Author: Regala Electra
Fandom: CW RPS
Word Count: 4,557
Warnings: Language, Sexual Content
Summary: Jensen hadn’t expected being here at this very moment, but now that he’s right smack in the middle of this, yeah this is exactly what he wants. This is the very true and completely serious tale of how Jensen Ackles came to co-own a deli & grocery with Jared Padalecki.
Author’s Notes: This is for memphis86 because she gave us photographic evidence of the J2 Deli and I took the idea and ran with it. ignited as usual remains my co-pilot. This is the first RPS fic I’ve ever posted. *flails* Let’s see if I get struck by lightning.
It’s been one of those rough days where the rush never seemed to die down, morning service bleeding into lunch service and then the afternoon hustle. And to top it off one of Jensen’s suppliers backed out of a huge order that’s due tomorrow, leaving no way to make up for it in time but that doesn’t quite matter.
Not when Jared’s mouth is sliding against Jensen’s, his voice low and words interspersed with kissing. His tongue flicks against the roof of Jensen’s mouth and then Jared pulls back to make an extremely dirty suggestion to what they should do after they close up for tonight and it’s a good, good idea.
When their mouths open Jensen can taste the too-sweet on Jared’s tongue, the kind that’s achingly familiar. It’s like he’s getting a sugar high by proxy, or at least that’s what he needs to believe.
No one should make him lightheaded just from a kiss.
Jensen did not go to his ten year high school reunion.
At the time, he was having what Jared decided to call “gay panic” which is easy for Jared to be smug about as Jared revealed he’d already gone through it in high school (and then in college again when he realized he liked women equally, leave it to Jared to have a straight crisis).
If he had gone back to Dallas, it wouldn’t have gone well. It’s not been his dream to be thrust into a situation where he’s forced to mingle with people that remember him as “Hey, it’s that former guy-cheerleader who used to get the leads in drama productions!”
“And you thought you weren’t gay?” Jared asks him after Jensen sat Jared down—a miracle, he knows—to have a serious discussion of how completely shocking it is to Jensen that he’s kind of in love with Jared. And that he really wants to have a long-term relationship with another man.
“It was hard to cast guys, okay?”
“Jensen,” Jared says, leaning forward. It takes a ridiculous amount of willpower not to lean into Jared’s personal space but somehow Jensen manages to stay seated. Cocking his head to the side, Jared says deadly serious, “Just admit you love dick. My dick. A lot. You were dreaming of cock when dancing in West Side Story.”
“Our school didn’t do West Side Story.”
“But you were still thinking about cock.”
It’s a miracle that he doesn’t smack Jared for that. That’s the last sign and now he’s too far gone. He’s stuck with Jared, an owner of a deli/grocery that Jensen wouldn’t have ever noticed if it hadn’t been for the Incident two years ago.
At the time of his informal eight year high school reunion (which no one actually goes to because there’s something really lame about it. After all, there will be a ten year reunion and it’s just the former prom queens and jocks trying to relive their already dying glory), Jensen had his own florist business and regular enough clients to let him own his very own shoebox in the East Village.
Maybe Jensen blithely ignores signs about where his romantic life is headed and okay, his fondness for walking down St. Mark's should have also been a clue that he’s not straight but it took a giant Texan (a San Antonio native no less) running after a shoplifter down 18th street colliding into Jensen to set Jensen on the path of homosexual bliss.
And that’s an awful way of putting it but better than how Jared tells it.
“I knocked him off his feet.”
“You’re high maintenance but you’re worth it,” Jared tells him while Jared’s trying to steal the huge steak that Jensen cooked for the both of them.
“Wait, which one of us has a blow-dryer and carries around a comb to make sure it’s always a good hair day?”
He’s got the steak pined to the plate and if he twists the knife, he can make off with the bigger portion which he’s so gonna do as he’s not the one who’s been snacking all day and he is starving. Possibly, no, definitely, starving to death. Hauling bags of plant food for his flowers and stupidly helping with moving the heavier potted plants (because he doesn’t trust the delivery guys when they start banging the pots around) takes a lot out of him by the end of the day.
He’s going to need his energy for later if the way Jared’s looking at him is any indication that it’s going to be a long night.
“You love my hair.” Jared’s grinning now, not backing away or accepting defeat in their epic steak battle. He brings his other hand across the counter, fingers flexing as though he’s waiting for Jensen to beg. All Jensen has to do is say the right thing and he’ll be happy to brush the skin of Jensen’s wrist, stroke upwards and then saunter right back down, tips of his fingers dancing across Jensen’s open palm.
