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08 February 2014 @ 07:54 pm
Hands of Fate: Chapter Twelve  
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.

Author's Note: I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to get some more updates posted. I meant to have a few more chapters posted long before this but I caught a cold and haven’t had the energy to format anything until now.

Chapter Twelve:
Found Myself Without You

Jensen isn’t quite sure how long he has been gone. In fact, he is kind of surprised he even knows where he is right now. When he finally picked himself up from the floor of the dorm hallway he felt as though he was in a daze, thoughts running rampant through his mind as he walked aimlessly. His heart is still in turmoil and it feels like a knife is slowly being pushed into it, but he knows he can’t stay out here all night. He has to face the reality of the situation at some point and he would rather get it over with sooner than later.

Turning around, almost reluctantly, Jensen makes his way back toward the college. His head is pounding and the artificial lights from the town aren’t making it any better. When he left the sun had still been out but now it has long since disappeared, bathing the world in shadow. The sidewalk he trudges down is lit up by street lights but it is still fairly dark.

As he walks Jensen allows his mind to wander. He isn’t sure what he is going to find once he reaches his dorm room and he’s not all too sure he wants to find out. If he could, he would stay away from the place his heartache originated, but he knows he can’t stay gone forever. The dorm is where he lives and he has nowhere else to go. He is just going to have to suck it up and face this like a man. His heart may be torn to shreds but he doesn’t have to let it show.

Why the hell did he have to do this to me, to us? Jensen silently questions out of anguish as he reaches campus and begins his walk back to the dorm. I thought I made him happy, I thought he cared enough to fight for us… instead he’s letting his family rip us apart and I can’t even be angry at them because they are totally clueless.

Jensen’s head is bowed and his shoulders are slumped by the time he steps up to his dorm room door. All is silent in the hallway and there are no sounds coming from behind the door within the room. A lump forms in Jensen’s throat as he places his room key in the lock and turns until he hears a click. Taking a deep breath, Jensen slides the key out and tries to will himself to turn the door knob. Every ounce of his being is begging him not to, however, and his face scrunches up in pain as he slides to the floor, leaning heavily against the door.

The pain he is being forced to endure almost seems too much to bear. He has never felt pain like this before in his life and he doesn’t ever want to again; right now, it feels like the pain is going to last forever.

In his lifetime he has felt many forms of pain, both physical and emotional. He had broken his arm when he was twelve because he had fallen out of the oak tree in the backyard. That had definitely hurt like hell. When Brian broke up with him he had been hurt, of course, but the pain didn’t last that long and wasn’t too serious. He had thought nothing could hurt worse than the moment his family turned their backs on him when he told them he was gay, but now he has been proven wrong. To date, this is the worst pain he has ever felt.

He can’t help thinking that maybe he let himself fall too hard for Jared, let down his guard even though he knew he shouldn’t have. That guard was there for a reason, to protect himself from situations such as this, yet he let all his walls crumble to the ground without a second thought and now he is paying the price. He let Jared in only to get hurt when it was all said and done.

Jared said he loved him, still loves him, but Jensen has to wonder if the other man loves him as much as he thinks he does. Jensen doesn’t see how that is possible. How can he claim to love him yet knowingly break his heart all the same? I love him more than he loves me, that’s the problem, Jensen acknowledges solemnly. I should never have given into him, I should have continued to turn him away even though that was the last thing I wanted to do.

Jensen doesn’t know how he is going to handle being around Jared now that they have broken up; it seems impossible. He knows that he is going to have to find a way though, because the younger man is going to be there every time they get together with their friends. Nothing is ever going to be the same again, he realizes as he climbs to his feet and opens the door to his room.

The door slams behind him and Jensen chokes on a gasp as his eyes fall on the empty side of the room, completely devoid of Jared’s things. The bed has been stripped bare, posters taken down from the wall, everything taken off the desk, and he is sure he would find an empty closet were he to open the door.

