Saving Grace

Chapter 2

Jensen Ackles was not what one would call a ‘social butterfly.’ In fact, had his job not required him to talk for long periods of time at a group of people, he wouldn’t bother with conversation at all.

He wasn’t shy, exactly, but after years of being taught by his parents that human interaction wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, hiding away from conversation and friendships had become a sort of natural reaction for him.

Luckily he knew how to separate these long time conditioned ideas from his work, otherwise it was needless to say that he would be out of work as quickly as he’d got in, and that wouldn’t sit well with anyone in his family. He was their pride and joy; Jensen Ackles the lawyer. Earning more money than he knew what to do with and being able to send his aunts and uncles on a cruise around the world with just a few phone calls. Pride and joy pretty much equated to smart and rich.

Sometimes Jensen really wished he’d gone into a different line of work. It wasn’t that being a lawyer didn’t have it’s perks (the satisfaction of victory, for one), it was that now his money seemed to be more important than the person he really was. He didn’t even need this much money; he lived in a cheap house on the outskirts of the centre of San Fran, and had a car that looked nothing like the assortment of sports cars that would pull up in the car park outside the lawyer firm each morning.

Jensen didn’t do it for the money. He did it for the job satisfaction and being able to have a stable life without any distractions in a very beautiful location. Honestly, he’d expected San Francisco to be nothing but beaches and partying like the media seemed to suggest, but it turned out to have some very secluded, very peaceful areas that weren’t very close to the beach. His own offices were in one of these areas, located in a small business district where the bright lights of the city bordered on the rural backroads that led out into the rest of the state.

It wasn’t a very large area, and as far as he could tell the only businesses on this plot of land were his own lawyer firm; a building supplies warehouse; a private vet clinic; a very large bookshop, and a bus depot. It was a weird mix, but a comforting one to drive into work to, with the sun only just peeking above the horizon over the ocean in the distance and the same cars and people showing up every day.

Despite what many people seemed to think, Jensen actually tried hard not to be a snob. He never judged a client beforehand on a case that he would have to defend them on, and did occasionally talk to his coworkers when they made the effort to try and strike up some conversation. The problem was, at only fifteen years old his parents had started to force ideas into his head about people in the world around him. Most of these ideas involved these people all being lower and less important than he was, and not worth communicating with on any level. He hadn’t seen the logic, but watching his parents give shop employees dirty looks whenever they attempted to make small talk about everything from their purchases to the weather, it became second nature.

It had taken a serious reality check to help him realise that not everything his parents taught him were the right things to do.

That had come in the form of leaving law school and being faced with the challenge of finding his way out into San Francisco and into a job, while at the same time tackling the difficulties of working out where to live and how to buy a car and get insurance, all with only minimum input from his parents (at his request). It had been a long and stressful process during which much money was borrowed and exchanged, and eventually led to Jensen choosing the tiny apartment not far away from the noise and lights of the city centre but also not too far from the winding dust roads that stretched out to lead drivers either to another city or out of the state altogether.

By that point he’d accepted that he was just another human, but whenever a coworker approached him he still couldn’t repress that automatic curl of the lip and twitch in his muscles that instructed him to get away as soon as possible. It was hard going, but in the end completely distancing himself from all other human interaction turned out to be much easier than actually making a conscious effort not to offend people.

“A word, please, Jensen,” a voice cut through his thoughts, and his head snapped towards the open door he was half a stride through walking past. One of the high up execs of the firm was sat behind his deck, chin resting on entwined fingers and staring with an expression that gave nothing away.

Jensen entered the room hesitantly, giving the cushioned leather seat in front of the desk a withering look before standing in the centre of the room, attempting to look professional despite feeling caught off guard and embarrassed.

“Mr Ackles, it’s no secret around here that you’re one of the biggest social recluses any of us have ever met, especially for a lawyer, but I have a proposition for you,” he spoke carefully and slowly, enunciating words and still not giving away his emotions. Damn lawyers and their equally good acting skills as his own. He nodded for the man to continue.

