Fic title: In Dulci Jubilo (In sweetness rejoicing)
Genre: rps slash au
Warnings/Spoilers: Prostitution, angst,
Thanks go to ysbail for the fantastic artwork with very little notice!, to artemisdesari for the inspiring plot bunnies to my invisible friend for the beta - I have played with it since it came back so any mistakes are all mine.
Story written for dephigravity for spn_j2_xmas.
I promise any angels are not of the winged variety! I’m sorry I didn’t go with any of your prompts - I live in the UK and don’t know enough about the American high school system to write it successfully, I hope by using some of your likes instead I’ve managed to come up with an acceptable alternative. This is actually part one of two because I find myself wanting to fill in more of the back story so hopefully you will have a new Years gift too.
Jensen has been living and working the streets for years, he lives alone until a chance meeting at the bus depot diner means he finds himself looking after the naïve and trusting Jared. When a group called Misha's Angels tries to help them on to a better life will it draw them closer together or tear them apart?
Misha ran his hand back through his hair with a sigh, the spiky dark strands stuck out all over the place proving that he’d been getting more and more agitated all afternoon. His office was sparsely furnished but somehow managed to look warm and welcoming at the same time, the goodwill furniture was shabby but well cared for and graduation photos lined the walls interspersed with copies of diplomas. A large plate of Christmas cookies was on the desk along with lists of phone numbers. Misha leaned back in his chair and spun his pencil on the desk before beginning to doodle on the margin of the page in front of him as he tried to keep his voice calm.
“JD, you can’t do this to me, please. I’m working on a shoestring budget here, especially at this time of year every cent is vital.” Misha never asked for anything for himself but he would beg and grovel if need to get what he needed for his boys.
JD’s voice came down the phone, every bit as weary and frustrated as Misha’s own. “I’m sorry, Misha. I really am. You know if it was up to me I’d be doubling, hell tripling your budget but there’s nothing I can do. The mayor says puppies and kittens are more photogenic than your kids and one of the charity animal centres is in danger of closing, so no one’s getting a Christmas bonus this year; it’s all going to the rescue centre.”
Misha sighed, knowing that JD already went above and beyond the call of duty in using his position in the Mayor‘s office to try and help secure funding for the mission. “It’s Ok, JD, well if there’s anyone else you can tap let me know. I gotta get going, its dark so early the boys will be out on the streets already and its so cold out. Dani’s manning the soup kitchen with Chad and Chris is ringing round the shelters to see what bed’s we can get for the weekend but most of them are full already.”
“So you’re going to be roaming the streets to see which waifs and strays can be dragged from the shadows into the light and if all else fails you‘ll be keeping them in the mission?”. JD and Misha had been friends long enough for JD to predict the younger man’s behaviour, when Misha was on a crusade nothing would stop him.
Yeah, something like that. I’m gonna need blankets, warm clothes, cushions and towels. If you cant get me cash you can ring round the department stores and see what you can get donated, any colder and I’m keeping the hall open overnight till after Christmas and to hell with the fire regulations.”
You’re a good man, Misha,” JD answered but Misha was in no mood to take compliments from the man who had just told him the Christmas cash he’d been promised to book out the motel at the end of the street wasn’t going to be forthcoming this year. He gave a snort, “Hah! I know, I know, I’m an angel, sure.”
“Yes you are, Misha, I’ll get going on the blankets and bedding, maybe the camping stores will donate some mattresses or something. I finish work for the holidays tomorrow so you can put me on the rota for cooking Christmas dinner.”
“Yeah! Yeah! If you’re lucky you’ll be washing up, don’t get me enough blankets and you’ll be on toilet cleaning!”
JD chuclked as he said his goodbyes and Misha did too but when he had hung up he allowed himself a quiet moment of despair. The work he did with the street kids in this run down part of the city was always over looked, not cute, not sexy, there was no hook to attract the funding. No one wanted to know that there were young men, boys really selling themselves on the streets to survive. Misha and his assistant Dani worked for a pittance trying to keep the service open. They and their band of “angels” all volunteers except for Chad who was their on community service, ran the mission on a shoestring. They tried to persuade the kids to spend at least part of the day in the centre, having a good meal, getting medical attention where needed and spending a couple of hours studying for their GED’s.
