Today’s a special day. A day he never thought would come again, a day he’d never even hoped for. Today Jared feels something he hasn’t in four years.
Annoyed. Irritated. Seriously pissed off at his big brother.
It’s been two weeks since Jeff found Jared in Jersey City and carried him to the ER. Two weeks since the doctor prescribed complete bed rest and all weight to be kept off his battered knee. And if he needed to be moved at all, it couldn’t be on crutches.
It’s been two weeks, stuck in this stupid wheelchair. Jared wants out. And Jeff isn’t listening.
“I need you to take it easy for a few more days, kiddo.”
He pouts as Jeff pulls a jacket over his green resident scrubs, and gets up from the breakfast table. “Do you want to go to the court today?”
Jared crosses his arms against his too thin chest and tries to stop his lower lip from jutting out again. Glares up at his big brother who, at his insane height of six seven, is giving him a serious crick in the neck.
Jeff just chortles. “C’mon then, Redster. Where’s your ball?”
Jeff shares a decent two-story house with two other residents. The University of Chicago Medical Center is barely a ten-minute walk away. Not by Jared’s standards of course, ‘cause he still doesn’t walk. Hell he’s not even allowed to limp.
“Patience, Red. You have to lay off it at least until I can get us an appointment with a specialist. You hear me?”
He hears him, but he doesn’t like what he’s hearing. Jared lets his brother roll him out the house and to the basketball court next door. It figures that Jeff would choose to stay so close to one – basketball scholarship was how he got to college himself. Too bad residents don’t get enough time off to play.
Jeff kneels before him, puts the water bottle in one side pocket of the wheelchair, keys to the house, a copy of the Umberto Eco Jared is currently reading, and a cell phone in another. He smoothens the navy blue hoodie down on Jared’s bony shoulders.
Jeff doesn’t want to leave him, fact he hadn’t left Jared alone at all for the first ten days. But Jared doesn’t want to disrupt his brother’s life any more. Besides, having spent four years alone, he is no longer used to having someone hover about him all day long.
“You’re getting late.”
Jeff makes a face that’s somewhere between a smile and a wince. Fiddles with the seatbelt and the controls as an excuse to linger.
“Do you want me to quote Mandela today? I read this awesome…”
“I’m gone, I’m gone.”
Jared chuckles, waves his brother away. Then looks down at the basketball resting in his lap.
Took quite a speech to convince Jeff he isn’t going to run away again. Where would he go? Back to Jersey where Spence’s men are still looking for him and making plans to torture him to death, slowly?
He still isn’t ready to face his parents. He knows they must be itching to fly up here to see him, but good old Jeff’s been holding them back. He couldn’t keep Megan away though, of course. She landed the second day he’d been in Chicago. And the first thing she did when she saw him was slap him. Hard.
Guess the wheelchair evened things up between them a bit height-wise. Later she sat on his good knee and wept for an hour at least, and that hurt ten times more than the vicious slap ever possibly could.
He sighs. Looks up at the hoop and without really thinking about it, lets the ball sail out of his hands. Makes a clean shot, even if the hoop’s higher than it usually is. The ball bounces off to a corner and natural instinct screams at him to go after it, wheelchair and all. Except, he doesn’t really want to.
The first time he quit basketball was right after the accident. Told himself he would never play again. It was just too painful, the memories haunted every basketball court in the country and God knows he’s seen a lot of them in four years. Just like Jeff, inevitably he’d end up living or working or hustling in about the vicinity of one. But he never dared pick up another ball. Not for the first two years.
That changed one day when a little kid called TJ hit him with a ball as he was crossing the street by a dilapidated but artistically graffiti-ed court. The twelve-year old whistled at the tall man, sizing him up to be a player instantly, daring him to make the extra long shot. Kid sure had a way with words.
And Jared had made the shot.
His movements were limited because of his knee but smooth enough that two days later not just the kids but Principal Glover himself was asking him to be their part-time coach. It was a job he’d happily agreed to, a job that probably did more for his splintered soul than it did for the kids.
