Title: ANOTHER PLACE, ANOTHER TIME
Author: charmingsyrai
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairing: Dean/Jo (that's the plan)
Rating: PG-13 (the first chapter anyway)
Warnings: When you have me writing and our boy Dean being written? Lots of bad language and f-words…
Spoilers: Well, takes place a few years after 'No Exit' so yeah, I'd imagine so.
Summary: Two years ago it was "wrong place, wrong time" - what about now? Maybe two years is what it takes for the girl to grow up?

Disclaimer? Oh yeah, as if I'd actually share Dean with you guys if he was mine ::mutters:: exactly. I only own the poor lil characters you've never seen in the show, oki?
What? Inspired by 'make us like jo' challenge made by fergus80 back at NWP. Blame goes there, seriously, her fault ::nods nods nods::
Author's Note: Ok, so yeah... I like Jo, sort of. I mean, sure, she's ok - has lots of potential, me thinks - but I truly don't think she has what it takes to actually be with Dean, not the way she is at the moment. Too young, too naive, and just… little bit too everything ::snorts:: I blame Veronica Mars though. BY GONES.

Anyway, back to the point; since I like her and I'd really, really, really like to see her character grow and develop, I figured I might as well give it a go. Hope you like my take on her… don't know if it makes you like her any better, heh, but it did work for me :D And honestly, that's the most important thing 'cause HEY, I'm the one writing::grin::

I'm actually a little unsure about this piece, eh, but hopefully it's not a total mess, hee:D Just note that it's been a few years and the changes (if there's those, heh) in characters will be explained. Hopefully, eh.

All hail (or whatever) WONDERTROSS who patiently tried to work with my poor, poor, poor grammar and spelling.. all the mistakes left are mine alone, heh.

ANOTHER PLACE, ANOTHER TIME

PART 1: Wednesday

Jo Harvelle, she had always hated Wednesdays… passionately. In fact, she hated them even more than Mondays (although honestly, they were pretty damn brutal too) or public restrooms that hadn't been cleaned for months and months and therefore smelled down right unbearable.

She had never really figured out what it was about Wednesdays that ticked her off so badly, but it probably had something to do with the fact it was the damned day in the middle of the week. The one day saying yes, I know you've worked hard, and you're exhausted, and broken, but guess what? You're gonna have to work just as much to be done with it.

The day, besides being a royal pain in the ass, always seemed to mock her one way or another, any way it could.

Take this Wednesday for example. It was only three in the afternoon and so far everything that could possibly go wrong, had. First of all, it was pouring like a goddamn rainforest. Okay, yeah, it didn't sound like that big of a deal. She liked the rain in general; it was soothing, relaxing and all that shit... but when there was a fucking creature of some kind running around the city, starting fires and killing people, and you were the one supposed to catch the son of a bitch, well, then the last thing you wanted was for it to rain.

The weather was already making her feel crappy, but hell, of course that didn't cut it. You wish. It had been around noon when Sawyer had called to apologize, saying she was stuck in Michigan and it would take at least a day, maybe even two, before she could get to San Francisco to lend a hand. Great. That of course left Jo with absolutely no one to back her up on this gig. It wasn't that she thought she couldn't handle this thing on her own, she knew she could, but she wasn't stupid either. Dad had usually hunted alone, yeah, okay, but he'd also made it clear one should never choose to do so… you just need someone you trust to back you up, ok, kiddo?

Someone you trust, he'd said. It's either that or you do it alone, anything else won't do.

Right… It was somewhat ironic, when you thought about it.

But Jo, she rarely did.

A flickering light caught her attention for a moment, returning the girl back to gray reality with a slight startle. Oh, fuck, didn't Matthew just change that lamp a few weeks ago? Pulling herself away from the bar counter she'd been leaning against, she rotated her stiff shoulders and sighed, looking around. The light flickered once more before going out, leaving the tired girl alone in the dim bar.

The always more or less draughty bar was empty, not a soul to be seen anywhere, which was just so fucking typical. The curse of Wednesdays, for sure. Not a single hunter around, not today, when she could've actually used the company and wouldn't really have minded the help, either. Even Matt wasn't around, he'd gone on a hunt with his old friend (whose name Jo couldn't recall) a week ago, which meant it was just her there taking care of the joint, all alone. It was ok, it was something she liked and knew how to do. Seriously, she'd grown up in a damn bar, had she not?

She sighed more heavily this time, grabbing the cloth from beneath the counter and started scrubbing the wooden level forcefully, completely ignoring the fact it was exactly what she'd been doing ever since she'd entered the place in the morning. Well, at least Matt couldn't accuse her of not keeping the place clean, right?

