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27 February 2014 @ 05:22 pm
Hands of Fate: Chapter Twenty-Two  
Title: Caught in the Hands of Fate
Author: fadedsparks
Beta: lunadragonx
Art: trueshellz
Fandom: RPS
Pairing: Jensen/Jared
Rated: R, with NC-17 in later chapters
Genre: AU, Angst, Romance
Disclaimer: This isn't meant to offend anyone and I am making no profit from it.
Warnings: Violence and Homophobia. Also, Jensen and Jared are the same age in this story.
Summary: Jensen has had his share of ups and downs, but he pushes forward and tries not to take life for granted. Starting college in California seems like the right choice for him, and everything is going better than he imagined it would. However, fate can be a tricky thing sometimes.



-~*~-
Chapter Twenty-Two:
The Bitter Taste of Losing Everything
-~*~-



January 6th, 2001

Jensen’s mom sits quietly at the table by the window, watching her son with heartbroken eyes, but Jared doesn’t say anything to her. He hasn’t really said a word to her since they met and he’s a little afraid he may say something rude with his mind in the state it currently is in. He hasn’t forgotten what she did, pushing her own son out of her life, and Jared can’t find a way to forgive her for it.

He does his best to ignore her presence as he sits vigilant at Jensen’s bedside, holding tightly to the man’s limp hand, carefully caressing the scraped and inflamed skin with his thumb. Tears threaten to fill his eyes as he takes in every bruise and cut littering Jensen’s still face, guilt steadily eating him alive. He is struck by how fragile Jensen looks, lying so still upon white sheets. He has never seen Jensen as fragile, his boyfriend is one of the strongest people Jared knows, but he looks so fragile and vulnerable now. It breaks Jared’s heart.

He hasn’t left Jensen’s side since he arrived and he just wishes Jensen would open his eyes, reassure Jared that he is fine. He knows that probably sounds selfish to some degree - he is the one that needs to be strong and supportive to Jensen, not the other way around - but with every hour that passes without Jensen waking up Jared just grows more worried.

He wants nothing more than to find the person that did this to Jensen and kill them with his bare hands. He doesn’t think that sounds harsh either, because looking at the condition Jensen is in, he is just baffled that anyone could hurt this gentle person so badly. He can’t imagine why anybody would want to and it leads him to wonder how it happened in the first place. Jensen is shy and reserved by nature, he doesn’t start conversations usually, so Jared imagines someone had to have approached him.

No matter how Jared looks at it, or the various scenarios that cross his mind, he still can’t figure out how this could have happened. It is just so surreal and bewildering. One can never expect something like this to happen, could never attempt to prepare for something like this. Jared is just so sorry that it had to happen to Jensen, and if he could trade places with the motionless man, he would in a heartbeat.

This never should’ve happened, he thinks fiercely to himself and the anger inside just continues to build. He can’t help feeling guilty and angry at himself too. He keeps telling himself that he never should have left Jensen there, never should have left him alone, because maybe then this never would have happened. He knows it is useless thinking this way, there is nothing he can do to change the past, but the guilt he feels inside won’t let the thought go.

Briefly he tightens his hold on Jensen’s hand, silently willing him to wake up, pleading, but Jensen doesn’t even flinch. Jared closes his eyes tightly when tears begin to sting them and his chest feels tight. He would give anything for Jensen to open his eyes, even if just for a moment, so that Jared knows he will be alright. He won’t be able to rest until he knows Jensen will come back to him. It might sound selfish but he really needs that reassurance from Jensen.

Please wake up Jen, don’t leave me here alone, he pleads silently as desperation takes hold and the fear inside begins to mount. He is so afraid Jensen’s injuries are too extensive for his body to handle, and he knows he will die if anything happens to the light haired man. He knows what it is like to not have Jensen in his life and he doesn’t want to go through that again, especially since this time would be more permanent.

If only you hadn’t left him there, Jared berates himself for what seems like the thousandth time. This never would have happened if you had stayed, Jensen never would have been hurt.

“Jared, honey.”

Jared lifts his eyes at the sound of his mom’s voice and wants to cry at the concern he finds in her eyes as she stares down at his slumped form. He knows he is worrying her, it is as plain as day on her face, but he doesn’t know how to reassure her. Right now he feels on the edge of a breakdown, can’t rest until Jensen opens his eyes and is afraid to leave his side. He is sure if he were to look in a mirror he would see dark circles under his eyes and a pale complexion.

“You’ve been here since he was admitted,” she speaks softly. “You should get some rest. Please let me take you home, you can get some real sleep and some food and then I’ll bring you back in a few hours. You’re gonna be no good to Jensen if you can’t keep your eyes open and make yourself sick.”

