Tangible Schizophrenia


Modern Hoodoo Remix: Mojo Hand Working

Author: Alethialia (Email)
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Jared/Sandy, implied Jensen/Michael Ballack, implied unrequited Jared/Jensen
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. None of the events portrayed in this story are real or ever happened, because if they had, wow, that’d be kinda fucked up.
Notes: Guede dared me to remix Modern Hoodoo Appendix: Black Cat Bone from Jared’s POV. I am weak. Many thanks to her and, as such, this is dedicated to her.
Summary: Jared was so not getting laid, like, ever and also, this shit only happened to him, God.


It seemed like a good idea at the time, more to get out and in the presence of people who were not Sandy alone since she was pissed at him and wouldn’t quit it with the sulking and the glaring and the holy God, just impale him with a spiked heel already.

Yeah, it was that kind of day. So, hey, hatch a plot to get Jensen and Michael in the same general area, possibly with a bed, and maybe Sandy would lay off and work through her whatever so that he could finally get her clothes off and remind himself just why exactly he missed her boobs so much.

Was this honestly too much to ask? Apparently.

Jared was never offering up information again. That was his decision. If he hadn’t opened his mouth last night he would have gotten laid and wouldn’t be alternately eyeing Sandy’s boobs and shifting his eyes quickly away before she caught him at it. Normally, she’d shimmy and be all, ‘hey, baby, like what you see?’ but not now, nope, now he was persona non grata with the added insult that she wouldn’t fucking leave him alone.

So, Michael Ballack project made total sense, you know, earlier. Except now Sandy had taken to the idea like a crackwhore to her, well, crack, but she wouldn’t stop bitching about what a bad idea it was in the first place: ‘Jensen doesn’t like to get up early, you should have called first, this is so insensitive, maybe he doesn’t really want to continue it, did you ever think of that?’

By the time they actually reached Jensen’s apartment door, well, Jared was glad to have something to beat with his fists. And release some aggression with the yelling for Jensen to get his weak ass out of bed, it wasn’t that early and they’d had way worse morning calls than this.

Sandy had her own choice words, but Jared was pretty sure those were less for Jensen and so he made sure not to listen, instead concentrating on any sound from inside. It took a bit of relentless pounding, but he finally heard a muffled, “Coming! Coming, damn it!” and great. He sounded like he was in about the same mood as Sandy who stood silent and brooding next to him.

Why was this a good idea again?

Jensen finally opened the door, looking utterly destroyed, fucked-out, like he’d had a hell of a night, eyeing them like he was trying to remember their names or his name and shifting into that uncomfortable awkwardness that Jared generally associated with morning-afters and what? Did Jensen have someone here with him?

But Sandy was already pushing past him with a pat to his cheek and a “Hey, Jensen,” and Jensen was just standing there like a drunk, stoned, dumbass, blinking like Jared was a hook-up about to bite him. Or something.

Not that Sandy let that stop her. “Sorry it’s so early, but I did make us stop for coffee to make up for it.” And yeah, that had just prolonged the agony, sitting in a car listening to her bitch him out about every fucking thing under the sun, but Jensen was looking a little relieved and didn’t seem to notice Jared’s…issues.

Except Jensen still hadn’t said anything, and fuck the deal with Sandy, Jared was starting to border on concerned. “Dude. Are you…okay?” he asked, fluttering a hand in front of Jensen’s face and looking him over, making sure nothing…weird…had happened. Or something.

Jensen’s eyes did a little shifty thing to the hall behind Jared. “Great, man. Look…um…” Oh, right, not in the hall. Good idea. Jared slid by him, taking a shot as he did so, maybe some of the concern in his voice: “You never were this out of it when we had pre-dawn calls.”

“I’m still on vacation. Shut up,” Jensen said to the door, doing up the locks as Jared watched his shoulders flex. No scratch marks, so you know, probably no one here. He thought. “No, actually, wait. I need to ask you something—right. Why am I up now? When it’s not a call on set? And I’m not strangling either of you?”

“Because Chelsea’s training camp is in Los Angeles and you’re gonna get to bang your soccer boyfriend in a couple hours?” Sandy asked, giving Jensen coffee and smiling innocently and God! He was never telling anyone anything ever again!

Jared took a quick breath in and fell face-first against the corner of the wall, banging his head in an attempt to beat that information into his brain: Never. Say. Anything. Again. This might be a problem for his career, but it would save him the utter mortification of this blush and keep Sandy from…doing that. Ever again. “No, no, Sandy…”

“What? That’s what you said in the car when I asked why we were up this early!” Way too innocent and that was a shot and she knew it and further, so did he. Possibly Jensen was the only one who didn’t know, but he hadn’t had his coffee yet and when he rewound this conversation he’d probably get it. And then Jared would have to talk about it, God.

“Look, thanks. Really. But did it ever occur to you that Michael might’ve called ahead? I’m meeting him later.” Jared stuttered to a stop, that possibility never even entering his mind, but in his defense he’d been a little distracted by a prickly-pear Sandy and, like, no sex.

But, wait, really?

“Jesus Christ, it’s not like I’m gonna go running to the airport and jump security so I can make out with him in front of everyone and God. And he’s not my boyfriend. He’s returning a favor.” Jensen frowned into his coffee, his tone of voice kind of offended and protesting he was not a child, thank you very much and also, too fucking early. But he was still drinking the coffee.

Jared rolled his eyes, practically feeling Sandy do the same, and at least Sandy saved him from having to smack Jensen for that one. “This is L. A., Jensen. We know what that really means.”

“Go away and leave me in peace. Oh, my God,” he mumbled around a mouthful of coffee, indignant as he could be while trying to mainline caffeine. “Shouldn’t you two be still doing the welcome-back snuggling thing?”

Jared sometimes wondered if Jensen just had a knee-jerk talent for getting to the downright uncomfortable shit, or if it was all premeditated. He’d guess premeditated—guy had some serious depths beneath the pretty-pretty exterior—but with the confusion in his eyes when he finally took the silence in, um, it might just be the former.

Sandy broke it, thankfully: “What do you eat for breakfast? I was gonna grab some bagels, too, but—”

Jensen quickly interrupted her: “Ugh. No, thank you, I have to eat too many bagels when we’re filming.” So, so true. Especially the onion ones and especially when they had to do all the freakin’ heads-bent-together scenes, Jesus. Boy could strip paint that way.

Jensen threw himself into an armchair and no, Jared didn’t miss the way Sandy’s head poked out of the kitchen for just an instant, eyes flicking over his shoulders before she retreated again. Ridiculous body this guy had, seriously. Jensen waved him into a seat, but Jared mutely shook his head.

“It’s, uh, nice that you thought about it anyway,” Jensen offered, like he was recovering his southern manners one by one the longer he was up.

“You’re a terrible, terrible bullshitter, Jensen,” he said. And right, Jensen screwing with his masterful plan…which turned out to be not so masterful after all. Dammit. “Really? I didn’t realize you and Michael were keeping in touch.”

