"Supernatural: Birth" by Chris McWilliams
"My daddy shot your daddy in the head," the sinister singsong voice echoed. She was trapped, helpless, as she felt the source of that voice move closer. Soon it was on her and she struggled in vain as she felt its hands on her body then it was inside her.
She could feel it invade her, could feel it force its way inside. Suddenly, she was awake and sat up in her bed, cold sweat dripping from her body.
It was always the same. She always woke up before it was over... if only something had stopped it in real life she though bitterly as she tried to fight off the memories of that night from overwhelming her once again. Every night since that night was the same.
She looked over at the digital clock, glowing red in the darkness, and saw it was only twenty minutes before she had to get up for work anyway so she gave up on sleep and slowly rose out of bed.
Then she felt the familiar feeling of nausea she had for awhile. Kneeled in the motel room bathroom heaving up her guts she told herself it was just the flu, or the horrors of that night but other signs told her that was just wishful thinking, have to take the test to be sure, she told herself as she grabbed a towel to wipe the vomit from around her mouth.
Taking a deep breath she stood up and thought, time to go to work.
Jo sat in the group listening to their stories and she felt for them, but she couldn't help but think how much more complicated her situation was and wonder if maybe this was all a bad a idea.
She had been without a solid night's sleep for nearly a week when she saw an ad somewhere (she was even too tired to recall exactly where) for a rape crisis-counseling group. She figured, at the time, she had nothing to lose and she hoped it might help, even if she would have to lie about the details, to talk about it.
For several reasons she couldn't bring herself to call home, to tell her mother what had happened and she certainly didn't want to deal with Dean and especially Sam at this point. In her mind she knew it wasn't Sam who had done this to her but the thought of seeing him again gave her chills. The last time she had seen him the demon was still inside him (for all she knew it still was, although the way Dean left her, the determination in his face...in his eyes... she doubted it) and seeing him again so soon would be more than she could stand. She was alone.
"Terry," the councilor said addressing Jo by her fake name, "would you care to share some of your experience?" Jo was nervous, in the few days she had been coming to the group she had said little and given even less details.
"I don't know," Jo, stammered slightly, "it's still kind of hard to talk about." The councilor put on her sympathy face and said, "I understand, after my rape I had a hard time talking too, no one is going to force you to do anything you don't want to do of course. However, the more you can talk about it the more you will heal."
Jo thought about her nightmares, the same recurring nightmare of the rape and took a deep breath. "I was closing up at this bar I worked at," Jo began carefully prepared to edit her story... no mention of demons or taunts about her father's death, not here, not to these people... these civilians with their normal lives.
"This guy came in," she continued slowly, "I told him we were closed but he wouldn't leave, so I decided, ok one beer and maybe he would be happy and go. He didn't, instead he started to talk to me. It started out friendly enough but slowly it became personal, then abusive. By the time I realized something was wrong it was too late. He was on me, tied me up, and…. Attacked me…. raped me." She finally managed to say after a couple of minutes. It was the first time she had used that word out loud and it both surprised and shocked her. When he was done he stuck around a bit longer then left when someone else came in and scared him off."
The others looked at Jo with such empathy and sadness that Jo was unsure how to react. A part of her did feel better being on the receiving end of such emotion but then part of her felt weak. She wasn't like them, not really, they were soft civilians... they had no idea of the real horrors out there, not like her. She was a hunter, like her daddy before her and she knew.
Then that thought triggered the voice again "My daddy shot your daddy in the head!" She couldn't think of her daddy anymore without hearing that voice. The only thing she always had were her memories of her daddy, of the things he told her, the things he taught her and now it was all tainted by that demon. She tried to tell herself it was all lies, even a novice hunter knows that demons lie, but somehow she doubted that demon was lying that time. How did it know so much about it? She wondered as she often had before.
Jo had no doubts about it now; the fifth home pregnancy test she took confirmed it. She was carrying a child. She was carrying something at any rate, she didn't know if it would be human, demon, both or something else. She had never heard of such a thing happening before, ever. That's when she decided to call Ash.
She was all prepared to word her question very carefully. She had her story all ready. Hey Ash, hi! I'm working a job in Memphis and I have this young girl who was impregnated by a guy while he was possessed by a demon. Ever hear of that before? What can happen? She was sure he wouldn't ask too many questions but that he would help her with hers.
She spent all afternoon calling Ash's number but he never picked up or called her back, she always left a message on his voice mail, just in case. She started to worry, that wasn't like him at all, he always answered his phone. Nothing I can do about it now, she thought as she went to lie down.
Jo didn't stay napping for long however, the nightmare came back again and woke her up as it always did. Frustrated and tired she decided to lay on the couch a bit and try and watch some TV to get her mind off of things.
As Jo lay there half awake and half asleep she saw an ad come on TV that made her snap awake. It was a dignified and somber looking TV ad with a toll free number... it was for a local abortion clinic. They didn't come out and say it of course, they danced around the issue expertly but that was exactly what it was, an abortion clinic.
For a moment Jo thought about that. Maybe that would be for the best, she thought to herself. After all, even under more mundane conditions someone in her shoes would probably at least think about it, throw in the whole possession angle and the possible outcomes and she would be foolish to not even consider it.
In the end however, she didn't think she could go through with it. No matter the circumstances that created it or the possible outcomes she couldn't bring herself to do that. She didn't consider herself religious exactly, nor did she remember her mom or daddy showing any particular religious beliefs, sure they spent time with some who did but they were hunters and hunters tend to be pragmatic, only believing in as much religious trappings as they knew would work for their causes. They would sling holy water at demons and use blessed ammo on other evil things but not necessarily believe in the power that was supposed to be behind it.
Still, she knew she couldn't go through with an abortion, no more than she could bring herself to call her mom or go back there and face her mom again.
Jo sat on a tall chair behind the checkout counter bored out of her mind. She had been forced to stop going to the rape counseling group when she started to show, not much of a loss, she couldn't even begin to vocalize to them why she would choose to continue her pregnancy under the circumstances so she stopped going, quit her job, packed up and booked it for as far as she could get on the gas in her tank.
Still she had landed on her feet pretty well. In her condition night jobs at bars were out, but her past waitressing experience had allowed her to land a job at a place called Al's Diner (actually short for Alice the owner). She and Alice seemed to hit it off well, so well that when Jo was unable to continue as a waitress Alice was willing to move her register duty so she could be off her feet, even kept her pay the same and set up a tip jar.
In a way all the attention made her feel bad, partly because she was raised to detest charity and partly because she had told anyone who asked about her situation that her husband was in the Army and was in Iraq, which is why he wasn't around. She was sure that played no small part in the amount of cash in her tip jar at the end of the day and possibly in Alice's good will too but it was the best excuse she could come with on the spot and she didn't want to play the jilted, knocked up ex role.
Still every little bit helped and Jo needed all the help she could get.
"What ya' reading honey," Alice's voice shook Jo out of her half hearted attempt to read an article on pregnancy in some magazine she had found in the backroom of the diner.
"Just seeing what I have to look forward too," Jo said with a forced half smile. If only they knew for sure, she thought, if only some women's magazine had an article, EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT GIVING BIRTH TO A DEMON CHILD.
"Don't you fret none honey," Alice said jovially. "I had three kids and it was never the same, each one is a totally different experience."
Jo crinkled her nose, she didn't want to seem rude but she had heard the story many times before so she just tuned it out and tried to figure out what to do.
At first she had been afraid to go and get proper medical care, afraid something abnormal would show up in the tests but after a little while she decided she had little choice so she found a free clinic and went there under an assumed name, that way if anything happened they would never be able to track her down, she even opened a PO box in the local post office so she could receive appointment notices and the like there.
So far, thankfully, everything had been fairly normal, or at least as normal as any other pregnancy ever was, nothing weird or demony yet.
Suddenly, Jo realized that another person had walked up to the checkout and was talking to her.
"I'm sorry, what?" Jo said embarrassed, "Spaced out there for a moment I guess."
"That's ok," the other woman said, a red head about Jo's age. Jo knew her as soon as she looked up; she was the waitress who volunteered to take up Jo's slack. A nice girl named Tara.
"I asked," Tara, repeated, "do you know the due date yet?" Jo looked up and said, "Another three months to go and I will be glad when it's done, between the puking, the peeing, the pains and the weird cravings I don't get a moments peace."
"Tell me about it honey," Alice said with a small snort, "when I was pregnant with my Jimmy all I wanted was sardines, which is funny because the very sight of them usually makes me sick, they do now, but then I couldn't stop eating them."
"I know what you mean," Jo admitted with a smile, "for me it's…. Marshmallows with yellow mustard on them."
This admission brought a good chuckle out of both Alice and Tara, "I can tell," Tara said pointing to a small Styrofoam plate with several large marshmallows on them, each drenched in a yellow substance that had to be mustard.
Jo looked up sheepishly, "I brought them from home, honest." "That's ok honey," Alice said, "if that's what you want, you help yourself. Of course I don't think we even have marshmallows but if you find something you want just eat it, I have plenty."
"Thanks," Jo said embarrassed again.
"Well ladies," Alice said changing tones like a high performance racecar changes gears "looks like it's about that time. Let's clean up and then we can get out of this hell hole and back to our homes."
Without a word Tara got to work cleaning up and Jo slowly stood up, glad to be up without having to make a mad dash for the ladies room.
"Hey now," Tara said, "you leave this to me." Jo said, "that's ok, I could use the exercise and I'm tired of sitting anyway." "Well," Tara said sounding uncertain, "you could go turn the sign to closed and lock the door so no one else comes in while we're cleaning up."
"Sure," Jo said, her embarrassment turning to frustration. She had always hated being treated like that, it reminded her of the arguments she had with her mother about being a hunter. Ellen was opposed to it totally and only now, with time to think about it, Jo understood why.
After all Ellen had already lost her husband and she didn't want to lose their only child as well. Still while Jo understood it she didn't like it much, she was a grown woman and could make her own decisions, besides it not like her mother was totally out of hunting herself. Sure she acted more like a coordinator these days, keeping tabs on things, passing on critical information to those who needed it but she wasn't exactly above going on into the field if the need arose. Not that she had done it for as long as Jo could actually remember but she heard the stories from those who knew her longer.
Once the place was cleaned up and everything was done, Jo, Alice and Tara were ready to leave. On their way out Tara pulled Jo aside and asked, "How you feelin'?"
Tara and Jo had hit it off pretty quick, basically sharing the same job as Alice normally only hired one waitress per shift since business was so light, and had spent a good deal of their off time hanging out and talking and whatever.
"Good I guess," Jo said, "as good as I can be in my condition." "That's good to hear," Tara said sounding pleased, "What say we grab something to eat, I mean you are eating for two and I'm starved. Anywhere you want to go, my treat."
Jo wasn't sure she wanted to go out tonight, she wasn't tired or anything, just not feeling really social. "I don't know," Jo said attempting to come up with an out without hurting Tara's feelings.
"Ok," Tara said, "let's go back to my place then, order take out and watch a bad movie on cable." "What's going on?" Jo asked, Tara seemed uncharacteristically desperate to hang out with Jo tonight.
"Nothing," Tara said in a non-committal tone, "just board of going to work, going home, going to sleep, getting up and doing it all over again, want to have some fun to break up the monotony. I mean we're young and attractive, there's no reason to sit home every night."
