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“Dude… you look like someone killed your puppy.” Chad threw himself down on the end of Jared’s bed, bouncing them both and nearly cracking their heads together. He looked over at Jared who was upside down on the bed, his feet propped up against the wall above his pillow. “You’re sitting in the dark, dude.”

“Yeah,” Jared muttered back, letting his eyes fall closed. “Just… tired.”

“So,” Chad said, drawing out the word slowly, “why don’t you sleep?”

“I have homework.”

There was a moment of silence before Chad snorted. “Well, hate to break it to you J-man, but this isn’t helping you do homework any more than taking a nap would.”

“Yeah, I know. Somehow, it feels less like blowing it off than it would if I took a nap though,” Jared answered back with a shrug and then sighed, opening his eyes again to look over at Chad. “I do look pretty pathetic right now, don’t I?”

“Slightly. But I completely understand. Dude, that fucking Professor Bitch gave us six chapters to read by next week. Have you seen my ground hydrology text book? Fucker is six-hundred pages and pretty much only ten chapters.” Chad rolled his eyes and gave a rough sigh. “These teachers are fucking crazy.”

“Yeah, well, I’m pretty sure Professor Ackles hates me.” Jared bit his lower lip and shook his head. “I don’t know… Jensen told me that maybe he sees potential in me or some shit and he’s just pushing me. But, like, could he find potential in one of the girls? I don’t need his pushing.”

Chad shrugged his shoulders, the movement jostling Jared. “Dude, you know what you do? You bust your fucking ass and shove it in his face that you are damn good, whether he’s pushing you or hating on you. I mean, prove him wrong, either that you can handle his pushing or that you don’t need him to be successful.”

“Yeah,” Jared nodded, “He gave me the first care plan out of the group… even though two other girls offered to go first. He only did that because he overheard me complaining about your impromptu party last weekend. I think he thought it was a party-party and not a nerd-fest of hydrology majors testing fifteen different water samples from the city.”

“Dude, do not drink water from Wildcat Stadium. We learned very important information at that ‘H2O Party’.”

Jared smirked and shook his head and the pair fell into a comfortable silence for a few minutes.

“Dude, you know it couldn’t get any gayer than the two of us laying in your bed in the dark.” Chad broke the silence and Jared found himself smiling for the first time that day.

“I could have my dick up your ass. That would definitely be gayer.”

“Dude! I would so be a top. Look at me!” Chad swung his legs off the bed and bent over, shoving his ass near Jared’s face. “This ass is too perfect to bottom. Anyone trying would blow their load before they could even touch me.”

“You are so ridiculous,” Jared laughed, slapping Chad’s ass hard.

“Fuck! That actually hurt, Jay!” Chad hissed, leaping forward and rubbing his right ass cheek, looking perfectly offended in a sliver of light that came in from the hallway. “See if I ever offer up my services to you ever again.”

“Get out, Chad,” Jared laughed, settling himself the right way on the bed and reaching over for the lamp. “I’m going to start working on this thing…”

“Yeah, yeah,” Chad rolled his eyes and walked into the hallway. “When you get hungry, I want to go to the Wildcatessen. I want a steak bomb so bad.”

“Yeah, okay,” Jared called back as he listened to Chad’s socked feet disappear down the hall and into his own room. He looked down at his laptop and reached down to pick it up, pulling it open and onto his lap in one movement. “Alright, let’s do this…”

*

Jared rubbed at his eyes and glanced down at the clock at the bottom of the screen. He’d been working on his care plan for four hours now and knew that Chad was probably minutes from breaking down his door to drag him out for dinner.

Sighing, Jared pulled up the internet and opened his direct message threads.

Okay, so… you had to do care plans in school right?
7:54 PM

And I really hope your answer is yes, because I am dying here.
7:55 PM

Yeah, I did. I hated them… but they did kind of come in handy…
7:55 PM

Yes, tell me they’re super important and not a complete waste of my time.
7:56 PM

They are SUPER important and totally not a waste of your time. :)
7:57 PM

I appreciate the additions there.
7:57 PM

Haha you’re welcome.
7:58 PM

So what’s up?
7:58 PM

Well… every professor is different in what they look for in care plans and since this is my first one with this new professor I am completely over thinking things. I just… tell me this is okay?
7:59 PM

Okay, hit me!
8:00 PM

Okay, bear with me, I’m going to try to copy and paste…
8:01 PM

So female patient, 35 years old, admitted with chest pain.
8:01 PM

Past Medical History / Comorbidities:
1. Congestive Heart Failure
2. Hypertension
3. Hypothyroidism
4. Depression
5. Anxiety
6. Bipolar Disorder
7. Suicidal Ideation
8. Insomnia
9. TIA
10. Carpel Tunnel
11. Small Bowel Obstruction
12. Hearing Loss
13. Neurodermatits
14. Sicca Syndrome
15. Tubal Litigation
16. Hysterectomy
17. Bilateral Knee Replacement
18. Cholecystectomy
19. Bilateral Kidney Stents
20. Renal Failure Stage III
8:02 PM

