Fandom: Supernatural RPF (pre-Jensen/Misha)
Warnings: negative self-talk, original child character, possible mild embarrassment squick
Summary: Jensen's a broke single dad back to school shopping with his son. Misha's their cashier.
Disclaimer: In no way, shape or form do I mean to insinaute I know what's going on in the actor's private lives or thought processes. This is for funsies.
“Doing the single dad thing. It's hard, you know?”
Jensen is regretting ever opening his mouth. It's one thing to walk up to a (hot) cashier and ask for a price check on one item. That can be passed off as simple curiosity, an 'oh by the way how much for this little trifle?'. It's quite another to place a pile of kid's clothes—basics, like t-shirts and jeans—that are all clearly marked for clearance to begin with, and ask for the price of each one, item by item. Yet another again to involuntarily wince when one of those items (the one your kid wants the most, naturally) is at least twice what you expected it to be, therefore knocking your mental calculations completely off. And your budget. It's yet another again to play the single-dad sympathy card while doing so, especially when you're saying it to a handsome man with a cheeky slant to his lips and unfairly adorable spots of color blushing the apples of his cheeks.
Too late, Jensen realizes how his words might be interpreted. The announcement of singledom sounded like a declaration of intent, which wasn't what Jensen meant. Really. Even if their cashier is a little bit more than attractive, with his shirtsleeves rolled up to elbows revealing strong wrists and a waistcoat that manages to accentuate both his trim waist and draw attention to the generous swell of his ass.
Okay, so maybe that is what Jensen meant. He's never been all that smooth when it comes to flirting, but this is bad, even for him. The guy seems completely unfazed, his hooded blue eyes neutral.
It's possible Jensen has never more felt like a loser in his entire life. More so even than that time in high school when he'd finally gathered the nerve to ask Dani Harris out after half a school year of shared classes spent pining only to have her tilt her head at him and ask “Who are you?”
To make it worse, his kid is laughing at him.
“What's so funny?” Jensen hisses, but Joey's shoulders just shake, wordlessly. He's got one hand on Jensen's cell phone, but the other is covering his mouth, and his eyes are dancing with mirth. Suddenly Jensen is very worried that Jared fulfilled his promise to teach Joey how to use the video record feature, and now his miserable, failed, humiliating attempt at flirtation is plastered all over Facebook.
The clerk smiles sympathetically. Ignoring Jensen's inane comment with the grace of well-worn practice, he says, “Did you want to skip this one for today, or are we adding it to your purchase?” Glumly, Jensen notices his small gray nametag reveals his name as Dmitri. There are three tiny pushpins attached to the line of equally tiny holes along the bottom of the plastic. One Jensen thinks he recognizes as a length of service award—the brass shiny look of the number 1 gives that away—but the other two are a mystery. He thinks they may have to do with customer service, or maybe they hand out pins for associates who are able to keep their cool against clumsy, unwanted advances from their customers.
“Um.” Swallowing what was left of his pride, Jensen says, “Skip it. Please.” Joey proves he's a good kid at heart when he doesn't start whining, but out of the corner of his eye Jensen sees his shoulders slump. Automatically he reaches out and smooths his hand along the back of those shoulders. His son leans into the touch, and they stand quietly together while Dmitri finishes their transaction and gives them a final total.
“That'll be $63.51. Will you be paying with our store card today?”
Somehow, Jensen is able to pay without further humiliating himself by doing something like blurt out how he used to have the card but they took it away from him because his ex-wife maxed it out before leaving him and he hadn't been able to afford to pay it back, or how if he had his choice he wouldn't be so worried about frugality when it came to buying Joey's clothes, or...well, any of the dozen or so inappropriate things he managed to think of in the sixty seconds it took for the store to process his debit card. As soon as Dmitri hands him the bag and his card back, Jensen squeaks out a hasty 'thank you' and hustles Joey towards the exit.
For his part, Joey seems to have rediscovered the humor of the situation, because as soon as the big glass double doors standing between them and freedom come into view, he starts laughing again.
“You crashed so bad there, Dad.”
Jensen wonders what he ever did to deserve such an obnoxious seven year old.
“Worst. Wingman. Ever,” he grits out, trying to make light of his embarrassment. Joey's laughter abruptly cuts off, and Jensen has a tiny flare of guilty worry that he's actually hurt Joey's feelings before the reason for his silence becomes clear.
“Excuse me,” a breathless voice huffs behind him. Rapidly tapping footsteps pick up their pace a fraction when the Ackles family pauses. “Excuse me, sir!”
It's Dmitri, the blush that was visible under the lower lights of the children's department even more pronounced here in the sunlight streaming through the doors. This time it's coupled with a fairly predatory grin, though. Damn it, had he heard Jensen's stupid wingman quip?
“You forgot your receipt,” he says, all solicitousness in his voice. None of the humor that's twinkling in his eyes can be heard, but, well, the guy is still at work. They'd probably take away one of the shiny buttons on his nametag if he verbally demoralized a customer to their face.
“Uh, thanks.” Jensen snatches the slip of paper out of Dmitri's long fingers and shoves it unceremoniously in his jacket pocket.
“You're going to want to hang onto that,” the salesman informs him. “Just in case.” With a wink, Dmitri walks away. Jensen tries and fails not to stare at the sway of his hips as he goes.
“C'mon, dad.” Joey tugs on his jacket sleeve, something like understanding and God help him, pity on his face. No one should be pitied by their kid.
They're at the car, the bag in the trunk and Joey buckled into the back before he says quietly, “I'm sorry, daddy.” Joey never calls him 'daddy' anymore unless one of them is sick or he feels particularly guilty over something. The last thing Jensen wants is for Joey to feel like he did something wrong, to make an already hard day of disappointments over Jensen being forced to tell him 'no' repeatedly any worse.
“Nothing to be sorry for, buddy,” Jensen says, wishing Joey wasn't already strapped into the backseat so he could give him a proper hug. He settles for ruffling his longish brown hair instead, making Joey cry out in protest. Jensen smirks. Yeah, if anything will distract his kid, it's having his hair messed with. He's picked up more than cell phone skills from Jared and has an almost maniacal obsession with keeping his hair tidy.
Joey spends the entire car ride dramatically fussing over how his floppy bangs are never going to hang right ever ever again and by the time they get home Jensen's thinking more about what to make for dinner than about price checks, blue-eyed cashiers and the receipt in his pocket.
It's almost two weeks later when Jensen's cleaning out his jacket that he finds it. He's mostly forgotten the incident at the store, but the familiar logo at the top of the receipt reminds him. He needs to return a pair of the pants he'd bought Joey, so it's a lucky thing to find it (his kid is growing so freaking fast) and when he flips the receipt over to check the return policy to make certain he can take back a clearance item, his heart stops. There, scrawled in big, confident handwriting, is a phone number with an invitation to call anytime, followed by a smiley face.
He's going to have to apologize to Joey later, he thinks. Turns out he wasn't as bad of a wingman as Jensen had joked.