http://quiddative.livejournal.com/ ([identity profile] quiddative.livejournal.com) wrote in [community profile] conversely2011-02-26 12:14 am

Fic: Chase the Clouds

Title: Chase the Clouds
Prompt: Kiki’s Delivery Service
Summary: To be honest, Jared hadn’t really considered flying as part of his training. Most sorcerers went into potion making or fortune telling. But he thought about it, let his brain get used to the words “delivery service” and found that he liked the sound of it.
Characters/Pairings: J2, Chad Michael Murray Danneel Harris, Misha Collins, with cameos from Tom Welling and Mike Rosenbaum
Rating: PG-13
Warning: Chad Michael Murray
Disclaimer: I own neither Ghibli nor any of these lovely people. I’m just borrowing them to play with in my sandbox for a while.
Word Count: 6000~

“Rise and shine, Jay!”

Jared winces, both from the ungodly cheerful voice and the terrible pounding in his head. Gods, if he didn’t know this was a hangover, he’d have thought that a faerie had taken up residence in his head while he was sleeping and decided to make some renovations with a jackhammer. He buries himself further underneath his blankets and contemplates never drinking again, especially with Misha Collins.

Unfortunately, Jared is suddenly forced out of his precious cocoon of warmth due to someone pulling his blankets off him.

With his eyes still shut against the sunlight, he scrabbles at the air in an attempt to get his blankets back but knows he’s failed when he’s rewarded with a low chuckle. “Maybe this’ll make you think twice about stayin’ up ‘till three in the morning.”

“Oh, fuck you,” Jared groans, rolling to his side to face the wall and curling up in a fetal position. Just five more minutes…

He yelps when a calloused hand slaps his thigh, followed by another chuckle. “Come on, get up. I’m opening the shop in ten minutes and your ass better be at the cashier by then; otherwise, I’m hauling you down myself.” Footsteps move away from the bed and begin to fade away before disappearing altogether with the opening and closing of the door.

Jared groans again but sits up this time, trying his best to ignore the steady bum-bum-bum echoing in his head. As he’s getting up to head to the washroom, something on his nightstand catches his eye. Sitting where Jared is sure was just empty space last night is a glass of water and two Tylenols.

There is a God and his name is Jensen Ackles, apparently.

Jared pops the pills in his mouth and downs the water like it’s ambrosia. The headache doesn’t stop immediately but he feels a little better just having the Tylenol in his system. With that, he makes his way to the bathroom and only trips once.

~*~


Jared fell in love with Koriko the moment he laid eyes on it. After flying for most of the night, the town—which looked like it’d popped right out of one of Megan’s fairytale books—was a welcoming sight.

Chad, who had spent the entire trip riding on his shoulder, snorted, “Well, this place sure looks as boring as hell. I almost regret leaving Porthaven now.”

“I think it’s perfect,” said Jared pleasantly. Chad shot him a deeply unimpressed look but Jared ignored it. After all,
he was the one controlling the broom, not his ferret.

“Besides, once the year’s up, we can go anywhere we want,” he added absentmindedly, though he was already making plans. Plans to settle down with that special someone, buy a house with a white picket fence, maybe have a couple of kids…

Chad snorted again, leaping down from Jared’s shoulder and landing near the end of his broom with the grace of a cat. “Well, as long as you’re happy here,” he said nonchalantly, but Jared knew it was only a mask to hide his own eagerness. Like Jared, Chad had never set foot outside their hometown and had been just as excited as Jared had been when he turned sixteen. When sorcerers reached that age, they had to leave home for a year to train on their own. It was hard leaving his family, but Jared couldn’t ignore the outside world’s siren call.

Jared grinned and that was all the warning Chad got before he dove straight towards the water, lifting at the last second to glide along the surface towards their new home.


