Title: Knowing Is Different From Understanding pt.1
Pairing/Characters: Jensen/Jared, Eric Kripke, OCs
Warnings: Guy-on-guy sex, swearing, speculation for unspecific future episode (from my imagination only) of season 4.
Spoilers: General spoiler for major plot point of Season 4.
Word Count: 13,769 (total)
Disclaimer: Anyone you recognize I don't own, not Jensen, not Jared, not Eric, they own themselves.
Summary: Jensen's always known that Jared has a rare blood disorder but it was only an abstract worry until now.
A/N: Written for fanofsuper
from this meme
(which, there's still time if anyone wants to play.). Her request was: Jared is very sick (but not dying) & Jensen takes of him & when he's all better... well you know the rest.
And because she's awesome she also beta'd this to boot!
Polycythemia Vera is a legitimate rare blood disorder and can actually be deadly if not diagnosed and treated properly.
Jensen absently flipped open the newspaper with a flick of his wrist and attempted to scan the headlines, hoping to find something that would catch his attention. Something to take his mind off of his worry for Jared, anything, but after only a moment’s attempt he tossed it onto the low coffee table with a frustrated sigh and sat back.
Jared had woken up that morning feeling dizzy again and Jensen damn well knew his vision had been blurry by the way he had stumbled around their bedroom, for the second day in a row. But when he had attempted to talk to Jared about it, about his concerns, his lover had simply brushed him off, swearing it was just a head cold, nothing that couldn’t be handled by orange juice and Contact C.
But Jensen didn’t like it, maybe he was overreacting but the very night Jared had told him about his condition he had been on the Internet researching, learning all he could about PV. A part of him had felt weird doing it, especially since he and Jared had only known each other, at that point, for a handful of months but he had been drawn to Jared from day one, he was comfortable around the younger man and anything that threatened Jared was something Jensen was driven to know more about.
What he had learned hadn’t really been all that reassuring but, much to his chagrin, there wasn’t much more that he could do but watch, hope and be prepared to be there if anything went sideways with his new friend.
In the beginning, it had been concern, as their friendship grew it had morphed into a nagging worry but now that they were lovers, it was a terrifying thought that he tried not to dwell on too often.
Unfortunately, with Jared exhibiting signs of his disease, it was pretty damn hard for Jensen not to be dwelling on it.
He sighed again as he pushed himself to his feet and began to pace the small space of his trailer, trying to walk off some of his anxiety.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that Jared was refusing to see his symptoms as anything other than a cold, Jensen wasn’t even able to be near him to keep an eye on him thanks to the shooting schedule of them doing separate scenes for the day. At least while he had been shooting his late morning scene with Jim he had been able to concentrate on something other than Jared, though if the looks he kept getting shot for messing up so spectacularly had been any indication, he hadn’t managed to pull out of his personal concerns nearly enough.
Since his scenes had taken longer than normal, he had been sure that Jared would be done with the guest of the week before he got back to his trailer, hoping to find him stuffing his face with various choices from the catering tent. Unfortunately his boyfriend wasn’t in Jensen’s trailer nor his own and what little calm he had managed to find went straight out the window as his anxiety ratcheted up another notch.
Jensen spun on his heel and started for his trailer door, “Screw this.” He grumbled as he reached for the door handle.
Generally they stayed away from each other’s solo scenes, too used to be pushed off set because they had a bad habit of cracking each other up and slowing down production. Jensen still hadn’t forgiven or forgotten Jared’s performance during his sex scene with Megalyn back in season one and the lewd noises he made while Jensen had to ignore him and pull off Dean and Cassie having angry sex. It hadn’t gone well. But he wasn’t out to get Jared back for that or to make stupid faces at him, he needed to see him, he needed to know that he was doing okay because he was way too fucking far overdo in Jensen’s opinion.
Just as his fingers brushed the cold metal, the distant sound of a siren sounded from across the lot.
His body stiffened in momentary shock, No! No, no, no, no, no.
He shoved the door open, ignoring the bang as it hit the trailer wall and leapt down the stairs. He could be wrong, was hoping desperately that he was wrong but it was just too much of a coincidence that the lot ambulance was up and running, sirens included and Jared wasn’t feeling well.
If it had nothing to do with Jared he would take the ribbing but it would make his boyfriend understand just how worried he was about this. Maybe it would be the thing that finally pushed him to go see a doctor.
But if it was Jared, Jensen was going to kick his ass once he was better.
Jensen paced the small waiting room, anger and fear fuelling his movements. He jerked his head towards the wall clock and growled low in his chest.
Jared had been in emergency for over an hour already. What could be taking so long that a doctor, a nurse, someone couldn’t be bothered to come out and tell him what the hell was going on?
“Incompetent.” He hissed and clenched his hands at his sides as he made another circuit of the room.
He stilled in his incessant pacing and turned to glare at Eric. “I said they are all incompetent.”
