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Messages - Jo Winchester

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Disposable Heroes / Re: The Trickster Tricked
« on: November 26, 2018, 04:34:50 PM »
Gabriel opened his mouth, but like Dean, Jo had had enough. The shotgun was levelled at his face from about two inches away. "Get out of my house."

The archangel chuckled, disappearing in a heavy thump of unseen wings.

Jo lowered the gun and looked at her husband. "How is it that Crowley is the more reasonable one?"

"Good question," Dean said, not disagreeing with her. "Why the hell would I kill a hunter who's after Gabriel's nemesis? That doesn't make any sense, unless he's afraid she'll mistake him for Loki. All he has to do is keep his head down, and he'll be fine, so long as ..." Dean trailed off, realizing Gabriel probably hadn't confessed everything. "If Gabriel is afraid of Loki, that means Loki knows how to summon him and kill him."

"So he's going to be sticking to Heaven for the foreseeable future so he can't be summoned," Jo agreed thoughtfully. "But why would a hunter be after Loki in the first place? I mean ... he's obviously been keeping a low profile; we hadn't heard anything about him being in the States until today so his movements are quiet. If he's going after Gabriel, then why would a hunter want to stop him? Angels are almost as much trouble as demons."

"Yeah," Dean agreed with a scowl at Jo's first statement. He wasn't too surprised at Gabriel's reaction to the news that Loki was hunting his ass. Fleeing to Heaven with a tail between his legs was typical of the arch-angel. "Angels are worse. At least, you can bargain with demons," Dean pointed out, not really having much of an answer to her question. "Maybe she's not trying to kill him. Maybe she's tracking him for some other reason," he suggested, after a moment's thought.

"Hmm." Jo perched on the arm of his chair, rubbing her hand against her neck. "Did Sam say anything about Loki or this Kristen person?"

"Not really," Dean said, turning quiet to go over their conversation in his head a moment. "Loki is the Trickster God. He doesn't seem to care about much, but creating chaos ... and things have been pretty orderly lately. Sam did mention an interesting tidbit about the hunter though. He said she's a witch, but that she's not connected to demons. I'm not sure how he knows that."

Looping her arm around his shoulders, Jo slithered down onto Dean's lap just because she could. "How do you become a witch without demons being involved?" she queried, not entirely sure she bought it. "I mean, they sell their souls, right?"

"Not necessarily. According to Sam, not all witches are connected to demons, and not all of them sell their souls to obtain power. Not all witches use black magic either. He claims some of them are actually benevolent. Hard to believe, I know," Dean said, with a scowl. The only thing he hated more than witches was demons.

Jo was quiet for a long moment, absent-mindedly kissing his hairline as she thought over their options. "Okay, then," she said eventually. "We introduce ourselves and find out what the deal is from her. With Ayden in the room, so she can't lie to us."

Dean tilted his head to smile at his wife. "Brilliant plan. I was just about to suggest it," he said, though nothing could be farther from the truth. While Dean was the brawn, Jo was definitely the brains of this team. "Have I told you lately that I love you?" he asked, his smile turning lustful.

She tilted her head, her lips curving in a warm smile as she met his gaze. One fingertip slipped down his nose to tap against his lips mischievously. "Not since this morning," she admitted, eyes sparkling with amusement. "You really should tell me more often. More than four hours and I start to feel unloved."

"Maybe you should punish me then," Dean suggested further with a grin that could only be described as lascivious. He pulled her closer, his arms going around her. It was unlikely they were going to talk shop again for at least a few hours.

Laughing, she nuzzled close, pressing her lips to his. "You're an incorrigible pervert, Dean Winchester," his wife informed him in loving tones.

Dean shrugged. "I know. That's why you love me," he said, scooping her up in his arms as he moved to his feet and started in the direction of their bedroom.

"One of the reasons why I love you," she corrected him, letting loose another laugh as he lifted her up off her feet. "You just love manhandling me, don't you?"

"Hey, I'm the one who deserves a spanking, remember?" he said with a smirk, as he made a beeline for the bedroom. "You can tell me all the reasons you love me when I'm finished."

"Depends who gets my attention first, you or the girls," Jo warned teasingly. After all, the twins were probably due a feed and a change pretty soon, though thankfully Bertie was sleeping through the night.

"We'll tag team, like we always do," he told her. He wasn't afraid of taking his turn at childcare, even if that did mean changing poopy diapers. "How about a quickie, Mrs. Winchester?" he asked, kissing her cheek as he hip-checked the door open.

"Mmm, that'll do for starters." She grinned, looping her arms about his neck to press a slow kiss to his lips. Even after several years and three children, nothing could top just how much Jo loved Dean. It had taken him long enough - and a death or two - to work it out.

For Dean, Jo had been the one who'd gotten away. In his heart, he'd always known she'd been the one for him. Losing her had almost broken him, but not anymore. Being with her now, in this new life they'd been given, had only made him stronger. Strong enough to beat anything that came their way, and that included a certain egotistical angel and his immortal nemesis.

After all, Gabriel wasn't the only one with gods on his side.

Disposable Heroes / Re: The Trickster Tricked
« on: November 26, 2018, 04:34:33 PM »
"You don't have to do a damned thing, Gabe. All you have to do is tell the truth. I know I'm asking for a miracle, but what the hell. It's your ass, not mine," Dean said with a smile that was obviously sardonic.

"You worried about my ass, Deano? Seems like your pretty wife should know about that." Gabriel grinned his insolent grin, materializing a creamcake and beginning to eat. "You want a miracle, I'm your man. Dad's not interested right now."

"This isn't about us, ijit!" Dean said, thumping the arm of his chair with a fist and quoting Bobby. If anyone was an ijit in Dean's opinion, it was the current King of Heaven. He was obviously close to losing his temper. And there were worse words Dean had been known to refer to Gabriel as.

"Okay, listen here," Jo added, drawing Gabriel's smirking attention to herself. "You know Dean, you guys are old acquaintances, I get it. You know he won't shoot you. You don't know me, and I'm the one holding the gun. I really don't care whether it kills you or not, but I know it'll hurt like hell. So cut the crap."

The archangel raised his brow, glancing warily at Dean. "Does she ...?"

"Does she what?" Dean asked, unsure what Gabriel was getting at. "Does she mean it?" He shrugged. "I don't know. Do you want to take the chance that she does?" he asked. "I told you this isn't a social visit. We got word someone is hunting one of your aliases. The one that starts with a Lo and ends with a Ki. Thoughts?"

For a painful moment, Gabriel's blase attitude faltered. Actual fear widened his eyes before he got hold of himself. "You been talking to my alter-ego, chucklehead?" he asked, but there was more serious curiosity than animosity in his voice now.

"Listen, asshat ..." Dean started, narrowing his eyes in a warning that even Gabriel couldn't afford to ignore. "We're doing you a favor in warning you. Someone's hunting the Trickster God, and as far as I know, that's you ... Unless it's not. Now, you can sit there and crack jokes, or you can come clean. Your choice. Personally, I couldn't care less if you get your ass handed to you because you're pretending to be someone you're not, but if this s*** comes to my door and puts my family at risk, it becomes my business. Just this once I suggest you tell us the truth like your life depends on it, because it just might."

The warning seemed to get through to Gabriel, though it was likely something else that made him finally speak like a decent person. "Loki's real," he said with a jerk of his chin. "Supposed to be underground somewhere in Europe. If he's here, he's coming for me."

