J2, non-AU, 2600 words, PG. Jensen comes out of his marriage with a kid, and Jared doesn't, so Jared kind of ends up joining the family. And then he actually joins the family.
This is SUPER LATE for enablelove's birthday. SORRY I AM SO LATE D: Anyway, she wanted wooing, and I will admit I was already working on this fic and then adapted it to fit her prompt. So I hope it is acceptable, and she will forgive me for taking so long ♥
Jared doesn't mean to be the one to open the door when Danneel comes to pick up Ellie. It's not really his place; friends are the same as any other possessions: they get split between the two parties in a divorce. Jared clearly went to Jensen.
She gives him a smile, weary but genuine. It was an amicable breakup, the kind where they both say they still love each other. Jensen says the timing was wrong--maybe Danneel would say the same, if he asked.
They both got married thinking they'd have one more season of Supernatural, at the most. But they didn't--it became another one of those CW shows that never died, and neither of them had the heart to pull a Rosenbaum and cut and run.
Jensen and Danneel had Ellie in season eight, and got divorced in season nine, just before the big finale.
For about a year, he and Jensen didn't see each other at all. There weren't any hard feelings when Jensen finally called him up and asked if he wanted to watch the game; avoiding each other wasn't actually about the two of them. It was a break from the show, and their friendship was a casualty without actually dying.
"Hey, Danneel," he says. "Long time no see."
She's beautiful, maybe even more than before. She's aged gracefully, and he thinks motherhood suits her. Her show's doing well. As far as he knows, she's happy.
Her smile widens, and he pulls her into a hug. She gives a little squeak, laughs. "Good to see you, Jared."
"Mommy!" says Ellie, running in with a joyful cry. Danneel pulls back and takes the girl in her arms.
"Hey, sweetie. Did you have fun with daddy and Uncle Jared?"
"We drew," says Ellie. "I made you a picture."
"I did too, but mine's not as good," says Jared, holding it up for her opinion.
Danneel smiles at him. "Where's daddy?" she asks both of them.
"Showering," says Jared. "I was babysitting while he went for a run. You're early."
"Filming wrapped. Should I stick around?"
"Nah, go on. Dropping her off next weekend, right?"
"Yup. Tell Jensen I'll text him with a more exact time when I know it." She readjusts Ellie, holds her a little higher; Jared smiles and doesn't want the girl to get big enough that Danneel can't do that. "Good to see you, Jared. I'm glad you and him are hanging out again."
"Me too," says Jared. It was never a question of if, just of when, but his life feels more complete with Jensen in it.
Ellie waves as she goes, and Jared goes in to clean up the kitchen.
It's a few more minutes before Jensen comes down, toweling his hair. He raises his eyebrows at the empty table. "I guess Danneel came by."
"She wrapped early. Said she'd text you and let you know when you'd get her back."
Jensen nods. He always looks a little smaller when Ellie leaves, like the world has shrunk and diminished.
It surprised him, at first, that Jensen was a good father, until it made perfect sense.
Jared leans against the counter. "Do you ever think about trying again? Now that you're both in the same city?"
That was what got him and Gen--she loved New York, Jared feels trapped there. It's not the city for him. It was like he was cramming himself in a place he didn't belong. It could have been worth it, but it's been long enough now that he can admit it: she wasn't worth it to him. It doesn't make him happy to know it, but it makes him feel more mature.
Jensen shrugs, pours himself some juice. "Not really. Divorce isn't let's take a break and see if we can work it out. Divorce is we're done."
"Yeah, I guess." He shrugs. "I just always wanted the two of you to stay together, you know."
Jensen raises his eyebrows, amused. "That's because you were always convinced you were the older brother and had to take care of me."
Jared smirks. "Can't I just think you two were good for each other?"
Jensen shakes his head. "You can think that, yeah. Are you staying for dinner?"
"I would," he says hesitantly. "I actually have a date."
Jensen tenses, barely. "A date? Seriously?"
"Thought I should try to get back in the saddle."
It's uncomfortable, how true this is. It's a date he's going on because he feels like it's what he's suppose to be doing this long into being divorced, like this is how his life is supposed to go.
He's not really interested in dating; he's been ready to be married since he was twenty-five.
"Anyone I know?"
"One of the lighting guys, Tim."
"Oh," says Jensen.
"It just--felt like a good idea."
"You're giving up on women?"
"Better than giving up on love entirely, right?"
"Remember when you were the optimistic one? I liked that. If we're both cynical and jaded, it's just depressing."
Jared smiles wanly. His last girlfriend was a pretty, small actress named Naomi. She was smart and funny and he liked her. He didn't think she was the one, not yet, but he thought they had potential.
He found out she cheated on him from TMZ; it's the kind of hurt that lingers.
