The black SUV skidded into the corner as it was taken at speed; Jared hit the passenger door with a yelp, “For fuck’s sake, Rosenbaum. We want to get to Ackles alive. He doesn’t need his retrieval team to end up smeared all over the damn freeway.”
“Sorry, Jared, but LA traffic...what can you do?” Mike slammed his hand down hard on the horn and leaned out of the window “Move, you fucking morons. Can’t you see the blue flashing lights? Thank you. Have a nice day!” Mike yelled as he cut across three lanes of traffic.
In the back Jared could hear Tom typing on his lap top “Jay, I got the LAPD incoming. They want to know what the Hell is going on.” As Tom spoke there was the sound of sirens approaching rapidly behind them.
Jared snatched Tom’s phone as it was passed to him and he could hear the sound of a furious cop squawking away, “Listen! I don’t have time for pleasantries. This is Agent Jared Padalecki of the F.B.I. Undercover unit. We have an agent coming in hot and hurt and I would really appreciated it if you would please tell your fucking Keystone cops to kill their sirens before they kill my agent. Have you guys never heard of silent running? Don’t make me lean out of this window and shoot the damn sirens off their cars... Yes, we do have armed back-up coming in right behind us. Very armed back-up. Now do me a favour. Stay out of our way and call Special Agent Kripke, my boss. He will fill you in. Bye.”
With that, Jared disconnected the call and handed the phone back to Tom. He heard a faint pained chuckling in his head set, “Real smooth, Padalecki. That’s what I call interagency co-operation. Have you considered a career in the Diplomatic Corps?”
“Aw, come on, Jensen, I said ‘please’, didn’t I? What more do they want? Listen. We’re about ten minutes out. You hold on, right? “Jared waited to see if he would get a response.
“Sure. I ain’t goin anywhere real soon. It seems having a bullet hole in your leg makes running a tad difficult. But I’m sure I could improvise.” Jensen’s voice was weakening, the pain more evident than before.
“Don’t forget, man. You promised to buy me a coffee. Are you going to welch on your promise?” Jared was trying to keep the injured man talking.
“Sure. How can I forget that frou-frou crap you drink?”
~~~Six Months Ago~~~
Jared sat at his desk in the LA undercover unit, watching the clock intently. Mike nudged Tom and they both sat forward, grinning at Jared, “My, my! Look at that concentration! Could it possibly be time for the call?” Mike smirked as he spoke to Jared.
Just before Jared could reply the phone rang. Jared’s mouth went dry as he reached out to answer it. Jared had transferred to LA from the New York undercover unit just over six months ago. In that time he had proven himself to be a highly expert handler.
When most people hear undercover, they think of agents risking their lives by pretending to be someone else. They never hear of the handlers who look after those agents. There are usually two handlers for each undercover. The face-to-face one, who meets the agent at designated times, picks up evidence and acts as a touchstone back to the Bureau. Then there is the other handler who deals with the agent on the phone, offering everything from a sympathetic ear to a fully automatic machine gun, if needed. They’re fixers and Jared specialized in this role. It wasn’t that he didn’t like meeting agents; it was just that Jared’s talent lay with dealing with several agents at once. He kept their legends alive, providing cover stories when needed to the bad guys, and he was damn good at what he did.
In fact, he was so good he’d been given the holy grail of the LA undercover unit. Jensen I walk on water for fun Ackles. Jensen had been in deep cover for nearly three years within one of the biggest drug cartels operating in LA. It was unheard of to survive this long.
Jensen’s last handler nearly had his cover blown as Jensen had told his other handler, Christian Kane at the last face to face. Apparently, according to Chris, what Jensen had said was.... “Tell that dickwad, Chad, if I ever meet him I will shoot his balls off. I don’t care how fucking hot she was. He is supposed to answer his goddamn phone when I’m about to get my ass handed to me.” Chris had said the bruises had started to fade by the time he’d seen Jensen, but he’d stormed into Kripke’s office, screamed nonstop for ten minutes and that’s how Jared got the gig.
Jared smiled as he picked up the phone; it was time for Jensen’s regular check in. Jensen’s designated line was flashing, “Hi Alec. How’s it going?”
“Well, good afternoon to you, Sasquatch. I’m very well. How is cousin Rosy?” Jared relaxed. As long as Jensen greeted him with his code name ‘Sasquatch’ everything was fine. If ever he was greeted by Jensen calling him ‘Jared’ then all Hell would break loose.
“Oh, Rosy is just fine and sends her warm regards.” Jared ignored Mike ‘Rosy’ Rosenbaum giving him the finger. “What can I do for you today, Alec? Anything special? Or is this a social call?” Jared relaxed back in his chair. He loved talking to Jensen. God! That voice! Jensen laughed and Jared had to sit up again. There was something sexy about that laugh that went straight to Jared’s dick.
“Ahh, you know what, Sasquatch? One day we’ll have to meet up and have a cup of coffee, and talk properly.” Jared smiled happily at that; he knew Jensen was safe to talk. He wasn’t being guarded. Jared always knew when Jensen was with the subjects of the investigation; the easy chat was still there but his voice held an edge only Jared could discern.
“That would be great; you just name the time and place, and I’ll order the coffee for you. By the way, how do you like it?”
“What? My coffee or my men?” Again that laugh; Jared closed his eyes at that sound.
“Well, I like a hazelnut skinny decaf latte, and what do you drink?” Jared asked.
“Holy crap! Are you sure that’s a coffee? I take mine black, thanks. Are you sure you’re from Texas?” Jensen sounded horrified at the coffee Jared liked to drink.
“Oh yeah, cowboy! And you know what they say about Texas....”
“Bragging again, Sasquatch? I really will have to take you out for a coffee one day. Dude, I have a favour or three to ask.” From there the conversation had turned back to the case.
