Title: The Fork in the Road
Summary: AU. One night was all it took and now Jo has to make a decision regarding her circumstances.
Rating: K+
Disclaimer: Supernatural was created by Eric Kripke. No disrespect is meant by the work of fan fiction.
Notes: Definitely AU, but set in S3.

Intellectually, Jo was always aware of the possible consequences of sex, however, she'd never quite connected them to herself.

Until now.

She stared at the little line on the pregnancy test and wondered if it was defective. Had to be, she decided. Like the last three she'd tried. All defective.

Her glance fell to her unbuttoned, unzipped jeans and the little curve of her belly. Little, her mind drawled. You're in such denial girl that it's not even funny. Little is the last thing your belly is right now. Taking a pregnancy test at this stage is a little like finally taking a hearing test once you're stone deaf.

Jo hadn't been able to close her jeans over her belly for over a month now, though she could still get the low rise jeans on because they were so low. Her stomach pushed out above the waistband. Not that she was huge, just obviously pregnant, which was weird to see. Her stomach had always been flat.

Until now.

Raising her gaze, she stared at her reflection. Her eyes showed an acceptance of that truth her mind kept trying to deny.

"Son of a bitch," she whispered. "What the hell do I do now?"

Reaching for her phone, she scrolled through her contact list, pausing twice on the name of the man who'd knocked her up, then ultimately scrolling past it to another name. She almost called, so close to doing so this time that she even hit the button before flipping the phone closed and ending the call before it had begun.

She couldn't do it.

Out of all the things Joanna Beth Harvelle could do was this one thing she couldn't. She couldn't call Sam Winchester and tell him that Dean had gotten her pregnant before he died. Telling Sam felt like one of those 'wrong time, wrong place' things.

One night was all it'd taken. Sweet talking Dean had finally called her and Jo hadn't even made a token bit of resistance to the bad pick-up line he'd used.

"I'm a dead man walking, Jo," he'd told her, sipping at a beer. "Time's going fast and it's not coming back. Every day goes by brings me closer to the inevitable. So, what do you say we talk in private somewhere?"

Couldn't be considered a line when it was truth, could it? All of what he'd said was truth.

He'd wanted to patch things up with her, make things right. So they'd talked, had one wild night, and Dean was gone when she woke up. Nothing she hadn't expected.

Jo had convinced herself it really was a line right up until his death was confirmed. That news had spread quickly. Dean Winchester was dead.

He'd told her the truth. Really, he had. Jo couldn't say he hadn't. She'd simply thought he was giving her a story to somehow make it better when he didn't call again for months. After all, any hunter could die at any time, right?

Setting both the phone and test down, she placed her hands on her stomach, letting herself acknowledge it for the first time. Pregnant. She was pregnant. Denial couldn't go on, not at…six months along.

I'm six months pregnant, Jo thought, turning to the side and looking at herself in the mirror once more. She sucked in a breath, running one hand along the curve that bulged out. Would it be a boy or girl? She hoped whichever it was would have Dean's eyes. He had the prettiest eyes for a guy.

Dean Winchester was dead -- had been for three weeks now her sources told her -- and Jo couldn't pretend anymore that this hadn't happened. Hunting wasn't going to get easier the further along she got. It was going to get harder. Hell, it was already harder. She couldn't keep hunting at this stage of pregnancy. What was she going to do? What should she do? She certainly wasn't naïve enough to think that a baby wouldn't change things because it would. There weren't exactly day care centers that catered to hunter moms.

Jo bit her lip, considering her alternatives at this juncture. To be perfectly honest, she needed help. She needed to see a doctor, make sure everything was okay. She needed to be somewhere where she could rest and protect the baby inside her. She needed to think of the future beyond tomorrow.

A sigh escaped her and she tugged her t-shirt down over her stomach. It didn't quite cover it. Like all the rest of her shirts, it only served to emphasize it. She wondered what Dean would have said if he'd known. Would he have been surprised, pleased…what? Would it have freaked him out?

Jo knew what she had to do, at least for awhile. She had to go home. Her mom would understand. Oh, she'd be pissed that Jo had stayed gone after the Roadhouse was destroyed and she'd be pissed that Jo had gotten pregnant, yet at the same time, she'd wrap her arms about Jo and understand every single thing. She'd understand Jo's pain at Dean's passing and the reason Jo would keep this baby. She'd understand everything Jo was going through and right now, Jo needed her mother.

She packed her things, checked out of the motel and headed for home. It took three days to get there, mainly because she had to pee every hour anymore. The Roadhouse had been rebuilt she noticed, and it looked to be a damn nice building, too. Jo parked at the side next to her mom's truck and went inside.

Her mom was behind the bar, looking up when the door closed. Surprise, relief and pleasure reflected in her gaze -- until it dropped to notice her stomach as well as her face. Ellen's welcoming smile faded a fraction. After a few seconds, she took a deep breath and waved a beckoning hand at Jo. "Well don't just stand there in the doorway, Jo. Come over here where I can see you."

There wasn't anyone else there that she saw. Jo walked to the bar and eased up onto one stool. "New bar looks nice." She tucked her hair behind her left ear.

"Insurance came through." She set down the cloth in her hands. Her gaze slipped down Jo once more as she pursed her lips. "You look about five, maybe six months along." Ellen's brows raised in question.

"Six. I'm due at the end of September I think." According to her own calculations.

"Anyone I know?"

Jo bowed her head a little, rubbed her hand along her stomach. It soothed her to do that. "Dean."

"Oh Jo…." Her eyes slipped shut a few second, features scrunching before she sniffed and opened them again. "You stayin'?"

"For awhile. If that's okay."

"You're my daughter, Jo. Of course it's okay." Ellen crossed her arms on the bar, staring at her with that intense mom stare that had made Jo angry in the past. This time she welcomed that stare; welcomed Ellen's uncanny intuition as to her circumstances. When her mother spoke again, it was with quiet determination. "Let me call Mike to take over and we'll go get you settled. Three months doesn't give us a lot of time to get ready for a baby, does it?"

"Mom --"

"Meet me at the house."

She spent the rest of her pregnancy with her mother, alternately grieving for Dean and preparing for the birth of their baby.

Jo gave birth a week early, on September 22. The pains had come on suddenly, agonizing things that made her feel as though she was being torn in two, but in the end, she decided it was worth it. She had a son, a beautiful boy with Dean's mouth and eyes, and a demanding, impatient, yet sometimes very sweet manner.

By the time it reached her that Dean had risen, Jo had already set him aside. She had a son to raise and Dean…. He had a different path to trod. Maybe someday she'd find him and tell him -- if they all came out of the end of the world alive on the other side.