Jared has managed a couple of cat naps but not enough rest that his body needs to function properly. The sun has already gone down on another day and the most sleep Jared has gotten between yesterday morning and today is two hours tops. He knows his mom is right and he should go home and rest up, but he can’t bear the thought of leaving Jensen’s side even for a moment. He needs to be here, needs to be here the moment Jensen wakes up, and Jared won’t have it any other way. He wants his face to be the first one Jensen sees when he opens his green eyes and no one can talk him out of it.

He highly doubts he would find much rest if he were to go home like his mom wants anyway. He would be too worried about Jensen, too many thoughts running through his mind to allow him to sleep. It is best to stay where he is and no one can convince him otherwise. He knows his mom won’t be happy with his refusal, might even be disappointed, but his mind is made up and he won’t leave Jensen’s side unless someone bodily pries him away.

Jared shakes his head and feels a touch of guilt when his mom’s face falls. “I can’t mom, I just… I can’t leave him.”

“He won’t be alone if that’s what you’re worried about,” his mom speaks in a consoling tone. “His family is here with him.”

Jared shakes his head fiercely at this, knowing Jensen’s relationship with his family but realizing it isn’t his place to tell his mom. He doesn’t like the idea of leaving Jensen in the care of his parents, despite the fact that Josh and Mackenzie are here. Leaving Jensen is not an option in Jared’s opinion and his mom is just going to have to accept that.

“I… I can’t mom, I’m not leaving him. I know his family is here, and he’s not technically alone, but I… I left him once mom, I left him alone at that bar, and look what happened to him.” The tears in Jared’s eyes bleed into his voice, making it rough and wrecked, pleading. He has made up his mind, he isn’t leaving Jensen’s side, but he wants desperately for his mom to understand. “I can’t leave him again, even if I know he’s safe. I can’t leave him when he needs me. I wasn’t there when he needed me most but I can be here now, I can be here the second he wakes up. Please try to understand, I know you’re worried, and I’m grateful, but I need to be here.”

“Okay Jared, just calm down.” His mom places a hand on his arm, her eyes wide with compassion and concern and it is in this moment that Jared realizes he is trembling with the emotion coursing through him that he is trying so hard to keep inside. He can’t break down right now, he feels on edge but he needs to be strong right now. If he gives into his emotions now he will be no use to anyone, much less Jensen.

“I won’t make you come home, you can stay here with your friend. But promise me you’ll try to get some rest while you’re here, even if you have to sleep at his side.”

“I’ll do my best.” Jared smiles softly, not exactly promising anything but hoping this will reassure her a little.

“I’m going to head home now but I’ll be back later with some food for you. I don’t want to hear any complaints and you better eat every last bit of it. You need to eat and get some sleep to keep up your strength young man,” she tells him in her stern ‘mom’ voice but he can see the concern plain as day in her eyes.

He reassures her once more that he will eat whatever she brings him, though his stomach is in knots and just the thought of food has it tumbling unpleasantly. It appeases her however, and that is all that matters.

His attention is brought immediately back to Jensen the moment his mom leaves the room and he lets out a little, inaudible sigh as he takes in all the noticeable injuries marring the visible skin. It hurts to see Jensen like this, physically hurts, and it strikes Jared like a physical blow when he realizes Jensen’s face is just a canvas of black and blue with random cuts here and there. Whoever did this wasn’t playing around, leaving hardly an area on Jensen’s face untouched, and Jared’s heart aches at the brutality Jensen was subjected to.

I wasn’t there when you needed me most, he torments himself silently as Jensen’s form blurs because of the tears filling Jared’s eyes once more. I could have prevented this, you never would have been hurt… God, I’m so sorry Jen.

Jared reaches out without a second thought and places his hand over Jensen’s heart to feel the reassuring thump beneath his palm, more reassuring than even the beep of the heart monitor. He concentrates with everything he has on each beat of Jensen’s heart, reaching out to that faint feeling against his palm and feeling a little better now that he has something to hold on to. As long as Jensen’s heart keeps beating, Jared has hope left to grasp hold of.

“I guess it’s safe to assume your relationship with my son goes beyond mere friendship.”

Jared startles at the sound of Donna’s voice, breaking through the trance-like state he found himself in. He slowly turns his head to regard the pale woman for the first time and isn’t quite sure how to respond to her. There is no way he is going to deny it, he couldn’t do that to Jensen, but he can’t quite make out if she is upset or not. He couldn’t give a damn if she doesn’t approve of course, but the last thing they need right now is tension in the room.

