Fandom: Supernatural RPS
Pairing: Jared Padalecki/Jensen Ackles
Warnings: None I can think of.
Word Count: 4000.
Summary: Jensen's used to doing all kinds of things he'd never do for anyone else for Jared--favors, weird adventures, trips to the human world--but this takes the cake.
Notes: Written for j2_everafter for the Monsters Inc prompt! I had grander plans for this, but my life kind of exploded, so this is what I ended up with.
Disclaimer: Lies and untruths.
Jensen is going to get better at saying no to Jared Padalecki.
He's been practicing. He'll put on Jared's face and stare himself down in the mirror, saying, "No, Jared. No, Jared." But somehow, he never looks as hopeful and adorable as Jared. Possibly because he's making his determined face instead. So it's a lot either to keep up his resolve.
"So, what are you doing tonight?" Danneel asks, pulling Jensen from his thoughts. He doesn't bother pulling his head up from the table, however; it seems like too much effort.
"Do you know what any of those words mean?" she asks.
"Individually, yes," says Jensen. "Together? No idea."
"You're fucked," Danneel says simply. She's mostly a good roommate, except for being supportive. Her idea of support is not laughing at him that much. "Have you thought about just saying, This incomprehensible human thing you like sounds fun, but why don't we go on a date instead?"
"I hate you," Jensen says.
"How are you dressing for trick-or-treating supervision?" she asks, ignoring him. "Would a shirt reading take me now be appropriate?"
"I think there are going to be children around."
"They have to learn sometime," she says. She's still a succubus, even if she works a desk job; she figures sex is the answer to all problems. "Seriously, dress up hot and get a move on. I like living with you, but I'd rather you stopped being a mopey asshole."
"Thanks for your help, as always," says Jensen, sighing and dragging himself up. "I'm leaving."
"Sex!" Danneel calls after him.
Jensen switches his face to Jared's as he passes the mirror. "Hey, want to go out with me sometime?" he asks.
In the mirror, Jared looks nervous and vaguely nauseated. Jensen knows it's his own expression, but he still can't help being discouraged.
Jared is a Sasquatch, Class P, which means he's cleared to live in the human world and work at the Monsters, Inc. Human Office, as long as he keeps his hair under control. Jensen's a Class P too--as a shifter, he can look like whatever he wants, including a regular human--but he works in Monstropolis. Jared wanted him to transfer to the Human Office too, but Jensen thinks he needs a little more distance.
It doesn't keep him from going to the human world whenever Jared asks. But he's working on that. Distance is relative.
"ID," says the border guard, a bored-looking wolfman. Jensen's met him at least ten times, but the guy never seems to remember him. He clearly is not fulfilled in his job.
Jensen hands over his ID and the guard checks it mechanically. He makes a vague motion, which Jensen now knows means change, and Jensen switches his own face for his preferred human one--they're not that different, mostly. He unpoints his ears, lightens his hair from dark black to pale brown, and changes his skin from teal to peach, a few shades lighter than Jared's. The first time, he changed his eyes, dulling their greenness, but Jared told him he missed them, and that was it. Jensen never changed them again.
The guard returns his ID after a cursory check of his disguise, and Jensen heads out. Jared's waiting at the station, like Jensen came in on a train like a human would and not through a magical portal. His hair's shaggy, and there's stubble already growing on his chin. He's short for a Sasquatch, but still quite large by human standards, and he looks, as always, slightly out of place. His face breaks into a grin when he spots Jensen, and he wraps him up in a giant hug, even though it's only been a week since they saw each other.
Jensen leans into it shamelessly, soaking up the warmth of Jared's body.
"Is that him?" someone asks.
Jared pulls back, keeping his arm wrapped around Jenesn's shoulder, tucking him in close. "Yeah, this is Jensen," he says. "Jensen, this is Mary. Mary, this is my friend Jensen."
The girl is small--can't be older than four or five, probably? Jensen doesn't know human ages well--with big brown eyes and brown hair in two braids. She's wearing a black dress and a pointy black hat. It's what humans think witches look like, Jensen knows that much.
Jensen stares wildly at Jared, trying to convey Where did you get a child? with just his expression.
It doesn't seem to work.
"Where's your costume, Jensen?" asks the kid.
"Uh," says Jensen.
