Word count: (currently) 3470
A/N: Written for raeschae's pretend boyfriends prompt in the 2016 round of spn_j2_xmas. Because ridiculous fic tropes are the best kind.
raeschae I have a double apology for you. First of all, I'm sorry to have kept you waiting so long for your gift and, secondly, I must apologize because there's more of it yet to come that I just could not get finished in time even for my extended deadline. I intend to have the rest up in the next few days come hell or high water, so you (and everyone else) are welcome to wait and read it once it's properly complete.
Summary: Jared's master plan for getting his parents to stop worrying about his (lack of a) love life could maybe use some work.
This was a great idea.
"Whatever you want," Jensen said, as Jared waltzed into the room, "the answer's no."
Jared was undeterred. "You can't say no until I've told you what I want," he said, sprawling out in the visitor chair. Given that Jensen's office was the approximate size of a utility closet, there wasn't a whole lot of space to sprawl into, but Jared did his best. "It's in the rule book."
"You do realize that I'm not five, right? It'll take a lot more than made up rules to make me listen to you."
Jared waited. Then waited some more.
"Oh, fine," Jensen said finally, after nearly five minutes of expectant silence on Jared's part and increasingly irritated keystrokes on Jensen's. "Tell me already. But I'm still going to say no."
Jared leaned forward eagerly. "So you know I'm going to my parents for dinner this weekend, right?"
Jensen made a wordless noise of confirmation, still paying more attention to his computer screen than he was to Jared. Nothing unusual, really.
"Well, mama's been going on again about how she just wants to see me happy and how I'm going to die alone and how progressive adoption laws are these days and-"
"She wants you to adopt?" Jensen interrupted, sounding somewhere between amused and horrified. "Has she met you?"
Jared whacked the closest part of Jensen: in this case, his forearm. "Screw you. And I'm pretty sure she wants me to fall madly in love with a nice boy, get married and magically produce a bunch of grandchildren for her to spoil. Preferably in that order."
Jensen hummed absently, his fingers flying over the keys. "Still not seeing what this has to do with me."
"I'm getting to it. I, ah," Jared wet his lips, a nervous habit that Jensen thankfully wasn't paying enough attention to him to notice. "I want you to come with me to dinner at my parents' this weekend as my pretend boyfriend."
That made Jensen's hands still. "I'd ask you to repeat that, but it was bad enough the first time."
"It'd only be for a few hours!" Jared draped his arms - and most of his upper torso - across Jensen's desk, trying to will him to agree by sheer force of proximity. "Just enough to convince her and Dad that I'm not withering away because of loneliness so I can get them off my back."
Jensen's typing started again. "It says bad things about your relationship with your parents that you're willing to fake having a boyfriend instead of telling them to lay off."
"They mean well," was Jared's defense. "And I don't want to upset them. It's just…"
"You have no balls."
Jared pouted at him. "Why are you being such a jerk about this? It's not like I'm asking you for money or something."
"Jared," Jensen said, looking away from his computer for the first time since Jared had walked into the room. "In no reality is it a good idea for me to be your pretend boyfriend and have dinner with your family."
"Why not?" Jared asked, because he was the master of the witty rebuttal. "You practically orgasm whenever I bring in my mama's leftovers; this way you can get it from the source. And I can pay you in coffee or something if you need extra incentive."
"There is no incentive in the world that could make me do this."
"Come on, Jensen!" Jared wheedled. "Is it that bad for my family to think that we're in love with each other for an afternoon? Please?"
"Hey, I have a novel idea. Why don't you actually go out and find a boyfriend?" Jensen's eyes flicked up and down Jared. "You're not that unattractive. It can't be so hard."
Jared rolled his eyes. "Gee thanks, Jensen. I'm so glad I came to you in my moment of need."
Jensen shrugged. "Told you I was going to say no. It's your fault if you didn't listen."
"You know what your problem is? You have no appreciation for my genius."
"Whereas your problem is the fact that you're profoundly delusional. Of the two of us, I'd say I'm better off."
Jared decided it was time to pull out the big guns. He stood and walked around the desk, perching on it with one hip.
"And now you're in my way. Thanks for that."
"Jensen," Jared said, with a seriousness that had Jensen's attention immediately. "I'm asking you as my friend. I need your help."
"Jared," Jensen sighed. "Why are you asking me to do this? There must be better options."
And, well, Jared couldn't exactly deny that.
