Art: cybel Art Post
Characters/Pairings: Jared/Jensen RPS
Warnings/Enticements/Triggers: Sex and Violence…and Misha’s ride
Word Count: ~30,259 Total Five Chapters
Beta Credit: miri_thompson, elrhiarhodan
Summary: In what was supposed to be a routine assignment, Commander Jensen Ackles finds himself transported to a parallel world. With only 72 hours to get back, the enemy on his tail, and an increasing attraction to a tall, gorgeous local, will he make it home before it’s too late?
A/N: This is my first Supernatural fic. It’s completely the fault of embroiderama and angelita26 who convinced me to give the show a try and supported me with group episode watches and tidbits about behind the scenes and Coms while I mainlined the first seven seasons on Netflix. Ladies, this one is for you.
I can’t say enough about the incredible art that cybel created that inspired this story. She is fantastic and everyone should stop by her journal and see all the other wonderful art she has done. I enjoyed working with her.
Last but not least – thank you to my faithful betas miri_thompson and elrhiarhodan. They put up with me on a daily basis, fic and otherwise and I am a better writer because of them.
“Kane, where’s my backup!” Commander Jensen Ackles ran through the deserted lot hoping that the detour would help him lose his pursuers. As he slipped between abandoned shipping crates, a laser bolt took out the nearest dumpster. Crap!
“C’mon Chris! I don’t want to be fried any time soon!” Dodging another laser blast, Jensen paused and fired off a shot of his own. An aborted scream told him he’d hit his target. Got you, fucker. Jensen quickly shoved his hand in his pocket, feeling for a small metal sphere. Still there. Good. He’d might as well stop and let them gun him down if he’d lost it.
“I’m working on it, Jensen!” He could hear the frustration in Chris Kane’s voice. “You got the timepiece?”
“Yeah, but I won’t have it for long unless you get me some help!” Dodging abandoned vehicles, Jensen flattened himself against a wall. “I took down one of Murray’s guys but that’s pushing it.”
He heard Chris shout to the rest of his team. “Where the hell’s Welling and Rosenbaum?”
“Five minutes out, boss!”
“That’s not going to cut it, Chris! They’re too close. Find me a way out of here!” Jensen took a sharp left and headed into a narrow alleyway. The twists and turns led him to a brick wall that was entirely too high for him to climb.
Shit! Jensen knew there was no way he’d be able to sneak past Heyerdahl’s goons.
Looking frantically about, he saw a door in a recessed alcove. Testing the knob, he cursed when it wouldn’t open. Shooting the lock was his only option, but that would leave an obvious trail. A medium sized wooden crate caught his eye. He pried a side off and checked inside. Good – it was empty.
Jensen stepped back towards the door and aimed at the lock. A few quick taps of the trigger and the knob and bolt were a mess of slag. In the distance, he heard shouts and the pounding of feet. He pushed the door open a crack and quickly made his way to his hiding place. Pulling the side back up to conceal himself, Jensen held his breath as the voices grew louder.
Praying to whoever was upstairs, he waited to find out whether he’d made the biggest mistake of his life. He stiffened as he heard a voice that sounded like it was practically on top of him.
“Over here!!” The voice belonged to Chad Michael Murray, Heyerdahl’s head Enforcer. “Looks like he blasted his way out through here.”
Jensen smiled to himself. Murray was always fooled by the obvious answers.
The footsteps grew fainter as his pursuers took the bait. Jensen let ten minutes pass before he scrambled out of the crate. Checking to see that the timepiece was still in his pocket, he started down the alleyway.
“Going somewhere, Commander?”
The voice made him freeze in his tracks. Turning around slowly, Jensen saw Mark Sheppard leaning against the bricks. Reaching for his weapon, he heard the hum of laser guns as several of Sheppard’s men stepped out of the shadows.
“I suggest you remove your hand from your weapon. Some of my men are a bit trigger happy. Wouldn’t want you to get – damaged.” Sheppard smirked. Shoving off the wall, he approached Jensen. “I do believe that you have something that belongs to my employer.”
Jensen watched him as he drew near. “Hmm…let me see.” He dug his hands into his pockets, staying away from his pistol. Pulling out a few receipts and a gum wrapper, he grinned at Sheppard. “Got a McDounal’s receipt. Wait, here’s one from Burger Queen.” He dropped the papers, watching them flutter to the ground. “Is Heyerdahl going to pay my expenses now?”