~*~


After Jared wakes Chad up (because if he’s gonna be awake at nine on a Sunday morning, he’s not gonna suffer through it alone), they stumble down to the bakery. Even before they get to the door, a heavy waft of sweetness hits their noses. Jared closes his eyes and breathes it in. If that isn’t a promise for a good day, then he doesn’t know what is.

When they enter the kitchen, any remaining trace of fatigue in Jared instantly vanishes and his heart stops beating.

If anyone else were in Jared’s shoes, they would say Jensen is filthy. Covered almost completely in flour and sweat, he might not seem like the most attractive person at the moment. But to Jared, he’s perfect. The way his normally open face has transformed into one of intense concentration, which used to scare Jared but now ignites a fire deep within him, the way his freckles still stand out rebelliously against the flour on his face, his long, deft fingers moving seamlessly—Jared doesn’t think he’ll ever get tired of waking up to this every morning.

It’s been just a little over three months since Jared moved into the loft above Jensen’s bakery and fell head over heels in love with him (not necessarily in that order, though Chad claims that “it was definitely love at first sight. If you were any girlier, you’d have started singing and dancing and there would’ve been sparkles and shit.”). He figured he would get used to Jensen being a daily presence in his life but as the days turned into weeks, it just got harder for Jared to restrain himself from doing something stupid—like kissing Jensen breathless, for instance.

“Oh good, you’re up,” says Jensen, interrupting Jared’s thoughts. “How’re you feeling?” asks Jensen with what Jared is thrilled to realize is concern.

He smiles weakly. “A little more human now, thanks for the Tylenol.”

Jensen shrugs like it’s no big deal. Just like how he thinks taking Jared in when he barely knew him wasn’t anything special, which is the main reason Jared has yet to act on his feelings. Jensen’s possibly one of the kindest people Jared has ever met—just because he’s nice to Jared doesn’t mean it’s anything special. It just means he’s a good person and Jared kind of hates him a little for it.

“What about me?” Chad suddenly pipes up. “Where’s my special treatment?”

“You’re a ferret,” answers Jensen, smirking.

“Are you discriminating against ferrets?”

Luckily, before Jensen has a chance to answer (and most likely get his arm torn off—Jared’ seen what Chad’s claws can do firsthand), the door above the bakery’s entrance dings. Jensen straightens up. “Can you get that for me?” he asks Jared, almost shyly, as is Jared could ever refuse him anything. “I would, but…” He gestures to himself.

“Yeah, sure thing,” says Jared.

He brings Chad out with him, because Chad is a sneaky son of a bitch and he doesn’t trust him alone with anyone else except himself and maybe his mother, and heads out of the kitchen, grinning when he recognizes the customer. “Hey, Danneel,” he greets warmly.

Jared thinks that if he hadn’t fallen in love with Jensen, his other choice definitely would’ve been Danneel. She has a nice body, definitely, but it’s more built than thin, which is something Jared admires about her. She has fiery red hair that reaches her waist and she always has this mischievous glint in her eyes, like she knows a secret and is just dying to tell you what it is.

Danneel was the second person Jared met when he arrived at Koriko. Having once been Jensen’s roommate, she and Jensen are still good friends and became Jared’s by default. Jared was afraid she was his girlfriend at first, but when he casually brought it up, Jensen just laughed and shook his head. “No way, man,” he said, “we tried the whole dating thing once and it turned out we make better friends than lovers.”

Jared tried not to let his happiness show too much on his face at that.

“Morning, Jared, Chad,” says Danneel. She leans over to pet Chad, who all but purrs under her touch. Again, sneaky son of a bitch. “Don’t tell me the boss is already up and at ‘em. He’s getting old.”

“Not everyone has as much free time as you do!” comes the reply from the kitchen.

Danneel laughs. “I love you too, Jensen!” She turns back to Jared with a wink. “Anyway, I’ve got a package for you to deliver.”

“Oh, excellent!” And Jared isn’t even being sarcastic. While he doesn’t mind helping out in the bakery, he has to admit that he loves his delivery service more. “What is it?”