Jared remembers the way Jensen had looked at him, right after he’d stopped rambling away about that job.
Told ya it’d be interesting.
Not a day’s gone by when he hasn’t thought of all the things Jensen said. Of his cruel taunts, his subtexted jokes, his impassioned rambling on the politics of truth.
I don’t wanna hurt you, ever.
Jared sighs, tugs his wheels to go after the ball after all. Thinks maybe shooting some hoops will get his mind off Jensen. Now that the shock’s worn off, he’s been thinking of everything that went down in DC more keenly. The way Jensen held his hand at the steakhouse, his grip gentle and yet firm. Like, ‘never gonna let go’ firm. The way he’d held him in the circle of his arms, so snug and possessively on the scary-ass bed. The way he’d kissed…
And all that time he knew. Jensen knew Jared was a hooker, and he had kissed him anyway…
Jared makes three clean shots in a row, wheeling after the ball with way too much energy than he needs to expend. Maybe it’ll tire him out enough tonight so he doesn’t dream anymore, not about Alan, not about San Antonio, not about his eighteen-year old self running with the ball, away from Alan’s seeking hands and Jeff’s imploring pleas, away from his deeply disappointed parents and a bleak disabled future - straight into the outstretched arms of one Jensen Ross Ackles.
He doesn’t know how long he keeps going at it. The drugs in his system slow him down, and carting oneself around on a wheelchair isn’t as easy as it looks. His arms ache, his legs twitch restlessly. At last, he halts dead center of the court with the ball on his lap, and makes up his mind.
Jared swallows, lowers his eyes to his knee clad in black sweatpants, all the way down to the grey-white sneakers. He can do it. Just for a minute maybe, and Jeff’s not here to yell anyway. How much could it possibly hurt? He tries rising to his feet...
Jared starts, so much that the ball tumbles off his lap and rolls away to one side. He looks up to his right.
Dreaming. Must be dreaming.
Jensen stands at the edge of the court, and he looks absolutely… spectacular. White turtleneck over dark blue jeans, with black combat boots and a long black overcoat hangs open at his flanks. His hands are buried in his jeans pockets and his shoulders are pulled back relaxed, proud as always. There’s red splotches from the cold on his clean-shaven cheeks and black shades shield his eyes.
“Your brother’s not gonna be too happy to see you make that jump shot.”
Yep. Most definitely dreaming.
“How do you know my brother?”
Jensen smirks, steps onto the court. With every inch of distance he closes, Jared’s pulse quickens three-fold.
“I told you, Padalecki. I know everything about you.”
There must be something in his face that alarms Jensen, because he’s quickly backtracking. “I’m kidding, I spoke to your brother last week. On the phone.”
Ackles takes off his shades then. Bites his lip as he comes closer, until Jared has to crane his neck up to look into his face. Squints painfully because he’s looking straight up into the sun. Jensen seems to get it, moves to his left and circles around Jared until he doesn’t have to face the glare anymore.
“I called because… well, I couldn’t find you in Jersey. And I… kinda panicked.”
“Spoke to Glover too, he didn’t know where you went. Said you just called up one day and quit.”
“Yeah, funny story! He called me two weeks ago to thank me for my generosity? For the donation of eighteen thousand dollars to his school, a school I never even heard of. Except in passing from you of course. But you never told me the name.”
“It never came up.”
“I know. A lot of things that should have come up didn’t.”
Jared sighs, great. He’s come all this way to play yell at the dumbfuck rentboy again. He turns away, wheeling after his ball. “Why are you here, Jensen? What do you want?”
He reaches the ball and bends to pick it up when another hand reaches for it at the same time. Jared smells the white musk before he sees the face perilously close to his own, the eyes sharp and crystal clear and right there - enrapturing his own skittish ones.
“I’m here for…” Jensen stops and looks away, scratching his chin for a bit before picking up the ball. Kneels in front of Jared, sits back on his haunches so he’s the one looking up instead.
