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26 July 2011 @ 04:23 am
Last One Standing  
Title: Last One Standing
Author: fadedsparks
Betas: lissa_ann & almightyspaz
Pairing: Jensen/Jared
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Angst
Warnings: Character Death!
Disclaimer: This isn't meant to offend anyone and I am making no profit from it.
Summary: Jared scolds himself for not seeing the signs earlier, for not noticing something so incredibly important.

Last One Standing

Jared took in a deep breath of the chilly November air, feeling it burn his dry throat, and let it out in a slow exhale. His mind repeatedly conjures up memories, good and bad alike, but each and every one sends an agonizing pain through his barely beating heart. With every fiber of his being he wants to crawl deeply inside himself; so deeply that the hurt can't reach him anymore. He hasn't quite figured out how to do that yet, though, and so he is being forced to live with this agony.

Guilt and fear tangle to the point where he doesn't know how to distinguish them apart. Looking back brings a smile to his face, remembering good times; memorable times. Just when he is getting lost in these precious memories of the past, however, what occurred not even a full month ago returns like a plague and he is left a trembling mess. He can't help but wonder how things would be now if he had done something differently. Would they have been able to work things out? Would everything play out the same, with the same outcome?

Jared scolds himself for not seeing the signs earlier; for not noticing something so incredibly important. If he had noticed in time maybe things would be different now. He hates himself for being so blind, for not seeing the mental anguish and the subtle withdrawal. He would have seen all the signs if he would have simply been looking. He hadn't, though, and in the end the price he paid was too high.

Looking back on the past just brings him more misery, because looking back on the past reminds him of the fact that the future is undetermined. He doesn't know how to move on from this; doesn't see any possible way of moving forward. His whole life revolved around their relationship; around him. Everything is so screwed up now, though, and he can't help feeling as though it is all his fault. This whole situation could have been avoided if he had just noticed sooner. They could be happy right now, snuggling on the couch, watching some show that neither is interested in and just simply focusing on the reassuring warmth their bodies are providing one another.

"It may have been a rocky start, but I think we beat all the odds. For a while, I didn't think we'd ever make it here; in a steady relationship with everyone we know backing us up. But we made it finally, and we did it together. I feel as though nothing can tear us apart now... it's a good feeling."

Jared closes his eyes as a familiar voice invades his mind, once again, reminding him of better times; happier times. He wishes he could go back to that place in time and stay there forever; forget what is happening in the present. He can't escape the numbing truth and awareness of just how terrible life is at the moment, though, not even his memories can allow him to hide.

When Jared opens his eyes once more his eyesight is bombarded with carefully carved and polished letters. A choked sob gets caught in his throat and he finds himself covering his mouth with the palm of his hand; fighting to keep stubborn tears inside.

He is afraid to break down and let his emotions take over; afraid he won't be able to stop once he gets started. He hasn't cried since it happened and he still refuses to give in. He knows that probably isn't the healthiest thing to do, but he can't bring himself to care either. Jared realizes that his lover probably deserves a few tears but the floodgates remain closed and a cold, numbing ache resides in Jared; unwanted.

The cool breeze tosses Jared's hair around; hitting him in the face and causing a shiver to run down his spine. He glances around the area, empty as the moment he arrived, before returning his gaze to the freshly polished rock in front of him.

An ache so deep in his chest, one that surfaced on that fateful day, constantly reminds him that part of his soul is missing. He has come to believe that it will be with him for the rest of his days. His face scrunches up into a grimace of pain, suppressed tears pleading to be released, and he finds his breath hitching ever so slightly.

His friends and family have tried telling him that there was nothing he could have done; that none of this was his fault. He finds it difficult to believe their words, though. How could he not be partially to blame? He was there, day in and day out, they practically lived in each other's pockets, how could he not have noticed that something was amiss? Living in such close quarters and loving someone so devotedly, how could you possibly miss the strained smiles and all the false assurances? Truth of the matter is he should have known something was so seriously wrong; should have paid more attention.

