Timestamp to Why I'm Talking to You. OMG this got way long.
Notes: Written for amindaya, as prompted from this post. She said 'understated' and this isn't exactly, it's something I've been thinking of, and I kind of tried to fit it together.
Jensen had fallen asleep fast enough, found the quiet of the apartment perfect to let him rest. The last few nights, heck more than a week, had been long ones - at work for a new Surecell print ad and at home with Jared coming by after late study sessions. All Jared seemed stopped in for was a late dinner, some quick conversation or a little making out, before running out to his newest night shift: manning the security desk at Surecell's headquarters. Yeah, Jensen pulled that string, wanting nothing more than to keep Jared employed when making rent was the first need on Jared's list.
Jensen wakes unaware of what got to him, but he winces at giant blue digital numbers telling him it's nearly one in the morning. Then he hears a soft knock in the kitchen, footsteps into the living room, and the tiny squeaks of the entertainment center's hinges.
He hurries from bed, grabbing his tennis racket from his closet along the way. It's held high in defense as he creeps to the now-lit room, and when he gets to the front room, he lets the racket fall to his shoulder. The TV's set low with the volume just a soft murmur of music videos, books and papers across the glass coffee table, and Jared perched at the edge of the couch. He's got a glass of water to his mouth, his eyes wide to Jensen, and they blink at each other.
"What're you doing?" Jensen croaks out, throat thick and dry from sleep.
"Studying," Jared mumbles as he sets the glass to the table.
Jensen shuffles to the couch, dropping into it and falling back as he lets the tennis racket slip to the ground. "You don't work?"
Jared looks over his shoulder, nervous or guilty or something. "Not tonight. Last final is tomorrow."
Rubbing over his face, Jensen mumbles, "Why'd you come this late?"
“ Chad came back from the bars and was getting a little too loud so I left, and then the Library's packed, and I didn't mean to wake you," he rushes out.
Jensen rests his hand at Jared's back. "I'm not mad," he says, voice still rough, no matter how many times he clears his throat.
"No," he insists with a tiny smile. "But I'm tired as hell and you're here. All I wanna do is sleep and you're here." Jared starts to frown and Jensen shakes his head as he shifts forward. "What time's your test?"
"Eight. I'll be out by six the latest. Hit the library for a little."
He sets his forehead to Jared's should, mumbling, "Wake me before you leave."
Jared frowns, confused and slow when he says, "Okay. You sure?"
Jensen nods against Jared and slowly pulls himself up, forcing himself back to bed.
A few hours later, Jensen's aware it's just after five when Jared enters the room and carefully sits at the edge of the bed.
Turning to his side, Jensen squints with the breaking dawn lighting his room. He lightly holds at Jared's knee, thumb grazing the bend of it. "When's your lease up?" he asks without any setup. He's far too exhausted to make this conversation more than it has to be.
"Next month. Why?"
"Move in." Jared's gulp is loud and Jensen continues, "No splitting the rent until you're out of school. You'll have more time without worrying about making rent."
He stares at Jared from beneath heavy lids. He had not expected that answer. "Why not?"
"I don't want more of your favors," Jared insists, voice a bit broken and tired.
"It's not a favor," Jensen says quietly. "You're just coming and going at this point."
"You gave me your key so I could come and go," Jared points out. "You gave me your key and you got me my job and you've been paying for things for too long. I don't want more handouts."
He hears every word, absolutely understands them. He could argue a hundred things about why he does what he does for Jared. Top of the list would be that no one was able to help him when he was getting through college and his career. His parents did what they could but it only got him so far; he did it himself and created this life, and he can pick who he spends his money on. Second would be that he loves Jared, but Jared probably won't listen to either of those, so he goes with number three: "I'm being selfish and wanna see you."
"I just ..."
Jensen shifts up on his elbow and lightly tugs on Jared's shirt. "No arguing on this. Go ace that test, stop stressing, and come tonight if you want. If you don’t, we can talk logistics whenever you're ready."
Jared's quiet for a few moments, face bare of any real reaction until his eyes widen. "Wow. That was totally your business voice."
"Shuddup," Jensen grumbles and falls back to the bed, knowing Jared's right. This absolutely does feel like a major negotiation he must tread lightly.
