A/N: Most of my regular readers know I've been under the weather. For the record, I really hate feeling like a brain-dead zombie. I'm hoping I'm almost back on track and ready to finish Drag Her From Heaven, Drag Him From Hell, but until then...
I've had this idea rattling around for a while now. It's something that's be done before, perhaps even by someone who's reading this now, and it'll likely be done again. I think all Dean/Jo shippers have wondered about this particular "What If"...I know I have.
When stephaniew looked at my original draft, she said, "Ya know, the whole Duluth thing really ought to be its own story." If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen the #StephsAlwaysRight hashtag. Yeah. About that? She was right. Again.
Companion/Follow-up entitled Hell's Aftermath to follow separately.
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural. If I did, more stuff like this would have happened. [wink]
Road to Hell
Duluth, January 2008
Need. Have you ever needed someone so bad you could taste it? Has the burn of whiskey or the warmth of just any body ever not quite been enough?
Need has been building in Dean Winchester for a while. And the closer he gets to checking out, the harder it's becoming for him to resist. What was a little over a hundred miles when it meant seeing an old friend?
It's been almost a year since the last time. Since the time he told her he'd call and hadn't. What do you say to the woman your brother attacked while possessed? Not that she wouldn't or didn't understand, because she was a hunter. A very green one, but a hunter nonetheless. And there are things you know when you're a hunter. Things you just get.
It's been months since he made the deal. His life for Sam's. He doesn't regret it. He couldn't. The ice in his chest being without his brother even for a short time stung so bad he knew he'd never make it alone.
But Sam could. Sam could make it without him. He could go on. Go back to school. Have a life. The kind of life Dean knows his brother desperately wants. A life that doesn't involve hunting. He doesn't know how to do anything else. How to be anything else. But Sam does.
The thing about it is, as the weeks drag into months, he knows he can't leave this earthly plane without talking to her. Without seeing her and telling her the truth. Because she'd find out anyway...and shouldn't she hear it from him?
Needing her - needing to see her, needing to tell her - Dean abandons Sam asleep in a motel room without so much as a note. It's stupid. Sneaking up on a Harvelle woman - breaking into her space - isn't ever a good idea.
But that doesn't stop him. The stupidity of something rarely stops him in his tracks. He looks around her apartment for what will probably be the first and last time. There isn't much. It's sparsely decorated. It looks more like a place to land than actual living space.
He hates it. Resents any reminder that things aren't normal for them. That things'll never be normal for them. Not as long as there are demons to chase and monsters to get rid of.
That's when he feels it. The poke of the rifle against his spine.
"Dammit, Jo," he huffs, shaking his head. "What'd I tell you about putting a rifle directly on a man's back?"
Reaching out she flicks on the light, flooding the kitchen in a soft glow. "Dean?" she asks, seeing the familiar hang of his leather jacket. "Is it really you?"
He turns around. Slowly and with his hands in the air unthreateningly. He grins at her.
"Good lord, you're a mess," she says taking in the laceration that rips across his forehead. It reminds her of when they met. Only this one is shallow. Keeping the gun trained on him, she flicks her head in the direction of the cabinet to his right. "Vodka bottle, second shelf."
"Uh, Jo," he says, lowering his hands and shaking his head. "I didn't come here for a drink."
She chambers a round. "And I didn't offer you one."
Realization dawns. Holy water. Good girl. He pulls the bottle out and unscrews the cap. He sighs and takes a big sip knowing the next step in the process. Silver. "Where's the knife?"
Jo reaches into the drawer at her hip. She pulls out the weapon and slips it across the counter. She watches as he removes his jacket and rolls up his sleeve. Watches as he slices across his forearm. Clicking on the safety, she gasps in surprised relief and throws herself into his arms. "It's really you..."
At the sudden recognition of what she's done, she withdraws almost shyly and heads toward the refrigerator. "Where's Sam?"
Dean's eyes drop to the floor and he rubs his nose. "I left him passed out in a motel room..." he pauses, wincing because he knows his brother will flip out. "...in Wisconsin."
That's when it hits her. She's in her pajamas. A thin tank top and flannel pants, her hair in a loose ponytail from when she washed her face. She sits at the kitchen table and draws her knees up to block her chest. She snorts. "I thought the two of you were inseparable."
Dean ignores the barb. Picking up the beer she set out for him, he takes a long drink. Nothing like a little liquid courage and he'd need all the help he could get.
Jo watches him stiffen. Her heart begins to pound faster in her chest. "He's okay, right?"
He gulps and takes another sip of his beer before dropping into the chair next to her. "Yeah, he's fine," he answers with a wave of his hand. His eyes fall to the floor. He leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees. There was no easy way to do this. "But I'm not."
