The (J2) French Mistake
Characters: Jared, Jensen, Bobby Singer, Raphael, Ben Edlund (Gen)
Words: c 6800
Summary: Season 6 – what happened to the 'real' Jensen and Jared when Sam and Dean took their places in that reality? What if they actually swapped places with Sam & Dean and found themselves in a real Supernatural environment (not talking to each other)?
Warnings: Some swearing
As they crashed through the window, Jensen was anticipating a perfect take. It was late in a long day, and this scene was supposed to be the last, as Bob had said this stage was set up for a single take. And it was perfect, until his shoulder crunched into what felt like solid concrete instead of the anticipated landing cushion, and he heard Padalecki's anguished yell echo his own.
Jensen gingerly rolled onto his side, then flinched as a sliver of glass sliced through Dean's denim jacket and pierced his bicep (what the fuck, real glass again? What were the set designers thinking? And come to that, he missed the old leather jacket.). Preoccupied with carefully pulling the shard out, he didn't notice that the studio was darker than it should have been, and even more strangely, it was raining. With blood smeared on his fingers, he waved the offending piece of glass around and complained loudly to all and sundry.
"Look at this! I'm bleeding, fuck it!"
All and sundry were strangely silent, and Jensen's outraged grumbles were met only by a brilliant flash of lightning closely followed by a clap of thunder so loud the tall actor was abruptly shocked into silence.
That freaking giant, Padalecki, was already on his feet, looming over him like the leaning tower of Pisa, blocking Jensen's view of – well everything, actually.
When Jensen stood up, pressing a hand to the throbbing cut in his arm, he rather wished he'd stayed behind the shelter offered by Padalecki's broad back. He looked around in total bewilderment, taking in the night-time darkness, the lightning flashes that were illuminating what looked like the outdoors set they used for Bobby Singer's junkyard. Indeed as he rotated slowly around, there was what appeared to be a complete version of house they used to double as Bobby Singer's house (exterior views only). The storm they were in the middle of seemed to be growing in force, the wind was whipping last year's dead leaves around and setting Dean's multiple layers flapping, and the rain was getting heavier.
"What the fuck?" Jensen muttered to nobody, seeing as how he and Padalecki were not talking, and everyone else seemed to have vanished into thin air.
Lightning flashed again, far too close for comfort, and in the afterglow that seared his retinas the run down clapboard house, with its wrecked window gaping open to the angry elements, suddenly took on the menacing aspect of one of those dark turreted nineteen century houses they always used in bad horror flicks. He supposed a transforming house could be no stranger than anything else that was happening to them as he shrugged the after-image out of his brain.
Padalecki had turned around and was mouthing some nonsensical shit about multi-verses or something. Jensen could only make out every other word over the shrieking volume of the growing storm, so he dismissed it as the crazed ramblings of a sci-fi geek. That was until he saw Lanette Ware emerging from amidst an impossible roiling mass of blue lightning right behind Padalecki.
So, possibly not Lanette then, maybe more like an Archangel of the Lord in full smiting mode.
Unfortunately, Jensen had no trouble hearing Raphael's voice as it seemed to be resounding inside his skull, and it sounded as though she was pissed.
"What is the meaning of this? Where is Balthazar?" She demanded. Then her voice dropped an octave into pure icy menace. "And where are the Winchesters?"
Everything seemed to happen at once, yet in slow motion. Jensen saw Padalecki start to turn around, as Raphael raised her hand and a brilliant white glow began to form in her palm. However insane Jensen's rational brain was telling him this was, he knew instinctively that this was real. An Archangel was about to smite them, smite Jared, and all of a sudden, his aching shoulder and his childish grudges paled into insignificance.
Jensen didn't hesitate. He leapt forward and grasping his co-star by one muscled shoulder he yanked with all his might. Padalecki went flying to one side, toppling like a giant redwood, out of the path of the beam of light that shot straight through the space where he had been, right into Jensen's face.
Jared had gone from excited to terrified all in the space of ten short seconds. Excited when he'd understood that they had somehow managed to personally prove the Many Worlds theory by crossing a boundary between two parallel universes; something he couldn't resist trying to explain to Ackles even though they weren't speaking, not since The Incident. Terrified when he saw his co-star's face turn first pale then determined, the changing expressions clearly illuminated by the bright blue-white light and in reaction to the deeply scary voice that materialised directly behind Jared.
