Jared was nine years old when he realised he was special, that he had special abilities. Up until then he just thought he had werewolf intuitiveness. It had been the family joke, he had been the one who would be able to find lost keys, he was the one who would always get something before someone even asked for it or would blurt out the answer to questions that hadn’t been asked yet.
Once he knew what he was, psychic, he was surprised that none of his family had told him. He would have thought he would have found out about his gift from his family, not from learning about it in school, and not even actually learning about it; they had been learning about religion but from a student question somehow segued into how religion accepted these people.
He was sitting at the kitchen bench after school that afternoon when his older brother walked in. His brother was six years older than him and lived in a whole other world. He was an Alpha and at high school. He had friends, influential friends their dad called them; a girlfriend with good breeding, a Beta so acceptable, even though they were only fifteen and after school he would go to college and university and then join their father’s law firm when he got older.
“Hey Jeff guess what…I’m psychic.” He said with a smile. What he had not expected was Jeff’s reaction.
“What the fuck did you just say?” he growled as he spun to look at the brother he usually ignored.
Jared looked into his eyes and could see fear and hate shining through and instinctively back pedalled
“Kidding, I’m just kidding. One of the kids at school said I should say that and see what happens.” Jared said and faked a laugh
“That is not funny Jared, never say anything like that again, not even as a joke. If people hear you say that and don’t know you’re joking it could be the end for all of us do you understand? Do you hear what I’m saying? Whoever that kid is that told you to say that is no friend of yours and you should stay away from him. Never say that again.” Jeff said as he poked him hard in the chest before storming out of the room.
The next day Jared went to his teacher after class and asked about his brother’s reaction when he made a joke about being psychic. His teacher had sighed and looked a little sad as she pulled a book off a shelf behind her and handed it to him.
This was a mixed school, normal humans and were’s together; at these ages there was no difference in the teachings but all teachers had to be prepared for unexpected questions students sometimes felt they could ask them rather than being embarrassed in front of their families. Usually it was related to sex because they had seen their parents or older sibling, or divorce or explain what a sort of illness was. Ms Smith however, although human, had become fascinated with the intricacies of the werewolf family dynamic and the history of them and had researched further in her free time. She was usually who the other teachers turned to if asked a tricky question in relation to these creatures.
In her research she had come across this book, kind of a werewolf 101, it was a basic wrap up of the how’s and whys of their hierarchy; and kept a copy in her classroom just in case she ever stumbled across a family that were more traditionalists. She was happy that she had never had to give it out before, it meant that the packs were progressing with the rest of society.
She was now shocked that Jared had come at her with that question out of nowhere. She had met Jared’s parents at meetings and they had seemed the same as all other parents but there was obviously something latent for this reaction to a simple joke; well Ms Smith hoped it was just a joke because from the way his brother reacted she would fear for Jared’s wellbeing if it were the truth.
“Some people, people who used to follow the old, ancient traditions, believed that any extra abilities were a flaw, a weakness and something to be feared. If they discovered people with these flaws they would kill them, or in their words, cull them, to stop the imperfections travelling through the generations; In doing so they thought they were building a mentally and physically stronger population. If you’re interested you should read more about it” she nodded to the book, “It’s always good to read about the history of where you came from Jared.”
“Thank you.” He said with a smile and was flicking through the book as he started walking out of the classroom
“Was there any reason you said that to your brother Jared? Even as a joke?” she asked casually
“No ma’am; I had never heard the word before yesterday so I thought Jeff would be impressed that I learned a new word. I was just joking ma’am that’s all.” Jared replied just as casually, glad his teacher was human and couldn’t hear his heart pounding.
“Well I think you should read the book, might keep you out of trouble and me out of getting a visit from your father.”
“Yes ma’am” Jared said with a smile as he left the room.
When Jared walked into the house that afternoon he found his dad home from work already and sitting at the table with his brother and his mother
“Jared put your bag down and come in here please.” His father said and Jared felt a flash of fear in his stomach as he did what was requested.
