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Rebelling against Reality since 2003


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Shipwrecked - Jensen - 2

Bigbang (J2 AU): Shipwrecked.. Epilogue



It’s ten months later, and he’s back at the Wolf Creek court.

There’s twelve seconds left on the clock, the score is tied at sixty-two each and the home crowd’s going stir crazy because they haven’t given up hope yet. Not yet.

There’s Alan, and there’s him. A furious give-and-go across the court to the other side and suddenly the ball’s back in his hands. Four seconds left to spare. Jared bends his knees (both good knees) for leverage, jumps into the air from his spot at the three-point line, and lets it fly.

Kennedy High wins. The crowd is up on its feet and flocking down to the court.

This is how it’s supposed to be. Forever and ever. The cheers echo into the cool San Antonio night, sharing their joyous victory with all his friends and loved ones. With Alan and Sandy, Chad and Sophia, Chase and Saleem and Bryan who doesn’t even like him so much but far as captains go he’s totally awesome. Justin too.

And then Mom and Dad and Meg and Jeff, and Jensen are hopping down from the stands. And Jensen is grinning wide and proud, clapping his hands and looking at him with limitless adoration in his eyes. This is how it’s always going to be…

A new face suddenly emerges from the crowd and rushes towards him, with cold-blooded murder in his eyes and a large S-shaped knife in his hand.

“I warned you what would happen if you tried to leave me, didn’t I, babyface?”

No. “Spence…”

And there’s no time to run, no way to defend himself. In the very next instant, the knife is pulled back and driven straight towards his gut… but it’s not his flesh that’s pierced. Sebastian stabs Jensen in the liver just as he pushes himself between them, protecting Jared.

He wakes up screaming Jensen’s name at the top of his hoarse, sleep-filled voice but it’s loud enough. The echo reaches back to his ears and jars him back to reality. He looks around wide-eyed, incredibly relieved to find himself not on a basketball court but on his own bed, in his own bedroom… his and Jensen’s bedroom, in their own home in Manhattan.

And it’s bright as noon. Fuck. It is noon.

At the rumbling of furious running up the stairs he winces, bites his lip but it’s too late to take it back. Panic and terror from the nightmare quickly recedes, only to be replaced by red-hot embarrassment because seriously, he doesn’t wanna do this again.

The door is jerked open. It’s Jensen skidding in first, followed by Megan, then Mackenzie, then Josh and then Tom together with Allison.

“What happened?”

“Do you need water?”

“Get him a glass of water.”

“Jared, sweetie… you okay?”

He tries. “I’m fine…”

“Of course he’s not okay! Does he look okay?”

“Just a nightmare, it wasn’t real sweetie…”

“Stop patronizing him, he knows it’s only a nightmare.”

He tries again. “Guys…”

“Told ya not to give him that fourth shot of tequila.”

“Oh so it’s my fault now? Who shoved the lime in his hand and dared him to…”

“Where’s the water? Who’s gone to get the water?”


Everyone shuts up and turns to him at once. If Jared weren’t still shaken up, he would have found it hilarious. Their concern (read: complete lack of tact) is humbling, really, but it’s too much.

“Can I talk to my boyfriend, please? Alone?”

Jared resists rolling his eyes and shaking his head as his family and friends blink, frown, glare at each other before mumbling quick apologies and grudging assents and finally clear out. Everyone except Jensen.

The door closes and he climbs into the bed besides Jared. Puts a hand on his shoulder and squeezes, frowning with deep concern. “Sorry ‘bout that. I think everyone just freaked ‘cause you haven’t had a nightmare in three months and…”

Jared nods vaguely, rubbing an eye with his left hand’s knuckles.

“You okay, baby?”

He lets himself be engulfed in Jensen’s arms then, buries his face in Jensen’s neck and closes his eyes against the gory images. Feels his lover rubbing his back with a steady hand and it calms him down.

“It’s that news about Spence, isn’t it?”

He doesn’t even need to nod. Jensen buries a hand in the back of his hair, kisses the side of his face. Jared wishes some of Jensen’s strength could seep into him through skin osmosis or something. The dark shadows of his time spent in Jersey have receded considerably, what with all the stupid therapy his boyfriend keeps checking him into. At least Jensen goes to the sessions with him, which means more time to spend together, hence the lack of complaining. But the news of Spence’s murder at the maximum-security prison he was serving out his sentence at has expectedly stirred up old wounds.

“He stabbed you.”

Jensen holds him tighter, softly stroking Jared’s hair. “He’s dead, baby. Now unless you believe in supernatural ghost shit, which I don’t, he’s not coming back. Ever.”

“I know, just…” He sighs, bites his lip. This is so stupid. Even dead, the man wields a certain power over him and he hates it. “I’m so sorry about this.”

“Shut up.”

He laughs then, turns his face and demands a kiss, which Jensen quickly supplies. Jared blankets himself in the exhilarating taste and scent of his boyfriend that’s so uniquely Jensen. He relaxes, lick by lick, entwines his tongue around Jensen’s and together they roll, slip and slide against each other in a passionate dance that lasts forever. Someone moans, and Jensen starts to push him back into the bed, sprawling between the hundreds and hundreds of pillows. Minimalist Ackles may be, but Jared sure as hell ain’t.

