Title: Raise My Glass Half-Full
Fandom: CW RPS
Word count: 1675
A/N: Cardfic for enablelove: J2 - mistletoe
Summary: Blizzards and bartender-ogling should not be Jensen's idea of a rewarding night out.
The world was a nerve-wracking mess of snow and darkness when Jensen finally inched his way into the parking lot at Moose Crossing, with his hands gripped white-knuckled on the steering wheel and his shoulders hunched up right around his ears. Between the drifting snow and the surprisingly substantial number of cars already there, it took Jensen a good ten minutes to find a parking spot he could squeeze his car into. Because his day hadn't been stressful enough yet, apparently.
He shut off the car and the engine rattled into grateful silence. A flurry of fat, wet snowflakes scattered across the windshield the moment the wipers switched off and Jensen scowled. He'd be lucky if his whole damn car wasn't a solid block of ice by the end of the evening.
Jensen really shouldn't have come out tonight. He should have stayed home in his nice warm apartment and drunk beer and watched inane Christmas specials. He shouldn't have slogged across town in a fucking blizzard to go to a bar. Especially when there was another, perfectly serviceable, bar a two-minute walk away from his front door. Double especially when only reason he even went to Moose Crossing was so he could ogle the bartender.
Of course, if Jensen had any sense at all, he wouldn't have made ogling the bartender at Moose Crossing the highlight of his day in the first place. But Jensen was kind of pathetic like that. And he was here now, so there was no point in listening to his common sense for once.
The snow was deep and heavy and Jensen could feel the dampness soaking into his socks and clinging to the bottom of his pants as he trudged across the parking lot. He pulled his coat tighter around him against the wind, damning himself for being such an idiot.
It was an effort to tug the door open against the resistance of the swirling wind and Jensen nearly hit himself in the face with it when it jerked abruptly open. The warmth inside the building hit him like a slap and Jensen became belatedly aware of just how much snow was in his hair when it started to melt all over him. Attractive.
Jensen took a moment to brush off the worst of the snow while he soaked in the familiar mix of voices, music and general good humour that always seemed to fill this place. It was far busier than it should have been on a Monday night, with or without snow, but Jensen supposed that that was what happened when one of the more popular bars in town was hosting its annual pre-Christmas Christmas party.
Either that, or everyone else was here to ogle the bartender as well, though Jensen kind of doubted it.
Jensen skirted the edge of the dance floor, angling towards the bar. They had two bartenders on tonight to handle the crowd, but Jensen bypassed the closer one in favour of angling towards the familiar mass of shaggy brown hair that he could see over the heads of the people clustered around the far end of the bar. It wasn't the alcohol that he'd come for, after all. It never was.
Jared was in his element, pouring drinks and exchanging rapid-fire conversation with three people at once, nothing but open grins and easy efficiency. Jared's broad, competent hands flashed back and forth across the taps like he'd been born doing it and Jensen didn't even bother trying not to watch the flex of his forearms below his rolled-up sleeves.
People were pressed two and three deep at the bar, too tightly packed for him to push his way through, and Jensen sighed, resigning himself to lingering awkwardly on the periphery until he could get close enough to let Jared know he was there. Jensen knew that all he'd get for his efforts was a smile and an hurried apology for the fact that Jared didn't have time to talk to him, but he'd was pathetic enough to consider even that much worth the drive.
Clearly, there were reasons why Jensen didn't have a boyfriend.
"Jensen!" a voice called out, and Jensen looked over to see a woman's hand waving at him above everyone's heads. "Over here!"
Jensen gave an incredibly dorky wave back and started shuffling through the crowd, a maneuver that was mainly comprised of 'excuse me's, 'sorry's and vague gestures in the direction he was trying to go as he tripped over people's feet.
"There you are!" Genevieve said, when Jensen finally reached her. She was perched on one of the few, coveted stools that ringed the bar and the drink in front of her was both decidedly blue and liberally festooned with paper umbrellas. Jensen didn't want to know why she'd decided she needed more than one. "Where have you been?"
"Driving," Jensen said. "The roads are a mess."
Genevieve nodded. "I walked instead. It sucked out loud, but at least I didn't end up with my car in a ditch. Change of clothes fixed me right up."
