i can feel the weather in my bones (causeways) wrote,
i can feel the weather in my bones
causeways

FIC: Wasted on the Young (1/2)

Title: Wasted on the Young
Authors: causeways & memphis86
Pairing: Jared/Jensen
Rating: NC-17 (alternately, G for Gratuitous Assflap)
Word Count: 15,000
Warnings: Crack. Age-regression. Ducky ex machina.
Thanks: walkawayslowly for the beta!
Summary: Once upon a time when Jared was five and dinosaurs roamed the earth, rubber duckies appeared out of thin air and submarines surfaced in Jensen's bathtub. Also, two very pretty boys got stuck in very sexy situations.

Wasted on the Young

i.


It starts out just like any other day on set. They're filming some plotline about a woman who controls people's minds through hypnosis and makes them do her evil bidding. Jensen doesn't really see how that's all that different from the trickster plotline or the "children who drank demon blood" plotline, but questioning the ways of the Kripke is so not worth it—and in an effort to help get Jared "really in character" Kim called in an actual professional hypnotist. She's a great big woman in a Hawaiian print muumuu, and she says a lot of things like, "Reach down into your core to find your inner self," and, "Concentrate on your deep, spiritual breathing." Jared's doing a lot of nodding and furrowing his brow, and Jensen is going to give him so much shit for this whole thing later, because seriously, actually trying to go under hypnosis for a role? Method acting and being batshit insane are totally not the same thing.

Jeannie's putting the final touches on a pretty awesome jagged cut—Dean just got thrown against the wall and whacked his head on something sharp a few minutes ago—so Jensen's sort of zoning out, not really paying attention to what all's going on with Jared beyond the occasional snatch of conversation: "Raise your arms now and make them into praying hands above your head. Good, that's good," and man, Jensen's got an awesome mental visual of that one. But he doesn't really know what's going on when there's a little bit of commotion and the hypnotist runs out in a hurry, so as soon as Jeannie finishes the cut he wanders over to see what happened.

"Her daughter just got in a car accident down in Seattle," one of the PAs is explaining to another. "She's rushing down to the hospital."

"Oh my God," the second PA says. "Is it serious?"

"I think maybe her car was totaled," the first PA says.

Jensen stops listening to the conversation, though, because there's Jared, sitting Indian-style on the ground and drawing circles in the dirt. "Dude, what are you doing?" Jensen asks.

Jared looks up at him through his bangs. "Making a racetrack," he says, as if that should be obvious.

"Ah," Jensen says. "Right, of course, we draw racetracks on the ground all the time." Although this is Jared; Jensen wouldn't really put it past him. "Anyway," he says after a beat, "Kim wants us back over there in five, so do you think you can maybe be done with your racetrack by then?"

"I'm a Formula One driver," Jared says, dragging his index finger along the pre-drawn lines. "Vrooooooom, vrrooooooom."

"You are so fuckin' weird," Jensen says fondly, grabbing Jared's shoulder. "Come on, man, let's get back to set."

"Does that mean I have to stop playing racecars?" Jared asks.

Jensen rolls his eyes. "Yes, Jared, that means you have to stop playing racecars. Can you give up the act now? It was cute for the first ten seconds, but now you're done." He tries to grab Jared's hand and pull him to his feet, but Jared doesn't help at all, and damn, that's some serious dead weight.

"I don't want to stop playing racecars! We haven't even had the big race yet! Come on, Jensen, play with me!" Jared says.

Jensen stares at him and pulls a little harder on his arm. "Seriously, dude, drop the act," he says. "It's totally not funny anymore."

"What isn't funny?" Jared asks, frowning.

"Okay," Jensen says. "I give in. You're the best little-kid actor ever. Well done. Now do you think we can go play the big kids now? You know, Sam and Dean Winchester?"

"I don't wanna stop playing racecars," Jared says.

"Well, you have to," Jensen says, remembering everything he hates about little kids ever, "so come on."

"But I don't wanna," Jared says, slamming his fist against the ground for emphasis, and then he screws up his face and bursts into tears.

"Um," Jensen says. "Seriously, dude?"

"I. Don't. Wanna. Stop. Playing!" Jared screams, rolling on the dirt and kicking and pounding his fists, and Jensen has a flashback to his sister MacKenzie doing the same thing when she was a toddler and their mom took them to the Burlington Coat Factory and she didn't wanna go clothes-shopping. "I. Don't. Wanna. Go!" Jared yells.

That's when it dawns on Jensen that maybe something has gone horribly wrong.

*

"Oh my God, it's just like in Office Space," says Bob the camera guy.

There's a small crowd gathered around Jared now, but Jensen ignores everyone except Jared. "What's your name?" Jensen asks.

Jared looks at him like Jensen's retarded. "Jared Tristan Padalecki," he says immediately, only he pronounces the r's and the l like w's: Jawed Twistan Padawecki.

"Aww," coos one of the caterers.

"How old are you, Jared?" Jensen asks, a sinking feeling washing over him.

Jared holds up a hand with his fingers splayed. "Five and three-quarters!" he says.

"Okay," Jensen says weakly. "You're five. Um. Do you know who I am?" He's pretty worried that Jared's going to look at him dumbly and say something like, "I don't talk to strangers, I want my mommy!" since they didn't actually know each other when Jared was five.

But instead Jared's entire face lights up and he says, "You're Jensen! You're my best friend."

It makes something clench in Jensen's chest, even as he's relieved as hell.

And then immediately afterwards Jared says, "Where's my mommy?" and Jensen decides it's really about time he stopped getting ahead of himself.

*

The whole "your mommy's in Texas and you're in Vancouver" argument isn't going over very well, and Kim only makes things worse.

"We need to get this on camera!" he says. "Rewrite the whole episode! Sam thinks he's a five-year-old and—"

"I want my mommy!" Jared yells.

"I'm taking Jared home," Jensen says.

"But we're in the middle of filming!" Kim protests.

