Summary: Timestamp to 100 Days to Domestic Bliss (and other messes). Their marriage is another year older, and they're (maybe) another year wiser.
Notes: Written for iwillshutup for fandomaid, thank you for your generous donation and all your patience for this thing to come together! And thanks to raeschae for the beta :D
They’re not fighting. They’re not. Jensen insists on it to anyone who asks, even when someone’s picking up on Jensen’s tight-lipped smiles, or Jared’s tiny, passive-aggressive noises, or even how Jensen moves quite slowly around his own house, as if he’s afraid to put something out of place or look at something for too long.
This is not fighting. Jensen’s not sure what it is, but it’s not that.
When he steps through the front door and attempts to step off the mat without removing his shoes, he hears a little tsking noise from the kitchen. So, he removes his dress shoes and it takes just another second to remember that his bag does not go next to the entertainment center. Even if it’s where he’s been dropping it off for a year when Danneel didn’t give two shits.
“Hi,” Jensen says as nicely as possible, probably overdoing it, when he steps into the doorway to the kitchen. “How’re you?”
“I … am … okay,” Jared says oddly as he stirs a creamy mixture in a small saucepan. He gives a quick glance to Jensen and stalls, eyes going up and down quickly. “Oh, good,” he says a bit more brightly. He goes back to quickly whipping through the sauce with a fork. “I thought you were gonna …”
“Gonna what?” Jensen asks with a smirk, leaning against the doorway. Gonna break something on your way in, gonna trample dirt across the carpet, gonna show up drunk and unable to stand, Jensen thinks, a bit on the bitter side. When Jared doesn’t answer, Jensen crosses his arms and tips his head. “Gonna what, Jared?”
“Be late!” he replies quickly. “I was afraid you’d be late, and then you’d miss dinner.”
“Mmm-hmm,” Jensen sounds before turning to the living room. But then he stops and hears Jared’s tiny nag in his head, something he’s gotten plenty of in two years of marriage and seems to creep up at the strangest times. Two nights ago, his brain replayed Jared asking him if he’d bothered to get the flavored creamer he likes, and if so, why wasn’t it in the upper left cabinet with the rest of the coffee things, all while Jared was blowing him. It took a while that night.
Jensen walks right up behind Jared, looks over his shoulder, and lets out an exaggerated gasp. “Jared Tristan Padalecki! Are you using a metal fork in my brand new pans?”
“What? I’m - they’re not yours,” he insists.
“You bought them for our anniversary.”
“I bought them for us on a day that was near our anniversary. And I think I know what I'm doing.”
“Still,” Jensen insists. It’s a bit less mocking, but nowhere near the horror Jared would likely show if the roles were reversed. “A fork on Teflon, I’ve been told, is like releasing a bobcat in a bouncy castle.”
“That is not,” Jared snaps back. Then he sighs and lets his shoulders drop back down. “That is not what I said.’
“That’s what I heard.” Jensen reaches around Jared’s waist to dab his finger at the top of the sauce Jared’s no longer stirring. He knows this is Jared’s version of disaction, as the seminar on Making Love Work had rambled on about, assigning the word to moments when one has to decide against action or reaction and just let things play out. When Jensen thinks on it, he remembers that was Jared’s anniversary present.
He squeezes Jared’s hip with his other hand as he tastes the smooth Alfredo sauce burst with rich flavor on his tongue. He hums and kisses the back of Jared’s neck. “Tastes good.”
“Thanks,” Jared mumbles.
Jensen walks out of the room and on the way to the bedroom, he calls out, “Be nice to my pans!”
“They’re not -!”
Things haven’t exactly been easy, living in Jensen’s rented townhome, yet it’s given him great perspective on Jared and the few months they coexisted in Jared’s home. He finally understands that feeling of having another person take over spaces you once used for your own things - whether small or large, meaningful or just a place to drop shit when you didn’t know what else to do with it.
