Title: Yesterday Was the Day That I Was Born
Pairing: Jared/Jensen, Jared/Sandy
Words: ~36,000 overall (5,001 this chapter)
Summary: Being informed by your friends and loved ones that you're congenial to the point of boredom and occasionally nausea is sort of a drag. Which is why Jared Padalecki resolves to have an irresponsibly awesome time on his twenty-first birthday. But when his foray into excitement proves to be the iceberg of his Titanic of a life, he's left wondering who and what exactly he'll wake up to once he gets his head back above the suddenly murky waves of his own existence......or something.
Warnings/Disclaimer: AU. Hooker fic. A scene of non-con. A scene of Het. Schmoop. Humor. Everybody owns themselves.
A/N: Beta'ed by the most awesome antarshakes.
Back to Part One
Jared slaps his alarm clock onto the floor as it bores deeply into his throbbing temples, not opening his eyes just yet. Intent on grabbing a few more minutes before he has to sit up and let the blood rush from his head in a dizzying race.
His mouth is dry and tastes of something unidentifiable and strange that is decidedly not vomit, which he’ll count as a plus. Although the warning gurgle of his gut seems to be daring him to give it the slightest provocation. Fun times with hangovers, he did ask for it.
Most of the night is a blur punctuated by brief appearances of his friends, mostly Chad, a taxi ride home and another whose face he’s having trouble hanging onto through the mist. It’s familiar but his head hurts too much to chase after it.
The gaping holes in his memory or the fact that he can only slightly latch onto to what did survive the purge aren’t what troubles him. He’s no pre-medder but it’s a simple cause and effect. Rapid consumption of alcohol vastly increases the likelihood of blackouts, particularly fragmentary blackouts in which specific events of the period can later be recalled.
He knows this because he’d read more than enough pamphlets to inebriated friends as they went about axing brain cells.
What disturbs him is—him. How he remembers acting. The loss of control over himself. Feels like failure, having to be taken care of. Always has. And if he hadn’t been so preoccupied trying vainly to prove everyone wrong, he might have conjured up three years of memories of being designated Jay, watching that messy progression from amusing to sloppy to pitiful.
Whoever sent him home had seen him that way and the shameful thought is enough to prompt him to roll over onto his stomach to hide his face in his pillow.
His shoulder collides with something solid and warm.
As weird as it is, he doesn’t have the heart to shove Chad awake if he drunkenly crashed in Jared’s bed, likely feeling as awesome as he does by now. His alarm clock will probably go off again in a couple of minutes but he can’t drag himself up. Snakes a hand under the covers to scratch at an itch on his stomach.
When something flakes off, he opens his eyes in confusion and sudden realization that he’s not wearing his boxers. Throws the sheet off to find a patch of dried whiteness staining his skin. And that the smooth expanse of back next to him most definitely does not belong to Chad.
He’s not sure whether it’s the discovery or the bellyful of tequila that’s catching up with him but whichever one is coming out in a hurry. The bile is at the back of his throat as he makes it to the toilet, heaving up a disgusting, flesh-toned amalgam of the cookies and pie he stuffed down his gullet on his birthday.
That was a man. At least semi-naked with him, naked him, on his bed. The bed he somehow found his way back to after his first night of blackout drinking. But not alone.
More spews out of him into the bowl, for several, long, agonizing minutes, he can’t stop. Throat rubbing raw and voice flickering out as he gags. He couldn’t have gotten that drunk, it was physiologically impossible. Would’ve succumbed to alcohol poisoning before he was inebriated enough to, to—
Another torrent gushes out of him.
Men have sex with women. And they like it. Men protect women from getting hurt. That’s what he knows and the panic is clogging his throat with vomit so he can’t PC it up, damn it. He’s a simple guy that operates under simple principles and this is light years from simple.
That flavor in his mouth. Not so great now that it wasn’t vomit before. Probably the heretofore untasted taste of penis and guy spit. He flushes the toilet and knocks over toiletries in his haste until he squeezes a monstrous amount of toothpaste onto his brush and starts scrubbing furiously at his tongue.
