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03 May 2014 @ 05:55 am
Hands of Fate: Chapter Thirty-One  
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 Thirty-One:
Home for the Holidays
-~*~-



- One Year Later -

“So, are you ready for the big trip back home?” Chad asks as he and Jensen clean up the shop before being allowed to head home for the night.

“Nervous, but ready,” Jensen replies honestly, focusing on wiping down the front counter with a damp rag, but most of his attention is on the conversation.

This would be his first time back in Texas since the attack, and he was filled with nervous energy just at the mere thought of it. He was excited to see his family again; anxious to spend some quality time with them after their reconciliation, and spending time with the Padalecki clan on Christmas Day was something to look forward to as well.

But, despite that, the town held bad memories as well, and going back there would be facing what happened to him. It was time that he did, would help with his recovery, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t be hard. If anything, a part of him wasn’t looking forward to that aspect of the trip.

“Are you going to be okay?” Chad asks, as though he could read Jensen’s thoughts at that moment.

“Yeah, I’m going to be fine,” he replies, unconvincingly, if the expression adorning Chad’s face was anything to go by. “It’s going to be hard, sure, but Jared will be there with me. Most of our time will be spent at his family’s home. Besides, it’s about time I went back, faced my demons so to speak.”

Chad stared at him for a long moment, in thought, and then nodded. “You’ll be fine. You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for, man.”

Jensen wants to ask him where that came from, because he hadn’t been saying he couldn’t handle it. But, he supposes Chad knows him better than he ever realized, because for a long time now he has been questioning his own strength, and doubting it. He just hasn’t said it aloud. Then again, over the course of their work relationship, their friendship has strengthened, so he shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that Chad has gotten to know him better, gotten to know his tells.

He smiles a bit to himself, not unpleased by this development in their friendship, and refocuses on the task of cleaning the coffee shop. He gets through wiping down the counters and tables, and is in the process of gathering his things to go home, when Chad stops him in his tracks.

“I asked Sophia to marry me.”

Jensen lifts his eyes to where Chad stands in the doorway to the employee room, toeing at the floor with his sneakers, not meeting Jensen’s gaze. He isn’t sure if this is going somewhere good or bad, seeing as Chad isn’t meeting his eyes. “What did she say?” He asks, almost afraid to even ask the question. He can’t imagine why Sophia would reject him, but with the way Chad is staring at the floor, it gives Jensen a bad feeling.

“She said yes, obviously.” Chad lifts his head with a beaming, if not slightly smug grin.

Jensen breathes easy with that, an answering grin forming on his own face as he reaches out and slaps Chad on the shoulder. “Congratulations, man! That’s awesome news. Have you told anyone else?”

“Yeah, Jay knows, obviously, but no one else yet.” He can’t seem to keep a smile off his face right then, and Jensen can completely understand why. He had every right to smile like a fool. “Jay’s going to be my best man, but I was wondering if you’d be one of my groomsmen?”

Jensen blinks, surprised, and asks, “Are you serious?”

Chad raises an eyebrow, frowning slightly. “Of course I’m serious. You and I have a good friendship, you know. Why wouldn’t I want you to be a groomsman?”

“No, I know that, I just… you know what, it doesn’t matter. I’d be honored, Chad.” He grins and pulls his friend into a one-armed hug.

Chad chuckles softly, patting Jensen on the back. “Glad to hear it, Jen.”

:0Ж0:


Now that Jared’s truck is back on the road, they drive out to Texas and arrive the day before Christmas Eve. Jensen’s mom opens the door just as they’re stepping out of the vehicle and their reunion is an emotional one, with tears in his mom’s eyes as she pulls him into her arms and embraces him tightly.

“It’s good to see you too, mom,” he whispers, feeling a bit choked up at the warm welcome.

“I’m so glad you came,” she says, not bothering to hide the tears of happiness as she pats his cheek affectionately and then turns to Jared.

Jared shifts from foot to foot nervously, and the smile on his face matches how he’s feeling, even though he is clearly trying to hide it. His apprehension was needless however; her smile is both warm and fond as she steps in his direction. “I’m glad you’re here, Jared. Thank you for bringing my boy home, it’s good to spend the holiday with family,” she says and the tone of her voice indicates that she includes Jared when she speaks of family.

