I dream a highway back to you

To get to Texas from Vancouver, you have to drive more than two thousand miles. You drive along nine interstates and three highways. If you’re lucky it’ll take you three days, but realistically, to get there without getting yourself or someone else killed, it would take you about five.

That doesn’t mean Jared wouldn’t do it. It just means he thinks about it a lot.

Jared’s not a homesick kind of guy, not really. He misses his family, but he’s 24 years old and has been living in LA for a long time now. He loves going home to see everybody, but he’s made a life for himself outside of his family, outside of San Antonio. But there are some things he misses, things that pull on his heart that are so filled with the idea of *home* that he can’t extricate himself from them. And he doesn’t really want to try.

Like when he goes home, if it’s early enough in the morning when his plane gets in, his momma will take him to Estela’s. They’ll get coffee and fresh-made pan and listen to the band sing strongly-accented mariachi for folks who are more likely to be the family of the owner than any tourist wandering in. Or on Fridays, hit up El Jarro with his siblings, then maybe a bar that they very carefully don’t tell their parents about.

He and his brother used to spend hours in Hogwild, flipping through the cds and tapes and all the things they wanted so bad when they were teenagers that Jared can’t even remember now, though they were so important at the time. Ice-cream on starlit nights, joyriding out through the country with the windows open and hands flying out, the sweet smell of barbeque at summer family reunions. Jared thinks about this stuff a lot, more when he’s in Vancouver than anywhere else ’cause those two thousand miles never seem so far than when he crosses the Canada border.

Jared doesn’t think Jensen gets homesick, not like Jared does. Jensen talks sometimes about Dallas, but Jared remembers Dallas as a big, sprawling, dusty place made up mostly of indoors to get away from the heat. He didn’t like it much, all glass and chrome, the streets sparse even in the middle of the day. It just wasn’t his kind of town, and apparently it wasn’t Jensen’s either, ’cause he’s been living in California for years and never looked back.

One day, after a cold, wet, rainy shoot that involved way too many layers of Carhart getting way too drenched for late-fall weather, Jared was lying down in his trailer, with David Allen Coe on his iPod and a John Wayne film playing soundlessly on the television. He was trying to get some warmth back in his bones while the set was being torn down; they’d be out there again tomorrow, and they had to stick around the set for some blocking before they would be cleared to leave, so Jared was looking for a little peace and something to remind him that weather didn’t suck this bad everywhere.

He closed his eyes, and when he opened them again, Jensen was sitting there playing solitaire. Jared shifted to look at him, letting his headphones drop out of his ears. “Just thought you could use some company,” Jensen said quietly. “You left the set pretty tense.”

Jared gave a one-armed shrug. “Just tired, I guess,” he said shortly.

“Miss home?” Jensen said, in one of those too-frequent glimpses into what Jared was thinking.

“Yeah,” Jared said a little roughly. “Yeah, I do.”

“Tell me about it,” Jensen said encouragingly. To Jared’s surprise, he did–told Jensen all about the stupid things he did in high school, the practical jokes and the football games and the thing with the tuba and the cows. He told Jensen about pulled pork sandwiches with pickles and beer kegs in an open field and the bright, arid warmth of a San Antonio Saturday that was making him miss Texas so bad.

He told Jensen about the winding road down to Texas from British Columbia. He told Jensen a lot of things.

Jensen just listened, laughed and nodded in the appropriate places, kicked at the sofa where Jared was resting a little, until one of the PA’s knocked on the door and told them to get their asses back outside for blocking. Jensen helped him up and Jared sighed, grabbing a fleece to wear under the hoodie waiting for him.

“Cheer up, dude,” Jensen said, clapping him on the back. “Break’s in a couple weeks. You should go home then.”

Jared shrugged. “Don’t really have time. Besides, I don’t really miss it that bad. Just sometimes. When the weather’s all crappy.”

Jensen grinned. “Then you must miss it damn bad every day of the year.”

Jared returned the smile. “Yeah. You’re probably right.”

Jared got over it, got through the blocking and the rest of the week and the snow that happened just as they were getting into the last part of the major scene for the episode they were filming and had to call off shooting until the next day. He got through being cold and wrapped in down and North Face and clutching coffee in his hands all the time, even when he wasn’t going to drink it. He got through it all, and it was with a lot of relief that the crew finally closed down shooting and sent everyone home for a five-day weekend (or, as they called it, Weekend: The Extended Remix). Jared went home, met his dogs, and sat down like a lump on the couch, looking around to the trash heap that was his apartment. He sighed, and it seemed like he fell asleep in seconds.

When he woke, it was to half-filtered sunlight playing across his face, the heavy weight of the dogs piled over his feet on the far end of the couch, and the smell of coffee. Coffee? Jared poked his head up over the couch and saw Jensen there, looking disgustingly refreshed with a mug in his hand and another on the counter.

