Title: Perchance To Dream
Word Count: 9400
Summary: While filming the episode The End, Jensen becomes exhausted, it’s up to Jared to look after him when he comes home.
Warnings: Warning schmoop fest ahead, oh and gratuitous images of a Sasquatch and his mate taking a bath together, you have been warned.
Disclaimer: Sadly these gorgeous men are not mine, I have reached a deal with the crossroads demon, I bring him a fic he likes and I get to keep em! So with that in mind here we go again
Notes: Again this started out life as a response to a meme on spn_hurtcomfort, really I should be banned from that sight. As always many thanks go to bigj52 my truly awesome beta and images for my banner are from raloria , andreas_ri and Sammifer from a_phoenixdragon *hugs*
“Ok and ‘cut’. Thanks, guys. That’s a wrap now. Jared, while you’re on your break don’t go mad with the tan. I don’t want to have to explain why Lucifer looks like he has just stepped off a beach in his white suit.” Steve laughed good-naturedly.
Jared grinned back “Oh, I don’t know. I could totally rock it with sunglasses. Now Steve, don’t work Jensen too hard. Ok?”
“I’m only playing two versions of Dean, dealing with Croatoan virus and Cas in full hippy mode, piece of cake. Now go lie on a beach, drink a few cocktails, and just remember I won’t be there with the sunscreen.” Jensen slapped Jared on the back before hugging him.
“Go Padalecki, before you miss your damn plane. Think of Cliff’s nerves. Now go.” Jensen shoved Jared towards the waiting driver. Jared turned back, blowing kisses at the crew, grinning when a chorus of whistles and abuse followed him as he left.
Steve stood by Jensen; they had just finished filming Sam and Dean’s reunion scene at the end of the episode. Jensen rolled his head round, trying to ease the tension in his neck; Steve looked guiltily at Jensen. This episode was going to be a killer for him, and with Jared going away, his usual coping mechanism was getting on a plane and going to be gone for the week. Steve was worried that one of his leads was going to run himself into the ground, but it had to be done.
He rested his hand on Jensen’s shoulder, “Hey man, I hate to do this but we need to get back to the studio and film Dean in the motel room. Ok?”
Jensen was watching as Jared drove off. He gave Steve a smile. “Come on, Steve, don’t look so worried. I’m not gonna have a meltdown... not yet anyway. So who can I get a lift from? I seem to have lent my driver to an escaping Sasquatch.” Steve laughed and pulled Jensen towards his car.
Much later Jensen opened the front door and was immediately engulfed by a pair of furry tornadoes. “Whoa guys, slow down. Papa’s gone away for a few days so you’re stuck with me.” With that, Jensen walked into the kitchen followed by Sadie and Harley. Once they were fed and had been out they settled down on the couch with Jensen. Jensen sat trying to watch T.V.; he was already tired, his eyes gritty. He let his head fall back. Shit! If he felt like this the first day God knows what he’d be like by the end of the week.
Jensen sighed. He had work to do. Turning off the T.V., he picked up his script for tomorrow and went over his lines. Damn! He was missing Jared! It was always easier to go over lines with someone else, especially if the dialogue was between two versions of yourself, sorry, Dean.
Jensen slowly walked up to the bedroom he shared with Jared. He got ready for bed and slipped between the sheets, sighing as he did so. He closed his eyes and tried to relax, turning first one way then the other. His hand strayed over to where Jared should be lying; the bed was cold and Jensen opened his eyes. He turned towards the alarm clock. Shit! It was two o’clock in the morning. Cliff would be there to pick him up at four-thirty. In vain, Jensen tried to get to sleep. He’d die before he’d admit this to Jared, but he really missed the way Jared wrapped himself round his body as they slept, even in the summer when Jensen would try in vain to escape the clutches of the snuggle monster, due to overheating and the need to breathe.
Finally, as he watched the neon green numbers on the clock flip over to three-fifteen Jensen cursed softly and got up. Staggering to the shower, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He winced at the pale complexion and dark circles. “Huh? Good morning, old friends. You guys usually don’t show up until episode ten, good to see you again.” With that, he stepped into the shower, turning it on, shivering as the cold water hit him.
The shower startled him awake. He got dressed and brewed himself some coffee. He knew if Jared had drunk any of it, Cliff would’ve had to help Jensen tie Jared down in the back seat. Not for anything kinky but that much caffeine combined with Jared’s candy intake and Jared would probably be able to outrun the SUV.
It was still dark when Cliff arrived to collect Jensen, so he didn’t spot the dark circles. He promised Jared that he would send daily progress reports to him. It wasn’t that Jared didn’t trust Jensen....well, ok. Jared didn’t trust Jensen to take care of himself with an episode like this. It was just that Jared wanted to make sure that Jensen was alright and he wouldn’t have to leap on a plane to rescue him from his own stubbornness. Jensen sat reading his script, and clutching at his coffee as if his life depended on it. Cliff was good at judging the mood of his charges; he knew when to laugh with them, when to give them privacy, and when to give them space to prepare for the day’s filming. Cliff was happy to leave Jensen studying his script in preparation for the horrendous filming schedule he was facing.
Once Jensen arrived on set he went straight to make up where Gina was waiting “Holy shit, Ackles! I know the fan girls think you’re God’s gift dipped in chocolate, but I hate to tell you... looking like that there is a danger of some ‘Dean’ girls jumping ship, and setting sail on the good ship ‘Sam’, if they could see you now.”
“Ahh! Come on, Gina. Just imagine you‘re making up Jared and break out the industrial-strength concealer. It’s the only way to hide some of his moles.” Jensen grinned as Gina started to work.
“Look! Just because there is a preservation order on the freckles there’s no need to be mean about Jared’s beauty spots.” At that, Jensen gave Gina the eyebrow, “Ok, moles. Be nice. It’s only ‘cause you’re jealous.”
