willing to participate and he had really been looking forward to it.
The image of Jensen’s profile, blood dripping from his chin from his split lip as he glared at Tom that morning ghosted across his vision. Though the truth of the matter was, it was still not getting the opportunity to ogle Jensen’s ass daily that was the most depressing thing about the whole situation. That and the fact that he had never managed to get up the nerve to, at the very least, say something, even a simple hello, in passing, to Jensen and now he would never have the chance.
The door to the drama room opened time and again and he watched as the rest of the cast and crew trickled in, in groups of twos and threes, each face reflecting his own thoughts back to him. Each face showing signs of belief that as soon as their teacher, Mr. Singer, appeared, it would be the official end of production.
He wanted to be relieved, no more late night and weekend rehearsals, no more stressing over lines and cues, but a part of him, a big part, was enjoying himself. Not that he ever had any intention of becoming an actor but the occasional foray on the stage was fun, even with the nerves and the cold and calculating teenage politics that dominated backstage.
The door opening one last time interrupted Jared’s thoughts and he felt his heart stutter.
As expected, Mr. Singer strode into the room but following closely behind him were Tom and Jensen.
What the hell was going on? Did principle Kripke expect for Tom and Jensen to publicly apologize to the Drama club and probably the cheer squad for leaving each one short? And honestly why the hell would either of them agree to do so since, technically, being expelled, the principle really couldn’t make them do anything?
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Mr. Singer beamed at the silent faces staring up at him. “We have finally found our stand-in for Tom here.” He motioned from Tom over to Jensen. “This is Jensen Ackles and he has agreed to help us out.”
Jared hadn’t been able to tear his eyes off Jensen since he had first appeared through the door following his teacher so he didn’t miss the slight sneer that pinched his features before his face smoothed back out into the blank mask it had been all along. It was obvious that Jensen hadn’t agreed to help out from the goodness of his heart and he couldn’t help wondering why he, or Tom for that matter were there at all. Three strikes meant expelled, not in school community service.
“I have decided since we only have six weeks left until opening night, it is for the best that for the next two days Jensen, Tom and Jared work together to get Jensen up to speed. I expect the rest of the cast to run lines and work on your cues quietly in groups. And crew continue working on the props and backdrops please and thank you.”
Jared blinked; he had to work closely with Jensen for the next two days? Shit! Oh shit! He seemed to lose what little coordination he had when he was in the same hallway with Jensen, how the hell was he supposed to get any closer to the guy without causing some major damage to either himself, Jensen or Tom?
“Jared if you could just come over here and you three boys can set up in my office backstage where it will be somewhat quieter.”
He felt his heart pick up and his palm start to sweat. Taking a deep breath, he pulled himself to his feet, I can do this. Jensen is just another guy. A hot guy I want but just a guy.
Jared stepped forward, forgetting the first riser was right in front of him and he had a longer step, his foot caught on the edge and before he could catch himself, fell.
“So let me get this right,” Chris grinned around the mouth of his can of Coke, “You’re sorry ass isn’t expelled because you agreed to be in the Drama club’s production of “A Few Good Men”?”
Jensen leaned further back into the cushions of the couch in Chris’ basement and pushed at his own can of pop with his big toe of his right foot. “Yeah.”
Chris started to chuckle, “And you have to play nice with Welling?”
He crossed his arms over his chest, ‘If you laugh Chris I swear to Christ...”
His warning came too little, too late as his friend doubled over in the armchair he was sitting in and let his laughter go. “Oh fuck that’s priceless!”
He ignored the urge to jump up and smack his friend on the back of the head. After all, he had managed to give Tom a black eye and at least a couple of bruised ribs, wasn’t expelled and thanks to his mother, his only penance for fighting was being part of the play. He still had his truck, his freedom, his place on the cheer squad, really things weren’t that bad.
Steve stomped down the stairs, “So what’s it like?”
Jensen raised an eyebrow, “What’s what like?”
“Parading your pretty ass back and forth across a stage?”
He rolled his eyes, “Steve…” he groaned.
“Would you prefer if I asked if you’ve managed to find your happy place while dealing with Welling’s shit?”