And I did this for her treatments… Do I need anymore?
1. Ambulate Patient TID as tolerated
2. Orthostatic Vital Signs Q12hours
3. Anti-embolism stockings
4. Cardiac Monitor
5. O2 Therapy – titrate to saturation >92%. <92% initiate 1-6L of O2.
6. Anticoagulation Therapy
7. TEE (Scheduled 4/7/2016)
8. ECG with chest pain
8:03 PM

Well… I would put the treatments in order of importance. I am assuming the patient is on a cardiac floor? So telemonitoring is going to go above ambulation. Then anticoagulation therapy and TEDs… I think the ECG with chest pain should be at least above the ECG…
8:05 PM

Okay, yeah, that makes sense. Thank you :)
8:06 PM

Did you have to do a full set of Gordons?
8:07 PM

Yeah… though I will admit I got some of the stuff from the chart.
8:08 PM

I mean, sometimes it’s just not plausible to get your patient to answer all of your eight hundred questions while your professor is quizzing you and pulling you out of the room for meds and to see treatments and while your patient is actually a patient and has REAL nurses to deal with.
8:09 PM

Hey, just because you’re a student, that doesn’t mean you’re not important! You ARE a nurse, too. You have to start thinking that way.
8:10 PM

Yeah… I know…
8:10 PM

Okay, I was fine with my Gordon’s piece but… God help me. The nursing diagnosis thing makes me mental.
8:11 PM

LOL Do you have a Doenges Nurse’s Pocket Guide?
8:12 PM

YES! I do.
8:12 PM

Okay, perfect. The piece that you can take out? THAT is what will be your best friend for nursing diagnoses. What do you have right now?
8:13 PM

I have… Ineffective Health Management R/T inability to make appropriate judgements M/B risk taking behavior, decreased use of social support, inability to meet basic needs, high illness rate, and destructive behavior toward self.
8:15 PM

And my desired outcome is… Patient will teach back signs and symptoms of negative cardiac manifestations such as increased/sudden chest pain, sudden weight gain of 3lbs in a day or 5 pounds in a week, and increased heart rate/blood pressure by 1300 October 6th 2016.
8:16 PM

I am assuming there’s a reason why you chose destructive behavior towards self and inability to make appropriate judgements?
8:17 PM

Yeah she has a history of suicidal ideation, refused to go to the hospital because she didn’t want to burden her children, refuses to eat at home, feels depressed, etc.
8:18 PM

Okay, then no, I think that sounds great. That is actually a pretty complete nursing diagnoses. I don’t know what you’re worried about :)
8:19 PM

THANK GOD. I could kiss you right now. Thank you soooooo much.
8:19 PM

You just made me feel like a million times better.
8:20 PM

That’s what I’m here for :)
8:20 PM

Go get something to eat Jared… you’ve been working hard.
8:21 PM

And before you think I’m a freak… Chad just messaged me and told me to make you get your ass up and feed him a ‘damn steak bomb, bitch’. Totally his words, not mine.
8:22 PM

hahaha yeah, I can hear him calling for me now.
8:22 PM

Okay, thanks Jensen. I will message you later, or if I come home and crash, I’ll message you tomorrow!!
8:23 PM

Have a good night, Jared.
8:23 PM

“Alright, so we know that the left and right coronary arteries supply the ventricles with blood, correct? Well, these are the major arteries that are affected by coronary artery disease. This, of course, could cause ischemia to the ventricular walls. Injury is more common in the left ventricular tissues.”

Jared scribbled away, his eyes flicking back and forth from his notebook in front of him and the large projected PowerPoint at the front. Professor Ackles was pacing the front of the room, the small clicker in his right hand almost echoing throughout the lecture hall over the sound of scratching pens and flipping papers.

“So, quick review. The left ventricle pumps into the aorta which provides which type of circulation?”

There was a soft mumble from the front of the class and Jared glanced up just in time to see their professor smile and nod his head.

“Correct. The left ventricle pumps blood into systemic circulation which, of course, brings blood to all of our tissues and organs. The right ventricle pumps into the pulmonary artery which provides pulmonary circulation. Any questions?” He waited a pause and Jared blew out a breath as he finished writing.

(L) Ventricle --> Aorta – systemic || (R) Ventricle --> Pulmonary – pulmonary

“Alright, now has anyone here heard the term ‘cardiac output’? On the cardiac floors, you’re going to be hearing the nurses and providers talking about it often. Your cardiac output is the volume of blood being pumped into the circulatory system. Heart rate multiplied by stroke volume per minute.”

“So… blood pressure?” a girl from the front asked and Jared paused, his pen hovering above the page.

“Not exactly,” Professor Ackles replied. “Anything that affects the stroke volume will affect the blood pressure, so lower cardiac output would result in a lowered blood pressure, but they are not the same thing.”

Jared followed along the rests of the lecture, writing diligently and filling sixteen pages over the course of three hours. When Professor Ackles finally dismissed them, Jared took his time packing up his notebook and laptop and pulled his printed care plan from his bag.

“Um, Professor Ackles?” Jared asked as he neared the front and they were two of the last people in the room. “I know that you said I didn’t have to have this in until Friday but… I wanted to see if you could take a peek at it, in case there needs to be any changes or corrections, before Friday?”

