" - Jen - " Jared says, the name nothing more than a startled, bitten-off gasp.
Jensen freezes. He's reaching up to get the coffee beans from the top shelf, and his shirt's ridden up over his hips. Side-on, the rounded curve of his belly is an explicit, betraying silhouette.
It's an excruciating moment.
Carefully, Jensen brings his hand down and lets his over-large shirt fall loose over the new shape of his body. Shrugs like he's embarrassed, and pats the rise of his stomach with one hand as if it's nothing but flesh. It's hard not to run his fingers over the taut skin as he does late at night, over and over.
"Beer belly," he says, and he's so sure he gets the cadence of the words just right, rueful and casual. But when he glances up -
- Jesus -
When he glances up, Jared is looking at him wide-eyed and paling, open-mouthed with shock. Jared is looking at Jensen's body as if he can see the thickening waist, the fat padding his hips, the way his stomach rounds early and gentle around the thing he carries. Jared looks at him like he's just found out Jensen's knocked up. He's not guessing. He knows.
"Jensen. You're ... " Jared says, and then his eyes snap up to Jensen's and now they're narrowed and hard. "You haven't been drinking."
Jensen turns his back to reach down the coffee. Lets his hands fumble through the process. Unscrew grinder. Open beans. Beans in grinder. Lid on. On switch ... nothing. Shake grinder. Nothing. His hands are not steady.
"Grinder's unplugged," Jared says. And, " When were you going to tell me?"
Jensen can't find anything to do with his hands. Watches them skitter over the countertop and shuffle mugs.
"Jensen," Jared says. Then he says, "Is it mine?"
"What the fuck, Jared?" Jensen says. It should have been casually disbelieving, as near to friendly as they're ever going to get these days, but there's something wrong with Jensen's voice and really, if the baby's gonna take his ability to fake along with everything else he may as well give up now.
"I said. Is it mine?" Jared says, and his jaw is set, his face hard, and Jensen can't seem to look away. Blow off his co-star like he's been doing for the past two months. Six, if he counts leaving Supernatural.
"Is. It. Mine?" Jared says. He's standing up. His hands are clenching at his sides and his shoulders are braced, the breadth of muscle to him suddenly threatening in the space where, Jared and Jensen, they have no history. There's no PlayStation in this trailer, no DVD player, no dartboard. Here Jared's trainers never jostled for space under the couch and there's no candy jar beside the coffee maker.
"Answer me," Jared says, and he's walking forward, bulking out the room, his eyes pin-point narrow, so angry, so near, too near, and Jensen -
Jensen is afraid. Weak, cold. He can't stop the hand creeping up to cradle his belly and when Jared takes another step forward he flinches. And Jared sees him do it.
It stops Jared instantly. He starts to say, "Are you - " and Jensen can feel his own eyes start to widen, can't help it, knows his pulse is beating too hard and he's breathing too quickly and Jared must know.
Deliberately, Jared opens his hands. Rocks back on his heels and forces his shoulders to relax. Lets his eyes drop to Jensen's hand, cradling his child.
"You're afraid of me," Jared says, and Jensen's got no answer to that. Got nothing.
"You really are." He's disbelieving.
Jensen remembers. Jensen remembers, vividly, Jared's powerful hands holding him down. Jared breaking him open, his weight impossible to escape, his dick massive and raw. Jensen remembers what it was like, stumbling to the shower and washing Jared's come tacky from his thighs and his ass, not even noticing the bruises until the day after. Jensen remembers Jared saying, half-gone, "This enough for you? Man enough for you, Jensen Ackles?" like it actually mattered to him, what they had been to each other in five-minute drunken jerk-off sessions neither of them ever spoke about afterwards. On the set of a television series Jensen walked out of six months ago.
"Fuck off," Jensen spits out. "Fuck off."
Jensen has never considered walking out. He's going to need the money. Badly, he's going to need the money. Close-mouthed, he's taken over-direction, an assistant more interested in her nails and her iphone than continuity, and a production team entirely uninterested in his physical comfort. He's almost given up on his character, it's so apparent he's there for his pretty face and his ability to point a gun in approximately the right direction.
Even when Scott, grinning with a malicious antipathy that said he'd heard the rumors, sprung Jared on him half way through filming Jensen didn't consider leaving. Despite Jared's co-star status, they would have three scenes together, that's all. They would never need to meet off set, and given the terms on which Jensen left Supernatural, they probably never would.