(Jared figured out that kind of does it for Jensen way too early in their relationship and he’s a sucker for it every damn time.)
“Not as much as I love this steak,” Jensen says.
“I think the steak’ll get gross by the time your one year anniversary with the damn steak rolls around.”
“True,” Jensen admits. “I guess it’ll only be a fling. You want to be my friend with benefits?”
“Depends.” Jared’s thoughtful look always makes Jensen want to laugh; it’s all scrunched wrinkly forehead and pursed lips, hollowed out cheeks, the opposite of sexy, but the low voice he uses, that falls quite nicely into the sex gap of fuck me now. “How good are these benefits?”
“I think you’ll find no better offer.”
Jared steals a few bites of the steak off Jensen’s plate when he’s not looking but Jensen doesn’t mind as a can of whipped cream and Jared is pretty much all he planned for the dessert course.
It’s before, a year after Jensen’s un-high school reunion—the eight year one that he hears about only because he used to know some of the popular clique even though he never quite fit in—when his life changes forever even if he doesn’t quite see it that way at the time.
He’s coordinating with his vendors to have flowers sold at the unnamed deli, so named as Jared never bothered changing the name when he bought the store.
There’s a faded awning detailing the physical address with “Deli & Grocery” barely visible to the naked eye.
One crisp February morning as he puts out the half-dozen rose bouquets that he’s always dubbed as the “cheap bastard” bouquets, Jared walks over to him and says, “I think we need a real name.”
The we doesn’t feel out of place and Jensen can’t help but smile, already preparing himself for the insane suggestions. He’s also completely comfortable with the fact that Jared’s invading Jensen’s personal space, the smell of Jared’s skin is a faint spice mixed with perspiration, not unpleasant but then Jensen deals with flowers every day and he gets tired of things smelling perfect and nice.
“A real name, huh?”
‘Padalecki’s Candy Emporium’ wouldn’t be far off and sometimes Jensen wonders why Jared doesn’t try a Dylan’s Candy Bar-style place, except for the whole thing where Jared would definitely die of a sugar overdose as he inhaled as his store inventory.
While Jensen’s certainly not a co-owner and Jared’s incredibly intelligent—Jensen’s learned to never play Jared in any board games and most especially never take him on at chess no matter how much Jared’ll guilt him and try to convince him to play at the chess tables nearby his Stuy Town apartment—Jensen does like checking over Jared’s books. The reason is simple as Jared loves to point out that Jensen’s incredibly neurotic and has a pathological inability to let anything get out of hand.
Jared loves saying this when Jensen’s in the middle of putting together a floral arrangement because Jared loves being able to say “Exhibit A” and pointing. Then he sticks baby’s breath into the flowers just to get Jensen ranting about the overuse of baby’s breath.
“Padadeli would work,” Jensen offers as he clicks his sharpie marker open to touch up the fading price stickers. Jared’s been banned from using Jensen’s markers as Jared loves doing the clicking and nearly three times, Jared almost drove him insane with incessant clicking. For hours.
“Yeah, but that wouldn’t be fair to you.”
There’s this look on Jared’s face that Jensen isn’t sure he’s supposed to get. It’s bright and full of hope and nervous and twitchy.
God, Jensen has to check to make sure that Jared hasn’t emptied out their candy stock again. Because the smile on Jared’s face is even bigger than the one he sports during the usual sugar-induced high.
“Hey, I’m just your flowers guy,” Jensen says as his mind kind of freezes and forgets the whole thing where his profession has an actual name and really, he can be more eloquent than that. He’s a florist, damn it, but it’s too late to correct his moment of idiocy.
Jared raises an eyebrow, still smiling, and obviously filing “flowers guy” away for later mocking potential. He continues, fidgeting and Jensen would love to still him. It would be easy to just reach out and touch him and say that it’s okay, Jared doesn’t need to move all the time, but that’s how Jared is, and there’s no way Jensen’s ever going to want to fix that about him.
All the thinking about touching him causes Jensen to very nearly miss hearing what Jared’s talking about.
He catches the end of Jared’s flustered ramblings and that’s all he needed to hear. The cards are laid out on the table with the kind of nervousness on Jared’s part to make Jensen wonder why Jared thinks it’s such a huge gamble.
“So I was thinking since you’re a ‘J’ and I’m a ‘J’ that we could call it J2. It’s not weird enough that people’ll think we’re one of those upscale places but it’s memorable so we can get some repeat business and maybe draw in some new customers. Keep a good mix, right?”
It’s a whole business proposal and maybe that makes Jensen a little weak in the knees, maybe.
