|Modern Hoodoo II: The Ghost of You
Author: Guede Mazaka
Jared had been right about one thing. After they’d left the asylum, nothing else had happened and Jensen had almost been able to comfortably pretend that maybe, just maybe, he’d been really drunk. Well, if Jared hadn’t taken him so seriously on wanting to learn about the occult, and if Jensen hadn’t still had that little reflex where, like an ass, his spine melted around Jared. When Kripke found out and enthused about “how dedicated they were to the role” and started passing along homework assignments, that basically sealed the deal.
Okay, watching Jared grind cartons of salt into his trailer carpet, only to get bitched at a few weeks later for the encrustations that popped up—“What are you cooking in here? Salt prawns? Don’t we pay you enough to order take-out?”—was fun. But Jensen wasn’t really a candle kind of guy when it came to interior decorating, and the big-ass books with the point-seven font that Jared kept tossing at him were a bit much, even for resistance training. And when they’d been packing for Germany. God.
“Look, I got it all through security the first time, so why don’t you believe I can do it again?” Handfuls of shirts flew up in the air, then came down to spangle Jared’s bed. His head briefly surfaced, but only so he could make sure he hadn’t knocked over his little bag of bones. Like, actual bones from sheep and stuff. How he’d managed to keep all this weirdness out of sight before, Jensen had no idea.
And it was way, way too widespread for Jensen to have missed it just because of a stupid puppy-crush. Jared even carried around a little plastic vial of holy water. Which Jensen knew ‘cause since they’d been to Germany, Padalecki had overestimated the strength of German beer a couple times and Jensen had gotten to haul his ass into bed. Making sure any pointy things were out of the guy’s pockets was a legitimate excuse to riffle in them. Really.
This crush thing wasn’t getting any better, Jensen reluctantly concluded. So much for hoping that the familiarity of a slightly crappy hotel room would breed contempt. “All right, you can do it. That’s not the problem. What I really want to know is why we’re taking back a mini-library on demons.”
“We’re not taking back a mini-library. I’m gonna wake up early tomorrow and scan all that, so it’ll be on my hard drive. Where the hell is it…” More clothes flew around. Then Jared popped up with a satisfied look on his face, waving around a piece of paper. “Here we go. Those girls we met the other night said that this is where the after-party would be if Italy won.”
Jensen laid back on his bed and stared at the ceiling for a couple seconds, finally concluding that amazingly enough, he didn’t want to hook up with the hot Italian girls. They’d been here a week and he was dead tired of flirting with girls he didn’t really like so he didn’t get caught staring at Jared’s ass. His head was beginning to ache, too: that kind of pinched-helmet headache he usually associated with severe jet-lag. “I’m kind of worn out. You go on ahead.”
After a pause, Jared came over. It took him a bit, since he had to get all his clothes off the floor now. “What’s the matter? The only reason I even suggested it was because of you.”
“Huh? Because of Sandy? I thought you two were on a break,” Jensen said. He immediately regretted it and opened his mouth to take it back, or at least mitigate it. It was probably his most wishful moment yet.
Jared seemed to take it fairly well, his eyebrows twitching into an expression that was more quizzical than pissed off, but the muscle in his jaw was ticking. “Yeah, and I’m kind of hoping to get back together with her. What, do you have a problem with that?”
Of course Jensen did. And of course he was going to backpeddle as quickly and as diplomatically as possible. “No, no, definitely not. Sorry, man. I’m…I guess I’m more wiped than I thought.”
For a moment, it really looked like Jared was going to buy it. Then he frowned. “Dude, I spent the first fifteen minutes telling you who was who and then at halftime you still thought Ballack was the goalie. What, did you run a marathon while I wasn’t looking?”
“Hey, entertaining girls in really crowded stands is a very strenuous and exacting activity,” Jensen protested. A low stab of pain cut through the back of his skull and he winced, bringing up his hands to rub into his eyes and temples.
“And I’ve been getting this low-level headache all day. I don’t know…it’s not bad enough to be a migraine, but it’s been driving me nuts…” He’d been hoping that lying down would help, but it’d only gotten worse since they’d gotten back to the hotel. He gingerly elbowed himself up, then looked around the room.
