Five years later
"Daddy! It's time to get up!" A little girl’s voice sounded from the doorway just seconds before she launched herself up onto the bed.
An “Oof!” escaped Jared's lips as a small weight landed on his stomach, followed by two much heavier weights on his legs. Blearily he opened his eyes to see a sweetly dimpled grin shining down at him and long tangled locks dark of dark hair hung down tickling his face. "Good morning, Em, you're up early this morning." Jared tried to hide his smile; he had a pretty good idea of why his daughter so excited.
Emily gave her dad an exaggerated pout. "Daddy, could you forget? It’s only the most important day of my life!” and not for the first time, Jared wondered where on earth his child had gotten such a streak for the dramatic. “Today is my first day of kindergarten!” Emily reminded her dad. Turning her attention to their two big dogs, she informed them, “I'm going to school today, and daddy is being very silly.”
Harley, who utterly devoted to Emily, woofed his agreement excitedly while Sadie let out a sad little whine; like Jared, she didn't want Emily to go either.
"I know that, munchkin, and I'm sure you'll have wonderful time." Jared forced himself to swallow back the tears that wanted to fall; his little girl was growing up and he could hardly believe that she was old enough to be starting school.
It had been five years since Jared found the strength and courage to walk away from Alex and the nightmare of abuse that he’d endured for so long. In all that time he had only seen the man once, just a couple weeks after he’d left. Alex had managed to track him down at his uncle's place where Jared and Emily would be staying until Jared got a job and managed to find a place for them to live.
Although he felt safe in his uncle’s home, Jared still felt a trickle of fear that crawled down his spine each time the phone rang or there was a knock at the door. Each time he feared that it was Alex, that he’d finally tracked him down, that he’d come to drag him back to hell. Knowing that Jeff was in the kitchen preparing lunch for Emily, Jared summoned the courage to open the door himself – normally Jeff insisted on doing it. Jared’s heart immediately plummeted down to his feet as he found himself face-to-face with the man who had made few months nearly a year of his life a living hell.
"Well hello there, Jared," Alex purred seductively as he stared at his wayward lover. There was a dangerous glint in his eyes that clearly said he was not happy that Jared had left him and that Jared needed to be punished for his transgression. More than anything else, though, Alex was angry that Jared had spoiled his plan; he was supposed to destroy the man’s spirit and then leave Jared behind a broken-hearted mess with nothing but their whiny brat to remember him by. Nowhere in the plan was Jared supposed to be safe and happy! "Your little vacation is over, Jared; it's time to stop all this foolishness and come home. The house is a mess and you’re behind in your chores.”
“No.” Somewhere Jared found the strength to defy Alex.
Eyes widening in disbelief at Jared’s unprecedented rebellion, Alex reached out and took his arm in a bruising grip. Neither one noticed the third man who quietly joined them until Jared was abruptly pulled away. Without warning Alex felt a closed fist meet the side of his face and the force of the blow knocked him down on his ass. A snarl began to form on Alex's lips only to die at the sound of the shotgun cocking.
"You come near my nephew and great-niece again and I will make sure that it's the last thing you ever do," Jeff growled out the warning as he aimed the shotgun at Alex’s head, his finger twitching on the trigger and his eyes daring the man to force him to pull it.
Cautiously climbing to his feet, Alex kept his eyes focused on the barrel of the gun. He wasn't a fool; he knew that he could never take on and defeat Jeffery Dean Morgan gun or no gun. He looked Jared up and down derisively and then sneered, "You can keep them; I’ve found my mate and she's perfect. She’ll give me the strong, intelligent children I someone of my status deserves.” Raising his head and staring down his nose imperiously, Alex announced, “I wash my hands of them." He didn't need Jared anymore, not when he’d found someone he was happy with and whom he was pleased to call his mate.