Jensen’s knees give out beneath him and he collapses to the floor, an intense agony coursing through his soul. Sure, Jared had said he was leaving, Jensen knew this, but it didn’t become real to him until he walked into an empty room.

“What the hell am I gonna do without him?” Jensen questions the empty room, receiving nothing but silence in return.

Feeling like he has been sapped of all his strength, he crawls along the floor until he reaches his bed and leans his back against it. Pulling his knees up to his chest, he wraps his arms around them and drops his face as tears steadily build up and spill out. He tries taking a deep breath to calm himself but it hitches in his throat and a sob escapes instead. He can’t help feeling as though the life he fought so hard to create is now crashing down at his feet. Everything has gone so wrong and he can’t figure out a way to fix it.

He doesn’t rise from the floor when a paper lying on his bed catches his eye. He knows Jared left it for him, probably one last apology, words he didn’t get to say when Jensen was there. He isn’t sure he wants to read the words written on the slightly crumpled paper, doesn’t have the strength to be torn apart even further. Instead he stares at the offending paper for a long length of time, neither moving from the floor nor reaching out to grab the letter that lies so innocently atop his blanket.

He closes his eyes tiredly but snaps them open immediately the moment an image of Jared flashes behind his closed lids. It is in this moment he realizes he is going to be haunted by his ex-boyfriend in the days to come, possibly even for months. He can’t even close his eyes without seeing the younger man, his bright and dimpled smile just waiting to torture him.

In an act of anger, Jensen finally reaches for the paper, but he doesn’t read the words written upon it. Instead, he rips the letter to shreds and watches with a morbid fascination as the pieces fall to the floor. He feels a little better knowing he won’t have to read Jared’s final words to him, won’t be tortured with the temptation.

When he first got to know Jared he had thought he couldn’t have been luckier to have been given the chance to meet such an amazing person, and when they first got together it had felt like a dream come true. Now he can’t help seeing it as a curse in disguise. Part of him wonders if he would have been better off never knowing Jared - or at least never starting a relationship with him - but then his mind recalls his past birthday, the treasured moments he shared with the shaggy haired man, and he realizes he couldn’t live without those memories.

There is a mix of emotions coursing through Jensen and he doesn’t know how to feel about a single one of them. All he knows is he wishes the pain stabbing away at his heart would go away because he isn’t sure he can survive much more of this. Part of him wants to call Mack, knows she would be there in his time of need, but a larger part just wants to be left alone.

“God why is this happening to me?” Jensen whispers as sobs wrack his slender frame, his anguish resounding in the silent and empty room.

Sitting here in the dark
I don't know what went wrong
But it's over now
Wish I could be where you are
But some things should never be said out loud


September 24th, 2000

From his seat on the floor where he is leaning back against the wall, Jensen listens to Chris knock insistently on the door but he doesn’t move to let him in. He can’t remember the last time he left this room, doesn’t even know what day it is. All the days have kind of blended together, each one longer than he remembers them to be and full of emptiness. His friends have come by to see him, make sure he is doing okay, but he never lets any of them in. Hell, even Chad stopped by, which was a shock to Jensen, but he didn’t let the blonde man in either.

None of them can make him feel better; none of them truly understand how he is feeling, and he really doesn’t want to have any company right now. Being alone and wallowing in his misery sounds like the better option at the moment so he hasn’t even attempted to give any of them a response when they drop by. He realizes they are probably worried about him, rightfully so, but he just doesn’t have the strength in him to explain everything to them right now. Besides, the last thing he truly wants right now is for his friends to see him in his moment of weakness.

All he has had are these four walls to stare at, had no desire to turn on the television or listen to the radio. There is no joy to be found inside of him right now, all that resides inside is pain, betrayal, and utter misery. He doubts he would be very good company at the moment anyway, so he doesn’t feel too bad about pushing his friends away. He doesn’t plan on keeping them at arms length forever; he just needs enough time to pull himself together before he decides to see anyone again. He needs to mask his pain so no one will see just how badly this is affecting him.