He let his mind wander back through the events of the afternoon, his worries that he wouldn’t be able to go through with it, he wouldn’t be able to be in that close of proximity to Tom and not wrap his hands around the bastard’s neck and shrugged.
“It’s not that bad I guess.” He allowed slowly, “It’s not like he’s the only person there. And there’s this kid, Jared, that’s playing the other lead so I need to spend time with him too.”
And it hadn’t been so bad once he realized that he wasn’t going to be sequestered in some corner with only Tom to interact with. And Jared seemed like a nice enough kid, other than his inherent worry about his personal safety around him. The guy was kind of a klutz, he had managed to fall down the risers not ten minutes after Jensen had followed the Drama teacher and Tom into the classroom, which made Jensen realize that he had seen the kid around before and that “accident waiting to happen” fit Jared like a “T”. But he could sympathize, figuring that the guy had probably had a recent growth spurt or two and had yet to get accustom to his impressive height.
Steve raised an eyebrow, “Spend time or spend time?”
Jensen blinked, “What the hell dude?”
Chris sat up with a speculative look on his face as he glanced between Steve and Jensen.
Suddenly feeling like a bug under a microscope, he fidgeted in his seat until he caught the slow grin forming on Steve’s face.
Ok so maybe he had noticed that Jared was only about an inch or two shorter than him. Maybe he had noticed that the kid’s eyes were an amazing mix of blue/green/brown that seemed to shift color as he breathed. Maybe he noticed how they tilted up at the corners, like a cat or a fox. Maybe he wondered if the kid’s floppy brown hair was as soft as it looked. Maybe he liked the way he smiled. But none of that meant that he wanted to actually spend time with the kid. After everything that had gone down with Tom he hadn’t been interested in anyone in particular it was just that, he was a young man, a virile young man and he probably just needed to get laid.
“It’s just, I haven’t seen that look on your face for awhile.”
He tried to force his features into something close to neutral looking, something that wouldn’t give away that because Steve had mentioned it, now he was thinking about Jared as more than just that “kid”.
“Huh.” Chris mused, “I do believe you’re right Steve.”
“Oh fuck off!” Jensen grumbled, “I have no idea what the hell you two are talking about.”
“Uh-huh.” Chris chuckled.
He threw his hands up in the air, “He’s just a kid!”
“And what? Suddenly we’re adults?”
“Hey! Speak for yourself sparky.” Chris chucked his empty can at Steve’s head.
Steve knocked it out of the air before it could make contact, “Yeah you’re an adult.”
Chris opened his mouth before snapping it shut on a huff.
“That’s what I thought.” Steve grinned smug.
“You know what? It doesn’t matter.” He waved his friend off, “We were discussing Jensen and his newest lust.”
“I’m not lusting after Jared.” Jensen spluttered, “He’s just some kid I have to deal with until this play business is over.”
“So how is it that you managed to make it through three hours of rehearsal with Tom then?” Chris leaned forward, “Hell you can’t even walk past him in the library without tackling him out of his chair…”
“I told you, he started it.” He defended himself, “I’m more then so fucking tired of him calling me a pansy assed faggot every chance he gets.”
“So what? The drama teacher stayed close to you three all afternoon?” Steve looked sceptical.
“Of course not.” He growled, “But you know Tommy, he likes to keep up his appearance of “good boy next door”, so he’s not going to say or do anything that’s going to compromise that image in front of anyone else.”
Neither of his friends looked anymore convinced then they had moments before. And the bitch of it was, suddenly he wasn’t so convinced that he hadn’t enjoyed himself because of Jared then in spite of Tom.
“So you’re telling me that you spent three hours, three, with Jensen Ackles and you didn’t say or do anything?”
Jared banged the back of his head, lightly, against the brick wall of the school as he watched students slowly making their way across the yard towards the start of another school day.
“We were rehearsing for the play.” He muttered softly, “Besides Tom was there, what was I supposed to do?”
Chad leaned his shoulder against the wall beside him and shook his head, “So?”
He twisted his head so that he could look his friend in the eye, “So? What the hell do you mean so? I’m not going to make a move on the guy with Tom standing right there.”
Chad snorted, “Dude you’re not going to make a move on him anyway. Jesus you’re such a pussy.”
He turned to glare out across the grounds, mutely. What could he say to that when it was pretty much the truth?