"I'm married," Jo lied to keep her cover, "remember." "I didn't mean anything like that," Tara said with a laugh, "I'm not talking about going out to pick up guys or anything. Just cutting loose and having a little fun."
Jo thought about it and decided that Tara was right. Anyway, if she just went home all she would end up doing is staring at the same four walls and trying to sleep despite nightmares, bathroom breaks and of course the feeling of the baby moving inside her.
"Alright," she finally said, "you're on. Take out and a movie on cable at your place." "Way to cut lose there Terry," Tara said with a measured level of sarcasm, after all, while she would have preferred to go out she would gladly take what she could get.
Jo had been to Tara's apartment may times, just as Tara had been to Jo's motel (somehow Jo couldn't force herself to give up motel rooms for apartments, they seemed too permanent and Jo wasn't planning on settling down) so she knew her way around which was lucky since as soon as they got there she had to run to the bathroom.
By the time Jo came out of the small but nicely decorated bathroom (mostly blue and white with a dolphin motif, nothing like trying to take a pee with Flipper watching your every move) Tara had changed out of her waitress uniform and was on the couch.
"I was about to go see if you fell in." Tara said with a giggle, "What do you want to eat?" Jo seemed to consider the question and said, "I'm suddenly hungry for Chinese food." "Cool," Tara said, "there's a great place right around the corner, they deliver and have the best sampler pack in town. We can get a little of everything and sort of pick and choose."
"Sounds good," Jo said awkwardly sliding herself on the couch and attempting, but never quiet managing, to make herself comfortable. "So what's the movie for tonight?" Jo asked. "Don't know," Tara said handing Jo a large universal remote - that looked more like something a Bond villain would use to launch nukes than something to change channels with - and said, "pick something, anything, I'm going to call in our order."
Jo looked the remote over, despite the many times she had been to Tara's she had never really got used to where the buttons were on her remote. Finding the power button (only because it was bright red) she turned the TV on and started to click the up channel button looking for something interesting.
Just as Tara came back in the room with the cordless phone Jo saw something that caused her flick the channel down button.
She saw Dean's face; a mug shot actually, there was no mistake - that was him. She turned the TV up and listened intently.
She could hear the voice of that John Walsh guy as he said, "this dirty crook calls himself Dean Winchester, but he goes by several other alias. This guy actually managed to get away with several murders in Saint Louis by having his brother help him fake his death and by forcing a witness and intended victim to lie for him. Then he was stupid enough to show up in Baltimore and blow his cover. As if all that wasn't bad enough he then turned to bank robbery, again aided by his brother…" At that point the image changed to Sam's mug shot and for a moment Jo's heart skipped a beat, at that point she couldn't watch anymore and change the channel.
Tara looked at Jo with a concerned look. "What was that all about?" She asked. "You know them or something?"
"No," Jo said, "thought I did for second or two but I was wrong." That was all Jo would say about it and Tara knew her well enough not to press the issue. "Anyway," Tara said after several seconds of silence, "the food will be here in twenty so let's find a movie."
By the time the food arrived they had selected some old monster movie, not that Jo really wanted to watch that kind of thing, once you've seen the real thing and knew the things she knew the charm of Vincent Price skulking around a fake looking castle was totally gone, but after seeing Sam and Dean's faces on TV like that she didn't much feel in the mood for anything.
She knew the charges were bogus of course, it wasn't exactly uncommon for hunters, especially ones as active and with as long careers as those two had, to have some run-ins with the law, but they almost never got this far. They must have had a streak of really bad luck.
Of course all of this was rolling around in her head to avoid thinking about the other thing, the image of Sam's mug shot flashed through her mind, then it changed to the way he looked at her, possessed and all black eyed as he… As the thing inside of him…raped her.
"You ok?" Tara said reading the distress on her face. Jo looked up and tried to come up with something, "Yeah," Jo said half heartedly, "it's just I saw this movie once when I was little and it scared the crap out of me…couldn't sleep for days, I guess it brought back bad memories."
"We can change it if you like," Tara offered, "I'm sure we can find something else." "No that's ok," Jo said looking at her watch, "it's getting late. I enjoyed the food and had a great time and all , but I'm starting to get tired and I should go."
"You sure?" Tara asked concerned, "you don't look so good. Maybe you should stay over or something, I would hate for something to happen."
"No, no, that's ok." Jo said, "I should go home anyway, collect my mail. I'm expecting a letter from my Tommy any day now she lied."
"I see," Tara, said, seeming to brighten, "that's what this is. You want to get back and see if your husband wrote and here I am selfishly keeping you away from it." "No," Jo said, "it's ok. I had fun really, just need to call it a night."
Jo entered her motel room and took a deep breath; for once it was actually good to be back. Jo wasn't sure why she wanted to come back in such a hurry anyway, just felt like she needed to be alone, seeing Sam and Dean on TV really shook her up.
She thought about calling her mother and seeing what the real story was but she was afraid it would cause another fight and that was the last thing she needed right now.
In the end she just changed into her nightclothes and went to bed, to try and get some sleep.
"My daddy shot your daddy in the head," the singsong voice mocked. "No!" Jo shouted, "it's not true, you all lie, that's all this is, a lie." "It's the truth. My daddy shot your daddy in the head and now I've impregnated you with my child."
Then the singsong changed "Jo's having a demon baby…. Jo's having a demon baby."
"Jo and Sammy sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G-," the singsong now said "first comes attack, then comes rape, then comes a demon in a baby carriage."
"Jo," a new voice, a woman's voice, her mother's voice said, "how could you? How could you let a demon do you like that? I told you, you didn't have what it took to be a hunter, that you should just go back to school where you were safe."
"No mom," Jo protested, "it wasn't my fault, I couldn't help it." "Any real hunter would have been able to tell something was wrong, never would have dropped their guard like that, never would have let it happen."
"Oh Jo!" Another voice, this time male… Dean's voice. "How could you let that happen? How could you let my poor possessed little brother do that to you? He was possessed, out of control, what's you excuse?"
"What?" Jo moaned, "Like I told mom, I couldn't do anything about it." "It's a shame," Dean's voice said, sounding only marginally sad, "now we have to kill you. It's either you or Sammy and you know which one I have to pick. Sammy is my brother, my family, you're just some dumb schoolgirl with overly romantic ideas about hunting and a crush that… let's face it was doomed from the start."
"No!" Jo shouted, "This makes no sense."
"Don't you get it sweetie," another male voice, this one harder to pin down, familiar yet not immediately recognizable, "the demon impregnated you, that's a rare thing, and therefore there must be a reason, a motive. The demon wanted this child for some reason and that means we have to kill it."
Then the source of the voice stepped out of the shadows.
"Daddy!" Jo screamed. There he stood, Bill Harvell, just as she remembered him from when she was little, right down to how much he towered over her.
"Daddy, help me!" Jo screamed "everyone's crazy!"
"No," Bill said simply, "they're right. This child cannot be born, it can't. The demon wants it for some reason and whatever that reason is, is reason enough to stop it!"
"No, daddy!" Jo screamed so loud she woke herself up and sat up in her bed. "That was weird," she said to herself. "No more Chinese food for me." She quipped in a vain attempt to chase her fears away.
As Jo sat in the free clinic waiting room she thought about that weird dream, just as she had every waking moment over the last week and a half since she first dreamed it. Despite her lame joke when she woke up it was not the food, it was something else.
She couldn't quiet work it out but it was no ordinary dream. Maybe it was a message. If so then who sent it and how? If the sender and the method were in doubt the message itself wasn't, the message was simple; the child could not be allowed to be born.
Of course at this point it was too late to be thinking that way. There was no legitimate clinic that would, or could, perform an abortion this late, even if she wanted one, which she didn't. Jo couldn't really explain it, maybe it was maternal instinct kicking in, maybe it was just hormones but she was starting to love the child growing inside of her and whatever it was, human or not, she couldn't, wouldn't, let anyone or anything hurt it, no matter what she dreamed or who said otherwise.
Just then the nurse poked her head out of her little glassed in cubical and said, "Terry Luttrell? The doctor will see you now." Jo rose and took a deep breath, every time she went for more checkups and tests and examines to make sure her pregnancy was going well she was afraid some abnormality would show up. It would be bad enough if some terrible, but totally mundane, situation came up, something to endanger her baby, but if something supernatural cropped up she would really be in trouble. How could she possibly explain something like that?
It was at times like these that she got really nervous about her situation and started to think about that scene in 'The Fly" when Gina Davis' character was giving birth to the fly's child and it came out as a giant maggot. Of course that turned out to be a dream but this wasn't, and while she doubted that she would be giving birth to anything that horrible there was a chance that the child could be just about anything else. That's why she had decided when it came time to give birth she would do it on her own, she had little choice.
Once again luck was with her. The examine went without a hitch and there was nothing supernatural or natural wrong with her or her baby and that was a load off.
Still, between her earlier thoughts about giving birth all alone, in her motel room at that, the dreams she had been having and yes, even seeing Dean and Sam's mug shots on TV that one night she started to wonder about calling home.
Jo had managed to get a hold of fairly decent laptop (the only bit of credit card fraud she dared carrying out in her current situation) and even found a nice little coffee shop that offered free wi-fi and nice juice drinks that were not only healthy but tasted great so she set up there and started doing some digging around.
Jo was, by no stretch of the imagination, a hacker but she wasn't too shabby and Ash had taken the time one long, slow night at the Roadhouse, to show her a trick or two. With that information she started digging into the deal with Dean and Sam.
She knew, as she figured out that night, that the charges where bogus but she wanted to know exactly what those charges were and what the situation was.
There was a time when Jo was so head over heels with Dean that at the first site of him on TV she would have dropped everything and run home to find him and try to help (no matter how much he or anyone else would have protested), but the truth was, that time had long passed.
It had passed for sure the night that Sam, while possessed, showed up and attacked and raped her. That was the night the demon inside of Sam had told her things, hurtful things, things she had already come to realize on her own but that she had to hear from someone else to fully accept.
Since then she had come to accept that Dean never loved her the way she thought she had him - despite some of his earlier flirtations - and that he never would. At first that pained her so much, on top of the rape, that she shut it all out, tried to act unfazed, as much for herself as for Dean, but later, once he was gone after his possessed brother, she let it all out.
Now her feelings for Dean were different. She still liked him, she just didn't love him and, in fact, she was surprised to realize that she actually never did.
She wasn't in love, or even in lust, with Dean, she was in lust with the idea of Dean. They say little girls grow up to marry guys who remind them of their daddies and if anything Dean sure did that.
Dean was a lot like her dad in so many ways and not just the most obvious ones. Once she realized that it became easier to put those feelings to rest and move on.
Ironically, it was her feelings for Sam that were the most complicated. In her lust for Dean (or the idea of him) he had all but ignored Sam, until he came into the bar she was working at and then that wasn't even him.
That was the part that made her feelings so complex: she knew, of course, in her head that the thing that attacked her… violated her… wasn't Sam it was a demon, but still it was his body and that made it hard to not allow her feelings about that night spill over onto him. She knew it wasn't fair, it wasn't right, he was as much as victim of that thing as she was, but she still caught herself not wanting to look at him, or think about him and even caught herself hating him sometimes.
