Also, have some fic!
Title: The Stars Look Very Different Today
Pairing: Jared/Jensen, or maybe it's gen, I guess I never really specify
Word count: 2610
A/N: This is for wolfstarblade because she asked nicely. It is probably not at all what she was hoping for, sadly; I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED, HONEST. Title is from Space Oddity by David Bowie.
Summary: It started with a headache. Non-au!au
It started with a headache.
"This is Ground Control to Major Tom," Jensen’s voice said, somewhere in the vast space beyond Jared's eyelids. "Can you hear me, Major Tom?"
"This is Major Tom to Ground Control," Jared answered immediately, because there was no such thing as being too miserable to ignore a David Bowie quote. He kept his eyes firmly shut. “Go away. I hate you."
Jensen chuckled and, at any other time, the sound would have been enough to make Jared grin back. Right now, though, he just wanted to go die somewhere quiet for a while. He curled into a tighter ball on the couch - no mean feat for a guy his size - and hoped that Jensen would leave him alone if he pretended he wasn’t there.
Sadly, Jensen was clearly a cruel and miserable bastard, and stayed right where he was. "Suck it up, princess. They want us back on set. You can nap later."
Jared cracked a reluctant eye open and fought the urge to whimper when the resulting brightness made the pounding in his head even worse. "Definitely hate you."
"I'm crying on the inside. Come on." Jensen held out an hand. "Up."
Steeling himself, Jared let Jensen haul him to his feet. Being upright was a decidedly unpleasant experience and Jared swayed, feeling more than a little gray-faced. He swallowed hard and concentrated very hard on not throwing up on his shoes.
"Hey." Jensen's face intruded into Jared's furious staring contest with the floor. It looked concerned. "You alright?"
"Just a headache." Jared went to shrug and all the muscles in his back seized up in sudden, violent protest. The pain made his voice catch and he choked, only just managing to turn it into an ungraceful sort of cough instead.
Jensen raised an eyebrow at him.
"I maybe overdid it working out this week?" Jared tried instead, though he doubted very much that that was the problem. It felt like he'd been dropped off something high onto a large pile of bricks. And then run over by a tank.
Jensen shook his head in wry relief, the tension in his shoulders easing. "I always said exercise was bad for you. You take anything?"
"Just some Advil," Jared said, which was true. Much as he'd had preferred something stronger, the last thing any actor wanted was to get caught on camera with blown-out pupils. "Waiting for it to kick in."
Of course, he'd already been waiting for the better part of an hour for said kicking-in to happen, but Jensen didn't need to know that. Jared didn't figure it would help his 'I am fine and in no way being a total girl about a headache and a sore back' stance.
"Good." Jensen grinned. "Because you look like a hunchback right now, and Sam's ugly enough already."
Whacking Jensen on the shoulder seemed well beyond Jared's capabilities at the moment, so he settled for giving him the finger before straightening as best he could and heading for the door. The overhead sun stabbed painfully at his retinas the moment he stepped out of the trailer, but Jared gritted his teeth and soldiered on.
Maybe if he ignored it long enough, his headache would go away.
Jared's headache did not go away.
In fact, it did entirely the opposite.
"Alright, guys," the director - Jared was sure he had a name, but he'd be damned if he could remember it right now - said. "Let's take it from the top again." He glanced at Jensen. "With less giggling this time, Jensen, please."
"I've got no idea what you're talking about," Jensen said airily. He was wearing one of his cheekier grins and he tossed it in Jared's direction, inviting him to join in on the joke.
Jared, who was too distracted by the million tiny men with hammers that had apparently taken up residence inside his head to have the faintest idea what they were talking about, did his best to arrange his face into something vaguely resembling a smile in return.
The cameras rolled - again - and Jared delivered his lines with about as much depth and conviction as a surly grade schooler. Luckily, tense and worn thin was a normal look for Sam, so no one called Jared on his sudden inability to act his way out of a paper bag.
They traded a couple pages of dialogue during which Jared didn't embarrass himself too badly, then Jensen said something snarky and appropriately Dean-ish, and the monster of the week advanced on the brothers Winchester right on cue. The blocking was easy enough that Jared should have been able to do it in his sleep. But the whole world hated him right now, and he promptly zigged when he should have zagged, overcorrected and tripped dramatically over his own feet.
Jared hit the floor with a heavy thud and was absolutely not prepared for the sheer agony that lanced through him with the impact. It knocked the breath right out of his lungs and left him splayed out, hurting and breathless in the middle of the set.
"Cut!" someone called from very far away.