“I still don’t know why we parted the way we did. I don’t even understand what we were fighting about. Do you?”
A brief gulping motion of his throat is the only reaction Jared can manage at the moment. “Jared, I… that night before you came into the shower after me, I…”
“I really don’t wanna talk about…”
“Please, just listen?”
Jared sighs, slumps back against his chair and lets the guy continue. Jensen looks so… so tired, and at this distance he can see the beginnings of dark circles under his insanely green eyes.
“Before you came in, I was mad. God I was so angry with myself for playing you and I was upset with you because for all intents and purposes you were playing me too! I thought I was justified in the lies I told you because you were lying to me too, right?”
Jared doesn’t respond, it’s a rhetoric anyway.
“But then, when you… did what you did, I was caught off-guard. I felt stupid and ashamed, caught in my own web of lies after everything I said to you about Achilles and our quest for truth and justice and… God it was all just a big mess.”
Jensen winces, seemingly unable to look into Jared’s eyes anymore but forcing himself anyway.
“Look, I know you don’t like me too much right now. I’m a lying liar who lies and you’ll probably find this hard to believe, but I am usually a very honest and straight-shooting kinda guy. When I was lying to you, I wasn’t really lying to you. I mean… I was just playing Morgan’s game back at him. And you were just an extension of his plot to destroy me at the time.”
Jared bites his lip, still not sure where this is heading.
“But that changed as the evening went on and well, later when… you and I…”
Jared’s eyes are wide and disbelieving. He’d never thought Ackles was even capable of stuttering. “Jensen I… I don’t blame you for anything. You were right to protect yourself.”
“But I could have kept you out of it, I didn’t have to… God, Jare’ how can you sit there and be so calm? I took advantage of you, man!”
Jared shrugs. “I put myself in that situation. It’s what whores do.”
Jensen is quiet for so long that Jared starts to fidget. His fingers itch to close around the ball, something, anything to hide their shaking.
“Jared, I know it started out as… just a job for you.”
Jared winces, looks away.
“But, I guess the reason I’m here is, that, I was hoping…”
He blinks. Looks back at Jensen who seems to be fumbling again. Into his wide, seeking eyes.
“I was hoping that, maybe it turned into… something else? Like it did for me? And that maybe, there was probably another reason why you chose to tell me about the… the bugs?”
“There is, isn’t there?”
He gulps. Hard. “No.”
“I could see it in your eyes that night. And I can see it now.”
Jared spins away, to hell with the fucking ball. “Go away, Jensen. Before the paparazzi catches you socializing with someone you’d rather not be seen with.”
This isn’t happening. This can’t be happening.
His wheels are thwarted with a jerk as Jensen suddenly jumps in his path and his foot clamps down on the left pedal. His hands grab the tips of both armrests, trapping Jared in between.
“Oh no. We’re talking it through this time, Padalecki. You’re not pushing me away again.”
“I pushed you away?? You were the one who threatened to call the cops, remember?”
The tears start to run down, fucking traitors. He tries to wrench away but Jensen isn’t letting go. Not this time.
“I’m so sorry Jare’… shhh… please… please forgive me. I’m so sorry, shhh…”
“Stop shushing me!”
“Sorry! I… it’s a bad habit, I’m sorry.”
“And stop saying sorry!”
“But I really am- right. Sorry… shit. I mean…”
And now a stupid chuckle escapes, it’s like his whole fucking body turns on him whenever this man’s around.
Jensen softly smiles, almost in relief, his head dipping and rising, mimicking all of Jared’s movements as he looks away and back again. It’s then he realizes Jensen’s hands are on his hands again, covering the whitening knuckles fiercely gripping the metal bars. The hands are warm and plush just as he remembers them.
“Jared…” Jensen’s voice is a hoarse, semi-wet whisper. “I can’t stop thinking about you.”
Oh God. I can’t stop thinking about you.
