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Gods Among Men


  • Title: Gods Among Men

  • Pairings: Misha/Jared/Jensen

  • Warnings: Implied sexual situations

  • Rating: Teen

  • Word count: 8,421

  • Summary: Jensen lives a simple, but happy life teaching mythology at a university. But when Jared and Misha both come into his life he starts to understand that love takes many forms, and the gods of mythology he so dearly loves may have a more personal interest in him than he ever imagined.

Part One

  • This was written as a gift for Raths_Kitten as a part of the 2015 Dean/Cas Xmas exchange. This was based on the prompt "Misha and Jared are gods both vying for mortal!Jensen's attention." The whole story was loosely based on the story of Psyche and Eros, and includes references to real Greek gods and myths. I tried to stick as close to the original mythology as possible, but I did change some aspects for the sake of the story. Mythology is one of my biggest areas of interest and I was unbelievably excited to see that prompt. This story was a lot of fun to write, and initially started out as a more traditional retelling of Psyche and Eros with Jared, Jensen, and Misha. But somewhere along the way it turn into something completely different. Raths_kitten, I really hope that you enjoyed this and that you don't mind the direction I decided to take this story in! I had a lot of fun writing this and I really hope it isn't too far off from what you had in mind. A million thanks to my amazing Beta Tipsy_kitty who was immensely helpful and kind enough to beta this for me at the last minute. Any remaining mistakes are my own. :)

“When Hades saw Persephone he knew he needed her by his side.  He was so consumed by her beauty he abducted her and dragged her down into the underworld to be with him.  She could leave the underworld, but only if she didn’t eat anything while she was there but in the end gave into her own hunger and ate six pomegranate seeds; as a compromise she would spend six months of the year in the underworld and six months of the the year in Olympus.  Her mother, a goddess herself, was so upset by this that when Persephone was in the underworld she would plunge the world into cold, causing the divide of summer and spring and fall and winter.”  Jensen talked on, telling the story he knew well.  He liked teaching mythology at a university, it was something he felt very passionately about and he enjoyed being able to pass on that knowledge to eager, and sometimes not-so-eager, young minds.  The story of Persephone and Hades had always been one of his favorites and no matter how many times he taught it, he still enjoyed discussing it.

“Why did he do that?”  One of his students asked, a young woman in the third row by the name of Katie.

“Hades was a god, he had the whole underworld at his command,” the girl continued, “why would he want to drag Persephone along with him?  He had the vastness of the underworld at his disposal, doesn’t it seem like more work than it’s worth, to try to drag someone down there, someone who doesn’t want to be there in the first place?”

Jensen knew all the right answers.  He knew what he should say: that Persephone was a symbol of fertility and life, and that the story represented the way plants die in the winter and come back to life in the spring.  Hades represented winter, and the inevitable death that came with it.  He knew all the right answers, but he had never been able to think of the old gods in that way.  He had never been able to see Persephone and Hades as symbols and representations.  They were too real too him.  He knew what he was supposed to say, but instead he said, “I think even the gods can become lonely.”

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“Have you seen the new groundskeeper?”  Katie was whispering to one of her friends.  He shuffled papers on his desk pretending to be completely uninterested in their conversations.  Katie had, had a crush on him since day one.  Aside from how inappropriate it would be to date one of his students, she wasn’t exactly his type.  He was relieved that her not exactly subtle romantic interests might actually be directed towards another unsuspecting soul for a change.

“He’s huge, he’s got to be well over six foot, and you know what they say…big hands, big feet…big shoes.  He was outside earlier, we should go see if he’s still out there.  He could plow my garden anytime.”  They both left giggling, and Jensen sighed inwardly.  The new hire, Jared was his name, had been all the talk of the staff and students for the better part of the day.  He simply didn’t understand melting into a giggling mess over some attractive face.  He for one had better things to do than to spend his time trying to catch a glimpse of the new hire.  Besides, he had already tried looking outside and the new groundskeeper was nowhere to be seen.

He made his way out of the Humanities building and was definitely not looking around to try and catch a glimpse of Jared.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and if he happened to be looking around while he walked it was simply to better take in all the beauty that was around him.  He was so busynot looking for Jared that he nearly walked straight into the man himself.