The smile that graces Jared’s face is both beaming and relieved, and he appears quite shocked when Donna pulls him into a tight embrace. He quickly relaxes into the hug, large arms practically swallowing Jensen’s mom as he embraces her back. “Thank you for having me,” he replies, eyes falling to Jensen and remaining there.

“Welcome home, bro.”

Jensen grins at that voice and turns just as Mackenzie wraps her arms around him, joyful laughter right in his ears. “Hey Mack, missed you,” he speaks quietly, for her ears only, and receives a reciprocating message in return. Looking over his sister’s shoulder, standing in the doorway to his family home, he sees his dad and brother, watching with soft smiles on their faces. And, for the first time in years, it really feels good to be home.

:0Ж0:


“Now that’s a smile I could get used to seeing,” Jared says, looking at Jensen fondly.

The smile doesn’t fall from Jensen’s face, if anything it grows wider, when he turns his head to look directly at his boyfriend. “It just feels good to be home, to be here and be accepted by my family. I know, we made amends long ago, but even now it still feels unreal.”

“That’s not such a bad thing,” Jared says, approaching Jensen and taking his hand, entwining their fingers. “I can imagine how good this all must feel, that’s a feeling I don’t think I’d want to lose any time soon, if I were you.”

Jensen nods his head in agreement, bringing his eyes back to his family who are all gathered around the television watching A Christmas Story. It was a tradition in his family ever since he can remember, and right here, in this moment, he didn’t realize how much he had truly missed this. How much he missed doing traditional things, spending holidays together and making memories. He’d come so close to losing this, forever, but he is glad things had worked out so well. It feels even better having Jared at his side, sharing this with him.

Returning his sight to his boyfriend, he finds Jared still looking at him, a small smile touching his lips. “I love you.”

Jensen chuckles, squeezing Jared’s hand, so happy he feels he could burst with it. “I love you too.”

“Come on, lovebirds, you can have your mushy moments later!” Josh calls out to them, a smirk on his face when they both turn red. “It’s family time; get your asses over here.”

“Josh, watch your language!” His mom admonishes him and Josh instantly looks contrite, glaring at Jensen and Jared as though they are at fault for his scolding. Jensen snickers at Josh’s expense, but it dies in his throat at the words that leave his mom next, “Though to be fair, he is right. Both of your get your behinds in here, and watch the movie with your family.”

Jared smiles at him in amusement and pulls on his hand. “Come on, it’s family time.” He says this teasingly, but it’s clear that he’s enjoying this just as much as Jensen is. He leads him over to the couch Mackenzie has claimed and they drop down, side by side. Mackenzie sends them both a joyful smile, which they return, before all attention turns to the movie. This couldn’t get any better.

:0Ж0:


“You guys are so cute together!” Mackenzie bursts into Jensen’s childhood room, jumping onto his bed with a beaming grin.

Jensen chuckles at her enthusiasm, shaking his head. “So you keep saying.” He smirks at his little sister before turning his attention back to his suitcase, digging through it for his nightclothes. “I’ve missed you, brat! You need to make another trip out to Cali soon, maybe during summer break, spend a week or so with me.”

Mackenzie hums under her breath all the while grinning so wide it looks as though it must hurt. “I was actually thinking the same thing, Jen. I didn’t get a proper tour the last time I was in L.A. and you know I can’t stand for that. I want to check out Hollywood, see the walk of fame, the sign, and maybe go to Universal Studios while I’m there.” With each word that escapes her mouth the more excited she becomes, and Jensen can’t help but smile in equal amounts fondness and amusement.

“We’ll make plans then, save up some money for all these things you want to do. I’m not exactly made of money, you know.” He teases lightly, his sister sticking her tongue out at him for it.

“You’ll have a few months to save up,” she says simply, not too serious but not exactly joking either.

“You’re hilarious,” he deadpans as he drops down onto the bed near her and gives a smile. “It feels like I haven’t talked to you in forever, I have no idea what’s even going on in your life anymore.”

Mackenzie smiles softly. “I’ve been thinking a lot about college. I’m going to be graduating in a couple of years and I’ve been thinking I want to learn about photography.”

