Jensen is bright and bushytailed more than ever this particular morning. It could be because things are looking up, he’s settled his first case without getting anyone hurt in the process, and he didn’t even have to take it to court. When he woke up Jared had already left, but the note on the bedside table just kept him smiling. He feels like things are really looking up.
He woke up in his old bed, where he was alone but still smiling and happy when he read the note Jared left for him. It was sweet and reminded him of everything he’d missed about his husband. It meant that there was such a thing as a second chance; who knew?
“Jensen, I went out for a while but I will see you at work. I really did miss you, and especialy after last night I want to make this work, for us.”
All his hopes come crumbling down when he makes it into the office and starts chatting with Danneel before any work related matters come up. He’s listening to her rant and rave about all the things Jared hasn’t attended to. When hears her grunt, “And if he could be bothered to talk to Genevieve to make sure she’s actually alive... It’s like he forgot she’s his girlfriend.” It makes him gasp in surprise.
“Wait a minute. What did you mean by girlfriend?” He secretly starts praying that Danneel is wrong about her partner-being involved with someone else. Jared hasn’t mentioned anything about it to him at all? There has to be a mistake.
Danneel looks at him, confused, “Yeah. They’ve been together for a while. I mean they even decided to move in together, right before she went to visit her family in Rome. He was actually taking care of her address change before the whole Bomer case happened,” she informs him, unintentionally bursting his bubble. She doesn’t really take notice, until she sees the sad face Jensen’s suddenly wearing, it was quick,switching rapidly to dislike and disgust. “I’m pretty sure they’re still together.”
And that’s a look Danneel has grown accustomed to, since that expression shows up every time Genevieve Cortese’s name is even so much as whispered in Jensen’s presence.
Danneel, who’s known him since grade school and been his best friend through everything, gives him her best smile in an attempt to resolve the situation the same way she always does. She offers words of comfort.
“Look I know this isn’t the best time to mention Jared’s new girlfriend, but we know she doesn’t hold a candle to you,” she swears with one hand in the air to emphasize how serious she was about it, “but she did keep him alive and breathing. And-” she stops at Jensen’s disappointed face. “What?”
Jensen hears her stray off, and realizes Danneel is touching on personal territory, revealing more secrets she probably shouldn’t. Deep down, there’s a longing for ignorance in this particular situation, but he knows that Danneel is too good of a friend not to tell him anything, whether she knew about his and Jared’s hookup or not. She’s talking about this girl as if he had any idea who she is, and he’s trying his best not to look so dumbfounded.
“It’s not that,” Jensen glances down staring at his left hand, and the gleaming wedding band that had meant so much to him a handful of hours earlier. This morning, when his overly romantic husband had placed the gold band on his finger, he actually believed that repairing their relationship wouldn’t be so hard.
That had obviously been the most idiotic mistake he’s ever made.
Last night’s events come back in a flood, and as they become clear to him-they’re less muddled and gritty. It seems to him that what they’d done wasn’t making love at all or hell, even comfort sex. It had just been a drunken night of fooling around with a man he was still married to. All of a sudden he was the other man-the home wrecker-in a relationship that he didn’t even know was taking place.
“Oh my god!” Danneel puts her hand over her mouth stopping what she was doing to stare at the district attorney in complete awe. The silence and dreary look on his face must have given him away, because she hit the nail on the head. “You didn’t even know about it, did you?” She asks in a hushed whisper, like it was some office secret, and, God, it hurt so much to be involved in an affair like this. “Is that where you were last night? With him?”
He feels disappointed for the first time. After a lifetime of being married to Jared Padalecki, he’s only now feeling a sudden rush of disappointment. They’ve had their differences, especially after this fiasco those had been more than obvious, but to intentionally lie and lead him to believe he was faithful? That had been a new level of stupidity of which Jensen never thought Jared could be capable.
Danneel puts her hand on his shoulder, taking him away from his inner thoughts, with the most sincere look that he had ever seen on her face. The girl was a hard shell most of the time, just like the man he was married to, and only a selected few got to see the soft emotional side within. He’s proud, to at least be among the small group that truly know her.
