|Michael/Tom RPS: Needing to know
||[Feb. 3rd, 2009|04:13 pm]
Pairing: Michael/Tom, Jensen/Jared
Warning: RPS is not to everyone's taste. If it's not your thing, please skip this one :)
Disclaimer: No real people! Make-believe from start to finish!
Plot: Set in November, 2008. What's really going on with Michael and Tom? And why does Jensen need to know?
"You could have said "no"," says Jared. "Said that we're going to L.A. Or we could actually go to L.A."
"I said we'd go," says Jensen. He corrects himself: "I said I'd go. You don't have to come, if you don't want to…."
Jared gives him a suspicious look:
"Do you really want to go camping with Welling? Camping in November? Why does he even want to do this? It's so random. Drive three hours each way to camp for two days-"
"It’s not just Tom; Michael is coming too."
"Ah!" Jared smacks the table. "I knew it. Ulterior motive."
Jensen raises an eyebrow:
"We’re their cover story. Two guys camping together – that's a thing, it means something's going on. But four guys camping together; that's just guys on a trip."
"Interesting math," says Jensen.
"When you worked with them, were they-"
"I don't know," says Jensen. Jared has asked him this before. There's a distinction between what Jensen might think was going on, and what he knows. He doesn't believe in extrapolating.
They leave the set Friday evening, and follow an incredibly detailed set of directions provided by Tom.
"You might get there first," Tom had said. "I'm never sure what time we'll wrap and hopefully Michael's flight will be on time."
"Amazing he was able to lure Rosenbaum back from L.A." says Jared. "I thought once Michael's Smallville time was up, he'd never cross the border again."
It's a nice drive. Jensen relaxes behind the wheel; the set is feeling comfortably distant. Jared navigates, comparing Tom's directions with his own map book.
The road turns from asphalt, to gravel, to dirt, and then ends.
"I guess this is it," says Jensen, doubtfully.
"This isn't anywhere," says Jared.
"Tom said it was isolated."
"Then how'd Tom find it?" says Jared. But this is a rhetorical question: no one is better at finding un-peopled spots than Tom, whether they be diners, golf courses or jogging routes.
The sun has long set, but even in the darkness it’s a beautiful place. Lake, woods, mountains looming against the sky.
"I guess we beat them here," says Jensen.
The silence is total. Out of habit, Jensen checks his phone. There's no signal.
"So I could commit atrocities on you and you couldn't call for help," says Jared cheerfully. Jensen throws him the tent:
"Let's set up down by the water."
Tom and Michael's arrival is heralded by the sound of Journey's "Open Arms" floating down the trail, followed shortly by Michael.
"Speaking of atrocities," murmurs Jensen.
Michael is holding a duffel bag in each hand:
"Boys! How ya doin'?"
"We heard you coming," says Jared.
"Gotta keep the bears away," says Michael.
"They'll think you're one of them," says Jensen. "Check that hair! And dude, the beard…"
"I know. Isn't it great?" Michael drops the bags and comes over for a hug. Jensen waves at Tom over Michael's shoulder.
"I'll get the cooler," says Michael, and walks back down the trail.
"Tom!" says Jared. "How was your day?"
"It was….a day," says Tom, grinning. "Felt really good to cross out of the city."
When the tents are set up, Tom lights a fire on the beach. There are logs to use for back-rests. Michael passes around hot chocolate laced with rum.
"Dude, I'm already yawning," says Jared. "This'll knock me out."
"That's the plan," says Michael. "We want to talk about you."
"Naw, let's talk about you. What's it like to be unemployed?"
To Jensen's surprise, Michael gives a semi-serious answer.
"It's a mixture. Some days I wake up grateful; some days I wake up panicked."
"He texts me on the panicked days," says Tom.
"I also text you on the grateful days," says Michael. "Ha-ha, you’re still on Smallville!"
"We're facing this in a year or so," says Jensen. "The show's got one more season-"
"And I can't wait!" says Jared.
He's said this before and it always obscurely hurts Jensen. He says, irritably:
"You say that now, but there's something to be said for steady work. Right Rosey?"
"I don’t regret leaving. I miss him," he jerks his chin at Tom. "I miss the people. But there was nothing more to do, and with Glover gone, it just felt like my part of the story was wrapped up-"
"Which I totally disagree with," puts in Tom, through a mouthful of marshmallow.
"Yeah, because you're lonely for me," says Michael. "You don't have anyone to play jokes on."
"And for you it's "Freedom, horrible freedom!" says Jensen.
