“Three times,” Dean repeats, trying to get Sam to look up. “None of that sound interesting to you two?”
Jess lifts her head from her pillow. Sam was up thrashing all night, keeping Jess up along with him, and she could care less if the guy shot himself in the head twelve times. She wants a nap right now, not a hunt.
“I know where we have to go,” Sam answers, as if Dean hasn’t just offered a hundred ignored answers to that problem.
“All right. Triple suicide guy it is.”
“What?” Sam looks genuinely confused, which makes Jess snort before burying her head back in her pillow. She hears Dean slap the newspaper in frustration. “No, Dean, not…we have to go home.”
“Palo Alto?” Jess asks groggily.
“No, home home. My home.”
“Lawrence?” Dean says, like he’s been punched.
“Yeah, we have to go back to the old house.”
“Absolutely not,” Dean says.
“Dean, there are people in trouble.”
“How the hell do you know? You haven’t been there, pretty much ever.”
“I…just know, okay?”
“Last time we let you pick the hunt, I had bugs up to my tits.” Jess pauses. “I really hate bugs, Sam.”
He chuckles and leans over the bed, pushing a kiss into her hair. “No bugs this time, grumpy. I promise.”
“What then? The thing that got mom? You think it’s back?”
“I don’t know, Dean. I just know we have to go back.”
Dean gives an indignant huff. “You ‘just know’?”
Sam doesn’t look comfortable, but he does look confident. “Yes.”
“I’m not going on a whim, Sam. We’ve got people to save. Real people in real danger.”
“I don’t think he’s going to get up and shoot himself a fourth time,” Jess says helpfully. She can feel Dean turn a glare on her, which is satisfying enough in its own right.
“It’s not a whim. Please, just trust me on this.”
“You gotta give me more to work with here. I’m not. I. I don’t ever want to go back there, Sam. I promised myself I would never go back there.”
“I had a dream,” Sam finally says, after an impossibly long silence. “I had a dream about our house, and someone in it was in trouble.”
“I had a dream I banged Angelina Jolie and the Doublemint Twins on Jupiter while sipping martinis out of a coconut. Doesn’t mean we’re going to Jupiter.”
“It wasn’t like this dream,” Sam says, his voice incredibly soft.
Jess sits up and puts a hand on his shoulder. “You have nightmares sometimes,” she says. He has for months. Jess assumed that was normal, considering how he was raised.
“They aren’t just—” He shakes his head and turns to her. “Before we left, the whole reason I sided with you about coming on the first hunt with us…Jess, I dreamt about that thing coming for you a week before it did. And…some little things since then. They come true.”
“Aww, Sammy had a nightmare.” Dean laughs. “Was it a clown, Sam? ‘Cause that would have been extra spooky.”
Jess turns to glare at him. “Can’t you see he’s not joking?”
“Jess, just drop it. Forget I said anything.”
But Sam is terrified, and Jess is pissed. “We’re going to Kansas,” she says. “You’re outvoted.”
“Yeah, too bad, kids. I’ve got the car. I’m not going back there.”
“Then let us go,” says Sam. “Just to check. Just so I can see that this is a fluke with my own eyes and stop getting worked up about it.”
“You sure that’s all this is gonna be?” Dean asks.
“Please, Dean,” Sam says weakly. “I just want to make sure.”
Dean sighs, but he’s still Dean. He rolls his eyes, but he picks up his bags and starts loading up the car.
Dean is shaking in his seat, staring blankly ahead. Sam’s pale, thrashing in bed, red skin still standing out where that thing attacked him. Jess looks between them, sets down hot tea for Dean, and he takes a drink, even though he hates the stuff. He doesn’t even have enough of a mind to make a face at it.
“So, Sam’s got the shining,” Jess jokes, trying to lighten the mood. It seems like the kind of joke he would make at a time like this, but instead of laughing, Dean tenses up.
“It was her,” Dean says. “It was my mom.”
