Title: like vines we intertwined
Pairing: Alan/Donna, Gerry/Sherri, Jensen/Jared.
Word Count: ~ 3,300
Disclaimer: Look up the word ‘fiction’ in the dictionary. You will not find a picture of this story, but the definition of the word ‘fiction’, which this is.
Summary: This is the story of how Alan met Gerry, who fell in love with Sherri, who introduced him to Donna. It's a story about family, both born and made, and how fate had a very roundabout way of bringing together two boys that were simply made for each other.
Notes: Another charity fic! This one is for the lovely j_rea, who wanted some back story for Jared and Jensen's parents in the reinventing love 'verse. So that's what this is. Thanks to kamikaze_redux for the beta. ♥
Sometimes fate really does bring people together.
Alan Ackles had always been ambitious, destined for great things. That’s why he uprooted himself from his parents’ small farm in Texas to go to college in California. His mother and father were not pleased with his decision; they wanted him to stay in Texas, take over the farm.
Alan loved his parents, he really did. But he had no desire to stay in Texas. He was bored of it, sick of red dirt being on everything he owned, but mainly he was done with his overbearing, prejudiced parents.
Alan had always been a very accepting person. He never thought it was okay when someone was judged for something that was a part of them, be it race, creed, or sexual orientation. Sure, he believed in God, but he didn’t believe Him to be so full of hate.
California had been a dream of his, like so many teenagers wanting to be free. But he didn’t have dreams of fame or fortune; he just wanted to be himself.
Still, for all his bravado, when it came right down to it, he was just a country boy suddenly trying to find his way in the big city, and it showed. He loved his school, loved the sea salt smell of the ocean, loved the skyscrapers downtown, but he was still out of his element.
It weighed heavily on him, made his chest tight with anxiety, and he was frozen to a spot in the crowd, eyes bugging as he looked at various advertisements for nearby eateries on a bulletin board just because he was so sick of cafeteria food, when Gerry Padalecki took pity on him.
“I think I can smell your brain frying, man,” he had said, and Alan had turned to him desperately. They exchanged introductions and Gerry took him out to lunch, some fantastic little Asian place where they ate with their hands.
Gerry had grown up in Los Angeles, knew the area well, and took it upon himself to help Alan get to know the city. The two became fast friends, the very best of, and little by little Alan became more acclimated to the area.
The two got along so well, that instead of Alan going home to visit his family after the first semester, he moved into the empty bedroom in the apartment Gerry shared with a long-haired guy named Kevin.
Near the end of their freshman year, Gerry became enamored with a pretty little brunette named Sherri Spanos. “Our names rhyme,” Gerry had told him. “That’s fate.”
Alan had sat back and watched, amused, as Gerry approached Sherri in the quad. She was lying in the grass on her stomach, clad in a bikini top and denim shorts, soaking up sun as she read a book. It was the first time that Alan had ever seen Gerry act shy, and it was a fascinating thing to witness.
He watched proudly as Gerry sat down next to her in the grass and politely introduced himself. Sherri had rolled to her side, pushing her sunglasses up into her hair as she smiled up at him, and that was that.
Alan was there to see them off on their first official date, witnessing Gerry shelving his wild ways as they grew closer. He told her that he loved her on the first night of that summer, and when he came home that night, he told Alan that he was going to marry her. Alan knew that he meant it.
“She’s got a friend that’s perfect for you,” Gerry had said one night. Alan had been in a horrible mood, tense and tired from a long fight over the phone with his mother. He was supposed to come home and work on the farm for the summer, but instead he was staying in Los Angeles. That was his home now, not some dusty farm in Texas.
“Are you listening to me? Her name’s Donna. Total fox and sharp as a tack,” Gerry said, punching Alan’s shoulder as they sat around a bonfire on the beach surrounded by friends. “Sherri’s bringing her tonight.”
And that was how Alan met Donna Murphy – on a beach under the twinkling stars, faces lit by flickering firelight. Alan wasn’t expecting much when Gerry had told him of his plans to set him up. It wasn’t like it was the first time he had done so, but it was the first time that meeting a girl had left him breathless.