For whatever reason, cleaning the bar always managed to calm Jo's nerves like nothing else could. Then again, she'd tended the bar back at Roadhouse all the time so it was as natural to her as breathing… Though, the downside of it all was that at the moment just the simple sight of an old jukebox by the door was enough to make her too damn nostalgic. At least back at home there'd always been trustworthy people around, if not in the bar, then nearby or just a call away. Here in San Francisco things seemed to be different.

But that's why you left and came here, isn't it? Yeah, well, maybe so, but as it turned out different wasn't always good. But she wasn't complaining, not really. It'd been her choice and it had done her good to get away from Roadhouse, away from… well, just get away and live her own life the way she wanted to live it. Mom, she'd never understood why her daughter would choose the kind of life that involved hunts and danger, demons and worst of all, a poor paycheck. Truth be told, Jo didn't either.

She'd actually never thought about it that much; it had just been so clear to her ever since she was a little girl that this, hunting, would be her future. Her destiny and heritage, all in one neat package. When she was a kid, she always pictured herself there with Mom and Dad, hunting, killing things. Saving people. Even then Ellen had never really liked the idea. In fact, she'd been strongly making it known there was, 'no way in hell my daughter', would walk the same road her parents had taken. But Jo knew Dad had felt differently and that made all the difference. He'd seen that same image in his head that Jo had, and it'd been him to train and support the girl through it all. He'd had such high hopes, you know?

And the little girl within her... all she'd ever wanted was to live up to them. So it wasn't that surprising that when uncle, why do you still call them all uncles, Jo, Matt had visited Roadhouse two years ago and accidentally witnessed the angry girl punch a guy who'd been groping her non-stop all evening, he'd blurted out the one plan Ellen had secretly hoped none of the hunters would ever come up with.

Say, why don't I take our Jo with me back home and finish her training?

Ellen had faked a smile and gone with simple, no thanks, Matt, I appreciate the offer, but I'd much rather she stayed here.

What had Jo said?

Nothing. She'd done a happy dance, actually. After which she'd been forced to do a lot of persuading, 'cause none of the hunters was stupid enough to act against Ellen's wishes... but there was no limit to Jo's persistence when it came to this particular battle.

Ellen had been furious, of course, but Jo had been too damn angry with her to care. Or maybe that was part of why she'd actually gone with Matt in the first place? It'd simply been too soon; only few weeks after their big, fat catfight. The fight about Dad, about her future, about the Winchesters. Really, it'd been a fight about everything and anything; no words held back, all barricades breaking.

She could still remember every bitter word exchanged and just thinking about it made something twist and turn inside her. Guilt probably.

Ellen had demanded Jo go back to school, because she wanted her to be safe and have a normal life. The kind you deserved, honey. Only Jo hadn't translated it quite like that, no. The message she'd heard in her head went more along the lines of, Jo, go back to school, you're not good enough to do this, not strong enough, ok? Go play with girls' toys and leave the boys do the boys' work.

As expected, the message she'd thought she heard hadn't pleased her and Jo had screamed how school life wasn't meant for her.

I'm not normal and I don't fucking wanna be.

Instead she'd demanded she be allowed to participate in the hunts

I'm not a fucking kid anymore, Mom.

Finally, with nothing else left to say, Ellen had stated it was John's fault her husband was dead. Jo'd been shocked at first, but it had been instinct forcing her to say it wasn't the Winchesters' fault their father had fucked up, it was John's…

It really didn't matter what either of them said, the other always found a way to reverse it somehow… but then Ellen had delivered the finishing blow. It's all about trust, Jo. Don't you get it? What it comes down to is the fact that I do not trust them to watch your back, because at the end of the day, they will not choose you. It had been like a fucking punch in the nose.

She hated admitting that her mother's words had left her thinking... unsure… angry. Angry with herself, angry with her mother... and with the Winchesters.

They will choose each other over you, Jo. It's just the way it is.

It had hurt. She wasn't all too sure why, but it had and she'd been stupid enough, immature enough, to take it out on Dean in lack of a better target

Yeah, neither of the brothers had ever returned the Roadhouse after that. It pained her, knowing it was somehow her fault the boys had yet again lost a place where they'd actually felt at home. She comforted herself with the thought that maybe they'd been in contact with Ash... but she couldn't tell for sure because Doctor Badass never mentioned either of the Winchesters during their weekly phone calls. She'd actually been very close to asking (countless of times if she was going to be honest about it), but somehow the words never got out.