Donna’s eyes, a deep sea green like Jensen’s, implore him silently. Her gaze softens the longer they stare at each other and Jared is able to discern that there is no judgment in her eyes. She seems genuinely curious and eager to know about the side of Jensen’s life she has missed out on. He doesn’t see the disappointment in her eyes that Jensen described to him and Jared has to wonder if she has finally come to terms with her son’s sexuality. It is quite possible that she wants to be Jensen’s mom again.

It won’t be that easily done, he thinks to himself as he stares at the woman beside him. She’s gonna have to regain Jensen’s trust, she doesn’t realize how broken she left him.

“I’m his boyfriend,” Jared says with confidence, meeting Donna’s stare head-on and silently daring her to say something negative.

A soft, understanding smile is the last thing he is expecting but he must admit he is relieved to see it. “I figured as much.” She speaks softly, that soft smile never leaving her lips as her gaze slides over to her son. “I can tell you care deeply about him, and I’m glad for that. Jensen’s a good boy, he deserves to have someone who loves him, deserves to be happy.”

“He’s the most amazing person I’ve ever known, stronger than I could ever hope to be.” Jared speaks softly, almost wistfully, as he turns his gaze to Jensen as well. “He has admirable ambitions and I think if anyone can make a difference in this world it’ll be him ‘cause he doesn’t give up and stays true to himself and what he believes in. The world needs someone like him.”

Donna nods, smiling tearfully. “He’s always had a good head on his shoulders, has always wanted to help people. He’s a special person and I’ve always known he’d go far in life. He’s always been a shy boy but he isn’t afraid to speak up and be heard and many people love that about him.”

“He doesn’t always know that, people tend to take him for granted and hurt him with their closed-mindedness, so I can see why his self-esteem could be so low,” Jared says more bitingly than he intends, wincing slightly when the words leave his lips. He hadn’t wanted to start an argument or get into this with Jensen’s mother, least of all right now, but sometimes his mouth works before his head has a chance to think his words through.

He hears her sharp intake of breath and has to close his eyes tightly, silently berating himself for bringing the subject up now of all times. He can tell that she is hurting, is having a tough time seeing her son in this condition, and Jared really didn’t want to make this more difficult on her. He knows he should have kept his mouth shut, should have had a better hold on his impulses, but the words are out and there is nothing he can do to take them back now.

“I’m sorry,” he whispers with a soft sigh, remorse in his tone. “I shouldn’t have said that. I’m just so stressed out and worried that my mouth isn’t attached to my brain right now.”

“No,” she says with a solemn shake of her head. “No, you’re right. I wasn’t there for him when I should have been. I turned my back on my own son, and there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by where I haven’t regretted that.”

Jared’s face scrunches up in confusion as he turns to look at the woman sitting beside him, a defeated and heartbroken look on her face. “I don’t understand,” he whispers. “If you’ve regretted your actions and aren’t actually disappointed in him, then why haven’t you tried to contact him?”

“I’ve wanted to, many times,” she says firmly as she raises her sad eyes to Jared’s. “But I was so ashamed of how I treated my baby boy. I had always said he could come to me about anything, that I would love him no matter what ’cause a family’s love is unconditional. But when he came to me looking for acceptance and support I turned my back on him, drove him away from his home. I wasn’t a very good mom to him in that moment.”

Jared watches in silence as Donna rises from her chair and walks to Jensen’s side, the side Jared isn’t occupying. She reaches out tentatively and takes his hand in hers, the first time she has been able to bring herself to touch him. Jared can’t blame her, Jensen is pretty beaten up, even he has been afraid to touch him, afraid he will somehow hurt Jensen more.

“I couldn’t bring myself to call him and try to explain myself, even though I know I should have. I was afraid he wouldn’t want to talk to me, and the last time I had spoken to him on the phone had been tense and I didn’t know what to say to him. I had hurt my son, I knew I had, and I couldn’t blame him if he didn’t want to talk to me after everything I had said that night.”

“He was hurt,” Jared agrees with a nod of his head. “But Jensen loves you, no matter what went down between you. He needed you in his life, he still does.”

“I knew I should’ve plucked up the courage to call him, always told myself that one day I would, but now…” Jared watches as her lower lip begins to tremble and tears slide down her cheeks, making her eyes look glassy. “Now I may never get the chance to tell him I’m sorry, that I love him no matter what and I accepted him for who he is a long time ago. I may never get the chance to tell him how proud I am of him for staying true to himself and being brave enough to be who he is no matter what the world may think. I just want to make things right… but I might not have that chance anymore, I waited too long.”

