Title: An Unforgettable Moment (In Time) part four
Please see Master Post
for fic details.
Banner by athenaps
Jensen didn’t have his watch and the car he had borrowed to get back to the house was old enough that it had been manufactured before computer chips had been the norm for vehicles, so he had no real way of knowing how long he had been running. Too lost in his own circling thoughts of my parents are dead and Jared betrayed me. His emotions fluctuating from the blackest rage to the deepest depression and back without settling long enough on any one feeling for him to use it for anything more than a way to keep his adrenaline running through him.
But finally, as he passed the road sign cheerfully welcoming travellers to the great State of Wyoming, suddenly the more pressing thought occurred to him that he was driving a stolen car. A car that had to have been reported stolen by now since it had been running, the keys in the ignition, when he had taken it.
He worried his bottom lip as he scanned both the review mirror and the road ahead of himself, expecting to find State Troopers either chasing him down or setting up a roadblock ahead of him. Instead, the secondary highway ahead of him was almost empty of oncoming traffic and no police cars in sight. Behind him, other than a beat up pick-up truck, the road was empty.
Jensen shook his head and blew out a breath. It would have been so terribly stupid but almost unsurprising had he been arrested for car theft. With the twisted turn his life had just taken it would have seemed the next logical step, at least to him, at least now.
Now that Jared had betrayed him to the dark haired man he had seen ordering around his henchmen back at the house. Now that his parents were dead and he knew, deep in his heart, that he was to blame for that. Now that, instead of fighting for the Gaia pool, instead of trying to exact revenge for his parents, he was running like a little boy.
But he wasn’t, well not exactly. He needed to go somewhere safe until he could come up with a better plan than rushing in and probably getting killed. He needed to take a breath or two, centre himself, and prepare. And at the moment, the only vague plan he had was to get a gun and take back the pool. But he knew he was going to need help, he just wasn’t sure where he was going to find it.
It was going to have to be people in the Gaia coven but other than a couple of people his parents had introduced him to when he was younger, he knew no one. He hadn’t even been introduced to, or allowed to know, who or where to find any of the Guardian sect that Jared hailed from. Not that he was willing to contact them, not when one of them had betrayed his coven.
But the people he did know, that might be able to help him, were in Texas and there was no way he would go to Texas. Not when Jared knew that that was where Jensen had come from and had already told his new boss about it. His parent’s deaths were proof of that because they had to be, had to be, connected to all of this.
So with the vague idea of knowing that eventually he was going to have to go back to Texas but not prepared to do so until, at least, a week had passed and maybe whoever was there looking for him would be long gone, he was going to have to hide out somewhere else.
And Calli Montana still seemed like the best idea. He knew the town, or at least, remembered enough that even if it had changed over the years, he should still be able to move around without sticking out as a tourist.
But to get there he was going to have to ditch the car before he was arrested for Grand Theft Auto and stuck behind bars.
The sign for a Rest Stop caught his eye and he smiled grimly to himself, knowing that on a secondary highway, his chances were good that there would either be no one else there or even if there were, they wouldn’t be there long. He could get out of the car, walk around, make like he was only stretching his legs and then bolt on foot as soon as the area was empty of witnesses.
It would be a pain in the ass having to walk to Calli Montana but it would be safer. No chance of cops pulling him over and no chance of coming across those hunting him, if he stayed near to the highway but out of sight of it. Besides, other than missing his watch, he also didn’t have his wallet, which meant no I.D. and no cash. No cash meant no money for gas or a ride, or food if he was going to be honest. But he wasn’t going to think about that or the fact that the money he had in savings he wasn’t going to be able to access without ID, pushing away the, already, huge flaws in his plan.
He would find a way to get by. It wouldn’t take much to convince a teller at a bank that he had shown his information to her, and although it was risky using magic on civilians, he had enough faith in his powers that he could get away with it. He just wouldn’t do it on anyone else, including motorists.
Carefully he manoeuvred the car into the rough turn off for the rest stop and sedately rolled into the farthest parking spot from the entrance.
Other than the old pick up he had noticed behind him on the highway pulling into a stall at the other end, the parking lot was deserted.
Jensen blew out a relieved breath and shifted the car into park before shutting off the engine.
“Alright” He muttered low, swung the door open and stepped out into the beginning chill of early evening. Just walk towards the restrooms. Walk around to the back and head into the trees. Look like you’re just stretching your legs.
