Although the lightning and thunder taper off well before they arrive back at Jared’s house, the rain continues throughout the night and into the morning, lashing at the windows as though desperate to get inside.
From the bedroom window, Jensen watches the last of the clouds depart while he thinks on the events of the previous evening. The memory of Jared, standing in the midst of the deluge, forlorn and lost, soggy penguin dangling from his hand, still has the power to twist his wings and shred his heart into itty-bitty pieces. The look on Jared’s face, when he thought Jensen missing, was one of absolute dejection. The remorse Jensen feels over that look is tremendous.
He had not meant to do it, had not meant to scare Jared that badly. Had not meant to scare Jared at all. It was just a series of unfortunate events. If his magic could turn back time, he would do it in a heartbeat.
He would return to right before the rain began and he would ignore the small child in the carriage, crying for her lost light-up toy. He would not fly over to the place where the toy lay on the ground, even though he knew he could make it there and back with the toy for the child well before Jared even noticed he was gone. And because he ignored the crying child and the toy on the ground, he would not have trouble finding the child again, toy in tow, to return it. Once found, the child would not bestow on him a sweet smile, and the parents would not express their great gratitude.
He would be at Jared’s side when the rain started falling instead of over by the exit of the fair where he finally found the crying child and her parents. Therefore, locating Jared again would not be any issue whatsoever. Jared would not have to panic, and that woebegone look would never have to mar his handsome face. Jared would not fall to his knees and stare at him through blank, unseeing eyes, as though everything that made him Jared had been scooped out, leaving behind a hollow, Jared-shaped shell.
Alas, his magic cannot turn back time.
He has no way to prevent any of that from happening.
With a drawn-out sigh, he sits on the windowsill, knees drawn up to his chest, chin cupped in his hands, wings folded tightly against his back. A bead of moisture rolls down the outer window. Heart heavy, Jensen tracks its progress until it reaches the bottom.
Last night, after they had gotten home and Jared had fully recovered from his fright, he’d assured Jensen he was fine and everything was okay. Jensen cannot fathom how that can be true. It feels as though the tenuous faith in his ability to take care of himself that has been building in Jared these last few days has been severely damaged, all due to his own thoughtlessness. He will not be surprised if Jared decides to take him back to the meadow today. Jared probably will not want him to stay another day, much less for the foreseeable future that Jensen has been imagining.
Thus immersed in his unhappy thoughts, Jensen does not notice Jared has awakened until he hears the mumbled, “What’re you doin’, Comet. We aren’t going to the hospital until later. Come back to bed.”
Jensen does as requested. He does not want to cause any more trouble than he already has. Settling on the other pillow, he says, “I am sorry, Jared.”
Jared’s eyes are only part-way open, and his hair looks adorably sleep-mussed. He blinks slowly, does not ask why Jensen is sorry, just rubs a hand over his face and through his tumble of hair. “I know you are.” Spoken softly and bereft of any anger, the words still pierce through Jensen like a thousand porcupine quills. “You’ve already apologized, many times, and I’ve already forgiven you, just as many. You don’t have to apologize anymore.”
“You should not forgive me. What I did was unforgivable, thoughtless. I hurt you. I scared you so badly you were nearly senseless.”
The walk back through the quickly emptying fairgrounds to the car had taken much longer than it should have. Jensen had to continuously nudge Jared to keep him moving in the correct direction.
Jared’s gaze drops to the blanket slung low over his hips, picks at some loose fuzz. “Okay, yeah, you should have told me where you were going. But, looking back on it now, I can see I overreacted, big time. You were gone for what? A couple minutes. Tops. And I freaked. I should have trusted you more. I tell myself that you’re capable of taking care of yourself. I tell myself that over and over. My head believes it. It’s my heart I have to convince.” His throaty chuckle sounds somewhat off, like he doesn’t truly see any humor in the situation. “If you’re going to live with me on a more permanent basis, I’m gonna have to learn to let you out of my sight for more than a few minutes without having a panic attack.”
