Chapter: 27/27 Complete!
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?
Authors note: Wow, I can't believe it's over. This is the longest story I have done and it's been a rollercoaster and I'm so grateful to those of you that stuck around and commented and encouraged me and each and ever comment encouraged me to try and make this a better story. I hope I did make it a good story for you all. Thank you.
Chris sat in stunned silence as Jensen finished his tale. When Jensen had called him it had taken him three days to get to his friend. He had been in New York gigging with Steve and working in a recording studio getting some tracks down for a demo and loving it. So as much as he had wanted to rush straight there he hadn’t been able to and it had taken him three days to swing a day or so with Jensen. He was stunned, firstly at the story he had been told, Jensen had left nothing out, down to his anger and throwing his own Father out of the apartment. He was also stunned at the state he had found Jensen in. He knew Jensen would have been hurt and angry at first; he had every right to be. His family had deceived him for months. But he would have expected his normally level headed friend to come to the same conclusion that Chris now had come to. That no matter how much it hurt to know that Jared had done this alone, he had really done the right thing. No way would have such a new relationship whose foundations weren’t even set yet, have survived what Jared had gone through to get where he was.
What he saw in front of him was a bitter man, drowning in self pity and he knew that stroking his ego and telling him it was gonna be ok was not going to cut it this time. It was time for some tough love.
“So what do you do now?”
Jensen sighed and sat back in the chair, running a hand over his face, “Nothing man, I meant what I said, and I’m done. He has got to know that I won’t be treated like someone’s doormat any longer. I deserve better than that.”
Chris nodded and rose, clapping his friend on the shoulder as he passed on his way to the kitchen. Pouring two coffee’s he returned and handing one to Jensen as he sat back down said, “I agree with you man. ‘Bout damn time you stood up to that asshole and spoke to him like he deserved.”
Jensen stared in confusion at Chris, he liked Jared didn’t he? He got on well with his father and Michael so what in hell’s name was he on about?
Chris stared back, a serious look on his face, “Don’t look so confused Jensen, I been telling you for years what I thought about that asshole. Just a pity you picked the wrong person to say it to and not the man you are really angry at.”
“Chris, what the hell are you talking about man?”
Chris regarded his friend with cool eyes, “David, the man you’re really this angry at...”
Jensen’s eyes widened “David? This has got nothing to do with him!”
Chris smiled “Oh but I think it has everything to do with him. Him, and the fact that you never got the chance to grieve the end of that relationship. Instead you clung to the idea that you were gonna win that sorry sack of shit back, and then Jared came into your life and turned it upside down. He took the focus off of David, but it doesn’t change the fact that you are angry with him because he fooled you for so long, because he proved you wrong and was in fact the total waste of space we always secretly thought he was.”
Jensen stared at Chris wide eyed. “When did you all of a sudden become such a fucking expert huh? You have no idea how I feel or who I’m angry at!”
“Oh but I do, I have known you almost your entire life my friend and I know how you think. You are pissed as fuck at David, and will be for a long time, but it’s Jared who is in the firing line because he is a handy target. But then again I don’t know why I’m surprised, he should be used to being the target for someone’s anger by now, has been his entire life. You know, you are probably right to be done with him, he could do without asses like you in his life anyway.”
Jensen rose and loomed over Chris form as he relaxed back in his seat, watching Jensen’s display through lowered lashes. “I am nothing like those bastards who treated Jared so badly! Nothing! He didn’t even contact Chad after leaving a fucking message on his phone. I got nothing! I gave everything I had to that man and I got nothing! I deserved more! I should have known better I really should have....I was nothing but......”
Jensen’s voice trailed away as he realised what he had been about to blurt out and he sank back into the chair, realisation dawning and Chris smiled again and sat up, patted Jensen’s knee reassuringly, “It’s ok dude, welcome back, you’re right, you were nothing more than something to play with to David. You’re right you do deserve more, and Jared is it. Jared cared enough to walk away before what you both had was destroyed under the weight of what had happened, he walked away and went through hell alone so he could come out stronger and better able to cope with whatever life throws at the two of you from now on.”
Chris grew serious and stared Jensen straight in the face, “I have never lied to you Jensen, not once in all the years we have known each other and I don’t intend to start now. So I need you to know this. You decide fast whether you want to walk away from him or not, cause he deserves happiness. He has been dealt nothing but shit his entire life and now he is on the mend and trying to reach for something he never thought he could have, and if you decide you are not that something then you tell me and.....I will go and try and be that something for him. I love you man, you are my best friend and always will be, but Jared is special, and he deserves to have someone in his life that loves him that much, I think I could really make him happy. If you decide you can’t.”
