Rating: Het, PG-13
Summary: It all comes down to this: a shotgun and a bottle of whiskey.
Recipient/Prompt: casper_san, prompt as per summary.
Spoilers: nothing unaired.
Disclaimer: It’s Kripke’s world, we’re all just living in it. *snaps fingers*
A/N: Written for the spn_women fic exchange. Beta’d by the feisty, astute july_july_july. Lady, you are twenty-four carat. Many thanks to my conveniently timed volunteer, shakespearebint, for her last-minute two cents.
It’s not because hunting hums inside her like a call to arms. She leaves because it builds like a discomfort that demands to be appeased. This job is like a goddamn urinary tract infection. And there’s an irony in that, because the only thing more excruciating than not hunting, is hunting.
One of the first lessons she learns is that there are three kinds of people in this world.
There are people you can save and there are people you can’t. It’s the ones in between that get to you, though. The Ifs and Maybes. The ones who live and die by the whim and mercy of the seconds’ hand on your watch.
Those people will still tick in the background while you try to sleep four states away.
It all comes down to this: a shotgun and a bottle of whiskey.
Joanna Beth Harvelle was not raised to throw firearms, so it’s the liquor that hits the wall inside the motel door, shatters on impact. He flinches away from the spray of single malt and glass, straightens with a guilty look.
“Hey,” he says, surprised by her, but not the projectile.
She points in futile protest to the door through which he’s just come. “Turn around, and go back wherever the hell you came from.”
Instead, Dean Winchester crosses the floor.
It gets easier. That’s at least half of why she’s crying into the trunk of the car.
Duluth’s a three-month-old blur in her rear view mirror. Her most recent gig is cooling, along with a pool of her vomit, in the roadside gravel. She wants familiar calloused hands to turn her shoulders. She wants to momentarily submit to her mother’s embrace. The highway that will get her home is less than a sideways mile and one short day south of where she’s parked. It’s hard to hear even the catch of her own breath over the blacktop’s siren song.
She swallows down a tart taste. Pays her tears the courtesy of a single swipe from each of the only hands at her disposal. Then she shuts the lid of the trunk and heads north.
“What are you doing?” She knows what he’s doing.
“Whattaya think I’m doin’?”
He’s undoing her pants. His mouth is on her neck, and she finds it hard to care. About the question, or the fact he shouldn’t be here.
“Christ, you smell good,” he murmurs.
“You’re such an asshole.”
“And you stink.”
He even tastes a little of ash when his tongue finds her mouth.
“Oh, my God. Did you start smoking?”
“Nope.” His hand moves south, fingers curling in the hem of her underwear. She lets him tug them down, back her up against the buffet beside the bed. Her breath catches when the hard wooden edge stops her, hitches up a notch like the corner of his lips. “I’ve been working.”
“Where’s your brother?” Of all the inappropriate questions.
“Not far off, so shut up.” He slides his fingers lower, steps up close against her so he has to tilt his head to meet her eye.
“Oh,” she says.
By the time Ellen catches up with her, Jo has fifteen kills under her belt. Her fingernails are cropped short and the gunrunners among her contacts outnumber her friends. The capillaries around the scar in her thigh blaze an angry spider’s tale, and it’s starting to look like that’s the kind of thing that doesn’t go away. She’s coming to terms with her dented vanity.
When her mother comes on board, Jo’s angry. Frustrated at being under wing again.
And just a little relieved.
“You all right?” Rufus asks her, after a child in Broken Bow dies all over the three of them.
She can hear the shower in the next room where her mother is still busy cleaning the boy from her hair. Jo sits — blood-spattered, sweat-sour — and awaits her turn. Her fingernail picks at the gash on her elbow that will need dressing when she’s clean.
Rufus racks the bolt action on his rifle, sends the jammed bullet out of the barrel with a Ching! “Shit happens, kid. There wasn’t anything we coulda done.”
Jo stares at the fallen, unspent round. “I know.”
He’s more gentle than she imagined, which could be disappointing, except she can feel that he’s incredibly, achingly weary. Perhaps the languid thrust of his hips is all he has energy for. She’s perched on the buffet, thighs hugged to his sweat-slippery waist. One of his hands is full of her ass, the other’s braced against the wall beside her ear. He’s off-balance. There’s a telltale quiver through his bicep from the strain.
“I’m sorry,” he says. He has that face on again. The same as last time.
She doesn’t want to cry, so she remembers to be angry at him then.
He finds a little in reserve after that. Picks her up, shifts them roughly to the bed, and she should probably be embarrassed by the noises he wrings out of her.
This is the job. This is what it is. She’s always known that, in spite of all the incessant, crazy-making sheltering. She’s a hunter like her father was a hunter. She’s scared — as scared as she’s been since he stopped coming home — but that’s okay because he probably was, too. And in the end, it turns out savage wounds are kind. They make her tired and ready.
She’s still a little angry she didn’t get to press the button herself. And she’s going to stay livid with her mom for all of eternity.
Dean Winchester’s jeans are on the floor and if she’s being honest, that always had been pretty high up on the Must-Do list. And she figures, all things considered, she’s entitled to be a little pleased with herself.
“Another fucking motel room,” Dean says. He stares up at the flaky ceiling. His chest is still heaving beneath the fingers of her resting hand. “I shoulda guessed. Sam’s gonna pitch a fit.” He lifts his head from the stale pillow and juts his chin toward the shotgun propped against the wall.
“Do we need that?”
She props herself on one elbow, screws up her nose. “I think it’s ornamental.”
He wipes his nose on the back of his hand, lets his head drop. “Don’t get me wrong — this is an awesome end to a colossally shithouse day — but this better not be it.” He motions around the room.
She’ll show them, later.
He tells her it happened in Detroit, and that it didn’t hurt any more than anything else had.
He’s of the opinion she was going to be whiskey-tossing mad regardless of when it went down.
“So quit lookin’ pissed,” he tells her pinched face as he pulls on his pants. “I did tell you.”
“Still.” She flaps the lapels of her shirt and starts on the buttons. “What the hell part of ‘later’ did your stupid ass not understand?”