Honestly, it was a pretty decent room, even if the toilet’s flushing power was unbelievably puny compared to what he was used to. But it was on the stuffy side, and even opening the window didn’t help because their outside wall was about three feet from the next building, which didn’t allow for enough air circulation.
“Sorry to wimp out on you, but I think I need a walk, or something. Get some air,” Jensen muttered. Then he had a thought and toed over his bag, but when he dug up his bottle of aspirin, it was empty.
“I think we used that up after the last of the quarterfinals. You want me to run down to the corner and grab some?” Jared was looking a little more sympathetic now, so chalk one up to Jensen’s smooth moves.
The headache smacked a wide band of burning pain just behind Jensen’s eyes and his ego promptly crumpled into genuine discomfort. He dropped his bag and bottle and pressed his hands to his temples, gritting his teeth. After a moment, the pain started to die down. “Uh, no, that’s fine. No, seriously, go out. Do something. Doesn’t have to be chasing girls, but look, we’ve only got the France-Portugal game and then the finals left. Go have fun.”
“Man, you sound like you’re my dad,” Jared snorted. He bent down and reached out to lay his fingertips lightly on either side of Jensen’s forehead. “Maybe it was that blood sausage thing you ate…”
Jensen barely managed not to suck in his breath. His skin was tingling beneath Jared’s touch and it was both really embarrassing and really frustrating. Too bad he wasn’t on his way to get drunk. “Then it’d be my stomach, wouldn’t it? I’ll just go for a walk. I probably just need some air. You know, too much time yelling my head off and stuff.”
“Okay…” That reasoning didn’t seem to convince Jared, but he backed off, so he wasn’t going to push it. He glanced at his watch, then went back to gathering up his clothes. “Well, in that case I think I’m just going to head down to that bar we found yesterday—I think it said it opens really late. I’m starving. If you get done in less than two hours, just meet me there, ‘kay?”
“Got it,” Jensen muttered, lurching to his feet.
* * *
Dortmund was a good place for walking. Tons of parks scattered around, and once Jensen got into them it was relatively quiet and free of people. He just wandered around, only paying enough attention so that he’d be able to find his way back to the hotel. His headache started to back off.
According to his watch, it was past three in the morning when he decided he’d better head back. If he hurried a little, he probably could catch Jared at the pub; his stomach was taking to German food just fine, thank you, and he could use something to eat, too.
Somebody laughed nearby.
Jensen looked up, then slowly turned so he could check out all directions, but nobody else seemed to be near enough. There were a few people at the end of the path, and then he could hear the occasional shout from the direction of the street, but that was it. And anyway—
He heard it again and yeah, it was a kid giggling. A cold prickling started at his hairline and slowly spread down the back of his neck, while he caught himself nervously grabbing at his own forearms. He looked around again, then started walking towards that small group at the other end of the trail. But they were moving pretty quickly, and soon they walked out of his sight. Still, that probably meant they’d gone out of the park and right now that was exactly what Jensen wanted to do, so he kept steadily moving in that direction. He didn’t run.
The giggling was more or less continuous now, though its volume rose and fell, kind of like whoever was doing it was circling away and back to him. It sounded like it was coming from somebody way shorter than him, too.
Jared had given him a couple charms to memorize, along with the appropriate talismans to use. After the first month of nothing, Jensen had stopped carrying around the amulets. Which he was cursing now, but he did remember one or two spells that didn’t require anything. He shoved his hands in his jeans pockets and said them.
The giggling took a kind of dip, then started up again, and louder. Yeah, like this was so amusing.
Jensen shivered just as a drop of sweat rolled down his forehead and got into his eye. He sped up as he rubbed the stinging wetness out, then blinked. “Oh, hell no.”
There was a little boy standing in front of him and grinning. He was…well, Jensen wanted to guess around eight, but the kid was so appallingly thin that it was hard to be sure. And there was something funny about him, about his deeply tilted eyes and broad, flat cheekbones. He grinned, revealing that he’d never been within calling distance of a dentist in his life, then danced back as Jensen slowed and swung to the right. Then he followed, falling into a weird, inelegant lope beside Jensen.
