Author's Notes: Okay. So. This one needs an explanation.

I love Jo. She's a pain in the ass and a know-it-all . . . but she's also just very real to me. She's got a lot of flaws and a lot of good qualities, which is what I love so much. Sometimes it seems to me like Dean and Sam (amazing as they both are) too perfectly fit the "hero" bill. Wounded, on the run, Daddy issues, etc.

Anyway, this little vignette is choppy and incohesive and not correct. I don't think that either boy will end up alone. But remember, this is first-person perspective and Jo's still a little immature whose sort of hero-worshipping Dean at this point.

Anyway . . . those are my excuses. Now I hope you enjoy!



For Poppy

I love you.

Rest in peace.

I'm not an idiot.

Mom thinks that I've fooled myself into loving Dean. She thinks that I have it in my head to soothe him with my affections, that I've some silly notion to save the oldest Winchester.

But I don't. I know—maybe better than anybody—that Dean Winchester can't be saved. Won't be saved. He's given himself to this life of sacrifice; without it, Dean has nothing. He has Sam and he has me and he has the demons.

Sometimes he doesn't have Sam, and sometimes he doesn't even have me. But evil he can always count on.

He lives by the supernatural and he will die by the supernatural. It is the way of hunters.

Do you want to hear something funny?

When Sam tied me up, when he told me that Dean would always see me as a little schoolgirl, even though my heart snapped I felt a little relieved. Like I said: I'm not an idiot. I know that if Dean were to come in here right now, look at me with those eyes and murmur, "Jo, I need you," I'd give it up in a second. Hand him the v-card without a second thought, except perhaps "happy spending!"

But to know that he won't, to know that he will keep me at arms length, is to know that I am safe. That Dean won't destroy me, no matter how badly I want him to.

I would rather wait forever than love Dean only to lose him.

You see, I've got an edge that the others didn't: I know Dean well enough to guard against him. His love is as toxic as his indifference, and this is why he will always be alone, no matter how many women want to keep him company.

Poor Cassie never knew what hit her. And she will spend the rest of her life remembering him, remembering his kiss and his softer side and his inexplicable ability to make females trip over their feet and into his bed.

But not me. Not Jo. I'll stay here, always his friend, always the fallback plan, and even though he'll always hold my heart in his pocket he'll never, ever reach in to grab it.

No; I'm not an idiot.

But who'd have thunk? Brave little Jo . . . the biggest coward of them all.