Jared chuckles and looks down at his hands. When he looks up, his face is tight, as is his voice. "You really wanna do this?"
“If by this you mean seeing you without a book in hand or half asleep, then yes."
"This is a big step," Jared says quietly.
Jensen’s stomach turns at the idea that Jared can’t be convinced. That he’s not arguing against this for the sake of not looking like he’s jumping at every opportunity, but that he just doesn’t want this arrangement. Jensen clears his throat and carefully says, "I don't want you to do this if you don't want to." Another few seconds of silence and Jensen rushes to say, “We can just forget the offer was ever on the table. It’s not a big deal.”
Jared tips his head and finally smiles, though it’s a strange, pathetic one. “There’s no way I’ll forget that.” His eyes slip to the side then he frowns. “I should get to the library.”
Sitting up, Jensen slides his hand over Jared’s neck and brings him close to kiss. “Just stay here and study. I’m getting up to shower anyway.”
When Jared doesn’t protest, Jensen really does get up to shower. Thirty minutes later, he’s dressed and getting coffee in the kitchen with Jared cramming at the table, books and notebooks spread out. Jensen wraps an arm around Jared’s neck and kisses behind his ear.
“Good luck,” he murmurs.
Jared twists towards him, but Jensen’s already slipping away with a small smile and he leaves.
Jensen’s stuck in an internal meeting that goes on for most of the morning. In the last half hour, he sees Danneel pop up in one of the windows, but he can’t interrupt the meeting or find a smooth way to slip out for a second. So he sits and watches as she strolls by, ever so casually, every five minutes or so.
It’s hell to sit through the hours of jargon and new initiatives coming down from a problem client one of Jensen’s colleagues fought to keep but lost. More trouble than they’re worth everyone had said, but the tone of the entire meeting is disappointment and worry of what really happens when a client isn’t compliant or is unsure of their arrangement.
Doesn’t help that Jensen’s trying to not think about this morning or how things ended with no real answer. In another life, before Jared, he’d throw himself into work to forget about it, let it slip by, but he can’t bear to let himself do that. If Jared walks out the door, it has to be because Jared says so, not because Jensen lets him.
It’s not his best moment, but he decides, bolstered by past experience of being left alone and this meeting here, that he’ll stick with whatever he can get, no matter how unhealthy it really is. If Jared doesn’t want to move in, wants to keep seeing each other at midnight for some very un-quality time, and keep running himself ragged while finishing school, so be it.
Just after settling himself on that fact, he exits the conference room and is bumped by Danneel who hands him a fresh coffee.
“How long was that thing gonna last, anyway?” she asks quietly. “Your schedule said ten and it’s well past eleven now.”
Jensen checks his watch and it’s nearly lunch. The thought makes his stomach growl and Danneel gives him a look. “Gimme a break, it’s been a bad morning.”
“So now your stomach is cranky, too?”
“Shut up,” he grumbles as he turns to the right and walks down the hallway.
She follows in step and nearly frowns. “Bad morning have anything to do with Jared camped out in your office?”
Jensen stops immediately and swallows, hard. “What does he look like?”
“Um, like Jared.”
“I mean,” he sighs. “Is he happy? Pissed?” Jensen makes a face. “He doesn’t look guilty does he? Like he’ll do something bad?”
Danneel stares at him and then makes a face right back at him. “He looks tired. Like he hasn’t slept in four days.”
“It’s finals week,” Jensen explains, at a loss for any real words right now. Jared is in his office and this is either really good or really bad.
When Jensen reaches the doorway, he has to look around the very inside of his office where his recently-acquired couch rests against the wall, where Jared is sacked out. He’s leaning at an odd angle in the corner of the couch, like he’d been doing his best to stay upright while falling asleep.
“”Oh, my God, he’s adorable,” Danneel whispers from Jensen’s side.
Jensen sadly smiles then nods at her. “Get some lunch brought up in an hour or two and I’ll treat.”
Danneel looks around Jensen to Jared. “Really?”
“Whatever you have a taste for, order extra.”
She regards Jensen for a bit and tips her head. “Everything okay?”
“Yeah,” he shrugs, looking just beyond her so he doesn’t have to deal with her long look.
“Are you okay?”