“Damn straight! Well, am I gorgeous enough yet or should we send Misha in?” Gina laughed and started on his make-up. The morning passed in a blur, with Jensen playing his scenes with his stunt double, Todd, trying to picture himself instead. By the time lunch was called Jensen had the beginnings of a splitting headache. He went back to his trailer in search of Tylenol, taking three tablets. He laid down on his couch and closed his eyes. It only seemed like five minutes before a P.A. was banging on his door, calling him back to set.
Jensen blinked repeatedly, trying to focus. Shit! He’d fallen asleep and now he’d missed lunch. He groaned, hauled himself back to his feet and staggered off to wardrobe where he had to get changed into future Dean’s clothes.
By the end of the day Jensen had never been so happy to see Cliff’s welcoming bulk. Cliff smiled at Jensen, seeing his customary cup of coffee in his hand and spotting Jensen carrying the next day’s script. “Evening, Jensen. Are you alright? You’re looking a little tired.”
“Yeah. I’m fine, man. Just a little angel lagged. I’m trying to remember which version of Dean I’m supposed to be. I’ll be fine after a good night’s sleep.” Which as it turned out was more than a little optimistic. He ran through his lines then rang Jared - only to be told ‘wish you were here’, and ‘think of all the fun I could have rubbing sunscreen into those cute little bow legs’. This had led to Jensen being less than complimentary about Jared’s parentage.
After that, Jensen had tried to eat some re-heated take-out. After three mouthfuls he decided it was a bad idea and went up to bed. Once again Jensen found himself lying, staring at the ceiling, his mind racing, unable to shut down, snatches of script dancing through his mind. Finally the relentless churning of Dean being faced with Sam’s ultimate destiny receded to a dull roar, allowing Jensen to slip off to sleep. That sleep was anything but restful. Jensen tossed and turned in the grip of a nightmare, his eyes shooting open, panting as an unnamed fear held his heart in a vice-like grip. He turned to look at the clock and groaned; it was three-fifteen again. Jensen knew he wasn’t going back to sleep and once again he struggled out of bed towards the shower.
As Cliff watched Jensen walk towards the SUV, he wondered if he should call Jared. Jensen looked shattered. Knowing the physical demands of the day, Cliff’s hand lingered on his phone. “Don’t do it, Cliff. We both know Jay needs the break. Even a hint of this and he’ll probably try and swim back so, as a favour to me, let him rest.”
“What about you, man? You look like you haven’t slept for a week! Come on, Jensen. Talk to Steve, and get them to juggle the schedule for today.
“No can do, Cliff. You know why.” Jensen gave Cliff a tired smile as he buckled himself in. Today saw them filming on the Watchmen set. They only had the use of it for the day, which meant that they had to film present day Dean being chased by Croats, being fired on by the army and finally, the walk through the ruins of Kansas City by future Dean and his band of not-so-merry men.
“Don’t worry, dude. I’ll catch up on my beauty sleep while you drive to location.” With that, Jensen settled back, letting the journey lull him to sleep.
“You’re right, Cliff. The impossible has happened; he really does look like crap.” Jensen heard a very familiar voice as he struggled awake.
He opened his eyes and took one look. “Hey, Collins. Careful with the insults. Have you looked in a mirror lately?” Jensen was faced with Misha in full future Cas mode - sandals, hippy shirt and several days’ growth of beard and unkempt hair.
“I think I look ruggedly handsome and windswept. Now are you going to get out or will we be filming this ‘Mad Max’ style?” Jensen nodded tiredly and climbed out.
He stood slowly, his muscles aching and his neck stiff, due to the position he’d travelled in. He began rubbing at his neck when Misha moved behind him, knocking his hands away. Misha started to massage Jensen’s neck. He moaned in appreciation as Misha worked the tension out of his neck.
“Oh God, Misha! That’s wonderful. Don’t stop, please.” Jensen’s voice was low, husky with tiredness and pained pleasure as Misha dug his thumbs into his shoulders.
“Jensen, my friend, I’m overjoyed that I’m being of some help. But I’d appreciate it if this is never mentioned to Jared as I’m very attached to my testicles, and my wife would also be upset if we were deprived of the chance of having children.”
“Oh, I don’t know, Misha. I could be doing the world a favour, if I were to prevent you having kids. I mean, what with your minions the kid could take over the world.”
“Hmmm. Just think, I could set up a dynastic empire with my loyal followers. I may even keep you and Jared as pets.” Misha laughed and slowed the massage. He could see Steve waiting for Jensen, and so he pushed him in the direction of the director.
As Jensen walked away Misha stood by Cliff, “You’re right, he’s a wreck. I hope he makes it to the end of the episode. Are you going to call Jared?”
“Tell me about it, Misha. Jensen doesn’t want me to call him but if he doesn’t look better tomorrow then I’m overruling the stubborn fool, because, like you, I’m kinda fond of my boys, if you know what I mean.”
“Well, Cliff. I’d better be off and make sure our heroic leader doesn’t fall asleep in the corner.” Misha went in search of Jensen.
The day had been even more exhausting, running at full tilt from Croats withthe coverage from different angles. Then they shot the confrontation with the army and the little girl. Finally they shot the walk through the town. They had finished earlier than hoped. Steve had bitten his lip and asked Jensen if they could go back to set and start on the Dean meeting future Cas for the first time.
By the time he had gotten home, Jensen felt like crawling upstairs; instead, he sat down on the couch, rubbing at his eyes. He sat back with the intention of resting there for a minute.
Jensen was walking through the set from earlier. He knew he was looking for something, but he couldn’t remember what it was. As he continued on he felt the same sense of panic and fear from the night before. He’d lost something, something very precious. Then he spotted a flash of cloth...it was Jared! He ran towards where he’d seen Jared disappear, but as soon as Jensen had gotten closer, Jared had vanished again.
