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30 April 2009 @ 09:56 pm
Are You My Mother: Part 1  
Title: Are you my mother?
Author: acquiescence_
Rating: G
Pairing: J2
Word count: ~13,710
Disclaimer: Not real obviously.
Summary: Little Orphan Jared wants to find his family.
Author's notes: Written for j2_everafter, based loosely on the tale of Annie. I have always loved Annie and so I jumped at the chance to create an AU for this fun story, and the boys just seem to fit in it so well. This has now become the longest fandom thing I've written and I'm quite proud of that fact.

Much loves and kisses and gropes to sparkysparky for her hand holding, grammar-correcting skills, and help coming up with way to help me when I got stuck. I am quite sure this never would have been finished without your help, ILU BB.

Enjoy :)

Part 1 | Part 2

The thing was, being an orphan wasn't all that terrible. Sure it wasn't exactly the high life, and that whole not having parents thing really kind of sucked, but all in all there were worse ways to live.

Chad had always said that Jared didn't mind their lot in life because he was the only one of them who really had folks out there somewhere. Which was true, and Jared was bound and determined to go find them once he was old enough to get out of this place – he'd tried that whole running away thing more than once over the years and in the end all it got him was a sore backside and an empty stomach.

Just a few more months though, and Jared would be out of this place. He was going to put this place behind him and start looking for his folks the way he'd always wanted. Just a few more months.

At the moment he was sitting on a window ledge looking out at the streets of New York at night – Chad might have been right for once, he was getting too damn tall to be cramming himself into the little bit of space by the window. But Jared didn't care – he liked looking out at the city; liked watching the people slowly return to their homes.

Sometimes he'd think about the sort of home he might have had with his parents. It was probably boss. Some nights, when things got bad when yet another of his friends had been adopted and taken away from him, it was all that had gotten him through, thinking about his folks – his mom and his dad, they hadn't wanted to leave him – he just knew it, and Ms. Ferris had told him about the note, the one that said they'd come back for him when they could, they hadn't wanted to leave him. Who would want to leave him after all?

In any case his folks had left him with a pocket watch, though the cover was broken. Split in half actually – his folks had the other half, that way when they found each other again they'd know it was right. Inside there was an inscription, well half an inscription, Jared never could piece it together – he'd have to wait until he found his folks, until they put it back together. He wore the pocket watch every day, tucked into the pocket of his jeans, pulling it out at random intervals throughout the day to check the time – like he was on a schedule or something.

He sighed leaning his head back against the wall behind him, just a few more months; he could make it that long. Just a few more months and he would be out of there, and off to find his parents.

"I thought you said you weren't going to try running away anymore," Chad said, sighing as he laid back on one of the beds in the dormitory.

"I know," Jared told him, not bothering to actually stop what he was doing to look at Chad; he knew better than that and he didn't want to get distracted. There was just a month left before he would be leaving the home, and he found that the less time he actually had to spend there the harder it was to stay.

And so for the second time in as many weeks he was planning yet another escape attempt. This time he was pretty sure it would work - despite Chad's derisive comments. Chad never had anything good to say about his plans, though he was always there helping him out - Jared never doubted he always would be too.

"You're gonna get caught," Chad told him, staring up at the ceiling.

It was still dark out, just a few hours before sunrise most likely. Jared paused what he was doing long enough to pull out his watch and check before tucking it carefully away into his pocket again.

"You always say that." He grinned.

"And I'm always right too."

"Not this time."

"You always say that."

"This time it's true." Jared was convinced that this time his plan would work - though really when compared to some of the plans he'd had in the past this one didn't quite rank up there with the best plans. He was tying together the sheets from the bed, the Hudson Street Home for Boys didn't have a lot of ways out, there was the front door and the back, but there were plenty of windows and Jared planned on using one of these to his advantage tonight.

He'd taken all the sheets off the beds in the room, despite the protests of the other residents; they had blankets they wouldn't freeze; besides, he needed them more. As he tightened the final knot Jared nodded decisively. "There, I think it's ready."

"This is stupid; does this even work outside of the movies?" Chad asked again as he sat up, looking at the pile of sheets on the bed where Jared had been working. "You're going to break your neck."

