Word Count: 9683
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: Non-Con and 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 to garvaldmains , 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 .
When Jared had walked into the diner he saw the place was empty; he went over to the counter where a waitress in her late fifties stood. She had chestnut hair which was liberally sprinkled with silver, her name tag said ‘Mabel’, “What can I get ya, honey? Ya only just caught us. We were closing up on account of it being so quiet.” She gave Jared a warm smile.
Jared returned the smile, “I don’t suppose you have some pie I can take out and coffee please? And could you give me the name of a nearby motel? I’ve been driving a while and it’s time to stop for the night.” Jared smiled at the woman, and in the face of a Padalecki special she melted.
“I got half of a blueberry pie left. I’ll wrap it up for you. And coffee to go, right? By the way - the Motel... did you want flea bitten or not so flea bitten?” Jared’s smile broadened at that.
“Not so flea bitten, please and can I get a couple of bottles of water, too please? By the way, can I use your bathroom? Like I said, I’ve been driving a long time.” Jared grimaced slightly as he spoke.
The waitress smiled and pointed to the back of the diner, “Thanks, I’ll be right back.” With that he moved away while Mabel worked on his order.
While Jared had been busy in the diner Jensen had started to limp away from the truck. Lost and confused he was frightened that something had happened to Jared. He was convinced that Eddie had gotten free and he’d harmed him. After a few shambling steps the haze from the pain killers cleared slightly and he realized it was dark. Shivering in the cold he looked around, trying to get his bearings. It was then he saw the diner. Slowly Jensen made his way back to the welcome light. Maybe he could call for help from there.
Mabel had just finished wrapping the pie when the door opened. She was just about to tell the newcomer they were closed when she took in the man’s appearance. He was pale, sweating and as he moved he shook. He reached the counter, and rested his trembling hands on it. He lowered his head and was breathing heavily.
Mabel froze. She’d seen this kind of thing before. Crap! Why did a godamned junkie have to wander in now of all times? She turned her head and called out as softly as she could, “Bert sweetheart, we got a customer. You know, one of our specials. Can you come out here and help me, hun?”
Bert came out of the kitchen and in one beefy hand he held a large meat cleaver. For such a big man Bert moved softly and he was approaching Jensen from behind. Jensen finally managed to get his breathing under control, and he looked up. Mabel tensed when she saw his eyes - the pupils were dilated and the man seemed to be having trouble focusing.
Suddenly Jensen reached out and grasped Mabel’s hand. She gasped at how cold the hand was, “Please can you help me? I can’t find Jared.... he’s in trouble....I think Eddie has him.” The words were slurred, but the desperate tone in the man’s voice made Mabel’s heart ache for him.
“Now you listen here, darling, there ain’t no Jared here. Now you just run along like a good boy and you won’t get into trouble, alright?” Mabel tried to pull her hand away but she was surprised at the strength of the man’s grip. Jensen shook his head. He wanted her to understand, and why didn’t she realize Jared was in trouble?
Burt reached out and took hold of Jensen’s shoulder, “Now you listen, son. Let go of my wife or you and me are gonna have a few words.” Jensen flinched away from the touch, overwhelmed by memories of his time with Morgan and Eddie. He staggered away, only staying upright by holding onto a chair. He looked at the two people with fear and bewilderment in his eyes.
“Please don’t....don’t hurt me.” Jensen tried to move further away as Burt took a step forward. He saw the cleaver in Burt’s hand and, as Jensen took another shaky step back, his foot caught in the chair and he crashed to the floor. As he hit the floor he shouted out in pain. Jared heard the commotion as he was leaving the bathroom. He stepped out of the door and took in the scene before him.
Jensen was lying curled up in a ball on the floor and standing over him was a man holding a meat cleaver while Mabel was reaching for the phone. Mabel waved at Jared, “Don’t move, honey, we got a junkie in here. I’m just calling the cops to come and get him.”
“What? That’s no damn junkie.” Jared’s voice rose in anger, when Jensen heard that voice, he tried to sit up.
“Jared? Are you alright? I thought Eddie had got you.” Jensen sounded perplexed and Jared moved quickly and knelt by him.
“I can’t leave you alone for a minute, can I? Jared wrapped his arm round Jensen’s shoulders and glared up at Burt, his eyes focused on the blade he carried.
“You’re Jared? Ah shit and I thought you were such a sweet kid. Now look, we don’t want any trouble, you just get out of here and we won’t call the cops.” Mabel was tense as she watched the two men.
“Mabel, I’m sorry about this. Jensen was recently involved in an accident and I’m taking him home. He’s on pain killers and I left him sleeping in my truck. Thank god he came in here or else I’d never have found him. I’m sorry to have caused you any trouble. We’ll be going, ok?” Jared held up his hand in a calming gesture.
Burt looked at his wife, “Mabel? I gotta say the kid looks more sick than high. What you want to do.”
“Where’s home, honey?” Mabel put the phone down.
“It’s L.A. and really I need to get him to a motel. I’ve pushed too hard. Damn! Jim’ll kill me if he finds out about this.” As Jared spoke he was trying to get Jensen back to his feet.
Mabel watched as Jared tried to stand, his friend was hanging onto him as if he was the only thing keeping him going. She made her decision; she picked up the phone and dialled.
Jared’s heart sank when he saw Mabel do that. He didn’t want to have to fight his way past Burt, but if it was a choice between getting Jensen out of there or being arrested, then Burt was in for a nasty shock.
“Damnit, Burt, don’t just stand there. Help Jared with his friend...Hello Earl, it’s Mabel. Listen, I’m gonna send you a couple of customers; I want you to give them one of your best rooms. You know, one with working plumbing. Don’t make me come over there with them to check on you. Ok then, I’ll speak to you soon.” Mabel put the phone down and looked over.