Jensen lies back on the pillow and stares up at the white ceiling. He suspects that the rules imparted to Jared by the Guardian are at least partially responsible for his hyper vigilance. “You are aware that even the Guardian does not keep tabs on us at all times, are you not?”
The bed shifts as Jared rolls onto his side, facing him. “He doesn’t?”
“No, contrary to what he might have you think, he has his own needs that he must attend to on occasion. Satyrs are also fae, but they eat and drink when it suits their purposes. We do not always accompany him when he goes in search of such things. He has a nearby cave to which he retires if the weather gets too rough for his liking. Sometimes, he even leaves the meadow to visit his own kind.” Those times are rare, but Jared does not need to know that.
“Huh,” Jared says speculatively. He reaches out and traces his fingertips over Jensen’s chest and stomach, stopping when he reaches his navel.
Ken’s short pants were discarded in the car on the ride home. Jensen is unencumbered, naked, just the way he likes it. Hips juddering upwards of their own accord, he closes his eyes, savoring the familiar sparks left in the wake of Jared’s caress, hoping for more. A little further and Jared’s fingers will be right where he wants them most, where the skin is the most sensitive. He longs to feel the tingling current brought by Jared’s caresses, and Jared’s alone, on that part of his body.
Instead, Jared’s fingers bypass his very interested penis, and continue down his thigh, his leg, all the way to his toes. On the way back up, they again avoid his groin. This is usually the way with Jared’s touches. There are certain spots on his body that Jared is hesitant...no, that Jared is adamant about not touching. Those areas that Jared has deemed ‘private’, the same areas covered by Ken’s short pants, are always ignored when Jared touches him, even though Jensen has told him that fairies do not have ‘private areas’.
“Jared, why will you not touch my penis? Is it...does it bother you? The way my body reacts to you? We have never really talked about my physical reactions to your touches. No more than for you to tell me not to be ashamed. Which I am not,” he hastily adds.
Jared’s fingers halt for a moment, then begin moving again. This time they gently take hold of his chin, urging him to turn his head away from his contemplation of the ceiling to gaze into Jared’s beautiful, golden-flecked, blue-green eyes. “Do you remember when you were recovering from touch starvation?”
Jensen nods. Of course, he remembers his first meeting with Jared.
“I was trying to restore you by giving you as much skin-on-skin exposure as possible. You became aroused by my touch, and you apologized. Do you remember that? You were still pretty out of it back then, just beginning to recover.”
That part of his recovery is not entirely clear, but he does recall it. “I remember.”
“If you weren’t ashamed, why did you apologize for getting aroused?”
He thinks back. “You were the first human I ever met. After yearning for such a meeting all my life, the circumstances were less than ideal. I wanted to make a good first impression. When my body reacted to your touch as is only normal during a mating ritual, I was surprised. I had never been aroused by a simple touch before, and I feared you would get the impression that I intended to mate with you. I understand much more about human mating rituals now than I did then.”
The corners of Jared’s lips curl upwards. “Oh, really? Like what?”
“I have learned that, unlike fairies, humans require privacy for mating. While fairies must touch regularly in order to survive, humans have no such need and, therefore, touching is reserved only for those to whom they feel especially close. Humans are aroused by touch. They sometimes feel awkwardness over this. Arousal in humans can happen at any time. They find great pleasure in the sensations created by mating. For this reason, mating is not restricted to times of procreation as with the fae.”
Jared finds himself blushing at Jensen’s forthright answer, but he manages to hold a straight face as he say, “Yeah, you got that mostly right. But, how did you learn all that, aside from the stuff I’ve told you?”
With a wink, Jensen replies, “I am very observant.”
“So, if fairies don’t get aroused by touch, why do you think my touch affects you the way it does?”
“I was unsure at first, but after thinking upon the subject for a while, I have come up with what I believe to be the answer.” Sitting up and unfurling his wings, he flies the short distance over to Jared’s pillow. He touches Jared’s cheek. “Do you feel that, the sizzle of a faint current, like lightning, transferring between us?”