He'd known Jensen for nearly two years now, and there was no denying that Jensen had a reputation in the office as a right cranky bastard.
Not that people disliked him, exactly. He did his work well and never got involved in any messy office politics, which meant that everyone was pretty much okay with him, but trying to engage him in conversation was a bit like trying to squeeze water from a stone. Adrianne, the secretary, kept a running tally of how many words people managed to get out of him that weren't work-related. Aside from Jared, the reigning champion was Tom, who'd once managed to have an entire three-minute conversation about golf with him. It had been quite the day.
Jensen had only deigned to talk to Jared in the beginning because someone in HR with a questionable sense of humour had assigned him as Jared's staff mentor when he'd first been hired. To this day, Jared still wasn't sure which of them HR had been trying to punish.
He still didn't know what had made Jensen willing to keep talking with him even after his probationary period was over, but he liked to credit his stunning good looks and witty repartee. Whenever he asked, Jensen just rolled his eyes and muttered something about taking pity on the less fortunate. Jared liked to think that he was probably joking.
And it wasn't like Jared couldn't have found a boyfriend if he really tried. Jensen's backhanded compliments aside, Jared was young, hot and, he liked to think, decently charming. When he went out, he never failed to get people's phone numbers. He never had trouble scoring when he felt like it. The problem was that he hadn't much felt like playing the dating scene recently.
And by 'recently' he meant the last two or so years. Mostly since he'd met Jensen. Which was inconvenient.
All of which meant that Jensen really shouldn't have been his first choice for a fake boyfriend.
Not that Jared was about to let a little thing like good sense get in his way.
"Be reasonable, Jensen. Even I can't produce a real boyfriend before Sunday." Jared grinned his most endearing grin. "Besides, I already told Mama I was bringing you."
Jensen made an impatient sound. "Why?"
And Jared really didn't feel like explaining the whole awkward crush thing, so he grinned and threw an expansive arm around Jensen's shoulders instead. "Because I can't think of anyone else I'd want to play my pretend boyfriend."
He couldn't see Jensen's expression from this position, but he felt it under his arm when Jensen stiffened at the contact.
"Are you really gonna make me beg, man?"
Jensen deflated so abruptly that Jared nearly lost his grip on him entirely.
"You owe me coffee for a fucking year."
Because his mama had taught him manners, Jared did not do a victorious fist pump. "Fair enough. You want me to start right now?"
"Yes, I do," Jensen decided, shrugging out of Jared's loose grip. "From the café on the corner."
Jared sketched a bow. "Your wish is my command. Black, right?"
Jensen nodded, his attention back on his work like the past ten minutes hadn't happened.
Summarily dismissed, Jared couldn't help but shake his head as he let himself out of Jensen's office.
And if he fist pumped a little on the way back to his desk to grab his jacket, well, that was his own business.
Sunday arrived with a curious sense of anticipation and a more understandable feeling of vague dread that Jared summarily ignored as he got himself ready and drove to the other side of town to pick up Jensen.
His parents lived in the suburbs, so Jared had volunteered to drive them both since he knew where he was going and, as far as he knew, Jensen didn’t actually own a car. Jensen had agreed with visible reluctance, so Jared had beat a hasty retreat to give Jensen fewer opportunities to renege.
Jensen was already waiting for him, judging by how quickly he answered when Jared buzzed his apartment.
"One minute," was all he said before clicking off the intercom, which was so quintessentially Jensen that Jared had to smile.
He rocked back on his heels, entertaining himself by trying to figure out what floor Jensen's apartment was on based on how long it took to get down to the main floor. Jensen appeared before he'd counted two minutes, which meant that he was probably in the first five floors.
"Was I supposed to bring anything?" Jensen asked the moment he stepped outside. "Because I didn't."
Hello to you, too, Jared would have said, but the words got lost somewhere along the way.
Jensen was the kind of good looking that gave people complexes. Literally: the guys in R&D had once created an entire meme about it that flared up periodically, usually after Jensen wore his green tie with the gray suit. Jared didn't think it made him totally shallow to admit that Jensen's hotness was the first thing he noticed about him; he was pretty sure that it was the first thing most everyone noticed at him, honestly.
Of course, the second thing that people tended to notice about him was the perpetual frown and short temper, but that didn't actually make him any less pretty.
