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Title: But Anyway
Author: [ profile] serotonin_storm
Fandom: CW RPS
Rating: PG-13
Character/Pairing: Jared Padalecki/Jensen Ackles, Jensen Ackles/Brock Kelly
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Word Count: 4200 words
Summary: "Boys are so fucking stupid, you know?"
Notes: High school AU in which I fuck with people's ages endlessly, hurrah!

"I'm gonna need that poster back before I go."

Jensen picks at his cold macaroni and cheese. It tastes like milk and cheese powder gelled over rubber, and considering MacKenzie's culinary ability, that's probably exactly what it is. He should avoid his sister when she's in a giving mood. "Uh-huh," he says, not at all sullenly.

Jared pulls a Twizzler from the pack and bites off both ends, wrapping his lips around the hollow bit that's left and blowing cool air into Jensen's face to get his attention. It tickles, and Jensen tries to snatch the stupid thing away from him, but Jared just grins, holding it out of reach. "Seriously, Jen. I know you like the thing, but Megan won't shut her mouth about it."

"I said okay already," says Jensen, rolling his eyes. Jared chomps down on the candy and shows his teeth, red chunks of candy peppered over watery pink saliva. Across the table, Sandy makes a sound of dramatic, injured offense, and Jared winks at her.

"Aw, baby, you know you love me."

Sandy flips her dark hair over her shoulder smoothly. "That ship has sailed, my friend."

Next to her, Sophia shakes her head and says, "I can't believe you ever stooped that low. He's like your brother."

"I could do so much better," Sandy agrees, batting her eyelashes.

A sneaker squeaks against the linoleum somewhere in the cafeteria, a loud squeal over the drone of voices. "Jared!" a voice calls, and Jensen turns to see Chad running down the aisle towards them. The little bastard slides down on the bench next to Jared, promptly stealing Sophia's apple and taking a bite. She lets him have it without a fight, an ominous sign if there ever were one.

Jensen holds out a hand. "Money."

"Christ, chill. I'm gonna pay you back," Chad says, chewing. "Patience is a virtue and everything, you know."

"It's been a month. I'm a saint. I gotta buy supplies."

"Supplies, like..." He curls his hand into a loose fist and jerks. "Supplies? Thought you good little Christian boys abstained, Ackles."

Jensen ducks his head as he feels himself go red and mutters, "Shut up." His jerk off habits are none of Chad fucking Murray's business. So far, they're exclusively his own business, but he's not going around bragging about that. Especially to Chad, who somehow manages to score despite his personality consisting entirely of one giant mental affliction after another.

As Jensen's grandfather once said, "Kid, whoever told you life was fair was lying at you through their pretty white teeth."

Jared reaches over slaps the back of Chad's head. Chad scowls, rubbing at his scalp. "He needs film for his camera, douchebag. I saw your ma give you money this morning. Give it up."

Chad smirks. "I saw your mother getting money this morning. You know, on the street corner."

"Who even tells your mom jokes any more?" Sophia says incredulously. "You're, like, eternally twelve, Chad, I swear. Totally lame."

"I was old enough for you when you sucked my – "

"Okay, okay," Jared interrupts, holding up a silencing hand. "Nobody needs to hear that shit, you guys. Trust me. Chad, give Jensen his money and never talk about my mama again or I'll squish you. Sophia, just – stop doing Chad."

"Seriously," Sandy says. Jensen snickers, shrugging at Sophia when she glares at him.

Chad huffs and takes his wallet out of his pocket. He pulls out a twenty and a ten, sliding them across the table obnoxiously slowly. Jensen reaches for them, but Chad keeps his hand stubbornly over top.

"You even think about what you're gonna do when Jared's not around to get your shit for you?"

Jensen cocks an eyebrow. "Find a way to shove your own tiny dick down your throat? I'm worried you might enjoy that, though. Thoughts? Comments?"

