Characters, Pairing: Jared/Jensen, Chad, Sandy, Chris, Steve/Sophia, Patrick Dempsey, Robert Wisdom, David Boreanaz, mentions of Jared/omc; Jensen/ David .
Summary:Jared Padalecki is a young man living hand to mouth, trying to save the only two friends he has in the world. Jensen ackles is a man with a broken heart and dented pride, and enters Jareds life long enough to leave him with a drawing and a dream of what Jared could have had. When one of Jareds friends dies tragically, Jared is left with no choice but to run, and ends up living a life that isnt his, a life that he can never have. What happens when Jensen finds Jared living in the house meant for the fiance that broke his heart, and can they come to an arrangement that suits them both?
Five months later:
Jensen stared out the window, lost in thought, not even hearing his name being called.
“Jensen? Uh Jensen?”
Jensen blinked and turned his head away from the high rise view and back to the room, and the two men looking at him with a question on their faces.
“Yes....sorry, ahhh yeah I think I can get that done in the time frame you requested gentlemen.”
“Okay then, we will look forward to hearing from you.”
After shaking hands and saying his goodbyes, Jensen gathered up his drawings and within ten minutes was exiting the building. Walking out into the early evening air Jensen mentally shook himself. What the fuck was wrong with him anyhow? He snorted at his own question as he strode down the street, headed for the nearest cab and the apartment he now called home.
Jared was what the fuck was wrong with him. God he was such a fucking tool. Five months, and he still thought about him every damn day. No matter how he filled his waking hours Jared always managed to slip into his mind, pulling him up short like a hand squeezing his heart. He finally managed to hop into a cab and sat back, staring sightlessly out the window, the cab driver’s chatter fading to a faint background noise as he gave into the pull of thinking about Jared and wondering once again if he was really ok.
The worst part was the not knowing. That tore him apart, and even though Jared had left a message on Chad’s cell phone a few weeks after disappearing, saying that he was alright and that he just needed to get himself sorted before he dragged anyone else down, no one had heard from him since. It wasn’t for the lack of trying, on every ones part. But as Chad had finally pointed out two months after Jared had left, Jared had run before, and would have learnt from his mistake with Robert and if he didn’t want to be found then he damn well wouldn’t be.
Robert. The name was still enough to make Jensen’s blood run cold and his hands tighten into fists. Even though the man was dead and had been for almost five months, he still had the power to cripple Jensen with the hate that filled him whenever he thought of him.
Robert had been found dead some three weeks after Jared left, his badly beaten body had been left discarded in the basement of Patrick’s bar where Jared had been held. His genitals had been hacked off and shoved back his own throat. What was funny in a totally depressing way was that each and every one of the people that had been involved in Jared’s rescue had been out of town those few days. Steve had taken a distraught Sophia away for an enforced break, Chris had claimed he was out staking new gigs, Chad had been in L.A. visiting his old haunts and asking about Jared he said, and Jensen, well Jensen had been in L.A. too, scouting P.I.’s and moving his stuff back to his apartment.
In a karma coming back to bite you in the ass move, Patrick had been arrested after that for hiring and running a prostitution ring, all evidence had been found scattered around Roberts body, documents that Patrick had sworn were safely tucked away in a safe only he knew about. So Patrick was going down not only for the prostitution racket but for many claims that were now flooding in of rape and kidnapping by many people who had been too afraid to come forward before. Apparently that basement had been used to house more than Jared in its time and Patrick was knee deep in it and singing like a canary in order to save himself.
Jensen pulled himself out of his thoughts as the cab pulled up outside his apartment building. After paying the driver and heading into the building, saluting a few people who noticed him, Jensen leaned his head back against the wall of the elevator as it took him up. Hell, even standing in here brought Jared to mind, how he had huddled into the corner that night trying to disappear into the walls. Jensen frowned and forced all thoughts of Jared out of his head. He was nothing if not a stubborn man and he had decided a few weeks ago that if Jared didn’t want to be found, then he would move on with his life. The house they had shared was gone now, sold very quickly two months ago after he had put it on the market, knowing that even if Jared came back, they would never find happiness there, it held too much history, bad history.
