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Not Your Fault

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“(Y/N)? What’s wrong?” Soft, worried hazel eyes meet your own watery gaze, and it just makes you want to cry even more. The emerald eyes staring from right behind him don’t help things, either. It happening was one thing, and it was bad enough, but having to talk about it again? That was an entirely different thing.

You don’t notice how much time has passed until you see Jared glancing to Jensen worriedly, then back to meet your gaze. He extends his hand, reaching out to skim his hand down your arm until he gets to your hand, so he can link your fingers together. “C’mon.” Jared murmurs quietly, sending you a soothing hush when you duck your head in embarrassment, cheeks turning red.

It only takes a brief look shared between the two best friends to send Jensen up to Jared’s room to fetch their biggest, fluffiest comforter to bring it downstairs and wrap it securely around your shoulders. Although you were dating Jared, you called Jensen your ‘second boyfriend’ because you guys were so close. He would hang out with you and Jared all the time – you cried on his shoulder when you were sad, you two would snuggle, you would do basically all the boyfriend/girlfriend things, except you know, the actual boyfriend/girlfriend things. It helped that Jensen was Jared’s roommate, and since you spent so much time over at Jared’s, the three of you were together most of the time.

Once the comforter is wrapped around you, you can feel tears brimming at your eyes even more, ducking your head. Jared’s getting more worried by the minute, and another glance up at Jensen shows he’s not far behind him. Jared had never seen you like this before, even on your bad nights. Sometimes on the bad nights you wouldn’t want to talk, but you would just tell him that, and he understood. He knew as well as anyone what it could be like to have to fight the demons inside your head. But this… this was different. It was like you couldn’t speak, and he’d never seen it before.

Strong arms practically crush you against your boyfriend’s chest, and although you’ve been trying so hard not to cry anymore, as soon as your face is hidden in his chest and you feel his comfort and safety, you break down. You had already cried so much tonight that your throat was sore, your cheeks and nose raw from how many times you had wiped them, and you had thought you were all cried out. Apparently not.

Jared holds you easily as your knees buckle, holding you securely to his chest. You can feel the rumbling deep in his chest as he murmurs soothing words to you, but you don’t hear what he’s saying, you just hear the soothing tone of his voice. A hand comes out from underneath the comforter to cling to his shirt, and he reaches one hand down to cover yours, smoothing his thumb over your knuckles gently. “Shh… I’ve got you.” He says softly, dropping little kisses to the top of your head every so often. “You’re okay, sweetheart.”

With your face buried in his chest, you don’t see the silent conversation shared between Jared and Jensen. Jensen’s helplessly wondering what to do – but Jared is just as helpless. He’s usually so good at helping you, usually so good at fixing you, but he couldn’t help you if he didn’t know what was going on, and that killed him.

You wanted to tell him – really, you did. But every time you even thought about speaking it seemed like all the air was sucked out of your lungs and your throat was closing up. Even thinking about talking about it just made you cry harder, mostly because you felt so ashamed. You felt so stupid. You knew all the statistics, you knew all the numbers, you knew it just plain wasn’t safe to be a girl in the world anymore. You hadn’t even let you guard down, and it had still happened.

It’s a while later before you finally lift your head from Jared’s chest. He immediately cups your cheeks in his hands and brushes away your tears with gentle thumbs, murmuring his apologies when you wince – because even though he was gentle, your cheeks were so raw it hurt to even touch them. It didn’t take him long to smell the alcohol on your breath, and he sighs softly, tilting his head down to kiss your forehead once more. “(Y/N), are you drunk?” He asks quietly.

“A little bit.” You admit, your voice rough and scratchy from all the crying you’d done in the past couple hours. It’s a sudden realization, how this probably looks, and you only realize it because of the apprehensive look on Jared’s face. “I didn’t cheat on you, I swear!”

The outburst takes Jared a little bit by surprise, but he just offers you a gentle smile and nods his head. “I didn’t think you did, sweetheart.” Sure, it was a thought that had crossed his mind once he realized you were drunk, but he’d seen you while drunk plenty of times, and you were always just clingy to him. He’d never had any doubts about you being faithful, even if drunk. “You wanna talk to me about what happened?”

His voice is gentle, never pushing. Jared never wanted to push you into doing anything you weren’t ready for, but he did want you to talk to him. After all, you’d never had a problem talking to him about anything before, and it was worrying to think about what could have happened that made you so upset now that you could hardly speak.

You’re worrying your bottom lip with your teeth absentmindedly, so much that Jared finally smooths his thumb along your lower lip, causing you to let go of it without thinking about it. With how rough you were being with yourself, he could tell your lip was likely to start bleeding soon, and he didn’t want to have to deal with that on top of all this.

