Title: Learning to Breathe Chapter 13 - Breathe into Me
Genre: J2 RPS
Pairing/characters: Jared/Jensen, Traci Dinwiddie
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except the tales I weave. No disrespect intended. I think of all of the actors as just being cast in these roles and they bear no resemblance to real life.
Authors Notes: This story deals with an incredibly difficult subject matter and I am trying to keep everything as realistic as possible by doing my research. However, it is at its heart a love story so it may stretch the realism boundaries a little by beginning to put my two major characters together only three to four months after such a brutal assault. I intend on progressing it as slowly and realistically as possible while still moving the story forward. I mean no disrespect whatsoever and don't want this to play down the very real trauma that rape survivors suffer. The chapter titles are all song names. This chapter title is taken from Breathe into Me by Israel.
Chapter 13 - Breathe into Me
Chapter 13 - Breathe into Me
Jensen woke the next morning with Jared wrapped around him like an octopus. It had taken several hours for the man to stop shaking and settle down to sleep and now Jensen was concerned that if Jared awoke and found them tangled up together that he would freak out. Jared had thrown both an arm and a leg over him while he slept and was now partially draped over his body. He heard a slight groan and Jared twitched. It was obvious he was dreaming and Jensen had been expecting more nightmares to hit him, especially after the events of the past few days, so he wanted to try and gently wake him before the bad dream any got worse. As he tried to turn as gently as possible so as not to startle Jared awake, the slight movement made Jared moan again, press himself closer and slowly rock his hips and Jensen felt the hardness pressed against his thigh.
Oh, Jesus Christ, it wasn’t a nightmare, it was that kind of dream. Not unexpected he supposed as Jared hadn’t had any physical contact in months and the press of a warm body against him had obviously stirred something unintentionally. But this could get unbelievably bad incredibly quickly if Jared woke up and now it was Jensen’s turn to freak out. How the hell was he going to be able to move and extract himself without waking him?
The house phone chose that moment to ring and he felt Jared stir so he closed his eyes and tried to make his breathing deep and even. If he could pretend he was still asleep maybe this wouldn’t turn into a total clusterfuck. He knew the exact moment Jared became fully awake as he felt the body wrapped around him stiffen and a whispered, “Shit.” He expected Jared to fling himself from the bed and maybe start crying and it was all he could do to remain perfectly still. Instead, he felt Jared very slowly move; trying hard not to jostle the man he thought was asleep, get out of the bed and leave the room. When the door closed he opened his eyes murmuring, “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” He’d give it ten minutes and get up; he had to check to see if Jared was down the hall freaking the hell out. He threw his arm over his eyes, lying there wondering if this was the thing that was going to finally break Jared.
He got up and opened the door to his room and could hear the sounds of someone making coffee in the kitchen; most likely Ty or Traci. The door to Jared’s room was closed. Should he knock? Should he leave him be? He didn’t want to let the man know that he was aware of what had just happened but he felt anxious to know if his friend was okay. Screw it, he thought. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to check on him. He would have done so any other time Jared had a bad night so he tapped lightly on the door. When there was no answer, he opened the door and called softly but heard the shower running from the attached bathroom. He sighed, not knowing if Jared was in the bathroom bawling or not and pulled the door closed and headed toward the kitchen.
Traci turned, coffee in hand, a good morning on her lips before she noticed Jensen’s worried expression.
“What’s wrong, is Jared alright?”
“I dunno, it’s...shit.” Should he tell her or not?
She poured another coffee and pushed the mug into Jensen’s hand. “Sit. What happened?”
They both sat at the table and Jensen put his head in his hands and took a few minutes.
“Jared ended up spending the night in my room.”
“You’re worried it’s a setback? I’m not surprised he needed reassurance after everything that’s happened in the past couple of days. Was it bad?”
“Well, yeah I guess. He cried himself to sleep. It was the first time he actually said the words, 'Why me?' and I wish I had an answer to that. Fuck this whole situation and fuck the bastards that did this to him. He doesn’t deserve any of this.”
“No one ever does, Jensen.”
“Yeah I know.” He paused and took a sip from the mug he was cradling in both hands, the moment stretching into minutes of silence. “There’s something else...” He broke off when he heard the door to Jared’s room and shook his head, silently telling Traci he couldn’t say anything right then.