Oh, and he was transparent, so he was obviously dead. Had Jensen mentioned that yet?
It wasn’t like Jensen could stop, and somehow he had a feeling that running was just going to wear him out and make him look dumb. He took a really deep breath while his body kept on walking, totally on auto-pilot, and the kid just kept him company. Okay. This wasn’t so bad. Maybe…maybe the kid just was out for some air, too? It had to get stuffy in those damp basements and old ruins ghosts were usually around.
So Jensen basically continued on, and the kid ran around beside him. Sometimes he’d go wide, then circle in front to happily mouth things at Jensen, but Jensen wasn’t exactly a lip-reader. He still felt weirdly bad about it and shrugged each time; once he even muttered something about not being able to hear, and the boy looked briefly puzzled. It didn’t bother the kid for long, since he went right back to what he’d been doing.
They came to the park entrance and Jensen walked through, only to lose sight of the boy. He turned around and saw him standing just inside the park, looking very sadly back.
“Hey…” Jensen started, but the boy suddenly pointed off to the side. There was something eerie about how solemn the kid looked, something much older than any of his possible ages, and since Jensen wasn’t about to be the kind of guy who didn’t know his horror-movie clichés, he looked.
The boy had pointed to the street corner, and what do you know: right there was standing a little girl-ghost. Just as scarily thin, with the same sort of indefinable wrongness about her, but with a small, shy smile on her face. She waved at Jensen in what was clearly a follow-me gesture.
After checking to see that he did have his cell phone—talk about the pain of making sure that’d still work in Europe—and that the batteries were at least half-charged, he slowly followed her. If she went anywhere that seemed remotely sketchy, he was bailing and calling Jared. But for now the kids didn’t seem that threatening. Just weird, and Jensen had to admit he was curious.
His headache was gone, too, and he had a hunch that they might have something to do with it, and that if he did leave, the headache was going to come back.
The girl skipped along, singing to herself. Now and then snatches of a thin, soft voice were audible, but they were…kind of scratchy and fragmentary, like with a worn-out videotape. And anyway, what Jensen could hear sounded like German, and even though getting drunk and flirting in a foreign country was definitely the best way to pick up a language, he was nowhere near good enough to guess at what she was singing.
“Well, whatever floats your boat. All right, take me to your leader,” he mumbled. “Unless he’s some kind of M. Night Shyalaman freak, okay?”
She turned back to grin buckteeth at him, then skipped on.
* * *
Jensen got “passed” on to four or five kids before it finally looked like they were getting near a destination. By then it was near five in the morning and he was in serious need of coffee, a chair, a bed—anything. He was dragging. He wasn’t even really paying attention to where they were now, except to note it was a nice neighborhood, and the building into which the last child led him also seemed pretty nice, if quiet and full of empty hallways except whoa. Person who wasn’t transparent.
The other guy stared oddly at Jensen, which…he guessed was understandable enough, considering what he must look like: rumpled, red-eyed, muttering to thin air to just tell him what they wanted already so he could sleep, dammit. Kind of a shame; as tired as Jensen was, he still managed to recognize that the man was about an inch over him with a great build, dark-haired and good-looking enough for a stab at buying him a drink, if they’d been in a club. And he…reminded Jensen a little of Jared, actually. Great. Like Jensen needed more evidence that he was hopelessly fixated.
“Vas tun see here?” the guy said. Anyway, that’s what it sounded like. German definitely wasn’t Jensen’s strong point…so he was falling back on phonetics. Shit. “Ve erhelten see inen here?”
Fuck. Um. “Er,” Jensen said. Okay, he officially sucked at coming up with cover stories.
The last kid suddenly twirled out from behind Jensen, arms thrown wide and head tilted up. She spun like a ballerina right into the wall. And through the wall. And from the look on the German guy’s face, he’d seen that, too.
