Word Count: 7002
Summary: Jared meets the man of his dreams while helping out his best friend Chad. Unfortunately for him, Jensen is being haunted by his past in more ways than one. Can Jared convince the spirit of Jensen’s not so dearly departed boyfriend to move on, or will make good on his promise to make Jensen his forever.
Pairing: Jared/Jensen, Jensen/OMC
Warnings: Mentions of domestic abuse, and non-con that happens off camera.
Jared stood outside of Tarotama rattling the front door, muttering under his breath, “Come on, Murray. I know you’re in there, don’t make me come up and get you.” He’d been for his early morning run with Harley and Sadie and was on his way back home. He decided to call on Chad and have a few select words concerning his reading for Jensen last night. Most would start with ‘you bastard’ and go from there.
He and Chad had been friends for almost as long as Jared could remember, and Chad was probably the only person outside of his family who knew about his ability to see spirits. Strangely enough, it had been Chad who had kept him grounded and encouraged him to use his gift to help spirits move on, after Jared had nearly been driven mad when his gift had made itself known. Now he took a dim view of being pushed into a situation with an obviously malevolent spirit, who was, more than likely very dangerous to Jensen.
Shit, Jensen! Jared had to try and talk to him without freaking him out; he could see it now, “Hi Jensen. I think you’re gorgeous, and by the way, who is the psycho ghost following you round?” He rested his head against the door. “Damnit, Chad! One of these days I’ll kill you, but as I can’t find you, today is your lucky day. Come on, guys, time to go because I need a shower.” He walked away, and gave Chad one more call, he’d called numerous times since the reading last night. Unsurprisingly, it had gone straight to voicemail every time.
This time when the message kicked in, it had been changed from Chad’s usual....”Hi, this is Chad, don’t be a douche bag. Leave me a message instead of just hanging up.”
To..... “Hey, if this is Jared, dude, I really did strike gold. Me an’ the girls are off south of the border for a couple of days... can you keep a watch on Tarotama? And dude, how many times have I got to tell you? Jennifer Love Hewitt is way hotter than you in under-wired nightdresses. Go careful, man.” With that the message cut out.
Jared rolled his eyes; he wasn’t shocked to hear Chad was partying with his new friends. He had to smile at his warning concerning the ghost; he had given Chad’s voicemail the highlights of his evening, including his meeting with Jensen’s unwanted guest.
Taking a calming breath, Jared gritted his teeth and plotted several exotic and painful ways to kill his best friend. He found that visualizing dropping a safe on Chad’s head improved his mood a great deal. With a renewed spring in his step, he decided to stop at the coffee shop for breakfast. Jared arrived there in time to see Jensen leaving; he smiled and thanked his good luck for once. Jensen was carrying two cups. As he got closer he could see that Jensen was pale and looked tired.
“Good morning, Jensen. God, don’t tell me the hangover is that bad? Please tell me both of those aren’t for you.” Jensen looked up, startled and Jared cursed himself slightly. Well, that was a brilliant start, frighten Jensen to death. Jensen recognized him and relaxed a little. He gave a smile and shook his head.
“Hi, Jared, I may be a coffee fiend but one of these is for Chris. I’m just going to see him. The hangover isn’t too bad, how about you? And who are your friends?” Jensen looked down at the dogs as he spoke. He was happy to see Jared as it saved him having to convince Chris to give him Jared’s number so he could talk to him about his problem.
“I’m fine, thanks and this is Harley and Sadie. Can I tempt you to have breakfast with me? Jared smiled in invitation at Jensen, hoping the other man would join him and allow them to talk. Jensen hesitated for a moment; he was unsure about what to do. After what had happened to him last night he knew he needed help but he wasn’t sure how to ask for it.
Jensen nodded and they made their way over to a table. Jared sat down, making sure the dogs were behaving themselves. Then Jensen sat down and Jared couldn’t help but notice the way he moved. Last night he moved fluidly and was relaxed. This morning however, his posture was stiff and it looked as if he was in pain. Jensen winced as he sat down, he tried to cover it but Jared had seen the look of discomfort.
