Fairy Tale: A True Story


Clouds gathered in the skies of the Realm. For millennia, the Realm spoke the will of its rulers, and when the Queen of Air and Darkness levelled one white finger at the man who faced her, there came a rumble of thunder. Nobles of the twelve houses stood straight, fighting not to show their fear - the power of the Queen was without peer in her court.

"You dare," spoke the Queen, and lightning flashed in her eyes.

The man across from her stood tall, and his voice carried across the hills. "I refuse you," said he. "I am of the King's Court. You might be Queen here, but you cannot compel a consort."

"You love another," the Queen told him, cold as frost. "I know it, do not try to lie. Perhaps you have even lain with your slut, perhaps she already bears your child. Rest assured, I will find them. You have shamed your blood, your line... your King."

The man straightened and lifted his chin. "Perhaps. But I do not regret it."

The air thinned when the Queen spoke, flinching from her anger. "You forget yourself, Balgair de Danaan."

Hushed conversation rippled through the crowd of nobles - surely she did not mean it! Surely her highness was only saying it for effect, that curse had not been used in a thousand thousand years!

But the lightning flashed around them, struck the ground with a terrible crash, and when the air cleared, the Queen gazed with proud, icy eyes at the smoking earth where there had once stood a man.


Between scenes, Jensen is having a cigarette. He leans on the Impala's fender and breathes deep, listening to the low chatter of the crew over there, talking and knocking shit over and laughing as they set things up. Phil's directing this time, and because he isn't on the production set very often Jensen can get away with wheedling the guy into letting him do what, very technically, only transpo is insured to: driving the stunt Impala from the last scene to the next. And if one were going to further discuss technicalities, Jensen isn't supposed to smoke outside designated areas, which this is not.

But the crew lets him and Jared get away with murder on a daily basis, and anyway Jensen's pretty sure there's nobody's around. What they don't know won't hurt 'em, he muses, exhaling a slow column of smoke into the darkening air.

With the evening dew beginning to settle on his hair and shoulders, he shivers. It's just a little chill, nothing big. But as he moves his eyes, he notices a little shift and rustle behind a tree, just nearby.

At first Jensen thinks it's a person, but that's silly - if it were a crew member, they woudn't be skulking around in the tree line. It might be a squirrel, though, so Jensen starts to pick his way forward, a smile tugging at his lips. He and Jared have this theory – or running gag – that if they sufficiently freak out the squirrel population on the outskirts of Vancouver, sooner or later they'll learn to leave the craft services tent alone and then the first choice of the morning pastries will be theirs, all theirs.

So he tiptoes over to the tree, knowing full well that he's not likely to find a damn thing, but there it is again – a flash of movement, a twitch of the twigs. It looks almost too deliberate for a squirrel, and Jensen starts to get suspicious. Abandoning stealth, he rounds the corner.

Behind the tree, bare feet planted firmly on nothing about two feet off the ground, there stands a woman. She's a little more than a foot tall, and wrapped around her perfect, miniature body is a swath of gauzy white fabric, girdled by a tiny golden cord. Her mocha skin sparkles, glows, and she looks up into his face with a pleading expression, her exquisite features without any kind of flaw. She comes toward him, moving a little bit like a hummingbird. Jensen can't see any wings, but her movements give the impression of them as she hovers close to his hand.

Well, he thinks, staring at her. That's not special effects.

She sneezes, a soprano little burst of sound, and then she plucks the cigarette out of his hand and tosses it away.

"O please," she says. "You must listen to me."

Jensen whisper-chokes, "You're a fuh."

She blinks at him.

"F."

"Fairy," she says, helpfully, her voice like tiny bells, her lips a bud. "Yes. Try not to be too overwhelmed by my beauty."

He blinks at her, this time.

"Please," she continues, undaunted, hands clasping as though at prayer. "Your friend, you know him as Jared. He is in trouble."

"I am hallucinating," Jensen says, carefully.

She doesn't appear to understand, and reaches up instead to clasp his pinky finger in her hand. "He needs your help," she says, and gives him the biggest eyes it's possible for someone so small to give.

"I'm dreaming!" Jensen says then, relieved. "Thank God."

She stomps her little foot on thin air, hovering as she is. "Pay attention!"

Now that he's sure he's not lucid, the flying bothers him less. He smiles at her. "Okay, okay. I'm sorry. What about Jared?"

She glares at him, but continues. "He is in trouble, and you must help him."

"Jared's down the well?" he says, beaming.

She sinks her sharp little teeth into the pad of his pinky finger.

"Ow!" He shakes her off. "What the hell!"

"You're not dreaming!" she shouts, stomping again as she flits up to point a tiny, imperious hand at him. "You will listen to me, or I will make you suffer!"

He shakes his wrist. The bite stings, and dreams aren't supposed to sting. He glares back at her. "Listen, tiny girl, if I'm not dreaming, I'm crazy, and I shouldn't be listening to my psychosis! Or... arguing with it."

She darts over to his ear and takes hold of the shell, stretching it out so she can shout inside. "I don't care what you think!"

He bats her away from the side of his head and she somersaults away, tumbling end over end.

"That hurt," he says, pointing right back at her. "My mama's allowed to drag me by the ear, not you."

She shakes her little head, floating in midair, and then glares at him. "I wouldn't have had to if you would just listen."

"I am not listening to a single word you say," he growls, and stomps back to the car. When he gets into the Impala he slams the door closed, puts his hands at ten and two on the wheel and fumes. When he's calmed down a little, he takes out another cigarette and sets it to his lips, brings up his lighter and flicks it.

Nothing happens. It sparks, but there's no flame.

He tries again and again, shaking the lighter a couple times. Nothing.

He sighs and lets the lighter fall to the floor, and then hits the car's automatic.

When the button pops out, he takes the glowing cherry end and sets it to the cigarette.

He puffs - and puffs.

The end smokes, but it won't stay lit. The lighter's hot, he burns his finger checking; as he's staring at it, getting angrier by the second, he hears a familiar, spiteful little voice:

"Over hill, over dale, thorough bush, thorough brier, over park, over pale, through flood, through fire!"

He looks around, wild eyed, but he sees nothing. He checks the backseat as the voice continues, gets out and looks under the car, in the trunk, but it just keeps on singing. "I do wander everywhere, swifter than the moon's sphere; and I serve the fairy Queen, to dew her orbs upon the green..."

Jensen's growling at the grass, kicking the tires, "Come out, you little b-"

"Jensen?" asks Kim. "We're, uh. We're ready to go when you are."

Jensen coughs, and gets in the car.


It won't stop. She will not shut up. She's invisible, Jensen's figured that out by now, but her singing's gotten more and more annoying the longer it goes on. It's not just the high, sweet tone, but the content, too: she spent about an hour with Shakespeare before moving on to I'm Hen-er-ee the Eighth, I am, which persists for the rest of the night and through his shower the next morning. By the time he gets to work the next morning, she's gone quiet. He keeps seeing movement over his shoulder, just out of the corner of his eye, but she's never there. She's toying with him.

Jensen clutches his script, reads over his lines and refuses to budge.

He's driving home that evening when she starts whispering, "Little boy, little boy, come find me..."

When he ignores it, gritting his teeth, when he still doesn't respond, he hears her tinkling, ethereal soprano break into a throaty, impossibly loud version of a much more familiar song: "There was something in the aaaair that niiiiight, the staaaars were briiiiight, Fernando!!"

