Good Boys Don't

A/N: 13003 words. Beta'd by [info]cee, Bane of Superfluous Commas Everywhere.


[Vancouver, 2006]

She slips through the opening in the canvas, touching her security pass for at least the thirtieth time. It's still there, and she relaxes a little. Her eyes sweep the bustling herd of people around the mess tent, searching out someone that's far too tall for his own good, with a flip to his hair and a look to him like he could use a sandwich.

One head's above the others, and she makes for it, excusing herself to all the people she bumps into on the way. They excuse themselves back, and she smiles wryly - her entire vacation here in Vancouver has been brimful of politeness. She'll be happy to get back home.

She's lost her way, lost the head above the others, and she's turning around, looking, when she knocks right into someone who could probably pass for a tree in dim light.

"Hey, whoa," he says, taking her by the shoulders. He's stunningly beautiful, this man, just shockingly pretty. He's also not the one she's looking for. He eyes her visitor pass and smiles kindly. "You lost?"

Then an achingly familiar voice rings out across the tent. "Hey, Jensen!" She whirls around to see him plowing through the sea of people, all grace and easy smiles. The people around him greet him and he somehow manages to breeze right past them and simultaneously give them the impression that he's said hello, how are you, best to the wife and kids, hey, that's a nice shirt. When he arrives beside them, he grins at the giant standing beside her who grins right back at him. "Unhand that woman!"

He takes her into the circle of his arms right away, and she hugs him with not a little surprise, and relief. They break apart and he smiles down into her eyes. Like every time he's ever done that, she has to smile back.

"You know this sad sack, miss?" Jensen smiles at her, and she remembers they're not alone.

"Yeah," she says, smiling back at him. "Jared and I knew each other, back home in San Antonio. I'm just up visiting and we managed to get in touch. Jared said I could come by and see a TV set. I told him we had TV sets back home, but..."

She shrugs, smiling, and everyone laughs.

"So what were you back home," Jensen smiles. "High school sweethearts?"

They turn to each other, and a smile curves Jared's lips. "Not exactly," he says, and his voice reminds her.


[San Antonio, 1999]

He has this cadre of boys around him, backing him up, being jerks. The girl's all alone in the hall with her books and Jared tips them out of her hands and smiles, vicious, but she's new and she doesn't know him. And he goes, "Oh, I'm sorry. Here, let me help you with those." He kneels down and helps her pick them up, and one of them is her journal, because she likes to think she's a writer, but she's so shy about it.

Jared opens it up and reads it out in front of the boys and they snicker behind their hands. He just looks at her so innocent and hands it back to her, saying, "That's real sweet, sugar." He steps up close to her and says, "What else you got that sweet?"

She feels the menace and stutters out something about having to go home; she turns and runs with her hair flying behind her, and all the guys bust out laughing and her cheeks burn. When she sneaks one more glance back at him as she turns the corner he's standing there looking at her, smug, satisfied smirk on his face, and she wants to go back and slap it right off his face.

Later that night in her room, surrounded by her books and her stuffed animals and her girly things, she thinks of him and wonders what it'd be like if she were the one with the power over him.

He calls her sugar for the rest of the school year and she blushes every time, even though she wishes so hard that she didn't. She hates him, she tells herself she hates him, and every time she blushes he smiles that cat-got-the-cream smile, and she hates him a little more.

Sometimes, in her dreams, she cusses him out in the hallway with words that'd make her mother threaten to wash her mouth out. Sometimes it's in class - he whispers something under his breath, like every time, but this time she spins around in her chair and gives him hell, and she gets kicked out of class and sent to the principal but it's worth it for the stricken look on his face.

And sometimes when she dreams of him she wakes up breathing hard, her thighs rubbing against each other, gripping her sheets. She stuffs her nightgown into the laundry basket way down at the bottom when that happens, so her mother won't see.

She's pretty sure that's why she blushes when he talks.

When she's in the cafeteria, eating lunch, he shows up out of nowhere with his asshole friends and swipes a finger through her pudding cup. He tucks the chocolate into his mouth, mmm's appreciatively as he looks at her under his lashes, and his buddies crack up and jostle him as they all walk away.

She blushes.

Their phys-ed class splits to do track and gymnastics. Blessedly, they're separated, but one day she's doing stretches and he comes in from the track sweaty and flushed, and she gets distracted and loses her grip on her foot. It doesn't make much sound, but it's enough, and it draws the boys' attention as they point and laugh, as if it's funny. She's furious, and he kisses the air in her direction, smug and smirking, before they all disappear into the locker room.

She's blushing.

Her favorite part of the day is coming into class when he's already there. For a blissful few seconds she's taller than him, and when he sneers some comment (whatever it is today), she gets to look down her nose at him and dismiss him. Today, he comes in after her, and stands next to her desk talking to his buddies. He's wearing some kind of cologne, and as much as she'd like to hate it, it actually smells really nice. A picture forms in her mind of pressing her face into his chest, his jacket, so she can smell that cologne, and her face flames. When he goes to sit at his desk, his hand brushes her shoulder, and she's sure it's an accident, but he didn't even flinch.

She does.

He takes the desk right behind her, even though it's not his. The guy who usually sits there doesn't object to trading, or not that she hears. But she feels his eyes boring into her back all class long, and she screws up two answers when she's called on because she isn't paying attention.

At the end of class, she turns around in her desk, livid. "Leave me alone!" she hisses, grabs her books and stomps out of the room.

Later that day she's at her locker; most of the kids have already left, and he comes strolling through the hallway like it's nothing, like he does it every day. "Hey, sugar," he says, his voice all low and insinuating like he just called her something dirty. She tries to take the high road and ignore him, but he stops near her and she whirls around, her books pressed to her chest. "You know you shouldn't be out so late, all by yourself," he says, stepping into her space. "Lot of nasty people out."

"I see that," she sneers, flicking her eyes over him and taking a step back. "Just leave me the hell alone, Jared," she says.

He edges closer, slow and cautious. "Now, now," he says, gently reproving. "That's no way for a lady to talk."

Her heart is pounding as she goes as far as she can, the lockers coming up hard against her back. He's so tall, and she's trying to glare up at him, but she's terrified. "I'll scream," she threatens.

He chuckles low in his throat. "I don't think you will."

He dips his head down so fast she's too shocked to move. She stands there as he hovers just over her; she can feel his breath on her lips and smell that warm, spicy cologne. Her knees are weak, her body is waking up, and all she wants to do is punch him right in the face but her brain isn't taking her orders anymore, it seems, because she just stands there.

She swallows then, and he smiles and pulls away. "See you tomorrow, sugar," he smirks, and turns around to walk away.

She rips some paper out of her binder, wads it up and throws it at him. It misses by a mile. He spins around mid-step and keeps walking backward, just long enough to laugh softly before turning again and going right out the door.

That night, she dreams one of those dreams again, and goes out of her way to avoid him all the next day. All day, the blush hovers behind her cheeks and threatens.

Last class of the day, math, and she can't avoid him anymore. She sits primly at her desk, looking anywhere but at him, which is hard because he's taken the desk right beside her and he keeps trying to get her attention. Finally their teacher turns and writes something on the board, and a folded square of paper lands on her desk.