“Look I know you love him. That much is painfully obvious, and maybe he hadn’t told you about it, because he didn’t think it was important at the moment.” Jensen just meets her words with an icy glare, which makes her redirect her partner’s excuse. “Ok maybe he knew exactly what he was doing by leaving you in the dark,” she admits. “But the thought of Genevieve hadn’t even crossed his mind until after-”
Jensen picks up on her loss for words bout what exactly has taken place. She obviously doesn’t know how to interpret what’s happened unless he discloses details.
“After we had sex in the house he was probably going to move her into, the same one we lived in,” he clarified.
Danneel just has her mouth upturned to an ‘oh’ expression, taking note before moving on.
“Ok, after the hot monkey sex that took place, would you really blame him for forgetting?” She asked, still defending Jared, or at least justifying his actions. Jensen thinks she could just be making a subtle attempt at a joke but it’s not funny at all at this point.
“Yeah well he should have said something before. I had no idea, and the last thing I wanna do is wreck a perfectly good relationship.” That had been one of the problems. He wasn’t lying per se, and if Danneel could see it she didn’t comment on it. For that he was grateful. It was one of those problems that were acknowledged, but didn’t need to be mentioned aloud.
Danneel just lifts hereyebrow and cocks her finger at him, “Oh, you mean wreck a perfectly good relationship with Gen, the girl who’s done nothing but backstab you?”
Jensen huffs a breath at her, “Don’t turn this around on me, ok? This has nothing to do with her, and everything to do with Jared being a lying asshole. You don’t forget you’re in a relationship, no matter how in love with someone else you are! You just don’t!”
“I dunno; people do it all the time,” she sings, teasingly. Then Danneel just nods and puts her hands up when he throws her a nasty glare before she decides to speak again. “He’s coming to terms with the fact that you’re still here. I know he would never intend to hurt you in a million years, and same for you. So maybe you’re right, he didn’t make a genius move, but he reacted on instinct. Love makes you do crazy things like that.” Then she pauses for a moment, as if she’s planning on saying something totally unexpected.
“The thing is, you need to do what’s best for Jensen. I think for a while you’ve been so lost, doing things for Jared and looking out for him in way a husband shouldn’t have to, that it has stressed you out. If you think he’s worth being with-if the relationship is worth keeping-then save it, because you want to save your marriage. Don’t break yourself into pieces trying to figure out what Jared was trying to do, because you’ll never be able to find out. No matter how close you two may become.”
Her words were touching and stirred something deep in his heart. It didn’t make this whole complication seem better, but it at least helped him come to some sort of conclusion.
“How do you always know what to say?”
“It’s a cop thing, you wouldn’t understand.” Danneel jokes, causing a small fit of laughter to emit from Jensen’s throat.
Jensen looks down at the floor, finding way more interesting qualities in the tile than in the face he should be looking at. He is at a loss as to how to say what i on his mind even though he has practiced as much as time has allowed, just to psych himself up for the big moment. It is strange not to be able to decide what exactly to say to someone. He is an assistant district attorney for crying out loud, knowing what to say and being convincing is in the job description. The problem is, when it comes to his love life, his known skills seem to fall flat to the ground.
Despite all his worries he tries to do this the best way he can. He finally looks up at Jared, who’s just silently studying him, waiting for him to call the shots. The taller man is apparently clever and sly, making him wonder how they got to this in the first place.
Oh yeah, he remembers, I was trying to save both our lives and decide what was best for him.
“Look I don’t know how to say this,” Jensen says feeling like bolting out of their-Jared’s-house with no explanation. He doesn’t want to have to explain or express anything right now. He has never been that in touch with his own emotions or saying what he felt, which has in the past sparked a lot of fights between them, but running now wouldn’t make the problem go away. He will just have to suck it up and face it.
Jared seems to not get the ominous memo in his voice and cuts in before Jensen can say anything. “I’m sorry about leaving so early this morning. I didn’t want to wake you up. I just had to run some errands that I never got to take care of last night. I didn’t want to bother you.”
Jensen sees the excuse for what it was, a bold faced lie. Jared should know better than anyone, Jensen is the king of detecting lies.