“A painting for one of my clients—she lives on the East Side,” explains Danneel. “How soon can you get it to her?”

“I can do it right now. I don’t have any deliveries lined up at the moment.” Jared steps out from behind the cashier and helps Danneel bring the rectangular package up to the scale. After weighing it and determining the appropriate price, Danneel gives him directions to her client’s house, pays the fee, and promises to visit again.

“Shit. Jared, lock the door as soon as she leaves!” cries Jensen.

Danneel sticks out her tongue, like the mature adult she is despite the fact that Jensen can’t see her anyway. “You can’t keep me away that easily, Ackles!” she yells back.

~*~


Jared circled the city a little longer before finally landing, moreso because Chad’s complaints were beginning to annoy him than by choice. If he had it his way, he’d stay in the sky forever. He could never forget the first time his mother took him out flying on her broom when he was six. The wind, rather than an enemy, became Jared’s friend, caressing his body as it urged him to fly higher, higher into the sky and touch the stars. It was addicting and made Jared feel invincible.

Jared began his descent with great reluctance and eventually found a secluded alley to land in. His feet had barely touched the ground when Chad gently nudged him. “You’ve got a visitor,” he whispered.

With a raised eyebrow, Jared followed Chad’s gaze on the silhouette of a man at the alleyway. Then he started walking towards them, and Jared’s breath hitched. He had the greenest eyes Jared had ever seen. “Uh,” he said eloquently.

“Hi,” greeted Green Eyes. His lips were quirked into a grin and Jared couldn’t help wondering how they would feel against his own. “That was some impressive flying, kid.”

“Um, thanks,” said Jared, still in a daze. “And you are?”

“I’m Jensen. Jensen Ackles. And what should I call you, sorcerer?”

“Jared. Jared Padalecki,” replied Jared. “I, uh, I just moved here.”

Jensen let out a soft laugh and Jared decided right then and there that it was the most beautiful sound in the world. “I can see that. And what about your familiar?”

It was then that Jared remembered Chad was still lounging on his shoulder. “The name’s Chad,” he declared proudly.

“That’s just his nickname. His real name is Douchebag,” Jared piped up cheerfully.

Chad hissed while Jensen chuckled. “Good to know. Anyway, d’you guys have a place to stay?”

Jared looked away at that, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. “Not…exactly. This was kind of a spontaneous decision.”

“Translation: you got nothin’,” said Jensen, but there was no scorn in his voice, only amusement.

Jared laughed, “You hit the nail right on the head.”

“Well, in that case, you can come stay with me. My roommate moved out a while ago and her room’s just gonna keep gathering dust.”

It took all of Jared’s power to keep his jaw from dropping to the floor. “Seriously?” he asked. “I mean, not that I don’t appreciate it, but you don’t even know us! I could be a serial killer!”

“Great job, Jay,” hissed Chad, rolling his eyes. “Scare away our only source of food and shelter, why don’t you?”

Jensen laughed. “My instincts are never wrong and right now they’re telling me that you aren’t a serial killer. Unless you kill people with your puppy eyes.” Jared blushed. “So, what do you say?”

“Say yes!” begged Chad.

Jared’s head was still spinning as he tried to process it all. Eventually, he managed to gain enough coherence to say, “We’d love to.”

Jensen’s smile, he decided, could light up the whole city.


~*~


If there is one thing Jared knows, it’s that he will never get tired of flying. He makes a quick trip back to his room for his mother’s broom before heading out. As always, Jensen is there to see him off. “Heard it’s gonna be a little windy today,” Jensen tells him casually, but Jared can sense the underlying worry in his tone. Something in him grows warm at that, though he has to forcibly shove the feeling down before it blossoms into something like hope.

“Don’t worry about it,” he says, throwing Jensen a grin and a thumbs-up as he swings leg over the handle of his broom. “I’ll be back before you know it.”

Jensen snorts. “You better, there’s a game tonight.”