He swallowed hard as he began to move away from the car, ignoring the itching at the back of his neck as he heard one and then the second bang of the truck’s doors shutting. He wasn’t going to turn around, sure that that would be suspicious. He just had to keep on moving forward, calmly, until he could get the weathered wooden building between himself and the civilians and then he could run for cover.
He lifted his arms, grabbing his right wrist with his left hand above his head and mimicked stretching out his back as he walked. The movement not as faked as what he had meant it to be as the muscles in his back began to protest the abuse they had been put through over the last day.
The scraping of feet on the cracked asphalt behind him, made him grit his teeth and he had to force his gait to remain easy. It wasn’t possible that whoever was behind him was anyone other than a couple of civilians, if it had been men of the dark haired guy back at the pool, he was certain that something would have happened to him by now.
Still, logical or not that he was heading in the direction of the restrooms and logical or not that the guys behind him were probably, completely innocently, heading there themselves, it was still a battle of will for him to drop his arms nonchalantly and not spin around to confront them.
Just twenty more feet he reassured himself silently and ignored the tingling of adrenaline flooding his system.
Just ten more feet...
He was sure it was only his imagination making it seem like the people from the truck where a lot closer than they should be.
Just five more feet to the edge of the building…
Everything happened so quickly that Jensen didn’t have enough time to do more than think that he was being paranoid thinking that the footsteps behind him had picked up speed before he was being thrown into the sun warmed wood of the restrooms while someone behind him hit him with a binding.
“Spells be silenced!”
Pain exploded though his chest and cheek as he collided with the building and his breath was forced from his lungs as someone fell against him. The thin line of cold pressing against his throat and the burning of his lungs from being winded, kept him pressed against the building.
“Fuck!” He tried to snarl but knew that nothing but a weak puff of air wheezed out of him. He knew, knew, that something was going to happen, had felt it in the air but had ignored the warning, opting instead to convince himself that it had been paranoia because of everything that had happened over the last twenty four hours. Now his running had all been for naught, he might as well have just walked into the clearing and presented himself to the man trying to take the pool from him, maybe he would have lucked out and killed a few of them before he had been taken down. Instead he was going to be trussed up and dragged back like a little bitch. And the hardest part to swallow? He wasn’t going to be able to kill Jared for his part.
“You son of a bitch…!” His attacker snarled into his ear. “I’m going to kill you for this.”
What he had done? He had done nothing but trusted his Guardian and tried to protect his pool.
Jensen squeezed his eyes shut against the way the world suddenly tilted and he was insanely glad for the weight at his back since it was all that was keeping him upright.
He knew that voice, maybe not as intimately as Jared’s but he knew it all the same. Of all the people he never would have thought that this man would betray the coven but then again he would never have believed that Jared would and look where that had gotten him. Today was just his day for ugly revelations apparently.
“I need to know why Jensen.”
He hadn’t really heard the other man move closer to him but he refused to open his eyes, he refused to reveal the betrayal he was sure was in them. Besides he didn’t understand the question and he would be damned if he would ask for clarification when it was Steve that owed an explanation, not him.
“When we were little, you wanted to be a Protector of one of the Gaia pools so badly. What happened to you? Why did you turn on us?”
“What the fuck?” He had meant it to be demanding but the words came out as more as a wheeze but he still managed to glare accusingly at Steve’s sad eyes when he snapped his own open.
“I never betrayed Gaia.” Unmindful of the knife pressing against the soft flesh of his throat, he tried to turn to fully face his oldest friend, only stopping short at the sudden stinging and the warm trickle of his own blood sliding down skin. “Can you say the same?”
“Fuck you.” Steve’s guardian, probably, snarled in his ear. “Men swarmed our home hours before dawn this morning, witches and with them, handlers with guns. We fought the best we could but couldn’t hold the pool.”
Jensen watched Steve’s eyes flash with anger and then regret. “Chris dragged me away, promising that we would go back with help. We barely made it out with our lives.” He leaned forward until all he could focus on was his friend’s suddenly hard eyes. “My parents are dead, Jensen. Who else but you knew who they were?”
A chill worked its way down Jensen’s spine even as relief threaded through him. Steve might just be in a similar situation to his own but there was at least one of them that had betrayed them all. “Bree” He whispered low, ignoring the brief flare of hope that maybe Jared wasn’t involved, he had to be, he was the one that got Jensen out of the way.
Steve tilted his head, “How would she know?”