“At the end of this week we’re hosting a work meal at the Seven Hills restaurant. All our lawyers and other execs are going to be there, hell, we’re almost certain the boss himself is turning up. So Jensen,” he removed the glasses that were perched on the end of his nose then wiped his hand across his face. “Please show up, and please try to converse with these men and women like the grown man you are.”

Jensen hovered awkwardly. Was that his cue to go, or...?

He flicked his hand towards the door. “Go on, Ackles. I’ll see you Saturday night, seven pm. Wear your good suit.”

And with that, Jensen left the building.


Jensen didn’t like to think of himself as being obsessive compulsive. He didn’t even like to think that he was a bit of a clean freak. When people commented on the way his apartment was scrubbed, vacuumed, and organised he tended to brush it off as nothing but having a big clean quite recently.

In actual fact, he knew there was something a bit wrong with how he flinched when the bathroom mirror got a little smudged, or when the shower curtain started to get a little moldy from the humidity it dealt with each night. But really, what was the harm in having a clean home? He never lost any important documents, nor did he catch illnesses very frequently as his food stayed as healthy as possible and his wardrobe was stocked for any weather San Fran could throw at him.

Despite his apartment being so tiny (though it seemed so much more spacious with everything cleared into their respective places) it would definitely sell for a high price, what with the condition and location. When Jensen had bought it cheap it had been because everything was a wreck, with a leaky ceiling and crumbling walls. The only reason he’d chosen it was because of how it was close enough to his work that he wouldn’t be driving for too long, but also because of the beautiful views.

Looking out of his windows, Jensen could see the Golden Gate Bridge stretching off beyond his view, and the deep blue ocean beneath. Leading up to the bridge were the more rural areas that he liked to walk through on days off. Places where the excitement of the beach a few miles over didn’t exist, and the chaos of the city was a far away nightmare. Beautiful and secluded.

But now, with the words of the exec running through his head and his black suit hanging up beside his bed, Jensen couldn’t give the sun setting over the ocean a second glance.

The suit was a proper black tie event type thing, with cuffs and a frigging bow tie included. Usually Jensen wouldn’t even consider it for any kind of party, but because the words, ‘the boss’ had been spoken, Jensen knew he had to pull out some serious smart wear. He could already imagine the kinds of gowns the women would be dolling themselves up in, so it wasn’t as if he could be overdressed at this point.

Jensen quickly glanced at the clock beside his bed (a single, neatly made every morning) and sighed heavily. There was still another three hours of his saturday evening before he had to leave, and he was already contemplating getting changed. It was as if his mind was trying to convince him that if he did everything quicker, the night would fly by too and he could get back to his apartment and just sleep.

Deciding not to put on the suit until a little closer to leaving time (Jensen could already see the hideous creases in the fabric from slouching around the apartment) he took a seat on the sofa and flicked the TV onto an old 80s film that wouldn’t require much of an attention span, but would still take up half of the time he was going to be waiting for.

An hour and a half later, Jensen was pulling off his casual slacks and donning the well ironed white shirt and black dress pants. He attached the bow tie with a wince at how much he looked like a high schooler going to prom, then pulled on his black jacket with the notched lapels. He felt even more like a high school student when he started to comb back his hair into a respectable style flat across his head.

Checking the clock again, Jensen was pleased to note that getting changed had taken up nearly another half hour, leaving only an hour to go to get this out of the way. The drive itself would take around twenty minutes.

With his money in his pocket and his keys in the other, Jensen left his apartment to walk out into the dark street where his car was parked.


Inside the restaurant there was a nice vibe for a meal that had Jensen so wound up to his limit that he felt either ready to snap or just uncoil far too quickly in front of all these people.

He’d forced out a little small talk, then moved onto to what he was best at talking about and instead talked business. Technically they weren’t supposed to mention their cases to one another outside of the workplace, but the boss, seated at the far end of the table from Jensen, was even giving away information himself, so it wasn’t that big a deal.

So far he’d discussed different loopholes in different policies with the very dull looking man sat beside him, and traded stories of successful cases with the woman opposite him wearing what could only be described as a ball gown. He wasn’t sure who had told the dress policy to the rest of the employees, but they seemed to have taken it far too seriously.