That's when he pulls over onto the side of the highway, slams out of the car and shouts out into the cool fall night, "Come out, you fucking stalker!!"

People stare at him as they drive by but he can't see them, he only sees blind red rage. His SUV is parked on the shoulder of the country road and he wades out into the tall grass, ripping it from its roots as he goes. "Come out!!"

A few yards out there's a little pond, and as Jensen rages through the field he spots a little light flickering in the middle of it, beneath the moonlit depths. It's green, ghostly, and his eyes narrow as he grins. "Gotcha."

He wades out into the pond, sloshing the water everywhere. It's a little deeper than it seemed, up to his waist, but he's almost to the middle and she's not even foot and a half tall, it's not like she can run faster than him.

He's tired of this, he's tired of it, and he won't stand for it. In the middle of the pond he lets things settle - something races past his legs in the murky water, but he ignores it, watching for the light. The moon plays tricks over the water's surface, and once again there comes the sweet little bell voice but Jensen isn't distracted; he just watches.

Finally, the little flicker of green comes, down in the depths, and he dives for it.

He grabs something solid, his chin just above the surface of the water. "Gotcha, you fairy bitch," gloats Jensen, and yanks up hard.

Before he knows what's happening, the something yanks back, and he is jerked under the surface of the water. He kicks, yanks his arm, but he's held fast. He turns around, opens his eyes even though it means his contacts are probably fucking ruined, but he catches bleary sight of a withered old creature clinging to his arm, glowing with that greenish light. Its seaweed hair twines around him, dragging him down, and all Jensen can think is that there is no way in fuck he is going to be killed by fairies.

He punches the creature in its wizened apple-core face, and it lets go just long enough for him to heave up to the surface, gulp in a breath of fresh air before being hauled back down.

It's a strong son of a bitch, Jensen'll give it that.

And then, in the middle of the water, he sees a tiny girl with her arms folded over her chest and her white hair floating like silver in the water around her. "Will you listen now?" she asks him, and he hears it perfectly. He opens his mouth to tell her to go screw herself, but all that comes out is bubbles.

His lungs are burning and he forces himself to hold his breath, take another swing at the creature. It ducks out of the way and tries to pull him further down, but Jensen braces a foot against the bottom and hauls up hard.

He barely manages to get in a breath on the surface, mixed with pond water, before being dragged back under. He starts to see spots in front of his eyes, though he can't tell if that's bits of pond scum caught in his contacts, or if it's because he's drowning.

He blinks, starts prying at the creature's fingers, desperate.

The fairy flits closer to him. "Promise me you'll listen to me," she says, almost pleading. "And I will help you! Promise you'll help me and I will," she says, putting a tiny hand to his cheek.

He nods, frantic, his chest seizing and the taste of murk in his mouth.

"Will-o-the-wisp," she says, her voice clear in the muddy waves, and the creature shrieks. It lets go of Jensen's hand and flees the sound of its name, disappearing into the depths.

Jensen rises immediately to his feet and hauls himself out of the pond. Two ducks, which had seated themselves on the still waters when he was below, honk off into the sky and away from the startling, muddy human.

He drags in deep breaths, ragged and laughing. "Man, I ain't never been so happy to see sky," he says, rolling onto his back.

A little weight settles itself on his stomach, and the fairy comes walking up his chest and seats herself primly on his sternum. "Now. You will listen to me."

"You got it, Glinda," he breathes, smiling. "I'm all ears."

She touches the cleft in his chin for a moment to soothe his smile away – this is serious business, Jensen understands, so he composes himself into listening mode. He figures he owes her that, even if he is crazy.

"Your friend," she says, worry in her little face. "The one to whom you are closer than any other."

"Jared," Jensen supplies.

She nods. "He is not what you imagine. You have known him as a human, and so he knows himself, but that is because he has been bewitched."

Jensen blinks at that, concerned. "You mean he's under a spell or something?"

"I just said that!" she says, kicking him in the throat with her little foot – it's not very hard, but he coughs and glares at her, and she glares right back. "He must be released," she insists. "A long time ago he was cursed by a terrible witch. She made him forget his people and take this guise of a human, but in truth he is of noble birth, a knight of the fae Realm and one of the guardians between this world and the next. If he stays here on Earth, he will lose himself."

"What do you mean, lose himself? What's wrong with being a human?"

She gives a shudder, wrinkling her nose. "Well, aside from the obvious, a fae creature cannot exist as he is on Earth for this long. If he does not return to the Realm, he will lose his spark, his essence. By his thirtieth mortal birthday, he will be an old man – in spirit, if not body."

Jensen lies back on the ground and knits his brow. He can't imagine Jared ever being old, let alone in a few years. The Jared he knows is bright and funny and always laughing, he eats with gusto and listens to music the same way, he enjoys all the life he can. Take that away and, well. He wouldn't be Jared anymore. Cautiously, he looks at the little woman sitting on his chest. "Let's just say I help you. I break this curse, restore his memories. What happens to him?"

"He is assumed back into the Realm," she says with a bright smile. "But don't worry, if he chooses he can come back and spend time with you. Time passes very differently in the two worlds."

Jensen frowns. "But he wouldn't have to come back? He could just... up and disappear?" He waves his hand, a vague gesture.

"If he chose," the fairy says, and for the first time she looks a little sympathetic. She pats his face with her palm, like he's a dog.

"Well," Jensen says cautiously. "Hypothetically, what would I have to do?"

She smiles. "Oh, that part is simple. I carry with me the magic to restore his memories, and that's all he needs to go back – to remember that he can."

"Oh. So, why didn't you just, y'know... juice him up?"

She shakes her head, her long, fine hair falling over her shoulders like moonbeams. "No, no, it must be delivered by one who loves him. That is a part of the spell."

Jensen bites his lip and thinks. Jared doesn't have a girlfriend at the moment, but love is love. "His mom, maybe?"

"No," she says, wrinkling her nose. "Not a relative, surely."

"Why not?"

"Heart to heart's kiss," she says with serious little eyes. "That is coin of the Realm – only a gift of love is strong enough."

"But he's not in love now."

She laughs, a tinkling little laugh. "He loves you!" she says, smiling at him.

"...Oh no. No, no, no." Jensen sits up, and the fairy rolls backward, end over end, to flop into his lap.

"No!" he says, wide-eyed as he looks at her. "You clearly do not understand what me and Jared, y'know." He moves his hands around, like that'll make the right words come into being. She jumps up into the air and shakes off like a dog, spraying his face with mud and pond water. "You love him," she insists. "You take this magic and you give him a good kiss and the spell is broken! What's wrong with that?"

"I can't just kiss Jared!" he blusters. "We're friends!"

"So he should be fine with it," she says innocently. "Even humans know how to kiss. Just explain that you have to. He'll understand."

Jensen gesticulates in the air, waving his hands. "Sure! No problem! Hey, buddy, got a second? I gotta turn you into a fairy, now pucker up. That'd go over great."

"Listen," she says, long-suffering. "Just eat this bread, find him and kiss him. I don't care how you do it. Just do it by sunrise, or the magic will wear off."

"What!?" he shouts. "You're crazy!"

