The sun's warmth sizzled on the cold-to-touch skin open on Jared's shoulders, a sigh of pleasure coursing through his body. The blanket tightly wrapped around him wasn't enough to subdue the cold winter weather that was baring, but it didn't seem like Jared had much to rely on, other than the materials that people have thrown away. The winter seasons were always harsh, especially with no proper home and barely many supplies; cold and harsh like Jared's situation.
His skinny frame and tall height didn't play to his benefit in this—almost arctic-like—weather, not having enough meat on his bones due to starvation and the cruel world of growing up. His arms were coated with goosebumps as soon as a breeze went by. Shivering, he pulled the fabric tighter, trying to protect his slender body.
He gazed around at the area as the people passed, teeth jittering, eyes fixated on the passing bystanders. They all just stare at him, as if he is nothing but a mere rock against a hard place.
He didn't want to be stared at, didn't want to be treated as if he was a freak of nature. None of the people tried to comfort him, didn't try to help him, didn't try to at least talk to him—they all passed by.
Though he couldn't blame them, he just wished he had someone. At the age of 17, he was almost valid to get a proper paying job, though, by his attire he was convinced not a lot of people would take him in.
Determined to not live on the streets, though, Jared awaits the day he is legally old enough to get a job. Until then he is eating potentially poisonous berries and food thrown away from restaurants and homes.
Suddenly he felt a hard metal hit his head, a small sting appearing on his forehead due to the impact of the material, surprising him as well as stinging him.
"Ow!" He hissed, rubbing his forehead tenderly before looking down at his lap, where the object has landed. There lied a silver coin; a shilling. Gasping at the sight of the money, Jared's face broke out into a smile, happiness filling his eyes. He turned his head up, his eyes beaming towards the direction the coin was hurdled from, looking around for the source of the money.
There stood a woman, very petite, black hair, thin framed, who was smiling at him sweetly; she was beautiful. She gave him a shy wave, a blush appearing on her face when Jared (beamed) at her brightly, mouthing her a ‘thank you’ as he waved back at her. She kept the smile on her face, but turned her head to face the gravel street in front of her, her blue dress moving graciously as she walked down the road.
He watched the woman walk away, finally seeing her disappear out of Jared's eyesight before he looking back down at the coin. 12 pence. He could buy a loaf of bread, maybe a few pieces of nice fruit, or save it to buy a few pieces of sweet candy. He hadn't had caramel in a long time.
Looking past all the food, this coin was meant so much to Jared; food, a nice sleep, luck even. It was a gift.
The blanket still wrapped tightly around him, Jared forced himself up, slowly rising as his legs weren't used to movement this early in the morning. Turning towards the daily market street, he started to walk forward, slowly and carefully so the muscles in his legs would get used to it. His face beamed happiness, almost creating a child-like aura that emulated innocence and joy; he felt more than happy, relieved, relaxed, reassured. He knew something good was happening and he intended it to happen all the way.
Almost sprinting towards the local market, Jared did not stop to even accept the strange glances he was getting from men and woman passing by, they all looked at him as if he was crazy or a madman. It was probably caused by his attire, which was an oversized, beige, cotton sweater followed by slightly darker colored cotton pants which all tied up with a pair of worn-out sandals that were a size too small for his feet. No, it wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t as if Jared could afford new clothes. But now with his newfound money, he felt like he could. It didn’t really matter to him what glances he attracted to himself, his focus was being able to use what money he had gotten.
No one usually was this excited over 12 pence, but Jared was.
Speeding through people, Jared didn't take the time to notice who was in his way, thinking that bumping into anyone was much less important than being able to afford food. It wasn't that he was rude, more that he felt exhilarated. Which is exactly why he didn't see the sprinting man crash into him.
Surprised by the sudden force, Jared was pushed down as if he was a domino in a chain reaction; he was toppled down at ease, the pence in his hand flying out of his palm into a stone structure in the distance. The weight on him wasn't significant, just surprising.
"Hey! Watch where you are going!”
The voice was surely from the person above him, but Jared’s eyes were still closed due to the impact he had just received.
“Fuckin open your eyes!” The voice commanded, almost in a hiss. A bit startled by the situation, Jared reluctantly opened his eyes, staring up at the eyes that are bitterly glaring at him. It was a man. Not a burly, frightening one, more fit and intimidating. He looked quite young but still mature. His face structure a bit squared, while his jaw was sharply shaped. But, the only thing Jared could pay attention to was the man eyes: a bright, beautiful pair of kelly-green eyes, enough to make anyone mesmerized.
“I-I’m sorry!” Jared spurted, an embarrassed apology emerging from his current state.