As they settled the waitress came outside and grinned at Jared, coming straight over with a bright smile, “Morning, Jay. Do you want your usual? I’ll take the guys so you and your friend aren’t disturbed. Can I get you anything else, sweetheart?” The waitress was practically beaming down at Jensen.
“Thanks, Elle. That would be great. Jensen, can I tempt you with a stack of the finest pancakes on Venice beach?” Jared’s happy face lifted Jensen’s heart a little, but his appetite had deserted him.
“No, you carry on. I’ve already eaten, thanks.” Jensen watched as Elle disappeared with the dogs and looked at Jared, puzzled at what had just happened.
Jared smile grew even broader, “Please excuse Elle. She has made it her mission to see me settled down with a nice guy. So if I’m seen talking to any man over the age of twenty and under the age of ninety, Elle moves in with some subtle matchmaking. Although, she nearly frightened Father Kripke to death when she pulled the same move. The poor guy had only stopped to say good morning to me.” Jared roared with laughter at the memory and Jensen couldn’t help but join in.
“Just ignore her, Jensen. She usually gives up after the first six months. So what brings you out so early?”
Jensen sat thinking about his answer. Should he say that he’d hardly slept after being attacked by a ghost? That would go down well, it would be a great way to make Jared run screaming, even though he had been the one to try and help. “I just had some trouble sleeping and I thought I would come and annoy Chris, by waking him up early.” Jensen smiled at Jared’s suddenly scared expression.
“Oh dear God, don’t do that! Sorry, I know he’s your friend. Just ignore me. My mouth tends to operate independently of my brain sometimes. So how long have you two known one another? And are there any embarrassing stories you could tell me that I can use in case of emergency.” Jared felt he was on safe ground with this, and the more he knew about Jensen the better chance he had to help him.
Then Jensen grinned at him, his eyes crinkling, causing Jared’s mouth to go dry. “Me and Chris grew up together in Texas, and yes, I have many stories I could tell you about him. But then I’d have to kill you as an act of self preservation and I kind of like you.” With that, Jensen fell silent but there was something he had to know about last night
“Jared, if that wasn’t your shop what were you doing there last night giving readings?” Jensen asked.
“Oh that! Tarotama is Chad’s shop, and much like you and Chris, me and Chad go back a long way. As for embarrassing stories... well, Chad is an embarrassing story, but I kind of like the guy when I don’t want to kill him. No, I own the graphic novel shop just up the boardwalk from him...Geeks R Us. I was doing my best to stand in for the Great One last night. I hope I did alright?” As he spoke Jensen’s face lit up.
“You own the comic shop! Oh God, marry me! Seriously, you’re the man of my dreams, and you did fine with the reading and I hope that Chris didn’t scare you too badly.” Jensen laughed and Jared felt his heart give a lurch. Damn! He was in trouble, Jensen was way too easy to like. As well as being the hottest guy he’d ever laid eyes on. He had to remember why he was talking to Jensen, he needed information.
Once again silence descended and Jared could see that Jensen wasn’t sure what to say next. He knew that last night was preying on the other man’s mind. It was time to try and get him to open up.
“I get the feeling you want to ask me something about your ghost? How about we do that later? Why we don’t talk about the living for a little while? I tell you what - I’ll give you the edited highlights of the Jared Padalecki experience.” On hearing that, Jensen relaxed a little and took a drink of his coffee, motioning Jared to start talking.
“Ok, then the very abridged version of me. I have a family who think I’m wonderful for some strange reason, although I’m convinced my sister Megan was plotting to kill me to get her hands on my old bedroom. I’m a geek by nature as well as profession. After college I tried several jobs but never settled in any of them. All they did was get me a deposit on my shop. It’s a dream come true, I get to read comics all day and spend hours talking about my favourite films. I live above the shop with Harley and Sadie who you’ve met. Like I said, Chad is my best friend, and no, I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve that. I think I’ve been very lucky, but if you ask Elle I’m a sad and lonely figure because I don’t have a man to come home to.”
There is much, much more to me as you can imagine, but I’d like to hear about you, Jensen. What brings you here amongst the freaks and fools of Venice beach?” With that, Jared relaxed back and smiled at Jensen.
