Title: Break Me Apart to Fix the Shattered Pieces of Your Soul part 1
Please see Master Post
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Jensen sighed with frustration as he glanced at the clock on the DVD player.
“Fucking Jared.” He grumbled and shifted until he had managed to wedge himself tighter into the corner of the couch, his feet resting on the coffee table.
His wayward husband’s flight, later fight at Jared’s request, should have landed at nine p.m. and Jensen had checked online for arrivals and knew it was on time, and even if there had been a problem with getting his luggage or grabbing a cab, Jared should have been home by eleven at the latest. And yet there it was almost twelve thirty and still no sign or even a phone call from him.
It could be partially his fault for Jared not calling since he had been less than enthusiastic when Jared had called earlier that afternoon letting him know that he was changing to a later flight, again. But he didn’t think he could really be blamed for his response because it was again, an again, after an again, after an again. It had gotten to the point of so many “agains” that he could no longer remember just how many times Jared had changed to a later flight since he had started working on the new series in New York. He supposed he could take some comfort in the fact that he knew that Jared wasn’t staying later because he was cheating; Jared just wasn’t that kind of guy, but that small relief had been short lived and had become nothing more than an empty fact.
No, Jared’s fault was that he was too willing to help everyone else. It was ironic how it had been one of the first qualities that had endeared him to Jensen in the first place and now it was a bone of contention between them. But Jensen was pretty sure that Jared hadn’t been so giving of himself back in the days of Supernatural because Jensen was pretty sure he would have warned him about people taking advantage of him and he hadn’t. It wasn’t like he hadn’t sat and thought about it; gone over the years they had known each other in his head, trying to see something he hadn’t seen then. But he didn’t think that was it, he didn’t think that his memories had become that skewed with age.
But he really didn’t want to consider what could be the actual reason why Jared would choose helping the other actors or volunteering to stick around so that the lighting guys could ensure everything was just right for the first shot the following week or any other multitude of reasons that he had given Jensen over the last few months. But it was hard not to wonder about it, not to worry over how Jared had been accepting bit parts and now a reoccurring character role in a crime drama that took him farther and father away from home for longer periods of time ever since Supernatural ended, ever since they had agreed to adopt Aden from a friend of Megan’s eight years ago.
Things had seemed to be okay in the beginning. Sure it had been stressful, Supernatural had been in its final season and they were still hiding who and what they were to each other but it had been worth it, they had their child and the support of friends and family and each other. But then Supernatural had ended and after only a year of turning down parts and sticking close to home, suddenly it seemed like their family wasn’t enough for Jared anymore. Or maybe it had been too much. Either way, all Jensen knew for sure was that suddenly Jared was accepting damn near any and every part that came his way and Jensen was stuck scrambling for help when he had to leave town for meetings.
At least he had stuck as close to the original plan as possible and started his own production company instead of continuing to pursue his acting career. Usually it meant that he could stick close to their home just outside of L.A. and could be home every night, unlike Jared.
Jensen let his head fall backwards to rest against the back of the couch and stared up at the ceiling.
It had been almost seven years of excuses, missed family moments and later, missed soccer games, school meetings and late to Christmas concerts. And yet somehow, the older Aden got, the more it seemed to be Jensen’s fault when things didn’t go according to plan, at least to Aden. And now that Aden was eight, Jensen couldn’t seem to do anything right. He refused to even consider how much worse it was going to become once their boy reached his teen years.
Jensen rubbed a weary hand across his eyes, trying to ignore the fact that he was trying to rub away the feeling of grit that itched and burned every time he blinked when he knew it was only a symptom of being overtired. The truth was that he should probably just go to bed; he was the one that would have to be up first thing in the morning so sitting up waiting for Jared to show was stupid. Especially when he knew that all that would end up happening would be another fight and one of them would be sleeping in the guest room. Which would be followed by a weekend of tension and barely there glances before Jared would take a late flight back to New York for another week of shooting.
But if he went to bed maybe they could have a normal conversation about Jared coming home later than originally planned again. A muscle in Jensen’s jaw jumped, or it could mean forestalling the blowout and having it in front of Aden, which was in no way what he wanted to do.
Plus, as pissed off as he was, as hurt as he was to be made to feel like Jared felt that maybe their life was a mistake once the fourteen to sixteen hours of shooting Supernatural had ended, it was still a bone deep need to reassure himself that Jared was home and safe. And as much as he logically knew it would probably be better to just go to bed, he couldn’t manage to make himself get up off the couch and do so, not without knowing.
His crossed arms suddenly dropping from his chest made him jump and automatically glance around the room, apparently that didn’t mean that he couldn’t doze.
“Shit.” He yawned, pulled his legs off the table and sat forward resting his elbows on his knees while scrubbing his face with both hands. “Where the hell are you Jared?”