“After Danneel left, I was a wreck. She left this gigantic hole in my heart that for the past year I’ve been trying to fill with work, work and more work. It’s why I went after Morgan with such vengeance that I kind of checked out of my own principles for a while. And honestly I’m not so sorry about that, you know why?”
“’Cause it led me to you.”
Jensen puts a hand on his bandaged knee and strokes it lightly. Jared doesn’t think Jensen’s even aware that he’s doing it. Catches a sudden movement behind a tree in his direct line of sight and it distracts him for a second, only to be drawn back in by Jensen’s words that continue to drill through the walls around his weary heart.
“I used to work myself so hard I’d be dead by the time I hit the sack. Sleep the whole night through with no dreams.”
Yeah, no nightmares either. He can relate.
“But now? Now I can hardly concentrate on anything because… damn it because of you. Because of your beautiful, goofy little smile, your kind sad eyes so wise beyond your years. The way you hesitate to speak your mind but I don’t see why ‘cause you’re so smart and logical all the damn time!”
“All my dreams are beautiful and whole again because you’re in them. Every morning for the past two weeks, I’ve woken up with a smile on my face. Only to have it turn to ashes because you’re not with me.”
“And I would completely understand if you’re still too mad at me, hell you have a right to be. But Jared please, please just give me another chance to make it up to you, please… I’d do anything. Anything at all?”
Jared licks his lips. “You could start by letting me speak.”
Jensen’s mouth opens in a wide ‘o’ before he sees Jared smiling. Lowers his head and chuckles quietly, and wow, is Jensen blushing?
“I’m sorry. Go on?”
Another sorry - Jared sighs, no point correcting him again. Might as well just tell him what he needs to know. Ignores the expectant look on Jensen’s face and braces himself for the rejection soon to follow.
“There’s a guy with a camera behind that tree, three o’clock.”
He can see that was the last thing Jensen was expecting to hear. A frown appears and the hand still closed over his stiffens. But Jensen doesn’t look away from his eyes. And then just as suddenly he smirks.
“I guess he’s the lucky one. Someone’s bound to land the first exclusive. Not that it’d be worth anything after I’m done making my official announcement.”
Jensen lowers himself to his knees so he’s eye to eye with Jared. And he’s leaning closer, even closer.
“Is he watching?”
“Jensen, what are you…”
Jared sneaks a look sideways, nods subtly. And before he can ask again, Jensen tilts his head and presses his lips to his. Everything else whites into nothingness. His eyelids drop of their own volition and he’s lost again. Floating, drifting away without an anchor, out of control…
Someone’s clicking away furiously.
“Mpfhh… but those pictures will destroy you!”
“Shh… no they won’t.”
Jensen’s hands come up to caress his face, pushes his wild hair out of his manic eyes. “I’m not scared of the publicity, Jared. I’ve been out for years now. My family and friends have known since high school. There’s just not been anyone special, girl or guy, since Danneel. And I was with Danneel for such a long time. Just because I wasn’t a fucking CEO back then, nobody cared.”
His eyes are wide with amazement. “So you, you’re not worried that…”
“The only thing I’m worried about is if you turn me down and I have nothing to announce at all.”
Jensen looks away briefly then, glares straight at the guy with the fat-ass SLR and smirks. Then he subtly turns further behind him toward another guy, a big Mike Tyson clone standing next to a Mercedes E-class, Jensen’s car no doubt. He must be Jensen’s bodyguard or driver or something, and is now vehemently stalking over to the journalist behind the tree.
Jensen turns back to face him. His eyes seem… hopeful, still seeking…
“I think you should still be worried, Ackles.”
“If they find out what I am…”
He can hear footsteps running away in the background.
“You’re beautiful, that’s what you are. And everyone will see that, and be so freakin’ jealous of…”
“Don’t patronize me, Ackles.”
Jensen backs up a little then, biting his lower lip. Jared can’t look at him anymore. He was right all along, this is a dream. And anytime now he’s going to wake up…
“The press will crucify you. I almost ruined you once, I can’t… won’t do it again.”
