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Life is a Journey

Declarations of Innocents (1/?)

Declarations of Innocents (1/?)

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Sleeping Beauty
Title: Declarations of Innocents (1/?)
Author: Disneymagics
Rating: T (for situations)
Characters: Jared, Jensen, Christian, Misha, Jim Beaver, and Chad
Genre: RPF, hurt/comfort
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: Mental age regression and a form of infantilism which is emotional and not sexual in nature, mentions of past child abuse.  Younger!abused!Jensen.
Word Count: 5,100 this part
Summary: Timestamp in the Innocents 'verse which can be found here: Innocents 'Verse Masterpost.  This story takes place in between For Love of Innocents and Nightmares of Innocents.  I highly recommend reading the other stories in this 'verse first.  Jensen's parents are finally being brought to justice and Jared is determined to shield the traumatized young man from any possible fallout from the trial.  Meanwhile, Misha makes an understandable mistake and Christian makes a new friend who really wants to meet Jensen.
A/N: I've been blessed with two wonderful beta readers - txmel0211 and cerului.  They have each made this story better by their unique suggestions and insights. Thank you etoile_etiolee for being such a great cheerleader.

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Declaration of Innocents

Chapter 1

Jensen

Sometimes, Jensen overhears things.

It's not that he is nosy, or even particularly curious about other people's conversations.  It's just that he has learned to stay very, very quiet.  Quiet to the point that other people sometimes forget he's there.  This meticulously honed ability to hide in small spaces, to blend in and not make a sound, is a survivor's skill he remembers learning at an early age.

Being loud means he's a bad boy and the consequences for being a bad boy can be dire.  The mere idea that he might be doing a bad thing makes his mouth flood with sour saliva and his heart thump wildly against his ribcage.

Talking is the absolute worst thing he can do.  Talking makes him not only bad, but also a waste of space and a nuisance and more trouble than he's worth.  The last words Jensen ever spoke are seared into his memory, as are the events that followed, even though that day was a long time ago and he works hard at forgetting. His mind isn't always kind enough to oblige, however, and there are days when the slightest thing can thrust him back into that time, that 'when', and he relives it all as though it's happening over and over and over.

He can feel the brutal hands grab him, holding him down with a strength that far surpasses his own.  He can smell the mean man's foul breath when he yells directly into his face, "Shut up!  Can't you see I'm watching the game?  Thirsty?  You're thirsty?  Well, drink this, you no good brat!"  He can feel the hard, glass bottle dig into his bottom lip, taste the liquid, bitter and astringent.  It burns his nostrils and leaves a scorched trail over his tongue and down his throat.  Once swallowed, it churns and roils, quickly filling his empty stomach until he can feel his skin stretch tight over his bulging belly.  Despite his panic about leaving a mess on the carpet, he eventually stops trying to swallow it all, letting it run from the corners of his mouth and down his chin. 

He can sense the mean man's amusement as the world begins spinning out of control and his eyes won't focus anymore; his body feels leaden and his arms and legs don't want to move right.  The sounds of braying laughter follow him on a staggering, clumsy path around the living room, lurching into the end table, stubbing his bare toes on the couch leg.  Everything blurs and doubles and twists.  He's so dizzy.  He doesn't understand what's happening.

The mean man's amusement doesn't last past Jensen's stomach heaving violently, spewing its contents in a projectile spray.  After that, the man gets very, very angry.  And things get much, much worse.

...

Jensen tucks himself further under the table, cradling the hand with its poorly healed fingers against his chest.  The ache is a phantom one.  The bones were broken - bent backwards until they snapped - in a different lifetime.  But phantoms can still hurt, they never really go away; that's one thing Jensen knows.

So no, he doesn't talk anymore and he stays as quiet as he can and he tries his hardest not to be bad.

And sometimes, he overhears things he isn't meant to.

"Jesus Christ, Christian, no!"  Daddy hisses into his cell.  "That's absurd.  Isn't there anything you can do?"

