surevesta: A picture of Alec, from Dark Angel, smiling (Default)
[personal profile] surevesta
Title: Dissonance - Part 10/10
Author: [personal profile] surevesta
Rating: PG-16
Fandom: CW RPS
Word Count: 10,145 (this part)
Pairing: J2
Main Characters: Jensen, Jared, full cast list here may contain spoilers.
Betas: [personal profile] anyothergirl415
Disclaimer: The story and plot is mine, the characters are based off of real people and belong to themselves. The places are also based off of real places. I know almost nothing of the foster care system.
Summary: The world of High School through the eyes of violist Jensen Ackles. Life is just notes on a page, waiting to be read and interpreted.



Dissonance by Surevesta
Master Post




*****

Thanksgiving dinner was really good, amazing even. Margaret had really out done herself- it was even better than last years. They ate dinner around six pm, but the kitchen was busy all day. His foster mother got up at half past five in the morning to start the turkey and several other dishes. While Rain would be eating dinner with his elderly grandparents at their nursing home, one had severe Alzheimers and the other had really bad arthritis, everyone else would be staying for dinner. Hayden and Adair helped with the simpler dishes, peeling potatoes and getting the salads and deserts read, while Margaret enlisted Jensen for some of the dishes.

Denis was in charge of cooking the turkey, after Margaret stuffed it and such. Other then that, the man spent most of the day watching football in the living room. Jensen mostly helped put together the casseroles and bake the rolls. He also did most of the slicing and dicing of various vegetables for the girls- even though Hayden insisted she could do it herself. Luckily, no one nicked themselves with a knife or burned their fingers.

Muriel showed up with David and his son around three and started helping with the food preparations. She brought a green bean casserole and a cherry pie, just like last year. Jensen was looking forward to both; Muriel was just as good a cook as her mother.

Dinner was a quiet affair, conversation didn't really pick up till desert. There was a lot of catching up to do as Muriel hadn't been able to come visit for almost six months- she was way to busy with her studies and work. Jensen liked the older woman, she never treated him or any of the other foster kids like they weren't part of the family. In fact, she tended to refer to them, and past foster kids, as her siblings. Colin, David's six year old, spend a good portion of the meal building a fort out of his mashed potatoes and gravy. They were homemade from bakers potatoes and Jensen had followed Margaret's directions to cook them after Hayden and Adair finished removing the peels.

They left Saturday morning, after spending all of Friday catching up. The downstairs main room was cleaned up enough that they had spent two nights in it without problem. Denis and Jensen had worked on finishing as many of the home improvements that they could on Wednesday and managed to get all but a few small details done. The couch was actually a fold out so, between that and an air mattress, the small family of three had been quite comfortable.

Jared didn't get back into town until late Sunday evening, his mother's older brother had showed up Saturday for a weekend visit and she had wanted to catch up with him. Instead of seeing a movie they ended up talking for a bit on the phone. Most of Jensen's time off at been spent working on Kripke's essay, trying to organize it in a way that allowed for him to tell the story of Jared's life and analyze him in the most coherent way possible. He had learned so much about the quarterback that it was proving to be a difficult endeavor. There was just so much that he wanted to say.

In addition to figuring out how to whittle down the facts to what was actually necessary, Jensen spent a few hours mentally debating on how much to say in regards to his current, and very new, role in Jared's life. Discussing a significant other seemed important, but they hadn't gotten together till after Kripke had assigned them to be partners. The english teacher had basically been an unwitting matchmaker.

The week after Thanksgiving was busy for both Jared and Jensen. In addition to the pieces he was working on for the competition and his applications, the annual holiday, or fall, concert was going to take place the Wednesday before their two week vacation. The concert was designed for the parents to see what their children had been working on. Each musical group played a selection of their pieces. As there were only two string orchestras, where the band and choir had four main classes each and a few special groups, the orchestra was given more time on stage. They would be having a few members of the band, mostly percussion, assist them during one of the songs- a selection of well known movie theme songs. Jensen was looking forward to it this year because the orchestra was scheduled between two choir groups. That meant there wouldn't be a ton of people leaving like they tended to when orchestra went last, or still arriving like when they went first.

They got together twice after school, once to double check the facts they were going to use in their papers and once for a movie date. The weekend of the first Jared had a football game and once again they came out on top, beating the other team by two touchdowns. Jensen didn't know or understand all the details, but apparently the varsity team was one of the best in the region and would likely, if they won this next game, be heading to state. In addition to that, Jared had already been approached by scouts from several schools- including two that they were both applying to. He had just smiled and congratulated his boyfriend with a kiss, tongues sliding together and hands caressing across backs and chests, learning and memorizing as they slipped over bare skin. It wasn't sex- hell it was barely second base- but it was amazing.

The weekend of the competition arrived quickly, only two weeks after Thanksgiving break. They were leaving after school, or at least the band and orchestra were. The Choir had left early that morning as several of their groups were scheduled to perform that afternoon. Jensen was once again using the schools instrument, only with his own bow. With Mrs. Smith's help he had gotten a hold of a man that could repair his viola but it had only been a week since Jensen had dropped it off at the man's home. Chad had driven him there and the car ride had been beyond awkward. Mr. Singer had left a voice mail only just before lunch on Chad's cell, letting them know the instrument would be ready on Monday. Jared had delivered the news to him. That meant Jensen would be able to use his own viola for his applications, but not in the competition.

The bus was parked in the gym parking lot, next to the weight training portable and behind the commons. It was one of the larger buses and Jensen recognized the driver. She was a nice lady who substituted for the route he rode in the mornings on occasion. Mrs. Gamble, maybe. There was a romance novel situated on the bus dash along with a bag of trail mix. Or, rather, he thought the cover looked like a romance novel, but had two guys and a car on it so maybe it wasn't.