Once he’d hung up, he looked up into Mike and Tom’s faces - they were grinning. “Tell me, Jared. How does it feel to be in love with the Bureau’s Number One Agent? Enquiring minds really need to know?” Mike smirked and Tom made kissing noises.
“Hey! What can I say but when you’re hot, you’re hot! Can I help it if he’s fallen for my manly charms?” Jared folded his hands behind his head, ignoring Mike and Tom’s retching sounds in the background.
“So, come on, then, what do I drink, Jensen?” Jared barked out as the SUV skidded to a halt.
“Some god-awful excuse for coffee with steamed milk and crap, and you do know that you give being gay a bad name with that drink. It just panders to the stereotype.” Jensen coughed a little and Jared heard a muttered “Shit.” Jensen fell silent.
“Jensen? JENSEN...Talk to me, dude. Don’t you dare pass out on me! Do you hear me? And what’s with the black coffee talk about overcompensating, dude. We’re at arriving at the hotel; just keep talking to me, Jensen!!” Jared was yelling into his headset.
“It’s not that. I hate having my caffeine diluted, and by the way, toppy much? Are you always like this or do you just reserve it for me?” Jensen’s voice rasped down the phone. Jared felt relief wash over him.
“No. It’s only you I reserve this for and I have to warn you I don’t put up with pushy bottoms so you just watch it, Ackles.” Jensen laughed at that.
“Promises, promises. You do realize that we’ve just outed ourselves to the entire LA Field Office and the Armed Tactical Unit?”
“Jensen, I did that the day they found me with my tongue down Agent Jeff Morgan’s throat. His girlfriend was pretty cool with it, though. I just blamed the ten tequilas I’d had and that Jeff was hot.”
“Oh well. In the spirit of confession then...it happened to me when I played tonsil hockey with one of the bodyguards in my first undercover and, instead of asking for counselling due to trauma, I asked for condoms.” Jared roared with laughter.
“Jay, look. If the worse comes to the worst, you’re the hottest handler I’ve ever had.” Jensen’s voice was fading again.
“Thanks, Jensen for that fairly dirty compliment and nothing is going to happen. Do you hear me? I’ve not waited this long to find out how hot you are, only for you to check out on me.”
Jared sped up as he ran towards the hotel. It was one the Bureau used in case of emergencies. Jared tilted his head back to take in the massive structure and muttered under his breath “Twenty fucking storeys and no room number. Piece of cake.”
~~~Three Months Ago~~~
Jared was just finishing up his shift for the day when Christian Kane, Jensen’s other handler appeared and drew up a chair, “Evening, Jay. How are ya? Still pining for our superhero? He sends his undying love and a request for a pair of your boxers to slip under his pillow as he sleeps.” Chris flashed a smile at Jared when he said that.
“Come on, Kane. Give me a damn clue, will ya? What the hell does Jensen look like? I know all his pictures have been removed from the public records - everything from Quantico to the last office party he attended. Is it because he’s ugly or because they don’t want to risk his cover being blown? Oh God! That’s it. I’ve fallen for a sexy voice and the guy looks like Quasimodo.” Jared sighed dramatically.
“So you have fallen for him! Damn, kid! You know how to pick ‘em.” Chris looked serious as he spoke.
“I know. I know it’s frowned upon but I can’t help it, and yes, before you ask, I’m aware it could be because of the intense relationship due to undercover work. I’ve heard all the lectures and seminars. I promise you it won’t interfere with my job and I’ll take care of him.” Jared looked down as he said this.
“Jay, listen to me. If I read Jen right it could be mutual, but don’t forget he ain’t out of cover yet. But I’ll let you into a little secret; this is his last undercover gig. He says it’s time to come home, he’s had his fun. Don’t forget your phone. See ya soon.” Chris stood up and left.
By the time Jared had reached his apartment it was well after midnight. He dropped onto his couch and sighed. He was thinking about how he’d fallen for the most accomplished undercover agent in LA. He remembered what Jeff Morgan, one of his instructors from Quantico, had said when he’d gone into this area of the bureau.
“Right, ladies and gentlemen, this is hard but rewarding work. The agents you deal with will treat you as everything from confessor to friend, even lover. Let them, you are their safety valve. You are their link to the real world; yours maybe the only voice that keeps them anchored in place. In the end it’s your judgement that could keep them alive; you can call the job if you have to. When they call you, you listen, talk to them about anything they want and access their state of mind. We can rebuild blown operations, but you can never replace a human being. Just remember that.”
Jared’s phone burst into life. It was Jensen’s ring tone; it was the theme from Batman, and it had come about after a conversation concerning superheroes.
“So, come on, Sasquatch. If you were a superhero who would you be?”
“Hm... let me see. I know...Superman.” Jared was laughing.
“Would that be because you could clear tall buildings with a single leap and are faster than a speeding bullet or because you get to wear your underpants over your pants?”
“Nope, I’d use my X-Ray vision to see through your clothes. So, come on then, who would you be? Jared asked.
“Ohh, that’s easy. Batman - just your every day hotter than hell billionaire with the coolest car on the planet.”
“Oh, so you look like Christian Bale then?” Jared had asked excitedly.
“That’s for me to know and you to dream about. ‘Night Sasquatch.” Jensen hung up.
Now Jared answered the phone, “Evening Alec, actually morning. What can I do for you today?” For a second there was silence.
“Hi there, Sasquatch. How are you?” Jared was on the alert; Jensen didn’t sound like his usual self. The life that filled his voice wasn’t there. Jared waited for him to continue.
“Jay, can I ask you something?”
“Anything man, but I can’t loan you any money. There is no way I can afford Alec’s ugly-assed shirts.” Jared continued, gently laughing. Hell, he’d seen the expense receipts and they’d made his eyes water.
Jensen joined in then, “Jay, what do you look like? I just want to picture you when we talk.”
