Title: …For Those Who Wait
Summary: Heaven has a surprise for Dean Winchester. Sometimes, just sometimes, good things do come. Dean/Jo Spoilers for 'Abandon All Hope…'
Disclaimer: Supernatural was created by Eric Kripke. No disrespect is intended.
Notes: This is an entirely initial knee-jerk (and probably sappy) reaction to 'Abandon All Hope…' and most likely AU territory, as I have little hope of Jo being brought back.
It wasn't a conscious thought on Dean Winchester's part as he stared at the picture, focusing his attention solely on Jo Harvelle's face, though it was soul-felt and more than enough. It was something that rang out -- like this: God no, I missed my chance, Jo no, come back to me -- in the recesses of his body, mind, and yes, soul, felt in the whole of him.
She could have been his heart and she was gone.
He didn't even know how to begin processing and grieving for that sort of total loss.
Dean felt…too much.
She recalled light and peace; blessed total piece that wrapped about her and made every pain she'd ever experienced disappear.
But then it was gone, and Jo Harvelle remembered her last moments with such agonizing clarity that when she gasped and reached for her side, she fully expected to feel that horrible gash beneath her hands. There should have been blood, sticky and warm on her hands.
There was no wound. She was whole, un-maimed and living. How? How was it possible?
Her head was pounding, temples throbbing, and her body was a clumsy weight she didn't quite feel comfortable in.
Slowly, she pushed to a sitting position and swung her legs over the side of the chaise she'd been lying on, hands gripping the cushion edge. The room she was in was large and elegant, with fancy painted trim and a high ceiling, having the feel of an English manor house. Not that Jo had ever been in one. She'd seen pictures in magazines though.
The man who'd addressed her stood patiently off to her left, dressed in a casual outfit of jeans and a button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. His arms were crossed.
"Welcome back to your meat suit. You may feel uncomfortable for a little while until you're used to being in it again."
Her mouth was very dry. Jo looked around for something to drink and found the man holding out a glass to her. She almost dropped it before getting a firm grip on it, her body not seeming to process the commands of her mind very well. The liquid was water. She drank it all. "Where am I?"
"In a waiting room. That's as specific as I can be. I know you have some questions, so I'll stay with you until he comes to collect you."
The glass was refilled by an unseen pitcher as she watched. Because she was still thirsty, Jo drank again. "Who is 'he'?"
"Don't worry, it's a friend. Someone you'll recognize."
She glanced about he room once more, noting the paintings on the walls that seemed to depict battle scenes. "Where's my mother?"
"Where do you think?"
Tears prickled in her eyes. She remembered Ellen holding her as she'd grown colder and colder, that numbness of death taking her over. "I think…I think she's not going wherever I am." While stand-offish, this man -- an angel like Castiel? -- didn't seem unkind. There was understanding flickering in his eyes. Where was it she was going that he would look at her that way?
"You're worried about why you're here. Relax." He took the glass from her, made it disappear. "You get to go back down there, Jo. Go back to a life. Live, love, make babies, and all of that jazz. You wanna know why?"
She shrugged, not certain if she did or not. The fact that she'd been dead and was apparently now alive again was freaking her out just a little.
"The hand of God. It's an amazing thing, that. You get a second chance at life; a chance to make a go of it with Dean Winchester."
Jo turned her gaze to her lap and clasped her hands together. A wary hope began to grow inside her chest.
"It's extraordinary, really. I could count on my hands the number of people in history who've ever had a second chance like this. Don't waste it. You're going to live, Jo, so I suggest you truly live." He paced in slow strides before her, Jo returning her attention to him. "What will you do with that free will inside you? I'm curious to find out. You and Dean both. Will you take the chance or will you decide to part ways? I might just keep my eye on you."
She was contemplating this turn of events when another angel appeared.
Castiel hadn't known what to expect when he'd felt himself being taken away. Punishment maybe? Certainly not what he found. Not this. He stared at Jo Harvelle and then at his brother. "Gabriel?"
Gabriel shrugged. "There's been a shuffling about of upper management positions. Take her back down. The Lazarus twins can enjoy life together, if they choose."
He grasped what was happening in less than a second, his surprise making him pause.
Jo looked scared and confused, her hands clasped tightly together on her lap. Her manner was much the same one Dean had shown after rising from his grave. Cas didn't blame her. She'd likely been happily floating in the ether of heaven enjoying her afterlife when she'd been plucked from it and returned to life. He hoped she wouldn't pine for it throughout this second chance at life.
"Well, go on." Gabriel waved a hand. "Dean certainly wouldn't trust me were I to return her to him. You're to tell him two things. I suggest you listen carefully. Do your job, then return here. We'll have a few things to discuss between us." Gabriel imparted the message for Dean, and was gone in the barest of twitches of an eyelid, leaving Cas alone with Jo.
Stepping to her, he knelt down and covered her hands with his. They were shaking and cold. "Are you ready," he asked.
"I think so," she breathed.
They materialized inside a room in a cheap motel.
Of all the things Dean had never expected, Cas bringing Jo into the room had to rank among the highest.
He'd been thinking right then about that brief kiss he'd given her before leaving, and those emotions he'd felt knowing it was all over for them before it'd even begun. That regret had eclipsed all regarding her; regret that there'd never be the time to get to know her like he'd truly wanted; never be time to find out if she was what would make him happy.
Dean got up from the bedside, not daring to believe this wasn't some painful lesson or psyche-out. He'd had too many of those now to believe he'd ever have that happily ever after moment he craved.
Jo stood beside Castiel, watching Dean as he watched her. Her eyes were wide, lips parted. He thought he could just drink in the sight of her whole before him and it would cleanse some of the pain from him.
"I have a message for you from heaven," Cas said, amazement etched on his features, as though he couldn't believe what he was going to say. "Dean Winchester, after everything you've witnessed, how can you not believe that there are good things for those who wait. You've waited, you've served, and are rewarded for that service, but remember, prayers are answered in God's time alone." He took a step to one side, glancing at Jo. "At some point, the entire part of you cried out for one thing for your future. That cry has been answered. What you do with your future is entirely up to you."
Jo gasped as Cas disappeared. She hugged herself. Dean could see the sheen of tears on her cheeks.
"My mom's not coming back," she said. "I…" Jo shook her head. "I don't know what to do now."
With caution, Dean stepped to her, hands stretching out to grasp her arms. She was solid. Real. Here. He raised a hand, touched his fingers to her cheek and wiped away those tears. "That makes two of us."
She studied him, gaze so intense it felt like she was looking straight into his soul. "He said you cried out…. What did you ask for?"
Dean pulled her into an embrace, her head pressed to his chest. "You, Jo. I asked for you." After a moment, he felt he arms go around him, holding him as tightly as he held her.
This time, he wasn't going to let her slip away. It was what second chances were for, right?