Why hadn’t she been given my pool? He thought again sourly. “She was a seer.” He admitted low, pushing away the bitter curl in his stomach for giving away someone else’s strongest power. Only he was supposed to know the ultimate weaknesses and strengths of the other protectors of the pools. But things were different now, especially since at least one other had betrayed them, and she was the one that knew everything about all of them with only a brief meeting of each. “She was an insanely strong and dangerous seer.”
Steve spun on his heel and stalked away a short distance before turning to glare back at him. He opened his mouth but snapped it shut and just shook his head.
Jensen leaned the side of his head against the wall and sighed, ignoring the other man, shifting with him to ensure constant pressure against his throat with the knife. He wouldn’t bother to ask him to let him go or ask Steve. His friend would either believe him or not, and since his strongest power was the ability to divine the truth from the lies, he had no doubt that eventually he would tell his Guardian to release him.
But really what did it matter? If what Jensen was suspecting was right and Bree had turned against them that meant that all the pools were in danger of being taken or already were and they were pretty much fucked. They had failed to protect the pools from a madman who would know how to use them and it was a guarantee it was for nothing good. There was always somebody who wanted the power to rule the world, somebody who knew of the pools and Jensen didn’t want to live in a world where he and his kind would be hunted because they were a threat or worse to end up controlled and used against their will. Especially not in one where the man that he loved with all of his heart and soul, had been an instrument in bringing that kind of reality about.
“Let him go Chris.”
He hadn’t even realized that the evening chill had gotten worse until the pressure of Steve’s Guardian lifted from his back and a breeze played along his sweaty skin.
He didn’t bother moving until Steve drew closer and he had no choice but to shift until he was leaning against the building so that he could still see him. But it wasn’t his friend that drew his attention but the other man’s guardian.
Chris, as Steve had called him, looked like he had gone a round or two with several people and as an image of the men swarming his home flashed through Jensen’s mind, and Steve’s words echoed in his head, he knew that the Guardian probably had. His right eye was puffy and the skin around it black, his lip was split and he could just make out the bruising on his knuckles in the dimming light of twilight.
“What happens now?”
Jensen snorted then shrugged, “How am I supposed to know?”
“You’re the protector of the head Gaia pool aren’t you?” Chris growled, “Isn’t it your place to come up with a way of getting the pools back?”
He laughed bitterly, “Yeah because I’ve done such a bang up job so far. My link is weak; the pool is starting to go wild because I’m not there to siphon off the excess energy and my Guardian…” He stuttered to a stop. It was hard enough knowing that he had been betrayed by Jared, it was another thing entirely to admit it to anyone else.
“Where is your Guardian Jen?” Steve pressed.
He shut his eyes against the flash of pain and lightly banged his head against the wall at his back.
“How did you find me?” He asked instead, forestalling as best as he could.
Steve raised an eyebrow and Chris glanced towards the other witch but remained silent, obviously taking his cues from the witch he had sworn to protect.
He watched Steve worry his lower lip before he shrugged, “Why not? It’s not like I’m protecting the pool anymore. My Gaia pool is or was in British Columbia, Canada. We were trying to make it back to,” he paused and glanced over at his Guardian who waved at him in a go ahead motion, “Oklahoma where Chris is from and we just happened to come across you in Fort Morgan.”
“A coincidence...” He laughed bitterly, “There is no such thing as coincidences. You know that.”
“Yeah, well,” Chris muttered. “That’s all good but that still doesn’t explain what we’re going to do now.”
The sound of another car slowly pulling into the rest stop saved him from having to answer. He watched Chris slip the knife back into his boot and pull his jeans back down.
“We’ve got to keep moving.” He warned as he straightened.
“Come on Jensen, let’s get out of here.” Steve gestured back towards the vehicles, “Like you said, there is no such thing as coincidences, so us running in to you was meant to be. We’ll figure out what to do and how to get back what’s ours.”
Jensen hesitantly followed after Chris, Steve at his side. “I’ll stick with you as long as you’re willing to go to Montana.”
“A part of Chris’ sect is in Oklahoma.” Steve muttered back, his voice naturally lowering as they got nearer to the vehicle full of kids just pulling into a parking stall nearby. “We’re going to get help from them.”
“Don’t.” He hissed back, still not ready to explain what had happened with Jared but knowing that he had no other option. “My Guardian…”
Chris spun on his heel to glare back at them. “Miles to go….” He turned around without another word and made his way to the driver’s side of the truck.
