“No..Sammy no ……oh lord!”
Jared closed his eyes and sighed. It’s a cloudy morning and he’s on his way home from his daily walk. And the reason of his sighs has jumped into the fifth puddle in a row.
Evan Samuel Ackles looked up at his father with wide green eyes full of mischief and giggled, proudly showcasing his prime assets..three tiny baby teeth.
Really, Jared hasn't relaxed for a single second ever since his son discovered that running is way better than sitting around on dada’s lap. So when not working, he spends most of these days running after a toddler who’s like a baby monkey on a sugar high.
The hazel eyed man knelt in front of his son to look into his eyes.
“No more jumpin.. kay?”
It’s hard to discipline someone who still fills his diapers on a daily basis.
Being a college professor, Jared can easily bring down a room full of rude twenty year olds with a single stare. With his height and personality, it rarely takes anything else.
But he is totally helpless in front of his pint sized audience.
“Pway da..pway bwum bwum.”
Sammy pointed at his jumpsuit which was embellished with tiny car motifs, prompting an eye roll from his dad.
Along with everything else, his son has also inherited Jensen’s love for cars.
Jared’s boyfriend of three years and husband of five. Father of his child.. and source of all his concern. Yes…that’s his Jensen.
His very own pain in the ass.
Their story is anything but classic.
Their families had started as neighbors and ended up as close relatives…intertwined in every way possible.
Gerald and Sharon Padalecki settled in San Antonio, Texas after their marriage…and so did Jensen’s parents Alan and Donna Ackles. Gerald was the English teacher in high school while Alan was the editor of the city news paper. Their little homes stood side by side with only a fence in between, nurturing two loving families.
When a pregnant Sherry suddenly went into labor in Gerald’s absence , it was Alan and Donna who drove her to hospital. His older brother Jeffrey was born . And it was Sherry who stayed with Donna in the labor room when a freaked out Alan had fainted, before she gave birth to Josh. Soon Jared and Jensen came along in the Ackles and Padalecki clans to add to the merry little bunch.
The four boys had grown up with two sets of parents who loved them to death.
Their moms did everything together. Going to Lamaze classes, shopping for diapers, worrying about rising prices and their rambunctious firstborns… and sharing tissues to dry off tears when their baby birds left the nests for a wider world.They were each others' kids godmothers…and second moms in every sense of the world.
Jeff and Josh went off to Harvard Medical School just as they had dreamed.
Few years later it was Jensen’s turn. Jensen finished at the top of his class and went off to Stanford for a degree in Journalism and Mass-communication with a full ride scholarship.
Jared, being the eternal geek that he was, followed him two years later to study Economics.
Gerry and Alan had never been more proud of their kids.
Jensen had always been an enigma. To outsiders he appeared more as a rowdy teenager than a student and a brilliant one at that. But those who had known him closely knew better.
The boys had grown up as close mates and confidants. Even when apart, they mailed each other regularly with an occasional phone call now and then. But nothing had prepared Jared for the shock he received when he saw Jen again.
No. Stanford with all its glory had failed to rob Jensen of himself. He was still the leather clad, kick your ass six different ways in a bar fight, astonishingly beautiful man that Jared had crushed over since his teens.
Yeah that was the start.
Jensen had finished his degree at the top of his class as usual and followed it up with another degree in International Relations. He became a foreign correspondent in a prestigious news corporation just as he had dreamed…his insight in international issues making him one of the most sought after journalists in the field .
Jared had always loved his friend…without realizing that Jensen also loved him back with the same ferocity.
He would never have expressed his feelings.
It took Jensen nearly dying from a mine explosion in war torn Somalia for Jared to realize how precious life is.
The rest, as their moms fondly like to say, was history.
Now here they are…almost ten years later with a little family and a fourteen months old who was too much like Jensen for Jared’s comfort.
