AN: this is part of a challenge fic for SFTCOL(AR)S, for ibelieveinSam, centering around angst (dun dun dun). hope ya like it girl! This part is betaed by dear Glitz, bless her.
"Uh, hey Dean."
Dean couldn't believe he heard the voice on the other end of the phone correctly, "Jo? Did something happen? Are you hurt? Is Ellen?"
"No, no, nothing like that. Well, maybe. I've got a big problem." Her voice sounded distant and hesitant. "I thought maybe you could help, ya know. If you guys weren't busy with Clara."
"What? Jo, you get knocked in the head? We don't know any Claras. Well, okay, there was that chick in Anaheim..."
"Dean!" Her voice took a sharp edge that she never used on the Winchesters. "Stop! Really, there's a big problem. Dammit, just come to Des Moines, okay?"
"Alright, alright, no need to get your panties in a twist Kiddo. Tell me what's going on." He gestured across the motel room to Sam. "Jo's got an issue bro, saddle up."
"I can't tell you over the phone." She paused, as if listening to something. Clearing her throat, she added, "When you get here, come downtown. I'll meet you at 9th and Locust, okay?"
Dean was getting more confused by the second. First, Jo calls out of the blue. Now she wants them to hunt for her? "Jo, what the hell? Can ya give us a clue here? This cloak and dagger routine really doesn't become you. Can you at least tell us what we're supposed to hunt?"
"NO!" Her voice now reached a hysterical point, causing her to sound like she was whining. "Dean, I don't know, okay? I just don't know what to do. Please, just come. I don't know what's going on. I just wanna be left alone."
The Winchesters pulled together their few belongings and were heading out the door when Dean paused. Adopting a softer tone, he asked, "Jo, is everything alright? You don't sound fine."
Her sigh was audible over the cell connection. "Just get here, okay. Everything will be over then."
"What? Jo, you're confusing the hell outta me." But all that answered Dean was the dial-tone.
OO OO OO
As the Impala up to the parking garage on 9th street, Sam raised an eyebrow at the structure. "She wanted us to meet her here? Oh, and that's not ominous."
"Tell me about it dude, she was all sorts of cryptic."
"Cryptic? Using the big words now Dean?"
"Shaddup. All I'm saying, Jo is really starting creep me out. She didn't even give me something about the hunt." Dean pulled the car into the garage. "Now where do ya suppose we're supposed to meet the mysterious wonder?"
"Nothing about the hunt? We're supposed to walk in, utterly blind? Dean, I don't like this." Sam ignored the feeling in the back of his mind. It was probably just him being overly suspicious. After all, it was just Jo.
"Nor do I Sammy, but it's Jo. Chick needs saving, apparently." The older Winchester rolled his eyes. "As usual."
Sam couldn't help but cringe, remembering the last time she needed saving. He tried to make light of the situation, "Well, hey, at least it's not me she needs saving from this time."
"Sammy, stop blaming yourself. You know that wasn't you, so stop. Meg did that shit. You know you would never attack Jo like that if it was you."
"Really Dean? Cause my destiny says otherwise."
Dean cracked a hand on the steering wheel. "Dude, stow the destiny crap. You ain't gonna go evil, and that's that. Not if I'm here. Now let's focus on the friggin job."
"Well, let's just get it, whatever it is, done. This whole thing just gives me a bad feeling." Sam rolled his shoulders to pacify the tenseness in between them. He let the topic fall to the wayside. Stubbornness only went so far with Dean, and he didn't like that subject anyway.
"A bad feeling? Like oh damn, I left the stove on? Or crap, here comes a vision?" They drove up the parking garage, finding no sign of Jo. Probably at the friggin top. Can't anyone meet at the bottom of these things?
"I dunno Dean. It's probably nothing. Just me being stupid."
"Well, can't help ya on the stupid part. But this shit usually isn't just you'"
"We'll figure it out, I guess..."