And it worked, that was the hell of it! They’d saved more than thirty kids in the past eighteen months alone, helped them get a qualification and use it to a stepping stone to jobs and housing. Part of that was due to the fact his boys knew Misha was completely honest about everything, he always did exactly what he said he would. And he’d promised the boys that in this week that was forecast to be the coldest in twenty years that they wouldn’t have to spend it on the streets with their pants round their ankles, or alone in unheated squats.
“Hey boss!” Dani came into the tiny office with a sassy toss of her mane of curls, one look at his face told her something was wrong. “Spill!” she demanded handing over the paper cup of coffee she’d brought with her and snagging a cookie from the plate. This was the moment when Misha felt the strength flow back into him, when he remembered that he wasn’t alone. With his team they would overcome anything that JD or the mayor or anyone else could throw at them! It was Christmas damn it! and he was going to make sure that for once in their sad, abused, runaway lives his boys were going to feel the magic.
“Nah, that’s the price, take it or leave it!” Damn! he hated it when they tried to haggle, he might just be a piece of meat to these dicks but he had his pride, he knew what he was worth and he wasn’t dropping his price for anyone. The guy muttered a bit about how he’d better be good for this much money and Jensen assured him he’d get the best damn blow job of his life and the cash was finally handed over. As he wearily got to work Jensen tried to remember if this was number 4 or 5 of the evening. Either way he had enough now to pay for another night in the crappy motel and for food for the morning if he was careful. It was cold out tonight, the temperature was dropping and he didn’t want to stay out any longer than he had too. He started to moan and work the guy harder, anything to make him hurry things up. Oh yeah, Jensen knew all the tricks all right; just a shame that these were the only marketable skills he had.
As the car drove off into the night Jensen had to fight the wave of nausea that threatened to overwhelm him but he knew it would pass, one of the first things he’d learned was not to eat before he went out. He pulled the handful of bills out of his pocket and counted it, $75 dollars, sweet! That would mean he could pick up burgers and the crappy banana milkshake that Jared liked on the way home. He knew the kid would have eaten at the mission but the way that he ate he’d be hungry again already.
He stopped for a brief word with the two girls who worked the corner just up the block and then headed for the motel that was home for this week, he was tired and cold and a bit light headed. He was ready for a coffee and a burger now, besides Jared would be home soon.
“Hey! Jenny bean! How’s it hanging?” Jensen had only been back long enough to eat his burger when Jared burst in, stamping snow from his shoes and glowing with the cold. The icy weather made Jensen just feel pinched and miserable but Jared seemed to radiate warmth and light despite the tatty clothing and holey sneakers. Jensen grunted his greeting and indicated the food sack on the nightstand, “figured you might be hungry.“ Jared tore open the wrapper as though it was a Christmas gift and sank his teeth into the burger with a moan of pleasure.
Jared was such a naïve, overgrown child. Jensen couldn’t imagine how he thought he’d survive here, running away to the big city with all his treasured possessions in a backpack. Jensen had found him in the all night diner next to the bus station; he’d called in for a coffee between tricks and Jim, the diner guy had comped Jen his coffee and sent him over, “Think the kid looks a little lost,” he’d muttered gruffly as he handed Jen a second coffee to take over with him.
Jared had been so pathetically grateful when Jensen had sat down and handed over the drink. The kid hadn’t even questioned who Jensen was or what he wanted before his motor mouth was babbling away about how different it was in the city and he hadn’t been able to afford a hotel because his wallet had been stolen while he slept on the bus; but he’d still been so damn cheerful and naïve. Jensen had ended up taking the kid back with him for the night and somehow they’d formed an unlikely friendship, Jared’s relentless optimism the perfect foil for Jensen’s moods and cynicism.