Steve shook his head and a fond smile played on his lips. “It’s his way of saying shut it and haul ass until we’re in a more secure place for talking shop.”
Steve pulled open the passenger door and climbed inside. “So what’s in Montana?”
Jensen grabbed the open door for support, he really wanted to believe he was independent, that he could be strong all on his own but he wasn’t stupid enough to turn down help when he also knew he needed it. And it looked like maybe he was going to receive it.
“There is a place to blend in and figure out what we’re going to do.”
Steve nodded slowly, “There’s help in Oklahoma you know.” He studied Jensen silently for a minute, “But you don’t believe that do you?”
He shook his head once, “Steve…”
Chris made a disgruntled noise and started the truck.
Steve glanced back at him before he slid over to make room for Jensen. “Get in the truck Jen. While we’re on our way to Montana you can tell us a story.”
A part of Jensen wanted to turn tail and run, knowing that telling a Guardian that another Guardian had betrayed them was not going to go over well. The only saving grace he had was Steve and Steve’s ability to see the truth. And if he was going to have to start explaining everything, including his stupidity in believing Jared when he slipped back through time four years earlier, at least the one witch he was going to have to explain it to would know it was the truth.
Jared awoke in such an awkward state of mind. Inside his muscles ached with a heavy pain that went bone deep, deeper if it was possible. Only scattered thoughts went through Jared’s muddled brain, broken pieces of a very complicated puzzle. He remembered he felt some type of vertigo, and then he left Jensen and then he drove. Somehow those were all out of order but he knew he did do them all.
Jared’s hands were heavy, but they were heavier than they should be. Jared finally decided to stare down at his weighted hands to figure out the enormous Book of Shadows was in his possession. Before long Jared realized he had no longer been in his truck but outside where he was supposed to meet…
Jared didn’t know what to think. All and every “what if” went through his mind so fast it had been hard to stop the process. If he failed again then Jared knew he was screwed. He wondered if maybe the other Jared had gotten smart and set a trap but that made no sense. There was however a very reasonable explanation that Jared once thought was impossible. As of late Jared knew he had been wrong about everything so far because what occurred was the merging of the same person from separate time lines. Only the impossible would be possible at the timeshares. Jared looked around to see if there was anything else he missed and a loud growl and bark answered him.
“Gruurrr! Gruuurr!!” Harley had barked, obviously confused with the situation that occurred, but Sadie stood there as if she knew exactly what happened. Jared just went to the dogs and held the Book of Shadows in one hand while he petted Harley with the other. The moment he petted his hand down Harley’s fluffy fur the big dog was silenced.
It helped to have the quiet on his side so would be able to think all of this through.
Jared had the Book of Shadows but there was this ache deep down that he couldn’t shake off. Then, a deeper pain struck through him like lighting for a reason Jared didn’t know.
It started from his head and he groaned loud enough to be heard from miles when it traveled down his body and sent him tumbling to the floor. The hurt and the pain it seemed so familiar. Like it was Jensen’s power that surged through him but that couldn’t have been it. It was almost like the story of the lost and condemned his father told him about when he was younger.
The story was about a man that failed all of his duties as a Guardian and betrayed his witch and all of his family. That caused the hatred and fury that eventually led to the young witch attacking the Guardian for revenge. It was the way she killed him that reminded him of this. His father’s words started to ring in his head.
“Her power was fire. The young witch had the ability to summon the element at any time she wanted. It was a powerful gift to have back then because fire was a force of nature all witches were scared of, but she maintained control. That is until...well they say that she hadn’t been there with her Guardian, but it was her power that killed him dead. He was burned from the inside out and no one till this day can explain it.”
Jared knew there was no way that tale could relate to him as soon as the pain that wracked his body subsided. He limped over to retrieve the Book of Shadows before he tried to sort out what the hell had just happened.
“Maybe it’s,” a warning, Jared’s mind had filled in. It only went that there was definitely a problem so close to him. Maybe that’s why it felt like Jensen’s power.
Jared didn’t have to dwell any more on that to try his hardest while in pain to make it the hunter’s cabin. His truck was in shambles and glass was spread everywhere on the hard ground. Jared hadn’t even bothered with the mess and had tried to summon all the power he could muster so that he could run to the cabin.
Sadie and Harley didn’t even need a signal from their owner because the moment Jared broke into a sloppy jog the dogs followed behind him loyally.