Jess’s mouth drops open. “Your mother hurt Sam?”
Jess had run the children outside, had followed Dean’s instructions and not gone back into the house. This wasn’t her fight, and, whatever it was in there, Jess wasn’t ready to face it if it could hurt Sam in the time it took four able-bodied people to shove a few bags into walls.
Dean shakes his head. “No, she…she saved him. Us. Poltergeist in the house…” He shakes his head. “I don’t like any of this.”
“I know, Dean.”
“I didn’t want to come here.”
“I know, Dean.”
“Now I don’t want to…” He takes another sip of the tea, this time making an obvious effort to frown at the taste. “You tryin’ to poison me with this crap?”
Jess smiles weakly, and, for a moment, things seem less awful. Then Sam jerks and cries out.
“I hate seeing him like this.”
“Me, too,” Jess agrees. “Nightmares started a few weeks before you showed up.”
“Not just the nightmares,” Dean says. He bites his lips, eyes lingering on Sam’s injuries. The poltergeist banged him up pretty good. “Man, I used to pull the stupidest stunts as a kid to protect him. I can't stand seeing him hurt.”
Jess’s heart gives then, and all the ugly things Dean does or has done make too much sense for her to stay upset. She bends over and kisses Dean softly on the lips.
Dean seeks out the pressure, but it’s different than any of the kisses they’ve shared. Even when Dean’s been tender with her, it’s always been as something that belongs to Sam, something he loves because Sam loves it. This kiss is searching her out. This kiss loves Jess, and Jess is kind of in love with that.
Sam blinks his eyes open, scanning the room desperately, then resting his eyes on them and relaxing the slightest bit.
“You okay, Sammy?” Dean asks, moving to the bedside and taking his brother’s hand.
Jess steps next to him, pushing sweaty hair away from Sam’s face. Sam nods slowly, tangling his hands in Dean’s shirt.
“Dean, I’m scared.”
“I know, Sam. But you shouldn’t be. Nothing’s gonna—”
Sam tugs him down, and, to Jess’s surprise and relief, Dean goes with it, wrappng his body around Sam’s and taking his brother into his arms.
“I’ll sleep in your bed tonight,” Jess says, moving away.
Dean grabs her wrist and smiles wryly when she turns a confused look on him. “I don’t wanna be alone, either,” he says.
Jess nods and crawls into bed next to Sam, resting her head on his shoulder and reaching one arm over her boyfriend, so that she and Dean are bracketing him on both sides. Sam sighs gently and falls back asleep.
Sam’s mouth finds Jess’s, and she whines, arching up into his touch. He laughs, too sure of himself, and begins to shush her.
“Stop making me wait, then,” she growls.
Sam’s fingers twist inside of her, his thumb smoothing over her clit.
“I hate you,” she says.
“Oh, I know,” Sam murmurs against her mouth. “I’m just the worst to you.”
The bathroom door opens, and steam follows Dean out. He pauses, hair wet, clothes clinging to his wet skin. “Oh,” he says. “Um.”
Jess looks over to him, biting her lip, moaning when Sam’s fingers stop moving.
“Dean wouldn’t make me wait like this,” she says, knowing it’ll get a rise out of Sam. It works, too. He takes his hand away from her, grabbing her legs and wrapping them around his body, fucking down against her. It feels so good, and Jess really hates jeans for existing right now.
“You’re not fucking Dean, though, are you?”
“She could be,” Dean says. He turns his attention to Jess, taking a step towards the bed. “I’d take care of you.”
His words are directed at her, his lewd smile and drawl are all for her, but Jess doesn’t miss the way his eyes dart to his brother for a moment.
“Could be fucking you both,” she replies.
Sam thrusts hard. “Jesus,” he gasps.
Dean wets his lips, then tears his eyes away. “I’m gonna. Out. Bar.”
Jess traces the outline of his erection in his pants and leans forward, getting Sam’s jeans open. Needing something inside of her. She spreads her legs wider, clear invitation, practically begging with her body.