Jensen waited till Jared had finished inhaling the food to ask how it had gone at the mission. The kid was full of the damn place, it wasn’t Jensen’s style but he was glad his friend had somewhere to go to keep him off the streets.
“It was cool, man! Chad was being a total douche as usual, he switched Dani’s tutoring DVD with midget porn. Talk about fireworks, I thought she was going to kill him!”
“You’re there to learn, Jared.” Jensen hated the way he sounded, weary and old. He didn’t want to nag but the kid had gotten under his skin and this chance to finish getting his GED was his chance of getting out of this shitty life before he got too old and jaded like Jensen himself. Jensen had long ago realised that one way or another he wasn’t getting out but he was damned it the kid was going to get dragged down with him.
“Yes, mom!” Jared grinned, it didn’t seem to matter to Jared how grumpy Jensen was or how much he groused, Jared was always cheerful back, teasing gently and trying to make Jensen laugh. It was the highlight of Jensen’s day, this time together when the cold and the hooking and the danger was all over for the day; when they could just kick back, watch some cable if the motel room TV was working or just talk trash and play cards if it wasn’t.
“You’re late back, Jensen observed as Jared finally took off his jacket and dried his hair on one of the ratty towels.
“Yeah, There was some sort of flap on at the mission and Dani had to help Chris make a bunch of phone calls with Chris so I helped Chad run the soup kitchen for the evening, but it was awesome. I made the soup and it came out really good, Misha said I‘m a natural. Not too many guys out tonight, though. Most of ‘em working early I guess, before it gets too cold, or trying to make as much dough as possible before the johns are off the streets for Christmas.”
Jared’s eyes met Jensen’s with a look of understanding but he knew better than to say anything. There had been one occasion when Jared had offered to come out with Jensen and work with him and Jensen had told him in grim excruciating detail all the reasons why that would only happen over Jensen’s dead body and even then he’d come back and haunt Jared’s ass if he even thought about it again.
They hadn’t spoken of it again since, never mentioned where Jensen went when he left whichever grotty motel room they were in at the time. When he went out early to catch the business men who wanted a nooner to help them unwind before they stuffed their noses with coke; then out again for the early evening shift when the same guys were going home and wanted a quickie before going back to the wife and kids. He was home for a couple of hours in the afternoon although Jared was usually over at the mission taking classes then.
These were the safest times to work, Jensen had learned the hard way, maybe he didn’t earn as much as he could if he worked longer and later or nearer the club area of town but he didn’t get beaten up so much either. The business crowd were less likely to get violent too, as long as it was just an in car special. The trouble came later, when the guys had been out drinking, when the pressure would take more than a blow job to release it, that’s when things started kicking up rough.
He forced himself to try and focus on Jared who was going on again about something Chad had said while they were serving the soup and it made something nasty twist deep inside Jensen’s gut which he tried to ignore. Jared went over to his backpack, “Wanna see what I’ve got?” he pulled out a bottle, the square sides and black label showing it to be the good stuff. Jensen frowned, “Did you lift that?” he said suspiciously, Jared looked indignant, “As if I would! It was a present.”
Jensen quirked an eyebrow, “Yeah? From who and what did you have to do to get it?” his voice had dropped to a low growl, a danger signal to anyone who knew him well.
“Hey, chill, man. It was just Chad, ok? To say thank you for helping him tonight, no strings, nothing else. So I reckon you need to unwind a little tonight and I happen to know there’s a Die Hard marathon on so lets just get comfy and you can just drop the mommy act for a while. ‘K?”
He looked so earnest that Jensen could only nod and allow Jared to fetch the tooth glass and rinse out his milkshake cup while Jensen finally decided he’d warmed up enough to shed his sweater and stretch out on the queen sized bed that was his. That was the way it was between them, always a twin room although Jensen found it hard to keep his barriers up, especially at times like these when Jared flopped himself down on the bed beside him, radiating warmth and life, a stupid grin already plastered across his face as he leaned in to hand Jensen the glass.
