Author: Silverspoon PM
Attending the annual 'Supernatural' convention, at Chuck's request, Dean drags Jo along for the ride. AU Collab.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Dean W. & Jo H. - Words: 12,019 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 37 - Follows: 2 - Published: 08-13-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7282262
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Authors' Note – This fic is a collab between WelshWitch1011 and Silverspoon.
We own nothing, but this idea has been tossed back and forth a few times, so we thought we should make it happen already.
A huge thank you goes out to our recent 'flamer', without whose poor command of the English language, at least half of the giggles in this fic just would not have happened. Huge snuggles, smushes, and big ol' Jo lovin' kisses to you honey!
All reviewers will receive virtual cookies!
'The Good Samaritan Inn', Minnesota
November 19th 2011
Palms sweaty, mouth dry, Dean Winchester stared up at the frontage of the crumbling hotel, unable to quell the familiar sense of dread that washed over him.
Finding his feet suddenly unwilling to obey the commands of his brain, Dean stood rooted to the spot, unable to close the several strides needed to bring him level with the entrance of the building. With his girlfriend's hand latched onto his own, Dean licked his lips, and considered his options.
"Uh-huh?" he nodded, swallowing as he watched a host of leather jacket attired guests file in and out of the doors of the building amongst others who appeared to be sporting varying degrees of fancy dress.
"Are we going inside or are we gonna stand out here all night?" Jo queried, shivering against a blast of cold air that sent a chill right through to her very bones.
Dean cast a sideways glance at her, noticing her shudder and the deep pink hue of her cheeks as she pressed closer into his body to seek shelter from the harsh fall weather.
"Just... prepare yourself, okay?" Dean warned, squeezing her hand and smiling to allay fears that he realised were perhaps only his own. Jo shrugged and shot him a bemused smile as she followed the path of his gaze to the other guests.
"Sure," she said nonchalantly, beginning to tug him closer to the entrance as the tall plume of smoke drifting from the chimney stack alerted her to the incredibly appealing promise of a fire.
It was Jo who reached out a hand first in order to push open the heavy oak double-doors of the entrance, and Dean simply watched with baited breath as his girlfriend disappeared inside the lobby of the building. Steeling himself for whatever sights, sounds and even smells that may lie ahead, Dean stepped into the hotel in Jo's wake, and instantly gathered her back into his side. The gesture was undeniably protective and almost territorial, but it seemed to go unnoticed for the moment by the young blonde as she wove through the crowd in order to reach a roaring fire surrounded by a ring of chairs.
Jo almost pounced on the flames, exhibiting her bare palms to the hearth and sighing contentedly as she begin to regain at least some of the feeling in her cold-numbed fingertips.
Dean hovered by Jo's side, eyes affixed unblinkingly upon a duo seated across from each other on the armchairs to his left. The older and apparently shorter of the two wore a brown leather hunting jacket wide open to reveal a red flannel shirt over a plain black t-shirt. Around his neck dangled a familiar charm, and Dean felt his own cheeks colour as he realised that he had neglected to remove his amulet as he had been planning to. Removing it now was a gesture that would not go unnoticed by Jo, and so Dean simply jammed his hands further into his pockets and mentally berated himself for his stupidity.
The younger and more gangly of the two was leaning across his partner as they poured over an unseen text. He sported a shaggy hair cut that curled well below his ears, and a fitted navy blue shirt patterned with fine cream lines. His voice was lowered as he exchanged inaudible words with his friend, who appeared to be wearing an almost comically constipated expression.
Needing to see no more, Dean turned away, noting that Jo was staring at him once again and had likely been for the last several minutes.
"What's got you so spooked about this place?" she demanded, wiggling her fingers as she basked in the glow from the fire. "What're we hunting anyway?"
Dean's mouth set into a tight line and he winced as debated how best to explain the situation, "We're not."
Jo frowned, folding her arms across her chest as she looked up at him in evident confusion, "We're not? Dean... what the hell's going on here?"
Jo widened her eyes expectantly, and he winced as her hands landed on her hips. The couple paused in their conversation as a woman sporting a blonde wig, and wearing a plaid shirt and jeans strode past them.
Bestowing Jo with an admiring glance, she shot her a grin of approval, "Oh hey, I love your costume!"
Jo blinked, eyebrow arched as she watched the woman take a seat at the nearby bar, and then looked up at Dean with renewed curiosity and impatience, "Dean, out with it."
"Alright, look... there are these books..." Dean began, rubbing the back of his neck as he tried to find the briefest explanation possible, "this guy, Chuck, he's a... well, he's a prophet..."
"Like... in the Bible, kind of prophet?" she checked, eyeing him with apparent suspicion as he nodded once.
"So, he wrote all these books... about Sammy and I and our crappy, miserable, pathetic, demon ganking existence," Dean explained, gesturing with his arms as he appeared to encircle the room, "this is kind of like a... fan convention."
Jo opened her mouth as if to speak, thinking better of it as she surveyed the room, and suddenly their fellow guests' strangely similar attire seemed to make perfect sense.
"So, these guys are..." she began, biting back a smirk as Dean sighed wearily.
"Me and Sammy. Yeah," he confirmed, a small smile creeping over his lips as he glanced toward the bar and then through the doors that led to the prepared conference room, "but I figure there's at least five of you here, sweetheart."
"Okay, so that doesn't exactly explain why we're here," Jo replied, grimacing as an overweight, be-spectacled teenager in full 'Dean-garb' leered at her in passing. Clicking his tongue appreciatively and then pointing a finger at Jo, he winked before moving on towards the bar. His image was somewhat ruined however as he approached the bar only to be waved away by a grinning barman.
Dean smiled sheepishly, deliberating over how best to broach the issue with Jo, who had been forced to take Sam's place on the trip at the last minute when the youngest Winchester had broken his collarbone during a hunt that had gone awry. Dean had reasoned that it would perhaps be best to fully explain the nature of their visit last minute to Jo, and had rather guiltily allowed her to operate under the assumption that they had travelled the two day drive to Minnesota for a hunt. Although Dean knew that Jo would undoubtedly make him pay at a later date for his mild deception, and all it would entail thereafter, he had determined that his reasons for doing so were valid; after all, Dean owed an old friend more than he could ever repay.
"Well, Chuck- the guy who writes the books," Dean began, pausing in order to flash Jo a charming smile, "called me up and, well, he asked if maybe Sammy and I could put in an appearance. Please the fans... maybe, y'know, let them take a few photos with some hotter than average Sam and Dean types..."
"Sam's not here, Dean," Jo growled, the displeasure evident in her tone. "Sam's at Bobby's."
"No, but who's gonna turn down a hand shake and a photo op with a hot blonde chick, huh?" he demanded, the smile fading from his lips as Jo stared up at him witheringly.
"You brought me out here to play Minnie to your Mickey, is that what you're telling me, Dean?" she attempted to clarify, "and you agreed to do this, because...?"
Dean chuckled at the imagery and reached out to draw Jo into his chest. His green eyes roved her face intently, and he knew there and then that he could never tell her the truth behind the promise he had made to Chuck.
"I owe the guy a favour," he said cryptically, pressing a kiss to her forehead and allowing his lips to linger just a little longer than necessary against her skin.