“Photography? I didn’t know you were interested in that.” He frowns, thinking he should have known this already and not sure why he’s only hearing of this now.

His sister chuckles, telling him to calm down. “I only just discovered this myself. But I love taking pictures, and I think it’d be awesome to become a photographer, maybe a photographer for the stars, or a wedding photographer.”

“I think that’s a great idea, Mack. It’s good to have a plan, a goal to work toward. And, to be honest, I can see you being a photographer, whatever side of it you decide on.” He smiles encouragingly and it seems to work if the grin on her face is anything to go by.

“You wanna be my guinea pig?” She asks teasingly and he immediately shakes his head.

“Oh no, no way are you taking photos of me, I’ll break your camera lens,” he jokes good-naturedly and earns a laugh for his trouble.

“Yeah…. That’s true; I can’t have you destroying my camera!” She sighs dramatically, giggling and squirming to get away when Jensen reaches out and begins tickling her for the barb, telling her to take it back.

Never!” She dissolves into another fit of giggles, fighting desperately to get away.

“What have I walked in on?” Jared’s amused chuckles draw both siblings’ attention, giving Mackenzie the opportunity to sneak away from Jensen while he’s distracted.

“Just an old fashioned brother and sister fight,” Mackenzie grinned as she bounded over to the door and glanced back at Jensen. “I’ll leave you two alone. Night bro, I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Night, Mack.” Jensen smiles.

Mackenzie says goodnight to Jared and then they are left alone in the room, Jensen smiling and Jared shaking his head in amused confusion. “Does it feel good to be back?” He asks as he crosses the distance between them and sits down on the bed.

“Yeah, it really does. I’m gonna be sad to leave tomorrow.” He sighs softly, leaning into the warmth of Jared’s side.

Jared wraps his arm around Jensen, drawing him in close. “We can stay until the next morning if you want. It would be okay to arrive at my parents’ a little later than planned.”

Jensen appreciates the offer but shakes his head. “It wouldn’t be fair to cut into your family time; your parents deserve as much time with you as my parents get with us.”

“Next year we’ll plan for a longer vacation,” Jared promises and Jensen agrees with a smile.

“I wish you were staying the night with me, I’m gonna miss having you by my side.” Jensen sighs, grabbing onto Jared and pulling them done into a lying position, curling into his boyfriend’s side. Jensen had gotten into the habit of spending almost every night at Jared’s apartment, he was hardly ever at his dorm unless it was for a change of clothes, and even then, some of his things had migrated to Jared’s.

“I know, me too, but we have to respect your parents’ wishes. They want us in separate rooms and I don’t want to do anything to make them uncomfortable, or angry with us.” Jared says softly, putting his hand beneath Jensen’s chin and gently lifting until their eyes meet. “It’s only one night, I’m sure we’ll manage.”

“I know you’re right, but I don’t have to be happy about it,” Jensen pouts childishly, fighting not to smile when Jared chuckles and tells him to stop sulking. “I’m so used to sleeping by you, I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight.”

“Well, if that’s the case, you know where to find me. I’ll be out on the couch, waiting for you, likely wide awake too.” Jared laughs softly, leaning in and brushing their lips together.

Jensen sighs into the kiss, pressing in a little closer as he opens his mouth just as Jared opens his, their tongues meeting halfway. Jared’s hand falls to Jensen’s ass, grabbing hold and pulling, both of them breathing heavily as they make out for a few minutes. They know they can’t let it go any further, but that doesn’t mean they don’t take the time to enjoy the moment, sharing deep and thorough kisses until they have to say goodnight.

:0Ж0:


As predicted, Jensen hadn’t slept well, falling asleep sometime around three o’clock. When he awakens the next morning, he is still groggy and in an irritable mood, but after a couple cups of strong coffee he starts to feel more like himself again.

The day is packed with events that he and Jared know will leave them exhausted, but they throw themselves wholeheartedly into it, starting off with a big family breakfast before heading into town, to the playhouse, where they watch a Christmas play that the town has every year. Jared watches with rapt attention, and Jensen spends most of the time with his eyes on his boyfriend, a small smile playing on his lips.