He doesn’t know how long it has been since he last ate, but the grumble and aches in his stomach tell him it’s been too long. That still doesn’t give him enough incentive to find his body some sustenance, but he does acknowledge his body’s needs. All he has allowed himself is some water from the tap, and even that has been few and far between. Mostly he just sits on the floor, back against the wall, staring blankly in front of him.

He doesn’t know how much longer he will be able to hold off, but he plans to do so until absolutely necessary, until his body just can’t take it any longer.

Jensen lifts his head to acknowledge the fact that the insistent knocking, no, pounding on the door has ceased. He figures Chris has realized how fruitless his effort is and has finally given up. Jensen knows he should probably feel guilty about this - Chris is one of his best friends after all - but he just can’t find it within himself to feel much of anything at the moment. He feels numb yet miserable at the same time; can still feel the pain wreaking havoc inside him when he thinks about Jared.

Is that even possible? Jensen silently questions, brows creased in wonderment. How is it possible to feel so numb yet still feel pain coursing through me?

Jensen gives up on this thought fairly quickly, deciding it doesn’t really matter if it is possible or not. He releases a sigh as his head drops down into his awaiting hands, elbows resting on his knees. He can feel the sting of tears at the back of his eyelids but he knows none will fall, even if he were to allow them. His tears ran dry some time ago and now he has become familiar with just the sting of them. He doesn’t mind, figures he has cried enough tears for Jared anyway.

Despite the misery he has found himself in and the pain that surfaces every time certain thoughts pass through his mind, he can’t help wondering how Jared is doing right about now. Is the younger man as miserable as he is or has he done all he can to begin the moving on process? Does he miss Jensen, miss their relationship? Such thoughts are trivial and tedious, but Jensen finds himself thinking them all the same.

Part of him doubts Jared misses their relationship very much. Toward the end Jared had done a pretty damn good job of distancing himself, so this separation probably isn’t as hard on him as it is Jensen. Now that he thinks back on it, Jensen realizes his boyfriend was probably preparing himself for their break up. He probably had been planning on leaving me for quite some time, I was just too blind to see the signs, he thinks to himself bitterly.

He lets out a laugh devoid of all humor and silently admonishes himself for not at least suspecting something like this would happen. He knew something was wrong with his boyfriend, realized Jared was troubled by something and was distancing himself with each day that passed, yet he still didn’t think this was a very real possibility. It makes him feel stupid now that he thinks back on it, believing himself to be a complete moron to not see what was happening.

Jensen suddenly shakes his head, as if physically ridding himself of this train of thought, and opens his eyes to stare blankly at the window directly in front of him, able to see nothing but clear blue sky and sunshine. Days like this should bring him joy like they used to, when a peaceful calmness would wash over him, but now he can’t seem to appreciate it. Stupid to think in such a way, but he can’t help that since he is so miserable everyone else should be too; the weather shouldn’t be so contradictory to his mood. All it manages to do is depress him further, pull him down into that bottomless pit of darkness, leaving its victim drowning in the abyss.

Leaning his head back, thumping dully against the wall, he keeps his eyes open, wishing he could close them once more and never have to open them again. A slightly morbid thought, especially since Jensen doesn’t see himself as suicidal, but right now he would give anything to escape this heartache and emptiness. Even just a few blissful moments of unawareness, a reprieve, would be appreciated.

Slanting his head in the direction of his desk, where his text books lie carelessly, he briefly wonders how many days of class he has missed. He hasn’t been to class since Jared left, which could be however long for all Jensen knows. He just acknowledges the fact that he has been missing his classes, hasn’t even given his teachers a reason why. He was smarter when it came to his job. After all, he can’t afford to lose it. He called in sick, unable to say when he would be back. His boss is only so lenient though, so he knows he can’t stay away much longer.

He is surprised his boss hasn’t called yet to bitch him out. Then again, maybe it hasn’t been that long since his last shift, maybe the time he has spent in his room just feels longer than it really has been. Jensen doesn’t know for sure and he isn’t worried enough to get up and find out either. He could always call Danneel and find out if he is close to losing his job yet, but then she might expect him to explain what is going on. She would be able to tell something is wrong with him, since it is weird not to know what day it is, and the last thing he wants is to have that conversation, whether it is over the phone or not.