It wasn’t exactly a good moment when Jared had given him the packet for Making Love Work, as Jared apparently wants to make his gifts serve as reminders that Jensen’s not that great of a husband. Given that, on their first anniversary, Jared gave him cooking lessons, and for Jensen’s birthday, Jared bought him a shoe rack for the hall closet to keep them off the floor.
It’s especially troubling since Jensen does his best to get things Jared would like, and not things he thinks his husband might need. On their second anniversary Jensen had gone all out and bought them a couples’ membership to the extreme sports club that had just opened in town and boasted rock climbing walls, a bungee-rip cord field, and boot camp training sessions. They’d always gone on at length about adrenaline-pounding activities they could do together, but nothing like it ever seemed to materialize outside of the bedroom.
Which isn’t exactly a complaint, really. Their sex life is the healthiest thing they’ve got going, proven by the way Jared is currently pounding into him, pushing Jensen up the bed and making the headboard smack the wall so hard, Jensen’s sure there’ll be marks.
A small corner of his brain starts to worry on that and when he tips his head back on the mattress and winces, it’s because he sees dings in the dry wall, not so much because Jared’s doing his job at the moment.
“C’mon, baby,” Jared pants. “God, you feel so good, so fucking gorgeous like this, gonna fuck you all night. Both gonna be so sore and like it.”
Jensen’s brain immediately zones in on Jared’s mouth, and he looks up to Jared’s lips curling around more obscene notions of how good they are together and how perfect Jensen feels right now, always, always feeling so good. He groans at the thought that yes, they’re so good together like this, and it’s never failed either of them the second they get going. He clenches his ass around Jared’s dick, feels him stutter and hears the groan, then wraps his fingers into Jared’s hair and tugs lightly before letting go and just trailing his hand through the mess of it.
Jared shifts back and brings Jensen’s legs together, holding them up to his chest and changing the angle. He’s literally lifting Jensen’s lower body off the mattress and fucking into him without any pause, and the vision of Jared’s arms bulging and his hands tight around Jensen’s knees is downright hot and makes all synapses fire laser quick through Jensen’s body.
Jensen is sure he can’t hold out any longer, but he grabs onto Jared’s wrists and snaps his hips as well as he can to meet Jared’s thrusts, crying out when Jared hits the good spot over and over again. As Jared builds more steam and smacks sweaty skin on sweaty skin, Jensen loses control of his voice. “Fucking do it, right there, Jare, right there, fucking hit this.”
When Jared answers the command, his grip tightens around Jensen’s knees, and his hips get impossibly faster, until Jensen feels the fire light up from his chest on down. “That feel good? You like that?” Jared asks, panting through the words and jacking right into Jensen. “What else you want?”
Jensen thinks briefly on I feeling statements, and lets loose. “I want you to fuck me, wanna come so hard, c’mon, want you to finish me.”
Jared raises Jensen’s legs up and down with his strokes and it’s like flipping a switch that was already fired to go, because Jensen can’t make sense of words and syllables, moaning as he breaks and his body gets there before his brain can register that he’s coming. His dick jerks and shoots across his belly, and he bites into his lower lip so hard that pain blooms in his mouth.
Jared laughs in shock, wraps his arms around Jensen’s legs, and keeps fucking through his final stretch until he pushes in hard and deep, and comes with a shout.
After, they’re stretched out on the queen-sized bed and Jared still has one arm under one of Jensen’s legs, pinning it up near his chest, but Jensen can’t mind. There isn’t much energy for motor skills at this time and his body is full of sated hormones spinning over one another. He absently thinks their new sports club is doing them both wonders, and the session on Using Your Words with Emotions has led to miracles in the bedroom.
Jensen turns his head and lightly smiles at the state of Jared, with his hair sweaty and plastered across his cheeks and forehead, chest still rising high with labored breathing, and his mouth dropped wide to gulp in as much air as possible. He brings his leg down and his arm up over Jared’s head so he can wipe some of the hair away from Jared’s face.
“That was really fucking good,” Jared mumbles.
“You are really good at fucking,” Jensen murmurs.