"I'll try that next time," Jensen said, even though he was going to do nothing of the sort. It'd take him all night.
"He was getting worried," Genevieve said then, and Jensen was momentarily confused until she tilted her head significantly towards where Jared was serving up something with an awful lot of rum in it to a guy with a thick beard. "Because of the weather."
Jensen managed an awkward smile. "Well, I'm here now."
Someone angling towards the bar elbowed Jensen in the side on his way past and Jensen staggered, falling heavily into the person standing behind him.
"Sorry!" he said, straightening as soon as he managed to regain his balance. The person accepted his apology with a forgiving nod and Jensen looked over at Genevieve. "I'm going to…" he started, pointing over towards the wall.
"Oh no, you're not. Come here." Genevieve grabbed her drink and slithered neatly off the bar stool in a motion that had several people in the vicinity paying sudden, very appreciative, attention.
She manhandled him onto the stool - far more easily than Jensen thought was really fair, considering that she was, like, half his size- then flashed him a wicked sort of smile. "Stay. I'm going somewhere else. Have fun."
Genevieve was gone before Jensen managed any more and he slumped back against the bar, not sure whether to be grateful or terrified. When Genevieve was involved, it could be kind of hard to tell.
"Keep making that face and you'll scare the customers away," a voice said in Jensen's ear, and he turned to find Jared grinning at him from the other side of the bar. Jared slid over a pint of bitter without bothering to ask what Jensen wanted. "Was starting to think you were bailing on me."
"Guess we're both stupider than we look, then," Jensen said. He shifted, uncomfortably aware of all the people over whom he'd just line jumped. "Weather was bad. When I can't get my car out of the parking lot, you're paying for a taxi."
"I'll let you sleep on the bar," Jared offered.
"Gee, thanks. I always love sleeping on peanut shells and sticky coasters."
"Jared!" Katie, the other bartender, called. "Pick it up, slacker!"
"Slave driver!" Jared shouted back. "One sec," he added to Jensen. Jensen settled in, content to watch as Jared made his way up and down the bar, filling glass after glass. It was something Jensen did a lot of, Jared watching. Because he was a sad, sad bastard.
"I'm glad you're here, though," Jared said the next time he was back Jensen's way. He was always like that, picking up conversations as though he hadn't left. He grinned crookedly. "Would have sucked to waste all that effort. Besides, I think Genevieve was going to kill me if I made her save that stool much longer."
Jensen blinked. "What?"
"Hold that thought," Jared said, and Jensen was left with a warm, embarrassingly fuzzy sort of feeling in his chest at the thought that Jared had apparently asked Genevieve to hold Jensen's regular seat for him, despite the crowds.
"I mean, It's not like it was a lot of effort to set up," Jared said when he came back, his hands moving almost independently from the rest of him. His expression was almost bashful as he continued, "but I thought it was kind of classy romantic but still easy for you to laugh off if you weren't interested, so I'd have hated to not get the chance to at least try."
The fuzzy feeling redoubled. "What?" Jensen asked again.
In answer, Jared pointed up; Jensen followed the gesture to see a single sprig of mistletoe taped to the wood paneling right above his head. Jensen's jaw dropped. When he finally rounded up enough of his higher order thinking skills to react, he looked back down and was shocked to see Jared still there, unnaturally still, watching him.
"Jared?" Jensen asked, in a voice that ached.
Jared shrugged, in a move that was somehow tentatively hopeful and confident at the same time. "So you see, I couldn't have anybody else sit there. Just in case you wanted to use it."
"Yes," Jensen blurted.
Jared's eyebrow arched. "Yes, I could have or yes, you want a kiss?"
"The second one," Jensen said, and leaned up against the rungs of the stool so that he could meet Jared halfway for a kiss that he'd never really dreamed he could get.
Jensen breathed out a shaky breath when their mouths parted and he was only faintly aware of the raucous cheer that went up among the people standing nearby, too focused on the warmth in Jared's eyes to care about anything else.
"So, want to go out with me, sometime?" Jared asked, smiling fondly.
Jensen grinned back, suddenly more than delighted that he'd braved the weather tonight. "Hell yes. But you still have to help me dig my car out, first."
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