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JARED

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. – Oscar Wilde

The sun had barely begun to light the sky when Jared set off on his morning run. His feet pounded the well worn earth of tracks through the trees that he’d been using since as far back as he could remember. His dogs ran with him; Harley loping along the track well ahead of him, Mitch, Topper and Caruso running through the undergrowth and Sadie following behind at her own pace.

Jared breathed in the cool crisp air as he pushed himself harder, determined to beat his record. The track swung round, trees bowing above it to form a tunnel in the wilderness, and became a decent incline that got his heart pumping in his chest. His long legs ate up the last stretch of track, then he was bursting out into a clearing, the dogs milling about and barking happily as he took the last couple of steps to where the ground fell away in an almost sheer drop. He nodded at the sun rising over the mountains and checked his time.

“Twenty eight minutes and five seconds,” Jared told the dogs. “Thirty seconds faster than yesterday. Good work, guys!”

He unlatched the door of the small simple cabin that nestled against the trees on one side of the clearing, and filled the dogs bowls with water from the rain barrel. They slurped it down messily, then wandered off to explore. Jared sat on the fallen tree that he’d manoeuvred into the perfect position after a big storm had hit the area a few years back, and looked out over the mountains.

Morning had always been Jared’s favourite time of day. He loved watching the sun come up and feeling the world begin to stir into wakefulness around him. He took a deep breath, the earthy scent of the woods familiar and comforting. It reminded him of the hours spent with his grandfather helping him build the cabin, and the times his grandmother had brought them a picnic to share. All three of them would sit around a bright cloth spread on the ground and share sandwiches and thick slices of white cake.

Jared’s stomach rumbled. He grinned and fished a flask of coffee out of his pack along with a now slightly squashed pastry he’d picked up at the bakery in town the day before. He wolfed down the pastry and sipped on coffee sweetened with chocolate and laced with milk. A soft morning breeze ruffled his hair. If ever there had been a moment of perfection, Jared decided that this was it.

Thirty miles and a whole world away, down in the small marina in the little coastal town that Jared had gone to school in, the morning wasn’t quite as peaceful as it was up in the mountains.


JEFF

Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better. - Albert Einstein

Jeffrey Dean Morgan-Ackles woke up slowly. Soft light filtered in through the full length windows that ran along one side of the cabin and he could hear water lapping at the side of the yacht. He reached around and stroked the shoulder of the man curled against his back.

Jeff rolled over, slipping down the bed a little until he was face to face with Jensen. After two years of marriage, Jensen still took Jeff’s breath away. Jeff drew a thumb gently over Jensen’s cheek, across the freckles that he insisted on covering up as soon as he was awake. Jeff liked Jensen’s freckles, and the little snuffly noises he made as Jeff petted his skin. Jeff liked a lot of things about Jensen, including the added status that came with being hitched to such a high profile, heir to a fortune. He also liked the lifestyle that Jensen’s money brought with it.

Jeff remembered the night they’d met vividly. He was wallowing in self pity after some wanna be actor twink had outed him to the press, and he’d lost the lead in what would have been his first major movie. And Jensen was still smarting after the changes he’d proposed to his father’s company had been rejected by the board. Jeff wasn’t clear on what Jensen had wanted to do with the company. He’d stopped listening after Jensen had kissed him the first time. All he knew was that both of them needed something the other could give them.

Jensen needed revenge, and saw no better way to get it than by embarrassing his straight laced family by running off to Canada on his yacht to get married to a gay actor with a bad reputation. Jeff needed publicity, lots of it, to revive his flagging career. The kind that a newly gone off the rails paparazzi magnet like Jensen could provide.

Their arrangement suited Jeff fine. He got to fuck Jensen occasionally, when his husband wasn’t busy being a prima donna, and he got a lavish allowance that he could spend as he wished. Then there was the yacht, and all the perks that came with it. Jeff’s cock twitched as he thought of Kurt, the slim cabin boy. And he could have Kurt whenever he wanted, so long as Jensen never found out. Out of sight was out of mind, and Jensen had let a lot of Jeff’s indiscretions go over the two years they’d been together but Jeff knew that Kurt was too close to home.

Jensen’s long lashes fluttered and Jeff moved in to kiss him awake. Jensen stretched, kissing Jeff back, pushing up against him and wrapping his arms around Jeff’s neck. Jeff pushed him onto his back, and kissed his way down his torso, licking and nipping at his skin as he went, until he reached Jensen’s cock. He mouthed over the head, lips soft and teasing, licking at the moisture that leaked from the slit.

“Jeff …” Jensen moaned, and Jeff grinned.

He pressed Jensen’s hips down as he mouthed his cock, holding him still as Jensen tried to squirm with anticipation. Slowly, inch by inch, he took the whole length of Jensen’s dick into his mouth, relaxing his throat as he worked two well lubed fingers into Jensen’s ass. He sucked, slurping messily, his fingers swiping across Jensen’s prostate at the same time until Jensen cried out, spurting down Jeff’s throat and clutching at his hair.

Even while Jensen was still panting through the last of his orgasm, Jeff was crawling up the bed again, rolling on a condom, pushing Jensen’s legs apart and fucking into him. Jensen mewled and writhed, urging Jeff on, wrapping his legs around his waist, pulling him deeper. Jeff came, whispering dirty words over Jensen’s mouth, leaving him open and tender when he pulled out.