He had spent most of the night going over the events of the previous afternoon and even if he hadn’t fallen on his ass for the second time that day in front of Jensen there was no way he could make his mouth work around the guy. At least not if it wasn’t what was required of him and somehow he didn’t think he could work in “hey do you wanna go on a date?” as something his character would say.
“Shut up Chad.”
“Ohh I’m wounded.” He chuckled.
“Look, just stow it okay.” He grumbled before he pushed off the wall and started towards the doors.
“Hey Jare come on dude. I’m just fucking with you.”
Jared could hear Chad hurrying to catch up with him but didn’t acknowledge him at all. He felt bad enough about himself; he didn’t need Chad riding his ass about it too.
“Jared!” Chad grabbed his arm and pulled him to a stop. “Dude come on.”
He sighed, “Look I’m a klutz. I’m too tall, too skinny for my height. I’m look like a dork. Okay I know that.” He ran a frustrated hand through his hair, “And I’m a pussy. But honestly why even bother when we both know he wouldn’t have anything to do with me if it wasn’t for the play. So can you just let it go please?”
Chad stepped back and raised an eyebrow, “Wow that’s quite the funk you’ve got going there.”
He rolled his eyes, “Look just drop it okay?”
“No.” He shook his head, “Look we’ve been friends since we were tiny, snot nosed kids and this is the first time I’ve seen you this twisted, this down on yourself.”
Okay, so maybe he had done a lot of thinking last night and found himself coming up lacking. At least he had figured out before he had somehow managed to find the nerve to actually make a complete fool of himself and make a move on Jensen. It was bad enough that Jensen had been around more often then not to see his total lack of coordination and that was all the humiliation he could take where the hot, senior was concerned.
“Chad, Jensen is my pipe dream okay. It’s just taken me awhile to figure it out.”
He crossed his arms over his chest, “Did he say or doing something to you yesterday? ‘Cause you know if he did I’m kicking his ass, hot or not.”
“No!” Jared was quick to reassure because even if Chad was shorter then he or Jensen, he was a wiry little shit who would lay it on the line for his friends.
“You sure because I’ve never seen you this down in my life.”
He shrugged dejectedly, “Maybe I’m just facing growing up.”
Chad spluttered but before he could comment, the first bell of the day rang, saving Jared from having to continue arguing his complete belief that Jensen Ackles would never see him as anything other than a klutzy kid.
All he had to do was get through the next six weeks and then everything could go back to the way it was supposed to be. Jensen, a hot but completely unattainable senior with no connection whatsoever with Jared.
Act Two – Continental Divide
Jensen sighed as he watched Jared and Tom go through their paces from his spot backstage.
Damn but he was tired, between rehearsing the play on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and cheer squad on Tuesdays, Thursdays and double practice Sundays, he was beginning to wonder if maybe expulsion wouldn’t have been the nicer of the two punishments. And if it wasn’t bad enough that the rest of the cheer squad was pissed at him because of the way their practices had to be rearranged around him, he also had to spend time with Tom every single day and keep his temper in check.
Really he should get a metal for being a saint.
And then there was Jared.
Thanks to Steve’s little revelation, he had actually started to think about the kid. Okay maybe that wasn’t entirely true, after his discomfort at having been thrust into a group of people that he really had no connection with had faded, it occurred to him that he had seen the other guy around the school hallways. In fact he was pretty sure Jared had been watching him off and on all year. Which on it’s own would have been flattering but it wouldn’t have made any kind of impact on his life if he hadn’t had any reason to spend time with him. But now he was finding that other than being a klutz, he was a friendly, open kind of guy, with a ready smile and a joke or story for everyone.
At least, everyone but Jensen.
With Jensen he was distant, only speaking when spoken to, only really interacting with him when it was his turn to play the role assigned to him. It made him wonder if maybe what he thought he remembered was perhaps wrong. Maybe Jared hadn’t been watching him at all.
Funny how now that he knew more about him, it bothered Jensen in ways he didn’t think it should.
He had always thought he was a friendly, if a little reserved, guy, and he was willing to give everyone a chance, if nothing else. But every time he tried to engage Jared in any kind of conversation that didn’t revolve around their characters, the kid didn’t seem all that interested in him at all.