He could just call, probably should just call. If Jared didn’t answer than it probably meant that he was in the air, which meant that Jensen probably should just go to bed because not only had Jared switched to a later flight once but a second time without bothering to inform Jensen. Something heavy and sharp turned over in his stomach and he swallowed against the bile he could feel rising. If that was what had happened, it definitely would be better for both of them if he did just go to bed.
But if he did answer, Jensen could find out what the hell was taking so long and try not to start fighting with him over the phone.
Jensen grabbed his cell phone from the armrest of the couch and angrily punched in Jared’s number, not allowing himself to think about the nagging fear that had kept him from calling for the last couple hours. But there was nothing he could do as it settled into the forefront of his mind and his thumb hovered over the send button. As much as it hurt to think that Jared had gone ahead and switched to an even later flight without mentioning it to Jensen it was still an easier thought to swallow then worrying that they had finally gotten to the point where he didn’t answer because he was simply ignoring Jensen. And yet it seemed kind of a valid worry since Jared hadn’t called to say his flight had landed like he used too, even if there had been a couple times lately that he hadn’t. He didn’t want to consider that maybe that too was his fault. After all, why would someone bother to call when they knew they were just going to get shit anyway?
Christ they really had fallen far.
“Fuck it.” He growled but instead of pushing the send button like he had planned, he ended up jumping as the cell began to ring and vibrate in his hand.
He had expected it to be Jared’s name that popped up on the screen and had unconsciously been gearing up to give him hell but the wind was knocked out of his sails as soon as he realized that he didn’t know the number.
Again he glanced at the clock on the DVD player as he accepted the call and brought the phone to his ear. Twelve fifty-three and not the number he wanted it to be but instead probably a wrong number. But, at least he wasn’t actually asleep.
“Hello. Is Jensen Ackles available please?”
Jensen’s brow furrowed, there weren’t a lot of people that had his cell number but there was the off chance that Chris had forgot his cell again and some good Samaritan was trying to find someway of learning who’s cell she had, it wouldn’t be the first time. Not even the first time that said good Samaritan not only used Chris’ contacts but used a different phone to call Jensen. But the clipped, professional tone made him think that this wasn’t one of those times, and the fine hairs on the back of his neck stood up in response.
“That would be me.” He admitted slowly, half formed notions about emergencies involving someone close to him, floating through his mind.
“My name is Patricia Spencer and I’m a triage nurse at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. We have a Jared Padalecki here and your name is his emergency contact from information in his wallet.”
His body went cold and he had to swallow several times to make his suddenly dry throat manage any sound. “Jared’s in the hospital? What happened?”
He had to close his eyes to stop the way the room had started to spin and pushed his free hand against his chest over his violently pounding heart.
I am not having a heart attack. I am not having a heart attack.
“I’m afraid Mr. Padalecki was in a car accident and required emergency surgery.”
Oh God, oh God, oh God.
“But he’s okay right?” Vaguely he realized that he had jumped up from the couch and was pacing the room but it was insignificant. It was too little a thing to worry about maybe kicking something and risking making enough noise to wake up Aden when most of his focus was on the guilt that was trying to choke him. Mere moments before he had been gearing up for the argument he knew was going to start the minute Jared walked through the front door and hadn’t bothered trying to be a better man and calm himself down enough for it not to happen. In fact, he was pretty sure he was almost giddy with the idea of telling Jared off for not only taking a later flight once again but also not bothering to be considerate enough to call when he landed. And yes, Jared hadn’t bothered to call when he landed but it no longer mattered because he had been in an accident, he had been injured severely enough that he needed emergency surgery and Jensen should have known that something was wrong. Maybe he would have if he hadn’t been a jerk when Jared had called that afternoon to tell him about switching his fly out time because he would have called when he landed, they probably would have been on the phone (on hands free of course), like they used to be for the whole ride when one couldn’t pick up the other, when the accident happened.
“He’s still in surgery and I’m afraid I have no update on his condition.”
He had to swallow down the urge to scream and hurl the cell away from him. What was the point of calling someone, telling them that someone they love is in emergency surgery and not be able to tell them anything useful? What kind of sick and twisted ideology was that?
“What was his condition when he came in?” He demanded and took the stairs to the second floor two at a time. He needed to change into something more appropriate for being out in public than a ratty t-shirt and pajama bottoms. He needed to grab his car keys and his wallet. The cracked open door at the end of the hall caught his attention. He needed to find someone to come and be there for Aden.
“I’m afraid that it cannot be discussed over the phone.”
“Then what the fuck good are you?” He snarled before tearing the phone away from his ear and viciously punching end, effectively cutting off her tinny voice raised in outrage.
He’d start by calling Mike.
“Family for Jared Padalecki?”
Jensen jumped at the words and cringed at the sound of the chair hitting the wall behind it.
“That would be me.” He stared towards the small, grey haired man in green scrubs and a white lab coat, trying to ignore the way his heart was thundering at the sight of the bright splashes of blood on the green. That can’t be all Jared’s could it?