Jared puts a hand over Jensen’s, holding it there. “Yes, I feel it. It hasn’t always been like this, not this strong, anyway. In fact, I don’t think it was there at all in the beginning, but it’s been getting stronger, ever since the first time you kissed me. What is it?”
Jensen licks his lips, an unconscious reaction to memories of kissing Jared and the desire to kiss him again. “Fairy magic...is wild and utterly unpredictable. It is tied to our emotions, and therefore, manifests differently depending on the situation. I believe the flicker of lightning we feel under our skin when we touch is the magical manifestation of my feelings for you. I also believe my body reacts to you because my magic recognizes how important you are to me.” He pauses to let this sink in. Then says, “Jared, please tell me I have not ruined everything by giving you such a scare yesterday. Please tell me you will let me stay here with you. That we can at least give this a try.”
Jared sits up, bringing Jensen with him in his cupped hands. “Of course, you can stay,” he murmurs. “Do you think I could let you out of my life now? Now, that I know what wonderful things are possible with you around? No way. I wouldn’t miss out on this for anything in the world. No matter how many times you scare the crap out of me, having you here to bring adventure to my life will be worth it. You’re worth it.”
Emotions stronger than any he has yet experienced wash over him. One emotion after the other bombard him, both good and bad. Jubilation for the chance to live his dreams. Anticipation for all that is to come. Hope that he can be exactly what Jared needs, and fear that he will not live up to Jared’s expectations. Overriding all others, is adoration - pure and simple.
Words are not enough to express how he feels. He needs to show Jared with some grand gesture. Wings outstretched, he closes the distance between them and presses his lips against Jared’s. Sparks radiate from that point of contact and tingle throughout his body. Jared’s lips are soft, warm, and welcoming.
Jared moans into the kiss. His hand comes up to caress Jensen’s stomach, and at last, moves lower to rub against his hardening penis. The rippling current intensifies as waves of sensation roll through him. He sucks in a breath, closes his eyes, and gives in to the need for more.
Jared whispers, “Can I? I wanna-”
“Anything, Jared. Please.”
Eyes still closed, Jensen feels the bed rock with Jared’s shifting position. Warm air blows across his groin, causing his penis to surge upward, seeking more. His eyes pop open just in time to see Jared’s mouth descend. Wet, warmth encases his penis. Electricity sizzles through the contact, every nerve ending lights up with it. His penis throbs, and he thrusts up into the heat. Jared’s tongue swirls around the shaft and head. It is all Jensen can do not to scream when his release hits him like a bolt of lightning.
Jared pulls off and grins. “You taste like honeysuckles.”
Jensen’s matching grin turns mischievous. “My turn.”
He flies up, hovering over Jared’s boxer-covered, soon to be not-private area, giving the unwanted clothing a tug. Jared gets the idea and pushes his hips up, so the boxers can be removed.
Once he is uncovered, Jensen allows himself some time to stare. Jared’s penis is huge. There is no way he will be able to affect Jared the way Jared was just able to affect him by using his mouth or his hands. That is alright though. He has other means at his disposal.
Gliding his hands over Jared’s semi-erect penis, he feels the flesh hardening under his palms and the sparks igniting with his touch. The air around them abides his desire. Everywhere his hands move, the air applies more pressure than he could manage by himself. Jared’s hips begin to pump up into the friction.
Jensen presses his lips to the slit, tonguing down inside. Electricity tingles inside his mouth. He can imagine how it must feel against the super sensitive skin inside Jared. The air heats, begins rippling over and around Jared’s groin.
“Jesus,” Jared pants. His hand flails out like he’s trying to brush Jensen away. “Comet, move. I’m gonna come.”
Jensen doesn’t want to move. He wants to feel it when Jared looses control. He wraps his arms and legs around Jared’s penis and squeezes. The silky-smooth flesh pulses beneath him as Jared thrusts into the warm cocoon of air. The bed rattles against the floor. Come erupts from his penis and coats his stomach. The smell is musky and slightly charged, like the earthy loam after a rain shower.
“That was amazing.”
Jensen agrees wholeheartedly.
