Jensen was a mess. He didn't know how he was going to make this up to Jared; he had hurt his boy deeply. ‘I wouldn't blame Jared if he hated me forever.’
"The kid was hurt but he can't hate you, Jensen, and he won't. If you show Jared you are truly sorry for missing his big day he'll forgive you in no time. There is one thing I know and that is Jared could never hate anyone, especially not you, Jensen." Chris knew what unspoken fears were running through Jensen's mind.
“I really hope you’re right Chris; I’ll never forgive myself if I lose Jared because of this.” Jensen wasn’t ready for his life to go back to the way it was before Jared came into it. Jared made his world all the brighter and Jensen didn’t want to go back to the shadows.
“Don’t worry, the kid will most likely be a little hurt and mad at you but nothing could make him stop loving you,” Steve commented from the backseat.
At Steve’s helpful advice, Jensen slumped down in his seat. “But I don’t want Jared mad at me.”
Chris didn’t bother to stop his eye roll at the sight of Jensen pouting like a five-year-old. “Jared does that look better than you.”
Just to annoy Chris, more Jensen stuck his lower lip out further.
“I’m surrounded by children,” Chris muttered under his breath as Steve’s laughter filled the car.
Pulling up to Alan and Donna’s house all laughter stopped at the sight of the street full of cars and people out with flashlights. Not even waiting for the car to come to a full stop, Jensen had his seatbelt undone and the car door thrown open and was running for his parents house before Chris and Steve could process what was happening.
Jensen paid no attention to Steve’s cry because he couldn’t shake the feeling of dread that was building in him. “Mom, dad what’s going on? Where’s Jared?” It didn’t calm him any when he saw the red eyes of his mom and even his dad looked affected.
Donna and Alan exchanged a look before Alan uttered a parent’s worst nightmare, "Jared's missing. No one can find him."
Jared is missing. Those three words sent Jensen into a pure panic.
“Jensen!” The very last person that Jensen wanted anywhere around there was calling his name.
Eagle-eyed Donna didn’t miss the way that her son winced as the handsome blond came up to his side or the death glares that Steve, Chris, and Jeff were shooting him. ‘This must be the famous Justin that Chris has been ranting about,’ she thought. ‘I don’t like him.’ Donna long ago had learned to trust her instincts and there was something off about this man.
Not even bothering to be polite, Jensen turned his glare onto Justin. “What are you doing here, Justin?”
Justin was taken back. That was not the response that he had expected from Jensen. ‘I wonder if he noticed my little ploy with the clocks. Oh well, this is just a minor setback.’ Justin was sure that he could get back into Jensen’s good graces in no time. “I saw the commotion and thought I’d stop by to see what was going on and if I could offer my help in any way.”
“You’re a lying liar!” Little Chad Michael Murray shoved his way forward and marched straight up to Jensen and Justin where he let out a mighty kick to Justin’s leg before glaring up at Jensen. "Your boyfriend made Jaybird cry. Justin told him that you didn't want anything more to do with him; that you found him annoying and that you wished Jared would just leave you alone." Chad spat out as he glared at Jensen. After all, he was the stupid head who was dating Justin.
Jensen felt his blood freeze. He knew that there was no way that Chad was lying to him. If there was one thing that Chad was, he was extremely protective over Jared and would tell off anyone who hurt Jared.
“Chad, how do you know this?” Donna asked in a soft voice.
“Cause while I know Jaybird wanted to be alone, I couldn’t just leave him. He’s my best bud.” Chad shrugged his shoulders then turned his glare back to Jensen. “Then I saw his boyfriend come and talk to Jaybird. He ran off in tears and he,” Chad pointed to Justin. “Walked away like it was no big deal.”
Jensen was torn. On one hand he wanted to go out and find Jared and bring him home, on the other hand, he wanted to rip Justin apart for hurting his Jared like that. ‘Find Jared first and once he’s safe and sound then rip apart Justin.’ Jensen decided.