Still, despite all of that she still felt a connection to them at least as friends or, maybe more as fellow hunters, that lead her to want to find out what she could about their current situation, even if she had too much going to lend a hand.
While she surfed the net, occasionally taking a sip of her fruit drink, in this case triple grape (for some reason she had been craving grape like mad), she decided to swallow at least a fraction of her pride and call her mom to see what she knew.
Much to Jo's surprise and concern her mother didn't pick up her phone, just like Ash before, this worried her because her mother never didn't answer her phone. The both of them had set themselves up (ok in Ash's case her mother had more pressed him into service, something that enough beers would either silence or bring to the surface depending on his mood) as a source of information and order to the disorganized hunter community and in that role an unanswered phone could mean lives lost.
Out of concern she tried Ash's number again and as before there was no answer. She would have left voice mail messages for the both of them but their mailboxes where full and she couldn't. Anyway, she had been calling and leaving Ash messages nearly everyday since that first time she tried to call and had never gotten a call back.
Frustrated she thought about trying Dean's phone. She knew that conversation would be awkward, for her if not for him, but with everything going on she was starting to get desperate. Just as she started to punch in his number however she found his information on the FBI's website, in the ten most wanted section.
Dean's mug shot, the same one from the TV, stared back at her (he managed to look confident and playful even in his mug shot) as she read the list of charges.
Most of them were understandable, hazards of the job really, simple stuff like grave desecration (although Jo wondered how anyone could have know, much less proved, it was them who dug up a particular grave, eventually she decided they must have had solid proof of at least one and linked the rest because the 'MO' was the same, several of them might even have been other hunters completely), credit card fraud, ID theft and the like.
The ones that caught Jo's eye the most were the murder charges. Jo reasoned that the bulk of these had to be supernatural creatures of some kind or another (Dean wouldn't kill a person, not without a damn good reason) the rest… she had heard, or more like overheard, Sam and Dean talking once about a job they did, hunting a shape shifter who framed Dean for its crimes, that had to be them. Then she saw a link to Sam's listing, added some time after Dean's, listing him as an accomplice.
Jo's stomach turned and the baby moved inside her, trying to find a more comfortable position, or maybe some sense its mother's stress.
She wasn't exactly looking forward to seeing his face but she felt she had to know, had to understand, what was going on. With a trembling hand she clicked the link, which took her to Sam's FBI information.
Her heart raced and her palms sweated as she saw Sam's mug shot (his was more 'normal' if somewhat pissed off looking) staring back at her. It wasn't too different from Dean's really the same grave desecration, credit card fraud and ID theft that Dean had. In Sam's case it was the other stuff they had some murders under his belt as well. Several of them were accessory charges related to murders that were attributed to Dean.
As she contemplated this information Jo suddenly felt someone tap her on the shoulder. It was Tara.
"Hey!" Tara said cheerfully, "What are you doing her?" Jo looked up somewhere surprised and said, "Just getting one of these yummy fruit drink things and surfing the net."
"So I see," Tara said puzzled, "that one of those guys from the TV?" Jo suddenly realized that Sam's file was in full view of Tara.
"Um," Jo said slowly closing the laptop, "yeah. After I left I got to thinking that I might have seen them at the last place I worked and I was wanting to try and see if I could be sure."
"And?" Tara asked sitting down next to Jo and waving for a waitress. "I was wrong," Jo said hoping to convince her, "wasn't them. I could tell the moment I got a good look at the mug shots."
"Too bad," Tara said with a smile, "they were cute and you know how much fun the bad boys can be."
Jo let the remark go without comment as Tara ordered a double strength ice coffee, thankfully to go. Jo liked her and all but she had a lot on her plate and wanted to do some more top-secret surfing before she had to get ready for work.
The other information that Jo was able to gather from both public and not so public records all said pretty much the same thing that Dean and Sam's FBI profiles did, with the added bonus of some inter-agency stuff, a lot of which was a bit over Jo's head. Their psychological profiles in particular got into some pretty deep waters and she had to stop reading about half way through a particularly dense paragraph describing their so-called co-dependency issues.
The most chilling bit of information that Jo found was written by some FBI suit named Hendrickson, she wasn't sure which part worried her the most: the fact that this Hendrickson seemed to know so much about them, particularly their pasts or, that he seemed to have an obsession with them that boarded on a vendetta.
In the end she couldn't decide but she couldn't shake the feeling that there was a lot going on there that she might never know.
Jo sat in her usual place behind the counter, running the cash register, but mentally she was miles away.
What with her weird dreams (which continued every night pretty much along the same lines), the pregnancy, not being able to reach Ash or her mom and the news that Dean and Sam are like America's Most Wanted poster children, it was all preying heavily on her already troubled mind.
To her credit she was able to perform her job pretty much on autopilot and, as expected for a weeknight the workload was light. Still Alice must have noticed that something was wrong because it wasn't too long into Jo's shift before she came up to her.
"Anything wrong, honey?" Alice asked in her normal friendly tone. "The standard stuff for a girl who could have a child at any minute." Jo lied trying to sound as if that was all she had on her mind.
"Horse pucky," Alice said firmly but without losing a bit of her friendliness. "I know what that's like and what you're going through is not it."
"Well," Jo said slowly trying to edit herself, "I am a bit worried. I can't get anyone on the phone back home and I haven't heard from my husband for a while. Worried about everyone I guess."
"Understandable," Alice said with real sympathy in her voice, "I know what that's like, my hubby was in Vietnam and I was a nervous wreck every damn day. Tell ya' what: Why don't ya' clock out early and go home, get some sleep? You look like you coulduse it."
Jo's eyes widened a bit, there was no denying that, she hadn't had a decent night sleep since the night she was raped. "I can't," Jo stammered, "you need the help and I need the paycheck."
"Look around you honey," Alice said, "the place is a ghost town and anyway I can get by just fine with Tara here."
Tara who had been cleaning off a table walked by carrying the tray of dirty dishes to the back, "Sure she can," Tara put in, adding, "I don't mind the extra work, really."
"I won't even dock you for the time off," Alice added addressing Jo's other objection, "consider it a baby shower gift."
"I can't," Jo said despite her body screaming for her to do it. "You can and you will," Alice said with a smile practically lifting Jo, carefully, off her seat.
"Alright," Jo said reluctantly, "but I expect to come in early later and make up the time." Alice looked at her with a smile and said, "If that will make you get on home then whatever."
With that Jo grabbed her stuff and headed out the door saying her good-byes and thanking them both as she left.
Once Jo was gone Alice let out a sigh and said, "It won't be long you know, she's having that kid tonight, tomorrow at the latest."
"I know," Tara said thoughtfully.
As soon as Jo got home she took a hot shower and changed into her nightclothes. Both of which made her feel a lot better.
Once she was done she lay down on her living room couch and considered trying to called Ash and her mom again but decided against it. All it ended up doing was upsetting her since they never picked up their phones anymore and both of their voice mailboxes were full.
She thought about calling some other people that they knew but the only name that came to mind right way was a guy named Bobby Singer and as far as Jo knew they hadn't seen him in years, despite keeping in contact off and on by phone, anyway she realized she didn't have his number although she seemed to remember he had some kind of auto salvage or tow truck business he ran on the side. Maybe later she would try looking his number up online she decided as she started to drift off to sleep.
Jo was standing in darkness. She couldn't see anything except for a few feet around her, which seemed to be lit by light from an unseen source. She was alone, totally naked and cold.
Scared, she started to call out "anyone there?" Over and over again she cried out "anyone there?" but all she heard in response were her own words echoed back at her.
Then suddenly the whole area lit up and she realized she was in the woods. The place looked kind of like these woods her daddy used to take her to, when she was little, where he started to teach her a little about how to shoot and throw knives. The last time they were out there was the day before he took off on that fateful hunt with John Winchester and never came back.
Suddenly, Jo heard footsteps and she tensed up. The woods looked scarier than she remembered, in some ways they looked like really evil versions of the trees from 'The Wizard of Oz', like they had faces, gnarled, twisted, evil faces that watched her with evil eyes, black eyes like the eyes Sam had when he was raping her.
The footsteps drew closer but Jo, naked and alone, couldn't make herself move, it was like she was frozen to the spot. Then the cause of the footsteps came out of the woods and entered the clearing where she was standing.
All around her she saw her mom, Ash, Dean, Sam and even Bobby and Gordon as well as various other hunters she had seen at the Roadhouse at one time or another.
Her mom stepped forward and said, "I'm sorry Jo but it's gotta be done, you know that. It's gotta be done for the good of the world. That baby can't be born or it will be the end of everyone and since you won't let us take care of it we have to kill you too."
"No!" Jo shouted, "I can't… you can't." "Your mom's right," Ash said walking up, "Jo, I've looked and I've looked like a horn dog at a peep show, Bobby even took a swing or three and struck out. There's no way around it. This demon seed of yours will kill us all…kill the world as we have to pull the plug and pronto. If you let us help you there are… steps we can take… we don't have to kill you too, but if you keep fighting us…throwing up road blocks against us we're going to have no other way."
"Come on Jo!" Dean interjected moving closer than the others, "it's time to grow up. You always wanted to run with the big dogs, be treated like an adult, now you have to do the grown up thing and let us kill you."
Jo couldn't believe it, the people she had loved, her extended family of sorts and they all wanted to kill her.
"Like you were going to kill Sam to save me?" she said barely aware she had done so. "That was different," Dean scowled, "he was possessed that was fixable and it was an acceptable risk that the demon would kill you before I could stop it."
"Yeah well, it's all your fault, and Sam's," Jo said, "He was the one that raped me and made this baby in the first place."
"Maybe," Sam said walking over to join Dean, "but I was possessed and out of control and I'm family and Dean doesn't kill family. You're not our blood. Besides who told you to keep this kid and let it go this far?"
Jo was in tears as everyone moved in closer to join Dean and Sam and pulled out crossbows. "We will be sporting," Dean, said, "give you head start before we hunt you."
Jo took off running through the woods, scanning her surroundings for some kind of weapon or a place to hide until she could find one.
She wasn't running long before she ran right into someone…. It was her dad; still giant compared to her, still the way her childhood memories painted him.
"No more running sweetie," he said grabbing her shoulders, and then Jo began to feel pain in her stomach. Her dad let go and she fell to the ground. It felt like she was having the baby.
The others reached the clearing in time to see a thick cloud of black smoke come from Jo like she was giving birth to it.
The cloud, a demon cloud Jo knew, left her body and enveloped the group totally, bits of it were splitting off and going inside each of them at once as they struggled fruitlessly to stop it.
Once it was done everyone dropped their crossbows and looked at her. Everyone had the black eyes that marked possession and speaking at once, in one voice, they said, "thank you mother for giving birth to me, now I can bring this world down."
Jo turned to her father and saw he had black eyes as well, "mother I have something for you," her possessed father said as he stabbed her in the stomach with his knife. A split second before the pure iron blade plunged in and the pain came she saw her daddy's initials engraved on it, the knife he'd always carried, the knife she now carried in his memory.
Jo felt pain in her stomach as she screamed and sat up on the couch. The couch was wet not just with sweat but also with something else: her waters had broken and Jo could feel the contractions coming, for good or for evil her child was being born tonight.
