Title: Deception - Part 4
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Jensen slowly blinked his eyes open, squinting into the bright light that flooded the bedroom while the sound of a shower running close by echoed in the quiet room.Where the hell am I?
Briefly panic began to curl in his chest when all he could do was draw a blank before suddenly everything crashed back into memory. Accepting that Christian had been right all along, that someone was out to exact revenge for Riley’s death then thinking it was Christian then Jared had come into his office and the Lobo had exploded and he had ended up back at Jared’s after he had passed out and the sex.
And he had told Jared everything.
Jensen sat up, ignoring the pull of sore muscles and the slight burn in his ass. He had told Jared everything and Jared had still accepted him, hell had even tried to convince him that Jensen had been right all along, that everything that had happened was just a string of coincidences. Only now, in the harsh light of morning, Jensen could no longer hold onto the desperate need of everything to only be a string of coincidences, not when he was alone in his own head and knew that one coincidence, maybe two he could swallow but even if Christian wasn’t dead, someone had targeted the Lobo. Someone, somewhere was out for his blood and by being here, he was putting Jared’s life in danger.
Jensen had to leave before Jared got hurt, or worse, became an innocent victim like the delivery driver had.
Scrambling off the bed, Jensen yanked on his dress pants and his dress shirt, foregoing even bothering to look for his socks and only briefly scanning the top of the dresser for his keys before he headed deeper into the apartment. He needed to get out of there and to his truck, hopefully still sitting in the shelter parking lot.Where else would it be?
Before Jared came out of the shower and realized he was gone.
Christ he didn’t even know where Jared lived or how far it was back to the shelter. He could only hope that he had enough cash in his wallet to pay for a cab, if he could flag one down.
Racing into the living room he scanned the room the top of the TV and books shelves for the shine of dull metal, feeling almost giddy when he saw them sitting innocently on top of an overturned five by seven picture on the closest bookshelf. As he dragged them off the bookshelf, the picture came with them and fluttered to the floor, face up. Suddenly the room was too small, too hot and the air too thick to pull into his lungs. Jensen teetered dangerously on his feet, one hand grasping at one of the wooden shelves as the other shakily reached down and curled around the picture.
There a fifteen or sixteen year old Jared could just been seen in the shadows of a bright orange tent but in the foreground, sitting just to the side of the tent’s opening was a very familiar young boy.
“Riley.” Jensen whispered and ran a trembling finger down the image of the boy that Jensen had had a hand in killing.
All this time he had never suspected and he had told Jared everything the night before, everything.
The picture fell from his numb fingers and fluttered to land on his bare foot, Riley’s smiling face huge in Jensen’s sight.
“Fuck.” He whispered and fled.***
Jensen threw a wad of bills at the cab driver and fell out of the taxi, only vaguely hearing it pull away as he jogged across the parking lot toward his truck.
All this time and it had been Jared that had written those letters, had stalked Jensen’s friends, killed them in retaliation for what had happened to Riley. Jesus was it because of Jensen and Christian’s fight that night in Lobo that Jared finally realized who Christian was? Was that why he never killed Christian before then? Had Christian been safe before Jensen? Was it Jensen’s fault?
Fuck what was he going to do?
He was going to the cops and tell them everything, that’s what he was going to do. Christian had been right, they had served their punishment and maybe they deserved more but wasn’t living with what they had done enough? Jensen had to wake up and face every day knowing that he had had a hand in Riley not having the very same opportunity and every day the guilt curled a little tighter in his gut. It would never go away and Jensen knew now that he would never be more than what he was now, a murderer forced to live with what he had done, not allowed the love of his family or a lover.
He deserved that but he didn’t deserve death, he didn’t.
With shaking fingers he pulled his keys from his pocket as he reached the truck. “Damn you Jared.” He growled softly, he had made Jensen care, he had made Jensen believe he could be more than what he was and it had all been a lie. “And damn me too.”
Jensen spun around and fell back against the truck, the handle digging painfully but barely noticed into the small of his back.