They had finally pulled up to the very top of the garage, finding nothing but more parked cars. However, at the very end stood a solitary figure. Jo leaned over the side of structure, watching the world below. Hearing the rumble of the Impala's engine, she jerked, standing upright. She ran her hands nervously through her hair as they parked the car, but made no move to join them.
The Winchesters watched her, unease becoming paramount. She looked like she hadn't slept in days. Her hands shook and her eyes continued to dart to all points of the garage.
"Jo?" Dean got out of the car, ten feet from where she stood. He decided to dodge all pretense. "What the hell is going on? Cause we're here now, chickie, and you have some explaining to catch up on."
Sam likewise had gotten out of the car, but had to walk around the machine to meet their enigmatic informant. He hurried to Dean's side, also swinging his gaze around the garage. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up, every nerve in his body screaming to pull Dean back into the Impala and race away, leaving Jo in the dust. However, he simply backed his brother up, keeping a firm grip on the 9mm in his pocket.
"Dean, Sam, I'm so sorry." Tears formed in Jo's eyes. "I di-didn't mean- I couldn't help- I j-just...I'm sorry!"
"Hey, just tell us what's up. C'mon Jo, what do you need help wi-"
The garage suddenly filled with the voices of many men. Shouts echoed across the building as people poured from behind parked cars and several vans screeched onto the level, blocking off the entrance. Uniformed men holding guns all ran at the trio, shouting directives at both each other and their quarry.
"SHIT!" Dean pulled his pistol from the waistband of his jeans and threw an accusatory glare at Jo. "You Knew! You led them here, to us! You son of a bitch!"
Jo backed against the barrier, shaking her head, "No, no, I di-didn't. I'm s-s-sorry Dean! They- they threatened..."
No time to give a damn what they did to Jo, Sam and Dean stood shoulder to shoulder. Their guns, steady in capable hands, flicked between the nearest of the advancing government agents, now twenty feet away. Seeming to wait a command, the uniforms did not open fire. Neither did the Winchesters, as a further murder charge would not help at all.
"Dean! Sam! Welcome to Des Moines!" A familiar voice boomed across the cement. Sam's breath was stolen as dread filled him. Henrickson walked out from behind the now stationary team. They crouched, aiming for the two fugitives. The FBI agent now stood behind that protective line, arms crossed and smug expression visible. "Thank you Joanna. Excellent job, be proud of yourself. Deserving of an Emmy, that performance."
Sam's eyes flicked back to Jo, who now stood hugging herself behind the brothers. She looked anything but proud. He felt a lurch in his gut, a small sense of guilt for getting her involved once again in their messed up lives.
"You bastard, Henrickson! What, you gonna kill us now?" Dean, as usual, was pissed. "Wow, love the government, murdering without second thought."
Henrickson laughed a creeping boom that didn't help to allay their overwrought bodies. "Now Dean, how do you figure that? These men?" He gestured at the men in front of him. "Nah, I just figured you boys needed some convincing. See, I let you two slip through before. Try to get past 20 armed soldiers. I'd love to see you try."
But as Sam and Dean looked around the now packed floor and looked at each other. A plan formed. Nothing was barring the exit ramp. The vans had only blocked the entrance way. The garage had one way up, and another way down. Not requiring any spoken plan, the brothers began backing towards the car.
An odd gleam appeared in the agent's eyes as he watched them. Instead of calling for his men to advance on Sam and Dean, however, he simply raised his own handgun. Five feet from the Impala, they broke formation and raced for the car.
A gun went off and Sam felt a piercing sting on his left calf. "Argh!" He stumbled as sizzling pain erupted from the point where he was hit, but managed to keep going. He wrenched open the passenger door, and flung himself into the cool interior.
"Sam! You okay?" Dean jammed the key in the ignition and threw his baby into reverse, tires squealing. He looked at his sprawled brother.
Sam's eyes were screwed tight against the pain. "I got hit."
As they raced for the exit, a jubilant voice shouted after them, "I'll be expecting your phone call Dean!"