Jo pressed her hand to his chest and grudgingly allowed him to brush a second kiss to her cheek, "Fine. But you owe me, big time, Dean-o."
"Thank you." He smiled down at her tenderly, his eyes glistening as he added, "I'll make it up to you, I promise."
"You bet your ass you will," she groused, rolling her eyes despite the smile that tugged at her lips.
As she cast an uncertain gaze around the bar, Jo's attention became focused on two couples, apparently both in 'Dean and Jo' costume. The role players began a heated exchange which led to an overtly dramatic and obviously scripted declaration of love, concluding in some pretty heavy petting that Jo found herself uncomfortable witnessing.
Groaning in disdain, Jo tugged on Dean's hand and eyed the bottles behind the counter, "I need a drink."
Settling herself onto one of the vacant stools at the bar, Jo tried to ignore the aimless smile of a nearby 'Sam' wannabe, and waited for the bartender to take her order. Dean glared at the pretender and placed a hand on the edge of Jo's seat, almost daring any of the other 'larpers' to make a move on his girl.
A squeal of unparalleled excitement assaulted both their eardrums, and Dean instantly realised the nature of the force about to be unleashed upon them. It was the one thing that he had failed to prepare Jo for, adequate words having escaped him.
"Oh, my... goodness!" Becky shrieked in obvious delight, clapping her hands together as she hurried across the hotel foyer, flashing a grin at the 'authentic' couple.
"Dean!" she whispered his name covertly, glancing around her for eavesdroppers before she threw her arms around his neck and dragged him into a hug.
Ignoring Dean's incredulous stare that seemed to be settled upon her midsection, Becky rounded on Jo and immediately her hand flew to her mouth.
"Jo!" she exclaimed with an obvious sniffle. Becky smiled self-consciously through a haze of sudden tears before hauling the stunned blonde into a near crushing embrace, "It is so good to see you!"
"Uh, yeah... uh... you too," Jo said askance, glancing down as Becky's protruding and rounded stomach pressed against her.
"You... there's a... I mean... you're..." Dean pointed to Becky's stomach and fell silent in favour of simply gaping in shock.
"Yes, I am," Becky replied, her voice carrying a strange sing-song quality as she patted her expanding belly for effect. "Chuck and I are thrilled."
Unsure of how else to react, Dean merely nodded. Jo scurried back to his side, eyeing the exuberant whirlwind of a woman half with fear. Becky appeared not to notice and slipped both arms comfortably through Dean and Jo's as she steered them towards the waiting convention room.
The oak veneer doors were wide open, revealing a long makeshift stage with three directors chairs and a podium standing in the centre. The floor was lined with rows upon rows of plastic chairs, and the room had been divided in half so that an aisle led up to the stage from the back. Walls had been adorned with crucifixes, bulbs of garlic, and plastic shotguns, whilst perhaps the most obvious and also terrifying addition to the room was the eight foot imitation cardboard cut-out novel cover that dominated the stage. Jo's eyes befell the image of the two brown haired Adonis-esque figures depicted on the cover, white shirts billowing, and cowboy hats sitting atop their heads. Both drawings exhibited rippling bronzed muscles, and a mane of hair that tumbled down their backs. From the way that their shirts were open almost to the navel, Jo could just about make out the matching anti-possession tattoos etched onto their chests, and from around the neck of one hung a very familiar looking charm on a length of black chord.
Jo's lips twitched and she shot a glance at Dean, who also appeared to be staring at the giant cut-out with equal parts shame and venom playing across his features.
"I think they got your eyes wrong," Jo whispered, standing on tiptoes in order to speak directly into Dean's ear. He swatted her away with one hand and shot her a scathing glare that only fuelled her amusement. Standing in the epicentre of such craziness, it was easy for Jo to see exactly why Dean had worked so hard up until then to hide all of it from her. To say that watching grown men and women run around wearing rejects from the Winchesters' wardrobes, and discussing ghouls and phantoms in impossibly gravelly tones, was embarrassing was an understatement; Jo found it downright mortifying, and if in Dean's position, probably would have been blasting her way back to the Impala with her shotgun by now. Therefore, it begged the question of exactly why Dean had felt so much in this man's debt that he had driven two days across country to willingly subject himself to such horrors.
"That must have been one big ass favour, Dean!" Jo observed, watching as Dean merely shrugged and then deftly changed the subject, a ploy that did not go unnoticed by his girlfriend.
"So, where's Chuck? He around?" Dean asked, turning his gaze to Becky as he reached blindly for Jo's hand and searched the room.
"Chuck's always around, Dean... you know that," Becky replied in obvious amusement, and she winked in a not entirely subtle gesture.
"Right, right." Dean nodded, shrugging covertly at Jo as if he had not understood Becky's apparent 'inside joke.'
Becky gestured to the stage and folded her arms across her chest as she beamed with unchecked pride.
"He should be right out any minute for the Q and A to start, you remember that, right?" she checked, beaming as Dean murmured in affirmation and an emotion that looked a lot like fear ghosted across his features.
"Okay, well you two make yourselves comfortable and if you need to ask a question, comment or need something explaining, you know what we say around here..." she smiled widely, her gaze flitting between each of the hunters as she raised her hand in an apparent demonstration, "put your hand in the air, to let us know where!"
Giggling at her own play on words, Becky's arms flew around the pair in one final parting hug as Dean forced a smile and a light chuckle, "Ahhh, yeah... that's uh... that's clever."
"We're so glad you could make it," Becky gushed, once again zeroing in on Jo and clasping the startled blonde's hand tightly in her own, "Jo, I am so... so happy to see you. And I think that you and Dean... are so perfect for each other, and... it's just so beautiful to... to... "
A strangled sob escaped Becky's chest, and her hand flew to her mouth as she appeared to struggle against further tears.
"Sorry, hormones," she choked, flapping her hands below her eyes as she blinked rapidly and made a hasty, not wholly unwelcome retreat to the stage.
"Well, she seems... interesting," Jo remarked, baffled by the woman's behaviour..
"Honey, you have no idea," Dean grinned, recalling Becky's ill-fated and comically dramatic crush on Sam.
Jo's eyebrows shot up in response, and she peered at the last remaining vacant seat that Dean gestured to.
"Trust me, you're gonna want to sit down... we could be here a while," he remarked, catching the gentle groan of disdain that drifted from her lips.
"I think I'll stand," she stated, watching as Dean leant back against the nearest wall. Dean reached out and pulled her back against him, his arms wrapping loosely around her hips.
He pressed a kiss against the crown of her head, and a contented sigh escaped him as Jo curled her hands around his arms. His lips pressed against her temple, and he nuzzled her cheek affectionately, mirroring the smile that appeared on her face as he drew himself back up to his full height.
Jo watched with apparent interest, and just a touch of unease, as a small and wiry man sporting a beard and a funnel-neck sweater made his way into the centre of the stage. A pair of thick rimmed glasses perched on the end of his nose, and he carried a sports coat over one arm in a manner that suggested it was his own personal life line to sanity. The room erupted instantly into wild applause, punctuated by the screams and whoops of over a hundred adoring fans. Plastic hooks and cowboy hats were flung up into the air, and Jo started as from somewhere in the room, the sounds of imitation shotgun fire rang out through speakers.