Jared bit his lip. Should he make a lewd joke of this? But there was something in the tone of Jensen’s voice, “Ok, I’m six foot five; according to Mike and Tom I need to stop going to the gym before I can’t fit though the door in the office any more. I have dark-brown hair which has been described as chocolate coloured and it’s longer than regulation, but not as long as Kane’s. My eyes are hazel, and some say are slanted, even cat-like. Oh, and when I smile I have dimples.” Jared waited.
“Damn, you got me. I didn’t think you were all that hot but I have a secret dimple kink.”
“Jensen, are you alright?” Jared was concerned at the sound of Jensen’s voice.
“I’m fine, Jay. Just a little tired. It gets lonely here sometimes, and it’s nice to have a friendly voice I can talk to. Now I know what you look like it helps. Jay, when all this is over do you know what I’m going to do?”
“No, Jensen. Tell me, please.”
“The first thing I’m going to do is have a shower in my apartment and wash Alec off me and then I’m going to have the biggest steak I can find. Alec’s a fucking vegetarian, it’s killing me, man.” Jared relaxed; he could hear the life seeping back into Jensen’s voice as he talked.
“Right then, it’s a date. I’ll take you to the best steak house in LA even if I have to take out a loan. How do you like your steak? I like mine with just the horns, and hooves taken off and its ass wiped.”
Jensen roared with laughter when he heard that, “I like it like that too. It’s a date and don’t forget the baked potatoes and sour cream, dude.”
“Ok then, and what do you look like so I know who to give the bunch of flowers to?” Jared asked hopefully.
“Nice try, Sasquatch. All I’m saying is no one has ever run away screaming. Goodnight, Jay.” Jensen hung up.
“Goodnight, Jensen. I hope to see you soon.”
“Come on, Jensen. Am I going to have to dangle a steak on fishing line to find you? Talk to me, man. We’re in the lobby. I need a room number.” Jared was looking round the lobby as people scattered at the sight of heavily-armed men pouring through the door.
“Jay, its room 1210, I’m on the twelfth floor. Shit! I think I can hear someone. Hurry!” The line went dead. Jared took off for the stairs at a dead run, the elevator would take too long. He knew he was being followed by Mike, Tom and some of the tactical unit. He could see the tactical unit spread out to cover all the stairwells and exits. Some of the men took the elevators in case someone tried to travel down.
“How do you think they found out where Jensen is?” Tom called out, breathing heavily.
“How about we ask him when we find him? I just hope he was wrong about someone being there.” Jared sprinted up another flight of stairs, his lungs burning with exertion.
~~~One Month Ago~~~
The office was a hive of activity today. One of the big undercover cases had wrapped up and the undercover agent had been brought home safely. There was a party atmosphere as various groups celebrated the return of their particular agent. Jared sat watching with a mixture of joy and envy.
Tom sat on the end of his desk, “Don’t worry, Jared. That will be us soon when Jensen gets out. I’m pretty sure some of the Intel Kane brought in the other may just be what they need to break the cartel wide open.”
“Yeah, I know, but it gets harder each time I talk to him. I worry that he will slip away and become Alec. He’s been doing this for such a long time, man. What’s he got to come home to? What can our world offer him? I mean, there’s all the excitement and money, all we can offer him is crappy coffee.” Jared grimaced as he took a sip of his coffee to prove a point.
Tom stood up and walked round to his desk, “True, but we have something that Alec’s world doesn’t.”
Jared looked puzzled, “What’ve we got?”
Tom smiled, “You.”
The phone rang, Jared looked surprised. It was Jensen’s line. His gut twisted. This was an unexpected call, it could mean bad news. Tom saw the light blink; he stood up and yelled “Quiet, people. It’s the ‘hello’ line.” A hush fell over the office; the ‘hello’ line was the term used for the undercover agents designated lines. When they rang, they were always answered as if it were a private call.
“Hi, Alec, how are we today?” Jared tensed for bad news.
“Hi, Sasquatch, are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I’ll begin.” Jared relaxed and motioned for the party to start up again.
“Begin what? Jensen?”
“Once upon a time a brave and handsome prince was sent upon a magical quest to slay a many-headed dragon. The prince fought many hard battles and was parted from his beloved princess for many long years. Finally the prince cut the heart from the dragon and was able to return home to collect his prize, the hand of his fair lady.....”
“Excuse me? Are you calling me a girl?” Jared growled
“Hey, if the girly hair fits! Now shush. The Prince was told by his king his quest was over and he could return whence he came.” Jensen went quiet while he waited for Jared to catch up.
“Hold on, are you saying what I think your saying?”
“Oh yeah, Sasquatch. Start scrabbling round for loose change behind your couch. I’m coming home, you owe me a steak. I just gotta carefully slide away; no sudden moves and I’ll be home free.” Jensen had never sounded so happy; Jared nearly started to dance round the office with joy.
Jared licked his lips and glanced round the room before almost whispering down the phone, “I just hope the handsome prince won’t mind when his princess manhandles his ass all over the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, hall and lounge.” Jared could hear Jensen’s breathing becoming heavier as he spoke.
“Damn! You really do say the sweetest things; I might just take you up on that if you don’t look too much like Princess Fiona.”
“Hey! For all I know you could be Shrek’s uglier brother, I might be the one in danger here. I know I’m gorgeous.”
“And completely modest with it. Look, I gotta go, Jared. Speak to you soon. Bye.” When Jensen hung up Jared couldn’t help the smile that lit up his face. He looked over to Kripke’s office and saw Chris standing there; he waved and grinned at Jared. Jared knew that Chris was planning Jensen’s exit strategy with the boss.
Jared’s desperate sprint caused him to pull away from the other agents; he reached the twelfth floor first. He paused carefully, looking round the corner. There was no one in the corridor. Jared pulled his gun from his holster and slowly made his way towards Room 1210. The corridor was silent, the only sound Jared’s soft footfalls on the thick carpet. He reached the room. Shit! The door was open and he could either kick the door in, screaming “F.B.I.,” or he could try a little stealth and ease his way in. He was about to go with option one when he heard voices. Jared carefully pushed at the door and it swung open silently.