Jensen spun round, looking for Jared, the panic welling up inside of him. Again there was a glimpse of Jared and Jensen sprinted off after him. This happened several more times, Jensen becoming increasingly desperate each time he lost Jared. Finally unable to run any more Jensen sank to his knees, threw back his head and screamed “JARREDDDD”
Jensen jolted awake; he could hear his phone ringing, “Hello.”
“God, Jensen! Are you ok? You sound half dead.” Jared sounded worried. He’d been trying to reach Jensen for a couple of hours and now he sounded awful.
“Oh, sorry, I just fell asleep. You know all that running around and me being a poor old man, it takes its toll. How’s the pool?” Jensen was trying to divert Jared’s attention from how tired he sounded.
“The pool’s great. Now why don’t you tell me why you sound as if you’ve been chased by a pack of hellhounds?”
“Ah, Jay. I love it when you get all caveman over me. Seriously, I’m fine, just a little tired but that’s only to be expected.”
“Are you sure you’re alright, Jen? I can come home tomorrow.”
“Look, Jared. Just finish your break. You’ll be home soon enough and you can wrap me up in a blanket and feed me ice cream, if you like.” Jensen begged his other half.
“I can think of better things to do with ice cream, but I’ll take what I can get. Just take care of yourself, and I’ll see you soon. Love ya.”
“Love you too, Jay. Goodnight.” Jensen shut his phone. He looked over at the clock, and it was midnight. Jensen wondered if he should try and eat, his diet had gone to Hell this week but he couldn’t muster the energy to go to the kitchen. Jensen stood up and walked slowly towards the bedroom. Once there, he settled down in bed, and tried in vain to get to sleep.
The night followed the same pattern as before, his brain refusing to shut down, and when it did the nightmares started again. “Ahh, shit! Surprise, surprise, it’s quarter past three...time to get up then.” Jensen groaned as he rolled over and climbed out of bed. After his now customary cold shower, Jensen looked at himself in the mirror. He was even paler and the dark circles under his eyes had gone from purple and were now bordering on black.
“Ah well, desperate times call for desperate measures.” Jensen opened the medicine cabinet and picked up the tube of concealer that was kept for emergencies, one of the joys of being an actor. He laughed to himself as he carefully applied it under his eyes. He knew it wouldn’t fool Gina but it would get him past Cliff.
As the day wore on, Jensen felt progressively worse; over the last couple of days he’d developed a headache. Not the ‘oh god, kill me now’ kind of headache; more of a ‘please just put me in a coma and wake me up at Christmas’ kind. The headache had reached the stage where it was refusing to move, and it had invited friends round to party. His eyes were gritty and pulled with tiredness, causing him to squint. Jensen was beginning to understand the phrase ‘bone tired’ as there was now a deep ache in all his muscles, and his joints screamed in protest after he spent the morning cuffed in one place.
By the end of the day there was growing concern from the crew, especially after Jensen had nearly knocked himself out after he walked into a door. Misha knocked on the door of Jensen’s trailer “Jen, are you decent? Well, I know you’re not, but are you at least clothed enough to allow me access without Jared killing me?” Before he could respond, Misha burst through the door. Jensen was lying on the couch. He struggled to sit up.
“Hey Misha, shouldn’t you get changed? It’s time to go home, man.” Misha noted the way Jensen was squinting at him.
“Well, I love the Clint Eastwood look, but I hate to tell you, these are my clothes...although I’m stealing the sandals. Are you ready to go home before you collapse or am I going to have to fetch Cliff to carry you to the car?” Misha took a step forward as Jensen stood up and swayed dangerously to one side.
Jensen waved him away, “Look, I’m fine, and besides, Jared’s gonna be here tomorrow and you know what that means?”
Misha noted the heavy twang of Texas in Jensen’s accent, which usually meant that the boys were tired. It was so heavy it took Misha a few seconds to translate in his mind. “Well, it normally means if the trailer’s a rockin’ don’t come a knockin’?”
Jensen gave a tired laugh, “Never on set. It scares the P.A.s. No, it means it’s the last day of filming and I can get some rest.” As he spoke Jensen walked past Misha, listing to the side again. Without thinking, Misha straightened Jensen up and helped him down to where Cliff was waiting.
Between them Misha and Cliff loaded Jensen into the back of the SUV, “How much coffee has he had today?” Cliff asked as he watched Jensen’s knee bounce, his fingers tapping his leg.
“To be honest, I lost count at around five. He looks wired, and do you want me to help you get him home?” Misha watched Jensen’s caffeine-fuelled nervous ticks. Cliff shook his head.
“No, I’ll be fine. With a bit of luck he should get some rest on the way home. The journey usually sends him to sleep, although he usually has a Padalecki-shaped pillow. Thank God, it’s the last day of shooting tomorrow. Misha, your driver’s waiting for you.” Cliff nodded to Misha’s driver. With that, Misha said good night with one last concerned look at Jensen who was absently tapping out a drum solo against his leg.
“AC/DC or Zeppelin?” Asked Cliff as he got in and started the SUV.
“Neither. Kane, House Rules.” The words were muffled, wrapped round a giant yawn, but Cliff understood what Jensen was trying to say. He smiled as he slowly relaxed, the movement lulling him to rest.
After Cliff had dropped him home, Jensen was having a better night. He’d spoken to Jared and they’d even gone over some of their lines together, with gentle teasing about Jared being the teacher’s pet when he was word perfect. Jensen even managed to eat something. Considering how hit and miss his eating had been, he was rather pleased with himself.
Then Jensen decided to tackle the washing up, the sink was full. It wasn’t worth using the dishwasher, so he resorted to the old fashioned way - by hand. While he washed his mind wandered over the episode he was filming, and he was suddenly struck by how hard it must’ve been for Dean being without Sam. He wondered how he would cope without Jared. He knew he would be lost without him now. It would be like ripping away part of his soul.