“I never took you to be an idiot, Commander. You know what I’m talking about. Give me the timepiece and I’ll let you walk away.” Sheppard held his hand out.
Jensen considered him for a moment. “How about – no.”
“Oh, Commander, that would be the wrong answer.” Sheppard motioned to his men. “Make it hurt.”
In tandem, Sheppard’s men advanced. Warily, Jensen watched, looking to see if either would telegraph their punches. They circled, trying to get behind him. Jensen kept moving, keeping them in front of him as much as he could. They came at him, fists swinging. Jensen dodged and weaved, protecting his face as the two tried to tag team him.
“This the best you’ve got, Sheppard?” Jensen’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “I would have thought you’d have hired a higher caliber of goon.” Like lightning, his fist flew, landing a right hook across the face of the one who was closer. He fell like lead weight.
“Eh, you know what the economy is like these days.” Sheppard shrugged. “Quality’s gone down.”
Jensen ducked as the remaining thug took a swing at him, delivering a glancing blow to his face. “I see what you mean.” He quickly landed a one-two punch and sent the other man to the ground next to his compatriot. Touching his lip, he winced. “Damn, that’s gonna hurt.”
“Well Commander. Looks like it’s only you and me now.” Sheppard pointed his laser at Jensen. “And here I was hoping to end this with a minimal amount of bloodshed.”
“Chris?” Jensen spoke quietly as he watched Sheppard take aim. “Backup would be nice right about now.”
“They’re coming, Jensen.” Chris’s voice sounded tinny in his ear.
“Backup won’t help you, Commander.” Jensen hated the nonchalant tone of Sheppard’s voice. “Just give me the timepiece and you walk away.”
“Not that stupid, Sheppard.” Jensen pulled the timepiece out of his pocket. “I give you this and you shoot me.” He hoped he could stall the other man long enough to give Welling and Rosenbaum time to get to his location.
“True.” Sheppard paused. “But then again, I’ll shoot you if you don’t give it to me. So either way, you’re fucked.”
Jensen unconsciously ran his thumb down the side of the timepiece. He calculated his odds of survival considering his two options. Sheppard had the drop on him. The only way to make this work was to do something unexpected.
“Okay.” He held out the timepiece for Sheppard to take. “Come get it.”
“Good choice, Commander.” Sheppard began walking toward him. “I promise I’ll make this quick.”
“I’ll bet you will.” With that, Jensen tossed the timepiece high into the air and dropped to the ground, grabbing for his laser.
“God DAMN it!” Sheppard lunged forward, looking frantically to see where the timepiece fell. Jensen pulled the trigger, missing Sheppard by a hair’s breadth. Sheppard ducked and dashed forward to where the timepiece lay, its glass face reflecting the muted light in the alleyway.
“Shit!” Jensen scrabbled on hands and knees and managed to tackle Sheppard before he got a hand on the timepiece. The two men wrestled, neither one giving quarter to the other.
He had to keep Sheppard from getting the timepiece. Jensen flipped the other man, elbowing him in his stomach to slow him down. Crawling over him, Jensen grabbed the timepiece just as Sheppard punched him in the kidney.
Excruciating pain radiated across his back. It was all he could do to hang on to the item. Instinctively, Jensen’s hand tightened. His thumb pressed an indentation in the timepiece and he heard a whirring sound.
Suddenly the alley was bathed in an iridescent teal light.
“What the - ” Sheppard’s comment was interrupted by a deafening whine. Jensen slapped his hands over his ears in pain. He rolled away from Sheppard and staggered to his feet. The sound reverberated throughout his body. He had to get away from the noise. If he only could figure out where it was coming from.
Stumbling toward the end of the alley, he went down on one knee as Sheppard broke a board over his shoulders. The timepiece flew from his hand.
Jensen lunged forward, his hand and Sheppard’s closing over the timepiece. There was a flash and the world went white.
“Jensen!” Chris shouted into the headset. “Where the fuck are you? Answer me, dammit!”
The comm was silent.
Chris’s fingers flew over the console, calling up biometric information, GPS. Nothing.
Jensen Ackles was gone.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Chris ran his hand through his hair. “Get me traffic cams, CCTV, Cell phones - anything! There’s got to be something.”
His team scrambled to comply. Data started flooding in, video on the six monitors, audio replay creating a cacophony of sounds throughout the command center.