Jensen peels the sheet away that divides them, and that’s when Jared notices he’s wearing nothing but a short yellow t-shirt, the one Jensen was wearing last night. He blushes and laughs at the same time.

“Wait, the door!”

“Relax, no one wants to get traumatized by live gay porn. They all know what we do in here.”

Jared laughs, falls back against the cushions as Jensen pulls his own shirt and undershirt off.

“What are Tom and Allison doing here?”

“They never left. It was six AM by the time the party wrapped up so I made them stay in the guestroom downstairs.”

He kicks off his shoes and gets comfortable between Jared’s spread legs, fondling his privates with casual familiarity, just the way Jared likes it.

“We were going over last minute details for tomorrow’s conference. It’s gonna be so awesome.”

Jensen looks so excited. Jared winces; butterflies on acid infest his empty stomach with a vengeance because tomorrow’s the big day. Bigger than anything he’s ever seen before. Hell, bigger than the big game. It’s why all their siblings are visiting. Jeff is flying down tonight and the parents will be in tomorrow morning all the way from San Antonio and Dallas, and…

“Stop it, baby. You’re over-thinking it again.”

“I can’t help it. I just don’t wanna mess it up.”

Jensen kisses him softly. “You won’t.”

And before Jared can argue back with a predictable ‘how do you know that?’ Jensen captures his mouth again, one hand massaging his protruding hipbones as another continues to stoke his erection. Jared moans, surrendering happily to the deliberate distraction and spreads his legs wider as he winds his arms around Jensen’s neck.

Jared’s put on some much needed weight at last, mostly because Jensen won’t let him skip a meal and because he loves to indulge his young lover’s every whim and fancy, all of which seem to lately center around two things – chocolate and steak. Not together of course, ‘cause that would be gross. At least his ribs don’t show anymore, and his abs are getting harder, still nowhere near what they used to be back in high school, but close.

Jensen breaks the kiss to lave his nipples, chewing at one avidly and Jared practically whines. “Ah, Jen?”

“Yeah, babe.” He manages to speak with his lips still stuck to the pebbled nub on Jared’s chest.

“Want that sweet mouth of yours wrapped around my dick. Now.”

The older man stills, and then grins. That playful lusting look in Jensen’s eyes will be the death of him some day. Jared closes his eyes as Jensen glides downwards, vaguely musing not for the first time that maybe Jensen missed his calling – he could have been hot property with that talented mouth of his in the escorts business.

Jensen doesn’t waste any time and deep throats him in one go, pressing the flat of his tongue against the thick vein in the underside and swirling it around the head on his way up. Jared whimpers and thrashes as Jensen closes a fist around the base while moving his mouth up and down his length, sucking away to glory. At last, Jared can’t hold it anymore, giving in to a series of violent spasms that wrack his body from head to toe when he comes.

“Oh! Oh God…”

Guess Jared whites out for a bit, because the next time he opens his eyes they’re back under the covers, strong arms holding him tight against someone’s chest. Jared stretches sleepily, happy to stay within the confines of Jensen’s arms forever, feeling content and tranquil at last.

“Jen, don’t you wanna…?”

Jensen laughs. “Aren’t you still sore from this morning, baby?”

Jared bites a grin back as he butts his head into Jensen’s chin. Sure he’s sore but in a good way, the way he likes it. Amazing how aware Jared’s become of all sensations big and small, in all other parts of his body now that his knee is not in constant pain anymore.

Now that he doesn’t actively block out what’s being done to his body anymore.

“Besides, I need you to rest up a couple more hours before your physical therapy this afternoon. Or both Jeff and Sterling will have my head for making you party all night and disrupting your schedule again.”

“That’s bull. You don’t make me do anything.”

“Yeah, you tell them that, kiddo. Now go to sleep.”

Jared snorts, never did learn to say no to the man after all. But then again, ever since Jared moved in, Jensen’s hardly ever said no to him either.

Jensen presses his lips to the top of Jared’s head and continues to rub his back gently, patiently, until he drifts away. He’s not awake to see Jensen tuck him in, plant another soft kiss on the mole by his nose, then quietly gather his shirts and slip back into his office where Tom and Allison are (most definitely not making out) waiting for him.


Monday morning rolls in, and everyone’s stone cold sober and serious again. They organize the press conference at the offices of Achilles News Corp in the heart of Manhattan. Wall Street’s only a couple blocks away and needless to say, the event is being watched very closely by investors and analysts alike.

Jared paces inside a breakout room next to the conference hall. The limp is hardly noticeable, although it gets that way after a few hours of strain so he needs to take it easy. But right about now he’s freaking out bad and pacing seems to be helping. Somewhat.

He fidgets with his necktie and cufflinks for want of keeping his hands busy. Feels like an eight-year old, sulking and uncomfortable wearing a tux for the first time in, what, five years? But that’s the least of his worries right now.

Someone walks in on him and from the sound of the steady measured footsteps he knows who it is, but he doesn’t look up.

