Pairing: mainly Jensen/Jared
Summary: Many years ago, Jensen's way of life cost him everything he cared about. He's never forgotten. Past lives and reincarnations abound.
Disclaimer: If they were mine they would have totally married each other.
Author's notes: This is in response to a prompt by imogen-lily. This is her idea, I'm just playing with it.
Previous chapters: One
Denmark: Spring, Year 1446
Jensen wasn’t even attempting to hide his boredom during his post-coronation celebration, much to Christian’s amusement and the annoyance of the previous king’s advisor, Frederik Balduin.
Frederik had faithfully served Jensen’s father, King Alan Ayres for many, many years and had helped him to make the best decisions for Denmark. He had fully expected to keep his job when an illness claimed the king’s life and his son accepted the throne, but to his chagrin Jensen had been quick to kick Frederik out and replace him with the Kenna boy.
“The court will not approve, Your Majesty,” Frederik had told him through gritted teeth, trying and failing not to show his annoyance. “They’ll see it as a brash decision when I have clearly done my best--”
Jensen waved a hand dismissively from his seat on the throne. The crown that was perched on his brown hair had been in the family for many generations, the golden surface adorned with two rubies and un emerald that shimmered under the candlelight.
If Frederik hadn’t known the brat since he was swaddled, he might be impressed by the sight of Jensen looking so regal. But he knew that beneath the pretty surface was a self-absorbed boy who needed a harsh lesson in reality.
“I could give a rat’s ass what the court thinks. I’m king now and I will do as I please.” His expression turned thoughtful, a finger rubbing over his chin. “Actually… I think I’ll keep you on, Balduin, at least until I get sick of you. Your new role will be as advisor to my advisor.”
“Thank you, Sire,” Frederik bowed at the waist to hide his displeased scowl, wrinkled fingers tight around his staff.
Advisor to an advisor indeed! What a joke. Christian Kenna was no older than Jensen, which to Frederik in both years and experience made both of them nothing more than prepubescent children.
Frederik’s opinion of Jensen had been the same since the younger man’s childhood. Even as a prince he had shown little tolerance for anyone that he thought treated him with anything less than the amount of respect he believed he deserved, no matter their status. The late King Alan, may he rest in peace, had done nothing to discourage Jensen’s feelings of superiority. Ironically it was despite Alan’s own belief that all should be treated equally.
Spoiled brat, Frederik thought to himself with a sneer.
Jensen’s lack of attention while the high members of society were being properly introduced during the celebration was completely appalling. He let his eyes wander in blatant disregard and had even yawned overly loud a few times.
“The Duke Jonathan Peney of Winchester, and son,” the announcer spoke through his heavily gray mustache and beard, booming voice carrying down the grand staircase.
Jonathan was a sight to behold, with a fight-roughened face and muscular body. He held himself with an air of strength and power that was rightly earned from the years he spent helping to gain victory over many battles. He was a proud warrior and a kind man, just as Alan had been.
His son Tristano had not yet faced as many hardships but his father made sure that should he ever need to, he was prepared both mentally and physically.
He was a handsome young man that the equally young (and eligible) ladies in attendance of the party were definitely enthralled with. Their interest was shared, it seemed, by Jensen himself. There was no mistaking the lust in his jade eyes.
Upon seeing the look Frederik barely fought the urge to shout ‘no, no, no!’ and stomp his foot like a petulant child. Horrifyingly, he realized that Jensen’s adolescent behavior was rubbing off on him.
“Majesty-” he started, ready for a speech about kingly duties and propriety.
He never got the chance as Jensen shoved his open hand in Frederik’s face, very nearly removing his nose in the process. “Shut up.”
“Thank you for making it to the coronation celebration,” Christian greeted the two men respectfully as they reached them.
Jonathan smiled back. “The pleasure is ours. Your father was a dear friend, King Ayres, and a considerate ruler. As much as he’ll be missed amongst all of us, I’m sure you’ll live up to expectations. Given the chance I believe you can surpass him in righteous govern.”
“Thank you, Duke Peney,” Jensen replied in surprise. No one had said anything like that to him before. And meant it. “I hope to live up to your expectations.” He locked eyes with Tristano and the feeling of desire burned in him again.
“Your Highness,” Tristano bowed, breaking eye-contact and yet seeming to increase the hold that he was unaware he had on Jensen. “I’m pleased to finally meet you.”
“As am I about you,” Jensen replied, his already husky voice deepening. “You’ll save a dance or two for me this evening, I hope?”
Tristano straightened and looked taken aback by the request. He glanced at his father then looked back at Jensen, clear uncertainty on his face. “Oh, um… of course. It would be an honor.”
As they walked away to join the other guests, Tristano’s look of uncertainty at Jensen over his shoulder had melted into wary calculation.
