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A Twist in the Tail

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The two boys met first day of Elementary. Jared had been dropped off to school by his Aunt and had quietly snuck into a front corner desk of the classroom the principal led him to. He was new here and didn’t know a soul whereas all the other kids were chatting and laughing, obviously having gone to Kindergarten together. He was so small and his clothes were even smaller. It hadn’t quite occurred to his Aunt yet that he needed new clothes but that was the least of the problems in a household that unexpectedly had a child thrust upon them.

Suddenly a little blonde boy spotted him and started laughing and pointing at him. This kid was obviously the designated leader of the group because all the other kids were staring also and then the kid started yelling that he was poor and homeless and was he lost?

Jared had slid right down in his chair and was trying really hard not to cry, like he had been trying not to do for pretty much the last three months. A sandy haired boy walked into the room, looked around & his green eyes met Jared’s moist ones, he then overheard the teasing and pushed at the boy that was laughing and pointing at him

“Shut up Justin.”

“You shut up.” Justin pushed back

“Leave him alone.”

“Why?”

“He’s new and doesn’t know you’re an idiot yet.”

“You’re the idiot.”

“No you are!”

“Shut up Jenny.”

“You shut up.” He said and gave him another shove before sliding into the desk beside Jared’s and turning to look at him again, meeting wide eyes and a gaping mouth

“Why’d you do that?” the kid whispered and Jensen shrugged

“Justin’s a dick, well that’s what his brother calls him. Oh don’t tell my mum I said that, I think it’s a bad word.”

“I don’t even know your mum. Why’d you do that?” he asked again

“You looked like you were going to cry.”

“Did not.” Jared pouted

“Did too.” Then silence fell and Jared looked down at his desk, scratching at a mark. “Do you want me to go away?”

“No.” his eyes flashed up to this stranger before looking down again

“What’s your name?”

“Jared.”

“You’re new.”

“Yeah.” Jared whispered still looking down

“I’m Jensen” he said

“Ok.” He replied

“Where’d you come from?”

“Oregon.”

“Cool.”

“I s’pose.” He shrugged. He was six years old what did he know about where he lived being cool.

“Why’d you move here?”

“Came to stay with my Aunt and Uncle.”

“Cool.”

“S’pose.” But it really, really wasn’t, even at six Jared knew something was wrong. His parents had gone to visit their parents and he didn’t know when they would be back. His Aunt kept trying to make him eat grown up food and sometimes forgot to feed him at all. His clothes were too small and the bedroom he was sleeping in was full of stuff they were storing there. There was a lot of whispering and quiet conversations going on with adults downstairs before people would tell him to go to his room, where there was nothing to play with, or go out in the backyard, where there was nothing to play with. He really wanted his mummy and daddy to come back and no one would tell him how long they were going to visit.

“Where’s your mum if you’re staying with your aunt?”

“Mum and dad are visiting my nan and pop in heaven. I don’t know when they’re coming back.” He said quietly and Jensen stared as one tear slid down Jared’s cheek and he quickly swiped it away before glancing up to see if Jensen had noticed

“Heaven?” Jensen gasped in shock

“Yeah, have you been there?” Jared looked up finally

“No!”

“They keep telling me it’s nice there. I don’t know why I couldn’t have gone with them instead of staying with my stupid aunt and uncle.” Jared huffed as he scratched at a mark on his desk again

Jensen faced forward and again silence fell but he didn’t break it this time. As a kid he couldn’t explain why he had to come and sit here & protect Jared from Justin the dick but he did and now he just wanted to reach over and take Jared’s hand and hold it but he didn’t want Justin laughing at him plus he wasn’t sure what Jared would do if he did.

Jensen stayed beside Jared all day and even shared his lunch with him when Jared opened his clear take away container to show a fish paste sandwich, a piece of cheese wrapped in plastic and a bottle of now warm water. He talked to other kids when they came over, Jensen was pretty popular, and he introduced Jared to all of them and even though they said hello and Jensen could see they were very curious, as the addition of any new kid into their community would make them, Jared would only mutter hello before blushing bright red & looking down to his scrappy sneaker as he scraped it across the dirt. This made Jensen move even closer to him, hoping to make him feel safe.

At the end of the day Jensen ran outside to meet his mom who was standing with the other mothers chatting. A few minutes later Jared shuffled out and looked around before sitting on a step.

“Hey Jared, what’re you doing?” Jensen asked as he walked over to him

“My Aunt’s not here yet.” He shrugged. He had felt sick all day, starting at a new school with all these new people but now he felt sick because he wasn’t sure if his aunt would even come to pick him up.

“Mom come meet Jared, he’s new.” Jensen yelled and pulled his mom over, the Ackles helped at charity events regularly and Jensen didn’t know why but something about Jared made him feel like it did when he saw those families who needed help.

“Hello Jared.” She said as she looked him up and down, quietly observing. She took in the way her son stood close to this boy and looked around as if making sure no one was going to pick on him and she noticed that even though he was very shy and couldn’t meet her eyes he already seemed to be unconsciously leaning towards Jensen as if looking for warmth or protection…she wondered? But it was way too early for either of them to be showing tendencies even if they were what she thought they might be.