When Jared finally made it with sweat that soaked through his shirt and a still painful throb that remained in his chest and lower abdomen. Jared was bent around the waist as he huffed with the book gripped in one hand. It didn’t take him long to realize that all was lost.
The door to the cabin had been cracked open just a bit, but Jared hadn’t felt a presence. Jensen was gone. If he was truly gone it was only due to the pig headedness that led to his downfall to begin with. It had to be a reason too great for him to ignore.
It was when Jared searched through clues in his brain that something matched up. The man that had attacked him wanted the pool, which Jensen refused to give him because of his duty. If his duty to protect the Gaia Pool wasn’t fulfilled it would send Jensen on a rage. It would be the type of rage that caused him to fling out thunderbolts at lower level demons or witches.
Within moments it all had begun to click in Jared’s head. The pain was Jensen’s wrath that went through his body. It had only meant the worst possible thing. The only excuse Jensen would fall apart for.
The Gaia pool had fallen. He wasn’t sure if it was his Gaia Pool or others but either way it pissed off Jensen.
If Jared’s assumption was as close as Jared thought, Jensen would be miles away. There would be only one place Jared needed to look. Unfortunately it was too far away for Jared to walk there.
Jared hoped in the end he could change all this and make amends but...
Texas was his destination, or so Jared hoped that’s where Jensen was.
Jensen sighed in frustration as he climbed into the passenger side of the truck and glared over at Chris. “I still say you’re being a little too paranoid for any of us.”
Nine days earlier, it had been a relief when after he had haltingly explained what had brought him to that rest stop back in Wyoming the only response he had received from the Guardian had been a narrowing of his eyes and a low curse about Jared but now he was growing both frustrated and concerned.
He had understood that Chris had taken it personally and could understand that the Guardian was trying to outthink Jared. However a drive that should have, maybe, only taken them a couple days to get from the opposite end of Wyoming to Calli Montana had taken five. Jensen was pretty sure he had seen every back road between the two States and some at least twice.
That he had let go.
He had even managed to push aside his natural irritation at Chris’ almost inherent need to try to become a Guardian for both Steve and Jensen. Especially once they all started to take notice of the reports in the local papers and T.V. news programs about the seemingly random attacks on City and State officials and law enforcement officers all over the world.
But it was starting to get to be too much when he couldn’t even walk the two blocks from the small, nondescript house they had managed to rent with a little persuasion on Jensen’s part, to downtown Calli and use his persuasion again to convince the girl at the DMV to get a Montana driver’s license. Having to use magic against innocent people bothered him more than being babysat by Chris but only just a little more.
Or it had been at the top of his annoyance list until he had been standing in line at the bank that morning and had started to notice the looks being passed between the security guard and a couple of the bank employees. It hadn’t taken him more than a couple of quick glances to realize that they were suspicious about Chris, or more specifically, Chris’ truck sitting in sight of the glass doors, running. It had looked so much like a getaway vehicle from a bad late night T.V. movie that he had had to fight down the bitter chuckle that had risen.
“We’re being hunted Jensen.” Chris grumbled low as he carefully backed the truck out of the parking stall, pulling him back to the present.
“Chris you freaked out the bank employees.”
He snorted, “And how did I do that?”
“Chris you sat in front of the bank with the truck running. How do you think that looked to them?”
The Guardian glanced at him for a brief second before turning back to the road ahead of them as he eased the truck out of the parking lot and onto the road. “They thought I was casing the place?”
Jensen nodded, not caring if Chris actually caught the movement out of the corner of his eye or not “Pretty much.”
The outburst with the accompanying slamming of the palm of one hand against the steering wheel took him by surprise and he scanned the street ahead of them expecting more than the normal Noonday pedestrian and vehicle traffic. “What?” He demanded, ignoring the way his hands were shaking.
They had talked about what they were going to do. Had gone around and around and around on the drive to Calli and then again and again once they had gotten there but still had no concrete plan of action other than knowing that they needed to do something. Things had only progressed to the point that Steve had finally convinced him to let Chris call his Guardian sect and tell them what had happened after he had secured a promise that the Guardian wouldn’t tell them where they were hiding. And quite honestly, that had gotten them nowhere other than being told the name of the man behind the mess they were all in. Jeffrey Morgan had been part of the Gaia coven in England, had even trained to be a protector but he had never been summoned. And, for whatever reason, had decided to take what he hadn’t been gifted.