He'd found out he was pregnant the week before shooting started, two months after he'd given up the inexplicably nauseating coffee and was still enduring the stomach flu that never went away. When Jared arrived he was five months gone. Like most men, he carried his pregnancy high and small. He'd be seven months by the end of the shoot, and he was pretty well sure he'd get through without being caught. Come the publicity tour, when he thought about it at all, he was seriously considering Australia.
The day Jared arrived, Jensen had thrown his guts up between takes white-faced and sweating. Jared was handsy. Jared was used to a co-star who'd put his personal space issues in abeyance, who'd ... yeah, he really had blown Jared around the back of the third Impala betwen takes. So long ago he could have been a different man. Was a different man. These days, Jensen got through one day at a time. Woke up puking. Went to sleep - when he slept at all - with his hands cupped over his stomach.
"It's not to late to - " his pediatrician had said.
It was what he'd gone there for, but Jensen said, "No." He was almost more shocked at himself then than when the test came back positive.
The day Jared found out, Jensen walked back to set expecting to find half the crew laughing. He wouldn't have been surprised to find himself outside the gates, cards in hand, looking for another job. They owed each other nothing, he and Jared, and, seriously? Jensen Ackles knocked up? Jared must have been laughing so hard half of Texas would know.
But nothing changed.
Actually, that wasn't true.
Something - someone - spooked Jensen's PA so badly she couldn't look him in the eyes. But suddenly, his scripts were where he'd left them. His seat was always waiting for him, and he seemed to have acquired a cushion. His trailer gained a goose-feather duvet, four pillows, a stocked refrigerator and a Wii. His driver took to moving so carefully Jensen started to feel like they were rolling on eggshells, and the hotel's concierge worked overtime just to say, "Anything you want, Mr. Ackles. Any time. Just call."
Off camera, Jared never looked him in the eyes. On camera, he pulled his punches so obviously even Scott noticed.
Jensen would have been suspicious were it that his changing body took up every moment of his attention outside the script. Morning sickness was a misnomer Jensen would have laughed at if he'd had the stomach. Jensen was nauseous, on and off, all day, every day. When he wasn't sick, he was horny. Differently horny. As if, with the baby, his sexual focus had shifted from his dick to the whole of the rest of his body. His skin felt sensitive and his nipples could be fucking painful, constantly red and swollen. Despite the way he could feel the child inside him taking up space, growing under his skin, he felt constantly and disconcertingly empty. His chest felt hollow. His ass - Jensen had once, and not exactly with consent, known what it felt like to be fucked. These days his ass ached so badly he'd found himself seriously considering toys, although he wasn't that far gone yet. He'd lost all interest in porn. He'd tried - oh, he'd tried, his eyes on the screen and his hand on his stubbornly recalcitrant dick - but the only time sex worked for him was late at night or early in the morning. When he was half asleep, and it didn't matter so much that the one image which got him off was the thought of someone else's - who was he kidding? Jared's - hands on his dick.
In real life, Jared was conspicuous by his absence. Scared, perhaps. Or, more charitably, willing to let Jensen do what he needed without interference. In all honesty, Jensen didn't have time to care. Despite an agreed shooting schedule that had listed the toughest stunts first, Scott was demanding further action from his cardboard hero. Explosions. Falls from helicopters. Imploding buildings. The production team worked overtime on shoddy sets, and Jensen dealt.
It was the collapsing building that eventually laid him out. By then, he was almost expecting it, although the blow to the back of his head from a poorly propped beam was not an fatal risk. It was the filing cabinet that slammed into his back on the way down that nearly broke him.
He didn't black out. With paramedics hustling him onto a stretcher, the set builder apologizing from somewhere near his ankles and a nauseous taste in his mouth that had nothing to do with concussion and everything to do with the cramps in his belly, Jensen grabbed his director by the shirt front. Twisted his hand in the man's collar.
"You kill my baby," he said, "And I kill you." He meant it.
As Scott reddened - yeah, that was his pussy-bait outing himself in public - Jensen heard Jared say, "That'll be two of us."
Jensen knew that voice. Jared was really pissed.
Jared was bigger than Scott.
Jensen let unconsciousness sprawl over him like his grandmother's patchwork quilt.
"Tell me," Jensen says.
"You're both fine," Jared says.
"Oh, God," Jensen says, and just breathes.
"Dude, your pediatrician's a dragon. Scans and everything," Jared says. "You were asleep, not out. Stress and exhaustion."