He took a step back in surprise and pushed his glasses up his nose as he took in the man standing before him.  He wasn’t as tall as he had expect, in fact he wasn’t that much taller than Jared, but he was exactly as handsome as all the rumors he had heard.  Jensen bit his tongue just in time to stop himself from blurting out the first thing that came to mind, ‘This is a day of legend for surely the gods walk among us.’  What came out instead was, “I’m uh….Jensen, and you’re uh Jared.”  That was much better.  He had only just met the man and he already sounded like he couldn’t properly form a sentence.

He sighed, running a hand down his face.  “Let me try that again, hi, my name is Jensen, I’m the mythology teacher.  And you must be the rumored Jared; you’ve been quite the talk as of late.”

Jared was smiling; clearly amused, but not outright laughing at him and Jensen appreciated the effort he was making.

“So people have been talking about me?  What exactly have they been saying?  It’s only my first day; I certainly hope I don’t have a bad reputation already.”  Jared looked at Jensen expectantly, waiting for an answer.  Jensen was pretty sure Jared already knew the answer.  Jared didn’t seem like the sort of person who didn’t know exactly what people were saying about him.

“Oh, you know the usual, ‘the university’s hired a new groundskeeper’ that sort of thing.  Jensen did his best to sound casual, leaving out all the innuendos and speculation that had peppered what was being said about Jared.  One of the other professors had gone as far as telling Jensen he should definitely meet Jared, since Jensen was so interested in mythology he would certainly be interested in meeting a real flesh and blood sex god.  At the time Jensen had thought it a bit juvenile, but now, seeing Jared in person, he couldn’t disagree with the assessment.

“I’ve been hearing about you to,” Jared said looking assessing at Jensen.  “From what I’ve heard you’re lectures on mythology are something to hear.  No one talks about Greco-Roman mythology quite like you.”

“Is that so?”  Jensen knew his classes were popular, but he was surprised that Jared had already heard about him, news of a new hire traveled fast, but Jensen was old news among the staff and students, he was surprised anyone would feel the need to fill Jared in.

“From what I’ve heard you make mythology come alive.”  Jared took a step closer, “You talk about the gods like their real and living.  You don’t teach it like they are antiquated ideas of a dead religion.”  He took another step closer, nearly closing the distance between them, Jensen knew he should step back, he had only just met this man, but he couldn’t make himself move away.  There was an intensity to his voice, like Jensen was someone worth taking note of.  Jared continued, “I’ve always been interested in mythology myself.  No one knew sex and love like the Greek gods.  People can say what they want about movie stars and singers, but if you ask me there has never been a sex idol quite like Bacchus, god of wine, madness and…ecstasy.   There’s something very appealing about the idea, don’t you think?  Worshipping him encouraged letting go completely, giving into madness and frenzy.  It was like being stripped away of everything and giving into to who you truly are, underneath all the restrictions and expectations of society, to be only you and to give into you’re every desire.  There is no freedom quite like that, don’t you agree?”

“Hi!”  It was Katie’s perky voice that broke through before Jensen could answer.  “You must be Jared, I’ve heard a lot about you, and, I must say, you don’t disappoint.”  Her smile was sweet and flirtatious and she didn’t even try to hide the way her eyes roamed over every inch of him.

Jared’s face contorted in anger, almost a snarl, but only for a second, before it smoothed out once more to a neutral expression.  Brief as it was, it was enough to make Katie take a step away, her smile wavering.  “I was having a conversation with Jensen, so if you don’t mind…” Jared didn’t even try to hide the annoyance in his voice and Katie’s smile finally faded for good this time as she took another step back.

“Yeah of course, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

Whatever spell Jensen had been under while Jared spoke was broken now and Jensen took advantage of the opportunity to make his escape.  He had only just met the man but somehow the conversation had already started to head in a rather inappropriate direction.  Even so, he found himself reluctant to leave.  With no small effort he said, “its fine, really, I should be going.  It was nice meeting you Jared, I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around.  And Katie, I’ll see you in class tomorrow.”  He did his best to ignore the awkward tension that followed, or the decidedly displeased look Jared was giving him.  He walked away, not looking back.

