Word Count: 8015.
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'd by the awesomebigj52, 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 all feed back is cuddled and fed cookies *G*
Jared touched his lips to Jensen’s. As their lips met all the thoughts that whirled round his head stopped and he let himself sink into the sensation. The first touch sent a shock of pleasure through him; he felt warmth spreading through him from the gentle contact with those full lips. The kiss was slow and tentative at first. Jared was unsure of the other man’s reaction to what he’d done then Jensen slipped his arm round his waist. Jared felt Jensen’s fingers gently stroke his stomach, making him moan and shiver. Jared gently ran his tongue over Jensen’s lower lip, and Jensen parted his lips, allowing him to deepen the kiss.
The two men continued to explore each other, pressing even closer together; finally they broke apart when Jared began to feel light headed from lack of oxygen. He looked down into Jensen’s up-turned face - his skin was flushed and his lips were swollen. Jared smiled and was rewarded with an answering smile; Jensen swayed forward and rested his head against Jared’s shoulder. Jared pulled him into his arms and placed a kiss on his hair, enjoying the feeling of peace as he held Jensen close.
Jared was still enjoying the feeling of Jensen pressed against his body when he felt Jensen move; he closed his eyes and breathed in the scent of shampoo in Jensen’s hair. Jared let his hand move slowly over Jensen’s body, running his fingers gently down his broad back.
Jensen shivered and gasped when Jared’s fingers brushed over a tender bruise; he tried to stifle the sound but Jared heard him. He felt Jared stiffen, looked up and saw Jared’s eyes shoot open; he was frowning, worried about him once more.
When he heard the gasp Jared was jolted back to reality. Shit! Jensen was hurt. What the hell had he been thinking? He stepped back a little, carefully holding Jensen by the arms in case he collapsed. “I’m sorry, Jensen. Come on, let’s get you into bed.” He carefully guided Jensen back towards the bed, gently lowering him down.
Jensen grinned up at him, “Damn, Jay, you’re a fast worker. After only one kiss you’re already getting me into bed. I’m impressed but I’ve told you before I’m not that kind of boy.” Although he joked, Jensen was happy to be sitting down. He was exhausted and that kiss had nearly driven him to his knees.
Jared crouched down in front of him, resting his hands on his knees. He looked closely at Jensen and saw the strain on his face, “Right then. I’ll get some water and you can take some painkillers. No arguing with me.” As Jared went to move away, he felt Jensen take hold of his wrist, gently but firmly holding him in place.
He turned back and Jensen reached out and touched his face, a half smile on his full lips. “I tell you what. You kiss me like that again, and I won’t need any painkillers. Besides, I want to talk to you, and you know how damn loopy I get. But I’d love a drink...any chance of a coffee to keep me awake?” Jensen looked hopefully at Jared who shook his head, making Jensen sigh in disappointment.
Jared allowed himself to be pulled closer and once again they were kissing. Jared manoeuvred himself so he was kneeling between Jensen’s thighs, his hand cupping Jensen’s face, his other hand resting on Jensen’s hip, his fingers tracing the groove with light touches. Once more his body was filled with warmth at the close contact...it just felt so right.
Jared pulled back and heard a soft moan of displeasure from the other man, “Come on. Let’s get you settled, and then if you like, we can talk. Do you want to lie down?” Jared spoke softly, unwilling to break the bond he was sharing with Jensen.
Jensen was feeling light headed. He hadn’t been kidding when he said if Jared kept kissing him he wouldn’t need painkillers. He felt as if he was floating, the tension draining out of his body. It was as if the only thing anchoring him in place was Jared’s arms. He knew he should try and get comfortable, but he really didn’t want the other man to let go of him. It was then he realized that Jared had spoken to him, “Huh? Oh, lie down. Right, I might just move further up the bed. Man, I‘m wiped out.” As he spoke he gave a jaw-cracking yawn, and his head drooped forward.
Jared smiled affectionately at him, “Can’t imagine why you’re tired. After all, it’s not as if you’ve done anything strenuous this morning. Taking out a violent spirit should be easy for a big hero like you. Now do you need anything else?” Jared reached out, and gently caressed the other man’s neck, watching him closely for discomfort.
“Jay, can I be a pain and have a glass of water please?” Jensen gave a weak smile, took a breath and started to move back up the bed.
Jared nodded. He stood up and went to the sink, turned on the tap, letting the water run while he found two glasses. He filled one and took a long drink. Damn! He needed that. Then he refilled it, filling a glass for Jensen, calling out over his shoulder, “It’s not exactly mineral water, but trust me, I haven’t tasted anything sweeter in a long time.” Jared turned round, and the rest of the comment died on his lips. He could see Jensen trying to push himself back up the bed, his arms shaking with strain and fatigue. His head was lowered and there was a look of total concentration on his face.
