Title: Hell Is Other People
Word Count: 3450
Summary: Jared is a hunter, but he is about to find out that evil isn’t just the preserve of demons.
Pairing: J2 eventually
Warnings: Excessive abuse of Jensen, sometimes the law really is an ass.
Disclaimer: As far as I know Jared isn’t engaged in hunting monsters and last time I checked Jensen wasn’t chained up naked in the basement of a church and wasn’t in a relationship with Jared, so please don’t sue.
Notes: Here I offer thanks and unending praise togarvaldmains, who has helped, improved and encouraged me with endless patience when I gibbered at her, and she also provided the awesome banner! *Big, Big Hugs*
Beta: by the awesomebigj52.
As the Sherriff finished speaking, Jared felt Jensen’s legs buckle. Jared moved Jensen back towards his bed. Sitting him down, Jared moved to stand in front of him.
“Would you care to explain what you are talking about?” Jared glared at the men in front of him.
Out of the corner of his eye Jared saw Jim rest his hand on Chris’s arm as the fiery, long- haired hunter got ready to challenge the three officers of the law.
“On what evidence are you arresting Mr Ackles? “ Jared drew himself to his full height. He was trying to ignore Jensen’s harsh, panting breaths from behind him, and he needed to keep his wits about him. Jared knew this was a trumped-up charge, and he was shocked that the sheriff had even attempted it. Now he had to try and defend ‘suicide by curse’ especially if the Sherriff refused to be forthcoming with information.
Jared’s attitude caused the sheriff to pause a little; he licked nervously at his lips, and asked in a truculent voice “What are you, his lawyer? I thought you worked for God? ” the man sneered at Jared.
“Sheriff, before I served the Lord, I served the Law. Please, if you will just give me a moment to confer with Mr Ackles.” Jared responded to the sheriff.
Then he turned round and crouched down in front of Jensen; he was shocked at the change in the other man. Jensen was broken; there was no other word for it. Jared was enraged after everything Morgan had done to Jensen, and how Jensen had fought to stay strong. Now the sheriff had managed to shatter his spirit with those few words. Jensen’s hands shook; his eyes were haunted and filled with pain. To Jared’s eyes he seemed smaller, defeated.
“As of now I’m Mr Ackles’ attorney. Shall we get on with it?” Jared relaxed. This was a role he was comfortable with; it was as natural as breathing to him. He watched as the sheriff adjusted his stance, the hand moving away from the gun, his expression turning cautious.
“Huh, I don’t need one. I’m just going to question Ackles.” The sheriff was a little agitated at this development.
“Kane, you thought Jared the hunter was impressive. The lawyer really is ruthless. I researched the kid, he’s good. Just relax.” Jim seemed to be enjoying the show so Chris tried to follow suit.
“Who discovered the body? And how did poor Preacher Morgan meet his fate? Mr Ackles is entitled to hear the details of the case against him.”
The sheriff was clearly taken aback. He’d just expected to walk in and drag Jensen off to God-knows-where. He wasn’t prepared for a fancy lawyer who stood in his way of getting revenge for a good man.
The sheriff took off his hat and ran his fingers through his hair; he really didn’t need this shit this morning. He looked at Jared and realized he would have to deal with him before he could get to his target.
“My wife was the poor unfortunate who discovered the body...and he was in his errmm basement.”
“I hope you don’t mind but what time was the body discovered and why was your wife there, sheriff?”
“Just what are you implying about my wife?” The sheriff’s eyes flashed with anger.
“Forgive me, sheriff; it’s that it is just after nine o’clock in the morning. I wondered why the Preacher would be receiving visitors so early.” Jared’s sincere smile relaxed the sheriff somewhat.
“Oh, right. Some of the town ladies take it in turns helping to clean the church and they look after the Preacher, what with him living on his own. My wife arrived before eight o’clock. She knocked on the door. When she didn’t get an answer she tried the door. It was unlocked and she went in.”
“Excuse me, sheriff? Was Preacher Morgan in the habit of leaving his door unlocked?”
“He was a man of God! He believed in people and look what it got him. Gunned down like an animal by....” The sheriff had gotten increasingly angry during this; his eyes kept darting towards Jensen, shooting the man on the bed a look of loathing.
“Sheriff...to continue. Your wife walks into the house and how did she find the Preacher? Why did she go down into the basement? Was it a room she had been to before?” Jared knew by the look on the Sheriff’s face none of the town’s good ladies had ever seen that room. Somehow he wasn’t surprised, none of them were ‘companion’ standard.
The sheriff stood, clenching his fists, but he continued through gritted teeth. “She called out to him and when she didn’t receive an answer she went into his office. That’s when she saw the door to the basement was open. She went downstairs to find him and she found...well, she found his body.”
