Title: Hell Is Other People
Word Count: 5250
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.
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 awesome bigj52 .
Jared sat open mouthed at what he’d just heard, he was vaguely aware of Chris slowly backing away in an act of self preservation.
“Oh dear Lord! Everyone grab onto something solid, Mount Padalecki is about to blow.” Jim’s quiet words rang out round the room.
Jared stared into Jensen’s eyes. He took a deep breath. “What do you mean... me?” the words were almost growled.
“Look, Conan! Before you start waving your club about, I’m not suggesting you wrap me up in a big red bow and hand me over to Eddie.” Before Jared could argue further Jensen turned to Chris.
“Chris, just how ugly is ugly, as far as the mood out there goes? Are we talking the whole town turning up outside here with torches and pitchforks?”
Chris grinned back at Jensen, “Well, I won’t lie. Like I said it’s pretty ugly. I ain’t saying the town square is filled with a mob bayin’ for your blood; the ones who are makin’ the most noise seem to be the ones I saw with Eddie last night. They’re full of righteous anger at the Preacher’s sad demise and are looking for someone to blame. Congrats kid, it’s you.”
“Ah well, it’s great to be popular. So it’s not quite as bad as the sheriff made out, then?” Jensen mused.
Jared leapt to his feet, shaking his head furiously, “No Jensen, it’s much worse than that. We don’t know how many of them there are, where they are, or if they will strike here. Also, which road do we take out of here, huh? How many are gonna come after us? I say we stay put and ride out the storm for at least today. Please Jensen, there are too many things that could go wrong if we run now, we need proper information.” Jared was trying to make Jensen see sense.
“And if we stay, they could hurt Mac, mom or dad, and no way will I let my family get hurt because I was too busy hiding under the damn bed! You heard Jim. We need to get me away from here and let the town know I’m gone.” As he spoke Jensen stood up to go face to face with Jared. But his sudden movement, coupled with the damage to his feet and body, caused him to crumple. Jared stepped in and caught him, lowering him slowly back down onto the couch.
“Jensen, look at you! You can’t even stand up without falling over. How the hell are we supposed to get you out of here?” Jared’s voice was low and pleading with the other man.
”Come on, man. You guys pulled off the impossible, you got me away from Morgan in front of nearly the whole town; this should be easy in comparison. All you have to do is drive me out of here, please.” Jensen clung to Jared’s arms as he spoke.
“Jensen, like I said, you can’t even stand. What happens if we do have to make a run for it on foot? I can’t...won’t risk you getting hurt again. Jim, I know you said this was the only way, surely there has to be another way. Jared made his appeal to Jim.
“Perhaps we should call the authorities, the F.B.I.?” Donna asked quietly, looking round at the standoff that was developing between Jared and her son.
“We could, and they would come but I’m not sure they would be in time. Plus, don’t forget they would investigate what has happened here and I hate to have to inform you that Alan would be charged with conspiracy in Jensen’s kidnapping.” Jim responded to Donna’s question.
“That would be fine by me” Mac was heard to mutter.
“Mac, that’s not happening. Do we have any other options then?” Jensen looked round to where Jim was standing.
Jim stood, considering their next move, “Jared, I hate to have to agree with Jensen but it’s the best way.”
Jared sprang back to his feet, “Have you completely lost your mind? If they get hold of Jensen they’ll kill him. For Christ’s sake, Jim, how is this a good idea?”
“Jared, if Jensen stays here, you know as well I as do, they will come for him and they won’t care who gets caught in the crossfire. The sheriff will make certain that no one will come to help. I’ll take a bet with you there is a deputy’s car sitting round the corner watching. So yes, it’s not a great idea but it’s the only one we got. Now git ya panties unbunched and help.” Jim’s tone brooked no argument.
The room fell silent as the two men glared at one another. Jared sagged as he looked away and then he turned to Jensen; he made one last mute appeal to the other man. Jared knew deep down that both men were right, but it didn’t mean he had to like it.
“Goddammit Aldis.” Chris’ exclamation caused Jared to look, “That has got to be the twentieth time he’s rang me this morning. Shit! I better call him back or he’ll never leave me alone.” As Chris spoke he was punching the speed dial.