The scene unfolding caused his gut to clench in fear; a heavy-set man with a gun in his hand was standing over another lying on the floor. Jensen was covered in blood and whimpering quietly, due to the fact the man was pressing down on his injured leg with his foot. Jared realized he was speaking and he focused.
“Well, well, pretty boy. I've finally found a use for you. I gotta say setting you up like that really made my day. You’ve been a fucking pain in my ass for three years.”
“I do what I can, man. But really? Telling Collins I was screwing his girlfriend? Credit me with more taste than that.”
“Oh, I know you bat for the other team, Alec, but I couldn’t resist handing you over like that. I love it that when Collins eats his breakfast I’m the only one who know what his girl sounds like when she’s bent over that table and I’m giving it to her from behind.” The man laughed unpleasantly as he pressed harder against Jensen’s leg. Jensen tried to squirm away from the pain but he was going nowhere.
“How’d ya find me, dude? Even I didn’t know where I was goin’.”
“Oh, Alec, money talks. All Collins did was ring his pet Concierge and tell him there was 200G reward for the one that gave you up. I hear the mobile networks nearly melted with how quick he spread the word. I gotta say the picture he sent looked better than you do now.”
Jared moved forward slowly, recalling how it had come to this moment, as he took in Jensen’s badly-beaten face.
~~~ 1 Hour Ago~~~~
Jared was leaning back in his chair; he was just completing his paperwork on a successful retrieval of an agent from deep cover when the phone rang. It was Jensen’s line; Jared smiled as he reached for the phone, “Hi Alec...” before he could continue...
“Jared, help.” Jensen’s voice was breathy and shaky as it came down the phone. Jared stood up so fast his chair shot backwards. He pressed the speaker phone and yelled out “Agent in Trouble! Now, people!”
The room froze, waiting, “Alec, repeat please. Are you blown?” For a beat the only sound was Jensen’s raggedly-pained breathing.
Then came a mirthless laugh, “Jared, I fucking wish my cover had been blown, and then all you’d have to do is find my body on the beach.” Jensen coughed.
“Why are you running then? Jensen, talk to me.” As Jared spoke the office looked as if a hurricane had struck and Jared was in the eye of the storm. Desks were cleared rapidly, phone calls made to the tactical unit to bring them up to speed. Tom and Mike were preparing to move out, Tom grabbing his lap top and comms to keep Jared in contact with Jensen, Mike arranging for an SUV, before returning with three vests for the men to wear.
Jared was about to prompt Jensen to talk when, “Some fucker told Collins I’m screwing his girlfriend.”
Jared’s blood ran cold. Misha Collins, the man in absolute charge, Jensen’s target. He was intelligent, charming, and handsome. But he could also be cold, ruthless and was in complete control at all times. Except for where his girlfriend Julie was concerned. There, Collins was pathologically jealous. It was rumoured he’d killed a man for just kissing her hand. Jensen had once jokingly said the way to bring Collins down was to get some poor schmuck to bend Julie over Misha’s car and then just pick up what was left.
“Jensen, are you hurt? How bad is it?” Jared was almost frantic now, as he pulled on the vest and began to run to the SUV.
“Well, I had a little chat with Mr Collins not too long ago... and ahh fucking Hell.” Jared heard harsh pants coming down the phone, he waited. “Sorry, it’s a little hard to run with half your rib cage broken. Where was I? Oh, conversation. Like I said, he used my ribs for a punch bag, and I never knew you could punch someone in the face hard enough to rattle their teeth. Lucky me, I do now.” Jensen’s voice was wavering as he spoke. Jared had reached the SUV and Mike was gunning the engine with Tom in the back seat, booting up his lap top to track Jensen and find the nearest safe house to him.
Jared had barely lifted his back foot off the floor before Mike tore out of the car park. “Where are you now, Jensen? Are you still at Collins’ apartment?” Jared knew he wasn’t by the sounds he could hear as Jensen was running, but he had to keep him talking.
“I’m on the street. I’m a little lost. I hate to tell you but I wasn’t paying too much attention. Oh, hang on, I’m just passing the back of the Chinese theatre.” Jared heard Tom say “Got it! Shit! We’re nearly thirty minutes away. Tell him the Excelsior is the closest hotel, check in under Dean Winchester.”
“Don’t worry. I got it. My eyes are shot to shit but the hearing is working.” Jared could hear Jensen pick up a little speed.
“Talk to me. You know how I love your voice. Tell me how you got out, Jensen.” Jared felt guilty but he needed Jensen aware.
“Oh, that was easy. After our little chat, Collins was going to continue with our dialogue after his four o’clock meeting with some of his distributors, and it seems I was going to be allowed the privilege of adding to his collection.” Jensen’s voice was rasping now as he struggled to draw breath.
“What collection, man? Collins doesn’t strike me as the stamp collector kind.” Jared winced as Mike danced the SUV through traffic, leaning on the horn as he went.
“Oh no, not stamps, try testicles.” Jensen gave another broken laugh and Mike nearly crashed on hearing that.
“For the love of God, Rosy. Think of my wife. I don’t want her to have to use a medium to say I told you he’d get you killed.” Tom yelled as the SUV swerved viciously.
“Pardon me, Jensen. I thought you said ‘balls’.” Jared sounded aghast.
Jensen’s deep laugh sounded in Jared’s ears, “I did. Remember the guy Collins was supposed to have killed? Oh, he did all right but before he did he took a little souvenir. He had ‘em pickled and he keeps ‘em in his office in a jar; it seems he was about to get a new jar. After hearing that, I didn’t want to stick around for some strange reason.” Jensen stopped; Jared could hear the footsteps faltering.
“Come on, man. I’m riveted. What happened next?” Jared pushed a little more.
