It wasn't long after his showdown with Katie that Jensen dragged himself home after a long, miserable day to find that his brother had dropped in while he was at work.
"I watered your plants for you," Josh said, from where he was hovering near the ceiling. He had his arms folded behind his head and his eyes closed in a picture of perfect nonchalance. In midair. "It took forever and one of them tried to eat me. You ever considered just moving into a gardening centre? Or the jungle?"
"You know," Jensen said mildly. "Normal people use the front door. And call ahead."
Josh shrugged, which always looked ridiculous when he floating. "And they're boring and hate themselves." He shifted, twisting to look at Jensen over the back of the couch he wasn't lying on. "Besides - you want me to stop visiting, you gotta start locking your bedroom window."
"Right, because getting Whirlwind busted for breaking and entering is absolutely on my list of things to do this month." Jensen let his bag thud to the floor and toed off his shoes.
Josh flipped him off. "Like anyone would catch me even if I did. Oh," he said, as Jensen started for the den. "Grab me a beer, would ya?"
"Fucking moocher," Jensen shot back, detouring towards the kitchen anyway.
Two steps in and it was immediately obvious that Josh had been taking liberties with the contents of Jensen's fridge: dirty dishes were stacked high in the sink, there was flour scattered all over the counter and a wide smear of pasta sauce streaked across the stovetop and, incredibly, part way up the wall. An empty glass was sitting by itself on the kitchen table, looking incongruously tidy amidst the chaos.
Jensen sighed. "How long you been here, anyway?"
"Few hours," Josh's voice answered. "Left a plate for you in the microwave."
"You're too kind." Jensen ducked into the fridge to grab a beer for each of them, then headed back into the den. "Should've called the store," he told Josh as he sat. "Katie could have told you I was going to be home late."
Josh's grin was wicked and unfortunately familiar. "Who needs a phone when I can just find out for myself?"
Jensen made a face at him. "You didn't."
"Of course I did. You can find things out so much faster from the sky."
Jensen groaned. "Jesus, Josh, what would have happened if someone saw you?"
"Gee, Jensen," Josh said dryly. "Maybe some variation of 'oh my god, it's Whirlwind! Quick, take a picture!'. It's like being a movie star, just with more saving people's lives and less showing up on the cover of Us Weekly: people are always excited to see superheroes."
Josh stretched one hand down to grab a beer but Jensen pulled it out of reach.
"Not in my house, fucker. You want it, you sit the hell down like a normal human being."
"Picky, picky," Josh said, and abruptly dropped down onto the couch hard enough to jostle Jensen and nearly get them both covered in beer. "Any particular reason you're so pissy today?"
"Besides the fact that I hate you?" Jensen surrendered Josh's beer and took a long pull from his own. "Just did the flowers for the fucking wedding from hell."
"Did the groom forget to show up?"
"He's probably going to wish he had in a year or two. The bride had the decorations for the entire hall changed around three times and then complained that the flowers weren't exactly the same colour blue as the bridesmaids' dresses."
"Oh, it gets better," Jensen said. "Get to the ceremony to give out the bouquets and find out that apparently the groom's mother is allergic to gardenias and can't even get into the chapel without sneezing. So we had to do an emergency rearrangement at the last damn minute, the bride and the mother-in-law got into a screaming fight in front of the church and now I've got a hundred damn gardenias in my cooler that I don't know what the fuck to do with. It was a fucking disaster."
Josh shook his head. "Remind me again why, out of all the jobs in the world, you picked florist? Best I can come up with is that you liked perpetuating gay stereotypes and smelling like a perfume counter all the time."
Jensen punched him in the arm. "And you clearly never matured past the age of seven seeing as you ran away to join the circus."
"Hey," Josh said. "My job is awesome. Everybody wishes they were me."
"The tightrope walker part or the wearing spandex in public part? Oh, wait."
Josh gave him a cuff upside the head. "Just for that, I'm not getting you tickets."
Jensen snorted. "Believe me, I got enough of you walking in midair when we were kids." He took another drink, finally starting to feel the stress of the day draining off. "Can't even hope you're going to fall off and die, you fucking cheater."
"I fall off sometimes," Josh protested.
"Of course. Got to maintain that alter ego and all that." Josh grinned. "And it's kind of fun."
"What, falling?" Jensen asked and Josh nodded.
"Well, it can't happen unless I let it." Josh paused thoughtfully. "Or unless I was unconscious, I guess. It's refreshing, anyway. Hard to explain."
"The fact that you're not going to die from it probably helps." Jensen propped one elbow up on the arm of the couch and tilted his head into his hand. "How long are you in town?"
"Just the weekend," Josh said.
Jensen frowned at him. "You're not doing a show?"
"Oh, I am," Josh said. "But I'm just filling in. The Big Apple Circus' in town and one of their walkers is out with the flu so I said I'd help out. My troupe's heading out to Ohio next week."
"You ever think of joining a stationary circus instead of wandering all over the country?" Jensen asked him. "Settle down?"
Josh's smile was at once wry and weary. They'd had this argument before. "You know why that's not a good idea, Jensen."
"Other Supers have homes," Jensen argued.
"And I have my troupe. It's not so different."
"Is being a Super really so important that you're willing to be paranoid about settling down for the rest of your-"
"It's what I want," Josh cut in sharply. "Besides," he added in a lighter tone. "The last thing this town needs is another Super right now."
"Why?" Jensen asked, confused.
"Are you serious?" Josh shook his head. "What am I saying, of course you are. There's a new guy on the scene. Calls himself Gunner. Showed up a couple of months ago in a big way."
A vague memory of Chris babbling about something similar rose up in the back of Jensen's mind. "Oh, right. He's a... telekinetic?"
Josh nodded. "That's the one. Apparently he's one hell of a Super. His powers are crazy strong."
"Goodie," Jensen said dryly. "Nothing like a half-cocked greenhorn who can throw tractor trailers with his brain to make me feel safe."
"Don't sugarcoat it, Jensen. Let me know what you really think."
"I think I ought to kick your sorry superhero ass out of my house," Jensen said without rancor.
"I'd like to see you try, nature boy." Josh tipped back his head to drain the last of his bottle. "But, barring that, I'd like to see you be a good host and get me another beer."
"Not a chance. Get it your damn self."