“I told him to keep my number in case we were wrong and the ghosts came back. Then he called me up to see if I’d flown back okay and blah, blah, I tell him about the movie industry, he explains European soccer to me, and better than you.” Jensen twisted around at the racket Sandy was making in the kitchen. “Hey, Sandy! Leave off my pots! I’ll just grab something in an hour when my stomach wakes up.”

“Blah blah?” Jared arched an eyebrow and looked at him speculatively. He would not laugh. He would not laugh. It was a thing of honor. He was being supportive. “So how often are you guys talking? And he’s interested in the movie industry?”

“Okay, not really the industry, but he likes knowing about the special effects part. He watches a lot of films—all the traveling, I guess.” Jensen tipped the cup back, finishing off the coffee and looking like he’d like a lot more, like, an oil tanker more and was plotting the quickest way to take over a small South American country to get it.

“No, it’s okay, it’d just take a couple of minutes. Besides, I feel bad about waking you up when we didn’t have to,” Sandy said, emerging from the kitchen. “I thought it was a little rude of us.” And like that Sandy could flash-freeze any good feeling coming out of the room.

Jared looked at her squarely. “Look, I didn’t know. And anyway, Jensen doesn’t mind.”

“Maybe that’s because I thought of coffee.” Sandy shot back, pointed and sharp and she might as well be stepping on him in a spiked heel for all that her tone tried to do it without ruining her shoes. “Jensen seemed to appreciate that the most.”

“Jensen,” Jensen said, that earlier confusion replaced with definite annoyance, “Is gonna make himself decent so you can buy me a good breakfast. And then geek-boy can figure out how to get me on the UCLA campus without getting photographed if he really wants to help me out.”

And…oh. Right. Jared flushed, feeling heat pool in his cheeks, which Jensen noticed, of course, but thankfully didn’t comment on. Which was…weird, actually, usually he’d be ribbing the hell out of Jared for it. He watched Jensen’s shoulders bunch as he walked back to his room, tensing with every step, and the only thought he could come up with was ‘Huh.’

* * *

Jensen had apparently transformed into a girl since Jared last saw him because he took forever and a day to get dressed already, during which time Jared had to withstand the silent treatment from Sandy. Now, he would have thought this would be better than the unending harassment…and he would have been more wrong than busty women mixing leopard print with zebra stripes. Like, that wrong.

The silent treatment was just as bad. It fell heavy between them, Jared muddling around to look at what little shit Jensen did have laying around and Sandy with her arms crossed over her impressive and sadly off-limits boobs. It was like a frame emphasizing just exactly what he couldn’t have and holy freakin’ God, what was taking Jensen so long?

But then he was out and moving them along and Sandy couldn’t even get to Jared until they’d sat themselves in the coffee shop…but she made up for it in sheer bitchiness.

“I just was wondering why you didn’t call Jensen and ask if he’d planned it already. Then you wouldn’t have had to spend that money to get into the practice field.”

Jared stayed focused on his drink, not even caring that Jensen was probably mocking him for it in his head. “Because I was trying to surprise him. Besides, what was I supposed to say? ‘Hey, man, want help hooking up with Ballack again?’ He’s been telling me ever since we got back that they weren’t dating.” Which, in his opinion, was a lying liar of a lie, not that he could say that. “You did say you wanted to come,” he added, petulantly but unable to stop himself.

“After you’d woken me up anyway. I figured I might as well see what you were up to.” After they had so spectacularly not had any sex at all. After she’d pushed him away so quickly he’d swear she’d invested in a chastity belt since the last time he saw her.

Jared was about to open his mouth and let something fly when Jensen stomped hard on his foot, making him yelp and grind his teeth hard enough that he wouldn’t start cursing out one of them and it was even odds on who exactly that’d be.

Sandy wisely disappeared with a quick “Bathroom run” and Jared turned his glare on Jensen, who looked way more interested in his food than on the kind of asshole he was being.

“Dude,” Jared accused, looking for a reaction.

“Dude.” Yeah, that was helpful. Thanks, man.

Apparently Jensen wasn’t done yet: “Don’t start with me. You just turned me into your friggin’ abused kid in the middle of your divorce fight. You’re lucky I don’t—” Jared would have protested, but Jensen actually wagged a finger at him, a finger! “—dude, really.”

Jared couldn’t quite wrap his mind around how Jensen had managed to turn him into a naughty third-grader there and his mouth was probably open, but dude. And then Jensen’s eyes flicked to his mouth and something flickered there, so Jared snapped it shut.

“Sorry,” he relented, eventually, sighing as he slumped and ran his fingers over his face. God, what a mess. And the waves of curiosity were coming off Jensen thick and heavy, a summer storm you could feel even if you couldn’t see.

“Is it that thing with the—”

“Huh? No, we got that all straightened out.” And that was—he didn’t need to go into that, but apparently Jensen wasn’t satisfied.

“So what is it?” Jensen tried again.

Jared checked the room, suspicious, just making sure, he told himself, because it was straightjacket-worthy enough without making the papers or, God forbid, the Internet. He leaned forward. “I told her about the…the ghost thing.”

Jensen’s eyes widened almost like Jared had just told him and Jared knew the man was on the verge of the full-scale freak-out, saved only by the good sense they had to do this here where there could be no throwing of objects and, like, shouting. Probably.

Jared made soothing motions with his hands. “No, no!” he whispered. “I didn’t tell her about you. Really. Look, she doesn’t know the specifics. But she wanted to know how the hell you of all people ended up screwing Michael Ballack, and then…yeah. I showed her some stuff and she doesn’t think we’re crazy, by the way. But she’s just…pissed at me now, and I can’t figure out why.”

“You couldn’t tell her we got seriously drunk and crashed a party?” A little bit of wounded pride entered Jensen’s eyes and what? He was annoyed people underestimated his pick-up skills?

“I’m telling you my girlfriend and I have hit the skids at over a hundred miles an hour and the best you can do is worry about your reputation? Thanks a lot, man.”

Jensen winced and immediately went apologetic. “Sorry. Look, like…wait, she’s mad at you because you told her ghosts are real?”

Jared took a breath since he was gonna need it to tell Jensen how wrong he was, how complicated it had all gotten, how he didn’t know, dammit, how much sex he was not getting…but then he thought about it. And snorted, sitting back. “Actually, yeah. That’s pretty much it. But it doesn’t make any sense!”

“No kid—hey, Sandy.” Jensen turned on the charm and it gave Jared the cover to school himself into something not sulky and annoyed. He hoped. “Listen, thanks for the coffee and everything, and sorry I was kind of a bastard. But I have to…”

“Oh, no, it’s okay. Our mistake.” The emphasis at the end there had him flinching. Sandy just smiled fakely. “Anyway, I have to go. See you later, and good luck.”

She bent down to kiss him goodbye, but somehow changed her mind in the middle there, and they ended up awkwardly air-kissing in front of Jensen, who was thankfully doing his best to fade into the woodwork…not that that would ever happen.