"Jared thinks he's five," Jensen tells him. "You're not going to be able to get him to act for you when he thinks he's five."

"I'm not talking about getting him to act!" Kim says. "We can just put him on camera, edit all the funny bits in—"

"Yeah, that's not happening," Jensen says, grabbing Jared's shoulder and steering him out of the room.

*

Getting Jared into his truck isn't the hard part, getting him to calm down is. Jared's wide-eyed, spastic almost. He remembers things about himself, about Jensen, but he doesn't have all the little incidentals yet, he doesn't have any memory of being in Jensen's truck or his apartment.

"We're really going to your house? Did you tell my mommy?" Jared asks again. Maybe he thinks this is all a ploy to get him to go to the dentist, or something else parents have to trick their kids into doing.

"Yeah, yeah, your mom knows," Jensen lies, not meeting his face.

"Is she gonna pick me up?"

"Mmm-hmm, don't touch that," Jensen says, slapping his hand away from the glove box.

"What's this one do?"

"Cigarette lighter—hey, don't touch it!"

"Smoking is bad, Jensen."

"So's burning down my fucking car!"

Jared claps his hands to his mouth and giggles. "You said a bad word! I'm telling!"

Jensen sighs, and before he knows it, Jared's already distracted himself with something else, fidgeting and pulling at his seatbelt, twisting himself up in the shoulder strap. Jensen tsks, "Jared, quit messing with it."

"It's too tight!"

"Stop that, will you, let me—" Jensen groans and pulls over to stop. He leans over in his seat, but Jared's a mess so he gets up and walks to the passenger side, adjusting Jared's belt and then sees the state he's really in. They'd left the set in such a hurry that Jared didn't even bother to change out of his Sam-clothes. He's wearing Sam's usual hoodie and baggy designer jeans, the brown jacket and beat-up looking sneakers. Jensen smoothes down his hoodie, untucking one of the strings from inside his shirt and fixing his jacket collar. Jared beams at him, slumping down in his seat. God, he really does look small, hunching his shoulders and looking at Jensen through his hair. It's kind of funny, Jared's normally big and sprawling, taking up as much space as possible. And now he's all tucked into himself, like he's really a little kid again, and it's so cute and sweet and Jensen's heart thwumps a little...

Jensen swallows, turning away just as Jared sing-songs, "Thank you, Jensen!"

And Jensen mumbles, "Yeah, you're welcome." He slams the door shut and gets back in the driver side.

"Are we there yet?"

"Yeah, almost."

"I want juice. Jensen, can I have a juice-box?" Jensen tries to ignore his request and keep his eyes on the road. "My mommy always has a juice-box."

"I'm not your mommy, Jared."

Jared sort of nods, looking out the window, finds something else to distract him and maybe, just maybe Jensen thinks there's a slim chance he could just, come back to himself. Wake up the next morning and be Jared again and they'll have a good, hard laugh over it. Jared will shrug it off, buy Jensen a beer for his trouble and they'll bullshit all night long.

Jensen's wishful thinking stops when he pulls into his apartment's garage, turns off the ignition and grabs his jacket, stepping out of the truck. He gets halfway to the elevators before he realizes he's missing a very tall five-year-old.

Jared's still in the car, hands on the window like a trapped little animal, pouting at him, bottom lip quivering. Jensen jogs quickly to the car, whispering "Oh crap, don't cry, don't cry!" under his breath.

He keys open the passenger door and Jared starts whining. "Why'd you leave me, Jensen? Mommy says I'm not supposed to take off my seatbelt and you forgot me!"

He's murmuring to Jared without realizing, soothing words, "Sorry, so sorry Jared. I got it, I wasn't gonna leave you, I'm here, I'm here. . . " He un-clips Jared's belt and tugs on his shoulders so he'll get out, and shuts the door behind Jared. He's still pouting, brow creased with frustration.

"Jared, c'mon, let's go upstairs."

"Can I push the elevator button?" And Jared's mood flips as he takes off for it, laughing.

Jensen just kind of gapes at the whole situation. He forgot what it was like being a kid, with all these little rules and catches. You can't take off your own seatbelt, but you can ring for the elevator and it's the most amazing thing in the world.

*

"Here you go," Jensen says, putting the glass of orange juice down in front of Jared.

"I want apple."

"I don't have apple. Drink it."

"Can I have grape juice?"

Jensen looks ruefully at his wine stash, but that'd only be a temporary solution. "No, now will you drink the orange juice already?"

Jared leans down over the cup and inspects it carefully, poking a finger at the surface. "It has slimy things in it."

"Yes. . ." Jensen says, hitting a sibilant sound with his frustration. "That's the pulp. You drink it all the time, Jared."

"No I don't! It's gross! I don't want it all slimy!"

"I can strain it."

"It's not the same! I want apple juice!" Jared says, burying his head in his arms and throwing another tantrum.

Jensen's about to lose it himself, when he hears his own stomach growl, and it all makes sense. They're overworked, and they're both starving, having left the set without lunch or dinner. No wonder Jared's being such a pain and he's losing his patience.

"Okay, okay, look, how about some milk right now? I need to do some house-cleaning, and then I'll go buy juice, okay?"

Jared looks up through his bangs again, just his eyes and nose peering over his arms and at Jensen like a devious little imp. "Chocolate milk?"

Jensen relaxes and fixes Jared his snack, sits him down at the kitchen table with explicit instructions not to leave it. And then, he goes kiddie-proofing.

The first thing to go into hiding is the porn stash. The magazines and the videotapes all go into an empty laundry basket, along with his stash of emergency cigarettes, condoms and lubricants of all different flavors. Next thing is the 30-year old bourbon he got for Christmas, the liquor cabinet needs a lock and he guesses a padlock will have to do for the time being, he's pretty sure the combination is somewhere. Then he raids his bookshelves in his bedroom. Five-year-olds probably can't read, but if Jared decides to go exploring in his room, he doesn't want him to see the graphic illustrations in The Big Book of Getting It On and Gay Kama Sutra for Dummies.