"Well, cheer up, buttercup," says Jared, clapping Jensen on the shoulder. "You're the happy one now."
Jensen calls him up on Saturday.
"We're going to the aquarium," he says. "The kid really loves otters. Want to tag along?"
"Yeah, sure," he says. "Pick me up?"
"We'll be there in an hour."
Ellie is wearing a green dress and looks like a little princess. Jared picks her up and puts her on his shoulders as they go in, and smiles as Jensen gets recognized. He's found that having a child with them keeps them from getting too mobbed; people generally respect that father-Jensen is very different from actor-Jensen.
Ellie starts kicking Jared's shoulders not long after they get in, clearly wanting to be able to move on her own so she can drag them everywhere. Jensen admonishes her to use her words, and Jared smiles as she insists all three of them hold hands as she shows them to the sea otters.
Once she's thoroughly engrossed, Jensen says, "I never asked how your date went."
Jared shrugs. "Okay. But--no second date."
"Your choice or his?"
"Kind of mutual," Jared lies. Tim would have been up for it.
"Uncle Jared, picture!" says Ellie. She's posing next to the tank, huge smile. Jared obliges.
Jensen is looking at him thoughtfully, almost wistfully. "You'd be a good dad, you know."
Jared doesn't know what his expression might say to Jensen. "But I'm not."
When Danneel got pregnant, he and Gen talked about kids, and that was when they realized that it wasn't going to work between them. He thinks it should have been sooner, but he was pretty busy, honestly.
They were divorced before Ellie was even born; she never got a chance to know Genevieve.
"You're thirty-four, man," says Jensen. "I sure hope everything still works down there."
Jared snorts, doesn't give him the finger because they're in a public place surrounded by children.
"You can check any time you want to," he shoots back.
It's a little awkward; Jensen is the one person he's ever been unfaithful with, on two separate occasions. They were both just drunken kisses, accidents of circumstance, but Jared still sometimes remembers them when he needs something to jerk off to.
It sounds like Jensen's going to respond, but Ellie yells, "Daddy, look at this!" and the moment's over.
They go out to dinner after, Ellie clutching her new stuffed otter, chattering non-stop. Not all of it really makes sense; she's three-and-a-half, of course there's still a little nonsense mixed in. Jared's just glad she talks around him now; he remembers her being shy.
The waiter clearly knows who they are, but he doesn't ask for anything, just brings Ellie a cup of crayons and stumbles a little when Jensen gives him his movie-star smile.
Not that Jensen is a movie star, but Jared still thinks he should be.
Jared's a loyal guy.
"What are you doing tomorrow?" Jensen asks.
Jared is the lead on a medical drama--there are pictures of him in Dr. Sexy, MD garb all over his trailer, courtesy of Jensen--but it's still an ensemble, and his hours aren't crazy like they were on Supernatural. He has weekends off, breaks, a good schedule.
Time for what he wants to do.
"Hanging out with you, I'm guessing," he says, with a little smile.
"We're gettin' a kitty!" says Ellie. Now that Jared knows that, he can kind of put together the picture she's got going on her placemat.
"Yeah?" he asks Jensen.
"Despite me and her mom's best efforts, she's a cat person," says Jensen, shrugging.
Jared laughs. "I could come help with a kitty," he says. "Shelter, right?"
Jensen rolls his eyes. "It's like you think I haven't been listening to you for the last billion years."
Jared punches him in the arm and Ellie tells him that hands are not for hitting. Jared grins and ducks his head, laughing.
Jensen picks up the check and waves his hand when Jared protests. "I asked you, remember?"
"I asked to go to the Aquarium," says Ellie. "Do I have to pay?"
Jensen smiles and ruffles her hair. "Maybe next time." He looks up at Jared. "Tomorrow?"
Jared smiles. "Yeah, tomorrow."
"Delivery for you," says Susan, one of the PAs. "Congratulations, maybe?"
It's a giant bunch of flowers, and Jared cocks his head. "Uh, I dunno. It's not--I didn't do anything?" It comes out like a question, because maybe he won an award he doesn't know about yet. Or something. "Was there a card?"
She hands over a small white envelope, still sealed. "Tell me if it's a secret admirer," she says with a wink.
Jared laughs. "I will. Thanks, Susan."
Once she's gone, he opens it up, and he's surprised to see Jensen's neat script inside.
Thanks for the help with the kitten. -J
He grabs his phone and texts: little much, don't you think?
Jensen must not be filming right now, because the reply comes back instantly: you're a classy chick, you deserve nice things
what are you, wooing me? Jared shoots back.
yeah, maybe comes the prompt reply.
Jared blinks at the phone, and at the flowers, and then at the phone again.
"Uh," he says, to no one in particular.
