The Bed Misses You (J2 ficlet)
And I'm posting it here too, because that's what journals are for, right... (there's a Sam, Dean one too, which I might post later)
Title: untitled J2 h/c ficlet; light on the hurt, heavy on the comfort
Rating: Barely PG-13
Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with the real people whose names I'm using--never happened, and I'm not getting paid.
Warning: Did I mention that it was unalloyed, fluffy comfort!fic? Nothing else happens--
Jensen braces his arms against the open refrigerator and realizes gradually that he’s too tired to eat. Not just too tired to cook. Not just too tired to force down the unappetizing remains of take-out that are all that is really occupying the fridge. But actually too tired to contemplate lifting fork to mouth the necessary number of times.
Not that he’d be able to taste it anyway. His nose is completely blocked, his head is pounding, and he thinks he can differentiate the aches in each separate muscle in his back and shoulders. He’d had a cold when Jared left for the LA interview circuit, but it had been mostly gross and annoying. Gross enough that Jared had begged off kissing him good-bye (“germs, man, sorry!”). Annoying that his nose and lips had been chapped raw after a couple of days. “Take some vitamin C,” Jared had said (being solicitous to compensate for the lack of kissing?), then—and Jensen thinks this was the real kicker—“Get some rest.” But now, even though he’d told Jared on the phone this morning that he was doing fine, sometime during the long day of shooting Jared-less scenes the cold has morphed from something gross and annoying to something that is kicking his ass.
So, yup, Jared’s been gone for a measly three days, and he’s a mess. Which is pretty fucking pathetic, Jensen thinks. He’d lived on his own from when he was eighteen ‘til when he moved in with Jared this year, and he’s a pretty healthy guy, but goodness knows he dealt with a few colds during those years—dealt with them fine on his own, thanks very much--even got annoyed whenever a girlfriend tried to fuss over him. Eight months living with Jared and he can’t even fix himself dinner when he’s under the weather. Pathetic.
As if on cue, he can hear the voice of the recently-departed Independent Jensen. “Okay, dumbass, if you can’t face dinner, at least get some fluids in you—OJ? Gatorade?—even you should be able to manage that” (Independent Jensen is a little condescending). But present-day, Jared-missing Jensen shivers in the cold air from the open refrigerator and decides that he’d rather have tea than juice, if he’s going to have anything at all.
He fumbles with the electric kettle, finds a tea bag and a mug, and stands waiting for the water to boil, hands tucked into his armpits to stop the shivering. After a few moments, he realizes that if he’s shivering like that in his well-heated house, still wearing three layers, that he’s probably running a fever. “Shit,” says that ghost voice of his past self, “if you feel that bad, just make the tea, take some Tylenol, and get into bed.” And there, right there, recently-departed Independent Jensen has hit the root of the problem.
The bed. Because despite all the nights that Jensen’s slept like a log tucked up next to Jared in that bed, now that Jared’s gone, the bed seems to have turned against him. Okay, that sounds stupid, but, really, that’s what it feels like. For the past three nights, he keeps waking up every couple of hours, too hot, too cold, unable to find a position in which he can breathe, shifting around until he can fall asleep again, only to wake up a hour or so later, the bed and bedclothes rebelling against him again. So, basically, the bed is what’s reduced him to the miserable condition he’s in right now—nothing to do with Jared being gone.
Nevertheless, he tries to follow Independent Jensen’s advice. Fills the cup with hot water, stumbles to the bathroom, takes out his contact lens and swallows a couple of Tylenol. But when he gets to the bedroom he just can’t follow through—can’t face doing battle with that bed again. So, instead, he drags the comforter off it, pulls it back to the couch in the living room, kicks off his shoes, but leaves his sweater and jeans on, curls up tight under it, and waits for the shivering to abate. The dogs are thrilled and jump up to settle themselves around him. Jensen doesn’t have the heart to shoo them off—welcomes their warmth, really, and flicks on the TV before he drifts into sleep.
Jensen wakes up to a hand gently shaking his shoulder. “Jen,” he hears, “what are you doing out here? It’s the middle of the night.” He blinks blearily and tries to focus—Jared’s perched next to him on the couch, still wearing his coat. “What—“ he starts,
“Yeah, “ Jared says, “Found a flight tonight, didn’t want to wait til tomorrow morning.” He pauses. “You look like crap, dude, what’s up? Your cold worse?”
“I’m fine,” Jensen tries, but hears how wrecked his voice is, and quits, nodding. Jared cups one huge hand around Jensen’s temple, then shifts it down around the back of his neck.
“You’re pretty warm, man, come on, let’s get you into bed.”
And Jensen must be pretty out of it, because he hears himself muttering, “uh-uh, no way, the bed is mad at me, the bed misses you.”
Jared’s eyebrows go up. “The bed is mad at you? The bed misses me?” He takes a breath, like he’s about to rib Jensen mercilessly, but then his face softens, and he just says, “well, I’m back now—let’s see if we can’t get the two of you reconciled.’
Jared reaches out a hand, and pretty much hauls Jensen off the sofa, chivvies him down the hall to the bedroom, and doesn’t exactly help him get undressed, but nudges and tugs til he’s in clean sweats and under the covers. Jensen is shivering again by that point, though, even after Jared pulls the extra blanket from the closet and settles it over him, and Jared frowns at him.
“You take any aspirin or anything?”
“Yeah, when I got home, around eight.”
“Okay, I think you’re probably due for some more. Hang tight for a minute—don’t fall asleep.”
Jensen pulls the blankets tighter, and sure he feels like five miles of rough road, but he thinks the bed might be reverting back to its usual comfortable state, just a little. Jared comes back with the Tylenol bottle, a glass of water, and the thermometer. He gets Jensen to take the pills, drink the whole glass of water, then lays one hand along Jensen’s face while he puts the thermometer in the opposite ear. It beeps, and Jared looks at it, making a worried tssking noise that Jensen would totally make fun of if he had the energy. And didn’t secretly find it kind of comforting.
“101.7. If it’s still that high in the morning, you’re calling the doctor. Probably ended up with a sinus infection, or something, dumbass. I leave you alone for a few days, and you go into a decline.” He’s gently rubbing a thumb across Jensen’s aching cheekbones as he says it, though, so the words don’t sting. “Okay, I’m going to go deal with the dogs, and wash up. Can you sleep? Bed finished working out its separation issues on your sorry ass?”
“Uh-huh.” And Jensen does finally feel the chill dispelling, feel himself relaxing into the familiar comfort of mattress and pillow—anticipating having Jared’s warmth beside him. “Jared—“
“Yeah?” He turns at the door.
“Sorry—didn’t even ask about the interviews and everything—you must be exhausted.”
“Nah—I’m good. Glad to be back—I think the beds in LA were rebelling in sympathy with ours—couldn’t get a decent night’s sleep down there.”