Stupid kid had no idea of personal space, always leaning on him or grabbing his arm, brushing his hair out of his eyes and damnit it! It was Jared who had the stupidly long hair so why did he always seem to need to play with Jensen’s?
As the night wore on and the movies passed in a haze of explosions and unrealistic heroics Jared became more and more relaxed, sipping the whisky through that damned milkshake straw and sliding further and further into Jensen’s space until he was half lying across Jensen’s lap. Jensen would have moved him but the kid radiated heat and he wasn’t that heavy really and actually Jensen felt more relaxed and happy than he could remember feeling in a long time.
By the time the credits rolled for number three Jensen was sure that Jared was asleep, his breath coming deep and even and he barely moved when Jensen leaned over to grab the bottle from the nightstand to pour the last bit into his glass. Swallowing it down he set the glass beside him and let his hand fall to Jared’s head, letting his fingers gently trace the strong curve of his cheekbone and down to the perfect mouth that had made Jensen want to kiss him from the first moment he’d seen him.
Jared was so sweet and good, so unsullied by the life they led and Jensen had worked damned hard to ensure he stayed that way. It killed Jensen inside to think what might have happened if Jared had ended up anywhere but Jim’s diner that night. Usually Jim was pretty good at sending runaway kids straight over to Misha’s mission but if he’d gone anywhere else he would have been easy prey for the pimps and the pushers who’d have been only to keen to get their hands on fresh meat like him.
Still moving gently so as not to wake his sleeping friend, Jensen began to card his fingers through Jared’s hair, stupidly long and so fine and silky, it flopped in his eyes and Jensen tenderly brushed the strands back. Jared’s eyelids fluttered and he smiled sleepily, burrowing in closer to Jensen, plastering himself against Jensen’s body, curling into him as though he wanted to crawl inside Jensen‘s skin.
“S’ok, Jen.” he said blurrily. “You can, I like it when you touch me, you don’t touch me enough, Jen.” Jared’s was hard and insistent, the evidence of his need pressing into Jensen’s thigh and Jensen couldn’t bite back the moan at the friction as Jared began to move against him.
And suddenly Jensen found himself being pressed into the bed by miles of Padalecki as the kid was lying on top of him and kissing him like he wanted to eat him whole. The kiss was overwhelming, Jared devoted himself to what he was doing, his hands cupping Jensen’s face as he plundered his mouth, licking in and letting their tongues tangle. For a few intense, insane moments Jensen allowed himself the luxury of just letting go, allowing Jared to take charge and manhandle him and he felt himself thawing under the warmth of Jared’s kiss. He leaned into Jared’s touch as Jared’s fingers skimmed Jensen’s nipple making the older man hiss and buck his hips.
Jensen usually faked his response to the men he went with, no one had made him feel like this in so long, the pleasure was dizzying, as was the feeling of being wanted and needed. Jensen knew he ought to stop this, he’d kept his guard up for so long but Jared‘s enthusiasm was irresistable. Jared began to grind against Jensen’s hip, his erection hard and insistent and Jensen twisted around so that his cock was pressed against Jared’s, rubbing and building the friction to a dizzying level.
It wasn’t until he felt Jared begin to tug at the buttons of his fly that Jensen was able to force himself to stop the other man, shoving Jared’s hands away and scooting backwards.
“Jared, No! stop it!” He wanted to kick himself, the words had come out harsher than he intended and as Jared practically leapt off the bed his eyes looked huge and wounded.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to . . . I mean thought you wanted it too.” Jared was almost crying at the thought he might have been forcing Jensen against his will.
Jensen rubbed his eyes wearily, “Its just, I . . . look, we’ve both been drinking, it’s just not good timing right now.” Oh fuck! Jared still looked like someone had murdered his puppy, Jensen hated himself for putting that look on Jared’s face.
