Title: Hell Is Other People
Word Count: 8705.
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 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, a woman with the patience of a saint. Just in case you thought this story would never return, here is the latest part of the Fic O Doom! I hope you still remember this and enjoy. To those who are reading this....still *G* thank you for your patience and the next chapter won’t take as long, and that’s a promise.
“I’m sorry” Jared whispered brokenly. He pulled Jensen closer to him, holding him tightly, his tears still falling.
“I should hope you’re sorry. You’re squashing me, Sasquatch and you’re getting my hair wet. Would it be too much to ask you to ease off the ribs a little? Thanks, Jay, are you ok?” Jared jolted back in shock at the sound of Jensen’s rough voice. Relief washed over him - he’d never been so happy to hear that damned sharp tongue of Jensen’s. But the shock of hearing his voice caused him to let go and Jensen began to slip down, forcing Jared to reach out to stop him hitting the floor.
They sat there in silence, Jared’s hand resting gently on Jensen’s chest, feeling the reassuring rise and fall. Then Jared managed to gather his shattered wits together, “What the hell, Jensen? I thought you were dead! Shit! How hard did you hit that wall? We should get you to a hospital.” Jared’s voice rose in panic as he pulled Jensen back against him, holding him a little tighter than before.
Jensen sighed. Somehow he’d have to calm Jared before he went into meltdown, “Jay, relax. Trust me. I’ve hit lots of walls, and a lot harder than that before now. I hate to say it but I blacked out when Mary decided to use me for a Frisbee. I’m sorry if I scared you.” Jensen was struggling weakly against Jared in an attempt to sit up. Jared gently eased him up higher so he was resting against his chest. Then the anger returned once more as he remembered how Jensen had gotten hurt, his appearance at a hunt he had no right to be on.
“What do you mean you’ve hit walls harder than that? And how do you fucking know you’ve not got internal injuries or a bleed on the brain? And just what the fuck did you think you were doing turning up like that? You could’ve gotten hurt....hell, you have gotten hurt.” Jared was raging at Jensen now, his worry morphing into anger.
“Ok, who is the doctor here? Damn, you’re really a glass-half-empty kind of guy, ain’t you? For a start, I know I didn’t hit my head, and if you want the truth, I fainted. I think it was my body’s way of telling me I might have overdone it a little today. Besides if you’d listened to your messages I’d still be sat in the motel, bored out of my mind, and not lying here in your arms.” Jensen paused and shifted in Jared’s arms to prove a point. “Though I gotta say, so far that’s been the highlight of the day for me. Now I think we should get the hell out of here, before somebody turns up to check out the truck that’s suddenly appeared here when the work’s been shut down. Jared, I promise to explain everything but we really need to go.” Jensen’s voice had been steady when he started, but as he continued it had gotten weaker. Jared’s concern went up a notch, and then he felt Jensen rest his hand on top of his.
The gesture helped to calm Jared down; now it was time to get moving and get them out of there. Jared glanced round the room; for the most part the damage had been kept to a minimum. There were some smashed ornaments, and of course there was the broken glass case in the fireplace, along with the smouldering remains of Mary’s doll. There wasn’t a lot he could do about that. Yes, he could stay and tidy up, but Jensen was right. If someone was to call the cops, the last thing they needed was to be arrested. Finally he spotted his shotgun. It was time to get moving and he knew he would be very happy to see the back of this place.
First of all Jared had to move Jensen, “You’re right. We need to get out of here and fast. Will it be alright to leave you here for a minute?” As Jared was speaking, he gently moved Jensen so he was resting against the wall. Jensen watched him walk round the room, retrieve his shotgun, and straighten the rug they’d been standing on.
“Do you want to dust the room as well while you’re at it?” Jensen asked in amusement as Jared continued to work. Jared rolled his eyes and picked up a couple of ornaments that would be seen when workman entered the building. The last thing he did was to ensure the remains of the charred doll were no longer burning, and were safe in the fireplace.
Jared went to leave the room, “Where are you going now? Don’t tell me you feel the urge to spring clean the kitchen as well?” Jensen pushed himself up higher, and craned his neck to follow the hunter’s progress.
Jared looked over his shoulder, “I’m just going to lock the kitchen door, and then I’m fetching the truck to the front door. I won’t be long. Oh, and don’t even think about trying to get to the front door on your own. You hear me, McClain?” Jared’s tone was warning as he spoke.
Jensen grinned at him and waved, “I promise to stay put, although I may be tempted to try out the ballroom with a little dancing. By the way, Jared, I want to check you out later.” Jensen let his eyes roam over him, looking for injuries.
Jared stopped walking and threw Jensen a look and for once it was Jensen’s turn to blush, “No, not like that, although if you’re offering.... I want to make sure that you haven’t gotten hurt. For some strange reason I don’t exactly trust you.” Jensen said, and Jared just winked at him and carried on into the kitchen.