"Whatever you gotta do to sleep at night," she says, and grabs his finger again. She holds it still and puts a little dot of something in Jensen's palm, then waves at it with her hand. In a moment, it's grown to a round, white cake. It looks kind of like a brownie, only white, and it sparkles in the moonlight. Jensen eyes it dubiously. Like an albino fudge brownie. Icing and everything.

When he looks up to object, she's gone.

Jensen looks back to his hand, but his albrownie is still there, perched perfectly in his palm. He sighs and stands up, expecting the squish and rub of wet clothes, of mud.

When he gets dry, easy movement, he blinks again. "What the..."

His clothes are dry and clean, and the pond's sides show no signs of his having been flopping around on them like a landed fish.

Jensen walks back to his car, gets in and puts the cake down on a Tim Horton's napkin, in the passenger seat. It sits there, twinkling at him, and he stares at it for a long moment before pulling back onto the road.

When he gets home to his apartment, he puts the napkin and cake down on his kitchen counter. No fairies here. No craziness. He pulls out his phone and blinks as a tadpole flops out of his pocket and wiggles on the floor.

He just turns his back on it and heads into the living room, speed-dialling Jared.

"Dude," Jared says, straight off. "What up?"

Jensen almost laughs – Jared sounds so normal. "Hey, man. Come over."

"What? It's ass-o-clock. Why the hell would I wanna drag my sorry ass to your house in the middle of the night?"

"Because I have my own kitchen. Come on."

"Do better," Jared says, clicking on something, probably his PSP.

"And my bed is in a different room than my TV."

Jared laughs. "I'm bringing pizza. You better be locked and loaded when I get there."

"I'm firing it up right now," Jensen says, turning on his X-Box.

There are a lot of nights when neither of them can really sleep - too amped up from the shoot, too used to being awake until all hours. It's easy to kill time until his buzzer goes off, second nature. When it does, blasting through the Halo 2 theme music on his TV, he runs over to the door and pushes the button. "Yo."

"Dude."

"Your password is accepted," Jensen says, and buzzes him in.

He unlocks the door, returns to the living room and flops down onto the couch only to find that the white cake is sitting on his coffee table, on the napkin, with a fork beside it.

He scowls at it. "Subtle," he chides, and picks it up. He brings it close to his face, sniffs. It smells like sugar and chocolate.

He nibbles a little of it - it's fucking awesome, of course, as tasty he imagined a fairy cake would be, if he were in the habit of imagining fairy cakes, that is.

Jensen sighs, bids adieu to his sanity and takes a big bite out of the thing. The icing is freaking spectacular, like the cream cheese icing they put on carrot cake. Jensen licks his lips and the oxygen only makes it more flavorful, more perfect. The cake itself is light and fluffy, tastes perfectly of vanilla - not too much, just enough. He takes another big bite, leaving just a corner left in his hand. His throat is warm where he's swallowed and the sugar's all over his lips - he wipes the back of his hand across his mouth but the taste is still there. He feels tingly on his fingers as he swallows his second bite; when he sucks in the last of it, he licks the smears of icing from his thumb and is right in the middle of that when Jared flops down onto the couch next to him.

"Man," Jared grins. "Do you and your thumb need a minute alone?"

"Fuck you," Jensen mumbles, hitting Jared with the back of his hand and trying to keep his mouth closed.

Jared, being Jared, just laughs. "Come on, bitch, get a controller. Where's my donuts, huh?"

"At the Tim's, man, you were supposed to pick 'em up. Where's my pizza?"

"On the way," Jared says. "I called. Now face me like a man."

Jensen picks up a controller, and the battle is on. They blow the bejesus out of each other up one side of Blood Gulch and down the other, tanks and sniper rifles and only occasionally capturing any sort of flag.

When the buzzer goes off again a half hour later, Jensen pushes pause and shoves Jared's shoulder. "Go on, it's your turn."

"Lazy bastard," Jared teases, but it really is his turn, so he goes.

That's just as well, Jensen thinks, because for reasons that can surely be traced to tiny little menaces that ought to be hit with a fucking flyswatter and their stupid fucking cake, he has been sitting there next to Jared for the last ten minutes with a hard-on that could cut glass. His entire body is tingling, he's flushed, he knows, he can feel it. It's like trying to play a video game while somebody's giving you a blowjob, which is to say fucking impossible. He's died ten times in the last ten minutes and he knows why. Jensen makes for the bathroom and shuts the door behind him, splashes cool water on his face and stares his reflection in the eye.

Breathe, he tells himself. This is all psychological. Stress. Something I ate. There's no such thing as fairies. I don't believe in f-

He gets a glimpse of her in the mirror, then, her hand around her own throat, dramatically choking to death. When he whips around, there's nobody there, only the sound of her fluty little giggle.

When Jensen comes back into the living room, Jared's got Bring It On cued up to the title card on the DVD player. There are three pizza boxes and four MGD on the table, two on each side. "Come on, man," he says. "I got you your pansy pineapple."

Jensen goes in and sits down. He eats his barbecue chicken and pineapple, which, by the way, is not pansy in any way (hello: barbecue) and watches girls in flippy skirts bounce around on TV. It's a fine, upstanding, respectable way for two guys to spend an evening, and one of them should unquestionably not be thinking of a way to break the ice and start the make-out session.

Goddamn fairies.

"Jared," he says.

"Mm?" They both have the movie memorized. Jared tips back a little beer, not even looking.

"When you were a kid, did you... did you believe in, like, supernatural stuff?"

Jared aims a slanted look at Jensen, under the lashes. "I'm a down to earth guy, but I try not to take anything for granted. There could be, I won't say there couldn't."

Jensen smacks his shoulder. "Okay, and now the not-for-Tiger-Beat answer."

Jared laughs. "Your own fault, dude."

"Serious," Jensen says. "You believe in fairies and Santa when you were little?"

"Sure," Jared says, shrugging. "Who didn't?"

"Okay," Jensen says. "Okay, so... What about now? Like. Do you still think that there could be-"

"Jen, you quit pussyfooting around and ask me what you really wanna ask me or I'll get 'em to wire your jaw shut." It's said in the laziest possible tone; Jared often gets bored with Jensen's habit of flirting with things he doesn't want to say.

Jensen sighs and rubs a hand over his face. "Dude, I'm. I think I'm cracking up."

Now Jared turns to him on the couch, no longer teasing. "What're you talking about? Jensen, what's going on?"

"You're gonna think I'm insane. I was there and I think I'm insane."

"Come on," Jared says. "Tell me. I promise to visit you in the psych ward."

Jensen looks him in the eye and takes a deep breath. "Okay. I been accosted by this... fairy. All day long. I'm talking, like, she's twelve inches tall, walks on thin air, a fairy. And she gave me a magic brownie and told me I had... I had to help you, or you'd die before you're thirty."

Jared stares. He's almost laughing, he wants to laugh. He's waiting for any indication that he should laugh.

Jensen gives him none.

"I know what you're thinking," Jen finally says. "You're wondering if 911 handles straitjackets."

"I'm thinkin your brownie was more magic than you think," Jared says, sitting back. After a second or two passes, he makes a curious sort of face. "I'm gonna die? According to your fairy?"

"Yep."

"Before thirty?"

"Yeah."

"...Bummer."

Jensen can't help it. He laughs.