Sure, he won’t ever acknowledge that Jared’s brain has always been a major bonus to their working relationship as it’s good to be with someone who can shoot the shit and back up everything they say because they just know it, inside and out, but it’s the truth. Jared’s a smart motherfucker when he’s not hopped up on goofballs and giddy over a completely impossible scheme that usually involves a cheerful disregard for common sense.
But he can’t help needling Jared a little. Jensen scratches the side of his nose, damn daisies always irate him, makes no sense as he’s never had any seasonal or plant allergies, and overloads his voice with false hesitation, saying, “J to the power of two? You think people’ll go for that?”
“I want to know if you’d, uh, go for that.” It’s framed like a question and Jared doesn’t look at him when it’s spoken. It’s released over the wide swath of flowers, sent out to the early morning passerbys to do with it as they wish.
(That should have been the first time, Jensen knows now. It should have been when Jensen let go and finally kissed Jared but he didn’t.)
He claps Jared on his back and says, “Yeah, I’ll go for that, Jared,” and that's all it was.
Three weeks pass and a new awning goes up, a vivid red.
“They put ‘2 J’ on top. Did you pay in full before you got to inspect the final proof?”
Jared throws his arm across Jensen’s shoulders, body shaking as he tries to smother his laugh. “Dude, you now own forty-seven percent of a successful deli-slash-grocery. You’re gonna complain about that, flowers guy?”
“Hey. I thought it was going to be an even split, fifty-fifty. My flowers have nearly tripled your business and draw in new customers all the time thanks to the curbside appeal.”
Jared shakes his head and says mock-regretfully, “I’m sorry, man. Sadie and Harley had three percent even before I tripped over you.” His hand slips off of Jensen’s shoulder, onto his bicep, a one-arm hug turning into a long squeeze.
“I’ll fight ‘em for it.”
It’s been nearly a year since the store’s renaming and they’re both working a graveyard shift. They’re sweaty and tired, taken to slurring their words, long drawls of vowels that never make sense to any of their fast-talking employees.
Jared loves doing the most menial of tasks which should drive Jensen crazy. They do hire people for this, yet he can’t help but watch Jared taking a mop to the floors. His shoulders tense up and a look of intense concentration settles on his face as though there’s nothing in this world but that mop or squeegee and a dirty floor and Jared’s sole mission in life is to eradicate grime before it tries to take over the world.
Damn, Jensen is exhausted.
“Man, you got a housecleaning fetish, Jen?”
The question snaps Jensen out of his creepy stalker moment and he shoots off, “Aww hell no. Only got a pair of handcuffs at home. That’s about as kinky as I get.”
Jared sometimes is really the most amazing person that Jensen has ever met.
His absolute defiance of the laws of physics as he trips over not only himself but the mop as he whips around to stare at Jensen, a half-garbled noise getting swallowed in his throat as he collides into the Entenmann's display, shocks Jensen to the point where it takes his brain a few seconds longer necessary to realize that oh, maybe he should help Jared.
“You suck, man,” Jensen says and it’s good that Jared laughs at that. He’s pretty sure an ability to take an insult is a good sign of a lack of a concussion. But then, Jensen’s not a doctor.
“’M fine,” Jared grunts, then curses, “My jeans aren’t. Damn, Jensen. You’re a real bastard, you know that?”
“It’s why I get to be the bad boss. You’re the one everyone calls when they call in ‘sick.’”
“Some people do get sick, Jensen,” Jared says, nearly knocking Jensen on his ass when he takes a hold of Jensen’s proffered arm and yanks himself to a standing position. Bastard. Jared shakes his head, adding, “That’s why they call me because I don’t interrogate them about their health status.”
“Hey, if you say you have the flu and give me cold symptoms, it’s pretty clear you’re blowing off work.”
It should be something else to begin this. Should have been when Jared apologized to Jensen for knocking him over and offered him a year’s worth of free coffee every morning and Jensen walked into Jared’s store and fell in love with the potential of the space.
Or when he and Jared got wasted bar-hopping when the Cowboys lost a close game to the freakin’ Jets and they’d somehow managed to make it back to Jensen’s apartment and both crashed on Jensen’s bed as it was the largest, softest surface.
Instead Jensen woke up with Jared’s fingers clutching the front of his shirt as though in his sleep Jared was about to reveal a deep dark secret.
Yet all Jensen did was stumble into the shower and not wonder why even with a hangover all he wanted to do was jerk off.
There’s too many times when it should have happened.
This is how it happens:
Jensen’s tired and cranky, can feel his scalp itching because he’s drank too much caffeine late at night and that never agrees with him. Jared’s grinning at him because he doesn’t care if their employees aren’t honest to their bosses and wow, it’s a wonder that they’re still in business and actually do manage to turn a fair profit.