He held the care plan out and Professor Ackles looked down at it and then up at Jared as he accepted it from him with a nod.

“Is it complete?” he asked, flipping through the first few pages.

Jared nodded, swallowing once as he was hit with how freaking green his professor’s eyes were. The older man leaned against the edge of the desk, starting to read the document, and Jared felt his stomach flip. There was no way he could stand here while his professor tore this thing apart…

Carefully, Jared reached into his pocket and texted Chad behind his hip.

Jared [11:58am]: Come. Save. Me.

Chad [11:59am]: OMW!!!!!!!!

Professor Ackles cleared his throat once, shifting against the desk but flipped the page and fell back into silence. Jared was sure he could hear the beating of his heart in the now silent lecture hall and he prayed that Chad would get there quickly…

“JARED!” Both Jared, despite knowing Chad would be coming, and Professor Ackles jumped as the lecture hall door was slammed open, the metal bar crashing against the wall. “DUDE. I am having a legit crisis right now! I am about ninety percent sure the girl from last night gave me the herpes and as my best nurse friend, I need you to check out my balls!”

Jared stared. Chad was leaning against the door, breathing hard, but Jared could see the smile playing at the edge of his lips. Beside him, Professor Ackles shifted again and laid the care plan down on the desk.

“Um, Professor…” Jared interjected quickly before Chad got in trouble. He wasn’t sure if he could get in trouble for bursting into an empty class and being an ass, but he wasn’t willing to test that theory. “This is my roommate, Chad.”

Professor Ackles nodded his head and they watched as Chad moved closer to them, giving a small shrug of his shoulders as he extended his hand with a “Sup, Professor.”

Jared rolled his eyes and watched as his teacher hesitated only a moment before reaching forward and accepting Chad’s hand. “Nice to meet you, Chad. Though… probably would have been best under some… less dire circumstances.”

Jared opened his mouth again, because God only knew that Chad would actually start talking about his balls, but his friend beat him to it.

“Dude!” Chad stared at Professor Ackles for a moment, his eyes narrowed, and then it was like a lightbulb went off. “You sound just like... Jackles!! You’re fucking Jackles!” Chad shook Professor Ackles’ hand even harder, then to Jared’s horror, pulled his professor forward and into a hug, back slapping included. “You sound just like you do over the headset man! And you kicked my fucking ass on Sunday night!”

Jared didn’t get it. Professor Ackles’ eyes widened for a fraction of a second, then the other man laughed, a genuine, freeing laugh that Jared had yet to hear in the month he’d had lecture and clinical with the man.

“Chadmeister. Jesus… Well, maybe if you hadn’t gotten the shittiest weapon in the history of weapons!”

Jared stood, frozen. They knew each other, they knew each other because—

“So, Jared,” Profesor Ackles said and Jared could feel the blush already rising to his cheeks. “That means that you must be ‘MooseRN’?”

Everything clicked into place. The bases were loaded and he felt the air escape his lungs as Chad drove it home. “Oh fuck, so does that mean Jackles is the hot asshole professor you kinda wanna bone and your Twitter boyfriend?”

Chad snorted and Jared was done.

Without responding, Jared hiked his backpack higher onto his shoulder and turned away from them, leaving his care plan behind. He booked it to the door that was still open wide, thanks to Chad slamming it into the wall, and disappeared into the growing crowd of students.

His heart was racing, he could hear it beating stupidly fast, almost echoing in his head, and he could vaguely hear his name being called from behind him. He didn’t know if it was Professor Ackles—fucking ‘Jackles’, Jensen, how the hell had he missed the fact that his online friend was his in-life teacher?!—or Chad. But it didn’t matter, either way, he couldn’t take one of them catching up to him.

There was a gap in the students just ahead and Jared strode into it, immediately switching directions and taking off down a side hall. He ducked slightly and booked it forward until he was at the side door of the building and shoved all of his weight against the door to escape into the cool fall air.

He stood there for a second, looking around campus, before he made his decision.

Chad [1:22pm]: Dude, please answer me…

Chad [1:22pm]: If u don’t answer me im gonna give Jensen ur #

Chad [1:23pm]: kidding, kidding, that was prolly a bad joke.

Chad [1:24pm]: come on J… where r u? y rnt u home?

Jared stared down at the next barrage of texts Chad was sending him and sighed, leaning his head back against the dorm door. He had six missed calls and countless unanswered texts. Part of him wondered if he would have any direct messages waiting for him, too, and that was the exact reason why he deleted his twitter app from his phone.

He didn’t need to know.

He could only imagine what they would say, and he already felt more than stupid enough…

“Fuck…” he whispered, pulling his knees against his chest and leaning forward to rest his forehead against his knees.

“Jared?” Jared’s head shot up and he breathed out a sigh of relief.

“God, please open the door. I need ice cream and to talk.”

Megan nodded once, reaching to the front of her backpack and pulling out her keys to unlock her dorm room. She held it open and waited for Jared to push himself up from the floor and shut the door behind them as Jared threw himself face down on her bed.

“Um… Stupid question,” Megan said quietly from behind him as she moved around the room. He heard something thump onto the ground and the squeak of her computer chair before there was a dip by his hip. He turned his head and looked down at her socked feet pressing against his leg. “Are you okay?”