Jared walked quickly to the bed and placed the glasses on the bedside table; he sat down on the bed and wrapped his right arm round Jensen’s waist. Lifting Jensen carefully, he began to ease Jensen further back. Jensen lifted his hands to Jared’s shoulders and let himself be moved, enjoying the feel of the hunter’s body against his. He became aware of Jared arranging the pillows behind him to prop him up. Jared settled him back against the pillows, and passed Jensen the glass of water.
Jensen managed to lift his hand and take the glass; he knew his hand was shaking as he lifted it to his lips. He tried to put it down to being tired, but right now it was mostly because Jared hadn’t moved his hand which was resting gently on his thigh. He drained the glass almost in one, surprising himself with how thirsty he was. Jared reached out and took the empty glass from him.
“Now you’ve had your drink, I think we should finish getting you comfortable. How about we start by getting you out of some of these clothes?” Jared paused as he said that. He lifted his eyes to see Jensen lying there, smirking at him; he rolled his eyes and continued. “That is unless you want to lie there in my hoodie and my boots. God, you remind me of how I looked when I was thirteen - all short and gangly.” He grinned as Jensen scowled and pouted at him, then the mischievous glint reappeared in his eye.
“I’ve told before I’m not that kind of boy, and you can sweet talk me all you like, saying what a handsome young man I am. But you’re not getting me out of my clothes. My mama’s always told me to wait at least three dates before holding hands.” As he spoke he let the sleeves of the hoodie cover his hands so the material hung loose over them, and then he brought them up under his chin and batted his eyelashes at Jared.
Jared threw back his head and roared with laughter, and Jensen hadn’t seen the man this full of life since they had met. He felt as if he was being given a glimpse of who Jared had been before a demon had ripped him apart, leaving behind only jagged fragments inside the hunter. He wondered if it would be possible to ever put him back together again.
Jared looked at the grinning man on the bed and shook his head, “Come on. Behave yourself. There’s no way you’re comfortable like that. I promise to behave myself honourably and leave your virtue intact; you have my word as a hunter and a lawyer.” As he said that he moved higher up the bed, and stretched forward to help Jensen out of the hoodie.
Jensen smirked at him, “That makes me feel better. Is this the same lawyer who stood in front of the sheriff and swore he didn’t know how Morgan died? Or the hunter that convinced my family, and half the town I was Satan’s boyfriend? It’s good to know my virtue is being cared for by such an honest upstanding citizen.” Jensen was laughing as he spoke to Jared, “Hang on, and I’ll help you. I’m not completely helpless.” He straightened up and grabbed the hem of the hoodie, and began to pull the garment up. He’d barely begun to lift his arms when his body protested - a lance of pain shot though him. Suddenly the motel room faded away, and he was back in the church basement once more. His body was on fire and he knew Eddie was lurking just out of sight with one of Morgan’s toys, ready to strike him again. He was falling away from Jared and started to panic.
The slightly lumpy motel bed was gone, and instead he was curled up on the cold concrete floor. His clothes were gone. He was sure he’d been wearing clothes but they weren’t there now. Jensen shivered as the cold prickled at his sensitive skin and as he looked up his eyes were burnt by the harsh light in his cell. Shit! Had it all been a dream? Jim, Chris, Jared? The rescue....damn, he was still chained to that fucking post, and now he could hear Morgan’s distinctive footsteps coming closer. He started to shake...”Nooooo....please God, no.” Jensen was begging; he didn’t care. He couldn’t cope with this again.
One second he and Jensen had been laughing, then Jensen had started to pull at the hoodie, blanching as his face went blank. Jared could see in Jensen’s eyes he was no longer with him in the room, and he knew exactly where the other man had gone. He knew what that was like - it had happened to him time and time again. He’d slip back to that night Chad had died. Helplessness overwhelmed him as he watched Jensen start to shake, and he saw tears well in his fear-filled eyes.
Jared shook himself and moved closer to the trembling figure, starting to speak, “Ok, Padalecki, get your head from up your ass. Jensen needs you. Jen....Jen, listen to me. I’m gonna take the hoodie off. Don’t worry, it’s just me. There’s no one else here.” He knew he was talking gibberish, but if helped anchor Jensen in this room and not with Morgan, then he’d babble all day long if he had to. He began to work, giving the other man a running commentary of what he was doing. “Right, that’s got one arm out. Now I need to get the other one. Relax, Jensen. Just breathe slowly for me, that’s it. I’m here.....come back please. You can’t leave me here all by myself; you know the kind of trouble I get into when you’re not around.” He pleaded with the unresponsive man in front of him, uncertain if Jensen could even hear him, but he had to keep trying to reach him. He couldn’t lose Jensen, not now.
