Title: That Thing Called Fan Fiction
Summary: AU Takes place after 'The Monster at the End of this Book'. Ch. 4: Jo confronts Dean and Sam about their new hobby.
Chapter Title: Tongue Lashing isn't a Dirty Phrase
Disclaimer: Supernatural was created by Eric Kripke. No disrespect is intended.
Notes: Thank you all for reading and for your comments!
"What the hell is your kid up to?" Bobby sat the phone down and turned to look at Ellen, who was drinking a cup of coffee at the table. Funny how everyone always assumed he knew where those two idiots Sam and Dean were, though in this case he did know where they were, as Sam had called for information only the day before.
"I'm sure I don't know. Not like she tells me anything she doesn't have to. Why?" She looked supremely unconcerned as to what Jo could be up to. Since getting some kind of speaking relationship back with Jo, Ellen had relaxed, no longer certain her baby girl was dying out on the road. He was glad for that, as Ellen could be quite the drama queen when she put her mind to it. Jo had certainly gotten that from her. Both had a flair for the dramatic.
The two talked about once a week, sometimes more if Ellen had a job she thought Jo could do. Ellen was constantly putting files together to give to Jo. Bobby thought it was a way to keep track of her and knew it was only a matter of time before Ellen headed out into the field herself, ostensibly to help, but really to keep an eye on her only child.
"She's looking for Sam and Dean."
"She said something last week about missing them. Maybe she decided to actually go see them instead of just talking about it."
"By her tone, I don't think she was missing them. She sounded annoyed." She'd sounded pissed beyond belief and if Jo was anything like Ellen in that sort of mood, Sam and Dean wouldn't know what hit them.
Ellen shrugged. "Who knows. Maybe she'll tell me when she finally gets her ass to that job we talked about."
"She still hasn't taken care of it?" Wasn't like Jo to ignore a job, especially one that paid. He wondered what had happened to distract her. "It's been weeks since you sent her the info."
"Yeah, well, ghosts aren't her favorite thing in the world to work on, especially since that incident with those amateurs. You should have heard her after that, going on and on about idiots and morons and some guy named Ed who kept feeling her ass. And then she found that they'd put a video up about the whole thing. Not pleased, but at least I didn't have to bail her out of jail, so…." She shrugged. "She must have found someone else to help her bury the bodies or bail her out."
He poured himself a cup and joined her. "Nice you two are talking again."
"We'll see how long that lasts when I actually track her butt down instead of sending her jobs through phone and email."
"That coming soon, because I'd like to be out of the line of fire."
"Hilarious. No, it'll be awhile still. I've got to get to her slowly. If I try to just show up, she'll go for good. This has to be gradual, Bobby. You know Jo. She has to decide she needs me just as much as I need her. It'll come."
"That's why you keep sending her harder jobs."
She smirked. "Hey, you're kind of smart."
"Shhh. Don't tell nobody. Keeps 'em all off-guard."
For two and a half days, Dean had been trying to get the time to read the new story by SamIAm5384. Unfortunately, Sam was hogging the laptop, busy working on something he was being vague about. All Dean had had time for were a few snarky private messages to various people.
He had his suspicions about that project Sam was working on. At this point, he was fairly certain SamIAm5384 was Sam. All the little fiction signs pointed to that conclusion, as did the variety of comebacks in their private message chats. It'd help if he had solid proof, though unfortunately, it wasn't looking like he was going to get any. Every time he got up and caught a glimpse of the computer screen, it had actual research on it. No fiction anywhere.
Dean lounged on the bed, watching Sam while trying to pretend he wasn't watching Sam. It was almost a relief to hear a knock on their door.
It was Dean. Had to be. The level of childishness in the remarks, the stories themselves. Dead giveaway. However, Sam couldn't catch him at it. Oh, he'd walk in and catch him at other things, just not writing.
He was regretting giving Dean that crash course on all things computer. It figured that the only part of that lecture he'd listened to had been how to cover his tracks instead of how not to fry the computer with iffy porn sites.
Sighing, he went into ten different mislabeled folders, files, and sub-folders until he found his current work, then opened it.