“I am so far from okay,” he answered, burying his face back into the pillow.

“Okay, I can see that.” She paused, nudging him gently. “I don't know what type of ice cream this qualifies for, so why don't you tell me what's up.”

“Rocky Road, Meg. This is a Rocky Road situation.”

Megan snorted but her feet were gone for a moment. “I highly doubt it's a rocky road, Jay… I mean, do you even remember the Ice Cream Disaster Code? ICDC Rocky Road would mean that--”

“I met Jackles today, Megan. I met him in my classroom because my online boyfriend that I've been bitching to about my sexy, asshole professor is actually said sexy, asshole professor!” Jared groaned into the pillow before leaning up and turning towards her.

“And,” he exploded, sitting up suddenly, “Chad, of course, had to make it a million times worse by pointing it out in the most… the most… the most fucking Chad-like way possible!”

“Well…” Megan started slowly, twisting two metal spoons in her hand as she leaned down to the mini fridge. “I mean…” She stopped and then shook her head as she reached into the freezer section and pulled out a Ben and Jerry’s pint of Rocky Road. “Yeah, I got nothing. That's pretty damn bad… You actually called your professor an asshole to his face?”

“Well, not to his face, exactly,” Jared mumbled and caught the spoon she tossed to him. He accepted the ice cream and wrenched the cover off before scraping a thin layer of chocolate off the top. He shoved the spoon into his mouth and let it melt for a moment before he added, “it was on Twitter.”

“Yeah,” Megan laughed, digging into the marshmallow vein Jared had uncovered and taking a large scoop. “That makes it so much better.”

Jared glared at her and held the pint out of reach as he dug in again. Just as the spoon hit his tongue, his eyes widened. “Oh my God. He’s pictured me in my underwear!”

“Okay, you lost me. What on Earth are you talking about?”

“He told me once,” he started explaining around the spoon and Megan reached forward to pull it from his mouth, both of them wincing as the metal clanged against his teeth. She whispered sorry and then pointed it at his face expectantly for him to continue.

“He told me once that he imagines every group of people he was taking to in their underwear to make him less nervous about being the center of attention. And I always sat in the front row, so it was my underwear he was imagining!”

Megan stared at him for a minute, her expression thoughtful. “I wonder if he pictured you in whitie tighties or boxers…”

“Megan! That's what you have to say?”

She shrugged once, handing him back the spoon and motioning with her hand for him to bring the pint closer so she could grab another bite. “Well,” she said after she swallowed, “I guess what I really want to say is… How the hell did you not know before now?”

“How was I supposed to know?” Jared asked, shaking his head.

“Um, well, how did it not come up where you went to school? Or hell, Jay, that you were even in the same state?” She stared at him and he shrugged, reaching forward to put his spoon on her desk. “Okay, how did you not know he was a nursing professor?”

“I just… didn't. We never really talked about what he did.” Jared thought for a moment, trying to remember if Jensen had ever said anything about teaching. “I knew he was a cardiac nurse, and he knew I was a student, but it never came up where. I mean, you don't just tell online people where you live, Megan.”

“Don't you dare ‘first rule of internet safety’ me, Jared. You've been talking to this guy since when, May? I mean, that's more than just a random internet stranger.”

Jared rolled his eyes at her and avoided her gaze.

“Okay, whatever, so you completely suck at making friends and having simple conversations.”

"Hey!" Jared shot back, crossing his arms as he leaned against the wall. "We talked about a lot of shit, okay? I really... I really thought I knew him. Just because I didn't know what his current job was or where he lives doesn't mean we weren't friends, okay?"

"Okay," Megan nodded, "So then why did you run away?"

"Why did I- why did I run away? Are you seriously asking me that?"

"Yeah, Jared, I seriously am. You've been talking to him for six months, he's your friend! What did Chad do when he found out it was his gaming buddy?" Megan took another bite of the ice cream and then picked up the cover from the bed, sliding it onto the top.

"He... hugged him and then made a stupid comment about how I wanted to bone Jensen," Jared replied and shrugged again. "He was excited, I guess."

"Well, yeah! He just met his friend in person. So why wasn't it the same for you?"

Jared just stared at her. "Megan..." he started slowly, trying to put the thoughts raging through his head into order, "he is my professor. He and Chad can game it up all they want, they don't have to have a 'working' relationship. They can just... Fuck around and not have to worry about anything."

"And you can't?" Megan asked and Jared felt they had matching expressions of exasperation.

"No, Megan, I can't!" he bit out finally, trying not to get angry as his sister rolled her eyes. "Megan... I can't have a romantic relationship with my professor. That's..."

"Perfectly legal, actually. This isn't high schoo-"

"Ethically wrong?"

"-ol. You're both consenting adults and could very easily-"

"Dishonest?"

"-have a relationship if you just got your head out of-"

"You don't bite the hand that feeds you, Megan!"

"-your ASS!" Megan yelled over him and they both fell silent.

Just as Jared was about to open his mouth, there was a loud bang against the door.

"Just so you know, J-man, I can hear you and Meggie yelling at each other down the hallway..." Chad's voice carried through the door and Jared felt his stomach flip over.