As the night went on and Jensen began to withdraw from conversation and focus on his meal and the restaurant around him, he realised that the whole place seemed to be set up for work nights out. The large table beside them was packed with extremely underdressed workers compared to their group, and Jensen couldn’t help but feel jealous of the easy way they seemed to be conversing and laughing together, rather than treating the meal like an opportunity for business.

Other tables around were in various states of dress, but none quite matched up to the table of lawyers he sat at. The more he looked around the more self conscious he became, as he realised how completely stupid and stuck up they must look in their gowns and bow ties.

Jensen took the last bite of his dessert and almost immediately reached into his pocket to grab the fifty dollars he needed to contribute to the meal. One or two others had already finished eating, so Jensen figured it couldn’t be that bad to make a dash so early, even if the man beside him shot him a dirty look as he waved the bill down the table towards the boss.

“Going so soon, Mr Ackles?” he asked, face actually showing genuine surprise. Jensen didn’t know how the man even knew his name.

“Yes, I’m very sorry. Got some business to take care of at home, I’m afraid,” Jensen replied. Talking to these people was like morphing into a different person. His voice changed, his posture, his words, and a fake confidence would shine through.

The man nodded and took the money from Jensen’s outstretched hand.

“I hope to see you again sometime, Mr Ackles,” the boss said as Jensen pulled on his coat. Jensen had to fight back a blush at the fact he was being acknowledged, but still managed a nod and smile as he stood and headed towards the door.

Outside the night was biting cold and the kind of eerie dark you didn’t want to be out alone in for too long. The street lights around the parking lot turned the floor a sickly orange and cast strange shadows from the cars and trees surrounding. It was only ten at night, but Jensen wanted to get out.

He got all the way to his car before something went wrong.

A body smashed into his back as he went for the keys, and a foreign hand clamped down over his mouth before he could even yell.

The panic had set in full flow when the distinct feeling of hot breath on the ear made him tremble and then the mystery body was whispering.

“Give me the money, man. Give me the money and I’ll let you go with no problems, okay?”

Jensen didn’t even rationalise before he nodded. He didn’t need to rationalise; he had hundreds of thousands more in the bank than just the backup money for his meal, so it was fine.

As the body pulled back slightly to allow him access to his pockets, Jensen froze at the strange whooshing sound in the air. For a moment he wondered if he was about to get hit with something heavy, maybe knocked out and kidnapped.

But then the body fell away from his back to crumple at the floor by his feet.

Slowly, he turned around. Was this gonna be a cop, or some other rival thug ready to take him out too?

Jensen almost laughed at loud when he turned and saw a very tall, very anxious looking man in a cheap suit standing with a bottle of de-ice that he must’ve grabbed from his car still poised in the air from where it made connection with the other man’s head.

Their eyes met in an awkward frozen moment, and Jensen quickly straightened out his coat and suit.

He cleared his throat. “Erm, thanks, I guess? You kind of saved me from a mugging.” The other man smiled weakly, arm still raised. When he noticed Jensen’s eyes scanning him, realisation seemed to hit and his arm fell back to his side, while the other messed with the lapels on his suit. Jensen couldn’t help but curl his lip at how cheap the material looked. It probably wouldn’t survive one wash.

“I’m - uh - I’m Jared. One of the vets,” the man spoke finally, voice a little cracked and unsure of himself. Jensen could relate. But the lessons drilled into his head by his parents were helpfully letting him know that this man was quite poor compared to himself, and was from one of the other workers meals from inside.

“Jensen,” he replied, wanting to try and be civil but his voice was coming out quiet and difficult to understand. “You should probably go back to your meal,” he muttered. “I’ll call the cops.”

“Oh no, I don’t - I’m not going back to that. Too much conversation and - You know what? Never mind. I’ll just, go home,” Jared stumbled over his words, obviously painfully shy but Jensen understood where he was coming from. Too much conversation. Yeah. He’d been there.