“Mrs. Ackles, Jensen isn’t dead,” Jared says as firmly as he can, hoping to get through to her. “He’s right here, and he’s going to wake up. You still have the chance to make things right, don’t give up yet.”

Donna takes a deep breath and smiles gratefully. “Thank you Jared, I don’t deserve your kindness, but thank you,” she tells him with a soft smile on her face, tears still shining in her eyes. “You be good to my son Jared, and take care of him. I can see that my son is lucky to have you, he deserves someone like you in his life.”

Jared responds with a tight, strained smile. He’s not all too sure she is right; he personally thinks Jensen deserves someone better, someone who will treat him better than Jared has, but he is so grateful to be the one Jensen’s chosen. He doesn’t know what he has done to be so lucky but he will make sure never to take Jensen for granted again. He just hopes he can get Jensen to believe him, and give him another chance. Jared may not have been ready to love him the way he is meant to be before, but he is now… he couldn’t be more positive about that.

:0Ж0:


January 8th, 2001

Jared paces the length of the compact hospital room, stretching the kinks out of his aching legs, borne from sitting in a chair for long periods of time. Josh sits at the table by the window while Mackenzie has taken up the chair Jared abandoned next to Jensen. It breaks his heart to see the pain on her face as she stares at her brother, lightly caressing his forearm without a word.

She hasn’t really said much these past few days, just stands off by herself quietly with a broken look on her face. Jared can tell this is taking its toll on her and he honestly didn’t expect anything less, considering how close she and Jensen are. He wants to comfort her, reassure her in some way, but he can’t find the words. He isn’t even sure she would want that right now, since she has seemingly isolated herself from everyone, not even speaking more than a few words to Josh.

Jared paces some more, doing his best to keep his eyes off of Mackenzie, the sight too depressing for him. His emotional state is in turmoil as it is, the helplessness of the situation becoming too much to bear. This is nothing but a waiting game now, waiting for Jensen to wake up, not knowing when that will be. Jared is certain Jensen will wake up, he has to believe that, but with every hour, every day that passes, the tension just begins to grow within.

Jared’s gaze is brought to the door of the room when movement captures his attention. He breathes out a sigh of relief when he finds Chris and Steve entering the room. He called them as soon as he pulled himself out of the shock of the situation, the very moment he could talk himself into leaving Jensen’s side, which was something he was reluctant to do, even for just long enough to make a phone call. He is really glad they are here though, he needs a little moral support from his friends. Besides, they are very close to Jensen themselves and it didn’t surprise him at all when Chris firmly stated they would be here as soon as they could.

Chris stops short, just three steps shy of Jensen’s bedside and stares with fire and water in his eyes, jaw clenched so tight it hurts Jared’s jaw just to see it. Steve sucks in a breath at the sight of his friend, appalled by the condition he is in. Jared had informed them of Jensen’s condition, told them what to expect when they arrived, but words can’t prepare someone for the reality of it. Seeing it with your own eyes, the brutality, is something no one could possibly prepare themselves for.

Steve turns to Jared with wide eyes and visibly shakes himself before crossing the distance between them. Jared allows himself to be pulled into a tight embrace, holding onto Steve just as tightly, fisting his hands into the back his friend’s shirt. They stay like that for a while, not speaking, just drawing comfort from one another. Jared doesn’t know what he would say even if he wanted to speak. He feels almost numb inside, spread thin and breaking at the seams. Part of him wants to cry, to get out all these emotions choking the life out of him, but the tears won’t come, even though he can feel them burning his eyes.

“My God, how the fuck did this happen?” Chris asks in disbelief as he stands over Jensen’s still form, staring down at his slack features, looking as though he wants to reach out and touch but is almost afraid to. In all his life Jared has never seen Chris so conflicted, has never seen him look truly afraid, and it disconcerts Jared more than he wants to admit. In a way, Chris’ reaction makes the situation more real, though Jared honestly doesn’t know how that is possible seeing as Jensen is living proof of just how real this is.

Chris turns to Jared after a short while, a wild look on his face, like he is on the verge of hitting something just to let out some of the anger. “Jared, what the hell happened?” he asks, like Jared holds all the answers.

Jared wishes he could give Chris something concrete, but the truth is he can’t. He doesn’t know what happened, doesn’t know who did this or why. These are questions that have been plaguing his mind for the past few days and he has yet to reach any answers. None of it makes sense; Jared can’t begin to fathom why anyone would want to hurt Jensen. He would like nothing more than to track the bastard down and beat him within an inch of his life, see how he likes it, and he knows Chris would be more than happy to help.

