glorious_spoon (glorious_spoon) wrote,
glorious_spoon
glorious_spoon

to case the promised land

Title: to case the promised land
Fandom: CW RPS
Pairing: J2
Warnings: Homophobia, minor violence and sexual references, underage drinking and drug use.
Rating: R
Summary: Highschool AU. Jensen's heading to LA, and Jared is kind of slow on the uptake.

A/N: So, yeah. My descent into the Dark Side of SPN fandom is complete :P

It's not that Jensen's parents kick him out. Not exactly.

That's what Jared's mom tells him when he petitions to get Jensen moved into their spare room, anyway.

"Momma," he says, "they kicked him out of the house."

His mother continues placidly chopping carrots. "They didn't kick him out of the house, sweetheart. He had options."

"Yeah, de-gayification camp or the streets."

She sighs, but doesn't turn around. "Jared, I know he's your friend, but you need to look at it from Donna and Alan's point of view. Jensen's eighteen. He's an adult--"

"--he's in high school--"

"--and he's choosing a lifestyle they don't agree with."

"He's sleeping in his car," Jared says in a last-ditch attempt at guilting her into it, but she just sighs again and turns back to her vegetables.

***

"It's not so bad," Jensen says, rolling the joint by feel. They're lying on the hood of his car out in a back field where the sky is high and dark and glittering with stars. "Better than getting Leviticus over dinner, anyway."

"You're homeless," Jared says grumpily. "I can't believe my mom wouldn't let you move in with us."

"Dude, it's April. Two months, and I'm out of here."

Jensen's grinning up at the sky, distant and dreamy. Since he isn't looking, Jared doesn't bother trying to fake a smile. Jensen's been talking about LA for years, but Jared always kind of figured it was all just talk. He figured they'd both end up in the same state, at least. In driving distance. "Yeah," he says.

"She was probably worried I'd corrupt you," Jensen says, passing the joint over.

Jared takes a hit, holds the smoke in until it starts to burn before breathing it out again. "Too late."

"Yeah," Jensen says, smiling.
***

The whole thing went down because Jensen can't keep his dick in his pants.

"Seriously," Jared told him on the way home from school the day Jensen got suspended for getting caught behind the gym with his jeans around his ankles and the star quarterback's dick in his mouth. "You live in Texas, dude. Grow a sense of self-preservation."

"I don't need a sense of self-preservation," Jensen said, slinging an arm around Jared's shoulders. There was a massive hickey under his left ear. "That's why I have your gigantic ass to protect me."

Jared shoved at him halfheartedly. "You smell like sweaty balls. Doesn't Bryant ever shower?"

Jensen shrugged. "Hell if I know. Not like we did a whole lot of talking, anyway." He waggled his eyebrows.

"The school's gonna call your parents."

"Already did, actually," Jensen said. There was a stutter in the rhythm of his step, but that was the only sign that anything about it was bothering him.

"Looking forward to the Spanish Inquisition?"

"I figure they'll already have my stuff out on the lawn by the time I get there," Jensen said, and as it turned out that wasn't all that far from the truth.

***

"I like it," Jared says, surveying the scene before him. Jensen's giant, rusty old towncar is parked in the entrance of an overgrown driveway that's been gated off since before they were born. The cops probably know he's here, but so far they haven't bothered to do anything about it. "Very hobo-chic."

"Fuck you," Jensen mumbles. He's in the backseat with the door open so that he can stretch out. His sneakered feet almost reach the ground and there's a wadded-up shirt under his head. "My back is killing me."

"No shit, Sherlock. You're sleeping on the side of the road."

"Does it count as homeless if I have a car?"

"Considering that your car's bigger than some houses I've seen, maybe not," Jared concedes.

"Oh, blow me," Jensen grumbles, levering himself into a sitting position. "You come wake me up this early, you better have coffee."

Jared passes over the larger of the two Styrofoam cups he's holding, and when Jensen's fingertips brush his, he doesn't shiver, not one bit.

The coffee burns his mouth when he gulps it.