“You know I’d never miss a game.” It’s become some sort of tradition for Jensen and Jared to congregate in front of the small TV in Jensen’s living room whenever there’s a football game on. Jensen would cook them a feast, most of which ends up in Jared’s stomach rather than Jensen’s, while Jared would wash the dishes after.

“Come on, Jared, are we gonna go or what?” whines Chad.

Jensen laughs. “Better get going before we have a homicidal ferret on our hands.”

“Damn right you do.”

Jared laughs as he closes his eyes. He inhales and exhales deeply until he can no longer hear the incessant hum of the city and the distant roar of the ocean. He waits and tries to coax his magic out from within him, knowing that trying to force it out will only bring trouble. A few seconds pass before he feels it—a quiet buzzing that steadily grows inside of him and spreads through his limbs like fire, begging to be released.

He opens his eyes, sucking in his breath, and just lets it go. His mother warned him once to never try to control his magic, that he has to work with the magic and let it take him where it wants to go.

He feels the familiar rush of the wind picking up around him and opens his eyes. He takes one final breath before tightening his grip on the handle and pushing off, letting the wind carry him aimlessly for a while before steering it to the East Side. Down below, he catches a glimpse of Jensen watching him. His eyes are clouded with something like fondness and something else Jared can’t identify.

~*~


There’s a thin canal that divides Koriko neatly in half. The West Side, where Jared and Jensen live, is the more commercial part of the city, filled with shops and cafes on every street, and with always some event or the other going on. That’s where most people who live in Koriko work at. Aside from his deliveries, Jared rarely ventures out of the West Side.

The East Side is the older part of the city and is where the oldest, wealthiest families live. It’s not hard for Jared to tell when he’s crossed over from the West Side to the East Side. The houses (if they could even be called that—they’re more like castles) get bigger and more ornamental, and it’s generally a lot quieter than the West Side. Jared’s been to the East Side enough times to not need a map anymore.

It takes him fifteen minutes to find Mrs. Ferris’ (“That’s Lady Ferris, by the way”) mansion and delivery Danneel’s painting. He’s about to head back to the West Side when he hears a familiar voice call his name.

“Jared! Is that you, buddy?”

Jared looks over his shoulder, grinning when he catches sight of the perpetually messy mop of dark brown hair and clear blue eyes. “Hey, Misha, what’s up?” He met Misha on one of his earlier deliveries. By some chance, he happened to be one of the guests at the enormous birthday party Jared’s client was holding. Jared was delivering a cake said client’s grandmother had baked, as she couldn’t be at the party herself that night. Misha instantly took an interest in Jared, which led to the start of their strange friendship.

“Oh, I just woke up,” answers Misha, smirking the smirk of someone who had a nice, warm cup of coffee and a hot bath waiting for him as soon as he rolled out of bed. “That was some awesome party last night, don’t you think?”

“I’m sure it was, if I could remember it,” says Jared half-jokingly. He remembers doing shots with Misha and Mike Rosenbaum for a while and Chad screaming something about drinking and flying, but after that, it’s just one big blur. He’s still not sure how he managed to make it home in one piece but he’s not one to look the gift horse in the mouth.

“Maybe you’ll have better luck with the party Tom Welling is having tonight. You are coming, right?”

Jared bites his bottom lip. “Sorry, man, I already promised Jensen I’d hang out with him. Besides, partying for two days straight seems kinda…intense.”

Misha shrugs. “Summer’s almost over, Jared. I, for one, would like to squeeze every last drop of it before school starts.”

“And I’ll be working regardless,” Jared points out.

“Suit yourself, but you better come to the Aviators’ Club on Wednesday. They’re presenting the new dirigible!” Misha’s eyes are gleaming with excitement. The main reason he and Jared have been such good friends is their mutual passion for flying.

Jared can’t help but get excited, too. The new dirigible has been the talk of the town for months, long before he even arrived. “Really? Finally?”