Instinct makes her hide it under her hand, and when she looks around everyone looks normal and bored, even him. So, surreptitiously, she opens it.

{-4 ± Sq Root (16 + 240)} ÷ 4

Totally blindsided, she looks incredulously over at him. He's got that smug look of his aimed right at her, like he's just scored some crucial point, and she's completely missed it. The bell rings, and the teacher calls their names, hers and then his, and asks them to stay behind a moment. A sense of foreboding is closing in on her, but it's a teacher. How bad could it be?

They approach the desk and she's acutely conscious of the size of him when they stand side by side.

"So," the teacher says, addressing her. "Jared here is having some trouble with this class, and I've arranged with the school board for you to tutor him. It means extra credit for you, which will transfer with you into your university courses. I know you've been angling toward that," he says, with this smile like he's just done her a big favor. She supposes that, with what he knows, he thinks he has.

"Please," she says. "I can't tutor him. He's..." she trails off, searching for a word she can say in front of an adult, but the teacher interrupts.

"Now, now, don't be modest. You'll have no trouble. Now both of you, out. I expect to see some progress from you, Mr. Padalecki."

"Yes sir," Jared grins, and follows her out of the room.

"What the hell was that?" she hisses, her books tight to her chest. "You don't need any help in math." He's right behind her, she knows, even though he's made his damn point.

"Yeah, well, I don't apply myself," he sneers at the air, quote marks. "Meaning I don't kiss enough ass. Whatever."

She whirls on him, fuming, pointing a finger at his chest. "Well, you can just start! I'm supposed to be tutoring you, which means you better get a good grade, or I'm in shit with Mr. Workman, and that's not happening. So you just get your act together and then we don't have to even look at each other for the rest of the school year. Got it?"

He puts his hands up, smirking. "Yell all you want, sugar, it's still not gettin' you out of this. Mr. Workman called my parents, which means I'm going to someone's place for tutoring every Monday-Wednesday-Thursday after school." Her eyes go wide and she shakes her head once, no. He's even more smug when he adds: "When they asked me to pick between you, Chuck and Milton, I figured if I'm going to waste three hours every night, I might as well be entertained."

"You chose me for this hell?" She couldn't be more shocked - that he would inflict this on her, on himself.

"Put it to you this way, darlin," he drawls, stepping up close to her again and making her heart trip. She can smell the cologne, subtle. "This way I get to see your bedroom."

"We have a study," she seethes up at him, trembling in something like rage.

He just digs the keys to his truck out of his pocket and twirls them on his finger as he steps around her. "Come on, hurry up, get your stuff." She turns and stares some more as he keeps walking in the direction of her locker. "It's Wednesday," he calls.

She's hefting her book bag up onto her shoulder in the parking lot, her sundress fluttering around her knees in the light wind. It's almost summer and it's so hot, the sun is beating down on everything and making the gravel shimmer. He's walking beside her as they go to his shining, cherry red pickup. He's had it since he was old enough to drive.

She hates that truck.

He opens the locks with an auto-starter and she goes around the side and opens the door. A hot wave of his cologne and car freshener and chlorine hits her - Jared's on the swim team, she knows, but she's never had occasion to experience that in anything but third-hand knowledge. It's weirdly intimate, to know that his truck smells like chlorine from his hair, his skin, and she doesn't want to know that, but now she does.

He starts the engine and loud hip-hop music pours out of the speakers; she winces and wrinkles her nose. She doesn't dislike the music, actually, but she wants to so much that her face responds anyway.

There are some guys smoking outside the theatre and they see the truck pulling out of the lot. Spying her inside, they hoot and whistle and call Jared's name, and he hollers at them, grinning. She crosses her arms over her chest, her jaw set and her cheeks bright pink. Blessedly, the light turns green, and they're leaving before anything more humiliating can happen.

The wind blows through her hair as they drive, and she tries to concentrate on that, and not on the casual, competent movements of his hands on the wheel and shifter. Not on the way he bites at his lip, like he's not used to silence, and not on the flex of muscle under denim as he works the gas and clutch.

He's a horrible person. He doesn't even like her. He's just an asshole, and she needs to find some way to ignore this. She would never tell her parents about this, they'd make her explain why she didn't want to tutor him, and she would spontaneously combust of embarrassment. He's right, she can't get out of it. She's just going to have to find a way to endure.

They pull up in her driveway and she winces at the view - big red hood of the truck, and past it the lawn where she played when she was four. He slides out like it's easy, while she feels around with her foot for the runner so she can step down. He waits for her, and they walk up to the doorway; she lets herself in with her keys. "Mom?"

Her mother calls out from the kitchen, where she's inevitably started dinner. "Hi, honey!"

She glares at Jared just long enough to see him mouth the word honey with an amused expression putting dimples in his cheeks. She mentally curses whatever devil it was that gave him those, and puts her back to him as she storms into her kitchen. "Hi, Mom. I brought home company."

"Oh, really?" her mother asks, skeptically, looking at her and raising an eyebrow. Jared ducks in and she's fuming to see that he's laid on the same aw-shucks-ma'am charm he uses on their teachers. She rolls her eyes. "Mom, this is Jared, he's from school. He's doing badly in math, so I get to tutor him." The sarcasm drips from her tone, but her mother inexplicably gives her a reproving look.

"Well, it's nice to meet you, Jared," she says, pleasantly.

"And you, ma'am." He ducks his head and gives her mother a little half-smile. "I sure do appreciate your daughter taking this time for me, it's awful nice of her."

Her mom beams at him, and she knows she's just lost an argument she had scheduled for later tonight. She rolls her eyes again and says, "We'll be in the study, don't worry about us." she takes his arm to pull him away, but her mother calls out after her.

"Now, just a minute, young lady, you know we're remodeling in there."

She stops, turns. "I thought we were doing that in the spring!"

"Your father started packing up boxes this morning. Use the desk in your room."

"Mom!"

Jared breaks in, pressing her hand to his side with his arm. "I'm sure that'll be fine, ma'am, thank you kindly." He ushers her out of the room and toward the stairs.

She yanks her hand away the minute she starts climbing, silently raging. Jared doesn't seem to be following, and she turns to look back - he's there, just a couple of steps down, letting his eyes sweep up her back to her face. That's not where his eyes were a second ago.

She stops, turns and descends two steps until she's face-to-face with him, points her finger right in his face. "Listen to me. You make one wrong step - insult me just once while we're up there - and I swear by God and my family that I will turn you in as an uncooperative slacker who won't listen. And you can put that on your wall instead of a diploma."

He raises his hands again, palms out, surrender. But he's smiling.

She makes him stand outside while she goes into the room and checks it for anything incriminating. He tries to peek in, laughing, while she slips through the door, but she shoves him back and slams it in his arrogant face.

She sits on her bed, face in her hands, and then takes a deep breath and faces it. When her laundry's in the closet and her bedspread is at least marginally straight, when her especially frilly things are shoved into drawers and she can't see anything that she'd die to have him know existed, she sighs and opens the door. "Come in," she says, "But don't... Touch anything."

He saunters into the room, ducks his head coming through the door, as if he needs to call attention to how tall he is. She crosses her arms as he closes the door behind him and looks around, eyes lingering on her bed. He looks obscenely big and bright against her white walls, amidst her things. Her fuzzy white bathrobe hangs on the back of her door, and seeing those two things in the same field of view - the flip of his hair that should be dumb, but is somehow cute, right next to her most personal, naked possessions - is going to drive her batty.

