With Voyeuristic Intention
Jensen wakes up the next morning sore as hell. The bruises all over his body seem to have multiplied, blossoming overnight into vibrant purples and magentas. Jesus, he looks like an apocalypse survivor or something equally as gruesome. There’s even a dark bruise on his chin. Lovely. Good thing he was planning on wearing a little makeup tonight anyway.
Tonight’s the night they’re going to Rocky Horror for Jared’s birthday. Both sets of parents have agreed to a one-time only extension of curfews until 1:00 am in honor of the special occasion. Jensen broke down and spilled the beans about where they were going to Jared yesterday once they got home from the field. He’s shit at keeping secrets, and besides, he wants Jared to be able to dress appropriately if that’s something he’s into, because, hell yeah, Jensen’s definitely going to dress the part.
The day goes by quickly. It’s Saturday, the most crowded day of the week at the market. Jensen loves all the activity, and whenever anyone asks him about his bruises, he regales them with stories about his awesome dirt bike exploits. Jared huffs and laughs as the stories get more and more outlandish, culminating with a ten foot jump over a shark-filled moat. Jensen also catches a gleam in the other boy’s eyes that he isn’t sure how to interpret. He doesn’t have much time to dwell on it though because they’re both kept busy restocking stalls for their regular customers. Before they know it, the day is over and the market is closing.
They part ways as they leave, each heading to their respective homes. Jared’s parents want to spend some time with him on his birthday and they’re taking him out for dinner as he’d predicted they would. Jensen has some supplies he needs to purchase for the interactive audience participation portion of the show. Plus, the makeup for his costume requires some experimentation since the only other makeup he’s ever worn is Halloween makeup. This is similar, but not exactly the same thing.
His mom makes salmon and rice for dinner. After he’s eaten, he excuses himself from the table, locks himself in the bathroom, and empties his purchases onto the counter. The bottles, tubes, and assorted paraphernalia form an intimidating mound. Where to start? He idly picks up a tube of black eyeliner, untwists the cap, and pulls out the thin brush. As good a place as any, he supposes.
An hour or so later, he studies his reflection in the mirror, a self-satisfied smirk on his face. He’s wearing heavy black ankle-high boots, black leather pants, and a studded leather vest. A velvet collar fits snug around his throat. On his bare shoulders he’s used some shimmering oil that gives his already bronzed skin a glittery appearance. The tips of his spiked hair are dyed gold. Smokey black eyeshadow, thick black eyeliner, and mascara make his eyes seem as large as an anime character’s. To top off his look, he’s put on cherry flavored lip gloss, the color a barely-there pink. Certainly not the way he wants to be seen on an everyday basis, but for tonight it’s fucking amazing.
A car horn honks from the driveway outside, Jeff and Jared probably. Jensen grabs the two bags of Rocky Horror essentials he’d put together earlier and pelts down the stairs, taking them two at a time.
His mom stands at the bottom, camera in hand. “Oh my goodness, look at you!” She squeals. “I need pictures.” She laughs and snaps pictures, calling him a ham and a scoundrel while he poses shamelessly. Pleased with the number of pictures she has, she says, “I wish I could give you a hug, but I don’t want to mess up all your hard work.”
Blowing her a kiss, he responds, “Love you, Mom,” and rushes out the door, not wanting to keep Jeff and Jared waiting any longer.
Jeff’s blue Ford Focus is parked in the driveway, engine running, Jared sitting shotgun. Jensen jogs over and slides into the back seat.
A wolf whistle, long and low, comes from the driver’s seat. “Well, ain’t you a looker,” Jeff says. Jeff is twenty years old, four years older than them. He works for an electrician buddy of his and lives at home so he can save money for college.
“Whoa,” Jared says, voice breathy. “You didn’t tell me you were going all out. Now I feel underdressed.”
“This is nothing,” Jensen smirks. “Just wait ‘til we get there and you see what some of the other people are wearing.”
Jared pouts. “Not helping, Jen.” He’s got on a pair of tight-fitting jeans and a white button down shirt open to his navel, flat stomach and abs on display.
“What are you even talking about, you look good enough to eat.” Jensen winks suggestively. The costume is making him feel unfettered, free to say and do things he wouldn’t normally do - like flirt with his best friend. Maybe not such a smart idea, he thinks. Time to tone it down a bit before he takes it too far and gives away his secret crush. “Don’t worry, Jare. There will be people dressed in their everyday clothes and people dressed in bustiers and everything in between. You’ll fit right in.”