"I'm letting him in," Megan decided and twisted out of the way as Jared lunched forward to stop her.

"I swear to God, if he brought Jensen with him..." Jared groaned as Megan unlocked the door and let Chad-- and thankfully only Chad-- into the room.

"We're having an ICDC moment," Megan explained, holding out the pint of melting ice cream she had yet to put away.

"Dude, I love this room," Chad answered with a smile and grabbed it from her, flipping off the top and coming to sit on the floor, cross-legged, on the floor at the end of the bed. "Spoon?"

Megan handed hers to him and then sat back down in her computer chair, swaying it slowly with her foot as she looked between the two boys. Silence fell over the room again and Jared counted four obnoxious slurps from Chad before he sighed, loudly, and threw his best friend a look.

"What?" Chad asked through a mouthful of chocolate ice cream.

"Absolutely nothing." Jared rolled his eyes and Chad shrugged, cleaning off his spoon with his tongue.

"You know, Jensen was kind of upset you ran away like that."

Jared raised an eyebrow and looked down at where Chad was holding out the ice cream for him. After a moment Jared sighed and reached for it to put it away.

"Yeah, well..." Jared trailed off and shrugged as he turned back to look at Chad. Megan gave a small snort and then twisted her chair around to face her desk, pulling the laptop open.

"Well, what? Why did you run off?" Chad actually looked confused, shaking his head slightly and Jared fought the urge to ask him 'seriously?'.

"Chad... Jensen is my professor. Like, did you miss that part?"

"No, but he's also your friend. Did you miss that part?" Chad shot back and Jared's eyes widened at the twinge of anger in his friend's voice. "You flew out of there so fast that you hurt his feelings, Jay."

"What was I supposed to do, Chad? I mean, you figured it out in three second and just... exploded with the most inappropriate thing! And I-"

"So you ran out of there and left him hanging because I embarrassed you?" Chad was shaking his head again and Jared made a frustrated sound.

"No! Not that your comment helped but... How did you even know it was Jensen? How did-how did I not know?" Jared's last question was softer and he wasn't sure if he was asking Chad or himself.

"I don't know, Jay... The moment I heard his voice, I just knew it was him. I mean, I talk to the guy for hours every week while we game together." Chad shrugged and gave a small laugh. “For a moment, when he didn't hug me back, I was so afraid he was going to think I was a freak and that I had made a mistake, actually."

Jared scratched the back of his head and nodded. "Yeah, that would've been pretty bad."

Jared looked over to the desk and saw Megan typing away on her laptop, shaking her head every few seconds. Chad was content to sit on the floor, his head tipped back to rest on the end of the bed. The silence, this time, felt strained. Jared chewed on the inside of his cheek as he played both of their words over in his head.

Had he been over reacting by running out of the room? Both Chad and Megan seemed to think so, even if they hadn't said so. Jensen was his teacher; the thought still made his stomach sour and his heart beat wildly in his chest. But, if he was to be completely honest, he wasn't sure what the anxiety was from. Was it really Jensen's role as his professor? Or... something else?

He sighed and Megan turned her head to look at him, giving him a small, twisted smile. He recognized the look and was instantly on guard.

"What did you do," he demanded and saw his sister's cheeks pink up.

"You can't be mad at me," she replied quickly, kicking her leg up and pressing her foot against his stomach when he went to move. "I... may have logged into your Twitter."

"Megan! What the hell!" Jared grabbed her ankle and shoved it off his lap to scoot forward.

"Oh yeah, Jensen was messaging you when I left to find you," Chad said from the ground and Jared chose to ignore him so he could shove Megan out of the way of the laptop screen.

Hey, so…
1:15 PM

Totally did not expect that. Like at all haha.
1:15 PM

Small world?
1:16 PM

Okay, so, Chad figures you're probably a little freaked out and after he left I started thinking a bit. Is it because of the student/professor thing? I can understand that... But, we were friends first. Even if you think I'm an asshole half the time.
1:35 PM

Probably too soon?
1:35 PM

I don't hate you, by the way.
1:42 PM

I mean, as far as you feeling like I treat you differently in clinical... And maybe this isn't the right place to talk about school stuff but... just so you know, I don't hate you and I'm sorry I made you feel that way. I talked to some of the professors and they all said that you were one of the best students of the year and that you were going to go far and I guess I just wanted that for you. I want that for all of my students and
1:45 PM

I am not doing this right
1:46 PM

Your care plan is almost perfect. Senior level stuff. I am very impressed.
2:10 PM

I am fucking this up.
2:15 PM

Your silence has never felt so loud before.
2:58 PM

“I think you need to ask yourself what's more important," Megan whispered, reaching down to squeeze his knee. "Worrying about what other people might think, or your friendship? And this guy," she pointed at the screen, "seems like he really, really cares about you."

Jared nodded, staring at the words again, trying to ignore the sudden heat pricking behind his eyes.

"Yeah, that and choosing between sitting through class staring at McHotstuff or banging McHotstuff."

Megan rolled her eyes at Chad and squeezed Jared's knee again.

"Also, ew at me for calling Jensen McHotstuff."