While it was accurate in detail, he wondered how fans would take it. Would they hate him for it? He also hoped Ruby wouldn't stumble across it. She wouldn't be pleased by where he'd taken the story. Maybe she'd understand it was fiction, that it made him feel less guilty to pretend a quick resolution to something that did cause him a lot of guilt. He thought that Jo would be able to understand, while Dean….
He let that train of thought slide by without examining it more closely.
It was only fiction. It wasn't real.
He posted the story and felt sick to his stomach as the reviews began to come in.
Sam waited for a review by TheRealDean, or a verbal confrontation from Dean, but it didn't come. He noticed Dean watching him, but no altercation occurred. Two and a half days passed and he relaxed, beginning a new piece.
But just when he thought he'd been mistaken after all….
Jo Harvelle knocked on their motel room door.
Stepping to the door, Jo tugged her shirt a bit lower, exposing the curves of her breasts in a red satiny bra, and tried to pretend she didn't hate this pair of ultra-low rise jeans as much as she'd grown to. Good thing she hadn't chucked them in the Goodwill bin like she'd planned to or she couldn't have used them for this. With a quick check to make sure the g-string she'd bought was visible, Jo licked her lips, struck a pose, and knocked on the motel room door. Hopefully the fake tramp stamp on her lower back hadn't smudged. She'd considered putting a fake birth control patch on her belly too, but thought that might be overkill. Surely the slutty clothes and fake tattoo would give Dean the 'open for business' idea and he'd hang himself quickly.
It was Dean who answered the door.
Very gratifying to see the way his eyes widened as he looked her over, and hear him gulp before saying, "Jo. Um…hey."
She grinned. "Long time no see. What's up?"
"You want to come in?" He opened the door wide, half turning. "Hey Sammy, we got company."
Jo stepped inside the room as Sam glanced up from the laptop. There was an intriguing flash of panic in his eyes as he closed the lid. "Sam. You're looking…different these days." Not a lie. He had an edge to him that hadn't been there before, a desperation just barely visible. She wondered if the demon blood story was reality or if he'd really made it up. After all, he was a good writer. It wasn't outside the realm of possibility that it was purely his imagination.
Dean closed the door. "Different? How different?"
"I've been working out more," Sam replied in a cool tone.
She walked to the table, her back to Dean. "Yeah, that's totally it. You're more buff or something."
"Right." Dean grasped her arm, turned her so the light fell on her back. "Jo, what the hell is this on your back?"
She felt his fingers slide along the fake tattoo, tracing the design, the touch light enough to tickle pleasantly. Please don't smudge, she thought, and leaned over slightly, resting her hands on the table. "Just a little something I had done."
"Ellen know you got a tattoo," Sam asked with a frown.
"No, and she's not going to either. Nor will she know about the other one."
Dean's fingers stilled on her lower back. "Other one?"
"You think you two are the only ones with protection tattoos?"
"Yeah? Let's see." The words were challenging and Jo looked over her shoulder at Dean.
"Not unless you take me to dinner first, big boy. I'm not that kind of girl." She could practically hear him thinking 'then why are you dressed like one?' and added with a flirtatious grin, "Unless I get steak and lobster, of course. I could totally be that girl then. You up for that?"
Sam got up from his chair, took a glance at her back with raised brows, and reached for his bag. "So where is the tattoo exactly?" He pulled a flask out and held it up. "Drink?"
Jo turned to face Dean. His fingers grazed her side, then her stomach before he pulled his hand away. She saw a glimmer of suspicion in his eyes. "It's in a very private location." She wiggled her hips, brushing against him, and took the flask. "Sure, I'll have a swig." It was probably holy water. She drank. "You watering down your whiskey, Sam?" She handed the flask back.
"How about something salty now," she asked in an innocent tone.
Dean coughed. "You okay, Jo?"
"Why do you ask, Dean?" She thrust her chest out.
"Because you're not acting like yourself."
Jo stared at him, then, Sam, and back to him. "So you do know that's not how I really am. I was beginning to wonder."
