Characters/ Pairing: Jared/Chris, Mentions of Jared/ofc, Jensen/ofc, Steve Carlson and guests.
Summary: "He had never told anyone. It was a secret he had never divulged, not even to Chris. How Jensen had unknowingly saved Jared’s life. He had felt like he had nothing left. His marriage was a shambles and his wife had just walked out on him telling him to man up and admit to himself he was gay. "
Warning: Ummmmm angst? Lots and lots of angst...oh and this is a Deathfic.....someone will die...mentions of Leukaemia and illness, be warned!
Authors Note: Written for billysgirl5 , this whole fic is in fact her fault. She emailed me the other night shortly after I completed Second Chances, with these two songs: "Love Lives On" by Mallary Hope and "The Call" by Matt Kennon. I told her what happened after I heard them was her fault so you got issues....go hurt her...lol....
He had never told anyone. It was a secret he had never divulged, not even to Chris. How Jensen had unknowingly saved Jared’s life. He had felt like he had nothing left. His marriage was a shambles and his wife had just walked out on him telling him to man up and admit to himself he was gay. But Jared couldn’t do it. He was scared, so scared and he saw no way out. Supernatural was over and he had spent too much time taking it easy after it had ended and now there were younger, hotter male actors out there snapping up the roles he should have had. He never saw Jensen anymore; he was off living his perfect life with his perfect wife and their gorgeous twins, one boy and one girl all wrapped up in perfect blonde bundles with green eyes that were a mirror of their Daddy’s.
Jensen had what he wanted. Jared didn’t give a crap about the hot roles or the awards. All he had ever wanted was that life. The life his parents had. The life his best friend was now living. Just a wife and some kids that maybe looked like her with his eyes or a little boy who was far too tall just like he was, someone to love. But she had walked out and Jared drank for days and told no one what had happened. Jensen still called every week or so but he never saw him anymore, so when he made his weekly call to Jared, Jared hadn’t picked up. He had just stared at his phone as it rang out. Two days later, still drunk out of his mind and all out of tears he had gotten hold of a gun and sat there on his couch, the only thing she had left him with. He had finished another bottle of whiskey and the gun was pressing firmly inside his mouth, his hands shaking desperately when the phone had rung again.
God he wanted to hear his voice just one last time. Tell him he loved him, always did, tell him he maybe loved him a little too much and his wife had finally figured it out and walked. Tell him not to worry, that he was gonna make sure Jensen would never feel awkward round him. Fuck he just wanted to hear his voice, one more time. So he had finally picked up the phone and answered his call.
But he had never gotten to say what he had planned to say. Instead he had listened with tears pouring down his face as Jensen had told him Chris’s news. How a one night stand had come back and bitten him on the ass and now he had a baby girl to look after. Her flighty mother had decided babies weren’t her thing and she wanted an easier life. So Chris was suddenly a father to a beautiful blue eyed little girl who looked just like him and he was completely overwhelmed and staying with Jensen and his wife for a while until he got it all straight in his head and learnt how to cope. Then Jensen heard the hitch in Jared’s breath. Jared’s silence telling Jensen more than any words would ever say and he had prodded Jared until he had finally broken down and told Jensen in a broken whisper that she had gone, for good and she wasn’t coming back and he didn’t know what to do now.
Jensen had immediately insisted that Jared come back down to Dallas. Stay a while, everyone loved him there and the twins at 2 years old adored Uncle Jared. Jared had refused at first but Jensen had threatened to come get him and then the twins would be miserable and unhappy and it would be all Jared’s fault, so Jared had given in and agreed.
So that was how Jensen unknowingly saved Jared’s life. That was a secret that Jared never told anyone, how close he came to ending it all and he never would have met the love of his life and the little girl who had completely captured his heart in her tiny four month old hands.
Being in Dallas gave Jared no time to feel sorry for himself. He was immediately launched on by the lively two year olds and he amused himself by watching the normally self assured cocky Christian Kane reduce to a lovesick babbling nervous wreck when it came to his new found daughter. Lily certainly was a little miniature Chris, with his piercing blue eyes that seemed to know too much and her mop of brown hair that seemed out of place on such a tiny girl. He had always gotten along quite well with Chris, Jared’s normally upbeat, lively personality well able keep up with Chris’s hard man cocky facade he presented to the world.
