Chapter 34: Aftermath
Notes: This chapter is shorter as it is an interlude. Again, I want to thank LadyLaran, who is also doing a fabulous Hobbit/Supernatural crossover, for being my beta. She started a couple of chapters back and I love the difference she’s made. Thank you, daughter mine.
The family remained quiet as Sherri held the young man in her arms, making soothing sounds and running one hand up and down his back. She looked over at her son and could see tears in his eyes. Jared wanted to hold his love but knew that, right now, his mother was the one Jensen needed.
Slowly, the sculptor calmed down and his tears became fewer. He was still shaking under the force of his emotions. Sherri leaned her head down towards the one on her shoulder and kissed his fevered brow.
“It’s all right,” she whispered. Jensen released an almost stuttering sigh and moved to take a step back from Jared’s mom. His face was splotched, nose running, and he looked pitiful.
“Why don’t we get some ice cream,” Sherri suggested, taking the young man’s hand and leading him towards the kitchen. “What would everyone like? Jensen and I will dish it up.”
Jared led the family back into the main room, and they grabbed another game to play.
Sherri dragged the professor into the kitchen. She got a clean hand towel and moistened it with cool water. Grabbing a paper towel, she handed it to the young man.
“Here. Blow your nose,” she spoke softly.
Jensen took the paper towel, cleared his nose and wiped his face. Jared’s mom took the damp towel and washed the young man’s face. He had a look of awe when she pulled away. Smiling, she kissed his cheek.
“There you go; you look more presentable. Are you all right?”
“Yes, ma’am. I’m so sorry,” Jensen’s voice broke when he answered.
“You don’t have to be. Jensen, you have had a rough go of it. You have every reason to cry and the right to do so when you need it. Now, let’s get this ice cream served.”
While they ate their ice cream, they discussed the next week. Sherri asked about their schedules. Jared informed the family that the team had a two day tournament on Monday and Tuesday, telling them he would be gone for those days. He looked at Jensen and wished he could have told him earlier.
“Jensen, what time do you want us to pick you up on those days?”
The professor was quiet for a few moments and then murmured that 3:30 would be good. He leaned down and began to run his hand over the coffee table, looking for empty ice cream dishes. Sherri helped him and let him take them into the kitchen, following behind him.
“Will this be your first time to have Jared away?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jensen answered in a soft voice.
Sherri watched him as he rinsed out the bowls and set them in the other sink before walking over to the dishwasher to empty it.
“The first time is always the most difficult,” she murmured. “It’s never easy, but the first is the hardest. I’m glad we’ll be here.”
Jensen put the dishes away and went back to the sink to get the ice cream bowls. He stopped and stood quietly. Finally, the woman heard him speak in almost a whisper, “I finally got used to having him around. I’ve never had anyone before.”
“Jensen, he’ll still be around. He is a coach, and he has to travel with the team. If it was a weekend, he’d probably take you with him. You work, too, hon. At least you won’t be alone this time.”
The sculptor resumed loading the dishes into the dishwasher and closed it. He turned towards her and replied, “Why don’t we return to the others?”
Smiling, Sherri followed him out of the kitchen.
The Padalecki kids played their game for several hours. Jensen finally yawned and said he was tired and heading to bed. Jared stood and gave him a kiss, wishing him good night. The remainder of the family did the same.
At one in the morning, Jared headed to his room. He stopped at Jensen’s door, opening it and looking in to check on the man. The bed was still made. He raised his eyebrows and looked towards his room. Walking down the hall, he opened his door and headed over towards the bed and the table lamp beside it. Turning it on, he turned towards his bed to see Gus lying at the foot. Jensen was asleep, curled into a ball with Jared’s pillow in his arms. The coach grinned and went into the bathroom to get ready for bed.
Twenty minutes later, the young man entered the bedroom, clad in a pair of light sweatpants and pulled the covers back. He turned off the light and climbed into bed. Rolling onto his right side, he carefully pulled his pillow out of Jensen’s arms and laid down, gently pulling the older man close and snuggled him. The sleeping man’s arm went around Jared and pulled him closer. Smiling softly, the coach went to sleep with the love his life carefully protected in his embrace.