Afterwards, they lay together, skin against skin, dozing through the dawn. Jeff shifted, placing a kiss on Jensen’s well tousled hair.

“Gotta piss.” He walked across to the bathroom, leaving the door open. He did what he needed to do, and was brushing his teeth when he heard Jensen moving around.

“Jesus, Jeff, it’s after six!” Jensen jumped out of bed, and dashed past Jeff in his hurry to get into the shower. “How could you let me sleep so late?”

“We’re supposed to be on holiday and that’s what people on holiday do, sleep late.”

Only in Jensen’s well controlled world could 6am be called late, Jeff sighed.

“The photo shoot is today! How could you forget?”

Jeff joined him in the double shower, soaping his skin and hair and rinsing off while Jensen applied an exfoliation scrub, and polished his skin until Jeff wondered if he had any left. But he was right. Jeff’s movie star status had to be maintained. Jeff dried himself off as he wandered back into the bathroom and slipped into the black jeans and white silk shirt that Jensen had picked out for him the night before. Yawning, he went in search of coffee.

Ten minutes later, Jensen swept into the main cabin wearing nothing but well fitting white boxer briefs and a white silk robe that billowed around him as he walked and showed off his artfully tanned body to perfection.

“Where’s Maria?” he yelled. “She has no business still being in bed.”

“Sorry, Mr Ackles, I’m right here.” Maria hurried into the room.

“Good, it’s about time. Now, hair and a manicure, then you can see to Jeff.”

Jeff handed Jensen a large skinny cinnamon latte with whipped no fat cream on the top, as he walked by.

“Would you like something a little stronger in there, Mr Morgan?”

Jeff turned and grinned at Kurt, who was carrying a tray with more coffee and a shot of Jack.

“Thanks, Kurt.” Jeff winked, which earned him a blush on the cheeks of the slim hipped cabin boy.

“Anything for you, Mr Morgan.”

Jeff leered at Kurt, memories of fucking into his tight ass still fresh from the previous afternoon. Kurt licked his lips in an obvious invitation.

“I’m going to need your talented hands again this afternoon,” Jeff whispered, glancing over at Tank, Jensen’s personal security guard who glared back, not hiding his disapproval at the exchange that was taking place. Jeff moved closer to Kurt and whispered in his ear. “And your mouth.”

Kurt squeaked and Tank glared again.

“Thank you Kurt. That will be all. For now,” Jeff dismissed Kurt and sauntered out on deck, grinning at Tank on the way past.


The photo shoot went exactly as Jensen had planned it. Jeff acted the part of a movie star perfectly, charming the interviewer and delivering shots for the photographer that alternated between moody and relaxed. He smiled at the way Jensen allowed the photographer to coax him into a handful of the final shots, showcasing the supportive spouse of one of Hollywood’s rare out and proud and once again up and coming stars. Jensen smiled haughtily, draped himself over Jeff’s shoulder then pouted prettily for the camera.

As soon as the final shot had been taken, and the interviewer and photographer left, Jensen turned to Jeff.

“I need more closet space.”

“On the yacht?”

“Yes on the yacht.” Jensen rolled his eyes and gave Jeff his best duh expression.

“Now?”

“Before we leave. The lack of storage is impossible to live with.”

“Right …” Jeff didn’t even try to rationalize Jensen’s need for more space. Jensen could spend his money on whatever he wanted as far as Jeff was concerned, even if it really didn’t seem necessary. Over the years, Jeff had found that it was easier just to give in and get it done.

“Tank!” Jeff yelled. He always got a perverse pleasure out of ordering Jensen’s bodyguard around, knowing how much the man disliked him. Jeff knew that the only reason Tank did as he was asked was that he knew it was for Jensen. Even with the way Jensen treated his staff, the man was surprisingly loyal. “We need more closet space, apparently. See if there’s a carpenter in town.”


JARED

In gardens, beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death. - Sam Llewelyn

Jared parked his truck in the marina’s parking lot and jumped out, slamming the door behind him. He sauntered over to the office, not taking much notice of the tethered boats and yachts bobbing on the water.

Inside, Andy was standing behind the counter, craning his neck to talk to a guy with a shaved head who looked around as Jared walked in and immediately sized him up. It made Jared feel uncomfortable, and he held back in case he was interrupting something.

Andy looked up, and grinned.

“Jared! Perfect timing.”

“Er, why?” Jared asked, and eyed the stranger again.

“Mr Tank here is looking for someone to build a closet on his yacht.”

“Tank,” the stranger growled. “No mister. It’s my employer’s yacht and he wants it done by tomorrow afternoon.”

“That’s a tight deadline,” Jared said, hand scrubbing at his chin.

“Money’s good,” Tank stated. “Very good.”

Behind Tank’s back, Andy was nodding frantically and grinning. “The fence can wait, trust me.”

“Okay, let me get my gear, and I’ll measure up,” Jared nodded at Tank and strode over to the truck again.

Right now, he needed every penny, and he couldn’t afford to turn down any extra work, especially if it was well paid work. Tank was waiting for him outside the office, and turned and walked off towards the largest yacht in the marina. Jared followed behind him, wishing now that he’d had time to change after his morning spent working in the yard.

Tank led him up the gangplank and over to where a dark haired man lounged, drink in hand, his eyes hidden behind expensive sunglasses.