“That isn’t going to happen,” he says aloud resolutely, though he hadn’t meant to actually say the words. I’ll just have to find another way.

Jensen is brought out of his thoughts when he hears noise coming from the door’s general direction. For a terrified moment he wonders if one of his friends have broken down and retrieved one of the spare keys. He highly doubts the dorm manager would actually give out a spare key to anyone that asked for it but his friends are pretty resourceful, they definitely would have come up with plausible excuse. If that is the case, Jensen can only hope the dorm manager isn’t with them when they get the door open. He lowers his head, staring at his lap, and waits for the inevitable.

Jensen doesn’t even lift his head or make any kind of acknowledgement of his visitors once the door finally opens and, out of his peripheral vision he sees three sets of feet enter the room. A pair of workman’s boots step directly in front of him and the person kneels down so they are level with one another. Jensen raises his eyes ever so slightly and stares at Chris blankly, hiding his emotions carefully.

“Is he alright, do you need me to call anyone?” an unfamiliar voice asks, who Jensen assumes is the dorm manager.

“No, we can take care of it, thank you for helping us,” he hears Steve say before his friend is sitting beside him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders.

The dorm manager says something in response to this but Jensen isn’t paying him any attention and completely misses the words. A moment later the door shuts behind the man and Jensen is left alone with his two friends. Chris cups his cheeks with his hands and tilts his head back so he can assess his face with his eyes. A hiss of breath squeezes past his clenched teeth as a concerned expression grows on his features.

“God, Jenny, what have you done to yourself?” Chris questions softly, not expecting to be answered, which is a good thing because Jensen didn’t plan on saying anything even if he had been expecting one. Unexpectedly, Chris pulls him into his arms, embracing him tightly. Jensen tenses at the sudden contact but soon relaxes into the hug. He doesn’t embrace Chris back but he doesn’t pull away either, so Chris considers this to be a good sign.

“When was the last time you ate, man?” Steve asks, but he isn’t expecting Jensen to respond either. He is more or less talking to himself, taking in the sight of his broken friend in shock and concern. “Chris, he needs something to eat. Whether he feels hungry or not, he needs something in his stomach, so go pick something up for him.”

“Where should I go?” Chris asks as he reluctantly pulls away from his friend, frowning in dismay when Jensen goes back to staring at his lap and keeping his mouth firmly shut.

“Doesn’t matter, just grab some food from anywhere,” Steve answers, sounding impatient, “I’ll stay here with him.”

Chris nods once, glancing down at Jensen, obviously reluctant to leave his side, then rises to a standing position. He leaves without another word, rushing to get where he needs to go so he can quickly return. Jensen wants to apologize for worrying them so much, wants them to understand why he hasn’t desired any company, but he is afraid of what might happen once he opens his mouth and talks about how he is feeling. He is afraid all his walls will come tumbling down and he will be left vulnerable, unable to stop himself from breaking down.

Steve moves from beside him and sits down across from him, leaning back against Jared’s old bed. Jensen knows he did this so he could gauge the expression on his face, or any fleeting emotions that may be displayed. Jensen doesn’t feel like being a subject for evaluation though, so he turns his head away and tries to keep his face neutrally blank.

Steve releases a sigh, one born from parts equal concern and guilt. Jensen doesn’t know why Steve should be feeling guilty though, he hasn’t done anything wrong. Unless he knew long before Jensen did that Jared was leaving him and didn’t tell him; that is the only thing Jensen would be angry about and the only thing Steve should feel guilty over.

“Look, I’m so sorry this is happening to you, but you can’t just give up like this. Don’t let what’s happened destroy your life. I know, this all really sucks, but you have people that care about you, lean on them for the support you need. You need to get back into the swing of things, go to your classes and go back to work. Do anything you can think of to keep your mind off things if that‘s what you want to do, but you can‘t barricade yourself in this room anymore, it‘s slowly killing you,” Steve says, watching Jensen intently to see if his words have had any impact.

