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01 July 2016 @ 04:21 pm
Fic (and Art) - Heartstrings (J2 AU) Part One  
Heartstrings (Part One)

Jensen is a very, very, bad nurse. Oh, he's awesome at his job, and it's something he's devoted to — maybe too much some would say, putting it first above just about everything in his life. But this is the first time he's ever broken a rule; not only is it unethical, but something that Jensen told himself he'd never do, and that's, y'know, crush on his unconscious patient.

So yeah, Jensen is quite possibly the world's worst and wrong-in-the-head nurse to ever walk the planet!

Looking over the top of the medical chart in his hand, Jensen stares at his patient: six and a half feet of bordering-on-perfection, with that shade of unwashed dark hair that curls at the nape of his neck, toned body painted with tattoos that Jensen might have studied a little too closely while checking his IV lines.

Jensen shakes his head and forces his gaze down to the chart in his hand. He blindly flips through pages of doctors' instructions and notes, trying not to stare like the creepy nurse that apparently he is.

“I look that good, huh?”

The words are drug-slurred and the shit-eating grin is kinda lazy, but still dazzling. Jensen startles, pulling the pen out from between his lips, and shit, he must have been chewing on it like some kind of daydreaming love-sick teenager.

Clearing his throat, Jensen walks around to the side of the bed. “How are feeling today, Mr. Padalecki?”

His patient scans the hospital room that he's been in for the last five days, frown lines disappearing into the swelling around his right eye and cheekbone.

“Honestly? Like day old roadkill.” There's a pause, and then a hiss of pain. “But I'm sure you can kiss it better, right?”

Jensen rolls his eyes. “I'm guessing you don't remember telling me that at least two other times?”

Padalecki shakes his head. It's not surprising; he's been in and out of consciousness for the last few days; a not-so-pleasant mix of post-op fevers and trying to find the right balance of drugs. Half of the words Jensen's heard him say have made no sense at all.

“In fact,” Jensen adds, “the first time you opened your eyes you puked all over me.”

“What I can say? Love sick from the first moment we met,” his patient says, still grinning like a loon, eyes raking up and down Jensen's green hospital scrubs, lingering where they stretch taut across his muscles. “And it's Jared.”

All Jensen can think is, damn, Jared was so much cuter when he was unconscious and relatively silent.

“What's the last thing you do remember?” Jensen pulls out a small penlight from his pocket, checking his patient's pupil reaction. Both equal and reactive. Definitely a step in the right direction compared to a few days ago.

The smile slips, and now Jared is frowning as he looks down at himself on the hospital cot. He's shirtless, body criss-crossed with stark white bandages that Jensen changed only a few hours ago, his right arm heavily bandaged and resting on a pillow. “The tour bus crashed.”

Jensen nods, glancing at the monitors that his patient is hooked up to; checking blood oxygen levels and heart rates, all looking good, as is the fact that he remembers the bus crash.

“Is everyone OK?” Jared swallows deeply.

“Yes, mostly minor broken bones and concussions” Jensen confirms, jotting down the numbers and readings from the monitors onto the chart. “It was touch and go with you for a while back there; you had a lot of people worried.”

Jared takes a deep stuttered breath, his face twisting in pain for a brief second before it's replaced with another million-watt smile. “Awww, you were worried about me?”

“It was a bad crash, and you were lucky.” Jensen lowers his tone. “You all were.”

There's a long pause. “I'm guessing it's all over the news by now, huh?” The words are softer and quieter, like he's ashamed or something.

“I'm afraid so. But you're in a secure ward now, and I was hired for my discretion, I've worked with high-profile patients before.”

Jared's gaze shifts to the closed door. “So there was a leak to the press?”

Jensen takes a breath, trying to figure out what he should and shouldn't disclose to his patient who's recovering from emergency surgery, and has one hell of a journey still ahead of him. “You need to focus on-”

“My manager, Jeff, he loves to keep me in the dark about this stuff, and I just need to know.” Jared's looking at him now, and Jensen's sort of mesmerized by the way Jared's eyes shift colours; from green, to blue with flecks of golden brown.

“Parts of your medical records were somehow released to the media.” Jensen takes a breath. “There's been a lot of speculation about your blood alcohol level, and if that's what's been affecting your performances during the tour.”

Jared clenches his jaw, the muscles in his face bunching, his eyes sad and tired; no sign of that infamous smile that could make a whole arena swoon. He closes his eyes, and it's like Jensen's seeing a glimpse of a whole different person who spends most of his time hidden behind a rock star.

