The Long and Winding Road (amypond45) wrote,
The Long and Winding Road
amypond45

PART ONE: Take Anything You Want From Me [Jensen/Jared, R]



“Damn it, Jen! Don’t do that again! We thought we’d lost you there, buddy.”

Jensen blinks awake from the most incredible dream he’s ever had to find his commanding officer (and sometime lover) kneeling over him on one side, a grim-faced paramedic on the other. His chest is on fire and his head hurts. He’s still lying on the ground and he can smell blood.

“He’s stable enough for transport,” the paramedic reports. Another paramedic gently pulls Jensen’s CO aside so he can lay a stretcher on the ground next to Jensen. There are flashing lights everywhere, and Jensen can hear the crackle of a radio.

“I’ll see you at the hospital,” Jeff Morgan promises, his voice fading as the painkillers start to kick in and Jensen’s eyes fall closed in relief.

He’s been shot. His mind registers that fact along with memories of the moments before it happened, when he started into the alley behind the building where some drug dealers were holed up. When the scrawny guy with the gun appeared out of a side door, Jensen barely had time to yell at him to drop his weapon before he opened fire.

In the split second before he was hit, Jensen could’ve sworn there was another guy, standing right behind the shooter, staring at Jensen over the top of the shooter’s head with a look of shocked dismay on his face.

It was the most gorgeous face Jensen had ever seen, hands down.



“There wasn’t anybody else there,” Jeff insists later.

They’re in the hospital, and Jensen’s on the mend. The doctors have informed him that he’s damn lucky to be alive. The bullet passed clean through his body, without hitting any major organs. He’ll need rehab and physical therapy after the wound heals, but barring some unexpected complication, he should be back on the job in a few weeks.

“I could’ve sworn I saw a guy,” Jensen says. “Tall, dark hair, shirtless. Right behind the shooter.”

“No customers, no users, no other dealers,” Jeff shakes his head. “We swept the place clean. Must’ve been an hallucination. Your brain can’t handle the fact that one scrawny kid could take you down like that.”

“Shut up,” Jensen grouses. “I could’ve sworn.”

“Nope.” Jeff shrugs. “Sounds like you need a little r & r. Sorry this is the way you’ll get it.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jensen grumbles.

“You’ve been working too hard, son. All those extra shifts. It’s no wonder you ended up in a hospital. I’ve been telling you to slow down for months now.”

He doesn’t tell Jeff that he’s seen the strange guy before, more than once. He even knows the man’s name. He just can’t get anybody else to verify his existence.

He only shows up when Jensen’s in trouble.

And apparently, Jensen’s the only one who sees him.



It started a few months ago, when they got a report of a gas leak at an apartment building full of elderly residents. Jensen was helping people evacuate when the place just blew. One minute, Jensen was going back into the building to check one last time, just to be sure they got everybody out. The next thing he knew, he was being thrown hard by some invisible force, landing a few feet away on the sidewalk as the building exploded in flames.

When he looked up, dazed and bruised but otherwise unhurt, there was a man standing over him. The man was incredibly tall, especially from Jensen’s position on the ground, so that he looked like some kind of giant. His bare chest was heaving, his fists were clenched and his bare feet were planted wide. As Jensen stared up at him, the man rolled his shoulders, and Jensen could’ve sworn he saw the shadow of something huge and feathery rising up behind them.

They looked like wings.

As soon as that thought crossed Jensen’s mind, the man disappeared.

The second time Jensen saw the strange man was about a week later, when he answered a call about a convenience store hold-up. When Jensen ordered the shooter to drop his gun, the perp obeyed, although Jensen could’ve sworn he saw the gun fly right out of his hand, as if some invisible force had grabbed it and flung it against the wall.

The gunman collapsed a moment later, almost as if he was shoved. Jensen had no problem cuffing him and reading him his rights after that.

Jensen saw something move, and when he glanced up at the refrigerator cases he could’ve sworn he saw the same strange guy he’d seen the week before, reflected in the glass doors. But when Jensen turned to look over his shoulder, there was no one there.

A week after that, Jensen fell out of a fourth-floor window. That time, he wasn’t even working. He was at a buddy’s apartment for a party and he caught a glimpse of the mystery man standing outside, watching him.

“Hey!”

It took Jensen barely a minute to cross the room and reach through the open window to grab the man, ask him what the hell he was looking at. But then he was falling, hitting the ground with what should have been enough force to break a few bones, if it didn’t kill him.