"Fine, whatever." Chad shakes his head, lifting his hand enough for Jensen to snatch the money away from him. "Don't say I didn't warn you. And don't expect me to let you bum any more hits off my joints with that kind of attitude. You're officially cut off, social smoker."

"How sweet of you. Thanks a bunch."

"Jensen," Jared cuts in. He leans forward and flicks Jensen's ear, managing to be right in Jensen's space despite the fact that they're separated by an entire table. Jensen feels his cheeks go hot.

Because he's just not stupid enough already.

"Dude, what do you want?" he asks.

"You're gonna help me pack tonight, right?"

He knows he should say yes. He'd be a jerk not to say yes, a total fucking asshat with a big selfish bow on top. "Can't, got plans," he mumbles instead.

Jared looks a bit crestfallen, but he nods. "Yeah, okay." He grabs his binder and his tray and stands. "Let me know if you can tomorrow or something. I'm gonna head out. I gotta be early for English. Edlund got so pissed at me yesterday."

Jensen watches his retreating back. Jared dumps his tray and slips through the cafeteria doors just as the cheer squad captain, Danneel, saunters in. Jensen feels like shit, guilty as hell, and he doesn't even know why he did it to begin with.

Cutting through the silence that's fallen, Sophia nudges Jensen's ankle with hers and says to Sandy, "Boys are so fucking stupid, you know?"

Jensen's last period class runs over, so he's late to practice by five or six minutes. "You've gotta really mean it," Danneel's saying as he jogs out onto the field. It's speech they've all heard ten times over.

He drops onto the ground next to Brock, who puts a hand on Jensen's thigh and leans in to whisper, "Hey, man, I made you that tape," then pulls a cassette out of his pocket, waving it.

Jensen grins, taking it from him. "Awesome! Jared's been bugging me for this for days."

"Oh, it's for Jay? That's cool, I guess." Brock looks kind of – disappointed, frowning a little as he pulls back like he can't help it. Jensen never knows what's up with the guy at times like this. He always acts like he likes Jared just fine when he's around. Brock is everyone's buddy, and who couldn't like Jared, anyway?

"I'll listen too," he promises, but Brock's frown doesn't let up.

Danni and the temp coach, Mr Beaver, have them split up into groups to practice basket tosses. Jensen, Brock, Misha Collins and Michael Weston pair up with Kristen Bell because, as Brock says, "Dude, she's tiny." And sweet, too. Mike's hand slips and he almost drops her, and she just claps her hands and chirps, "That's okay! Let's try it again."

Danneel smiles over at them – at him – and shouts, "Looking good, guys!"

Brock catches up to him outside the locker room after practice, pats him on the shoulder and hands him a cool water bottle. Jensen presses it to his forehead. "Danneel has a massive thing for you, y'know?" Brock says.

He shrugs. "I guess."

"You gonna go for it?"

"Not really my type."

Brock smiles sunnily, throwing an arm around Jensen's shoulders. "You wanna get a burger?"

Jensen doesn't think of Jared, alone in his room packing for fucking California, as he nods. He doesn't.

He gets home just as it's going dark, thoroughly tired out and strangely annoyed. "How'd you like the macaroni and cheese?" Mac asks as he walks into the kitchen. She's sitting at the counter, cheek resting against her hand above a truly massive book. She looks over at him and smiles, the particular variation that passes for innocent to everyone on earth but him and their brother, Jeff.

Mac has everybody fooled. A ten year old who's already doing high school level work can get away with just about anything.

"Anyone ever tell you you're the incarnation of Satan?" he asks.

"It's a favorite of mine," she says. "Jared's in the family room. He's been there for an hour."

Shit. Shit. He rakes his fingers through his hair. "Did he say what he wants?"

"You're a giant jerk," Mac says, shaking her head at him.

"Stop judging me. And you're not allowed to cuss, MacKenzie. You're like four."

"I'm really not." She waves a hand towards the hallway, the truly ironic pink sparkles in her nail polish catching the light. "Go deal with your not-boyfriend before his annoying sister comes over to get him and asks to play with me again. I don't know what – or who – gave her the impression that I'd like to be bosom buddies with her, anyway. But it or they had better think twice."

