Chris spent the next four days doing everything in his power to make Jared smile. Jared spent the four days in a haze of complete relaxation, basking in the glow and attention of the man he loved but saw too little. He was so happy he didn’t even notice that his every attempt to talk about their one year anniversary and any plans they should start making was met with a subtle change of subject. His energy levels rose, he slept better, he laughed louder and longer, he joked and sang badly, he played with his dogs and he made love to his boyfriend with a passion and a vigour that Chris welcomed. He finally shook off the emotion and unbearable guilt that Sam had been carrying around and he knew that when he hit the set again it would be with a renewed energy that he could only thank Chris for.
Jensen was there the whole time, working hard by day or the occasional night shoot and chilling with the two men whenever he was home. Nothing more was said between the two men about what they had discussed. Chris knew Jensen enough to know he had said his piece to Chris, made his feelings known and would now leave it to him to make the right decision. Jensen himself was relieved and so glad to see Jared emerge from under the cloud that had built up over the last few months and he there was no way he would remain angry with Chris, he knew his friend wouldn’t let him down, he wouldn’t let Jared down.
The evening before he was due to leave, Chris knew he could not put off the talk with Jared a moment longer. Jared was so happy, and he was so damn excited about heading away alone in a months time. It was time he had specifically gone to the production team and asked for before filming even began on season five. Jensen had been working steadily over the last five days and had finished early in the afternoon for the day. He had left the house to the two lovers, heading out to have dinner and maybe a few drinks with Jeff who was in Vancouver filming at the moment, glad to be able to leave the two men to themselves on their last night.
Jared was spread out underneath Chris, panting and begging, touching and nipping at any part of Chris he could reach as Chris removed his fingers and lubed up his cock. Sliding inside in one smooth thrust, Jared arched his neck and gasped and Chris had never seen the man look more gorgeous than he did right then, all ready to come, full up with Chris and holding him so tight as if he would disappear if he loosened his grip. Taking Jared’s weeping cock in one hand he began to thrust into Jared with strong sure movements, wanting Jared to be able to feel Chris for days to come and remember who he loved.
Leaning down he kissed Jared, hot, wet kisses as they panted words into each others mouths. “So good Jared......so fucking tight.......” “God....Chris......harder......fuck.....
It was over for them both moments later and as Chris wrapped himself around the bigger man shamelessly a few minutes later, fingers trailing patterns into his muscled chest he finally spoke.
“Hmmm?” Jared was dozing and Chris felt a knot of tension tighten in his stomach, but he had to talk to him, he couldn’t do this to Steve, it had been so long.
“Jared look.....I.....we gotto.....”
Jared chuckled drowsily and ruffled Chris’s hair lovingly “Is Chris caught for words?”
“Listen Jared, please don’t be mad but......”
“Mad? Uh oh.....why would I be mad?”
“It’s about the break we are meant to go on. How would you feel about spending it in New York with Steve?”
He could feel Jared tense beneath him and Jared moved and turned so he was facing Chris head on.
Chris met Jared’s wary gaze head on, “Yeah, he ahhh he contacted me a while back, wanted to set up a reunion gig of sorts, just a one off, and I don’t want to let him down, I feel like I let him down enough with this Leverage gig and please Jared, say you understand?”
Jared sat up and rested against the headboard and shook his head, “No, I’m sorry, you’re gonna have to explain this in more detail. You want us to spend our anniversary with Steve so you can gig with him? Did I get that right?”
Chris felt about an inch tall, ‘cause when Jared put it like that it did sound kind off weird. He nodded silently and risked a glance at Jared and was surprised to see a look on his face he had never seen before, Jared looked so......closed off suddenly, like he was shutting down all emotion.
“Jared, baby come on, there will be other anniversaries right? It’s just....it’s Steve man. I just feel like I didn’t handle things with him and the band right and I.....he really wants us to do this....I really want to do this. We could still have fun, be just you and me except for when I am on stage just the one night.”
Jared smiled a half smile, a cold smile that didn’t reach his eyes and regarded Chris with a tilt to his head “Yeah....you seem to be making habit of not handling things right Chris....tell me....why did you come up here? “
“What do you mean?”
“I mean when Jensen called you, why did you come? Was it because you were worried about me or because you saw this as the perfect opportunity to spend a few days keeping me happy so you could drop this on me and I wouldn’t complain?”