“He left me with one of his junior employees. The dumb fuck thought the fairy was down and out, and he never even tied me up. Long story short; he’s now taking a nap in the bathroom, tied to the toilet. I wouldn’t want to be him, though, because when Misha gets out of the meeting there will be a disciplinary hearing”
“What kind of hearing, Jensen?”
“Jared, put it like this. Remember how I said we’d catch Misha? Send someone over and I promise you they will either find a body or an organ donor. Don’t worry about probable cause. Once I’d slipped out of the apartment, I made sure I left a nice trail of blood and screamed real loud on every floor on the way down. There is no way he’ll have time to clean up. Besides, his clean-up crew are busy.” There was the sound of a stumble.
“Jensen. What clean-up crew? Oh, holy fucking shit! He hasn’t sent ‘The Three Stooges’ after you, has he?” Behind him, he heard Tom let loose a string of profanity that would make your average rock star weep with joy.
Jared looked at Mike who just stamped down even harder on the accelerator. Jared felt like screaming. ‘The Three Stooges’ was a cute nickname for three of the most psychotic fuckers on the planet. They were responsible for some of the most brutal ‘unsolved’ murders on the books in LA; they were Misha Collins’ guard dogs, clean-up guys and enforcers and the most feared men in the organization. If he’d sent them after Jensen then he was in trouble. Right, thought Jared grimly. As if staggering through the streets of LA after Collins had beaten the crap out of him wasn’t trouble enough.
“Jensen, I don’t want to be picky or anything but how far away from the hotel are you?”
“Nice try for casual there, Jared, but your voice has gone up three octaves so you might want to work on that. I’m probably three blocks out, shouldn’t be too long..... Scratch that, I’ve got company.” Over their shared comms the three agents heard the sound of a car screeching to a halt.
Jared twisted round to look at Tom, who shook his head. Jared punched the dashboard in frustration; he was helpless. Jensen was out there alone, hurt, and about to face down Misha’s dogs of war. From his headset came a faint laugh, “Careful there, Sasquatch, don’t break your hand. How will you feed me grapes if you’re all busted up?” Jared could hear the tension in Jensen’s voice as he spoke; Jared decided to play along.
“Oh well, I’ll just have to pass them to you with my mouth. Jensen, can you get to cover?”
“Already ahead of you but I think this will be my last dance with these guys; maybe it’s time somebody put them down. Do me a favour, Sasquatch”
“Anything you want, Jensen,”
“Good. Just keep quiet for the next few minutes until I talk to you, please?”
“You got it, man. Good luck.” Jared muted his comm; he could still hear everything but he wouldn’t be able to speak to Jensen.
“So, come on then, how far out are we and do we have a fix on him?” Jared yelled at Tom.
“Jay, judging by the cell towers he was right where he says and there is no way we will make it to him. Our best option is get to the hotel and bring him home.” Tom sounded pained as he spoke.
“So, he really is on his own. Fuck it! He survives three years undercover and some bastard who’s fucking Collins girlfriend sets him up just as he is about to get out. And they say God doesn’t have a sense of humour.” Jared scrubbed his fingers through his hair and sat listening. Tom relayed the tactical team was five minutes out and would catch them up. Now all they had to do was hope Jensen survived his encounter with ‘The Three Stooges’.
“Hey there, Alec, come out, come out wherever you are.” Mo’s singsong voice called out.
“Yeah, come on, pretty boy. The boss only wants to talk to ya about talking Julie for a spin. There’s nothing to be scared of.” Larry’s gruffer tones joined in.
“No thanks, fellas, I’m fine where I am. Please send my apologies to Mr Collins for leaving so quickly. I remembered I had an appointment with my tailor.” Jensen’s voice was breathy and strained. Jared could just hear the sound of broken glass under foot and his clothes almost ripping as he dragged himself along a wall.
“Look, Alec, why don’t you come out of there? It will be easier in the long run. How about I shoot you in the gut and by the time we get you back it will all be over and you’ll hardly feel the boss giving you a trim.” Larry‘s voice held a light mocking tone.
“How about you go fuck yourselves and I’ll stay nice and comfortable here. Thanks.”
“Don’t make us wade into that shit, Alec. I love this suit and I won’t like it if it gets messed up.” Mo sounded pissed.
“Why Mo, surely Wal-Mart is having another sale. You could always get a new suit just like it.” Jensen yelled back.
“Oh, that fucking does it! Don’t say we didn’t ask nicely, pretty boy. By the time I’m through with you you’ll wish I’d put a bullet in you.” Mo sounded as if he was getting closer.
Jared closed his eyes, trying to picture the scene. From what he gathered they must have been in an alley, and Jensen had been backed into a corner. They may have been crazy but they weren’t stupid; for all they knew, Jensen was armed and ready to fight.
Jared could hear footsteps getting closer to where Jensen was hiding by the sound of glass crunching. Jensen’s breathing, which had been loud in his ear, began to soften and even out, trying to make it harder for the other men to find him. There was a muffled clank and Jared could ‘see’ Jensen crouching behind a dumpster for cover.
The sound of footsteps stopped, and then the sound of guns being cocked, ready for action filled Jared’s ears. Wait a minute, Jared thought. He’d heard the sound of three guns cocking; he’d only heard Larry and Mo speak. Curly, the leader must have stayed with the car for a quick getaway. A tiny flicker of hope flared in Jared’s chest; Jensen was armed.
The footsteps ceased, Jared’s heart sped up. Jensen had been luring the men closer, and Jared just hoped it was enough. “Ok...ok, look, all I ask is make it quick. I don’t want to feel it when Collins takes my balls off with a blunt spoon or whatever. I’m coming out.” Jared heard Jensen pull himself up the dumpster, then take a step out into the alley.
“That’s it, pretty boy, come to Papa.” Mo sneered.
Then Jared heard a “Crap! He’s got a gun.” Then came three rapid shots...there was a grunt and the sound of a body hitting the floor, then came another shot.