Dean chuckled, squeezing her waist almost in reassurance, and Jo settled back against him once more, her eyes affixed unwaveringly upon the stage. She assumed that the man now standing central behind the podium was the infamous Chuck, of whom Dean had revealed very little since the whole débâcle had begun. She surveyed him keenly, her eyes sweeping every inch of him whilst her mind worked overtime to determine exactly what the nature of this apparently mammoth favour he had committed to Dean could possibly be. Drawing a blank, Jo folded her arms across her chest, and continued to stare analytically as Chuck began to speak into the microphone.
An unrecognisable woman dressed in a business suit, and a beaming Becky had joined Chuck on stage already, and were in the process of settling into two of the chairs provided when the PA system let out a deafening shriek. The audience collectively winced, but as Chuck leaned forwards, his lips almost brushing the microphone, a near reverent hush fell.
"I-I'd er... like to take this opportunity to welcome you all to the seventh annual Supernatural convention," Chuck stammered, pausing with an uncertain smile to allow for the resounding screams that followed his opening statement. Jo rolled her eyes, realising that Dean had been indeed correct, and proceedings may take a while.
Becky shrugged out of her jacket, and Jo's eyes dropped immediately to her impossibly large stomach, across which was stretched a painted devil's trap on a t-shirt. She nudged Dean, amusement playing across her features, and he let out a low chuckle in response.
"As you probably all know, the books are now entering their seventh series," Chuck began, jumping a step backwards as the crowd dissolved into mayhem. After several seconds, they fell quiet again, and Jo puffed out a breath through her cheeks.
"Today, I'll be happy to field any questions you may have about some upcoming plot elements, as well as delving a little deeper into past story lines," Chuck said, never seeming to quite shake the nervous air that clung to him.
Almost immediately a few dozen hands shot up, and he narrowed his eyes as he tried to determine who to call on first. Pointing to a woman dressed in what Jo assumed to be a 'Meg' costume, Chuck raised both eyebrows expectantly as she whooped excitedly before clearing her throat.
"Can you tell us anything about the next series, like... uh... what kinds of monster we can expect to see Sam and Dean fighting?" 'Meg' folded her arms across her chest as she watched Chuck deliberate over his response, and he scratched his head in a comically thoughtful pose.
"Kind of like to know that myself," Dean muttered, his eyes trained on Chuck who seemed to be struggling with how much or how little to give away to the fans. Although Dean wondered if he knew the answer to the question himself, or if their future had even made it through a final draft.
"Uh, well... without giving too much away, what I can say, is that there's gonna be focus on the aspects of heaven, and hell, and even a little purgatory thrown in there too... but, I think we'll see some characters resurrected, maybe a couple of faces from Sam and Dean's past will show up here and there," he shrugged, indicating that was to be the end to any further spoilers.
"Peachy," Dean groused, his mind reeling as he wondered who or what they could expect to be knocking on their door in the coming months.
"Cool," 'Meg' enthused, taking her seat in satisfaction as the other hands shot up to attract Chuck's attention.
"Uh, yeah... the guy in the trench coat?" Chuck pointed to a teenager clearly dressed as Castiel, complete with low slung tie and dirty shoes.
"I heard a rumour that there's gonna be a TV show based on the novels, is that true, and if so, have you guys thought about who might be cast in the lead roles? I've done some TV work here and there, I mean..." he began, a hopeful expression appearing on his face.
Chuck cleared his throat and glanced back at his PA for approval. She nodded and so he continued on with his reply.
"Well, I can confirm that there has been some interest shown by a pretty big network," he smiled proudly, "as for casting, we've not really considered that yet. Some may have heard the rumours that Ashton Kutcher is up for the role of Sam, and Beiber's people also have been in contact, but we're not really sure that's the direction we'd want to take with the show. And... uh..."
He stammered, wondering how to address the boy's apparent aspirations. Thankfully for Chuck, another voice yelled from the back of the room, and all eyes became fixed on the woman wearing a red wig and outfit he assumed to be based on 'Anna'.
"What about Jo?" she yelled, standing up from her seat as Chuck walked to the front of the stage and held his hand up against his eyes to shield them from the lights.
"Uh... what about her?" he asked, glancing back furtively toward the actual Dean and Jo who were also now staring.
"I figured you were gonna kill her and Ellen off back in series five. But now you've got the whole Dean/Jo thing going on..." she began, finding herself cut off by another strangely irate female voice.
"Yeah, I mean, Jo's okay, sure... but I always figured she was more like a sister to Dean," the second voice stated, clearly irritated by the romantic turn the series had taken for Dean's character.
Dean and Jo exchanged almost nauseated glances, and returned their collective attentions to the two women who now appeared dangerously close to duking things out in the centre of the floor.
"Seriously?" 'Anna' demanded, hands now planted firmly on hips, "you'd kiss your sister like that?"
"She was dying, it just seemed like the thing to do," the second girl defended, her eyes narrowed now as she climbed to her feet. Chuck appeared to be watching the back and forth like a tennis spectator, his head bobbing from one direction to the other. His expression was dumbfounded, but he flashed Dean a somewhat apologetic smile.
"No way!" 'Anna' countered, shaking her head and almost dislodging her wig, "sure, they all thought she was gonna croak, but that was Dean's motivation to finally admit how much he loved her."
An almost dreamy smile overtook her, but the other woman began to vigorously shake her head, intent on setting the record straight.
"He only kissed her because she was dying, and he knew that's what she'd always wanted," she replied snootily, "he was just trying to, ya know, make her feel better."
A collective groan rose up from the audience, and others in the crowd turned to those seated at their sides to begin debating their own stance on the conversation.
"Are you cracked in the head?" 'Anna' demanded, her arms stiff at her sides, "Jo is Dean's 'Mary'. You only have to look at the parallels between them to see that; both blonde, kick-ass hunters, and both of them sacrificed themselves for the boys. Dean was just too afraid that something would happen to her as soon as he admitted his feelings to do it before Carthage. When she was dying, that was the push he needed."
"Plus there was that whole 'last night on earth' speech at Bobby's," another audience member, dressed as 'Jo' nonetheless, supplied helpfully. 'Anna' shot the woman a grateful look, and nodded vigorously.
"Oh please!" a boy sporting yellow contact lenses yelled out, shaking his head in disagreement, "Dean only did that cos he was horny. He's always horny."
The audience erupted into laughter, and Jo glanced up at Dean to find that he had turned a shade of puce from the base of his neck up to the tips of his ears.
Biting back a smile, Jo nodded in agreement, "Well, that part's true."
Dean shrugged, poised to respond when the two bickering women began to discuss the whole Carthage issue again in raised and not entirely congenial voices.
A feeling of intense discomfort crept over Jo as she began to ponder the events of her life, specifically the two years she and Dean had spent together since she had almost perished in a hell hound attack in Missouri.
Watching the tellingly dark expression cloud her features, Dean squeezed her tightly and bent his head to talk directly into her ear above the raised voices in the room, which had descended into a strange kind of free for all.
"Jo, you know none of that crap is true," he began, frustrated at the not entirely believable nod she offered in reply.
"If we could just... I think we really should..." Chuck interjected, stammering as he made several successive attempts at regaining control of the room. When a high pitched whistle ripped through the air, all eyes turned to the stage, and to the obviously irate figure of Becky, who lowered her fingers from her mouth. She folded her arms across her chest as she watched the crowd turn in her direction.
