Jared and Jeff spent the next two months researching, reading and trying to study the behaviors of the wolves. It was a new experience for Jared especially about learning how to take care of them and winning their trust. It was the first time they had a closer connection and bonding with the wolves. The two wolves were welcomed at the wolf upbringing center that was a part of the Yellowstone reintroducing program. It was started at Colville national park two years ago. There were ten wolves that were ready to be reintroduced.
Jensen came by everyday with his friend Chris, who had experience working with the wolves as they had worked in the reintroduction program from the beginning. Jared was gleeful to have a chance of seeing Jensen everyday. Jeff had somehow picked up on it and was teasing him about it and pretty much being an idiot of a brother he would leave both of them alone most of the time dragging Chris with him.
The sheriff, locals and rangers had been searching in the national forest. So far they had caught two hunters, both from other states. But ranger Misha was sure that a few locals were also involved as the hunting still continued. Another two wolves were able to make it to the vet, but another three had died.
Jared was given the honor of naming the she-wolf and cub they saved. He named them Sheena and Rusty.
Jensen gave Buddy to him after two weeks as no one had come for him. Jensen was a bit reluctant to give him up at first. Jared understood. He felt bad for Jensen, not being able to have a dog around. When he tried to talk about it Jensen shrugged him off and said it was ok and he could still visit Buddy at Jared’s place. Jensen pointed out that after all he was going there everyday so no harm was done.
Jared was glad to have Buddy with him. Buddy made Jensen and him closer which was something Jared would never complain about. Since Buddy, Rusty and Sheena took most of his time he didn’t have that much time to mope over his depressing thoughts. And Jeff no longer had to come to his room after a nightmare. Buddy was there for him to rely on. The dog sensed his distress and would immediately climb up on the bed. Having the big guy with him reassured Jared.
Jensen introduced Jared to the basketball team. On the first day they met, when they were chattering pretty much about everything Jared had found out that Jensen shared his passion about basketball. Jensen told him that he was in the basketball team and it would be awesome if Jared joined the basketball team but Jared refused. Jared and Buddy usually watched the others playing and practicing. He was itching to go and play with the guys. But Jared thought that he should give it some time before going to play.
Jared was sitting on the grass, giving Buddy a belly rub when Jensen bounded towards them carrying the basketball. He had been training for an upcoming game. Jensen waved at him grinning like an idiot.
“Hey” Jared grinned at him. “How was the practice?”
“It was all right...you know all the usual stuff”
“Hey Buddy... Do you want to play? ” He bounced the ball once. Jared snorted... Buddy immediately rolled on to his side. Seeing the ball in Jensen’s hand he gave a delighted yip and leaped at Jensen.
Jensen showed the ball to the dog and bounced the ball towards the basket. He threw it in the air for him and Buddy leaped into the air and hit it with his head into the basket.
“And it’s a score!” Jensen cheered. Jared chuckled. He stood up brushing dirt from his clothes. He could still remember the day Buddy had showed them that he could shoot hoops.
Jensen challenged him to play after one of his practices with the tam. The court was empty, as all the other kids had gone. Jared smirked at him and accepted the challenge, knowing that his height would be an advantage for him.
Jared won three games in a row much to Jensen’s dismay... Not wanting to accept defeat Jensen kept on playing with Buddy jumping at them occasionally to get the ball.
Jensen showed Buddy the ball and had been teasing him with it as Buddy jumped at him trying to get at the ball. Jensen threw a bounce pass and much to the surprise of both boys, Buddy leaped into the air and hit it with his head... pretty much throwing it to the basket.
Both Jensen and Jared stared at the dog, their mouths open with shock.
“Did he actually do that?” Jensen asked first recovering from the shock. He tilted his head to the side and looked at Buddy curiously. Buddy panted looking back at him, his tongue hanging from his mouth.
“I think so” Jared said, not quite convinced either. He grabbed the ball and threw in the air at Buddy who promptly shot it at the basket.
“Holy shit!” Jensen exclaimed. “Dude did you see that?” Jared nodded... equally surprised.
“Hmmm...Now if I could just lure him onto my side...I might be able to win.” Jensen said thoughtfully after a while.
Jared raised his eye brows. “Lure him onto your side??”
Jensen nodded. “Yeah...well I might be able to actually win then, Sasquatch!”
“That’s called cheating!” Jared scoffed.