Josh shoved him right off the couch with a well aimed blast of wind. Jensen's not-quite-empty bottle went flying.
Jensen stared at the beer soaking into his carpet. "Fucker."
Josh grinned widely at the mayhem on Jensen's face. "Missed you too, little brother."
Jensen looked down at the mess, sighed and resigned himself to cleaning up later. Right after he'd kicked his brother's ass.
Josh crashed on Jensen's couch for the rest of the weekend. He spent most of his time floating around the house, watching the news at unnecessarily high volumes whenever they were reporting superhero antics and generally doing his best to drive Jensen up the wall. Jensen retaliated by slamming doors at inopportune moments, cranking the volume on his stereo and buying some new hanging baskets for Josh to crash into as he drifted around corners.
Business as usual with the Ackles brothers.
Jensen allowed himself a quiet sigh of relief when Josh zoomed off without dramatically righting any wrongs in Jensen's neighbourhood or taking any news of the 'Jensen has a boyfriend' variety away with him to tell their parents. Jensen felt torn between throwing a fucking party and feeling like the house was suddenly two sizes too big. He generally ignored both feelings and returned to his regularly scheduled work week, hoping that he'd filled his family interaction quota for the month.
Really, he should have known better.
Jensen was in the middle of going through wedding flower options with an excited bride and groom - well, the bride was excited, at least - when his phone beeped with an incoming call. Which was a pretty clever trick considering that Jensen had turned it off before his clients arrived.
A quick glance showed that his phone was, in fact, still off. And still ringing. Jensen reined in a sigh.
"I'm sorry," he said to the couple. "I have to take this. Why don't you start looking through the catalogues without me and I'll be right back. Won't take a moment."
He left the pair of them debating over the photos and took his ringing phone out of the office and down to the bathroom at the end of the hall. Jensen locked the door carefully behind him and thumbed the 'accept' button.
"Hi, Dad," he said.
"Jensen," his dad's voice said on the other end, tinny like it always was when he was using his powers to ignore all the basic rules of how a telephone was supposed to work.
"I'm at work," Jensen said, though it wasn't as much of a protest as it might once have been. It had taken a lot of arguing on both their parts - and on Jensen's mama's part - but they'd finally found a way to compromise on this issue: Jensen's dad promised to call only when he had something important to say and Jensen promised to answer when it rang.
"This won't take long."
"Good." Jensen glanced idly at his watch, wondering if he'd have time to grab lunch at the café down the street before his afternoon meeting. "What is it?"
"Crisis is in town," his dad said.
"You're sure?" Jensen demanded, only absently aware of the fact that he was squeezing his phone tightly enough to make his fingers ache.
Jensen sucked in a breath. "Josh. Jesus, he was just here, you have to -"
"Your brother's already two states over," his dad told him, in the tone of voice that meant and he's going to stay there too. "Your mother and I are far enough away to stay off the radar, but I want you to promise me that you'll be on your guard. I know you don't think of yourself as a Super-," his voice rose over Jensen's derisive snort, "-but if Crisis finds you it won't matter how mild your powers are."
"I know, Dad." Jensen ran a hand through his hair, trying to process all of this. "What's he doing here?"
"Hunting," his dad said. "You've got a good number of Supers in the area-"
"The joys of urban living," Jensen muttered.
"-and I wouldn't be surprised if he had his sights set on Gunner."
"Oh, Josh mentioned him. Is he really that good?"
"Maybe better," his dad said, which was quite the thing, coming from him. "Took out Razor Jade his first month on the scene."
"Jesus," Jensen said, because even he knew that was impressive. "Guess Crisis is looking for a challenge, huh?"
"That doesn't mean he won't take out any Super he finds in the meantime," his dad reminded him, sounding like a mix between a concerned father and a drill sergeant. "So keep your head down and if you run into any trouble, you let me know, y'hear?"
"Sure," Jensen said faintly and then, as an afterthought, "Thanks."
"No need for that." His dad disconnected the call without bothering with a goodbye.
Jensen stood there for a long moment, wondering how long it was going to take for the news to hit the mainstream and how many Supers were going to go to ground the moment they found out. Christ, Jensen couldn't so much as make a dog growl at someone and even he wanted to find somewhere to hide.
Which was paranoia talking, he told himself firmly. He pocketed his phone and headed back out to deal with the future Mr. and Mrs. Zadkovic, shoving all thoughts of homicidal super villains out of his head. He had flowers to sell.
Crisis was quite possibly the most infamous super villain in the country. He was a self-detonator: a walking bomb. The slightest touch could send a person sky high and coming to the ground in a million charred pieces.
But unlike other super villains, who got their names splashed all over the evening news because of bloody body counts and nearly successful attempts at taking over the world, Crisis was feared for his extremely good track record when it came to killing Supers.
Lots of super villains were more than keen on killing superheroes, unsurprisingly, but Crisis would take out any Super who crossed his path, hero or otherwise. He'd taken more than one high powered super villain out of the game and for a while there'd been a serious shortage of sidekicks thanks to his efforts. Using his own super powers to kill other Supers seemed more than a little hypocritical, in Jensen's opinion, but that clearly didn't bother Crisis any.
Jensen just hoped that being so far below useless would keep him out of the firing line.
Despite Jensen's best efforts to put the whole mess out of his head, he was distracted and edgy for the rest of the day. He was good enough at shamming normality that none of his clients noticed but he didn't have quite as much success fooling Jared.
"Jensen?" Jared said and Jensen jolted out of his thoughts for the fifth time in as many minutes. He glanced over to find Jared watching him with a faint frown. "You okay?"
"Sorry, busy day," Jensen lied. He offered Jared a tired grin. "When I get married, remind me to make someone else do all the work. Weddings are a pain in the ass."
Jared's expression didn't change. "You want to head out?" he asked, unusually serious. "We can do the movies another day."
Jensen gave him a scandalized look. "And miss the year's most unfortunately memorable zombie movie? Bite your tongue."
Jared kept right on looking concerned at him, apparently in no mood to let the subject drop.
Jensen gave an internal sigh and reached for Jared's hand. "I'm fine," he said. He gave Jared's hand a squeeze. "Honest."
Jared opened his mouth to say something else but the lights thankfully chose that moment to dim.