“Captain! There!” Aldis Hodge pointed to the upper monitor. “He’s entering that alleyway.”
Chris punched up the CCTV camera to fill all the monitors. It showed Jensen sliding into the alleyway. Moments later, several men, lead by Chad Michael Murray, followed him.
“Are there any other angles? C’mon, people! Give me something.”
“There’s one from across the street. I can see about zooming in and cleaning up the focus.” Hodge was one of their best and Chris knew if anyone could get an image it was him.
A few keystrokes later they were looking at Jensen blowing the lock off the door, then concealing himself in a wooden crate. Chris had to chuckle to himself. Jensen could always think outside the box. And Murray normally didn’t, which was why Jensen fooled him with the door trick.
They watched as Jensen climbed out of the crate and headed to the alleyway entrance, only to be stopped by several men.
“Shit – it’s Sheppard and his crew.” Chris would give his left nut to hear the conversation but he knew there was no way to get an audio feed.
Out of the corner of his eye, Chris saw Hodge wince as Jensen took a blow to the cheek before putting the second man on the ground.
“Oh no.” That from Alona Tal, their audio specialist. They stared in horror as Sheppard pointed his laser at Jensen. Even on the playback they all could see the red glow indicating that the gun was set on kill.
“He’ll get out of it.” Chris made sure his voice sounded confident, while inside he was praying, Please get out of it.
It felt like time stopped as Jensen tossed the timepiece into the air. The poor video quality was still able to catch the glint of metal as it tumbled up, then down, sliding across the ground as Jensen took a shot at Sheppard and missed.
Then his world tilted. A bluish light covered the alley, bathing the two men in its light. Chris could see Jensen grimace and cover his ears as he staggered towards the alley entrance.
What the fuck was that light? And where the hell was it coming from? Chris’s hands clenched in fists as the video played out – Sheppard splitting a board across Jensen’s back, the timepiece flying out of Jensen’s grip.
As the men on screen lunged toward the timepiece, a white light flashed, burning Chris’s eyes for a split second before he shut them. He heard his team curse and hiss as the light blinded them temporarily as well. When he opened his eyes and looked at the monitors, the only movement on them was a scrap of paper blowing along the ground.
Jensen and Sheppard and his two men were gone.
The control room was eerily silent. Then a soft voice spoke.
“It works…the timepiece works…” The whispered comment came from Alona.
She was right. Fear sent an ice-cold hand skittering down his spine. And they were fucked.
“Someone get me Carlson on the phone!” Chris didn’t care who called him. “Tell him I need him now!” His voice was hoarse. “Tell him…the timepiece works…”
Twenty minutes later a harried Steve Carlson entered the command center, laptop and file folders in hand.
“What the hell, Kane?” He slammed the files down on the table. “I get a frantic call from my secretary telling me you demanded to see me. Said you were screaming something about the prototype working? You don’t have authorization to know what it does.”
“Dammit, Steve. It works! We saw it!”
“What do you mean you saw it?”
Chris didn’t reply. He pushed the start button and watched Carlson pale as the video they had just seen played out on the monitors. The other man grabbed for a chair as his legs gave out. “That’s not possible. None of our tests indicated that we were even that close.”
“It’s possible and it happened.” Chris’s anger flared. “And now Jensen is stuck God knows where and I need to get him back. So you need to tell me everything about this timepiece, prototype, whatever the hell you call it.”
“Okay…okay…” Carlson fumbled with his laptop. “I need a secure phone.”
Chris motioned to the one on the console. “It’s secure and encrypted.”
Steve quickly punched in a phone number. Chris heard a tinny voice answer on the other end of the line. “This is Carlson. Code AF2465ZB1. I need to speak to Admiral Beaver.”
There was a pause, then Carlson started speaking again. “Admiral, it seems we’ve had a development on the Similis in Terra project. It works.”
The shouting on the other end of the phone was loud enough for Chris to make out several expletives and demands for explanations.
“Admiral, I’m putting you on speaker to talk with Captain Christopher Kane and his staff. They have Level One security status but they have not been read in to the project. I’ll let him explain the circumstances.” Carlson pressed the speaker button. “Go ahead Admiral.”
“Captain Kane? What the fuck happened!” Beaver’s voice had the sound of a thoroughly pissed off upper level military man.