“You have far too long arms and legs... that’s what I call cheating.” Jared rolled his eyes and threw the ball at Jensen’s chest. It bounced off and Buddy ran after it barking.
Jensen had grabbed the ball from Buddy and had been teasing him without throwing a bounce pass for the dog to play. Jensen broke into a run when he saw Jared coming to get the ball away from him.
“Hey!” Jared ran after him trying to get the ball. His long legs being an advantage over Jensen, Jared was able to tackle Jensen and pinned him to the ground. Once Jared had Jensen pinned down Buddy jumped onto both of them barking.
“So...you think it was funny to run away with Buddy’s ball...huh?” Jared asked grinning and grabbed the ball from Jensen.
“What should we do to him, boy?” he asked climbing away from Jensen and looking at Buddy who was waiting for the ball to be bounced his way. Jared chuckled and sent the ball towards Buddy who gave a playful yip and ran after it.
Jared looked down at Jensen who was still on the ground. Jensen gave him a wicked grin. Jared felt himself melting at the grin...he licked his dry lips as Jensen sat up brushing the dust away from his shoulders, lips pouting and face flushed from the run, and to Jared, he pretty much looked like eye candy. When Jensen turned to him to say something, Jared didn’t give him a chance as he grabbed Jensen and kissed him...he felt Jensen tense and the realization hit him like a bucket of ice. Jared froze half way through the kiss; he tore himself away from Jensen who looked at him wide eyed.
“Sorry” Jared all but mumbled and stumbled as he stood up too fast. Without sparing a second glance Jared took off in a run. He vaguely heard Jensen calling his name and Buddy’s barks and yipping. He ignored both of them and ran away as fast as he could, leaving Jensen behind.
Jared locked himself in his bedroom and sat leaning against the door. He brought his knees to his chest and curled up. His mind was running a hundred miles a minute as he remembered kissing Jensen... how Jensen stiffened... Jensen’s smirk... the kiss.... he remembered Michael...the beatings...the taunting voices of Michael and his friends when they beat him.
Jared closed his eyes and buried his head on his knees...trying to block out the voices. Sobs broke through...he mentally kicked himself for being an idiot...he might have ruined his friendship with Jensen. And it was the last thing he wanted.
Jared flinched violently when he felt someone touch him. He raised his eyes and tried scoot away from the other person. His wide panicked eyes met Jensen’s concerned ones. Jared flinched again upon seeing Jensen so close to him.
“Hey” Jensen called out softly, reaching to touch his shoulder. Jared shuddered...Jensen frowned at him.
“I came through the window man...I don't wanna do that anytime soon...So try not to lock the door next time” Jensen sat next him
“Anyway why did ya run away?” he asked, his hands rhythmically rubbing down his arm. Jared was confused...wondering why was Jensen was being nice to him after the major screw up he did...unless...
“You aren’t mad at me?” Jared asked blinking back the tears.
“About the kiss?”
Jared nodded, biting his lower lip and waiting nervously. Jensen’s eyes softened.
“No...I was surprised....very surprised....I mean I didn’t think that you’d kiss me and then take off like hellhounds were after you.” Jensen gave a nervous chuckle.
“But no I’m not mad... just surprised... and it was a good surprise, mind you.” Jensen rambled.
Jared looked away. “Sorry.”
“Jay...What’s wrong? I’m not mad at you.”
“But I am.” Jared hissed angrily brushing the tears away.
“For kissing me?” Jensen asked looking somewhat hurt. Jared nodded hesitantly.
“I just don’t want to lose you.”
Jensen raised his eye brow. “You won’t lose me man...Like I said...I was just surprised.”
“I’m sorry...” Jared mumbled looking down.
Jensen tugged Jared towards him and hugged him. Jared clung to him.
“There’s nothing to be sorry about...” Jensen said resting his head on the Jared’s brown hair.
Jared wriggled out of Jensen’s hug. “What do you mean?” He asked confused.
“Didn’t you think for a moment that I might like you too?”
Jared’s eyes widened and his mouth fell open. Jensen chuckled.
“You know... we are both idiots... I like you... I mean really like you... I didn’t want to lose your friendship either. So I... um-” Jensen shrugged smiling softly.
Jared bit his lip. “Are you serious?”
“Yeah... dead serious about this” Jensen grinned at him... Jared grinned slowly back at him. Jensen reached and rubbed the tears away.
“Now... how about giving that kiss another go so I can return it to you properly this time?” Jensen asked giving his wicked smirk and Jared poked him on the chest.