“See?” Jared asked miserably, contemplating his life without Sandy’s boobs. That just—wasn’t anything he wanted to live with but he didn’t know how to fix it. Maybe Jensen—

“Yeah. I have no idea, man. Sorry, but I’m not gonna be any use here.” Maybe not.

“Well, it’s not your problem anyway,” he muttered, playing with his cup. “Anyway. UCLA campus.” Fuck, they’d have to take I405. And he’d had no sex. Just kill him right now.

“I’m supposed to meet him at this place on central—it’s on the map…which yeah, I did remember to bring. Yay for me. Thing is, once he’s out of uniform, most people here aren’t gonna come running to Michael with pens and cameras and all that shit, but…” Jensen gestured to his face and yeah, the man had the halt-you-in-your-tracks, deer-in-the-headlights-inducing, stunning good looks…and was going to a college campus, their target demo. Not the best combination.

Jared propped his head up and thought. And grinned. At least he still knew this. “Got it. Let’s go shopping.”

“…um, you know, I was thinking more Mission: Impossible than The Skeleton Key.”

But Jared was already out the door, banging back in when Jensen didn’t immediately follow. “Come on!”

* * *

After physically pushing Jensen to get moving—and the man was so overreacting to the shit Jared put on him; it was totally harmless—Jared considered it his payment to be able to hang out and veg in his car. No Sandy in sight, an AC to rival Antarctica, and he was a happy boy.

Except, damn, he’d thought about Sandy, which he’d been so carefully not doing, and that was more depressing than being stuck on the highway with a fidgeting, bitching Jensen in the process of doing his best chick impersonation. It wasn’t fair. He’d told Sandy the truth. Weren’t girls supposed to like that? He’d happily take it back. Hell, he’d do whatever, even that thing she wanted to do with the handcuffs and the strap-on, just so she’d stop being mad at him. Sandy mad at him sucked, not the smallest reason being that it pretty much killed all chances of hot, sticky sweatiness.

And here Jared was, getting Jensen laid. There was something wrong with this picture, dammit.

It wasn’t even like Jared had had a great opportunity to tell her, either. It wasn’t like he could be all, ‘yeah, honey, that shirt’s cute, oh, by the way, ghosts are real and I study folk magic to, like, save people. Can you wear your hair in pigtails?’ And, you know, when should he have told her? Their first date. ‘Hi, I really like your boobs and ghosts are real.’ But then they’d gotten together and she was acting like every minute he hadn’t told her was a minute she was gonna imprison him some kind of chastity hell while wearing really low-cut tops to emphasize just how much he wasn’t getting.

Jared kinda stirred when the driver’s door jerked open, looking up to see Jensen closing his eyes and taking in the coolness of the interior, moaning just slightly. Jared blinked at him…and oh, right, Jensen getting laid was the plan of the moment, not reveling in how very fucked his love life was, and not in the fun way.

“Hey.” But then, yeah, Michael and date and shit—“Hang on, I’ll move.”

It was awkward for a moment and Jared just threw himself out of the car, even as Michael protested: “No, no, it’s fine—”

“No, really, I’m getting out along the way, so this way you don’t have to switch seats again afterward—”

“I don’t mind the backseat,” Michael said and wow, there was a joke there, but Jared flushed and tried not to concentrate on that and there went the awkwardness again.

“Guys. If I need to take a shower, you could just say so. I’m not going to die from it,” Jensen barked, but it was a little too strained to be anything but annoyed with all the tension here and Jared didn’t even know why there was tension here…there just was.

He ducked his head and coughed, looking at the top of the car. He was aware of Michael moving, calling out to Jensen with better humor, “You smell fine! Much better than the airplane.”

“Whatever. I’m surprised any German guy still can smell anything after eating sauerkraut all the time.” Oh. God, was Jensen gonna start flirting? Now?

“That’s because you don’t get the good kind here.” Jared was right here! Did they remember that he was right here? He so didn’t want to see this, he so didn’t want to see this. There was knowing it and experiencing it and he so didn’t need the latter, not when it was…weird. “I should’ve made you eat more of the real stuff before you left.”

“Uh, can I get dropped off before you two start?” he broke in, a little desperate. He dove into the backseat, trying to get them to move along so they didn’t start making out and groping right in front of him. He didn’t need all the sex soaking into everything and reminding him that he so wasn’t getting laid, like, ever. “It’s only fifteen minutes, okay?”

Jensen took the hint and got in. “Like it wasn’t a pain for me to drive us back from the airport with you and Sandy saying hi in the back. And that was a lot longer than fifteen minutes.”

Jared flushed, remembering, but he was happy to see her and her magnificent boobs and he hadn’t thought they were that bad. Though, granted, traffic on 105 had been a bitch as usual and Jensen had cranked up the music really, really loudly. He flushed again as that really sunk in.

But then, then he remembered how her boobs had gotten really off limits, really fast and Jared’s flush drained away into a kind of cold, stilted discomfort that yeah, Jensen definitely picked up on.

And no, the point was to get Jensen laid not to make him feel bad, so he just had to push past it, ignore it, he’d figure it out. At least one of them would be having sex. “Yeah, true,” he conceded.

Jensen looked remorsefully into the rear-view, the busted look taking over his face before he shrugged and slipped into his horrendously awful glasses, which got Michael’s attention. “These are just for L. A. It…gets annoying to have people recognize you,” Jensen explained.

Michael twitched a little and then slid down, humming to himself when the air really started hitting him. “So where are we going?”

“Well…how do you feel about seafood? Is that okay?” Oh, God, they were working out their date and Jared was in the backseat trying to make himself invisible in this tiny fucking care and how did he end up the third wheel on the prelude to their date again?

He was pretty sure it had to do with all the sex he was not having.

“Cool. I think I know a place.” Jared had missed something but whatever. He scrunched himself down and tried to make himself not here, where Jensen checked out guys that looked like…that and got all weird and twitchy about it.

He was cool; he could be cool about it. It was all cool.

* * *

Jensen, being Jensen, didn’t know exactly where he was going so Jared was gonna Google it because he was the awesomest friend ever. And he was cool.

It took a little longer than he thought, so he hurried back to where they were waiting in the car…talking. Or something else, which Jared was resolutely ignoring.

“Hey, guys,” he called, giving some warning because again, he was awesome like that.

Jensen rolled down his mirror and stuck his head out, annoyance softening into something Jared had seen on him a few times but still didn’t quite get. Jared grinned, brilliant, and handed the paper over.

“Don’t do anything that’d get you in jail,” he said. “I can’t make bail for both of—”

“Shut up and die.” Jensen snatched it out of his hands, ready to get on with it, and Jared grinned again, wishing him well in his head.

“Isn’t that what thirteen-year-old girls say?” he tried to shoot back, but Jensen was already gone and off, driving in a way that would get him arrested if it weren’t LA. Jared grinned and shook his head. Jensen so wanted to get laid.