“Well then, I’m a vet who was, until fairly recently, living on the outskirts of Beverly Hills and up to a month ago I was residing on Kane’s couch until I got a job with Jim Beaver.” Jensen paused and Jared interrupted him.
“How come you’re slumming it down here with the likes of us? Didn’t you want to look after Paris Hilton’s dog?” Jared watched Jensen’s face change as he said that. The smile that was there faded rapidly and he looked down at the table, turning his cup round and round.
“Oh shit! Me and my big mouth! Look Jensen. If I’ve overstepped the mark just tell me to get lost. Ok?” Jensen looked up from the cup and Jared could see how tense he was. Jensen bit his lip and appeared to be lost in thought, as if he was making a decision about what to tell him.
Just then a couple of things happened - Jared’s breakfast arrived and he became aware of a third person at the table. The ghost from last night appeared and he was watching Jensen intently. Great! Of all the times for him to show up, he chose just as Jensen was going to open up.
Jensen seemed to have made his mind up and he started to talk, “Beverly Hills wasn’t really me; it was always more my partner, Matt’s home, and he was the one who got me the job with a family friend. But I’m much happier in Jim’s practice, and I’m hoping it will be more than that eventually. Jim is looking to retire in a few years and he wants someone to take over. It’s ideal. Actually I’m living above the surgery and Jim’s a great guy.” Again Jensen stopped; his mind seemed to be elsewhere
Jared sat waiting for Jensen to continue; he just had to be patient, and then he heard a voice, “You know, he really is gorgeous, isn’t he? And I have to say I’m proud of how well I trained him.” Jared was just taking a drink of coffee when he heard that. He spluttered into his drink, causing Jensen to look at him wide eyed.
“Sorry, that went down the wrong way. Please go on, Jensen. Did you and Matt split up? Is that why you’re here? I hope you don’t mind me asking but Kane said you had had a bit of a rough time, and the reading was a very strange attempt to cheer you up.” Jared pressed gently. He had a bad feeling about the ghost sat next to him, and his whole attitude to Jensen was making Jared uncomfortable.
Jensen looked down again; he seemed to be gathering his courage. “I suppose you could say that. Matt and I were involved in a car accident and he was killed. After I recovered I came here. Chris suggested it, and I was just so pleased to see him again. We had lost touch, so when he offered me his couch I was more than happy to accept and then I got the job with Jim.”
“Jensen, how come you didn’t move back into yours and Matt’s home?” Jared asked and he heard a derisive little snort from beside him.
“Oh, this should be good. I can’t wait to hear what he tells you. He really makes your heart bleed with those big green eyes and that soft hesitant voice, doesn’t he?” Jared fought against the desire to turn and glare at the owner of the voice, and right about now he wished he could hit him. But the fact that the ghost was invisible to everyone but him made it a tad difficult, and Jensen would most likely run away screaming.
Jensen looked embarrassed and unhappy, but finally he spoke. “I wasn’t a joint owner of the apartment. Everything was in Matt’s name and he left his estate to his family. They never really approved of mine and his relationship. Instead I came here, but it has worked out for the best.”
“It was such a shame. My family thought Jensen was a gold digger. They couldn’t have been further from the truth, he earned more than me. It was quite galling really. There I was, a promising associate in a top L.A. law firm, well on my way to making partner and Jensen earns more than me because he looks good holding puppies.
I have to say being involved with a vet did open doors for me. So many people just adore you if you love animals. Jensen was always so very good for my career and image, people just love him. You know, I do wish he’d brought his Armani suits with him, he looked stunning in them, and I always made sure he looked his best. I hate it when he wears jeans.” Jared gritted his teeth even harder, so this was Matt, and Matt was an asshole.
“I don’t understand. Even if you weren’t on the house’s deeds how come you couldn’t afford to buy a place of your own?”
Jensen gave a slight shrug, “Oh, I’m not very good with money and so my salary was paid directly into Matt’s account. After he died my I had just enough to help with my medical bills. Besides, I’m glad I brought nothing with me.”