Jensen leaned against the wall and pointed at the spot where she’d gone. “It was her idea. And—” aw, shit, he had been paying a little attention to Jared’s explanations during the game, and now he was remembering “—uh, are you Michael Ballack?”
“Yes.” His accent wasn’t so bad. He’d been staring poleaxed at the wall, but now he swung around to look…well, hopefully that was a thoughtful expression, and not an I’m-going-to-throw-you-out-now expression. “You’re on the German team’s floor.”
“No kidding,” Jensen said. He blinked a couple times. The world still wasn’t being any nicer to him, and his mind didn’t seem to want to work, except to say that yeah, this did kind of look like a hotel floor. “They really know their way around. Not that I knew. They just sort of pointed and I went wherever, so I really had no idea and I’m really sorry about this—”
Michael lifted his hand and kind of waved for Jensen to stop. He still seemed pretty stunned himself, but he was definitely more together. “Wait, wait…can you start at the beginning? Or…there’s a lounge down the hall. I think I need to sit.”
“Sounds like a great idea. Um, is there any chance I could get coffee, too?” Maybe that was pushing it a little.
Maybe not. A little flicker went through Michael’s eyes, but he nodded and just stepped aside for Jensen. Okay. Coffee with the German soccer team. Ghosts. Jensen could deal. He could totally, totally deal. He so was only holding it together because he was a guy and even metrosexuals didn’t faint in public without serious damage to their rep.
“I’m Jensen Ackles,” Jensen absently added. Mostly because it was really, really quiet now and that was creeping him out, and his mother had taught him his manners. Man, at this rate he was going to turn into a nervous motormouth like Jared.
“Nice to meet you.” Michael sounded just as vague, like he was talking just to do something normal after…that.
Something about that struck Jensen as funny, and funny really wasn’t appropriate so he tried to hold it in, but a couple slightly hysterical snickers got away from him. He coughed to cover it up, flushing at how crappy that was, and just concentrated on walking. “Sorry. It’s been a weird night.” And wow, was his memory great at being late with the useful info, because now he remembered the Germans had just lost and weren’t going to the finals, so what odds that Michael was having a worse night? Like, a billion to one. “I’m really, really sorry about crashing in on you like this. I know it’s probably the worst time—”
“Well, you said you didn’t even know where this was, and if you got past security, it had to be something unusual helping you. And I saw—that.” Yeah, Michael was being gracious, but he’d stiffened a little at that reference to the game, and man, could Jensen feel any worse? Well, yes—Michael relaxed and even smiled uncertainly at him. “Are you all right? Do you need anything besides coffee?”
The guy was limping noticeably, and he was asking Jensen this. Wow. Talk about fodder for whenever Dean got another guilt-trip moment written for him. “No, I’m—fine, pretty much. Just really, really hoping you don’t think I’m crazy for what I’m about to tell you.”
“I think I’ll hear it first and make up my mind,” Michael shrugged. He glanced over his shoulder and his composure slipped a little to show a deeply shaken man. Then he shivered and seemed to throw it off, at least for now. “Actually, do you mind? Some of the others might come into the lounge, so I think my room might be better…”
“Oh. Sure, okay.” Dude, whatever he said. Jensen owed him a ton right now just for not freaking out in the first couple of seconds.
* * *
The room, as it turned out, was a double. Michael nodded towards the other bed. “Torsten—my roommate—got taken out by his family. He won’t be in for a while.”
“Uh-huh.” The coffee was good. Kind of had an edge to it, like…Jensen took another sip, just to make sure. He glanced up at Michael, who was getting himself settled on what apparently was his bed, and Michael made with his shoulders and eyebrows like ‘thought it might be a good idea, do you mind?’ Nope, Jensen definitely didn’t.
Figuring out where he was going to sit took a second. The two chairs in the room had big duffel bags in them, and sitting on Torsten’s bed seemed kind of chicken-shit, but sitting on Michael’s bed…eh. Honestly, this sort of thought shouldn’t even be crossing Jensen’s mind, let alone making him stall and stall and stall. He didn’t know how clued in Michael might be, but if he kept on like this, it wasn’t going to matter.