Just as he put the phone to his ear they all heard the loud shout down the phone “Holy crap, Aldis! Are ya trying to send me deaf?” Chris held the offending item away from his ear. Without thinking he switched it onto speaker.
“Kane, I know I’ve already asked you this question before, but what the fuck have you gotten yourself into this time? After we had our chat the other night and all that research I did on Morgan, I looked up some of that freaky-assed shit that was on his list. Dude, I didn’t even know what half of it was, let alone what it did. An’ why the hell would you do that to yourself? Because man, some of that stuff’s gotta hurt.” Aldis fell silent
“Well, the guy he had in mind for it wasn’t exactly willing to try that shit out.” Chris was oblivious to his audience as he answered his friend.
“And that’s supposed to make me feel a whole lot better about the situation. Look Kane, you’d better be speaking to me from Florida or anywhere else other than Richardson. Because if you’re still in that town with that Jensen dude, then I’m seriously considering calling the army and telling ‘em Osama is hiding out in that church.” Jared had to smile at that.
“Look Aldis, relax. It’s fine, everything is under control.” Kane said, his voice laced with sarcasm.
Fine...fine...this from the man who once rang me and asked if I minded him stopping by for a little while and crash on my couch. Then turned up on my doorstep five minutes later and damn near bled out all over it? Forgive me, Kane, if I don’t take your word everything’s fine...and you still owe me for a new couch, dude.”
“What was he huntin’ Aldis?”
“Oh, hi Jim, I think he called it a Wendigo. That’s when he eventually came to...although I thought I heard ‘motherfucker’ before he said Wendigo.”
“Shit! I remember that it was one of the first big hunts the three of us worked together.... Jesus! You went after it alone?” Jared sounded awestruck.
Chris was bright red and squirming, “Look, I thought it was a damn vengeful sprite luring people off the trail. I only found out I was wrong, when it damn near tore my lungs out.”
“Like I said, Kane, forgive me if I don’t take your word everything’s fine.” Aldis responded dryly
Suddenly there was quiet laughter, Jensen was grinning from ear to ear. Mac was trying not to laugh and Donna and Alan were dumbstruck. Mac winked at Chris and he blushed even harder, clearing his throat.
“Aldis, do you actually want something or did you just ring to embarrass the crap out of me?”
“Ah Chris, you know me. I can multi task. Look, all I want to know, is Jensen ok? I’ve got calls comin’ in from all over.”
“Whoa! Hold on a minute, Aldis. Now all I asked you to do was the research and then gave you a list of numbers to block and track. I don’t remember telling you the guy’s name, and what calls are you on about?” The room fell silent.
Jim broke the silence, “Ok Aldis, what have you been tracking and how long for? We need all the info you can give us.”
“Jim, I’ve been following the phone lines since last night, Chris called me let me in on what was happening. Now I’ve got calls coming in from a doctor talking about how Jensen’s been tortured, the sheriff calling that bastard Eddie and some town folk offering to bring their own rope to the lynching. Oh, and by the way all the information you need is on the way to Kane’s computer.”
There was the sound of emails arriving on Kane’s lap top. Jared turned it round and read them. “Aldis, are you still tracking all of these phones?” Jared asked him.
“Yeah man, and I’m recording the most important calls. I’ve used key words to help me sift through them. From what I understand the town is split three ways; the first is the doctor and those who he is reaching out to, to explain that Jensen is the victim. The second group is the opposite; they are trying to gather a small army and like I said, bring your own rope.”
Jim interrupted Aldis, “And the third group?”
“It seems to be the biggest, kind of undecided or more to the point if they can’t see it, it ain’t happening if you know what I mean. A lot of distancing is goin’ on - hand wringing and tut tuttin’ but no action. I get the feeling they would be happy for Jensen to leave town, but they ain’t gonna hold a neck-stretchin’ party for him.”
Jared dragged his fingers through his hair and let out an explosive breath, “Jim, do you think we can keep track of ‘em and dodge them?”
“Well, kid, this does give us a fightin’ chance. We know how many are involved now, but to be honest, I was expecting more.” Jim sounded thoughtful.
“Jim, there are at least five trucks out there with four guys in them. I think twenty is more than enough, don’t you?” Jared replied.