Jared ignored Chad and bundled up the sheets heading for the window. "Look, all you have to do is pull this back up when I'm down," he told Chad as he secured one end of his makeshift rope to the frame of the nearest bed.

"Yeah, yeah." Chad rolled his eyes. "Say hi to Sophia for me if you see her." He winked at Jared at this thought.

"You ought to come too, say hi to her yourself," Jared pressed for the fourth time that night. Chad was always mooning after Sophia Bush, the girl who walked past the home nearly every day, he'd even managed to grab her attention a few times, getting her to stop and talk. Jared could tell he was head over heels for her, not that Chad would ever have admitted to it.

"Are you kidding? Ms. Ferris will tan your hide when you get caught, and I'd rather my skin stayed smooth, thank you very much." Ms. Ferris wasn't a bad woman, she wasn't particularly cruel to the boys under her care, but she was strict.

Jared rolled his eyes, Chad always the vain one, though he didn't really blame him, he'd gotten the belt more times than he could count living there - but this time he was sure it would work. It had to, he couldn't stay here for another month, couldn't keep waiting to find his folks. He had to get out, he knew they were just waiting on him and he couldn't keep putting this off.

Tossing the bundle out the window, Jared leaned out and watched the rope wind its way down to the ground. "Alright, wish me luck."

"Nope," Chad said, shaking his head.

Jared didn't pause before he was climbing out the window and carefully making his way down the rope. It didn't take him too long before his feet were on the ground. "Made it," he called up as quietly as he could, and Chad leaned his head out the window before he started hauling the sheets back up.

"See you tomorrow," Chad called with a laugh as Jared gave him a wave and headed down the street.

All the shops were still closed, though people were setting up as he walked down the streets. Grocers setting out bins of apples and peaches, his mouth watered as he walked past; it wasn't often they got fresh fruit in, the few funds that came in were dedicated to other necessities, and any fruit they got was of the canned variety. He might have to pinch an apple or two later in the day - not now though, not enough people around, wouldn't be able to blend in well. Not that he ever blended in well, it was difficult do to when you towered over most people - Jared had lamented this fact since a growth spurt hit him when he was 15, and though there were times when it came in handy he thought he’d rather have preferred being able to blend in.

Later in the day he would definitely wish he could blend in more, but for the time being he was fine. He'd swiped an apple and was just rubbing it against his chest when he heard a whistle behind him. He immediately stiffened, standing still where he was and very slowly turning to look behind him - sure enough not too far behind him was a familiar face.

He'd never actually learned the name of the man who always seemed to catch him whenever he was out - but he knew that face. He'd seen it plenty of times over the years. He was always coming around to see Ms. Ferris, Jared had it on pretty good authority that the two might have had a bit of a thing for one another.

Thankfully, the man was far enough away today that Jared had a chance of dodging him. So rather than wait for him to catch up, Jared ducked his head and sped off, heading into an alley in hopes of losing the other man.

It didn't take long for Jared to feel confident that he'd lost the other man and he breathed a sigh of relief, sinking down to an overturned box in an alley way and leaning his back against the brick wall behind him. Now that being caught wasn't at the forefront of his mind his thoughts returned to the apple he'd tucked away in his pocket while he'd been running. He pulled it out carefully and grinned - still looked pretty good.

As he settled in with his apple Jared hummed to himself working on his plan now that he was out on the streets. His initial plan had really been just the escape, and now that he'd accomplished that he needed to work on Phase 2. He chewed slowly, enjoying the apple and coming up with different ways that he might go about finding his folks. He'd already tried asking Ms. Ferris, and she'd never been any help. So he was a bit of a roadblock but he wasn't too worried.

As he sat there working on his plan and eating his apple, Jared was mostly oblivious to the world around him, until he was tapped on the shoulder. He immediately stiffened and turned slowly to look into that same familiar face he'd been running away from earlier. His shoulder slumped and he sighed.

"Can't you just leave me alone? I'm getting out in a month anyway, so what's a few extra weeks?" he asked, not even standing up.

