Well, what had happened was......


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... and heartbreak ensued Chapter 22 National exposure

Jensen was in the makeshift office Jeff had set up for him in his home. The well-guarded estate didn’t allow for trespassers allowing Jared and Jensen to escape the aggressive reporters, but it made Jensen restless. Even though he and Moira mated two weeks ago and were back from their honeymoon, they insisted that they were okay with them there, but Jensen found himself hiding in his office or in their room to give the couple privacy.

The best thing about hiding in the bedroom was that Jared hid with him.

The thought of the time spent hiding yesterday made Jensen smile and made him hard. He was about to seek out his mate and hide some more when his phone rang. He saw from the caller id that it was the hospital and nothing killed a boner like possible bad news.

The news for once wasn’t bad, James was coming around. He wasn’t full awake, but Jensen wanted him to see a friendly face when he did. This time when he searched for Jared, it was to take him along to see their friend. He had called Chris to see if Jared could stay there until he figured out the situation at the hospital, but Jared insisted on going to the hospital.

The next few days were going to be critical, but Jensen hoped James knowing that he was no longer mated to Alexis would help his recovery.

“What did the doctors say?” Jared asked for the third time. Jensen knew that it was nerves, but he needed silence right now, however, if he voiced that Jared would be hurt, so he repeated what he was told over the phone. He was thankful that Moira decided to come later with Jeff.

“Not much, just that James was waking and he thought that it was best that family members be there for support. They weren’t his blood relations, but those bastards neglected James when he had been turned. There were no Omegas in their family, and they weren’t going to accept one who was turned.

Not that he advocated it, but between James’ family and Alexis, he understood why the Omega sought to end his life. Now it was up to Jensen to convince him that he now had a reason to live.

“Fuck!” Jensen muttered when they arrived at the hospital. Just like the last time, the reports were camped outside waiting for them. He didn’t know who was leaking information to the bastards, but Jensen wanted to tear whomever it was a new asshole.

Now he had to get to James without looking as though he’d just went through a gauntlet, and protect Jared from the vultures.

Standing at the car, Jensen tried to figure out what was going to be the easiest way to get into the hospital without engaging the reporters and upsetting James. When were they going to tire of the story and move onto something else? He wanted his life back, and he wanted a quiet place to take James.

“So, what’s our plan of attack?” Chris Kane asked as he and Chad walked up to them from the upper parking deck.

“Chris?” Jensen asked

“Chad?” Jared asked at the same time.

“Yep, we're talking and knew that you would try to handle this on your own and you don’t have to do that when the two of you have friends to help you.” Chris gave Jensen a shit eating grin.

“Friend?” Jared cocked his head and asked Chad. “I know that Jensen has a friend, but do I?”

“Yes, you do. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

Even if they were overrun with reporters, seeing Chad reach out to Jared was worth the invasion. Jared hadn’t said anything but Jensen knew that he missed his friend.

“Tom and Misha wanted to come, but Chris said that it wouldn’t look good if the entire board ended up in jail.”

“Who knew that you were the voice of reason,” Jensen teased. “I guess having a mate, and a pup really does make you responsible.”

Jensen was teasing his friend, but he felt the hurt from Jared, but he wasn’t going to apologize. He couldn’t make Jared overcome the pain of the abortion or the miscarriage, and honestly, Jensen wasn’t sure which was causing the sadness.

He would be there for his mate and comfort him when he could, but he couldn’t take away the pain, and he couldn’t promise that there wouldn’t be a slip of the tongue about them being childless but not with the intention of hurting Jared; he would never hurt his mate on purpose.

The four of them searched the entrances for a way in but were stumped as to how to avoid the press.

“The press is gathered at the front entrance of the hospital, right?” Jared asked the group.

“Yeah,” Chad answered leaving the ‘duh,’ unsaid. “Then let’s go through the emergency room entrance. When we were here before Dr. Brown ushered Jeff and me through a door used for the staff, but I’m sure he can convince them to let us use it.”

Jared was right they were permitted entrance through the door and were escorted to the ICU to see James.

When they entered the room, Jensen took in the pink cheeks, pleased that the pale skin and bluish lips were gone. The closed eyes fluttered, and Jensen could tell they were on the verge of opening and he hoped that was true.

They were there for fifteen minutes before James graced them with his baby blues.

“Thirsty,” he whispered through dry lips.

“Let’s get the nurse first.”

Jensen pushed the button for the nurse when James began to panic and attempted to get out of the bed. Scared that the Omega was going to burst open his stitches, Jensen struggled to keep him in the bed. When force didn’t work Jensen used his Alpha voice and ordered, “James be still, you’re going to hurt yourself.”

