Disclaimers: See previous chapter.
An: I would like to thank all of those who have given this story a chance—however, a little more feedback would be greatly appreciated. I would really like to know what you guys are thinking!
A special thanks to michelexXx, and Posessed
Sam couldn't stop staring at Jade. Part of him kept wondering if she was only an apparition. She appeared out of nowhere, throwing herself between him and that drunken idiot. Like the first time we met, he thought wryly. It seemed as if she was always coming to his defense. Whether she was brandishing a gun—or a Wuzzles lunch box, the girl kicked major ass. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth as he thought back to that day many years ago. He had known that then that there lives would be intricately wound…perhaps that was his sixth sense, making itself known—or maybe just a child's intuition.
The fact that she appeared now, of all times, when Sam was feeling as if he were just about ready to give up on life, did not go unnoticed by him. Perhaps there was such a thing as divine intervention after all. He made a note to mention it to Dean later.
"What do you say we blow this dump, and pick up some take out, and beer." His brother was saying, "I think its definitely catch up time. Jade, why don't you crash with us tonight? We have a room a few blocks from here."
Sam didn't miss the look of apprehension that flashed in her silver eyes. It was gone before he had a chance to inquire about it. "Sure." She said after a beat. What ever battle waged behind those strange eyes of hers was kept in check. She linked her arm through Sam's and gave him a dimpled smile. Damn he missed that smile. He found himself grinning back—all the pain and desperation he'd felt since Jess's death was momentarily lifted.
Dean was grinning like an idiot. He knew it, but at that moment, it didn't really matter to him. Sammy was smiling—really smiling, and they had Jade back. Dean didn't know if he had ever forgiven his father for leaving her with Sue. He had understood why he did it, but that didn't make it any easier. John had told him that Jade had already seen way too much pain and horror in her young life. He didn't want to add to that. He thought that Sue could give her a good, normal life.
Looking at her now, Dean couldn't help but wonder if she'd ever gotten that. For some reason—he didn't think so.
"Oh my God!" Jade cried excitedly. She rushed ahead of the brothers and practically draped herself over the hood of the impala, in what Dean could only assume was an attempted hug. He chuckled to himself, having forgotten how much she had always loved the car.
"How could I have walked past you?" She asked the car tenderly.
"Christ Dean, I think Jade is trying to move in on your girl."
Jade laughed good naturedly and released the car. "I can't believe John gave her up." She said, sliding into the car. She pushed over so Sam could get in beside her. When Dean slid in, behind the wheel—Jade let out a contented sigh. It was nice to be sandwiched between the Winchester boys. It was reminiscent of better days—the best days of her life in fact. They had always been the light in her world of darkness. Leaning back, she closed her eyes. She would allow herself tonight. She deserved a little happiness during these bleak days. One night, she promised. Then I will go.
Back at the motel room, Jade tore into her burger with vivacity. It had been days since she had a decent meal. Plus, that fifteen mile hike didn't really do much for her hunger. The only time she put her burger down was to take a long swig of her beer. Burgers, beer and Winchesters, what more could a girl ask for?
"I see your appetite hasn't changed." Dean teased, mouth full of food.
Jade made a face at him. "And I see your manners haven't changed."
Sam let out a bark of laughter. "She's got you there Dean."
Dinner was finished in companionable silence. Once Jade and Sam cleared away the empty containers—everyone settled in the small living quarters, ready to get to their long over due reunion. Jade sat on one of the beds, with her back against the wall, and her legs curled underneath her. Sam climbed into the same bed, but lay back on the pillows to stretch his long legs. Jade chuckled when she saw his feet dangling off the end of the bed.
Dean pulled up a chair at the end of the bed, resting his feet on the edge of it. "Alright, kid—spill it." His green eyes burned with the intensity that only a Winchester could muster.
"What are you talking about?" Evasive? Nah. Not her.
Dean arched an eyebrow, and she wondered how she ever thought she could fool him. He could always read her like a book. Damn. I shouldn't have come. Once that thought filtered through her head, she banished it. One night wouldn't hurt anyone. Her tormentors wouldn't catch her trail for at least a few days. She hid her tracks well—having learned from the best.
"How's your father by the way?" She asked tenderly.
"Don't change the subject Jade Saber. Why the hell are you in this God forsaken town? And why are you so jumpy?"
"You better tell him," Sam interjected. "That's his 'daddy voice' there is no arguing with it."
Jade stuck her tongue out at him. Childish gesture, perhaps—but it felt good. She knew the "daddy voice" very well, in fact. He had used it on her more times that she cared to admit. She also knew that it was fruitless to argue.
With a defeated sigh, Jade stretched her legs out, resting them across Sam's stomach. "Look, I'm in a bit of trouble." Understatement of the millennia. "But it's nothing you guys need to worry about, okay?" She gave them a weak smile. "I can take care of it."
Dean frowned. "What kind of trouble? And where is Sue?"