Afterwards they all return to the house, and his mom plays Christmas music. This is the one part of their tradition Jensen has never been fond of. He hates Christmas music, but Jared throws himself into the holiday cheer and sings along with nearly every song. This does wonders with Jensen’s mom, who is just as enthusiastic about the music as Jared is.

During that time, Jensen spends most of his time chatting with Mackenzie and Josh, catching up with them and what they have going on in their lives. It feels good to spend time with them, just talking and picking at each other, as siblings are wont to do.

He even gets in some time with his dad, who is cordial and tells Jensen repeatedly just how proud of him he is. Jensen can sense some remaining guilt in his dad, which is why he is constantly telling him how proud he is and how fine of a man Jared is, so Jensen can’t get annoyed by it. In fact, it is nice hearing all the compliments in comparison to how their relationship had previously been. It makes him appreciate it more.

As their visit comes to a close, Jensen grows melancholy, reluctant to leave. The family dinner is lovely though, and as they sit down by the tree to exchange gifts he throws himself into the moment and doesn’t give himself time to dwell over their approaching departure.

“You call me as soon as you get there, and let me know you boys arrived safely,” his mom tells them firmly, tears in her eyes as she hugs each of them in turn.

“I will, mom, I promise,” Jensen replies, his voice equally tearful as he hugs each of his family members goodbye, promising to keep in touch and visit again as soon as he can.

Mackenzie holds onto him the longest, not wanting to see him go but knowing he can’t stay. He wishes he could bring her along but tells himself, and her, that they will get together soon. “Maybe you’ll see me this summer,” she says with a smile and Jensen holds her to that.

They climb into Jared’s vehicle, waving their goodbyes, and Jensen watches his home until it disappears from sight.

:0Ж0:


Jared practically jumps from the truck as soon as it’s in park and the engine is shut off, Megan already having run out of the house to meet her brother halfway, jumping into his arms for a ‘welcome home’ embrace. Jensen is standing off to the side watching with a serene smile on his face and Jared closes his eyes, happy to be home with his family, and with his boyfriend at his side. Everything is right in Jared’s world and he couldn’t be happier.

His mom approaches him at a slower pace but is equally excited to see him, and Jensen. She pulls each of them into hugs and fawns over them as she leads them into the warmth of the Padalecki house. The place smells of spicy pumpkin and Jared’s stomach immediately shows its pleasure, to the amusement of everyone within hearing distance.

He practically moans, unabashedly. “Please tell me that’s pumpkin bread!”

“Now what kind of mother would I be if I didn’t bake pumpkin bread for my son on Christmas?” She asks with a teasing smirk on her face.

Jared all but begs his mom to cut him a slice, all the while telling Jensen how good it is, and how much he’s going to love it. “You’re in for a real treat, Jen. My mom bakes the best pumpkin bread in all of San Antone.” He continues to boast, Sharon looking upon him with a mixture of amusement and pleasure.

“My son exaggerates,” she tells Jensen with a roll of her eyes.

Jensen chuckles, giving her a look of disbelief. “You forget, I’ve tasted your baked goods. I do believe he may be telling the absolute truth here.”

An honest to God blush appears on his mom’s cheeks, and Jared has to snicker. “Aw Jensen, you flatter me,” she says with a pleased smile.

“Jensen’s a suck up,” Jared teases, nudging Jensen in the side.

“Jared Tristan, don’t be mean to your boyfriend!” His mom scolds, throwing a potholder at him with a grin. “For that comment, Jensen, you get two slices. You’re so thin; I think two helpings would do you some good anyway.”

Jared gapes at his mother, turning the expression to Jensen and then back again before scoffing. “I see what you did there, Jen, buttering up my mom in hopes of getting two slices!” He laughs jovially, to which Jensen blushed slightly and slapped Jared on the shoulder. “Sneaky!”

“Shut up!” Jensen laughs, hiding his face, which just causes everyone in the room to laugh heartily.

Despite the late hour, neither of them is in too much of a hurry to go to bed, so they sit themselves down at the kitchen table and wait patiently - or impatiently in Jared’s case - for their promised pumpkin bread.

His mom brings over two plates, each with two slices of the sweet bread, and places them down in front of two guys. Jared digs into his immediately, while Jensen takes a slower approach. Sharon watches on with a pleased expression on her face, always glad to see her baked goods appreciated.