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He lived close to the university which was a convenience worth the price for rent he had to pay.  He thought about the day that had proceeded and what he had said.  He hoped he was getting through to his students, he wanted them to understand the beauty of the stories the way he did.  At times he felt like no one appreciated the Greek gods like he did, no one, except for Jared, it would seem.  The university spent a lot of money keeping the grass green, and the hedges looking nice.  He had always thought it seemed like quite a waste of money, but today he was starting to appreciate the importance of good gardening.  He was pulled from his thoughts by someone shouting, “Cerberus, no!” right before a huge weight hit him and he fell to the ground, nearly crushed by the animal on top of him.  He had enough time to think that being mauled by the guard of Hades was a fitting way to die for someone like him, right before he felt a wet tongue slobbering over his face.

“Cerberus, no, bad dog.  You get off him.”  The man, Cerberus’ owner presumably, sounded more amused than upset, perhaps belying the authoritative tone he was going for.

Cerberus barked once, delighted, and then went back to slobbering over Jensen, before being pulled off him.  Cerberus gave a low whine, clearly distraught at being separated from his new friend.

“I think he likes you.  Are you okay?  He doesn’t mean any harm, he’s friendly enough.  He just doesn’t know his own size.”  Jensen opened his eyes to find a black blur above him, being held back by a man shaped blur.  He felt around on the ground next to him until he came in contact with his glasses.  Once they were on he could see his attacker and his savior clearly for the first time.

His savior wasn’t that tall, or at least Jensen didn’t think so, it was hard to tell lying on the ground looking up at him.  He had dark hair and the bluest eyes Jensen had ever seen.  The dog, Cerberus, was a breed Jensen didn’t recognize, beyond that it was huge, towering over where he laid, panting with its big tongue lolling to the side.

The man reached out a hand to pull Jensen to his feet, “I’m Misha, and I think you already met Cerberus here.”  His laugh was easy and light and did strange things to Jensen’s insides.

“I’m Jensen, and yeah I’m fine, no harm done.”  He reached down to pick up one of the books he had dropped but Misha beat him to it.

“Greek mythology?  That’s an interesting subject.”

“I teach it at the university.  I know it seems pretty pointless to a lot of people, old gods and a dead religion and all that.  But I like it.  There is something beautiful about it, the idea of being able to go to an altar to worship and leave gifts for gods in a bid to win their affections.  There are times I wish I could have gone to worship at their altars.”  Jensen wondered if he should have said that, it wasn’t a sentiment he usually expressed.  And he hadn’t known Misha that long; he didn’t want to come across like he was crazy.

“And the gods are lesser for it.  Any god would be privileged to win your devotion.  Although, I doubt you would have need for a tribute.  Any god worth worshipping would be honored just to have you kneel at their altar.”

Jensen’s eyes widened and he pushed his glasses back up his nose while he searched for the words that had decided to leave him.  “I uh, that’s…”

Misha smiled at his clear embarrassment, “I’ll let you go.  I think I’ve done enough harm.  But I just moved in next door, I guess that makes me your new neighbor.  I’ll be seeing you, Jensen.”  He watched as Misha and Cerberus turned to continue their walk before turning back towards his house.

When he turned to go he caught sight of Jared watching him with a decidedly displeased expression.  He smiled and gave a quick wave, and got a tight smile in return.  He wondered what was bothering Jared so much.  He hadn’t heard him approach, and was surprised to see him there.  There was something oddly disquieting in the way Jared watched him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~It turned out he wouldn’t have to wait long to find out.  No sooner had his students cleared out the next day, then Jared was standing in the door way.

“Hey Jared, is everything okay?  You looked…”

“What you were talking to Misha about?”  Jared’s tone was harsh when he interrupted Jensen, and Jensen took an instinctive step back.

He wanted to tell Jared that it was none of his business, but something about his demeanor broached no argument.

“Nothing much.  Misha just moved in next door and he wanted to introduce himself.  We were talking about Greek mythology.  It isn’t often that I encounter someone who is as interested in mythology as I am.”

“Is that so?”  Jared’s smile was twisted. “I don’t want you talking to him again.”

And that was too far.  “You don’t own me Jared, I barely know you.  And while I would like to for us to be friends, it’s none of your business who I do or don’t talk to.”  His glasses had slipped down and he pushed them back up, the gesture taking something away from his words, if Jared’s amused smile was any indication.

“Look, Jensen, it’s not like that.  I care about you, that’s all.  And I’ve known Misha for a long time.  There are things about him you don’t know, and believe me, he isn’t someone you want to get involved with.  He may seem charming now, but he isn’t what he seems.  Just be careful.”  Jared’s voice had turned soft.

