Summary: Jo and Sam have a heart-to-heart and more. Sam/Jo
Disclaimer: Supernatural was created by Eric Kripke. No disrespect is meant by this work of fan fiction.
Sam Winchester was in the hallway outside her apartment.
She wasn't supposed to see him. She knew that.
Jo put the chain on and opened the door. "Sam. What are you doing here?" He looked haggard, as though he wasn't sleeping well. With the life he led, Jo figured he likely had nightmares with regularity. She knew she didn't sleep well and her life wasn't nearly as complicated as his.
"Hey, Jo." Surprise flickered in his eyes. "I didn't think you'd answer. Can I come in?"
Reaching for the bottle of holy water on the table beside the door, she popped the stopper, splashing some of the liquid on him. When his skin didn't sizzle and he didn't scream in pain, she determined it was probably safe to let him in.
He wiped his face dry with the sleeve of his shirt. "Want me to touch something silver, too?"
She paused in the act of taking the chain off. "You know, that's a really good idea, Sam. Thanks. Stay there. I'll be right back."
He passed that test as well and soon they were seated in folding chairs at the scarred dining table that had come with the apartment, coffee brewing in the pot on the counter.
"Been here long?"
Jo flicked her gaze around the apartment. It was furnished and she could pay by the month instead of signing a long lease. As a bonus, it was cheap. "What do you think?"
"I think you've been here since you left Duluth."
"You'd be right. I told the manager some asshole tried to rob us and broke the window jumping out when I turned a shotgun on him. Then I told him I was freaked by it and quit." She shrugged. "Here seemed like a good place to stay awhile. It's clean and there aren't any bugs that I've seen, though the crazy woman downstairs thinks there's a cockroach man living in the supply closet under the stairs." She quirked a brow. "I've never seen any sign of one."
"Hell yeah. Wouldn't that be a story to tell?" She wanted to know how he'd found her; how he always found her, however he wouldn't tell her even if she asked. He never would tell her, as though he assumed she was joking and she really did know those methods he used. Jo decided she couldn't complain about that really. She'd wanted them both to treat her like a hunter and he was in that respect.
"It'd be something."
The nutty scent of coffee filled the air and Jo got up to fill two mugs. As she turned with them in hand, she noticed how the light from the kitchen caressed his face. Jo had the sudden urge to touch him, to run her fingers over his features and soothe any worries away. It struck her that Sam was just as handsome as Dean and she'd never let herself notice it before. Her attention had always been on Dean.
He took one mug from her, fingers brushing hers. The contact made her heart beat faster for several seconds. "Thanks."
Jo nodded, sliding into the chair across from him once more. "You and Dean on a job here?" Now she noticed how wide his shoulders were. Not scary wide like she'd thought in Duluth when the demon had her pinned to the bar, but a good wide. Strong. Solid.
"Nearby," he confirmed without adding anything more. No details, nothing. "I wanted to see you, Jo…."
To Jo, the silence that followed his pronouncement felt awkward. She didn't know where to start discussing what needed talked about, floundering for a way to begin a conversation. This was why she hadn't returned his calls. The awkwardness. Thankfully, he took the reigns in that venture.
"I'm sorry," he told her. "For Duluth, I mean. I couldn't stop her. I'd never hurt you voluntarily. You do realize that, right?"
"Don't sweat it, Sam. I'm fine." She was, for the most part. A nightmare now and then. The occasional tightness in her throat whenever someone really tall loomed over her. Other than that, she'd been able to separate Sam from the demon pretty quickly. Once Dean had said something, everything had clicked into place. Jo couldn't be mad at Sam for something he'd no control over.
"I wouldn't hurt you voluntarily," he repeated.
He wanted to talk about it, to dissect and discuss until he was sure there were no dark corners left between them. She could see that wanting in his eyes. Sam wanted their relationship to be what it was before Duluth. Jo even thought there was a hint of desperation to that end, as though he couldn't bear the change. Why wouldn't he be able to? What was happening in his life that made him need a static connection? Jo had heard very little regarding Sam and Dean recently, unsure of their current circumstances. Knowing them both, there was probably something going on, but it didn't feel right to ask. If he wanted her to know, he'd tell her.
"What did she…the demon…tell you?" Sam sipped at the coffee.