Jensen glances at her then to Jared, who’s soundly sleeping and not bothered in the least by their quiet conversation in the doorway. One more look into the hallway to ensure no one is around to eavesdrop, and Jensen clears his throat. “I asked him to move in.”
“That’s great,” she smiles warmly.
“He wasn’t receptive.”
“Oh,” she frowns.
“Yeah,” he nearly frowns with her. “And I’m trying to stay calm and just let him decide. But I don’t know what to do. If he doesn’t want move in because of some huge reason and not just thinking I do too much for him, I don’t know,” he admits, feeling anxious to be saying all of this to her. But he quickly realizes it’s quite freeing to have someone he can ramble to. Someone who knows him incredibly well.
“I’ll order Turner’s,” she says with a hopeful smile. “He loves their potatoes.”
Jensen chuckles lightly, feeling a weight lift from his shoulders that Danneel’s not about judge him for his anxiety; she’s going to help him.
Two hours later, lunch arrives, and Jensen’s behind his desk, working quietly. He’s focused enough on the computer screen that he doesn’t see Jared wake up, just hears him mumble, “Are you serious?”
Looking up, Jensen tentatively smiles to Jared’s confusion at the bags on the coffee table in front of the couch. “Morning,” Jensen says.
Jared glances at him, out the windows, and back to Jensen. He scrubs over his face and grimaces. “Dani said your meeting was running late. Didn’t mean to fall asleep.”
Jensen shifts to fully face Jared, resting his arms on his desk. “Didn’t want to wake you up. Seemed like you needed all the rest you could get.” Jared nods, eyes slipping shut again before he shakes his head, trying to wake himself up. “How’d your final go?”
Shrugging, Jared smiles a little. “It was okay.”
“You aced it, didn’t you?”
Jared chuckles and drops his head with a small nod. “I really don’t know.”
“I want to live with you,” Jensen says suddenly, surprising himself with the words tumbling so easily. Jared’s head shoots up and he’s staring right at Jensen. This isn’t what Jensen had planned to do right here, but now that he’s said it, he keeps going. “It’s not about wanting to support you or do everything just because I can. As if I think you can’t do it yourself. I want to see you every chance we have.”
Biting into the side of his mouth, Jared lightly shakes his head. “Why do you think I come here all the time? You think I’m just bored?”
“Usually, yeah,” Jensen lightly jokes.
“I doubt I aced my final,” Jared says seriously. “I just kept thinking about us. And this morning.” He looks down to his hands and twines fingers together, over and over. “I don’t want people thinking that I’m just taking advantage of everything.”
Jensen gets out from behind the desk and sits next to Jared, shoulder to shoulder and looking right at him, even when Jared won’t look back. “Are you?”
“Of course not,” he murmurs.
Jared’s mouth twitches and he turns towards Jensen, slowing moving in and pressing a soft kiss, holding it for a couple seconds as Jensen kisses right back, just the same.
“Are we okay?” Jensen asks.
“Yeah. And I’m sorry,” Jared frowns. “Just been so stressed lately, running back and forth from everywhere. I should’ve just said yes when you asked.”
Jensen can’t help the way his cheeks hurt as his grin breaks free. “Yeah, you should’ve.”
Jared starts to smile, a real, broad smile warming his face. “But I enjoyed you trying to persuade me. Some real fine arguments you have there.”
“What can I say?” Jensen chuckles, feeling elation overcome him. “I’m a good salesman.”
“And selfish apparently,” he says with an eyebrow up high.
Jensen finally tempers his happiness, twisting his mouth to hide his smile. “On occasion.”
“I’ll have to remember that when we sort out my half of the closet.”
The smile comes back in full force. “I’m sure you can put all those calc classes to use.”
Jared smirks and bumps their shoulders together. They share a long look and Jared looks confused for a moment. “You’ve been surprisingly calm through this whole thing.”
“And you’ve been neurotic,” Jensen points out with a chuckle.
He makes a face. “This has been strange. I don’t think I like it.”
“I think I kinda do,” Jensen admits. Staying calm was precisely what he needed to do, though watching Jared argue against the situation wasn’t all that great. “But next time, just say yes the first time?”
Jared chuckles and leans in to kiss. “Maybe.”
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