He laughs until tears are rolling down his face. Jared laughs too - the whole thing is fucking ridiculous. They're bent in half, killing themselves, kicking their feet and holding their stomachs. And as Jensen is hyperventilating his way through the thing with the will-o-the-wisp, he lets it slip. "Ugliest motherfucker I ever did see, Jared, oh my god, I swear, a grip like my grandma's, whoooo. So god, yeah, so she tells me I gotta kiss you."

"What?!" Jared barks it out, laughing, doesn't believe it.

"Oh yeah, man, heart-to-heart's kiss, she said, gotta be somebody who loves you. I suggested your mom, but."

Jared snorts a little, but flails one hand in the air. "Heart-to-heart's kiss, I remember that. Rhymes when you were a kid, remember, there was some song or something..."

Jensen shrugs, he doesn't remember anything like that.

"When memory's gone, bring lover's heart-to-heart's kiss along; the mind will restart. Something like that. Can't quite..."

Jensen blinks. "Dude, I don't remember anything like that."

Jared shrugs. "Maybe it's a Polish thing. I remember my oma was... Or maybe it was a friend of hers..." He scratches his head.

Jensen puts lips to beer bottle and tries not to say anything stupid, but when he puts the bottle down, Jared's eyebrows are still scrunched up, trying to remember. Jensen feels his mouth moving, the words coming out before he can stop them. "Well, come on. If nothing happens, we never speak of it again."

Jared laughs. "This is the lamest come-on ever," he says, but he puts his bottle down on the table and sits up straighter.

Jensen raises an eyebrow at him. "Serious?"

"Hey," Jared says, putting up a hand. "You're the one wanted to-"

"No, no," Jensen says, shifting closer and copying Jared's move with the beer. "It's all good, let's do it. We have got to be fucking hammered."

That's a lie. They both know how much they drank. But Jared laughs anyway. "And you're stoned on magic brownie. I promise not to bring this up at your wedding."

"You will too," Jensen grins, and slides a hand around the back of Jared's neck.

"I'll be your best man if you know what's good for you, so I'll be doing the toast." Jared smiles and shifts forward a little, leans in.

"Cocksucker," Jensen breathes, just before he touches Jared's lips with his own.

It's fucking electric. Instantly, Jensen's entire body is tingling again, just like his fingers before. He's hard in his jeans, his hands clutch Jared's shoulder and knee as they lean together. Their stubble catches together. Jensen opens his mouth, it just seems like the thing to do, and Jared's doing it too. One of those big hands comes around to cup the back of Jensen's head, to angle him right so they can lick into each other's mouths, bite just so.

When they break apart, Jared's breath is as rough as Jensen's own. They press their cheeks together, and Jared rests his hand at the back of Jensen's neck. "So," Jensen pants. "Remember anything?"

"You mean of that rhyme?" Jared asks. "No. Fuck the rhyme, man."

He leans in again and Jensen pulls away a little, just before he makes contact. "You mean you don't... everything's the same?"

"Not everything," Jared grins, dark and wicked. He catches Jensen's hand and pulls it down, down.

Right around the time that Jensen's hand makes contact with the heated swell in Jared's jeans is the time that he stops giving a flying fuck about the fairies, pushes Jared back on the couch and braces himself above. Jared groans under his hand, pushing up, and snakes a hand around Jensen's neck again to pull him in again. Jensen dodges, resting his chest against Jared's and pushing his face into that long neck, that warm crease just under his jaw. "Did you want this?" he asks, biting soft at Jared's skin. "Before now?"

"Christ, yes," Jared groans, turning his head to give Jensen access. "Took your fucking time, Jensen."

Jensen presses his hips against Jared's, feels the rub and swell and pulse of their erections together, and he shivers. "I didn't know," he says, and then latches tight to Jared's neck and takes a great deal of delight in putting a deep, hard mark in that tanned skin.

Jared groans loud and makes a fist in Jensen's hair, pulls him in. "God, god, how could you not know, how. Was I fucking subtle or something, you call me day or night and I druh... I drop everything, every fucking thing to come running... Jensen, fuck, fuck. You're gonna fuck me tonight, you better fucking..."

Jensen makes his way up Jared's jaw, along that scraping stubble, and he forgets everything except their bodies pressed together, chest to thigh, there's no part of Jared he can't feel. And he looks at those flushed cheeks, those eyes gone dark with need, and he feels the truth of it in his bones - yes. Together. Yes.

He leans in, and he kisses Jared hard.

Somewhere nearby, there is the sound of bells.

Jared's groan takes on a long, deep resonance. Jensen hears it in stereo, it seems, all around him, all through him. When he opens his eyes, Jensen sees a warm, white light that doesn't belong.

"No," he whispers. "No, no, that's not. No."

A litany of soft words tumble out of Jared's mouth. Barely, Jensen catches words that might be understandable if they were only a little louder, a little clearer.

"Well done," says a familiar high voice, and Jensen whips his head around to glare at the little fairy seated on the edge of his coffee table. She's kicking her feet and clapping her hands, joy on her face. "A spell unbound cannot be done again; once broken, will depart."

Jensen is right on the verge of swatting her off the table when Jared's hand takes his shirt and Jensen looks back. Jared looks up at him with wonder, with gratitude. "You... you did it."

Jensen is about to smile - perhaps gratitude might lead to more, y'know - but then Jared's face turns awful, even scared. He looks over at the girl standing on the TV Guide. "Gossamer! Tell me we're protected."

The fairy looks back at him, worried. "I've done what I can, but I'm no guardian. She'll break through soon enough. But now that you're awake, surely you can..."

Jensen looks from one to the other. "What are you talking about?"

Jared looks at him incredulously, and then back to the fairy. "You didn't tell him?" he snarls.

She shrugs her tiny shoulders. "I was having enough trouble getting him to kiss you to begin with!"

"Tell me what?" Jensen asks, starting to panic. "What the hell is going on?"

"An excellent question." This new voice is like ice, thinning the air with every syllable. A woman's voice, surely, but Jensen can't look at her to be sure - his eyes hurt, his neck hurts when he tries.

Jared immediately sits up, pushing Jensen gently to one side. He says a word that Jensen can't understand; it clatters and screeches in his ears and he can't make sense of it. Vaguely, he wonders if his hardwood finish will be okay. Jared's tone, though, says all that Jensen needs to know - it's a name, this woman's name, and Jared really, really doesn't like her.


The couch moves, then, with Jensen on it - there goes the varnish. All the furniture moves, slow and ponderous, to the sides of the room. Jensen can just barely see what's happening over the arm. There stands Jared, his head almost touching the ceiling. Jensen has ten foot ceilings. The fairy, Gossamer, she stands beside him, the size of a full grown woman. Both are glaring furiously at somebody just beyond the edge of the couch.

Gossamer says the word Jensen can't understand and executes a pointed little curtsy.

"My Queen," says the icy voice, in the tone of a correction.

Gossamer puts her hands on her hips. "You are not my Queen."

But then, as Jensen looks on, the not-so-little fairy's breath catches in her throat, and she sinks slowly to her knees.

The icy voice cracks forth again. "Perhaps not. But I am Queen nevertheless, and you will show the proper respect."

Gossamer folds forward, her forehead touching the floor. "Yes, highness."

The Queen steps closer, and Jensen catches the faintest hint of dimming light before he is forced to move back and allow the couch to obscure her. He is almost missing a part of Jared - he's the one she's moving toward.