His eyes are wide and alarmed in the mirror over the sink, heart thundering about a million beats per minute. Spitting, he redoubles his efforts to get clean but there just isn’t enough toothpaste or soap in a thirty mile radius to ever fully accomplish that. Rinsing his mouth out, he searches for a towel but there aren’t any in the bathroom, and he needs one stat because he’s about to spend the rest of the week in the shower.
In the bedroom he does his damndest to not look at the bed but his gaze is drawn there like an evil, drunk, gay magnet and for some reason he is not going to examine, there is a towel on his empty side. He doesn’t care. Snatching it up, he whirls around, naked, with the evidence still on his thigh and mystery man snoozing away as the door bursts open.
"Rise and shine mother fu—" Mike’s boisterous greeting dies away, but the camera he has pressed to his eye to film Jared’s hung over glory keeps right on filming the horrific scene for a lifetime of excruciating seconds. His hand finally drops unconsciously, pointing the camera at the floor.
The stand-off drags on, both seemingly unable to move. Mike’s eyes flit between Jared’s face, his crotch and the guy in his bed, only to repeat the pattern. Jared keeps trying to speak but his mouth clearly knew when to jump ship and refuses to work for him like a stalled engine.
Chad catches up and shoves past a very catatonic Mike, then freezes in similar fashion. “What the fuck?” he yells. Tom brings up the rear and once he steps into the doorway and takes a few requisite seconds to gape, has the wherewithal to close the door.
It breaks the spell. Jared all but collapses onto the bed with the click, mind a blank. He jolts from it as if it’s ablaze when he feels fingers at his back.
The guy is peering at him, sheet pooling at his waist. The guy whose lunch he paid for at the diner. Jared has never wished to be an asshole more than he does at this moment. He stares at the ceiling and away from that skin.
“Morning,” he says. Jared doggedly keeps his gaze upward and doesn’t answer. Hears him cracking his shoulders and yawning. Feels his eyes on him.
“You don’t remember what happened, do you?”
“Did we—“ he makes a helpless gesture with the hand not covering his shame.
“We weren’t talking politics all night, if that’s what you’re asking.”
He’s going to be sick again. “You—what did you do to me?”
“What did I do to you?” Jared hazards a look at him, and he’s pissed. “Oh yeah, I really coerced you into fucking me into the mattress.”
“We—no. I can’t—who are you?!” Jared gets out, flustered.
The guy gets up and forces Jared to face him, won’t let him skirt away, having remembered they’re both still naked and now very close to one another. “You don’t remember any of it, do you?” he asks bitterly. Jared is confused, he can call up enough, other portions—why would he want to? Especially when every time he makes an attempt, warning bells go off, something telling him to go no further.
He tries to turn his face from that fierce, piercing gaze and finds it turned right back. “Tell me you remember my name. My real name.”
His eyes squeeze shut in a defense mechanism. Doesn’t know what this guy wants from him but he—can’t handle this. Has to shut out whatever’s trying to rise to the surface of his mind.
“No. I don’t,” he whispers.
When he opens his eyes, his stranger is wearing a cynical smirk that sits easily on his features. “Figures.”
The alarm clock goes off again, causing Jared to jump a mile. He picks it up, raises the window and tosses it out onto the street.
“You’re going to be late.”
“Late for what?” Jared asks tiredly.
“The test you kept bringing up?” he answers scornfully.
The test that had become less than an afterthought in light of the events of the last twenty-four hours. And counts for a third of his grade.
“Shit!” he yells, scrambling around to pull anything on. Parking is going to be a nightmare by the time he gets there. He needs a ride and he’s not about to look his friends or, god, Sandy, in the eye.
“You have to take me to class,” he says desperately.
The look he receives is an obvious one at his nerve but it’s the difference between failing and passing Morgan’s course.
“Fuck you. I’m not your fucking chauffeur.”
“Please? I can’t fail this test. There’s nobody else.” If his honest, little boy expression doesn’t win him any sympathy then he’s screw—out of luck.
He exhales through his nose. “You don’t deserve a damn thing from me,” he informs him, grabbing Jared’s keys from the nightstand. “And it’s Ross, by the way.”