Only it’s not a wonder because they do pretty damn well together, even out each other failings, support each other in a city that has no time ever and still, they’ve experienced long dog days of summer glory and the bitter stretch of winter rolling into more months than it ought to have and it’s all been pretty damn awesome. Completely fucking crazy and wild, that’s for damn sure as that’s how things are with Jared.
Jensen hadn’t expected being here at this very moment, but now that he’s right smack in the middle of this, yeah, this is exactly what he wants.
Jared’s smile is changing and he looks ridiculous. His jeans covered in soapy god-knows-what and his hair’s sticking at weird edges and fuck it.
Jensen kisses Jared and it’s the best thing he’s ever done to win an argument.
Kissing someone—no, stunning someone—into silence is totally a successful way of getting the victory.
Jensen mails out a form for his high school reunion, a little “where are they now?” questionnaire for alumni unable to attend.
Jared fills it out for him and it kind of makes Jensen sound like a Manhattan venture capitalist and it’s so fucking funny that there’s no way it’s not going out. Let his former classmates figure out whether or not it’s true, he doesn’t much care.
The picture attached is great too: Jensen giving Jared (the photographer) the finger and in the foreground, there’s flowers strewn all over and Jensen’s left hand is curled into a fist, wielding orchids like a very useless club. He’d been trying to put together a last-minute “sorry I cheated on you” arrangement as ordered by Chad Michael Murray, a regular client.
(The guy’s kind of a douche but he always pays cash, no questions asked. Plus, he’s always getting into some kind of trouble and is under that wonderful delusion that if you can’t say it, might as well say it with flowers.)
Ah, it’s also a record of Jared’s obnoxious honeymoon phase with his new digital camera where he’d taken to filming Jensen everywhere and really it’s a miracle that Jared hadn’t stuck in one of the semi-naked pictures Jensen knows must be hidden somewhere because Jared’s implied that he’s got plenty of documentation of Jensen’s “thousands” of weird faces he makes when he’s in a deep sleep.
Jared had marked down Jensen’s status as single but Jensen crosses that out and handwrites “with partner” before sealing the envelope shut.
As it’s true, that’s what they really are, better than just friends or whatever word that they don’t use to define the fact that they’re sleeping together, that’s what they were always supposed to be: partners.
Jensen realizes then, at the post office, that’s he’s doing this with Jared and there’s nothing wrong with it. Not at all.
He really wishes he had the foresight to add a little note on his where are they now? form that remarked Probably getting laid right now, too.
Jensen knows it's been a candy-theft day when Jared starts getting handsy during the lunch rush. Instead of ringing up customers, he's more interested in running his hands down Jensen's back, pressing his nose against the back of Jensen's neck.
He tells Jensen that he does this to figure out what scent Jensen'll be today, sometimes it's just musk and sweat, or soap and cologne, but there's the weird floral element than any decent florist is doomed to always pick up no matter how many showers, and Jared's fascinated by it and seems to love to breathe it in the most when spring begins and the flowers are at their most fragrant.
They always seem to make the best sales around this time, even though Jared's spent precious purchasing time feeling up Jensen in front of the customers.
Come to think of it, maybe that helps.
The first time Jensen sucked off Jared he was drunk and horny and hadn’t worried that he’d mess up. He figured receiving blowjobs ought to translate to giving them and Jared’s really, really noisy and he sort of figured things out. One well placed suggestion does help direct you in the right place, because “suck my balls” well, there’s no way Jensen can screw that one up, right?
The second time, he was sober and staring at Jared’s dick, completely fascinated, said, “How the hell did I get that in my mouth last night?”
Yeah, so Jensen’s still getting shit for freaking out about giving head.
But revenge remains his as through much trial (and only a little bit of error), Jensen’s able to deep-throat Jared and it only takes a few well-placed words peppered in a perfectly innocent conversation to get Jared flustered and horny that it’s a good thing that they have the only keys to the basement storage room as sometimes a midday blowjob is needed.
Sometimes Jensen whistles while he works. Because even though he remains the champ at deep-throating, Jared’s working on claiming the title, one blowjob at a time.
“Hey, you’d have your own room.”
“You mean I’d have Sadie and Harley’s old room? That’s generous, Jared. Do you know how many obits I had to read to find my current place?”
“Sex. Any time you want it.”
“You know when you negotiate you’re supposed to offer me something I don’t get all the time, Jay. The fact that we’re both naked right now? I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking I’m about to get laid.”