Jensen shuffled past the dark gray seats, moving towards the back of the bus where Chris and Mike were already sitting. They had somehow managed to get there before any of the band students, it was a bit surprising.

“There isn't going to be enough room,” Jensen paused between the back seats, left hand resting against one seat back. “There aren't enough seats for you to have one of your own Mike.”

The cellist cracked an eye, staring up at him. He was wearing a brown and red beanie with some sort of white pattern mixed in, skulls or something, maybe, and his head was hanging off the edge of the seat, “Share with Chris. I'm holding out for a lady and you're no lady.”

“Like some hot chick is going to sit with you,” Chris rolled his eyes, tossing a Cheeto at Mike's head. It bounced off his cheek and hit the floor, rolling to a stop two seats down. “Just sit with me, Jensen. Mike's living in his fantasy world again.”

“When is he not?” Jensen slipped his backpack under the seat in front of them and snagged a couple of the crunchy orange Cheetos from the bag when Chris held it out to him. He popped it into his mouth and it crunched slightly between his teeth. It had been a while since he last ate Cheetos. Sitting down, he rubbed his fingertips over his jean clad thigh, dislodging flecks of bright orange cheese powder.

“I resent that,” Mike snorted, pulling himself up using the back of the seat in front of him and his own. “Don't you have a footsie player to say goodbye to?”

Jensen and Chris both frowned at him. The bassist then turned away from the conversation, pulling an mp3 player from his pocket.

“Jared has an away game tonight, he left before sixth period,” Jensen looked away, watching as a Allie, Danneel and a few other students climbed into the bus. He wasn't about to meet Mike's gaze. “I saw him before fifth. Fifth period, during the passing period. Him and Chad.”

“And here I was thinking you might have gotten some nookie in on school grounds. You're totally lame.”

“And you're an ass,” Danneel was standing in the isle, hand on the back of the seat in front of Jensen. She glanced down at Mike and rolled her eyes, “I'm not sitting with you.”

“Not even if I promise to tune your violin for the rest of the year?”

“Not even if you bought me brand new strings,” She dropped into the seat in front of Mike. Jensen thought that was only so she could turn around and have direct eye contact with him and avoid having to look at Mike. He wasn't completely sure, however, since some of their bickering had an almost flirtatious tone to it.

“Well then, that just means more of me for the real ladies.” But then again, Mike was a pervert and an ass.

*****


The bus ride took about four hours. Jensen spent most of it listening to Mike's attempts at getting Danneel and the girl sitting with her, Hayley Norman, to play truth or dare. Emphasis on the dare. They got there around seven thirty and stopped in the parking lot of a Pizza Hut that was next door to a McDonalds and across the street from a Kentucky Fried Chicken. There was also a small gas station with a food mart about half a block away.

Jensen ended up following Mike and Chris to Pizza Hut where they shared an extra large pizza with two band students. Mike did most of the talking during the meal, Jensen didn't really know the two guys and really wasn't entirely comfortable with their humor. They were a lot like Mike. Maybe a little worse.

There was enough time after they finished eating for them to run down to the gas station and pick up a few snack food items. Jensen wavered in the candy section, trying to decide what to buy. His eyes kept catching on different sweets that he new Jared loved. Twizzlers, various types of gummies, rainbow stripes. Eventually he snagged a package of gummi worms, a snickers, and two of those fifty cent packages of cookies- the chocolate striped shortbread type with the back dipped in chocolate. He also grabbed a bag of nachos and two sodas before heading to the register.

By the time they got to the hotel it was almost nine o'clock and they spent half an hour getting checked in and having the chaperons come by to make sure everyone was settling into the right room. They were staying at a Holiday Inn and had been given a good deal due to being a large school group. Jensen assumed there was probably at least one other school group in the hotel after seeing a group of five teenage girls leaving the indoor pool while he was waiting for the elevator with Mike. Riding in the elevator with five girls dressed in bathing suits with only towels or very short shorts on and Mike was probably at the top of the most awkward moments in Jensen's life. Although, it was a bit amusing since one of the girls hit on him and they all ignored Mike. He kind of felt bad for the guy. In fact two of the girls almost seemed to be laughing at him.

Their room was on the third floor down the hall and to the right of the elevator. The room was simple, two queen size beds, one end table between them, a desk, a television sitting on a piece of furniture that was a cross between a bookshelf and a dresser, a small circular table and two chairs, and a bathroom. The bathroom sink was actually in the same room as the tub and shower combo, unlike the few hotels or motels Jensen had stayed at in the past. It was a bit surprising that they were actually staying at a hotel this nice.

Chris had already claimed the bed closest to the window. He was sitting on it when they entered the room, leaning over to unzip the cover on his base. Mrs. Smith had driven a school district van with the basses and cellos rather than store them on the bus. It was much easier and helped prevent accidental damage to the instruments.

“Jensen's sharing with me, Mike you can have the other bed.”

“Dude,” Mike blinked. Chris hadn't even waited for them to get two feet into the room before speaking. “Not that I'm complaining about getting my own bed, but why?”

Moving over to the far bed, Jensen dropped his backpack and viola at the end, near where Chris was inspecting his bass. He glanced over his shoulder at Mike who was still standing near the entryway. There was a mirror on the wall that reflected his profile at an angle that showed a sticky note clinging to his backpack. It was in the shape of a flower and hot pink. There was something written on it in black letting but Jensen couldn't make it out from here. It looked like something Danneel might own; in fact Jensen was pretty sure she used sticky notes like that in her planner and to take notes in books with.

