[This fic was requested by @lilsizzler I hope you all like it]
I didn’t want to go, I really didn’t, but Jared had been right there and he gave me that look and suddenly I was agreeing to it when in my head I was screaming ‘WE ARE NOT GOING TO FUCKING OMAHA FOR A DINNER WITH MY FAMILY’. That’s the good thing about adulthood; you learn how to cry on the inside.
I hadn’t been home in at least fifteen years, I hadn’t spoken to anyone other than my sister and brother and even then I didn’t talk to them nearly enough. It was a short text I had received that started this whole mess. I had been lying with my back against Jared’s chest and I was showing him an idea I had for lighting next time he went on tour when the cursed text enveloped my screen.
“We are having dinner for moms birthday on the first and I really want you to be there. I miss you… I think she misses you too in her own way, promise you’ll think about it, yeah?”
He had read the text so there was no point in trying to hide it or play it off. He knew I didn’t talk to my family but he didn’t know why. He had only met Julia once a year after we started dating and always asked now and again when we would see her next. I could tell he didn’t understand why I wasn’t close with them given how close he was with his mom and brother; I could tell he wanted to understand.
“Why don’t we go?”
I made a move to leave the room but he pulled me back down on to the bed with a soft, hey. He tucked my hair behind my ears and took my hands in both of his.
“Talk to me, tell me what went down with you and your family.”
Looking down at his hands in mine I felt tears prick my eyes and it took everything in me to force them back. My family issues, though to most they would seem small and irrelevant, broke me a long time ago. The degradation I faced… the worthlessness I felt… when I got out of there I left and I had no intentions of going back.
“It’s stupid, it’s stupid, if I tell you you’ll think it’s so stupid,” I croaked, my voice thick with emotion.
“If it isn’t stupid to you, then it isn’t stupid to me, hey,” he tilted my chin up so I was looking at him and one rogue tear escaped.
His eyes softened and he brushed it away with his thumb, “If you don’t want to go, we won’t go. I just don’t want you to regret anything… they’re your family, Y/N,” he said softly.
Cupping his neck with both hands I took a shaky breath resting my forehead against his and I closed my eyes.
“Provehito in altum,” I whispered.
“That’s my girl,”
***End of Flashback***
Now here we are, in fucking Omaha of all places getting ready for a shit show in the hotel because I’d be damned if I stayed the night with Jared under my mother’s roof. Exhaustion seeped into my bones, but not in the traditional sense.
There were different types of exhaustion, there was the exhaustion that followed an all night-er from cramming for a final, there was the exhaustion that met you after a long day of work, for me this was an exhaustion that I never wanted to feel again. It was an empty, draining exhaustion that wrapped around me like a blanket, it was a type of exhaustion that stemmed from deep dejection. It was an exhaustion that sunk its teeth into you and dragged you down into its darkness where it promised to make the sadness go away for a little while. It was the worst kind of exhaustion in my opinion.
“Now what do we have here?”
I smiled half-heartedly, unable to tell if he was trying to sound like The Joker or if it had just slipped out. Even though Jared’s hair was no longer green (I was surprised how much I missed it) and filming had wrapped up, Mister J made his presence known every now and again. Sometimes Jared wouldn’t even mean to, he could be talking for hours and not realise he had been speaking like Mister J the entire time.
I rose and looked down at my dress. It was a simple black peter pan neckline dress that went to about mid thigh, my stockings were purposely ripped and I wore my docs. I had changed several times while Jared had been in the shower, but I refused to tell him that.
“You look too formal, I mean I love the tie, but,” but my mother will silently judge you about it and talk about you in the kitchen.
Stop it. Stop it, you’re thirty-five get a grip. Shaking my head to clear it I smiled, pulling him close by the tie.
“Don’t listen to me, it looks good, you… you look so good,” I whispered, brushing my nose against his before I gave him a kiss.