“Is that so, detective?” Jensen tries to play into the distraction. At this point he can’t just come right out and say what he found out from Danneel, because then that might cause a feud he doesn’t mean to start. “Jared I don’t think-”
Before he can say anything else, Jared cuts him off with a kiss to the lips. This man seems so much more hopeful than the Jared he was working on a case with a few short weeks ago.
This man seems more and more like the man he married, and less like the angry cop that couldn’t win a case against a ruthless child molester. This man was kind and gentle when they kissed. Jared is pressing small kisses onto his lips and working his way to the side of his cheek before moving down to his neck. He starts sucking in a bruise, and that makes Jensen’s breath hitch in and out a little faster.
It’s a distraction; they both know it, or at least Jensen does. The other man appears just as oblivious as always. Jared probably doesn’t know what Jensen really wants, but he wants to follow his instincts. Instincts that would lead them into bed. Any other time he would welcome the idea, if there was any other time when the Jared wasn’t seeing Genevieve Cortese.
He plants his palm flat on Jared’s muscular chest, practically biting off his own moan and whimper of frustration, to pull away. It takes just about everything he can muster because this man in front of him means everything ro him. Pulling away is hard.
Jared protests expectantly and grips his biceps to pull him in closer, but he just turns his face away.
The problem is that he, Jensen, is a large part of this whole situation. Granted, Genevieve is the other half, but the reason all this happened, is happening, is because of him.
“Look, I think last night was a mistake,” Jensen lets out, thinking it might be the best place to start. He can make up all the excuses he wants, but in all truth he did make his decisions to protect his husband. If Jared moving on was one of those implied agreements, then so be it.
Jensen knew he had been selfish from the moment he kissed Jared and ended up in his bed. Sure Jared could have told him about Genevieve himself, but really, when desire is served up on a silver platter, is anyone really going to start spilling the truth?
Jared looks taken aback, like Jensen actually shocked him with his own taser gun or something just as bad. It’s guilt-plain and simple. He’s seen it on so many criminals it’s easy to spot, but he never thought he’d actually see it on Jared’s face.
“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life,” Jared moves forward to stare him straight down, “What happened last night was definitely not one of them.”
Jensen just shakes his head at that. It had been a lot of things, ecstasy, heaven, passionate, but it wasn’t something that should have happened. He knows he would give anything to have his life, his relationship back the way it was. Sure, it’s way too much to ask but that doesn’t stop the heart from wanting what it can’t have.
He can see Jared just stare in utter confusion at him, like he’s gone completely insane when Jensen pushes him away the moment Jared tries to touch him.
“What’s Genevieve going to think, when she finds out her boyfriend is having sex with his dead husband?” The words are full of a venom that he never though he possessed, and they strike the other man fiercely.
He just raises his hand to stop any and all explanations that might be going to pour from Jared’s mouth. There was nothing right now that he wanted to hear, not when it pertained to Genevieve.
“Look can you not?” Jensen pleads, because the last thing he wants right now is an explanation for this kind of betrayal, “just don’t try and explain, okay? Not about this.”
There is a lot more he wants to say, but for some reason he just can’t express what he thinks anywhere else besides a court room or an interrogation room.
“Honestly, it feels like,” for the first time ever he doesn’t want to tell Jared what is on his mind. He wants to revert back to his reserved persona, because it would be so easy at the moment, but he goes on anyway, “Like this is some kind of payback for lying to you.”
The realization hurts like hell, and it feels like it’s banished all of Jensen’s hopes of moving forward.
“Why would you even think that?” Jared’s upset and trying to calm down by combing his fingers through his hair.
Jensen just scoffs, “I don’t know. I’m just unreasonable like that, or maybe because you knew! You fucking knew what you were doing, Jared! You played me into believing that all was forgiven, when you… God! When you’re moving in with your new girlfriend. Into our house.” Then with a bitter taste in his mouth, “Or what I thought was ours.”
“It is!” Jared proclaims, hands in the air in a grand gesture, “You know it is, Jen.”
“Don’t,” Jensen warns in a low, dangerous tone, “just don’t call me that.”