"Movie," Jensen said firmly, before Jared could ask again. Jensen leaned back in his chair, letting his voice drop low in tandem with the lights. "Shut up."
Out of the corner of his eye, Jensen saw Jared sit back as well, leaving his left hand in Jensen's right while he reached for their tub of popcorn with the other. Jensen left him to it for the time being; he didn't much feel like eating right now.
Normally, a terribly cheesy horror movie full of gratuitous violence would be just what Jensen needed to take his mind off anything even marginally relevant, but tonight he just wasn't feeling it. The movie passed without Jensen really seeing any of it, to the point that he was actually caught off guard when the lights came back on at the end.
He turned his surprised start into a stretch with what he thought was remarkable alacrity, then turned to Jared with an easy smile. "Now was that or was that not the best date movie ever?" he asked.
This time Jared seemed more inclined to let the matter drop, judging by the overdone frown he gave Jensen in return. "I dunno," he said. "Didn't make you jump into my arms once."
"Maybe you should have been jumping into my arms," Jensen said, rising to his feet. "You ever think of that?"
Jared scoffed. "As if, short stack. Have you seen my biceps?" He flexed one arm as they headed out of the theatre and it should have looked ridiculous but Jared absolutely wasn't kidding about those muscles so it ended up being really kind of hot instead. "Those zombies wouldn't know what hit 'em."
"Whatever you say, hot stuff." Jensen hesitated briefly, trying to think of something normal to do that would keep his stupid brain busy. "You wanna grab a burger? Or we could go to th- what?"
"Jensen," Jared said, sounding unusually tentative. "Are you upset with me? For canceling our date last week?"
Really, Jared couldn't have been more wrong; that had been the night Jensen had gone to see Josh's performance at the circus and Jared canceling their date had meant that Jensen could go without either feeling guilty about blowing Jared off or having to put up with Josh tormenting him for bringing a date with him. Jensen could honestly say that he'd never been quite so happy to be stood up in his life.
Still, he recognized a convenient excuse when he heard one.
"Don't worry about it," Jensen said, in a tone of voice that meant anything but. Which probably made him a jerk but, whatever. He'd make it up to Jared later.
Jared bit his lip. "Jensen," he said, sounding sincerely repentant and Jensen abruptly decided that he'd make it up to him right now. "I didn't-"
"Shh," Jensen hushed, tilting his head up to brush a kiss against Jared's lips. "Was planning on taking you home with me afterwards, is all." He looked up at Jared through his eyelashes, hopefully hitting seductive rather than cheesy. "Feel like making up for lost time?"
Jared sucked in a sharp breath. "Hell yes."
"Good," Jensen said, and he could feel his own pulse rising in response to Jared's obvious interest. "I hope you drove here. I'd rather not get kicked out of a cab for indecent behaviour."
"I did," Jared said. "Though after that mental image I'm now kind of sad that I didn't take the bus instead. Come on."
The drive back to Jensen's house was heavy with intention and Jensen could feel his heart hammering in his chest every time Jared glanced over at him and smiled a distinctly predatory smile. When Jared pulled into Jensen's driveway and killed the engine, the sudden silence was nearly suffocating.
"You're coming in," Jensen said. It wasn't anything close to a question. He'd never had Jared in his house, in his bed, before and, fuck, but he was sick of waiting. This hadn't been the plan for the evening, but he and Jared never seemed to be very good at following plans.
Jared leaned in for a kiss that was sharp and teasing: a precursor for what was to come. "Don't need to tell me twice," he said, in a tone that went straight to Jensen's groin.
"Fuck, come on." They scrambled out of the car and Jensen found himself in the highly enjoyable position of being trapped between the front door and Jared's broad chest. He fumbled his keys like he was a nervous teenager all over again and hissed a relieved 'finally!' when he managed to get the damn lock open.
Jared chuckled and the feeling of it rumbled against Jensen's back. "Eager much?"
"What's that?" Jensen asked, pushing the door open with Jared hot on his heels. "You want I should send you home and go jerk off in the bathroom? Why didn't you say so?"
"Mm, too late for that." Jared bent down and sucked a kiss onto Jensen's neck; Jensen shivered and let his head loll to one side, giving Jared more room to work. "Gonna have my wicked way with you now."
"Promises, promises." Jensen chucked his keys in the general direction of the side table and flicked on the light so they wouldn't trip on anything on the way upstairs.
"Wow," Jared said, pausing a moment to take in Jensen's wide array of plant life. "Anyone ever tell you not to take your work home with you?"
"Screw you," Jensen said automatically and most definitely did not yelp when a big, long-fingered hand snaked down and pressed firmly against the bulge in his jeans.
"I can work with that." Jared paused and when he spoke again the timbre of his voice sent a shudder up Jensen's spine. "Or do you prefer it the other way around?"
Jensen swallowed hard and somehow managed to convince his voice to come out almost evenly when he said, "Depends on what kind of equipment you're packing."
Jared smiled. "Well, then."
His hand shifted up to Jensen's belly and pressed him backwards, slotting Jensen back into the cradle of his hips. Jensen couldn't help a small, needy sound when he felt the hard, hot length of Jared's very proportional cock snug against his ass. It suddenly seemed a lot bigger than it had the few times he'd had it in his hands.
"Jesus," he breathed. "Yeah, okay. I need you to fuck me with that."
Jared's wicked smile rolled down Jensen's spine like a caress. "Good." His other hand cupped Jensen's cheek and drew him up into a kiss that was wet and filthy perfect. Jensen gave back just as eagerly and it wasn't long before they were really going at it, tongues tangling and lips kissed swollen and sore, and Jensen dimly realized that they were going to end up fucking on the stairs if they didn't relocate now.
"Move," he said to Jared, pushing him away just far enough to let the words get out. "This is more fun in a bed."
Jared eyes' were nearly black in the dim light. "Oh, me and the wall are going to enjoy proving you wrong next time," he purred. Jensen led the way upstairs and had to be glad his feet knew where the bedroom was because there was no way his brain was up to the task of figuring it out when his lips were kiss-swollen and slick, and Jared's hand was stroking lightly against his hip.
They tumbled to the bed in a flurry of kisses and hurried stripping and Jensen found himself flat on his back and staring up at Jared without any clear idea of how he'd got there.