Jensen had been so used to being by himself for so long, then in just a few months the kid had got so deep under his skin that Jensen didn’t know how to handle it. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to, be with Jared, anything but; he longed more than anything to turn the clock back and be pressed beneath the lean, sinewy strength that made him feel safe and protected in a way that he had never felt before. But that was being selfish, he knew he couldn’t to do anything that would tie Jared to him any further.
Jensen got up off the bed and rebut toned his fly before going to sit on the Jared’s bed beside him, Jared was huddled in an impossibly small ball as far from Jensen as possible, looking fragile and defeated . Shakily, Jensen reached out his hand and awkwardly patted Jared’s shoulder. “Hey, its not like that ok? This is me, my issues here. You did nothing wrong.”
Jared lifted his head and Jensen still hated himself for putting the look of despair in Jared’s eyes.
“I though you . . . liked me,” Jared mumbled, eyes still downcast.
“I do, “ Jensen’s voice was anguished, “I really do, you’re my best friend, ok? I don’t do this . . . Sharing a room, looking out for each other, I’ve never done this before and it scares me.” Damn! Jensen hated making himself vulnerable like this but he knew that he owed Jared the truth. “ I’ve been on my own for years, I’ve made my own way, stayed off drugs, stayed out of trouble as much as I could and I’ve done it alone. Give me time, Jared, just give me some time.” He pleaded.
Jensen stretched out on the bed beside Jared, “Come on, kid. We should get some sleep. Christmas at Misha’s will be a blast but you’ll be busy, you need to get some rest.”
Pliable and drowsy, Jared allowed Jensen to pull the covers over them both and he quickly grew heavy in Jensen’s arms, his breathing evening out and sleep claiming him again.
Jensen lay awake long into the night, torn between wanting to stay here with Jared where he longed to be and feeling that he ought to return to his own bed. Jared was too good, he was going to the classes at the mission, he still had a chance of getting out, moving on. Jensen knew he was stuck here now, too tainted by what he’d experienced to be able to leave the streets now. He wouldn’t be responsible for tying Jared to him, he had to make Jared leave so the kid could have a better life for himself while he still could.
Jared was standing behind the long serving counter with Chad, both men were laughing as they worked and Chad seemed to be totally engrossed in everything Jared had to say. Jared had on a Santa hat at a jaunty angle while Chad wore a lime green jester’s hat with little bells that jingled as he moved. His face as animated and lively as Jared’s, they seemed suited to each other in a way that Jensen was afraid of. He knew he would never be able to offer Jared the advantages that Chad could, a home, a family, security while he finished school. During the days they had stayed at the mission Jensen had tried to pull away from Jared, encouraging him to spend more time with Chad and the other angels in the mission. He had deliberately aligned himself with a couple of the older boys that he knew, leaving Jared free to help Misha and become even more a part of the missions work.
There had to be nearly fifty boys and young men in the mission, all happily dressed in warm, clean clothes and chatting happily as they tucked into the casserole that was their Christmas eve dinner. Preparations for the following day were well underway and somehow Misha had managed to make it feel really special. The room was decorated, a named present was under the tree for each of them; Chris had even rounded up some of his musician friends to put on a free concert after dinner.
Jensen figured it was some sort of Christmas miracle really, the way Misha and his angels had managed to get all these kids off the streets and fed and warm and housed for the week. But miracles came in a flash and were easy to achieve. He’d seen for himself this week just how hard they worked, Chris and Dani alternately threatening and wheedling to get people to donate anything they lacked. Chad and some of the volunteers preparing and serving up the food, manning the laundry, organising rotas for washing up, beds and showers, and of course Misha holding it all together. His warmth and charisma persuading even the most hardened street kid to come in from the cold, to leave the drink and the drugs and the hooking behind just for a while.
Even in the short time they’d been staying in the mission Jensen had seen a difference in the newest recruits. Some of the younger ones, like Jared were already doing educational courses but others had already promised to join them, studying either for exams or doing vocational courses in woodwork or plumbing. Jensen had sat in on one of Dani’s classes and he’d been impressed by her dedication, she patiently answered everything she was asked but she didn’t patronise or talk down either.
