Character/Pairing: Jo, Sam, implied Jo/Dean
Genre: Drama, Action
Author's note: Since this was started before season 8 premiered, this is AU after the season 7 finale.
Jo wasn't sure what she would have pictured in a prophet, but Kevin wasn't it. He was just a kid. A scared, even twitchy kid. It wasn't fair. Jo had chosen this life-as much as any child of a hunter could choose, anyway. She'd always gotten the feeling that there hadn't really been any other choice for Dean and Sam and she understood now that that was part of the reason why Dean had been so quick to discourage her. But Kevin... Kevin was knee-deep in all of this and nothing was going to make him stop being a prophet. It didn't seem right, but life was very rarely fair she supposed.
From what she could gather, the Winchesters had found Kevin and his girlfriend had been killed in the process. They were trying to keep him safe, but he'd run off again while Dean was traveling down to see her. He hadn't said anything, but that wasn't exactly unusual. It sounded like Sam had looked and found the kid, for whatever it was worth. Now Kevin was insisting on seeing his mom. Not that she could blame him.
Eventually, she'd excused herself to let the three sleep. She'd be there in the morning to help watch their backs as they escorted Kevin to see his mom. At least Dean had finally relented and allowed that.
She didn't get to sleep right away. Instead, she took out the case file on the creature that had escaped from Purgatory and combed over the deaths once more. Maybe she was right about the Seven Deadly Sins, or maybe she was missing some other link. She wasn't too eager to sleep. She very rarely was these days. A knock on her door interrupted her train of thought. She looked up and felt a little surge of hope. There'd been a moment there before Sam showed up when she thought that maybe-just maybe-she could get through to Dean. At the very least, she'd started to understand him a little bit more. The trouble was, she didn't know if understanding would do her any good. He'd convinced himself that he deserved the solitary life and she wasn't sure if there was anything she could do to convince him otherwise. Unless... she had half a minute's worth of hope before she opened the door to reveal Sam. It wasn't that she was disappointed to see him, but he wasn't the person she'd been hoping for.
If Sam noticed the disappointment in her expression, he was polite enough not to call attention to it. Instead, he gave her a small smile.
"Mind if I come in?"
Jo nodded and stepped aside to let him cross the threshold.
"How have you been?" Sam asked once he was inside.
"Not too bad," she said, content to stick to small talk as long as he was.
"Did things go okay with Dean?"
She looked at him, wondering just how much he'd picked up on when he'd first gotten there. It took her a moment to realize that he just meant the investigation.
"We didn't learn as much as I would have liked, but I think I found a connection between the deaths. Right now it's just a hunch, but..." she shrugged. "I was hoping that if we worked together, we could figure out the creature and send it back where it came from."
"That's the plan," Sam said. "Though that's not exactly what I was asking. Was Dean-" he stopped, cutting himself short and shaking his head slowly, as if considering his words carefully and dismissing a few options. "He hasn't been the same since he came back. Understandably so, but I was hoping that seeing you would be good for him. It was his idea. Once we came up with that lead, he wanted to be the one to go while I stayed with Kevin."
Jo's eyebrows raised in surprise.
"He hasn't said it, but I think he feels bad about how he acted towards you when he first came back."
"He shouldn't. Coming back from the dead is more than a little disorienting. I'd imagine it was hard to have someone there who was supposed to be dead. I get it. Tell him that, if you can."
"You should tell him." Sam looked at her. "Jo, Dean and I have both lost so many people. Getting you back is a little ray of hope. I don't know if he knows how to do that anymore, but don't give up on him, okay? I think he needs you a lot more than he realizes. Jo, there's something that I think you should know."
He filled her in on their encounter with Osiris. On the trial, on the fact that she'd been the one Osiris had sent to carry out Dean's sentence. Sam didn't know exactly what had happened in that room, he'd had some guesses and Jo wasn't sure what to do with any of them. She was also a mixture of angry at being used and disturbed that she didn't remember that. Then again, she didn't remember much about her time being dead aside from a few memories of Heaven that had come to her in dreams. Mostly what remained was just the feeling of what she'd lost. She was still glad to be alive and glad for however long this second chance would last, but that didn't mean that she could entirely forget the feeling that she'd been completely at peace before.
"Jo, I want you to stay with us. Please. At least until we can figure out the thing that escaped from Purgatory and find out why you're back. I know that Dean's been a little... intense lately, but please."
Jo hesitated and just stared at Sam. It was a little strange to think that she would have jumped at this request back when she'd first gotten into hunting. Now, she just wasn't sure that Sam was right. If he was, she'd do what she could. But if he wasn't? Well, she supposed that it wasn't like she had much of a life to go back to right now. She could always start over again if she tried and it didn't work. And besides, the Winchesters still had access to a lot of resources that she'd lost in her time off this Earth. And she couldn't think of anyone better to hunt with.
Finally, she nodded slowly.
"I'll stay with you both for as long as he lets me."
Sam flashed a rare smile of relief. It struck her then how much less the two smiled than they used to. That alone made Jo certain of her choice.
"That's all I can ask, Jo. Thanks."
He stood as if to go and then seemed to think better of it and pulled her into a quick hug. Jo returned the hug and just hoped that he was right about all this.