Actually, Jared could relate. He stuck his hands in his pockets and turned, biting his lip—

Only to see Sandy arriving in her car, motioning him to stay where he was, she’d come to him. Fuck. And double fuck. She didn’t look happy.

He ambled over to her car, opening the driver’s side door for her, which he thought was quite gentlemanly of him and quite deserving of a kiss, or at least a smile.

Sandy seemed to disagree, starting up right as her heels clicked against the pavement with an ominous crack. “We need to talk about this, Jared, this thing where you’re not being honest with me.”

Holy fucking Christ, she couldn’t even say hello?

He might have shut the door with more force than was technically necessary. Might have. “I am being honest with you. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m in trouble for being honest with you. How’s that for positive reinforcement?”

“You’ll get some positive reinforcement when you haven’t been lying to me for months about some really big stuff.” She swung her purse out, he was pretty sure not aiming to hit him, more as an emphasis, really. He thought.

“What do you want, Sandy? Want me to hop in my time machine and tell you on our first date? ‘Cause that wouldn’t have sent you running screaming faster than Lindsay Lohan heading for a nightclub bathroom.”

Her eyes flashed, but she didn’t rise to his taunt, just continuing on like she had a script in her head that she’d memorized just so she could get it all noted. Like she was playing a fucking role. “And you’ve been doing all this…stuff throughout our whole relationship and I never even knew about it! It’s like you’re someone I don’t even know.”

“Oh, so you’re gonna define me by what I do, now? That’s healthy?” Jared stepped back a little, frowning down at her.

“Considering you just upended the universe, yeah, I am. It’s a pretty big weight to be carrying around and you didn’t even think to share it with me.”

“I did share it with you!” he cried, opening his hands and pleading with the ceiling. “That’s exactly what I did and I’m getting nothing for it but grief. What the fuck?”

“So it leads me to wonder, what the hell else aren’t you telling me about, huh?” She matched him step for step, advancing on him like sheer proximity would intimidate anything out of him. He was, like, twelve feet taller than her and it still didn’t help, it still made him feel like he’d done something wrong. Which was so not true!

“That’s it? Because I told the truth now you don’t trust me? You never distrusted me before.”

“You never gave me reason to, but you have opened my eyes, Padalecki. So thank you for that.” She’d gone from anger to sarcasm, meaning she was really pissed and he was really not getting laid anytime soon, and that just made him tired.

“I don’t even know what to say to that? What do you want me to say?” he asked, shaking his head.

“I want you to tell me everything,” she shot back, clipped and shrewish, and the boobs and tininess were so just masks for the cut-to-the-bone evil underneath.

“I already did! But obviously you don’t believe me.”

“How am I supposed to believe you? Tell me that, then.” She swung her purse out again, this time looking like she did want to hit him. He stepped back.

Things…kind of went downhill from there.

* * *

Fucking fuck fuck. Jared was a happy person, generally. He liked being a happy person. He liked being a gropey, smiley, goofy dorkus. He was all over that shit.

This was not that. This was Jared frantically parking his car at the restaurant feeling really bad because, well, the point had been to get Jensen laid and it was kind of weird for him to busting in on that, not that they would be, like, doing it in the middle of a restaurant or anything—

Wait, they wouldn’t be doing that, right?

Wait, no, what was he thinking? Obviously the combination of Sandy pissed and this magic shit following him around had zapped his few remaining brain cells to oblivion or some shit like that because Jensen was discreet and recognizable and also, not a freakin’ moron.

Still, it was with no little relief he saw the back of Jensen heading toward what was probably the bathrooms when he skidded in.

Wait, isn’t that where guys went for hook-ups? And where was Michael?

Fuck, well. He was totally justified in like rushing headlong into Jensen before the other man could go and get himself into a compromising position, which Jared did not need to see and also, would be bad for his career.

Really, Jensen should thank him.

They stumbled to the end of the hall, Jensen grabbing his shoulder once he’d managed not to fall on his ass. He didn’t look thankful. “Jesus Christ, you wanna kill me? What are you doing here?”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, it’s just—look, we had to do that preliminary spell to make sure there weren’t crosscurrents on the UCLA campus before we did the stuff to sneak in, right? Well, I got home finally—”

“What, somebody kidnapped you off your doorstep?” he sniped, but his attention was quickly distracted by Michael appearing behind Jensen and yep, bathroom.

Jared wasn’t even gonna ask. Really. So he made a face and addressed Jensen’s point: “Sandy came by right after and we had a two-hour fight in the fucking garage, all right? But like I was saying, I went back up after and I looked at the set-up because I was going to take it down, and there’s something happening on campus.”

“When you say ‘something,’ you mean like a student protest, right?” Okay, Jensen so wasn’t misguided…which even he knew by the way he was acting as if Jared were about to announce the coming apocalypse.

“Thanks,” Michael said, noticing them and reacting quickly. “Jensen. There’s been an—an accident at the training camp. Maybe.”

So, good, it hadn’t spread around enough to be known, but definitely something was going down. Even if it was bad, at least it was somewhat self-contained.

“Huh?” Jensen asked intelligently.

“There’s a big black dog running around scaring people, sort of like in the third Harry Potter film. It’s not—normal. I don’t…would you know anything about this?” Michael looked at a loss, like he couldn’t comprehend the bizarro world that they seemed to inhabit and hmm, black dog.


“Harry Potter?” he asked, thinking.

Michael actually looked embarrassed, but Jared didn’t have time for that, he was already racing through possibilities in his head. “Torsten’s kids love those movies. But anyway, it knocked one of the coaches over and he almost smacked his head on a sharp corner. Everyone seems calm so far, but…”

But black hounds were usually found in— “A black hound? In California? That’s so weird…except maybe it could, um…” He looked down, really thinking about it and it wasn’t like these people stayed in one place. They flew all over the world, but Michael was based out of— “Probably not you, but…huh…”

“You need to go home and grab your laptop?” Jensen distinctly sounded Not Happy. Well, he could just get in line, join the club whose current roster included Sandy and Jared’s dick, what the fuck ever.

“Yep. Also, we probably have to go shopping.” Jared took off toward the exit, already compiling lists in his head because, man, there were just some things you couldn’t keep around, you had to get fresh, but it was fine. If it wasn’t wreaking too much havoc—and from Michael’s ‘maybe,’ that’s what Jared was thinking—then they had the time.

Before he knew it, he was outside…and alone. He popped his head back in the door, noting an odd light in Jensen’s eyes as he looked at Michael, something hungry and wanting and whoa, he so didn’t need to see that. “Hey. Can we like, go?”

“Right,” they said simultaneously, making Jared roll his eyes and leave again. Jeez, those two.

* * *

“What kind of pattern is it? Like, is everything all happening around one person, or one place?” Jared asked, grabbing the requisite herbs and moving on. Where the hell had he put those damn nails?

Michael was on his cell phone, nodding every once in a while, and Jared never got why people did that. It wasn’t like the person on the other end could see you. “John Terry. The coach who fell happened to just step in front of him.”