"Can't leave you out here on the street, boy," the man said gruffly, grabbing Jared by the scruff of his shirt and pulling him up. "You know how Ms. Ferris worries about you boys." .He marched Jared straight back to the Hudson Street Home for Boys as he talked about how Jared should have a little more respect for Ms. Ferris, and not worry her so much.

Jared went without too much protest, though he mumbled again about being out on the street in just a few weeks, and he could already see the smug grin on Chad's face when he got back so he tried to push the thought from his mind. When they arrived the man rang the buzzer and waited until Ms. Ferris appeared. She wrenched open the door when she caught sight of Jared in the tall windows tugging him back into the building.

"Mr. Beaver how can I thank you?" she asked, looking at the man now standing alone outside the building. "You're always bringing my boys back to me."

"It's my pleasure ma'am." He said giving her a small smile.

Of course a whistle from one of the boys inside seemed to stop the moment before anything more could happen. "Thank you again Mr. Beaver,” she said, closing the door hurriedly and grabbing Jared by the ear.

"How many times is this now?" she asked him, despite having had to stand almost on tip toes to even reach Jared's ear she had him bent over now as she tugged him to her office and pressing him into one of the chairs there.

"Dunno," Jared said sullenly, rubbing at his ear when he was free.

Ms. Ferris sat at her desk flipping through a few papers before she started speaking again. "One hundred and fifty seven." She said finally, not looking up from the papers on her desk as she made a few more notes. "That's how many Jared." She sighed. "You're leaving in a month, why do you insist on keeping up this sort of behavior?"

Jared had sunk low in his seat and crossed his arms over his chest, all he needed now was a pout and he'd look exactly the same way he had the first time he'd been caught trying to run away - though a bit taller now. Despite changing so much over the years, there were still some things that never changed.

"What do you think would be a suitable punishment?" Ms. Ferris asked still waiting for Jared to answer, though he continued to keep his mouth shut. "Might do you some good to stay here a bit longer." She said, and Jared looked up sharply when she said that.

"You can't." Jared said quietly, though he looked a bit pale at the thought.

And it was true, Samantha Ferris didn't have the power to keep Jared there once he was of age but it seemed that the threat was a good one. But before she could explain the buzzer rang again.

"What now?" She sighed. "You didn't take anyone else with you this time, did you?" She asked eying Jared carefully, he shook his head. He'd done that a few times before but it never ended well and eventually people stopped volunteering for his little excursions.

Chad and Tom and Mike were the ones that used to come with him all the time, they had made so many escape attempts over the years, though Jared learned quickly that Tom and Mike weren't usually the best to take with him, they didn't really have it in them to make a good clean escape – and Chad, well he was easily distracted, which usually lead to them getting caught. No it was best to go alone.

The buzzer sounded again and Ms. Ferris stood up, she caught Jared by the ear again and tugged him toward the closet by her desk. "You wait in there until I've decided what to do with you." She told him, and gave him a look and Jared knew better than to try anything, at least for the moment.

Hurrying down the stairs again Ms. Ferris opened the door half expecting to see Jim Beaver there again, though she sighed when there was another man at the door.

"Can I help you?" She asked eying him suspiciously.

"Yes I hope so. I’m Jeffrey Morgan." He said offering her his hand. Sam shook the man's hand carefully, still suspicious. "I work for Mr. Ackles."

"Mr. Ackles?" She asked her heart skipping a beat. "Jensen Ackles the millionaire?"

"Jensen Ackles the billionaire." Mr. Morgan corrected. Everyone knew about Jensen Ackles here in New York, hell everyone knew about Jensen Ackles in most places around the world – though he was a bit of a celebrity here. "May I come in please?"

"Why yes, of course." Ms. Ferris said suddenly her whole demeanor changing as she opened the door wider letting the man into the building. "This way." She said leading him upstairs to her office.

"So what can I do for you Mr. Morgan?" Ms. Ferris said quickly stacking the papers that were still haphazardly strewn across her desk motioning to the chair where Jared had just been for him to sit. She did her best to make the desk at least appear organized as quickly as possible, hovering over the desk until the task was complete.