When Burt had gotten the order to help he’d put the cleaver down and approached Jared. Jensen had seen him move and had shrunk back against him, “It’s ok, Jensen. Burt’s just going to help me get you up. Don’t worry.” Jared nodded and Burt helped him move Jensen to a booth and sat him down.
Jared dropped to his knees to take a proper look at Jensen, concerned at the lack of colour and how cold he was. Jensen shivered although the room was warm; Jared took his hands in his and rubbed at them in an attempt to warm him up.
Jensen responded to the touch; he looked up at Jared and gave a wan smile, “Sorry, now you know why I hate pain killers - they make me loopy.” As he spoke he swayed forward, forcing Jared to hold him to keep him steady.
“I’ll bear that in mind next time because, whether you like it or not you will be taking some more. Now we need to get you to that motel.” Jared stood and turned round; he saw Mabel and Burt watching them. Mabel had a smile on her face that just screamed Damn! How cute! Jared just blushed. “Where is that motel, please? I think the sooner I can get Jensen there the better.”
Mabel stepped forward. She brushed past Jared and stood by Jensen, “Are you ok to go, sweetheart? You can stay here for a little while just so you can get your bearings.” She gently rested her hand on his shoulder; he looked up at her and gave a weak smile.
“I think Jared’s right. We better be going, I’m beat. Sleeping in the truck has put some very interesting kinks in my back. And I’m sorry for scaring you and Burt. I woke up, saw Jared was gone and panicked.”
Mabel’s smile grew warmer, “No need to say sorry, sweetheart. Listen, why don’t Jared go and get his truck and we’ll keep you company while he gets it?” Mabel sat opposite Jensen and took hold of his hand.
Jared looked at Mabel and she nodded towards the door. He took the hint and quickly left the diner, fetching the truck in a matter of seconds. When he returned Burt was nowhere to be seen, and Mabel was still holding Jensen’s hand. Jensen was sitting with his eyes closed; he appeared to be going back to sleep. Mabel looked up and smiled at Jared. “Don’t worry, honey. He’s ok but I think you need to get going sooner rather than later or you’ll be spending the night here. Burt’s just gone to make ya some sandwiches to take as well. “
“Mabel, you don’t have to do that, the pie would be fine.” Jared grinned in gratitude at her.
“Listen, you look like you’re still growing and I can hear your stomach growling from here, plus I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to try leaving him again tonight, do you?”
Jared shook his head, “No, I think I’ve learned my lesson. I really thought he was asleep. So, about that motel?”
“It’s called the Blue Moon. It’s about a quarter of a mile down the road in the centre of town. Earl will be waiting for you. And don’t worry, the roaches are only as big as rats; he had all the others shot, stuffed and mounted.” Mabel was rewarded by a soft laugh; she turned to see Jensen grinning at her.
“Mabel, as long as it has a bed I’ll even let the roaches share with me, just as long as they don’t hog all the bedclothes.” Jensen stopped and gave a jaw-breaking yawn.
Jared moved forward and took hold of Jensen’s arm to help him stand, “Come on, sleeping beauty, your chariot awaits. Besides, these nice people want to go home.” As he spoke he manoeuvred Jensen from out of the booth and put his arm round his waist, and supported most of his weight as they walked to the door.
Just then Burt appeared with what looked like enough sandwiches to feed an army; he walked over to the door and opened it. Jared nodded gratefully as he continued to help Jensen with his slow progress; the truck was just outside the door. Jared opened the passenger side door one handed and helped Jensen inside. He closed the door and turned back to find Burt and Mabel standing there with the food and coffee.
“How much do I owe you?” Jared reached for his wallet.
“I’ll tell ya what, honey, call it a tab. When ya come in for breakfast tomorrow you can pay. You just get going and I’ll see you in the morning. Goodnight, Jared.” She gave a warm smile.
“How do you know I won’t just drive off?” Jared was touched by the generosity and somewhat puzzled by it.
“Something tells me you won’t be going too far tomorrow, judging by the way you reacted when you saw him on the floor. It’s a safe bet you’ll still be at the Blue Moon tomorrow. Now go on, get.”
Jared at smiled her and stepped forward and placed a kiss on her cheek. He winked at Burt and walked back round the truck to hear Burt say to his wife, “Damn! You ain’t gonna be good for nothing now for the rest of the night, are ya? One peck on the cheek from a handsome younger man and I might as well not be here.” Mabel blushed and smacked her husband on the arm. Burt waved at Jared as he climbed in the truck; he looked over at Jensen, the worry back in full force.
“Wave at the nice people, Jared. They’ve managed to feed you for at least a couple of hours. Is the Motel far? I really am beat.” Jensen sat with his eyes closed, fine tremors still ran down his limbs.
Jared did as he was told and waved to the couple before driving away, “Shit! I’m so sorry, Jensen. I really thought you were asleep. I should never have left you alone. I’m such a fucking idiot.” Jared was filled with remorse over what had happened; it was only pure luck that Jensen had gone into the diner and not wandered away.
“Jay, would you mind not thinking so loud? It’s giving me a headache. I should’ve warned you. I react badly to pain killers; that’s why I didn’t want to take them, but after our run-in with Eddie I just wanted to sleep. Are we there yet?” Jared smiled at the plaintive tone in the question; he saw the sign for the Blue Moon Motel and turned in.
He was a little concerned about the state of the motel after what Mabel had said, but right about now, like Jensen had said, as long as there was a bed then it was a palace as far as he was concerned.
