Series: Break Loose Ranch; back story and interwoven with the J2 arc; precedes hit the ground running.
Characters/Pairing: Chad Michael Murray/OFCs, Chad/Jared Padalecki/Sandy McCoy, Chad/Jared, Chad/Christian Kane/Steve Carlson, Chad/Steve…what? It’s Chad.
Word Count: 3531
Summary: Chad’s always been fine with the “do unto others,” it’s just the “as you would have done unto you” part he has trouble with. Probably because he’s shit at knowing what he wants from people. Still, maybe it’s true what they say, “third time’s the charm.” Ostensibly three canon facts about Chad, but more like three windows in time.
1. Sylvia Platzer
In the third grade, Chad had a crush (he didn’t know that’s what it was in third grade) on Sylvia Platzer. Their home room class was alphabetical. She sat in the next row, one desk ahead of him. Her ponytail was long, dark brown, and too perfect for pulling (he remembers it this way now; at the time it was just intimidating), but when he passed her in the halls he always swung it with his hand. She always took a swing at him. He liked that about her. Also (for reasons neither of them understood) she sat next to him in social studies and math and always picked him first for her kickball team in gym.
In November, he gave her the paper turkey he made: brown construction paper body, yellow feet, orange and yellow feathers, and a pink waddle. He wasn't the most creative kid, or the most talented, but it wasn’t bad. Sylvia stuck her nose up, crumpled the turkey and threw it away. Her mom, she told him, was Mashpee-Wampanoag, so her family hated Thanksgiving – and white men. He had no idea what that meant (he doesn’t think she did either, looking back; at the time, it was impressive) but he got that Thanksgiving wasn’t her holiday.
In December, he tried again, leaving red, green and gold tinfoil-wrapped chocolate bells in her stocking with a note that said, “Merry Christmas, from Chad.” She crumpled the note and threw it at his head. “My father’s Jewish. The mashiach hasn’t come yet. We don’t celebrate Christmas,” she told him, but she ate the chocolates and that seemed like a step in the right direction. Especially since when he asked his mom about Jewish and messy-arcs, she laughed and said someone (which meant Sylvia) had hippie parents (he went around for weeks trying to get a glimpse of Sylvia’s hippy-parents, thinking that might be something like hippopotamuses and that would make Sylvia even cooler).
He gave it a rest in January, because Jenny Jordan didn’t hit him or have hippie-parents and she gave him a blue and silver tinfoil-wrapped chocolate dove for New Years. Sylvia gave him dirty looks and moved to sit next to Robby Green. She didn’t pick him first for kickball, only chose him if she had to, and when he swatted her ponytail, she ignored him. Jenny had blue eyes, blond hair, and she laughed when he pulled it. It made him feel sort of good, except when Sylvia gave him hurt looks (he didn’t know he’d hurt her feelings; it was third grade; he thought she hated him or he had something hanging out of his nose).
By February, Jenny bored him. She didn’t say anything interesting, about mashed peas and wampum, white men or messy-arcs and she definitely didn’t have hippie-parents (his mom said her parents were WASPs, but he couldn’t figure out how that was possible, since she didn’t have a stinger and he wasn’t scared of her). She sucked at kickball, softball, and social studies. He gave Sylvia a red construction paper heart, but even at nine (his parents held him back a year so he wouldn't get picked on for being small; it worked, he only got picked on for other stuff) he knew better than to say anything dumb like: “Be my Valentine?” He wrote, “Roses are red, violets are blue, Jenny’s stupid, and Robby is too.” Sylvia punched him in the stomach, he flipped her ponytail so hard it went almost a full circle, and they played tic-tac-toe all the way through social studies, math, and science. She made him co-captain of her kickball team, her spelling bee practice partner, and vice president of every club she started until he moved to Texas in tenth grade.
They still talk sometimes, usually when she breaks up with her girlfriend or had a fight with whoever just doesn’t understand her political aspirations and why can’t they be like you, Chad?, but Sylvia never really forgave him for leaving her before she’d successfully convinced Davis Brown High School choir to boycott Christmas carols and sing African spirituals and Hebrew songs instead.
He understands this all now as some first form equivalent of dating, but in third grade, it was best friends and kickball, and by the time they got out of grade school, the idea of “girlfriend and boyfriend” was beyond ridiculous. Sure, they practiced kissing and petting on each other, but only because Syl didn’t care if he got hard or even creamed in his pants, and he didn’t care that touching her tits made her squeak like a dolphin.