"Well," she says, like breath making clouds in the frigid air. "It has been a long time, púca."

"Highness," Jared says, and the depth of his voice shakes the foundations.

"You and Gossamer have broken my law," she tells him.

He shakes his head, Jensen can see. "It was broken for me," he corrects. "With milseáin bread."

She hisses, so like a snake that Jensen expects to hear the rattle. "Milseáin!"

"Yes, highness," Jared says, sounding almost smug. "Milseáin."

"Where is she?" The Queen demands, thunder snapping through her voice and the weight of eons dimming the light. "Where is the one who broke my spell, púca? Bring her forth."

Jared steps forward. "Highness, it is a human."

She laughs with delight, vicious. "So much the better. Bring her out, I want to look on her with my own eyes."

"Your highness knows that a human who gazes on your face will surely perish," Jared chastises. "At least allow me to offer my beloved some protection."

The Queen laughs again, an awful sound. "By all means. Bind her eyes, I will even grant you that lenience."

"Thank you, your highness," he says, and turns to the couch where Jensen lies.

Jensen pushes back from the edge. He doesn't want any part of this. He's definitely insane. He's probably in fucking Bellevue right now. Jared - at a perfectly normal size, suddenly - comes around the side of the couch and crouches down. "Jensen," he says gently, in the same soft Texas drawl he's always had. "C'mere."

"What?" Jensen whispers. "What the fuck is. Jared."

Jared slides a hand into his hair again, and leans forward. "Shh," he says. "Trust me."

He presses his mouth to Jensen's again. Tingling fires off in every nerve as Jensen tastes sweet sugar on Jared's mouth, that perfect icing and vanilla, the powdered candy beauty that's sparkling on his tongue – the fairy cake.

"You," Jensen breathes. "You had more... but why?"

The answer surges through him, filling him up. Every sense is alert; Jensen feels his hair standing on end as he licks his lips. He remembers everything about his life, though, there's no sudden surge of new knowledge, and he looks at Jared, puzzled - but unafraid.

"Trust me," Jared says again, and takes his hand. They stand together, and Jensen walks around the edge of the couch with Jared to see a roiling mass of blackness framing a woman - a gorgeous, perfect, petite woman. She is easily the most beautiful woman Jensen's ever seen.

Pale as moonlight, her lips are red and her hair is black. Her eyes, too, are black as midnight - all the way to the corners.

"What is this?" the Queen asks, confused. "Where is your beloved?"

"This is he," Jared says softly, and Jensen catches Gossamer peeking up at him and smiling.

The Queen pauses for a long moment, looking between him and Jared. Finally, she steps toward them. "He is human?" she asks.

Jensen's whole body goes numb, but still he feels only a little nervous - not the bone-shattering terror he knows he should be in. "I am, highness," he says, taking exception to the way she talks about him like a piece of furniture.

Her midnight eyes widen. "You dare to address me," she says, with not a little wonder.

Jared tenses. Gossamer quivers.

"Respectfully, highness," Jensen says, relaxed. "I am honored."

She reaches out to his face. Jensen can feel Jared coiled, ready to move against the Queen herself - but she keeps about an inch of distance between her fingers and his skin. There is a terrible weight of cold pressing at him, under each point of her fingernails, but it's not too much to bear so long as she doesn't touch him.

"Well," she says softly. "He is exquisite, it's true. Such beauty, one would think him fae."

Carefully, Jensen allows himself to blink.

"Thank you, highness," Jared says, relaxing not even a little.

She turns to Jared then, and Jensen is aware that with her gaze off him, the air becomes easier to breathe again.

"This is how your heart lies?" she asks, without emotion.

Jared nods. "It is, highness."

"You should have said so," she says then, gently admonishing. "You know I cannot allow a man to reject me, but I could have done something for you if I'd known you preferred your own kind. Perhaps I would have gone easier on you..."

Jensen sees a dozen emotions flicker across Jared's face - rage and incredulity among them. But finally he bows, just low enough for propriety. "Yes, highness."

She gives an elegant shrug. "Well. What's done is done. I will allow you and your beloved to return to the Realm."

Jared bows a little deeper. "And Gossamer?" he asks.

The Queen presses her mouth in a flat line and turns those bottomless eyes on the fairy woman. "I should keep her. She broke not only my law, but law of the Realm as well."

Jared takes in a short breath. "Respectfully, highness-"

She puts up a hand to interrupt him. "One does not feed milseáin bread to a human lightly, púca," the Queen says firmly. "Or have you been gone too long to remember?"

Jared's jaw clenches. "No, highness. But it will be easier to explain to the King if Gossamer is with me. Surely your highness knows his mind on such matters."

Jensen hears a truckload of politics in that statement. He doesn't know why she doesn't kill them all, he doesn't know where this King is or why he's not here, and he certainly doesn't know why it was okay to do this to Jared in the first place. But whatever it is, it seems to give the Queen pause.

She regards them for a moment, thinking, and then meets Jared's eyes. "Very well. You may keep your fairy. But I warn you, if I do not hear that she is punished, the explanation had best be excellent."

Jared bows low. "Thank you, highness, I assure you that it will."

Gossamer, too, touches her forehead to the ground again. "Thank you, highness."

"I won't forget this," the Queen hisses at Gossamer. "You may keep your freedom, but you are not welcome at my court until further notice."

Gossamer pales, but presses her face down.

The Queen paces back to Jensen on silent feet. "You are brave, human. Too bold, perhaps, but you have gained my favor."

Jensen bows low, copying Jared. "Thank you, highness."

She steps too close, then, her whole body, too near. Jensen feels the crushing pressure, like being underneath a thousand tons of water. He can't breathe. The Queen leans down to breathe in his ear. "I promise you, if you ever tire of this love, there is a place for you in my court."

Jensen can't respond, his lungs are aching; when she draws back, he collapses to the ground just like Gossamer, dragging breath in and listening to his ears pop. The last sound in the air is the Queen's low, terrifying laugh, and then everything is gone. The hum of the fridge, the clicking of the ceiling fan, Jensen's own breathing, it all vanishes into muted silence, like snow falling. The warmth is sapped, too, making everyone shiver.

When the sound is erased, when the cold is so intense that Jensen thinks his lungs will freeze, the majestic figure of the fairy Queen wavers, and then she is gone.

Jared rushes to Jensen's side and kneels down. "Jensen! Man, are you okay?"

Coughing, Jensen finds one of Jared's hands and grips it. "I'm okay," he wheezes. "What a bitch."

"You're telling me," Jared laughs, helplessly.

They help each other up off the ground and go over to help Gossamer up as well. She's delicate and shaky in her human form, wavering and holding their arms. "I'm okay," she protests, weakly, and then stumbles into Jared's arms like she's fainted a little.

Jensen suspects her of faking it, but he figures she's earned a little attention. All the same, the way she's pawing all over Jared is kind of pissing Jensen off, so he comes up to her and lifts her into his arms. She cuddles against him and praises his shocking cleverness, and he figures that's good enough.

Jared clears his throat. "We'll have to rest for a bit. The trip home's gonna be rough."

Gossamer nods, her little face worried. "It will be impossible to miss you when you cross over. Everyone will be waiting. We'll have to answer questions."