“The carpenter for Mr Ackles,” Tank informed him.

Scowling, the man got to his feet, and Jared couldn’t help admiring the way the silk shirt clung to his torso.

“Ackles-Morgan, Tank. How many times do I have to remind you? He’s Ackles-Morgan now, has been for years.”

Jared could have sworn that he saw the barest hint of a smile on Tanks lips, but it was gone seconds later. The dark haired man grasped Jared’s hand firmly and shook it.

“Hi, I’m Jeff.”

Jared quirked an eyebrow as Jeff grinned at him, as Jared got the feeling that behind the sunglasses, Jeff was checking him out.

“Tank explained that this is a rush job?”

“Yes he did. Closet emergencies are my specialty,” Jared deadpanned.

Jeff eyed him, then abruptly turned and yelled, "Jensen honey! The carpenter's here!"

There was no reply. Jared glanced around the expensive yacht, baking in the heat.

“Jensen!” Jeff yelled again.

"No need to shout, Jeffrey."

The man who emerged from the cool shade of the main cabin temporarily took Jared’s breath away. He did his best not to stare at the well toned body that he could see a lot of, given the small tight shorts that were Jensen’s only clothes.

While Jared was secretly looking at Jensen, Jensen looked Jared over with open distain. Jared felt more self conscious than ever of his dirty t shirt and worn jeans. Jensen turned to Jeff.

"He's so primitive."

Jeff sighed. "He's a carpenter, Jenny."

Jared's eyebrows had shot up at Jensen's open disapproval of him, and now he struggled to stop grinning at the ridiculous term of endearment.

"Why can't we fly Mario in to do it?" Jensen pouted and looked at Jeff from beneath long lashes

"Because Mario is somewhere in the South of France recuperating."

"Remodeling the penthouse wasn't that traumatizing." Jensen pouted some more and snuggled up against Jeff's chest.

From the look that Jeff gave Jensen, Jared thought that it had probably been a nightmare and he wondered what he was letting himself in for.

Jared coughed to get their attention.

“If you want this done by tomorrow, I’d better get started.”

Jensen scowled at him and Jeff kissed Jensen's temple.

"Go and show Jared exactly what you want, then leave him to work."

Jensen sighed.

"Come along."

He walked past Jared, and the way he almost had his nose in the air, Jared was reminded of the Aristocrats.

"Whatever you say, Princess." If this job wasn't going to pay him an obscene amount of money, he would have left already.

"What did you call me?" Jensen rounded on him.

"Nothing. Where do you want this closet?"

Jensen stared at him with narrowed eyes then turned and flounced off. Jared followed and silently admired the small tattoo of a bee on Jensen’s right ass cheek that peeked out of his shorts as he walked.

Jared measured up, and made notes as Jensen told him in great detail exactly how he wanted the closet space built. When Jared asked for a quiet spot to sketch out a design, Jensen bellowed for Tank, and left him to it. An hour later, he left with Jensen’s almost reluctant approval, and headed into town to pick up materials.

By the time he finished the following afternoon, Jared reckoned he’d truly earned his money. He’d finished the work in record time, making sure that it looked good as well as being functional, and complied to all Jensen’s specifications, But Jensen wasn’t impressed.

“It’s exactly how we discussed,” Jared insisted. “And it’s solid oak, with good quality fittings. I’m not sure what the problem is.”

“Oak!” Jensen latched on to the one thing that he hadn’t specified. “Everyone knows that closets should be made out of cedar!”

“Excuse me?” Jared was perplexed. A closet was a closet, for putting stuff in. He’d done a good job, spent his own money on the materials and now this prissy princess of a man was trying to weasel out of paying for it. “I did what you wanted, and we agreed a price so …”

“We agreed a price for a decent closet, one made out of cedar, not this, this, mess.”

Jared pinched the bridge of his nose. He was tired, unhappy and wanted to get home and sleep after he’d safely deposited the check in the bank.

“Look, I did the job, and I’m not leaving until I get paid.” He folded his arms and stared at Jensen.

“Not leaving? NOT LEAVING??” Jensen’s voice raised, and Jared heard footsteps on the stairs behind him. “You certainly are leaving! Tank!”

Jared turned to see the man mountain of a security guard appear.

“Get him off my yacht!” Jensen yelled.

“Now wait a minute,” Jared blustered and tried to back away, but Tank took his arm and guided him towards the stairs.

Two minutes later, Jared found himself standing, furious, on the marina, watching the yacht pull out to sea. Not only had he not gotten paid, but his tool box was still on board. He pulled out his cell and called Chris.

“Get your ass down to Mac’s now. Some asshole on a yacht just shafted me.”

“Not the good kind of shafting, I’m guessing?” Chris asked, with way too much amusement in his voice for Jared’s liking, so he ended the call.

By the time Chris arrived, Jared had already been told by the harbor master that no, they wouldn’t be sending the coastguard out to stop the yacht. Jared felt deflated.

At the end of a night of drinking to try and raise Jared’s spirits, Chris drove him home, dropped him into bed and fed the dogs. He set Jared’s alarm for 6am, and pinned a note to the bed frame to tell him he’d be by to pick him up and take him down to get up the truck, and that breakfast was most definitely on Jared.


Around the time that Jared was falling into bed, Jensen was doing some falling of his own.