He stepped back. "What are you talking about?"
"Oh…." She shrugged. "Just that you two are so busted."
Identical expressions of panic and resignation crossed their faces.
"Busted," Sam asked, putting the flask away and edging towards the computer.
"Busted," Jo confirmed and beat him to it, opening the lid and clicking the user icon. "Watcha workin' on, Sam?"
He looked at her, his gaze measuring before he stepped back. "Fiction."
"Oh, I see," she replied in an overly bright tone, turning the computer and scrolling up to the top of the document. "Are you sure you don't mean fan fiction? Title: The Song of the Lost. Summary: With Dean in hell - "
Dean made a choking noise. "Hey! You are SamIAm!"
"How do you…." Sam's expression changed to exasperated understanding. "You really are TheRealDean."
"Of course I'm the real Dean. Think there's another me out there?"
"No, I just mean I'd pretty much ruled you out as him since TheRealDean never reviewed my last story."
"Gee thanks. Couldn't read or review, as someone was hogging the laptop." He looked at Jo, gestured at her. "What about you, Jo? Does that super-sexy get-up mean you're -"
"JBethH. I'm JBethH. What the hell were you two thinking?"
"Excuse me?" Dean gestured at himself then at Sam. "What were we thinking? I seem to recall little miss, uh, you," now he pointed at her, "leaving reviews on Jo/Dean porn. Still get you hot, do I?"
Sam closed the laptop. "Not to mention the Sam/Jo 'shipper stories. Jo, you've got dozens of favorite stories in both 'ships."
"So?" She could feel her face, throat, and chest flushing. "You're both attractive guys. I can be attracted to both of you, but let's face it. Reading is one thing, writing another. Um…I get you two hot apparently?"
"Never said I didn't find you attractive, Jo," Sam's voice was matter-of-fact, his expression calm, "nor did Dean ever deny finding you attractive."
"I guess that's true." Sam hadn't said anything at all, nor had she paid any attention to him. Dean, however, had made several suggestive comments off and on. It had been Dean she'd been interested in…until she'd started reading the books and a ton of fanfic and had thoughts of Sam added in her head.
Dean put his hands on his hips and shook his head. "We're getting nowhere here."
"I think we're getting somewhere." Jo crossed her arms. "Let's explore why you thought it was a good idea to write fan fiction about yourselves…and me, mom, and others. Oh, and Dean? Just for the record? My mother thinks of you as a son. She'd whup your ass for suggesting the two of you get it on. And for suggesting the…other thing. Shit, I might just whup your ass for her. That was one of the most disgusting ideas I've ever run across. Eeww. Are you nuts?"
"It was fiction," he protested.
"Tattoos in uncomfortable places? Piercings in equally uncomfortable places? What the freakin' hell was going on in your head?"
Reaching out, he grasped her arm and turned her, resting his hand on her lower back. "What the freakin' hell yourself, Jo?" The words were a harsh growl in her ear. "You got a tattoo?"
"It's fake," she snapped. "It'll wash off in the shower within a couple weeks."
"And the other one in the private place?"
She tugged her arm away and punched him in the arm as hard as she could. It wasn't nearly as satisfactory as she'd hoped as he didn't even flinch at the contact. "I don't get Brazilian waxes because of what they require and you think I'd go spread-eagle naked to get a protection tattoo there?"
"How was I supposed to know neither was real?"
To their right, Sam leaned against the wall and crossed his arms, watching but not saying anything.
"What. Were. You. Thinking?" She bit out each word like it's own little sentence, poking his chest with one finger to punctuate the words.
"It was fiction, Jo. None of it was real. All made up."
"Yeah." She fished her necklace from her pocket and held it up. "I'm a jewelry girl, Dean. I like girly necklaces, bracelets, earrings, ankle bracelets, not…." She pointed to her crotch.
"I know that."
"Uh-huh. And while I like jewelry, I so wouldn't get a piercing there. Do you have any idea how unsanitary that is? The possibilities for infection alone…." She snorted.
"And the whole stripper and fetish thing? Do you know me at all?"