Jared carefully eased the garment over Jensen’s head, and he started to shiver violently, his teeth chattering. Jared pulled the smaller man to his chest, gently wrapping his arms round him; he was stunned by how cold Jensen was. He looked down at Jensen leaning against his chest and noticed beads of sweat appearing on his forehead. Jared bit his lip, looking round the room, trying to think of what to do next. As his eyes wandered he began to gently rub circles on Jensen’s back, caressing Jensen’s face, trying to bring some warmth into the cold skin. Without thinking he pulled Jensen closer and he brought his lips down and brushed them over the Jensen’s forehead, he whispered Jensen’s name, over and over softly.
The sound of footsteps grew louder and Jensen’s heart hammered wildly. No, he couldn’t be here. Where was Jared? He was so fucking scared at the thought of being back with Morgan. Then he felt a touch that was nothing more than the barest of pressure to his forehead. It had been warm and tender, everything he’d dreamed of in the long lonely days and nights in the basement. Jensen concentrated and slowly through the cold and the pain, he could feel warmth spreading across his back and yes, there it was on his face...it felt like....no, he was alone here with Eddie, waiting for him to start beating him again.
Then he heard something - a soft familiar sound that almost sounded like a prayer - a desperate call for help....Jared? Jared was calling for him, begging him to come back...come back from where? The basement? No, Jared wasn’t here. He was trapped with Mary. Oh God! Mary. How could he have forgotten, he had to help Jared now. Jensen followed the soft voice, fighting to get closer to it. The sounds and light in the basement faded, and Jensen drew in a startled breath.
He was disorientated. Where was he? What just happened to him? Then he started to piece together what he’d been doing. He was in the motel room with Jared, and he was just taking off the hoodie when the world had slipped away. He shuddered at the memory of the basement, trying to move away from the wall he was leaning against...Wait a minute. Walls weren’t usually this warm, and when was the last time he felt one breathing? Jensen realized where he was. He was curled up in Jared’s arms, and finally he heard Jared’s voice.
“Hey, you’re back. Thank fuck for that. Jen, talk to me. You with me again? Come on, please say something. You’re scaring the shit out of me here. And I don’t do scared very well. I tend to whip out the guns and start shooting. I think that might upset Earl a little.” Jared sounded a little hysterical as he rambled and his arms tightened round Jensen. He could feel Jensen shaking in his arms. Jared held onto him as if he’d never let go. He felt his own heart rate start to slow; he knew Jensen was back with him, now he just had to wait.
“Jay? What happened? One minute I was here and the next I was.......shit, I’m losing it.” Jensen’s teeth were chattering and he shivered again. Jensen curled closer to the warmth of Jared’s body.
Jared smiled softly at the frightened figure. He started to gently rub Jensen’s arms, trying to get him warm. He looked at the bed; it was time to get moving. “Ok, for a start you’re not losing it. Fuck it, Jensen. After everything you’ve been through, you need to cut yourself some slack. Come on. You need to get some rest. You shouldn’t even be standing, let alone riding to my rescue. Lie down and try to get some sleep. Alright?” Jared watched Jensen go pale, and he knew he was scared by what would be waiting for him when he closed his eyes.
Jared ran his fingers through Jensen’s hair, and started to speak so quietly that Jensen struggled to hear his words. “You know for a long time after Chad.....after Chad died I took a long time to recover both physically and...Well, I took a long time. I could be doing anything. Even just getting undressed, and suddenly I’d be back in the house being hunted by Chad. I could hear his laugh and smell the blood; I could feel his hands on my body. I was back there, Jensen. I was fucking terrified I’d never get out of it, but I always did. I always made it back. It gets better, I promise. But you need to take care of yourself a little better, and that starts with you getting some rest and then I’ll go and get us something to eat.” As he was speaking Jared slowly lowered Jensen down onto the pillows once more.
Jared watched Jensen as he lay there; he could see how tense he was and he could fully understand why. He hadn’t been lying to Jensen about how long it had taken for him to get over the flashbacks he’d suffered in the wake of the demon attack. In fact, if he was honest he still hadn’t completely recovered. The dreams came most nights, but he didn’t have the heart to tell Jensen that. What he needed now was the hope that he could have a normal life away from the shadow of Morgan, and perhaps getting Jensen back home and back to his old life would help start to heal him. Jared stood up and lifted Jensen’s legs onto the bed; he noticed Jensen was still wearing his boots.
