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Jared/Jensen, Surprise JDM
For [livejournal.com profile] longsufferingly for her boring train ride home. Her prompt was: The J's as flirty awkward coworkers at a bookstore.
1100 words, plus or minus.

Jensen doesn't notice the new guy for three days. He'd been moving American History to the old Post Cold War Section, re-alphabetizing all of history and making shelves for employee recommendations, which, it turns out, are mostly his. So when he emerges from what his co-workers fondly refer to as 'the back forty', it's to a new face behind the register and the certainty that god, if she's there, hates him.

The new guy? Gorgeous. With a capital G.

He's dirty and rumpled and his nose is running from the dust. He makes a faint for the bathroom, just manages to catch the new guy's eye in the process and looses all hope right there of cleaning up and blowing his nose before making any sort of first impression.

He spends ten minutes in the bathroom.

By then, he feels awkward leaving cause, ten minutes in the bathroom? Only perverts and his dad spend that much time on the toilet and now any chance he has of making a good impression on the new guy are shot to hell. On top of that, his allergy meds are in his back pack which, sadly, is NOT in the bathroom.

When he finally cracks the door, there's no one in sight and he feels a ripple of relief. He goes straight for the break area and his back pack, head down, brushing the dirt from his jeans and runs into someone so hard he falls back on his ass, legs splayed, glasses jarred crookedly on his nose.

He's already apologizing as he looks up and up and new guy is bending down, hand extended and he's struck by how, under the right circumstances, this would make an awesome satire of Michaelangelo's God Reaching out to Man, just as their fingers touch.

"God, I'm sorry, I," he mumbles.

He rights his glasses as he takes new guy's hand and lets himself be levered to the upright position.

"No, it's me, I wasn't looking," mumbles new guy.

He quickly drops Jensen's hand and Jensen wonders if he looks like a plague victim or maybe new guy's just not a toucher. Not that Jensen's not okay with that. He has space issues himself. It's part of why he works here.

"Um, Jensen." he says.

"No, Jared." says new guy.

Jensen stares. He tries to make sense of the exchange and it hits him about five seconds too late.

They both talk at the same time.

"No, I'm Jensen." he says, just as new guy's saying,

"I'm Jared."

They laugh. Nervously.

A moment later Jared puts his hand out and says, "Nice to meet you Jensen."

"Yeah." says Jensen, and shakes his hand.

He wonders if this is what love feels like.


They have cubbies in the break area. A wall of shelves broken into squares that are around two feet by two feet across. In front of them is a long, ratty, yellow, sixties era sofa and an unfortunate coffee table from the seventies, dark brown with huge turned legs, way too big to ever be fashionable and glass the color of urine with the texture of huge used bubble wrap.

Each cubby is painted a different color. Jeff encourages the employees to paint their own and there's a box filled with jars of house paint under the sink in the corner for just that purpose. Jeff, is a hippie.

Jared's cubby is pink and purple with goddess's holding cowery shells and flowers shaped like vulva's that Maggie painted before going to Vassar. At first Jensen thinks Jared didn't repaint cause he was new and didn't know that he could, but it's been three weeks now and it's still pink/purple so he figures maybe Jared likes it.

That, Jared's shirt collection and the fact that he volunteered to manage the LGBT section, were enough to convince Jensen that Jared was, at the very least, bi, if not outright gay.

It takes Jensen a week to properly process this information.

Maybe, he thinks, god doesn't hate him as much as he thought.


Jensen thinks seeing Jared would be a lot easier if they had similar shifts. Regrettably, they don't. Jared's shifts are evenings and Saturdays. Jensen's are daytimes Monday through Friday, so they cross only at times when Jared comes in early.

This makes conversation difficult.

So Jensen starts leaving books in Jared's cubby.

He doesn't put notes or his name or number in them. He just tucks them between the grey box that holds Jared's apron and name tag and the small forest of water bottles, all at varying levels of fullness.

He leaves the first one on Friday before he goes for the weekend.


When he comes in on Monday, the book's not there and breathes a sigh of relief.


Wednesday, he's getting ready to leave, looking forward to Wo Hop's Pan Fried Noodles and the latest episode of Fringe. He pulls at his back pack and a book falls to the sofa, face up.

He looks at the title and feels the tops of his ears burn.

It's so on.


Friday a week later, he's surprised to see Jared busily unpacked boxes when he arrives. He hurries past with a quick smile and tries not to run to the break room. In his cubby, there's a brightly colored square, florid pink with boxes of yellow and lime green. He looks at the title of the book and feels his pants get tight.


Apparently, Jared changed shifts with Carrie, so he gets off the same time as Jensen, around two thirty, which means there's no chance for him to escape without seeing Jared.

He's also been damned busy ordering text books for the new PoliSci section, so there's been no chance to leave a retaliation book either.

This makes him jumpy and anxious. More so than usual so he's not really paying attention when he gets to the break room and finds Jared tying his shoes on the sofa.

"Hi." he manages, stilted and not a little off kilter.

"Hey." Jared beams at him all dimples and sweet smile.

Jensen's heart thumps a little and he feels light headed. He thinks stupidly that he'd love to just crawl into that smile and live there. It's an easy smile, and Jensen thinks that's what he really loves about Jared, that he's easy. Not 'slutty', though that would totally be fine with Jensen. Just, easy like, never have to worry about what he has to say or do. Easy like sweet tea and bar-b-que. Easy like summer.

He thinks maybe some of that didn't just happen in his head cause there's Jared getting right up close, getting in his precious space, taking his glasses off his nose and folding them carefully, tucking them in Jensen's pocket before kissing the living daylights out of him.

And if he didn't totally love Jared before, that right there would have done it.


They eat Wo Hop's Pan Fried Noodles for dinner and don't make it all the way through Fringe.

Jensen's pretty okay with that.

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