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Fic: What About Now - Chapter 16

November 29th, 2011 (10:10 pm)

Title: What About Now?
Pairing: Jared/Colin
Rating: R
Feedback: I have never needed it more. Good or bad, need it!
Disclaimer: NOT TRUE, and hopefully most will never ever happen. I own nothing.
Beta: As always, my never ending love goes to the wonderful legolastariel who helped me once more. Thank you, dear!
A/N: Story begins at the O2 Arena concert November 30th.

A/N 2: Dedicated in its entirety to the ever lovely and always supportive legolastariel!

Summary: Jared is fighting for his life. Colin is fighting with himself. And the press is fighting for a story.




Hours later

Turning on the bed, Jared felt his body relinquish sleep and he awoke to the accustomed sight of his studio-turned-bedroom bathed the gentle glow of nighttime. The room was in perfect view of the garden and the moonlight reflected of the pool creating rivulets of light on the ceiling. He took a deep breath, inhaling the crisp and cool night air into his lungs. Though it was long past midnight, Jared found himself wide awake and in no time his mind brought up the events of the day and started running in circles, twisting around and winding him up.

Being able to stand again was something that had sent a burst of freedom through him, but it had also made his thoughts wander. Though he knew that the chances of him ever walking completely unaided were not as good as he would like, he would still be able to walk now and that was something that blew his mind. So many hours spent agonizing over the fact that his movement was so limited had given him an odd perspective. He had kept preparing himself for the worst, he had run through a multitude of scenarios, he had even talked to Doctor Stahl about the possibility of never walking again – because he felt that he had to. He had to let himself get used to the idea. But now, he was standing and had he possessed the energy earlier – he would have walked.

The process from wheelchair to where he was now had been undramatic and smooth. And it was frankly confusing and anticlimactic as hell.

And the development opened a whole new can of worms. One he had not been ready for and now found himself enveloped by. That issue’s name was Colin.

He remembered his words in the hospital. He remembered them well. It was not hard to recall how Colin had promised he would be there for as long as Jared needed him. And there was the issue. He could walk now, he had his therapists – he had Shannon. Colin was for all intents and purposes, superfluous. Colin was free to leave.

And the thought was enough to send him reeling. It should have made him happy. He should have been delighted to know that his life could be back to normal in no time. Back to the time without Colin in the picture.

But instead, it made him angry and Jared found himself feeling stirrings of overdramatic hatred. Colin and his walking perfection. Colin and his loving behavior. Colin and his patience and care and honesty and protectiveness. Colin.

Was it really too much to ask that he be left to handle his lingering misery over the break up, without Colin trying to restore their friendship? How dare he prance around and play happy family and sleep in the guest room as though he was welcome? And yes, he knew that he was the one who invited, but Colin should have said no. A proper friend would have seen just how bad an idea it was.

Because now Colin was here. In his house. And it was painful. Because he knew that the Irishman would be free to return to his old life soon and they would go back to being exes who never talked. He would have no choice but to release Colin and move on with life without him. And why did that feel so painful?

He was not dumb, he knew Colin was here due to some misplaced guilt over the way Jared did not handle the break up. He knew that Colin’s heart was simply too big for his own good, that he had had to come and now felt obligated into staying. He very much doubted that he wanted to be here. That he wanted to take part in babysitting the train wreck that was Jared Leto.

And that was the whole problem. It was painful because Jared did not want to be alone anymore. It was painful because he thought he had already lost everything that night in London, but instead he found himself regaining the man who was once his best friend, and now he stood to lose Colin once more.

However, this time around he was not sure he had the strength to pick up the pieces, when Colin left through the front door to return to his old life sans Jared. This time around, he was not sure he could survive it. He needed Colin to stay.

Kicking off the cover with his good leg, Jared dragged himself into a sitting position.

He had done this before and he could do it again.

Taking a deep breath, he pushed himself to his feet – or foot. His heavy, brace-covered gimp leg he merely let rest against the floor, not lifting it and not standing on it. Just resting it – like Theresa had told him too. The next step was not nearly as easy. The crutches he had been granted were resting against the wall in the corner of the room, several steps away.

He briefly thought about calling for Shannon, but he killed the idea a second later. Shannon would not understand the importance of his mission – how vital the whole thing was. He was just about call the whole thing off and surrender to his miserable fate when he realized that he was standing a foot away from his very own wheelchair. Cursing his sudden inability to strategize under pressure, he sank gratefully into the too familiar seat that had been his unintended throne for more than a month now.

He rolled towards the crutches, grabbed them and placed them across his lap. He would need them. Rolling into the foyer, he made his way through the kitchen, past the living room and into the hallway that led to the house’s guestroom.