Jo had long given up the idea of giving birth at a hospital. No matter how many tests and checkups she and her child passed at the free clinic she still couldn't be sure that nothing weird wasn't going to happen so she decided that she was going to have to do her best to have the child there, in her motel room, alone.
She was still able to move around so she grabbed some supplies, not that she was totally sure what to get. She had read up on home births on the internet but a lot of the information was about paid mid-wives and others who would lend a hand and she couldn't afford that, not just financially but for the same reasons a hospital was out.
She had heard a rumor about an old woman who had been known to help hunters in all sorts of medical situations that were beyond the simple patch jobs most could handle themselves but well below the major medical situations that require a hospital, sort of an underground emergency room, but Jo had failed to track her down (if she was even real) so it was just her.
She tried to remember what she had read about natural childbirth, the breathing, when to push and not to push but she was panicked and worried she wouldn't remember it.
That's when she heard a knock on her front door. Great, Jo thought sourly between the contractions, just what I need, company. Then she heard Alice's voice, "Jo honey, are you all right? I wanted to check up on you, you looked like you go into labor at any time."
Alice! Jo thought, maybe she could help. Of course as soon as the thought occurred to her she dismissed it. It's the same problem she would have with a hospital or a mid-wife: What if something unexplainable happened or the child came out with some odd demon-like quality? How would she explain it? As if to push Jo, a hard contraction came and she decided that if there was one civilian who could be trusted to help her in her time of need it would be Alice.
Carefully making her way to the door Jo unlocked it and let Alice in. "Am I glad to see you," Jo said, between panting and wincing in pain. "The baby is coming and I could use your help."
Alice's eyes got wide with excitement. "If the baby's coming then let's skidattle to the hospital girl!" "I can't," Jo, said clenching her teeth in pain.
"Honey," Alice said, "I know you probably don't have health insurance and are worried about money and all but trust me, home birth isn't exactly a good alternative."
"It's not that," Jo managed, "it's complicated but I can't go to a hospital, trust me on that." "Ok," Alice said with a look on her face that was roughly half bewilderment and half concern, "lucky for you I've done some volunteer work and I was trained in this kind of thing to boot. You seem to be doing ok but we need to get you comfortable and get ready for it to really get going."
"What?" Jo said sounding drained already, "I thought it was already started?" "Oh no honey," Alice said with a touch of amusement, "this is just the pre-game show."
Jo was lying in bed, every pillow in the motel room (including chair and couch cushions) were used to prop her in a perfect birthing position and to make her as comfortable as possible.
Meanwhile, Alice was positioned at the foot of the bed watching for any sign of action and occasionally telling Jo to breath and that she was nearly there.
Jo had never know pain like this before but had to admit the breathing did help, if only somewhat, and she was glad to have Alice there to help her out.
At one point Alice looked up and said, "Ok, you're fully dilated. Any minute now you're going to feel the urge to push. Just keep breathing and hold on, I will be right back." Alice left the room for a few minutes while Jo tried to keep her breathing up and to not think about the pain, in the hours since Alice arrived Jo had gotten very good at doing that, not that it was always as effective as she would have liked. Unfortunately, the only thing that came to mind when she tried to avoid thinking about the pain was the nightmares.
The nightmares all told her the child was evil, that it was going to be a demon and the last one said it was going to destroy the world. That somehow it was going to be the end of everyone and everything.
Not for the first time Jo tried to tell herself that they were just dreams, they were just representations of things she had been thinking of (aware of them or not) while awake. After all she knew that she had never heard of pregnancy like hers before, which meant it was rare indeed and if it was that rare, chances were it was on purpose and if it was on purpose that must mean there was a plan behind it, even if she couldn't see what that plan was. Were the dreams right? Was she being a fool going through with this? Was she giving birth to some demon version of Hitler or something?
A contraction came along and cleared her head of those thoughts just as Alice came back with something in her hand. "What's that?" Jo asked wearily. "Something for you to bite on. Things are going to get much worse before it gets better. Now, so far you've been a real trooper, I've hardly ever seen anyone suck up as much pain as you have, but these walls appear to be paper thin and if you're really that serious about avoiding outside involvement with this then the last thing you need is someone in the next room calling 9-1-1 because of you screaming."
Jo thought about that and it made sense, it was just dumb luck (she guessed) that her nightmares hadn't prompted any calls, or at least a stern lecture from the manager about keeping the noise down.
Just then another contraction hit, this one was different. Jo felt a force push on her stomach and with it push an unintended yell from her mouth. Alice quickly jammed the rag between Jo's teeth and she gratefully bit down.
Alice was right; just having the rag to bite on helped her to keep her screams under control and even seemed to lessen the pain some. She had seen people, in movies, use sticks and things like that for the same but she had always doubted it really worked, until she tried it that is.
"You need to push honey?" Alice wiped the sweat from her forehead and smiled reassuringly down at her. All Jo could do was nod frantically as panic started to over come her. God, this was it. "It's ok, you're ready. I'm right here everything will be all right. Now let's deliver this baby."
The strain of pushing along with her extreme exhaustion made everything take on an almost dream-like quality as she pushed and breathed through the rag and did what Alice instructed her to do. All of it felt as if was happening to someone else, like she was watching through a hazy fog.
Jo knew, on some level, that wasn't just because she had an old rag to bite down on when the pain got too much. She had read up enough to know that she was likely to develop tearing as she pushed her child out, especially given this was her first time, and that she was going to lose blood. She had to just hope it wasn't too much. In her woozy state she vaguely wondered how those girls you hear about, the ones who give birth in the bathroom at the prom then go off and dance the night away managed to not bleed to death themselves, eventually Jo decided she had no idea and didn't want to dwell on it any longer.
In Jo's fatigue induced haze time lost all meaning and she simply followed Alice's instruction on when to push, when not to push, when to breath and everything. Eventually, Alice was grinning ear to ear and Jo could just make out the sound of a baby crying and Alice said, "a healthy baby…" Jo couldn't make out the last part. Then Alice turned to her and said "one more bit of unfinished business."
"What now!" Jo groggily exclaimed. Alice couldn't help but chuckle, "you have to expel the placenta." Jo, even in her state could vaguely remember having read all about that. Alice turned, briefly, to clean the now crying child off and wrap it it in a nice warm blanket. She then handed the child to Jo, making sure she was clear headed enough to hold the newborn safely.
Then, Alice returned to her former place. "Push, Terry!" Alice exclaimed as she guided Jo in finishing up. Once that was done Alice said, "Ok, I've got to get you cleaned up and maybe run out and get you some iron so you can start building your blood back up. You haven't lost a critical amount of blood so you'll be just fine, although you are going to be groggy for a while. What with that and the effort you just…."
At that point Alice acted as if she heard something, "oh not now!" she said getting up and checking on Jo and her newborn baby before leaving the room.
"I will be right back," Alice said leaving the room. Jo looked down at the baby for the first time, she still couldn't tell if it was a baby boy or a girl but she didn't care. Either way the child was beautiful and looked healthy and best of all…human.
Suddenly, there was a loud crashing sound and a scream. Jo's eyes widened a bit as her instinct kicked in and she fought her exhaustion and blood loss to wake up and be alert. Then she saw Tara step inside the room and she relaxed.
"Howdy Jo," Tara said and Jo tensed up again. She had never told Tara or even Alice her real name, they both though her name was Terry Luttrell, a former member of her favorite band REO Speedwagon. As if reading Jo's mind Tara said, "Yep I know who you are. How could I not, given that I'm the one who raped you."
For a second Jo thought she was dreaming again but it didn't take long for her realize she wasn't, this might feel like a dream, but it was all too real.
Tara moved closer and she had the black eyes that Jo knew all too well. "Of course I'm not surprised you didn't recognize me, I've changed a lot since then. Awwww, I see you have our child. I've been waiting for this for a long time. A child all my own."
Jo attempted to defend the baby as Tara leaned in to take it but was too weak. "In case you're wondering," Tara said holding the child as she spoke, "I knew that old bitch Alice would show up here and that the child was likely to be born tonight so I staked the place out and waiting for all the…dirty work to be done before showing up. Judging from your blood loss you will be out of commission for some time. In any case it'll be a while before you'll be fit enough to come after me and by that time I will be long gone with my child."
Just then another voice said, "Not if I can help it!" It was a man's voice. A young man Jo had never seen before walked into the room.
"Oh not you again? What name are you using now?" Tara asked in a tone that was part conversational and part hostile.
"Duane," the man said, "I've become fond of this form I must admit. Like you and that Meg chick you were in awhile back."
"Yes," Tara said, "I must admit I do miss Meg sometimes. Still this form has its perks, such as being able to get close to Jo here and get my child."
"About that," Duane said, in the same oddly hostile yet conversational tone, "I can't let you do that." "Why not?" Tara asked not sounding the least bit concerned. "Because I have no idea why you want it so bad. Still if you want it so bad that you went through all of this then I want it dead just as badly."
"What a cruel thing to say about your own niece or nephew, haven't had time to check under the hood and see which, not that it matters."
"You're right there." Duane said, "It doesn't matter because either way it's toast and so are you." "Such hostility," Tara said almost playfully, "why is little brother so angry?"
"You know why," Duane, said, "first there's the matter of the Winchesters. Did you think you could trick me, not to mention Croatoan, like that? Make us think we were carrying out the plan when it was all about screwing with Dean Winchester's head, pushing him to do exactly what our daddy wouldn't have wanted: kill Sam. Then of course there's the matter of you actually possessing Sam and running out on the plan."
"The plan," Tara said with venom in her voice, "where was the plan when those damn Winchesters sent me back to Hell? Where was it when I was clawing my way back here?"
"Our dad helped you with that and you know it," Duane interrupted. "Yeah," Tara laughed, "for the plan. He didn't care if I was here or in Hell." "You know that wasn't true. He was going to kill Dean Winchester for what he did, but you know full well we needed Sam."
"Needed," Tara hissed, "is right. All of that is ancient history. All water under the bridge. Now it's every demon for themselves."
"Which brings me," Duane began, "neatly back to the point. We are the only heirs to our dad, at least on Earth at the moment. It falls on us to unite his army and carry on with the plan and instead we're heading to a civil war."
"There's an easy way to avoid that," Tara said, sounding bored "give in and fall to heel beside me. Be my second in command little brother." "I could say much the same," Duane laughed adding "big sister."
"So we are at an impasse," Tara agreed, "I have my part of the army, you have yours and others are off Hell only knows where doing whatever."
"So you see," Duane said moving nearer, "if this child is special it gives you an edge and I can't afford that, not now. So I'm afraid the child dies."
At that point it looked like the two demons were prepared to fight, Jo wanted so much to run over, to get her baby, to take it to safety but she couldn't move and it was getting harder and harder to even keep her eyes open…
Jo's eyes snapped open suddenly. She had a splitting headache and she was sore. Then she started to remember.
She had given birth last night, or was that a dream? No, she thought, it was real. The bed she was on had signs all over it that she had indeed had her child and she could feel it was no longer inside her.
Slowly sitting up she looked around. The room was a wreck, looked like a heavy-duty struggle went on there, then she remembered. Tara was possessed by the very demon that raped me. Then she remembered the other demon, some guy, she called him what? Little brother, yes but he had a name too.