"Only Chad." Jared shook his head and looked away from the screen. He could still see the last line, seared into his mind.

Your silence has never felt so loud before.

"Jared?"

Jared looked up as Chad cracked open his bedroom door and poked his head in. He stared at him with an eyebrow raised and waited.

"Are... we walking over together?"

Jared shook his head and looked back down at the phone in his hands, shifting his position on his bed so he was facing the wall. Chad sighed but didn't say anything as he pulled the door shut again and left.

The little blue icon seemed too bright on his phone as Jared stared at it.

It was funny--it was the one connection to Jensen that he had, the little icon and what it represented had brought him so much happiness over the past six months, and now all Jared had to do was put on a pair of jeans and walk across campus to actually see Jensen in person. But he couldn't do it.

He hadn't been able to set foot back into the lecture hall and had convinced Danneel Harris, a girl in his clinical rotation, to record the lectures for him to listen to. When he tried, he found all he could focus on was the baritone of Jensen's voice instead of his actual words…

His finger was shaking as he pressed the Twitter icon and if it weren't for the anxiety threatening to overwhelm him, he probably would've laughed. He had half a mind to ask Professor Collins if he was crazy. Being the psychology professor he would probably know. But then Jared realized that Professor Collins must be Misha, Jensen best friend, and that just...

Jared closed his eyes. He blew out a shaky breath and pulled open his messages, immediately going to his thread with Jensen.

I’m sorry… I know I’m probably just bugging you now. Have a good night Jared.
Wednesday, 9:30 PM

Good morning! I hope you slept well.
Thursday, 7:32 AM

Missed you in clinical today…
Thursday, 9:21 PM

It’s been two days.
Friday, 12:44 PM

I miss you.
Saturday 12:45 PM

I should stop… but I can’t. You weren’t in class today and I wanted to leave and just come find you. Please Jared, talk to me.
Monday, 1:50 PM

I keep hearing your voice in my head. Is that weird?
Monday, 6:45 PM

If you don’t want us to talk anymore, just say so. But don’t stop coming to class. I can… I will do whatever you need me to, Jared. You’re going to be an amazing nurse and you’re an amazing person and you can’t throw that away.
Yesterday, 3:00 PM

Jared bit his lip and immediately felt guilty that he had ignored Jensen for a week. He clicked the text bar and began to type.

Hey... So, first off I should apologize. I probably shouldn't have gone radio silent for almost a week. As much as I was freaking out, and I'll admit that I still am, I'm sure you were a little bit too. I have no idea how to start this, Jensen. Or... Professor Ackles? I mean, maybe that's where I should start. I... I don't know where we stand now. I don't know what has to change. I don't know how to internalize my feelings for you now that you’re also an authoritative figure in my life. For six months, you've been the easiest person for me to talk to. And now I don't know how. That is so upsetting to me... In that one moment where my two lives came together, I feel like I lost you.

See, I had this picture in my mind and this... Wasn't it. In order to save myself any further embarrassment, I will summarize. In my world, I thought that we had something. I... I fell for you, Jensen, the guy on Twitter who got me better than anyone else in my life, and I could see us meeting one day, I imagined your voice and the feel of your hand against mine, and in no way was that you, as my teacher, showing me how to open a tricky pill packet. My picture will never be. I fell for Jensen, not for Professor Ackles.

I still don't know how we didn't figure it out before now. I don't know if I'm angry, either. I feel... I feel stupid. Looking back there was so many signs and I just... Missed them. Hell, if you had told me you were a Professor at UNH I don't even know if I would've put those pieces together, I was so far gone on my perfect picture.

I can't go to class, Jensen. I can't sit there and stare at you and wonder and want. I don't know how to keep Jensen and Professor separate. I don't know how to blend them into one, either. I don't know what to do here and I can't sleep and I feel anxious and I miss talking to you every day and I don't know if that's wrong.

Nursing school is not nearly as hard as finding out the guy you've fallen for is actually your professor.
11:32 AM

Jared hit send, wiping at his cheeks quickly to catch the few tears that had slipped free as he'd been typing, and he quickly hit the power button on his phone to plunge it into darkness.

He’d admitted too much.

Regret hit him and he clutched at the pillow with his hand not holding the phone. There were too many emotions... He didn't think it was possible to feel anything else.

Then his phone chimed.

Jared!
11:33 AM

Hold on, I didn't read your message yet, I just saw your name and felt so relieved…
11:34 AM

Jared held his breath, staring down at the phone. Then he closed his eyes as the grey bubble popped up, showing Jensen was typing. As the seconds turned into minutes, Jared realized he had never hated something so much as that damn ellipsis… Every time it disappeared, he held his breath. His stomach flipped every time it reappeared.

The wait was agonizing. Then…

You do not have to apologize. Not at all. I have had a million thoughts running through my head as well so I understand.

