I really, REALLY apologize for the long delay in posting this. I want to thank Carla X for her encouragement by e-mailing about updates. I also want to thank my dearest Ganymede Elegy for her tremendous beta-ing & writing support. I love you, Moose!
Jo lay beside Sam and Dean on the far side of the shed, where the newborn vampires had been huddled all day. They were gone from that corner now, perched near the door and waiting for their moment to be let out. Maybe it was because they'd been sitting upwind from the small group, but she couldn't believe that she hadn't noticed how terrible they smelled before. It was pretty obvious that this family hadn't even allowed to leave the shed to wash up or use the bathroom. The corner reeked of rot, unwashed bodies, and urine. It was so strong that if it wasn't for her history with smells like rotting bodies and burning, gasoline-doused corpses, she was sure she would have vomited by now. She was also willing to believe that Greta and Paul really didn't know that she, Sam, and Dean were still alive in the shed because they probably held their breath whenever they got close enough to smell their blood.
She didn't want to think about what was really lying beneath her on that dirt floor, or about what she'd done earlier that day, or especially about their plan for later that night. It was her plan, yeah, but she'd only mentioned it because it was the only thing she could think of and no one else was speaking up. Sam and Dean having both agreed to it only said just how screwed out of options they were. She had a Plan B that she hadn't told them about, just in case things went south. If she had to use it, then she should be the only other person today who wouldn't be making it out of the barn alive. But, if she really knew Dean at all, then she could bet that he had his own Plan B that involved sacrificing himself. In some ways, she and Dean were really too much alike. And, Hell, for all she and Sam knew, whatever suicidal thing Dean was thinking of doing could secretly be his Plan A. She hoped not, because if it was the last thing she did, she really wanted to make sure that Dean and Sam made it out of this alive.
She felt the soft cotton and hard, stiff, dried blood of Dean's faded t-shirt to her right and Sam's excessive body heat to her left and rued over how little they deserved to be locked up with her in this shed. Her self-righteous anger had bubbled away hours ago as she'd contemplated and rejected most of her justifications for holding onto her rage. Did what she saw when she walked into Dean and Sam's bathroom still disgust her? Oh Hell yes. But it shouldn't have changed anything about what she did on the hunt. And she knew it wasn't some high-ground moral stance that made her act the way she did, either. It wasn't incest she felt like she was triumphing over when she saw how upset Dean was at being called a pervert and she didn't recklessly charge into a vampire's and try to kill them all single-handedly because she was on some moral crusade. She couldn't even say that she'd wanted to impress Dean by pulling that stupid stunt; she wasn't showing him what he was missing as much as she was showing herself that she really was incredible in some way, that she had something that no one else did. Because it wasn't just about that Dean was committing incest, or even that he'd chosen his brother over her: it was the realization that he saw her as nothing more than at best a little sister and at worst just some silly girl he could flirt with when he didn't have a hunt to go on and there was nothing better on TV. She knew Dean was a major flirt, but with her, she felt like there was more to it. And for that, she was a silly girl. Silly, mostly for ignoring how close Dean and Sam's relationship was, even if she didn't know about the extent of the twisted sexual part of it. She thought about what her mom had said earlier: Didn't you feel at least a little suspicious when Dean openly declared that he would rather die than live without Sam? No, she hadn't, but it should have told her that, at the very least, Sam was irreplaceable. Why hadn't she realized that, in all of her fantasies of hunting with Dean and sharing a room alone with him night after night, all she'd been doing was inserting herself into Sam's place? Sam was the only person who Dean shared his life with and, whether they kept fucking each other or not, she was sure that Sam the only person Dean ever would share it with. Spending hours quietly waiting for death had a strange way of bringing with it a lot of clarity.
Not that Dean was totally innocent in all this, of course. He'd led her on and let her think he was interested in more than just casual talk. And all that made him a jerk. But he wasn't worthy of the bloody death they were all quietly waiting for.
And Sam deserved death even less; his only offense was to be in love with Dean and actually have his love returned. She'd spent the larger part of the day wishing that she could hate him, but he just wasn't allowing it. He really was sorry she'd found out about them the way she did, that much she could tell, and not just because he was embarrassed being caught getting a blow job in the shower. He was sorry that she'd seen something so jarring and hurtful to her, that she had to find out about them by seeing with her own eyes one of the most private parts of their relationship. Once she'd had time to think about it, she wondered how many times over the years before they were together that Sam had found out about Dean's being with various women in exactly the same way. And somehow she was almost positive that he had. Sam knew how she felt and actually felt bad for making her feel that way.
She buried her face into Dean's bicep, using his faint cologne and earthy musky scent to at least mask the stench surrounding them. In a moment of silent understanding, Dean gripped her hand and buried his nose in her hair. It wasn't romantic, it wasn't sexual, and she knew now that for him it never would be. But it was love. They sat like this for several minutes, with Jo breathing in Dean's scent and basking in his silent gesture of comfort. This were the last good things that she might ever see and feel and she wanted to savor them for as long as possible. But then she heard footsteps approach the shed and a sliver of light crept towards them as the door opened.