In the end, he sat on the other side of Michael’s bed. Michael didn’t seem to notice, probably because he was busy dosing his coffee with sugar cubes. “So…was that a…” he obviously didn’t want to commit to the word “…ghost?”
“I think so. I’m pretty new to this.” Jensen drank his coffee. He could feel Michael staring at him, waiting for more of an explanation, and he owed the guy but God, this was embarrassing. Was there any good way to say, “I hit my head while I was in a haunted insane asylum a couple months ago, and nothing weird ever happened till then”?
“What were you doing in a haunted insane asylum?” Michael incredulously asked.
Well, wasn’t Jensen’s inner filter doing a crappy job of keeping the stupid stuff in his head. “I’m an actor in a TV show. We were filming in it.”
Michael looked blankly at him for so long that Jensen began to think the other man’s patience had finally snapped. But then Michael blinked and nodded. “Oh. That’s where I’ve seen you. One of my teammates’ nieces has you on her computer.” He raised his mug to his lips, but in the middle of drinking flicked his eyes over the rim to Jensen. He was talking before he’d even really lowered the cup. “Where did that girl come from? I’ve stayed here several times and I’ve never seen a ghost before—I’ve never seen one in my life before that one.”
“You’re taking that pretty well.” Some German girl had a wallpaper of him? For a moment, Jensen was so damn flattered he almost forgot he was really freaked out. An increasing number of people were stopping him in the street in America, but since they’d arrived in Germany, nobody seemed to have recognized him or Jared. Of course, that was kind of a relief, even if they were nowhere near superstar status yet, but it’d also been kind of a downer.
Hell, he had a healthy self-esteem. It was not pompous of him.
“Nobody’s been hurt so far, so I don’t see the point of panicking,” Michael said. He really was a very sensible guy for somebody in his position. He put his mug in his lap and stared down into it for a second, then looked back at Jensen. “Is anyone going to get hurt?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know where she’s—they, actually, are from.” Jensen gave Michael a brief summary of how he’d gotten here in the first place. “I mean, they don’t seem like they’re gonna hurt people, but I can’t tell for sure. I don’t know…do you know? Like, are there any famous haunted places in town? Legends?”
Michael frowned and looked off towards the wall. His fingers started to slide and tap around his cup and a couple times he almost started to say something, only to slip back into thoughtful silence. He finally shrugged, looking a little annoyed with him. “I’m the wrong person to ask. I don’t really pay attention to that sort of thing. It just worries me—why would they take you here?”
“Yeah…” Jensen wasn’t so narcissistic as to think that a bunch of kiddie ghosts would rise up just to make sure he met Michael Ballack. For one thing, they were way too young to be thinking about that.
For another, he was getting way, way too single-minded. He was seriously beginning to consider a one-night-stand just to get his head straight.
“I’m here with a friend, actually. My costar—he’s way more into this kind of thing than I am. Here, let me call him up…” He flipped out his cellphone and dialed, then frowned. Waved the cell around. The range-bars mysteriously jumped from half to full, and then he put the phone to his ear.
Michael started to say something again, but cut himself off when Jensen glanced over. He drank his coffee and sat there, casually waiting. Most people would’ve looked off to the side after the first few moments, but Michael gazed steadily at Jensen. There wasn’t really anything in it, as far as Jensen could tell—the guy might as well have been watching ducks in the park or something. Which probably meant there was no chance, and Jensen had better stare at the damned wall before his face gave him away. He’d already nearly started to shift nervously around.
*Hey, this is Jared—*
“Shit,” Jensen muttered. Michael raised an eyebrow and Jensen made a face. Why was it that Jared could prank-call him at four in the morning, but whenever Jensen needed the dork, he wasn’t around? “Voicemail. Then again, what time is--oh, hey, Jared, listen. Sorry I missed you, but call me back as soon as you can, all right? I kind of walked into one of our episodes. Thanks.”
“Episodes?” Michael asked.
Jensen thumbed off the call and shut his phone. “Well, our show…we play these two guys that travel around hunting monsters. Getting rid of ghosts, killing werewolves, that kind of thing. It’s ironic, really.”