"You were just a character in my head…." He looked at Sam. "You think this was how Chuck felt when we walked up to his door?" Going to the low dresser, he leaned against it. "Okay, I get your point."
"Do you really, Dean? Because I'm real, with real feelings and you know that, but you still wrote that trash. You wrote down your… weird guy fantasies and put them out where everyone can read them!"
"It wasn't like I thought you were ever going to read it. Why were you reading it anyway?"
"I ran across some Carver Edlund books that had word for word recreations of conversations I remember having. I got curious and then I sort of…got sucked in to the whole fandom thing." She shrugged. "But that doesn't explain you two writing it. What the hell?" She was using that phrase a lot, yet it fit her frame of mind at present.
"I got carried away," Sam said. "Simple as that. Fiction is easier than real life. In fan fiction you can change things. You can make things the way they should have been. You can have happiness when real life fails."
"With fan fiction you can tease the fan girls," Dean added, "really whip them into a frenzy. Have you seen some of the responses I've gotten?"
"That is so whacked."
"Passes the time."
"Dean…." Jo shook her head. "I'm really uncomfortable with those stories."
"Why? They're not real. They're just made-up stories like all the others on there. Not like the books themselves that are reality. Unless you've got some hidden desire to be a stripper or something."
"But...do you really…" She broke off and looked away.
"Do I what?"
"Never mind. I shouldn't have come here. This was a complete mistake and a stupid idea."
"No, Jo, come on. What is it?"
"Do you think I'm like that? Like how you wrote?" The idea that Dean thought she was the way he'd written her in any way, shape, or form saddened her.
Dean could see the hurt in Jo's eyes and sighed, rubbing one hand along the tight muscles on the back of his neck. "God, Jo, no. Of course I don't see you like that. I just wanted to see how bad a story had to be before the fans rejected it so I wrote in every potentially offensive thing I could think of and tweaked it. Yes, I did have a checklist, which you asked at one point."
Sam cleared his throat. "Having read a couple of those, Jo, I can assure you, neither of us think you're like that at all."
"Absolutely," Dean told her and saw a flicker of satisfaction replace the hurt.
"Good, because if you two jerk-offs think I'm anything like that…. That thing I mentioned with the knife in that private message, Dean? It will happen. And I will make it as painful as possible." Now the anger was growing once more, Jo pursing her lips and taking a deep breath that he knew was a prelude to more of her opinion on the subject.
He put the table between them. "There'll be no castrating either of us."
"Ca-cast…what?" Sam joined him on the other side of the table. "Castrating? Jo -"
"Dean Winchester, where do you get off thinking it's okay to write that sort of insulting garbage about someone you know? I mean seriously? What really was going on in your head that you thought it was acceptable? I'm not a nymphomaniac, or a tattooed, pierced stripper with a knife fetish. Sure I like knives. They're good weapons to have around, as you well know, but a fetish? No. I'm a hunter and I think I'm getting to be a damn good one, too."
"Mine wasn't offensive," Sam protested. "Don't castrate me."
"Yours wasn't, but his was. You're fairly safe from castration at this point. Dean however…." She pointed at Dean. "You're deleting it. All of it. Every last disgusting, nauseating, repulsive, kinky excuse for a story or…."
"Or what," he interrupted, placing his hands flat on the table and leaning across it towards her. "What are you going to do?"
She stared at him, one brow quirking and a smug smirk forming as she copied his pose, putting them face to face. "I'll bring my mother in to this, too. I can just hear her when I show her the one about the three of us…." Now her other brow raised, voice going all breathy and seductive as she added, "Oh, Dean, you've been such a bad boy. However shall we punish you?"
A valid threat. Ellen wouldn't be as nice as Jo about it. She really would kick his ass- and then do it again for good measure. He swallowed hard and stood up straight. "You're over reacting." He actually saw the fury increase in her eyes. "That came out wrong."
"Make it come out right quick -"
"What I meant was you should calm down because it was only fiction."
Jo sucked in a breath and stood up straight.
"Don't think that helped," Sam said out of the corner of his mouth.