A man was stood waiting for them, he looked nervous. Jared parked and got out of the truck. As he approached the man he seemed very familiar, chestnut hair flecked with grey and he knew where he’d seen those features before. A smile broke out over Jared’s face, “Hi, you must be Earl, right? I’m Jared; I hope Mabel didn’t scare you too badly.”
Earl returned the smile, “Hell, don’t worry about Mabel. As big sisters go, she ain’t so bad. I got ya room ready. Two queens alright? And whatever she said about my motel is bullshit. The rats ate all the roaches. Did you need any help, son?” Earl looked over to the truck at Jensen.
“Earl, could you open the door for me? I’ll get Jensen. Thanks for yours and your sister’s help.” Jared opened the door and touched Jensen’s shoulder, his eyes fluttered open and he gave a slight smile. “Come on, Jensen, it’s time for bed.” Jensen slid out of the truck into his arms; Jared took a steadying breath at the feel of the other man in his arms. Jensen’s head rested against his shoulder, and for a few seconds Jared just wanted to hold him and never let go. Then he heard Earl move and he flushed and turned, adjusting his hold on Jensen. He lifted him with ease and carried him towards the room Earl was leading them to.
Earl opened the door, turned on the lights and stepped out of the way. Jared moved inside and gently put Jensen down on the nearest bed so he could move him once he’d gotten the bags inside. He looked round the room and was pleasantly surprised; its furnishings were simple but clean.
Earl smiled at his expression, “Mabel always says this is the second most flea-bitten motel in town. Hell, we’re the only motel in town, but she’s family so I put up with her. Here’s your key and if you need anything just dial nine and I’ll see what I can do. Goodnight.” With that, Earl departed, leaving the two men alone.
Checked up to here Jared looked down at Jensen. He seemed settled but after earlier he knew appearances could be deceptive; taking a gamble he returned to the truck. He grabbed his bags and lap top and returned to the room. Jensen still hadn’t moved so he made one more trip to pick up the food.
Now all he had to do was get them settled for the night. As he stepped inside he saw that Jensen was sitting up and looking at his boots, a look of intense concentration on his face. He closed and locked the door, walked over to him and sat down on the bed. “Need any help? Or do you think they will just give up and undo themselves if you stare at them long enough?”
Jensen looked up, “I don’t remember my feet getting that big. Do you think they put something in the drugs?” Jared grinned at the bemused man, leaned forward and undid his boots then slipped them off Jensen’s feet, wincing when he hissed in discomfort.
“Come on, let’s get you undressed and in bed. Are you gonna be a good boy and behave for me?”
Jared stood and Jensen leaned back, a dopey smile on his face “Only if you promise to tuck me and kiss me goodnight.” He started to fall backwards due to the angle, and Jared caught him just in time to prevent him falling.
Jared considered how to undress Jensen and decided it would be best to lie him down, so very carefully he lowered Jensen onto the bed. Then he turned his attention to his clothes. First to go was the belt, and then came the button and zipper on his jeans. As he worked Jensen giggled and tried to stop Jared by smacking at his hands, “Stop that! What kind of boy do you think I am? I told you before I don’t put out unless you buy me dinner.”
Jared smiled at the words and carried on easing Jensen’s jeans down his legs. “Does half a blueberry pie and sandwiches count?” He looked up, waiting for an answer only to find Jensen had dozed off again. “Ok, it looks like our big night of passion is cancelled then. Time to get your...my hoody off.” Jared moved round the bed, puzzling how to get the hoody off. Finally he sat on the bed by Jensen. Slipping his arm beneath him, he eased him into a sitting position and pulled him against his chest. He worked the hoody upwards, first off one arm and then the other. All while Jensen rested against him, his head on Jared’s shoulder. It was a relatively simple matter to slip the hoody over his head. Jared sat there with one arm wrapped round his waist the other hand supported his head. Jared gently brushed his thumb across Jensen’s cheek, his eye lids fluttered and he sighed at the touch.
Jensen shivered slightly and Jared reluctantly remembered that he’d been getting Jensen undressed for bed. Regretfully he put Jensen down, and then moved to the other bed. Jared pulled back the covers; he wanted the bed by the door. If anything or anyone came after Jensen they would have to get past him.
Jared turned back and looked down at the man sleeping on the bed; he felt anger rise inside of him at what Jensen had been through. He had come face to face with some of the most evil forces in the Supernatural world, yet these creatures paled next to Morgan and to a lesser degree, Eddie. He shuddered at the thought of what Morgan had wanted to do to Jensen; he’d said Jensen’s spirit and fire had called to him. But all Morgan had wanted was to break both his body and spirit and leave Jensen a shadow, destroyed just for Morgan’s own twisted desires.
Jared ran his fingers through his hair. Fuck! It was easier to understand demons than those bastards. He shook himself. There was no need for ‘what ifs’ now. Jensen was free and safe. All that was left was for him to get Jensen home.
Jared picked Jensen up and carried him over to the open bed, again gently laying him down and pulling the covers up over him. Jared knew he should be making the room secure but he lingered for a few precious moments. He sat down on the bed and gently ran his fingers through Jensen’s short hair. He leant into the gentle touch and a smile appeared. Jared wanted nothing more than to just sit there but he had a room to make safe. Tearing himself away proved to be more difficult than he’d thought as a soft voice whispered, “Remember, Morgan could still be out there. Jim hasn’t burnt the body yet.” It startled him because it sounded like Chad. He berated himself and got to work; Chad was gone - it was just his inner hunter kicking his ass for not doing the job.