Steve Carlson wasn’t the lanky, short teen he had been the last time Jensen had seen him. He had filled out and had grown to almost Jensen’s height of six foot one, his light brown hair hung lank and dirty to brush against his chin only his blue eyes shone brightly. Too brightly, really, shone with a touch of madness if Jensen was going to be honest with himself.
“Christian said you were dead.”
“I asked mom to tell anyone that that came looking for me and I knew Christian would come, he promised and he always kept his promises.” Steve said softly as he slowly walked around from the side of the building where he had been hiding when the cab carrying Jensen had shown up.
“Thought I’d lost my chance with you but I knew Christian had to be first. Christian was always the one obsessed with conspiracies remember?”
“Your chance?” Jensen repeated low, his mind refusing to believe what he was being told. It had to be Jared, Jared knew Riley, Jared was somehow connected to Riley and was the one with the reason, however fucked up it was, to want them dead. Not Christian, not Steve.
“I believed Christian you know.” Steve stilled and titled his head to the side like he was listening to something far away. “When he said that it wasn’t our fault that Riley panicked and ran toward the train instead of away from it. But I learned when I went to Juvy, I learned to understand the truth, he made sure of that.”
He shuddered and a look of pain passed over his features. “His letters, his words beat the truth past all the lies I had let myself believe, made me understand that Riley was the innocent, that we were the ones to blame, that we needed to be punished.”
“And we were.” Jensen said quietly. “We spent almost four years in those holes, fighting to survive, to make it out.”
“No that wasn’t punishment. The only real punishment is an eye for an eye, a life for a life.”
Jensen’s knees went weak and the only reason he managed to remain standing was because of the truck at his back. It shouldn’t be a surprise, he knew that Jared was a friend or a family member of Riley’s but seeing him appear around the same corner that Steve had come from made him sick. Somewhere in the back of his head, that little optimistic part that should be dead, seeing Steve had given him hope, had germinated the little seed of belief that Jared had nothing more to do with this than knowing Riley.
That was gone now.
He watched as Steve tilted his head to the side enough that he could keep Jensen in his sights and yet watch Jared walk toward them. “He’s the last.”
“Mmm.” Jared shrugged a shoulder, “Mostly.” He stopped beside Steve, patting him on the shoulder and smiling harshly. “Then there’s just you.”
Steve hung his head, “I know but you’ll take care of that right? You promised to release me, to give me what I deserved once this was all over.”
He grunted and Jensen watched Jared’s fingers curl around Steve’s shoulder bleed white briefly, “You will get exactly what you deserve, back outside of Richardson, back on that bridge.”
Jensen curled his hands into fists and risked looking away, trying to find someone, anyone who could call for help. But the area was still abandoned. The city might have given the okay for businesses to reopen after yesterday’s explosion but it was still too early in the morning for most people to even consider crawling out of bed yet.
He was gonna die, either at Steve’s hand or Jared’s and no one wouldn’t know what had happened. They would probably chalk it up to a mugging gone bad.
Steve pulled a large hunting knife from behind his back and Jensen swallowed down the sour taste of fear. He was taller, maybe not as broad but he had the advantage of reach, all he had to do was knock Steve out, keep out of Jared’s reach and get the hell out of there. Stop Steve or Jared from killing him and go for help, go to the cops.
Steve howled inhumanly and lunged. Jensen spun away, trying to get out from between the truck and Steve but he bounced off the driver’s side mirror, tearing it from the truck and slowing him long enough for the knife to cut through the sleeve of his shirt and into the meat of his shoulder.
Jensen cried out between clenched teeth and stumbled out of reach, spinning around to face Steve and Jared, who had backed up to watch, as he continued to back away.
“Steve don’t do this.”
“I have to Jensen, it’s the only way to make up for what we did.” He panted as he slowly advanced.
“No, you don’t!”
“Yes he does.” Jared laughed darkly, “It’s the only way to make up for what you did to my cousin.”
He risked flicking his eyes from Steve, slowly advancing on him to Jared, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to happen…please Jay…”
A vehicle skidded to a halt, the tires squealing, making Jensen’s ears ache and Steve flinch and Jared turn cold eyes toward the interloper.