Jared busts into the lecture hall, having made a mad dash through the building, with about sixty seconds to spare before Morgan sends his TA flunkies out to lock the place down.
As expected, the only seats left this late are the odd ones in the middle of the aisles. Forcing him to step on more than a few toes in his attempt to slide in and find a desk to cram his giant frame in. At long last he makes it and plops into a seat, holding his long legs upright for lack of room.
The girl next to him, with flaming red streaking her hair, taps his shoulder. “That one’s broken,” she mentions. Sure enough, he reaches down to the side of his chair and sees that there’s no accompanying desk portion to flip up.
Sighing, he gets up, treading on more toes of annoyed classmates on his way out. Having to repeat the process again when he spots an open space in the middle of another row. By the time he’s settled the TA’s are passing out test booklets, so he gets out his pencils and answer sheet and attempts to calm himself down. Block everything else out and focus on nailing this like he had been all week.
Question One: In John B. Watson’s, ‘Little Albert’ experiment fear initially functioned as:
a). the unconditioned stimulus b). the conditioned stimulus c). the unconditioned response d). the conditioned response
The new girl beside him shushes him and he realizes he’s tapping his pencil anxiously. Taking a deep breath, he stares at the choices. Sandy had helped him drill Watson and classical conditioning into his head.
His stomach drops. What was he going to tell her? I’m sorry it was an accident didn’t really cover it. Particularly not when the accident was sitting outside in his car.
He was a cheater. A low, disgusting cheater that didn’t deserve a girl like Sandy. How could she ever let him touch her again without thinking of it? Wondering if he caught something from a perverted, male stranger. He doesn’t even know if they were safe.
His pencil snaps in half in his hand, top part flying into the row below his and prompting some guy with sunglasses perched on his head to turn back and glare at him.
He’s sweating and people are packed in around him on all sides. Without the adrenaline of making it in time to sit the test, his headache is returning. Blurring the words on the page.
Nevermind Watson. He goes on to the next question.
Pica is a disorder characterized by what:
a). an appetite for non-nutritive substances such as soil, soap, etc. persisting beyond—
His stomach starts to roil. Next question.
The latency stage of Freud’s stages of psychosexual development—
Next question. He glances at the time display on the overhead projector. Ten minutes gone already and he hasn’t answered a single one.
For the rest of the hour, he takes best guesses before his brain can catch up and slow him down. When the short answer portion comes along—he puts his best b.s.’ing skills to work, hoping his generalities, vague references, and circular arguments will find one of the TA’s on a good day.
As Professor Morgan stands up to mercilessly count down the final ten seconds he and the last handful of people have, he scribbles something down about the undiagnosed frequency of Asperger’s, not setting down his pencil until he hits zero.
“Time is up. Hand your tests and answer sheets to the TA’s,” is all Morgan says, snatching up his already packed briefcase and striding out of the door.
Jared puts his hand to his head, congratulating himself. He just failed that exam with a vengeance.
As he trudges into the parking lot, he finds Ross immersed in a conversation with some spiky-haired blonde guy by his car. After the disaster of—everything, he just wants to get in his car, drive home, and hide. But the two of them are leaning right against it.
By the looks of their faces, the discussion is turning negative and the last thing Jared wants is to get involved in Ross’ problems. He never wants to see or think of the guy again. If he could just get in his car—
Ross moves to leave and the blonde guy jerks him back roughly by his wrist, getting in his face. Instinct kicks in and Jared approaches them, trying to keep his smile friendly.
“Is there a problem here?”
The blonde guy sizes him up and the hostility in his expression bleeds away a little from what he sees. “Just some unfinished business between me and him.”
“It’s just that, that’s my car and I don’t think he appreciates you putting your—“
“Oh, I get it. What are you, his pimp?”
“What?” he and Ross say in unison.
“Well, I paid your whore fifty bucks to suck me off last night and when I got home, my wallet was gone,” the guy directs to Jared now, expecting him to fix it.
“Whore?” Jared says dumbly.
“Prostitute, hustler, whatever the fuck the correct term is. I just want my wallet back. And the fifty bucks.”
