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Title: From Rome, With Love
Fandom: Supernatural RPF
Characters/Pairings: Jensen Ackles, Danneel Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Pre-pairing fic focused on Jensen/Danneel and Jensen/JDM, which at some point will become J/J/D.
Warnings: None.
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 8437
Summary: Jensen can turn into a cat, and he’s found a very special way to use this talent. He and his best friend Danneel travel the world stealing small expensive pieces of art, living a wild and carefree life. On a job in Rome, Jensen meets Jeff, and things start to change.

Author notes: Forsalty_catfish based on her beautiful drawing for the RBB- found here. I haven’t been to Rome in a few years so sincere apologies for any wrong details! This is meant to be silly light hearted fun, and decidedly unrealistic (if Jensen as a shapeshifter doesn’t convince you of that, the premise of him and Danneel being thieves, and Jeff being an innocent art-evaluator should do!) This is not allied with the actual RBB challenge- I'm not signed up as a pinch hitter or anything, I just wanted to get this picture a story.

Now cleaned up and fixed.




The best thing about Rome in the spring, Jensen had decided long ago, was that it was at exactly the right heat level for him to flop down on a bed bathed in sunlight, and to be warmed right through to his bones, without being scorched by the heat that would parch the city come the summer months. They'd be long gone by then of course, heading to the south of France, to the villas in the wine regions. But for now, they were enjoying Rome in the Easter sun, appreciating the architecture, the food, the wine and the easy marks. He could feel Danneel next to him on the bed, soaking up the sun as well. He'd long ago decided that Danneel came as close as any cat did to appreciating the sun and back-scratches both, and filled with sudden affection he butted his head against her, and her fingers automatically threaded into his fur and began stroking him just the way he liked as they lay together in the sun.


The heat was sinking into his bones now, and he stretched out long and luxurious, thinking once again that nothing quite topped this for pleasure, sad that it was something he could only ever properly feel in his cat form, but appreciative that he got to do so. "Dinner, Dinner, Dinner," he said to Danneel, knowing that if she concentrated she would be able to hear the underlying purr as well as the words. She had to focus though, after many experiments they'd found out between them, that to her Jensen’s speech was as clear as glass, and that she could rarely hear him as the cat that he appeared to be to everyone else.


"Batman," she replied drowsily, face turned up towards the white ceiling, eyes tightly closed against the glare of the sun. There were downsides as well as upsides to your hotel room's window facing west, when it was mid afternoon.


It was funny he thought, lazily extending his claws, as the sensuous pleasure of being stroked rolled through him, how much life had changed since he met Danneel. The shock of realizing that there was someone in the world who could understand him when he was in cat form, and who didn't run screaming away was still alive and well in him no matter how much time had passed, and he didn't think he could ever be grateful enough for finding her.


It took an effort to make himself shift back, like it always did. Being a cat was simpler sometimes. He was still Jensen, still a human in a cat's body, but there was something about the particular feeling of being a cat that he clung onto, a laziness and an ease, an awareness of the smallest pleasures of life- someone stroking your fur, the warmth of the sun, the grace and strength of a body that could jump three times its own height if it had to. But if they were going to be in a position to take advantage of the particular talents of this form then he was going to have to be human. Tonight they were attending an art gallery opening, with a display of original art. Small, exclusive, invite-only, like what Rome needed, or indeed Italy in general was another art gallery. Here it was though that they made their bread and butter. A couple more jobs and they'd be off again, wherever the wind blew them.


It was liberating to be able to live like this, nothing to push or pull you, travelling the world with a friend, and no obligations. There wasn't anything he'd prefer in the world that he could think of. Standing with a sigh, he stretched himself long and hard, reaching towards the ceiling feeling his bones crack. It wasn't nearly as satisfying in human form as stretching full body style as a cat was, but it was still pretty good. One of the oddities of his condition as he usually euphemistically called it, was that apparently clothes stuck around. They didn't pool on the floor, and when he changed back he was wearing whatever he'd been wearing originally. Sometimes of the bizarre things about his situation that was the one Jensen found it hardest to grasp. Which was strange, because honestly changing into a cat should be weirder than keeping his clothes during that transformation.


