Pairing: J2 or Jared/Dean depending on how you look at it
Characters: Jared, Jensen, Christian Kane, Alaina Huffman, Aldis Hodge, Ty Olsson, Traci Dinwiddie, (minor roles: Eric Kripke, Beth Riesgraf, and Chad Michael Murray)
Genre: H/C, RPS, AU(set in the Dollhouse universe)
Disclaimer: None of these people belong to me; they all belong to themselves. None of this is true in any way, shape or form. I made it all up.
Warnings: Show level violence
Word Count: 6,500 this part (46,000 in total)
Summary: Jared's life is turned upside down the night he meets an intriguing young man who seems to have multiple personality disorder. Is he Dean - dangerous, charming and troubled? Or Jensen - naive and almost child-like? This chance encounter leads to a job offer with a mysterious organization called the Dollhouse.
A/N: Thank you to my best friend, alpha reader, and biggest cheerleader, . She always has my back! All the beautiful artwork for this story was made by her. Thank you sweetie! My beta reader, , did an absolutely fantastic job! This story is made better by her wonderful insights. Their enthusiasm has given me the confidence to post a story again after a one year long dry stretch. This story is completly written and betaed. My plan is to post one chapter per week. Comments are very much appreciated. In fact, they are the whole reason I write and post stories instead of keeping them in my head. :)
Dean tosses his head against the pillow, biting his lower lip, eyes rolling wildly in their sockets as he moans. "You've gotta leave us, Dad. S'not safe for you here," he mutters brokenly. "The demons, they know we're your weak spot. They're only gonna use us against you."
Christian uncrosses his arms, aggressively runs one hand through his hair. "That's from season one when Dean's dad was still alive. Goddamn, but he idolized that man. Nearly pushed him over the edge when he died."
Jared doesn't respond. What's he supposed to say to that? Apparently, Dean is reliving all his worst moments, one by one, and there's nothing he can do about it. He sits on the edge of the bed and unravels Dean's arms from the twisted jacket. He picks up one battered hand and cradles it in both of his own, swiping a thumb soothingly over the pulse point at Dean's inner wrist. The knuckles are still swollen and bloody, possibly even more so after the street fight with the harpies.
"Some of the things I've done to save this family," Dean whispers. "They scare me." A single tear runs down his cheek. He blinks and turns his face away.
"Jesus Christ!" Christian curses, rounding on Aldis. "Can't you do anything to stop this?"
Aldis wipes his hands down the thighs of his jeans. "N-no, I mean, not until he stops hallucinating." He bites at his thumbnail and Jared can see his hand shaking. "He really is suffering, isn't he? I didn't think..."
The knot between Jared's shoulders tightens. He wants to explode, he wants to laugh at the inane stupidity of that comment. He doesn't though. He forces calm into his voice. "Yeah Aldis, he's suffering. And you didn't see the worst of it. This is nothing compared to the sheer terror, the full-on, fucking panic attack he had in the alley when he thought he was still in hell. Maybe you'd like to see the video footage. I'm sure Kripke would be only too pleased to show you."
Aldis shakes his head, brown eyes wide.
This may be the chance Jared has been waiting for.
"You're responsible for this, for him," Jared nods his head at Dean, pressing his point. "You're responsible for all of them, the dolls, the people being kept in this place. It's your technology, you put them here, gave people like Huffman control over their lives."
Aldis's jaw firms. He shakes his head again, this time in blind denial. "No. Okay yes, I created the technology, but I don't decide how to use it. It's not my decision."
Sensing that he may have gone too far, too fast, Jared backs off. "Okay, I'll give you that. You don't make the decisions. Huffman gives the orders. She probably has superiors who tell her what to do and it probably doesn't stop there. Who knows where the orders originate, how far up the chain of command this goes."
"That's right." Aldis nods, some of the defiance leaving his tone. One hand comes up to rub at the back of his neck. "Look, I like working here. As long as I deliver the tech and give her Actives the personalities Huffman wants, she gives me free reign, access to all the equipment I could ever dream of, carte blanche to work on whatever other projects I want."