"Megan is sweet," Jensen protests. "It's not her fault you have no heart. And you gotta quit calling Jared my boyfriend, Mac. It's officially creepy."

Mac raises an eyebrow. "I didn't."

Jared's on the couch watching Home Improvement when Jensen heads into the living room, long legs propped up on the coffee table. Jensen kicks at him until he lowers them and then sits down beside him. "What's up?" he asks.

"Nothin'," Jared says and shrugs.

An irrational wave of anger builds in Jensen's ribcage, clawing its way through his chest and from his throat as he blurts, "If nothing's up, why the hell're you here?"

The laugh track of the show and Tim Allen's voice are the only things that interrupt the silence that falls. Jared blinks at him. "What's your problem? We always watch this over here."

"Nothing's my problem," Jensen growls. "Maybe I just don't need you around here all the time."

"I guess it's a good thing that I'm leaving Monday then, huh, Jensen?" Jared says. Irritations edges into his voice finally, and he stands, towering over Jensen angrily. "I know you're mad, but you don't gotta be a dick about it, you know. There's nothing I can do about my mom getting a new job, Jen."

Jensen grits his teeth. "Who said anything about that?"

Jared presses his palms flat against his for forehead and takes a deep breath. Jensen wants to hit him as much as he wants to kiss him, and it's a good thing, a relief, when Jared mutters, "I'm outta here," and storms out of the living room.

The front door slams as Tim Taylor's audience shouts, "Tool time!" Jensen doesn't flinch.

Mac wanders in a few moments later, tying off the end of a braid, and leans against the door frame. "Huh," she says, "that went well."

"Sorry, Jensen, he's gone to bed," Jared's ma tells him when he calls later, and Jensen looks out the window at Jared's lit room and says, "Okay, sorry."

He's sitting around in his pajamas eating Cap'n Crunch, watching crappy kids' cartoons and not thinking anything to do with Jared, not a thing, when the doorbell rings Saturday morning. He gets up, pajama bottoms trailing over his feet, and stumbles to the door, at the very back of his mind thinking maybe this is Jared now, coming to apologize. Except that it was Jensen who was so obviously –

Whatever. It's not him anyway.

"Hey!" Brock says cheerfully, all goofy smile and hand raised in a half-wave. Jensen bites his lip and crosses his arms, suspicious and very irritatingly disappointed.

"How'd you get my address?" he asks.

Brock's face falls minutely. "Uh, you gave it to me yesterday, remember?"

"Oh," says Jensen, feeling like an utter tool. Because he had; he'd scrawled it down on a napkin and said, "Why don't you come down to my house tomorrow, and we'll watch that movie," and Brock had replied, "Yeah, awesome! I'll be there!"

And here he is.

"Yeah, sorry, come in." Jensen pulls the door open and waves him inside, and Brock follows him past Mac's frowning face in the kitchen and into the living room, shoulders raised and bag tight against his chest. Jensen rubs his hand through his hair: it grows like a weed and is getting too long, always in his eyes unless he slicks it back, and his mother's goes on and on about how handsome that makes him look, but Jensen looks in the mirror and sees a daytime soap star.

Brock pulls a tape out of his bag and hands it to Jensen, who slides it into the VCR. The screen goes black, then the previews start.

"Which one is this?" he asks as he settles on the couch. Brock answers, "Dumb and Dumber," and sits down next to him.

Brock doesn't watch, though, despite that fact that he hadn't been able to shut up about this movie yesterday and how funny it was, how great Jim Carry is, and Jensen can feel the weight of his gaze minute after minute until he finally snaps, "What?"

"I like you, Jensen," Brock says, non sequitur. Jensen's face heats, and he opens his mouth to – he doesn't even know, but this is just too awkward, and then Brock adds, "Can I kiss you, man"?

"Uh," says Jensen. "What?"