He rose then and made his way to the door, heading for the spare room, “I’m beat, I’m gonna go sleep, I just thought you should know how I feel. But if I were you Jensen? I wouldn’t be wasting anymore time sitting here feeling sorry for myself, instead I would be heading toward Austin Texas and the man who has spent the last five months pulling himself out of the hell he was in, trying to make himself a better man, just so he could measure up to you. They’re not the actions of a man who treats you like a doormat; they are the actions of a man who thinks you are so much more.”
Jared walked left the campus grounds, backpack slung over his shoulder, smiling and waving goodbye to the couple who had been walking with him as they went their separate ways. A quick glance at his watch told him he had just enough time to make it to work give or take five minutes. He smiled to himself as he thought of Samantha and the mock frown she would send his way before making him promise to design her the most outrageous bar as soon as he qualified, to make up for all the five minutes he was building up being late coming from the college.
It didn’t take him long to reach the bar he now worked at and he was still smiling as he entered, it was early evening and he knew some of the guys from the station house would be there, unwinding and joking and making him feel more like this place was home a little bit more every day. Sure enough, propping up one end of the bar and shouting out a cheery hello were his three favourite customers of late. The three men were in their late fifties and had known his Dad, taking great pleasure in filling in what he had been missing for so long, and sharing stories and hilarious tales of his father.
“Hey kid, draw any new pictures for us today?”
Jared’s smile widened at the good natured ribbing, Bobby was by far the closest thing he would ever have to what he imagined his father would have been like and he already loved this man more than he was willing to admit.
“Sure I did Bobby, but I ran out of pink, and I know how you love your pink, so your gonna have to wait just a little bit longer.”
Bobby threw back his head and laughed and shaking his head and muttering good naturedly about smart assed college kids, he turned his back to the bar and along with Jim and the Sean the huge Irish man with the equally huge heart, headed for the pool table, all three men joking and poking fun at each other like school kids. Shaking his head with a smile, Jared joined Sam behind the bar, kissing her cheek and wiping the pretend frown from her face as he passed. Throwing his bag under the bar out of the way he turned around gathering glasses and telling Sam about his day, completely oblivious to the man who was watching him like a starving man from the shadows.
Sam watched the young man with an affectionate smile on her face. He had come out of himself so much in the three months since she had hired him and she felt a ridiculous mothering instinct where he was concerned although she would rather die than admit it. His smile was brighter than yesterdays smile. She frowned as she thought of how down he had been after the young doctor who had been his friend had left.
“You feeling better today then kid?”
Jared paused in the middle of wiping a glass and staring into space for a moment he frowned slightly before the smile brightened his face again and nodded. “Yeah, I do Sam, thanks, I decided not to let it get me down you know? I’ve come so far and sure Jensen is pissed right now, he has every right to be, and I really wish Mike and Joe hadn’t done that but it can’t be undone.”
“What are you going to do now?”
Jared shrugged, “I don’t know Sam, Jensen....the thought of him kept me focused you know? Kept me sane and just knowing he was out there somehow made it easier, but it’s been almost five and a half months. Of course he will have moved on, I was naive to think he wouldn’t want to have.”
“His loss kid, you know that right? It’s his loss?”
Jared grinned and leaned over kissing her cheek again, “It’s ok Sam, I’m not giving up, I have come too far to give up now. I will go talk to him myself, I owe him that much, and maybe...I dunno...maybe we can talk it out and try again. They went about it all wrong is all. I love him; I’m not giving up now.”
Samantha Ferris felt like her heart was going to burst right out of her chest she was that proud of this kid right now. Two months ago, if he had received the news he had yesterday, he would have folded and died and she knew it. But today he was squaring his shoulders and forging ahead, refusing to give up on the idea of the man she had yet to meet. It was a testament to how much he had improved, how much stronger he was now and she wanted nothing more than to wrap him in her arms and just protect him forever. Instead she cleared her throat loudly and throwing down the cloth she had been wringing in her hands, left Jared alone behind the bar with the words “Good, ‘cause I could really do without your moping for another day, scared off some customers yesterday you did.”
Jared dropped his head to hide the smile he knew was threatening to blind Sam as she passed. It wouldn’t do to let on he had her number, how much she cared for him, and how much he appreciated it. It had hurt, sure it had. It had felt like a knife twisting in his gut when Michael had confessed to what he and his Dad had done and Jensen’s reaction. He knew Michael had waited a full week before coming to talk to him, hoping and praying that Jensen would change his mind. But Jared had put too much into this to fall apart now, he would do that later, a little bit at a time, maybe talk to Sharon, his therapist, about it, but he was damned if he was going to let a little setback like Jensen being a stubborn ass get in his way now. He was going to win Jensen back. Somehow.