Jensen calls that night. "You could have dinner with me."
"Jensen," Jared starts.
"Danneel has the kid," Jensen interrupts. "I'm an awesome date."
"I don't really know if--" he swallows. It's not that he's not interested in Jensen, he just thought--
He just thought it was never going to happen.
"Okay," Jensen says easily. "I get it. I need to woo you more. It's cool. I have a lot of free time doing sitcoms."
The next day, Jensen sends chocolates.
Then gummy worms.
Jared sits in his trailer and stares at his phone for a long time before finally dialing Genevieve.
"Hey," she says, cautiously. "Jared?"
"Yeah," he says. "Hi."
"Hi. Um." He can picture her biting her lip, tugging on her hair. She's not the love of his life, but he loves her all the same. "What is it?"
"I don't know why I called you," he admits.
"Yeah," she agrees. "I wasn't expecting it."
"Are you dating again?"
"Yes," she says. Then, "Please don't ask me out."
Jared barks a laugh. "I know you'd kick my ass," he admits. Ex-wife. It seems so weird. "I just--I've been sucking at it."
"I saw the thing on TMZ," she admits.
"I didn't like her anyway."
"So what is it?" she asks, and it's less strained this time.
"I've been going out a lot. With Jensen and his little girl."
"How are they?"
"Good," he says. "It's--a nice family, they've got."
"Oh," she says. "Oh. Well. Go for it, Jared."
Jared groans. "Is it that obvious?"
"It's sad I'm the person you call for this," says Genevieve.
"Usually I'd call Jensen," he says. He bites his lip. "He sent me flowers."
"That's so sweet," she teases. He thinks she's probably walking, maybe getting something to eat. She was always convinced conversations were less awkward if you ate during them.
Jared's never stopped loving her, but it's not enough. He thinks it could be with Jensen.
"If you want me to tell you it's okay, I will," she continues. "I approve."
It's strange how much the words are like having a weight lifted off him. "Okay," he says. "Thanks."
"Bye, Jared," she says, and it sounds more permanent than the divorce did, somehow.
On Friday, Jensen sends an envelope, and Jared really has no idea what to expect when he opens it.
What he gets is a drawing, clearly one of Ellie's, with two guys and a little girl in a dress. It says Daddy's family in an adult's hand, but not Jensen's, and Jared swallows hard.
He texts Jensen: low blow.
come over, Jensen sends back, promptly, and Jared thinks it's probably time to get it over with.
Jensen doesn't speak until they're both on the porch with beers. "Danneel gave it to me," is what he finally says. "She said they were drawing families in pre-school, and--yeah." He shrugs, taking a long swig. "I guess you figured out one's you."
"She said she had to do two, because mommy had a family and daddy had a family." He doesn't meet Jared's eyes. "That was about three weeks ago."
"And then you started wooing me," says Jared.
"Yeah," says Jensen. "It's not like I never thought about it. You know I did."
"I know," Jared agrees. He rubs the back of his neck. "I guess that explains why now."
"That and you were dating," he says. He leans back, looking up at the sky. "It's not like I'm asking you to marry me, man," he continues softly. "Just have dinner. Go to a few movies. Maybe get laid."
Jared laughs, trying to ignore the fact that--he'd say yes. If Jensen proposed. "It's been so long, I'd be surprised if everything still worked for you."
"You can check any time you want to," Jensen teases, and Jared can't help smiling.
"And a movie," says Jensen. "I told you you were a classy girl." His tone is light, but there's this hopeful look in his eyes, like his dreams might be coming true.
Jared puts down his beer, licks his lips, and gets up, settling down in Jensen's lap. "Yeah," he says shakily. "I'm not." He leans in and kisses Jensen, totally sober, and it's better than he remembered.
The next day, Jared wakes up early and sticks the picture of the three of them up on the fridge.
Danneel comes over before Jensen's woken up, and she doesn't look surprised.
"Hey," he says. He kneels down and Ellie barrels into his arms. "Hey, honey," he adds, giving her a hug as he picks her up.
"Is daddy still asleep?" asks Ellie, surprised. "He's supposed to be awake!"
"He knows uncle Jared can take care of you," says Danneel, giving Jared a little smile. "I'll be back next week," she says. She leans in and kisses Ellie's forehead, and then gets on her tiptoes to press a kiss to Jared's cheek too. "Have fun, guys."
Jared grins. "We always do."
By the time Jensen wakes up, Ellie has started finger-painting on Jared's face. Jensen just raises his eyebrows and makes coffee.
"Don't think this means you get to stop sending me flowers," says Jared.
Jensen just laughs, and Ellie starts asking why she doesn't get flowers, and Jared smiles and keeps drawing.
On Monday, there are flowers in his trailer again, and Jared thinks--yes.