Jensen looked predatorily at him in response then turned away towards the grand staircase to greet the next set of guests.
“I know that look,” Christian said suspiciously. “You’re planning on bedding the Duke’s son.”
The new king smirked. “I want him.”
“Your Kingship!” Frederik screeched. “I must protest this complete and total lack of regard for protocol! Your concern should be marriage to an eligible woman of nobility, not a tryst with the son of a trusted ally to the kingdom. Your father would never approve--”
“My father is not here, Balduin, and you’ll do well to remember that,” Jensen snapped at him. “Once again I’m king and I’ll do what I want to who I want. You and your ridiculous notions can stuff it, along with that ugly hat.”
Frederik stuttered and twitched his arms, looking like a ruffled and angry chicken. The tall cloth hat on his head was tradition! Plus it hid his bald spot.
No good would come of Jensen’s blatant disregard for rules and etiquette, the previous advisor was sure of that.
“This bodes ill for us all,” he whined.
Texas: Summer, Year 2010
Jared eyed the crowd with discontent, a black cat cradled in his arms. Why wasn’t this damn party over with yet?
The problem with having a father that was in the business of money was that he had an endless list of friends. Which meant that a lot of the people attending Jared’s so-called birthday party weren’t even there to see him, but to kiss up to his dad in hopes if remaining in Texas’ rich-bitch social circle.
The whole thing made both Jared and his little sister Megan nauseous.
Although, shooting a look at his younger sibling across the throngs of people, Jared narrowed his eyes slightly. Not a single long hair was out of place, her dress looked like it was made for her alone, her white-toothed smile was genuine, and the circle of people around her hung on her every word.
Megan should be miserable like him, shouldn’t she? It was an unspoken sibling code, or something!
“You stare any harder and that poor girl’s hair might catch fire.”
The voice close to his ear caught Jared off guard and he started in surprise, nearly knocking the cat from his arms. It growled in annoyance, tail thrashing like a whip.
“Sorry, Cerberus.” Jared rubbed his fingers behind the animal’s ears, trying to sooth it. He turned around with an annoyed look but anything he was going to say died before it left his parted lips.
He knew the man in front of him by nothing but reputation and pictures, but they were enough to give him pause.
Jensen raised an eyebrow at Jared’s slacked-mouthed staring. “Do I have something on my face?”
“Um… no. I’m sorry, Mister Ackles. It’s just that I--”
“Jensen,” he interrupted.
“I’m here to celebrate your birthday, Jared, so I’d prefer it if you use my first name. This has nothing to do with business or the approval of snooty societies.”
“Then you’re the only one,” Jared muttered bitterly. He glanced quickly around them. “I’m sorry, that was… rude of me.”
Jensen chuckled. “Please don’t apologize. It’s refreshing to hear someone give their true opinion. Everything with these people is just so scripted, don’t you think?”
Jared’s expression brightened, dimples on his cheeks as he smiled. “You’re telling me.”
The screech wiped the happiness right off of Jared’s face. He and Jensen turned towards the woman approaching with quick, purposeful strides. The sound of her heels clacking against the floor reminded Jared of a horse’s hooves on cobblestones.
She pointing a thin, manicured finger at the animal in his arms. “What did I say about bringing that beast in here? Your guests would like to enjoy themselves without having to worry about that filthy thing’s fur in their food!”
The cat hissed at her, amber eyes glaring.
“A little change in their diets might do them some good, Lauren,” Jared responded dryly. “And to top it off these aren’t my guests anyway, so ask me if I care.”
How many times have they had this conversation? Ever since Lauren Cohan had become his father’s assistant, she seemed to believe that she had to take on the role of Jared and Megan’s mother too. They were hardly little kids clinging to Jeffrey Dean’s legs, first of all. And secondly she wasn’t that much older than Jared.
“Absurd!” she snapped back haughtily. “These lovely people are indeed here to see you--”
“My father. I’d be surprised if anyone here, besides Mister Ackles it seems, even knows my name. In fact why even let me come at all? A cardboard cutout of myself stuck in the corner of the room would have been just as effective.”
Jared was sure the temperature of the room had just dropped twenty degrees as Lauren’s glare could have easily frozen an active volcano.
“Keep that up and ice beams will come shooting out your eye sockets,” Jared taunted with a wicked grin, bouncing on the heels of his feet. “That’ll be good use on those ice sculptures. Those ugly things arrived half melted.”
“They’re not ugly, they’re regal! Those were hand carved by the most highly recommended sculpture artists of Alaska!” Lauren’s face was getting red. She hated when her choices were questioned. Especially by Jared.
“Yeah, and you had them brought to Texas in the summer. Brilliant, Lauren. Putting a heat lamp on the damn things would probably cool them off.”