Jo sighed, shaking her head. "Great. Another damned god. And one that won't be vulnerable to any weapon we have."

"There now, was that so hard?" Dean said, not looking quite as concerned as Jo. After all, the only lives that were at stake were that of Gabriel and Loki, and he didn't owe either one a damned thing. It was his family's safety that really concerned him. "So, why would Loki be coming for you, and what makes you think he might find you?"

The cake in Gabriel's hand disappeared as he shifted awkwardly. "We made a deal, way back when," he admitted. "I get his identity and get his family off his back, he keeps his head down and lives the quiet life somewhere in the Middle East or whatever. I just had to keep out of the whole cosmic middle-management thing my brothers had going on."

"Keep out of it," Dean echoed, summarizing Gabriel's words. "But you didn't, did you? You didn't keep up your end of the bargain, and now Loki's coming to what? Set things straight? Kill you?" he guessed. "You realize that by not keeping your end of the bargain, you pretty much screwed him over, right?"

"He could've kept his head down," Gabriel grumbled. "Far as they know, he died with Odin and Baldur. Staying down's the smart move, right?"

Jo snorted with laughter. "What, when you're the new boss of Heaven? I'm with Loki on this one - you majorly screwed up."

Dean frowned. In his opinion, Gabriel should have kept his head down, too, but he hadn't. And yet, Dean knew he was at least partly to blame for that, in offering Gabriel Heaven in exchange for his help against Hades. "There's no point in playing the blame game. We have to figure out what to do about Loki and hope this hunter doesn't think you're him." Dean wasn't even sure if this Kris would be able to kill Gabriel, much less Loki, but maybe that wasn't her plan. They wouldn't know until they met her.

"I can handle hunters," Gabriel said dismissively, waving a hand. Jo caught Dean's eye, but kept her mouth shut as the archangel went on. "Loki's unpredictable. He either wants me dead, or seriously incomoded."

"Incomoded?" Dean echoed, brows furrowed in annoyance. "Did you pull that one out of your ass or have you been reading Webster's in your spare time?" he asked, though it hardly mattered. "Let's get one thing straight - you're not handling any hunters," he added, with air quotes around the word "handling". "Have you ever considered that maybe he played you? That maybe this is what he's wanted all along? You, in charge of Heaven, so that he can incomode you and take your place?"

"Please." Gabriel pulled a face. "Loki's a two-bit trickster. I was better at being him than he will ever be. The Norse gods are all elementals, you know? They work on the emotions of the moment. Distract him, and he'll forget about me. You're Zeus' new best buddy, right?"

"What exactly are you suggesting?" Dean asked, narrowing his eyes. He had no intentions of risking his tentative friendship with Zeus to save Gabriel's ass.

"Well ... seems to me you're in a pickle," Gabriel beamed. "You know about a threat to their new world order. Seems to me it's your problem to handle. Looks like you're my new bodyguard, Deano."

Dean's eyes narrowed further, if that was even possible - a sign of his continued irritation with the archangel and his flippant attitude. "Seems to me you're the one in the pickle. You're the one with an immortal after you. I could really care less who's in charge of Heaven - you or Loki - so long as humanity is safe from your immortal bulls***. The real question is why this hunter is tracking Loki, and what she'll do if she finds out Loki is after you."

"So, Deano, Chucklehead Supremo, looks like it's still your problem," Gabriel countered. "You're the hunter. You deal with the hunter. Call her off, send her sniffing after something else. Hell, get her killed in some hare-brained scheme. I figure sweet-talking your little sister'll get me protection from Loki."

Dean curled one hand into a fist, his jaw bunching in barely-repressed anger. All he really wanted to do in that moment was wipe the smug smile off the archangel's face with his fist. "You know what? Forget I said anything. Go back home with your tail between your legs, like you always do, and hope Loki doesn't find you. I really couldn't care less."

Disposable Heroes / Re: The Trickster Tricked
« on: November 26, 2018, 04:34:00 PM »
Dean had never understood why Jo insisted on making hot chocolate the old fashioned way until he'd tasted it and realized that nothing in a powdered instant mix even came close. "Um, something about a hunter headed our way," he said, not giving her the whole story yet.

She blinked, raising a brow in amused confusion. "Isn't that Bobby's deal?" she pointed out. "Is there something special about this hunter or something? An ex of yours you aren't going to remember?" She flashed him a cheeky smile, reaching up to pull cups from the cupboard.

"Baby, the only hunter I ever had eyes for was you," he informed her, moving forward to wrap his arms around her waist from behind and kiss the side of her neck. He wasn't lying; he might have had more than a few exes, but the only one who'd been a hunter had been her.

"Oh, you charmer." She grinned over her shoulder at him, nipping his jaw affectionately before turning her attention to splitting the chocolate between the three mugs. "So why did Brian call you about this?"

He shrugged, feigning innocence. "I am kind of charming, aren't I?" His smile faded as he considered her question. There was no point in lying to her or beating around the bush. He'd learned that lesson the hard way. Now that they were married, they were true partners, 'til death did they part. "I think he wanted to warn us," he said. Us, not just him. "Are you ready for this?" he asked, adding, "He said something about a hunter named Kris who's on the trail of Loki."

To her credit, Jo didn't laugh or get angry. She just rolled her eyes. "Seriously?" she asked in a wry tone. "We have Norse gods to worry about now as well?"

"Well ..." Dean started, "According to Sam, everything in folklore and mythology is rooted in truth. Exaggerated maybe, but it still comes from somewhere. If there are Greek gods, why not Norse? They have to be based on something, right? Gabriel claimed to have met Loki. Our Gabriel, anyway."

Jo considered this, pouring extra milk into Bertie's cup so it wouldn't be too hot for him. "All right," she said carefully. "So the real Loki is a Trickster. Does that mean this hunter is after him, or after Gabriel?"

"Before we put Lucifer in the pit, the gods had a meeting to talk about what to do about the Apocalypse. Some of them anyway," Dean said with a shrug. "Gabriel said he was Loki. That he'd taken his place or something. Then Lucifer killed him ... or he made it look like Lucifer killed him. I'm not sure which," Dean explained, though none of this really mattered, since all of it had happened on Dean and Jo's version of Earth, not this one.

"So we should talk to Gabriel," Jo suggested. "I mean, some hunters can't be talked down, so giving him a heads up might be a good idea. You know, just in case this Kris is after him."

"Yeah, that's what I was thinking, but Brian said she's likely to go to Bobby and Ellen first," Dean told her, thinking it might be good to give them a heads up, if this hunter hadn't already.

"Well, she's not likely to show for a day or two if she just left Chicago," Jo pointed out, putting the lid on Bertie's cup. "We can let Bobby know, drop a line to Ares and Ayden, and see if Sam remembers anything about the Norse gods."

"Sounds good," Dean said, nodding in agreement. "Who do you want to call first?" he asked, assuming he'd call one pair and she would call the other, probably over a cup of hot chocolate.

"I'll call Mom," she volunteered, grinning as she leaned over to kiss his cheek. "You can summon your sister or call your son." She slid one of the mugs into his hand, lifting up her own and Bertie's from the counter as she turned toward the living room.

Dean scowled and rolled his eyes. He wasn't overly fond of either of those choices for various reasons. Summoning Ayden probably meant summoning Ares, too, though he was probably their best source of information right now. There was Gabriel, of course, but Dean trusted that particular immortal about as far as he could throw him. It wasn't that he didn't like Ares exactly either; it was just that the guy could be so irritating at times. "I think I'll call Sam first. Find out what he knows and go from there."

