Jensen didn’t understand what was happing at first. Someone tripped, and Jared had pushed him, and then there was gunfire and screaming, security grabbing at him, and even though it was probably only a matter of seconds, to Jensen, it was like he was standing still, viewing things in snapshots, in slow motion.
Jared fell to the ground, and Jensen followed after him, dropping to his knees and cradling Jared’s face in his hands. He couldn’t tell if Jared was seriously hurt or not, and before he could look, hands were grabbing him, pulling him to his feet.
“Jensen!” Ty screamed at him. That was odd, Ty never called him by his first name in public. Ty grabbed him by the bicep and shook him while pulling him toward a waiting Town Car, “Jensen!” And just like that, reality snapped back into place, and Jensen stopped, or at least tried to; Ty had an iron grip on him.
“No! Ty, stop! We need to wait for Jared!”
“We can’t. He’s being taken care of, and I’ll get you to him as soon as I can.” He pushed Jensen into the car, barley getting the door closed before the driver took off.
Jensen grabbed at his seat belt on autopilot, buckling it into place. As he did, he realized that his suit coat was wet, and when he looked at his hands he realized they were covered in a fine spray of blood. He knew the answer before he even opened his mouth to ask the question, and never in his life had he wanted so badly to be wrong.
“Where’s Jared, Ty?” he asked in a voice that sounded foreign to his ears.
“No. No, no, no, no, no.”
“Stop the car! Turn around! I need to be with him!”
But of course the driver just kept going, following protocol.
“Ty!” Jensen said desperately.
“I don’t know how he is. I just know that he was hit…” he paused, holding up a finger, as his cell phone rang. “Olssen…The Prince is secure…where?...No, keep it locked down…Okay, we’ll head there now.”
“Jared was shot in the abdomen at least once. He’s on his way to the hospital now.” Ty then directed the driver to head there instead of the Palace.
“Is he…is he?”
“He’s alive, but he’s unconscious.”
“Okay. Okay, that’s good.” Jensen took a few deep breaths that didn’t really help before turning again to Ty. “Who did this?”
“I’m not positive, but it looks like it was Cole Padalecki.”
Things at the hospital were tense, and as much as Jensen fought to see Jared, he’d been rushed to surgery and that was impossible. Jensen’s parents arrived, and his mother convinced him to let a doctor check him over while she arranged for a change of clothes for him.
Jensen was fine, physically at least, and the Royals were escorted to a private waiting room where Jensen sat on a couch next to his mother and let her pull him into her arms like she hadn’t done in years.
Ty joined them after a while.
“How did this happen, Olssen?” The King demanded.
“I don’t know yet, sir, but believe me, I’m going to find out.”
“Was anyone else injured?” the Queen asked.
“Oh my…I didn’t even think of that,” Jensen said looking stricken.
“One of the Guard was hit in the thigh. He’s in surgery now, but he’ll be fine. A little girl’s arm was broken in the chaos. A few scrapes and bruises, but nothing else serious. The park has been cleared and the forensics unit is there now.”
“Was it Cole?” Jensen asked.
The Queen sucked in a sharp breath, “Jared’s brother did this?”
“I want his whole family rounded up. Is there a chance for more attacks?”
“His family is being rounded up as we speak, but at this point it looks like he acted alone.”
“Where is he?” Jensen said as he shook off his mother’s arm and stood up.
Jensen sank back onto the couch. He was relieved, but also a little disappointed. He would have liked to kill the fucker himself.
Jensen didn’t know how long it had been since they’d been taken to the waiting room. It seemed like days, and it felt like an eternity when a doctor finally came in to speak with them.
Jensen’s stomach turned at the amount of blood covering his scrubs, and his mother’s face went pale.
The doctor grimaced as he looked down at himself, “I apologize for my appearance, but I wanted to speak to you as soon as possible.”
“Don’t worry about it,” the King said. “Please just tell us that Jared is going to be okay.”
“Mr. Ackles’ injuries were extensive. He was struck in the abdomen twice. One of the bullets was through and through, and even though it passed very closely to his spine, it didn’t do any irreparable damage, though we did have to remove his spleen. The other one struck him lower, and more in the center of his abdomen. We were able to remove it, but it caused quite a lot of damage. It lacerated his liver, and it’s my belief that he must have been struck while he was falling, because of the downward trajectory.” The doctor paused, looking uncomfortable.
