strangeallure: (spn: sam w/ spoon in mouth)
[personal profile] strangeallure
Title: The Best Sometimes Forget
Fandom: CWRPS
Pairing: Jared/Jensen
Rating: mild R
Summary: see prompt below
Word Count: ~10,400
Warnings: none
Disclaimer: In an alternate universe, this is exactly how it happened.

ETA: podfic! The amazing [livejournal.com profile] cee_m made a podfic of this, and you should go listen to it here. It's lovely.

A/N: Written as a pinch-hit for [livejournal.com profile] redsbball61 in the [livejournal.com profile] spn_j2_xmas exchange challenge, using the following prompt:

Super cliche J2: J2 are long term BFs or married. Jared's been working late and forgets his birthday is fast approaching. Jensen, being awesome, decides to plan a super secret, surprise party and is sneaky about it. Jared, in his overworked delirium, thinks Jensen is cheating on him and angsts about it. Cue Jared blow up/break down in front of everyone, followed by schmoopy make up kissing and cuddles and a kick ass party. I tried to incorporate other ‘likes’ as well, for example random other real people as supporting characters.

I know it’s late, but I still hope you like it!

My thanks goes, as always, to [livejournal.com profile] meiou_set, who looked this over for me.

The title blatantly misuses a Shakespeare quote, but I’ll just keep telling myself that I re-contextualize it, so that makes it okay.

Feedback is much appreciated.

The Best Sometimes Forget

Jared cracks his neck and rolls his shoulders, looking out of the office window. Even though it’s a Sunday afternoon, there are two cars and a Vespa waiting in the parking lot below: his, Katie’s and Misha’s. It would be three cars if Misha weren’t so lame. It’s great that he wants to save the environment and all, but why doesn’t he at least drive a Prius or something? Like Brian.

When the whirring of his computer stops, Jared turns the monitor off. He’s going home.

Lately, he seems to be spending way too much time here anyway. Don’t get him wrong, he loves his work, and he loves being his own boss.

Katie, Misha and he launched CCP almost three years ago, shortly after the housing bubble burst; against all odds, with a lot of dedication and even more enthusiasm. He always knew it wouldn't be a nine-to-five.

So it doesn’t surprise Jared that they ended up working ridiculous hours over the past months to get another big contract done. A contract Jared has just finished his last task for. Sure, there are some more things to do, but that’s all on Katie, who’s the official project manager for the Felton account.

Jared leaves his office and waves at Katie and Misha on his way out. "I’m done for the day, guys. See you tomorrow."

Katie fixes him with a mock glare. "Three o’clock on a Sunday, and you’re already leaving, Padalecki? That’s weak. Your work ethics are a disgrace."

Maturely, Jared sticks out his tongue at her.

"Seriously, though," Katie says, "thanks for all your hard work. You did good, kid."

"Kid? I’m four years older than you, Katie." Somehow, she keeps forgetting that.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Just go home, relax a little." She smiles and waves him off.

"Exactly, Jared, beat it. Some people are trying to get some actual work done here, you know," Misha chimes in. Jared flips him off, and Misha gives him a quick two-fingered salute.

When Jared enters the elevator, he’s still smiling.

Sometimes, it hits him how lucky they’ve been, how well everything’s worked out. Despite the aftershocks of the housing crisis, they managed to build a respectable customer base and a good reputation over the past years. So today, they not only have their own office manager – though Jim prefers the term ‘secretary’ –, they also have a part-time draftsperson and even an intern.

Now if only Jared could get said draftsperson, Chad, to stop hitting on Katie – who’s mainly into women and much too kick-ass for him anyway – his work environment would be pretty much perfect.

--

When Jared gets home, Jensen’s lounging around on the couch with the TV on and a box of crackers on the coffee table. He pushes the mute button and looks over at Jared with a question on his face.

"Hey, stranger, what are you doing here? The sun’s still out."

Jared toes off his shoes and walks over. "And here I thought you’d be happy to see me," he sighs.

Until he met Jensen, Jared didn’t think he was a commitment kind of guy. Then he got a job at Wisdom. (yes, the period is part of the name; the founder’s just that kind of person), fell in love with that green-eyed interior designer and started dreaming of a future together and a shared mortgage.

Okay, so maybe he first started dreaming of filthy hot sex with that green-eyed interior designer – who was somehow, very unfairly, never assigned to one of Jared’s projects. But once he learned Jensen’s name and they started going out, Jared had caught on to that commitment thing pretty quick.

"Happy to see you?" Jensen grins up at him. "But you disturb all my important TV watching plans. I’m going to miss Paris Hilton’s My New BFF." His grin gets wider. "Also: I just got used to only seeing you after dusk. I had this whole cool theory where you had turned into a vampire – and now you don’t even sparkle. I’m disappointed."

Jared tries to glower, but fails, so he just shakes his head and says, "Your taste in entertainment ... I don’t even know if I should be embarrassed for you or seriously worried. You watch reality shows, read novels for teenage girls – and I don’t even want to talk about your Mafia activities on Facebook."

"You love it." Jensen looks at him fondly, then pulls him down without warning. They’re all tangled up on the couch, and as their lips press together, Jared can smell sunscreen, chlorine and clean sweat on Jensen’s skin. He smells of weekends and lazing around at the pool.

The kiss is not urgent, but gentle and playful; open mouths and brushing tongues. Jared licking the salt of the crackers from Jensen’s lips and tasting the Burt’s Bees lip balm Jensen always uses beneath.

When they pull apart, Jensen concedes, "Okay, maybe I can live with the fact that you don’t sparkle," before adding more quietly, "Good to have you home." He smiles, and it amazes Jared a little how there’s no hidden accusation in the statement.

For months now, they've hardly ever had a whole day to themselves, but Jensen doesn’t complain. He just lives his life, does things with his friends – who used to be Jared’s friends, too, when he still had time to actually see them – and always sends Jared a grainy camera phone picture or a quick text to let him know he’s thinking about him.

“I’ll win another sombrero like this just for you. We should both look like morons. Miss you.”
“Chris just did an Adam Lambert impression on stage. He wasn’t even drunk. Wish you were here: I can’t do AL without you.”
“Why aren’t you here? I need someone to drag my drunk ass home later. Talk later. XXX.”


The thing is, Jared wants to be there: he wants to go to stupid fairs Danneel drags them to and win silly prizes, wants to see their favorite bands and make out in dark corners, wants to go dancing and have drunken, inappropriate sex in the hallway, but as co-owner of a young firm, he has to put work first.

He hugs Jensen closer, burying his face in the crook of Jensen’s neck. “I’ll be better, I promise.” He presses a kiss to Jensen’s pulse point. “Now that the Felton job is finished, business should slow down some. I’ll even take you out for dinner tomorrow.”

“That’s so generous of you,” Jensen chuckles. “Why not make it tonight, though?”

Jared acts as if he hasn’t heard him. Instead, he repositions himself so he’s fully on top of Jensen, sliding between his legs and pressing his own hips forward. As his one hand slips under Jensen’s shirt, gently stroking the soft skin, Jared starts to slowly suck a bruise into Jensen’s neck.

These past months, he’s been so tired most nights and had to start so early the next day that their sex life has slowed down considerably.

He still wants Jensen – how couldn’t he? – but when he’s up and rested and thinking about it, he’s usually at work or in a meeting or on a building site. Not only can that get awkward, there’s also not a lot he can do about it, apart from maybe sending a dirty text message.

By the time he’s home, he’s usually too tired for more than a few kisses and the occasional handjob. Seriously: handjobs. It’s like high school all over again.

He misses spending real, unrestricted time together with no curfew to make sure he won’t crash and burn the next day. He misses going places and just talking and kissing for hours because they’re in no hurry. He misses Jensen; and it’s crazy because he’s right here with him.