“If you tell me to relax one more time…”


Jared stops pacing and sneers, and Jensen makes his cutest ‘resist me, I dare ya’ puppy-dog face that isn’t as effective as his own but damn it, it’s pretty darn close. He turns away shaking his head in exasperation. Jensen calmly takes his elbow, twirling him around and into arms that Jared knows won’t let go until he caves. So he sighs and nestles in instead, careful not to crumple the suit. And just as he’s about to get comfortable, Tom walks in with the dreaded announcement.

“It’s time.”

Jensen pulls back, fixes Jared’s tie absently. “Alright. You’re gonna be fine. There’s nothing to worry about, okay? Trust me.”

Trust Jensen, of course. Always. But how can Jensen trust him so implicitly?

“Just keep your notes in front you, you got ‘em?”

He pats his jacket pocket and nods sullenly.

“Got any candy on you?”

Jared does a double take at Jensen’s question. “What?”

“Tommy, give him your M&Ms.”

Tom actually whines, like a four-year old. “Dude, c’mon!”

Jared looks from one man to the next. “I don’t want his M&Ms.”

“Yes you do, sweetheart. Tom uses them all the time. The sugar rush makes you forget your nerves when you go out there, it’s like paper clips…”


Jensen frowns at him. “You never saw Maid in…? Never mind. Tom, you’re not addressing today.”

The Vice President actually pouts, adorably at that. “It’s a press conference, Ackles. You never know.”

Reluctantly he digs out two small packets anyway, one peanut and the other mint crisp, flings them at Jared who catches them automatically against his chest, still gawking at the handsome man. Tom ‘never a hair out of place’ Welling has trouble public speaking? Tom, who everyone at work secretly calls Superman ‘cause he’s so fucking perfect and in-control all the time? Tom, who once threatened him with bodily harm if he ever hurt his best friend Jensen?

Jensen claps suddenly, and puts a hand in the small of Jared’s back. “Alright, we’re good. Let’s get out there and have some fun, okay?”

Jared inhales deeply and attempts to walk off in a hurry, alone, but Jensen reaches out to grab his right hand.

And just like that, hand in hand, they walk out to face the world.

Even after ten months, the flashes don’t stop for the longest time. You’d think they’d be sick and tired of the whole bisexual CEO and his ex-prostitute partner story by now, but clearly not. It’s the award-winning news feature of the year, the outrage of the decade. It’s the true love story that didn’t have to end tragically to make it to the Pulitzers.

It’s a story of the love that prompted a major Achilles sting operation and brought down one of the largest and most sadistic prostitution rackets to have ever been run across the East Coast. Movie rights just got sold to Universal, so it’s not like Allie needs to work for Ackles anymore, really.

It's the story of two ordinary men that fate brought together, but their extraordinary ability to love without judging, to overlook the superficial layers of men and discover the true person beneath, is what keeps them together. Now and forever.

Everyone that matters to Jared is there – all his friends, old and new, his family and Jensen’s family. Press reps from every major news channel from all over the world quickly organize themselves as Achilles rises to take center stage.

Jared takes his seat on the dais next to Tom and the other board members, while Jensen walks up to the microphone. Jared knows his boyfriend doesn’t enjoy being in the limelight any more than he does, but it comes to Jensen naturally. A sudden hush descends. Jensen hasn’t spoken a word yet and already everyone’s hooked.

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for coming. This meeting has been convened by the board of Achilles News Corp to make an important company announcement.”

His deep baritone voice booms over the speakers, pleasant and inviting, and somehow still manages to sound commanding. Jared gulps but tries hard not to let it show. His mom, Sharon, smiles encouragingly at him from the side.

“At Achilles, we believe in the pursuit of truth, and upholding the basic human right of every citizen of, not just the United States, but the world, to be informed of the truth. Every day we strive to do just that – bring to you the hard facts and nothing but the facts, via the unbiased and completely transparent media of ANC television channels, publications and Internet media networks.”

Jared breathes deeply, still struggling to compose himself. Catches Jeff’s eye and his brother winks, much like he did from the bleachers the night of the final game, just before the big tip-off.

“We’ve been in the business of communication for only a few years. But our experience as individuals living, and often struggling to live in this diverse American society, has taught us one very crucial lesson – and that is the importance of being able to communicate with each other. The ability to talk to someone when we need help, the ability to reach out to people who might need our help – it all starts with putting in place those basic bridges of trust within easy access of everyone in the community. And you know it’s tough - building that trust, a whole lot tougher than reporting live from Baghdad, I can guarantee you that.”

A few smiles and agreeing nods greet the adlib. Everyone in the business is aware of Ackles’ stint in Iraq, the man knows what he is talking about. Jensen swallows stiffly and waits, letting the suspense build.

“So ladies and gentlemen, it is with the same spirit of integrity, and dedication to communication not just across the seven seas but also amongst ourselves, that I introduce to you, the Achilles Corporate Citizenship programme.”

The curtain is pulled back and the presentation finally comes into view. Jensen turns to it briefly as cameras flash and applause greets him once again. “You could call it our humble attempt to give back. And our first project as part of this effort is what we’re here to talk about.”