His mind was running a mile a minute. Jared knew his mental state was precarious at best and that truly brought home just how shitty his idea was. But dumb or not, it was against his very nature to give up without a fight and this time around he knew he needed to seduce Colin. Cajole him into staying.

Rolling in front of the closed door, he held his breath. Softly pushing the door open, Jared watched as the dim hallway light spilled into the guest room. He was happy that Colin had always been the heavy sleeper of the two of them. He might suffer from the occasional insomnia, but once he was out, he was out.

Ignoring his thudding heart, Jared pulled the brake on his chair. Biting his lip, he pushed himself upright and fought his way to a standing position for the third time today. Pleased that he had made no other sound than his heavy breathing and the metallic clicking sound of a brake being pulled, he slowly lowered the crutches to the floor and let them rest on either side of him.

This is just like the rail, he thought to himself. You can do this, his mind echoed and he was not surprised to hear that his mind supplied the encouragement in Shannon’s voice. Nonetheless, his brother would probably not be pleased with his current endeavor of pushing his luck without a professional nearby to guide him. But he was Jared Leto, Goddamnit. And he knew he could do this.

Closing his eyes, he imagined himself walking through the tall grass in the backyard underneath the pomegranate tree. Tensing his muscles, he leaned all his weight on his arms before using his hip to guide his brace covered leg forward.

Finding his balance, he adjusted his weight backwards to his good leg and moved the crutches forward to match his stride.

Pleased with his first step, he inwardly cheered himself on as he repeated the progress. He found himself not caring that it took quite some time to move even a foot – the process was rewarding enough in itself for him.

Slowly, but surely, Jared made his way towards the sleeping lump on the bed.

It was almost painful how recognizable the sight of Colin sleeping was to him. He could not count the many times he had snuck into their bedroom, bone tired from a redeye, late night flight back to LA from wherever he had been and then stumbled inside to the sight of a snoring Irishman. Just oozing protection, home, and all that he needed. Respite from the stress that would so often be plaguing him.

It felt like walking into the past.

Except that, this was not the past. Looking down on his body, he catalogued every inch the heavy brace obscured and he breathed in the constant ache and discomfort plaguing his leg, as well as the twinge in his chest he felt with every exhale. It was a rather sobering reminder that he was pretty fucking far from the sweet, sweet past. He was completely reliant on the crutches at his side and the fact that he was sneaking around like a criminal in his own home, upset and burdened, reminded him that this was definitely not the past.

Nothing was as it was. Nothing was right. It was all wrong. He was all wrong and he felt uncomfortable and limited in his body and in his mind. Trapped.

Humping another step, Jared pushed down the feeling of claustrophobia and carefully angled his body around as he sank down on the corner of Colin’s bed. He was pleased that the bed was large enough for him to sit on its edge, without making the mattress sink down in a way that betrayed his presence. Careful not to make too much noise, he let the crutches sink to the floor as he tucked them as far under the bed as possible; making it so that he could reach them easily, yet no one would fall over them.

Sitting carefully on the bedside observing his still dead-to-the-world ex, Jared had no clue what he was doing. For the second time today he was about to make a huge mistake and he had no idea what compelled him. Or maybe he did.

Feeling emotion overwhelm him, Jared carefully inched forward on the mattress. He could see that Colin’s sleep was getting disturbed, but he did not let it stop him. Finally getting close enough to touch, he let his finger ghost over Colin’s shoulder and watched as the younger man’s hand twitched. He was lying on his side, his back turned towards Jared and both his arms loosely holding on to a spare pillow. Even barely clinging to sleep, he looked so much more at ease than Jared had felt in a long time. So steadfast and sure. So comforting and caring. Even asleep, Colin in Jared’s eyes looked ready to halt whatever he was doing in an effort to help out someone who needed him.

Someone like Jared.

The singer was suddenly struck with the memory of the day before their Into The Wild - World Tour. He had been looking over his personal information and had realized that Colin was still number 2 on the list after Shannon on his list of emergency contacts. He remembered the way his hand shook as he got ready to cross out the name. He remembered the way he paused and closed his eyes, imagining Colin’s face after receiving the news that he had died in a tragic accident. And in that crystallizing moment, he had put away the pen. He wanted Colin to hurt. He wanted him to feel what Jared felt every time he saw a picture of Colin with Alicja in the tabloids. They were going to grow old together, were they not? At least that was what Colin had promised. He knew he was not being fair, he knew was being vindictive and cruel, but it was so hard to know that he had been so close and yet so far away from real love. He had then told himself that he would change it later and banished it from his mind.