He's smirking again when she focuses on his face, and she senses the same menace from the hallway as he moves slowly toward her. Her breath catches in her throat and she backs up by instinct.

He raises his hand, and she flinches, but he's holding up his textbook and grinning now, wide and dimpled. "Come on. Studying, remember?"

She swallows and can't think of a flip response, so she goes over to her desk and clears it. They have a funky old house, so her room's an odd shape. The desk is in this corner alcove thing with a window and a dayseat, and blessedly it's away from the bed region. He goes over and sits down, lays the textbook on the desk. She stands beside him and sighs. "I'm not going to sit here and explain something to you that you already know."

He drops the smirking façade and sighs too, his face making angry lines. "Good, because this stuff bores the shit out of me as it is."

She can't help but ask. "So, if it's so boring, why do you already know it?"

"My dad. He wants me to be an engineer." He picks up a little porcelain windmill her grandfather gave her, turns it over in his big, rough hands and spins the slats. It tinkles sweetly for him, and he glowers.

She snatches it out of his hands and puts it back where it was. "I told you not to touch anything."

Now he's glowering at her, standing up to tower over her, and she regrets it instantly. He leans down until he's in her face, too close, his brows knit and his jaw set forward. "You don't get to give me orders."

She puts a hand in the middle of his chest and pushes him, just lightly. He doesn't budge, and her hand stays there, warming to his body. She looks up, a little afraid. And as he looks at her face, the anger melts away and he really sees her.

They break apart. He goes back to his chair and opens the book, flipping randomly through the pages, and she folds her arms over her chest and puts her back to him. She's blinking back tears, refuses to cry in front of him. "This was a stupid idea," she says. "I can't do this."

She hears him sigh, and then the scrape of the chair. And then his hands are on her shoulders, turning her around. "I'm sorry, okay? I gotta cooperate with the tutoring, or Workman'll fail me. Just... I won't touch your stuff, okay? Come on, sit down."

Her face is clear, she's pretty sure, and she doesn't sniff or anything; she goes and sits down on the dayseat.

"Oh," he says, when they're settled back down. "I forgot, do you have a phone? I gotta call my parents so they know I'm here."

"Um," she says, trying to remember. "Yeah, yeah. There's one..." She brings him the cordless from her bedside table and watches him thumb in the numbers.

"Hey, Mama, I'm here. The tutor's. No, you don't know her. By dinner, yeah. You. What? Um... Okay." he puts his hand over the mouthpiece and pushes it in her direction. "She wants to talk to you."

She blinks. Of all the things she thought she'd be doing right now when she woke up this morning, this was last on the list. Seriously: training for the Navy S.E.A.Ls, lunch with the President, phone call with Jared Padalecki's mom.

"Hello?"

"Hello, dear! I understand you're tutoring my son in math, is that right?"

"Yes, ma'am, that's right."

"Well," says the voice through the phone, in the sweetest mom tone she knows. "You watch him, now. He's prone to letting his attention wander. You just be firm, and you let me know if you have so much as a lick of trouble out of him."

She can't help but smile as she meets his eyes with hers, even through her blush. "Yes, Mrs. Padalecki, I surely will."

"I appreciate it, sweetheart. Now if you could just pass me back to my boy, I'll tie it up. I know you two have a lot of ground to cover."

She hands the phone back, not a little smugly as he rolls his eyes. "Hey, Mama. I got it. I do. Mama, I know. I won't. Yes, ma'am." He pushes the button with not a little relief; she takes it back from him and holds it in her lap as she toys with the antenna. He leans back in her chair and sprawls.

Their knees brush, and she freezes, edging backward. He lifts his head and smiles at her, that same smirk. "Don't get edgy on me now, sugar." It's the first time he's called her sugar while he's been in her bedroom, and she is mortified to feel her cheeks flushing hot. He leans forward in his chair, his hair in his eyes as he looks at her, a frightening look of curiosity in his eyes. She can only stare as he runs the tip of one finger over her knee, and even though it's through her sundress, she shivers before she can bat it away.

He smiles then, wide and brilliant and warm, and he leans back in his chair with his hands behind his head. "Oh, this is gonna be fun."

She barely resists the urge to kick him in the shin.


"I hate you."

"You hate math."

"But I also hate you."

"Shut up. Focus."

"I already know this!"

"So prove it!"

They've been fighting over the same problem for twenty minutes. She's stooped over his shoulder, pointing at the obscure squiggles and letters and he's clearly almost fed up.

Three weeks of tutoring and they've settled into a more or less comfortable routine. They never acknowledge each other at school anymore, and everyone assumes their quiet feud had progressed into cold war status. They study up in her bedroom, and she makes him actually study, which beats out his other suggestions (he calls his friends while she reads, he sneaks out her window, they get a TV up here). Mr. Workman nods approvingly when he looks over Jared's quizzes, and though Jared blows it off, she always smiles a little, just to herself.

"Come on," he wheedles, sitting back in the chair and looking up at her, exasperated. "Can't we give it a rest for a little bit? This shit's driving me up the wall."

She huffs and sits back down on the dayseat. "I guess. But fifteen minutes, and we're doing it again." A slow, heavy smile curves his lips, and she curses her lack of foresight.

"You wanna do it again?" he insinuates, slick and smirking. "Cause I could do it again. I could do it all night lo-"

"You know what I meant, shut up!"

He laughs and leans back again, the wood chair creaking under the weight of him. "Come on, I was only teasing."

Three weeks, and she's still not used to the sight of him in her bedroom. At night, when he's gone, she can look over at her desk and still see him there hunched over the books, sun pouring in the window, turning his dark hair gold.

He's still a jerk. He always was.

"Whatever," she says, but it doesn't have any heat behind it. "If you're going to be like that, we can just get back at it."

He throws his pencil onto the desk. His emotions can change in a flash, she's learned - he'd make a hell of an actor. "It doesn't make any sense," he fumes, and stands up, holds onto the back of the chair and points her into it. "Here, you look at the damn thing, I'll show you."

She blinks. This is new, unexpected, and she's still wary enough of him that unexpected equals bad. But it's about math, and so she cautiously goes over and sits in the chair. She almost jumps out of it again when he pushes it, and her, toward the desk, but then he's leaning over her and putting a hand on the desk, and her nose is full of his cologne again and she has to sit forward or he's going to touch her. Her heart beats a little faster and she tries to focus on the numbers.

"See?" he says, right next to her ear, sounding frustrated. "Look. The vertices don't match. And if they don't match, then the vectors don't converge at x, and then y equals zero, and y can't equal zero or the table's invalid."

He might as well be speaking ancient Hindustani for all she understands him. She can feel his breath catch her hair, feel the heat of him soaking into her shoulder and neck, and she's frozen, she needs.

He looks down at her, his face so close. "Well? Do you get it? Because I sure as hell don't."

She doesn't want to turn her face, but she does, and there's a second where she looks into his irritated face and says no, just once, in the silence of her mind.

And then she reaches up a hand and curls it around the nape of his neck, pulls him down and kisses him.