"But is it worth it?" Jared asks. "Is it worth the cost in human casualties? Would you want Huffman doing to you what she does to Jensen, to all the other people under her control?"
"Well no, but..."
Jared switches tactics. "Do you have any family?"
"Yeah, my parents," Aldis answers, suspicion coloring his words as though he knows where this is going and doesn't like it. "And a sister."
"What if your sister was in here? What then? Would it still be alright?"
Christian makes a choked-off sound as though he's got something lodged in his throat, followed by a coughing fit.
The door opens and in the ensuing confusion of Traci coming in, loaded down with medical supplies for Dean, and Christian hacking away in the corner, Aldis escapes the room and any further discussion of his responsibility for the plight of the Actives. All Jared can do is hope the conversation will resonate with him, that the tech genius will do the right thing when the time comes.
Coughing jag over, Christian flops down into the recliner, staring up at the ceiling. Jared wonders how long it's been since he's spent the night in his own bed. He looks wrung out, dark smudges under his eyes that Jared would swear hadn't been there earlier, permanent frown lines etched into his forehead.
"Dude, why don't you get out of here? Go home? Take a shower or something? I got this."
"Yeah?" Christian gives Jared a long look, as though calculating his abilities and measuring them against what could still go terribly wrong. His gaze slides to Dean and then to Traci. Eventually, he nods. "Yeah, I guess you do." He heaves himself out of the chair. "I've got a few things to take care of, personal stuff. I'll be back as soon as I can."
Christian turns when he reaches the door, levels Jared with an intense stare. "You sure?"
"I'm sure," Jared confirms. "Go on."
Christian nods again and leaves, closing the door on his way out.
Traci carefully deposits her supplies on a table near the bed. "Has there been any change in his behavior?" she asks, shooing Jared away so she can examine Dean's swollen knuckles.
"He's calmed down some," Jared answers, not moving very far. "Quite a bit actually, from the time we first got to him. He hasn't said anything too terribly coherent though. Lots of stuff like he's talking to his dad or his brother, some stuff about monsters he's hunted."
Dean groans and shifts fretfully. Traci nearly loses her grasp on his hands when he tries to roll onto his side.
Moving around to the foot of the bed, Jared starts removing Dean's scuffed work boots. The ankle sheath, now empty of any knife, comes off next, and then Dean's socks. Jared rests his hand on Dean's ankle, soothing the skin reddened by abrasive contact with the thick leather sheath, as he waits for Traci to smear more antibiotic on Dean's knuckles.
A long, drawn-out sigh passes Dean's parted lips and he stills. Maybe it's just Jared's imagination or maybe it's wishful thinking, but it seems as if, now that the hell hallucinations have passed, Dean stays more calm when he can feel Jared's presence.
"How long will the hallucinogen be in his system?"
"According to the toxicology and blood chemistry reports Aldis sent me, it'll be a while yet. I'm estimating three hours, could be more or less. It depends on his metabolic rate." Traci finishes up with Dean's knuckles and goes to the sink where she fills a glass with water. "We'll need to keep him hydrated. I could give him I.V. fluids, but if we can get him to drink some water, the I.V. may not be necessary. I have a feeling he isn't the type to lie quietly for the amount of time it would take to complete a saline solution drip."
"No, probably not," Jared agrees.
"Okay then, see if you can get him sitting up."
With an arm under Dean's back, Jared levers him up and scoots in behind him, supporting Dean's upper body against his chest. Dean's head lolls forward, the pull of gravity apparently more than he can bear. Sweat-damp hair sticks out in unruly tufts.
Tracy pinches his jaw, tips his head back, and pours some water into his open mouth.
Dean gags. Water dribbles down his chin and wets his outer shirt. He begins to squirm. "Look out, dad! Don't let it drag you into the water!" he splutters.
"Easy, easy," Jared soothes. "Take it easy, Dean. We're not trying to hurt you."
He glares at Traci. Crummy bedside manner aside, she should have known better than that. "Give it to me."
She hands him the glass, lips pursed.