“No! Jesus Jared no! Baby come on, it’s not like that! I love you, you know that! Please don’t be like this Jared?”
Jared moved suddenly, leaping out of the bed like it was on fire and pulling on the first pair of sweatpants he set his hands on, pulling a T shirt over his muscled frame he sat on the edge of the bed to put on a pair of trainers. Chris reached out and touched his arm and Jared jerked it away like he had burnt him.
“Don’t.....just don’t Chris.” He walked away toward the bedroom door before stopping and turning back again, facing Chris down with such a look of betrayal in his eyes that Chris suddenly felt the urge to cry. “It’s cool Chris.....really....it’s ok. You go do your thing with Steve, but you can go alone. I wouldn’t want to get in the way of your alone time with Steve. It’s been so long since you saw him right? I mean.....it isn’t as if you had the summer with him like you did me right? Oh....wait......you didn’t have the summer with me.....but then.....I don’t matter so much do I? After all....I’m not Steve Carlson am I?”
Jared raised his hand “You know what? Forget it; don’t worry about it, really. I’m cool with it. In fact, this is a good thing really. It’s good for me to know where I stand with you, in importance. I mean, if the situation were reversed and it was Jensen who wanted to see me when I was s’posed to be going away with the man I said I loved, what would I do right? I mean.....you wouldn’t mind me ditching you at the last minute so I could spend some time with Jensen right? ‘Cause yeah, it sounds kinda petty and bitchy to want me all to yourself on our anniversary yeah? After all....it’s not like we made a serious commitment to each other or anything...I mean.....we never talked about it. I probably jumped the gun a bit......thought there was more to this when there isn’t....I mean.....Jesus....I gotto get out of here. Have a good flight back Chris.”
“Jared, wait!” It was too late; Jared was gone and before Chris could even pull pants over one leg he heard the front door slam, followed by the sound of the engine of his SUV coming to life seconds later.
Chris spent the next four hours alternating between pacing the floor and calling Jared’s cell, leaving message after message. After the first three calls the cell went straight to voicemail. Jared had turned it off, but Chris still called and left messages, begging Jared to come back, saying he was sorry, he was an idiot, he loved him. They would go wherever he wanted, just...come back Jared baby please.
Jensen arrived back at the house a little after midnight and it took only one look in his direction for Chris to know Jensen already knew what had happened. Deciding not to waste time with small talk he swallowed his pride and faced Jensen head on.
“Where is he Jensen?”
Jensen spared Chris a glance from where he was busy letting the dogs out for a final run before bed and answered in a clipped tone. “With Misha.”
Chris nodded and remained silent for a few more seconds, then, “Is he....did he say he would be coming back tonight?”
Jensen called the dogs in and locked the door, herding them into the bed in the laundry room, he took his time before answering, “I don’t know Chris. I doubt it, he was pretty upset.”
Jensen moved to the stairway leading to his bedroom but stopped at the bottom step and faced Chris “Look, I’ve stayed out of this, for both your sakes. It really is none of my business what goes on between you two and you already know how I feel on this subject. I love you Chris, you’re one of my closest and oldest friends and that’s not gonna change. But Jared.....he is very important to me, he is the best friend and the best person I have ever had the good fortune to meet and he loves you. I know you didn’t mean to hurt him, but.....Chris you have been alone so long you have forgotten what it’s like to have to consider someone else’s feelings. I know you love him, anyone can see that, but just cause Jared isn’t a woman doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel. You should know this now man.”
He moved over to where Chris stood rooted to the spot, “He won’t thank me for telling you this but.....do you know what he had to do to get those four days off next month?”
Chris shook his head silently, already dreading the answer; Jensen nodded and squeezed Chris’s shoulder.
“What he filmed the last three weeks? You know that’s not how it’s done normally....it’s too heavy, too much emotion for any one actor to deal with. He promised them he would film them all together, just so he could get away those few days with you. I know it sounds like I’m laying a guilt trip on you, but I’m not, I just think you should know what Jared had to do to get to spend that time with you. The hell he went through to get all those done? He did it for you.”