"As I am sure you're aware Mr. Ackles is involved in a number of charity organizations benefiting different groups of people across the country." Mr. Morgan gave Ms. Ferris an even look as he spoke, looking completely unfazed by the amount of papers on her desk or her attempts to straighten up while he spoke. "Mr. Ackles is interested in opening up his home to one of your boys here for a week." Mr. Morgan said getting straight to the point.

"Oh well that's wonderful, there are plenty of boys here who would love to have such an opportunity." Hell, she would love the opportunity, she loved her boys but there were times when a break would have been nice. "Were there any sorts of specifics you were interested in?" She asked, flipping through a precariously balanced stack of papers near the edge of her desk.

Just then Jared, who'd been listening with his ear pressed to the door, managed to open the closet just a crack peeking at the man who sat across from Ms. Ferris.

"No not really, any orphan will do, though I suppose Mr. Ackles would like a friendly boy." Jared poked his head out of the closet and grinned at Mr. Morgan.

Mr. Morgan grinned in return while Ms. Ferris was still sorting through papers. "And intelligent." Jared looked very thoughtful at this like he had all sorts of intelligent thoughts in his head that needed thinking about right at that particular moment. "And happy." Jared started laughing, causing Mr. Morgan to laugh as well. Ms. Ferris noticed Jared finally and shook her head standing from the desk and going to close the closet door.

As she returned to the desk Jared opened the door again.

"How old do you think?" Ms. Farris was asking now.

"Oh 15 maybe, no 16, no 17 yes 17, Mr. Ackles will want someone closer to his age so they'll be able to relate to one another better."

"Seventeen that's fine, we've got several seventeen year olds here, all looking forward to their next birthday of course, it would be a lovely thing for one of them to get to go."

Jared finally stood up to his full height after having been crouched over so Ms. Ferris wouldn't notice him. "Oh I almost forgot, Mr. Ackles would much rather host a taller boy." Mr. Morgan said grinning at Jared who was still hiding in the closet.

"Tall seventeen year old?" Ms. Ferris said narrowing her eyes at the closet door, though Jared had managed to mostly close it again before she looked in his direction. "Sorry, I'm not sure we'll have anyone that fits that description."

"No?" Mr. Morgan asked frowning. "Well what about this boy?" He wondered standing up and going to the closet and opening the door letting Jared out.

"Jared?" Ms. Ferris asked innocently. "Oh you wouldn't want Jared, he's far too much trouble, we have many more well behaved children here and I'm sure they'd be a better fit for Mr. Ackles."

"No I think Jared would do rather well to tell you the truth." Mr. Morgan said slinging an arm around Jared's shoulders and smiling at him. "How would you like to stay with Mr. Ackles this week?"

"Wow ... really?" Jared asked more cautious now that he was actually being given the opportunity, or at least it seemed he was being given the opportunity.

"Yes really."

"Leaping lizards," Jared said in an awed voice.

Ms. Ferris sighed. "Are you sure I can't convince you to change your mind, Mr. Morgan, Jared really is a handful."

"I'm sure we'll all get along splendidly, Ms. Ferris, thank you." Mr. Morgan said giving her a small smile.

"Do you need to get anything before we go?" He asked Jared now; it seemed they were leaving right away.

"No, I don't really have much." Jared said looking down at his feet.

"Well then let's go I'm sure Mr. Ackles will be very eager to meet you."

When they arrived at Mr. Ackles home, Jared had to ask if they were at some sort of hotel or something, he'd never seen such a big house before - it didn't seem possible that this was just one person's home. And yet Mr. Morgan had told him that yes this was Mr. Ackles home.

"And call me Jeff; we keep things a bit more casual around the house here." He said as they got out of the car walking up the stairs to the door.

"We'll just go over a few things while we wait for Jensen to finish up with his meetings for the day, we'll get you settled into a room too." Just then a loud barking sounded from down the hall and a moment later a dog came scrambling down the hallway jumping up on Jeff's legs.

"Ah there's my girl, did you miss me?" He asked kneeling down to stroke her back while she licked his face and her hindquarters wiggled with glee. Once she'd gotten enough love from Jeff she was jumping on Jared next. "Sorry about that," Jeff said, "down Bisou." He gave the dog a pointed look and she got down though she began giving Jared a baleful look until he knelt to pet her the way Jeff had done.