Sometimes he wondered if maybe it was because he was embarrassed about falling down the risers that first day Jensen had been thrust into his world. Or if he remembered that Jensen had also been there earlier that day when he had practically smothered his friend when he had fallen on her. Or perhaps Tom had been spreading shit about him to the drama club but if that was the case, then why was it everyone else seemed fine with him but Jared. Or, and this concern made him sick to his stomach, maybe Jared was a homophobe, and it wasn’t like Jensen had ever hidden that he was gay.
The last one bothered him the most because usually he was a pretty good judge of character and he didn’t think Jared was some kind of asshole. But then again he had been wrong about Tom.
“And that’s it for the day.” He turned from studying Jared to Mr. Singer as he strode towards the stage. “It’s looking good guys.” He smiled up at the actors shaking off their characters.
He nodded towards where Jensen was slipping out from beside the backdrop, “I think on Friday we’ll run through this scene again but Jensen will take his turn as Col. Nathan Jessep.”
Tom scowled and Jared cut his eyes towards Jensen before turning back to their teacher and smiled. But Jensen noticed his smile was smaller, less bright then usual and something painful dropped into his stomach.
He just wished he knew what it was he had ever done to the kid to make him dislike him without ever getting to know him first.
At least Mr. Singer had given him an excuse to get Jared alone for at least a couple minutes and maybe he could figure out why, one, he was drawn to the younger kid and two, what Jared’s problem was with him.
He jumped at the sudden clap of Mr. Singer’s hands, realizing that at some point he had faded out of the conversation.
“Alright you’re free to go gang. Just make sure you’re all back here Friday after school.”
Ignoring the calls of the students around him, he watched Jared jump from the stage, stagger before catching his balance and then head towards where his backpack was sitting at the back of the room.
A sudden case of nerves struck him as he started towards the quickly retreating Jared.
Jared went stock still before slowly turning to face him and he could see his throat work for a couple seconds before he answered him.
He quickly crossed the room, ignoring the fluttering in his stomach and the urge to run. He had never run from a challenge and that’s what this was now. He wanted to know why Jared disliked him so much. He wanted Jared to get to know the real him before he decided that Jensen wasn’t worth his time. And he intended for that to start happening now.
He pushed aside the voice in his head that sounded a lot like Steve questioning his motives, whispering it was because he liked Jared, wanted to get to know him better him self and that it had nothing to do with just being friends.
“Would you have the time to maybe run through lines with me tonight.”
Jared’s fascinating eyes widened, “Run lines?”
He shuffled from foot to foot and then chastised himself silently for it. He was acting like an idiot, like a guy with a crush, which was just foolish and utterly Steve and Chris’ fault. “Yeah.”
He watched Jared scan the room and nod his goodbye to a couple people as they walked out of the room.
“I really don’t have the time right now.” He hedged slowly, “I’ve got a lot of homework and…”
No. There was no way he was going to accept this. Not a fucking chance.
“Look, you don’t want me ending up looking like a complete tool if I have to stand in for Tommy during one of the performances do you?”
Jared chewed on his lip, took a deep breath and then seemed to deflate before him. “Of course not.”
He just wanted one chance to prove that he wasn’t a bad guy, “Then you’ll do this?”
“Yeah.” Jared breathed quietly, “Yeah of course.”
Jensen couldn’t help but grin, ignoring the elation he felt as anything other than relief that Jared was at least willing to give him a chance to prove that he wasn’t the jerk that the other boy seemed to think he was.
“Great.” He nodded towards Jared’s backpack, “Grab that and we’ll take off then.”
“Where do you want to go?” Jared asked as he spun around to grab his backpack.
“Well my parents are at work and my little sister will be at her friend’s place so I figured we’d go to my house.” Actually he hadn’t planned that far ahead, more focused on convincing Jared to spend sometime with him outside of the drama room but there wasn’t any reason not to have him over.
He had grabbed his bag and was just turning back to face him when his foot slid off the riser he was standing on.
In a split second, Jensen could see him coming down on his anklebone and probably breaking it. Without thinking, he sprinted forwards and grabbed him by the shoulders, steadying them both.