“You don’t go to bars anymore,” Sam says.
“Yeah, well, Jess looks busy at the moment, and I really need to…fuck, she looks good under you.”
“Feels pretty good under me, too,” Sam answers with a playful lilt.
He finally shoves his pants down past his ass, clearly wanting to give Dean a view. Jess feels her mouth water when she gets a glimpse of his cock, so huge and leaking and ready to split her open. And all she can think is moremoremore.
Sam smiles and reaches for a condom, slipping it over himself. He presses into her, hitching her up so her legs close around him, and moving forward until he’s all the way inside her. Jess grabs his back and lets out a pornographic sound that makes Dean start walking double pace towards the door. Sam wraps his arms around her and gets her bra unhooked, then eases her down, and stares at her as he begins to pull out for another thrust.
“Bet you want more, don’t you?” he asks.
Jess nods. Sam smiles wickedly. “Want my brother in your mouth, don’t you. Practically coming already just thinking of it.”
“Fuck,” Jess groans. “Yes, yes.”
Sam fucks into her and turns to the door. “She doesn’t sound like she’s busy, Dean. Sounds like she needs something to keep her from getting us a noise complaint.”
She wants to tease him, tell him his ego is bigger than his dick, but she can’t—not with the way Dean’s looking at them; not with him pausing with one hand on the door, making Jess think, maybe he’ll give in. It turns her on too much, and instead of refuting Sam’s words, she cries out louder, making his point clearer.
“Please,” she tries one last time, reaching for her breasts and squeezing them the way Dean used to.
Sam leans down and takes one in his mouth. Jess’s head falls back, so she doesn’t know Dean’s changed his mind until she feels a hand tangle in her hair and lead her forward. She gasps when she sees how close his cock is to her mouth, opens up wide and hums around him as he pushes into her.
Sam’s mouth stops moving on her when he realizes she has her mouth full, but Jess is blocked by Dean’s thrusts and doesn’t catch Sam’s reaction to what he sees. She feels it, feels his balls drawing tighter as he begins to roll his hips too fast, out of whack. It’s not the incredible, controlled fucking Jess is used to, it can’t focus on making her feel the best she can, but that turns her on more, knowing how hot Sam is, how hot they all are. Jess reaches out, pulling Dean closer, wanting him to make her jaw ache, wanting to take him all the way.
She’s not going to last long, Sam isn’t going to last long, and she damn well wants to be sure Dean doesn’t, either.
“Sammy,” Dean gasps, hand tightening in her hair. She hears Sam make a smug noise as Dean shakes inside of her. “Sam, you shouldn’t…don’t, shouldn’t…” He thrusts, though she can tell he’s trying not to from the way his body tenses. “Don’t stop, fuck, I’m sorry. I don’t want you to stop.”
Sam takes Dean’s hand away from Jess and sucks his fingers into his mouth, and Jess gets a glimpse of just what Dean doesn’t want him to stop. Sam’s other arm is also extended towards his brother, fingers fucking into him as Jess sucks Dean off.
And that’s it. She comes quietly, though the cries might have broken mirrors if her lips weren’t too busy, and she hears the wet sound as Sam keeps thrusting into her, too much come making the slip and slide of him inside of her easy and fluid.
Dean begins to say something, something about taking care of her, something about Sam making sure it’s good, something about Sam’s fingers or Jess’s mouth—she’s not paying attention. She just lets the brothers keep working into her as she goes limp and boneless and too well-sated to really believe it’s real. Sam pulls out in time to shoot all over her chest, and Dean moves onto the bed, getting in a contorted position so he can lick Sam off of her while still fucking her mouth.
When he finishes, Jess is too greedy to let Sam have a taste. She holds Dean in place, dick practically pressed to the back of her neck, until every drop is swallowed.
“Can’t believe you shot Dean,” Sam says, still laughing.