Jared smirks and shifts closer, ringing his arm across Jensen’s waist with his huge hand covering Jensen’s ribs and squeezing. “I think we need a new headboard.”
Jensen glances above Jared’s head to see the nicked wall, and even though he knows it’s true, there’s a small flare of annoyance that Jared wants to change something that Jensen’s had for years. He breathes deep and releases it out his nose to calm himself, because the alternative is for them to not unabashedly fuck each other whenever they want.
After another long sigh, Jensen says, “Yeah, okay.”
Jared rubs along Jensen’s side. “Don’t sound so disappointed.”
“I’m trying.” He really is, no matter how hard it is to not snip and roll his eyes whenever they disagree on something. And Jensen really does his best to give in on the easy things.
“We can shop together,” he murmurs, moving in closer. He kisses his way up Jensen’s shoulder, his neck, and hovers over his mouth. “Test out all those beds.”
Considering common, public decency, it’ll never happen, but Jensen enjoys the thought and smiles lazily.
“Surprise,” Jensen grins with a wave of his hands.
Jared sounds flat when he says, “I thought we were gonna do it together.”.
Jensen stands beside him in the bedroom, staring at the new king-sized mattress and soft cream, padded headboard that now takes up a majority of the space. “It was the last one, on clearance. Kind of a last-minute decision.”
Jared sucks his lips into his mouth and noisily breathes in through his nose.
“I sent you a pic from the store.”
He pops his lips out and twists his mouth. “My phone died at work.”
Not my problem shoots through Jensen’s mind, but he has the common sense to keep it to himself. Instead, he rubs at Jared’s back, trying to release the tension in his spine. “C’mon, you’ve gotta be hungry and exhausted working so late. I’ll heat up leftovers and then we’ll test out the bed.”
Jared barely nods, but Jensen accepts the moment for what it is: compromise.
Ten minutes later, Jensen’s got the food ready on the table with extra garlic bread on Jared’s plate and one of the high-end microbrews Jared likes already opened beside it. It’s his best diversion - okay, apology - at the moment.
He’ll admit that yeah, he should have waited on Jared, just for the sake of sharing the decision. But it really was such a quick moment in the store, and he was so excited for the great deal he was getting that he told himself Jared would be fine once it was set up. But Jared’s still not in the kitchen even with the tantalizing scents of the braised pork Jared had spent most of Sunday night on.
He gives it another minute before he decides to let the dogs back in, sending them down to their playroom in the lower level, and then drag Jared into the kitchen. Except, he doesn’t get further than the threshold for the bedroom because he feels his stomach drop at the sight of Jared in sweatpants with a t-shirt hanging in one hand as he presses the other into the mattress, as if testing its firmness. It’s a distinct battle of wills. Seeing Jared half-dressed still does powerful things to his libido, but the image of Jared tentatively checking the bed drags guilt up through his chest and he has to swallow it down.
Jared sits on his side of the bed and looks at the headboard before dragging his sight up the wall and to the ceiling. He seems lost and little and maybe hurt, which does nothing to tamper the guilt Jensen’s just barely keeping down.
Jensen taps at the doorway to use some of this uneasy energy. “I DVRed the game. We can watch it while we eat.”
He flinches to look at Jensen and smiles, but it’s not a grateful one. It’s one that Jensen’s been able to read over the last two years, where Jared’s trying to cover something up and move into disaction. Jared nods and his lips get even tighter in his smile. “That sounds good.”
Biting into his lips, Jensen steps closer. “You don’t wanna watch the game, do you?”
“You wanna sit down to eat?” Jared shrugs as he turns to look at the wall that’s now about two feet closer to the bed than it used to be. Jensen moves into Jared’s line of sight and dips down to catch his eyes. “What’s wrong?” he asks. He’s hesitant and afraid to hear the answer, but knows he needs to ask and not ignore it.
“I just hate -” he starts with a rough sigh, but stops and breathes evenly. He nods slowly and watches his fingers twist the shirt in his hands. “I feel like sometimes it’s not working.”