Donna was blonde and slender, hair tumbling down her back in messy, windswept curls. She wasn’t wearing any make-up, or if she was Alan couldn’t tell, and her hands were buried in a sweatshirt emblazed with their school’s logo. How Alan had never seen her before was beyond him.
Sherri introduced them with Gerry’s arm slung over her shoulders, and Donna blushed. Alan could see it, even with the firelight dancing on her cheeks. She was beautiful.
They took a walk on the beach, heading away from their friends and the noise. Alan had held out his hand, lips quirked hopefully, and she had taken it. They found a small, hidden alcove and talked for what seemed like forever, until the moon was just this tiny thing up in the sky.
She shivered as the wind swept around them and he wrapped an arm around her, pulled her close. And she kissed him, right there, as the waves lapped gently at the shore.
Alan had buried his fingers in her messy hair and knew, just knew, that she was the only woman he was ever going to kiss again.
So then it was the four of them, two sets of best friends that had fallen in love. It was the perfect set up. Alan loved Sherri and her sense of humor, and Gerry had sat, rapt and attentive, as Donna taught him how to cook.
They all got along so well that by the end of their sophomore year, they were living together in a tiny bungalow off campus. Gerry and Sherri had one bedroom and Donna and Alan took the other. It was a little unorthodox, maybe, but it saved them money and it wasn’t like they all didn’t get along, anyway.
Alan took Donna home to meet his parents during their junior year. Donna was perfectly polite, smiling prettily and telling them they had a wonderful home. She looked almost comically out of place on the ranch, with her flowing sundress and sandals, sun bleached hair and freckles on her tanned skin.
His parents didn’t like her, of course. They thought she was too independent, she had too many big ideas in her head, she didn’t need him and wouldn’t make a good, obedient housewife. Every single thing they hated was a thing that Alan loved about her, and he was smiling when he hung up the phone.
Three days later, he proposed. He asked her to marry him on the beach where they first met, and she had tackled him down into the sand with tears in her eyes.
But most importantly, she said yes.
“I can’t believe you beat me,” Gerry had said when Alan asked him to be his best man. “A beach proposal under the stars? Jesus, how am I gonna top that?”
“At this point, I’m pretty sure you asking would just be a formality,” Alan had replied, and Gerry grinned at him.
Less than one month later, Sherri and Donna were comparing engagement rings. It wasn’t a competition or a race, not by a longshot. They just all seemed to be on the same path, wanted all the same things, and they were best friends. They wanted to conquer all their milestones together.
Donna and Alan got married in a small church in Los Angeles, a concession for his parents. They were happy for him, despite their initial disdain for Donna. The ceremony was small, and it was beautiful, and Alan had never been happier.
A small house went up for rent a block and a half down the street from the one they all rented together, same landlord and everything, and they flipped a coin to see which couple would take it.
Donna and Alan moved in as husband and wife, painted the walls and made the place their own.
Six months later, Gerry and Sherri got married on Christmas Eve. They honeymooned at Disneyland, and Donna and Alan talked about how they’d bring their kids someday while the newlyweds hardly left their room. But not that they could blame them, they understood.
Alan went to law school, studying long hours while his friends started their careers. Gerry joined a contracting firm and Sherri became an elementary school teacher like she always wanted. His wife was a little more undecided. She worked a lot of different places, but it always came back to cooking.
She enrolled in a culinary program while waitressing at night. Alan worked his own odd jobs between studying and they were able to make rent, sometimes just barely, and fall in bed together late at night, exhausted but satisfied.
Alan’s hard work paid off. Donna, Gerry, and Sherri sat next to Alan’s parents when he graduated from law school, and he’ll never forget the looks on their faces as his wife and friends screamed when his name was called.
Alan quickly landed a job at a law firm, and soon it was obvious that both couples needed to move out of their little bungalows near the school they had long since graduated from. It made Alan’s chest ache in a distressing way, to think of them splitting up, but the feeling didn’t last long.