You jump when you suddenly feel hands on your shoulders, quickly turning around to see Jensen. Jensen offers you a light smile, quickly enveloping you in a tight hug, and it’s all you can do not to start crying again right then and there. “I’m going to go up to my room so you and Jared can have some privacy, okay?” He says softly, shushing you when he feels your body tensing just a little bit. “It’s okay, I’m not upset. I know you and Jared need to have some alone time. We’ll talk later, okay? I love you.”

It wasn’t all that often that Jensen had those last three words out loud, but you definitely needed to hear them. You whimper quietly, just nodding your head as he hugs you tightly once more. “I love you, too.”

You start to watch him walk up the stairs, and before your mind can even process what your mouth is doing, you blurt out, “Wait!”

Surprised, Jensen turns around and glances up at Jared, who just gives him a look to show he’s just as confused as the other man is. “Y-you’re going to hear at some point eventually… I’d rather you hear it from me.” You whisper.

Although this was normally something you would just keep to yourself, Jared and Jensen were the two people you trusted the most in the entire world. You knew that if you told Jared, he would just tell Jensen, so you figured it would be best to just have them present for the conversation.

Jared starts to gently push you toward the living room, Jensen following in suit behind you two. He settles down on the couch as Jared settles down in your favorite armchair and tugs you down into his lap. With the blanket wrapped around you, along with his arms wrapped tightly around you while you lean back in the chair together, you felt so restricted and warm, and… safe. Jared was your safe place, there was just no other way around it.

“Something happened with your friends?” Jared asks quietly, prompting you to hopefully start talking. He knew you’d gone out with some work friends, but he’d obviously expected you to come home happy, not like… this.

“We – we went to a few different bars, and I got drunk, obviously, and things were – things were going great, and then they decided they didn’t want to go to bars anymore, so we ended up going to this guys’ house and sat around and continued drinking.” Honestly, it seemed like a night like any other. You went out with your work friends often, usually once a week or so, and went bar hopping and everybody got trashed to celebrate a long week of work being over. It wasn’t unusual for Jared to be helping you nurse your hangover on Saturday all throughout the day.

“As the night started winding down, this guy started – started flirting with me a little bit, but I figured it was just the alcohol, and we were just having a good time, so I didn’t really think anything of it. He – he told me he wanted to show me something, and then… then he brought me to his room.”

Before you even say anything else, Jensen’s look turns murderous, and Jared’s body tenses as his jaw clenches. But you knew you had to say it. You had to get it off your chest. “He asked me if I trusted him, and I told him I guess, since I really didn’t know him, you know, and then he – he started trying to take off my clothes and he—”

Your voice cracks as you trail off your sentence, your bottom lip trembling. You didn’t want to keep talking, but you knew you couldn’t just leave it at that. “He started trying to finger me and I just started crying and told him I wanted to get out of there and he didn’t want to let me go, and then he tried making me give him a handjob, and I just kept crying, and I got out of there, and I left my purse there, and I know it could’ve been so much worse, and I know I’m taking this way too hard, but it freaked me out so much—”

Jensen’s gaze had only turned darker, wanting to know who exactly this guy was and where he could find him. First of all, how dare he try to get with you when you were drunk? Second of all, how dare he try to do any of it when you were obviously uncomfortable and crying? Third of all, once you had told him you had a boyfriend, why hadn’t he backed off?

Jared’s jaw stays clenched as he tries to process what you just told him, but also tries not to show how upset he is. He doesn’t want you thinking he’s upset with you, because that’s the farthest thing from the truth. It takes him a couple moments, and a couple deep breaths, but finally he’s interrupting your rambling, gently taking your cheeks in his hands, grounding you by forcing you to meet his gaze. “You’re okay now.” He whispers, his heart breaking at how broken you look. How scared you look. It was just supposed to be a night out with your coworkers, and now he knew you’d be looking over your shoulder every time you went out for the rest of your life. He hated that you had become a statistic, that this had happened to you, that he wasn’t there to protect you like he should have been. “You’re okay now, sweetheart. You never have to see him again.”

“B-but my purse, it had everything in it! All my credit cards, my license, all the cash I had, the – the charm bracelet you’d given me…” Your voice breaks with a sob once more when you think of the charm bracelet. Everything else you’d had in there was replaceable, but not that charm bracelet. That was unique, that Jared had specially made just for you. In your haste to get out of there, your purse was the last thing on your mind, since you weren’t driving. You had just ran outside and ordered an Uber, and he had left you standing on his doorstep, waiting for your ride in the darkness of the night.

“Shh, shh, it’s okay, we’ll figure that out later. What matters is that you got out of there and you’re safe now, okay? I’m not going to let anything happen to you, I promise.” Even though you already knew Jared was going to protect you, the conviction in his voice and the warmth of his arms around you just helped sink that realization in even more. You were home. You were safe. Jared was safe.