At the command James stilled, but he kept giving a wild-eyed stare at the door of his bay. Suddenly his hand clamped down on Jensen’s wrist, and he begged, “Please don’t let her in. I don’t want to see her.”

Suddenly the agitation made sense; he thought Alexis was here.

“James, concentrate on your bond.”

The Omega struggled harder at the command and Jensen knew that he didn’t want Alexis in his head, and he couldn’t blame the man; however, if he didn’t calm down and test the bond, he was going to hurt himself.

He thought about telling James the bond had been broken, but he wouldn’t believe him. The best way to convince him was to let him feel that the bond was gone and he was fighting Jensen’s request. The Alpha only wanted the Omega to know the sweet peace of not belonging to someone who’d treated him so horribly. He squeezed his eyes closed and shook his head.

“James,” Jensen said softly, “feel the bond, search for your mate.”

As he watched the scared man struggle, Jensen never took his eyes from the man as he reached behind him signaling Jared to enter.

“It’s okay, James,” Jared said as he rubbed James’ hair attempting to reassure and soothe his friend.

At Jared’s soft touch, James took a deep breath and opened his eyes in surprise, “I can’t sense her, she’s gone! What-how?”

“Because I am your guardian ad litem, I asked the doctor to sever your bond, and he thought it best to do it while you were in the coma.”

The news earned Jensen a weak smile, “so I don’t have to go back with her?”

“No you don’t, but you will be going to therapy.”

“And we can talk Omega to Omega, James. We’re going through the same shit, I lucked out and got a good Alpha, but there are things I’m not sure about either. We can learn those together.”

“Alexis will…”

“… not do shit. No Alpha can touch you without coming through me.”

“Thank goodness for that,” the Hospitalist murmured. “I don’t want to see him in my ICU again.”

They left the room while the doctor examined James and he gave a good prognosis for recovery and if he continued to improve he would be moved to the Omega ward in a couple of days.

Once the doctor left the room there was a flurry of activity, there was someone to take his blood pressure and his temp, someone to draw blood and then the respiratory therapist was there to begin breathing treatments. Jensen felt that they were in the way. Once he was convinced that James was going to be okay, he and the others left for the night.

They were sitting down to dinner when Jensen’s phone rang and it was a number Jensen didn’t recognize, so he let it go to voice mail, but the caller called again and again that Jensen answered in anger.

“You’re interrupting my dinner,” he barked into the phone.

“Sorry about that,” the caller chuckled, “I’m Senator Jim Beaver, and once dinner is over I’d like to talk to you about how you and your Omega can testify before the Senate about their lives as turned Omegas.”

“Well goddamn, Jared,” Jeff laughed, “you’ve caught the world’s attention don’t let us down.”

Jared stared at Jensen in disbelief. Why would anyone want to talk to him about being an Omega? There were others the senate should be talking to instead of him. He wanted the spotlight to be turned down not magnified by a million watts.

He and Jensen talked about the offer and in a Jensen like manner, instead of telling him what to do, Jensen let Jared make the decision. They were going to meet with Sen. Beaver in a few days, and Jared still didn’t know what he wanted to do.

For once he wished Jensen was a typical Alpha and order him one way or the other so he wouldn’t be walking around with knots in his stomach. Today they were going to Chad's for the cook out and the thought of facing everyone and his brother and Jensen facing off added butterflies to his knots, and he was ready to throw up.

Upon arrival, he and Jensen were greeted with a hug and a handshake from Tom and a glare from Mike. Had he been reading the other Omega wrong? Because from the look Mike was giving him it didn’t look as though that man wanted to be friendly with him.

Trying to get his courage together Jared stayed by Jensen’s side until they were divided into two groups, Alphas, and Omegas and Jared was with the Alphas. Reluctantly, Jared forced himself to join the Omegas.

“Where’s Katie?” Jared asked as he attempted to make conversation with the group. Mike was the leader so the others looked to see if he would answer before they responded.

“She’s coming, this pregnancy is difficult, and Stephen wouldn’t come until she rested for a few hours,” Mike informed him.

He wanted to convey sympathy for her plight; that he hoped that she was feeling better soon but even as he practiced the words in his head they sounded fake, so he tried something else.

“Um, so I’m supposed to speak to the senate next week, and I…”

“Bragging already,” Mike sneered. “We put in a lifetime of pain, and you put in one fucking year, and they make you the face of the plight of the Omega. Just do us a favor, when you speak to those balding old men who still live in the stone ages, don’t embarrass us by deferring to us as O’s.”