“Dude. Look at me.”
When he finally does, he sees some of the old Ackles back. The Ackles he met in Washington. Self-assured. Arrogant. Jensen spreads his hands out on his sides. “The press can’t hurt me, Jared. I am the press.”
He doesn’t have a response to that.
“If they find out about your past, I’ll make sure they also see the reasons why you fell into that world in the first place, and how you left it all behind to start a new life…”
And this time, oh yeah, Jensen is definitely blushing. “Maybe… hopefully… with me?”
It’s a question. A mind-numbing, breath-stealing, dream-like question that sends blood gushing up his face and forces Jared to look away. The intensity of Jensen’s gaze is piercing, warming him up inside and out.
“Uh, thanks, by the way, for letting my brother know where I was.”
Avoidance of the question doesn’t go as smoothly as planned. Jared watches Jensen’s smile falter, but he composes himself quickly enough. “You would have found your way back eventually. I just couldn’t wait that long.”
“You waited two weeks.”
That makes the corners of Jensen’s mouth turn up sheepishly again. “Was practicing my apology speech.”
Jared chuckles then, biting his lip because his tongue has a sordid habit of peeking out a little when he laughs. Jensen seems to love it though. Leans in to capture his lips again and this time, Jared participates.
And if this is a dream then, what the heck, he’s happy to sleep forever.
The cellphone beeps, and he starts. Flushes brightly because it’s middle of the day and he’s kissing his… his… he’s kissing Jensen in plain sight of everyone passing by. Jensen doesn’t seem to hear it, hell he just wants to keep going. He ducks and Jensen whines. Picks up his cellphone to see the text message from, surprise, Jeff.
Yo, Redster! Will be back for lunch. You better be home by twelve, or else ;)
Jared looks up from his phone to see Jensen craning his neck and reading his message upside down. Figures the guy would be a freaking snoop. Jared shakes his head.
“It’s just a nickname. Started with Red, as in short for Jared. Which quickly turned into RedNose, RedFace, RedButt…”
That sparkling laughter echoes again. Jared could never get tired of that sound. He joins in. “Yeah. And finally it’s just Redster.”
Jensen tucks an unruly lock of hair behind Jared’s ear, before standing up and going behind him to take the handlebars of the wheelchair.
“Okay, let’s go home, Redster. Meet this legendary brother of yours.”
Jeff Padalecki versus Jensen Ackles. This should be fun.
“You better behave yourself around him, man. Or he’ll kick your ass all the way back to New York.”
The voice behind him is clearly bemused. “Oh yeah? Him and his army or residents?”
“My big brother is a one-man army himself, dude. For starters, he’s six seven.”
“Seriously? Freaking family of giants!”
He laughs. “Well, Megan and Mom aren’t six feet plus. But we’re all tall, yeah.”
And then suddenly Jared remembers. Turns abruptly and cranes behind him. “Wait. The ball…”
Jared’s smile freezes as he turns around. Jensen runs for the ball, hits it so it bounces up into the air before he catches it, only to keep dribbling it all the way back to Jared. A momentary flashback of Alan ethereally superimposes itself on the vision of Jensen, and he can barely breathe.
It’s okay, Jare’. You can let go now.
That night, Jensen forgoes his booking at the Conrad to stay with Jared in the little guest room in Jeff’s house. Jared’s big brother takes his time getting used to the idea of them spending the night together, but eventually (after taking one look at Jared’s silent mask of a face) he practically insists that Jensen stay.
Jared wears his brother’s giant-sized blue basketball shorts to bed, along with a white ragged old Scooby Doo t-shirt he loves so much. Jensen strips down to his red-and-white checkered boxers, then curls up around Jared on the queen-sized bed from behind, under the pale blue duvet.
It still feels like a dream, fragile like glass and if he so much as blinks, it might just shatter and be gone forever…
“Turn around,” the gentle voice whispers.