It wasn’t that Jared’s dad was mean or abusive he just wasn’t there, as such, and when he was he was distant or pre-occupied. Their mother was a Beta from a proper family and was on a lot of boards of charity groups but still maintained the house and family, with the help of staff of course. She was the one who was here to ask how his day was, what he learned at school and she was the one who kept the bickering to a minimum at the dining table in the evenings between him and his brother and his little sister Megan who was only five. Their father was never at dinner with them.
Jared now walked in and sat down at the table across from his parents
“Jeff you can go now.” His father said
“Yes sir.” He got up and left the room and they sat silently for about half a minute
“Jeff!” His father yelled again and Jared heard a huff before his brother walked away from around the corner where he had been hiding, hoping to eavesdrop, as if their father couldn’t hear him or smell him.
“So son Jeff said that you joked about being psychic yesterday.” His dad said gravely
“He dobbed me in?” Jared complained
“It’s a serious thing Jared, you can’t go around saying things like that.”
“Dad it was a joke. I learned the word at school and thought it sounded cool, that’s all.”
“Jared you understand what I do for a living correct?”
“I’m nine dad I’m not a kid anymore.”
“Jared!” he snapped
“Yes sir I know what you do for a living.” Jared huffed
“And you know your mother is on a lot of charity boards and helps a lot of people who are not as lucky as us correct?”
“So it only takes you making that joke to one of your class mates and him going home to tell his parents for rumours to start.”
“Who else did you say it to?”
“No one sir.”
“I promise, no one.”
“Jeff said someone told you to say it, who was that child? I need to talk to his parents, they need to know their child is going around saying this, even if they are human they need to understand the consequences.”
“No one told me to say it dad. I learned the word yesterday when we were learning about religion. When I said it to Jeff I saw him freak out so I lied.”
“Jared.” His mother admonished
“I’m sorry mama but you know how Jeff gets. No one told me to say it. The teacher was talking about it, that’s all I promise.”
“Maybe we need to change schools. This school sounds a little too forward thinking to me, next thing you know they’ll be talking about Omega Rights.” His father murmured to his mother
“Let’s not be too hasty Gerald it’s just grade school.”
“Dad I promise, we were just talking about religion and then some girl asked about how the church and God treated people with special needs. That’s all it was dad, really, I just thought the word psychic sounded cool and said it to Jeff. Trust me I’ve learned my lesson.”
“People with what they liked to call abilities are taken very seriously in our society young man and it is no joking matter.”
“Yes sir, Ms Smith said the same thing to me today. She told me they were weak and no longer existed in the werewolf community, they were bred out.” Jared did not want to say the word cull.
“You talked to your teacher about this?” his father snapped
“Only because I wanted to know why Jeff got angry. She explained and gave me a book to read to make sure I didn’t make any more stupid jokes.”
“Do you have that book here?”
“Bring it to me.”
Jared went and got the book out of his bag before returning to the table where his mother and father were talking quietly. He handed the book to his father who quickly flicked through it before nodding his head.
“I have heard of this book; it is a good place to start with the understanding of our hierarchy. I agree with your teacher, I think you should read this but Jared if you have any more questions you come to your mother or me not a teacher, do you understand?”
“I’m going to go to the school tomorrow and talk to this teacher.”
“Dad.” Jared whined
“No I need to make sure she doesn’t talk about this to anyone else. We don’t need lies and rumours starting because you made a silly joke, do you understand Jared?”
“Yes sir, and I’m sorry sir. I’d never heard the word before and thought it sounded cool, that’s all.” Jared said as he started crying.
“I think he understands Gerald.” His mother said as she stood up and went around the table to Jared and patted his hair, “Jared why don’t you head upstairs and change out of your uniform and I’ll get Mary to make you a snack.”
“Yes mama.” He said quietly and slid out of his chair.
Jared got up to his room and really let the tears flow he had been trying to hold in downstairs although a few escaped. He was scared, really scared. He sat on his bed trying to figure out why God hated him so much that he gave him this ability that was a very bad thing and could have bad things happening to him or his family.
As he changed out of his uniform Jared decided then and there he was never going to use those abilities and was never going to talk about it or think about it again.