The cops still haven’t caught the person that hurt Jensen though, and it is pissing Jared off more and more. He doesn’t believe the person will get away with it, he has to believe the cops will find the jerk, but as each new day passes without the cops having anyone in custody, well, it dims Jared’s spirit more and more.

Jared lets out a heavy sigh and gives Chris a helpless expression. “I have no idea Chris, I wish I did. The cops still haven’t found who did this and none of us have any clue as to why this happened in the first place. The only way we’re gonna find out is whenever this jackass is caught or when Jen wakes up, whichever comes first.”

“Where did this happen?” Steve asks with so much confusion on his face. “When did it happen?”

“He was found at a construction site, I have no idea how it happened,” Jared responds softly, guilt wrapping him up in a cold blanket as he avoids his friends’ eyes. “I’m assuming it happened after he left the bar we went to.”

“Wait a minute, why didn’t you leave with him?” Chris asks, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.

Jared clears his throat, not wanting to divulge this information, afraid his friends will blame him, but he knows they deserve the truth. Besides, even he blames himself for what happened to Jensen, he might as well be a man and own up to his mistakes. “I uh, I actually was the first to leave,” he admits quietly, once again unable to meet his friends’ eyes.

Silence follows his confession and when he finds the courage to look up Chris is looking at him like he has lost his mind. No, he’s looking at me like he doesn’t even recognize me, Jared concludes with a bitter taste in his mouth, feeling that somehow this reaction is worse than Chris just thinking he has gone off the deep end.

“You left him there?” Chris asks, his voice low and hard, sounding unforgiving to Jared. “What the hell were you thinking Jare?”

“Chris, now is not the time for this,” Steve jumps into the conversation, voice firm and leaving no room for argument. “I know you’re overly protective of Jensen, but he is an adult, you can’t blame Jared for what happened to him and you’ll only regret it later on if you do.”

Chris merely stares back at Steve, the expression on his face never changing from hard and stubborn, not willing to back down. Slowly he turns his eyes to Jared, who is biting his lip near bloody with shame in his eyes. Chris stares between Jared and Steve a moment longer before he lets out a sigh and rubs a hand down his face wearily. “You’re right Steve,” he admits in a rough voice before looking at Jared once more. “I’m sorry Jay, I know this isn’t your fault. I just can’t believe this happened to Jen, and I’m fuckin’ angry as hell, but I realize I’m taking it out on the wrong person.”

“It’s okay Chris, I understand where you’re coming from,” Jared dismisses the apology with a wane smile, guilt still crashing through his system. “I keep beating myself up over it, I wish I hadn’t left him there, can’t help thinking he never would’ve gotten hurt if I had stayed.”

“No Jared, don’t do that to yourself,” Steve admonishes gently, gripping Jared’s shoulder and squeezing comfortingly. “There’s no way you could have known this would happen so you should stop blaming yourself for things out of your control.”

“Steve’s right Jay, he usually is,” Chris says, going for a smile, though it is laced with sadness. “None of us can change what happened and blaming yourself won’t help anyone, least of all Jensen. Best thing to do now is stick together, get each other through this, and be there for Jen when he wakes up,” he continues as he turns to look at Jensen, a frown on his face. “Something tells me he’s going to need it.”

“I’m really glad you guys are here,” Jared says after a moment, gaining his friends’ attention once more. “This has been really hard on me and just having you guys here, knowing what I’m going through… it helps.”

“Of course we’re here man, nothing could have kept us from getting here.” Steve pulls him into a one-armed hug, obviously sensing that Jared needs the physical contact right now.

Megan breaks up the moment by bursting into the room like a bat out of hell, panting heavily like she just ran a marathon, her expressive eyes trained on Jared like she’s trying to tell him something but can’t catch her breath long enough to get the words out. Jared’s heart leaps into his throat as he stares at his sister, knowing whatever she is about to say will either be really good news or very bad news; he is praying for the former.

“What is it Meg?” Jared asks a bit impatiently, urging her to tell him what is going on.

Josh rises from his seat, staring intently at Megan, the hope flaring in his eyes mixed with trepidation, obviously afraid to allow himself to hope only to have that hope dashed. “What did you find out?” he asks quietly as he approaches them.

“It was just on the news so I rushed over here right away,” Megan says through pants of breath, a smile steadily growing on her face. “They caught the guys that did this.”

“Guys? How many guys exactly?” Chris asks with a hardened expression.