“It’s been days, Sam. Stop bringing it up!”
“I’d better listen. Don’t wanna piss you off. You might decide to shoot me.”
“It was just salt, and I was possessed or whatever.”
“Whatever you need to tell yourself to get through the night, babe.”
Jess smacks him. “Maybe I will shoot you.”
Sam grins, leaning forward for a kiss, and then the phone starts ringing. Sam looks at the caller ID for a few seconds too long, then flips it open, ignoring Jess’s requests to know who it is.
Dean sits up in bed. “Tell whoever it is to call back when I’m not—”
Dean’s expression changes completely. He reaches a hand out, then looks down. As if John will hear that he’s naked in the same room as his brother over the phone, he picks through the clothes on the floor, tugging on a shirt and boxers before gesturing for the phone again.
Sam is listening to John talk, interrupting occasionally to repeat the same questions about his father’s well-being, where he is, why he hasn’t been talking to them. Apparently, John’s not giving many answers.
“Let me talk to Dad,” Dean says, trying to tug the phone away. Jess wants to laugh at how juvenile it is, but she knows deep down, it’s not really funny.
Sam swats him away, trying to hold a confrontational conversation and actually get information out of his father, until finally Dean wins.
“Dad, where are you? Are you okay? Are you hunting the thing? Can we come?”
There’s a pause, and all the light dies out of him. “Yes, sir. I’ll get something to write with right now.”
Sam sighs, looking away. She’s never seen Sam look so disappointed in his brother.
“We’ve got a job,” Dean says when he hangs up.
“We already had a job,” Jess reminds him. “That’s why we’re here?”
“This one’s more important.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“Oh, yeah. Dad said,” Sam scoffs. “Dad said jack shit, Dean.”
“Look, Sam, he wouldn’t have called if this wasn’t important. This might have to do with the thing—the Demon.”
Sam makes a sour face but nods sharply. “We have a new hunt,” he says, turning to Jess.
She shrugs and helps them pack up the car.
Apparently, the more he thinks about it, the less Sam likes what they’re doing.
“Why would Dad send us to Illinois if he’s on the Demon’s track? He’s in California—it’s not exactly on the way.”
Dean says nothing, just looks out the window disinterestedly.
“Dean,” Sam snaps.
“Dean, we’re not going to meet up with Dad, are we?”
After a short silence, Dean responds, “He doesn’t think it’s time for us to join on the hunt.”
“Okay. So what?”
“So…so what what? So it’s not time for us to join him on the hunt.”
“Especially with Jess here, we gotta make sure—”
“Make sure the bastard is buried and not trying to hurt her. Dad can’t do this alone. What are you thinking?”
“He wouldn’t try to cut us out of it, Sammy. He just needs more time.”
“Bullshit! He even gave us another little distraction hunt.” Sam turns to him, looking Dean over like he’s trying to figure out a hard math problem. “Are you seriously buying this?”
“Buying this, Jesus, Sam. You make it sound like he’s some conman, not your own father.”
Jess wishes she could shove the words back into Dean’s mouth on his behalf, because there’s no way Sam isn’t going to take that bait.
“Newflash, Dean, Dad cons lots of people.”
“He’s been conning us our whole lives!”
Dean pumps hard on the brakes, and Jess has to hold her hands out to stop her head from hitting the seat in front of her. “Don’t you talk about our father like that. Not in my car.”
“It’s true, and you know it.”
“Out,” Dean says.
Sam laughs, then looks at Dean more closely. “What, you’re serious?”
“Until you learn a little respect, I’m not going anywhere.”
“Well, until you grow a spine, I’m not going anywhere with you.” Sam does get out then, and Dean follows, not ready to drop the fight.
Jess wants to knock their heads together. Instead, she opens the car door and steps out.
“Jess, get back in the car,” Dean says. “You don’t have to let Sam fill your head with crap about our dad.”
