Chapter 1: Chapter One.
By lunch time on his first day Jensen had decided that being the new kid officially sucked ass. People had been shooting him strange looks all day and every damn teacher had made him stand up in front of the class and talk about himself. Jensen had never been more embarrassed in his whole life; had he known that he was going to have to give a little speech in front of everyone, he would’ve had something prepared. As it was, he stuttered and stammered for a humiliating five minutes before diving back into his seat and hiding his red face behind his textbook - Jensen was pretty sure that if his new classmates hadn’t thought he was a loser before, they certainly did now. All in all, Jensen’s introduction to Johnson High had been an epic failure; he just hoped that the rest of his teachers would ignore him and actually teach their lessons like they were supposed to.
Jensen grabbed an apple and a packet of crisps (funnily enough he wasn’t feeling all that hungry after his insanely crappy morning) and made his way over to the lunch lady to pay. She scowled at him as he handed her his money and Jensen made a mental note to bring lunch from home for the rest of the year.
Jensen made his way across the cafeteria to an empty table, hoping that he wasn’t about to sit somewhere that had already been ‘claimed’ by another group of kids. No-one said anything as he sat down so he supposed it was okay to sit there. The low hum of chatter in the cafeteria was surprisingly soothing, so familiar to his old school that Jensen could almost forget that he was on his own here and that all his friends were back in Texas.
Jensen was just pulling out his cell phone to text his best friend, Misha, when a hush fell over the cafeteria. Jensen looked up and saw a group of kids walk into the cafeteria; no-one looked at them but it seemed like everyone knew they’d entered the room.
At the front of the gang strode a tall, brown haired boy; clearly the leader. Jensen rolled his eyes; every school had a group like this - they were the ‘cool’ kids who thought that just because they ruled the school, they ruled the world. They were always the ones who were so surprised that, when they got out into the real world, no-one cared that they’d been the starting Quarterback or the Prom Queen in High School.
Jensen continued to watch the group, subtly of course. He held his cell up in front of him, making it look as if he really was sending a text to his friend, as the kids made their way over to a table at the centre of the room. Suddenly, the brown haired boy stopped, his handsome face creasing into a frown, and the rest of the group stopped behind him.
Fucking Lemmings .
The boy looked around the cafeteria with a puzzled expression on his face, his eyes narrowing as though searching for something - it was beyond strange. Finally, the boy’s hazel eyes fell on Jensen and the look on the guy’s face instantly changed from confused to something Jensen couldn’t name but it was dark and intense whatever it was. Jensen squirmed under the scrutiny and dropped his gaze. He quickly grabbed his things and left the cafeteria - he felt the boy’s eyes follow him out of the room.
How had he managed to make enemy on his first fucking day, for Christ’s sakes? How pathetic was it that he’d managed to make an enemy before he’d even made a friend. Fuck his life.
Chapter 2: Chapter Two.
The next few days passed the same as they would have at Jensen’s old High School; same song, different verse. He was pretty smart so it wasn’t that difficult to learn where everything was and who his teachers were. He still hadn’t really managed to make any friends although he did exchange smiles and ‘heys’ with the people he sat next to in class. He’d only had one proper conversation and that had been born out of the need for information rather than any real desire on Jensen’s side.
‘Hey, um, I was just wondering…who were those kids that I saw in the cafeteria yesterday?’ Jensen asked, wanting to finally dispel that nervous, gnawing feeling he’d had in his gut since the previous day.
The red haired girl turned her head to look at him, ‘You mean Padalecki and his gang?’ It unnerved Jensen slightly that the girl didn’t even need to ask who he was talking about, that the kids were so notorious that they were set apart from all the other pupils in the school.
‘Uh…maybe. The ones who sat down in the middle of the cafeteria?’
‘Yeah. That’s Jared Padalecki and his friends.’ The girl answered, like that explained everything.
‘Who are they?’ Jensen pushed – know your enemy, right?
‘Well, Padalecki’s Dad’s pretty much the richest guy in town, probably one of the richest guys in the state. And Jared, he just sort of rules the school, you know. He and his gang’ve got a bit of a reputation for being all badass and shit but somehow they manage to get away with pretty much everything. If there’s someone you really don’t wanna mess with, it’s Jared Padalecki; not only is the guy built like a fucking tree but, apparently, he’s got a temper to match – I heard last year that some guy hit on his girl and he broke the guy’s arm…in seven places.’ Jensen gulped, oh god, he was so gonna die.
‘Oh. Right. Thanks.’ Jensen choked out. He couldn’t really think of anything to say to that. He was pretty sure he was looking more than a little green at the thought of Jared Padalecki taking a dislike to him, for no apparent reason – maybe he’d stared too long or something – and he rubbed his arm nervously, not thinking about that guy’s broken arm, no, not at all.
‘Hey! Don’t worry about Padalecki. He’s a decent enough guy, just stay out of his way; he and his guys don’t usually bother people who haven’t done something to them first. They don’t usually deign to even acknowledge us lesser beings most of the time.’ She smirked, clearly thinking her words would make Jensen feel better. They really, really didn’t.
He’d clearly already done something to piss this guy off, even if he didn’t know what it was. But he’d met people like this Jared Padalecki before – the rich kids - and he’d found that they really didn’t need a reason to dislike you.
Jensen shook off the memory; Padalecki hadn’t paid him any attention since that moment in the cafeteria and all Jensen could do was hope that he’d dodged a bullet. A very large, muscular bullet. Maybe Padalecki hadn’t even been looking at him that day, maybe Jensen had just imagined that intense gaze. Please God.
Jensen jumped when the locker next to him slammed shut. ‘Hey there. You the new kid?’ It was the first time that someone who wasn’t a teacher had really talked to him, apart from the redhead with her awesomely unhelpful pep-talk.
Jensen nodded, a little warily, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’
‘Cool, looks like we’re locker neighbours.’ The kid said, grinning at Jensen.
‘Really? But you weren’t here yesterday or the day before?’ Jensen asked suspiciously; trust wasn’t his strong suit.
‘Yeah, it’s my first day back. My family went on vacation to visit my grandparents in Chicago, we only got back last night. Couldn’t convince my parents to let me have the rest of the week off, so here I am.’ He sighed a long, put upon sigh before adding, ‘You’re just lucky you got something so damn handsome to look at every morning.’ The boy waggled his eyebrows at Jensen and Jensen couldn’t help but laugh.
‘Right.’ Jensen replied, rolling his eyes; he liked the other boy already. ‘I’m jumping for joy on the inside.’ He deadpanned, shocking a short bark of a laugh out of his new friend.
The kid held out a hand, ‘Christian Kane. But call me Chris if you don’t want a fat lip.’
‘Alright, Chris. I’m Jensen. The same applies if you call me Jenny, by the way.’
‘Deal.’ Although, from the wicked gleam in the boy’s blue eyes, Jensen suspected that he’d hear the dreaded nickname again in future. He wasn’t wrong.
Chapter 3: Chapter Three.
After that, the two boys were thick as thieves; wherever Jensen went, Chris went as well and wherever Chris was, Jensen just seemed to be there too. It was kind of perfect actually and Jensen had little time to miss Misha back home, although he did email the guy every couple of days; Jensen would never be able to find anyone to replace the special brand of weird that Misha brought to his life and he didn’t want to.
Chris had convinced Jensen to come back inside to eat his lunch instead of hiding from Padalecki and his crew in the school grounds. Chris had pretty much said the same things about Padalecki as the girl from Jensen’s Bio class, although Jensen had been a little perturbed by the hint of respect he’d heard in the other boy’s voice; Jensen, himself, had been nothing short of terrified by the rumours he’d heard about Padalecki. But Chris had assured him that the group wouldn’t mess with him if he didn’t mess with them first.
Jensen really hadn’t had a comeback for that; Jared hadn’t actually done anything, he just kept giving Jensen these really weird looks in the corridor or across the classroom that made him sort of uncomfortable. Jensen couldn’t shake the feeling that the other boy was plotting something and, from Padalecki’s reputation, Jensen knew that it couldn’t be anything good.
Half way through lunch, the group entered the cafeteria and the same hush fell over the student body that Jensen had seen that first day. It was fucking creepy, that’s what it was; it was like they had this secret power over everyone that no-one seemed to even notice, hell, no-one even looked up when they entered the room but at least half of them stopped speaking and focused intently on their lunches and the rest lowered their voices to a soft whisper. As soon as Padalecki and his friends sat down, though, the noise started up again as if had nothing happened.
Jensen would’ve thought that he was imagining it if Chris hadn’t been eyeing him with an almost wary expression, clearly wondering how Jensen would react to the eerie spectacle. Not well was the answer. Not well at all.
‘Why does everyone do that?’ Jensen hissed, his eyes still fixed on the kids sitting in the centre of the cafeteria.
‘Do what?’ Chris was no longer looking at him; he was paying an undue amount of attention to his burger and fries but his casual tone was so forced that Jensen just knew that the other boy was well aware of what he was talking about.
‘Come on Chris?’ He urged. Chris sighed, dropping all pretence that he was eating his cheeseburger and putting the mammoth thing back on his plate.
‘I don’t know okay, they just…everyone just respects them, you know. Don’t let it freak you out. You’ve got enough on your plate without worrying about Jared Padalecki.’ Jensen nodded a little nervously; Chris didn’t know the half of it. Jensen knew that Chris thought he had a lot on his plate with his new classes and moving into a new neighbourhood but Jensen had so much more to worry about at home than what colour to paint his new walls. But he wasn’t about to tell his new friend about that, he hoped he’d never have to; he’d gone years without Misha ever finding out. No way was he gonna be that kid at Johnson High.
‘Yeah you’re right.’ Jensen turned his attention to his own packed lunch, fighting the urge to look back over at the Padalecki table when the hairs on the back of his neck began to prickle; Jared wasn’t looking at him, he was sure of it. No need to check, there was absolutely no way that Jensen could’ve gotten himself on the guy’s shitlist without so much as talking to him. Right?
Chapter 4: Chapter Four.
Jensen walked back to the Biology lab; he’d left his textbook behind after class that day and he had a ton of homework to do before the next lesson. He was just about to push the door open when he heard voices inside,
‘You can’t be serious about this Jared.’ A shrill voice said.
‘I’m completely serious, Sandy.’ Padalecki answered back, his voice loud and deep in the quiet of the lab.
‘But…but…he’s not one of us.’ One of them? Jensen rolled his eyes, God they sounded like a freaking cult. Bloody high school cliques.
‘No, he’s not. But you seem to think that matters. I want him and I’m gonna do everything in my power to get him.’ Jensen didn’t know who they were talking about but the future didn’t look all that bright for whomever it was.
‘Well we’ll just see what your father has to say about this.’ Sandy answered, irritation colouring her tone.
There was a scuffle inside of the room, ‘Don’t threaten me Sandy, this has nothing to do with you.’
‘It has everything to do with me.’ She all but shrieked back. ‘I’m your…’ Jensen jumped when the janitor knocked over a bucket of water in the corridor outside the lab, the metal clang deafening in the silent, deserted hallway. The conversation, inside the room, cut off immediately and Jensen realised that Padalecki and Sandy could open the door at any moment and find Jensen eavesdropping. Terrified at the thought of being discovered, Jensen turned on his heel and ran down the corridor, slipping slightly on the water that had spilled out of the janitor’s bucket. Screw Biology, he hated Mrs Gamble anyway and he certainly wasn’t risking a broken face for her.
It was a quarter to eleven and Jensen was just wiping down his last table when he heard his boss, Marcus, plod over, his keys gangling as he went. The man stopped behind Jensen where he was bent over the table, moving in close to his back. Jensen froze, biting his tongue; the guy was a pervert, Jensen had realised as much after his first shift at the diner, but, unfortunately, Marcus had the power to fire Jensen’s ass and Jensen really couldn’t afford to lose this job. So he stayed still, barely stopping himself from shoving the older man away, as the man leaned over to whisper in his ear, ‘Look at you, you little slut, all bent over waving that fine little ass at me.’ He slid his hands down to Jensen’s ass.
‘I’m just cleaning th…’
‘Sure you are, Jenny. Like you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.’ The man punctuated his accusation with a firm squeeze of Jensen’s ass and he yelped, straightened up quickly and backed away from the table and his handsy boss. Marcus narrowed his eyes and took a step towards Jensen, promises of nothing good written all over his face.
‘Hey, can I get some service here?’ A deep voice asked from behind him and Jensen’s head whipped round to see Padalecki standing by an empty booth, one of his huge hands gripping the red cushion tightly enough for his knuckles to turn white. He was watching them with narrowed eyes.
‘Uh…sure…sorry.’ Jensen muttered, feeling blood rush to his cheeks as he grabbed the notebook clipped to his hip and the pen from behind his ear. He walked over to the table and put on the best fake smile he could muster given the situation.
Jared was still looking over Jensen’s shoulder at Marcus, his eyes dark and cold and Jensen wondered what the guy thought he’d walked in on. Did he think that he and Marcus were a couple having some late night nookie in the deserted diner? Was that why he looked so mad? ‘Cause Jensen was gay? That really didn’t bode well for school because, despite this scene being completely against his will, Jensen was gay and if Jared had a problem with that then he was going to have a problem with Jensen, ‘What can I get you?’
Padalecki dragged his hazel eyes away from Jensen’s boss to rest on Jensen’s face; Jensen sighed in relief when they softened slightly. Maybe Padalecki hadn’t seen anything at all, maybe he just had a beef with Marcus that had absolutely nothing to do with Jensen; Marcus was enough of an asshole to have enemies all over town. ‘What do you recommend?’
‘The pie’s pretty good.’ Jensen answered. It was true; their baker, Mrs Goodman, made the best pie Jensen had ever tasted and she always gave him the first slice, when it came out of the oven, claiming that someone needed to test it before it was sold to the customers. It was bull, they were always perfect and she knew it; that didn’t stop Jensen accepting the gifts though; the woman reminded him of his grandma.
‘I’ll get a slice of that then.’ Jensen nodded and gave Padalecki another polite smile before disappearing into the kitchen. When he came back five minutes later, Marcus was sitting at the table with Jared, his face ghost white.
Confused, Jensen looked between the two men and put the pie down on the table in front of Padalecki, not really sure if he should interrupt. ‘Uh…here’s your pie.’
Padalecki shot him a blinding smile. ‘Thanks.’ He then turned back to Marcus and said, ‘We clear?’
Marcus nodded jerkily, ‘A…Absolutely.’ The short man then got up from the table and all but ran back into the kitchen, clutching a hand to his chest. Well that was…weird.
‘Okay, enjoy, and let me know if you want anything else.’ Jensen said as Padalecki reached for his fork.
Padalecki just smirked, ‘Oh believe me, I will.’
Jensen let Jared out at eleven and began to close up the diner. Marcus didn’t speak to him again that night, didn’t brush up against him as they locked the doors like he usually did, he didn’t even make a lewd comment and slap him on the ass when Jensen left like he had every other night they’d worked together.
Jensen was thoroughly confused and his confusion only grew when his next shift went by with him unmolested. By the end of the week and four shifts later, Marcus had barely spoken two words to him and those had actually been about his job; maybe Jensen’s luck was finally starting to change after all. But something was nagging at him - why did he get the feeling that Jared had had something to do with this? But what? And more importantly…why?
Chapter 5: Chapter Five.
Jensen knew something was wrong; Padalecki had been in every one of his classes, always sitting right next to him. Jensen didn’t know how the guy managed it; even if Jensen turned up to the class after him, somehow all the other seats were taken and Jensen would have to sit next to the tall boy. All the other times, when Jensen had gotten to class first, Jared had always taken the seat next to him. They hadn’t talked, had barely even looked at each other actually. Padalecki had just flashed him that damn sunny smile, right at the beginning of the lesson, and then had proceeded to doodle in his notepad for the rest of the period.
‘It’s weird,’ Jensen stated as he and Chris walked out of school.
‘Not really, maybe he just changed a few of his classes round.’ Chris replied, opening a packet of crisps and offering one to Jensen.
Jensen shook his head, a frown on his face, ‘To every one of mine?’
Chris shrugged, ‘Coincidence. Probably got nothing to do with you, it’s not like you guys hang out is it?’
Jensen blushed. ‘Yeah, I guess,’ he replied, rubbing a hand across the back of his neck; when Chris put it like that, it did seem a little arrogant of him to think that someone like Jared Padalecki would go to all the trouble of rearranging his class schedule just so he could be in the same classes as Jensen. And it wasn’t like the boy ever really interacted with him anyway. ‘Yeah, I’m being stupid.’
Chris grimaced, ‘You know I didn’t mean it like that, Jen. I just don’t think you should to be labelling Padalecki as some kind of stalker just because he picked up a couple of new classes, you know.’
‘Yeah,’ Jensen nodded, feeling more than a little foolish for letting his imagination run away with him.
Thursday meant gym; Jensen had always quite liked gym back at his old school. He was quick and had pretty good hand-to-eye coordination so he’d always gotten picked for the teams early and his team, more often than not, had won.
This was his first gym class at Johnson High, though, and he felt oddly nervous as the teacher assigned two captains and told them to pick their players. Of course, Padalecki was one of the team captains and some kid called Luke was chosen as the other one.
Luke got to pick first and he chose a big burly guy standing on the other side of the hall from Jensen. Jensen groaned internally – if that was the type of player Luke was going for, then Jensen figured that he was gonna be one of the last to get picked since he was neither big nor burly and there was no way that Padalecki was going to pick him. Awesome.
An elbow to his side brought Jensen back to reality and he found Chris staring at him with an impatient look on his face. ‘What?’ Jensen hissed, rubbing his side; Chris sure had bony elbows.
‘You’ve been picked, dumbass. Get moving.’
‘Huh?’ Jensen turned to the team captains and saw Padalecki looking at him with an amused smile on his face. The other team captain, though, looked anything but amused and glared at Jensen for holding up the start of the game. He blushed, ‘Oh sorry.’ Jensen quickly made his way over to Padalecki’s side, only then realising that Padalecki had picked him first out of everyone in their class, including all his friends. And Jensen didn’t care what Chris said, that was weird - Padalecki had no idea what Jensen was like at sports, he’d only been at the school a week and this was their first gym class together. So why on earth had he picked Jensen?
Jensen was left to ponder Padalecki’s odd behaviour as the two boys selected the rest of their teams. Unsurprisingly, the rest of Padalecki’s team was made up of his gang and a couple of other students that Jensen had seen in the halls but hadn’t spoken to yet. They were all pretty nice to Jensen, including him in their discussion of tactics and game play. Well, all except for the very pretty, dark haired girl who’d been giving him the stink eye since she’d walked over to join Padalecki’s team at the selection. Jensen tried to avoid her eye as much as possible, hell, if looks could kill, Jensen would’ve been six feet under by now.
The two teams were relatively well matched and after twenty minutes, only four players remained on Padalecki’s team and three on the opposing side. Chris grinned evilly at him from across the court and mouthed ‘You’re next.’ From what he’d seen of Chris’ dodgeball skills, Jensen might actually have taken the threat seriously if it weren’t for the fact that Padalecki was, like, everywhere. The ball hadn’t come anywhere near Jensen the entire game; Padalecki had always been there to deflect it away or catch it and hurl it back towards the other team with startling accuracy.
The teacher blew the whistle and the ball zoomed back and forth, blurring in the air as the players tossed it at each other. Suddenly, Chris had the ball in his hands and he smirked at Jensen before he threw it as hard as he could at him. But before Jensen could even think about trying to dodge it, Padalecki was there, moving faster than Jensen would’ve thought possible, catching the ball against his chest and throwing it back at Chris to catch the boy on the leg. Chris huffed and slumped off the court.
‘Wow, you really wanna win.’ Jensen whispered, half to himself, but Padalecki must’ve heard him since he turned around and winked at Jensen before getting back into position and waiting for the next round. Jensen stared after him in disbelief.
That was definitely strange. No-one cared about dodgeball that much.
Chapter 6: Chapter Six.
Two weeks in and school was actually pretty good. Jensen had tried out for track and made the first team which would look really impressive on his college applications. He trained every day after school, even on the days that the team didn’t have practice; it was a legitimate excuse not to go home and Jensen was always on the lookout for those.
Jensen walked into the empty locker room; school had let out over an hour ago and, as far as Jensen knew, it was just him and the janitor in the school now. He quickly stripped off his sweaty shirt; much less self-conscious knowing that he was alone than he would’ve been in a room full of other boys. His fingers skimmed the top of his shorts, ready to push them down and off so he could get into the shower, when he was shoved face first into the lockers.
It didn’t hurt, not like he’d expected it to, since a hand had been placed in front of his face, at the last moment, to stop his cheek hitting the metal. Didn’t mean it didn’t scare the hell out of him.
Jensen fought to turn around and see who was about to beat the crap out of him but the body behind him didn’t move so much as an inch despite his struggles, ‘Get off me!’ Jensen hissed, or tried to; it came out somewhat muffled due to the fact that his face was currently at one with his locker door!
‘God, you smell fucking amazing.’ A deep voice growled in his ear and Jensen felt the vibrations of the boy’s chest against his back.
‘Wha…’ He began to say but, suddenly, the weight was gone and he all but slumped forwards against the lockers for support. Jensen spun around quickly to see who his attacker(?) had been.
What the fuck?
Jensen stared at the taller boy, completely speechless, before following Padalecki’s narrowed gaze to Chris. And what was Chris doing there? Jensen had seen him leave school, after their last class, over an hour ago. Not that he wasn’t grateful; Jared was fucking massive and Jensen was sure that the guy would’ve turned him into a pile of goo by the time he was finished with him. Jensen shivered at the thought of those huge fists laying into him – yeah, that would’ve really hurt.
‘Leave Jared.’ Chris said to Padalecki, his own eyes glowing with a wrath to rival Padalecki’s.
‘You can’t tell me what to do Chris.’ Padalecki shot back, stepping closer to Jensen and the lockers he was currently plastered against.
‘I can and I am.’ Padalecki’s eyes narrowed even further, if that was possible, ‘Now go.’ Padalecki clenched his jaw and let his gaze flicker to Jensen once more before turning and leaving the locker room, slamming the door on his way out.
Jensen let out the breath he didn’t even realise he was holding and slid down the lockers onto his ass, ‘Jesus, Chris. Thanks man.’
‘No worries,’ Chris answered, handing Jensen his t-shirt. Jensen blushed when he realised that that whole scene had played out with him shirtless, how humiliating.
‘Uh…thanks.’ Jensen replied, awkwardly, as he took the garment off his best friend. He pulled it over his head and added, ‘You really saved my ass back there.’ Chris snorted but Jensen didn’t think anything about this was remotely funny, ‘I’m serious. I don’t think I would’ve gotten out of here without a broken face if you hadn’t come along. How did you happen to come along? What are you doing back here?’ He asked as he turned back to open his locker and retrieve his things.
‘Think the last thing he wanted to do was break your face, Jen.’ Jensen frowned; he was pretty sure that something would’ve gotten broken without Chris’ help but, before he could say as much, Chris continued, ‘Forgot my guitar pick in the music room, it’s my favourite, and I didn’t want one of those other talentless fuckers ‘adopting’ it. I heard something crash in here and came in to check it out; didn’t expect to find you in here though. You should be more careful, Jen. Hanging around school on your own like that, you’re just asking for trouble.’
‘I thought everyone else had gone home.’ Jensen defended.
‘Well, obviously they hadn’t. How about you tell me when you wanna stay late and I’ll do homework or some shit till you’re ready to go and we can walk to the bus stop together, yeah?’
‘You don’t have to do that.’ Jensen replied, feeling embarrassed at having to be looked after, even if the offer sounded really good right then. He shut the locker door with a bang.
‘Hey, if it means that I don’t have to worry about you getting attacked by Dave the crazy janitor,’ or Padalecki, was left unsaid but they both heard it, ‘then hanging around for an extra hour ain’t so bad. Now get your shit together so we can get home.’ Jensen smiled and followed his best friend out of the High School, glancing over his shoulder just once when he felt that all too familiar feeling of eyes on him. God, he really was going mad.
Chapter 7: Chapter Seven.
Jensen jumped off the bus and walked the two blocks to his house. He knew that he was late; the scene in the locker room had made him miss his normal bus and he and Chris had to wait an hour for the next one. Jensen could only hope that his Dad had already drunken himself into an alcohol-induced coma by the time he walked in the door.
Jensen held his breath and opened the front door as quietly as possible. He couldn’t hear anything and the lights in the living room were off; that boded well - his Dad had probably gone to bed or fallen asleep before the sun had even gone down. Jensen crept across the room, not turning the lights on, making his way to the stairs.
Just as his foot touched the first step, a hand grabbed his arm, spun him round and slammed him up against the wall. ‘Dad!’ Jensen gasped out as his head hit the wall, hard, blurring his vision a little.
‘Where the fuck’ve you been?’ His father slurred.
‘I…I had practice, I told you.’ Jensen explained, squirming a little to get out from between his father and the wall.
‘Liar!’ His dad’s fist landed hard across his cheekbone but at least his father’s hands had disappeared from his biceps; he was sure there would be bruises there in the morning. ‘Didn’t tell me anything. Never fucking tell me anything.’ He punched Jensen in gut, making him double over. His father stumbled. Jensen watched the man reel back, from his position crouched on the floor, staying absolutely still and hoping that the man would forget he was there.
No such luck.
The older man grabbed the half empty bottle of Jim Beam off the table in front of the sofa and took a swig of the amber liquid. He turned back to Jensen, looking at him with disgust, or as close to disgust his alcohol slack features could express, ‘I gave you everything, since…since you killed your mom…’ Another large gulp, ‘And you never…never give me…any…any fucking respect you pathetic little bastard.’ He stormed back over to Jensen, lifting him bodily off the floor and slamming him back against the wall. For a man who spent 90% of his time drowning himself in whisky, he was still surprisingly strong.
‘I…I…’ Jensen stuttered out, there was nothing he could say when his Dad was like this; he’d learnt a long time ago that it was better to just stay silent and try to get it over with as soon as possible. Jensen bit his cheek to keep from crying out as the man tightened his grip on his arms.
‘Fucking worthless little…’ His Dad trailed off and threw Jensen down to the floor again but this time Jensen’s head caught against the edge of the table.
He must have a blacked out because when he opened his eyes again, his father was passed out in his chair, the bottle of Jim Beam hanging loosely from his fingers.
Jensen brought his hand up to his head, grimacing when it came back bloody. He trailed the hand down his face, wincing when it reached his eye and cheekbone; shit, he was sure that was gonna bruise. Jensen got to his feet and began to stumble back to the stairs when something crunched under his feet. He looked down to see a broken picture on the floor; he’d obviously knocked it off when his head had hit the table. Slowly, Jensen bent down and picked up the shattered frame, brushing the shards of glass off the photograph and onto the floor.
He bit his lip as he looked down at the family in the picture – where had they gone? The photograph was about five years old, taken before his mother had died; it showed the three of them, him up on his Dad’s shoulders and his Dad with an arm wrapped around his mum’s waist. They were all laughing and looked so damn happy that Jensen couldn’t stop the tears that welled up in his eyes. He glanced over at his father, the man was such a different man than he’d been all those years ago, Jensen couldn’t remember the last time his father had touched him not in anger. Probably the day that he’d picked Jensen up from the hospital and had had to leave his wife behind.
Everything had changed that day and Jensen cursed God for taking his mom away from them and damning them to this hell. It wasn’t fair.
Jensen dropped the picture and ran from the house; the smell of whisky was turning his stomach, reminding him of everything he’d lost, he just needed…just needed to get out of there for a while…he just needed to breathe.
It had started to rain since he’d gotten home and he was soaked through in minutes but he kept on running. Jensen finally stopped when he made it to the park across town, dropping down onto the wet grass and resting his head on the knees. He was breathing heavily and he could feel the tears running down his cheeks even as he tried to choke them back. The place was deserted; it had to be at least nine o’clock and the park wasn’t exactly the type of place anyone should be wandering around in, alone, at that time of night.
Jensen just wanted it over; his father’s words hurt just as much as his fists, probably more.
You killed your mother.
He hadn’t, it had been an accident. Just because they’d been on their way to his baseball game, just because he’d survived whilst his mother had…had died – that wasn’t his fault. There was nothing that he could’ve done. Right? That’s what everyone had told him anyway - the doctors, the nurses, his friends.
But, still, there was that voice in his head, the one that had grown louder with every passing year, that told him his father was right. That this was why his life had gone to shit; this was his punishment for killing his mom. He deserved all this.
Jensen ran a shaking hand though his wet hair and across his cheeks. He was so pathetic; he would’ve thought that he’d cried all the tears he could over the years but, every time he broke down, he found that he could cry just that little bit more. His dad was right, he was useless.
‘Jensen?’ Jensen’s head whipped up, his eyes squinting against the wind and the rain.
Jensen rolled his eyes; it was Padalecki - that was just what he needed! At least, maybe the injuries Padalecki was planning to give him would mean that he wouldn’t have to have an explanation for the ones his dad had left.
‘Look, if you’re gonna beat me up, can you just get it over with? I’m not in the mood for games tonight.’ Jensen choked out. He should’ve been embarrassed by how raw and raspy his throat sounded, there was no way to hide that he’d been crying, but he was too damn tired to feel that right then. He just wanted to be left alone.
Surprisingly, the blows didn’t fall. Instead the tall boy sat down next to him on the wet grass, in his designer jeans no less. Jensen shifted to look at him, completely confused, ‘What are you…’
Padalecki’s face creased into a frown and Jensen flinched when the boy reached out and took hold of his face, gently turning it to him. Padalecki brushed a thumb gently over Jensen’s cheek, ‘What happened?’ The boy asked, his mouth pursed in a tight line.