She thought back. "At first, it tried to apologize for your dad, said he was obsessed with hunting."
"That's a fair assessment. He was obsessed."
She took a sip of her coffee. "It said you weren't him -- your dad, I mean."
He kept glancing at her, then down at his coffee, as though he was afraid to keep looking at her for more than a few seconds. The action wasn't suspicious, but rather one that displayed his discomfort and determination to forge on despite it.
"It, uh, it said Dean thinks of me like a sister, thinks I'm a schoolgirl. Any part of that truth?" Jo waited, giving him time to formulate his answer and studying the tiny nuances in his shifts of expression.
Sam held the mug, fingers running over the rim again and again. He tilted his head to one side, tongue flicking out to lick his lips in a slow motion and brow furrowing as he thought. His reply was slow in coming. "Yes and no, but not really. Demons mix in truth, twist it and turn it until it's unrecognizable."
"Well, Dean doesn't have emotional relationships with women for a reason. It's not that he's emotionally stunted or anything like that. It's just…this life…. It's hell on anything long-term. Romance is difficult. He cares about you, Jo, and that's why he won't touch you. Believe me, Dean would never think of a sister how he's admitted he thinks about you."
"He thinks about me?" She processed that with a lurching sensation in her belly. "Seriously?"
"Uh…yeah." His brows lifted and fell in a shrug, his gaze focusing on the table top. "Very seriously."
She could probably guess what Dean was likely doing when thinking about her, so she didn't press on with that bit of conversation. No need to make Sam more uncomfortable than he already was. Not to mention embarrassing herself in the process with such a discussion.
"And the schoolgirl charge?" This was a matter Jo wasn't sure she wanted truth on.
Sam drank the rest of his coffee. "Every hunter, even those growing up in it, starts off green, needing experience. You just need experience, like the rest of us. In hunter years you're young and Dean isn't."
Jo uttered a laugh with no mirth in it. "Great. Experience." Even with experience, she had the feeling Dean would always think it wasn't enough. She'd always be younger in that sense. The realization saddened her more than a little. "What are your thoughts on that?"
There was a candid light in his eyes. "I think you're gaining fast, making the same kind of mistakes Dean and I've made. Dean can get on his high horse about it, but I won't do that to you. I know what that's like. It's a growing process. You can read and study all you like. However, the only way to really learn the job is to do it." He glanced down into the empty cup. "And speaking of doing the job…. I heard about that ghost job you did out in Washington. It was good work."
"You heard about that? How?" The job had felt like a mess from start to finish, Jo lurching from one bit of info to the next new bit, trying to keep ahead of two very irritating rank amateurs who'd condescended her at each chance meeting while taping every possible second. They'd nearly gotten her killed with their half-baked methods. She hoped someday to return the favor. She may be green in Dean's eyes, but she'd be willing to bet he'd consider her a pro compared to those two guys. It wasn't that they were such amateurs that irritated even, but that they behaved like they were the pros!
"Network. We do occasionally talk to other hunters, Jo. The one I talked to said you got it taken care of despite a ton of adversity, though he wouldn't explain what that meant. I hear Ellen's proud of you for that job-- not that she'd actually admit it. Heaven forbid her baby girl is a hunter and all that."
Jo slid her own mug away, coffee half finished. "So, technically, the schoolgirl charge is true?"
"No, no, I told you: there's a little truth mixed in, but it's not absolute. It's not told in it's true form." He set the cup aside, next to hers. "What else happened?"
"It gave me a story about our dads."
"That part I remember." His voice softened. "I don't know what's truth there, though I suspect it's somewhere in the middle. I can't clear that up. Dad never mentioned --"
"I know. I'm just going to believe it was lying full out right there."
"Okay." Relief swept across his features. "Was there more it said to you?"
She looked away, trying to decide if she should tell him the rest. Why not? What harm was there in telling him? He could dispute it and they'd be past it. "It told me you care. That you could be more to me." This he didn't answer right away and Jo found herself watching him closely. "Sam?"
He was more uncomfortable than he'd been, slouched a bit in the folding chair, a dull flush on his cheekbones. He blinked several times in rapid succession. "Um…." Raising one hand, he covered his eyes a moment, then dropped his hand back to his lap. Sam stared at the ceiling, lips forming words he had to clear his throat before he could give voice to. "I was never going to tell you."