Without warning, a tear trickled down Jensen’s face, and then another, and another. Soon he was standing, crying, with his hands in a bowl of washing up and to make matters worse, he couldn’t stop. He felt his chest tighten as he gulped for air through his sobbing, and that’s exactly what it was, he was sobbing. His head fell forward and tears dripped off the end of his nose; he couldn’t even find the strength to take his hands out of the sink.
Finally Jensen managed to push away from the sink and turn away. He managed a step before he sank down to the floor and sat with his back against the cupboards. At last the outpouring of grief stopped, leaving Jensen feeling hollowed out and even more exhausted. He pressed the heels of his hands into his now-stinging eyes, “Damnit, Ackles! You are way beyond tired. God! I’m glad Jay wasn’t here to see that. I’d never hear the end of me being a girl.”
Jensen remained where he sat, his constant companion, the headache had now gone from irritating to agonizing, his head throbbing in time with his pulse. Jensen’s neck and shoulders were so tense that every so often he would get pins and needles running up and down his arm, making his fingers numb. Finally he was forced to move when he got cramp in his leg.
He got to his feet and decided to go to bed. He was afraid that the night would follow the same pattern as the others, unable to sleep and when he did drop off that his sleep would be haunted with nightmares of loss and loneliness.
Unfortunately he was proven right; the night was the same as the others except for a change of venue. The dream took place in the house, which had reached labyrinth proportions - rooms appearing out of nowhere; doors where they shouldn’t be and all the time, Jared remaining just out of reach, refusing to respond to Jensen’s frantic pleas.
Jensen jerked awake, his eyes flying open; he rolled over to look at the clock, “Shit, I’m up early.” It wasn’t even three o’clock, but he knew that he’d never get back to sleep, so he struggled out of bed.
Once more he began what had now become routine, stepping in the shower, and turning on the cold water. His legs shook with effort as he showered; finally he leant against the wall, letting the cold water attempt to wake him. For once, the shower didn’t do the job and Jensen staggered down to the kitchen.
He knew he was in trouble when his tired eyes wouldn’t focus properly; he waited for his nuclear-strength coffee to brew. The muscles in his shoulders were so tight it felt as if his head was ready to fall off if he moved it too suddenly. Once the coffee was ready, he drank several cups. The only thing it woke up was his headache, and by the feel of it, it had really enjoyed the extra caffeine.
By the time Cliff arrived Jensen was pacing up and down the room in an attempt to stay awake. He rubbed at his eyes, they were tender to the touch, and were dry, “God! I feel like I’ve been wearing my contacts for a week.” Jensen reached for the door as Cliff rang the bell.
“Holy shit! Did you die in the night and your body didn’t get the memo?” Was Cliff’s good morning greeting.
“Good morning to you, too. Are we ready to go? When do you fetch Jared from the airport?” Jensen winced at his rasped in response to Cliff’s greeting.
Cliff watched as Jensen walked past him, “Are you sure you’re gonna make it through the day? Besides, I ain’t fetching Jared, remember?” Jensen spun round and would’ve toppled over if Cliff hadn’t steadied him. “Misha’s driver is fetching him, because he’s taking Misha to the airport. We talked about it.” Jensen looked confused; Cliff just patted him on the shoulder and got him in the SUV. “Jared, thank God your coming home today, because I think you’ve got your work cut out for you.”
Filming was well under way when Jared arrived on set. He was welcomed back like a conquering hero, several crew members had hugged him, and Cliff had nearly crushed him, “Dude, white suit, no crushing.” Cliff gave a wry smile and stepped back.
“Sorry, but damn, I’m happy to see you.” Cliff beamed at Jared; he narrowed his eyes, his Jensen radar on full alert.
“Ok. Where the hell is he? More importantly, is he in one piece? The last time I got this kind of greeting was when Lou was guilt ridden over the end of Season Three. Oh shit! Don’t tell me the script’s been altered and you’ve shot something from Hell. They promised me no more hanging Jensen from wires, it took weeks for the bruising on his hip to go, and he walked with a limp.” Jared had gone from happy to be home to full panic in the blink of an eye.
“No, no, nothing like that, Jared, I promise. He’s just a little tired, that’s all.” Cliff was now trying to prevent Jared from running on set and ruining the shot of future Dean having his neck broken by Jared’s stunt double. Jared finally used his extra height to his advantage, looking over Cliff’s head.
“A little tired? Cliff, he looks dead on his feet. Actually, excuse me while I go and get him back on his feet so he can look dead on them.” With that, he nimbly moved past Cliff and approached the action.
“Ok, one more time please, guys, and we’ve got it.” Steve turned, getting ready to go one more time, when he felt a presence. “Shit, Jared, you nearly gave me heart attack. Do you want to go over there and do that?” Steve watched as Jared considered the offer, his head tilted to one side, watching Jensen on the floor. He shook his head, Steve understood why; Jared didn’t want to break Jensen’s concentration by suddenly appearing. Besides, Jensen was so exhausted. Steve knew he was only holding it together to do his scenes with ‘Sammifer,’ as Jared in the white suit had been dubbed.
Once the set up was complete Steve ran the scene again. He was happy with the coverage; he motioned to Jared it was alright for him to go to Jensen. Jared approached quickly. His stunt double spotted him, smiled in relief and stepped away from Jensen’s prone form.
“Hey, don’t get too comfortable down there. I’m here to steal the episode. So come on, don’t let me down.” Jared knelt down by Jensen as he spoke.
Jensen blinked up at the lights, squinting against the brightness; Jared leant over, allowing Jensen to focus on him. Jared held out his hand to help Jensen up. Jared stood up and pulled Jensen to his feet. Jensen swayed forward and Jared grabbed him by the arms. “Hey, come on. Steady. Are you with me, man? Do you want to have a break?”
Jensen blinked a couple of times, and it was as if he’d just spotted who helped him to his feet. “Jay, did you have a good time? I need to get changed. Just give me a few minutes.” Jensen took a couple of steps and he wobbled. Jared quickly steadied him.