Jared sat down once more, and started to unfasten them. As he worked he tried to swallow down the feelings of regret that had started to bubble up again. He’d let Jensen down; he’d run away from him when he needed someone to lean on. Well, he wouldn’t do that again. After he got Jensen to sleep, he would go to Earl and book another couple of days in the motel. He’d considered this before. That perhaps now it was time to slow down a little. Get some rest himself and take care of Jensen while he recovered, grateful to the man who had come to his rescue rather than him being the rescuer.
Jared wrapped a large hand round a boot he was just about to try and ease off Jensen’s foot; he started to pull and lifted his eyes to Jensen. A pair of tired, pain-filled eyes met his and Jensen licked at his lips nervously. Jared frowned at him, then he saw how Jensen had gripped the comforter tightly and he understood why.
Jared let go of the boot and gently stroked Jensen’s ankle. Jensen managed a weak smile. “Jay, you don’t have to take these off. I’ll be fine with them on.” A grimace of pain flitted across his face as he spoke, and his breathing hitched anxiously.
Jared sighed and squeezed his leg, “Sorry, Jen. I know it’s gonna hurt, but you’ll feel better once they’re off. Anyway I think you’re trying to steal my boots. I love these boots. I just got them broken in so you’re going to have to give them back.”
Jensen gave a weak laugh and managed a grin, “What you gonna do to do if I don’t give them back? Shoot me? I heard what you said about whipping out the guns when you get scared. Do you do that when someone steals your boots?” He smiled and crinkles appeared round his eyes, filling Jared with warmth as he looked at him.
Jared moved up the bed a little then leant over and placed a gentle kiss on plush lips, and without thought his hand found its way up to Jensen’s face and he slowly stroked his cheek. Jared heard Jensen give a contented sigh, and he gave himself over to the kiss. The two men continued to kiss, slowly taking their time, Jared let his hand travel over Jensen’s body, touching and caressing, enjoying the thrill of being able to touch the other man without reservation.
Finally the kiss broke and Jared looked down into Jensen’s green eyes. Once again he marvelled at how much they expressed without the need for words. Jensen was looking at him with a mixture of hope and wariness, as if he was too scared to believe this was happening. Jensen yawned again and Jared sat up, “I don’t shoot people who steal my boots. I just kiss them into submission and then strip their clothes off. Now try and relax but the boots have got to come off.” He gave Jensen’s shoulder an apologetic squeeze and he moved back down the bed to his feet.
Jared loosened the laces even more, carefully picking up one foot, taking a firm hold he considered how to take them off. Should he try and ease them off Jensen’s feet or just quickly pull them off. While he pondered his options he stroked Jensen’s leg absently, massaging his ankle gently.
Jensen was enjoying the casual, relaxed way Jared was touching him as he wrestled with the mysteries of the Universe, or how to get the damn boots off him. It was almost a shame to disturb him, but he was so damn tired, his body ached, telling him politely and in no uncertain terms he needed to rest. Jensen smirked at Jared, “Speaking as a medical professional, just rip ‘em off. I promise not to scream and bring Earl running with his shotgun to defend my honour.” Jensen managed a slight smile and nodded his encouragement to Jared.
Jared’s hand stilled and he gripped the boot in his hand tighter. Now he just had to distract Jensen, “Oh, so you don’t subscribe to easing the band-aid off the wound gently, just a short sharp shock. Right?” Jared watched Jensen nod, grinning at him. “Damn, you must have some bedside manner. I had you down as a McSteamy not House, and I’m a little disappointed now.” His smile broadened as he spoke.
Jensen stretched a little, returned Jared’s smile and looked into hypnotic hazel eyes, “Believe me. I have the best bedside manner for the right patient....holy shit!” Pain exploded up his legs and he gritted his teeth to stop himself from screaming.
While Jensen had been speaking, Jared took his chance and pulled the boot off quickly. Jensen arched up off the bed but before he had chance to recover, Jared grabbed the other boot and treated it the same. Jared dropped them on the floor, moving back up the bed. He pulled Jensen into his arms and held the shaking man close. Jared kissed the top of Jensen’s head, “That’s it, we’re done. I’m sorry for doing that. Come on. Lie down and let me finish getting you comfortable.” Jared laid Jensen back down, quickly undoing his jeans and taking them off. He kept glancing up to make sure that Jensen was alright.
Jensen was white again, his jaw clenched tightly and his breathing rapid. His hands fisted in the comforter. Jared took a calming breath and removed the thick socks Jensen wore, relieved to find his battered feet weren’t bleeding but they had swollen again. Jared sighed sadly and stood at the bottom of the bed. This was his fault. If he hadn’t run like a coward Jensen wouldn’t be in pain again. He hovered indecisively, not sure what to do. Should he get on the bed beside him or watch over Jensen from his own bed?