“I’ve never seen you so scared before,” he said, holding my wrist up in front of us as he inspected my violently shaking hand.
I pulled my arm from his grasp and I looked down. It took a while… it took meeting him to figure out who I really wanted to be. When I lived here, when I lived in that house I was a projection of a person. I wasn’t living really, I was just barely existing. I hated everything about myself, sometimes I still do, I was settling for a life I didn’t want and I was getting mad at myself for it. How angry it made me wishing for things to happen instead of making them happen. Then I reached fuck it. I sold everything I didn’t need and left. I landed a gig as an assistant a little while down the line to my future boyfriend’s band and now here I am seven years later.
He… helped me without even knowing it. He helped me by just being Jared, my funny wild child. He made me see what I had been missing, he made me more active, he has shown me parts of the world I never imagined seeing. Jared took my view of the world in its dulled hues and sombre tones and painted over it at first in soft watercolours, which gradually exploded into startling mosaics of colour. He helped me piece together a view of the world that made me want so badly to be a part of it, we created a masterpiece. He made me want to live, he awakened in me a curiosity and hunger for life that I had never had, and a genuine happiness I had never known. It angered me that the very mention of my family could taint that, even a little with old sadness.
“I’m not scared, not when I have you with me.”
I wouldn’t want to face them alone.
For the first little bit I was tempted to pull Y/N into a corner and ask why she left to begin with. Her family seemed great, though her mom didn’t speak much at first, and her dad was a bit crass with his humour at times, but he seemed like he genuinely loved and missed his daughter. Her sister was as warm as ever, her husband was an interesting man to talk to, Y/N’s adopted brother seemed decent enough but it was obvious he didn’t want to be there. He even said as much, he told me he had only come to see Julia and Y/N.
However, it was the little things that I started to notice. When her mom finally began to talk to her it was with a passive aggressive air. She kept making subtle jabs at Y/N and playing them off as jokes.
“That dress is too young for you yet too old. It reminds me of Wednesday Addams or one of the dead people at the cremation home down the street.”
“Well, I like it,” she would say, and I noticed her eyes remained downcast.
She may be thirty five and look twenty, but the look she got when her mother spoke to her made her look like a little girl instead of the strong independent woman I had come to love.
“Look at you, getting defensive, you always got so defensive-”
“Because you could never just keep your opinions to-”
“So your boyfriend’s a big shot?” I vaguely heard her mother ask at one point when I was talking to Julia.
“Jesus, do you have to say it like that? He’s amazing; can you be happy for me? He’s a singer, an actor, and the greatest person I have ever met so can that satisfy you? Why don’t you try talking to him? You might even like him.”
Her mother simply shrugged, “Most rock stars are cheaters, I wouldn’t get my hopes up sweetheart, even if the sex is good.”
Y/N had left her then and I had followed. I found her in the attic with her face buried in her hands.
“It’s stupid, it’s stupid, it’s stupid how easy it is for them to get into my head. They say the most petty and insignificant things but they cut right through me like butter. They just pick, and pick, and pick until there is a part of you that is bloodied and raw,” she sounded so defeated I was almost ready to pull her to her feet and fly back to LA right this instant. I knew she hadn’t had it easy, she had the scars to prove it, and the fact that her mom got to her so fast worried me. Nothing ever got to Y/N, she had taken comments far worse than her mother’s when the press got wind that we were dating, but she brushed them off effortlessly. However, family are different than strangers.
Instead I extended a hand and she had looked up at me, “Together.”
She took my hand and nodded.
I noticed more things throughout the evening; her dad had a grudge with her. Every chance he got he would make a joke about her running away and dropping out of university. He would say a dozen times that he was “only kidding” but Y/N knew. I could see it in her forced smile, and feel it in the way her hand squeezed mine for reassurance.