“Jared, I appreciate your concern, but I can take care of myself.  It’s not like Misha’s moving in with me, we were just talking.”

Jared nodded, seeming satisfied.  “I know you can take care of yourself, but I also know people aren’t always what they seem and I don’t want you to get hurt.”

The strange conversation stayed with him for the rest of the day.  He was surprised that Jared knew Misha, and even more surprised that he felt the need to warn Jensen away.  He avoided both Jared and Misha for the rest of the day.

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He saw Jared the next morning, tending to an old oak that was growing up in the middle of the campus.  He couldn’t be sure exactly what Jared was doing, but the man had one hand splayed across the trunk of the tree, and he appeared to be talking to it.  One branch of the old oak was bent forward, almost as if reaching out to Jared.  For a brief moment Jensen thought he saw the image of a gnarled old man leaning over Jared, leaning in, intent on his every word.  When Jared caught him staring he started grinning and waved him over.  The conversation from the previous day still stuck with Jensen, and he pretended not to see Jared, moving on into the safety of the building instead.

His class that day was covering the story of Psyche and Eros.  Eros, the god of love, had fallen madly in love with the mortal Psyche.  He took her away to live with him, but never allowed her to see him.  He wanted her to love him for who he was, and not because he was a god, so he refused to ever allow her to know the truth of who he was.  The point of the story was that faith should not be based on what you can see.  Psyche needed to love Eros without seeing him, if he were to believe she loved him.

“Doesn’t that seem rather ridiculous?”  It was Katie again, always questioning, she never could seem to see the beauty of the myths as they were.  “If Eros was a god and he thought Psyche would love him if she knew, then why not just tell her that up front.  He should use all the attributes he has to win her over, if that’s what he wants.  If I’m going to ask a guy out, I’m not going to wear a paper bag over my head to do it.”  That earned amused agreement from the rest of the class.

“Yes,” Jensen agreed, “it is true it might have been easier for Eros to reveal himself to Psyche.  But that wasn’t the point.  Everyone turned to the gods to worship them as distant entities or because they wanted something.  Sacrifices and offerings were given to the gods in the hopes of incurring favor.  Eros wanted Psyche to love him as he loved her, not because of what he could do.”

After class the students had all left, and Jensen found himself looking out the window trying to see if Jared was still around.  He sighed to himself, he was as bad as his students, trying to catch a glimpse of the man.  He didn’t know what was going on between Jared and Misha but he knew he didn’t want to get involved.  He gathered his papers together and double checked that everything was in place.   Once he turned around he nearly walked straight into Jared, causing his papers to go fluttering out around him.

“Sorry, I wasn’t trying to scare you, I thought you heard me come in.”  Jared had the decency to look genuinely repentant.

“It’s not your fault, I probably should have; my thoughts were elsewhere.”  The way Jared’s mouth tugged up at the corners made Jensen wonder if the man knew exactly where Jensen’s thoughts had been.

“Look, I just wanted to apologize about yesterday.  Misha and I…well, it’s complicated.  But I shouldn’t have told you stay away, you’re right, it wasn’t my place.  I know I can come on a little strong sometimes.”

“A little?” Jensen scoffed, then immediately regretted it when he saw the way Jared’s face fell.  Jared was making an effort; there was no reason to insult him.  “It’s fine; really, you were just looking out for me.  I appreciate the sentiment, even if you were a bit aggressive.”

“Well, if you thought that was too much, then you might not appreciate this, but I brought you something.”  He had been hiding something behind his back and held it out to Jensen.  It was a rose, and a perfect red rose at that.  Jensen had never seen such a perfect flower.  It was completely without flaws.  It was as if each petal had been carefully sculpted and placed onto the stem.  He wanted to tell Jared that he wasn’t one for such a sappy romantic gesture, that he couldn’t be won over so easily.  But the flower was so beautiful, so perfect, and there was an almost innocent openness to the way Jared looked at him now.  Like this simple gift meant something significant.  An offering is not important in what it is, but in what it represents, the intent with which it’s given.  The simplest of gifts can have the most significance if given with the correct intent. The words echoed through him, something he had heard long ago to explain why gods accepted gifts of milk or wine, fruit or flowers, when such things were seemingly unnecessary to an immortal being.  As he took the rose from his hand their fingers touched briefly and he felt as if electricity ran through him.

