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.
Chapter Warning: Very light descriptions of the aftermath of death and rape, mention of suicide.
Previous chapters: One, Two, Three
Inside the ice cream shop was like stepping back in time to the fifties. On either side of the neon, Diner sign hanging high on the wall, the numerous flavors of ice cream took up the entire space in bold, blocky white letters. The stools were aligned perfectly apart from each other the same length of the counter, shiny from the red cushions on their tops down to the black and white checkered floor beneath the wide metal bases. A large jukebox sat in the corner of the room beneath a red and white poster advertising Coca Cola, ready for the chance to play Patti Page’s Tennessee Waltz or Red Foley’s Chattanoogie Shoe-Shine Boy.
Behind the counter was a glass case so that all the buckets of the ice cream flavors could be visible and Jared knew he had died and gone to heaven. Ice Cream Dreams might have been old fashioned but their flavors were very much updated. All the colors and names were making his mouth water, from the traditionally named plain vanilla, chocolate and strawberry to more odd ones such as Chunky Monkey and Phish Food.
“Any idea where you’d like to start?” Jensen asked, amused at Jared’s clear excitement.
“I don’t know… I feel slightly overwhelmed by it all,” Jared replied breathlessly. “Am I drooling?”
“A little but I’ll overlook it.”
Eventually Jared was able to pick a cone of Death By Chocolate, complete with chocolate ice cream, chocolate flakes, and fudge pieces. Jensen’s choice was a bowl of strawberry ice cream with chunks of sweet cheesecake mixed in.
Tasting the treat brought back Jensen’s memory of the very first time he had indulged.
The summer of 1853 found he and Chris in Baltimore, Maryland, during a time when male immigrant workers filled mills and the harbor for any job available, while their wives and daughters took care of the younger children and cooked the meager meals that were all that could be afforded on such low pay.
Jensen and Chris, like everyone else, worked any job they could find. They helped with the canals and railroads and often went to sleep with aching and exhausted bodies. But work was work and they were determined to make do.
It was on his way home one day that Jensen came across a man named Jacob Fussel. He had just opened the very first ice cream factory and was selling the treat out of his wagon. Although Jensen’s earnings for the day hadn’t been well, he couldn’t resist and had bought a little of the frozen treat.
One bite and he had instantly fallen in love, and for years afterwards he and Chris had partaken every chance they got.
But those memories, aside from making Jensen feel incredibly old, meant absolutely nothing in the face of the new memory he was making with Jared at that moment.
“Did you know that in ancient times, the people of the Persian Empire used to pour grape juice concentrate over snow?”
Jensen blinked at Jared across the table of the booth they had claimed as their own. “I’m sorry, what?”
“That was the first version of ice cream,” Jared smiled. “They would either take the snow from the mountain tops of Hagmatana, or they would have some saved in their cooler underground chambers known as ‘yakhchal’.”
At Jensen’s stare, Jared’s cheeks flushed.
“I’m sorry. I get a little carried away with the history lessons sometimes. My friend Chad says it’s incredibly annoying.”
“So you’re a history buff?”
Jared nodded. “It’s kind of my obsession. Sometimes it seems like I would have rather lived back then, you know? When times were simpler.”
Jensen lowered his gaze to study the ice cream on his spoon, held halfway to his mouth. “There were a lot of problems in history too, Jared. They may have been more simple with lack of technology or less development, but each generation through the ages has had numerous struggles.”
“You’re right,” Jared replied softly, feeling slightly chastised. “My grandmother used to tell me that I have an old soul. I guess that has something to do with how I feel.”
“There’s nothing wrong with having an old soul. Maybe it’s even true.” Jensen felt his mood perk a little at that.
He knew that ‘old soul’ was just a way of saying that someone was wise beyond their years, but it made him all the more sure that he was looking at the reincarnation of his husband. If there was a way to tap into those long-lost memories that must be bubbling beneath the surface, then Jared could truly be Tristano again and they could be together just as it was meant to be.
Some of the tension released between them like the air coming out of an old balloon, and the rest of the time in the ice cream shop was spent just making small talk.
Jared told Jensen about his school and how much he hated having to wear a tie. Jensen spoke about Samantha and her mother-hen tendencies towards him and Chris.
“Must be nice to have someone looking out for you like that,” Jared replied with a wistful smile. “Don’t you have family?”