There's a long pause and then, "Yeah, you're right.  It's gotta be just some bureaucratic screw up.  There's no way anyone could expect him to testify against those people.  His name must have been added to the witness list by accident.  They have the doctors' reports, they have the psychiatrists' reports, they have the police reports, hell, they've got you as a first-hand witness.  They don't need Jensen in order to convict his parents.  Anyway, I don't care who screwed up.  He's not doing it.  I won't let it happen."

Daddy is still talking into his phone, but Jensen has long since stopped listening.  The word 'parents' causes his lungs to spasm, gasping breath in and expelling it in erratic bursts.  A whimper nearly escapes through his locked jaw.  He just barely manages to clamp his bottom lip between his teeth in time to stifle it.  Must stay quiet, mustn't make a sound, he warns himself.  Must be invisible.  Mustn't let them see you, notice you, find you.  No, no, no.  Don't be a bad boy.  Don't...

His head is awash with a loud buzzing noise and black spots flit in and out of his vision like fat, bloated flies.  'Now' has ceased to exist.  There is only 'then'.  There is only terror.  He is a little boy, lost in the darkness that dwells inside his own mind. 

He doesn't feel his bladder let loose or the warm, wet urine that soaks his diaper.

Jared

Silently fuming, Jared disconnects the call and tosses his phone onto the kitchen counter, heedless of the crunch as plastic comes into sudden contact with granite countertop.

It's ridiculous, just an idiotic mistake made by an overworked clerk or an ambitious paralegal who saw the victim's age - eighteen, legally an adult - and decided to add his name to the witness list, probably assuming it had originally been left off by accident.  No doubt, the mistake will be easily corrected and Jensen won't be anywhere near the courthouse when his parent's trial takes place.

Still, anger consumes him at the thought that anyone could expect Jensen to be in the same room as his parents ever again, much less testify against them.  How stupid would they have to be?  Haven't they read the psychiatric reports on Jensen?  Don't they understand how much he has already endured, how traumatized he is?

Jared pinches the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger, scrunching his eyes closed while he brings himself back under control.  Anger is a foreign emotion and he doesn't have a lot of experience reigning himself in.  He's usually more even-tempered than prone to fits of rage.  It's instinctive though, primal, this protective surge of adrenaline-spiked anger he feels whenever anything threatens Jensen.  Even when the thing that threatens him is something as vague and remote as being called as a witness at his parent's trial.

But Jared can't let Jensen see him this upset.  As sensitive as Jensen is, he would probably misinterpret the anger, think it was aimed at him.  Jim Beaver, Jensen's psychiatrist, has stressed many times how important it is for Jensen to be in an emotionally stable environment.  So Jared starts counting, all the while taking deep, calming breaths and, when he reaches ten, he walks back into the living room where Jensen...is no longer sitting on the couch.

The room is empty.

Not too long ago, if Jared had come back into a room and found Jensen missing, he would have gone into full-blown panic mode.  But in the past year, Jared has spent a lot of time with the damaged young man, building trust and gaining understanding.

Jared now knows that Jensen would never leave the house, not by himself certainly.  Whatever was done to keep him from leaving his parent's house, through years of abuse, has stuck with him, just like so many things have.  Jared also knows that since Jensen is no longer sitting on the couch listening to music, and he didn't come looking for Jared in the kitchen, something must have happened to make him anxious. 

Jensen's anxiety can be triggered by many things - a loud noise, an unexpected event, even a smell.  And then there are the times when it's brought on by nothing at all, at least nothing that Jared can discern. 

When Jensen panics, he protects himself the only way he knows how - by finding a secure location and holing up.  Under the bed in Jared's room, behind the recliner in the living room, in his crib with a blanket covering him - these are his favorite hiding spots.  He shuns closets for obvious reasons and, luckily, there has never been a repeat of the dryer incident.

Although Jensen could be in any of those favorite places, Jared follows a hunch.  Retracing his steps into the kitchen, he squats down and peers under the kitchen table.