Soon, Jensen’s body arches up into Jared, and Jensen’s hands find his butt, rubbing just right and pulling him closer. Jared moves away a little, just enought to look Jensen in the eyes. “We’re not going to leave the house tonight.” His gaze is intense, and he lets his voice drop. “Tonight, I might not even let you leave the bedroom again.” He rubs his nose against Jensen’s neck, against the side of his face. “I want you, Jensen. I want to get you naked. Spread you out and lick you open. Take my time. Take you nice and slow.”

There’s a hitch in Jensen’s breathing as his eyes slide shut. When he opens them again, lids heavy, his mouth quirks into a grin. “But what about Paris Hilton?”

Jared simply grinds down against Jensen a few times, letting their cocks rub together through the fabric of their jeans.

Jensen bites his lip, but can’t keep from moaning, and Jared smirks and gets up, his hand clasping tight around Jensen’s wrist as he pulls him towards the bedroom.

Pushing Jensen onto the bed, Jared straddles his legs and crawls up his body.

After a rough, possessive kiss, he growls, "Paris can wait."

--

The next day, Jensen’s in an especially good mood.

His Italian supplier sent everything via FedEx for once, instead of using regular mail, so the fabrics and leather he ordered for the remodeling of the Saldana ranch are already here.

He lets his fingers run over the butter-soft material as he leans back into his chair. Zoe’s a long-time client, and he knows she will love it.

Truth be told, Jensen’s pretty happy at work most of the time. He has a cushy nine-to-five at Of The Interior, works with a good team and has a nice office. Working for his two best friends since college also helps.

At first, he hadn't been sure if it was such a smart move to start working for Danneel and Mike. They had their fair share of fights in the beginning, and it took one huge blow-up before they came around and established some clear-cut rules about work and play.

But ever since they found their rhythm, it’s been going great. Jensen has creative control over the projects he manages as long as he keeps the clients happy and coming back - which he does. In turn, Danneel and Mike keep offering him partnership once a year, which he declines and takes a raise instead. It all works out.

He’s not like Jared; he doesn’t want his own business and all the extra responsibilities that come with it. Plus, if he’d have to work that kind of hours, too, they’d never get to see each other these days.

So it’s really no wonder he’s glad Jared’s done with that Felton job. He’s simply looking forward to spending a little more time with his boyfriend.

He’s just ended one call when his phone starts ringing again.

"Hey. I was just about to call you," he says and isn’t even embarrassed by the excitement in his voice. "I got reservations for that small Italian place down at the Waterfront. They had a last-minute cancellation. We might even see Johnny Depp. I heard he likes to eat there when he’s in town."

There’s a short pause and Jared clears his throat. "Yeah, about that ..." Jensen knows that voice. He can practically see Jared, the apologetic slouch to his shoulders and the way he cocks his head when he’d rather not say what he’s about to say. "You remember the Morgan pitch we lost a few months ago?"

"You mean the Jeffrey Dean Morgan pitch? The pitch you wouldn’t shut up about? Building his fairytale castle and a small village to go with it?" Jensen already knows what’s coming, but he lets his tone stay light, teasing. "Of course I remember."

"I just got off the phone with Morgan. Seems like one of the architects at the firm he chose over us couldn’t keep his hands off Morgan’s girlfriend."

"No." Jensen can’t help drawing the word out. "How do you know? Did he tell you that?"

"Yeah, I can’t believe it either, but he was very, uh, candid." Jared clears his throat again. "So. I’m sorry, Jensen, I really am, but it’s a big contract, a huge one. We can’t say no – and he wants a shit load of changes done by next week. We’ll pretty much have to set up camp at the office."

Jensen keeps his voice in check, makes it casual. "Yeah, sure. No problem. I get it."

"Really Jensen, I wish I could keep our date tonight. I want to. But this ... I can’t say no."

"Jared, I get it," he smiles so it comes through in his voice. "Don’t worry about it. It’s fine."

"There’s an upside, though." Jared sounds tentative, but also kind of hopeful.

"Yeah?" Jensen’s thinking movie premier tickets or something. He did interior designs for a few well-known athletes and got some great seats at different ballgames out of it.

"Morgan, he’s generous, like, really generous. And if we manage to start actual construction by July 20th, there’s going to be a bonus – a big one."

"How big?"

"Combined with what we've saved up?" Jared’s voice drops almost conspiratorially, and he enunciates the next words carefully, "Building our house big, Jensen. Just the way we planned."

The words catch Jensen completely off guard, and he skips a beat or two before he manages to answer. "That would be ... wonderful. Jared, that would be great." Somehow, his voice comes out fainter, too.

For their four-year anniversary, Jared had given him the construction plans for the perfect home, their perfect home. Spacious and full of light, with a veranda and a back porch, a sunroom and a sauna. Everything designed just right, just for them.

Of course, CCP had just gotten off the ground then, and they couldn’t afford to make it happen yet. So Jensen had always seen the gift as a promise more than as a real plan. Something they stored away in the big wooden box at the foot of their bed for years. Until they’d finally be able to afford it some day.

He can’t even explain it, but the fact that this, their house, is the first thing Jared thought of when he heard about the bonus makes Jensen’s throat feel tight.

"So you’re not mad?" Jared asks, still tentative.

"I’m not. It’s great news. I’m happy you’re doing well, you know that." He smiles; he doesn’t want to make the moment too heavy. "Plus, you can get me Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s autograph. It’s still missing in my collection."

"I can do that." Jared’s smile is clear in his voice. "I’m really sorry about our reservations. I’d love to go Johnny Depp watching with you. Maybe you could take Danneel or Mike instead?"

"No problem, babe, seriously. In fact, I got an email from Chris Pine this morning. He moved back to L.A. last month. I might just ask him, catch up, you know?"

"Chris? Oh." Suddenly, Jared sounds a little strained; he’s probably trying to use phone time to straighten up his office again. "Yeah, if that’s what you want." There’s paper rustling loudly on Jared’s end of the line, confirming Jensen’s suspicion. "Anyway, we have a meeting with Morgan later today. After, we’ll try and get our strategy and task appointment out of the way, so I might be really late. Don’t wait up."

"I won’t. Don’t work too hard. Eat something healthy," Jensen says. When Jared’s stressed, he sometimes tries to run on candy alone.

"Aye-aye, captain, will do. Love you," Jared replies.

"Love you, too."

--

Ten days later, Jared still hasn’t been able to get home in time for dinner. He’s so exhausted.

It’s almost eight o’clock and they sent Genevieve, their intern, and Jim home over an hour ago. Katie, Misha and Jared, however, have a lot to get done before their next meeting with Morgan on Friday, so it’s another late night with take-out.

When the pizza arrives, they take twenty minutes in the break room.

Jared’s wolfing down one slice after another while Misha disects his pizza carefully with a knife and fork like he always does – freak. Katie folds each slice and eats it frat-boy style.

She casually looks over at Jared and, into the almost-silence of chewing, swallowing and slurping on milkshakes, she asks, "Everything alright with you and Jensen?"

"Yeah. Of course," Jared answers around a mouthful of pizza. After a moment or two, though, his brain starts to kick in. Katie’s great, but she hates relationships in general and small talk in particular. She’s also bad at faking casual. "Why do you ask?"

"No reason," she mumbles, already occupied with her next slice of Meat Lover's Special.

He raises his eyebrows and fixes her with his gaze. "Katie, I know you. You would never ask just because. Better spit it out or I’ll make you."

She ponders that for a second. "It’s just that I had a meeting with Jensen for the Welling beach house yesterday, and he asked me some things."

"Things?"

"Like, how I felt about settling down, casual sex, commitment, whatever. It was weird." She takes another big bite.