Sam’s eyes narrow to slits. “Don’t tell her what to do. You can boss me around all you want, but don’t you talk to her like that. And don’t act like I’m some dumb kid who doesn’t know the score, Dean, because right now, that’s you.”
Jess sees Dean’s hand tighten into a fist around his car keys and covers her eyes, anticipating a hit. When she peeks through, Dean hasn’t hit Sam, but he’s walking back to the car.
“I’m going where I belong, Sam. Like a decent son. You coming or not?”
Sam shakes his head. “I’m going to find Dad. I’m going to get this job, the real job, done.”
“How, you gonna walk to California?”
“If that’s what it takes,” Sam answers, rounding the car and grabbing his bag out of the trunk.
“And I thought things were going so well,” Jess mutters to herself.
“I’ll leave, you know. Don’t think I won’t.”
“Nice to see you can stand up to someone.”
Dean’s face doesn’t change, but Jess sees a wave of pain wash over him. He swallows it and turns his attention to Jess. “How about you?”
She bites her lip. She doesn’t want to take sides, and neither of them is entirely right. She doesn’t want to watch Sam leave Dean, and she doesn’t think chasing John is any better than blindly going where he sends them, but she knows she’s going with Sam, and Dean knows it, too.
She says nothing, but she moves towards the trunk. Dean nods, unsurprised but clearly hurt. “Yeah, all right,” he says.
In the space of a minute, the only sign Dean was there is the dust cloud stretching behind the Impala.
Jess doesn’t like Meg from the start. The whole thing feels off, and when the truck driver stops and says Sam can’t come, she’s as shocked as Sam is when the other woman takes his offer. But it gets worse when they meet up again, more suspicious.
Even if the creepy vibe the girl gives her is a false alarm, Meg’s smiles at her and kind words to Sam won’t ever be enough to make Jess not want to fly at her and start punching when she talks about Dean. She doesn’t even know him, and Sam should be able to see right through her ‘understanding’ routine. She’s obviously just trying to warm him up, to get in his pants or rob him or something much, much worse.
Dean calls her a few times, gives her status updates and asks how they’re doing. He doesn’t call Sam, and when she offers to put him on the phone, Dean hangs up. Boys, she thinks, shaking her head.
When Dean finally does call, she watches Sam’s face shift as his brother speaks. She doesn’t hear all of it, but she hears the tone, all reverence and love and respect. Some of the words come through: ‘proud of you’ and ‘take care of Jess’ and ‘call me when’—not if—‘you find Dad.’
Sam’s a changed man when he hangs up. “I think.” He turns to Jess. “Should we…?”
“Yes,” Jess says at the same time Meg answers, “No.”
They turn and glare at each other, but Sam smiles and nods, like he already knew the answer. “C’mon, babe,” he says, putting an arm over Jess’s shoulder. “Let’s go save my idiot brother.”
The decision is ultimately up to Sam, but Jess doesn’t know if she’ll be able to leave Dean again as they watch the bus pull away, taking that poor girl on to another set of relatives she won’t be able to trust. Dean asks if Sam wants a ride somewhere, and Sam glances over to her to double-check before smiling and pressing his hand against Dean’s thigh.
“I think you’re stuck with us,” he says.
Jess is pretty sure they’re the most beautiful words she’s ever heard.
Sam and Dean fuck for the first time that night. Since Dean’s started giving up on keeping his feelings for Sam at bay, they’ve mostly only shared Jess, though Dean will occasionally let Sam kiss him or touch him or he’ll wrap his lips around his brother, looking hurt and guilty and so fucking happy when Sam finishes.
But that night, Dean tells Sam he wants Sam inside of him, and it’s the gentlest, most beautiful thing Jess has ever seen once they’re finally together. She touches herself, and comes before they do.
Everything between them finally falls into place after that. They work together perfectly, they live together perfectly, it goes beyond the sex. Jess begins to really feel like she’s getting good at hunting, and the boys both make sure to tell her she’s right.