She blinks and picks up her own beer. "What do you mean you're not?"
"I got five months left, Jo." He rips the Band-Aid right off. Doesn't give her time to ask, just launches right into the story. He tells her about Sam's death. Tells her about the deal with the crossroads demon. Tells her instead of ten years, he only got one. Tells her everything.
Except why he's there. Except that he had to see her again, even if it was only one last time. "And I just..."
"I wish you'd said something sooner. That we had more time," she mutters.
She doesn't wait for him to say anything. She needs to be busy. Needs to do something with her hands to stem the flow of emotion flooding through her, so she gets up and starts shuffling around. She opens cabinets and slams them shut. She pulls out antiseptic and rinses a cloth with warm water. Tears burn the backs of her eyelids as she comes back to the table.
Silently, she begins to clean him up. She wipes the cloth over his forehead, cleaning the scrape. She does the same with the spot on his arm. "We'll find a way," she tells him. "We have to."
Dean stills her hands and pulls her down into his lap. "It's too late," he says softly. "It's done. There's no way out."
Her bourbon colored gaze becomes glassy. She hits him, pushing hard against his chest. "You selfish bastard. How could you?"
"Jo, he's my brother. It's my job to protect him," he tells her, his voice a low growl as he grabs at her wrists.
"What about the rest of us?" she demands, her voice slicing him more painfully than the silver. "What about the people who love you?"
Dean shakes his head. "That's a short list, sweetheart," he answers, still holding her. "Besides that, Sam can be somethin'. Somethin' other than a hunter."
Wrenching away from him, she grabs the front of his shirt, tears already streaming down her face. "What about me?" she asks softly.
"Jo..." He starts to contradict her. To tell her she couldn't possibly. That she's too young - too inexperienced - to know. But her eyes sparkle and it's not from moisture.
Without hesitating, she captures his mouth. The kiss is searching. It's innocent and it's hungry. It's slow and it's testing. When he doesn't immediately push her away, she advances. Her tongue tangles with his and she moans when his arms wind around her.
He feels his body tighten in response. He knows he should stop. Knows that it's wrong. Knows he can't do this. Not to her.
He forces her to be still. His hands run down her arms where they loop around his neck. Closing his eyes, he pulls back. "Jo," he pleads. "Wait... I..."
She wears a determined look. "Dean," she says, her voice tight. "Suck it up. We can pretend this isn't what you came for or you can just..."
"It isn't," he starts. "Well, it was but..." He can't look at her. Can't tell her that he's not sure he can go through with it now. Not when he knows how she feels.
Jo shifts to straddling him. She flicks her tongue over his pulse point and licks lazy circles up the line of his neck. Her teeth scrape lightly as she nips teasingly up to his ear. "I want you," she tells him. "Whatever that means. Even just for tonight."
His heart pounds in his ears. Every move she makes pours kerosine on the flames of his arousal. It sparks him on. Makes him want. Her. All of her.
The last thing he needs is to give Ellen Harvelle a reason to put his nuts in a mason jar. But Ellen isn't here tonight. And, in the twisted mess that has become his life, he's sure of one thing: even if she was, it'd be more than worth it for the way Jo is kissing him. The way her tongue ghosts its way over his lips and into his mouth.
"Are you sure?" he asks breathlessly.
Jo bites her lip and nods. "I want you," she tells him. "I have since we met."
His hands span her tiny waist as his mouth finds hers. He tries to keep it slow. To feel everything. Soft and steady. Like putting kindling on a budding fire to help it build.
But her nimble little fingers slip under his shirt to tease against his abdomen. Her tongue flickers out to caress his. She works him up quicker than anyone he's been with.
His hands roam up her back, pulling her close as their lips engage in a desperate tango. He wants her wrapped around him. Wants to feel all the places they can align. Wants to connect.
Shakily, he stands. He sits her on the edge of the table just long enough to drag her legs around him. Just long enough to slide his hands from the small of her back to the curve of her backside. He moans at the way she fits against him.
He stumbles blindly out of the kitchen and across the living room. When Jo sucks on his lower lip, pulling ever so lightly at it with her teeth, he falters and they slam into the wall with a shared grunt.
Using the leverage, Dean pins her there. He cups her face and assaults her mouth, sucking and nibbling at her lips until she whimpers. He rocks into her, lets her feel how turned on she makes him. How much he wants her - needs her.
He hitches her a little higher, his tongue laving along her collarbone as he tugs the strap of her top off her shoulder. A rough hand palms her breast, teasing at the nipple before his mouth closes over the bud. She moans, arching into him - arching into his mouth - her fingers twining in his hair. It's almost his undoing.