Despite the oddness he couldn't help but be thankful though. Having to find clothes every single time he changed back would've been difficult (and expensive.) As it was within minutes of changing back he was ready to go out, and just waiting for Danneel to stop pottering around in the bathroom. Eventually she came out, still fixing her earrings, wearing a light caramel colored dress and heels, and holding out a necklace. "Can you do this up for me?" she asked turning round to present him with the zip of the dress, and handing him the necklace as well, like a two-for-one whammy.


"Sure," he murmured, drawing the zip up past the middle of her back, over her smooth skin, before he moved the mass of red hair that she'd left undone streaming down her back to her left shoulder, so he could fit her necklace properly, the gold lines gleaming against her skin, feeling the coolness of the metal, against the warmth of her neck. It was at moments like this that he couldn't remember why they'd decided it would be a silly idea for them to get together, when he could feel the warmth of attraction flickering between them. Then as he lowered her hair gently back, he remembered once again how they'd decided that best friends lasted longer than lovers, and that neither of them wanted to lose the best friend that they'd ever had (not to mention in a very real sense their business partner.)


She turned round, and for a moment he was lost in how close she was to him, the delicate scent of her hair and skin overwhelming him, until with a cough she stepped back, and did a twirl. "Enough to wow?" she asked, and he grinned at her.


"More than enough. The job's as good as done."




Both of them were constitutionally adapted for parties which was lucky because otherwise they'd have been shit out of luck given the work they'd chosen, but the preliminary gambits of a game were the least interesting bits, and wandering amongst strangers and attempting to find vaguely complimentary things to say about paintings that looked like they'd been done by a fifth grader on crack wasn't the best way they'd ever spent a night especially since they’d arrived only ten minutes late, which meant hardly anybody else was there. Danneel was almost immediately buttonholed by a dark, intense looking fellow who while actually being American insisted in broken Italian, on telling her the beauty of what she was witnessing, while at the same time barely raising his eyes above her chest, and Jensen was seized by the actual artist, who was an almost exaggerated caricature of a mad artist, Spanish, very tall, extremely thin, with a beret, and who Jensen noted with astonishment had bare feet. She had a lot to say and very quickly indeed, and even though he could speak Spanish, he was still barely catching one word in two. It took some time for them both to escape and to regroup battered but not broken by the buffet table.


Exclusive the opening might be, but the wine was not up to scratch, a weak thin white served in plastic glasses of all things, not unlike exactly what could be found at any student’s communist art collective showing held in a squat (because that way you were sticking it to the establishment man.) Jensen had attended a few of those in his time, as had Danneel and it was a like a tiny sip of memory, reminding him instantly just why they were on what could be termed by harsher folks as a burglary spree. A harried man appeared on his right, clutching at the remains of his hair carefully combed over a bald spot.


“Don’t drink that,” he said beseechingly. “This is what happens when caterers quit on the night, and you ask teenagers to buy you wine. I mean I told them buy good stuff, I actually gave them a list of perfectly acceptable wines, but they’re teenagers. They came back with an awful lot of change, and twenty bottles of table white quite pleased that they’d saved me so much money. I got four hundred and twenty euros back from five hundred euros.” He seemed to realize that he was babbling, and gave them an abashed smile.


Danneel; never slow to exploit a situation jumped in, sticking out a hand with a smile. “Danneel Harris. Want us to give you a hand?”


He shook it enthusiastically, and then shook Jensen’s. “Adrian Groves,” he introduced himself, and paused for a second, and did a doubletake at Danneel. “I don’t suppose you’re Gemma Harris’s daughter by any chance?”


“I am,” Danneel said, smile not breaking for a second. “You know my mother?”


“Of course,” Adrian replied. “I worked with her on an art charity auction in New York one time. Charming woman, charming. Hugely professional. I haven’t been working much in New York since, moved to Italy quite soon after so we’ve rather lost contact. Lovely to meet her daughter, you look just like her. I don’t think you were in attendance that night though.”


Danneel might not like people remembering her for her mother, but their gambits usually depended on it, and Jensen watched with pride as she sucked it up and talked so warmly he’d have thought she and her mother were best friends if he hadn’t known the truth. Within minutes, she and Adrian were old friends and he was explaining how the evening had collapsed.


“The caterers cancelled two hours ago,” he said with a sigh. “Just upped and went, and I didn’t want to bother the gallery’s actual owner who was supposed to be here. Apparently his father had a stroke, and naturally the art gallery is the last thing on his mind. He’s flown back to Melbourne of all places, and I volunteered to take over the opening night since I have a little experience in these things. I haven’t organized any shows in Rome though, and details like the wine rather slipped my mind.”