Carefully standing on wobbly legs and having to stop a second as her head swam, Jo began to realize that the room was filled with the familiar smell of sulfur that settled it there had to have been demons here. How long ago, she wondered as she slowly made her way out of the bedroom.
Looking at a hall clock she calculated that she had been out for nearly twenty-four hours. Why didn't the demons kill me? Jo wondered as she made her way down the small hallway for the living room.
Then she looked down and behind her and saw the reason. She was still bleeding and she knew she had lost a good deal of blood giving birth. They probably figured I would bleed out, she reasoned and looking at the amount of blood was surprised they were wrong. We Harvells are made of stronger stuff you demon bastards! She thought.
As a rule demons didn't exactly shy from killing humans …especially hunters, but they probably figured there was little point given her condition, or maybe they just didn't have time after their demon showdown. My daddy shot your daddy in the head, the voice said again. Yes, Jo agreed, because a demon had so mangled him that it was a mercy to put him out of his misery. That was the first time she had thought about that part but it was true, at least as much as the rest of it.
When she got into the living room she saw Alice, laying near the front door, which was bashed in and barely hanging by its hinges. How had no one noticed that? Jo wondered as she moved as quickly as she could and closed it as best as she could. Then she ran over to check on Alice but had a pretty good idea of what she was going to find.
Just as she expected Alice was laying on the floor, her throat slit and her blood all in the carpet. Crap, Jo thought, I had better get the hell out of here before someone starts looking for her.
The sight of Alice's body helped Jo clear her head some, now she had no choice: If she wanted to find the demon and make it pay, find her baby and get it back, she had to go home.
Jo had no idea how fix herself up, she was good at some patch work but that was beyond her and even if it wasn't it would have required skills as a contortionist (which she didn't have) to do it right so she simply applied pressure as best as she could to staunch the bleeding and made a note to stop somewhere for some iron pills and over the counter painkillers (non-drowsy for sure) on her way out of town.
When she stopped at a local convince store to get her supplies and gas up (while she was at it) she got a shock when she climbed out of her car (still so sore) and saw a small but alarming pool of blood where she had been sitting. Damn it! She thought, this is worse than the time she had her first period in the middle of co-ed P.E. and everyone saw.
Once she was done at the pump she went in, found the iron pills and the painkillers, she also added to her list a roll of paper towels and, on a whim, an energy drink. She wasn't sure she could hold it down but she felt like he needed something if she was going to drive all the way home and make it back in once piece.
Jo had been driving as fast as she dared, she was still a little groggy but the energy drink, painkillers and iron pills were starting to do their work (even if it would take much longer for them to take full effect).
Jo had made sure, while packing her stuff to get out of town, to wipe the place down, to try and get all of her prints as well as getting rid of as much of her blood and other DNA evidence as she possibly could and behaved as normally as possible on her way out, she didn't dare bother to officially check out, so she just packed everything into her beat up old blue Chrysler and booked.
She had the radio on scanning to see if Alice's body was found yet, a part of her wanted to call it in and make sure Alice's remains got proper treatment but another part remembered the mess that Dean and Sam were in and didn't want even a small taste of that, not right now, she had a lot to worry about at the moment.
It didn't take Jo too long to make it out to the Roadhouse but what she saw when she got there shocked her.
She had seen that something was wrong long before she got close but had foolishly hoped that maybe, just maybe it was a weird optical illusion, or maybe her condition was making her see things but by the time she parked only a few feet away she knew it was real.
All that was left of the Roadhouse was charred remains. "It's gone," she muttered out loud to no one but herself. "All gone," she added as if clarifying her former statement. Then she thought about how her mom and Ash hadn't been answering their phones. "Oh God no!" Jo shouted as she scanning the remains.
She could see what looked like places where people had picked through them already. Someone had been there before her and looked around. They must have removed any human remains and taken care of them.
Suddenly, Jo remembered Bobby, maybe he knew something…maybe he's the one who removed the remains.
Jo pulled out her cell phone and dialed information. In a matter of minutes she had Bobby's phone number and the address of his salvage yard. She decided not to call; she needed help anyway so she would go there right away.
The drive to Bobby's was long and uneventful and Jo's mind was working over time with the possibilities not only of her current mess but with what happened to the Roadhouse. She was largely still in a state of shock from seeing the burnt out remains of the closest thing to a home she had known in a long time, not to mention her concern over her mother and Ash and whoever else might have been there when whatever happened went down.
Jo had never been to Bobby's before but the sight of the metal arch with a sign on it indicated it was the right place and just seeing those things made her feel so much better. Help was just seconds away and she felt like a great weight was lifted. Then she saw it, a black 1967 Chevy Impala was parked out front of Bobby's house and there was no mistaking it, the license plate was changed but Jo had no doubt, it was Dean's car and where he was Sam wasn't likely to be far behind.
Seeing that drug her back down again. She took a deep breath and wondered if she was really up to this.
Parking Jo climbed out of the car and looked around. She didn't see anyone around but she had a pretty good idea that Dean at least was around and she hoped Bobby was too.
As Jo made her way to the front door she heard voices coming around the side of the house. One of them she knew instantly was her mom; the other was a somewhat gruff man that she guessed was Bobby.
Just as they came around the corner Jo, swept up the excitement ran over and shouted "Mom, thank God you're alive!"
"Jo!" Ellen shouted, "Where the hell have you been? I tired to call but the number I had was out of service."
"I know mom," Jo said sadly, "I have a lot to tell you…" but before Jo could say anymore the blood loss, the fatigue and the stress took their toll. Jo's head went light, her vision dark and she passed out into her mother's arms.
Jo was sitting by herself in a dark room. She could just make out a figure… a male figure sitting several feet away.
Suddenly, a light came on and shone right in the Jo's eyes. "Oh Jo, Jo, Jo… What am I going to do with you?"
Jo could tell from the voice, as soon as the figure spoke, it was her father again, but there was something odd about the sound of his voice, something not human.
"I spend all of this time appearing to you in your dreams," her daddy's (and yet not her daddy's) voice continued, "I even took the form of someone you would trust so you would listen to me. All of this to try and help you… to get you to do what was right."
Then the figure stood and walked into the light and Jo could see that it looked like the image of her daddy that she had seen in her dreams before then she noticed with a chill that he had the same black eyes he'd had when he'd stabbed her.
"I even sent you an image of that counseling place in hopes that maybe they would cut through all that emotion you had bottled up and I could reach you better, still it did help me get through into your dreams more," at this point her daddy tilted his head as if in thought, "I must admit this dream stuff is new to me… my daddy had it down but I'm still learning. Like learning that I couldn't manifest until you unloaded some, knocked down some of the walls so to speak. Once you had some of that counseling under your belt I was able to make you dream that ad for the abortion place… that one was risky since they don't really run T.V. ads. Still you didn't notice. Then I had to get more hands on and appear in your dreams. Lucky for me I found this form in the dark corners of your mind. Someone you would trust and listen to."
Then her daddy seemed to get angry and leaned in close and as he moved his form shifted, like one of those specialty baseball cards that look one way until you tilt them down and the image changes, this time he took on a form she recognized from the night she gave birth. The young man that was there, calling the demon inside Tara big sister.
"All of that trouble, that work, that effort…and don't think for a moment it wasn't an effort, and what do you go and do? You have the baby anyway."
"Now Jo," he said switching back into the form of her daddy and moving his chair so that it was right in front of her but turned backward so he could straddle it, which ruined the effect for Jo, she had never seen her dad sit like that in his life.
"We have to have a little talk about that kid of yours. You know that the tike is special, I mean we're talking about a baby that is part human, part demon and part special child. There has never been a child like that before. That kid is a wild card and wild cards canbe dangerous."
Jo managed to find her voice, "you're not my daddy, you're a stinking demon. Why should I believe a word you say? Everyone knows you all lie."
"Hey," the man said shifting back out of Bill's form and into the form of his current host. "Believe me or not, I have no control over that, but know this: that kid of yours is dangerous… not just to us demons but to humans, hunters and everything else in this world. Like I said that kid is a wild card and wild cards by their very nature are unpredictable. As if that's not bad enough my sister has the child and knowing her like I do she's got some totally evil plan in mind. Just seems to me we could work together on this: the enemy of my enemy and all that."
"Hunters don't work with demons," Jo said defiantly. The man merely laughed, "Oh come on. I think we can put aside our differences long enough to deal with this mess. Can't we?"
"Why should we? You want my baby dead." Jo responded.
"That was simply plan A," the man said casually, "now that the child has been born things are set into motion… things way too large for your puny human mind to grasp. The child's death would, at this point, solve nothing, it's well past too late for that. As for why we should work together that's simple: I know where my little sister and your child are hiding."
"Then why not go after them yourself?" Jo asked angrily.
"Because," the demon admitted, "my hold on my army is not as strong as I would like her to think. There are many who are planning to defect, either to her side or go out on their own. Most of the rest are probably plotting even now to destroy me and take my place. Her army is much smaller but much more loyal, I dare not risk open conflict yet. However, you hunters…. as you call yourself… have proven most effective. I have every confidence that you could go into her lair and take the child back without sustaining too much loss… especially if those blasted Winchesters help you… they seem to excel at long shots and lost causes."
"I'm supposed to believe that you will help us find your sister so I get my baby back and you will just let us go on our way?" Jo asked half way between a real question and out right sarcasm.
"I told you," the demon said, "the time to kill the child has passed, it wouldn't do any good now. Now all I care about is keeping the child out of my sister's hands."
Jo must have looked highly skeptical because the demon looked at her and said, "Look! I can't get anymore blunt than this. My sister has some kind of plan for your child, not the same plan our daddy had for the special kids, something she cooked up all on her own and whatever that plan is it can't be good for you or me. Believe me or not, I don't care but I will tell you this: She's hiding out in a warehouse in Seattle, Washington. I don't know exactly where but it's near the water. That's all I got out of her agent before I had to dispatch him. That is where you should start. Now wake up and go!" At that point the demon reached out and touched Jo's forehead before she could react to stop him.
Suddenly, Jo sat up in bed screaming. Sitting next to her was her mother Ellen. "It's ok baby," Ellen said in a tone she reserved for her baby girl when she was scared or in pain, a tone she hadn't had reason to use since her husband Bill died.
"Mom?" Jo said tiredly, "I'm home?" "Yes dear," Ellen said soothingly, "we're at Bobby's."
"What happened to the Roadhouse, mom?" Jo asked, "Where's Ash?"
Ellen looked over to Bobby who was sitting silently in the corner of the room and said, "First things first Jo. What happened to you? You lost a lot of blood, had tearing …you look like you gave birth to a child. I fixed you all up and got you on stronger iron pills than the ones I found in your stuff."
Jo looked up and said, "I did." The look on Ellen's face was hard to read but Jo knew one thing for sure, Ellen wanted to hear the whole story.
Bobby was sure this was something that was between Ellen and Jo and he had other things he needed to do so he silently got up and left the room.
Slowly, at first, but with ever building momentum Jo began to tell Ellen the story of the night she ran into possessed Sam Winchester and everything that happened to her since them.
"Why didn't you come to me sooner?" Ellen asked when Jo finished her story, in a mix of anger and sadness. "I don't know," Jo, admitted, "shame I guess, shame and pride. I didn't want to admit that I let something like that happen and was ashamed that I couldn't bring myself to just get rid of it when I found out I was pregnant."