Jensen brings the box into the hall closet and stuffs it behind his jackets and shoes. Another box catches his eye: it's the stuff he had the last time Josh and his wife were up with the kids. Jensen got all excited and bought them lots of toys so they'd love him and think he was the best uncle ever—he didn't want to risk actually talking to them and possibly screwing that up. Maybe Jared would like to play with that stuff; there were hot wheels and toy animals and a bunch of other things they left behind.

Toys! Jensen slaps himself on the forehead, he almost forgot to hide his sex toys. Jensen keeps it in the bathroom, they're waterproof after all, and he's about to take them out from the cabinet under the sink when Jared walks up behind him and taps him on the shoulder. Jensen immediately throws his toy back in the cabinet, turning and throwing his back against the door, blushing with embarrassment.

"What are you doing?" Jared asks, rocking on his heels.

"Grown up stuff!"

"I'm hungry."

Jensen's stomach growls again. "Well, let's do something about that," he says standing up.

Jared reaches for his hand, and Jensen lets him take it, walking him back outside to the truck. "Do you know how to buckle yourself in?" Jensen asks him.

One of his neighbors is in the garage too, getting into her Lexus, and she shoots Jensen the strangest look in the world when she sees who he's talking to. Whatever, if she asks him about it later, he'll just tell her Jared was his retarded cousin or something.

"'Course I do!" Jared says, fastening his seatbelt. "I'm not a baby."

"Okay," Jensen says. "Um, watch out, I'm going to shut the door." He figures he's sort of getting the hang of this, maybe: Jared obediently moves his legs out of the way and lets Jensen close the door and get in the driver's seat. Yeah, he's definitely pretty good at this. There isn't anything in his truck that Jared could possibly find to put in his mouth or play with on the way to the grocery store.

So Jensen's pretty astonished when he looks over at Jared and sees nothing but his back: his head and his arms have disappeared under the seat. "Jared, what are you—"

"Look what I found!" Jared says, emerging triumphantly with a CD in hand. "Raffi!"

"You're kidding, right?" Jensen says, trying to make a grab for the CD and keep his eyes on the road at the same time. Keeping his eyes on the road wins out—Jared moves like a freaking snake. "How is that even in my car?"

Josh's kids must have left it there when they came to visit last time, that's the only thing Jensen can figure, but Jared's grinning at the CD and saying, "Can we listen to it, Jensen, huh? Please?"

Jensen sort of can't bring himself to say no. Plus, it's Raffi. At least it's not, like, Power Rangers sing-alongs. "You have to take it out of the case," Jensen tells him.

"I know that," Jared says impatiently, stuffing the CD in and turning the volume way up.

Jensen's eardrums nearly die under the impact of Jared and Raffi combined belting out, "Down by the bay, where the watermelons grow . . ."

Jensen steps on the gas.

*

"Okay," Jensen says once they're finally in the grocery store—four songs later, one of them in the parking lot, because Jared refused to get out of the car until it was done. "What all do we need?"

"Can I ride in the cart?" Jared asks.

"What?" Jensen says, gaping at him. "No! There's no way you can fit in the cart."

Jared pouts. "My mommy always lets me ride in the cart," he says, and he's starting to get a little bit of a waver in his voice already.

"Hey, do you like cookies?" Jensen says out of desperation. "We could get you cookies."

"I want to ride in the cart," Jared says, but with slightly less conviction.

"We could get chocolate chip ones," Jensen says. "Or Oreos, do you like those? Or what about the ones in the shapes of the elves, with the chocolate in the middle—"

And Jared's already happily pushing the cart toward the cookie aisle.

When it's all said and done, Jensen leaves the grocery store with: two twelve-packs of grape-flavored Juicy Juice; a jumbo box of Goldfish crackers; one package each of Chips Ahoy!, Oreos and E.L. Fudge cookies; a pack of fudgesicles that Jared somehow manages to sneak into the cart when Jensen isn't looking; two packages of string cheese; two four-packs of strawberry yogurt with sprinkle packets on top; three boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, which is the only thing Jared says he'll eat for dinner; and an individual-sized frozen lasagna for Jensen.

Jensen thinks very seriously about buying a new bottle of Jack Daniels to replace the one that's currently under padlock in his apartment, because he has the feeling he's going to need it, but then he'd be tempted to pound it right there in the parking lot and then he'd be driving drunk and dealing with Jared, which, not a chance in hell.

It occurs to Jensen just before they get to the checkout that there isn't a single thing in the cart that might possibly constitute healthy food, with the sole possible exception of the yogurt, and the sprinkles sort of negate that. "We need to get you some fruits and vegetables or something," Jensen tells him.

"But I don't like fruits and veggie-tables," Jared tells him.

They compromise on apple sauce with cinnamon, which probably doesn't really count at all, but at this point Jensen will take what he can get.

Twenty minutes and five more Raffi songs later, they're back in Jensen's apartment, and Jensen's willing the water to boil faster while Jared watches Scooby-Doo on the flatscreen. Jensen can see him from the kitchen. He seems pretty enthralled, which is about the best thing that's happened to Jensen all day; occasionally Jared will yell, "I'm Scrappy-dappy-Doo!" along with the screen, but really that's not something Jensen's going to complain about, comparatively speaking.

Jensen cooks two of the three boxes of mac and cheese—he figures if Jared really wants to eat three boxes in one go, he can make the third box while Jared eats the first two—and even manages to time it so that his lasagna's ready right around the same time. He scoops as much mac and cheese as he can onto a plate and then, as an afterthought, gets out one of the individual-sized packages of applesauce and puts it on the table next to Jared's plate.

"Dinner!" Jensen calls. "Uh, except you have to wash your hands first."