Then the council had dragged a promise from Chris that they would stay put while the Guardian council got in touch with the Elders of the Gaia covens and figured out their plan of action. And as a last insult to Jensen but to Chris it was some kind of honour, he handed over the care of both witches to him because they would be being hunted.
The unfortunate fact of the matter was that Chris had already slipped into some kind of high alert with them. As he had proven with the meandering five day drive between the two States but now he had just inadvertently made them memorable in the eyes of, at the very least, the bank employees and it’s security guards.
“I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!” He hissed and tightened his grip on the steering wheel. “But what was I supposed to do? I can’t really let either of you out of my sight when we’re out in the open.”
Jensen refrained from rolling his eyes but he did turn to stare out the passenger window, not really wanting to show just how aggravated he really was. He could understand Chris’ point of view but he had warned the Guardian that he was getting carried away with himself, orders or not, and it seemed a little too little too late to him now.
“I don’t know what to tell you Chris.” He muttered softly, “I get that you’re doing your job, doing what you’ve trained to do, to be. But you’re stretching yourself too thin. A Guardian is supposed to watch out for one witch not two.”
“It’s not like I have a choice Jensen, your Guardian…”
“Don’t.” He hissed. It had been hard enough looking Chris in the eye and telling him that one of his own had betrayed them. Not quite as bad as admitting to himself that Jared had betrayed Jensen, them, and it was not something he wanted to have to repeat or be reminded of over and over. He did that enough himself.
“The council charged me with both Steve’s and your well being Jensen.” He corrected quickly, ignoring the sharp outburst.
He felt his anger, a constant simmer just under his skin, start to boil once more. He betrayed Gaia. He reminded himself softly, once more trying to convince himself that that was the main point, not that he had used Jensen, made him believe that he loved him and had lied to him.
“Yeah” He muttered low, “I know.”
He had wanted to stop at the grocery store to grab a few things but didn’t bother bringing it up as they drew nearer to the local store. Normally he didn’t mind shopping, not even for something as simple as groceries, but after the fiasco at the bank, all he wanted to do was go back to the house and hide out for a while. One attention drawing incident a day was more than enough for him. Besides, Steve was alone and the one thing that both Chris and he could agree on, neither of them liked the idea of depending on the wards of hiding to keep them safe, not when the council had voiced their belief, their worries, that they were being hunted.
He let himself sink into his anger as had become his usual habit over the last few days, trying once more to draw strength from it as Chris directed them closer to their temporary home. It was better that way, being angry at Jared instead of hurt. Hurt led to depression and maybe even vague and fleeting thoughts of forgiveness if a damn good excuse could be offered up from his wayward Guardian. But anger left no room for anything but revenge.
It was a much better, much wiser emotion.
Jared had been able to restore his truck because it had been too late for grand theft auto, too risky for it, so he resorted to the use of a spell Jensen had taught him long ago when he couldn’t restore the damage in the house. Jared had been desperate and too short on time, so if spells were what he was left with then he could use that to his advantage. The Gaia pool fell, which only meant that Jensen would be hunted by all the bad guys and disorder would soon inhabit their peaceful world. Jared knew that it was most likely that all the Elders and other Guardians probably already figured Jared had a hand in this. He was familiar with how his superiors worked and thought because he had to abide by the rules they made. They drilled into skull and bone that any enemy among the group of chosen protectors is to be hunted. There was no other choice given to any of them and each and every Guardian and Elder hoped that there were no traitors.
Well, Jared wasn’t a traitor and he had to prove that. However, it had been his selfish need that started all the chaos, but it wouldn’t be a problem that couldn’t be resolved. Even if the strongest Elder or Demon reigned on him Jared would continue until everything was okay again. If that involved him to sacrifice everything then so be it. He was going to drive on.
It was close to four days when Jared found himself somewhere along the dark cold road in the middle of a nowhere town where, he finally, decided to rest. Jared fought long and hard to travel without stopping but there was no way he wouldn’t get stopped with such bloodshot eyes. Either way he needed the sleep in order to deal with the hell that was bubbling just beneath the surface, so the idea of staying in a tiny crapped room he could afford seemed like the best idea. It was better than the rest, to date.
It felt like a release when the hard contours of his back met the cool soft surface of the bed. It seemed like forever that Jared has felt that comfort. Jared was so wrapped in saving Jensen that he denied himself any comfort or rest. It was no wonder they fought easily. Jared and Jensen were too stubborn and put other’s needs in front of their own.
Jared continued to let the thoughts ramble in his mind until eventually his eyelids drooped and sleep carried him off.