“Or I might stop putting out. Make you straddle me and beg me to fuck you but all you’ll do is jerk yourself off and come on my stomach. You wanna do that for me? Make a mess, Jen. Do it and I’ll take a nice long shower and lock the damn door and you can listen all you want but you don’t get to watch.”
“Damn, now you got me in a corner. Oh. But I could do this, a little counter-offer—”
“And what’s that—fuck!”
“That’s the idea. That’s what that is.”
Morning’s Sunday and Jared doesn’t work Sundays if he can avoid it. He’ll show up midday to check in with the store manager, nothing more than that and Jensen’s got things covered on his end.
Jared sleeps sprawled over the bed, arm thrown over Jensen, mouth slightly open on Jensen’s shoulder, little bit of drool starting to pool on his skin.
It doesn’t bother Jensen, not one bit.
Besides, the longer he can avoid getting struck dead by Jared’s monster morning breath, the better. Yet even that, well, it doesn’t annoy Jensen and sometimes he can be a little prickly and particular about things.
“Do you know how I know you’re not asleep? Because you’re hard and not trying to spoon me.”
“I don’t force you to spoon,” Jared protests, voice thick and muffled. “D’ya wanna fuck?”
“I’ll move in,” Jensen says, carefully, the words feeling strange in his mouth. Possibly because he’s never said it before. He’s never asked anyone to move in before and it’s new territory. And it means that there’s no going back because there’s no way in hell Jensen’s ever searching for a Manhattan apartment ever again.
Jared’s wiping the crust out of the corners of his eyes and blearily taking in his surroundings like it’s a brave new world. “Really?”
“No. I’m gonna leave you for that guy that keeps taking a leak on the side of our building.”
“Leaving me for an older man? Someone more your age?”
“You fucker. You’re damn lucky—”
“Yeah,” Jared says, cutting him off and that’s it, no other words said.
It’s a quick kiss, neither of them have brushed their teeth, and Jensen’s rolling onto his side, Jared’s dick rubbing against his ass.
“Goddamn I love this,” Jared says. He always says that and Jensen knows his response—I love sex too—but he decides to flip the script a little and see what happens.
“No, you love me.”
“That too,” Jared says after he slicks his fingers with lube, pushing a finger inside. “And, uh, what about you?”
It’s not until Jared’s cock is more than halfway pushed inside of Jensen that he says in a strangled gasp, “Godammit, you know I love you.”
It’s the Fourth of July and the store’s dead but that doesn’t mean that they can’t amuse themselves. Jensen’s narrowing down several proposals from painters as Jared’s apartment needs some repairs to make it look like two capable adults live there and not some post-college kids who consider pizza boxes the highest form of furniture.
Jared’s got a box of firecrackers discreetly stocked in the basement which Jensen just learned about today and he’s trying to not think about their contraband as he really doesn’t want to invite karma to kick their asses. The sparklers that Jared’s playing with outside the store are weird enough.
“Look,” Jared says and Jensen does, leaving behind price breakdowns that he knows are padded with excessive time. Jared’s standing right in front of the open door, taking in the breeze with a grateful sigh. The air conditioner not cranked to max as Jensen can deal with the heat (he sleeps with a regular furnace every night after all), still Jared’s relishing the chill.
“Dude, you need to cool off and wipe off some of that sweat before someone mistakes you for a slip ‘n slide.”
“Slip ‘n slides were awesome,” Jared says, not listening. “Hey, watch this one.”
Backing up and miracles of miracles, not getting in someone’s way, Jared lights one of the incredibly gay and lame sparklers and quickly writes in the bright flash of white light J 2.
“Now,” Jared says as Jensen’s still blinking away the burn of light behind his eyelids, “picture that using real firecrackers.”
“So… you’re looking to get the store shut down for a while when we get tossed into jail?”
Jared smiles and it’s a wicked one. “Or you could play bad cop and punish me for my crimes.”
It takes exactly one minute for Jensen to think about it, most of which is spent trying to remember where exactly he put his damn handcuffs. And that is why he hates moving.
“Or,” Jared adds and dammit, he’s missed his window of opportunity, bounding into the store and grabbing a candy bar, “You could be the angry shopkeeper and I’m the shoplifter. Catch me if you can.”
Never has Jensen been happier to have had the foresight to buy one of those “Back in [X} Minutes” signs. As he locks up the store, making sure there’s no stragglers, unlikely, no one’s been coming or going, if it weren’t for the morning, the day would’ve been a complete bust and sticks up the sign, he swears that he’s going to get his criminal and teach him to respect the law.
Or at least gets an awesome orgasm out of it. Yeah, now that sounds like a perfect plan.