He moved round the room, laying down salt lines at the door, windows and round Jensen’s bed. He smiled to himself, thanking any deity passing that Jensen was asleep because God knew how he’d take Jared lying under his bed to complete the salt circle. He then laid out his usual traps and sigils, before getting ready for bed himself; he was surprised at how tired he was. Finally just before climbed into bed he opened his duffle bag that contained his weaponry. Soon by his bed was a salt-loaded shotgun, a hand gun and under his pillow a knife. It might have been considered overkill, but Jared wanted to be safe rather than sorry.
Once he was satisfied that the motel room was as secure as he could make it, he got ready for bed and settled down. As he went to turn off the light he took a final look at the sleeping Jensen. He’d rolled onto his side and had curled up into a ball. Jared felt a twinge of sadness because he knew that had to have been the only way he could’ve slept while he’d been imprisoned. He realized that in some ways Jensen was still imprisoned by Morgan. He sighed and vowed to himself to offer as much help as he could in the time they had left together. With that he turned out the light.
Early next morning Jared jolted awake. At first he was disorientated. It had been a long time since he had had a night of dreamless sleep; he looked over to where Jensen lay still fast asleep. There had been no repeat of Jensen getting up and wandering lost and frightened. Even though he had slept undisturbed, Jared was certain that any escape attempt would’ve woken him. He felt relieved that Jensen also appeared to have had an undisturbed night as well.
Jared got out of bed and considered what to do. They would need food but first he badly needed a shower after being without one for the past couple of days. Not wanting to risk a repeat of Jensen’s great escape from the night before, he moved a chair from by the table and wedged it under the door knob. It might not be the most high tech of solutions but he would hear if Jensen was trying to move the chair.
He found some clean clothes from his bag. Checking over his shoulder to see if Jensen was asleep, he quickly stripped off his T-shirt from the previous night and stood there in just his boxer shorts. He grabbed his clean clothes and went into the bathroom, leaving the door slightly ajar so he could listen for movement. He stood under the hot shower and let the grime and stress rinse away, letting the hot water pummel tired muscles. With his shower done, Jared shaved and cleaned his teeth, stopping and checking on Jensen several times.
He finally emerged from the bathroom feeling fully human again. Now came the real problem - how to go and get food without leaving Jensen alone? He was just contemplating calling Earl when there was a knock at the door.
Jared did a quick sweep of the room, checking that he had left no weapons visible. He tucked his hand gun into the back of his jeans and covered it with his shirt, and still Jensen had not stirred. He approached the door and looked through the peephole; he was surprised by who stood there. He opened the door and smiled in greeting, “Well, come on honey, are you gonna let me in or should I take this food back to the diner?”
“Hi there, Mabel. Come in. You didn’t have to do that. I was just thinking about coming to get some breakfast for us.” Jared stood back and let the woman in. Mabel looked over to where Jensen lay; she smiled and put a basket down on the table.
“Hush now, I thought it might be better to bring some stuff over. Did you sleep well?” Mabel’s voice was soft so she wouldn’t disturb the man on the bed as she fetched plates and containers of food out of the basket.
Jared watched hungrily as the food appeared. Finally he remembered Mabel had asked a question, “Oh sorry, we slept fine and Earl’s motel is very comfortable. I only had to beat two rats to death; they thought I was trying to steal their roaches.” Mabel laughed and she walked a little closer to Jensen.
Jared watched as she moved closer. He suddenly realized that Jensen’s one arm was out of bed and the bandage on his wrist was visible. Mabel froze as she looked closely at the injuries. Before Jared could stop her she moved to the bed and pulled the covers down slightly. She took in the bruises round his neck and the bandages round his wrists, along with the other bruising; she quickly replaced the bedclothes, smoothing them down.
She turned back to Jared, a look of shock on her face, “That’s no damn accident. What the hell happened to him?” Jared was trying to think up a plausible excuse when a voice behind Mabel spoke.
“Eddie happened to me. Bad break-up - he didn’t take good-bye too well. Jared was helping me get away from him. That’s why I was freaked out last night. If Eddie finds us he’ll kill both of us and I don’t want to see Jared hurt because I got crap taste in men.” Jensen’s voice was low and sleep roughened.
Mabel turned back to see Jensen trying to sit up. Jared was about to go and help him when Mabel sat by him on the bed, gently putting her hand on his chest, “Now you just lie still, sweetheart. Do you think there is any chance Eddie will turn up here looking for you?” As she asked the question Jensen grew pale at the thought. His eyes flicked up to Jared who shook his head. Jensen offered Mabel a smile.
“I don’t think so but I can’t be sure. We’ll probably be on our way later today....” Before he could continue Mabel stood up and spoke.
“Now you listen here. You’re better off staying put at least for today and if anyone comes askin we ain’t seen ya. At the very least we can give you the heads up. Now Jared, you make sure he gets something to eat and bring the plates when you’re ready. I don’t hold with that kind of behaviour. Ya don’t beat the crap out of someone just because it’s over. Jensen, trust me, you’re better off without him, sweetheart. Listen, I better get goin’ before Burt thinks I’ve run off with handsome here.” She patted Jared on the arm as she said that. Jared blushed at Mabel, making Jensen grin at him.
As Mabel got ready to leave she turned back and spoke softly to Jared, “Listen, honey, I can get Earl to watch him later if you like. You take care of him, right?” With that she was gone.
Jared closed the door and turned round to see Jensen trying to get out of the bed, “Where the hell do you think you’re going?”
Jensen looked up and stuck his tongue out, “Bathroom, if that’s alright with you, Mom, then breakfast. Man, I’m starving.” Jared rushed over and helped Jensen to his feet. It took a few moments for him to get his balance then they shuffled to the bathroom. “You can wait out here. There are some things I like to do for myself, although watching you wander round half naked was kind of fun. Will there be a repeat performance?” With that, the bathroom door closed.