“John Terry? But he hasn’t made the tabloids in forever.” Ha! They were in the drawer. His organizational skills were masterful, if he did say so himself. Wait, what had he just said? “Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way. It’s just that I think, from what you’ve said, that somebody’s trying to do a hex—a curse—on one of your teammates, but why Terry? He doesn’t have anybody that hates him that much, does he?”

Michael snorted. “Professional football can get very intense. On the other hand—” King of the understatement there, dude.

“He’s pushing for captain of England, isn’t he? Maybe somebody’s trying to fuck that up?” Jensen offered, eyeing Jared’s list like it was gonna reach up and bite him if he got too close—and that was so over-the-top. Inanimate objects didn’t bite…well, okay, you could probably—no, wait, not the point. The point was Jensen was curious, which was, um, good?

At least he wasn’t freaking out?

Yeah, Jared would take what he could get. But, wait, what had Jensen said?

Jared blinked at him a couple times, resisting the urge to prod him and make sure he was real and not some kind of, he didn’t know, apparition who just looked a lot like Jensen but actually knew things about…things.

Jensen noticed the quiet and rolled his eyes at both of them. “What? I said I was gonna learn about soccer—”Jensen apologized with his eyes for his horrendous Americanism “—so I did. You know what the Vegas odds on who’s going to end up English captain are like?”

“…why are you looking up gambling odds?” Was he going to have to start worrying about Jensen cultivating a gambling problem? Because he so wasn’t getting laid and he couldn’t take much more shit. “Though that’s a good point,” he admitted, finally.

“Why are we gonna buy a sheep’s heart?” Oh, what, was that supposed to be some kind of snappy comeback? Weak, dude.

“We’re making a witch bottle. We bury it near his room and then when whoever it is tries to fuck with him again, it’ll bounce off back to them and fuck them up. And then when you guys get back to England, that should make it easy to tell who it was.” Jared gathered his shit and thought some more. “It’ll make the dog go away, too. Okay, I need to get the cooler, and then we can get the heart. There’s this butcher I know about.”

“Dude, should I be worried that you know where to shop for voodoo body parts?” Jared was very aware of the silent communication going on between Jensen and Michael and he didn’t much appreciate it; that was their thing.

“It’s not voodoo, it’s standard English folk-magic. And anyway, it’s research for next season. Haven’t you read that far yet?” He might have said that a little shorter than he could have, but c’mon. He was trying here.

Someone knocked at his door and everyone jumped, Jensen hilariously trying not to spill everything everywhere so dude, he must be taking this worse than he was giving off. That was worrying, actually.

“Jared?” Sandy called. “Jared, we need to talk.” Jared blinked…and blinked some more.

Fuck! What, she was back for round two? The earlier bloodletting wasn’t enough for her? Did she want him to sacrifice a body part or something, too? Jesus!

“Girlfriend,” Jensen muttered and Jared couldn’t even be annoyed at him because he was too busy being annoyed at Sandy…and the world that hated his guts, apparently.

“When I open the door, go on and get down to the car. I’ll see what I can do.” He hoped he sounded more confident than he felt because, well, fuck.

* * *

Sandy was so focused on him she didn’t really notice who was with Jensen and then they were alone and fuck, what was he supposed to say, ‘sorry, honey, can’t fight about the magic shit right now ‘cause I have to go do some of it?’ Yeah, that’d go over well.

“I think we talked enough for today, Sandy. Why don’t we just take some time to breathe and, you know, talk tomorrow?”

“No, Jared, I don’t want to leave this. I hate feeling like this—”

“Well, then don’t! You’re the one that’s all pissy at me!”

“And you’re not doing very much to make me feel better,” she shot back, hackles rising and yeah, they so needed distance or else they were just gonna keep picking at one another and they’d end up hating each other’s guts before the day was out and, like, never having sex ever again. And that’d be a shame.

“I don’t have time for this,” he said shortly.

“Yeah, I’m sure your break schedule’s so jam-packed.”

“For your information, something nasty’s happening to Michael’s team and I have to go do something about it. We can talk about this later.” He moved toward the door, not caring that she was bristling in front of him; he didn’t have time.

She pressed her hand to the door, keeping it shut and glaring up at him like some fiery devil-woman from, like, hell. “No! This is exactly what I’m talking about. I won’t let you shut me out of this part of your life.”

Jared rounded on her, bringing their faces close. “You don’t even like this part of my life! You can’t handle this part of my life!”

“You’re wrong and I’m coming with you,” she said stubbornly, setting her jaw.

He was shaking his head before she even finished. “I need to concentrate, Sandy. I can’t do that with you bitching me out every five seconds.”

Her eyes widened…and then narrowed. Fuck, that might have been going too far.

“Too fucking bad,” she ground out. “I’m coming and that’s it.”

“Fine,” he said curtly, waiting until she’d removed her hand to steer her out the door and settling into chilly silence on the way to the car. Jared unlocked the car with his keys.

“You don’t have to treat me like a child, you know,” she said after a while, glaring at him as her heels clicked on the pavement of the garage like short little machine-gun bursts, nothing but a goad.

He couldn’t help it; he snapped. “What’s your problem, anyway?”

“What’s my problem? Oh, I don’t even know where to start answering that question, Jared.” Her voice oozed sarcasm and it just made him grit his teeth all the harder, not even being careful as he rammed himself into the driver’s seat, Sandy mirroring his movements on the other side. He heard a scuffle from behind and—


Shit! “Omigod!” Sandy yelled, ever-present Mace—tiny girl, big, bad city—coming out.

“No, it’s—” But Sandy wasn’t listening, had already pressed the button and it was a good thing they had good reflexes since the Mace sailed over their heads, but Jesus. Why were they all scrunched up anyway?

“Guys? What the fuck are you doing down there?”

“Well, we decided to be immature assholes and hide here to try and scare you,” Jensen grumped, moving into a more comfortable position. No one said anything for a beat. “Oh, forget it. Look, can we hurry up here? Is she—”

“Jared filled me in. I’m coming to help,” Sandy said, which was a blatant lie, but she couldn’t exactly say, ‘we’re fighting and I don’t trust him so I have to keep an eye on him.’ She saw Michael and tucked her chin down and Jared hated the stab of lust that went through him at that. “Um, if you don’t mind.” Yeah, like she’d given him that choice.

Michael nodded. “I told John we’d be there in a half-hour because of traffic.”

“Good excuse,” Jared said, starting the car and turning as he backed up. He got a look at Jensen’s face…and then looked more closely. Red lips, mussed hair, glazed eyes…fuck! “Hey…you weren’t just—in my car? My car?” There was being supportive and then there was being made to look like a chump and Jensen was pretty fucking close to passing that line and…fuck!