"Yeah, yeah," Jensen says. Still breathing for two.
"Someone had to stay with - "
"Just get in the damn bed, Jared," Jensen says.
Next time he wakes up Jared is lying on top of the bed. He's still tactfully clothed and he's not between Jensen and the door. His face - his face is soft with wonderment.
"You can touch," Jensen says.
Jared's eyes flick up. "Could I?" He's already reaching out a hand, runs his fingers so gently over Jensen's stomach they can hardly be felt. It shouldn't be erotic at all, but it is, and when Jared pulls his hand back his forearm brushes one of Jensen's nipples and the sensation is shockingly intense. So strong Jensen shivers.
"What did I - what's - "
"Do it again," Jensen orders.
Hesitating, his eyes moving between Jensen's face and his body, Jared rubs a finger over one nipple. He's more than gentle, but Jensen aches with the feel of it. "Again," he says through gritted teeth, and Jared gives him a single wide-eyed look and goes down on his nipples like the man's searching for Nirvana.
"Ah, fuck," Jensen says gratefully, while Jared breathes out apologies and entreaties into his skin and if it's a little damp down there, that's between Jared and God. Jensen's interested in something else entirely. The heat at Jared's groin, for all he's hoping Jensen won't notice, says they's still on the same train wreck.
"Jared," Jensen says eventually, trying not to laugh. "Shut up and fuck me, okay?"
"Shit," Jared breathes. Then he says, "Don't move." He scrambles off the bed, stumbles to the bathroom. "Don't. Please don't - " Comes back to the doorway to check Jensen's still there. Pulls half the bathroom apart - Jensen's meds rattle on the floor, his multivitamins, his calcium supplements, something that crashes and smashes.
Comes back with lube and a single, rather battered condom packet Jensen had forgotten he owned. He hesitates at the bottom of the bed. "You're sure? You're really sure?"
"Jared," Jensen growls, and Jared gets with the programme. Strips off his clothes and gets on the bed.
"What's - how do we - ?"
A question Jensen hopes he answers when he curls his back into Jared's hands.
"Oh God," Jared says, and his fingers are inching into Jensen's ass before his face presses damp and warm into the back of Jensen's neck. "Jensen. Jensen." His fingers are thick with lube and he moves them so very gently, so carefully, Jensen can't not push his ass back to the thrust of them, begging. Jared, though, Jared's not giving an inch, taking all the time he wants. He leaves Jensen so slick and stretched that when, finally, Jared eases the head of his cock inside it's with a luxurious rush of warmth and ease.
Jared, bastard, stops right there. "Is this okay?" he whispers. "I'm not gonna hurt - "
"Baby'll make room for it's daddy," Jensen says, and then has to catch his breath hard as Jared slides his dick up in one thrust, long and hot and thick and damn, Jared's dick is perfect. Absolutely perfect, and Jensen hears himself whine with gratitude as Jared hits the top of his stroke and his balls nestle tight against Jensen's skin. And then... Jared stops. He wants to move, Jensen knows it, the imperative's there in the tiny shifting adjustments of his hips, but he's not.
Then Jared holds Jensen still, rolls them both so Jared's on his back and Jensen's on top of him, held in place by Jared's hands and his dick. His head rests on Jared's shoulder and on his cradling left hand, fingers pressing through Jensen's hair disconcertingly tender. Jared's right hand creeps over Jensen's hips, curls itself around the bottom of his belly. Jared's hands are big enough that he can spread a thumb and two fingers over Jensen's stomach and catch Jensen's dick in the last two, a stumbling, petting stroke that's more erotic than the best blow job Jensen's ever had. Jared can't take his hand from the shape of Jensen's swollen stomach, strokes the curve of it with unsteady fingers, mutters under his breath "So beautiful, Jen, so beautiful, amazing, so proud of you."
Jensen rocks himself on Jared's dick a millimeter at a time, full for the first time in months and so flushed with pleasure he can't imagine anything better than this, how he is at the moment. Stuffed full and safe in Jared's arms.
When Jensen comes it's almost incidental, a flush and warmth to his dick that only adds to the way the whole of his skin feels, but it pushes Jared over the edge. His hands tighten on Jensen's hips, his dick straining so hard Jensen can feel the pulse of it, but he comes without moving, a control that makes it heartbreakingly clear how much he wants and how much he's prepared to pay.
They've got a lot to talk about.
But they'll be fine.
Jensen ... sleeps.