Jared stood gaping at the closed door, “Just how long have you been awake?” He called out and the door opened and Jensen limped back out. He smirked at Jared and started to make his way towards the food. Jared took hold of his arm and deftly helped him towards the bed.
“Oh no, you don’t, it’s gonna be breakfast in bed for you, and you didn’t answer my question.” Jared put him back to bed, and Jensen stared longingly at the food.
“I’m not gonna get that until I answer, am I?” He looked up at Jared, his eyes wide and pleading. Jared felt his resolve weaken but he stood his ground. Jensen sighed, “I think I woke up about the same time as you, the chair under the door knob was a nice touch. Honestly, I’m fine now, so you don’t need to worry about me making a break for it. Can I have some breakfast please?” Jared heard Jensen’s stomach growl. He laughed and went to fetch the two plates.
Mabel had done them proud - there were eggs, waffles and bacon, as well as some muffins and pancakes. Jared sat down on the other bed and started to eat. He watched Jensen as he worked his worked through the food. He managed to clear his plate and put down the knife and fork with a happy sigh. “I don’t suppose there is any chance of coffee, is there?” Jensen asked hopefully.
Jared got up and took the empty plate off him, “You’re right. There is no chance of coffee, but you can have some orange juice and don’t pout.” Jared returned to the bed with the drinks and as he handed Jensen his, he put his hand in his pocket and produced the bottle of painkillers. He rattled them at Jensen.
“Oh hell, no, not after yesterday. I want to see some of today. I’m feeling better, Jay; like I said it’s mostly bruises. I promise to stay in bed, please?” Jensen pleaded with the hunter.
Jared shook his head, “I’ll tell you what. You take these like a good boy and, maybe tomorrow we’ll see how you’re feeling.” He shook two pills into Jensen’s hand and watched while he took them.
Jensen scowled at him “Do you want to check my mouth to see if I swallowed them?” Jensen huffed at him.
“No, I’ll take your word for it. Now you just relax and let the pills take effect; I’ve got things to do.” Jared moved to the table and cleaned up the breakfast things; he paused and asked the question. “Jensen, what made you come up with the story about Eddie?”
Jared turned back to look at him, “I’ve seen enough domestic abuse cases come into the hospital to know what to say. And I’d mentioned Eddie’s name last night, it just seemed the best way to stop awkward questions.” Jensen shrugged and yawned.
Jared nodded, “Well, I have to admit it was better than anything I’d come up with.”
“Why? What were you gonna say?” Jared let a smile appear on his face and he answered.
“I was going to say that you’re a rodeo clown who got dragged round the ring by a crazed bull after you had heroically saved me from it. But the Eddie story worked.” Jared beamed when Jensen started to laugh.
After he cleaned up Jared sat down, got his lap top and began to research. He may not be hunting right now but he was always searching for a way to catch up with the demon that had taken Chad from him. Jared kept checking on how Jensen was, he seemed to be sound asleep. After a couple of hours Jared decided to stop his research while he considered what to do next.
He got up and got his duffle bag, spread his guns out on the table and began the ritual of cleaning them. Jared found it relaxing and it helped to clear his mind. He found himself thinking about Jensen again, how easy it was to talk to him and be around him. He had to pull himself together; there could be no future for them. He still had to find the demon that killed Chad, and besides, what kind of life could he offer Jensen? He was too far gone down this path for the white picket fence, and Jensen was a doctor. What could a hunter like himself offer him? The lawyer was now a distant memory.
Suddenly out of the corner of his eye he saw a movement on the bed. Jared lifted his head to see Jensen watching him. He was smiling and Jared stopped cleaning the gun in his hand. “Don’t stop, dude, it’s kind of therapeutic watching you. Do you need any help?” Jensen lay on his side, his hand propping his head up.
“I thought you were asleep, and there is no way I’m letting you near my guns. The last thing I want is for you shoot yourself accidently while cleaning one of ‘em.” Jared put down the gun he was working on.
Jensen grinned “Naw, I’m more likely to shoot you. I’m bored. What can I do?” He gave a suggestive smirk as he spoke.
Jared took a deep breath and tried not to think about Jensen lying on a bed, wearing almost nothing. No, he was not going there. “How about you go back to sleep and let me get on with cleaning my weapons?” He cringed the second he said that, waiting for the response.
Jensen turned over so his back was towards Jared, his voice floated over his shoulder, “Shame and I was enjoying watching you handle your impressive weapon. I don’t suppose you could turn the heat up.”
Jared was just about to comply with Jensen’s request when he thought he’d better ask, “Are you cold? Do you need more blankets?”
Jensen turned his head and looked at Jared through his long eyelashes, “No, but if it gets too warm you might take your shirt off while you clean your weapon. Goodnight, Jay.” With that he settled down to sleep, leaving Jared muttering under his breath.
Once he’d finished cleaning duty, Jared checked the time. It was about lunch-time. Well, that’s what his stomach was telling him. He put the guns away and moved silently round the room. He looked down at Jensen and once again he appeared to be asleep. Jared got his jacket and decided to make the trip to the diner. But first he would call on Earl and ask him to watch the room; Jensen didn’t seem as disorientated today. Maybe he was coping better with the drugs. Checking his wallet, Jared was good to go. He quietly picked up the plates from earlier and slipped out of the room.