“I'm not answering that,” Chris grumbled, plucking at a string. It was only slightly out of tune.

“You scarred him for life,” Jensen shrugged, glancing over at Mike as he unzipped his backpack, removing the plastic sack full of snacks, a small toiletry bag, and a change of clothes. He had left most of his actual school supplies at home that morning, taking only what he knew was absolutely necessary and packing what he needed for the trip. They were only staying one night, but Jensen wasn't going to be without what he needed to make himself presentable. The competition's focus was on the music, but the image a performer presented was important as well.

“How? What the fuck did I do?”

“You cuddle.”

Mike blinked, an look of incredulous indignation warping his face, “I do-”

“Steve has pictures,” The bassist grumbled, glaring at Mike. “Drop the subject now, please.”

“Fine.”

The room was quiet for a moment as they got themselves situated, which didn't take that much time. Once Chris had finished checking his bass and settling it in the closet nook, he collapsed face first onto the side of the bed closest to the windows. His backpack was dumped on the floor in front of the television, temporarily ignored. Jensen, on the other hand, dropped his stuff onto the desk and then dug into his bag of snacks, removing the nachos, a package of cookies, and a soda, before leaning back against the headboard. Mike had grabbed the remote to the television and was looking through the folder of information the hotel had left on the table.

“Oh shit, I think we might have porn!”

“HBO is not a porn station,” Chris' voice was severely muffled by the comforter but clearly audible. The cellist just ignored him, flipping through channels. “And if you order anything through the hotel I will kill you.”

Even though Jensen didn't think Mike would actually go so far as to order a porn movie via the hotel menu system- it would end up being on the room info their chaperons and teachers got, after all- he still kept an eye on what Mike was doing. He really didn't want to get in trouble because of Mike.

Eventually, the television ended up on comedy central and they spent the better part of the time waiting for the chaperon to check on them watching the characters of South Park get into all sorts of random hijinks. It was funny but really kind of ridiculous. Mr. Morgan was the one that knocked on their door just after eleven to double check that everyone was in the right room before bed. He actually took the time to check under their beds and in the bathroom as he refreshed their memory of the rules regarding pretty much everything Jensen could think of.

The next morning they woke up to a phone call from Mrs. Smith at six am or Jensen did, anyway. Mike and Chris slept through the phone call and didn't get up till Jensen practically shoved them onto the floor- after he had taken a shower and gotten ready of course. They were downstairs, instruments and luggage in tow, by seven amazingly enough, which gave them enough time to grab something to eat at the continental breakfast before they were shuffled onto the bus with about half the other students. The bus was going to return to the hotel to pick up everyone else at ten, they were just the lucky group that had the earliest performance times.

The school the competition was taking place at was nice. The layout was a two story long 'L' shape with a separate gym and auditorium complex. The parking lot was also 'L' shaped, bracketing the main building. It was a newer school and the landscaping was really nice, even though it was pretty barren due to the time of year. Jensen hadn't been there before and neither had the rest of his classmates. They checked in at a desk in the entry and got their room assignment and the information regarding where they would be playing. The orchestra and band were sharing a classroom to store and tune their instruments in.

They found the room easily due to the signs posted around and some very helpful students positioned at various points in the school to act as guides to the visitors. They passed by the schools cafeteria on the way to the classroom. There was a student run concession open, filled with various baked goods, drinks, sodas, and snacks, along with people milling about. He wondered if they would have anything good and decently priced for lunch. The bus wasn't going to leave till the last band student was done around three. That meant they'd probably stop for a very quick dinner on the way out of town and wouldn't be back home till almost eight. He couldn't wait to get home so he could call Jared.

The classroom wasn't that big, but there was enough room for everyone to take their instruments out and tune them. Danneel blearily handed her violin to Mike once he finished with his cello, yesterday completely forgotten. They were all wearing black dress pants and a blue polo shirt with the name of their school emblazoned on the left breast. It was a simple look but dressy enough to make everyone look professional. There was just enough time for them to warm up, running a series of scales and arpeggios, and to run through their quartet several times. Due to the tight quarters they all had mutes on their instruments, but they were plenty loud enough to hear each other.

About an hour after they arrived it was time for them to head to the room where they would be judged. It was another classroom, desks cleared back in an arc leaving enough room for a small audience to take a seat near the door- parents, friends, or those waiting their own turn to play. There were two judges sitting near the center of the room, talking quietly as the quarter before them set up. It was a group of two violins and two cellos and the song they played was beautiful but simple. A fugue.

Once the other group was done the judges talked with them for a few minutes, mentioning certain adjustments they could do or work on to make the piece even better. They ranged from suggestions regarding vibrato to level of sound or the position of a bow.

Danneel's fingers were tapping the melody of their quartet piece out on the edge of the desk while they waited. She was sitting next to him while Mike and Chris were at the back of the room, holding their instruments. The desk chairs were the type with a built in desk. The polished fake wood surface didn't even have a hinge to move it out of the way. They really weren't conducive to holding large instruments while sitting. Instead, Mike was perched on the edge of a desk while Chris leaned against the wall.

It wasn't long before the other group was shuffling out the door, trying not to hit their instruments against the door or the jamb. Chris was nice enough to hold it open for the last two, the female cellist and a violinist. Once the other group was gone they headed to the front to set up, adjusting the placement of stands and shoving one of the chairs off to the side of the room.

The song they were playing started out with just Danneel for three measures before Mike and Chris joined her, followed by Jensen two full measures and a half beat rest after that. The song was about five minutes long and wasn't one of the more common songs played. There were times where one or two of them had several measures of rest, repeated sections, and a good show of a variety of hand positions and bow movements. While they didn't all start out together they ended at the same time, holding the last note out before pulling the bow away practically simultaneously, letting the sound fade.