Jared wants to pull his tie off, but knows he can’t. Jensen spent an extraordinary amount of time to get it just right.

“We asked ourselves, what is it that Achilles is really good at? And how can we leverage it to benefit the lives of the people that we touch every single day? The answer - I wish I could tell you I was the one who came up with it. Unfortunately that credit doesn’t belong to me. So without further delay, I’ll hand it over to our brand new Programme director, whose brilliant vision and stewardship have brought this great initiative to life.”

What the…?

“Jared Padalecki.”

The flashes break out once again, the room echoes with applause he doesn’t think he deserves. Programme Director? Way to go, Ackles. Perfect timing to spring more shocks to his system unbalanced as it is. He manages to rise.

This is it.

Amidst an ovation that takes much longer to die out than it did for Jensen, Jared takes his place at the transparent glass podium. Puts his notes in front of him and clears his throat. When Jared looks up, the glare of the cameras blinds him momentarily and he winces. He can see the expectant faces, the curious glances, and the unconditional support on the faces of his family and friends.

He turns once, sideways, to look at Jensen, who seems to be so completely unworried and God he’s so grateful. But he’s also scared. Feels like the words have shriveled up on his tongue and his mouth feels dry. Should have tried the M&Ms after all…

As a couple seconds of silence tick away, sounds of awkward shifting can be heard from the audience and he swallows again. Just then, a movement at the main door catches his eye. Jared watches as a soberly dressed couple quietly slips into the conference hall. They’re in their forties but their faces lined with loss and reconciliation make them seem older. And when they look up at Jared - the very purpose of this moment, this day, and of his very life, becomes summarily clear.

Jared always dreaded going back to San Antonio, thinking that having to face Alan’s parents would maybe break him in the worst way possible. He was so wrong. The amazing kindness in Mrs. Cohen’s eyes gives him the strength he couldn’t find before, and he exhales all his hesitation out into the microphone.

“I’m sorry, the whole ‘programme director’ title kind of… threw me.”

Tries to laugh, breaks out the (notorious) dimples and surprisingly it works. Everyone smiles back at him. Maybe he can do this after all.

“Imagine a seventeen year old kid who loses both his best friend and his dreams for a future in a terrible road accident.”

The cameras stop flashing.

“The shock and the trauma, and the guilt from the incident is so immense that he runs away from home to escape it. But the demons give chase, haunt his days and nights wherever he goes and so he just keeps on running, until he finds himself where he doesn’t really want to be. Surrounded by bad elements and unhealthy influences, the kid doesn’t stand a chance, and he keeps losing his faith and all his self-esteem, until he’s nothing but an empty shell of the person he once used to be.”

There’s pin-drop silence in the room. No one needs to be told whose story is being recounted in this forum today.

“But hope as they say, springs eternal. If this kid gets the support he needs in time, maybe he can still be saved. If only he knew who he could talk to for help when he’s ready to accept it, or if a well-wisher finds him and works with him to pull his life together then maybe, just maybe, the kid won’t end up shooting meth into his veins, prostituting himself for a day’s meal, or maybe something worse.”

Jared looks down at his notes and bites his lip to stop its trembling.

“I was fortunate. I found the help I needed, under the strangest and one-in-a-million kind of circumstances that y’all have heard more than enough of.”

They smile and nod oh-so-sagely. Fact is, nobody actually knows of the Mayflower encounter or of Morgan’s involvement (no way in hell is Jensen letting that sonofabitch get any leverage out of this). Only that the men met somewhere, and it was love at first sight.

“But most kids aren’t so lucky, boys and girls alike. For your information, in the United States, over one point five million minors ran away from home or were thrown out of their homes in the last year alone. The number of kids above that age is way, way higher. Unimaginably so.”

A wave of audible gasps washes over the length and breadth of the room.

“It’s true. This is the future of our country, ladies and gentlemen, wasting away on the streets of America. Unfortunately there’s only so much the Youth Services Bureaus, with their limited government focus and funding, can do. We’ve spoken to them and they’re more than willing to let us lend a helping hand. And so, ladies and gentlemen, it is with great hope and humility that I’d like to introduce - the Alan Cohen Foundation for Street Youth and Families.”

A new presentation slide emerges on the screen behind him and the cameras start whirring again.

“An initial funding of ten million dollars has been organized, which will help set up Street Outreach centers in all major towns and cities in the country. These centers will provide for the immediate needs of runaways like food, shelter, clothing and medical care. Achilles will leverage its contacts to provide the best legal aid available, and access to drug rehabilitation clinics for as long as they need. Social and psychiatric counselors will be contracted to work with every kid individually.”

Jared pauses, letting the information sink in just like Jensen taught him.

“Now some of these kids may not have a home to return to anymore. The Alan Cohen Foundation is more than happy to provide for full school and college scholarships to kids who show keen interest in pursuing their education, or get them decent paying jobs and homes in safe residential areas. For kids who do have a home and loved ones to return to, the counselors will do their best to unite them with their families.”

Jared’s confidence grows with every word that leaves his mouth. He’s worked on this for weeks, tried to cover as much ground and close as many loopholes as possible. He hopes Alan would be proud. His parents are smiling, that’s a good sign.