Now Sam swallowed hard, sighing as he shifted in the chair. "Geez. I wasn't going to tell you because I knew…you and me…it'd never happen. No point in talking about a feeling that isn't returned, is there?" His attention lowered from the ceiling back to her. "For what it's worth, I like you a lot, Jo and in that…romantic way I really shouldn't consider."
The silence that descended was weighted. Jo continued to study him. While it had been Dean who'd captured her attention to begin with, it was Sam who now had it, with his hair tumbled on his brow, appearing so very vulnerable and yet strong at the same time. She itched to touch him, maybe run her fingers through his hair, or kiss a path along his jaw and down his neck to the open collar of his shirt. Did he still wear that yummy aftershave?
Sam's aftershave, as she recalled, had a bit of citrus to it, while Dean's was all musk. Somehow, both were more than appropriate for their personalities. Truthfully, she liked the smell of Sam's more than she liked Dean's. She could lean over a little and sniff, see if it was the same. He'd never notice.
I shouldn't, she thought. I really shouldn't.
Her gaze slipped down to his mouth. What would his kiss be like? Jo decided she wanted very much to find out. She wanted that and more before time ran out. She wanted to forget everything in her life and rest for a few hours in the arms of someone who cared for her. She ached to feel loved and adored. Sam would do that, she knew. He'd hold her, touch her, make love to her, and she could pretend that everything was right in the world. Jo didn't want sex per se, not the emotionless single night encounters one had to scratch a purely physical itch. She wanted the whole loved and adored emotional connection of something deeper.
I can't, was her next thought. I'm not supposed to.
Jo recalled the man who'd appeared in her apartment and told her how things were going to be. He'd claimed to be an angel, but she'd always thought angels were supposed to be nice. He'd been arrogant and scary, speaking in a calm, condescending tone with the faintest of smirks at his lips. He'd given her specific orders for the near future, orders that involved the Winchester brothers.
She touched the tip of her tongue to the side of her mouth, coming to a sudden decision.
Joanna Beth Harvelle had never been very good with doing what she was told to do in some respects. Just ask her mother.
Reaching out, Jo covered Sam's hands with hers, rubbed her thumbs against his skin. "Never is a long time to be sure of something."
"I couldn't help but see how you looked at Dean. You don't look at me that way. It's a fact." His hands shifted beneath hers, turned so that instead of being covered, he was holding her hands in his.
"Is it?" She stood, tugging lightly, an invitation to stand and follow her.
His quizzical expression made her smile with sadness. Dean would have understood the tug immediately, but not Sam. Sam was guarded, cautious.
Jerking her head towards her half closed bedroom door, Jo asked, "Do you really want me, Sam?"
His brows raised a fraction. "Yes." He didn't move.
"You can have me. For tonight." Jo squeezed his fingers with hers.
"What about Dean?" He was still puzzled.
Jo raised one brow. "Dean's not here, is he? Come on."
He released her hands. "Not like this."
She stepped between his spread legs, taking his face in her hands. The feel of curves of his face felt perfect against her palms. Jo brushed his hair across his forehead with fingers that shook, hoping he wouldn't notice that shaking. "Then how? How do you want me? Tell me." Cupping his jaw, she caressed his cheekbones with her thumbs. The end-of-day stubble on his jaw tickled in a pleasant way.
"I want you without one thought of Dean in your head." He grasped her hips, squeezed, drawing her closer.
Bending, Jo pressed her mouth to his, running her tongue along his lower lip, before drawing back. "Dean who?"
It was the right thing to say.
The clock in the living room struck three, the gong loud in the silent apartment. Jo roused fully from sleep to find Sam running his fingers over her face, light caressing sweeps. Jo caught his hand in hers. "What are you doing?"
"Trying to memorize you."
"I've got to go soon or Dean'll leave without me."
"He won't go far. He never does." It was the truth. Dean and Sam were like a package deal. You couldn't have one without the other, not really.
There was a flash of pain in Sam's eyes and he sat, tugging his hand from hers and tossing the covers off. "I hate leaving in the middle of the night."
Jo remained silent, watching him dress, then wrapping the top sheet about herself to see him to the door. He gave her a final kiss, one that was achingly sweet with that hint of desperation once more. Jo closed the door, then opened it as a thought occurred to her. "Sam!"