The doctor waved him back toward the chair and came forward ensuring that Jensen would take the hint. “My name is Doctor Williams and I was Jared’s main surgeon.”
“Main surgeon?” Jensen fell back into the chair; his back protesting the sudden move but he barely registered the pain. Jared was worked on by more than one surgeon? But why? Just how bad had his condition been that he needed more than one surgeon?
When he had gotten to the hospital twenty-five minutes after the call, he still hadn’t really been told much of anything from the girl at the emergency reception. She just repeated the same thing to him that the nurse had earlier, Jared had been involved in an accident and that he was in surgery and no, she had no updates on his condition. If it hadn’t been for the fact that her voice had been more sympathetic and less business like, he would have thought that she was the nurse that had called him.
She did have one piece of news for him, there was a police officer waiting for him in the waiting room set aside for the families of patients in emergency surgery.
It hadn’t taken him long to find the waiting room and even though it was half full with worried people, watery eyes turning to him and then dismissing him just as quickly, it wasn’t hard to spot the cop. He didn’t turn away after he knew that Jensen wasn’t a doctor or a nurse with news for someone, instead he had pulled to his feet and, surprisingly for such a bulky man, easily navigated the disarray chairs on silent feet.
“Mr. Ackles?” He glanced down at a small paper pad in his hand before looking back up, “Jensen Ackles?”
Jensen had found it hard to pull enough breath to speak so he just nodded.
“I need to speak to you for a minute sir.” He waved back towards a corner of the room that was relatively empty.
“Wha…what happened to Jared?”
The officer had gentle eyes and a soft voice and it eased a little of the tension running amuk through Jensen’s system, making his hands and legs shake and his vision blur.
“Please sir, let’s sit.” He waved his hand towards the corner again.
“Jensen.” He muttered and let himself be led towards the chairs. “My name is Jensen.”
He smiled as Jensen turned and settled into one of the hard plastic chairs before settling himself beside him. “Okay, Jensen.”
“Can you tell me,” he grimaced at the thready sound of his own voice and ran a hand down his face. He had to pull it together before the cop got it into his head that Jensen should be checked out in case he was going into shock. If he lost him in a myriad of halls and nurses, orderlies and doctors, Jensen probably wouldn’t find the cop again and he needed to know. He needed to know now just what the hell had happened. “What happened?”
“We know that the taxi cab that Mr. Padalecki was riding in was coming from the airport.”
Jensen nodded; he already knew that but bit his tongue to keep the harsh words locked down. This man was just doing his job and the knowing of the wheres and the whys was part of that. “You can call him Jared. He hates being called Mr. Padalecki; he says it makes him sound old.”
The chuckle that slipped past his lips tasted like hysteria and the way the cop’s eyes widened it must have sounded the same. Jensen turned it into a cough, “Sorry. I never asked you your name. Usually I’m better at this…” he waved a hand between them.
The officer shook his head and flashed a reassuring smile, “It’s understandable Mr. Ack…Jensen. I’m Constable Burrows but you can call me Riley.”
He tried to smile back but he felt the same hysteria rising up to choke him. How was it that he could sit there and trade pleasantries with this man when Jared was in surgery possibly dying? It wasn’t right and it made Jensen want to laugh like a manic or cry or maybe both.
“According to witnesses, the cab driver ran a light that had been red for a good while. He didn’t appear to even make an effort to stop. The car was struck by a three quarter ton truck on the driver’s side.“
Jensen could feel the hysteria he had been so worried about showing burn up with sudden anger. What the hell had the cab driver been doing and thinking? His fingers itched with the need to wrap them around the man’s neck and squeeze until his palms touched.
Officer Burrows must have seen something in his face, “The driver died on impact.”
He couldn’t stop the frustrated sound from the back of his throat and refused to feel bad because of it. He couldn’t remember a time when he had wanted to do something so much but have it ripped from him, even if this was a godsend in disguise. He didn’t think it would sit well with Jared to find out that Jensen was charged with murder.
Officer Burrows was watching him closely, like he was expecting something from Jensen. If he was looking for some empty sympathy for the driver’s family then he’d be waiting until hell froze over. The man had purposely ran a red and because of it Jared was in surgery and no one would tell Jensen exactly why or what his injuries were. It was hard to feel sympathy for anyone other than himself and Aden.
“Jensen, he’s still alive, that’s a good sign.”
There was nothing he could say to that, at least nothing that wouldn’t be considered ignorant or rude so he simply nodded and fell into silence.
The office had sat with him for a few minutes more then had handed over his card before saying he’d be in touch and left.
The officer hadn’t mentioned what side of the cab Jared had been riding in and Jensen knew he had been in the back seat. Maybe he had been directly behind the driver; maybe that was why he had needed more than one surgeon.
“Yes.” The doctor answered slowly, “I’m sure by now you know that Jared was involved in a car accident.”