He's so shocked, and so is she, that for a moment all they do is press their lips together. She can't believe it, she can't believe she's doing it, and then something clicks in him and his big, rough fingers are threading into her hair and he's kissing her back, and she can't think, she can't breathe, it's so totally insane that this should be happening. His mouth is warm and hard on hers and she can taste him, and then his tongue brushes her top lip and she jerks back and away, utterly breathless.

"What...?" he whispers it, touching his hand to his mouth. And then he reaches out for her, and she pushes back further, turns and stands up, putting space between them.

"It was nothing," she says hastily, needing it to be true. "Nothing, nothing happened."

He follows her slowly, cautiously across the floor. "Didn't feel like nothing, sugar." His voice is low and it hits her right where she lives, low down and dirty.

She's panicking now, determined to get this thing under control before it gets too far. She holds her hand up between them, stop; she's backed up against her dresser and he's still moving. "It was nothing," she says again, her voice low and scratchy.

He's moving right past her hand, right up near her, and he dips his head down and tries to kiss her again. She turns her head, pushes him away, and spins to the side so she can escape. "Jared," she's saying, but it sounds weak, even to her. "You don't even like me."

He's following her again, his face all curiosity and heavy want. It's killing her to see that look on his face and think it's for her. "Maybe you don't always have to like someone," he says softly, and her calves hit the side of her bed. He steps up into her space and just stands there, letting her feel his nearness. "You don't like me, either."

She can't deny the truth of that. She doesn't like him. He's a jerk.

But God, he smells good. And she might make a little sound in the back of her throat, high and despairing, as she pulls him down again.

This time he goes with fervor, kissing her as soon as their mouths touch. His hands come around her waist and lift her up onto her toes, and she locks her arms around his neck and presses against him.

He's a really good kisser, and she finds that totally unfair.

He pushes them back, just a little, just enough, and then they're tumbling down onto her bed, locked into each other. They land on their sides and she twists her fingers into his flippy, perfect hair and pulls his head back so she can kiss him better. He lets her, and raw power thrills through her.

"Jesus," he pants when they break for breath, his hands stroking softly at her back. "Who the hell knew you were like this?"

"Like what?" she asks, suspicious and breathless.

He grins. "Nothin. Just, I kind of always figured you for the kind that'd have to have her knees pried open with a crowbar."

She shoves him away, shaking her head. "You're disgusting."

"Hey, you kissed me, sugar," he objects, sitting up. "I seem to remember being yanked around twice -"

"God, shut up," she says, sitting up too, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. "I can't believe you."

"Yeah," he says, smirking again. "Pretty good, huh?"

She gives him her most disgusted face. "You are so arrogant."

He leans in again, the presence instantly surrounding her. "You like it," he breathes into her ear, and she can feel soft lips brush over her there. She shivers, and his hand's at her back, and then he bites so soft at her earlobe and she's pushing him back down and kissing him again, ignoring his satisfied laughter.

Before he leaves that night, she makes him swear on the bible and on his mama's grave (God forbid) that he won't tell a living soul. He promises, and she can't stop blushing, and wanting to hit him. He keeps smirking. He leaves her room, and the tension rushes out of her only to come flooding right back when he pokes his head back in the door and says, "Same time tomorrow, sugar."

And then he's gone, and she's exhausted. She throws herself on her bed and checks the time - they were making out for a solid hour, it seems, and he's leaving later than he should be. It's almost suppertime, and she'll be expected downstairs. She can't imagine facing it, and buries her hot face in her duvet, only to catch the trace of his cologne lingering in the fabric.

The door slams on the bathroom mere seconds later, and she's washing her hands and face and mouth and anything else that could be a giveaway.

Pity, she can't wash out blushes.

At dinner that night, her father asks her what about this Jared boy. What do his parents do, does he have problems with all his subjects, what kind of boy is he. She's beet red by the time she's done giving vague answers, and her little brother's singing you liiiike him, you liiiike him and then her sainted, blessed mother says that if the men in this family want dessert, they'll stop poking at her, and of course they do.

Later, she's up in her room reading a book, and her mom knocks at her door. They talk about Jared and she confesses she kissed him, and she doesn't understand it. And her mom explains that's very natural, and she should be careful, but she should follow her heart. They hug, and she feels a little better, even though none of that was anything she didn't know.


The next day Jared drives them to her house and studies like a perfect angel for the next two hours. He is polite, courteous and attentive, and she can't for the life of her figure out what in the hell he thinks he's doing. She almost asks, but talks herself out of it - he isn't being a jackass, and that's better than usual, right?

When the time's up, he packs his bag and looks her over with a critical eye. She folds her arms over her chest. "Time's up, Jared," she says.

"Walk me downstairs," he says. It's almost a request, and she would ordinarily laugh in his face, but he was so nice all afternoon, and there was no snickering in the hallways of school today, so she knows he didn't tell.

"All right," she says, hesitating, but he just goes to the door and holds it for her, all innocence. She walks through, sure she's stepping into a trap, but she can't figure out what kind.

Down at the front door, he takes his jacket from the peg and shrugs into it. She puts her hands behind her back and whispers to him, so her parents can't hear. "Are you satisfied?"

"Almost," he whispers back, and then he's taking her jacket down off the peg and holding it for her.

"Well," says her father's voice, right behind her, and she whirls to face him.

"Daddy..."

"You have fun, sweetheart," he says, his arm around the shoulders of her mother. "And you," he adds, pointing at Jared. "Have her home by ten. It's a school night."

"Yes sir," says Jared, and the hem of her jacket brushes her fingers as he shakes it out for her to put her arms into.

Her mom is looking at her, all misty-eyed, and she hears the steel door snap closed on her cage.

She shoves her arms into the jacket and feels Jared's palm on her back as he turns and opens the door; he pushes her gently out the door and waves goodbye to her parents, and she's so furious with him she can barely talk.

She slams the door on his truck, and he holds up a hand. "Hey, try to not take the door off next time, okay?"

She glares at him, her arms crossed, the rough denim of her jean jacket shielding her. "What are you doing? If this is some kind of trick..."

He holds those hands up, big and wide and reminiscent of things she wishes she could forget, and smiles. "Down, barracuda. No tricks, it's just a date."

"A date." Her voice is flat and disbelieving. "Y'know it's customary to ask a person beforehand."

Jared shrugs those big shoulders in the twilight and twists the key in the ignition. "You woulda said no."

She means to keep talking, but he puts his arm across the back of her seat and looks over his shoulder to back out of the drive, and the words catch in her throat.

They drive through streets that glow with the setting sun. "So," she asks. "Where exactly are we going?"

Jared smirks, eyes on the road. "Well, here in America we have a traditional mating ritual called 'dinner and a movie'. I don't know what dating is like on the planet you come from, but-" She punches him in the shoulder and he laughs. "Ow, no hitting the driver."

"That didn't hurt," she grouses, but she checks his arm anyway.

They drive, and she looks out the window, and it's not long before he's talking again. One thing about Jared, she's observed - it doesn't matter if he likes you or hates you or couldn't notice you if you painted yourself blue, he just cannot close his mouth. He points out roadside attractions - there's where me and the guys play rugby on Saturdays, that's where I took silver in the state finals, that's where, that's where, that's where.