Truth be told, he didn't want or need to put up with either him or Emily any longer and the more Alex thought about it the more he understood that this was actually the happiest day of his life. ‘I am finally rid of this disgusting burden,’ and a tiny smile made its way across his face as he realised he also trampled on Jared's heart as well. "You're pathetic, Jared; you’re nothing now but damaged goods! No one ever want to be saddled with such a weak, useless omega. Every day I give thanks that I never made you my mate.” Alex was thrilled when he saw that his last comment hit home with Jared and he added, “Why would I want to be tied to a total loser like you for the rest of my life."
Jeff saw the pain those words caused reflected in his nephew’s eyes and growled dangerously, his finger slowly starting to squeeze the trigger; ‘it would be so damn easy to kill this bastard,’ he thought; ‘I don’t think anyone will miss him.’ "You've got exactly ten seconds to get your sick, sorry ass off my property before I have you thrown in jail. On the other hand, maybe I should just do the world a favour and put a bullet in your brain. I’m sure Jared wouldn’t mind being rid of an abusive asshole like you."
Only a truly stupid person with a death wish would dare to mess with an overly-protective and ready-to-kill Jeffery Dean Morgan and Alex Smith maybe a lot of things but stupid, sadly wasn't one of them. No matter how much Jeff wished for the chance to shoot the man Alex slowly raised his hands and backed down the steps, never taking his eyes off the shotgun.
Jeff kept his gun raised until Alex was gone, then and only then did he relax, put the gun’s safety on and locked it back in the hall closet’s gun safe. Turning to his nephew he slipped his arm around his shoulders and said, "Jared, you didn't need that man in your life, son, and I’m proud of you. You made the right call to take Emily and leave before anything happened to her. Trust me when I say I'm going to make sure that Alex Smith pays for everything he did to you," Jeff vowed and it was a vow he would keep. He had some very powerful people in very high places; the bastard would never know what happened to him.
Feeling slightly giddy with relief Jared slowly shook his head. "It doesn't matter, Uncle; I'm finally free of him, aren't I?" That was all Jared wanted, to put everything behind him and raise Emily in a home of peace, love and safety.
Although he didn’t say anything in front of his nephew, Jeff wasn't sure; men like Alex who took so much pleasure in wielding absolute power over others didn't give up that easily, not when they had tasted the fear of someone weaker than themselves. Thankfully Jared had proven that Alex's hold wasn't that strong considering that he’d had the presence of mind and the strength of self to leave his tormentor. He didn't want to lie to his nephew but he didn't want to shatter Jared's hopes either.
"Yeah, you're free of him, he looked pretty scared when he left. Now you go take care of that sweet little girl of yours and I'll be there in a minute," Jeff promised, giving Jared a slight push towards the kitchen. “She’s waiting for her lunch.”
Nodding his head Jared hurried off to check on Emily, cursing himself for having her alone for even a moment.
After watching Jared rush back to his daughter, Jeff stared off into the direction Alex had headed; he had only one thing on his mind. There had to be a way or to make sure that Alex never threatened his family again. ‘No matter what,’ he thought, ‘I have to ensure that Jared and Emily are safe.’
"Daddy! Get up!” Emily's voice pulled Jared from his thoughts. “I need to get ready."
Smiling at his daughter’s contagious excitement, Jared could only shake his head; he couldn't remember being this excited for his first day of class but that was his Emily. From the moment she could understand the bedtime stories she heard every night, she’d loved learning about new things and enjoyed starting out on her own big adventures. Jared had known that she’d inherited his disposition and was therefore pure omega by the time she was two years old; she had an interest in and a need to look after everyone. Jared fondly remembered that any time he got sick he always had a small, sometimes quite bossy, nurse looking after him. "All right, sweetie, why don't you go get dressed in that pretty outfit we picked out last night and once we're both ready I'll do your hair, okay?”
A bright smile appeared on Emily's face. "I'll go get ready; you'll remember to use the backpack that Aunt Gene got me?" she asked narrowing her eyes and put her hands on her hips.