“Yeah, and yours truly scored two out of the ten tickets they sold, so you better be there with me.”

Jared laughs. “Trust me, I’ll be there.”

~*~


By the end of Jared’s first week in Koriko, he already felt like he’d been living there his whole life. There was always a smiling face waiting for him everywhere he went, but the one that mattered most to him was Jensen’s.

It was easy for Jared to forget that he still barely knew Jensen. Within the first few hours of their meeting, Jensen pretty much knew everything about Jared while he successfully avoided sharing anything about himself at the same time. The only thing Jared knew for certain was that he was a damned good cook.

Jensen wasn’t exactly shy, but he was quiet. It became a game of sorts for Jared to see how many times he could get Jensen to open up or laugh, and the rewards were always worth it. Even though Chad constantly made fun of him for his ‘crush’, Jared could never get enough of Jensen’s warm smiles, his jokes, and the way he treated Jared like an old friend rather than someone he literally picked up off the streets.

It was on a lazy Saturday afternoon, sometime during Jared’s second week in Koriko, when he finally realized what he wanted to focus his training on. He busied himself with sweeping the floor of the bakery—because even though Jensen told him countless times that he didn’t have to do it, Jared felt he needed to do
something, however small, to pay Jensen back—while Jensen manned the cashier.

“Oh, geez,” muttered Jensen after their latest customer left.

“What’s wrong?”

Jensen gestured to the pacifier left at the cashier. “You know the lady that was just here? She forgot her kid’s pacifier. Poor thing, he’ll probably cry all the way home.”

“I could give it to her,” suggested Jared, “just give me a second to get my broom.”

“Jared, what—”

It took Jared less than a minute to dash back to his room and back down with his mother’s broom in hand. Ignoring Jensen’s curious stare, he took the pacifier, and was barely out the door before he was in the air. It didn’t take long for Jared to find her—all he had to do was follow the baby’s screams.

He landed in front of her and offered a smile when she stumbled back, startled. “You’re a—”

“Hi, um, I think you forgot this?” interrupted Jared, smiling nervously. He held up the pacifier.

“Oh,” she said, blushing, “um, thank you.” She took it gingerly from his hand, as if he was going to bite or something, and gave it to her baby, who promptly quieted down. The woman looked extremely grateful. “Thank goodness you came when you did, um…?”

“Jared Padalecki,” said Jared. “I work at the bakery.”

“Oh, I didn’t know Jensen hired someone,” said the woman, smiling shyly. “Well, tell Jensen that he has my thanks. You make a great delivery boy.”

Jared blinked in surprise but promised he would do so. When he returned to the bakery and told Jensen this, Jensen laughed. “Well, Jared, it looks like you found your calling.”

To be honest, Jared hadn’t really considered flying as part of his training. Most sorcerers went into potion making or fortune telling. But he thought about it, let his brain get used to the words “delivery service” and found that he liked the sound of it.


~*~


It isn’t until later on in the day that it starts to get busier at the bakery. Half the time Jared is at the cashier, the other half of the time he’s making deliveries. By the time five o’clock rolls around, Jared is exhausted. “Don’t tell me you’re too tired for the game, kiddo,” teases Jensen.

Jared flips him off. “Isn’t it past your bed time, old man?”

Jensen grins but says nothing as he finishes closing the bakery. Come seven o’clock, they’re on the couch, the coffee table is completely covered with deliciously unhealthy food, half of which Chad is already slowly but steadily devouring, and the TV is at maximum volume.

The living room is soon filled with shouts and laughter, half of which is from the TV and the other half from Jensen and Jared, with the occasional snarky commentary from Chad. Even when the game is over, neither of them moves. They sit there for a long time, talking about nothing and everything. It’s ridiculously domestic but Jared thinks that he’ll never trade this moment for anything else in the world.