There’s a bounce in his step that has nothing to do with the gorgeous spring-like day they’re having and everything to do with Jensen. They’d spent a leisurely morning in bed, teaching each other all the ways they liked best to be touched. To say that Jensen had rocked his world would not even begin to describe it.
As he walks up the sidewalk leading to the front doors of Lexington General, Jensen flitting along beside him, Jared can’t stop smiling. He probably looks goofy as hell, but there’s really nothing he can do about it.
Jensen darts in front of him, turns to face him, and continues flying backwards, something Jared would have sworn was aerodynamically impossible before he came into contact with fairies. Arms clasped tightly around his middle, his tell for nearly unbearable excitement, and eyes crinkling at the corners, he says, “This building is much larger than I was expecting. There must be hundreds of humans in there. Will we meet them all?” Pixie dust floats through the air in sparkly motes, another sure sign of Jensen’s exuberant mood.
The hospital is a three story building and takes up the entire block. A well tended lawn and flower beds along the front add color to an otherwise drab exterior. As with most major medical facilities, other doctor’s offices and specialists have taken over the surrounding buildings to create a sprawling medical complex.
Jared’s smile turns indulgent. When Jensen is in a good mood, which is almost always, his enthusiasm is hard to resist. He’s just so gosh darn cute! “There won’t be enough time to visit everyone. First, we’ll talk to Dr. Morgan. Once we have his okay, we’ll visit a couple of my patients.”
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the Chief of Staff at Lexington General. The job suits his personality perfectly. He has a no-nonsense air about him, doesn’t take shit from anyone, and demands the respect of every doctor and nurse who reports to him. But underneath the gruff exterior, he sincerely cares about his staff and is dedicated to the care of his patients.
Lower lip poked out in a pout at hearing he would only get to meet a few humans today, Jensen continues flying backwards, not paying the slightest bit of attention to where he is going. They’ve nearly reached the automatic front doors, and Jared isn’t sure whether they will sense the fairy’s small body mass and open for him or not. He lunges forward and snags him out of the air just before the imminent collision. Belatedly, the glass doors swish open.
A startled grunt comes from his hand. Jared releases his hold and says, “Careful, Comet. Some of the doors in the hospital are automatic, but you have to give them a chance to open for you. And don’t worry, I’ll take you to meet the nurses working the pediatric floor, also. You’ll get the chance to meet plenty of humans today.”
Jensen gives him a sheepish smile before snapping his wings open and taking off straight upwards. The red and white board shorts flutter against his thighs in the breeze created by his rapid ascent. Upon reaching the ceiling, he levels out and skims his hand along the drywall tiles.
“You’re in a playful mood,” Jared calls out to him.
“I am.” Jensen corkscrews his way back, settling on Jared’s shoulder, facing forward. “Although, that is nothing new.”
“True enough. What, in particular, has you in such a good mood right now?”
Mischief edging his voice, he replies, “Well, I had a very pleasant morning...but, aside from that, I like it here. This place feels right, like I’m supposed to be here. I believe I can make a difference here.”
Jared knows that feeling. He’s always wanted to be a doctor, always wanted his life to have meaning. Jensen’s compassion and empathy towards others make a hospital-type setting the perfect place for him. Now, to see if the hospital administration will agree.
The meeting with Jeffrey goes well. The gruff doctor and the friendly fairy take an instant, if implausible, liking to each other, giving credence to the expression ‘opposites attract’. Jensen charms the proverbial socks off Dr. Morgan by introducing himself in his patented, elaborate fashion, and then, proceeding to tell the story of how he met Jared and why he believes he can help the patients at Lexington General, all in his earnest-filled, melodic voice. Honestly, Dr. Morgan never stood a chance at refusal. By the end of the meeting, Jensen is sitting on Jeffrey’s palm, regaling him with stories of his life in the meadow with Christian and the other three fairies.
They leave, not only with Dr. Morgan’s permission for Jensen to visit Jared’s patients in the pediatric ward, but also with the promise that he will talk to the hospital administrators about a permanent position for Jensen on staff, even if it’s only as a volunteer.