"Well, you were ready to leave Smallville, weren't you?" says Michael. He adopts a fey voice. "Those last few months, it was nothing but bitch, bitch, bitch!"
Jared throws a pine cone at him.
"I'm not burned out yet," says Jensen, a little defensively. "Maybe by the end of next year."
"It's just the schedule being so killer," says Jared. He nods at Tom. "You know, right? Up before dawn, six days a week-"
"By year six, you'll hardly notice," says Tom.
"Bed for me. But first, a piss. Jensen, you can come and guard me against bears."
"Oh, is bear-guarding the new term for-" Michael mimes a blow-job.
"No. But "bear" is the code name for you, perv!"
When they're settled in the tent, Jared reaches for Jensen.
"Dude, they're right outside," whispers Jensen.
"They'll hear us."
"No, they won't," says Jared, adding, helpfully. "We're in a tent."
"Dude, a tent is fabric." Jensen puts his pajama shirt over his mouth. "Can you hear me now?"
Jared seems more interested in the drawstring of Jensen's pajama bottoms. Jensen smacks his hand:
"Not with them outside." He's not sure why he minds Michael and Tom knowing. Somehow there's a fine line between Michael making blowjob jokes and knowing that actual blowjobs are happening.
Jared grunts his disapproval, then rolls over and falls asleep right away.
Jensen lies on his stomach and watches Tom and Michael through the flap of the tent. They're talking animatedly, lit by the flickering light of the fire. Actually, Tom is doing most of the talking, while Michael listens. It’s the opposite of Tom's usual reserve.
Tom reaches the climax of his story. Michael laughs, and briefly leans his head against Tom's shoulder.
Jensen isn't sure what he expects to see. Is he waiting for them to kiss? And why does he even care? Tom and Michael's extracurricular activities shouldn't matter to him at all.
Tom slowly gets up and banks the fire with stones. Michael watches him, then raises his hands so Tom can haul him to his feet. They walk to their tent.
Even when they're inside the tent, Jensen still watches. For what? Proof of sex? He'd laugh at himself if it wasn't kind of pathetic.
As he finally falls asleep, he hears a noise from outside. It might be a moan, or then again it might just be the sound of the wind.
In the morning, there's sunshine streaming through the tent door. There's Rosenbaum singing to himself as he puts on his shoes. And for breakfast, there's oatmeal cooked over the Coleman stove by Tom, and it’s not half bad, especially when you add maple syrup.
Michael tries to convince everyone to take a swim.
"No way," says Tom.
"You'll freeze your ass off," says Jensen.
"We can compare and see who gets the most shrinkage," says Michael. "Make a contest of it."
"What'll happen is: you'll get frostbite," says Jared. "And I'm not getting into a sleeping bag with you to warm you up. No, sir!"
"You kidding me?" says Michael. "You'd all be fighting for the opportunity."
"Well, to avoid the violence," says Tom. "Let’s shelve the swimming."
Michael pretends to pout but settles for throwing a football with Jared instead.
Tom lies back against a log, sunglasses on, making notes on a script in his usual methodical fashion. Every so often he glances over at Michael. Jensen has a script too, but can't concentrate on it. He watches Tom for awhile, watches Michael and Jared leaping about like dogs. The sun is warm on his face. It feels good to have nothing expected of him. Jensen sleeps.
He wakes when a shadow crosses the sun, except it's not a shadow, it’s Rosenbaum's ass looming over his face. Jared is cackling with laughter in the background.
Jensen grabs Michael by the waist and rolls him onto the grass.
"That's uncalled for," says Michael, grinning.
"Dude, he was going to fart on you," says Jared.
"Because you told me to!" says Michael. "Right, Tom?"
"Don't care. Wasn't listening," says Tom.
"Jensen," says Michael, blinking up at him. Jensen doesn't trust the innocent expression. "If you let me up, we could all play Frisbee golf?"
They play for two hours. There is much cheating on all sides, accompanied by a fair amount of actual golf commentary from Tom.
After lunch, they walk around the lake, because Tom wants to, and is persuasive without actually saying much about it. They walk single file, Tom leading the way. Jensen listens to Jared crunching twigs behind him and Michael happily singing in front. It almost feels like a scene from the show, as if there are cameras hidden in the bushes and a guy in monster make-up waiting to chase them.
* * *
After dinner, they trade stories. Michael says:
"Remember Puerto Rico? Ackles and I ended up sleeping together, so to speak."
Jared says: "That's one I haven't heard."
Only Jensen notices that his jaw is slightly clenched. He says:
"I've told you about it…We were at this charity event with Matt Dillon, Kelsey Grammer, some of the Kennedys, Tara…Lots of people."