"Huh." Jared really doesn’t know what to say to that. It’s probably nothing.

--

The next night, Jensen is lying on Danneel’s couch, rubbing his belly.

"You’re the best friend ever, Danneel. Seriously. I don’t even know who I love more: you or your risotto.” He gives her what he hopes is a coaxing smile. "You could tip the scale in your favor, though, if you sent me home with the leftovers."

"Your man not feeding you properly?"

"He’s so busy with that Jeffrey Dean Morgan job, I hardly see him anymore," Jensen sighs, only slightly pathetically.

Danneel kicks him from the other side of the couch. "I keep telling you: you should learn how to cook - be more independent. Or kick Jared’s ass, make him be home more. Actually, you should do both."

Jensen shakes his head vehemently and regrets it in an instant. He might have had a little too much wine with that risotto. "I don’t want to be independent. I want to be fed. And it’s not like it’ll be forever. Morgan wants everything done by the 20th of July. Jared promised to take a long weekend after that, mid-August latest." Jensen knows it probably means something that he memorized the exact date of the Morgan deadline.

Danneel nods and they fall silent, too full to keep up a conversation. After a while, she asks, "How come you aren’t jealous? He works with Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Jeffrey Dean Morgan. That guy is sexy as all get-out. Hell, I’m gay and I’d be tempted."

Jensen pouts. "You think I should be worried? That I’m not sexy enough?"

Danneel reaches out and pats his leg. "Honey, of course you’re sexy. But he’s sexy and rich, you know."

He pouts some more. He must be pretty drunk. "Maybe I’m not rich, but I do well enough for myself."

"I know," Danneel deadpans, "I sign your pay checks."

They go quiet again, until Jensen sits up with a jolt; he’s just had an epiphany. "Danneel, I just had an epiphany."

"Really?" She doesn’t sound convinced.

"Okay, maybe not an epiphany exactly, but still a pretty good idea." He turns towards her to make sure he has her full attention. "Surprise birthday party!" he almost shouts and adds an emphatic hand gesture.

Now that he thinks about it, it makes so much sense. The deadline for breaking ground is only one day after Jared’s birthday, and Jensen knows for a fact that Katie always makes them finish a couple of days in advance. Jared sometimes complains about how anal she gets when it comes to deadlines. It should all work out.

It takes some time, but he finally convinces Danneel of his plan. So maybe she doesn’t exactly voice her enthusiasm in so many words, but Jensen thinks it is very much implied.

While she makes coffee, Jensen starts a to-do list on his BlackBerry, complete with time schedule, tasks and sub-tasks and people he wants to rope into helping. Danneel – check.

As she hands him his mug, she peeks over his shoulder. "Just so you know, I’m only agreeing to help to keep you occupied. I don’t want you trying to meddle with my love life again. I’ve had enough of that in college."

Obviously, that doesn’t make Jensen feel caught red-handed at all. Because it’s not like he’s been thinking about setting her up with someone. And it’s not like he was subtly trying to find out if Katie was interested in a serious relationship when he talked to her a couple of days ago. Of course not.

Still, if Katie finally got over the one-night stands and casual sex, Jensen’s sure they’d make a great couple.

--

So far, the party preparations have been going pretty well. Jensen’s been tracking old friends of Jared’s via Facebook and through his parents, he’s found three possible venues and he even came up with a theme.

And just now, he’s been lucky enough to get a last-minute afternoon appointment at Zach! Zach!, the best event bakery in the greater L.A. area. They specialize in elaborate and extravagant cakes – and Jensen has some very special ideas.

He’s just powering down his laptop when his phone rings.

"Jared, hey!"

"Hey, Jensen. Our meeting with Morgan at two today was postponed. Seems like he has to shoot all afternoon, so we’ll meet over dinner instead."

"Another late night? I’m sorry," Jensen says as he closes his laptop.

"Yeah, I hate it," Jared says with feeling. "So I thought: fuck it. If I have to work late again, at least I should take the afternoon off, you know? So we can spend some time together. Get lunch, go down to the beach for a while. I could be there in half an hour."

Shit, shit, shit, Jensen thinks.

"That’d be great, Jared – but I can’t," he replies. "I have a client meeting in a couple of minutes." He pushes open the door to the staircase because the elevator sometimes cuts off his cell signal. The regret in his voice is real, even if he’s fibbing.

"But those don’t take longer than an hour or two, right? I could come by after. I just want to see you when you’re conscious some time, sleeping beauty." Jared sounds hopeful and sincere, and Jensen really wishes he could say yes, but Zach! Zach! is on the other side of town, and he really can’t say how long it will take.

"I’m sorry, Jared. But right after, I need to help Danneel with something. She has a deadline tomorrow and someone on her team got sick. It’s just very bad timing. Sorry."

"It’s like a conspiracy." There’s a smile in Jared’s voice, but Jensen knows it’s fake. "Like the universe is trying to force us to get some work done."

Jensen’s in the parking garage now, unlocking his car. "It is. Stupid universe." He climbs into the driver’s seat. "Listen, Jared, I have to let you go. Maybe you could still take an hour off or so? Get some sunlight, eat some food that doesn’t come in a cardboard box."

"Yeah, I might do that."

Jensen starts the car, and the dashboard lights come on. Damn, it’s already later than he thought. He heard that the head baker at Zach! Zach! is a bit of a diva, so Jensen really has to hurry now.

"Fuck, it’s late. I really have to get going, Jared. Bye-bye," he says and hangs up. He doesn’t even realize he forgot their standard Love you.

--

Jared takes Jensen’s advice and goes to the Deli down the street, eating the lunch special. The food is good, and it’s nice to sit at one of their outside tables, soak in a little sun, but with Jensen, it would be that much better. He doesn’t stay long.

So instead of spending at least a couple of hours with his boyfriend, Jared’s working on the Efron restaurant plans. The Morgan thing is so big – and lucrative – that he almost forgets about their other clients and deadlines sometimes, and it’s probably a good thing he has an afternoon to be catching up.

He’s just getting some more coffee from the break room when he sees Danneel come in and walks over. "Hey Danneel. What are you doing here?"

She smiles and gives him a quick hug. "Just here to see Katie. The Palickis changed their mind and want much more open space now. We’ll just try to make sure it’ll still be safe to live in."

He makes himself smile, but he’s a little confused. Danneel seems pretty relaxed, not like she’s in a hurry to meet a deadline. Part of him just wants to ask about it and about her meeting with Jensen, but somehow he can’t bring himself to.

She pushes at his chest playfully. "What about you? Still living here at the firm instead of at home?"

He knows she doesn’t mean it like that, that it’s Danneel’s way of showing she cares – she’s like Katie that way, never very sensitive or subtle – but it still stings. Like he’s neglecting his home, like he’s neglecting Jensen. And if he’s honest, he kind of is.

Still, Jared forces on another smile. "You know it." He motions towards his office. "Better get my nose back on that grindstone."

It takes a while to fully shake the uneasy feeling in his gut.

--

For once, Jensen's still up when Jared comes home. He’s pretty excited about the progress he’s making with the party preparations, and the cake he and Maitre Quinto came up with is going to blow Jared’s mind, he’s sure.

It’s strange to be so excited about something and not tell Jared, but it’s nice to at least see him and get to talk a little before going to bed. Especially after playing sleep tag for the last four days, either one asleep when the other came home late.

Jared’s just finished a quick report on the dinner meeting – apparently, Morgan loves their designs, but still wants them to change half of them – and now looks at Jensen inquiringly, "So, how did your day go? Did you make that deadline?"

"Same old, same old," Jensen says. He tries to keep it short, so he doesn’t have to outright lie to Jared. "Got everything done, and still got home in time to catch the game."

The look Jared gives him is kind of odd. "Danneel was at our office today. She didn’t seem in a hurry or anything."