The second the door closed Jensen rolled over, and waited to see if he would be left alone or if Jared would send Earl in to babysit. After a couple of minutes and no Earl, Jensen slowly climbed out of bed, smiling as he hobbled to the bathroom. When he was in there he threw the painkillers he hadn’t taken down the toilet, pulled the toilet seat down and sat on it. He still couldn’t stand for very long, due to his feet but he desperately wanted to clean up and unless Jared was willing to give him a sponge bath...he shook his head. Somehow he doubted Jared’s tender loving care would stretch to that; he would have to get himself clean. Having stared at the shower for a while, he grinned. He knew how he could manage.
Jared opened the door and stepped inside, closed it and locked it. He had his arms full of enough food to last most people a week but Mabel had smiled and told him she’d see him tomorrow. After paying he’d returned to the Motel and was just about to wake Jensen up when he saw the bed was empty. Panic flooded through his body. He put the food down and was about to leave when he heard the sound of running water coming from the bathroom. Jared approached the room cautiously; he pulled his gun from out of his jeans and got ready to burst into action. He swung the door open and froze in shock. He had to admit it was a pleasant shock but it was still a shock.
Sitting under the shower was Jensen, singing softly to himself. Jared folded his arms and leant against the wall, not feeling at all guilty about watching the other man. He’d seen Jensen naked before but this time he took the time to appreciate the beauty rather than feel sickened by the injuries covering him. Jared let his eyes move down his body. Strong broad shoulders, smooth flawless skin. As he washed his muscles flexed and stretched. Jared let his eyes travel lower to a slender waist and firm ass. He was too thin but Jared was sure a few decent meals would help to build up his strength. Jensen lowered his head to let the spray rinse his hair. Jared wanted to go over and wash that hair again like he had before. He resisted, remembering that he couldn’t afford to get too close to Jensen; he still had a demon to catch. He gave a soft sigh at that thought - time to get the patient back to bed.
As he showered Jensen felt better. He’d taken the bandages off his wrists and feet, knowing he wouldn’t need them anymore. As he let the warm water cascade over his head, helping to ease tension in his neck he thought about clean clothes. He remembered scanning the motel room and realized Jared had only brought in the bag with his weapons and his own clothes. Shit! He should have known that Jared would’ve expected him to stay in bed. Now what? He considered putting on his clothes from yesterday and getting to Jared’s truck and breaking in.
Spending time with hunters had its advantages. He could still pick a lock even now and he had done when he locked himself out of his apartment once. When he realized that Jared would’ve driven to the Diner, his shoulders slumped, “Ackles, you moron, Jay will have taken the truck. Now how do you get clean clothes?”
Jared smiled when he heard that, “Well, I suppose if you ask nicely, Jay will go and get you some clean boxers, but I don’t trust you with pants. Knowing you, if you have pants you’ll be halfway to L.A. before I blink.” Jensen turned his head to see Jared leaning against the door with a wry smile on his face.
Jared walked into the bathroom and stood by the shower, “By the way, how did you intend to turn the water off and get out of the shower?” He looked down and waited for an answer.
Jensen blushed and looked up at the shower tap, “I...err, I hadn’t thought of that one.” Jared leaned in and turned the water off. Jensen looked sheepishly at him, “A little help here or are you just going to mock an injured man? Besides, this is all your fault, you know.”
Jared turned and got a dry towel, “And how do you figure that it’s my fault?” Jared bent over, slipped his arm round Jensen’s body and slowly pulled him to his feet. With his other hand he passed Jensen the towel he held. Jensen wrapped the towel round his waist, looking over his shoulder at Jared when he felt how closely he was pressed against him.
He gave a smirk, “Well, if you’d have offered to give me a sponge bath, I’d still be lying in bed waiting patiently for you.” Jared just shook his head and laughed. With that, he helped Jensen back into the other room; he sat him down on the bed. He passed Jensen another towel. While he sat drying himself Jared went to the truck.
When he returned with Jensen’s bag he found Jensen had gotten hold of his hoody. He had pulled it over his head. Unfortunately he was stuck and was flailing round desperately. Jared carried on watching as Jensen tried to escape the clutches of the hoody. He laughed and the movement stopped. The arms ceased their movement and swivelled in his direction. Jensen’s muffled voice came from within the folds of material. “Don’t just stand there! You’re a hunter, save me! I’m being devoured by a wild Hoody....Heeeelllppp!” Jared walked closer, reached out and managed to extract Jensen from the rampaging creature.
He sat by him and Jensen slumped against him. He tilted his head back, looked into Jared’s eyes and smiled. “Oh, thank you, kind sir....Thank you for saving me from the vicious monster. However can I repay you?” As he spoke Jensen batted his eyelashes and clung to Jared in a swooning damsel in distress impersonation
Jared gave him a smile and pulled him close, staring smoulderingly into Jensen’s eyes. He growled in his best ‘I’m a macho hunter voice.’ “I’m sure there is something you could offer me, but for now I’d like you to get back into bed and rest.” A wicked smile curled round Jared’s lips, and he moved ever closer to Jensen, their lips almost touching. Jensen let his eyes flutter closed in anticipation.
Jared stopped himself; he couldn’t do this. Not now - it would be taking advantage of a man in a weakened condition. He moved away gently and Jensen opened his eyes. There was a look of sadness within those green depths as he realised once again Jared had pulled away.
Jared stood up and looked round the room; he wasn’t sure what to do now, “Jay, could you pass me some sweat pants and I have a favour to ask.” Jensen was trying to sound relaxed, although his heart was still racing at the near kiss.
Jared found the sweat pants as requested, “What’s the favour, Jensen?” He waited for the answer.