Jensen let a smile play over his face, breathing in the moment. It had been good, not perfect but really good. All the practice had really paid off. They still had to face the judges critique, but it was worth it. Mrs. Smith was smiling at them from her seat near the door, obviously proud of them. It was a good feeling and he was going to savor it for however long it lasted. From the look on the judges faces, he thought it might just last a while after all.

*****


Mrs. Smith congratulated them on a job well done and asked if they'd be willing to perform at the holiday concert next week between two of the choir groups. She had already discussed having at least one of the groups participating in the competition play with Morgan and Ferris, but had wanted to wait until she heard them play.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around, sitting in on various other performances by students from both their own and other schools, and keeping Mike out of trouble. They stopped at a gas station on the way out of town that was next door to a McDonald's- a different McDonald's then the one from the day before- and were given half an hour to find food and meet back at the bus. It was five past eight when they finally got back home and Jensen ended up getting a ride from Chris.

He called Jared when he got home, after answering Hayden's questions about how things went and what the school was like. Megan answered the phone and immediately passed it on to her brother, but not before yelling 'Jared' straight into the phone. Jensen's ear was still ringing when Jared picked up the other line and forced his sister to hang up. They didn't talk for long, just a few minutes about how things went at the competition and Jared's game. Apparently the football team won again. They were doing really well this season and were definitely going to State.

“That's awesome,” Grinning, Jensen leaned back against a bookshelf. He was in the study, the small room to the left of the front door. He could hear the television in the other room where Denis was watching some sports program or maybe the news. It wasn't loud enough and he wasn't paying enough attention to it to be sure. For all Jensen knew it could be a sitcom.

“Yeah,” There was a moment of silence on the line before Jared spoke again, “Am I ever going to hear your quartet?”

“You want to?” Jensen dropped one leg down, unbending the knee and straightening it out in front of him. There was another bookshelf straight across the room and the toe of his shoe pointed straight at an old set of encyclopedias.

“Of course I want to, dumb ass! You've seen me play football, it's only right that I watch you do something you love.”

“You watched us during practice that one time,” He pointed out, eyes tracing over faded silver lettering.

“Not the same thing. That was practice not a performance. That's like comparing running drills to playing a game of football.”

Rolling his eyes, Jensen felt a smile tug at his lips, “There's a concert Wednesday night, six thirty. It starts at... then and will probably go till almost ten. It's the holiday concert for the music program. We're playing- the quartet. Mrs. Smith asked us to play-”

“I'll be there,” Jared's interrupted him, a smile audible in his voice. “What time should I get there if I want a good seat?”

“Six, probably.”

“Need a ride?”

Jensen shook his head as he spoke, “Nah, Chris is picking me up. We're gonna get there around five thirty and help set up. If you stay- for the whole thing I mean- you could give me a ride home, if you want?”

“Sounds like a plan.”

*****


It was the last week of school before two weeks of Christmas, or winter to be political correct, vacation. Jensen worked Sunday, a full eight hour closing shift, which meant he didn't get to spend any face to face time with Jared. By the time second period rolled around on Monday, he was itching for some sort of contact with his boyfriend. They settled for talking outside of the classroom for a couple minutes before the bell rang, catching each other's hands for a quick squeeze before shuffling into the room after their classmates. Tom and a girl named Charisma were the only two who seemed to notice anything, the former just smiled and rolled his eyes a bit while the latter stared at the back of Jared's head- she sat two seats behind him one row to the left- for the rest of class, eyes a bit wide.

After school Chad gave him a ride to Mr. Singer's to pay for and pick up his viola. The repair job was really good, but even with the repairs Jensen could still tell where the bridge had scraped into the finished wood of the instrument. He supposed that eventually the viola would have gotten a bit of damage, scars of use and time. Even so, Jensen couldn't help but feel like the first should have appeared years down the road.

Tuesday morning, Mrs. Smith pulled him aside while he was putting his stand away to remind him that he was signed up to record his audition pieces for his scholarships and college applications Thursday afternoon. Jensen was a bit nervous about the whole thing. Sure, he could redo it if he messed up but the last time he recorded himself it hadn't sounded very good. Horrible would be a closer description, actually. That had been with a thrift store tape recorder; though, so maybe with the schools equipment it wouldn't be so bad.

The entire Orchestra had been working overtime for the last two weeks, between the competition and concert there was a lot of music to work on. In addition to the quartet, Allie's trio with two of the violinists, junior Sam Jones and sophomore Cassidy Freeman, was also going to be performed during the concert. He was proud of Allie, she worked hard, tried her best, wasn't afraid to ask for help, and took advice to heart rather then ignore it like the third and fourth chair violists did.

On Wednesday Jensen went straight home after school, catching the bus. After making himself a sandwich and snagging some chips and a glass of milk, he settled down at his desk and pulled out his notes and a double spaced rough draft of the essay. Jensen had typed it up Monday during his computer class, wanting to give himself enough time to go through and edit it at least twice. The margins and spaces between the lines were filled with penciled in changes.

Kripke had offered to take a look at their rough drafts and Jensen had taken him up on that, skipping lunch with Jared to do so. Pulling out several clean sheets of notebook paper, he smoothed a hand over them before beginning to rewrite the entire essay. It was due on Friday, the last day before Christmas break. While it was the last school day of the year, it wasn't the last day of the semester. They still had one full week of classes in January before finals. The english teacher had just wanted to make sure that he had enough time to grade the papers due to their length thus having them turn the assignment in before Christmas. That also meant Kripke was going to hand them back after they took the final.