"She's a bit of an attention hog if you hadn't noticed." he said chuckling. "But this is my girl; I've had her since before I came to work for Jensen." He explained.

"She's beautiful." Jared said, he'd never had a dog before - though he'd tried before in the past but Ms. Ferris didn't take too kindly to her boys hiding dogs in the house. Maybe one day though, he might like to have two dogs, so they didn't get lonely when he had to go out.

"Well come on, there's lots to see before Jensen gets back." Jeff said grinning and leading Jared down the hall and into the rest of the house.

Over the next hour or so, Jared was shown a house larger than anything he'd ever dreamed possible. There was even a pool inside, and there were tennis courts in the back, plus the biggest game room he'd ever seen in his entire life. He just stood a little slack-jawed at the room when Jeff had opened the door. He hadn't even known they'd made televisions that size, and there was ever game system imaginable.

"Wow, I guess Mr. Ackles plays a lot?" Jared asked slowly.

"Not as much as you might think, but feel free to come down here as much as you'd like, lord knows the rest of us do." He said chuckling and leading Jared toward the kitchens next and getting an even bigger kick out of his reaction to that room.

Finally they ended in the gardens, where they found a man practically standing on his head his eyes closed. Jared slowed as they approached a little hesitant; it wasn't every day you came across a man doing headstands in a garden after all, though Jeff kept walking. The man let his feet tip forward over his head so that his toes were on the ground now. His eyes opened when he heard Jeff near and a slow grin spread across his face.

"Back I see." The man said before bringing his feet back up and then laying down flat in the grass and sighing. "Went really well today." he said his eyes closed to block out the sun as he spoke. "I can tell I'm really opening up."

"I'm sure you are." Jeff smiled fondly at him. "Here stand up, there's someone you should meet." Jeff offered a hand to the man and helped him to stand and put his arm around his shoulders the way he had with Jared earlier in the day.

"Jared this is Misha Collins, Misha this is Jared."

"It's a pleasure to meet you." Misha didn't offer Jared his hand the way Jared had expected; instead he gave him a little sort of bow and smiled. Jared wondered if he should return the gesture, but felt stupid and so he just stood there.

"Nice to meet you, too." He felt even more stupid though when he didn't do anything, but it didn't look like he'd offended anyone.

"Misha is Mr. Ackles personal yoga instructor." Jeff explained and for the first time Jared noticed that the arm around Misha's shoulders wasn't exactly as innocent as it had been with him earlier in the day, and he noticed the way Misha leaned into Jeff, easy and relaxed, though perhaps that was just a side effect of the positions his body had been in earlier, Jared was pretty sure he'd have trouble standing too if he'd been doing that.

"I guess you've seen everything now." Jeff said, and he looked like he was wracking his brain trying to think of anything else there might have been to show Jared. "Yes I think that's probably everything, now I guess we just have to wait for Jensen to get back - he's been in meetings all day, that happens a lot." Jeff explained.

"Though while we wait I think we could probably go enjoy that television if you like." Jeff suggested with a grin, and Jared's eyes went wide and he nodded eagerly.

Jared had lost track of the time as he and Jeff and Misha had been playing video games and flipping channels on the huge screen in the game room. Though after a few hours his eyes had started to droop, Jeff was lounging on the couch he feet kicked up on the coffee table with Misha tucked against his side, head in his lap while Jeff played idly with his hair, none of them were really watching the action movie that they'd settled on. Jared was drifting in and out of sleep, the sound of gun shots and explosions pulling him closer to waking every time they sounded otherwise he would have been asleep a long time before now.

It was the sound of someone clearing their throat that finally managed to pull him completely into awakening. And he rubbed a hand over his face sitting up quickly, head darting around for where the noise had come from. And there in the doorway to the game room was a man, well not quite a man, a young man he supposed looking at Jeff and Misha fondly before letting his eyes settle on Jared and quirking up an eyebrow at him.