Jared finishes his well before Jensen does, even then Jared snags a few bites from Jensen’s as well, despite his token protests and teasing from Jeff. “How is it you don’t weight three hundred pounds with all you stuff your face with?” Jensen rolls his eyes, earning a snicker from Jeff and a smirk from Megan.

“I’m a growing boy, with a nicely high metabolism.” Jared grins smugly, popping the last piece of Jensen’s bread into his mouth.

“Enjoy it while it lasts, kiddo, it’ll catch up with you.” His dad warns him with a chuckle but Jared just shrugs it off. He’s not too worried.

“You boys must be exhausted after the drive here, I’ve already set up the guest room for you,” his mom says to Jensen as she takes their plates to the sink.

“Thanks ma’am.” Jensen says politely, but Jared already anticipated his mom’s response to this.

“Now, what did I tell you about that, Jensen? It’s Sharon, or Sherry, to you. We’re all family here, and well beyond strangers. We’re on a first name basis only, young man.” She scolds gently, a soft smile aimed Jensen’s way. Jensen laughs softly, apologizing and promises to remember that in the future.

Jared smiles at his boyfriend, leaning back in his seat to enjoy the picture unfolding in front of him. It feels good to have Jensen here with him, sharing the holidays with his family, not having to hide their relationship. It is what he’d wanted all along but was too afraid to reach for. It may have taken them a long while, and an extra bumpy road to reach this point, but he is so very grateful for it.

:0Ж0:


The following morning dawns far too early for Jared, having only gotten a few hours of sleep at best, but he still feels pretty good. He crawls, sluggishly, from the warm covers of his bed, and pads barefoot out into the hall. Sounds of life can be heard downstairs, so he knows his family is awake. He makes a quick stop in the bathroom before joining them, finding his mom in the kitchen slaving over a hearty breakfast.

His dad and siblings are in the living room, watching the parade on the television, but Jensen is nowhere in sight. This isn’t unusual; the guy is not a morning person by any means. I’m gonna have to coax him out of bed, he thinks with a grin, one his mom catches. “I don’t even want to know what brought on that smile but don’t you think about doing anything under my roof. Today is family time, and breakfast is almost ready to be served, so you go get your boy. And if you’re not in my kitchen in ten minutes, I’ll send someone to look for you.” She warns, a smirk playing on her face as Jared blushes, just imagining the embarrassment of being caught by one of his family members.

“I wouldn’t dream of it! What do you take me for?” He asks cheekily, narrowly dodging the potholder aimed for his head, his mom’s laughter following him out of the kitchen.

Jensen is snuggled beneath a pile of blankets, completely dead to the world, when Jared lets himself into the guestroom. He smiles at the sight as he lowers himself to sit on the edge of the bed, reaching out to touch Jensen’s shoulder and shake him lightly. “Earth to, Jen. It’s time to wake up sleepyhead.”

After a couple more shakes, Jensen releases an unintelligible grumble, burrowing further into the blankets and edging away from Jared’s annoying hands. Chuckling, Jared grabs hold of the blankets and tugs them down, exposing Jensen to the chilly air. Letting out a slight yelp from the sudden change in temperature, Jensen looks over his shoulder to glare at Jared.

“Come on grumpy pants, mom has breakfast waiting and you know you don’t want to leave her waiting. You care too much about making a good impression,” he laughs, nudging at his sleepy, irritated boyfriend.

“Not at the break of dawn, I don’t.” Jensen attempts to get the blankets back up over his body but fails, and Jared just smirks at the glare leveled at him.

“It’s nine o’clock in the morning, Jen, by far the break of dawn,” he teases, rubbing at Jensen’s arm before lowering himself down to wrap himself around his boyfriend. “I promise lots of coffee if you get out of bed,” he bribes, placing soft but chaste kisses to the back of Jensen’s neck.

Jensen makes a soft sound as he rolls over onto his side, facing Jared, reaching up to run his fingers through thick brown hair. “Fine, but I’m only getting up because of the coffee.” He smiles indulgently, leaning in to place a kiss to Jared’s cheek. This is not enough for Jared however, who leans in to kiss Jensen’s sleep warm lips.