"Maybe I should just shut up."
"There's an idea." Jo crossed her arms. "I get that you were taunting the fan girls. Some of them even deserve it, but think about my feelings. Mom's feelings. Think about that woman Bela's -"
"To be fair, Bela was a manipulative bitch. I seriously doubt she even had feelings."
"Still. It's different because you know me. You both know me and Dean…it hurt when I realized it was you writing that stuff." All the anger seemed to drain out of her and she turned her gaze to the tabletop. "Come on, guys. What's the right thing to do here?"
Dean glanced at Sam. "I'll delete mine if he'll delete his."
"You two delete your stories and accounts and I'll delete my account. Is that fair?"
"And what? We forget it never happened?" Sam shook his head. "That can only be written in fan fiction, because I don't think there's any way any of us are forgetting it."
Jo turned her attention back up to them. "So we look at it like we do everything in our jobs. File it away. It's not forgetting, it's just…putting it away so it's not out in the open all the time. God knows I've had to file away some stupid crap."
"Like what?" Curiosity rose up inside him. What sort of stupid crap had Jo been dealing with?
"Let's agree to delete the accounts, go out to dinner to catch-up, and I might tell you all about my run-in with two jerks calling themselves the GhostFacers. I believe you've met them?"
Dean exchanged a wary glance with Sam, remembering that video Sam had found. "Too late for that one, Jo. We already saw the video of you. Very entertaining."
"Nice to see someone besides us giving them hell for once." Sam reached for his jacket.
She rolled her eyes. "Oh geez. Is there anyone besides my mom that didn't see that before I got it down?"
He laughed. "I doubt it, but we have a copy here somewhere if she'd be interested in it." After a moment, Dean held out his hand. "I'll delete my account. Shake on it?"
"Shake on it." Her grip was firm. "So…. You guys buying dinner or am I?"
"That depends. If we buy you steak and lobster," he let his gaze drift down her and back up, "do we get to see you do that naked spread eagle thing?"
"Um…no." She pulled her hand away. "I'd need a little more than steak and lobster to do that."
"What if we get you drunk?"
She laughed. "Contrary to the clothes, I'm not that easy."
He 'tsked'. "Damn. What do you think, Sam? Should we buy her dinner anyway?"
"Actually, I think you made a promise to buy her shots after watching that video of her on the GhostFacers site."
"Oh yeah…. I did promise shots."
"Tell you what, Jo. I'll buy dinner, Dean'll buy drinks."
"Sounds like a plan, though if you don't mind, I'd like to change into something a little less slutty."
When she was in the bathroom changing clothes, Dean expected Sam to say something about the stories, but he didn't. Instead, he looked rather guilty. Maybe he'd let Sam off just this once….for awhile anyway. He was in for a good ribbing later and knew he'd get one right back.
"Yeah, give me a sec and you can get on here."
"No hurry." Sure, he'd delete it, but Jo hadn't said he couldn't create a new account….
Dinner was enjoyable and when Dean insisted on looking over her car before she left, Jo took the opportunity to talk to Sam in the room. She had a couple questions before she left.
"How much of that last work you posted is real, Sam?"
He took off his jacket, avoiding her eyes. "Some."
"Some. The blood?"
He shook his head. "No."
She could see the lie and the sheer shame of the situation in his eyes. A part of her heart broke for him. "What about the demon, Sam? Is she real?"
"Ruby? Yeah, but she's on our side."
Oh Sam…. He had to know that demons lie, right? "Are you absolutely sure?"
"Yes." He looked right at her then, confident - except for the tiny sliver of doubt that flickered like a dying light bulb. He'd mostly convinced himself that it was truth, she saw.
But if he wrote to change things as he claimed, how much of that story was him crying out for help? For understanding? How much was him hoping someone would see the truth and stop it all? Yet…. What if it was fiction like he claimed and he really was that good of a writer? She had no proof, only a gut feeling.
"I deleted the story, Jo. And the account, just like you wanted."
"Sam…. I could stay. Like you wrote. I could -"
"No. No, Jo. I don't…" He cleared his throat. "I don't want you to get hurt because of me. Not again."