That was a rule around Jensen's house when he was little, and it seems like the right thing to say, especially since when Jared walks up to the kitchen sink, his hands are completely covered with something green and sticky.

"What did you even—never mind," Jensen says. "I probably don't want to know."

"I need a stool!" Jared says. "I can't reach the sink without the stool!"

Jensen stares. The sink is exactly even with Jared's waist. "Dude, just stick your hands out," Jensen says.

Jared's eyes go huge. "Look, Jensen, I grew! I can reach the sink!"

"Yes, you can," Jensen says, squirting soap into Jared's hands and making sure he scrubs all the green crap off.

They sit down at the table and Jensen starts digging into his lasagna. He hadn't really realized just how hungry he was—he'd sort of had other things on his mind—but the lasagna is awesome, bubbly and hot. He doesn't even come up for air until he's finished about half of it, but that's when he realizes Jared is pushing his mac and cheese around the plate and not really eating it.

"What?" Jensen says. "Is something wrong with your dinner?"

"No," Jared says sullenly.

Jensen concentrates very hard on being patient with him. "Then why aren't you eating it?"

Jared doesn't say anything for a moment, then: "They can't be touching."

"What can't be touching?" Jensen asks, diligently not throttling him.

"The applesauce and the macaroni and cheese!" Jared says. "They can't be touching."

"They aren't touching," Jensen tells him. "Look, the mac and cheese is on a plate, and the applesauce is still in its little plastic thing! They aren't touching."

"The plate and the applesauce are touching!" Jared insists. "Come look!"

Jensen stands up and cranes his neck over to look. "Oh, dear God," he says, pulling the applesauce container away from where it was barely touching the plate. "There, are you okay now?"

"Uh-huh," Jared says, digging into his dinner.

Jensen sighs heavily and sort of wants to drown himself in his lasagna.

*

It seems like maybe it's going to get better after dinner.

"I want to watch a movie!" Jared says. "It's movie time!"

"Okay," Jensen says. Movie time is good. Movie time, he can work with. That means two hours of Jared sitting still and shutting the fuck up and not eating bathroom cleaner and puking all over the rug or something, and Jensen is completely fine with that. "Let's see what we have here. . . "

Jensen's really glad he threw all the adult titles in the closet before Jared asked for a movie, because when Jensen opens the entertainment center Jared's breathing down his neck, peering over his shoulder to scan the titles.

Jensen takes in a breath and holds it, because Jared is flush against him, still blissfully unaware of their height difference, the way Jensen's body fits right against his. Jared leans his chin against Jensen's shoulder, sighing.

"You don't have anything fun."

"I'm guessing you're not up for an Eastwood marathon then?"

"What?"

"Dear God." Jensen bites his lip and then Jared scrambles to the bottom shelf with a yelp and pulls out a bright blue DVD case. He holds it up and waves it like a prize.

"Finding Nemo! I wanna watch it! Please, Jensen? Please?"

Well hey, at least it's Pixar. He can handle this kind of kiddie film, and he's happy that it shows that there's a bigger chance his Jared is still buried somewhere in there. Finding Nemo definitely isn't a movie from Jared's childhood, and he remembers watching it before. This is good.

"Sure," Jensen turns to pick up the case and Jared makes a happy sound and wraps his arms around Jensen's legs, hugging them just as Jensen is trying to stand up and pivots and twists and his sense of balance completely fails him. He succumbs to the fact that he has a 25-year-old man-octopus wrapped around his legs—one who doesn't yet realize just how strong he is—and he lands gracefully on his face on the carpet.

Jared laughs, clapping his hands. "Do it again!"

"This is not good," Jensen mutters into the carpet, then pushes himself back up.

"Come on, Jensen, do it again!" Jared says. Jensen's totally not going to go along with this, because he's got a healthy amount of fear for his life, but then Jared's already tackling him to the ground again and it's—way worse than he thought it was going to be, is what it is, because somehow Jared's managed not just to tackle him to the floor, but to tackle him to the floor with his mouth exactly right at Jensen's crotch and he's breathing heavily, and oh dear God, Jensen can feel his cock starting to stir.

He scrambles out from under Jared as quickly as humanly possible and ignores the beginnings of the disappointed look on Jared's face. To stave it off he says, "Right, okay, you want to watch Finding Nemo now?"

Sure enough, Jared perks right up again. "Nemo time! Yay!"

"Nemo time," Jensen confirms, shoving the DVD in and stabbing the Play button. "Look! Nemo!"

"Nemo!" Jared echoes happily, flinging his legs up on the coffee table.

Jensen stays with him long enough to make sure that Jared's thoroughly enthralled—so, three minutes, because that's already past the upper limit of Jared's usual attention span, even when he doesn't think he's five—and then he goes and pulls up Seattle area hospitals on yellowpages.com, because it really doesn't look like Jared's just going to snap out of this and seriously, this whole thing needs to stop.

*

Jensen has already spoken with the receptionists at five major general hospitals in Seattle before he finds the one the hypnotist's daughter was admitted to. He gets her husband, who's also a hypno-therapist, though not as granola. He barks angrily at Jensen for calling while his daughter is in the ICU, and advises him Jared should sleep it off. He thinks once the subconscious has a chance to re-set itself, the hypnosis should fade. Only while doing so, he uses a lot more swear words, some Jensen thinks he's just making up.

His thoughts on the validity of "crumdinger" as an insult fly right out of his head when he hears Jared start screaming at the television scream. The instinct to run to him takes over, and Jensen doesn't even want to dwell on when exactly, he developed a parenting urge.

"No!" Jared's screaming, he's lying on the floor with the couch-pillows and a fleece throw bunched up in front of his face. "Dory!" he adds when Jensen approaches, pointing at the screen as the angular blue fish is burned by jellies.

"Hey," Jensen crouches down on the floor to comfort him, placing a hand on his shoulder and Jared kind of scrambles up and yanks him all the way down. Somehow he ends up sitting on the floor with Jared, who's squeezing the life out of him, burying his face in Jensen's shoulder.

