Sunshine filters through the leafy branches above. The summer day is a perfect one for a jaunt out to see his friends. It feels strange to think of the other fairies as only his friends now and not his quadral mates. They aren’t his quadral mates any longer, though. In fact, part of the purpose for the visit today is to meet the fairy who has replaced him in the meadow.
Jensen zips ahead of Jared on the trail, gaining altitude as he flits from tree branch to tree branch. Once he crests the tallest tree, he expands his wings as far as they will go, stretching taut tendons to their furthest capacity. Air currents catch him. He allows them to toss him higher, testing his limitations and finding none.
After weeks of rehabilitation, his wings have regained their former strength, their former lustrous sheen. Sunlight reflects off them as though they were made of crystals. That is not the case. Fairy wings are much more supple than that. Really, it is the dust produced by their wings that refracts light and gives them their sparkle.
With a joyous hoot, he skips through the air, then, pivots and descends in a long glide back to Jared. “Hurry, Jared. You are falling behind.” He laughs at his own joke. It is funny because, even with his long legs, Jared has no hope of keeping up with him if he does not wish it.
Happiness bubbles inside him. The meadow is just ahead and he is excited. This is his first time back since he left to go on his Grand, Super-Awesome, Fantastical Odyssey Into the Human World. So much has happened since then.
Jared huffs at him, but he is smiling just the same. “Yeah, well, I might be able to move faster if I wasn’t lugging this huge bag through the forest. Besides, it’s not exactly fair. You’re flying and I’m slogging my way through all this undergrowth.” He indicates the plants that have sprouted up and choked the path since the last time they came this way.
“It is not my fault you insisted on buying presents for Misha, Alona, and Felicia. I told you it was not necessary.” The bag slung over Jared’s shoulder carries gifts for all the other fairies, even their newest member. The gesture is a sweet one, and in truth, Jensen knows they will be delighted.
A squirrel emerges from under a bush beside the path. It chitters a welcome. Images of his friends, waiting impatiently for him near their burrow, come to him.
Jensen laughs. “Tell them we are coming as quickly as Jared’s legs will carry him,” he tells the squirrel, and it scampers off in that direction.
“Oh, it’s like that, is it? Making fun of the human?” Jared’s expression turns fond. “You think you’re adorable, don’t you?”
Jensen nods sagely, “I know I am.” His lips twitch upward for it is difficult to keep a straight face.
“Well, maybe you are, but that doesn’t mean I have to take your teasing standing still. Race you to the meadow!” The last part he yells over his shoulder as he has already started running.
“That is fine. Take your head start. I will still beat you,” Jensen calls after him. Confident of his win, he waits a couple more heartbeats before taking off after him.
The race is extremely uneven, just as Jared had pointed out. The bag swings from side to side over his shoulder. Vines and branches get caught around his feet and legs. Still, they are both laughing as they burst into the bright, sunlit meadow, Jensen easily in the lead.
Jared leans over, one hand braced against his knee. “New rule, next time we race, you aren’t allowed to fly,” he pants.
“I do not agree to your terms,” Jensen replies with a grin. “But do not worry, slow or not, I still love you.” He swoops close and, placing his hands on either side of Jared’s face, leans in for a slow, heated kiss. Magical energy swirls and buzzes against his skin everywhere they touch. The tingling ignites a surge of energy within him. Reluctantly, he breaks the contact. This is not the right time or place to get any further carried away. Jared’s modesty will not allow it.
“Wow,” Jared says, voice full of awe. “You know I adore you, right?”
Jensen preens. “I know.”
From way across the meadow, three colorful dots approach. They are moving so quickly that even Jensen’s keen vision can only make out purple, yellow, and red blurs.
Instants later, he is tackled by the purple blur.
“You have come at last!”
His three friends talk over one another in their excitement.
Misha has him in a tight embrace. Alona pushes her way beneath his arm. Felicia plasters herself against his side.
“How do you stay in the air while wrapped around each other like that?” Jared asks, his face comically baffled. “It defies the laws of physics.”
Physics has nothing to do with fairy flight. Jensen pulls away from his friends to wink at Jared. “Practice.”
“Hurry! You must meet Brock,” Felicia says, tugging on his arm.
Alona chimes in, “He is waiting with the Guardian by the tree. Come on!”
Although the meadow is dotted with trees, he knows just which tree she means. It is the birch tree closest to their burrow, the kind tree that produces such wonderful fruit at his request.
His own excitement mixed with that of the other fairies adds momentum to his flight. He’s off and away before he remembers Jared cannot keep up with them. Chagrined, he returns to Jared’s side. “I am sorry. I did not mean to leave you behind like that.”