Groaning, the man got up from him, the weight on his chest getting lighter as he got up. Jared still didn’t move, he just tilted his head up so he could watch the man’s actions, seeing him patting away the dirt that had fell on his shoulder, cursing under his breath. Suddenly he looked back down at Jared, scrunching his eyebrows at the frozen boy who still couldn’t decide how to react to the situation.
“You going to just sit there and act as if you didn’t just get in my way, or are you going to apologize?” He asked. Jared squinted his eyes, he already apologized, at least he thinks he did. Either way, the man was upset with him or Jared couldn’t find a way to get the man to forgive him.
“I’m sorry I didn’t see you, sir!” Jared exclaimed again before using the palms of his hands to stand himself up, which gave him an advantage in height against the man. The man was taken aback for a moment due to the discovery of the teen eyes, yet he composed himself rather quickly, putting on his intimidating persona once again.
“Maybe if you didn’t look over everyone as you walked, you would see where you’re going, you fucking Flagpole.” The man hissed, criticizing Jared’s height. Jared’s stature demolished at the rude comment, suddenly feeling self-conscious about his height.
“I am sorry, I cannot help my height…” Jared trailed off, his voice fragile and vulnerable.
“No, but you can help how damn clumsy you are.” The man retorted, scoffing before he walked past Jared’s sulking body, mumbling under his breath about how idiotic the boy was. Jared felt his own expression fall again, sighing softly under his breath when he felt the presence leave. Shit. He didn’t even know the man and he felt as if he had upset him.
No, that was a stupid question, he had upset him.
Letting out another breath, Jared looked down at his hand, only to freeze when he saw the pence missing. Recollecting his memory, Jared remembered the small medallion falling out of his hand as soon as the man bumped into him, the metal falling into a stone statue in front of him. Panicking, Jared looked around for the stone figure, spinning in circles, trying to find anything that may have caught the object in its fall. His eyes fell on what seemed as a well, containing drinking water. Moving his lanky legs, Jared ran to the well, gripping the edges of the molded on stone as he leaned over the opening. Although the water was only a small amount away from being crystal-clear, it took Jared a bit of time to find the pence in the water. Out the corner of his eye, a shiny reflection was present, the figure of the shape turned into ripples due to the water, yet Jared knew it was there.
Sighing, Jared stared down at the well, shaking his head in misery as he shut his eyes. The one time he had any money—the one time he had hope, it was thrown away from him as if it was a pointless rag doll that everyone loved to toy with.
Hell, that was Jared’s life. Weak and powerless like a ragdoll, thrown and torn as much as one pleases. Biting his bottom lip, Jared slowly opened his eyes, looking down at the clear liquid pooled together in a stone cylinder Jared took in a breath, closing his eyes once again. The voices around him fuzzing down to silence, he made a wish:
For once, make my life not one of misery.
Opening his eyes finally, Jared looked down at the pence one last time before pushing himself back away from the well. He let out the breath he was holding, drooping his head down to the ground before trotting away sadly, attempting to find the closest restaurant trash pile.
Watching the small loaf of burnt bread fall out of the window and into the cold snow, Jared instantly grabbed the object with his hands, bringing it to his mouth so he could bite into the bitter flesh. This was regular for him, hiding behind restaurant doors, hoping that they had made a mistake in their food, throwing away anything for Jared’s use. It was around midnight by the time Jared finished gathering leftovers he found in the trash, leaning his back on the restaurant walls as he munched on what morsels the restaurant could spare. He did not waste any time eating it, gobbling down the pieces of food others looked past; to others they were trash, to Jared it was his meal.
People were most likely asleep by then, finishing up their daily chores right before falling into a cozy mattress, wrapped around in a soft blanket. Jared clutched the torn material he had used to cover up his body, comparing it to the bedding he had seen in shops, which he could not afford.
Then, for a moment, his eyes fell on a humanoid shadow that appeared around the corner of the block, broad and tall—but yet not taller than Jared—running away from something. But what? Or more accurately, whom, as he saw 3 large, bulky figures chase after him, all much taller than the figure before, even Jared.
The figures moved quickly as Jared could tell, their shadows moving along the wall from one end to another before they were gone, seeming to be past the alleyway Jared stood in. Curious, Jared blinked his eyes, trying to regain his focus on the rest of the world. What was that? Who was that? The figures moved so fluidly that if Jared wasn’t looking at it the exact time he did, he would have missed it. This alone spiked Jared’s curiosity more; getting up from the floor, Jared gripped on tight to the blanket still around him, hissing a bit as the harsh snow penetrated Jared’s worn shoes and touched his flesh, the cold feeling pulling out the warmth in his body. Still, he ventured forward, slowly but quietly chasing down the direction he saw the shadows move in, out of the alleyway and into the empty streets of the town.