“I'm going to speak to Doctor Huffman, let her know you're awake.” Jensen says quietly, walking towards the door. “She's gonna want to run through some things with you.”

“What's your name?”

Jensen turns around, his hand on the door handle. “Jensen.”

Despite his tattoos and the unruly rock star hair, Jared looks suddenly small and vulnerable in the hospital bed. “Thank you, for being straight with me.”

Jensen smiles, and finds himself admitting more than he thought he ever would. “Full disclosure here, before you became my patient, I didn't really know who you were. I mean, I've probably heard your stuff on the radio, but I work a lot so I sort of suck when it comes to pop culture.”

Jared ducks his head, hiding the dimples. “Don't worry about it. It's kinda nice, actually.”

Jensen nods. “I'll be back soon, Jared. Try to stay out of trouble while I'm gone.”

Jared's eyes are drooping, fatigue and drugs taking their toll. But just as the door closes Jensen hears; “But you'll be back later, right? I could really use a sponge bath.”

Jensen wants to be disgusted and irritated, usually is when he hears those comments, taking it out on the punching bag in the spare room-turned-gym in his apartment. But today, for some reason, he lets it slide.



            



Dr Huffman is in Jared's room for a long time, and while that's not usual, Jensen knows exactly what she's telling Jared; that there was nerve damage and his right hand has been seriously injured. For a musician, this is life changing, and for some reason it's making Jensen feel oddly off-kilter, and he just can't seem to focus. He can't even drink his homemade pear-and-kale smoothie, which he pours down the drain in the break room.

Feeling restless, Jensen sits down on the god-awful couch, which is brown and sort of stained with something that he doesn't want to think about. He picks up a gossip rag that's been left behind on the coffee table and flicks through it.

Too much Partying for Padalecki?

The byline catches Jensen's eye, and he flicks through pages of glossy paper until he finds the two-page spread: a few paragraphs of text, and a whole series of pictures taken over a two week period, each labelled with a different corresponding city from the tour, all showing Jared with his arms flung over the shoulders of various fans, hair greasy, and clothes sweat-stained. But it's his tired eyes that Jensen can't look away from; they're bloodshot with an alcohol high that shouldn't be a surprise. After all, Jensen saw the blood alcohol levels from when Jared was admitted after the accident.

In the photos Jared looks like a man on the edge, suffering quietly behind a grin that's too wide to be sincere. Alone, even though he's always surrounded by a crowd.

Jensen skim-reads the text, and it's all about the tour, about how Jared's been seen partying after each show, comments about how it's affecting his voice and his performance, how he hasn't played his guitar at all during this tour, as well as speculation about how maybe he's lost his talent and is becoming just another washed-up rock star to add to the world's collection.

There's even a reference to a music critic who suggests that Jared should limit his singing to singing in the shower. Sick to his stomach at the harsh words, Jensen can't help but wonder how much of this crap Jared sees, and how he deals with it. Maybe Jared's manager and publicist, Jeff, shields Jared from as much negative press as he can? Or maybe Jared just buries it deep down and plasters on that smile that everybody loves so much?

Closing the magazine, Jensen dumps it in the trash where it belongs before leaving the room and getting back to his patients.


                                                         




There were nine people in total on the tour bus when it crashed, including the driver. The media is blaming the weather; torrential rain and flooded roads, combined with balding tires. But Jensen suspects that's down to Jeff and his contacts, because Jensen's seen the medical reports of everybody on board; there was one hell of a party going on in that bus the night it crashed.

Jensen's not the judgemental type, but being a nurse he's seen this kind of accident more times than he cares to remember. And really, how hard is it to wear a seatbelt and not drive a tour bus when you've been drinking? It's just common sense.

All the crash victims are in the same secure ward now, and Jensen figures the hospital must be shit scared of a lawsuit after Jared's medical record leak. They've hired private nurses, like Jensen and Felicia, as well as a security team.

Swiping an ID card every time he leaves and enters the secured ward is getting more than a little irritating, especially when he leaves it in his car, and even more so when even though the security guard knows exactly who he is, he's not allowed in until he goes all the way back to the staff parking lot to get it.

So he's in a bad mood when he enters Jared's room the next day, plus he didn't manage to finish his five mile daily run this morning because he was on the phone with his mom for what felt like hours. Changes in his daily routine and schedule always make him crabby, but a guilt trip from his mom on top of that only makes things worse.

He doesn't really notice Jared's smile when he enters, and he's sort of on autopilot, checking Jared's chart for the drug alterations and adjustments that Dr Huffman told him she would be making.