As Jared vanished, Jensen slumped back against the wall and took a quick inventory of his body, then decided it was easier to try and figure out what didn’t hurt. After careful consideration and the fact even his hair ached, he diagnosed that he felt like hammered crap. He knew being a doctor would come in handy one day. Jensen let his eyes close, and tried again in vain to find a comfortable position; he sighed softly and gave up. He knew no matter which way he twisted or turned the aches and pains weren’t going away any time soon. He cursed, knowing that the moment they got back to the motel room, Jared would be forcing pain pills down his throat. God knew that sounded like a great idea, because he really wanted everything to stop hurting right about now please, but he had to talk to Jared about what had happened here today.
Jensen knew he would have to tell Jared all about Father Kim and why he knew about hunting, but there was something else he needed to tell him. He wasn’t sure he wanted his old life any more. His world had changed, first Morgan and now this. Jensen knew he just couldn’t go back to the hospital now. Too much had happened, and he’d always felt there was something missing from his life. Maybe here today he’d found what it was.
Jared moved quickly round the kitchen, locked the door and turned back the way he came. He walked into the hallway where he’d left Jensen and paused. Jensen’s eyes were closed and he was attempting to find a comfortable resting place, moving constantly as bruises came into contact with the wall. Jared knew from bitter experience that was never going to happen. It was time to get Jensen back to the motel and medicated, so his battered body could get some rest. He walked over to the injured man and dropped down beside him; he reached out his hand and touched the arm that was wrapped round his ribs.
Jensen flinched, and Jared could’ve kicked himself for startling him. Green eyes flew open and for a few seconds he could see Jensen wasn’t fully aware of where he was. His eyes darted round, taking in his surroundings before relaxing, once he realized he wasn’t back in the basement of the church. Jared managed an apologetic smile as Jensen focused on his face. “I’m going to get the truck and we’ll get out of here, ok?” Jared gently squeezed his hand, then stood up and walked out of the door.
Once he was gone, Jensen shivered slightly; he’d been sweating from his efforts this morning. But now his body had cooled and the sweat chilled his body, “Ok, Ackles, stop lazing around, time to get your ass off the floor.” He tried to lift himself up higher, and once again he felt sweat beading on his skin. He took a deep breath and attempted to get to his feet, his arms shaking with strain as he tried to lever himself up off the floor. Finally he slumped back down with a sigh, letting his head fall back against the wall. Jensen knew that this time he wouldn’t be getting up and walking to Jared. Crap! He was going to have to sit there like some damsel in distress, waiting for the knight to come galloping over the hill to rescue him. Jensen closed his eyes; it was just to rest them while he waited for Jared he told himself, and not because he was exhausted.
Jared walked quickly to his truck, unlocked it and moved to the back. He placed his shotgun back in his bag, zipped it up and stowed it away carefully. Then he picked up the blanket he kept in the truck and dropped it on the front seat, ready to wrap Jensen up for the journey back to the motel. He walked round to the driver’s side and climbed in, started the engine and pulled the truck as close to the front door as possible. He turned off the engine and sat, gripping the wheel, trying to gather the courage to go back.
He looked at the house and guilt flooded through him. What the fuck had he been thinking? He was supposed to be taking care of Jensen, not abandoning him. His refusal to face Jensen after his dream had seen him running away, back to the only refuge he had these days -the hunt. It was where all the guilt over Chad’s death disappeared, and he in was in control of his life once more
Everything that had happened this morning just brought home to him what the dream had told him was right. His getting involved with Jensen would only lead to more pain for both of them. But deep down a selfish part of him didn’t want to leave the man, sitting, waiting in the house. But he had to think about everything Jensen had been through. He’d spent the last month held prisoner, being abused by Morgan and Eddie. The last thing Jensen needed in his life was someone as damaged as he was, Jared thought bitterly.
Jared took a deep breath and sat up straight. Enough with the self-pity. He’d gotten them into this mess and now he’d get them out of it. He’d take Jensen back to the motel and put him to bed. He’d call Jim; ask his old friend to come over and take Jensen home. If he’d learnt anything today it was that he was going to get Jensen hurt, maybe even killed. No, he needed to be as far away from Jensen as possible. He was just going to drag the other man down with him. His mind made up, he got out of the truck and walked back into the house.
When he reached where he’d left Jensen, Jared looked down at the man sat on the floor. Jensen was resting against the wall, with his left leg stretched out in front of him. His right leg was bent and it looked as if he’d been trying to get to his feet, but he hadn’t had the strength to make it. Jared sighed softly. Jensen should never have had to put himself through this. He was to blame for this, now he had to put it right. Jared crouched down by him, and as he reached out he spoke softly so as not to startle Jensen again. “Jensen, come on. You ready to get out of here?” He was rewarded when Jensen’s eyes opened, and he gave him a tired smile.
“Ahh, really? I’d just gotten comfortable. Can’t I stay here for a while?” Jensen was paler than before and he looked drained.