Jensen who had been struggling to place the man at first, suddenly realized who he was. The name Groves had been a legend in the art world for big parties, lavish support for new artists and an art collection that could hardly be rivaled. He’d sponsored a friend of Jensen’s from two years above him which was the closest Jensen had ever been in contact with him. He had more than a little experience with this, but Jensen doubted ever on the wine-buying hands-on end of it. “Well,” he interjected. “Wine we do know, it’d be no bother to acquire some. You mingle and we’ll get hold of some glasses as well.”


Adrian stared at them as though they were angels. “You’re lifesavers,” he said. “Actual lifesavers.”


“It’s no problem,” Jensen said amused. He and Danneel had done various things over the years to get in people’s good graces, but this was their first time bulk buying wine at seven pm in Rome. He looked at Danneel. “Enoteca Costantini isn’t too far is it?” he said musingly. Whoever had picked the location of this gallery had cared less about fashionable districts apparently and more about food and wine. With the benefit of Adrian’s car and chauffeur, they were there and back in record time bearing more than enough passable bottles of Abbazia di Novacella Kerner (sticking with the Italian theme,) and a significant quantity of a decent red Barbaresco that had been lurking in the corner. And for the coup de grâce Jensen produced sufficient decent glasses.


“We weren’t sure how many people were invited,” Danneel said, “and we couldn’t do anything about the lack of food except buy more wine so people don’t notice.” Adrian waved that aside, thanked them again, and asked them to the gathering he was holding in his house the next evening, as thanks for their help, apologizing for the late notice, but hoping they’d be able to attend. The perfect way in, probably achievable without their actions but this was so much more friendly.

//

Jensen had often wondered what he’d done right in the past life to get Danneel on his side. Standing to his right she was wearing a stunning green silk couture dress bought with the proceeds of the job that they’d pulled in Florence. Take what you need was their motto, but unfortunately their needs were extensive and covered rather a lot of things. Round her neck were clasped the reset emeralds that had been retrieved from the home of a certain Rockefeller associate, subtle but exquisite. The only thing that didn’t match with the rest of her was the outsize bag that she was debating on carrying, and they both gazed at it with critical eyes. Usually it acted as an emergency carrier for Jensen and it was beginning to show its wear. Ferragamo wore well, but not much stood up to Jensen’s claws. Details mattered, so she set it aside, and picked up the small silver evening bag instead, gave herself a glance in the mirror and pronounced herself ready. Jensen smiled at her, and offered her his arm. With him in his smart black suit they looked like the perfect couple. No-one would imagine that they were quite literally cat-burglars.


The taxi pulled up outside ready to take them to the elegant town-house where they’d be spending their evening. On the way there, they conversed in Spanish about the details of their plan, simple as always but hopefully effective. The key to being successful was not to be greedy. They didn’t want to be millionaires after all, just to make enough to keep them in the occasional couture dress and cufflinks. So rather than going for the priceless jewel collections that were generally alarmed to hell and back, they stuck to small valuable pieces of art, pictures that could be cut out of frames (they’d got two Michelangelo sketches that way, in a heist they both remembered fondly. One of them was still framed, hanging above Danneel’s bed back home,) and the occasional piece of jewelry. It was generally easy to find out what sort of haul they could expect, and half the time the owners didn’t even realize it was gone. That was the upside of being filthy rich, Jensen thought with no trace of envy. What he and Danneel had was better.


When they arrived, Danneel waited for Jensen to open the door for her, and he knew she was doing her best to ignore the mocking glint in his eye as he silently laughed at her. Playing a part to the full was important, and easier for her than Jensen. She had grown up amongst this after all, and it came back easily, the dresses, the words, how to behave. Danneel Harris was known here, her family had kept her cutting off secret, no doubt hoping that she’d repent in time and come running back. She still took a small amount of vicious delight in the socialite columns of the papers that generally followed one of these parties at least at home. ‘Danneel Harris, heir to the Harris fortune, accompanied by her charming escort Jensen Ackles,’ Jensen knew, knowing how her parents must fume at each mention. He gave her his hand, and she squeezed it once, sharply. Their evening started here.


