SPN Fic: I Don't Care If I Never Get Back (1/5)

Oct 27, 2016 12:13

“Get out.”

Jensen dislikes strangers in general, on principle. He dislikes strangers who try to talk to him even more. But his deepest dislike is reserved for strangers who barge into his own goddamn apartment uninvited and try to talk to him.

“Mr. Ackles, if I could just have a minute of your time.”

The guy’s big. Six four or five at least, and built. Jensen works out, but he’s got the gimp knee and really wouldn’t stand a chance here if the guy rushes him. He puts the dining table between himself and the intruder. “I don’t sign autographs. I don’t give interviews. I’m no longer a celebrity, so fuck off.”


“How did you even get in here?” Jensen demands. It’s been almost a decade since the paparazzi followed him around, years since fans finally stopped harassing him on the street for pictures or begging him to say a line from one of his movies. When he’d left Hollywood, he’d found himself a nondescript building on Manhattan’s West Side with tight security and nowadays rarely goes out. He’s forgotten what it’s like to be harassed like this.

The guy holds up a plastic bag. “You ordered Kung Pao and egg drop soup? Wei let me take over delivery today.”

Goddammit. Betrayed by his favorite takeout place. “I swear I will sue his ass. He’ll wish he’d never opened a restaurant.”

“No, no, it’s not his fault,” the guy insists, waving the bag like a white flag. “I’m just, I don’t know, really persuasive.”

Jensen can’t believe it. The guy’s actually smiling hopefully at him, like that’s going to make everything okay. He’s heard the phrase of someone’s eyes twinkling, but he’d never seen it on a real person. The dimples are a nice touch, too.

This is exactly how Ted Bundy got to people, isn’t it?

“Get out.”


“Get the hell out, I said.”

“Please, Mr. Ackles, listen. My name’s Jared Padalecki and I’ve driven 1100 miles and risked losing my farm simply to take you to a baseball game.”

Now that’s a new one on Jensen. “Just how many psychiatric professionals are you seeing?”

The guy-Jared-laughs. It’s a nice laugh. Not exactly the laugh of a psychopath. “Yeah, I know. It sounds ludicrous. But, honestly, I’m the least crazy person I know.”

“Well, crazy or not, this is my home,” Jensen deliberately pitches his voice low and menacing, “and if you don’t leave in the next three seconds, I’m going to call the cops and have you arrested for trespassing. I hope you enjoy jail cells.”



“Mr. Ackles-“

“Two.” Jensen reaches across the table for his cell.

“I didn’t want to do it this way.” Jared slips a hand into his jacket pocket and gestures with it, jutting it forward. “Now come with me.”

God, the look on his face. Jensen’s seen bad acting in his time. Hell, Jensen’s perpetrated some seriously bad acting in his time. This may be among the all-time worst.

“What’s that?” Jensen scoffs.

“It’s a gun, what do you think it is?”

“It’s your finger!”

“It is not,” Jared replies, absurdly affronted.

Jensen sighs, then turns without a word and heads into the bedroom.

“Hey,” Jared calls. “Where are you going?”

Jensen pulls the Beretta out of his side table drawer, double checks to make sure it’s not loaded, then holds it out extended in one hand, tilted sideways, like they taught him on the set of Full Armor in order to look particularly badass.

He strides back out into the living room, disguising his limp as best he can, pointing the gun somewhere over Jared’s left shoulder, but making it look like he’s aiming for a head shot. “So, this is a real gun. And you are really, for real going to leave now.”

One look at him and Jared trips frantically backward, fumbling over his own feet and falling smack onto his ass. Jensen would be tempted to laugh, if he weren’t so annoyed by the whole thing.

And yet the guy still doesn’t shut up.

“I read in an interview once,” Jared babbles, looking pleadingly up from the floor, “that you played center field in high school, that you wanted to go to the majors, that you landed a college scholarship before you blew out your knee and turned to acting instead.” He says the words like an incantation, like a spell that will enchant Jensen into a receptive mood.

