Author name: herminekurotowa
Artist name: thruterryseyes
Genre: RPF, pre-relationship
Pairings: Jared/Jensen, Jared/OMCs, Jared/Jeffrey
Word count: 20,000
Warnings: hurt!Jared, hurt!Jensen, institutionalised prostitution, underage prostitution, A/B/O dynamics, no knotting, mention of and implied non-con, non-consensual drugging, mention of mpreg. I can't think of more warnings, so just assume everything's implied somehow.
Summary: Jared would never have thought it was possible to find a soul mate in a state-owned brothel, but when he does, it will turn everyone's world upside down. But it's common knowledge that soul mates happen for a reason.
This afternoon, Jensen has to reschedule his appointments because he is stuck in the infirmary.
Doctor Sheppard is appalled by Jared's condition and immediately begins his treatment, while Jensen takes the opportunity to visit his secretary, but the young omega is sound asleep.
Nurse Huffman seems to be sympathetic to Osric, she readily tells about his injuries which make Jensen gasp in horror. Never could he imagine that a proud alpha could hurt another person in this way; it is even worse that it concerns a public server who is a ward of the state. They are protected by rules and laws as long as they work off their sentence, but the state has failed both of these poor guys.
Jensen peruses the medical records and grills the beta about the accuracy of the statement. He tries to find out how long exactly Jared has been in the Institute, but Huffman has only worked there since last year so she doesn't know. The other nurse, a young beta named Amy, is off-duty.
He won't interrogate Sheppard before Ruth has a look into the records, that is for sure; he won't give him occasion to deny anything and then destroy evidence.
He is more successful in regards to the 'work-related accidents' the servers seem to be prone to. It is mostly the omegas that are hurt, betas not so much. A good deal are bruises and abrasions caused by restraints and shackles or cuffs; however, their use is sanctioned and they're only minor injuries, so there is no need to follow up on these cases.
Then there are the broken wrists and fingers, the blackouts due to choking, the beatings and floggings.
It is quite unsettling, he thinks, that these injuries are considered so standard that no one felt the need to inform the Institute's director about the reasons for his secretary's absence.
Or did they?
If there is a drug administering curator – who doesn't call the patrons out on their transgressions – and embezzling wardens in this institute, what about the previous director? Could he have been so shortsighted that he never caught on to certain incidents?
And what about Jensen? It is just an interim position; he'll be off in a few weeks, so would it be a wise decision to foul his own nest and then hope that none of the clerics in Washington A.C. would expect him to do the same thing again? It could mean the end of his career before it even started.
Looking down at a sleeping Jared, Jensen feels tired. Sheppard had to sedate the young omega to treat his wounds. There was some rectal tearing and only minor bruises on his torso, but his back was densely covered with welts and lacerations that wouldn't scar, according to the physician.
This is so wrong.
Omegas are the weakest, frailest members of society, weaker even than betas. They should be protected by the alphahood, not hurt.
Jared looks so young, pale and brittle like dried leaves. Jensen wants to run his fingers over his hot cheeks and through his silky locks; he is horrified when he becomes aware of the fact that he is actually running his fingers through Jared's hair.
He is petting Jared.
Maybe he should admit to himself that he is attracted to the omega.
Once, Jared's mother told him a story about the Bogeyman.
He was tucked in securely in his cozy bed and his mom told a story about a big black alpha stealing naughty children.
A few weeks later, both of his parents were dead and he landed in the Jubilation Institute. There he found that the Bogeyman was a real person, alive and terrifying.
If he could remember that time during waking hours, he would know that the Bogeyman was only a tall black-skinned alpha, but back then, in his infantile mind, he was – well, the Bogeyman, who stole a naughty boy Jared from his home and family.
He only remembers in his dreams though, where the memories are sharp and piercing, where Miss Samantha has continuous arguments about a little boy's fate with the cause of nightmares.
You got too attached to the little brat, he said.
Well, I'm sorry, but I'm a mother, she said, what did you expect when you dumped the kid here?
It doesn't matter, he said, we expect you now to hand in your notice.
What? she said, you can't do that!
Yes, we can, he said, or do you prefer a fate as public servers for your kids?