Jensen tore his face away to look at the ground, ‘Nothing.’ Well that certainly won’t fly; come on Jensen you’re better than this, ‘I just…just fell into the kitchen cabinet at home, it was stupid.’
‘Doesn’t look much like a fall to me Jensen. Looks to me like someone punched you.’ Padalecki replied coolly.
And Jensen didn’t need to be judged right then, especially not by Padalecki, ‘Why do you even care? Pissed that someone got there first? Believe me there’s still plenty of places for you to punch, and you can take credit for the eye if you want.’ Jensen shot back, his eyes still fixed on the grass. He didn’t know why he was provoking Padalecki; it was a monumentally stupid idea but that was pretty much Jensen’s MO these days so…
‘I care because I don’t like to see you hurt.’ Jensen snorted, right! ‘I care because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you since the moment I saw you.’ Jensen looked up at him at that, expecting to see a sarcastic sneer on the other boy’s face but there was nothing but genuine concern written there. It had been such a long time since anyone had looked at Jensen like that; long enough for him to have forgotten how to deal with it. Jared’s huge hand reached out for his face again and Jensen flinched away.
‘I…I don’t…you can’t…’ Jensen crawled backwards across the grass, ignoring the sharp pain in his side, and scrambled to his feet. As soon as he was upright, Jensen took off, running back in the direction of his house.
He just hoped his Dad really was asleep this time.
Chapter 8: Chapter Eight.
When Jensen’s alarm woke him up at 8 a.m. the next day, he rolled slowly out of bed, groaning as the movement set off a dull ache in his side. His head was pounding and his face felt like it had been hit with a sledge hammer, although that wasn’t actually all that far from the truth. Jensen grabbed a couple of pain pills, that he kept for days like this, and threw them back. He walked into the bathroom and turned on his shower; he hadn’t bothered showering last night, he’d pretty much just crashed after he’d gotten back from the park.
Oh god…the park!
And there was the humiliation that Jensen had been too strung out to feel last night. And the way Padalecki had acted? Was it really as strange as he remembered or was his muddled brain just distorting his memories? He was sure that he hadn’t heard what he thought he’d heard last night.
Jensen’s eyes flickered up to the mirror. Shit. There was a dark bruise smudged over his cheekbone and a stunning black eye to go with it. Well, Padalecki had been right about one thing, it certainly didn’t look like he’d fallen into a kitchen cabinet. Door knob maybe? That might work. His gaze travelled down his arms, taking in the finger shaped bruises circling his biceps – that meant that he was going to have to wear a long sleeved t-shirt today despite the fact that it was already, like, a 100 degrees outside - fantastic!.
Jensen stripped off his shirt and was unsurprised to see the mottled bruises running down his left side. Sighing, he jumped in the shower, quickly washing his hair and face before getting ready for school.
Jensen could hear his father getting ready for work across the hall; it was lucky that the man didn’t actually have to think to do his job (working as toll booth operator wasn’t exactly hard) ‘cause Jensen was sure that his dad had pretty much killed off all his brain cells after the first two years of drinking. The guy was a zombie, even when he hadn’t been drinking.
Jensen quickly made up two lunches, one for his father and one for him, before all but running from the house. Neither of them needed a confrontation this morning. His father had stopped apologising years ago and seeing the bruises he’d left on Jensen’s body would just have him reaching for the bottle hours before he normally would and they really couldn’t afford for his dad to lose yet another job. Jensen didn’t want to have to move again.
Although, given what he was likely to face at school today, that might actually be the better option. Jensen could only imagine what Padalecki had told everyone about finding him in the park last night, crying like a little girl. High School kids were cruel and he was sure that everyone would believe Padalecki over any explanation he could give; not that he had one, not really…it wasn’t like he could come out and actually tell people about all his shit at home.
Jensen had his old Mavericks cap on his head and he pulled a pair of dark shades out of his backpack before sliding them onto his face. He pulled the cap down low, hoping that no-one would recognise him as he walked quickly into school and straight up to his locker.
‘What’s with the Top Gun impression, Jen.’ The cap was whipped off Jensen’s head and his glasses fell down his nose before Jensen quickly shoved them back on. ‘Jesus…’ Chris whispered.
‘Just…just give me the hat back, Chris.’ Jensen said quietly and he immediately placed the cap back on his head when Chris handed it over.
‘Jesus, Jen, what happened?’ Chris asked, his voice suddenly sombre, and Jensen really wanted to pretend that he didn’t hear the note of pity in the other boy’s tone.
‘I fell. I’m real clumsy like that, damn door knobs are like my arch nemeses.’ Jensen forced out a laugh, self-consciously pushing the glasses higher up on his nose as he went to open his locker.
‘Right…door knob.’ Chris replied, disbelief clear in his voice. ‘Jen, you know you can talk to me right? ‘Cause that doesn’t look like you fell into a door knob; it kind of looks like someone punched you in the face.’ And the words were close enough to what Padalecki had said the night before that they instantly put Jensen on the alert. He just knew that Padalecki would tell everyone about what had happened – the asshole.
‘Then why did you even ask if Padalecki already told you what happened!’ Jensen snapped, grabbing a load of books and shoving them into his bag, not caring if they were actually the ones he needed or not.
‘Padalecki? What are yo…?’
‘I knew this would happen. Shit! Why couldn’t he just have kept his big mouth shut; it’s not like my life doesn’t suck enough as it is without everyone talking about me behind my back.’ Without everyone knowing what a freak I am. Jensen felt frustrated tears rise to his eyes, once again thankful for his sunglasses.
‘Jen, I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ Chris grabbed Jensen’s arm as he made to walk away but pulled his hand back, instantly, when he saw Jensen wince. ‘I haven’t heard anything, least of all from Padalecki.’
That brought Jensen up short, ‘You…you haven’t? No-one’s said anything about me? About…about the park last night?’
Chris shook his head, ‘Not that I’ve heard.’ Chris looked so concerned and hurt that Jensen felt like a grade A asshole for accusing the boy of listening to rumours like that. He’d just lashed out at the first person he could find and that just happened to be Chris; God, why did anyone even bother being his friend?
‘Shit. I’m sorry Chris; that was way out of line. Let’s…let’s just get to class okay.’ Jensen sighed; it was only 9 a.m. and he was already exhausted.
‘Alright, Jen. Just…just remember what I said okay.’ Chris fell into step next to him, a comforting presence at his side. Jensen just nodded; he had absolutely no intention of taking Chris up on his offer, he was pretty sure that he’d freaked the guy out enough for one day.
Jensen walked into the Biology lab and Chris made his way to Spanish, the boy offering him one more worried glance before disappearing into the room next door. Great! Chris probably thought he was some kind of weirdo now. Well that’s what happens, Jensen, when you put your crazy out for everyone to see.
Jensen sat down at one of the desks at the back, keeping his head down. He rifled through his bag, searching for his Bio textbook and cursed when he realised that he must have left it in his locker. He really didn’t want to have to ask the teacher for a spare, didn’t want to draw any more attention to himself today than he already would with his cap and sunglasses.
Something nudged at his elbow and when Jensen looked down to see what it was, he saw a Bio textbook on the desk in front of him. He raised his head and saw Padalecki sitting next to him, looking straight ahead and not paying him any attention. Jensen felt indescribably grateful for the save and bit his lip as he opened the textbook to the page written on the blackboard. Neither of them said anything as the teacher entered the room and stood in front of her desk.
‘Mr Ackles, no hats or glasses in class.’ Mrs. Gamble barked out; she really didn’t like him all that much. The whole class turned to look at him and Jensen felt himself flush bright red under the attention and closed his eyes, willing himself away. This was probably the worst way for him to reveal his face, in front of a crowd of students all focused on him. Jensen would swear that he could already hear the vicious jibes and whispers.
‘Oh come on, Mrs. G., don’t you think we look awesome? I think we look awesome.’ Jensen turned to the tall boy next to him, who was now wearing a pair of dark raybands and grinning wickedly at their teacher. Mrs. Gamble smiled; she clearly liked Padalecki well enough. Jensen had to grudgingly admit that the guy was kind of charming; he seemed to have pretty much all of the student body and staff under his spell anyway.
Their teacher shook her head, still smiling, ‘Alright Mr. Padalecki, just this once.’ She turned back to the board and began teaching the lesson.
That second save was too big for Jensen to just ignore and he mumbled a soft, ‘Thanks,’ under his breath. He didn’t know why Padalecki was doing this but the guy had saved his ass twice in the last ten minutes so he wasn’t going to question it…yet.
‘No problem.’ Padalecki replied, leaning back in his chair, clearly unconcerned with taking notes. ‘You alright today, Jen?’
‘Yeah, I’m good.’ Jensen lied, keeping his veiled eyes glued to his own notes.
They didn’t speak for the rest of the lesson but it wasn’t as uncomfortable as Jensen had thought it would be.
Chapter 9: Chapter Nine.
The rest of the day hadn’t gone all that badly; Jensen had made sure to sit right at the back in his other classes and, since most of his other teachers either liked him or didn’t really give two shakes about him, he was allowed to keep his cap and sunglasses on. No-one besides Chris had seen his face, and the guy hadn’t asked Jensen about it again all day. Hopefully, that was the end of it; his Dad was normally pretty good at keeping the blows away from his face so Jensen hoped that it would be a couple of months, at least, until he would have to deal with all this again.
Jensen was waiting by his locker for Chris - he didn’t want to risk being late home again today so he’d decided to skip his extra training for once - when a hand dropped onto his shoulder. Jensen turned around expecting to see Chris’ smirking face but came face to face with Padalecki.
‘Hey.’ The tall boy said.
‘Uh…hi.’ Jensen replied, a little nervously; the guy looked huge standing this close to him.
‘I just wanted to introduce myself. Seems like we’ve met but not really met, you know.’ Padalecki held out his huge paw of a hand to Jensen, grinning, ‘I’m Jared Padalecki.’ Jensen just stared at the hand, probably looking a little like he expected it to grow teeth and bite him. Jared just laughed, though, and grabbed Jensen’s hand, ‘And you’re Jensen Ackles. Good to meet you.’ He shook Jensen’s hand soundly before releasing it again.
Jensen was, once again, baffled by the other boy’s actions; he couldn’t imagine why the guy had even bothered to talk to him. From what he’d heard about Padalecki, the kid only talked to those outside his group if he had a problem with them. But this didn’t sound like he had a problem with Jensen at all, it was strange. ‘Uh…yeah…you too?’
Jared laughed again; it was a nice sound and Jensen smiled before he could help himself, ‘Don’t sound so surprised, Jen. I’m a nice guy.’ Jared’s own smile amped up to epic proportions; Jensen felt that sunglasses were definitely a must when looking at that beaming smile. Wow, Padalecki really did have a kind of amazing smile. ‘Anyway, since we’re totally introduced now, I think I can ask you this. Do you wanna maybe go out and get a coffee with me sometime?’ The tall boy asked, an expectant look on his handsome face.
Excuse me?! ‘I…wha…huh?’
Padalecki…Jared smirked, ‘You, me, coffee…as in a date?’ Why would someone like Jared want to go out with someone like him? He’d already seen what a mess Jensen was; it just didn’t make any sense since Jared was…well…he was kind of perfect and…
There was a giggle behind Jared’s back and Jensen felt his insides turn cold.
He leaned around Jared’s massive body and saw Chad and Aldis huddled by some lockers down the hall, clearly unable to keep back their laughter. God, he should have known. But with Jared acting all sensitive and caring last night, then not telling anyone about it, and his behaviour in class…Jensen had let himself forget what High School was really like…just for a moment. Jensen felt the humiliated blush rise to his skin – he should have fucking known.
He levelled a cold gaze on Jared, ‘Hilarious. Abso-fucking-lutely hilarious. Well I hope you found this real funny, Padalecki, ‘cause that’s all you’re getting from me.’ Jensen grabbed his bag from his locker, slamming the metal closed as he tore off down the corridor, ignoring Jared calling his name.
Chris called Jensen that night to ask him why he hadn’t waited for him after school like they’d agreed. He couldn’t help it; he told Chris everything about Jared and his asshole friends.
His friend just listened till Jensen was done before answering, ‘You know, Jen, I’m not all that sure that it was a set up.’
‘What?! I saw them Chris, they were right there watching.’ Jensen said, incredulously, down the phone.
‘Yeah, I know. I’m sure they were but those guys are just douchebags. I don’t think they were laughing at you, Jen, I think they were probably laughing at Jared. I don’t think the guy has had to ask anyone out before, you know…ever.’
‘What are you talking about?’ Jensen asked, really confused now.
‘Jen, you must’ve seen how everyone sort of just throws themselves at Jared – all the girls, hell, even some of the guys. Actually, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if he’d taken a couple of our teachers back to his place.’ Jensen blushed, grateful that Chris was down the line and not in the room with him. ‘So he’s never really had to make any kind of effort before…until you.’ Jensen snorted, sure. ‘I’m serious, Jen. I wasn’t gonna say anything ‘cause, with Jared, you never know but he’s been kind of staring at you a lot since you got here. And, believe me when I say, I don’t think those looks mean he wants to beat you up. I think he’s got something completely different planned for you.’
‘I…I….what…’ Jensen stammered, because that sounded like Chris thought Jared actually liked him. Like ‘liked him’ liked him. But that just wasn’t possible, right?
It was Chris’ turn to snort then. ‘Have you looked in a mirror lately?’
Yeah, unfortunately Jensen had. ‘I don’t…’
‘Jesus Christ, am I gonna have to spell it out for you?’ Chris huffed on the other end of the phone, ‘Can’t believe you’re making me say this and, if you weren’t my best friend, I’d totally be hanging up right now. You’re hot alright. And clearly Jared thinks you are too.’
‘No ‘buts,’ Jen. That’s just how it is, okay. So shut up and we can end this overwhelming embarrassing conversation and go back to acting like we’re actually dudes.’ Chris said shortly.
‘Okay?’ Jensen answered weakly, because really, after that little revelation, he was anything but.
‘Good, right. Did you know Jason’s new Porsche...’ Jensen let Chris ramble on about the car he’d been working on at his Dad’s autoshop, for the next hour, as his mind wondered off to hazel eyes and long brown bangs.
Chapter 10: Chapter Ten.
‘Right, I know I stuffed up yesterday and I’m sorry. That really didn’t go the way I’d planned and, just for the record, I need better friends.’ Jensen looked up to find Jared staring down at him. ‘And I know how that must have looked to you but it wasn’t anything like that, I promise. I just wanted to ask you out and I didn’t know those douchebags were there any more than you did. So, what do you say, will you give me another shot?’
Jensen blinked up at the taller boy; that was a few too many words for his brain to process at 8.30 in the morning. He nodded dumbly, earning him that mega-watt smile again.
‘Awesome, so how about we go for coffee after school, I know a great place?’ This time there was no laughing, only an earnest look on Jared’s face as he asked Jensen to go out with him again. And what was Jensen meant to do with that? There was no denying it, the guy was freaking gorgeous, as in Greek God handsome, and he’d been really kind to Jensen over the last few days when, really, he could’ve made Jensen’s life hell. And the rumours about him…well, for all Jensen knew, they were just gossip and he was aware from past experience what a load of bullshit those could be.
‘Really?’ Jared said loudly, grinning widely and clearly not caring who heard him.
‘Really.’ Jensen smiled a little, unable not to in the face of Jared’s boundless enthusiasm. Was the guy for real? Jensen was just Jensen after all; surely no-one should be getting that excited about a coffee date with him. But before Jensen could suspect it all of being a prank again, Jared leaned in and brushed a kiss against his cheek before turning and striding down the corridor.
Jensen just stared after the huge boy, his hand straying to the unbruised side of his face that Jared had just kissed. He couldn’t deny the warm feeling that ran through his chest as he pressed his hand to his cheek. Damnit, he was so screwed.
Jensen was sat on the steps of Johnson High, fidgeting slightly despite his efforts to look casual. He wasn’t sure where he was meant to meet Jared but Chris had told him that Jared rode his bike to school every day so Jensen figured that Jared would have to come out to the parking lot. Anyway, this was better than leaning against his locker and looking like even more a loser, at least out here, Jensen could pretending he was just waiting for his ride. And if Jared didn’t show, then…then Jensen would have less of an audience to witness his pathetic exit.
‘Hey, Jen. You ready to go?’ And then, against all odds, Jared was there, standing right in front of Jensen, and pulling him out of his morose thoughts. Jared leaned down, gripped Jensen’s hand, and hauled him to his feet. Jensen looked around quickly to see if anyone was watching them; they were in California which wasn’t exactly Texas but, still, not everyone was okay with the idea of two guys dating. But no-one even spared them a second glance, obviously Jared’s badness reputation was enough to make sure that any assholes kept their mouths shut.
‘Yeah.’ Jensen said, allowing Jared to lead him over to his bike. Jensen had never been on a bike before, but he had to admit that there was something undeniably sexy about the thought of Jared riding one.
Jared slipped on his leather jacket and handed Jensen a spare helmet. Jensen was grateful for the helmet since it hid the look on his face when Jared swung one of his mile-long legs over the seat. Christ! However, there was little that Jensen could do to hide what the sight did to him as he settled behind Jared on the bike. He placed his hands lightly on Jared’s waist, keeping their bodies as far apart as possible.
Jared chuckled behind his mask, ‘Hold on tight, Jen, wouldn’t want you to fall off now.’ He reached behind himself, grabbed Jensen’s arm and wrapped it tightly around his waist, pulling Jensen forward in the process. It wasn’t like Jensen could hide his arousal now so he just let himself be pulled, hiding his red face in the back of Jared’s neck.
When they reached a diner about thirty minutes from their school, Jared parked the bike and jumped down before helping Jensen get off. Jensen handed his helmet back to Jared, hoping that the boy didn’t notice his flushed face or, if he did, that Jared would just put it down to the speed of the ride; they had driven pretty fast. Though, from the smug expression on the boy’s face, Jensen didn’t think he was fooling anyone.
Jared got them a booth by the window and, as soon as they sent the waitress away with their drinks order, Jared just started talking. Jensen had never been all that good at talking to people that he’d didn’t know, hell, he wasn’t all that good at talking to his friends. He figured it was one of the curses of being an only child and, when his mom died, Jensen just kind of stopped putting himself out there. He had too many secrets to let anyone in that close; Misha had only made it passed his carefully constructed walls because he’d been Jensen’s best friend before his mom had died. Everyone else was kept firmly on the outside. Less likely to see the less attractive side of Jensen’s life…of Jensen.
But with Jared it was different. With every easy smile, every brush of his fingers against Jensen’s, Jensen found himself relaxing a little bit more. That was another strange thing about the other boy; Jensen usually hated to be touched but with Jared, it felt like the guy was drawing all the tension out of Jensen’s muscles, tension that had been there for years - well and truly settled into his very bones, and spiriting it away.
In short, after about half an hour, Jensen felt more relaxed and comfortable in his own skin than he had since…well…since before he could remember.
Jared asked Jensen what food he wanted to order and then left the table to go see their waitress up at the counter. Jensen watched the tall boy walk across the diner, taking in the other eyes that followed the boy - Jensen couldn’t blame them. The guy was six and a half feet of pure muscle and his form fitting clothes did little to hide the toned body underneath; it was all Jensen could do to not drool all over the table.
‘Hey, you’re Jensen right?’ Jensen jumped when a high pitched voice spoke right into his ear. He turned away from his ogling, a blush rising to his cheeks at having been caught.
‘Yeah. Um, yeah, I’m Jensen.’
A dark haired girl slid into the seat across from Jensen, taking Jared’s place, and smiled widely at him. He recognised her from his gym class but he couldn’t remember her name; he knew that she hung around with Jared though. ‘Hi, I’m Sandy McCoy.’ Wasn’t that the girl he’d heard Jared arguing with a few days ago? ‘Sorry we haven’t had the chance to meet yet but you know what High School’s like.’ He didn’t actually, not in the way that she was talking about; he certainly didn’t ‘have places to be, people to see’ but he nodded his head anyway, furtively looking over at the counter to see what was taking Jared so long.
Jensen could feel the tension seeping back into his muscles as the girl continued to gaze at him, ‘So what are you two guys doing? Jared didn’t tell me that he was going out tonight.’ She asked, taking a sip of Jared’s coke. Jensen just stared at the pretty girl; why would Jared tell Sandy where he was going? ‘Oh sorry, sweetie, that probably sounded a little weird since you don’t know me yet. I’m Jared’s girlfriend.’
Jensen bit his tongue. Well, that was…unexpected. He shot another glance over at Jared where the boy was sharing a joke with the girl behind the counter. Had Jared been playing him? Had this all been a joke like he’d first thought?
Jensen looked back at the girl sitting in front of him; she was certainly pretty enough, stunning really, and just the type of person that Jensen would expect Jared to be with. It made much more sense really, now that Jensen thought about it - that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt though.
Jensen slumped down in his seat, disappointment blossoming in his chest much stronger than he would’ve expected after only half a date. It was just that…just that Jared had seemed like he sort of cared and it was such a great feeling that Jensen didn’t want it to have been a lie. And really, Jared had seemed like a great guy but…
‘He normally lets me know if he’s meeting up with his friends so I can go out with mine but, obviously, it slipped his mind.’ She grinned at him, her hazel eyes twinkling.
‘Oh right. That’s good…I guess. I mean that…you guys are so open…and that’s…just…good. I…I’ve gotta go, could you just tell Jared…I had to…’ Jensen pointed, over his shoulder, to the door whilst grabbing his bag and slinging it over his shoulder. It was a total coward’s move not to face Jared and ask him for an explanation…something…but Jensen had wasn’t all that good at confrontation. It was surprising with all the practise he’d had, but Jensen had decided long ago that he’d rather walk away from a fight than start one.
‘Oh sure, hun. That’s fine, I’ll see you at school, ‘kay?’ She smiled, taking another sip of Jared’s drink. The sight of those red lips around Jared’s straw sent a painful jolt through Jensen’s chest.
Jensen nodded jerkily and quickly headed for the door. He didn’t need to be there when Jared greeted his girlfriend; it had been stupid to think that Jared could ever have been interested in someone like him anyway.
Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven.
Jared came back to the table, a plate in each hand. ‘Sorry, Jen, they didn’t…Sandy?’
The brown haired girl looked up at him, a smile gracing her pretty face; Jared had seen that look before and he had a hard time controlling his temper. He placed the plates down on the table. ‘Where’s Jensen?’
‘Who?’ Sandy asked innocently, reaching over to steal a chip from one of the plates. Jared’s hand shot out, lightning fast, and grabbed her smaller one before it reached its destination. He scowled at her but she just rolled her eyes and pulled her hand back, ‘Oh, you mean that little tramp you had in here? He said he had to go and that he was real sorry, Jay. I told you not to get mixed up with a human.’
‘What did you say to him, Sandy?’ Jared let his Alpha authority colour his tone, knowing that it would ensure submission from the Beta in front of him.
‘Me? Nothing.’ But the girl didn’t look at him; she was clearly having trouble lying to him when he spoke to her like that.
‘Sandy.’ He said sharply.
‘Okay, okay. I just let him in on a few home truths, that’s all.’ Sandy replied, examining her perfectly manicured nails.
‘Like what?’ Jared demanded, already dreading the answer; it had been difficult enough to get Jensen to trust him in the first place. The guy was tougher to break into than Fort Knox but after this and the Chad and Aldis incident, it was gonna be damn near impossible to get Jensen to even talk to him. If Sandy had screwed up his chances with his mate so help him God…
‘What does it matter? I just let him know where we stood and he just took his cue from there.’ She said casually.
‘We don’t…we don’t stand anywhere Sandy. We haven’t for a long time; I know you don’t want to accept that but it’s true. You’re never going to get what you want from me so why can’t you just move on.’ Jared growled angrily.
‘Because we both know that that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. You were mine first and once you get this little bitch out of your system, and come to your senses, you’ll realise that I’m the one you want!’ The Beta all but shrieked back, drawing the attention of some of the other patrons in the diner.
Jared grabbed Sandy by the arm and dragged her outside; they both knew better than to make a scene in front of humans. He pushed her up against the stone wall of the diner but, from the smile on her face, she’d gotten completely the wrong idea as to why he’d done that. ‘You listen to me, Sandy McCoy, ‘cause I’m only gonna say this once. If you’ve ruined my chances with Jensen, I’m going to make you pay. From now on, you stay away from him and from me. You’re nothing to me, Sandy, nothing.’ He backed away, letting her smaller body drop to the ground. ‘And call him a tramp or anything like that again and you’ll not like the consequences.’
Jared didn’t wait for her response before tearing out of the parking lot in search of Jensen.
Jared caught up with Jensen at the bus stop, where the boy was waiting to catch the next bus back to school. He sighed out a deep breath of relief. ‘Jen. That wasn’t what it looked like. Sandy, she’s…’
‘No, look, it’s fine, Jared. I totally get it.’ Jensen interrupted him, staring intensely in the direction that the bus would come from; Jared wondered if Jensen believed that, if he stared hard enough, the thing would magically appear and rescue him from Jared.
‘Get what?’ Jared asked curiously. There wasn’t anything to get; he and Sandy hadn’t been an item for a long, long time and he had no plans for them to be anything to each other in the future, especially not now that he’d found Jensen. But Jared was interested to see what Jensen was thinking; the boy was really hard to read sometimes.
‘Well, she’s…Sandy’s just…she’s really pretty Jared and popular and you two…you kind of go together, you know.’ Jared didn’t really. ‘And I’m…I’m just not that…I’m just…’
And Jared kissed him. He wasn’t about to let Jensen’s crazy self-esteem issues lead to any misconceptions about how Jared felt about him. He wanted Jensen; he wanted Jensen more than he’d ever wanted anyone in his whole life and nothing was going to stand in the way of that. When, Jared pulled back, he rested his forehead against Jensen’s, ‘You’re amazing, Jensen. Never doubt that. I’m not with Sandy and I don’t want to be with Sandy. The person I want to be with is standing right in front of me and, believe me, he’s everything that I could ever want.’
‘I don’t understand.’ Jensen whispered and the doubt lacing the boy’s tone made Jared’s heart clench in sympathy; how could it be so difficult for Jensen to believe that someone could care for him? Right at that moment, Jared was sorely tempted to go round to Jensen’s house and teach his father a few things about being a parent. Or maybe he would just grab Jensen’s things and take the boy away. Either way, he really didn’t like the fact that Jensen was going to go back there tonight.
‘That’s alright, you don’t need to understand it all just yet. You just need to trust me. I’ll never hurt you Jensen, I promise.’ Jared pulled back, and raised his hand to cup Jensen’s flushed cheek, ‘Can you trust me?’
Jared held his breath as he waited for Jensen’s answer, nothing had ever been as important to him as Jensen’s response. Jensen nodded, shakily; it looked like it took real effort to make the move but Jared would take it. He’d never give Jensen any reason to regret giving his trust to him. ‘Come on, I think we’ve got a date to finish. He winked and grabbed Jensen’s hand; he knew exactly where to take Jensen.
They’d been driving for about an hour before Jared turned off the main road onto a side road, barely more than a dirt track really, that led into the woods. It was starting to get dark and, as Jensen saw the road disappear from view, his old worries about Padalecki started to re-surface.
‘Jared?’ He said as loudly as he could over the rumbling of the bike’s engine.
‘Nearly there.’ Was all Jared said.
‘Nearly where?’ Jensen looked up at the dark trees, their branches almost completely blocking out whatever sunlight remained. What had he gotten himself into? He was in the middle of nowhere with someone he barely knew and had no means of getting back – god, it sounded like a really bad plot to a horror movie.
Jared didn’t answer; he just kept steering the bike even further into the forest. There was no way that Jared could know where they were going; they were well into the woods now, and every tree and rock looked exactly the same to Jensen. Jensen was just starting to consider the pros and cons of jumping off the bike and running when the bike came to an abrupt stop.
Jared climbed off the bike with a grace that should’ve been impossible for a guy his size. Jensen swung his leg over the seat, ready to take off if Jared should show any indication of wanting to chop him up into little pieces. Unfortunately, the long drive had caused the muscles in Jensen’s legs to cramp and he stumbled as he tried to get off the bike. But Jared was there, chuckling in his ear, as he grabbed Jensen around the waist and steadied him, ‘Easy there, we’ve been driving for a while; it can be a bit weird if you’re not used to it.’
Jensen rubbed a hand over the back of his neck and stepped out of Jared’s arms, sternly reminding himself that he was in the middle of the woods with a virtual stranger. He tried to ignore the warm feeling he’d gotten in his gut when Jared’s hands had gripped his waist. Jared shot him a confused look but Jensen turned away and looked up at the treetops, it was completely dark now. ‘Yeah about that, where are we?’
When Jensen looked back at the other boy, Jared was grinning, his dimples digging into his cheeks and his eyes shining. ‘My favourite place in the world.’
‘Yep.’ Jared answered, his excitement obvious. Jensen looked around the empty clearing but couldn’t see anything special about it, nothing that could warrant Jared’s enthusiasm. Jared grabbed his bag off the bike and pulled out a black blanket which he then threw onto the floor. He reached out and grasped Jensen’s hand before sitting down on the rug and pulling Jensen down with him. ‘Lie back.’ Jared pressed lightly on Jensen’s shoulder.
‘What are you…’
‘Shhh, just look.’ Jensen huffed and lay back on the blanket, ‘Wow.’
‘I know.’ There was nothing smug in Jared’s voice, his tone held nothing but pride.