Jensen rolls his eyes. Typical fanboy reciting biographical details at Jensen like he knows the first thing about him. “That was all macho bullshit made up by my publicists. 100% fiction. I was a cheerleader in high school, for chrissake. My knee was perfectly fine until-” he stumbles over the words, just barely. “-until a car accident.”

“Oh.” It’s as if all the energy drains out of the guy’s body. He slumps forward and runs a hand through his already untidy mop of hair. He murmurs to himself, “How did I get this so wrong?” He glances up, contrite, chastened. “I apologize for bothering you this way, Mr. Ackles.” He clambers to his feet and heads for the door.

And for a second, a frisson runs through Jensen, a quick jag of bright ice shooting from the base of his skull to his toes. Five seconds ago he couldn’t wait to get rid of this guy. Suddenly, he’s certain that if Jared walks out the door and leaves him standing here alone in the still, stale, familiar air of the apartment, he’ll regret it.

“Wait.” A sliver of hope blinks alive again in Jared’s eyes as he looks over his shoulder, and Jensen hates himself for encouraging it. Stupid. So incredibly stupid. “Is this a kidnapping? A publicity stunt? What’s your deal?”

“I have to take you to a baseball game,” Jared repeats simply. “Tonight. Mets versus the Phillies.”


“Something’s going to happen there, something we need to see. I’m not sure what, but… but I have the feeling it’s important. I know that seems flaky, but it’s all I got.”

“A feeling?”

“I’ve felt something like this before and, well, let’s just say it’s a long story.” A little grin curls the corner of Jared’s mouth, flashing that damned dimple again. He pulls a set of keys out of his pocket and jingles them. “But I could tell you about it along the way?”

Jensen feels a sensation tug at him, something barely remembered, and he realizes… it’s curiosity. He can’t remember the last time he went looking for an adventure, a challenge, anything that popped him out of the comfortable bubble he’s been sheltering in. “The Mets game,” he says warily. “And that’s all?”

“Yeah. After tonight, you’ll never hear from me ever again.”

Jensen looks down at his hand that still grips the gun, forgotten. He turns and shoves it under a cushion on the couch, then hobbles over to grab the nondescript ballcap that he never leaves home without from its hook by the door. He pushes past Jared and starts towards the elevators.

“Fuck it. Let’s go. And, for the record, kidnappers call me Jensen.”


When they get down to the street, Jensen finds that Jared drives an ancient, robin’s-egg blue split-window VW bus, the metal over the wheel-wells chewed by rust, the front bumper graced with a fist-sized dent. It makes him like Jared a little bit better. And the guy’s somehow landed himself a parking spot on the street right in front of Jensen’s building, which makes Jared’s claims to strange magic a bit more believable as well.

He doesn’t know if it irks or gratifies him that Jared shortens his pace to match Jensen’s slower one. At least Jared has the sense not to mention the limp. When they reach the van, Jared unlocks the door with a real key to let him in, but doesn’t open it for him or help him inside. Smart man.

As Jensen sits down on the stiff, flaking seat cushion, the hinges inside squeak in protest. Jared slides behind the wheel and cranks the key in the ignition once, twice, before the engine coughs to life and they pull away.

Jensen doesn’t ride in cars often. Never drives anymore. He forces himself to sit back, settle, tries to behave like a normal person, when really he feels like flinging the door open and throwing himself out. “Do you do this frequently?” he asks, voice steady as a rock. “The whole abducting strangers thing?”

“No. You’re the first. And, I hope, the last,” Jared replies with that same easy smile he has. As if there’s nothing at all odd about him asking for this and Jensen accepting.

“That’s a good plan. Because you kind of suck at it.”

They ride in silence for a while as Jared navigates the cross-town traffic, taking 84th where it bisects Central Park and up FDR. Jensen’s doing pretty well, if he does say so himself. He just hopes Jared doesn’t ask why Jensen’s got a white-knuckle grip on the door handle. When they head over the Kennedy Bridge toward Queens, Jared says, “Would you like me to bore you with that long story now?”

“Sure,” Jensen says. He’ll take anything that’ll distract from the tumult of cars and trucks and the strangeness of rolling through city streets that aren’t Manhattan’s.