A hand on his arm pulled him out of his musings and he turned with an automatic smile on his face as Sam looked at him with concern, “You sure you’re ok kid? ‘Cause I can manage here if....you know...if it’s too much today.”
Jared leaned across the bar that now separated them and hugged her briefly and assuring her he was fine. “Ok then, I got some book work to take care of in the office, gimme a yell if it gets busy you hear?”
Jared nodded and she halted at the end of the bar and beckoned him over, whispering in his ear, “There is a guy sitting over there, in the corner, has been nursing a coke since he came in about an hour ago. I don’t think he is trouble, doesn’t look the type, but keep an eye in case ok?”
“Sure Sam, I got it.”
Sam reached up and patted his cheek before disappearing into the office just off the bar and Jared glanced toward the corner, not seeing anything but a shadow and shrugging mentally he returned to polishing glasses and serving beer to Jim and the boys, laughing at their crude jokes.
An hour later and all that was left in the bar were Jim and himself and the mystery guy who hadn’t moved from the shadows. But Jared wasn’t getting any bad vibes from the shadow so he was content to leave well enough alone for the time being. Jim was now sitting at the corner of the bar, silent as usual save for a few gruff comments now and then, engineered to bring a smile to Jared’s face and it worked every time. It was quiet at this time of evening here and Jared had taken to moving the bottles standing behind the bar and polishing the shelves they stood on.
Jared was busy taking the bottles he had placed on the bar and putting them back on their shelves, turning over and back, working quietly and efficiently. Turning back to grab the last of the bottles he stopped dead at the sight of the napkin sitting beside the bottle, neatly folded in half and definitely not the type or colour they used in this bar. Not raising his head, he reached out slowly and brushed his fingers lightly over the folded piece of linen, closing his eyes briefly as memories of another napkin in another time and what seemed to be a whole other planet, flooded his mind. Opening his eyes he picked up the napkin and the empty bar and its patrons seemed to fade into the background as he turned his back on it and opened it up, his mind reeling as it registered what it was seeing. For there, on the plain white linen napkin, was a drawing, a beautiful half finished drawing of a house, just sitting there waiting for the artist to finish it and his breathing stopped in his chest and his sight blurred.
Closing his eyes again he took a few moments to steel himself, warring with the tears that wanted to fall, before controlling himself and turning slowly. There he was, like something out of a dream and the breathing Jared had fought so hard to regain stuttered to a halt again as those beautiful green eyes crinkled at the corners as Jensen smiled nervously. Indicating the napkin Jared now clutched tightly in his hand, Jensen spoke for the first time, his voice husky and raw.
“It’s just an idea, something I’ve been working on. I need....I can’t finish it, it needs....I need you to finish it, when you are ready. We can take this as slow as you like, we can talk as much as you want or we can move as fast as you feel you want to, I just....I need you. I need you Jared. I miss you, I’ve missed you so much and I’ve been so scared and so worried about you and you look so good. When you are ready you finish drawing that house and then we can build it together, you and me. And it will be ours, not just mine, ours.”
“Jensen....” Fresh tears clouded his vision and he moved without realising, coming around the bar and coming to a halt just inches from Jensen. He stood there, shaking and not quite believing he was really here, “Jensen.....I’m sorry, I’m sorry....I should have called but.....I couldn’t....this would have destroyed you....I couldn’t let the only good thing in my life be destroyed too....I’m so sorry.....”
Jensen didn’t move, just stood there, his hands clenched into fists at his side, so strong was the urge to just move and touch, “It’s ok Jared, It’s ok, I know, I understand and it doesn’t matter. I love you. It doesn’t matter baby I swear.”
“Michael told me you were so angry....I’m sorry...I hurt you and the others so badly....I’m sorry.”
Jensen gave into his urge and closed the gap, finally getting to touch this beautiful mans cheek and brushing away the tears that had started to fall, “I’m not mad anymore baby. I’m not mad, I love you so fucking much and I couldn’t breathe when you walked in looking so good and so content and happy. I don’t want to be the one to make you cry Jared, I want to make you smile, I want to help make things better. Please smile for me, tell me you still want me?”
Jared barked out a laugh then and threw his head back, furiously blinking at the tears that wanted to flow before looking back at the man who stood there with such hope and devotion on his face Jared thought he would burn from it.
“I am happy, you make me happy, you always did. I’m so happy you’re here, I love you too Jensen I really love you and I want you with me more than I have ever wanted anything.”
Jensen smiled then, wide and bright and beautiful and leaned forward and up meeting Jared halfway, claiming his mouth in a sweet soft slow kiss, with Jared’s huge hands holding his face like it was a precious thing and only breaking apart when a loud clearing of a throat from behind them broke through.