As the dark jagged spikes of pain were smoothing out, and the sound of his heartbeat was no longer deafening him, Jensen forced his eyes open. His first instinct was to look for the hunter. After the shock of Jared tearing the boots off all he could remember was being held in his strong arms. Now he was lying down again, he was cold and Jared was gone. He looked around the room, suddenly afraid he was alone again, his chest tightening with panic. He saw Jared standing at the bottom of the bed, a familiar look of guilt on his face, and his fears and the tight band around his heart eased. “What’s wrong, Jay? Are you gonna come and lie down or will I have to come and get you?” Jensen went to sit up.
Jared watched Jensen struggle and without hesitating went to his side. No way was Jensen going to hurt himself again. Jared sat on the bed and wrapped his arm round Jensen’s waist, pulling him close. “Stop that. Haven’t you hurt yourself enough for me? Now just settle down and get some sleep.” Jared’s tone was commanding.
Jensen gave a victorious smile. First part of his cunning plan to get Jared in bed so he could rest too had worked - now to get him to stay put. “Ok Jay, that’s it. I think you’ve beaten yourself up enough now. Has it ever occurred to you I wanted to do this? I could’ve just rung Chris or Jim. I’m pretty sure they would’ve have found someone to help you. I didn’t want to wait. It would’ve taken too long, and what if you’d gotten hurt or arrested? I knew I could help. It was my choice, Jay and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.” As he spoke Jensen looked into haunted hazel eyes, reached up and gently touched Jared’s face. “Like I said, I don’t regret coming for you. Now how do you feel about doing your hero a favour?” Jensen waited for Jared to answer.
Jared bit his lip, “You shouldn’t have had to make the choice. I’m supposed to be taking care of you, protecting you. Not running off hunting just because... I let you down. That’s what’s important and you got hurt because of me. How can I refuse you anything, Jensen?” Jared took hold of the hand that caressed his face and brought it to his lips, lightly kissing Jensen’s fingertips.
“All I want is for you to stay here with me. Is that alright? I’m sorry. I know you probably don’t want to, but I just don’t want to be alone right now.” Jensen dropped his eyes and his face flushed; it wasn’t all acting. He knew Jared was still struggling with his promise to Chad, and now he was putting pressure on him. But he really didn’t want to be alone right now, he needed Jared.
Jared felt his heart break a little for Jensen. None of this was his fault but he was the one paying the price for his mistakes. “Of course I’ll stay with you. Come on, time to get some sleep.” Jared eased them both down until they were lying in each other’s arms. Jensen sighed then he shivered, his T-shirt and boxers offering him little warmth. Jared held him tighter, trying to warm him up, “Stay still, I’m just gonna get something to cover us.” Jared rolled off the narrow bed and walked to his bed, picking up the comforter and carrying it back.
He covered Jensen with it, and then he toed off his boots and undid his jeans. Quickly taking them off, he climbed back in bed, lay on his back and eased Jensen back into his arms. Jared smiled as the other man settled against him and closed his eyes. Jensen rested a hand over his heart, and Jared placed his hand on top of Jensen’s.
Jensen gave a contented sigh as the heat from Jared’s body slowly spread though him. His eyes were heavy and despite his best efforts to fight sleep, he slowly started to drift off. His battered body’s aches faded a little, and for the first time in a long time he felt safe - being in Jared’s arms felt like home. He knew that as much as he wanted this to be forever, Jared’s obsession with the demon that took Chad from him, would never let him stop. As he let sleep claim him, Jensen thought there might be a way to stay with Jared. Maybe it was time to follow his heart.
As Jensen’s breathing evened out, Jared stared up at the ceiling. As he held the man lying beside him, Jared told himself he was just going to lie with Jensen until he was sure he was asleep. Then he would get out of bed, and let Jensen get some much deserved rest. Jared gently squeezed the hand that rested over his heart and he felt a warmth sweep through him that he hadn’t felt for such a long time. It wasn’t just physical warmth but for the first time since Chad, another human being had slipped past his defences. Sure Chris and Jim were fellow hunters, maybe even friends. But he’d been able to keep them at arm’s length, now this man had touched a part of him he thought was dead. In a few short days Jensen had given him a reason to live other than revenge and he wasn’t sure if he would be strong enough to fight the way he felt.
Jared yawned and closed his eyes, this morning’s little encounter with Mary had been bruising and exhausting. Perhaps he should just rest here for a few minutes then he would get up and find them something to eat. Jared’s bruised body began to stiffen slightly but the soothing sound of Jensen’s breathing helped him relax, and very soon Jared fell asleep.
Jared jerked awake. What the fuck was that? He realized that there was someone knocking on the door. Actually knocking on the door was polite. It sounded as if whoever was trying to get his attention was attacking the door with a sledge hammer. “Hang on, I’m coming.” He called out, wincing at how rough his voice sounded.