Jared doesn’t protest, clumsily bouncing up and down in the bed as he turns without straining his bandaged knee too much. Jensen closes his arms around him once more, pulls the injured leg up and holds it between his own, keeping it safe. It brings his groin flush against Jensen’s and a tremble runs down his spine. But Jensen isn’t interested in that tonight. It surprises Jared, but then he’s still thinking like a… like someone who’s not been wanted for anything but sex for a long, long time.
“Was Alan your…?”
Jensen speaks in hushed whispers, soft and delicate. As if he too is afraid of breaking the illusion.
“Best friend. That’s all.”
He doesn’t elaborate, it’s still too painful to talk about.
“Jeff says you used to prattle away at sixty miles a minute.”
Jared sighs almost painfully. “That was a long time ago. I… thought I had it made. Was at the top of my game, had wonderful friends and family who accepted me for who and what I was, a great future all planned out. Got cocky.”
“Somehow, I find that very hard to believe.”
Jared smiles sadly before he buries his face in Jensen’s neck, breathing in the sweet scent of ivory and musk. Feels soft kisses pressed into his temple, fingers running down his permanently awry hair.
Jared can feel Jensen’s heart racing against his own. “Why did you go back to Jersey? Why didn’t you, you know, just take the money and run?”
That was the plan, yeah. He’d resigned himself to a dismal existence under the control of a sadistic pimp with nothing but his class of basketball kids to make him get out of bed every day. Until one day Marsters shows up clutching an Elite Escorts catalog under an arm, and offering Jared the exit option of a lifetime. One he’d jumped at of course, back when he didn’t think there was any room left on his conscience to bear the weight of yet another guilt.
He’d been wrong.
“It didn’t feel right.” He whispers noncommittally, as Jensen moves to rest his chin on top of Jared’s head. “Besides, I didn’t think Spence would find out so soon and…”
He is interrupted bluntly, urgently.
“Jared, I know you said you want us to try and make this work. But after everything that’s happened in Washington, do you think you could ever really forgive me?”
What? Jared frowns and looks up. “Jensen, I don’t… there is… you have nothing to apologize for.”
“Don’t I? I used you, treated you like…”
“Like the fag-whore I was, yeah! I remember.”
Jared’s lost it by now, his cheeks burning up with the humiliating memories of that night two weeks ago. Leans away and would have tried to sit up but the shattered look on Jensen’s face pulls him up short, and now he’s just desperate to never have this conversation again.
“Look, we went over this. I’m the one who tried to trick you, remember? Please let’s not worry about the past anymore, okay?”
Jensen shakes his head. “I’ve got so many flaws, Jared. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to match up to your high expectations.”
Jared isn’t sure what they’re talking about anymore. “What high expectations? Ackles what are you on about?”
Jensen exhales loudly. “I have a temper, Jared, you’ve seen it. I get vicious when I’m cornered. I snore, sometimes. Not all the time.”
Jared rolls his eyes but Jensen just keeps going. “I’m stubborn and impulsive. I’m a sore loser. I… I, I’m no good with names and I got no patience for jaywalkers and not the least bit for slow driving grannies in fast lanes. And I honk.”
Jared laughs, “Wow. You really are a New Yorker. I’m freaked.”
“And I’m never the designated driver.”
Oh. Now he knows what they’re talking about.
Jensen grimaces, hard, like he doesn’t really want to do this himself. “Never. Can’t resist a single malt, you know?”
“Jensen…” Jared breathes heavily, his voice shaking with emotion he’s tried so hard to escape for years.
“You see, Jare’… I’m gonna be needing a lot of forgiveness, if this has to work. I can’t carry the weight of guilt around like you do, especially guilt that’s not even mine.”
Presumptuous sonofabitch. Does he really expect it to be that easy? Does Ackles really think he can just talk all the pain away?
Jared looks up angrily into those storm-filled eyes, teeth worrying at the shapely lips. He slams his own lips against them feverishly because damn it, he can’t bear to see the desperation in Jensen’s face.