“Let’s go,” Jensen said shortly, his face flushing, which made Jared feel mildly better since obviously Jensen knew he’d done something wrong by attempting to defile the preciousness that was Jared’s car. God! A man’s car was his kingdom. That’d be like Jensen fucking Michael in his bed, only way more public and likely to get them arrested for misdemeanor indecent exposure, and eww, why had he just thought that?

Jared shook his head. Right. Shopping.

* * *

Jensen kept making faces like Jared was gonna, he didn’t know, cut the sheep’s heart out himself. Or something. Which was completely ludicrous, it had been a perfectly legitimate butcher shop and also…Jared certainly wouldn’t take Jensen along for that. Guy was a total pussy.

Still, Jensen’s faces and Michael’s mumblings got on his nerves, not to mention that Sandy was channeling her uber-bitch and hadn’t shut the hell up about, well, anything since she’d gotten comfortable enough around Michael not to play Little Miss Sunshine. It was all, ‘you don’t call me enough, I see more of you on TV than in real life, you’re always with Jensen, you’re always distracted,’ not to mention every possible complaint she could think of over folk-magic.

Which meant they were back at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Michael and Jensen were talking grody Scottish eating habits, and Sandy ‘couldn’t believe he’d taken her to a place like that, ew!’

“Where else do you expect me to get a sheep’s heart on this short notice?” he hissed under his breath, glad they were taking the stairs ‘cause there was no way they could have this conversation in the elevator without being overheard.

Actually, no, that meant they wouldn’t have to have this conversation. Damn! He knew he shoulda taken the elevator.

“Animal body parts? You conveniently left that out of your little ghost pep talk last night.”

“Yeah, you’re just all pepped up,” he snarked back, stooping in the doorway and really wanting to just get out there so she couldn’t harp on him anymore.

“And how come Jensen’s taking this so well; did you tell him about the animal body parts?”

“Jensen is not taking this well. He’s five seconds from committing me to an insane asylum and I only get that room because he’s seen it work before. God, what is wrong with you?”

Jensen turned around then, like he had some sixth sense when people were talking about him—actually, he might; they could look into it—with this annoyed expression flitting across his face. “Jared. Sandy. You can get out of the stairwell now.”

“Oh, yeah, he’s about to lose it,” Sandy sneered. “So what else have you been doing with him that I don’t know about?”

“Orgies at midnight, obviously,” Jared shot back and Christ he was tired. He walked down the hall toward the room Jensen had disappeared into, ignoring Sandy’s “Jared!”

Jared pulled out the list, not missing the quickly-hidden disgusted looks from Jensen and Michael. They must have been poking at the heart again. And they called him a freak. “Okay. We’re gonna use this big jar for the witch bottle—”

Jensen found it and frowned. “Dill pickles?”

Holy God, if one more person bitched at him for something he was gonna lose it and John Terry could fucking get eaten by the black dog, he wouldn’t care. “If it bothers you that much, you can peel off the label.” He stuck the list into the window frame, pointing at it. “See how they’re numbered? That’s the order you need to put the stuff into the jar.”

“Okay. Hair, nail clippings…urine?” Jensen’s voice told stories about what a freak Jared was and Jared clamped down on himself with effort. Jensen hadn’t actually said anything, after all.

“Preferably from John Terry.” Sandy came in then, apparently having taken some time to collect herself or something, and she was motioning him over.

He sighed and followed her out. “I’m a little busy, Sandy. What?”

“Yeah, being all buddy-buddy with Jensen and ignoring me.”

“Oh, jealousy now? Of Jensen? Seriously?”

“No! You’re avoiding the issue and it’s really fucking annoying, Jared. You know that all I want to know is how long you’ve been hiding this from me!” Sandy’s voice rose to a new high in their relationship. “I think I have a right to know what’s been going on!”

“I told you! What’s the big deal, anyway? You’re acting like you’re the one who’s been hexed!” The look on her face—

Oh, man. That was so bad. How could she— “Oh, my God. You think—you actually think I’ve done something to you?”

“No! No, God, no. But I’m—I’m worried, all right? Do you really know what you’re doing? Maybe…you might be playing God a little, and how would you know—” Sandy was backtracking like it was an Olympic sport and she its star, but that didn’t even cover the half of the fuckedupness of any of this.

He laughed, low and hard. “In other words, you do think I did. Jesus, Sandy. Thanks for showing how much trust you have in me. You know, I’m not so pathetic that I’d resort to magic to keep you around.”

Sandy inhaled, shocked. “Thanks a lot. I can’t believe—”

She was cut off by Jensen yelling to them, annoyance grating his tone into something Jared had never heard. “Jared, you’re being an asshole. You’re right, but you could’ve said that better. Sandy, stop being the victim for a second and listen to the dumbass? He didn’t mean it that way—he meant he respects you too much to do that to you just to make himself happy. And also? Magic’s not a free ride; you can’t do shit without taking shit. And since Jared looks fine and hasn’t prematurely aged, or gotten anemia or anything…oh, hi, Michael.”

Jared flushed. He could have said it better, but hell, it wasn’t every day his girlfriend accused him of putting a spell on her to get some easy sex. Which he wasn’t even getting! He should so point that out—if this was a spell, he was pretty shitty at it all—but then Jensen’s last words registered and he leaned over to look.

John Terry, Michael Essien, and Joe Cole stood there and right, he was an actor, he should be used to seeing, like, really famous people.

He so wasn’t.

Except, these famous people were looking back and forth between him and Jensen…and he wasn’t gonna let that go. “Hey, don’t talk to her like that,” Jared said, annoyed.

“I don’t need to be defended, okay? I’m a big girl. And yo, Jensen, since when were you an expert on this?” Wow, his girlfriend was really unattractive when she made faces like that.

Jensen turned to face her, sticking out his bloody hands to illustrate his point: “Are you seriously asking me that right when I’m sticking pins in a sheep’s heart to stop a fucking witch?”

“Oh,” Sandy said, simmering down a bit. Then she noticed the guys staring at her and flushed, turning herself into something embarrassed and pleading. “God, I’m sorry. I’m being such a bitch…but Jared said you didn’t really know…”

“Uh, look, can we talk for a second? In private?” Jared cut in, really hating the way he could feel everyone’s eyes skating over them.

She nodded and walked to the balcony and maybe—maybe they could fix this and she wouldn’t be mad at him anymore. He left Jensen to it, trusting he could read a list and put two and two together because he just really wanted this done. He hated fighting with Sandy.

“I’m being irrational, aren’t I?” she asked, frowning and biting her lip where she leaned against the railing.

“Yeah, pretty much. I’m not being the best either, but, you know.” He fluttered his hand out at the world, hoping that got something across.

“I’m just—I can’t get over it. It feels like too big a thing to keep from someone for so long.”

“Sandy, I’ve been doing this for years. Okay, that’s how long: ever since I’ve known you. But it’s not like—I can’t just go around telling people. You…and Jensen, but you’re the only girl who knows.”

She flushed high in her cheeks and looked down in what he thought was guilt. “Oh.”