At five o'clock, Jensen changed into his performance attire. He slipped on his black slacks, freshly washed as he did laundry last night after work, a white undershirt and then removed his white dress shirt from the closet. After buttoning it up, he snagged his boots and a fresh pair of socks and headed downstairs to put them on. His viola and music folder were both at the school, Jensen hadn't seen the point in carrying them home for just a couple hours.

Chris picked him up at 5:25 pm and they made it to the music parking lot just after five thirty. There were only about a dozen cars there already, most students wouldn't be coming till just before the concert started unless they were playing first or helping to set up. Jensen always volunteered to help set up for the orchestra and band, it always made him feel better to know that there was going to be enough seating for the orchestra whenever they performed because he made sure of it. During the spring concert his freshman year, Jensen's first concert at this school, there hadn't been enough chairs set out and the orchestra had gone on before the band and after the choir. Attempting to move stands and chairs quietly across a stage while avoiding instruments and people? Not easy at all.

One of the choirs started out the performance, after an introduction by Ms. Ferris, at 6:40, only ten minutes late. The first Orchestra performance, Allie's trio, didn't go on stage till just after seven thirty. Rather then sneak in the back of the auditorium to watch- it was being filmed anyway- Jensen ended up hanging out in the Orchestra room, chatting and watching everyone get ready for their turn on stage. Everything was moving pretty fast. The plan was to not have any really long breaks between the performances. People were free to come and go between groups there just wasn't much time for them to do so. Instead students and parents just attempted to be fairly quiet.

They were shushed several times by students and the music teachers when they passed by as the door to the back of the stage had to remain open to the music building lobby. It was basically a typical concert evening. The orchestra went on around 8:15 and ran through their songs. They were joined by several percussionists and an assortment of brass instruments for their last song, a collection of movie themes. It had only been practiced three times with the members of the band that joined them, but still sounded quite good.

The lights were bright and Jensen couldn't really make out any faces in particular. Margaret had told him she was going to be there with Hayden, Rain, and Adair- Denis had work that night. They weren't going to wait for him after, instead they were going to take off after his quartet played. After the orchestra finished the stage curtain closed and the chamber singers entered from the side door. As quietly as they could, Jensen, Mike, Danneel, Chris, with some help from Mrs. Smith, Allie, and two other students, rearranged the set up for their quartet.

After the chamber singers were done and filing out the back of the auditorium fifteen minutes later, the curtains opened again onto the stage. There was no conductor on stage for them but they didn't need one. Jensen met everyone's gaze and one at a time they nodded before looking at Danneel. She was counting, almost imperceptibly, and with a slight raise of her scroll and a lift of her bow she started, pulling it solidly across the string in a downward path.

His vibrato wasn't as clean as he would have liked it to be. He was nervous, a bit rattled at the thought of the large crowd, an auditorium filled to the brim with students standing along the edges and kneeling behind the back row, and Jared watching him play. Sure, it wasn't the first time Jensen had played in front of an audience- far from it. But it was the first time that it had only been him and three others. The first time someone could actually hear if he messed up and know for sure that it was him. He met Danneel's eyes over the stand, they both had the song completely memorized, had for months. Their fingers, arms, and hands on autopilot. She sent him a smile, bright and reassuring, before turning her gaze back to the sheet music.

Jensen let his eyes drift shut and just felt the notes rush through him, ignored the crowd and focused on doing what he did best. Play.

By the time he made it back to the music room, after one of the best applauses for a string orchestra group he had ever heard during a school concert, his limbs were buzzing with excitement. Jensen's hands were almost shaking and he just knew his lips were spread in a wide goofy smile. He trailed his fingers over the shiny wood surface of his viola as he secured it with a newly affixed piece of velcro before turning his attention to his bow, relaxing the taut hairs before slipping it into it's own slot and twisting the knob that kept it in place.

There were only a few students left in the room, some choir students, including Kenzie and Erica Durance, his quartet, and a few other orchestra students. There was a band group playing now, probably Jazz as Chris wasn't in the room, the sound slightly muffled. He was a bit startled when arms wrapped around his waist and a chin dropped down onto his shoulder.

“Jared?” He twisted his head, hands pausing mid motion as they zipped up his instrument case.

“You were amazing,” Jared beamed at him, leaning down to drop a chaste kiss on his lips before stepping away. The quarterback grinned at a pair of choir students who were openly staring at them. “Take a picture, it'll last longer.”

Dropping his gaze back to his instrument, he finished securing it, pushing down the metal lock. Jensen could feel a blush tinting his cheeks, “Thanks.”

“Hey,” Jared touched his cheek lightly, tilting Jensen's face up towards him, before sliding the hand down to rest on his shoulder. “Amazing is an understatement. I might not be the best judge on classical music or really any performance music outside of a rock concert or two, but it was really, really good.”

“Thanks,” Jensen repeated smiling up at him. He snagged his instrument with his right hand. “I'm just gonna put this away and then we can go, sound good?”

Jared nodded and Jensen could feel his boyfriend's eyes on him as he slipped the viola into a slot on the instrument rack. Turning around he noticed they had a small audience of sophomore or freshman girls watching them. Determined not to let them bother him, Jensen headed back over to his boyfriend and snagged his hand as they made their way out of the music room and towards the parking lot. Without even looking at the quarterback's face, Jensen knew his boyfriend had a wide, dimpled grin plastered on his face.

“I was thinking,” Jared said as they settled into the car, bucking their seat belts. “What do you say we stop by Dairy Queen.”