Jared nodded sympathetically “I can understand the trauma that must have caused. I appreciate that it’s too early for Crime Scene Photos, but is there any way to see the scene in question? Have you recovered the murder weapon? When will the C.S.I. department arrive to examine the scene?” Jared rapidly fired the questions at the sheriff.
Chris winced a little in sympathy. He shot Jim a look as if to say ‘shit you were right’ when Jim patted his arm and whispered “Oh he’s just gittin’ started.”
“There ain’t gonna be no pictures or damn C.S.I. down there.” The sheriff was red in the face as he spoke.
Jared allowed a smile to appear. It wasn’t the usual sunny dimpled-filled expression of joy. This was a predator’s smile - that of a shark scenting blood in the water and Jared was ready to attack.
“Why not, Sheriff? You storm in here without warrants, accuse my client of cold-blooded murder, and yet you offer no evidence to back up your claims. I think you should leave.” Jared’s voice was cold, calm and collected.
The sheriff looked like he was trying to speak, but Jared cut him short, “Of course, that is even before you take into account Mr Ackles physical state, of which I’m sure you’re well aware after witnessing the exorcism last night. So I have to ask, what is so special about this crime scene that you are prepared to break the law you swore to uphold to arrest my client?”
Jared’s face was impassive as he spoke, his voice quietly measured; the only indication to the rage that was building was the anger that burnt in his eyes. The sheriff responded shakily, “I meant it will take some time for the crime scene to be investigated. I’m afraid there will be no way to let you see it.”
The sheriff swung round to face the deputy, “Now why in the name of all that’s holy did you do that for, Andy?” The sheriff sounded pained as he spoke.
“Mr Padalecki, Preacher Morgan was a man of God. He would never have taken his own life; somebody had to have killed him and the only suspect is Mr Ackles.” The sheriff’s face was etched with grief and anger.
“Nope, can’t be. The farm was empty for years and that stuff looks new.” Andy said thoughtfully, Jared wanted to strangle the man. Once again the sheriff’s eyes hardened.
“Fine. Well, you just hand him over and we’ll get it done.”
“No, sheriff. I think for Mr Ackles’ protection he should remain here under the care of his family. After all, the loss of the man who was trying to save him from the demon that tormented him will be weighing heavily upon him. See for yourself, sheriff.”
“He could be faking it for all I know. Demons are tricky bastards, the Preacher said so.”
“Sheriff, as I said you were at the exorcism last night, I assure you the demon is gone. Demons have scant regard for their hosts and they leave them in poor physical condition. Please fetch a doctor and they will confirm what I have said. Or is this town in the habit of delivering its’ justice in the form of lynching’s.” Jared had grown even quieter, his patience at an end.
“Then fetch the doctor and perform the GSR. test!” Jared’s words were final. Jim tightened his grip on Chris’ arm in a warning for him to be ready if the sheriff held his line.
For a moment the sheriff’s hand tightened on his gun, then it relaxed and he reached for his phone instead.
Chris was really impressed with the display of authority and power, especially after a staring match when the sheriff had been the one to look away. He stalked out of the bedroom, and was followed quickly and by the looks of it, very happily by the deputies.
Jim took charge “Ok, we got problems. Chris, you go and check out the town. I want to know just what kind of vibe we got. Judging by the sheriff and pals it ain’t gonna be pretty. It may be we have to get Jensen out of here pretty damn quick. I’ll go and apprise the Ackles of what’s happening....on the legal front, that is.” Jim took a step towards Jared and spoke softly to him.
As the door closed Jared slowly approached the bed, he didn’t know how to do this. Most of the time he was barely holding on himself, he couldn’t even begin to fathom how to help the broken man in front of him.
The soft plea worked and Jensen lifted his head and turned to face Jared. Jared felt his chest tighten; that wonderfully expressive face which could convey every emotion with ease was a blank, emotionless mask, so pale and perfect but without that spark that made it Jensen. Jared searched Jensen’s green eyes and found them flat, devoid of life, light or hope.
“You can’t help me, Jared, no one can. I’ll never be free of him...why me? What did I do to deserve this? Even in death Morgan won’t let me go. Now they’re saying I killed him! I can’t go to prison, Jared... What am I going to do?”
Jared moved himself and Jensen further onto the bed and he pulled Jensen tight against his chest. Jensen curled up in his arms, clinging to Jared as if he was the only thing anchoring him in place. Sobs were racking his body, and Jared wrapped his arms round Jensen, riding out the storm of grief, and anger. He felt his shirt start to dampen from the tears Jensen’s was shedding and he listened helplessly to the desperate pained cries from the other man. All Jared could do was hold on and offer him comfort the only way he could. He rested his head on top of Jensen’s and kept up a litany of soothing words, “It’s ok, I’m here. I swear no one will take you away from me.” As he spoke Jared was astonished to realize he meant every word he uttered.