“The centers will also act as Go-to’s for families who’re looking for their children who’ve run away from home. Our law and order system does the best it can, but sometimes if the kids cross the legal age limit, there’s really nothing the cops can do. Achilles will use its cross-country network and expertise to assist families in locating their kids, getting everyone together and stage the necessary interventions…”

He discusses his plans for another few minutes, simultaneously running the presentation behind him with ease. Spots the proud look on Jensen’s face from a corner of his eye and it makes him smile. At the end, he opens the forum for questions, and there are a lot of them.

“Mr. Padalecki, when you do plan to open your first outreach centers and where?”

“The first three go operational next month. We’ll start with Brooklyn and Queens, spread out across New York and New Jersey, and by end of the year we’ll have covered the entire East Coast. We also have a couple of big fundraiser events coming up that you’ll be kept informed about.”

“Mr. Padalecki! Over here!”

“Yes, Miss Gamble.”

“First of all, congratulations. The Alan Cohen Foundation seems to have its roots based in strong convictions and a well-thought strategy, not to mention the deep pockets of Achilles News Corp.”

He softly smiles. “High time we put those deep pockets to good use, don’t you think, Miss Gamble?”

Everyone chuckles again. The journalist from CNN continues.

“Yes, I suppose that’s true. Mr. Padalecki, this question is slightly off-topic. But it’s such an interesting coincidence that only last week, Sebastian Spence was stabbed to death in New Jersey State Prison. What is your reaction?”

He struggles not to look at Jensen then. Jared learnt from the very best after all, how to keep a straight face and not give anything personal away. Better yet, how to use humor as a deflecting mechanism.

“Part of me thinks of it as poetic justice. And it’s the same part that eight months ago, was happy to hear about how Jensen went to see him in jail and punched him from across the table, breaking his nose in two places.”

Everyone laughs again. Then he sobers them up.

“But there’s a bigger part of me that wants to believe that nobody is above redemption. Because the fact is, a lot of these kids we want to help, Miss Gamble? They’re not going to be that innocent or untouched by the time this world is done with them, or by the time we get to them. A lot of these kids would have to learn to forgive themselves, before they can reclaim their lives. I’m sorry Spence did not get the chance to repent for his crimes, heinous as they were.”

The nods are softer this time, more sympathetic. There is no way for them to know that he’s also thinking of Hartley, serving out his sentence for underage DUI manslaughter in Huntsville.

The questions eventually turn to Jensen and Tom as they join him at the podium. He uses the break to turn back to the bunch of people there exclusively to cheer for him. Danneel stands leaning against her husband, Dr. Sterling Brown, who holds her like she’s something precious. She waves at Jared and Sterling nods and he just wants to crush them both in his giant embrace. He doesn’t think he could ever thank Dr. Brown enough for getting him out of the wheelchair.

His friends from high school, Chad and Sophia made the trip all the way from Carolina and he’s glad to see them. Allie and Mackenzie are giggling like a couple of schoolgirls and Jared discretely checks to make sure his fly isn’t open (again). Megan is busy flirting with Josh, which he isn’t too sure about ‘cause Jensen’s big bro is eleven years older to his little sis but then again, odder couples have made it. Hell, Jared should know.

Jeff beams up at him, the immense pride and love evident in his face even from this distance. His parents are there, and Jensen’s parents are there and they’re actually getting along, or so it would seem from this distance, which is good enough for now.

Alan’s folks have eyes for no one but him, and it makes him want to cry a little but he needs to be strong, because this isn’t over yet.

“Mr. Padalecki, do you intend to have recreational facilities at these Outreach centers? Like basketball courts, maybe?”

Jared smiles, his gaze flickering back to the Cohens as he responds. “Of course! If my friend Alan were here, that’s the first thing he’d want to put in at the centers.”

“Mr. Ackles, do you have any plans to bid for any of the Morgan Media divestitures?”

“Well, no.”

Jensen always does that, answering questions as succinctly as possible without rambling on and on about irrelevant details. It’s not something the press is used to and it amuses them to no end.

“But considering there was a time Achilles and Morgan were bitter arch rivals, and now that Morgan is not doing so well, it’s surprising that Achilles is unwilling to cash in on the opportunity presented?”

“Miss Gamble, I have nothing personal against Mr. Morgan. On the contrary, I’m actually kinda grateful to him in a twisted sort of way, and he knows why.”

Jared bites back his grin, as do Tom and Allie.

“It’s unfortunate that Morgan House stands on the verge of bankruptcy today. They’ve had a long run and leave behind a legacy of publications they can be proud of. But truth be told, we don’t share any synergies with the Morgan portfolio. In other words…”

Jensen grins impishly. “The only Morgan products making any profits are the skin mags. And we don’t swing that way, you know that!”

The audience sniggers, no wonder they love him. The back-and-forth carries on for a few more minutes until Tom calls to wrap it up.

When it’s time to leave, Jensen does what he’s done every time they’ve stepped out in public. He walks over to where Jared stands and brings his mouth close to his, completely unaffected by the ensuing chaos around them. Everyone in possession of a camera or a microphone seems to go wild almost at once, falling over each other to capture this sensational ‘Stop the Presses’ moment like it’d never happen again.