The instant they walked inside, the host bustled up to them, hot and sweating even in the cool Italian night, mopping at his face with a handkerchief that had probably once been cool and white, and Jensen could barely restrain a smile. A handkerchief? he telegraphed to Danneel with his eyes, and Behave she sent back. He greeted them both warmly, bestowing a continental two kisses salute to Danneel and shaking Jensen’s hand (holding just a mite too long as he looked him up and down,) securing them two glasses of the more than decent champagne, and drawing them further into the crowd. It was mostly ex-pats like himself, Jensen and Danneel, wealthy bored visitors used to the same social circle, and Danneel recognized more than one face. There was Lissa Ymen daring in a dress that was practically backless and frontless, face set in her habitually bored expression, and the little man who always seemed to hang around with her and who nobody could decide was her lover, or somebody she paid to dance attendance on her. As Jensen watched, he whisked her empty glass away, and substituted it with a full one, and she drained it without a flicker.


Danneel nudged his arm, and looked at the other corner of the room, where Genevieve and Jared Padalecki were talking quietly to each other. Both of them liked the other couple, and as a mark of esteem had restrained themselves from robbing their spacious home, a considerable token given that everything was insured and thus fair game. Gen looked up and spotted them, her face breaking into a smile as she waved, then made her way over with Jared. “I didn’t know you two were doing Italy!” she said enthusiastically as she exchanged air-kisses with them both, and Jared dithered with the champagne glasses in his hands.


Jensen smiled back. “Rome’s so beautiful in the spring, we couldn’t resist it could we darling?” Danneel nodded her agreement, as she took a sip of her own drink. Jensen made small talk with the other two- no they hadn’t made it to the Forzi’s party, they’d been attending a gallery opening at the time, yes they were planning on hearing the new Romeo and Juliet production at La Scala, when they had a moment to pop down to Milan, until a few other of the younger attendees drifted over to join the conversation, and to argue the relative merits of the opera currently being shown at the Teatro dell Opera, fitting in perfectly, aware of Danneel’s smiling gaze, warmed by her regard. She was the one who’d trained him in this after all, the art of sounding very slightly pretentious (well in this case more than slightly,) as though he really did have money and family behind him. Then leaving her to carry on the conversation, he went to refill their glasses himself, the unobtrusive black-coated waiters currently occupied at the other end of the room with refilling the glasses of those who were already more than a little drunk.


With considerable skill (the good thing about being a cat part of the time was that agility carried over between forms,) he balanced the three glasses between the fingers of his left hand, and picked up the champagne bottle with his right. A hand appeared and plucked the bottle from his fingers, and he turned to see a handsome man smiling at him. “Couldn’t risk the champagne spilling,” the man excused himself. “Hold out the glasses?”


Jensen switched one of the glasses to his other hand, and held them out, looking curiously at the other man. Tall, dark and handsome was good at pouring the champers, and his smile was making Jensen feel warmed through, and as always when faced with someone he definitely fancied a bit he suppressed a horrible fear that when he opened his mouth he was going to purr. “I’m Jensen,” he introduced himself, making a small shrug with his shoulders to apologize for not being able to shake hands.


“I’m Jeff,” the other man replied. “Mind if I join you for a little bit? I don’t know anybody here.” He picked his own glass back up and refilled it, and Jensen nodded.


“Of course,” he said, feeling a familiar tingle of excitement in his stomach. Jeff was exactly his type after all, and it was with a vague sense of regret that he remembered he couldn’t flirt tonight. It was a job night after all, and Danneel wouldn’t be happy if he threw it up in favor of Jeff. He led the way back to the group with no more ado, but suddenly remarkably conscious of the fact that the suit Danneel had picked out for him for tonight was magnificently fitted, and that part of him wanted Jeff to take note of that. The rest of him was occupied with the daily battle not to scamper up the stairs on all fours (it was so much faster that way.)


Everyone had starting shifting to the roof garden it looked like, (ideal actually for Jensen and Danneel as it happened,) and Jeff made small talk as they headed up themselves. “Who is the beautiful woman you’re with?” he asked, managing to sound interested, and more importantly not creepy. Jensen was pretty alert to creepiness by now, the number of married men who hit on Danneel at these things was astronomical, and half of them didn’t care that their wives were generally in the same room. He glanced at Jeff’s hand quickly, but there was no wedding ring on it, and no faded skin where one could’ve been taken off.


“That’s my friend Danneel,” he said lightly. “I’ll introduce you to her when we get upstairs.”


