Word Count: 1,338
Summary: Written for Memphis's prompt some J2 snarking over who has cooler shoes. I honestly don't know where this came from. I blame the calculus.
Jensen writes on his Converse. He busts through them really fast, because as his mom points out, he walks on his feet wrong. She always gives him a look that says, “You’re lucky those shoes are cheap.” Jensen has James Joyce scrawled into the instep of his latest pair, and he rubs the sharpied words against his ankle. He can’t get tattoos yet, he’s not eighteen, but he can write on the soles of his shoes, on the heels and toes, he can let his friend Danny paint the laces with silver puff paint that catches and flakes off every time he reties them.
They’re good shoes. Even when the heels are peeling away and the white inner fabric has torn out. When his mom tosses them in the washing machine the sharpie doesn’t wash away.
Jared wears black Nike hi-top classics. They’re pristine, even on a rainy day. When he’s doing pull-ups on an almost empty subway train, ankles crossed behind him so that his feet don’t touch the floor, Jensen notices only the soles betray how much wear they’ve been through. There are high arches that Jared’s feet have molded into the leather and skids from his tendency to slide into rooms on the balls of his feet. His black jeans are always tucked in so that the shoes are on display.
When Jared flops back into his seat, train still moving, he lays one leg carelessly across Jensen’s thighs.
“What up?” he says, tilting his head back so that he can look up from under the brim of his baseball cap.
Jensen shrugs. “Not much.”
Jared’s eyes catch on the quote marked into the white rubber of Jensen’s right shoe and he squints, making it out. “Your battles inspired me - not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.” He looks up, teeth catching his lip on an unsmothered smile.“James Joyce? How hilariously unoriginal are you?” he says.
Their faces are too close together and Jensen looks away. “Well you recognized it.” Jensen wrote it this morning when he was reading about Ibsen, already Jared has noticed.
Jared shakes his head, mouthing an affectionate “pretentious fucker” as he kicks out the same leg blanketing Jensen’s own.
Jared is a display of exuberant energy. When he’s at school, he shouts down the hallways, and bounces on everything, vaulting over rails and springing off benches. His chair in class is permanently tilted away from his desk and his eyes are out the window. Where Jensen fastidiously takes down notes and does his work ahead of time, Jared flies through school, regurgitating facts and witticisms.
“What do you have in common?” Jensen’s mom asks. Jensen doesn’t have an answer.
Before the train even comes to a halt at their stop, Jared is already up on his feet. He raises his eyebrows like an exclamation point and darts out into the station, sure that Jensen is following. He swings himself up over the turnstile, rather than walking through it.
When Jensen mutters show off, Jared pushes his tongue in his cheek and shrugs.
Jensen pulls out a pack of Chesterfields that he bummed off his cousin and taps one out, lighting it up with a cheap black Bic that is running out of lighter fluid. He’s barely taken a single drag before Jared has turned to him and plucked it right out of his fingers, stubbing it out with his toe before Jensen can protest.
“Don’t be stupid,” Jared says softly. They’re waiting for the light and Jensen wants to be mad, because it’s hard to get cigarettes. It costs him a lot and his cousin usually buys Lucky Strikes which he doesn’t like. As he’s fumbling open the pack for a second one, Jared turns back to him, “And don’t light another.”
Jensen sighs, and shoves the pack back into his back pocket. A little old lady behind him says when she thinks he can’t hear, “I bet I could read what brand you smoke, your pants are so tight.” Jensen turns and looks over his shoulder and gives her a brilliant smile. If he was Jared he’d say something cute, he’d punctuate her statement with his eyebrows, but instead he faces forward again, listening to Jared crack up.
They stop for coffee and Jared orders an Iced Cappuccino. The barista’s got a tattoo stretching out over the curve of her breast, up to her collarbone, just covered by the fall of her hair. Jared reaches across after he’s handed her his money and brushes it back, exposing the clean lines of a rose. His thumb brushes over it and she clutches his money and ducks her head. Jensen’s cheeks are almost as brilliant as hers.
Jared’s order comes out before Jensen’s plain old cup of regular, and he sits at a table dumping sugar in and mixing it with his straw. When Jensen sits, their knees knock under the table. Anyone else would shift away, but Jared doesn’t. He pulls off the plastic lid of his cup and licks the foam off the underside. “I don’t want the weekend to be over yet,” he says.
“You shoulda done your homework,” Jensen says simply. Jared makes a noncommittal noise. Somebody has scrawled “Oh FUCK the longings and agonies of youth – John Irving” in all caps just above Jared’s shoulder on the wall. Jensen pulls out a ball-point pen and marks it on the back of his hand to remember.
“This one’s not going on the shoes?” Jared asks playfully.
“I have a system,” Jensen says, taking a gulp of his coffee. He moves restlessly under the table, and James Joyce brushes accidentally over the curve of Jared’s calf.
Jared rolls his eyes. “Oh, man, that just makes it worse.”
“Fuck you, I’m being creative,” Jensen says without heat.
Jared doesn’t say anything about the fact that Jensen wears the brand of millions of teens across the country. He moves his own foot out from under the table and gazes at it before shrugging. “Okay.”
They kill time for a little while in the coffee shop, waiting for some grand scheme to come to them. They’ve been to the movies too many times. When Jared’s sucked the last bits of undissolved sugar out of the bottom of his cup and Jensen doesn’t have anything left but the dregs of his French roast, they leave.
They walk. Jared’s phone buzzes in his pocket, and he checks to see that it’s not his parents before shoving it back into his jeans. Jensen knows whenever he calls, Jared always picks up.
“Do you think you’d be good at graffiti?” Jared asks.
“Uh, I’ve never tried it, so, no?” Jensen says, wondering at the non-sequitur.
“But, like, you doodle on everything,” Jared says, turning his head to look into the window display of a bakery.
“It’s not the same,” Jensen says, wanting to tug Jared along before he honestly considers blowing his meager allowance on a ganache. Jared looks at him guiltily, like he heard Jensen’s thoughts. There’s a graffiti barbed wire heart on the scaffolding just past the bakery. Jared hooks their fingers together and draws Jensen in close.
Jared kisses him, tongue sliding in flicker quick. Jensen’s fingers tighten around Jared’s and he breathes hard through his nose. Jared pulls back, head still bowed close to Jensen’s and licks his lips. “Mm, tobacco,” he says sarcastically, “another reason not to smoke.” Jensen’s never kissed anyone so he’s never worried about it before.
Jared grins, just as fast as his kiss, and slides past him, steps audible on the wood lying over the sidewalk. Jared’s shoes, like Jared, speak for themselves.
Jared stops and looks back. “Hey, man, you coming?” He calls. Jensen shakes his head and speed-walks to catch up. His lips burn and his cheeks shine brighter than they did in the coffee shop. Jared knocks their shoulders together, and their fingertips brush and linger in a way that promises more.
Added on Feb. 4th, 2010
I guess my writer's block is broken