Jensen finally speaks up, also having to take a few breaths so he didn’t sound pissed off when he spoke. “Sweetheart, why don’t you go take a long, hot shower?” He suggests, knowing it was likely you still felt like you had that monster all over you. “You take a long, hot shower, and then get into some soft pajamas, and then go to sleep? We can figure everything out tomorrow. Everything will look better in the morning light.”

Jared was grateful to Jensen for speaking up. He’d been thinking the same thing, but wasn’t sure how to phrase it. Jensen just seemed to phrase it perfectly. “I think that’s a good idea, honey. Try to get you relaxed and then get you into bed. I can even go with you if you want.”

“No!” Jared’s heart clenches when he hears just how scared you are. “No, you can’t go with me, you’re going to think I’m disgusting. I’m disgusting, Jared. I can’t even look at myself, you can’t look at me!”

“Sweetheart, you’re not disgusting.” Jared says reproachfully, thumb stroking over your cheekbone like he knows relaxes you. “You didn’t ask for this to happen, baby. He’s the disgusting one. He’s the monster. You’re still just as beautiful as the day I met you.”

Your face crumples as you start to cry once more, and Jared sighs softly, just gently standing up from the chair and picking you up with him. With how much smaller you were than him, it was quite easy for him to carry you around the house, so he took you upstairs to the bathroom, setting you down on the toilet once the pair of you got up there. “Sweetheart, I’m not going to do anything you’re not comfortable with. If you don’t want me to help you in the shower, that’s completely fine. But I do just want you to know that I still think you’re beautiful, and I’m not upset with you at all. I don’t think you’re disgusting at all.”

Jensen had followed you two upstairs, and he suddenly speaks up from the doorway of the bathroom. “(Y/N), do you remember his name?” Jensen was just as protective over you as Jared was, and he was going to do whatever it took to get this guy to go down.

You glance up at him, taking a few moments to think. You were still pretty drunk, even after the whole incident, so thinking wasn’t coming easily to you. “I – I don’t know… it was a coworker’s friend, it wasn’t even someone I worked with… Alex, maybe?” You pause for a moment before shaking your head. “No, it was Andrew. I know it was Andrew.”

Jensen nods. He knows he’s going to need more to go off of than that, but figured that was at least a good enough starting point. He could ask you more about it tomorrow after you had gotten some much needed sleep.

Jensen disappears from the bathroom, and a few moments later, so does Jared – but not before giving you a gentle kiss, still wanting to reassure you he wasn’t upset with you at all. But now he was also worried – he knew this had to have traumatized you, and he didn’t want to accidentally slip up and do something that would freak you out even more.

By the time you were out of the shower, your skin was pink from how hard you’d scrubbed your body, trying to get the lingering feeling of his touches off of you, even though it hadn’t really worked. You reached your hand out and blindly felt around for a towel, a tiny smile appearing when you realized Jared had gotten you the fluffiest one he owned, the one you always liked to use whenever you were showering at his place. The smile grew just a little bit when you realized he’d also gotten you your favorite pair of his sweatpants and your favorite sweatshirt of his that you always liked to steal, and that he always playfully complained about you taking.

You take a deep breath, silently cursing yourself as you just start crying all over again. It was like every time you finally managed to calm yourself down, the wave of anxiety and shame would hit you once again. It had only been a few hours since the incident and you were already sick of it.

That was how Jared found you when he walked into his room a few minutes after you’d sat down at the end of the bed, knees curled up into your chest while you just cried. His heart breaks once again as he sits down next to you, gently forcing you to stretch out so you were no longer in the fetal position, so he could snuggle you up to his chest.

Once he’d gotten you stretched out, Jared laid back on the bed with you, turned on his side so he was facing you. It didn’t take the two of you long to get into your normal position, with you tucked into his chest, your nose nudging against his collarbone. His arms were wrapped around you tightly, wanting to make sure nothing could happen to you again. Not under his watch. He already felt terrible that this had happened to you because he wasn’t there to stop it. He wouldn’t be able to handle the guilt if something else were to happen to you.

If it weren’t for his fingers constantly stroking through your hair in a soothing motion, you would have thought Jared had fallen asleep for how even his breathing was and how quiet he was. But he was wide awake, forcing his breathing to stay even so you would eventually mimic him without even realizing it, hopefully getting you to relax a little bit as well.

“I feel bad.” You finally whisper quietly, and Jared even startles a little bit, because of how silent it had been in the room. You know he wants to question what you feel bad about, but is forcing himself not to speak, so you could have the time and space to talk about what you needed to when you needed to. “I feel bad because it wasn’t – it wasn’t even a sexual assault, I guess. He didn’t rape me. He stopped when I started crying and pushing him away. He kept trying to convince me to do it, but he didn’t try to force me to do anything… he was actually kinda nice about the whole thing… and I know it could have been so much worse, and he could have not let me get out of there, and I don’t deserve to be this freaked out about it, but I can’t help it.”