There, huddled in a ball against the wall, is Jensen.

Jared swallows the lump in his throat, blinking through the sting in his eyes.  No matter how many times he finds Jensen like this, it never gets any easier.  Jared's heart begins pounding as he realizes what Jensen must have heard.  It's exactly what he'd been trying to protect him from by leaving him in the living room to take Christian's call in the kitchen.

Voice pitched low, Jared says, "Hey sweetheart.  Whatcha doing under there?"

Jensen doesn't respond, which doesn't surprise Jared in the slightest.  He hadn't expected any response.  When Jensen gets like this, he often retreats, distancing himself both mentally and physically.  No response means Jensen can't cope with his reality and has walled off a corner of his mind so he can escape.  That's how Jim has explained it anyway, and Jim is one of the best psychiatrists in his field.

There's no point in coaxing Jensen out; Jensen can't hear him.  So Jared crawls under the table, gathers the boy into his arms, and scoots back out again.  Although he's pliant and unresisting, Jensen also makes no effort to help. It's a bit awkward.  Jensen has put on some weight since coming to live with Jared.  By no means is he overweight or chubby, but thanks goodness he's no longer the gaunt, hollow-looking young man he was back then, all skinny arms and legs.

The thick padding in Jensen's sweatpants and the smell of ammonia make it obvious that the boy needs a fresh diaper and a change of clothes, probably a bath as well.  All that will have to wait though.  First and foremost, Jensen just needs to be held.

With Jensen cradled against his chest, Jared walks back to the living room, settling in the large recliner and arranging Jensen so that his head is tucked under Jared's chin.  Soft music still plays from the speakers attached to the iPod dock, a Pandora station that centers around Jason Mraz and other artists like him, feel good music for the most part as Misha likes to call it.

Jensen's eyes are open, but unfocused, vacant, his breathing shallow. 

Jared cards his fingers through Jensen's hair.  "It's okay, baby, you're safe.  I've got you," he murmurs.

If only he knew the cause for all Jensen's panic attacks, he could do a better job of preventing them.  So often though, it's nothing outward, which means the cause of Jensen's distress is internal, his own mind torturing him with God only knows what.  Jared wishes with all his heart that he could get inside Jensen's mind and fight his demons for him. 

Jensen had been fine when Jared's phone chimed with a phone call from Christian.  Normally, he wouldn't need to talk with Christian in private, but as soon as he heard why his best friend was calling, he went into the kitchen.  He didn't want Jensen to hear anything about his parents or the trial that was finally taking place one year after his mother stabbed him in the stomach with a kitchen knife.  It turns out, that was a mistake.

Jensen must have followed him and, distracted by Christian's news, Jared hadn't seen or heard him. 

They will need to tell Jensen about the trial before it starts.  Every time Christian comes over, they can't keep leaving the room to discuss it.  Jensen may have...issues, but he's smart and he's going to figure out that something is going on.  Jensen's behaviors are just that - behaviors.  They don't reflect his mental capacity.  So yeah, he needs to know his parents are being held accountable for what they did to him.  He needs to know about the trial.  Hiding it will only make things worse.  But that's a discussion for another day.  Not today.

Jared takes a deep breath.  Some wayward wisps of Jensen's hair tickle his nose.  The citrus scent of the shampoo he uses for himself and for Jensen centers him.  Quietly, he hums along with the music while rubbing Jensen's arm, hopeful that the combination of soothing stimuli will gradually bring Jensen back to himself without startling him.

Jensen

Jensen first becomes aware of a gentle vibration radiating along his back and side.  Music filters into his consciousness next, a guitar's mellow chords and a honeyed voice.  There's humming too, a little off key, but still nice.  He's warm and comfortable.  He can feel the rhythmic rise and fall of breathing underneath him, along with the vibrations caused by humming.  The sensations are familiar and Jensen knows immediately where he is and with whom.  He often wakes up like this, cuddled on his daddy's lap with Daddy either singing or humming.  It's a good place to be, a safe place.  The scary thoughts don't find him as often when he's here.