“Why’s that, Jensen? I would’ve thought there had to be something you wanted.” Jared leant forward slightly, trying to catch Jensen’s eye as he spoke.
Jensen looked up at Jared and there was a small smile playing on his lips, a look of determination on his face. “There was nothing I wanted from the apartment and I can do what I like now. I can be with my friends, and I’m working in the kind of practice I always dreamed of. So really, Matt’s family was welcome to it all. I walked away with just a bag of clothes and some of my old photos.” Jared felt like reaching over and hugging Jensen as he spoke. Whatever he had been through with Matt had left scars, and Jared was willing to bet they weren’t just emotional ones.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw the look on Matt’s face; he was enraged at what Jensen had said, “How fucking dare he, after all I did for him! I took care of him, taught him how to be civilized and this is the gratitude he shows me. It seems that Jensen is lapsing back into his old ways. I blame Kane myself. No, this will never do. He needs to be reminded who he belongs to.”
After hearing that, Jared felt the need to press Jensen about his ghost problem. After all, it looked like Matt was even more dangerous than Jared had at first thought. Jensen seemed to suddenly become aware of what he had been saying. He took a deep breath. “God, I’m so sorry. I just waffled on. Man, you should have stopped me; talk about bringing the mood down.” Jensen scrubbed at the back of his neck with his hand and dropped his eyes again.
Jared sat forward and spoke softly, “Don’t worry about that, Jensen. Look, Kane was right. You’ve had a hell of a time. I really couldn’t imagine losing someone I loved like that. But I hope you don’t mind me saying that from what you’ve said it seems the relationship may have been in trouble?”
Jensen’s eyes met his and in the green depths Jared could see conflicting emotions. There was grief, guilt and shame there. Jared wondered just what Matt did to Jensen to prompt such a strong reaction from him.
“Now why don’t you tell me about your ghost? When did you first notice it?” Jared gave a gentle smile and an encouraging nod to try and get Jensen to talk.
Jensen licked his lips. He was going to tell Jared all about what had happened last night, how he knew it was Matt. But he couldn’t face telling Jared about his past with Matt. After all, how do you tell somebody “I knew the ghost was my boyfriend by the way he beat the crap out of me.” Instead, he said, “I think that I’m just being silly. It’s not as though the ghost is dangerous. He just moves things, more of a prank really....I think I was worried for nothing.”
Jensen closed his eyes and cursed under his breath. Even now, Matt controlled him. Why the fuck was he still scared? After last night he knew he needed help but just like when Matt was alive, he turned all help away, humiliated by how weak he was being. Also, Matt never took kindly to others interfering. He could be putting Jared in danger. Jesus, he was a mess. What did he do now? He looked up at Jared again, a plea clear in his eyes, unable to voice his fears.
Jared saw that Jensen wasn’t going to tell him anymore so he sat up a little straighter in his chair. He turned his head to look right into Matt’s handsome face, blue eyes twinkled at him. “What? Like I said, Jensen took so very long to train. You know, looking at him now, you’d never believe just how stubborn he was, but I cured him of that eventually. It just took patience. I just had to give him a little reminder last night of how I expect him to behave. Now watch and I’ll show you that Jensen is still mine and there is nothing you can do about it.” With that, Matt flicked his hand casually and one of the cups of coffee fell over.
The effect on Jensen was instantaneous; he leapt to his feet and wiped his jeans down with a napkin. Jared stood up at the same time. He went to reach out to touch Jensen on the shoulder to see if he was alright. Jensen flinched away from him, babbling “I’m so sorry, I’m just so clumsy. I’m always doing things like this. I must go and clean myself up. I shouldn’t be seen like this. Matt will be so disappointed in me.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth Jensen froze. He looked up at Jared; the colour had drained from his face. A look of intense shame crossed his expressive features. “I have to go. Sorry, Jared. Thank you for listening to me. I’m sorry.” With that, Jensen all but ran from the coffee shop.
Jared sank back down onto his seat and glared at the grinning ghost. “What the fuck did you do to him, Matt? How do you do that to someone you’re supposed to love?” Jared’s voice was low so he wouldn’t attract attention.