Dinner on the yacht was accompanied by Jensen ranting about the closet until dessert arrived. Jensen nibbled on the sliver of exquisite chocolate raspberry cheesecake on his plate, finding himself preoccupied with the annoying carpenter. Jeff took advantage of Jensen’s change of mood, and picked up the bottle of Jack he was working his way through.

“I’m gonna get some air.”

He kissed Jensen on the top of his head, and wandered off.

Jensen nodded, not really paying attention. How dare the sweaty carpenter talk to him like that. His eyes had blazed as he yelled at Jensen, eyes that Jensen couldn’t stop thinking about. They’d flashed with defiance, something Jensen hadn’t experienced from anyone in a long time. Jensen growled in annoyance and took another bite of cheesecake. Damn it was good, and there wasn’t nearly enough.

“Molly, bring me more of this. In fact, bring me whatever’s left of it, and crack open another bottle of champagne. I’ll take it in the stateroom.”

“Yes, Mr Ackles.” Her eyes were wide as she retreated back to the kitchen.

Jensen was sitting in the window of the stateroom when Molly arrived with the cheesecake and champagne.

“Will that be all, Mr Ackles?”

“Yes,” Jensen dismissed her with a wave of his hand.

Alone, Jensen sat and watched the sunset over the sea. He kicked off his shoes and curled up on the seat, sipping champagne after every mouthful of cheesecake. After he found himself thinking about licking champagne from the hollow of Jared’s throat, he gorged himself on what was left of the cheesecake, and finished off the bottle of champagne.

It was dark by the time he began to wonder where Jeff had gone. A little unsteady on his feet, Jensen walked up the stairs to the deck, but Jeff was nowhere to be seen. Jensen was just about to go below, when the door to one of the store rooms opened, and Jeff slipped out, a satisfied grin on his face, one Jensen was very familiar with.

Jensen stepped back into the shadows, and waited. It wasn’t long before the door opened again, and Kurt left the small room, eyes darting about to check that the coast was clear. But before he could slink away, Jensen made his presence known.

“How long has this been going on?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Kurt huffed.

“Don’t play games, Kurt, we both know Jeff’s fucking you.”

“So what? He has needs, I’m filling them. You’re obviously not.”

Jensen closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. Jensen knew that Jeff was a horn dog who couldn’t keep it in his pants, and usually he could ignore it, but this was too close to home for Jensen to look the other way.

“You’re fired. Get your stuff together. I’ll instruct the captain to find us somewhere to dock tomorrow and I want you off the yacht.” Jensen turned to go, but Kurt grabbed his arm and pulled him back.

“You can’t do that! You don’t pay my wages.”

Jensen rolled his eyes. “Actually, sweetheart, I do. It’s my yacht, and my money pays for all the nice things that Jeff has. If you wanted to screw someone for money, you picked the wrong person, and I wouldn’t touch your skanky ass if you paid me.”

Kurt glared at him then burst into tears, and ran back into the interior of the yacht.

Jensen stormed towards the railing, staggering a little, his co-ordination hampered by the champagne he’d drunk. He reached out to grab something to steady himself, but missed, his arms flailing in midair as the yacht pitched against the swell of a wave. Jensen managed to grab the railing, but he was so off balance, the momentum swung him over it, and before he knew what was happening, he hit the water, and went under. When he managed to surface, the yacht was already moving away from him.

“Help!” He tried to yell, but it came out more like a whimper. As the lights of the yacht faded away, he turned and began to swim towards land, or so he hoped. But as he swam, the cold of the ocean seeped into him and began to slow him down, and he didn’t even see the small fishing boat that fished him, unconscious, out of the water.


JARED

Green fingers are the extension of a verdant heart. - Russell Page

Jared’s head throbbed as he slurped down his third cup of strong coffee, and dug into the pile of breakfast on his plate. Chris rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“So, now that you’re sobering up, what are you gonna do about losing your tools and not getting paid?”

The previous night, Jared hadn’t exactly been coherent and his ideas had been more about revenge than practical solutions to being left out of pocket. He fished a card out of his pocket and passed it to Chris.

“Kripke, Singer and Gamble? You’re gonna sue him?”

Jared shook his head. “No, the big guy that dragged me off the boat gave me that. Said to call them and they would sort it out.”

“So why were you all riled up last night?”

“Because he pissed me off! I did a damn good job, and he looked at me like I was dirt.”

“Okay, man, but still, it’s not like you to get as mad as you were last night.”

Jared sighed, hung his head. “Sid’s upped the rent on the land, and if I can’t make it, he’s selling it. I’ve got thirty days until the next payment is due, so I took the job because they were offering crazy money for it to be done in a day. Would have meant I could make the next two payments but now …”

“Aw, man. Why didn’t you say?”

Jared shrugged. “The money from the job would have given me some breathing space, so I could figure out what to do next.”

“Look, give these suits a call, see if you can straighten this out and get paid.”

Jared nodded and once he’d finished breakfast, he wandered outside and called the number. Ten minutes later, he stormed back inside, his face like thunder.

“They’re sending me a bunch of paperwork, which I have to return and then they’ll make enquiries to see if I have a valid claim. They wouldn’t give me any idea of how long it’ll take.” He dropped back down in his seat and Chris ordered him more coffee.

“Buck up, man. We’ll figure something out.”

Jared raised his head, reached out for his coffee and froze, staring at the TV behind the bar.

“That’s him!”