The events leading up to him being here are fuzzy - something about looking for Daddy...in the kitchen, maybe?  A twinge in his stomach warns him not to pursue the thought any further, so he snuggles in closer and sighs.  His thumb finds its way into his mouth of its own accord, fingers curling loosely around his nose.

"You back, baby?" Daddy stops his humming to whisper.

Jensen simply nods.  He's not sleepy, but he has no interest in moving just yet.  To make his point clear, he tangles his free hand in Daddy's shirt.

"It's okay.  I'm not going anywhere," Daddy says and resumes humming as he cups Jensen's cheek and scratches lightly at the skin on the nape of his neck just the way Jensen likes.

This is something Jensen never had before coming to live with Daddy - companionship, affection, and maybe something else, something...more.  When he tries to give it a word, nothing comes, but the feeling is so intense it makes his eyes water, so enormous it fills all the empty parts inside him.  It's wonderful and yet frightening at the same time, because it can't last forever.  In his experience, nothing good ever does.

One moment at a time, that's the way Jensen lives his life now.  He takes whatever good he gets gratefully, knowing that it could all be taken away.  When that happens, he just hopes he has enough of it stored away to get him through whatever comes next.  Jensen's hand tightens in Daddy's shirt.

"Not going anywhere," Daddy repeats, propping his chin on Jensen's head.

They stay like that for a long time, simply being together, not doing anything.  One song ends and another begins, and then that one ends so the next can start, a continuous cycle of endings and beginnings.

Eventually, Jensen notices an itchy dampness on his bottom.  He squirms in discomfort.

Jared

Jensen begins fidgeting, which reminds Jared that something needs to be done about his wet diaper.  It must be getting pretty irritating by now.  As much as he enjoys spending quiet time cuddling and as much as he knows Jensen needed this, snuggle time is over for now.

He sits up from the lazy slouch he's relaxed into and kisses the top of Jensen's head.  "Yeah, you're past due for a diaper change.  Let's get you cleaned up.  How does a bath before lunch sound?"

Jensen tilts his head back and gazes at Jared through his long, fair eyelashes.  He has his thumb lodged firmly in his mouth.  Jared reaches over, grasps Jensen's hand, and gently pulls until the saliva-soaked digit pops free with a squelching sound.  Jensen's brows furrow momentarily as though he's going to protest, but instead he licks his upper lip and looks at the floor.  Slowly, he clambers off Jared's lap and crawls toward his bedroom, leaving Jared wishing he'd left Jensen's thumb alone.

The thumb sucking doesn't bother him from a behavioral standpoint.  He knows Jensen uses it as a way to comfort himself.  He agrees with Jim when he says Jensen must progress at his own pace or he won't progress at all.

And Jensen has made progress in the one year since he came into Jared's life, tons of progress.  He eats by himself now, even helping himself to more food when he wants it, which is a huge improvement over the timid, longing looks he used to give a platter of food when he was still hungry and thought he would be punished for eating it.  His smiles and laughter come much more easily now too.  The nightmares aren't as bad or as frequent.

No, it's not that Jared wants to rush Jensen into giving up a source of comfort until he's 100% ready.  It's just that he's been reading up on child development lately and there are reasons, good reasons, for discouraging thumb sucking in children - problems with tooth alignment and malformed palates - and, well...Jared worries.

Usually, he waits until Jensen falls asleep before carefully removing his thumb from his mouth.  This is something he's seen Christian do on numerous occasions.  In fact, the first time Jared met Jensen in the hospital, he saw Christian do just that - wait for Jensen to fall asleep and then slip his thumb out of his mouth.  They don't do it out of repulsion or disgust, far from it.  They only want what's best for Jensen.

Maybe he should discuss this with Jim tomorrow when he comes for his court-appointed visit.

Jared stands and stretches out the kinks that have gathered in his back from staying in one position for such a long time.  Then he follows Jensen into his bedroom.

