Title: “And You Can Tell Everybody” 3/4
Other characters: Christian Kane, Mike Rosenbaum, Tom Welling
Disclaimer: Total fiction, no money made, no harm intended
Notes: Written for the J2AU “Summer Song Challenge”
Prompt/Song: “Your Song” by Elton John
Author’s Notes: I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the first time
I heard this song and I’ve loved it ever since.
“And You Can Tell Everybody”
“I sat on the roof, and kicked off the moss,
Well a few of the verses, well they’ve got me quite crossed”
Jensen sits on the rooftop of his penthouse apartment. High above the surrounding buildings, gorgeous view of the city. Tiny private garden, tastefully decorated outdoor hideaway, horrendously expensive and tasteful.
Jensen hates it.
It’s nothing like the view from the windows he woke up to just a few short hours ago. He sits in the sun, nursing the coffee that’s turning cold, staring out over a landscape that he doesn’t really even see. He wonders just how much he’s fucked things up.
He knew better. He fucking knew not to get involved with a costar. Because, really, has he not done that several times before and has it not always ended badly? Hasn’t he learned anything?
He’d thought he had. He’d convinced himself that, if he was going to be an actor and accept all that entailed, then anonymous sex, discreet, expensive services, or his own right hand was the way to go. And, being an actor is vital to him. He loves doing it and years of working his ass off and being smart and learning and studying is finally beginning to pay off. He has the lead role that he’s fought so long for, films on the side, new opportunities waiting in the wings.
For so many years, ever since he was a kid, all he’d been was a pretty face. Pretty, beautiful, gorgeous Jensen Ackles. Pimped out by his family as a model while he was still in grade school, he’d learned quickly how to get what he wanted with a wink and a smile. He’d charmed teachers, coaches, agents, managers, photographers, casting agents, girls, and boys effortlessly. Grade school became high school and he glided through, easy as pie, his way paved by his looks.
It was only when he’d broken away from his home and family and gone to LA that he’d gotten bitten by the acting bug and found out he wanted more. He’d stayed busy, at first getting work just like always because of his looks, but once he landed the jobs, he’d studied and learned, working long hours, taking classes, surrounding himself with talented people and soaking up all they had to teach him. Hell, he’d even done stage work, and it was good.
He threw everything into his work and prayed for the day when he’d get a role for his acting abilities and not the way he grinned or wore his jeans or cried prettily on camera.
Jared, though. Jared has his future stretched out in front of him, shiny and promising and right there for him to grab. He’s got star potential in spades, he’s brilliant, and he’s going to be a great actor. He has the world by the tail and Jensen is not going to fuck that up for him.
Because, as much as Jared believes in happy every afters, Jensen knows that one misstep can take that bright, shiny future right away from him. And, an affair with his male co-star could do some serious damage. For all that
His thoughts are interrupted when his phone buzzes, for probably the fifteenth time in as many minutes. He doesn’t need to know that it’s Jared, doesn’t need to see the display. It’s been Jared for the last fourteen times it buzzed. Jensen knows he’s being a fucking coward, but he’s not ready to have that conversation yet. He’s got to figure out how to make Jared realize this is the best thing, the only thing, they can do. He’s got to think about how to keep this from fucking things up at work.
He’s got to think about how he’s going to fall out of love.
He hears the pounding on the door all the way up on the roof and all he can think of is that he’s not ready yet, he can’t see Jared yet, he doesn’t have a plan yet.
But, then he hears Chris’s booming voice yelling his name and hurries to let him in. Hell, he’d completely forgotten that he was coming for the weekend.
When Jensen opens the door, Chris envelopes him in a manly,
Jensen puts up with the nickname that only Chris can get away with and holds onto him maybe just a bit too long because Chris has always been able to read him better than anyone else. Chris pulls back just far enough to eye him critically and slap him gently on the side of the face.
“Dude. You look like shit.”
Jensen dodges him, turning away and motioning him inside. “Thanks, asshole. You, too.”
Chris kicks his duffle into the hall, throws his baseball cap down on top of it, rakes a careless hand through his shaggy hair to tame it, and follows Jensen into the kitchen, where Jensen gets coffee for both of them.