“So you were thinking with your stomach?” Jensen grinned, meeting Jared's eyes. The other teen just rolled his eyes and shrugged. “I could go for some frozen hot chocolate or a blizzard.”

“I was thinking about a banana split or that brownie and hot fudge dish myself,” Jared slid a hand around the back of Jensen's seat and looked over his shoulder as he backed out.

“Do you ever think with your upstairs brain?” At Jared's grin, Jensen sighed, “Don't answer that.”

*****


The next day was pretty busy as teachers tried to pump that much more information into their students heads, hoping that they wouldn't lose it all during the two week break. Jensen didn't have any work to do during his computer class; so he spent the entire period retyping and editing his paper. It was due the next morning and without a computer at home this was the best time for him to finish it.

After school he headed over to the music room to record his audition tape. Jensen spent half an hour tuning and warming up before Mrs. Smith arrived and set up the recorder for him. He did the regular audition first, two 3-octave scales, a major and a minor, that displayed his shifting ability and technique. While a tape couldn't tell a listener everything about the performer, it could tell them enough. If he did it wrong there might be a squeak or some other tell tale sign. After that he played one movement from a standard concerto before taking a short break to stretch his fingers and double check his instrument to make sure it was tuned correctly. Jensen just wanted to make sure everything was as close to perfect as it could be.

When he felt like he could go on, he recorded a dance movement from a Bach suite before pausing the recording and then, at a nod from Mrs. Smith, restarting it and playing his solo. In the end Jensen recorded his solo three times, just to be sure. The recording set up allowed for it to be transferred to the computer and burned onto a CD so it was easy for Mrs. Smith to piece together the songs in regards to what Jensen needed for the different scholarships and colleges he was applying to.

He was still pretty nervous about it, even if they accepted his audition Jensen would still have to go play in front of the professors or administrators of the scholarships. This was only the first step in a process, but in a way it was still a huge relief. One of the biggest steps was over and it would only be a couple of months before Jensen found out whether or not he could afford to attend college and where he would be heading after high school graduation.

Jensen had already given Samantha a stack of CD's- Jared had driven him to Wal-mart to buy them last week- and she promised to give him the burned copies in the morning so he could sent them out as soon as possible.

There was no football practice that night and Jared was attending some event with his parents at their work, so Jensen ended up walking home. It didn't bother him at all, even if it was pretty chilly out. He had snagged a scarf and gloves from his closet that morning and was wearing a coat over his hoodie. Aside from his nose and cheeks, Jensen was plenty warm.

The next morning school was a bit chaotic. During orchestra they ended up watching the video of the concert. Jensen was pleased at what he heard for the most part. The quality wasn't the best since the video camera was at the back of the auditorium, but still.

At the beginning of second period, Kripke ran quickly through some announcements regarding the break and finals after the break. He handed out a sheet of paper detailing when each period would be having their final- a two hour block of time for each class spread out over four days. On Friday there was a make up final in the morning or for those that took an 'eighth period' special class after school- like Jazz band or some of the vocational classes that met once or twice a week. There was also a web address listed where they could find the schedule on the schools website.

They handed their papers in at the end of class, after a review session going over what they needed to know for the final and the three page summary that was due on the book they were currently reading. Jensen double checked the order of the pages and then slipped it into the folder that held his notes and turned the entire thing in. Kripke wanted the notes so that he could compare them to the information used in the essay. He didn't want them making up anything on the spot.

During Lunch Jared dragged him out to eat, just them. Sub sandwiches were the meal of choice, not Subway but a local sandwich shop. Jared had apparently called ahead of time, between passing periods, and ordered. They had eaten there once before, the week before Thanksgiving, so Jared at least kind of knew what Jensen preferred. The sandwich was tasty. A foot long ham and turkey, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, olives, and a few peppercinis with mustard and mayo. It was really good.

Jared also gave him a ride home that night and it was the last time they saw each other for four days due to Christmas. The quarterback's family drove up to his mother's parents house and stayed there till Tuesday night. Monday was Christmas and Jensen ended up spending the day with his foster family. They went to a special service in the morning at the church Margaret and Hayden attended. There were a lot of people there, dressed in suits and dresses. Hayden whispered to him something about how probably half of the people there only attending due to the holiday. Easter and Christmas Christians or something of the sort. Jensen fidgeted a bit because he fit that description to a 'T'.

Jensen worked mornings the weekend before Christmas, which gave him plenty of time to Christmas shop in the evenings. He already had most of the gifts for his foster family. The only people he still had left to shop for were Adair and his friends- specifically Danneel and Jared. Adair and Danneel were relatively easy. He ended up buying an assortment of beats, plain plastic colors used for making those beaded animals, shiny detailed beads, and small square ones with the letters of the alphabet carved into them, for Adair. Eventually Jensen settled on a gift card to a small craft shop with all sorts of homemade items- soaps, jewelry, clothing, carved statues, and the like for Danneel.

Jared was the hardest person to shop for. Sure, there was a lot of things Jensen saw that he was pretty sure the other teen would really like, but he wanted something special, out of the ordinary, to give him. He wanted the gift to really mean something. It wasn't till Sunday night, just before the shops were closing, that he thought of the perfect thing.

*****


The day after Christmas, Boxing day as the calender posted on the fridge called it, was just an average day. Jensen went to work in the afternoon for the closing shift. While Jared did get home late that night, he didn't call and Jensen didn't call him. There was just no way for Jensen to know for sure when his boyfriend was going to be home and he always felt like an idiot when he left a message on an answering machine or voicemail.

On Wednesday Jensen worked a morning shift with Justin. It was slow in comparison to the weekend, people were back at work and there weren't as many shoppers out and about. Most of after Christmas the sales downtown had been Tuesday only events. His shift ended at five and he caught the bus home in time to make it to dinner, plain old Mac'n'Cheese with sliced sausages mixed in.

