So You Can’t See Me
You’re all alone...nobody cares about you but me...let me in
Jensen startles awake.
The aroma of freshly brewed coffee drifts into the room, but it’s not his room. Where is he? His eyes feel like someone has taken sandpaper to them while he slept. Wait, was he asleep?
Digging the palms of his hands into his eyes, he sits up and last night comes flooding back. The club, thinking he saw Jared, coming back home to find Felicia watching a movie on the couch, her fingers massaging his neck, and then...he must have fallen asleep. He must have fallen asleep on the couch in the living room with Felicia there to keep his demons, or really just the one demon, at bay.
The blanket wrapped around his legs falls to the floor as he stands up. She must have covered him when she left. He wonders when she left. If she got any sleep last night herself. A glance at his watch tells him it’s just after six in the morning. Other than his gritty eyes, he feels great, refreshed. His body is used to dealing with little to no sleep, so three full hours, assuming he fell asleep around three o’clock, feels like an amazing surplus of rest and relaxation. He’s energized.
Stretching, he wanders into the kitchen for some of that awesome smelling coffee. Danneel is sitting at the counter, a mug already in front of her along with a toasted bagel thinly smeared with cream cheese. She looks up, smiling, when he makes a grab for her cup.
“Get your own, you big goof,” she says, pulling it possessively towards her chest. “There’s still plenty in the pot.”
He grumbles something about “unfair” and “share and share alike,” even though he knows it makes no sense. She’s the one who made the coffee and she is sharing it with him. In all honesty, he’s just happy to have someone as sweet and caring as Danneel with whom to enjoy his morning obsession. The grumbling is a part of their morning routine, expected and cherished by them both because it’s theirs, the way they show affection for each other.
He met Danneel two and a half years ago while working a case close to home for a change. Another unusual thing about it was that there was nothing unusual about it. An ordinary, run of the mill, blackmail scheme with the target being a low ranking politician in Fairfax, Virginia, a hop and a skip from Alexandria. FBI agents, Jensen and his partner, Misha Collins, had been assigned to the case. Danneel was the politician’s aide and it was her quick thinking that cracked the case wide open by recognizing a certain phrase used in the voice-modulated message the blackmailer left for the politician as a favorite phrase used by one of his staff members. The politician himself - surprise, surprise - had been practically useless.
Danneel is sharp and perceptive and she and Jensen had hit it off immediately. So well in fact that, if he was straight... But he’s not...so they aren’t.
Instead, she’s dating his boss, FBI Director Christian Kane, of all people. Jeez, ‘cause he needs more fucked up shit in his life, apparently.
Cradling his own mug full of elixir, Jensen sits across from Danneel at their cozy kitchen table and lets out a nearly orgasmic groan as the fragrant steam reaches his nose.
“Do you and your coffee need a little alone time, darlin’?” She arches an eyebrow at him suggestively.
Now she even sounds like Kane after he’s had a few beers. He so wishes he didn’t know what his boss sounds like when he’s drunk and horny. Hanging out at the bar with Christian and Danneel, watching his usually stern boss drool all over his hot-as-hell best friend, while amusing as all get out, is not exactly what he would call good for his professional relationship with the man. “Fuck you, darlin’” he says, but he’s smiling and she chuckles, taking it for the endearment it’s meant to be.
“What’s on your agenda for today? Saving the world from political corruption? Catching some cyber crooks? Oh, I know, how about taking out a mafia drug syndicate?” She pulls one strand of long, auburn hair away from her face and tucks it behind her ear. She’s not dressed for work yet and her hair is in unruly waves.
“Nah, nothing that glamourous. Misha and I just finished up a case last week. You wouldn’t believe how much paperwork we gotta fill out. It’s disgusting.” He wrinkles his nose.
“Wait, the case was disgusting? Or the paperwork? Was the case the one with the house-cat accused of murder?” Sipping her coffee, she leans back in her chair, giving him her undivided attention.
“That’s the one,” he confirms. “I told you about it last Friday, remember? And in this instance, it’s the paperwork that’s disgusting, not the case. The cat was actually kinda cute.”
“So, not homicidal, then?”
“Not in the least. It was a case of mistakitten identity.” He flashes her his patented grin, pleased with his own cleverness.
Her eyes roll heavenward in an oh-no-you-didn’t manner. “Why do you always get the wacked-out cases anyway? She asks without commenting on his horrible pun.
“Dunno. You’d have to ask Kane. He’s the one who assigns the caseload.” He swipes her uneaten bagel and takes a huge bite. This time she lets him.