Jensen pulls away before their lips can make contact, protesting about his morning breath, but Jared doesn’t care about that and pulls him in for a good morning kiss regardless. The moment their lips make contact Jensen’s reserves fall apart, and he presses in closer to Jared, deepening the kiss without adding any tongue.

They trade lazy kisses, neither rushed or with intentions to take it further, just enjoying the quiet moment between them. It quickly ends, however, the moment the door flies open with a bang. The sound loud enough to have them jumping apart, their hearts beating hard in their chests. Jeff stands in the doorway, unable to contain his laughter at their expense, nearly doubling over with it.

“It’s not that funny, Jeff,” Jared whines, throwing an arm over his eyes in embarrassment.

“You should’ve seen your faces,” Jeff says through pants of laughter, almost unable to get the words out in his fit.

“God, and you’re always calling me the immature one.” Jared rolls his eyes as he climbs off of the bed, but can’t quite fight back the grin forming on his own face.

“Why don’t we all agree on the fact that you’re both immature?” Ericka, Jeff’s fiancée appears in the doorway behind him, looking at each of them in fond exasperation.

“I can get behind that,” Jensen pipes up.

Jared gapes at Jensen for a moment before glaring at his boyfriend. “Traitor,” he mumbles under his breath, but Jensen just sends him a beaming smile as he, too, climbs out of bed and approaches Ericka.

“Let’s leave these two idiots to calm down, and take the time for you and me to get to know each other a little better.” Ericka proposes, and Jensen takes her up on the offer, sending Jared a smile as he leaves the room.

:0Ж0:


Ericka hadn’t been there during their last visit home, having been out of town visiting her own family for the holidays, but she and Jensen seemed to get along like two peas in a pod. Jared was glad they were both there and got along so well. They were a part of the Padalecki family now, but they were brought into it, outsiders in the beginning, so in this way they had that in common. They gave each other someone to talk to; someone who understood what it was like to be brought into the madness.

Jared smiled fondly, turning away from where they sat on the couch talking and laughing, to find Jeff watching them with a similar grin. This felt nice, he had to admit, both his and his brother’s significant others’ getting along so well. It made him wish he lived closer to home, where he and his brother’s family could get together during random times, and just hang out together whenever they felt like it. Maybe even do things together, family outings or just go hang out at the bar and have fun.

Maybe one day, he tells himself, though deep down, he highly doubts it. He and Jensen are too happy in California, and with what happened here during their last visit, he knows this isn’t a place Jensen would like to be full-time. The thought makes him sad, yet another thing those assholes had to ruin, but he supposes things could be worse.

“You did real well, Jare.” His brother speaks up; breaking the silence they’d been sharing since they had joined the rest of the family in the living room. “Jensen’s a great guy, and I can tell you two are perfect for each other.” He turns to give his little brother a genuine smile that has Jared’s chest tightening with warmth from the praise. “I’m glad to see you’re finally happy.”

“I am happy, real happy,” he responds quietly, realizing just how true that is. He’s always been a fairly happy person, with a happy-go-lucky attitude towards life - minus the time in his life where confusion and fear turned his personality into something even he hadn’t recognized. “I can’t remember ever being this happy.”

“That’s because I don’t think you ever were,” Jeff tells him seriously. “Not to say you weren’t happy, but there’s being content with life and there’s finding the person who makes life worth living. They give your life meaning, and purpose, they show you a side of life, and yourself, that you never knew existed.”

Jared is well aware that his brother is speaking of Ericka, and it makes him smile, knowing his brother has found someone, someone that tamed him and is making him the family man everyone knew he could be. It is good to see that both his and Jeff’s lives are falling into place, moving them forward.

“I just wanted you to know that I’m happy for you, bro. And I love ya,” he says without looking at his brother and Jared, again, feels his chest tightening with emotion. His brother isn’t the type for emotional displays, doesn’t say I love you lightly, or often at all, so when those words leave his mouth, they are sincere and something to be cherished.

Jeff is up, and walking towards his fiancée, before Jared even has fully taken in what was just said. A smile touches his lips though. “Yeah, I love you too,” he whispers.

