A/N: In the two years I've been writing fan-fiction, I have developed a bit of a reputation for writing a different kind of love scene. Among other things, I've been praised for celebrating the physical bond between a couple without cheapening it using course language. It's something I take pride in and I don't plan on changing.

With that said, there comes a point when you have to spread your wings and try something a little more daring. For me, that time came in how I decided to write this story. It is and will be very different from my regular postings. I will be using words you don't usually see in my stories and this chapter is only the tipping point. I have a specific reason for doing it, one I hope will play out over the course of this story in the form of a subtle shift. Bear with me and give it a shot?

I value all kinds of feedback and support I receive from my readers and acknowledge this story may make some folks uncomfortable. Please feel free to PM me if you want my rationale.

Warning: If you are bothered by graphic adult content, turn back now.

Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural.

Chapter 3: Falling Apart

Duluth, MN

Thursday May 7, 2008, 3:37 am

Lightning flickers through the bedroom window, illuminating the man standing in front of it as rain pounds against the glass pane. Coming awake, Jo's hazy mind is confused and she reaches for her knife before remembering Sam is with her in the tiny apartment. She climbs from bed and moves to stand behind him, her hands drifting over the now clammy skin of his back.

Sam startles at Jo's touch, flinching as though he's been struck. His posture is defensive. He stands rigidly with his jaw clenched, an immovable mountain.

"Relax," she says quietly. Wrapping her arms around his waist, she presses her lips to his shoulder. "It's okay, Sam..."

His hand skims over Jo's arms and he swallows as tears sting the backs of his eyelids. "I should leave," he tells her. "I'm sorry, Jo, I..."

Letting go, she moves to face him. "Don't," she says softly, looking up at him with big, brown eyes. "I want you to stay."

"Why?" he asks sharply, trying to push her away. "Dean's the one that should be here with you now. Not me. He should've left me dead!"

"Don't say that, Sam. Not ever," she says sternly, her hands clenching his upper arms. Resisting the urge to smack him, she settles for shaking sense into him. "He loved you - so much he was willing to die in your place. You know what I would give for that? To have a brother or sister I could count on?"

"Trust me, Jo," he bites, "You're better off. I ruin everything."

Jo draws a deep breath, her fingers running over the tattoo on his chest. It's funny how one little change - the addition of a little ink - made such a difference. He's the same, but safer. "You'd have done the same thing for him, Sam. That you're here now means I didn't lose you both."

Her words are steady and heartfelt. She's calm even as his control slips. He has to be convinced somehow that he is worth saving and, stubborn just like her mama, she decides to take on the monstrous task. "And you haven't ruined anything."

"Give it time," he says bitterly, dropping his head back to stare at the ceiling.

Biting her lip, she allows her hands to skate up his chest. "You kept the demon possessing you from raping me, Sam," she reminds him cautiously. "I know you stopped it. I'd be dead if you hadn't fought for me."

He looks down at her. Sees a glimmer of what he's sure Dean saw. Reaching out, his fingers moving with a mind of their own, he touches the spun gold of her hair and revels in the softness of the strands as they slip through his fingers.

She's delicate but strong. Small but fierce. And she's most definitely not a little sister.

Finding himself becoming aroused for a second time, Sam caresses Jo's cheek. His other hand curling into her hip, he pulls her forward and she takes a stumbling step closer. He licks his lips, his mouth falling to hers.

Jo sighs sweetly, her lips parting to allow the sweeping invasion of his tongue as she wraps her arms around his neck. She arches against him and stands on her toes, her fingers tangling in his hair as she lets herself to be devoured.

Her body - the sheer touch of her skin on his - warms him. She smells like strawberries and tastes like peppermint toothpaste. Unable to get enough, he snakes his arm up the line of her spine and strokes her neck as he presses her against his chest. He sucks on her lower lip, continuing to kiss her for all he's worth.

Heart pounding and head spinning from lack of oxygen, she stares up at him with wide eyes and asks breathlessly, "What are we doing, Sam?"