“Admiral, as I’m sure you know, Commander Jensen Ackles was sent in to retrieve the item that was stolen by Christopher Heyerdahl. He retrieved said item and was subsequently intercepted by Mark Sheppard, one of Heyerdahl’s men in an alley.” Chris’s voice was even as he made his report to the Admiral. “After a brief scuffle, what looks like a blue light and a white flash occurred and Commander Ackles, Sheppard and his men disappeared.”
“Are you sure Commander Ackles wasn’t just kidnapped?” Chris could hear the disbelief in the Admiral’s voice and it pissed him off.
“No, sir. All other video in the area before and after the incident was examined. There was no indication that Commander Ackles and the other men ever exited the alley after the flash.”
“Balls. Okay…” Beaver paused. Even over the phone, Chris could tell that he was weighing his options.
“Permission to speak openly, sir.”
“Read us in to the project. My team knows Commander Ackles and I know Carlson. We can fix this.” Chris ignored Steve’s face as he willed the Admiral to accept his offer. He had to get Jensen home from wherever he was.
“Fine. Carlson, read them in. But I want updates! Soon! I’ve got to tell the Group Chiefs something.” The sudden dial tone startled Chris.
“Crap.” Steve leaned back in his chair and pinched the place between his eyes. “This is going to be a clusterfuck.”
“Why don’t you tell us what we need to know and let us be the judge of that.” Chris grabbed a seat and pulled it up next to his friend. “Alright, people. Papa Carlson’s going to tell us a story.”
“Fuck you, Kane.” Steve grinned, and Chris could see the tension lift a bit at his comment. “Okay, how much do you know about the prototype?”
“Officially or unofficially?”
Steve raised an eyebrow. “Let’s start with officially.”
“It’s a communication device that the Air force is working on that got stolen by Heyerdahl and Jensen was assigned to get it back. We provided support.”
“It’s part of a project coming out of Area 62 that’s studying the concept of parallel universes. Supposedly it allows a person to travel between those parallel universes. And it wasn’t supposed to be able to work.” Chris waved at the monitor where the blue flash was frozen on the screen. “But obviously it does.”
Steve was staring at him in shock. “How the hell did you know all that?”
“Oh please. You think I don’t know the military feeds crap like that to the supermarket rags to test the opinion of the Unified States population?”
“Well, yeah but…”
“But nothing. When Jensen got tagged for the recovery, I put two and two together and came up with five.” Chris sighed. “It wasn’t difficult.” He looked at Steve. “Now tell me what I don’t know.”
The look on Steve’s face didn’t bode well for his stress level.
“If we don’t get Jensen back within seventy-two hours he’s going to die.”
“Padalecki, get your ass in gear!” Ben Edlund bellowed out the office door. “We’ve got pallets taking up space in the loading dock and Singer’ll be here in the morning. I don’t want to hear his bitching!”
“Jesus, can’t a man enjoy his break?” Muttering a few choice descriptions of Edlund, Jared unfolded himself from the beat up old couch in the break room. Stretching, he finished the soda he was drinking, crumpled the can and tossed it into the trash.
“I’m coming! Hold your water!” Jared headed over to the forklift in the corner. He sighed as he climbed onto the duck taped seat. He hated Saturday night shifts at the warehouse. Having to work the late shift usually meant that the guys on days hadn’t done their job all week and he was stuck picking up their slack.
Starting the engine, he drove over to the loading dock and began moving the pallets to the other end of the building. Halfway through, his phone vibrated in his pocket.
Digging it out he checked the Caller ID.
Turning off the motor, Jared started off. “I don’t have time for this, Mish.”
“And hello to you too.” His friend’s voice sounded tinny against the background noise.
“You sound like you’re in a bar.”
“That’s because I’m at Morgan’s.” The background noise swelled, culminating in a crashing sound. “And you should be here with me.”
“I’m working, Misha. You know – work? Pays the bills, puts food on my table?”
“I know what work is, Jared.” Jared could hear Misha gearing up for the lecture. “And you do entirely too much of it. You need to get out and relax more.”
“Not all of us have an unlimited stream of wealth like you do, Mish. Some of us have to work for a living.” Jared climbed down from the forklift and grabbed the handheld scanner that was hanging from a peg on the scaffold in front of him. At least he could log in the inventory while he was talking to Misha. It would keep Edlund off his back for a while.