“Who?” Chris squinted at the photograph the local news channel was showing of a man who looked half drowned.

“Jensen, the asshole from the yacht.”

”The local hospital are asking for help in identifying the man who has no memory of who he is.”

Jared gulped down the rest of his coffee and stood up.

“Where are you going?”

“To the hospital. I know who he is and maybe he’ll be grateful and pay up.”

“Okay, but don’t do anything stupid, Jay.”


JENSEN

When Jensen woke up, all he knew was that he was in a bed with rough cotton sheets, in a place that smelled of antiseptic. He wrinkled his nose, then opened his eyes, shooting upright at the sight of a nurse walking into the small room he was in.

“Where am I?” he demanded, looking down at the scrubs he was wearing.

“You’re in a hospital. You were found floating not far off shore. A fishing boat brought you in. Now, if you can tell me your name, and who to contact, I’m sure your family will come and get you.”

“Fishing boat?” Jensen couldn’t remember a boat, or being in the water, or, he realized, anything else. “You don’t know who I am?”

“Er, no sir. You didn’t have any identification on you. In fact, you weren’t wearing much when you were brought in.”

Jensen looked down at the scrubs again, fingering the material with distain.

“And this was the best you could find?”

“That’s all we had. So if you tell me your name …?”

“I don’t remember my name!” Jensen’s frustration boiled over. “I don’t remember who I am, or how I got here. Now, get me someone in authority to talk to!”

“I’m sure we can sort this out, Sir, now, would you like some breakfast while I find out if Dr Morrow has arrived yet?”

Jensen gave her a curt nod. “And I’d appreciate something else to wear.”

“I’ll … see what I can do.”

When breakfast arrived, Jensen turned his nose up at it, demanding loudly that someone bring him some decent food and not slops. And when Nurse Shirley brought him the nicest scrubs she could find, she was soon exiting Jensen’s room with his disgusted yelling following her down the corridor.

The next person to enter his room was a man who looked very nervous.

“Are you in charge around here?” Jensen barked.

“Yes, I’m Dr Morrow. Now, I have to ask you to treat my staff with a little more respect …”

“Respect? I’m in a strange place with no memory of who I am, being offered slop to eat, and rags to wear! What is being done to resolve this situation?”

“I’m sure you can appreciate that it’s a difficult situation …”

“Difficult? That’s an understatement, doctor!”

“Now, sir, we have issued your photograph to the local TV station, and they are running it with every bulletin.”

“Local? What exactly is local, doctor? I don’t even know where I am!!”

“Dr Morrow?” Nurse Shirley peeked around the door. “There’s someone here that I think may be able to help.”

“I’ll be right back.”

Jensen seethed as the doctor left the room.


JARED

“This is Jared Padala …”

“Padalecki. I saw the photo on the news this morning and came straight down.”

Jared’s original plan had been to tell the medical staff who Jensen was, but hearing him yelling at the nurses, something in Jared snapped.

“You know him?” Dr Morrow sounded relieved.

“He’s … my partner. We were out drinking last night, had an argument, and I thought he’d stayed with a friend,” Jared blurted out.

“You realize that we can’t just hand him over …”

There was a loud crash from the room behind them, a raised voice, and a nurse ran out, slamming the door behind her. Dr Morrow turned back to Jared.

“Have you got any proof? His driving license, or passport?”

Jared shook his head.

“I came here straight from breakfast at Mac’s. I was so worried about him.”

Dr Morrow nodded and led Jared to Jensen’s room.

“Maybe seeing you will jog his memory.” He opened the door and led Jared inside.

“Sweetheart!” Jared gave Jensen a huge smile. “I’ve been so worried!”

Jensen eyed him warily. “And you are ...?”

“It’s me, Jared! Don’t tell me you can’t remember me, pookie?”

“Pookie?” Jensen blanched. “That can’t possibly be my nickname. Get this person out of here! And get me a lawyer!”

“Now hold on there, honey,” Jared smiled indulgently and looked at the doctor. “He’s always been a little feisty.”

“Feisty?” Dr Morrow looked at Jared with disbelief. “Is there anything you can tell me about him that would prove he’s your partner?”

“Partner?” Jensen spat. “Oh no, I do not belong with that … Neanderthal!”

“He’s got the cutest little bee tattooed on his right butt cheek.” Jared winked at Jensen.

“Nurse?” Dr Morrow looked for confirmation.

“He does,” she confirmed.

“In that case, he’s all yours. I’ll get your signature on your way out.”

“Sure thing, doc.” Jared turned to Jensen. “Now, let’s get you home.”

All it took was Jared’s signature on a release form, and a seething Jensen was sitting in the passenger seat of his truck, being waved off by several relieved hospital staff.


JEFF

Jeff stepped back beneath the trees at the entrance to the hospital. He’d gone there with every intention of claiming Jensen and taking him back to the yacht, but it was an interesting turn of events, the wronged carpenter driving off with Jensen instead.

Jeff knew he should go after them, he really did, but the prospect of at least a few days of peace and quiet dampened his conscience. Two or three days, maybe four, and he’d come back for him, Jeff promised himself. Decision made, he slipped on his sunglasses and headed back to the yacht.

He ran up the gang plank giving orders to cast off and get going as he went. Tank stood at the top, a solid wall of muscle and suspicion.