He brushes his lips over the corner of her mouth before they drift to her temple. "I don't know," he murmurs, afraid to break the spell. Afraid to lose her heat and be plunged back into the freezing cold. He kisses his way across her forehead, his mouth and tongue feathering and flicking deliciously in a way that makes her shiver. "You want me to stop?"

Jo gulps and shakes her head. Unexpected lust pounds in her veins, overtaking the grief she feels at their mutual loss. Leaning up, she gives him a drugging kiss, a moan vibrating through his chest and into her mouth.

Sam guides her to the edge of the bed without removing his lips from hers. His fingers skim under the edge of her tank top and he crinkles it up to trail his fingers over the quivering flesh of her abdomen and lower back. She's silky smooth. Her slight tremble turns him on that much more and, for a while, he lets himself to forget everything but the feel of her delicate curves.

Lifting Jo, he encourages her legs around his waist. The fabric covered evidence of his desire teases against her core and she whimpers as he lays her across the mattress. Hovering over her, he pushes her shirt up as he kisses her again.

For the first time since Dean's death, he feels something. Everything. Alive.

Reaching down, Jo pulls the tank over her head. Looking up at Sam, she asks, "Is this... Are you...?"

He places her hands on his chest. "Touch me," he invites, bending down to capture her lips in a burning kiss. He shifts his weight against her, his aching cock grinding into the cradle of her hips. Groaning, he mumbles, "I need you, Jo. Help me forget..."

Raking her nails over his pecks and down his abs, she submits. She wants him. So much she can hardly breathe.

He's not the brother she thought she'd be with. The hands that touch her - the ones cupping and exploring her breasts - aren't the rough, calloused ones she's been imagining for years. The mouth that brushes fiery kisses over her skin - the one that nibbles and sucks at her nipples, first one and then the other - isn't the one she caught herself staring at as she cleared the Roadhouse's tables.

This isn't a fantasy. He's real. Hot, corded muscles tighten perfectly beneath her hands. And, from the pressure against her thigh, he's got more than enough to satisfy. Finding his mouth again, she pushes the worn gray cotton of his sweatpants down his hips. Her efforts are rewarded when Sam's eyes slam shut and he surges into her hand.

His length is impressive. Heavy and granite-hard, it pulses against her fingertips. She strokes him, her grip tightening when his hand slips between them and into her sleep shorts. She feels a blush creep up her neck knowing she's wet after a mere handful of kisses.

Sam's breath hitches at the way Jo touches him. He moans when he finds her ready, her soaked core greedily sucking his fingers into her body. Barely controlled restraint on the verge of snapping, he nips at her lower lip and growls, "Protection?"

Breath escaping in a hiss, she arches into his touch. She gasps as his thumb strokes over her pebble-hard clit, her body squeezing around his intrusive digits. Moaning, she manages, "Nightstand drawer."

He curls his fingers expertly, eyes fixed on Jo's face as pleasure washes over her. He likes the way she looks, flushed with her golden hair fanned beneath her head like a halo. The way she feels and makes him feel. Salvation. Hope. Passion. Lust. He's consumed by it all.

Kissing her soundly, he instructs, "Don't move."

Hurriedly undressing himself and making quick work of the latex sheath, he returns to her. His hands trail up her thighs to tug down the remaining article separating them.

She's tiny. Laying there, naked and vulnerable with her legs spread invitingly, she makes him feel big and powerful. Lifting her hips, he settles himself between her thighs. He kisses her throat, his hands steadying her as he thrusts forward. She moans as he fills her, stretching her body to its limits and forcing her to feel every, single inch of him.

Jo looks up at Sam through fluttering lashes. She gives him everything, echoing his movements and sharing his rhythm. Her fingers dig into his shoulders as she hangs onto him. She swallows, biting her lip as she forces her eyes to find the shimmering ocean depths of his as a toe-curling orgasm threatens to overtake her quaking body.

"Mmm," she moans, grabbing the charm of the necklace hanging around his throat and dragging his mouth back to hers. "More... Please... Close, so close..."