Oh, fuck. Jensen should really have paid more attention to all the cop shows he’s watched: always check back with the person who’s supposed to be your alibi. Now he’s got to try and save this, think on his feet.

He smiles as brightly as he can. "Yeah. I got that mixed up. The deadline is not until next week. I only found out when Danneel stopped by my office on her way out, and I told her I was almost done." He throws in a self-deprecating chuckle and an eye-roll. "I just read her email wrong."

There’s a flicker in Jared’s eyes, but then his face relaxes into a grin.

Jensen returns the grin and cups Jared’s cheek in one hand. "I’m sorry," he says softly, "I’m sorry I messed this up and we didn’t get to spend time together. I wanted to. I was happy you offered."

And at least that’s not a lie.

--

When Jensen tells Danneel about his almost slip-up, she laughs at him. "Has watching CSI taught you nothing? Be a little more creative with your cover story next time."

He glares at her. "It’s not my fault we have all the same friends and constantly work with or bump into each other."

"Yeah," she smirks, "our circle of friends is disturbingly incestuous. We really should recruit some new blood."

"Danneel, focus," Jensen says. "I have a real problem here. What do I do the next time I need an alibi?"

"I don’t know, Jensen." She throws her hands in the air. "Just make up a client or a long-lost friend or whatever. Though he might want to meet that friend at some point, so that might be out. But a fictional client should work."

Jensen thinks for a moment. "Actually, I think you might be on to something."

--

Jared’s grateful that Jeffrey Dean Morgan shoots on location in Paraguay for a couple of weeks because it means an end to all those phone calls and impromptu client meetings.

The designs for Morgan make good progress, and they were able to bring two smaller projects to a close.

Jared’s even managed to have dinner with Jensen twice this week, and they had sex each time, too – more than just a handjob, thank you very much. So Jared’s feeling a lot better about his life.

Even if he has to work late again tonight.

Luckily, though, it turns out that Chad, their part-time draftsperson, has experience in designing for the state government, and they make much better progress than expected.

In the end, it’s not even seven when Jared decides he can head home for the night – still early enough to buy groceries and cook something. Jensen’s been teasing him about never getting home-made food anymore, so that should be a nice surprise.

When he enters the apartment, he first puts the bag with all the ingredients for the ricotta-spinach cannelloni Jensen loves on the kitchen counter, then follows the radio to their bedroom.

Jensen’s in a nice, freshly pressed suit and in the process of putting on black leather shoes when Jared comes in.

"Hey," Jared says.

Jensen almost loses his balance, he’s so startled. "Hey. Didn’t expect you home so soon."

That’s not exactly the reaction Jared was hoping for. "Thought I’d surprise you, make cannelloni."

Jensen looks up at him. "Oh fuck, Jared. That would be great, it’s just ..." he motions down at his outfit.

"You have other plans," Jared finishes for him.

"I didn’t know you’d be home," Jensen says apologetically.

"I didn’t know you were going out tonight."

"Yeah, it was kind of spontaneous. Chris’s date cancelled, and he called," Jensen explains, but there’s something in his voice that sounds a little off – or at least Jared thinks there might be.

"Chris?" He’s pretty sure which Chris Jensen’s talking about, but he wants to make sure.

"Yeah, Chris Pine. Remember? I told you he moved back here a couple of months ago."

Of course, Chris Pine. That’s just great.

Chris used to work at Of The Interior when Jared first met Jensen, and Jared actually thought they were boyfriends for a while. Chris was handsome and cocky, and he was always around Jensen, always working with him, always getting him his coffee, things like that. And the way he looked at Jensen: interested and adoring, trying to make him laugh and keep his attention at all times.

Jared knows it’s irrational. He knows Chris is straight – he actually moved to Chicago three years ago because he got married and his wife had a job offer there – but he can’t help it. He still believes that Chris had a thing for Jensen – and now he’s taking Jensen to a fancy restaurant.

"Can’t you just cancel?" he asks. He doesn’t like how selfish it sounds.

Jensen cups Jared’s face and strokes down his neck for a moment. "I really can’t. Chris’s been having some problems. The whole divorce was kind of rough. He said he really didn’t want to be alone tonight." Jensen gives him a soft smile. "I don’t want to cancel on him last minute when his date already did."

"Yeah, I get it," Jared says, then adds, "maybe I could tag a long." He tries to make it sound casual.

Jensen’s eyes narrow for a second, like he’s thinking. "Ah, sorry, but it’s only a reservation for two, and you know how the Blue Oyster is. They’d probably blacklist us if we asked for an additional chair."

A part of Jared wants to protest, press the issue, but he doesn’t. It’s his own fault, after all, that Jensen’s mostly making his own plans these days. Misha would probably say it’s a karma thing, life giving Jared a taste of his own medicine. So he only nods and forces a smile and a "You’re right."

Jensen presses a quick kiss to Jared’s lips. "I’ve got to go, but I’ll try not to be too long." He pecks him again, on the cheek this time. "Love you."

Jensen’s already turned towards the door when Jared answers, "Love you, too."

--

A few days later, Jensen’s spending his lunch break with Danneel in her office. He tells her about the progress he’s made with Jared’s party, asks her opinions on some things and shows her samples of decorations and stuff.

"I still think you should have taken me to test-eat the different buffet options. My culinary expertise is beyond compare," she says as she pops another piece of take-out sushi into her mouth.

"Yeah, I should have. Then I wouldn’t have had to lie when Jared caught me on my way out. I hate lying to him." Jensen shakes his head and drizzles soy sauce onto his California roll. "Your tip was genius, though. I told him I was going out with Chris, rehashing his divorce. I even told Chris I might use him as my cover story when I invited him to the party. So I think I’ve got all my bases covered."

Danneel is done with her plate and takes some of the decoration samples Jensen brought. "You honestly want to get all this custom-made? I mean, you can just buy stuff like that."

"Not exactly like that." Jensen shakes his head. "I want it to be perfect, you know. And with the final weeks of the Morgan project, it’s not like I’d see Jared much anyway. Better keep myself occupied."

Danneel steals one of Jensen’s plum dumplings and chews loudly. "Just out of curiosity: why do you care about this party so much, Jensen? I mean, aren’t you mad he’s leaving you alone so much, always putting work before you?"

Initially, Jensen feels a small flare of anger at her words, but he knows Danneel, knows that she doesn’t mean to hurt him. She just doesn’t want him to be used. They both came from bad break-ups when they first met in college, and they never really stopped being protective of each other, he guesses.

This time, though, he really needs her to understand, wants her to see that it’s hard for both of them, not just for Jensen, that Jared is not getting more out of this than he is.

So he tells her about the plans for the house. He tells her about Jared’s silly texts and the quick calls he gets even on the busiest days. He tells her how Jared never forgets to turn on the coffee maker when he leaves for work, so Jensen can get his caffeine fix first thing. He even tells her how Jared takes a different route for his morning run on weekends, just so he can get Jensen his favorite bagels.

With every example, she seems to soften, and when Jensen describes in great detail the drab roads Jared has to take to get to Papa Bagel, faking a pathetic cough to indicate how much exhaust fumes Jared must inhale, he knows he has her.

She swats at his arm, but her smiles is fond when she says, "Okay, okay, I get it. You have the best boyfriend ever."

"I do," Jensen answers.

"And because he’s so awesome, you clearly don’t miss him at all," she adds, grinning almost impishly.

"Well," he drawls out, "I wouldn’t say that."

Danneel raises her eyebrows.

"Mostly, I just miss the sex," he says, deadpan. Saying it like that makes him realize the truth in his words, though. "Oh god, Danny," he almost whines, "I really do miss the sex. We used to have a great sex life. Like, all the time, everywhere. I don’t think there’s a room in this building we didn’t-" He cuts himself off and sighs. "But now ..."