But even good hunters can screw up, even the best. Even Dean, they learn.
It doesn’t seem real to Jess. No matter how many times the doctors say it, no matter how tense Sam gets over it, she can’t take it seriously. A boogeyman against Dean Winchester, and Dean is going to die because of some misfired weapon? It’s like a bad joke without a punch line.
But Dean really is dying, and Sam is going to follow his heart attack pretty quickly with one of his own if they don’t find a way to stop it. They sit up together, calling contacts and searching through books and websites for hours on end.
Dean lies in bed, watching TV and making lewd comments to try to lure them, even though all of them know he doesn’t have the energy to fool around. He just wants a warm body, and Jess wants to give it to him, but she hasn’t given up on saving him yet.
Finally, one of their father’s contacts calls back and sends them to some shady faith healer. He fixes Dean, and Sam’s so happy he won’t question it, but Dean is suspicious, and Jess hates to have to side with Dean this time.
No free lunch, she thinks, remembering all those worthless economics classes she suffered through at Stanford.
“It’ll be worth it, won’t it?” she asks Sam, voice weak as she holds the picture in her fingers.
“What?” he asks, turning to her, but she can tell from the pissed off edge that he knows what she means.
“Even if…if this works out and the reaper comes for me…we saved Dean. We’ll be saving Layla. I got a few months longer than I was supposed to. You don’t have to regret it, at least.”
“Fuck you, Jessica,” Sam answers, turning back to the altar and shoving it roughly. “Neither of you is dying, and don’t you ever ask me something like that again.”
“For a dead chick, you sure can run,” Dean says, smiling wide as he lifts his shot glass. Jess toasts it, keeping her eyes off Sam, still feeling guilty for her last-hour-on-Earth word vomit.
Dean laughs and turns to his brother. “Man, you should have seen her. Climbed up on the truck when they were coming, and this dog—I swear, I think one of the cops peed himself.”
Sam’s lips twitch, but he still looks distracted. “I’m glad this hunt is over,” he says, taking a less enthusiastic shot and wincing as the alcohol slides down his throat.
Dean, still oblivious to their melancholy, puts a hand on Sam’s shoulder. “Did you hear what that crazy bitch called our girl?” he asks.
“Which time?” Jess asks, jumping in. “Immoral? Wicked? Going to burn for being a slut who convinces two men to have polyamorous incestuous sex?”
“Mmm, I like the last one. Come on, Sammy,” he says, hot into his brother’s ear. “Let’s take Jess home and see if she can teach us how to be naughty like her.”
Sam cheers up a bit after that.
They meet up with Dean’s ex-girlfriend in Missouri, and it’s one of the most embarrassing, ridiculous hunts since they started. Maybe Jess’s favorite. Dean spends the entire thing wound up; Sam and Jess laugh at him every chance they get. Cassie makes Dean jump with everything she says, though it’s not hard to understand why. She’s smart as a whip, smart enough that when she leans up and tries to kiss him and Dean stops her, she inclines her head to one side, tsking at him.
“You falling for your brother’s girl, Dean,” she says—it’s not really a question, however she may have chosen to phrase it.
He laughs uncomfortably. “If you only knew,” he answers, though Jess is pretty sure Cassie doesn’t want to know anything about it.
Sam’s nightmares, if they can still even call them that, don’t get better just because everything else does. And, what’s worse, they don’t stop being right.
They end up driving to try to save a lost cause, and Jess and Dean exchange worried looks, wondering what the hell the connection between a guy like Max Miller and Sam could possibly be. It’s an uncomfortable hunt, and none of them are sorry when they’re driving out, leaving it to hopefully be forgotten. Jess isn’t used to failure. It leaves a gray cloud over everything they do.
They spend most nights fucking until Sam’s too tired to dream. It’s a sweet thing between them, even when it’s rough and fast and Jess thinks she might be getting addicted to what the brothers do to her.