And then Colin received the call and did the last thing the singer expected, he once again showed that he was a better man than Jared. He showed that the love from the past, which Jared thought had only been in his head had been shared by Colin all along. He showed up. He showed up and he refused to leave. He came through for Jared when he needed it more than ever. When he needed to feel safe.

But if there was one thing these past few months had shown him, it was that in the span of a heartbeat, you could lose everything.

And soon, he would lose Colin. The younger man had no incentive to stay and the thought of being alone again so soon was enough to send Jared reeling. He had to try and grab onto something. Had to make sure that he would not die alone. That he would not live alone.

But it seemed so futile. He had so little left to give.

Wincing, he reached down to lift his right leg onto the bed, ignoring the stab of pain from the movement as he let the left follow. Lifting the covers, he scooted in behind Colin. Winding his trembling arms around the solid frame that was his ex, Jared buried his nose in the nape of Colin’s neck and breathed in, selfishly claiming some of the younger man’s blessed body heat against his own icy skin. He was embarrassed to find himself stifling something that sounded like a cross between a sob and moan. The bittersweet, familiar scent of a dozing Colin was hurting his already tired heart.

“What? Jared?” Colin stirred the moment arms encircled him from behind and he turned around, shocked to find Jared in his bed. He did not stop to think. Finding someone he loved so much in his bed, in obvious distress, had Colin react on autopilot. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

His only reply was pitiful sniffle. Alarmed, Colin reached towards the nightstand to turn on the reading lamp, but a firm hand stopped him. Instead, Jared took Colin’s hand into his own and squeezed it, not releasing it.

“What’s wrong, babe? Are you in pain?” Colin whispered worriedly. Not being able to help slipping into pet names when being confronted with what made up several years of his past. Except for the crying. That one he had yet to get used to.

The familiar sentiment felt so right to hear. Jared shook his head. At least Colin thought he did. All he could see was vague silhouettes. Suddenly Jared pulled himself into a sitting position, simultaneously pushing Colin onto his back once more with a hand on the bare chest.

“I want to make you feel good.” Jared pleaded through his misery as he placed his hand on Colin’s chest and smushed his face against Colin’s throat. Colin could feel the hot breath and the moisture on Jared’s face against his skin, and he wanted to crumble. It pained him that Jared felt so much grief.

“Please, let me.” Jared begged again as he awkwardly tried to push his body onto Colin’s, but found that the lower portion of it was unwilling to cooperate and seemed heavy and weak. The singer released a frustrated moan, this time stemming emotional distress rather than pain.

Aware of Jared’s predicament, Colin moved so that the tables were turned and Jared was once more on his back, where he seemed most comfortable and Colin was leaning over him.

“Jared, do you really want this?”

“Fuck yes. Please, just… I need this… I need you.” Jared’s words touched Colin deeply. He had been so desperate to hear those words again. Futilely searching Jared’s face in the darkness, he tried to read his emotions and finding only desperation, he silenced his own doubts. This was what he wanted. But more importantly, this was also what Jared wanted.

The love was still there and they both knew it.

“You have me. You’ll always have me.” Colin’s words made Jared choke on a sob. As much as the American longed to hear the words, he found himself unable to believe them. No one could love him crippled. At the end of the day, Colin could score someone a lot hotter and a lot less marred. Jared might do for now, but only because Colin could still remember how Jared used to look. But once those memories faded and no one could glamorize his appearance anymore, Jared would be worth nothing in the eyes of the world. Old and scarred.

And suddenly, his endeavor to seduce seemed pointless and hollow.

Desperate not to remind his former lover of his flaws, Jared sought Colin’s mouth with his own and swallowed the ensuing moan. The taste was soothing in its familiarity and Jared felt hot need burning through him.

As they parted for air, Colin placed kisses all the way down Jared's neck, intoxicated with finally having his favorite masterpiece laid out underneath him. Jared’s scent in his nostrils, Jared’s hands in Colin’s hair and Jared’s taste in his mouth. It felt so utterly amazing to him.

Running his hands down the t-shirt covering Jared’s chest, Colin mapped the contours of the man beneath the fabric. His body was softer than Colin remembered it, which he found oddly enticing. It fit this version of his lover much better, as the Jared underneath him, in many ways, was a lot softer around the edges.

Letting his finger play with the hem of Jared’s ratty shirt, he moved to take it off, only to have the singer tense completely under him.

“Please, don’t. Not that, not now.”

Colin’s hands froze in place. “Sorry, I won’t touch,” the younger man whispered, before pressing a kiss against the fabric covering Jared’s tummy. “And I won’t look.”