They lounge on the sofa while Chris catches him up on LA gossip, his band, the audition that just landed him a TV show in the fall. They talk about home and their families. Or, rather, Chris talks and Jensen prods him with questions about everything under the sun, and then stares off into space most of the time, only responding enough to keep Chris talking.
After a while, Chris thinks they’ve covered just about every topic under the sun except Jared. And, since Jared is generally what Jensen usually rattles on most about, that’s not good. He sees the dark circles under Jensen’s eyes, notices the way his hand shakes almost imperceptibly, when he picks up his coffee cup. Hears the faint buzzing of Jensen’s cell phone that he’d tossed onto the kitchen counter. Hears it over and over again.
Definitely not good, and Chris sighs. He really hadn’t seen this coming. He drains his coffee cup and puts it down on the table.
“So. Jenny. What are you two fighting about?”
Jensen acts deaf and dumb. Gets up and heads for the kitchen. “Hungry? I’ve got omelet stuff.”
Chris follows him, settling down on a stool at the breakfast counter while Jensen fusses with breaking eggs and grating cheese and not talking. Chris bides his time. Drinks another cup of coffee. Gets out dishes, pours orange juice. Waits him out as they sit at the counter and eat in silence until Jensen lets his fork drop to his plate with a loud clatter, pushes back his stool, and starts pacing.
“I can’t do it, Chris.” He rakes a hand through his hair and starts in and Chris just lets him talk. Listens to all the whys and wherefores, the whole laundry list of reasons why his thing with Jared won’t work. And, the more he talks, the more Chris realizes it’s not just a “thing”. He’s known Jensen for most of his life, has seen him go through girl after boy after woman after man. He’s watched him charm the hell out of all of them, take what they had to give, and walk away pretty much unscathed. There’d been a few close calls, but mostly Jensen’s kept his heart locked up tight and even the worst break-up didn’t keep him down for long, because he’d never put that much into it in the first place.
But, this? This is different. He’s known about the two of them, has known they were friends, known they were fucking, known that Jared was probably starry-eyed, just like all of Jensen’s affairs tend to get. But, he hadn’t realized Jensen had finally found somebody he couldn’t toss aside. Or, try to, anyway.
He lets Jensen pace and rant and throw his arms in the air for a long time, until he runs down. Then, Chris declares it late enough in the day for beer. Not that he would have objected to beer for breakfast, but he’d mistakenly thought Jensen was already hung over, from the look of him when he’d answered the door.
They move to the living room where Jensen slouches on one end of the couch, legs stretched out and crossed at the ankles, shadows under his eyes, shoulders slumped, and nurses his beer. He’s all talked out and Chris figures it’s his turn.
“So. Let me get this straight. You’ve found this amazing guy who cares about you in spite of all your self-proclaimed fuckupedness, a guy you care enough about that the thought of not being with him has you so far out on a ledge you’ve got one foot dangling in the air, and you’re throwing all that away?”
“Apparently you are, Jenny. And, shut up anyway, I’m talking here.” Chris takes a second to enjoy the scowl on Jensen’s face, and then plows on.
“Firstly? And, I say this with love, sweetheart, cause I’m allowed.” Another glare thrown in his direction, but Chris ignores it. “You’re being a selfish prick.”
Now Jensen’s looking like he might take a swing, so Chris puts his beer bottle down just in case.
“Jen. What I’m hearing you say is that you’re breaking things off with Jared for his sake. For his career. For his future. For his whatever the fuck. And, that’s just bullshit, man. You’re doing it cause you’re afraid.”
Jensen stands up. “You know what, you don’t know shit about this. And, it’s none of your fucking business, anyway.”
Chris, thankful that he’s finally gotten a spark out of him, gets in his face and pushes him back down.
“Yes, it is my fucking business! You’re my best friend and I’ve watched you pull this crap for years! When are you going to wake the fuck up and let yourself live, Jensen? Huh? Ever? Or, are you just going to hide behind all the bullshit and never let anybody give a damn about you?”
Jensen tries to shoulder past him, but Chris hangs tough. He’s been sparring with Jen his whole life. He’s won some and lost some, but this one is too important, Jen’s hurting too much, for him to back down.