“Thanks,” said Jeff, “it’s nice to meet new people at this sort of thing. Not that I got to them much.” Jensen looked at him inquiringly, and Jeff ducked his head. “I’m Adrian’s art-evaluator ,” he said. “He’s reinsuring, and the market’s shifted. He was kind enough to invite me to this party.”


Jensen nodded. “We didn’t expect to make it tonight,” he said, the lies dripping swiftly from his own tongue. “But we met Adrian at a gallery opening, and of course he knows Danneel’s parents, so he invited us along and we couldn’t refuse.” For the first time in a very long time, he felt embarrassed at pretending to be a rich idiot. Jeff didn’t seem the sort to be impressed by that in the least, and since he wasn’t part of the set he’d probably take it at face value. He had to sternly remind himself that he wasn’t supposed to be trying to impress Jeff anyway. It was with a vague sense of relief that he made up to the roof-garden and joined up with everyone else. They could help take the heat off him (what was the collective term for a group of rich people?).


Danneel smiled at them both, and took the glasses, handing one to Gen and keeping one for herself. Her eyes barely flickered over Jeff, but Jensen had known her long enough to know she was impressed, and he grinned at her. “This is Jeff,” he said, gesturing to the other man. “Jeff, this is my friend Danneel, and my other friends Gen and Jared Padalecki.” He let everyone else introduce themselves, and managed to slip away in the throng to a place of relative quiet at the edge of the roof garden for a moment with Danneel. “No art,” he told her quickly and quietly. “He’s having it reinsured at the moment.” He didn’t need to say more than that. The key to going uncaught for so long was deceptively simple. You don’t get greedy, you don’t mess with rich people who haven’t insured their property and who’ll be out for blood.


“Jeff,” she breathed quietly, the word a question, and he gave a sharp nod. She smirked at him. “I’m guessing art’s not the only thing he’s interested in.” There was no judgment in her voice, the pressure was off for tonight’s heist. They could have a sneak around anyway just in case, and Jensen intended to after he’d had a chat with Jeff. Danneel melted back into the crowd which was made up of most of the same faces from the exclusive gallery opening the night before, and when Jensen turned, Jeff was at his elbow, smelling really really good. The optimal senses cats had? They stuck around, and there weren’t many people who smelt this good to Jensen. He tried not to be too obvious about it though, (he hadn’t forgotten the time Danneel had caught him rolling around in her sweater as a cat which apparently was weird.)


Jeff was really funny, and sharply intelligent and Jensen found himself gravitating towards him, his solid warmth an attraction all of its own in the cold night air. Jeff didn’t seem unreceptive, content to stay chatting to Jensen rather than circulating, and gradually as the cold got to most people they were left alone on the rooftop, Danneel rolling her eyes at him just a little bit. He waved back, their signal that he was going to get started soon, then turned back to Jeff suddenly acutely aware of how empty the garden was, feeling more awkward suddenly than he had in ages. For the first time it struck him that this was pointless. He could take Jeff home and have a great night but what was there apart from that? He couldn’t even tell Jeff honestly what he did for a living after all.


Jeff was talking to him now, voice a low deep rumble that was doing all the right things to Jensen’s insides and he wished his stupid mind could shut up. Why did the doubts have to kick in now on his first shag in a month? “I've got to head to the bathroom, he said to Jeff. "I'll meet you downstairs in five?"


Jeff nodded and headed down the stairs, while Jensen scouted out the way to the bathroom (and what obstacles he'd face.) Luckily Adrian appeared to be a peculiarly trusting sort, the doors mostly weren't locked, and the upstairs rooms were impeccably furnished and decorated. Slipping into the bathroom, he stared at himself in the mirror and took in a big breath as he began to change. It took only seconds, bones effortlessly re-shaping, clothes disappearing, until when he leaped up on the counter a ginger cat stared back at him, with the same green eyes he always had. He and Danneel had often wondered why he was ginger in his cat form, and yet still had the same eyes, and dismissed it as being one of those things that like his clothes staying with him, were never really going to be explained.


He slipped out the door, and sped down the stairs swiftly, keeping to the small shadows where he could. In his cat form he let instinct take over to a greater extent, his inner cat knew best of all how not to be spotted, how to be small and sleek and fast. With an effortless nudge of his nose he was into the first suite which was darkened, up on the table and bounding. It had taken time to learn how to see things properly with cat eyes, especially since he'd only started changing when he was a teenager, which had meant that being a cat had been a license to climb trees, walk roofs, steal chunks of meat and play with string to his heart's content, rather than the chance to steal objets d'art.