"Get down here," he growled, and hooked a hand behind Jared's neck to reel him in. Jared came easily and Jensen slid his fingers round to fist in Jared's hair, which proved to be as useful for kissing as Jensen had always suspected.
"So," Jensen gasped between kisses. His hips were rocking up against Jared's and the electric brush of their cocks together was sending sparks of pure pleasure rolling up and down his spine. "You gonna, ah, fuck me or what?"
Jared pulled back and Jensen whined at the loss. Jared hissed out a breath. "Fuck, that's hot. Hold on."
"Top drawer," Jensen said, flicking a hand towards the dresser.
Jared quickly retrieved the lube and a condom, then rejoined Jensen on the bed.
"Here," Jensen said, sitting up far enough to grab the condom out of Jared's hand. He grinned up at him wickedly. "Together?"
"Works for m-ngh!"
"What was that?" Jensen asked innocently, feathering teasing touches up and down the length of Jared's cock. It was hot and heavy in his hand and Jensen ghosted his fingers through the drops of precome beading at the head, grinning when it made Jared shudder.
Then he had to fight a squeal of his own when cold, slick fingers nudged between his ass cheeks in a startlingly intimate manner.
"Easy," Jared said. The dark grin on his face made it hard for Jensen to think of anything but that tortuously light caress. "We'll get there."
One of Jared's fucking massive fingers pressed in and Jensen hissed against the stretch as long unused muscles tried to adjust to the intrusion. His own hands continued their worship of Jared's cock while Jared added another finger, though his rhythm faltered when Jared started stretching him out properly.
"Fuck," he muttered, letting his head drop to Jared's shoulder as Jared manipulated him with clever fingers.
When the burn had subsided into the not-unpleasant sensation of being full, Jensen rolled the condom onto Jared's cock with shaking hands and let himself sink back against the mattress, spreading his legs to give Jared more room to work. Jared hummed, a pleased, hungry sort of sound.
"'M good," Jensen said. "Do it."
"Mm, no," Jared said, and Jensen gritted his teeth in frustration.
"Jared," he started, then lost the plot entirely when Jared's fingers brushed deliberately against his prostate and sent sparks bursting in his brain.
Jared leaned in close, his weight pressing Jensen deeper into the mattress. Jared's teeth nipped at Jensen's earlobe, then he whispered, "I want to hear you beg first."
Somehow, Jensen found the wherewithal for a cocky smile. "Good luck with that," he said, knowing full well that Jared wasn't going to back down from the challenge.
Jared's answering chuckle was a dark, hungry thing. "Oh, trust me, Jensen, you'll want to do so much more than beg by the time I'm done with you."
And Jared made good on his threat; he fingered Jensen until he was writhing on the sheets and scrabbling at Jared's shoulders because it felt like he'd fly to pieces without something to hold onto. Then he did it some more. Two fingers graduated to three when Jensen wasn't paying attention and Jared's thumbnail scratched intermittently against Jensen's rim where he was stretched and taut around Jared's fingers.
"Jesus Christ, fuck me already, you perfect bastard!" Jensen growled finally in a voice that didn't even sound like his.
Jared pressed against Jensen's prostrate and Jensen practically screamed. Jared's answering smile was dark and hungry. "You can do better than that."
"Please!" Jensen begged, feeling jittery and so turned on it hurt. "Fucking please, Jared, fuck me, fuck me, oh god, please-"
"Yes," Jared hissed. His fingers pulled out and Jensen whimpered at the empty feeling they left behind, only to shudder in anticipation when the head of Jared's cock pressed against him. Jared pushed in and it hurt, fuck did it hurt; Jared was fucking monstrous, stretching Jensen ruthlessly despite the lengthy fingering he'd just been tortured with, but it was so exactly what Jensen wanted that all he could do was moan and gasp like he was dying for it. Jared kept up the slow, steady press of his hips, not stopping until he was balls-deep in Jensen's ass and Jensen felt like he was being split in two by that massive cock.
"Okay?" Jared asked, brushing a hand down Jensen's sweaty flank.
"Nngh," Jensen managed, feeling enveloped by Jared inside and out and absolutely loving it. "Gimme a minute."
Jared nodded and waited with remarkable patience while Jensen consciously relaxed his tight-locked muscles, allowing the intrusion.
"Okay," he panted. "M'good."
"Mm," Jared said. Jensen wasn't sure if he was starting to hate or love that sound. "Got a better idea."
Jared's spine curled abruptly and Jensen's whole body jerked when Jared took one of his nipples in his teeth and tugged, hard. Jensen yowled and clamped down instinctively around Jared's cock and they both groaned at the sensation. Jared kept worrying at the flesh with teeth and tongue until Jensen was sobbing with the dual sensation of almost-pain radiating from his chest and the inescapable, unmoving heat of Jared inside him.
Jensen felt half mad with arousal by the time Jared drew back, his lips curling into a satisfied smirk, and Jesus fuck, but who would have guessed Jared was such a toppy bastard in bed?
"Jared," he panted, ignoring how close it was to a whine.
"Doing so good, Jensen," he purred and Jensen dug his fingers into the meat of Jared's shoulders in retaliation because he did not need a fucking pep talk, "But I'm not done with you yet."
Jensen had a half second to see the truly wicked glint in Jared's eyes before Jared bent again and, slowly, methodically, started the whole thing over again with Jensen's other nipple.
Reality dissolved into an endless swirl of sharp, sparking pain and unbearable pleasure and Jensen was only faintly aware of moaning loud enough to wake the dead, his hands scrabbling against Jared's back and his hips trying to find enough leverage to buck up on Jared's cock and end this delicious torment. Every involuntary shock of his body had him clamping down hard on Jared's cock and Jensen couldn't even remember what it felt like without Jared there, as deep inside him as he could possibly get. He teetered right on the precipice of what promised to be an absolutely amazing orgasm, fighting for that last spark needed to push him over.
Dimly, Jensen was aware that he was begging, words tumbling out in a brainless spill of noise that was more desperation than speech. He could feel Jared's stomach quivering where it was brushing against Jensen's, could hear the frantic staccato of Jared's breath, and he felt a little better knowing that all this teasing was affecting Jared just as badly.