He knew things had calmed down after his father had gone to the school and spoke to his teacher who promised she had never mentioned it to anyone because kids were always making jokes over new words they heard. Jared had apologised to Ms Smith for his dad paying her a visit but she just smiled and asked if he got in too much trouble for saying it. He shook his head no and laughed it off but she saw the faint tinge of pink that flushed his cheeks and knew he had got a good rousing on for his joke.
“Jared if you ever need to talk or have questions you can always come to me. I know a lot about werewolf lore.”
“Thanks Ms Smith but dad says I have to talk to him or mum if I have any questions, you know, in case I say the wrong thing again. He’s an important lawyer and he doesn’t want rumours starting because of my stupid mouth.”
“What about if I promise it will be our little secret?”
“Thanks Ms Smith, I’ll think about it.” He said with a smile and headed out of the room
His teacher watched him walk from the room silently. She in no way condoned kids keeping secrets from their parents but she thought that there was a lot more to this story then Jared was letting on and after the conversation with Mr Padalecki this morning she just knew there was no way Jared was going to ask his father any questions if he was unsure about something. She knew the Padalecki patriarch was not abusive but he was stern and cold, just like the oldest boy Jeff who had emulated his father in every way when he had been in her class. Jared on the other hand was chatty and showed emotion and just blurted things out without thinking. She wanted him to know he had someone to talk to so he wouldn’t turn into a empty shell of himself, fearing the repercussions of speaking his mind.
From then on whenever Jared knew where something was or knew the answer to a question not asked he bit his tongue and kept his head down. For months after ‘the joke’ conversation his parents and Jeff watched him closely, waiting to see if it was more than just a joke but they finally relaxed when nothing out of the ordinary happened.
He could block it when he was awake and concentrating on other things like school and friends and homework but when he went to sleep and his unconscious took over he still had dreams of what would happen in the future. Most of it was not bad, just day to day stuff that would happen at home or school but every now and then he would see an accident or an emergency he could probably stop if he could say something but he knew never to breathe a word. His teacher watched as the Jared she knew slowly disappeared into a boy who was quiet with shadows under his eyes. After about six months of watching and biting her tongue she finally gave in and asked him to stay after class.
“Is everything alright Ms Smith?” he asked with a frown
“Yes of course Jared, I was just wondering how you went with that book I loaned you?”
“Oh no I’m so sorry I forgot to return it, I’ll bring it in tomorrow, promise.”
“That’s ok Jared I wasn’t asking you to return it I was just wondering if you learned anything?”
“Yeah I learned a lot.”
“And I can see why the werewolves consider themselves to be a master race, they really did kill anyone off who looked like they were a weak link. I’m pretty sure the only reason they let the Omegas live is because they could get pregnant whether they were boys or girls and so that meant more werewolves.”
“It’s not like that anymore though.”
“No I guess not.”
“Did you ask your parents about Omegas?”
“No ma’am, they stared at me for months after the psychic joke I’m not bringing up something else that could get me in trouble.” he said quickly
“You think mentioning Omegas could get you in trouble?” she asked casually
“I think I don’t want to find out.”
“And has the psychic thing come up again?”
“No ma’am.” Jared said but again he flushed
“Do you know what I do if I have questions or thoughts that I can’t say aloud or that keep me awake?”
“What’s that?” he asked quietly
“I write them down in a book, like a journal. Once it’s on paper I can forget about it. Sometimes I go back and look at things I wrote down months ago and laugh at how silly I was to worry about that but at least I wrote it down and got it out of my head.”
“What if someone found it? They would know all your secrets?” He asked as his eyes bugging out.
“I hide it, it’s my little secret, well yours now too.”
“I won’t tell anyone I promise Ms Smith.”
That afternoon Jared went to the store and bought a book he could write things in. When he got home he looked for a place to hide it but it was tricky because his brother could look under his mattress and the maid might find it in his closet or bedside drawer. In the end Jared decided to keep it on him at all times, in his school bag or his school locker. Maybe if he did write things down then they would leave his head and let him sleep.