"Shouldn't take too long," Jo agreed. She set the cups down on the coffee table, bending over the playpen to lift Bertie out and sit him down on the couch to drink his chocolate with them. "Wanna talk to Gramma, little man?"

It was hours before everyone had been properly called and filled in on Brian's news. Everyone but Gabriel, anyway. Despite, or maybe because of, past history, Dean didn't like Gabriel much more than he trusted him. They'd been allies in the struggle against Hades and his minions, but Gabriel had benefited from that arrangement by taking Michael's place as head honcho in heaven, while the Olympians had retaken their place on Mount Olympus, and Crowley had claimed the throne as King of Hell. There was peace, albeit a tenuous one. So long as the Powers that Be didn't interfere with each other, all was well, but Dean knew it wasn't going to last forever, and this business with Loki could very well be the match that lights the fire, if they weren't careful. And so, once their allies had been informed (with the exception of Crowley), it was time to summon their ally in Heaven and see what he had to say for himself.

Somewhat surprisingly, Gabriel responded promptly to the summons - promptly enough that his appearance startled Jo. She reacted without thinking, leaving the archangel blinking down the barrel of her favored shotgun. He rolled his eyes at her.

"Aww, pumpkin, you miss me?"

"She's not your pumpkin, and this isn't a social call," Dean was quick to point out. They hadn't summoned the archangel without taking the proper precautions, and Gabriel was too smart not to know that. "Have a seat," Dean said, gesturing toward a chair.

"Why, thank you, Deano." Gabriel snapped his fingers and sat down in the luxurious wing-backed armchair he had just summoned. "I'm sort of important these days, maybe you didn't notice. Thoughts?"

"Don't forget who helped you get there, Gabriel. There's an old saying: Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Thoughts?" Dean was quick to retort, without a hint of humor in his voice or his expression. "We called you here because one of your loose ends has unraveled, and we thought you might like to know about it."

"Aww, are your repressed feelings for me finally making themselves known? I'm touched." Gabriel smirked. Jo rolled her eyes. She had no idea how Dean was keeping his temper here. The archangel considered Dean for a long moment. "So what's the deal here? You'll tell me if I do what?"

Disposable Heroes / Re: The Trickster Tricked
« on: November 26, 2018, 04:33:36 PM »
"I'm on first-name basis with you, too," Brian pointed out in amusement. "When are you coming up here so we can consummate our sordid love affair, darling?"

"Very funny," Dean said, though he didn't sound very amused. "I'll pass the word. Thanks for the warning, Pops," he said, emphasizing the last word to remind the man that he was the closest thing Dean had to a father-in-law.

Chuckling, Brian didn't rise to the bait. "How are my grandchildren doing over there, anyway? I should come visit you sometime before those girls start thinking Bobby's grumpy face is the only grumpy face they should know about."

"You definitely should," Dean agreed. "No reason why I should be the only one dealing with poopy diapers," he said, with a hint of amusement in his voice.

"Nim left you to it today, huh?" Brian laughed. He still called Jo Nimue, the name he had given her when he'd taken her in as an amnesiac years before. "And your big lad Sam - how's married life treating him?"

Dean chuckled. "She's outside making a snow fort with Bertie," he explained. Bertie was the nickname they'd given Sam to distinguish him from his older counterpart. They weren't sure he was going to like it much when he was older, but for now, he was too little to care. "Sam is smiling more these days, so I assume married life is treating him well."

"Well, here's hoping the Norse hunt headed your way doesn't ruck up too much of your family life," Brian mused, though he was pretty sure Kris wouldn't cause too much disruption to them. "Give them my best, okay?"

"Not really looking forward to Ragnarok," Dean muttered, considering they'd just barely managed to prevent the Apocalypse a couple times already. "Don't be a stranger! There's a couple of kids here who miss their granddad," Dean reminded him, the smile heard in his voice.

"I'm workin' on it," Brian promised with a low laugh. "I'll let you know when I've got dates squared away. You take care of your family, boy. See ya 'round."

"See you!" Dean replied, before disconnecting. The last two months since the twins had been born had been something of a whirlwind, with visits from just about everyone wanting to meet the newest Winchesters. Now, just when Dean thought things might calm down, there was this. He sighed. It figured.

A squeal went up from the girls in the playpen as the backdoor opened, letting in a blast of freezing air along with Jo and Bertie. The little boy was muffled to the eyebrows against the cold, but his nose was still bright red above his big grin.


Dean grinned back. His heart always soared to see his son's smile and hear him call his father by name, even if it was only Da. "Welcome back!" he said, reaching for his little man. "Did you have fun? Did you and Mommy make lots of snow angels?" he asked, as he started unwrapping the little boy from all the layers of clothing.

Bertie nodded enthusiastically, each movement shaking snow off his hood and hat as he was disrobed. "We may sno'em an' balls an' Mama went flop!" There was evidence for this, too - Jo's legs were encrusted with melting snow, suggesting she had probably landed quite hard.

"That sounds like awesome fun!" Dean enthused along with his son. "How about a little hot chocolate to warm you both up?" he asked, as he removed the boy's final layer of outdoor clothing.

This got more enthusiastic nodding as the last layer came off, and Bertie threw his arms around Dean's neck, pressing his freezing nose into his father's neck affectionately. Then he let go, toddling a little unsteadily over to the playpen to look over the edge at his sisters. "Baby girls all full?"

"They ate and pooped, so yeah ... They're good. You wanna join them for a while?" Dean asked. It would be a little crowded in there with the three of them, but Bertie was always careful not to hurt his sisters.

The toddler considered this. "An' come out for choklit?" he asked. Even he knew that hot drinks and the girls did not mix; Hope, in particular, was more than a little flaily.

Jo chuckled from the kitchen, where she was already putting together the fixings for the treat.

"Of course!" Dean replied with a grin, as he scooped the little boy up only to carefully set him back down in the playpen with his adoring sisters. "Remember to be gentle, Bertie. They're too little to roughhouse yet," he reminded the boy, even though he didn't really need to be reminded.

"'es, Da." Bertie beamed up at him for a moment, tottering unsteadily down onto his knees to gently poke at his little sisters' grasping hands. He really did adore his baby sisters; it was easy to understand how Sam and his version of Hope had been quite so close.

"Mommy and I will be in the kitchen making hot chocolate, okay?" he told the little boy, tousling his hair affectionately. They'd be close enough to see and hear what was going on in the playpen, in case they were needed. Dean didn't want to smother his children, but all things considered, but he had good reason to be just a little overprotective.

Bertie nodded again, offering his innocent smile up to Dean with a giggle as two sets of little hands grabbed at him. They were only a few steps away from the kitchen, and with a pair of experienced hunters for parents, the Winchester children would always be protected.

Dean didn't bother to tell the little boy that he and Mommy had something to talk about. He wouldn't understand anyway - not until he was older - and Dean wanted his children to remain innocent for as long as they possibly could. It was the least he could do for them.

"Be good for your brother," he warned the twins, though it was unlikely they understood him or were likely to do anything mischievous at little more than a month old. He bopped both their noses, rewarded with a pair of giggles, before making his way to the kitchen, coming to a halt to lean against the door with a perfect view of both rooms.

"You're wet," he informed Jo with a grin.

"Your son suplexed me into the fort," she informed him with a grin of her own. "Backwards. You would have been proud." Her jeans were soaking wet; also cold, and very stuck to her legs, but she'd deal with that in a little while. Warming everyone up first was the main thing here. "How did your morning with the cutie patooties go?"