“The insane asylum,” Michael said, clearly putting it all together. He scanned around the room, preoccupied by something, before coming back to Jensen again. “How long before your friend calls back? Because I want to make sure that my team isn’t in any kind of danger—”
“Oh, damn. It might be awhile. We were up early because Jared wanted to hit the library for some research—he’s kind of a geek—and then we went to the game and since it went into overtime—”
Michael twitched right there, and Jensen just wanted to hit himself very hard with a brick, or something like that.
“Not that I’m complaining. It was a really good game.” Wow, could Jensen get any lamer?
“For the Italians, I’m sure,” Michael said in a flat voice. He definitely was still raw about that. But then he winced and shook himself, looking apologetically at Jensen. “Sorry. You didn’t deserve that. I’m just—very disappointed with myself.”
“You’d probably be the only one. I play some, so I’m not the usual dumb American and seriously, you were great.” Well, if Jensen didn’t want to be lame, he could be fawning and pathetic. He desperately searched for something to say that wasn’t going to send his cheeks up in a flaming blush, then belatedly slurped some coffee. Man, he’d had a cup for the whole time and he’d totally forgotten about using it. “Um. Well, I could walk around at least, and see if I can get anything. Like I said, I’m new to this, but I could point out any obvious things, anyway.”
There was an odd little pause before Michael nodded, like he was trying to decide on something. “All right. It’s actually not that much to look at.” He grinned a bit at Jensen’s obvious confusion. “You’ve been yawning this whole time.”
Jensen smiled sheepishly and ducked his head, then drank some more coffee. He lifted his cup in a mini-toast afterward. “And thank you very much for this.”
Michael returned the smile as he got up. “Oh, you’re welcome. I think we’ll start at this end. Let’s see, David’s asleep, and I think I heard Philipp and Metze come in, but…”
He went off into German there; Jensen just let him mumble and followed after him into the hallway. They walked through the halls and poked their heads into a few rooms—all empty; Michael apparently wasn’t so worried he wanted to wake his friends after a crushing game—while Jensen did his best to play medium. He could feel Michael watching him closely and it made him want to look like he was actually doing something to prove he wasn’t useless, but at the same time, he didn’t want to look like a mumbo-jumbo arm-waving idiot.
After the second room they did, Michael started asking Jensen a mix of questions that was kind of random, considering the situation: how they liked Germany, what was the story behind that insane asylum, wasn’t American beer kind of disappointing after having the real stuff, what kind of ghosts had Jensen run into before. At first Jensen thought maybe his nerves were showing and Michael was trying to distract him, but then he caught Michael eying a Bible on a side-table and he realized the other man was trying to distract himself.
“It just might be some random thing, like a lightning strike,” Jensen said quietly as they moved towards another room. “Jared says ghosts have this love-hate relationship with people: they don’t like being around a crowd, but…all the energy and movement of a lot of people moving through a place can also wake up ghosts.”
Michael tried the doorknob: it was unlocked. He slowly turned it, then eased his hand around the edge of the door and peeked inside. After a moment, he pushed it wider so Jensen could slide past. “The World Cup would fit that. But then, the World Cup’s like a lightning bolt, too, so I can’t help wondering if they’re connected.”
Jensen stopped in the middle of taking another step, then turned back. “Man, you don’t think you’re being haunted because you lost, do you?”
Polite as the guy was, Michael wasn’t an actor. He put his arm up against the doorframe and tipped his head, gazing into the room. Then he looked at Jensen, and the disappointment and self-recrimination in his eyes was so intense Jensen could almost feel it crushing him. “Well, if it crossed my mind, would it be crazy?”
The thing was, Jensen could get that kind of mindset. He’d lost roles before that he’d really, desperately wanted and had thought would make him. But…well, he’d survived anyway, and was doing pretty damn well. On the other hand, the World Cup in soccer was kind of on a whole other level, and on the other other hand, Michael still shouldn’t be so depressed.