Jared came into the kitchen mumbling a good morning and headed for the coffee purposefully avoiding Jensen’s eyes so Jensen made a show of grabbing the newspaper from the table and opening it, hoping it looked like he was reading it even though the words in front of him were a blur because his head was spinning with the knot of anxiety in his gut.
Traci piped up, “Did you sleep okay?”
Jared cleared his throat, still facing the bench not the table and took a mouthful of coffee before answering, “Eventually, yeah...um, Traci, is it okay...can we talk? I mean, have your breakfast first but—“
“I ate a while ago, honey.” She shot a furtive look to Jensen who studiously kept his head down looking for all the world like he was engrossed in what he was reading. “You want to go talk now or do you want to have something to eat first?”
“I’m not really hungry. Can we talk now?”
“Sure, your room or do you want go out on the terrace and we can get some fresh air?”
“Terrace is good.”
As Traci stood and they both moved to leave the kitchen, Jared turned and spoke. “Jensen?”
He schooled his expression, looked up from the paper and smiled. “Hmm?”
“Thanks. You know, for last night. Sorry I kept you awake for so long.”
“You don’t have to apologize, I’m here for you anytime. I’m just glad it helped you to get some sleep.”
Jared gave a small smile in response and nodded, following Traci out to the terrace and Jensen let out a breath he didn’t even realize he had been holding. Jared was okay. He was obviously a little freaked but there was no meltdown. He was okay.
ooOOoo“So how are you doing this morning? Holding up?”
“Yeah, I’m better than I was yesterday. My head’s kind of swimming. The whole thing with Detective Pellegrino was hard. I still don’t know what to do.”
“Is that what you want to talk about? Nobody is going to push you into reporting it, Jared. You need to make sure it’s what’s right for you because once it’s done there’s no turning back but you know we’ll be with you every step of the way if you do.”
“I know.” He sighed and ran his fingers through his wet hair. “I don’t really think there’s much point talking about that at the moment. We’ve been over it before and I know what will happen if I do it, I’ve just got to decide if it’s worth it.”
“Okay. What do you want to talk about this morning?”
He lowered his eyes and a deep blush began on his chest and flushed over his face. “I jerked off in the shower this morning.”
“Was that the first time you’ve masturbated since the attack?”
“Um, yeah sort of. I tried once or twice before but...”
“Are you feeling guilty about it? You know it’s a good thing that your body is beginning to be able to feel pleasure again.”
“Kind of. It’s ah, wow, this is awkward. I was dreaming this morning and when I woke up I was wrapped around Jensen and rubbing off on him. Jesus, thank God he was asleep, I was fucking mortified. I can’t even imagine how embarrassing it would’ve been for him.”
A little light bulb went off in Traci’s head. So that’s what Jensen was worried about – he was awake.
“I don’t need to remind you that you can’t help what you do in your sleep do I? Do you remember what you were dreaming about?”
Traci chuckled, “Well I kind of guessed that part, I meant do you remember the person or the situation?”
“Not really, most of it sort of disappeared when I woke up but...I...I think I might have been dreaming about Jensen. Christ, how fucked up is that?”
“It’s not fucked up at all. First, your body is starting to respond again and trust me, that, my friend is a very good thing. Second, you say you were wrapped around him and even though you were asleep your subconscious mind is always aware in some form or another. You could feel him and you could smell his scent. You may have been feeling aroused and your subconscious inserted Jensen because of that or, and this is still no reason to freak out, it may have been those things that caused your arousal. Your whole world is pretty wrapped up in the man. He’s been your unwavering support, the person you laugh with, the person you cry with and we talked about this after the kiss – you felt a spark of attraction for him then. I want you to look at this objectively not at how you think he may freak out or that you feel freaked out. We both know how much you feel for Jensen, how much you love him. When you look at him, do you find him attractive?”
“I guess, he’s a good looking guy.”
“Is that the main thing that attracts you to a person? The way they look?”
“No! I mean sure, initially, but I know lots of attractive people in this industry and a lot of them are self absorbed idiots and that’s a huge turn-off.”
“So tell me what you find attractive in a potential partner.”
“I dunno, I guess they have to be a good person. Have some common interests. A warped sense of humor helps.”