~*~


“Come on, time for bed,” whispers Jared, nudging Jensen. They had both fallen asleep on the couch a little while ago and though Jared would give anything to just stay like this with Jensen forever, he knows his neck will regret it in the morning. Jensen’s curled up in a ball, almost like a kitten, and it takes everything within Jared to not take a picture. Not only would it be really creepy, Jensen would probably kill him.

He mumbles something that sounds like, “Leave me alone,” but Jared’s having none of that. With a lot of effort (no thanks to Chad, who’s conked out in the middle of the coffee table), he finally manages to heave Jensen up so that he’s can walk/carry him up to his room.

Jared’s only been in Jensen’s room a handful of times and he still feels like he’s stepping in forbidden territory when he opens the door. Jensen never explicitly told him not to go in, but he’s also a pretty private person and Jared respects that.

After settling Jensen in his bed (though if Jared stays by his side a little longer, it’s no one’s business but his own), Jared turns to go when his leg bumps into something large and black. He stares down at the chest and bends down to move it over. His fingertips barely brush the top of the lid when he feels something zing up his arms and spread throughout his body.

His eyes widen and he instinctively steps back. It could just be his imagination, but he knows what he just felt was as real as the sky is blue. He reaches for the chest again, this time more hesitantly, but when he feels an identical shock go up his arm again, he knows it’s not his brain making things up. What he just felt—it’s magic.

He opens the box and has to suck in a gasp when he sees the contents. A broom snapped in half, empty glass tubes with sigils engraved on them, and a spellbook. He stares at the contents a little longer before switching his gaze over to Jensen, who’s nestled comfortably in his bed and oblivious to the world around him.

Jensen is a sorcerer?

~*~


Danneel’s surprised when Jared shows up at her door unannounced the next morning. “Hey Jared,” she says, “what’s up?”

“Can I talk to you for a second?” asks Jared. He doesn’t mean for his concern to slip out in his voice but Danneel instantly picks up on it.

Her eyes widen a fraction as she realizes this isn’t just a social call. “Yeah, sure,” she says, stepping back from the door to let Jared in. “I was just making tea. D’you want some?”

“No thanks,” says Jared dismissively.

He’s only been to Danneel’s apartment a few times but all the same, he can’t help but be amazed by the interior. It looks more like a studio than a home—every surface is covered in sketches and shards of stained glass hang from the ceiling, reflecting a multitude of colours all over the room like a prism.

Danneel clears the couch and gestures for Jared to sit. Once he’s settled on it comfortably, she opens her mouth, “Is there something wrong?”

Jared doesn’t answer for a moment, his eyes trained on the floor. “Jensen’s a sorcerer, isn’t he?” he blurts out. It isn’t a question.

Danneel looks surprised but not particularly shocked by this revelation. She gets a sad look on her pretty face and lets out a defeated sigh. “Did he tell you?” she finally says.

“No, I—I found some things in his room. Spellbooks, a potion set…” A broom snapped in half.

Danneel nods to herself. “I thought he’d have gotten rid of all that but…I suppose it’s a good thing he didn’t. It means there’s still hope.”

“Hope for what?” asks Jared, almost afraid of the answer. But he has to know, because he doesn’t understand how Jensen could keep something like this from him. Jared’s a sorcerer, too—doesn’t Jensen trust him?

Danneel sighs again. “Jared, what you have to know is…Koriko’s attitude towards sorcery was a lot different four years ago than it is now. You have the advantage of being friends with Collins—you’re connected. Jensen, though…”

Jared gulps. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination for him to understand what Danneel is getting at. Growing up, he heard enough stories about cities adopting an anti-sorcery attitude as a result of the progression of machinery. There’s a reason sorcerers tend to live in the country.

“…Jensen’s bakery wasn’t always a bakery,” says Danneel, snapping him back from his thoughts. “It used to be an apothecary and it was a damned good one, too.” Danneel rolls up her right sleeve, revealing a thin scar running down her wrist. “I fell down the stairs once and I guess I cracked a bone. The doctors told me they might not be able to fix it and…I was so terrified of never being able to paint or draw again,” Danneel pauses, taking a deep breath before barreling on, “But Jensen took one look at it and knew exactly what to make. He gave me this god awful juice and my wrist was as good as new by the next day.” Danneel laughs softly, fondness lacing her voice.