I was so sure that we were happy, so confident. Sure, I was concerned, and even confronted him one time, but he assured me that everything was fine and I had never questioned him again. I just let it go, gave up so easily, and ignored all the signs, Jared concludes in his mind. They say that ignorance is bliss, and that is true in his case, but the outcome of that ignorance cost him someone something that he can't get back. In his mind, he turned his back on the person he loves when he needed him the most. Something like that couldn't possibly be forgivable.

When he looks back on when they first got together, he finds it hard to believe that this was the way it ended. As clichéd as it sounds, they were supposed to grow old together, walk down the street holding hands like they were still in their prime, and argue about what show they were going to watch on television that night. It wasn't supposed to end like this, and it certainly wasn't supposed to end so soon. They should be cuddled on the couch right now, keeping each other warm against the cold. Jared shouldn't be standing alone in a cemetery with an empty, hollow feeling in his heart and a dying will to see another day.

"Before you came along, Jared, I was a very unhappy man. Sure, I had my dream career and a handful of close friends, but I came home to an empty house, ate alone and slept alone. Then I met you and you changed my life. I was instantly attracted to that child-like innocence of yours, your carefree personality and sunny smile. I wanted to wake up to that smile every morning. Our relationship has given my life meaning, and I can't imagine being without you."

Recalling those long forgotten words brings a rare smile to Jared's face because he knows they were said with raw honesty. Yet, he has to wonder when that had changed. When had his presence stopped giving his boyfriend's life meaning? He can't determine when things started changing, exactly, but he suspects that it was a gradual process, which escalated to the point where the pain was just too much to bear.

He does remember when his suspicion started, though. Jensen had started wearing long sleeved shirts, even when it was in the midst of a smoldering summer, and wouldn't even roll up his sleeves when the heat became too much. When he refused to take off his shirts when they were intimate, however, and kept his arms out of Jared's reach, that was when Jared confronted his boyfriend. Jensen had laughed it off, said Jared was just paranoid, and then the discussion was over. After that he began wearing short-sleeved t-shirts again, but he also began wearing wrist bands constantly.

Jared knows he should have pushed harder, shouldn't have let the issue be dropped so easily. Part of him realizes that maybe he didn't want to know, was afraid to be told and have to acknowledge the truth. Being unaware was easier for Jared, but it was also harmful for Jensen. Maybe if he had pressed the issue, forced Jensen to talk, maybe he would still be around.

Jared slowly slumps to the ground, grasping at the blanket of dirt covering his loved one, and reminisces on the last conversation he had with Jensen.

"I'm thinking we should take a vacation during the hiatus, get away for a while, just the two of us."

Jensen looks up from the book he is reading, glasses sliding down his nose to perch on the very edge, and gives him an odd look. "Where's this coming from?"

Jared shifts a little in his seat, a wide, goofy smile growing on his face. "I dunno, it's just we haven't really had much time to spend together and just be ourselves. We're always working, doing interviews, and having to make some appearance at some event. I just thought it would be nice to have some alone time…pretend we're normal for a while," Jared tries to joke at the end.

Jensen's eyes hold an expression Jared can't decipher, but he would almost swear that it is sorrow, a great amount of anguish. But by the time he stands up and is sitting next to his lover, the look has disappeared and Jensen is smiling softly.

"That sounds like a great plan Jared; it's been too long since we've been alone together." Jensen's voice is soft, almost too quiet.

"I can see it now... no set time to get up in the morning, hell, we could stay in bed all day if we want to. Stay up all night watching B-rated horror movies and we could lounge around in our boxers. I can hold and kiss you without worrying about anyone seeing us, it'll just be us."

"Alright, let’s take a vacation, it'll be great." Jensen replies before leaning in to kiss his boyfriend. "I have all my scenes wrapped up, what about you?"