“Will you just stand still and listen to me, you stubborn bastard?”
He’s actually surprised when Jensen does, staring him down with ice in his eyes, but at least he’s not arguing and not shoving.
“Jen, you’ve got to stop this. You’ve got to stop locking people out. People who care about you. Because, no matter what you think, some of us do know the real you and we even kind of like you. You’re not giving Jared enough credit. If he’s half the guy you think he is, he’s not gonna cut and run. Unless you drive him away.”
Jensen’s still and quiet and for a minute Chris thinks maybe he’s gotten through to him. But, then Jen shakes his head and steps back. Chris can see him shutting down and knows from past experience that nothing he can say is going to sway him.
“Chris, let it go, ok? Please.”
“Yeah. Sure thing, Jenny.” He sighs and finishes off his beer. “You care if I get some shut-eye? I couldn’t sleep on the plane and I’m wiped.”
Jensen looks a little surprised at the quick win, but evidently he’ll take it and run. “Yeah, good idea. I might sleep myself. We’re supposed to meet Mike and Tom for dinner in a bit.”
Chris’s eyes light up at that. Rosenbaum is always a good time. If anyone can make Jen laugh for a little while, it’s that jackass. He heads for the guest room and closes the door. Puts his ear to it and listens until he hears Jensen closing his own bedroom door.
Then he dons his cap, swipes Jensen’s keys off the hall table, and quietly lets himself out of the apartment.
Once in the car, he calls Jared and isn’t surprised when he picks up on the first ring with a breathless “Hello?”
“Give me your address, bitch.”
“Chris? That you?”
“I was when I woke up this morning, but apparently I’ve been possessed by Dr. Phil and I’m coming to talk. Where am I headed?”
He takes down the directions and hangs up before the kid can start asking him about Jensen. Cause he’s still thinking of how to answer him.
The drive doesn’t take long and Jared comes to the door in high-water jeans and a shirt that’s two sizes too small and sort of pinkish. Chris stares for a minute at the giant man in tiny clothes.
Jared shakes his head miserably. “Yeah. My washer is possessed.”
Chris laughs and swats him on the shoulder. “Man. Your stars ain’t lined up right, are they, boy?”
“Tell me about it.” Jared steps back and waves him in. “Come on in. Mi casa and all that shit.”
Chris slides in past him and Jared follows him down the hall and into the living room.
“Great house, Jared.” Chris looks around and pretends to be appreciating the décor although, from the looks of things, a certain ginormous dork has thrown a hissy fit in here and the cleaning lady is not going to be amused. And, Jared looks like hell. His hair is going in twelve directions and his eyes are red and puffy. Not to even mention the stupid clothes. He’s dangling a bottle of Jack from his fingers.
This isn’t good. Jared’s known far and wide for not being able to hold his liquor.
He sort of proves that now by throwing an arm wide and barely missing Chris’s left ear with the bottle. “Yeah, man! Great house!! And, it’s, like, huge, yeah?” He squints at Chris, apparently trying to focus. “I live here by myself. You wanna move in?”
Chris sighs and shakes his head. “Jesus Christ, you two are the biggest fucking girls I know.”
He reaches to take the bottle from Jared’s hand, drawing a belligerent stare and Chris decides he’s had just about enough attitude for one day. He jerks the bottle away and steps up into Jared’s space, eyes blazing and voice low and mean enough to make up for having to look up at the idiot.
“You wanna go, cowboy? Come on. If it’ll make you feel better, do it. If it’ll make Jenny come back to you, throw one.”
That appears to take the wind out of the kid’s sails because, instead of swinging, Jared sort of deflates and sinks down onto the couch in a heap of long legs and ugly clothes and sad eyes.
“He’s not coming back, is he?”
Chris takes a swig of the Jack, because he never signed up for marriage counseling and this is turning out to be a day for drinking. But, this is Jensen and, evidently, this is Jensen’s boy, and for some crazy-assed reason beyond his comprehension, they’ve gone blind and stupid. So, he settles down and gives it a shot.
“That depends, I guess.”