“But that was a long time ago,” she adds. There’s a sad, faraway look in her eyes, and it’s the first time Jared realizes how little he actually knows about her and Jensen.

“What happened?” Jared urges.

Danneel looks down. “Jensen barely made enough to pay for his share of the rent,” she says, seemingly deflecting Jared’s question, but Jared knows she’ll get to her point soon enough. “Things weren’t that great but…they weren’t that bad either, until…”

“Until?”

Danneel’s usually warm eyes turn to steel. “Until a bunch of stupid kids from the East Side trashed the apothecary one night. Jensen and I were out so I’m at least happy nothing happened to him, but…it was bad, Jared. It was really bad.”

Jared gulps. He can only imagine how bad it was.

“After that, it was like…something changed in him Jensen. He got quieter and didn’t touch his potions set for a long time. When he finally did…he couldn’t do it.”

“Do what?”

“He couldn’t use his magic anymore.”

~*~


When Jared gets back, the bakery is quiet except for the steady hum of the oven. He slips quietly into the kitchen. Jensen is sitting at the table with a calculator sitting on one side of him and a pile of bills on the other. He’s muttering to himself as he pushes random numbers on the calculator.

“Hey,” Jared calls out softly.

Jensen looks up, surprised. “Hey, Jared, where’d you go? I didn’t see you the whole morning. Don’t tell me you went to another party last night.”

Jared snorts. “Nah, I think I’m done with partying for a while.”

“Right,” says Jensen, smirking. “So if you weren’t with Misha and his cohorts, where were you, then?”

Jared hesitates briefly, but Jensen somehow catches it because his expression morphs into one of solemnity. “What’s wrong?”

Jared sighs, realizing that there’s no way he can put off having this conversation with Jensen. “I know you’re a sorcerer,” he says. It’s now that he thinks about it, really thinks about it, that all the missing puzzle pieces he didn’t know were missing begin to fall into place. How Jensen’s always so reserved, how he sometimes slips into an accent only someone from the country has.

Jensen freezes and turns away, looking down at the table like he’s silently begging for a black hole to suddenly open up and swallow him into the depths of the earth. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, he says, “Honestly, I thought you’d have figured it out by now.”

“Why?” asks Jared, taking the seat across from him. “Why didn’t you tell me?” Try as he might, he can’t help keeping the hurt from his voice.

Jensen’s head is still down. “Did Danneel tell you what happened?”

“Yeah, she did.”

“Then you should know why.”

Jared feels a sudden rush of anger. He’s not sure whether it’s towards Jensen or those kids from the East Side. “So what, you decided to stop using magic just because of a bunch of stupid kids?”

He sees Jensen clenching his fists. “It wasn’t like that,” he says quietly.

Jared reaches across the table for Jensen’s hand. It startles him enough to finally look up and meet Jared’s gaze. “Then tell me,” he says gently.

But the answer never comes and the distance between them feels like a never-ending chasm.

~*~


The next few days pass quietly, which is unsettling. They rarely exchange words unless they absolutely have to and Jared is slowly going crazy.

“I don’t know what’s going on with his head,” Jared confesses to Chad one day in a seemingly brief moment of insanity.

“Who knows,” says Chad. “Must be pretty screwed up, though. I mean, a sorcerer who doesn’t use magic? Have you ever heard of that?” he scoffs.

Jared frowns. “It’s not that he doesn’t use his magic, it’s that he can’t.”

“Even weirder.”

Jared doesn’t say anything.

~*~


Jared almost forgets about the dirigible presentation if it isn’t for Misha driving up to the bakery bright and early on Wednesday morning yelling his name with a megaphone, of all things.