Jared… I had a picture in my mind too. I was shocked when Chad walked into the room and we realized who we all were. I don’t know how we didn’t figure it out earlier, but even if Chad hadn’t come into the lecture hall? I think we would’ve figured it out-- once I started reading the first page of your care plan I was getting a sense of deja-vu. Anyway… After I got over the initial shock of Chad… I was excited. I got to meet you, Jared! I had a face and a voice to put to you, and it was better than any picture I had in my mind. And yes, it was different and unexpected, but… why does that have to be something bad? I got to meet the one person that I wake up thinking about every morning and don’t stop thinking about until I go to bed. I want to get to know you, more than I already have. I don’t want ANYTHING to change unless it’s us moving forward. I am still the same person I was last week before we realized we knew each other in ‘real life’.

I know you’re upset right now, but I will admit that hearing you say you have fallen for me makes me so happy. I am not good at this, I don’t think I am anyway, but I feel exactly the same. And that makes me so freaking happy. Jared, I always knew you were a student, that’s what brought us together in the first place, our initial connection was through nursing and through school. Maybe I should’ve told you I was a professor? But I didn’t think it mattered, and then it never came up. Honestly, I still don’t believe it matters.

I’m 28 by the way. I grew up in Texas, like we talked about. I love the Cowboys and a good steak. I started nursing after my sister got into a car accident when I was 17 and she was in and out of hospitals. I have a cat and I would love a dog, but my landlord is an asshole. I have a mole, on my butt… it kind of looks like a heart and I half hate it but not nearly as much as my freckles. Which, I have a lot of too. I teach nursing and I love it, I love helping people discover their passion. Some of my students are older than me, some are younger, and each one brings something new to the table. I don’t think of them as students, I think of them as coworkers.

I don’t care that you’re my student, Jared. You are so much more than that. You’re caring and smart, you’re hilarious and you have this light that shines from you… I don’t think you realize the effect you have when you walk into a room. I was drawn to you over the internet, but I was also drawn to you in person.
11:42 AM

Jared felt more tears forming in his eyes as he read Jensen’s message back and let out a shaky breath. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do here… He didn’t know what the right answer was supposed to be. Part of him wanted to slap himself-- this was everything he’d ever wanted! It was an earlier start to his ‘picture’ than he’d dared imagine, definitely more complicated, but so far they had been able to talk about everything and anything, surely they would be able to work out the kinks?-- and the other part wanted to screenshot their conversation to send to Megan to get her opinion. He had a sneaking suspicion that her response would be identical to the one she had last week in her dorm room and would be similar to what the other side of him was already feeling.

If you don’t think there’s anything wrong with us being student and teacher… why didn’t you approach me in person before? Why didn’t you try to start up a relationship, or, hell, a friendship with me? *Before* you knew I who I was online?
11:55 AM

Jared saw the ellipsis show up, but it was gone seconds before he was able to get nervous and Jensen’s reply made his heart stop.

Because as amazing as the Jared in my class was? My heart was already gone. I was in love with you, no one else mattered. It wasn’t worth entertaining.
11:57 AM

I need to see you. Please?
12:00 PM

Jared felt himself smiling through his tears, his stomach a mess of nerves as he re-read Jensen’s message again, and again. Happiness began to override his feelings of uncertainty and fear and he quickly typed in his address and hit send.

Jared had spent the past hour since he gave Jensen his address cleaning the house and showering. His stomach was a twisted pit of nerves, but he felt lighter than he had in the past week. It had taken some convincing to get Jensen to stay for the rest of his office hours, but finally the other man had relented and then Jared was off, making sure the apartment looked meticulous.

He glanced at the clock and blew out a breath. Jensen would be here any second…

Jared [1:55pm]: Find something to do after class please.

Chad [1:55pm]: Dude how can u still b mad @ me?

Jared [1:56pm]: I’m not. Jensen is going to be coming over to talk…

Chad [1:57pm]: No boning on the couch.

Jared [1:57pm]: Seriously, Chad?

Chad [1:58pm]: Just saying.

Chad [1:59pm]: happy ur talking 2 him. Happy 4u.

Jared rolled his eyes and slipped the phone back into his pocket. He wondered if he should put on some coffee… or maybe Jensen drank tea? There were probably a few beers in the fridge… The knock on the door cut off any further thoughts about drinks and he licked his lower lip as he moved across the living room to answer it.

Jensen stood there, his hair disheveled and sticking up as if he’d been running his fingers through it all afternoon. Jared gave a small smile as he stepped back and tried not to laugh when he saw Jensen’s jacket was folded up in the back.

“I came as soon as I could,” Jensen was saying, and from the way he sounded Jared wanted to ask if he’d run all the way to the apartment. “I couldn’t find parking downstairs and then I started worrying that maybe you would’ve changed your mind and left or, I don’t know, not answered the door?”

He turned around and gave Jared a nervous smile. “I’m glad you’re here, and that you let me in, and that sounded so much less creepy in my head.”

Jared laughed and motioned towards the couch. “No, I understood what you meant.”

Jensen nodded and silence fell over them. Jared took Jensen’s jacket as he slipped it off of his shoulders, and took his time hanging it on the metal hanger by the door.

“Do… you want something to drink?”

“Um, sure.” Jensen nodded and Jared took the opportunity to flee into the kitchen. He stood there for a moment, staring into the fridge, realizing he never actually asked Jensen what he wanted. Maybe coffee… everyone likes coffee…

“I’m just going to make a pot of coffee!” he called over his shoulder and jumped when Jensen answered, his voice definitely not coming from the living room.