"Bedroom?" he growls at her, his mouth and hands continuing on their quest. He wants to know what drives her mad. Wants to find all the little trigger points to make her squirm. Under him. Over him. All around him.
Jo gasps, unable to answer. She can't focus. Can't think. All she wants to do is feel. Everything. "End of the hall," she finally manages, tugging eagerly at his t-shirt. "Hurry."
The breathy way she says it makes the hair on his neck stand on end. He shudders under the increasing weight of their need. He feels awkward in a way he hasn't felt in years. Clumsy as if it's the first time. It shakes him up. Startles him. Makes him wonder.
But not enough to stop. God, he couldn't stop now if his life depended on it. Couldn't stop now...unless she asked him to. He would. He'd do it. In a heartbeat. And he's sure it'd be worse than the fires of Dante's Inferno to try and walk away from her. Hell, just leaving her to go back to Sam was gonna be...
Dean knows he can't see her again. Doing so will damn them both. He knows he has to make this count. Knows he has to give her something she'll remember. Knows he has to have something he can carry with him when he walks away.
Jo's mouth sears along Dean's neck as he pushes away from the wall. The bump into the other side of the hallway and she laughs as a picture falls and the glass shatters. He freezes and she kisses him. Slow and deep. Hot and wet. "Leave it..."
Pushing through the door, he locates the bed. He eases her down, reluctant to part with her lips. He needs the light. Needs to see her. Needs to see all of her.
Their eyes meet in the glow of the lamplight and he wonders why it's taken him so long to really notice her. Wonders if she could have been his whiskey, his comfort, his lifeline.
He still doesn't regret the deal. Doesn't regret saving Sam. What he regrets is not having more time. Here. With her. Regrets that he's standing there looking at her flushed skin and kiss swollen mouth, her haphazard clothing and bared breast, rather than taking action.
Reaching for her he tugs off her tank top, kissing her shoulder as she arcs her back. He pulls the rubber band from her hair, freeing her silky gold tresses into his fingers. Angling her mouth, he eases her down onto the pillow with a blazing kiss. His tongue swirls around hers, pulling it into his mouth. He suckles at it teasingly before turning his attention to her body.
He kisses his way down her chest, mapping the delicate curves of her body in his mind. Her breasts are small, but not so small that they disappear when she lays on her back. Her skin is soft and her belly is taut. He skims his tongue into her navel and smiles when she giggles girlishly.
He lifts her hips, hooking his fingers in the shapeless flannel of her pants and the cotton panties they cover. He eyes the lean muscles of the legs that gripped him earlier. He sees a little freckle on her inner thigh. One he wants to become intimately acquainted with.
Shifting away, he toes out of his shoes and socks. Smirking, he leaves his pants on and moves back in time to keep Jo from shifting her position. She's right where he wants her. Naked. In the middle of her unmade bed. The look he shoots her is predatory and he watches her swallow and lick her lips.
Dean rubs one ankle and up her calf before repeating the action. His fingertips glide in featherlight circles over her skin, making her quiver. His mouth skims her knees and inner thighs as he moves to settle between her legs.
Smooth skin of her legs sliding over his shoulders, he flattens his tongue over the freckle. He sucks at that spot, wanting to leave her a mark somewhere that was only for the two of them. Somewhere only they knew about.
"Dean..." she moans, clawing at him
The rough way she handles him makes him feel good. Alive. It reminds him that he's not dead yet. That he has so much to live for - so much to do - tonight. He gives her what she wants because, frankly, it's what he wants, too.
That first taste of her - that first flicker of his tongue against her sweet spot and the way she clings to him - would forever be lodged in his brain. The tang of her arousal excites him and makes his body tense. Her fingers in his hair as he devours her - the way she tugs him closer - is exquisite.
Jo pants for air, her feet slipping against Dean's back as she tries to gain traction. Tries to get closer to his mouth as he drives her to the point of no return. She'd known he'd be good. She's heard the talk. Heard the whispers. Experiencing it was something else entirely.
Everything goes white. Brilliant and intense as heat spreads through her. She's vaguely aware of the way he continues his ministrations, bringing her down slowly before pushing her toward another glorious peak with his fingers and his tongue.
She can't take it. It's almost too much. It feels too good. Needing to be in control, she wrestles him up to her mouth. She kisses him, nuzzling her nose against his as she forces him onto his back.
Jo takes her time as she whispers kisses over his chest. She explores flat masculine nipples. She traces reverently over scars with the tips of her tongue and fingertips. Several of them she recognizes as wounds that could have ended his life. Wounds that could have kept her from even meeting him, let alone share this moment.