“What’re you doing here?” Jared asked muzzily, pushing the hair out from his eyes. He felt hung-over, like he always did when he started to repay the first of a very big part of his sleep debt.

“Thought you might try and off yourself because you miss Texas so bad,” Jensen said with mock seriousness, and Jared flipped him the finger. Jensen laughed and poured him a cup of coffee, which Jared took gratefully.

“I do have a plan, though,” Jensen said. He grabbed the bag by the door–it was from the video store, and Jared looked up to see a selection of Texan films. “Your pick. We can make fun of van der Beek trying to play football, or throw on a couple of westerns.”

Jared snickered. “We should make fun of van der Beek.” His stomach rumbled. “After breakfast.”

Jensen raised a hand. “I also have a plan for this.” He pulled a piece of paper from his bag, which turned out to be a printed recipe for heuvos rancheros. “You had, like, half an onion and some ketchup in your fridge the last time I was here,” he said, raising an eyebrow. “So I took the liberty of getting you some actual food. Hope you don’t mind the imposition.”

Jared snorted. “Says the dude who lives on take-out.”

“Hey, you can order yourself a perfectly balanced meal that way!” Jensen protested. “Anyway, I *can* cook. You’ve seen me cook. You’ve had my cooking.”

Jared waved his hand. “I trust you, man. Rancheros it is.”

Jensen looked pleased.

It turned out Jensen *could* cook a good set of heuvos, and they ate breakfast while laughing at what a tool Paul Walker always had been and always will be. They decided to go with the football theme and put on Friday Night Lights after, trading jibes back and forth about the Cowboys and the college teams and even their old high school football teams–even though Jensen never played football once in his life, hell, didn’t even talk through most of high school, he *still* had an opinion on State Division Tournaments.

It felt a little like being home again.

When the buzzer went off around two in the afternoon, Jensen got a light in his eyes and made Jared sit and wait on the couch while he ran downstairs and signed for whatever was coming. Jared smelled it before Jensen came in, the faint scent of cardamom and chilli powder, and his mouth was watering before the door even clicked.

“Tell me that isn’t–” Jared said with longing in his voice.

“It is,” Jensen said with pride.

“Bill Miller’s,” they said at the same time with a mixture of reverence usually only used for church and the Rose Bowl.

“How the hell did you get this here?” Jared said between huge bites of pork and long gulps of beer that Jensen had thoughtfully shoved into the back of the fridge whenever the hell he’d arrived.

“I have connections,” Jensen said mysteriously, and wouldn’t say more even when Jared punched him in the arm and threatened to sit on him with the dogs for help.

“Just say thanks and shut the hell up!” Jensen said, laughing and almost choking on his food.

“Thanks,” Jared said, happiness evident in his voice. “Thanks, Jensen.”

Jensen smiled. “You’re welcome.”

They drank beer slowly for the rest of the day, sitting on the couch and talking through a couple more movies; Jared felt the tension that had been building up behind his eyes for the last few weeks drain away like a healing wound.

When the sky turned dark, Jensen pulled Jared outside and they kicked up their feet and looked at the winter night sky, miraculously clear. The stars weren’t quite the same, but Jared didn’t know them well enough to tell the difference, and they stayed out there until they were shivering and even the dogs wanted to go in.

Jensen broke out the tequila he’d tucked away, and Jared made approving noises at the brand. “Nice, dude.”

“Only the best for you,” Jensen said, sticking out his tongue. Jared felt something in his gut and tamped down the feeling as fast as it came. They did a shot and then Jensen mixed it with the pineapple juice he brought, which almost didn’t work but was good enough for them, the way they were feeling. The television was turned off, and Jared had thrown on the Townes Van Zandt cd his sister burned for them. They sat in companionable silence on the couch.

“You know, I miss it too, sometimes,” Jensen said. “This makes me miss it more. But I was outta there as soon as I could swing it. It wasn’t where I wanted to be.”

Jared nodded.

“But I can see why you love it so much,” Jensen said, shifting towards Jared and meeting his eyes. “It’s easy to see why you love it so much.”

“It’s home,” Jared said. “At the end of the day, when I’m thinking of home, that’s where I wanna be.”

“Yeah,” Jensen said. “I kinda know that feeling,” he said, and gently grabbed Jared’s head to pull him into a kiss.

It was slow, and a little sloppy, but Jared was glad his drink was on the table because it meant he could put his hands on Jensen, stroke up his thighs and tighten on his waist, pull him closer until they were lying parallel on the couch, breathing the same air.

“Good thing we got a break right now,” Jared huffed out, laughing a little. “I want some time to spend on this.”

“Me too,” Jensen said.

“Thanks for bringing me home, Jensen.”

Jensen kissed him. “You’re welcome.”