An eternity later, Jared seemed to reach his limit of how long he wanted this torture to go on, because he lifted himself away from Jensen's chest and slid up to catch Jensen's lips in a kiss. Jensen kissed back, sloppy and distracted and finally, finally, Jared started to fuck him properly.
A single, sharp thrust of Jared's hips and Jensen was gone, coming without a hand on him. He threw back his head and howled, jackknifing off the bed in one long, arching line. Jared fucked him through it, hammering in hard enough to make the bed rock and hitting the perfect tempo to keep Jensen riding the crest of his orgasm long after his voice had given out and he'd collapsed back to the mattress in a boneless, fucked out sprawl.
"So hot, Jensen," Jared gasped, finally losing his grip on that iron control. It wasn't long before his thrusts grew erratic, his grip on Jensen's hips turning punishing as he pumped out his own orgasm, face twisting in naked ecstasy.
Jared slumped forward, getting one hand against the mattress in time to keep himself from landing on Jensen. They panted together for a small eternity, eyes locked and chests brushing against each other with every heaving breath. Finally, Jensen pried one of his hands away from Jared's shoulder and brought it, shaking, to the side of Jared's face.
"Jensen," Jared said, something soft and awed in his voice, and Jensen pulled him into a kiss that was lazy and shockingly sweet in the wake of the sex they'd just had.
The kiss fell apart after only a few moments and Jensen could feel exhaustion soaking through his limbs, reminding him that sleep was definitely next on the schedule.
"Hope you're n-" Jensen's breath hitched as Jared drew free, leaving him feeling open and empty down there, "-not hungry. Not gonna feed you."
The mattress shifted and Jensen let his eyes slip closed as he heard the sound of Jared disposing of the condom.
"I'll live," Jared said, a moment before the bedside lamp clicked off and sent the world beyond Jensen's eyelids darkly black.
"When I find my legs I am absolutely kicking your ass," Jensen mumbled, tugging the covers up without care for the come drying on his stomach. He'd deal with it in the morning.
The bed dipped and Jared settled behind him, broad chest solid against Jensen's back. He slung an arm around Jensen's waist and Jensen didn't stop him, too caught up in lethargy and bone deep satisfaction to take exception to much of anything.
"If you can move in the morning, you're welcome to it," Jared said, sounding smugly self-satisfied. Jackass. "And if not, I'll make you breakfast."
"Holding you to that," Jensen managed, and snuggled back into the cradle of Jared's body before succumbing to blissful, oh so welcome sleep.
Spring fell into summer and Jensen found himself in the unenviable position of being too busy to fit boyfriend time into his schedule. Their jobs were hard enough to work around at the best of times - Jensen had his store during the day and bartending at Kane's House on the weekends and Jared's job seemed to require him to be permanently on call on top of working a forty hour work week - but the excess of weddings and outdoor events that the summer inevitably brought with it left Jensen with barely enough time to sleep, let alone spend time with Jared.
Thankfully, Jared was pretty creative when it came to figuring out alternate solutions. He switched round his schedule and started spending his off time at Meadowlarks, keeping Jensen company while he worked. It meant that Jared worked nights and Jensen rarely got the pleasure of waking up next to him, but Jensen could live with the trade-off.
Jared spending time at the store also meant that Katie got to meet him, which made her very happy. The not-at-all discreet thumbs up she gave Jensen the first time they met made Jared laugh so Jensen figured it was almost worth the embarrassment.
"How did you get into this anyway?" Jared asked him one day. He had his chin pillowed on Jensen's shoulder and his arms wrapped around Jensen's waist as he watched him thread ribbon through an elaborately done up vase of flowers. "Doesn't seem like a popular career choice, florist."
Jensen shrugged, most of his focus on what his hands were doing. He didn't do a lot of personal orders - big events paid better and were too time consuming for him to bother doing off the street business as well - but it never hurt to do a couple of extra bits for his big contract clients when they wanted them. "I've always had a green thumb," he said easily.
"Huh." Jared digested that for a moment. "So you decided to play with flowers for a living?"
Jensen elbowed him in the ribs. "Shut it, jackass. I like plants. And floristry seemed easier than horticulture. And more profitable than botany."
"You never wanted to do anything else?"
"Thought about being a doctor," Jensen said, which was true as long as you counted life plans made under the age of ten. "But plants complain a lot less. And I don't have to apologize to anyone if they die."
"Way to be morbidly practical there, Jensen."
"That's me, bitter and cynical to the core. What about you?"
Jared's chin dug into Jensen's collarbone as he gave Jensen a sideways look. "What about me?"
"You and your computery stuff." Jensen tilted his head at the arrangement with a faint frown and twitched a cluster of hydrangeas to one side. "Did you grow up with great hopes of being a glorified tech guy for the rich and successful?"
Jared laughed. "The job kind of found me actually. Personally, I always wanted to be an astronaut."
"Of course you did."
The bell on the front door chose just that moment to chime, announcing the arrival of a customer. Jensen looked at where his hands were buried in the arrangement, then at Jared. "Could you deal with that?"
It was getting to be a common request these days; Jared gave him a simple 'sure', then unfolded himself from around Jensen and headed out of the studio to the front desk.
Jensen listened idly to the easy murmur of voices drifting through the door, his hands moving through the bouquet almost without conscious thought. The flowers trilled happily under his fingertips, standing straight and full in an effort to make him happy.
The door binged again as the customer left and Jared reappeared a moment later with an order pad in one hand. "Looks nice," he said, with a nod towards the mess on Jensen's worktop, but paused as he caught sight of Jensen's discontented frown. "You don't think so?"
Jensen shook his head. "It needs something to fill it out."
"What about some of those little pinky ones you've got in your living room?" Jared suggested. Jensen gave him a blank look. "The ones on the table near that ugly green lamp?"
"There's nothing wrong with that lamp," Jensen said. "And I can't use those; they're opium poppies."
Jared blinked at him. "You're growing opium in your house? And you haven't been arrested yet? Or shared with me?"
Jensen rolled his eyes. "They're decorative, Jared. Which means they're not illegal. But it's still less grief to keep them in my house and out of my store."
"Man," Jared shook his head. "You think you know a guy."
"Shut it." Jensen considered the arrangement for a moment longer, then pushed his chair back and headed for the cooler. He reappeared a moment later with a fistful of dahlias and Jared nodded his approval.