The scruff on Dean's jaw makes a light rasping sound, as Jared cups his chin and angles his head back so it rests on his shoulder, whispering words of encouragement and reassurance into his ear. "I need you to drink some water. Can you do that for me? I'll hold the glass for you. All you need to do is swallow, okay?" He presses the glass to Dean's lips and tips it just enough to wet them, no more. Dean's tongue darts out to lick at the rim. "That's it," Jared praises, tilting the glass a little more.
A thin stream of water trickles into his mouth. "Come on, swallow," he murmurs, pulling the glass away and waiting. Dean chokes a little and then his Adam's apple bobs as he throat works. "Good. You're doing good, Dean." With some patience, Jared gets Dean to slowly drink the entire glass. Once he's done, Jared used his thumb to swipe the remaining moisture from Dean's lips and chin.
"Not bad," Tracy admits, as she readies a syringe and thick rubber band. "Help me get his shirts off, will ya? I'm going to need some bare skin for this injection."
Undressing Dean in his current state is like undressing a toddler, he doesn't make any move to help, but neither does he act like he's too bothered by the procedure. Jared slips the button down flannel off first one arm and then the other, while Dean mutters something about succubi. Not exactly flattering, but Jared ignores it, pulling the long sleeve henley and tee over Dean's head, before lowering him back onto the mattress. "There you go," he says. "You'll be more comfortable now and the doctor can give you something to make you feel better."
Dean winces as his head sinks into the pillow and Traci looks up from preparing the correct dosage of whatever is in the small, glass vial she's holding. "Something wrong with his head?"
Gingerly, Jared rubs a hand over the back of Dean's head, grimacing himself when he feels the huge goose egg. "Shit, yeah...can't believe I forgot. He bashed his head pretty good against a concrete wall." Jared shakes his head at the memory. "Got two hard whacks in before I could stop him. Right after the hallucinations started."
"Self-injurious behavior?" She hums in thought. "Not exactly hard to believe, I suppose. Not with Dean's past."
Jared's chest constricts with the implication that Dean would want to hurt himself on purpose. "What do you mean?"
"Well, he's not what I would call the most emotionally stable individual. Faced with the kaleidoscopic version of his life and the time he spent in hell courtesy of a powerful narcotic? Who would blame him for wanting to distance himself from that in any way possible?"
"By giving himself a concussion?"
She shrugs. "You haven't been around long enough to see, but Dean spends a fair amount of time trying to forget, trying to lose himself in a bottle of whatever's handy. With no alcohol in sight? And in the grips of a potent hallucinogen? I wouldn't totally dismiss the idea." She wraps the band around Dean's bicep and swabs the inner crease of his elbow. "Luckily for him, he'll be wiped soon and it'll be as if none of this ever happened."
Yeah, Jared thinks, except for the part where Jensen is having nightmares and Dean remembers things he shouldn't - me - in between imprints. Jensen is beginning to unravel, his edges fraying, the line between personalities blurring. It's only a matter of time before he cracks. And this hallucinogen can't be helping his already vulnerable mental state.
Traci taps the syringe, checks the dosage one more time. Holding Dean's arm with one hand, she deftly inserts the needle into a vein.
Dean comes off the bed swinging. It's like he's back in the courtyard all over again, like he's in a fight for his life, acting purely on instinct, attention focused on what he perceives as a threat. His backhanded block sends the syringe flying out of Traci's hand. It skitters and bounces across the tile floor. Then, he has a hand around her throat, squeezing.
"I know what you are," he says, voice a menacing growl. "Christo."
Eyes wide and bulging behind her designer frames, face red, Traci wheezes frantically.
Jared doesn't have time to think. He vaults over the bed and grabs Dean's arm. "Let go, Dean," he says, using his authoritative, cop tone. "Let go, now."
Dean's glare falters, as it ping-pongs back and forth between them, and then around the room, while he desperately tries to slot the pieces into place and figure out where he is and what's happening, to separate reality from drug-induced phantoms.
Jared stays completely still, trying to exude confidence, provide Dean with an anchor in what must seem like a swirling maelstrom. He hopes that, on some level, Dean will recognize him. Or, if recognize is too strong a word, that some of the handler/active bond will kick in at least. A programmed type of trust is better than no trust at all. He hopes he doesn't have to resort to physically restraining Dean again because, now that he's had a chance to rest and is looking more alert, Jared can't guarantee he'll be successful this time around. Lowering his voice to a soothing whisper, he says, "It's okay, she's just trying to help you. You can let go."