“Is there an ice machine round here? If there is could you get some and a couple of plastic bags and I’ll ice my feet - see if I can reduce the swelling. Thanks, dude.” Jensen lay back against the pillows on the bed and smiled. Jared nodded and went in search of ice. Jensen stared at the ceiling, realising it was slowly driving him mad. Every time he felt like he was making headway with Jared, the other man retreated and closed himself off. Jensen wasn’t even sure what he wanted from Jared himself. The attraction could be down to Jared being the one who rescued him, but he was sure there was more to it than that. He just wanted to know if Jared felt anything at all for him.
The door opened and Jared returned, holding a bucket of ice and some freezer bags, “There isn’t an ice machine but I asked Earl for some ice, and he emptied his freezer and gave me some bags. He says I can get some more later. Now what do I need to do?”
Jensen motioned him to the bed, “It’s ok. I’ll do it. I just need to fill the bags and wrap them round my feet. I’ll try to do it a couple of times today. It should help.” Jensen started to fill the one bag; Jared sat down on the bottom of the bed and did the same. When the bags were ready Jensen placed them round his feet. Jared bit his lip when he watched the expression of pain cross Jensen’s face at the touch of ice.
“Are you hungry? I brought us something to eat.” Jensen nodded and Jared got their food ready. They ate in silence. Once again Jared felt lost at how to deal with Jensen. He made him feel alive - something he hadn’t felt for a very long time. So if he admitted the truth to himself he was scared; scared of opening himself up to someone; scared that he could lose Jensen; in fact, just plain scared. He finished eating and looked at Jensen’s plate, “You’ve hardly touched your food. Are you alright? Do we need to get you to a doctor?”
Jensen looked up into Jared’s worried face, “Relax, Sasquatch. Don’t forget, I’ve not been eating properly for the last month. I just ran out of steam, I’ll try again later. And I am a doctor, remember.” He handed his plate over; he didn’t have the heart to tell Jared his appetite had disappeared after Jared had shut him out.
A companionable silence descended in the room; Jared once again picked up his research and Jensen attempted to relax his aching body. Finally Jared took the melted ice bags from his feet and looked down at them. The swelling seemed to have lessened but now some of the bruising was coming out, giving Jensen’s feet a rainbow of pain - purples, reds and blacks. Jared watched as Jensen wiggled his toes, trying not to show just how much they still hurt. He was doing a great job, apart from the hitch in his breathing when a shaft of pain lanced its way through him.
Jensen got bored of the silence and finally asked the question that had been brewing for some time, “Jared, what was Chad like?” Jared froze, rooted to the spot; he stared at the screen in an attempt to prevent himself from standing up and just walking out of the room.
Jensen cursed himself inwardly; he just wanted to hear about the man Jared had loved so much to try and understand Jared’s all-consuming quest for revenge. “Listen, Jared, I’m so sorry. I should have realized that would be painful for you. Some bedside manner I’ve got.” Jensen turned over so his back was to Jared, trying to give him some space to recover from what he’d said.
Jared watched him turn over. It had been so long since anyone just asked about Chad, not how he died, but actually asked about the man. He took a deep breath. Maybe it was time to try and recall the good times. Not the blood-soaked nightmare Chad’s and, to a certain extent, his own life had ended in.
Jensen lay still berating himself when he heard a soft voice, “We met at a wedding - the full cliché. Eyes met across a crowded room and then I managed to get Chad off the table he was dancing on.” Jared laughed affectionately at the memory. Jensen remained perfectly still, worried that any movement would break the spell.
Jared continued to speak; he told Jensen all about his and Chad’s first date and their usual doomed attempts at romantic gestures.
Jensen finally turned over and looked at Jared in awe, “Hang on. You’re telling me Chad arranged a romantic lakeside picnic, but hadn’t realized he’d put the blanket on top of a patch of poison ivy?”
“Man, it was so funny! I spent the next three days lying on my stomach with my ass in the air, covered in Chamomile lotion.” Jensen watched as Jared threw back his head and laughed, it was like he was talking to a different man. His face was animated and his eyes sparkled with life. Jensen couldn’t help the pang of jealousy that washed over him. He was jealous of a dead man. God! How desperate was he?
He continued to listen as Jared talked, and he came to understand that Jared and Chad’s relationship wasn’t something out of a fairy tale - just a normal relationship with its ups and downs. Jared talked about Chad’s faults which apparently included the cardinal sin of squeezing the toothpaste from the middle, something that he shuddered at and counted as almost unforgiveable. He also admitted to driving Chad crazy as well “He said I was OCD. Can you believe that? Just because all our CDs and DVDs were in alphabetical order and I arranged the cupboards in the kitchen into food types.”
Jensen shook his head with mock sadness when he heard that and muttered in a sympathetic tone. “Shocking! Seems perfectly reasonable to me. How did you put up with it?” Jared had laughed gently at that, finally admitting that he missed Chad every day and that’s what drove him on.
As they talked, Jensen had laughed with Jared and asked questions. Jared had only been too happy to answer him, surprising himself at how easy it was to talk about Chad. He felt a weight lifting off his shoulders at being able to share his happier times with someone. Jared finally went quiet and he looked at Jensen. His expression was thoughtful, lost in his own world.
“Jared, like I said before, you had something very special with Chad; most people never get to be that lucky.” Jensen paused and Jared could see he wanted to say more, he let his hunter’s instinct take over. Now he had to wait Jensen out rather than push him.
“I never managed to have a relationship like yours. It’s difficult for any man to deal with the fact their boyfriend keeps them a secret from his family. I suppose I have no one to blame but myself for that. I wish I’d been braver and told mom and dad sooner. Maybe I’d have gotten my own Chad.”
At that Jensen fell silent and stared into space.