Jared sighed and let his body loosen, relieved that Colin asked no further question and made no demands. He had no idea how to explain his sudden reservation. It was not something he had ever anticipated from himself, but it felt right to leave his clothes on. And he really did not want to make Colin feel ill. Lord knew that the scars were far from sexy. They were repulsive.

The pause in action made Jared’s nerves return and he reacted by pulling on Colin’s hand, leading him further up on the bed and in range of Jared’s lips once more. Their mouths fused together with passion rather than finesse and they both reveled in the intensity. Pleased that the mood was back, Colin’s wandering hands continued their trip along Jared’s body, until they settled on his hips.

And that was about as far as he could go. Jared was still wearing a pair of sweats, but they were not the main issue. The singer’s right leg was covered by a brace that ran from hip to ankle, which was placed on top of Jared’s sleep pants to make him more comfortable. Colin had no idea how to remove it safely, and even if he did, Jared likely would not want him too. It was not an impossible obstacle – but it did put a hamper on things and Colin was momentarily distracted by thoughts on how to do this, without making Jared uncomfortable or causing him any pain.

He wanted to ask Jared what he wanted and what would be best, as he always had. For as long as he had known Jared, the singer had been refreshingly vocal when it came to desires and positions, but this time, Colin knew he was on his own. And he dared not screw this up. It was a lot of pressure.

Hoping he was doing right thing, Colin settled for slowly pulling on the elastic band on Jared’s sweats and sliding the garment down to his thigh, he released Jared’s half-hard member from its confines. Letting his mouth linger on the smooth skin on Jared’s hipbone, Colin pressed a kiss with a shy hint of teeth into the touch, as the singer let out a low moan.

Licking his lips, Colin slid his fingers over coarse hair and heated skin to curl his fingers around Jared’s length, making Jared buck into Colin’s hand as his back arched of the bed at the firm touch. Seconds passed before Jared managed to draw in a harsh breath, before he sobbed Colin’s name addled with pleas and gasps as he begged through clenched teeth. “Please, I need…I want you…”

Colin had to reach down and pinch the root of his own member at the yearning in Jared’s voice. It had been too long and they were both ready to burst.

Dropping back onto the mattress, Jared’s breathing came in hard and fast. Not giving any respite, Colin leaned down and swallowed him whole, making the singer release a startled cry as he pushed his hips upward with what little strength he had left, his hands twisting in the sheets.

Reaching down, Colin took himself into his own hands as he found an easy rhythm and in less than a minute, he felt Jared spill down his throat and a few tugs later, he found himself joining him.

They had had more mind blowing orgasms in the past. There were no cliffs, no flying and no colors as they reached completion. That was not what this was about; this was a desperate attempt to release tension and heartache – not achieving sexual fulfilment. This was about two men, who loved each other and wanted nothing more than to be together. They just did not know how. There were no visible battles to fight and no obvious wars to win. The victory lay in their joining, but not in the pinnacle of completion. That had merely become a throwback to another time, a time when things were more certain – but less willful. More enthralling, but less hard won.

Still dazed, Colin lay down next to Jared and watched him, taking in his parted lips, his deep breathing and his heavy lidded blue eyes. Leaning over, Colin pressed an open mouthed, breathy kiss onto the other man’s throat as he inhaled the beautiful, familiar scent that belonged only to Jared, just reveling in the feelings it evoked within him.

Turning his head away, Jared slipped out of Colin’s reach to the side of the bed. Pulling his legs as close to his chest as he could muster, he wrapped his arms around himself before releasing an uneven breath.

“Jared–”

“It’s okay.”

Colin was not exactly sure what was okay, but he did not press the subject. Whatever tentative openness they had shared in the heat of the moment was gone now. Push too hard and too fast and Jared would leave. Instead, he placed a timid hand on Jared's hip. When it was not immediately shrugged off, he slowly started moving his thumb in small circles. He did not dare push further.

Colin knew he should be happy with what he got and he was. He was happy that he could give Jared something.

He was just not sure what that something was.

¤¤¤¤¤¤

TBC

Comments

Posted by: shiralyndee (shiralyndee)
Posted at: November 29th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)

Jared and Colin have a lot of talking to do. I hope that Jared does not go out of his way to "pee" all over something that could be wonderful for him and Colin. Thank you so much for the two new chapter's this week:)

Posted by: Kayden (bouncinggoat)
Posted at: December 30th, 2011 02:16 am (UTC)

There are quite a few repairments still left between those two before they can start loving each other again, but I'll do my best to push them in the right direction :)

Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

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