“Shit...fuck!” then a final shot and another body hitting the floor. Jensen’s breathing had been ragged before, now it sounded positively agonising. Jared felt his own heart stutter at that sound then Jared could hear footsteps, almost a run? No limping. One foot seemed to be dragging.
Jared slammed his comm off ‘mute’, “Ok, Bruce Wayne, enough is enough. Just fucking talk to me, man. What the hell happened? Where are you?”
“Calm down, Jared, it’s just a flesh wound. Mo got me in the leg. Sad to say Mo and Larry are gonna be very late back to the boss. Listen, I think I’ve lost Curly; I’m nearly at the hotel. I just hope they let me in looking like this. I’ll just say I’m an actor filming a pilot. That should do it. Well, that and my charisma.” Jensen gave a dry chuckle that turned into a cough.
“Jensen, this is Tom. Look, just get to the garage. The concierge will be waiting for Mr Winchester. He’s been told not to ask questions, just to give you a room key. As far as he’s concerned, you’re a member of some freaky fight club and what’s the first rule of Fight Club?”
As one, they all said, “You don’t talk about Fight Club.” Jared grinned at Tom.
“You are a fucking genius! Do you know that?” Jared beamed.
“Great! Tell that to the next promotion board, I need a raise.” Tom responded.
At that, Mike threw the SUV into a corner. Jared hit the passenger door with a yelp....
Jared recognised the man torturing Jensen as Curly, the last of The Three Stooges, “You know what, Alec? I’ll take Mr Collins your balls in payment for my friends. By the time security hauls its ass up here I’ll be long gone. Say goodbye to ‘em.” Curly produced a butterfly knife from his pocket, and flicked open the blade.
Jensen started to laugh at Curly. Curly paused, his gun in his right hand, the knife in his left. “And just what the fuck is so funny? Don’t queers need their balls?
“Oh yeah, we do. It’s just there is a pissed off Sasquatch creeping up behind you with the biggest motherfucking gun I’ve ever seen.” Jared cocked his gun and Curly froze in place.
“Turn round real slow, asshole. Don’t make me have to fill in a shitload of paperwork for your sorry ass.” Curly turned round very slowly. His eyes widened when he saw Jared’s F.B.I. emblazoned vest.
“Shit! I knew there was something wrong about you, Alec. Ah well, if I’m going down so are you.” Curly swung the gun back to aim at Jensen’s face. He was just squeezing the trigger when a shot rang out.
Tactical had arrived and the lead agent had taken no chances; he’d taken a kill shot. Curly slumped to the floor, a surprised expression on his face.
Before Curly had even dropped to the floor Jared was kneeling beside Jensen. He grabbed the comforter off the bed and covered Jensen with it. Jared looked down in horror at the man he’d fallen for so many months ago, but had never seen. His flesh wound turned out to need Jensen’s belt wrapped round his leg as a makeshift tourniquet in an attempt to slow the bleeding. His face was swollen and bruised, a gory mask of dried blood. His right eye was completely closed and his left wasn’t in much better shape. Jared just caught a glimpse of green. Jared was almost scared to touch Jensen, there was so much damage.
Behind him, he could hear Mike screaming for the EMT’s; Jensen made the decision for Jared. He inched his left hand from under the comforter. Jared took the hint and carefully took hold of the other man’s hand. Jensen’s hand was cool and clammy to the touch and Jared finally understood the phrase ‘death grip’. Jensen was squeezing his hand so tight, it was as if he let go it would all be over.
Jared bent forward so his forehead was nearly touching Jensen’s “Hi there, hot stuff. Look, if you wanted my attention all you had to do was turn up with a cup of coffee, this is kind of overkill. By the way, we need to talk about your definition of a flesh wound.” Jared made an attempt at a reassuring smile. Shit! Where were those EMTs? He didn’t know how long Jensen could hold on like this.
Jensen seemed to be searching his face, and then there was a smile. Well, judging from how his mouth tried to curve upwards, it was a smile. “You know, Jared, it’s a good thing you’re not an undercover ‘cause you’re a shit liar, dude.” His voice was barely audible now; Jared moved even closer, frightened to miss a word he said.
“Your ‘I’m gorgeous’ is a load of crap. You are hotter than fucking Hell, Sasquatch. I’m glad I finally got to see you.” Jensen’s eyes closed at that, and Jared realized the pressure on his hand had gone slack.
“Jensen, no! Come on, not now! For fuck’s sake! Not now.” Jared was screaming and he didn’t care who heard. Just then the EMTS burst through the door and Jared found himself being dragged backwards away from the fallen agent. He started to fight the hands that held him; he heard a grunt of pain when his elbow caught something solid. Mike suddenly appeared in front of him, grabbing him by his vest, “Calm the fuck down before you kill Tom. Let them work, Jared. It’s all we can do.” He went limp in Tom’s arms and the three of them crashed to the floor.
They sat in silence as the battle raged to keep Jensen alive. The comforter was hauled away and his clothes were cut off. Jared gasped at the sight of his torso; it was a mass of bruises, a patchwork of pain in different shades of violence. It was so bad that Jared could no longer see unmarked skin. “How the Hell did he make it this far?” Jared vaguely heard Mike’s awestruck comment.
Just then he heard “He’s crashing, move it.” Jared felt his heart shatter at those words and the EMTS redoubled their efforts, pumping Jensen’s chest as they attempted to keep him breathing. One EMT was getting the portable defibrillator ready. Once it was charged, he yelled “Clear” and Jensen’s body jerked grotesquely as the charge slammed into him. Nothing. “Increase the charge...and clear.” This time Jensen arched right off the floor and then the sweetest sound Jared ever heard, “We got an output. Come on, we need him out of here. Now!” Jensen was loaded onto the gurney, and the EMTS took off at speed, working as they went.