As his gaze lands on Jared and sticks there, like a ball bearing pulled toward a magnet, Dean's hand falls away from Traci's neck. She immediately scrambles to the other side of the room, her breath rattling noisily in and out of oxygen-deprived lungs.
Ignoring her, he brings both hands to Jared's face, palms against his cheeks, fingers molded to the back of his head. There's an intensity in the way Dean looks at him, as if Jared is of profound importance. "Jared?" he breathes, disbelief coloring his tone. "What are you doing here? Are you okay? The harpies didn't getcha, did they?" He begins patting Jared down, checking for any visible injuries.
Jared feels more cared for than he has since he was four years old and nosedived off the swing set in his back yard, hitting his forehead on a rock and knocking himself unconscious. He'd awoken in his mother's arms as she rushed him into the house, crooning words of comfort into his ear to keep him calm. It's one of his earliest memories, that feeling of being the focus of someone's all-consuming concern.
"I'm alright, Dean." Jared assures him. "The harpies didn't get me, they got you, remember?" He lightly touches the dried blood at the base of Dean's throat, where the quill had left its mark. "You've been hallucinating. Traci was just gonna give you something to help you relax."
Brows furrowed in thought, Dean fists Jared's shirt at the collar as though afraid Jared might disappear if he lets go. "I remember, but...it's all jumbled up like some wacky dream. Sometimes you're there and sometimes you're not." Dean's piercing, green eyes seem to bore right through him. "And those times when you're not there, I don't realize you're missing except that I feel...I don't know...I feel...like I'm not me." He shakes his head. A snort of unamused laughter follows his ramble. "Great, I sound like I'm looney tunes."
This is actually the most coherent Dean has sounded all night and Jared can't help but smile a little at the irony. "You're not looney tunes, but the effect of the hallucinogen in the, um, in the harpy quill, hasn't worn off yet, so you're bound to feel a bit out of it still." Taking Dean's elbow, he begins leading him toward the bed. "Why don't you lie down and let Traci give you that shot." He nods at Traci, letting her know that everything is under control.
Dean lets Jared guide him to the bed where he sits, but that's as far as he'll go. He resists Jared's attempt to ease him into a prone position, instead resting his elbows on his knees as he pulls the rubber band off his bicep and scratches idly at the place on his inner arm where the needle pricked his skin. When Traci retrieves the hypodermic from the floor and warily approaches him, he shoots her a shit-eating grin and says, "Sorry 'bout that, darlin'. I thought you were...well, let's just say I thought you were someone else." He tilts his head at the syringe. "I won't be needing that, though."
Jared studies him. His skin is flushed, there's a light sheen of sweat on his face, and he has switched from scratching his arm to clasping his hands together so tightly that the cuts and abrasions on his knuckles have started bleeding again. But his eyes have lost their feverish glassiness and his strong chin has a determined thrust.
"Are you still hallucinating?" he asks. "How many people are in the room right now?"
Dean takes the question seriously, which is a testament, Jared thinks, to just how bad things were before. "Three people, you, me, and her. The edges of my vision are still a little blurry, but I think I'm done with the hallucinations," he answers truthfully.
And that's good enough for Jared. "Okay, no more drugs. You seem like you've gotten past the worst of it," he says, rubbing a hand over Dean's bare back, a gesture of comfort he hopes Dean doesn't find too weird.
Dean gives him an appreciative smile, as though he's not used to anyone agreeing with him or taking his side.
Traci opens her mouth like she wants to argue but, at a firm look from Jared, she closes it and begins gathering up her supplies. As Dean's handler in this crazy organization, Jared out ranks her when it comes to Dean's care. Jared knows it and she knows it. "Fine, your call. I'll be in my clinic if you change your mind," she says, sashaying out the door as though she's on a runway.
A silence falls over the room. Dean scrubs both hands over his face, then through his short, dark-blond hair, wincing when his fingers find the lump.