Somewhere during the week Jared had managed to cross the line from being one of the kids, Jensen could see he was one of the angels now. No one else was asked to help cook or serve, or volunteered to go out in the van with Misha to see if there was anyone new to be brought in. Jensen had even caught him in the office once answering the phone to Jim who wanted them to come and talk to a kid fresh off the bus.
Jensen was glad, it meant that Jared didn’t need him any more, he was on his way up and out and he had friends to help him do it. Jensen could leave with a clear conscience now that he wasn’t abandoning Jared or leaving him on his own, unable to fend for himself. Jared’s laugh echoed round the room and Chad could be heard berating him at the top of his voice. “Padawhosit! You get back here!” Gravy dripped down his face and the kids nearest them were encouraging Jared to pour more over him. Jensen knew now was the time for him to leave, while Jared was distracted and happy with Chad and wouldn’t notice him slipping away.
He had his few belongings in a small rucksack and a heavy new coat courtesy of Misha’s friend JD who’d turned up this morning with a van full of them from a warehouse store that was closing down. It was time to head out but he was still reluctant to go, wanted to stay and watch Jared for just a little longer before he left; but he knew it would only get harder the longer he left it.
As he opened the door to slip away a firm hand gripped his shoulder. “You don’t have to do this.” Dani’s voice was calm and gentle and part of Jensen wanted to agree, to turn round and go back to the laughter and the friends he could so easily find if he just let himself. Instead he shook his head, “I can’t,” his voice little more than a whisper. “Look after him, please?”
“Don’t leave like this, Jensen,” Dani pleaded. “Look, let’s go somewhere quiet and talk about it.”
“I’m sorry, Dani, Jensen struggled to keep his voice steady, “I really think this is for the best, look at him. He’s one of you now.” He pulled away from her grip and headed out but she followed him. He cursed under his breath, fuck it! didn’t she know how hard this was? This was only prolonging the agony for him.
He strode out as fast as he could through the snow, immediately grateful for the warm jacket that the mission had provided. Dani had followed him in a hurry without stopping to grab a coat, wearing just a jeans and a sweater she was soon shivering.
Jensen stopped, “Please just go back. You’ll freeze out here. I swear, I’m going to Jim’s, I promise I’ll be fine.”
Dani shook her head, “You know what it will do to him if you leave like this,” Jensen couldn‘t meet her gaze. “Sure, he’ll miss me for a bit but he needs someone good like Chad, not a . . . not me.” Dani laughed mirthlessly, “He’s likes Chad as a friend, nothing more, anyone with half a brain can see its you he loves.”
“No!” Jensen shook his head, “No, no no! He doesn’t, not really, he can’t. I’m just a . . . I’ve been at this game too long now, I’m too burnt out, too fuckin’ tired.”
Dani shook her head again then reached out her hand to give him a slip of paper. “Here, it’s my cell number, ok? Mine, not the missions, when you decide to get your head out your ass long enough to see what’s best for both of you then call me, promise me that at least?”
Jensen took it with a nod and gave her a brief hug before turning swiftly and heading out into the dark, he walked fast and as the flakes of snow began to whirl faster he was soon lost from sight.
“Phone for you, Jay!” Dani’s voice echoed down the corridor, Jared dropped the potato he was peeling back into the bowl and dried his hands on his apron. Even now he was settled into a dorm room and enjoying his first semester of pre-law, Jared still came back to the mission whenever he could. He felt he could never repay them for the start they given him, Misha had given him so much support and Chad had badgered his father into setting up a bursary to give financial support to the boys with the highest SAT scores which Jared had won by a long margin.
Chad and Dani had also proved to be loyal and supportive friends, helping Jared ease into the real world of scholarship and even more importantly, socialising. Dani was grinning at him now as he made his way up the corridor, bouncing on the balls of her feet as though she could barely suppress her excitement. “Who is it?” he mouthed with a quirk of his eyebrow, but she just shook her head and handed him the phone.