"I still have one more to do, the longest one." Jared replies solemnly and Jensen laughs at this. And if the laugh sounds just a bit forced, Jared doesn't mention it.

"Well I'm beat, you mind if I head out before you?" Jensen asks with pleading eyes.

"Nah, you go ahead. You gonna be waiting at my place for me?"

For a long pause Jensen just looks wistfully into Jared's eyes, as if trying to catalog everything about them into his memory. "Always," Jensen finally replies before kissing him once more and then silently exiting his trailer.

For a moment all Jared does is sit there on the couch, staring at the closed door that Jensen just disappeared behind. On a sudden impulse, he jumps to his feet and sprints out of the trailer, ignoring anyone that tries to get his attention. He only has one thing on his mind: getting to Jensen before he leaves.

Rushing to the parking lot, he finds Jensen just about to get into his car and calls out his name to stop him. Jensen looks up at the sound of his name and fixes a questioning stare on Jared. By the time he reaches his boyfriend he is a little out of breath but he smiles nonetheless.

Looking around to make sure no one is near, he turns back to Jensen and steps closer. "Just wanted to catch you before you left, wanted to say something."

"Why, what is it?" Jensen asks in confusion, with an expression on his face to match.

"I love you Jensen."

For a brief pause Jensen just stands there, looking at Jared curiously. But then a genuine smile grows on his face, and Jared is so relieved because he hasn't seen it in months. There also happens to be tears in Jensen's eyes that make them shine brighter than they have in a while. Of course, Jared is concerned about why there are tears in Jensen's eyes in the first place, but he doesn't question his boyfriend.

"I love you too.” Jensen whispers, looking at Jared fondly before opening the door to his car and getting inside.

Jared steps away from the car and just stands in the middle of the parking lot, watching Jensen drive away until he can't see the vehicle anymore.

Jared wonders what he would have done if he had known that was the last time he would see that beautiful smile, the last time he would look into those eyes or hear that familiar voice, the last day he would ever see Jensen alive. Would he have stared longer than usual, committing it all to memory so he could look back for many years to come? Or would he have done everything in his power to change Jensen's mind, convince him that life was still worth living?

He knows for certainty that there is nothing to contemplate or wonder about, though. He would have done all of the above. The real question is: would it have made a difference?

Part of him had known there was something off about Jensen that day, something wrong. He hadn't known what it was, though, had thought maybe his mind was messing with him, so he didn't look much further into it. He figured they had both just had a tough day, tough season, and everything would be okay once hiatus came. They could get away from their busy schedule, the watchful eyes of the paparazzi, and they would be able to find themselves again. They could just be them, a couple. He had been wrong, though. Isn't that how it usually goes?

When he got home after filming he didn't get what he had been expecting. When he came through the door Jensen wasn't sleeping on the couch, nor was taking a shower. In fact, he was nowhere to be found. That was highly unusual since he is always there when Jared gets home, and he had also said that he would be waiting for Jared at his place.

A sense of dread, which had been silently building up ever since Jensen walked off set, was the cause for Jared racing over to his boyfriend's place. Looking back, he realizes he broke so many traffic laws that day. All the good it did me, Jared thinks solemnly to himself.

What he found when he arrived at the apartment; the image will stay with him for the rest of his days. The place had been eerily silent and smelled musty after months of neglect. He had slowly searched each room, but the bedroom was where he fell to his knees; where his world was torn apart.

Jensen lied at the foot of the bed, motionless. His eyes were closed as if in sleep, but his chest was still. From the moment Jared stepped into the room, however, he knew he was too late. Blood from the cuts on Jensen's wrist had long since stopped flowing and a precious amount pooled beneath his arm; forever staining the carpet. A harsh reminder of the day's events and of the fact that a soul was lost in that very spot; a soul Jared should have saved.