It started snowing again by the time Jared walked out of the alleyway, light and flaky, falling onto the already white-covered ground. Jared felt the small flakes land in his hair, spotting the light-brown strands with a pure white, along with his clothes and body. He felt a chill run through him, yes, but he was used to it by now, so it didn’t bother him, besides, filling his curiosity was deemed more important.
He slowly ran down the streets, passing the lamp stands that are placed almost as a differentiation for the buildings and streets. His head shifted from left to right simultaneously, his eyes trying to figure out where the figures went. They were swift as shadows so it didn’t surprise Jared when they moved swiftly and fast now too, they probably had ran way ahead of him by now, perusing whatever task they were accomplishing. But it seemed like the words left his mouth too soon as he heard a crash coming from in front of him, causing him to jump. Looking forward, he saw what looked to be a fenced area, surrounded by well-designed, black painted metal bars. He tipped his head to the side just a bit to see if anyone was there, honestly hoping to see someone or something to fill his wonders. There, he found 3 muscular men, all bald headed and buff, teeth grit and fists clenched; yet, what was in front of them was what surprised Jared.
Stood there was the same man Jared ran into in the morning, still the same except now his clothes were a bit soiled, soaked and ripped as if they were Jared’s old outfits. He was in front of the 3 burly men, but it seemed almost as if he was being cornered by him instead, looking particularly small—in stature at least—against the men. Still, he seemed to hold his stance, looking firm and confident against them. He seemed to be smirking, wiping his mouth with his sleeve before he continued to talk.
“Come on gentlemen, why don’t we all sit like civilized men and discuss this.” He said in a rather proper manner, his voice adult-like and mature, with the slightest hint of playfulness in it.
“Ha, gentlemen. You are the farthest from a proper man, Ackles. Pay up.” The middle man said, the biggest out of the burly three. His voice made him sound as if he was in the slightest amused, but Jared couldn’t tell from his standpoint.
“But we are far from the pay date.” The man—who Jared will call Ackles from now on—replied, his voice again playful and friendly, but Jared to tell he was stalling, or even better bargaining, for something.
“Far, yes. Far past the pay date. Pay. Up.” The main-man said, his voice harsh and demanding when he spoke the last two words, a result of his temper running out, as Jared could assume.
“Past, present, future, it’s still not the date.” Ackles sassed back, but he soon realized that was a mistake when the man angrily groaned at him through his teeth, causing the man’s face to fall in an instant. “Well, I mean, we can always bargain again…” the man trailed off his response, his voice becoming quiet soon, soft enough that Jared couldn’t hear him.
He leaned forward, trying to eagerly hear the conversation taking place; however, being as clumsy as he is, Jared’s height got the best of him, his body leaning forward enough for him to fall to the ground, face first. This action secreted a loud ‘thump’ noise, grabbing all the attention of the men in the fenced area, causing them to turn their heads towards Jared direction. Then and there they saw Jared’s lanky body lying flat on the floor, limbs out and face flat against the ground. Lifting his head, Jared looked at the 4 men, face red and a bit dusty from the ground, but he was too overtaken by fear to notice what was on his face. He knew he had screwed up, he was screwed from the first second he decided to follow the men. He wanted to blame his overrunning curiosity for where he was, but it was too late now, as he could nothing more in this situation.
Suddenly, Ackles ran towards Jared, grabbing him by the hem of his shirt, yanking him up. Jared hissed at the force, feeling his body being moved in an unpleasant way, standing up straight. Before he knew it, his legs bent in the slightest and a hand in his hair yanked him backward, right before a cold, sharp metal was met at his throat. It was a knife, a goddamn knife and Jared was held against his will by it. Gasping, Jared’s eyes went wide as he froze. What was he supposed to do? All he could do was stand still as his body was being held by Ackles will.
“Come near me and the boy will be killed!” Ackles warned, his teeth grit together as he pressed the knife a bit harder against Jared’s neck, hard enough to almost break the skin. Although it didn’t the slight pinch of pain was still there, making him whimper for a bit.
“We do not care for the boy! He means nothing!” The burly man laughed, smirking as Ackles’ face fell a bit, suddenly feeling unprepared.
“He may mean nothing, but once people find out that his death was on your hands, they will start to question your protection!” He exclaimed, pulling Jared closer to his body. Jared was pulled back a bit further, his lanky body leaning against the man’s built frame. He was still terrified, enough for him to stand still and comply with the man’s actions, what else could he do in the situation?
“’Who would believe we allowed such a thing to take place. Besides, he is just a homeless peasant, no one will care.” The man laughed; Ackles grit his teeth once more and at this point Jared felt the metal leave his neck, relief coursing through his body. In an instant, Ackles’ hand flung forward, the knife being thrown out of his hands towards the man in the middle. Everyone only had a second to be surprised before the knife penetrated the man’s eye, sticking into the white of it while blood dripped down from the wound.