“I don’t see why they wouldn’t agree. We have therapy pets come in all the time. I don’t see why a therapy fairy would be an issue.” Dr. Morgan reaches out and clasps Jensen’s small right hand between his thumb and forefinger, giving it a gentle shake. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Jensen. I hope to see you around the hospital frequently.”
Jared decides to let the comparison of Jensen to a therapy pet go, but only because of the delighted way Jensen beams back at Jeffrey during the handshake. It’s obvious that Jensen is adding that gesture of friendship to his repertoire, and Jared wonders when and in what situation Jensen will decide to use it.
The pediatric ward is on the second floor, and is comprised of two long corridors. At the intersection of the two corridors is a recreation room, and that’s where Jared heads first.
The room, meant to encourage fun and healing in the young patients staying at the hospital, has a primary color theme running throughout its design. Everything from the child sized chairs, to the paint on the walls, to the bookshelves filled with picture books, to the wooden puzzles scattered on the floor, are either a vibrant red, blue or yellow.
It’s late morning, a busy time for the pediatric rec room, and as such, there are several patients here with their families. Everyone is clumped together on the foam mats in the reading section of the room. A wagging golden tail and happy lolling tongue make it clear why. Sara is here with her golden retriever, Barley.
As a registered therapy dog, Barley has been coming to Lexington General to bring comfort and affection to the patients here for the past two years. Her sweet nature and good manners have made her a favorite among staff and patients alike. Her silky fur is a medium gold in color, and her tail is in constant motion, sweeping back and forth in long arcs.
Her owner, Sara, is a young woman, probably in her late-twenties if Jared had to take a guess. Her brown hair is pulled back in a pony tail, but wisps have come undone to hang around her face. She’s wearing jeans, and her volunteer name tag is pinned crookedly on her t-shirt as if she was in a hurry when she put it on.
“Let’s hang out back here and wait until Sara and Barley are done,” Jared suggests.
“Certainly.” Jensen flies slightly higher to get a better view of what’s happening on the other side of the room. “What are they doing?”
“Remember what Dr. Morgan said about therapy pets already being regular visitors at the hospital?”
“Yes,” Jensen says, eyes still riveted on the activity surrounding the dog.
“Well, Barley is one of them. She’s been trained by her owner, Sara, to be calm in a variety of situations commonly found in hospital settings, like wheel chairs, crutches, rolling carts, things like that. Having therapy animals interact with patients has been proven to boost the rate of recovery. Plus, they break up the monotony of long hospital stays for seriously ill patients.”
“That is wonderful. I will watch what she does for ideas on my own therapy techniques.” Jensen swoops back down to cuddle against Jared’s neck.
Barley chooses that moment to roll onto her back, presenting her furry tummy for belly rubs. There’s no shortage of volunteers to oblige her.
“I have a feeling your therapy techniques may take a different course,” Jared chuckles.
“What do you mean? I can do that just as well as she,” Jensen declares, voice sparkling with suppressed mirth.
Jared reaches up to stroke Jensen’s taut abs. “Yes, I’m sure you can, although you aren’t nearly as fuzzy.
Sara and Barley stay for another ten minutes or so. A chorus of disappointed ‘Awwww’s ring out in the room at Sara’s announcement that it’s time for them to leave.
“Hey, Sara,” Jared catches her before she reaches the door and bends down to give Barley a pat on her soft head. “I’d like you to meet someone.”
“Oh, hey, Jared.” Her gaze drifts down as though she’s expecting to find a young patient somewhere around knee level. It’s a fair assumption considering he’s a pediatric surgeon.
“Sara and Barley, this is Jensen.”
Jensen leaves his perch to hover midway between Jared and Sara. “It is a great pleasure to make your acquaintance,” he says with his customary, courtly bow.
Sara drops Barley’s leash, both hands coming up to cover her mouth as she gasps in an awestruck breath. “Oh my god,” she whispers. She quickly gets herself back under control, lowering her hands from her face. “Sorry, that was, like, extremely rude. I just didn’t expect...never mind. Jensen did you say? What an unusual name. It’s very nice to meet you, Jensen.”