Jared has so much he wants to say. So much he wants to say that he doesn’t know how to say. He doesn’t know how to approach this topic, because he never thought it was a conversation he would have to have with someone he cared about as much as you. “Sweetheart, nothing that guy did was nice. Him trying to convince you was him trying to manipulate you into doing it. The fact that he even did that to you makes it a sexual assault, whether or not he let it stop when you started crying. It should have never gotten to that point, do you understand me?”

Jared pulls back a little bit so he can tilt your head up to look at him. It’s hard to see in the dim light, but you both can still see the shadows of the other’s face. He’s waiting for a response, but when he doesn’t get one, he just keeps talking. “He knew you didn’t want to. He knew you weren’t reciprocating his advances. Hell, you even told him you had a boyfriend, and he still did it. That is a sexual assault, and you deserve to feel any type of way you feel about it. Don’t invalidate yourself just because it could have been worse. Yeah, it could have been worse, but it was still fucking terrible, and you’re going to be hurt over it. That’s just how it is – but I’m going to be here the whole time to work you through the hurt.”

You sniffle, staying silent for a few moments as you just let his words sink in. Maybe he was right. Maybe you shouldn’t invalidate yourself. Maybe you should let yourself feel what you need to. But then again… maybe you could just push the whole thing out of your mind and just forget it ever happened. You liked that option better. “Guess that’s what I get for getting drunk.” You laugh humorlessly, casting your gaze downward once more. “Guess that’s what I get for following him into his bedroom under the guise of him showing me something. And I knew this could happen, and I knew it happened a lot, and I didn’t even let my guard down, but still…”

He knows what you’re trying to say without actually saying it. “(Y/N) (Y/L/N), this is absolutely not your fault, do you understand me? It happened without your consent, and none of it is your fault. It doesn’t matter that you got drunk. It doesn’t matter that you trusted him enough to go into his bedroom so he could show you something. None of that matters. It’s just like if someone leaves their purse out in the open. It’s still not right for someone to take it. It’s the robber’s fault for taking it. It’s that monster’s fault for taking what he wanted without your consent. It’s not. Your. Fault.”

The two of you are silent after that. You can tell Jared’s starting to get tired, but he’s trying his hardest to stay awake because he can tell you’re still awake. As you’re laying there, you get emotional again just thinking about the man you have laying next to you. The man who has been there for you for absolutely everything. The man who’s never hurt you intentionally, the man who has always done his best to love you the way you need to be loved. You didn’t know what the hell you’d done to deserve someone like Jared Padalecki, but you’d certainly hit the jackpot the day he asked you to be his girlfriend.

You find yourself drifting to sleep as you listen to his heartbeat and focus on the warmth of his body beside you. You knew the next night sleep would likely not find you so easily, that one of the main reasons you were able to fall asleep so easily was because of the alcohol, but you could cross that bridge when you got there.

You startle awake multiple times during the night, and you can’t figure out why. You weren’t having nightmares or anything of the sort, although you’d sort of expected that. You just keep waking up, and it’s getting frustrating. You were exhausted, and still upset and emotional, and you really just wanted to get some much needed sleep, but it seemed like it wouldn’t be coming so easily like you’d originally thought.

The fourth or fifth time you woke up, you were just finally falling back asleep with your boyfriend still sleeping beside you, when the slightest noise in the apartment made your heart race, and all of a sudden you realized why you couldn’t sleep.

“You okay?” Jared murmurs quietly, voice thick with sleep; the voice you loved hearing every single morning when you spent the night. His nose nudges against your neck, and you find your hand coming to tangle in his long, dark hair, him humming as he feels your touch.

You want to say you’re fine, that he doesn’t need to worry about you, but you also know that’s bullshit, and you know Jared will know that’s bullshit. “I keep waking up because I keep thinking I hear someone in the apartment.” You whisper the confession, and Jared’s arm just tightens even more around your waist than it originally was.

“No one’s in the apartment except for Jensen, baby.” Jared murmurs as he presses a heavy, sleepy kiss to your collarbone. “And even if there was, I would never let anything get you. I will never let anything hurt you again. I love you so much, you know that, right?”

A tiny smile forms on your face as you nod your head. “I know.” You whisper. And really, you did. There were times that you felt like no one could possibly love you, but Jared was always so good at making you feel loved. “I love you, too. And I do trust you to keep me safe.”

“Mm, good.” You can feel Jared settling back down against you, sleep starting to draw him in, and you’re feeling the same way. Finally relaxed once again, the darkness is starting to overtake you, and just as you’re about to fall asleep, you hear a few murmured words, that in the morning you’re not sure Jared will even remember saying.

“’S not your fault…”