“Tell you what. Why don’t I walk with you and you can tell me how brilliant you’ve been.” Jared smiled as he wrapped his arm round Jensen’s shoulders. To an outsider it looked like a friendly gesture. To the crew it was a gesture of support and it made sure that Jensen remained upright on the walk to wardrobe.
When the two men returned to set, Jensen looked a little better. He seemed to be more aware of his surroundings, and he was smiling and joking with Jared. The crew relaxed a little, seeing Jensen like that. Steve called out “Ok ladies and gentlemen, this is it! Our special guest star is making his appearance. Let’s hear it for the morning star! And let’s be ready to go as soon as....” The crew moved swiftly, setting up the lighting as Jared and Jensen took their positions.
“Right, boys. I want to try this a couple of ways. We’ll take it in sections, and then I want to try it with Jared’s monologue in one take.” With that, it was back to work.
As filming progressed the atmosphere was electric. The crew could sense how special Jared’s work was, and he brought a sense of serenity to the fallen angel, a strange kind of compassion. The angrier Dean became, the calmer Lucifer was. Dean’s grief-driven passion was countered by a plea for understanding, finally the calm declaration that all roads would lead to this moment.
Steve called out “It’s a wrap! That was great, boys! Just absolutely amazing! Jared, great work! Eric’s gonna love this.” Jared was surrounded by the crew, all congratulating him on a brilliant job, telling him how he swooped in and stole the episode. Jared was laughing with the crew when he noticed an absence amongst the bodies surrounding him. “Hey, has anyone seen Jensen?”
Jensen smiled and waved at Jared. He wanted him to enjoy the moment, he deserved it. “Hey dude, you’re walking home for that. I’ve worked my butt off all week and you stroll in and steal the damn show.” Jensen was walking towards him, smiling good-naturedly at the catcalls from the crew.
“Alright, people. I’ll be signing autographs later, but for now I’m going to get changed and take Jensen home before he turns into a pumpkin.” Jared waved as he walked over to Jensen. Concern began to build in Jared’s gut as he got closer, he could tell Jensen was just hanging on. Just as Jared drew level with Jensen, the other man weaved slightly as he walked.
Jared reached out towards him, but Jensen stepped back and shook his head. Jared watched as Jensen walked towards wardrobe. He gritted his teeth and picked up speed. “Right! That does it! Come on, talk to me.” As Jared spoke he put his hands on Jensen shoulders. He was shocked at how tight the muscles under his hands felt. “Holy shit, Jensen! Why didn’t you say something? Jesus! How much do they hurt?”
Jensen went to say something, but suddenly all the colour drained from his face and Jared found himself holding Jensen in his arms. Jared pulled Jensen close to his chest, supporting his weight with a practiced ease. “Jen, come on, please. Don’t make me carry you off set. Think of our macho image.” Jared pleaded.
Jensen stirred weakly in his arms, “What macho image? Have you forgotten all the times we’ve started dancing and let’s not forget ‘gay chicken’ with Jeff?” Jensen’s voice was rough and barely audible, but to Jared it was the sweetest thing he’d heard all day.
Jared waited while Jensen managed to come round enough to stand on his own. Then Jared carefully led Jensen towards wardrobe and make-up. Once there, Jared quickly got changed back into his own clothes. He stepped back to where Gina was removing Jensen’s make-up. He took a sharp breath when he saw how pale Jensen was and the dark circles under his eyes. Just as Jared was about to stalk away and start threatening people with mayhem for not calling him, a voice brought him up short.
“Don’t you dare! It’s my fault. I wouldn’t let them tell you. So if you want to scream at someone, then scream at me. Hell, it might even keep me awake.” Jared sighed and walked back towards Jensen.
“Gina, is he ready to go? I think it’s time I took him home and tucked him up in bed.” Gina winked at Jared and laughed.
“I do not want to know what you two get up to off the set but he’s ready to go. Hey Jared, make sure he goes to sleep will you. He’s been mainlining coffee all week. So good luck, you’re gonna need it.”
When Gina had let slip what Jensen had been up to, Jared had been ready to kill him for being so damn stubborn. Then Jensen had rolled his eyes, and stood up quickly. After that Jared was too busy to consider where to bury his boyfriend’s body. Jensen stood, took a step, and then to Jared’s horror, his eyes rolled back and Jensen folded up. Jared just caught him before he hit the floor.
“Shit! You moron! Why didn’t you talk to Steve? Damnit, Jensen. Come on. Wake up, please.” Jared’s desperate pleas fell on stony ground as he held the limp body in his arms. Gina started to call for help, “Gina, no! Don’t, please? Just get Cliff to bring the car up and I’ll get him in the back. The sooner we’re home the better.”
“Are you sure, Jared? Shouldn’t we get the medic, just to be safe?” Gina looked on, worried, as Jared cradled Jensen to his chest; Jared was gently stroking the other man’s cheek. The skin was cool to the touch, and Jared could see Jensen’s eyes fluttering as he tried to open them. He looked up at Gina and shook his head. Gina paused for a moment, and then she went to the door. As she looked back over her shoulder she could see Jared watching Jensen intently, speaking softly to him, trying to wake him and keep himself calm at the same time.
Gina quickly found Cliff and quietly told him what had happened. Cliff moved swiftly and the SUV was parked outside make-up within minutes. He got the door open and he stepped into make-up. Jared was in the same position Gina had left him, with Jensen’s head resting on his lap. Jared looked up and Cliff’s throat tightened. Jared seemed so young and scared at that moment.
Cliff became professional; Jared didn’t need him to fall apart as well. He was very fond of the boys and he took his job seriously. Kneeling down by the two men, he looked at Jensen. White as sheet didn’t cover it, but at least he appeared to be breathing normally. “It’s ok, Cliff. I think this week just suddenly caught up with him. Hold on and I’ll lift him.” Jared sounded determined.
“No. Hang on, Jay. We’ll both lift him; that way we can get him in the car easier, alright?” Jared paused for a second, weighing up his options. He nodded and moved so that he was holding Jensen under his arms and Cliff held his legs.