Riling Lauren up was always a fun game.
Strong fingers, warm even through the suit jacket he had been forced to wear, took hold of his upper arm. Jared turned his head towards Jensen who was looking at him with clear amusement.
“Come on, before that throbbing vein in her forehead gets any bigger.”
“You little--!” Lauren’s retort was lost on Jared as he allowed Jensen to drag him away.
He stuck his tongue out at her for good measure.
Once outside the double glass doors at the far end of the ballroom, Jared burst into laughter. “Did you see the look on her face? I bet she’s running off to my father right at his moment to bitch about what a complete brat I am.”
“You’re hardly a brat,” Jensen replied with a smile. “It’s amusing how much you obviously like to get her mad though. Is that a personal hatred or just a general one?”
“I don’t hate her, really,” Jared replied with a shrug. “But everyone knows she only hangs around because she wants to marry my dad.” He looked disgusted, but resolute. “Which is never going to happen, by the way. Not when she treats Megan and me like we’re the gum beneath her stilettos.”
The backyard was illuminated by dozens of multicolored garden lanterns, the bright colors dancing on the clear water of the deep, underground pool.
“Pretty, isn’t it?” Jared asked when he noticed Jensen looking up at the clear, diamond-filled sky. “I’m sure the stars are hard to see back at your home in the city, with all the lights and everything.”
“I don’t really have the time to notice anymore,” Jensen shrugged. He followed Jared’s lead and sat down on a pool chair.
Jared shook his head with a sigh. He really didn’t understand how anyone could move through life like that; so absorbed in business not to notice the simpler, more pleasant things. He’d always promised himself that he would be different.
Cerberus jumped from Jared’s arms. Staying clear of the water, it walked to the brick wall at the other side of the yard and leapt up with the sleek agility all cats were born with. Perching comfortably, it regarded the two men with a flick of it’s tail.
Jensen’s dark eyes were watching Jared intently, as if waiting for him to do or say something.
The silence turned awkward very quickly.
Jared was just as unsure of what to do. He kept fidgeting and licking his lips, aware that Jensen was still watching him with rapt attention.
Jensen Ackles had quite the reputation, and despite Jeffery Dean’s efforts to keep the attention of the media and the vicious rumors of the business world away from his children, the internet offered any answers that he wouldn’t.
The rumors said that Jensen was a letch who had only gotten where he was by using his body and other illicit activities; walking over others like stepping stones across a pond to get what he wanted. They said Jensen was cold and cruel and nothing but a manipulator.
But the man sitting near him didn’t seem to be any of those things, and Jared didn’t know how to behave around him. Oh sure, he could see how it would be possible for Jensen to use his looks to his advantage, the man was beyond handsome, but the awkward way he was reacting only seemed to make him seem more endearing than anything else.
Jared snorted at himself and shook his head. He was acting like a love-struck teenager and it was disgusting.
“Do you always have internal debates with yourself?”
Jared blinked at him. “What do you mean?”
Jensen smiled, giving Jared a look so affectionate that the younger man felt his cheeks flush. “When you’re thinking hard about something, your jaw tenses and you get a faraway look in your eyes. I’ve been watching you do it all night.”
“You’ve been watching me?”
“Well I wanted to wait for the perfect time to approach you,” Jensen shrugged. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a black box, handing it to Jared. “Happy birthday.”
Surprised, Jared turned the box over in his hands a couple times. “Thank you, Jensen.”
“Why don’t you open it?” Jensen chuckled. “I swear there’s nothing dangerous inside.”
Flushing when he realized he was doing nothing but shifting the box in his fingers, Jared turned it right side up and carefully took the top off.
His breath caught as he took out what was inside. The surface was slightly scratched a little scuffed from age, but it was clearly a very real emerald. The stone was about half the size of Jared’s palm.
“Holy shit,” Jared murmured, holding the stone up to the lantern light. “Jensen this… this is real! You can’t give me this, this too expensive!”
Jensen cupped Jared’s hand in his when the younger man tried to give the stone back, curling his fingers around the cool surface of gift. “I’ve had it a long time, Jared. I want to give it to you.”
“But..” Jared hesitated, looking down at the stone between their fingers. “Why? You don’t even…”
“Do you know what the ancients believed about emeralds, Jared?”
He shook his head. When no answer came for a minute, he raised his eyes and his breath caught at the affectionate look Jensen was giving him again.
“They prized them as symbols of love, rebirth, and eternal youth. Trust me when I say that it’s the perfect stone for you.”
As his hand was released, Jared cradled the emerald to his chest. He couldn’t seem to stop touching it, addicted to the feel of it beneath his fingertips. “Thank you,” he said to Jensen, smiling a little shyly. “No one’s given me a gift like this before. I’ll keep it safe, I promise.”