In his dreams Jared saw a pulsing red light as crimson as blood. The light slashed through his imaginary field that his dream began in. The red light was so zoomed in it was hard to figure out what it belonged to. The light pulsed faster and faster as it slashed through some invisible force that held it up. Jared ended up way off center of where the strange light had been hurtling through his dream. Jared swallowed hard and concentrated with all of his power. When faced with difficulty, concentrate and meditate.
When Jared opened his eyelids, still in the dream, the strange light became clear. The light hadn’t been a light at all but an object. An object that made everything fall into place.
Jared hadn’t seen a red light but a truck that had big red lights that glared and flashed at the smallest of things in sight. In the truck was the presence of two witches and a Guardian. It was Jensen, a witch he didn’t recognize and, to his consternation, the ever pleasant Chris Kane in his dream rambling on about the Gaia Pool as they drove through the field that was once there but was now a highway with a sign reading “Thank you for visiting Wyoming”.
In the excitement of it all he woke up. It wasn’t a dream that came out of nowhere but a dream that led him on Jensen’s path for a reason.
It was the bonding ritual that kept each and every witch and guardian together. Once their blood was combined and a pact was made there could be no going back. It wasn’t as strong probably because Jensen wasn’t in the right state of mind, but the connection was there.
So Jared didn’t take the bond for granted and packed up for the trip ahead. There was no way Chris would make this easy because he was trying to lay low. Chris had no intentions of putting his witch or Jensen in danger, which meant they wouldn’t be in Wyoming for long but it had been a start. Jared just knew he needed to follow the trail his bond put him on.
Sure enough, Jared’s concentrated mind finally led him to place he was sure Jensen would be. It was five and a half days but eventually Jared’s tired treaded through a place called Calli Montana.
“There was this beautiful ranch up there that you wouldn’t believe. It felt like a place to be normal.” Jensen had once said.
His eyes stayed alert for something that would draw him to Jensen. Jared blue pickup truck rolled down a not crowded street as he silently focused his bond.
It felt like happiness when he spotted a man with soft sandy blond hair.
“Jen,” he whispered. He got out of his truck before his chance disappeared.
Jensen strolled down the sidewalk, looking to all the world as just another person out enjoying the unseasonably warm early fall weather as he sipped at his double espresso. However the truth was far from the illusion.
It was true that he was enjoying the weather and it was also true that he was, in fact, strolling but he wasn’t nearly as relaxed as he appeared. Anyone who bothered to take a second look would notice how his eyes darted back and forth constantly and that he seemed to pause at every second shop window to peer in, only he wasn’t looking into the shop but glancing back the way he had come, almost as if he was looking for someone.
But no one seemed to be bothered to look past the small smile when he made eye contact with the occasional passer-by and for that Jensen was glad.
It had taken him the remainder of the day before to convince Chris that they were going to have to alter the way they were doing things before everyone became suspicious of them. In the end the Guardian had grudgingly agreed on the condition that Jensen took Steve’s cell phone with him when he decided to separate from them.
As far as Jensen was concerned, it was a small price to pay for a little piece of freedom from his concerns that constantly rode him and were only made worse by having to be under the constant watchful eye of Chris.
Admittedly it had been a little disconcerting when he had climbed out of the truck, parked in front of the grocery store and had headed off on his own while Steve and Chris had gone to do the shopping. But he had forced himself to keep moving away from what he had come to depend on as his security, intent on proving that he was capable of taking care of himself.
And as far as he was concerned he had done so, walking the two blocks to the specialty coffee shop, keeping a keen eye out for anyone suspicious but not raising any kind of awareness in the people he passed.
It probably would have been a different story had the violence that seemed to be taking over all around the world had made it to Calli but so far nothing. Not that it gave him any false sense of security. He knew that in time, the people that were behind the violent outbursts would find the little town and if he and Chris and Steve weren’t careful, would also find them. But for now all seemed right, or as right as could be while listening to newscasters and government psychologists spewing on and on about mass hysteria and terrorist attacks the world over.
It dug at him because he knew what government officials and the UN didn’t. He knew who was behind everything that was going on, Jeffrey Morgan, he didn’t know the man’s agenda but still, he knew who he was. But instead of trying to fight back against him, trying to take back his Gaia pool and helping Steve and Chris take back theirs, he was stuck in this little town because the Guardian sect had told them to stay put, with the word of the Elders of the covens of Gaia backing them up.