The doorbell rang while Jensen was washing dishes and Hayden flounced into the living room to answer it.

“Jensen it's your boyfriend!” She sing-songed from the living room and Margaret scolded her from the kitchen doorway, telling her to let the poor boy inside. It had snowed a bit over the last two days and the ground was covered in a light and slightly slushy powder. The streets were a muddy mess.
His hands stilled mid swipe of the washrag. He was up to his elbows in soap suds as he scrubbed the strainer free of residual starch. Glancing up at Margaret, question in his gaze, Jensen met her eyes as she returned to his side, picking up another plate from the drain rack to towel dry.

“Oh go on, spend some time with your boyfriend, hon,” She smiled at him and shooed him away.

Jensen was just peeling off the long yellow rubber gloves when Jared entered the room. The other teen had a bit of stubble on his upper lip and chin and was wearing jeans and a gray sweatshirt. It had been four and a half days since they last saw each other and Jensen thought his boyfriend looked better than ever.

Shuffling his feet slightly on the linoleum, Jared smiled at him, “Hey Jensen.” There was a small package in his hand, wrapped in what looked to be the comic section of the newspaper with a green bow stuck onto the top.

“Hey,” Biting his lip, Jensen cleared his throat and motioned towards the basement door. “Wanna meet me downstairs? In the basement? I'll be right down gotta get your gift. The gift I bought for you, it's upstairs.”

“Yeah, okay,” Jared smiled. Nodding, Jensen headed towards the kitchen door to go upstairs. He was stopped as he passed his boyfriend when the other teen wrapped his long arms around Jensen's shoulders, clasping his hands on Jensen's left bicep and hunched slightly to rest his cheek against the top of Jensen's shoulder. “Missed you.”

Jensen blinked, a blush spreading over his cheeks as he just knew Hayden and Margaret were watching them. Slowly, he twisted in Jared's grasp and wrapped his arms around his boyfriend's back, returning the hug. “Me, too.”

They broke apart a minute later and Jensen hurriedly retrieved his gift from upstairs, taking the both sets of stairs two or three at a time in his haste. Jared was sitting on the couch when he got downstairs, looking around the room, inspecting the changes that had occurred since he was last down there with his eyes.

“You guys did a great job down here.”

“Yeah, we're not done yet though,” Jensen paused, standing in front of the couch a few feet from the other teen. “We still have some touching up to do and the bedroom needs to be finished and the bathroom, too. Another coat of paint, probably. Maybe a new carpet or the wood floors. Fake wood floors. If Denis can afford it in the spring, anyway.”

Nodding Jared quirked an eyebrow at him, “Sit down, you're making my legs tired with all the standing.”

Jensen felt a large hand grip his wrist and pull him down. He let Jared maneuver him a bit, didn't mind it all that much, till they were sitting, sides flush together. The gift Jared had been holding earlier suddenly appeared right in front of his face.

“Merry Christmas Jensen,” Jared murmured, breath brushing across Jensen's cheek as he spoke.

Instead of moving to take the gift, Jensen lifted up his own, packaged in a medium sized bag and wrapped in tissue paper. “Trade ya.”

“Deal.”

They switched gifts, Jared's arm dropping down from where it had been resting behind Jensen's shoulder on the back of the couch so he could tear into the package. Jensen had taped the top shut to prevent anyone from peeking in and it proved a tad difficult for Jared to open.

By the time Jensen had removed all the 'wrapping paper', which was actually the Sunday comic section from two weeks ago, Jared had just gotten the tape off the top of the bag. Making a face he stuck it to Jensen's shoulder. The violist just grinned, eyes turning back to the small black box. It was an actual box, made out of a cardboard type paper. The same stuff used to make the back of most action figures boxes.

“Candy!” He glanced up at Jared as his boyfriend dropped the white tissue paper onto the floor and stared into the bag. “And... a bracelet?” Hazel eyes met green and Jensen swallowed hard, finger tracing over the seem where lid met side of the box of his own gift.

“Yeah, I,” Jensen blushed a bit and dropped his gaze back down to his hands. The box was black with a few silver, or gray, stripes crossing diagonally on it. “I made it? I'm sorry I'm not really good at gifts-”

“Jensen,” Jared interrupted him, grasping his face between two large hands. “Thank you. I love it.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Jensen could see the bracelet. It was already around Jared's wrist, simple and masculine- a mix of beads and knots. It was similar to the one he wore but different enough to be original. He had stayed up late on Sunday to work on it and had continued working on it Monday when he had time, knowing he wouldn't see Jared till at least Tuesday night.

Warm lips were suddenly on his and Jensen could feel the stubble that Jared had let grow brush against his own skin. He moaned into the kiss, disappointed when his boyfriend pulled back after a few long moments.

“Open the box?” Jared asked, smile quirking his lips as he leaned his head against Jensen's. “It's nowhere near as good as what you got me. I'm not really crafty or anything...”

Lifting the lid, Jensen tilted the box so he could see into it and drew in a sharp breath.

“I know we haven't been going out long and all, but I wanted you to have a better reminder than those notes. One that doesn't get shredded in the washing machine or fade with time,” Jared rushed to say, hands pulling away from Jensen and dropping into his lap. “You don't have to wear it if you don't want to... I just saw it and thought you'd like it-”

“I do,” Jensen shoved his shoulder against Jared's side playfully. “I really do love it, Jared. Thank you.” Lifting it from the box, he inspected it. It was a simple silver color, Jensen wasn't sure what it was made out of but it was heavy. Not exactly the cheapest thing in the world. There was a slight indentation in the center of the ring, but other then that it was pretty plain.