Jensen nodded but kept his mouth closed, that was about the only thing he knew for certain but biting the doctor’s head off wasn’t going to get him his answers any quicker.
“It appears from both the report the paramedics gave the hospital and Jared’s injuries that he was riding in the back of the cab on the right side which is what probably saved his life.”
Shutting his eyes, Jensen had to breathe for a minute, to try to calm his heart. “Just tell me what happened to him, please.”
“Jared’s last four ribs are broken and we had to remove one of his kidneys because it had ruptured. His right shoulder was dislocated and there will be massive and painful bruising along his left hip and thigh.” The doctor sighed, “That’s not all.”
Christ there was more? How much worse could it get?
“It would appear that Mr. Padalecki’s head connected with both the glass of the door and the frame of it.”
No, no, no, no. He could feel his body freezing up with panic and he willed it away. Whatever he was going to hear next was crucial and he would hear it all, even if it killed him.
“Glass shards entered Mr. Padalecki’s right eye and cut the cornea.”
“Oh God.” Jensen moaned and clutched tightly at the plastic armrests. He was going to be sick, he was sure of it.
“Our staff optometrist removed the glass but can’t give a conclusive answer as to whether or not Mr. Padalecki is going to lose the sight in that eye until he can examine him once he wakes up.”
The doctor was trying to be gentle while giving Jensen the news, he could tell but the man was terrible at it. His voice kept slipping into a clinical tone that bordered on flat and he shifted uncomfortably in his chair more than Jensen. “Just tell me the rest.” He pushed out in one breath, not wanting to know there was more but knowing there was.
“When Mr. Padalecki’s head connected with the side of the taxi he sustained a serious head injury. There is brain swelling evident and I’m afraid that he’s slipped into a coma.”
Papers rustled and Jensen opened his eyes to see the doctor thumbing through a chart and no longer meeting his eyes. It felt like the room was spinning, brain swelling? What the hell was that supposed to mean? “So where...what...how?” He forced himself to take a deep breath and tried again. “What does that mean exactly? What happens now?”
“The next twenty-four hours are crucial. If the swelling starts to recede on its own then we won’t be forced to take any further steps until Jared wakes up. However if it doesn’t or continues to worsen, we’re looking at having to drill holes in his skull to ease the pressure.”
It felt like someone had punched him in the stomach as hard as they could and he couldn’t catch his breath. Drill holes in Jared’s head to ease the pressure? Jesus Christ!
He shut his eyes and forced himself to take a deep breath. He wasn’t going to lose it in front of this doctor or anyone else. Jared needed him and he damn well was going to be there for him no matter what.
“I need to see him.” Jensen finally managed, thrilled when his voice didn’t waver.
“Of course.” The doctor sounded just a little too pleased for Jensen’s state of mind but he forced himself to let it go. He wasn’t going to start yelling at the man for his lack of bedside manner and risk losing his chance of getting to Jared’s side.
“Just follow me and I’ll have someone escort you up to I.C.U.” The doctor stood and waited for Jensen to get to his feet before retreating from the room. “I’m sure they should have settled Jared in up there by now.”
Something was off.
Jared could admit that on his days off he liked to laze around in bed for as long as possible. It might have had something to do with the constant running during the week while working and who was he to not indulge in a little sloth when he got the opportunity? Besides, he didn’t really lie in bed for an overly extreme amount of time because he did have a family that, especially recently, he didn’t get to see enough, but if it took him fifteen or twenty minutes to get from the bed to the shower, it shouldn’t really be a problem. Or maybe, more likely, it was a hold over from when it was just him and Jensen and it took them hours to move from the bed once they were both fully awake. And maybe he would lay there for a couple minutes thinking about what it used to be like, before Aden, before things seemed to start to slide from good to bad. But it never lasted too long because it would slip from wistful memories to a heavy weight that would drag him down into a melancholy mood for the whole weekend.
But it wasn’t the memories or the lack of feeling another body beside him, it was Jensen that was usually the first up nowadays, that pulled him from the slow weekend wake up that he had trained himself into.
He didn’t need to open his eyes to know what had taken him from just waking up to wide-awake and aware in a heartbeat. The bed. It didn’t feel right; it felt more like an industrial bed, the same shitty mattress found on a hotel bed or on a hospital bed.
If he didn’t remember boarding the plane the night before he’d think that he’d spent the night in some cheap motel by the airport. But beyond the fact that he did remember boarding the plane, there was also the distinct lack of air traffic noise accompanied by staying too close to the airfield.
And yet there was noise slowly getting louder the more aware he became of it. To his right was a steady beeping and a slight hissing, almost like a bike tire or air mattress losing air. And straining, he could hear soft voices and footsteps echoing just outside his bedroom door. But that couldn’t be right, granted they had hardwood flooring but the soft squeaking and occasional tapping didn’t sound the same as a footstep on a wooden floor.
Where in the hell was he?