Jared has to give her credit for her speedy recovery. Meeting a fairy for the first time, when you aren’t expecting it, would probably be enough to startle anyone. Especially a fairy as vivacious as Jensen.
Barley, being the well-trained dog she is, stays close to Sara’s side even though the end of her leash lies on the floor, and if she wished, she could easily make a bid for freedom. She does, however, lift her black nose into the air, giving a deep sniff in Jensen’s direction.
Jensen drops down to the retriever’s eye level. “I greatly admire the work you do with the young humans. I, too, wish to provide whatever small measure of comfort I can to those who are here for healing. May I pet you, noble therapy dog?”
He must get an affirmative answer, because he buries his arms up to the elbows in the abundant fur behind the dog’s ear. Barley cocks her head to the side, tongue lolling in ecstasy.
Jared brings his attention back to Sara while Jensen continues to commune with the golden retriever. “So, where are you headed next?”
She stoops down to pick up her end of the dropped leash. “We’re headed over to the oncology wing next. After that, we’ll work our way through the senior services and occupational therapy areas. I have a list of patients to visit by, like, special request, too.” She pats the front pocket of her jeans. “We’ll probably be here most of the day, but I always like to start here in peds.”
Jared nods. “Yeah, you two are popular. I don’t doubt our patients keep you plenty busy.” He can easily foresee Jensen becoming just as popular if things go the way he knows the compassionate fairy hopes they will.
“So, you and Jensen are gonna start making the therapy rounds, huh? How’s that going to work out with your schedule? You’re here, like, all the time as it is. I didn’t think you had that much free time.”
Jensen pops up at the sound of his name, fixing Jared with hopeful, green eyes, waiting to hear what he will say.
She brings up a good point, one that he’s already been mulling over. He’s beginning to question the long hours he puts in at work. Yeah, the medical profession is important to him, very important, but the more time he spends with Jensen, the more he’s beginning to understand the value of relaxing and enjoying himself from time to time, too. A healthy balance between work and play, that’s what he should be aiming for.
“We’re still figuring stuff out, testing the waters so to speak. I was thinking this could be something Jensen did while I was working.” Turning to Jensen, he says, “Maybe, we can find a volunteer to go with you on your therapy rounds.”
Jensen won’t be able to go by himself. It has nothing to do with Jensen not being able to fend for himself and everything to do with the possibility of touch starvation. Then again, it would have to be someone they vetted beforehand. Someone they could trust. The idea of someone other than him touching Jensen unsettles him to a much greater degree than Jared wants to admit, even to himself.
Jensen makes a trilling noise that manages to sound like half-hearted acceptance, at the same time as Sara’s eyebrows leap up into her bangs. “Oh, I know a bunch of people who would be thrilled at an opportunity like that! DJ for one. He’s always going on and on about fairies. Takes off, like, every other weekend to hike around remote areas and look for’em. ‘Hunting trips’ he calls them.”
Hunting trips? That doesn’t sound ominous at all. Maybe not DJ, then.
Tight-lipped smile held firmly in place, Jared says, “Yeah well, like I said, we don’t have all the details worked out yet.”
Sara shrugs. “Okay well, Barley and I should get going. Places to go and people to see. You know how it is. It was great meeting you, Jensen. I’m sure we’ll cross paths again. I’m here most Wednesdays.”
Darting forward, Jensen holds out his right hand. “I look forward to our renewed acquaintance.”
With a bemused look on her face, Sara switches Barley’s leash to her left hand and holds out her right index finger for Jensen to shake.
Jared smothers a laugh by clearing his throat. He has to hand it to the polite fairy, he’s a fast study.
“I like them,” Jensen says, watching as Sara closes the door behind Barley’s swishing tail. “They are devoted to each other. They make a good team.”
“Have you ever met anyone you don’t like?” Jared asks, amused.
Jensen thinks on that for all of a second before shaking his head and grinning. “No.”
As far as good teams go, in his opinion, he and Jensen make one of the best.