That close, with Jared’s chest almost pressed right up against him, Jensen realised that the other boy was actually his exact height, which meant the kid was going to outgrow him before he was done and damn if thought didn’t suddenly turn him on. And he smelt really, really good.
He cleared his throat and gently pushed Jared away from him by his shoulders before releasing him. “Dude you have got to be more careful.”
Jared was red, “If you haven’t noticed I’m kind of a klutz.” He mumbled and dropped his eyes to the shoulder straps of his bag, clutched tight in his white fingers.
Feeling suddenly bad for even bringing it up while remembering his own foray into lack of coordination when his first growth spurt hit and he found that he and gravity no longer agreed, he nudged Jared’s shoulder with his own.
“Think you’re the only one who’s ever gone through this?” He ensured to keep his voice light.
His words didn’t seem to make Jared any less uncomfortable.
“Dude come on.” He tried again as he grabbed the other boy’s bicep and pulled him towards the door. “I tripped over a crack in a sidewalk one time.”
Jensen saw his head snap up and stare, disbelievingly, at him from the corner of his eye. “Bullshit.”
He chuckled, “No really.”
He felt the muscle in Jared’s arm jump and it was then that it occurred to him that he had yet to let go of him. Reluctantly, damn Chris and Steve anyway for their ideas, he let go of him but stuck close as they walked down the hall.
“I’ll tell you about it on the way to my place.”
Jared had to keep fighting down the urge to pinch himself. He was sitting in Jensen Ackles truck, sharing stories about their unfortunate share of accidents while Jensen drove them towards his house.
He was with Jensen Ackles. He was going to Jensen Ackles house. He kept thinking this had to be some kind of dream.
But every single time he bit the inside of his cheek, nothing changed, he was still here with Jensen. Jensen, who he had tried very hard for the last week to forget as anything other than some guy he had to act with. Jensen, who he had been crushing on for the better part of a year. Jensen.
“Jared can I ask you something?”
He felt something cold slither down his spine but he forced himself to turn and look at the other boy. Not that that helped, Jensen was sitting stiffly in the driver’s seat, staring hard out at the road before them.
He had to swallow twice before he could answer, “Yeah.”
“I’ve never made it a secret that I’m gay,” he started slowly. “It’s pretty much common knowledge around school.”
He raised an eyebrow, unsure as to where Jensen was going. “Yeah I’ve heard.”
“Is that…” he glanced over at him before quickly turning his attention back to the road. “Is that what bothers you about me?”
Jared blinked and then blinked again. What?
He wouldn’t turn to look at him again, “Because you know, you can’t catch it from me regardless what the homophobes like to claim. And I promise I’m not going to make a move on you.”
Oh hell, Jensen thought he was a homophobe. He had been trying so hard not to act like a complete ass around him and try to keep everything professional that in the end he had been sending out hate vibes. Well shit.
His palms started to sweat as it quickly occurred to him that he was going to have to come at least a little clean with him. “No! Shit Jensen it would be pretty hard to hate you for being gay, all things considered.”
Jensen glanced over at him, “You’re…”
Jared shrugged, “Loud and proud. Well proud anyway but apparently not as loud as I thought.”
“Shit Jared I’m sorry.”
Instead of the expect relief, Jensen seemed to tense up more.
“It’s okay.” He was quick to reassure. “Wait, you think I don’t like you?”
One shoulder raised, “Kind of.”
He pushed aside the desire to reach out and squeeze his shoulder to reassure him. Somehow he didn’t think it would do anything but force everything out in the open and just because Jensen was upset because he thought Jared didn’t like him didn’t mean that he liked Jared as anything other than someone he had to act with for the short term.
“Jensen I like you just fine.” He admitted slowly, careful to weigh his words before speaking. “I just don’t really know you.”
His tone didn’t sound disbelieving, exactly, but he didn’t sound completely convinced either.
“Look,” he continued, ignoring the butterflies in his stomach, ignoring how this could all go so wrong. “You wanna go get something to eat and just hang out for awhile?”
Jared watched his lips thin out and forced himself to keep going. “The play will still be waiting later or tomorrow, or whenever and it’s not like we don’t have five more weeks before opening night.”
Jensen seemed to mull it over for a minute before his shoulders relaxed. “Yeah.” He said softly and turned to smile at Jared. “I’d like that a lot.”