"Sit your asses down!" Becky directed, her eyes widening threateningly. She beamed, her tone instantly changing as they stared at her askance and dutifully retook their seats one by one, "Thank you."
Chuck dipped his head and smiled gratefully, reciprocating the adoring gaze she shot in his direction before Becky also sat back down in her chair and demurely crossed her legs.
"To address all your points..." Chuck began, glancing back toward Dean and Jo with a wholly embarrassed smile, "I think Dean has always had feelings for Jo. I think that sometimes, it takes a stressful or... life or death situation, to make someone face up to those feelings. And... as for the sister comment, that uh... that was never the intended read of those earlier scenes."
He frowned in genuine concern as his gaze landed on the woman who had voiced the comment. "Do you have siblings? No? Yes? Anyway..." he continued, suddenly glancing up as another woman shouted above him, interrupting his train of thought.
"Isn't it kind of out of character for Dean to suddenly stop being all like... man whoring and all?" she demanded, frowning as her giant teddy bear head suddenly dipped down low over her eyes and she butted it upwards with one paw in mild annoyance.
"Man whore?" Chuck coughed uncomfortably, "would we say Dean was a man-whore? I uh... well, I think when you meet that... that special someone, that..."
The PA rushed over and shoved a stack of cards in Chuck's hand, which the author clutched at in desperation of finally changing the subject and regaining control of the boisterous crowd.
"Okay, let's take a question from the comment cards, shall we?" he offered, relieved beyond measure when a hush finally fell over the room. Hoisting the first card from the pile, he scanned it quickly and read aloud the question scribbled on the piece of paper.
"Is there going to be any mention of a love interest for Sam in the next series of novels..." he began, his eyes widening in horror as his voice trailed off at the latter sentence, "and please can she not be annoying like, Jo. She sucks and she's a... a 'bicth'... from 'EmilyHatesJo'."
Chuck frowned and glanced over toward Becky for assistance.
"What's a 'bicth'?" he pondered aloud, momentarily forgetting about the mean natured comment as the lack of grammar and spelling skills obviously confused him.
"Bitch!" a voice from the crowd supplied helpfully.
"What did I do?" Jo murmured, her expression genuinely affronted as she gazed up at Dean through wide eyes.
"I've had enough of this crap," Dean growled, suddenly raising his hand to get Chuck's attention. Chuck visibly paled as he noted Dean's murderous expression, and he gestured to him with a meek smile of acknowledgement, "Yes? In the back there?"
"I just wanted to say..." Dean faltered, his throat constricting just a little as he found every pair of eyes in the room upon him, "Jo's great."
Chuck nodded, sucking on his front teeth a little and beginning to shuffle the cards in his hand as he assumed that Dean's prepared speech had died on the starting block.
"Well," Chuck began, frowning as Dean's voice once more sliced through the hush.
"I... Dean never thought of Jo like a sister. I mean, he could practically draw you a roadmap of her ass, and that's just gross, lady," he scolded, glaring at the woman in question, who shrugged, "he was too afraid that being around him would get Jo hurt, especially after the whole Duluth thing, so he kept his distance."
'Anna' bobbed her head in agreement, visibly thrilled to have found an apparent kindred spirit.
"And," Dean continued, beginning to gather momentum as he noted several other audience members nodding at his words, "maybe Dean's happy to settle down. After spending six years in a car with a whiny kid brother and the same five albums on loop, wouldn't you be?"
A murmur of agreement rippled through the crowd, and Dean took a step forwards, whilst Jo sank against the wall, covering her face with both hands in embarrassment.
"Jo's different to the other girls. She understands Dean, and she doesn't try to change him..." Dean continued, jumping as 'Anna' interrupted.
"Like Lisa would have," she said, the snarl present on her face a dead give away as to the nature of her feelings towards that particular 'character'.
Dean arched an eyebrow in confusion, but nodded in agreement anyway, before his rant reached it's natural conclusion.
Pausing to shoot a glance at Jo, Dean took a deep breath and reached out to cup her cheek in his hand, his eyes burning into hers as he once again addressed the now enthralled audience.
"He just..." he began, thinking back over the events that had spurred on his confession to Jo back in Carthage, and two years that they had now spent together. Despite the continued fight against the forces of evil and the daily ongoing battle to save the innocent, the last two years had been the happiest of his life.
"Dean loves her, okay?" he stated simply, his tone becoming softer and adopting an uncharacteristic tenderness, "he loves her... more than anything."
Jo smiled, set to reply in kind, when Dean shattered the romantic reverie and jabbed his finger in warning toward the small crowd of self-confessed Jo haters, "so you can just shut your pie holes!"
A giggle of amusement escaped Jo's lips at such a characteristically Dean Winchester moment, and she reached up to loop her arms around his neck as he drew her closer and claimed her mouth in a searing kiss. Whilst his confession had lacked a certain 'Hallmark' quality, it had undoubtedly been heartfelt, and though they had exchanged those three little words on previous occasions, hearing him declare his love for her to a room full of arguably insane strangers could not help but tug at her heart.
A whoop of delight rose up around the room and several wolf-whistles were directed at the couple, who broke apart wearing suitably embarrassed blushes.
"Hey, I think Dean and Jo should have a baby!" one female voice yelled, causing Chuck to pause in awkward contemplation, and Dean and Jo to pale considerably as they awaited the literary deity's reply.
Scratching his chin, Chuck's lips curved into a frown and he set about trying to reason his way out of the request.
"You know... I don't think it's the time or the place for that right now," he shook his head resolutely, "but uh... thanks for your suggestion and I'll give that some thought for future series."
He gestured with his hand into the distance as an afterthought, "Way... way ahead in the series."
Jo and Dean exchanged relieved looks, the former shooting the woman who had spoken a murderous glare.
"I got a question!" a voice from the crowd yelled out, suddenly drawing all attention. The young man, wearing a costume that seemed an odd mixture of flannel plaid and the wardrobe of a tax accountant, climbed to his feet, evidently enjoying his moment in the spotlight.
"Yes?" Chuck said expectantly.
"Will there ever be a Supernatural novel that addresses the obvious homo-erotic tension that exists between Dean and Castiel?"
The dead silence was punctuated by the sound of Becky choking on a sip of water, as at her side Chuck's PA lowered her head into her hands. Chuck's mouth dropped open, and he appeared to falter for words.
"I need a drink," Dean growled, seizing Jo's hand and beginning to half drag her from the conference room, as she dissolved into inappropriate fits of laughter.
Chuck watched them leave with understanding, wishing for all the world that he could follow.
It was evident that Dean was still smarting from the eye opening experience that had been the Supernatural 'Q and A' forum, and Jo watched him continue to grumble under his breath with amusement.
"Homo-erotic..." he repeated for the twentieth time in as many minutes, "he's an angel of the Lord... is nothing sacred any more?"
Jo shrugged and drained the dregs of vodka from her glass, attempting to ignore the familiar warmth spreading up from her toes, and the blurry edge creeping across her vision. She slammed the glass down on the bar, and had just begun to beckon the bartender over when Becky reappeared at their side, her unwavering smile in place.