Unlike Ackles, Jared had read Edlund's script very thoroughly, so he knew exactly who it had to be behind him, and why she was there. The sense of menace was immediate and sent a chill down his spine. Distracted by Raphael's arrival, Jared missed the significance of Jensen's determined expression and was taken by surprise when his volatile co-star moved as quick as Dean Winchester, thrusting Jared out of the way, putting himself right into the line of fire.
Helpless, Jared could only watch from the floor as Raphael's angel-light smote Jensen, spinning the six one actor backwards as effortlessly as if he had been weightless. It was nothing like watching a special effect. This was terrifyingly real and the sound of Jensen's head hitting the all too solid wall of Bobby Singer's house made Jared feel like throwing up. Ackles slumped face down to the floor as boneless as a ragdoll and lay unmoving.
Shock warred with a growing rage. Jared squared his broad shoulders and scrambled to his feet to face Raphael.
"What the fuck do you think you are doing, you bastard…"
Raphael stared at him as if he had sprouted a Zaphod Beeblebrox extra head. Or was something nasty on the bottom of her highly polished angelic shoes. She made a gesture with her hand and Jared fell heavily to his knees, his words stilled on his tongue.
"You are not the Winchesters. You are…irrelevant."
Jared choked on his attempt at a response, because the Archangel had somehow turned sound into solid matter, clogging up his gullet and windpipe. Clutching at his throat, the pain in his knees was forgotten as he struggled against choking. Raphael shrouded herself once again in lightning and then simply vanished, taking the last vestiges of the storm with her. The moment she dematerialised, the constriction in his neck disappeared with her and Jared could breathe again. Gulping cold air into his desperate lungs, he crawled as quickly as he could to where his co-star lay unmoving.
"Ackles!" Jared coughed. His voice sounded as though he'd been smoking 60 a day for at least twenty of his twenty-eight years. He swallowed and tried again, shaking Jensen by the shoulder.
"Ackles, come on man," he tugged at the heavy form and managed to turn his colleague onto his back, gasping as he took in the stark contrast of Jensen's dead white skin and the dark red blood that masked half of that handsome face. "Shit."
He forgot they weren't supposed to be speaking, he forgot The Incident. One hand tentatively touched a cold cheek, patted it awkwardly, the other still fisted tight in Jensen's layers of rain soaked clothing.
"Jensen, hey man, come on, please wake up."
Anxiety and fear were washed away by a huge tide of relief as Jensen's eyelids fluttered and his eyes opened.
"Wha… Jared. Gerroff me…" Jared sat back on his heels, allowing Jensen room to struggle to sit up on his own. Almost instantly, relief was replaced by exasperation.
"You stupid dumb fuck. When are you going to realise you are not actually Dean Winchester?"
The question was rhetorical, so Jared nearly jumped out of his skin when a rough voice answered him. Especially as it was accompanied by the unmistakable sound of a shotgun being cocked.
"Well, that's very interesting, seeing as how he happens to be wearing Dean Winchester's meat-suit. So enlighten me. If he ain't my boy Dean, who the hell is he?"
The next few moments were kind of blurry for Jensen. His eyes were having trouble focusing and his head hurt like a mother. He saw Jim Beaver talking to Jared, but couldn't get his head round why Jim was holding that shotgun on his co-star in such a threatening manner. Jared was talking back, arms waving like a demented windmill as was usual for Jared, though not for Jared being Sam. This wasn't part of the script, he thought, confused. He leaned heavily on the wall of the house as he tried to get to his feet. He was absurdly pleased when he finally managed to get himself upright, but his feeling of satisfaction was short lived as his knees turned to jello and buckled underneath him. He landed on his butt, feeling distinctly aggrieved by the loss of dignity, his long legs sprawled out in front of him, his back still propped up by the helpful wall behind him.
He must have made some sort of inarticulate noise of pained protest, as the other two men suddenly quit arguing or whatever the hell they'd been doing and turned their attention to him. 'Bout time, Jensen thought, a touch petulantly. He waved a hand in a vague gesture.