Eric sighed and seemed to be caught trying to decide if it was better for him to stay out of reach and remain sitting or if he should stand. In the end he shifted on the uncomfortable plastic chair and looked up imploringly at him.
“Jensen, please. It hasn’t been that long…”
“Hasn’t been that long?” Jensen spluttered, “It’s been over a fucking hour since we got here. We should know something by now!”
“Look, Jared’s condition is,” he paused and swallowed hard before continuing. “Unique…”
He shook his head, “Unique. Unique? Ya think?” He snarled, “But that’s no excuse for me having to explain to the EMTs on the lot what exactly Polycythemia Vera is and if the god damn EMTs have no fucking clue, it doesn’t instil a lot of faith in me that the doctors will.”
His eyes flashed towards the closed doorway of the private office they had been given to wait for Jared’s prognosis before he motioned for Jensen to lower his voice. “Jensen those EMTs were last minute replacements for the usual two. No one could predict that they would both quit, complaining of stress, at the same time. Obviously our new EMTs hadn’t gotten the chance to review the medical reports on everyone on site yet. Please just calm down.”
“I’ll calm down when I can see Jared and not before.” He growled and spun on his heel, looking for something, anything, to take his anger out on. His eyes caught a picture of a serene water scene, a sailboat painted to seem to be floating on a calm lake; the surreal green trees and crystal blue water were almost obscene. He stalked towards it, unsure of his intent, not even realizing that his clenched hand was rising towards it.
“Don’t you dare Jensen.”
It wasn’t the fact that Eric had managed to come up behind him without him noticing, it was the fact that he had a hold of Jensen’s arm, fingers tight on the inside of his elbow, that made him pause. Eric could run roughshod on them while at work but generally he stayed out of their way any other time, only requesting that they try not to cause too much trouble. But for him to actually lay his hand on Jensen while he was that angry and giving his own patented glare up at him, ignoring his own, was enough for him to take a step back.
“Doctors go to school for years Jensen.” His voice was soft, in utter contrast his sharp glare. “EMTs are in school for maybe a year.”
“And?” He grumbled before he chewed his bottom lip.
“And chances are that even if they only ever heard of Polycythemia Vera in a dusty textbook in a class years ago, they will have heard of it. Give them time to understand what exactly Jared’s problem is and what has happened.” He tugged at his arm, pulling him back towards the chairs.
“What if Jared doesn’t have the time for them to figure it out?” It was the first time he had voiced his fears and he shivered.
Jared had been out cold when he had gotten to the set, sprawled out on the ground while the EMTs had scurried around him, checking vitals and muttered between them. Eric had moved to stand in front of him before he could get to his best friend and had stood his ground when Jensen had turned to glare at him.
Everything had seemed fine, the scene running smoothly, finally, after several takes but then out of the blue, Jared had stumbled, grabbed at his chest and dropped like a stone. Eric had quickly explained, still trying to keep between Jensen and the EMTs but his explanation had only fuelled his need to get to Jared.
It had only gotten worse when one of the EMTs had radioed base and after a flurry of medical jargon he didn’t understand, the woman had said that Jared’s affliction was unknown. He couldn’t help himself, they had to know what they were dealing with, or potentially dealing with.
He would never forget the look he had received when he had managed to get the attention of the woman, told her about Jared’s PV and her only response had been a blank stare. And Eric was having problems with his lack of faith? He would never understand that.
He shot up from the chair that Eric had managed to get him into and crossed to the petite, light haired doctor, at least he assumed she was a doctor from the long white lab coat she wore over her dress clothes.
“You’re Jensen Ackles?” She peered up at him, “It’s just that Jensen Ackles is Jared Padalecki’s emergency contact and I can only discuss this information with him.”
He gritted his teeth, there were times, many times, when he hated being so easily recognized but now would not have been one of them. Apparently that was not to be the case.
“Yes.” He managed to keep his voice level, “Do you need to see ID?”
She narrowed her eyes at his tone before flicking a glance back at Eric. “No but I’m afraid you’ll have to leave sir.”
Jensen turned in time to see him gape at her for a moment before he seemed to get a hold of himself. “Jared is one of the leads in a television show that I created and I am executive producer of. I’m the one that is going to have to report back to the network…”
He caught the doctor smiling thinly at Eric out of the corner of his eye, “I’m sorry sir but medical records are confidential and I am only allowed to discuss them with those on signed release forms.” She opened a folder in her hands and rifled through the papers until she came across the one she seemed to be looking for. “This came through as a fax from a Vancouver production company, shortly after Mr. Padalecki was admitted.” She pulled it out and let them both see the CW Network logo at the top of the page. “According to this only Jensen Ackles is allowed access to Mr. Padalecki’s file.”
Eric was starting to go red in the face and Jensen could understand his anger. But, was at a point where the humour aspect had long since faded from the situation and annoyance at his boss was taking precedence. This doctor could and would tell him what had happened to Jared, what they were doing to fix whatever was wrong with him but he wasn’t going to get any answers if Eric didn’t quit trying to argue with her.