“Hello Mrs Ackles, nice to meet you.” He said, shyly meeting her eyes before looking down at the ground again

“How about we wait with you?” she said gently

“No that’s ok, I’m sure she’ll be here.” He tried to sound brave

Thirty minutes later the school was pretty much empty except the three of them and Donna let out a sigh before taking the boys into the school again and leaving them in the hall to play before going to the admin office.

“Hello?” a female voice answered when Donna rang the number supplied by administration

“Is this Sherry?”

“Yes?”

“Um I’m with Jared…”

“Oh shit. Is it that time already? Damn it”

“I could take him home with me and my son and you could collect him from there if you like?” Donna said after hearing the frantic voice

“Hell…ah yeah that would be great…ah I actually have an appointment…I forgot…would you mind if it was a little while?”

“Nope, this is our address…see you when you get there.” she said in a calm voice although she was quietly fuming as she hung up the phone. What the hell was going on in someone’s life for them to forgot to pick up their own kid from their first day at school?

 

“So Jared your mum says you can come home with us for afternoon snacks, how does that sound?’ she said lightly with a smile as she went back to the boys, wasn’t his fault his mother was what she was. Jensen quickly grabbed him by the wrist and ran to their SUV.

“She forgot didn’t she?” Jared asked quietly when Mrs Ackles caught up but she was saved from answering by her son

“It’s not his mama it’s his aunt, Jared’s living with his aunt and uncle.” Jensen said as he jumped into the back seat of the car.

“Oh really?” Mrs Ackles said casually, curiosity was itching at her but he was just a kid

“Yeah mum and dad are visiting my nan and pop so I’m living with my aunt Sherry.”

“That’s nice.” She said as she started the car, “And where are they?”

“Heaven mum, they’re in heaven.” Jensen blurted and Donna had to stop from jerking the car with the shock. She looked in the rear-view mirror and saw her son’s eyes looking back at her. She could see he was scared but being brave for this new boy.

She was familiar with that look, he had worn it when he had to have stitches, he had worn it when they found his pet turtle ‘asleep’ and he had worn it when his grandpop had passed away last year and he had gone to the funeral and Alan and Donna had explained to him what that meant. Her heart tightened in her chest when she thought about this little boy sitting next to her son who so plainly had not had any of this explained to him and was innocently waiting for his mother and father to walk back into his life and make things normal again. She smiled and winked at Jensen in the mirror and he smiled back at her looking a little more relaxed. He knew she would fix it, now she just had to figure out how

 

Jensen jumped out of the car and pulled Jared with him, dragging him into his house and into the kitchen

“Hi Mary.” Jensen said as he jumped up onto a kitchen stool

“Hey JR how was your first day of school?” she said as she ruffled his hair

“This is my best friend Jared.” He said as he patted the stool next to him

“Well hello Jared, nice to meet you.” She smiled as she turned to look at the little boy standing in the door of the room staring around him.

“You too ma’am”

“Well aren’t you just adorable but if you’re Jensen’s new best friend you better call me Mary. Come on, sit up next to JR” She said as she placed big pieces of chocolate cake and glasses of milk on the bench. Jared’s eyes bugged out of his head

“Hurry up and eat so we can go play in my room.” Jensen said between big bites of cake.

Meanwhile Donna was in the study ringing the school to explain the situation. She didn’t want to interfere, but she was a mother and knew it wasn’t fair on this child to think his parents were coming home any day now.

***

Things had been strained for a while after that first day of school and Jared wasn’t allowed to go back to Jensen’s house for what seemed like a long time but was just over a month.

Donna had spoken to Sherry when she showed up and was told to mind her own business although it was obvious this was a family that was imploding.

The school then intervened and a councillor was brought in to talk to Sherry and Gerry and then to Jared. The local Family Services dropped by the house a couple of times to make sure things were progressing as did the local nursing service and the Ackles pastor. As popular as Jensen was, so was the whole family and they used that to call in favours for this little boy.

Jensen sat beside Jared every day and then after the councillor and Sherry explained to Jared where his parents really were and Jared took a couple of days off school to stay in his cold, sterile bedroom and cry; he came back and Jensen sat down right beside him again and held his hand and didn’t let it go all day…and when Jared wasn’t looking he hit Justin in the nose for calling Jared his little Omega girlfriend.

Sherry finally let Donna help, although reluctantly after Donna made a comment about pride not being able to feed a child. Donna gave them linens and toys and handed down furniture a boy might need. She sent Mary around to cook a few meals so they could learn what to feed a growing boy and then she sent around a few small bags of clothes that used to be Jensen’s. She had made Jensen promise to never tell Jared if he saw him wearing them and Jensen smiled and threw in a few more things. Donna stayed on the side lines for about six months until Sherry and Gerry got into the routine of now being parents and after that she let Jared stay over whenever he or Jensen wanted, to give the adults a break.

Alan was a surgeon and Donna was a lawyer, they had a lot of money and a lot of influence in the community; she knew they were lucky to have Mary, who would look after Jensen if they were busy and understood that other families didn’t have that luxury so they had no problem with Jensen’s room pretty much becoming Jared’s second home.

They also had the joy of watching this scared, shy little boy almost become like a second son to them as he opened up and started smiling, he didn’t talk much still but Jensen did enough of that for the both of them; and they had the pleasure of watching their son’s face light with pride and joy whenever he was able to get a full-blown laugh out of his new best friend. She had discussed Jensen’s possessiveness of Jared with Alan but as they were both only six they just enjoyed the innocence of this bonding.