"I like those," he said. "Very yellow."
"They're dahlias," Jensen told him. He sat himself back down and started adding them to the bouquet. "What did the customer want?"
"A Mr. James Anderson wants to hire you for a..." Jared glanced at the order pad, "Charity golf tournament in August. 1200 square foot venue. I booked him in for a meeting on Tuesday."
"Thanks. I'm going to have to start paying you at this rate," Jensen said and Jared smiled.
"That's okay. I take kisses in trade." Jared leaned in to demonstrate and Jensen abandoned his work in favour of fisting a hand in Jared's collar and humming in wordless contentment.
"I take it back," Jensen said when they finally parted, sounding only slightly breathless. Trading slow, drugging kisses with Jared was quickly becoming one of his favourite things to do at work. "You should be paying me because you're taking up my time; it's impossible to get anything done when you're around."
"I am irresistible," Jared agreed. "You think y-"
The cheery beep of Jared's phone cut off the rest of that sentence and Jensen propped himself up on one elbow with an indulgent sort of sigh. He knew what that sound meant. It happened often enough.
Sure enough, Jared glanced at the display, fired off a quick text and flashed Jensen an apologetic smile. "Looks like I've got to go be irresistible somewhere else. I'll call you tonight?"
Jensen shook his head. "Working." He had yet to introduce Jared to the boys down at the bar and he knew he couldn't put it off forever, but that didn't mean he was looking forward to the eventual meeting. Chris was going to be fucking impossible.
"Ah well," Jared said, with a wistful little smile. "You'll have to text me the next time you're free."
On impulse, Jensen plucked one of the dahlias off the table and held it out. "Here."
"Why, Jensen!" Jared exclaimed, in a falsetto that did absolutely no one any favours. "Are you courting me?"
Jensen shoved the flower right into his face and smirked when Jared spluttered. "Smart ass. Take the damn flower already."
"You're such a charmer," Jared said, with a grin. He tucked the flower carefully into the side pocket of his shoulder bag and leaned in for another quick kiss. "Try not to write too much sad poetry while I'm gone."
"Oh god, just go already. Loiterer."
"Love you, snugglemuffin!" Jared cried as he vanished out into the store front and Jensen briefly wished for something to throw at him that was more aerodynamic and dense than a bundle of carnations. The door bell jangled and Jensen was left alone in the shop. He sighed and the whole shop sighed with him, which he did not like the idea of at all. If the flowers were pining for Jared, Jensen had to be pretty far gone himself.
Jensen was having a shit day.
He'd been woken up at five fucking thirty in the morning by a congregation of birds singing their hearts out - loudly and dissonantly - outside his bedroom window. The noise had set off his neighbour's dog, who'd joined in with a truly bloodcurdling howl that attracted the attention of what sounded like every dog on the goddamn block. Jensen had resisted throwing his alarm clock at the lot of them through dint of sheer will.
He missed his first bus, then someone knocked into him on the second and wasted a perfectly good cup of coffee - though, small blessings, at least it ended up on her shirt instead of Jensen's.
He was groggy, late and grumpy by the time he got to work, a state of affairs that was only made worse by the discovery that there had been some error in processing the fees for his rental agreement and the bank had put a freeze on his business account. Which meant that Jensen had to call Katie in on her day off so that he could schlep his way to the bank and find somebody to yell at.
Jensen was rather looking forward to the yelling, truth be told - he was hoping it would be therapeutic - but that didn't mean he particularly appreciated having to wait in line for half a frigging hour for the privilege to do so. The bank only had two tellers working, one of whom was a newbie while the other was an octogenarian who could not have gone slower if he'd been moving backwards. The woman in line ahead of Jensen was on her phone having an absolutely riveting conversation about shoes that made him want to weep with boredom, or possibly throw her cell phone across the room. Jensen stifled a sigh and rocked irritably on the balls of his feet. He wished he'd just stayed in bed.
"Grace?" the woman in front of him said suddenly. "You still there, Grace? Hello? Piece of shit phone," she muttered, pulling it away from her ear to check the display. "I am so switching to Roge-"
Gunfire roared through the air and Jensen ducked automatically behind the bulk of the person lined up behind him, heart pounding.
"Hands in the air!" a voice ordered, and Jensen peeked round to see a guy in a black ski mask hoisting a gun, while a crew of similarly-dressed men fanned out to cover the room and all the exits. The tread of their heavy boots echoed off the floors. "Now!"
Oh, Jesus Christ, Jensen realized in the sudden shocked panic that rippled through the room, I'm in the middle of a bank robbery.
The guy gestured with his gun again and Jensen obediently put his hands behind his head, determinedly ignoring the stupid, raised-by-a-superhero part of him that was busy cataloguing the makes of their rifles, locating the bank's entry and exit points and calculating the weak points in the robbers' setup. Not that he could do anything with this information, of course, since he was neither superhuman nor clinically insane. Which meant he was stuck here.
Sometimes Jensen's life was bullshit.
"Against the wall!" the guy in charge yelled. "All of you!"
Keeping his face carefully blank, Jensen joined the rest of the hostages in their jerky, frightened shuffle to the wall. A handful of the robbers veered off from the main group and headed towards the management offices. Jensen hadn't counted more than seven heartbeats before they were coming back, prodding a handful of shaken-looking men and women in suits ahead of them.
"You won't get away with this," a big man who was presumably the branch manager was blustering. "The police are already on their way."
The woman driving him along laughed and jabbed him harder with the butt of her rifle. "Your alarm system is having… technical difficulties. We'll be gone long before anyone gets here."
Jensen remembered the woman's cell phone dropping her call. He glanced upwards at the closest security camera; the blinking lights were dark.
Please don't let one of them be a Super, he thought desperately. He hadn't heard of any other technokinetics in this area but he knew from years of having his dad disabling his TV when he got grounded that even a moderately talented one would have little trouble cutting the bank's systems off from the rest of the city's network.
The robber gave the branch manager a shove. "Get over there and shut your mouth." Her head jerked towards the rest of the new hostages. "You too."
They came gingerly forward and Jensen could see a few of them visibly trembling. They weren't the only ones, either. There was a mother to his right who looked frightfully pale; she had her little boy clutched close to her chest and was reassuring him quietly. An older couple next to her were clasping hands tightly enough to turn their fingers white and the man on Jensen's left was sweating right through his tidy dress shirt.