“What crawled up your ass this morning?” Jared's sitting up in the hospital bed, pillows propped behind his broad shoulders. He looks tired, but his smile is far too bright for this time in the morning.

“Let's just say that I'm over-worked and under-paid, I haven't seen my mom and sister for over nine months, and mom's on my back about my sister's new boyfriend that I haven't met yet, and I love her, but sometimes she drives me crazy. Oh, and I'm single and I haven't been on a date in forever, because I work too much, and I have to do that because I've got student loans to pay, and my salary doesn't stretch that far!”

Jensen takes a deep breath, his eyes widening in horror as he realises that he's dumped all of his personal crap onto his patient. You know, the cute but arrogant famous rock star patient that he's trying not to crush on!

“I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to-”

“It sounds like you needed to vent, and I'm happy to oblige. I mean, I asked, so...” Jared's still smiling, but it's softer, and there's something in his eyes that tells Jensen that he means every word of it. “I'm a good listener. Or I guess, I can be. For you, anyway. You know, if you want, or if you need me to. Yeah.”

Apparently Jared's smile is infectious, and maybe it has something to do with the adorably awkward way that Jared's stumbling over his words. But he's ducking his head, trying to hide his pink cheeks, and those magnetic dimples that never fail to catch Jensen's full attention.

“I'll make sure to remember that.”

“I mean, you gotta talk about stuff when it's bothering you.” Jared clears his throat. “Not let it build up. I mean, that's what I've heard. So-”

Jensen nods, reading between the lines as he looks down at Jared's chart and the notes that Dr Huffman has made. “Is there something you want to talk about? I mean the least I can do is return the favour, right?”

Jared's already pretty pale, body still recovering from surgery, blood loss, and post-op fevers. But Jensen sees his skin blanch further, his eyes ducking down to his right arm that's still heavily bandaged and elevated on a pillow.

“I don't know. I mean I guess there is, but-”

“But?”

Jared's focus shifts to the window to his left, at the grey clouds that hang heavy in the stormy sky, and the rain that's streaming down the glass. Jensen gives Jared a minute to collect himself because he's pretty sure he knows what this is about; injuring your hand when you're a musician must be petrifying.

But Jared stays quiet, so Jensen carries on with his daily routines silently, not pushing him into a conversation he's clearly not ready for yet. He checks Jared's surgical incision wound, gloved fingers gentle and firm, and it's looking great, and Jensen tries hard to ignore the feeling of relief that floods through his veins.

He changes the bandages, and is checking Jared's IV's when he sees that smile, and it takes Jensen a minute to absorb the sudden change in Jared's mood.

“You do this adorable pouty thing when you concentrate,” Jared's looking at him, smile at full on flirt mode. “It's the kind of thing people write songs about.”

“Jared-”

“I know, I know, you're my nurse and you're a professional. But I wanted you to know that I saw it, and that I liked it, and I'm sure you can guess the rest.” Jared tries to waggle his eyebrows suggestively, but there's still too much bruising and swelling, and it just looks, well, ridiculous and Jensen can't help but smile and shake his head.

“What? This works y'know, like all the time! I'm adorable!” Jared's waving his good hand in front of his currently beaten-up face which is pretty much the opposite of adorable right now, and this really should be the most annoying and egotistical thing that Jared has ever said, but all Jensen can think about is how no one has ever given him a compliment like that before. Not a date, not even an old boyfriend. No one.

Still smiling, Jensen snaps off his gloves, dumps them into the trash and walks towards the door. “I'll see you later, OK Jared?”

“That'll be for my sponge bath, right?”

Jensen doesn't turn around to look at his patient as he leaves the room, but he can tell that Jared's smile is as wide as his own.



       
                                   



When Jensen arrives to work the next day he sees Jeff leave Jared's room. He's shouting far too loudly at someone on his cell phone as he heads to the security manned doors at the end of the corridor. He wasn't on the tour bus when it crashed, but Jensen's seen him around the ward before, visiting the other crash victims.

When he walks inside the room, he can feel the shift in mood from yesterday; dark and thick, and when he looks at Jared it's written all over his face; there's been an argument.

Jensen doesn't say anything, just walks towards Jared's chart, double checking the drug orders.

“Can I ask you something?” Jared says, eyes not looking at Jensen, but down at his bandaged and elevated hand.

“Of course you can. I owe you, remember?”