"Until sunrise, then," Jared decides, and Gossamer nods. He gets some blankets and spreads them out over the couch for her, and Jensen lays her down in the warm little nest. They bring her milk and some fruit, and she sighs and closes her eyes. Jensen looks over at Jared, meaning to ask him ten different questions, possibly all at once.

Jared looks back, and it's clear that he's only thinking one thing. He takes Jen's hand and turns toward the bedroom, and for the first time Jensen really notices that there's strange slant to Jared's eyes, and recalls being a child and believing that dark spots on people's skin were fairy fingerprints left on changelings.

He follows, all the same. Jared tugs him along, and when they're in the room Jensen clears his throat. "I don't, um."

Ignoring him completely, Jared takes hold of Jen's t-shirt and pulls it up. Jensen feels those fingers at his stomach, rough, a burn in the aftermath, and shivers. "I don't know if we should, um."

"Stop," Jared says, sliding his hand around to rest warmly at the small of Jensen's back. He steps forward, pressing close. "If you hadn't loved me, the milseáin wouldn't have worked." Jared's voice is soft, deep, and he closes in to brush his lips over the corner of Jen's mouth. "I know you want me to. Let me."

Jensen grips his arms, feels the weight in his hands. His friend, his partner, his fucking fairy prince, it seems, because he can't resist turning his head just enough to feel that mouth against his. "God dammit," he breathes, and then Jared surges forward and they fall back onto the bed, kissing desperately. Jensen wastes no time, just thumbs Jared's jeans open and shoves a hand inside. His fingers meet tight, thick hair that he's sure is black, and the heavy weight of Jared's cock in his palm makes his own pulse thud through him. Jared groans deeply against Jen's lips. "Tighter," he says, growling it. "Hold it like you're already in me."

Jensen shudders and grips tight enough that Jared's thrusting hips have to slow down, not fuck that hand quite so fast. It's going straight to his head, making him drunk, what he can do to this... person, thing, this being in his bed and his life and his head. "Who are you?" he asks softly, letting his hand slide all the way to the base. "Do I still know you?"

"I'm the same as before," Jared gasps, pressing against him. "Just a little more, that's all. Christ, up, Jensen, or down, pick a goddamn direction..."

Jensen chooses down, and lets go of Jared's cock so he can shove further into his jeans, so he can cradle Jared's balls in his hand and look up into that sharp face when he tugs softly at them. Jared groans, blissful, and then drops his face into the curve of Jensen's neck and breathes hot against the skin. "Tell me you'll fuck me."

Jensen shivers. "I'll fuck you," he whispers back, and shifts his hand back up to curl around the thick curve of Jared's cock.

"Do you promise?" he asks, kissing his way along the goosebumps there.

Jensen's body chooses to take that as a sign to make more of them, his breath catching high in his chest. "I promise. I promise to fuck you, Jared, take off your damn clothes."

He just laughs, delighted, just like every other time he's gotten under Jensen's skin. One last kiss to the crease of Jensen's neck and he kneels up, pulling off his shirt. "You too," he says, hurried. "Come on, do it."

Jensen obliges, of course, stripping off his t-shirt, and his jeans when Jared flops onto his back to do the same. Soon enough everybody's naked, and Jensen's suddenly shy. He sits up and swings his feet down to the floor, is about to stand up when Jared's arms come around him. Jared's entire body is too warm, heat flaring wherever their skin touches.

"Where you goin'?" Jared whispers, kissing the back of Jen's neck.

Jensen shivers, puts a hand over top of Jared's. "Gotta go find something to use for lube," he says. "Right back."

In the bathroom Jensen rubs a hand over his face and stares at himself in the mirror. "Okay," he tells his reflection. "Okay. Go out and have sex with your best friend who is also an actual wings-and-sparkles fairy and stop freaking out."

For a moment, he just looks into his own eyes, and that lasts for maybe a full sixty seconds before he laughs, short and sharp. He can't help it, it's all so ridiculous. Jensen rubs the heels of his hands into his eyes and firmly decides to banish all thought from his head for the next thirty minutes.

Or, okay, hour.

Few hours.

He opens the sink drawer and starts sifting through it for something lube-related. He remembers that lotion is supposed to be good, but he can't figure out if it'd be retarded to use that internally, so he tries to find the hypo-allergenic stuff and finally comes up with a little tub of Vaseline. He wonders if it isn't supposed to be bad for condom integrity and then remembers that VD probably isn't a big deal in goddamn fairyland, and walks back out into the bedroom.

"Found this," he says, climbing back into bed and passing Jared the tub. Jared lifts the sheet for him, and he slides under it, still shy.

Jared examines the Vaseline and opens it. "Dude, how long has it been since you used this?"

"I dunno," Jensen says. "Why?"

Jared holds it up and wipes a finger across the top, leaving a trail in the dust. "That's why."

"Oh." Jensen sighs. "Sorry. I'm not, uh. I don't usually."

Jared rolls over to brace himself over Jen's body. "Shut up," he says, leaning down to kiss. "I don't care about anybody before. I care about now." His shaggy hair is curling down around his ears, and Jensen remembers when he dated that girl who wanted to do theatre and went to a staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream in L.A. He never imagined this, but he thinks maybe he should have. Pushing his hands into that hair, he pulls Jared down and sees the sharp glitter of green in those eyes. The kiss that comes after is deep and thick and perfect.

Jared shifts, and then he's pressing against Jensen's hip. It's too hot, still, the inside of Jared's thigh is a brand when it slides over Jensen's legs. "Do it," Jared breathes.

"Yeah. Yeah, okay." Jensen rolls them over, so Jared's on his back. He moves down, catches the scent of sugar and come as the sheet slithers off his back and reveals Jared's body, golden warm. Jen licks his lips and Jared's breath catches.

"Jensen," he begs, lifting his hips just a little. "Please."

Jensen leans down and drags his tongue over Jared's cock. One long, solid lick, all the way from his balls to the salty sweet come at the top. Jared groans deep in his throat and pushes up against Jen's tongue, hands flat against the mattress. "Oh, yeah. Let me in."

Jen sucks at the sensitive tip, right where he knows it's good, it's so good right there. He slides his lips there, soft and slick, and Jared roars out a furious snarl, shoving his hips up. "More, more. Open up for me, open your mouth, Jensen, please."

It's the first time since yesterday that Jensen's felt in control of what's happening. He takes Jared's wrists in his hands and holds them down; he has no intention of giving this up any time soon. Turning his head to the side, he licks and presses his teeth down the shaft. It's warm, hard, good, and no matter how many times Jensen thinks to himself that the fact that he's never even touched another man's cock in his entire fucking life should make this a little awkward, it never does. It doesn't make sense, but none of this makes sense, not even a little, and so he shoves the straight part of himself into the closet with the part that knows there's no such thing as fairies, and he locks the goddamn door.

"Jensen," gasps Jared. "You fucking tease."

"Shut your mouth." Jensen smiles, and drags his tongue over the soft skin of Jared's balls.

Jared's hips come off the bed for almost ten full seconds. His voice is almost inarticulate, words slurring together, please please Jensen I gotta you gotta please Jensen fuck me suck me something Jensen you son of a bitch...

Jensen just ignores him and grabs the Vaseline, opens it up and shoves his fingers into the stuff. He slides them around as much as he can, doesn't know how much to use, but he makes a guess at it. When he sets the jar aside and takes a deep breath, Jared's voice sinks even deeper.