***

It's all over the school pretty quickly. Small town gossip spreads like wildfire, even though it's not really news to anybody. Jensen gets into a couple of fights, but he's fast and vicious and more than a little crazy, so most of the people who come after him are only dumb enough to try it once.

Half the starting lineup corners him in the locker room the week he gets back, and Jensen walks away from that one with two black eyes and a fat lip. Jared waits two days, then gets the drop on the ringleader after practice and breaks his nose.

"My hero," Jensen says dryly, examining Jared's split knuckles over the rims of his glasses. They're held together with duct tape where the frame snapped from his face's violent introduction to the locker room wall. It kind of makes him look like a bitchy version of Harry Potter.

Jared shakes out his hand and grins. Jensen's lower lip is about twice as big as it should be and the split down the middle won't heal because he keeps tonguing it. "You look like a fucking troll."

"Bitch, you couldn't look this good on your best day," Jensen says, and Jared jabs him in the ribs.

It's just them. It's the way they've always been.

***

Jensen has a job flipping burgers down at the local diner where Jared waits tables. They pay cash, and Jensen spends most of it on weed and booze and takeout food.

"You could just get an apartment or something," Jared tells him one night, sharing a cigarette in the back alley between shifts. "I mean. You can afford it, and you're an adult. Technically."

Jensen shrugs and drops the cigarette into a puddle. "Shit, man, I'm not gonna get tied down with a lease. I won't be here that long."

"Right," Jared says. Somehow, he keeps forgetting that part. He tries for a grin. "You gonna stick around long enough to take me to prom?"

Jensen makes a kissy-face at him. "You know it, baby."

"I'm gonna want your letterman's jacket, too."

"Fuck you," Jensen says, but he's grinning back. "Seriously, I'm not gonna bail on you before graduation."

"But afterward?"

"Not like I got anything keeping me here."

You have me,
Jared thinks, but doesn't say.

Jensen leans back against the brick wall and smiles up at the sky. The light from the streetlight catches on the wire frames of his glasses and the charm he wears on a leather cord around his neck. Jared gave it to him when they were twelve, and he hasn't taken it off since. "Gonna head out to LA," he says. It's a familiar mantra. "Put these good looks to work for me."

"You think anybody's gonna hire you for your looks, you're gonna be disappointed," Jared says. It's his line, but he's looking at the curve of Jensen's cheekbone, his straight nose and firm chin and the solid strength of his shoulders under the flimsy t-shirt, and he can't put much feeling into it.

"Fuck you, I'm beautiful," Jensen says, and Jared doesn't answer.

Jensen has a plan. It's a stupid, cliche Hollywood pipe dream and he'll probably end up cleaning pools in LA or something, but at least he has a plan.

Jared is going to UT San Antonio in the fall. His mom picked it out, because he didn't really give a rat's ass where he went. She'd kill him if he decided to, for example, bug off to LA. Just as an example.

***

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Jared's mom doesn't go to the same church as the Ackles, but they run in a lot of the same circles and Jared probably shouldn't really be surprised when he and Jensen stomp downstairs to get fuel for their Halo marathon and Donna Ackles is sitting at the kitchen table with her pale hands wrapped around a cup of coffee. Somehow, he is.

From the way Jared's mom winces, she didn't realize they were both up there. "Jared," she says. "Why don't you--"

Jared's frozen in place on the third step from the bottom, and he stumbles and almost falls flat on his face when Jensen walks into his back.

"Dude, move it," Jensen says from behind him, and Jared has front row seats to the way Jensen's mom blanches white at the sound of his voice.

"Uh," he says. Jensen shoves at his back, and it's either move or fall flat on his face, so he moves. And then, because he's a masochist, looks back in time to watch Jensen's face close up and go unreadable.

"Jensen," says Jensen's mom, half-standing.

"Hi, Mom," Jensen says flatly. His jaw is set and his shoulders are stiff.

"Sweetheart, could we--do you think we could--"

Jared can't make heads or tails of what she's asking, but Jensen seems to get the gist of it, because his expression gets even harder. It makes him look like a stranger, too-old and unfamiliar in a way that unsettles Jared. "Mom, I told you--" he pauses, pushes his glasses up to rub the bridge of his nose. "Fine. Outside."