“Seriously, though. You need to relax. When’s the last time you asked someone out since you and Gen broke up?”
“I don’t have time to go out. Between school and work…” Jared paused, knowing he was just making excuses. “Besides, nobody’s really clicked, you know?”
“It’s not like I haven’t tried to help you in that department.”
“Misha, you tried to set me up with your cousin. You know, the one who was convinced that parallel universes exist and there are portals between them?” Jared shook his head at the memory of Misha trying to convince him to go out on that date.
“Padalecki, why am I not hearing the forklift?” Edlund’s voice crackled across the radio.
“Hang on, Misha.” Jared juggled the scanner and the phone as he unhooked the radio from his belt. “Just updating inventory, boss.”
“You better not be on the phone with that Collins guy again. I’m not paying you to yack all night.”
“Asshole.” Jared heard Misha snort over the phone. He clicked the reply button. “No boss, not on the phone.”
“Well, get finished. I’ve got some file boxes that need to be moved to the second floor.”
“You got it, boss.” Sighing again, he clipped the radio back onto his belt and put the phone to his ear.
“We really need to find you another job.”
“I know, but where else am I going to find something that fits with my school schedule and that will pay me enough?” They’d had this discussion before and Jared knew exactly what Misha was going to say next.
“You know you could come work for me. The offer’s always open.”
“Misha, I’m a History major. I know absolutely nothing about herbal energy drinks.” Jared ran his hand through his hair. “It would be like taking your money and you know I don’t want to do that.”
“That honorable streak you have is why you’re stuck in that job and can’t get laid.”
“Low blow, Mish!” Jared knew his friend meant well but he didn’t need it spelled out for him.
“You know I’m right. You won’t let me help you out financially and you’re too nice of a guy to just take someone home to get your rocks off.”
“That’s not true!” Jared huffed in frustration. “I took Jake home the night we all went to Mulligan’s.”
“Jared, you stayed up playing Mario Kart and giving Jake advice on how to get back with his boyfriend!”
“He needed to talk to someone.” Jared knew he sounded pathetic. He sighed. “God, I really suck, don’t I? I’m going to grow old and die here in this warehouse.”
Dude, I’m your best friend, you know that, right?”
“Yeah.” Jared logged out of the inventory scanner and hung it back up on its peg.
You do NOT suck and you are not going to die of old age in that warehouse. You just need find your direction, that’s all.”
Jared laughed. “Sounds like one of your drink slogans.”
“That’s why I have a marketing department. They make me sound smart.” Jared could hear the band starting up in the background. “C’mon. Hurry the hell up and come grab a beer.”
“I’ll be done at ten then I’ll head your way.”
“Yeah. Just as long as you don’t try to fix me up with your cousin again.”
“Can’t guarantee that. He really liked you.”
“Misha…” Jared growled at his friend.
“ Okay, okay. No cousins.”
“Great. Now I’ve really gotta go.”
“See you soon. And Jared?”
“Something tells me things are gonna turn around for you really soon.”
“You’ve been reading too many fortune cookies.” Jared grinned. “Catch you later.” He hung up the phone and slipped it into his pocket.
Two hours later Jared was covered in sweat and cobwebs and cursing the ground Edlund walked on. He piled the last of the file boxes onto the dolly and headed toward the freight elevator. Closing the overhead door, he pushed the button for the second floor. As the elevator slowly rose, he wiped his face with the bottom of his t-shirt. Leaning against the handles of the dolly, he thought about what Misha had said about finding his direction.
Genevieve had said that when she broke up with him. It was a comment that his professors had made as well when he got his papers back.
Find your direction. What the hell did that even mean?
The elevator squealed to a stop, interrupting his thoughts. Lifting the gate, he wheeled the dolly to the corner of the scaffolding where the rest of the the file boxes sat. Jared made quick work of unloading them and stacking them neatly on the shelving.
He checked his watch. Nine forty-five. Fifteen minutes to kill until he could get out of here and meet Misha at Morgan’s. Jared looked around for something to do in that time. Spying a couple of file boxes in the corridor, he walked toward them, intending to put them up.
The floor began to rumble, gently at first then with an increasing vibration that began knocking boxes off the shelves. Jared ducked as one narrowly missed hitting him.
What the hell? The rumbling kept getting stronger and the shelving began to sway back and forth. Earthquake? His mind rejected that. Earthquakes didn’t happen in Richmond.