Wincing in genuine repentance, Becky folded her hands over the top of her stomach and regarded the obviously traumatised couple, "Things got kind of weird in there, huh?"
"You could say that," Dean agreed with a tight smile, "the crazies hate my girlfriend, Yogi back there thinks I'm a man-whore, and apparently I've got a freakin' man crush on Cas... I'd say that constitutes as weird."
Becky nodded in understanding, "The 'Destiel' fans are a pretty vocal bunch in the fandom."
"Des-... what?" Dean narrowed his eyes, holding up his hand in a gesture that communicated he really needed to hear no more, "you know what, I don't even wanna know."
"Hey, you think you had it rough," Jo groused, running her fingers through the ends of her hair and sighing at the memory, "I mean, what the hell did I do to them?"
Becky smiled weakly and patted Jo's shoulder, and both women glanced in Dean's direction as he cocked an eyebrow thoughtfully. He held his glass inches from his lips, as though preparing to impart a pearl of Winchester wisdom.
"Well, Dean's a very brooding, mysterious... manly, figure," he observed, ignoring their incredulous stares as he continued, "chicks dig that. I guess it got their panties in a bunch when he..."
"Curbed his man-whoring ways?" Jo interjected, smirking as Dean shot her a playfully malicious glare.
"Yeah, that'll be it," she guffawed, mourning the absence of the bartender more and more with each passing moment.
"Oh hey, here's Chuck!" Becky squealed, clapping her hands together excitedly as she saw him approach with a decidedly world weary expression that would not have looked out of place on a Vietnam Vet.
Before either party could verbalise a greeting, Becky seized him for an impromptu kiss, pulling him into a steamy clinch that left Dean and Jo ducking their heads and staring down diplomatically at their feet.
The couple broke apart after ten impossibly long seconds that Jo counted out in her head incredulously.
"Dean!" Chuck enthused, after the kiss had subsided and Becky was settled at his side, one arm draped around his waist. "So glad you could make it, buddy!"
"I wish I could say 'likewise'," Dean quipped, almost hesitantly grasping and then shaking the hand that Chuck offered him.
"Yeah, sorry about that whole scene back in there," Chuck murmured, his gaze ticking to Jo, who was now in the process of downing her second double vodka, minus any mixers.
"Don't worry about it," Dean replied, sighing as he shook his head, "I remember now how... interesting these things can get."
"It's really great to finally meet you Jo," Chuck enthused, turning to regard the hunter now, as she perched rather precariously on a barstool. She nodded and offered a brief, somewhat uncertain smile, before laying her second empty glass on the bar.
"Maybe you might wanna consider a little tonic in the next?" Chuck inquired nervously, chuckling as he added, "or, maybe just some ice?"
At Jo's pointed glare, he simply nodded, and glanced back down at Becky, who was watching Jo with amusement.
"Oh don't be a party pooper," Becky chided, gesturing to Jo with one hand, "besides, someone has to drink on my behalf."
Becky rested her hands on the mound of her stomach, and Chuck grinned as his closest hand joined hers.
"So, I see congratulations are in order," Dean observed, something in his smile wry as he nodded in the direction of Becky's bump. "Thought of any names yet?"
Becky opened her mouth to reply, but fell silent as Chuck interrupted.
"It's been a while Dean," he murmured, gazing at the man, something in his tone a little strained.
"Yeah," Dean all but whispered, a flicker of recognition behind his eyes, "it has..."
November 26th 2009
He hovered uncertainly over her shoulder, his indecision playing across his features as he watched her scroll the mouse down the screen to the very last page of the manuscript. Two-hundred and fifty-two pages had been all it had taken to seal Sam and Dean's fates forever, and in his moment of doubt, Chuck had called upon the person whose opinion he valued above all others.
Becky allowed her hand to drop away from the mouse, and simply stared at the screen, silent save for the odd hiccuping sob that escaped her. An empty box of Kleenex sat at her side, and the usually pristine carpet was strewn with wads of balled up paper that she had discarded, too engrossed to even think of aiming for the waste paper basket.
"So..." Chuck breathed, his tone quiet and unusually reflective, lacking in all it's usual buoyancy, "what do you think?"
Becky's mouth fell open and, in a moment of pause, she dabbed at her eyes with the last remaining Kleenex, before blowing her nose loudly. Her eyes were red rimmed, and the bottom of her nostrils flared, the skin pink; all were signs of the fit of sobbing she had just endured.
"It's... it's beautiful," Becky enthused, her bottom lips trembling as she added, "the way Jo turned Dean down because, although she still loved him, she wanted to mean more than just a one night stand... and how she didn't know that the only reason he asked was because he was afraid they'd lose the chance of their 'what if' forever."
Chuck nodded, removing his glasses and setting them down on the desk next to his fiancée.
"And then!" Becky chirruped, evidently not finished with her appraisal of Chuck's latest work, "the way Jo doesn't even think about sacrificing herself for Dean- not just because she knows the world needs him, but because she can't bare to think of a world without him... and... and... Ellen's refusal to leave her behind in those last moments because she didn't want Jo to be scared..."
Becky dissolved into a second flood of tears, reaching for Chuck's arm. He nodded again, patting her back soothingly as he waited with just a degree of impatience for her final verdict.
"But the best parts... Dean's conversation with Bobby on the radio..." Becky gulped, a near hysterical smile twisting her lips, "the way he's so broken... how he thinks he can't possibly hold it together any more, but he just has to because... Dean always has to..."
Chuck simply stared, allowing a few seconds to pass in silence, before daring to hope that Becky was reaching her conclusion soon.
"But nothing could compare to that kiss..." Becky finally hissed, her eyes screwing tight closed for a second before she appeared to regain some composure, "their first, and their last. The way Jo thinks of everything she could have in that final moment, and she's so sad, and she never knows that Dean is thinking of the same things... it was... it was heartbreaking! I think this is the best thing you've ever written, Chuck! The emotion, the... the way you write about Dean's feelings, how he finally realises how he feels about Jo, I mean... I..."
Chuck nodded, sitting down at her side and looking at her pensively.
"So, you like it?" he asked hopefully, having wrestled with the ending for some time, something always seeming a little off.
Becky bobbed her head, blowing her nose again on a Kleenex she plucked from beneath the sleeve of her sweater.
"It's just beautiful, Chuck," she repeated through her tears, but she paused as she saw his hand reach out to type the obligatory ending at the bottom of the page. "There's just one thing..."
"Okay..." Chuck frowned, dutifully withdrawing his hand as he watched Becky twist the ends of the tissue between her fingers.
"Does Jo really have to die?" she asked hopefully, not awaiting a reply before she began trying to reason him out of the present conclusion that she felt was far too tragic to be allowed to remain. "I mean, Dean loves her, like... he really loves her, Chuck, and then she... she just gets snatched away, and..."
She sniffled, using the back of her hand to catch the tears dripping down her cheek as she found the Kleenex was already sodden.
"Well, that's kind of always been the plan for Dean," Chuck arched an eyebrow, wondering if this was the reason he had been filled with doubt; perhaps the ending was indeed not quite right.
"And I get that, I get that it's like Mary and John and... and Sam and Jess, but... hasn't Dean been through enough?" she pointed out, her tone betraying the slightest trace of anger as she added, "doesn't he deserve a little happiness?"