When Jared opened his eyes, the most overwhelming sense was there was too much white. The ceiling was white, the wall connected to it was white, the woollen blanket under his hands, and he was pretty sure by the feel of it, it wasn’t wool but polyester and maybe cotton, was white. And that was not right, even if Jensen had decided to change the colors in their bedroom from medium blue walls, it’s Paddington Blue, Jared, and midnight blue satin comforter to white, white and more white, not to forget cheap and tacky fake wool blanket, it would be something better than this.
Concern started to crawl up his throat, threatening to choke off his airway and he snapped his head to the side to try to verify the gnawing worry that he wasn’t home but a hospital. The machinery blinking and beeping did nothing to change his mind.
“What the hell?” He pushed himself up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed, waiting, expecting to feel pain somewhere but there was nothing out of the ordinary. His right knee felt tight from when he had fallen doing a stunt during his Supernatural days and it wouldn’t get better until he stood and did a couple quick knee bends to loosen it. His wrist was starting to twinge, signalling that fall was quickly approaching and that it was going to be a cold one. His upper back and shoulders ached from sleeping in an uncomfortable bed but that was usual. It was all run of the mill normal and there was nothing else that seemed wrong.
But that couldn’t be right. Why would he be in a hospital, in a hospital bed, if there was nothing wrong with him? And more importantly, what the hell had happened to get him there? He tried to search his memories for something, anything to explain but the last memory he had was of giving his address to the cab driver just outside of the airport and feeling his stomach starting to twist itself into knots knowing that he was in for an argument with Jensen when he got home.
Jared briefly considered laying back down and maybe calling for a nurse since he didn’t know what had happened and perhaps shouldn’t be moving around. Maybe it would be the smartest thing to do but nothing felt wrong and it seemed incredibly stupid and selfish to pull a nurse away from a patient that needed her when he wasn’t certain that he did.
All the same, he gingerly stood, keeping one hand braced on the lowered side rail of the bed, just in case. Admittedly, most of the time he went head first into situations but even he understood that there had been something, some reason, for him to be there and even if he felt normal, maybe it would be for the best to take things slow, use a little caution.
When his legs didn’t crumple beneath him, his head stayed clear and there was no wave of nausea making him dash for the bathroom that was tucked into the corner of the room, he tried a couple tentative steps. When nothing untoward happened he took a couple more and then a couple more when there didn’t seem to be any reason to stop.
Jared was within a step of the closed door, in fact he was already reaching out when he finally noticed something odd. It wasn’t anything he wasn’t used to because of having hardwood flooring in the bedroom and only a couple throw rugs strategically placed but it finally filtered through his fear and confusion from waking up in a hospital bed, to realize that his feet were cold. Normally, if he had been home, he would have ignored the slight annoyance until he could get downstairs, find Jensen and shove his cold feet up the loose pant legs of his husband’s pyjama pants.
But this wasn’t home and as much as he knew that hospitals had to maintain a certain level of cleanliness, he still wasn’t comfortable wandering around the hallway barefooted. He would just have to see if the staff had supplied him with slippers along with the, not particularly warm, hospital issued, light blue pajama pants and white t-shirt. If they hadn’t, then he was going to be selfish and page the nurse because he just couldn’t bring himself to wander around a hospital barefooted.
Slowly he spun around, worried that now would be the time that his mysterious illness would finally show and put him on his ass in the center of the floor. It would be the definition of Murphy’s Law, too far away from both the bed and the wall to be anything other than a taunt as he flailed out for something, anything that would stop him.
As he focused on the bed his mouth went dry, his body cold and the nausea and dizziness he had been so leery of before, hit. He really didn’t think it had anything to do with whatever had landed him in the hospital though. It was more like seeing the body laying still and silent on the bed that stole the air from his lungs and seemed to stop his heart.
The same cheap blanket was pulled up to mid torso, low enough to not interfere with the thin wires coming out of the v-neck of the t-shirt, his lower face and nose were covered with an oxygen mask and his head and right eye wrapped in sterile white bandages but even with all that, Jared still knew who it was. Vaguely he registered his back hitting the wall behind him and his breath leaving in a harsh exhale before he slid down to the floor.
Jared’s eyes travelled from the form on the bed to follow the wires and tubes to machines sitting to the left of the bed and back.
“Jesus Christ!” He wheezed and scrubbed furiously at his eyes, trying to make the image disappear. It was a useless attempt, the form, the man, him, it was him laying in that bed, was still there taunting him with a truth that his mind kept trying to shy away from.
The beeping of the heart monitor had been a background noise, easily ignored under the weight of the bigger picture of trying to figure out why he was there but now it ruled all. It should have signalled life but how could one be alive when his spirit was across the room from his body?
“Hell of a way to get out of an argument Jay.”
It had taken Jensen ten minutes to convince himself to open the door to Jared’s room in the ICU, his hand tight on the knob, his knees locked to keep him from dropping to the floor. But finally he managed to find the strength to enter the room but he hadn’t been able to move farther in than what it took for him to shut the world out behind him.