***

"Honey," Jared's mom says.

"I'm not going to stop hanging out with him," Jared says defiantly, even though he's pretty sure that's not what she was going to say.

"I wasn't going to ask you to."

"He's my best friend."

"Baby, I know that."

Through the big kitchen window, he can see Jensen standing in the driveway with his mother. His arms are crossed over his chest like he's holding himself together, and he isn't talking. She is, making these impassioned gestures with both hands, perfectly coiffed hair tumbling out of its pins.

As Jared watches, she pauses long enough to dig through her purse, and Jensen--Jensen flinches like he knows what's coming.

The pamphlet in her hands is shiny and blue, and it's way too far away for Jared to read the cover, but he knows what it'll say.
 
***

Jared found out that Jensen was gay when they were fifteen. He found out because Jensen walked into his bedroom, sat down on his bed, took a deep breath, and said, "I think I'm a fag."

Political correctness was not a big part of their upbringing.

"What?" Jared said, even though he'd heard just fine.

"You heard me," Jensen said. His chin was up and his glasses obscured his eyes. This was back when he was skinny and blond and so pretty that he still got mistaken for a girl.

"Why do you think you're--you know," Jared said, dropping his controller. On the screen, his red Corvette crashed into a brick wall and flipped over to explode in a shower of fiery sparks. "That?"

"Justin sucked me off in the locker room."

"Justin McAvoy?" Jared asked, wrinkling his nose.

"Yeah."

"Dude. Gross."

"I liked it," Jensen said, and leaned forward to put his face in his hands.

"But, I mean," Jared said tentatively, "it's just a mouth, right? I mean, just 'cause you liked it doesn't necessarily mean--"

The sum of his sexual experience at that point amounted to a couple of kisses and that one time he got Tina Marie to let him feel her up under her shirt. He was not the best person to be giving advice, here, and they both knew it.

"Dude," Jensen said. His voice was muffled. "I don't like girls, okay? And I was thinking about it for a while, and just--fuck."

His back was a hard, curved line and when Jared sat down and touched his shoulder, he could feel muscles tense and warm beneath his hands. They sat like that for a long time, not speaking.

"It doesn't matter to me," Jared said eventually.

Jensen snorted, but his muscles relaxed under Jared's hand.

It's never been an issue for them. Never.

***

It takes him three hours to find Jensen that night. He's not parked at any of his usual spots and it's almost ten when Jared finally spots that gigantic rustbucket parked in the weeds at the far end of the Little League field that's been closed for years. The old concession stand is all peeling paint and sagging plywood when Jared pulls up. Jensen is sitting on the roof of his car, cross-legged and sipping from a plastic bottle of tequila.

"Hey," Jared says.

"Fuck off," Jensen growls. The flier from the clinic is crumpled in the weeds near his front tire. Jared can see the understated white-on-blue cursive text of the Sacred Heart Clinic logo. The photo underneath it is of a generically handsome blond boy with a toothpaste-ad smile.

"I didn't know--" Jared sighs. "I'm sorry."

"I'm not going to a fucking shrink to cure me of being a fag," Jensen says.

Jared crosses through the weeds to lean against the hood of the car. The sheet metal is cool under his ass; Jensen's been here for a while. "That's really the least screwed-up thing about you," he agrees.

"Fuck off," Jensen says again, but when Jared looks up at him, he's smiling a little. "What are you doing out here, anyway?"

"My best friend is a whiny asshole," Jared says. "I came out to make sure he wasn't drowning in his emo tears."

"I hate you," Jensen says.

"You love me."

He says it on autopilot, doesn't really mean anything. Jensen's mouth curves up, though, a small private smile that Jared doesn't quite recognize. "Yeah," he says, lifting the bottle to his lips again. "Or that."

Jared swallows hard and holds out his hand for the tequila.

***

They graduate the second week of June. It's a nice enough day that the ceremony's held outside, in front of the school's tall brick facade.