:0Ж0:


They do their own exchanging of gifts, well after breakfast has been served and the parade ended. Sitting around the Christmas tree, watching the smiles of happiness and gratitude passed his way, as his family opens the gifts he bought for them is his favorite part of the holiday.

Megan gushes over the handbag she had been telling Jared about for months, while Jeff and Ericka thank them for the wall gallery frame and set of pub glasses, something Jeff had recently started collecting. When his parents receive the paid trip to the day spa and reservations to their favorite restaurant in town, they each are pulled into tight embraces, words of appreciation whispered into their ears.

Each member of the family is engrossed with their new possessions, so Jared turns to Jensen and hands him the gifts he’d bought. Both had decided to wait until Christmas day before exchanging their gifts and Jared was excited about it, knowing his boyfriend would be pleased with what he’d gotten. Being the only one privy to the fact that Jensen has been juggling with the idea of writing a book, he buys him a new laptop equipped with Microsoft Office and a copy of Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

“Ironic, I bought you a book too,” Jensen smirks, handing over the wrapped gift.

Jared rolls his eyes. “Thanks for ruining the surprise, Jen,” he teases, tearing into the wrapping paper and holding up a copy of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. He can’t help but to laugh when he sees it, shaking his head as he smiles fondly at the man seated beside him. “Gee, I get you a sophisticated book, by Oscar Wilde no less, and you get me a children’s book!”

Jensen smirks, reaching out to squeeze Jared’s hand. “We all know you’re a five year old living in the body of a man.” Everyone in the room laughs at that, nodding their agreement, and Jared can’t even argue. He just smiles, chuckling under his breath. “This is great, Jen. It was my favorite book when I was a kid; I’d always planned on buying it one day, but just never got around to it.”

“Yeah, I know,” Jensen responds with an affectionate smile as he hands over one last gift-wrapped box. “Don’t worry, that wasn’t all I got you. I’m sure you’ll appreciate this more.”

“No, I actually really do appreciate the book, it was very thoughtful,” he reassures, even as he’s ripping off the wrapping paper of the second present, something that has Jensen smirking again. The moment he sees the professional grade camera equipment he practically throws himself at Jensen, all the while taking great care in ensuring the precious gift isn’t thrown from his lap in his haste to get to his boyfriend.

He holds onto Jensen, pressing chaste kisses to his lips, unthinking, while repeatedly thanking him. Jensen whispers an embarrassed, “you’re welcome,” but Jared already has his eyes back on the gift lying on his lap, staring at it in wonder. “This must’ve cost you a fortune, Jen!”

Jensen shrugged it off, trying to be nonchalant about it. “It was worth every penny,” he responds sincerely, a shy but pleased smile gracing his face. “I know you’re passionate about photography, enough to switch your major, so I figured this would go a long way towards your dream job.”

“I just…” he trails off in wonderment, eyes falling to Jensen, an emotion so strong in his chest that it feels tight. “Thank you, this is wonderful, Jen. Just, thank you for doing this for me.”

Jensen just shrugs again, that shy but pleased smile still on his face. “It’s nothing much, and it was the least I could do, but you’re welcome, Jay.”

Jared leans in to whisper in his boyfriend’s ear, “Thanks for supporting me,” and Jensen turns his face to press a soft kiss to Jared’s lips. “Always,” he responds just as quietly.

:0Ж0:


It is nearing ten o’clock at night, a few hours after they had settled in for dinner, when Jared finds Jensen slipping into his room looking fidgety and nervous. He sits up in bed immediately, instantly concerned, and urges Jensen over to him with a rolling motion of his wrist.

Jensen crosses the distance in a few strides, dropping down onto the bed, still fully clothed. Jared frowns at this, cocking his head to the side questioningly. They’d retired to bed, knowing they had to be back on the road tomorrow in the early afternoon, and wanted to get enough rest before then. So, why he Jensen not dressed for bed?

“Is everything okay?” He asks, reaching out to thread their fingers together.

“If I ask you to go somewhere with me, will you not question me until I’m ready to explain?” Jensen asks chewing on his cuticle with edgy eyes staring into Jared’s concerned hazel.

Jared swallows thickly, wanting answers now but knowing he probably shouldn’t push Jensen right now. “This is one of those times when I’m gonna have to be patient, isn’t it?” He asks, even though he already knows the answer.

