Healing CJ/Jen by Scarlet

Author's Note: This story is written assuming Jen and CJ have not seen each other since the day of the fight, at least not in a meeting that held any sort of significance. Since I haven't seen the rest of the show yet, I have no idea what will happen, but this is my...way of making up for the atrocity of the situation we are seeing so far.

Not that she didn't love counseling, but honestly, every day, the same thing, the same annoying chatter. Why couldn't they just solve their problems on their own? Jen almost laughed. She couldn't and she was a professional of some type, so why should they be able to?

"-and I just don't understand what he wants! What should I do?"

Dump him. "Have you tried talking to him?"

And it went on, the same thing. Next week she would finally get it into her head to dump him, take another three weeks to do it and then the next week: new boy, same situation.

Shoot.

Me.

Now.

...kept repeating in her brain like a drum. Neverending, much like her client's incessant whining.

Mercifully, the bell rang and Jen smiled. "I'll see you next week, Maxine," she smiled.

It was Friday. Her last appointment was over. The fact that Jen was going home to an empty apartment was only slightly depressing. She just needed a beer and some time to veg. Nice horror movie, maybe. Call a friend? Let them bitch about their life? That sounded a little too much like work.

According to the break up ritual, Josh should call tonight to pretend he was sorry things had turned out this way and incidently, he'd left his slippers, could he have them back? She would, of course, advise him that they might still be together if not for the Tweetie bird slippers and he'd be better off leaving them, and the relationship, in the past.

Or maybe she'd just turn off the ringer.

"Hey, Jen, someone's here to see you," the receptionist peeked in.

"Can you get rid of them?"

"He's been waiting for awhile now, said it wouldn't take long."

Jen sighed, "OK, send him back, but tell me I have an urgent call in ten minutes."

***

It was hard to say why coming here was such a big deal to him, but it was. Just sitting here waiting for her was terrifying, but strangely exhilerating. He'd thought about her a lot in the past five years. She stood out in his mind more than any other woman because at a time he thought he was finally getting it back together, she'd kicked him in the ass and told him the truth.

Funny how the last thing he ever wanted to hear had stuck with him for years.

"Ms. Lindley will see you now," the secretary smiled at him and he returned it.

Following her lead, he walked back to Jen's office, coming to an abrupt halt as their eyes met. Of all the possible scenarios he had imagined, the rapid loss of breath and increase in heart beat was not one that he had expected. She had matured into possibly the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Well, wasn't that just perfect.

Jen frowned, looking at him. "I'm sorry, do I know you?"

A smile came to his lips as he remembered first conversation.

"Yeah, I'm...CJ. David's friend?"

Her eyes widened and her hand went immediately to her hair and back down to her side.

***

CJ! The memory clicked into placed in detail. He was...better looking now. Remarkable that it was possible, she remembered his attractiveness very well.

Five years had appeared to only give him more muscle and poise. Neither of which she had a problem with. If only it had leant some sanity, it would be a big help.

"I...yes, I remember you. Sit down," she gestured, "What can I do for you?"

Jen sat down as he did and looked him in the eye. He'd changed, that much was obvious, there was a spark to him that was missing before.

"Nice hair," she smiled.

He rolled his eyes, "Yeah, you saw the 'alternative hipster/trying to be an old school raver' days of the hair. I'm sorry I put you through that," he said seriously, running a hand through his now short hair.

Chuckling, she shrugged. "They weren't the best hair days for any of us, I don't think. So what brings you by? How'd you find it, even?"

"Oh, I still keep in touch with David. He let me know."

Jen smiled, "He and Jack are really happy."

"Yeah, that's the impression I get," he smiled, "Thanks to you. If you hadn't called that help line, they might never have hooked up."

"Well, I like to think that the perils of my own love life, or lack thereof, can somehow lead others to the bliss of togetherness."

"Isn't that the way it always works?" he raised an eyebrow.

"In my experience, yes. Always. But why do I think that this little chit chat isn't why you came?" she smiled.

"You got me," he held up his hands. "I'm actually here to thank you."

"Thank me?" she asked, raising her eyebrows, "Interesting. I suppose I'll hear more of this."

***

CJ smiled. Yeah, he'd want to hear more if he was her too, after what had happened between them. "Long or short version?"

"Try short, if it hooks me, we'll go for long."

"The last time we talked, what you said helped me straighten out my life. Thank you. I'm sorry I paid that back by hurting you."

"Wasn't it the other way around, didn't you hurt me and then I told you off?"