Jensen's parents don't show up for it, and Jensen acts like it doesn't bother him. He drives himself, parks his car across the road from the school. Jared can see it from the stage, half-listening to Principle Kripke babble on about hope and futures and pride and similar bullshit. The backseat of the car is piled high with all the stuff from Jensen's old bedroom at home. Jared helped him break into his parents' house to get it out.

Jensen's on the other end of the stage, looking like a moron in his blue cap and gown. He's grinning, and Jared's pretty sure it's not because of Kripke's efforts at inspirational speaking.

Jensen's leaving. He's leaving for real.

***

There's a party out in the back field behind Sandy's parents' place. She invites Jared, and Jared deliberately misunderstands and brings Jensen. Sandy's been trying to get into his pants since the beginning of the school year, and he needs some kind of buffer.

And Jensen's leaving tomorrow.

"Explain to me again why you're using me to keep from getting laid," Jensen says as they pull up behind Mike's battered pick-up. "I'm having some trouble with this."

Jared shrugs. Their graduation robes are crumpled up in the backseat, and there's a baggie of weed in his pocket that he's not planning on sharing with anybody other than Jensen if he doesn't have to. It's a small enough school that half the class shows up for this kind of party--and that's not counting the underclassmen who sneak in--and three-quarters of them aren't really people Jared's interested in hanging out with. But Jensen wanted to come, for some fucking reason, and so here they are. "I don't know, man. I'm just not feeling it."

"Dude, she's hot. Even I can tell."

"So? I gotta fuck every hot girl I come across?"

Jensen elbows him, all friendly, and opens his door. "It wouldn't kill you to fuck somebody. You're tense as hell lately."

"Yeah," Jared says. Jensen's grinning, happy and beautiful and fucking oblivious. It hurts to look at him. "I guess."

Jensen shakes his head. "I don't get you, man."

Join the club,
Jared thinks.

***

Jared's face feels kind of numb, and he keeps getting distracted by the feel of the beer bottle in his hand. Smooth. Smooth and cool, just like Jensen's glasses where his face is pressed into Jared's shoulder. He keeps giggling randomly, and they both lost their shirts a while back. There was a thing. The pond. They must have been swimming, because Jared's shorts are unpleasantly damp and Jensen's hair smells like algae.

Everybody else is still over by the fire, but him and Jensen, they're back behind one of the big oaks at the edge of the clearing, sharing a bowl. It's nice. Alone.

"...'s serious, man," Jensen is saying. Either he just started talking mid-sentence, or Jared missed the beginning of the conversation. Either one's possible. "I mean, like stars."

Jared can't really see the stars from here. It's dark enough, even with the bonfire, but there's still too much haze out. "The moon," he says. He can see the moon. It's just starting to come up.

Jensen pokes him. "No, like movie stars. Gonna be a movie star."

"Yeah," Jared says sadly. "In LA."

"Mmm."

The bowl is empty, resting in the grass by his knee, but he can still smell the lingering smoke. It's starting to cool down, enough that he kind of wishes he was wearing his shirt and a pair of dry shorts, but Jensen's warm and loose against his side, and that feels really good.
"You feel really good," he tells Jensen, and Jensen snorts against his skin. It's kind of gross, but Jared doesn't shove him off.

"You're so stoned."

"Yeah. You're warm."

"Hmm," Jensen mumbles again, and Jared lifts a heavy hand to pet his hair. It's soft, spiky against his palm, a little damp still. Jensen makes another content-sounding noise and presses closer. The frame of his glasses is digging painfully into Jared's shoulder, and his breath is warm.

Over by the fire, the boom box is thudding out an old rock song that he doesn't recognize, and he can see the tall, flickering shadows of people dancing. Laughter, sharp and sudden, and a splash over by the pond. The tree bark is rough under his back, but it's not enough of an irritation to get him to move, and Jensen has one hand resting on his belly, fingers absently tracing out half-awake patterns and it's all nice.

For a long time, he drifts.