Jensen's voice was closer. "Very graceful, twinkle toes," it said, sounding amused.
Jared didn't answer. Couldn't answer. His lungs didn't work. Dimly, he realized that he'd curled onto his side, trying to make his back stop feeling like it was on fire. It wasn't working.
"Jared?" Jensen's voice turned sharp. Feet pounded on the ground, each step ricocheting right up into Jared's brain, and then Jensen was there, on his knees at Jared's side and radiating warmth where his legs butted up close to Jared's arm. Jared hadn't even noticed he was shivering.
"Jared," Jensen said again, lower this time, and worried. "Jared, talk to me."
Jared managed an acknowledging head nod. "Jens-"
"I'm right here. It's gonna be okay, Jared, I promise. Someone call a doctor!" Jensen called then, louder and presumably to someone who wasn't Jared. "And give him some space, Christ!"
Jared heard a low groan and didn't even care that it was him.
"Hang tight. The doctor's on his way." One of Jensen's hands skimmed Jared's shoulder in a way that was probably meant to be comforting. The touch felt like sandpaper against Jared's thrashed nerves and he couldn't help a pained whimper even as he fought to get closer, desperate for that grounding touch. His instinctive shuffle made Jensen's hand slip higher; his fingers curled along Jared's shoulder blade and-
Jared's whimper turned into an howl that felt like it was ripping out his vocal cords as it went. His hands found his ears without asking him about it first, trying to block out the sound of his own voice and the blood pounding in his brain. His legs curled in tighter until his knees were practically touching his nose.
Jensen snatched his hand away like Jared was on fire. "Jesus Christ," he swore, and Jared wished he could pry open his eyes long enough to see the expression that went with that awed, horrified voice. "Where the fuck is that doctor?" Jensen shouted.
Someone answered in a too-loud burst of sound and Jared pressed harder against his ears, wishing it would all just stop.
Callused palms covered Jared's hands, exerting gentle but firm pressure, and the world went blessedly muffled. Jared could hear a rumble that was probably Jensen talking to him, something soothing that didn't have words in it at all. Jared lay there in the dark and the pain and the not-quite-quiet, fighting to control his breathing.
Faintly, Jared felt hands on his neck, not Jensen's. He tried to protest, but the weight of Jensen's hands over Jared's own kept his head still. Jared's muscles were too shaky to do anything about it. Jared felt a tug on the collar of his shirt, then a prick of discomfort that was hardly worth noticing amidst the rest of it.
And then nothing.
Jared woke up in a narrow bed that wasn't his, curled up on his side and half-buried under a mass of downy bedding. The stabbing pain in his back was gone, as was most of the headache, though his body still felt weary and stretched thin. Also, his brain appeared to have been packed with cotton wool.
His eyelids were gummy and stiff as Jared blinked around the room, trying to figure out where he was. The uncomfortable pinch of an IV tugged at his left arm when he tried to move and he stared at it blankly for several long moments before it clicked. Hospital. Right.
These are some good drugs, he thought muzzily.
Something scraped across the floor, loudly enough to draw his attention away from the plumbing in his arm, and he looked over to find Jensen slouched in an uncomfortable-looking chair and still dressed like a battered-looking Dean Winchester. When Jensen realized that Jared was awake, he leaned forward with a pinched, anxious expression on his face. His skin was pale beneath his costume makeup.
"Jensen?" Jared slurred, getting most of the letters in the right place.
"Hey," Jensen said, in a voice that sounded like it he'd been shouting himself hoarse at a rock concert. "How are you feeling?"
Jared did his best to make a face that conveyed how stupid that question was. Between the dragging pull of the drugs in his blood and the fact that he couldn't really feel his cheeks, he didn't think he did a particularly good job of it.
Not that it mattered, of course, since this was Jensen. Jensen always knew what Jared wanted to say.
Sure enough, Jensen ducked his head and gave a sheepish little laugh. "Sorry, dumb question. Any improvement over last time, at least?"
"Mmm." Jared tried to remember anything from the set besides his skull splitting and the way his body had felt like it was trying to turn itself inside out. "What happened?"
"Besides the fact that you scared the whole crew half to death? I'm not sure that poor extra's ever going to recover." Jensen delivered it with just the right mix of lightness and concern, but Jared would have needed to be a lot more high than he was right now not to realize that Jensen was deliberately misunderstanding him.
"Jensen," he said, in the best no nonsense voice he could manage while strongly medicated. "Why am I in the hospital?"
Jensen's eyes cut to the side, avoiding his gaze. "I should go get the doctor," he mumbled, standing up nearly fast enough to topple his chair.