"Jim, what'you doin' on set, man?" He tried to ask, but the gruff old actor just gave him a blank look, so Jensen figured perhaps he'd not been as clear as he might have been. Must have been one hell of a party he was not remembering. He hadn't felt this drunk since the last time Steve and Chris had been in Vancouver. Those dudes knew how to throw one ass-kicking celebration. His wandering gaze landed on Jared and he beamed.
"Jay bird!" He grinned at his friend, best friend, bestest friend in the whole world, wondering why he was having to crane his neck even more than usual to see him. "Anyb'dy ever tell you…Y're f'kin' tall, man…," he grumbled.
"M'head hurts." He put a hand to the offending member and was fascinated to see it come away covered in blood. Funny, it didn't smell like fake blood, and he couldn't remember spending any time in make-up…. He put a reddened finger into his mouth to the sound of disgusted protest from Padalecki. Nope, didn't taste like that shitty fake stuff either. How odd. It tasted like iron, like real blood.
Jensen's head snapped back in shock, and his eyes went wide.
"M'bleeding!" Now he really was pissed. Health and Safety would have a field day, the producers would be in deep shit, the show would probably get canned by the CW and he'd be out of work and out on his ass. Fucking ridiculous. Come to think of it, he was on his ass anyway. He frowned. What the hell was he doing sitting on the floor? His hand flopped onto his damp thigh, the blood forgotten. He leaned his head back against the hard surface behind him, feeling confused again. Then Jared's anxious face was looming into view, filling up his blurred vision with that Sam-like expression that was a small part pissiness, a large part puppy-dog concern.
Jensen giggled, and watched as Padalecki's expression slid over into almost pure bitch-face. Score! He was going to say something extraordinarily pertinent and witty, but was suddenly far too sleepy to do anything but let himself slide slowly and (he had no doubt) gracefully into a sideways slump. As he let his heavy eyelids close, he thought he heard the two Js (Jim and Jared, J2, J squared, get it?) shouting at him, telling him he couldn't go to sleep. Well fuck that, he thought as blackness claimed him. He was tired.
Bobby looked in exasperation from one doppelganger to the other. The Sam-one, who'd said his name was Jared Padasomething, looked as though he was about to burst into tears, while the Dean-one had passed out again, which did, Bobby supposed, make him easier to handle. Easier in one way, harder in another, as this version of his boy was just as solid a lump to try and shift as his own dearly beloved (and apparently currently missing in another world) Winchester.
The veteran hunter sighed. This Jared character, who seemed to have appropriated Sam Winchester's body, had spun one of the tallest tales he'd ever heard, but Bobby found himself believing it wholesale. Which, he concluded, just went to show how far off the reservation their lives had gone in the last few years. A body swap between dimensions seemed no more absurd than a few angels having a war or Lucifer walking the earth. He wondered how Sam and Dean were coping in the world belonging to these two pretty boy actors. Probably a darned sight better than that poor unsuspecting world was coping with them, he thought, with a grim smile.
"We ain't gonna be able to do much for him out here. We need to get him into the house, get him outta those wet things and let me see to that head wound," Bobby said.
"But, but shouldn't we call 911?" The lanky one (not Sam, Bobby was resolved not to think Sam when he looked at this stranger) stuttered, cell phone already in his hand. Bobby glared at him.
"So what're you gonna tell them? My friend here fell through a portal from another universe and got blasted by an Archangel? Yeah, that'll go down a storm with the medics. Come on, Sa…Jared. I've treated far worse than a concussion and a few cuts. You take his shoulders, I'll take his legs."
Bobby waited as patiently as he could while Jared pulled himself together enough to help the old hunter gather up the unconscious one (Jensen, his name was Jensen) and, staggering a little under the dead weight, carry him into the house.
Unfortunately, the fact that some idjits had jumped through his living room/study window meant Bobby's couch was out of commission, so the two men had to struggle their way upstairs with their inert bundle of damaged goods. In spite of a body that must be a tribute to a vigorous exercise regime equal to Sam's, even Jared was panting a little by the time they had managed to negotiate the stairs and make their way into the spare room. Bobby was veritably wheezing, and cursing under his breath for letting himself get so out of condition. When the hell had that happened anyway? Old age creeping up on him, the sneaky bastard.