Jared looked at Jensen who seemed to be still asleep and smiled gently then he rubbed at his gritty eyes. Jared looked around the motel room, trying to get his eyes to focus; he raised his left arm and squinted at his watch. Shit! It was two o’clock in the afternoon. He’d been asleep for nearly three hours. Jared managed to ease his arm from under Jensen and got out of bed.
Jared spun round, panicking. Clothes…where the hell were his clothes? He tripped over his jeans and boots and grabbing his jeans, pulled them on quickly. He took a step towards the door and realized his was still semi-naked. Knowing he looked as if he’d gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson having a bad day, Jared scrambled for his bag. He rummaged through the contents. Finding a grey Henley he pulled it over his head. Whoever was on the other side of the door continued to pound on it.
Jared tilted his head to one side and considered the assault on the woodwork; he picked up his gun and walked to the door. He looked through the peephole in the door and smiled; he slipped the gun into the waist band of his jeans and pulled the Henley over it.
Opening the door, he smiled in greeting at his and Jensen’s visitor. Mabel stood, waiting, tapping her foot. More importantly, as far as Jared was concerned, it appeared she was carrying food with her. “Hi, Mabel, sorry about that, I was just...” Jared never had chance to furnish the older woman with an excuse as she swept into the room and placed the basket she was carrying on the table.
Jared closed the door and came face to face with an angry Mabel, standing there with her hands on her hips. “And just what the hell did you think you were doing this morning?” Mabel began. Jared stepped back a little, raising his hands in surrender.
“I don’t know what you mean, Mabel, and I was just coming to the diner to get something to eat for me and Jensen.” Jared smiled in a placating manner, his dimples deep and his eyes sparkling.
Mabel folded her arms and glared at the young man. She didn’t care how big he was; he needed to be told that he’d been damn stupid, “Don’t you avoid the damn subject. That little stunt this morning…and Earl rang me when you got back. I’ve been waitin’ on you since then. When I didn’t see you smack on noon I decided to make a delivery.” Mabel tried not to smile when she heard Jared’s stomach rumble, but she was angry with him for putting both himself and Jensen in danger.
Jared’s shoulders slumped and his head bowed; the only thing he didn’t do was scuff the floor with his foot. Guilt welled up and he bit his lip; he looked up at Mabel, his eyes large and soulful. “I didn’t think, I just went. I thought I had everything under control. I never meant for Jensen to be there; he should’ve stayed here.” Jared wrapped his arms round his body, managing to shrink in front of the enraged diner owner.
Mabel took a look at Jared and felt her anger draining away. When she’d spoken to Earl, he’d told her everything that had happened, even down to where he’d taken Jensen. Hearing that she nearly came charging over right then, the whole town knew about Mary and she’d been scared the two young men had been hurt. She shook her head dismissing the thoughts, “Look, Jared, I get you wanted to help Jensen with his damn ex-boyfriend. But son, there are better ways than charging off like that.”
Mabel paused and looked at the bed. Jensen had been woken by the commotion and was lying there, enjoying the show, “And you there, sleeping beauty, you don’t fool me none. I know you’re awake. You’re just as damn bad. Earl told me you could barely stand when you got to the house. You’re both as bad as each other; you go off to beat the crap out of his ex.” Mabel waved her hand in Jared’s direction, “And you, lying there all sweetness and light, you could’ve gotten yourself hurt runnin’ after Hero here. Damn, I don’t know which one of you is the bigger idiot, typical damn men. Would it kill ya to talk to one another?” Mabel stopped speaking and glared at both of them.
As Jared was stood with his head hanging and Jensen lay, looking up at her with wide sad eyes, she felt her resolve crumbling. How the hell was she supposed to stay mad when they both looked like whipped puppies? “Look, the important thing is you both got out in one piece. Eddie could have been the least of your worries. Just don’t scare me like that again; this town don’t exactly have a high number of attractive men. You two made the place a whole prettier, that coulda changed after your little party with Eddie. Now don’t just stand there, Jared, come and help me with the food.” Mabel moved to the table and started to unpack her basket.
Jared walked over and stood beside the fiery woman, and Mabel handed him a container. “Now it’s gonna be warm enough to eat right now. And I put some extra pie in there for the two of ya, though you don’t deserve it for being a pair of knuckleheads. Now you be a good boy, Jared and keep working. I want a little word with Jensen.” Jared couldn’t help but grin as Mabel advanced towards the bed. He saw Jensen’s eyes grow wider with every step, and he eased himself up in the bed.