The walls in Jensen's room are a pleasant, muted green, like a moth's wings.  Jensen picked the color himself from paint samples Jared brought home from the hardware store about three months ago.  Painting the room had been a series of comedic errors and Jared smiles at the memory of Jensen's face and arms speckled with green paint as if he had some rare form of chicken pox.  The room looks fantastic now though.  Blue and green checkered curtains frame a window that overlooks a tire swing in the back yard and beyond that, the grassy field behind their house.  No other houses are in sight; their neighbors are few and far between.

Jensen is sitting on the beige carpet beside his crib, patiently waiting.  He has already taken off his shirt, but is still clad in sweatpants and diaper.  A thick, keloid scar, the skin puckered and somewhat glossy, runs diagonally from his ribcage to a point near his navel.  That scar marks the end of Jensen's life in his parent's house.  It's a livid reminder of how close Jensen came to dying that day, but it's also a testament to Jensen's perseverance, his inner strength.

Although the sun is shining, the temperature outside is on the cool side.  Autumn leaves of burnished gold and orange have already started falling from the trees in their yard, carpeting the lawn.

Tomorrow might be a good day to take Jensen down to the lake while it's still nice enough.  They can wait until after Jim's visit and then head over in the afternoon when the sun is at its highest.  Perhaps Misha will want to come along.  It's been a while since the paramedic has spent any time with Jensen and Jared knows they will enjoy seeing each other.

With that plan in mind for the following day, Jared turns his attention to the matter at hand.  He smiles down at Jensen and Jensen tilts his head in that endearing way he has, as though he's wondering why Jared hasn't gotten with the program and changed his diaper already.  At times like these, Jared expects Jensen to open his mouth and ask - Well, what's taking you so long?  Can't you see I'm waiting for you? That has never happened though; Jensen has yet to say a single word.

"I'll start your bath water running and then we'll get that wet diaper off you.  I'll be right back."

Jared enters the adjoining bathroom, flips the lever to close the drain, and begins filling the bathtub.  The bathroom has two doors.  One leads to Jared's room, the other to Jensen's.  Both doors are left open at night, just in case.  Jensen doesn't talk, but he does make noises when he's in distress.  The open doors ensure Jared hears even the smallest whimper.

He adjusts the water temperature until it's comfortably warm, then leaves it running so he can return to Jensen.  When he gets back, he sees Jensen has already taken out the foam changing pad, unrolled it, and is lying on his back, legs spread apart.  His sweatpants are stretched tight around the bulging diaper.

"You're anxious to get that diaper off, huh? I don't blame you."  Jared kneels beside Jensen's left knee and takes the waistband in both hands.  As soon as Jensen feels tension in the waistband, he lifts his hips and Jared easily slides the pants down and off.  It's a movement the two of them have perfected in the past year.  Changing Jensen's diaper wasn't always this seamless; it took a little getting used to.  Jared hadn't been completely comfortable with it at first, although Jensen has always taken the process in stride, as if wearing a diaper and relying on someone else to change it is completely natural, even at nineteen years old.

Green eyes, intelligent and curious, gaze up at him, studying him intently.  Jensen takes cues from other people's body language and expressions.  If Jared is relaxed and happy, Jensen stays calm.  The slightest hint of anger or stress, however, can send the boy into a panic.  This highly developed sensitivity to other people's emotions is a coping mechanism used for survival, just like Jensen's other more irregular behaviors. 

No one knows exactly what went on inside that house to cause these coping mechanisms, no one except Jensen and Jensen's parents.  Since Jensen doesn't talk and his parents aren't likely to incriminate themselves, the ugly events that created Jensen's behaviors might stay deep, dark secrets forever.  Or they might come out during the trial.  Jared doesn't plan on attending, but Christian will be there as the police officer present at the scene of the crime.  Anything he learns, he'll pass on.