"There was a Brian Wilson concert and it was awesome. We got wasted," says Michael. "It's like, 4:00 a.m.-"
"There was a woman waiting for you in a room," says Jensen. "That friend of Tara's."
"Right," says Michael. "I'm supposed to meet this girl. Ackles wants to go back to his room. But the villa we're staying at has suddenly quadrupled in size. Seriously. We keep walking around and around it and we can't find our rooms."
"It was like a space/time anomaly," says Jensen.
"We stagger up on the veranda," says Michael. "We're laughing, making noise…and suddenly there's this huge shadow on the window shade, looming up like Darth Vader."
"It was Kelsey Grammer's head," says Jensen. "Dude has the biggest head in the world."
"And he was pissed!" says Michael. "Kelsey Grammer was pissed! We ran away before he saw us, but then we were too scared to go back to the villa. So we decided to sleep on the beach. The sand was too cold, but one of those long beach chairs was there-"
"So you cuddled up together?" says Jared. "Adorable!"
"Dude, it was so cold. I needed Jensen's skinny body for warmth."
"He also stole a bunch of towels for blankets," says Jensen.
"My buddy Chris found us the next morning," says Michael. "Took photos of Jensen spooning me. He's still holding those photos over my head!"
Tom pokes the fire:
"I have much worse photos than those."
"Do tell," says Jared.
"He won't. I'd kill him," says Michael, yawning. He reaches over and slaps Tom's thigh. "I'm a bad enemy."
Jensen shivers, hugging his fleece around him.
"Yeah, it's getting cold," says Tom, standing up. "We should call it a night."
"Not before Jensen sings us a lullaby," says Michael. Jensen flips him off.
"Your tent…" says Tom."If it rains, you might catch some run-off from the hill."
"It'll be fine," says Jared. "You worry too much."
"I've been told," says Tom, amiably. "Good night."
He taps Michael on the shoulder. As Jensen is getting into his tent he can hear Michael complaining in the distance: "Too cold to even take a piss….we could have camped in California, you know."
Jensen layers on all the clothes in his pack and is still cold.
"Take my jacket," whispers Jared, and Jensen drapes it over his sleeping bag like a blanket, then falls into a restless sleep.
* * * *
Finger poking him. He's still cold.
"Tent's leaking. We've got, like, a river running through underneath."
"Oh," Jensen sits up. He can actually see the water breaching the floor of the tent.
"Yeah, we got to move or we're getting soaked,' says Jared.
"Move to where?"
"We could sleep in the car," says Jared doubtfully. Jensen climbs out of his sleeping bag.
"What if we just move the tent? The water's running down that hill, we could move it a few feet over-"
They put sneakers and jackets over their pajamas and start to wrestle with the tent.
"Welling was right," says Jared gloomily. "He's always right. It's annoying."
"Hard to move it with stuff inside," says Jensen. This is an understatement. "Our sleeping bags are getting wet." If they both turn up on set with colds on Monday, Bob Singer will kill them.
"Hey." Tom is approaching, shrouded in a black rain jacket.
"Sorry we woke you," says Jensen. "We're getting flooded."
"You were dead-on about the run-off," says Jared.
Tom casts a critical eye over the tent.
"Grab your stuff and come in with us. Let the tent dry out tomorrow."
"Will we all fit in your tent?" asks Jared.
"Sure, it's a four-man."
"But we're four large men," points out Jensen.
"We can squish in," says Tom. "C'mon, before your sleeping bags get any wetter."
Tom's tent is warm and dry and very much filled with sleeping Rosenbaum.
"He's managing to sleep through this?" says Jared. The rain has turned to hail and it’s hitting the tent like a drum.
"Michael can sleep through anything," says Tom. Jensen wonders how he knows this. "Just shove him over and make some space."
"It's going to be a tight fit," says Jensen.
"Jen, you get in next to Rosey," says Jared. "Tom and I will take the outside edges. Put you two little guys in the middle."
Jensen hits him.
"Don't wake up Michael!" Jared hisses.
"Figures the only guy who doesn't have to work Monday gets to sleep through this," Jensen mutters.
He lays his sleeping bag down next to Michael's and passes his boots and jacket to Jared. He shivers.
"Yeah, temperature's dropping," whispers Tom. He crawls across to the other side of Michael. "Might get snow next."
"Quite the relaxing weekend you arranged for us, Welling," says Jared. Tom chuckles softly.
Michael makes a sleepy noise, then mumbles "cold."
"He always feels the cold more."