It dug at him but he had grudgingly accepted that they were being hunted along with the only two other witches who had made it away from their pools. According to the Elders, all the others were either dead or had been taken.
The deepest, darkest truth was it wasn’t even that that bothered him the most. What bothered him the most was that Jared was out there somewhere working for a madman and Jensen wasn’t allowed to go looking for him. He had allowed himself to be duped into believing that Jared had broken their cardinal rule and time travelled because Jensen had asked him to. He believed that it had something to do with the good of everything. When in fact he had come to the realization that it probably had more to do with Jeffrey failing at taking control of Jensen’s pool and Jared’s role in the coup had been discovered. As far as Jensen could figure, he had travelled back to fix that mistake and Jensen had helped him.
He wanted to hunt Jared the way he was being hunted. He wanted to force him to tell him the truth and pay for everything. For his help in the pools being lost, for Jensen’s exile, for his parents’ deaths, for lying to him, for goodness knew, how long.
He lifted the Styrofoam cup towards his mouth and noticed that his hand had started to shake. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to calm the anger flashing through him.
It would be laughable, after fighting with Chris for almost seven hours about having to look less suspicious and needing to be able to move on his own if he started drawing attention to himself because he lost control of his anger. Nothing good ever came from that, he knew that. No sane person would draw the connection between him and the unexpected shattering of all the windows on the block but all it would take would be one slightly unstable person. Or worse, someone just passing through town that knew what they were looking for, or more specifically, looking for him.
He started walking again as he pulled Steve’s cell from the front pocket of his jeans. He was going to have to call Chris and let him know that he was going to walk back to the house, the warm weather and his sense of freedom no longer appealing.
“Jensen, what is it?”
He opened his mouth to answer when an older blue, four door truck turned the corner ahead of him and pulled into a parking spot along the street.
He could feel his heart pounding violently in his chest as he stumbled to a halt in the middle of his walk and tremors started to wrack his body. It’s not. It’s not. It can’t be Jared. There’s got to be thousands of that kind of truck.
Jensen tried to regulate his breathing and get himself moving but he couldn’t seem to get his legs to respond. Instead he found himself rooted to the spot as the driver’s door opened and Jared slid out.
There was a rushing sound in his ears and his body went numb with shock. After over a week of sliding between depression and anger, of plotting how he was going to kill Jared for betraying him, betraying Gaia, pushing away memories of better times and in the darkest part of the night wishing to just see him again, he was frozen in place.
He blinked trying to clear the fog in his head and he focused in on the panicked note in Chris’ voice.
“Jared.” He muttered low.
“What? Jensen what’s wrong?”
“Jared.” He raised his voice only slightly, both scared and hopeful that somehow Jared would hear him, even though there was better than twenty feet and a roadway between them.
Jensen watched Jared turn a slow circle and in the back of his mind knew he should turn away before he was seen. Make a clean getaway until he could pull his shit together and be better prepared to face his Guardian, his lover. But even as the thought filtered through his mind, he knew it was too late as his eyes met Jared’s. He was too far away to really make out his face but could clearly see his mouth drop open in shock before he started to move towards him.
It was Jared moving towards him that finally snapped him out of his daze and he spun on his heel and started to walk away. He wasn’t going to call attention to himself by having it out with Jared in the middle of the street, not here, not now, when this town was the closest he had to security.
“He’s seen me.” He muttered into the phone as he turned the corner and picked up his pace as he headed towards the house.
“Where are you?”
He could hear the sound of Chris starting his truck and squealing out of the parking lot of the grocery store.
“I’m heading to the house.”
Jensen knew he was risking a lot, his life even, but things happened for a reason and apparently Gaia believed he was ready to face Jared. He just wanted to make sure that he would be doing so out of sight of witnesses.
He shut his eyes against Jared calling him and pushed himself to move faster, keeping to a walk but only just. He could only hope that his wayward Guardian wouldn’t draw any more attention to them than he already had. And he really hoped that he could get to the house before Jared caught up to him.
“We’re almost there.”
He pulled the cell from his ear and snapped it closed. It didn’t matter if Chris and Steve were right around the corner because he was already at the house and as he dug out his key from his pocket he could hear Jared’s footsteps on the walk.
He turned the key in the lock, pushed the door open and disappeared inside, leaving the door hanging open behind him. There was no sense in shutting it, he didn’t think for one moment that it would stop Jared from coming in and he really didn’t want it to.