“I have asked him. He won’t tell me,” she pouts.
Jensen sends a little mental thank you to his director for keeping his secret. Truth is, Jensen requests the bizarre cases. No one knows why he wants them except Misha and Kane - Misha because it’s only fair since he gets dragged along into them as well, and Kane because if he didn’t know, Jensen would never get assigned half the “wacked-out” cases he gets. Those two are the only ones he’s fully confided in. And that’s the way Jensen wants it to stay. Freak quota already met, thank you very much.
A board creaks overhead as someone, Ty or AJ, moves around, most likely getting ready for work or school. The house is old and has lots of creaky boards. It’s noisy and Jensen loves noise. It means someone else is in the house and that’s a good thing, a great thing. It means he’s not alone.
Danneel shifts in her chair, puts her elbows on the table, and looks down into her coffee mug. “Jensen, there’s something I have to tell you.” Her voice has gone from light and playful to serious, hesitant.
This doesn’t sound good. Jensen licks his lips. It’s a nervous habit he can’t seem to kick. When she doesn’t continue, he prompts her, “What is it?”
“Christian asked me to move in with him. I said yes.” She looks up then, eyes pleading.
He doesn’t know what to say. Part of him is surprised and another part of him knows it’s inevitable. Eventually, all his friends will move out for one reason or another, move on with their lives, leaving him by himself in this huge house. His carefully crafted family will collapse like a house of cards.
“Jensen, I’m sorry,” Danneel says, taking one of his hands in both of her smaller ones. “Don’t cry. Please.”
Swiping his free hand over his eyes, he realizes they’re wet. “I’m such a wuss.” He huffs a short laugh, looks up and tries for a smile. “You have nothing to be sorry for. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine. And I’m happy for you, really, I am.”
She gives his hand a squeeze. “Hey, it’s not like we won’t see each other, I’ll still come by to hang out with you all the time.”
Won’t be the same, he thinks, but all he says is, “I know you will. Hell, I bet within a month you’ll be begging to move back in. No, scratch that, I give you a week. Kane’s not exactly the easiest person to get along with.”
She laughs and agrees.
Everyone you love leaves you..are you sad enough yet?...give in to me...submit
Ignoring the voice that only he can hear, Jensen jumps up, gives Danneel an apologetic hug with an excuse about needing to get ready for work, and flees, yes fucking flees, out of the kitchen, down the hall, and into his room. He swears he can feel her eyes on his back the whole way.
Once there, he jams his earbuds in his ears and plays Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now at eardrum-shattering volume. Legs wobbly, he goes to sit on the bed, puts his head in his hands and just lets the music reverberate through him, drowning out everything else. Somehow defiant, angry and jubilant all at the same time, this song never fails to give him strength. To the sound of Freddie Mercury belting out his anthem, Jensen renews his vow to never give up, to find a way to stop the insidious Shadow, the oily, cajoling voice that haunts him, and to send it back to whatever dimension it came from, even if it costs him his own life. Then he does what he does everyday, he pretends he’s normal. He gets ready for work and makes the trek downtown to the FBI headquarters and the office he shares with his partner, Misha.
Misha is already there, leaning back in one of their two chairs, feet up on the desk they share, when Jensen arrives. His usual five o’clock shadow seems a bit heavier today, his dark hair a little scruffier, like he’s going for that just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-don’t-give-a-f
“Hey Mish,” Jensen says as he strips off his jacket, slinging it over the other chair.
Misha gives him the once over, blue eyes narrowed in appraisal. “You look like you’ve had a good morning,” he says in an inscrutable tone of voice.
That’s the thing about Misha, you never know how to take him. Is he being serious? Is he being sarcastic? It could be either and there’s no point in asking which it is, because he won’t tell you. Jensen takes stock of himself, self-consciously rubbing the back of his neck. It has been a rather unsettling morning what with Danneel’s news. On the other hand, he got some sleep last night which makes him feel almost hyper alert. Not knowing which way to go, he settles for, “Yeah, I guess you could say that. What about you, anything happen since we left work yesterday?”
Misha nods. “Well yes, as a matter of fact, Tony and Maria had a very interesting evening.”
“Tony and Maria, your sea monkeys?”
“Of course, do you know any other Tony and Maria?” Misha looks slightly affronted.