Tom takes off his sweater. Jared nudges Jensen with his foot. They watch as Tom props Michael up and pulls his sweater over Michael's head. Michael remains asleep throughout, settling right back down in his sleeping bag. Tom meets Jensen's eye:
"It'll stop him complaining."
Jensen just nods. He can sense Jared being very wide-eyed over his shoulder, but hopes he has the tact not to say anything.
"Goodnight," whispers Tom. Michael murmurs something, and without waking up, aims himself in the direction of Tom's voice, rolling over until he's butted against Tom's chest. Tom, without a trace of self consciousness, puts an arm around him. Michael murmurs again and rests his cheek against Tom's shoulder.
"Goodnight," says Jensen. It feels like an anti-climactic statement,
He shivers again. Jared's arm wraps itself around him and Jensen gratefully pushes back into his warmth.
Michael never wakes and the others fall asleep quickly, Jensen stays awake, listening to Jared's soft snoring. Michael makes the occasional noise and laughs once, entertaining himself even while asleep.
Tom sleeps soundlessly, giving away nothing.
* * *
Jensen opens his eyes and finds himself practically nose to nose with Michael.
"Why are you in my tent?" says Michael, in a sleepy rasp.
"It's my tent," says Jensen. Michael blinks. Jensen adds: "I abducted you in the middle of the night so I could do stuff to you. Sex stuff."
Michael rubs his chin. His eyes narrow.
The next moment, he's lunging for Jensen, who tries to put him in a head lock.
"Your morning breath…" pants Michael."….is gross."
"I smell like daisies and you know it!"
They are interrupted by Jared's head poking through the tent flap.
"What're you doing? The tent's lifting off the ground."
"Teaching smart-ass a lesson," says Michael.
"Tom sent me over to say: stop destroying his tent and also, waffles are ready".
Over breakfast, the reality of a fourteen hour day on set tomorrow descends. Only Michael is talkative, explaining in point form his objections to the fourth Indiana Jones movie. When Michael finally stops for breath, Tom passes him a plate, and says to Jensen:
"What's that?" says Jared.
"It's when you start thinking about how long your week is going to be," says Tom. "And it kills the remainder of your weekend."
"Thinking about the alarm going off at 5:30," says Jensen. Jared groans.
"I used to feel that way thinking about school," says Michael. Everyone nods.
Jensen takes a walk through the woods as Jared packs up their tent. Tom has already put his tent in the car.
The sun has returned; Jensen tilts his face upwards to feel its warmth, and closes his eyes for a minute.
Michael and Tom are down by the water. As usual, Michael is in constant motion: talking, waving his hands. He picks up a stone and skips it, raises his arms above his head for a stretch.
Tom is still. When he does shift slightly, Michael seems to take it as a cue and walks over to stand next to him. Tom's arms go around him and Michael props his head on Tom's shoulder. Tom says something – too soft for Jensen to hear – and rests his chin on the top of Michael's head. They stand like that, in silence. Jensen can't see Michael's face but he can see Tom's, and it tells him everything he's wanted to know.
Jensen watches them for a few minutes; then he feels guilty for watching, and leaves.
"Oh, so I don't have to do all your packing for you," says Jared, and throws him a sleeping bag.
Michael and Tom eventually re-appear and are just as usual: Michael talking a mile a minute, Tom putting in a wry word here and there. There are handshakes and back slaps, a pledge of golf next weekend from Tom, and the threat of karaoke next time everyone's in L.A. from Michael.
In the car, Jared falls asleep right away; Jensen watches Michael and Tom in the car ahead. He understands now why he needed to know, why knowing was so important to him. If Michael and Tom have been able to keep their thing going, whatever precisely their thing is, despite Tom's happy marriage, Michael's busy social life, the distance between Vancouver and L.A. and the fact that they don't work together any more…
If Michael and Tom can manage, there is hope for Jensen. Hope that when the show wraps for good next year, he and Jared will be able to forge something as unique and lasting. That what's going on between them now will prove to be more than just a co-star fling.
He puts his hand on Jared's leg and Jared is instantly awake.
"Okay, that better not be a tease because this weekend half-killed me."
"It's not a tease," says Jensen. "Want to pull over for a few minutes?"
Jared does. But a "few minutes" turns into an action-packed half hour. There is kissing and there are hands inside jeans; there are a couple of fresh bruises that the make-up people will complain about tomorrow; there are Jared's hands tight on his hips.
"You know," murmurs Jared into his neck. "Welling might be onto something. I might just like camping after all...."
Jensen laughs and starts the car. Two more hours to Vancouver; a fresh week awaits.