Jared looks up at him through his bangs, a spark in his eyes now and, okay, Chris sort of sees what Jensen sees. Unless the big dumbass dresses this way all the time now, cause that would just be fucking unacceptable.
“Depends on what?”
“Depends on how bad you want him. Depends on if you can out stubborn him and, let me tell you, that ain’t easy. Depends on if you’re tough enough to stand up to him and patient enough to outlast him. Depends on if you’re strong enough to carry him when he needs it and smart enough to know when to let him carry you.”
Jared looks him straight in the eye and his voice is firm and clear. “I can do all of that.”
And, just like that, Chris believes him. This seven-foot tall man-child has got more to him than an easy grin and a trusting soul. There’s strength behind those eyes, and determination and Chris thinks maybe Jensen has finally met his match.
Chris nods his head and makes the decision to fix this, whatever it takes. “He’s not an easy man, Jared, but you know that by now. He’s paranoid and secretive and insecure as hell. He thinks he’s not worth anything beyond what the camera can see and, believe me, I’ve spent years trying to convince him otherwise. He grew up with a family that first convinced him that his face was the way to get ahead and then told him out of the other side of their hypocritical mouths that he was bound for hell if he let that face take him down the wrong fucking path. And, all this before he was even old enough to know which paths were out there. He thinks nothing is permanent and everybody leaves once the novelty wears off, and it’ll be hard as hell to make him hang long enough to prove him wrong. He thinks he’s not good enough for you and I don’t know what it will take to convince him otherwise. He’s defensive and vulnerable and he covers it up sometimes by being mean as all fuck.”
He pauses, because Jared’s looking sort of like he might be wanting to swing at him for sure now, but he plows on.
“That’s the down side and I know you’ve seen it by now, so if you’re still sticking around, you’re a good man.”
Jared relaxes and Chris breathes a sigh of relief. Cause, tiny pink shirt or not, Jared could do him some serious harm.
“And, if you know the bad side of him, then I’m pretty sure you know the good side, too. Cause once he lets you in, once he opens up, then you’re golden to him, yeah?”
Jared smiles, soft and easy. “Yeah. I know.”
“So much that he’ll ruin the best thing he’s ever had for what he thinks is your own good.”
Jared looks at him, young and earnest and so fucking determined. “I’m not gonna let that happen.”
Chris stands up and stretches. “Well, call me crazy, but I believe you.” He starts towards the door, Jared trailing behind. “I better go before he puts out an APB on me and his truck.”
He stops at the door and turns to look at Jared. “He’s my best friend, Jay. Don’t fuck this up.”
Jared nods his head. “Yeah. I won’t. Thanks.”
“Later, cowboy.” Chris waves and jogs to the truck. He needs some cold beer and loud music. This match-making shit is wearing him the hell out.
Chris’s phone goes off when he’s only a couple of miles from Jensen’s apartment. Jensen’s just woken up, which always translates into grouchy, even when he hasn’t broken up with his BFF.
“Where the hell are you?”
“Relax, Jenny boy. I got restless and went to explore your fair city. I’m on my way back.”
“Chris, if you…..”
“Exploring, Jen. Just exploring. Get your party hat on, anyway. You need cheering up. And, besides, I’m company, right? You’re supposed to be entertaining my fine ass.”
“Yeah, okay. Just get your fine ass and my new truck back here in one piece.”
“Yes, Ma.” Chris hung up with a sigh of relief. Crisis averted for the moment.
Jensen looks a little less like death warmed over when he opens the door for Chris and they avoid the topic of Jared while they sit up on the roof in the sunshine and smoke some of the finest shit Jensen’s had since the last time Chris visited. Finally, Chris nods off and Jensen lets him sleep for a while until he coaxes him inside with the promise of dinner.
A hot shower later, refreshed and starving, they pull into the parking lot of their favorite
Mike and Tom are already camped out at a booth in the back, arguing over who’s hotter, Buffy or Faith, when Mike sees them coming and jumps up with a rebel yell that threatens to raise the roof off the building. Tom pulls his ball cap low and slinks down in his chair. Jensen rolls his eyes and Chris envelops Mike in a bear hug and ribs him about what a pitiful excuse his rebel yell is, but, given that Mike’s a Hoozier, he’ll let it slide.
