Character/Pairing: Jo/Dean, Sam, Castiel
Genre: Drama, Action
Summary: With Dean and Cas missing and Meg and Kevin taken prisoner by Crowley, Sam sets out to find out what happened to his brother and Cas and get the two of them back. Along the way, he runs into Jo, who has been brought back to life and doesn't quite know why. Together, the two look for a way to save Dean and Cas.
Author's note: It's been awhile since I've updated this. Sorry about that. This is basically an AU starting after the Season 8 finale. Also, wow-I apologize for how long I've let this sit. Will try to write more soon.
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I've seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to your door.
The Long and Winding Road-The Beatles
Being back was surreal for awhile. Jo still didn't know how she was alive, but there were days when it all just hurt. The air was too harsh, the sunlight too bright and the darkness too suffocating. She couldn't quite remember Heaven, but some mornings she'd wake up with the sense that she'd lost something huge.
Then there were the nightmares. She didn't remember much from them, save for the fact that she would always wake up screaming.
Sam seemed to understand, to some extent. He was usually there with a glass of water or some other sort of drink if she wanted it.
Theirs was a strange existence lately. They'd been traveling the country in search of a way to get someone out of purgatory. Sam was quieter than usual, though Jo couldn't blame him. She hadn't really seen the Winchester brothers without each other, but she knew how close they were. So she knew what it must be doing to Sam to have lost Dean a second time.
She was still sorting through her own feelings on everything. She knew that the idea of Dean being trapped in Purgatory made her ache. The last time she'd felt this way had been after his death. Bobby had refused to give too many details, but her mom had pulled out enough information for the two of them to do the math. At least this time, it hadn't been as a result of a choice he'd made.
Though somehow that didn't bring any comfort.
Jo still didn't know why she'd been brought back or what had decided that she should be returned to life, but she knew that there was always a price involved. Something like this didn't come with no strings attached.
If and when they found a way to bring Dean back to this Earth, she'd look into it as best as she could. She had to know what she was doing here.
Jo could tell that Sam was starting to lose hope by the time they stopped to see a mystic in Las Vegas. It was their last lead and it was one of the leads that only seemed to have potential. The woman that they'd been referred to could just as likely be a fake. The chintzy decor in the tarot parlor certainly didn't inspire confidence. There was every cliche about fortune-telling in the waiting room.
The woman was an airy redhead with three-inch long gray roots. She talked with her hands as she led them into the room. Jo exchanged an exasperated glance with the younger Winchester. They were clearly wasting their time.
Sam gave a helpless shrug to indicate that they would have to at least stay long enough to be polite.
Once inside the room, the woman dropped the act. Suddenly her hands were still and voice was an octave lower.
"Devin said that you wanted to ask about Purgatory."
They both nodded. The seer, as she called herself, eyed them both very closely. Jo couldn't shake the feeling that somehow the woman was looking straight through her. She shifted positions uncomfortably.
"For most, I would warn that you're playing with things that you don't understand. And perhaps you are. But Devin wouldn't have sent you unless you know the stakes."
She held out a little notebook. Sam took it and opened it. Jo moved a little closer to peek at the scrawl on the pages.
"That's everything you need to put the wrongs right again. It won't be easy, and the price you pay might be more than you realize."
Yet again, the woman looked at each of them in turn.
"This is all assuming that you have access to the blood of one who has been to Heaven and one who has been to Hell, of course."
While it might have sounded like a throwaway comment, Jo couldn't shake the feeling that it was anything but. She carefully kept from looking at Sam, afraid that any look she shared with him would give away too much.
As they'd looked into the ritual, Jo couldn't help but wonder if she'd been brought back to get Dean and Castiel out of Purgatory. She didn't know who or what might have intervened like that, but an angel and a human didn't belong there. It was possible that someone-or Someone-might have been trying to correct the balance.
Possible, but... why her?
She didn't have too long to wonder. Once they had the shopping list, she and Sam had gone on a hunt for the ingredients. Some were harder to find than others. Dragon's claw-actual dragon's claw-was one of the last items that they'd been able to track down.
Sam watched Jo carefully as they put together the ritual. The instructions had directed them to a deserted beach that appeared to have closer ties to the other side. Once there, Jo set to work, but she couldn't shake the feeling of being watched. Finally, she looked up at Sam.