Despite the states separating him and his family, Jensen could feel their disapproving glares as he scribbled down his phone number and handed it to Jared. “As a thanks, for, you know,” then he nudged the still unconscious mugger with his dress shoes. He figured that if he couldn’t deal with conversation with all the people he knew, maybe trying to converse with someone as hopeless as he himself was the answer.

Jared had looked down at the slip of paper with an unrecognisable expression before slipping it into his pocket and walking over to his car. He’d driven away from the parking lot, but not before offering Jensen a small wave.

With a smile on his face and a feeling of complete disbelief flooding him, Jensen dialed 911 to get the guy sorted out. Then, with a strange feeling in his chest like something heavy had been removed after meeting Jared, he got into the car and drove back to his apartment.


Jared was shaking when he finally threw open the door to the bungalow and was assaulted by two excitable, bouncing dogs. He half-heartedly petted them as he stripped off his coat and black shoes, then moved through the house to flop down onto the sofa with a heavy sigh.

The dogs settled at his feet while he sat there fondling the piece of paper between his fingers, then lightly butted their heads against his knees when they felt the tremors wracking him.

He’d hit a man unconscious to save a stranger. He’d gotten the stranger’s number.

Was Jensen expecting them to go on some sort of... Date? There weren’t many other reasons he could think of for a man as well dressed and high class as Jensen to give him his mobile number, since it certainly wasn’t for business and nor was it a friendly gesture. The other man hadn’t seemed to be the friendly gesture type.

But was Jensen even gay?

Resigning himself to being a complete and utter failure when it came to human beings and life in general, Jared pulled his phone from his pocket and called Chad.

The voice that picked up was groggy and slurred, and for a brief moment Jared felt bad about waking his friend up.

“Jared? Wha’ the fu’?” he muttered down the line. Jared smiled.

“Hey Chad.”

The other man yawned but seemed to pull himself together hearing the other voice.

“Well aren’t you Mr Bright and Cheerful,” he said, voice back to regular Chad. “It’s like, eleven at night Jared, why are you calling?” Jared knew Chad had some weird complex for sleeping as early as possible so he could wake up at six or something ridiculous (he didn’t even have a job to go to) and start writing. It was a weird ritual type thing that got him in the mood.

“So, you remember I told you about the night out?”

“Oh god. Yeah, go on.”

Jared recounted the story to his friend and ended on being given the phone number. He could tell that by the end Chad was holding back a bellow of laughter so hard it must have been painful for the man.

“You- You knocked a guy unconscious. And,” Jared could see Chad’s lips pressing together to keep the laughing inside. “The guy gave you his number? Oh my god, Jay, you gotta call him. He sounds as hopeless as you if he’s giving away his number to some weird guy with an anti-freeze can, and if you’re both hopeless it might even it out. Maybe you can have your second kiss.”

Jared’s hand flew to his face. “No, Chad please. Let’s not go into that. I just don’t know-”

“Oh come on, Jay! It was priceless! Sixteen years old and you kissed a complete stranger. But you know, I could teach you some more for Jensen if you like,” he sniggered, and Jared nearly threw the phone down right there.

“Chad, I swear to god-”

“Okay! I’m sorry. Listen, I really don’t think this guy has any evil ulterior motives, if that’s what you’re worried about. I think he’s hopeless at human interaction and relationships just like you, and that you should leave it a couple of days then call him. He might just want to be friends and you’re freaking out because all the movies seem to think that giving away your number equates to a relationship. Leave it, call him, meet up, chat.

“Sorry Jay, but I need my sleep now. Tell me how it goes!”

Jared didn’t get a moment to speak before the phone line went dead. Luckily, Chad could be really helpful when he wanted to be, and understood humans much better than Jared. It was probably all that time he spent writing about all the different sides to them that helped him, since Jared was pretty sure Chad hadn’t had a relationship in years either and didn’t really talk to people outside of his publishers and fans.

Giving the dogs one last pet, Jared stood and headed upstairs. He placed the slip of paper on his bedside table then stripped off the suit, leaving only his boxers. He had a whole day of doing nothing tomorrow to figure out some free time for when he finally got the guts to call Jensen and arrange something.