Danneel stops him before he can go on. "Gee, Jensen, thanks. Please, tell me more about that sex life of yours. I was only looking for a reason to disinfect this whole place with a steam cleaner."

Jensen cackles. Danneel is not a prude exactly, but she's kind of don’t ask, don’t tell about the sex lives of others, so he sometimes likes to tease her a little.

When Jensen looks up, there’s Jared standing with a somewhat strained grin on his face. "Hey," he says, "I had a client cancel our meeting when I was already half-way across town, so I thought I’d drop by."

Jensen gets up, still grinning. He shoots Danneel a dirty look, then puts his hands around Jared’s neck and says sweetly, "That’s great. We were just talking about you."

--

A few days later, Jared’s almost forgotten about walking in on Jensen complaining about their sex life – or lack thereof – to Danneel. It’s still kind of niggling in the back of his head, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan is back in town, so he has more pressing problems to worry about.

It’s almost eleven and he’s just spend three hours at a lobster place in West Hollywood, listening to all the changes Morgan – please, call me Jeff – came up with during radio silence.

The thing is, the guy is nice and charming and it all sounds so reasonable when they’re sitting face-to-face. Of course he’d get inspired in Paraguay, and of course he’d want to incorporate these new ideas, and of course he just wants everything to be perfect in his new home.

Only on the drive back home does Jared realize how Morgan is clearly clinically insane.

When Jared enters the apartment, the lights in the bedroom are still on. He takes a bottle of water from the fridge before going there. Jensen’s already in bed, smiling at him. "Hey, babe. How was your day?"

Jared just shakes his head and starts to undress. "I hate Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Hate him."

Jensen chuckles. "No you don’t."

"Yes, I really do." Jared nods vehemently as he opens the buttons of his shirt. "He acts like he is such a nice guy, and everything he says is prefaced by ‘I only had this idea just now’ or ‘I’m really sorry I mention this so late’ or ‘It’s not like I want to make your life any harder, but …’ – and then he just goes on and makes my life that much harder."

Jared walks over to the hamper and throws in his shirt and undershirt.

"I’m sure it’s not that bad," Jensen soothes.

"But it is." Jared gets his shoes off and puts them away before unbuckling his belt. “He just can’t seem to decide whether he’d like to live in a haunted house, a Disney castle or the Playboy mansion."

That gets a snort out of Jensen. Jared just wishes it weren’t true.

"You think I’m kidding?" he asks as he pulls on a tee for the night, his words muffled through the cotton. "I had to design a grotto for him, Jensen. A fucking grotto."

"Wow. That’s ... classy."

"I know, right?" Jared throws his pants and socks into the hamper and looks for a pair of boxer shorts for the night.

"Oh fuck, I forgot to do laundry. I’m out of boxers," he complains.

"I think the Obi-Wan and Yoda ones Mike got you for Christmas are still in there somewhere." Jensen points to the big wooden box at the foot of their bed. Jensen inherited it from his grandma, and it looks nice, even though Jared almost broke his back when they were lugging it down the two flights of stairs from Jensen’s old apartment.

"Thank god." He opens the lid and finds the Star Wars boxer shorts right on top. Mike thinks he’s so funny. Before Jared can close the lid, he notices something: the big green binder that's always been sitting in there seems to be missing. He quickly rifles through the contents of the box, but it's not there. "Hey Jensen, I can’t find the binder with the plans."

"Which plans?"

"The ones for the house."

He looks up at Jensen just in time to catch him form his face from a strange, kind of tense expression into a smile. "Yeah, um," Jensen starts, "I got new storage boxes the other day and moved some stuff into the walk-in closet in the living room. I could find the plans for you tomorrow, if you need them."

"No, no problem," Jared replies and shuts the lid.

It smarts, somehow, to think that Jensen simply put the plans away like that. He never really thought about it, but Jared guesses he always liked the idea that they were right there, in Jensen’s heirloom chest, in their bedroom. Looks like Jensen didn’t.

And Jared can’t help thinking about the other things, about Jensen always being busy lately, about Chris Pine and Katie’s comment a few weeks back and about how Jensen complained to Danneel about their sex life.

It should all sound ridiculous in his head, but instead it sounds more like What did you expect when you’re never there for him, never home? Why should he spend all this time waiting for you?

But he knows that’s absurd, he knows. They love each other, and Jensen understands that this is temporary, that they won’t have to wait much longer.

He tries to brush his thoughts aside and pastes on a smile.

"So, how was your day?" he asks as he slips under the covers.

--

It’s the Saturday before the party, and Jensen is calmer than he thought he’d be.

Katie called him yesterday to say they’d be done with the Morgan stuff by Saturday morning. She promised to keep Jared occupied over the weekend, though – and still home early enough to not die of exhaustion at his own party.

So Jensen’s had all day today to check and organize and confirm and basically make sure that everything is going to run smoothly tomorrow.

He also drove to the airport three times, first to pick up his sister, brother and a college friend of Jared’s, then three more friends from Texas, and finally Jared’s family, including his dog Harley. Jensen’s own mom and dad couldn’t make it, unfortunately. They had already RSVP’ed at a friend's wedding when he invited them.

When he comes home, Jensen’s exhausted, but also excited for tomorrow. Everything seems to be on track, and he looks forward to just having some take-out with Jared, watch a movie and unwind a little before the big day.

Jared should be more relaxed now that he knows they’ll keep the Morgan deadline, even if Katie makes him do some additional work. He’s been so stressed the last couple of weeks, months really.

But neither the fact that he’s got the bonus in the bag, nor the idea of the long weekend they have lined up in August seems to lighten his mood. Instead, Jared’s edgy and monosyllabic, and when Jensen slides his arms around him, he remains tense.

It’s not exactly the perfect start to a relaxing evening.

Jensen offers to get pizza from Jared’s favorite place – they don’t deliver, unfortunately – but it only earns him a curt nod, and a "Sure, I’ll go for a run."

"Have fun," Jensen says as he gets his keys. It’s probably a good idea: the physical exertion and hot shower after should loosen Jared up some.

Only that it doesn’t seem to work.

When Jared comes out of the shower in sweats and a t-shirt, he sits down at the opposite end of the couch. Their bodies don’t even touch and they don’t really talk, either.

Jared gobbles up piece after piece of pizza and otherwise stares at the screen where he found a M*A*S*H marathon. It’s really starting to get to Jensen.

During the opening credits of the third episode, Jared finally turns to Jensen and says, "Why didn’t you tell me Chris was gay now?"

It’s such a non-sequitur, it makes Jensen snort. "I didn’t think you’d be interested."

Jared’s not laughing with him, though. "Seriously, Jensen. You spend all this time with him, and it never even crosses your mind to tell me?"

The accusation is so clear in his voice, and it pisses Jensen off. Sure, it was a surprise when Chris told him he'd be bringing his boyfriend to Jared's party, but Jensen's actually only seen the guy twice since he moved back to L.A. The rest of "all this time" Jared accuses him of spending with Chris, Jensen was working on Jared's own damn birthday party. He feels himself grow tense and shoots Jared a glare. "Jesus, Jared. I just forgot, okay? I didn’t think it was important. It’s not like I left it out on purpose."

Jared looks back, confrontational. "Oh really? Jensen, you’ve been meeting up with him, like, every week for a while now. Don’t you think I should know something like that? The guy goes out with you more than I do."

Jensen’s anger boils over at that. He’s put up with Jared’s insane schedule for months, he’s always been supportive, he’s even been planning this great big party for Jared – and now this. The guy goes out with you more than I do.

"And who’s fault is that?" he snaps.