‘That’s amazing.’ It really was; Jensen didn’t think he’d ever seen the moon so clear.
‘I come out here to think sometimes. I’ve never bought anyone with me before, though.’ Jared took Jensen’s hand again and Jensen turned his head to look at the other boy; Jared wasn’t looking at him, though, he was still staring up at the sky. The moon was bright and shining down on them, bathing Jared’s face in pale light – Jensen had to admit that the view was stunning even if he wasn’t looking up at the stars.
‘So why did you bring me?’ Jensen asked, a little breathless.
Jared shrugged his shoulders, ‘Because I wanted to show you.’ Jared did look at him then, ‘I wanted to share this with you.’
‘Oh.’ Jensen said quietly, turning his face back to the stars, surprisingly touched by the gesture – he just hadn’t expected anything like that from Jared. The guy just kept surprising him; he was starting to think that everything he’d thought about Jared was wrong.
‘You ever hear the story about the sun and moon?’ Jared’s thumb stroked lightly over the pulse point in Jensen’s wrist and Jensen relaxed back onto the blanket and closed his eyes.
‘Well, long ago, long before man walked the earth, legend tells that the moon was terribly lonely, even amongst all the stars in the heavens. Her life was filled with nothing but darkness and fear and she envied the stars for the light they had when she had none of her own. She roamed the skies for years looking for someone, anyone, to relieve the loneliness of her existence and save her from the shadows but she found no-one to help her.
Far away, the sun heard tales of the moon and her sadness so he searched her out in order to help her. When the sun finally found the moon, he was stunned by her beauty and he felt the desperate need to take away her pain. He used everything in his power to fill her life with light and banish all the shadows haunting her. The moon was finally happy; she forgot her sorrows and was never lonely again. Now she shines bright in the sky every night and the sun has never left her in darkness again.’
Jensen clenched his jaw; that story was just a little too close to home not to strike a few cords with him. ‘That’s a nice story, Jared. Shame life doesn’t really work like that.’ He said bitterly.
Jensen saw Jared turn his head, from the corner of his eye, but this time it was Jensen who didn’t look away from the starry night; he didn’t want to see the look on Jared’s face.
‘Well, maybe not just like that but I truly believe that any darkness in our lives is only temporary, we just need to find the light. Jen?’ Jensen forced himself to look at Jared, hoping that his face showed none of the turbulent emotions he was feeling, ‘You just have to let the light in first.’ He smiled at Jensen and it wasn’t the full beam that he usually directed at everyone but it held a warmth that Jensen couldn’t help but revel in. If this was what it felt like letting Jared into his life, then maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
‘I’ll have to remember that.’ Jensen answered, letting a small smile shape his own lips.
Jared squeezed his hand gently, ‘You do that.’ They stayed like that for hours, lying side by side, until it got too cold, even with Jared’s leather jacket round his shoulders.
Jensen clung a little tighter to Jared on the way back, maybe…just maybe trying to keep a bit of that light for himself before he had to go back to the darkness.
Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve.
Jensen opened his locker the next morning only to have it slammed shut again, narrowly missing his fingers. ‘What the...?’ He turned round to see who’d shut his locker was and was suitably surprised when he found himself looking down at Sandy McCoy, ‘What the hell are you doing?’
‘You need to back off.’ She said, her voice hard. Gone was the chirpy girl that he’d met in the diner the day before and in her place was a very pissed off ex-girlfriend.
‘Back off? You're the one with your hand on my locker, Sandy; from where I’m standing, I think you're the one who needs to back off.’ He said simply, pointing to where her hand was still holding his locker closed.
‘From Jared, you idiot, you need to back off from Jared,’ she clarified, removing her hand from Jensen’s locker. She took a napkin from her purse and actually wiped her hands as though Jensen’s locker was dirty and she didn’t want to get any of it on her. If he hadn't already thought that she was a bitch for what she'd pulled yesterday, he would definitely think she was one now.
‘Look, Sandy, I think Jared’s made it more than clear that you’re not the one he wants.’ Jensen said, turning back to his locker so that he didn’t have to look at her when he added, ‘He wants me.’
Sandy's laugh was cruel and he flinched, ‘God, can you even hear yourself? You really think that Jared Padalecki wants you?’ Jensen closed his eyes, willing himself to remember everything that Jared had said ot him the night before, willing himself to remember the sincerity he’d seen in Jared’s eyes. ‘You’re just the next in a long line of meaningless hook-ups; once you give it up, he’ll drop you faster than you can say 'dumped.''
Jensen swallowed painfully, all his doubts slamming back into him, full force. He had thought every single thing she’d just said, at least once, in the last 48 hours.
‘Get gone,’ a deep voice ordered. Jensen opened his eyes to see Chris next to him, glaring at Sandy.
‘Or what, Kane?’ Sandy placed her hands on her narrow hips.
‘Or you’ll regret it.’ Chris answered, his voice calm and implacable. Something flickered behind Sandy’s dark eyes and her jaw tightened.
‘Fine! I've got way better things to do than hang around with you losers.’ She flicked her long, brown hair over her shoulder and swept down the hall, leaving a crushed Jensen behind her.
‘Don’t listen to word that bitch says, she’s crazy.’
‘But she’s not wrong.’ Jensen said quietly, getting his books from his locker.
‘Well, Jared is completely out of my league; I doubt anyone's actually gonna believe that we're dating. Hell, I can barely believe it.’ Jensen replied bitterly.
‘Come on, Jen, you’re a great guy; Jared’s lucky to have you.’
Jensen rolled his eyes because, really, that was so untrue it wasn't even funny, ‘Yeah, I'm a real catch.’ He paused for a moment, biting his lip, ‘What if she’s right, what if Jared is just using me?’
‘Stop it, Jen. This is exactly what she wants you to think, she’s poison. Look, I’ve seen Jared with a lot of people but I’ve never seen him act the way he does with you. Seriously, I think he really cares about you. Don’t let McCoy ruin that for you.’ Chris urged, laying a reassuring hand on Jensen’s arm. Jensen tried to smile back but when he closed his locker, his hand lingered on the metal for a moment and Sandy's cold laugh echoed through his head,
'You really think that Jared Padalecki wants you?’
Jensen took a deep, slightly shaky, breath and pushed the harsh words to the back of his mind.
Unfortunately, though, that other little voice, the one that told him he wasn't good enough, the one that told him he didn't deserve someone like Jared...that little voice that told him he didn't deserve to be happy, well, that one wasn't banished quiet so easily.
Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen.
The next few weeks were the best of Jensen’s life; Jared’s friends accepted him and Chris into their group with no more than a handshake and a pat on the back. He and Jared sat together in every class and Jared switched lockers with Chris so that they could meet up every morning. Chris might not have been all that happy about having Chad as his new 'locker buddy' but Jensen was over the moon. Long story short, Jared was amazing. He understood Jensen like no-one else ever had, not even Misha, and always knew when to push and when to back off.
Everything between them was so perfect that Jensen should've known that their first fight would be epic.
His dad had managed to lose yet another job and he’d taken to the bottle hard, harder than he had in months. By the time Jensen walked through the door, book bag slung over his shoulder, his father had already put away a bottle and a half of Jim Beam and was ready to blame anyone he could for his own shortcomings.
It just so happened that that person was Jensen…it was always Jensen.
Jensen had barely crossed the threshold before his dad was on him, a hand gripped tightly around the back of Jensen's neck pushing him almost to his knees. ‘This is all your fault and you…you swan around here like…like you’re so fucking perfect.’ The older man slurred, stumbling over his words; the alcohol making his tongue lazy but no less sharp. ‘But you’re not. You hear me you little shit! You fucking destroyed this family…fucking murderer.’ He pushed Jensen all the way to the floor and kicked him twice in the side before pressing his foot down on the middle of Jensen’s back. The heavy boot crushed Jensen's ribs into the floor and he struggled to breathe under the heavy weight.
‘Dad…please…’ He choked out but his father only pressed down harder. Just as Jensen was about to he pass out, the man lifted his foot off Jensen and used it to flip him onto his back. Jensen clutched his chest and drew in several quick, panicked breaths before he managed to slow his breathing enough to take some proper breaths and get the air he needed.
But his father wasn't done with him yet; he reached down, pulled Jensen to his feet and slammed him up against the kitchen cabinets, holding him there with a hand around his throat. Jensen swallowed nervously when his father picked up the sharp knife that was lying on the counter. ‘You should’ve died that day.’ The man hissed in Jensen’s face, spit flying to hit his cheek, but Jensen’s flinch had nothing to do with that or the gleaming knife. ‘Not you’re m…mom. She was good and…and beautiful and you…you…’ His father broke off in a half sob, half growl before he slammed the knife down into the wooden counter…
And into Jensen’s hand.
Jensen cried out and struggled to pull his hand away but his father kept him still, one hand holding the knife in the counter, the other still clamped around Jensen’s neck. Jensen was shaking, his body going into shock, and he could hear the blood dripping off the edge of the counter onto the floor. ‘Please…dad….’ He begged but the man in front of him wasn’t his father; it was a monster created by too much alcohol and too much grief - Jensen's father had disappeared the night that his mother had gone to Heaven...leaving him with nothing but a dark shadow of the man he’d loved and looked up to.
Jensen closed his eyes, trying to find that place in his head where none of this could hurt him. But tonight, he just...he couldn’t find it; the pain in his hand was radiating up his arm as his father swayed a little, the knife slipping in his grip and cutting further into Jensen's flesh. Jensen bit his lip to keep from crying out again; he really didn’t need the neighbours calling the police; he had enough to deal with already.
Suddenly, the hand around his neck was gone and the knife was being carefully pulled out of his hand. Jensen opened his eyes slowly, wondering if his father had maybe come to his senses; it had never happened before but Jensen always hoped that, someday, he’d see his father again. What he didn’t expect to see was Jared, standing in front of him, and his father unconscious on the floor.
‘Jesus, Jensen.’ Jared stepped closer and raised his hand towards Jensen’s tender neck. Jensen flinched away, not quite ready for anyone to touch him yet, not even Jared, and Jared dropped his hand back to his side. ‘Come on, let’s get you upstairs. I need to take a look at your hand.’
‘My dad…what did you do?’ Jensen croaked out, his voice raw with emotion.
He saw Jared’s jaw tighten, ‘He’s fine. It was just a choke hold. He’ll wake up in a couple of hours, depending on how much he drank.’ Jensen had never heard Jared talk like that, his voice marred with hate and disgust and Jensen didn’t like it. He didn’t like that he’d tainted Jared with this part of his life. Jared jerked his head in the direction of the stairs, ‘Come on.’
Jensen nodded dumbly and followed Jared upstairs, stepping over his father who was now snoring loudly on the white tiles of the kitchen floor.
Jared opened the bathroom door and waited for Jensen to walk through before following him inside. Jared tapped the counter, ‘Up here, Jen.’ Jensen hopped up onto the counter, wincing as the jump pulled at his bruised, maybe cracked, ribs. Jared came to stand in front of him, between his spread legs, a concerned look on his face and Jensen couldn’t stand it anymore.
‘Look, Jay, I’m fin…’
‘If you say you’re 'fine,’ I’m really gonna lose it.’ Jared said quietly, tilting Jensen head back to get a closer look at his neck.
Now the adrenaline had ebbed away and the pain in his hand and body had dulled to that low, throbbing ache that was scarily familiar, Jensen felt tired. He didn’t want to have to explain this to Jared; he’d never wanted Jared to see this part of his life. This was something that Jensen dealt with and left behind whenever he walked out the door and into the outside world. Jared shouldn’t be here; he didn’t want what he had with Jared to have anything to do with what happened in his home. It was perfect and Jared was perfect and this…this just ruined everything. ‘It’s nothing really, you should go.’
Jared met his eyes then and his hazel gaze was unreadable in a way that Jared never was with Jensen, ‘I’m not going anywhere till I know you’re okay.’
‘I am. I am okay.’ Suddenly, Jensen realised that he wasn’t actually lying and he wondered, briefly, when he'd become ‘okay’ with his father beating the shit out of him. It was a pretty horrifying revelation.
Jared stepped back from the counter and ran his hands through his hair, visibly frustrated, ‘You’re not though. You think I don’t know what he does to you? You think I haven’t wanted to march round here every day and fucking kill him for hurting you?’ He paused, taking a deep breath, ‘And it’s not even just the beatings, it's everything else. It’s what he says to you, the bullshit he feeds you.’ Jensen opened his mouth to argue, to defend his dad...something, but Jared interrupted him, ‘And the worst thing is that you believe every fucking thing he says.’ He stepped back up to the counter and took Jensen's face carefully in his hands, avoiding the bruises left by his father, ‘And it’s not true, none of it.’ Jared kissed Jensen chastely on the lips once, ‘Not one word.’ He kissed him again and then let his forehead rest against Jensen’s. ‘I could take you away from him; you could come and live with me and my family.’ He whispered.
And while that sounded amazing, Jensen couldn’t help answering, ‘No,’ in an equally hushed voice.
‘Why?’ Jared asked, his voice tight.
‘Because he’s my dad.’ And as crazy as it sounded, after everything he’d been through, it all boiled down to that. The man downstairs was still his father, the man who'd raised him, and Jensen would never be able to live with himself if he left and something happened to his dad. Jensen looked after him, made sure that he didn’t drink himself into a coma or choke on his own vomit…without Jensen, his dad wouldn’t live to see 45. He owed it to the man who'd taken him to his little league games, the man who'd taught him to ride a bike and throw a football…he owed it to his mom.
‘He’s not. That guy downstairs isn’t your dad, not anymore.’ Jared replied, his words coming out strong despite their low volume.
‘You don’t get it, you don’t understand.’ Jensen said, pushing Jared away and jumping off the counter; he succeeded in putting some distance between them again.
‘Too right, I don’t get it. He’s a monster, you don’t owe him anything.’ Jared shot back, anger colouring his tone again.
‘He wasn’t always like this. Before…before he was fantastic, we we’re really close and I…he just wasn’t like this okay.’ Jensen stopped himself before he revealed too much.
‘But he’s not like that now, Jensen!’ Jared shouted, his frustration clearly getting the better of him.
‘Yeah and who’s fault's that!’ Jensen yelled back.
Jared and Jensen stood staring at each other, both breathing heavily.
‘Not yours.’ Jared said, his voice calm and controlled again, ‘No matter what he says, Jensen, none of this is your fault.’
Jensen shook his head; this was the closest he’d ever come to admitting that his mother’s death was his fault and the guilt and pain that washed over him nearly sent him to his knees. He needed to be alone, more importantly he needed Jared away from him before he really lost it, before Jared saw how damaged he really was. No-one was allowed to see that. ‘Just get out Jared. I didn’t ask you to come here. I don’t need you.’
‘Jen…’ Jared reached out a hand.
‘JUST GET OUT.’ Jared paled but Jensen couldn't stop, ‘And don’t come back. It’s over Jared, just…just leave me alone.’ Jared didn’t move and Jensen shouted, ‘GO!’ Jared’s brow creased into a frown, his jaw set, and he nodded shortly. Jensen heard the front door slam as Jared stormed out of his house.
And out of his life.
Jensen had bandaged his hand; the wound probably needed stitches and medical care but they didn’t have insurance and there was no way that he could afford any hospital bills. Plus, he’d have to explain away the bruises littering his torso and neck and that was never easy.
Jensen was lying on his uninjured side, in bed, hugging his pillow to his chest and trying to forget the stupid decision he’d just made. Jared was gone; Jensen had sent him away. Now that he’d calm down enough to realise what he’d done, what he’d lost, it felt like someone had reached into his chest and ripped his heart out.
Jensen's breath hitched and he buried his face in his pillow. What the hell had he done?
A strong arm wrapped around his waist from behind and a deep voice whispered, ‘Shhh, it’s okay, baby.’ Jensen choked out a half sob, half whimper and gripped at the arm around his middle, trying to convince himself that Jared was really there. ‘It’s okay.’ Jared said again and Jensen let himself relax into the broad chest behind him and take comfort in Jared’s strong arms.
They lay like that for hours until Jensen started to drift off; the rollercoster of emotions he’d felt that day had drained him completely. He forced his eyes open, though, and turned in Jared’s arms until their faces were a hair’s breadth apart. ‘I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean what I said, I do need you. More than you could ever know.’ Jensen whispered, his eyes filling with tears.
Jared tucked a stray hair behind Jensen’s ear before saying quietly, ‘It’s alright, Jen. I’m sorry too; I shouldn’t have pushed you like that. You were right, I don’t know what this is like or what you’re going through. I just hate to see you hurt, that’s all.’ A small smile appeared on Jared's face, ‘It makes me a little crazy.’
Jensen leaned forward and kissed Jared; he pulled back quickly, however, not sure if the gesture would be welcome or not. He got his answer, though, when Jared curled a large hand around the back of Jensen’s head and gently guided him into a deep kiss. When Jared finally broke away, he said, ‘I love you, Jensen.’ Jensen felt his eyes widen in shock. ‘This wasn’t really how I wanted to tell you but I do and I don’t expect you to say it back…I know it’s too soon…’
And Jensen kissed him. ‘I love you too,’ he said shyly, ducking his face into Jared’s shoulder. He’d never said that to anyone before but, then again, he’d never felt like this before. Jensen couldn’t imagine not being in love with Jared.
Jared’s hand was still on the back of his head and he guided Jensen's face back to his; the look of unabashed joy on Jared’s face took Jensen’s breath away. ‘Really, Jen? You mean it?’ Jensen nodded and Jared made this little happy noise in his throat before crashing his mouth into Jensen’s. ‘God, you have no idea what that means to me. No idea at all.’ As Jensen felt his eyes droop, he thought that he had a good idea what his declaration had meant to Jared. A pretty damn good idea actually.
Chapter 14: Chapter Fourteen.
Jensen jogged up the long drive and stopped, his mouth hanging open, when he finally reached Jared's house. Well, not really house so much as fucking mansion. Jensen took in the three cars parked in front of the house, along with Jared’s Harley, and screwed up the bus ticket in his hand before jamming the thing in his pocket, an embarrassed blush staining his cheeks.
It wasn’t the first time that Jensen had felt inadequate when it came to Jared but this really drove the idea home - Jared was miles out his league. Why was he even Jensen's friend, let alone his boyfriend? Shaking his head, Jensen backed away, fully intending to get back on the bus and go home…back to the dump that he lived in…back to where he belonged, ‘cause it certainly wasn’t here.
‘Jensen! Hey Jen, where are you going?’ Jensen spun round to see a freshly showered Jared running towards him. Jensen’s mouth went dry at the sight.
‘I…uh…how did you know I was here?’ Good deflection, Jensen.
‘Oh…um…Jacob said you’d arrived.’ There was just something about the way Jared said that that made Jensen think that it wasn’t true but he nodded anyway; how else could Jared have known that he was there if someone hadn’t told him?
‘Oh right.’ Jensen said, shifting nervously from one foot to the other, feeling every bit the socially inept dork that he was.
Before Jensen even saw him move, Jared was standing in front of him, his hand cupping Jensen’s cheek, ‘What’s the matter, Jen?’
Jensen bit his lip. ‘I just…I just don’t think I should be here,’ he mumbled; Jensen figured that he'd better go with the truth since Jared wouldn't understand if he didn't - the guy had been shockingly blind to Jensen's inadequacies...so far. It was better to get this thing finished now before Jensen fell too deeply…or fell deeper anyway.
‘Why the hell not?’
‘Because…Jay…I’m not…’ Jensen waved a hand towards Jared’s house, the beautiful gardens surrounding it, the cars parked out front. ‘This isn’t me. I’ve barely got a hundred bucks in my bank account and where I live, well, it’s not exactly the Ritz.’ He finished, the shamed blush still colouring his cheeks; he’d tried to save some money over the years but, all too often, he'd lost his part time jobs when he'd turned up with a fat lip or a black eye and it wasn’t like it was easy getting a job when you were just a teenager. And pretty much all of the money he’d earned had gone on bills when his Dad had been unemployed, and that had happened a lot over the last few years; truthfully they’d barely kept afloat after his mom’s life insurance had run out…three years ago.
Jared gathered Jensen up in his strong arms, pulling him into his chest, ‘Jen, you know that doesn’t matter, right? I don’t care about any of that stuff.’ Jared might not care but Jensen certainly did. It was just another way that he wasn’t good enough for Jared and, surely, there were only so many things that the Jared could just let slide till he realised what Jensen’s Dad had realised years ago - that Jensen was worthless.
‘Okay, baby? Listen to me. What you have isn’t you, just like all this isn’t me. The only thing that matters is that we’re together, alright.’ Jared ran a hand through Jensen's hair before kissing him on the top of the head ‘Come on, I want to introduce you to my folks, they’ve been dying to meet you.’ Oh and that didn’t make Jensen feel nervous at all!
He let Jared pull him through the front door and into the large house, ‘What have you said about me?’ He asked, nervously.
‘Not much just…’
‘Everything. The kid never shuts up about you.’ A deep voice called from the hallway and an older man stepped forwards, a smile on his face. Jensen assumed that he was Jared’s dad; he had the same smile as Jared and he was really, really tall. The man walked towards them with his hand stretched out, ‘So you’re the amazing Jensen, then?’
‘I, um, I don’t know about the amazing part but, yeah, I’m Jensen.’ He took the man's hand and looked anxiously up at Jared, wondering what the other boy had told his parents about him. If they thought that he was amazing then Jared had grossly exaggerated and Jensen was even more terrified of them finding out that he was nowhere near good enough for their son.
‘Shut up, dad,’ Jared punched his dad playfully on the arm before turning back to Jensen and adding, ‘I don’t talk about you that much.’
‘Really? Because I’m pretty sure that you haven’t talk about much else since he came to town.’ Jared’s dad smirked as Jared scowled at him.
At that moment, another man entered the room and Jared said, ‘This is Jeff, my brother. Jeff, this is Jesnen.’
‘Oh wow, he has, like, the greenest eyes ever.’ Jeff said in a high, falsetto voice.
‘I never said that.’ Jared glared at his borhter.
‘I think you did, little bro, several times. And let’s not get into what you said about his lips, his hair, his glasses, the way he blushes…’ Jeff counted each thing off on his fingers and Jensen could feel that very blush reddening his cheeks even as he tried to will it away.
‘On second thought, I don’t know who any of these people are. They certainly aren’t my family, my family’s way cooler than this.’ Jared lied quickly, grabbing Jensen’s hand and dragging him passed the two men.
‘Oh come on Jay, we’re only having a little fun with you,’ Jeff laughed, holding his hands up in surrender. He turned to Jensen, a kind smile on his face, ‘It’s great to meet you, really. I’m sorry about the jokes, it’s just that no-one’s ever managed to get to Jared the way you have and it’s kind of nice to see him a little out of his depth for once.’ Jeff explained.
Jensen rubbed a hand over the back of his neck self-consciously, ‘Uh...okay.’
‘Oh, you must be Jensen.’ A tall lady walked through the door and pulled Jensen into a hug. ‘You really are as handsome as Jay said. I thought he must've been exaggerating but no.’ Then she whispered in his ear, ‘Thanks for coming; this means a lot to Jared.’ She said it so quietly that Jensen was sure that it was meant only for him. He nodded jerkily, torn between feeling awkward and wanting her never to let go – it had been such a long time since someone had held him like this. But she wasn’t his mother and she wasn’t his family; Jensen didn’t want to get used something that he wouldn’t get to keep.
She pulled away and smiled brightly at him, ‘Why don’t you guys go and have a swim before lunch; the food won’t be ready for another couple of hours.’
‘Great idea, mom.’ Jared said brightly, pulling Jensen away from his family and towards the marble staircase in the middle of the house.
Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen.
Jared dragged Jensen into his bedroom; it was about three times the size of his room and was lacking the peeling paint and stains that decorated Jensen’s walls. Jared’s bed was huge, like Jared himself really, and was covered with black sheets; it looked really comfortable. ‘Jen?’
Jensen jumped slightly when he felt Jared’s hand touch his shoulder; he hadn’t realised the other boy was so close. ‘You okay?’
‘Yeah I’m fine.’ Jensen lied. Jared frowned, clearly not convinced, and Jensen decided to change the subject before Jared saw too much. ‘I can’t go swimming, I didn’t bring my suit.’ Plus, Jensen really wasn’t all that crazy about the idea of going swimming, not with Jared looking like an Abercrombie and Fitch model and him looking like, well, him.
Jared grinned wickedly at him, ‘I should totally make some sleazy joke about you not needing a suit but...I won’t.’ He winked, ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got a spare you can borrow.’
‘Jared, I don’t think…you know…uh,’ unfortunately, Jensen couldn’t come up with an excuse that didn’t make him look like the insecure loser that he was and Jensen kind of felt that Jared had seen enough of that side of him for one day, ‘Okay.’
‘Awesome.’ Jared walked over to his closet and grabbed two pairs of board shorts and threw the black pair over to Jensen. At least they weren’t speedos; Jensen thanked God for small mercies. ‘You can get changed in the bathroom,’ Jared pointed to a door off his bedroom.
Jensen couldn’t help his exclamation of surprise, ‘You have an en suite bathroom? Jesus, how rich are you?’ He flushed bright red, cursing his stupid mouth.
Fortunately, Jared just smiled fondly at him, ‘Pretty rich.’ His expression sombered as he added, ‘But it's just stuff Jensen, I told you, it’s not important.’
Jensen snorted; that was easy to say when you had everything. For someone who had nothing, Jensen thought ‘stuff’ was kind of important actually. Jared crossed the room and took hold of Jensen’s arms, ‘No Jen, it’s not. This is what’s important,' he waved a hand between them, 'you and me. That’s what really matters.’
Unconvinced, Jensen pulled away; the differences between them would always be important, especially when Jared finally realised that Jensen just couldn’t live up to his expectations. He stepped into the bathroom and closed the door, giving himself a moment to regroup. He scrubbed a hand down his face, what was he even doing with Jared? Didn’t he have enough pain and rejection in his life already that setting himself up for another heartbreak was just plain stupid?
It was stupid, he decided, but he just couldn’t help it. There was something about Jared, something bright and amazing and so goddamn addictive that Jensen just couldn’t stay away.
Jensen took off his clothes and pulled on the swimming shorts. He gave himself a once over in the mirror and decided, immediately, to put his shirt back on; no-one needed to see his pale, freckly chest, especially not Jared with his tanned, perfectly muscled torso.
Finally ready, or as ready as he was ever going to be, Jensen opened the door; his breath hitched when he was faced with the back of a very naked Jared as the boy pulled up his shorts over his ass. ‘Oh…oh my God, I’m…I’m so sorry.’ Jensen muttered, blushing bright red and shutting the door before Jared even turned around. Jensen slumped back against the wood, sliding down the smooth surface until his ass met the floor. God, this was so embarrassing; why did he always have to make such an ass of himself?
‘Jen?’ Jared’s worried voice came through the door.
‘Go away.’ Jensen said a little childishly, running his hands through his hair; there was absolutely no way he was coming out of that bathroom…like ever.
‘Come on, Jen, it doesn’t matter. Look, I shower with a bunch of guys every day after practise, I’m not exactly bothered by you seeing my ass. And anyway, it’s you; I’m never gonna have a problem with you seeing my ass. It’s just a shame that I couldn’t return the favour.’ Jensen could imagine the grin on Jared’s face, and he felt his lips curve into an answering smile - how did Jared always manage to do that?
‘Come on, Jen, just open the door and we’ll forget this ever happened, pretend you never saw my ass. Although, I’m pretty sure you won’t be forgetting it any time soon, my ass is unbelievably awesome – no-one could forget seeing something that fantastic nor would they want to.’
Jensen snorted but got up. He took a deep breath, willing his red cheeks back to their normal colour, before opening the door. He kept his head down as he walked through the door and across the room, only to be stopped by a hand on his arm. Jared lifted Jensen's face to his, ‘I told you, you don’t need to be shy around me, there’s nothing that you could possibly do to change the way I feel about you.’ Jensen smiled uncertainly up at Jared, wishing more than anything that that were true. ‘You know, one day you’re actually gonna have to start believing the stuff I tell you.’ Jared said, a soft smile on his face. He dropped his hand from Jensen’s face and curled his fingers around Jensen's and led him out of the bedroom.
Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen.
Jensen sat on the edge of the pool, smiling, as he watched Jared take a running jump into the water. Jared dragged his huge body out of the pool again and Jensen couldn’t help tracking the beads of water as they made their way down his perfectly sculpted body. Jensen shifted, hoping his ‘appreciation’ wouldn’t be too obvious in the black shorts. Jared did another canon ball into the water, disappearing under the surface.
Unlike all the other times, though, Jared didn’t resurface a moment later and flash Jensen a cocky grin. Jensen frowned when Jared still failed to appear minutes later, worry creeping in. He peered into the water but with the churning from Jared’s last jump and the sun glinting off the glassy surface, Jensen couldn’t make out much, ‘Jay.’
Just as Jensen was about to slip into the water himself, Jared resurfaced, grabbed him and pulled him into the pool. Jensen came up a few seconds later, coughing and spluttering. He punched Jared in the arm, ‘You jerk, I thought something had happened to you.’
Jared just grinned before guiding Jensen backwards until he was pressed up against the pool wall, ‘Worried about me, baby?’
Jensen blushed, both at the endearment and Jared’s closeness, ‘No…no I just…’
Jared leaned in and nudged his nose against Jensen’s cheek before whispering, ‘I think you were, love. Don't worry, I think it's cute.’ Jensen blushed even further but was saved from trying to answer when Jared’s lips closed over his.