It's all in the past now.

Where it belonged.

'Sides, don't you have a nasty demon to hunt or what?

Indeed she did.

0000

When Sam had told Dean they should take a break and stay at some place for a few days, Dean had been practically jumping through the roof. A break, finally! Yeah, it hadn't even occured to the elder Winchester that Sam would still want to spend all their time at the library, studying.

Yes, studying.

He'd had hard time believing it himself, which was funny considering the the fact it was pretty much par for the course. Lately Sam had done nothing but spend his time glued to the laptop or reading mythological nonsense. No matter where they were, always the same thing.

No, of course it wasn't enough; the fact they seemed to run into a new kind of monster in every damned town they went, like that stupid freakin' man-eating tree they'd just chopped into pieces two days ago, but Sam... oh, Sammy actually kept looking for new hunts to add to their forever growing to-do-list. He'd truly decided to erase the world from evil or whatever.

Ok, sure, it was a nice and admirable cause, but still... come on, a break meant some time off from all demons and creatures, did it not?

Someone coughed a few times nearby and as always, his head shot up from the book lying on the table to seek out his brother, to make sure there was no evident threat endangering their safety, his safety. Dean glanced around, slowly.

Guess old habits die hard, right Dean?

Well, everything seemed to be in perfect order.

'Cept for Sam, 'cause hell, he'd been out there somewhere for the past two years and sometimes Dean wondered if that was a good thing or bad thing. Most of the time he actually missed the old Sam; the rebellious youngster who'd wanted more than this, more than what his brother had. He missed the Sam who'd wanted something better for himself.

Weird huh?

"No kidding," he muttered.

It wasn't that Dean didn't enjoy hunting with Sam, but, well. When Sam wasn't going through Internet, desperately trying to find some new hints and leads, then he was here, at the library going through old folklore and stuff just for fun. For background info. Seriously, what the hell was all that about?

It was fucking insane. He was fucking insane.

And shit, you're fucking insane too, man, cause you're letting the freak drag you around, from one place to another, day after day, week after another.

Seriously, Dean needed a real break. It was a nice day, the weather wasn't too bad and he was feeling generally good. Even the beloved Impala had been cleaned from the inside out. It was all shiny now with its new tires and everything. Even the car had gotten a break, for fuck's sake. They should've been out there, in a bar or whatever, meeting chicks and relaxing for a change. Hell, even watching old grainy VHRs in some crappy motel room would've been swell. That's where they should've been, damn it.

Not in some goddamn library going through- "Fucking urban legends," Dean muttered under his breath, slamming the book shut with force. In the otherwise silent space, the noise seemed irritatingly loud and startled even those who weren't anywhere near the two brothers. Sam, who was standing in front of a high-built desk with his laptop open, what else is new, only glanced over his shoulder with a scolding look and a long "shhhh, dude, I don't wanna get kicked out again."

Yeah, well, Dean did.

Scrubbing his face with both hands, he leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes. Every muscle in his body was aching painfully, calling for a hot shower, crying. And hell, if that one wish didn't come true any time soon, Sam would have one very pissed off Dean to deal with.

God, the week had already been a painful 7 days, with Sam being arrested for fucking vandalism and grave-robbing, and Dean trying to bust him out - legally - without giving away his cover. The government had declared Dean Winchester dead, after all, and strangely, he kind of liked it that way.

Oh well, it wasn't all in vain, at least the brothers had learned something important, or Sam had, really. Seriously, never waste your one phone call on Dean. There's better ways to do it; you might as well go and hang yourself, honestly.

But as always, the boys - Dean, mostly - had dealt with the issue like the true professionals they were. After a lot of lying, arm-twisting and bribing Dean had finally been able to get the charges dropped and Sam had walked free.

Sam owed him 500 bucks for that one, though.

"Fuck this, I'm done," he exclaimed finally, opening his eyes again and pushing the book further on the table. It was still too close, damn it... He could still see it.

Sam didn't seem to notice his brother's annoyance, or if he did, he was successfully ignoring it. No, he just kept staring at the stupid fucking screen without saying anything.

Getting no reaction only added to Dean's annoyance and so he got up and walked to Sam, peeking over his shoulder just to see what it was that had managed to nab his attention for so long.

It had better be porn. Seriously, it's the only reason good enough for you to treat me like this, Sammy.

"Ok, hold on, just one more minute," Sam announced calmly, eyes still on the screen when Dean appeared behind his back. He was moving one from site to another so fast that it only took a few minutes before Dean got bored again. No, definitely not porn.