The laughter that wanted so badly to break free at over how serious his daughter sounded about her new backpack was hard to keep in but somehow Jared managed to do it. Knowing that his best friends would be worried sick about them, Jared had gotten in touch with her, Chad and Sophia shortly after they’d arrived at Jeff’s house. They had maintained regular contact after that and Genevieve had even stayed with them on numerous occasions.
On one such visit Genevieve and Emily had discovered a mutual love for Doctor Who and ever since then his daughter was hooked to on the classic Doctor Who series. Emily had even decided that when she was old enough she was going to be one of the Doctor's companions. In honour of her first day of school, Genevieve had sent her favourite niece a TARDIS backpack, which Jared had to admit was really quite cute. Her Uncle Chad, a total Doctor Who geek, had naturally encouraged her dreams and had sent her everything he could get his hands on that a future companion would need.
"Alright baby, I'll make sure your backpack has everything you’ll need and no…” Jared shook his head, “…you may not take your sonic screwdriver with you." He already knew what his daughter was going to ask; like the Doctor, she rarely went anywhere without it.
Emily's beguiling pout made a prompt return and it took all of Jared's willpower not to cave in and let his daughter bring her favourite toy with her. "How about this, I'll bring it with me when I pick you up from school, is that okay?" Jared offered.
Emily thought about it for a moment, she knew that her dad wasn't going to change her mind and let her take it to school but at least this way she could still show it off after school. She just hoped that there would be someone who liked Doctor Who as much as she did. "All right, daddy, that sounds fair,” Emily nodded solemnly. “Just remember you promised to take lots of photos for Aunt Gene, Aunt Sophia, Uncle Chad and Uncle Jeff."
Jared knew full well that their family members wanted photos and he wanted his own copies as well. "I won't forget, baby," Jared promised crossing his fingers over his heart.
"Okay, daddy,” satisfied Emily nodded her head. “Can I have Pop Tarts for breakfast?" she asked flashing him her dimpled smile.
This time Jared didn't bother to hold back his laughter as he snagged his daughter, tugged her down into the fluffy folds of the duvet and started tickling tummy. "No, you can't monkey; you need something healthy to eat."
For several minutes chaos filled Jared’s bedroom as Emily shrieked with laughter and the dogs jumped about and barked madly. Finally, he released his daughter, flushed pink with excitement, and set her on her feet. “Go get dressed and we’ll have breakfast,” Jared gently patted her on the bottom as he pushed her towards the door. “Don’t forget to bring me your hairbrush, okay?”
Emily tried her characteristic pout one last time but she knew that her dad wouldn't give in, he never did. "Fine." Only a child could pull off the utterly perfect sulky look that graced Emily's face. Pressing a kiss to her dad's cheek Emily scrambled off the bed and scampered towards the door; she had to get ready for her first day of school!
Jared watched as Emily bounced out of his room accompanied by the dots, as usual; he could hardly believe that his little girl was growing up so fast. "Good thing Uncle Jeff still has that shotgun, we’re going to need it when she's old enough to start dating, which won’t happen until I'm dead,” Jared vowed as he laid back in bed not quite ready to face his daughter's first day of school.
Jeff barely had time to set his coffee cup down and brace himself as a small blur came charging down the steps towards him and flung themselves at his legs. "Hey there, munchkin, let’s look at you.” Jeff pulled his great-niece back far enough to get a look at her and nearly burst into laughter as he noticed her shirt; she was wearing the Doctor Who Pony shirt that Chad had given her for her birthday. Always a strong-minded child, he wasn't at all surprised by her choice of clothing. “You‘re growing into such a beautiful young lady," he managed to tell her with a straight face, and he meant every word.
Emily grinned up at her uncle. "Do you like my outfit?" Emily made a perfect pirouette, showing off her outfit; besides the deep purple shirt she wore a pair of white jeans with purple flowers on the pockets. She also wore a pair of shoes that Jared had hunted down that looked like a female version of the 10th Doctor's famous Converse shoes. Emily's dark hair was brushed and pulled into what looked to Jeff like a rather complicated-looking braid and he was once again amazed at Jared's skills.