His stories all ultimately star him. She can't help but listen after a while, and she realizes that his role changes. Sometimes he's the hero, but sometimes he's just a friend of the guy who was there. Sometimes he's a bumbling fuckup. He doesn't seem to have much shame - that's where I totaled my first car, that's where I got shot down by the little girl next door, that's where my buddy Steve kicked the crap out of me for busting the Walkman he borrowed from his dad.

Dinner's a moderate success - he takes her to a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant and only three times drives her to the verge of storming out and calling her father to take her home. He also makes her laugh three times, and that's something.

It's seven-thirty by the time they remember they're supposed to go to a movie and Jared guns it to the theatre, but by the time they arrive everything good has already started. They stand in front of the place, checking the marquee, and she says, "Well, we could go into one that's started. We wouldn't miss much."

"Naw," Jared says, tucking his hands in his pockets. "We missed too much of anything good to catch up." She nods along, it's true. "Come on," he says, and before she knows what's going on, he's taken her hand and is pulling her along back to the truck.

She would ask where they're going, but Jared Padalecki just took her hand in front of the multiplex and she's not really sure she's not dreaming.

He takes her to an ice cream parlor. She blinks as they stand in front of the counter and tries to figure out when this became her life. He orders for her - chocolate chip cookie dough, which she likes, mint chocolate chip for him - and they take the cones out to the truck. Jared hands her his and says, "Here, I can't eat and drive at the same time."

For about an eighteenth of a second, she has the urge to say something she'd expect to come out of his mouth, and then she's blushing like mad, holding onto two ice cream cones as he puts his arm around the back of her seat again. He smiles as he changes gears and says in that low down dirty whisper, "It's okay, sugar, you can have some of mine if you want."

And then they're gone, the theatre lights fading into the rear view mirror.

Ten minutes later they're in the scrub, and she looks around, curious. "Where are we going?"

"Nowhere," he says innocently, and she glares.

"Jared..."

"Trust me."

"You conned me into this date!"

"That doesn't mean you can't trust me."

She huffs and waits, and five minutes later they pull into a parking spot under a willow tree, just off a little gravel road. Nobody's coming by here any time soon.

She hands him his ice cream cone, silently, and he takes it.

They're high up on the bluff and it's a nice view. The lights of the city sparkle, and past that she can see a plane taking off from the air force base.

"It's nice up here, huh?" Jared offers.

She nibbles at her cone, cream and chocolate, and tries not to feel the frissons of heat slip over her skin, despite the air conditioning.

Jared finishes his ice cream in just a few bites, and she wonders how he doesn't get brain freeze until she sees him grab his temple with a pained expression and has to smile. Oh.

He notices and smiles back, one of the first genuine smiles she thinks she's ever seen on his face. "What's so funny?"

"Nothing. You." She shakes her head and eats some more ice cream.

His eyes go a little blank as he watches her, and she can't imagine why until it occurs to her that he's watching her tongue, and then she could smash the cone in his face. "Jared!"

"What? I'm only human!"

"Take me home." She pushes the cone into his hand and folds her arms again, feeling annoyed and duped.

He sits back and is silent, and she endures that for only a few seconds before looking back over at him. She's tired of this emotional and hormonal rollercoaster, but when she sees him eating her ice cream, it's more than one person should reasonably be asked to bear. She snatches it out of his hand. "Stop that!"

"Hey, you gave it to me." He's sounding dark and irritable again, and she squirms nervously.

"Just..." She rolls down the window and throws it out onto the road, and then Jared's sliding across the cab to sit beside her, taking her wrist in his long fingers. She gasps; he brings her hand up to his face and kisses her palm.

"What are you doing to me?" he rumbles, kissing her fingertip. "When you kissed me before… I never had a girl be like that." His eyes burn into hers and he kisses her fingers, and then her palm again. "I thought, maybe if I took you out someplace, you'd..."

She jerks her hand away and glares at him. "Tell me you're sticking your foot in your mouth, as usual, right there."

He shakes his head. "Whatever. God, you're such a pain in the ass. I'm trying the normal things here, why can't you just act like a normal girl and-"

He doesn't get a chance to finish, because she's got her hands in his hair and she's pulling him down to kiss him, to cut off the stupid flow of words and to show him that he's wrong, that he doesn't know what he's talking about, she isn't the pain in the ass here.

By kissing.

It has its own logic, and she doesn't choose to pursue it, because she can taste the mint and chocolate in his mouth and his hands are warm on her waist, so big, so heavy. He pulls her closer and she pulls her knee up on the seat for leverage. Even when they're sitting, he's so much taller. He pulls her in, kisses her desperately, and she's losing track of which hands are whose and where she is, because all that matters is that she's his secret weakness, that he can't help himself. He's holding her waist to his body, pressing her against him, can't get enough of her, and she revels in it, feeling the thrill rush through her. Her toes are tingling, her knees, and he pulls her across his lap and lets her sit there as her hands make little fists in his hair.

They break apart and he's panting against her neck, "God, I want you." He kisses her there, his mouth soft and needful, and she flips back her hair and lets him, cradling his head in her arms. There's a deep pleasure unfurling in her gut, and she chooses to believe that it's triumph.

One of his hands is sliding over her ribs, thumb stroking back and forth. He mouths at her neck, biting so gently that she doesn't need to tell him not to mark her. Not that she's sure she would. Then he sucks at the skin just under her ear, and it feels so good that she doesn't think, just cries out his name and holds onto his shoulders.

"So hot, sugar, you're gonna burn me." He whispers it against her damp skin and she shifts on his lap and makes him groan.

She needs to kiss him again, and she pulls his head back and does it. It thrills her to hear him make those sounds, to hear his voice sound needy like that and know she's the one who made it be like that. "Kiss me," she instructs, and he dives at her mouth desperately, his fingers burying themselves in her hair.

She tries to think how far she wants this to go. She still doesn't trust him, she still doesn't know he won't go running to the whole school. He's still a jerk. Her body's clamoring for him, but she can control it.

And then the perfect solution presents itself, and she pulls away from him a little, and smiles. "Jared," she whispers.

"Hm?" He's trying for her neck again, not paying attention.

"Jared. Take your shirt off."

He hesitates only a moment before carefully letting go of her and pulling his jacket off, and then his shirt up over his head. He tosses them both into the corner of the seat and sits back, his hands loose on her waist as she reaches out to touch him. It's tentative and cautious as she runs the tips of her fingers over the ridges of muscle, the lean, solid build and above all, the heat of him. There's that spicy scent again, of course, but she can also smell fresh sweat, salt and skin and soap. She skates her nails over the soft skin and he hisses, his head falling back against the rest and his hands tightening on her waist. "God, god. You're killing me, girl. God damn."

She finds his collarbones and dips her fingers there, she feels the smooth curve of his shoulders in her palms. When she tries tugging softly at one of his nipples, her face flush with heat, he actually lifts his hips up so hard she's jostled against the steering wheel. "Sorry," he pants, pulling her back. "Sorry, I just... Damn."

She smiles, a little tiny smirk. "What, nobody ever do that before?"

She is thrilled, ecstatic, to see a slow blush creep over his cheeks.

"You've got to be kidding me," she crows. "Jared Padalecki, swim teamer, track star, popular boy, and he hasn't..."