Sam kisses her, tongue going deep, as his hands rest on Dean’s head. Dean’s tongue is just as eager; Jess nearly blacks out every time he goes down on her, and this is no exception. Sam is grinding into the covers next to them as Dean starts to suck on her clit, two fingers pushing into her. Jess feels a cry beginning, and Sam pulls away, wanting to hear what his brother’s doing to her.
For some reason, what comes out is, “Sammy,” the word shaking with pleasure and affection. Both brothers pause immediately. She knows, knows she fucked up before the endearment is even out of her mouth, and Sam opens his mouth to say so.
Dean lifts his face from her. She can see how wet he’s made her from the way his chin shines and she feels an empty fear begin to tell her that he’s not going to tongue fuck her ever again.
“Say it again,” he demands instead, licking his lips, eyes practically black. “Want you to call me that. God, I wanna hear that. I’ll make it worth your while.”
Jess cries out a lot that night.
“I killed him,” she says, wishing her voice weren’t so close to sobbing.
Dean’s arm tightens around her waist. “You did the right thing, Jess.”
“I know. But he was human. And I killed him.”
“He wasn’t human,” Sam promises, brushing his fingers over her cheek. “I’ve met demons more human than that guy.”
She doesn’t have the strength to argue, feeling tears beginning to burn at her eyes. She’s shot a lot of things in the last few months, but somehow, the human bad guys have always gotten what was coming to them. Jess never had to do this, isn’t sure she can live with the idea that she’ll have to again.
“He would have killed Sam,” Dean says. “He would have done awful things to you.” She feels him shaking his head behind her. “Jess, you’re a hero.”
“I’m a murderer.”
Sam kisses her forehead gently. “Go to sleep. It’ll hurt less tomorrow. I promise.”
Reluctantly, Jess draws them in closer on each side and closes her eyes, willing some kind of rest to come and take her mind off it.
John doesn’t charm Jess the first time he meets her. She’d already formed a pretty low opinion of the man who could raise his sons the way John did, but she knows he commands respect from the way the boys talk about him, so she tries to give it to him.
He takes that for granted, clearly not realizing what an effort it is for Jess to play along with his orders. He glares, tells her she wasn’t supposed to come, actually has the audacity to ask Dean why he didn’t hear about her sooner. Dean looks guilty until Sam reminds them both that John hasn’t really been taking their calls.
Having John around throws the whole hunt off. The boys are nothing like the men Jess fell in love with. They shut down, saying only yes and no and sir. Dean tries to distance himself from her, and somehow, John still sees enough to pull her aside and ask exactly what game she’s running on his sons, as if Dean would mess around with his little brother’s girl without pretty express permission. She almost wants to laugh in his face and tell him, but she knows Sam and Dean couldn’t handle it, so she plays innocent and walks away.
He even seems to make them forget about all the good that’s happened between them. Dean doesn’t touch either of them, starts treating Jess like she’s something delicate, hovering and losing all the confidence in her hunting abilities that she’s damn well earned.
Sam is even worse. Sam turns into a caged animal, suddenly can think of nothing except how much he hates hunting, hates this life, wants to go back to Stanford. Dean doesn’t even bother trying to hide how much that hurts him, but Sam doesn’t relent until John takes off again and he’s had a day to sleep off the mood his father put him in.
Jess knows it’s wrong, but a part of her hopes it’s a good, long time before they see John again.
“You know, you’re good with kids,” Jess says, a little surprised. “You’d make a good father.”
Dean falls into step with her and laughs, slinging an arm over her shoulder. “Oh yeah? Why’s that?”
Jess shrugs. “You got Michael to agree to our crazy plan.”
“He’s just a good kid.” Dean frowns. “Wish I’d been that good of a brother when I was his age.”
“Dean, you can’t seriously feel guilty about that. You didn’t know. You shouldn’t have been in charge of—”
“But I was in charge. And I did know. And Sam would be dead because of me.” Dean shakes his head. “I really wanna waste this thing.”