“No, I’m with Jim. Come on, Aldis. There is more you ain’t tellin us. Now spill. The way the sheriff told it I was expectin’ to have to fight my way out of town.” Chris muttered at his friend.
There was the sound of rapid typing then Aldis finally spoke. “Right, I’ve programmed a map with the GPS locators of the phones involved. Look! Can we not discuss this, and just promise me Jensen is alright.” Aldis’ voice held a tremor Chris had never heard before.
“Aldis, thanks for everything you’ve done here and you know we are gonna need you today, but what’s got you so spooked? Come on, man. It’s better that we know everything, please?” Chris held his breath waiting to hear what Aldis’ response would be.
“Man, some of the things you guys hunt. I’ve helped with demons, werewolves and other kinds of freak. But Morgan, dude, he made my skin crawl and Eddie ain’t much better. Are you sure they’re human? No, don’t answer that. After last night’s exorcism, Morgan cleared everyone out of the church including Eddie. This is the recording of the phone call Eddie made to Morgan.”
Jared was startled by this; he looked at Jim, his eyes wild, not wanting the Ackles to have to hear anything those two had to say. Jim shook his head and stared pointedly at Alan, who by now was looking decidedly worse for wear.”
“Morgan, what the fuck just happened here? How the hell did we lose Jensen?” Eddie’s enraged voice boomed out of the phone.
“Eddie, calm down, let me think. I’m not giving up that easy. Jensen’s mine. I will not allow some backwoods Preacher to take him from me. Besides, all you’re worried about is our deal.” Morgan’s voice was calm.
“Too fucking right I’m worried about our deal; you promised me if I did everything you asked I’d get free run of your fun room with pretty. I didn’t damn near break my back lugging your toys just to see him git away. I want my time with him, Morgan. You owe me.....” Eddie was getting louder and more aggressive with each word.
“How dare you, you fucking imbecile! I promised you one day to do as you please to your pretty. I know you don’t have the imagination to fully appreciate just what Jensen has to offer you. All he is to you is a mouth to be used. Those lips fascinate you, don’t they, Eddie? You couldn’t wait to find out what they felt like wrapped round your cock, could you?” Morgan taunted Eddie, the mask had slipped, gone was the gentle, humble preacher. In its place was the cold-blooded predator that had been denied his prey.
“No, you lack the skill and the imagination, Eddie. Jensen is perfect, my masterpiece, my David. He is mine and I will retrieve him; I will not allow such beauty and fire to be gone. He would have learned to appreciate everything I could teach him, how pain offers as much as pleasure does. “
“Well, call it what you like, Morgan. I’m sure he would’ve begged and bled while you fucked him, but he ain’t here. What ya goin’ to do about it?”
“Stop prattling, Eddie. I need to think, that’s all. When I’m ready I’ll call you and you may even get to spend more than one day with your pretty.”
“Don’t forget, Morgan, you still need me. After all, who is gonna weld your collar and cuffs onto your David when you get him back? So I’ll hold you to that. Hell, I might even take him for a ride, see what all the fuss is about.” The line went dead.
Jared looked round the room; Chris looked sick; Jim was grim. Donna had tears rolling down her face, Mac was clinging to her mother, and Alan sank into a chair, shocked at what he heard.
“See, I told ya. You didn’t want to hear that shit. I also got a phone call between the sheriff and Eddie.” Aldis sounded subdued.
“Jensen, are you alright?” Jared was crouching in front of Jensen; he’d gone white with the shock of hearing both of his tormentors.
“Jensen? Shit! Don’t tell me the guy is there with you? Kane, you moron, I should never have played the recording.” Aldis sounded horrified.
“Aldis, it’s down to me you played that, not Kane. Well, ladies and gentlemen, proof, if it was needed what Morgan was like. It sounds as if Eddie knew that Jensen wasn’t possessed. Mind you, he didn’t know he’d just signed his own death warrant.” Jim was lost in thought as he spoke. Jared caught his eye as Jim continued.
“Men like Morgan don’t share their property with others. Remember what you heard in the church, Jay? Morgan telling Jensen he wouldn’t let Eddie touch him again? I think that Morgan was just humouring Eddie to get what he wanted. He also said that he had plans for Jensen’s escape; I think that he was going to kill Eddie and blame Jensen. In that way, he ties up the one loose end; the only man in town who knows that room existed would be gone. Eddie would never get a chance to spend time with his pretty down in that room. I’m sorry, kid. Are you alright?”
