Make All the Rain Explode
Dean hadn't managed to get to sleep after Sam's nightmare, not that he'd really tried, which was why he was still awake when Jack apparently decided that it was his turn. Though Jack's nightmare seemed to take a different turn.
The first sign that anything was wrong was when Jack had gone incredibly still, so still that it almost looked like he wasn't even breathing. Then all of his muscles went tense, his jaw clenched and he started muttering under his breath in what Dean thought might be Arabic.
Dean grimaced. He'd seen enough of his father's nightmares to be able to recognize the same thing in Jack, and instinct told him that he should deal with Jack's the same way. He pushed himself up, made his way carefully over to Jack's bed and reached out to jiggle one of Jack's feet, keeping himself out of arm's reach.
"Wake up, dude. And try not to accidentally kill me or anything, okay?"
Jack jerked up in bed, body poised for a fight. He bit back a scream, eyes darting around the room looking for the threat. Then, after a long moment, he shuddered and visibly tried to pull himself back under control, flashing Dean a small grateful nod. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and leaned forward, running a hand through his sweaty hair.
"You know, I've always kind of wondered. When you've had so much really nasty stuff happen to you in your life, how does your subconscious decide what you're going to have nightmares about on any given night?"
Jack's voice was even and mildly curious, but Dean could sense an undercurrent of tension and pain in the words. So he shrugged, and in the same mild tone of voice answered. "Who knows? Maybe the nightmares draw straws or flip a coin. Personally, I'd go for a game of rock-paper-scissors myself."
"Dude, you always lose at rock-paper-scissors."
At the sound of Sam's voice Dean and Jack both turned to look at the other bed where Sam was slowly pushing himself up and scrubbing a hand over his face. "Sammy, I do not always lose at rock-paper-scissors. I'm just lulling you into a false sense of security, and when you least expect it I'm gonna kick your ass."
Sam snorted. "You just keep telling yourself that, Dean." He turned to Jack, expression sympathetic. "You want to talk about it, Jack?"
Jack shook his head, jaw clenched and eyes hard. "Let's just say that I've got enough nightmare fodder for about five people, before the snake ended up in my head, and leave it at that."
Sam and Dean shared a look, then nodded. "Sounds good to me, man." Dean stretched, his arms over his head and back popping as he twisted around. "So, what were you doing when the snake people grabbed you, anyway?"
Jack grimaced. "A whole lot of nothing, actually. I'd finally had enough of waiting for old me's friends to remember that I existed and decided to just get the hell out of Dodge. I didn't really have any plans after that, though."
Dean frowned, the reminder that Jack's so-called friends had for all intents and purposes abandoned him still not sitting well. But after another glance and unspoken conversation with Sam he went ahead and did what he'd been wanting to do ever since Jack had admitted what he was.
"Well, since you don't seem to have anything else going on, how about sticking with us for a while? You seem like a decent enough guy and I bet you could be really useful on a hunt. And if nothing else, you know more about these snake things than we do, and Sam could use some help dealing with the whole snake possession thing."
Sam picked up right where Dean had left off. "Besides, we still don't know what abilities you have that they wanted, or how they knew that you had them. It would be safer if we all stuck together, at least for a little while."
What neither Sam nor Dean said was that they had the feeling that Jack would fairly quickly become an integral part of the Winchester team if he stayed, and once he did he would be stuck with them permanently. Neither of them was particularly keen on picking up strays, but they both agreed that Jack was an exception.
After a long moment, Jack finally shrugged. "Why not? Like you said, it's not like I've got anything else to do right now...or at all, actually. But would you mind giving me a copy of that exorcism so I can e-mail it to old me? I don't know that they'll believe me about it. Hell, I almost don't believe it and I was there, but they need to know about it."
Dean nodded. "Yeah, sure thing." He paused. "I know you said that they sort of left you behind and all, but they're not gonna try and track you down now, are they?"
Jack's grin could only be described as evil. "They can try, but I've still got some tricks up my sleeve."
"Cool. Then we can hole up here for another night and head out the next morning. That'll give us time to either look for a new hunt or try to find some trace of Dad." Decision made, Dean pushed himself slowly to his feet and flopped face first onto Sam's bed. "Now, I'm going to try to get some sleep."
Colonel Jack O'Neill was almost afraid to open the e-mail sitting so innocently in his inbox, but he knew himself well enough to know that his clone wouldn't have contacted him if it wasn't really important. Though once he'd read through the e-mail twice, he had to admit that maybe he didn't know nearly as much as he thought he did.
I know you'd be perfectly content to continue pretending that I don't exist, but I've run across information that you and the rest of the team need to know. I've found a solution to that snake problem you've been having, and I've attached everything you need to this e-mail. Give it to Daniel, and tell him that no, I'm not kidding. This really works, and I've got first-hand experience to prove it. And yes, that does mean what it sounds like it means, but I'm fine now.
In case you didn't already know and actually care, I've left Colorado. Don't bother trying to find me. You've got your thing, and now I have mine and that's how it should stay. Watch out for the others, because I'd hate to have to come back just to kick your ass. And I would, too.
So long, old guy.
The End, for now anyway