"Is it over yet?" Jared asks.

Jensen worries his lip, poor Dory is still lying there, unmoving. "No, I'll tell you when it's okay, Jared."

By the end, Jared's dozing on his shoulder, waking only to shout, "Lucky fin!" at the end. It's actually a really good movie, Jensen's smiling right along with Jared. It has nothing to do with the warm weight leaning against him, breath at his neck and arms still curling around his shoulders.

Jensen turns the monitor off and Jared mumbles. "Is my mommy here yet?"

"No, Jared your mommy isn't coming tonight."

Jared sits up quickly, and Jensen worries the waterworks might be on again but instead Jared beams. "We're having a sleepover!"

*

When Jensen met Jared, there really wasn't that much of an initial attachment, the way there is now. It was just the usual stuff you notice about a new person, they way they look, the way they talk. His first impression of Jared was generally pleasant.

It wasn't until he really started spending a good chunk of his day, his week, hell his life with Jared, that those pleasant and friendly thoughts turned x-rated.

Jensen knows on some level, it's just a healthy expression of his sexuality, to be attracted to Jared. It's just a physical, sexual attraction. Nothing else.

But he's really not that stupid. It's more than that. Every time Jared smiles the way he does, every night they spend together either shooting or chilling with beers and action movie marathons. The way he stands too close, his warmth and the way he smells, the way he puts butter and jam on his toast because he can't choose between one or the other.

And now, when Jared looks at him like he's the sun and the moon and the stars at night? He's screwed, he's so very, very screwed. And the only recourse is to make sure to put as much physical distance between himself and Jared as possible.

"All right," Jensen says as soon as the Finding Nemo credits roll. "It's bedtime for five-year-olds."

"Five and three-quarters!" Jared insists.

"Five and three-quarters, right," Jensen says. "Doesn't matter, bedtime doesn't get to be later until you're six. You need to, uh, brush your teeth and stuff before you go to bed, right?"

"And go potty," Jared says. "And put on my PJs!"

Jensen's trying to decide how he's going to break it to Jared that he doesn't actually have any pajamas for him here, but he figures maybe he can distract Jared with tooth-brushing and come up with something while he's in the bathroom. Jared's crashed at Jensen's place enough times that he already has a toothbrush here, so Jensen gives him that one and squeezes toothpaste on it when he holds it out. Astonishingly, Jared doesn't say anything about the toothbrush not having Batman on it or the toothpaste not being sparkly and blue, so Jensen runs into his bedroom to see what he can find as far as pajamas go.

Jensen usually just sleeps in his boxers or naked, so it's not like he really keeps a whole lot of pajamas around, but he finds a pair of sweatpants and a slightly-too-big t-shirt in his drawer of work-out clothes; those will have to work. He's gone for maybe three minutes total, which shouldn't even be long enough for Jared to be finished brushing his teeth and peeing—but when Jensen returns to the bathroom, Jared says, "Look at my PJs, Jensen! They have feet!"

"Where the hell did you—oh, God," Jensen says weakly. "You found Austin's pajamas."

Jared is a wearing a pair of bright red onesie pajamas. Jared's right, they do have feet: the legs end in slippers that are approximately four sizes too small for him. Everything about the pajamas is at least four sizes too small for him, including the buttflap, which Jared's butt is quite literally bursting out of – the buttons don't seem to have any interest in staying closed, which ordinarily Jensen would be totally all right with, except for the two key facts that 1) Jared thinks he is a five-year-old, and thinking about him sexually is all sorts of wrong; and 2) the pajamas used to belong to his ex-boyfriend Austin, who liked to lay across Jensen's lap with the buttflap open and make Jensen spank him until his ass was as red as the pajamas. In retrospect, Jensen probably should have ended that relationship far sooner than he did, but Austin had given some of the best blowjobs Jensen's ever gotten in his life, which at the time had made the crying and the insistence on calling Jensen 'Daddy' in bed seem mostly worth it.

Still, the point is, Jared is wearing Austin's pajamas, and he's going to burst out of them at any moment, especially if he keeps wriggling—and yep, there it goes. The buttflap falls open and there's Jared's entire ass exposed. Jensen isn't staring at it at all, he totally isn't, except then Jared drops his toothbrush on the floor and bends over to pick it up, and Jensen is only human. He stares.

Jared's ass is as perfect as he's been imagining it. More perfect, really—and Jensen's seen a lot of asses and done a lot of imagining. It's paler than the rest of Jared's skin, round and toned, and it's right there, staring at him through the butt window.

Finally Jared stands back up again, toothbrush in hand, ass safely out of sight, and Jensen can breathe again. At least, until Jared says, "Who's Austin?" and it becomes clear that Jared's ass destroys every last bit of Jensen's higher brain function.

"He's my ex-boyfriend," Jensen says, and immediately regrets it.

Jensen's gay. He's always been gay; it wasn't ever something he questioned. He stays in the closet and dates women sometimes because those are good career moves, but most of his good friends know he's gay.

But Jared doesn't, Jensen hasn't ever told him. He would have done it if Jared had ever asked him directly—and he knows that's pretty weak, as far as excuses go, but that's all he's got.

Now that Jared's looking down at him confusedly, though, and saying, "You used to have a boyfriend?" Jensen figures it's time to pony up. He wonders if Jared will remember any of this once he's back to normal. It doesn't really matter; it's long past when he should have told Jared, anyway.

"Yeah," Jensen says. "Uh, more than one, actually. Not at the same time or anything. I mean—I'm gay."

Jensen hasn't said that out loud very often—nearly every single one of his friends who know he's gay found out because they walked in on him (he wasn't as sneaky when he was younger)—and the look of confusion on Jared's face is . . . well, mostly just weird. It can't be that surprising that Jensen's gay. He sort of completely looks the part. But then it occurs to him that maybe Jared's staring at him like that because he doesn't actually understand what Jensen means—and oh dear God, he's going to have to give Jared The Talk.