“Eric,” he started slowly.
He glanced over at him and something of his growing temper must have shown in his face because Eric threw up his hands in surrender. “Fine.” He turned from Jensen to the doctor, “Just so you know, he will be telling me what’s going on.”
She shrugged, nonplussed. “What Mr. Ackles does with the information is up to him. At that point it is between him and Mr. Padalecki.” She turned to face Jensen with a raised eyebrow, “Though I think it’s only fair to inform you that here in Canada we have the Privacy Act and although my knowledge of legal matters concerning Americans working in Canada is pretty much non-existent, I would still use the side of caution.”
Jensen gritted his teeth and managed to not roll his eyes, trying to keep in mind that she was only trying to protect Jared’s best interests and Eric had no doubt set her on edge. But it was a fight not to just shrug off the well meaning warning, because Eric was right, he would be telling him, eventually, if Jared couldn’t do it himself and his boyfriend wouldn’t give a sweet damn that he had.
In the interest of not making matters worse and finding out what going on with Jared, finally, he simply gave one sharp nod to the doctor.
“Eric,” he glanced over at his boss, “I’ll call you later.”
He seemed to deflate, “Tell him that I hope he’s okay.” He started to head towards the door. “Or maybe I should just wait in the hall?”
He stifled a sigh, he didn’t care what Eric did any longer, so long as he got out. “Good enough.”
He nodded, slipped out the door and shut it softly behind him.
The doctor motioned towards the chairs, “My name is Doctor Achinsen. Shall we?”
He crossed his arms over his chest; as far as he was concerned he had already spent too much time in those chairs. It didn’t matter to him that he had probably spent less than twenty minutes in total sitting since he had arrived at the hospital, in his experience, when a doctor told you to sit it was because they had bad news and he refused to believe that anything she had to tell him would be nothing but good. “Now could you please tell me what’s wrong with Jared.”
She sighed before opening the file in her hands once more, “What do you know of Polycythemia Vera?”
He shrugged, “What little Jared told me about when he told me he had it and some from what I’ve gleaned off the net. It’s a rare blood disorder with no cure. I know he’s on medication for it.”
Doctor Achinsen nodded, “So then you know that PV occurs when the bone marrow produces too many red blood cells. Which in turn causes the blood to become thicker than normal. The blood flow in a patient’s veins and arteries is slower than average.”
“Yes.” He tried to keep the growl out of his voice. He knew all that, what he didn’t know was what was wrong with Jared and that was what he needed to know, not a brush up on his disease.
“Well complications from the disease include, dizziness, headaches, problems with vision, itching and a higher risk of blood clots due to the increase of blood thickness and decreased blood flow.”
He had finally had enough, “Yes doctor Achinsen I know all this. Trust me I know. But what I don’t know is what happened to Jared.”
Something flashed in her dark eyes but instead of the tongue-lashing he had been expecting, she just rifled through the papers in her folder once more before turning back to him. “It appears that Mr. Padalecki developed a blood clot.”
Jensen felt his legs go weak and he regretted not sitting down when he had the chance. He forced his knees to lock and tried not to think about the fact that his grandfather had died because of a blood clot cutting off blood flow to his brain. That was not what had happened to Jared, it was not.
He had to clear the lump from his throat before he could speak, “And?”
“And, he suffered a very minor heart attack.”
The room heaved beneath his feet and he staggered to one of the chairs he had ignored earlier. He fell into it with no grace or finesse, rested his forearms on his thighs and hung his head to stare down at his feet.
A heart attack? Jared had had a heart attack?
“Is, “ he glanced up at her, “Is he going to be okay?”
She smiled softly, “It was a minor heart attack.” She sat down beside him, “There will be some scarring on his heart and he’s going to have to make some changes to his lifestyle but he was lucky. It could have been much, much worse.”
Lucky? How could she think that he had been lucky? Jared had had a heart attack and he wasn’t even twenty-seven yet. How could that be lucky?
“We believe given his blood disorder that that is why the clot developed in the first place. We are going to be changing his medication, upping it to a stronger dose and monitoring his reactions to it.”
“And the blood clot?”
“Mr. Padalecki will have to take a medication called Heparin, it’s a blood thinner, that is in injection form. I have also prescribed Coumadin, which is also a blood thinner but that he will take as a pill. The injections will go for a week and the pills will have to be taken for a time period ending somewhere between three and six months.”
Jensen could feel his own heart pounding painfully in his chest and he knew he was close to having a panic attack. In the back of his head, he had always known that Jared’s disease could kill him but until that very minute, listening to the doctor explain exactly how his lover’s life was going to be for at least the immediate future, he hadn’t realized just how real this all was. Jared had had a heart attack. Jared’s medication for PV had to be changed to prevent anything like this from happening again. Jared had to take injections and pills to dissolve a blood clot to stop it from causing another one.
“Can I see him?”
“Well he is awake and had been asking for Jensen and I’m guessing that’s you.” She looked up from her notes, a smile on her face but it faded quickly as she eyed him critically. ”Are you going to be okay?”