Jared pushed in closer, his hands clutching the wall either side of Jensen’s shoulders, fencing him in. Jensen wrapped his legs around Jared’s waist and his arms around the boy's neck because, whilst Jared seemed to be able to stand up in the deep water, Jensen’s feet didn’t quite meet the floor. Really, there was no other way for him to stay afloat, that was the only reason. Really.
Jensen felt Jared's smug grin against his mouth as he locked his ankles behind the taller boy's back but any snarky comment he might've made was effectively cut off when Jared rocked his hips against Jensen, his hard cock brushing against Jensen's. Jensen tried to bite back a moan but didn’t quite manage it.
He felt Jared’s hand move to the top of his swim shorts and Jared looked up at him for permission. Jensen nodded his head jerkily and Jared plunged his huge hand into Jensen’s shorts, wrapping his long fingers around Jensen's hard length. He bucked up into Jared’s fist as Jared moved his hand up and down Jensen’s erection, the water making the movement slick and easy.
Jensen eyes fluttered closed, his mouth wide open as he panted for breath. It wasn’t long before he felt his orgasm building, warm curls of heat in his stomach; Jensen's head fell forwards onto Jared’s shoulder as he came in his shorts and all over Jared's hand.
Jensen kept his head on Jared's shoulder as Jared worked him through his orgasm until he became too sensitive; he tapped Jared on the arm to get him to take his hand away, talking was a little beyond him right then.
Long minutes passed and Jensen finally came back to himself, suddenly realising that he’d totally left Jared hanging. He quickly, or as quickly as his slightly uncoordinated arms would work, moved his hand to the top of Jared’s swim shorts, ‘Do you want me to…?’ He didn't want to say it, was sure that he wouldn’t even be able to say it. But he was pretty confident that Jared would get the message.
Jared shrugged, ‘I’m good.’ Jensen narrowed his eyes; he could still feel Jared’s hard cock against his stomach.
‘Really? ‘Cause I don’t mind.’ He still had his fingers on the waistband of Jared’s board shorts, he actually kind of wanted to do it; this might have been his first time receiving a hand job and, definitely, his first time giving one but, if there was anyone he wanted to share that with, it was Jared.
Jared smiled down at him and kissed him on the nose, ‘I’m fairly certain that was the first time someone's jacked you off,’ Jensen bit his lip, embarrassed, had it been that obvious? ‘I think that’s enough firsts for one day.’
Jensen let his eyes drop to Jared’s chest - his bronzed, muscular chest, Christ, ‘But…but I…I want to…I know that it probably won’t…won’t be as good as…won’t be that good but…just…just tell me what to do…’ Jensen stuttered and stumbled over his words.
Jensen felt Jared nudge his nose against his cheek and kiss the tip of his ear, ‘You sure, baby?’ The endearment always sent a thrill through Jensen and he couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face despite his nerves.
Jensen nodded and slipped his hand into Jared’s shorts. He tentatively wrapped his fingers around Jared’s erection; it was hot and pulsing in his hand. Jensen really had no clue what he was supposed to do so he decided to just do what he liked when he got himself off so he slowly moved his hand over Jared’s impressive cock.
Encouraged by the low moans in his ear, Jensen sped up his hand, flicking his wrist on the upstroke. Just as Jensen was getting into a rhythm, Jared grunted, ‘Gonna…’ before he was coming all over Jensen’s hand. Jared bit down hard on Jensen’s shoulder, not hard enough to break the skin but hard enough to leave a bruise, as he shot his load into the shorts.
Jensen shivered as Jared’s tongue licked over his bite mark, his hand still buried in Jared’s shorts. Jared didn’t say anything, though, as he pulled Jensen’s hand out of his swimming shorts and Jensen felt a flicker of nerves in his belly. ‘Was that…okay?’
‘Okay?’ Jared asked, his voice rough, ‘It was fucking amazing, Jen. Never come so hard in my life.’
Jensen felt pride wash over him; he knew that Jared had been with other people before and the thought that he measured up to them was exhilarating. True, Jared was probably just being nice, trying to make him feel less insecure about his own lack of experience but he still felt proud. To be honest, the idea of pleasing Jared, in any way, was sort of exciting.
‘How are you even real?’ Jared murmured, his lips moving across Jensen’s cheek. Jensen smiled, shyly, even though he knew Jared couldn’t see him. They stayed like that for a long time, long enough for Jensen’s fingers to wrinkle, but he didn’t want to move; it felt so right being held tightly in Jared’s arms. Finally, Jared spoke again, his voice soft, ‘Let’s get inside, lunch is probably by now.’
Jensen nodded but still felt the loss when Jared pulled away and made his way over to the side of the pool. Jensen was faced with another dilemma, though; his white shirt was almost completely see-through now and clung to his chest, not really hiding anything anymore.
He watched Jared pull himself gracefully out of the water and hesitated before following him. Jensen knew that he was just putting off the inevitable; he had to get out of the pool some time but maybe…maybe Jared would just…go inside for a minute so Jensen could get a towel round himself first? Maybe?
Jensen stayed in the pool long enough for Jared to walk over to him, a look of confusion on his face as he rubbed a towel through his wet hair…god, he looked amazing. That fact totally wasn’t helping with his confidence issues right then. Jared leaned down, a hand stretched out, ‘Come on, Jen.’
‘I…I don’t think…I’m just gonna…’ He gestured vaguely towards the water.
‘What? Stay in the pool?’ Jared asked, pulling his hand away and kneeling down on the edge of the pool. ‘Jen, what’s this about?’
‘I…I…Can you, maybe, pass me a towel?’ Jensen said quietly, letting his fingers trace along the tiles of the pool.
‘Jen, baby, what did I say about hiding?’ Jensen, reluctantly, raised his eyes to Jared's, ‘You’re beautiful. I thought it the first moment I saw you and I'll think it till the day I die.’ Jared reached out his hand again and while Jensen still couldn’t get his head around the idea that Jared thought he was beautiful, he took it. Jared hauled him out of the water, one handed, the muscles in his arms and shoulders flexing to take the weight. He all but fell against Jared’s chest and was about to apologise when he caught the wicked grin on his boyfriend’s face; he’d totally planned that.
Jared spun him round and Jensen found his back against the wall of the pool house; Jared crowded in close again. Jared kissed him soundly on the mouth and Jensen whimpered when Jared eased a thigh between his legs. A small part of his brain was telling him that they were visible from the house, that Jared’s parents might see them, but the larger part of his brain was kind of stuck on ‘Oh God yes,’ as he ground down onto Jared’s muscular thigh.
‘Jesus, JT, get a room!’ There was a horrified yell and Jensen’s eyes sprang open. Jared pulled back slightly but he was still pressed up close to Jensen, his mouth inches from Jensen’s lips. Jensen felt Jared sigh before the boy gave him a quick kiss and pulled away, putting a little distance between them. Jensen looked up to see a pretty girl, around 16 years old, standing with her arms folded, grinning at them.
‘What do you want Meg?’ Jared asked tiredly, frustration clear in his tone.
‘Well I came out here to find you, to let you know lunch is ready, but it looks like I found something so much better.’ Her hazel eyes, so like Jared’s, flickered over to Jensen and looked him up and down appreciatively, ‘You must be Jensen.’ She stepped forwards, a hand out, ‘And let me just say, you are absolutely gorgeous. When you get bored of Sasquatch here, give me a call; there’s another, much more interesting Padalecki around to take his place.’ She winked at him before grabbing him and pulling him into a hug; Jensen couldn’t help the rather unmanly squeak when Megan pinched his ass.
The hug went on longer than was friendly and Jensen was a little at a loss as to what to do; could he really push away his boyfriend’s sister? Jared pretty much solved the problem for him, though, by wrapping an arm around his chest and pulling him backwards out of Megan’s arms.
‘Back off, Meg,’ Jared growled but she simply grinned.
‘Can’t blame a girl for trying.’ She shrugged, ‘Anyway, mom says lunch is ready so you guys might wanna get dressed. Totally optional for you, Jensen, I’d be more than happy for you to stay exactly as you are.’
Jensen blushed even deeper, kind of wishing the ground would open up and swallow him, ‘I don’t…’
‘Shut up Meg or I’ll tell mom you were harassing Jen.’ Meg scowled at her brother before turning away and walking back up to the house, ‘Sorry about that. Anyway, that was my sister, Megan, she’s not normally like that. She’s just a bit...forward sometimes.’
Jensen just nodded; to be honest, Megan reminded Jensen a lot of Jared so he thought it was best not to comment. ‘Although, can’t really argue with her logic; it is kind of a shame to cover up all of this with clothes,’ Jared waved a hand up and down Jensen’s body and waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
‘Stop it, you can't say stuff like that in front of your family okay.’ Jensen said, slapping Jared’s hands away as they came to settle on his waist. He grabbed a towel and wound it round himself quickly. Jared held his hands up in surrender but Jensen didn't miss the mischievous gleam in his boyfriend's eye; an idea, suddenly, popped into his head, ‘Wouldn't want me to have to take Meg up on her offer, right?'
Jared growled, wrapping his arms tightly around Jensen, and nipped the skin behind his ear, ‘You wouldn't, you're mine.’
Jensen just grinned, feeling a little cheeky; he couldn't believe he was actually saying this, ‘Do you really wanna risk it?’ He winked and ran back to the house, leaving Jared staring after him, shock written all over his face. It seemed that finally, finally, Jensen had won one.
Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen.
Jensen was on his way to meet Chris outside the front gates of Johnson High when he realised that he’d left his watch in the locker room. Cursing under his breath, Jensen hitched his bag higher up on his shoulder and headed back down the corridor. Jensen walked quickly over to the showers, where he’d taken his watch off, and grabbed it from the side. Just as he was about to leave, he heard a strange noise through the open locker room window. It sounded like an animal, something really big, which was ridiculous because they were in the middle of town; what was ever weirder was that the noise sounded like it was coming from the football field.
Curious, Jensen jumped up onto the bench lining the wall of the locker room and looked out the window.
His eyes widened in surprise when he saw Chad, Jared and Aldis on the field, standing in front of three other guys that Jensen didn’t know. They certainly didn’t go to Johnson High and, since none of the boys were wearing football uniforms, they couldn’t have been training. So what were they doing out there?
The strange growling grew louder and Jensen looked towards the edge of the football field, into the more wooded areas, to see if he could see what was making the noise. It didn’t look like the guys had noticed, but how could they not have when Jensen could hear as far away as he was? What if it was a bear or something? That’s what it sounded like to Jensen, Jared and the guys could get hurt.
Jensen was just about to shout out the window to get Jared’s attention when his boyfriend launched himself at one of the other boys. He blinked and when he opened his eyes again, there was a huge brown wolf pinning the boy to the ground.
And no Jared in sight.
Wait...was that…? No, that was…that just wasn’t possible, right?
But then Chad and Aldis dropped to all fours and Jensen watched, in disbelief, as the boys transformed into wolves. Jensen stepped back, forgetting that he was standing on the bench, and fell on his ass. It hurt but Jensen quickly climbed to his feet.
He had to get out of there…Jared was a…a...something else and Jensen certainly didn’t want the other boy to know that he now knew his secret. Jesus, why couldn’t anything in Jensen’s life ever be easy? He finally had a gorgeous, wonderful boyfriend, whom he really liked, and the guy turned out to be some sort of…monster.
Yeah, Jensen’s life was awesome; next someone would be telling him that Principle Kripke was actually a vampire and Professor Beaver was a flesh eating zombie! Fan-fucking-tastic!
Chapter 18: Chapter Eighteen.
Jensen ran all the way out of the school and straight into Chris, nearing knocking them both over. Chris grabbed Jensen's arm to stop him falling on his ass for the second time in ten minutes, ‘Whoa! Jen! Slow down, what’s the hurry?’
‘Jared!’ Jensen gasped out, breathless from his sprint through the halls. ‘I…he’s…I don’t…’
Chris gripped his arms, ‘Okay, you need to calm down. Deep breaths.’ Jensen took a couple of deep breaths and felt his pulse slow down a little until he, suddenly, remembered why he’d been running through the halls and his heart rate shot up again.
‘We need to get out of here, Chris. Now!’ Jensen said urgently, pulling at his friend’s arm.
‘What? Why…’ Chris started, looking down, confusedly, at where Jensen was clutching his arm tightly.
‘Hey Jen, Chris.’ Jensen froze when he heard Jared’s voice behind them. Oh God, we’re so gonna die! He knows I saw him! SHitshitshit!
‘Hey Jared.’ Chris answered easily whilst Jensen struggled to turn round; he wondered, distantly, if this was how rabbits felt when they met a fox...or a wolf. Gulp.
Jared walked over to them and leaned down to give Jensen a kiss on the cheek before winding his arm around Jensen's waist. ‘Hey.’ He greeted softly.
The touch roused Jensen’s body from its paralysed state and he damn near jumped out of the taller boy’s embrace. He ignored the flash of hurt and confusion that flickered over Jared's features; he couldn’t get drawn into that right then - not after what he’d just seen. There were enough monsters in Jensen’s life already, he didn’t need to add any more to the list. ‘Um…hi.’ He said awkwardly, rubbing at the back of his neck and staring at the ground.
Don’t look him in the eye! Don’t look him in the eye!
‘Yeah, well, we’ve…gotta, you know…go. Uh…there’s a bus…that we need to, you know…catch.’ Smooth. He’s never gonna guess anything’s up with that stellar performance. Jensen mentally kicked himself for his social ineptitude.
‘I could give you guys a lift in Chad's truck?’ There was a distinct frown in Jared’s voice and Jensen could just imagine the look on the other boy’s face.
‘Yeah, man, that’d be aweso…’
‘No!’ Jensen’s head shot up. Both Chris and Jared looked over at him with matching baffled expressions, although Jared’s was tempered by a good deal of concern as well. At least he didn't look angry, that was good, that probably meant that he didn’t know that Jensen had stumbled upon his secret then. Good; Jensen might actually get home without being mauled…today. ‘I mean, we’re good. The bus is good. In fact, I love the bus.’ Jensen rambled on, seemingly unable to get his brain to connect to his mouth.
‘Uh…okay. I’ll see you tomorrow then?’ Jared said, stepping forwards to give Jensen another kiss.
Jensen quickly side-stepped the move and grabbed Chris' arm to pull him away from Jared too. ‘Yeah. Right. Tomorrow. Bye.’ Jensen backed away, not turning his back for a good ten steps before he spun round and dragged Chris away with him.
About ten minutes from school, Chris finally stopped him. ‘Jesus, what the hell is wrong with you Jensen? You’ve been damn near running since we left school. And what was that with Jared?’
Jensen looked into the worried face of his best friend. Should he just tell Chris? Would that put Chris in danger? But Chris was the only person he could tell and the guy was probably in danger, anyway, just by being Jensen’s best friend; Jared knew that Jensen told Chris everything so he’d likely just assume that Jensen would tell Chris what he’d seen. ‘I…I saw something at school.’
Chris raised an eyebrow at him expectantly, obviously waiting for something to explain Jensen’s crazy behaviour. ‘On the football field. I didn’t mean…I wasn’t watching or anything but I just...I heard this weird noise so I looked out the window. And, Christ, I saw Jared, Chad and Aldis out there and they were, like, growling at these other guys on the field.’ Jensen ran a shaky hand through his hair, hell, he hadn't even got to the really weird part yet. ‘And then they changed.’
‘Changed?’ Chris asked, his voice hesitant, probably thinking Jensen was having some sort of manic episode or something. He wasn't entirely wrong.
‘Yeah. Into, like...these huge wolves.’ Chris’ eyebrows met his hairline. ‘Don’t look at me like that! I’m not crazy, I saw them!’ Jensen insisted. He wasn’t crazy, he'd seen them change.
‘Jen, you know, it’s been a long week, maybe you just need to get some sleep.’
Jensen grabbed the other boy by the arms, gripping his biceps tightly, ‘NO! I saw it! They’re not...they're not human! I’m not crazy!’
Chris winced as Jensen shook him slightly; Jensen immediately let go, guilt coursing through him, ‘Shit, I’m sorry Chris, are you alright?’
‘Yeah I’m fine.’ Chris answered, rubbing his arms, ‘Look, Jensen, I’m not saying you don’t think that you saw that but let's just entertain the possibility that maybe, just maybe, your eyes were playing tricks on you. I mean, come on, man, werewolves? This is California, not Forks.’
Jensen’s shoulders slumped and he nodded; Chris was never going to believe him. It did sound crazy but Jensen was positive about what he’d seen and that meant staying away from Jared and his friends. He just had to convince Chris to do the same. ‘Okay, just promise me that you’ll stay away from Padalecki and his crew for a little while till I get all this figured out.’
‘So we’re back to Padalecki now, huh?’ Chris asked, a hint of disapproval in his tone. Jensen couldn’t really blame him; from Chris’ point of view, it must have seemed mad for Jensen to be the one breaking up with Jared.
‘Yeah we are. So you’ll keep out of their way?’ Jensen pushed. He needed to make sure that Chris was going to be safe; he didn’t want his best friend getting mauled because of him – he had enough blood on his hands already.
‘Sure. Whatever. Just for the record, though, I think you’re making a big mistake on this one.’
‘Noted.’ Jensen replied. ‘Look, I need to get home; my dad’s gonna be wondering where I am.’ If he’s still awake.
Chris’ irritated expression softened at that, ‘Alright, Jen, let’s get you home.’
Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen.
Avoiding Padalecki and his friends was much harder than Jensen had thought it would be; it was like one of them was always there. They waited outside for him when class let out so he had to duck back in and talk to the teacher for another ten minutes until he was sure that the next period had started; they waited for him in front of his locker in the morning so Jensen had to spend the first three periods without any of his books; they even lurked in the damn corridors so Jensen had to dive into random closets to keep out of their way – Jensen spent a lot of time getting up close and personal with mops that week. And he had to do all this whilst receiving disapproving looks from Chris. So, all in all, not a good week for Jensen.
‘You're being ridiculous.’ Chris told him through the door of the janitor’s closet on the third floor.
‘Am not.’ Jensen argued, petulantly, but the remark lost some of its bite through the wood.
‘Yeah, you’re the picture of sanity right now.’ Chris said sarcastically.
Jensen let his head fall back heavily against the wood; this just wasn’t going to work – it had been difficult enough avoiding Padalecki and his gang this past week, he couldn’t possibly keep it up for the rest of the year. ‘I know.’ He said quietly.
‘You could, you know, try talking to him? Just a suggestion?’ Chris said.
‘And what? Ask him if he’s a shapeshifting creature of the night? Yeah, that would really go down well!’
‘Well, here's a crazy idea but maybe you could just start with, 'Hey Jared, I saw you and your buddies on the football field the other night, what were you guys doing out there?'’
‘Yeah, like he’s totally gonna admit to being a werewolf.’ Jensen pulled open the closet, it was stupid having this conversation through a wall of wood. He glanced quickly down the corridor…just in case. When he found it clear, Jensen let slumped back against the wall and closed his eyes.
‘Look, I know what I saw, can't you just, you know, take my word on this one? Please. There’s something not right about those guys.’ Jensen begged, he needed someone with him on this; he felt like he was going out of his mind.
Chris sighed and came to stand next to Jensen, ‘Okay. I’m your best friend, if you say Jared and his boys are shapeshifting monsters, then I believe you. We’ll just, I don’t know, get face transplants or something.’
Jensen huffed out a laugh, ‘Yeah, with the way this week's turning out, I wouldn’t be surprised if that actually happened.’
‘I just better get a face as good looking as this one, otherwise I’m sending it back.’ He grinned at Jensen.
Jensen rolled his eyes and punched his friend, playfully, in the shoulder, ‘Idiot!’
Chris pointed his index finger at Jensen, ‘But a handsome idiot.’ Jensen snorted and pushed away from the wall; he felt a little lighter now that he had Chris on side, albeit a little reluctantly, at least he wasn’t alone in this any more.
Two more days down and Jensen had managed to duck all Padalecki's calls and texts and had successfully avoided seeing the other boy. He thought he was doing pretty well – avoidance was totally a viable plan for this situation. He and Chris were sat at the table furthest from the one the Padaleckis always occupied and Jensen felt fairly secure that he wouldn’t have to deal with Jared...Padalecki. Damnit!
‘Testing…Testing…Hey guys, I’ve got something important to say.’ Chad's voice bellowed over the speakers in the lunch room.
‘Why’s Chad on the radio?’ Jensen asked Chris but the other boy looked as puzzled as he felt.
‘Maybe John's out sick?’ Chris replied, shrugging his shoulders.
Jensen got his answer a few moments later and, God, how he wished Chris had been right.
‘Well this is for the stupid asshole who’s been blowing off my best fr…'
‘Shut the hell up Chad!’ That sounded an awful lot like Jar...Padalecki...oh screw it! It sounded a lot like Jared.
‘Hey, we said no names, jerk!’ Chad complained.
‘Just get out of the way.’ Jared hissed before he coughed and added, ‘Yeah, this is for someone that I really care about; I’m really sorry for whatever I did to hurt you and I'll do whatever it takes to make it up to you.’
Jensen could feel his face flushing. A few people were looking over at him now; it wasn’t like it was a secret that he and Jared had been dating – oh God. He rubbed nervously at the back of his neck, keeping his eyes fixed on the table to avoid the judgemental and curious looks being thrown in his direction.
Then Jensen heard the twang of a guitar and,
‘Every time our eyes meet,
This feeling inside me
Is almost more than I can take.’
Jensen felt the blush darken on his cheeks – feeling embarrassed but kind of moved at the same time. It was easily the romantic thing anyone had done for him…even if Jared was a shapeshiting monster.
‘Baby when you touch me,
I can feel how much you love me
And it just blows me away’
Jensen risked a glance at Chris and scowled when he saw his friend grinning manically at him, clearly enjoying Jensen’s discomfort.
‘I’ve never been this close to anyone or anything,
I can hear your thoughts, I can see your dreams.’
And that hit a cord with Jensen; he’d never felt so safe and content as when he’d been with Jared. Even in the short time he’d known the other boy, Jensen had felt things he’d never felt in his life and he’d really missed him over the past week. God, how could he be this gone for the guy when he’d only known him a few weeks? It was crazy!
‘I don’t know how you do what you do,
I'm so in love with you.’
Jensen let out a little gasp. Every time Jared told him that, it took his breathe away, how was it even possible?
‘It just keeps getting better,
I want to spend the rest of my life,
With you by my side
Forever and ever
Baby, I’m amazed by you.’
Jensen bit his lip anxiously; more than half the cafeteria was looking at him now and all he wanted to do was sink into the floor or...you know, maybe, go and find Jared and show him how much this meant to him.
‘The smell of your skin,
The taste of your kiss,
The way you whisper in the dark.
Your hair all around me,
Baby you surround me,
Touch every place in my heart.’
And this time when Jensen looked up, Chris was leering at him from across the table. That was really unfair, he and Jared totally hadn't gone passed hand jobs and that made it sound like…well, like they’d gone a lot further than that. He glared again at his friend but, if anything, that just made Chris grin even harder.
‘And it feels like the first time every time.
I want to spend the whole night in your eyes.
I don’t know how you do what you do,
I'm so in love with you,
It keeps getting better.
I want to spend the rest of my life
With you by my side
Forever and ever
Every little thing that you do,
Baby I'm amazed by you.’
Then it went quiet; it felt like every eye in the lunch room was on him and Jensen just couldn’t take that sort of attention. He grabbed his bag and all but leapt off the bench, nearly tripping over in the process, and ran out of the cafeteria. As he sprinted towards the bus stop, Jensen just prayed that his dad was still in bed and wouldn’t hear him letting himself in.
Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty.
Jensen paced his room - he didn’t know what to do. The Jared he knew was so different from the wild beast he’d seen on the football field, he simply couldn't reconcile the two. Had Chris been right? Had Jensen been seeing things? He’d been so sure but now…he just...he just didn’t know.
Jensen growled in frustration before falling backwards onto his bed, covering his face with his arm.
‘You look like you’ve got something on your mind.’
Jensen sat up so quickly that he very nearly fell off the edge of the bed but caught himself just in time to prevent a humiliating face plant on the floor. ‘Jared!’
‘Well it’s nice to know that you haven’t forgotten my name even though you haven’t spoken to me in a week and a half.’ Jared was leaning against the wall next to Jensen's, now, open window; he didn’t even want to know how the boy had gotten into his room. There was a tree outside but no-one should've been able to make that jump and, certainly, not so quietly that Jensen wouldn't have heard him enter the room. His creature theory was looking a little less crazy right then.
Jensen bit his lip, guilt burning hotly in his gut, ‘I just…I've been busy.’
‘Yeah? Got some urgent business in the janitor’s closet? ‘Cause you’ve been spending an awful lot of time in there this week.’ Jared asked, a smirk gracing his handsome face and really, the guy should not be allowed to look so hot when Jensen was terrified that he was about to attack him or…or eat him or some horrible combination of the two.
Jared sighed and pushed off the wall and made his way across the room to Jensen’s bed, ‘Look, Jen, if I did something to piss you off, just tell me what it was and I'll say I’m sorry.’
He looked so earnest and hurt that Jensen had to look away, ‘You didn’t...you didn't do anything Jared.’ Jensen said wearily; how was he gonna explain this without revealing what he saw that night?
‘Oh, ‘cause I thought it might've had something to do with me and guys shifting the other night.’ Jared said calmly, taking a seat on Jensen’s bed, close enough for Jensen to feel the other boy’s body heat – he was always so hot. And not just in the freakishly good looking way either, it was like Jared's body was always running a temperature.
Jensen shook his head quickly to clear it, Jared always had a way of scrambling his brain. ‘Wait…what?’
‘It took me a couple of days to figure it all out but I knew that had to be it. You were fine with me before the guys and I saw Tom on the field and I know you were still at school at the time since I saw you with Chris afterwards.’
‘I….I…’ Oh god, here it comes, I’m gonna get eaten.
Jared huffed out a laugh, ‘I’m not gonna eat you, Jen.' Oh, he must've said that out loud, shit. 'Well, not unless you ask me to.’ He winked at Jensen and Jensen blushed; he seemed to do that a lot around Jared. ‘Look, Jen, I understand that you’re scared; I should’ve told you from the get go but it’s not really the type of thing I could just put out there, you know. I have other people to think about - my family, my pack, this isn't just my secret, Jen.’
‘Your pack?’ Jensen asked quietly. The closeness of Jared’s body and the soft timbre of his voice was calming despite the craziness of their conversation.
‘Yep. There are about a hundred wolves in my pack; they’re not all blood relatives but I’ve know them my whole life and they’re family to me. Most of the wolves in my pack have been with us for generations; every new wolf born to a wolf in the pack immediately becomes a member. My dad is the Pack Alpha.’
‘Chief, leader, Head honcho. Whatever you want to call it, he runs the pack and I'm going to take over when he wants to retire.’ Jared shrugged, like it was nothing, like he hadn't just told Jensen that not only was he a werewolf but he was, like, the head werewolf’s son. Christ!
‘Right, okay. Just let me, just...just think for a second.’ Jensen ran a hand through his hair; this was a hell of a lot to take in. Jared shifted closer to Jensen on the bed, ‘No. You need to stand…over there.’ Jensen pointed to the corner of his room. ‘I can't think when you’re,’ he waved his hand in Jared’s direction, ‘All close like that.’ Jared smirked but didn’t move so Jensen stood up and put a few feet between them.
Jared got up fluidly from the bed; no-one that large should be able to move that gracefully, he was like a cat…a wolf. He stalked, yeah fucking stalked, over to where Jensen was standing, stopping right in front of him - way too close for Jensen to be able to think clearly.
Jared leaned in and whispered in Jensen’s ear. ‘What’s wrong, Jen? Am I distracting you?’ Jensen couldn’t hide the shiver that ran through his body and, Jared, damn him, must have felt it; no way he couldn’t of when he was standing that close. The dirty look on Jared's face only confirmed his suspicions.
‘Don’t. Don’t do that.’ Jensen said, pushing at Jared’s chest weakly.
‘What?’ Jared asked, false innocence colouring his voice, pressing in close and kissing Jensen on the side of his neck.
‘You can't just…just make me forget everything I saw. You’re…you’re a werewolf.’
‘Umhm.’ Jared answered, burying his face in Jensen’s hair and wrapping his arms around Jensen’s waist, ‘I am.’
‘So we can’t…we can’t do this.’ Jensen argued, trying to ignore how amazing Jared smelt and how good it felt in Jared’s arms.
‘I…I…everyone.’ Jensen struggled for an answer; they couldn’t do this, Jared wasn't even human.
‘Everyone? You mean the everyone that doesn’t know that werewolves exist?’ Jared pulled away from Jensen slightly and Jensen was hard pushed not to step forward and bury his face in Jared’s chest – that would sending mixed messages to put it mildly. ‘Look, Jen, if you want to break up because you truly don’t want this then, fine, I'll back off. But if you’re pulling away from me because you’re scared, because you think I might hurt you, then, you’ve got nothing to worry about; I could never hurt you Jensen. Never.’
Jared sounded so sincere and Jensen wanted so much to believe him but experience had taught him that people were so rarely what they seemed, ‘You promise?’
Jensen let himself be dragged into Jared's strong arms, ‘I promise. I know that people have let you down in the past and I promise I won’t be one of them. You just have to trust me.’ He kissed the top of Jensen's head and stroked his hair.
Jensen looked up into those soft, hazel eyes and he knew, right then, that he was making the right choice, ‘Okay.’ Jared smiled, leaned down and kissed him.
Yeah, definitely the right choice.
Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty-One.
‘No. Fucking. Way.’
‘Way! But you can’t tell anyone Chris, okay,’ Jensen told his best friend when he phoned him later that night.