“Before you start, he’s fine. He’s already on his way back to New York. I got an ear bashing for none of us realizing he wasn’t on board earlier and leaving him in some hick hell hole for hours.” Jeff shook his head. “I’m not exactly in his good books right now, so I’m staying with the yacht until we get home.” Jeff sighed dramatically, and pushed past Tank. “So let’s get going, people!”

As the yacht pulled away, Jeff smirked at Kurt, not noticing that Tank had stalked off to the far end of the deck and pulled out his cell.

“It’s Tank. Put me through to Kripke.”


JARED

Life begins the day you start a Garden. --Chinese Proverb

Jensen sat with his arms tightly crossed for most of the journey. They drove out of the small harbor town into the mountains behind it, and finally up a road that was little more than a dirt track.

“Home sweet home, darlin’,” Jared said as they drove through an open gate and up to the farmhouse. His heart pounded in his chest as the reality of what he’d done began to sink in. Making Jensen work off some of what he owed while the lawyers were making him wait for his money had seemed like an inspired idea at the time, but now, Jared wasn’t so sure.

“There has to be some mistake. I can’t live here. It’s so rustic.” Jensen wrinkled his nose as if he’d caught a whiff of a bad smell.

Jared glanced at him, annoyance rising at Jensen’s contempt. He remembered how Jensen had treated the nurses, people who had only wanted to help him, and that made it easier to stick to his plan. He got out of the truck and waited for Jensen to follow him, but Jensen stayed where he was. Jared sighed and walked round to open the door for him.

“Come on, let’s get you settled in.”

Still dressed in the scrubs the hospital had given him, Jensen followed Jared into the house, glancing round, wide eyed, as he took in his new home.

"This place is filthy."

"Yeah, well, you kinda let things slide over the past few months, you’ve been feeling down.” Jared hardly knew where this stuff was coming from.

“I’m not surprised I was depressed, living here,” Jensen spat and Jared rolled his eyes.

"Well, the boys have missed you."

"The boys? We have kids?" Jensen unconsciously patted his flat stomach and then shook his head in annoyance.

Jared grinned and opened the back door. Jensen screamed the most girly scream Jared had ever heard as five huge dogs ran towards him and knocked him off his feet. He went down amid a flurry of slobbering tongues and wet noses as Jared's family checked out the latest addition to their pack.

“Help!” Jensen’s muffled cry prompted Jared to wade in and bat the dogs away.

They all sat and watched with interest as Jared reached down and offered Jensen a hand up. He thought Jensen was going to ignore him, but after hesitating for a long moment and staring up at Jared with a pensive expression on his face, he took a hold of Jared’s wrist and allowed Jared to pull him to his feet.

"Where … where do we sleep?" Jensen asked, looking Jared up and down in an appraising way that made him squirm.

"You sleep up here." Jared led Jensen upstairs and pulled open the door to an untidy room with clothes all over the floor. "I sleep downstairs on the couch."

Jensen peered inside, eyeing the big bed suspiciously.

"We don't sleep together?"

Jared didn’t know if it was puzzlement or relief that he heard in Jensen’s voice, with maybe a tiny touch of regret mixed in.

"We’ve been going through a rough patch," Jared shrugged. "You hungry?"

Jensen shook his head, but his stomach grumbled. Jared smiled and took him back downstairs into the kitchen. Despite having brought Jensen home so he could help out, which included keeping the house cleaner and tidier, Jared wished he'd at least done the dishes that were heaped in and around the sink. Inwardly, he scolded himself for caring what Jensen thought of him or his home, but he had to admit that Jensen's presence was making him see it through new eyes.

Jared opened the fridge, and pulled out a wedge of cheese wrapped in wax paper, and a stick of butter along with a wholemeal loaf. He took them through to the dining table which was thankfully uncluttered and clean, with plates and knives. He added a bowl of berries, and left Jensen sitting at the table while he went outside and picked a handful of grape tomatoes to go with the cheese and bread.

“You grow your own food?”

“A lot of it, yeah.”

He cut thick slices from the loaf, and slicked butter across them before putting two on a plate and sliding it across to Jensen.

“Our neighbour Ada makes the bread. She sells it in a bakery in town, and she gives me a loaf a day in trade for tomatoes or zucchini or whatever else is ready.”

Jensen took a bite and chewed, his face brightening up at the taste and he nodded.

“It’s good.”

“And Nate, he lives further out, he has his own dairy herd and he makes the butter and cheese.”

Jensen nodded again. “So we eat like this all the time?”

Guilt surged in Jared at the use of the word ‘we’. Asshole or not, Jensen must be pretty scared, not having any memories of who he was. He made a decision to call the lawyers on the card in the morning and have them come and get Jensen. Until then, he was Jared’s responsibility.

“Yeah, pretty much.”

“So this is a farm?”

“Not quite. My grandfather was an ecologist at heart. He fell in love with the idea of being as self sufficient as possible, and sharing the surplus with other people who can help fill the gaps in what you need. Like a barter system almost. And he looked at ways to grow things that didn’t separate them out into rows of carrots here, and rows of potatoes there. By looking at nature instead, and working with it rather than trying to tame it.” Jared stopped, and grinned sheepishly. “Sorry, I’ve been told I ramble.”

“So I know all this stuff? About plants and growing things?”

“Er, yes.”

Jensen looked at his hands, turning them over and studying his nails. “My hands don’t look as if I do a lot of digging.” He sounded puzzled.