"I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself. I understand risks."
"I know, I know. But this is my fight. Forget what you read, okay? It's all fiction. Fiction can make things right. Reality is a bit harder. Reality hurts and if you get hurt, no amount of writing that it didn't happen will undo it."
She hugged him, raised up on tiptoe and pressed a kiss to his cheek when he leaned down to her. "You can call me, you know. It's what friends are for."
He nodded. "Yeah, I do. Thanks for coming to see us, Jo."
"Anytime." She gestured towards the parking lot. "I'm gonna go say goodbye to Dean and get on the road. Long drive ahead of me."
"You have a destination in mind?"
"Oh yeah. I know where I'm headed." She lifted her purse. "See ya."
Outside, she found Dean at her car, leaning against the trunk with his arms crossed. She put her purse in the car and joined him.
"I deleted the stories and account," he told her. "Did it right after Sam took care of his."
"Thank you. I'll delete my account when I stop for the night."
"I didn't mean to hurt you, Jo. I got carried away trying to disgust people is all."
"Well, you did disgust me."
He chuckled. "Not my goal, believe me."
"What, I'm not a person?"
"No, you're a person, I just…you know -"
"Yeah, I do. You don't actually disgust me, Dean. Your imagination though?" She whistled long and low. "Lay off the weird porn, okay?"
He turned to face her. "You know you don't have to leave so quickly, right? Stay awhile."
She smiled. "And what? Ride along in the backseat of the Impala? Nah." She shook her head. "I'm an independent woman."
"You are hunter woman, hear you roar?"
"Something like that." Jo put her hand on his. "Look, I told Sam you guys can call me. I will help if I can. You can always call me, Dean."
"You know I'm not good at calling, Jo."
Now she nodded. He wasn't good at calling. She'd known that about him for a very long time. "I do know, but…the offer still stands." She squeezed his hand and released it. "I gotta go. I put off a job to come here and I've got a couple of people waiting for me, so…."
"So you're heading out."
"I am." She went to the driver's door and got inside, starting it up.
"Jo." Dean leaned down in the open door. "Drive safe, okay?"
When Jo stopped for the night, she began to systematically remove herself from the fandom, deleting her accounts one by one, saving the fan fiction site for last. She opened her email and was surprised to find a private message waiting from a user called TheRealDean2.
Private message to JBethH:
"Jo - Sam said fan fiction is for making things right. How's this for a happy ending?
Jo clicked the user name. He'd published one story.
Title: All Forgiven
Summary: Rather than call, Dean shows up at Jo's door after BUABS.
She almost didn't click the link, but was intensely curious as to what he'd written this time. With a tiny sliver of misgiving, Jo clicked and read…and laughed. Typical. Just typical. In true Dean fashion, it was porn, though not quite as terrible as what he'd published with the other account and certainly not offensive.
Private message to TheRealDean2 -
"I should have known when you wrote 'happy ending' that you meant that kind of happy ending. You're incorrigible."
Private message to JBethH -
"What? The story had a happy ending all the way around. Don't you like happy endings? *wink*"
Private message to TheRealDean2 -
"I love happy endings. *kiss noise* Use your imagination as to what I mean by that phrase."
Private message to JBethH -
Private message to TheRealDean2 -
"Flirt. Deleting the account now, Dean."
Private message to JBethH -
"Fun while it lasted, right, Jo?"
She sat back in her chair. Fun? Not the word she'd use. She tried to come back with a witty response and failed, finally settling on one that conveyed her pleasure at seeing them, her understanding of how he was, and her concern for both of them.
Private message to TheRealDean2 -
"I enjoyed catching up with you two. Don't be a stranger, Dean. It's far too long between visits. And if you accidentally lose my number like last time? You can always get a message to me through Bobby. You two take care, okay? *hug*"
There was no reply, nor did Jo expect one this time. They'd meet again, she knew it. Maybe not soon, but it would happen.
And maybe, someday, she might even consider a happy ending.
Jo smiled to herself.
Three guesses how she meant that phrase.