Like the sky himself is bending down to whisper sweet nothings in his beloved earth’s ear.

The sharp tingling warmth that caresses his knuckles is familiar yet surprising to him every single day. A part of Jared doesn’t want to get used to this. Doesn’t want to get complacent because damn it he doesn’t know if he could ever survive, being shipwrecked again.

“Ready to go, Jare’?”

The voice is kind, and unpretentiously mischievous. As if promising a great new adventure if Jared would just take his hand and come along for the ride. It’s a promise of absolute security in the midst of reckless abandon, and somehow, it succeeds in pushing all his fears and doubts away.

Jared smiles, bright and wide and uninhibited. His nod is perceptible only to Jensen, who then takes Jared’s hand and holds on like his life depended on it. They don’t care if the world is ready to accept them yet, they don’t care if it ever will.

Quietly, gracefully, Jensen leads him out of the conference room, leaving the glare of the spotlights behind.

******* FIN ********

A/N: Pls let me know what you think?

Author Notes & References >>
Master Post >>

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Thank you so very much for reading and reviewing! Yeah the characters aren't supposed to be perfect. They're human, they've made mistakes but they're willing to pick up the pieces and do the right thing, move on. And now I'm rambling, sorry :D
I'm really really glad you enjoyed it hon, cheers :)

Wow. I really loved this.

I'ev enjoyed every J2 BigBang fic I've read, but there's always a few that really stand out; this is one of those.

Love the kinda angst you've got going through this. The hurt, guilt-ridden - yet determined Jared is especially good.

Thanks for writing!

here's always a few that really stand out; this is one of those.

OH MY GOD. Really? That's just.. wow.. thank you so much for the huge compliment hon. I'm so psyched... and grateful :)

cheers hon.

I really enjoyed reading this. You took the prostitution angle and made it so much more. I liked the way you made Jensen very much in charge but soft enough to work perfectly with Jared's character. I love the sneaky little Supernatural reference--that made me laugh. I liked that Tom was the friend who didn't fall for Jared right away, but of course, who could resist for long. I liked that Jeff was the one who saved Jared, that was a very nice touch. All in all, you made a fascinating world!

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing hon :)

I liked the way you made Jensen very much in charge but soft enough to work perfectly with Jared's character.

Yayy!! Thank you :) I did need Jensen to compliment Jared in every way. I imagine they could both learn from each other and grow into better people over time. I also wanted to create characters that as real and believable as possible. They're not heroes, they're just ordinary people reacting to situations by doing the right thing and in a way that's what makes them extraordinary.

Okay I shall stop rambling now ;P Thanks again hon, am so glad you enjoyed it :)

Waaaaah! I just loved this. Such an enjoyable read. Plenty of schmoop and sniffles, but in no way over-done. Lovely work :-)

Thank you!!! :) I'm so glad you enjoyed it hon. And even gladded you thought it was not over-done! *is relieved* cheers hon :)

really great! =D Loved the interactions and that we got a happy ending despite the misunderstanding.

Thank you so much!! :) I'm so glad that you enjoyed reading this hon :)

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Thank you thank you so much! :) I did try to keep it as subtle and believable as possible yeah! They're just ordinary people reacting to situations like ordinary people do, only they're doing the right things instead of wrong ones *shrugs*
It is so heartening and wonderful to read your comment validating my humble efforts hon. Really, thank you so much! :) *hugs*

Awww - made me cry at a couple of points. Glad Jensen wasn't fooled - I liked his characterisation very much all the way through.

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing hon :) Jensen's the easier one to write in this AU.. he's very clear on what he wants unlike Jared who's so conflicted, poor thing. Okay I'm rambling sorry :D
cheers hon!

Well, you asked for it 01/02

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear – now I read this in a three hour rush (I’m a slowly reader when it comes to English stuff) and I am still, even after I had half an hour to collect my thoughts, not sure what to feel besides tears and this warm, amazing something in my stomach making so clear that you, with this story, now own my heart.
I’ve read lot of Bigbangs. LOTS of, because I simply have the time, and this one came like a rocket and put its place on the top five. It was pure love to read, pure fun to know you’ve written this, because I kind of know you and CAN feel as fucking proud of you as I want to without seeming like a freak.
But let’s just – you know. Step after step.
First thing is that I absolutely admire your goddamn style, darling. I just LOVE how in-depth it is, I enjoy the way it just FLOATS and sounds so goddamn POETIC on the same hand and makes me go all “awww” because it’s just so much beauty and so beautiful to read it, you know? I mean, you know that, I told you before, but reading your stuff is just such a pleasure because it’s emotional and just EPIC and I am lacking words to describe it and keep somehow…objective.
I mean, GIRL. Just how you use repetitions, like the one of the bar smelling of nothing, nothing at all just is such an amazing way of putting the reader to that place and on the same hand showing so much of Jared’s character yet, it’s fascinating. Jared and his knees, that cannot stand the weight of his broken dreams anymore. Beautiful. Absolutely amazing how warm you write, how warm I feel when I read your stuff.