Sea monkeys are a perfectly normal conversation topic for Misha. He got them about two months ago, hatched them from one of those children’s science kits with the pictures of pretend sea creatures on the box, the ones that look like cartoon mermaids and mermen, and every day he has a story about what the sea monkeys have been up to. It’s ridiculous, but he says everything in such a matter-of-fact manner and with so much genuine enthusiasm, it’s hard not to believe him.
Also, it’s best just to humor him. He gets...salty...when challenged. “Um, no. Sorry. What did they do?”
Mollified, Misha begins spinning his tale. “They went on a picnic, only is wasn’t any ordinary picnic. They wanted to explore the furthest reaches of their land, so they packed some provisions and set off. They swam farther than they’d ever gone before and you’ll never believe what they found.” Eyes wide and expectant, he pauses, obviously waiting for Jensen to guess.
From experience Jensen knows how this is going to go, either he takes a guess or Misha will mope for the rest of the day. Been there, done that, doesn’t really want to deal with Misha’s version of the silent treatment again. Trying to think what else might be in the aquarium or tank or wherever the sea monkeys live, he poses, “a fish?”
“No, no, although that would have been terrifying, wouldn’t it? A fish would gobble them up in one bite. They’re quite tiny, you see, so tiny the human eye can barely make them out. The perfect size for a fish snack. No, it wasn’t a fish. It was a massive, well massive to them, abandoned castle. You should have seen how thrilled they were!”
“Mmmhmm, very excited I’m sure,” Jensen delivers the line perfectly, even if he does say so himself, the right amount of interest, a touch of amusement. It’s not hard, he is amused. He enjoys Misha’s eccentricity. Makes him feel a little less crazy.
“Yes, it was the discovery of a lifetime. They’ll be telling their children and grandchildren about it for years to come.” Misha swings his feet off the desk and picks up a white folder. In the folder are the forms they’ll be filling out today. Jensen knows this because he’s the one who placed the file there yesterday. “How do you want to tackle this?” Changing topic seamlessly, Misha brandishes the file.
A slip of paper flutters loose and drifts to the floor. Jensen picks it up. It’s a picture of a cat, blacker than black, so black that its sleek fur seems to take on a bluish sheen where the light hits it just right. Ebony slitted pupils surrounded by golden irises look back at him from the paper. Mysterious and regal, it’s almost understandable why friends and neighbors of twenty-nine year old Vanessa Wall were suspicious of the cat when Vanessa, its owner, died of asphyxiation without any apparent cause, inside a dead bolted apartment. Especially since the apartment was otherwise empty and no one had been seen coming or going. The cat reminds him of himself, an innocent witness to something horrific. Accused, yet innocent and unable to effectively communicate what it had seen.
“Jense?” He hears Misha call his name and the way he says it, insistently but with a careful quality, makes him think it may not be the first time his partner has tried to get his attention.
He gives himself a mental shake, pretending, always pretending, at normalcy. “Let’s divide and conquer. You take the forms dealing with the evidence we found that led to the arrest of our main suspect, Glenn Dix, and I’ll take the forms dealing with the false accusations against our furry friend here.” He taps the picture in his hand.
Misha purses his lips, all at once pensive. “I’m sorry,” he says quietly.
Jensen frowns at the concern he sees on his friend’s face, “For what?”
“I know you were hoping to find a lead, something to link this case to your parents’ deaths. I know you’re disappointed that we didn’t find evidence to support your theory about interdimensional creatures.” There’s not a hint of judgement or sarcasm in his voice.
Jensen shrugs, gaze falling to the floor. Despite how bizarre it sounds said out loud, that’s exactly what he’d been hoping and he is disappointed. Ever since watching a monster detach itself from the shadows and finding his parents dead when he was fifteen years old, he’s been trying to make sense of what he saw. The monster was obviously not of this world. His life has been devoted to unraveling the mystery, discovering the truth. Until he does, he’ll never be rid of the voice that seeks to lure him to his own destruction.
A hand grips his upper arm. “Sometimes a cat is just a cat, Jensen.”
“Yeah, well...” The desk phone rings, interrupting Jensen’s response. Just as well, he’s not sure what he was going to say anyway. He grabs the receiver. “Hello, Ackles speaking.”
“Good Morning, Agent Ackles. Director Kane would like to see you and Agent Collins in his office,” says the polite and efficient voice of the Director’s personal assistant.
“We’ll be right there.” Jensen hang up and grabs his jacket.
Misha stands. “What’s the boss want with us so soon?”
“Dunno, let’s go find out.”
Link to Chapter 4
Link to the Master Post