Brock inches closer, hand on the couch next to Jensen's thigh, although he holds himself far enough away that Jensen can't feel justified in moving. "I'm into you. I thought, you know..."

"What, that I was into you?" Jensen asks, faintly hysterical, blood pounding in his ears.

Brock shrugs. "Well, yeah. Was I wrong?"

The thing is – well, the thing is that he isn't. Jensen's noticed, he's thought about it, and he knows he's going even redder under his freckles because Brock smiles this slow, satisfied smile and brings a hand up to his neck.

"So can I?"

"Yeah," Jensen says, whispers, maybe, and Brock leans forward and fits himself right into Jensen's space, sliding a hand into the back of Jensen's too-long hair.

They make out until the movie ends, and then Brock smiles at him and goes home.

The very first time Jensen had ever seen Jared, he was running around in his tighty whities next to the creek behind their houses, roughhousing with golden retriever that came practically up to his chest.

"Hi!" he'd said when he spotted Jensen, grinning wide. He'd dropped to his knees and snaked an arm around the retriever's neck. The dog had sneezed and panted into his chest.

"Hi," Jensen had mumbled back.

At ten, he'd been shy, especially around new people. He'd gone back there intending to sulk, still upset about his family's move into a new city and the fact that his new room was smaller. Jared had been wiry, too skinny, cheeks flushed and eyes bright. He'd had freckles across the bridge of his nose then, but only a few. When Jensen spends too much time in the sun, they cover every inch of his skin from head to toe, but Jared's freckles only appear now and then, few and far between.

"Who're you?" Jared had asked.

"I'm Jensen," he'd replied, tucking his hands under his armpits, and Jared had nodded and told him, "My name's Jared Padalecki. That's with an a, then an e, then an i. And this is Bob the girl," he'd said, gesturing at the dog.

Jensen had been incredulous. "Bob the girl?"

"My sister named her," Jared had said, rolling his eyes. "She's two. She calls everything Bob."


"Wanna play cops and robbers?" Jared had asked, and Jensen had shrugged and run down to join him by the edge of the creek. They'd played until Chad showed up and purposefully pushed Jensen into the water.

Eight years later, Jensen still goes down to the creek whenever he gets upset.

Eventually, Jared always follows.

Today he walks down clutching one of Jensen's cameras to his chest, the Polaroid they'd found at a yard sale last summer. Jared sits cross-legged in the grass, holding it out, and Jensen takes it.

"S'this for?"

"Thought you might wanna, you know, take a goodbye picture," Jared says.

"Well, you thought wrong," says Jensen, tossing the camera into the grass. It clicks oddly, and with a pang, he hopes it isn't broken.

He thinks this is where Jared chews him out for yesterday's fight, but he sighs. "You know, I'm gonna have a car soon enough."

Jensen looks down, plucking a blade of grass from the ground and staring at it. It's very green and... grassy. What a shocker. "Yeah."

"Jensen, I..." Jared starts, trailing off awkwardly, red around the cheeks with heat or embarrassment. "God, Jensen, come on." Jensen shrugs, chin tucked against his chest, rubbing the blade of grass between his fingers. Jared's hand clamps over his, tight and warm, and Jensen looks up, fumbling. "I gotta go," Jared tells him. "I gotta go whether you say goodbye or not, Jen."

And when he says it like that, Jensen can't just – well, it's different when he says it like that. Jensen's breath catches in his throat. He clenches his jaw angrily, shrugging away from Jared. "I know, Jesus. Why're you making such a huge deal out of it, okay, I'm fine. You're leaving. I know. Whatever, okay?"

Jared laughs, a hiccuped, wet laugh that doesn't sound like him at all. "Damn, you're such a jerk, Jen," he says. "Such a goddamn fucking jerk. C'mere a sec."

He's got his hand out, fingers brushing against Jensen's arm. When Jensen doesn't move, freezes up on the spot, Jared wraps his hand around his bicep and tugs.