"Yeah, I deserved it, I'm sorry."

"An apology and a thank you. I haven't gotten one of those from a man-- well, a heterosexual man--in a very long time. So you are forgiven and you're very welcome."

"I see you went into counseling," he gestured around the office.

"Yeah, I guess you saw something right."

"Probably the only thing."

Jen frowned just as her secretary came in, "You have an urgent call on line two."

"Thanks," Jen smiled and then turned back to CJ, "Listen-"

"You want to go out and catch up?" he interrupted, "After you take the fake call?"

"How did you-"

Chuckling at her shocked expression, he shrugged. "I'm in tune to phones, I worked at a help line for a long time."

Jen smiled. "OK, you can come with me. But I'm not changing my plans."

***

"What are your plans?"

"Feet up. Beer. Horror movie," she counted off on her fingers.

"Sounds great. Well, if you have water."

"Oh! I'm sorry, yes. It's even the filtered stuff."

"Best offer I'm going to get tonight," he smiled.

"Doubt that," Jen muttered to herself.

"What?"

"Well, THAT is what we'll do," she smiled. "You can tell me the long version on the way to the video store."

"I've gotta grab my car..."

"Nah, we're walking. Get it later."

***

"So you're sure about the horror movie?" CJ asked as they walked into Jen's apartment.

"Positive, it just wasn't hitting me."

"Not even the one you said your friend directed?" he asked.

"DEFINITELY not that one. I saw it once, as was my duty, but I can only take so much."

"Ahh...not a fan?"

"I have enough trouble wading through the diluge of teen drama to find something good on TV."

"Well, you could always tell your friend, maybe he could fix the TV world for you."

"We don't talk too much anymore, things faded away after college. I don't really talk to anyone but Jack."

She caught his look, "Yes, that includes Audrey. This isn't some deeply involved plot to find out about her, is it?"

He laughed. "No, I was actually just trying to remember her name."

Jen raised her eyebrows. Interesting. So he hadn't been obsessed with her ever since then.

"What you said about backsliding that day terrified me," he said softly. "I left, I had to get out of there. I didn't want to be the person I was before and that's all I could think of doing to stop it."

"Did you?" she asked, opening the fridge to get her beer and his water.

"After awhile. I moved as soon as I could, stopped counseling people until I knew that I had gotten past it myself."

"How do you know you are?"

"A couple things. I ran into my ex-girlfriend and we put the past behind us and I actually got into a new relationship."

Of course, she sighed. The hot screw up gets better and hooks up, but can she find someone? No. "Is that going well?"

He chuckled, "Actually, we broke up."

Interesting. "And that's a good thing because...?"

"Because it was healthy. I've never had a healthy relationship in my life. We dated, decided we were better off as friends, no hard feelings."

Jen raised her eyebrows, "Yeah, right."

***

"What?" CJ asked, frowning.

"You are not the type of guy that people end things with, 'no hard feelings.'"

"Maybe not in the past, but I was fine. Disappointed, but fine. Do you know how good that felt, knowing that for the first time in my life, maybe I was going to be okay?"

"I'm happy for you, but that's not what I meant. You seem a lot...better adjusted than the last time I saw you."

Thank goodness for small miracles, or large ones, as the case may be. "Well, THAT'S good, I hope that most of the human race is better adjusted than I was that day," he rolled his eyes.

"Well, you weren't so-"

He raised his eyebrows and she made a face.

"OK, maybe a little messed up..."

Covering his face, he shook his head.

"Right, so you were really messed up, but hey, it happens."

"To who?" he wanted to know.

"You...and...Audrey?" she smiled.

Rolling his eyes, he took a drink of water. "Do you have any memories that you just look back on and cannot comprehend what you were thinking at the time?"

"I believe my list of ex-boyfriends is testament to my expertise on that particular subject," she assured him, sitting on the couch and putting her feet on the coffee table, gesturing to him to do likewise.

"How do you do that?" he asked.

"Do what?"

"Pull away from someone you're emotionally involved in."

Smiling, she shrugged off the question, "I guess I don't invest emotion in something I know will end."

"Maybe if you did, it wouldn't," he suggested.

"Back in the counselling business, I see?" she asked.

It was his turn to shrug, "I like to stop people from going through what I did, or helping them if they did. If I don't, who will?"

"Good question. Do you ever wonder if it does any good?" she sighed.

"I know it does, I've experienced it. From you."

