Characters: Jared, Jensen, Chris and a few others I am probably gonna throw into the mix.
Rating: pg.13 for now
Summary: An actor looking to hide, a quaint cabin by a beautiful lake and an old ghost story.....
Warnings: Hmmmm, angst? Oh yeah angst with a little dash of Angst! You know me guys! But trust me, I havent let you down yet!
Beta by the wonderful chrysrocks
The coffee tasted good to Jensen as he stood sipping from the steaming cup and staring out the kitchen window. He was watching two trees again. The early morning sun was attempting to break through them to illuminate the patch of grass on the ground between them. It would eventually succeed, Jensen knew, he had watched the battle on a few occasions now and it always made him smile when the sun won his battle and the first rays fell on the brilliant green grass. This morning he was distracted by his thoughts as he watched. He couldn’t stop thinking about his dream from night before, and the grief he could still feel thrumming through his veins.
“It’s beautiful isn’t it?” a voice said quietly behind him. Startled, Jensen whirled around, his hand clutching his chest and his eyes wide with fright, grateful that he had drank half his coffee already or it would have sloshed over his hand and burned like a bitch.
“Christ, Jared! You scared the crap outta me dude!” He exclaimed, still wide eyed and trying to calm his pounding heart.
“I’m sorry.” Jared apologized but the light in his eyes called his sincerity into doubt.
“We are gonna have to come up with a system here, I really don’t want to speed up the whole going grey process.” Jensen grumbled. Jared’s mouth twitched despite the tension he could feel in the room, despite the dream he knew Jensen had the night before.
This man made him smile.
He made him want to smile.
He hadn’t smiled in so long.
He needed him, he needed...
“Woah! Hang on dude, you’re...shimmering. Don’t go running off on me ok? It’s no big deal; I can handle a little scare. Stay with me alright? We can talk.” Jensen exclaimed panicked that Jared seemed on the verge of disappearing as soon as he’d arrived. Jared grounded himself and blinked at Jensen. When it became apparent Jared was going to stay, Jensen smiled, causing Jared to blink again as he watched Jensen’s face transform.
“You’re beautiful.” He said abruptly. Jensen’s eyebrows rose and he wondered if ghosts blushed, ‘cause Jared looked mighty embarrassed about now.
“Uhh thanks dude, not too bad yourself man.” Jensen smiled again, watching as Jared blinked at him several more times, unsure of how to respond. Jensen found himself warming to this man, well except for the fact of the whole being a ghost thing. He wanted to put Jared at ease; and he took a seat at the table watching Jared as he spoke.
“So, what did you do for a living when you were alive? Did you have a profession or were you like a cowboy or something?” Jensen asked ignoring how weird it was to ask what someone did before they died. Jared grinned slightly in amusement and let himself be led into the conversation.
“I was a teacher, I loved to learn and I wanted to help teach children what I knew. I was good at it too.” He said a lilt of pride in his voice. Jensen nodded, and sipped absently from the coffee mug in his hand. He knew Jared had been a teacher, but he needed him to talk, to loosen up a little. So he looked over at Jared and grinned,
“A teacher and modest too...I like that.” He took a chance teasing Jared a little. He watched over the rim of the cup as Jared frowned slightly at Jensen’s weak attempt at a joke and sighed inwardly in relief as Jared’s face cleared when he finally got it, and smiled a little more. God, Jared would be damn beautiful when he smiled, Jensen recalled how carefree Jared had looked when Bill was planting the pair of trees. Even though his eyes had held a shadow of the pain and suffering he had been through, he had looked damn good. Jensen wanted to see that, yearned to see what this man; this...ghost would look like if life hadn’t been so cruel to him. How gorgeous he would be if he was alive today, and had a chance to see just how beautiful life was.
Watching Jared, Jensen instinctively knew that mentioning last night’s dream to him would be a mistake. He knew that somehow Jared was responsible for the dreams he had. It was as if Jared was showing him what he could not bring himself to talk about, not yet. If Jared hadn’t had anyone to talk to in as long as Jensen thought, he certainly couldn’t blame him. Still the fact remained that being there with him wouldn’t mean squat if the ghost didn’t trust him. It was important to prove to Jared that he was his friend and could be trusted.
Jensen was fucked if he knew how to accomplish it.
“So tell me about your teaching dude.” Jesus Christ, Jensen was thankful no one could see him at that moment; to any normal person it would look like he was sitting in his kitchen talking to himself. His own brain threatened to freeze up just thinking about it, and he mentally shook himself forcing his attention back on Jared who had moved to look out the window. Jared didn’t answer; it seemed he hadn’t heard Jensen speak at all and smiled wistfully to himself as he watched the sun’s battle to break through the trees he loved so much.