After they settled the still unconscious Jensen onto one of Bobby's spare beds, the old hunter wasted no time.
"Get those wet clothes of him while I get the med kid," Bobby ordered, and not stopping to see if Jared was leaping into action or not, he clattered downstairs to gather up the essentials for a hunter medical emergency, including suture kit and a full bottle of cheap rot-gut. Bobby's cupboards were a pharmaceutical cornucopia of the best pain-killers, antibiotics and the like, but in his experience, there was nothing that worked better than whiskey for both doctor and patient.
He paused in the doorway when he returned to the boys' room, arrested by the tableau that met his gaze. The tall one had managed to get the other one half undressed but clearly the whole affair had been somewhat traumatic for him. Jared was sitting on the bed with Jensen's naked torso pressed up against him, the injured man's head resting on the taller man's chest. Jared's face was a perfect blend of mortification, indecision and concern. Jensen had his bare arms wrapped tight around Jared, and was pressing his bloody cheek into Jared's shirt. The look of blissful contentment on that handsome face had Bobby wishing that these two were really his boys. The blackmail potential posed by this picture was immense. Might even stop 'em going on about that Crowley kiss…
He snorted, startling Jared, who took the noise as his cue to start babbling, blushing redder than hellfire.
"He sorta woke up but I couldn't get his jeans off because he…er…," Jared trailed off, lost for words, so Bobby helpfully finished his sentence for him.
"Wanted to snuggle? Yeah, well I suppose you are the warmest thing in the room, kid." Bobby knew that if this clone was anything like his Sam, he was probably the hottest thing in the whole damned house. Kid radiated heat like a blacksmith's forge. A thought which brought him back to the immediate problem – getting these two sorted out so he could find them a way home, and more importantly (to Bobby's way of thinking anyway) to get his own two idjits safely back from whatever dimension that devious bastard Balthazar had flung them into.
Galvanised into action, Bobby wasted no time in efficiently stripping off the last of Jensen's cold soggy clothing, absently noting the baby-soft smoothness of his skin that was just like Dean's had been when Castiel first brought him back from Hell. Or at least it had been nice smooth skin until the actor had arrived here in Winchester-world – once the layers were gone, Bobby found several more lacerations that were going to need stitches, and would likely leave some scars that lovely pale freckled skin.
Jared's blushing together with the contortions the big man was going through to avert his gaze from the nakedness of his co-star was getting irritating, so the hunter despatched the tall actor for more towels and hot water while he stitched up the deep laceration in Jensen's shoulder.
"Towels are in the linen closet just down the hall there," Bobby said.
Jared looked up and grinned, suddenly appearing years younger.
"I know where that closet is, Bobby," Jared said, "It's where you keep that red hex box, isn't it? Raising of the witnesses in season 4 episode 2."
Jensen, now thoroughly dosed up on Tylenol and raw spirit, attempted to nod agreement, earning himself a slap as the movement nearly jerked the needle out of Bobby's hand.
"Keep still, ya idjit!"
Bobby rolled his eyes in the shadow of his grubby ball cap and was muttering to himself as Jared bounced eagerly out of the room.
"Just when you think life can't get any weirder, it throws you an alternate reality curve-ball."
Now his initial anxiety about Jensen's injuries had been allayed by the awesome competence of the real Bobby Singer, Jared was starting to relax and enjoy the whole "visiting another dimension" experience.
Having been told in no uncertain terms to get his gargantuan ass out of Bobby's space while the old hunter stitched up the last of Jensen's lacerations, Jared was free to explore the house. Which was, quite frankly, amazing. He wandered around the study, randomly picking up books that smelt of decay and herbs and old leather, and were full of strange engravings, unlike the mostly empty props they used on their set. He was so used to being in an incomplete three-sided mirror version of these rooms, and having to walk around a tangle of wires and cameramen to get from a to b, it felt strange to be enclosed by four walls (well, except for the gaping hole where the bay window should have been, that is).
