Banner by: Sani
Jo sighed lightly as Dean pulled the impala up to the front of the Roadhouse. Sam had opted to take the ride back with Bobby and they were about twenty-five minutes behind them. The ride had been quiet and kind of uncomfortable.
Something was wrong, but it was like he refused to talk about it. She didn’t want to rush him into talking about things, but she was worried. She reached out and pushed open the door, but before she could step out of the car Dean’s large hand latched onto her arm.
She turned, confusion on her face as he licked his lips and swallowed hard. He could see the worry she was trying to hide and it made him feel ten times worse for what he was about to do. Dean’s throat was dry and it took his a second to speak.
“Can we not go inside yet? I just…I want to talk to you.”
She nodded, closed the door, and shifted her body towards him. Jo reached out placing a hand against his leg while the other rested against her stomach. He could feel the heat through his pants and for a second all his thoughts flew out of his mind.
“So…what’s going on in that head of yours?”
He shook himself out of his stupor and glanced up at her, eyes watching him carefully as she waited for him to open himself up to her.
“First let me reiterate how incredibly pissed I am that you came with Bobby, no don’t say anything. I understand why you came I get it, honest I do cause I would have done the same thing, but Jo I’m not five months pregnant.”
She let out a loud puff of air and her shoulders deflated slightly. She knew he was still angry about that, but she couldn’t not be there for him. It wasn’t in her nature to sit back and do nothing while someone she cared about…someone she loved was in danger.
“Look, I’m sorry you’re upset and I’m sorry I put the baby at risk, but Dean…I…”
She paused trying to choose her words carefully. She knew Dean cared about her, but she wasn’t sure how much and she didn’t know if telling him how she felt would freak him out.
“I care about you and when people care about each other…they do stupid things.”
He nodded. “I know, believe me I know.”
She gave him half a smile and touched his cheek. “So we’re good then?”
He moved her hand and kissed her palm before dropping it gently. “Of course.”
The car was filled with silence once again until Dean cleared his throat catching Jo’s attention. “Do you believe that? That people do stupid things when they care about someone.”
She nodded. “Yeah, absolutely. Decisions, choices, actions. Sometimes feelings…like, lust, love whatever they make you do the wacky.”
She looked up and saw a small smirk on his lips before it was gone. She frowned and caressed his leg lightly with the hand that was still placed there. “What’s going on Dean? I know you and something’s been off ever since we left Illinois.”
She waited a couple of minutes and right when she thought he wasn’t going to answer her question he spoke in a hushed voice. “When the Djinn got into my mind…it was so weird. It was like I was in a completely different reality. Hell at first I thought I was until I realized everything was just in my head.”
He met her eyes and continued speaking. “We had this beautiful little place…and a daughter, god Jo…she was amazing. My mom…she was still alive and so was Jess. She and Sammy were engaged and…we were happy. Everyone was happy and safe and I wanted to stay so bad. I wanted that life.”
Tears formed in her eyes at the depth of pain she heard in his voice. She didn’t know what to say so she squeezed his leg briefly in hope he’d understand she was there. He placed a hand over hers before speaking.
“And that’s when it hit me. I’d never have that life. I fought so hard to get back because I needed to come home. I have you here and we’re having a baby. I have Sammy here, your mom, Bobby, and here, in this world, this reality it’s not safe. It’ll never be safe.”
“No, I just…I need you to listen to me. Please.”
She nodded as he took a deep breath.
“You don’t know how hard it is for me to say all this, to open up to you Jo. It’s not the kind of person I am, but after everything we’ve been through you deserve to know why I’m making the choices I make. I’m terrified of this,” He motioned between them and Jo bit her lip.
“Not because I don’t care, but because I care too much. I never meant for this thing between us to go this far and I never wanted a normal life Jo. Yeah I wanted my family together, but not that white picket fence, 2.5 kids kinda crap. But when I’m with you…god you make me want it.”
Her eyes widened as a tear slipped down her cheek. His finger wiping it away as she sniffled. “You make me want to give you that normal life you deserve. House, job, kids…and I can’t.”
For the first time during their conversation Jo felt panic grip her. What was he saying. Her hand tightened on him and he looked down at it before looking back up at her, regret on his face. She shook her head quickly as her heart beat sped up.
“I don’t want normal. I told you that Dean. I don’t need the picket fence or the house or the normal job. I love this life and having a baby isn’t going to change that. I chose to be a hunter. This is who I am. You know that.”
“I know, but it’s more than that. My presence alone puts you in more danger than you should be in. Do you know how many hours out of a day I spend worrying about you? About the baby? Sam? Ever since you came on the road with us it’s been one catastrophe after another. I’m supposed to protect you Jo, not almost get you killed.”
He let out a frustrated sigh and cut off whatever words she was about to say. “I’m worried I’m not gonna be able to kill that yellow eyed son of a bitch. I’m worried he’s gonna get you like he got my mom and Jess. I’m terrified that we’re gonna have to camp out in our daughters room when she turns six months old to make sure he doesn't get her.”
He dropped his head and Jo was trying to control her emotions she wasn’t positive what he was saying, but she had a feeling and she prayed she was wrong. When he looked back at her, his eyes were red-rimmed and her hand was now grasping onto the dashboard, knuckles white.
“And that’s the thing…it’s my family Jo. There’s always gonna be something and as much as I wish I could be everywhere at once I can’t and one of these days I might be too late and Jo…if anything ever happened to you guys…I honestly don’t know what I’d do.”