Jared shook his head, smiling gently at him, and his mind was taken back to the last time he heard Jensen say those words. It had been when he had met Jensen for the first time in the church basement when he’d been bound to the metal post, helpless and hurting. Now here they were again. Jensen was hurting again, and this time there was no Eddie or Morgan to blame. It was his fault that Jensen had come here and faced Mary. Now as he looked at him, Jared felt the guilt welling up from his gut, choking him. He took a deep breath and offered his hand to Jensen to help ease him forward so he could pick him up.
Jensen shot him a determined look, “Oh, no, you don’t. You can help me up and then I’m walking. You’re in no fit state to carry me. I’m fine, Padalecki. Now quit fussing.”
The smile that spread across Jared’s face told Jensen he didn’t believe for one second that he was alright. Jensen just gritted his teeth and pushed his tired body on. This time with Jared’s support he struggled to his feet. Just standing took a toll on him; he was dizzy and the room whirled and spun out of focus. He swayed forward and his knees began to buckle.
Jared had been expecting Jensen to be stubborn about being carried, but he’d been impressed when he’d managed to stand. Then it looked as if he was about to collapse again. Without hesitation Jared stepped in close and wrapped his arms around him, supporting his weight. Jensen was resting against his chest with his hands gripping his jacket to steady himself. Jared could feel Jensen’s heart hammering wildly; he leant back slightly to look down at Jensen.
His eyes were closed and Jared saw him swallow convulsively. Jared felt Jensen’s fingers gripping his jacket even tighter so he moved his arm lower, preparing to pick Jensen up. He froze when Jensen’s voice stopped him, “I thought I said I was walking. Come on, Jay. Unless you fancy a quick waltz in the ballroom, it’s time to go like you said. Right, dude?” Jensen sounded breathless, but he managed to let go of Jared’s jacket with his right hand and looked up at him expectantly.
Jared stared at the stubborn idiot, “What are you trying to prove here, Jensen? That you’re some sort of tough guy?” Jared felt frustrated by Jensen and his actions. He’d more than shown how fucking brave he was, he had nothing left to prove to him. Then Jensen took a step forward and he placed his right hand on the wall to help him keep his balance. Jared rolled his eyes, and huffed.
“Jay, I’m not trying to be goddamn macho. You’re bleeding. I think you tore some of your stitches when you tangled with Mary. The last thing you need to be doing is carrying me. Now are you going to help me out of here or am I going to have to do all the hard work myself?” Jensen gave a nod and Jared looked down at his arm.
His eyes widened in surprise at the spreading red stain; he’d never noticed the blood before. The adrenaline from the fight prevented him feeling the stitches tearing, but now Jensen pointed it out he felt the pain radiate out from the scratches. He went to say it was nothing, but he knew Jensen had seen his reaction. He looked at Jensen, and could see the only way they were getting out of the house was for him to help Jensen limp his way out of there. Giving in gracefully, he slipped his right arm round Jensen’s waist and moved forward at the other’s man’s pace.
Jared kept a close watch on Jensen as they struggled towards the front door; Jared had to admit he was starting to feel the effects of his battle with Mary. He knew he was going to be bruised and stiff in the morning, but he was in much better shape than Jensen. Jared could hear Jensen’s breathing was ragged with the effort, and with every step they took, Jensen leant more heavily against the wall.
By the time they reached the front door Jared was supporting most of his weight. But still Jensen pushed forward, his eyes fixed on the door, and then they stepped outside and Jensen saw the truck. His face lit up in a triumphant smile, “Oh, man. That is a sight for sore eyes. Just promise me you’re not going to take any short cuts on the way home.” Jensen glanced up at Jared’s puzzled expression and smiled.
“Didn’t you wonder how come I got here so quickly? I think Earl was being possessed by the ghost of Steve McQueen. The man drives like a maniac. And I’m telling you, no matter what he said, those dirt tracks we bounced along weren’t roads. I felt like I was being shaken to pieces.” Jensen laughed and waited for Jared to close the front door behind them. He felt relieved to be out of the house; he shivered slightly as the cold air hit him. Without thinking he moved closer to Jared, and the warmth of the other man’s body. He was grateful for Jared’s help; he knew he would never have made it this far on his own, in more ways than one.
Jared felt Jensen move closer to him. He had to fight the urge to pull Jensen into his arms and hold him close. Jared could feel the tremors running through Jensen’s body, and they weren’t just because he was cold. He knew that Jensen had pushed himself way beyond his limits and now he was paying for that effort. Jared moved them onwards, and he felt Jensen sag as they walked without the extra support the wall had offered him. They were nearly at the truck now; Jared had left the passenger door open in readiness.
The last few steps took a Herculean effort from Jensen, but he was determined he was going to make it. As they reached the truck, his knees buckled again.
Jensen’s strength had finally given out. Jared held onto him and prevented him from falling, “It’s ok. We’re here. Just relax and I’ll get you in the truck.” As he spoke he lifted Jensen into the truck, ignoring the burning in his arm, and the protests from his body. Jared picked up the blanket and covered Jensen with it, wrapping him in the soft material. Jensen wasn’t making any smart-assed comments about him tucking him in, and the line was back between his eyebrows. It told Jared just how much discomfort he was in. Jared pulled the seat belt over him, closed the door and walked quickly round to the driver’s side of the truck.