"Friend of Jeff's?" He asked coming into the room and letting himself fall over the back of the sectional in the space between Jeff and Jared.

"Um ..." Jared wasn't sure what to say.

"This is Jared." Jeff said stretching, and saving Jared, apparently he wasn't quite as asleep as he'd seemed. "He's from the Hudson Street Home for Boys."

Jensen turned his head to look at Jeff still not quite grasping Jeff's meaning. "Remember you're opening your home to one of the boys for a week?" Jeff prodded.

"It's alright; I mean you don't have to." Jared interrupted, suddenly seeing that this wasn't really something Jensen wanted to do – just some charity case or something. "I don't mind going back; I'm getting out in a few weeks anyway."

Jensen let his gaze return to Jared looking him over slowly before he shook his head. "Don't be silly, of course you'll stay with us this week." He told him flashing a grin. "I've just been in and out of meetings all day, it slipped my mind, but you're more than welcome to stay with us if you like."

Jared smiled relaxing again; he hadn't expected Jensen to be so young. Sure he'd heard of Jensen Ackles before, who hadn't? He was the wealthiest man in New York, he was a computer genius. He'd managed to develop some sort of new amazing computer program when he was 16 and set himself up for life, now he was a billionaire who didn't really have to work any more if he didn't want to - though it seemed like he did. Jared had expected him to be older, maybe in his late thirties or early forties; it was hard to believe someone so young could have developed some of the most influential computer technology in the world today.

"Jared, was it?" Jensen asked eyes ahead on the television as he spoke, Jared could see the lights from the screen reflected in the lenses of Jensen's glasses and nodded stupidly.

"I mean yeah, Jared Padalecki." He very rarely used his whole name, though it seemed like that was probably the thing to do right now.

"That's quite a mouthful." Jensen said his eyes crinkling around the edges as he grinned looking at Jared from the corner of his eyes. "Sorry I was gone all day, I'm afraid I never was a very good host. Though it seems like Jeff and Misha managed to keep you pretty well entertained for most of the day." He chuckled nudging Jeff's shoulder, who's head had fallen back against the back of the sofa again eyes closed once again.

"Sleeping here." Jeff mumbled and swatted at Jensen.

"Oh yeah, I've never seen anything like this." Jared told Jensen, glancing back at all the media equipment at the head of the room.

"It helps me unwind." Jensen told him shrugging. "Sometimes there is nothing that can help me unwind better than a round of Halo, do you play?" He asked glancing at Jared again.

"Um ... a little, we played some earlier."

"Fancy a match?" The corners of Jensen's mouth looked like they were struggling not to rise.

"Uh, sure."

He hadn't really been watching the movie, and it seemed like Jensen wanted to play. He shrugged he could play, he had been starting to get the hang of it earlier while playing with Jeff and Misha, though he got killed more times than he was willing to admit to anyone.

"Great." Jensen grinned, changing the channel and turning on the game system; he tossed Jared one of the game remotes and settled into the couch.

They didn't talk much. Jared, who always had something to say, was at a loss for words, and Jensen seemed pretty intent on the game. When they started Jared was worried he was just going to get killed over and over again the way he had been earlier - it certainly seemed like that when Jensen took him out with a head shot within the first 2 minutes of the game, but he got better the longer they played. Sure he still got killed but it wasn't quite as pathetic as earlier. He even managed to kill Jensen's character several times.

"God I can't believe you did that." Jensen said laughing, when Jared had managed to take him out with a pretty skillful attack.

Jared grinned and shrugged. "That's the game." He said simply, ducking behind some cover when Jensen's character turned in his direction.

"Sure it is, just didn't think you'd manage to pull something like that off."

"I'm not that bad." Jared said pouting.

"Course you're not. I just happen to have a lot of practice."

"Yeah, I bet."

Jared glanced over to where Jeff and Misha were still both sleeping, curled around one another. He almost would have forgotten they were there if it hadn't been for the soft snoring that was coming from their direction.

"What time is it?" He wondered, looking around the room for some sort of clock and not seeing one.

"Not sure, getting tired?"

"Not really, not often I get to do things like this."