Jared meets Jensen's gaze with open affection, a slight smile on his face as he smoothes a hand over Jensen's stomach, letting it rest for a while over the upraised scar.  He never rushes through the diaper changing process.  It's a chance for Jared to prove his acceptance of Jensen, all of Jensen.  Nothing about Jensen disturbs him, not even his scars, and he wants Jensen to know that on a fundamental level.

"Would you like to go to the lake tomorrow?  The turtles will probably be out sunning themselves on the rocks, what with the water getting colder," Jared says while releasing the tape tabs securing the diaper at Jensen's prominent hipbones.

Jensen nods slowly as though he's not completely sure.   Since he loves seeing the turtles, his hesitation can only be caused by one thing.  Animals of all kinds enthrall him.  People on the other hand...

"There won't be anyone else there, I promise.  Unless you want me to invite Misha?"  Jared cocks an eyebrow, then puffs out his cheeks and crosses his eyes, making a face worthy of their friend and his propensity for funny faces.

Lips twitching up in a tentative smile, Jensen nods again, a little more confident this time.

"Okay, it's settled.  We'll invite Misha along when we go see the turtles tomorrow." 

Jared gives Jensen's leg a pat and finishes removing the soggy diaper, revealing his flaccid penis.  At nineteen years old, he should be reaching his sexual peak.  The doctors haven't found any medical reason why Jensen shouldn't be able to get an erection, but he hasn't had one since Jared has known him, not an obvious one anyway.  Like so many other aspects of Jensen's life, his sexuality lies dormant, beaten out of him perhaps, or stifled at an early age.

Their current priorities don't include awakening a sexual desire in the teenager.  They have numerous other issues to work through before they reach a point where Jensen's sex life becomes their major concern.  Jared truly looks forward to reaching that milestone one day though because it will mean Jensen has conquered multiple other problems first and will be well on his way to becoming the man his friends know he can be.  He deserves to live a full life, to experience every good thing possible, including sex.

Jensen

Daddy's hands are sure and gentle, his voice compassionate, when he says, "Oh sweetie, your skin is irritated.  No wonder you were getting antsy.  I'll put some ointment on it as soon as we finish with your bath.  Hopefully, a rash won't develop if we catch it soon enough."

The furrow in daddy's eyebrows is the concern-care-tender kind, not the hostile-angry-accusation kind.  Jensen knows the difference between those two things well.  The second kind sends icy fingers of dread down his spine, makes his guts seize up and his vision go grey and then black, black, black, until there's nothing left in his world except terror.

But daddy's face isn't scary like that.  It never has been.  His furrowed brows are the other kind, the kind that makes Jensen's insides feel melty, like when daddy puts M&M's in the microwave, just for a few seconds, as a special treat, and they come out all ooey-gooey and warm at their centers.  He's not sure what its name is, but whatever this feeling is called, it's the best feeling ever.

Jensen wriggles a little and smiles so daddy will know he doesn't mind.  His bottom doesn't hurt that much.

Daddy chuckles and the worry lines disappear.  Good.

"Okay then, into the tub with you.  I'll get the bubble bath and shampoo."

Naked, Jensen rolls onto his front and crawls quickly towards the bathroom.  When he's told to do something, it's best to do it very fast, no hesitation, no questioning looks, and definitely no excuses.  In the house from before he came to live with daddy, it was bad to dawdle.  Bad boys take too long to do what they're told.  Bad boys move as slow as molasses.  Bad boys get the laziness throttled out of them, choked and choked until their throats nearly swell closed and their lips turn blue and their lungs burn.

Jensen swallows against the remembered ache and crawls faster.

The deep-pile, plush carpeting in his nursery transitions to cool, white tile in the bathroom.  Hard surfaces can be tough on his knees.  He doesn't have any extra padding, he's too thin, which is why daddy usually dresses him in thick sweatpants.  Not only are they comfy, but they also cushion his knees somewhat.  Luckily, the house is mostly carpeted, the kitchen and bathroom the only two rooms with tile.