“You don’t get refunds for blow jobs!” Ross protests.
Jared braces himself on his car, nausea kicking back into gear on the double. Whore. He slept with a prostitute. “You need to go,” he says absently to the blonde.
“Just fucking leave!” Jared roars at him because if ever there was a reason to raise his voice— The guy blinks and backs down, walking away with a lingering scowl at Ross.
“To be fair,” he starts, “I did tell you before we fucked.”
Jared swallows distastefully, head swimming. “We used a—“
“Yeah, we were safe. You brought it up first. Ever the gentleman even when you’re wasted out of your skull,” he laughs fondly, expression open in remembrance before it shutters closed again and he looks away. “You owe me three-hundred bucks,” he mentions casually.
“For services rendered?” He counts off on his fingers, “I helped you at the bar, got you home in a cab, you fucked my brains out and then I drove you to school. Three-hundred bucks is the discount rate because I did come and you did jerk me off.”
Jared leans over and pukes all over the side of his car. Handing over whatever cash is in his wallet when he’s steady enough to stand. Ross heads off with a wink and promise to see him again for the remainder.
“To our friend, Jared, yesterday was his twenty-first birthday,” Tom starts awkwardly from the radio as Jared drives home on autopilot. “And what a day it was,” he tries for mock cheeriness. “Isn’t that right, Mike?”
“Absolutely. What an interesting day it was for Jared. Jared who always works long and hard. Never shafts a fellow human being. Who’d whole-heartedly give you the man-sweaty shirt off his back—“
“Play the song, dude,” he cuts him off.
“Tom and I picked out a song real special, just for Jared. But—this is not that song. Instead—“ he cues up the opening bars of, It’s Raining Men and Jared turns the radio off, pulling his car over to the side of the road. Wondering if he did in fact take a wrong turn off into the Twilight Zone before he stopped to help the girl that maced him yesterday.
Sandy wants anal. He owes money to a gay hooker he told god knows what about himself. Perhaps that turn off was into the Jerry Springer show.
Regardless, he doesn’t lie, especially not to girls and especially not to Sandy. What’s done is done and next comes being a man and owning up to his actions, despite it being the hardest thing he’s ever had to do.
Sucking in a calming breath, he dials her number out. She picks up after two rings.
“Hey. I’m glad you called,” she says meekly. But she’s not the one with something to be guilty over.
He closes his eyes. “I was wondering if we could talk before your class?”
“Sure. I’d like that.” Loving and accepting. He clings to it while he can.
“Jared?” she asks after he’s silent for a moment.
“I’m here. I’ll be there in a few minutes, okay?”
“Okay. I love you,” she ends hopefully.
“I’ll see you soon.”
Sandy leads him by the hand to the couch. Few steps that feel like an endless march to his own destruction. With her hands in her lap, she sits down across from him, both angled toward the other.
“Jared, I want to apologize.”
“Sandy, I—“ She holds up her hand.
“No, don’t try to make me feel better. I need to say this.” It’s not surprising but he had held onto a desperate hope he could get it out before she began. On second thought, in a way he deserves the crippling guilt.
“I know that growing up with just you and your Mom had a big impact on you even though you never talk about it. And it made you this unbelievably sweet, caring, friendly guy. I love that about you but—“
With him and girls, it’s always the but. In this case, it had more meanings than one.
Call him naïve but he really was expecting a talk and not a break up. But then again he rarely ever sees them coming. And Sandy, he honestly felt like she could have been the girl he’d spend his life with.
“But I think you look at women like they’re delicate, little flowers or these idealized symbols, and it’s not in a bad way but—you treat them with kid gloves. And you’re so uncomfortable with sex—“
“I’m not,” he tries to convince her. “We can—do what you wanted, I swear. Please, just don’t leave. I really need you right now.”
“Jared, you can’t even say it and I’m not going to do that to you,” she tells him gently but firmly, tucking his hair behind his ear. He has a sudden, visceral flash of Ross doing the same thing the night before and he has to tell her now or lose his nerve for good.