“Oh, but I do love him, Jared. It’s just that Jensen needs very careful guidance. You’ve seen him; he had to be watched constantly. He is such a clumsy boy. He was always bumping into things and getting hurt. I just made sure that he kept up certain standards. Now if you’ll forgive me, Jared, I’m a little tired after my exertions last night. I want to keep my strength up so I can look after Jensen.” With that, Matt was gone.
Jared sat thinking over what had just happened. Shit! He really would have to talk to Kane; there was no way Jensen was ready to open up. By the looks of Matt, time wasn’t on Jensen’s side. Elle came out with an eager look on her face but when she saw Jared sitting alone the smile faded. Jared took pity on the matchmaking waitress. “It’s ok, Elle. Jensen had to rush off to work. I’m sure he’ll be back.”
“Well, thank god for that, Padalecki. I thought you’d scared another one off. I’ll go and get the guys for you.” Jared followed and paid his bill. His mind was elsewhere, trying to figure out what to do next. Once he was back home Jared took a shower and got ready for work. He settled Harley and Sadie in his apartment and went downstairs.
Jared opened up and was just going to arrange his latest display of Twilight merchandise, shuddering to himself as he did when he heard the door open. “Be right with you. Damn! You guys are keen this morning.” He heard the door shut and then he heard the catch engage.
Jared stayed perfectly still, “Listen, if you’re here to rob the place, the best I can offer is a signed picture of Robert Pattinson and I’ll happily hand that over. Just don’t get excited.” There was silence and Jared was just about to turn round when.....
“I’m past excited, Padalecki. I’ve just had Jensen in my shop and he is a wreck. I ain’t seen him like that in a long time. Care to explain?” Kane’s soft southern growl sent a shiver of terror down Jared’s back. Fuck! Why couldn’t it have been a heavily-armed crack addict?
Jared turned to face the wrath of Kane. The usual scowl was in place but this was beyond that. There was a faint smile on his face and the blue eyes promised a swift and unpleasant death for Jared if he was lucky, the alternative was too hideous to contemplate.
Before Jared could try and explain Kane took a step forward and he automatically stepped back into the display. “Now you listen to me, Jared. You stay the fuck away from Jensen, he’s had enough shit to deal with without you making it worse. I’ll take care of him. Don’t mention that bastard, Matt to him ever again. Shit! I thought that damn bullshit reading was gonna put a stop to the haunted crap. The only ghost haunting Jensen is Matt’s memory. He don’t need none of your shit about ghosts as well. You stay away, do you hear me?” Kane turned and stalked towards the door.
Jared had had enough; Jensen was in trouble and hold on, haunted crap? That did it! Jared saw red; he pushed himself away from the display. “You know what, Kane, you’re full of shit. You say you want to help Jensen but wrapping him up in cotton wool and keeping him away from everybody isn’t going to help him. Can’t you see that?” Jared glowered back at the man.
“What do you want, Jared? Money? How much do you charge and I’ll pay you just to keep your ghost crap to yourself. I’m asking you nicely, Padalecki. If you don’t back off, next time I won’t be so fucking polite.” Kane glared at Jared, his fists clenching and unclenching.
Jared watched the display and he realized something, “You saw something in Jensen’s apartment, didn’t you, Chris? You know I’m telling the truth. Listen to me. Jensen needs help and you can keep your damn money. I didn’t offer my help for money.”
On hearing those words, Kane took a step forward and this time Jared didn’t step back from him. Kane tilted his head to one side and smiled at him, “I ain’t tellin’ ya again, Jared. Cut the ghost crap. Jensen is doing fine and I saw nothing in his apartment. How come ya suddenly grown a backbone round me? You’re usually scared shitless. Oh, I get it, it’s not money you want; it’s into Jensen’s pants. Well, that ain’t happening on my watch and spouting that shit to get what you want is low, dude.” Kane smirked at Jared.
Jared took a step forward and for once, Kane was forced to back away, “You know what? Fuck you, Kane! If I did want Jensen, I sure as shit wouldn’t use a fucking ghost to get him. And you know what? I’m still scared shitless of you. The worst you can do is break my face and I’ll get over it eventually. But Matt, he’ll break Jensen’s soul and I don’t think there is anyone who can put that back together. Please Chris, let me talk to him.”