He forced a shaky smile, “It’s…a lot to take in.”
Doctor Achinsen patted his arm, “I’m sure. The good news is that he is going to be okay.”
He nodded, “Yeah.”
She closed the folder in her lap, “Mr. Padalecki is in private room 403, on the four floor. We’re keeping him overnight for observation.”
Something of his renewed panic must of shown on his face because she hurried to add, “It’s hospital policy. Nothing more.”
Jensen pushed to his feet, forcing his legs to hold him steady. The last thing he needed was for the doctor to decide that he was in the midst of a nervous breakdown and try to admit him for a little bed rest of his own. It sure as hell wouldn’t help Jared to hear that he’d been admitted, nor would it get Jensen to him any quicker. He held out his hand and thanked all the acting classes he had taken when it remained steady. “Thank you Doctor for all your help.”
She stood and took his hand. “It’s my job.”
He tipped his head in admission, “Yeah but he’s my best friend.”
It wasn’t exactly the truth but it was the only thing he could give her. He couldn’t explain how Jared had become his everything. How if something happened to Jared he didn’t know what he would do. Just how frightened he had been and still was.
“He’s lucky to have a friend like you.”
He chewed on his bottom lip for a moment, “And I’m lucky to have him.” And because of you I get to keep him.
Jensen thought he had a handle on things and figured he knew what to expect when he entered Jared’s private room. But knowing that his lover would be in a hospital bed with electrodes stuck to his chest and attached to a heart monitor and actually seeing it were two very different things.
“Jesus Jare.” He breathed softly as he slid into the room, letting the door close behind him.
He knew it could be worse and Jared was sitting up in bed, staring at the little hospital supplied T.V. but the electrodes were still attached to his chest with little white sticky pads which still fed to a heart monitor, his natural caramel skin was pale and there was dark circles under his eyes.
“Afternoon TV blows.” Jared grumbled and pushed the set away, before glancing up at him.
He knew it could be worse but he couldn’t forget Jared laid out on the ground, body splayed like a tossed aside rag doll, face relaxed in unconsciousness and he felt ice work it’s way down his back. His legs felt weak and suddenly he wasn’t sure he could trust them to carry him the short distance to the bed.
“Jen?” Jared said softly as his face pinched in concern. “What?”
It’s the beeping of the heart monitor that got him to move as the small blips start to accelerate.
“Don’t.” He pleaded softly and stumbled across the space. He took Jared’s hand in his and squeezed it. “Don’t get worked up, please.”
Jared’s face softened in understanding, “Jen, I’m okay.”
He shook his head, “No you’re not. The doctor is changing your medicine and you have to take pills and shots for the blood clot.” He did a quick once over of Jared’s body, “You know you have a blood clot right? They told you?”
“Jesus Jared you have no idea what it did to me to see you out cold on the floor.” He rested his forehead against Jared’s warm shoulder.
“I’m sorry for scaring you.” Jared breathed softly into the top of his head.
“No.” He said softly, “I shouldn’t have said anything.” He pulled back but kept his fingers threaded with Jared’s.
“Of course you should.” He smiled at him, not his beaming, all teeth showing, smile for the camera, fans, friends but a smaller more intimate smile that he only shared with Jensen.
He tentatively touched one of the small, white sticky pads on Jared’s chest. “How did this happen? You were taking your meds.”
He shrugged, “Chemical changes in my body as I get older.”
Jensen felt the fear that had been consuming him slowly meld with his anger becoming rage. “But you had a physical when we went home at Christmas. Why didn’t they catch this?”
“I guess the changes weren’t there yet or maybe not so big as to be noticeable.”
“Not noticeable.” He repeated low, his voice shaking. “They should be more thorough with your blood work. More careful.”
“Jen,” he said low, soothing. “I’m sure they were very thorough.”
He started shaking his head, “We’re finding you a different doctor. A specialist. What good is having money if it can’t be put to good use?”
Jared stared at him for a tense moment before he sighed, “Jensen stop. My doctor is a specialist, one of the best.”
He pulled away and started pacing, “I don’t want one of the best I want the best.”
“Jensen,” He reached out a hand, “Jen. Just stop, okay? Just stop before they roll another bed in here and strap you to it.”
He spun and stared at him, “You don’t get it. I could have lost you today!” He wasn’t yelling but he knew he was getting close. But he couldn’t get that one image out of his head, he knew it was going to haunt his dreams for years to come.
“I know.” He tried to pull himself up straighter but gave up with a pained hiss as the wires attached to him pulled taut.
“Don’t.” He grumbled, crossed back over to him and pushed gently on his shoulders.
Jared snagged his right hand and threaded their fingers together again before he tugged, forcing Jensen down on the bed beside him. “But you didn’t. All we can do is move forward from this.”