Jared watched them go and it felt as if his world had gone with them. He heard a soft voice through the haze of pain he was feeling. “Come on, Jared, we need to get you cleaned up and make our reports.” It was then Jared saw his hands and clothes were covered in Jensen’s blood. He scrambled to his feet and just made the bathroom in time to throw up.
“Come on, Sasquatch. We’ll get back to the office. I’m sure there is something we can find for you to wear.”Mike’s voice was sympathetic.
“Don’t call me, Sasquatch.” Jared saw Tom shake his head at Mike and a look of understanding pass over Mike’s face. Jared felt himself being pulled upright as he was walked out of the hotel room, the same way Jensen had gone.
That night had been over four months ago. Once they had gotten back to the office, the time for Jared had passed in a blur. For two days no one got any information concerning Jensen’s condition, whether he was alive or not. After Jared had threatened to go and shoot someone in the Justice Department and Tom had locked him in the locker room until he calmed down, Eric Kripke, the agent in charge took over.
The whole office had stood and listened in awe as Kripke had made a phone call. The volume had been impressive and one of the agents from the White Collar Unit from the floor above wandered in, sat on Mike’s desk and said “Shit! I never realized he even knew half of those words, let alone the right context to use them in. Anyone got popcorn?” Even Jared laughed at that.
Kripke emerged from his office, a grin on his face, “All right, I would say ‘gather round’ but as you’re all listening anyway; Jensen is gonna make a full recovery.” Kripke paused, letting the cheers from the team die down.
“A decision has been taken to allow ‘Alec’ to remain dead for the near future. As far as the cartel are concerned Curly killed him, but Alec managed to take Curly out at the same time. Collins is now in custody for the murder of one of his employees. According to Kane, it was a disciplinary matter that got out of hand after he let Alec escape. Collins is singing his guts out to avoid the death penalty; he’s handed over his organization on a platter. So much for ‘honour amongst thieves’.”
Kripke turned and walked back to his office after that short announcement. It was left to Mike’s singular talents of gossip collecting to get the rest of the information. It had taken nearly a month for the full story to emerge. What Kripke didn’t say was Jensen’s actions that day had given them the probable cause to arrest Collins.
Several frantic calls to the police were made from Misha’s exclusive apartment block, reporting screams and pleas for mercy. Police units, along with some F.B.I agents who just happened to be passing, actually, the surveillance team on Misha’s place arrived, to be let in by the concierge, who was pacing and looking scared to death at the noises that had come from upstairs.
Once inside they discovered a trail of blood which led right up to Collins’ front door. On knocking politely, Misha had flung the door open without looking and uttered the words “Well, thank fuck you three finally came back. You better have that little bastard, Alec with you, and I’ve got a body in the bedroom making a mess all over my Persian rug. Clean it up.” Before the locals had managed to mess up the arrest, the agents had stepped forward, gained entry and discovered what was left of the victim.
The reason behind Misha’s sudden civic-minded disclosures was because it turned out the Feds weren’t the only one with an undercover operative. The employee unlucky enough to feel Misha’s wrath had been the nephew of a rival gang leader. Due to the cartel’s meteoric success, the man had been put in place to spy on Collins and possibly even kill him at some point.
The only thing faster than the speed of light was the speed of a prison grapevine, and word had soon reached Collins that it was now open season on him. Suddenly Misha felt the need to unburden himself and put away as many of his old associates as possible, before they got to him.
Jensen was to remain in protective custody for the foreseeable future, being debriefed and his testimony against Misha being prepared
In the following months, Jared had to rely on Kane for updates on Jensen’s progress - from his bitching at nurses to get out of hospital, to his physical therapy on his leg. Kane had told Jared early on that Jensen’s face would be fine. When he’d protested he didn’t care about how Jensen looked, Kane had admitted that when he’d seen Jensen for the first time in hospital, he’d spent ten minutes in the toilets crying like a baby. So, excuse him for passing on the good news. Kane swore he didn’t know what Jensen was going to do after the trial, but he wasn’t being allowed to contact anyone.
Then the news came that Collins had been killed in prison. The hit put out by the rival gang leader had been fulfilled, but it turned out to be a moot point as his testimony was all on film, along with documentary evidence he’d handed over for life in a Country Club Federal Prison.
Finally, life returned to a semblance of normal for Jared, he was working with four agents in various undercover operations. He still missed Jensen but he understood that it would be unlikely that he would hear from him again.
Jared arrived at work and looked round; there seemed to be a bunch of new agents around. He walked over to his desk and looked over at Mike and Tom. Tom shrugged “We got some newbies joining us for some of the bigger cases, plus I hear Kripke’s going to be making a big announcement soon, and before you ask, I don’t know what. Hell, even Rosy, gossipmonger extraordinaire hasn’t found out.”
Jared sighed and shook his head in mock disappointment at his grinning friend. He took the chance to survey the new agents. So far nothing special and then he caught sight of the guy in the grey suit.
Jared stood up a little straighter. He only had a back view, but damn, what a view. Suit guy was at least six foot tall, with wonderful broad shoulders, and just at that moment he leant forward to talk to another agent. And sweet Jesus, that ass was to die for; it was all Jared could do not to drool. “You do remember the sexual harassment seminar we went on don’t you, Jared?”came Mike’s amused tones.
“I have no intention of harassing that guy. Stalking him maybe, harassing no.” Just then Jared’s attention was diverted by Kripke stepping out of his office. There was another agent behind him. It was Kane, and he spotted Jared and waved.
Kripke walked to the centre of the office and motioned everyone to gather round. Jared was aware that suit guy had stood next to him; he was holding two Styrofoam cups, so he must be waiting for someone. Before Jared could get a look at his face Kripke started to speak.
“Alright boys and girls, I have an announcement to make and for once I’ve beaten Mike to the punch.” There was laughter, “As of today I will no longer be in charge of the unit, I’ve been promoted. So you’ve finally gotten rid of me.” Kripke waited for the uproar to die down.