He can see that it hurts Jared when he says that, because that means nothing is ok now, but Jared’s going to push to make it right, like he always tries, and before it used to work, but now there’s way too many broken pieces to pick up, and Jensen’s is already too battered to fix.
“Jensen, let me just explain. Let’s talk about what happened. I promise this wasn’t some plot of revenge. Please believe that.”
And, God help him, Jensen wants to believe so badly, but he can’t even do that.
The realization sucks, but when he finally gets out his response, it actually feels a lot worse. “I don’t wanna do this anymore, Jared. I’m going to drive myself crazy living like this with you. I just-” he stumbles, “I don’t know that you really want this for the right reasons. If you did, you would have been honest from the beginning and not leave me to find out on my own.”
Jared’s face just falls, “You mean everything to me.” He takes Jensen’s hands and holds them as tightly as he can, and it almost gets to him, but when he looks down to see Jared’s ring finger bare Jensen pulls his hands away.
“I think she’ll mean a lot more than I do. She can also give a lot more than I ever could.”
Jared just sucks a breath in, “I want you to talk to Lauren. Ask her to show you the tapes. If you won’t believe me, then believe the evidence.”
Jensen stays silent and as much as he hates to do it, maybe Lauren could help shed some light on this.
“I make no promises,” Jensen warns.
“All I need is a chance,” Jared pleads. “Like the one you wanted from me.”
Jensen can’t even believe Jared would hit him with such a low blow and says as much before heading out the door.
Either way, despite all the pain he’s been put through, Jensen finds himself at Lauren’s office. For days he’s been reduced to a brooding mess that can’t function at all. Everywhere he turns in his apartment somehow reminds him of Jared. He had been so close to punching the window because he could have sworn he saw Jared Padalecki’s face in it.
He hopes that somehow he can find some trust again. Any sort of control that’ll help him.
Lauren opens the door for him with a knowing smile and motions him to sit down. Everything is already set up, and he can see the tape recorder at the center of the table.
“Are you ready,” she asks gently.
As his heart beats out of his chest he nods at her.
Then she presses the play button.
‘Tell me about Jensen.’
Jensen scoots forward on the edge of the little couch in Lauren’s office and steeples his fingers, poised there, elbows on knees; he hardly breathes for fear of missing one single sound, one breath that Jared takes.
He did this.
There is nothing but silence. Lauren – sitting opposite him in a wing-back chair – covers her mouth with her hand but says nothing, no commentary, just lets the tape speak for itself.
Jared breathes, but that’s all.
‘I don’t want to talk about my feelings,’ Jared’s gruff voice says. It sounds like he hasn’t spoken in days, weeks even. The sound is so cold and disconnected, it breaks Jensen’s heart. ‘The captain is forcing me to be here, ten sessions before I get my badge back, so here I am, co-operating.’
‘Detective Padalecki,’ Lauren says, she sighs. ‘Ten sessions before I give the captain my recommendation, unless you play ball with me I can’t in good conscience recommend you be admitted back to active duty.’
The silence stretches for a long time before Jared says, ‘fuck.’
‘How was the funeral?’
Jared makes an ugly sound on the tape, something angry and raw, before he snaps, ‘What kind of fucking question is that? It was a funeral, it was awful. My mom cried. Everyone cried-’
‘Did I what?’
‘Did you cry at your husband’s funeral?’
Jensen rubs his palm over the soft bristles of hair at the back of his neck and stares down at the ground. His own eyes are misty and sore; it feels like he hasn’t blinked in forever.
‘No,’ Jared says finally. He sounds bereft, hopeless and lost, as if the thought hadn’t occurred to him before.
The next piece of tape Lauren plays for him consists of almost ten minutes of scuffling silence, broken only by the sound of Jared crying. His breath hitches erratically and Jensen puts his hand to his chest as if he can feel the ache himself.
‘I’m sorry-‘ Jared gasps sometimes, ‘oh God, Jen, I’m so sorry- please, I can’t- don’t make me, please.’
The next time he utters any recognizable words he’s swung to the other side of the spectrum, spitting curses and shouting brokenly, ‘it’s not fucking fair! He wasn’t supposed to leave me, he promised, he made a vow. Fuck!’