“Jesus Jared, take it to the office kid will you? I lost enough customers yesterday with your moping!”
Casting a critical glance over Jensen as he passed, holding tightly to Jared’s hand she spoke again, soft and low.
“So you’re Jensen...” Jensen nodded “I’ve heard a lot about you, from the kid here...” Jared rolled his eyes, “He has become very important to us, he is family now. We look after our family, hate to see them hurt.” Jensen nodded again and smiled, “He is my family too and I promise, there will be no more hurting, I won’t let Jared be hurt anymore. I’m here now, and I’m gonna make sure he gets whatever he needs, I promise you.” Sam nodded and smiled then, effectively ending the conversation by turning her back and heading over to give poor Bobby a drink on the house.
A half an hour later they sat close on the couch in the office still just talking and occasionally kissing, but mostly talking low and gentle. Jensen reassuring Jared that Chad was ok and no he wasn’t angry, just relieved that he was finally found and ok. Jared laughed loud and hearty when Jensen told him the story that Chad had told them about David and the hospital, fully able to imagine that Chad would do exactly that. He told him several hilarious tales of Chad’s escapades with old Mrs Jackson and how she was now treating Chad like he was the son she never had and Jared smiled fondly, glad that Chad was happy now and healthy and alive.
“I meant what I said Jared.” Jared looked at Jensen stroking his thumb over Jensen’s mouth as he tried to talk to Jared “We take this as slow as you like, finish college, stay here, working and be happy, and when you are ready we will build that place together, you and me ok? We got time. We’ve got all the time in the world.”
Six months later, almost exactly a year to the day that Jensen and Jared had clashed in the kitchen of that hideaway, Jensen stretched long and leisurely in Jared’s bed. The last six months had been both a blessing and tough in spots. They had gone back to basics, taking the time to just get to know each other. Jensen had a lot to learn about this new Jared that was emerging and he had loved every single minute of it. Perhaps a little irrationally, Jensen felt a childish satisfaction that this Jared he was getting to know, he now knew better and deeper than anyone else did. Jared and Chad would always have a special bond, and Chad meant everything to Jared, going so far as to introduce him as his brother to Sam and the boys when they all eventually got together in Austin. But this new Jared that was emerging, Jensen knew better than anyone and it truly felt like he had been given a gift that was slowly unwrapping before his very eyes.
But sometimes Jared would slip as they had both known he would and Jensen had been there to help pick him up when memories got too much, reassuring him time and gain they could do this, the words “you and me” becoming like a salve to the wounds that Jared was working so hard on healing.
He had long since forgiven his brother and his Dad for their part in keeping Jared hidden for so long, finally understanding why they had done it and just being grateful that Jared had someone there to help him cope. Jared had such a close bond with his family that he was sometimes convinced that they thought Jared had hung the moon. But he was so glad that everyone loved him, and watching Jared blossom with the amount of support and love he now had surrounding him, made him thank God every day that he had listened to Chris and come looking for Jared.
He smiled to himself, eyes still closed as he recalled the night before and their passionate reunion. Jared was still in Austin and Jensen was still based in L.A. and with both working so hard, only saw each other on weekends. Any days off midweek Jared spent with Jensen’s folk, as he was still unwilling and unable to set foot in L.A., and not sure if he ever would again. What he planned on doing when Jared was ready, was relocating his business to his own home town and building on his parents land, Jared was aware of this and was totally behind his boyfriend and loved him all the more for being so willing to give up what he had worked so hard on building.
The sexual side of their relationship had taken the longest to develop again. Jensen had been slow and Jared tense and scared, but both meeting in the middle several months after getting back together, and that night would forever remain with Jensen. Many tears had been shed on both sides as Jensen made sure every touch and every caress helped Jared wipe the memory of what he had endured at Robert’s hands from his mind. But now they were good, things were good and they were both ridiculously content and comfortable sexually.
Reaching across he felt the empty space and opened his eyes, automatically looking for the man that would normally be there, finding instead a neatly folded white linen napkin.
Not bothering to hide the huge grin that split his face he opened it and gasped at the completed drawing of a glorious two story house. It was beautiful and more than Jensen could have ever imagined.
“I thought maybe we could start to work on that....at the weekends and stuff...”
Jensen looked up and smiled at the sight of Jared leaning against the bedroom door, wearing nothing but ragged old sweatpants. Smiling he held out his hand and Jared moved off of the door and onto the bed, kissing Jensen soundly before pulling back.
“I love you Jensen, I’m ready now....you and me right?”
Jensen smiled and took Jared’s face into his hands loving him with his eyes as he whispered hoarsely back.