“You wear gloves,” Jared stated with authority and nodded at Jensen’s plate. “When you’ve finished, I’ll show you round.”

Jensen picked at another slice of cheese and ate half of the berries. Jared finished them off, licking the juice from his fingers. When he looked up, Jensen was watching him and flushed when he saw that Jared had noticed.

“I’ll find you something to wear,” Jared volunteered, “So we can get you out of those scrubs.”

Jensen’s eyes widened, and it was Jared’s turn to blush.

“No, I didn’t mean like that! I’ll be right back.”

He raced up the stairs and into his room, standing in front of the wardrobe and banging his head against it.

“Jeez, Padalecki, get a grip. You can do this.” You can pretend to the stranger downstairs that he belongs here. Jared let out a long sigh. “What were you thinking?”

“About what?” Jensen asked from the doorway.

“Nothing!” Jared spun round. “Not thinking about anything at all.” He dug into a pile of clothes and found what he was looking for. A pair of Chris’s jeans that he’d got covered in mud the last time he’d helped Jared out with planting. Jared had washed them then forgotten to give them back. Jared reckoned that they should fit Jensen better than his own would. Chris’s legs were shorter. He dug around some more and found a t shirt that was too tight on him now, and handed them over to Jensen. He left him alone to change, closing the door behind him.

While he waited, Jared shooed the dogs outside and made a start on the dishes. He hadn’t got very far when he heard Jensen’s footsteps on the stairs. The jeans were a little short on him, but the shirt fit well. More than well. Jared dried his hands and inwardly scolded himself for admiring the view.

“What about shoes?” Jensen asked.

“There’s flip flops by the door. Your feet might get dusty, but it’s not muddy right now.”

Again, Jensen followed him, quietly taking everything in. He stuck close to Jared when the dogs surrounded them, and took everything in as they wandered around. Jared was beginning to get spooked at how quiet Jensen was being. He worried his lip and watched him, looking for signs of an impending explosion or a pissy attitude, but there was nothing. So Jared talked to fill up the silence.

“It’s built using permaculture principles. There are zones that radiate out from the house, so plants that need frequent attention are in the first zone, things like herbs and tomatoes, and plants that need less are further out, and wild zones for foraging come after that.”

“Wild zones, huh?”

“Yeah, where the wild berry plants grow,” Jared smiled. “Then there are layers and you’ve got trees up here,” he reached up high. “All the way down to potatoes down here,” he bent down and brushed his hand over a patch of earth. “And it’s all designed on what was here in the beginning.”

“What, Like Adam and Eve?” Jensen snorted.

“No, man, like instead of clearing a site to make a blank canvas of a field, you work with what’s already there, making use of the existing landscape and ecosystem.”

Jensen stopped walking and put his hands on his hips, shaking his head.

“I can see you’re very enthusiastic about all this, but it’s not helping. I don’t remember this place, I don’t remember those dogs, and I don’t remember you!” Jensen yelled. “This cannot be my home.” He waved his arms around. “This cannot be my life, I’m meant for better than this, and you,” he poked his finger at Jared’s chest, “are not my partner!”

Jensen stormed off, then turned around and scowled at Jared as he strode back up to him and prodded his chest again. “I don’t even know what my name is! You’ve rambled on and on about all this nature crap, and you’ve never once called me by my name. No wonder we were going through a rough patch if this is the amount of attention you’ve been paying me.”

Jared stepped back and rubbed his chest, it was beginning to get sore from all the finger poking.

“It’s Dean. Your name is Dean.” On the spur of the moment, Jared reckoned that the name of his first crush at school would be as good as any.

“Dean. Thank you.” Jensen’s words dripped with sarcasm. He gave Jared one last glare and stalked off back to the house.

Jared worked outside for an hour or so, leaving Jensen to calm down. As he worked, earth getting beneath his fingernails, anxiety began to seep back in. If he didn’t find a way to make money soon, he would lose his home. He wondered why his grandpa had never bought the land from Sid’s father. Jared’s heart twisted painfully in his chest at the thought of leaving.

Back at the house, he toed his boots off and left them in the yard. He fed the dogs, and went looking for Jensen. He was nowhere to be found downstairs so Jared went upstairs and rapped his knuckles on the bedroom door.

“You hungry?”

“No,” came the muffled reply.

“Are you okay? Dean?”

“No. Go away.”

“Okay, but if you get hungry, come down.”

There was no reply, so Jared left him alone. He cooked up a steak, thinking that the smell might get Jensen’s attention, but there was only silence, so he served it up for himself with potatoes and greens he’d picked earlier.

Jared wrote out a list of chores for Jensen to get on with the next day, and spent some time in his workshop, making a list of what he’d need for the handful of small jobs he had over the next few weeks. They would bring in some money, but nowhere near enough. Then he turned in early, hoping that Chris would remember to pick him up on his way to the factory. It wasn’t somewhere Jared would choose to work, but it was a means to an end, he told himself. He settled down on the couch and tried not to think of his unhappy house guest upstairs. Jensen had brought this on himself, and one day’s work in return wouldn’t hurt him. Jared tried to convince himself of that as he fell asleep.


JENSEN

"Rise and shine sweetheart!"

The bedroom door banged open and Jensen started awake at the sound of Jared letting the dogs into the room.

"No." Jensen squeaked weakly as he disappeared under a pile of fur and wet noses.

