Genre: Jared/Jensen RPS AU
Word Count: ~1,700 this part (I know, it's short!)
Disclaimer: Nope, not true, nope not mine, yup, still broke.
Summary: When Jared's best friend, Jensen - who he's had a crush on for years - tells him he is going to get married, he leaves everything behind and runs away to Europe. When Jared returns five years later for his father's funeral, Jared discovers that leaving the past behind isn't as easy as he'd thought.
Link to Masterpost
The Road to Where You Are ~ Chapter 3
Jared stood leaning against the kitchen counter, staring at the huge amount of food left arrayed on the table after the wake. He was thinking of his father. He remembered the two of them standing in this same spot after his grandfather’s funeral, laughing until tears rolled down their cheeks over a deadpan monologue delivered by Jensen, his discussion concerning the psychologically healing properties of tuna casserole and cold deli platters.
The only times he had ever seen his father cry was from laughter. The tough, old, Texas son of a gun. It was a lesson that Jared wished he had learned from the man. He knew that his father had so much more to teach him, but Jared had left, never given him the chance.
His sister walked into the kitchen, her hair still stringy and wet from a shower. She picked at a bowl of potato salad for a moment and then grabbed two beers from a cooler sitting beneath the table, handing one over to him.
Jared grabbed the top and opened it with the ring on his middle finger. He flicked the cap into the kitchen sink before trading the open one with her and repeating the process. It was a little trick that he had finally learned along the way.
“You two really are like slightly different versions of the same person,” she said, her voice tinged with a sort of wonder, her serious eyes locked on his. “You do know that don’t you?”
When Jared did not reply she continued, “You saw Jensen today.” It was not a question. “I saw you two through the dining room window.”
“Yeah, I saw him,” Jared replied elusively.
“How’d it go?”
“Well, let’s just say I’m leaving again,” Jared blurted suddenly. The truth was coming out all over today.
Meg was quiet for a few moments.
Jared could feel the tension building in the room, saw it in the small wrinkle that formed in her brow and the slight purse of her lips. He took a long pull from his bottle.
“Alright. When?” She said finally, her voice clipped.
“A couple of days, maybe sooner.” He said, slipping his gaze toward the floor.
“Good.” Meg said, with a curt nod of her head. “Do you need anything?”
“No, Meg. I’m fine.”
“You sure about that? Because I really don’t think that you are.” Heat was starting to creep into her quiet voice.
“Please,” Jared begged, he was feeling worn out and in no shape for another fight. “I really don’t need this.”
“Well, big brother, I sort of think that you do,” she said, her gaze fixed on the bottle in her hand, her nails picking at the label. “I am going to say something here and you are going to keep those ears of yours wide open. I had hoped that your time spent wandering from one place to another had taught you something. I am not talking about finding yourself or any of those other sorts of nonsense.” She finally looked up at Jared, the intensity of her eyes made even more striking by her soft-spoken voice. “Because there is one thing that I have learned and I learned it the moment, the second that I saw the expression on Jensen’s face when he first looked down at you, when he thought that there was no other soul there to see it. Right then I learned that there are some things that are worth holding onto.”
For long seconds Jared could do nothing, say nothing. He could only stand against the counter, his lower lip trapped between his teeth as her words washed over him. Finally, he said, “You should have been a lawyer, not an architect.”
Her face cracked into a huge grin. She took a quick step toward him, stood on her toes and placed a solid kiss on his cheek. And just like that the tension in the room disappeared.
“I just have one more thing to say to you.” She said, taking a step back from Jared, who uttered a well-intentioned and friendly groan. “Five years you were gone…a long, long time. And I never told Jensen, not once where you were no matter how many times he asked. I figured that you wouldn’t want me to. But Jared, for the last five years I know that he has waited for you to walk through his door.”
She turned to leave, took a step away, seemed to think better of it and faced Jared once more. “And you know how I always ended every message I sent to you? How I always wrote ‘See you when you get home’? That message? It was never from me.”
As he watched her leave the room Jared was thankful for the counter that he leaned up against. Otherwise he would have gone straight down when, for the second time that day, his world turned upside down.
The sun was setting, painting the clear, Texas sky in vivid colors. Jared sat on the back porch alone, watching it go down, his backpack resting between his widespread feet. He was wearing his traveling clothes again - loose jeans and a comfortable T-shirt. He felt thankful to have his worn boots once more on his feet. There was a familiar and welcomed sense of freedom that started to awaken in him the moment he had put them on.
The news of his departure coming only a few hours after the funeral had not gone over well with his family. Despite his sister’s best efforts Jared could still clearly see the disappointment and worry on her face; his mother had simply refused to speak to him. It was to be expected, he supposed.
Jared figured that it was best if no one actually saw him leave, no rides to the airport, no more disappointed glances. He’d had enough of those to last a lifetime, maybe two.
Pulling out his wallet, he looked to see whether he had enough cash to call a cab to take him to the airport. Thumbing through the bills he thought he had enough money, but realized a second later that it was all foreign currency. It was funny. He had been away so long that American money would probably look odd to him by now. He thought about something Jensen had once said to him, about how he thought a place turned into home when the license plates on the cars no longer looked weird. It now made a little more sense to Jared somehow.
It looked like he was going to be walking to the bus station. He could use a credit card there; take the bus to the airport. And besides, his own two feet had always served him well in the past.
Jared considered walking back in to the quiet house behind him, just to say goodbye once more and then quickly decided against it. Instead he rose and started a determined march to the street. “Time to get this show on the road,” he said to himself. It had become his catchphrase somewhere along the line.
As he made his way down the sidewalk he shifted his pack a bit on his shoulders. After a few days of not carrying it, the pack felt heavy and somewhat out of place on Jared’s back. It caused his skin to itch where it made contact, the back of his shirt sticking slightly to his sweaty skin. He felt like it pulled at his shoulders a little more than it ever did before. It seemed like some sort of omen. Jared tried to dismiss the thought. Many years worth of travel had made him a little superstitious; that was all.
Quickening his pace he worked to convince himself that this road he was walking was like any other. It was one that was taking him somewhere else, somewhere new. It was definitely not one that was taking him away from home.
His feet had taken him five blocks from the house when the compulsion to stop hit him.
He opened his pack, fingers rifling through hastily packed clothing and papers, searching for his ticket and his passport. Pulling out a sheaf of papers, he flipped through them, hoping that in his frantic dash to pack he had not left the ticket behind. A small, stiff piece of paper floated to the pavement at his feet. Jared bent over, picked it up and flipped it over.
It was the photograph that he had pulled from his refrigerator all those years ago, the one of him and Jensen. Two smiling faces stared up at him. The picture was now creased, dog-eared and scratched after years of use as a bookmark and after years of handling. How young they looked. How close.
Stuffing the photo in his back pocket and the papers swiftly back in his bag, Jared again cursed his superstition.
Two blocks further along the road, Jared found himself at an intersection. He could make a right here and that led to the bus station. The way to Jensen’s house was straight ahead.
During his time away he had formed a sort of ritual around planning his next course of action. When faced with a crossroads he would always flip a coin. It was his little nod to Fate. It was the result of never really having anywhere to go; there was nowhere he’d ever needed to be.
Jared grabbed a coin from his pocket, already deciding that ‘heads’ would mean that he would go right, toward the bus station, ‘tails’ straight. He tossed it, caught it easily and looked down. It landed on ‘heads.’He went straight anyway, now walking down the road that led to another road, and that one would lead him to Jensen.