"Oh, you know ... The usual rounds of burping and pooping," he told her, in a tone that sounded like he might actually have enjoyed it - not so much the pooping as the spending time with his family. "Brian called," he said, crossing his arms as he took an easy lean in the doorway.

"Well, they are your daughters," Jo teased, stirring the chocolate in the pan. She tilted her head curiously toward him at his news. Brian usually called her, after all. "Really? What did the old warrior want?"

Disposable Heroes / The Trickster Tricked
« on: November 26, 2018, 04:33:09 PM »
February 2015[/b]

Adapting to life as hunters with one child had been a challenge. Adapting to life as hunters with one toddler and newborn twins was proving ... more so. But little Bertie was delighted with his little sisters for the most part, which helped a little, and he was easily distracted by snow. In January, there was no shortage of snow for him to play in, either. Jo had left the girls inside with Dean to go and frolic with their boy, claiming her right as overtired mommy for the first time in a couple of months. He could handle his girls, right?

Of course, he could! He was a hunter, after all. He had supposedly been "Michael's sword". He had killed more demons and monsters than he could count. So then, why were two squirming infant girls with poopy diapers so perplexing?

"One at a time, Dean," he told himself, remembering what Jo had taught him. He'd handled little Bertie like a pro, but the twins were double the trouble.

Still, even Ellen had remarked on how he was doing better every day. It just took practice, she'd said. Easy to say for a woman who'd never had any children of her own - at least, in this universe. Finished diapering Hope, he went on to her twin sister, Anna. In their son Sam's future, there had been no Anna. Anna was a bonus. Dean couldn't quite wrap his head around it, but then he'd never really tried. He'd learned a long time ago that there wasn't much point in trying to sort things out logically when their lives didn't follow any rules of logic. He just took things as they came and was grateful for the new life he'd been given.

Thankfully, at just under three months, the twins were not mobile enough to do more than kick and flail, and giggle at their daddy as he made faces over them. From outside came the sound of Jo attacking their son's snow fort with more enthusiasm than success. It was ... normal. And for a family who were anything but, normal was a surprisingly relaxing experience.

Strangely enough, Dean found himself enjoying a little normal for a change, though he'd remarked more than once that it might be nice if the twins had some sort of magic powers that would enable them to always have clean diapers. Still, all of this was part of being a father, and Dean had to admit he was enjoying being a father more than he had expected. Once both twins were in clean diapers, he gave them both kisses and propped one against each shoulder.

"There you go. Good as new. I don't know what all the fuss is about. Taking care of twins is a piece of cake," he told them both.

At which point, his pants started singing. Or rather, his phone started ringing. As accomplished as Dean was when it came to the girls, it was probably just as well Jo wasn't there to tease him about how he was going to get his phone out while holding them both at once.

Dean scowled as he both heard and felt his phone going off in his pocket. It was times like this when he just wanted to throw the damned thing in a snowbank and leave it there until spring. Jo had advised him to just turn it off for a while, which seemed like a far more practical solution, but despite Dean's annoyance, he was too worried he might miss an important call.

"Er ..." he murmured as he looked from shoulder to shoulder at his daughters, before deciding to lay them both down in the playpen so that he could take the call. "Be good girls. Daddy will just be a minute," he promised, tickling both their tummies before tugging the phone from his jeans, muttering, "This had better be important."

With his baby girls cooing at each other and him in the background, the phone display revealed that it was Brian calling. Jo's sort of adoptive father in this timeline, he ran a bar in Chicago as a sanctuary for hunters, and kept in touch long-distance as often as he could. It was rare for him to call at this time of day, however.

"Dean, you got a minute?"

Dean furrowed his brows when he saw it was Brian. Brian never called him, unless it had something to do with the business of hunting. Otherwise, he always called Jo, which was logical, considering he was the closest thing to a father figure she had in this universe. "Lucky you called now. Five minutes ago, I was elbow deep in baby poop. What's up?"

"My timing is always impeccable," the older man chuckled. The sound of his bar was a familiar ruckus in the background behind his voice. "This is a friendly heads up. Seems like there's trouble heading in your direction - I just had a tracker pass through on her way west."

"Her?" Dean echoed, repeating the word he'd deemed most important from the man's warning. "Long as she's not after me or mine, how's she trouble?" he asked, mildly curious.

"Well, knowing what I know about you and yours, I thought you might want to know what she's after," Brian told him. "She's tracking Loki. And this tracker, she's got a reputation - she never loses her target. If she's heading your way, then so is he."

Dean's brows furrowed in thought and just a little confusion. He said nothing for a moment and then chuckled. "For a minute there, I thought you said Loki."

"I did say Loki, Dean." Brian sighed. "Look, I've heard the stories, I know the guy supposedly died with Baldur and Kali and all the rest of them. But Kris is pretty certain. Never known her to be wrong."

"Uh, I thought Gabriel is Loki," Dean said, only knowing what the archangel told him, both before and after he was whisked away to this alternate version of Earth. He was somewhat familiar with the lore, at least as far as Marvel Comics and movies were concerned, but Sam had always been the loremaster, not Dean.

"Wait ... Gabriel is Loki?" Brian sounded confused. "Doesn't that mean that Kris is hunting down the King of Heaven right now?" He let out a low whistle. "That's not going to go well."

Or was Loki Gabriel? "I'm ... not sure," Dean murmured, confused himself. "Back home, Gabriel said he and Loki made a deal." Of course, that didn't mean that what had happened back home applied here, too.

Brian was quiet for a moment. "I've never known her to be wrong, but she could be misinformed," he conceded thoughtfully. "Look, might be an idea to pass the information onto your godly allies. Either she's hunting their new heavenly stooge, or she's hunting someone who has a bone to pick with him. Neither one of those is good."

Dean grumbled incoherently. It looked like he was going to have to have another long talk with Gabriel, and that was never a pleasant prospect. "I'll let them know. Thanks for the warning," he told Brian, wondering whether they should put out the welcome mat or a Do Not Disturb sign.

"Kris'll check in with Bobby and Ellen when she gets to you," Brian added. "Might be an idea to introduce yourself so she doesn't shoot you if you get in her way." His grin was audible as he spoke.

"First name basis, huh?" Dean teased. He was aware that Brian was a widower, but that was no reason he couldn't find someone else to share his life with. "I'm sure Bobby and Ellen will fill her in, but I'll keep that in mind." The question now was which of their immortal allies they should inform. Ares was the logical choice, though Dean wasn't sure whether Ares would care.

Disposable Heroes / Re: OOC - Pics
« on: April 01, 2018, 06:12:58 AM »
Hope and Anna Winchester - not too long after they were born

Disposable Heroes / Re: Moments of Worry
« on: July 23, 2017, 07:04:58 PM »
"I don't know," Dean replied, with that worried look of his she had seen so often on his face. "You ever notice how as soon as we get rid of one threat, it seems like another pops up? It's been quiet for a while now. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't the calm before the storm." The question was who would break the unofficial peace that was taking place now that Hades had been defeated. Would it be Gabriel? Crowley? One of the Olympians or someone or something they could have never predicted?

She was silent for a long moment. "I think that we can't possibly guess what's coming," she said quietly. "I think we can only be as prepared as we are, and no more. And I think that we have more than enough support to be able to handle anything that comes our way. But I also think worrying about what might or might not happen is going to suck the joy out of our lives together."