Jade's throat closed suddenly, at the mention of her surrogate mother. She squeezed her eyes shut at the onslaught of memories. Blood…there was so much blood. How could so much blood come out of one person?
Sam sat up suddenly, and rested a hand on her shoulder—wrenching her from the horrific scene playing out in her mind. "Gone." She choked out. "She's gone."
Neither Winchester had to ask what happened to her. It was written all over Jade's face. She had been murdered—and for some reason, Jade blamed herself. Sam knew that feeling well.
"Jesus." He whispered, pulling her against his side, so that her head was rested on his chest. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, "I'm sorry."
Jade curled up against Sam, and finally allowed herself to mourn Sue. She had been on the run for so long, she never really had the chance to properly mourn. Now, in the arms of her dear friend, she could finally let go. Tears spilled from her eyes and soaked through Sam's shirt. She felt no shame releasing her sorrow—not now. Not with them.
Sam met Dean's eyes over the top of Jade's head. There was an unspoken agreement between the brothers that they would move hell and earth to protect their friend. Hell—friend was not a strong enough word to describe her. Something was going on, there was more to the story than she was admitting, but they were damn well going to find out.
Dean got up from the chair and began pacing. Somebody was threatening her, he knew it as clearly as he knew his own name. Some one is trying to hurt her. The more he thought about it—the more enraged he became. It was the feeling he would get when something threatened Sam. White hot rage that was only sated with blood. The blood of whoever the hell thought they could hurt someone that belonged to him. Oh…heads were going to roll.
"Dean, sit down." Jade chastised softly. "You're the only person I've ever known that could wear holes through carpets." One look, and it was apparent that she had gained control over her emotions. He'd never met anyone who could turn off their emotions like a faucet. The only sign of her emotional collapse, was slightly puffy eyes. And the puddle on Sammy's shirt. Damn.
"Jade, you gotta let us help." His voice came out pleading—but he didn't care.
She lowered her eyes. "I can't." Jade wouldn't lie to them. They deserved more then that.
"Damn it Jade!" He shouted. Fear made him angry, and the look on her face made him very afraid.
She was on her feet in the blink of an eye. "Do you think I don't want this?" She cried. "I haven't felt safe in years. Years! Don't you think I wouldn't stay with you guys if I could?" The tears were back, only this time it was from anger, frustration. "The only time I've ever felt safe was when I was with you." As quick as her anger arose—it was gone. She felt deflated. "I won't risk either of you. These men that are after me—they're not like you guys. They have no honor." She snorted. "Hell, I doubt they even have a soul."
Dean grabbed Jade by the shoulders and gave her a light shake. "Do you honestly think that we can simply let you walk away? It's not up to you whether or not we want to risk ourselves."
Yanking out of his grasp, she shoved him. "You don't know what they did to her." She shouted. "It would be worse for you or Sammy. He knows how much I love you guys."
This stopped Dean. "Who?"
Her lips twisted into a sardonic smile. "My father."
Jade skipped home from school. She made friends! She had never had any of those before, and it felt great. Mostly, kids would just pick on her because her parents didn't have any money. But Dean and Sammy were different. They didn't care that she wore clothes two sizes to big. Even though neither of them was quite her age, Dean was ten and Sammy was six, while she was eight. Right smack in the middle.
Breaking her lunchbox over that boys head had been totally worth it. It gained her the respect of the elder Winchester—which she had the sneaking suspicion that he didn't offer lightly. She had also gained the adoration of the younger one. They walked together until their homes took them in different directions, talking animatedly. The boys had made her promise to meet them at the same intersection the following morning, so they could walk together.
Jade was so caught up with the excitement of her new friends when she entered her house, that she didn't notice her father sitting his favorite chair. "What the hell you doin' girl?" He asked. "Should have been home twenty minutes ago." Jade winced at the anger in her father's voice. If he was home, that only meant one thing…he was drunk. That never boded well for her.
"I'm sorry, daddy. I was talking to some kids."
"Like them kids would talk to a little piece of white trash like you." He scoffed. Climbing to his feet, he walked toward his daughter.
"What happened to your lunch box?" The barely concealed anger was palpable in his voice.
Grabbing a fist full of her hair he pulled her off her feet. "You what!" He screamed into her face. The sour whiskey on his breath made her gag. "You just decided that we had enough money to throw around, you could just go and break your lunchbox." He released her hair suddenly, causing her to stumble.
"Maybe if you worked instead of drank, we'd have some money." The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them. Her father's eyes grew impossibly large—which would have been laughable under different circumstances.
"You little bitch!" He screamed, kicking out at her. She managed to jump out of the way—only to trip over his boot that lay haphazardly on the floor. As she hit the ground, the last thing she remembered was thinking that breaking her lunch box over Johnny's head had still been worth it. Then her whole world exploded into pain as her father's shod foot connected with her back.
AN: Please Review! I only received two reviews from the previous chapter, which is very discouraging. If you like the story, let me know.