He was thumbing through what he assumed was some sort of ancient grimoire when Bobby came downstairs. It was getting easier and easier to think of the old man as Bobby Singer, hunter, instead of Jim Beaver, veteran actor, which was the main reason Jared felt like a kid with his fist in the candy jar as Bobby caught him with the book in his hand. In his hurry to put the grimoire down on the table, he knocked a teetering pile of books and papers with his elbow, and just managed to stop the whole lot cascading onto the floor.
"Sorry, sorry I just….er…," Jared spluttered until Bobby put him out of his misery.
"So, making yourself useful doing some research on how we might send you and Mr GQ Magazine back to where you belong, eh? Good."
Jared didn't think it was the right time to point out that he had featured on GQ's cover more often than Jensen Ackles had, especially as GQ Magazine in this universe might turn out to be gay porn or something. Although he was now having a hard time imagining Bobby Singer reading gay porn. He waited until the veteran hunter settled in behind the desk with a large tumbler of whiskey safely in his hand before he dared to speak again.
"Erm, so, is Jensen going to be okay?" He waved in the general direction of the stairs. "Should I go and, you know, watch over him or something?"
"He's fine, son. We should check on him in a couple of hours or so, but for now, sleep's the best thing for him. Now, why don't you take those volumes there, while I look through these…" But Jared was no longer listening. Once he had heard the all-important words confirming Jensen was not going to die anytime soon, a wave of excitement washed over him. Jared didn't wait for Bobby to finish his sentence before jumping in, eyes lit up with enthusiasm.
"We won't need those books, Bobby! I think I know exactly how we open the door to get us home – and get your Dean and Sam back. It was all in the script…and I know all the lines back to front!"
Two hours later both men were tired and frustrated. Jared was happy to admit he had spoken too soon. The answers might have all been in the script, but although Jared could remember all the ingredients Sebastian (no, Balthazar) mentioned using to paint the symbol onto the window, he had only a vague idea what the symbol looked like. He had run his hands though his hair so many times it was standing on end, and the end of his pencil was chewed down to the lead. He crumpled up his latest drawing when Bobby pointed out that it looked more like a Mexican in a sombrero on a bicycle than anything Enochian. Jared dropped his forehead onto the desk in front of him while letting out a huge sigh.
"I could kill Ben Edlund right now," Jared muttered. Bobby made an enquiring noise and Jared lifted his head.
"Ben – the writer – refused to give out big chunks of the script for this one, he wouldn't say why, except he wanted us to come to certain parts of the story 'fresh'. So I've got the part up to where Sam and Dean are thrown through the window, and then the bit where Raphael sends her enforcer, Virgil, through after them, because we'd already rehearsed the part where Virgil finds the Winchesters in the studio and discovers his angel powers don't work. Which, don't get me wrong, is good to know, as the last thing anyone would want is a crazy angel running amok in Vancouver."
Jared paused, suddenly distracted. "Unless, you know, he could change the weather. That would be cool. Make it more like California…," The big man caught Bobby's expression and blushed.
"Sorry. So anyways, the point is, I don't even know if recreating the symbol on the window and jumping through will actually work, and I don't know if us going back home will mean that Sam and Dean will get pulled back here. It's all just guesswork."
Bobby shrugged. "Kid, if you'd lived in this world a bit longer, you'd know that is as good as it gets round here."
Bobby closed the book he'd been reading with a snap that released a cloud of dust.
"Time to check on Concussion Boy then grab some sleep. We can work on this fresh in the morning," Bobby said decisively. The old man had seemed to relax enormously as soon as Jared had explained that their world had no inkling of anything even remotely magical – no demons or dragons, no vampires or fairies; no miracles, no saints, no angels and no God. Knowing that Raphael's enforcer would have no special powers to bring to bear when he turned up in Jared and Jensen's world was reassuring, and Bobby seemed very confident that the Winchesters could easily deal with one angel-turned-human.