"Come on, let's go," he groaned, tapping Sam's back to push the message further into his brain, but the only reply he got was a somewhat absent-minded "yeah, yeah, just a sec".

Yeah, right. Knowing there was no way to tear Sam away from the laptop without hurting either Sam, himself or the precious laptop (and the last two really needed to be intact to do their work properly) Dean just shrugged and walked back to the table grabbing his worn leather jacket from the back of the chair. Having nothing else to do, he sat back down, only this time on the table and with folded arms and just glared at Sam's back cursing him to hell and back. Well no, not back, just to hell.

You can always punch him later, you know. Yeah, that sounded good; it would at least make him feel a little bit better, and Sam damn well deserved it after all the trouble and pain. Dean even had bruises to prove-

Huh? It was the bewitching scent of perfume smacking against his face out of nowhere that made Dean's mind switch gear and focus on the present moment again. Before he could even think about turning to look around to locate the target, the nicely curved source of that said scent appeared and walked by him... without so much as glancing to her side.

Holy hell, had she just walked past him, past Dean Winchester, not even noticing him, like, at all? What the-

Ah, of course. It figures.

The girl had indeed walked past him, but not past Sam; not without a shielded glance to her side that she probably thought no one noticed, but ah, wrong, sweetheart.

Suddenly he felt a lot better again. That did explain everything, after all. The girl was obviously more into pretty boys than, you know, good-looking fellows like himself, but it was a-okay.

No biggie, her loss.

Actually, it could even be a good thing... "Sammy, dude," Dean spoke when the girl was out of ear-shot, "that lady just checked your ass."

That caught Sam's attention better than his earlier attempts. Yeah, great, I can feel the love, Sammy, but it sill received nothing more but a stony "shut up".

"No, seriously," Dean insisted with his trademark smirk all over his face, "she did." Come on, Sammy, humor me a little here, will you? It'd been, well, it'd been ages since Sam had actually hooked up with anyone and Dean was seriously starting to worry about the guy. When was the last time he'd gotten laid, huh? Not that he would've kept count, you know, but if Sam wasn't taking care of himself, someone had to...

And well, he was the idiot's big brother, wasn't he? Yeah, it sorta made it his job, so. "Come on Sammy, go after her," he pleaded and though it sounded like a joke, they both knew it was anything but.

"Seriously," Sam replied instantly, "shut the hell up."

Dean chuckled grinning as Sam slammed the laptop shut and turned around to stare at him sternly. Well, at least he'd finally gotten a real reaction, huh? That was a step to the right direction if nothing else.

"All work no play," Dean started flatly, "makes Sammy a very dull little bro."

Sam shook his head in slight amusement while lifting the laptop from the desk, placing it against his side, holding it up with one sturdy hand. "You do realize you should get a new catch phrase?" He asked then, "That one's getting kinda old, Dean."

Dean only snorted. His jokes never got old, dude. "Whatever," he dismissed lifting his other shoulder into a quick shrug, "So, found something?"

The look on Sam's face changed the way it always did when he was talking business and Dean would've sighed, if he'd had the energy to do so. Oh great, here we go again...

"Well, in San Francisco there are people dying-"

"Oh yeah, people dying, huh?" Dean cut in sarcastically, opening his folded arms to lift his thumbs up in fake-cheer, "Way to go Sammy, now you found it, totally our kind of job."

Sam's instant response was the kind of poisonous glare Dean had only seen millions of times before. Damn if that wasn't getting old...

"Ok, asshole, let me rephrase that," Sam bit then, "There's been people dying in weird fires that none of the authorities have been able to explain. The causes of these fires, they vary from forgotten smokes and gas leaks to psychotic mothers killing off their kids. In other words, the police have no clue."

Sam watched in silence how Dean's face fell into seriousness, no trace of amusement left.

I'll be damned. That didn't sound all too promising in Dean's ears. It did manage to silence him though, but only for a moment. "So, what, you think..." No wait, fires? Shit, Sam couldn't possible mean that... Dean let out a whining groan before asking: "You think it's back?"

Sam just shrugged.

They never talked about it. Ever since John had died and the gun had gone missing, there'd been no reason to talk about it. Sure, Sam had tried for a long time, he'd brought it up time after time, but Dean had always shut him down, refused to talk about it. Heck, he'd even refused to think about it. It fucking hurt too much.

Then Sam had sort of just stopped talking about it, you know. Stopped asking if he knew anything, if he could remember something. Dean had his own suspicions as to why he'd stopped... He's probably running his own damn research with Ash or something without even telling me. But as long as the issue didn't get in the way of their every day life, he supposed all was cool.