“I know. I know baby, shh…”
He doesn’t understand why Jensen is muttering those words when Jared is the one supposed to be consoling him. Takes him awhile to realize the hot drops of water rolling down his cheeks and neck aren’t coming from Jensen either.
“It’s going to be okay. Everything’s gonna be okay.”
“I d-don’t know how. Jensen, the things I’ve done these past four years…”
Jensen pulls him closer if that’s even possible, slipping a hand up his t-shirt and gently rubbing his heaving back. He says some things about ‘moving on’ and ‘not his fault’ and maybe Jared hears them, maybe he doesn’t. Doesn’t matter. He’s probably not even ready to believe them yet. All that matters, is that Jensen’s the one saying them.
The tears dry up eventually, the snivels take their own time. Silence has never felt so reassuring before.
Jensen rests his forehead against Jared’s. His breath carries a hint of cinnamon as it mingles with his own probably drug-flavored one but the other man doesn’t seem to care. Somewhere outside their window, a noisy vehicle drives by, hip-hop blaring at full volume mixed with the carefree sound of kids laughing. Jared quietly prays the driver hasn’t been drinking tonight.
“Go to sleep, Jare’.”
He sighs and nods, tries to give the other man space because by now he’s practically lying on top of him but Jensen won’t let go.
“Shhh, just like this,” Jensen whispers softly. “So the first thing you’ll see when you wake up in the morning is me. And you’ll know you’re not dreaming because I’m gonna be here. Right here with you, Jared. Sleep now, sleep…”
“This is Jeff Padalecki.”
“Hey, Dr. Padalecki, I’m trying to reach your brother.”
“Who is this?”
“J-Jensen. Jensen Ackles. Jared’s your baby brother right? I’ve tried all his contacts but no one knows where he went and…”
“Please calm down, Mr. … Ackles? Isn’t that Ackles from the Achilles News channel?”
“What do you want from my brother?”
“I just wanna make sure he’s alright? I called up your house in San Antonio but no one’s home and I thought he was supposed to be home but he’s not, and, I’m afraid he might be in danger or something…”
“Why do you say he might be in danger?”
“I, I don’t know how much you know about the kind of company Jared’s fallen into, recently. But, um… look, I’m gonna be as straight with you as I can. Have you heard of a guy called Sebastian Spence?”
“He’s a mafia pimp. Runs the prostitution ring in all of New Jersey, headquartered in Jersey City. Your brother, Jared’s been working for him for two years now.”
“You still haven’t told me what’s going on?”
“There’s going to be a raid. The cops and a team of my journalists are executing a sting operation to bring Spence to justice and it’s all going down tonight. I wanted to make sure Jared is aware, and nowhere near Jersey City when this happens. But I can’t fucking find him anywhere! Dr. Padalecki please, if you have any idea where he is…”
“He’s with me. Here in Chicago. It’s been almost a week now.”
“So… he’s okay then?”
“Yeah. Knee’s in bad shape. Jared didn’t tell me much but I think this Spence guy and his men did quite a number on it before I found him. But he’s going to be alright.”
“Oh, thank you Jesus. I mean, uh, I’m glad he’s okay.”
“Allison Mack works for you, right?”
“Thank you, Mr. Ackles.”
“Please, call me Jensen. And it’s no big deal, really.”
“My brother’s had a rough four years. And for the last two we didn’t even know where he was. It’s a very, very big deal to us, Mr. Ackles. Thank you.”
“Is he around? Could I, maybe talk to him?”
“He’s at home. You just caught me at the hospital.”
“He’s changed a lot since I saw him last, you know. Three years ago, he wouldn’t have accepted my help, even if he needed it badly.”
“Like you said, he’s been through hell.”
“Yeah. And for the first time in four years, he’s found a reason to fight back."
"That's Jensen, right?”
“Sometimes he has nightmares, and he wakes up screaming your name.”
“I can give you my street address, if you want.”
“Thanks, Dr. Padalecki.”
“Call me Jeff, Jensen.”
Part Six >>