Jensen nodded. He swallowed hard and spoke, his eyes fixed on the floor as he did, “Whenever Morgan got Eddie to punish me he would come to me later and...” Jensen’s voice faded, Jared reached out and took his hand, giving it an encouraging squeeze.
“He... Morgan would always run his hands over every part of me Eddie had touched; it was like he was removing all trace of Eddie off me. Oh God! I think I’m going to be sick.” Jensen took several deep breaths.
“Aldis, I think we need to hear that other call. We need to know just how much the sheriff is involved.” Jim‘s request was quiet and compelling.
“Ok Jim, but can you get Jensen out of the room? I think he’s heard enough. Stupid question, considering the list of injuries the doc reeled off, but are you ok, man?” Aldis asked.
“Hi there, Aldis. Please play the recording. I’d like to know what those two have planned for me. Oh and I’m fine by the way, thanks for asking.”
“What! You too? Damn! How much time have you been spending with Kane? Ok. Then this is the conversation the sheriff and Eddie had just after he left the Ackles’ house.”
“Morning Sheriff, everything go ok? How far out are you?” Eddie’s familiar tones rang out.
“Eddie, I got some bad news, I ain’t got Ackles.” The sheriff replied to Eddie’s greeting
“What do ya mean ‘you ain’t got Ackles’? I thought you said all you had to do was go in the house and you would be on your way back here with him, and we could get justice for Preacher Morgan. Come on, sheriff. It was all agreed. You get Ackles, your car crashes, he sadly escapes, never to be seen again.”
“Well, nobody thought to tell me that one of the men with Reverend Colt was a lawyer and a damn good one at that. I tried Eddie. I even got the doc in to look at him. Damn bleeding heart liberal, says he couldn’t have killed the Preacher.
Damn! Even Andy could see Preacher Morgan killed himself. Look! I couldn’t push it. You know how I feel about that faggot, he drove our preacher to this with his sick ways; he seduced a good man. Damn him and that fucking demon he brought with him.”
“Amen, sheriff. I feel I’m to blame. I left Morgan alone with Ackles too much and now he’s paid too heavy a price for it.”
“Eddie, you shouldn’t blame yourself for what happened. While I was in the house I did suggest that the town was out for blood so there is the chance they’ll panic and get Ackles out of there.”
“That’s good to hear, sheriff. I’ll make some calls and get the roads watched, and I promise you, Ackles will answer for what he has done.”
“You’re a good man, Eddie; I feel better knowing there will be justice for the preacher. Look, if you like I’m sure I could get some of the townsfolk to pay the Ackles a visit, get things moving a little.”
“No, sheriff, don’t do that. It’s better that the good people of the town are not dragged down by that faggot as well as our poor preacher. No, it’s better if your deputies keep watching the house. If they don’t see Ackles being moved, then me and my friends will go and get him ourselves in the night, keep it low key. Thanks for all your help, sheriff. Call me the minute you hear anything.” The line went dead.
Jensen sat stunned as he heard what Eddie and the sheriff had planned for him. “Well, it’s good to know you’re wanted, I suppose, and who knew Eddie was such a champion of justice. Plus, he’s real considerate of the good townspeople...not wanting them to get into trouble over me.” He looked round as he spoke, expecting to see the three hunters downhearted, instead...”Can you tell me why the three of you are grinning?”
Jared spoke excitedly, “We can get you out of here, it will still be dangerous but we can get you out of here, Jensen.”
“Plus, we know why half the town isn’t outside.” Jim continued.
“I’d like to know why we haven’t got a mob here, and why is Eddie so keen to hurt Jensen? Surely he must realize he won’t be able to do what he wanted to him.” Donna asked, as bemused as her son.
“Excuse me. Who just spoke?” Aldis sounded nervous.
“Good morning, Aldis. I’m Donna, Jensen’s mom. Thank you for your help.”
“Jensen’s mom..... Holy crap! You let me play that stuff and I’ve been cussing and all this time, not only was Jensen in the room but his mamma as well?” Aldis sounded pained as he spoke.