"Time to make breakfast!" Jared said cheerily and tweaked Jensen's toe, the only part of him visible beneath the dogs and bedcovers.

"Breakfast? What time is it?" Jensen asked as he batted at the dogs and struggled to free himself from the tangle of blankets.

"5am. Come on, baby, you know how you like to get an early start on your chores." Jared let out a sharp whistle and the dogs bounded off the bed towards him. "I've made you a list in case things are still hazy."

Hazy? Jensen fell back onto the bed as the door slammed shut behind them. Hazy didn't even start to describe how he was feeling. He glanced around the room. It was messy, clothes piled in front of a wardrobe and drawer's open with things tumbling out of them. There were no pictures on the walls, nothing to link him with this place and he decided that if he did belong here, he'd probably blocked it out. He got up and wrapped a sheet around himself while he looked for something to wear. If this was where he lived, surely his clothes were around here somewhere, he mused. The jeans Jared had given him the day before were too short and Jensen was certain he wouldn’t have worn them out of choice.

Jensen dug his way through to the wardrobe, tossing long legged jeans and combats out of the way that clearly belonged to the sasquatch of a man downstairs. The shirts were all too loose for him, and his brow furrowed at the lack of anything that would fit him. In that case, he'd just have to compromise, he decided, because it was either that or the scrubs that the hospital had kitted him out with for the journey home the night before. The ill fitting jeans simply weren’t an option.

He pulled on a pair of soft, faded jeans and rolled them up so they fit. Luckily, Jared had slim hips so Jensen didn't need to search for a belt. He pulled on the smallest t-shirt he could find, a pale green one with capped sleeves. He cleared the stuff from the dressing table and looked at himself in the mirror, sighing, so sure he wasn't meant to be there, but he didn't know where else he did belong. No-one else had come forward and with no memories he felt lost and alone. Jared had come for him, and he was all he had right now. Jensen steeled himself and went downstairs.

"If I live here, how come there aren't any clothes that fit me in our room?"

"Well, er ... we'd had a fight, and you packed your bags and went to Chris's."

"Who's Chris?"

"He's my best friend, but he was your boyfriend in high school. And he's still got a soft spot for you." Jared bit his lip. "You don't still have feelings for him, do you, sweetheart? Would break my heart if ..."

"Jared!" A man with long dark hair yelled as he walked in from the yard, and peered at Jensen.

"Hey Chris, just making sure Dean here has his list of chores before we go."

"That's Chris?" Jensen blanched and looked at Chris with wide eyes.

"Sorry, man, I told you Dean was having trouble remembering things."

"No problem," Chris said gruffly.

"Could I have my clothes back?" Jensen asked.

"Clothes? Uh, why would I ..."

"I'll pick them up on the way home, sugar. Don't you fret about it." Jared patted Jensen's cheek and left him standing in the middle of the room.

Chris tipped his hat at the confused man, and followed Jared out to the truck.

Jensen watched through the window as the pair had an animated conversation, and sighed as they drove off. He read through the list of chores and decided to get through them as quickly as he could, then tear the place apart to find some trace of himself somewhere in the house.


JARED

After Jared followed Chris outside, Chris turned on him, hissing.

"What is he doing here?"

"Working off his debt?"

"What the hell, Jared? Does he remember who he is yet?"

"No … he thinks he's my partner." Jared scuffed his shoe in the dirt.

"Your PARTNER?" Chris threw his arms in the air and glared at Jared. "Why would he think that?"

"He was being an ass to the nurses, and I saw red. Didn't see why I should do him any favours when he's so mean to everyone. But by then, I'd told the hospital staff that I knew him, and all I could think of was getting some payback."

"Payback? Seriously, what the fuck are you doing, man? I asked around down at the marina and found out who he is. You've kidnapped the son of a very rich, very powerful family, who will crush you like a gnat without a second thought if you don't give him back. Right now!"

Jared sighed, and looked back over his shoulder at the house.

"Jared, listen to me."

"No. I haven't kidnapped him, he's working off what he owes me."

"How exactly is he going to do that?"

"While I’m working at the factory there's still so much to be done in the yard. Even if he only does the basics, or the chores around the place for a day. Or two. It'll help me keep it going until I find another solution."

"Promise me that this is gonna be short lived," Chris pleaded.

Jared nodded, miserably. "No-one else came for him."

"What?"

"No-one else came for him. Someone on the yacht must have missed him by now, and the hospital have my number …" Jared trailed off.

"Huh. I guess you're not the only one he's pissed off." Jared shrugged and Chris rolled his eyes. "But he's not a stray, Jared, not a dog you can give a good home to. From what you said, he's an asshole who's more likely to bite you than be grateful you found him. Wait.” Chris remembered Jensen’s question, and held his hand up, turning to Jared with a frown. “Why would he think I have his clothes?”

“Well, er, no reason.” Jared got into the truck, but Chris wasn’t about to be ignored.

“Dude, what did you tell him?"

"That you were his ex and we'd had an argument and he'd packed his stuff and gone to your place. Guess I'm going to have to stop by the goodwill store on the way back."

"I'm his what?" Chris blustered. "Don't involve me in this, man! If he remembers and you get busted for kidnapping, this is all on your head. I don't want anything to do with it."

Chris climbed into the truck and slammed the door, waiting for Jared to get in before he drove off.

Part Two
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