Jensen was a little more alert when they woke him up this time, and had regained some of the colour back in his cheeks, but they didn't manage to keep him awake for long. Jared supposed that his colleague was probably suffering some of blood loss as well as the effects of the blow to his head, as some of the lacerations (particularly the one on his upper arm) had been quite deep and had bled a lot before Bobby had stitched them up. As the tall actor watched Jensen's absurdly feminine lashes flutter closed, he wondered how their friendship had so nearly broken over something that now seemed so trivial in the face of their current predicament. He thought about Dean and Sam Winchester, their lives as he knew them through acting them out in a TV show, and what it meant knowing that here all of that suffering and heroism was real. The proof was lying in this bed, broken and beaten up just like the character he played. Jensen was even wearing one of the real Dean's old t-shirts.
And both of them had thought it was all just make-believe.
Jared shook his head. It was too much to take in and he was too worn out to string a rational sequence of thoughts together right now. He reached out tentatively and gave Jensen's uninjured shoulder a quick squeeze.
"Thanks for taking the hit for me, man," he whispered.
Jared turned away and flung himself fully clothed face down onto the other single bed and was out faster that the proverbial light. He was so exhausted, he never heard the couple of times Bobby came in during the night to check on Jensen, and was surprised in the morning to find that Jensen was not only feeling much better but had made it out of bed before Jared was even halfway awake.
He found Jensen in the kitchen, chatting easily to Bobby as if they'd known each other for years. His friend was looking a bit paler than usual, and some of those bruises on his face were going to be really colourful, but Jared was surprised to find himself thinking that he hadn't seen Jensen Ackles looking this relaxed for a very long time.
"Oh, hey Jay," Jensen looked up from a plate full of scrambled eggs, waved his forkful of bacon in a welcoming gesture. "Seems Bobby's an awesome cook as well as pretty handy with a suture kit."
Jared sat at the kitchen table watching Bobby pour out a mug of the strongest, blackest coffee he'd ever seen and wondered why it had taken a trip to another dimension and a face off with an insane Archangel to find himself feeling this happy just because Jensen called him Jay. How screwed in the head was that?
"Yeah well don't get used to it, table service ain't one of my specialities, but I guess you actor-boys had a bit of a rougher night than you're used to in Hollywood and all," Bobby said as he banged the chipped mug and a full plate down in front of Jared. Jensen just laughed.
"We don't hang out in Hollywood very often, Bobby. Our show films in Vancouver, and believe me, there isn't much resemblance between the two!"
"Oh yeah, Canada," Bobby nodded "Jared did mention that last night."
Jared took a cautious sip of the coffee and closed his eyes at the burnt taste explosion on his tongue. It was surprisingly good. In fact, it was better than good, more like amazing. As he opened his eyes, Jensen quirked an eyebrow in his direction then flinched as the motion pulled at the butterfly sutures on his forehead. Now it was Jared's turn to wave a fork around.
"So, how's the head?"
"Awesome." Jensen lightly ran a finger over the jagged gash on his forehead. "Bobby says it will probably scar." Jared was puzzled that Jensen didn't seem too bothered by this thought, then as his colleague continued speaking he had a light-bulb moment.
"You know, this is almost exactly like the scar Dean had when he was in hospital in…"
The two men grinned as Jared chimed in perfect unison.
"…season 2 episode 1!"
Bobby looked from one to the other and scratched his head.
Concussion was a funny thing. Jensen's aching head had been taken care of by another hefty dose of extra strength Tylenol, washed down with plain water this time, when Bobby's offer of a whiskey chaser was turned down.
"Huh. I keep forgettin' you ain't a Winchester." The old man said as he put the bottle back on his desk.
Physically, Jensen felt fine, but some of the other effects only became apparent as the day wore on. As soon as the eating and cleaning up was over, Jared and Bobby carried on their researching where they had left off the night before, but Jensen was finding it hard to concentrate on anything. He'd tried to read a couple of the dusty tomes littering the old hunter's desk, but the words just didn't want to keep still on the page, skittering around until he felt they would all slide onto the floor if he tipped the book up. Nothing his companions were saying made any sense either, his brain felt as scrambled as a plate full of eggs, the only coherent thoughts in his head were song lyrics that just kept playing over and over like some sort of demented radio station. Jensen decided to make himself useful by clearing up some of the debris from the shattered window that was scattered both inside and outside Bobby's house.
Unfortunately, the constant bending down to pick up pieces of wood and glass was bringing back the dizziness and nausea, so after an hour or so, he found himself wandering aimlessly back and forth between the kitchen and the study, singing under his breath until Bobby cracked.