Any emotion had been sucked out of Jensen’s deep voice and a shiver ran down Jared’s spine. He couldn’t even contemplate talking about any of his relations, even the ones he didn’t really get along with, so coldly.
It was obvious to Jared that there were a lot of locked up emotions in the man sitting across from him, just waiting for someone had to find the key and open up that tightly sealed box.
Jared had always felt compassionate about other people, and even though they hadn’t known each other long, he found himself wanting to help Jensen in any way he could.
An hour and a half later found them sitting in Jensen’s car heading towards Jared’s house.
“Don’t take me all the way,” Jared said. “I don’t want anyone to see you dropping me off and telling my father.”
“I don’t care if anyone tells, Jared. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
Jared rolled his eyes. “You sound like Misha. Nothing is going to happen to me a couple blocks from my house, or at all for that matter. And if by chance something did I can handle myself.”
They glared at each other before Jensen huffed and tightened his hold on the steering wheel. “Fine.”
He pulled to a stop at the curb a little ways from Jared’s house but snagged the younger man’s bicep before he could get out of the Impala.
“Can see each other again soon? Can I call you?”
Jared studied him for a second, too long in Jensen’s opinion, then pulled out his cellphone. “How about I call you instead? What’s your number?”
Jensen rattled it off and Jared plugged it into his contact list, taking longer to punch in the numbers than he normally would. The reason for his distraction Jensen’s fingers as they lightly rubbed Jared’s arm.
It felt nice.
After he got out, Jensen watched Jared through the windshield until he was out of sight around the corner. Taking his foot off the break, he eased the Impala forward and took the turn, keeping a slow pace as he followed along behind Jared at as much of a distance as he dared.
He was only satisfied when he saw the brunet make his way up his driveway and disappear through the front door of his large house.
Just as the door closed behind the younger man, Jensen whipped his head around at the impatient tapping of knuckles at his driver’s side window. Misha stared back at him through the glass, gesturing for Jensen to roll it down.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Misha asked coldly.
“None of your concern.”
“Actually it’s very much my concern because it’s my job to watch over Jared. Especially from creepy stalkers like you.”
Jensen’s eyes narrowed. “I’m not a stalker.”
“No? Last time I looked it was a stalker thing to do to hang around staring at someone’s house.”
“Isn’t that what you’re doing?” Jensen retorted. “Maybe you’re the stalker.”
Misha scowled. “I already told you it’s my job to keep an eye on them. It’s your job to go play High Class in your office all day like a good little businessman. So why don’t you go do just that and forget this address, hmm?”
“And if I don’t, what’re you going to do? Tell on me?” Jensen smirked as Misha continued to look annoyed. “So hostile, Collins. Is that a possessive streak I sense?”
“Shut up, Ackles. I know exactly what you’re up to.”
“If one more person brings up my reputation I swear to God--”
“Please. Don’t flatter yourself. I could care less what anyone else thinks about you. I know what you think you’re doing with Jared and I’m telling you, even if he was who you think, I’m not going to let you hurt him again.”
Jensen was out of the car so fast that Misha had barely enough time to get out of the way. Jensen grabbed his shirt and spun them around, slamming him back against the car with enough force to shake it.
“What do you know?!” Jensen demanded, getting right in Misha’s face. “Do you remember?!”
Misha calmly reached up and pried Jensen’s fingers from his shirt. “Like I said, I won’t let you hurt him. Not this time, jeres højhed.”
Jensen jerked back in shock at hearing the Danish words for ‘your highness’. It had been so long since the sound of his native language had reached his ears.
Taking advantage of his surprise, Misha shoved him off and made his way to the Padalecki house.
Jensen watched him go.
Castiel slowly awoke, every ounce of his body burning with pain. He forced himself to roll over, clothes stuck to his body from the blood that had pooled beneath him.
His muddled thoughts instantly went to Tristano and Castiel pushed himself to his feet, stumbling past the ajar bedroom door and the bodies of the dead guards. He immediately froze in horror at the sight before him.
“Oh God no..”
He and Tristano had been best friends since the sunny day in midsummer that they had met as children. Their different status’ had meant nothing to either boy, Castiel being a simple farmer’s son and Tristano a Duke’s. But as Castiel grew he realized that in order to be able to stay with his friend he would have to become something more in society.
So he served as a page to a kindly knight named Sir Robert Singer for seven years, then graduated to become a squire when he was fourteen, studying hard and quick over the course of seven years.