The room was mostly in shadows, three thirty in the morning still too early for the sun to even consider rising, the only light coming from the florescent above Jared’s bed and even it was set to dim. But it did nothing to ease the brutality of his first look of Jared’s still form on the bed.
Somewhere in his periphery, he noticed the wires snaking out from the neck of the hospital issued t-shirt and the oxygen mask but it was the white bandages covering Jared’s head and a quarter of his face that garnered the majority of his attention. If he squinted, Jensen could almost convince himself that Jared was wearing a white beanie but the doctor’s words were still ringing in his ears and it shattered any illusion he could create.
“Jesus Jay.” He muttered and forced his rubbery legs to carry him across the room until he could drop into the chair beside the bed.
Gingerly he took Jared’s limp hand in his and ignored the desire to look back at the machines whirring and beeping behind him. It was harder to ignore the wires coming from under Jared’s head, now that he was that close.
He wasn’t sure exactly how it worked but he knew that one of the machines connected to those wires monitored brain activity and, he guessed, somehow the doctor would be able to tell if things were going well or badly. He could ask he was certain that the nurses would explain it to him but he didn’t think he really wanted to know. He was certain that he would obsess over it, stare at the blinking numbers trying to figure out good versus bad and that wasn’t what was important. What was important was being there for Jared, holding his hand and trying to ensure that his husband knew that he was there for him because maybe it would be the thing that brought him back to him. And maybe because it was more important to ensure he had every angle covered just in case.
In case of what, he didn’t want to consider.
Just like he didn’t want to consider what it meant if Jared couldn’t or wouldn’t try to beat this.
And yet there was a little part of him that couldn’t help whispering about why would Jared fight to come back from this? Why, when he hadn’t been happy with the way his life had turned out in the last few years. When this would be an easier way out than dealing with a divorce and the fallout with his family, and, and...
“This never would have happened if you only would have come home when you were supposed to.” The fear made his voice harsh and it seemed to echo accusingly in the quiet of the room.
“You’re such an asshole.” He muttered low, his throat burning with the urge to scream but knowing that if he did there would be at least one nurse at his shoulder within seconds chiding him or worse, demanding that he leave. “You knew it would be too late for Aden and I to come and get you. You knew it and yet you still switched flights like you always do and look what happened.”
He huffed out a breath and ran his free hand through his hair. What was he doing? Jared was laying there comatose and he was giving him shit. That wasn’t right, hell it wasn’t even really what he wanted to do.
Jensen sat forward, pulled Jared’s hand to his face and pressed his forehead against it. “I’m sorry Jay, I’m sorry. Please, just come back okay?”
It hurt to watch Jensen enter his room and see what little color he had drain from his face. Jared wanted to comfort him, he had even moved to stand beside him as he stood just inside the room but trying to speak to him had proved useless. He couldn’t affect anything around him, not even Jensen, but his husband’s softly spoken accusation cut through him.
It wasn’t like he had planned to have this happen, whatever this was, and being stuck there in some kind of limbo not being able to defend himself was almost as frustrating as not knowing what the hell was going on or even what he was now. It almost negated the feeling of helplessness that welled inside him as he watched Jensen barely make it to the chair beside the bed, but only almost.
Jared hadn’t needed to be stuck the way he was, without the ability to interact with the world around him to have a sudden epiphany about his and Jensen’s relationship. He had known that things between them had been slowly deteriorating for a while but had been at a loss as to how to stop it from happening, choosing instead to ignore and evade. So for the first words to come out of Jensen’s mouth to be ones of the “I told you so” variety really didn’t surprise him but it didn’t stop it from hurting.
Still he didn’t bother leaving, what would be the point? After sitting on his ass staring at himself, or at least, his body, for what could have been minutes or hours for all he knew, he had walked the halls of the hospital. He had felt a sick sense of deja vu, memories of watching outside of camera range as Jensen did almost exactly the same thing for the first episode of season 2 of Supernatural. Only there wasn’t a Reaper waiting down a hall for him or even another soul, for lack of a better word or understanding, to be seen or perhaps it would have been more accurate to think of it as to be seen by.
For a brief moment, he had considered trying to leave the hospital, he could see outside, he was pretty sure he could do it too, but the idea of wandering much further from his own body had made him feel jittery. It wasn’t like he needed it to move around or think or simply exist but there had been an ache inside that had steadily gotten worse the longer he was away from it. It was probably only the irrational fear that he would somehow lose track of it and that he wouldn’t have the opportunity to try to figure out just how in the hell to get back into it. Granted, he still didn’t know how he had slipped out of his body in the first place and he didn’t have even an inkling of an idea as to how to reverse it.
For one, irrational moment he had actually stood stock still and cursed out Eric, Sera, Ben, Jeremy and anyone else who ever wrote or contributed to the Supernatural episodes. They could come up with Dean dying and John trading his soul to save his ass but they couldn’t come up with an episode regarding an out of body experience that gave him, at least, some sort of idea as to how to get back into his own.