Jensen had steadfastly refused to think about Jared after that, stubbornly fighting it when thoughts came unbidden into his mind. He pushed out the what if’s and the what might have been thoughts that threatened his sanity. Sometimes it worked, sometimes he succeeded in fooling himself that he was winning the battle, but then, sometimes, he had days like today. Days when he was so sure that he would hear from Jared, that somehow they would try again, and he fought a long fight with himself, telling himself that Jared had run, Jared had left without giving him a chance to fight for them, and Jared didn’t deserve all this time and energy. It left him mentally exhausted and drained, and all he wanted to do now was hide himself away for the weekend and not emerge until Monday morning rolled around.
The elevator pinged as it came to a halt and the doors opened onto his floor. Wearily rubbing his tired face he stepped out and as he turned for his front door, the two men who had been waiting for him rose from their position on the floor.
“Dad? Michael? What are you doing here? Is Mom ok? Why didn’t you call?”
Jensen embraced his father briefly a worried frown crossing his features and after a quick embrace from his brother pulled back and Joe smiled at his son.
“Jensen, we came to see you, Mom is fine and your phone was switched off so we couldn’t call before we left this morning.”
“Oh...yeah I forgot, the battery died this morning, come inside. You guys hungry? Do you want a drink or anything??
Jensen threw his keys on the drinks cabinet as he poured himself a well earned drink and two for his brother and father. It was then he noticed the tense set to his brother’s shoulders, the way he wasn’t looking him in the eye, the way he always used to when he had done something he felt bad about when they were kids. Glancing at his Dad he wasn’t surprised to see that Joe looked just like he did every day, the man had a way of completely hiding whatever it was that might be going through his head and always had an air of being at complete ease whatever the situation.
He sat down and waited and watched as his father and his brother glanced at each other and back at Jensen.
“So, you guys gonna tell me what has brought you up here?”
Michael cleared his throat and looked to his father again and Joe nodded and rose, he moved to sit across from Jensen and in the same calm soothing voice Jensen has seen his use time and again spoke.
“We need to talk to you Jensen. But first I need you to promise me you will hear us out before you get angry, we had our reasons and while Michael genuinely couldn’t talk with the doctor patient thing, I have no such excuse other than I was trying to be a friend and a father to him.”
“Dad, you’re not making sense here. What’s going on?”
Joe bowed his head and raised it again, looked over Jensen’s shoulder to Michael and back to Jensen once more.
“I didn’t keep this from you to hurt you son, but now it’s time, you are ready.....he is ready.....but....”
Seeing his normally calm and controlled father struggling to find words had Jensen more worried than the words themselves.
“Dad? What’s going on? I know you would never hurt me....what is it? Talk to me, you’re starting to scare me here.”
Michael stepped forward then and squeezed his father’s shoulder and squaring his own turned to his baby brother,
“What Dad is trying to say is............we know where Jared is.”
Jensen stared open mouthed for a minute, not getting why this was so bad. The fact that they knew where Jared was staying, was a good thing right?
“But that’s great guys! Wow....where is he? Is he ok? How did you find him? Have you spoken to him?”
In his growing excitement Jensen had risen off the chair and was pacing in front of the two men who watched in silence, both dreading what they had to tell Jensen, but both knowing that the time had come for the truth. Michael moved to stand in front of Jensen, effectively halting his pacing and grabbed his shoulders. Jensen looked at him enquiringly;
“He is in Austin Jensen, he is doing ok, now. Yes we have uhh we have been talking to him and.....”
Jensen saw the unease and definite guilt on his brothers’ face, along with defiance.
“And? And what Mikey?”
“Almost five months Jensen....I’ve known where he was almost five months.”
Jensen stared open mouthed at Michael for a few seconds before stepping back. Glancing in his Father’s direction he saw the truth there on his face and in his eyes and he struggled to catch a breath, flopping back onto the chair he had vacated.