But the two men who met at Jensen’s rambling ranch in Dallas were completely different to the two men to would usually crack ridiculous jokes and get roaring drunk on whiskey and tall tales. Chris was unsure in his new role and Jared was struggling to pick up the pieces of the life he had and trying to start again, and somehow they met somewhere in the middle. Jared’s days were spent amusing the twins and spoiling them rotten, to the point that Jared was the one they ran to constantly and he indulged them in every way. His nights however were quiet, too quiet and sleep never came and when it did it was only an hour or so here and there.
So he spent his nights sitting out on Jensen’s back porch when the weather allowed, letting the silence of the night soothe him and enjoying the night sounds that travelled across Jensen’s land. Of course winter was starting to come in so he took to sitting in the huge kitchen, legs stretched out in from of him in the dark, head tilted back as he listened to the sounds of either one of the twins’ restlessness or little Lily who was getting more restless by the night. She was obviously teething and Chris was showing signs of strain as he struggled to cope with her during the day and at night as she cried.
One night he sat in his usual place in the dark kitchen and listened to Lily cry. He frowned when she showed no signs of stopping. Either Chris couldn’t placate her tonight or he was so exhausted he simply hadn’t heard her yet. Jared frowned deeper as he wondered what to do, he sure as hell knew Chris wouldn’t welcome someone going into his room and taking over his daughter. But he hated to hear her tiny little cries and the softer side of Jared won out over the logical side.
Quietly he rose from the chair and made his way up the stairs and stopped outside Chris’ room door. Lily sounded hysterical now and any hesitation he had felt was quickly swept away with her cries. As quietly as he could, he opened the door, fully intending to rouse Chris and leave him to it but the sight that met him changed his mind. Chris had kept Lily’s cot in his room and the moonlight shining through the window highlighted the exhausted man’s features as he slept, his arm outstretched toward the cot where Lily cried. Glancing in Chris’ direction he moved toward the cot and shushing the tiny little girl he picked her up gently.
He stood in the one spot for a few minutes, Lily looking even smaller in his arms, rocking her over and back and she snuffled as she quieted down and nestled into his shoulder. Turning cautiously he glanced in Chris’s direction and watched as he slept on. Stupid man was too stubborn to admit he needed help. Even in the dark, with nothing but the moonlight to show him, he could see the dark rings of exhaustion under his eyes. He cuddled Lily closer to him and looked around the room, spotting the rocking chair by the window he wandered over and cautiously settled himself into it, shushing Lily softly when she moved and gave a soft hiccupping sob in her sleep. He knew Chris would freak out if he woke and the baby was gone, so he remained where he was gently rocking back and forth and within moments both man and baby were fast asleep.
The sun was high in the sky when he woke next. For a few moments he simply sat there and blinked owlishly wondering what had woken him when he heard it again, the sound of a baby’s gurgling and a man’s “Shhhhhh Lily, you’re gonna wake Uncle Jared!” whispered urgently which was simply met with another squeal of delight as Lily grabbed onto her Daddy’s long hair and tugged.
“Ouch! Son of a......you have got to be the only human being on the planet who will ever get away with doing that little one.”
Jared shot upright instantly, noticing for the first time the throw that had been tucked around him and he blinked over at Chris, who was sitting on the edge of his bed a cooing Lily laid out and kicking happily as she clutched fistfuls of her father’s hair.
Jared simply blinked again as he watched Chris cautiously, trying to figure out if he was pissed or not.
“Hey. Ummm sorry if I.....she was crying and you looked exhausted.....I couldn’t sleep anyways so I sat with her a bit....sorry.”
Jared blinked again and stared at Chris for a full minute before he spoke again.
Chris grinned then and looked down at his daughter as he gently tugged his hair from her grabbing hands. Picking her up he kissed her cheek and nuzzled her neck causing a high pitched squeal to come from the tiny little girl. Looking back to Jared again as he settled her on his lap to feed her the bottle he had taken from the bedside table, he continued to smile.