"Jensen's gonna change at home, sweetie," Jared says, swinging the girl up onto his shoulders. Her hat falls off, but Jared catches it.
A Sasquatch with a human child. Fantastic.
"Come on, Jen," Jared says, already walking. Like he knows Jensen will follow.
No, Jared, he thinks. He should go back home, spend the evening hanging out with Danneel. He shouldn't follow Jared and this human child back.
"Coming," he says.
"What the fuck?" Jensen explodes, when they're finally alone. Jared's brought Jensen into his room so they can get into their costumes. Whatever that means.
"Dude, where did you get a kid? Don't even pretend she's yours, I can tell she's full human."
Jared, for some unfathomable reason, grins. "Yeah, she is. She's amazing, you're going to love her."
"Jared," Jensen says. "I saw you last week. You didn't have a child last week."
"Well, the, um," says Jared. "The adoption hadn't come through yet?"
Jensen stares. "You adopted a child," he says, flatly.
"You know I love kids!"
"You adopted a human child," Jensen corrects.
"Do you know how many human children there are who need someone to take care of them? It's not like in the monster world. She was beaten in her last foster home, Jen. She's six years old and they beat her because she didn't wash her own dishes. She needs someone who loves her."
Jensen rubs his face. "Jared. What are you--how are you going to do this? You have check in. On Sunday. That's the day after tomorrow."
"Jared!" calls the kid. "We need to goooooooo! There are people outside! We're gonna miss the candy!"
"Can we talk about this after?" Jared asks. "You need to get changed."
"Yeah, just--be you."
"Your real face."
"Jared, I go out in my real face, I get hit with a 25-18 faster than you can say shapeshifter."
"You really have no idea what day it is, do you?" asks Jared. He's smirking.
"Halloween. The one day of the year we aren't required to adjust our appearances."
"You want me to go out with you and a child on Halloween," Jensen says, dubiously.
"Please?" says Jared, and that's all it takes.
It's kind of torture.
Mary is a quiet child. It's clear she's still a little worried about doing something wrong, thinking Jared will get upset, but there are also flashes of ease. She holds Jared's hand as they walk, and the humans keep assuming they're a family. All three of them.
It's sort of like the world kicking his soul in the nuts. Over and over and over.
"I've never been trick-or-treating like this before," Mary says, on their way home.
"Like what, honey?" asks Jared. Jensen can see him squeezing her hand, and his heart lurches. Jared is a good dad. Of course.
"I was never the only kid before," she says. "Sometimes I didn't get to go at all."
"Well, we'll go again next year," says Jared. He grins. "Right, Jensen?"
Jensen swallows hard. "Right."
He kind of wants to go home as soon as they get back, but his desire to get to the bottom of what Jared was thinking wins out over his need to escape from the painful embrace of domesticity.
Jared gets the kid to bed--Jensen can hear him singing to her, for crying out loud--and then comes back to Jensen in the kitchen. He goes to the fridge and uncaps two beers without saying anything, handing one over to Jensen.
"I'm impressed you kept your mouth shut this long," he says, conversationally.
"Jared, what are you doing?" Jensen asks. "You--I know you live here most of the time, but you're not human."
"You don't have to remind me."
"Apparently I do!"
"Shh!" Jared says, sharply. "Don't wake her."
Jensen rubs his face. "Why don't you just tell me what the hell happened, and we can go from there."
Jared lets out a long breath. "Yeah. Okay." He flops down on the couch, waiting for Jensen to join him until he continues. "There's a social services center around the corner," Jared says. "For kids between foster homes, I guess. And I started volunteering there."
"Why?" Jensen interjects.
Jared shrugs. "I was curious," he says. "I like kids, I'm never going to have any of my own, I thought it would be fun. And it was, I guess. I liked getting to know them. And then I started spending more time with Mary, and she was such a great kid, you know? And she really needed a family. And I thought--I could do that, right?" He laughs softly. "It took a really long time to convince anyone else I could. They don't like letting single men adopt children. I told them I was gay, I think that helped. They figured if I was a pervert I'd be looking for a boy, or something."
Jensen's brain, embarrassingly, shuts down. "You're gay?" he asks.
Jared gives him a funny look. "Um, yeah. Obviously."
"Obviously?" asks Jensen, disbelieving. "I had no idea!"
