Disclaimer: I do not know/own/what have you Jensen Ackles, I do however
A/N: it's been a while since I've written fic, so I may be a little rusty, main issue being characterization, not making excuses, I'm merely asking for understanding/help (yeah, yeah, I can be pretty pathetic on occasion, just be kind, please ::clutches heart::). Title and cut line from Foucault's Northbound 35.
He opens the envelope, upends it on the coffee table and falls back in the couch when only a little straw hat falls out, tiny doll garment she somehow saw fit he had. Nothing more, no letter, no pictures. Nothing. He wonders what the message could be, if there’s even one.
“When I was little,” she whispers, “I wanted to be car racer. Wanted to travel the world, drive fast and never stop. Never see…”
She doesn’t finish and he thinks he knows what she meant. The little yellow car she’s been rolling across his forearm falls from her hand when he pulls her closer, hugs her to his chest.
“But if you never stopped driving…”
She doesn’t let him finish, her lips softly pressing against his half-spoken sentence, and he thinks she knows what he meant.
The first time he saw her she wore her hair braided and bright, bright eyes, a red t-shirt and someone else’s kid clinging to her leg as she faked roaring noises and the boy giggled to his heart’s content.
He pictured what her child would actually look like, hopefully her smile (laughter) would be passed on, her shiny hair, his green eyes and maybe, if the child was really lucky, Jensen’s own mama’s weakness for French writers. The little boy came loose and fell on his back, laughing and calling for Isa to lay next to him, she –Isa- sat down on the grass and looked up, straight at Jensen. And didn’t look away.
He scrambled and almost tipped a trash can over in his rush to run back to his comfort zone, away from her crooked little smile and his wild fantasies of a family.
The third envelope brings a picture. He holds it by the edges, careful not to leave fingerprints over the matte paper, the almost perfect framing. Taken with a digital, then.
On the back, with a black Sharpie and no capitals, she wrote “there was a gypsy woman selling papers here earlier, she read my palm and said the man for me would have green eyes. i bought her five morning editions. still can’t read the news, though ;p”
A light pole, black. A one way street curving away. A pale blue wall and a stone bench. His imagination supplied the woman, the stack of papers and Isa’s slow smile.
One morning he wakes up to find Isa’s leg dangling over the edge of his table, four chairs around her and she sits on the table. He’d say something, but she’s drinking coffee, her eyes fixed on his, challenged unsaid, but issued in the only way he’d understand. She knows how to fight, he’ll give her that.
When he walks into the kitchen, he finds the coffee pot in the sink, brownish water in it’s rounded belly, too dark to be from dregs. He curses under his breath.
“I don’t need this shit, kid.” He says, viciously.
“Then why do you take it?” He’s almost on the hallway when she asks, neutral as anything. The door shuts loud against the world’s stillness.
Jensen won’t ask himself. Will not give into her taunt. It doesn’t occur to him until much later, that maybe that’s exactly what she wanted.
It’s a week before they stop playing tag on the phone and Isa comes back to his bed.
Her body is warm, warmer than the summer breeze wheezing by, when she sits next to him. Too close.
“So. I have this theory”, she says. All smiles and gentle pressure of her presence.
“Do you, now?.” Jensen gives himself a mental high five when his voice comes out steady. Confident, even.
She nods, tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and continues, “once I break the ice, you’ll pretend to take over, and I’ll get a free ice cream out of you”
Her smile is blinding and he finds himself nodding, wishing she’d move farther away, wishing she’d hold his hand.
The security guard hands him a box when he comes in one night.
“Mail came in today. Kinda hard sliding this under your door”
Jensen smiles, takes the box and says “and here I thought postmen appreciated a good challenge.”
“Maybe. But they also appreciate not going to prison over B&E”
As soon the elevator door closes, he’s ripping the brown paper open, bunching it into his left pocket to pluck his keys from the right one.
Inside the box he finds a little wooden train, two wagons joined by a feeble stick. Under it a pile of postcards held together with a purple ribbon that still smells like Isa’s shampoo. She didn’t write anything on the cards, but Jensen thinks he gets the meaning of this composition, anyway.
The train stays on the coffee table (with the straw hat) while he figures out what to do with it. The postcards and the picture he puts away in a drawer.
“I don’t think he ever liked me much” his hand runs through her hair, little ponytail coming apart under his insistent fingers, her chin on his chest and his heart fluttering crazily beneath his skin.
“How come?” she asks, quiet. Patient.
“He said I could be better. I just had to want it bad enough.” Jensen doesn’t realize the anger slipping into his tone until Isa’s pressing her hands against his arms, pushing herself up to his eye level, until the bed dips as she shifts her weight to kiss under his jaw. Languid little motions she goes through, calm touches to tell him she’s here, there’s nothing to fear.
“I always thought he was right. Always thought I didn’t want it bad enough”
“Want what bad enough?” she asks to the juncture of his shoulder and neck. It’s a cold night and suddenly he can’t breathe.
“To be the best.” It comes out just like that, brain-mouth filter completely bypassed. He looks at her, fear clogging his throat and maybe a little bubble of hope slowly growing in the bottom of his belly.
Years of inadequacy laid bare in front of her, fallen heroes set in flames in those four words and it all comes down to this. It all comes down to how silly she might think him now.
“Well, you can tell your uncle he’s wrong,” she says, serious expression and eyes unwavering from his. “You can tell him (that I say) you’re amazing”
“You have no idea”
“Isa…” he warns. Doesn’t really know how that phrase ends. Doesn’t care at all when she kisses him, open mouthed and driving the point home.