At this the man screamed out in agony, causing his two Hench Men to move to his side, giving Ackles enough time to grab Jared and run down the street away from them. For a second Jared didn’t know what to do, not only was he used as a ransom but now the same man who threatened to kill him was yanking him along the snowy path, forcing him to come with him. Jared’s face was stunned, his eyes open in surprise, but Ackles’ face was focused on the street, his feet violently pattering against the pavement as they ran on. This was absolutely insane; in Jared’s mind, he should try to escape, yet he couldn’t bring himself to leave the grip of the man, too stunned by the circumstances.
“Come back here!” A voice echoed from behind them, but Ackles didn’t seem to care, he took the thought into consideration though, cursing under his breath. He turned his head behind them, still running, sighing slightly in annoyance and distress.
Before Jared could do anything, he felt his body being yanked to the left, sideways from his original movement. He was being yanked into an alley, dark and unclear, enough for no one to even bat an eye at them. Suddenly, he was being pushed against a wall, the weight keeping him there. He looked down a bit to see Ackles looking at the opening of the alley before looking back up at the distressed Jared, not even giving him a moment to think before he placed his palm over Jared’s mouth, cutting him from speaking. Before Jared could even murmur anything, Ackles shushed him.
“Don’t you dare say anything or we’re dead!” He commanded forcefully, enough to shake Jared and cause him to comply. He kept completely still, and quiet, following the commands Ackles gave him. Ackles himself didn’t say a word, he didn’t move, he just stood still there, not daring to even flinch in fear of being caught.
The silence only lasted for a short period of time, both men not hearing a word around them. Suddenly, a low conversation was heard, causing them to flinch.
“They escaped sir.”
“Damn it! Sheppard will kill us!”
“Sir, he must understand—“
“No Jacob you do not understand! He will murder us!”
“Not if he doesn’t find out.”
“He will find out eventually; he is Sheppard, he’ll find out if your wife slept with the baker..”
As the conversation drifted on, both Ackles and Jared stood still, waiting for the men to walk past them. Jared could see their shadows walking father away from them, visible on the concrete wall in front of him, although Ackles decided to tilt his head slightly to look out the alley. Jared waited for Ackles’ head to come back, signalizing that the men were gone, relieved when he had done just that.
Finally, Ackles pulled away, allowing Jared to finally breathe. Thought, for a second, he found breathing near impossible. How was he supposed to live normally after being involved in such a drastic scene? It is not as if he could tell anyone, who has he got to tell? He is just stuck in this situation with nowhere else to turn.
Suddenly, a hand grasped his wrist, pulling him out of his inner trauma: Ackles.
“Let’s go.” He stated simply, pulling on Jared’s wrist to yank him forward. Still, a bit shook, Jared tripped forward slightly at the pull, but finding his stance a bit later. He suddenly stopped moving, keeping his legs against the ground to stop Ackles. Surprised by this, Ackles turned his head, looking Jared straight in the eye with a look of annoyance. “What!” He hissed harshly, clearly pissed at Jared’s sudden resistance.
“Let go of me!” Jared grouted, struggling to pull his grip away from Ackles. Rolling his eyes, Ackles only tightened his grip on Jared’s wrist, causing the frail boy to wince at the pressure.
“Oh, shut up! Do you honestly believe I will let you go after what you have just witnessed?” Ackles stated, his voice tinted with a bit of sadism. He gave Jared a half smirk, causing Jared to feel rather uneasy. Of course he wasn’t getting out of this, he was doomed.
“N-NO! Please! Let me go! I won’t tell a soul!” Jared pleaded, pulling away from Ackles harder, trying with all his might to get away. But Ackles only grabbed his other wrist, pulling Jared towards him.
“Stop struggling!” He complained, his grip only getting tighter.
“Please let me go! Please!” Jared cried out, even though he knows it no use. If Ackles wanted to let him go, he would have run away from the men without him.
“Shut the hell up!” Ackles yelled before finally yanking Jared roughly into his chest, wrapping his left forearm around Jared’s slender chest and his right hand over Jared’s mouth to silence him. At that, Jared screamed, yet the sound was canceled out by Jensen’s palm. Jared finally groans in defeat; it was no use, Ackles wouldn’t let him go. “Better.” Ackles finally sighed; he looked around the area one more time just to make sure none of the men were left, or anyone for that matter, before running down the street down Lumos Street, towards an empty part of town. Jared was being dragged by his arm, too weak and fragile to attempt escaping. He had given up, what was the point of running away if he has nothing to go back to.
He didn’t matter much anyways.