Jensen expects another accusation, or maybe a defense, but instead, Jared’s face crumples and he swallows hard. "I, I’m sorry, Jensen. I didn’t mean ... I shouldn’t have ..."

Jared looks miserable all of a sudden, and Jensen’s torn. On the one hand, Jared’s expression makes Jensen want to comfort him, make him feel better; but on the other hand, it’s Jared’s own fault – and Jensen’s still mad.

He would never, ever cheat on Jared. Jared should know that.

And it’s not like Jensen couldn’t think of his own reasons to be jealous.

Jared spent so much time with Jeffrey Dean Morgan over the past months, Danneel kept joking how his boyfriend was dating one of Hollywood’s hottest. But Jensen never so much as thought that Jared would cheat on him. Never.

Jared and him. There’s no one else for Jensen. And it hurts to see that Jared doesn’t seem so sure of that.

Jensen can’t talk this out right now, and he can’t just reassure Jared of something he shouldn’t have doubted in the first place, so he just pats Jared’s knee and says, "It’s okay. You’re overworked. Let’s just watch this and go to bed early. Get some rest."

It’s not much, but it’s all he can give right now. It’ll be better in the morning.

They don’t cuddle on the couch, but later in bed, when Jared puts a cautious hand on Jensen’s waist, he lets him.

--

The next day, when Jensen wakes up, Jared’s already gone.

But there’s coffee ready and an extra-large assortment of Papa Bagel pastries on the counter, together with a post-it note saying, "Sorry I was such a dick. I love you!"

Jensen smiles. They’re going to be fine.

--

Jared’s not feeling too great the next day. He tries calling Jensen, but Jensen doesn’t answer.

Jared knows he made an ass out of himself, but he was feeling so, so bad yesterday night.

The prep work for the Morgan job is all done, and still he has to work another weekend. It’s like it never stops, like his work life just keeps growing and growing and keeping him from having a private life, too.

Jensen didn’t even seem disappointed, didn’t even ask about it; like he didn’t expect Jared to be home in the first place.

Jared has never been a jealous guy. Especially with Jensen. It was always so clear that this was it, that they were it. But then work happened, and bigger and bigger projects happened – and Jensen doesn’t even seem to care. Instead, he's making this whole new life for himself, and he doesn’t even try to make Jared a part of it anymore.

Sure, Jensen went out alone before, but over the past few months, he pretty much stopped asking Jared if he wanted to come along, not even as a token. Like he doesn’t even bother anymore.

And it’s so unfair of Jared to think that. Jensen’s always been a great boyfriend, always supportive. Even when it sounded so crazy to open an architectural firm on the tail-end of a housing crisis, even when it meant Jared wouldn’t be able to take more than a day or two off for years, even when it was clear it would mean less stability and longer hours.

So yeah, Jared was being a dick and he knows it, but when Jensen doesn’t answer his calls all day, he can’t help those thoughts from creeping back up again. He’s prickly and irritable and he’s just glad he has his own office – or else he’d probably blow up in the face of someone who doesn’t deserve it today.

When Jensen finally does call around five, Jared’s ridiculously relieved and annoyed at the same time. He considers not picking up for a moment, but then decides that he is, in fact, not twelve years old.

He manages to sound calm and not ask Jensen why he didn’t return his calls earlier.

Jensen seems in a hurry. Someone at his office messed up, and he has to get a huge piece of furniture from one venue to the other by eight o’clock tonight. They agree for Jensen to pick Jared up some time before seven, so they can drive to the hotel together and get that wardrobe to the client’s house on time.

At least he’s still good for something in Jensen’s book, Jared thinks bitterly.

It’s really not a good day.

--

The car ride to the hotel is a little awkward. Jared’s trying to fake a smile, Jensen can tell, but he’s not doing too well. He doesn’t look too well.

Jensen is kind of nervous and jittery himself. He’s spend the whole day ordering people around, supervising things and guiding out-of-towners to the location on his phone.

Everything looked great when he left, but he still has nightmares of people pulling down the decorations and falling into the cake.

When he takes the exit, he remembers that he promised Danny to send her a text, so she could turn off the lights and quiet people down.

Smart man that he is, Jensen forgot to type the message beforehand, so now he has to text while driving, instead of just hitting send. Great.

"Hey, we’re almost there, can’t that text wait a couple more minutes?" Jared asks.

"No, sorry. I forgot something, it’s urgent," he says, trying to type blind, but failing.

Jared’s hand reaches over, "Come on, I’ll send it for you."

Jensen’s just quick enough to snatch his hand away before Jared can get to the phone. He’s thankful they’re coming up to a red light. "No need," he says and quickly shoots the text off to Danneel.

When he glances over at Jared, he sees the set of his jaw and how the tips of his fingers press into the fabric of his jeans.

Oh yeah, everything’s going perfectly just now.

--

Jared tries to keep his emotions in check, he really does. They should not discuss this while driving; he should wait until they’re home. But when they walk down a dark corridor in the hotel and Jensen tries to take his hand like nothing happened, he can’t hold back anymore.

"What the hell was that just now?" he hisses, surprised by the sharpness in his voice.

"What?" Jensen says and keeps moving. "It was nothing."

"Don’t give me that." Jared hears his voice grow louder, but he doesn’t care. "You pulled away like you were getting burned when I tried to take your phone."

"Come on, Jared. That’s bullshit." They’ve arrived in front of a dark blue curtain at the end of the corridor. Jensen takes a deep breath and adds, "Let’s just get that wardrobe out of here and go home, okay?"

He reaches for the edge of the curtain, but Jared’s had enough. He’s angry and hurt, his skin is crawling with it, and Jensen just tries to brush it away like it’s nothing. Before Jensen can grab the fabric, Jared’s hand closes around his wrist.

“No, Jensen. I want to talk about this right the fuck now. Was that a text to Chris? Something along the lines of ‘Got stuck with my boyfriend. Will call you later. Hugs and kisses’?” The words feel wrong on his tongue, and he spits them out.

Jensen’s voice drops lower. "Jared. You don’t mean that. You’re out of line, and you don’t mean that." His eyes are piercing and he swallows, obviously trying to stay calm. "Let’s just go in there and talk about this later, okay?"

It’s not okay. The fact that Jensen stays so calm only makes Jared madder. When Jensen tries to escape his grip, Jared doesn’t let him.

"Don’t treat me like a goddamn child, Jensen. I’ve seen the signs. It’s not like they haven’t been there for months."

He uses his fingers to count off his next statements: "You start going out with Chris all the time. You try to use Danneel as your cover story. You never tell me when you go out anymore – or, god forbid, ask me to come along. You complain to Danneel about our sex life. And you even ask Katie about hook-ups and casual sex – probably how-to instructions or something."

And wow, that sounded mean and spiteful, even in his own head. He’s dimly aware of how his tone changes from angry to desperate as he goes on, but he just wants to get this out, to pull it out like a shard of glass stuck in his flesh. "And then you go ahead and put the plans for our house away into a storage box, like they don’t matter anymore, and ..." His voice breaks, and there’s wetness beneath his eyes.

"The worst thing is that I get it." It’s hard to swallow around the truth of that. "I’ve been a shitty boyfriend. I’ve let you down." He bites his lip, but the pain does nothing to ground him. "I’m never there – and when I’m there, I’m tired and wrung out, or it’s short notice. I always expect you to organize your life around mine, just because of the firm. It’s unfair. Fucking selfish and unfair." He feels a few tears run down his cheeks, and he can’t even look at Jensen.

"You’re pretty much the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but I don’t treat you like that." He shakes his head, trying to get his thoughts in order. "I should have said no to the Morgan deal, or insisted we hire another architect to get it done. I should have known you’d get tired of being stuck in the waiting line. I know I fucked up."