He sighed in frustration, not at Jared’s calm tone or his acceptance of what had happened but because he was right. It didn’t matter what Jensen did; what doctor he found, or hospital, or specialist, it wouldn’t change what happened. All they could do was go forward, do what needed to be done and carry on. It didn’t mean he had to like it.
Slowly the tension leached out of his body and he relaxed against him, Jared snaking his free arm around his shoulders.
“I’m okay.” He reassured him once again, “We’re okay.”
Jensen shut his eyes and breathed deeply, smelling antiseptic, laundry soap but mostly just Jared. He turned his face into the softness of his shoulder, “Yeah we’re okay.”
He felt Jared brush a kiss to the top of his head, “I guess now would not be the time to try to convince you to sneak me out of here?”
His head shot up and he glared at him, “Oh Hell No!” He growled, “The doctor says you stay overnight, you stay overnight.”
He frowned and then his face morphed into his sad puppy face. “Jen.” He whined low.
“Forget it.” He shook his head, “That look won’t work with me, not on this.”
“No.” He narrowed his eyes, “And if you don’t turn off the kicked puppy look I’ll…I’ll start limiting your time with the dogs.”
Jared raised both eyebrows, “What?”
“Well it’s obvious you spend far too much time with them if you’re starting to pout like them.”
His lips twitched, “Are you saying that I look like my dogs?”
Jensen couldn’t help it, after an afternoon running on nothing but anxiety and fear before finally seeing Jared, seeing that he was, if not in perfect health, almost as good as usual, he felt a giddiness rising up in him. “Nah, you I’d fuck. The dogs, not so much.”
He mock shuddered, “Ew.” His face twisted in disgust, “Just ew.”
He chuckled, feeling better by the moment. “You asked for it.”
“I’m gonna need my brain bleached.”
He settled back against him but kept his head up so he could look at him and chuckled.
Jared finally broke down and grinned back. “So is Eric ready to can my ass?”
The question was asked smoothly, the tone light but he could hear the undercurrent of worry.
“No.” He was quick to reassure. “As a matter of fact, he was here with me at the hospital but I told him to go home once we found out you were okay. Told him he could wait until tomorrow to see you once were back home.”
“Home?” He parroted back at him. “What do you mean home? We have a full shooting schedule tomorrow.”
“No we don’t.” He shrugged, “Eric cancelled shooting for the remainder of the week.”
“No.” He shook his head and tried to sit up again, like he had every intention of trying to get out of the bed.
“Whoa.” Jensen pushed on his shoulders, forcing him back against the bed. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“That’s three days Jensen.” He let himself be pushed back, “We can’t afford to fall three days behind schedule.”
“It wasn’t my idea.” Jensen continued, ignoring the fact that had Eric tried to push for Jared to be back on set the following day or any day that week, that he would have flat out refused. There was no way in hell that he was going to risk something happening to Jared, like another heart attack. If he thought he could have gotten away with it, he wouldn’t let Jared back on set until the doctor cleared him of the blood clot but he didn’t live in a dream world and he knew their commitments to the show wouldn’t allow it. The network wouldn’t allow for Supernatural to float for three to six months, it would be cancelled, they would be out of jobs and Eric would never forgive him. On top of that Jared, well Jared would probably kill him.
“He said to call him on Sunday, let him know how you’re doing and he’d make a decision then about Monday shooting.”
Jared huffed out a breath, “We’ll tell him tomorrow that we’ll be back on Monday.” He grumbled low, his eyes off to the side.
“Hey.” He said gently and cupped his chin, urging him to look at him. “It’s okay.”
He rolled his eyes, “No, it’s not.”
“Jared,” he perched on the edge of the bed, keeping his hand on his chin, stroking along his jaw with is thumb, hoping to keep him calm. “You had a heart attack. Like it or not, you have to take it slow for a while. Eric gets that, the crew will get that, even the fucking network will get that. It’s nothing to be upset about.”
“Three days behind.” He muttered mutinously.
Jensen sighed and leaned forward so that their foreheads were touching. He wasn’t going to tell him that both he and Eric agreed that it might only be Jensen going back on Monday. It all came down to if Jensen thought Jared could handle going back. He felt a little bad about that, having that kind of power when his first instinct was still to keep Jared home until the clot was gone, at the very least, but he was going to try to be fair about it. If Jared’s colour came back, if he seemed like his old self, then he would let it go and tell Eric to expect both of them. But only if.
“It’ll be fine.” He promised low, “You and I kick ass on our worst day. We’ll burn through the extra work just like we always do.”
“Jared I love you, so you know what I’m about to say comes from the bottom of my heart.” He pulled back so that they could see each other clearly. “Shut up about it.”
He pointed at the phone on the little nightstand beside the bed, “Call your parents.”
He could feel a stab of guilt run through him because, honestly, he hadn’t even thought about it. Seeing Jared unconscious and on the ground, the harried ride to the hospital with Eric, the waiting and fear, it just hadn’t crossed his mind, even though he knew it should have. In fact the only reason it had finally occurred to him was that it was a way to distract Jared from continuing on about them having the three days off.
