Title: Yours to Hold
Summary: AU: Dean had never seen Jo there until suddenly, he did. 'Un-sunk Titanic' 'verse.
Disclaimer: 'Supernatural' was created by Eric Kripke. No disrespect is intended.
Notes: This is a one-shot with no plans to flesh it out with further chapters.
Castiel's announcement that Atropos was dead soothed a bit of Dean's anxiety, but weren't there three Fates?
The angel dismissed that with an unconcerned wave of a hand. "They're not a problem," he insisted with a stoic stare and squared jaw. He seemed so certain and sure of that.
Dean should question him, he knew he should, but he let the moment pass because of what the one Fate being dead meant. It meant they wouldn't lose Ellen and Jo. Two women who meant a lot to both him and Sam would continue to live. There would be no deep grief that shook them to their cores, no trying to cope with a loss that he knew would be tremendous.
Strange how he'd not recognized how much they really meant until he knew that in some other world, they were dead and gone.
Over the next few days, Dean thought about Jo and the strange relationship that had developed between them since their first meeting. It was a friendship and yet something a bit beyond that. She knew just when and how to tease him and he knew when to do the same with her. They joked and teased and could fall easily back into conversation after they'd been apart, like only minutes had passed. There were times when he would look at her and know what she was thinking and he knew she had the same moments. It wasn't a sister sort of relationship because he'd occasionally dreamed of doing some pretty naughty things with her and a guy didn't do those things with his sister. Nor was it a buddy relationship, for Jo was hardly a buddy. She was a friend and she was…more.
While he'd noticed her interest in him all along, by the time he'd been ready to commit the way she wanted a man to, he'd wanted out of hunting and she'd been wading deeper, opposite ends of the spectrum. Wrong time, wrong place. It had been their story all along.
If he'd had any inclination towards staying in the hunting life after Sam had taken a nosedive into the cage, he would have gone to Jo. Dean knew it. He would have gone to her because she would have been a comfort, having known Sam and knowing everything that had happened. She would have held him, been a soothing balm to the hurts and grief, and kept him going. She would have welcomed him. But he'd had no desire to continue. He'd wanted normality, a thing Jo couldn't give him. Jo was a hunter, through and through. She loved the life, showed no signs of ever wanting to stop.
So he'd gone to Lisa - part Sam's dying wish, part his own wish for something completely unrelated to the life he'd known.
He couldn't imagine a world without Jo. When he tried, it seemed bleak, dark, and very wrong. To never see her sassy grin again, or hear her voice teasing him about something, or feel that connection they'd always had…. The idea of it hurt. Jo knew him. She'd always known him and been able to understand him in ways that other women, even Lisa, never had.
She'd become a part of him.
If he didn't actively make a right time and place for them, would it ever just happen?
By tacit agreement between them all, Ellen called Jo, asked her to come home for a few days. Dean spent the time searching himself, deciding what he wanted to do here.
He could let things stand as they were. He and Jo would go on as they had, never quite connecting and he'd never risk hurting her in some way.
Or…. He could ask her to be his, see if she'd try with him, and accept the risk of hurting her and potentially damaging what they already shared. Going deeply personal would change things. No doubt about it.
But if he didn't try, wouldn't he regret it all the more if she did die? He already felt the regret that he'd not pursued her just with knowing about the other world. So really, when he thought about it, was there a true choice? If he let this chance slip by, all he'd have forever would be regret that he hadn't tried.
He looked up.
Sam popped open the lid of a beer bottle and joined him at the table. "You're thinking about Jo right?"
"How'd you know that?"
"The look on your face. Knowing she'll be here soon and the back and forth between you two for years now. Go for it, Dean."
"Maybe the chance has passed me by, Sam."
"Maybe it hasn't."
"Why would she wait? For me, I mean. Why would she hope for me and keep hoping? I went to Lisa, not her. Why would she still be waiting for me after that? I might've stayed retired and never come back."
Sam shrugged. "She understood why you went to Lisa. You know that. And if you'd stayed away, Jo would have moved on. She had a boyfriend that year you were out."