They were verbally beating her. Sitting down at the dinner table, I thought about everything I had seen today. I watched Y/N fade before my very eyes and it made me furious. These jokes that had been directed at her all evening were not jokes; they were subtle ways of putting Y/N in her place. It was her parent’s way of retying the strings she had work so hard to free herself from, and making their little puppet dance. They didn’t want to put the past behind them, instead they had trapped her in a pillory and they were attacking her with their words.
“You haven’t touched your food,” Her mom said, pulling me from my thoughts.
“We’re vegans,” Y/N answered for me.
Her mom gave her father a look, “You? A vegan? At least it must help keeping some of the weight off hmm? Oh, don’t give me that look, I don’t mean it like that. I just mean, it must be a fairly healthy lifestyle. You’ve lost a lot of weight, you should be proud of-”
“All of that chit-chat is going to get you hurt, Mrs (Your Last Name)”
Y/N’s mother glanced at me and so did Y/N.
“Oh, that’s from that new movie coming out, isn’t it? That squad one.” Her dad laughed lightly.
“Jared plays the Joker, he did a phenomenal jo-”
“I’m sure, did you hear your sister Julia is pregnant?”
That was another thing, her mother kept trying to make it clear that Y/N was nothing compared to Julia. It made Julia uncomfortable, she knew what her mother was doing and yet she remained silent. Part of me felt she was just as guilty, then again I don’t really know her.
“I didn’t. She was going to tell me something after supp-”
“I’m so happy for her-”
“You should be happy for, Y/N too,” I interjected.
Her mother looked mildly irritated but she gave me a forced smile. My mom and Shan, they were my entire world along with Y/N. Sure we bicker and tease but not like this, this… this was abhorrent.
“Jared, don’t,” Y/N whispered, but Mister J was taking the wheel on this one.
I saw a shift in Jared, a familiar one, one that made me nervous. Jared stood up and I could hear Mister J in the guttural noises Jared was making.
“I don’t like the way you’re treating my doll,”
“Y/N knows we’re kidding, don’t you?” My mom said flippantly.
“I don’t think you are, you see, I know jokes,” my dad clued in to what Jared was doing and made a comment, but Jared ignored him.
“I know jokes like the back of my hand and You. Aren’t. Funny.”
An ache swelled in my chest, an ache so deep that I couldn’t force the tears down any longer. They broke through the dam and spilled over the edge silently.
“You say you missed her? You missed her? Tell me you missed her Mrs. (First letter of your last name).”
My mom shifted in her seat, “I missed her-”
We all jumped as his hands slammed down on the table, a crazy part of me wanted to laugh while a sane part was already covering myself in dirt and marking my grave.
“Now that’s funny, because I’m not really getting that vibe. Ever think maybe she left, because of you?” He asked.
My gaze jerked to Jared but he wasn’t looking at me. His eyes were burning a hole through my mother.
“You have no right to be talking about matters that are none of your business. If Y/N wants to make this the Y/N show like she always has that is completely up to her. She wasn’t beaten-”
“Physically,” I whispered.
“Oh please, Y/N give us a break. You always made us out to be the bad guys, we made sure you and your sister had every opportunity that your mother and I didn’t and how are we repaid?” My dad yelled joining the party, he rarely ever yelled.
“You are repaid with a daughter who had to sever all connections with you in order to be happy and successful,” The Joker laughed.
Rising from the table I made a quick exit.
I glared at her parents who had sour twists to their mouths and their eyes told me that they were the type of people who would never admit that they were wrong.
“Don’tcha just love birthdays?” I liked to say it was Mister J who knocked the cake off the table, but it wasn’t.
“I think you should leave,” her mother gritted out.
I laughed, the Jokers laugh, “Funny how people keep leaving you guys. First your daughter, then your son, right Noah? It makes one wonder whether you’re the reason for them leaving, hmm?”
I walked away and Y/N’s brother, Noah followed after me. “Is it wrong to say I enjoyed every minute of that?”
“They had it coming, where’d Y/N go?”