Jensen falls against him, back snug against Jared's chest. Jared slides an arm around his waist, his chin against the top of his head and digging in uncomfortably, too hot and too close altogether, and Jensen feels a sudden pressure against the back of his scalp that he suspects – and maybe hopes – is a kiss. He huffs out a laugh. "This is stupid."

"You're stupid," Jared counters.

"This is fuckin' gay, then."

"You're fuckin' gay."

"You're so original, man," Jensen says. Then, casually, "So Brock Kelly kissed me earlier."

"Dude, what?" Jared cranes his neck around to look at him. It puts his nose about two inches from Jensen's face, and Jensen goes cross-eyed trying to stare at it to avoid looking Jared in the eyes.

He shakes his head. "He just – laid one right on me. Said he had a thing for me. I guess I'm just that hot," he jokes, but it falls flat. It's a Jared joke anyway, doesn't taste right in Jensen's mouth at all. "I dunno. It was weird. He wants to be boyfriends or some shit, I think."

"Are you – you gonna do it?" Jared asks.

He shrugs. "I dunno. Maybe." He tries to take in Jared's expression piece by piece, but the overall effect is lost. He can't tell what Jared's thinking, and it throws him. "I guess... fuck, I guess I kind of want to, but. I don't know."

Jared pulls away enough to push Jensen down onto the ground and lie next to him, long limbs everywhere. Jensen fumbles around for the camera, tucks it under his arm and stares up at the sunlight leaking through the leaves of the trees. He can't think of anything more to say.

"I always figured it'd be me," Jared offers eventually.

"Yeah," Jensen says, turning his head away to rest his cheek against the cool grass. "Me too."

He skips dinner – which, despite his mother's remarkably unsubtle worried glances, is not a mortal sin – and sprawls himself across the couch in the family room to watch a new episode of The Simpsons. Consoling himself with the fact that he's not Homer Simpson is Jensen's favorite thing to do when life is fucking him over royally, and it's where Mac finds him when she feels the need to exorcise her rights as resident annoying family genius.

It goes like this:

She turns the television off and says, "You're going to quit being so stupid. I know it comes easy to you, but you have to fight it."

He gets up, turns it back on, and goes, "Fuck off."

There's a ruckus of clanging from the kitchen, and his mother yells for him to watch his mouth and apologize to his little sister.

MacKenzie smirks.

"Fine, whatever, sorry," he says grudgingly. "What do you want?"

She pushes the power button on the television again, ignoring his death glare. "Go talk to Jared. Right now."

"I talked to him."

"I'm sure that went well," says Mac, pursing her lips, "with the stinking waves of resentment wafting off you."

He scowls at her. "You're ten, you freak of nature. Sound like you're ten."

"As if," she says haughtily, hand on her hip over her hot pink skirt. "Good?"

"If only it weren't so false." He falls back, letting his head bounce against the couch cushion. He can see his reflection in the black screen of the television. He's freaking pathetic sometimes. "Anyway," he says, "it went fine. We are fine. God, Kenz, you're killing me. What do you care, anyway?"

Mac sighs loudly, exasperated. "I like Jared, Jensen. And just so you know, I'm not in support of the doofus from yesterday."

"I don't need your support," he tells her, though he's not really sure how true that is. Mac could probably show her disapproval in all kinds of new and terrifying ways. "And Brock is cool."

"He's not good enough," she says stubbornly. "He didn't even know how to insult you properly. He's not Jared."

And there's really no arguing with that.

Sophia calls him later to let him know what a jerk she thinks he's being. "You guys are practically attached at the hip, and he says he thinks you're still mad at him," she says. Somewhere in the background, someone loudly asks for where the beers are.

"Is that Chad I hear, there, Sophia?" Jensen asks, and Sophia says, "No," then, "Don't tell anyone, you ass," and hangs up.

Jared glances out the window at Jared's house, phone in hand, and doesn't call.

He wakes that night to Jared climbing through his window. "Dude," he says, rubbing his eyes and squinting through the dark. Jared shushes him and slides into bed next to him.