He slipped it onto his finger and looked up at Jared. The taller teen had a smile on his face and a bit of a flush on his own cheeks. Reaching up, Jensen wrapped a hand around the base of Jared's skull and pulled his boyfriend toward him, smashing their lips together haphazardly. The kiss was only awkward for a moment before they adjusted and then it was just awesome. They spent the next hour making out and cuddling until Margaret, armed with a dirty clothes hamper- which was suspiciously full of what looked to be Hayden's clothes- clomped noisily down the staircase to start a load of laundry.

*****


On New Years Eve, Jared talked Jensen into going with him to a party. Instead of Chad's it took place at Tom's house and was slightly less chaotic. There was still beer but the guy's parents were home, chaperoning upstairs. It boggled Jensen's mind a bit that they were actually allowing the high schoolers to drink. Granted with them there it was actually in a controlled setting and they were being watched and prevented from getting behind a wheel or leaving till they sobered up. That had to be better than letting them drink without supervision, Jensen supposed.

He spent most of the remainder of the vacation hanging out with Jared and working. Due to the holiday he managed to get 35 hours each week which pretty much paid for his new eye glasses and helped replenish his bank account. The past few months Jensen had spent over four times what he usually did in six months and had been just a little nervous about the lowered numbers in his account. Not that he was in any danger of going broke... he just didn't like to spend a lot of money at once.

The week after vacation was a mix of hectic studying, boring review sessions, and filling out and sending in applications to half a dozen different colleges- all of the state schools and a private school that he wasn't really that interested in going to, but he had heard some good things about the music program. They did get back the results from the competition and the news that their quartet had won and were going to the state competition in the spring. It was surreal news- no one had gone to the state music competition from the orchestra at their school for nearly a decade.

The first final Jensen had on Monday was for Calculus and he spent all day Saturday studying for it with Jared. They didn't even share more than two kisses the entire time. That was followed by his orchestra final, a simple theory exercise along with being called into the closet practice area individually to play two scales and a random section of a piece for Mrs. Smith.

Tuesday morning at ten o'clock was his english final. Two hours were spent answering multiple choice questions regarding the vocab sheets that had been doing bi-weekly since the beginning of the year, the once a month grammar test, and short answers asking questions about the books they had been reading as a class. The last part of the test was an essay asking them to analyze the main theme of one of the books and explain its relevancy politically, economically, or socially during the era it was written or today.

The test wasn't that difficult but Jensen took his time, double checking every answer once he was finished and rereading his essay before handing it in. Kripke was sitting at a desk right next to the door, already grading the multiple choice sections. As he handed his teacher the test, Jensen noticed that Jared was gone, probably already finished with his exam and either headed home or waiting in the indoor lobby the room was connected to.

“Thank you Mr. Ackles,” Kripke looked over each section, making sure Jensen had written his name in and checking which version of the test it was before placing them in the correct piles. “I have to say I really enjoyed your essay, you and Mr. Padalecki both did an excellent job.”

“Thanks,” He muttered in reply, watching as his teacher shuffled through the small pile of the remaining papers.

“Ah here you go,” Kripke smiled up at him, glasses catching the light from the fluorescent overhead lights and flashing almost pure white for a moment. “See you Monday.”

Taking the folder, Jensen nodded and sent the teacher a half smile before turning and heading out the door. Jared was waiting in the lobby for him, leaning back on the circular bench seat in the middle of the room. Walking over to his boyfriend, Jensen flipped open the folder and pulled out his essay. He opened it to the last page and smiled at the blue writing- a large capitol 'A' with a circle around it followed by a long paragraph of Kripke's illegible scrawl.

“I got an A, you?” Jared asked tilting his head to the side.

“Yeah, me too...” Jensen trailed off, dropping down to sit next to Jared on the bench. “Trade ya? If you want to that is...”

“Sure,” The quarterback held out the essay and slid Jensen's out of his hand. Tentatively, Jensen reached out and took the paper Jared had written about him, flipping it open to the first page and beginning to read it.

The paper was good, better than good, and by the time he was done reading he was blushing. It wasn't all from embarrassment either. The last two lines had rocked him to the core, startled him and made him realize just how well Jared got him.

Looking up at his boyfriend, Jensen watched as Jared's eyes moved across the pages he had written about the quarterback, cat like hazel orbs darting from line to line. Unable to wait, Jensen almost launched himself at his boyfriend, pressing against his side and reaching one hand up to pull Jared in for a kiss. Chapped lips met and were quickly soothed by slick tongues as they danced into each others mouth.


Jensen heard the sound of paper rustling as it landed on jean clad thighs and then slid onto the floor. He ignored it in favor of twisting his free hand into Jared's shirt as the other teen wrapped his arms around Jensen's back and pulled him closer. Distantly, he could hear the sounds of sneakers on the linoleum floor and feel the rush of air as the doors to the outside opened and shut. Right now Jensen didn't care who saw them, didn't care if they were given detention or made fun of. Nothing but the feel of Jared's lips against his own, the press of Jared's hands against his skin mattered.


When they had first started the assignment, Jensen had never expected anything like what ended up happening to occur. He had been filled with dread, worried about what Jared would think, what he would say and interpret about his life. Never in a million years had Jensen thought things would ever come together in this way.


“...For Jensen life is just a series of notes just waiting to be played. No matter what they may be, how difficult or out of tune they are, he just takes them and creates a magnificent composition.”


*****

Fine

Anote: That's all till the time stamps. Thank you everyone for reading and I really hope you all enjoyed it!

88's Suri

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