The moment you got me crying was very early in the story, the one that got me crying like a lost child without being able to stop was when there was this stupid line: It’s okay Jare – you can let go.
You can let go. So simple. So brilliant. Do not ever, ever mix with your style, in my eyes it’s bull’s eye.

But I do not only like the warmth of your style, but also the way you just HOOK people. I refused to read what your story was about, I wanted to just start reading, and just how slowly everything comes out is so fascinating and INTERESTING, and so many authors are not able to do this, they cannot work Show-do-not-tell but you CAN. It was a pleasure to find out WHAT kind of job Jared has, a pleasure to find out what happened in his past, and girl, you DO know how to put in plot twists and cliff-hangers. Jensen already knowing? All these little comments he makes? One feeling like there is no other choice but to READ ON to find out what happened four years ago? Alan? That was amazing; so catchy and professional in it’s own way, I am still smiling and so goddamn.fucking.proud.

Talking of Alan – characterization. And, boy, your Jared is like one of the most touching things I’ve ever read in the fandom.
You know, I like hooker stories. They have to be GOOD, which makes that kind of kink rather unsatisfied in me, because there so rarely ARE good hooker fictions out there, but you just – your Jared is so amazing. I mean, people could argue that it’s some sort of cliché, sure they could, they could ask why he is doing what he’s doing, but for ME, this was all very clear, you know, it was guilt, and guilt is a bad bad spot that never leaves you and controls your whole goddamn life, and with a guilt like that, the one of someone thinking he is responsible for a death, that’s – changing the whole body and soul, and you just showed that so perfectly, and you showed his distrust so amazingly; I mean, when I’ve read that he and Jensen do not even sleep in one bed my heart was absolutely, like, absolutely stopping for a second, because that’s something I call REALISTIC which is often ignored in fandom but so Important To ME as a writer. Jared was gorgeous. Warm, broken, vulnerable but with a voice on his own, and I so enjoyed your dialogs, because your characters HAVE voices, you know, and these voices make it possible to even follow talks longer than two or three sentences, which is also not something many authors are able to do.

Re: Well, you asked for it 01/02

Oh jeez... *sighs* Rave.. I don't even know where to start thanking you! Your words are making me wanna weep a little because after having waited 2 bloody months to post this and after all the anxiety and nervousness, your words feel like redemption. And especially coming from a friend as dear as you is just the cherry on top!!! *smishes* :)) It means a lot to me when you say you're feeling proud because.. sweetheart that's just absolutely the best thing anyone's ever said to me for my writing!

And yeah it was very important for my characters to be REAL and believable. I didn't want the guys to be heroes or perfect in any way. They had to be ordinary people but extraordinary in the choices they make, their willingness to look past the other's shortcomings and fall in love with the person inside, and then let that love inspire them to do the right thing. I also completely agree with what you said about guilt. It controls your life utterly, more than any other emotion possibly could and if it didn't I'd worry that maybe we weren't human anymore.

I feel utterly relieved to hear that found them realistic honey. You're like.. oh God.. I'm hopelessly in love with you right now !! :D
Thank you thank you so much sweetheart!!! :) *hugs*

Well, you asked for it 02/02

JENSEN on the other hand was just written so goddamn well and realistic as well. Love on the first sight just changes everything (and I do believe in it) and how he changes his way of thinking he can cross Morgan’s ideas and then absolutely falls for the trap was very nice to read. I liked his characterization of himself. I think this is a story I could read on and on just to see HOW Jensen gets into one aggressive or violent mood, just because it fits so well to the profile presented in these words here. Besides – I don’t wanna hurt you, ever? THAT hit bull’s eye of my sucking heart for romance and love and FEELINGS. My gosh, and Jared that “lets the words break him”? My. My, your colours are so beautiful.
Alan was love. With Alan, you hit one of my weak spots. I cannot even explain why, I loved the boy from the first moment he came up; maybe because Jared cared so much about him and you made so clear how he does and why and we, as readers, were so sitting in his head and just enjoyed his thoughts and his pain.
I liked Tom as well – could understand his trouble of believing and really appreciated him questioning Jared. I think he gave up a little too fast, though, but that’s just a matter of taste and seeing/understanding, I think. – maybe because my own trust would not go that far; I’d check Jared for at least half a month without caring if I hurt him or not.

Atmosphere was amazing. The rain? The metaphor of heaven and earth loving each other? Boy, that was so goddamn beautiful. I also loved the way your time flooded; one just found so many interesting facts while following you and the characters.

As you can see – I am pleased, I am so much ARE. When I recall the story, there is actually not much that really HAPPENED – but just the way you wrote it and the way your characters lived and how things found their solutions absolutely made thoughts of action just pass by. You pleased every bit of my romance heart, that one that cries for happy love with this something. I will say something stupid now – But I so wished it would have been longer. As said – more conflicts, more PAIN and hurt and whatnot, but that’s just me and my neverending love for suffering and hurt and comfort.