Jared nods, swallowing deeply like the words don't want to reach his lips, like he has to force them out. “How bad is my hand? No bull shit.”

Jensen pulls his bottom lip between his teeth, and nods. He's always been a straight-talker, especially with his patients, but something about Jared's situation makes him feel uneasy. “No bull shit, huh?”

Jared lifts his gaze and looks straight at Jensen, unblinking. His eyes are shiny, and there's something vulnerable to them that makes Jensen unable to look away. “No sugar coating, no speaking in thinly veiled half-truths, no complicated medical stuff. Just tell it to me straight, like you did before with the media stuff.”

“OK, here it is.” Jensen pulls a chair up next to Jared's bed and takes a seat. “The nerve damage is serious, and the surgeon and physical therapist are talking percentages. With a lot of therapy and hard work you've got a 50% chance of making a full recovery. But that also means that there's a 50% chance that you won't.”

Jared huffs. “Math was never my strong suit, but I think I could have worked that out for myself.”

“I'm serious, Jared.” Jensen snaps, because this really isn't the time for one of Jared's jokes, the ones that he clearly uses to derail conversations exactly like this one. “If you really want to pick up a guitar again, if you really want to carry on making music, then we're talking a lifestyle change. No drugs, no alcohol, no up all night partying and doing gigs with no sleep, and no more shitty diet. We're talking strict schedules, physical therapy routines, training, healthy diet plans; the whole nine yards. And even then, it still might not work.”

Jared pinches his lips together. “That's what you think I do? That I'm just a stoner who lives hard and parties hard? That I don't give a shit about myself or my career?”

“Well, do you?” Jensen raises his voice, feeling oddly defensive, like for some reason he has to prove that what he just said is 100% the truth. “Have you seen the magazines? Have you read what they're saying about you? Because I have, and I've seen the photos too. You get so drunk that the only thing keeping you on your feet are the fans that you drape yourself over! I saw your blood alcohol levels, I saw-”

“So, what? I should just work myself to the bone like you? Have no time to spend with my family and friends, or myself, no time to relax and enjoy life?”

“Jared, that's not what I-”

Jared takes a deep breath, his cheeks fever-pink, and shit, Jensen's pushed too hard and he really didn't mean to. Jared just seems to know how to push every single one of his buttons.

“I think I need some time alone.” Jared's so quiet that Jensen almost doesn't hear him.

Jensen nods, the chair scraping loudly on the floor as he stands. He opens his mouth, wants to tell Jared that he can do this, that he's just got to be positive, and work hard. He wants to say something to break the tension, and the feeling that there's more both of them want to say, but can't because it's suddenly all too intense and volatile.

Hand on the door handle, Jensen turns around to see Jared looking out of the window again, the clouds dark and stormy, thunder rumbling somewhere in the distance. He's never wished for an inappropriate comment about sponge baths before, but he'd take one right now.

He slips out of the room in silence.


Part Two

          
                                                                   

 
 
 
cavitybmwcavitybmw on July 4th, 2016 10:59 am (UTC)
Its fascinating
madebyme_xmadebyme_x on July 4th, 2016 11:54 am (UTC)
Thank you! :)
cavitybmwcavitybmw on July 4th, 2016 11:06 am (UTC)
Thats tremendous
madebyme_xmadebyme_x on July 4th, 2016 11:55 am (UTC)
Awwww, thank you for the kind words! :)
anniespinkhouseanniespinkhouse on August 31st, 2016 12:22 am (UTC)
Oops,Jensen - a little harsh maybe?
madebyme_xmadebyme_x on August 31st, 2016 11:17 am (UTC)
I know, he did get a little carried away didn't he!?! I think he cares more about Jared more than he likes to admit :)
this heart don't count on the wicked: pic#125742549brokenhighways on September 1st, 2016 06:29 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this, particularly the part where Jensen calls Jared out on his behaviour. A little honesty tends to go a long way and actually resonate, so it was nice that you included it. I also liked the progression of their relationship - great job! Thank you for sharing :)
madebyme_xmadebyme_x on September 2nd, 2016 02:58 pm (UTC)
\o/ Thank you so much, I'm thrilled to hear that you enjoyed it!

The fight scene is one of my favourite scenes too; I think Jared needed to hear it, and I think Jensen was maybe the only person in Jared's life that would tell him how it really is.

I'm really happy that you enjoyed the progression of those relationship too. I was worried it might come across as all being too fast, but it's an intense period of time for both characters, and it seemed to me that together they bring out the best in each other.

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comments, it's always lovely to hear from you. Take care :)