Jared flushes, blotchy red all up and down his neck. It's dark enough, Jensen knows from experience, that even when he's all covered in fur, the blush stands out. "I thought you did," he says.
Jensen lets out a breath. "Okay," he says. "Okay. Sorry. I shouldn't have--burst out like that. Just surprised." He rubs his face. "What are you going to do?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean--you can't take her for your check-in."
Jensen stares. "Um, because she's a human child. You'd have to get her through security, and everyone knows you don't have a kid, and then if you did get her through, you'd have a human child in Monstropolis. And someone would eat her."
"Okay, fine. But you could watch her."
Jensen rubs his face. "That's your plan, dude? Stick me with the kid and run off?"
Jared looks amused. "I don't think it counts as running off," he says. "My check-in will take two hours, tops. You just stay here with Mary, take care of her, and I'll be back before you know it." He worries his lip. "Please, Jen?"
Jensen doesn't even pretend he can turn this down. "Yeah," he says. "Of course."
Jared's grin is wide and blindingly white. When he's shaved like this, Jensen can see his dimples, and he has to admit, he prefers him this way.
He clears his throat. "So, um--how did I not know you were gay?" he asks. It's probably the wrong thing.
Jared laughs, a little hollowly. "I don't know," he says, looking down at his beer. "I thought you did. It's not like I was trying to hide it or anything."
Jensen runs his hand through his hair. "Right. I just--I didn't know," he says, uselessly. Because he's made that stupidly clear. "I should get back before the gate closes," he adds, trying to cover it up, but he realizes instantly that just makes it worse. "I'm not upset or anything. I just--man, you're giving me a lot to process, you know?"
Jared looks miserable. "I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."
"You didn't!" Jensen says quickly. "Okay, the kid did. I still can't believe you got yourself a kid. But the gay thing, man, I don't care about that. You're my best friend. Who cares if you like guys or girls or--you're not dating a human, are you?"
"No," says Jared, but he doesn't look like he's feeling much better.
"I'll be back tomorrow after work," Jensen decides. "Get an overnight pass, stay here so I'll be around when you have to go for your meeting, okay?"
"You don't have to hang out just to make me feel better," Jared says, but he's smiling, even if it's grudging.
"Maybe I just want to hang out with my best friend and get to know his daughter."
There's a real smile. "Then we'll see you tomorrow."
"That's not the face of someone who just got laid," Danneel says.
Jensen barely has the energy to glare at her. "Danneel, I am so not in the mood. The mood and I aren't even on the same planet."
She frowns. "What's wrong? Did Jared do something?" She blanches. "He didn't turn you down, did he? He wouldn't!"
Jensen rubs his face. "Um. Can you keep a secret?"
"Obviously," says Danneel. "I keep secrets all the time." She gives him a concerned smile. "What happened, sweetie?"
"He lost his mind," says Jensen, groaning. "God, I--he adopted a human child."
That renders her speechless, and she opens and closes her mouth for a few long moments before she finally says, "What?"
Jensen rubs his face. "I don't--" he sighs. "He adopted a human child," he repeats. "He was volunteering at a center with them, I guess. And he got attached." He groans. "Of course he got attached. He's too nice for his own fucking good. She's--I guess she's a nice kid? I don't know. He loves her already, it's obvious. And she had a shitty time of it, and he wants me to babysit her while he does his check-in and--"
"Oh, honey," says Danneel, and hugs him. "It's okay."
Jensen rubs his face. "No, it's not. It's hard enough being his friend. How the hell am I gonna be the guy who helps him raise a fucking child?" He sighs. "And, oh, he's gay, by the way."
"Why is that bad?"
"Because I'm gay--"
"Oh no, your sexual orientations are compatible!" Danneel gives him an exasperated look. "That is the best news ever. Does he know you're gay?"
"I don't know."
"So your response was not, what a coincidence, me too, let's get married? Jensen! How are you this much of a failure? Have I taught you nothing?"
"Pretty much," Jensen agrees. "I still can't put on a bikini top as a subtle hint I want him, by the way."
Danneel rolls her eyes. "I was joking, asswipe. I've given you tons of other great advice."
"I'll try," Jensen decides. "I mean---what have I got to lose? If he turns me down, at least I won't have to be involved in his crazy human adoption scheme."