“Sorry you got his feet man; they can be a little ripe.” Cliff saw a smile break out on Jared’s face as they carried Jensen towards the car.
“Says the man whose guts nearly caused me to pass out at the wheel. If Jensen hadn’t wound the window down God knows what would’ve happened.” Cliff smiled back in return.
Once they reached the car Cliff took Jensen’s weight while Jared got in. Then between them they manoeuvred him onto the back seat. Cliff pulled a blanket over Jensen and got into the driver’s seat.
As they drove Cliff kept a check on Jared in the mirror. Jared was sitting, slowly running his fingers through Jensen’s hair, and his other hand was absently massaging at one shoulder.
“You alright, Jay? I’m sorry. I should’ve called you. You might have been able to get him to slow down.” Cliff apologized.
“No, man. Jensen knew what he was doing; the damn fool runs himself into the ground playing Dean. I’ve warned him before about this, maybe he’ll slow down a little.” Jared gave the sleeping man a fond smile.
He looked back at Cliff and they both grinned and said at the same time “Naw, never happen.” Laughter filled the car.
As they laughed Jensen stirred, his eyes opening slowly. He blinked groggily, “Where am I? What happened? Jay, you alright?” Jensen croaked out, confused.
“I’m fine, although carrying your heavy ass to the car may have damaged my back. Welcome back. Did you have a good nap?” Jared asked, worried as Jensen was looking anything but rested.
“’m fine. Let me sit up.” Jensen was struggling weakly as Jared firmly planted his massive hand in the centre of his chest.
“How about: no, you’re just gonna lie here until we get home, and don’t pout, it won’t work.” Jared responded firmly, Jensen gave a put-upon sigh and relaxed.
Cliff grinned to himself, knowing that Jensen was probably going to be mother henned to death by Jared over the next couple of days. That is, if he stayed awake at all.
They arrived at the house and Jared helped Jensen to sit up, as Jensen reached for the door, “Oh no, you don’t. You’re waiting for me to help you out.”
“Ahh Jay. Come on. I’m alright now, please?” Jared cheerfully ignored Jensen’s protests, and got out of the car. He opened the door, holding it as Jensen slowly got out. For a second he wobbled and Jared caught his arm.
“Goodnight, Cliff. See you Monday. I promise he’ll be awake by then.” Jared wrapped his arm round Jensen’s waist and started to help him down the driveway.
“Goodnight, boys. Jensen, promise you’ll let Jared get some sleep; I don’t want to hear you’ve been partying all weekend.” Cliff called out, laughing as Jensen’s hand lifted and his middle finger rose in salute.
“Goodnight, Cliff. See ya nice and early Monday.” Jensen called over his shoulder. Cliff watched the slow progress down to the house. Jared managed to open the door and guide Jensen through it. Cliff smiled as he drove away.
“Come let’s get you to bed. I think you need your beauty sleep.” Jared made to go upstairs, but Jensen shook his head. “I thought you were tired?” Jared noticed the nervousness in Jensen at the prospect of going to bed.
“No. It’s still early. I’ll be fine on the couch for a little while. Jay, if you don’t mind, please?” Jared was puzzled at the tone of Jensen’s voice. As he watched him, Jensen blushed, and looked away. Jared decided not to push it. Jensen would tell him when he was ready.
“Ok then. You lie on the couch while I take care of the dogs and make us something to eat.” Jared sat Jensen down, lifting his feet up, pulling his boots off as he went. Jared stared pointedly at Jensen until he lay down. He waited until Jensen’s heavy eyes began to close, and then Jared went to work.
He greeted Harley and Sadie; he’d missed them while he’d been away. Jared let them outside; he went and threw a ball for them, enjoying playing with his dogs. “Sorry, guys. I’ll take you for a long run tomorrow but I need to make sure Jensen is alright tonight.” He ushered the two panting dogs back inside, and fed them. “Well, that’s you guys fed and watered; I suppose I ought to do the same for us.” Jared wandered into the kitchen; he noticed the washing up was gone. He smiled at Jensen’s attempts at being domesticated; he opened the fridge and paused.
They ate a lot of take-outs due to their long hours and the fact that neither was a great cook. Jared recognised all of the cartons, from when he had gone away. He fetched the closest one out of the fridge. Opening it, he smelled the contents. The pungent odour made his eyes water so he decided to empty the fridge of all the cartons. As he did so he wondered what the Hell Jensen had been eating. He tended to watch Jensen closely when he got caught up in filming. Sometimes if he got too tired he would skip meals and make matters worse for himself, and judging by how much food was still about, he would have to make sure Jensen ate pretty soon.
After a quick search Jared decided he could make an omelette, even his culinary abilities ran to that. Before he started he decided to check on Jensen. He expected to find him peacefully asleep, but he was shocked to see Jensen in the grip of a vivid dream. By the looks of it, it was a nightmare.
Jensen had curled up into a ball on the couch, his breath coming in ragged gasps. Jared could just see the sheen of tears on Jensen’s cheeks, and Jared was by his side in a second. He knelt beside him and ran his fingers over his face with the gentlest of touches but before he could wake Jensen, he responded to Jared’s touch...
“Please, Jay...I’m sorry. I don’t know what I did....just talk to me....don’t keep walking away...Jared, no” Jared bit at his lip and understood Jensen’s reluctance to go to bed. An overtired Jensen was prone to vivid dreams. Exhausted, they turned into nightmares. It didn’t take a genius to guess that Jensen was channelling Dean’s isolation from his separation from Sam. Character bleed - they both got it. They watched for it in each other and acted as safety valves for each other. But Jensen on his own, carrying the episode, he never stood a chance. Jared gave a wistful smile. Well, he’s here now and he can help. He just needed to put his plan into action.