I had the keys so she didn’t drive off and I know she wouldn’t have gone back into the house. Noah opened the passenger door,
“I know where she goes when she wants to be alone.”
Noah decided to wait in the car while I slipped into the theatre. It looked like it had been closed for some time but it was still in good shape. She was sprawled out on the stage humming a song I knew all too well, so I decided to sing along.
I felt embarrassed and over dramatic. I wanted the earth to swallow me up, and I wanted to erase everything that just happened. Jared didn’t know it at the time, but he made me fall in love with him all over again. He may have been channelling the Joker but in that moment, with my parents, he was my Batman. I just wished he didn’t have to see all of that. I wished he didn’t have to see that part of me because I thought that part of me was gone. I wanted it to be gone, but it never will be, I know that now.
Lying on the stage floor I felt oddly at peace. I had settled something within myself. I had often wondered if I wanted to be a part of my parent’s lives again and this confirmed that I didn’t need them. I didn’t need them to complete me, I wasn’t missing anything without them… I was already complete. I hummed my song and the feeling of throbbing sadness I usually felt when I listened to it or thought of it did not surface. Instead with every note I began to feel lighter, even more so when I heard his voice.
What if I wanted to break
Laugh it all off in your face
What would you do? (Oh, oh)
What if I fell to the floor
Couldn’t take all this anymore
What would you do, do, do?
I sat up, watching him with tear glistened cheeks as he walked slowly down the aisle.
Come break me down
Bury me, bury me
I am finished with you
What if I wanted to fight
Beg for the rest of my life
What would you do?
You say you wanted more
What are you waiting for?
I’m not running from you (from you)
He slowly walked up the stage stairs and my chest was rising and falling rapidly with the strength of my emotion.
Come break me down
Bury me, bury me
I am finished with you
Look in my eyes
You’re killing me, killing me
All I wanted was you
He dropped to his knees in front of me, practically whispering the only lines that seemed to matter now as he wiped my tears away with the pads of his thumbs.
I tried to be someone else
But nothing seemed to change
I know now, this is who I really am inside.
Finally found myself
Fighting for a chance.
I know now, this is who I really am.
“So, that could have went better,” I broke the lengthy silence that followed.
“Believe it or not, that was not my worst birthday party.”
I laughed lightly before digging my teeth into my lower lip to try to keep a sob from escaping. I swear with the amount of tears I have shed today alone, it had to be a record, but there was a good reason for it. Two, actually.
“I’m really sorry you had to see all of that-”
“Don’t apologise for them, in fact, forget about them. If they don’t want to make amends that is their problem. You already have a family.”
“I do,” I agreed, my voice trembling.
“You have me, Shan, Tomo, and my mom-”
“And our kid,”
“Yeah and our- I’m sorry, what?” He asked and I half laughed half sobbed.
“I thought telling you now would be the perfect end to a shitty day, but I could be wrong and even if you’re not happy, I am every happy because I am having your baby Jared Leto.”
He pulled me into a bone crushing hug and I sobbed into his shoulder as he massaged soft circles into my back. He was telling me how excited he was but I could barely hear him.
“I love you, I love you, no one has ever stood up for me like that before. I love you. I love you,” I kept repeating until he silenced me by showering my face with kisses.
“I’ve never seen you cry this much,” he said.
“I know, it’s awful,” I groaned and he laughed.
He placed his hands on my still flat stomach and rested his forehead against mine before whispering, “This kid is going to have the best life ever, and they will think we are so awesome that they will never want to leave.”
I hiccuped a sob, “Promise?”
“I promise, baby,”
“That is very nice, but I was asking Jared, Mister J,”
Jared laughed hard, “Oh, right, I promise.”
“I love you,” I whispered, kissing him softly.
“I love you too, Y/N.”
[So this started off small in my head and then blew up into this angsty fluff fest. Thank you @lilsizzler for giving me all the feels writing this one. I hope you all like it.]