“If it helps so are his sister and dad.” Chris said with a laugh. Aldis could be heard apologizing in the background as Jim answered Donna’s questions.
“Ok, it’s like this; Eddie has realized that as long as Jensen is in town he is pretty safe. Everyone thinks Jensen was possessed and anything he says is due to the demon talking. But once Jensen gets back to L.A. what’s to stop him contacting the police or the Feds? With his injuries and Doc Sheppard’s evidence, Eddie will be facing a kidnapping and assault charges.”
“But I won’t do that because dad will be dragged into it.”
“I know, Jensen, but Eddie can’t take that chance. He needs to get rid of you, the sooner the better. Especially with the town riled up over Morgan’s death and before word leaks about that room. It would be real hard to paint Morgan the victim after the news gets round about it and your injuries, plus you can’t unlynch someone.”
Donna looked thoughtful and nodded, “But I would’ve thought it was better for Eddie if the town was involved, more help for him?”
Jared responded to that, “It doesn’t always work like that. For a start the more people involved in this means Eddie has less control over the outcome. He risks us slipping by him, or worse still, someone catches Jensen then grows a conscience and doesn’t hand him over. Finally I think Eddie still wants to spend some time with Jensen alone and you can’t do that with the town watching. So Eddie needs people he can trust, helping him”
“Hey Jared, you’re right, the sheriff just called the doc. Earlier the doc asked if he could set up a town meeting for tonight to talk about what happened to Jensen, but the sheriff refused. He’s just done a one eighty and told the doc he’s reconsidered. The sheriff is going to spread the word to all his friends not to do anything but to wait for the town meeting so they can mourn Morgan together.” Aldis broke into the conversation with this news.
“Smooth. Defuse the situation by promising them a chance to talk about the problem. Plus, you got everyone who wants to hurt or help Jensen in the same place at the same time, giving Eddie and his crew a free run at getting to him.” Chris sounded impressed by this.
“So why don’t you wait for tonight and then get Jensen out of here?” Mac chimed in.
“Mac, as of now they will be working to our timetable. If we wait till tonight there will be a fight and a damn nasty one at that. Right now we know where they are thanks to Aldis’ map. Now we are gonna move them round how we want. Aldis, will it take you long to splice together some messages and stuff? Point our friends in the wrong direction?”
“Jim, my man, I’m already ahead of ya. You pick the route you want out of there and I can get them running round in circles, no problem.” Aldis could be heard typing at speed again.
“Aldis, we’ll get back to you on that. Also, can you isolate Eddie for me?” Chris asked.
“Dude, that is no problem. It looks like he wants to be in at the kill. Shit! Sorry about that, if you know what I mean. Why do you want Eddie isolated?” Aldis’ voice held a wary edge to it.
“Oh, put it this way. Eddie ain’t the only one who can dish out justice. I owe him a few bruises, that’s all.” Kane grinned malignly as he spoke.
“Now don’t you go killing him, Kane. By the time I’m finished with him, he’s gonna have a new boyfriend called Bubba who wears lots of orange, if you catch my drift.”
Chris laughed, “I’ll hold you to that, Aldis. I’ll leave enough to be hauled off to jail. Thanks, man. Look, we’ll call you a little later. We got some things to do here.”
“Kane, you are more than welcome. You, Jay and Jim, be careful and take care of Jensen. Get him home safe, you hear me? Oh, and you still owe me a new couch, dude.” With that, Aldis hung up.
“Shit! I meant to ask Aldis to book plane tickets so we can fly Jensen home.” Jared cursed....”Jensen! Oh God, Jensen! Are you alright.” Jared dropped back down to kneel in front of the other man.
Jensen was pale and shaking, his breaths coming in short, rapid pants, “Don’t do planes, man...” his voice cracked with fear. Jared’s eyes widened as he looked at him, puzzled by the reaction, “Put it this way. I’d rather spend a couple of hours with Morgan and Eddie in that basement than fly.” Jared looked round in shock.
“Believe me, Jared, he’s not joking.” Mac said softly.
“Ok then, it just means you will be stuck with one of us all the way back to LA. It’s fine, Jensen. You need to get some rest and let us do the worrying now.” Jared’s words were spoken in a reassuring tone; he’d taken Jensen’s hand again and was running his thumb back and forth in a calming gesture.