There were several small sculptures on the table, all of them miniature Giacomettis, and Jensen glanced at them dubiously. Nice work, but they probably wouldn’t survive transit, definitely amongst his early works, tiny, thin and delicate. He hadn't expected Adrian to group them all together, he seemed like he'd have better taste than that. But then if he was having his entire collection re-evaluated, perhaps he was shaking everything up.


With a sleek jump he got to the top of the bookshelf in the second room. Now this was more like it. The absolute best thing about being in cat form, was that after extensive testing he and Danneel found that while actually in cat, or in shifting mode he couldn't be spotted by cameras, or even recorded, and anything that he was touching for those seconds couldn't be seen either. He just didn't seem to exist. Part of him found that mildly disconcerting, the idea that even for a few minutes he wasn't part of humanity, but really for jobs like this, if he could have chosen to modify himself, there wasn't anything more useful. He forced his eyes to narrowly focus on the books, used clumsy paws to tug out the first edition of The Three Musketeers from the bookcase to give him a little bit of space to work with.


Adrian didn't seem to care for books, he was mostly an art critic and appreciator. All of the books on the bookcase had clearly been chosen not just for their value, but for their aesthetic merits- most of them had beautifully colored counter plates, even if the covers were dull. Jensen had gotten very very good at evaluating the relative value of things even outside of his specialties, and within a minute or two of reading the titles, he'd decided that the inset first edition of Wordsworth was his target. Nudging the other books back into place with a firm paw, he drew out the Wordsworth, and being careful not to lose contact with and yet to not score it with his claws, he let himself fall with it. Three feet from the ground wasn't going to hurt him.


The cameras focused mainly on the entrances to the doors, and some quick research had told him and Danneel that the security was pretty antiquated. Clearly when Adrian had decided to move to Rome, he hadn't decided to take the latest security updates with him, which really was for the best. He concealed himself under the high ornate sofa, and concentrated on the change, curling in his legs as he shifted so he remained fully under, then slipping the book into his pocket, and shifting straight back.


That done, he scooted around for a final check in case there was something small and portable that had gone unnoticed by his cat-eyes on the first sweep. Sure enough in the shadow of an ancient terracotta jug, there was a small malachite brooch set with emeralds. Beautiful ancient work, and he knew instantly it was of some serious value (not to mention Danneel’s favorite color was green). And being in the shadow of the jug, if they fed back the tape of the room it wouldn't even appear to go missing. With the same lithe grace as before he jumped up and took it into his mouth, and dragged it back to his hiding place, repeating the sequence of events. As he was fumbling it into his pocket, he heard footsteps come into the room, and desperate with haste shoved it in, enacting the change as fast as possible and none too late, because clearly the person having heard something was coming closer. He slunk out from the sofa, and leapt to the shadow of a statue.


He couldn't afford the person to let them see him even in his cat form. If the security cameras realised the oddity of someone picking up something that couldn't be seen and petting it, the game would be up. Eyes on the prize of the door, he made a dash for it, and just through the doorway he felt firm hands pick him up and turn him to face an amused face.

Struggling to focus, he put the features together and realized it was Jeff. Who apparently really liked cats, which generally was a character trait that Jensen thoroughly approved of, but which right now was not working to his advantage. The firm hands were stroking through his fur a bit and making him want to go limp with enjoyment, and Jeff was cooing at him practically. “Oh my you’re a handsome cat,” he said. “I didn’t think Adrian had any.” Jensen noticed his eyes slip to the half-open window. “Or maybe you got in somehow. You’d better slip out again.” Jensen went a little bit rigid with horror at the idea that Jeff might unknowingly pop him out a window three or four stories about the ground.

But instead of letting him go, Jeff was popping him up on a shoulder as though in perfect confidence that Jensen would stay there, which really Jensen was going to since Jeff was heading back into the room. It was a little bit of a rocky journey as Jeff picked up the jacket that he’d left in there, solid leather clearly from his work during the day, since it didn’t go at all with his smart black suit, his hand shooting up to steady Jensen. When he was out of the room, he picked Jensen up again, running his hand across his head which made Jensen slit his eyes and purr with pleasure. “You really shouldn’t be running around in here. A lot of expensive things. Come on, I’ll carry you downstairs.”