***

He wakes up around dawn with dew collecting on his skin, a root digging into his back, and a headache pounding through his temples, which was about what he expected. There's a reason he doesn't usually go to Sandy's parties.

"Morning, sunshine."

Jared blinks, squints, looks up. Jensen is leaning over him on one elbow, shirtless, wearing a thoughtful expression. "Uh."

"Man, you look like shit."

"I think I need to sleep for another twelve hours or so," Jared says, pulling himself upright with due caution for his sore head. Jensen sits back on his heels. "What time it it?"

"About five," Jensen says. "I think. We should probably get going before your girlfriend's parents get back."

Jared groans. "Seriously, man, I can't believe I let you talk me into this. And she's not my girlfriend."

"Excuse me for trying to get your pathetic ass laid." Jensen gets to his feet, stretches, and Jared's eyes follow the motion. He's pale, shoulders freckled from the sun, all lean muscle over bone. "She'd totally be your girlfriend if you asked."

"I don't want to, okay?" Jared says. It comes out more vehement than he wants it too, a little more honest. "Jesus. Fucking drop it already."

Jensen just quirks an eyebrow  and reaches down to pull him up. "Touchy, touchy."

"Oh, fuck you."

"Come on. I'll give you a ride home."

***

Jared lost his virginity with a pretty, red-headed pole-vaulter in the back of a bus at the last track meet of his sophomore year. Danneel was older than him, tough and smart and hot as hell, and he never even thought about asking her out afterward. When Jensen hassled him about it, he said he was afraid she'd kick his ass, and anyway she was graduating and going away to college and there really wouldn't have been any point. It was just fun.

All of that was true.

He's hooked up with a couple of other girls since then, and even if he hasn't ever, technically speaking, had a girlfriend, sex is fun. Sex is awesome.

So it's not that he doesn't like girls.

***

The sun still isn't all the way up over the eastern horizon by the time Jensen pulls up by the curb in front of Jared's house, and the air coming in through the open windows is cool. He can smell exhaust from the giant engine of the old Chrysler.

"You're gonna go broke on gas driving this monster to LA," he says as Jensen puts the car in park. He doesn't cut the engine. The deep, uneven rumble of it feels familiar, the echo of a hundred summer nights spent drinking, smoking, sometimes just driving up and down the back roads with the music up too loud.

"You're gonna have to get your own ride without me to chauffeur your ass around," Jensen retorts, but he's smiling. Jared looks down at his hands, then reaches for the door handle.

"You want to come in for a little while? I could feed you before you head out."

"Nah, I should hit the road," Jensen says, and Jared somehow manages to keep going, to open the door and climb out, feet on the pavement, reaching back to grab his backpack from on top of the pile of shit in the backseat. What the hell else is he gonna do? Stow away in the trunk?

He's circling around the front of the car when Jensen leans out the window. "Jared. Hey, come here a second, man."

"What?"

Jensen crooks a finger at him. "Closer."

Jared steps closer. Jensen's got a sunburn across the bridge of his nose and his hair is a mess; behind his glasses, his eyes are crinkled up enough that Jared can see the idea of where his laugh lines will be in ten years.

Jensen is pushing himself out of his seat, one hand braced against the edge of the open window, the other coming up to cup the back of Jared's head and pull him down. They meet in the middle, Jensen's mouth soft and warm and morning-bitter. Jared kisses back without a second thought. The door is hard against his knee and Jensen's hand is warm and strong on the back of his neck, familiar, easy, lips parting and the slow, hot slide of his tongue and Jared finds himself making an embarrassing noise in the back of his throat.

Jensen's the one to pull away first. He drops back into his seat, looking flushed and satisfied, and pats Jared's cheek. It's gentle, for him; almost a caress. "You're a fucking moron, Jay."

"I," Jared says. "What?"

Jensen shakes his head. "You need to figure your shit out. When you do--" he grins, sharp and sudden. "You know where to find me."

***

Jared watches Jensen pull away from the curb, watches the old car trundle down the street and disappear around the corner at the end of the block. He touches his lips, and thinks that Jensen might be right. About him being a fucking moron.