“It’s okay. I know you’re anxious to meet him. Go. I’ll get there when I get there.”
Jared would not says something that he did not mean, so Jensen takes him at his word and streaks back to the other fairies, leaving a trail of pixie dust in his wake.
As quickly as they are moving, it takes no time at all to get to their burrow.
The guardian, who is no longer his guardian, strides forward to meet them. Jensen alights upon his shoulder and rubs their cheeks together, a gesture of deepest gratitude and affection. He will always be grateful for everything the guardian has done for him.
With an amused twinkle in his ocean-blue eyes, the Guardian turns, and Jensen gets his first look at the new fairy.
He is hovering under the tree, hands on his hips, feet spread apart, looking every bit the rascal. His dark-blond hair is short and spiked up in front. The green of his wings is a moss-like hue, a more subdued shade than Jensen’s vibrant emerald green. His smile is impish.
Jensen flies forward and bows, fist over his heart. “Hello, I am Jensen. It is a great pleasure to meet you.”
The new fairy’s smile widens. “The pleasure is all mine. My name is Brock.” He studies Jensen’s pose and tries to imitate it. He gets it mostly right.
“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” Jared’s incredulous voice comes from behind him.
Jensen turns around to see what has Jared so awe-struck.
Having apparently just made his was across the meadow, Jared comes to a halt beside the Guardian. They are both staring between him and Brock.
There is a smug look on the Guardian’s face. “Uncanny, isn’t it?”
“It’s remarkable. Do you think...”
“Did you make a special request?”
“Nope, but I figured it out right away. The resemblance is just too obvious to be a coincidence.”
Tired of the cryptic conversation, Jensen demands, “What are you two going on about?”
Jared, a devilish expression on his handsome face, glances over at the Guardian. “Do you want to tell him, or should I?”
“Let me. I’ve been looking forward to it.” The Guardian clears his throat, gesturing toward Brock. “Jensen, meet your son. Brock, Jensen is your dad.”
Familial relationships aren’t supposed to mean anything to fairies. Sisters, brothers, a mother, a father, offspring - Jensen has always known they were out there, theoretically, but he never thought about them in any real, concrete way. Never wondered where they were or what they were like. Never particularly wanted to meet them. Until now.
Slowly, he circles Brock, taking a closer look, registering the green eyes, the cleft chin, the full lips, the freckles.
Brock tracks his progress.
They study each other for long moments.
Suddenly, a gleam enters Brock’s eyes. He quirks a grin and says, “Hi Dad!” as he launches himself into Jensen’s arms and wraps his legs around his waist.
Jensen catches him, laughing. They twirl each other through the air until the other fairies join in the fun and it becomes a free for all.
The tussling and exuberant revelry does not stop until curiosity gets the better of Felicia. She flutters over to Jared. “What have you there?” she asks, pointing at the bag lying at his feet.
Jared puts out his hand, and she lands delicately on her tiptoes, red hair streaming down her back.
“Presents,” he announces.
“Presents?” she trills. “For me?”
Misha nudges her out of the way, taking her spot on Jared’s palm. “For us?”
Jared laughs. “Yes, for you.”
Jensen knows Jared has been greatly anticipating the giving out of these presents. They were purchased at one of the many fairs they have been frequenting. Jared just cannot get enough of the Ferris Wheel and the majestic bronze dragon he turns into every time they ride it (with a little bit of help from fairy magic).
The fairies gather around as Jared reaches into the bag for the first present.
“Just hope it is not a Ken doll.” Jensen smirks.
Jared snorts. “You look so sweet in your Hawaiian board shorts, I just couldn’t help myself. But don’t worry. I wouldn’t dare suggest clothing for any fairy other than you, Comet.”
“If anyone can make Ken’s short pants look good, it is I.” Jensen does his best Ken impersonation by making his arms and legs go rigid and pasting on a too big, fake smile.” Of course, he is not actually wearing any clothing right now, not in the meadow, but Jared gets his joke and almost falls over from laughing so hard. His reaction is worth the strange looks he gets from the other fairies who do not understand what a Ken doll is or why Jared might give them clothing as a present.
Once Jared gets ahold of himself, he reaches back into the bag and pulls out a wand.
Alona eyes it quizzically. “What is it?”
“It lights up, see?” Jared presses a button, and the wand glows bright white. “There’s a setting for flashing lights, too.” He presses the button again, and the wand begins flashing red, blue, and white. He holds it out to Felicia. “So you can make your cursive words in the dark and we will all be able to see what you have written.”
A squeal of delight is the only response he gets before Felicia flies forward, taking the proffered gift. She begins flying a pattern of loops and rolls. The light as well as the dust from her wings spell out ‘Thank you Jared’.