“I had sex. Last night. I was drinking and I met this guy in the bathroom only I met him at the diner before and he helped me home and we had sex and everyone saw us and I flunked my test and found out that he was a prostitute,” he rambles out.
The rapt look of listening fades to one of anger and that big, white shoulder bag is in reach on the table next to them. Sure enough, she whacks him in the side of the head with it. “You bastard!”
“You liar!” Two whacks. “I knew it all along!”
“Sandy, please, I never meant to—“
“Get out, Jared,” she throws her bag at the wall and points toward the door, eyes brimming with tears.
“Okay,” he agrees simply, nothing much to say. Leaves his key to her apartment on the kitchen counter on his way out.
Jared may have had plenty of experience with having his heart broken, but he always thought things were going great until someone informed him they weren’t. Apparently, he’s no better at forseeing being the heartbreaker.
He skips work and classes for the next two days. Could probably get a sick note from a nurse at the Wellness Center he used to walk to her car every night Sophomore year when he had time for the Campus Safety Patrol. But that would involve getting up and walking past Chad and Sophia and leaving the house.
Sandy must have told her because she stares him down every time he has to venture into the kitchen, makes phlegmy, disgusting noises with her throat while he’s in the room. It’s going to be Hell when he goes back to work with her.
Chad just sits there, not looking at him, not speaking to him, pretending he doesn’t even exist.
After all the times he’d pulled him out of the fire, made sure he passed a test, taken care of him while he was blind drunk, the girls he’d helped him get, hell, given him, just—listening and being there for him no matter what, he realizes Chad hasn’t ever given him much in return.
And for the first time in his life, the fact pisses him off.
That he’d let seven years of what he thought was friendship go over—Sophia being mad? The gay sex thing? As if he could possibly be more freaked about it than Jared.
A lifetime of helping people, shrugging off when it blew up in his face, literally, and now he understands what it gets you—taken advantage of and alone.
Sitting on his bed, he clears out old things in his phone. Including Sandy’s number. Tom leaves him a message on his voicemail that he doesn’t really mean telling him he should drop by to hang out sometime.
Scrolling through his contacts, he nearly presses his mother’s number. He could always vague up his problems, paint them so generally that he can talk to her about it, but he closes out the list. He would know what he was talking about and—it’s almost Spring Break.
Just seeing her will be enough to make this better, regardless of the question to talk to her about it or not. A week and a half never seemed so far away.
Tossing his phone onto the nightstand, he flips onto his stomach and tries to go about sleeping the rest of the day without remembering Sandy curled up against him—or anyone else.
No sooner has he closed his eyes that it rings. Groaning, he checks the caller i.d. and doesn’t recognize the number. Unlike other people though, he answers those because you never know what it may be.
“Here I am at the lovely campus café, wanting to buy you a cup of coffee despite still not having received my full payment and they tell me you’re nowhere to be found.”
His eyes snap open and he pulls himself up. “How did you get my number?”
“You gave it to me, genius. I know all sorts of delightful tidbits about you. You like John Mayer, you spent the summer before high school at basketball camp, you’ve always had a repressed desire to fuck someone’s mouth and you hate your father.”
Jared splutters in shock for a moment, “You—shut up.”
Ross snorts. “Nice comeback.”
“Leave me alone! You ruined my life!” he screams into the phone.
“That’s rich. I ruined your life. From what you told me no one’s ever done as bang up a job of it as you.”
“Stop talking like you know me! You don’t know anything about me. I’m a good person and you—“
“Are just a whore? Let me give you some whore’s advice then, JT. When people get trashed to the point you were—that’s when you see who they really are. I know you better than you know yourself. Isn’t that sad?” he sneers.
“Look, Jensen, if you don’t—“ he stops himself.
He remembers. His name was Jensen and not Ross. In the real world, it’s just Jensen. Tell me you remember my real name.
By the sound of Jensen’s chuckle he knows exactly what’s going through his mind. “Well, well. Nice to hear from you again. Did you know you’re a real asshole when you’re sober?”
Jared hangs up the phone.
Having tucked his tail between his legs for long enough, he gets up bright and early to plead his case to a notoriously hard-assed Professor Morgan. A miracle would be in order for him to consent to giving Jared a re-take of his exam but if he doesn’t even make an attempt, he has no room to complain.