Chuck puffed his cheeks out and blew out an unsteady breath, pondering over Becky's question and her wording; surely Dean 'deserved' happiness. Mulling over all the implications of her words, Chuck became lost in his thoughts of all the sacrifices the Winchester boys had made in the fight for heaven. Even in the face of deceit and misdirection from a host of celestial beings, their commitment to the cause had never wavered. Perhaps Becky had a point.
"You know, I've never really liked any of the other women you wrote in for Dean. I mean, Cassie..." Becky screwed up her nose and shook her head dismissively, "Lisa... ughh, so wrong for Dean, and sweetie, you should never write drunk, because you had a couple of beers after the Super Bowl and then that whole Anna thing happened..."
Her tone was derisive, causing a blush to rise up Chuck's cheeks as she shook her head in disapproval.
"But I like Jo... she's his perfect match. You need to give them a chance, Chuck... please? For me?"
Chuck rested his chin on his hand and twisted his mouth into a contemplative frown.
"That was how I intended her to be read..." he conceded, "but... this is... this is done, Becky."
He watched as she nodded her head sadly at his inference, knowing that the events on the screen had already tragically played out in Dean's life.
"But that doesn't have to be the end," she replied, her tone softening as she gestured toward the screen, where those two final words were glaringly absent, "it's not the word of God yet."
A small smile crept over her lips, and she placed her hand on his wrist and squeezed.
"So... bagels or muffins?" she asked brightly, about to make a stop at their favourite coffee shop for breakfast; a cunning ploy on her part in order to leave Chuck alone with his thoughts.
"Uh... bagels," Chuck replied absently, staring at the screen as Becky vacated her seat and pressed a kiss to his cheek.
Pausing in the doorway, her purse in her hands, Becky shot a final glance at her fiancé and smiled at him in adoration and implicit trust. "You'll do the right thing, Chuck- I know you will."
It was some time after Becky's departure before Chuck eased himself up from his chair, and padded towards the kitchen, having decided to contemplate his decision more over an early morning glass of Scotch. To say that he was in turmoil over the new plot twist was an understatement, and Chuck had spent many evenings since devising the storyline lying awake in his bed, pondering on whether it truly was necessary to allow Dean's fate to take such a decidedly cruel turn. Whilst there was much that Dean still had to learn before his journey drew to an end, Chuck had wondered if there was perhaps some other way to deliver those lessons, without robbing the boy of his one true chance at happiness.
But the words had been written nonetheless, and Chuck thought that taking them back now would cause him a great deal more stress than simply allowing them to remain. However, something more than just the insistence of his fiancée had prevented him from as of yet making his will final, and as Chuck gathered a glass and the bottle from the kitchen, he racked his brain hard to determine what exactly the problem was.
That was the moment that Dean Winchester crashed through his front door, glass shattering and ornaments flying from the shelves that had been located nearby. Chuck let out a low curse, and shuffled into the lounge to survey the damage still clutching his half filled glass. Taking a sip, Chuck drank in the sight of the man, now sitting on the floor amidst the broken splinters of wood, looking so utterly desolate and fractured that Chuck downed his Scotch in one gulp.
"Dean," he observed, tone level and soft. Dean's head whipped up, and he glared at Chuck through red-rimmed eyes that were the result of almost seven solid days of crying.
Although Chuck had not written those scenes, (unimportant as they were to the grand scheme of things), he was aware of every last detail; from how Dean's very first tears had fallen at exactly two thirty-six am when the embers of Bobby's fire had eventually died, to how he had punched his fist through the side window of the Impala when Sam had turned on the radio, and the strains of REO Speedwagon had filled the car. Chuck knew it all.
"Bring her back!" Dean demanded, climbing to his feet and advancing upon Chuck, who recoiled in evident horror as he found himself seized by the throat.
"What? I can't... I mean..." Chuck stammered, dropping the glass from his hand and wincing as it hit the floor, where it smashed into jagged pieces.
Dean glowered down at him, hoisting him up by the collar as he nodded his head in affirmation, his eyes wild and filled with such fury that Chuck found it impossible to hold his gaze.
"I know what you are," Dean snarled, grabbing Chuck's jaw and whipping his head up to force him to meet his eyes.
"How did you..." Chuck began, his expression stunned as Dean tossed his head dismissively.
"Let's just say a little birdie told me right after I threatened to shove his halo up his ass," Dean spat. "So is this how you get your rocks off, huh Chuck? Crapping on the little people? Coercing the poor bastards into doing 'your will' and then systematically destroying every last good thing in their life... 'Ever merciful and loving'?" Dean scoffed, his grip on the man's throat increasing, and his fingers beginning to dig painfully into Chuck's skin.
Chuck winced as Dean shoved him harder up against the wall. He was clearly utilising the very last of his resolve and will power not to strangle the man with his bare hands, not that the gesture would have done much good.
"You wouldn't hit a deity..." Chuck pleaded, cowering as Dean pulled his fist back, as if to prove a point, "you would, huh? How about a deity with glasses?"
The blinding pain that suddenly plagued Chuck's jaw told him otherwise, and he hurtled to the floor as Dean's fist collided mercilessly with his face. He found himself sprawled on the ground, feebly wiping blood from his nose with the back of his hand.
"You're God- the God... and this is the best you can do? Some book geek with bad hair and bifocals?" Dean taunted, picking up Chuck's glasses from the floor and eyeing them in disdain before he tossed them to the ground to join the remains of the Scotch glass and several ornaments.
Chuck looked momentarily affronted, "Well, I did briefly consider Brad Pitt as a vessel, but... Angelina scares me, and the whole God/Adonis thing just seemed so cliché."
He suddenly glanced up from his confession as the crunch of metal and glass alerted him to the fact that his glasses were now in a tangled mess beneath Dean's boot.
"I've smote people for less than that," Chuck declared, his threats appearing hollow as he peered up in distinct fear at the man towering over him.
"I don't care," Dean said, shrugging, a strange, complacent smile appearing on his lips as he stared down at Chuck. His eyes were haunted and devoid of life, "Do it. Put me out of my misery, because this life... this pathetic excuse for an existence you've been inflicting on me... none of it matters any more."
He stared down at the ground, as if trying to reign in his emotions. "What did she do to you, huh? Or is it me... you do it to get to me? To make me suffer? Well, you know what... I quit. I'm done fighting your battles whilst you hide out in suburbia and play Jessica Fletcher... I'm done with you, you sorry son of a bitch."
Chuck climbed uneasily to his feet and stared at the pitiful wreck of a man before him, and soon found himself overcome with guilt. Dean's arrival at his door had been an unexpected plot twist, and one he had not himself foreseen. Combined with Becky's hatred of his ending, and his own sense of unease with the manuscript, he wondered if perhaps this time, he had gotten things very wrong.
Dean shook his head, not even attempting to brush away the tears that had begun to spill freely from his eyes.
"I know you can bring her back... I know you can," he stated, although his tone betrayed just how devoid of hope he actually was.
Chuck shook his head, readying his half-hearted argument as to why events could not be re-written, when one whispered word finally broke his resolve.
"Sit down Dean," Chuck murmured, gesturing to the couch, the one piece of furniture in the room that had not been overturned by the hunter's entrance.