“Well, I have a farm in Iowa. One day, out in the cornfield, I heard a Voice-“ And the longer Jared talks, the less Jensen notices the road.


They make the turn into the Citi Field parking lot as pedestrians wander suicidally into the intersections and across all lanes of traffic toward the stadium. He sees Jared glance at the acres of already-full lots encircling the park like the world’s largest car dealership, and then turn the VW toward the nearest gate. The look on the valet’s face when Jared pulls up is priceless.

Jensen gets out, and Jared’s already got two tickets that he pulls out of his wallet.

“You were so certain I’d come?” Jensen asks, raising one eyebrow.

“Not certain, but hopeful,” Jared replies with a shrug.

They make their way through the turnstiles and into the maze of ramps leading up to the seats. Jensen pulls his cap a little lower down over his brow, wishing it were a daytime game so he could wear sunglasses. But only douchebags wear sunglasses at night.

“So I’ve told you my story, what about yours?” Jared asks as couples and families and packs of middle-aged drunk dudes, their faces painted orange, throng past them in the stadium’s concrete thoroughfare. “I’m guessing you don’t really want to talk about your movies.”

“You guessed right.”

“So what do you want?” Jared asks.

Jensen stops and turns to look at him. “I want people to stop coming up to me demanding I make some sequel, or that I fight them as if I’m really a super-spy instead of playing one on film. I want them to stop gawking at me like a bearded lady in a backwoods carnival. I want my privacy. I want to sleep without pills. I want to be able to run a mile. I want to never hurt anyone again. Mostly, I don’t want to want things, period!”

“Okay,” Jared drawls, gentle like he’s soothing a barking dog. Then he points at the concession stand menu, and Jensen realizes suddenly they’re in line for snacks. “I was just wondering what you want?”

“Oh,” Jensen feels his face heat up, hopes to hell he’s not blushing. “A dog and a beer.” He’s not even hungry, but that’s what regular people order at the ballgame, right?


When they get to the stands, Jensen doesn’t let slip his dismay at the long plunge of stairs to the seats. He just sucks it up and makes his way downward, his pace an embarrassing lumber, too slow. He has to go one step at a time, his left hand clutching tight around the iron rail running down the center, the other trying not to spill his drink. Jared trails behind. Eventually they settle into their seats. Pretty good seats, directly behind the Mets’ on-deck circle. The only problem is they’re squeezed in tighter than the backseat of a Cooper Mini, and Jared’s practically eating his own knees. Jensen can’t remember the last time he was at a sporting event, but he’d bet he probably watched it from some studio exec’s luxury suite while drinking five hundred dollar whiskey on the rocks.

Jared tosses him a rueful smile. “Guess I should have bought us three tickets so we could leave the one in the middle empty for room.”

Jared’s muscled shoulder brushes his, their elbows knock on the armrest, eventually their thighs sit pressed side-by-side. Jensen can feel the body heat that Jared’s radiating, and an unexpected twinge of lust hits him low in the gut. Jared’s not at all the type of guy Jensen would ever have gone for in the past-gigantic, corn-fed, flannel-wearing nutcase that he is-and this is so not the place or time. But he hasn’t felt something like it in a long while, and it’s not a bad feeling. At all.

The first batter comes up and the game starts. It ebbs, flows. Some guy gets a single and chats up the first baseman while the catcher saunters out to the mound. Organ music bleats out a hit pop song. Jensen doesn’t know either team’s players, but it doesn’t matter; baseball is baseball.

Jared holds up two little notecards, asks if Jensen wants to keep score. Jensen shakes his head. He’s busy marinating in memories. Of sitting with his dad in front of the television as the Astros blow a ninth-inning lead. Of a walk-off home run in pee-wee Little League, his teammates tackling him in a giant pile at the plate. Of breaking in a new glove. Of standing on base brushing off the dirt after a great slide. He lets all of it wash over him, things he hasn’t thought of in years and years.