Jared reaches reaches back into the bag. This time his hand emerges holding a small bubble blower. He shows it to Alona. “There’s a button here that turns it on and a fan that blows the bubble solution out this opening here.” Bubbles stream through the hole as soon as he presses the button.
Alona whoops. She takes the bubble blower and flies a circle around Jared. Iridescent bubbles, fragile and mysterious, float all around them, creating a magical scene.
He reaches into the bag for a third time and pulls out two long strands of fairy lights. He hands one to Misha and the other to Brock. “They’re solar powered.” He shows them the small square attached to each strand. “I thought you could decorate your tree with them, or wherever you like, really. As long as the solar collector gets sunlight during the day, the lights will come on when it gets dark out. You can turn them off here when you’re done with them or want to go to sleep.” He shows them the on/off switch.
Brock doesn’t seem to understand what he’s supposed to do with his, but Misha flies up to the top of the tree, draping the string amongst the branches like a pro. Brock soon follows suite.
Jensen lands on Jared’s shoulder and nestles against his neck. It has become his favorite place in the whole world. They watch the other fairies frolicking with their gifts for a while.
“They are pleased. You did a good job picking out their presents,” he says, leaning close to Jared’s ear.
“You helped.” Jared strokes his back where the wing tendons connect. “Don’t you want to go join in the fun? Go frolic with the other?”
“I will go frolic in a moment, but for now I am where I wish to be.”
They stay in the meadow until dusk arrives. Jared and the Guardian spend time together, faces serious, discussing what, he does not know. Jensen helps the other fairies teach Brock how to make an obstacle course to rival any they have ever made before. The fairy lights come on, twinkling on the topmost branches of the tree.
Before full dark makes traipsing through the woods hazardous for Jared, it is time to go. Jensen says his good-byes to Misha, Alona, and Felicia. He stops at Brock, holding him out at arm’s length. There is no doubt in his mind that Brock is his son.
Somehow, knowing that, changes how he thinks about family. The concept of family takes on a whole new meaning. It becomes more real. It is tangible now.
He leans in, kissing Brock on the cheek. “Take care of yourself, and I will see you soon.”
He has much to learn about Brock. They have not had a chance to talk yet. Brock left his previous quadral to join this one for a reason, and that reason is probably a tragic one. Fairies do not leave their quadrals unless something terrible has happened.
There will be time to learn everything there is know about Brock, to really get to know his son, for today is only the first of many visits to come.
Leaning against the welcome desk in Lexington General’s main lobby, Jared savors his cup of coffee. The mug is nearly empty, which is perfect timing because Jensen should be here any minute now. He still isn’t sure what effect coffee molecules might have on fairies, so he only drinks his beloved beverage when Jensen isn’t around.
“Hey, you waiting on our favorite fairy?” Jeffrey Morgan comes strolling across the lobby floor, white lab coat unbuttoned like he’s calling it quits for the day as well.
“Yup, we’re heading out a little early for the weekend. We promised my friend Rich we’d come see his new comedy act in Vegas tomorrow. He’s headlining!”
Jeffrey chuckles. “Guy must have talent if he’s making good in Vegas. I’ll have to go see him sometime. You guys are driving out there, I guess?”
Jared nods. “Jensen still refuses to get in a plane. He says it’s not natural. That there’s no possible reason for a metal can to stay in the air without the use of magic. He loves to drive, hates to fly. Go figure. So, yeah, we’re driving.”
Jeff joins him in leaning against the welcome desk, elbows bracing him from behind, legs crossed causally at the ankle. “You mind if I hang out with you for a while? I’d like to say hi to him when he gets here. I wasn’t in my office early when he stopped by.”
“Not at all.”
Jensen has become a huge favorite at the hospital, just as Jared know he would. Once patients have meet the amiable fairy on staff, they are more than happy to make and keep all their follow-up appointments. No one, including the doctors and nurses, pass up the chance to spend time with him.
The click-clack of doggy claws on linoleum flooring heralds Barley’s arrival. She comes from down the corridor that leads to the senior services wing, Sara by her side. On her back, in his customary spot right in front of her shoulders, rides Jensen like the tiniest knight ever, upon his trusty steed.
A chortle comes from Jeff. “Look at that dog prance. I swear, she’s at her happiest with Jensen on her back.”
Sure enough, Barley is picking her feet up off the ground like one of those Lipizzaner Stallions as they make their way over to where Jared and Jeffrey wait.
“Hi, Jared!” Jensen launches off Barley’s back, flying straight towards him. “Did you have a good day at work?”
“I did.” Jared leans in for the kiss Jensen presses to his lips. The kiss is brief in deference to the public setting, but the familiar electricity sparks up between them nonetheless. He licks the tingle away, when Jensen pulls back.