“You’ve known all along?”
Michael nodded in silence and waited, knowing he needed to explain but waiting for the explosion he knew was coming from his little brother. Jensen stared aghast.
“You.....I was out of my mind with worry! You knew that! Both of you did! I went home...to Texas.....poured my fucking heart out to you Mikey and you sat there and let me go through that, knowing the whole time where he was?”
Michael stood under his brothers onslaught, saying nothing, knowing he deserved what Jensen had to say and also knowing he would get the chance soon enough.
“I hired Private detectives for fucks sake! I called you both, giving you updates and what they found and when they came up empty handed! What the fuck? Five months?! You’ve known five fucking months? Jesus Mikey!”
“Jensen listen son please...”
“Listen? I am listening Dad and I really don’t think you should say anymore! Does Jared know I have been searching for him? Does he have any idea how I prayed he was alive and not dead on the side of the highway or something? Well you know what? Fuck you both and fuck Jared! Goddamnit Dad!”
Jensen pulled up short at the sharp tone in his father’s voice.
“I know you’re angry son....”Jensen snorted, “....and I know you have every right to be, but I really think you should take a few minutes and listen to what we have to say before making a judgment. Hear our side, hear my side....”
“What....Jared was too much of a coward to come face me himself?”
Michael spoke then, his hands shoved into the pockets of his jeans “Jared doesn’t know we are here Jensen. He won’t be happy if he finds out...”
“If he finds out? What, you guys playing him for a fool too? Why the fuck would you hide this from me? Why Mikey? Dad? Why? Just tell me why?”
Joe stood then and faced his son, “Michael couldn’t tell you back then Jensen, he was his doctor....”
“And he can break the doctor patient privilege now? Bullshit Dad!”
“It’s alright Dad, Jensen is right....I shouldn’t even be here now...he has every right to say what he feels. Jensen look....sit down and let us explain it to you ok? At least decide after you know the full facts ok?”
Jensen stared at his brother for a full minute before nodding jerkily and sitting down, tense and unforgiving, waiting for an explanation that in his view was five fucking months too late.
“I found Jared in Austin, about three weeks after he left your place. It was by pure accident that I did. I was volunteering at the free clinic there and I spotted him in the waiting room. He was kinda hard to miss being so damn tall, no matter how invisible he seemed to be trying to make himself.”
Michael walked to the window overlooking the city and continued, his back turned to the room.
“My instincts kicked in when I saw him, I knew you were frantic, and I knew he looked ill, so fucking ill.....he was pale and even from across the room I could see he was shaking. Instinct told me he would bolt as soon as he realised I was there so I got another doctor to check him out, and I read the file after. I gotto say....I’m not proud of what I did when I read why he was there....”
Michael turned away from the window and glanced at his Father for reassurance before looking at the still silent Jensen.
“....He was there for an aids test and a general check up for any std’s.....”
“Jesus Christ.....” Jensen couldn’t say any more than those two words, they had never even considered that fact. How fucking stupid had they been? Christ Jared must have been out of his mind with worry....he should have come to Jensen, told him, they could have done this together......
“I flipped out...”Michael continued his head bowed in shame as he recalled his actions. “....I guess the brother in me just took over and I assumed the worst. I spoke to no one, I knew he was still in the exam room so I barged in and I attacked him.”
“You attacked him?”
“I thought he had been playing you.....I thought he had been lying to you all along...I didn’t know about the rape... you hadn’t told us, so when I saw what he was there for I thought you were in real danger...so I reacted....I barged in there and attacked...pinned him to the wall and said some pretty horrible stuff and threatened him.....”
“I know Jensen I know.....I wasn’t prepared for his reaction...or what I saw when I had his shirt bunched up.....”
Michael sat down heavily on the chair and stared at his hands, “He was weak....weeks of drinking on top of what he was suffering inside had weakened him and he tried to fight me off, but I was just so angry and so scared for you Jensen and I wouldn’t let him go and in the struggle the shirt he had on ripped under my hands and that’s when I saw them.”