Now that it's just the two of them and Dean is more aware of what's going on, Jared isn't sure what to say, or how to act with him. Jensen seems to like and even expect physical closeness, but Dean isn't Jensen. Well, he is, but he doesn't remember being Jensen. Suddenly self-conscious, Jared removes his hand from Dean's back.
Dean looks up at the loss of contact, clears his throat, and says, "So uh, you're the one who brought me here, huh? Got me outta that alley? I don't remember much about that part, just bits and snatches, you know. I must've been a mess. Sorry you had to see me like that." His eyes slide away, as though he's feeling just as self-conscious as Jared.
The guilt and shame Jared sees in the unhappy twist of Dean's mouth and the way his knuckles bleed white from clenching them so tightly together, tugs on Jared's heart and pulls him back in. He takes Dean's hands, disentangling his fingers, gently rubbing the ache out of swollen knuckles. Dean may try to act like the touchy-feely stuff is beneath him, like he's too tough and hardened to need physical comfort, but Jared has seen enough cracks in that armor to believe otherwise. Underneath that hard shell, Dean needs to feel valued and cared for just as much as anyone else does, probably more because he's denied himself those emotions for so long.
So he's not surprised when Dean allows the contact and even leans forward slightly. Waiting until Dean looks back up at him, he says, "You have nothing to be sorry for. None of this is your fault."
It's such an obvious understatement that Jared almost feels ridiculous saying it. Of all the people who are to blame for this mess - Aldis, Huffman, Kripke, and whoever is calling the shots at the Rossum Corporation, to name just a few - Dean is the least responsible. Yes, it's obvious to Jared, but it's not obvious to Dean and he needs to hear it.
Dean's lips quirk up and tiny dimples appear at the corners. When he looks away, it's more about curiosity than embarrassment. "What is this place anyway? It's not a hospital, or if it is, it's the strangest hospital I've ever been in, and I've been in my fair share." he says.
This isn't a conversation Jared wants to have, not with Dean. It's a conversation he'll need to have with Jensen after he's gotten his memory back, but Dean shouldn't know, can't know. There's no telling how he'd react. He's going to be wiped in a few hours anyway, so what would be the point in freaking him out?
There's a tiny voice inside him that whispers, Dean would be a good ally to have though. Good in a fight. Good at strategy and coming up with a plan to free everyone.
Jared ignores the voice.
"It's a, um, a spa. You know, one of those resort places where people go to be pampered. Massages, gourmet food, saunas, that kind of thing." He bites down on his lower lip to shut himself up. Babbling on and on about spa treatments isn't going to help him sell this lie.
Raising one eyebrow, Dean says, "A spa? You brought me to a spa?"
Jared can see his point. Who brings a guy, tripping out of his mind on hallucinogens, to a spa?
He shrugs, going for nonchalant. "I have a friend who works here. It was close by and they have a clinic. I thought it would be best under the circumstances, just in case you wanted to stay under the radar, avoid any questions that would come up in a hospital."
Dean nods and stands. "That was good thinking." They're so close that Jared can see every freckle scattered across the bridge of his nose, can see the moment Dean's eyes go from curious to heated. Dean pulls his hands out of Jared's loose grasp to grab his shoulders. "There's something about you, Jared. You make me feel like I don't have to be on the top of my game all the freaking time, like I can just...be myself," he murmurs.
They stand there, staring at each other for long moments, Jared's breath trapped in his lungs. The air between them seems charged with an electric current. Dean licks his lips, then he takes a deliberate step forward, tilts his face up, and brings their lips together, hard, using his grip on Jared's shoulders to pull him closer.
It's nothing like Jensen's tentative kiss. It's demanding and brutal, an aggressive clash of lips, and tongue, and teeth. Hungrily, Dean licks into his mouth. It's so seductive, so steaming hot, that Jared feels like his lips have been seared, melded to Dean's, until it's impossible to pull away.
So, he kisses back, tries to give as good as he gets. Any thoughts he may have about this being wrong are quickly burned away by the insistence of Dean's body pressed against his. He can feel the hard line of Dean's arousal through their jeans. His own cock gives an enthusiastic twitch.