He climbs into the tub, immersing himself in the water which is at the perfect temperature, hot enough to stave off the chill in the air, but not so hot that its uncomfortable.  Goosebumps rise on his arms, so Jensen scoots all the way down until only his head is exposed and little waves lap at his chin.  Water continues gushing from the tap like a turbulent waterfall.  He sticks his feet under the deluge just to feel it tickle his toes.  Bath time is great.

Soon daddy is back, shampoo in one hand, bubble bath in the other.  "Are you ready for some bubbles?"

Jensen grins up at his daddy through eyelashes made spiky with bath water.  Yes, he's ready.

A generous squirt of bubble bath, right under the nozzle, creates a frothy, foam blanket.  The bubbles expand outward, getting higher and higher, covering his mouth and nose.  Laughing, Jensen sits up when is becomes necessary for him to breathe.

Daddy is smiling with that look he sometimes gets when Jensen doesn't want to take his nap.  Uncle Christian smirks whenever he sees that look.  He says it's daddy's indulgent face, then he says Jensen has daddy wrapped around his little finger.  Whatever that means.

"You almost got a nose full of suds," he says while shutting off the tap.  "Now lean back, baby, and I'll wash your hair."

Jensen does and Daddy kneels next to the tub, supporting Jensen's head and helping him tip it back without getting water in his eyes.  Next comes the shampoo.  The clean, citrusy fragrance fills the small room as daddy begins working the lather through Jensen's hair, massaging his scalp.  Mmmm, that feels good.  Jensen hums softly.

"Feels good, huh?" daddy says.

A gurgling sound of delight comes from his mouth in response to daddy's question.  It's too garbled to be a word, too quiet to be anything more than a coo really, still it startles him.  He snaps his mouth closed and freezes in place, not daring to breathe.  Daddy's fingers stop moving the foam around on his head.  The room goes totally silent and Jensen is afraid to look, but he thinks daddy has stopped breathing too, like maybe daddy is waiting to see if he'll make another sound.

No, please, no.  He didn't talk.  He didn't mean to.  It just came out all by itself, not even a real word, just a sound.  More than the humming sound, yes, but not a real word.  Please.  He didn't mean it.

He scrunches his eyes tightly shut.  He can't bear to watch what happens next.

Then daddy's hands are on his face, soapy suds slippery on his cheeks.

"That was awesome, Jensen."  Daddy's voice is shaky.  "Really awesome.  Don't be frightened, sweetheart.  I love hearing your voice.  You can talk to me whenever you want.  Please, don't be scared.  It's okay."

Jensen's eyes slit open and daddy's face is mere inches from his own.  Gently, daddy brings their foreheads together, skin touching skin.

"Even if you don't feel up to talking just yet," daddy whispers, "it's fine.  That sound you made just now?  That was so great, Jensen.  That was perfect.  I'm ready to listen to you, whatever you want to tell me, in whatever way you can manage."

Oh.

Jensen starts breathing again.  His heart rate slowly returns to normal.  His muscles unclench and he presses his forehead against his daddy's, his eyes falling closed again as the tension evaporates from his body. 

Maybe this is another rule that's different here.  Maybe he can make that sound again sometime.

Maybe.

Continued at Chapter2
  • Oh yay! I was so excited to see a new installment in this 'verse! This was lovely and I look forward to more.
    • I've been wanting to write more in this 'verse for some time now. These boys have so much more to share. :) Thank you! *hugs*
  • i absolutely love everything about this series. i'm so glad you wrote another part!
    • It's lovely comments like this one that make me excited to write more in this 'verse. Thanks so much! *hugs*
  • (no subject) -
  • OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!!

    I love this verse SOOOOO MUCH. Great new section. I so wanted to know but know what had happened that last day at the house before Daddy's. So sad but Jared is his awesome self and handles everything so well. I hope it is ok at the court.

    Oh, now I just gotta love turtles.

    Yeah for noises and rules that are different. I'm so glad he kept up with the eating by himself. And taking seconds !?! You go boy!
    • I'm thrilled you like it. It always amazes me that other people have connected with these characters as strongly as I have. Thank you for the awesome comment.