Kane’s eyes grew large when he heard Jared say that. He backed away from the younger man, his face troubled. He reached the door and opened it. He gave Jared a final look, “Jared, I’m asking ya. Please just leave this alone. Let me take care of Jensen and just keep your damn crazy ideas to yourself.”
Jared watched Kane leave the shop, he sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. That went well, he thought. At least, Kane hadn’t killed him. Jared was puzzled by Kane’s attitude, he got that he was very protective of Jensen. From what Jensen had told him this morning, and his two meetings with Matt he could understand why. But there was more to all of this, Kane felt guilty about something. He was sure that Kane had encountered something; Jared only ever got that kind of reaction after someone had had a run-in with a ghost.
Jared stood and contemplated his next move. Ok, so he was hitting brick walls or Kane, depending on which you thought were the harder to break through. That meant he would have to flex his geek muscles and research the accident. He moved behind the counter and booted up his lap top, and stared at the screen for a few seconds.
He started to type, beginning a search into fatal road accidents within the last six months based on what little Jensen had told him. He was shocked at the number of accidents listed; he narrowed the search by putting in Beverly Hills. Good! That reduced the numbers. Jared was hampered a little by not knowing Jensen or Matt’s surnames, but he reasoned that Jensen was a fairly unusual name and should stand out.
As it turned out there had been three other accidents involving Jensens, but it didn’t take him too long to pin it down. Jared read several newspaper reports concerning the fatal crash. According to the papers, Matt had been killed after the car had skidded in wet weather and hit a stationary car. Matt had died en route to the hospital and Jensen had been seriously hurt.
The papers had been full of the tragic demise of Matt Bomer, aged thirty three, a rising star in the legal profession. There were glowing obituaries to the man, but they barely mentioned Jensen. Except to say that Jensen Ackles, aged thirty two had also been hurt in the accident that had claimed his partner of three years.
Jared had been shocked to see Jensen and Matt had been together that long. Well, it would explain what Matt had meant by taking a long time to train him. It appeared that the Bomer family were fairly influential and he was able to follow Matt through the papers. Matt had been quite the media darling, featuring prominently in society pages. There had even been a feature on what it had meant for Matt when he had come out. If anything, it had only made the man more popular. He was pictured with various men. Then came Jensen and he had to admit they made a stunning couple.
Jared read all the articles with interest, and he noticed after a while he could tell when an article had been written just by the photographs used. The first photographs of Matt and Jensen together showed a very different Jensen; he wore jeans and button-down shirts, his hair was longer and his smile was genuine. Then, as time progressed Jensen had undergone a startling transformation. Gone were the casual clothes and easy smiles, and in their place were suits, slacks and polo shirts, a short haircut, but the biggest change had been in Jensen’s demeanour.
He always seemed shy and uncomfortable in front of the cameras. As time wore on he became more relaxed, but the light in his eyes seemed to die and his smile more fixed and strained. Matt paraded Jensen round like a trophy. They attended charity functions for animal welfare and all the time Jared could see Matt social climbing and networking.
Finally after a couple of hours’ research Jared closed down his lap top. He had some of the facts, the amount of time the relationship had lasted and more importantly, how Matt had died. None of the papers reported any hint of foul play, just a tragic accident. So why then was Matt still here? Usually sprits remained when they had unfinished business. From Matt’s reactions this morning, Jared suspected that even in death, he had no intention of letting Jensen go.
He still needed more information. Newspaper reports only gave him the time and dates and some gossip. Jared needed the personal details - what would make Matt remain and keep terrorizing Jensen. No, whether he liked it or not, he was going to have to face Kane down, to get to Jensen and get the answers he needed to convince Matt to move on.
It had been one hell of a long day, thought Jensen. After his little meltdown at the coffee shop he’d run straight to Chris and spent the best part of an hour falling apart on his couch. Chris had been great, as always and listened carefully to what he’d told him. Jensen didn’t tell him about what had happened last night; he didn’t want Chris to think he’d finally lost his mind. After Chris had calmed him down, Jensen had gone back to work. Work relaxed him. He loved being with the animals and their owners.