"If anyone had've asked, I'd've said there ain't nobody more irritating than Dean Winchester, but you are proving me wrong, boy!"
Jensen blushed as he realised the song in his head was not as internal as he'd thought and the tune died on his lips. Jared, the smug bastard, just sat there sniggering. Embarrassment meant he obeyed without protest as Singer sat him down on an upright chair and carried out another set of concussion tests while giving Padalecki a running commentary.
"You heard of the Glasgow Coma scale?" Both actors shook their heads, an action that earned Jensen a flash of pain and a look of exasperation from the old hunter. Bobby held Jensen's left eye open, waved a mini flashlight into it and nodded his satisfaction. "It's a series of tests you can run to check there's no internal bleeding going on in there." He explained, gently tapping Jensen's head.
After some more prodding and poking of various parts of Jensen's anatomy testing his reflexes and the like, Bobby stood back, arms akimbo, and started asking questions. Jensen thought he had probably preferred being poked. Apparently this coma scale thing said not only did you have to be able to string an intelligible sentence together but you also had to remember stuff, and that just wasn't happening for Jensen at the moment. Having that giant Padalecki just sit there and laugh at him wasn't helpful either. Then in the middle of a bullet-hail of mundane questions about his life and work, Jared sat forward with that eager puppy expression on his face and butted in.
"Bobby, hold up a minute, I have an idea!" Jared turned. "Jen, what was the symbol Seb…I mean.. Balthazar drew on the window before Sam and Dean crashed through it?"
Jensen smiled. At last, something he could answer without even thinking about it. Pictures he could do, it was words he was having trouble with. He took the pen and notepad Jared was offering him and started to draw.
"There!" He said, holding it out. Bobby snatched it eagerly and scrutinised the design while Jensen pouted a little. I mean, would it kill the man to say thank you? On the plus side, Jared had called him Jen. He hadn't done that since…something had happened and Jensen couldn't for the life of him remember what it was. He shrugged. Well, whatever, it couldn't have been that important if he couldn't recall the first thing about it.
Bobby was nodding and looking satisfied, Jared was beaming like a kid at Christmas and Jensen found it hard to hold it against the giant sasquatch when he accidentally patted Jensen's injured shoulder in his excitement, even though it hurt like hell. Or maybe not that bad, considering Hell was real in this dimension. Which was a disturbing thought.
It seemed his drawing was a key, or something, and now all they had to do was paint the symbol on something he and Jared could jump through and they would be on their way home, Dorothy. Jared would have to be Dorothy, of course. Jensen could braid that girly hair for him, and he could see those big boots replaced by ruby slippers, no problem.
"Does that make me Toto?" he wondered out loud, oblivious to the twin looks of exasperation and puzzlement thrown his way.
He fingered his forehead again, earning him a slap from Bobby as the older guy walked past with a pane of glass in one hand.
"Don't pick at it!" Bobby ordered. "I used butterfly sutures instead of thread to save your pretty face, but it'll rip right open again if you keep fiddling."
Jared just grinned, and started to paint the symbol Jensen had drawn in some horrible concoction of blood and bone and salt onto the glass where Bobby had fitted it into a temporary frame. Jensen was floating in a sea of activity without the faintest idea what was going on, and he kind of liked it. He was happy to float, right up to the point when Jared grabbed his hand (he always had been a grabby fucker) and dragged him towards the hastily and badly reconstructed window that had materialised out of all that busyness. Jensen dug his heels in and brought Jared careening to a halt.
"What the f…"
Jensen pointed to Jared's feet.
"You didn't click your heels."
"You didn't click your heels, Dorothy."
Behind them, he heard Bobby guffaw but Jensen ignored it. This was important. There was no way all this other mumbo jumbo would work if Jared didn't click his damn heels. It was unfortunate enough that the gigantor had forgotten to change his shoes but Jensen thought it could succeed without the ruby slippers.
Jared was staring at him as if he was crazy, but Jensen just squared his shoulders and waited his co-star out.
When it became clear Jensen was not going to budge unless Jared gave in, Bobby stopped laughing and decided enough was enough.