The pregnancy in itself was a surprise. Jared was a tenured professor in a university with a husband who shuttled across the globe in every major tension zone…both incredibly busy with their respective jobs. One heated ‘welcome home’ session against the living room wall after Jensen made it back from terror ravaged Swat valley in one piece was all it took.
By the time Sammy came wriggling out of his da’s tummy nine months later, Josh and Jeff had found their soul mates in Eve and Emma, two fellow doctors while they worked with the Doctors without borders in Congo . So there you go….
Jared’s train of thought was broken by his little son who put his hands up at him in an imperious pick-me-up gesture that he mastered effortlessly. He had no doubt from where his son had inherited all his rambunctiousness .
“What baby? Wanna have a nap? ” Jared tried.
They had made it back to their home after three more puddles and one exasperated dad. A nap would do them good…..to Jared at least.
Sammy pointed at the TV and giggled.
The hazel eyed man smiled sadly. Three more days and Jensen would be back . He had been sent to Middle-East to cover another story.
Picking up the remote he jumped to BBC- World out of sheer habit.
Jensen tried to call regularly. But the nature of his profession made it impossible for him to keep in regular touch…especially so in remote areas. Like now.
“Yeah Dee buddy.” he uttered absently waiting for the stupid commercials to end. Jensen’s segment covered major international issues and were always placed at the very beginning.
And then he saw it flashing in the bottom of the screen.
BREAKING NEWS : SERIAL EXPLOSIONS IN WESTERN KURDISTAN KILLS HUNDRED INCLUDING TWO FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS AND INJURES THREE HUNDRED AS THE SHIA-SUNNI CONFLICT WORSENS.
It’s the words that did it.
It was like any other news piece.. presented in the cliched style to garner ratings. Bright bold letters in a stark contrast to horrifying background images of mangled bodies and screaming people.
Two foreign correspondents.
Two foreign correspondents killed.
Jared’s mind kept on repeating this sentence as if in a loop.
Clutching his baby to his chest he waited for the news….
....he’s good at waiting.
The anchor starts again.
“In another act of unprecedented violence in Iraq, the Kurdi rebels exploded a series of car bombs in a busy market place in Arbil, the capital of Kurdish area. About hundred people lost their lives and another three hundred have been seriously injured. Another fifty people have been reported to be killed as two more car bombs exploded in Kirkuk in Northern Iraq. Two journalists of Sun TV network have also lost their lives. Our special correspondent Jensen Ackles reports….”
Jared closes his eyes in relief.
He never thought he could ever be happy at the sight of such bloodshed.
But he is.
The screen fills with images of an arid desert type area and the camera pans to the left to catch the sight of a beautiful man.
He is dressed in a faded green tee and jeans…and his sunglasses are positioned over his head.
Jared drinks the sight of the man. His freckles have multiplied in the desert sun and cheeks have gotten ruddier. He has gotten a bit pale. But it’s his husband.
Sammy bounces happily at the sight of his beloved Dee prompting a gentle smile from his father. He concentrates on the news.
“Thank you Karen. As you can see in the background….”
And Jensen begins his in-depth analysis of the situation. He fluently interviews a few locals in their native Kurdi dialect, getting their side of the story in his usual informal manner. Then he relates it back to the anchor in English, answering her questions along the way. The camera switches to a hospital where they show Jensen talking with two teenagers who survived the blast.
“And that’s it from our side…Special correspondent Jensen Ackles reporting with camera person Osric Chau , BBC- WORLD.”
Jared switches off the TV and breathes deeply.
It’s like this always.
He needs a moment to gather himself.
The phone vibrates .
Two message from Jeff and Josh.
Two tiny little hearts.
Jared smiles. It’s their secret code to let each other know that everything’s fine. Jensen’s ok.
Jeff and Emma have been watching. Josh and Eve. Alan and Donna. His mom and dad.
All their hearts beating as one. He can’t wait for Jensen to be back.
This time he'll never let him go.