Danneel leans over and kisses his forehead. "It's okay, you know. You don't have to panic. He's your friend, he loves you. He wants you to be happy."
"What if he doesn't want me?"
"Then I'll put on a strap-on and fuck you until you don't remember your name, let alone his," Danneel says brightly.
Jensen chokes. "But girl cooties," he finally manages.
Danneel snorts. "You and Jared are going to be great parents."
Jensen has trouble concentrating the rest of the day. It's not just that he's (possibly) confessing his love to the guy he's wanted for the last five years, ever since they started working together in the Scary Stories department. It's that Jared's changed the entire game. If he tells Jared how he feels, he's not just signing up for Jared. He's signing up for Jared and kid and an entirely different world.
And it's kind of terrifying how ready he is to do all of that.
Still, by the time he's showing his pass and checking out for entry into the human world, he's rethought it. He's not chickening out; he's just rethinking the order of things.
Because, yeah, he's crazy about Jared. And maybe Jared will be willing to give this a try. But his priorities are all new, with Mary and his life in the human world, and before Jensen even thinks about asking for more, he needs to be sure he's really prepared for the challenges of being involved in Jared's family. Even if he doesn't join it right away.
He's definitely not just chickening out. He's being responsible.
"Hey!" says Jared. Mary's dressed like a regular human today, a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, just like Jared. They're both smiling, and Jensen realizes with a sinking feeling he's already kind of fond of the kid.
"Hey," he says, smiling. "Hi Mary," he adds.
"Hi Jensen," she says. She worries her lip a little and then bursts out, "We need to go shopping!"
Jensen blinks, not sure how relevant that is to his life. "Uh, okay," he says. "Sounds good." He gives her another smile, more encouraging. She seems nervous, which he guesses makes sense, given what Jared told him about her background. "I like shopping."
"We need to figure out what we're having for dinner," says Jared. "And the rest of the week."
"We made a list," says Mary proudly.
"Like real adults," Jared agrees. "Come on, I've got the car."
Driving with Jared is a mildly terrifying experience. There are cars in Monstropolis, of course, but those are bigger. It's not that Jared doesn't fit in human cars, it's just that they clearly weren't designed with him in mind. Jared's not the best driver under ideal circumstances, and the human world has more cars and more drivers and more road rage.
"Don't give me that look," Jared says. "I'm a good driver."
"Sure you are," says Jensen. "Of course. You know to wear your seat belt, right, Mary?"
"Uh huh," says Mary. "I know. I won't forget."
"Good, because Jared is a menac--ow!"
Jared elbows him in the side, but he's smiling, no trace of the awkwardness of last night. "Don't turn my kid against me already."
Mary giggles, which clearly delights Jared. He swings her up onto his shoulders, apparently his favorite way to carry her. "Are you on Jensen's side, huh?" he teases. "Everyone's against me."
"Pretty much," Jensen agrees. "So, what are we thinking for dinner?"
"You're actually not bad at this kid stuff," Jensen says, a little grudgingly. It's not so much that he wants Jared to fail as he still isn't sure how this can possibly work in the long-term. What if Jared leaves the Human Office? It's the kind of thing Jensen would worry himself to death over, and Jared just--jumps in.
Jared laughs. "Neither are you," he says. He turns back to the sink, looking a little embarrassed. Jensen's kind of embarrassed too, if he's honest. The intimacy of doing the dishes together seems like--a lot. And it's nice. "Um, listen," says Jared.
"Hm?" says Jensen.
"I'm sorry about, um, the gay thing? I shouldn't have sprung that on you."
"You seriously don't have to feel bad about that," Jensen promises. He clears his throat. "I was an idiot about it, not you."
"No, no," Jared says. "I don't know why I assumed you knew, it was stupid of me. I should have--"
"I'm gay too," Jensen blurts out, and Jared's eyes widen.
"I guess I just--I thought I'd know if we both were, I guess? I thought I would've noticed."
"Gaydar," says Jared, absently.
"Humans call that gaydar." He shakes his head. "But--you live with Danneel," he says.
"Yeah," says Jensen, confused. "She pays half the rent."
"I just--" Jared laughs softly. "I thought, you know. You live with a gorgeous succubus. I didn't think--" he shakes his head. "Anyway. Okay. I guess we both have shitty gaydar. It's fine."
