Tuesday: December 10, 2024
7:30 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Jensen squatted down in front of the bed, crossing his arms over the mattress. “Eli, babe?” he asked softly, reaching out to tuck the blonde’s hair behind his ear. “Baby, are you listening to me?” he questioned. Although Bo was looking at him, Jensen felt as though he were looking through him. “Jamal and I are going to the… to the stalker’s apartment in town.”
“My brother’s house,” Bo murmured. He blinked, his gaze locking with Jensen’s.
“Sure, but I’m not calling him that,” Jensen said. Bo shrugged. “We’re gonna go clean some stuff outta the apartment. In case anyone starts looking for him, we don’t want anything there that could connect to his obsession with you.”
“So… you can come with us, you can stay here, or you can go to work. Jake’s gonna be there today, so you won’t be alone,” Jensen explained.
“What about the kids?”
“Elijah and Charlotte are set to be in daycare after preschool gets out. I’ll pick everyone up when school’s over at three-twenty,” Jensen said.
“I don’t want to be alone, Jens,” Bo whispered.
“I know, baby.”
“You’re sure Jake will be at the station? What about Alice?”
“Alice’s parents are at the house with her,” Jensen said. “If you wanna go to work, I’ll drop you off at the station after I take the kids to school. Then I’ll pick you up around… three-thirty or so.”
“Okay,” Bo whispered.
“Okay,” Jensen repeated softly. “I’m gonna go get your clothes so you can change. I’ll be right back.” Bo nodded as Jensen pushed himself to his feet. He walked into the bathroom, walking through his own closet to get to Bo’s. Grabbing a pair of jeans, a flannel shirt, and one of Bo’s many watches, he headed back to the bedroom. “Eli?” Jensen laid the clothes on the end of the bed and grabbed Bo’s hands. He pulled him into a sitting position. “Are you sure you want to go to work?”
“I think so.”
“You don’t have to. You can come with Jamal and me,” Jensen said.
“No, I’ll go to the station,” Bo said quietly.
Jensen stared at the man for a moment before pulling his shirt over his head. “We’ll just… we’ll get you dressed, and then we’ll head on out.” He pulled the flannel up Bo’s arms, adjusting it at his shoulders. “Are you hungry?” Jensen asked quietly, buttoning up Bo’s shirt.
“I don’t think so,” the blonde denied.
“I figured as much.” Jensen pressed a kiss to Bo’s forehead, reaching down to roll Bo’s sleeves up to his elbows. “Cecilia’s coming over tonight. She’s going to make fudge for you. She’s better at it than I am. You still like fudge, right?”
“Probably.” Jensen buckled the watch around Bo’s right wrist. “Jens?”
“Am I broken?”
“No, Eli. Of course not.” Jensen shook his head. “You just need time to recover, that’s all.”
“What if I don’t?”
“If you… don’t need time to recover?”
“If I don’t recover.”
“You will,” Jensen whispered. “And I’ll take care of you until then. It’s like before, Eli. You just need time.”
“I haven’t left this room in over twenty-four hours, Jens,” Bo said quietly.
“It’s part of your recovery time,” Jensen said. “You’re going to work, Eli. You’re gonna talk to Jake and be around other people. That’s recovery.”
“Yes, baby,” Jensen whispered. “Going out in public to be around other human beings? That’s a huge step.”
“Okay,” Bo murmured. “I love you.”
“I love you, Eli.” Jensen grabbed Bo’s hands, pulling him to his feet. “Let’s get you into your jeans, brush your teeth, get some coffee, and get on out of here, okay?” Bo nodded.
8:50 AM; CLINSTONE, SUNSET APARTMENT COMPLEX, APARTMENT 506
“Oh, my God,” Jensen whispered.
Jamal’s dark eyes scanned the room. Pictures of Bo, Jensen, and the kids lined the walls. Clay figures of mythological figures sat neatly on shelves and the top of the dresser. “We might have to bring new things into this apartment to make it look normal,” he said quietly.
“Where the hell do we even start, Jamal?”
The older man lifted his shoulders, rolling his sleeves up to his elbows. “I don’t know. I suppose I’ll start with the pictures. You start with the clay bullshit,” he muttered.
“Sure thing.” Jensen frowned, his green eyes scanning the exposed part of Jamal’s arms. “You’re covered in tattoos, aren’t you?”
“There are great reasons as to why I always wear a suit, kid. And only one of them is because I look so damn good in them,” Jamal said. Jensen rolled his eyes. “Let’s get to work on this. I want out of here as soon as possible.”
“You and me both.”
12:09 PM; CLINSTONE, LITTLE DELIGHTS DINER
“I’ve missed this, Blondie,” Jacob said.
