Title: Those Things We Don't See
Summary: AU. Jo discovers that sometimes things aren't what they seem on the surface. Jo/Sam
Disclaimer: Supernatural was created by Eric Kripke. No disrespect is intended with this work of fanfiction.
Between Sam and Dean, it wasn't Sam that Jo had thought she'd do the bed-boogie with. It was Dean who attracted her. She was the moth to his flame, like so many other girls, which sucked to no end. It was never a woman's goal to be one in a long list of others. A woman wanted to feel special.
Dean, she thought. It was supposed to be Dean I hooked up with.
So why was she waking up naked with Sam -- with not even a hint of hangover or sour whiskey taste to rationalize it with?
Jo blinked, turned her head on the pillow to look over at the other bed. It was empty, the covers still smoothed out. Dean hadn't crept into the room in the middle of the night once they were asleep. He'd declined to sleep there at all.
Did he care, she wondered. Or was she not even that much of a blip on his attractive willing-woman radar?
Sam cared. He'd cared so much about how she was feeling about him after the whole possessed incident that it was nearly a pain inside her to compare his behavior to Dean's. Dean had never called. Sam did. He'd left tentative messages for her, apologizing, asking her to call him back. But then, Sam was admittedly the more enlightened of the two brothers in regards to sensitivity and women. Dean may know women, yet Sam's softer tone and almost shy attitude earned him more brownie points than Dean's somewhat cocky, abrasive manner.
Her mom had a big soft spot for Sam. Even after everything that had happened. Was that enough of an endorsement for the guy?
Jo rolled onto her side, facing Sam. He was still asleep, sprawled on the bed, breaths slow and even.
He'd persisted in his calls. 'Call me back when you get a chance, okay?' 'Jo, I'm sorry, really. I'd like us to talk in person. Call me.' 'Sam again. Was thinking about what happened….Call me.' 'Jo, we have to talk sometime. You know that. We'll run into each other again. The paths we walk it's inevitable.' One impulsive day, she'd called him back instead of deleting the voicemail. They'd set up a time, day, and place to meet.
Obviously, Sam had informed Dean she was meeting up with them, for he hadn't even blinked when she'd pulled up the chair beside him at the local diner, merely glancing at her and grunting a greeting. Granted, he'd had a mouth full of sandwich, but still. He hadn't been surprised to see her, nor had he behaved like he cared when Jo later let her guard down enough to flirt with Sam a little and not with Dean himself. A smile here, a lingering glance there, a few lightly suggestive conversational turns.
Sam himself played the gentleman, sensitive to her moods, pushing himself to tell her what exactly had happened to him with that demon. He'd looked adorably vulnerable with his features scrunched up and shoulders hunched, arms crossed on the table in front of him. Didn't that hunching and crossing mean he was nervous? She thought she remembered reading that it was a protective gesture, an attempt to close-off from possible rejection.
His voice had held a small hint of waver and kept that waver until Jo had done a lot of talking herself. They'd come to an understanding between them that rebuilding their friendship was a definite possibility, all bad things aside.
Dean meanwhile, read the paper, ate two breakfasts, dragged Sam's computer out and played a series of games on it while downing pots of coffee. He ignored them, let them discuss what they needed to without comment. Odd. Dean silent on something Jo was sure he had some words on. Had Sam threatened him with violence if he didn't?
It had taken awhile to begin trusting Sam again. Logically, Jo knew he'd been possessed and a person was only along for the ride when that happened. Emotionally, it felt like she was on a rollercoaster around him. She'd be getting along fine and then his expression would be eerily close to one the demon had used. Fear would gather inside her, her body shaking with that fight-or-flight urge that would pass quickly when Sam never moved to hurt her, leaving her drained and sleepy.
They used Dean as a chaperone, so was it so surprising that he ignored any even slight flirtatious efforts on Jo's part towards him? Chaperones were to keep things safe and that Dean did by just being there.
Sometimes a girl had to let the dream of a guy go, and Jo supposed that her moment of doing so had begun that day in the diner. Really, if Dean wasn't going to bite, she had to. Was he too scared of her mom? It'd be truly funny if he was. He'd face down creatures hell didn't even want, with a smirk and smart-ass quip, but Ellen Harvelle scared the piss out of him?
Yeah right. There had to be far more to it, because Dean wasn't the type of guy who was oblivious to open invitations. With her, though, he ignored all overtures, subtle or blatant. It was like he didn't even notice.
What a confidence buster for a woman's ego!
Jo had tried not to let what the demon had told her mess with her. She had. However, Dean's behavior confirmed in her mind that truth had been told -- Dean didn't like her that way. His initial flirting had been only a reflex on his part, something he did naturally whenever he saw a remotely pretty face walk by. So what else was confirmed? Sam's affection for her. The demon had told her that he 'could be more' to her.
Beside her, Sam stirred, stretching, opening his eyes.
He'd become more to her as days turned into weeks and months, moving from friend, to close confidante, to lover. The transition was practically seamless. Trust had grown, adding confidence, that circle widening to include affection. Yet while that occurred, Dean became less. He almost seemed to be avoiding her, truth be told, but that couldn't be, could it? Why on earth would Dean avoid her? He didn't want her the way Sam did, so there should be no problem.
Jo had to conclude she was imagining that bit. Dean wasn't avoiding her. It was a ridiculous idea. He was simply caught up in making some sort of life while the earth was recovering from the war with hell. There was nothing worse for a hunter than to find little game to hunt and Dean wasn't having an easy time of it. His skills were hunting and that was that. The creepy-crawlies and things that went bump in the night were laying low and even demons weren't sending out too much these days, though Jo suspected it was only a matter of time until they stopping licking their wounds and began spitting out things to beguile humans into sin once more.