As it happened, Jared didn’t need to sit around all day fretting over when to call back Jensen about his day off work that Thursday. He made it through nearly four hours during which he walked the dogs, fed the hamster and rabbit, and browsed the internet for the nearest store where tropical fish were sold.

Despite all of that to keep him busy, his eyes always returned to the phone number now lying on the kitchen counter, and the phone sat beside it. His brain kept debating the pros and cons of calling only a day after their strange encounter.

On one hand, it would mean everything would be out of the way quicker, and he could go through the week of work without retreating further into himself and panicking, but on the other, he didn’t want to seem too creepy and eager.

At five past four in the afternoon, his mobile rang showing Misha’s number. For a brief second he’d worried that it was Jensen, but that was impossible. Jensen didn’t have his number.

“Jared,” Misha sighed heavily. He sounded thoroughly done with whatever was going on. “There’s a guy on the phone asking for you. The work phone. I don’t know who the hell this guy is, but I need to know if it’s okay to give him your mobile number. Guy doesn’t sound like a creeper, but you never know.”

Jared froze. Jensen. Jensen had phoned the vet - how had he even found the right one? - asking for Jared. He had literally pulled out all the stops to try and find Jared. And for some reason that actually wasn’t scary to him.

“Jared?” Misha prompted.

“Y-Yeah. Give it to him,” Jared said with a shake in his voice. He’d actually worried about Jensen thinking he was too desperate. He should have called him hours ago, oh god...

The call with Misha cut off and Jared stood, eyes fixed on his phone. His mind was blank to what he was going to say to Jensen when the phone rang, blank to nothing but the fact that it was about to ring.

As soon as the ringtone played, Jared snapped out of his trance and immediately remembered to mention his day off on Thursday.

“Jared?” the voice asked. It was slightly deeper and crackled through the phone, but definitely matched the soft rumble of Jensen’s voice that seemed to speak every word hesitantly, like the slightest slip up could ruin him.

“Hey!” he couldn’t keep the smile out of his voice, and the confidence that suddenly burst through his shell was a shock to not only Jensen, but Jared too.

“Listen, I really wanted to thank you for last night. And- And I haven’t got any cases lined up so I guess... Um... When are you free?”

“I have a day off on Thursday,” Jared replied, voice a little less sure of himself now that it clicked that he was going to be seeing Jensen again.

“Great! There’s this place in the centre of the city, Four Barrel, it’s a coffee shop. If you wanna go that far out it’s an amazing place?” Jensen seemed to acquire his own confidence now, but Jared winced at the mention of the city centre.

“Um, it sounds great... But I don’t know how to drive and I don’t have a car,” Jared confessed. A blush reached his cheeks, despite Jensen being nowhere near.

“That’s fine. Just give me your address and I’ll pick you up at twelve. If, that’s, y’know, okay with you?” It was as if the two of them were on some sort of swinging pendulum of confidence that came and went so quickly that either side was barely noticed. Still, despite Jared’s sudden depletion in confidence he couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement in the fact that Jensen - strange mysterious Jensen - was going to drive him into the city for coffee.

“That’s fine with me,” he said. “I’ll see you on Thursday, Jensen.”

“See you.”

The call cut off and Jared breathed out a shaky breath, leaning back against the kitchen countertop.

“Holy shit,” he whispered.

He was going for a coffee with another human being. He could make... A friend? A proper friend?


Five days later, and Jared found himself sat on his front porch wearing his best non-ripped jeans and a nice black shirt. He’d texted his address to Jensen earlier in the week, and now he couldn’t help but feel incredibly self conscious about sitting outside his house. It was no secret that Jensen had money, and a lot of it. He’d already accidentally let slip that he was a lawyer, and Jared knew his tiny bungalow filled to the brim with animals would be nothing compared to what Jensen was used to.

It was ten minutes after the time Jensen had specified before Jared noticed he was late. He’d been so deep in thought it hadn’t occurred to him to check the time, but as soon as he did panic struck.