For a moment, Dean shook his head as though poised to refuse, but then sank down onto the cushions without a word. Rather reluctantly, Chuck perched at Dean's side, a nervous chuckle escaping his lips. He rested his hands on his knees, toying with his sweatpants.
"Why does this matter so much to you, Dean?" Chuck inquired, his voice ringing now with a new authority. "This is a big ask. To take back an entire week, and an act that Fate has already carried out. To re-write such an important event... it's never been done before... why should I start now?"
Dean turned to Chuck, the bags beneath his eyes startlingly visible against the ashen pallor of his skin. The last time Dean had slept for more than a half hour before the nightmares had claimed him was several days ago. Sam and Bobby were both concerned, but grief by now had become such a usual part of their lives, that they did not even bother exchanging the tried and tested old clichés regarding time being a great healer; they both simply decided to ride out the storm.
"I won't... I can't do this without her..." Dean murmured, eyes sweeping Chuck's face desperately. "I can't lose her."
Chuck shook his head, a sad smile playing across his lips as he said slowly, "Dean, you never had her. All that horsing around... pretending the emotions weren't there because you were too afraid of what would happen if you let yourself really feel anything."
"So that's what this is about?" Dean demanded, the spark of his anger reigniting as he leaned forwards, "making me feel? Punishing me? Well... congratulations, objective achieved... I'm feelin'... now give her back!"
"No, that's not what this was about," Chuck stammered, shaking his head, "I may have a plan for you all, Dean, but the way you face life... that's all your own doing. Your inability to love, to let yourself be vulnerable... that's not some pre-destined character bio, it's what you have allowed yourself to become. So I changed your plot a little, and I let you meet Jo."
Dean listened mutely, his head bowed as tears slipped from his eyes and splashed onto the same pair of jeans he had been wearing since his return from Carthage.
"Sometimes, two souls are created to be such a perfect match for each other that they slot together like pieces of a puzzle," Chuck explained, threading his fingers together to illustrate his point. He was unable to hide the reverent and undeniably proud lilt his voice had adopted. "Sometimes, the paths their lives follow cross, and the two destinies become intertwined. Sometimes, they both live out their lives not even aware the other exists because it's not in their plan; maybe they're perfectly happy, maybe not. And sometimes, they meet - but the electricity that should fuse them together just isn't enough... they pass each other by, because one soul has changed too much over the course of their life, and that 'fit' isn't so perfect any more. I have to do what I can to make sure it finds it's way back to what it should have been all along. Because some souls are fated, Dean... there is a 'meant to be'. That's why I kept throwing the pair of you together, but you're more stubborn than I first thought. You made it impossible for anybody to break down that wall you've built up around yourself. You denied your feelings until all chances had been wasted... and loss... loss is the only emotion you'll let yourself feel any more."
Dean glared at Chuck incredulously, "You killed her because you wanted me to get in touch with my feelings?"
Chuck ignored Dean's accusation and he stared down at the ground, resting his chin on his hands as he thought over the prospect of a divine rewrite; something never previously attempted.
"If I do this, Dean..." Chuck began, noting how Dean's head snapped up at his words, and he affixed him with a hopeful expression.
"I gotta quit being such a stupid, emotionally stunted, jackass..." Dean finished, nodding his head vehemently as he was prepared to agree to any terms Chuck might lay out, "I'm more than okay with that."
"I wasn't gonna put it quite like that, but yeah," Chuck agreed, standing up and beginning to pace the room, "if I do this... she'll have a destiny to live out, Dean, the destiny she was originally born to fulfil... beside you."
Dean swallowed hard and simply nodded, his voice breaking as he realised he was perhaps edging closer to persuading the deity of his intentions.
"Chuck, if you bring her back, I swear to... well, to you..." he arched an eyebrow and continued on, his tone now solemn and heartfelt,"I'll love her until the day I die."
Chuck observed Dean; the slump of his shoulders, the self-loathing set of his jaw, and now the faintest glimmer of hope alive in his eyes. With a wry smile, Chuck considered the title of his current piece; he guessed that would need reworking also.
"That's all I needed, Dean," he assured softly, "that's all I've ever needed."
In less than several strides, Chuck had crossed the room and settled himself before his computer. Shooting a final glance at Dean, who nodded, Chuck pressed down on the 'delete' key, and watched in awe as the carefully planned destinies on the page began to unravel.
"Is it done?" Dean demanded, peering anxiously over Chuck's shoulder. The writer leaned back in his seat and interlocked his hands behind his neck, crossing his legs as he continued to stare at the computer screen with an impassive expression. Although he had always hated to admit his own margin for error, Chuck could not help thinking that his new re-write was a vast improvement on the first draft. Even the title had begun to grow on him.
"Yep," Chuck replied simply, noting the disbelieving look on Dean's face with amusement. "Really didn't expect me to change my mind, did you Dean?"
Shooting Chuck a somewhat nervous glance, Dean slowly shook his head. He felt no different, the heavy weight of guilt and grief weighing combined on his heart still. Not a single thing around them looked to have changed, and as of yet there had been no signs that the wrongs in his world had been righted.
As Dean debated this, his cell phone vibrated to life in his pocket, and Dean pulled it out of his jeans in order to stare at the display. His mouth dropped open as the name 'Jo' flashed repeatedly.
"H-hello?" murmured Dean, raising the cell to his ear, his eyes wide as he gazed at Chuck.
"Dean?" the familiar female voice from the other end called out, clearly irritated. "You gonna be in there all day, or what?"
"You got what you wanted Dean," Chuck said quietly, in order to prevent Jo from overhearing. He patted Dean on the back as he passed him by, preparing to clean up the ruins of the lounge before Becky returned.
He shot Dean a warning glance, that was not entirely unkind as he added, "This time, don't waste it."
Dean did not move, his eyes impossibly wide as Jo continued to call his name from the other end of the phone, her tone rapidly altering from annoyance to concern.
"Dean? Dean, answer me!" she demanded, fear inflecting her voice; the last time Dean had heard that voice, it had been saying goodbye to him in a pained whisper that had shattered his heart.
"What are you waiting for?" Chuck inquired, a smile rising to his lips as he stood next to the window and pointed outside to the Impala. Slowly, the passenger side door opened, and Jo Harvelle clambered out into the street. From beneath the hem of her shirt, a thick bandage peaked out, encircling her abdomen and the wound that had never claimed her life. Jo squinted as she peered up at the house, the door of which was hanging off the hinges, and it was as she started towards Chuck's home that he spoke again.
"Be happy, Dean," he murmured, watching the hunter swipe at the tears that slid down his cheeks once more. "Before you know it, the ride will be over."
With that, Dean allowed the cell to clatter from his hand, but he did not bend to retrieve it as he spun on his heel and ran faster than he ever had before toward his destiny.
November 19th 2011
"Is it everything you thought it would be, Dean?" Chuck inquired, his voice suitably hushed as he and Dean stood watching Becky and Jo involved in their animated conversation at the bar. The latter was undeniably drunk, and this seemed to be aiding the sudden camaraderie that had sprung up between the two women.
"I thought you were all-knowing?" Dean teased, shifting his weight uncomfortably from one foot to the other.