“I said, thank you. You did me a favour. You looked after Lily. I should have asked for help days ago, but I was just so determined I could do this alone. I never stopped to think how it would affect Lily if I became too tired to function.”
Jared smiled back nervously. Chris had been tense lately and he and Jensen had felt useless standing by helplessly, but everyone had known how stubborn the man could be and how he would take any offers of help. Now though, even though he didn’t look fully rested, he looked much better.
“You’re welcome. I.....enjoyed it....she is a beautiful baby.”
Chris looked down at his daughter as she drank her bottle and smiled.
“Yes she is.”
“What time is it?” Jared stood and stretched, completely unaware of Chris’s gaze on his long taut body as he did so.
“Uh...it’s a little after ten. When was the last time you slept man?”
“A while.....I think that’s the longest I’ve slept in a good while. I’m gonna go get some coffee, you want some?”
Chris took the almost empty bottle from Lily and laid her on his shoulder, gently patting her back. Looking back over to Jared he smiled gratefully.
“Sure, I’d love some.”
Jared grinned wide and feeling a little lighter than he had in a while he went and fetched some coffee for them both and was back within minutes with two steaming mugs. By the time he returned Lily had finished up her bottle and was changed and ready for another nap. Jared joined Chris on the side of the bed when Chris patted the comforter. Together they sat there, drinking their coffee as Lily snuffled and settled into sleep, lulled by the sound of the two men talking quietly.
They settled into a sort of weird routine after that. Jared would sit up at night and sometimes, before Lily could get into the swing of the cries she was swept up into Jared’s arms and Chris would find them in the rocking chair every morning. There were nights that Lily didn’t wake, nights that she slept right through and Jared would pace up and down outside the bedroom door waiting to hear the first signs of her waking but nothing came and on those mornings Chris would wake and find Jared fast asleep in the chair while his daughter slept on in her cot.
Jensen could see the relationship develop before either man did. He often told them later on how he and his wife would chat about it late at night, wondering when Chris would finally gather up the courage to show Jared how he felt. Jared was still battling his own demons and fighting his growing attraction to the gruff Chris Kane, but Chris had no such demons. He watched Jared fall in love with his baby and he watched as Lily became totally enamoured by the huge man who came to hold her late at night when she cried. So four weeks later, when Jared crept into the room late one night to check on Lily even though she slept soundly, he found Chris sitting up in bed waiting for him.
He stopped in the centre of the room when he saw that Chris was sitting up in the middle of the bed, watching his slow progress across the room.
“You know, if I were someone else I would be completely within my rights to freak the fuck out that you can only sleep when you are sitting in my bedroom with my daughter and I.”
Jared was grateful that the darkness hid the blush that rose.
“I.....I......Jesus I’m sorry...I didn’t realise I was.......I just got kinda used to sleeping near the little one and.....I should go....I’m sorry....”
Chris lifted the blanket and looked over at Jared. “I’m not objectin’ to you bein’ here, but I think you might be a damn sight more comfortable in the bed than on the chair every damn night.”
Jared gaped at Chris and Chris couldn’t help the chuckle that rose at the look on his face.
“Come on kid. I won’t do anythin’, scouts honour.....come on....bed is big enough an’ it’s not like Jensen don’ already think we are doin’ somthin’ anyway.”
Jared hesitated for a moment before want won out over logic and five minutes later both men were in the same bed, Jared stiff and tense on one side. Chris eventually grinned into the darkness and moved until he was leaning over Jared’s tense form.
“Why don’t we get the formalities out of the way now and save this ridiculous tension huh?”
But Chris leaned down and kissed him, and kept kissing until Jared softened beneath him and raised his hand until it was buried in the older man’s hair and his lips parted to allow Chris’ tongue entry. Eventually Chris pulled back, the cocky sure man back in every line of his face as he grinned down at Jared, and Jared was through battling demons and want and lust and need and through fighting who he was. He simply grinned back and tugged on Chris’ long hair until he narrowed his eyes at Jared and Jared whispered...