When Jensen doesn’t say anything or even look in his direction he releases a heavy sigh and continues, “I know you’re probably upset that we’re letting Jared stay with us, I feel guilty as hell about it, but… we couldn’t just turn him away, Jen, we couldn’t turn our backs on him like that. That would’ve made us feel more horrible than we already do.”

These words get Jensen to look up and he stares at his friend in bewilderment. He didn’t realize that his friends may have been beating themselves up over their decision, hadn’t thought they might feel guilty about helping out their friend. Now that he thinks about it, it makes sense, but that doesn’t justify their guilt. Jensen understands why they did what they did, he would have done the same thing had their positions been reversed.

“Steve, no, you shouldn’t feel guilty for helping out a friend. I’m not mad at you or anything for it so don’t think for a second that I am, ‘cause I understand your reasons,” Jensen speaks for the first time since his friends showed up, still feeling miserable but trying his best to make Steve feel better. “Besides, you guys were friends with Jared first and I’d never want to put either of you in a position where you’d have to choose sides.”

“Doesn’t matter if we were Jared’s friends first, Chris and I are both of your friends equally and I don’t want you think any different,” Steve says firmly, appearing upset that Jensen would even think in such a way.

“I guess some part of me realizes that already, I just… I dunno Steve, I’m just in a really bad place right now,” Jensen whispers, surprisingly being the first to address how he is feeling.

“I can understand that Jen, you’re going through a lot of shit right now and I can’t blame you for feeling so down. I just don’t want you thinking we’re any less your friend than we are Jared’s. We care about you both and would have taken you in had you been the one needing a place to stay,” Steve says consolingly, his words sincere and reassuring.

For a moment the two friends fall silent, one not knowing what to say while the other wishes to say nothing at all. Now that Steve is here, Jensen knows his friend isn’t about to leave him alone again for quite some time. He is grateful to have such caring friends, ones that will be there for him when he needs them most, but right now all he wants is some solitude to nurse his hurting heart. He isn’t about to get that though, he knows this, so he resigns himself to some company.

“How are you holding up Jen, honestly?” Steve questions quietly, voice sounding magnified in the otherwise silent room.

“As good as can be expected, considering I’ve just been dumped,” Jensen replies somewhat bitterly, regretting his choice of words almost immediately.

Steve lowers his head at this, obviously realizing how stupid his question really was. “Jay… he’s just… he’s scared, is all,” Steve says, defending the absent man weakly. “Give him some time, I’m sure he’ll come around, he just needs to come to terms with his sexuality and the fact that he’s in love with a guy, I don’t think he ever really did before.”

“Sorry if I find that a little hard to believe right now. You weren’t here when he broke it off with me, you didn’t see the determined look in his eyes. He doesn’t want to disappoint his family, he’s afraid of losing them, so he cut me loose.”

“He still loves you, Jensen, the guy’s a mess right now.”

Jensen snorts at this, making Steve frown. “Well, if he is as upset as you say he is, he’s at fault for his own misery. I wasn’t the one who ended the relationship. He wouldn‘t be so miserable if he hadn‘t caused it himself, so, sorry if I have a hard time feeling too bad for him.”

“You don’t really mean that, that’s your bitterness talking,” Steve says disapprovingly, but the concern on his face doesn’t falter. “That man loves you, no matter what you want to believe, and he’s driving himself insane without you. He’s stubborn, so he’s trying his best to keep from running back to you, but I don’t see his strength lasting too long. He needs you just as much as you need him, he just hasn’t given in and realized that yet.”

Unexpectedly, to himself just as much as Steve, Jensen breaks down into sobs, body shaking from the force of his tears. He has managed to hold it off since his friends arrived, but Steve’s concerned presence and caring rebuke has broken past his last defense and now he can’t hold his pain in any longer.