Jensen takes a deep breath. "Okay. Gay means—okay, well, you know how some boys like girls?"

"Girls have cooties," Jared says.

"Right," Jensen says. "But, um, the cooties go away when they're older, and then they're safe to be around."

"Really?" Jared says dubiously.

"Really," Jensen says. "Anyway, some boys like girls—like how your daddy likes your mommy. And some girls like girls, and some boys like boys. If you're gay, it means you're a boy who likes other boys."

Jared's brow furrows in concentration. "So you're a boy who likes other boys?" he asks.

"Yep," Jensen says, watching Jared's face carefully.

"Huh." Jared's brow stays furrowed for another couple of seconds. Jensen holds his breath. Then Jared's face clears and he says, "Okay! Can we have story time now? Mommy and Daddy and I always have story time before I go to bed, and it's really fun, and it's where we read lots of stories and it's really fun and can we have story time now?"

"Sure," Jensen says, overwhelmed by Jared's level of enthusiasm and by the fact that he just came out to Jared and Jared accepted it with nothing more than an, "Okay!" And granted, Jared's five—maybe it isn't weird that he's just accepting it. It's still throwing Jensen off a little.

"Right, story time," Jensen says. "Let's see what the choices are."

He's still got a few picture books lying around from when Josh and his kids came to visit a few months back, so he pulls them off the bookshelf and presents them to Jared. Jared examines them carefully then says," These are good!"

"Which one?"

Jared points at Good Night, Moon. "This one first!"

Jensen's sort of afraid to ask, but midway through the third book (which stars Olivia the pig) it's already plenty clear: by 'story time' Jared meant 'the time in which we read every single picture book in the house'. Jared's parents must have been better at resisting than Jensen is, or else they didn't own any children's books and only checked them out of the library one at the time; that's the only way he can figure that Jared survived to adulthood. Only for him to go right back to thinking he's a five-year-old, but never mind, that's not the point. The point is, it's a really good thing that Jensen only has seven books total.

For the first four books it's about all Jensen can do not to throttle Jared: he insists on sitting right next to Jensen and leaning across him to point at every single picture. But around the middle of the fifth book (Make Way for Ducklings) Jared starts to calm down, and for the entirety of the seventh book (Maisy Goes Camping) Jared is slumped against Jensen's shoulder, struggling to keep his eyes open.

Jensen reads all the way to the end anyway—he's only ten pages out at that point—and Jared stirs, yawning. "All done?" he asks.
"Yup," Jensen says. "All done." He hadn't realized it while he was in the middle of reading, but his mouth is completely dry now and his throat is hoarse.

"I'm sleepy," Jared says.

"Yeah, I know you are," Jensen says. "Here, let's get your bed ready." He grabs a pillow and a blanket off his bed, then looks in the top of his closet for the extra set of sheets. The maid service has been leaving sheets there ever since he'd dated Richard, who'd completely refused to sleep on sheets after they'd just had sex—he had a debilitating fear of the wet spot—so they'd always changed the sheets right after they fucked, which had really gone a long way toward killing that post-coital glow. But it's nice to have the extra sheets now.

Jared stands up and looks on with interest while Jensen creates a makeshift bed out of the couch.

"There you go," Jensen says.

Jared frowns at the couch. "Do I have to sleep here?"

"Where else are you going to sleep?" Jensen asks.

Jared's eyes flick toward the bedroom. "Why can't I sleep with you?"

Oh God, wrong kind of question to hear him ask, wrong, wrong, wrong. "Because," Jensen clears his throat, "my bed isn't big enough."

"I'm not that big! I'm only five!"

"And three-quarters. It's past the limit. Sorry, kiddo." Jensen messes Jared's hair playfully.

Jared huffs. "Okay. Good night, Jensen."

"Good night," Jensen says. "I'll see you in the morning, okay?" Maybe Jared's system will reset itself in the night and he'll be back to normal tomorrow all on his own. Maybe if Jensen keeps thinking that hard enough it will come true.

"Hey, Jensen?" Jared says just as Jensen turns toward the bedroom.

"Yeah?" Jensen says, praying like crazy that Jared isn't about to say, "Can I have one more bedtime story?"

"Can you tuck me in?"

It's still sort of amazing how small and young Jared's managing to look right now. "Sure, Jared. I can tuck you in." Jensen pulls the blanket up under Jared's chin and tucks it in around his sides. "There you go."

"Thank you, Jensen," Jared says, smiling through a yawn.

"You're welcome," Jensen says. He has the sudden, nearly-overpowering urge to press a kiss to Jared's forehead. Instead he turns the lights off and says, "I'll see you in the morning."

Jared doesn't reply. When Jensen goes back and peers over the edge of the couch, Jared's already asleep.

Jensen's pretty much there, too. He brushes his teeth and strips down to his boxers, and it can't be more than thirty seconds after he lies down that he falls asleep.

*

Jensen blinks awake to bright light in his eyes. His body is screaming that it's way to early to be getting up, and the light's coming from the wrong direction to be morning sunlight, anyway.

And then he hears, "Jensen? I had a nightmare."

Jensen suddenly has so much more appreciation for his dad's middle-of-the-night grouchiness. He squints at his cell phone. It's 3:45 in the morning. "Can you turn the light off, Jared?"

"But then the monster might get me," Jared says.

"It's okay, I won't let him. Just please turn the light off," Jensen says as nicely as he can, which is probably still not all that nice, because if Jared doesn't turn that light off right now he's pretty sure his eyeballs are going to fry.

Jared turns the light off. Jensen's head is still pounding afterwards, but at least his eyeballs will survive. "So you had a nightmare," Jensen says. "It's okay now, though, right?"

"What if the monster's still here?" Jared says.

"He's not. I saw him leave," Jensen says. "You're completely safe. Do you think you can go back to bed now?"