Mabel sat on the edge of the bed, reached out and put her hand on Jensen’s hand. “I thought you might have a little more sense about ya, knowing just what Eddie’s capable of. But it just goes to show what bein’ in love will do to your brain.” Mabel squeezed Jensen’s hand gently, and smiled.
Jensen glanced worriedly over to where Jared was piling two plates high with food. Mabel gave a low laugh, “Don’t you worry none, sweetheart, all Jared can hear is his stomach growling at the minute. It’s written all over your face how you feel about him. Don’t forget the first time I laid eyes on you, all you were worried about was handsome behind me. Now, why don’t you tell me why you two ain’t together?” Mabel gave him a warm smile.
Jensen shrugged his shoulders. What could he tell Mabel? That Jared had just rescued him from a maniac only a few short days ago? That they could never be together because Jared was still in love with his dead boyfriend? And oh, for a living he hunted monsters, “It’s kind of complicated, Mabel. You could say that me and Jared are both trying to get over real bad break-ups. Jared saved me from Eddie and he thinks my feelings are to do with gratitude. Maybe if we’d met some other time, but.....”
Mabel sat up straighter and stared into Jensen’s troubled eyes, “Sweetheart, you can keep all your damn Dr Phil crap; you know what the heart wants, the heart wants. There ain’t any rhyme or reason to it, and that’s what makes love so worth all the damn heartache it causes.” She watched the young man as he went over her words in his mind.
He just wished it was that simple, but there was so much more to it. He looked over at Jared who was happily sorting out their meal. His mind strayed back to their kisses earlier and the way Jared held him. Maybe Mabel was right - there was a chance for them, if only he had the courage to act.
There was something else playing on his mind, and perhaps this was the woman who could help him with his problem. “Mabel, can I ask you another question? It might seem a completely random question, but trust me it has plenty to do with my situation with Jared.” Jensen paused, looking at Mabel for permission to carry on speaking; she gave his hand another squeeze, nodding encouragement.
Jensen took a breath and tried to explain, “A long time ago a friend of mine made me promise to turn my back on a career path that I wanted to follow. I know he was trying to keep me safe and he set me on the path to becoming a doctor. But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about that promise, and how hard it’s getting for me to keep it. I don’t know what to do. My friend died some time ago and it just feels as if I’d be letting him down if I broke my promise. My head tells me it’s stupid to want this, but my heart isn’t listening to my head anymore.” Jensen looked at Mabel hoping she could help him with his dilemma.
Mabel just grinned at him, “Sweetheart, I just own the local diner. I don’t have the answer to all of life’s mysteries. Something tells me you already know the answer to that one, and I think your friend would understand your decision. Sometimes you have no choice but to follow your heart, no matter where it leads ya but I will give you this advice. Think about it long and hard, Jensen, because I get the feeling whatever you decide, it will change your life forever. Just be sure, sweetheart.”
Jared walked over and heard those words, “Be sure of what, Mabel?” He handed Jensen a plate of food and grinned when he heard his stomach rumble.
Mabel winked at Jensen and stood up to face Jared, “He needs to be sure that you ain’t gonna run off and do something stupid again. I’ve told Earl to hog tie him to the bed, if he has to. And then I’ll come and bring you back. And trust me, Jared, that’s something you don’t want me to do, ‘cause I’ll tan your hide for you. Now are you gonna be a good boy? Or am I going to have to ground you?” Mabel was smiling as she threatened Jared, distracting him from the conversation she’d had with Jensen.
Jared laughed and held up his hands in surrender, “Trust me, Mabel, I’ve learned from my mistake. You won’t have to worry about Houdini here escaping again. I intend to watch him like a hawk. I promise to bring the dishes back a little later.” Jared smiled at Mabel as she walked over to the table, picking up her basket.
Jared walked Mabel to the door and as she stepped outside she turned back, “You take care of Jensen now, and no more playing the Knight in Shining Armour. Believe me, Jensen already thinks you’re a hero; you don’t have to prove anything to him. And if there is anything you want to talk about, you just bend my ear when you come by later, and I will expect you to come by later. I’ll make you two boys something special.” Mabel stepped closer to Jared and she pulled him into a one armed hug.
Jared was surprised when Mabel did that, but he found himself wrapping his arms around her and squeezing her gently, “I promise to look after Jensen, and no more heroics. You have my word on that. Really, you don’t have to do anything special for us. Honestly Mabel, you’ve done more than enough already. I bet you abandoned Bert to make this delivery. Seriously Mabel, thank you for everything you’ve done.” Jared gave her one of his brightest smiles.
Mabel reached up and patted his cheek, “Ahh honey, it’s my pleasure. Like I said, this town don’t see too many handsome young men, so when we do I like to spoil ‘em. Now git inside and eat your dinner before it gets cold, or Jensen snatches it. That boy looks like he needs a few decent meals inside of him. Now don’t forget, I’ll see you later, Jared.” Mabel walked away, turning back to wave as she left.