Jensen nods slowly, eyes falling to the blanket covering Jared’s bed. He waits another moment before getting up from the bed, and walking to the door. “I’ll be downstairs,” he says, turning to lock eyes with Jared, before slipping from the room.

Jared sighs softly, running a hand down the length of his face, before he climbs out of bed to get redressed. As promised, Jensen is waiting patiently for him downstairs, with the Montero keys clutched in his right hand. Jared hadn’t even seen him take them from the nightstand but he doesn’t think too much on it, just obediently follows Jensen out into the night.

They drive for a while, Jared curious and growing impatient, Jensen resolutely silent and clearly determined. Jared alternates between watching the street lights pass by and looking at Jensen’s stony face. He has a good idea where they are headed and is unsure how to feel about it. Jensen needs this, he acknowledges, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

Before long, they pull up to the construction site, which is now a supermarket. Jensen’s hands clench on the steering wheel as he gazes out the windshield, his eyes a mixture of emotions. It hurts for Jared to see him like this, waning between pain, anger, and disappointment. It’s been nearly two years, and the sight of the attack isn’t how Jensen remembers it. The ground now innocuous, showing no evidence of the horror that had taken place.

Turning off the engine, Jensen climbs out of the driver seat, shutting the door behind him. Jared follows him out, moving around the vehicle to stand at his boyfriend’s side, looking at him worriedly. He doesn’t speak though, giving Jensen time to get his thoughts in order, letting him break the silence whenever he is ready to.

“I… I don’t know what I was expecting,” Jensen whispers, hands shaking slightly, and he flexes them into fists. “But, I felt like I needed to come here, needed to face my demons.”

“I get it, Jen. You don’t have to explain,” Jared responds just as softly. “I know you needed to come back to where it all happened, where it all started, but…” His eyes slide back over to the supermarket, standing unoffending a few feet in front of them. “I’m not sure you’re going to find whatever you’re looking for,” he says this as gently as he can, unsure how easily Jensen can be riled up or put on the defensive right now.

Jensen is silent for a moment, biting down on his bottom lip, eyes slowly building up with tears that Jared wants to wipe away. He hates how much this still affects Jensen, how much of a role it plays in his boyfriend’s life. To move on from this isn’t an easy feat, Jared knows that, but he wishes, for Jensen’s sake, that he could put this behind him once and for all, let himself heal.

Jensen finally shakes his head, a few tears sliding down his cheeks, but he is smiling, albeit tiny, and Jared is glad to see it. “It doesn’t matter that the scenery has changed, I know what’s underneath the concrete and tile. I know what tainted the ground, and for me… I think I could still gain some closure by coming here, even if it doesn’t look the same as I remember it.”

Jared nods perceptively, somewhat understanding what Jensen means by this. “And how do you feel?” He asks quietly, eyes searching out Jensen’s, wanting more than anything to wipe away the tear tracks staining Jensen’s cheeks, but knowing Jensen would flinch away. “Do you feel better?”

“A little, but not really,” Jensen laughs, and it’s a tearful sound. “I do feel good about coming here, facing what happened, saying that it can’t have control over me… metaphorically speaking,” he chuckles, a brighter smile taking place of the tiny one, “and that’s good enough for me.”

Smiling, Jared brushes their arms together, needing to touch Jensen for reassurance, even just a brushing of arms. “I’m proud of you, Jensen. You sure have come a long way.”

“You know what? I’m a little proud of myself too.” Jensen laughs, and shocks Jared when he reaches down and grabs his hand, entwining their fingers.

Jared can tell, just by the look in Jensen’s eyes, that he is terrified, but he doesn’t let go of Jared’s hand. If anything, he holds on tighter. It’s not much, just holding hands, but to Jared, and to Jensen, it’s everything.


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Mood: lazylazy
Music: The Fray
 
 
 
LiveJournal: pingback_botlivejournal on May 4th, 2014 02:25 am (UTC)
Edition 2,875
User clex_monkie89 referenced to your post from Edition 2,875 saying: [...] by (Jared/Jensen, NC-17) Caught in the Hands of Fate 30/? [...]