Jen exhaled, "Yeah, but maybe you just listened to yourself."

"No, if I listened to myself, I would be dead right now, so thanks for that too. I love my life now."

"You were suicidal about Audrey?"

"No, but I was suicidal before I stopped drinking, and I would have been again. Only I would have already tried and failed to make my life better, so who knows," he shrugged. "You know, I never approached Audrey because I thought anything would happen with us."

"You don't have to explain to me, CJ, we weren't dating."

"Yeah, but I want to," he smiled. "You weren't really my type back then," he stressed the past tense, "I wasn't used to girls who were actually together and could do my job better than me."

"Together," she laughed, "That's what I was? Didn't feel like it."

"You seemed it. And the fact that you didn't think so yourself only made you seem more so, it was endearing."

"Not enough, though?" she asked.

"A healthy relationship terrified me at the time. You weren't the type of girl I could just mess with, you were...too perfect."

"You know, as a kiss off, that is perhaps the best I've heard."

"Should I write it down?"

"Do you need it again?"

"I don't think it will apply anywhere else."

"No other perfect women you needed to brush off?"

"No other perfect women," he smiled.

Jen laughed, "Nice."

"Better, huh?"

"Much. I need to change," she set her beer on the coffee table and went to her room.

***

He used to be insane. He once banged Audrey.

He was better now. Who hasn't banged Audrey?

This was a dilema. One that Jen solved by recalling what he looked like.

If one really considered the matter, he owed her. She really, if one looked at it *correctly*, sort of owned him now. In that whole save a life, you get them until they save yours vein?

How could she possibly like him AGAIN after five years? Because now he actually WAS the person she thought he was before? Yes. Because he was even more attractive? Obviously. Because it is always nice when they come crawling back? Mmmm...

Kicking off her shoes, she surveyed her clothing options. Heading straight for the negligee would be a mistake, there had to be another option suitably attention grabbing while not appearing to be so. Oh, the annoying details of life. Subtlety.

It was his turn to make the first move...he just needed to be properly encouraged in a manner that could easily be brushed off, if needed.

The answer was found in a Tshirt, that while appearing old, actually clung to curves better than most evening gowns, and scrubs, which, while a bit baggy, managed to emphasize her slimness.

If he didn't get on the ball with this sort of encouragement, there was just no saving the man.

***

He would swear she'd been flirting with him. But then, maybe she was just a flirty person. If his memory of her was right, she was. Though, she had liked him at the time, so would it be different now if she wasn't interested?

It would be poetic justice if he made a move and she shut him down and much as he would appreciate the irony for the next ten years or so as he kicked himself repeatedly, he'd just rather not have it happen.

Jen came back through the door and he looked up.

"Much better," she smiled, padding back over to the couch and propping her feet up.

It was really remarkable what a Tshirt and scrubs did for her. Relaxed, yet stunning.

This entire evening seemed to be a large argument in favor of karma. Depending on the ending, he might be won over.

She flipped on the TV, clearly unaware of him as she flipped through the channels, her tongue teasing the hell out of the beer bottle in her hand.

CJ looked away and frowned, "Tweetie slippers?" he asked.

Laughing, Jen kicked them off, "Don't you hate them?"

"Well," he paused, not wanting to be impolite, "Yeah, kinda. They're very...yellow."

Jen sighed, "Exactly. My ex left them here, I think, to symbolize and remind me of all that went wrong in the relationship."

"And you wear them because...?"

"The mood struck me."

"I don't think you need them," he smiled, picking up her feet and putting them in his lap. She raised an eyebrow, but made no move to protest as he pulled off the hideous slippers and rubbed her delicate feet with his hands.

Whistles were screaming in his head at this extremely good sign as she let him massage her feet. Not only was she letting him touch her, but she didn't appear to be one of those women with feet issues. Her feet were adorable, though, he had no idea why she would.

"Why were you suicidal?" she asked as he kneaded the arch of her foot.

The small noise she made in the back of her throat almost completely distracted him from her question, but he shook it off. "I didn't have the happiest childhood. Dad constantly cheated on my mom and hit her when he didn't think anyone was looking."

"Did he ever hurt you?" she asked.

"No, I don't think he even knew I knew, but I saw them one day. They never really paid much attention to what I was doing."

"How old were you?"

"Seven."

Her eyes closed and then opened again, "I'm sorry."

"A lot of people deal with that kind of thing, I just didn't do it right."

"You were just a kid, you didn't know."

"My sweetheart, when I was twelve, was my next door neighbor."