Things go okay for a while. The food is good, the music is loud, and the beer is cold. Even though Chris has been in LA for a while, he slides back into the company of his friends easily and they talk shop and argue sports. Jensen’s a little quieter than normal but no one mentions it after Mike starts to ask where the fuck Jared is and Tom stomps on his foot under the table. Chris changes the subject and they move on. Tom and Jensen play a few rounds of pool. Chris sits in with the band on a song or two. Mike dances with most of the girls and, after a few pitchers of beer, some of the guys, until he tries to pull a Coyote Ugly on the bar and Tom drags him down and stuffs him back into the booth, sliding in beside him so he can’t get back out.
And, that’s sort of when things head downhill. In hindsight, Chris figures they should have just let Rosenbaum roam and do his worst, because once they had him settled down in one place, he got antsy and loud, and tact has never been his strong suit anyhow.
This time, when he asks where Jared is, Tom isn’t quick enough with his foot and the table goes kind of deadly quiet. Jensen shoots an icy look Mike’s way and very politely asks how the hell he should know, because he’s sure not Jared’s keeper.
“Since when?” Mike’s jacked up and senses a confrontation, which he’s always up for. “Aww, what’s the matter, Jenny boy, trouble in paradise?”
“Mike, shut the hell up.” Tom gives him a look, but Tommy, of all people, knows it’s hard to stop Mike when he’s on a roll.”
“What?” Mike grins and shrugs his shoulder. “I just wanna know. I mean, cause, if Jenny ain’t doing him anymore, I might just wanna….”
He doesn’t get a chance to finish before Jensen is across the table with a fist full of Mike’s shirt, his other arm drawn back. “You son of a bitch, you’re not….”
It takes Tom and Chris both to drag him off. Mike’s apologizing a mile a minute. “Jesus, Jensen, I was only kidding, man, I’m sorry.”
Tom’s waving the crowd away, spoiling their hopes for a brawl, and Jensen shakes Chris’s hold off, still glaring at Mike.
“I’m outta here.” Jensen turns to go and Chris follows him outside. Jensen doesn’t slow down until he gets to the truck, then slumps against it. Chris slouches beside him and kicks lightly at the gravel as he gives him a few minutes to calm down.
“He didn’t mean anything, Jen. That’s just Mike being Mike.”
Jensen sighs. “Yeah, I know. I just probably shouldn’t have come out in the mood I’m in. And, I’m sorry this trip has sucked for you, man.”
Chris nudges him, laughing softly. “Hey, this is more drama than I’ve seen since the last time I was up here. You girls are always good entertainment.”
Jensen shakes his head, but he grins and his shoulders relax a little, which is what Chris is aiming for, anyway.
“Jen, you’re my best friend, so I can say this to you. Plus, I’m not Rosenbaum and I can kick your ass, so don’t be swinging at this pretty face of mine.”
Jensen doesn’t look up, but he doesn’t move away, either, so Chris keeps talking. “I know you and I know all the fucked up things you’re thinking about this whole situation. And, I gotta tell you, man, you’re dead wrong on this one. If you don’t set things right with Jared, you’re gonna lose him. And, I don’t give a fuck…..and, neither does anyone else that matters worth a damn….if he’s a chick or a guy or a fucking zebra. If he loves you like I think he does and if being apart from him is fucking you up this much, then that right there is a rare and precious thing and you better think twice about throwing it away. If he’s worth it, have the balls to stand up for him, Jenny. You may not ever get another chance at something like that. And, no matter what you think of yourself? You deserve him. To hell with what anybody else thinks.”
Jensen doesn’t respond, just shrugs and looks away and Chris throws up his hands in disgust.
“You know what, I’m done talking. And, you know what else? You’re being a selfish son of a bitch. If Jared’s in this for the long haul and you’re not, you need to cut the boy loose and stay away. It’s not fair to him, he deserves better.”
He turns back in the direction of the club. “I’m gonna check on Mike, you go ahead. I’ll find a ride back.”
Part 4/4 http://gwenknight.livejournal.com/5566.