He scrubbed a hand through his hair. “I’m not—I don’t have this secret life or anything. Same guy you’ve always been going out with just, you know, with really…out there stories.”

“And a spice rack full of weird shit.”

“And a spice rack full of weird shit,” he amended, smiling a little, smiling some more when the tiniest smile curled at the corners of her mouth.

“It’ll take a little getting used to,” she offered, scuffing her toe against the smooth floor.

“I can show you some things. You know, if you want.”

She looked up, then, hopeful. And finally, she wasn’t looking at him like he was something to be stepped on, God. “I want,” she breathed, light changing in her eyes like that, and oh God, his girlfriend was so hot.

“C’mere,” he grinned grabbing her hand and pulling her into his body, tucking her up as close as he could and breathing in her hair.

Jensen’s shout pulled him away: “Hey, Jared? Explain this part?”

Jared popped his head back in the room, blinking at them. Um, right. Answer. What was the question? Urine, probably. “What? Oh, it’s to strengthen the spell. More personal stuff you put in there, the better it can tell the different between you and all the other people around.”

That done, he turned back to Sandy, framing her face and kissing her like he’d been missing since his first sight of her at the airport. She growled hungrily into his mouth, biting at his lip, and like that it was molten, Jared pushing her back against the railing and then hiking her up to sit on top of it, tongue flicking into her mouth. She wrapped her legs around his hips and rocked into him, at just the perfect height to kiss and wriggle against him enough to make finding a bed a really fucking good idea.

Yes! Sex on the horizon! He was so back in business and from the way she pressed a hand under his shirt, plucking at the buttons while they devoured each other, well, they were on the same page.

“Hey, Jared, Sandy? This, um, isn’t your hotel room.”

“What?” Sandy asked, pulling her face back from his, even as he moved to follow—actually, probably not a good idea since she was sitting on the railing. “Oh!” She flushed and he flushed in sympathy and he put his hands on her waist and helped her down, backing away from her only because there were other people around and his hot girlfriend belonged to him alone.

Because otherwise…

Right. Um. Black dog. Yes, right.

He walked back in to hear John’s question.

“Bury it outside,” he said, tugging Sandy in with him and squeezing reassuringly. She squeezed back which was just—he probably had sunshine coming out of his face, but he really didn’t give a damn because his girlfriend was hot and wanted to learn and God, he was so getting laid tonight. Maybe even sooner.

Life was fucking awesome.

“Really deep, where it’s not going to get dug up. At least while you’re here.”

“You mean I’ve got to do this again everywhere I go?”

John sounded a little panicked at the thought, so Jared rushed to reassure him. “Oh, no, no. This one’ll trap the dog here, and it should hurt whoever sent that here enough so they can’t do it again for a long while.”

Sandy squeezed his hand, getting his attention. “It won’t kill them, will it?”

“No!” Jared said, puffing up a little. How could she think—“I wouldn’t touch that kind of crap with a twenty-foot pole.”

Sandy looked instantly mournful, frowning and squeezing his hand even tighter. “Sorry, I just wanted to make sure,” she said, squeezing back into his space and talking to his shirt. “I know you wouldn’t,” she added, just to be clear.

He grinned at her, wrapping an arm around her waist and holding her tight. He really had the most awesome girlfriend ever and also, she was really hot.

Jensen said…something. And then someone else said…something else, but Jared was so not paying attention to anything other than that Sandy was finally okay with him again and she wanted to learn and she wasn’t running screaming into the night, which had been a serious possibility, and really, life was perfect.

* * *

“I’m thinking the hotel gardens are the place to bury it,” Jared said, walking everyone out of the hotel.

“Why not the campus?”

“Huh? Oh, well, they’re technically living here, so…”

Jensen shrugged, deferring to him, and Jared nodded to half their group. “Essien and Shaun, why don’t you guys make sure no one comes wandering up and asking questions. Jensen, you go…do your thing.”

“My thing?”

“The thing where you see things.”

“Oh, that thing. Right. I’ll just…be over here,” he said, pointing to the side.

“Right, then. I’ll just bury this. Piece of cake.”

It took longer than he thought, having to send Sandy to get a tape measure because he’d forgotten, having to figure out which direction they were facing based on the sun. But finally it was done and it didn’t even look that bad, just a bald patch that could totally be explained away by weed-pulling. Maybe. He wandered around, waiting and looking for—

“Jared!” Sandy’s voice echoed, making Jared’s head shoot up, just in time to see Jensen come crashing through the bushes, followed closely by Sandy—and just how she was running in those heels—but then the dog was there, just at the base of the tree trunk and Jared had to concentrate on, like, not dying. Not that he thought the dog would actually kill him or anything, but it wouldn’t care about collateral damage, that was for sure.

He motioned for the players to stay where they were, keeping their distance. “Stay over there, guys, it has to cross it for it to take effect.” They seemed remarkably calm for being in the face of a dog constantly shifting in mass, pulling back enough to be a goad and—

Yes! The dog took the bait, stepping forward and over the bottle, stiffening and turning into a mist that got sucked down into the ground, the only sound a mournful kind of howl. There was no one else here…people probably wouldn’t notice.

Everything was still for a beat. Then Jared noticed that Jensen had pulled Sandy to him to keep her away…and he felt a stupid surge of affection for the guy because of it. Jensen suddenly stepped back, turning to meet his eyes. “Jared? I think it’s clear.”

Jared shuffled over. Nothing happened so he risked going all the way up to it, scuffing at the dirt with his toe. Still nothing. Good deal. “Okay, cool. We got it. Just gotta straighten things up now, make it look like it was.”

Joe and Shaun whooped and high-fived each other as Jared manipulated the dirt a little more, pushing some rocks and sticks with his feet and kinda spreading them around. No one would notice in a few days. Awesome. He grinned and held his arms out to Sandy, who immediately came running up and jumped into him, knocking him back a couple steps. For a mini-person, she had some power.

“You were amazing.”

“Why yes, yes I was,” he agreed, pulling her up into a kiss that got a little more involved than he intended…but he was happy and Sandy was happy and Sandy was here and oh, God, he loved how Sandy’s boobs felt against his chest.

He pulled back, grinning down at her. “I have missed your boobs, darlin’,” he informed her primly, pulling her harder against him.

She rolled her eyes and smacked his arm, but she was grinning. “Damn straight you have. They’re totally hot.” He would have kissed her again—among other things—but there was Jensen, looking put upon and depressed, so Jared dropped a kiss to her head and headed out to him, not missing the way his glance darted after where Michael had gone.

So now he was getting laid, but Jensen hadn’t. His plan for the day was a failure.

Hmm. Maybe he could do something about that.

* * *

They were dropping clothes even before his apartment door was open and see, this was what he was talking about.

“Missed you,” he mumbled into Sandy’s mouth, not missing the sound of a button being ripped off in her haste. God, his girlfriend was so hot.

“Me, too,” she said, pulling him down by the neck and biting at his lips. “Off,” she grunted, pushing at his shirt and yeah, if he didn’t want to have some explaining to do to, um, someone then he should probably do what she wanted.