Releasing Jared's lips while keeping a tight hold on his shoulders, Dean sucks in a deep, satisfied breath. "I've been wanting to do that since I saw you in the alley. Do you even know how goddamn sexy you are?"
His voice is low, gravelly, and the vibration of it, Dean's damp, warm breath against Jared's ear, sends sparks of desire straight to his groin. Involuntarily, Jared grinds his growing erection into Dean's thigh.
"Oh, hell yeah," Dean groans, crowding into Jared's space, pushing him backwards, step by step, until they hit the wall and there's nowhere else to go.
Hemmed in on all sides by Dean, Jared has never been so turned on in his life. A shudder works its way through his body; he has to wrap his arms around Dean's neck, palms against Dean's muscular, bare back, to keep his knees from buckling. The muscles under his palms ripple like the flank of a sleek, powerful race horse.
Jared is fully erect now, his cock thick and heavy in his jeans, throbbing almost painfully in time with the beating of his heart. No one has ever been able to do this to him before, to dominate him so completely. He's been with other men, sure, but Dean is like a force of nature, virile, wild, and unpredictable.
Breath coming in harsh bursts, Dean reaches for the button on Jared's jeans. "Jared, I wanna see you. Can I? Will anyone be coming in here?"
Although it's difficult to think straight with Dean's hand on his crotch, Jared forces himself to give the question a moment's consideration. Christian will be coming back as soon as he's finished with his errands and Aldis could come in at any time, declaring Dean ready for his treatment. "Maybe," he pants. "It's a staff lounge so, uh, yeah, someone might come in. Do you care?"
Jesus, he hopes Dean doesn't care.
Dean makes a growling noise deep in his throat, shakes his head. "I don't care if you don't. We can make this fast."
Jared almost groans in relief.
Dean flicks his wrist and the button pops open immediately. The zipper follows suit and the next thing Jared knows, his jeans and boxer briefs have been pushed off his hips to pool at his feet. His erection springs free, slapping his flat stomach, flesh overheated and so sensitive that even the brush of room-temperature air makes him feel like he's going to come out of his skin.
"Oh God," Jared moans.
"No, it's just me," Dean smirks. "Although, I am pretty awesome."
Jared would roll his eyes, but then Dean is cupping his balls in one hand, rolling them and squeezing just hard enough to cause starbursts of pleasure to shoot up his spine, while he strips Jared's cock with his other. Jared's hips jerk forward, tension building, cock straining. His nerve endings zing with little bolts of electricity.
Need overwhelms him and he lowers his head to capture Dean's plush lips again. He licks at the corner of his mouth, tasting the tiny dimple there.
Dean grunts and, suddenly, his hands are gone. Jared bites back a curse, but when he looks down, he sees that Dean has put his hands to good use and is already stepping out of his jeans. The man stands before him, completely naked. Jared is stunned once more by how gorgeous he is; toned chest, six-pack abs, lean hips. He exudes a raw, animal grace.
Smoothing his hands down Dean's back, Jared palms his tight ass, kneading the warm flesh. Dean's back arches on a gasp and the movement brings their cocks together, silky skin sliding against silky skin. The heat that sparks at the contact feels like being branded.
"Oh Jesus, Dean, please..." Jared begs. "Touch me."
Dean licks his lips. His eyelids are hooded, his eyes blown and dark with desire. Getting a hand in between them, he wraps it around both their cocks. The callouses on his long fingers add to the friction as he forms a tight circle and pumps up and down, twisting at just the right spot on the upstroke.
"Jared, Jared, Jared," Dean chants as he leans in, laying open-mouthed kisses on Jared's neck. His other hand comes up to lay flat against Jared's chest, his thumb fondling Jared's nipple through his shirt.
Jared thrusts into Dean's hand, pleasure mounting with every flick of Dean's thumb, every twist of his hand on their cocks. Something about the way Dean says his name, like it's the only thing in the world that holds any meaning for him, pushes Jared even closer to the edge. He can feel his orgasm building, cresting. His eyes slam shut, his balls contract, his cock jerks, and then his release spills, hot and sticky, between them.