"Can I sleep with you, Jensen?" Jared asks.

Jensen's cock should not have anywhere near so much interest in that question as it does, because that is so beyond not what Jared meant that it might as well be in a different galaxy.

"Aww, come on," Jensen says. "You're a big boy, Jared"—and he really wishes his brain hadn't taken that statement where it just did, but he pushes through valiantly—"and the monster's gone now. You don't need to sleep in here."

"But I'm scared," Jared says in the tiniest, saddest voice Jensen has ever heard, and that is how Jensen learns that he is a total push-over. Because reading the books to Jared, that was one thing; he didn't really mind that so much. But letting Jared sleep in the same bed as him? That's wrong, completely wrong, and yet the waver in Jared's voice on the word scared is all it takes before Jensen has 6'4" of the hottest co-star he's ever had sprawled all over his bed.

It's a bad situation from the start; Jensen was aware of that from the buttflap alone. Jared lies down with his head right by Jensen's and breathes on Jensen's neck and then rubs his leg against Jensen's. He's not doing it on purpose, Jensen knows he isn't, but Jensen's horrified to feel himself getting hard anyway. That would be bad enough, but then Jared grabs Jensen's arm and clings to it like it's a teddy bear, so Jensen can't even roll to the far edge of the bed.

After that, Jared really falls asleep. Jensen can tell because he starts flopping around, flailing his limbs out wildly so that Jensen's not only hard and miserable, but he also doesn't stand a chance in hell of falling asleep.

And then Jared throws one of his legs over Jensen and hits right against Jensen's erection, and that's it, Jensen's out of there. He disentangles himself from Jared—who doesn't wake up, the jerk—and goes and takes the most miserable cold shower of his life.

*

Jensen spends most of the night huddled on the edge of the bed and trying to avoid being hit in the face by a flailing arm or leg. He wasn't entirely successful at that, and he's definitely bleary-eyed in the morning, and he absolutely needs to find a way to snap Jared out of this. So he picks up the phone book and starts calling every variation on psychiatrists he can think of.

The first doctor Jensen talks to suggests that familiar objects and situations might help Jared to remember who he is. She thinks that maybe looking at photos, or even going back to the set might help him remember who he's supposed to be.

Jared's still at the breakfast table where Jensen left him, drinking the sugary-pink milk leftover from his bowl of Lucky Charms. He slurps it all down and holds out the empty bowl to Jensen. "More please!" he sings.

Jensen pushes the bowl down on the table and grimaces. "Maybe later, Jared. I want to show you something," Jensen says as he sits next to him. He places a photo album in front of Jared and starts flipping through the pages.

It's him and Jared, goofing around on the set, hanging out afterwards. Him and Jared and all their friends from L.A. to Vancouver to Texas and back. Him and Jared's parents the time they came to visit the set. "Who's that?" Jensen points at them.

"Mommy and Daddy!" Jared says. "And you!"

"That's right." Jensen smiles as Jared starts flipping through the pages himself, scanning each photo and laughing quietly.

"So, you know what these are?"

"Pictures of you! Can I have more Lucky Charms now?"

"But who's that in them with me, Jared? Who's that guy with me? He's closer to my age, isn't he? Who do you think he is?"

Jared gasps. "I know! I know who he is!" Jensen nods him on. "He's a boy who likes boys like you, right? You're like Mommy and Daddy."

Jensen breathes out and slinks away to get Jared more cereal.

*

The second doctor suggests a reverse-psychology tactic, along with positive reinforcement. "Make him want to revert back to adulthood. He might be having too much fun as a kid. You have to show him what he's missing out on."

Jensen approaches Jared's pillow fort and stops at the entrance, peering down to see inside.

"What's the password?"

"Jared, come here."

Jared peeks out through the little slot of a window he's built and scowls. "That's not the password, Jensen!"

"Fine!" Jensen grumbles. "God, you're so going to pay for this. . . "

"Password!"

"I love puppies."

Jared scoots out of the fort. "Hi Jensen–whoop!" Jensen grabs his arm and pulls him up, he throws Jared's jacket on and gets them outside. Peggy, Jared's dog-sitter, is waiting downstairs for them, and she opens the minivan at Jensen's nod.

"Doggies!" Jared shouts as Sadie and Harley run towards him, licking and pouncing until he's rolling on the ground, laughing and shouting with joy.

"You like the dogs, don't you, Jared?"

"Yes!" He says, sitting up and letting Sadie lick his face all over while Harley snuffles his ear.

"You wanna keep them?"

Jared gasps. "Can I?"

Jensen shakes his head. "You're only five years old–"

"Five and three-quarters!"

"Still, you'd need to be much, much older. Someone your age can't be there to feed them and walk them and take them to the vet when they get sick. Who's gonna drive them to the park? Who's gonna pay for a dog-sitter? A groomer? How are you going to have money to buy them food and toys?"

Jared looks like he's about to cry, he's confused and hurt, wrapping his arms around Sadie's neck. "I don't know!"

"You'd have to grow up a lot to take care of them, Jared. You'd need to be, say, maybe twenty-five years old to be ready for the responsibility. Too bad you're only five . . . "

Jared turns to scratch behind Sadie's ears, Harley's finished sniffing Jared and lays his head in his lap. Jared sighs, and nods. "Okay."

Jensen lets out a silent gasp. "Really?"

Jared hugs the dogs close, and then stands up. "I guess I'm not old enough yet for you," he says to them. Peggy shrugs at Jensen and he returns her look with a similar "It was worth a shot"-smile, then takes the bag of Jared's clothes and shoes he'd asked her to put together when he called—since he has no idea how much longer this is going to last and he figures he should maybe get Jared to change eventually.

Jared wraps his arms around Jensen, burying his face in Jensen's neck. "Can we go back upstairs now?"