He bolted towards the stairwell, not wanting to get trapped in the elevator in case the building started to collapse.
Several things happened at once.
A loud boom, followed by a bright teal light flung Jared against the wall, knocking the breath out of him. As he shook off the dizziness, four figures appeared in front of him. Two were struggling to get up off the floor. The other two were locked in what looked like a fight. Jared saw one of them land a solid punch to the other’s stomach.
A small metal object flew out of the man’s hand and skittered across the floor to stop at Jared’s feet. Instinctively, he picked it up. He had enough time to register that it looked like an antique pocket watch when he heard a shout and a hole appeared in the wall next to his head.
“SHIT!” Jared scrambled away from where he was sitting as another hole opened up next to him. As he looked frantically for an escape route, he realized the two men had stopped fighting and were advancing on him.
Oh HELL no! He didn’t know who they were or how they’d gotten up here but there was no way he was going to find out. He surged to his feet and bolted in the opposite direction.
Ducking and weaving, he dashed down one of the aisles, looking for the best way out. He heard footsteps pounding behind him and one of the file boxes exploded in flames. He quickly reversed direction as his mind processed that they weren’t firing guns with bullets.
Lasers? His mind refused to accept that. He’d been playing too much Halo 3 – that was it.
Jared saw the door to the stairwell and ran toward it. He was reaching for the knob when it melted. Snatching his hand away, he whirled around to see one of the men who had been on the ground. He grinned, walking towards him and pointing what definitely looked like a laser gun at Jared.
“Give me the timepiece.”
Timepiece? For a moment Jared was confused. Then he remembered the weird watch he’d picked up. He pulled it out of his pocket and held it out. “Here – take it.”
“You don’t want to give it to him.”
A voice spoke behind him. Startled, Jared turned and came face to face with the greenest eyes he’d ever seen.
“Shut up, Ackles,” the man growled. “He gives me the timepiece and everyone is happy.”
“Don’t think so, Tony.” Without looking away from Jared, the green-eyed man pulled a laser – Jared was certain now that’s what they were – and shot the man. He went down with a thud.
“Oh my God, you shot him!” Jared backed away, turning to run. The man grabbed him before he could move.
“He was going to kill you.” He pushed Jared in front of him, herding him towards the stairwell door.
“So you SHOT him?” Jared refused to move. He had about 4 inches and several pounds on this guy and used it to his advantage.
“Stunned him, which is why we need to go. When he wakes up he’ll be really pissed. Now come on.” The man – Ackles - moved toward the door again.
“And why should I go with you?” There was no way that Jared was going to go anywhere with this guy. Who had a gun that was a laser. Which shouldn’t technically exist. At least not outside the military. Or video games.
“Because, unlike Tony and his crew, I don’t want to kill you.”
“And how do I know that?” Jared knew he was being stubborn.
“Because I haven’t shot you yet!” The man huffed in what was obviously frustration. “But I will if you don’t move your ass.”
Jared hesitated. He knew nothing about this guy but so far he hadn’t done anything to him. Maybe he should go with him.
The decision was made for him as two men rounded the corner, lasers firing.
“C’mon!” The man grabbed Jared and shoved him down an aisle. He fired back at their pursuers, setting more file boxes on fire. The warehouse alarm system began to wail, adding more chaos to the mix. “Is there any way out of here besides the elevator?”
“There’s a fire escape on the south wall. This way!” Jared skidded left down the corridor, the man right behind him. They took a right, then another left, losing their pursuers momentarily.
“Wait - stop!” Jared grabbed the guy’s arm and pulled him behind a stack of wooden crates. Quickly moving a pallet, he gestured to the space that was revealed. “Get in.”
“Are you crazy? They’ll find us.”
“No they won’t. Just trust me.”
Ackles looked at him then ducked in the hole muttering, “You better not get us killed.”
“I won’t.” Jared pulled the pallet up behind them, effectively sealing them in. He reached for a switch, turning on a low light.
The space was shadowed. Several beat up old chairs and a sofa created décor that could only be described as frat house chic.
“What is this?” Ackles spoke quietly.
“Our unofficial break room.” Jared was pacing along the walls. “It’s where we hang when we want to avoid the boss.” He ran his hands across the crates, tapping softly.