Jen smiled, "What was her name?"

"Leah. I thought she was beautiful. We were best friends, we'd hold hands and run around when our parents weren't looking, which was all the time."

"Did Leah start drinking with you?"

CJ smiled, "You remember when I started drinking?"

Jen shrugged off the question.

"Yes, she started drinking with me, but she didn't get into it like I did. She had other escapes, mostly physical. We had sex way too early to know what we were getting into."

Scooting next to him, Jen reached out and took his hand.

CJ stared at their fingers and continued his story. "What was at one time a cute, childhood friendship turned into an extremely volitile relationship when we were fourteen, but we didn't know how to function without each other, or alcohol or sex."

"I was never...violent with her," he swallowed, "I don't think I could have forgiven myself, but emotionally, I wasn't happy and she felt that. We started hanging around with the party crowd in high school and it wasn't long before she left me. I wanted to die, she was the only thing like love that I'd ever experienced. I tried to get her back. Every other guy she dated was never good enough for her and knowing her sexual appetites made me want to kill every single one of them. I didn't understand how she could want to be with them. One night, she came to me, miserable because of whatever guy she was dating at the time. It seemed like it was finally going back to normal, but it wasn't. When I woke up, she was gone. That night was the party I mentioned before."

"What did you say to her? Do you remember?"

"Considering how drunk I was, I remember it in remarkably vivid detail. I told her exactly what I thought of her and when people stepped in, I turned the favor on them. From that day until last year, she never said a word to me."

"How is she now?"

"Better. Single," he smiled slightly, "I guess we both learned something about the don'ts of dating."

"Tempted to get back together?" she asked.

His eyes widened, "GOD, no! Leah and I forced a friendship out of something that should have remained a childhood friendship. Part of me could see the little girl she was, but the other part of me was just...unsure how I had let her be such a huge part of my life in the first place."

"Not the perfect woman?" Jen smiled.

"I thought we'd established there was only one of those," he lifted her hand to his lips, watching her expression as he kissed her fingers. She just watched him. It made him both nervous and excited. "Jen, when I came to see you today, I had no idea how attracted to you I would be."

She opened her mouth and shut it.

"It doesn't surprise me at all that you've grown into such an incredible person, you've always been that. Actually, it makes me happy that I'm finally attracted to women that are healthy for me," he watched her eyes as he talked, trying to gage her reaction. "A nod, eyeblink, or better yet, comment, from you would be great at this point."

Jen smiled, "Really, I was enjoying your little speech."

"Good sign...are you planning to capitalize on the poetic justice of the moment or take mercy on me?"

"Well, after I savor the poetic justice a bit more, I'll let you know, but feel free to continue in the meantime."

CJ smiled, "Yeah, I deserve that," he pulled her towards him, "But I don't know what else to say."

***

His mouth descended to hers and Jen's heart leapt with excitement as heat spread from her lips to the pit of her stomach. CJ nibbled her lower lip and she opened her mouth to him, allowing his tongue to enter her mouth in his first tenative exploration. Sighing, she leaned into him, closing her mouth around his tongue to suck gently.

CJ groaned in appreciation and she smiled against his lips.

He pulled away to look at her. "You think of an answer yet?"

"Can I give you one in the morning?" she grinned.

"No," he shook his head emphatically and her grin died.

"I'm sorry," she whispered and his face fell. "NO! I'm sorry I reminded you of...other people."

He grinned, "That mean you are going to be merciful?"

"Extremely," she smiled.

"It doesn't bother you that I was with your friend?"

"Five years ago? No. I would be old and gray by the time I found someone who hadn't been with her," she muttered.

"Mean," he chided.

"But true."

"I did not comment on the legitmacy of your claim," he winked and she laughed. "Well, I better get going."

"What? Why?"

"Sooner I fall asleep, the sooner I can call you tomorrow," he smiled.

Charming, sweet and adorable. Jen's eyes narrowed. "Is that some kind of weird closer?"

"Why? Is it working?"

"A little bit, yeah."

"I don't want to start off wrong here, I just feel like I'd regret it for the rest of my life."

Jen's mouth dropped. "Go, leave now before I change my mind and start trying to prove to myself this isn't a dream."

CJ smiled and took his leave.

Leaning against the door, Jen reviewed the evening. Healthy relationship, huh? She should have gone with the negligee.

The End

A/N: Jensen Ackles centric fanfiction: http://nunswithpens.hypperboards.com/