He takes Jensen’s hand in both of his because he can’t let go. He doesn’t want to play the blame game anymore, he doesn’t even want to know what happened with Chris, he doesn’t want the truth or the moral high ground. All he wants is right here, and he doesn’t care if it’s pathetic to ask for it. He looks up at Jensen in the dim light of the corridor. "Don’t leave me, Jensen. Just ... stay with me. Please."

Just as Jensen is about to answer, there’s rustling on the other side of the curtain, and it’s drawn open with a sharp pull.

Before Jared’s eyes can even take in or adjust to the darkness behind it, someone flips a switch and reveals a big ballroom.

Jared lets go of Jensen’s hand. He doesn’t even have time to register all the people standing in the big open space, when he hears Danneel’s voice: "One, two, three," and then a loud, unison shout of "Surprise! Surprise!"

Danneel comes to stand in front of him, hands on her hips, face stern. "Surprise, surprise. And happy birthday, moron."

Oh fuck. His birthday. Jared can’t believe he forgot his own freaking birthday. It’s Spider-Man 2 all over again, only that Jared – unlike Peter Parker – doesn’t even have superpowers to make up for being an idiot.

He doesn’t know what to say, where to look, what to do with his hands. His eyes flick nervously between Jensen, Danneel and the party guests.

"Okay," Danneel says. "In a moment, we will all sing Happy Birthday for you and then pretend the last five minutes never happened, but before that, let me just say a few things.”

--

Jensen feels sucker-punched.

He’s pretty sure he’s never gone through so many different emotions in such a short time before. From excitement to hurt to anger to sympathy to guilt to embarrassment.

They’re standing in front of a large crowd of family and friends, in a perfectly decorated venue with great food and a DJ instructed to play Jared’s favorite music all night – and Jensen can’t even think straight.

He’s mad at Jared, but he’s also hurting for him. He feels self-righteously angry because Jared accused him like that, and at the same time he feels slightly guilty because he can see, somehow, the skewed logic in Jared’s argument.

For Jensen, the accusations came out of nowhere, but he’s starting to get that for Jared it was just one puzzle piece after another until they all fit. It’s such a goddamn mess.

Essentially, Jensen just got one of the most heart-felt declarations of love wrapped up in some of the most hurtful accusations. It’s a lot to process.

The look on Danneel’s face helps him get it together, though. She’s on the warpath. And while it’s true that Jared and he will have to talk, set some things straight – Jensen sure as hell doesn’t want to do that in front of a ballroom full of pretty much everyone they know and care about. Especially when he's still hoping that only a few people standing close to the curtain could really hear what Jared just said.

So he makes a placating hand gestures and hisses, "No. Not now," to Danneel.

His eyes wander over to Jared. He looks miserable, deeply unhappy and confused at the same time. Jensen simply can’t help feeling sorry for him. This is his birthday, this is his party. He’s supposed to have fun.

Jensen steps close and takes Jared’s hand, squeezing it and rubbing circles with his thumb. "It’s okay, baby," he whispers. "I’m here, I’m right here."

He looks at Danneel, and even if his smile is still a little shaky, he tries for a light tone, "Didn’t you promise me song and dance?"

For a moment, he’s worried that she won’t let it go, but then her face softens and she replies, "Song and dance – coming right up."

Before long, she has everyone singing Happy Birthday for Jared, first the traditional song and then the Stevie Wonder version. Luckily, Mike steps in before she can make people sing in rounds.

When the song is over and people start throwing confetti, Jensen pulls Jared into a tight hug. It feels good to have Jared so close, feel the reality of his body – and to have him melt into Jensen’s arms, finally relaxing.

Jensen’s mouth finds Jared’s ear and he says, "You’re an idiot, but I love you. Try and have fun tonight."

He makes himself pull away; there are a lot of people who came to congratulate Jared today.

"Jensen. I- I can’t believe ..." The awed look on Jared’s face makes Jensen feel better, but they really don’t have time to talk this out now, so Jensen does the sensible thing and shuts Jared up with a kiss.

"Happy birthday," he smiles, and even though he was so confused just moments ago, he feels it warm and bright and fond on his face.

"Now go, say hi to people. I put a lot of work into this party. I want it to be awesome."

--

Hours later, most of the party guests are either up in their rooms or drove home a while ago – save for a hard core of people, lead by Katie, who’re still doing shots in a corner.

An arm wraps around Jared’s back from the side. "They’re so going to regret this in the morning," Jensen chuckles into his ear.

"I don’t even care. I told Katie I won’t be in tomorrow," he replies and slides his arm around Jensen’s waist, pulling him closer.

"Funny. I told Danneel the same thing." He presses a kiss against Jared’s neck, and Jared just lets the side of his head fall on top of Jensen’s for a moment. "You know we have a room here, right?" Jensen murmurs and bites Jared’s earlobe.

He hums in reply and pulls Jensen into a real hug. After a while, he moves back a little, just enough to look at Jensen, their bodies still pressed close.

"I can’t believe you did all this." Jared smiles. "All those friends from Texas. My family. My dog. The authentic Texas barbecue." He shakes his head. "And the Millennium Falcon birthday cake – I’ll never get over the Millennium Falcon birthday cake, it’s too awesome."

"Yeah, I know," Jensen says, grinning.

"But the best thing was the model." He quickly pecks Jensen on the lips. "I’ll put it up in my office where everyone can see. Like one of those I scored the best boyfriend ever, ask me how! things at the mall."

Turns out that the construction plans for their house didn’t end up in a storage box in a closet. Jensen had only needed them to have an exact model made, true to scale and in amazing detail. Yet another thing to make Jared feel like an idiot.

Jensen smirks and opens his mouth to respond when there’s something warm and wet slobbering all over their hands and arms. "Seems like Harley wants to make this into a full-fledged family group hug," Jensen says and pets the dog fondly.

It’s kind of ridiculous how happy it makes Jared that his parents brought him along. When they have their house, Jared's going to get Harley up to California for good.

"There’s something I meant to ask you all night," Jared starts, trying to keep a straight face. "Why the hell is our dog wearing a pouch and a sash with little metal boxes?"

"He’s dressed up as Chewbacca," Jensen answers – as if it were obvious.

Jared looks down at Harley, then back at Jensen and starts laughing. He laughs and laughs until Jensen chimes in, and they just keep laughing until they're both doubled over, wheezing and with watery eyes.

When Jared finally calms down, his face still hot and his breathing too fast, he looks over at Jensen who’s panting and flushed and the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen.

In that moment, he simply has to say it again, "I love you."

Jensen grins back at him. "Duh," he replies before pulling Jared into a messy kiss.

In retrospect, it’s Jared’s best birthday yet.
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Date: 2010-01-18 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meiou-set.livejournal.com
Yay, you posted! You already know what I think--it bears repeating that this is indeed schmoopy goodness. I love the added Jensen part. ♥ Katie!

Date: 2010-01-18 02:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thank you, I'm glad it works for you - and thanks for your continued support.

I ♥ Katie, too. I'll have to write fic where she features more.

Date: 2010-01-18 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fictionalknight.livejournal.com
aww! I really liked this, the misunderstandings and the sweet, fluffy end - made me smile, and frown, and laugh, and swoon. ;) Nice work!!

Date: 2010-01-18 02:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed - and get to use your SPN icon :)

Date: 2010-01-18 02:54 am (UTC)
ext_17092: heart shaped flames (Default)
From: [identity profile] gestaltrose.livejournal.com
a wonderful, wonderful gift

Date: 2010-01-18 02:42 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-01-18 05:42 am (UTC)
stormcloude: peace (j2)
From: [personal profile] stormcloude
Aw, I hope everything works out perfectly for them and their house is gorgeous!

Date: 2010-01-18 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Of course they will live happily ever after.