“What is it?” Jensen whispered.
“The damage…we did what we could, but as I said, it was extensive. There’s a very strong possibility that Mr. Ackles will no longer be able to bear children.”
Jensen dismissed that, “I don’t care about that. How is he?”
“Critical but stable. When he fell he hit his head and sustained a fairly severe concussion on top of his other injuries. We’re going to be keeping him in a medically induced coma to allow his body to heal.”
“But he’s going to be okay, right?”
“Your Highness, there’s no way to know for sure, I’m sorry. The next twenty-four hours are critical. If he makes it through them, and he has no complications from the surgery, and no additional brain swelling, his chances will improve dramatically.”
“I want to see him.”
“He’s still in recovery, but as soon as we move him to a private room you’ll be allowed to visit. It shouldn’t be more than a couple of hours.”
Jensen didn’t know how to feel. He was elated that Jared had made it as far as he had, but he was terrified that he wouldn’t make it through the next day. He turned to his mother, who held him tightly as he sobbed.
Ty and the King left after another hour. There were things to attend to, and a statement needed to be made to the press. Not long after that a nurse came to tell Jensen that Jared had been moved, and that he could see him. She smiled apologetically at the Queen as she told her that only one person would be allowed in the room with Jared at a time.
Palace guards were all over the hospital, but Jensen paid them no mind, too intent on finally getting to see his husband.
The nurse paused outside of Jared’s room, “Prince, before you go in…”
“Yes?” Jensen asked impatiently.
“There are machines, tubes and wires. Your husband doesn’t look good, and it can be overwhelming. Please just try to remember that everything is there for a reason.”
Jensen gave her a strained smile. He didn’t care what Jared looked like. He just wanted to see him, to hold his hand and know for himself that he was alive.
The nurse backed away, and Jensen slowly opened the door and stepped inside. His breath caught in his throat, and he absently realized that the nurse had been right to warn him. Jared looked small and frail in the bed, swamped with wires, with machines all around the head of the bed, beeping and humming.
“Oh my God, oh my God, baby, I’m so sorry,” Jensen choked out as he crossed to the bed and gently took the hand free of an IV in his own. Jared’s hand was only slightly warm, and he was completely unresponsive. His chest rose and fell, but that was only because of the ventilator that was breathing for him. Jensen had never felt so scared and helpless in all of his life.
He glanced around the room and spotted a plastic chair, only letting go of Jared’s hand long enough to pull it up next to the bed. “I’m not going to leave you. I’m going to stay right here, right next to you until you wake up and I can take you home.” The only reply was the sound of the monitors, and Jensen let his tears run unchecked down his face.
Chrissy had been back from accounting for about thirty minutes when she started to hear sirens in the distance. It wasn’t long before the PA system emitted the three beeps that meant a security announcement was about to be made.
“Attention. Due to a security breach at Hanover Park, this building is on lock down. Please shelter in place.”
Chrissy didn’t even think about the fact that she’d be disturbing Cole. They’d had enough safety drills for her to know that sheltering in place mean she was to go into Cole’s office and lock the door behind her. But even if she had stopped to think that she’d be interrupting him, she needn’t have worried; Cole’s office was empty.
She stood frozen for a few seconds, surprised by his absence. The beeping of the PA system and the repetition of the announcement, and she pulled the door back open, expecting to see Cole on the other side of it, but there was no one there. She closed and locked it and crossed to look out the tall windows.
Emergency vehicles were parked haphazardly at the end of the block, close to the entrance of the park, and people were running down the sidewalks in the opposite direction. She’d never seen anything like it.
The phone on Cole’s desk rang, and she hurried to answer, almost dropping the receiver in her haste to get to it.
“No.” A pause, and then, “Chrissy?”
“Y-yes, yes, this is Chrissy. Sorry Mrs. Padalecki. Things are kind of crazy here.”
“Cole’s not in his office?” Kristen asked.
“No. Do you know what’s going on?”