Steve crosses the space between them in two seconds flat and wraps his arms around Jensen’s trembling frame. Jensen fists his hands into the material of Steve’s shirt and buries his face against his friend’s shoulder. Steve just embraces him tightly, letting him cry out all his anguish, betrayal, and loneliness. He is whispering soft, comforting words but Jensen is crying too loud for him to hear them.

Jensen vaguely hears the door open and shut a beat later, but knows it’s Chris coming back, and although he hates the idea of his friends bearing witness to his downfall, he can’t stop the tears now that they have started. A hand lands on his back, rubbing in soothing circles, but Jensen doesn’t look over his shoulder to acknowledge Chris. His tears just continue to fall violently down his face and he clutches at Steve like a lifeline.

“Why did he do this to me, why‘d he have to hurt me like this? What am I gonna do without him?” Jensen cries out, voice rough and clogged from tears. “How could he leave me and everything we’ve built between us so easily?”

“I don’t know Jen, I wish I had that answer for you,” Steve says softly, sounding torn and helpless.

Jensen pulls back when he calms down somewhat and looks at both of his friends in turn, expression on his face one of deep pain and misery. “I was willing to wait however long it took for him to get up the courage to tell his family about us, but he doesn’t even want to try and see if they’ll accept him,” he says in a near whisper, eyes glassy with tears and lower lip trembling dangerously. “Is he that ashamed of me?”

Both of his friends look torn, unsure what to say to this. Steve looks like he wants to start crying along with Jensen while Chris sits there silently, pain in his eyes for his broken friend and anger directed towards his other one. Jensen drops his head into the palms of his hands and pulls his knees up to his chest just as Chris wraps an arm around him, pulling him into the comforting warmth of his body.

“Seems to me that you need to get outta here for a while, son,” Chris says, hand tightening around Jensen’s shoulder and shaking him lightly.

“I don’t want to go anywhere. I’m not exactly in any condition to go anywhere anyway,” Jensen responds quietly.

“Wasn’t a request, Jenny,” Chris chuckles softly.

“Now, go clean yourself up and then we’ll go get some ice cream from Malone‘s.”

Knowing he won’t be getting out of this, Jensen hauls himself to his feet and reluctantly heads into the bathroom. Who knows, maybe it’ll do me some good to get out of the room for a while, get some fresh air, Jensen tells himself as he tries to avoid looking at his reflection in the mirror, which proves to be difficult when washing your face and removing any trace of tears.


Entering Malone’s is like walking back in time. The old ice cream parlor dates back to the turn of the century, the place has actually been in business for close to a hundred years. The long counter is marble and the cash register is one of those huge brass ones with a bell that rings up sales. There are pyramids of parfait and sherbet glasses stacked at the ends of the counter and along the wall on another counter as well. Sitting on the back counter is an ancient milkshake mixer. There is no soft serve ice cream here like what can be found at other places, this place is strictly old fashioned. The ice cream here at Malone’s is hand-dipped out of the many flavors displayed in a refrigerated glass case at the end of the counter.

The establishment’s appearance is still as pristine as the day it opened, having been in the owner’s family for years, and Jack Malone lives and breathes for the small parlor. All his blood, sweat and tears have gone into keeping the place in tip top condition. The place is tidy and well preserved, with walls upon walls of bright, white paint. An old juke box sits off to the side in one corner, still in working condition, and only plays oldies.

Apparently Steve is good friends with the owner, and he gave Jensen the low down on the local ice cream parlor before they arrived. Just from the way his friend talks about the place and this Jack person, Jensen can easily assume that his friends spend a lot of time at Malone’s on a regular basis. He is a little surprised that they haven’t brought him around to the place before today; usually they are eager to introduce him to everyone they know and take him to their hang outs

In the end Jensen decides it doesn’t really matter and follows his friends to a booth off to his right, close enough to the front door and in direct line of the bathroom. He sits down on the hard white seat, resting his back against the blood red plastic padding behind him. Chris and Steve sit opposite to him and begin telling him how great the ice cream is here. Jensen wishes he could feel an ounce of the joy emanating off his friends, wishes he could share their enthusiasm.