Before Jensen came along Jared had been all set to marry Sandy, which would have been the worst mistake of his life. He was only going to go through with it to make his family happy, to be the kind of son they wanted. Don't get him wrong, he thinks she is a wonderful and beautiful person, but he didn't love her that way. He thinks of her more in the sisterly sense, not someone he could spend the rest of his life with.

Then Jensen entered his life and turned it upside down. At first he had been terrified, denied endlessly that there was any kind of attraction between them. But then one day he just stopped fighting it, opened himself up to the idea and, as corny as this sounds, was swept away. In his opinion, Jensen saved his life. He showed Jared the side of himself that he was always too afraid to acknowledge; showed him his true self. He owes a lot to Jensen, and he isn't too proud to admit it.

That is why he can't help but feel like a failure. Can't help but feel that it should have been him instead. If either of them had to die, he feels it should have been him. Jensen had given him so much, and yet he wasn't there when Jen needed him the most. Didn't return the favor; didn't save his life.

"If I could trade places with you Jen, you have to know that I would. You didn't deserve to die, and especially not like that," Jared whispers to the grave beneath him.

Reaching out, he runs his fingers along the carefully carved lettering upon the tombstone; reading the words in which he has seen so many times that he can see them whenever he closes his eyes.

Jensen Ross Ackles
March 1, 1978 - January 25, 2007
Beloved son, brother & Boyfriend
"The most beautiful soul to have graced our lives"

In his hand is a bouquet of flowers and he places them by the headstone, leaning them against it. Next he places a picture frame in front of the grave marker, a photo taken of them at Jensen's parents' house on the day his family finally accepted their relationship. It had been a special day for the both of them, memorable. Jared had been accepted into the family, which was something neither of them thought would ever happen.

"God, I miss you so much Jensen. Why did you have to leave me here on my own? Did I do something wrong, is that why you were so unhappy? Did you lose faith in me, in my love for you? Your leaving has seriously damaged me Jen. I want to be angry with you, but I can't. I know you were hurting; didn't know what else you could do. But, God, I'd give anything to know... When did I lose you?" His voice breaks on that last line and he has to take a moment to collect himself. "I know you would probably laugh at me and say I was letting the show get to me, but, I swear, sometimes it feels like you're still here with me."

It is probably just the show getting to him, but there are days when he questions what he really believes. The times when he will feel a cold chill on his arm and the times he can swear he hears Jensen's laughter. He knows it is just his mind playing tricks on him, but for the most part he wants to believe it is really Jensen; wants to believe his spirit is there with him.

"Maybe I should have pressured you more, made you talk to me. Maybe if I had been a better boyfriend you'd still be here right now. I know I failed you, I didn't even try to save you... you must've thought I didn't care." Jared's face scrunches up in a grimace when he thinks about it; heart aches at the idea of Jensen dying thinking he didn't care.

"I'm sorry," he whispers, "so sorry. Just, please, come back."

Jared steels himself when his throat hitches from the sobs threatening to be released, begging to be set free.

Knowing it is time to go, he stands up and whispers, "I'll see you tomorrow babe," before heading back to his car so he can go home, where he will lie awake most of the night before moving on to the next day in his life, a life without Jensen.

Can't help but feel like it should have been me
Well let’s go back and I'll take your place, I'll lose my breath
‘Cause we never talked about how this would be
Me alone on the other side and so far from death

And I could stand here and never move
Just watch the seasons change the earth that is your blanket
And I need a reason to breathe, I need proof
That life is more than just what we make it

Maybe I'd feel better
If the sky were grayer
But I don't think it can be
And I'd rather be in the ground with you
Than be the last one standing

The End

Last One Standing - by Keeley Valentino

Mood: tiredtired
Music: Atom Smash
leahk80leahk80 on March 2nd, 2012 04:27 am (UTC)
wow, so heartbreaking...nicely done.
FadedSparksfadedsparks on March 2nd, 2012 10:58 am (UTC)
Thanks :)