Jensen is exclusive. He works when he wants. Says no more often than he says yes. And never fails to satisfy. His clients like his dedication, coolness and most definitely his style. Some even say he’s not hard on the eyes. But it’s not about that.
It’s about taking care of the problem clean and swift and leaving before anyone can barely blink.
This job is beyond easy. It was almost too simple and Jensen just about turned it down. But then again, half a mil is a decent amount of temptation. He’s already got half. The rest upon confirmation. Standard procedure.
The mark is a professional in many ways like himself. That gave him pause. But not enough to say no. Jensen’s posing as a client, which is its own kind of funny. He decided on shy businessman who has to pay for it because he’s too dorky to get any otherwise. Maybe he’ll be closeted. The pro will probably like that. Surely he’s used to it.
Jensen has no intention of fucking this dude. He never mixes business and pleasure. It’s too skivvy even for him. But the guy will come meet him in this room. They’ll talk a minute and then he’ll pay him. The pro will discreetly put the cash away, they always do, always turn their backs like they’re protecting the john’s sensibilities or something.
That’s when the fiber cord will come out. Asphyxiation is quiet when done right. Not too messy. Well except for the bodily fluids that always leak out. But then again, that happens in all manners of death. A person always shits themselves. One of those facts of life nobody teaches you in advance. On the job experience.
No matter because he’s prepared. The room will be spotless as will the mark. Except for the ring around his neck and the little calling card Jensen’s preparing to leave on his client’s behalf. A little gift from the Ramon brothers that even if you see something accidently you are toast.
A quick glance at his watch tells Jensen that there will be a knock on the door any moment. He didn’t arrange the hookup himself. His clients said they’d take care of it. They said they wanted to ensure that the right man got killed and preferred to set it up themselves. Jensen thought they just enjoyed having the hands-on involvement. Whatever. All he knew is that whomever walked in that door. Was dead.
Exactly at eight the quick rap sounds.
Jensen counts to ten before opening it. He’s supposed to be a nervous john. No need to seem too eager. He swings the door open with his head lowered, hands playing self-consciously with the back of his hair. It’s oddly familiar these mannerisms even though it’s been years since he’s used them. But at one time …
“Hi there,” a very chirpy voice says. “I’m Jay. You must be … Jensen? Jensen Ackles?”
Flabbergasted might be too mild for Jensen’s expression. Because he sure as hell didn’t tell his real name to his client. Hell, he hasn’t heard that name in years. It takes the slam of the door closing to bring Jensen to the realization that he’s gaping. Full-out, mouth open, tongue vibrating, saliva forming, just about to hyperventilate hysteria. Because standing before him, taller than he last remembered but still as mouth wateringly gorgeous is Jared Padalecki.
The words leaving his mouth are those of a sixteen-year-old. “You know me? I mean … in school … you … I … you know my name?
Jared smiles huge. His teeth are so white that Jensen feels like they radiate. “Of course I remember you. English class, always sat in the back.” He licks his lips and his face colors slightly. “So smart.”
“I … I don’t.”
He’s met with a small frown. “You don’t remember me? Jared Padalecki. We had study hall together and English and Math one semester as well. But then you started taking all honors classes and I … well, I never was that smart.”
Jared looks Jensen over slowly. Jensen dressed the part in a nice suit, expensive but not overly so. It sits a little big on him, giving Jensen a slightly fragile appearance. All part of the game. Except now he feels like a kid playing dress up and the term FUBAR isn’t coming close to describing this.
“I remember you,” he blurts out without knowing why. The sad look vanishes and Jared’s smile returns. Jensen’s heart picks up again at that.
Jared runs his hands through his too-long hair. Jared always did have gorgeous hair. Shifting his weight from foot to foot Jared’s face scrunches into something looking uncomfortable. “Guess it’s clear which of us made something of his life.”
Jensen’s face turns red. He remembers Jared as a jock. Basketball mostly but he excelled at most sports. He recalled something about a scholarship. “How--?” he asks brazenly. Because it doesn’t seem possible that happy-go-lucky, popular, wonderful Jared could have ended up …
“You don’t want to hear that. Not what you paid for, man.”
The mention of money shocks reality back in Jensen’s face. The biggest whore in this room is him. And suddenly he doesn’t feel good enough to breathe the same air as Jared. There’s something about those hazel eyes staring at him from his past. From a time when his entire world revolved around a dimpled smile and a glimpse of toned arms in a locker room.
The decision is swift and holds no mercy.
He points the 9mm at Jared before the other man can take his next breath.
“Oh god,” Jared utters. “What—?”
“I didn’t talk to anyone. Was afraid of my own shadow. But you … you gave me an apple.”
Jensen can see Jared is spooked, he’s looking at him with wide, moist eyes. “It’s okay … I … Jensen, please … “
“Shut up. Shut up and maybe … “
“You don’t have to hurt me. I … I’ll do what you want … please … “
“Jared you have to listen to me. I have to shoot you.”
The whimper from across the room is followed by a quick step backward.
“No. You won’t make it. I guarantee it.”
Now that the course is clear Jensen’s voice is back to its cool self. The absoluteness is heard because Jared stops. His eyes are wet now and for a split second Jensen feels something. But he tables it. There’s no time.
“You witnessed something a week ago. A transaction.”
“I won’t tell anyone. I haven’t … I swear!”