Not wanting to dwell, she tugs at his fly, opening his jeans and taking them down with the same care he'd used to remove her clothes. Commando. Well, that's a naughty development.
Tossing the Levi's aside she creeps slowly up his body, allowing the gentle sway of her breasts to brush against his legs. She teases him with her mouth until he growls and pulls her over him. Feverish and naked, they melt against each other. Mouths plundering, hands searching, legs twisting together.
"Condom," he husks, his mouth moving to her throat as he pushes her into the mattress. His hands grope at her, unable to get enough of the feel of her body.
She arches into his touch, avidly seeking the heat of his skin. Her eyes flicker briefly to the side. "Drawer," she murmurs.
Mouth scalding and desperate as it attaches to hers, he thrashes for the knob without looking. His ears perk when he hears it creak open and he pulls away just long enough to get his hand inside.
His fingers close around something plastic and cylindrical. Something he's sure vibrates. Something he almost wishes he had more time to play with. He laughs, his knuckles brushing against the prize he seeks.
His teeth scrape lightly along her jaw as he nips at her before following with the stubbled graze of his own as his mouth slips to her ear. "Tell me," he utters as he dons the protection. "Have you ever thought about me when you've used it?"
Jo's eyes darken and swirl with confusion as she looks up at him. "I..."
Dean stares at her mouth, flicking his tongue over the bud at its center. "The vibrator, Jo," he says as he positions himself. "The one we both know is in there."
Her eyebrow lifts playfully as a blush creeps across her cheeks. "Maybe," she answers softly
"You will now," he demands, sliding against her. He pushes forward gently. One teasing inch at a time.
She purrs as his hand strokes her hip and encourages her leg around him. "Quite possibly..."
Dean thrusts shallowly, grinding into her slowly. "You will," he growls against her throat, his mouth blistering against her pulse point. "Every..." -thrust- "...time..." -stroke- "...you..." -stroke. Deeper and harder. Steady and unyielding. He takes. Or, rather, he gives.
"Oh..." she whimpers, her toes curling. "Oh, God, Dean..."
Pulling her tighter, he immerses himself in her. Gets lost in the way her body moves and clenches around his. "That's right," he instructs, varying the intensity again. "Every. Time. You. Come."
The rhythmic way he takes her makes her shatter. She clings to him, her eyes shut tightly as he continues to move. She can't get close enough. Can't feel enough of his body. Enough of the strength he uses to hold back. The strength he uses to give her everything.
Jo scratches her nails lightly along Dean's spine. She wraps her legs around him. Her heart squeezes painfully in her chest. This is the first, last and only time she'll be with him. The only time she'll ever feel the way she does in this moment.
She can't burden him with feelings. Can't ruin everything they've had tonight. It's hers to bear. Hers to own and drown in. He's got 5 months left, but she can already feel him slipping away.
Continuing to rock against her - into her - he ask breathlessly, "Did you mean it?"
Her eyes widen as she looks up at him. It's almost as though he's reading her mind - reading her heart - and knows. Cupping his face, she nods and kisses him slowly. She holds his gaze and is surprised by his request.
"Say it," he begs. "Tell me. I need to hear it..."
"I love you," she whispers, meeting his thrust. He's gone deep, his face damp - whether from tears or sweat she's unsure - against her shoulder when she says it again, louder this time. "I love you."
Never one to cuddle, he stays with her. Holding her tightly, he breathes her in and pressing soft kisses to her hairline. He's on borrowed time. He needs to get back. Back to Sam and the train wreck that has become his life. He shouldn't have dragged Jo into it. Shouldn't have brought her down with him.
Her eyes are closed as she lounges against his chest. Her fingers rub soothing circles on his skin. It's her turn to play mindreader as she feels him tense in her arms. "Don't even think about it, Dean-O," she tells him.
"It's not fair to you," he answers, his arms tightening further.
"Maybe not," she agrees. "I wouldn't change having you here."
Seemingly satisfied, he quiets and Jo settles against him. She savors the time she has left. The hard pillow of his chest beneath her head. The beating of his heart beneath her ear and his breath as it stirs her hair. The time be there, warming her bed, grows shorter with each passing second.
She knows he'll be gone when she wakes up. Knows this was it. That she won't see him again. Knows that the next time she hears of him will be finding out he really is gone.
She swallows the lump rising in her throat. Then there's the thing she wished she didn't know. The thing that's the hardest to admit. That he'll be taking her heart with him...and that there's no way in Hell she'll ever get it back.
Coming Soon: Hell's Aftermath - Back from Hell, Dean is tortured by nightmares. Jo comforts him. Featuring Vulnerable!Dean.