Jared’s heart ached for Jensen. He was right. He’d been lucky he’d been able to express his love for Chad in front of his family, a luxury Jensen had never had. Finally, when he’d come out his life had turned into a nightmare. Jared looked into Jensen’s eyes and like before they held him captive. They told his story far more eloquently than any words ever could. Emotion swirled within - loss, longing and loneliness were there, along with need. They sent a mute appeal to Jared for contact. Without thinking, he shut down his lap top and moved to sit by Jensen on the bed.
Jensen looked at him, shocked. Jared grabbed the television remote from the bedside table, “Shall we see if there is anything worth watching?” It was a simple thing sitting next to Jensen and just watching TV but for Jared it was like scaling Mount Everest. Just getting close to anyone was taking nearly all his courage. Jared channel surfed and after a while he had to give up, “Well dude, it looks like the highlight is a ‘Law and Order’ marathon. I could sit here and tell you where they’re going wrong.” Jared folded his arms and glared with annoyance at the screen.
“You go for it, Matlock. I’ll root for Jack!” Jensen smirked up at Jared.
Jared rested his hand over his heart, “I’m wounded here! How could you side with the opposition? Damn and there was me thinking you were my friend.” Jared stilled as he said that - Jensen was a friend? He hadn’t even noticed him slipping past his defences. The rest of the afternoon passed with friendly banter and Jared moaning in anguish at all the legal inaccuracies.
As they sat on the bed the conversation flowed freely now. They moved on from Chad to other subjects, including favourite films, actors and why Johnny Depp should be deified, in Jensen’s opinion. Jared was enjoying himself. It had been such a long time since he had just sat and talked without any mention of ghosts, vampires, demons or hunts.
They broke from their deep legal debate to eat and this time Jensen snagged the remote. He flipped through the channels and a grin broke out on his face “Jay, Airplane’s just started! Come on, I love this film.” Jared returned the grin and once again joined Jensen on the bed. As they watched the film Jared found himself inching closer to Jensen until he was leaning up against him.
When Jensen felt the touch of Jared’s body against his he tensed a little at first. Then when he realized he wasn’t going to pull away he allowed himself to enjoy the feel of that muscular body close to his. He was tired and his body still ached, and welcome warmth from Jared slowly lulled him towards sleep.
Jared felt the change in Jensen’s breathing. He looked down and saw the other man had fallen asleep, resting against Jared’s chest; at some point Jensen’s hand had rested on his thigh. He turned the sound down, reached over and gently pulled Jensen closer. Jared moved down the bed so he was lying down and Jensen was lying beside him. It was a tight fit but Jared had no intention of sleeping there all night. He just wanted to let Jensen get some more rest.
Against the background of the TV playing softly Jared felt himself begin to drift. He really should get up and put Jensen to bed but his eyelids were so heavy and he was so comfortable with Jensen lying next to him. All of this combined helped to soothe Jared to sleep.
Jared suddenly found himself back in the home he’d once shared with Chad, his breathing quickened as the old nightmare began to play itself out. But this time he noticed a change within the dream, the usual terror of being pursued from room to room wasn’t there. He felt different this time - he was the hunter chasing down his prey. He still wore his suit but he felt centred, calm and ready to tackle the monster he knew was waiting for him.
Jared hunted from room to room and in some of them he found himself in places he remembered from hunts. Then he heard sounds - sounds very familiar from both the real and his dream world. It was the sound of Chad taunting someone, hurting them. Jared was drawn inexorably towards that sound, his heart racing with fear. He stood in the doorway to the lounge where the attack had happened and saw Chad was on top of someone, hurting them...raping them. But Jared knew instinctively it wasn’t him this time.
The victim was pleading and it just spurred Chad on to greater heights. Jared knew that pleading broken voice, but where from? He started to approach the horror to try to help when......
“Please no.....NO.....Don’t...Somebody help me!” Jared sat bolt upright on hearing Jensen’s voice. He was having his own nightmare and he was trying to fight someone off if his desperate movements were an indication. “Morgan, No! Please, not Mac! I’ll do anything.” His voice was increasingly distressed and tears fell from tightly-squeezed eyes.
Jared gently reached out and touched Jensen’s cold face. He wiped the tears away, calling softly “Jensen, Jensen, come back to me. It’s a nightmare. He’s gone! You’re safe, I promise you.” Jared continued to stroke his face as Jensen tried to break free from whatever horror held him. He gasped and his eyes opened, darting around the room, terrified. For a second he lay perfectly still then he turned to Jared, his breathing rapid. He shivered as if he were cold.
Jared laid aside his own troubling dream and reached out to the other man. Jensen moved into the safe haven Jared’s arms offered him. Any thought of moving back to his own bed fled from Jared as he held Jensen close. He held him until Jensen’s breathing slowed once more and exhaustion dragged him back to sleep. The only movement Jared made was to quickly disentangle himself, strip off his jeans and pull the comforter from his bed and grab his knife from under his pillow. He froze when Jensen murmured in protest at Jared’s disappearance. Jared climbed back on the bed and Jensen relaxed once again as he melted in his arms.
Jared pulled the comforter over them both, left the TV playing softly and used the flickering light to look into Jensen’s face. It seemed that his sleep was untroubled now. After the dreams, Jared felt he owed them both one more day of rest before they moved on. Jensen turned over and Jared smiled as he curved round Jensen’s back protectively, his hand resting over Jensen’s heart.
He lay and enjoyed the feel of Jensen in his arms and a wave of grief engulfed him at the thought of leaving him behind. But his world was not Jensen’s and whether he wanted to or not he would have to leave Jensen for his own protection. So for now he would enjoy the chance of being close to another human being, if only for a little while. Jared allowed his eyes to close and he felt himself drifting towards sleep, gripped by the knowledge that soon he would be leaving Jensen.
He never felt the tear that slipped down his face.