“There’re my boys!” A man with black hair and a hint of gray approaches their table with a wide smile on his face. Jensen assumes he is in his late forties, early fifties. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen your faces around here.”

“Yeah, sorry ‘bout that Jack, we’ve been kinda busy lately,” Steve says apologetically, rising from his seat to hug their friend.

“Business seems to be going smoothly, as always.” Chris speaks conversationally, glancing around the room briefly.

“Certainly can’t complain,” Jack chuckles happily as Steve takes his seat once more. He turns his eyes to Jensen and smiles softly. “And who have you brought with you?”

“This is our friend Jensen, Jen this is Jack Malone, the owner of this wonderful establishment.” Steve introduces them, pride shining in his eyes as though the parlor is his rather than Jack’s.

“Sucking up will get you everywhere,” Jack laughs heartily, patting Steve on the shoulder before turning once more to address Jensen. “It’s nice to meet you Jensen, a friend of these boys is definitely a friend of mine.”

Jensen can’t help but smile from the friendly tone but it doesn’t really help to brighten his mood. Jack really seems nice enough though so he tries his best to be friendly in return, no matter how unsociable he wants to be at the moment. Jensen offers the best smile he can manage, though he somehow has the feeling he has failed at feigning happiness, and the slightly concerned frown on Jack’s face just proves this to him.

“Let me ask you this, Jensen, do you like chocolate or vanilla?” Jack asks with a growing smile. “Today it’s on the house since you’re a new customer and good friends with my boys here.”

Jensen has the feeling Jack is only doing this because he can tell he is miserable, but Jensen smiles nonetheless and says he likes either flavor. Jack offers him a wink and then turns to Steve and Chris. Steve asks for a banana split while Chris tries to act innocent when asking if their ice cream is free too. Jack laughs humorously and shakes his head before walking away to get their orders.

“You knew that wasn’t going to work,” Steve shakes his head, smiling in amusement as Chris honest to God pouts. “Only Jensen will be getting free dessert today.”

“That’s ‘cause Jack saw a wounded soul and we know how drawn he is to miserable souls, unable to stop himself from trying to comfort them.” Chris teases Jensen lightly, hoping it will cheer up his friend somewhat.

“I’m not a charity case,” Jensen protests, flushing ever so slightly.

“Not saying you are son, but right now you practically have Jack wrapped around your finger, milk it for all its worth.” Chris laughs as Steve gives him a disapproving stare.

Jensen chooses to ignore his friends’ antics, taking a deep breath and trying his best to appear as though he is having a good time. He knows the reason his friends decided to take him out was an attempt to cheer him up and he doesn’t want them to know it isn’t exactly working the way they hoped.

Right now he figures he is beyond hope; it is going to take a miracle to drag him out of his depressed state, and it is certainly going to take more than ice cream and good company. Honestly, the only thing that is going to help him is time. He needs time for things to settle, time to mend his broken heart before he can even hope to move on with his life and once again feel the happiness he had known before his life fell apart.

Jensen looks up when a shadow falls over the table and Jack smiles as he places a bowl of ice cream in front of him, chocolate mixed with vanilla. This brings a slight smile to his face and he thanks the man softly, picking up his spoon and shoving some of the ice cream into his mouth. Jack briefly squeezes his shoulder comfortingly and then hands Chris and Steve their ice cream before heading back to the counter.

Some song is coming from the jukebox, one Jensen recognizes although he doesn’t know the name of the artist, and he finds himself relaxing back in his seat. From time to time Jensen’s thoughts drift off toward Jared, reminding him of the situation he is in, but Chris and Steve for the most part are able to drag him out of this line of thinking. For the first time today Jensen is actually kind of grateful for his friends’ presence.