After two years, Jared figured he was fairly immune to Jensen's looks. With the exception of the gray suit-green tie combo, there wasn't much in Jensen's work attire that had the ability to temporarily rob him of his ability to think straight.
Of course, he hadn't considered the fact that he'd never seen Jensen in casual wear before.
Jensen was wearing jeans that molded perfectly to his thighs and a soft-looking, well-fitted sweater that should have been worn exclusively by people over the age of 60 but, somehow, he made it work. A lot.
"Wow," Jared said without thinking, and was surprised when Jensen's cheeks pinked. "It was a good wow," he promised. "I'm not used to seeing you in anything other than a suit."
Jensen shrugged. "Seemed a little formal for dinner. Are we going or what?"
Jensen spent most of the time fidgeting in his seat, not saying a word but looking thoroughly uncomfortable with the entire situation. Which Jared couldn't exactly blame him for, but this didn't look like Jensen's habitual irritation. It looked a lot more like…
"Are you actually nervous?" Jared asked, a little incredulously.
"No," Jensen answered immediately. His knee stopped jiggling for all of three seconds before starting up again.
"It'll be fine," Jared promised. "I told them we've only been dating for about a month, so they won't expect us to be really touchy-feely or anything."
"Oh yes, because that's the part of this that I might have issue with," Jensen deadpanned. "What's the story, then?"
Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Jensen's shrug. "How we met, first date, stuff I should know about your family, that sort of thing."
"I figured we'd keep our story pretty much the same as real life," Jared said, most of his attention on waiting for a gap so he could turn left. "I mean, they already know all about you, so it'd be weird if I suddenly pretended that we met on a blind date or something."
There was a moment of weighty silence, and then, "They already know about me? Why?"
Try as he might, Jared couldn't interpret Jensen's tone of voice. "Because we're friends? It's one of the reasons why you make such a perfect pretend boyfriend: they've heard about you for ages, but they've never met you."
Also, Jared had the sneaking suspicion that his mama knew all about his crush, if her indulgent expression whenever he talked about Jensen meant anything. She'd have no trouble believing that Jared was dating him. He just hoped that she was feeling benevolent enough about the fact that Jared was bringing a date that she wouldn't embarrass him by talking about how obviously he'd been mooning over Jensen.
"We should probably come up with a first date, though," he admitted. "I, er, hadn't really got that far in the planning process."
"What a shocker," Jensen said, thankfully sounding more like his usual self. "Pizza and a game at your place," he said. "Followed by a dinner date when the first date didn't go too badly."
Jared slanted a glance at him. "Sounds like you've thought about this."
Jensen bristled. "Sounds like one of us needs to. Unless you want your parents to find out that you're lying to th-"
"Okay, you're a genius, forgive me. So, uh, should I give you a primer on my family?"
"Please," Jensen said, like this was a business meeting they were going to.
And, well, Jared could work with that.
They passed the rest of the drive with Jensen grilling Jared on his family members and the stuff he ought to know about them. Jared alternated between paying attention to the road and trying not to pay too much attention to Jensen's profile.
By the time they pulled into his parents' driveway, Jensen appeared to have entered some kind of Zen state of determination.
"Hand," he insisted, the moment he slammed the car door closed behind him.
Jared blinked. "What about it?"
Jensen tsked and seized Jared's hand in his own. His hand was smaller than Jared's, but not by as much as Jared was used to. It was kind of a nice change. "I don't know how you get anything done."
"Blind luck and optimism, mostly." Jared used his convenient new grip on Jensen to tug him towards the front door. "Come on."
Jensen muttered something uncomplimentary under his breath, but didn't protest.
It was something of a challenge to get the door unlocked without letting go of Jensen's hand, but Jared was talented like that.
"Mama!" he called, as he stepped inside. The house smelled amazing. "We're here!"
"Jared?" His mama appeared in the kitchen doorway, drying her hands on a towel. Her face split into a smile, and Jensen made a small sound of recognition at his side.
"I see where you get it from," he murmured.
Jared's mama was on him before he could quite decide how to take that, and he surrendered willingly to the hug that pulled him down to her level. She fussed for a few minutes, even though it hadn't been that long since the last time he'd visited, then turned her attention to Jensen.
Jared took care of the introductions. "Mama, this is Jensen. Jensen, this is my mother, Sherri."
"Mrs. Padalecki," Jensen said, with a charming smile that Jared had never seen before. He bravely refrained from doing a double take. "It's so nice to finally meet you."