No, no, Jensen was probably just lost. Jared didn’t know where Jensen lived, and it could be much further away than either of them had suspected. No, that had to be it. Jensen had been so enthusiastic about this afternoon and making sure he thanked Jared that not showing up at all or having second thoughts was just out of the question.

For another ten minutes, Jared kept up a mantra of supportive words in his head to stop himself from panicking and running back inside. Luckily, those next ten minutes were all he needed.

The outdated black Honda Civic model that he vaguely recognised from the Saturday night they had first met pulled up outside his bungalow at just past twelve twenty. Jared rushed down his front path as soon as the engine cut, and slipped into the front seat that Jensen gestured to.

“Sorry,” Jensen said quietly, flashing him a shy, apologetic look. “I booked us a table since the place gets kind of busy. I’ll try and get us there in time.”

Jared didn’t bother asking Jensen what caused him to be late. It was obvious that they were both incredibly similar in social situations, and if Jensen didn’t want to bring it up then Jared wasn’t going to ask.

They talked very little on the way, but it wasn’t anywhere near as awkward as it would have been with anyone else. A weird sense of empathy seemed to accompany the two of them since they understood each other so well, and it was easily the most comfortable silence Jared had ever experienced. Jared wished that his family could have been more accepting of how quiet he became and how he withdrew after his family and peers alienated him, because those uncomfortable silences of unspoken words were not the ones he wished to experience with his own family.

But despite Jensen’s unknown reason for being late, they were comfortable with no unspoken words.

When they hit the city traffic Jared let out a heavy sigh. They’d never make it in time for their one o’ clock booking at this rate, no matter how fast Jensen had driven to get them to this point in the first place.

He felt eyes on him a second later, and when he turned Jensen was grinning in a way Jared wouldn’t have though the other man was even capable of doing. It was devilish, one full of young mischievousness that didn’t match Jensen’s well dressed attire and air of seriousness.

“I know a shortcut,” he said, grin still plastered to his face and Jared let out a yelp as the car suddenly jerked out of the packed lane of traffic and nipped down one of the tiny side roads that didn’t look anywhere near wide enough to accommodate a car of this thickness, but Jensen drove on regardless. His grin just seemed to increase when the cars they had pulled away from honked loudly at him until they turned another corner and were out of sight of the main road.

Jared let out a long breath.

“Holy shit, Jensen. Is this what you always do?” Jared asked. He shook his head at the way Jensen’s manic grin seemed to have dissipated into a softer accomplished smile.

“Only when the traffic’s bad,” he replied, glancing in Jared’s direction to flash him a smile.

They followed the side streets for another five minutes, before pulling out onto a decent sized road with a regular amount of traffic driving down it. Jared checked the clock. They still had fifteen minutes before their booked time, and he guessed they were a lot closer now than they had been before.

Sure enough, five minutes later Jensen pulled into a car park beside a large fronted building marked ‘Four Barrel.’

“Jesus Christ,” Jared huffed as the car finally shut off and the growl of the engine cut. That had to have been the most stressful drive of his life.

Jensen only grinned and hopped out of the driver’s seat into the car park. For a moment when Jared exited the car too and glanced over at the other man again, he was caught off guard by the way his body language had suddenly changed in getting into public. He’d stiffened just slightly, and his grin didn’t hold the childish exuberance that he’d shown to Jared.

“C’mon,” he said, voice also lacking energy. Jared trailed alongside him as they walked up towards the door of the large coffee shop and tried to work out what was so different for Jensen now than it had been in the car. He knew the changes he’d seen in the other man were also very subtle and were not the sort of things he should be picking up on from a man who he’d shared only a car journey with, but there was just something off about it.

The coffee shop was fancy, but in a strangely relaxing and personal way. Tables conversed between each other and yet the noise still remained at a controlled and not too overpowering volume. The air smelt of the strong bitter scent of coffee bean and the place felt heated by the machines churning out steaming cups of coffee.

Their table was in the back corner, a place where everyone seemed to keep to themselves, rather than talk around and swap tables like in the centre of the room. They both ordered a simple Cappuccino from the woman who seated them, then relaxed into their seats.