"If I find out that you had anything to do with Jared being missing, it will be the last thing you ever do. I should have listened to Chris when he warned me that you were nothing but bad news. I want you out of my sight now!” Jensen snarled at a pale Justin.
This was not going as Justin planned it. “You can’t be serious about taking this... kid at his word?” He hoped that no one noticed his moment of hesitation.
Crossing his arms over his chest Jensen glared at Justin. “Chad would have no reason to lie about this, but I don’t have time to deal with you, Jared is out there somewhere and he is what matters right now.”
“Jensen, do you know anywhere Jared might have gone? Some place that we might not have thought of?” Alan asked. There would be time to deal with Justin later. What mattered now was finding Jared.
As if a light bulb went off over the top of his head, Jensen couldn’t believe how stupid he could have been. “Yeah, I think I might know where Jared is. But let me go get him.” He needed to do this.
Walking up to her son Donna pressed a kiss to Jensen’s cheek. “Go get our boy back. Everything else can wait until Jared is back home where he belongs.”
“I will,” Jensen promised. ‘Hang on Jared, I’m coming for you and then we are going to have a long talk and you’re going to tell me everything Justin has ever said to you.’
Jared was cold and miserable and he wanted to go home and be with Jensen. “No. Jensen no want me no more.” Jared wiped his tears away with the back of his hand. Wrapping his arms around his legs, Jared buried his head into his knees. He was alone. The way it looked, he was destined to be. No one knew about this old shed but him and Jensen, and why would Jensen be looking for him.
Jared’s head flew up. He would know that voice anywhere but he couldn’t understand why Jensen was looking for him.
Jensen was thankful when he saw that the old shed he and Jared had talked about turning into their secret hideout was still there. “Thank you, dad, for not getting rid of that thing,” Jensen muttered under his breath as he opened the door. There, curled up in the corner looking at him with wide eyes, was Jared.
Too shocked to move, Jared didn’t have time to scramble to his feet before Jensen’s long legs were covering the distance between them until he was in Jensen’s arms.
Jensen clutched Jared to his chest; it wasn't easy considering how the boy was struggling in his grip and that hurt Jensen more than anything. There was a time when Jared would happily sink into his embrace. "Jared, whatever Justin told you was nothing but pure lies. I never said that I wanted you to leave me alone; I need my daily dose of the sunshine you give me. My world is a lot brighter since you came into it." Jensen pleaded. “Every smile that crosses my face is because of you.”
Jared froze in Jensen's arms. He let out a little sniffle as he wiped his eyes. “Do you mean it? Do you still love me?”
Jared’s question broke Jensen’s fractured heart into pieces and he wished that he had hit Justin harder. “Of course, I do baby boy, nothing on this earth could ever make me stop loving you. You are my whole world.”
Rubbing his eyes Jared pouted up at him. “I’m still mad you missed my play.”
Jensen couldn’t help but laugh. He didn’t care that Jared was mad at him. He would take that if it meant Jared was still in his life. “I don’t blame you baby boy and I promise that I will make it up to you.”
Jared rested his head against Jensen's shoulder he was suddenly very tired and Jensen was so warm. “Okay, just so long as you know.”
Closing his eyes, Jensen savored Jared’s warmth and the feel of his weight in his arms. “I am never letting you go,” Jensen whispered the promise to Jared.
Jensen was pleased to see that Justin hadn't gone anywhere when he walked back into his parent’s house with Jared safe in his arms. He had words to say to him even though part of him wanted Jared nowhere near Justin.
“I should have kicked your ass harder the first time you tried to break mine and Jared’s bond.” Jensen snarled as he stalked towards Justin. He had attempted to hand off his precious bundle to his mother, but Jared clung to him with surprising strength and, truth be told, he wasn’t ready to let Jared go.
“What do you mean, son? What did Justin have to do with this mess?” Alan Ackles believed his son but they needed proof before they could judge him. So far they only had Chad's word against Justin's.
“Bad man, he told me Jenny didn't want me anymore. Didn’t love me anymore.” Jared stated loud enough for those around to hear.