“I think I still need some of those formalities sorting.”
So Chris just chuckled and lowered his head again.
By the time Lily turned twelve months old, Jared and Chris had bought a neighbouring ranch and were happier than they had ever been. Chris had given up acting, choosing instead to stay at home with Lily who was turning into a miniature of her biological father. Her eyes were blue and her hair was dark brown and fell in waves around a delicate face. She was always ready with smile but even at one year old Jared could already see her Daddy’s quick temper in the tiny little girl, and he loved her desperately.
He loved them both beyond words. Chris became the person Jared had been longing for. The partner he had always dreamt of when he had dreamt of having the type of love and relationship he had seen his parents and now Jensen and his wife had. Chris was his rock and he was the person who kept Chris going, who grounded him and loved Chris and Lily with a fierceness that constantly amazed Chris. Jared had a recording studio built in the basement of their ranch house, completely flooring Chris when he opened the basement door and proudly presented him with it, all fully equipped with the latest equipment.
Chris went back to recording in his spare time and Jared’s career started to take off again, but he only took small roles, roles that kept him close to home. Jared came home for the weekend from a long weeks shoot in Austin late one night to find Chris waiting with an envelope in his hands. Jared cried that night, he wasn’t ashamed to admit how touched and how much he loved Chris so much more when he was presented with the adoption papers and Lily became his daughter in every way that mattered. No one was ever going to take them away from him, not now, for tucked in the envelope along with the adoption papers was a paper from Lily’s mother, signing away her parental rights to her daughter, and Jared had never felt happier.
By the time Lily turned two, Jared was working regularly on a tv show being shot in Dallas. It was on a small network and he had turned down bigger offers to do it, but he simply did not want to be apart from Chris and their daughter for extended periods of time. It suited him and it showed. He was laughing again. His eyes were alive and he hugged people and he loved Chris and their little family with an intensity that rolled off of him and Chris and Lily blossomed under that love. Chris’ parents, seeing how happy Jared made their son took Jared into their life, and loved him like he had always been theirs.
Chris was recording again, and with him having quit acting he threw everything into his music. Jared loved nothing better than to sit out on their porch with Lily curled up on his lap and Chris sitting next to him, strumming on his guitar and singing softly, songs he had written. Jared always got to hear them first, before he went to the studio to record. He had Jensen come down and record backing vocals on some and Steve was there constantly helping with the writing and the four men laughed long into the night sometimes. Chris and Jared’s happiness felt infectious and people couldn’t help but smile around them.
But they fought too. Two people as passionate as Chris and Jared were always going to clash at points and their arguments were legendary. They were always careful never to get loud in front of their daughter and Jensen always knew when an argument was brewing, Chris or Jared would arrive at the door and Jensen would grin wide and usher Lily in to play with the twins until the men had sorted it out. They fought as loud as they loved and sometimes Chris picked a fight just for the makeup sex afterwards and he would grin when the light would go on in Jared’s eye’s when he realised what Chris had done and he would make Chris suffer that little bit longer just to teach him a lesson that they both knew he loved to learn.
Lily was two and a half years old when Chris got sick. They had been at Chris’ folk for the long weekend and he seemed to be more tired than usual. He brushed off Jared’s concerns and assured him he would get plenty of rest when he got home. It was just looking after a boisterous Lily and trying to fit in his recording and it was piling up. He was sorry, he said when Jared got angry with him for not saying something sooner. Had Chris not learnt any lessons? Didn’t he know by now that he and Lily were Jared’s whole world and he needed to stop trying to do it all alone? Jared loved him; he needed to tell him when it got too much.
Jared made a couple of phone calls and arranged with the show to take a weeks break, maybe two, depending on how Chris was. No he didn’t care that he was holding up production, no it didn’t bother him if they decided to fire him, this was his family and he needed to be there, he was sorry but Chris looked more than just worn down and Jared was worried. His worries proved founded when he found Chris collapsed on the floor of their bathroom early one morning and they sat together in the doctor’s office two weeks later when the results came in.