He should have read more fan fiction; chances were there was at least one fan out there that had written something about it.
In the end, after feeling both foolish and guilty, he had returned to his room and pushed aside the relief that welled up inside him knowing that his body was still there. Being able to see and hear the machines still monitoring it, keeping it, him, alive.
Jared had pretty much convinced himself that was why he stayed, because there was no reason to wander the halls again and get more frustrated at being alone in his dilemma. He could almost believe it had nothing to do with the ache he had felt earlier when being away from his body.
He didn’t think about how a tiny part of him felt like he deserved Jensen’s anger and that he needed to be there and accept it. No, not at all.
But on the bright side, which wasn’t saying much, at least he finally had the beginning of an idea as to what had happened to him. It wasn’t much but Jensen had mentioned, well snarled really, about it being too late for him and Aden to come and get him. So at least he knew he had gotten off the plane in one piece and if Jensen was pissed because they hadn’t been able to come and get him, he had to believe it must have been some sort of car accident.
Now if only a doctor or a nurse would come in and say something or Jensen would ask a question so Jared could maybe figure out what was wrong with him. Why he was standing beside his husband, instead of looking up at him from the bed.
He settled on the floor beside Jensen’s chair with his back resting against the bed and watched him lay his arms and head down beside his body. It didn’t miss his notice that Jensen never let go of his hand.
Even with everything that had gone wrong between them recently, at least Jensen still cared enough to be there, to want contact with him. He only wished he could let him know how much he wanted the same.
Jensen’s eyes popped open at his name and he pushed himself back up to sit properly in the chair, ignoring the fire racing through his shoulders and down his back from sleeping half propped up. Though calling what he had been doing sleeping was being optimistic at best.
“Mr. Ackles, sir?”
He blinked; oh right it was a voice that had pulled him from his light doze. Carefully he turned toward the door, worried that since his back and shoulders were already sore, there was always the chance that he’d pull a muscle in his neck if he wasn’t careful.
She didn’t look like she was old enough to be a nurse with her curly, short brown hair and baby face, nor nearly capable enough to deal with patients in the ICU but then again, he had no idea what the credentials were for any of the wards so who was he to say.
“I understand that you are concerned about Mr. Padalecki but the hospital’s policy is that only family are allowed during non-visiting hours so I must insist that you leave.”
A part of him wanted to laugh in her face for the stern act that she hadn’t come anywhere close to perfecting yet, obviously if she was a nurse she was fairly new to the occupation, but the other part wanted to shove the platinum band he was wearing in her face. It was childish and petty, but he wasn’t feeling all that charitable at the moment.
“It isn’t a law that someone has to change his or her name when they get married.” He wearily waved his left hand at her and suppressed the urge to grill her about her age and if she was even a nurse. It just figured that the first person in the eight years they had been married that didn’t realize that it was just simpler to keep your own last name when you got married when working in Hollywood appeared to be Jared’s nurse. It didn’t instil a lot of confidence in him.
She seemed flustered for a moment and a light blush colored her cheeks but she didn’t appear to be done yet. “All the same, you can’t set up camp here. It’s against hospital policy to let family stay.”
Jensen narrowed his eyes as she seemed to dismiss him as she walked past to open the blinds of Jared’s room. He blinked against the sudden brightness and checked his watch for the time. It had been dark at just after one in the morning when he had first gotten to the hospital and it took him by surprise to see the morning light.
Seven forty-eight am.
Shit! He had been there for almost seven hours and he had sworn to Mike that he would call him and tell him what was going on as soon as he heard. But Mike had to know that that wasn’t what was going to happen; he had to have realized that he would want to see Jared first. But still seven hours? He wasn’t going to hear the end of this for years to come. And he really, really, didn’t want to think about how he hadn’t even considered calling Jared’s parents, he hadn’t even thought about them. There was guilt lurking nearby because of that and he just couldn’t deal with that, not right now. However there was no way he was moving his butt from the chair until him and little Miss Bossy Nurse got a couple things straight.
Jensen waited until she turned back and frowned at him with her little hands planted firmly on her hips. “Sir I must insist...”
“No you mustn’t.” He growled, cutting her off in mid-tirade. “Maybe you weren’t briefed when you came on duty but my husband is in critical condition and for the next twenty four hours or until they tell me that his brain isn’t...isn’t going...” he swallowed hard pushing down the burning at the back of his throat. He wasn’t going to have a breakdown in front of some little girl playing nurse. “Going to leak out his ears and kill him, I’m not going anywhere. Now you can either accept that or ask not to be Jared’s nurse. I really don’t fucking care.”