Thanks for commenting!

Date: 2010-01-18 11:23 am (UTC)
ext_302385: My default here and on LJ (Default)
From: [identity profile] macbyrne.livejournal.com
Wow. I had tears in my eyes during Jared's breakdown, and I kept thinking, Shut him up, Jensen, everyone can hear him!!! LOL! Awesomely done. Loved it!

Date: 2010-01-18 03:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
It sounds weird to thank someone for crying, but there you go ... if it's any consolation: I cried a little while writing, too. Poor baby.

I'm really happy you liked it.

Also: I might have to steal your icon, because I don't have a J2 one. How is that even possible?

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] macbyrne.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-01-18 11:20 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2010-01-18 03:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rogue-pixie88.livejournal.com
Loved this! <3 All the misunderstandings and Jared's breakdown until that realization of what Jensen had really been doing. Oh boys! Just perfect.

Date: 2010-01-18 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thank you & good luck with BigBang!

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] rogue-pixie88.livejournal.com - Date: 2010-01-18 11:54 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2010-01-18 04:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] veleda03.livejournal.com
this was made of awesome...thanks for sharing... :-)

Date: 2010-01-18 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thanks so much!

Date: 2010-01-18 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rebellion2fate.livejournal.com
Oh, this was adorable! I loved it so much!! I felt so bad for Jared throughout the entire thing, because he really had some tell-tale clues to be basing his theories on, and I felt so sorry for Jensen because he had no idea! Though at the same time, I mildly wanted to beat Jensen over the head for not noticing how upset Jared was getting. Gah, all in all, wonderful. <3

Date: 2010-01-18 09:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
I'm so glad the clues worked for you. I really wanted it to be understandable where Jared's suspicions came from, even if he's completely wrong.

Thanks for commenting!

Date: 2010-01-18 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] treez-r-green.livejournal.com
oh this is so cute and amazing, love it!

Date: 2010-01-18 09:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thanks so much!

Date: 2010-01-18 07:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] z3s-keep-going.livejournal.com
awww adorable!

Date: 2010-01-18 09:41 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-01-18 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redsbball61.livejournal.com
Oh my gosh!! You don't even know how long and anxiously I've been waiting for this and it was AWESOME! :D

Really, I loved everything. The Felton account, Zach! Zach!, and Jared being jealous of Chris Pine. Not to mention the Millennium Falcon cake and Harley dressed as Chewy! Wonderful. So schmoopy with just a hint of angst. My favorite.

Jensen was indeed a wonderful boyfriend (making a scale model of their dream house? So sweet.), and Jared's breakdown was heart wrenching! Him crying and begging Jensen not to leave him? Just broke my heart. Thankfully Jensen was there to make it all better! :D

I really loved this, and thank you so much for writing it for me! &hearts &hearts

Date: 2010-01-19 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
I'm so, so happy that you liked it.

Domestic fic is not something I usually write, so it was interesting to try something new.

I'm glad the details and shout-outs to non-CW characters (and to Star Wars) worked for you.

And in all fairness: Who would not be jealous of Chris Pine?

Again: I'm so happy you liked your gift. I hope you'll have a great 2010!

Date: 2010-01-18 08:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lazy-daze.livejournal.com
Aww, I LOVE this! And it's SO impressive considering it was a pinch hit and written so quickly. Well done! This was totally enjoyably schmoopy without being cheesy, it was engaging and adorable. :D

Date: 2010-01-19 03:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thank you so much, I'm happy you like it. I might be even happier about the schmoopy without being cheesy part :D

Date: 2010-01-18 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scintilla10.livejournal.com
Eee, this was great! I like how the misunderstandings didn't feel overly forced and that they were able to deal with them without OMG DRAMATIC BREAKUP!!! Also! Harley in a Chewie costume = win!

Date: 2010-01-19 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
I like how the misunderstandings didn't feel overly forced

I am so glad to hear this. It was sort of my main objective to have enough clues for the reader to at least see where Jared was coming from, i.e. not make him look like a possessive Neanderthal tool.

And yes, Harley would make a great Chewie. No doubt about it.

Date: 2010-01-19 04:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aidanirl.livejournal.com
really enjoyed it! thank you!

Date: 2010-01-20 02:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
I'm glad. Thanks.

Date: 2010-01-19 02:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dugindeep.livejournal.com
Aww bb! I really enjoyed this! I read half in one sitting on the train then came home and finished the rest. I liked how when they were together that they were kinda of easy about it - even when there were problems because of schedules and tire, I liked seeing the domesticity. I usually hate overly-schmoopy domestic scenes, but you hit just enough to show that they really cared but that they were comfortable just being around one another. And poor Jensen, getting yelled at, at the party! Hahah. And then poor Jared for being so embarrassed. These boys!

Date: 2010-01-20 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Oh yes: boys!

I'm really happy you liked it, bb.

It was the first time I wrote domesticity, so it's great to hear that it worked for you.

Date: 2010-01-19 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amtamburo.livejournal.com
God but I loved this every single angsty, painful, happy ending word of it! ~loves oblivious men~

Date: 2010-01-20 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

Date: 2010-01-19 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sigrundora.livejournal.com
Awww. I liked the way you added the celebrities in the fic, Jared is one lucky guy to have such an awesome boyfriend. I thought that Jen might have made a cake shaped like their house, but a model is just much better and lasts longer.

Thank you ;)

Date: 2010-01-20 03:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

[livejournal.com profile] redsbball61 wanted random other people as supporting characters and it was fun doing a little namedropping.

Date: 2010-01-19 05:10 pm (UTC)
ext_37250: made by: dhamphir (sexy spoons)
From: [identity profile] princesslanie.livejournal.com
omg freakin awesome. jared's an idiot for thinking jensen would step out on him. lol.

Date: 2010-01-20 03:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thank you! And yeah, Jensen would never break the OTP :)

Date: 2010-01-19 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] equally-dour.livejournal.com
That was really nice. :)

Date: 2010-01-20 03:08 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-01-20 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geek-hunter.livejournal.com
I was feeling bad for Jensen during Jared's rant, and then when he switched to the I understand why portion of his rant, I was like OMG poor guy *wibbles* But you had the perfect SCHMOOPY ending. Loved it and Harley as Chewbacca=LOLs

Date: 2010-01-21 06:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thanks so much. I'm glad you felt with both guys - and that you liked Chewy!Harley. He's my favorite.

Date: 2010-01-20 07:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fridayblues.livejournal.com
Oh, I love this story so much.
Thanks for writing! I hope to see more from this verse :)

Date: 2010-01-21 06:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thanks a lot. I'm happy you liked it.

Date: 2010-01-21 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kelleigh.livejournal.com
Loved this! The ups and downs, all the drama they went through. It was sad to read about Jared misconstruing everything when we all knew exactly what Jensen was planning, but that made the ending so much sweeter when he realizes his mistake. And Jensen forgiving him pretty much on the spot? SO much ♥

Date: 2010-01-22 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for your comment!

I'm glad the emotional ups and downs worked for you, and that you liked Jensen forgiving Jared right away. He's the best boyfriend ever - and party planner extraordinaire. ♥

Date: 2010-02-04 05:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gcaedmon.livejournal.com
This was fantastic! Loved the pase and the tension in it.

Date: 2010-02-05 01:58 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-02-14 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] build-the-moon.livejournal.com
Um, I loved this. SO MUCH.

Date: 2010-02-14 07:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thank you ♥

great

Date: 2010-08-22 08:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] usaexpat101.livejournal.com
Really enjoyed this. Jared speech to Jensen and ending with Don't leave me, was so heartfelt...really good job...hope you do a bit more with this one...

Re: great

Date: 2010-08-25 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thanks a lot! I'm happy you liked Jared's speech.
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