As the silence stretched on Jared became more and more jittery, until he finally snapped.

“So you’re a lawyer, then?”

Jensen looked up from where he was running his spoon through the froth over the top of his coffee.

“Yeah, at the firm on the Marino industrial estate. It’s kind of out of the way, but we still get a good few clients. It pays well, too.”

Jared wanted to wince at how business-like Jensen had suddenly become. It was as if Jared were one of his clients, rather than a budding friend who’d rescued him from trouble. He needed to lighten the mood.

“Hey! I work on the same estate. So, get any weird cases? Y’know, the kind that make the TV?” he asked. Just as he’d hoped, Jensen broke into a smile as he sipped the coffee.

“Like you wouldn’t believe.”

For the next fifteen minutes or so the two chatted about Jensen’s questionable clients, Jared’s job and how close it was to the lawyer firm, and soon enough their cups were drained.

“Another?” Jensen asked, and Jared nodded.

“So, you’re a vet. Got any animals of your own? You must be passionate about them to spend years training for a job.”

“Right now it’s two dogs, a hamster, a rabbit, and I’m on the hunt for some tropical fish. I’ve got the tank all set up and the water conditioned but I still need to find a place I can trust to sell me some Platys that aren’t gonna bring infection and disease into the water. But without a car or a license it’s kind of hard to get around to pick things up. I was hoping that my boss could...”

Jensen smiled affectionately as Jared went off on a tangent about the best places for tropical fish and the diseases he didn’t want to spread. They really weren’t lying when they said that people get ten times cuter when they talk about what they’re passionate about.

Hang on.


Jensen froze with the coffee cup halfway to his mouth. His eyes focused somewhere over Jared’s shoulder as his brain shut off.

The last time he’d felt affection for someone had been years before law school. Even then it had been a woman a few years older than himself, and it was no secret that she was subject of most of the male student’s affections.

And now... A man? A man who he’d known for barely a day and who he’d hardly been civil with, and he was already referring to him as cute?

Jensen could respect the fact that Jared was very tall with tan and muscle, and a wide smile that flashed bright in the small corner of the coffee shop. He could also go a little further and respect the fact that he was the kind of man who’s looks could turn the heads of women (not that his own hadn’t on occasions). The problem was, this was something more now that he really looked at Jared. He was damn attractive, with a personality to match.

“Jensen? Are you... Should I...?” Jensen was brought back by Jared’s stutter and shyness returning and quickly pulled an act of kindness onto his face, and hoped he didn’t look as panicked as he felt inside.

“Sorry about that. Anyway, what was vet school like? Was it as mind-numbingly dull as law school?”

And then they were back into conversation, and Jensen could push away his thoughts.

After making their way through eight beverages and two plates of cookies, they knew it was about time they left. The staff had started giving them shifty side looks, and the noise level which before had been controlled and bearable was starting to grow as jobs ended and adults stopped for a cup of coffee and a chat.

As much as Jared had enjoyed seeing a whole other side to Jensen, he wasn’t sure he could cope with that same car journey down backstreets again, but luckily they’d stayed long enough for traffic to die down a little and the ride back to be a decent comforting speed.

“So I thought today was really fun,” Jared began. The landscape beyond the highway was starting to merge from city buildings into smaller towns and foliage, so they couldn’t be too far from home. “And I’m not usually this confident with anyone, so this is great. So... Do you wanna meet up at the park by my house at the weekend? I’ll bring the dogs and we can chat some more. If that’s... Y’know, okay with you?”

Jensen smiled. “Of course that’s okay with me. I’ll see you there at one.”

Jared noted that this smile, unlike the ones in the shop, was not fake and businesslike but was not the real one hundred percent that he’d gotten a glimpse of in the car on the way. There was something about Jensen, something in his personality that made him unpredictable and a mystery, and it was something that enticed Jared.

And though he was probably digging his own grave by doing so, he was going to keep looking and trying to decipher the other man.
♠ ♠ ♠
I should rename this fic 'Jared hoards animals and Jensen is a fucking idiot.'