“He brought me here after the attack...this place was his....I have no idea why they call it the Padalecki cabin, how it ended up in my family. It’s Bill’s....he built this himself, all of it....” Jared said his voice barely above a whisper as he spoke, lost in memory. He pointed out to the two trees. “After I started to recover.....he took me out there and planted those two trees.....said he felt bad that he had cut so many down to make his home here....he wanted to put something back....he....he said we would plant more.....when I was better. But those two.....they are special, Bill said so...he said those trees would last forever, that the roots would keep them strong and alive for centuries.....that those trees represented how strong and long lasting our love would be.....he said as long as those two trees were standing then it would serve as a reminder to us and to anyone who tried to tell us that we were wrong....we were in love and it was meant to be and it was ok.”
“He was right...” Jensen began, haltingly searching for words to bring some measure of comfort to Jared. Jared turned away from the window and the memories the view invoked to look at Jensen. “Nothing about your relationship with Bill was wrong, and those trees out there? They are wonderful, I love them.” He rose and walked over to stand beside Jared. They both turned toward the window just as the sun ray broke through, lighting up the patch of grass.
“That patch right there...” Jensen pointed out to where the sun shone “That’s gorgeous; I’ve wondered why it is so much greener there, so...perfect I guess.”
“When Bill died, the trees were still small...but...over the years....I’ve been here a while...” Jared smiled and Jensen watched entranced as Jared spoke “I spend a lot of time out there, I sit between them, I.....this sounds silly but.....I spoke to them...I feel like...out there, when I sit there....I feel like I’m closer to him, you know? Like he is right there too and I pray that someday, some day he will come and...We can be together again and I won’t be alone anymore....”Jared turned to face Jensen, “You know so much about me already and I know so very little about you. Tell me; tell me about you, about your life....what do you do? Why are you alone? Why do you look so sad sometimes?”
“Sad? I don’t look sad....do I?” Jensen said in surprise, Jared nodded and his long hair fell into his face making Jensen’s fingers itch to brush it away, and mentally he cursed his rising attraction to a ghost.
“You look....lost I guess, like, you haven’t yet found whatever it is you have been looking for....what did you lose?” Jared tried to explain, carefully watching Jensen’s reaction to his question.
“I haven’t lost anything; you can’t lose what you never had right? My life is good, I’m doing great, and I’m a semi famous television actor about to break into the big time movie side of things.” Jensen shrugged, “most people wish they have half what I do.”
“Then why are you here? Why are you hiding?” Jared asked.
“I’m not hiding!” Jensen protested, “Well.....I’m.......waiting for things to cool down, giving people time and space, but definitely not hiding!” Jared smiled with gentle understanding and watched as Jensen poured another cup of coffee, purely out of nerves than any real need.
“Jensen,” he said, “I’ve been here over two hundred years. I have learned two important things about this cabin. No one wants to be here, not really, and everyone who comes here is running from something.”
“I like it here,” Jensen protested, “I know....I...yes I was running, I am running but...I do like it here. Strangely enough I think I would like to buy this place, if I could, I would love to call this place home. It’s good, private, I like that.” Suddenly Jensen put his cup down as he came to a sudden decision. “Hey, how far around this cabin do you wander?” Jared’s frown at his abrupt question made Jensen grin, “I’ve been everywhere around this place and it’s awesome and...Maybe you could come with me? Tell me what you know, acquaint me with your cabin, your trees and your lake? I would love to hear what you had to say. So what do you think huh?”
Not for the first time since he had arrived at this cabin, Jensen was glad it was isolated as an hour later found him walking the grounds surrounding it, looking to anyone that was passing by like he was holding a conversation with himself. He discovered Jared was quite a talker when he got going, and he obviously loved the place, it showed in his voice when he spoke, and Jensen was transfixed by him.
Jared took Jensen back out to the two trees; Jensen sat in the grass and watched as Jared gently placed his palms against one tree before moving to the other, bowing his head until it rested against its vast trunk and speaking in a voice so low that Jensen couldn’t catch the words. Jensen knew he was witnessing a private moment and he understood why this spot was always so special. It was Jared’s presence nurturing this spot and these trees. Whether he realised it or not, Jared was the reason these trees were so special, why the patch of grass was so greener. The love he harboured for the man he had lost had transferred to this spot, and Jensen felt a pang of envy. For the first time in his life, Jensen wished there was someone in his life who loved him so fiercely. He was ashamed at being jealous of a dead man, but he couldn’t help it. It was worse when he realized he didn’t want just someone to love him that way, Jensen wanted Jared to love him like he loved Bill and the thought terrified him.