“Most, if not all of those things are the same things that you wish for in people you’re friends with too, am I right?”
“So what’s the other factor that differentiates between someone who is a friend and someone who is a lover?’
“Physical attraction, a spark?”
“Yep, pretty much. Although sometimes that attraction and spark are there but the rest of it isn’t and we get into relationships that aren’t that good, that’s usually why they fizzle out after the spark has died down. So here’s where I want you to look at things objectively. You already have all of the things that make your friendship with Jensen so close. Now shut your eyes. I want you to think of Jensen and tell me – not if you find Jensen physically attractive because seriously, the man is gorgeous, nobody could deny that fact – what I want to know is if you feel physically attracted to him; even if it’s only sometimes.”
He did as he was asked and closed his eyes and pictured his best friend; the smile that always makes him smile as well, the concern he always shows, the way they can be a around each other and never even have to speak to know what the other is thinking most of the time. And when he thought about the moment he kissed him, he felt his stomach flip. Not the clench of anxiety but the swoop of anticipation. He opened his eyes and looked at Traci.
“Yeah, I think I might.” He screwed up his face.
“Now you look like you’ve sucked on a lemon. Tell me what you’re thinking.”
“Even if I am attracted to him, it doesn’t mean he would feel the same. We’ve been friends for years and he’s never given the slightest indication he’s ever thought of me that way. I don’t want to jeopardize the best friendship I’ve ever had and...I’m not even sure I could ever, you know...let a man touch me that way now. Not after everything that’s happened.”
“I don’t think you’re ready for real physical intimacy with anyone yet, that’s going to take more time. Let me ask you this, does the thought of kissing Jensen repulse you?”
“No. I...when we kissed before, I liked it.”
“Even though he’s a man. Why do you think that is?”
“It’s Jensen, he’d never hurt me and...I trust him. It still doesn’t change the fact that he probably doesn’t think of me as anything other than a friend and I don’t know that I could ever do anything more than kiss him even if he did.”
“I think you should talk to him about this. Tell him how you feel.”
“But what if he hates me for it? I can’t lose him, I need him too much.”
“Do you honestly think Jensen could ever hate you for any reason? Seriously, I think the absolute worst that could happen would be that he maybe doesn’t feel that way and he’d be flattered. I doubt it would even be all that awkward between you afterward. He loves you, Jared. And best case scenario is that he feels attracted to you too.”
“Even if he did, I don’t know that I could ever give him what he needs. I’m so messed up. It wouldn’t be fair.”
“Maybe you couldn’t, what you’ve been through and what you’re going through would mess up anyone. Any kind of sexual relationship is a major hurdle for a rape survivor. Some people are never really comfortable with it again but many people also manage to have good solid, loving relationships if the partner they are with is patient and understanding. What you two have is special. It’s rare to have friendships as close or as strong as yours. If there’s something else there between you, it could develop into a pretty amazing relationship. You’ve both already proven that you’d do anything for each other; that you love each other a great deal. I’m not saying it would be easy but you have a good foundation you could build from. I really think you should at least talk to him about this. He might surprise you. And you, my friend, are doing amazingly well. With everything that has happened in the past few days, you’re not only still standing, you’re going from strength to strength.”
“It doesn’t feel like it.”
“I know but trust me, you’re doing great. Better than I could have hoped for.”
ooOOooJared spent the rest of the day in the gym and outside playing with his dogs, just using his time alone to try and get his thoughts into some kind of order. When Jensen had asked Traci if Jared was alright she told him that he was doing fine and that Jensen should just give him a little space for a while. He wanted so badly to ask if Jared had told her about what had happened in his bed that morning but he knew he couldn’t. She wouldn’t be able to tell him anyway. Traci left the house at around lunchtime to go home reminding Jensen that she was on call for them if they needed her.
So Jensen spent the day making business calls and doing odds and ends, anything to try and stop himself from worrying that Jared might not want to be around him anymore. He made some pasta for dinner, taking some out to Ty who was too busy with whatever he was working on to join them to eat. Jared was pretty quiet throughout the meal and seemed to be preoccupied but generally okay so he tried not to worry too much but the little knot of anxiety was still there.
After they had eaten and cleared the dishes away Jensen suggested they watch a movie and Jared followed him into the media room. They were flipping through movie titles when Jared cleared his throat.