"Oh, I have," he says, sounding ruffled but settling her more firmly on his lap at the same time. "It's just... Well, there isn't usually time for stuff like this."

Maybe it's his proximity, something in the air, but she takes her cue from him and talks without thinking. "You're a quick draw, huh? Good to know."

He throws back his head and laughs, and she's surprised and pleased. She smoothes her hands over his skin again, just for the feeling of it, and he groans as he replies. "No, no. I mean, it's usually... Shit, sugar, you don't want to hear about this. Just keep doin' what you were doin'." He skims gentle fingers up her side, his thumb just barely grazing the swell of her breasts, and she gasps and arches her back. He smiles, his voice low down again. "Yeah? You like that, baby?"

"Mm," she hums, and he does it again, more pressure this time. Her head tips back and spills her hair over the backs of his fingers, and they both groan this time.

She's across him, her back to the driver's side door, and she squirms anxiously on his lap as he brushes his thumb slowly along the heavy curve underneath her breast. "Can I?" he whispers against her neck, kissing her, and she holds his head closer and takes his wrist in her hand. It's up to her, she knows, she can stop him or she can let him, and her choice is made in the minute he asks. When his palm covers her breast, she moans and arches into it.

She's twisting and shifting, can't get comfortable. The warmth of him is taking her over and getting under her skin. She thinks of all the times he got under her skin in math class, all the times in the halls that he said something terrible or something she didn't even hear, but it made his cronies laugh and she knew it was bad. She can feel herself blush as his hand moves on her breast, and she thinks it's maybe a bit late to be blushing about it, but there's nothing she can do except tilt her head back to give him better access.

"Jared," she breathes, just to hear herself say it, and she feels his fingers tighten on her.

And then he lets her go, smoothes his hand down her side and rests his forehead in the crook of her neck, breathing heavy. "Jared?" She touches his shoulder, so hot and smooth under her fingertips. "What's wrong?"

His voice is deep and rough; it slips under her skirt and over her neck and makes her shiver. "We stop now, sugar," he rasps, "Or I'm not gonna."

"Oh," she says, and her voice sounds small to her ears. She strokes soothing fingers over the fine curls at the nape of his neck while he holds her close and takes deep breaths. She smiles. "That's pretty gentlemanly of you," she says, with just the lightest edge of mockery, and he lifts his head to glare softly at her.

"That's not funny."

"I don't know," she says, grinning. "It's pretty funny to me."

He just shakes his head and smiles wryly, and she laughs, but gently.

They fix their clothes and he drives her home, even walks her to her door. He glances at the front windows before lifting her hand up and pressing a kiss to the back of it, smirking something about her parents watching, and she covertly hits him in the side. They both laugh and she closes the door while he stands on the steps, watching her go.

So it begins, so it goes. They study in the afternoons and sometimes Jared takes her out to the point and they neck until they can't see straight anymore. Sometimes they just kiss, and sometimes she makes him take off his shirt again and he holds her against the door and presses his face against her neck. He tries to kiss his way down, but she never lets him past her collarbone, no matter how low cut her shirt is.

Sometimes it's fairly low cut. She takes to wearing sundresses that button in the front, and sometimes she wears jeans and a t-shirt that comes to a vee just where it can show a little of her cleavage. She does it just to torture him, and he knows it.

At school, they're fighting again. They throw barbs at each other and try so hard to rile the other one up, and then when the bell rings, she races into the art supply room and he catches her up the minute she's in the door, pressing her into the wall and kissing her mouth like he's starving. It's always better when he's the one who got under her skin in class, because she's so angry with him that all she wants to do is make him pay. That's when she lets him sit her on the table and stand between her knees, pressing against the seam of her jeans and sucking marks onto her throat that she has to hide with her hair. He makes such desperate noises, and she owns them like jewels.

Today they're up in her bedroom, and he's trying to sneak peeks into her shirt while she laughs and slaps his hands and tries to make him focus on the books. "Hey, listen," he says, catching her around the waist and looking up at her. She smiles down and brushes his hair out of his eyes. "What do you say to pulling a little James Bond tonight?"

"What do you mean?"

He ducks his head and smiles almost shyly. "Well, my parents are out of town for the weekend. If you wanted, you could come over to my place."

She knows what he's asking. Maybe it's not all the stops, but he wants more than he's gotten, and she knows she does too. "James Bonding?" she asks, a little smile. "You want me to climb down out my window and meet you by my willow tree?"

"Something like that," Jared says, his voice getting rough again. "Mostly I just want you to come to my house, I don't care how we get you there." He presses his face into her belly and she smiles, strokes her fingers through his hair and feels him rub against her.

"Okay," she whispers. "Tonight, right?"

"Yeah," he growls, standing up and backing her into the dayseat.

He leans down and goes to kiss her, but she puts a hand in the middle of his chest to stop him just as he's closing in on her. "We gotta study," she smiles, and he snarls quietly.

"Fuck studying."

He tries for her neck but she laughs at him and pushes him away. "Later, Jared, come on."

He rolls his eyes, but he backs off and flops down in the chair, picks up his pencil and bats the paper with his eraser irritably. She leans over the back of his chair and wraps her arms around his shoulders, taking care to press her breasts to his back. "I'll meet you in the alley behind the house. Okay?"

"Yeah," he says, short and pissy, and she grins and lets him go.

She slips out her bedroom window at nine. She's told her parents she's going to sleep, and packed her bed full of pillows so it looks like she's there, and she's wearing her black jeans and her sneakers and a dark purple t-shirt, so she won't be noticed as she climbs down the trellis. She's never snuck out of her house before, not for any reason like this, and she prays her parents won't notice as she wedges her toes into the slats and listens for the telltale creaking that'll mean she has to go faster. It doesn't come, and she meets the ground without alarm.

She makes it to the backyard and past the garage without incident, sneaking through the darkness, and his truck's waiting there, shining red at her through the fence. She lets herself out and climbs in, and he pulls her to him instantly, kissing her with force and meaning. She clings to his shoulders and hair and kisses him back for a minute before pulling away. "Come on," she says. "Drive, before someone catches me."

He drives. His eyes are glued to the road and he's making quick shifts, stepping on the gas pedal like it's going somewhere. They're just ten blocks away when she puts a hand on his arm and tells him it's not the Indy, and he takes a conscious breath and slows down.

Blessedly they reach his place intact, and he pulls into a big garage attached to a bigger house. He gets out immediately, coming around to her door to take her hand and lead her up the little wooden stairs. "My sister's with my parents and my brother's out for the night," he tells her, pulling her past a beautiful kitchen and dining room and down a hall to the basement door. He tugs her after him, and she almost laughs at how intently focused he is on getting them to wherever he's taking her.

In the basement is a big, open rec room. It's obviously the kids' area; unlike the rest of the immaculate house, there's stuff on the tables and floor and the couches are scratched up and rough. There's a big TV and an array of video game and movie equipment all tangled up with controllers and remotes. He pulls her to the couch and drops down on it, pulling her after him, and she sits down beside him and fends him off, all hands and pressing body. "What are we gonna do?" she asks, laughing. "Watch TV? Movies?"