Then, something happens in the fifth inning. The score is tied, and Jared is hoping aloud that the guy selling peanuts will be back around soon. But his voice starts to fade, and slowly so do all the background sounds of the crowd.

In the eerie quiet, Jensen looks up at the scoreboard. The regular stats and images and advertisements found there scramble and fade and resolve themselves into three simple lines. The words and figures in it glow brighter than a bolt of lightning, phosphorescent, and sear into his retinas the same way.

Aldis “Moonlight” Hodge

Detroit Tigers, 1948

Lifetime statistics: 1 game, 0 at bats

He searches the faces of the spectators around him, but from the lack of surprise or attention they’re paying to the scoreboard, no one else seems to notice. He sees Jared from the corner of his eye, head down, writing something on his scorecard, but he can’t tell if it’s the scoreboard message or simply something ordinary related to the game.

Then Jensen hears a Voice.

“Go the distance.”

It rings in his ears like the stadium speaker had been relocated just behind his right shoulder. But not loud. Not soft either. It reminds him of his father’s voice. Of his high school drama teacher’s. Of God’s.

Between movie shoots, hanging out in L.A. in his heyday, Jensen had experimented with a lot of drugs, different kinds, different combinations. He wonders whether maybe he’s having some kind of bad trip flashback. Maybe it’s a brain aneurysm. He feels slightly giddy and sick, as if he’d just stepped off of a carnival tilt-a-whirl.

Next to him, Jared whispers, “Oh my god.”

Jensen’s proud that his long-ingrained control over his expression holds firm, even under such freaky circumstances. He finds he can turn quite naturally to Jared and ask, “What’s the matter?”

Jared looks at him as if staring up through sunlit water. “Did you see it?”

He tries to answer, but his mouth won’t open. ‘No’ would be a lie, but to utter the word ‘yes’ out loud is unimaginable.

After a moment, Jared sighs and rolls his shoulders awkwardly. “Never mind. I-I thought you needed to be here, but I guess I was wrong.” He stands, gathering up his empty drink cup.

“Where are you going?” Jensen asks.

“We’re done here. We can leave.” Jared starts up the steps without him and Jensen struggles to his feet to follow.

When he finally manages to get back to the concourse, he’s out of breath, his heart pounding not just from the climb, but with the worry that Jared will just keep on walking and leave him behind without some fucking explanation of what is happening here. It’s one thing to listen to Jared spin a tale of strange messages from beyond, it’s another to hear-something?-with his own ears. Jensen’s skull feels strangely hollow, wonderment and disbelief pinging around in the empty space inside.

He spies Jared leaning up against the cinderblock wall next to the upper level stairs, his head tilted back, eyes closed.

“You got another message, didn’t you?” Jensen demands, phrasing it deliberately so as to see Jared’s hand without tipping his own. “What you told me before, about building a field in the corn, and about coming here to find me. You heard that Voice again.”

“You’ll think I’m crazy.”

“I already think you’re crazy.” And it’s communicable, Jensen thinks. Who knew? “What did it say?”

After a little thought, Jared smiles wistfully and shakes his head. “It said, ‘Jensen Ackles has done enough. Leave him alone.’” He pushes himself up off the wall and starts off toward the exit. “Come on, let’s get you home.”

Before Jared can get two steps away, Jensen grabs his arm and swings him around. “Moonlight Hodge,” he blurts out.

Jared’s jaw visibly drops. “You saw it.”

“Saw what?” Jensen counters, still not prepared to admit more than he must. Still not believing it. Still hoping the Voice will speak again.

“Detroit Tigers. 1948. He played one game and never got to bat!” Jared’s voice is rising, he yanks his arm from Jensen’s grip and starts to pace excitedly.

“This is great! You saw it!” His grin damn near splits his face. Jensen’s still off-kilter, and Jared’s flurry of elation makes him itchy, irritated. Fine, he saw it. But where does that leave him now? It was so much easier when he could scoff at Jared’s story. There’s no place for magic or leaps-of-faith in the calm, safe little world he’s crafted so carefully these past few years. Now he feels as naked and exposed as a carrot ripped from the ground by a giant hand.