No one saw Donna move until a loud slap filled the air. “You hateful and spiteful little man! I have stayed quiet long enough about your interest in my son. Jensen is not yours; he will never be yours no matter how hard you try to insert yourself into his life. And the fact that you feel so threatened by a little boy that you have to lie to him and tell him the person he loves the most in this world doesn’t want him is unthinkable. I would never approve of someone like you becoming one of my children’s mates or apart of this family. If I see you around Jensen or Jared again I will end you in a second.”
No one said anything as Donna ripped Justin apart and everyone who knew her knew that she didn’t make empty threats.
"You're saddled with a kid that is not even yours! Why should you be the one who has to raise him when he's got his own family!” Justin sneered. “The kid is defective. Not even his own mother wanted h..." Justin was cut off as Jensen's fist met his mouth and he found himself on the ground holding his throbbing jaw.
"If you ever talk about my Jared like that again, it will be the last thing you do." Jensen felt like a burning inferno just waiting to erupt.
“You’re wrong, Jenny loves me and I love him. Jenny will never leave me.” Jared felt very brave in Jensen’s arms and wasn’t afraid to face his bully.
“I think you should leave, Justin, before Chris and Steve have a go at you,” Alan suggested, looking at the two men who stood protectively behind Jensen and Jared, both looking for a fight.
Seeing that he had lost this fight, Justin brushed off his shirt and sneered at Jensen, “You’re not worth my time, and kid?” He looked at Jared with distain. “Sooner than later you’re going to stop being the center of Jensen’s world.”
“Never going to happen,” Jensen shot back, hoping to God that Jared didn’t believe Justin.
Jensen didn’t really have anything to fear because this time, Justin words held no hold over Jared. The little boy was looking up at Jensen with sleepy eyes. “I sleepy Jensen, can I sleep now?”
Smiling Jensen pressed a kiss onto Jared’s forehead. “Of course, you can, baby. In the morning we are going to have a long talk about running away.”
Peeking one eye open Jared had his own reminder for Jensen, “And talk about you missing my play. I still mad at you, Jenny.”
Pouting because he knew that Jared being mad at him was the worst thing ever Jensen, gazed down fondly at the little boy falling asleep in his arms. He didn’t think that he was going to be able to let Jared out of his sight for a long time.
“He’s going to be a bear if Jared stays mad at him for more than an hour, isn’t he?” Steve whispered to Chris.
A devious smile appeared on Chris’ face, “Oh yeah, he is, and I’m going to enjoy it.”
It quickly became clear that when Jared was mad at Jensen it made Jensen even grumpier than usual.
“You’re sulking,” Chris stated as he helped himself to one of Jensen’s beers that he swiped from Jensen’s table after he let himself in.
“I am not sulking! And I don’t recall saying help yourself to a beer!” Jensen snarled out.
Chris just shot Jensen a look. “I forgot to add grumpy as hell. I get it the kid is mad at you, but there’s no reason to take it out on everybody else.”
Jensen didn’t care about everybody else; he just wanted Jared to like him again. He felt like a heel, worse than a heel. He had broken his promise to Jared.
“Not the pout. I hate that bloody pout.” Letting out a loud sigh, Chris placed his bottle down. “Jared is hurt; you are his whole world and this is the first time you let him down.”
Jensen winced. He didn’t need to be reminded of his failure even if it wasn’t his fault that Hartley was a bastard.
“Jared is afraid that you don’t love him anymore and that you’re going to leave him behind like his mother did.” Chris admitted Jared’s greatest fear and watched his best friend’s heartbreak.
“He really thinks that?” Jensen ran his hand through his hair as he answered his own question.“Of course, he does. Jared doesn’t see his own self-worth. I think a part of me will always hate Amanda for the damage she did to Jared.”
"Justin wanted to separate you and Jared,” said Chris. “He couldn't stand the idea that Jared was and will always be more important than him. Justin wanted you to settle down and he wanted you to make him your mate."