When he’s high, he and Jay are sprawled on the couch, not caring who touches what and how, he sometimes thinks he’s never moved beyond that.
Moving to a Texas football town when you’re in tenth grade -- and the closest you’ve ever been to a football field is Sylvia’s tirades about cheerleadering being "a tool of the patriarchy to keep women down, and the epitome of femininity constructed for the male gaze besides" (he still has no idea what that means, except in the basic sense that Sylvia’s never liked anything that made being blonde and conventionally pretty a good thing) -- is not fun. It was hard to avoid the Bills growing up in Buffalo, so he knew a little about the game, but for some reason – something about blood sports and contests (which he always figured for Syl’s double-talk for “everyone else likes football”) -- Syl loved hockey. So the Sabres it was, even if he liked hoops best (no big hardship, the Celtics sucked in the mid-90s).
The first weekend in Bandera, he sat in the cold-ass metal bleachers in Bulldog Stadium trying to pretend he had some clue what was going on and ducking the “gonna try out next year? Bet you’d make a great running back,” from Kelly. She’d pretended not to want to show him around his first day but changed her mind when she figured out he wasn’t from anywhere in Texas. Kelly was nothing like Syl, except being smart in a mean way like you see in people who don’t fit in but want to. He couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t popular – girl was damned pretty with a rockin-hot bod, not too smart, and knew about football, which was what people seemed to live and breathe around here – when they weren’t talking rodeos.
Not that rodeos helped him much. His only brush with a horse before moving to Cowboy Country, USA was the mean little shit of a pony that bit him the year before. Syl made him go with her, her “Little Sister” and his “Little Brother” to the country to pick apples and see how cider was made. In retaliation he’d bought Oletta and Paulo – and Syl – chocolate chip-coated caramel apples. His ass hurt and if he couldn’t swear or drink his dad’s beer, he was damned well going to eat something sugary and bad for him. Syl could glare all she wanted.
Pretty much, that was how he met Jay. Not at the apple orchard, but leaving Kelly in the stands to get something sweet and warm at the food booth. Tallest kid he’d ever seen, long and lean with huge feet, dirt brown hair in his eyes, and the brightest grin this side of a television screen. He had his arm around a gorgeous little fox who smiled almost as bright, especially when the guy paid for hot chocolate and cinnamon twists and stole a kiss while they waited for change.
The guy caught Chad watching, and instead of getting pissed, he put out his beast-paw. “M’Jared, this here’s Sandy. You're Chad, right, new here from Buffalo this week?”
Chad couldn’t do anything but shake Jared’s hand and nod his head.
“You settling in right quick? Folks treating you fine?”
He made some comment about Kelly that had Sandy pressing her lips together and glancing up at Jared, dark eyes saying things he didn’t get but Jared did. Somehow he and Kelly had ended up sitting with Jared and Sandy for the rest of the game.
Next day Kelly hadn’t wanted anything to do with him. That was sort of a relief, actually, since he’d never had a girlfriend and wasn’t sure he wanted one. It’d all have been totally okay with him except for the hot-headed corn-fed boy who decided to take a swing at him (he hit a fuckton harder than Sylvia) for ditching Kelly for "greener pastures" and something about milking cows that he didn’t mean to buy (which meant screwing around with her without dating her, Chad figured out later, but it’d been her idea and she hadn’t complained even a little; no dolphin noises but the breathy little moans when he’d tweaked her nipples had done good things for his dick).
Jared had come to his rescue, putting his gigantor-self between him and the hot head. “You wanna to moon over Kelly the rest of your life, Josh, ain’t no one gonna stop you," Jared drawled. "M’thinking she’s gonna break your heart from now ‘til Judgment Day, but that’s your choice. Just leave my boy Chad, here, alone. He don’t know nothing about you, or Kelly, or this town, and you got no call to go taking it out on him. Y’hear?” Before Chad could even think to get embarrassed, Josh was saying, “Yeah, yeah, Jared, sorry. You’re right. Sorry, man. No hard feelings?” and sticking out his not-so-tiny paw.
Later Jared explained about Kelly’s people, how they had no money, and how most folks treated her "worse than dirt." About how Josh wanted to marry her someday "but his pa wouldn’t let him be seen with trash like her," and how Kelly’d "kinda taken that on herself." Sandy and Jared’s people came from the “good” side of town, but their mamas "held no truck with ideas like Josh’s folks had." They tried to be Kelly's friend, but she saw it as charity, and "din’t want no pity from the likes of them."