“I feel like you’re wrong,” Jensen counters immediately. “I’m sorry about the bed.”
“It’s not just the bed.”
“I am still sorry about the bed,” he admits. “I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, and we already agreed we needed something that wouldn’t wreck the walls.”
“That’s not the point,” Jared says, staring right at Jensen.
Jensen nods and glances away, not wanting to see Jared pin him down with disappointment. After a few tense moments, he pulls the shirt out of Jared’s hands and tries his most comforting smile. “Okay, let’s not bicker over the bed. Let’s try it out. It’s a pillow-top with moderate firmness, and I think you’re gonna be won over by it.”
Jared pushes back when Jensen tries to maneuver him down to the mattress. “Sex isn’t a fix-all.”
He puts his hands out and gives a hopeful look. “Just trust me, okay? Lie down and try it for one minute.” Jared continues to stare and Jensen adjusts his smile playfully. “Just sixty seconds?” As Jared shuffles to lie on his side, Jensen crawls into bed behind him, immediately slipping one arm under Jared’s shoulders and the other over his hip to pull him snug to his chest. “See,” he murmurs before kissing the back of Jared’s neck. “Isn’t this nice?”
Sighing, Jared slowly moves to hold Jensen’s hand where it’s set on his chest. “Yeah.”
Jensen nudges his leg between Jared’s and tightens his arms around him. “No one’s one hundred percent perfect. And if we were, that’d probably annoy me, too.” Jared chuckles and Jensen kisses his shoulder, keeping his mouth there as he keeps talking. “We’re doing better. Getting better all the time.”
“Yeah, but,” Jared mumbles and Jensen cuts him off.
“No buts. We’re together and trying, which is more than most people. Considering all the divorce stats out there, I feel like we’re doing amazing. How do you feel?” When Jared stumbles to reply, Jensen softly rubs over his heart and cards his other fingers through Jared’s hair. He thinks back to all that they learned at the seminar that he’d initially thought was the stupidest, biggest waste of a weekend, but is serving them pretty damned well lately. “No lying in the bedroom, that’s the rule. And you’re not even looking at me, so you should be open to say what you feel.”
Jared takes a few long, focused breaths. “I feel like you bought the bed by yourself because it’s your place. And I feel like it’s always just your home and not ours.”
Jensen wants to chuckle, because he’d had that feeling so many times while staying with Jared. “How about we move?”
Jared sighs and turns to his back. “Why are we moving?”
“It didn’t work at your place, and it’s not working at mine. We go find a place together and make it ours.”
Rolling his eyes, Jared looks up to the ceiling. “How many times are we gonna move?”
Jensen is firm, and committed, when he says, “As many as it takes.” Jared raises an eyebrow and Jensen goes for his most charming smile. “We’ll get a place with a huge backyard for the dogs, and a nice kitchen for you to work however you want. An extra room where I’ll store all my shit so it’s out of sight.”
Jared snorts, but he’s starting to smile, too.
“And a bedroom big enough for our nice new bed.”
He stretches his legs out and shifts on the mattress with a thoughtful look. “It is kinda nice. We’ll have to call it the bed of compromise.”
“And the den of iniquity, I do hope,” Jensen smirks.
“Oh, for sure,” Jared replies with a smirk of his own.
Jensen slides closer and kisses Jared, soft and slow. He gently smiles at him. “Feel better?”
“Yeah, I do,” he murmurs. “What about you?”
He takes a moment to comb hair off Jared’s forehead and consider the comfortable, easy look Jared’s giving him. He couldn’t be more certain of anything than this love they have. “I feel like we can fix anything.”
Jared's eyes coast over Jensen's face and they start to shine. Suddenly, he blinks, shakes his head, and playfully smiles. "Tell me more about this fabulous new home you're buying me."
Jensen laughs brightly, immediately happy despite the horror of what price they'll pay to move again. He settles on Jared's chest and starts counting off any possible amenity one could fit in a kitchen, and then he and Jared are perfectly good, together.