“Did you hear the Voice too?” Jared asks.

“’Go the distance,’” Jensen repeats. It sends a shiver down his spine.

“Do you know what it means?”

“I think it means we have to go find Moonlight Hodge.” He can’t believe the words coming out of his mouth, but as soon as he says them, he knows they’re true. Goddamn it.

“We?” Jared says it casually, but his ridiculous, open-book face is lit up like a kid’s on Christmas morning.

“Yeah,” Jensen says, grudgingly. “We.” He turns and stumps down the stadium ramp, Jared yipping along at his heels.


Jared hands the valet their ticket when they reach the parking lot. While waiting for the van to be brought around, Jensen asks, “So where do we start?”

“How am I supposed to know? I’m just a corn farmer!” Jared says.

“And I’m just a washed-up actor,” Jensen snaps back, then lowers his voice so any random bystander doesn’t overhear. The VW pulls up. “You have more experience with this hoodoo than I do.”

“Hoo doo doo doo doo,” Jared sings nonsensically, practically leaping into the driver’s seat and bouncing with enthusiasm. “Why don’t we start with figuring out who Moonlight Hodge is?”

“Okay,” Jensen says, glad to have a task to ground him. “You drive, I’ll google.”

“Drive where?” Jared asks.

“I don’t really care,” Jensen mutters as he pulls his phone from his jeans pocket and looks up Aldis Hodge and the Tigers. He falls down an Internet rabbit hole for a few minutes, and when he finally comes up for air, he looks over at Jared again.

“I have good news and bad news.”

“What?” Jared asks not taking his eyes from the road.

“The good news,” Jensen says, “is that I found Doctor Hodge’s address in Ecorse, Michigan, right outside Detroit.”

“Doctor, huh? Not bad for an ex-ballplayer. And the bad news?”

“He’s been dead for exactly a year.”

They exchange a glance, and Jensen expects to feel discouraged, thwarted before they even start, but instead he feels a pull westward, stronger than ever. Jensen notices they’re back on the bridge into Manhattan, but he has no intention of telling Jared to take him home.

“Head for I-95 South,” he says, gesturing toward the big green highway sign ahead. “That’ll take us into Jersey to I-80 and on to Michigan.”

Jared’s eyes widen for a minute, and then he’s nodding, almost like he’s talking himself into it, too. “Okay,” Jensen hears him murmur to himself. “Okay. Okay.”

They ride on for a few minutes before Jared pipes up again, “So how long do you want to keep on driving? I mean, we can find a place to stay, a Motel 6 or something, maybe just pull over at a rest stop, catch a few hours’ sleep, or-“

“I’d vote to keep driving,” Jensen says. The echo of screeching tires and crunching metal still haunts him, but there’s also a mystery out there in the dark, and its draw is stronger than the tide.

Jared’s return grin is boyish, tickled, as if relieved to have someone to share his secret, to welcome into his treehouse fort. “I know, I know. It’s weird. Exciting, yeah? Like falling in love? Hearing that Voice? You want the feeling to last forever, and there’s nothing you can’t do.”

Jensen just nods. He can’t remember ever falling in love. Maybe in love with a script, or a character. There were high school crushes on Texas boys that would have gotten him beaten bloody if ever acknowledged. There were hook-ups on movie sets, frantic and intense, that felt like love at the time, but in hindsight were just shallow, momentary thrills. Is that what this is? Just a fling? An impulse?

They drive, nothing to see but oncoming headlights and mile markers and exit ramps they won’t be taking. The farther they travel, the more Jensen feels like a criminal, fleeing the clutches of the city behind them. He feels like a seasick sailor on his first voyage out of sight of land. He feels like an idiot. But just before he calls the whole thing to a halt, Jared reaches out to turn up the volume on the radio. He starts singing-god, so badly-along with The Doobie Brothers, drumming his thumbs on the wheel.

Jensen’s heart rate slows to match the beat of the music. He leans back into his seat, rests his head so that he’s turned to watch Jared’s performance, and sings silently along.



rps, supernatural fic, j2

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