J2 AU, PG, 1400 words. Jensen's favorite security guard is apparently leaving the job. Jensen just wishes he could get up the guts to say goodbye.
"Card," says Jake, and Jensen looks up from his computer to see a bright Hallmark card being shoved in his face.
"Card," says Jake. "You sign it, dumbass. I mean, sir."
"Good save," Jensen says dryly. "What's it for? Birthday?"
"Nope," says Jake. "Some security guy is leaving the building."
Jensen's fingers stutter on the keys, just for a second. "Yeah?" he asks, finishing off his sentence and then taking the card from Jake with purposeful nonchalance. "Who?"
"The tall one," says Jake, shrugging. "Pada-something."
Padalecki, Jensen thinks, but can't say that, because Jake will notice that and never let him live it down. "Huh," he says instead. "Where's he going? I guess he's leaving on good terms?"
"Yeah, he's going back to school, I guess," says Jake. "I don't know. It's not like he's getting fired and you're supposed to write ha ha good riddance or anything." He sighs. "Can you just do it? Sophia is waiting for it outside and she scares me."
"Wuss," says Jensen. He looks at the other signatures; they're all what he'd expect, goodbye and good luck kind of thing, and Jensen adds his own generic good wishes. He can't say anything special with Jake watching, and even if he wasn't, what's he supposed to say? I've enjoyed never getting up the guts to say more than two words to you? Pathetic. "Here," he says. "Before the terrifying 5'4" girl kicks your ass."
"Fuck you, sir," says Jake, saluting him with one finger on his way out.
Jensen sighs and stares at his word document, trying to remember what the hell he was writing.
"Good morning," said a cheerful voice, and Jensen looked up from fumbling for his ID to see what he was sure must be a new face. The guy was tall, brown hair and a big, dimpled smile, and it was like he was custom made for Jensen. His mouth went dry and he tried to figure out what he was supposed to say. "Sorry, I need to see your ID?" the guy prompted, smile faltering slightly.
"Oh, sorry," said Jensen, and held it out.
"No problem," said the guy--Jared Padalecki, right there on his nametag--and then he winked. "I'm useless before my coffee too, Mr. Ackles."
"Jensen," Jensen stuttered.
"Jensen," Jared repeated, like he was committing it to memory. "Have a good day, Jensen."
"You too," said Jensen, and spent the rest of the morning fighting a blush.
Two years and he never really got much more articulate than that.
"So," says Aldis, and Jensen glares at him before he can say anymore.
"Shut up," says Jensen. "Just, shut up."
"Wow," says Aldis. "That might be a new record."
Jensen groans. "I already know what you're going to say. I'm an idiot, I should ask him out, blah blah blah."
"I'm just saying," says Aldis. "You are gonna look back when you're old and alone and think that was where it all went wrong."
"That's grim," says Jensen dryly. "Thanks."
"Seriously," says Aldis. "I know you're, like, a failure at social interaction, but I know he's gay--"
"Danneel told you that Justin said that Genevieve thought he liked guys," says Jensen. "That's not knowing he's gay."
"Okay, fine, maybe he's not gay, what's the big deal? He's a cool dude, he's not going to sue you for sexual harassment, girls ask him out all the time. I'm pretty sure Alona asked him out, and that's totally an abuse of power. Besides, he's not gonna work here anymore. His last day is Friday. And then you'll never seen him again."
Jensen licks his lips. Because the idea of never seeing Jared again? Yeah. It kind of sucks.
It's not like Jensen has actually never talked to Jared. Jared is a friendly guy, and he'll chat with people even if they're not completely responsive. He knows Jared is from Texas and has dogs, and the security gig is mostly just to get some money saved. And he even knows some of this from Jared telling him, and not just eavesdropping.
It's just, they've never really had an in-depth conversation. Jared has friends at work, and Jensen isn't one of them. Jensen is, mostly, a creepy guy who crushes on him afar without saying anything, at best. At worst, he's just one more guy Jared never pays any attention to.
On his way out, he's all set to, at least, ask Jared when his last day is and what he's doing after he leaves. It's not a lot--not a confession of attraction or asking him for a date or anything--but at least it's a conversation starter.
Except, of course, when he gets there, Julie and Misha are already taking to him, and he can't exactly hang around, waiting for Jared to be free, just to ask him when he's leaving.
He'll ask tomorrow morning, he tells himself. It's probably not his last day today.
The thought stops him cold--what if it is? Yes, it's Tuesday, and Tuesday would be a weird last day to have, but it's not impossible. If this is Jared's last day, and Jensen never sees him again, then--then--
Well, honestly, probably nothing.
But Jensen would always wonder.
He bites his lip, squares his shoulders, and turns around, marches right back into the building. He passes Julie and Misha on the way out and gives them curt nods, but he doesn't bother talking to them.
When he goes back inside, Jared is free, reading a book or something. He looks up, obviously surprised. "Jensen? Did you forget something?"
"Uh," says Jensen. His plan didn't really go as far as talking to Jared. Stupidly. "No. I just--I wanted to make sure today wasn't your last day."
Jared smiles, clearly pleased. "No," he says. "Tomorrow, actually. Going home for a week before classes start."
"I'm going to graduate school, getting my masters."
"Oh," says Jensen. "In what?"
"Journalism," says Jared. "I've gotten some minor stuff published, but I really need more credentials for most of the jobs I've seen."
"Oh," says Jensen again. "Wow. That's really cool."
Jared smiles, flushing a little, for some reason. "You know this is the longest conversation I think we've ever had?" he asks.
"Yeah," Jensen says, rubbing the back of his neck. "I actually did know that."
"Danneel said you were shy."
"You asked Danneel?" Jensen asks, taken off guard.
"Like my second week. She was nice, I was curious."
"I actually prefer anti-social," he says, unsure how else to respond.
Jared laughs. "That was what she said, but I didn't want to offend you. I guess I shouldn't have worried." He tilts his head. "You don't want to know why I asked her?"
"I figured you'd tell me if you wanted to?" Jensen says. He's feeling more and more unsure the longer this goes, even though nothing is going wrong.
"I thought maybe you hated me," says Jared. "Which would have sucked, because I had this massive crush on you. But she said you were just like that."
Jensen opens and shuts his mouth a few times, finally managing a weak, "Had?"
Jared laughs. "Okay, have. I have a massive crush on you."
"Oh," says Jensen. "Okay." He licks his lips. "I came back because I was pretty sure I was going to regret it if I never saw you again," he offers.
Jared laughs, looking delighted, and Jensen can't help smiling back. "Yeah? Awesome." He tilts his head at Jensen. "I was thinking of having a celebratory dinner tomorrow night. You know, since I'm done with this job and starting on a new step of my life or whatever. You free?"
"Like a party?" Jensen asks, somewhat wary. Of course he'll go, but he's bad in group situations.
"Like a date," says Jared, still grinning.
"Oh," says Jensen. "Oh. Yeah. I'm free. Very, very free."
"Great," says Jared. "So, I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Yeah. Happy second-to-last day, Jared."
"You know," says Jared, winking, "it just might be my best yet."