“The marks.” Jensen’s voice was hushed as he spoke, his brother was troubled and obviously regretting what he had done to Jared, and he was Michaels brother first, no matter how pissed he was at him. He sighed, “Go on Mikey....”
“He was covered in these ugly yellow and fading bruises.....He tried to cover himself up, but I was so horrified and.....and I guess he thought that what I assumed was so much worse than what was the real problem so he just stood there and let me peel his shirt off.”
Michael turned sad eyes to Jensen, “Jensen....the fact that it was taking the bruises so long to fade....the bite marks were still fresh.....the attack he suffered was so damn vicious.....I could see then how ill he had made himself ....I talked him into staying at the clinic a day or so, just so we could pump antibiotics into him and try and make him more comfortable....I used every excuse in the book to keep him there, he was weak and exhausted and hungry...I wore him down and he finally told me everything.”
“I begged him to let me contact you, I said you would want to be there with him but he was adamant, he swore he would bolt the second he thought I had told you anything and he cited those damn privacy laws at me....my hands were tied. He eventually told me why he had left....how he had heard you on the phone talking and assumed the worst. He assumed you were planning to leave him.....” Michael held up his hand as Jensen made to reply “Oh he said once he sobered up thought properly he knew that probably wasn’t the case, but he had already been a state away and had talked himself into this, He is no good for you, kick he is on.”
“I got him to talk to a counsellor friend of mine and he started talking to her on a regular basis, and it took me a few weeks but I eventually managed to get him to at least let me call Dad to come help him out. Jared is so damn proud Jensen, and.....he is doing so well now....but back then, he was in no state....he couldn’t handle everything that had happened to him. Losing his friend, having to hide out, falling in love with you and the guilt of betraying his dead lover, his uncle finding him again and you having to rescue him....then that bastard finding him and what....what he forced him to do....it was too much Jensen and he basically had a breakdown. Right in front of me in Austin, he had a breakdown and I had to help him Jensen. I’m so sorry I lied to you, but, right then, seeing you was the very last thing he wanted or needed.”
“We were ‘sposed to do this together. That’s what a relationship is Michael! He should have let me in!”
Joe stepped in then as Michael headed for the kitchen and busied himself making coffee.
“Jensen, you’re right. That is what a relationship is, two people who love each other and help each other through the bad times as well as the good. But son....your relationship with Jared was too new, too young and he was right....there is no way it would have survived this, his breakdown and him trying to get his life back, take control back.”
“That’s not fair Dad, he never gave us the chance to try.”
“I know son, but I agree with him on this and that’s why I stayed quiet for so long about where he was. He needed this time alone. He needed to gain control, feel like he was controlling what was happening to him again and not feel so powerless. He needed to find out just a little bit, just who he is as a person and get strong. He wanted to be strong enough to face you again. He said he wanted to be someone you deserved, not someone weak and needy, but someone who loved you and could stand beside you and not cowering behind you.”
Joe knelt down on the floor and grasped his sons’ hands as he sat on the couch. “Son, I can tell you, I have never been so proud of anyone than I have been of both you and him these last few months. His sole reason for trying so hard and not giving up like most people would have in his situation has been you. You as a person. He just wants to be someone you deserve, and he is fighting real hard to be that person, and he is. He is starting to see that he is everything he needs to be. Jensen you should see the man emerging from all of this. He is strong, and smart and sure and funny and kind and he is everything I would ever wish for you to find in a person. Everything he is doing to make himself better is because of you, because he looks up to my son, because he wants to be everything Jensen said he could be, and Jensen he is and so much more. He has such a long way to go yet, and we are here today because we think he is ready to take the next step in his recovery and he needs the man he loves there now. He is ready to let you in and he needs you now.”
Jensen cleared his throat and stood up, taking up the space at the window Michael had just vacated; “Where is he living? How is he surviving?”