Seemingly appeased, Jared faces forward and Jeff backs the car out of the driveway.
About half an hour later, they’re pulling up in front of the theatre, an older building in the revitalized section of town. Among the people milling around on the sidewalk are a girl in a skimpy French maid costume and another wearing a see-through pink baby doll nightie.
Jeff turns around, resting his arm of the back of the driver’s seat so he can see both Jared and Jensen. “I’ll be back to pick you up at 12:15 am.” He points at Jared. “Don’t be late. If I don’t get you home by one o’clock sharp, Mom with have a conniption fit. You know I’m right.” A slow smile lightens his expression. “Now, go have fun. But don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
Jared smacks his brother on the arm. “Cool, anything goes then.” He cackles and jumps out of the car before Jeff can retaliate.
“Thanks man.” Jensen waves goodbye to Jeff, leading the way to the ticket booth. He buys two tickets and they head through the double doors, passing through the lobby area and into the main theatre. Many audience members have yet to take their seats. Instead, they’re standing around in groups, talking and admiring the costumes of those who dressed up. There are people dressed as Frank N. Furter, Riff Raff, Magenta, Rocky, and the rest of the cast. Some people are wearing bright red lipstick or wigs or white face makeup. You name it and someone is wearing it. Jensen gets his fair share of admiration. One girl gives him a thumbs up and someone else gives him a high five, but when a guy with fake blood on his face comes over to whisper, “Nice outfit,” in his ear, Jared puts a hand on the small of his back to guide him toward a couple empty seats in the middle of the theatre.
“Here,” Jensen says, handing him a bag of essentials. “You’re gonna need this stuff.”
Jared opens the bag and sifts through the contents, pulls out the flashlight, flicks it on, flicks it off. He seems too somber - introspective - like he’s mulling something important over.
“You know what to do with that stuff?” Jensen asks.
Jared snorts. “I have some idea. I’ve never been before, but I don’t live under a rock. I’ve heard other people talk about it.” His dimples flash as he bumps their shoulders together.
“Yeah, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Just follow what everyone else does.” Jensen smacks his lips, rubbing them against each other. The lipgloss feels slippery and strange. He glances up and sees Jared staring at his lips. Huh.
The lights flicker and a temporary hush falls over the audience followed by catcalls and jeers when the MC comes on stage. From the way half the audience responds in unison to his remarks, Jensen can tell this is part of the show even though he doesn’t remember it from the one and only other time he was here a year ago. The MC recites ‘the rules’ and jokes about virgins in the audience. Jensen points at Jared and the people around them hoot good-naturedly. When the MC leaves the stage, the lights dim and the movie starts.
The thing that makes Rocky Horror so much fun is letting yourself get swept along with the crowd, fully immersing yourself in the experience, becoming part of the show. For just a few hours, you belong to the larger group, a card-carrying member of the cult. Jensen and Jared do exactly that. They throw rice after the wedding, squirt water during the rainstorm, and throw toilet paper when Dr. Scott arrives. They may not get the timing perfectly right, but they fumble their way through it, laughing as they try to pull the right items from their bags when they see what everyone else is doing.
Jensen laughs so hard while dancing to Time Warp that he has to bend over and catch his breath. Jared puts a hand on his chest to keep him from losing his balance. When Jensen can breathe again, he looks over to thank his friend and freezes. The words dissolve in his mouth. The look he catches on Jared’s face is one of unadulterated adoration, eyes shining, lips parted, cheeks flushed. They stare at each other while Riff Raff sings and the audience continues to dance around them. Then slowly, like he’s moving underwater, Jared lowers his face until their lips touch. Jensen lets his eyes fall closed and leans in to the kiss, mouth parting, tasting the lip gloss and Jared. Jared pulls him closer, a hand on his hip, and mashes their mouths together more firmly.
The song ends. Everyone around them sits back down. Jensen pulls away and sits, but he doesn’t take his eyes off Jared. He can’t believe what just happened, what Jared just did. Jared kissed him. He kissed Jared back. This changes everything.
Jared hasn’t looked away either. He puts fingers to his lips, smears the lip gloss left there from the kiss around and then sucks his fingers into his mouth. Fuck, that’s hot! Does Jared even know how sexy he is? Jensen has to reach down and adjust himself in his leather pants.