“Come on! If you make us late, I’ll never forgive you!”

Jared spares one last glance for Jensen, who is pointedly not looking up from the cashier, before joining Misha in the car.

The presentation doesn’t actually take place at the Aviators’ Club, but a little outside of the city. It’s a gorgeous day and the weather is perfect for flying. Jared tries to be excited but his mind is still too wrapped up in Jensen. Chad points it out a couple of times with glee.

The ceremony leading up to the actual presentation is boring, and Jared nearly falls asleep, but he keeps himself awake with the mantra that he’ll see the dirigible soon. When the dirigible is finally unveiled, Jared can’t bring himself to be as excited as Misha. “Let’s go!” says Misha, dragging him to the front where they’ve begun boarding people.

That’s when everything proceeds to go wrong.

~*~


“Next time, let’s just stick to flying on brooms. They’re much more reliable than fucking dirigible!” screams Chad, his claws digging into Jared’s shoulder.

But Jared’s too busy holding on to dear life.

One minute, everything seemed perfect. The next thing Jared knew, the wind had suddenly picked up, blowing the dirigible off the ground and anyone holding onto the rope up with it—including Jared. Despite the Aviators’ Club’s efforts, no one was strong enough to keep it to the ground and everyone eventually let go.

Everyone except Jared.

“Sorry, buddy,” says Jared shakily. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

There’s a crash from above and Jared looks up, his stomach sinking when he realizes the dirigible’s journey has finally ended—having collided with the clock tower in the West Square. On the one hand, he doesn’t have to worry about the wind blowing him to Neverland now, but on the other hand, it’s only a matter of time before he slips off.

Jared finds himself surprisingly calm, despite it all, though he suspects it’s mainly due to Chad doing all the panicking for them. “We’re gonna die here, aren’t we, Jared?” Chad half-laughs, half-cries.

“No, we’re not!” Jared yells, even though he’s not so sure of it himself.

“Jared!” yells a distant voice.

Jared whips his head up, his eyes widening when he catches a familiar dot heading for his way. “Oh my gods,” he whispers.

“What? What?” screeches Chad. “Are we being saved?”

“Yeah,” says Jared breathlessly, “we are.”

It’s Jensen. And he’s flying towards them on a broom Jared instantly recognizes as his own, hanging on for dear life. “Jensen!” he screams, but his voice gets lost in the wind.

Despite the wind occasionally pushing Jensen into the side of a building, he still weaves steadily towards them. “Jared! Hang on!”

Jared lets go with one arm, reaching out to Jensen. Their fingertips brush each other for only a second before the wind pushes Jensen back. “No!” Jensen steers his broom to the side and tries to circle back, but it’s the same thing all over again.

“Shit, we really are gonna die,” whimpers Chad.

“No one’s dying today,” shouts Jensen.

Jared can already feel himself slipping, his hand unable to stand the rope burn any longer. “Jensen! I—I can’t…”

He attempts another grab but reaches too far. He lets go.

The fall’s not nearly as bad as Jared figured it would be. It’s more like a slow but steady decent into nothingness. He closes his eyes and prepares for the smash that’s about to happen.

Except it never comes. He opens his eyes to see a hand wrapped gripping his wrist tightly and Jensen staring down at him with something like horror and incredibility. “Jared…”

“Jensen,” he whispers. “Jensen, you did it!”

Jensen breaks out into the biggest smile Jared’s ever seen.

~*~


A crowd—and a big one at that—is waiting for them when they land. People swarm them from all sides but throughout it all, Jensen never lets go.

It’s then that Jared finally makes a decision. In front of everyone in the West Side, in front of a camera that’s probably broadcasting this to the entire country, he kisses Jensen.

Jensen freezes and for a minute, Jared’s afraid that everything’s about to be ruined, but then he starts kissing back.

Jared smiles into the kiss and draws him closer. “You’ve got your magic back,” he whispers.

Jensen smiles back. “Yeah, I did.”

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