He climbed in and turned the engine over, casting a quick look over at the man beside him. Jensen was leaning against the window, his eyes closed. “Admit it. You’re determined to find out how I look in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit. Is that why we’re still sat here, waiting for the cops to show up. Is this a kink of yours you didn’t want to tell me about?” Jensen opened one eye and smirked at him.
Jared shook his head and smiled in return, “No, it isn’t a kink. I was just worried about you. You keep on trying to lengthen my lifespan by turning up and rescuing me. I thought I was supposed to be the big hairy hero here, not you. And I think you’d look adorable in an orange jumpsuit. It would bring out the colour of your eyes. Now get some rest, Jensen. I’ll wake you when we get to the motel.” As he spoke he reversed the truck and drove back along the drive. He was relieved to see the house becoming smaller in his mirror.
“Yes, mom. Listen, Jay, don’t worry about me. Honestly I’m fine. Just a little tired. I’ll be as good as new after some sleep, and maybe a massage?” Jensen asked hopefully with a smile. He was praying the smile looked genuine, because right now Jensen felt anything but happy. It was tearing him apart knowing that once they were back at the motel it would only be a matter of time before Jared got them out of there and took him back to LA. He knew Jared was desperate to be away from him as soon as possible so he could return to hunting alone. Not now when he wanted to be hunting by Jared’s side.
Jared returned the smile, “So that was it. This whole thing was just a ploy to get me to grope you. Really, Jen, you have no shame, do you?” Jared responded, watching Jensen’s eyes crinkle as his smile broadened. “Now get some rest, damnit.” Jared stopped speaking, waiting for Jensen to do as he was told.
He heard a sigh from Jensen then heard him shifting in his seat until he managed to get comfortable. Despite the banter Jared’s heart was heavy; his foolhardy actions had led to Jensen having to come to help him, when he wasn’t even fit enough to walk round the motel room, let alone take on a murderous ghost. Jared heard Jensen’s breathing change and knew that he had gone to sleep. It still surprised him how attuned to Jensen he had become in such a short time.
As he was driving, Jared watched the world roll by, letting his mind drift to the man sat next to him. Jensen had achieved in a few days, what no one else had done in the three years since he’d lost Chad. He had gotten past every single one of his carefully-laid defences as if they weren’t there. At first he had considered it was purely a physical attraction. Jensen had to be one of the hottest men he’d seen in a long time. Although when you mixed with hunters it really wasn’t that hard. The closest thing to hot Jared had seen in that fraternity was Kane....and he really liked everything attached and so he’d never mentioned it to anyone. Then Jared had put it down to feeling responsible for him, after rescuing Jensen from that bastard, Morgan, and his pet, Eddie. That the bond they were developing was down to the dramatic way they had met, that taking care of the injured man had shaped the way he was starting to feel about Jensen.
He desperately shied away from the prospect that he needed human contact, and that Jensen’s company was just what he had been craving. In the few short days they had been together, Jared had felt the most alive since he lost Chad. Now waking up hadn’t filled him with dread. Just knowing Jensen was there allowed a glimmer of light to filter back into his heart.
Jared shook his head in an attempt to drive those feelings away; he had to think about something else, not how Jensen made him feel. Being with Jensen was making him lose sight of his mission to destroy the demon that had taken Chad. Jared tried to think about something else, but still he came back to Jensen.
Jared considered just what had happened since yesterday. Once again he thought about Jensen’s research skills, and he knew there was no way it had anything to do with his medical studies. He had trained as a lawyer and although the academic research skills helped, there was much more to hunting research, the ability to make connections, follow leads. It had taken Jared a long time to be able to do that, to build the necessary skills. But Jensen had taken to it like it was second nature, and how the hell did he know to use an iron poker on Mary? The mystery was deepening, and he wasn’t buying watching horror movies this time, as Jensen had suggested with his reaction to the Werewolf scratches.
Deep down a quiet voice in his mind told him to admit that he had enjoyed working with Jensen as a partner; he’d shown a remarkably cool head when faced with Mary. He’d worked with experienced hunters who’d gone to pieces in similar situations. He had so many questions he needed to ask Jensen, but they would have to wait until he’d gotten some rest.
Finally Jared turned the radio on to distract himself from the thoughts running round and round his head. The rest of the journey passed smoothly - the only sounds in the truck were the music and the soft sound of Jensen breathing beside him. Jared kept glancing over at Jensen. He was asleep but Jared knew that he needed to be resting in a bed, not sat in a truck, propped up against the window, being bounced around as they drove back to the motel.
Jared had never been happier to see a small town, and the sign for the Blue Moon Motel came as an even more welcome sight. As they pulled up outside of their room, the door to Reception flew open and Earl came hurrying out. Jared turned off the engine and looked at the man sat next to him. Jensen looked peaceful, sleeping soundly and Jared hated to have to wake him. But he knew Jensen had been right about the damage to his already injured arm, it would be difficult for him to carry Jensen to the room.