He kisses her once and tries to pull her closer. "Sugar, don't tease," he rasps, and he sounds desperate and so full of need. She takes pity and pushes back. Taking his wrists in her hands, she pushes them away and makes him sit up. "I want to do something," she tells him, and he groans and moves as she makes him.

"Do anything you want, so long as it involves one of us touching the other... One..." He trails off as she pushes his back against the couch and, her face burning, moves one knee over his lap to settle herself there, above him.

"Kiss me like this," she says, and he groans and does exactly as she says, his hands settling on her hips and pulling her closer. Her hair falls in his face as he grips her harder and bites softly at her lips, his tongue sweeping into her mouth and his scent surrounding her. She drags her fingernails down his chest and he puts his arms around her waist and locks her in tight.

"Your shirt," she whispers against his mouth, and he breaks apart to yank it off over his head and pull her back in, going for her neck, because she's gotten susceptible to his mouth there, hot and aching. "Jared," she whispers, and he lifts his head.

"What? What is it?"

She pushes away from him, just a little bit, just enough, then she edges her fingers under the hem of her shirt and tugs it up, up, higher. His eyes go wide when she pulls it off over her head. "Kiss me like this," she instructs, and he moves to obey her like he's hypnotized. When her skin touches his, bare and hot, belly to belly, she shivers in his arms and he groans against her lips.

"Tell me yes," he pleads, his hands sliding up her back to tug softly at the clip at the back of her bra. It's the nicest one she has, white and lacy, and he puts his fingers between the clasp and her skin, touching her spine where nobody's done since she was a child. She holds his face between her hands and nods yes.

He doesn't waste a second in fiddling the little clips open, and pulls it off her with gentle, swift movements.

"God, you're beautiful," he groans, filling his hands with her and pressing her softly.

She gasps, her nipples hard in his palms; she feels the rough scrape of his hands over the tender skin. "Jared," she gasps, pressing herself into his hands, and he skims his thumbs over the rose peaks, making her moan softly against him. "Jared, where's your bedroom?"

"Hell, yes," he groans, and helps her up off the couch, off his lap. She barely has the presence of mind to grab their clothes off the couch before he's hard up behind her, hands on her hips as he moves her across the room to a door on the far side. He reaches around her, his skin brushing her bare shoulder; she can smell his spice again and turns around in his arms to run her hands down his chest. He backs her into the room with his body, shuts the door behind him without even looking.

It's a boy's room. There's stuff all over the floor, clothes and CD cases and knickknacks. He's got posters of bands and a big, heavy bed in the corner that he crowds her toward, not giving her time to take in the room. He flicks on the light switch and a lamp lights up beside his bed. It's a nice, warm glowing thing, and she likes how it plays over his tanned skin, makes him look brown and hot and fresh as outdoors.

They reach the bed and he turns her around, sits down on the bed himself and pulls her around him until they're just like they were on the couch, her straddling his lap and looking down into his face. He kisses her just below her collarbone, slow and deliberate. When she lets him, when she threads her hands in his hair and urges him down, he groans and lifts her by the waist until her breasts are level with his face.

He opens his mouth over one of her nipples, suckling softly at her, and she cries out and pushes her hips against him. He just holds her up and keeps going, his teeth and his tongue and the sheer heat of him making liquid heat pool in her belly, spread through her limbs. "I want you," she whispers, and he growls against her skin. "I want to touch you, Jared, let me..."

With a little reluctance he lets her go, and she pushes him down on his back so she can run her hands over his chest. Biting her lip, she puts her hands on his belly, watching him try to settle himself down, try not to reach for her. Under her fingers it's taut skin and soft hair, and she wonders at it as she dips her fingers into his bellybutton and along his belt.

Then his hands are there, gentle around hers, guiding her hands down to his belt buckle. She meets his eyes and he's looking right at her, his face a letter of longing. "Please," he says, and it's so quiet and sincere that she's not sure she heard him right. But then: "Please. I need you."

She opens his belt with shaking fingers, and then slides his zipper down.

She pulls the sides apart and Jared hooks his fingers into the waistband of his jeans and boxers. Before she can protest he's pushing them down, and then there he is, and she's staring.

"Don't be scared, sugar," he drawls. She looks at his face to see a sort of quiet amusement in his eyes, and glares at him, incredulous. But he just flashes his charming smile and then adds, a little nervously, "You gotta know I'm your fuckin' slave right now."

Her mouth curves up in a smile. "I know," she says, and softly brushes her hands over his hips.

He bucks up, groaning, lifting her with his thighs. She rides it out, brushing her thumbs over the skin that surprises her with how soft it is, listening to him make those sounds. There's a new scent, sea and salt, and she's staring at him, just trying to take the look of it in.

When she's ready she touches him with her fingertips, and he groans long and loud in the back of his throat. "God damn, woman, w..." He's choking on his words, on ten more sentences he wants to start, and she amuses herself with the thought that he's learning it's better not to antagonize her.

He opens his eyes and looks at her straight, irritable. "Listen," he growls through his teeth, his hands coming up to grip her hips. "You stop fuckin' teasing me, or I swear I'll roll you over and learn you what it is to get tortured like this."

She watches his lips move, but she can't believe what she's hearing. "You can't do that."

"Watch me," he taunts, sliding his hands up over her rib cage, making her shiver since the heat of them makes the rest of the room feel cold. "You'll be the one begging when I oh, oh, fuck..."

She squeezes his cock, surprised at the heat, the softness, the throb of it, but she refuses to flinch. "You were saying?"

"Nothing," he breathes, his head back and his eyes shut tight. "Didn't say a word..."

"Good," she says, and squeezes again.

She knows what she's doing - it's a handjob - but she doesn't exactly know what she's supposed to do next. All she does know is that Jared's hot and hard in her hand, big and alive, and she feels edgy. She wants more, but isn't sure how to get it, so she climbs off his thighs and lays down beside him, not letting go. She braces herself over him and leans down to kiss his mouth. He tries to kiss her back, but he's a little distracted. She blushes as she dips down to taste his neck, like he does so often to her, and then jumps as his fingers curl over hers, so gentle.

"So good, baby." He groans it, moves her hand with his, and he's thrusting gently up into her grip as she learns how to stroke him right. She finds the wetness at the tip and lets her fingers play with it; he likes that and tells her so with choked prayers.

It feels good to do this to him, feels right. She knows she wants more than this - as nice as it is having him in her power, she wants to feel the things he does to her. She moves her hand off him, onto his chest, and raises her head. He blinks up at her, flushed and breathing heavy, brushes a thumb over her cheek. "You okay, sugar?"

"Yeah," she says, moving her face into his hand. "It's fine, I just..." He pulls her forward and kisses her throat, and she sighs, suddenly feeling vulnerable and awkward. "Touch me?"

He rolls her over in one swift movement and smiles down at her, white and brilliant. "No problem," he rasps, and then he's kissing his way down her body, between her breasts and lower. His hands skim her ribs, following his mouth down, and she's on the verge of laughing with how good it feels when his hair brushes softly over her skin.

He bites at the soft skin of her stomach, his teeth sharp, and she squeaks and bats his head, grinning. He rumbles a laugh and grins up at her. "I can't help it, you're just so tasty."

She laughs, but then his fingers are working at her jeans, popping the button and sliding the zipper down, and her heart races. "Jared?" He glances up, strokes her sides. "Just... Just go slow, okay?"