He shrugged one shoulder and looked down at their still entwined fingers, “I…uh…I may have…kind of…lost my head for a bit.” His eyes flicked up to meet Jared’s for a brief second before he looked down again. “Sorry.”
“If it had been more severe…”
His head shot back up, “Jesus Jare don’t say shit like that!”
He held up his free hand, “If it had been more severe, you would have called my parents right?”
“Of course!” He just shook his head, “I’m sorry…I just…I panicked and froze okay?”
It was Jared’s turn to cup his chin and urge him to meet his eyes. “I would have done the same.” He smiled softly at him, “It’s okay.”
He felt a weight lift from his shoulders, Jared could have, probably should have, been furious with him. He had two jobs take care of if something happened, the first, be there for Jared, the second, inform his parents. At least he could content himself with the fact that he had followed through with the first. And Jared wasn’t pissed that he had failed at the second.
He brushed a soft kiss against his lips, “I’m going to go see if I can find a decent cup of coffee in this place.” He reluctantly pulled himself up from the bed, “Then I’m going to slip outside and call Jamie to see if she and Tom can take the dogs for the night. You call your parents.”
Jared raised a surprised eyebrow, “Jensen you’re not spending the night here.”
“If it was me in that bed would you go home?”
He shrugged, “No.”
Jensen tilted his head, “Exactly.” He started backing towards the door. “Now call your parents and I’ll be back shortly.”
Jensen wandered back down the hall after seeing Eric out, entered the living room just in time to catch Jared covering his mouth as he yawned before he crossed his arms back over his chest and frowned.
He could understand his boyfriend’s annoyance, there was nothing like coming home after spending the night in the hospital to a flustered boss waiting on your doorstep with a guilty look in his eye.
As it turned out, the network wasn’t as understanding as Eric had been about Jared’s heart attack. Their boss had pulled out a stack of paperwork from a little folder he brought in with him and had preceded to layout the new rules for Jared to keep his job.
Jensen glanced down at Jared’s copies of the paperwork, the black of the ink he had used to scrawl his name at the bottom of each sheet almost blending into the type as he glared at it.
“So now I’m subjected to a weekly physical.” Jared mumbled.
He turned to look at him. “At least you get to keep your job.” It sounded weak even to his ears but it was the only bright spot he could think of. After all they could have written Sam out, killed him off, not that Jensen, or Eric for that matter, seriously believed that Supernatural would survive without Jared but they could have demanded it to be done.
“A nutritionist Jen. The network is sending a nutritionist.” He turned to scowl across the room.
He sat down on the couch beside him; careful not to dislodge the blanket he had thrown over Jared’s legs earlier. “We could always do with eating healthier.”
“A new trainer.” He grumbled.
He shut his eyes and took a deep breath, he had known this was coming the minute Eric had started explaining what all the paperwork was, what the network wanted. But he had hoped that Jared would have taken it better, especially considering he had been so damn positive the day before, or even that morning.
“Jay,” he said softly as he shifted on the couch until he was facing his profile, left leg bent at the knee and pulled up on the couch between them. “Jared, look at me please.”
He sighed before he swivelled his head to stare back at him. “What?”
“You had to know things would change.” He started slow, “I mean you had to sign a release form before we started Supernatural didn’t you, because of your health?”
Jared shrugged his shoulders, “Yes.”
“Wasn’t there any mention of what they would expect if something like this happened?” He tried to keep his voice as gentle as possible, Jared’s face was drawn in frustration and his eyes hinted at his anger and he didn’t want him exploding. First off because he didn’t want to get into an argument with him over this and two it wouldn’t be good for his heart.
He shrugged half heartedly, “I guess.” He admitted before he heaved a sigh. “But I feel fine! I’m okay. I don’t need a new trainer or a nutritionist or a weekly physical. I’m fine!”
Jensen reached out and wrapped his fingers around Jared’s, “But you’re not Jay.” He pressed quietly.
He ran his free hand through his hair with an angry jerk. “I’m just as good as I ever was.”
“Jay you slept sixteen hours yesterday.”
“So? It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last, not with our schedules.”
“Granted but usually when you finally fall out of bed after sleeping that long, you’re a big ball of energy.” He squeezed his fingers, “But you’re not. You could go to sleep right now.”
He narrowed his eyes and ground his teeth together, before he turned his head away.
“Jared.” Jensen prompted slowly.
“Don’t.” It was softly spoken but he could hear the anger vibrating through that one word.
In a flurry of movement, he snapped his head around, tore his hand from Jensen’s and pushed the blanket off his legs. “Fine!” He snarled, “Fine I had a heart attack. Fine I’m not up to snuff. But I don’t need the network or Eric or you treating my like I’m a fucking invalid.”
“We’re not.” He tried to reassure, “I’m not.” He fought down the urge to reach for his boyfriend; sure the touch wouldn’t be welcomed.