"I know," Dean agreed. Of course, he knew all that already, but that wasn't the real root of the problem, and yet, they had made the choice to get married and have children because if they hadn't, what was the point of living? They'd made enough sacrifices, and they deserved a little happiness in their lives. "You know, there were ... things Sam and I were fighting back home that we haven't seen here. It's different here. Not better or worse, just different, but sometimes I worry when the bubble is gonna burst."

"We'll deal with it," she assured him, somehow managing to sound much calmer and more confident than she actually felt. "I promise, baby, we'll deal with it. And we'll make sure our kids have a good world to live in, and the choice to have a normal life if they want it."

"They're never gonna have a normal life, Jo. They're Winchesters," he reasoned. Sam - his brother Sam - had wanted a normal life and so had their mother, both of them paying for what they'd wanted with their lives. He hoped he was wrong, but neither of them could predict the future.

She raised a brow at him. "Your mom managed a normal life for a long time," she pointed out. "If she hadn't been targeted by Yellow-Eyes, you would have had a normal life. Don't hang it all on your name, sweetheart. We can do this. I won't let our kids be pushed into being hunters unless they choose it."

"Sam seems to have made his choice," Dean pointed out, but they hadn't raised Sam - not really. The future had changed several times, one of which had been when Sam and Hope had journeyed to their own past, with Sam deciding to stay while Hope had returned home to the future. Whatever the future held for little Bertie, it wasn't going to be the same as it had been for his older counterpart.

"You're being fatalistic," Jo informed him sternly. "You're giving up in your head. Well, I won't let you give up, Dean Winchester, you hear me? We will face whatever comes, we will handle it, and our children will have the choice we never had. You got that?"

A younger Dean might have gotten a little defensive at Jo's scolding, but not this Dean. Instead, a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, not amused so much as reassured by his wife's fiery spirit. "Yes, ma'am," he said, sliding an arm around her shoulders to draw her close. "Have I told you lately how much I love you?"

She eyed him a little suspiciously, not used to him acquiescing so quickly when she had to use that tone, but a faint smile was quirking at her lips as she leaned under his arm. "Not since, oh, about two hours ago," she answered with a playful glimmer in her eyes. "Although I was a little distracted at the time. That might not have been what you said at all."

"That was lust; this is love," he pointed out, proving his point with a kiss that was loving and tender. There was some heat in that kiss, but it was more meant to show her how much he loved her, rather than simply desired her.

It was love. More than that, it was their love; a love that had endured death on both sides; a love that had somehow grown amid all the madness of their first years of knowing one another; a love that had remained with her even when she had no idea who she was. Their love had given them a second chance, a home, a family. It was at the core of everything they were, and everything they did. And Dean Winchester was never going to be alone again, because he was loved.

Disposable Heroes / Re: Moments of Worry
« on: July 23, 2017, 07:04:36 PM »
"I taught him everything he knows," Dean boasted with a grin. That wasn't quite true, but he couldn't help but take the credit.

"Yeah, I thought his burps sounded familiar," Bobby pointed out with a straight face.

"Like father, like son," Dean replied with a shrug.

"Both of them, if you get Becky in the right mood," Jo added with a grin of her own. "You guys wanna come inside, or do you have plans for your evening?"

Ellen glanced between the younger couple with their happy glow, and bit down her wide smile. "We'll be heading out," she said diplomatically, meeting Bobby's eyes knowingly. "We'll all be seeing each other in a few days for the wedding, anyway."

"I don't even get a beer after changing all those diapers?" Bobby asked, a little indignantly, but Ellen clearly wore the pants in that family, and he knew better than to argue with the boss.

"You can have one at home, after you clean up your mess," Ellen informed him fondly, turning to hug Jo and Bertie, to kiss Dean's cheek. "See you soon, kiddo."

Jo chuckled, stepping back to lean into Dean's side as Bertie sighed hugely, tired but unwilling to admit to it.

Bobby harrumphed again at Ellen's suggestion, which was his way of giving in, while Ellen made the rounds of hugs and kisses.

"Thanks for the dresses," Dean whispered back when Ellen kissed his cheek, as if that comment was meant for Ellen's ears only and that she'd understand what he meant by that without asking.

"Come on, before we all start sharing our feelings," Bobby grumped.

Ellen grinned, winking at Dean as she stepped away. "Well, get in the car then, you old duffer," she told her own husband. Bobby and Ellen rarely showed their deep affection for one another openly, but it was there in their voices, in their eyes, if you knew what you were looking for.

"Don't do anything I wouldn't do!" Bobby said, with a wave of his hand to the younger couple. That was about as close to a "See you later" that they were going to get from him, but they both knew that beneath all the gruffness, Bobby was an old softie. If only they knew how little Bertie was the apple of his Grampa's eye.

Jo laughed, waving as the older couple pulled out of their drive and headed home. "Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun today," she said, tilting her head to look down at Bertie. The one year old swallowed, nodding his head sleepily. "Early bed, huh?"

"Looks like they wore the little guy out," Dean said with a chuckle. "How 'bout I get the bottle ready while you get him ready for bed?" he suggested. A bath was probably out of the question tonight, as far as the little guy was concerned.

"Seems like a good plan, princess." Jo smiled, brushing a kiss to Bertie's sandy-blonde head. "C'mon, little man, let's get those teeth brushed and into jammies, 'kay?" Another sleepy nod was her only answer, although one hand reached out to grip Dean's shirt before she could move away.

Dean stopped in his tracks, so to speak, brows furrowed at their young son, wondering what he wanted exactly. He leaned close to press a tender and affectionate kiss to their son's cheek. "It's okay. I'm just gonna get you a bottle. I'll be right back," he promised the little boy. Dean always made it a point to be there for bedtime, and it was often him who gave Bertie his bedtime bottle and last snuggle before bed.

Slowly the little hand relaxed its grip, satisfied now his Daddy had given him a kiss hello. Jo smiled to herself at the little interaction, careful to keep pace with Dean as they went back into the house together. Bertie was just a little bit clingy at times, but there was nothing wrong with that. He'd grow out of it, eventually.

Sam - the older version of "Bertie" - was proof of that. It was hard for Dean to wrap his head around sometimes, having a son that both a baby and an adult all at the same time, but it was all just part of the weirdness that was the life of the Winchesters. It wasn't long before Dean and Jo had fed and changed their little man and tucked him into bed, and Dean had turned quiet as he often did at times like these.

Jo gave him the space to be quiet for a while, tidying up in the kitchen, the living room, making busywork for her hands until she ran out of little jobs to do. Then she made coffee, bringing him a cup on the couch before folding herself down beside him. "All right, spill," she said, without preamble. "What's on your mind?"

"Hmm?" he asked, turning off the TV with the press of a button, as if that's all that had been distracting him all this time. "Nothing, why?" he lied. Even if he wasn't an open book, it wasn't often that Dean Winchester had nothing on his mind.

"Is that nothing as in ... really nothing, or nothing as in ... you're overthinking every possible calamity that could possibly befall us in the next fifty years and trying to predict our lives down to the last second again?" she asked mildly, sipping her own coffee as she laid her legs over his lap comfortably.

"Not quite fifty years," Dean replied, knowing the one person he couldn't lie to or keep anything from was his Jo. "Just the wedding," he said. He didn't really have to explain much more than that. Their own wedding had been a disaster that had ended with a hunter funeral. It was something neither of them wanted repeated, and though Hades had been defeated, they still had plenty of other enemies.