Jared's mama looked a little flustered. Jared honestly couldn't blame her; that smile was dangerous. "And you too, Jensen. We've heard so much about you."
"Have you?" Jensen asked, with a sidelong glance at Jared that was more amused than irritated. Weird. "All good things, I hope."
"Naturally," Jared's mama said. "Come in, both of you. Gerry's out in the garage; I'll call him in."
"Don't hurry him on my account. I wouldn't want to intrude."
"Nonsense! It's not every day Jared brings home a date. We're both so delighted to meet you."
Jensen's answering smile was bashful. "That's very kind of you to say."
Jared belatedly realized that he ought to be taking part in this conversation. "Why don't you go get Dad while I take care of our jackets and things?" he suggested, chivvying her out of the room with an ease born of many years of practice.
"So far so good," Jensen said in an undertone.
Jared blinked at him, still a little stunned. "I didn't know you could be charming."
"Then the more fool you for inviting someone you thought was going to embarrass you in front of your family," Jensen shot back. "Or am I supposed to be making a bad impression so they never ask you to bring home a date again?"
"No," Jared said, which he figured was better than admitting that he honestly hadn't thought that far ahead. "But it's going to be harder to explain to everyone when we tragically break up if they like you."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Jensen said, a little stilted. "I'll go back to being my normal, uncharming self right away."
He was being an ass, Jared realized. "There's nothing wrong with normal Jensen. I like normal Jensen. It'd be a bit weird if you suddenly stopped being so charming though, so you should probably stick with it." He glanced at Jensen, who was looking at him with raised eyebrows. "Think you can handle it?"
Jensen sniffed haughtily. "I don't get into situations I can't handle. You should try it sometime."
"You are such an ass."
"Not right now I'm not." Jensen rocked up onto the balls of his feet to press a quick kiss to Jared's cheek, then headed off down the hallways to where Jared noticed his parents were standing with matching pleased expressions. "It's a pleasure to meet you, sir," Jensen said, all southern manners as he extended a hand to Jared's dad. Jared stared after him in wordless shock.
Somehow, this wasn't what he'd pictured when he'd come up with this idea. The jury was still out on whether that was a good thing or not.
The rest of the evening went swimmingly. This new charming Jensen was baffling, but Jared couldn't deny that he was pretty much perfect boyfriend material. His parents were clearly in love with him before they'd even got to dessert, and Jared was mildly concerned that they might be thinking of trading him for Jensen if the dating thing didn't work out.
"That went well," Jared said in the car, as he drove away from his parents' house. "At least, I think it went well. Don't you think it went well?"
"Everything was fine," Jensen said. "I told you I could handle it. Now stop talking at me before I give into the urge to strangle you and get us both killed in the resulting car crash."
Huh. Apparently grumpy Jensen was back.
"Is it hard for you to be social like that?" Jared asked curiously.
"This isn't you shutting up."
Definitely grumpy Jensen. "Right, sorry."
They drove in silence for several minutes before Jensen heaved a sigh. "Hard isn't really the word," he said. "It can be tiring, though. I'm not naturally outgoing, as you might have noticed."
"Huh. Well, thanks again. I couldn't have asked for a better pretend boyfriend."
"You still owe me a boatload of coffee," Jensen reminded him. "But you're welcome. Now would you please shut up?"
Jared listened to him this time, and the rest of the drive to Jensen's apartment was conducted in not-entirely-awkward silence.
"See you at work tomorrow!" Jared called, as Jensen climbed out of the car.
He got a wordless grunt in acknowledgement before Jensen shut the door and strode into the building. Jared took a moment to appreciate the view, silently lamenting that his sojourn as Jensen's pretend boyfriend was over.
Still, it had been fun while it lasted.
Really, Jared should probably have foreseen what happened next.
"Jensen's invited too, of course," his mama said, two weeks later. "Your brother's coming down, and he'd love to meet him."
"Uh," Jared managed. "I'm not sure-"
"Don't you even start with the excuses," his mama said, before Jared could do just that. "Jensen's important to you, which means he's important to us. Is it so much to ask that we get a chance to know him better?"
And really, there was only one answer to that question. "No, Mama, of course not."
So he went to ask Jensen for another favour.
Jensen looked at him for a long, silent moment. "There isn't enough coffee in the world to make up for this," he sighed, which was in no way a refusal.
There was no way this wasn't going to end badly.
~to be continued