For his part, Jensen was mostly irritated with a reasonable dose of wary thrown in; this was such a waste of his time.
A half dozen guys with guns kept a close eye on Jensen and the other hostages while the rest of the robbers set about taking the bank for everything it was worth. The shuffle of fabric and the clinking of guns was loud in the cavernous silence and Jensen could feel the tension mounting as one minute stretched endlessly into the next.
There was a dull thump from somewhere in the rear of the bank and the manager made a poorly stifled sound of indignation; Jensen figured that was probably the sound of the vault door going. A detachment of robbers trooped off towards the sound, loaded with duffle bags and rope. To Jensen's disappointment, the ones covering the hostages stayed right where they were.
A woman not far from Jensen started to cry. Jensen wished he had something comforting to say to her.
Jensen's particular skill-set was not well suited to bank robberies. His parents had taught him, Josh and Mackenzie exactly how to behave in a hostage situation at an early age, but their lessons had always been based on the expectation that they'd be being used as leverage against his dad by a megalomaniacal Super or two. Having thirty other hostages and a not inconsiderable number of people with guns standing around in a large, poorly defensible room was not something Jensen could handle on his own.
So he stayed where he was, keeping an eye on the clock while the robbers emptied out the bank's vault. There was no way of knowing whether his dad had noticed the hole the robbers had put in the power grid and, even on the off chance that someone outside the bank had called it in, Jensen doubted the police would be getting their act together soon enough to catch these guys. Their best bet was probably going to be hoping that they robbed the place blind and then left without killing anyone in the process.
The first robbers started returning with heavy-looking sacks over their shoulders and the bank manager went red.
"You bastards!" he shouted, practically vibrating with righteous fury. "You're going to rot in jail, see if I don't-"
He was screaming on the floor before Jensen had even registered the gunshot, his right hand clapped over his left shoulder where blood was already soaking through the expensive weave of his shirt. His eyes were wide with pain and Jensen could see the fear in his face.
The ringleader lowered his rifle. "Shut up or it's going to be your head next time. Don't move!" he barked at one of the other hostages who'd been edging towards the manager, hands stretched out to help. The man froze like a deer in the headlights.
"Now," the robber said calmly. "Maybe if you all behave yourself we'll be gone before he bleeds to death. Back to work!" he ordered the other robbers, who'd stopped to watch the show.
They hurried into motion again and Jensen looked again at the clock, calculating how long it would take them to clear out compared to how long it would take the bank manager to pass out from blood loss. The numbers were very definitely not in the bank manager's favour.
The robbers had a small pile of sacks on the floor in relatively short order and their trigger-happy head man was directing them with a series of short, sharp gestures. One of the men hesitated and the ringleader's attention zeroed on him immediately.
"What?" he snapped.
"Um," the robber said, in a young man's voice. "Do you hear that?"
"Hear what?" the ringleader said, then paused. Following his lead, Jensen could just make out a strange sort of tapping sound, coming from the other end of the room.
The next sixty seconds happened very quickly.
"Someone find out wh-" the ringleader started.
The rear wall of the bank blew in like someone had just driven a semi through it and everyone in the building jumped about half a foot.
The robbers brought their guns to bear immediately against the hole in the wall, though a few clever souls had the presence of mind to keep their attentions - and their weapons - focused on Jensen and the other hostages. Just his luck.
A figure wearing a classic superhero unitard done up in shades of green walked out of the billowing dust, as calmly as if he was taking an evening stroll. Two dozen rifles cocked as one and the guy in charge stepped forward warningly.
"Hold it right th-"
The ringleader's words trailed off into a startled curse when his rifle flew out of his hands like someone had yanked on it. Every other gun followed suit, despite their owners' best efforts to hold onto them, and the robbers all froze when their rifles hung in midair instead of skittering across the floor. Then, in a move so precise it would have had the world's toughest drill sergeant weeping with joy, the guns pivoted a smart 180 degrees and brought themselves to bear against the robbers, rock solid and still.
The click of the safeties coming off was loud in the sudden, shocked silence.
Impressed despite himself, Jensen glanced at the green-suited superhero; he had both hands raised and spread wide and the fine tension running through his arms highlighted a very impressive set of muscles.
Telekinetic, Jensen realized. And a powerful one at that.
This, he supposed, was the infamous Gunner.
"Is everyone okay?" Gunner asked, in a gruff voice that was almost certainly at least an octave lower than the man's regular speaking voice. Jensen remembered Josh practicing that particular skill: shifting his tone until any trace of his regular accent and syntax had been stripped out of his words. It had taken him months to get it right. Jensen and Mackenzie had tormented him about it the entire time.
There were hesitant nods and relieved smiles from the hostages, though Jensen noted that none of them quite dared to move yet. He couldn't really say he blamed them, in a room full of floating guns.
"They've done something to the cameras," someone said and Gunner nodded.
"I'll take care of it."
A scrape of noise caught Jensen's attention and he half-turned towards it. There was another robber standing there, just past the curve of the wall, gun still in hand and shock written all over his face. He had a half-full duffle slung over one shoulder and Jensen cursed internally; it just figured that one of them had gone back for more at exactly the wrong time.
The guy's attention flicked from Gunner to the guns and Jensen watched split-second resolution tighten the lines around his mouth. The bag hit the floor, two quick strides brought the guy up beside the woman who'd been crying earlier, he grabbed her roughly by the upper arm and she screamed.
"Don't move," the robber ordered, when everyone whipped round to look. "Or I shoot." The muzzle of his gun snugged up against the woman's side and she froze, tears welling up again.
Jensen chanced a glance back over his shoulder to find Gunner's attention locked on the robber, his jaw clenching visibly beneath his mask. The stalemate dragged out for a handful of heartbeats and Jensen realized that Gunner couldn't do anything to stop him, not without risking losing the precision control he had over the rifles already in the air. Jensen could see faint tremors skittering across Gunner's still-raised arms and he'd bet everything he owned that sweat was pooling thick and fast under every inch of that costume.
Obviously sensing his advantage, the robber took a step forward, pulling the weeping woman with him. The move brought them closer to Jensen and Jensen stilled, shifting his weight onto the balls of his feet.