There was a time when Jared thought he deserved the insult, and part him still deserved the insult, and he wanted to lash out as Mike was doing but he didn’t want to insult Jensen who was already angry about Jeff, so he held himself in check.

“I’m sorry… You know what? I’m tired of apologizing to you guys for shit I have no control over. I didn’t ask to be turned, I didn’t ask to be attacked, and I certainly didn’t ask to be followed around by paparazzi like I was Kim fucking Kardashian. I can only apologize so many times before I realize that you aren’t going to accept my apology, please do me a favor Mike, don’t call my mate and pretend that you care about me the first chance you get you try to rip me a new one. Either you want to try to be friends, or you don’t, but stop being a pussy about it.”

Jared tensed as Mike pursed his lips and stared at him. He wanted this to work out between them, animosity between him and the others would put Jensen in an awkward position, and Jared didn’t want that. To apologize would be Mike's call, and whatever he decided, the others would follow, maybe except Katie, but hopefully, the baby would mellow her.

“You’ve changed Jared,” Mike said when Jared was going to give up. “I’m willing to give our friendship a chance, but you can’t fuck us over. There can be no more of the old Jared because I refuse to shed any more tears because of you.”


Jared looked at Mike and tried to recall when he made the other man cry, but he had never seen him be anything other than the strong, confident Omega he’d always been.

“I never made you cry.”

“Yeah, you did, just because I didn’t want to cry in front of an Alpha, didn’t mean I haven’t cried. The first time was when you didn’t want to be friends, and I quote ‘with a dumb O.’ You ripped my heart out when you tossed me aside because I thought we were friends, but I guess you treated me better than you treated your mother. Over the years there have been too many times to count, but I’ve shed a river of tears over you.”

Jared apologized trying not to cry himself, “I’m so goddamned sorry.” If he sent out distress signals Jensen would swoop in and take him home and part of him wanted him to, but that would have just put off the inevitable. “I was a danger to every Omega I’ve ever met, and that includes myself. I. I want us to try to be friends, if not I understand, but can we at least be civil?”

If Mike said yes it would be more than Jared deserved after his horrible treatment of someone he’d once called a friend. He was earnest about wanting them to be civil towards one another because if he couldn’t give Jensen anything else he could give him a little peace.

“I’m not sure what happened between now and the last time we visited you, I expected you to reach out to us, but you didn’t. Our attempt at reconciling is the last chance I have for you Jared; I can’t - won’t allow you to keep turning my world upside down.”

Sending up a silent prayer, Jared said softly, “Thanks.”

This time he was the one crying.

Fighting his desire to find Jensen and beg him to leave, Jared remained with the group of Omegas and made uncomfortable conversation with the group. He rolled his eyes in boredom as he listened to Matt as he droned incessantly about his and Chad’s upcoming mating ceremony.

He froze in his seat when Mike caught the gesture, thinking that the short-lived truce was over, but Mike met his gaze with an eye roll of his own. When Matt finally took a breath, Mike seized the moment and asked Jared about his job.

Jared was sure that the question was more to shut Matt up rather than genuine interest, but Jared warmed to the subject but was cut short by the arrival of Moira and Jeff. She looked beautiful and happy. The smile Moira wore was one of genuine happiness, and he was thrilled for her.

After Jeff had introduced her to the group of Alphas, Moira joined the group of Omegas. After she had been introduced to everyone in that group, Jared continued to tell them about his new job.

“He’s going to talk about that job all night,” Moira teased.

Having Moira close calmed him and reminded him that he was not alone, and her presence loosened him, and soon he found himself joking with the others. The laughter died in his throat when he caught a glimpse of newcomers to the festivities, Meggie and Jeff.

“Excuse me,” he told the others and went to find Jensen.

As he walked towards his Alpha, he hands shook, he began to sweat, and his heart felt as though it was going to beat out of his chest. This meeting between Jensen and his family could end with everyone getting along or very, very bloody, and Jared was praying that it wasn’t the latter.

Easing up next to his laughing mate, Jared whispered, “Jeff and Megan are here.”

At those five words, Jensen’s laughter stopped, and his eyes narrowed as he scanned the yard for the new arrivals. Jared could tell he was angry, but he didn’t say anything to anyone as he took Jared’s hand in his and made his way towards the Padaleckis.

Jared’s fear changed to anger as the three Alpha’s stared at one another not wanting to be the first to speak. His siblings were strong Alphas but not as strong as his Alpha, but they could be standing there, a while before someone gave in.

“Jeff, Megan, you remember my mate, Jensen,” Jared broke the silence. Because he was talking directly to them, they were going to answer.