True. One Ellen had hated with a passion and the guy had turned out to be a dick after Jo had actually spent some real time with him, but she'd a boyfriend. She'd been out there meeting men, trying to find one that would fit in her life.
"She never stopped living her life, Dean. Besides, I saw how Jo looked at you the last time she was here. That chance hasn't passed. Take it."
"Maybe you should take it."
He laughed. "Me and Jo? No. I'm not the one she wants. You are."
By the time Jo arrived, Dean was ready.
Jo pulled up to the house and stopped, putting the car into park. It was going to be nice to take a few days off. Her team could go on without her and she was very curious as to why her mom and Bobby insisted she come back for a few days. Something in Ellen's voice had clued her in that it was serious. They meant business. She had to be there.
So Jo went.
It was a treat to spend time at the house and let herself be wrapped in her mother's protective urges - on her own terms, not Ellen's. Thank God they'd gotten past that stage.
She was glad her mother had found something good with Bobby. To be sappy, it warmed her heart to see them shooting affectionate glances at each other when they thought no one was looking. Her mother deserved happiness. Jo hadn't gotten to the point of calling Bobby 'dad', but maybe some day she'd surprise him with the title.
Dean and Sam's car was off to one side and Jo got out of her own car, shouldering her bag and walking up to the house. The two were common fixtures at the house and she was happy to find them here. Too often they were out on the road and she would miss them by hours or days. She wondered if the reason she'd been asked to come home had anything to do with them and the case they'd been working on.
She barely got in the door before strong arms were around her, her face pressed against a neck that smelled divine and was most certainly Dean's. Jo returned the hug, expecting it to end after a few seconds, only it didn't. She patted his back, grasped his shirt, then smoothed it. "Um…Dean? Sweetheart? I think you're crushing me."
He drew back a fraction, one hand raising, cupping her neck, thumb sweeping along her jaw. His mouth covered hers in a kiss that curled her toes and made all sorts of things happen inside her. Desire sang through her veins, her heart beat faster, and a flush rushed across her skin.
It was a thing she'd dreamed about for a very long time and a thing she'd long ago resigned herself to never happening because Dean Winchester had never seen her there waiting. He'd never shown to her a real awareness that she had feelings for him that were more than friendship, yet he did now. It was there in his kiss. He knew and he was acknowledging it, accepting it…wanting it.
He released her and it was all there in his eyes.
Dean saw her. Finally.
Something had happened to drop the scales from his eyes and he was almost desperate to bring her to his side.
"What happened," she asked.
His other hand raised, her face cupped between his hands. Jo thought she saw fear lurking there in his eyes. "I had a nightmare that you were dead. I saw a world without you in it and it was terrible. I saw the time I'd wasted…."
"I'm alive, Dean. I'm not going anywhere…unless fate intervenes." She meant the words in a teasing way, but Dean didn't take them as such.
He paled, swallowed hard. "I hope to God she doesn't." He glanced to the kitchen and back. "Give me a chance, Jo?"
Her bag slid down her arm and fell to the floor. She let it drop. "I don't do one night stands. You know that."
Dean nodded, he lowered his hands down to her hips, squeezing them lightly. "I do. Not asking for that."
He was serious, very much so. Jo put her hands on his chest, palms flat, fingers splayed a little. "Spell it out, Dean. I need you to say it. What are you offering me? Rose petals and satin sheets?"
"I'm offering whatever you want me to give, just…don't go. You want a future, I'll try to give you that. No guarantee it'll work out, but -"
"There are never any guarantees in life."
"Let's make a right time and place for ourselves, see if we can work. I don't know what'll come down the road, but I do know I want to do this. I want to try."
Jo thought of all the things that could happen, the disappointments and the possibility that this was all because of a freak-out that would quickly pass. She thought of the possibility she could wake up one morning in a motel room and he was gone. Or that maybe, in the end, loving him publicly instead of in private would break her heart completely. "You're serious."
"You're not screwing with me."
She licked her lips and raised her hands, clasping them at the back of his neck. If he was willing to take the chance, then so was she. "Then sweetheart, I'm yours."
In her heart, Jo Harvelle always been his.