‘Oh my God, you're serious?! Jared just came out and admitted that he and his buddies are werewolves?’ Chris asked, incredulous.
‘Jesus.’ Chris whispered, his voice a mixture of awe and disbelief. ‘I really don't know what to say, I...uh, I'm sorry that I didn’t believe you before. Look, if you tell me you’ve seen some guys sparkling in the quad and you're sure that they’re vampires, I’ll be behind you one hundred percent.’
Jensen laughed, ‘Thanks.’ He paused, biting his lip, ‘You think I've done the right thing, though? Getting back together with him? You don’t think they’re really dangerous do you?’
Chris huffed, ‘I don't know but he hasn’t hurt you so far and, from what I've heard, they only ever go after people who’ve hurt them first. To be honest, Jen, I don’t think you could be any safer place than having a werewolf for a boyfriend.’
‘Yeah, I guess.’ Jensen debated, for a moment, as to whether to tell Chris the other things he'd learnt about Jared that night – but, you know, in for a penny, in for a pound. ‘He’s the Pack Alpha’s son too so he’s kind of a big deal.’ There was a kind of choking noise down the phone and Jensen could just picture the dumbstruck look on the Chris' face.
‘Yeah, he’s like really important; Jared's gonna take over the pack some day and be responsible for hundreds of people’s lives. It’s kind of awesome really.’
‘Christ, you certainly know how to pick them, Jen. I knew that being friends with you was never gonna be dull.’
‘How could you possibly have known that?’ Jensen asked, raising a cynical eyebrow even though his friend couldn't see him.
‘I'm, psychic, I have visions.’ Chris answered, his voice completely serious.
Jensen snorted, ‘Ha ha. You know it's probably not wise to mock the guy with the werewolf boyfriend?’
‘Whatever, man. I can hold my own.’ Jensen rolled his eyes; Jensen would've bet against Chris in a fight between him and Jared before he'd found out that his boyfriend was a werewolf. Now...there was just no contest.
'Sure. Look, I've gotta go Chris.' Jensen yawned, only then realising how tired he was; it had been a pretty rough week.
'What? Is he still there? He's still there isn't he? Hey has he wolfed out yet? Has he shown you his...'
'Good night.' Jensen interrupted and hung up the phone; he really didn't want to know how Chris was going to finish that sentence. He figured it would be best for all concerned to leave it at that.
Everything sort of went back to normal after that; it was a bit of an anti-climax really considering how monumental the information had been.
Jensen spent a more and more time at Jared's house; it almost felt like he had a family again. His dad didn't seem to have a problem with him spending an increasing amount of time with Jared; Jensen wasn't sure if it was because his dad had maybe remembered some of that night, all those weeks ago, or if he simply didn't care whether Jensen came home at all. Jensen tried not to think too much about it; neither option was all that appealing - the first because there was always the possibility that Jared might get into trouble for what he did and the second because...well, because Jensen really didn't want that to be true, even though he already suspected that it probably was. So yeah, not thinking about it.
Jared turning into a wolf was probably the coolest thing that Jensen had ever seen - one moment his boyfriend would be standing in front of him, the next Jensen would be looking at a huge, tawny haired wolf. The eyes were the same; despite their yellow hue, they were still Jared's eyes. Jensen was pretty sure that had he been able to see Jared's eyes on the field that day, he wouldn't have been half as scared as he was.
Jared told him all about werewolf history; how the first werewolves came into being. Jensen wasn't sure if he believed it all but the stories were pretty enthralling and the way Jared spoke about his people, the love and care he had for them, touched Jensen a way he hadn't felt before. He knew that Jared would make an excellent Pack Alpha when the day finally came for him to take over.
It didn't really surprise him when Jared told him that werewolves were split into Alphas and Betas; Jensen had heard about the Alpha and Beta structure when it came to dogs and he supposed that this wasn't all that different. Obviously, he didn't say that to his boyfriend; comparing Jared's race to dogs probably wouldn't be a good thing. Unsurprisingly, Jared was an Alpha, like his dad and older brother, but what came as more of a shock, to Jensen anyway, was that Jared's sister, Meg, was an Alpha too. That sort of explained her behaviour by the pool at least. He didn't need Jared to tell him what that made him in their relationship; it was pretty obvious, in Jensen's opinion, and he found himself not really caring as much as he probably should.
He'd wanted to ask about humans becoming werewolves but he and Jared had only known each other a few months; he was pretty sure that Jared wasn't thinking about forever the same way he was.
That didn't mean that Jensen didn't think about, he couldn't help it; the thought of being with Jared for the rest of his life, of becoming a member of the Padalecki Pack, made him happy beyond belief.
Suffice to say, the months that followed Jensen finding out about Jared were the happiest of his life.
Before Jensen knew it, the semester was coming to an end and that only meant one thing...Spring Fling. The very idea made his stomach churn unpleasantly; school dances really weren't his thing. He'd never gone to one before, had never had the guts to ask anyone. But he was pretty sure that Jared would want to go; he'd been nominated as one of the candidates for Spring Fling King and there wasn't a doubt in Jensen's mind that Jared would win.
That was another thing; how was it gonna look for the King to turn up and leave with Jensen? Sandy was up for Spring Fling Queen and, like Jared, it was pretty much a given that she was going to win; everyone was going to expect Jared to leave with her - he was almost positive that Jared wouldn't...almost - Jensen wasn't sure if he could watch that happen.
Jensen didn't tell Jared about any of this, obviously; Jensen wasn't about to ruin the Spring Fling for his boyfriend so he just nodded when Jared asked him to go with him.
He spent two weeks' wages, money that he couldn't really afford to lose, renting a tux and just hoped that he wouldn't embarrass Jared too much.
Jared turned up on his Harley at 8.00pm and when they made it to school, the dance was already well under way.
'You want a drink, Jen?' Jared asked as he guided Jensen into the hall, one hand settled on the small of his back. Jensen nodded and watched Jared walk over to the refreshments table; he was dressed in perfectly tailored tux that hugged every angle of his lean body. His eyes travelled over Jared's broad shoulders, down his strong back to his incredible ass and his mile long legs.
'Admiring the view?' Jensen jumped and blushed when Chris came to stand next to him, a glass of punch in hand.
'I was just...waiting for Jared to get back with our drinks.'
Chris smirked, 'I know exactly what you were doing, you little perv,' he knocked his shoulder against Jensen's.
Jensen glared at him but didn't deny it; Chris had caught him way too many times just staring at Jared for his denial to be even half credible.
Chris took a gulp of his punch and grimaced, 'God, this tastes like ass.'
'You sound surprised; it's bright pink and smells like bubblegum, of course it tastes like shit.' Jensen answered, still somewhat distracted by his stunning boyfriend.
'Uh-huh.' Chris took a silver flask out of his jacket pocket and added something to the punch before taking another sip, 'Ahhh, vodka-ry.'
Jensen rolled his eyes, 'Just don't let Gamble catch you with that; she'll give you so much detention, your grandkids'll be staying after school.'
'Yeah, yeah.' Chris waved a hand at him, dismissively, like he didn't care. And knowing Chris, he probably didn't. A hand dropped onto Jensen's shoulder, 'And that's my cue to leave.' Chris was gone before Jensen could even try to stop him.
'That was weird,' Jensen frowned, taking a sip of his punch. It was gross and he placed it down on a nearby table with no intention of picking it up again.
Jared shrugged, obviously unconcerned by Chris' strange behaviour, and placed his own cup down. He leaned down and whispered huskily in Jensen's ear, 'Wanna dance?'
Before Jensen could answer, though, a booming voice echoed round the hall, 'Students, students, can I have your attention; it's time to announce your Spring Fling King and Queen. Can I have the candidates up on stage please?' Jared smiled apologetically at Jensen before making his way to the stage.
The six nominees lined up, side by side, as Beaver took the envelopes from Mrs Gamble. 'Right, okay, your Spring Fling King of 2012 is Jared Padalecki.' Jensen grinned; he'd known that Jared would win; he simply blew the other guys out of the water. He clapped and wolf-whistled as Beaver placed the tacky plastic crown on his boyfriend's head, yeah, his boyfriend's head; that thought was surreal to say the least.
'And your Spring Fling Queen is Sandra McCoy.' Jensen clapped along with the rest of his class but the smile slid off his face when Sandy bounded over to Jared and kissed him firmly on the lips. She threaded her arm through his and looked up, adoringly, at Jared. Jensen looked away, the sharp pain in his chest making it difficult to breathe; it was no secret that Sandy still wanted Jared and looking at them up there on the stage, arm in arm, well that was just too much for Jensen's fragile ego to handle. 'And now your King and Queen will take their first dance.'
And that was just it; Jensen turned and began to make his way towards the exit; he didn’t need to see the King and Queen’s first dance; he already knew that he wasn’t what Jared deserved, he didn’t need to see it as well.
A hand on his arm stopped him, though, and Jensen looked over his shoulder to see Jared smiling down at him. He frowned, confused as to why Jared was standing there with him instead of with Sandy, but he let himself be led to the middle of the dance floor. The music started and Jared placed a hand on his waist and took one of Jensen's hands in his.
When I look into your eyes,
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise,
There's so much they hold.
‘What do I have to do to convince you that you're the only one I see?’ Jared smiled a sad smile and Jensen just couldn’t bear to see that smile on his boyfriend’s face. He pressed in tighter, laying his head on Jared’s shoulder; he didn’t care that the whole school was watching – all that mattered right then was him and Jared.
And just like them old stars,
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are,
How old is your soul?
‘I’m sorry.’ He whispered, ‘I just…I don’t know what I did to deserve you.’
He felt Jared drop a kiss on the top of his head, ‘You didn’t do anything, Jen. I love you just for being you.’
‘I love you too,’ Jensen said quietly and he felt Jared’s grip tighten on his waist.
I won't give up on us,
Even if the skies get rough,
I'm giving you all my love,
I'm still looking up.
And when you're needing your space,
To do some navigating,
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find.
'Cause even the stars they burn,
Some even fall to the earth.
We've got a lot to learn,
God knows we're worth it,
No, I won't give up.
They danced around the floor, watched by the whole school, but Jensen didn't have eyes for anyone but Jared. When the song finally ended, Jared pulled Jensen off the dance floor and led him outside and asked, ‘My parents aren’t home tonight, do you want to come back to mine?’
Jensen knew what that meant; he might be a little inexperienced but he wasn’t that innocent. He nodded his head a little jerkily, nerves and excitement warring in his stomach, and Jared grinned wickedly at him before dragging him over to his bike and speeding off.
Chapter 22: Chapter Twenty-Two.
Jared’s house looked about as daunting as it had the first time Jensen had seen it; he didn’t think he’d ever been so nervous in his life. Jared had all this experience and Jensen…well, he just didn’t; hell, Jensen hadn’t even really had a boyfriend before Jared so…yeah…nervous was probably a bit of an understatement.
Jared stopped his bike in front of the house and helped Jensen off; Jensen thought he was covering his anxiety pretty well until Jared placed a comforting hand on his shoulder and said, ‘Calm down, Jen. We don’t have to do anything you don’t wanna do.’
Jensen shook his head; no, he wanted this, he did, it was just…what if he wasn’t any good? What if Jared ended up regretting it and finally decided to break up with him? Jensen didn’t think he’d be able to handle that. Jensen jumped when Jared cupped his face, ‘Baby, you’ve got nothing to be nervous about; no matter what we do, it’s still gonna be the best night of my life, okay?’
Jensen nodded, more out of habit than actual agreement, and Jared took his hand and led him into the house. Jensen had been in the house countless times over the last few months but this was different; the atmosphere was charged in a way that it had never been before and, despite his nerves, Jensen could feel the excitement pooling in his belly. He gripped Jared’s hand tighter as Jared led him up to his room.
Jared opened the door for Jensen then followed him into the room. Jensen didn’t know what to with himself; he just stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, his arms at his side, trying not to look as anxious as he felt.
Jensen started when Jared came up behind him and wrapped his long arms around his body, nuzzling the side of Jensen’s face and giving him a quick kiss behind his ear. Jensen melted back into the embrace, the feeling of Jared’s arms always made him feel safe. ‘I’d really like to do this with you, Jen, but if this isn’t what you want then I’ll wait until you’re ready.’ Jared whispered into his ear. ‘I’ll wait forever.’
It suddenly dawned on Jensen that this was his call; if he said no, then Jared would stop right then and not mention it again until Jensen felt that he was ready. But he didn’t want to say no; he didn’t want to wait another moment to have Jared inside him, owning him completely. ‘I want to.’ He said quietly, turning slightly in Jared’s arms to butt his nose against Jared’s cheek.
‘Are you sure? You have to be sure, Jen.’ Jared’s breathed, tightening his arms around Jensen’s chest.
‘I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.’ He hadn’t; for the first time in years, Jensen had no doubts, had nothing holding him back. He wanted this, he wanted Jared.
‘Gonna make you feel so good, baby,’ Jared licked a path up the side of his neck and Jensen shivered, his eyes fluttering closed. Jared let his arms fall away and Jensen, immediately, felt cold at the loss of Jared’s body against his but then Jared was in front of him, kissing him just once, chastely, on the lips.
Jared walked him backwards to the bed; when Jensen’s calves hit the end, Jared pushed him gently down onto the navy sheets. ‘God, I love you so much.’ He sighed as he hovered over Jensen before leaning down and kissing him, his tongue licking deep into Jensen’s mouth.
When Jared finally pulled away, Jensen was panting slightly, his skin flushed. Jared pulled Jensen’s shirt over his head, Jensen arching his back to help, before he let his long fingers linger on the top of Jensen’s pants. Jared’s heated gaze met his and Jensen nodded; instantly, Jared was pulling Jensen’s pants off his legs and tossing them to the floor.
Jared rocked back on his heels, looking down at Jensen, a smile on his handsome face. Jensen ducked his face away; no-one had ever looked at him like that; like he was the only person in the whole world and Jensen just didn’t know how to deal with it. He had a lot of moments like that with Jared. ‘You have no idea what you mean to me do you?’ Jared muttered as he trailed his fingers down Jensen’s bare chest, ‘So perfect.’ Jared pressed a kiss to the skin over Jensen’s heart before he stood up and stripped off his own clothes.
Jensen didn’t think he’d ever seen anything so fucking amazing as Jared Padalecki standing naked in front of him. He kind of felt that Jared had it backwards – Jared was the one who was perfect. Jensen couldn’t formulate that thought into words though; his brain had kind of stuttered to a halt when Jared had ripped his shirt off – half naked Jared usually caused Jensen’s brain to short circuit so completely naked Jared was bound to cause some sort of mental implosion.
Jared seemed to get it, though, and he flashed Jensen a dirty grin before climbing back onto the bed.
‘Can I?’ Jared asked as his fingers skimmed over the elastic of Jensen’s boxers; Jensen nodded jerkily, more than a little uneasy about being so exposed when Jared was so perfect…so much more so than Jensen. ‘Stop it.’ Jensen raised his eyes to Jared and found him frowning down at him, ‘Don’t do that.’
‘What?’ Jensen croaked out, more strung out than he’d like to admit.
‘Doubt yourself. I can see it in your eyes. You are, and always will be, the most incredible person I’ve ever met.’ He kissed Jensen before adding, ‘And the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen.’
Jensen bit his lip and smiled slightly; he didn’t think he’d ever get used to Jared saying things like that. Jared went back to removing Jensen’s boxers and, once they hit the floor, the larger boy covered Jensen’s body with his own.
At the feeling of skin on skin, Jensen felt some of his earlier doubts rise up again; they hadn’t really talked about this before and there was something that he felt Jared should really know, ‘I haven’t done thi…’
‘I know.’ Jared said, his voice steady and calm. ‘It’s alright, I’ll look after you.’ And Jensen trusted him; Jared had always looked out for him, kept him safe; he knew that now would be no different. Jensen let his head fall back onto the pillow and focused on enjoying the feeling of Jared pressed up against him.
Jensen didn’t realise that he’d closed his eyes until he heard Jared’s bedside drawer open and they popped open again. Jared took out a small bottle of lube and a condom; he placed them on the table before looking down at Jensen, ‘You okay, baby?’ Jensen licked his lips, trying to calm himself down, and nodded his head.
‘Alright.’ Jared took the bottle of lube and slicked up his fingers before sitting back on the bed, ‘Gonna turn you over; it’s better that way for the first time.’
As much as Jensen really wanted to be facing Jared when they finally did this, the little amount of research he’d done on the internet had told him that Jared was right and this way would hurt a lot less. And it wasn’t like this was the only time they were going to do this…he hoped.
Jensen flipped onto his stomach, jerking slightly when he felt Jared stroke a finger over his hole. ‘Relax, baby.’ Jensen took a deep breath but couldn’t help tensing up a little when he felt the tip of Jared’s finger push inside. ‘Shhh,’ Jared soothed as ran his other hand up and down Jensen’s side.
Jensen breathed deeply through his nose, willing his body to relax; he pictured Jared; his bright smile; his warm eyes and Jensen felt the tension run out of his muscles. He was with Jared; nothing could go wrong when Jensen was with him. Jared seemed to sense him relax and pushed his finger forwards until it was buried inside Jensen. It felt odd; it burned a little but it didn’t hurt nearly as much as he’d thought it would – he just felt kind of full.
After a few moments, Jared pulled his finger out and Jensen heard him squirt some more lube onto it before pushing it back in. Jared thrust his finger in and out several times before he added a second; the burn came back but with Jared whispering in his ear, soft words of comfort and adoration, Jensen managed to stay relaxed as Jared began to scissor his fingers inside him.
Jensen closed his eyes and let himself get lost in the sensations coursing through his body – he felt so close to Jared that he never wanted this to end. He could feel Jared draped along his back, his breath hot in Jensen’s ear, the fingers of his other hand gripping Jensen’s hip; Jensen was so wrapped up in Jared that he barely even noticed him add another finger.
It felt like they’d been in bed for hours when Jensen heard the crinkle of a condom packet. Jared took his fingers away and there was enough of a pause that Jensen’s nerves made a reappearance – what if Jared had changed his mind? What if he didn’t want Jensen anymore?
‘Shhh. Just taking my time, baby, wanna remember this moment for the rest of my life.’ Jared stroked his hand down the curve of Jensen’s spine to his ass, letting his fingers dip into Jensen’s lubed hole slightly.
Then Jensen felt something much larger than Jared’s fingers press at his hole and he pulled away instinctively. ‘It’s okay, Jen, it’s just me.’ Jared paused, not pushing in, ‘We can stop if you need to.’
‘No, no, I’m good…sorry.’ Jensen mumbled into the pillow, hiding his red cheeks in the plush cushion.
Jensen felt Jared pull away and something painful twinged inside his chest – he’d ruined it, oh god, he’d ruined everything. Then, suddenly, he was on his back with Jared looming over him. ‘Stop it, Jensen. You’ve got nothing to be sorry for; it’s okay to be scared. You’ve just gotta trust that I’ll take care of you.’ He kissed Jensen softly.
‘I do, completely.’ And Jensen did; in spite of everything, he’d given his trust to Jared a long time ago I want to do this.’
Jared narrowed his eyes, looking intensely at Jensen, like he was trying to see into Jensen’s very soul, ‘I need you to be sure, Jensen.’
‘I am sure, Jared. Do it.’ Jared held his gaze for a moment longer before turning Jensen back onto his stomach. Jared’s huge hands pulled Jensen up, onto his hands and knees, and then settled on Jensen’s hips. Jensen felt Jared push in; even with the excessive lube and stretching, it hurt. Jared pushed through the first ring of muscle then stopped, waiting for Jensen to adjust, before he moved again.
Jared continued pushing in a little and stopping until he was completely inside Jensen. The pain had lessened enough that he could appreciate the feeling of having Jared inside him – as close as two people could ever get - and that feeling was fucking amazing. ‘Move.’ Jensen muttered into the sheets, shifting his ass back slightly; Jared got the message and he, instantly, tightened his grip on Jensen’s hips, pulled out and thrust back in.
Jensen was nearly knocked over onto the bed; he knew that Jared was strong but, Jesus Christ, that display of animal power was kind of ridiculously hot. Jared set up a slow but hard pace, angling his thrusts differently on every turn until, suddenly, Jensen’s world exploded in blinding light.
‘Oh God…Jesus…Fuck…’ Jared chuckled, a little breathlessly, from behind him. Jensen had read about the prostate; what gay guy hadn’t gone researching on the net? But he’d never really done anything; couldn’t risk it with his dad in the house. He never imagined that it would feel as incredible as this – Jensen was surprised he hadn’t come from that first thrust. God, Jared needed to hit that spot every single time.
‘That’s what I’m going for.’ Jesus, had he said that out loud?
‘Yes,’ Jared breathed against the back of his neck before slamming back in, right into that spot. Clearly, the filter between Jensen’s brain and mouth had been irreparably damaged – not surprising really.
‘Holy mother of…’ Jensen all but collapsed onto the bed, his arms and legs finally giving out under him. But Jared, gently, guided him back into place and held him there with a strong arm around his waist. He kept thrusting into Jensen, again and again, until Jensen’s world had pretty much dissolved into stars.
An indeterminate amount of time later, Jensen heard Jared groan in his ear, ‘Gonna…gonna try something, it’ll be awesome, I promise. Just sit back for me, baby.’ Jensen nodded, not really hearing Jared at all, and allowed Jared to manhandle him back until he was sitting on Jared’s lap, his back against Jared’s chest.
‘Ah!’ Jensen’s breath hitched slightly as Jared slid in even deeper and he let his head fall back against his boyfriend’s shoulder. He tried to get himself under control again; he didn’t want to come, not yet. Jared’s hand roamed over Jensen’s chest, rubbing his nipples into hard peaks, scrapping his nails over Jensen’s abdomen as Jensen all but writhed in Jared’s lap, the mixture of sensations almost overwhelming. Jared wrapped a large hand around Jensen’s hard cock and squeezed lightly before whispering, ‘Come Jen, come for me.’ And that was all it took – Jared’s hand on his cock and his dirty voice in his ear and Jensen was done.
Jensen was dimly aware of something nudging at his ass and he weakly tried to shift away, a little too sensitive for that to be comfortable.
‘Stay still, Jen.’ Jared’s voice filtered through the haze of his orgasm, ‘That’s just my knot; it’ll feel great in a minute.’ Knot? Oh right, the knot; he’d heard some of the guys from the pack joking about that but he’d been too embarrassed to ask, too late now. He felt the hard knot slip into his ass and hissed at the stretch before settling back down onto Jared’s lap, tied to his boyfriend.
Jensen heard Jared curse in his ear and then his boyfriend bit down on his neck, not hard enough to break the skin but hard enough to hurt. That edge of pain just added to the arousal flowing through his veins.
Jensen felt hot all over, feverish, his breath coming in pants as Jared’s knot nudged incessantly at his prostate, lighting him up from the inside. ‘I don’t…’
‘It’s alright, Jensen, just breathe,’ Jared murmured in his ear; Jensen obeyed and allowed the feel of Jared’s pounding heartbeat against his back to calm him. The pressure of Jared’s knot inside him had Jensen hard again and he turned his face into Jared’s neck, seeking out something, he just didn’t know what. But Jared was there, wrapping his hand around Jensen and jacking him hard and fast. Jensen shifted on Jared’s lap, thrusting up into the other boy’s fist as much as the knot would allow, ‘That’s it, baby, just let go.’
One more twist and Jensen was coming again, adding to the mess already cooling on his stomach. He slumped back against Jared, completely wiped out, but feeling more content and whole than he had in his whole life.
Chapter 23: Chapter Twenty-Three.
Jensen was sitting in Jared’s lap, straddling him, as Jared’s large hands moved over his back and his tongue licked into Jensen’s mouth. Jensen moaned low in his throat as one of Jared’s hands wandered down to squeeze his ass. It had been a couple of weeks since Spring Fling and he and Jared had barely been able to keep their hands off each other; it was like a switch had been flipped that night and Jensen just couldn’t get enough of Jared.
Suddenly the door to Jared’s room banged open and Chris rushed in, ‘Jay, I can’t find Jensen, I know that I was meant to watch hi…’ Chris’ eyes widened, in shock, when he saw Jensen. ‘Jensen,’ he whispered.
‘Chris?’ Jensen said, looking over his shoulder at his best friend. Watch him? He turned back to Jared, confused, ‘Jared? What…what’s he talking about?’
Jared looked guilty as hell and Jensen felt his gut twist, ‘Jen…I…it’s not what you think?’
Jensen quickly scrambled off Jared’s lap, nearly falling onto the floor in his haste to get away; he held his hand out to keep Jared away when the boy climbed to his feet too. ‘You…you set Chris up to watch me? For how long?’ Jensen took a couple of steps back until his back hit the wall of the cabin; he could see both Jared and Chris from there and that made him feel a whole lot better about being alone with them. ‘Were…were you even my friend or were you just my friend because Jared told you to be?’ The matching guilty expression on Chris’ face told Jensen everything he needed to know and his heart gave a painful lurch inside his chest.
He snorted bitterly, ‘Right, of course. God, I should’ve known; you just coming up and wanting to be my friend like that. And then shooting down every doubt I ever had about Jared. Christ! I’m so stupid. What was this then? You two have some bet going to see how quick I’d roll over for you, Jared. Or was it all just…just one big joke?’ His voice broke on the last word; he felt completely humiliated. Had Chris and Jared been laughing at him behind his back this whole time? Had Chris told Jared everything that he’d said about the taller boy?
‘No. Jen, it was nothing like that…’ Chris started, an earnest look on his face. But Jensen turned away; he’d been taken in by Chris before and he wasn’t going to let it happen again.
‘Save it. I might be stupid but even I’m not dumb enough to make the same mistake twice.’ Chris took a step forward, ‘Stay the fuck away from me, you’re not my friend. You clearly never were.’
‘Jensen. Please, you’ve gotta listen.’ Jared pleaded from across the room but he didn’t make any move towards Jensen.
‘I don’t have to do anything,’ Jensen grabbed his bag and turned to the door, ‘Follow me and I’ll tell the world exactly what you lot are.’ He threatened as he opened the door; it wasn’t true, he’d never tell anyone what they were but he hoped that it was enough to scare Jared and Chris away at least. He didn’t think it would take all that much since they’d obviously never really cared about him in the first place.
Same song, different verse.
‘Shit!’ Jared thumped his fist against the wall, denting the plaster slightly. Jensen was never meant to find out like that.
‘Jay, man, I’m really sorry. I should’ve knocked or waited or something.’ Chris said, his face stricken.
‘No, it’s not your fault Chris; I should’ve told him about this weeks ago. I just…I didn’t know how to without him thinking that we set him up, ‘cause, you know, we kind of did. But I wanted to make him understand that I only did it to keep him safe and so I could get to get to know him. But that’s completely fucked now since this is by far the worst way for him to ever have found out.’ He took a deep breath and ran a hand through his hair, ‘I’ve gotta go after him.’
‘Jay, come on. Maybe he just needs some time.’ Chris suggested quietly. The guy looked just about as upset as Jared; Jared knew that Chris considered Jensen his best friend, even if Jensen didn’t see it right then.
‘If I let him go now, I’ll lose him forever. I know it.’ Jared replied, already making his way to the door.
‘But Jared, what if…what if he tells everyone about us, about the pack?’ Chris asked, looking worried.
Jared smiled sadly, ‘Chris, you don’t think he’d actually do that, do you? You saw him with the pack; he’d never do anything to put them in danger, no matter how mad is at you and me. He just said that to make sure I didn’t come after him. Unfortunately for him, though, I know Jensen way better than he thinks I do.’ With that Jared walked out the door, Chris following close behind.
Chapter 24: Chapter Twenty-Four.
Jensen was gone by the time Jared got outside but one sniff told Jared exactly which way his mate had gone. Jared set out towards the woods; Jensen probably wanted some time alone to think before he went home and the woods always seemed to calm him. Jared hadn’t taken three steps, though, before he caught another scent that had the hairs on the back of his neck standing up, ‘Chris? Do you smell that?’
Chris sniffed then growled low, ‘Yeah. Jared, it’s Welling.’ Jared watched Chris’ face pale as the boy realised what that meant, ‘Shit!’
If Welling found Jensen alone in the woods….
Jared set off at a run, stripping off his clothes as he went; he shifted and dashed through the woods in search of his mate. By the time he found Jensen, the boy was backed up against a tree by Welling. Jared shifted back to his human form; Welling and his boys were still human and Jared wanted to keep this as civilised as possible while his very breakable Jensen was still in the vicinity.
‘Get the fuck away from him, Tom.’ He growled.
Welling turned his head towards Jared but he didn’t back away from Jensen, his slightly elongated nails scraping idly up and down the boy’s throat. ‘Why would I wanna do that, Jay? Jensen and I were just starting to get to know each other.’ He bent down and licked a stripe up Jensen’s neck.
Jensen grimaced, ‘No Jared. It’s not…ah!’ Tom nails scratched down Jensen’s neck, leaving three jagged lines across his pale throat. Jared clenched his jaw; he needed to get Jensen out of there so that he and Welling could really go at it; this had been a long time coming. And while, as the Pack Alpha’s son, Jared was meant to act more responsibly, Welling had just drawn blood from his mate and there was no way that he was going to let the guy get away with that – Welling wasn’t leaving these woods on two legs. ‘Put him down Tom. I’m the one you want or are you too scared to face me?’
Welling growled, digging his nails into Jensen’s neck; his mate whimpered and gripped the tree behind him. ‘You don’t scare me, Padalecki, you never have.’ Welling snarled.