In panic Jensen scratched his hand, and Jeff dropped him with a shout. Jensen sped off down the corner, into the bathroom and was himself again in a second, the hard corner of the book pressing into his side, and the sharp prick of the brooch in his pocket. He took a moment to settle himself, knowing he’d already been gone too long, and twenty seconds after scratching Jeff he was back out in the hallway, where Jeff was still standing clutching a hand that was still slowly welling drops of blood. Jensen squashed his guilt and strolled forward. “I thought we were meeting downstairs,” he said teasingly. Then as though seeing it for the first time. “Ouch, how’d you hurt your hand?”


“The weirdest thing,” Jeff said ruefully. “A cat came out of nowhere, and scratched me when I tried to take it downstairs. You didn’t see it by any chance did you?” The question was strangely intent, and Jeff still seemed a little shocked.


Jensen shook his head. “Sorry,” he said cheerfully. “No cats at all. Come on let’s get a drink, and ask someone to find you a band-aid.” The rest of the evening wound down quietly, and all too soon Jensen knew he had to go. Danneel raised her eyebrows at him then looked at Adrian, and Jensen headed right on over to thank him for an excellent night, and to congratulate him on his taste. Adrian thanked them both for coming (and once again for their help the previous night,) and Danneel called them a taxi, luckily securing one pretty swiftly, before she disappeared to go find their respective coats leaving Jensen to say goodbye to Jeff.


“It’s been lovely meeting you,” he said sincerely, holding out his hand which felt more than a bit weird, since most of him was till remembering how Jeff’s hands had felt on his back and over his ears. Jeff shook it though and smiled at him.


“You too. I don’t suppose you’re free some time to get dinner perhaps?” he asked, hands back in his pockets.


Jensen was oddly thrown off balance. They’d be moving on soon enough him and Danneel, gone in a month or so to their next destination. There was no point starting anything with Jeff since he wouldn’t be able to continue it. But instinct overrode reason, and he smiled back. “I’d like that,” he said, and scrawled his number down in the old fashioned small appointment book that Jeff carried, the expensive binding of the book that he’d stolen digging into his side, reminding him of why this was a really really bad idea. Going home with Jeff for a one night stand  like he'd expected to be doing, was very different to arranging to meet him for dinner.


In the taxi with Danneel afterwards there was silence, the same tense suppressed excitement filling them both, aware that Jensen couldn’t exhibit the results of their hard work until they got back to the hotel. As soon as they were in the door, he was pulling out the book, and handing it to her, watching her face light up as she flicked through the pages. “This is amazing,” she murmured. Jensen dug through his pocket until he’d secured the small malachite and emerald brooch which she handled with infinite care. “Oh wow,” she sighed. “Nice nice work.”


She looked up with a grin, and hugged him hard, and he picked her up and swung her round. “Sorted for a bit,” he said. “I suggest late night pizza as a celebration and a bottle of wine.” After carrying back their pizza folded into squared shapes in napkins, and with a bottle of wine from the other night, Jensen finally remembered to tell her about being intercepted in cat shape by Jeff. It wasn’t the first time it had happened, and she laughed at the image of him scratching in panic then loping off to hide. He told her about swapping numbers with Jeff at the end of the night as well.


Draining her wine glass she set it down with a clink and tilted her head back. “We’re heading on soon,” she said, her tone neutral. “Do you want to stay longer?”


He shrugged, suddenly very interested in holding the wine bottle up against the light. “I don’t know,” he replied. “It could be nothing, we could go out and be bored senseless I guess. Play it by ear?”


She acquiesced but the mood was gone, the air brittle between them for once. It didn’t happen often, they were too close, had been through too many things to have stupid fights with each other, and hell they’d both learnt after painful trial and error that sometimes it really was better to keep your mouth shut, especially when it came to who dated who (the disastrous time Danneel had gone out with an undercover detective, and the occasion where Jensen had slept with a bigamist countess were only the tip of the iceberg.) Didn’t mean it meant for a comfortable evening, when you knew your partner was wrestling with not being a dick by throwing a tantrum. It was too late for this anyway, and they’d had far too much to drink and rather than finishing the bottle they both crawled into bed and fell asleep.

//

Part Two (this post was too large.)

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