Never once did Tristano look at him differently, even going beneath his status to tend to any wounds that Castiel would acquire during his training.
“I hope you’re doing this for yourself and no one else,” Tristano said seriously, wincing in sympathy as Castiel grunted in pain. His latest wound had been a nasty sword slice to the thigh. “It’s not worth it to impress anyone by going through his torture.”
“It’s not torture,” Castiel replied, testing his leg after his friend had finished wrapping it. “It’s important. Knights have high status and it’ll bring honor to myself and my family. Besides, I want to help defend the kingdom.”
The day came when he was twenty one years old that Castiel had finally been officially knighted by King Alan, his hard work recognized for the potential that it held. On that proud day, Tristano had been the first to congratulate him, running up and throwing his arms around Castiel with such enthusiasm that he nearly knocked both of them to the ground.
“I’m so proud of you!” Tristano gushed happily. “I knew you’d make it!”
Castiel returned the hug, overcome by the sweet scent of spring air and soft grass that was always wrapped around his friend like a cloak.
He wasn’t sure when exactly his feelings of friendship had turned into a more serious affection, but it was hard not to fall in love with a man like Tristano. He was beautiful and his kindness held no bounds. He was the sort of man that Castiel wished himself to be and to be with.
Castiel never once told Tristano how he really felt. He knew without even asking that the his friend didn’t feel the same way in return about their relationship though he still couldn’t help but hope some day it would change.
But then along had come Jensen Ayres. Attractive, powerful, sweet-talking Jensen Ayres, Denmark’s new king. Everyone knew that the man was nothing but a lecher who bedded everyone that he possibly could no matter their gender.
Of course the young king had set his eyes on Tristano only to be shot down.
Tristano had never let anyone influence anything about him. He was strong-willed and had a sharp tongue, something that turned quite a few would-be suitors away. Castiel expected Ayres to turn away as well but of course it could never be that easy.
If anything, Tristano’s dismissal had only made the man more curious about him and he refused to give up.
Eventually though, like everyone else it seemed, Tristano was caught beneath Jensen’s spell of enchantment like a fly in a spider’s web. Before Castiel even seemed to know what was happening, five years of courtship had passed and the two of them were married.
Tristano was now his Prince Consort, a title meaning his marriage to the King, and Castiel’s heart snapped in two.
He hid his heartbreak by taking every job that was dangled in front of him, staying away from the castle and the man loved as much as he could.
It wasn’t until a day in late summer of the year 1451 that Tristano had finally been able to confront him.
“Why have you been avoiding me for the last two years?” Tristano immediately moved to block Castiel as the knight tried to walk around him. “We used to be friends, Cas. I thought that you--”
“You thought I what?” Castiel made his voice as cold as possible. “You thought I cared about you?”
Tristano flinched, pain in his blue eyes and Castiel had to force himself not to soften.
“Yes,” Tristano replied softly. “You used to care about me. About our friendship. I know you did.”
“How do you know? Maybe I was just pretending.”
It wasn’t true. God it wasn’t true, but Castiel couldn’t do that. He couldn’t just be in the background smiling like an idiot and not pretend that his heart didn’t break every time Tristano smiled at Jensen with blatant love.
It was better this way.
“You’re lying.” Tristano’s voice wavered. “All those days as children playing in the fields, as teenagers laughing and telling stories, as adults relying on each other. They were real.”
“No. I hung around you because I had to take care of you. You broke everything you touched so someone had to ensure you didn’t make a fool of yourself on a daily basis,” Castiel continued, feeling sick at himself. “I thought I could be away from you when I became a knight but no, you had to marry the King and hang around. So now the only peace I get is on missions which thanks to you I’m now late for. If you’ll excuse me, your highness.”
Castiel moved quickly around Tristano and continued to walk, quickening his steps as the younger man desperately called after him.
“Castiel! Stop, please! I’m sorry! Please!”
And now… Tristano… his Tristano lay upon his bed. His blue eyes which had been filled with such misery the last time Castiel had looked into them, were now staring lifelessly at the ceiling.
His hand hung off the bed, blood still dripping steadily from his fingers into the puddle that had formed on the floor beneath. More blood ran a line from Tristano’s parted lips and down his cheek, staining the mattress under his chestnut colored hair. The pillows and blankets were in shredded pieces askew on the bottom of the bed.
Tristano’s clothes were in rags, legs shoved apart and it was obvious without having to look that he’d been… stomach acid rose in Castiel’s throat and he gagged, fighting to keep from vomiting.