But somehow he fell on a mattress, or something similarly soft, and just before he passed out Jensen could’ve sworn he felt feathers surrounding him. He could’ve sworn he saw the mysterious man’s face, hovering over him with a look of confusion and concern, could’ve sworn he heard the man ask a question.

“You can see me?”

“Yeah,” Jensen breathes, then he’s out.



Jensen decides there’s a pattern to the way the mysterious man shows up. He’s there when Jensen’s in danger, or when he gets hurt. It’s like the guy knows when something is about to happen, before it happens.

Jensen knows that’s crazy. He doesn’t tell anyone about his theory because he doesn’t want to get sent to a head doctor.

He’s also a little obsessed with the guy. He’s really beautiful, but that’s not all it is. There’s something about the way he looks at Jensen, like he’s special. Important. Like he knows something good about Jensen, something even Jensen himself doesn’t know.

Jensen became a cop because he doesn’t feel like a good guy at all. He feels like there’s something wrong with him, like his moral compass is off. Maybe it’s because his dad left when he was a kid and his mom raised him and his brother alone, working two jobs while Jensen felt twice abandoned and guilty because he barely ever saw her and he couldn’t help her. When she fell ill and died shortly after Jensen graduated from high school, Jensen felt like he’d failed again. His brother left a month later and never came back.

But Jensen doesn’t wallow in self-pity. He hates the very thought. He’s tough and determined to do good in the world despite the fact that he’s sure he can’t. Not really. Because there’s something wrong with him.

Becoming a cop was a way to atone for his crappy childhood. Maybe if his dad ever cared to find out what had happened to him, he’d be proud. Maybe he’d come home and reclaim the son he abandoned.

Probably not, but Jensen’s messed up enough in the head to hope.

The mysterious half-naked guy gives Jensen hope.



He starts testing his theory after his fall from the window. He goes to a biker bar and picks a fight. He’s holding his own until some big guy starts going at him with brass knuckles,, and Jensen gets shoved out the back door into a alley, where he catches a glimpse of Half-Naked Guy before he passes out behind the dumpster.

The next week he signs up for sky-diving lessons on his day off. When it’s time to pull his chute, he doesn’t, just to see what happens. His chute deploys automatically at the last second, even if he’s fairly sure he deliberately deactivated the auto feature.

And he could’ve sworn he caught a glimpse of something white and feathery, out of the corner of his eye, just before it happened.

This was getting weird.

When he falls off a roof the next week while rescuing an old lady’s kitten, he grabs hard when he feels the feathery embrace that cushions him just before he hits the ground.

“Who are you?”

He thinks he says it out loud, thinks he sees a look of surprise on the beautiful face hovering over him.

“I’m Jared,” the apparition answers, his voice husky and soft. Jensen thinks he seems a little startled, like he never expected Jensen to speak to him in the first place, and answered automatically before he could help himself.

Jensen passes out with a smile of triumph on his lips.

Jared.



He slips on a rock at the edge of a roaring river a few days later, hits his head as he falls into the freezing water. As he goes under he sees Jared’s watery shape above him, can almost make out his look of disbelief. Then Jensen’s pulling himself out of the river, soaked and shivering and coughing up a lungful of water. He catches the shadow of a huge wing out of the corner of his eye, blocking the sun, and turns toward it, lifting an arm to shade his eyes as he blinks up at his rescuer.

“Don’t go,” he gasps, but it’s too late.

Jared’s gone again.



It becomes a game. Jensen falls off a bridge, Jared saves him. He steps in front of a bus, Jared pushes him aside just before impact. He falls asleep at the wheel and his car wanders over the line into oncoming traffic. He jerks awake as the car stops safely on the shoulder, leaving him with the vague impression that someone else had been driving.

Jensen tells himself he’s not doing it deliberately, but deep inside he knows the truth. He’s always been a bit reckless. His mother used to tell him he had a guardian angel on his shoulder, because otherwise she couldn’t explain how he was still alive. It seems impossible that his mother might have been on to something, although Jensen still doesn’t think guardian angels are real.

But Jared’s real. He isn’t just a figment of Jensen’s imagination, he’s sure of that. And Jensen wants to see more of him.

By the time he steps into the back alley where he gets himself shot, Jensen’s made his mind up. He’ll get Jared to talk to him or die trying.