"You didn't think what?" asks Jensen. Jared looks agitated and a little manic, and it's giving Jensen this strange, wild hope. Because--he thinks Jared is glad.
Jared bites his lip. "I didn't think I had a chance."
Jensen's face breaks out in a grin before he's really processed the words. "Yeah, neither did I," he says. "But you totally did, dude."
"Succubus!" says Jared, but he's laughing. "How am I supposed to compete with a succubus?"
"She's been telling me to get a move on and ask you out for years," Jensen says. "I--" he laughs. "I actually told her I'd suck it up and make a move tonight."
"I think that usually goes in the other order," Jared says, clearly not really thinking it through, and flushes bright red once he realizes he said it. "Oh god. Um. I really didn't--" he groans and rubs his face. "I didn't mean that."
Jensen laughs, and it comes out a little giddy. Jared's not rejecting him. It's pretty much the opposite of that.
So he just reaches up and pulls Jared down, kisses him like he's always wanted to, and Jared melts against him, pulling him close. Jensen doesn't like being hyperbolic, but he's pretty sure it's the best kiss in the history of the world.
Jared pulls back after a long minute with this beautiful, happy smile. "So, maybe I won't set up the couch?" he says, and Jensen laughs.
"Yeah, definitely don't."
The next morning, Jared makes pancakes for breakfast, doesn't burn anything down, and leaves with a kiss for both of them--Mary's on her forehead, Jensen's on his lips.
Jensen isn't sure what to do when he's alone with the kid. He and Jared didn't exactly discuss it last night (mostly they just made out and groped each other a little), but Jared just seems blithely confident that Jensen is a parent.
He tries and fails to not feel warm and fuzzy about that.
Then he realizes Mary is just kind of looking at him, and he clears his throat. "Jared told you about this, right? That I'm staying with you today while he does some business?"
"Yeah," says Mary, swinging her feet back and forth. "He told me you were his best friend and you'd be here a lot."
"Yeah," says Jensen.
"But you're not just his friend, right?" asks Mary. "You were kissing."
Mary nods. "That's okay. I like you."
Jensen laughs. "Oh good, I like you too," he says, ruffling her hair. "So, um, what do you do for fun?"
"Stuff," says Mary. "What do you do for fun?"
"Adults don't have fun," he says. "We're all boring and sad."
"Jared has fun. And you're Jared's friend, so you must have fun too."
"Okay, okay, I have fun," Jensen says. "I like reading. And baseball."
"Me too!" says Mary. "And drawing."
"Oh yeah, drawing's great. I'm totally a great artist."
"What do you like to draw?"
Jensen smiles. "How about we get some crayons and I'll show you?"
By the time Jared gets back two hours later, Mary's asleep on Jensen's leg, and they have a pile of completed drawings between them. Jared leans down and kisses him, and then heads into his room. He comes back in wearing casual clothes and flops down next to them.
"Hey," he says. "How'd it go?"
"With us?" asks Jensen. "Fine. We drew. I was worried about you. Was everything good in HQ?"
Jared laughs. "Of course it was. I've been doing these for a while, you know. I have a handle on it. They just have us come in so they can make sure we haven't gone native. It's no big deal."
"Native like, say, adopting a human child and not telling anyone about it and making your best friend take care of her while you're gone? I can't imagine why they'd be worried about that."
"My boyfriend," says Jared, smugly. He stretches. "But we're gonna have to come up with another babysitter for when you move out here."
Jensen laughs. "I'm moving out here, huh?"
"Obviously," says Jared. "I'm here. Mary is here. You're gonna feel left out."
Jensen laughs and kisses him. "Yeah, I guess I am. Danneel can do it, I told her."
Jared makes a face. "She's going to be a terrible influence. She's a succubus."
"Don't discriminate," says Jensen, poking him in the side. "Besides, your best friend is a satyr."
"Chad will never get to come near this kid," Jared says, making a face. "Never, ever."
"Good call," says Jensen. "But either way, she's getting raised by a bunch of monsters."
"And she's gonna turn out awesome."
Jensen smiles and reaches down to stroke Mary's hair. "Yeah, well. Obviously. It's us."
"And we're awesome?"