The words sounded like a foreign language. All Jared knew was that Chris was looking straight ahead, his eyes wide and terrified and the doctor was looking at him like he was already dead. Jared felt like his heart was going to jump right out of his throat. He looked at the doctors sad, resigned face and back to Chris’ wide eyed terrified look.
“Chris?” He tugged on Chris’ hand until he eventually turned to face Jared, his eyes still wide and disbelieving. “It sounds worse than it is baby. It’s gonna be ok Chris, you hear? They can fix it.”
He turned to look at the doctor “You can fix it right? You can?”
The doctor sighed “I’m so sorry.”
Jared shook his head, Chris had yet to speak.
“No. Don’t say you’re sorry. Don’t say that. Just fix it, make it better. Is there chemo or something we can do?”
“Jared, Chris, this is the most aggressive kind of leukaemia there is. At best the window to treat it is short with the result that in most cases we can give only seven months. In Chris’s case.....I’m sorry, it’s too far advanced. If you wish we can start an aggressive round of chemo right away but...”
Chris’ voice sounded wrecked, like he had been drinking and singing all night and he still wasn’t look at Jared directly. Now he faced the doctor head on, determinedly avoiding Jared’s eyes.
“Well with Chemo....”
“You just said Chemo is optional but it won’t work will it?”
“It could extend your life by a few months but....”
“But it won’t be any kind of life will it? I would be sick all the time....weak....not able to spend any quality time with my family?”
The doctor didn’t reply, he just simply stared at Chris and shook his head.
“Then no Chemo. How long?”
“No. Chris. No....”
Chris simply grabbed hold of Jared’s hand and squeezed, still not looking, but staring directly at the doctor and waiting.
“Optimistically? I would say Six months. That’s if you are as much of a fighter as I think you are. But normally I would give someone with this type of leukaemia, that's as advanced as yours about three to four months. I’m so sorry.”
Chris nodded and Jared tugged his hand free and rose. He was angry, angry at the doctor and at Chris.
“No! No! Chris!! Just.....no! You are not leaving me! You are not giving up! I won’t let you! Do you hear me Christian? You are not leaving me!”
He didn’t know Chris had moved. He hadn’t realised he had sunk to the floor until Chris gathered him into his arms as he cried.
“No Chris. No.....you are not leaving me here. You can’t.....” He looked up at Chris then and wondered vaguely when had he started to cry, but he could hardly see Chris’ face through his tears. “I can’t....I can’t do this without you Chris.....I just.....please....please fight....please, fight for me, for Lily....oh God Lily!”
“Shhhhhhhh Jared, come on baby shhhhhhhhh. I’m gonna fight. I’m gonna fight to stay here with you and Lily for as long as God lets me. But I won’t let my last months on this earth be spent vomiting into a hospital basin trying to fend off something that’s gonna take me anyway. Jared, look at me. Please baby, look at me.”
He tilted Jared’s face up with his hand and kissed his wet lips softly.
“I need you Jared. I need you now more than I have ever needed anyone. I don’t want anyone else; I want you by my side. I want to live my last months, not die wasting away in a hospital bed. I wanna go home and be with you and Lily and our friends. Please Jared. For me. Please?”
Jared stared at Chris for the longest time. He saw the man he had met at Jensen’s ranch two years before, unsure and scared, knowing he needed help and finally asking for it, afraid he would be judged for seeming weak. Jared strengthened his resolve. Chris needed him. He needed him strong. He could do this. He would do this. He could fall apart later. He looked at Chris and nodded, wiping his face with his hands he rose, grasping Chris and pulling him up with him. He pulled him into his embrace and held him tightly for a few moments, savouring the feel of this man wrapped in his arms.
“I’m here Chris. I’m here now. I’m not going anywhere.”
So they went home and spent days hidden away, just the three of them. They talked and they cried. They planned and they made love. They stayed hidden until they felt they could face the world and tell the people who mattered. Jensen cried when they told him and it took everything Jared had in him not to break down at the sight of his best friend holding onto Chris, sobbing like a baby as Chris gently shushed his old friend. They held hands, fingers entwined, when they told Steve and their respective families. They told them their wishes and how they wanted everything to go down. They held their parents and each other as the news sunk in and the weeks passed. Precious weeks.