It’s funny to Chad how, even now, he remembers Jay’s drawl more than any of what he said. The way he talked sounded alien and terrifying, but underneath it, Jay reminded him of Syl a little. Jay cared
Chad’s mom taught him to live by the golden rule, and he tried, but he wasn’t, still isn’t, all that good at it. He’s good with the “do unto others.” It’s just the “as you would have done to you” where he falls down. Probably because he’s shit at figuring out what he wants from other people.
He never had to think about it with Jay, any more than he had with Syl. As soon as Sandy decided she could live with his brand of New York-stupid, the three of them were almost as tight as him and Syl had been. Sandy and Jay fucked each other, and he fucked a series of pretty girls (Kelly was only the first of many) from the wrong side of the tracks. Their mamas cooed over them, his mom accepted them patiently, and Jay and Sandy got to feel good about themselves for befriending them. A few times, after high school, when Sandy wanted it, she sucked him off while Jay fucked her, and the one time Jay took her ass while she rode his dick, but it was no big thing and they never talked about it afterwards.
They never talked about he and Jay sucking each other off for her to watch, either. Especially not when they kept doing it after he and Sandy broke up. Then it was exactly like him and Syl, except if he’d ever had a crush on Jay it’d passed so quick he couldn’t remember it.
Some of their school friends decided they were partners when Chad followed Jared out to the ranch instead of Sandy to Hollywood. He never bothered to correct them, because it didn’t stop the flow of pussy (or dick when he wanted it), but it did have the advantage of none of them thinking he was available. Plus it meant they knew better than to talk shit about Jay being mostly gay to Chad, which was a good thing. He’d learned to punch since the incident with Josh, and while there wasn’t much that would "set him to swinging," hurting Jay or Sandy (even now) always had his fist cocked before his brain fired.
Once a year at Rosh Hashanah, Syl calls to talk to him about the future and what he wants from his life. He listens and thinks about it, because it’s Syl and next to Jay, she knows him better than anyone. But, most days, he doesn’t take much time over it. Jared’s mama says he has the happy knack of being content with what life’s brung him. He’s not sure what that means for the rest of his life, but for now, that means doing whatever the fuck seems good, usually with Jay.
All Chad's really wanted since moving to Texas is to have some fun, not work too hard, hang with his boy, and help him scratch the itch riding under the surface of his mama’s boy grin. Jay takes it personally when bad things happen to people and animals. He burns to do something about it, and Chad thinks that’s enough wanting for both of them.
When Jay fell head over heels for Jensen, Chad was smart enough to know that was going change things, stupid enough to beg Jensen not to hurt his boy, and go-lucky enough to let it all ride and be there for Jay when he wanted him.
He wasn’t jealous of Jay falling in love with someone else. It’s never been like that with them, and Jay’s so huge (not just his dick, man, but that thing’s a monster and he’s just as glad not to have it in his ass), it was good to have someone to share that with. Especially someone like Jensen who needs as much caring as Jay can spare.
It did mean he suddenly had a lot more free time, and for the first time in forever, when Syl called at Rosh Hashanah he didn’t immediately tell her to lay off and let him live his life. Not being jealous and being a dumbass didn’t mean he couldn’t see how a life of being vice president meant he could check responsibility at the door, but left him nowhere when the president resigned, moved on, or didn't get re-elected.
Chad knew, though, he was never going to run out on Jay. Seeing him after Taylor, fuck, that was enough to convince him never to go somewhere he couldn’t ride Jay’s ass (and stroke his hair and dry his tears, but no one’s talking about that) if this thing with Jensen ever went wrong. He was pretty sure it wouldn’t, which is why he was thinking about it, but even if Syl was right and he should want something for himself, it was going to have to be something or someone that understood he’s in the vice president-reserves for life and if Jay ever needs him, he’s going to be there, hell or high water.
Which is pretty much how he and Steve got started. Steve feels the same about Chris as he does about Jay and both of them get that their boys coming first doesn’t mean shit about the two of them together.
He still remembers the night it started to happen (even though he was drunk enough to let it). The fire burned down low, Mike and Tommy turned in early to do whatever the fuck they do that gets Mike sobbing and howling. Jay dropped a kiss to Jensen’s shoulder, called him "baby" all sweet and soft like he never did with Sandy, and the night slid from hot to sultry in a heartbeat.
It’d happened maybe half-a-dozen times that they’d been in this situation, him, Steve and Chris. Usually they stayed up with their guitars until the moaning stopped, then Chad went to bed alone, they went together, and maybe they fucked if they felt like it. But that night, either the weed or the worm put an edge on Chris and he wanted something he wasn’t going to get from Steve.