From behind them came a shaken voice, “Werewolves? Wendigos? Who are you people? What are you doing here?” Alan was still sitting in the chair, ashen faced in shock at what he’d heard over the phone.
Chris stepped forward and looked down at Alan Ackles. He began to speak in a calm voice.
“Who are we? Well, if you’re very lucky, Mr Ackles you will never come into contact with what we are. We don’t have an official title, we call ourselves hunters. What we hunt are the type of things you get in horror movies or nightmares; any evil son of a bitch we find, we go after it and kill it.
As for what we are doin’ here? Word gets round Mr Ackles and word reached us of a demon locked up under a church, so naturally we came to get rid of it. To be honest we thought the damn thing was doing deals with you good people, because demons don’t take too kindly to being locked in a church. Imagine our surprise when Jared found Jensen. Trust me when I say it only took him a couple of seconds to realize there was no demon in your son. Now, as Aldis said, we’ve all hunted terrible things but to be completely truthful I have never come across anything as bad as Morgan.”
Alan was hanging on every word Chris uttered. His expression was one of pure disbelief at first but, as Chris continued, the expression slowly turned to doubt and finally hearing Morgan’s name mentioned again, shame.
“Now everything we hunt is driven by instinct. To be perfectly honest with you, the poor bastards can’t help what they do. All we do is put them out of their misery and stop them hurting people. Morgan and Eddie, now that is evil. They made choices to do what they’ve done, there’s no spell or curse compelling them. Morgan took a town and twisted it round his little finger. He came looking for a sacrifice to his twisted needs and you gave him one, you gave him your son.”
Alan’s eyes filled with tears, “I swear I didn’t know what he was like. I’d never have taken Jensen to him if I’d known what he was capable of. Oh dear God! I’ve been so stupid. I only wanted Jensen to be happy. You’ve heard the sheriff, how bigoted he is. How could I stand by and leave Jensen to the mercy of men like him? I’m just so sorry.” Alan was appealing to Chris as he spoke.
Chris looked over to the couch where Jensen sat listening to his father, “It ain’t me you gotta say sorry to, Mr Ackles. If you really wanted Jensen to be happy, all you had to do was to accept him, not try to cure him.” There was no recrimination in Chris’ voice.
“Right about now I think that Jensen needs his dad, don’t you?” Jared’s quiet words jolted Alan into looking over at Jensen. For the first time in a long time Alan really saw his son. He sat there, wrapped in the comforter and he saw the little boy who had brightened his days, the teenager who had studied hard, and the man who had worked so hard to achieve his dreams. What the hell was there to be ashamed of? Jensen slowly raised his arms, reaching out to his father.
Alan stood up and went over to where his son sat, “Jensen, I’m so sorry. I can’t ever expect you to forgive me for what I’ve done. I’m just so sorry, son.” Alan sat by his son on the couch and wrapped his arms round him, pulling him close. Jensen let his father hold him, listening to his pleas for forgiveness. He didn’t care about that. All he knew was his dad still loved him and that was all that mattered.
Jim watched the scene unfolding in front of him. He coughed softly to get the attention of Chris and Jared. He then motioned towards the kitchen with his head. They nodded their assent and moved. Jared picked up the lap top as they went.
Once in the kitchen Jim addressed them “Well, boys, we know what we’re dealing with now. The sheriff is gonna come in mighty useful before the day is out. We’ll let the Ackles alone for now and get Jensen to get some rest. It’s gonna be a rough few days for him once he’s on the road. Jared, are you with me, son?”
Jared was watching the family from the door of the kitchen. Alan was still holding Jensen, gently stroking his hair. Mac had moved to the other side of him and Donna was sitting by her husband, her hand resting on his shoulder, “Do you think they will be ok, Jim?”
“Jay, to be honest, who knows? But at least Alan understands what’s gone on here and that will make our job easier. Right now we need to plan our escape route. Give Aldis the details, let him work his magic and be ready to move out.” With that, Jim pulled the lap top to him and he and Chris started to work.
Jared walked back into the kitchen, watching the other men as they worked on the laptop. There was a question he needed to ask, “So Jim, which one of us is taking Jensen home?”