“Pasadena’s a nice place to raise a family,” Gerry had said as they all ate dinner together one night. “Not too bad of a commute. How’s that sound to you guys?”
They went to look at houses that weekend.
Donna and Alan ended up in a modest two-story just around the corner from Gerry and Sherri, but the home felt too big, too many empty bedrooms, not enough noise.
Alan was settling in nicely to his new job working for a prominent law firm specializing in entertainment when Sherri told them she was pregnant. He clapped a hand down on Gerry’s shoulder as the girls hugged each other. Donna caught his eye over Sherri’s shoulder and smiled at him.
He wasn’t at all surprised when she sat him down one month later and told him she wanted a baby.
“It’d be great,” she told him. “We could help each other out and our kids will grow up together.”
“Are you sure we shouldn’t let them scout it out for us?” Alan joked. “Let them do all the hard work so we know what to expect?”
She just smiled at him, long hair curled around her neck and tumbling down her chest, and Alan pulled her close and kissed her.
A little over a month later, Alan woke up to the sound of her retching into the toilet, and he smiled.
Gerry and Sherri welcomed little baby Jeff into the world, and Donna held the tiny bundle in her arms, her own stomach huge with their own son. Jeff had rested easily on the bulge of her stomach, and she laughed through her tears as she looked at his tiny face. “You’re gonna have someone to play with soon,” she told him, and Gerry and Sherri looked on happily. “You’ll be very best friends.”
When Joshua was born, Alan realized that there was this whole part of his heart that he’d never used before, or maybe it just grew to accommodate the overwhelming love he felt for his son.
They had families now; good, happy lives, and it was wonderful.
Four years later, life had only continued to improve. Josh and Jeff started kindergarten, and Donna got a familiar gleam in her eye.
“We’re racing,” Donna had confessed after the third time they’d made love in one day, wrapped up in sweaty sheets. “Whoever gets pregnant first wins.”
Alan had laughed at the notion, but he always did have a bit of a competitive streak. Donna had giggled when he rolled them over, and they devoted themselves fully to the competition.
They won, and it took almost four months for Gerry and Sherri to catch up. These pregnancies went smoother than the first round, and Gerry and Alan let themselves into each other’s kitchens in the middle of the night because one of them would usually have what the other’s wife craved. It was a good system.
Jensen came along and Jeff and Josh eyed the infant curiously, tiny eyes wide as Jensen squealed. Sherri went through the same process that Donna did with Jeff, holding Jensen against her stomach and introducing him to his future best friend.
"You're gonna have a best friend soon, little guy," Sherri said as she stroked her finger down Jensen's chubby, tiny cheek. "And you'll love each other very much."
Donna and Alan couldn’t make it to the hospital when Jared was born. He came early and they couldn’t find a last-minute sitter, so they took Jeff while they went to the hospital. Sherri called Donna that night, sleepy and happy as Gerry rocked a tiny blue bundle in his arms. Donna pleaded for them stop by and introduce them to Jared, if they weren’t too tired.
“Now there’s two of them,” Josh had said when they came by, stumbling downstairs with Jeff in tiny pajamas to see what all the commotion was about. Gerry introduced Jeff to his little brother, and then Sherri put him in Jensen’s crib at Sherri’s suggestion.
Jensen barely stirred, nudging closer to the bundle of warmth as he slept on peacefully.
It pleased Alan to no end how well all the kids got along, and he was glad they each had someone their age to grow up with. Donna always was a smart girl.
Jared and Jensen were absolutely inseparable. All they wanted was to play with each other, and they vocalized it loud and often as soon as they were able.
Jensen’s first word was “dada”, which made Alan proud and smug. His second was “mama”, and his third, to no one’s surprise, was “Jare”.
Donna and Alan won the third and final race. Mackenzie was born two months before Megan, and they all had a good laugh over how lucky they were. Two boys and a girl each, all paired up with a best friend at birth.
Alan learned early on that your family doesn’t have to be your blood. You can make your own family, and Gerry was his brother in every way that really counted.
They were all one big, weird, codependent family, and they liked it that way.