“Thank you, it’s beautiful, Jared, I don’t know how you found such a flawless rose.”

“If you really want to thank me you’ll come out with me tonight,” Jared’s grin was back, and he spoke as if he already knew Jensen’s answer would be yes.  “Come on now, do you have any other plans?”

Jensen did, in fact, have plans for that night.  He planned on going home and curling up with his cat Persephone, and reading a book.  Although, whether Persephone was on board with this, or if she had other plans about the neighborhood was yet to be seen.  He had only just met Jared, after all, and he wasn’t one to jump into anything.  And yet his other option was to go home and possible get stood up by his cat.

“Come on Jensen, I know you want to.  I’m not suggesting we get married, it’s just one night out.”

“What did you have in mind?”

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The music blared loud enough that Jensen could barely hear anything over it, and Jared threw back another shot.  Jared had already had more than Jensen, so Jensen had no idea how he still looked so sober, while Jensen was having a hard time not falling off his barstool.

“I haven’t done this since college,” Jensen almost shouted over the music.

“Gone on a date?”  Jared asked waving the bartender over for another shot.

“Drank this much.”

“Technically, you still are in college,” Jared added unhelpfully.

“It’s not exactly the same thing.  I like my life, I do.  I mean, it’s quiet, and uneventful…and I think I know more about non-existent gods than I do my co-workers.  And the most significant relationship in my life right is now is my cat.”  There was a part of him that knew he shouldn’t be saying any of this on a first date, at least not if he wanted a second date.  But there was a liquor soaked part of his brain that just didn’t care and Jared was just so easy to talk to.  Besides, he was more or less committed at this point.  “I mean, it sounds sad and pathetic and all, but it’s my life and I like it.  But this, with you, I don’t do this.  I don’t go on dates with strangers, and I don’t drink too much.  I don’t do things like this.”

“Well,” Jared said, reasonably, “it appears that you do.  This is good Jensen, it’s important to let go every once and a while.  That’s the problem with people today; they just can’t appreciate the importance of losing all inhibitions and just letting yourself return to the way you’re supposed to be.  You don’t need alcohol to let go Jensen, to lose yourself like that.”

“No, but it alcohol certainly helps.”

“Alright, what do you want to do?  If you could do anything, forget about expectations, and what you’re supposed to do, if you could do anything, what would it be?”

Jensen took a minute to think about that, “I’d go graffiti the math teacher’s office.  He’s always looking down on me, and acting like he’s some big shot because he teaches math, and I teach about ‘pointless stories from a dead religion.’”

Jared was laughing at that, and for a moment Jensen thought he might actually be on board with his plan.  “Okay, I like where you’re going, but perhaps you should try starting with something that won’t get you fired.  You know, save the felonious stuff for later on.”

Even in the state he was in he knew Jared had a point.  If he wasn’t going to seek revenge, he thought about what else he wanted to do.  It took very little thought to decide, before he was leaning into Jared, wrapping his arms around the man’s neck and pressing their lips together.  Jared pulled him in closer, practically supporting Jensen while he kissed back, that feeling of electricity shot through Jensen again.  Kissing Jared was like kissing a force of nature, it was wild and unrestrained and undeniably powerful

When Jared pulled away he tried to pull him back, desperate for that sensation again, but Jared pushed him back only to take him by the hand and pull him out of the bar and into the alley behind.  He pushed Jensen back against the wall and kissed him again, desperate and fierce.  He felt the warmth of Jared’s hand as it pushed up against his shirt.  A loud clang pulled him out of the moment and he looked over to see one of the workers from the bar had dropped the lid of the trash intentionally hard.  He was eyeing them quizzically.

Jared didn’t notice, or didn’t care, that they had an audience, and tried to pull Jensen’s attention back to himself, but the moment was lost and Jensen had sobered just enough to think about what he was doing.  It was easy to lose control around Jared, but this wasn’t him, he didn’t make out with men he had just met in dark alleys.

He pushed against Jared and when Jared didn’t move, he did it again more firmly.  “I’ve had a lot of fun, but I should be going.”  At least that’s what he meant to say, but he wasn’t sure how clearly he was speaking.  Jared seemed to understand him enough anyway.

“Let me at least take you home,” Jared offered.

“No, it’s alright, I’ll take a cab.”  Neither of them should be driving and he was pretty sure if Jared came with him he might not be able to say goodbye a second time.

Part Two