"What're you doing," Jensen says. The words run together sloppily, and Jared cups his cheek with one big hand and asks, "Okay?"

Jensen swallows, whispers, "Yeah. Yeah, you know," and Jared rolls on top of him and fits their mouths together, kisses him wet and hot until he falls asleep.

He stutters awake again in the early morning, everything warm in the soft glow of the sunrise, and Jared's already gone.

The third and final time Jensen's awakened is to Chad Murray throwing a dirty green high-top shoe at his head.

He thinks it might be Chad's dirty green high-top shoe, which is just disgusting.

"You'll pay for this," he mumbles, pulling the sheets over his head. Chad's ugly mug is not morning friendly.

"Yo, asswipe, Jared says you're not answering your phone," comes Chad's voice.

"That's because I'm fucking asleep, Einstein!" Something niggles at the back of Jensen's mind, fuzzy but insistent. His lips tug down in a frown. "Wait," he says, eyes still defiantly shut even if he's mostly given up hope by this point. "What do you care?"

"It was getting hard to look at his goddamn mopey face," Chad says as Jensen throws the covers off himself and sits up. "It's a real downer, you know?"

"Shit," he spits. "He's leaving, isn't he? Now?"

Chad shakes his head at him. "No duh, dude. No duh."

Jensen rolls out of bed and takes off for the stairs, grabbing his Polaroid camera from the dresser as he passes. He runs through the kitchen and almost trips going down the front stoop outside, and then there's Jared.

He's leaning on his dad's truck, Sandy tucked into his left side and Sophia tucked into his right, taller than the both of them by at least a foot. "We're really gonna miss you, Jare," Sandy's saying, stroking his arm. Jared's head is titled downward, bangs falling into his eyes, not at all the right expression.

"Jared!" he calls. Jared's head snaps up, and as he sees Jensen running towards him, his face brightens, wide grin and crinkles around his eyes, and he's Jared again.

Jensen snaps a picture.

"Change your mind?" Jared asks when he lowers the camera, grinning as he extracts himself from Sandy and Sophia's grip and walks over.

The picture ejects. Jensen grips it gently and removes it, waving it back and forth. "I figure my memory's not that great, you know," he says, and when he looks down, there's his best friend smiles up at him again like he's the only person in the whole entire world.

"Not to hold someone as hot as all this," Jared agrees, nodding.

He snorts. "You're such a freakin' dorkoramus, Jay."

"I'm getting a car soon," Jared tells him again, serious, and this time Jensen grins. "I'll wait for you if you wait for me," Jared adds then, because that's the type of stupid, unreal thing he'd say.

And all Jensen says back is, "Yeah, I – I'll do that."

Date: 2009-05-30 04:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
eeeeeeee! Is there any way this is going to become a verse because I want more!! LOL.

This was amazing. :) Thanks for sharing!!

Date: 2009-05-31 08:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I second this. Verse! Very, very lovely.

Date: 2009-05-31 01:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Verse please! Definitely!

Date: 2009-05-30 05:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
it was sweet. plz continue.

Date: 2009-05-30 06:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ooh man i hope Jensen waits for him...

Date: 2009-05-30 07:57 am (UTC)
ext_2087: SGA (Dean)
From: [identity profile]
Aww, this was very sweet! *g*

Date: 2009-05-30 01:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was awesome. I'd love to see more :)

Date: 2009-05-30 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Totally wonderful, you have to write more! Please????

Date: 2009-05-31 12:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
this was brilliant! <3
if there is anymore, i would love to see it (:

Date: 2009-06-01 04:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Awesome! Would love to see more!!

Date: 2009-06-01 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OMFG!!! This was so sweet and a bit ad too. This "ending" left me without words. And yeah, please, a verse!!!!!!

Date: 2009-06-03 01:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really liked this! It felt very fresh and sweet. ♥

Date: 2009-06-23 12:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Why are all high school luv stories automatically awesome? How? Why?


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