‘Really ‘cause it looks to me like you’re attacking a defenceless human instead of fighting me. You’re right, I can’t do anything to you, not when you’re so close to Jensen, so it kind of looks like you’re using Jensen as a shield against me. Not really the way I’d expect a future Pack Alpha to act.’ Jared goaded and, from the quick, worried look Welling sent the wolves with him, Jared knew that it had worked.
Jared lunged forward, taking advantage of the other Alpha’s momentary lapse in concentration, and grabbed Welling round the back of the neck. He threw the other boy away from Jensen and towards his pack buddies; Jensen fell to the forest floor, clutching at his neck. Jared stood tall between Welling and Jensen; there was no way that he was letting the other wolf touch his mate again.
Welling growled and shifted before charging at them. Jared pushed Jensen back before shifting himself and swinging a paw at Welling; his claw caught Welling right across the face and sent the other wolf reeling. Jared shot a look over his shoulder, only realising then that, in his haste to get Jensen out of the way, he’d pushed the boy much harder than he’d meant to. Jensen sat slumped against another tree, about ten feet away, knocked out.
Jared started over towards his mate, the fight all but forgotten, when he felt something bite down on his hind leg. He growled and turned to find Welling backing away again, his eyes angry and his teeth red with Jared’s blood.
Two more wolves broke through the treeline to his right and it only took a moment for Jared to realise that it was Chris and Chad. Jared barked at Chad, ‘Get Jensen out of here.’ Wolf-Chad shook his head, clearly not willing to leave Jared. ‘Now Chad.’ Chad huffed at the obvious order and shifted.
The boy threw on his clothes and ran over to the Jensen. Chad lifted him up into his arms and sped off into the woods.
Knowing that Jensen was safe with Chad (Safe?! You just slammed him into a fucking tree - he’s only human, dumbass!), Jared turned back to Welling; he was going to enjoy this.
Jared wiped the blood out of his eye, the cut across his eyebrow wasn’t deep, it would be gone by tomorrow, but it was still bleeding like a son of a bitch. He felt Chris shift next to him.
They’d won, just like they always did, even though it had been two against three. Jared was stronger than Welling despite the other Alpha’s persistent challenges to try and prove himself the stronger wolf. Welling ran away with his tail between his legs every damn time and today had been no different. Although, today he’d left with significantly more wounds than he usually did; Jared told Welling not to touch his mate. The guy had made Jensen bleed and that was just unacceptable.
‘You good, Chris?’ Jared asked, letting his eyes flicker over the other boy’s form, while he checked for any injuries. Apart from a long cut down Chris’ side, he seemed fine, and, from the wicked grin on his face, Jared knew that he’d enjoyed the fight.
‘Yeah, I’m awesome.’ He grinned.
‘Yeah, well we need to find Jensen.’ Chris’ smile faltered as he was reminded about what had happened before the fight. ‘I sent him off with Chad, he’s fine.’
Chris snorted, ‘Apart from the fact that he just found out that his best friend’s been lying to him for months and his boyfriend’s been spying on him. Yeah, I’m sure he’s just dandy.’ Chris answered sarcastically.
‘Yeah, I get it okay Chris, I messed up.’ Jared admitted, through clenched teeth; this really wasn’t helping him get Jensen back.
‘We messed up, Jay. I was in this too, I could’ve said no.’ Chris sighed, running a hand through his long hair.
‘Yeah, but you wouldn’t have.’ Jared shot back.
Chris smiled a little at that and slapped Jared on the shoulder, ‘Yeah, I wouldn’t have.’ They’d been friends for years, since they were pups, and Jared knew that Chris would do anything for him. ‘But I should’ve convinced you to tell him sooner.’
Jared scrubbed a hand down his face and grabbed the pair of pants Chris handed to him. He took out his cell and keyed in Chad’s number. Jared waited…and waited…but Chad didn’t pick up. When he was forwarded him to voicemail, Jared hung up the phone. ‘I can’t get through to Chad,’ he said to Chris, trying to keep the worry out of his voice; he wasn’t very successful.
‘What do you mean?’ Chris asked, his tone sharp.
‘He’s not picking up his cell. He should have it on; he knows that I’d want to talk to Jensen as soon as we were done here. Something’s wrong.’ Jared threw the pants back at Chris before he shifted to his wolf form and set off in the direction that Jensen and Chad had left in earlier, praying that the sinking feeling in his gut would prove unfounded. Unfortunately, experience had taught him to listen to his instincts and, when they involved Jensen, there was no way that Jared was going to ignore them. He ran just a little bit faster.
As soon as they broke the treeline, Jared knew that his instincts were rights. Lying on the sidewalk was Chad, out cold. But there was no Jensen. Jared looked around, frantically, but he couldn’t see any sign of the other boy. He ran over to Chad, shifting to his human form and shook the boy’s shoulder roughly. Jared wasn’t worried about Chad; he could hear the wolf’s heartbreak – it was steady and strong – he’d be fine.
The blonde haired boy stirred awake and squinted his eyes up at Jared. ‘Jared? What…what happened?’ He asked.
‘That’s what I was just about to ask you.’ Jared snarled, unable to keep his anger and worry in check.
Chad flinched and Jared instantly felt guilty; he knew that Chad would’ve done everything in his power to protect Jensen. ‘Sorry, Chad. What do you remember?’
Chad sat up just as Chris came to a stop next to Jared, carrying their clothes in his jaws. He dropped them on the ground and shifted to his human form before climbing back into his shirt and jeans. Jared did the same as Chad got to his feet, a little wobbily, rubbing the back of his head. ‘I got Jensen passed the trees, well away from you guys anyway, and then…then nothing.’ Chad replied, his eyes looking panicked and worried. ‘I can’t remember anything after that…I think someone knocked me out, Jay.’
‘Shit!’ Jared muttered under his breath; not only had he managed to toss Jensen away so hard that the boy had blacked out, he’d also managed to lose him to God only knew who. Clenching his jaw, Jared scented the air but all he could pick up were their scents and just a faint trace of Jensen. There was nothing else; no other wolf, no other human - it had been too long since they’d been there and they’d clearly only stayed long enough to whisk Jensen away.
Jared didn’t know what to do. He knew what he wanted to do; he wanted to march into Welling’s territory, with Chad and Chris at his side, and find his mate. He was sure that Welling had something to do with this; the guy’s behaviour earlier had shown that he knew exactly what Jensen meant to Jared. But Jared knew that he couldn’t do that – not only because it would be just the three of them against the entire Welling Pack and while they were good, they certainly weren’t that good but, also, because his dad would never forgive him for destroying the tenuous peace between the two Packs. Welling’s father would just love the chance to wage a full on war against Jared’s father and Jared couldn’t be the one to give him a reason.
He needed to get home; his dad would know what to do. Jared was sure of it.
Chapter 25: Chapter Twenty-Five.
Jensen blinked his eyes open; Christ, his head was throbbing. As his vision cleared, the face in front of him came into focus, ‘Sandy?’ Jensen said, completely shocked. He knew that the girl didn’t like him but this…this was going a little bit far even for that. ‘Why?’
‘Why?! You really have to ask? You’re even dumber than I thought.’ She raised a scornful eyebrow at him. ‘For Jared, of course.’
‘Jared?’ He shook his head, trying to clear it; whoever had knocked him out, had hit him pretty hard. This was ridiculous; Jensen had lost count of the number of times Jared had told Sandy (and Jensen, himself) that he simply wasn’t interested in the girl. Sandy just seemed unable to accept it, ‘This doesn’t make any sense, Sandy; you and Jared weren’t even a couple before I came along. I’m not the reason you two aren’t together.’
She huffed, glaring at him, ‘We were together once. But now he’s got himself all tangled up in you that he just can’t see what’s right for him anymore.’
‘And that’s you, is it?’ Jensen asked, trying very hard to keep the incredulity from his voice, he didn’t think that Sandy noticed though; she seemed too caught up in her own fantasy to register much of anything else.
‘Of course it is. We were perfect together, everybody said so. He was meant to be my mate and then…then you had to come along and ruin all that!’ She raged, pacing the small cabin.
‘I don’t think that’s how it works Sandy.’ From Jensen’s understanding of werewolf matings, from what Jared had told him anyway, every wolf had one perfect partner and the decision of whom they spent their lives with was decided more by instinct than any active choice. Simply put, if Jared and Sandy were meant to be together then they would, well, be together.
‘That’s because you don’t know anything. You’re just a human - you don’t belong with us.’ Sandy replied, her voice dripping with scorn.
Jensen narrowed his eyes angrily; he’d had just about enough of werewolves and their way of doing things for one day, ‘It doesn’t matter anyway; Jared and I aren’t together anymore so you can just let me go. He’s all yours.’
Sandy’s eyes widened almost comically, ‘What?’
‘We broke up so you guys can go off and live happily ever after for all I care.’ Jensen spat, staring at the floor and ignoring the sharp stab of pain in his chest. It was just because he was feeling hurt by Jared’s betrayal; it had nothing to do with him thinking about Jared being with someone else. Absolutely not.
Sandy stared hard at him for a few moments, her eyes looking more wolf than human. ‘No. You’re still going to be a problem.’
‘How?’ Jensen asked wearily.
‘While you’re around, Jared won’t be able to move on. No, I need to get you out of the picture, permanently, and then Jared will be able to think straight again and come back to me.’ Sandy began pacing again, speaking more to herself than to Jensen. Crazy bitch.
‘But San…’ Jensen was interrupted by the cabin door opening. He drew back when he saw who was at the door; Mike, Tom and another boy. Shit. ‘Sandy?’ Jensen croaked in disbelief, fear crawling up his throat and making his voice hoarse. Sandy was working with Tom’s Pack; Sandy was handing Jensen over to Tom?! Oh God, this was not gonna be pretty.
Sandy ignored him and walked over to Tom, ‘He’s all yours boys. And really have as much fun as you like.’
Tom chuckled darkly, the sound sent a chill down Jensen’s spine, ‘You mean the less Jared finds of him, the more you get to console him right?’
‘Something like that.’ Sandy smiled fondly; the expression scarily inappropriate for the current situation. ‘But remember, this is just a one time thing – it stays between us. If Jared ever finds out that I had something to do with this, there won’t be a place on Earth where I won’t find you. Understand Welling?’ She growled and, for someone so small, she was pretty intimidating.
Tom just looked over at Jensen, a smirk on his face, ‘Yeah, I hear you McCoy. Jared won’t hear about any of this from me or my boys. Now why don’t you run along and go comfort your Alpha, I’m sure he’s in need of some right now.’ Jensen bristled, almost unconsciously, when Tom called Jared Sandy’s Alpha but then reminded himself that he had a couple of more immediate problems to deal with right then.
Sandy nodded to Tom and left without giving Jensen a second glance, leaving him alone with the enemy Pack wolves and completely and utterly screwed.
‘God, stupid bitch. Does she really think that just ‘cause this guy’s dead, Jared’s suddenly gonna want her?’ Mike asked Tom as they approached Jensen. Jensen’s struggled against the tight knots around his wrists but to no avail.
‘I know; she’s cracked that one. But, hey, her craziness certainly helped us out though, didn’t it.’ Tom ran a hand down Jensen’s cheek before grabbing his chin roughly, ‘Jared’s gonna be in no position to take over as Head Alpha once he finds his mate’s body, or what’s left of it, and finally we’ll be able to take over the Padalecki Pack, once and for all.’ Tom grinned evilly.
Jensen couldn’t keep quiet any longer, ‘Right. You really think that just because I’m gone, Jared’s gonna let you do what you want? Dream on Welling.’ Pain exploded across his cheekbone and Jensen felt the skin split under Tom’s fist.
‘Did I ask you, bitch? And, for your information, I think you’re underestimating what Jared feels for you – you’re his mate. Believe me, once he finds out what we did to you, he won’t even care that my father’s going to decimate his Pack.’
Jensen shook his head in disbelief; there was just no way that Jared could feel that strongly about him. Jensen knew the love that Jared had for his Pack and what he felt for Jensen couldn’t possibly even come close, could it?
‘Enough talk, let’s get this started. Jensen yelped as his shirt was literally ripped from his body by Tom’s strong hands. Tom took a slim, black case from Mike and laid it down next to Jensen. Jensen gasped, squirming in his bonds, when it was opened to reveal a terrible assortment of knives.
Tom drew out a long blade from the case and trailed it down Jensen’s face, barely an inch from Jensen’s eye. Jensen tried to keep his breathing steady, despite his fear, in an effort not to jar the knife as it ran down the sensitive skin of his cheek. ‘So pretty; I can see why Jared likes you. We’ll see if he finds you so pretty when your insides are on the outside.’
Suddenly, Tom jerked the knife away from Jensen’s face and slashed it across his stomach, leaving a shallow gash across the skin.
Jensen swallowed down the cry that wanted to break forth, biting down painfully on his bottom lip. ‘Oh come on, baby, let me hear you scream.’ Tom purred mockingly, dragging the edge of the blade down Jensen’s arm, leaving another shallow wound behind.
Jensen closed his eyes, he knew they’d be here a long time – Tom clearly liked to play with his toys before destroying them and, from the way the boy was looking at him, it was clear that Jensen was now his favourite.
Chapter 26: Chapter Twenty-Six.
Jared sat in his kitchen, drumming his fingers impatiently on the work surface; it had been nearly twelve hours since Jensen had gone missing and ten since his dad had ordered him to sit tight and wait for his return. It was maddening. If anything happened to his mate, Jared didn’t know what he’d do – he’d never expected to fall for a human but, now that he had, Jared just couldn’t imagine living the rest of his life without Jensen.
He jumped when a gentle hand dropped onto his shoulder, pulling him from his worried thoughts. ‘How you doing, Jay?’
Jared barely kept from rolling his eyes – he really didn’t have the energy to deal with her right now. ‘Not great,’ he said shortly, hoping that it would make her go away. It didn’t.
‘I know; it’s just terrible.’ She said sympathetically. ‘We’re all here for you though, Jared.’ She let her hand fall onto his arm as she took the seat next to him. ‘I’m here for you, Jared.’
Jared, not so subtly, pulled his arm away. ‘Yeah I know, thanks Sand,’ he replied automatically; he didn’t need support, he needed to go and find his mate.
‘This whole thing’s been kind of an eye-opener, though, don’t you think?’ Sandy said, removing an emery board from her purse and taking it to her already perfect nails.
Jared narrowed his eyes, not liking where he thought this conversation was going, ‘How so?’
Sandy’s eyes darted up to his face, just for a moment, before going back to her hand, as she shrugged ‘Well, clearly, Jensen just doesn’t belong in our world. A wolf would never have gotten taken like he did.’ Jared growled low, unable to help himself. ‘Don’t get me wrong, Jay, I think Jensen’s cute. Really. But he’s just too damn…human for this life.’
‘Well he’s my mate, Sandy, so I guess I’m just gonna have to take better care of him in future ‘cause Jensen’s not going anywhere.’ Jared shot back with conviction.
‘You gonna watch him every second of every day Jared?’ Jared shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
‘If that’s what it takes.’ He answered; he didn’t really have a problem with that plan. Jared had had someone watching Jensen pretty much the whole time since he’d realised that Jensen was his and it wasn’t like Jared ever begrudged being in Jensen’s company himself. All in all, he felt that he had that covered.
Sandy gave him an incredulous look, ‘Jared, you’re going to be the next Pack Alpha, every enemy we have is going to go after your mate. And once we leave High School, it’s not going to be as easy to follow him around - you know that Jared.’ She paused for a moment before adding, ‘Don’t you think it would safer for Jensen for you to give him up?’ Her eyes were still fixed on her nails as though her words weren’t slicing through Jared in ways that he couldn’t even describe.
Jared didn’t know what to say to that; he knew that Jensen’s life would be safer without him in it, without the dangers of being mated to a Pack Alpha. But safer didn’t always mean happier and Jared knew which one he’d pick, given the choice. He just had to hope that Jensen felt the same.
Jared ran a hand through his hair in frustration; he didn’t know why he was talking about this; hell, he wasn’t even sure that Jensen would forgive him for spying on him let alone still want to be his mate.
‘I’ll change him.’ Jared said decisively; it would be the simplest solution and it wasn’t like he hadn’t been thinking about it even if he had yet to mention it to Jensen. It would totally be Jensen’s decision, of course; Jared would never force him to do something that he didn’t want to do but something told Jared that Jensen wouldn’t say no. The other boy thrived on the acceptance that the Pack offered him; Jared was sure that the idea of truly becoming a member of the pack, and not just because he was Jared’s mate but because he was a wolf himself, would appeal to him.
Sandy snorted. ‘After the reaction he had to you changing, you really think he’s going to want to become one of us?’
Jared winced slightly at the memory, ‘That was a long time ago Sandy; that was when he thought we were monsters – he doesn’t think that now.’ Jensen had come to terms with the fact that he was a werewolf months ago but Sandy wasn’t wrong about the boy’s initial reaction to the news. Jared really couldn’t say for certain that the idea of becoming one of them wouldn’t be too scary for Jensen.
‘Right. And I’m sure after you get him back, he’s gonna be real endeared to werewolves.’ Sandy replied sarcastically, her sympathetic mask long discarded. ‘Jared, we both know that werewolves have Jensen right now and God only knows what they’re doing to him – how do you think he’s gonna feel about us after that?’ She glanced up again, looking Jared right in the eye, ‘How do you think he’s gonna think about you after that?’
Jared breath stuttered to a stop; he hadn’t thought of that. After all, it was Jared’s fault that Jensen had been taken, would his mate blame him for his kidnap? Would he blame Jared for what was happening to him just because Jared was a werewolf too?
No, Jensen loved him – he might be mad at Jared right then but once Jared explained, made it clear that he was only having Jensen watched to keep him safe, he was sure that his mate would forgive him. ‘Jensen loves me; nothing’s going to change that.’ He said, confidence bolstering his voice.
Sandy gave him a pitying look before getting up, ‘I know you think that, Jay, but he’s only human. He has no idea about mates, no concept of forever; wolves should mate with other wolves, Jared.’ She laid her hand on his arm again, giving the flesh a meaningful squeeze. ‘We should stick to our own kind.’
Then Sandy stood up and walked out of the kitchen, ignoring the glare Jared sent her way; he got the message loud and clear and he really didn’t like it.
Chapter 27: Chapter Twenty-Seven.
Fifteen minutes passed and Jared just couldn’t take it anymore – he knew that his dad would be mad at him but he couldn’t just do nothing while his mate was out there somewhere. Jensen needed him and there was no way that Jared was going to let him down.
He leapt up from his seat and ran out of the house.
Jared called his friends from his bike and told them to meet him at the Joey’s Diner. However, after half an hour sat in their favourite booth, they were still no closer to coming up with a plan to save Jensen. The ‘saving Jensen’ part of the plan wasn’t what was causing the problem; Jared had no doubt that they could easily take out Tom and his friends. It was the ‘finding Jensen’ part of the plan that had them stumped; they had absolutely no idea where Tom had taken Jensen.
‘It’s gotta be somewhere that neither you nor your dad are ever going to think to look.’ Chad said, his forehead creased in a frown.
‘Well thanks for that really helpful insight Chad; so Jensen’s somewhere that none of us are gonna think of? Great!’ Chris spat sarcastically.
‘Calm down Chris. Chad’s right; I can almost guarantee that he hasn’t taken Jensen into his own Pack’s territory; he’s knows that that would be the first place I’d think to look. Welling wouldn’t want to risk us finding him before he gets what he wants; I don’t know what his end game is but I do know that he wants to hurt me, make me suffer.’ He paused, barely able to get his next words out, ‘He’d want to take his time.’
Jared swallowed hard; he was trying not to think about what Tom was doing to Jensen but, whatever it was, he knew that it wasn’t going to pleasant. He shook his head; he couldn’t afford to get distracted, Jensen couldn’t afford for him to get to distracted. ‘Unfortunately, that still leaves us with the rest of town as a searching ground. That’s area’s just too large and Jensen doesn’t…we don’t have time to search all that. So, any ideas guys?’
At that moment, the diner’s bell jingled and Mike Rosenbaum, Tom’s best friend, walked into the diner.
‘Isn’t that…’ Chad started.
‘Mike. Yeah it is.’ Jared’s eyes narrowed as they watched Mike place a huge take away order at the counter; there was no way that the guy wasn’t in on this - if Tom had taken Jensen, Jared would be willing to bet his Pack Alpha status that Mike was picking up food for him. ‘Go outside then wait for him to come out. When he does, grab him.’ He instructed the other three boys at the table.
‘Why don’t we just follow him?’ Aldis asked, his eyes still intently fixed on Mike like he thought that looking away would cause the guy to just disappear and take away their only chance of finding Jensen. He wasn’t completely wrong.
‘I can’t risk that he’s not going back to Jensen. If Tom has Jensen then Mike knows where he’s keeping him. He’ll tell me, even if I have to beat it out of him.’ He assured them. ‘Hurry up; I don’t want him to see you guys.’ Jared jerked his head towards the door.
‘What are you gonna do?’ Chris asked, quickly grabbing his stuff and standing up.
Jared smiled darkly, ‘I’m gonna send him right out to you.’ He stood up, waited for his friends to get outside the diner, and then walked over to his target. He tapped Mike on the shoulder and the boy spun round, a smirk on his face. The smile slid off Mike’s face immediately as he took in Jared’s huge form looming over him.
‘Padalecki.’ He said shortly and tried to manoeuvre passed Jared but Jared stopped him, gripping his shoulder, hard.
‘Wait Rosenbaum, I need to talk to you.’ Jared tried to keep his voice level, well aware that they were in a crowded diner full of humans.
‘Sorry, I haven’t got time to chat right now Padalecki.’ Mike made another attempt to get around Jared but he was both the smaller and less muscled of the two so, really, he didn’t stand a chance of getting away unless Jared let him.
‘What? Tom get hungry while he was torturing my mate?’ Jared growled, leaning in close to the other boy; he felt his sharp lupine teeth dig into his lower lip before he got himself under control. The flash of panic across Mike’s face told Jared everything he needed to know – Tom definitely did have Jensen.
‘No idea what you’re talking about, Padalecki. Tom’s out of town with his dad, sorry.’ Mike didn’t sound all that sorry and Jared fought to keep his emotions in check, ‘Look, I gotta go.’ He darted to the side and Jared finally let him go, enjoying the furtive looks that the shorter boy kept sending over his shoulder at him. That was perfect – Mike would never suspect that Jared had his boys waiting for him outside.
Jared walked slowly out the door and grinned when he saw that Chris had Mike in a headlock half way down the deserted side alley next to the diner– it was dark enough that no-one would see them and Jared had plenty of ways to keep Mike quiet till the guy gave them what they needed. ‘Good job, Chris.’ He said before kneeling down in front of Mike.
Mike spat, ‘What the fuck do you think you’re doing? Let go of me!’
‘Not until you tell me where Jensen is?’ Jared replied, his tone implacable.
‘I don’t know where that little slut is.’ Mike hissed, his face turning red from where Chris was all but crushing his windpipe. Jared snarled, got to his feet and brought his knee up to hit Mike hard in the nose; he smiled darkly when he heard it crack.
‘Don’t test me Rosenbaum. Not only did you kidnap my mate but I’m pretty sure that Tom’s not just talking with Jensen right now so you’re already on my shittiest of shit lists. Don’t make this any worse by calling Jen names, okay.’ He grabbed Mike by the hair and pulled his face up to his, ‘Look, I don’t wanna hurt you,’ Mike’s eyes widened and Jared wondered, briefly, if Mike had heard the lie in his words ‘cause, really, Jared did kind of want to beat Mike to a pulp for his hand in all this. He tried not to let that show in his eyes when he added, ‘You tell me where Jensen is and I’ll let you go, no harm no foul.’
‘You call this no harm?’ Mike asked incredulous, as blood dripped down his face.
Jared chuckled menacingly and leaned in, ‘This is nothing compared to what I’ll do to you if you don’t tell me where Jensen is.’ Jared normally abhorred violence but it was the only language that Tom and his idiot friends understood. He didn’t have time to try and talk this one out - he had to find Jensen and he had to find him now.
Jared was pleased to see the flicker fear that passed over Mike’s features. ‘I…I don’t know where they are.’
‘Really Mike? That’s the way you want this to go?’ When Mike didn’t say anything, Jared nodded to Chris and his friend hauled Mike up into a standing position, clamped his hand over the boy’s mouth, and Jared punched Mike twice in the gut.
Mike groaned and squeezed his eyes shut. ‘I don’t know…,’ he mumbled through Chris’ fingers, the words barely audible.
Jared punched him in the face. ‘I don’t…’ Jared stepped back before ramming his foot into Mike’s gut. AT that, Mike tore his face away from Chris hand and cursed, ‘Jesus, FUCK! Why don’t you ask that little bitch where he is? It was her fucking idea in the first place.’
Jared froze; dread settling deep in his gut, ‘What bitch?’
‘Sandy. She was the one who told us what Jensen meant to you; Tom just thought he was a piece of ass you were fucking but Sandy told us that he was you mate. All this was her idea.’ Mike grimaced when Chris tightened the hold around his neck.
Jared didn’t think he’d ever been so angry, ever felt so betrayed, ‘Go find Sandy,’ he called to Chad and Aldis but the two boys were already gone; clearly he wasn’t the only one who felt betrayed.
‘Jared, you can’t possibly think that this asshole’s telling the truth. I know Sandy’s a bit of a jerk but this…this is just way too much, even for her.’ Chris reasoned, looking up at Jared over Mike’s shoulder, but Jared knew that it was true. It just fit too perfectly to be a lie.
Suddenly, Mike twisted in Chris’ hold, taking advantage of the guy’s shock, and spun out of Chris’ hold. A moment later, he had a gun aimed at Jared and Chris was backing away from them. Jared watched Mike make his way down the alley; a cruel smile tugging at his lips. ‘I’ll send Jensen your regards,’ he promised before disappearing out of the alley.
Jared went to give chase but Chris stopped him with a hand on his arm, ‘Stop Jay. He’ll shoot you before you get within ten yards of him.’ Jared nodded; Chris was right. Plus they still had Sandy and Jared had no doubt that he could get her to talk.
Chad and Aldis returned, twenty minutes later, with Sandy in tow. Jared could tell that they’d fed her some cock and bull story, to get her to go with them, since there wasn’t a trace of fear on her face as she sauntered over.
‘Hey Jay.’ She smiled coyly up at him, ‘The boys said that you wanted to talk to me; they said it was important so I came straight away. What is it?’
‘Where is he?’ Jared said bluntly; he didn’t have the time or patience to play games.
‘Who?’ Sandy replied; her face a perfect mask of confusion and had Jared not known that she was in on this, he might even have believed that she truly didn’t know what he was talking about.
‘Jensen? I don’t know where Jensen is.’ Sandy said quickly, a little too quickly for the statement to ring true.
‘Cut the crap Sandy, I know you know where he is.’ He approached the girl and grabbed her arms tight. ‘You’re already gonna be disowned from the Pack for this but I’m pretty certain that I can convince my dad to upgrade your punishment to execution if you don’t help me. Jensen’s part of the Pack Alpha’s family so what you did counts as treason.’ Jared felt a dark satisfaction as he watched the colour drain from Sandy’s pretty face.
‘But…but…I did it for you.’ She said desperately. ‘He…he’s got you all turned around, getting you to think that he’s your mate. I was trying to help you…help you see that he was manipulating you.’
Jared growled and shoved her away from him, ‘Christ, Sandy, can you even hear yourself? Jensen didn’t do anything, hell, I knew he was my mate before I’d even spoke to him.’ He ran a hand down his face in frustration, ‘Where the fuck is he Sandy?’
‘Jared, please…’ She begged, taking a step towards him, her hand raised.
‘Tell me or so, help me God, I’ll kill you myself.’ Jared threatened and she stopped mid step, shock and fear written all over her face.
‘He’s…he’s in a cabin near Redrock Creek.’ Jared knew the place; he’d played there as a pup. Jared rifled through his pockets for his keys and turned to make his way over to his bike. ‘WAIT!’ Sandy yelled, anger obviously winning out over her fear. ‘There’s no point; he’s probably already fucking dead.’
And that was just about the worst thing for Sandy to him right then. Jared stopped, his chest heaving as he turned back to Sandy and snarled, ‘You had better hope to God that he’s not. Because if he is; Tom’s first and then you’re next, Sandy.’ The girl paled even further, if that was possible, ‘And don’t think there’s anywhere you’ll be able to hide from me.’ Jared turned again and ran over to his bike, throwing his leg over the seat. Just before he sped off, he felt someone climb on behind him.
‘You didn’t think I was gonna let you play hero alone did you?’ Chris asked and Jared smiled for the first time since Jensen had been taken
‘Course not.’ He put the bike in gear and sped away.
Chapter 28: Chapter Twenty-Eight.
Jared tore across town and into the woods, breaking every speed limit on the way, and, somehow, he managed to make it to the river in just over an hour. He skidded the bike to a stop and clambered off before the dust had even settled. The cabin was well hidden by the surrounding trees and Jared could see how he’d missed it in the past.
A choked cry rent the air and Jared shot Chis a worried look before running over to the small wooden hut. Unsurprisingly, the door was locked but that didn’t pose much of an obstacle to a werewolf, especially not one of Jared’s size, and the rusted metal hinges instantly gave way when Jared landed a kick against the wood.
It took a moment for Jared’s human eyes to adjust to the dim light in the cabin but, once they did, the sight before him filled him with a blinding rage that pounded heavily against his skull, drawing out his werewolf half.