“We will,” Jess promises, knowing that wasn’t what Dean meant.
She takes a stupid risk with Sam’s life on that hunt, the kind of stupid risk she hasn’t taken since she screwed up on the shifter job, back when she was still starting out. It isn’t an overemotional, under-informed decision this time, though. Jess knows exactly what she’s doing.
She has a clear shot at the striga, she just chooses not to take it. She steps aside instead, and Dean doesn’t waste a moment taking her place, unloading his gun into the witch’s back. Jess sees something change in him as Sam pushes the corpse off of him. He doesn’t thank Jess, but she can tell from the way he looks at her, the way he reaches out to kiss her, that he knows what she did and appreciates it. Sam, oblivious to the entire exchange, just walks over smiling and squeezes Dean’s wrist.
“You got it,” he says.
“Yeah,” Dean replies. “Yeah, I did.”
Jess doesn’t think she’s ever heard Dean sound that proud of himself.
It isn’t nearly long enough, as far as Jess is concerned, before Sam and Dean’s father comes back into their lives.
John pops up on a random enough hunt—a case they found by following clues from his journal, sure, but not anything that seems special. It makes more sense once he’s finally confessed about the gun, and Jess has to wonder why the hell he felt he needed to hide that information from them. It feels like he’s doing it just for the sake of keeping them in the dark, and Sam isn’t shy about letting Dean know he feels the same way. Even Dean doesn’t argue with it by this point.
John treats Jess likes she’s a joke, a little girl playing dress up. He dismisses her from the hunt, sending her on bullshit missions. It takes every ounce of self-restraint she’s got not to tell John to get his own damn dead man’s blood, though she gets her moment in the end. She’s the one who gets them the gun; she’s the one who wins them the hunt. John even has the decency to look humble about it.
But at the end of the day, even that isn’t enough.
“You saw what she can do,” Sam says. “She’s good, and you know it. Having one more experienced hunter is only going to help us. Jess can help look after you, maybe take out Meg. You saw how much Meg dislikes her in Chicago, enough to distract her. It bought us the time we needed then. Maybe it can buy you the time tomorrow.”
“You’re telling me to use your girlfriend as bait, Sam.”
“I’m telling you my girlfriend knows how to take care of herself—and if you think you’re going to be fine on your own, how the hell is having her there less safe?”
John scowls. “Dean, tell your brother he’s being ridiculous. You’re the only one he’ll listen to when he’s like this.”
Dean looks between Sam and John for a full minute, his face unsure. It’s an ugly thing for John to have done, knowing Dean won’t be able to side against him and knowing Sam won’t be able to forgive him.
“That’s not fair,” Jess says. “It’s not Dean’s responsibility to settle this for you. You can’t just drag him in like that.” Dean’s eyes meet hers when she finishes talking, and she sees something strange in his expression, something even he doesn’t seem to understand.
“Why don’t you stay out of it, sweetheart?”
Jess has to wonder how the hell she’s supposed to stay out of a fight that’s entirely about her.
“It’s too dangerous for you to go face Meg with a fake gun,” Dean tells her.
“Thank you,” John says, slightly smug.
Sam makes a frustrated noise, but then Dean turns to face John.
“I’m going with you. Jess is going to Salvation.”
“Absolutely not. That thing has tried to kill her before; it’ll get her this time.”
“She needs to be a part of this just as much as we do!” Sam growls.
“It’s not her fight,” John yells back.
“This thing came after her,” Sam answers. “Of course it’s her fight.”
“But it didn’t—”
“That’s my little sister,” Dean interrupts his father, tone surprisingly calm. It brooks no argument, doesn’t waver in the face of John’s disbelief. “That’s my little sister, and this is our family’s fight.”
And that’s final.
ON TO WHAT'S TO BE, THEY SAY, WILL BE [TIMESTAMP - 2x20]
ON TO CRADLESONG [PART ONE]