Eventually, all the words are gone and, finally, the tape is shut off.
Jensen and Lauren sit there for a long time before she loads another tape.
‘I’m doing better,’ Jared says. He sounds like a different man, the man that Jensen first met all those years ago on the steps of NYU, the one that he fell in love with. Material rustles as Jared shrugs and shifts in his chair.
‘I mean, things still suck, I’m still taking the sleeping pills and most days it takes me a long time to convince myself that I should get out of bed. Some days,’ Jared continues, a distinctly happier lilt to his voice, ‘when I first open my eyes I get this perfect moment where I forget everything that’s happened, and in that moment I still believe he’s beside me, or he’s gone downstairs to get the coffee-’ Jared trails off and clears his throat.
‘Those moments don’t last long though,’ he finishes.
Jensen breathes hard through the feelings of guilt and regret, these moments Jared is talking about are ones that Jensen can relate to, he woke up every day knowing exactly where Jared was, every detail of his surroundings, his morning routine, but Jensen wasn’t there to witness it, wasn’t there to follow Jared through his day.
And it was all his fault.
‘What’s wrong, Jared?’ Lauren says on the tape. She sounds calm as always, but Jensen can hear footsteps underneath the soothing sound of her voice. Jared is pacing.
‘I-‘ he pauses and sighs loudly, ‘God, I shouldn’t have come here, it’s stupid, I’m sorry.’
‘No, please, don’t go.’
‘Ok. Jesus, ok. So, I’ve been working with this photographer, she’s free-lance, someone the PD hired for one of these ridiculous “local hero” spreads for the New York Times or something. Anyway, she’s been my shadow for the past two weeks, following me around, and we’ve been getting along great, she’s awesome but-’ Jared pauses, and Jensen closes his eyes, waiting for the admission, waiting for Jared to rip his heart out all over again.
‘- she asked me out today, for coffee, after work. And you know, I wanted to say yes so badly. God, I was so freaked out by the prospect of a first date – I haven’t been on a first date in years – that I made some lame excuse and ran away. How pathetic is that?’
Jensen looks up when Lauren reaches out and puts a hand gently on his knee, smiling small and reassuring at him.
‘You feel guilty for liking this girl.’
‘Lauren, J... he’s only been gone for 6 months. It feels like it’s too soon.’
‘Did you tell her that?’
‘No. You think I should? Why didn’t I think of that? I mean, at the time she was just- there, you know? Waiting for my answer. She’s strong, she knows what she wants, and she goes for it, no fear. That’s so sexy, that’s one of the things I love – loved - so much about... about him. I- I feel like I’m replacing him, and I don’t want to, Lauren, I don’t ever want to forget or pretend that what we had never happened, because it was the best thing that ever happened to me, even with the way it ended.’
Jensen hears the metal legs of the couch scrape on the wooden floor, and he imagines Jared sitting down beside him, wrestling with the demons in his own head.
‘I love him so much,’ Jared says, and Jensen knows that it’s still true.
‘So, I told Genevieve. I told her everything. I mean, she asked, about him so I told her. How we met, all about our lives. She dug out our old photo albums with me and listened to me talk about all the memories. Like, the time we went out to Coney Island and ate so much candyfloss that J- Jen- he threw up on the ferry back.’
Jensen smiles at the memory. Jared had gone on and on about his iron stomach the whole way home, and he’d wanted to strangle him for it.
‘There’s this photo of him wrapped up in my sweatshirt and this stupid beanie hat with ‘I heart NYC’ and a big red apple on it, and he looks miserable,’ Jared continues, ‘but I love it. I remember sitting beside him afterwards and rubbing his back, and how he loosened up and let me hold him, until we got back to Manhattan. Those are the best moments, those are the ones I treasure.’
‘That’s good, Jared. Really good. It sounds like Genevieve is good for you,’ Lauren says on the tape and Jensen bites his lip, he’d almost forgotten about that part of Jared’s admission.