Jared reached out and gently touched Jensen’s shoulder, “Jen, wake up. It’s time for me to put you to bed.” Jared said quietly with a smile and waited as Jensen struggled to wake up. He was pleased to see familiar green eyes fluttering open slowly.
Jensen yawned and tried to stretch, wincing when his bruised body sent him a reminder that it wasn’t very pleased with him at the moment. He blinked owlishly at Jared, managing to smile at the other man, trying to hide how much he had worn himself out with his little rescue mission.
Jared was just about to get out of the truck when he noticed that Jensen’s expression changed. There had been a sleepy smile on his face; now he seemed to be wide awake as he looked out of the window. Jared turned to follow Jensen’s gaze. He saw Earl moving towards the truck a look of worry on his face. Jensen dropped his hand on top of Jared’s, “Listen, whatever Earl says, you just go along with it, ok?” Jensen got ready to speak to Earl.
Jared wondered what the hell Jensen had told Earl but before he could ask him the door on Jensen’s side flew open. Earl stood there, looking at the two of them as if they were conquering heroes, returning from a war. Earl’s eyes swept up and down the two of them, as he seemed to be checking them over for injuries. Jared dropped his left arm out of sight so the older man didn’t see the blood.
Earl reached out and rested his hand on Jensen’s shoulder, “You two ok? Tell me you sent Eddie packing, Jensen. He didn’t hurt either of you, did he? Should I be calling the police to report an assault? You didn’t have any other problems in the house, did you?” Earl’s words came out in a rush, sounding breathless and worried for the two of them.
Realization dawned on Jared. After he’d left the motel Jensen had gone over the research again and had spotted the doll. Somehow he’d understood the significance and then he’d desperately tried to contact him. When he had ignored Jensen’s messages and calls, Jensen had to find a way to get to him. When he had said Earl had given him a lift, Jared had never thought about what he had told the other man about why he needed to go to the house. Jensen must have used Eddie as his reason. After all, Jensen had already planted the idea of Eddie being an abusive boyfriend. It must been relatively easy to convince Earl to drive him to where he was waiting for Eddie. Jared was surprised and impressed by Jensen’s quick thinking. Now he wondered how they were going to stop Earl from calling the police to the house.
Jensen felt Jared tense beside him. He looked up at Earl and gave him a reassuring smile, “Don’t worry, Earl. We were lucky. I got to Conan here before Eddie showed up. You haven’t got to help us bury the body in the garden. Thanks for your help though; things would’ve turned out differently if you hadn’t got me there in time.” Jensen reached for his seat belt and undid it, pushing the blanket to one side, managing another smile at Earl.
“So, no cops then? Right! At least I don’t have to explain to Mabel why her two favourite customers got arrested.” Earl stepped back a little, assessing the two men in the truck. He could see that Jensen wasn’t doing so well and despite Jared’s move he’d seen the blood on his arm. He damn well knew something had happened in the house, but it looked as if they weren’t talking. He shot a look at Jared, who was getting out of the truck and moving round to get Jensen into the room.
As Jared walked towards him, he folded his arms and looked at him with a frown. Jared stood by the door of the truck, waiting for Earl to speak. Finally Earl broke the silence. “Son, I get you wanted to help Jensen by getting rid of that moron, Eddie once and for all. But you should’ve stopped to think. Did you really think Jensen would just stand by and let you get yourself hurt? I’m just relieved that you two are in one piece. After I dropped Jensen off it hit me. I bet Eddie told you to come to the house so you’d get your ass kicked by Mary, and by the looks of it Eddie got what he wanted, didn’t he?” Earl looked from one man to the other, waiting for an answer.
Jared straightened at Earl’s words. He ran his fingers through his hair then he cursed softly. He’d done it with his left hand. He looked at Earl, guilt clear on his face. He had no way to answer his accusations because he’d had been totally correct in what he’d said to him. Except Jared hadn’t run to save Jensen from a violent ex. He had gone to keep a promise he had made to Chad, the man he’d lost. To hunt down a demon, but Mary hadn’t been a demon. She’d just been a lost and angry child; there was no excuse for what he’d done to Jensen today. Jared was getting lost in self-recrimination for what his actions had led to when a voice brought him out of his bleak thoughts.
“Earl, it’s alright. We’re fine and more importantly I stopped Jared from wringing Eddie’s neck. He doesn’t look good in orange; it’s just not his colour. We just had a little accident on the way out. I promise you Mary didn’t hurt us. We never even saw her, did we, Jay?” Jensen looked over at Jared and waited for him to answer.
Jared looked at Earl and gave him his best sheepish smile, “I’ve been an idiot. I just thought I could get rid of Eddie once and for all. Get him to leave Jensen alone. You know, go in, all guns blazing. I got to the house and there was no one there. I got in easy enough and I was waiting for him when Jensen turned up instead. He didn’t take too kindly to me interfering, and he told me so. I’m just so sorry he had to come and get me. And it’s my fault I got hurt. I’d cut my arm the other day and when I saw Jensen limping through the door, I went running towards him and slipped over like the klutz I am. And who the hell is Mary? Is she the housekeeper? God, I hope I didn’t scare her while I was blundering about.” Jared gave Earl a faintly bemused smile, and saw Jensen relax at what he told Earl.