The first touch at that tender little opening is shocking. It's soft, which Jensen had not expected - Jared just offers it to him, legs spread wide, feet flat on the bed. When Jen pushes inside, again, there's that too-hot burn against his skin. Jared is so fucking tight that Jen's breath catches in his chest - soon he will have that clutch around his cock, and he suddenly cannot imagine waiting another second. He feels the pulse of blood through his body, the heat rushing with it.

One of Jared's legs falls down to thump on the mattress and he gets tighter still around Jen's fingers. "Come on," he groans. "I need your mouth."

This time Jensen does lean forward, he opens his mouth and, with barely a moment of hesitation, he puts his lips carefully around the head of Jared's dick and lifts it up with his tongue. A throb of come spreads across his tongue, and then Jared whimpers high in his throat. "God, yes. Yes."

Another whimper comes from the door, way too high, and Jensen lets Jared go and turns his head to see Gossamer leaning against the doorframe, naked. One hand is buried in the curls at the top of her thighs, one cups her breast, and her mouth is soft and full as she watches them together. Jensen stares for a second, because she really is beautiful with her hair falling soft around her shoulders.

But then he recalls where he is, and what he's doing, and he clears his throat. "What. What are you doing?"

"Watching," she says, her bell voice as soft as angel wings.

"Please," Jared says again, grabbing weakly at Jen's arm. "I need you."

Jensen turns to him. "But," he says, waving vaguely in Gossamer's direction. "Shouldn't we...?"

Jared sighs and rolls his eyes, then looks at the doorway. "He's human," Jared apologizes, shrugging.

Gossamer sighs too, and then takes her hand away from her pussy. "Fine," she huffs, and closes the door behind her as she heads for the living room.

"There," Jared murmurs, running his hands over Jensen's chest, tugging at his nipples. "Now you're out of excuses. Come on." He cants his hips up and sighs, and Jensen is instantly reminded that he still has two fingers buried inside.

"Like this?" he asks, and presses deeper.

Jared groans just like before, loud and open-mouthed, and Jensen worries for a half second about his houseguest before he remembers the way her fingers moved. His mind paints a vivid, lustrous picture on the back of his eyelids of full-sized Gossamer on the couch. "...Damn."

Jared reaches up and grabs Jensen by the back of the neck, forcing Jen to look at him. "Now," he demands, his eyes shining fierce. "Here. Fuck me or I swear I will kick. Your. Ass."

"Okay, okay," Jensen breathes, leaning down to kiss, once, twice. Jared clenches around his fingers, sighs into his mouth, and Jen licks those wide, wicked lips and sighs himself. He draws his fingers out and wipes them on his leg, but then remembers that he has no idea if that's enough. "Is that good?" he asks.

"Right. Now," pants Jared.

Jensen kisses him again. "Just gotta get a c-"

"Now, Jensen. You fuck me, do it, I want you so fucking bad, fucking fuck me already!" Gritting his teeth with frustration, Jared wraps his legs around Jen's waist and reaches a hand down to wrap around Jen's dick.

Jensen swallows hard, dips his fingers into the Vaseline again. "Okay, okay," he says, tossing his health classes in the closet too. "Just let me..."

Jared growls but he lets go, and Jen strokes his hand over his own cock just twice, just enough to spread the slick around. "Open up for me, baby," he says, and watches as Jared's eyes go dark, and his hand drops to stroke himself nice and slow.

Breathless, Jensen fits the tip of his cock to Jared's opening, and it's so hot, so ready that Jensen bites his own lip to keep his moan inside. Jared's hand at the back of his neck pulls at him again, and Jensen tilts his face down. When he pushes his hips forward, sinks deep into Jared's body, they kiss just as perfectly as the pleasure it brings. Jared moans into his mouth, and Jensen forces his way in, all the way, because he fucking wants it. "Yeah, hard," Jared gasps, gripping Jensen's hips with his legs, Jensen's arms with his hands. "Give it."

"Bossy son of a bitch, "Jensen says fondly, and kisses him again. But he gives it, he shoves his hips forward and feels the tight grip around his cock, and it's so fucking good that he has to groan himself, make a little noise to let the pleasure out. Jared's back to shouting and cursing, clawing at Jen's skin, and it's way too hot to handle, or hold back. Jensen thrusts again, again, letting his hips roll and his back curve. Jared's cock jumps against his belly and Jensen feels one of those big hands snake down to grab, fist, jerk at hectic pace. Jared's eyes are closed, his mouth is open as he drags in his breath and moans it out again, over and over, so fucking perfect.

It's all so hot, so immediate, right here and now, skin on skin, that Jensen feels the tightening in his hands and his eyes before he feels it in his belly and balls. "Jared," he groans, praise and warning. He's sweating; his hips are starting to stutter as he watches Jared desperately jerk himself off faster, harder. "God, you look so fucking good..."

At the sound of that, just that, Jared cries out. His hand locks down and Jensen watches the hard, sharp spurts shoot over his belly and chest, feels the sudden hard press against his own cock, and that's it for them both. Jensen loses it, just lets his hips jerk and spark and press deep as he wants to be.

When he can think, when his body and his brain work again, he pulls out as gently as he can. Jared growls a little, but is mostly dead to the world, so Jensen falls down at his side. The pillow is soft under his head, the ceiling is exactly the same color as it was yesterday, but Jensen can't seem to process any of that.

He just fucked his best friend.

Sure, there are fairies. And he might be a little gay. And he had sex without a condom for the first time in his life.

But he just fucked his best friend, and that really is taking precedence in his mind right now. They languish there for a good long while, and Jensen makes sure to keep a hand on Jared's skin. Belly, chest, side, something warm under his fingers, something real. Jared finally stretches a bit, makes a semi-coherent noise and folds his hands under his head.

"So," Jensen says, hoisting himself up on one elbow. "You, uh. You're."

Jared looks up at him, a wicked smile curving the edge of his mouth. "Yes, Jensen?"

"...What are you? Exactly." It's a bit of wonder, a bit of dread. If Jared says it, it'll be real.

"Jensen," he says, wide hazel eyes all serious. "I'm a little gay."

Jen thumps a fist against Jared's wide chest. "Asshole."

"Just for you, I swear! You're the only man for me!" He's giggling as Jensen keeps punching at him, only half serious.

"Come on," Jen says. "I mean it."

Jared lays back down, warm smile and open face. "Okay, okay. Keep your panties on. I'm, uh. I'm a pooka."

Jensen stares. "Well. That'd explain the height."

"Jensen."

"And the sex drive."

"I'm not a fucking rabbit," Jared grins, punching Jensen's shoulder. "And you ain't no Jimmy Stewart, either. Pooka are many between the worlds, a thousand thousand from mighty stag to church mouse. We are children of the Realm, of its laws and boundaries, and we know no other master."

Jensen stares at him.

Jared smiles, full of mischief. "Think fairy cops."

Jen can't help it, he squints a little. "You're fucking with me."

"That was earlier. I swear, I'm being serious: I'm a pooka. A fox spirit, if you wanna get particular."

"Jesus." Jensen looks down at him, at the slanted eyes and the pointy nose, the sharp smile. He wonders how he missed it.

For once, Jared doesn't crack the joke. Instead, he lifts a hand to run it over Jen's arm, just light, following the movement with his eyes. "Is it too much?" he asks, in the softest voice. "I know it's a lot to take in."