The three of them ended up in Chad’s tent, Chris’s dick in his ass (not as big as Jay’s but goddamn it the boy knew how to use every inch of it to make sure you knew you were getting fucked), Steve’s in his mouth, then his in Steve’s and the three of them going round-robin (smart fuckers kept handiwipes in their kit for wiping off dicks between) until they passed out from it. Sometime around 4 am, Chris ducked out. Chad figured he had to piss, but Steve swore under his breath, and maybe a minute later, Chris was talking in a low voice to someone named Dave on his cell.
Steve’s shoulders went tense, and Chad didn’t know shit about shit, but he’d never thought Steve and Chris were like that. “Hey.” He set his palm in the middle of Steve’s chest, still sticky with sweat and come from blowing him. “Your boy okay?” There hadn’t been anything wrong with him an hour ago, but asking about him was cooler than asking Steve if he was okay (they both knew what he meant).
Steve didn’t say anything right away. After a few minutes of staring at the tent flap, he pushed a hand through his hair and breathed out a shaky sigh. “Drives me crazy sometimes, watching him lay out his heart for Dave to walk on again and again. His life, you know, but it makes me want to kick him.”
“You see the hurt coming a mile away, and there’s nothing to do but be there to pick up the pieces.” He knew, he’d been there with Syl, and Jay, often enough to know the ache of it.
Steve didn’t seem to want to talk, and Chad got that too. It’d be hard to say much without sharing Chris’s story with him. You just didn’t do that.
If it was Jay, he’d have pulled Jay’s arm around his waist and let him press the ache against his back. He didn’t know Steve even close to well enough for that, but they’d been fucking and the sex was good and easy. So he rolled over and slung an arm around Steve’s hips. “You catching or pitching?”
The roughness in his voice sounded more grateful than anything, so Chad bit the back of his neck and said, “Catching it is, bitch.”
Without Chris there waving a second dick in his face, Chad took his time. He spread Steve out, slid in deep, and stayed there until Steve’s head dropped between his arms, he moaned, “fuck yes,” and meant it.
It shouldn’t have made a difference. Not after an epic fuckfest with Chris and him already. It should’ve been just a way to relieve tension. But Steve felt good in the span of his arms and liked a slow, hard screw as much as Chad, and he loved his boy to distraction. Which made him sort of a vice president, even if having a band of his own and one with Chris made him a lot more motivated than Chad.
Sleeping tangled up with Steve didn’t feel like sleeping with Jay or Syl. It wasn’t easy and comfortable and just going to sleep. It was easy and comfortable for not being awkward, but he woke up with his dick hard for more reasons than morning wood and Steve’s hand already wrapped around it. Over (late) breakfast by the fire, they didn’t talk, but Steve’s eyes seemed bluer than he’d remembered, his mouth more made for kissing and fucking, his body harder and leaner. Somehow without getting farther from their boys, they sat closer to each other, and when Chris’s cell rang toward midnight, Steve looked to Chad for the space of a breath before he started strumming.
Things got messy after that. They’re still a fucking disaster, between Sendhil and Eliza and a whole string of blondes, and he’s got no idea how it’s going to end or how he wants it to.
Most people, especially Jay, think Chad’s a dipshit. He know’s he’s not the brightest bulb, the best at anything, the most motivated or even really a marginally motivated guy. Since third grade (or seventh when Syl had her first boyfriend or tenth when she had her first girlfriend), Chad’s been saying he wasn’t wired to fall in love, that sex was for getting your rocks off.
Sitting across the fire from Steve now, though, watching his face change while he sings and knowing he’s not kissing that mouth tonight unless one of them says “I’m sorry,” Chad thinks he might’ve been wrong.
Dirty blond hair, bright blue eyes, a voice Syl’s protest-rock friends would kill for, and loyalty as pure as oxygen say, yeah, he’s probably (definitely) wrong.
Notes: The other day I said I needed something to work on while I worked on my Yuletide story. I figured I’d dabble at it between takes. Y’all wanted Jared, and he’s probably coming up soon, but my girl way2busymom wanted Chad and she’s been busting her ass for me, and my girl moonmelody's been wanting Steve for a long time now. Hope this suffices for both of you until I get to their stories.
Thanks to affectingly for the handhold, my girls for audiencing, and my sometimes-evil sometimes-twin azewewish for a stunningly smart beta that made this little piece a whole lot better than it would’ve been.