A/N: I recently stumbled upon a few Dean/Jo fics that gave me all kinds of ideas...this being one. I liked Jo...still miss her and Ellen. Figure this takes place sometime after Season 5's Abandon All Hope.
Let me know what you think and if you'd be interested in seeing more. What writer doesn't love getting feedback? :)
As always, many thanks to my dear friend and fellow author, stephaniew, for her unending support and willingness to play beta at a moment's notice. Check her out!
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Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural.
Can't Fight This Feeling
He sits on a stool at the end of the bar. Gazing around, he marvels at how familiar the place looks. Hell, if he squints and holds his head just right, it could be the Roadhouse. The bartender even looks a little like Ellen Harvelle.
He gulps back the whiskey in the tumbler resting in his hand. It doesn't quite dull the ache in his chest, but it does make him numb. It makes him numb, but it doesn't help him forget.
He nods to the bartender and signals for her to pour him another. He downs it quickly and pulls his lower lip between his lips. His fingers twitch as the remembrance of slipping into soft blonde hair flood back. His mouth burns...but is it the burn of the alcohol or the burn of things left unsaid? The pain of knowing the first time he kissed her was also the last?
"Hey, Dean-O," a voice calls out. "Ya might wanna ease up on the whiskey..."
He stiffens, but does not turn around. He hears the scrape of the legs on the stool next to his sliding across the floor.
A hand falls on his shoulder, the voice softer now. "You find what you were lookin' for in that glass?" she asks. His eyes are closed and she watches his adam's apple bob as his jaw tightens.
"You're not real," he mutters. "None of this is real."
But the hand on his arm feels real. It's solid. He slides his own over it and feels the warmth and softness of her skin. He feels as much as hears her hearty chuckle. Still unsure he believes, he sucks in air and turns around, needing to see with his own eyes.
Honey colored hair spills over her shoulders, framing her face with soft curls. It's glossy and clean. It's not disheveled and dirty the way it was the last time he saw her. His fingers itch to touch it.
Unable to meet her gaze, he stares at her mouth. Gone is the blue tint. Instead, her lips appear lush and pink. It's as if they are begging for a kiss, even as she gives him an innocent grin.
His eyes jerk upward to hers. The chocolaty puddles hold the familiar light he's used to. He blinks at the fire within them.
"Jo?" he asks shakily.
When she nods, his arms go around her and he pulls her into his chest. He holds her tightly, feels her sigh as she melts into his embrace. He squeezes her, tears forming in his eyes and falling into her hair. She is real. She's every bit as real as his heartbeat. Every bit as real as the burn of the bourbon he's been drinking.
One arm around her waist to anchor her against him, the fingers of the other steal into her hair. His lips brush over her forehead and skim over her cheek. Pulling back, he looks at her - really looks at her - and sees her for the first time. He sees everything he's been missing and everything he was so sure he'd lost.
His mouth slides softly over hers. This doesn't come with the taste of regret. It isn't tinged with the sadness of never seeing her again. No, as his lips pluck at hers - as he sucks her lower one into his mouth and teases it with a flick of his tongue - a heat starts to fill his chest. For the first time since he lost her, he doesn't feel empty or cold.
Jo wraps her arms around Dean's neck as he kisses her. She allows herself to feel all the things she couldn't feel during their last kiss. The things she didn't have the energy to think about remembering. She catalogues it now for future reference. He tastes like whiskey and it makes her feel drunk even though not a single drop has passed her lips. She can smell the worn leather of his jacket, feel the prick of his hair and the corded muscles of his neck beneath her palm. When she pulls back, she searches his eyes.
"Jo," he says softly, the rough pad of his thumb sliding over her cheek. "I..."
She swallows. She knows what he's going to say. Knows the cost the words will bring if they tumble from his mouth. Knows how much he will be changed - how much he has already been changed. She smiles as REO Speedwagon comes on the old jukebox in the corner. Silencing him with a finger over his lips. "Dance with me?" she asks, half afraid he'll refuse.
He gives a brief nod, the corner of his lip curling up at the cheesy ballad. His arms wrap around her as they step onto the empty dance floor
She rests her head against his chest and listens to the beating of his heart as she winds her arms around his neck. There's a reason she picked this song. This isn't the first time she's played it for him...but this time it actually means something. But she knows she doesn't have to say it out loud because he'll hear it in the lyrics. This song - like so many others - will speak to him, for him.