He had finished for the day and he’d been grocery shopping. He had just let himself inside and was climbing the stairs when his phone rang. It was Chris; Jensen smiled at him being his usual over-protective self.
“Hi, man. Look, before you start I’m fine now. I’m sorry about earlier. I really thought I could talk about Matt without having a meltdown. Looks like I was wrong.” Jensen balanced his bag of groceries and adjusted his grip on his phone.
“Jen, don’t worry about that, and you don’t have to worry about Padalecki bothering you with any more of his ghost crap.” Kane growled down the phone.
Jensen stopped halfway up the stairs, “Kane, what did you do? Oh, please don’t tell me you went after Jared? Look, he was only trying to help. I’m the one with the problem.” As Jensen spoke the temperature dropped slightly and Matt appeared on the stairs in front on him, listening to the conversation. He’d been enjoying himself following Jensen, and had caused a few minor accidents when he had been shopping. Not enough to arouse his suspicion, just enough to keep him off balance.
“Jen, I just went round and had a friendly word with him, that’s all. He won’t be bothering you again. You just relax, and let me look after you.” As Chris spoke, Jensen grew angry and his breath hitched.
Chris heard Jensen’s breathing change, “Dude, are you alright? Do you want me to come round? I’ll be there in a few minutes” Chris sounded panicked as he moved around, grabbing his keys.
“Kane, don’t you fucking dare! Do you hear me...?” Chris stopped abruptly, listening to his friend.
“Look, man. I get that you want to help me out, but please Chris, don’t do this to me. I know that Matt was a fucking major mistake, but you can’t protect me from everybody. I have to able to get on with my life on my own terms. I can’t go through all that again.” As Jensen spoke, Matt grew angry. What did Jensen mean by that? How dare he compare him to that animal, Kane?
Kane leant against the wall in his apartment, he felt sick, “Oh Jesus, please tell me I haven’t been acting like Matt. I have, haven’t I? Christ, Jensen. I never meant to do that to you. I was just trying to protect you; I let you down, man....” Chris stopped speaking, desperately trying to find the words to apologize to his friend.
“Kane, shut up. Trust me, you’re nothing like Matt. You just have to let go a little. You have never tried to control me or keep me away from everybody I love. You just scare the crap out of everyone in a five-mile radius.” Jensen started to laugh fondly at his friend; he’d forgotten how good it felt to have Kane look out for him. At times he had driven Jensen mad, but Kane had always let him live his life. It would just take a little time for both of them to get back into the swing of things.
Jensen climbed another couple of stairs. He felt the tell-tale cold seeping into his bones and without thinking he muttered, “Oh God, not now. Please Matt, not now.” Suddenly he felt a hard push in the centre of his chest and before he could stop himself he fell backwards down the stairs.
Kane had been listening to the sound of his friend’s laugh; it had been too long since he had heard him laugh like that. The deep, rich chuckle eased the tightness in his chest after he thought he’d been behaving like Matt. Then he heard Jensen mention Matt’s name, and he felt as if he’d been doused in ice water. He heard thumps and groans and he knew that Jensen had fallen, and by the sound of it he had fallen down the stairs. Without hesitation, Kane turned and ran for the door. Fuck giving him space. Jensen needed him and this time he wasn’t just going to walk away.
When Jensen had felt the push he knew there was no way he could save himself. As he tumbled down the stairs he let go of his phone and the bag of groceries dropped. His body collided painfully with each step driving the air from his lungs. He hit the floor at the foot of the stairs and he lay dazed. Trying to focus on the ceiling, his vision wavered. Jensen looked up the stairs. He had almost expected to see Matt hovering over him like the last time.
The last time it had happened Jensen had failed to show proper respect to Matt’s boss, according to Matt. The punishment for the crime had been Matt pushing him down his boss’s stairs. That little fall had resulted in two broken ribs and a concussion, marble staircases tended to be more unforgiving than wooden ones.