It generally worked out for him in the end.

Jared shrugged out of the shirt, stumbling back with her toward his bedroom and having some real trouble with the clasp on her pants, goddamn women’s clothing with tiny, tiny snaps and zips and what-the-hell-else because obviously it was a plot to refuse easy sex to Jared and that was just not on.

She laughed at him, swatting at his hands and then tugging at his pants pointedly. “Off,” she said again, her own fingers deftly undoing what he was pretty sure she’d described as a hook-and-eye…thing…at some point. Hmm.

“Jared! Get your pants off.” Right, he may have gotten distracted by Sandy there.

His clothes were much easier to remove, than you very much, and he kicked out of his shoes first because he was brilliant like that. Sandy didn’t even wait for him to step out of his pants, she just pushed him back and sent him sprawling on the bed. She grinned and swept her top off, pants gone and crawling over him in matching underwear. Awesome.

She’d so wanted to get laid as much as he did. Hottest. Shit. Ever.

“Jensen didn’t look happy,” she said and what? They were talking about what now?

“Uh-huh,” he grunted, trying to catch her and pull her to him but she kept on moving and he was already hard and ungainly.

“I mean, wasn’t your plan to get him laid? And he didn’t?” she asked, all teasing eyes and pulling her hair down from its ponytail saucily.

Right, what was the question again? “Yeah. Black dogs’ll do that.”

She reached her hands behind her, smiling wickedly and unclasping her bra, but still holding it there, a taunt. “Don’t you think you owe him something for that?”

Oh, God, he was getting laid but he so wasn’t getting laid. What was it with today? He shut his eyes and groaned at the sight of Sandy just sitting there, all hot and wet where she rested on his hips, but not doing anything.

Right, they were talking. “What, do you want me to go over there and fuck him myself?” he grumbled. Sandy tensed a little—he could feel it in the pressure of her thighs on either side of him—and he opened his eyes to watch.

“Would you?” she asked, absolutely evil glint to her eyes and Jared flushed. Why were they talking about this? Right now?

She made a pleased noise in the back of her throat and took pity on him, tossing her bra to the side—finally—and arching back when he brought his hands up to play, rolling her nipples like she liked. God, he’d missed her boobs.

“Still, doesn’t seem fair,” she murmured, leaning down to lick at his mouth, wiggling against him and moving back to rub at his hardness, wet through the tiniest panties known to God and man. She’d probably be pissed if he ripped them but hell, she’d ripped his shirt. Turnabout and all that.

“Uh-huh,” he said raggedly, sliding a couple fingers under the offending scrap of fabric and trying to get them off…which she helped with by sitting up and shifting over, sliding them off herself. Then she resettled, all wet heat pressed whisper-close to where he wanted it, Jesus.

“I’m serious, Jared.” Which she illustrated by rolling her hips against him, teasing. Christ.

If he made her happy, then he’d probably get laid. So, thinking, right. “Um, Michael has a morning off soon, but—God—Jensen and I have the DVD promo shit.” He grunted when she reached and wrapped a hand around him, stroking idly, like it soothed her while she was thinking, God.

“Hmm,” she murmured, hand moving, Jared’s mind somewhere else. “Can you get Jensen out of it?” she asked, eyes lighting at the thought.

“Eric’ll be beyond pissed,” Jared protested, weakly. Really, having to talk while his uber-hot girlfriend and her magnificent boobs were stroking him off was so not on his—considerable—list of talents.

“Can’t you cover for him?” she asked, leaning down to kiss him again, tongue sliding suggestively into his mouth.

He moaned, breathing hard, and yeah, they really needed to start this before he finished it. “Fine! Yes, I’ll—” But she was already shifting back and up, positing him just at her entrance and he could feel how much she wanted him, how wet and—

And she stopped. Fucking hell!

“And he won’t even say they’re dating. You know, we studied a lot about denial in school,” she said, idly teasing him with her wetness, not even reacting when Jared clamped his hands around her hips.

“Jared…” she prompted, sliding herself down just the barest bit, so he was just inside her but couldn’t go any further, even as he scrabbled and arched and moaned her name. “Jared, I wanna know what you think about that,” she informed him, seeming completely unaffected by how not fully inside her he was.

He was gonna die before he ever had sex. Talk about a way to go.

* * *

“We’re gonna get banged up good this season,” Jared said, happily sprawling back and not caring one whit as the papers went all a-flyin.’ “Man. Did you get to the—”

“Dude, yeah.” Jensen looked at the TV screen like it was currently insulting his mother, Texas, and like, men in general. Since it was on ESPN, he was pretty sure it wasn’t the last one and Jensen was just overreacting.

“And the—” he started, only to be cut off again.

“Dude, I know.” Okay, Jensen not happy when he didn’t get to see his boyfriend on screen. Check.

He snorted, so totally calling Jensen on it. “Yeah, really? Or are you just saying ‘dude’ because you’re busy watching for Michael to pop up?”

“No, I really think it’s gonna be a hell of a scene. Probably break our necks, but if we don’t, it’s a great showcase for Sam’s issues and it’s got all that obscure Catholic mysticism shit the diehards like so much.” He waved his new slice at the screen. “Hey, All-Stars are doing pretty well.”

And huh, so Jensen really had been following this shit and hadn’t, like, just made a lucky guess. That was—he didn’t know what that was. Maybe Jared’s boyfriend crack in his head wasn’t so far off and he’d seen the guy, like, three times?

“I told you I was paying attention. What, like girls are the only ones who can multitask?” Apparently Jared wasn’t good at keeping things under wraps, either. He should probably worry about how well they could read each other. It was kinda nuts, but hello, the fangirls seemed to like it so whatever.

Except Jensen took a bite of pizza and shot him a shit-eating look, so of course Jared had to fuck with him. Moral imperative.

“For the last time, we’re not fucking dating,” Jensen cut him off, a-fucking-gain.

He pasted on an innocent look. “Man, I just wanted to know if you wanted to catch something to eat with me and Sandy after the game’s over.” He paused a beat, for effect. “Though now that you bring it up, Sandy’s told me some really interesting stuff about violent denial—” While she was holding herself just over the tip of his cock and Christ, so not the time to be thinking about that.

Still, his girlfriend was fucking hot.

Jensen sighed like Jared could be his little brother and therefore subject to an older brother death sentence—sometimes known as an attitude adjustment. “Jared, game.”

“Sorry, sorry,” he said, holding up his hands and generally letting Jensen know how very not-sorry he was. Then a thought flashed back to him: “Hey…you and Michael weren’t actually going to screw in my car? You know, back when—”

“Jesus, Jared.”

He didn’t even pause, just kept right on going because Jensen would so find a way to distract him and there were Kingdom principles to be talked about here, and cars so counted. “—because that’s so not cool. I’m supportive, okay, but not that—oh, my God!”

“Holy shit! Did you see that?”

Right, what was he talking about again?