"I know." Her answering murmur was soft, one hand reaching to comb her fingers through his hair as they talked. "But this time around Ayden's funky Sight thing is actually accurate. She'll know if anything is expected to happen, and she hasn't said anything about it."

"I know. It's not that. I trust Ayden, I do. But after everything we've been through ..." He shrugged, finding some comfort in her reassurance, but it wasn't enough to dispel all his demons. "I don't want Bertie growing up the way Sam did, you know?"

"He won't," Jo told him fervently. "We've already changed things. The losses he endured won't happen, because Ares dealt with the last of the Fates, because Sam and Hope dealt with the other Fates, because you and me killed Persephone and Hades. Athena was punished for being a two-faced idiot. Even if there are Olympians with plans of their own, they won't act on those plans for a long time yet, not with everything so fresh in their minds. Crowley, on the other hand, is still a problem."

He would have used a different word in place of idiot, but he nodded in agreement. "Crowley will always be a problem," Dean replied. "The thing about Crowley, though, is that we kind of know what he wants, and without him, who knows what we might end up with instead."

"Yeah, that's true," she agreed. "It isn't just worrying about what might happen at the wedding, though, is it? If it was just that, you'd be wanting to kill something to get the feelings to lie down and play dead." She tilted her head, trying to catch his eye. "Talk to me, baby."

Disposable Heroes / Re: Moments of Worry
« on: July 23, 2017, 07:03:51 PM »
"You fell in love with me when you made my nose bleed?" he asked, never having heard that one from her before. "I thought I had you at hello," he quoted from Jerry Maguire. Tom Cruise had nothing on Dean Winchester. He snorted at her question, as his hands found their way to her hips. "Baby, no self-respecting woman would be caught dead in that dress."

She laughed again, stroking her fingers along the line of his neck. "Just as well I'm not dead then, isn't it?" she pointed out. "Or are you planning to stab me with something blunt and hard?" Not the most suave of lines, but subtle always missed the boat when they got going.

"Oh, I'm gonna do more than stab you. I'm gonna impale you. But I promise it won't hurt," he told her with a grin, as he steered her toward the bed with his hands against her hips.

"Oh, you dirty old man," she snickered, looping her arms about his neck as he guided her backward. She really wasn't comfortable in those heels. "Does this mean I should or I shouldn't wear this one out of the house?"

"I'm not even forty yet!" Dean pointed out with a chuckle. "You wear that out of the house and you just might get arrested," he warned, though that depended mostly on where she wore it. It certainly wasn't the kind of dress you wore to church or did the grocery shopping in.

"I bet I could still hunt in it, though." As she felt the bed against her legs, Jo tightened her grip on her husband, lifting herself off the floor to wrap her legs about his waist, still nose to nose. "Can't you just see me - salt, shotgun, iron knife, and perfect lipstick?"

It was nothing short of amazing that she didn't rip that dress when she wrapped her legs around his waist. Of course, all that was doing was making him want her all the more. "Baby, there's nowhere to hide anything in that dress," he told her, with another greedy glance at the curves that were encased in that dress.

"I've got this big manly man to carry all my stuff for me," she teased, dragging her nails through the short crop of his hair, deliberately scraping his scalp with a barely there touch. "Think he'd mind, at all? I am, after all, just a weak and feeble woman."

He snorted again at her remark, both of them knowing how far from the truth that was. As capable as she was, there was still part of him that wanted to keep her safe and protect her, but he'd learned the hard way that she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. It was hard to stay calm with her legs wrapped around him and her nails teasing his hair. His fingers traveled up her legs to hike her skirt a little higher, while his lips found her neck. "How long have we got?" he asked, in between kisses.

It didn't take much to get that skirt to shift higher - just a nudge, and it was well on its way to her waist, her soft moan warming his ear as he worked his magic on the sensitive curve of her throat. Her eyes flickered open, seeking out the nearest clock. "Three hours," she promised; longer, probably, but that was the safe estimate. Bobby was not the kind of man who appreciated it when you answered the door in nothing but a sheet.

Three hours. That was plenty of time to indulge in some afternoon delight and then some. "How do you feel about a bath?" he asked, though that wasn't going to happen until after they satisfied the initial spike of desire. Even if they never got to the bath, it didn't really matter. It had been a long time since they'd enjoyed even a few hours alone in the house with nothing to do but enjoy each other's company.

"I think," Jo murmured against his ear, tightening the wrap of her legs to remind him how close and yet how far they were from each other, "that if you don't get on with this now, I'm going to lock you out of the bathroom and have one all my myself with that waterproof vibrator Becky bought me for my birthday." Sam had been excruciatingly embarrassed by his fiancee's joke gift for his mother.

"Which I am going to find and burn," Dean threatened in return. What did she need a vibrator for when she had him? And with that said, he tossed her back onto the bed - thankfully not hard enough to break the frame - and started kissing his way up her legs.

Her laughter described the arc from his arms to the bed, but soon melted away into tender moans that he knew only too well. He knew her only too well. Whether the dress was defiled or not, it was certainly not going to be in any fit state to be returned to the shop after this little interlude.

He put his knowledge of her to good use when it came to love-making. He knew what she liked and what she didn't; he knew how to make her moan and sigh and even scream, when he wanted to, and with three hours to kill, he just might manage all three in one day. Whatever happened between them behind closed doors, you could be sure they were going to enjoy those three hours and then some.

Which wasn't to say he had it all his own way. After all, Jo knew him just as well, and she wasn't above playing dirty to get a little dominance of her own in there. She wanted to hear him moan and sigh just as much as he wanted to hear her, just as capable of drawing that pleasure from her husband as he was with her. Three hours wasn't enough time, but after almost a full year with nothing more than quick snatches of time together, it was heaven.

Three hours went by faster than Dean might have liked, but at least they'd made good use of the time. It was hard to predict when they might have that much time to themselves again that wasn't in the middle of the night or parked in the car outside of town. Was it any wonder they were both in such a good mood by the time they were done?

A good enough mood, it seemed, to slightly weird out Bobby and Ellen when they delivered a hyperactive Bertie back to his parents. How often was it that Jo came running out of the house to slide across the hood just as they parked?

Ellen glanced at her husband with vaguely wild eyes. "Seems like they had a good time."

Bobby harrumphed. "When don't they have a good time? I used to hear them having a good time at three am most nights," he complained, though it was good-natured complaining. In truth, Bobby missed having Dean and Jo at the house with them, but they deserved a home of their own, especially now that they had started a family.

"You couldn't hear a fart in a thunderstorm," Ellen told him fondly, undoing her belt as Jo opened up the back door to swoop in and blow a loud raspberry on Bertie's cheek.

The baby boy let rip with a squealing giggle that never failed to raise a smile on anyone's face, clinging to her neck as she lifted him free. "And hello to the grumpies, too," Jo added with a grin.

"You calling me a grump, girlie?" Bobby asked, grumpily, though it was mostly just for show. Inside, he was as soft as marshmallow and then some, and it was no secret how much he adored their little family.

"If the shoe fits," Dean interjected with a grin as he joined them. He touched a kiss to Ellen's cheek, obviously in good spirits. "Thanks for taking him for a little while."

"He's a good little boy," Ellen answered him, chuckling as Bertie inserted his hand into Jo's shirt to hold onto the strap of her bra as he laid his head on his mother's shoulder. "Oh, so that's where he got that trick from, huh?"

Jo bit her lip, snickering quietly. "I ... may not always wear a shirt when I get up in the morning," she admitted cheerfully.