His feet slowly dragged him closer. The vision of his friend’s broken, lifeless body blurred as tears clouded his eyes. Castiel fell with an anguished cry, his knees landing with a sickening splash in Tristano’s blood.
By the time that Jensen returned and discovered what had happened to his husband, Castiel’s own wounds were cleaned and wrapped. Not by his choice; he could care less what happened to him.
The only person who mattered to him was dead. Murdered by riffraff that had gotten into the castle undetected.
Castiel’s anguish had morphed into furious anger. He blamed himself for Tristano’s death. If he had been better at controlling his emotions he could have been by his friend’s side where he belonged.
But he also blamed Jensen with so much hot fury that it consumed him as much as Jensen’s vendetta against the Brigands.
If Jensen hadn’t left Tristano for that war, a war that would have done okay without him… the kingdom wouldn’t be grieving the loss of one of the kindest souls ever to rule it.
The day after Tristano was finally laid to rest beneath the cold ground of the cemetery, word traveled that Jensen had made a deal with the devil that had given him his revenge but had taken away his mortality. It was said that any deal with an evil creature took away one’s life, and since Jensen lived on it stood to reason he wouldn’t die. Everyone believed in the superstitious.
Whether the story was true or not didn’t matter to Castiel.
The Brigands were dead, but even though justice on them was done Castiel could not find it in himself to live on. Life had no meaning to him anymore.
And so, standing in front of Tristano’s headstone, the knight raised his sword and quickly swung it down, piercing his own stomach.
As he lay dying, the chill of the snow beneath him fading with the life inside of him, Castiel made one last vow.
He vowed to find Tristano in the next life, and the life after that, and the life after that, and protect him like he was always supposed to.
He wouldn’t fail again.
It was after Misha had taken a job as Jared and Megan’s bodyguard that the dreams had started. He dreamt of a castle and horses and men in armor and a medieval village.
He started to dream of Jared too, except a slightly older version with blue eyes and old fashioned clothing. Sometimes there was a golden crown upon his head.
“Why are you looking at me in such a manner, Castiel?” Jared would ask him in those dreams, smiling brightly. “You look as though you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Jared?” Misha would ask back, feeling confused and disoriented no matter how many times he found himself in that place.
“And you’ve forgotten my name! I’m Tristano. How offended you’re trying to make me.” But Jared’s smile didn’t waver. “You pledged yourself to me, my good knight. I’m holding you to that promise. Will you keep me safe?”
Misha didn’t even have to think about it. “Always. I’ll never let anything happen to you.”
Delighted, Jared or Tristano or whoever he was encircled Misha in a tight embrace.
That was always when Misha awoke, sitting up quickly to find himself in his bedroom with sweat soaking his brow.
The dreams kept continuing but not always the same. Sometimes Jared was there, or whatever his name was, and sometimes other people were there.
They all called Misha ‘Castiel’, or ‘Sir Knight’.
It was in his dreams that Misha fist laid eyes on Jensen. But he was dressed as a king, the golden crown on his head similar to Jared’s with an emerald in the center.
Misha always felt a pang of jealousy when Jared and Jensen would stand together, holding hands or trading kisses. There was such an obvious love between them that it made his gut twist painfully.
After a while the nightmares began. Jared lying on a large four-poster bed, lifeless body covered by torn clothing and rivers of blood.
Every time he saw the corpse so close yet so out of reach, his friend’s voice would echo ominously around the room, “Will you keep me safe?”
“Will you keep me safe?”
“Will you keep me safe?”
“YES!” Misha awoke with a scream every time, tear tracks on his cheeks and shivers wracking his body. “Yes, I promise. I promise I’ll keep you safe.”
He dreamt of Jensen standing in the middle of a room with a man behind him, yellow eyes glowing bright and unnatural in the dim candlelight.
At a young age, Misha’s maternal grandmother had started talking to him about past lives. She said that most people had lived before and that she believed that certain memories were locked inside of the brain from days passed.
As the dreams continued, Misha started doing his own research. He discovered that Castiel and Jensen and Tristano were all real people and he had read the story of their lives long before Jared had found it in the library.
As crazy as it sounded, he realized that Jensen’s deal with the devil must have been true. How else would he dream about real people in such detail?
And if so, then no way in hell was Misha letting him have Jared.
Somewhere, Azazel was watching with a chesire cat grin.