Jensen’s expression changed from pleased to forlorn.
“What’s the matter?” the younger man asked. “You look so sad all of a sudden.”
Jensen quickly looked away. “It’s nothing. I was just… you remind me of someone I knew a long time ago.”
“From that expression it was someone special to you, I’d wager.”
“Very perceptive,” Jensen smiled slightly. “Must be that high-class education.”
Jared laughed. “Yeah, well, I wanted to go to a school where they let you grunt and beat things with sticks but dad said that was too complicated for me. So it was expensive schools with wrinkle-free uniforms instead. Totally boring.”
“Well here you are. I wondered where the birthday boy had run off to,” an amused voice stated from the patio doorway.
Jensen’s face drained of color and he looked as though he had seen a ghost. “Castiel?” he murmured.
Jared and the man both looked at him in confusion.
“Oh, no, Jensen,” Jared said, rising to his feet. He carefully slipped the emerald into his pocket. “This is my friend, Misha Collins. Misha, this is--”
“Jensen Ackles, I know.” Misha stepped forward and held out his hand. “I’ve heard about you. It’s a pleasure.”
Jensen stood and took Misha’s offered hand in a firm handshake. His features immediately schooled and seeing the closed-off expression didn’t sit right with Jared.
“Likewise, Mister Collins. You and Jared are friends?” Jensen sounded a little suspicious.
“The best.” Misha released Jensen’s hand and went to Jared’s side, socking him in the shoulder.
“Ow, fucker!” Jared hissed, rubbing the offending spot. The grin on his face however belied his words of pain. “What the hell, man?”
“It’s time to cut the cake, Your Majesty. Don’t leave your hungry court awaiting the chance to taste the dessert only fit for a king.”
“Alright, alright. What’s with the weird talk?” Jared replied with a roll of his hazel eyes. He gave Jensen an excited smile. “You coming with? The cake is going to be delicious - triple layer chocolate with strawberries on top. It’s the only thing I’ve been looking forward to all damn night.”
Jensen’s smile was strained. “I’ll… be there in a minute.”
Jared nodded and dragged Misha inside, a bounce to his step.
Chris was off to the side of the room, talking to a pretty blonde woman with a low cut, tight blue dress when someone collided with his back. He stumbled forward and the woman shrieked as his champagne splashed right down her generous valley of cleavage.
“Fuck, I’m so sorry!” Chris hastily apologized, but the woman was already stomping off. He growled in annoyance and spun around. “Jensen, what the hell?! I was just--”
He stopped short at the sight of Jensen’s wide, startled eyes, a light sheen of sweat at his temples.
“Hey, what’s wrong?”
Jensen curled his fingers into the sleeve of Chris’ suit. “It’s Castiel. He’s here, Chris.”
“Castiel?” Chris immediately started looking around. His eyes landed on Jared at the head of the room and right at his side was the familiar face that struck Chris’ memory like a hammer.
Castiel and Tristano had been attached at the hip back in the fourteen hundreds, having been best friends since childhood much like Chris and Jensen. “It can’t be.”
“It is!” Jensen insisted. “Jared said his name is Misha Collins but I know it’s Castiel. He even hinted that he knows about Denmark.”
“Alright, that’s it. This has gotten out of hand.” Chris grabbed Jensen and dragged him out of the room, then through the house and out the front door.
“What are you doing?” Jensen demanded, yanking free. “I can’t leave yet.”
“You’re losing your mind, Jensen!” Chris growled. “I went along with you to this party because I thought that once you saw Jared you’d realize that he’s not Tristano, he never was Tristano, and he never will be Tristano. But now you think that a knight from our time is here, too? You’ve got to stop this!”
“You saw him just as clearly as I did, Chris,” Jensen argued vehemently. “Castiel was Tristano’s closest friend, and now Misha is Jared’s? That’s just too much of a damn coincidence.”
“But that’s exactly what it is! A coincidence!” Chris sighed and ran his hands through his dark hair in an effort to calm down. “Look, Jen… These years have been pure torture for you, I get that. You still blame yourself for what happened and you want your husband back. But that kid in there is not him. It’s time you move on.”
That familiar, determined look on Jensen’s face was something he had perfected while Denmark’s king, and it only meant he would be swayed by nothing.
“Jared is Tristano, Chris. I’m not going to give up and I’m not going to lose him again. He’s come back to me for a reason; neither you, nor Castiel or Misha or whatever the fuck his name is now is going to keep him from me.”
Chris’ shoulders slumped. “I just… hope that this doesn’t completely break you, Jensen.”
“It won’t break me,” Jensen insisted. His voice and expression softened. “It’ll fix me.”