Jensen spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon walking the grounds with Jared. They took a narrow little path through the rest of the trees, Jared grinning softly at Jensen’s grumblings about the rough path being easy on a ghost. Jensen was delighted when Jared took him to a little alcove; a tiny patch of lake cut off by the trees on one side and large boulders on the other. Jensen was surprised that he hadn’t seen it before, and he eagerly snapped pictures while he listened to Jared, enraptured by love in Jared’s voice as he told tales of how he and Bill would skinny dip here. Jensen was tormented with more pangs of envy as Jared talked with a hint of embarrassment in his voice of the love they had made right there in that water. The fun they had had just playing like little boys, and how then run back to the cabin, to dry out by a fire and hold each other till morning light.
Jensen hid behind his camera and snapped pictures of the gorgeous scenery about him, as Jared led him around the property talking continually so lost in memories that often Jensen felt like an intruder listening to him. His voice was wistful as he talked about Bill and the time they had, the things they did, the laughter and the love. The stories touched Jensen and his heart twisted a little more with each fact he learned about the young man Jared had been. Eventually they returned to the deck at the back of the cabin, and Jensen relaxed with a cool beer and questioned Jared out about his family. He learned that Jared was originally from Texas and that once he had planned to marry a very beautiful girl there. Jared and his girl had been close, best friends. He had been prepared to do what was expected of him, though he had never been in love with her, but then Bill had arrived and Jared was lost.
When the girl’s brother and his friends had inadvertently learned Jared’s secret they had attacked him savagely, just as Jensen had witnessed in his dream. That was when Bill had brought him here and nursed him back to health. Jared had missed his family. He’d left behind his parents and two brothers, and he’d never seen them again. One brother had found him and wrote to him, letting Jared know how everyone was doing. He told Jared things were ok between them and that Jared would always be his brother no matter who he loved. He said he had told his children all about their Uncle in Cheyenne and that one day they would see him. It had never come to be, and Jared told Jensen in a broken voice how his brother had come to the cabin months after Jared’s death and how upset he had been. He’d locked up the cabin and never returned.
The cabin had been empty after that for a long time and Jared had been so lost, so very lost. He was constantly looking for Bill and begging the gods or anyone to help him, but it he was never granted any peace.The cabin Bill had built was sturdy and closed up tight against the elements it defied nature and remained whole; eventually someone had come and opened up the cabin again. They talked and looked different than people once had and Jared watched from afar learning how different life beyond his tiny piece of the world was now. He gave a sad laugh as he recalled how he terrified the first couple who had stayed there. He just been watching, as he had done all the others and overheard something he thought meant they could help him, but he’d been wrong and they left in a hurry.
After that visitors were rare, only a random member of his own family from time to time. Jared was able to identify them because they looked so much like his brother. Then about thirty years ago some workers had come and repaired the place. Since then it had been rented out to a lot of people, all of whom had experienced the ghost, Jared, as he attempted to reach out to them. Jared told Jensen he’d finally given up. That was when Jensen asked about Chad and his Nan, it made Jared smile.
Jared said that he remembered them. Chad was a skinny blond teenager and had his eagle eyed grandmother with him. He remembered with a fond smile how shocked and excited Chad had been when he saw Jared, but by that time Jared was weary of trying and had refused to respond, even when Chad’s Nan had tried. Jared said that by the time he had learned to trust Nan she had grown too old and weak to come out and their conversations were limited because Jared wouldn’t leave the cabin for long. He was afraid that Bill might come for him, and he had to be there when Bill came home. Nan had promised Jared something that had given him a small shred of hope for the first time in two hundred years. She told him that someone would come and help, so Jared had waited and now here they were.
Silence reigned for several minutes after Jared concluded his story, and Jensen felt the tension in the air rise as darkness began to fall and he desperately wanted to stop Jared from disappearing on him again.
“Hey, I don’t know about you, but I’m starving dude.” He grinned at his own joke and continued “Have you ever watched a football game?”
Jared looked at him with a patient expression his face, “I’m dead, but I’m not stupid. I have watched people over the years, I know technology, I’ve seen the programs on the television and yes I’ve watched sports.”
“Awesome, so how about I make me some dinner, and then I can turn on the TV for the first time since I’ve been here and we can find some football to watch huh?” Jensen suggested. Jared nodded in slightly bemused agreement, but when Jensen rose and spent the next thirty minutes preparing his dinner he wasn’t all that surprised to find he was alone. Jared didn’t return until Jensen was seated on the couch beer in hand, watching last week’s football game. He spent the rest of the evening and into the night arguing the finer points of football with a damn ghost and trying to convince himself that the pull he felt toward Jared was one of pity and an obligation to help, and that it was not the beginning of something he’d never felt before.
And certainly Jensen wasn’t didn’t feel disappointed when Jared exhibited his characteristic restless sadness and disappeared. Honestly, he was only slightly bothered when he heard the sounds of sobbing followed by the back door of the cabin banging open. It was nothing but pity that reared in his chest, a natural grief for the pain in Jared’s cries. That was all....