Disposable Heroes / Re: Moments of Worry
« on: July 23, 2017, 07:03:11 PM »
Both brows arched upwards as she stepped out of the bathroom, all dressed in burgundy and looking feminine and sexy and classy all at the same time. "Now, that's a dress," he said with an appreciative smile, as he looked her up and down.

"This is the kind of thing a grown-ass woman wears," she pointed out, gesturing a little helplessly to her own chest, displayed tastefully with low cut lace. "I, uh ... I kinda like it, though. With, you know, heels." She rose onto her toes to give some impression of the height she was going to gain from shoes.

"I like it, too," he remarked, setting the cup on a nightstand and moving to his feet. It wasn't often he got to see Jo in a dress, and he wanted to enjoy every minute of it. "You look ..." He was temporarily at a loss for words, and that was a rarity for Dean Winchester. Awesome wasn't quite the word he was looking for. "Gorgeous," he continued, though other words came to mind, such as amazing and sexy.

Her expression softened. That wasn't a word that came naturally to her Dean's lips; she was more used to being called "awesome" and occasionally "hot", than "gorgeous". She bit her lip, raising her hands to twist her hair up off her neck. "Up or down?" she asked, trusting his opinion better than her own, even in this.

"Mmm, up, I think," he said after a moment's deliberation. It would be that much more fun to undress her and take her hair down later. He settled his hands against her hips, gaze traveling downwards to admire the view once again, especially that of her cleavage. "You should get dressed up more often."

Jo watched his eyes wander, letting her hair fall against her back once again to lay her hands on his arms. "You know, I could be wrong," she said in a wondering tone. "I could be hearing things, but I could have sworn you came about this close to asking me out, princess."

He lifted his gaze, a slow smile spreading across his face. "I didn't think I had to, but I'm willing if you are. Hell, I'll even wear a tie," he told her, which was a big concession for him to make. About the only time he put a tie on was when he was impersonating an FBI agent.

"Mmm, you temptress," she teased fondly, rising onto her toes to brush a kiss to the corner of his mouth. "I guess I'm keeping both red dresses, then. And this one needs to be put away so we don't defile it in a moment of debauchery."

"Um, you can keep the green one, too, if you want," Dean suggested, though he wasn't expecting her to go out in that dress so much as wear it to fulfill a fantasy or two of his. "Can we defile the other one instead?" he asked, with a playful grin.

"The green one, huh?" Her smile widened to a grin, knowing exactly where his mind was wandering on that count. It really was just as well Bertie was with his honorary grandparents for the day. "You want the killer heels, too, or just the dress?"

"The killer heels, definitely," he told her. Those were like icing on the cake. It was all about painting a picture, after all, and setting the scene, and the scene he had in mind was definitely not for children.

She laughed, pulling him down into a slow kiss. "Then I guess I'm squeezing my butt into that red dress again," she conceded with a grin, nipping his lower lip. It had been a long time since they'd been able to play like this. She'd never realized how much having a child would put a cramp in their sex life.

"Don't worry," he murmured against her lips. "It won't be on for long," he promised, returning that kiss with one of his own, soft, and slow, and lingering. He reached around her to look for a zipper, though this wasn't the dress he was fantasizing getting her out of.

Jo giggled into his kiss, reaching back to slap his hand gently. "Patience, grasshopper," she told him. "If you take this one off, you'll forget you wanted the other one on."

"Why can't I take them both off?" he asked, though he already knew the answer to that. If he took this one off, it wasn't very likely she'd end up putting the other one on.

"Because this one is for when you're all dressed up, too," she informed him impishly, rippling her fingers down his chest to gently pull away from the wrap of his arms. "It's for teasing you all day with the knowledge that you get to take it off at the end of that day. The other one? Let's see how far we get, shall we?" She winked at him, catching the skirt in one hand as she slipped away into the bathroom.

"Yes, dear," he replied obediently, as he let her slip away from him. If that was the dress she wanted to wear to Sam's wedding, then the least he could do was hold himself back until she changed into something they could play in. He had no doubt they'd get pretty far, but how quickly they got there was the real question.

Her laughter floated out to him from the bathroom at his obedient response, knowing perfectly well that if she took too long in there, he would likely come in to get her. Thankfully, it was less effort to get the tight red number on second time around, though it rolled up to her hips as she contorted to get the heels on with it. Rolling it down, she ran her hands through her hair, twisting the blonde length up and securing it with a stick, before gathering the armful of dresses to slip back into the bedroom and begin hanging up the ones she was keeping. "Enjoying the view again, princess?"

By the time she got out of the bathroom, he had already stripped out of his shoes, socks, belt, and flannel shirt, but was still clad in t-shirt and jeans, eagerly awaiting her arrival. He whistled appreciatively again, but this time allowed his gaze to travel up and down and didn't try to fight what that view was doing to his body. "Since I first laid eyes on you, even if you were poking me with a rifle."

"Technically you didn't lay eyes on me until you hit me to get the rifle out of my hands," she pointed out in amusement, closing the door of the closet to turn and laugh at his preparation for their afternoon delight. "So vindicated that I'm one of just a handful of people who've punched Dean Winchester and lived to tell the tale."

"Hit you? I didn't hit you. You hit me!" Dean reminded her, rubbing the spot on his face where she'd hit him, as if it had only just happened. And he'd been punched plenty of times, but he wasn't about to remind her of that fact. In fact, he'd been punched so many times that he thought he knew what a punching bag felt like, but none of that was going to keep him from making out with her.

She laid her hands on her hips, tilting her head as she grinned at him. "Oh, really? So what was the whack on my arm with the rifle for, huh?" Ever since she'd had her memories returned to her, Jo had discovered a treasure store of incidents from their shared past she could tease him with, and this was just one of them.

"Honey, if I hit you, you'd know it," he insisted with a stupid grin. Somehow, she just didn't look very stern standing there with her hands on her hips in that little red dress. Who cared about the color, anyway? It was the way the dress accentuated Jo's curves that made it so trashy ... er, sexy. "What do you say we find out if it's any easier getting you out of that thing as it was to get you into it?" he said, closing the distance between them, that patented Dean smirk on his face as he wet his lips.

"Baby, you got me right in the heart when I made your nose bleed," she assured him with a low laugh, walking her fingertips up over his chest as he closed the distance, the tip of her nose circling his with her smiling mouth teasing his lips just shy of a real kiss. "Is this the point where I say I'm spending the afternoon with a little friend called self-respect, or did I grow out of that?"

Disposable Heroes / Moments of Worry
« on: July 23, 2017, 07:01:45 PM »
[size=9]April, 2014[/size][/b]

The Winchesters were a fierce family. Nothing phased them; nothing frightened them; nothing stood between them and their goal. With a one year old son, and a twenty-two year old son, Jo and Dean had grown into truly terrifying parents of the protective type, only now beginning to learn how to tone it down in so-called normal company. Nothing could stop them from approaching any situation with utmost confidence. Well ... almost nothing.

For Jo, at least, the prospect of wearing a dress to her older son's wedding was proving difficult to wrap her head around. She'd tried on three dresses so far - at home, because not even she would drag Dean to a mall to do this - and not one of them had suited her.

"Okay ... when did my butt get too big for a dress?"

There was a time when Dean would have thought watching women trying on clothes was almost as good as watching porn, but that was before he'd gotten all married and all domesticated. Nowadays, he thought women trying on clothes was women's business, and he wasn't too sure why Jo wanted his opinion on dresses, instead of someone who knew better - like Ellen or Ayden or even Becky. Thankfully, she hadn't dragged him to the mall. At least, here at home, he could enjoy a decent cup of coffee while she played fashion show.