And Jared remembers how pale Miss Samantha turned, a sharp contrast to the Bogeyman's black skin.
Jared is there when Osric stirs, waking up slowly.
“Hey,” he croaks with a parched throat. He squirms on the stool he is sitting on because his ass is achingly sore, but he is glad enough that the pain is not worse. His back is another matter altogether though.
“Hey,” Osric replies. Pointing to Jared's bandages, he continues, “Did you get some holidays, too?”
Jared huffs a bitter laugh. “Yeah, one of your last patrons.”
“That he is.”
Jared sighs a deep breath, then asks tilting his head, “Who's this?”
Osric looks to the sleeping form in the bed nearest to the door. After a short, sad pause, he says, “Colin. He chose the pills.”
“Oh,” says Jared, “I didn't know.”
Colin is the new arrival. He was only starting to work as a host, but apparently, he couldn't stomach his 'duties'. Like so many other hosts that choose the pills or the knife each year, each month, he stole as many pills he could get a hold of and then took an overdose.
Jared swore to himself he'd never be one of them, even if he ended up in a non-governmental. Sometimes he thinks it was because of his stubbornness, but he knows deep down that he took that oath because he still believes in soul mates – that one day he'll find his soul's other half among the countless alphas he has to serve.
Inevitably, his mind wanders to the person that he is thinking about most of the time – the director.
It can't be. Jensen can't be Jared's soul mate; he didn't feel either the stroke of lightning or the prickling all the stories tell about. It must be attraction – nothing more, nothing less – to a gorgeous human.
Jared knows love; his parents' love, Miss Samantha's love, the crush he had on the cute delivery omega a couple of years back – of course does it count.
And he knows sex; he knows how to keep still, when to cry or scream and when to not fight.
But he doesn't know how to make love.
When he thinks about Jensen, he thinks about warmth and freckles, holding a body tight in his arms, comfort and happiness. He thinks about home, the place where your soul rests.
He gets up and moves in front of the window because he can't sit anymore and it is not the first time he is happy that the infirmary is not situated in the basement like the dormitories.
The sky is cloudy, promising rain.
Osric is sad when Jared replies to his question and tells about his injuries.
“Oh brother, this sucks mightily.” He sighs.
“Yeah,” Jared says and stares down at his hands resting on the window sill. “Sometimes I wish I could open the fucking door and… just walk away.”
For a long moment, Osric scrutinizes him. “That's why you always gaze at the stars, don't you?”
“Yeah,” he admits reluctantly, “Up on the roof, that's the only place to get some peace and quiet and I think about stepping on the clouds like a ladder and... vanishing from this life.”
“Brother,” his friend says warningly and concerned, “you can't think that.”
“No, Os, I'm not... I won't do that, I promise.”
“Good. That's good.” Osric smiles. “It won't be long until you served your sentence, then you're free like a bird.”
“I don't think so, Os.” Jared's eyes are getting wet with tears; he has to fight not to shed them. “You've been sentenced because you stole from a john, but I... I never had a trial. I'm here because I'm an orphan.”
“Anyway. Your days in this beautiful establishment are numbered, believe me.”
Jared looks at him incredulously.
“If you don't believe me, go see the director, talk to him. He thinks very little of omegas, but he's a fair man.”
Jared turns back to the window, can't believe what he sees.
“Do you see that?” he asks and how stupid is he, of course Os, who is sitting in bed, can't see out of the window.
“Nothing,” Jared whispers.
The Bogeyman is already gone.
Amy Gumenick, the cute blonde nurse, is quite speechless when Jensen pushes her out of the infirmary's archive.
“I hope you have everything you need,” he says closing the door.
Ruth tilts her head and eyes the room. “I think as long as there's coffee and cookies, I'm okay.”
“Alright.” Jensen puts the files down on the dusty desk in the corner. “This is Jared's file. I think it's the key to this mess. He said he's here since nine years, the records start a few days after his fifteenth birthday with his entry checkup though. Then there's the curator's file which states a completely different entry date.”
While Ruth is opening the files and already skimming through them, Jensen continues.