“Two, Scott Youngberg and Andrew… uh, Andrew something, I can’t remember his last name.” She informs them with an apology written all over her face for not knowing the last name of the second guy. “The bartender from that night pointed the cops in their direction, saying they were rather friendly with Jensen and left immediately after he did. The cops found a bloodied 2x4 in the backseat of the guy’s pick-up.”

“Don’t suppose they’ll give me just a few minutes alone with the assholes, do ya?” Chris snarls angrily with an evil glint in his eyes that promises murder.

“They actually caught them,” Jared whispers almost in disbelief, happier than he can explain but somehow empty at the same time. He can’t explain it. He is glad these guys have been caught and will be punished for their crime, but that doesn’t exactly change Jensen’s condition and it doesn’t exactly make up for the emotional scars they inevitably left Jensen with.

What matters is they’ve been caught and they’re gonna get what they deserve, Jared tells himself firmly, needing to remind himself of this whenever his hope dims. At least they’re not on the streets anymore, haven’t gotten away with all the unnecessary torture they put Jensen through.

:0Ж0:


Still maintaining his vigil at Jensen’s bedside, Jared’s eyes are trained on pristine white sheets but he doesn’t actually acknowledge anything he is staring at. His mind is a million miles away, thought after thought racing through his brain but unable to stop long enough to examine any of them. He vaguely hears Chris leaving the room, telling them he will be back shortly. Jared has no idea why his friend is leaving, though he suspects Chris told them where he was going. He has been so lost in his thoughts today though that he feels a little distant.

His back is starting to ache from the slouched position his body has been in for the last few hours but he ignores the pain. Instead, he leans forward a bit more, elbows resting on his knees, and keeps Jensen’s hand held firmly in his, though his hand is growing sweaty by now. He has to keep some kind of physical contact with his boyfriend though, starts to feel anxious and panicked whenever he has to let Jensen go for too long.

Exhaustion is slowly creeping up on him and he is beginning to wonder how much longer he will last before it gets the best of him and he passes out. He hasn’t exactly gotten the rest his body, or mind, needs since this whole thing began and he can feel it taking its toll on him slowly but surely. His family is worried about him, as are Chris and Steve, but Jared refuses to give in to his body’s needs.

He isn’t stupid, he knows he will likely make himself sick at this rate, but he just can’t force himself to take the time required to get some real sleep. Everyone has tried talking to him, tried to get him to get some rest, saying that Jensen will be fine and he needn’t worry, but Jared won’t listen to them. He is constantly worrying about Jensen as it is, feels panicked when Jensen isn’t in sight much less beneath his hand, and being away from him for however long it would take to get some sleep would drive Jared insane.

That is if I could even get some sleep, he muses to himself, knowing it wouldn’t be likely without Jensen near for Jared to worry over and be a general mother hen.

Jared looks up when he feels a hand on his shoulder and smiles apologetically when he finds Steve standing there, understanding and patience on his face. Jared knows he has been hogging Jensen, barely leaving his side long enough for others to sit and hold his hand. I’m being selfish, he acknowledges with a bout of guilt as he reluctantly releases Jensen’s hand and rises to his feet.

Steve tries to stop him, telling him it is alright and he doesn’t have to move, that he will take his time with Jensen later. Jared won’t have it though, Steve came a long way to see Jensen and he deserves to sit and hold his hand for a little while. Steve smiles gratefully when Jared makes him sit next to Jensen’s beside and Jared smiles back softly.

“Hey man.” Steve speaks quietly to Jensen, reaching out to hold his limp hand in his own. “I’d ask how you’re doing but I think that’s kind of redundant. You’ve sure scared the hell out of a lot of people dude. Chris is itching to get his hands on the guys that did this to you, he’s starting to even scare me.”

Jared stands off to the side as he witnesses the one-sided conversation, his heart going out to Steve at the broken expression he sees on his friend’s face. It is no secret just how close Steve and Chris have gotten to Jensen, thinking of him as a little brother to tease and protect, especially Chris.

“You need to wake up and get better man, a lot of people are worried sick about you and we’re all missing you like crazy, especially Jared,” Steve looks at Jared as he says this, offering a comforting smile. “He hasn’t left your side since I got here, and from what I’ve been told he’s refused to leave you since you were admitted here. You have a lot of people waitin’ on ya man, and we all care about you a lot, you need to wake up for us. Especially for Jared ’cause he needs you, we all know he’s a basket case without you.”

“Thanks,” Jared comments dryly, rolling his eyes but unable to keep a small, lopsided smile off his face. “You do realize giving him a guilt trip won’t get him to wake up any sooner, right?”

Steve shrugs his shoulder and smiles. “Maybe not, but I thought it’d be worth a shot.”

