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Jensen wanted to know what happened to him, of course he did. Jared had been gone for five years, presumed dead, or at least never to be found again. There was a pattern to these kinds of cases, these kinds of crimes. Jensen had read about it. Pedophiles, especially the notoriously violent kind, almost always killed their captives, and the kids never escaped. Nearly never. The fact that Jared was here, sitting on Jensen’s living-room couch, mug of tea in hand was…well, frankly, it was a miracle.
But Jensen could bide his time. He could wait, and just be happy that Jared was here at all. Despite the anger that had been coiling and festering in his gut for five years, (five, long, hellish years) Jensen could, and would, wait for the truth, until his friend was ready. He owed Jared that much and more.
“Are you going to sit?” Jared asked suddenly.
So suddenly that Jensen jumped slightly. He hadn’t said much since the police had brought him in, had said even less after going home with Jerry and Megan, and Jensen wasn’t even sure how aware he was of his surroundings yet. It didn’t startle him, as much as surprise him.
Jared’s facial expression didn’t change at all from the neutral blank stare he’d had nearly all day, but he did shoot Jensen a look out of the corner of his eye as if he was waiting for a response.
“Um…” Jensen wasn’t sure whether it’d be best to sit or not, honestly.
“Your fidgeting is… making me…twitchy.” His voice was soft, low; a raspy whisper that sounded like it was being forced out between clenched teeth.
Jensen sat at the far end of the sofa very carefully, eyes forward and staring at the blank television so he didn’t have to look at Jared.
So he didn’t have to see how broken he was. His blank stare spoke of walls of apathy built to keep in a heaving mass of hurt. Jensen was sure it had to be tearing him apart. He knew better than anyone how much easier it was to pretend that you were okay than to show people even a piece of yourself, just a glimpse of a shard of your shattered soul, and have them chew it into splinters and spit it back in your face. Better to not be vulnerable in the first place than to be made vulnerable by someone else.
Of course, Jared had been made vulnerable, in more ways than one, over and over and over again, so his walls had to be pretty damn thick.
….Or extremely fragile.
Jensen didn’t really know what to say to him.
He wanted to say “You’ve gotten tall. Still shorter than me, maybe, but you’re taller than a lot of guys I know, and considering, well…everything, that’s kind of unbelievable”.
He wanted to say “I missed you. I missed you so goddamned much that I couldn’t even breathe most days”.
He wanted to say “You’re still so fucking beautiful that I don’t know what to do with myself”, hollow eyed, scarred, and all, and “Even though you probably won’t believe me, I love you now just as much as I loved you then”, or even,
“You won’t be broken forever. I promise. I promise I’ll fix you.”
But nothing came out of his mouth when he opened it, so he bit his lip instead.
When his mother came in from her late shift in the IC unit, that’s how she found them: awkward and stiff, facing opposite directions on the couch with an ocean of silence and sorrow between them.
Jared didn’t eat much at all at dinner, and he didn’t step foot in the Josh’s old room, instead curling up in a ball, wiry arms around his bony knees, at the end of the couch.
Jensen guessed they were lucky he wasn’t on the floor still, as Jerry had said countless times he’d woken up to Jared tucked into one dark corner or another.
Hopefully he’d sleep. Through the night, preferably, but a couple of hours straight would be more than what Jensen expected. At all is what he dared to hope for.
Despite all that had happened and all that he was sure was to come, he couldn’t help the spread of it, warm and wild, digging its needy, greedy claws into his chest and not letting go.
Jared was here.
He was broken, and hurting but he was alive and that was more, way more than Jensen had ever had reason to think possible.
That was enough.
That was everything.