"No," Ellen said shaking her head, "you can't blame yourself. You had no way to know what was coming and I can't blame you for not wanting to abort it either. I don't know I would have done things any different."
That was something of a surprise for Jo to hear. She had convinced herself that Ellen would be angry about what happened, angry that Jo didn't tell her, angry that apparently neither Sam nor Dean had seen fit to tell her either and most of all angry that she would willing bare a child who could very well be part demon and bring it into the world.
"Jo," Ellen said reaching out her hand to touch Jo's hand in reassurance "this is going to be rough but if the demon conceived this child with you, especially using Sam as a host, and has the child now we have to find out why."
"Which means telling Bobby," Jo said. "At least," Ellen said, "we should also tell Sam and Dean as well. They can help and there have been more than enough secrets as it is."
"Don't be mad at them," Jo said not fully expecting to hear herself say it, "things were…strained between them and us then and I'm sure they didn't want to make anymore waves…besides it's not their fault Sam was possessed and Dean was just trying to save him."
"I don't blame then for what happened," Ellen admitted, "but they still should have told me about it." "I have to admit something," Jo said in a low voice, "I'm not sure Sam remembers and I know Dean didn't know, I didn't tell him when he showed up to help Sam."
"What?" Ellen asked. "Again," Jo said sheepishly, "embarrassment and pride, I couldn't tell Dean that Sam's body had been used as a weapon to violate me. I'm sure Sam doesn't remember, if he did I think he would have said…done…something."
Ellen smiled a bit and said, "You're right there. It's just not in Sam's nature to keep silent about something like that…he's not a boy to shy away from speaking his mind. All the more reason to tell them, unless you don't want to."
Jo thought about that for a minute. In the end she decided that her mother had been right, too many secrets… she also wanted to add too much pride and shame on her part. "Let's get everyone on this, have a little pow wow about it. Demon child or no, I want my baby back."
"Good girl," Ellen said simply, "I'm proud of you. Now come here and give you old mom a hug." Jo leaned over, still sore she thought, and her and Ellen hugged and even cried for few minutes. Then when they were done Ellen went to rally the troops.
Sitting around Bobby's kitchen table and telling everyone her story was harder than Jo thought, especially since, as fate would have it, she was sitting right across from Sam.
She took it turns to avoid meeting his hazel eyed gaze and looking right into those eyes, trying gauge if he did or didn't remember what happened that night. In the end she decided she was right all along, he didn't remember it.
As soon as she told them she could see Sam's face fall into a scowl and his eyes began to glisten. Never ashamed to show his emotions that one Ellen thought as Sam, without a word, stood up and stalked outside slamming the front door shut behind him.
Dean started to get up but Bobby put his hand on Dean's shoulder and Dean knew what Bobby was saying without him saying a word, he needs to sort this out on his own…there's nothing you can do for Sam this time. Dean hated to agree with that but knew it was right so he stopped and sat back down.
Once Jo had finished with her whole story Bobby rubbed his eyes and said, "That's a hell of thing Jo. I've hardly ever heard of demons using possessed humans like that before. Of course there's also the other matter to consider."
"Yeah." Dean said with sadness in his voice.
"What do you mean?" Jo asked feeling as if she had missed some important bit of information. "Well," Dean said leaning in putting his mask of professionalism back in place but it didn't seem to fit as well at had in the past, "Sammy is what we call a special child and I don't mean in the short bus kind of way." Dean's lame attempt at humor was supposed to cut the tension but fell far short of the goal.
"He has visions," Dean continued. "So I heard," Jo admitted, "but what's that got to do with this situation?"
"Because," Dean explained "that's the reason the Yellow Eyed Demon showed up at our house the night our mom died, or maybe it was because he showed up that Sammy has the visions, it's a chicken or the egg kind of thing."
"Either way," Bobby inserted, "whatever it is that made the special kids special, gave them their abilities, could be passed on to your child."
"So," Jo said sounding more than a little overwhelmed, "my child could have weird psychic abilities in addition to being part demon?" "We don't know," Dean said. "That's the simple answer," Bobby said, "but I will hit the books, call my contacts, do whatever I can to find out. Meanwhile, I think the rest of you should be figuring out how to track the demons down."
"How the hell are we going to do that Bobby?" Ellen interjected. "We don't even know which one got the baby. I mean according to what Jo described there are two factions. One wants the kid dead the other wants it alive. If the one who wants it dead got it…" At that point Ellen looked over at Jo and couldn't bring herself to finish her point.
"The child could already be dead…" Jo finished for her. "I don't think it is," Jo said, "I know it's weird and all but I think I would know if the baby was dead… I would feel it."
"That doesn't sound weird at all," Dean, said in a sad tone, "I know exactly what you mean."
"For the moment," Dean said in a more upbeat tone, "we precede as if the child is alive and work on a way to track the demons who have it. Any ideas Bobby?"
"Maybe," Bobby said, "I think I have a couple of rituals that might allow us to track them down, can't be sure until we try."
"Good," Ellen said sounding more energetic; despite the hours she spent patching Jo up and sitting by her bedside.
"Ok then," Bobby said, "Ellen, Dean come with me, I will show you the rituals while I try and work out what we're dealing with here."
Everyone got up and started to walk off, but before Dean could leave Jo grabbed his hand and said, "Wait, Dean, we need to talk."
"About what?" Dean asked sounding somewhat nervous. "About us," Jo said simply.
"Listen Jo," Dean started slightly uneasy. "Don't worry Dean," Jo said, "I get it. There never will be an us, there never was. I'm over all that."
"You are?" Dean asked with an odd mixture of relief and surprise, then thinking better of his tone he tried to hide it, which made Jo smile for the first time since that night.
"It's ok," Jo said simply, "I had a lot of time to think about a lot of things and I realized that we never really were interested in each other like that anyway. It was all a mistake. I know now that I was never in love with you, or even in lust with you. I see now that I was interested in you because you reminded me of my daddy. I deluded myself into thinking my attraction was more than that but it wasn't."
"I see," Dean said. "Yes," Jo continued, "and I realize now that you were still grieving over the loss of your daddy. Your flirting with me when we first met was just you doing what you thought was expected of you. You were running on autopilot. I realize now that all the jokes about being afraid of my mom, all the attempts at distance. You realized you had made a mistake, started something you couldn't finish and you didn't want to hurt me by just dumping me so you just got more distant, started treating me like a little sister."
"I never wanted to hurt you," Dean finally said after a couple of minutes, "but yeah. I realized that it was all wrong almost from the start but it was too late. I saw this young, wide eyed, girl who had these fond memories of her dad and romantic ideas about hunting and I didn't want to kick her in teeth by letting her down."
"I'm not her anymore," Jo said, "I can't even imagine being her again. After everything… I've been through. I learned a lot being out on my own, hunting on my own and then with…." She couldn't say it out loud, not to Dean…she didn't want to make him think of possessed Sam and his actions again… "I learned even more from that."
Dean looked like he wasn't sure what to think. Jo was sure on the one hand he was glad to finally clear the air, to put any lingering remains of a romance, which was not to be, to bed once and for all but on the other hand the rape hung over everything like a nasty black cloud, a demon cloud.
"Friends then," Dean said after a little while, and put out his hand to shake Jo's. "You bet," Jo said taking his hand and shaking it.
"Dean!" Ellen shouted from the other room, "you coming or what?" "Yeah," Dean shouted somewhat shakily, "be right there."
Sam was kneeling on the far corner of Bobby's front porch when Jo found him. She wasn't sure exactly what was going through his head but knew it wasn't pretty.
What must it be like to have been possessed? To know you did things you don't even know about? Jo knew that a possessed person sometimes had vague memories of some of what they did but how would it feel to have someone turn up and tell you what she had to tell him?
Jo debated going over to talk to him. She wasn't sure she was ready… she wasn't even sure if Sam was ready. Still it had to be done sooner or later.
"Sam," Jo said tentatively.
"Jo!" Sam said surprised. She could see he was wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. He didn't want her to see him like that.
"It wasn't your fault," Jo said bluntly knowing that he was blaming himself, "you were possessed, you had no control over your actions."
"I should have fought harder, I never should have been possessed in the first place." Sam said simply.
"Oh come on," Jo said walking over to sit near him, "you know as well as I do, better I'm sure, that under the right conditions anyone, anywhere, can be possessed and the more powerful the demon the harder it is to fight it."
"That's not it," Sam said sadly, "I've never told anyone this… not even Dean… the night I was possessed I was supposed to be out getting burgers but I wasn't. I was at a bar, getting loaded."
Jo was surprised but tried to cover it up. Sure Sam would have a beer or two once in awhile but she never remembered seeing him drunk.
"I was in a bad place back then, not that that's an excuse," Sam said slowly, "I was worried about my abilities and the other special children. So many of them went bad and I was worried it was only a matter of time. The pressure to avoid that, to save as many people as possible, to avoid this dark destiny… I went to have a few and relax."
"So what?" Jo asked. "Don't you see," Sam said through gritted teeth, "my… condition made it easier for the demon to worm its way inside. I would have stood a better chance to resist if I hadn't…"
"You don't know that," Jo said, "you can't know that."
"I'm sorry," Sam, said, "I know that sounds lame. I'm sorry falls so short of covering it, it's like putting a band aid on a severed head."
At that point Sam put his hand on her shoulder, to try and reassure her, but instead Jo flinched and as a reflex pulled away. Sam looked down at his hand and, as if just realizing what he had done, he pulled it way like it had touched a hot stove and looked shame faced.
"Can't even look at me," Sam said, "can't even bare my touch. Not that I'm surprised… not when I think about you went through."
"Look," Jo said candidly, "I'm not going to lie to you. In my head I know it wasn't you. It was that damn demon, but in my heart…"
"I understand," Sam, said, "I get it, really. It's going to be a long hard road. Maybe I should leave. Until you and the others get things sorted out. You don't need to deal with seeing me on top of everything else."
"No!" Jo said insistently, "I need all the help I can get and leaving isn't the answer. I'm going to have to let go of those feelings sooner or later and like I told Dean before I came out here, I want to be friends with you."
Sam wasn't sure what to say or what to do. "I would like that too," he finally managed, "just going to take time for both of us to work through this."
"I think that would be time well spent," Jo said simply. This time she put her hand on his shoulder and kept it there. It was a small gesture but it was the first step.
"Jo," Sam said, "I think I need some time alone, just for now." Jo slowly got up and said, "I understand. I could use some of that myself actually."
"Thanks." Sam said returning to his dark thoughts. Wish there was something I could do to help you Sam, Jo thought as she went back inside.
Jo sat in Bobby's living room listening to the distant sounds of Bobby, Ellen and Dean trying to work out just what she gave birth to and how to track the demons. There was something good about those sounds, familiar.
Where as most people think of the sounds of laughing and talking as being the sounds of home, for Jo it was these sounds, the sounds of frenzied research, discussion about demons and herbs and rituals that were the sounds of home.
After a long while Ellen and Dean came into the room, "How's it going?" Jo asked, "Can I lend a hand?"
"It's slow," Dean said rubbing bleary bloodshot eyes, "but we're making progress." "The best thing you can do," Ellen added, "is rest and rebuild your strength. We're likely to need all hands when things get going."