Chris groaned deep in his throat and Jensen pulled him in for a quick hug before pulling back with a smile. “Dude, the guy loves you. Get used to it, this is what Jared does for those he loves man. You just need to get it into your head that it isn’t just you anymore; it’s you and Jared now. Call Steve for gods sake, he will understand, you know that. Go get some sleep too man, don’t worry about Jared, he will come back in the morning or if not he will be on the phone to you tomorrow night all apologies for acting the way he did. I’m going to bed, I gotto be up real early tomorrow dude. If I don’t see you in the morning have a safe flight back ok?”
Chris nodded and watched as Jensen climbed the stairs to his room, hearing the door close a minute later. He sighed and followed suit, there was nothing he could do here anyway if Jared wouldn’t answer the damn phone, all he could do was wait and hope Jared would be back in the morning.
Chris never heard Jensen leave the following morning, so the house was still and silent when he finally woke and got out of bed to get ready to leave. He had an early afternoon flight out and he delayed as much as he could, just waiting and hoping Jared would turn up. He tried calling his cell again but it was still switched off so he grabbed a pen and some paper and let a quick note and left it on Jared’s pillow.
Baby I’m sorry! I was such a fucking idiot. I forget sometimes that I have someone in my life now that is in it for the long haul. I love you so much, I would never deliberately hurt you babe. Please, please just call me and tell me you forgive me when you get this? I will call Steve and tell him no, I will do anything just please don’t stay angry with me. We can go wherever you want, for however long you want, I’m all your’s, you remember how I told you when we first got together that I would fuck up sometimes? Well I fucked up, I’m sorry. I just, I just can’t imagine my life without you in it Jared. Please forgive me?
I love you always,
Giving the note one last look over, he gather his bag and left the house for the airport. Check in was a bitch, god he hated airports and the crowds and the hyper kids whose parents just couldn’t seem to control. He sat in departures checking his phone every two minutes just in case but nothing. Finally his flight number was called for boarding and he still delayed, he went to the bathroom, he bought a bottle of water, anything to delay getting on that plane and turning off his phone in case Jared called at the last minute. Eventually his name was called over the loudspeakers and Chris knew he could put it off no longer. Pulling his cell phone out and dialling Jared’s number one last time, he frantically spoke into the phone as his name was called for the final time, “Jared, I’ve go to get on the plane now baby. I’ve waited as long as I can and I think I have pissed the staff off enough. I love you, and I’m sorry I fucked up our last night together. I will make it up to you I promise. Just......call me...please? God I love you so much and it’s killing me that I made you feel like you didn’t matter......cause you do you know....you’re everything to me. I love you.....Ok ok I’m coming goddamnit! Ok I gotto go now......please call me please?”
Staring at the phone dejectedly for a few seconds Chris heaved a sigh and switched it off, putting it into his pocket and glared at the stewardess who was standing with a pained patient look on her face, her hand out for his boarding pass. Not bothering with the niceties and feeling lower than an ant for the way he had fucked up so badly he barely acknowledged her as he passed her by, headed for the plane that would take him out of Vancouver.
Jensen simply wasn’t surprised when he arrived on set the next morning to see Jared already there, talking with the director, probably arranging to do a couple scenes as they hadn’t been expecting Jared back on set till that evening. As he headed for the make up trailer, Misha fell into step beside him, and Jensen smiled at the good natured man.
“Hey, Jared bend your ear all night?”
Misha shrugged, “Nah, he was cool, pissed, but cool.....didn’t sleep much though, just kept staring at his phone, refusing to turn it on, but just stared at it all night......he gonna be ok?”
Jensen opened the door to the make up trailer and followed Misha in, “Yeah, yeah he will be ok....he will come round, he just needs to work through it. If I know Jared, by this evening he will be on the phone apologising and they will be all over each other soon enough.”
Misha nodded, seemingly relieved to hear it; “Good, I like that kid, he deserves something to go right for a change huh?”
“Yeah, yeah he does....”
The talk moved onto smaller things after that, and pretty soon the morning had come and gone, Jared had headed to the sound department to do some voice overs while he waited for his scenes to come up, and Jensen and Misha wrapping up the last of the Dean and Castiel scenes for this episode. It was late afternoon, and Jensen and Misha had already eaten lunch when Jared reappeared. He seemed happier, and Jensen sensed that the storm cloud had blown over and he relaxed a bit, knowing that by that evening both Jared and Chris would have reached a compromise about their break away. He threw Jared a genuine grin as he settled down across from Jensen, a huge plate of lunch in his hands and proceeded to tuck in.