"What?" she asked flatly.
She'd long since outgrown the idea of anyone trying to keep her from doing something to protect her. She wasn't in pigtails anymore and she didn't need a babysitter. But the look Sam was giving her was filled with concern.
"Are you sure about this? I could try to find another way. We still don't know what the price will be."
Jo straightened up and took a few steps closer, her jaw set in a stubborn line.
"I'm sure. You think I don't understand what I'm doing? After all these years?"
Sam at least had the decency to look abashed at that. He shook his head slowly. Jo could see the guilt creeping into his expression, and she knew that he was thinking of the last time she'd agreed to help the Winchesters out. She wanted to bring that up-wanted to tell him that she didn't blame either of them for it. That she was just happy she'd gotten the chance to go out doing something that she believed might save the world.
It didn't matter that it hadn't worked right then. What mattered was that Dean and Sam had always been the ones who were going to put an end to the apocalypse. It had started with them and it had ended with them. And she wasn't one bit sorry that she'd played her part in helping them get there.
It had been a hunter's death. A good death.
And now she was back and she didn't know what she was supposed to do beyond bringing Dean Winchester back from a place that sounded like it was at least as bad as Hell.
She didn't say any of that because now wasn't the time to open up that can of worms.
Sam seemed to be wrestling with himself. Jo could see a little hint of relief layered in with the guilt and concern. Finally, he nodded.
"Sorry," he mumbled, and then went back to work.
The two worked in silence until it was finished. Sam shot her one last look of uncertainty. Jo answered the unspoken question by flipping the notebook to the page where the incantation had been scrawled out. She pulled out the silver knife that she'd been carrying around lately. It wasn't her dad's-that was still lost in Carthage somewhere-but it would do the trick.
Sam joined her and they both pricked their fingers and bled over a candle. Then both started to chant in Latin.
An unearthly breeze blew by and all of the candles flickered and died. Jo fought the instinct to try to relight them in an effort to chase away the darkness that had descended. She couldn't see anything more than a few inches in front of her face.
And just as suddenly as it had come, the breeze was gone and the temperature rose a few degrees as the candles sprang back to life.
Two figures were in the circle with them. Both bodies were bent over-bloodied and nearly broken. Jo just barely recognized Dean and Cas. She took a few steps closer as Dean looked up. He locked eyes with her and then spotted Sam.
"No," his voice came out cracked and raw. "You can't be dead."
"Dean, we're not dead," Sam said quietly.
Jo stayed where she was as the two brothers neared each other. Dean looked from Sam to Jo, a disoriented look in his eyes.
"What is that?" he growled. "Tell whatever it is to stop wearing her face."
Beside him, Cas stirred and took in the scene. The angel looked different than Jo last remembered him. Wilder, almost feral. It was the first time that she truly appreciated just how much power was wrapped up in the angel who had been a friend to the brothers.
"It's her," he said in a voice that sounded like it hadn't been used for years. "We're all alive. Sam, we can't stay here. Now that you've created a doorway, more might try to follow."
Dean stared at Jo, but said no more. She wasn't sure what she'd been expecting from this reunion, but he almost looked angry as he watched her. She finally turned her back and started to help Sam take it all down.
She didn't look at Dean again until they were getting into the car. She thought that she saw tears glittering in his eyes, but he turned his head away as soon as he seemed to notice her gaze.
She didn't have much time to muse on that because as soon as Sam put the car in drive, there was a loud crash and the whole car shook as something landed on the roof. Jo strained to look out the window as whatever it was took off again, but all she saw was a giant shadow flapping its wings as it flew into the night.
"What was that?" Sam asked the question that was running through Jo's mind.
"We didn't sever the link in time. It has no name in any language you'd recognize."
Castiel's voice was hollow, though Jo thought she detected a hint of fear. Beside her in the back seat, the angel looked almost twitchy.
Sam sighed and caught Jo's eye in the rearview mirror. From the front seat, Dean was silent. What little Jo could see of his shoulders over the seat, he seemed to be shaking ever so slightly.
"We need to get you two inside somewhere. We can figure that out tomorrow."