Jensen spends nearly a week in the hospital recovering from the gunshot wound. The doctors want to keep him long enough to be sure the antibiotics are working, so his wound doesn’t get infected. His recent near-drowning has made his lungs vulnerable to pneumonia, and the nurse keeps making him blow into a plastic tube to be sure he can take deep breaths.

It’s humiliating. Morgan has already informed him that he’s being benched. Jensen has been ordered to spend the next six months on desk duty, punishment for going alone into the alley without waiting for backup. In the meantime, he’s on paid administrative leave with orders to rest and recover fully before returning to work.

On his first day out of the hospital, Jared shows up in the flesh. Jensen’s already been planning ways to get Jared to appear again. He figures it happens when he’s close to death, so maybe overdosing on his painkillers will do the trick.

“Don’t even think about it.”

The soft, husky voice is behind him, and Jensen whirls so fast he almost loses his balance, arms outstretched to grab onto the man whose voice sends shivers up his spine.

Jared’s standing there, dressed in a suit and a long, black overcoat, looking for all the world like one of the detectives Jensen works with on a regular basis. He’s got his hands in the pockets of the overcoat, and there’s no sign of wings, or anything else protruding out of his back and shadowing his shoulders.

The look on his handsome face is grave, almost stern.

“Jared.”

“You almost got yourself killed, Jensen,” Jared says. “I almost couldn’t stop you.”

“Is that what you’re supposed to do?” Jensen jumps right in with the questions, ignoring the fact that he’s dressed in his sleeping shorts and t-shirt and nothing else, standing in the middle of his apartment living room with a strange man who’s been stalking him for at least six months, probably longer. “Are you supposed to keep me from dying?”

Jared’s eyes narrow. “You weren’t supposed to be able to see me,” he says. “You shouldn’t be able to hear me.”

“You’re standing right there,” Jensen says. “You’re talking to me. How am I not supposed to hear you or see you?”

“Of course you can see me now.” Jared rolls his eyes. “This is my human form. I use this when I need to blend in on Earth.”

“On Earth? Human form? What the hell, Jared? Are you supposed to be invisible when you’re naked and covered in feathers? Is that it?” Jensen’s feeling a little hysterical. He needs to keep Jared talking for fear he’ll disappear.

“Yes. But I’m not covered in feathers. I have wings. They have feathers.”

Jensen stares, shaking his head a little, trying to clear it. None of this makes a lick of sense. “What the hell’s going on here, Jared? Huh? What’s happening? Am I going crazy?”

Jared winces, his eyes flickering down at the floor. “No,” he says softly. “You aren’t going crazy.”

“Then what’s going on? Why are you stalking me?”

“I’m not – stalking you,” Jared protests. He seems annoyed, but more with himself than with Jensen. “I’m supposed to be protecting you. Not doing a very good job, obviously.”

“Protecting me?” Jensen stares. “From what?”

“Yourself, apparently,” Jared snaps. “You have an exceptionally low instinct for caution.”

“So I’ve been told,” Jensen says. He feels a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Crazy people laugh out loud sometimes. Is this how it feels? “So you’re my what? Guardian angel?”

“Yes. But you’d better put that in the past tense. I was your guardian angel, before I failed to save you from that gunshot that almost killed you. Now it’s over. I’ll be reassigned soon enough.”

“What? Why? Wait. They can do that? Just send you away to guard somebody else? Then what? Do I get a new angel?”

Jared looks away, but not before Jensen catches the hurt look in his eyes. “I’m not privy to that information,” he says, his voice so soft it’s almost a whisper. “I imagine they’ll assign an angel who can do the job. Someone with more experience. You’ll be fine.”

Jensen hadn’t considered this. It’s never occurred to him that his recklessness might get Jared in trouble. The whole point had been to bring him closer, to get him to come to Jensen. To let Jensen see him.

“So you’re here to say goodbye, is that it? Before you go off to guard somebody else?”

Jensen’s angry. This is not how this was supposed to go. He’d wanted answers, sure, but finding out he’ll never see Jared again is not the answer he’s been hoping for.

“I won’t be guarding anyone else,” Jared shakes his head. “I’ve been demoted. They took my wings.”

“What? They can do that? What does that mean? How can you be an angel if you don’t have your wings?”

“Goodbye, Jensen,” Jared says, and it’s the saddest thing Jensen’s ever heard.

Jared disappears into thin air, leaving Jensen with a feeling of loss so profound it brings tears to his eyes.