Jensen was shirtless and hanging from the ceiling of the hut, his wrists shackled with iron manacles above his head, and his chin resting against his chest. His body was covered with bruises and deep gashes and Jared couldn’t see one bit of unmarked flesh; he almost dreaded seeing Jensen’s face.
Jared was so focused on Jensen that he all but forgot about Jensen’s captors. He was quickly reminded, though, when one of Tom’s boys kicked him in the side with his steel-toed boot. But adrenaline was pumping through Jared’s body now, gearing him up for the impending fight, and he barely felt the hit. Immediately, Jared lunged at the kid and grabbed him by the shoulders, letting his fingers dig deep into the boy’s flesh. Ignoring the guy’s cry of pain, Jared lifted him bodily off the floor and threw him into the wall at the other side of the cabin; the kid slumped over, unconscious.
By the time Jared came up against Tom, Chris had already taken out Mike, leaving the boy in a crumpled heap by the door.
Tom already had a deep gash across his forehead; a bloody souvenir from one of Chris’ claw. Tom’s eyes darted over to Jensen’s barely conscious body and smirked, ‘Doesn’t look like your little bitch is gonna make it Jared; such a shame, he’s so pretty when he cries.’ And that was it; fuck Pack politics, fuck diplomacy, all Jared wanted was to rip Tom’s throat out. He shifted, instantly, then lifted a huge paw and swiped it across Tom’s neck, tearing the guy’s throat out. Tom clawed at his ruined neck, a look of shock on his face, before he collapsed to the floor, dead.
Jared shifted back, ignoring the blood painting his body and ran over to Jensen. He grabbed the other boy around the waist, supporting his body weight completely, and taking the weight off his arms. Jensen whimpered and struggled a little, clearly confused as to what was happening. ‘Shhh, it’s okay Jen, it’s just me.’ Jared curled his fingers around the iron chains and pulled hard, yanking them out of the ceiling. Jensen fell heavily against his chest and Jared held him close, wrapping his arms tightly around Jensen’s waist.
‘You came.’ Jensen whispered into Jared’s neck.
‘Of course I did, baby. I’ll always come for you.’ Jared turned his head slightly and kissed Jensen on the cheek. But Jensen didn’t answer, instead his eyes rolled back into his head and he passed out. ‘No, Jensen. Wake up; I need you to stay awake for me. Jensen! Nononono!’ Jared scooped Jensen up in his arms and clutched him to his chest as he ran from the cabin. Chris was already seated on the bike, the engine running. Jared jumped on the back, putting one arm around Chris’ waist whilst keeping the other tight around Jensen. ‘Go, Chris! Get us home.’ Chris nodded and they sped away.
‘DAD!’ Jared yelled as he kicked open the front door of his house, Jensen still in his arms. His mate hadn’t stirred once on the ride over and Jared was skating the fine line between worry and utter panic. ‘DAD!’
‘Jared where have you…’ his dad started before his eyes dropped to Jensen, ‘God. Bring him into the living room, Jared, and lay him down on the couch.’ Jared nodded, quickly striding across the hall. He gently lowered Jensen down onto the couch, stopping to stroke through his mate’s hair once before straightening and turning to his father. ‘I got him back as fast as I could but…but he won’t wake up. But that doesn’t mean anything, right? He’s gonna be okay, isn’t he dad?’
His father’s expression was far too close to pity for Jared’s liking – no, it couldn’t be pity ‘cause that would mean his father didn’t think Jensen was going to make it and that just…that wasn’t possible! Jared wasn’t going to let that happen! ‘Jared…’
Jared sniffed loudly and wiped his eyes, only then realising that he was crying, ‘We…we need to get Jeff, Jeff’ll know what to do.’ Jeff Morgan was the Pack Doctor; the man could cure anything; Jensen was going to be fine.
‘Jared I don’t think…’
‘GET JEFF!’ Jared yelled, ignoring the stunned faces of his family and Chris. His father nodded, pulled out his cell and walked over to the corner of the room. Secure in the knowledge that help was on the way, Jared sank down to his knees beside the couch and let his hand card through Jensen’s hair. He then took one of Jensen’s hands in his and whispered, ‘It’s alright baby, you’re gonna be just fine.’
Jeff Morgan walked in twenty minutes later and, after a brief handshake with Jared’s father and brother, he made his way to Jensen’s side. The man’s features darkened as he stared down at Jensen but Jared refused to read too much into that; he knew that Jensen’s condition was serious, Jeff was just…just working out what he needed to do. That was all. ‘Jay, I need you to move.’ Jared didn’t. ‘Come on, kid, just for a minute.’ Reluctantly, Jared let go of Jensen’s hand and moved out of the way. Jeff worked quickly and efficiently, taking Jensen blood pressure, listening to his chest, examining the wounds on his body. The tests couldn’t have taken more than ten minutes but, to Jared, it felt like an eternity.
Once he was finished, Jeff pulled down the blanket covering the back of the couch and placed it over Jensen’s body. Then, he stood up to face them, his face grave. ‘I can stitch up his wounds, give him the blood he needs but…’ Jeff turned to Jared, ‘he’s in pretty bad shape, Jay. He’s in a coma and I don’t…I don’t think he’s going to wake up from it.’
Jared’s heart stopped. He shook his head in disbelief, ‘What? What are you talking about? Of course he is, he’s…he’s not in a coma…he’s just…just really tired; he’ll wake up soon. Just give him a bit of time, for God’s sake.’ Jared made his way back to Jensen’s side, letting his hand trail down the boy’s beautiful face. He ignored the slow pace of Jensen’s heart and the deathly pallor of Jensen’s face, he ignored how cold Jensen’s skin was to the touch and the fact that Jensen’s chest barely moved with each breath.
Jared’s own breath hitched as he looked down at his mate and he pleaded in a soft voice meant only for Jensen, ‘Come on, Jen, you have wake up. You’ve…you’ve still gotta rip me a new one, remember, and I’ve gotta grovel and buy you loads of cheesy presents so you’ll forgive me.’ A sob made its way up Jared’s throat before he could stop it and he leaned over Jensen’s body, resting his head on Jensen’s chest, ‘Oh God, I’m so sorry Jensen. Please…please you have to wake up.’
Suddenly, a thought hit him and he couldn’t believe that he hadn’t thought of it sooner. Jared stood up quickly, wiping his wet cheeks, ‘I’ll change him.’ He spun round to look at the others in the room and said confidently, ‘I’ll turn him into a werewolf and then he’ll heal and he’ll be okay.’
‘Jared, you can’t…’ Jeff said, his voice soft.
‘No, it’ll be fine. He might…might hate me but he’ll be alive. I can live with that as long as he’s alright.’ Jared argued, desperately. He wasn’t sure that he could live with Jensen hating him but he was absolutely positive that he couldn’t live with Jensen dying so it seemed like a pretty damn good idea to him.
‘Jared, I don’t think that’s going to work.’ Jared frowned and waited for Jeff to continue, ‘You know how dangerous it is to turn humans even when they’re healthy; in his weakened state, I don’t think Jensen would survive the change.’
Jared ran a hand through his hair, feeling some of his earlier anger rise to the surface, ‘So my two choices are; I don’t turn him and he’s dies or I turn him and he dies from the change. Is that what you’re telling me?’
‘I didn’t say that, Jared,’ Jeff placed a comforting hand on Jared’s shoulder. ‘I just need you to be prepared for the worst; I’ll treat him to the best of my ability but the next few days are going to be crucial. We need to get him to the hospital now; the sooner we can get his blood count up, the sooner his body can start to heal.’
‘No.’ Jared replied, looking down at Jensen on the couch.
‘No? Jared we need to move now if Jensen’s going to stand a chance of making it through this.’ Jeff insisted, moving back over to Jensen’s side, only to be stopped by Jared’s hand on his chest.
‘I know but…but I don’t want him going to the hospital. Can’t you set up a hospital bed in my room? I…I don’t want him to wake up somewhere unfamiliar after everything that’s happened,’ Jared explained. Jensen had had a traumatic twenty-four hours and if, no when, he woke up, Jared wanted his mate to feel safe and Jared’s room was definitely the best place for that.
Plus, he really didn’t like the idea that he wouldn’t be able to see Jensen whenever he wanted; he was pretty sure that the nurses at the hospital wouldn’t let him stay by Jensen’s side till the boy woke up. With Jensen in his room, Jared would never have to leave him, not once.
‘I don’t know Jared.’
‘Please.’ Jared begged, letting everything he was feeling show in his eyes.
Jeff’s shoulders slumped in defeat, ‘Alright. I’ll rent a room at one of the motels in town so Jensen has a doctor close by.’
‘Don’t be ridiculous Jeff, you can stay here.’ Jared’s dad offered.
‘If that’s not going to inconvenience you too much, that’ll be great. I really don’t want to be too far away from Jensen, especially not in the first couple of days.’
‘Jeff, it’s the least we can do, really.’ Gerald assured him. It was perfect; Jared could be with Jensen all the time and there would still be a doctor within shouting distance. ‘Can you get everything you need brought here? Money’s no object.’
‘Yeah, I can make some calls, call in a few favours. Everything should be here within the next couple of hours,’ Jeff answered, before turning to Jared, ‘Jared why don’t you take Jensen up to your room and get him comfortable until the hospital bed arrives.’ Jared nodded and scooped Jensen up again, trying not to freak out too much by Jensen’s lack of response.
Normally, Jensen would snuggle into Jared’s embrace, especially when he was asleep and unhampered by his insecurities and doubts. It had only been a day and, already, Jared missed that closeness; he nuzzled his nose into Jensen’s hair and breathed in his mate’s scent. That would have to be enough till Jensen woke up.
Jared wasn’t stupid; he knew that Jeff was getting him out of the way so that he could talk to his parents. Jeff probably wanted to tell them the odds of Jensen’s survival, without Jared nearby, and give them some advice on how to handle him if Jensen didn’t make it. Jared didn’t really care what they were talking about; he already knew that there would be no way back for him if Jensen died.
Jared pulled the covers on his bed back, with one hand, and placed Jensen down on the mattress before settling the sheets back over him. Then he crawled into the bed behind his mate, wrapped an arm around Jensen’s waist and pulled him back into his chest. Jared kissed Jensen’s neck, once, and buried his face in the boy’s hair before drifting off to sleep.
Chapter 29: Chapter Twenty-Nine.
Jared woke up a couple of hours later and it was already dark; he reached out a hand to bring Jensen closer but…but he wasn’t there. Jared leaned over to his bedside table and flicked on the lamp, its light illuminating the bed and showing it to be empty. He ripped back the covers, recoiling when he saw a large blood stain on the sheets. Oh god! Jared leapt from the bed and frantically searched the room for his mate. When he finally came round to Jensen’s side, he saw his mate sprawled out on the floor in a pool of his own blood, one of the gashes in his stomach open and bleeding. Jensen’s green eyes were cold and lifeless; Jared fell to his knees and pulled Jensen against, sobbing into the other boy’s hair.
Jared woke up, a gasp leaving his lips, and he looked round the room in a panic. Jensen was still lying next to him; the boy hadn’t moved an inch from Jared’s side. He ran a shaking hand down his face; his shirt was sticking to him and there were tears on his cheeks. Jared quickly burrowed back under the covers and plastered himself to Jensen’s back, burying his face in his mate’s neck. He wrapped his arm around Jensen again and placed his palm over Jensen’s heart, letting the steady beat calm him down.
Jared jumped, gripping Jensen tighter to his body, when someone opened his bedroom door. He relaxed again when he saw his dad and Jeff enter, pulling a hospital bed behind him. ‘Jay, can you get him on here? It’ll make it easier to hook him up to the machines and I.V.s.’ Jared rolled off the mattress, picked Jensen up and placed him on the hospital bed. He stood back and watched Jeff hook Jensen up to an I.V. of antibiotics and a pack of blood. Jeff attached a wire to monitor Jensen’s heart rate and Jared found the steady beeping surprisingly reassuring; it meant Jensen was holding on.
Over the next week Jared barely left Jensen’s bedside, only breaking away for a few minutes at a time to grab a hurried shower in the en suite bathroom. Jensen’s condition hadn’t changed and Jared couldn’t decide whether or not that was a good thing. On the one hand, it meant that Jensen hadn’t gotten any worse but, on the other hand, it also meant that Jensen hadn’t gotten any better. Jared was beginning to worry that Jensen might just stay this way, always at Jared’s side but forever beyond his reach.
‘This isn’t how this is supposed to go, you know. The sun and moon, they’re meant to be together forever.’ Jared kissed Jensen softly on the forehead before stroking a hand through his mate’s hair; Jensen’s skin was feverish, it had been for days, and it didn’t look like that was going to change any time soon. Jared blinked away the tears that rose to his eyes as he whispered, ‘You can’t leave me, Jensen, you just can’t.’
Jared’s family had come to check on Jensen, in those first few days, and they’d all worn the same sympathetic, pitying look when they’d left. They’d tried to talk to him about what would happen if Jensen didn’t pull through but he’d pretty much cut them off before they’d even began – that was a pointless conversation if ever there was one; there were no options if Jensen didn’t make it, Jared knew that and he was sure that his family knew it too even if they didn’t want to admit it.
The one time his father had brought up the situation with the Welling Pack, the likelihood of a Pack War, Jared had shot him such a fiery look that his father hadn’t visited again since. Jared would’ve felt bad about that if all his emotions hadn’t been completely focused on his mate. He knew that he should be worried about the repercussions of what had happened at the cabin but he just couldn’t bring himself to care; everything would simply have to wait until Jensen got better. And if…if he didn’t then it really wouldn’t be Jared’s problem anymore because he wouldn’t be around to deal with it.
Jared took Jensen’s hand in his again, rubbing his thumb slowly over Jensen’s pulse point; it always seemed to calm the other boy when they were together. Jared could only hope that it would have a similar effect now, letting Jensen know that Jared was there with him.
There was a soft knock on the door before it was opened slowly. Chris walked in, a sad smile on his face as he sat down in the chair next to Jared’s. ‘How is he?’
‘The same.’ Jared answered, just like he had every other time that Chris had asked. Chris had visited Jared’s house every day since Jensen had been injured. He’d come round, at the break of dawn, on the second day and, for the first time since Jared had known the other boy, he’d actually seen Chris break down. He’d sat at Jensen’s bedside with one hand covering his face and the other gripping Jensen’s shoulder tightly. Jared hadn’t said anything as Chris had cried, there was nothing that he could’ve say to make it any easier to see Jensen like that so he hadn’t even tried.
Chris was the only one who had any idea what Jared was feeling; Chris and Jensen were terribly close and he knew that Chris would be heartbroken if Jensen were to die.
Chris just nodded, ‘I spoke to your dad; he says that nothing’s come from the Welling Pack yet but he doesn’t think Welling’s going to let his son’s death go unavenged. Your dad thinks there’s gonna be a war, Jay.’ Jared shrugged, not looking away from Jensen; he couldn’t care less about Pack politics right then, not when Jensen’s life hung in the balance. ‘Come on Jay, you know that Jensen wouldn’t want you to give up on everything else just because he’s dyi…just because he’s sick.’
Even though Chris hadn’t actually said the words, Jared still heard them – he’s dying. That was what they all thought anyway but they were wrong, Jensen would never leave Jared, never. ‘I’m not leaving his side, Chris, he’ll need me when he wakes up.’ Jared replied stubbornly.
‘Jensen’s body just needs some time to heal then he’ll come right back to us…right back to me.’
Chris sighed and placed a comforting hand on Jared’s shoulder, ‘Sure he will, buddy. We’ve just gotta wait.’
Jared nodded, ‘Thanks Chris.’
‘So Chad got his ass kicked by Debbie Loomis today. She caught him checking out her ass and slapped him right across the face in the middle of the cafeteria. You should’ve seen Chad’s face, it was priceless man.’ Chris chuckled and, had Jensen’s hand not been a cold reminder of the present situation, Jared could almost have pretended that everything was okay.
It wasn’t, and it wouldn’t be again until Jensen opened his eyes, but Jared silently thanked his friend for trying to keep him grounded, trying to keep him from falling any deeper into despair. Chris was a good friend, always had been, but, as he talked, Jared realised that it just wasn’t enough to fill the void that Jensen’s absence had left. It was funny to think that Jared had gone eighteen years without Jensen in his life but, now, he couldn’t imagine living another day without him.
After finishing his third story and getting no reaction from Jared, Chris seemed to understand that the stories weren’t really helping. He reached into his backpack and pulled out a book; the boy leaned back in his chair, clearly settling in for the long haul. It was nice to have someone there who wasn’t feeding him platitudes about Jensen being okay or trying to prepare him for the blow of his mate dying. Yes, Chris was a good friend.
Chapter 30: Chapter Thirty.
It had been just over two weeks since Jensen had fallen into a coma and Jared was feeling more hopeful than he had in days; Jensen’s fever was down, his wounds were healing quickly and cleanly, and Jeff was talking about taking Jensen off the antibiotics now that the infection seemed to be gone. He was talking to his father, brother and Jeff outside Jensen’s room, the door slightly ajar obviously so that he could keep an eye on his mate. He had a huge grin on his face and his heart felt light at the prospect of Jensen waking up soon.
Suddenly, a shrill beep rang out from Jared’s bedroom. Jeff was moving instantly but it took a moment for Jared’s brain to catch up enough to realise what that sound meant. No! Jared leapt towards the door only to be held back by his dad and brother, ‘Stop, Jay, let Jeff do his job.’
Jared struggled in their grip, desperate to get to his mate. He saw Jeff start CPR and that was it; with an insane burst of strength he broke free of the two Alphas and launched himself across the room to Jensen's side. He took Jensen’s hand, ‘Don’t you dare give up, Jensen. You hear me! You’ve gotta fight. Do it for me.’ Jared begged and leaned down to kiss Jensen firmly on the mouth. When nothing happened, no miraculous recovery, Jared pulled away, hiding his face in his hands.
Several long minutes passed, despair coursing through Jared’s veins turning his blood to ice and chilling his heart. Jeff came to stand by Jared’s side, laying a hand on his shoulder, ‘I’m so sorry, Jay, I…’
Jared’s head shot up to the monitor, no longer displaying that ominous straight line but showing the steady beats of Jensen’s heart. His eyes darted down to his mate, tears in his eyes, and found sleepy, green eyes looking back up at him. Jared moved his hand to stroke across Jensen’s cheek, grinning when the boy nuzzled into his palm, ‘Hey there, sleeping Beauty.’ Jared said, his voice rough with emotion. ‘How you doing?’
Jensen’s eyelids fluttered and he croaked out, ‘I…I’m okay. Tired.’ He frowned, confusion written all over his expression, ‘I…I dreamed of you. I was all alone and I was walking down this long corridor and it just…just kept getting darker,’ he swallowed, ‘but…but then I heard you. You were calling me back so I…I turned round and followed your voice.’
Jared heart squeezed painfully in his chest, thanking whatever God was listening that Jensen had heard his call and come back to him.
Now that Jensen was awake and Jared could finally breathe again, he felt awkward remembering how they’d left things before the kidnap. He wanted nothing more than to climb up into the bed and wrap his arms around his mate but he didn’t know if that would be welcome now…or ever. So Jared stayed in his chair next to the bed, his knee jiggling nervously.
The silence between them was heavy and cloying and Jensen knew one of them would have to break it sooner or later so he decided to bite the bullet. He took a long drink of water before turning to Jared and saying, ‘Jared, you lied to me.’ Jared opened his mouth to speak but Jensen cut him off, ‘I…I get why you did it but that doesn’t change the fact that you kept this secret from me for months. Trust isn’t something I give away easily, you know that, but I gave it to you and you abused it.’
‘I know,’ Jared rasped, sounding so wretched that Jensen couldn’t help reaching out to brush his fingers across Jared’s cheek in comfort.
‘But I love you and this doesn’t change that, just…’
‘Just what?’ Jared asked quickly, crowding in and taking Jensen’s right hand between both of his.
‘Just don’t do it again, okay?’ He said quietly; there was only one person in his life that he could truly rely on and that was Jared, he didn’t think he could take it if Jared betrayed him again.
‘Never. Never again, baby. I’m so sorry.’ Jared leaned down and kissed him once on the lips. ‘Gonna make sure you never regret this, Jen.’ He kissed Jensen again before settling back down in his seat. ‘What about Chris? ‘Cause, really, all of this was my fault; I asked him to look after you and I told him not to tell you what he was.’ Jared asked, stroking his thumb over the delicate skin of Jensen’s wrist; Jensen wasn’t sure that Jared was even aware that he was doing it.
‘I’ll talk to him but, yeah, we’re gonna be fine. As I said, I get why you guys did it, I just…I just wish you’d come clean about it when we’d first met.’ He shook his head, ‘No, maybe not when we met, I would never have believed you then but you should’ve told me about Chris when you told me that you were a werewolf.
‘I know. I know.’ Jared raised Jensen’s knuckles to his lips, kissing them softly, ‘No more secrets okay.’
Jensen nodded, ‘I’m tired, I think I’m gonna get some more sleep.’
‘Oh, sure.’ Jared pulled his hand away and grabbed a book from his bag. Jensen frowned slightly, before scooting over in the bed.
‘Come up here?’ Jensen asked, pulling the covers back for Jared to climb in.
He saw the look of indecision pass over Jared’s face and that just confused him even more, ‘Not sure if I should Jen?’
‘Why not?’ Why didn’t Jared want to get into bed with him? Jared had never turned down an invitation before; Jensen felt some of his old insecurities resurfacing as he waited for an answer.
Jared sighed, ‘Cause you smell fucking amazing right now and I’m not sure that I can control myself if I get into that bed with you.’
‘Who said you had to?’ Jensen asked, tiredness all but forgotten at what Jared was alluding to.
‘Jen…’ Jared said, his voice tense.
‘What? I just…I missed you.’ Jensen said quietly.
‘Jen, you’re still healing, I don’t think we should do anything till you’re completely better.’
‘Please, Jared.’ Jensen bit his lip, looking up at his mate desperately; he’d missed Jared’s touches, it felt like forever since they’d been together. Jensen didn’t like the distance between them; something they’d never had before. He put everything he was feeling into his gaze, hoping that Jared would understand that he needed this more than he needed to rest.
Jared looked down at his mate, finally out of the woods and on his way to getting better, and found himself torn between his need to protect Jensen and his need to claim him. But, with his mate looking up at him pleadingly with those gorgeous green eyes, his inner wolf won the battle and he eased into the bed. He pulled Jensen back against his chest, nuzzling at the side of the boy’s face, inhaling his scent, ‘God, I can’t believe I nearly lost you.’
Jensen turned his head slightly, ‘But you didn’t. You saved my life, Jay; I knew you would. I knew that I just had to hold on till you got there.’
Jared huffed out a bitter laugh, ‘You wouldn’t have needed saving if it weren’t for me.’
Jensen turned in his arms, ‘What are you talking about?’
‘It was Sandy who organised all this, to get you out of the way, so that she and I could be together and Tom went along with it because he hates me so, all in all, this was my fault.’ Jared admitted, not daring to look his mate in the eye.
Jensen looked intensely at him for several long moments, ‘Yeah, maybe this wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t together but, Jared, I don’t think you quite understand how much you mean to me.’ Jensen reached out, tucking Jared’s long hair behind his ear affectionately, ‘You’re everything. I’d risk a little danger to be with you.’ He paused before adding, ‘I’d risk anything to be with you.’
Jared swallowed, his tumbled emotions bubbling up to the surface, before he surged forwards and kissed Jensen. He pushed Jensen back onto the soft sheets, and rested his forearms either side of the boy’s head. Jared gazed down at his mate; his perfect mate. ‘I love you,’ he said simply before latching onto Jensen’s neck and sucking a deep mark into the pale skin.
Jensen bucked up underneath him, ‘Please, Jared.’
It wasn’t like Jared could refuse Jensen anything anyway and especially not when the boy was hard and desperate beneath him. Jared couldn’t pretend that he hadn’t been thinking about doing this since the moment Jensen had woken up. He kissed the tip of Jensen’s nose before agreeing, ‘Okay.’
Jared pulled down Jensen’s sweats, pushing them down and off the boy’s legs. Jensen was already shirtless and Jared smoothed his hands over the soft, freckled skin, mindful of the stitches littering Jensen’s chest. He kissed his way up Jensen’s sternum before licking and nipping along the boy’s collarbone, Jensen shivering at each bite. Jared quickly got his own pants off and lay back down over Jensen, his hard cock brushing maddeningly against Jensen’s taut stomach; he needed to be inside his mate, he needed to feel Jensen around him, tight and hot.
Jared reached over to grab the lube he kept in his bedside drawer and flipped off the cap. Jensen’s eyes shot open at the noise, locking with Jared’s, and the heat and need reflected in those emerald depths almost had Jared coming before they’d even gotten started. He bit his lip thinking of anything but the gorgeous boy spread out under him…Chris in a dress…Chad in his underwear…then he pulled out the big guns…Mr Beaver bending over…well that did it, Jared was dragged away from the edge. He squirted some lube onto his fingers before reaching down between them and stroking them over Jensen’s hole.
Jensen moaned, low and dirty, and it was pretty much the hottest thing that Jared had ever heard. Jensen was always less guarded in bed; he let down those high walls and it was a fucking beautiful thing to witness, let alone be a part of. Jared knew how lucky he was that Jensen trusted him with this and he knew that he would never again do anything to make Jensen question that trust.
After tracing a few light circles against the puckered skin, Jared pushed the pad of his index finger against the tight rim before easing the whole digit inside. Jensen tensed up, his body reacting instinctively to the deep burn and Jared held still to let his boyfriend get used to the penetration.
He kissed Jensen, licking over the boy’s lips and nudging his nose against Jensen’s cheek. Eventually, Jared heard Jensen sigh and felt him relax a little around his finger, enough for him to be able to move the digit in and out easily. Slowly, he worked his mate open, pausing every time Jensen appeared to be in pain.
Jensen was flushed and his head thrown back against the pillow as he panted, ‘I’m ready, Jay, come on. I…I want you to knot me.’
And if that wasn’t a request that Jared could get behind, Jared didn’t know what was – knotting Jensen was pretty much the best feeling in the world. ‘Okay, baby, it’s alright, I’ve got you.’
Jared removed his fingers and slid inside Jensen, in one hard thrust. Encircled by that tight, perfect heat, Jared breathed in and out slowly to get himself under control again, before pulling back and pushing in again. On the third thrust, Jensen cried out as Jared hit his prostate so Jared angled the rest of his thrusts into that same spot.
Jensen grabbed the back of Jared’s head and pulled him down into a sloppy kiss. When the broke apart, breathless, Jensen gasped against Jared’s lips, ‘Bite me, Jared.’
Jared pulled back, shocked, but continued thrusting into Jensen’s body, ‘What?’ He asked, his voice strained.
‘I want you to bite me, Jay. I want you to change me.’ Jensen panted, ‘Do it now.’
God , Jared had wanted to hear those words for months but he couldn’t let Jensen make that decision in the heat of the moment, not when the boy might regret it in the morning, ‘Jen, this is a huge decision, I think…I think we need to talk about it.’
‘No…no I want it. Don’t need to think about, been thinking about it for months, Jay.’ He moaned, biting his lip, ‘I…I want to be yours in every way, please just do it.’ Jensen’s eyes looked desperate but there was no fear there, there was nothing but determination shining out at Jared. And if this was what Jensen truly wanted, and it was certainly what Jared wanted, then he wasn’t going to be the one to say no.
‘You sure?’ Jared thrust deep into Jensen’s body, feeling his knot swell rapidly at the thought of turning Jensen right then with Jared still inside him.
Jensen nodded, ‘Never been more sure of anything in my life. Wanna be your mate.’ Jared’s breath hitched; Jensen had never used the word ‘mate’ before, it was a werewolf thing and Jared had never pushed the other boy to acknowledge Jared as such, but hearing the word fall from Jensen’s lips was just about the most incredible thing ever. He leaned down and kissed Jensen again as his knot slotted into the boy’s ass, tying them together. He licked a stripe up Jensen’s neck and let his canines extend before biting down hard at the juncture between his mate’s neck and shoulder.
Jensen cried out in pain but that didn’t stop him from coming hard between them, squeezing down hard on Jared’s knot and taking the Alpha over the edge with him. Once he could think straight again, Jared licked over the wound, lapping at the blood; the wound was deep, a turning bite always was since human flesh was so fragile compared to the sharpness of a werewolf’s teeth. He pulled away, looking down at the wound to make sure it wasn’t bleeding too much anymore; no matter what Jensen said, the boy was still healing and he really couldn’t afford to lose that much blood.
The bite was perfectly placed – it would be easily hidden under a T-shirt but the edge of the scar would likely peek out just above the neckline for anyone who knew it was there to see it. Jared was strangely excited about the idea of being able to see his mate’s turning bite all the time. He nudged his nose against Jensen’s cheek, ‘You okay, baby?’
Jensen opened sleepy eyes, he always got that way after sex; it was undeniably adorable. Jensen nodded, ‘Perfect.’
Jared smiled, ‘Yeah...you are.’ He lay down beside Jensen, aligning his chest with Jensen’s back, and wrapped his arms around his mate’s slim waist as he finally let sleep claim him.
Chapter 31: Chapter Thirty-One.
Jared was jolted awake by a low hiss in his ear, ‘What did you do?’ He rolled over, pulling his arm out from under Jensen, carefully, so that he didn’t disturb his mate. It would be better if Jensen slept for as much of the transformation as possible; the change was painful, Jensen would wake up soon enough when the venom from his bite started to alter his DNA. And Jared would be right by his side.
‘Chris? What are you...’ Chris grabbed Jared by the arm, dragged him out of the bed and pushed him up against the wall, locking his forearm under Jared’s chin.