"We don't really have this sort of set up back at the orphanage." Jared said shrugging. They were quiet after that, Jared shaking his head at himself for bringing that up, Jensen didn't want to hear about that sort of thing. Jensen looked thoughtful.

"Want to play again?" Jared asked finally the silence getting to be a bit much for him.

"Ah, you know I think you were right it is getting kind of late. I think it might be time to put those two to bed," Jensen said grinning.

Jared nodded slowly. He cursed himself he'd done something wrong, said something he shouldn't, Jensen was probably going to want to send him back tomorrow - Tom probably would have been a better choice, he always knew the right thing to say, maybe even Mike though he wouldn't have been pleased about leaving Tom. Jared shook his head as he managed to find the way back to the room Jeff had showed him earlier in the day - the place where he'd stay for the next few days.
Throwing himself down on the bed, Jared sighed looking up on the ceiling. Even just one day of this would have been completely worth it - if only to see how some people lived.

The next day was much the same as the day before. Jensen was gone early, another full day of meetings on his schedule and Jared was alone with Jeff and Misha again. Not that he minded the two older men were nothing if not amusing. The way they looked at one another and teased was enough to make Jared blush and laugh repeatedly throughout the day.

"So do you want to try out the pool?" Jeff asked. They'd spent the morning getting Jared some new clothes, seeing as he only had the one pair and that just wouldn't do for a whole week staying with Jensen. Jared felt a bit stiff in the new clothes, it had been years since he'd gotten new clothes, his new jeans actually went down below his ankles and the sleeves reached his wrists. When you were an orphan you learned to deal with clothes that were a little bit too small.

"I dunno." He shrugged tugging at the collar of his shirt - it was just a t-shirt but he felt like it was a bit too tight, despite Jeff, Misha, and the woman at the shop telling him it fit perfectly. He'd let Jeff get it though he wasn't entirely sure he believed them.

"Hey I've got an idea." Jeff said a devious grin on his face, "I just need to get a few things."

Jared was panting, ducking behind the back of one of the sofas, he wasn't exactly sure what room he was in any more, but for the moment he wasn't in the line of fire.

He gripped his gun tight and peeked around the side of the sofa, no sign of Jeff or Misha anywhere it was now or never. He took a slow breath and barreled across the room straight for the door. He tried to keep himself in a low crouch but that was a bit difficult considering his size, he was almost at the door when Misha rolled out from behind a chair taking just a moment to get Jared into his sights. Before he could fire though Jared ducked into the closest door he could reach closing it behind him.

With his back to the door Jared let himself try and catch his breath, his eyes closed as he sucked in deep lungfulls of air. It was the sigh that made him open his eyes again, he expected to see Jeff maybe Misha standing there ready to shoot him, but instead he was surprised to see Jensen sitting at a desk, glasses pushed low on his nose and papers scattered about here and there – apparently he'd ducked into Jensen's home office.

Jensen pulled off his glasses rubbing at his temples. "I am trying to work," he said doing his best to keep his tone even though Jared could see the tension in his shoulders.

"Oh, sorry," Jared said slowly, pulling himself up off the floor. "We were ... we were just playing laser tag." He felt like he should explain, scratching his leg with the gun as he stood there, wondering if he was going to get in trouble.

Jensen put his glasses back on and looked at Jared, he sighed again looking back to the computer screen in front of him.

"Did you ... did you want to play too?" Jared asked, doing his best not to sound too hopeful, he would like to spend a little time with Jensen while he's staying here.

"I can't," Jensen snapped.

"Oh right, of course. I'll just ... I'll just get out of your way." Jared sighed and turned his back to Jensen, hand on the doorknob.

He could hear Jensen behind him fingers flying over the keyboard as he typed working on who knows what, probably something Jared would never be able to even wrap his mind around. "Sorry I bothered you," he said turning the handle.

The fingers on the keys stopped. "Jared... wait."

And rather than open the door, where he was sure to find Misha waiting for him, Jared turned to face Jensen again. "Yeah?" he asked slowly.

"They're killing you aren't they?" Jensen had a small smile on his face as he pulled his glasses off again.

"That obvious?"

"Nah, I just know them."