"Wait!" Jared reached out automatically to stop him and hissed when the movement pulled on the line of his IV.
"Careful!" Jensen grabbed Jared's arm and eased it back down to the mattress. "Jesus, Jay, could you maybe try not killing yourself for ten minutes?"
"Just…" Jared panted through the lingering pain. "Tell me what's wrong with me?"
Jensen looked like Jared had just asked him to run into oncoming traffic. "Jared, I really think the doctor ought to -"
Jared felt a frisson of fear slide down his spine. "Jensen, if there's something… wrong, like, really wrong, I-"
"No!" Jensen said, too quickly to be lying. He scrubbed a hand through his hair with a breathless not-laugh. "Christ, Jared, no, that's not… no."
Jared's breath escaped in a relieved rush. "Good. That's… good."
A brief silence fell between them while Jared wrestled his mental faculties together to figure out why that was strange.
"But… if it's not bad, then why won't you tell me?"
"Because, it's not…" Jensen sighed heavily. "It's not exactly good news, either. And it's not my place. Your parents-"
"My parents are in Texas," Jared said blankly.
Jensen was damningly silent. Jared blinked.
"My parents are coming here!?" Jared tried to wrestle himself upright, but his body felt three times heavier than usual and he couldn't even manage to throw off Jensen's hands where they were still resting against his arm. "The hell is going on, Jensen?"
"Calm down, Jared. I swear we'll figure things out. I'll get the doctor now and your parents should be here in the morning and then we can-"
Jared twisted his wrist so that he could grip Jensen's arm and hold on tight. "I want you to tell me." Jensen bit his lip and Jared looked up at him with all the mute appeal he could muster. "Jensen. Please."
"Damn it, Jared." Jensen slumped back down in his chair with a defeated air. "Fine, okay. But don't panic, okay?" He took a deep breath and said, in a careful tone that Jared hardly recognized, "do you have a history of Aberration in your family?"
Jared's entire body went cold. "You can't be serious."
Jensen's eyes flicked away to stare at the wall beyond Jared's head. "Look, I know it sounds-"
"That isn't fucking funny, Jensen!" Somewhere in the cotton-wool mess of his mind, Jared realized that he was working his way up to a proper panic after all but that thought was subsumed by the need to prove that Jensen was all kinds of wrong.
Jensen wasn't rising to the bait. "I'm telling you the truth, Jared."
"No you're fucking not! I'm not some skinny, hormonal teenager! If I was an Aber it would have been obvious years ago! This isn't possible!"
"I know," Jensen said, sober as the grave. "And I'm sorry. But it's true."
Jared stared at him, panting with exertion and adrenaline. Jensen met his wild-eyed look with a calm certainty that cut straight through Jared's panic and the fog of drugs in his head. Jared knew what that look meant. It meant that Jensen was being absolutely, 100% truthful.
And Jared was an Aber.
Jared's entire world tilted on its axis and Jared was glad he was lying down or he probably would have ended up on the floor. He was an Aber. Him. Jared Tristan Padalecki was a genetic abnormality. An X-Man without any of the fancy powers.
Jensen waited patiently, letting Jared process in his own time.
"You define this as 'not exactly good news'?" Jared said finally. "Christ, Jensen, I never want to see your version of bad news."
"It'll be character development for Sam?" Jensen tried weakly.
"What is it?" Jared demanded, not in the mood for any kind of placation right now. He shifted restlessly, wishing that he had the goddamn strength to get up and see for himself. "What kind of freakish aberration have I got? Lizard skin? Tail? If all my muscles have actually turned to, to, Jell-O, I'm going to be really fucking…"
Jensen worried at his lip with open trepidation in his eyes.
Jared dug his fingers hard into the thin skin of Jensen's forearm. "Jensen!"
Jensen leaned forward and, at first, Jared thought he was going to try and make him stop tugging on his IV cord. But Jensen carried right on past it and reached towards the heavy quilting that was half smothering Jared. Jensen's fingers brushed the edge, ever so lightly, and Jared jerked with a startled curse when he felt that touch sparking through new nerve endings that weren't anywhere close to the bits of Jared's body he was supposed to have.
The blanket jerked with him, sluggish but fluid, and unfurled just enough that Jared could twist his head around and see…
"Wings," Jensen said, as Jared stared in shock at the tawny feathers rising above his shoulder. "Jesus Christ, Jared, you've got wings."
"Holy shit," Jared managed. And then promptly fainted.
TL;DR - I am a bad person. *beams*
Also available on AO3