Striding forward, Bobby grasped Jared by the arm and gave it a shake.
"Just do it, boy! You're already holding hands, how much more embarrassing can it be?"
Jared grimaced and clicked his booted heels together.
Once, twice, thrice. On the third click, Jensen sprung into action and this time it was the shorter actor who dragged the taller one forward to crash through the flimsy construct – and disappear.
Bobby thought that he heard Jensen shout "Woof" as they vanished, but he couldn't be sure. He stood for a moment, staring at the fresh debris, waiting anxiously for his boys to reappear, and his shoulders slumped when nothing happened.
It seemed Jensen and Jared had made it home, but something else was required to bring the Winchesters back. Bobby had nothing to go on – the script, such as it was, had gone back to whatever reality the actors had come from.
Whatever Jared had expected on their return, it wasn't this. The two actors landed in a shower of sugar glass on the mattress that should have been there two days ago, but instead of the usual organised film crew chaos, they were surrounded by bloody mayhem. As Jared straightened to his full height, steadying Jensen who seemed to be swaying dizzily, he stared around him in growing horror. There was blood everywhere. Real blood. He could smell it, along with cordite and the stink of fear. And there were bodies everywhere too.
He began to move, still gripping Jensen's arm in an attempt to anchor himself. The two men walked aimlessly round the studios, barely able to take in the carnage. There was Kevin Parks, face down in a bloody pool of gore. Lou was next to him moaning faintly, still alive but only just; one of the young PAs kneeling over him, crying. An ambulance was just screeching to a halt outside and Jared could see some people huddled in the rain gathered round what looked like two more bodies.
Then Jared heard a noise from the motel set at the back of the stage. It sounded like a familiar voice shouting "Run!" followed by breaking glass. He let go of Jensen's arm and started to run. He didn't look to see if Jensen was following or not, because he knew that he would be.
Ben Edlund unwrapped another candy and popped it into his mouth, thoughtfully rolling it round on his tongue. This was turning out quite differently to what he had expected. That was one of the joys of writing, he supposed. Sometimes your characters took on a life of their own, and did something that you hadn't anticipated. Virgil had proved to be far more resourceful than Edlund had originally written him, and Ben couldn't help but admire how the weapons master of Heaven had managed to find new and effective weapons here in a different world. It hadn't really helped the angel against the Winchesters of course. They were far too tough to be worried by pump action shotguns or semi automatics, and had consequently beaten the crap out of poor Virgil, though sadly not before the crazy-ass angel had run amok and killed off some of Ben's colleagues. That was unfortunate.
Still, silver lining, Sera would be pleased to have a free rein now, and the world (this world anyway) would be spared Eric's Octocobra.
And his boys, Jared and Jensen, had come out of it better than he had thought they would. Okay, Jensen had a nice concussion and that cut on his head was going to leave quite a scar, but an action hero needs that sort of credibility in Hollywood, and Ben was sure Ackles would go far. Perhaps he'd be the next Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who knows? While Jared, that gentle giant, had just saved Ackles from getting shot by the angel who, it seemed, just didn't know when to quit. It was a bit unlucky for Padalecki that the act of saving his friend had put him in the way of a stray bullet, but it was only a shoulder wound, nothing too serious. The media was going to go crazy for these two boys, wouldn't be able to get enough of them, and Edlund was certain their careers were made. They were heroes, after all.
Smiling, Edlund walked over to where Jensen was supporting Jared as they both climbed into the waiting ambulance (there were now several on site – it was getting somewhat crowded). Jensen's cut head was bleeding freely again, Bobby's sutures having come adrift, but that was probably just as well, as it would have been hard to explain those away. Ben clapped both young men on the shoulder.
"In a world where the only magic is television, I think this worked out pretty well, don't you?"
He ignored the synchronised glares thrown his way, smiled even wider as he saw the realisation hit both sets of hazel eyes. Ben gave them a friendly push towards the awaiting paramedic and stepped back.
"But hey, at least you guys are talking, right?"
Raised one hand and clicked thumb and forefinger together.
"And - cut."
A/N - been writing this forever, but finally had the inspiration to finish it while in the gym this morning, thinking about the tall guy everyone said had to be Ben Edlund dodging those bullets...