“There’s been a shooting at the ORA rally at the park. I was just calling to see if Cole was okay. Where is he?”
“I don’t know. He was here. He told me not to disturb him, but we were told to shelter in place, and when I came in here, the office was empty. Do you know who was shot?”
There was another pause. “The news is reporting that it was Cole’s brother, but that hasn’t been confirmed.”
Chrissy felt a sense of dread. She knew how much Cole despised his brother – he talked about it often enough. And for the first time, while talking to her lover’s wife on the phone, she realized that maybe she’d made a mistake in getting involved with Cole. She’d just been looking to have a little fun, maybe advance her career a bit, and while Cole was kind of an ass, he was hot and good in bed. She didn’t get much further with that train of thought before the door crashed opened and she was ordered to get on her knees by police officers with their guns drawn. She heard Kristin yelling her name as she dropped the phone on the floor.
Almost exactly two days after being shot, Jared started to wake up. He’d been taken off the ventilator, and the last dose of sedative had been given the night before. Jensen had questioned the doctor relentlessly, wondering if it was too soon to let Jared wake up. Wouldn’t more time asleep help him to heal better? The doctor assured him it was in Jared’s best interest to wake up. He’d made it through the critical twenty-four hour period with no additional brain swelling or complications.
It wasn’t that Jensen didn’t want his husband awake, far from it. He was just afraid of how this was all going to affect Jared. Jared was strong, the strongest person Jensen had ever known, but he’d already been through so much, and he’d made so much progress since they’d married, and Jensen didn’t want to see that broken, haunted look in his eyes from when they’d first met.
It took a long time for Jared to actually wake enough to hold a conversation. He opened his eyes and drifted off over and over before consciousness actually caught up with him.
“J’sen?” he slurred, blinking rapidly and and looking around the room in confusion.
“I’m right here, baby,” Jensen said.
“Thirsty,” Jared said, and Jensen carefully placed an ice chip between his lips.
Before they got any further the doctor and a couple of nurses came in, gently pushing Jensen out of the way as they examined Jared.
“What,” Jared had to pause to cough and clear his throat, “what’s going on?”
“Let us just make sure everything is as it should be, Mr. Ackles, and we’ll answer all of your questions,” the doctor replied.
“Jensen?” Jared asked, his voice meek and afraid, weak from lack of use.
It was all Jensen could do not to push the medical team out of the way so that he could get to Jared to reassure him. Instead he stepped as close to the end of the bed as he could, “I’m right here. Not going anywhere.”
Vitals checked, blood drawn, and a short neurological check later and the nurses left the room, and Jensen quickly moved to Jared’s side, taking his hand in his and placing a kiss on his forehead.
Jared tried to move, and gasped in pain. The doctor injected some pain medication into Jared’s IV. “That should help with the pain. We’re going to get you set up with a morphine drip that you can control yourself.”
“I’m going to give you two a moment alone, and then I’ll be back in to answer any questions you have. I’m also going to arrange for you to be transferred out of the ICU and into a private suite.”
The door had hardly closed behind the doctor before Jensen dropped into the chair, trying and failing to stop the tears of relief from falling.
Jared’s eyes widened and he squeezed Jensen’s hand, “Wh-what’s wrong?”
Jensen gave him a tremulous smile, “I’m just so happy that you’re okay. I’ve been sitting here for two days, scared out of my mind that you wouldn’t wake up. I love you so much, Jared, and the thought…”
“Hey, hey, I’m okay,” Jared said. “I mean, I am okay, right? I still don’t know what happened.”
“Yes, yes you’re going to be fine. What do you remember?”
Jared tried to think back, but the Morphine was kicking in, and things were getting fuzzy. He felt Jensen’s lips against his, and heard him whisper for Jared to get some sleep.
It wasn’t long after when an orderly and a nurse came in to transfer Jared to another room, and Jensen excused himself to call his mother. Jared was still asleep when Jensen joined him in his new room. There was a bed made out for Jensen and he eyed it longingly for a moment before he decided a shower first was a good idea. After a shower and a protein bar, Jensen slipped into bed and was sound asleep in an instant.