Jensen spends the next few days looking for Jared.

He’s not sure how a person goes about looking for an ex-guardian angel, but he figures he might know someone who does.

After he empties the pills onto the bed he sits down to write a note, addressing it to “Jared’s replacement.” He leaves the note on his desk while he runs a warm bath, scooping up the pills when he leaves the room. He figures he won’t have to actually swallow the pills, but he doesn’t want to mess up. For this to work, his new guardian angel will need to believe he’ll go through with it.

In the bathroom, he undresses slowly, leaving his clothes folded on a chair next to the bathtub. He’s done his research, knows the dosage will be enough to do the job. He’s been refilling the prescription for two weeks now without taking a single pill, so he’s pretty well stocked up. Not much chance for error.

He fills a water glass and studies himself in the mirror over the sink. He’s pale and gaunt after weeks of inactivity and modified diet. The freckles across his nose are more pronounced and his eyes look unusually huge and fever-bright, although he doesn’t have an infection. His wound is almost completely healed. There’s just a dull ache in his chest where the bullet went in. Sometimes he feels the exit wound, just under his shoulder blade, but not today.

He scoops the pills into his left hand and glances down at them. He’s just starting to lift them to his mouth when he hears the faint flutter of wings.

A beautiful woman with long red hair stands behind him, staring daggers at him in the mirror.

“Shit!”

Jensen drops the pills and they scatter across the tile floor. He grabs hold of the edges of the sink to keep his knees from buckling, starts to turn around before he remembers he’s stark naked. The woman is wearing an off-white jumpsuit that covers her from neck to toe, and Jensen can see the shadow of something feathery rising from behind her shoulders.

“So it’s true,” the woman says. Her voice is high and girlish, with a snarky edge to it that makes her seem more devil than angel.

Jensen’s terrified. “Wh— What’s true?” he stammers.

“You can see angels,” she answers. “We thought maybe Jared was doing something wrong.”

“No! No. It’s not his fault. I mean, whatever happened, it’s not his fault, okay? I just— I need to talk to him.”

“Huh.” The woman looks him up and down, eyebrow arched delicately.

Jensen blushes and reaches for a towel. She watches as he wraps it around his waist, turns awkwardly till he’s facing her. She doesn’t disappear, but she doesn’t move aside, either. She just rolls her tongue in her cheek, her lips pursed in an expression of mocking disdain.

“You think you get to give orders, do you?”

“I’m not giving any orders,” Jensen protests. “I just need to talk to Jared.”

“Sounds like you already did,” she notes. “That’s how he got demoted, just so you know. Talking to humans is expressly forbidden. Duh.”

“But we didn’t — He didn’t talk to me first,” Jensen stutters. “He just answered me when I asked him a question.”

“You asked him a question,” the angel repeats, her tone dripping with sarcasm. “Let me guess. You wanted him to tell you the meaning of life.”

“I asked him for his name,” Jensen says.

“His name,” she repeats.

Jensen nods, squares his shoulders in an attempt at bravado. “What’s yours?”

The angel arches an eyebrow, her cupid’s bow mouth forming a tight little smile. “Danneel.”

‘Well, Danneel, welcome to my bathroom. Mind if I put on some pants?”

“I do, actually.” Danneel looks him up and down, amusement making her eyes sparkle. “I believe I can see what Jared saw in you.”

Jensen bristles. “I don’t swing that way,” he clarifies, not for the first time.

Danneel’s eyebrow goes up again. “Of course you don’t,” she agrees. “You’re into Jared. Not that I blame you. He really is gorgeous, isn’t he?”

“I don’t — That’s not what this is about,” Jensen insists. Because it isn’t. He’s not sure exactly what it is about with Jared, but he’s damn sure it’s not sex. Or just sex. “Anyway, can angels even do that? I thought they were pure. Sexless. Created by God without sin and all that.”

“Jared’s human now,” Danneel points out. “Thanks to you.”

Jensen’s heart swoops. He’s not sure why, but this is the best news he’s heard since— Well, since forever.

“How can I find him?”

“What do you want with him?” Danneel asks. “He can’t give you eternal life. He can’t grant wishes, if that’s what you’re after. Can’t guarantee you’ll get into Heaven when you die. He’s not even a powerful supernatural creature anymore. He’s just a guy who used to be an angel.”

“I just want to talk to him,” Jensen insists. “That’s all.”