“We have a time gap of five years, different dates and a crooked curator. Now tell me there's nothing fishy going on here.”
Ruth lifts her head from the files. “What do you mean, crooked curator?”
Jensen throws himself in a chair and rakes his fingers through his hair. “Rhodes has been administering drugs. I called her out on it and she admitted to giving sedatives and roofies to the servers. She said she did it to please some patrons and there was no money involved, but I don't believe her. Drugging the servers is not sanctioned, she'd never risk her job just for a thank you. She must make some money out of it.”
“Did you fire her?”
“Of course I did! Now I have to hunt for a new curator to top it all.”
Ruth's brown eyes are earnest when she looks at Jensen. “You really take this job very seriously.”
Jensen throws a hand in the air. “I'm just pissed that they exploit delinquent minor omegas, the weakest members of our society.” Mostly he is pissed that these illegal activities led to Jared being hurt. “There are laws to protect them here; the Institute should be a protected area until their sentences are served, but instead, these kids are preyed upon – by the very men they're supposed to keep healthy.”
“Eh, you know what I think about that theory,” Ruth comments snidely.
“Do you think it's better to have sex-driven alphas raping betas and children?” Jensen asks unbelievingly.
“Of course not! I just think that alphas are far less sex-driven than some people think. There are societies overseas that're thriving even without the concept of public serving.”
“I know!” Jensen retorts. “But we're not living overseas.”
Ruth stands, walks around the desk to kneel beside Jensen's chair. It is the common position for betas and omegas to appease alphas, to acknowledge and respect their social status.
Taking his hands into hers, she says, “Jensen, I know you've already come a long way, but you've always been one of the top dogs just because you're alpha. You never had to experience the unfairness of customs and traditions and laws; never had to leave your home to study. A few years ago, I wouldn't have been able to work as a doctor, they'd only have accepted me being a nurse, so I'm thankful about that. Nevertheless, I was in Europe for eight years only to become an approbated doctor; there were so many omegas and betas leaving the country to learn and work in Europe until they closed the borders for unattended non-alphas.”
“I've been there too!” Jensen snarls. He feels cornered by the uncomfortable facts Ruth provides. He always felt his country, a theocracy by the grace of Alpha, was the most magnificent, the greatest country. Then he learned about other forms of government when he was abroad and was confused at how they could work efficiently.
Jensen thinks about nimble fingers, how Jared knows exactly what to do. He thinks about Ruth's exceeding expert knowledge, how she had to learn abroad what alphas are able to learn at almost any small town college. He thinks about Osric's enthusiasm for his work, how he never gets tired until a problem is solved.
Clinging to his ancestors' teachings, he continues, “I've seen the omegas running themselves ragged to live up to their society's expectations. They're just not built for challenging tasks, frail as they are!”
“Oh Jensen, honey,” Ruth says smiling, cupping his cheek with one hand. “If you'd only open your eyes to see for yourself and not use other people's glasses.”
When he leaves Ruth to go back to his office, Jensen gives a wide berth to the room where Jared is.
He is so tired. Discussions with his friend always leave him exhausted since Ruth's sharp intellect always challenges his thinking and opinions, but this time he feels bodily exhausted.
It is true that most European societies and states are far less constricting in regards to an omega's role in life. It doesn't mean though that it is correct.
When he closes his office door, a familiar voice greets him.
“It's not nice to keep your senator waiting, Mister Ackles.”
Completely caught unawares, Jensen freezes. “Senator Morgan? What are you doing here?”
The senator is sitting in one of the leather chairs that he moved from the window to the desk. He is smiling, his eyes sparkling but humorless.
“I happened to be nearby and thought I would apprise myself of your progress.”
Why is he here? Jensen is not nearly important enough for Morgan to change plans. What did he say on the phone that made him come and check on Jensen?
Wait, the senator had been the Institute's director before Pileggi. What if Pileggi only kept up what Morgan started?
That is impossible, Morgan is an honorable cleric, dealing directly with Reverend Senior Senator Beaver and His Holiness, Presiding Pope Timothy.
Maybe he should be wary.
“I feel honored, Senator,” he says. “May I offer you a drink? Coffee?”