He woke up to early morning sun peeking through the window, and it took him a moment to realize where he was, and then he sat up so fast he almost fell off the bed.
Jared laughed, and then groaned, “Don’t make me laugh,” he rasped out, hand going to his side.
“Sorry, sorry,” Jensen said as he crossed the room. “How are you?”
Jensen laughed. “Has the doctor been in to speak with you?”
“No, but there was a nurse in here. She said she’d be back with breakfast and the doctor soon. But, will you tell me what happened?”
Jensen pulled up a chair as he asked what Jared remembered.
“I’ve been trying to remember…we were at the rally. Getting ready to leave maybe? I don’t know. It’s just a blank after that.”
Jensen ran a hand down his face as he took a deep breath, “We were at the rally. It went really well, and we were going to go thank the omega students. Honestly, the sequence of events are kind of hazy for me as well-“
“Are you hurt?!” Jared asked, trying to sit forward as if to check Jensen for injuries, but stopped by a wave of hot pain at the movement.
Jensen jumped back to his feet, gently helping Jared back against the pillows, “I’m fine, I promise. Not even a scratch.”
Jared breathed out a sigh of relief and Jensen once again took his seat.
“We were crossing the park, and suddenly someone was rushing toward us. One of the agents tripped over a kid, and then you pushed me out of the way. I watched,” Jensen paused to clear his throat, “I watched you fall, and I was confused, and then Ty was practically dragging me to a Town Car.
“I tried to get him to take me back to you…Anyway, you took two bullets for me.”
Jared looked shocked for just a second, “Guess that’s why it hurts so much.”
They were quiet for a few minutes before Jared very quietly asked if it had been Cole.
“Jensen, I’m so sorry-“
“No! You do not apologize for him. You don’t apologize for anything. You’re so brave Jared, so brave, and none of this is your fault.”
“Cole, is he…is he dead?”
“Yes, he was killed on site by the Guard.”
“The investigation isn’t complete, but it looks as though Cole acted alone.”
“Was anyone else hurt?”
“One of the Guard was shot in the leg, and a little girl broke her arm, but they’ll both be fine.”
“Okay. Okay,” Jared said to himself as his eyes drifted to the ceiling and he tried to process all that he’d learned.
It wasn’t long before the doctor was coming through the door, a nurse behind him with a plate of scrambled eggs on a tray.
“How are you feeling, Mr. Ackles?”
“Has the Prince filled you in on what happened?” At Jared’s nod the doctor continued, “Would you like me to fill you in on the medical aspects?” Again Jared nodded, and reached for Jensen’s hand.
“You were struck twice with small caliber bullets. One passed through your upper abdomen and exited out your back, just missing your spinal cord. The other caught you as you fell. That one we had to remove, and it caused more extensive damage. We removed your spleen and part of your liver.” The doctor paused and met Jensen’s eyes. At his small nod, the doctor continued, “There was also some damage to your reproductive system.”
“At this point it seems unlikely that you’ll be able to have children. I’m sorry Mr. Ackles. We’ve done the best we can, and when you’ve healed more we’ll be bringing in a team of specialist.”
“You sustained a minor concussion, as well as some scrapes and contusions from your fall. You have two incisions in your abdomen, and one on your back. It’s going to be awhile before you’re able to get up and around, and when you are you’ll need some physical therapy to get back on your feet. I expect that you’ll make a full recovery.”
Jared gave him a strained smile, and Jensen shook his hand, once again thanking him for taking such good care of Jared.
Once they were alone again, Jensen asked how he was.
“I don’t know how to answer that.”
“It’s a lot to take in, but the important thing is that you’re going to be okay. I’m going to be with you every step of the way and we’re going to get through this.”
Tears started to run down Jared’s cheeks, but he didn’t seem to notice. He dropped his eyes, and Jensen had to lean forward to hear him. “Even though I ca-can’t…”
“Jared,” Jensen said, “look at me, please.”
Jared kept his eyes down, and Jensen gently took his chin in his hand, forcing Jared to look at him. “I don’t care. I don’t care if you can get pregnant or if you can’t. It’s YOU I want, and you’re going to be fine. That’s all I want.”
Jared nodded, but Jensen couldn’t tell if he actually believed him.