“Hey, Jared. It’s Jim,” came the gruff voice on the end of the line, “I wanna close up early, seein’ as how it’s Christmas eve and all, there’s a kid here who just won’t leave. I don’t know for sure but I’m guessin’ you might have one more for dinner. Can you come and have a chat?”
“Yeah, sure,” Jared agreed. “ I’ll be right over.” He was a little surprised that Jim had asked fro him personally but so often now he went anyway, his own experiences on the street meant that he was very good at persuading the runaways that home wasn’t so bad. In which case the mission funded them a ticket home again, it was only those who had the most terrible home lives or had come from abusive situations that went back to the mission for guidance and support.
Jared snagged the keys to the van from the hook and briefly explained to the others where he was going. “You’ll have to do all the potato’s yourself now“, he crowed to Chad as he shrugged on his heavy jacket.
He didn’t relish the drive over, it was icy and he had to struggle to keep his concentration from wavering. Still as he drove the familiar route he couldn’t stop his mind from returning to the previous year, he had been destitute, living from day to day in one sordid motel room after another; but he’d been happy because he also had Jensen. Jensen who he’d loved so much but who had left him anyway. Jensen who’s protected him and looked after him; who’s green eyes haunted his dream even now. Even though Jared’s social circle had widened he hadn’t been able to bring himself to start dating, gently but firmly turning down the dorm mate who’d asked him out for a drink one night.
He parked the van as close to the diner as possible just as Jim was turning the door sign to closed, the older man jerked his thumb towards the booths in the back. “He’s up there, now don’t be an idjit over this, ya hear?”
“Uh, yeah, sure,” Jared was puzzled but as he walked to the dimly lit back of the diner his heart began to thud, he swallowed nervously, the figure silhouetted there was as familiar as his own.
“Jen?” He asked wonderingly, not sure if he could trust what he was seeing and he felt like his legs were going to go out from under him as Jensen stood up and began to walk towards him. Wonderingly he reached out his hand and Jensen clasped it between both of his, more than a handshake, the older man clutched Jared’s hand as though he would never let it go.
“Jensen?” Jared was choked with all the questions that were flooding his brain, leaving him more or less speechless for once.
“I’m sorry, I . . . I shouldn’t have left like that. Dani told me I had my head up my ass and I finally figured out she was right.”
Dani said?” Jared finally found his voice.
“Last year, when she tried to stop me leaving,” Jensen explained, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be gone so long, just, well I didn’t want to come back until I felt I was worthy of you.”
“Worthy of me?” Jared could hardly believe what he was hearing, “You left because you didn’t feel worthy. You . . . God! You idiot, you saved me, Jensen. If it wasn’t for you I’d be dead in a ditch somewhere!”
Jim coughed loudly and Jared suddenly realised that they were still standing in the middle of the diner, clutching each others hands for dear life.
“Sorry, Jim, thank you.” Jared grinned, still reluctant to let Jensen go, afraid that maybe he’d vanish again, change his mind and run away into the night like he had last year.
“It’s ok,” Jensen squeezed his hand, I’m back for good this time. You can’t get away from me that easy. We going back to the mission or are you going to show me your place first? Dani says you’ve got it fixed up pretty good.” There was a hopeful note to his voice and Jared suddenly realised that all his questions could wait, the most important thing of all was here with him again and he wanted nothing more than to hold him close and whisper promises and love him as he deserved to be loved.
“My place,” he declared firmly, and Jensen visibly let go a sigh of relief. “I was afraid you might not have wanted me back,” he murmured softly.
“Nah” Jared reassured, “You don’t get rid of me this easy.”
Still hand in hand they headed to the van, both stopping to give Jim a brief hug and a heartfelt “thank you” on the way. Jared knew it wasn’t going to be easy, they had so much to catch up on, so much to talk about, but for now it was enough that they were together again.