Looking down at her, watching the darkening of her eyes sure his brother's name is about to spill from her lips, the damn breaks. He sees Dean's lifeless gaze. Sees the pain of betrayal. The jacket he destroyed in anger as a little kid - the one that started Dean wearing their father's old, leather car coat. The time he interrupted Dean's make-out session with Lesley Franklin with a tummy ache when he was nine. The hurt in Dean's eyes when he left for Stanford.

Then there's the way his brother gazed at the woman beneath him. Jo. Dean's Jo. The one thing of his brother's he should never have touched.

As though that's not bad enough, it gets worse. He sees Jessica, pinned to the ceiling of their apartment. Sees the flames overtaking her body. Hears her screams pierce the air.

He sees Madison. Watches her fall limply to the floor as the silver bullet pierces her heart. Smells the coppery hint of her blood - the blood that seemed to stick to his hands for days after her death.

Jo's fingers twist in his hair, trying to bring his mouth back to hers. "Sam..." she murmurs his name, body tightening around his. But it's too late. The evidence of his arousal is rapidly beginning to fade. His erection shrivels. This is one more thing he can't control. One more thing that brings pain.

Breath ragged, he pulls out. He sits on the edge of the bed, dragging his hands through his hair as his jaw tightens. Tears sting his eyes.

"Sam?" Jo asks, confusion washing over her as she pulls the sheet around her body. She kisses his shoulder, her arm slipping around him. "What's wrong? What hap...?"

He pushes her away, physically and emotionally. Testing his feet, he picks up her alarm clock and hurls it against the wall with a primal grunt.

He's angry. Angry at Dean for dying. Angry at himself for giving into lust rather than protecting Jo. Rather than caring for her the way Dean cared for her - by staying the hell away.

Jo scrambles from bed. She tries to reach for him - to comfort him - only to be thrust aside, broken like the clock on the floor. Nothing to be done but watch, she sinks to the mattress and curls into herself as he gathers his things. He's only half dressed when he stalks out her front door, the sound of it slamming behind him punctuating the air like the crack of her favorite rifle and making her flinch like she had the first time she fired it.

Moving to lock the door, she spies his t-shirt on the floor and retrieves it before heading back to her room. Pulling it over her head, she tugs her hair out of the neck and lets herself be enveloped by Sam's scent. It isn't gunpowder, leather and motor oil - smells she associates with Dean - she craves. It's the crisp scent of soap mingled with the tang of something uniquely...Sam. Something not as familiar, but something she knows she won't forget any sooner than she will his touch.

Jo collapses, tears falling like a hurricane, the force of them blinding her. She physically aches. It's more than just the loss of an orgasm. It's the pain of being left behind. Abandoned by not one but both Winchester brothers. Left to feel the sting of Sam's rejection as surely as she does Dean's death. Abandoned - without explanation - in a quickly cooling bed by a man she wonders if she should have allowed herself to be with in the first place.

A man who maybe - just maybe - left with a piece of her heart.

- - - - - - - - - - Sam - & - Jo - - - - - - - - - -

Sam slams the door of the Impala, throwing his stuff on the seat beside him. He scrubs his hands over his face, trying to dispel the hurt and anger raging through him. Hurt over his brother's death. Hurt for the woman he and his brother both care about, the one he'd walked out on like a coward. Anger at himself for losing control in the one area he's sure his brother never would have. Anger at his body for betraying him - especially with her, especially with Jo.

He tugs a hoodie on, covering his bare chest when he realizes he left his t-shirt behind. He can't go back. Can't face her - not now, maybe not ever. So he runs away, from Jo and the damage he's caused in the space of less than six hours.

The car fishtails as it slides out of the parking lot. He's a man with an even greater mission now than before. It's not just about him. It's not about bringing Dean back solely for himself - solely to have his brother back. Not anymore.

It's about Jo. It's about doing whatever it takes to make this night up to her.

Including returning her to the man he's sure she loves.