Dean follows soon after. Another couple strokes and his body stiffens in Jared's arms. Warm come spurts onto his belly while Dean trembles through the aftershocks. Shuddering, he sags, boneless, and Jared tightens his grip around the other man's waist, holding him close. The wall at his back is probably the only reason they manage to stay on their feet. Jared has a strong suspicion his legs wouldn't support the two of them otherwise.
Dean lifts his head for another kiss, softer this time, more intimate. He sighs. "That was fucking amazing."
"It was. You are," Jared breathes, cupping Dean's face and nibbling at his jawline. Scratchy stubble makes his lips tingle.
There's a snort from Dean. "I shoulda known you were one of them."
"One of who?"
"A sap," Dean says as he pulls away. The fond smile he shoots Jared's way takes any possible sting out of the words though. "Be right back. Don't move," he instructs with a playful jab at Jared's chest to emphasize his point. He pads naked over to the sink, no modesty whatsoever, as though it's the most natural thing in the world, gets some paper towels and wets them before using them to clean up first Jared, then himself.
Once the towels have been wadded up and thrown away, Jared is quick to pull his pants up, but Dean just stands there and watches, blatantly appreciative. Jared's raised eyebrow is met with a roguish wink.
"You're something else, you know that?" Jared says.
"I've been told." Dean grins, as he finally shucks his boxers and jeans back on over slightly bowed legs and slim hips, the corners of his eyes crinkling in a way that Jared finds adorable.
He really is an incredibly good-looking guy. Kripke's television show has a loyal fan base for a very good reason. The principal character is everything a casting director could ask for in a leading man; charming, highly-skilled, gorgeous, and troubled to the point where anyone with half a heart would want to give him a hug and feed him pie just to make him feel better.
That thought is followed quickly by another one and Jared goes from blissed out to horrified in a matter of seconds because Dean isn't just a character in a TV show, he's not just an actor. Dean isn't even really Dean. Dean is a personality, an imprint that has been programmed into the mind of an unwitting pawn, possibly against his will. In the midst of having one of the best orgasms of his life, Jared had forgotten that one, simple, little fact. His blood turns to ice in his veins. Dean may have been totally on board with what just happened between them, but what about Jensen? How does he know that Jensen was okay with it? Jensen didn't have a choice in the matter.
The horror must show on his face because Dean's grin falters and dissolves. The brash mask he wears slips; the insecurity he tries so hard to hide comes bubbling up to the surface.
"Hey man, I'm sorry if that was out of line. I can be kind of an asshole sometimes, at least that's what Adam says, and...well, you know, um, I came on really strong back there, so I'm sorry if that wasn't something you wanted." Brow furrowed, Dean chews uncertainly on his lower lip and Jared swears he can see Jensen peeking out at him from inside Dean's expressive, green eyes.
Faced with Dean's mounting dismay, his guilt-ridden babbling, Jared pushes his own crisis of conscience into the back of his mind to deal with later. It isn't fair, nor is it even feasible, to put any of this on Dean.
"No, Dean, no. You don't have to worry about me. I'm a big boy. If you'd done anything I wasn't completely on board with, believe me, I'd have let you know," he hastens to reassure. "And I was very on board with that."
Putting an arm around Dean's shoulders, Jared pulls him in for a hug. He knows the second Dean decides to trust his assurances by the way the tension drains from his body. Jared places an extra sloppy kiss on Dean's temple, just to lighten the mood, and is rewarded by a chuckle and a light-hearted shove, as Dean untangles himself from the embrace.
"Sap," he says again, eyes once more alight with amusement.
"Yeah, yeah," Jared says. Might as well own up to it, seeing as how it's mostly true.
Dean begins humming something that sounds like it might be from a 70's hair band - Asia maybe? - while looking around for the rest of his clothes. His shirts and jacket are on the bed, his heavy-duty work boots and ankle sheath on the floor where Jared had left them. He doesn't glance at Jared again until he's fully clothed, and then the look he gives him is inscrutable, as though he's been carefully reconstructing his armor and defenses all that time.