“Yeah well, even when he does eventually wake up, the last thing he needs to concentrate is on me, he needs to focus on getting better,” Jared says with a weary sigh as he walks over to the lone table in the room and drops down heavily onto one of the chairs, covering his face with a large palm and rubbing at his aching eyes.

He can feel Steve’s inquisitive eyes on him but he doesn’t acknowledge his friend, just rubs a hand down his face and through his already disheveled hair, releasing another heavy sigh. Though he isn’t looking, he hears Steve rise from the chair and cross the distance between them, sitting down beside Jared at the table. Jared stubbornly refuses to look up, though he isn’t naïve enough to think Steve is fooled. He knows he is being rather obvious; it was only a matter of time before someone asked him what his problem is.

Jared has been trying his best not to think about that night, trying not to think about all the things he could have done differently, but the guilt has been building and building and it is starting to wear him thin. He knows it is impossible to go back and change what happened that night, to take back the words he said and stop himself from walking out that door, but that is what he wants so badly. He wishes he could go back and do all the things he told Jensen he would do, tell his parents about them, show Jensen that he does want him in his life and is ready to be the boyfriend he was supposed to be all along.

“Jared, what’s wrong?” Steve asks and Jared doesn’t have to see his friend’s face because concern colors his voice clearly. “And don’t tell me it’s nothing ‘cause I’ve been able to tell something’s bothering you since the moment I got here.”

Jared returns Steve’s stare for a long moment, contemplating whether to open up to his friend and get everything off his chest or if he should just deal with his guilt on his own. Steve’s face is so open and concerned though that he makes Jared want to open his heart. Besides, he has kept this to himself for so long and it is slowly killing him inside. Talking to a friend might help ease it a bit. Steve would be best to talk to because he will actually listen and withhold judgment whereas Chris would jump to conclusions, not to mention he was already blaming Jared for this earlier.

Of course, a large part of Jared believes he deserves to be blamed; he blames himself as it is, but right now he needs someone to listen and be rational. Chris isn’t in any state to do that and he can’t be blamed for it either considering how close he is to Jensen and how temperamental he is known to be.

Jared takes a deep intake of air, decision made, and bites his lip to gather his thoughts. “I’ve just been feeling very guilty lately Steve. I haven’t talked to anyone about this, about what happened between me and Jensen that night, and it’s getting to me real bad.”

“Well, then talk to me,” Steve says as though it is that simple. “You’ve always been able to talk to me, you know that.”

“You know all about the promises I made to Jensen when he took me back, right?” Jared asks just for clarification and continues when Steve nods his head. “Well, by the time we got here, I got scared. I was afraid of what my parents would do if I told them I was gay and in a relationship with my alleged ‘friend’ so I put it off and kept giving Jensen bullshit reasons. I even neglected to tell them that Jensen’s gay, ‘cause I was afraid they’d put two and two together. Jensen found out…”

“I’m guessing he wasn’t too happy about that,” Steve says when Jared trails off and doesn’t pick the conversation back up.

“Not at all, he was really disappointed and… and hurt. He was having doubts about us, about how serious I am about us. Seeing the hurt and utter defeat on his face, it just broke me man. I never wanted to see him look like that, yet that still didn’t stop me from being afraid,” Jared admits shamefully, unable to look Steve in the eyes anymore, afraid of seeing disappointment. “It was because of this that we went to the bar that night, so we could talk.”

Steve nods his head, taking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly, a thoughtful look on his face. “Alright, keep going,” he prods gently, obviously dreading what he is about to hear but willing to listen.

“I said some hurtful things that night,” Jared’s voice takes on a distant quality, thinking back to the night in question and wincing when he recalls all the things that were said. “Most of which I didn’t really mean, but that doesn’t change the fact that I said them.”

“What did you say Jay?”

“I basically told him that I still wanted to be with him and that I was trying to make everything up to him but that he wasn’t making it easy on me, that he was acting like I wasn’t trying enough. In so many words I said he was asking too much of me and I didn’t know what he wanted from me… I basically blamed it on him.” Jared’s eyes fill with tears as he whispers this, guilt and shame smothering his voice, breath hitching in his throat as his chest tightens. “God, how could I say that to him?”

Steve is silent for a long moment, looking down at the table.

“Last thing I said to him was that I wasn’t going to tell my parents about us, even though I knew that pretty much meant he’d leave me. I said I loved him but it’d kill me to lose my family, and I left it at that.” Jared’s voice grows quieter as he speaks, eyes widening as something clicks in his mind. “Oh God, I said it’d kill me to lose them and then look at what happens to Jen. I could lose him, for good!”

