Sunday: March 4, 2029
3:00 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Bo opened his eyes as he heard the bedroom door open. “Hi, buddy,” he whispered as Pollux walked into the room, a small pink elephant toy clutched to his chest. “You okay?”
Pollux stepped up to the bed, shaking his head. “Bad dweam,” he whispered.
“Mm.” Bo raked a hand through his hair before patting the mattress. “Well, come on up here, then.”
Pollux climbed onto the bed with a little help from Bo. He snuggled up against Bo, smiling as Bo wrapped an arm around him. “Tanks, Daddy.”
Bo kissed to top of the boy’s head. “No problem, buddy. Now, you get some sleep. Okay?” Pollux nodded, squeezing the stuffed animal tightly. “I love you, buddy.”
“Lub you, Daddy.” Bo sighed softly, closing his eyes.
Behind him, Jensen cleared his throat, shifting as his arm tightened around Bo’s chest. “You okay, Eli?” Jensen asked, his voice rough with sleep.
“I’m fine, love. Go back to sleep,” Bo said.
“Mm.” Jensen pressed a kiss to Bo’s shoulder. “Are you sure?”
“Okay,” Jensen whispered. Again, he kissed Bo’s shoulder. Bo listened to Jensen’s breathing slowly even back out. The blonde let out a breath, closing his eyes once more. The good news, he figured, was that he was tired. He’d been beyond tired for nearly three weeks. Sleep had come relatively easy to him those last three weeks, and when he fell asleep, he tended to stay that way without interruption.
He may have been entirely miserable most of those days, but the sleep was a plus.
1:47 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, FAMILY ROOM
Bo lifted his head as Jensen swiped the folder from his lap. The blonde frowned. “Jens.”
“We decided this was bad for you right now, remember?” Jensen asked.
Bo sighed softly. “Yes.”
Jensen shook his head, sitting down beside his husband. “It’s not a homicide.”
“You keep saying that, but… but something about it just doesn’t feel right to me,” Bo said.
“Nothing ever feels right to you.”
Jensen flipped through the folder a bit more conspicuously than Bo had. He cringed at the photos of the dead girl on the sidewalk. “Our children are in this room.”
“Yes, two of which are coloring, and two more which are far too involved in killing zombies to notice or care,” Bo said. “Can I have it back?”
Jensen shook his head. “What’s the goal, Eli?”
“I told you. Something about it doesn’t feel right.”
“She had every telltale sign of suicidal tendencies,” Jensen said, his voice low. “This makes sense.”
“Exactly,” Bo whispered. “And that is where my problem arises. She had every sign. She showed every sign she was going to do something,” he said.
“It’s too perfect,” Jensen said quietly. Bo offered a quick nod. “Maybe she… she liked perfection, you know?”
“I love perfection, and if I was going to do that?” the blonde asked, touching a finger to the picture on display in the open folder. “I’d leave a note or an email that would go out to everyone I cared about after I was gone. After, because I wouldn’t want anyone to stop me.” He held up a hand before Jensen could interrupt him. “If she was that determined, if she showed the signs, if she wanted to end it… Why give the people she loved several days to figure it out and stop her?”
“I…” Jensen cleared his throat. “Maybe she wanted to be stopped.”
“She wouldn’t have jumped if she wanted to be stopped,” Bo said. Briefly, Kayla looked back at her fathers. “Do you see the flaw?”
“I understand that you see a flaw,” Jensen said slowly.
“Not this again,” Bo whispered. He swiped the folder from Jensen’s grip and pushed himself to his feet. “I’ll be upstairs.”
“I will be upstairs,” Bo repeated. Jensen sighed as he watched Bo walk out of the room.
“You just Bonekeeper-ed him, Dad,” Kayla noted from the floor.
“You should apologize,” Amber said from beside her sister.
Jensen closed his eyes for a moment before nodding. “Yeah,” he mumbled. “Make sure the boys stayed preoccupied?”
Jensen stood up from the couch and headed for the stairs. On the second floor, he walked to Bo’s office, pushing open the door the rest of the way. “I’m sorry, Eli.”
“It’s fine. You don’t have to be as obsessed with everything as I am,” Bo said from his chair, knees pulled to his chest, eyes on the folder on his desk. “It’s what makes people like you normal, and it’s what makes me… me.”
Jensen sighed, perching himself on the corner of Bo’s desk. “Baby?”
“Does this bother you so much because it’s a suicide?”
Bo let out a heavy breath. “Jensen… if I knew the answer to that, I wouldn’t be staring at the obliterated skull of a young woman who threw herself to her death.”
Jensen raked a hand through his hair, clearing his throat as he scratched his jaw. “Explain it to me again?”
“Explain what, exactly?”
“No, thanks, Jens. If it’s all right with you, I’d like not to waste my time explaining something so you can tell me you understand my feelings,” Bo said. He lifted his blue eyes to Jensen’s face, and for the first time, the younger man realized just how lifeless his husband looked. “If I wanted to explain my feelings and be told how understood they were, I’d find a therapist today, right now.”
“What if I promise not to bring feelings into it again?” Jensen asked.
“You really promise?” Bo asked after a moment. The younger man nodded.
And so the blonde explained it again. How the clues all fit together far too perfectly, how she seemed to follow a checkpointed list to a tee, how she clearly didn’t want anyone to stop her, and if she did, she wouldn’t have jumped. But if she didn’t want to be stopped, why give her family ample time to put a stop to it all?
This time, Jensen responded with a, “I see the flaw.”
Jensen nodded. “So… so, look, on Monday, I’ll dig a little more into her past, okay? I’ll do what I can to find out who she was in contact with, what she’s done, where she’s been, who she knew… All of that. Does that sound good?”
“You’d do that for me?” Bo asked, sounding uncertain.
“Of course, Eli.”
“Thanks,” Bo whispered.
“My pleasure, babe.” Jensen laid a hand on Bo’s cheek and leaned back to kiss the blonde. “How about we go downstairs, pretend everything’s one hundred percent okay, and then we just take the rest of the day one minute at a time. Does that work for you?” he asked.
Bo glanced up at the ceiling before nodding. “Sure, Jens. Works for me,” he said quietly.
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