"Not exactly fair."

"No it's not," Jensen agreed nodding. "How about we even things up? What do you say?"

Jared tried not to let his face light up, tried to hide that ridiculous grin that he knew was spreading across his face, but he couldn't help it. "Yeah?"

"Yeah. I've got an extra vest and gun in here somewhere, just give me a minute to find it." Jensen pushed away from his desk and Jared felt his pulse start to race at the thought of actually having a chance at winning. "I'm not doing anything that can't wait for a few hours."

Jared tried not to let himself smile too much, tried not to be too happy that Jensen was going to spend time with him. He was going to be leaving in a few more days anyway, best not to get attached.

Soon Jensen was strapping his vest on, and had a gun in hand. "Come on, let's go out this way." Jensen said waiving Jared over toward another door he hadn't known was there. "Get my back?" he asked, hand on the door knob.

Jared gave him a quick nod and a grin.

They beat Misha and Jeff easily, it seemed Jared and Jensen made an even better team than the two older men. They were all gasping for breath collapsed on the carpet in the game room.

"I am... too old ... to be ... doing this." Jeff spoke between breaths, one of his legs draped over Misha's as they lay beside one another on the floor.

Jensen laughed and reached over to poke Jeff's side. "Don't say things like that," he scolded playfully. "You’re going to force me to hire someone else as my personal assistant if you can't keep up." He was grinning, clearly teasing Jeff and Jared decided he liked this side of Jensen, a lot.

"I wasn't aware laser tag was part of the requirements for your personal assistant," Jeff told him, swatting his hand away.

"Oh yes, that was in the fine print, I'm surprised you don't remember that part."

"You know I don't read the fine print."

"Yes I do, that's why I made sure to include several things that you'd never agree to otherwise in there,” Jensen said grinning to himself proud of that accomplishment it seemed.

"I'm pretty sure that's illegal." Jeff protested.

"You signed it."

"I keep telling you to read the fine print." Misha spoke up now ruffling Jeff's hair. "You never listen; now look what you have to do now." He was teasing, Jared liked the way they were all able to tease one another so easily. The banter moved back and forth as they all slowly caught their breath and cooled down.

"God I am starving." Jared spoke up now, his stomach growling loudly as if to make its point even more known.

"Yeah, I could use a little something to eat too." Misha this time.

"I could throw some steaks on the grill."

Jared's stomach growled again at Jeff's suggestion.

"Well it sounds like we have a least one person who likes that suggestion, why don't you do that Jeff." Jared said laughing at Jared and poking his side.

With a groan Jeff pulled himself up off the floor getting to his feet, he offered a hand to Misha who came up much more easily than Jeff and the two of them disappeared into the hall, no doubt headed for Jensen's massive kitchen.

"Do you guys do this often?" Jared asked when they were alone.

"Not as often as I'd like," Jensen said sighing, pulling himself up into a seated position.

"Why not?"

"I'm a busy man Jared." Jensen shrugged, brushing a hand through his hair as he spoke. "There is always some meeting to go to, someone wanting to try and sell me something, someone wanting me to try and develop something new."

"But you have so much ... I mean you don't have to do any of that do you?" Jared asked his eyebrows pulling together. "I mean, you're rich enough, right? You don't really have to work if you don't want to."

Jensen laughed, it wasn't the same carefree sound he'd made earlier though. "No, you're right; I don't have to work if I don't want to. But I do." He shrugged again. "I like being able to keep busy, I like supporting good causes and helping people when I can. Sure I could just sit around spending my money on things I want all day, but that'd get old don't you think?"

"I suppose so." Jared hadn't thought about it like that, though he supposed Jensen had a point - he might be able to do that for a while, maybe a few months if he really tried but it would get old pretty quickly.

Dinner was one of the best Jared could remember in his entire life, the four of them sat around the table laughing and talking until late in the night. It wasn't until Jeff had tucked Misha under his arm and headed to bed that Jared really became aware of how long they'd actually been talking, he pulled out his watch to check the time his eyes going wide.

He and Jensen had cleaned up the table together, and he waved to Jensen as he headed to his room for the night.

To Part 2