Then they packed their bags and headed for Disney Land. Jared, Chris and Lily, along with Jensen and his wife and twins with Steve bringing up the rear. They laughed a little too loud, loved like there was going to be no tomorrow and made sure there was hundreds of pictures and videos for Lily to look back on when she got older. That’s as far as they travelled, they just wanted to be at home, on their little ranch and spend as much time alone together as they could. Jared went to a meeting and explained his story and came home free of any and all work obligations. He was temporarily written out of his show until he felt he was ready to return, but he knew he wouldn’t. He wasn’t sure how he was going to function after Chris.....after Chris left. But he knew he wouldn’t be going back there.
Chris continued to write and sing and record. Jensen and Steve were in that studio with him every moment they could, and Jared would sit at the controls with Lily in his arms and listen and smile and felt his heart break every time Chris would look out at him and grin. But he never broke down in front of Chris again. He could at least give him that. He made sure he was strong and he made sure he was the one that Chris cried to when it became too much and his fear got the best of him. He held Chris when he raged about how unfair it all was and how he didn’t want to die, didn’t want to leave Jared and Lily behind. He made sure Chris never saw one tear fall from Jared’s eyes. But Chris never mentioned it when Jared would return from Jensen’s place red eyed and weak. He would silently lead Jared to bed and they would stay there till morning, holding each other silently.
Chris hung on for eight months, three months longer than the doctors gave him. He said he did it just to spite them, his grin weak as he laid against Jared’s chest, blanket wrapped snugly around him on the porch. That was where he finally lost his battle. Right there on that porch in Jared’s strong arms with Lily asleep on the other side, curled into Jared and Chris as Jensen and Steve and Chris’ family cried in silence as they looked out at the little family saying goodbye.
Jared stayed right there with Chris for a long time after he closed his eyes for the last time that night. He didn’t want to move and he felt like he would shatter if he tried. His whole reason for staying strong was gone now and he had months of pent up rage and tears. But eventually Lily was taken gently out of his arms and Jared silently wrapped his arms tightly around his love and held on until he was forced to let him go. Then he broke. He tried to stop it but he couldn’t prevent the tears that fell that night. He didn’t fight Jensen as he came up behind Jared and held him as he lowered himself to the floor and raged at God.
They buried Chris right there on their ranch. It was a small private ceremony and afterward they drank long into the night and sang Chris’ songs just like Chris had asked them to. Everyone eventually went home and the house was quiet. Too quiet, but Jared needed to learn to live alone again. He knew that. But this time he had Lily to think about. Lily who was so much her father’s daughter it hurt sometimes.
He still sat in the kitchen and talked to the empty chair like Chris was still there. He still poured two cups of coffee in the mornings and even when months had passed he still reached out for Chris at night only to find the bed empty. He spoke to Chris’ mom every week and listened as she told a new story every week about Chris in his younger days. He learned to smile again, for Lily’s sake. He learnt how to live a normal life, just him and Lily and he did it for Lily. He did it for Chris.
He visited Chris’ grave often and on his birthday he and Lily took flowers. She didn’t understand, not really. She just knew Daddy was gone and she missed him and she knew he was in heaven with the angels now and they would see him someday. But she didn’t understand, not really, and she clutched those flowers in her little hands and smiled up at Jared when he told her to lay them down.
Years before, Jensen had unknowingly saved Jared’s life. Some day he would tell him. He would tell him how he almost ended it but Jensen reached out and saved his life and in turn he had fallen in love with Jensen’s oldest friend and they had lived and loved and laughed and they had never thought it would ever end. Not so soon.
And someday he would tell Lily just how much of her Daddy he saw in her. Just how much he loved him and how much Chris had loved her. And someday, he would tell Lily just how she had saved Jared’s life when Chris had been taken away from them. How she had taught him that no matter how far apart he and Chris were, that Love lived on.
Together, father and daughter walked hand in hand back to the house where love had lived.
Where love lived on.