Jensen frowns, however, when he notices the expressions on Chris’ and Steve’s faces change from mellow to ones of awkward and uncertainty. Jensen tenses unconsciously, unsure whether he wants to know who or what his friends are looking at. In the end his curiosity wins out and he glances over his shoulder, doing so as inconspicuously as he can manage. His mood dampens further and his heart sinks when his eyes land on Jared standing behind him with Sophia and Chad.

Inwardly he curses his luck, the first day he leaves the room he just so happens to run into Jared of all people. The irony of the situation isn’t lost on Jensen; in fact he figures lady luck is laughing her ass off at him right about now. His first instinct is to run as far away as possible, get away while he still can, but his pride keeps him firmly in his seat. He silently hopes Jared won’t approach them, but even as he is frantically hoping this deep down he knows he is going to be left disappointed.

He groans internally, fighting his damnedest to keep it from becoming audible, as Jared and their two friends head in their direction. Unable to stop himself, Jensen attempts to make himself as small as possible by the time they reach them. Jared looks as uncomfortable as he is and Jensen considers this a small victory; at least he isn‘t the only one.

“Hey guys, we didn’t know you’d be here,” Jared speaks, his attempt at small talk, failing miserably. The tension surrounding the table is tangible Jensen tries to ease the awkward air around him by at least meeting everyone’s eyes, it is to no avail.

“We weren’t expecting to see you either,” Chris responds with an edge to his voice, not meaning to sound harsh but he can see how this confrontation is affecting Jensen and his protectiveness over the light haired man is reaching an all time high. Jared doesn’t take any offense to this, thankfully, he actually appears to understand.

Being in such proximity with Jared is having a harder effect on Jensen than he expected and he doesn’t know how much longer he will be able to just sit here. It is just too soon, he isn’t strong enough to deal with the younger man yet. Part of Jensen wants to grab a hold of him and never let go, part of him wants to scream and demand Jared tell him why he is doing this to them, while another part just wants to find the nearest escape route.

Jared turns to him, expression wary yet hopeful. “Hey Jen,” he says softly, biting his lip gently as his eyes implore the man before him for civility and the friendship they used to have.

Jensen’s eyes water against his will as his breath catches in his throat; he has to get out of here now. “I’m sorry, I have to get out of here,” he says in a rush, voice rough and cracked with emotion. He slides out of the booth, abandoning the rest of his ice cream and ignoring his friends’ pleas for him to come back as he practically runs out of the parlor.

His stride doesn’t slow once he is outside, he just runs until his strength runs out and he nearly collapses. Bending over, he rests his hands on his knees and pants desperately for breath. Tears blur his vision, though he stubbornly refuses to let them fall, and his body is trembling from exertion and suppressed emotions.

He just can’t believe Jared showed up at the ice cream parlor. Doesn’t he deserve one day with his friends without the younger man around, reminding him of how screwed up things are right now? Why the hell did he have to show up? Is Jensen ever going to have a day without the younger man either on his mind or showing up at the least appreciated moment? Jensen just doesn’t see how things could get much worse.

Jensen yells out in frustration, unable to keep it in any longer. A couple of people walking down the street stop and look at Jensen like he is insane. What, aren’t they used to people yelling out loud for no apparent reason? Jensen silently questions sardonically.

Taking a deep breath, he releases it slowly, expression growing crestfallen as he slowly walks the rest of the way towards the dorms. Silently he decides he is going to give himself the rest of the day to pity his situation but by the dawn of the new day he is going to get back into the swing of things. He’s going to go back to work, going to attend his classes once more, and there will be no more hiding out in his room. He still misses Jared like crazy, probably will for some time to come, but he isn’t going to let that stop him from living his life anymore.

Despite how resolute he is though, he can’t help inwardly calling out for Jared. He doesn’t want to move on with his life, not without Jared. God, Jay, I’ll do anything, just… please, come back.

Take me so far away from this place
Where my heart can breathe
Somewhere I can believe again
Give me something that time can't erase
'Cause losing you is taking too much
Tell me there's a reason for love


Reason For Love - by David Hodges
Mood: sicksick
Music: Lana Del Rey