"I don't know," Jensen says. It's true, he has no idea if he can handle this. Maybe he'll go crazy. Maybe he already is. He hasn't decided. What he does know is that the touch of Jared's hand is nice, warm, and above all familiar. He returns the sweep of fingers over Jared's chest, feeling the deep pulse underneath.

"Well. It's just." Jared meets his eyes then, so serious that he's not smiling at all, which Jensen knows takes something really important. "It's morning soon, is all. And."

"...And I have to make a decision," Jensen says, understanding the truth just from looking at him.

Jared nods and worries savagely at the edge of his lip.

"Can we sleep for a bit?" Jensen suggests. Lying down, he slides his arm under his pillow so he can still face Jared. "We can set the alarm."

"I'll wake up," Jared says, smiling again.

Jensen snorts. "This finally explains you in the mornings. You really aren't human."

"Shut up," Jared laughs, and shoves him.

They sleep together, then. First time, maybe it'll be the only time. Jensen dreams of the fairy Queen, of her face tinged with black on the edges with his dulling vision. He dreams that he plunges a golden dagger into her heart; that Jared screams and falls. He dreams that Eric is there, shaking his head, asking Kim if they can film it again, maybe a wider angle, and Jensen wants to tell them that for maximum impact they really ought to use the crane, but he's choking and he can't get any words out.

When Jared shakes him awake, he feels like no time at all has passed. It's still dark out, and Jared's eyes are worried. "Hey. You okay?"

Jensen rubs at his eye. "Considering. Mmm, I'm up. Let's get some coffee going."

It's a team effort. They skip showering and toothbrushes because it just seems ridiculous, and Jensen has to pull Jared back by the arm at the door to the bedroom to remind him to put on some damn clothes. Jared rolls his eyes but tugs on some pants anyway, which is the best Jensen figures he can ask for.

They haven't had cups of coffee in their hands for more than a minute before Gossamer comes in. She's naked as a jaybird but blessedly is once again three apples tall, so Jensen can sort of ignore it. She opens the fridge, shivers, hurriedly twists the cap off a water bottle and then flies up to Jared's arm. Before Jensen can protest, she uses the cap to dip some coffee out of Jared's mug and lifts it to her mouth with a sigh. Jared pays it no attention, so Jensen tries not to, either. She grabs a tea towel from the stove and flips it onto the counter where she seats herself to hunch over her bottle cap, looking bleary.

They stay there together, returning slowly to consciousness.

"So," says the fairy, her delicate voice just as Jensen remembers from... was it yesterday? Only? "Has he decided?"

"Not yet," Jared says.

"Cutting it close," she warns, flicking her lashes up at Jensen.

He scowls at her. "I know. I will."

"Don't be snippy," she says, adopting a prim posture and scowling right back at him.

Jensen rubs a hand over his face. "Sorry. It's early."

"That's all right. I am magnanimous enough to forgive you, even." She waves a tiny hand and sips more coffee.

The two men smile at each other over her head, and that's when Jensen decides. Looking into Jared's eyes, thinking the same thoughts even now, after everything. He's not stupid enough to think that nothing's changed, but Jensen's pretty sure that the right stuff has stayed the same, and he'll be goddamned if he'll abandon his friend to whatever the fuck that Queen has planned for him, let alone this other court. Jared will need somebody to back him up, and there's nobody else except a mini-girl with a smart mouth.

"I'm going. And that's final," he adds, before they can protest.

Jared just smiles, face full of love. Another time, Jen might have called it gratitude or manly affection or some other retarded thing. Maybe being around fairies has affected him, though, because now it's called love. Screw the rest of it.

"Well, let's go, Rambo," pipes Gossamer, and puts her bottle cap down on the counter. "To the roof!" She flits off and out a window.

Jensen stares after her for a second before turning to Jared, wide-eyed. "What the."

"We gotta face east," Jared explains. "So the first rays of the rising sun hit us. It's easier to travel between the worlds when the sun does it; we can hitch a lift. Come on."

He holds out his hand and Jensen takes it, but when Jared starts walking toward the door, Jensen digs in his heels. "Wait, do I need anything?"

"Like what?" Jared asks, puzzled.

"Y'know, toothbrush? Clothes?"

"Trust you to think of clothes," Jared grins. "Mister Armani."

"Well, I need my jacket, it's got my keys."

Jared just shakes his head, still with that puzzled look. "You don't understand. Come on, we don't have time."

Jensen is yanked out the door, and only just manages to get it closed behind him before he's padding upstairs behind Jared in his bare feet, scowling. "I do not have enough coffee in me for this," he grumbles, and then they reach the top of the little walk-up and burst out into the cool pre-dawn.

Gossamer is waiting for them, and claps her hands. "All right, this way," she says, and leads them around to one side. Everybody's looking out at the horizon and Jensen feels like an idiot, standing up here at this hour with a bare-chested pooka and freaking Tinkerbell, staring off at the pinking sky like something's gonna-

-come to us this golden hour-

-open the gateway-

Gossamer shouts a litany of what Jensen's pretty sure is Gaelic, but he can only barely hear her over the singing, shimmering sound in his ears that began when the first slice of sunlight cut across them. There are voices all through it and he covers his ears, squinting against the light to try to see his tiny friend.

Jared steps forward then, Jensen's hand tight in his, and Jen can just see him grab Gossamer's little fingers before he bellows at the sun: Gossamer de Danaan, Balgair de Danaan, Jensen de Mir! All around him, Jensen can hear the buzzing of the voices again, and then the light overwhelms him.

-send us home-


That roof always heats up in the daytime. Through the morning and afternoon, there's nothing between the sun and the tar to even break it a little. Snow up here always melts.

There are a few antennas, cable and lightning and weather and a variety of digital services. There's a sparrow's nest in there, somewhere, and it's a miracle they don't all fry, but they come in and out anyway, flitting brown blurs. They don't screw up the signal, so nobody much minds them.

People come and go in the apartment building. Jensen's door remains neatly closed, despite the softly playing television in the suite. At about four in the afternoon, the landlord mows the lawn.

At six, a black SUV pulls up out front of the building. At ten after, the driver checks his watch and considers calling up, but decides to wait another ten minutes.

At six fourteen, the sun sinks under the horizon, and Jensen and Jared step onto the roof. Jared is wearing a leather vest faced with red and white fur, his hair in tangled but clean curls that brush his shoulders. His fingernails are ragged and filthy, and he rises up from his haunches to stand on his toes as he takes a deep breath of air.

Then he coughs from deep in his lungs. "Smog," he croaks. "I forgot."

Jensen starts heading for the door. The long sections of his patchwork coat billow behind his ankles and though his feet are sinking into the heated tar a little, he doesn't so much as flinch. "Don't be a baby," he says over his shoulder, exposing his neck and bare chest to the breeze. It tries to toss the short spikes of sun-bleached hair, but there's only so much the breeze can do. "Come on, we got a job to get to."


"And they lived happily ever after, trading their days and hours in this world and the other, the very best of friends."

The little girl bounced on the bed, clapping her hands. "Tell it again!"

"It's eight-thirty, darling. You need your sleep."

"Pleeeeease?"

Her mother sighed and gently pushed the little girl back down into her pillows. "One upon a time, there were two princes that journeyed together in the northern kingdom, and they were the very best of friends..."