“Of course, we do,” Jeff answered angrily, “he’s the son of a bitch who claimed our brother against his will.”

There it was in the open, the crux of the family’s problem with Jensen. While Jared can’t deny that technically the claim was against his will, it wasn’t forced in the way Jeff and Meghan thought it was. He’d explained before, but because he was still angry and hurt, they thought Jensen took advantage of him, and he didn’t correct the assumption.

Jensen growled at the accusation and was ready to defend the perceived threat of two Alphas coming to take his mate from him. Jared had had no illusions that the meeting was going to go well but he had no idea that it would go bad this fast.

“No Jeff, this was destined. I could have handled the situation better, but Jensen didn't do anything to me that I wasn’t trying to do to him. He was just stronger and faster.”

“Jared?” Megan cocked her head asking if everything was alright.

“Why the fuck is he here?” Someone shouted. “This was supposed to be friends only, and Jared is not a friend.”

Jared turned to see who didn’t want him there, but before he had a chance, Jensen, Megan, and Jeff were pushing him behind them ready to face the perceived threat.

Peeping between his protectors, Jared saw Stephen Amell, longtime friend stumbling drunkenly towards their small group, pointing at Jared, “You were supposed to be gone; we voted you off the island, but you had to get fucking turned, and we couldn’t get rid of you.”

The closer he moved towards them, the closer the trio of Alphas stood next to one another, so Jared walked around them.

“Jared!” Jensen snapped.

“Between the three of you, I don’t think he’s going to try anything. I just want to talk to him.”

“I don’t wanna talk to you,” Stephen slurred. “I jus’ wan’ you gone. You always need to be the center of attention and mean. So fucking mean to my Katie. Well, how do you like being the center of attention now? I sent the reporters to your house; I told them how you dodged them at the back of the building. I… oomph!”
Jensen’s fist to Stephens’ stomach ended the man’s diatribe. Before he could follow up with another blow, Chad and Jeff Morgan rushed forward to pull Stephen away from Jensen. Jared looked at the rest of his friends as they stared at his mate and now he knew they understood how Jensen won the battle between them.

“You had no right,” Jensen told him. “Because you were butt hurt, you not only placed Jared in danger but the other two Omegas that are taking refuge at my home, but that didn’t matter as long as you got your revenge.”

“If they are friends with Padalecki then they deserve whatever they get.”

This time it was Jeff Morgan’s fist that struck out, knocking the inebriated Alpha to the ground. This time no one moved to help him. “One of those Omegas is my mate, and she didn’t deserve any of your bullshit.”

Jared watched the man on the ground “What did I do to you to make me hate you so much?” Jared asked, puzzled by the level of hatred he was showing. “There are others who should hate more than you, so I don’t understand.”

“You hurt my Katie.”

Having been an Alpha who hated Omegas, Jared hadn’t understood the need to protect an Omega, but once he bonded with Jensen, he understood, but he hadn’t done anything to Katie that Katie had done to him. She was not the shrinking violet her mate was making her out to be.

“No more than Katie hurt me.”

“I don’t care about you, Katie is my priority, and I want you gone.”

“Jared’s not going anywhere,” Jensen growled. “If anyone’s leaving it’s you. Who do you think wants you around if they can’t trust the safety of their mate with you when you’re angry?”

“Not me,” Chad agreed as he pulled Matt to his side.

There were similar echoes of affirmation from the others who had gathered around. Jensen knelt down and said, “Since it was you who drew up the paper work when you talked the others into kicking Jared out, you know how this works. They’ll be sent to your house as soon as the lawyer can draw them up.”

“You can’t kick me out; I help start this company.”

“Yes, he can actually,” Tom told him. “Everyone who needs to vote is here, watch this. All in favor say ‘aye.'” The entire board raised their hand and said ‘aye.' “See how easy that was. Now leave.”

Jared thought Stephen was going to say something, perhaps beg to stay, but he shot everyone a scathing look, stood up and walked to his car. Jared thought the outburst would ruin the mood of the gathering, but ten minutes after Stephen was gone, the mood was the same as it was before he came. One thing did change, the way Jensen, Jeff and Megan treated one another.

“You care for him don’t you?” Megan asked Jensen.

“I love him, and he loves me,” Jensen said as he reached for Jared’s hand.

“This isn’t going to be easy, but I know that you’re treating my brother well, so let’s go from there.”

When Jensen nodded his head in agreement, Jared felt like bursting with excitement. His mate and his family were getting along, and that’s all he could want. When he looked across the yard and saw Mike holding his and Tom’s youngest, well maybe one thing more.

Chapter 23


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