He feels like he’s just been struck by lightning, electricity zinging through his body. Everything he knows about his friendship with Jared, their plans, their future, everything, has been turned inside out and upside down - in the best possible way. They’re going to have to rethink it all because its possible...yeah, he might be in love with Jared. And the truly amazing thing is that Jared might love him back. His cheeks begin to hurt, and he realizes he hasn’t stopped smiling. This may be the happiest he’s ever been.
Jared grabs his hand, intertwining their fingers. They’re going to have to talk about this, but not now. For now, they sit and watch the rest of the show, hand in hand.
Jensen throws open his front door, nearly bouncing into his house. He winces a moment later when the dark foyer reminds him how late it is. Luckily, his sister is spending the night with a friend and his parents are probably in their room waiting up for him, so chances are he hasn’t woken anyone. Humming Time Warp, he saunters upstairs. He’ll just go up and let his parents know he’s home before going to bed, not that he’s sleepy, he’s still totally keyed up, but it is late and he’s made plans to meet up with Jared after church tomorrow so he needs some rest.
Jared. Just the thought of his boyfriend - does he get to call him that yet? - makes Jensen feel lighter than air, like gravity no longer applies to him, like he can push off from the ground and walk among the clouds and every other sappy cliche imaginable.
His parents’ room is the first one at the top of the stairs. The door is ajar, light filtering into the hallway.
“Hey, I’m home! Mom? Dad?”
A sound unlike anything he’s ever heard before comes from somewhere nearby, a gurgling screech that causes his whole body to go rigid. Simultaneously, the smell hits him, fetid and gag-inducing, like really foul body odor. Before he can react, a shadow as tall as a man detaches from the gloom further down the hallway, moving toward him. It’s vaguely humanoid, has two legs, two arms, and a head, but that’s where any resemblance to humanity ends. The creature seems made of a roiling, inky-black smoke. Its shape seethes and bubbles, ever changing, ever morphing. Other than two sickly yellow eyes, the face has no discernible features and yet it still manages to convey a terrible hunger. The bile colored eyes regard him intently as the...thing shambles closer.
Jensen’s breath catches in his throat. This can’t be happening. This can’t be real. It must be a nightmare. He must have fallen asleep, maybe on the way home, and now he’s dreaming, because this creature can’t exist, can’t be in his house. And now that he knows he’s dreaming, he can simply wake himself up. That’s normally how it works. He wills himself to wake up, but nothing changes. The shadow monster is still there and now it’s reaching for him, a molten, shapeless hand groping the air in front of him.
An icy chill seeps into his bones. His parents. He has to warn his parents. The creature is between him and his parents’ room, blocking his way. “Dad! Close your door, lock it. Hurry!” he yells.
The screeching sound coming from a dark void that might be the monster’s mouth changes pitch, alters tone until Jensen can make out garbled words, dry and powdery like ashes. “Want you...hungry...give me...”
A grim determination grips him, where it comes from Jensen has no idea, but he’s not going to let this nightmare beat him. He’s not going to let it take his family, not now, not when his life is so goddamn perfect.
There’s been no movement from his parents’ room, and he can’t get around the shadow creature. The only way he can get to them is to go through it. He braces himself and charges, leading with his left shoulder, intending to knock it backwards. His shoulder meets only a spongy resistance, like tar. Instead of a solid, satisfying impact, his shoulder sinks into the fluid form. Then, there’s a nauseating pop and blinding pain.
Jensen recoils, gasping and shaking, left arm hanging heavy and useless at his side. He expects the creature to attack, to overpower him now that he’s obviously injured. It doesn’t. If anything, it seems just as shocked as he is. It’s smoky mass shrinks and it whines, “Too bright...can’t get you...Why?...n-need you...”
“Fuck off, asshole,” Jensen manages to snarl past the white-hot pain, desperation giving him the strength he needs to stay upright.
The monster gives one last plaintive cry and evaporates into thin air.
Staring at where the shadow monster used to be, Jensen fights with the hysteria that suddenly threatens to overtake him. Monsters are real. A monster came out of the shadows. Shadow monsters are real. A scream claws its way up his throat, but he viciously swallows it down, refusing to give voice to his panic. Stubborn just like his mother always says.
Jensen stumbles the few feet to his parents’ room, stands in the threshold, and his mind shuts down.
His mom and his dad are both on the floor, eyes wide open and unseeing, skin grey, mouths wide open in soundless horror.
Jensen sinks to the floor. He can’t feel his legs. He can’t feel anything at all.
For the second time that night, Jensen’s world twists on its axis, forever changed.
Link to Chapter 7
Link to the Master Post