"You're the prettiest companion there is," Jeff told her honestly, earning an even wider grin from Emily; he was thankful that with every passing day Emily looked more and more like Jared and less like Alex. As far as he was concerned, it was a miracle; the last thing any of them needed was a constant reminder of her bastard father.
"Thank you, Uncle Jeff.” Emily curtsied gracefully. “Guess what, dad won't let me take my sonic screwdriver with me,” she informed him in a tone that sounded completely heartbroken.
With Emily's backpack in his hands Jared arrived in the entry way just in time to hear his daughter's remark and he rolled his eyes. "I already promised you that I would bring it along with me when I picked you up,” Jared reminded her.
Emily turned her attention to her uncle, giving him her biggest puppy-dog-eyes look, the one that she’d learned from Jared. Jeff shook his head and held up his hands. "Sorry little one, but if your dad has already told you no then there’s nothing I can do to change his mind."
Sighing dramatically, Emily’s shoulders sank, she’d had a feeling her uncle was going to say that, but it didn’t hurt to try. Then, like most children she got over it quickly. "What are you doing here, Uncle Jeff?"
Grinning Jeff lifted her up into his arms. "Why I had to see my best girl off to school; today’s a very important day for you."
Emily nodded proudly. "Yep, I'm starting school today," she announced importantly.
"I know, sweetheart, and that is a very big step,” Jeff agreed.
"Uncle Chad told daddy that he better be careful because I might find my mate there,” Emily informed her uncle as she scrunched up her nose. "What is a mate?"
Jared groaned quietly; he hadn't planned on telling his uncle what Chad had told him. He had no idea what had given his best friend such a ridiculous idea; there was no way his baby was going to find her mate, she was only five, for heaven’s sake!
Jeff's jaw ticked dangerously and Jared knew that look well. "That's nothing you have to worry about, pumpkin; your Uncle Chad was just playing around.” He gave Jared a glance that said, “We’re going to have a long talk about what you should be saying in front of her." Turning back to his niece, Jeff winked at her. “You’re going to have a wonderful day, I promise,” he told her. Jared knew that after their talk, Jeff was going to be having a very serious discussion with Chad and he wanted to feel bad for his friend but really, Chad had earned whatever Jeff gave him for saying something like that in front of a child.
"Remember what daddy taught you about whatever Uncle Chad told you?" Jared asked his daughter.
Furrowing her brow Emily thought for a moment before smiling brightly. "Never listen to anything Uncle Chad says,” she quoted seriously.
"Very wise advice," Jeff agreed with Jared's way of thinking.
Emily wasn't sure why everyone told her not to listen to her Uncle Chad's advice; she thought he had some great ideas, like filling a kiddie pool with chocolate milk or chocolate pudding and digging in with a long straw or a big spoon.
Misha Collins loved the first day of class. He loved seeing all the bright new faces that he was responsible for; it was so refreshing to see them at beginning of their journey into education. Misha was an anomaly amongst his kind, as an alpha it was rather unusual for him to take such a service-oriented job. Most alphas wanted to be military commanders, leaders, doctors, CEO's, or lawyers, but not Misha; he’d always wanted to teach.
As a child he'd been lucky enough to have teachers who’d made learning exciting and who’d encouraged him to expand his horizons by reading books on a wide-ranging variety of subjects. While other kids his age were idolising football players, actor and musicians, Misha found his heroes in those who were dedicated to helping shape the minds of future generations. When Misha began his student-teaching tenure, he understood why his mentors were so enthusiastic about their work. There was just something so mentally and emotionally freeing about working with children; they didn't have the usual hang-ups that most adults had and he found that it was rather refreshing.
"Mr Collins!" A happy voice shouted, catching his attention.
Misha wasn't at all surprised to see that the first student to arrive was Emily Padalecki and her father. When all his future students and parents came to register for classes, Misha made it a habit to sit down and meet them, to get a feeling for the kinds of students he would be working with. He also needed to make sure that the parents were okay with an alpha teaching their children.