Jared raised a disbelieving eyebrow as he glanced slowly from Jensen to the paperwork to the blanket at his feet and then back. “Seriously?” He demanded.
“It…I…I wasn’t trying to imply that you’re an invalid.” He gestured towards the blanket, “It’s chilly in here and I thought you would have appreciated it.”
He took a deep breath and seemed to collapse into himself, “I’m sorry.” He muttered and this time it was him that reached out and tangled their fingers together. “I don’t know why, but the minute you laid the blanket on me the first thing I thought of was an feeble, old man.”
“That wasn’t my intention.”
He nodded, “I know and I knew it then, that’s why I didn’t say anything.” He shook his head before he snorted. “But then Eric started in with what the network wanted and he was talking so quietly, like he was worried anything louder than a whisper would startle me into another heart attack and it was just too much.”
Jensen leaned forward, until his chest was pressed against Jared’s side and he rested his hand over his heart. “Sorry.”
“No, I’m sorry.” He twisted until they could look at each other. “But Jen, I am going to be okay. Please don’t treat me like I’m fragile or feeble or weak.”
His fingers twitched against the soft cotton over the steady pounding of his heart. “Just give me a little wriggling room okay? It’s going to take me awhile to get over that you went and had a heart attack on me.”
Jared’s lips twitched, “Yes Jen, I did this just to watch you twitch.”
He narrowed his eyes for show only, this felt good, he felt good. Jared had had a heart attack, there was no way around that, but it could have been a lot worse, a hell of a lot worse. And even though a part of him was still reeling, the bigger part was beginning to relax, at least a little, in the resurgence of Jared’s humour. “Don’t make me kick your ass Padalecki.”
He snorted, “Sure kick a guy when he’s down.”
Jensen pulled himself to his feet and offered a hand to him, “I’ll take whatever advantage I can Sasquatch.”
He looked from his face to his hand and then back with a raised eyebrow.
“Dude hospital chairs are not conducive to a good night’s sleep.” He wiggled his fingers at him, “I’m beat.”
He rolled his eyes, leaned down far enough to grab his wrist and gave it a slight tug. “And I want a nap.”
Jared chuckled as he allowed himself to be pulled up. “You’re getting old. And seriously you need me to come lay down with you?”
The teasing lilt to his words negated any embarrassment he might have been feeling at the fact that, yes he did need Jared to come lay down with him. He needed him close, needed to be able to reach over and feel him by his side. Besides that, Jared might not be willing to admit it, and he seriously doubted he would considering just what it took to make him admit out loud that there was something wrong with him, but Jensen knew he was tired too, and not just from having to sleep in a crappy bed the night before. But he was willing to let it slide, willing to take the brunt of his teasing if it got him up and into their bed for some recuperative sleep.
He shrugged as he turned and started pulling him towards the stairs. “Humour me.”
“You’re a girl.” He muttered good-naturedly as he twisted out of Jensen’s grip on his wrist but only to twine their fingers together.
Jensen took it as the win it was, “Whatever.”
It had seemed, at least, acceptable on Sunday morning, when Jared had sat down at the kitchen table, looked Jensen square in the eye and told him that he was going to work on Monday, end of discussion. Acceptable only because he no longer looked like one of the living dead, his colour was good and the dark circles under his eyes, that had been so prevalent, had finally faded. He was still moving a little slower than normal and he hadn’t taken the dogs for a run, not that Jensen would have stood for it, since the morning of his accident but he couldn’t look him in the eye and start a fight with him by putting up any kind of resistance.
Plus he had reasoned with himself that since it was Eric doing the majority of the directing of the episode that he could trust that they would be doing things a little easier, less physical, more metaphysical.
In hindsight, he should have known better. Eric might have understood that Jared had had a heart attack but he also put too much faith in his actors to let him know if they couldn’t do something. Which, as far as Jensen was concerned, he should have learnt in their first year of shooting that that was never the case.
“Jensen, Dean is pissed with Sam…”
“Again.” Jared piped up as he pushed Jensen away from him and took the required three steps back to his mark.
He turned to glare at Eric, “I know.”
Eric sighed, “And he’s supposed to grab him by his shirt and slam him against the wall.”
Jensen threw his hands up in the air, “And I did that!”
“Pissed off to the point of wanting to beat the shit out of him.” Eric threw back, “Not, pat him on the head and tell him to be a good boy, exasperation.”
Jared snorted and out of the corner of his eye he caught him leaning, just slightly, forward. “You’ve tossed me around harder when we’ve been…wrestling.”
He breathed in sharply, the only indication he gave that he had even heard the softly spoken words or the implication behind them. He would have said something but there was no way the mic clipped to his, Dean’s, shirt wouldn’t have caught it and not everyone in the crew knew about him and Jared. At least they hadn’t, until just then and his idiot boyfriend.
He quickly glanced towards the sound guys and was relieved to see that none of them were looking at him strangely. Maybe they had taken the words for what they were, not what they had actually meant, after all it wasn’t like he and Jared didn’t start impromptu sparring matches when things on set got too heavy as a way to break the tension.