Joe rose and accepted the coffee Michael had arrived with and Michael answered as he handed Jensen a mug. “He is attending college part time, studying art and architecture; he has free accommodation just off campus and works part time in a bar that the firemen that used to work with his dad frequent. He is surrounded now by friends who care. He is safe and relatively happy, back where he was happiest in his life and that is when his Dad was still alive and they lived in Austin.”
“He had friends here! We cared! And he just threw it back in our faces and took off!”
“That’s not what I meant Jensen! He knows he has friend here! But he needed to go out and find himself, be around the people who knew his Dad and its helping him, but he needs you too!”
“If he is so ready then why isn’t he here with you then huh? If he is so ready then why hasn’t he come to tell me all of this? Why is he still hiding?”
“Because he has you on this pedestal, and he is scared! You are everything to him Jensen and if you rejected him now he wouldn’t survive it! I know he plans to come to you, and I know it was soon, he has been building himself up to it but he is fucking scared! So I talked to Dad and we decided to come tell you first, so we know what to expect, so we can tell him to either not bother and try and help him pick up the pieces or encourage him to come himself!”
He moved closer to Jensen and pleaded, “Look, you’re angry and you have every right to be. I watched you suffer and wonder if he was alive or dead and I watched you try and pick up the pieces and carry on. But back then Jared was too fragile, too easy break and he was on the edge and could have gone either way. It was fucking fated that I was there in the clinic that day, I was able to help him, me and Dad, cause as sure as we are standing here Jensen I know in my heart he would have been dead inside a month the way he was going.”
Joe took a step closer to his two sons; “Jensen everything we did we did to help you both. Jared is doing so much better now. He even insisted we draw up a loan agreement for the money I gave him to start college. He said he would pay me back as soon as the business you and he were going to build got off the ground. You are his reason for being, the very idea of you has kept him grounded and kept him trying. Please son, just think about it, Jared is going to be so pissed at us when he finds out but we know he is ready now, ready for you.”
Jensen shook his head. It was too much. Too much information to take in at once. He needed......
“Go. Both of you....just....go.”
“No Dad. Just leave....please.....I need you both to leave now. I’m tired it’s been a long day, a long week. I need to sleep....”
Michael made a move toward him and Jensen stepped back, hurt and anger at their five month silence in every tense line of his body.
“Just get out. Go back to Austin, back to Jared......You are done here.....pick up the pieces with him....’cause I’m done. I don’t need this and I don’t need him. I will call you soon. But don’t try and contact me first I won’t pick up, I need time to....I just need time.”
Michael and Joe both nodded and as they made their way to the door, Jensen stopped them with one last question.
“Did Mom know all along too?”
Joe actually managed a half grin, “No, that’s the next step, telling your Mother. She is going to kick my ass.”
Jensen would have smiled if he hadn’t felt close to splitting in two with anger and grief, so he just nodded and Joe tried pleading with his angry son once more, “Jensen, please...won’t you at least think about it? He did it for you...he thought he was protecting you.”
Jensen looked his father in the eye and replied “That’s the thing though Dad. Jared has this big issue about not having control, about feeling like everything was taken out of his control and he wanted that back. But he took control away from me too. He decided for me, he never gave me the chance to decide if I could do this with him or not. He took that control away from me. He didn’t have enough faith in me, in us. I can’t spend the rest of my life trying to convince someone who doesn’t want to be convinced that I do care, that I am strong enough, and that I do love him.”
He stepped back after opening the door, hands shoved deep in his pockets, tense and waiting.
“Just please go now Dad. I’m sorry this isn’t what you hoped for, but I won’t be anyone’s doormat again. I won’t wait around anymore for them to decide whether I’m good enough. I’m done with this. I’m done with him.”
He waited until the door was firmly shut behind him before falling to his knees and covering his face with his hands. He stayed like that for a few minutes, no tears falling but reaction shaking his whole body as he reached for the apartment phone and dialled his friend’s number.
“Chris? I need you.”