“Yes, black. Thanks.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he registers movements that make him flinch. It is the damn alpha, Robert Wisdom, standing in the corner and merging with the walls. Jensen is pretty scared of the man, not only because he is one of the few black-skinned Africans in the United American States, but also because he exudes danger like an aura. He is the senator's right-hand man and, despite his air of superiority, maybe an omega, as Jensen suspects.
Wisdom's presence in his office unnerves Jensen good and proper; he still pours a cup of coffee, handing it to Morgan with a steady hand. It is an expensive brand since Jensen likes good coffee; it is not easy to get, though, because the African producers keep the supply short.
After a taste of the hot liquid and an appreciating hum, Morgan addresses Jensen who is sitting tensely behind his desk.
“Well, this is quite a good brew,” he says with a small smile. “Looks like a director's life becomes you, Jensen. Have you been very busy?”
“Um, well...” Jensen clears his throat to buy some time. “The whole estate is in a terrible mess. I already told you that the renovation they scheduled a few years ago was only finished in the upper levels. Accordingly, the servers' living quarters and basement levels are in a bad condition, especially the heating, and the sanitary installations are in desperate need of renovation.”
Taking a deep breath, Jensen continues. “Then there's... this is not easy, Senator.” On an encouraging nod, he says, “I had to fire Curator Rhodes. She violated institute law by administering non-sanctioned drugs to the public servers. I can't prove it yet, but I'm sure she got bribed to do it. And there's at least one warden embezzling anything that's not nailed down.”
“I see. That surely is quite some mess you've got to take care of.” Morgan says, putting his cup on the desk. He crosses his legs and steeples his fingers. “What about these patient records that've been tampered with? Do you already know more?”
Carefully, Jensen. “No, I'm sorry, I didn't have time to look closer into this matter. As it seems, there has been a high turnover of nurses in the infirmary which led to bad file management. In this case, we have to hold bad leadership against Doctor Sheppard.”
“Ah yes,” Morgan agrees, motioning to Wisdom who disappears through the office door. “Good old Sheppard always was more interested in the hands-on aspect of his job than the bureaucracy. I think I will have a word with him.”
“I'm sure that would be helpful, sir”
You're lower than a cockroach, they say.
You're alone, no one will help you, they say.
That's all you're good for, being fucked; a hole to be filled, they say.
He still hears the words in his dreams. It's not true, he wants to scream, but the words are burning deep inside him, etching away parts of his soul.
He still remembers the pain and hurt from the first couple of years, when all he felt was homesickness and loneliness, when he only worked in the garden and kitchen and heard the noises from the bedrooms through the walls.
Then the hurt and pain got more bodily when he was thought to be old enough to work as a host and experienced the things that caused the noises inside the bedroom walls. He was disgusted, still is occasionally.
Now that the Bogeyman – a living nightmare, burning the earth where its shadow touches it – is walking the grounds, he can't be sure if he is asleep or not, if he is awake or not. Dream and reality are bleeding together in dark colors full of fear.
Suddenly, the air around him is gone; he can't breathe through his nose, so he opens his eyes and mouth in a desperate attempt to draw in oxygen.
He is awake now; he knows he is awake, but there is the Bogeyman standing beside his bed and there is still no air, just a bitter liquid rolling over his tongue, burning his gullet. He can't help swallowing, then coughing.
Next to Jared's bed in the infirmary, there is a giant alpha, his skin dark like the moonless sky. There are stars though, two white stars in his face, and a row of pearls laid bare under a frightening grin.
Jared starts feeling weird, the bad kind of weird.
The giant folds up, shrinking down to human size until he kneels beside the bed, and his lips are almost touching Jared's ear.
The omega turns away as far as possible and the alpha is following suit, leaning over the other man's body.
Jared's hands are tensing into hard fists, balling into the sheets. He feels too hot and too cold, starts sweating and shivering.
His skin is crawling away from his flesh, leaving his bones to bleach under the stars.
The Bogeyman's breath is ghosting over his cheek, causing red scars where no one can see.
There's a bad man in this building, the voice says.
It's a really, really bad man, it says, and he wants to kill you.
You need to kill him first.