“Hello, Dr. Morgan!” Jensen darts over, hand outstretched. “I am happy to see you.”
Jeff shakes Jensen’s proffered hand, firmly yet delicately. “I was sorry to miss you earlier today when you stopped by my office, so I came down to see you how your day went.”
“We had a great day, did we not, Sara?”
“The best! Mrs. Crozier was overjoyed to see us. She’s crocheting a blanket for Barley. It’s almost finished. She’s such a sweetheart. And, every time we visit her, she gets a huge kick out of telling Jensen about growing up in Wales.”
“Also, we saw Dean today!” Jensen chimes in.
“Dean? What was Dean doing here?” Mr. Winchester had signed his son out of the hospital AMA before his infection had fully healed, and they hadn’t been back since, as far as Jared knew.
Sara idly scratches Barley behind the ear. “His dad brought him to see Jensen, specifically. Apparently, Dean wouldn’t stop asking.”
“Asking? So he’s talking?” Jared asks.
Jensen beams. “He is! He seems much better. His voice still has a raspy quality to it, but I told him it makes him sound just like his father. That got a smile out of him.”
“Not only that. Jensen even talked his father into making an appointment for Dean to be checked out. Just to make sure there are no residual side effects from the smoke inhalation.”
The pride in Sara’s voice is clearly evident. It’s for Jensen, but also for the wonderful therapy team the three of them make together.
Jared couldn’t be prouder either.
The idea for Jensen to join Sara and Barley on their therapy rounds actually came from Jeff. As Chief of Staff, he recognized Jensen’s value. He may have also realized the conflict Jared was struggling with and taken measures to eradicate it before he lost his primary pediatric surgeon. Jeffery Dean Morgan is a smart man.
They’ve worked out a schedule. On the days Jared is in surgery, Jensen stays with either Sara and Barley, or with Jeff. Jensen stays with Jared, on the other days, and they see patients in his office or go on rounds together. His patients are never so happy to see him as when Jensen is also in attendance. And one day a week, Jensen goes to visit his old quadral mates in the meadow. This way, everyone is happy.
“We got a new batch of flyers from the peds ward today.” She brandishes one sheet of paper. “There’s only one more to put up, then we’ll be done for the day.”
“Let me.” Jared takes the paper and tape from her.
Part of Jensen’s education-about-fairies program involves these Fairy Facts Flyers. Each sheet has a pre-printed outline of a fairy on it. The sheets are given to the children in the pediatric ward to color in however they want. It’s no mystery why most of the colored fairies end up with green wings.
On the bottom is a sentence that says: One thing I know about fairies is… The rest is left blank for the children to fill in themselves. Jensen is in the pediatric ward often enough, answering their questions, that they always know some fairy facts to write in the blank space. The flyers are collected periodically and taped up all over the hospital.
Jared looks at the paper in his hand. From the quality of the coloring, he can tell it was done by a very young child. The blank on the bottom is simply filled in with - Fairies are nice - in a childish scrawl.
Smiling softly, he tapes it to the welcome desk.
Fairies are nice. That sums Jensen up perfectly.
Jensen alights on his shoulder, snuggling up against his neck. “Shall we be off?”
“Yes, we shall. Vegas awaits.” Jared turns to wave at their friends. “We’ll see you all in a week.”
“Have fun, but hurry back. The patients will miss you,” Sara calls after them.
“Thanks! We will,” Jared replies.
When they reach the car, Jensen’s arms go around his neck. “I am looking forward to seeing Rich. It pleases me when he calls me Little J because you are Big J and we belong together. Jared and Jensen. Our Grand, Super-Awesome, Fantastical Odyssey Into the Human World continues for as long as we wish it. Las Vegas need only be the beginning. Every day is a new adventure.”
Jared tips his head so that he is cheek to cheek with his lover. “You’re right. Life with you is going to be filled with adventure, and I can’t wait to get started.”
A/N: The photo included in Chapter 2: The Playground is a picture of just a small part of the park I used to take my kids to when they were smaller. The place is seriously massive and the equipment is all very elaborate. It's a kid paradise, but when my kids were small, I had more than one panic attack when I looked around and couldn't find them. Until they got older, I used to climb around inside all the turrets and whatnot with them, just so I could keep an eye on them.
The photos included in Chapter 4: The Petting Zoo are pictures of a real place near my house. We love it there and go all the time. It really is family owned and operated. They serve some of the best sandwiches and homemade ice cream. And there really is a Bunny Town. In fact, this little cutie will be coming home with me next week. Meet Bastian Bunny.
I hope you enjoyed the story. Hugs and kisses and baby bunnies to everyone who leaves a comment! <3