“Coffee sounds good.”

Jared turned and saw Jensen standing at the end of the counter, a nervous smile still playing at his lips. He nodded and got the pot started, then leaned against the counter to face Jensen.

Thankfully, it was Jensen who broke the silence first.

“Look, I don’t want things to be awkward.” He gave a small laugh and reached up to scratch the back of his head. “You’ve become a staple in my life, Jared. And… I don’t want that to change. I…” He paused and shifted on his feet, eyes darting up to meet Jared’s and Jared’s breath caught at the emotion he saw there.

“We hadn’t really defined anything online, not in so many words, but I want to be with you, Jared.”

Jared swallowed hard, the coffee maker bubbling behind him the only sound in the room for a second. He was glad when his voice didn’t crack as he asked, “How?”

“How?” Jensen repeated and then slowly moved forward. He kept some space between them, and Jared was grateful for the room to escape if he wanted to. Though he was pretty sure there was nothing that would make him want to move from this spot.

“Like this.”

Jensen reached forward, touching the back of Jared’s hand softly until Jared turned his hand over and Jensen was able to lace their fingers together.

“I want to be able to do this,” he said, giving Jared’s fingers a squeeze, “and stand in your kitchen together while we brew a pot of coffee. I want to grade care plans at my kitchen table while you study beside me. I want to take you to dinner and let you eat all of my green beans, because they seem to be the one side vegetable that every restaurant has around here and they’re so awful.”

Jared squeezed his hand back and nodded. “I could probably eat all your green beans,” he whispered and Jensen smiled, shifting closer again.

“I want to talk to you, every day, and wish you good morning and tell you to sleep well. I want to fight over who gets to hold the remote whenever we watch TV together. I want to take you for a drive and just talk to you for hours, because now that I know what your voice sounds like? I can’t get enough.”

“Are you sure you’re a cardiac nurse and not a poet?” Jared asked and felt his heart skip as Jensen reached his free hand up to brush a lock of hair from his face to hook behind his ear.

“You bring it out in me,” Jensen replied and trailed his fingers down the side of Jared’s face and around the back of his neck. “I want to be able to have Chad drop the ‘Twitter’ in front of ‘boyfriend’ whenever he talks to me about you.”

“Oh my god, he doesn’t.” Jared laughed in embarrassed disbelief (but not really; of course Chad would do that) and shook his head gently, trying not to knock Jensen’s hand away. Jensen’s palm was warm in his and Jared pulled slightly, bringing Jensen forward so he could feel the heat of his body.

“I’m going to kiss you, Jared,” Jensen said softly and Jared nodded once before surging forward himself and pressing their lips together.

He felt Jensen’s fingers tighten around the back of his neck, holding him in place as he kissed him softly, leaving him breathless when he pulled back and pressed their foreheads together. Behind him, the coffee maker beeped that it was ready, but neither one of them moved, both of them content to just be.

Jared opened his mouth to speak just as the front door crashed open and Chad came through, singing a loud, “La-la-la-la, I don’t want to hear anything! La-la-la, I’m not looking!” Jared shook his head and was disappointed when Jensen pulled away to look over at Chad crossing the living room with his hands over his ears and his eyes shut tight. He opened his eyes as he got into the kitchen and they immediately widened.

“Oh, I thought you were in the living room. Or, like, horizontal in your bedroom.” Chad gave them an apologetic shrug and then an approving look. “Looks like you’re heading in the right direction.”

“Chad!” Jared sighed and Chad nodded quickly.

“I know, I know, you told me to buzz off. But… I am covered in sea muck and needed new jeans.” He kicked out his leg and Jared looked down to see brown sludge up half of his pant leg. “So… I’m just… gone. Yup, leaving now!”

Jared heard his bedroom door shut and he tugged on Jensen’s arm, pulling him closer once more. “For the record?” he started, “I want all that, too.”

Jensen’s lips against his were the best response he could’ve hoped for.



Master || One || Two || Three || Four || Epilogue

Date: 2016-12-18 05:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wind-storms.livejournal.com
Wow. The way that Jared found out that Jensen was his professor broke my heart almost as much as it did his. First it was funny, Chad bursting in with "the herpes" comment, and then it all went off the rails. I felt so bad for him. At first I thought Jensen would pick up on it as soon as he started looking at his care plan (and good lord, those things are the bane of my existence).

Your silence has never felt so loud before.

Beautiful line. Simply beautiful.

Still loving this story though, and all the nursing school references ♥ Oh, and I cringed when Jared admitted he got some of his assessment data out of the chart, since Jensen was his professor, lol. Not that I've ever done that *coughs* It really isn't feasible to be asking all that stuff with all the other things they expect us to do. Really love your insight into all this, I'm sure I've probably read other J2 nurse AU stories but I don't think I've ever read a story that was so spot on with all the details.

Kind of don't want to read the epilogue just yet. I don't want it to be over.
Edited Date: 2016-12-18 05:25 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-12-18 05:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dancing-adrift.livejournal.com
Yes. That line. Jensen's DMs after their identities are discovered just gut me in the best way possible ❤❤❤

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