Misha had just left, his scenes in this particular episode now complete, he had already said goodbye to Jensen before Jared had appeared, and had headed for the car, ready to head to the airport and home. So Jensen was surprised to see Misha reappear at the table where he and Jared had been sitting in easy silence, Jensen reading yesterday’s newspaper and Jared just finishing up his lunch.
“Hey Misha.....thought you had left? Did you forget something?”
Jared grinned at Jensen’s question, unable to help his response, “Awww sure he did Jensen, Misha couldn’t leave without saying good bye to me! He wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he left before he saw my pretty face!” Misha was as quick witted as Jensen and usually had just a clever response to anything Jared fired at him, so his silence as he stood and stared at the two men as if trying to come up with the right words unnerved the two men. Jensen spoke first.
“Misha? You ok dude? Are you sick? You’re looking mighty pale.”
Misha opened his mouth to speak and shut it again, darting a pained glance at Jared before looking to Jensen as if silently asking for his help. “Misha?” Jared reached out and touch Misha’s arm and he jumped, startled, clearing his throat he turned his now even whiter face to Jared and spoke huskily, unsure,
“Jared, what time was Chris flying out?”
Jared’s eyebrows rose and he glanced quickly at Jensen who looked just as confused and back at Misha again, “Ummm twelve thirty, why?”
Misha turned grey and slumped against the table, swearing softly, “Jensen, I need to.....Jensen can I talk to you a minute?”
Jensen made to rise, but Jared stopped him with a hand on his arm, turning to Misha, feeling as if his heart had suddenly taken up residence in his throat he spoke quietly “No, you asked about Chris, why?”
Misha looked desperately in Jensen’s direction and Jared felt a sudden inexplicable urge to run, he knew he had started to shake and he had no idea why, his voice when he spoke again was even softer than before, almost pleading “Misha? What’s going on?”
“Jesus Jared.....I’m sorry, I’m fucking sorry. Maybe it’s wrong, maybe he missed the flight....”
Jensen slumped back into his seat as Jared visibly paled and stared wide eyed at Misha unable to speak, Jensen cleared his throat and ignoring the screaming in his head he spoke “Misha? You’re not making any sense man, what’s happened? Has Chris been in an accident?”
“Ummm I got a call after I got to the car, the airport is closed until further notice, all flights are cancelled, I turned on the radio and....Jesus.....the twelve thirty flight out......”
Jared felt like he was drowning, no amount of air seemed to be enough to draw in and Jensen and Misha suddenly seemed to be talking from very far away, his voice when he spoke to Misha was nothing more than a whisper, and he wasn’t even sure he was heard.
“Chris? Misha.....please.....that’s his flight....Misha? Chris?”
Tears suddenly filed Misha’s bright blue eyes as he looked at the shocked faces of his two friends, both unwilling and unable to fill in the blanks he so desperately didn’t want to fill in for them. “The twelve thirty flight....it crashed and burst into flames shortly after take off.....No one knows why yet.....all they know is......they say there are no survivors, they never stood a chance they say. I’m sorry....I’m sorry....”
Jared went into a total state of shock, no......no.......god no......not Chris, Jesus no......
“Jared? Jared! Come on dude, lets get out of here ok? Lets get you home man, come on....Jared?”
Empty eyes turned slowly to stare unseeingly into Jensen’s white face, and Jensen spoke again, kneeling in front of Jared and clasping his hands, “Jared? Come on, lets go and make a few phone calls ok? We will find out more, someone has got to know more ok? Come on dude; let’s get you out of here.”
It was when Jared felt two strong arms attempt to help him to rise and he turned to see Cliff standing there, his face full of sadness that he reacted. Jumping up and away from the group that had gathered he backed away quickly, his hands clasping his head as if the pressure was going to make it explode. Bending almost in two, his hands clutching his hair in a painful grip, Jared forced himself to draw air into his starved lungs for a few seconds before straightening up and with one hand still gripping his hair and the other shakily covering his mouth, faced the small group again.
He opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out and his vision blurred before he shook his head to clear it, refusing to cry. No.....no tears....no need....it was ok....it’s going to be ok, Chris is ok.....it’s a mistake, he must have gotten an earlier flight....he was wrong about the time that’s all....