"We haven't heard of it for two years, Dean," Sam spoke up when Dean got caught up with his own thoughts, "I don't know about you, but I find that pretty damn weird."

Yeah, and he did too, but that wasn't the point. No. The fact the demon had seemed to disappear from the face of the Earth had worried Dean right from the beginning too, probably even more than Sam, but worrying and sharing those worries with the younger Winchester... well, they were two completely different stories. There was so much Sam didn't know and so much Dean simply couldn't tell him. Wouldn't.

"Yeah, yeah," he sighed, "know what you mean."

"Yeah," Sam echoed softly.

So, okay, now what?

Dean only had to look up to know the answer to the unvoiced question and immediately another groan escaped his lips. Aww, shit. The gleam in Sam's eyes told it loud and clear. You wanna go after it, don't you, Sammy?

No, no fucking way.

Just act cool man, act cool.

Dean cleared his throat carefully, slightly adjusting his position on the table and hoping Sam didn't pick up his nervousness.

"But if it's that... thing... then, you know, what can we do about it? We still haven't found a way to waste that son of a bitch and without the gun-"

"I don't know, ok?" Sam interrupted, frustration burning in his voice. The reason they hadn't found a way to waste that son of a bitch was Dean's and only Dean's fault and the jerk knew it. For whatever lame-ass reason Dean had chosen to ignore the demon's existence as if the fact it hadn't shown himself for awhile had meant it wasn't there. 'Cause it was, he felt it. And Dean, he could feel it too, Sam was damn sure of it. So him sitting there, saying how they hadn't found a way to kill the demon, it fucking irritated Sam.

Dean saw it, but didn't comment on it, 'cause fuck, Sam, I have my reasons, ok? Just trust me, bro.

Sam sighed, exhausted. He didn't want to start a fight, especially since they usually ended up with Dean sucker-punching him to ease his own pain, but... "Ok, so maybe there's nothing we can do," he admitted quietly, brushing a brown curl away from his eyes, "but man, we gotta try. If it isn't that thing, then you know, at least we have a shot."

Man... Dean, he was the older brother, and older brothers were supposed to be right and little brothers wrong, damn it. So who the hell gave Sam the right to sound smart, to be right? Big brothers right, little brothers wrong. Why was it that Sam had never gotten the memo, huh? Dean could only wonder.

"Right," the older brother breathed out, dragging his hands over his face in a tired manner. "Okay, so basically you want us to run to the rescue like some freakin' superheroes, despite the fact it just might or might not be the same thing that's killed everyone we love?"

Sam gave him a firm, accusing look that clearly stated he knew damn well what his brother was trying - and that it wasn't working. Oh well, there went that plan then.

"Should've known," Dean snorted, the corner of his mouth twisting into a cynical, somewhat knowing smile, "You're gonna be bitching about this till I give up, aren't you?"

Sam's respone was, again, a shrug... the kind of all-knowing, all-telling shrug that confirmed his brother's words, of course.

Dean studied his expression for a moment. He knew he could say no, dude, we're not doing this, period, but he also knew Sam, being the kind of idiot he was, would never give up. He'd sulk, he'd pout and he'd try silent treatment and in the end it would drive Dean out of his mind, fucking crazy and he'd still end up doing what Sam wanted.

So, ok, from that perspective, maybe it was better to go with it right away to save himself from embarrassing moments later on?

Yeah, and Sam always dared to claim his logic made no sense. Dude.

"Fine, we'll go, damn it," Dean stated through half-gritted teeth after a moment or two, just as Sam had known he would, "But I swear, Sammy, if it's that fucker we're dropping the case and letting someone else handle it. I'm not gonna lose you and that's final."

The amused grin spreading across Sam's face made Dean suspect the worst. Oh, hell.

"Ah, Dean, chick-flick moment? Finally?" Sam chuckled mockingly; grinning like an idiot and took a step closer to his brother. Spreading his free hand into an invitation, he continued with his taunting puppy-eyes-stare fixed on Dean, "Wanna hug?"

No, Dean didn't want to hug... But he did give him the finger.

Jerk.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: In case you're wondering, NO, I had not seen the 7th ep when I wrote this. In fact, I saw it a few days later than I wrote this piece, oki? Hee, it's funny cause it seems I have at least two quotes that are almost identical to the ones used in the ep! I'm just so smart ::rolls eyes:: Figured I could point that out. Anyways, review - please! - and you shall see more, hee!