It might not be worthy of Leverage and no hitter, hacker, thief, grifter or mastermind was needed to implement it, but he was sure Kane, at least, would appreciate it. Jared stood up and moved back a little ways before calling out “Jen, I’m cooking us an omelette. It‘ll be ready soon, try to stay awake.”
He watched from his position by the kitchen door as Jensen woke up fully. He wiped at his face, looking at his fingers when he came into contact with the tears. Jensen’s eyes were fixed on the ceiling and Jared could tell he was gathering himself together. Once Jared was happy Jensen was fine he quickly retreated into the kitchen. True to his word he returned with two omelettes in record time. Jared knew how to deal with Jensen like this - hover too much and he would just dig his heels in; you just had to know where to apply the right pressure.
Jensen sat up and Jared sat beside him, handing him a plate, “Eat up, man. I’m starving. So what do you want to do tonight? I’m bushed. I wouldn’t mind an early night.” Jensen looked less than happy with that suggestion, and was poking at his omelette as if it was going to leap off the plate and strangle him.
“Hey! It’s not that bad! I’ll get upset if you don’t at least pretend to eat it.” He ratcheted up the ‘stomped on puppy’ look just a little, and Jensen crumbled. A fully awake Jensen could sometimes resist for longer but in this state...he folded in seconds.
Jared watched out the corner of his eye as Jensen took a bite. At first it looked like he was chewing rubber, and then he became a little more enthusiastic. Pretty soon the plate was cleared. Stage one complete, now onto stage two. Jared picked up the plates, carried them to the kitchen then he slipped them into the sink. Strolling back through the lounge, he saw Jensen was trying to watch television - ‘trying’ being the operative word. His eyes were screwed up with the effort of trying to focus.
Jared continued on through, going upstairs into the bathroom. He loved his bathroom; when he’d bought the house it was that room which had sealed the deal. Not only did it have the most fantastic shower, but it held the most enormous bathtub Jared had ever seen. In fact, it was big enough for a Sasquatch and his mate. He grinned at the memory of him and Jensen trying it out the first time; its only problem was how long it took to fill.
Now that little problem was going to help with the next stage. Jared knew how long it would take, Jensen had timed it once while waiting to try and surprise Jared with a shared bath. Jared had found Jensen asleep on the bed and the tub about to overflow. Jared turned on the taps and waited to adjust the temperature.
Now for his secret weapon. Walking to the bathroom cabinet he opened it and rummaged through its contents, smiling in triumph as he found what he was searching for. Jared had been prone to insomnia until he worked on the show, but its long hours had soon cured that problem. Thanks to a gift from Sandy, Jared had a bottle of Lavender oil and other assorted lavender products to aid sleep.
Smiling, he walked over to the bath and added a few drops but not too much as he would be using the body wash. He moved to the bedroom. Opening a drawer he grabbed a handkerchief. Applying a couple of drops to the handkerchief, Jared then slipped it inside of Jensen’s pillowcase and took a deep breath. There was a faint scent from the pillow but it wasn’t overpowering. Jared returned to the bathroom, bringing with him a bottle of Lavender body wash to stand on the edge of the bath. A washcloth joined it. Turning on the heated towel rail, he placed the fluffiest towels they possessed over it to warm.
Satisfied with his preparations he went downstairs. Jensen was fighting to stay awake in front of the screen; he was looking more and more exhausted. Jared slipped beside him and pulled him close so he was nestled against his side. Casually, Jared began to gently brush at the back of Jensen’s neck in a slow rhythmic motion. Soon some of the tension drained out of Jensen; now for the third part of the plan. Jared yawned loudly and watched the yawn echoed by Jensen, his eyelids drooping shut. Jared took the remote out of Jensen’s lax hand, and turned off the television. He calculated the bath would be nearly ready by now.
“Come on, Jensen. I’m shattered. How about a nice hot shower first? Ease some of the kinks out?”
“Ah, Jay. I’m fine. I was watching that.” was the plaintive response.
“Fine. What were we watching?”
“It was...it was...I don’t know.” Jensen sounded defeated.
Jared took charge; he stood up and bent down, taking Jensen by the hands, pulling him to his feet. Adjusting his hold, he wrapped his arm round Jensen’s waist and walked them to the stairs. They made slow progress, Jared patiently guiding Jensen’s faltering steps. Once at the top they made their way to the bedroom. Jensen eyed the bed as if it was a demon in need of exorcism. That was when he heard the bath running, “Jay, I thought we were gonna have a shower?”
“Yeah, well. What with the long flight and all my hard work on set I wanted a soak.” As he spoke he was gently guiding Jensen’s stumbling steps towards the bathroom. He took Jensen’s death glare in his stride, and now onto the final stage of his master plan. Once in the bathroom Jared halted. He turned off the taps, checking the temperature. He was happy he wasn’t going to boil them both alive and turned to get Jensen ready.
“Dude, what’s that funny smell?” Jensen asked as Jared moved closer and began to undress him. Ignoring the question, Jared unbuttoned his shirt and took it off then he raised Jensen’s arms and pulled his T-shirt over his head. Jared’s eyes roamed over the newly-revealed skin for fresh bruises. Noting there were only a few new additions to the collection, he went to work on Jensen’s belt and undid his jeans. They dropped to the floor along with his boxers and Jared helped Jensen step out of them. He stood swaying, clad only in socks, causing Jared to smile at the sight.
Jared quickly stripped himself before finishing the job of stripping Jensen and as he was removing his own T-shirt he heard the sound of Jensen thumping round. He was just in time to stop him toppling over and knocking himself out on the bath because he’d tried to remove his socks and lost his balance. Holding Jensen close, he waited for his racing heart to calm down, “Stop it! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?” Jared whispered. With that, he let go and knelt down to remove the other sock.
Straightening, he led Jensen to the bath but before he had chance to consider how to get him in, Jensen stepped in himself. “Jay, I’m tired, not an invalid.”