Life went on. Gerry and Alan both moved up the rankings at their respective companies. Alan became partner at his law firm, dressing in expensive suits and being surrounded by celebrities and agents and stuffy lawyers all day long. He loved his job, truly, but he loved nothing more than coming home to his family.
Josh and Jeff graduated high school and it was no surprise that they chose the same school that their parents went to, or that they moved in together after their first semester.
When Jensen, freshly sixteen, sat his parents down and told them that he was gay in a voice that was shaky, but very sure, Alan wasn’t sure how to react at first. They had suspected, Donna more than him, but he figured that it was no use worrying over something that might not even be true.
So when Jensen told them, Donna immediately pulled him into a hug. But his eyes were on Alan’s. He looked afraid, like a lost little boy, even as his mother held him.
It was Alan that he was worried about, not her.
Jensen’s entire life flashed by Alan’s eyes in an instant, from the tiny bundle he held in his arms to the scared teenager looking at him then. If there was anything in the world that could make Alan not love Jensen anymore, being gay certainly wasn’t it.
“I’m glad that you were able to tell us, son,” he had told him, and Jensen blinked. “This doesn’t change how we feel about you. If this is who you are, we love you just the same. It doesn’t matter.”
Alan will never forget the smile that spread across Jensen’s face at his words, the shadows that were lifted from his eyes. He let go of Donna to hug him then, arms locked tight around his father’s neck.
“Thanks, Dad,” he whispered. “I just want you to be proud of me.”
“I am,” Alan replied, and that was that. He had a gay son. He knew how his parents would react to the news, and he vowed to love Jensen even harder to make up for the love that he would soon lose.
Donna noticed it first. There was a sadness in his eyes sometimes, a tense set of his shoulders. Something was haunting their son.
“He’s in love with Jared,” Donna told him one night, and Alan blinked a few times before looking away from his book. It made sense, when he thought about it. Jensen looked at Jared differently now, smiles tinged with something almost resigned and sad.
Jared had just called it quits with a girl named Alexis, and Alan questioned the timing of it all.
“Do you think…“ He trailed off, looking at Donna pointedly. She shook her head sadly, teeth digging into her bottom lip.
“No, I don’t think Jared even knows, let alone feels the same.” She sounded so sad, her voice matching Jensen’s eyes, that same resigned twist.
Alan knew that there was little chance that this would end well, and he sighed as he looked over at his wife.
His second son graduated high school in the happiest state that Alan had ever seen, eyes always bright and smile wide.
It wasn’t long before he figured out the cause. Jensen and Jared had about as much sublety as a brick to the face, always mooning over each other when they thought that no one else was looking, sneaking off with an excitement that was never there before.
When Jensen told his parents that he and Jared had fallen in love, that they were happy, Alan had said were we supposed to be surprised? when what he really meant was thank god.
“When we were back in college, getting high and chasing girls, did you ever think that quarter of a century later we’d be living around the corner from each other and our kids would be falling in love?”
Gerry poised the question with a beer in his hand, barely looking up from the grill as he flipped burgers. Alan squinted and looked out into the yard, at his family seated at a picnic table in the grass.
Everyone looked so happy; Megan and Mac giggling over something, Sherri and Donna laughing with their heads tossed back, Josh and Jeff shoving food into their faces, and Jared and Jensen at the end. Jared had his arm wrapped around Jensen’s shoulders, fingers tangled as Jared gestured wildly at Jeff, other arm waving around in the air as he told a story. Jensen listened with his eyes closed, head resting on Jared’s shoulder. He was smiling.
“Nah,” Alan had finally replied, and he clinked his beer against Gerry’s. “But I can’t say that I’m all that surprised.”
He looked over at the table in time to see Jared lean down to give Jensen a kiss. It used to make him slightly uncomfortable to see them be affectionate with each other, no matter how okay he was with them being together. But then all he saw was how much they loved each other, and that’s what mattered.
“Wanna go dutch on the wedding?” Gerry had asked with a smirk, and Alan tossed him a smile before looking back at his family.