“Come on man, don’t think like that,” Steve says firmly, comforting hand on Jared’s shoulder when Jared buries his face in his hands. “You said some things you regret, everyone does at some point or another, but you can’t blame yourself for them now. I can understand how you’d be afraid of losing your family but deep down you know you were just as afraid of losing Jen, that’s why you were so conflicted. Everyone’s allowed to be confused and afraid, Jay.”

Jared rises from his chair without a word and sits down beside Jensen once more, reaching out to hold his hand, lips trembling as his eyes train on Jensen’s face. “I was going to walk around that night, ya know? I needed to be alone so I was going to leave the car with him, so he’d have a way back to the house.”

“He talked you out of it?” Steve asks quietly, not commenting on the fact that Jared ignored everything he just said.

“Yeah, he didn’t feel comfortable with me walking around that late at night, said he’d catch a cab once he was ready to leave. I didn’t want to, wasn’t comfortable with leaving him there, but I left anyway. I just walked out the door without looking back.” Jared closes his eyes as tears spill down his face. “I will never be able to forgive myself for that.”

“Jay, I can understand how you’d feel guilty about that, but I stand by what I said earlier. You couldn’t have known this was going to happen, it wasn’t your fault!” he says firmly, trying to get Jared to believe this, but it isn’t that simple. Jared has been beating himself up over this since he heard about Jensen, believes he could have prevented this had he only stayed, and nothing anyone says can make him believe any different.

“Look, I know you’re only trying to help, and I really appreciate it, but… I’m not sure I can believe that,” Jared tells him truthfully, giving his friend a sad smile and a slight shrug of his shoulders. “Can you grab me a coffee?”

Steve raises an eyebrow at the sudden change of subject but Jared just looks at him pleadingly. It’s not that he is necessarily thirsty, he just needs a few moments alone to regain his composure and he just hopes Steve catches on. It took a lot out of him to admit everything to Steve, to tell him why he is feeling so damn guilty, and he just needs a few moments alone.

“There’s a Starbucks a few blocks away, I could go grab some good coffee if ya want. I’m sure Chris will want one too so I’ll have him meet me there after he grabs us some food, that way I have a ride back,” Steve offers, a look of understanding on his face that tells Jared his friend caught on to his silent plea.

Jared smiles gratefully and just nods his head, watching his friend leave the room before turning to Jensen once more. The room is eerily silent, besides the beep of the heart monitor, but Jared is grateful for the moment of solitude.

“I’m so sorry Jen, I’m sorry I let you down, I never intended to. It would seem that I keep screwing up left and right with you, keep hurting you, and for that I’m sorry. I know what I want now though, I know my life would be meaningless without you. I said it’d kill me to lose my family, and I meant that, but you’ve become someone I can’t live without, you’re like a part of my family now, and it’d kill me just as much to lose you as it would to lose them. I’m sorry it took me so long to realize that, but I finally have… please don’t let me be too late.”

Without thinking twice about what he is doing, Jared carefully climbs onto Jensen’s bed and lies down beside him. Once he is sure he isn’t hurting the other man or lying on any vital wires, he relaxes his body and wraps an arm around Jensen’s waist, careful not to put his full weight on his boyfriend’s beaten body. He knows he probably shouldn’t be doing this, could possibly get in trouble for it, but he desperately needs this closeness right now and he will deal with the consequences later if it comes down to it.

He places his palm against Jensen’s chest, feeling the reassuring beat of his heart and allows it to comfort him. Being this close, holding onto Jensen and resting his head carefully against the man’s side, helps to ease some of the pain he has been feeling. His whole body is tired and he wants nothing more than to fall asleep, but he forces himself to stay awake and thanks God every time Jensen’s heart beats. He closes his eyes and shuts his mind off from all the thoughts that have been plaguing him, taking comfort in his boyfriend’s arms and the physical proof of life beneath the palm of his hand.

Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance
For a break that would make it okay
There’s always some reason
To feel not good enough
And it’s hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
Oh beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
Let me be empty
And weightless and maybe
I’ll find some peace tonight

In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here



Next


Lyrics:
Angel - by Sarah McLachlan
 
 
Mood: draineddrained
Music: Savage Garden
 
 
 
shelgrainger2shelgrainger2 on April 1st, 2014 09:34 pm (UTC)
loving it, loving it, sooooo much. Do you publish stories because seriously you are that good you should.
FadedSparksfadedsparks on April 5th, 2014 04:26 pm (UTC)
Aw thank you so much for that compliment! I have never published a story before, but it’s very flattering to hear you think I should.