Jensen felt the world tip dangerously and had to stumble back several steps as Jared jumped out of his truck. How was that possible when Jared was over by the shelter waiting for Steve to stab Jensen to death?
The color drained from Jared’s face as he stared from Jensen to Steve to…himself. “Jaxson? What are you doing here?”
“Go home Jared.” Jared…Jax snarled, his face twisting in anger, “This isn’t about you.”
Jared took several paces closer but stopped as soon as Steve started moving toward Jensen, knife raised. “Stop! Jax, make him stop!”
Jax’s eyes flickered to Steve and he nodded once sharply pulling Steve up short and Jensen managed to finally pull air into his tight lungs. “This is how it has to be Jay!” He screamed, “They have to pay for what they did to Riley!”
Jensen’s eyes danced between the two brothers, twin brothers and he had to work at focusing to be able to hear them over the white noise in his head.
“They did pay!” Jared shot back.
“No,” Jax snorted, “They took everything from me. Everything! Riley was my life! Just two more years, Jay. Just two years and I’d be eighteen and we had plans. I was going to go get him and we were going to head out to California, go where no one knew us.”
Jensen could see Jared’s whole body start to shake and his face twisted in disgust as his skin started to fade to green around the edges.
“’No Jax.” He whispered and if there had been traffic on the street in front of the shelter, Jensen would never have heard him. “No. He was our cousin. That’s…Jesus Christ Jax that’s sick!”
“You have room to talk?” Jax demanded and jerkily pointed at Jensen, “You are fucking Riley’s murderer.”
“It was an accident!” Jared spat back, “Momma, daddy even aunty Cathy told you that!”
“He was my life!” Jax screamed and lunged forward toward Jensen, clearly no longer waiting for Steve to finish him off.
“Jax, no!” Jared yelled and ran for his brother.
Jensen backpedaled , his eyes snapping between Jax and Steve as they both ran at him. He could have taken Steve, he was certain and maybe had managed to hold his own against Jax, somehow managed to get away, but he couldn’t take both of them at once.
For a split second his eyes met Jared’s over the head of Steve as Jared veered toward his brother and Jensen made a decision. With a snarl he lunged at Steve, his body bent low as he caught his old friend in the waist only having less than a second to feel triumph as the breath gusted from Steve’s body before they were both falling to the ground.
The jarring impact shook through Jensen, his right shoulder screaming as Jensen fell mostly on it. He grunted in pain and rolled off Steve just in time to miss as Steve swung the knife up at him. Rolling farther away, he pushed up to his knees, fists coming up to defend himself only Steve was still on his back and Jensen had to get to his feet. He didn’t know what he was going to do only that he had to do something or Steve would kill him and then who would protect Jared from his crazy twin brother?
“Kill…you…” Steve coughed out as he rolled onto his stomach and started to push up onto his hands and knees.
Without thought, Jensen darted forward and kicked him in the side, swallowing down bile as Steve screamed at a low snapping noise.
“Stay down!” Jensen yelled, “Please Steve stay down.”
Steve had fallen to his side and he swiped out with the knife trying to connect with Jensen’s legs. Jensen danced out of range before jumping sideways as his back hit something hard. Spinning, preparing for it to be Jax he almost laughed hysterically when he was faced with his own truck once more.
He spun back at the sound of heavy panting in time to dodge Steve’s knife slashing through the air where his back had been only moments before. But Steve stumbled forward, not being able to keep his balance and Jensen dropped low to take him to the ground once more.
“Don’t make me.” He begged as Steve stumbled toward him, with the knife once more raised above his head. “Steve no!”
Steve’s face twisted into something ugly and insane and he screamed as he pushed off his feet toward Jensen.
Jensen lunged, his shoulder once more meeting the easy give of Steve’s stomach and then went down harder than before, momentum and Steve making them twist as they went down.
Pain exploded behind Jensen’s eyes and he couldn’t focus past the black spots quickly overtaking his sight. Somewhere to his left, he heard Steve cry out and he tried to get his limbs to work, only managing to feel his fingernails scratch along cement before his world went black.***Epilogue