There is nothing serious sitting in my head that I would put down as critic. Story is definitely not too long; the scenes are balanced in a great way so one doesn’t get tired but always stays with you and continues; the change of POV cleans the head and, well, absence makes the heart grow fonder, too. If I come up with something I absolutely despised, I’ll come right back at you – but now, here, I am just happy I had such an amazing evening with such an amazing story and when I will post my final REC list on the 1st of August, this one will definitely be one of the top.

Thank you. Thank you so much for posting and sharing and proving once more there is still style in the fandom that absolutely tops the one of published authors. There should be more to say – but I think I’ve ranted too much again anyway. Thank you.

Keep up the great work.

Re: Well, you asked for it 02/02

Alan was Jared's best friend. He was the first one Jared confessed to when he realized he was gay. He was the first guy Jared thought of when he needed help, or advice or just needed to talk. He was the friend he experimented his first alcohol and weed with :) Alan was basically everything to him - friend, brother, father, lover (minus the sex) - all rolled into one. I cut out a huge chunk of text that explained all of this because it was sort of taking away from teh urgency of the present. But yeah.. that was Alan. And now imagine losing someone like that. You know why Jensen understands Jared's pain? Because he knows he would be crushed too if anything ever happened to Tom. Jared was bang on when he said Tom is Jensen's Alan. Because he is. And which is why all Tom had to do was look at the two of them together, see the way Jensen yearned for Jared's love and how Jared didn't admit it but clearly yearned it back. I guess... yeah.. he probably will still keep tabs on Jared for another 4-5 months haha. But he is willing to give him benefit of the doubt because Jensen trusts him. *shrugs* Did that ramble make any sense at all? :)

I'm so pleased that you actually thought about the characters and why they behaved the way they did in such detail sweetie. I guess its what we share in common when we aspire to be writers? We have to be such keen observers of human nature and behavior yeah? :) I love having these discussions with you!! :)

If I come up with something I absolutely despised, I’ll come right back at you
Oh you absolutely MUST!! Ordinarily I consider the source for every criticism I get. And since it is you I would be extremely keen to know if you think of something to improve on sweetie. Because I trust you with this completely! :) Please do let me know okay?

Thank YOU darling. I'll be all creepy now and admit to you that I've read your comments at least thrice every day since you posted them *blushes* :D You're not very good for my humility are you? ;) LOL. Thank you so so much for making this lovely effort for me darling. Your two comments would have to be the BEST birthday present I've ever received!! Thank you so so much!! *hugs you tight* Muwaaah!! :)

Wow, what a wonderful story! The best thing for me was that I fully expected it to end at the point that they were reunited in Chicago, but then you kept going! Stories like this usually end with the big declaration but you actually finished the story without just skipping to the happy ending (small side-note, the ending made me CRY!).

Anyhoo, really really enjoyed this story, thanks very much for sharing it with us.

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing sweetie :) I did initially intend to stop at Chicago and then skip right up to 10 months ago where the Epilogue starts :) But then one of my betas thought the boys were trusting each other too easily and it all sounded too conveniently like love at first sight which doesn't usually happen. And so that's why I wrote chapter 6 - to show the teething troubles with them not completely trusting each other.. *shrugs* I hope it worked! :D

Awww *hands you tissues* The end is supposed to be uplifting! :) How I wish I had an Achilles to fund my dreams to set up shelters for homeless all over the world. Alas.. *sighs*

Okay I'll stop rambling now :p Thanks again, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)

This isn't the type of premise that usually appeals to me, mainly because it's only rarely executed well. So, I was surprised to like this as much as I did, but your writing pulled me in from the start.

What really worked for me with this was the strong characterisation and development of Jared. He was really well formed, explored and explained. I can't begin to explain how important that factor was for me. I'm terrible about good characterisation, and easily jarred out of reading if it doesn't feel believable to me. And the fact that you kept him very strong despite his circumstances was a really important factor in that.

I loved the back and forth structure of the narrative, that the writing was strong enough to explain itself without the need for temporal indicators at every shift.

And I loved the ending because the foundation's introduction was really well written, not over stated and gave a really poignancy to the epilogue.

Also, you made me cry so much whilst reading this I got teased by my other half and had to run out the room to retrieve tissues. This was really fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Thank you so very much for your kind words hon :) I'm really really glad and relieved to hear that the characterization worked for you. As a reader it's the most important thing for me as well, so yeah I try! *grins sheepishly*
This made you cry really? Awww :) Thank you so much hon.. you've no idea how much your feedback means to me.

Man, I love the moment when Jensen reveals that he knew what was happening all along! It can be really hard to take a situation like this and bring it around to this kind of a happy ending, but I'm glad you did. It was definitely what I needed to read today. :)

I would never put anyone through 35k words only to have them disappointed with an ending that's not happy! :) Thank you so very much for reading and for your awesome review hon. I'm glad it worked for you when you needed it :)

I enjoyed the twists you put in here. I wasn't expeting Jensen to have known at all, though it's pretty obvious in retrospect. And Jared had an interesting backstory, and, it would seem, a full future to look forward to being able to bring his experiences to his new work.

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing hon :) So glad to hear that crucial Jensen reveal worked.. if that one had fallen flat everything else would have failed too, whew! ;) I'm really glad you enjoyed this, cheers!