‘Yeah,’ Jared says, a smile in his voice, ‘I think she’s exactly what I need. And after she left I- I packed up some of his stuff, old clothes and a lot of his office things. I don’t think I need them to remember him, he’s still in my head, I think about him all the time.’
‘Is it possible to love two people at once?’ Jared asks. His voice is so quiet, almost like he hopes it won’t be heard.
‘What do you think?’ Lauren asks.
Jared hesitates a moment. ‘I think it is,’ he says finally.
The last tape Lauren puts in is dated much later than the others, not more than a couple months back. Before she hits play she turns to him and says, “This is a little different.”
She’s right. It starts with an automated voice and Jensen frowns when he recognises it as a voicemail message, the beep sounds and then Jared’s voice comes on the line.
‘Lauren, I did something- stupid. Well, no, I did something that felt right – for the first time in two years everything finally felt right - but the circumstances are all wrong. Sorry, I’m- look, I’m going to fix it. I thought about what we talked about, about Gen and Jensen, and I’m going to make it right again.’
Jensen stares at the tape player as the spool of tape runs down to almost nothing.
‘I just wanted to say thanks,’ Jared says, ‘for helping me. It wasn’t all Genevieve, you know. As much as I hate therapy – and I still do, just so you know – it’s always nice to have a friend who’ll listen to you, even if they do get paid for it. Ok, you have other poor schmucks to psychoanalyse, so I’m going to go and get my husband back now. Thanks, Lauren.’
Lauren leans back in her chair as the tape player clicks off and rests there on the table, silent. Jensen’s head is swimming, he’s cycled through so many emotions in the short time he’s been sitting in Lauren’s darkening office that he can barely sort one from the other.
Lauren crosses one leg over the other and smiles knowingly at him. Jensen looks down at the notepad and pen in her lap, and his mouth drops open.
She grins at him.
“Wanna talk about it?” she asks.
Jared is in shock for a long time. He sits in his house alone in the dark with all his thoughts piling on top of him, ready to collapse under brute force. He’s been basically going day by day, living vicariously, hoping that Jensen will eventually speak to him again. Ever since Jensen left this room he’s just been sitting in his dining room thinking of everything that happened.
He didn’t get the chance at all to let Jensen know he had done the honorable thing and broke it off with Genevieve. The main problem was that he’d slept with Jensen before he broke it off with her, and it was even worse that Jensen hadn’t known about the other woman. It is devastating that Jared lost everything in the span of one day, and it almost feels as tragic as the day he held Jensen dead in his arms.
Hours pass by, before he hears the front door open up. It creaks, softly opening as if the person is being hesitant. For a moment he’s hoping it’s the one and only person he wants to see, and then there’s this gleaming light shining in front of his eyes when that very person appears in his view.
Jared feels like there’s something to be grateful for, because Jensen is standing in front of him, and looking at him the same way he did when Jared proposed, happy and blissful.
Neither one of them says anything; they just let the silence speak for them. Jared is basking in the fact that Jensen has shown up, and he’s here looking at him like he still cares. Finally he stops thinking and gets up from the table to close the distance between them.
He takes a long stride and embraces Jensen in one fluid motion. He inhales the scent he’s been missing for the past two years.
Jared lets the moment drag on for as long as he possibly can, before he finds the words to speak, “What made you change your mind.”
The words are whispered into his husband’s ears, and it causes Jensen to laugh in response.
“I can’t walk away from us,” the shorter man admits, almost sounding wistful, “and I can’t pretend I don’t still love you.”
Jared just huffs, responding sarcastically, “So I guess you’re just stuck with me then?”
Jensen holds on to him a little tighter, “You’re not getting rid of me any time soon, detective.”
This story came about from my love of Law and Order SVU and if anyone noticed the similarities, you were spot on. I basically made Jared Padalecki into Elliot Stabler in almost every way I could. He’s strong, religious, conflicted, and so emotional without even knowing it. Of course his polar opposite is Jensen, who was based on the very bad ass Alexandra Cabot , who is strong and has all the faith in the law. I think I did my best and kept true to those characters and had a very decent plot to for them to play in. I’m glad for all those who stuck around until the end to read this. Thank you very much and remember comments are LOVE!