“Ah no, boss. Does that mean we’re gonna have to break in a newbie? Oh, please tell me he understands undercover. I don’t want to have to house train another boss like I did you.” Mike groaned to the laughter of the other agents.
“And may I say I still have the emotional scars to this day. Thank you, Rosenbaum. No, this agent understands undercover perfectly.”
Before he could continue, Jared called out, “Oh, dear God! It’s not Kane! Please just tell me it’s not Kane. You’ll have my resignation on your desk as soon as possible, and watch out for the bodies of those of us who shoot ourselves...at our desks” From behind Kripke, Kane’s middle finger emerged to an office full of laughter.
Kripke was laughing as he continued. “No, relax. They wouldn’t dare. No, it’s another agent with a great deal of experience in this field. Your new boss will be Special Agent Jensen Ackles.” Jared’s jaw dropped open on hearing that, everyone was talking at once. Kripke waved his hand for silence.
“Ok, children, I know it will be hard for you to have such a superstar in the office but can we keep the autograph hunting to a minimum? Now just get back to work and please at least try and be professional for the first five minutes he’s here? Just as a favour to me. Oh, there will be drinks over at Harvelles later.” There was a round of applause and cheers for that, and everyone got back to work, although there was an air of excitement as they kept watching the door.
Jared sat down on the end of his desk, looking down at the floor. “Shit, Jared. I wonder what Jensen looks like? I mean, it’s not as though any of us will recognise him after the last time we met.” From behind Jared came the sound of Tom slapping Mike round the back of the head, and fondly calling him an asshole as he did it.
It was then Jared realized that suit guy was still there, Jared let his eyes slowly travel upwards. His grey suit was a perfect fit showing off the fact he had bow legs, and that the guy had a great body on him. Then Jared reached his face, and holy shit! Would you look at the lips on the guy? Jared could happily spend a week nibbling on those, amongst other things. His eyes travelled a little higher. Damn! He had freckles. Who knew? But it seemed that Jared had a freckle kink, especially on this guy. He wondered absently how far down the freckles travelled.
Finally Jared reached his eyes, and as far as Jared was concerned eyelashes like that should be illegal on a man. God! Those eyes! They were extraordinary, a beautiful shade of green and full of life with the most adorable crinkles round them. Jared thought if the guy’s lips could inspire a thousand and one dirty limericks, then his eyes could inspire Jared to write the kind of poetry that would make even a sixteen-year-old Twilight fan embarrassed because of how sappy it was.
It was then he noticed that suit guy was holding out one of the cups towards him. Jared looked at him wide eyed. Then suit guy spoke.
“One hazelnut, skinny decaf latte, and it had better be worth me dying of embarrassment when I ordered it.” He was smiling as he said it. Jared stopped breathing - that voice...it was the voice that had haunted his dreams for the last year. Jared had even listened to some of the surveillance disks just to hear it again.
Jared licked his lips and croaked out softly, “Jensen?” Behind him he heard Mike gasp out.
“Holy crap! I could turn gay for that guy.” Once again Jared heard Tom slap Mike round the head.
“Look! After the trauma of ordering it, would you like to drink it?” Jensen held the coffee out to Jared.
Jared wondered what the disciplinary would be if he were to sweep everything off his desk, and throw his new boss onto it before ripping his clothes off with his teeth, and licking him all over. Jensen took a step closer and began to speak, “So that steak, how about I pick you up at eight tonight? My treat.”
Jared finally managed to take the coffee out of Jensen’s hand. Their fingers brushed and Jared swore he felt a jolt of electricity and choirs of angels starting to sing. Licking his lips he finally found his voice, “I thought I was taking you out for steak?”
“You can pay next time, and don’t forget the flowers.” Jensen’s voice had dropped even lower, a husky whisper by Jared’s ear. Jared couldn’t help the shiver that ran down his body. Damn! That voice!
“Pretty sure of yourself. How do you know there’ll be a next time?” Jared watched Jensen lower his eyes, his eyelashes fluttering and doing strange things to his equilibrium. Then he caught his full lower lip between his teeth, coyly raised his eyes back to Jared and holy shit! Was that a blush?
“Well, that’s only if you don’t mind dating Shrek’s uglier brother. Besides, didn’t you mention something about a tour round your place?”
Jared squirmed in place on hearing that, remembering his promise to manhandle Jensen. Jared felt his own cheeks heat up and Jensen smirked at him. Before he could respond, Kripke came out of his office.
“Ahh there you are, Special Agent Ackles. Please come and address your new team.” Jensen stepped away from Jared to the sounds of “Holy shit! That’s Ackles?” Jared swore the sighs that swept through the office sounded like a small tropical storm. As Jensen walked towards Kripke he knew he heard several pairs of panties spontaneously combust.
Jared stood up, pulling himself to his full height, puffing his chest out as he did. Tom moved round to stand by him one side and Mike the other. Tom leaned in and whispered, “Down boy. Shooting other federal agents is frowned on, even if they are ogling your boyfriend.”
“He’s not my boyfriend.” Jared hissed back
“Riggghhht. You might as well have ‘Property of Jensen Ackles’ tattooed on your ass, the way you’re looking at him. Hey, you haven’t, have you?” Mike muttered and then said “Ouch” when Tom absently reached behind Jared and smacked him again.
Jensen shook Kripke’s hand and then he turned round to address the office. He self-consciously rubbed at the back of his neck, “First of all, I’d like to thank Special Agent Kripke for all his hard work with this unit and wish him well. Then I’d like to thank you all, for your hard work, as handlers for both myself and the other undercover agents. But, as you can see, I’ve decided it’s time to grow up and stop playing dress up.” With that, Jensen’s eyes swept round the room.
Finally his gaze came to rest fully upon Jared and a smile lit up his face, “But, most of all I’d like to thank you for helping me come home.”