‘What the fuck did you do?’ Chris repeated, his blue eyes boring into Jared. ‘He smells different, Jared.’
Oh. Of course, other wolves would notice the change as soon as they saw Jensen; Jared could smell it himself. There was a hint of the woods in Jensen’s scent now and it would only get stronger as the boy’s body changed. ‘I turned him,’ he said simply.
‘I can see…smell that.’ Chris shook his head, anger still burning in his eyes. ‘What I need to know is why? How could you do this Jay? We never turn humans without their consent.’
‘What makes you think that he didn’t consent?’
‘He just woke up from a coma, Jared, after being tortured; we have no idea what’s going on in his head right now! He might just have said yes to keep you from leaving him. We both know that Jensen’s got major confidence issues; I can’t believe you used that against him.’ Chris snarled angrily.
Jared narrowed his eyes at the accusation; how could Chris even think that he would hurt Jensen or do something that the other boy didn’t want? Jensen was his mate, for God’s sake, and he would be whether he was a werewolf or not. ‘Of course I didn’t,’ Jared growled, ‘It wasn’t even my idea.’
‘Oh, sure. Jensen just asked you completely out of the blue to change him.’ Chris replied, sarcasm dripping from every word.
‘Yes I did.’ They both jumped at the voice behind them and Chris instantly backed away from Jared.
Jared rubbed a hand, guiltily, across the back of his neck, ‘Jen, baby, you should be sleeping.’
‘Bit difficult to sleep with the two of you yelling at each other like that.’ Jensen replied, sitting up in the bed.
Jensen relaxed against the headboard, rubbing his eyes. ‘Look Chris, I’ve been thinking about this for a while; it’s what I wanted, Jared was only doing what I asked him to.’ A white, hot pain flashed through Jensen’s side and he grimaced, looking down to see if he’d pulled out some of his stitches when he’d sat up. But they were fine. Frowning, he adjusted the covers over his lap, ‘And I didn’t do…do it because…ahh,’ Jensen cried out when another slice of pain coursed down his back.
Jared was by his side in an instant, lowering him back into the bed. ‘It’s the change, Jen, I’m sorry but it’s gonna hurt. Just lie back, I’ll be right here.’ Jensen nodded, clenching his jaw against the fresh wave of pain in his legs. Jared turned to Chris, ‘Get Jeff here.’ He saw Chris dash out of the room before everything faded to darkness.
The next thing Jensen knew, Jeff was by his side with his stethoscope pressed to his chest and Jared was stroking through his hair soothingly. He felt hot and sweaty and every muscle in his body ached like he’d run a marathon…or five. ‘W…What happened?’ He managed to get out, despite his tongue feeling too big for his mouth.
‘You passed out,’ Jared said softly, stroking Jensen’s arm, ‘The pain, it can get pretty intense and you’re body’s still healing from…before.’ Jensen looked up into Jared’s eyes and saw guilt there.
‘Don’t…don’t do that.’ Jensen gritted out; he lifted his arm to take hold of Jared’s hand but the movement sent a blazing shot of pain through his shoulder, so he simply inched his hand over to rest on Jared’s thigh, ‘Don’t feel guilty about this, I wanted it. It was…it was the right time.’ Jensen was absolutely positive that they’d done the right thing and, while it might hurt, Jensen knew that it would be worth it in the end.
Jensen closed his eyes and tried to breathe through the overwhelming pain gripping his body; he didn’t want Jared to know how much he was suffering. He obviously wasn’t all that convincing if Jared’s next words were anything to go by, ‘Can’t you give him something, Jeff?’
‘Normally I would but Jensen’s only just woken up from a coma, Jared, so I don’t really want to knock him out again. I’ve given him a mild painkiller; it should take the edge off the pain. I’m not really willing to give him anything stronger right now.’ Jeff explained, his tone sympathetic, as he hooked Jensen back up to the heart monitor by his bed.
Christ, if this was what the change was like with a painkiller, then Jensen couldn’t imagine the agony it would be without one. Jared turned concerned eyes on Jensen so he squeezed the boy’s thigh and said, ‘It’s alright, Jay.’ Unfortunately, his reassuring smile turned into a grimace when a sharp pain ripped through his gut; he tore his hand away from Jared and pressed it against his stomach, his eyes screwed shut. It felt like someone was tearing his insides apart as he gasped, ‘Jay…’
‘I’m here, baby, I’m here,’ Jared soothed, his voice sounding suspiciously wet. Still clutching his stomach, Jensen felt the bed dip and a strong arm curl around him as Jared climbed into the bed. ‘Not going anywhere.’
Jensen just nodded and gripped Jared’s forearm tightly, trying to ground himself and stop himself getting lost in the pain. Jensen was no stranger to pain but this was far worse than any beating he’d received from his father; it was almost unbearable.
One more piercing stab to his side had Jensen crying out before he passed into the welcoming numbness of oblivion.
When he woke up again, Jared was staring down at him with a fond smile on his face but Jensen could see the worry in the boy’s eyes. Jared stroked through his hair, ‘You did so good, Jen, how do you feel?’ How did he feel? Jensen closed his eyes and took a deep breath but immediately regretted it as he almost choked on the assault of smells. He could smell Jared; the Alpha smelled like the forest after a heavy rain, dense and heady; he smelled amazing.
‘So do you, baby.’ Jensen flushed; he hadn’t meant to say that out loud but clearly his brain wasn’t quite online yet. ‘That’s alright, I like to know what you’re thinking.’ Dammit!
Jared chuckled, ‘So apart from me smelling awesome, do you feel any different?’
‘I don’t know, I feel more…aware, if you know what I mean. Jesus, I can hear your dad talking to your mom downstairs, I can feel the breeze from your bathroom window; it…it’s like I’m suddenly waking up after spending my whole life asleep. Do you get what I’m saying?’ Jensen didn’t expect Jared to, not from that vague description anyway, but that was all he could come up with to explain how he felt.
‘Kind of. I get what you’re saying but I’ve always been a wolf so I’m used to all that stuff. It’ll probably take a little getting used to; you’ll learn to tune out the stuff you don’t wanna hear with practise and, since we’re friends with Chad, you’ll learn doubly quick, I’m sure - the guy has no shame.’ Jared cringed as he his eyes darted over to the bathroom.
‘What do you…oh.’ Jensen flushed an even deeper red; yeah, he really didn’t wanna hear Chad doing that when he stayed over…gross. Eager to change the subject, Jensen brought up the thing that had been at the back of his mind since he’d woken up the first time, ‘I…uh…I need to see my dad, Jay.’
Jared tensed beside him; Jensen knew how Jared felt about his dad but that didn’t mean that Jensen could just abandon the man. Jensen would never forgive himself if something happened; he already felt responsible for his mom’s death, he couldn’t be responsible for his dad’s as well.
Chapter 32: Chapter Thirty Two.
Chapter Thirty Two.
Jensen unlocked the door to his house; it felt like forever since he’d been inside. The smell hit him first; vomit and alcohol and God only knew what else. He turned to Jared, ‘Can you wait for me out here?’ Even after all this time, he still didn’t want anyone else to see his dad like that.
Jared frowned, ‘You sure, you don’t want me to come in and help?’
Jensen smiled and shook his head; he appreciated the offer more than he could possibly say, especially considering how Jared felt about his father. ‘No, it’s okay, I’ll only be a minute.’
Jensen closed the door behind him and walked into the living; he found his father passed out on the floor next to the couch, his face lying in a pool of vomit and drool. Jensen closed his eyes and took a deep breath; it wasn’t anything he hadn’t seen before but that didn’t make it any easier to deal with. Again, he wondered where the strong man from his childhood had gone.
He moved quickly over to his father’s side and rolled the man onto his back. He bit his lip, this was always the worst part, and kneeled down on the floor. He leaned forward and pressed two fingers to his dad’s neck, holding his breath until he felt the man’s slow, steady heartbeat. He rocked back on his heels, relief washing over him; he’d lived in fear for the past 7 years that one day he’d find his dad dead on the living room floor.
He gently prodded at his father’s shoulder, ‘Dad. Dad, it’s Jensen, I need you to wake up.’ His dad groaned and brought his arm up over his eyes, blocking out the light that must’ve been hell on his hangover. But Jensen persisted; it was going to be difficult enough to get his dad upstairs with his dad helping, there was no way that Jensen could carry the man up there unconscious. He’d tried. ‘Dad!’ He said a little louder, earning himself an angry push to his chest that sent him swaying back onto his heels again.
His father was clearly awake now so Jensen got back to his feet, before leaning down and hauling his dad up. He placed one of his dad’s arms over his shoulder and began to walk towards the stairs, all but dragging the man behind him. His dad helped as best he could in his drunken state, which wasn’t much, but it was enough for Jensen to be able to manoeuvre him up the stairs and into his room. Jensen dropped his father onto his bed, as gently as possible, before taking off the man’s shoes and trousers, thanking God that his dad hadn’t had an accident again.
Finally, he draped a blanket from the closet over his father’s body. He shifted his father onto his side; he was less likely to choke on his own vomit that way. He disappeared into the bathroom, coming back with a bottle of headache pills, a glass of water and a bucket, in case his dad was awake enough to throw up somewhere other than in the bed. Jensen didn’t hold high hopes for that one.
He looked down at his dad; the man looked old, so much older than his 42 years and it made Jensen’s heart clench painfully to think how that crash had killed two people died that day – two good people.
Jensen sighed and turned away, walking down the stairs and out of the house…back to Jared - his real family.
‘So how was your dad?’
‘Drunk.’ Jensen said bitterly, the word tasting sour in his mouth; he’d never spoken to anyone but Jared about his father’s drinking and it still felt strange to talk about it now.
‘I’m sorry, Jen.’
‘Don’t be, I’m more than used to it by now.’ They both heard the lie in his words; watching your father drink himself into an early grave certainly wasn’t something you got used to but Jared didn’t call him on it. He sighed, ‘I just don’t know what to do about him.’ If he was honest with himself, he didn’t want to go back to living at home with his dad, not when he had Jared and Jared’s family waiting for him, loving him. But he couldn’t leave his dad, not when the man’s clearly couldn’t look after himself; Jensen had only been gone a couple of weeks and the man had looked worse than Jensen had seen him look in years.
‘Do you want us to help?’ Jared asked, his voice careful.
‘What?’ Jensen had absolutely no idea what Jared was talking about.
‘I spoke to my dad and there’s this rehab centre in Manhattan; it’s the best in the country and I thought that maybe we could send him there?’
Jensen smiled sadly, ‘Jay, I can’t afford somewhere like that.’ He’d wanted to get his dad help so many times over the years but the money had just never been there and he’d been forced to sit and watch his father destroy himself, piece by piece.
‘I know. My family would pay for it.’
Jensen stopped walking abruptly, almost tripping over the pavement, ‘Y…your family…Jared, I…I can’t ask you to do that.’
‘I know. But you’re not asking, I’m offering. My family’s got more money than we could spend in a lifetime and, if this will finally give you some peace of mind, then we’re more than happy to do it.’
It was so tempting; he’d finally be free of his father and the two of them could go their separate ways; maybe they could both get a fresh start without the constant reminders of the past haunting them, ‘Jay…’
‘Please, Jen, you’re my mate, it’s my job to look after you. I might not be able to do anything about those dark years before we met but I can do something about this. Please, let me do this.’ Jared looked so earnest, so desperate to help, that Jensen felt himself cave.
He all but threw himself into Jared’s arms, wrapping his arms around his boyfriend’s neck. ‘Thank you, Jay, thank you.’
‘No problem, baby. Come on, we need to get back or my dad’s gonna send out a search party.’ Jensen let himself get pulled along, feeling lighter than he had in years.
Chapter 33: Chapter Thirty-Three.
Jensen and Jared made their way into the dining room; every member of Jared’s family was there, sat round the table, looking at the maps spread across the surface. Chris leaned casually against the dining room wall, watching the discussion progress.
All heads turned in their direction, when they entered the room, and Jensen shrank back behind Jared a little at the attention. It was the first time that Jensen had seen Jared’s family since the change and he was worried about what they might think. Jared had told Jensen that he had nothing to worry about, that Jared’s family already loved him, but Jensen needed to see it for himself, needed them to accept him into their Pack.
Jared’s father stood up and walked over to them, smiling down at Jensen, ‘Good to see you up and about Jensen, how are you feeling?’
‘Um…good…I’m good Alpha.’ Jensen stuttered out. He wasn’t sure how to treat Gerald now; their relationship was different, the man was no longer just his boyfriend’s dad, he was Jensen’s Pack Alpha.
Gerald’s smile widened, ‘That’s great, Jensen, but you don’t have to call me Alpha at home when it’s just the family here.’ Jensen flushed bright red; how had he managed to fuck up in the first five minutes? Jared must’ve noticed his distress because he squeezed tightly Jensen’s hand, in comfort. ‘We’re so glad that you decided to change; I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have as a son in law.’ Jensen breathed a sigh of relief, some of tension leaving his muscles; the Pack Alpha had accepted him.
‘Thank you Gerry; it means the world to me that you think that.’ He shook the man’s hand firmly before linking his fingers with Jared’s again; ever since he’d woken up from the change, he hadn’t been able to stop touching Jared – the contact calmed him in a way that nothing else did.
‘Right, now that that’s settled, we need to talk about the Welling Pack, Jay.’ Jared tensed at his side; Jensen knew that Jared felt guilty about giving Tom’s Dad a reason to declare war on the Pack and nothing he’d said had reassured his boyfriend that it wasn’t his fault. From what Jensen had heard from other members of the Pack, Tom’s Dad had been looking for an reason to start a war for years; he was just using what happened between Tom and Jared as an excuse.
‘Have we heard anything from them yet? Any threats? Any demands?’ Jared asked, his voice serious and business-like, as he moved closer to the table, pulling Jensen along behind him. They sat down across from Jared’s brother and sister and Jensen looked down at the map of the town and the surrounding areas; it had the Welling Pack’s territory marked out in red and the Padalecki Pack territory marked out in blue. Their territory was about twice the size of Welling’s Pack but Jensen knew that there were still enough wolves in the Welling Pack to do significant damage to the Padalecki ranks.
Gerald shook his head, ‘Nothing. That’s what makes me think he’s marshalling his army to try and take us by surprise. After Tom’s death, I expected Richard to come here straight away and demand some kind of explanation but he didn’t – that’s suspicious to say the least. I’ve sent some scouts out to scope their territory; we’ll know what Richard’s planning when they get back but I want a plan of action ready before then.’
Jared nodded and focused on the map again, a frown creasing his forehead. ‘I think we should hit them from all sides at once; our Pack’s larger, we could easy have several attack points without leaving any cohort lacking. If we strike everywhere at the same time, a small group of our wolves could maybe sneak in and find the Alpha and force him to surrender.’
‘Yes, I was thinking along the same lines, Jay. Do you think that you could take Richard down if I let you lead that group? I want your brother, sister and myself leading the attack on the borders; I think Richard would expect me to try and take him out so, if he knows that I’m on the front line, he won’t expect you to do it instead,’ Gerald reasoned.
Jared nodded and Jensen’s stomach gave a uneasy flop; he didn’t much like the idea of walking into the heart of the enemy’s territory but he would; he’d be there to watch Jared’s back, ‘I think we should wait a little while, after the attack on borders, to move in on the Alpha; it’ll lull him into a false sense of security and you’ll be able to defeat him more easily.’
Jared turned to him then, the frown back on his face, ‘Us? You aren’t coming Jensen.’
Jensen blinked in surprise, ‘What? Of course I am.’
‘No, you’re not.’ Chris and Jared said together, both giving him a hard look.
‘I…I don’t understand.’ Jensen said, his voice small and a little lost. Jensen was mindful of the other wolves in the room but none of them were looking at him and Jared right then, giving them the illusion of privacy.
‘Jen, baby, it’s too dangerous. You’ve only just been turned; you won’t even be able to shift until the next full moon. Not be mention that you nearly,’ Jared swallowed loudly enough for Jensen to hear it, ‘died a couple of days ago. I’m sorry Jen but, as your mate, it’s my job to keep you safe and I say you’re not going.’
‘But…but…’ Jensen eyes flicked, pleadingly, to the other wolves in the room but none of them would even look at him.
Finally Gerald took pity on him, ‘I’m sorry, Jensen, but Jared’s right on this one; it’s too dangerous for you to come with us.’
Turning back to Jared, ‘Please, Jay, you can’t expect me to stay here when everyone I love is out there fighting. It’s not fair!’ Jared’s determined expression didn’t waver and Jensen felt frustrated tears rise to his eyes; what was the point of being a werewolf if he couldn’t protect his mate? ‘Please.’
‘I’m sorry, Jen, but you’re not going.’ Jensen flinched at the order; the other boy had never told him what to do, not once, and it was jarring to have it happen now. He could feel the desire to submit to his Alpha flood his body and, finally, he bowed his head and left the room. He didn’t want to cry in front of everyone and he knew that tears weren’t far away as he ran up to Jared’s room.
Jared didn’t follow him.
Chapter 34: Chapter Thirty-Four.
It killed Jared to use that tone with Jensen; he’d promised himself that he’d never do that to his mate but this was a matter of Jensen’s safety and Jared just wasn’t prepared to risk that.
‘Jay, do you need to…,’ his dad started.
‘No, he’ll be fine.’ Jared interrupted, clenching his fists against the table to tamp down the desire to run after his mate and apologise; he knew if he did that now, Jensen would think he’d changed his mind which he hadn’t. Jensen wasn’t going anyway near the Welling border, not after the last couple of weeks.
At that moment, the three scouts that his father had sent out earlier walked into the room. One bowed his head slightly to Jared’s dad, ‘Alpha. The Welling Pack is definitely preparing for war; they’re marshalling their forces as we speak and they’ll be ready to launch an attack in the next couple of days at least.’
His dad grimaced, ‘Thank you.’ He turned to Jared and his siblings, ‘That’s it then, I want you three to go to the Pack and get them ready; we go to war at dawn.’
It was late when Jared returned to the house but he’d done as his father had asked and the Pack would be ready to move in a couple of hours. He hadn’t seen Jensen since earlier that day when the boy had run off to Jared’s room. He knew that Jensen would still be upset with him but he wasn’t going to leave without clearing this up; whilst Jared was sure that his Pack would defeat Welling’s, there would, undoubtedly, be casualties and Jared could easily become one of those. War was unpredictable and even the best fighters could be hurt in a moment of weakness. He shuddered at the thought that this might be the last time he saw Jensen, the last time he held him in his arms, the last time he kissed him.
Jared walked up to his door and knocked gently; there was no answer but Jared hadn’t really expected one. He opened the door slowly and saw his mate lying on his bed, his back to the door; Jared didn’t need to see Jensen’s face to know that the boy was crying. He moved over to the bed, sitting on the edge, and laying a hand on Jensen’s side. ‘Jen?’
His mate didn’t respond so he continued, ‘I’m sorry about today, I really am, but I can’t let you come with us. This fight’s going to be hard and I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to protect you; you’ll be no match for the wolves in Welling’s Pack in your human form.’
Jensen sniffed, ‘But…but I’m stronger now, I could, maybe, just distract them long enough for one of you guys to take them down? And…and I could make sure that no-one got the jump on you.’ Jensen didn’t look at him, his voice low and sad like he knew that any argument he came up with would be useless; he knew that Jared was never going to let him go…he wasn’t wrong.
‘I can’t risk that Jen; I’d never forgive myself if something happened to you.’ Jared explained, honestly.
Jensen shook off Jared’s hand and sat up in the bed, wiping at his wet cheeks, ‘And how do you think I’m gonna feel if…if you don’t come back, knowing that I could’ve done something to help, huh?’
‘I will come back, baby.’ Jared replied, dodging the question.
Jensen rolled his eyes, clearly seeing Jared’s evasion for what it was, before he huffed, ‘You had better or I’ll kick your ass.’
Jared smiled and moved closer to his mate so that they were facing each other on the bed, ‘Wouldn’t want that now.’ He leaned in and gave Jensen a tender kiss, tracing the boy’s lips before sliding his tongue between them. Immediately, Jensen’s arms wrapped around Jared’s neck and pulled him forward until their chests were flush together.
After several long tender kisses, Jared pulled away and nuzzled at Jensen’s cheek. He pushed the boy down onto his back and stretched out over him. Jensen looked up at him, his eyes shining with such love and devotion that it took Jared’s breath away. He decided right then, that, if this was the last time he got to have Jensen, he would make this a night his mate would never forget.
Chapter 35: Chapter Thirty-Five.
At sunrise, Jared took Chris, Chad, Aldis and two other wolves with him into the centre of Welling’s territory. They could hear the sounds of battle far away as they crept closer to the Pack Alpha’s home; Jared had been there before with his father, back in the days when his dad had thought peace with the other Alpha was still an option.
They hid behind a cluster of trees a couple of yards from the house and Jared mimed, silently, for his companions to take out Welling’s guards – he was going after the Alpha. Chris shook his head, vehemently, but Jared pushed the boy hard enough to make it an order – GO! Grudgingly, the small band of wolves shifted and raced towards the guards; Jared was sure that ensuing snarls and growls would alert the Alpha to their presence.
His suspicions were proven right when Welling walked out the front door, a walkie-talkie in his hand that he was clearly using to command his troops from the safety of his house – the coward. The man’s eyes came to rest on Jared and he smiled a cruel, dark smile, ‘Jared? So you’re dad decided to send the runt of the litter to fight me, how…odd.’ He shrugged, ‘Maybe he just doesn’t if you die as long as he gets my territory.’
‘Shut the hell up Welling; you know nothing about my father or any of my family,’ he snarled.
Welling held his hands up in mock surrender, ‘Only calling it how I see it and what I see is a frightened little boy out to prove that he’s as good as he pretends to be. Newsflash, kid, you’re not.’
‘Say that again when my teeth are buried in your neck.’ Jared growled and shifted into his wolf form before running at the Alpha and hitting him hard in the side. He felt several of the man’s ribs crack at the contact before he bound away, giving himself room for another attack.
The Alpha howled in pain and shifted, leaving a large black wolf in his place. Its dark eyes followed Jared’s every move, assessing him, looking for any weaknesses. Welling made the next move, rushing at Jared and aiming a head butt at his gut but Jared was too fast and side-stepped the attack. Instead, he grabbed the Alpha by the shoulders and threw him to the ground before following the man down, snapping his jaws threateningly.
They wrestled on the forest floor for a long time; Jared getting in a few hits, Welling landing some of his own but, finally, Jared had the older Alpha pinned to the floor. Just as he was about to sink his teeth into Welling’s neck and force a surrender, a cry echoed through the air and Jared drew back in fear - that was Megan and she sounded hurt.
The distraction was enough for Welling to flip them over so that Jared was the one on his back, Welling’s sharp teeth inches from his neck. He couldn’t push the older wolf off him from that position and he closed his eyes as Welling made to bite down.
A low growl had Jared’s eyes snapping open again, just in time to see a white wolf barrel into Welling’s side. It knocked the Alpha off Jared and gave him time to get back up. Jared didn’t recognise the wolf but he knew that he owed that person his life and, when this was over, he was definitely buying them a drink.
To Jared’s horror, he watched Welling land a solid kick to the white wolf’s chest which sent it flying through the air into a tree. The wolf didn’t get up again and Welling stalked over to the still body, clearly intending to finish the wolf off.
And Jared wasn’t about to let that happen.
It was clear to him now that the older Alpha was never going to submit to the Padalecki Pack even though his own Pack was easily outnumbered; Jared had no doubt that his Pack was taking down the last of Welling’s resistance right then. Jared, silently, crept up behind Welling where the wolf was crouching over the white wolf; Jared heard him make a short huffing noise – the fucking bastard was laughing.
Jared moved, faster than lightning, and wrapped his jaws around Welling’s neck, jerking the Alpha’s head to the side; Welling’s neck snapped and the wolf dropped heavily to the ground - dead weight.
Jared dragged Welling off the white wolf and licked at the deep scratch on the wolf’s chest. The wolf turned dazed eyes on Jared, dazed green eyes and, just like that, Jared knew. He shifted back, instantly, patting down the wolf’s body, ‘Jensen, baby? What…what are you doing here?’
The wolf whined and turned his head away. ‘Okay, okay, it’s alright. I need you to concentrate for me, Jen. I need you to picture what you look like as a human, focus on what it feels like to be human, can you do that, baby?’ The wolf nodded jerkily, closing its eyes. A moment later, the white wolf was gone and Jensen was lying beneath him.
‘Bet…bet you’re glad I turned up now, right?’ Jensen croaked out, smiling weakly.
‘What were you thinking, Jensen?’ Jared demanded angrily, his worry making his tone harsh. Jensen flinched, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, baby but…but you got hurt. What if he’d killed you, huh? What would I have done?’
‘I could ask you the same thing Jared!’ Jensen yelled back, wincing at the pain in his chest. Jared watched the fight drain out of the boy before Jensen whispered, ‘You’re my mate too; I couldn’t let you come out here without me.’
Jared leaned down and rested his forehead against Jensen’s, ‘You frustrate the hell out of me sometimes but, God, I love you.’ He brushed his lips against Jensen’s. ‘I can’t believe you shifted before your first full moon; I’ve never known that to happen before.’
Jensen shifted underneath him, ‘I just…I saw him about to kill you and something just snapped and, before I knew what was happening, I was on all fours and charging him. I didn’t even realise I’d shifted until I growled,’ he chuckled, ‘I think it scared me more than the Alpha.’
‘Yeah, well, you getting thrown against that tree scared me.’ Jared huffed, ‘Let’s make a deal; you don’t nearly die again for, oh, let’s say the rest of our lives and I’ll be happy, okay?’
Jensen laughed and allowed Jared to help him to his feet, ‘Deal.’
Jared led Jensen over to where his father and brother were standing; they looked a little the worse for wear but otherwise okay. He swallowed, anxiously, before voicing the question he didn’t really want to ask, ‘Dad, I heard…I heard Meg, is she…’ he couldn’t finish the sentence, terrified of what the answer might be.
Jared’s father reached out and pulled him into a tight hug, ‘She’s fine, Jay.’ Jared relaxed in his father’s arms, thank God.
‘How bad is it, dad?’ Jared asked, pulling away and moving back to stand next to Jensen; he’d need his mate when he heard this.
‘We found Sandy; she’s dead.’ Jared didn’t know what to feel about that; the girl had purposely hurt Jensen but Jared had known her his whole life, they’d been good friends once, so he just nodded. ‘It wasn’t us; looks like the Wellings don’t take kindly to betrayal either.’ His father’s expression darkened further, ‘We lost twelve wolves today but they won’t be forgotten; they gave their lives for this Pack – they’re heroes.’ Jared’s chest twinged painfully, thinking of those wolves and their families. ‘I’ve offered the wolves from Richard’s Pack amnesty but I doubt that any of them will take it; I’ve made it clear that if they don’t accept it, then, they won’t be allowed within one hundred miles of our territory. It should be over now, Jay.’
Jared was glad that after all these years of hostility, it was finally at an end. He just wished that peace hadn’t cost them so much.
Chapter 36: Chapter Thirty-Six.
As they walked back towards Jared’s house, Jensen leaning slightly against Jared’s solid body for support, Jensen caught sight of something. As they got closer, he saw that it was his dad, sitting on the front door step. ‘Dad?’ Then Jensen saw the bag in his dad’s hand and the taxi waiting in the driveway and, suddenly, he understood – his dad was leaving.
His father obviously saw the spark of comprehension in Jensen’s eyes and he stepped forward, ‘So I guess this is goodbye, Jensen.’ His dad smiled at him, the expression holding more warmth than Jensen had seen from the man in years. His smile faded quickly though as he stared at Jensen, ‘I know this won’t mean much now but I’m sorry, Jen. I never meant for things to go the way they did; I never meant to treat you like that.’ He paused, laying a gentle hand on Jensen’s shoulder, ‘I never stopped loving you even if I couldn’t show you; I’m so sorry.’ He looked at Jensen then, tears in his dark eyes, ‘It wasn’t your fault, Jensen, none of it.’
Jensen bit his lip, feeling a weight he didn’t even realise was there lift from his shoulders at his father’s words. ‘I…It’s okay, dad.’ It wasn’t; they both knew it but there was nothing else that Jensen could say really.
His dad pulled his into a hug; the move was so reminiscent of before that Jensen felt tears pool in his eyes, ‘This is it, huh kid? We’re not gonna see each other again, are we?’ Jensen shook his head, unable to speak through the torrent of emotions storming through him. This really was goodbye; as much as Jensen understood his father’s reasons for drowning his sorrows, he couldn’t forgive the man for what he’d done. They’d never get passed it; it was better to say goodbye now than risk hurting each other more with feelings of resentment and blame that would never truly go away. ‘Um, could I, maybe, give you a call sometime to see how you’re doing?’
Jensen pulled back, a weak smile on his face, knowing that it would never happen, ‘Yeah, I’d like that.’
‘Good.’ The man ruffled Jensen’s hair, ‘Take care of yourself, kid, you’re gonna do great.’
With that, his father turned away and Jensen never saw the man again.
Once his father’s taxi had drifted off into the distance, Jensen felt Jared wrap his arms around his waist and pull him back against his chest. Jensen was crying, he knew it and for once he wasn’t ashamed.
‘You okay, baby?’
Jensen smiled at Jared over his shoulder, ‘Yeah, I’m good.’ And surprisingly he was; he might not know what the future had in store for him but he did know that, as long as he had Jared, it was going to be one hell of a ride.
THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE FOR READING!! XX