“I know. But that doesn’t matter. The Ramon brothers can’t leave loose ends. I’ve been hired to eliminate you.”
Jared is crying. Slow tears tracking down his high cheeks. They are sharper now. All baby softness is gone. The thought of that special boy fucking men for money is filling Jensen’s gut with bile. But he pushes it down. Later. They can figure it all out later.
“I liked you,” Jared says between soft hiccups. “Really liked you. Tried to talk to you but you were too smart for me. I was just a dumb jock.”
Jensen takes a step closer but his gun hand is rock steady. “It’ll be a graze. It’ll hurt like hell but you’ll be fine. There has to be blood though. It’s the only way.”
Jared’s eyes stare blankly. It’s like he’s seeing only inward. “You liked licorice so I’d leave a strip on your desk. I don’t know if you even knew it came from me.”
“I knew. Was too scared to say thank you.”
That makes Jared look up, a settled look flattens his features. He spreads his arms out. “What the fuck. Who’s gonna miss one dead whore anyway?”
Jensen ignores the sting in his eyes and shoots straight as he replies, “I would.”
It’s a soft puff through the silencer but Jared’s yell is loud and guttural. His hand comes up quickly to grasp his upper arm as his body spins from the impact and lands on the floor in a thud. Shocked eyes meet Jensen’s as they stare at his bloody fingers. “I’m not dead.”
“Jared, listen now. This part’s important. There’s a black SUV on level 1B of the garage under the hotel. Row A7. License ATERRAB. It’s open. Get in the back seat, duck down low and wait. I’ll take you somewhere to patch you up. If you run, if you go to the police, if you do anything but get in that SUV. They will kill you. Jared … are you listening to me?”
“Yes. And you’ll go into shock if you don’t listen to me. Now Jared. Go now.”
“Will you kill me?”
“No. I’m trying to keep you alive, you idiot. Now stop talking and go.”
Tear filled eyes stare into his. “It hurts.”
Against his better judgment Jensen puts his weapon down and approaches Jared, helping him to his feet. He touches the taller man’s cheeks. “I’m sorry. There had to be blood.”
Jared locks watery eyes with Jensen’s. He raises his good hand. “I’m a whore,” he says slowly as if somehow Jensen doesn’t understand that part.
He can see Jared sway and wants to really yell at him to get going. “You don’t know anything about me … a-about what I’ve … “
“You gave me an apple. My foster mom … she didn’t always feed me. An’ you gave me an apple.”
Jared laughs. Actually chuckles between pain-filled breaths. “You’re crazy.”
“Without a doubt. Get in the SUV.”
“Where will we … I mean … are you taking me to a hospital?”
Jared was adorable but not that bright. “Jared … do you want to live? Because if you do, then we have to go far away and stay there. I won’t make you stay with me. But I will take you away from here.”
A shaky hand reaches out as Jared takes yet another step closer. He’s staring at Jensen like he’s seeing a ghost. “Jensen Ackles – the shy, beautiful boy from English. This isn’t … people like me don’t get second chances with people like you.”
“Jared, you do realize what I do for a living, right?”
Lips are approaching his and Jensen is helpless to pull away. He’s tasting at the same time he’s hearing Jared’s words. “You save people too stupid to live?”
Jensen wants to deny this. Tell Jared he’s not stupid. He’s funny and sweet and is the only part of a childhood too fucked up for words that he ever even wants to remember. But Jared’s lips are on his, pressing softly and turning slightly until their mouths just. Fit. And then there’s nothing but decades of ice melting away beneath an onslaught of warm pants and quick kitten licks and deep, long probes.
He pulls back slowly, chasing the taste of tears and underlying sweetness, like candy, like rainbows. Like all things Jared. “Go. Black SUV, 1B, row A7.”
Jared doesn’t say another word. He palms his wound again although Jensen suspects it’s already started to clot and walks out the door.
Cleaning up any possible prints takes a few minutes. He leaves the bloodstains and the casing. He suspects the clients will think that things got messier than Jensen intended and that he had to leave quick with the body. He’ll know if they bought it if the money shows up in his account.
After a last glance around the room he walks out silently and heads for the stairs. He doesn’t know if Jared will be in the car or not. It’s 50/50 in his mind. If the brothers spot Jared among the living then Jensen can’t expect to be around long. He didn’t tell that to Jared. He needed to see for himself if the boy he remembered was really still in there.
It’s a long walk down to the basement level. And he’s thinking now Jared must have fled. After all, Jensen shot him. And Jared admitted himself that Jensen didn’t know him anymore. He wants Jared to be in the SUV, he acknowledges. Wants it with a ferocity that’s petrifying. He hasn’t needed anyone since the last foster home he lived in before turning eighteen and being freed from the system.
Needing a hazel-eyed near stranger makes no sense. The professional side of him is appalled.
Opening the garage door, Jensen blinks to accommodate his eyes to the brighter lighting. He sees his car in the space he left it, looking pristine and untouched. Jensen swallows hard. It hurts like someone popped a bullet into him. He’s hardly breathing as he takes the necessary steps forward.
It’s faint at first. A mere dot. But there, on the concrete floor, is a small brownish speck. The pro in him recognizes it instantly. It could be old or someone else’s.
But the boy he once was, shy, awkward, besotted by an overgrown friendly jock, comes to life as he follows those tiny spots into a long-lost world called hope.