It didn't happen often but there were still the traditional types who firmly believed in the ancient caste system, that alphas should be in positions of power and handle alpha jobs, betas should perform beta jobs and omegas should limit themselves to omega jobs. In the past Misha had experienced alpha parents pulling their children out of his class simply because they believed that it was wrong for an alpha to take a lowly job that should have been more appropriately done by an omega or a beta.
From the moment he’d met Emily Padalecki he’d known that she was special, that she was intelligent beyond her age – thanks in no small part to Jared’s early home schooling disguised as fun and games – and that she as a learner she wasn’t your typical omega. Misha had a feeling that Emily was going to defy all the stereotypical roles and do whatever she wanted to do in life and never be satisfied with what she was supposed to do.
Her father on the other hand had been just a little skittish with him when they’d first met and when he’d held out his hand to Jared, Misha had seen the very real flash of fear in his eyes – which the man had tried unsuccessfully to hide – when he’d realised that he was in the presence of an alpha. The only reason that Misha was able to recognize what Jared had gone through was because his own mate, Matt, had a similar background; as a teen he’d been assaulted by a trusted family friend and neighbour. He could tell that Jared had been abused by an alpha and it made Misha sick to his stomach to think of any alpha harming a weaker omega. Alphas were instinctively imbued with the need to keep an omega safe, it was as natural to them as breathing. For an alpha to break that millennia-long behaviour made Misha want to hunt the bastard down and rip him limb from limb in the most painful way possible for daring to lay a finger on such a sweet omega as Jared.
After he’d accidentally-on-purpose let it slip that he was happily mated Jared seemed to relax in his presence, but Misha hadn't missed the brief sense of longing he’d picked up from Jared. Given that Jared maintained a marked distance from him, Misha wondered if Emily’s father was even aware that he longed for a mate of his own. Unfortunately, having been through it all with Matt, Misha knew that Jared’s past relationship didn't make him open to trusting.
As an honourable alpha, Misha knew he was going to have to do something about Jared’s reticence. 'Matt’s going to laugh at me for finding another matchmaking project this year, but I can’t let him spend the rest of his life alone. Now I just have to figure out who would be a good fit for Jared.' But it just the first day of school, there would be plenty of time for that later; ‘right now I have a student to focus on.”
"Well good morning, Miss Emily, don't you look lovely today.” Misha bent down so he could look Emily in the eyes.
Emily grinned brightly as she smiled up at him. "Thank you, Mr Collins. I'm really looking forward to learning."
That was something that didn't surprise Misha one little bit. "Well I'm very glad to hear that and remember, I told you to call me Mr Misha, Mr Collins reminds me of my father." Misha never got the hang of his students call him by his last name; it felt so impersonal to have a bunch of five-year-olds calling him Mr Collins.
Having been raised to always respect her elders, Emily turned and looked at her father. “Is that all right, dad?”
Jared nodded. “If Mr Col… Mr Misha says that’s what he wants, then it’s all right. Just remember it only applies here at school, not to any other adult, okay.”
“Okay, dad,” Emily nodded her head with a serious look on her face. "Right, I'll remember. So when do we get started, Mr Misha?"
Both Jared and Misha looked at each other and couldn't help but laugh at her eagerness. "As soon as the other students arrive; why don't you take your daddy inside and have him help you pick out your seat and cubby?" Misha suggested. He’d seen the sadness that dimmed Jared’s eyes when he realised that it was time to let Emily go and return home without her. It was obvious that while Emily was thrilled to be starting school Misha knew that it wasn't going to be as easy for her dad.
"Yay! Come on, dad!" Dancing with excitement, Emily grasped her dad's hand and dragged him into the school; Jared shot Misha a thankful look over his shoulder. He knew what the teacher had just done and he was truly grateful; despite all the thought and planning he’d put into preparing for this momentous day, he just wasn't quite ready to leave his daughter just yet.