Jared walked back into the room, and saw that Jensen was doing a great job of demolishing the food Mabel brought them. He picked up his own plate, sat on his bed and they ate in companionable silence. When they finished Jared picked up the plates and cleared away the remains of their meal. “Do you want something to drink, Jen? How about a nice cup of coffee?” Jared watched in amusement as Jensen groaned in desperation.
“Don’t mock a wounded man. You know I’d love a cup of coffee, but you got me on starvation rations.” Jensen let his head drop forward onto his knees, and then the air was filled with a delicious aroma. Jensen lifted his head and in front of him was a cup, and holding the cup was Jared. “Oh God, I’ve died and this is Heaven. The only thing wrong is you’re not naked and that is a slight disappointment for Heaven.” Jensen reached for the cup and looked up; Jared was laughing at him, his smile lighting up the room.
“No, you haven’t died. This is my way of saying thank you for what you did this morning, plus I can’t stand the whimpering when I drink my coffee. I also promise to bear in mind, serving you coffee naked in future.” Jared reached over and absently patted Jensen on the back when he coughed and spluttered at Jared’s suggestion for future coffees together.
“God, I swear you’re trying to kill me. By the way, did you have a good rest?” Jensen asked, looking over his cup at Jared.
Jared rolled his eyes and sat on the bed beside him, “Damn, I should’ve known you were up to something. You lured me into bed and kept me there. I slept really well, thanks doc. Now why don’t you tell me how you are?” Jared looked at Jensen; he was still pale but the dark circles around his eyes seemed to have gotten a little fainter.
Jensen gave him a smile, “Jay, I promise you, I’m fine. I’m a little tired and I admit I feel as if I’ve been run over by your truck but if it hadn’t been for you I would’ve been in a worse state. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me especially after my freak-out this morning. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you.” Jensen blushed and looked down. He hadn’t meant to gush all over the place - he just wanted to thank Jared for everything he’d done.
Jared placed his hand on Jensen’s, “There is nothing to thank me for. I should’ve used my brain and not gone after Mary. If I could do things differently, then you would have been tucked up in bed, resting. I was pushing too hard to get you home. You need time to recover, not get dragged into all my shit.” Jared rested against the headboard and looked regretfully at Jensen.
Jensen just smiled and nudged Jared with his shoulder, “What, and miss out on all the fun we’ve had with the hunt? Look, you did the right thing going after Mary. She was getting more violent and you know it. Jared, like I said, don’t beat yourself up. What I did today was my choice. I’m a big boy now; the hospital even lets me have grown-up scissors to play with.”
Jared returned the smile and as he looked at the man lying next to him, that little voice that kept bothering him about Jensen’s skill with research was back. Maybe it was time to ask the question and quieten that voice. “I was supposed to be here for you, not finding out my roomie was a hunter in the making. I have to know, Jensen. How the hell did you manage to make all those connections? I’ve been doing this for three years now, and it took me a long, long time to get that good. You’re a natural at research, Jensen, and somehow I don’t think it’s anything to do with training to be a doctor. Want to help me out a little, please?” As he spoke he turned to face Jensen, watching that expressive face as he considered his answer. Jared wondered just what was going through his mind. He’d seen a flicker of fear, uncertainty and now there was determination. It was as if Jensen had wrestled with the answer to this question for a very long time.
Jensen looked down at the half-drunk cup of coffee in his hand; he turned it round and round, watching the black liquid within, swirl. Mabel had been right about him knowing the answer to the question he’d asked her. He’d known it for a long time, even before Morgan had kidnapped him. Being a nurse and now a doctor wasn’t enough, if he was really honest it had never been enough. But he’d intended to honour the promise he’d made to Kim all those years ago. But now he was coming to terms with exactly who he was, who he was meant to be. It wasn’t just finally admitting to his parents he was gay; there was something he was finally prepared to admit to himself. Yes, it would change his life forever, but sometimes you had to follow your heart.
Jensen stopped staring into the coffee as if it held the answer to all his questions. He looked up into Jared’s warm hazel eyes, biting his lip, not knowing what to say to the man who rescued him.
Jared watched as Jensen struggled to speak to him; he took the cup from Jensen and his hands fell into his lap. Jared took hold of the other man’s hands and stroked his thumb back and forth, “Come on, Jen, what’s wrong? Tell me please.” Jared pleaded softly.
Jensen drew in a shaky breath. It was now or never, and finally he couldn’t contain the words that had run round and round his head for a long time. “Jay, I want to be a hunter.”