He stopped and turned. "Yeah?"
"Why did you pick today? To find me and come see me, I mean?"
"I don't know," he replied, one finger scratching at his temple before he slipped both hands into his jeans pockets. "I just thought it was about time I talked to you about what happened in Duluth. Why?"
"It's strange you picked today is all."
"Because today is my last day here. I'm moving out in the morning and picking up a new phone on the way out of town."
"Oh." He took a few steps back towards her. "New number?"
"Okay." His phone was out in seconds. "What'll it be?" He waited, watching her with that calm, expectant gaze. He had a right now, after the past couple hours, to expect it, didn't he?
Jo had to break his expectations. She knew she had to. She was going to do now what she'd been told to do whether she liked it or not. With a lump in her throat she shook her head. "I'm sorry, Sam, but I'm not going to give it to you."
"What?" Hurt began to glint in his eyes. "Why not? Why even mention it?"
"Because…." Jo wrapped the sheet tighter about herself. She wanted to take it back and unsay it. She wanted to grab him and hold him and explain why she had to hurt him like this after the hours they'd just had together. "I don't want you to worry when you can't reach me. I'll be fine."
"If you don't want me to worry, then give me the number."
It sounded reasonable, but she couldn't. She just couldn't. Jo let herself admire -- for a final time -- this man who'd been hers for a few brief hours. "Goodbye, Sam." Jo slammed the door, moving quickly to lock it and shove furniture in front of it. She had to barricade it because if she didn't, he'd come back inside and she'd cave in.
He talked to her through the door, tried to get back in, and when he couldn't he went outside, standing beside the car he'd hotwired, calling her phone over and over again. Jo didn't wipe away her tears, letting them fall in a hot torrent as she watched him from the window. It wasn't that she wanted to break from Sam and Dean. On the contrary, she'd rather to stay close to them.
But Jo knew what she was supposed to do. It had been made very clear to her. They all had jobs to do and emotional attachments would only get in the way. No, scratch that. Not 'emotional attachments'. It was Jo who'd get in the way and that wasn't going to be allowed. There were plans in place that were hopefully coming to fruition and those plans didn't include Jo. She was to make herself scarce and stay that way as long as possible. It didn't matter if she hunted, of course. The world needed all the hunters it could get. What mattered was her relationship with the Winchester brothers. That tie had to be severed. Action against her would be taken if that break did not occur. It wasn't Jo who'd actually suffer, but rather everyone she held dear….
That angel, or whatever he was, certainly had her number. He'd known just how to threaten her.
I shouldn't have done that, she thought with a glance at her bedroom door. I shouldn't have been with him.
It would have been easier if she'd not answered the door and let him in. She could have simply packed up in the morning and gone, yet now there was a pain in her heart. The tears wouldn't stop falling.
Finally, the phone quit ringing. Sam remained by the car, staring up at her window. She retreated behind the crack in the curtains, watching him as he watched her. Was he angry, confused? Maybe both. Maybe he'd think the worst of her, decide she'd just wanted a simple roll between the sheets. Jo felt fresh spasms of sorrow at the thought of him deciding he'd meant nothing to her, when in fact he meant a lot. For those hours, she'd felt treasured and loved, like she knew she would.
Sam answered his phone, replied to whoever it was, then got in the car, and left.
Jo pressed a hand to the glass. "I'll miss you, Sam. I'll miss you both."
A voice, filled with mock friendliness, sounded from behind her. "There now. That wasn't so bad, was it? Good girl, Joanna. Helluva way to tell a man goodbye. Bet he'll remember you."
She turned, flicking her gaze over his immaculate suit, noting again his receding hairline and the intense light in his eyes. This man, this angel, scared her more than a little. "So what now? You leave my mother alone?"
"You get on with your life. If you see them coming, you run the other way. Become invisible to them. Go home to mama."
"If you hurt my mother --"
"Please. Your threats are empty and you know it. I, on the other hand, can do plenty of things to have you and your mother both screaming in agony if you disobey me on this."
Jo looked away.
"If you follow your orders then you'll never see me again. Disobey and I will find you. Have I been clear enough, Joanna?"
He didn't say anything more, merely disappearing into thin air.
It was better to do what she'd been ordered to do. Wasn't it? Jo told herself that repeatedly and hoped to actually believe it someday.