Jensen groaned as he did an inventory of his body. His head didn’t feel too bad, and there was no double vision or nausea, so at least no concussion this time. There would be plenty of bruises, especially down his back where he hit each step. Jensen could tell there was nothing broken; he reflected sadly he knew all too well what broken bones had felt like.
Matt had told everyone at the party they’d been attending that Jensen had slipped and he was sorry that Jensen was so clumsy. Matt had been hailed as a hero when he had sat cradling Jensen’s head in his lap as they waited for the ambulance. At least this time it was only bruises.
Jensen realized he was lying in the remains of his groceries. He gave a prayer of thanks that there were no bottles or jars in the bag or else he would’ve landed right on top of the broken glass. Jensen moved gingerly, testing his limbs out. There was a flare of white-hot pain from his left ankle. Shit! He hoped it was only sprained. He sank back down, panting, waiting for the pain to subside before trying again.
It was then Jensen felt a cold caress against his cheek. He shivered at the sensation; it felt just like Matt’s touch. Jensen could almost see Matt kneeling over him, an intense look of sorrow in his eyes at once again being forced to show Jensen the error of his ways.
Matt knelt by Jensen and enjoyed the look of terror that crossed his face. Good! Jensen was getting used to him being back, he was showing him proper respect. He moved his hand from Jensen’s cheek and slowly ran his fingers through the other man’s hair; it was a gesture that had always calmed Jensen after one of their little sessions. He enjoyed the way Jensen would lean into that gentle touch. He knew that Jensen did that to appease him and to prevent further correction. But this time Jensen turned away, his eyes screwed shut, his breath coming in short bursts. Matt frowned at that, he’d hoped he wouldn’t have to start his training all over again. But it looked like there might be no other option.
At that moment Kane burst through the door, and Matt moved back to his original place on the stairs to watch what happened next. Kane dropped to his knees by Jensen, he felt as if he’d been punched in the gut. He had only seen Jensen in this kind of state once before and afterwards Kane hadn’t seen him for nearly a year.
He reached out a hand and gently touched Jensen’s shoulder. Jensen flinched and muttered, “Please no...Don’t” The words were a broken whisper, Kane took a firmer grip on his shoulder.
“Hey, man, what happened? Did you slip?” As he asked the question he looked up the stairs and he couldn’t see any reason why Jensen should’ve fallen. Suddenly a cold feeling swept over him. It felt as if he was being watched. Kane kept his face impassive, sucking in a deep breath and looking back at Jensen.
Jensen’s eyes were open and Kane could see that he was fighting hard to regain control. It was then he knew there was only one person who could inspire that much fear in Jensen. Kane swallowed his feeling of nausea, “Ok then, let’s get you to the E.R. I want you to get checked, make sure nothing is broken.” Jensen began to shake his head.
“No, I’m fine, Kane. Honestly, I just lost my footing.....can I hear sirens?” Jensen looked at his friend in alarm.
“Shut up, Ackles. I called Aldis and Misha, and they are gonna give us a lift to the hospital. What’s the use of having paramedics for friends if you can’t get ‘em to help out?” Kane offered Jensen a reassuring smile as Aldis and Misha came through the door. He stood back and let his friends do their job.
It was the work of minutes, and Jensen found himself being helped to his feet after he swore he hadn’t hurt his back. And if they didn’t stop threatening to tie him to a back board they weren’t getting him to no damn hospital. Kane watched as Jensen was helped out to the waiting ambulance, he knew that Jensen wasn’t too badly hurt. Matt would never want to lose Jensen to a hospital bed.
Kane got ready to join his friends, but before he left he let his eyes wander back up the stairs. He knew if he asked Jensen what had happened there would be the same old story, him being clumsy. But Kane knew Jensen had said Matt just before he fell. He felt the sensation of eyes on him again and he couldn’t help the shiver that ran through him. He had lost Jensen to Matt once before and he’d be damned if he was going to let that happen again. He turned and walked out, closing the door behind him. As he approached the ambulance, watching Misha and Aldis fuss over a protesting Jensen, he knew it was time to deal with Matt once and for all. And Jared was going to help him do it.