Jensen texts him three days later: made it. Then, a week and a half later, a blurry cameraphone shot of a butt-ugly yellow adobe building with two fat cacti squatting by the door. home sweet home. no pwr yet still fking awesome tho.

Sweet,
Jared texts back. He's sitting on his bed, playing Grand Theft Auto by himself and avoiding his mom. She thinks there's something wrong with him lately. She's probably right.

***

The college sends him a bunch of paperwork in the middle of July, housing forms and a campus map and his class schedule. Jared leaves the envelope on top of his TV and does his best to forget about it.

His mom doesn't bug him to get it taken care of, which would be a warning sign if he was paying any attention.

***

His birthday is in August. He goes out and gets drunk the night before with some guys he knows from the track team. His mom makes him a chocolate cake and he opens his presents on the back porch after dinner, Xbox games and a pair of sneakers and a new iPod. He hugs her and tells her thanks, and she strokes his hair back from his forehead like she hasn't since he was a little kid and says, "Jared, honey, I wish you'd tell me what's going on in your head these days."

"Nothing's going on, Momma."

She smiles, shakes her head. "You should know better than to lie to your mother."

"I'm not--" Before he can finish the sentence, his phone buzzes in his pocket. Jensen.

The photo is a terrifying manip of Jared's face on a very saggy stripper's body with a pink tiara on his forehead. The text says, happy birthday, asshole, and Jared smiles, really grins, for the first time all day.

When he glances up, his mom is looking at him. Jared's face feels hot and stiff, suddenly, the way it did the time she caught him coming home with tequila breath his junior year, the way it did when she found the porn magazines he stuffed in the back of his closet, the way--

Jesus fucking Christ, he's just reading a text. There's no reason for him to feel like she caught him doing anything.

"Jared," she says gently. Jared opens his mouth, closes it, takes a deep breath.

Thinks: fuck it.

***

The dry LA heat slams into him when he steps off the air-conditioned bus, and the sky is huge and smoggy, yellowed around the edges like paper just about to burn.

Jensen is in the parking lot, leaning against his car with his eyes obscured by a pair of reflective shades. He slides them off when Jared approaches, grin a flash of white in his tanned face. "Hey. You look like shit."

"I just got off a fifteen-hour bus-ride," Jared says. His back is sore and his legs ache from being crammed into a too-small seat for the past day, the strap of his bag is digging into his shoulder and he needs a shower, and he's smiling so hard his face actually aches. "Blow me."

"Maybe after you shower," Jensen says cheerfully, and the funniest thing about it is that the heat that swoops low and hard into Jared's belly isn't even new. He really is a fucking moron.

Jensen's still smiling when Jared leans down to kiss him, slow and easy like they've been doing this for years, like there's nothing fragile and new about this at all. "So," he murmurs when they pull apart. "I'm working on that whole figuring shit out thing."

"Yeah?" Jensen's hands are resting on Jared's hips, just above the waistband of his jeans. He smells like sunscreen and he looks gorgeous and smug and still ridiculously, stupidly happy. "What do you got so far?"

Jared thinks about his mom, and the way she looked at him when he told her--resigned, but not surprised--and about the college campus that he visited once and can't remember anything about. About the freshman economics classes he's supposed to be taking right now.

Mostly, though, he's paying attention to Jensen's hands, the smell of Coppertone and the sunlight glinting off the chrome fixings on the old car behind him. Even under the dry dome of an unfamiliar California sky, in a parking lot with palm trees planted around the edges, this feels like everything he knows, everything he's been missing for the past two months. "I'm taking a year off. Momma said she didn't want to waste the money on college until she knew my head was in the game."

That's not all she said, but the rest of it wasn't real important anyway.

"Yeah?" Jensen says again. He's trying to sound cool, Jared can tell, but he's not doing a very good job of it. "You need a place to crash for a while?"

Jared grins, and he's pretty sure he's not looking all that cool either, but he can't help it. "Yeah. That'd be great."
Tags: fic: j2, jared padalecki, jensen ackles
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