"I am... usually," Chuck informed him wryly, a strangely disturbed smile tugging at his lips, "but every time I dropped by to check up on you two, I found myself... blushing..."
"Well, we're pretty affectionate, what can I say?"
"Dean?" Chuck shot him a mildly scolding smile that Dean knew demanded a proper answer, and so glancing back at the woman at the bar, he replied with the truth Chuck deserved.
"It's uh... it's so much better," he replied honestly, his smile betraying his disbelief at the reprieve he had been granted; the second chance he had never believed would come.
Chuck smiled, an all encompassing smile that seemed to cast the entire room in a warm and genial glow, "I'm glad, Dean..."
Jamming his hands in his pockets, he gestured over toward Jo, who was walking back over to join them, her arm linked through Becky's. Suddenly, his fiancée's words resonated in Chuck's mind and he decided to give them voice, "You deserve to find happiness."
Dean smiled a self-deprecating smile, his head turning to his side as Jo appeared next to him and he wrapped his arm firmly around her shoulders.
"Thank you," Dean said quietly, his tone as reverent as he could muster, and as Becky and Jo continued their conversation, he quickly voiced a concern that had been plaguing him.
"You weren't planning on..." he began, finding himself instantly silenced as Chuck shook his head firmly. Jo would not be taken from him again- of that he wanted Dean to be certain.
"Not in my grand plan, Dean," Chuck assured him, "I think one rewrite is enough, don't you?"
"Yeah, yeah I do," Dean agreed, his attention suddenly seized by Jo, as she leant into his side and wrapped her arm around his waist.
"You doing okay there, sweetheart?" he asked with a smirk, as Jo simply grinned in response and snuggled into his arms. He gathered her to his chest and brushed a kiss against the crown of her head, and Chuck could not help but note the look of tenderness and mutual adoration that passed between the two.
"So uh, when's the happy event?" Dean asked, nodding down toward Becky's stomach, which she patted with a distinctly maternal glow colouring her cheeks.
"Six weeks to go!" Becky said excitedly, as Dean smiled in amusement and glanced over toward Chuck, who was obviously just as excited about the impending arrival as his fiancée.
"Christmas? Again? You got something against a summer baby?" The hunter laughed, suddenly adopting a more serious expression as he bestowed a genuine smile upon the couple, "But seriously guys, congratulations."
"Thanks," Chuck could not contain the euphoric smile that broke out across his features, "it's uh... it's kind of a second chance for me, I guess. I was a pretty absent father the first time around, I want it to be different with this kid. So, I'm reading the books, we're going to Lamaze..."
Dean found himself not quite sure how to respond, but his curiosity gnawed away at him nonetheless.
"You uh... you ever see...?" he asked, clearing his throat as he found voicing the name aloud to be utterly ridiculous.
Chuck rubbed the back of his neck and bobbed his head in a shrug, "Sure. Sometimes. Mostly on the holidays... birthdays, that kind of thing."
Dean gaped, faltering for words as he tried to comprehend this new information, "So, he's..."
"Well, right now, he's consulting for a software company out in Toledo," Chuck informed him, either missing or diplomatically ignoring the bewildered expression on Dean's face, "kid's a whizz with computers, no idea where he gets that from."
"He's super excited about his sister, of course," Chuck added, exchanging beaming smiles with Becky, "we know the age gap's problematic, but we're hoping they're gonna be close."
"It's sometimes a little... awkward... with step-families," Becky supplied helpfully, as Dean appeared to be floundering further and further in the conversation that was becoming more surreal by the second.
"So," Becky cajoled Jo gently, as the blonde had been uncharacteristically quiet, and appeared to be desperately fighting back alcohol induced yawns, "you guys thinking about the pitter-patter of little feet, yet?"
Jo lifted her head from Dean's chest and surveyed him thoughtfully.
"We're too busy thinking about the pitter-patter of big, scary demon feet right now," she supplied, shrugging apologetically at the woman, who seemed visibly deflated by the reply.
"Maybe it won't always be like that," Chuck stated matter of factly, watching with satisfaction as Dean digested his words with a faraway smile, and a slightly disbelieving nod of his head.
"We'd really love to stay and chat," Becky interjected, her smile conspiratorial as she glanced up at Chuck, "but we have to be at a fan dinner in ten minutes. We'll see you guys later."
The couple departed arm in arm, Jo waving and grinning happily as an after effect of the vodka she had been downing all night. Dean had reason to suspect that the bartender had been turning her doubles into triples, but he refrained from saying as much since Jo appeared to be having a good time.
However, as the couple moved towards the dining room, where a throng of convention-goers still in full garb had collected around the buffet table, Jo stumbled and Dean threw out his arms to steady her. An amused smile twitched at his lips, and Dean encircled his arm around Jo's waist.
"Are you drunk, Harvelle?" he demanded in mock disdain, watching as Jo bobbed her head.
"Just a little," she lisped, giggling as Dean's eyebrows shot up.
"Huh," he observed, pausing before sweeping Jo up into his arms, "would it be wrong if I took advantage of that?"
Jo giggled happily in reply, looping her arms around his neck as he strode into the waiting elevator, and they both chose to ignore the curious glances of the other guests.
The woman wearing a giant teddy bear costume tried her best to flatten herself against the wall, sidestepping Jo's foot as the heel of her boot narrowly missed striking her ear.
"Sorry," Jo giggled even more, watching the elevator's progress up the three floors with impatience.
Biting her lip, Jo cast a brief glance at the two other guests and then turned to peer up mischievously at Dean, her brown eyes sparkling with clear intent.
"What?" he inquired, eyes roving her body in anticipation of the evening ahead. Jo smirked and licked her lips, leaning up and inching her mouth closer to his as her fingertips traced his jaw and she murmured approvingly as they sank into a hungry kiss. Her inhibitions dulled considerably by the alcohol coursing through her system, Jo gripped the fabric of Dean's shirt in her fist and groaned as he deepened the kiss.
A high pitched dinging heralded the opening of the elevator doors, and Dean smiled smugly at the human teddy bear and black eyed demon, before he hoisted Jo further up into his arms and carried her down the hallway toward their room.
"Key card?" Jo panted between kisses, gasping as his lips began to explore the curve of her neck.
"Pocket," Dean directed, an audible hiss escaping him as Jo smirked and dug her hand further into the pocket of his jeans and gripped him tightly, "back... back pocket."
Breathing rapidly, he watched her slot the key card into the lock and open the door. Striding into the room, Dean kicked the door closed with a resounding thud and waggled his eyebrows as he tossed Jo onto the centre of the bed before he lowered himself above her. Grabbing hold of Dean's collar, Jo inched further up the bed and dragged him along with her, about to sink into another lingering kiss when she spied a book on the pillow.
Dean frowned, reaching out and lifting the paperback novel from the bed, and scooting up beside Jo as he examined the front cover with interest. The book was around the size and thickness of a textbook, and the cover art depicted a familiar black Impala.
Leaning her head on Dean's shoulder, Jo read the title aloud with a smile, "The Road So Far – A Guide To The Supernatural Universe by Carver Edlund."
Dean chuckled, opening the book and finding a small, yet poignant dedication in the centre of the first page.
As he held Jo in his arms, he read the words aloud;
'For D and J. Two souls, fated to travel the road together.'