“It’s Isa, by the way” she tells him, a dark drop of ice cream lingering on her lip, it’s distracting.
“That a short for something?” he’s on auto pilot, right knee so close to her leg under the table he’s convinced he can feel her heat against it. Isa just smiles and shakes her head.
“My mom liked how it sounded” Jensen watches her hand toy with the napkin holder, her hair fall on her shoulder, that droplet on her skin.
He doesn’t think about it, just reaches for her face, drags his thumb over her lip and maybe lingers for a second too long, Jensen’s ready to apologize when she shies away from his touch, a small smile and the slightest of blushes tainting her cheeks. Something flutters in his stomach.
“It has a nice ring to it” he finally admits. Her blush deepens and he’s finally catching up.
The first envelope is half inside, half outside his apartment, right under the door. He sees it on his way to the kitchen in the morning, with no coffee in his system and blurry eyes he pretends to ignore it, tells himself he’s still asleep and come to think of it, he’s probably late for work already, his impatience with the coffee pot and the burnt toast has nothing to do with the brown thing on the floor.
Standing by the table, cup of coffee drawing wet rings on the wood, he looks at the picture, doesn’t touch it. Doesn’t really know why his heart won’t slow the fuck down.
Inside a train, window to the left of the frame, her shadow projected against the red surface of the empty seat taking most of the room in the picture. Across the middle of it, in thick capitals “WISH YOU WERE HERE”.
Six weeks later, the fifth envelope contains a note. Some napkin from an unnamed place, folded in half protecting her blue inked confession.
“I miss you”
“I’m sorry, Jensen. I really am”
She sounds honest enough, still, that’s not good enough.
“Why?” He asks. Hundredth time, maybe. “I just. Why?”
Isa’s standing there, cornered by his height and the closet door, he can feel her breathing on his skin, puffs of hot air against his chest that only seem to stoke him. Though he’s not angry, not really. Just. “Why?”
“I don’t know” is a whisper, helpless plea for compassion, pity, understanding. Who the hell knows?
She’s not scared, and he’s not angry. She’s not lying and he wasn’t expecting her to. She’s just leaving on impulse, he doesn’t know if he wants to stop her.
Her hand flattens on his chest, small and soft, he wants to kiss it, kiss her. He steps back, gives her room.
“It’s just. Too much, Jensen. Sometimes it’s too much” there are tears in her voice, but not in her eyes. She won’t cry for him.
Jensen runs a hand over his face, focuses on the wall behind her, takes a deep breath and fights the urge to throw up.
“So you run away” he rasps. She doesn’t say anything and he can’t decide whether that’s better or worse. His stomach hurts.
He kisses her that very night. Walks her to her building and doesn’t let go of her hand when she pulls out her keys. Isa smiles at him and his decision is made.
Her lips are soft and moist and closed and he leaves it at that. A simple contact that may or may not have sent a more-than-slight thrill skating across his skin. Her cheeks are pinkish again, Jensen thinks that’s the prettiest thing he’s ever seen.
“Good night” she says, lower lip catching between her teeth and her eyes trying to avoid his, not having much success.
“Can I see you again?” Jensen blurts out, feeling like a total dork a fraction of a second later.
“Wrong question” the smile she gives him, all sly and superior makes his hands itch, makes him want to reach out and kiss her again, coax her lips apart for his tongue to taste. Makes him want to take.
“Uh. When can I see you again?” he tries. She nods her approval and pushes up unto her tiptoes, and this time they kiss longer, deeper, it makes him dizzy.
Something wakes him, it takes Jensen a moment to figure out is the door. Someone’s knocking on his door at oh-fuck in the morning. He considers ignoring it, even as he’s feeling his way out of bed, tangling his foot on a sheet and escaping a broken nose by mere inches. The lamp was not so lucky, it falls and clatters, metal against wood and maybe that was the light bulb shattering, he can’t be sure, can’t concentrate.
She’s knocking on his door at oh-fuck in the morning.
“Jensen? Are you all right in there?” a cautious silence, he holds his breath. “Jensen?”
Finally his muscles come back to life, he’s no longer sleepy. He’s no longer angry. He’s… confused. Possibly overwhelmed. He moves, sole focus on the door, on how far away it is, how few steps takes him to get there.
Isa’s still shorter than him. This is the first brilliant observation he makes. Isa.
“Are you okay?” she asks again. Hands half way to reaching out for him. “I heard a rattle”
He doesn’t move, doesn’t answer. She’s back. And she’s looking at him, waiting for something. Waiting. She nods, blinks rapidly several times, takes a deep breath.
“Sorry, shouldn’t have come” a whisper. He’s frozen. “I’ll go. Sorry”
Jensen’s hand shots out and grabs her sleeve, pulls her in. He’s not frozen anymore, he’s warm all over, maybe even flushing a little, his heart’s beating so fast. She still uses the same shampoo he remembers, still owns that brown hoodie and still holds him standing on her tiptoes.
She still fits in his arms.
“Isa” part of him is readying the speech, the questions, the anger. But the other part is completely still, completely flummoxed. She’s back. “You’re back”
“I missed you” there are tears in her eyes this time round, but her voice is firm and his skin tingles.
“So you came home”
“So I came home”
Honestly, deep down he never thought she’d come back. It makes him dizzy.