*

Dr. Henry sounds like he's got Jensen on speakerphone. There's a very big chance that his entire office staff is quietly snickering at the whole story. That should have been the first warning sign, but Jensen asks him for advice anyway.

The good doctor calms himself down and suggests Jensen try some tough love. "You just need to shock his system back to normal. He's not a little kid, make him aware of this. It's like waking up a sleepwalker."

"Isn't it, y'know, bad to wake up a sleepwalker?"

"It's unpleasant, but it has to be done."

Jensen thanks the doctor for his advice and walks back to the living-room. Jared's drawing with markers and looks up at Jensen when he walks in. Jared holds up the simple, stick-figure drawing of two people and two-pointy looking brown things Jensen assumes are the dogs.

"Look, Jensen! I drew this for you! Can you write my name on it? Mommy always helps me sign my name."

Jensen sighs. This is really going to hurt.

"It's you and me, Jensen, and the dogs and this is our house we're gonna live in someday when I'm all grown up and–"

Jensen snatches the picture away.

"No, it isn't," he says ripping it in two. "This isn't us, you're not five. You're Jared Padalecki, you're twenty-five years old and you have to grow the fuck up. I can't deal with this, Jared. You can't put this all on me. We're not, we're not even—I shouldn't be the one taking care of you! You're old enough to do it yourself! Grow up. Grow the hell up."

Jared's lower lip trembles and Jensen puts it out of his mind. "Don't, don't even cry! You're too old for this shit! You may act like a big kid and it's cute, it's cute Jared but you're taking it too far! You need to stop and pull your shit together, get the fuck out of my apartment and go back to work. We need to stop this bullshit and go back to work."

Jared looks down at his hands and stands up, his full height, looking down at Jensen with horrified hurt eyes. He reaches out and shoves Jensen away, shouting, "You're mean!" and running down the hall. Jensen hears the bathroom door shut.

"Jared! Jared c'mon, enough playing." Jensen bangs on the door, but then he hears Jared crying on the other side and it pretty much breaks him.

"I-I h-h-hate you! Go away!" Jared hiccoughs from the other side.

"Jared. . . " Jensen's hand falls against the doorknob, trying to twist it open but he's figured out how to lock it from the inside. "Jared, I'm sorry, open the door."

"No!"

"Jared!"

"Go away! We're not friends!"

*

Jensen's mother is surprised by both the phone-call, and the question.

"Well, honey I don't know. I don't think you or MacKenzie or Josh ever locked yourself in a room like that. How old did you say this kid is?"
"Five and three-quarters. He's uh, one of the crew kids, y'know and he's locked himself in the prop room and he's crying and we're—we're all kinda grasping at straws here, Ma."

"Why don't you ask his parents?"

Mrs. Padalecki is just as confused, though slightly more helpful.

"Oh, Jared did do that once! Funny you should ask. Jeff was watching him while I was cooking and they had words and Jared locked himself in the upstairs bathroom! He didn't come out for an hour, and that was only because by then it was dinnertime and his stomach won out over his stubborn head."

Jensen raises his eyebrows. "I see. . . You gotta starve 'em out."

Mrs. Padalecki laughs. "No, no that's not what I meant. Just give this kid some time to calm down. Kids that age never really mean those kinds of things, they only say it because they don't know how to handle their feelings."

"Mmm, I hope so. Thanks for the advice–"

"Oh! I forgot the best part of that story! After Jared came out of the bathroom–it was the cutest thing, he was covered in talcum powder and everything under the sink was all over the floor! This was before we had the child-locks on that cabinet."

"Under... the sink..." Jensen quickly says his goodbyes to Mrs. Padalecki and runs back out into the hall to the bathroom. He puts his ear to the door and damn it! He definitely hears stuff being rifled through, thrown about on the floor, packages crinkling and being opened.

"Jared, what are you doing?"

"Nothing..." Jared hums.

"Jared. Open the door."

"No!"

"Jared, I'm sorry, okay buddy? Open the door."

"Oooh, what's this?" Jared says, and Jensen hears the sound of a telltale package being opened, his heart drops to his stomach and he runs to the kitchen, snatching the box of Lucky Charms and rattling it in front of the bathroom door.

"Jared! It's Lucky Charms, it's your favorite!" Jensen stops and slaps his forehead. "What the fuck, he's not a cat ..."

"Oooh, it makes sounds!" And Jensen hears a vibrating sound, then Jared laughing. "It tickles!"

"Jared! Stop and open the door right now!" He pounds on the door again. "Jared, please! I'm sorry, just open the door!"

"Jensen, why didn't you tell me you had any toys?"

"It's not a toy, Jared! Just–" Jensen leans in close to the door, his forehead against the frame. "Look, whatever you want, Jared. Just open the door, please?"

"Really?"

"Really!"

"Promise-promise?"

"I swear! Cross my heart, Jared."

The bathroom lock clicks and Jensen pushes the door open. Jared's cross-legged on the floor, surrounded by the contents of his medicine cabinet the drawer under the sink.

Including his vibrating penis sleeve, which Jared is holding, flipping the switch on and off and giggling.

Jensen has a normal, healthy sexual appetite. He's sure he's not the only guy out there with a vibrating masturbatory aid shaped like a man's anus. So really, he's got nothing to be embarrassed about, but damn it, it's Jared underneath the innocent, childlike stare. He's not supposed to see that kind of stuff because Jensen will never, ever hear the end of it. "Give me that!" Jensen snatches it away from him and turns it off.

"What's that?"

"It's for adults!" Jensen's sure he's red from his neck to his hairline now.

"What's it do?"

"It's–It's for adults to know, Jared! Now come on," Jensen reaches his hand down to pick him up by his hand.

Jared crosses his arms so he can't grab him. "You promised me whatever I want."

"Oh God, Jared, no, you don't want this, you really don't—trust me," Jensen says, pointing to the sex toy.

"I wanna go to the waterslides!"

*

part two
Tags: crack, fic, jared/jensen, rps
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