Sam raised onto his elbows, glanced at the clock. "You're awake early."
She sat. "Couldn't sleep."
"Nightmares?" He sat as well, scooting close, moving her hair from her shoulder to drop kisses there.
He waited, pausing in the middle of one kiss. "Thoughts," he repeated, sitting back. "Anything in particular, or can I probably guess?" He looked towards the empty bed and back, gaze searching hers with an intensity that was a little uncomfortable. Jo had discovered that Sam had the uncanny ability to take one look at her and see whatever she tried to hide.
She drew her knees up, wrapping her arms around them. "Does he mind? About us I mean?" As soon as she'd spoken the two questions, Jo bit her lip, wishing she hadn't asked. It wasn't something she wanted to know, even though conversely, she did want to know. How nicely contradictory, she told herself.
Sam laid back down, hands beneath his head. After a moment, he licked his lips and said with a curious tone. "Do you want the truth?"
"No, lie to me," she snapped. "Of course I want the truth, Sam. I always want truth from you."
He looked away. "Helluva a time for this conversation." When he returned his gaze to her, she saw the briefest glint of annoyance. "Yeah, Jo, he minds. Did you really think he wouldn't? He's had a hard-on for you from the day you pointed that shot-gun at him and to find that, after all this time, those rare chivalrous instincts he gave into regarding you have bitten him in the ass? It's gnawing at him."
She felt her face burn with embarrassment. "Chivalrous instincts," she whispered in question. "Dean Winchester?"
Sam tossed the covers off, swung his legs over the side of the bed and sat with his back to her. "Dean can be a caveman with women, but yeah, he's got 'em. He wanted to protect you, Jo, to keep you safe. It's a hard thing in our life to do and neither Dean nor I have the best track record in that department."
"How was I to know? He never acted like he wanted me. A few flirting comments here and there, but other than that, nothing. No hints and I gave him plenty of opportunity." Her stomach felt like the bottom had suddenly fallen out. She'd misread Dean completely.
He continued as though she hadn't spoken. "You've ripped his heart out by choosing me. Frankly, I'm amazed he hasn't left yet."
"Well, if that's how he feels about me, then how does he feel about you in this?"
Sam was silent a long while, head bowed. "Don't you worry about us. Dean and I'll duke it out like we always have and get past it one way or the other." Leaning, he reached for his shorts and stood, pulling them on.
Jo felt tears gathering in her eyes and blinked fast to try and stop them from falling. "And I'll always be the girl who came between you, is that it?"
He turned, hands on his hips. "You still want the truth from me on all things? Wouldn't it be better if you hadn't asked?"
She tugged the sheet up, surreptitiously blotting her eyes as she wrapped it around her and feeling a thousand times worse than she had. "You didn't have to tell me."
"You shouldn't have asked. I know it's not what you wanted to hear--"
Familiar words. She flinched, drawing in a sharp breath.
"It's not what I want either." Getting back on the bed, he crawled over to her and sighed. "Look, it'll take more than one woman to screw up my relationship with Dean. Believe me, we've had a lot worse between us over the years. We'll recover."
There was a quick rap of knuckles on the door. It opened before either of them called out, Dean stepping in carrying a four cup tray that held three cups.
"Cover up, kids. Coffee delivery." He kicked the door shut with his foot, then set the tray down and looked at them. "I'm not interrupting, am I?"
Jo drew the covers up higher. Was it a pain to him to see them like this, then? If he was so torn up inside over her? She saw his eyes narrow just a fraction as he glanced between them and she wondered if her tears were obvious.
"Sure are," Sam told him.
"Should have put the chain on, then." Dean replied, removing his jacket and tossing it in the general direction of the second bed. He favored them with an amused grin that was a few beats too late to be real. "Wakey, wakey, you two, it's a brand new day." Taking one cup, he removed the lid and took a cautious sip. "Just how I like it: hotter than the surface of the sun." He set the cup down, waved a hand at them. "Well, don't all go rushing for the shower at once. If neither of you are interested--"
Sam shook his head. "Oh no you don't. You'll take hours. Jo's in there first." He loosed the top sheet from the last place it was held beneath the mattress and gave her a nudge.
Dean raised one brow. "Dude, I slept in the car last night to give you privacy and I bought coffee. Can I at least have first dibs on the shower?"
"That's fair," Jo interrupted. "Go ahead. I'd like to drink my coffee before it gets cold anyway." Getting up, with the sheet wrapped about her as best as she could keep it, she walked to the table and took one of the two remaining cups. "Thanks for the coffee."
"Sure." He didn't look down at her, but rather at Sam. "Why is it she thanks me for coffee and you don't?"
"Like you ever thank me when I get the coffee?"
"I thank you plenty, Sammy," Dean replied, walking past Jo to take a few things from his bag.
"Yeah right." Sam turned on the tv, began flipping through channels.
Jo followed Dean to the bathroom door and, throat tight, asked in a low voice, "Dean…are we okay?" She dreaded hearing the sort of honesty she'd pulled from Sam.
He set things down on the vanity, glanced past her at Sam before finally looking her square in the eyes. "We will be."
Yeah, she decided as the door shut. He'd noticed her tears. He'd noticed far more than she'd ever thought he would, and he'd ignore it all if, in the end, ignoring kept his world together.
Sometimes, she reflected, the things you do see are the very things you have to pretend you don't. If Dean and Sam could pretend, then she could too.
With a shaking breath, Jo turned her back to the door, grabbed up the cups for her and Sam and joined him.