Satisfied with his appearance, he steps carefully into the hall, shrugging on a jacket. Chad’s door is open and Sophia is standing in front of it with panties on but no top, talking on the phone. When she catches sight of him, she slams it in his face with a derisive eye roll.
Chad isn’t visible but he’s not particularly interested in finding out where he is so they can awkwardly skirt around each other in an attempt to maneuver the apartment. He grabs his keys and goes, breathing easier after he’s left.
Before eight, parking isn’t an issue but he takes a space a little ways down from the School of Education where Morgan’s office is to give himself the chance to gather his jumbled and chaotic thoughts.
On the walk, he comes upon the broadcast building for the radio station. Outside, Mike and Tom are leaning against the wall, on break from their morning show. Of course.
Tom is smoking again, Jared notices with dismay, and Mike is shoving a sketchy, convenience store hot dog into his face. Breakfast of champions. “That shit’s going to kill you,” Jared hears Mike garble out of the side of his mouth, still unseen.
“If you don’t do it first,” Tom responds dryly. He drops it and grounds out the butt with his foot as Jared approaches them warily.
Mike swallows and smirks. “Speaking of smoking, check out this repressed motherfucker right here.”
Jared pivots on his foot to leave, face burning, but Tom comes over and directs him to where they’re standing by his shoulders. “How’s it going, Jay?”
Jared shrugs, looking down. “Probably flunked that exam. I’m going to see Morgan now and see if I can convince him to let me retake it.”
Mike whistles, thankfully distracted. “Good luck with that. I dated an education major a couple of years ago who said that bearded bastard made her sit a test after she had fucking meningitis for two weeks, with documentation. You know, I could show him the tape of you and—“
“No!” Jared bellows. “Please tell me you destroyed it?”
“It’s gone,” Tom assures him, scowling at Mike.
“What?” he asks innocently. “Couldn’t hurt. How is your naked half, by the way?”
“How would I know?”
“Well,” Tom starts carefully, “I thought it wasn’t a one time thing. At the bar, I stopped you on your way out and you were going on about how you knew him and you two were so tight. That’s why I let you leave with him.”
“I said that?” he wonders disbelievingly.
“Yeah,” Tom says like it’s obvious. “You were doing a lot more than saying. Had to pry you apart to ask where you were going. Look, I know things are crazy with Sandy finding out and Chad, but we’re cool, alright? And to be honest, we always kind of suspected—“
“I’m not gay!” he’s really getting into the habit of yelling at people. “I’m just—nice.”
Tom gets that he made a mistake. “Yeah, dude, you’re nice. Totally makes my teeth hurt,” he agrees, humoring him.
“Right,” Mike pipes up. “I won’t be back with Allison for the third time this year and you aren’t gay.”
“Can we just stop talking about this? What about Chad?” he grasps for something, anything. “He’s freaked, right?”
Tom and Mike exchange looks. “You still don’t get it? No wonder you don’t know you’re gay.”
“Dude,” Tom sighs in exasperation.
“Last time I ate at the café Sophia was on and bitched my ear out about how all Chad talks about is how bad he feels for Sandy.”
His forehead wrinkles in contemplation. In hindsight, Chad was constantly asking him about Sandy, reminding him of how lucky he was. At the bar—he can’t remember it all but something then too. Sandy related.
The light bulb belatedly switches on.
“I just thought it was ‘cause they both were pre-law.”
Mike pats his shoulder, last horse crossing the line. “We know you did, buddy.” He checks his watch. “We gotta get back. It’s been real, Jay. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do—with a chick.”
He disappears back into the building and Jared is left reeling, feeling worse and more scattered than he was earlier. Why did he think talking to Mike would help anything? When had it ever. Throwing Tom a helpless look, he opens his mouth but is cut off.
“I can’t tell you what to do. Nobody can. All I can say is what I saw. That night—I’d never seen you look like that.”
“Like I was completely destroying my life?” he asks tiredly.
“Don’t know. Whatever it was, it was just—new.”