"I don't want a mate. I made that perfectly clear from the start of our whatever. I knew I wouldn't be serious about him because of the way he treated Jared. I couldn't trust him with Jared, not like I trust you guys. I should have trusted my instincts. Then this mess would have never happened." Hanging his head, Jensen gripped his hair in his frustration.
"Dude, I hate seeing you beat yourself up. You can still make it up to the kid, you just have to think of a way to do it," Chris reminded Jensen.
A sudden thought hit Jensen. “I missed Jared’s play so the only way that I can make it up to him is by seeing the play.”
“Which is going to be kind of hard since school has let out for summer break and how many of his classmates are still around to act in the play with him?” Chris asked.
A slow evil smile crept across Jensen's face as he stared at his best friend.
Chris did not like the look that Jensen sent his way. “Whatever you are thinking, count me out of it.”
“Oh come on man, you know how much this play meant to Jared and how much it hurt him for me to miss it. Could you really say no to a heartbroken Jared who tries his best to hide it but it absolutely kills him inside to know that I missed his big moment?” Jensen knew that he was playing dirty in using Jared but it was his only move and he was desperate.
“No way, it ain’t happening.” There was no way Chris was about to get roped into this crazy plan of Jensen’s.
“I can’t believe that I let Jensen talk me into this. How did I end up doing this?” This was the craziest idea that Chris had ever heard and he had no idea how he let Jensen talk him into this.
He was a freaking bunny and he was convinced that Jensen had chosen this role especially for him. He hated those floppy ears that kept falling into his face and the stupid tail Jensen had forced on him.
"The same way he talked all of us into this - he used Jared against us." Steve pointed out. He was actually pretty happy with his role as a tree.
"That was a low move." Jared had been so thrilled with the idea of getting a chance to perform his play for Jensen until he realized that his classmates we went on summer break.
One look at Jared's sad face and Jensen was happily suggesting, "Well I'm sure that Chris, Steve, and the others would be more than happy to act out in the play with you, after all, they saw it."
When Jared turned hopeful eyes to them there was no way that any of them had the heart to say no.
'I'm going to kill you, you bastard.' Chris mouthed to Jensen when he saw the video camera in his soon to be dead best friend hands.
Jensen just grinned and gave him a quick wink and Chris could already hear how Jensen would justify filming this. 'It's for Jared, that's what that bastard will say. He knows that I can't say no to that kid.' Chris had to accept that his humiliation was going to be on video; Jensen will take every chance to show off that video on his birthday and other special occasions.
The truth was, the reason that Jensen was recording the play was because he honestly couldn't see anything but Jared who looked beyond adorable dressed as a sunbeam. In Jensen's opinion, Jared was the best damn sunbeam that had ever appeared in a play.
Jensen didn't care that he made himself look like an absolute fool as he stood applauding and whistling when Jared finished his line. The beaming smile Jared sent him was more than worth any teasing he was going to have to put up with from Chris and Steve.
Not even caring that the play wasn't over Jared hopped off the homemade stage and all but flew into Jensen's arms. "Did you see me, Jenny?"
"I did baby boy, you were amazing." Scooping Jared up into his arms Jensen hugged his small body tightly against his, grateful that his friends had agreed to give him this. "What do you say we watch the rest of the play?" Jensen asked pulling back just enough to look Jared in the eyes.
"YES!" To Jared, his part in the play was over and now all he wanted to do was watch it with Jensen like he had wanted to the first time. Jared's joy only grew when Jensen retook his seat with him sitting on Jensen's lap.
Keeping one arm around Jared Jensen lifted up the camera, determined to once again to capture this moment. He didn't know how much longer he would have moments like this with Jared, he was growing up so fast that Jensen was afraid that one day he wouldn't be his little boy anymore and have no time for him. ‘Don’t grow up too fast baby boy I’m not ready to stop being your world.’Whatever alpha attempted to court Jared when he got older was in for a very rough time. He or she would have to prove themselves to all of them, but no doubt about it Jensen was going to be the biggest of challenges.