“He fell from Heaven for you,” Danneel says, bitter. “I lost my best friend because of you.”

“I’m sorry,” Jensen says sincerely. “I just need to see him.”

“Why?” Danneel shakes her head. “What possible good would it do? You’ve already ruined his life. What more do you want from him?”

Jensen hesitates. He’s not sure he has an answer to that question, but he definitely doesn’t want to piss off a powerful supernatural entity.

“I need to thank him for saving my life,” Jensen says. “More than once.”

“That’s all?” Danneel peers at him skeptically.

“I want to tell him I’m sorry,” Jensen says. “I never meant for this to happen.”

Danneel’s features soften noticeably. “You’re in love with him,” she pronounces.

Jensen blushes to the tips of his ears, stares at his feet, at the bathtub, anywhere but at the angel.

“I barely know him,” he mutters, his voice cracking.

“Oh my God, you’re both such idiots,” Danneel says. She sounds more exasperated than bitter. “Okay. I’ll talk to him. If he wants to see you, he’ll let you know.”

She disappears, making Jensen jump backwards against the sink, causing his glass of water to smash onto the tiles at his feet.

“Shit!” he exclaims as he drops his towel. He bends over quickly to retrieve it, jumps as the angel reappears behind him.

“By the way.” Danneel’s eyes rake over Jensen’s nakedness, his bent-over position. She smirks as he straightens up and turns to face her, holding the towel awkwardly in front of him. “You might want to be a little more careful from now on. It’s not like you’ve got a guardian angel watching over you anymore.”

“What? But I thought—“

“You thought I was your new guardian angel?” Danneel rolls her eyes. “Please. After what happened to Jared, no one will have you. You’re just lucky I happened to be checking in on you when you decided to pull your little stunt.”

“Don’t tell him,” Jensen says quickly. “You won’t tell him, will you? I don’t want him to hate me when I haven’t even had a chance to thank him properly.”

Danneel shakes her head. “You’re cute. Don’t worry, handsome. He’s not going to hate you, I can promise you that.”

After the angel disappears, Jensen agonizes over everything she said. He wonders what he’s supposed to do now, whether he should wait for Jared to contact him or go out searching randomly. He checks his phone constantly for messages. He worries that Danneel will tell Jared that Jensen’s in love with him, which can’t possibly be true.

Can it?

Jensen was under stress every time Jared appeared. That’s all this is. It’s not love, it’s gratitude. He’s grateful to Jared for saving his life, multiple times. Like he told Danneel, he just wants a chance to thank Jared. That’s all. Any other feelings are simply a response to the adrenaline rush of the moment, being under duress at being pulled from the edge of death. It’s the memory of the thrill of being rescued. His pounding heart, his sweating palms, the way his breath gets short when he remembers how it felt to be held by Jared when he expected to be in terrible pain.

Jensen just wants a chance to tell Jared how much he appreciates everything he did to keep Jensen alive.

Honest.



As it turns out, Jensen doesn’t have to wait long.

Every morning on his way to work for as long as Jensen can remember, he’s stopped at Sam’s Diner for breakfast. Since he’s been out on leave, Jensen’s been here at least once a week, just to keep the regulars from worrying about him.

The morning after Danneel’s visit, Jensen goes to Sam’s, just like he’s done for years. But this time, for the first time ever, Jared’s there.

He’s sitting at a booth near the back, away from the door but facing it. He’s wearing the same suit and black overcoat that he wore when he appeared in Jensen’s apartment, over a week ago now, and he’s so beautiful it makes Jensen’s chest ache. The sunlight filtering in through the blinds gives his hair reddish highlights, and when he lifts his eyes to Jensen’s they’re so green it’s as if Jensen’s staring into a mirror. It’s a trick of the light; Jensen knows from past experience that Jared’s eyes aren’t green, but there’s a lot of green in them, along with blue and golden brown.

What? Jensen’s observant, that’s all.

“Hey,” Jensen says, and it’s only later that it occurs to him that he was ignoring the regulars who called his name, greeting him as he moved down the room without hearing them. It’s like they aren’t even there. He coasts across the floor without being aware of moving at all, like Jared’s a magnet pulling him in.

Jared’s big hands are wrapped around his coffee cup. He watches Jensen apprehensively until Jensen stops beside his table, glancing awkwardly at the seat opposite, unsure of his welcome.

“May I join you?”