“Can I uh, can we talk?”
Jensen turned to look toward an incredibly nervous looking Jared. “Sure, of course.”
“I called Sam today. I asked to see if she can get me out of the contract for the movie I’m supposed to start. With everything that’s happening, I don’t think I can do it. I’m probably going to take a hit financially but she’s going to cite medical issues so I’m hoping they won’t sue for breach of contract.”
“Oh shit, you sure about this?”
“Yeah, I can’t deal. I have too much on my plate. Sam’s going to talk to Steven, my lawyer, she thinks it’s doable. I don’t think they’d have too much trouble recasting, there were a lot of good actors up for that part.”
Jensen reached out and put his hand over Jared’s but withdrew it when the man flinched.
“Shit, sorry, I wasn’t thinking.”
“No, really, it’s okay man. It’s...fuck I don’t even know where to start with this. Can I ask you something and if you don’t want to it’s perfectly fine, I won’t be upset. There’s just something I need to try, I just...I need to know something.”
“Of course, anything, you know that.”
“I just don’t want to you freak out and think that I’m taking advantage or something. You can say no if it’s too weird okay but...can I...I mean would you...could you...ah, kiss me?” He was blushing so furiously, his face looked like a beacon and Jensen could see the fear there. He just wasn’t sure if it was fear of the kiss itself or fear that he would be rejected. He also wasn't sure why Jared wanted them to kiss, maybe it was just to see if he could let someone close to him and Jensen was the person he trusted the most.
“Yeah, okay. But you gotta stop me if you get uncomfortable.”
He looked at the man in front of him; so fearful yet so trusting and looking so very vulnerable and his heart gave a painful spasm. He cupped his hand to Jared’s neck, his thumb rubbing along his jaw and not taking his eyes off the man’s face, leaned forward and brushed their lips together. He pulled back slightly to check that he was okay and when he saw that Jared’s eyes were closed he pressed their lips together once more moving their mouths gently against one another. He was surprised when he felt the first light flick of Jared’s tongue in his mouth but met it with his own and Jared sighed, bringing a hand to the back of Jensen’s neck as he deepened the kiss further. They continued that way for a few minutes before Jared broke the kiss and pressed their foreheads together. Jensen’s stomach was doing somersaults because wow, that kiss was amazing. Not just because Jared was a phenomenal kisser, it was, he realized, because it was Jared.
Jensen slid his hand to sit more firmly against Jared’s neck just under his ear and could feel the man’s pulse jack-rabbiting and finally found his voice. “You okay?”
Jared nodded against him trying to compose himself before he pulled back to look at Jensen’s face. He saw concern and but something else as well, it sort of looked like hope.
“So did that help with what you needed to know?” Jensen asked.
“Yeah, part of it. You know you’re my best friend right?”
“I know, you’re mine too.”
“I think...I think I maybe feel something more but I’m terrified. I don’t know if you feel the same way and I’m not sure if I’m in any position yet to do anything about it even if you are. I don’t know if I’ll ever be. I needed to know if I was imagining what I thought I was feeling because I've only ever kissed one other guy before but that kiss...it felt good, it felt right. I just don’t want to make you uncomfortable. I wasn’t sure I should say anything and now I have and if I’ve messed everything up I’m gonna hate myself and—“
Jensen pressed a finger to Jared’s mouth to stop the babbling before he worked himself into some kind of panic attack.
“It felt right for me too. I’ve thought about it since that first time you kissed me but I wouldn’t let myself go there. I mean, you’re straight and you’re my best friend but yeah, that kiss felt right, I feel it too okay?”
“I don’t know where to go from here. I can’t...”
“I know. There’s no rush. We don’t have to go anywhere from here yet. We don’t even have to kiss again if you don’t want to. Why don’t we just take things a day at a time and see what unfolds but I need you to understand something; even if it never goes anywhere or even if it does and you change your mind later, you’re never going to lose my friendship. Ever.”
Jared smiled the first real smile of the day. “Okay.”
They flopped back side by side on the sofa with their knees touching.
“But just for the record, you can kiss me like that anytime you want...that was awesome.” He grinned back.
Jared leaned his head down onto his best friend’s shoulder and grabbed his hand and squeezed it. He was trembling. “Jensen?”
“I want to report the rape.”