He refused to think about all the sites on the net that that particular sound bite just might make it onto if he was wrong.
“Now can we please do this scene right?”
He focused back on Eric, on the exasperation on his face and gave a terse nod. Not really wanting to have his boss call him out, again, especially since he was pretty sure it would be one of the few times he would actually start yelling back.
And then there would be no way Jared wouldn’t get involved and wouldn’t be pissed with him for going easy because he was worried about what the physical aspect of the stunt might do to him. Pissed at him because he would take it as an insult because he would think that Jensen didn’t believe he knew how to take care of himself. Which wasn’t strictly the truth, but he had seen it the minute they had gotten in the van, Jared had started acting like he had eaten candy for breakfast, energy levels through the roof. It was like he had to prove to himself and everybody in the crew that he was okay to be there, that no one had to worry about him or wonder if he could do his job.
Jensen could kind of understand it but he made him leery, damn leery, of doing anything that might aggravate Jared’s condition because he wasn’t sure Jared would admit to anything being wrong.
“Come on you pussy.” Jared eased the sting of his taunt by flashing a quick smile at him. “Bring it on.”
He clenched his jaw and took a deep breath. He just needed to make it seem real enough to get past Eric, if he could convince him that he had used enough force while slamming Jared, Sam, into the wall then it would convince their viewers.
“Mark.” Eric called.
He watched Jared bounce on the balls of his feet for a quick second before he settled down and slid behind Sam.
Jensen shut his eyes and tried to let Dean take over. He thought about the set up for the scene, how Dean had caught Sam in another lie about using his demon powers. How Castiel had once again threatened to stop Sam if Dean didn’t do something about it. He thought about Dean’s fear of losing the only family he had left but couldn’t seem to find his Dean, couldn’t slip into him the way he normally could.
Dean might be living under the threat of losing Sam but he, they, were just characters in a show. Jared had had a heart attack and Jensen could have really lost him for real and that dragged up emotions that none of his years of experience as an actor could even touch.
“No Dean. Castiel, Uriel, the army of God want Lilith stopped but can’t do it. I’m going to.”
Jensen saw something flash in Jared’s eyes just before he forced himself forward and latched onto Sam’s shirt. Not fast enough. Not angry enough. flashed through his mind seconds before Jared’s hands came up to wrap around his wrists and he was half yanked, half dragged backwards.
He wasn’t sure if the sound Jared made when his back collided with the wall was all him or Sam but it left him momentarily stunned.
“What are you gonna do Dean?” He snarled in his face.
“Cut!” Eric called out behind them. “That was much better boys. We’ll pick up right from Sam’s last line after lunch.”
Jensen shut his eyes and took a deep breath, relieved that no one else had noticed that Jared had controlled the scene, their collision with the “motel” wall.
“Lunch Jen.” Jared said quietly. “Want to let go so we can go get something to eat? I’m starving.”
His eyes snapped open, “You stupid son of a bitch!” He hissed. “What were you trying to do?”
He raised an eyebrow, “I think that would be obvious.”
He could felt his temper rise, too many days of worry, of trying to make sure Jared didn’t overextend himself made his fingers curl tighter in the thin flannel shirt.
“Dragging me across the room by my wrists.” He growled, not caring that their mics might still be on and their private conversation not so private. “Trying to make me fall on my face and drag you down with me?”
Jared rolled his eyes, “No. Trying to get through this fucking scene. Trying to prove to you that I can survive hitting a wall.”
He gave a slight shove, although it was a pointless gesture since Jared was still pressed up against the wall. “It’s better to err on the side of caution.”
Jared tugged on his wrists, both of them ignoring the sound of material ripping as his fingers lost their purchase on the shirt. “Jensen, I had a heart attack. A very minor, wouldn’t have killed me if I were eighty, heart attack. There is nothing wrong with my back, nothing happened to my back, shoving me against a wall is not going to hurt me!”
He pushed up back a few steps, “No! I have put up with your hovering as best as I can. I have put up with you standing over me, watching me take my pills, do my injections. I have put up with you trying to do every little thing for me regardless that it makes me feel like I’m taking advantage of you because I know you think that it’s helping.”
Jensen chewed on his bottom lip, equal parts guilt and anger running through him at Jared’s angry outburst. “Jared, I’m…”
“No.” He shook his head, “Don’t tell me you’re sorry. Just…” he sighed and seemed to deflate. “Let’s just get through the rest of the day okay?”
He stepped towards him and pinched the cuff of his sleeve between his fingers, “I’m hungry. Let’s go get lunch before Eric catches us doing nothing and decides to cut lunch short.”
Jensen let himself be pulled away from the set, not really paying attention to anything or anyone as they strode past. Jared wanted him to relax, not to worry so much, he had made that painfully obvious. What wasn’t obvious was just how exactly he was going to be able to accomplish that when every time he tried, the thought that Jared could have died, wound him up tighter and tighter.