Earl looked from one man to the other, “Looking at you, son, it must have been one hell of a fall. What did you do? Bounce? I get it. What happens in the house stays in the house, right? And Mary ain’t the housekeeper but I get the feeling you know that already. Look, I’m just happy you two made it back in one piece, well almost one piece. Do you need a doc or something? I can call a friend of mine to come here and give you the once over.” Earl was watching Jensen as he spoke; he looked on as Jensen swung his legs out of the truck and put his feet down. The older man didn’t miss the flinch or the way Jensen bit his lip in an attempt to hide his injuries from him. He waited patiently as Jensen gripped the door of the truck in an attempt to steady himself, getting ready to stand up. Earl glanced over to Jared and studied the taller man closely.
Jared was hovering, for want of a better word, uncertain of what to do for the first time since Earl had met him. Earl could feel the guilt pouring off him; he was sure they had met Mary back at the house. But unless they admitted what had happened there was nothing he could do. Right now he’d be happier if they would let him call his old friend, Frank, a retired doc, to look them over. Jensen especially, but he got the feeling that wouldn’t be happening any time soon. Jensen pulled himself upright, swaying slightly, his breathing slow and controlled as if he was willing his physical discomfort away. Earl couldn’t take seeing this any longer. He took a step towards the man who he had delivered to that god-forsaken house, feeling regret that his good deed had gotten Jensen punished.
Jensen’s heart accelerated when Earl mentioned a doctor, the last thing he and Jared needed was for him to be examined by a doctor. A doctor would take one look at him and he’d know right away his injuries weren’t the result of an abusive boyfriend and a couple of casual beatings. With that in mind Jensen forced himself to move. He’d been hoping he could take his time pulling himself together for the journey to the room. He might have been a stubborn son of a bitch but even he knew when he was done. With Earl stood there threatening....sorry, offering them medical help, he had no option but to get his ass in gear.
Jensen saw Earl take a step forward. He gritted his teeth and stepped forward to meet him, ignoring the reawakened pain in his feet and the way heat pulsed up his legs. He managed a smile and reached out to put his hand on Earl’s shoulder, “We’re ok, Earl, I promise you. You don’t need to bother your friend. We just need to get cleaned up a little and get some rest. I’ll look at Jared’s arm. That’s how we met. Like he said, he’s a klutz and I’m a nurse. Match made in heaven, right? Thanks for all your help, Earl. I really appreciate it.” Jensen shot Earl a grateful look, and moved slowly away from the truck, closing the door.
“Well, if you’re sure. I don’t mind calling Frank. Listen, Jared, if you’re worried about anything like your arm, just dial nine and I’ll get him down here right away, alright?” Earl was looking at Jared as he spoke; his meaning was clear as he glanced over at Jensen’s hunched figure.
Earl’s words galvanized Jared into action. He moved swiftly towards Jensen and took hold of his arm to support him, helping him walk. Earl didn’t miss the sad look that crossed Jensen’s expressive face as Jared held him; he wondered what was behind the look. Then he looked at Jared and the other man’s face bore a similar expression. Whatever happened in the Williamson house, it looked like it hadn’t brought the two young men together. If anything it seemed to have torn them apart. Earl felt an ache in his own heart. From what Mabel had told him about Jensen, the kid deserved a break. Now it looked like Eddie had won again by calling Jared to the house. Earl followed their slow progress to the door of the room. He walked over to them and when Jared started to struggle with the door, he tapped him on the shoulder.
“Here, son, let me. I got the pass key, remember? Don’t forget you two boys need anything at all just call me, ok?” Earl gently patted Jared’s shoulder and smiled at him as he pushed open the door for them.
Jared nodded in gratitude, “Thanks, Earl, and I promise if I need to I’ll call you. We’re gonna be fine.” Then he guided Jensen through the door.
Shaking his head sadly, Earl watched the door close behind the two men. He wasn’t sure that the two of them would be fine at all. He considered calling Mabel to get her come over and give the two of them a piece of her mind. He sighed and turned away. It wasn’t his place to get involved with guests. Annie, his wife, told him he was always looking to adopt the strays that washed up at the motel. But this time he really didn’t want to just walk away, and let the two young men fall apart. “Damn it, Earl, pull ya’self together. It ain’t none of your damn business. Leave well enough alone.” He walked back to Reception and sat behind the desk, staring blankly at the wall opposite then he reached for the phone and called his sister.
Once inside the room Jared tried to guide Jensen towards his bed, but after a couple of steps Jensen stopped dead by the table. “Nice try, Sasquatch, but I need to look you over, remember? Now are we gonna do this the easy way, or the hard way?” He tried to give Jared an authoritative glare, but his words would’ve been more convincing if he hadn’t been leaning most of his weight against Jared and was shaking.