Jensen approached the shaking man cautiously. Jared looked like he didn’t know whether he wanted to run or start throwing punches, hearing words tumble from his mouth nonsensically, Jensen shoved his own grief back and focused on Jared’s.
“Jared, come now, let’s go home ok? We will find out more I promise, it will be ok, you’ll see. Come on; come with Cliff and me huh? Misha can come too; we will get to the bottom of this and find Chris I swear.”
Jared had no memory of getting to the car, no idea of when they started moving through the maddening traffic, heading for the airport at his insistence. They knew it would be chaos, knew no information would be handed out until later but Jared insisted that’s where he needed to be. Chris was there, he was ok, he had to be. Sitting in the car, silently staring out the window, his throat tight with unshed tears and sobs that fought to be free, Jared’s hands nervously tapping his thighs hit something hard in his pocket and his eyes flew wide open as he realised his phone was there, switched off. Cursing himself for forgetting that he had turned it off in a temper the night before, he scrambled to free it and hastily turned it on, sure that Chris was gonna call at any minute and they would laugh down the phone at the mistake and then Jared would be free to kick Misha’s ass for scaring him like this.
Jensen’s eyes were wide in his pale face as he watched Jared’s shaking hands hurriedly switch on his phone. Shit! Chris had left messages the night before, he watched as Jared’s leg drummed impatiently as he waited for the phone to boot up.
“Jared, maybe you should leave your phone off for now huh?”
Jared looked at him incredulously “What? No! Chris might have called, he might still call, this is all a mistake, you’ll see” He grinned at Jensen then and Jensen had to look away hurriedly before Jared saw the tears that had begun to fall down his face. Chris, Jesus Chris......his friend.....how did he handle this? How was he going to support Jared through this and cope with his own grief? God help him he wasn’t sure he was strong enough. He had a sudden urge to call Daneel and sob down the phone and knew she would come as soon as she could....later...he would call later....now wasn’t the time....but God he needed her here.
Jared went through the motions of getting into his voice mail and was taken aback by the amount of voice mail he had on his phone. Jesus he had been so pissed last night...Chris must have gone out of his mind with worry, wondering if Jared was going to come back....he had spent his last night alone....just because Jared had decided to act like a fucking child, Chris had spent his last night alone.....No! Chris was ok....he had to be.....His hands shaking he pressed the button and placed the phone to his ear and listened to his lover plead down the phone time and time again for him to just please call.
“Jared? Please baby, please come back, I’m sorry.”
“Dude come on, don’t make me kick your ass now, come on, call me back at least?”
“Jared, I love you, please, fuck just please at least let me know you’re ok?”
“Jared, this is ridiculous man, please, let’s not do this on our last night? Call me?”
“I’m sorry, fuck man I was an idiot....I’m sorry, please baby, please call me?”
On and on the calls went, Chris alternating between pleading and anger, anything to try and get Jared to call. Taking the phone from his ear Jared took a breath and placed his forehead against the window. Putting the phone to his ear again he listened as once again Chris’s voice came down the line from this morning. He didn’t notice the tears that started to fall finally as he heard Chris’s final call, he listened with his heart tearing in two as Chris begged forgiveness before boarding that flight, in the background he could hear Chris’s name being called over the loudspeaker, he listened as Chris snapped at whoever had been hurrying him on and he keened low in his throat as he heard the man he loved say he loved him ....he would never hear those words again.....gone....Chris was gone and he had gotten on that flight thinking Jared hated him.....he had died not knowing how much Jared loved him...he would never hear Jared tell him how fucking sorry he was.....Chris...Chris...no no no no no.....Chris.....
Hands reached out and pried the phone from his fingers, while arms wrapped themselves around his hunched shoulders as he doubled in two, pain a physical stabbing that had him sobbing and choking as he sobbed Chris’s name over and over again, the words mixed and jumbled with “I’m sorry....Chris...I’m sorry....please....no...Chris I’m sorry....be ok...please god....Chris....”
Jensen clung to Jared as he sobbed brokenly, his own tears falling unheeded onto Jared’s T shirt as Cliff turned the car toward Jared’s house on Misha’s instructions. Misha silently switched Jared’s phone off, Chris’s final message replaying in his mind. They didn’t need to go to the airport now. They had all the proof they needed, Chris was gone.