“Me, too,” Bo said quietly.
“So, you have a promise to keep, Bo.”
“You’ll have to remind me of the promise. I haven’t been sleeping well.”
“You promised to tell me what was bothering you.”
“Oh.” Bo frowned, offering a shrug. “I was being stalked and… said stalker was killing people and sending me things to bring up old cases. GBK, CGK, Ammut, Thanatos, etcetera.”
“Jesus, Bo. I’m sorry you’ve been dealing with that on your own,” Jacob said quietly.
Jacob shook his head. “It’s not.” He cocked his head to the side, his brow furrowed. “You said ‘was’. You were being stalked. What happened?”
“Jamal took care of it,” Bo said.
“So he…?” Bo nodded. “I’m sorry, Bo.”
“It’s not like it’s your fault,” Bo said. He leaned his temple against his fist. “I can make it worse, if you want.”
“It gets worse?”
“He was my brother, Jake. Little brother. I had a brother, and now he’s… Well, he’s dead,” Bo said.
“Oh, my God, Bo,” Jacob whispered. “I’m so fucking sorry.”
Bo shook his head. “Don’t be. You should be mad at me.”
“For what? What would I be mad at you about?”
“He threatened my family, Jake. My family, your family. He threatened to kill them. He told me how he’d do it.”
“So you think I should be mad at you for… putting my kids in danger?” Jacob asked.
“That’s the basics,” Bo said quietly.
“No way, Bo. You protect your family the same way that… that Jamal protects his. My kids were never in danger, not with you around.”
“You… you think so?”
Jacob nodded. “How’re you handling this, Bo? I can’t even fathom what kind of hell you’ve been living.”
“It’d be appreciated.”
“This morning, Jensen dressed me. I couldn’t get out of bed. I can’t dress myself,” Bo said. “I flinched when Amber hugged me this morning. She started crying. Kayla looked at me like I was some kind of monster for… for hurting Amber’s feelings. Elijah wanted me to pick him up, and for the first time, I couldn’t. I couldn’t even look at him. I felt disgusting.” He swallowed roughly. “Fuck, Jake, I felt like my biological parents.”
Jacob shook his head. “First, you’re not your biological parents. They’re pieces of shit. You’re not. And you’re not a monster. You’re still Bo, still the genius little smart ass I love.” One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted. “The kids will get over it pretty quickly. Elijah, especially. They know you love them, and kids are way more intune with adult emotions than you think they are. They just wanna make you feel better, Bo. But if they feel they’re invading something, they will back off until they think that can come back to you. You’re in a little… rut, lab geek. Give yourself some time to come back out of it.”
“Thanks, Jake,” Bo whispered.
“You’re welcome, Bo,” Jacob said softly.
3:35 PM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, PARKING LOT
“Hey, baby,” Jensen greeted as Bo reached the car.
“So,” Jensen tugged down on Bo’s beanie, “how was work?”
“I sat in front of Jake’s desk all day,” Bo said. He wrapped his arms around Jensen. The taller man hugged him back. “I told Jake about my brother.”
“How much about him?”
“I lied and said Jamal took care of him,” Bo said.
Jensen nodded. “Well, how’d that go over?” he questioned.
“He made me feel better about a lot of things,” Bo said quietly. “I’ve missed talking to him all the time. He always makes me feel better.”
“That’s so good, baby,” Jensen whispered. He pressed a kiss to the top of the blonde’s head. “I dropped the kids off at home. Are you… are you ready to go?”
“I can camp out in the bedroom?”
“For as long as you need to, Eli,” Jensen promised. He stepped away from Bo, pulling open the passenger door of his car. “Come on, babe. We’ll go home, you can take a nice shower, change into your pajamas, and curl up in bed with a good book. Okay?”
Bo smiled faintly. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Eli.” Jensen grabbed Bo’s hand, helping him into the car. He leaned into the car, pressing a kiss to Bo’s temple. He straightened himself out, shutting the door. He walked around the car and got into the driver’s seat. After starting the car and driving out of the parking lot, he reached over and grabbed Bo’s hand. “I love you, Eli. No matter what the hell is going on right now, you and our girls are everything to me.”
Bo squeezed Jensen’s hand, lifting his hand to press a kiss to the back of Jensen’s. “You guys are everything to me, too, Jens. Even if I’m lacking in the ability to prove that at the moment. But I love you. Even if I’m a bit broken at the moment.”
“Eli, a ‘bit broken’ or not, you’re still mine. That’s not changing anytime soon. I love you no matter what.”
“I’m taking over for Jamal after he dies,” Bo said quietly.
Jensen remained silent for a moment, his left hand tightening around the steering wheel. “No matter what,” he repeated in a whisper.
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