He hadn’t realized that his voice had steadily risen until he was yelling until after he snapped his jaw shut and the silence seemed to be crushing. He probably should have been feeling bad about it, there were other patients on the floor and probably their family and friends somewhere within earshot but he really did not care. He was not leaving Jared’s side for any longer than what it was going to take to call Mike and maybe, maybe, get some coffee and if the nurses or the doctors or even the hospital administration didn’t like it, well they had best be prepared to have to have him removed bodily.
There were bright spots of color high on her cheeks and her eyes were narrowed so much that he wasn’t sure she could really see him anymore. Irrational laughter curled up his throat, now she just looked like a toddler considering a temper tantrum, and he had to clench his teeth to keep it in. He could already practically see the wheels turning in her mind; probably weighing the options of continuing to try to get him to leave on his own versus calling security, and him laughing in her face wasn’t going to do him any favours.
Instead, he crossed his arms over his chest, ignoring the feeling of loss at letting go of Jared’s hand, glared back at her and sneered. His mama would never forgive him if she ever found out how he was behaving but it was of little consequence.
“Andrea what is going on in here?”
The both turned their heads to face the older woman, her scrubs a dark blue and short, curly brown hair shot through with grey, now she’s a nurse, as she stepped into the room and shut the door behind her.
“I was trying to explain to Mr. Ackles how hospital policy doesn’t allow for family to remain with the patients twenty-four hours a day and he started yelling.”
It didn’t escape his notice that she hadn’t mentioned that her attitude wasn’t any better than his own but he’d let it go, for now.
The older woman’s eyes slid to him but instead of her expression getting harder, it softened a little around the edges. “My daughter had the biggest crush on you back during Supernatural.”
The comment threw him off kilter; he had been geared up to start fighting with another nurse not to be treated kindly. It didn’t sit right with him, in turn it made him feel suspicious, like she was trying to soften him up for a blow, and guilty for instantly tarring her with the same brush as he had the first nurse.
He managed to drag up a weak smile, “Thanks.”
A single nod was the only indication he got that she appreciated the effort, “My name is Lettie Donalds and I’m the Day shift head nurse.” She stepped further into the room and glanced around before looking back at him. “Nurse Phillips is correct of course, it is hospital policy not to allow even family to remain twenty-four hours a day.” Her hand snapped up to forestall him for speaking, “It’s not just about space or because staff need the room to work but also for the family members themselves. Even with a cot brought in you’re not going to get any proper rest and we worry about but don’t really have the time to ensure that you’re eating properly and taking care of yourself.”
Regardless of her soft tone or the soothing tone of her voice, it seemed his doubt was not misplaced, “I’m not leaving Jared.”
She sighed softly but it sounded more resigned than frustrated to his ears. “I’ve reviewed your husband’s file and I understand where we stand.” She shook her head but there was an indulgent smile making the smile lines on her face deepen. “This is a single room but it’s not so terribly small that as long as you stay out of the way we should be able to work around you.”
It was hard to believe what he was hearing, it couldn’t be that easy, there should be more yelling and threats of suing and maybe mentioning moving Jared to a different hospital. He really didn’t think he would go through with that last one, not with how Jared was, but he was an actor, well he had been and he was pretty sure he could make an idle threat seem real.
“Thank...you.” He said slowly, some of the manners his mother had beat into him as a child finally resurfacing.
“But,” she narrowed her eyes briefly before smiling again. “No more yelling at the nurses, especially the new ones.”
She nodded towards the other nurse and he did manage to spare her a quick glance before meeting her eyes once more. Maybe it had been for his benefit that she told him that the other nurse was new, either in the hopes that he’d go easier on her or maybe apologize but it wasn’t going to happen. He wouldn’t apologize for wanting to be near Jared regardless of how things were between them now and he definitely wasn’t going to go easier on her because she was new. If nothing else, it only made him want to be harder with her in the hopes that she wouldn’t want to be Jared’s nurse. He wanted older nurses, experienced nurses looking after him, not some fresh out of school nurse who was more worried about rules and regulations than people.
Once it seemed to occur to nurse Donalds that he wasn’t going to be saying anything she sighed again before she waved at the door behind her. “Go on. Stretch you legs. Maybe visit the cafeteria and get something to eat.”
Jensen was shaking his head before she was finished speaking, “No. I’m not hungry and I’m fine right here.”
“Jensen Ackles,” she warned low and he had to repress the shiver at just how close her tone mimicked his mother’s. “We need to do our jobs and that includes doing our morning exam of Jared. Not to mention that I need to find an orderly with nothing to do to bring up a cot. You will make yourself scarce young man and let us work or I may have to change my mind.”
She was still smiling and her tone was still light but he had a feeling that she wasn’t just making an idle threat. And now that it appeared that he had someone on his side, he really didn’t want to lose her.
Jensen reached out and squeezed Jared’s hand, “I’ve gotta call Mike, he’s watching Aden and I...uh...I’m sorry Jay but I didn’t even think about your mom and dad.” He pushed himself to his feet and leaned over to brush his lips against his bare forehead, “I won’t be gone long, I promise.”