"I can't fight this feeling any longer. And yet I'm still afraid to let it flow. What started out as friendship, has grown stronger. I only wish I had the strength to let it show..."
She feels Dean's arms tighten slightly and she smiles softly. She was right. She'd thought she felt something when he kissed her moments ago. Something that made her memory flashback on the hardware store. Something that had given her proof that their previous kiss was not just Dean offering her comfort as her life faded to black.
"I tell myself that I can't hold out forever. I said there is no reason for my fear. Cause I feel so secure when we're together. You give my life direction, you make everything so clear..."
She feels the bob of his throat as he swallows. She knows what he's thinking...that he's having regrets. She blows out a breath. It wasn't her intent to upset him.
Dean gulps. "Why, Jo?" he asks sadly. "Why'd I wait? Why didn't I say something?"
Leaning back, she looks up to see tears forming in green eyes. Raising a hand to his cheek, she wipes away the errant one that has found a means of escape. The bristles of his 5 o'clock shadow tickle her palm. "Dean..."
"Why?" he repeats, his lower lip quivering. "Why'd I fight it?"
She purses her lip and her brow furrows. "I dunno, Dean-O," she answers. "Maybe it was how things went down with our dads. Maybe it was my mom..."
"Why couldn't we have been normal? Why couldn't we have had a real chance?"
Jo feels tears begin to form in her own eyes. "Because normal isn't us...it never was." With gentle pressure to the back of his neck, she pulls his mouth down on hers. She kisses him deeply, her tongue ghosting against his. Needing oxygen, they part, but she keeps his forehead pressed to hers.
"And even as I wander, I'm keeping you in sight. You're a candle in the window, on a cold, dark winter's night. And I'm getting closer than I ever thought I might..."
"I'll always be with you, Dean," she says, resting a hand over his heart. "Right here..."
"But..." he fumbles.
"Shh," she chides. "You're ruining the moment." She meets his gaze and marvels at the tiny golden flecks that glow against the deep green of his irises. "Just hold me?" she asks, her eyes wide. "Please? I don't want you to be sad..."
He buries his hands in her hair and cups her face. "I miss you, babe...so much..."
"You don't have to crawl into a bottle of bourbon to find me," she says, tears slipping over her cheeks.
"I didn't know I would..." he replies.
"Don't make me haunt your sorry ass so I know you're taken care of," she teases, trying to lighten the mood.
His next kiss steals her breath and makes her shudder. The tenderness with which he cradles her cheek shouldn't surprise her. It's the same strength and quiet tenderness he carried her with after the attack. It's fierce with an undertone of passion she'd have sworn six ways from Sunday he didn't have in him.
"I can't fight it anymore, Jo..." he whispers. "I can't fight it and it's too late..."
But it isn't Jo's voice he hears. It's Sam's. His brother leans down to look at him and he blinks in the bright sunlight streaming from somewhere behind Sam that illuminates his hair in halo-like fashion.
He looks around, disoriented. Everything is blackened. The walls, the bar...what's left of the old jukebox. He rubs the back of his head. "How long've I been out?" he asks. "What happened? Where's Jo?"
"Wow, you really are drunk, huh?" Sam asks, reaching for the bottle of whiskey laying on the floor beside his older brother. Unscrewing the cap on the bottle, he pours what little's left onto the floor. "Jo's dead..."
Dean sits up and snickers. "I know that dumbass, but she was here... I saw her. We danced and..."
"You're delusional," Sam says, shaking his head with raised eye brows. "Let's get outta here."
As he climbs to his feet, he looks at Sam. A sad smile - one filled with maybes and could-have-beens - touches his lips. "I think she may have been the one, Sammy..."
Shocked at his brother's admission, Sam says nothing. He knows what it's like to lose someone...and he's not entirely sure how to handle the confession. It's not like this is something he ever expected to hear. Not from Dean. Certainly not about Jo.
Dean shakes it off. "Guess this is one more case of the Winchester men being unlucky in love," he says. "I just wish she knew..."
Sam smirks. "Who knows, Dean? Maybe she did," he says as they head out to the impala. "Maybe she did..."