"I'm going out for a breath of fresh air," Dean said quickly making for the front door before anyone could stop him.
He had no onefooled, both Ellen and Jo knew that he was worried about Sam and that the time apart had him worried even more, there was no way he wasn't going out there to check on him this time.
After a few minutes of silence Jo finally got up the nerve to ask, "What exactly happened to the Roadhouse? Where is Ash?"
Just then Bobby walked into the room and it was clear from his look that he had heard the question.
Ellen and Bobby looked at each other sadly, then Ellen said, "I don't exactly know what happened, I wasn't there but Ash called me back and when I got there it was like that… Jo… Ash died in the attack."
"What?" Jo said in shock, "Ash is gone?"
"Yes," Ellen said, "let me… us, show you something."
Ellen and Bobby led Jo outside the back way - so as to give Sam and Dean some privacy - of Bobby's place and down a small path in a wooded area to a clearing surrounded by an intricate iron fence with all sorts of symbols on it.
In the fenced in clearing stood several hand made grave markers. "What's this?" Jo asked surprised. "It's a hunter's cemetery." Bobby explained. "It's not uncommon - especially when reporting a hunter's death would cause trouble with the law - to burn the body, just in case, then burry the ashes in a place like this. I started this one some time ago."
Jo could tell, some of the markers looked years old and some looked more recent. Jo walked around, most of the names she recognized but couldn't put a face to, some she didn't know at all and some jumped out at her, like Ash. Then she spotted one off by itself that simply read JW.
Jo's eyes welled up with tears. Ash was gone; her baby was taken, what else could happen? Then she spotted another marker that read William 'Bill' Harvell. "Daddy?" Jo said. "Yeah," Ellen agreed walking over to stand in front of the marker. "This is where we laid your daddy to rest after…."
"After he died." Jo offered. Ellen simply nodded and the three of them stood in silence for some time.
"Seattle, Washington." Jo suddenly blurted out. "What?" Ellen said looking at Jo with a puzzled expression.
"I will explain shortly," Jo said suddenly acting tense, "first we need to have another pow wow, all of us."
Things were only slightly less tense the second time around. Things between Sam and Jo were awkward but not quite as raw as they had been.
This time it was Sam who avoided looking her in the eye, in fact, most of the time, he avoided looking at her at all. It seemed to her as if Sam had noidea how to act around her. His every move, every look, everything seemed measured and thought out. It's going to be a long time before he's comfortable around me and really I'm not much better.
"I smell a trap," Dean said simply as soon as Jo told them all about her dreams, especially the last one.
"That's a given," Ellen said "but it's the only lead we have."
"Yeah," Dean said not giving ground, "but what if he's full of it? What if he has the kid and is sending us after the other demon just to keep us off his trail and hurt the bitch demon?"
"That's a risk," Sam said in a low voice, "but I don't see we have much choice. I mean we have no idea where the other demon is and at least we have this lead on…. What are we calling her?"
"Tara?" Jo offered, at least that name doesn't have as much baggage as calling her Meg… the name of the person the demon was in when Sam and Dean first tangled with her, and certainly less than any other name.
Sam simply nodded. "Tara," Sam said with a frown. "I don't see any other options here."
Everyone seemed to agree, not that they liked it much and then turned to the matter of preparing to head out to Seattle and working on how to narrow down the search for the warehouse.
When Jo entered the room Sam was on his laptop and from where she was standing she could see that he was researching warehouses by the water in Seattle, trying to remove some hay from that stack where the needle was hiding.
"Any luck?" Jo asked trying to break the ice. Sam didn't even look up but said, "A little. There are only so many warehouses near the water that are disused, that helps a good deal. I'm now trying to see if I can find in signs of unusual activity. I'm actually trying out a program Ash and I worked up once but never got to use…"
At the mention of Ash's name Sam remembered that Jo had just found out about his death. "Sorry." Sam said, "I'm really batting a thousand with you these days aren't I?"
"It's ok Sam," Jo said, "really. I don't blame you. Like I said it wasn't you."
"But it was my body," Sam added knowing what she was going to say, "that's enough to create friction between us. I'm so sorry I let that happen."
"There was nothing you could have done." Jo said moving closer to where Sam was sitting. "You don't get it Jo," Sam said, "I did a lot of awful things when that demon was inside me… I remember a lot of it but until today I didn't remember that."
"Until today?" Jo asked, "You starting to remember now?"
"I don't know," Sam, said, "either that or I'm starting to imagine I am. Either way it's some ugly stuff and I hate that I put you through that."
"That's just it, Sam," Jo said, "you didn't put me through anything, the demon did. You know that."
"Yeah," Sam said, "but it's hard to not feel guilty." "Sam," Jo said kneeling down to look him solidly in the eyes, this time she didn't flinch and she didn't let him look away either. "You have nothing to feel guilty about… You carry the weight of the world on your shoulders… take everything so personally but you don't have to… especially not this…"
Sam smiled a thin smile that didn't seem to register beyond his mouth, "Now you sound like Dean."
"You should listen to us," Dean said walking into the room, "you have no blame here Sammy. None."
Before Sam could say anything his laptop started beeping. "What's that?" Dean asked. "The program I was running. Like I said… Ash and I worked it up…well mostly Ash. It allows me to hack into satellite images to look at real time footage of anywhere in the world."
Dean smirked a bit and was going to make a remark but then thought better of it. "Wait," Jo said, "I thought there were sites for that, like that Google Earth thing."
"Yeah but they're very limited. This is a government spy satellite; it can get us anything, anywhere, anytime. Thing is I have to time it just right. Can't stay on for more than twenty seconds or the people running it will realize and start a trace."
"Whoa Sammy," Dean said moving nearer, "what happened to playing it safe and not doing anything too illegal, the whole FBI wanted list thing."
"I know Dean," Sam said quickly moving through images without looking up. "That's why I haven't used it before and why I probably won't use it again but we're on a time table here and it's the quickest way I know to locate that warehouse."
Sam, Dean, Bobby, Ellen and Jo stood silently outside the warehouse inside which they knew were at least a dozen demons in human form.
"You boys sure this is gonna work?" Ellen asked glancing at Sam and Dean out of the corner of her eye.
"Not really," Dean said glibly "but it's all we got." "Yeah," Sam said jumping in, "we can't let the demons get away and while we can't be sure it will work like Dean said 'it's all we got'". "Good enough for me," Bobby said not sounding fully convinced.
"What are we waiting for?" Jo asked trying to sound more ready than she really was. "You sure you're up to this Jo?" Ellen asked with concern in her voice.
"As much as I can be," Jo admitted, "I have to be there. Whatever else the baby is, it's my child and I want it back."
Ellen simply cracked a thin smile and nodded. "Let's do it then." She added almost as if it was an after thought.
"Remember," Dean said, "go in slow and quiet, and get the lay of the land before we act." Everyone simply nodded as they made their way inside.
Just inside the door to the warehouse were several crates… ideal for hiding behind and luckily giving them a perfect vantage point on the demons, just a few yards away.
As they watched, a girl - Jo recognized her as Tara and pointed her out silently to the others - walked out of a back area to join a handful of her servants.
"Is everything ready for the ritual?" Tara asked the first of the men she came across. "Exactly as you ordered."
"Good," Tara said with a tinge of evil glee, "then get the baby so I can get started I've waited long enough."
A couple of the men, including the one she was addressing left the room and came back a few minutes later with the baby, still wrapped in the blanket that Jo had last seen it in.
It took everything Jo had, as well as Ellen's hand on Jo's shoulder, to keep Jo from running out then and there to get her child.
As they watched Tara took the baby and laid it on a symbol that had been drawn on the floor. Dean, Sam, Ellen, Jo and Bobby looked at each other unsure of what Tara was up to, but pretty sure they should intervene to stop it.
Just as they were about to make their move however Tara turned and looked right at Sam and Dean, "Didn't you too learn anything from Chicago? You can't hide from me."
Sam and Dean looked at each other, they knew exactly to what Tara was referring but were surprised to see their plan blown twice in the same way.
"You all might as well come out," Tara said looking at each of them in turn, "I, of course, knew you were all there the whole time." At this point she smiled. "Well…Jo. I honestly thought you would have bled to death in that motel room. My mistake, should have slit your throat to be sure."
"Yes," Jo said defiantly "you should have. You won't live to make that mistake again." "Wrong again Jo," Tara said and at that point the hunters flew across the room and ended up pressed against the nearby wall, each hanging a good foot above the ground.
"You are just in time however," Tara said conversationally, "to witness my re-birth." "Re-birth?" Jo asked trying to move her head to look at the others but only being able to vaguely see them struggling out of the corners of her eyes.
"Yes," Tara said in a more gloating tone, "that has been what all of this was about… from the start. The rape, the pregnancy, all of it… Observe."
At that point Tara began a low, barely audible Latin chant. At first nothing seemed to be happening but then Jo could feel a sort of static in the air, she could smell the familiar smell of sulfur and the building began to shake. Then she looked over at the back and could swear she saw the child…. Start to age before her very eyes.
First the child looked six months old, then a year, then five years, then ten and so it kept going until Tara stopped the chanting and the child was roughly twenty years old, her body barely covered by the very blanket that, only moments ago, wrapped her fully. The child was a blonde twenty-year old girl who, Jo oddly noticed when she saw the face, looked like her but had Sam's hazel eyes.
Before anyone could say or do anything Tara opened her mouth again, this time wide and the demon cloud exited, looking like Tara was vomiting black smoke.
The cloud then went strait for the twenty-year-old girl, Jo's child, and entered her mouth. When the cloud was done the child opened her eyes and they were black. "I'm home." The girl said.
Meanwhile, Tara had fallen to the floor and started to slowly wake up. While the demon had been changing bodies her power passed, just long enough for the hunters to fall to the floor, and stand up again. They were free but it was too late.
"Where am I?" Tara asked, then seeing Jo she added "Terry? Where are we? What's happening?" Jo started to run over to help Tara but the demon reached her first. From somewhere the demon produced a small triangle shaped blade she was holding between the middle and ring fingers of her right hand.
Before Jo could stop her, the demon slit Tara's throat and tossed her into Jo's arms. It didn't take Jo long to realize, much to her sorrow, that Tara was gone already. There was nothing she could do but lay her down, gently, on the floor and close Tara's eyes. With that done Jo joined the others in their chase of the demon-girl.
However, it wasn't long before the demon-girl's men had the hunters surrounded. "Great!" Dean said. The others simply pulled out the weapons they had ready for the fight.
Bobby moved forward and doused as many of then as he could with holy water. The actual physical damage was minimal but the pain and confusion allowed Dean to slip passed for their real target, the demon girl, unfortunately Sam and Jo both decided independently to break with the plan and follow him.
As the trio chased the demon-girl she suddenly turned and stopped. "You can't harm me now… uncle Dean." She said the last part with particular glee.
"I have the power of a special child as well as my own demon powers," the demon girl continued, "I can't be stopped."
"You are no family of mine, bitch and I will get you out of that girl," Dean snarled, "If it's the last thing I do."
"No!" Jo said, "we will." "We," Sam added in agreement.
"Ohhh," the demon-girl said putting on a wounded front, "what a mean thing to say mommy and daddy."