Jensen really took a moment to make sure he thought of something half-decent to say. “No, but if you’d played any harder, I bet you’d be in the hospital. And besides—hate to burst your bubble, but those ghosts showed up for me first. I’m pretty sure I’ve got nothing to do with how well you guys play, so…”
He ended it with a little bit of a smile hopefully pulling at the corners of his lips. Michael just stared grimly at him, to the point where Jensen was starting to feel like a clown. But then, just in time to save Jensen’s pride, the other man cracked and smiled back. He was clearly still pretty down, but at least he wasn’t brooding.
The mutual grinning went on a little too long, and Jensen could see the exact moment when that registered with Michael. He glanced away, then back and took a deep breath, getting ready to joke that off, too. Instead he got rocked back onto his heels and muffled against a firm pair of lips.
Jensen’s mind was kind of blown. A second later, it still was, but his body seemed to have come to its own conclusion and his arm dropped around Michael’s neck as he pushed back. Michael resisted for a second, then let himself get up against the doorframe and opened up so Jensen’s tongue kind of popped into his mouth. Though once it was there, it got right to it and Michael seemed to like that, at least from how he grabbed onto Jensen’s arm.
He started pulling on Jensen by that, and at first Jensen thought it was encouragement—hell, Michael flat-out moaned when Jensen bumped up against his groin—but then it kept going and something got through to Jensen’s mind. He reluctantly backed off. “What’s the matter?”
“I…I’m not really myself right now.” Michael immediately shook his head at the first thought that popped into Jensen’s mind—and face, apparently. “No. I wouldn’t mind, normally, but right now, after we lost…”
“If it’s not about me, that’s…fine. Trust me, my ego’s gonna survive. Besides, I’m a tourist. Taking advantage of me is fair game.” Anyway, wasn’t it sort of mutual? said a little voice in Jensen’s mind.
It gave him pause, which was probably good because diving right back at Michael would’ve pressured the guy. Thinking meant Michael had time to get himself back together and decide that yeah, he had consent and drag Jensen back for a even hotter and messier bout of making out.
Actually, till his stupid inner voice had brought it up, Jensen hadn’t even been thinking about Jared. For some reason, he felt momentarily guilty about that, but then Michael did this thing where his tongue slipped around Jensen’s and dragged slowly over the roof of Jensen’s mouth, and yeah…
Oh, Jesus, now what? was what Jensen thought right then, and he didn’t feel one damn pang of guilt over that. He barely grabbed the doorframe in time to catch himself as Michael jerked away and swung about to face the speaker. Then he took a look himself.
After a second, Michael let out an exasperated sigh and snapped German stuff at the newcomer, who was tall, curly-blond and at first looked like he wasn’t sure whether to be pissed off or amused. He quickly tipped towards pissed off and volleyed back in German, waving at Jensen and then…behind Jensen? He probably was saying something like, “Yes, but you have your own room, don’t you?” if Jensen was any kind of connoisseur of this sort of situation.
That wasn’t really something to be proud of, but whatever because Jesus Christ. Jensen stared and stared.
“Jensen?” Michael was talking. To him. Huh. “Jensen—what? It’s just Jens.”
“And—uh—shit, duck!” Jensen yelled, lunging for Jens.
He was way too late, but Jens—Jens was the one who’d been the goalie, right, which explained why he dove and rolled and Jensen just fell while trying to avoid the big old vase of flowers that had just gone soaring past them. Unassisted. Would’ve given Jens a hell of a concussion if he hadn’t moved, judging from the loud noise it made as it shattered against the far wall.
Jensen scrambled back to his feet as soon as he could. Behind him, Jens was yelling at Michael and Michael sounded like he was trying to explain, but hell, it wasn’t like Jensen could actually understand what he was saying. Besides, one of the little girls he’d seen earlier was giggling and dancing over the vase shards. She waved, then turned and ran off down the hall.
“Oh, hell no. I have taken so much crap from you guys—” She wasn’t moving that fast; Jensen was already halfway across the distance between them by the time he got done swearing to himself. And he probably would’ve caught up to the little brat if a door hadn’t slammed out in front of him before he could stop.