"We're leaving," the guy was saying to Gunner as he walked forward, ignoring the woman's attempts to struggle free. "You or the cops try to stop me and I'll kill her."
"Wait," Gunner started, but the robber was finally within striking distance of Jensen's position and Jensen wasn't that interested in what Gunner had to say.
Jensen darted forward, came up under the guy's pathetic excuse for a guard and slapped the gun out of his hand before he'd managed to do much more than gape in startled surprise. A slice of his hand onto the guy's elbow made him let go of the woman and Jensen shoved her out of the way as he dealt the guy a wicked blow to neck that would have crushed his windpipe if Jensen hadn't pulled the punch. The guy gagged and staggered; Jensen swept his feet neatly out from under him and shoved him down, pinning him to the hard tiles with his legs straddling his hips and one arm shoved up against his throat.
The guy's gun clattered to the ground somewhere behind them.
The whole thing had taken maybe forty five seconds. Because Jensen might not have been a fucking superhero, but that didn't mean he wasn't more than capable of holding his own in a fight.
The guy flailed weakly in his hold, which Jensen put an end to by the simple expedient of pressing up harder against the guy's throat and cutting off his airflow. The guy went limp and Jensen waited a couple of heartbeats to make sure he was really out, before he eased his grip and sat back on his heels.
"You okay?" he asked the woman, who was staring at him in wide-eyed shock. There were broad tear tracks on her cheeks, smudged dark and ugly where her mascara had run.
She nodded dumbly. Then her face crumpled and her legs buckled and Jensen just barely managed to get to his feet in time to catch her before she joined the robber on the floor.
"It's okay," Jensen told her and patted an awkward hand down her back as she sobbed into his shirt. He cast a desperate glance around at the cluster of gaping hostages until a middle-aged woman with a kind face took pity on him and came over to take care of her.
Relieved of that particular discomfort, Jensen glanced around the room and found, to his utter chagrin, that every eye in the room was on him. He suppressed a groan.
"Nice moves," Gunner said and Jensen looked over to see the Super facing him with his head cocked to the side in obvious interest.
"Thanks," Jensen said shortly.
"You want to give me a hand?" Gunner asked then. "Mine are a little full right now."
And no, Jensen really didn't, but there wasn't any way he could say that without drawing even more unwanted attention to himself.
He bit back a sigh. "What do you need?"
Jensen and a couple of the other hostages spent the next few minutes herding all the robbers together into a surly, subdued group so that Gunner could ease up on the telekinetic brain-strain without giving any of them the chance to make a break for it.
"So," Gunner said to Jensen once they'd been appropriately corralled. "Where'd you learn to fight like that?"
"Karate class," Jensen answered, which was true enough.
"Among other things," Gunner said, sounding amused, though he didn't pursue the issue. Jensen got the impression through the heavy fabric of his mask that he was grinning. "Well, colour me impressed."
"Glad to hear it," Jensen said, not bothering to curb his sarcasm. Luckily, Gunner didn't bother calling him on that either, just nodded and went back to putting the fear of him into the thoroughly demoralized robbers.
Thankfully, the robbers' magic computer jamming weapon turned out to be some fancy machiney-thing rather than a Super. As soon as Gunner force-smashed the thing, the whole bank burst immediately into alarm blaring, video recording, phone call receiving life. Jensen took advantage of his cell phone's resurrection to pretend to be very busy with it for the rest of the interminable time it took for the emergency services to show up, get the manager to an ambulance, cart off all the robbers and take everybody's statements; the less opportunity Gunner had to talk to him, the better.
Jensen gave his statement in the smallest number of words possible and very reluctantly agreed to be available for contact in the future if they needed a witness for the trial. Mostly, Jensen just hoped that there would be enough other people willing to deal with it that he wouldn't have to.
Eventually, everything was signed, sealed and recorded in triplicate and Jensen was thanked for his cooperation and told he could go home. Except he still needed to talk to a bank teller about his damn account. Which, of course, he couldn't, because they were all either giving statements of their own or going home early on account of stress. Which meant that he was going to have to come back tomorrow, sorry for the inconvenience.
Jensen was starting to think that this day could be seriously improved by throwing himself off a bridge.
When he got back to the store, Jensen told Katie exactly nothing about what had happened, thanked her for coming in and sent her home. Then he locked the door, flipped the 'closed' sign and called his brother.
"So I hear you've been moonlighting as a hapless bystander," Josh said, in lieu of hello. "Bet you made a real pretty damsel in distress."
"I'm fine, thanks for asking," Jensen said, with a roll of his eyes. "Also, screw you."
Josh chuckled. "Seriously, little bro. You've got so many other reasons for getting taken hostage, and you manage to get caught in a bank robbery?"
"Tell me about it. Do I even want to know how you found out?"
"You really have to ask?" Josh asked and Jensen reluctantly conceded the point. Being anywhere near a working security camera when your dad was a technokinetic made it kind of hard to keep unexpected bank robberies slash hostage situations under the radar.
"So?" Josh said then. "You gonna tell me what happened or am I gonna have to make Mama call and force it out of you?"
"I hate you so much," Jensen said, then proceeded to give him a much abbreviated version of what had happened at the bank.
"Dude," Josh said when he'd finished. He sounded far too amused for Jensen's liking. "Were you flirting with Gunner?"
"Oh fuck off," Jensen said, pulling a disgusted face. "Like I'd be interested in a Super."
Josh sighed. "You know, Jensen, it's not like we're lepers or anything. Most people would be thrilled to meet a Super."
"Well I'm not most people," Jensen snapped. "And I'm not stupid enough to believe that being a superhero is a good enough excuse for not knowing how to act like a real human being the rest of the time!"
The silence on the other end of the line was immense and Jensen belatedly realized what he'd just said. And to whom he'd said it.
"Shit, Josh, I-"
"I gotta go," Josh cut in and his voice was flat. "Need to go pretend I'm a human being for a while."
"Josh, that's not what I-" Jensen started, only to be cut off by the click of the call being disconnected. He stared at the phone. "Fuck."
Jensen ended up on the evening news that night, standing just too close to Gunner to avoid the cameras while the police bundled the robbers into police vans. Which was a perfect ending to a miserable fucking day.
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