"Shut up!" Sam said with an edge in his voice that Jo could tell scared even Dean. Jo knew Sam had been kind of edgy since she told him about her rape and about the child and that he seemed to have a lot on his mind even before that but she had no idea it was that bad… Dean normally didn't scare easily.
"Oh daddy don't be so mean," the demon-girl said.
"I said shut up!" Sam repeated, this time with even more anger in his voice.
"Oh," the demon-girl continued, "what are you going to do? You can't hurt me without hurting the girl."
"We'll exorcise you," Dean jumped in.
"No dice, unc!" the demon-girl taunted, "I have another binding link, putting that on was my first step after taking the child. This time it's in a place you will never find and if you even try to look for it I will rip your arms off and beat you to death with them, and I can too…demon strength."
It was an obvious Mexican stand off, Jo could see it and she could tell Dean and Sam saw it too, as did, unfortunately, the demon inside her daughter.
Glancing back for a second Jo could see that Bobby and Ellen were working their way through her minions, low level demons, nothing too difficult but still there were an awful lot of them.
"Ok guys and gal," the demon-girl said, "are we going to stand around here like this all day. You can't stop me, you can't beat me… so what's the plan?"
What is the plan? Jo wondered, we didn't see this coming. Aging the child to adulthood and possessing her… that was way out from left field for sure.
Before anyone could respond Sam said, "we have the place surrounded in salt, you demons aren't going anywhere. We could let you go, but only if you leave that girl and go without a human host."
The demon-girl laughed, "Oh come on daddy… Sammy. You know a salt circle isn't going to stop me, not now. Now I'm part demon, part human and let's not forget your DNA contribution… thanks to that… nothing can stop me. I can walk out of here anytime I wish."
"Then why don't you?" Dean asked. At this point, Jo could tell he just wanted the whole mess over, that he could read the pain on Sam's face. She knew what Sam was feeling, she was feeling it to…knowing that the woman before them was technically their daughter and that not only had she been conceived in ugliness and violence but that she had now been robbed of the first two decades of life and was possessed by a demon.
"Because," the demon-girl said mockingly, "it's more fun to stay and torture the three of you. I cause Sammy and Jo here pain just by existing and Sammy's pain is your pain, three birds… one stone. By the way Uncie Dean, I heard about your little deal. One year to live, that's gotta suck."
At that point Jo looked at Dean, then at Sam. Deal? What was the demon talking about? Before anymore could be said however Bobby and Ellen, who had apparently managed to beat back the minor demons, at least long enough to get past them had arrived to join the fray.
"Give me back my daughter you bitch!" Jo said ready with her weapon and tired of all the talk.
"You think that's going to hurt me," the demon-girl laughed mockingly. "It should," Jo said evenly without sign of emotion, "it's been dipped in holy water."
The demon-girl laughed, "that won't effect me anymore… when are you people going to get it…I'm more than demon…more than human…I'm unique and unstoppable."
"Nothing is unstoppable," Bobby said pulling a small object from one of his coat pockets and splashing the demon-girl with it.
The liquid hit her body and much to her obvious surprise it burned. "Can't be," she screamed in pain and anger, "holy water can't hurt me."
"Oh," Dean said moving in producing his own vial and splashing her again, "it's not holy water. It's a little something Bobby whipped up before we left. What's it called again Bobby?"
"Oh," Bobby said in an oddly conversational tone, "it's got many names but my personal favorite is God's Blood. Of course that's just a name, it's really a mixture of many herbs ingredients, holy water is one of them but there are also all sorts of other things."
"Sort of Bobby's answer to KFC's secret recipe." Dean quipped tossing more on her. "We can do this all day," Dean said glancing at Sam obviously aware of the pain on his face knowing that he knew it was hurting the host nearly as much as the demon.
"Fine," the demon-girl finally said, "but don't think you've seen the last of me." Before anyone could move the girl turned, ran for a nearby window and jumped through, shattering the glass, which flew outside like projectiles.
By the time they reached the window she was long gone and there was no sign of where she went.
"Damn it!" Sam shouted slamming his fist hard into the wall. Again Jo noticed the look on Dean's face but this time she also noticed that he, Bobby and her mom traded worried glances as well… What the hell, Jo thought confused.
As they turned they saw the other demons slowly start to recover and stand. Before they could make a move Dean said, "let's get started, mass exorcisms are a bitch."
By the time they got the mess at the warehouse cleaned up and got back to Bobby's everyone was exhausted and most of them headed right for bed.
However, Jo made a point of cornering Dean before he could get to his room. "What was all that back there?" she asked simply.
"All what?" Dean asked, afraid he knew exactly what she was referring to but not really feeling like getting into it.
"The demon…she mentioned something about a deal, you having only a year to live and when Sam lost his temper after she got away… I saw a look on your face, and you and Bobby and my mom started looking weird at each other. What's going on?"
"Nothing," Dean lied, "it's a privet matter. Doesn't concern you."
"Bull, it doesn't!" Jo said grabbing Dean's arm to stop him from walking away. "Like it or not, no matter the circumstances, Sam and I have a daughter out there and she's in trouble. If something's going on with Sam I need to know."
Dean sighed, "I would really rather not do this now. All I want now is a hot shower, an ice cold beer and some sleep."
"Please," Jo said, "last thing I need is more surprises."
"Alright," Dean said, "sit down. At least I can have a beer while I tell you all about it…"
It was mid-afternoon by the time Jo saw anyone stirring at Bobby's. Personally, she found it hard…impossible, to sleep.
Every time she closed her eyes she saw Tara die, or her child grow up, unnaturally quick - like those nature shows that speed up a plant growing so you can see the changes all at once - before her very eyes and she saw the black, demon eyes, of her adult child and she had to open her eyes to make it all go away.
Then, there was the dream. The one time in the hours since they got back from the warehouse, she was able to sleep for any real amount of time that the other demon appeared to her again.
This time he… it… whatever dispensed with making itself look like her dad and instead looked like the form it had in her motel room… an average looking young man with a strange scar right near his hairline.
"You blew it Jo, all of you blew it." The demon said without any kind of build-up. "Now my sister is out there in a body that makes her more powerful… more threatening… than ever."
"You weren't honest with us," Jo said simply.
"A demon… not honest," the male demon said mockingly, "Imagine that! I thought, if you believed that the child's very existence was a threat to the world itself you would try harder. If you had given in to my… requests… before it was too late you never would have had the child and we wouldn't all be in this mess."
"You want you sister dealt with, then deal with her yourself… my focus is my child. Getting her back, getting her restored to normal, if that's even possible."
"Then we're on the same page," the demon said, "By all means, find your child, exorcise my sister from her… send her back to Hell again… that serves us all. I will even help you out. You have to go to Waco, Texas. That's where she's heading next. A lot of unaffiliated demons have congregated there, I can't say why, but they're there. You hardly made a dent in her army with you mass exorcism but she also lost more when word got around that she just left them there to a group of hunters so some have jumped ship. Some have come to me, others feel our little… sibling rivalry is not their affair and have moved into…privet practice so to speak. In any case she will be there shortly and she will be looking for recruits. Go there and get your daughter back."
That was when Jo woke up covered in sweat and unable… or maybe unwilling… to go back to sleep. Since then she had dressed and quietly made her way to the hunter graveyard to see her father's marker again. She was beginning to be able to put the demon's words about his death out of her head… to realize that if John really did shoot him it was the right thing to do and because of this revelation she was able to think about him again without experiencing the pain that information originally gave her all over again.
"Thought I would find you here," Ellen's voice said from behind Jo. "Yeah," Jo said, "I never knew where dad was buried…. If he was buried… I didn't really want to think about that actually, but now that I know, I feel closer to him, like there's something here of him and I can come and visit."
"Grave or no grave," Ellen said putting her hands on Jo's shoulders in a comforting gesture, "he was… will…always be with you in your head and your heart."
"Yeah," Jo agreed. Then she added, "you know I'm going to have to go after her don't you."
"Of course I do," Ellen, said sadly, "she's our family. No matter how she was conceived or what demonic forces were behind it, or what they have done to her… bottom line, that nameless girl out there is a Harvell."
"And a Winchester," Sam said quietly walking out of the woods and into the graveyard. "Yes," Ellen agreed, "a Winchester too."
"But she's also more," Sam added "she's also part of the demon that…." Sam couldn't say the rest; he couldn't bring himself to say the words.
"Yes," Jo said, "but that's not her fault…it's not your fault… not my fault… the fault lies totally with the bitch demon that made it all happen. I'm going to find her and send her back to Hell myself."
"No," Ellen said, "not yourself. I'm coming too." Jo turned with a million protests on her lips and in her eyes but she saw Ellen's face and saw that Ellen had made up her mind. For a moment Jo couldn't help but think how her old self would have pitched a fit, stomped her feat, whatever it took to change Ellen's mind but not anymore… she was grown up not just in body but in mind and emotion and she knew Ellen was right.
"Of course," Jo said, "after all she is you granddaughter." "And in a way," Sam said sheepishly, as if not sure he should say it or not, "my daughter. I should be there too."
"No," Jo said, "I mean yes, she is your daughter, you are a part of this, a reluctant part of it, like I was, but you have too much to do here. Dean told me about his situation," Jo wasn't sure if her mother knew about Dean's deal or not, she only knew because she overheard the demon mention it and was able to get Dean to reluctantly tell her. "Dean needs you… this demon war needs you…"
"But this is my daughter we're talking about…" Sam protested, "I should be there. I can help Dean… handle my part in this war and help you save her… it's all interconnected."
"No," Jo said, "you would be spreading yourself too thin. If you dropped the ball even once and something happened… to Dean… you would regret it forever. I will call you when we find her… I will let you be there when we get our child back. I promise."
At that point Sam's expression changed…. She knew he realized that she was right. He had made getting Dean out of his deal his number one priority from the moment he found out about it and he couldn't stop now. Not with just a year to get it done, and the war… preventing the end of the world, that was important too."
"Ok," Sam said thickly, holding back his sadness, at least for now, "call me when you get close and I will be there as fast as Dean can drive…" then at an attempt to lighten the mood, "and you know that's pretty fast."
That got a smile out of Jo that ended up finding its way to Sam's lips as well. They stood there for several minutes just smiling at each other and trying not to think of the darkness ahead, if only for a minute.
Jo and Ellen piled into Jo's car. They had packed all of their stuff and had everything ready to go. Sam, Dean and Bobby were standing around saying their good byes and giving last minute instructions.
"You have any idea where you're going?" Dean asked as if unsure how they could have a lead on the demon so fast.
"Yeah," Jo said from behind the wheel, "Waco, Texas." Bobby leaned in and said, "Here's more of that God's Blood stuff. It's a bitch to make so use it sparingly, powerful stuff but tricky to brew. It tends to blow up if you don't do it just right. Kind of like moonshine like that." He added with a grin.
"Will do," Ellen said taking the bottle gingerly as if it was a bottle of nitro. "It's ok once it's made," Bobby said with a small laugh, "just don't want to be cooking up any more of it right away."
"Gotcha," Ellen said putting the bottle in the glove compartment.
After a few minutes of good byes, Jo put the car into drive and started down Bobby's driveway and off on to the road… heading to Waco.