It looked like he was gathering his thoughts so she took a moment to compose herself and speak. Her voice was more shaky then she would have liked, but it was determined also.
“Dean, no one is asking you to be there all the time. I’ve never asked that of you. I know you have responsibilities. I went into this relationship eyes wide open. I know the deal and I’m not some prissy girl you need to take care of. I’m your partner. We can make this work…Dean I know we can. You said before it wouldn’t be easy and it won’t, but we have this whole amazing family to back us up. It might not be perfect, but this…”
She motioned to the Roadhouse, “This is our family. You’re right this life isn’t safe or normal, but what’s so great about normal? Please I don’t care about all that okay? I just…I just want you…”
The last part of her sentence was a whisper and Dean could feel whatever was left of his heart breaking. He shifted so he was out of her reach as he faced the front of the car. He put his hand on the handle and shoved the door lightly until it was open a crack.
He took a deep breath and spoke without looking at her. “I’m leaving Jo…I’m sorry.”
Her mouth opened and she watched him get out of the car and walk toward the entrance of the Roadhouse. She sat there for a few seconds and the crumbling of gravel knocked her out of her thoughts. Bobby’s truck pulled up next to the car as she opened the door and slammed it shut.
Tears were brimming in her eyes as she moved toward the bar. Bobby and Sam exchanged a look before quickly following her inside. Dean burst through the doors and Ellen and Madison looked up, before a grin appeared on Ellen’s face.
She took a step in his direction, but before she could say anything her daughter burst through the door like a hurricane, voice frantic and loud.
Dean’s body tensed as he froze before spinning in her direction. Sam and Bobby came to halt behind Jo as they watched them face-off in the middle of the room.
“Don’t Jo me Dean. God…I thought this was real. I thought you cared about us.”
He glared at her. “Did you not hear anything I said? It is real and I do care!”
“Then how can you just leave?” Jo couldn't hold the emotions in anymore as the damn broke and she sobbed. Tears flowing freely down her cheeks. He stood there and all he wanted to do was wrap her in his arms and tell her everything was going to be okay, but it would be a lie and he respected her too much to lie to her.
Their family stood quietly by and watched them, waiting for his next moves, for the words that never came. When he didn’t say anything she did something she’d never done before. Something she never wanted to do first, but felt it was the only thing that might salvage this. Her eyes bore into his as she put her heart on the line.
“I love you…do you understand that? I love you Dean. I hate that you made me love you. I hate that I’m standing here bawling my eyes out in front of you like some chick flick movie. I hate that you can do this to me…but if sacrificing my pride is the only way to get you to stay then here it is. Please don’t make me beg cause I don’t think I can…”
A tear slipped down Dean’s cheek as he walked toward her and closed the distance between them. He pulled her into his arms and kissed the top of her head and closed his eyes to keep from crying. He stroked her back and shook his head as he whispered against her hair.
“I really wish you wouldn’t have done that.”
He felt her body tense as he pried her off him and stepped back hands still on her hips. He glanced at Bobby and Sam, Ellen and Madison before looking back at Jo. He pushed a piece of hair behind her ear and spoke softly even though everyone could hear him anyway.
“You know I thought I loved a girl once…and then I met you and I knew I hadn’t. I think the reason I stayed away from you at first was because I knew that if I let myself care I’d fall. You mean…they don’t make words for how much you mean to me.”
He swallowed hard. “I know you worry and you think I might not care about you the way you do me, but Jo…trust me. That isn’t the problem here. I do…feel the same I swear I do, but that doesn’t change anything. You can hate me for leaving, but I know with me gone they won’t have a reason to come after you or our daughter. She can have the life I never had…the childhood I never had. You might not believe me now, but I’m doing this for you.”
He kissed the top of her head one last time, jaw tight as he let her go, walking around her and out of the bar. Everyone stood frozen as Jo shifted hand falling to her stomach, face crumbling as sobs wracked her body.
Bobby nudged Sam. “Go with your brother…”
Sam looked away from Jo before giving Bobby a startled look. “But Bobby…”
“Go…hurry. Don’t let him leave here alone.”
Sam glanced back at Jo and then made eye contact with Madison. She nodded before he took off out the door to catch up with Dean. Jo’s body gave out and Madison caught her as she slid towards the floor, hysterical.
Bobby moved forward and helped Madison move her to the back of the bar. Ellen’s chest tightened as she watched her baby break down and she didn’t know who to be angry at, who to try to kill. She’d seen Dean’s face when he walked away from her daughter.
He was broken just as much as she was. He honestly thought he was doing the honorable thing and maybe he was, but Ellen was a firm believer in love and family. It might take all of them to convince Dean that his presence was needed.
That evil would come no matter what, but they could handle it together. It could take days or it could take months. Either way a new determination had bloomed in Ellen. She had never seen two people more self-sacrificing then the Winchester brother’s.
But this wasn’t a sacrifice she’d let him make. It might take time, but she knew Dean Winchester loved her daughter and just because they fought and he left today doesn’t mean he wouldn’t come back.
No matter what Dean and her daughter had been through…no matter how hard things got or how scared they both were…this was his family and she knew a part of him had already accepted that.
It was fear of losing that family that drove him away, but he’s loyal and he’d come to his senses soon enough she hoped, because even if Dean left a million and one times…he always came back…