He kisses her stomach so tenderly, so gently. "I will, I promise."

She's so afraid. He was the last person she ever thought she would be doing this with, for the first time, and yet here she is. He's acting just right and she hopes so desperately that she can trust him, that he's good under it all; as he slides her jeans down her legs and kisses the hem of her panties where it meets her thigh, she knows she's going to do this. She sends up a prayer to God, even though maybe she shouldn't, because it's a sin. Her hands are in his hair as he moves his mouth over the soft cotton that covers her belly, and she thinks that's a prayer, of a kind.

"Please," she whispers, and then the heat of his mouth is on her, soaking through the fabric, and she makes a little sound like oh, a high little sound like surprise, or pleasure.

She spreads her legs for him and he opens his mouth wide over her, so soft and hot and gentle, she could cry. He works a finger under the little elastic, just on the inside of her thigh, and whispers against her. "Can I?"

"Yes, God, yes," she sighs, and then his tongue, and she lets out a high, fluttering cry that makes his fingers tighten on her hip. "Oh, god, Jared," she calls, his thumb pressing her open somehow, making it so he has room to flick at her, scrape his teeth and slide his tongue and make her buck her hips against him. The heat builds in her, hard tension curving her back and making her grit her teeth as he moves.

So softly, he presses one thick finger into her where she's wet and wanting, and it feels, it's too, it's so, she opens her mouth to tell him and then she's shaking, her body raging heat and breathless. It's fire in her eyes, in her hands, and in every place he's touched, every place he's touching.

He's still moving when she stops shaking, moving that finger gently in her and kissing her thighs. She pulls him up and clutches him close, feels his arms come around her and his erection smudge against her thigh. "Now," she whispers, still a tremor in her voice. "You have something?"

He swallows and nods, kisses her cheek. "I'll be right back. Right back, baby, I promise." One more kiss and he climbs to his feet, heads for his dresser. She edges her panties down and off, and when he comes back to see her lying naked on his bed, he stops for a minute, just looking at her. She fights the urge to cover up, and then he's getting back on the bed to lie beside her, pull her close.

"You want to put it on?" he asks, and he holds it out, the bumpy foil square. She shakes her head, feeling shy, and pushes it toward him. "Okay," he says. "Okay," and opens the package.

She can see his hands shaking.

When she touches the back of his fingers, looks at him with the questions in her eyes, he blushes and breathes. "I just... I know you haven't before and I really want you to like it..."

She puts her fingers to his mouth, smiling softly. "It's okay," she says, touching his cheek.

"I know," he says, and leans in to kiss her softly.

When he pulls back, she watches him flip the bright blue packaging onto the table and roll the condom down with deft, quick movements. It makes him much paler, and she reaches to touch it without thinking. He's still hot, still slick, and he still pushes his hips forward into her touch, so it seems nothing much has changed; he gets up onto his knees and pulls her underneath.

"Okay?" he asks, settling on top of her and kissing her cheek, her mouth.

"Okay," she whispers, and puts her arms around his back.

He kisses her once more, and then reaches down to coax her thigh up. "Put your legs around me," he tells her, and she does it. It feels exposed and terribly open, but he's there, kissing her softly and rubbing a soothing hand over her side. Somehow it's familiar, to feel afraid and open to him, but push through.

She feels the blunt tip of his cock nudge against her, and she freezes. "Jared."

"Shh," he soothes, kissing all over her face - eyelids, nose, chin. "Just relax, it'll be okay." She tries, and he begins to push inside her.

It's unlike anything, ever. It doesn't hurt. It's not uncomfortable, except how she's squirming with how much she wants him right where he is. It feels like eating too much cheesecake, like spending too long in a hot bath. It's overwhelming, and paralyzing, and so completely perfect that she wouldn't trade it for anything else.

He drops his head into her shoulder and groans when his hips touch hers. "God. God."

"I'm okay," she whispers to him, stroking her fingers over his back. "It's good, it's... It's good." It's more than good, it's something else that's bigger than that, but she doesn't know how to put it into words and she wouldn't even try. She shifts a little, a tiny adjustment, and he groans again, more insistent. She wants him to do something, probably move, but she doesn't know how to ask.

And then he is moving, pulling his hips back and then pressing forward again, and pleasure explodes through her like a fireworks display. "Oh, oh, oh yeah, Jared..."

He grips her shoulders hard and rocks into her, making desperate sounds through his teeth like he's angry or crying, but she knows he isn't. Nobody could ever be sad doing this, it's so good, so right, and she crosses her ankles behind his spine and holds onto him like her life depends on it. He's Superman, and he can make her fly.

It builds in her until she can't take it; he kisses her mouth and her neck and groans breathlessly into her skin, clutching her to him. It seems like no time at all goes by and then she's trembling again, pleasure blasting through her, and she can hear his voice in her ear as he jerks helplessly in her arms. They cry out together, mingling in the sudden stillness.


[Vancouver, now]

There's a smile on Jared's lips, and she blushes.

"Well," says Jensen, "I guess you found each other. I gotta get back. They need me in makeup, I think, so." He turns to go and Jared calls out some dig back at him, about him needing more time in the chair.

It reminds her of the way Jared always was with his brother, and she smiles softly. "You guys are pretty close, huh?"

"Yeah," Jared says, ducking his head. He scratches at the back of his neck when he does that now, and she finds it cute - an affectation, but a cute one. "Come on, they fed me, so I'm free and clear for an hour."

He takes her hand without batting an eye, and drags her from the tent like it was yesterday. She runs behind him, her hair flying.

Outside, they walk in the grass past the trailers. He picks her some wildflowers, braving bees, and she laughs. Then they're just walking together, Jared in his costume and her in her bare feet. She's carrying her pumps, so they won't sink in the ground. He asks her, "So where's...?"

"Josh?" He nods, and she smiles. "Him and the kids are cruising around Gastown. I haven't been able to pry them out of there all week, they love it."

"Kids," he says, scuffing his feet in the grass. "Wow. How many?"

"Two," she tells him. "Ashley and Daniel. Daniel's a music nut. He keeps dragging us to used record stores."

"Hm." They walk for a minute more, and then he goes, "Wait a minute, Josh... Not Josh Spring. Didn't I...?"

She grins up at his sun-touched face. "...Beat the crap out of him for calling me a skank in fifth period?"

"Yeah," he smiles. "I guess you got over that, huh?"

She laughs. "You could say that, yeah." Jared smiles and puts his hands in his pockets. She tucks her hair behind her ear and says, "After you left for your big break in Hollywood, I think he kind of wondered what all the fuss was about. He apologized a lot before I finally let him take me for dinner."

He smiles, and the sun is shamed. "You always were good at putting jerks in their place," he says ruefully.

They're back where they started now, and their hour's up. They turn to each other, and he tucks a stray lock of her hair back where it belongs. She looks up into his face and, in this moment, loves him as much as she ever did.

"Well, I should go," she says. "I know you're busy, so."

He leans down and so sweetly presses a kiss to her cheek. She shivers, even though it's not cold. "I'll see you around, sugar."

She watches him leave, then slips on her heels and goes to meet her husband. She'll tell him the Buddhist temple was fascinating, and that, as they say, will be that.