Jared couldn’t help himself, “I kinda like the sound of the hard way. What does that entail?” His dimples deepened as his smile broadened.
Jensen pulled himself up straight, and looked at Jared, puffing his chest out. “Oh, tough guy, huh! Well, the easy way is me just asking you to take your clothes off, and the hard way....well, that’s where I fall on the floor in a heap, tell you I’m bleeding and hope you tear your shirt off to use as a bandage. Don’t make me go for the hard way. I warn you I’m a black belt in collapsing and I’m not afraid to use it.”
Jensen laughed as he spoke but Jared could hear how tired he was. But just hearing that laugh once more eased the band of anxiety that had been wrapped tightly round his chest, letting him breathe easier. He knew he should be pulling away from Jensen, but after what had happened in the house this morning he needed this. Just this once he needed someone to take care of him. Just knowing that a man like Jensen could care for him even after he had let him down amazed him. And soon, so very soon he was probably going to break Jensen’s heart when he got Jim to come to them, then he’d slink away like a coward. Jared managed to smile even though he was convinced Jensen knew exactly what was going on in his head. “Well, since you put it like that, I think I’ll go with the easy way. Ok then, doc, where do you want me?”
Jensen pointed to the other chair at the table, and then he lowered himself gingerly onto the chair he was leaning on, managing to bite back the moan that threatened to escape. He could tell Jared felt shitty enough about him getting his ass kicked, without him adding to Jared’s already massive guilt trip. Jensen tilted his head back and looked at the hunter, “Well, don’t just stand there, scrub nurse, Padalecki! I need a first-aid kit, sterile dressings, antiseptic wipes and a video camera...stat!” Jensen barked out the orders crisply, and Jared responded automatically to the tone, almost leaping to attention and moving speedily to where he kept the kit in his bag.
That tone reminded him of his early training with Jim, when he was so clumsy he’d nearly shot himself twice and Jim once. Then, as he was rummaging through his bag he went through Jensen’s list. He straightened up and looked over his shoulder at the man sitting at the table, smirking. He found the kit and walked back to the table. He handed the kit to Jensen and then sat down. “I get the first two. Do I want to know what you want the video camera for? Or will the surprise be better?” Jared leaned back and watched Jensen sorting through the kit.
“Why, thank you, nurse Padalecki. This will do just fine, and I’m very impressed with your choice of dental floss - only the best for suturing. Now if you’ll just remove your clothes I’ll examine you. And the video camera is purely to allow me record your injuries. Nothing to do with the fact I’m getting to see you with your shirt off again.” Jensen smiled, and scrubbed his hands with the antiseptic hand wash Jared carried in the kit.
Jared shook his head and grinned but didn’t take off his shirt. Instead he rolled up the sleeve and placed his injured left arm on the table. He laughed when Jensen pouted and sighed. Jensen picked up the scissors from the kit, and started to cut the blood-stained bandage off Jared’s arm. “Even now you’re denying an injured man one of the few small pleasures he can enjoy. The chance to ogle a seriously hot guy while tending to his wounds. You know you’re destroying a lot of my fantasies by doing this, Jay. Let’s see what you and Mary got up to on your play date.” Jensen stopped speaking and concentrated on tending the scratches running down Jared’s arm.
Jared studied Jensen as he worked; his touch sure but gentle as he carefully cleaned the scratches again. Jared was fascinated with the way Jensen’s full lips pursed as he concentrated on what he was doing. He was so wrapped up in watching him he barely felt the pinch of the needle when his skin was punctured. He flinched involuntarily, and Jensen reached out with his left hand and stroked the outstretched arm. “I’m sorry, Jay but when Mary bounced you around, she tore two of the stitches. I need to re-do them. It looks like that’s the worst of it. I’ll redress it and then I want to examine the rest of you. I promise to be on my best behaviour, although I will be struggling with almost insurmountable temptation. But I’ll be strong, and I will up hold my Hippocratic Oath about inappropriate touching of hot patients.” Jensen smiled as he placed a gauze pad over the cleaned wounds, and bandaged Jared’s arm once more.
Jensen was glad of the distraction tending to Jared was giving him, although being this close to the other man and touching him was almost too much for him. He hoped his words were hiding the way he really felt. Ever since this morning Jensen had felt the change in Jared but he didn’t know what had caused it. All he knew was Jared was shutting down and shutting him out and it was tearing him apart. But considering how fractured he felt it might be for the best if Jared was gone - he didn’t need to see how desperately Jensen wanted to cling to him.
He looked down at the table and took a calming breath. Come on, get your shit together. You’re only making it worse for yourself, he told himself and lifted his head to look at Jared. As he did he painted a bright smile on his face.
“Come along then, I’m not used to patients keeping me waiting when I want them to strip, and besides, the sooner I get you checked out the sooner we can move on. Right, Jay?” As he spoke Jensen struggled to his feet, ready to examine Jared.