      Yes, turtles are going to be a part of it. :)

      *hugs*
  • Love this! So happy to see more of this 'verse! :)
  • Yay, you posted!!!!!!
    Now we will all be waiting for chapter 2
    (patiently)
    ;-)
  • omg!! i squeee'd when i saw this!! i love this verse!!!! love this chapter!!

    looking forward to the next one :)
    • Awwww, I'm happy to have made you squeee. :D More will be coming, although I'm starting a new job next week and am a little distracted, I'll get the next chapter written as soon as I can. Thanks! *hugs*
  • I just recently re-read this verse, and it is still one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful stories...and then to see it continued!

    Wow. You've already had me in tears!

    Thank you so much for writing more and I can't wait to see where it goes <3
    • It amazes me to hear about people reading my stories more than once. That's the best compliment you could give me. Thank you!

      Writing from Jensen's POV always brings me to tears too. It's hard to imagine the things that were done to him and how scared he is that he'll get hurt again by the people who are supposed to love him.

      I wanted to show Jensen getting a bath in this story so we can see how much he enjoys them. There will be another timestamp after Nightmares to show how the events of that story have affected Jensen. :(

      Thank you for reading and leaving a coment! *hugs*
  • Love this verse and can't wait to see what you have in store for us!!!  That last section in the bath when Jensen made the noise and he was so scared brought tears to my eyes!

    • I'm glad you're looking forward to more! Knowing people are waiting helps me write faster. :)

      That part had me in tears too. But know he knows it's okay to make those noises, so he'll be able to do more of it in the future. The babbling and cooing will help when it comes time for him to start talking again. Yay!

      Thanks! *hugs*
  • Lovely.
    I love this verse.
    Thank you for your timestamp.
    M
    • I'm so very please that you like the 'verse. It's very near and dear to my heart. <3 <3 <3 *hugs*
  • I used this timestamp as an excuse to go back and read For Love of Innocence. (Even though I know I don't really need an excuse. ) It's amazing how I can just fall right back into this `Verse and rejoin these people I love so much. I also realized how much I've missed them.Thank you so much for bringing them back into my life.
    • Awww, thank you. This comment touches me deeply. You've given me a special gift. As a writer, there's nothing better than knowing others have fallen in love with your characters. Thank you! <3 <3 <3 *hugs*
  • Oh I am so happy to see another chapter :) I love this verse. Thank you for writing more.
  • Love this verse so much, I read today the pre-story and its s o heartbreaking but at the same time has a lot of cuteness from Jared <3 it

    I love how we are learning little by little how Jensen gets better, I really want to read when for the first time Jensen stands up and gives his first steps
    • The story of Jensen's first steps is one that has to be told. I've been thinking about it for a while, how and where it will happen.

      Thank you for reading. Your comments are much appreciated!
  • So excited to see this verse back! Great chapter. I look forward to more.
    • I look forward to writing more, just as soon as things settle down at my now job. Darn it RL, why must you get in the way of my writing! *shakes fist*

      Thanks for commenting. It helps get me back on track. *hugs*
  • Happy Dancing!!

    (Anonymous)
    I just need to join the masses in celebrating the continuation of this story. This is my third time coming back to read the 'verse and I was rewarded by finding this wonderful new addition! You have made my week. I love your writing style, your choice of story(ies) to tell and the way you make me feel about these characters. If I could pull a 'Misery' on you, sans hobbling (unless it was necessary) I would. Yes, that sounds creepy and frightening, but it's kind of your fault for writing such a wonderful 'verse that makes me just 'go there'. (smile). I eagerly await each new chapter. And sincerely, Thank you! You've got skills!
    • Re: Happy Dancing!!

      Wow! Thanks for the awesome feedback. I'm seriously blushing from all the praise. You're too kind, although it's great to hear that these stories have touched you and I always get a thrill from knowing that there are others who love these boys as much as I do. *big hug* <3
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