"So, I just wanna say thanks..." He makes an all-encompassing gesture with one hand, waving it around in the air. "I don't think I really thanked you yet for everything you did, bringing me here, watching out for me while I was, um, flipping my shit or whatever. Goddamn harpies, man." The lopsided smile he plasters on slides off before it has a chance to stick.
This is going somewhere, but Jared can't figure out where. As much as Jared has learned about Dean, his mindsets, moods, and motivations, there's still so much he doesn't know. The sudden realization that he wants to know everything about Dean makes his heart skip a beat. It's foolish, and crazy, and not going to happen, because the first chance he gets, Jared is going to give Jensen his memories back. He doesn't want to think about what that means for Dean.
He swallows around the lump in his throat and says, "Don't mention it. I'm glad I could help."
"No, no, you went above and beyond and just...hold on a second." Dean looks around the room, making a pleased sound of discovery when he finds what he's searching for. Snatching up the pen from a side table, he takes Jared's hand, palm side up, and starts writing. The scratch of the ballpoint across his skin tickles, but Jared holds his hand as still as he can. "This is my cell number. Call me if you see anything that might be up my alley, anything strange, unexplainable, that sort of thing." He shrugs. "Or you could just call me if..." He trails off and looks away.
And then Jared gets it. Dean is leaving. This is his way of saying goodbye.
Dean can't leave. Aldis is supposed to come wipe him, and where is Aldis anyway? Shouldn't he be here by now? Dean doesn't seem to have any trace of the hallucinogen left in his system.
There's nothing for it but to stall. He can always use the remote wipe phrase as a last resort even though he'd prefer to wait until Aldis or Traci gives him the all clear.
"Say, you hungry? I could get someone to bring us some food. There's a cafeteria here in the spa. Food's pretty good I hear. From my friend. Who works here." Internally, Jared cringes. He sounds like he's having a brain aneurism or something. Get it together, he admonishes himself.
Sure enough, Dean gives him a sidelong glance, eyes narrowed. "No, that's okay. I should probably be getting back. My brother will be wondering where I am by now. I didn't exactly leave a note when I left."
Jared nods absently. Thinking on his feet is something he's usually good at. Right now though, he's at a loss. The television, shiny and state-of-the-art like everything else in the Dollhouse, provides him with his only other idea. If this doesn't work, it's the wipe phrase. "Right, well...how about I call you a cab then? We could watch some TV while we wait for it to get here. I bet there's a game or something we can watch."
Dean's jaw clenches. He looks at the door, as though gauging how far away it is and how quickly he can get through it.
This is it, something he's said has tipped Dean off and he's about to bolt. Jared opens his mouth, the remote wipe phrase on the tip of his tongue. "Are you-"
That's as far as he gets before Dean sits on the bed and shakes his head, patting the space next to him, all signs of fight-or-flight gone. "Hold up, Jared. Come 'ere. I wasn't going to call you on this, but...you've kinda forced my hand here, man."
Jared's mouth snaps closed. Tiny balls of panic begin ricocheting against his ribcage. There's no scenario he can think of in which this turns out good. He sits in the indicated spot, or maybe his legs simply give out. Whatever.
Dean surprises him - again - by taking one of his hands, a genuinely concerned look on his face. "Jared, I know you're lying. It takes one to know one, right? Well, I was taught by the best. Been lying since I was four years old. Most of the lies I've told have been to protect other people - my brother, my dad, people who don't need or want to know about the things that go bump in the night." He squeezes Jared's hand. "Anyway, I can tell when someone's lying to me. This isn't a spa, is it?" Without giving Jared a chance to answer, he continues. "I don't know what this place is, but I know it's not a spa. Why are you lying about that? Who are you trying to protect? If you're in some kind of trouble, I can help, you know?"
Mind reeling, Jared stares at Dean. Jared has lied to him, Dean knows he's lied, and still he chooses to believe the best of him. It's humbling and Jared's respect and admiration for this man, who has had so much thrown at him, and still puts everyone else's needs above his own, swells.
Jesus. He's so screwed.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," he whispers.
Dean grins at that. "Try me."
On to Chapter 6
Start at Chapter 1