Jared jolted in shock at Jensen’s words; he felt empty at the thought of leaving here. This had been a safe haven for the two of them, and now he had ruined it. He was the one who had wanted to move on. Taking the hunt had been a part of it, but now the moment of truth was arriving Jared wasn’t sure he could still go through with it. He watched Jensen force himself to stand and followed suit. He couldn’t think of a witty comeback to Jensen’s suggestive comments and instead he unfastened his shirt. His fingers felt stiff and clumsy, but he managed to open his button-down. He eased the shirt off stiffening shoulders, threw it on the bed and stood there in his T- shirt. Jensen grinned at him and folded his arms expectantly.
Jared rolled his eyes, gave a put-upon sigh and pulled the soft material over his head. He stood in front of Jensen, bare chested and felt strangely shy. After all Jensen had seen him like this before. But now that he was aware of Jensen looking at him closely, he was having trouble meeting those intense green eyes. Instead he looked at Jensen’s right ear, he knew he was blushing. He’d seen Jensen’s smirk as his eyes had raked up and down his body.
Jensen was enjoying the vision in front of him. Jared had one hell of a body and despite all the jokes he’d made, he really wanted to make sure the hunter was alright. He took a slow step forward, touched Jared, then flinched and shivered slightly “Sorry. I should’ve warmed my hands up, but I’m sure they’ll get warm pretty quickly now.” He grinned and began to run his hands over Jared’s ribs, putting gentle pressure on them, checking for cracks or breaks. Finally satisfied that everything was intact, he moved on with his examination.
When Jensen’s cold hands had touched him Jared couldn’t help but flinch. Shit! Jensen’s hands were like blocks of ice. Then he relaxed and let himself get lost in the sensation of being touched by another man after such a long time. True, Jensen was only checking him over for injuries, but just the feel of his fingers skimming over his skin... he was surprised by how rough those fingertips were. He’d expected soft, smooth skin, like his hands had been when he’d been a lawyer. Now his hands were roughed by digging graves and the hard life of a hunter. Jensen’s hands weren’t as rough as his but they weren’t as soft as he remembered a doctor’s being.
Jared let his eyes close and tried not to respond to the way Jensen’s hands roamed over his body, trying to remind himself there was nothing sexual in that caring touch. But it had been too long since anyone had touched him with such tenderness. He’d been patched up by Jim and Chris before but neither man was what he would call gentle, and combined with the emotions Jensen stirred within him, Jared was struggling.
As he continued to examine Jared, Jensen was taking this chance to memorize everything he could about him. From the strong set of his shoulders, to how his skin goose bumped when he touched him, he took in the scars that littered the tanned skin. Some were pink, shiny and the skin still raised, others had faded to white and hugged the contours of muscle. Jensen couldn’t help but trace a few of them with his fingers, wondering about the hunts that had left paths behind, mapping Jared’s journey as a hunter. At some point during the examination, Jensen had found himself getting closer to Jared. Now he stood in right front of him looking at Jared’s face. His eyes were closed and there was a slight flush on his cheeks, his breathing a little faster than before.
Jensen moved his hand across to the flat stomach and pressed gently at some bruising there, feeling for the tell-tale signs of internal injury. So far there was nothing. There were a few very impressive bruises developing, but he was happy there was nothing to worry about. Then Jared gave a soft gasp and Jensen began to panic. He moved his hand slightly and pressed a little harder on Jared’s stomach, and this time Jared shivered slightly as the flush deepened.
Jensen realized it hadn’t been pain Jared had responded to but his touch. Jensen placed his hand flat against the other man’s abs, letting his fingers ghost gently over the firm muscle. This was no longer an examination; it was becoming something much more.
Then Jared opened his eyes and it was Jensen who was struggling to catch his breath. Jared’s walls were gone. The usually guarded man stood stripped bare; for once he wasn’t pulling away from Jensen. Instead, that look he seen earlier in warm hazel eyes was back. It was then he realized Jared was reaching for him. He let Jared slip his arm around his waist and for once it wasn’t just to help keep him on his feet. Jensen remained frozen in place, too scared to move in case anything he did dissuaded the other man from what he was hoping he was about to do.
When Jensen’s hand had stroked his stomach, Jared felt heat flooding through him. The more he fought against reacting to the man in front of him, the more ground was lost in the battle. All Jared wanted to do was pull Jensen close and give in to the urge to kiss him. Then Jensen’s hand stopped moving, and all he could hear was the sound of Jensen breathing and his own heart beating too loudly in his ears. Jared opened his eyes and looked into Jensen’s green eyes, and suddenly he found himself pulling the smaller man into his arms. He was tired, tired of the constant hunting and grief, tired of fighting the way he felt about Jensen. He had come too close to seeing his dream come true today. All he knew was that he needed to hold the other man. For once his mission could wait; right now all that mattered was Jensen.
Jared stepped closer to Jensen and wrapped his arm round him tighter. Jensen tilted his face, his lips parted slightly. Jared smiled slowly, brought his other hand up and gently caressed the back of his neck, making Jensen sigh and his eyes flutter shut. Then Jared moved and touched his lips to Jensen’s.