“What are we doing here? You may not have noticed, but the building’s on fire?” Ackles waved his hand at the smoke that was creeping in. “And we have people shooting at us.”
“Just looking for – here!” Jared moved the side of a wooden crate exposing what looked like a tunnel. “C’mon. This’ll lead us to the side roof. We can get out that way.”
He grabbed a flashlight that was hanging from a peg, clicked it on and headed deeper into the makeshift passageway.
Moments later they were at a metal door fitted into the wall of the warehouse. Jared unlocked the door and led them out onto a gravel-topped roof.
“That was handy.” Jared saw Ackles scanning the roof.
“You’d be surprised how much effort people will put out just so they don’t have to work.” He gestured to the lawn chairs, charcoal grill and kiddy pool with rubber ducks floating in it. “The older guys created that tunnel when they redid the fire escape plans five years ago. Management still hasn’t caught on.”
He grinned at Ackles. “I’m Jared Padalecki, by the way.”
“Okay, Jensen. Can’t say I’m happy to meet you, but it is what it is. Let’s see about getting down off here.”
Jared headed to the edge, Jensen following him. They were almost to the edge of the roof when the windows blew, throwing them both to the ground and covering them with splinters of glass. Fire licked the naked panes and smoke billowed up into the night sky.
Coughing, Jared tried to get up, only to realize that Jensen was on top of him. Had covered him when the warehouse exploded.
“You okay?” Jensen’s voice was right in his ear. Jared would examine the twist it gave him later, but right now, he wanted to get the hell away from the flames and the smoke.
“Yeah, but you need to get off me.” Jared felt Jensen roll away from him and quickly got to his feet. Helping Jensen up, Jared brushed soot off his clothes and shook glass from his hair. “You okay?”
“Yeah, just skinned my hands a bit.” Jensen held up a reddened palm. “So – how do you plan on getting us out of here?”
Jared looked over the edge. “We’re gonna have to jump down onto the dumpster to get off the roof.” He hoisted himself over the low edge and dropped down onto the dumpster’s lid. Grabbing the lid handles he lowered himself to the ground. Jensen smoothly followed him.
Jared looked at the warehouse. It was completely engulfed in flames and he could hear the fire department sirens getting louder.
“You think those guys that were chasing you made it out?” Jared didn’t want to think about them dying in the fire, even if they were out to kill them.
“Yeah, pretty sure they did.” Jensen pulled him behind the dumpster and pointed. The three men were huddled in a group, one of them waving his hands in apparent anger. “Got any way to get out of here?”
“Parking lot is that way.” Jared pointed off to the left. “My ride’s behind the warehouse, but I’m not sure we can get there without them seeing us.”
“You get your ride and let me worry about them.”
“You sure?” Jared caught Jensen’s gaze. He had a small smile on his face. “You’re going to enjoy this, aren’t you?”
“Damn straight I am.” Jensen’s grin got wider. “Go on my count.”
Jared readied himself to run.
He took off, praying that he could make it to the parking lot. He heard whines that sounded like the laser guns go off behind him.
Whipping around the corner of the warehouse, he saw his Harley parked near the fence, cover still on. Jared hurried to it, noting a few burn holes from the fire. He was never so happy to have shelled out the cash to buy the cover in his life. Pulling it off, he climbed on, debating whether to put on his helmet. Figuring speed was more important than safety right about now, he started the bike, the deep growl of the engine calming him.
Peeling out of the gravel lot, he headed back to where he thought Jensen was.
Jared slammed on his brakes at the sight in front of him. The dumpster was on its side, flaming garbage spilling out of it. Fire trucks were at angles, men frantically hooking up hoses. Edlund was sitting in the back of an ambulance, oxygen mask on his face. Jared had a fleeting rush of relief that his boss had made it out when he saw Jensen being manhandled by one of the men.
Shit. How was he going to get him? A grin flashed across his face as he revved the engine. Hoping that human survival instinct would kick in, he put the bike in gear and headed toward the two. He tapped his horn to get their attention.
The group turned towards him. He saw their eyes widen and they realized he wasn’t going to stop. They broke apart, the man holding Jensen letting go of his arms.
Jared skidded to a stop. “Get on!” He felt Jensen climb on behind him. Gunning the engine, Jared floored the bike, rushing out of the chaos, weaving amongst the rescue vehicles.
The night glowed red as they sped down the road, putting distance between themselves and the immediate danger.