Jared nods, gesturing with his eyes at the empty seat, and Jensen slides into the booth, folding his hands on the tabletop in front of him. He’s aware of not touching Jared, of keeping his hands and knees from even accidentally brushing against the former angel, but it’s not easy. Jensen suddenly wants to touch Jared like it’s the only thing he’s ever wanted. He’s desperate for it.

“Hi, Jensen,” the waitress greets him cheerfully. “What’ll it be? The usual?”

“Sure, Briana,” Jensen nods. “That’ll be fine. Thank you.”

“You got it,” Briana says, glancing at Jared before heading back to the kitchen. Everyone in the diner is suspicious of Jared. Jensen can feel it. He’s a stranger here.

“Thanks for coming,” Jensen says softly, then corrects himself. “I mean, thanks for being here.” He clears his throat, glances out the window, gives a nervous chuckle. “I guess Danneel told you I wanted to talk to you.”

“She did.”

Jensen chuckles again. It’s a nervous habit. “Okay. So, um. I just wanted to thank you.”

Jared nods.

“I mean, I wanted you to know how much I appreciate what you did for me,” Jensen says. And I think I’m in love with you.

Jared looks away, takes a quick breath and lets it out slow. He lifts the coffee cup to his lips, sets it down again.

“And I’m sorry I screwed everything up for you,” Jensen says. “That wasn’t my intention, you gotta believe me.”

“No, I know,” Jared says to his coffee cup. “It’s not your fault.”

“So you’re human now,” Jensen says, cringing at his own attempt to be conversational.

“Technically, I’m a fallen angel,” Jared says, still staring into his coffee. “Earth-bound. From now on, I’m stuck here, on Earth.”

Jensen’s heart swoops in his chest and the blood rushes to his head. He knows he should be feeling sorry for Jared, or at least feeling guilty for causing something bad to happen to him, but he just doesn’t. For Jensen, this is good news.

“Okay,” Jensen nods. “So you’re new in town, am I right? You’re looking for work? A place to stay?”

Jared lifts his eyes, meets Jensen’s gaze. “I’m hungry,” he says softly. “My human body needs to eat.”

“Of course it does!” Jensen feels his face break into a smile of pure relief. This, he can fix.

Briana takes that moment to arrive with Jensen’s plate of food. “I’ll have one more,” he tells her. “For my friend.”

“One more breakfast special, coming up,” Briana nods, flashing her best dimpled smile. She’s warming up to Jared now that he’s clearly a friend of Jensen’s. And a paying customer.

Jensen pushes the plate of food across the table toward Jared. “Eat. I’ll wait for the next one.”

Jensen watches as Jared pokes the food with his fork, spearing a small bite of egg and raising it to his nose. He sniffs, looks up at Jensen, then puts the food in his mouth and chews slowly.

“Good, huh?” Jensen grins. “Huh?”

Jared nods solemnly, his eyes glazing over as he takes another bite, then another. By the time Briana returns with Jensen’s plate, Jared’s is clean. He casts a calculating gaze on Jensen’s plate, and Jensen shakes his head.

“Slow down there, bud. How long has it been since you’ve eaten?”

Jared thinks about that for a moment. “Three days,” he says finally.

“Yeah, you need to eat more often than that.” Jensen’s appalled. “Humans tend to eat three times a day. We need a lot of calories to stay healthy.”

Jared reaches for his glass of water, and Jensen reaches out on instinct, closing his hand over Jared’s.

The ex-angel looks up, startled. His lips part and his cheeks flush pink, but he doesn’t remove his hand.

“Do you need a place to stay?” Jensen asks. “You can stay with me. I’ve got a couch that folds down, and I’ll feed you. Help you get a job. Whatever you need.”

Jared lowers his eyes, pulls his hand away slowly and sits back in the booth.

“I can’t ask you to help me,” he says. “I can’t repay you.”

“You already did. You saved my life, man. More than once. The least I can do is offer you a place to stay till you get back on your feet, or whatever it is angels do to get their shit together.”

“Pretty sure I’ll be on my feet from now on,” Jared says. “It’s not like I’ll get my wings back.”

“That’s settled, then.” Jensen decides to ignore Jared’s moroseness. It’s too much like depression, or regret. Jensen doesn’t want to think about how much Jared wishes he wasn’t human, wishes he wasn’t here with Jensen.

Jensen’s far too happy about Jared’s humanity, however wrong that might be. He can’t help it.

He wants Jared to stay.

ON TO PART TWO
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