Jared climbed in behind him “Says the man who nearly performed a lobotomy on himself just thirty seconds ago.” Jensen looked over his shoulder, a forlorn expression on his face. Jared smiled and sat down, his back firmly pressed against the bath. Jensen slowly sank down in front of him, sighing as the warm water gently lapped over his aching muscles, his back resting against Jared’s chest.
They let the water warm them, then Jared picked up the bottle of body wash. Flipping the cap off he poured some of it into his hands, and then he started to massage Jensen’s shoulders with it. He slowly progressed down his arms, kneading at tired muscles. Jensen’s head fell back onto Jared’s shoulder as he continued his slow rhythmic motion down his arms.
“You just relax. Let me take care of you. That’s it. Relax.” Jensen seemed to melt in his arms as he spoke. He continued bathing Jensen, a little more body wash, hands progressing naturally to massage Jensen’s chest. Making slow small circles, moving lower all the while, his fingers traced the well-defined ridges of Jensen’s abs.
Jared didn’t move his hands lower; this was all about looking after Jensen. Sex could wait till another time. Jared had to admit he was really enjoying the feel of Jensen’s body beneath his hands. Next the wash cloth was brought into use. Dipped in the water he starts to wash the lather from Jensen’s skin with slow gentle sweeps across his ribs. Jared is careful as Jensen is very ticklish, and he doesn’t want a black eye.
Jared lifts up one arm then the other, taking his time, moving the cloth up and down. He carefully applies gentle pressure to sore muscles. Jared sat up, moving Jensen forward with him. When Jensen is sitting upright once more, Jared pours more body wash into his right hand. He washed Jensen’s back, his left hand pressed to his chest, ensuring he doesn’t fall forward. Jared uses the wash cloth once more to rinse off the lather from his boyfriend’s broad back. He lets the cloth linger on Jensen’s neck and shoulders, allowing the heat to soothe the tension there. Jared sat back again, pulling Jensen close to him, and watches Jensen as he lies in his arms. The warmth of the bath is doing its job, helping to lull him towards sleep.
“Jensen, come on. It’s time for bed.” Jared whispers in his ear; the water has begun to grow cold and Jensen is attempting to curl up in Jared’s arms and go to sleep.
“Don’ wanna, mmmfff.” The words are slurred. Jared sits them both up again. He lets go of Jensen to see if he will slip down again. Happy he won’t, Jared bends his legs so his knees bracket Jensen. Jared carefully stands up, trying to disturb Jensen as little as possible and climbs out of the bath. Jared moves out of the room making final preparations. Jared pulls the comforter aside, and switches the bedside lamp on. He returns to the bathroom, flicking off the main bedroom light as he goes; he sees Jensen hasn’t moved.
Walking back to the bath he pulls the plug, allowing the water to drain away. “Come on, sleeping beauty. If you don’t get out soon, you’ll start to look like a prune and you hate prunes.” Jared’s soft words rouse Jensen slightly and he tilts his head back to look up. The expression is one of confusion, as if to say ‘how did I get wet?’
Jared can’t help himself; he kneels down and leans in for a kiss. His lips brush softly against Jensen’s, he responds to the gentle touch, kissing Jared back. The kiss is slow and tender, and Jared’s hand cups the back of Jensen’s head. Jared breaks the light contact and grins, “Adorable.” Jensen pouts when Jared calls him that. Jared’s quiet laughter fills the room as Jared stands up and helps the exhausted man to his feet.
Jared doesn’t wait. He picks Jensen up and carries him towards the door then he halts and puts Jensen down. “Come on. We’ve got to get you dry, and then off to bed.” Jared grabs one of the warm towels and wraps it round Jensen’s waist. He puts the lid down on the toilet seat and sits Jensen down. Reaching for another towel Jared kneels down once more, wrapping this one round his shoulders. Jared gently rubs at Jensen’s arms, moving his hands up and down his back.
Jensen leans forward, his head resting on Jared’s shoulder, his hands on Jared’s hips. Continuing to dry Jensen off, Jared works his way down to his legs. Jensen moans in appreciation at the soft, deft touch of Jared’s hands.
Jared finally stills, Jensen is dry enough so he takes the towel from round his shoulders and uses it to quickly dry himself. Jared bends down, unfastens the towel from Jensen’s waist. He slips his arm under Jensen’s legs and Jensen’s arms reach up to wrap round Jared’s neck. Slipping his other arm round Jensen’s back, Jared straightens up and carries Jensen to the bedroom.
He places Jensen on the bed and quickly covers him with the comforter so he doesn’t get cold. He will make sure that Jensen is warm enough once he is in bed. Jared turns off the bathroom light and closes the door; he will clean up tomorrow. Quickly crossing the room, Jared slips into bed and moves closer to Jensen.
In the soft light of the lamp, the shadows deepen the dark circles round Jensen’s eyes. Jensen shuffles even closer to Jared as if searching for him. Jared turns out the light and slowly entwines himself round Jensen, until Jensen is snuggled against him, with Jared’s hand caught in his. The scent of lavender fills the air, and Jared finds himself relaxing at its scent. He listens to Jensen’s breathing slowly even out.
In the darkness Jared smiles; the plan has been successful. Gently running his thumb back and forth across Jensen’s hand, he whispers “Goodnight, Jen. I’m here, there’s nothing to worry about. I love you.” He places the softest of kisses on Jensen’s neck, and waits to join Jensen in sleep.
Slowly the tension that Jensen has been carrying throughout the week flows from heavy limbs, and he drifts away into sleep. Feeling more at peace than he has all week, Jensen begins to dream. Gone are the dark and desolate dreamscapes, instead Jensen is lying in a meadow filled with sweet-smelling flowers. Jared is no longer a fleeting ghostly figure, always beyond his reach. Jared holds him close, whispering words of love.
When Jensen wakes the next morning, he finds himself lying in Jared’s arms and the scent of lavender lingering in the air. Jared smiles at him and Jensen thinks if this is a dream he never wants to wake up.