"Do you really want me to answer that?" he teased his wife, hiding a smirk behind his cup of coffee.

"Not if you want to have a daughter," she called back to him. There were a few moments of grunting discomfort, and finally she sighed in relief. "Ugh ... I think this one is actually worse. What possessed Ellen to think this was going to suit me?" She pulled open the door to step into view, bare toes brushing the carpet. The dress was ... red, tight, and not really suitable for a wedding.

He shrugged, unruffled by her remark. "We met her. It's already a done deal," he reasoned, though that wasn't quite true. Dean didn't want to wrap his head around what might happen if they didn't have a daughter, when she'd traveled back in time to help them once already. So, had she done that in the future or in the past? It was too complicated, and if he thought about it too hard, it made Dean's head hurt. Dean took one look at his wife in that dress and whistled in appreciation. As sexy as it was, it wasn't really appropriate for the mother of the groom. A night on the town maybe, but not a wedding. "I like that one, but not for the wedding."

Jo looked down at herself, laughing at his reaction to it. "Seriously? I get naked in front of you all the time, but it takes a dress to get a whistle?" she teased in amusement, twisting to look at the back in the mirror behind her. "God, my butt is huge in this thing." It really wasn't, but Jo had an odd blind spot when it came to her own figure.

"Baby, I could ping a peanut off your butt in that thing," he told her. As silly as it sounded, he meant it as a compliment. "Your butt is perfect. Better than J-Lo's, and way better than Kim K's," he added, admiring the view.

"You're lucky I love you," was her answer, not entirely sure that she wanted to be complimented on having a butt better than J-Lo's. J-Lo had the genetics going for her, after all; Jo was just a skinny white woman with less curves than muscle. "Okay, just two more. I promise, only two more." She wiggled her fingers at him, reaching back to undo the dress as she slipped out of sight once again.

"That was totally a ****-me dress," Dean murmured as he sipped his coffee and tried to shift into a more comfortable position now that she'd managed to turn him on without even trying. No daughter. Ha! Like that wasn't going to happen. Might even happen today, if the other dresses were anything like that one.

Sadly for him, they weren't. The next was a soft shade of green, loose and floaty, and would probably look better if Jo bothered to put the heels on with it. As it was, she looked like she'd escaped from a beach wedding and lost her shoes on the way. "What about this one?"

Dean made a face, which pretty much said how he felt about the second dress. "That makes you look like you're fourteen and going to your first high school dance," he said. "And the color is all wrong. Who picked these out?" It sure as hell wasn't Jo because none of the dresses so far seemed to fit her very well.

"Mom did," she laughed, rolling her eyes at his response once again. "Besides, aren't you the one who's always complaining that I have to have ID on me at all times because I get carded everywhere we go?"

"You don't look much like a mother of the groom in that dress," he remarked. Then again, they were both way too young to have a son who was old enough to get married. "Have they worked out yet how they're going to get a marriage license when Sam doesn't even have a valid birth certificate?"

"Apparently Ares is calling in a favor with Clotho so her Olympian contacts can insert Sam into our timeline without anyone being any the wiser," Jo shrugged. "So that's a no for this one, huh?" She laid her hands on her hips, her lips quirking with teasing good humor now she knew he thought it made her look adolescent.

"Baby, you're not innocent enough for that dress," he told her, with an almost lurid leer her way. "But if you wanna pretend, I can think of a few things I could do to corrupt you," he added with a waggle of his brows.

She snorted with laughter, bending to catch a pillow off the bed and throw it at him. "Eww! Not thinking about you doing stuff to a fourteen-year-old me!" Cackling with laughter, she slipped back into the bathroom to slide out of the apparently too young for her dress and try the last one. She wasn't holding out much hope for this one being any good, either. Ellen's taste wasn't very good when it came to her daughter, it seemed.

Dean batted the pillow away with a chuckle, what as left of his coffee sloshing in his cup. "Here's an idea!" he called from the bedroom. "Why not do your own shopping instead of leaving it to Ellen?" Who, he guessed, probably hadn't bought a dress for herself or anyone else since 1975.

"Because the thought of going to a mall and trying on dresses in those tiny cubicles next to dozens of little girls who look better in everything turns my stomach," Jo called back to him. "I might actually stab someone if I have to do it."

"We could make out," he suggested. "In the dressing room, I mean." Yes, a thirty-something year old man was suggesting making out with his wife in the dressing room of a department store when he could make out with her whenever he wanted to right in the privacy of their own bedroom.

The bathroom door opened, but only her head poked through, one brow raised above her smile. "Is that a request that we get a little more adventurous, baby?" she asked in an innocent tone.

"Jo, I could pick out a better dress than Ellen," he said, though that didn't really answer her question, and he hoped Ellen never overheard him saying that. Something long and black and slinky, maybe with a slit up the leg and a bare back. Yeah, he could just imagine her in something like that. But black for a wedding?

"She picked the dress I got married in, remember," she pointed out, pulling the door open all the way to step into view. The dress this time was long, and far more grown up than anything she was used to wearing. She bit her lip, feeling almost shy in anticipation of his reaction to this one. Did burgundy suit her?

Disposable Heroes / Re: Making Plans
« on: February 20, 2017, 01:07:48 PM »
"You're the one who insists!" she laughed, brushing a kiss to his cheek. "C'mon, I gotta put him down before I drop him." As much as she loved Bertie, he was something of a dead weight when he was relaxed. She had no idea how they were going to cope when Hope showed up in a few years.

"Not for us! For them!" Dean insisted, even as he set his coffee cup on the table and got to his feet to take their son from her arms. "Here, let me," he told her. For all his abrasive obnoxiousness, he really did love his wife and son more than words could say and it showed in the gentleness with which he took the boy in his arms and touched a kiss to his forehead. "Come on, little man. Time for a nap."

"Oh, so you don't want to be a grandpa, then?" she teased, more than happy to hand Bertie off to his father. With her arms tingling now the weight was gone, her smile softened as she watched Dean. Poor father, my ass.

"Yeah, of course, I do, but don't you think it'll be weird if they have them before we do? Besides, Becky is only, what, nineteen or something? And they should enjoy being married for a little while first," Dean explained his point of view, as he led the way toward the nursery with Bertie propped against a shoulder.

"If it makes you feel better, I don't think even Sam could plant a baby in her until she's ready for it," Jo assured him, following him up the stairs at an easy pace. "That girl strikes me as having unfinished business that needs to be out of the way before they go that far."

"Unfinished business?" Dean echoed, furrowing his brows as they started up the stairs. "What kind of unfinished business?" he asked curiously. While he thought he was a pretty good judge of character, his gut instincts were nothing compared to his wife's.

"I'm not sure," she admitted thoughtfully. "But there's got to be a reason why the Men of Letters would happily put off her full initiation and inclusion in that bunker of theirs and let Sam train her instead. Doesn't that feel like it has an ulterior motive of some kind?"

"I don't know. I never thought about it much," he told her honestly as they stepped into the nursery. The conversation about Becky was then temporarily delayed while Dean tucked their firstborn son in for a nap. There was no story or prayers of any kind, but he did give brush another kiss against his cheek before he laid him down and tucked his favorite stuffed animal in beside him before covering him with a blanket and creeping from the room.

She waited in the hall, watching as he settled their baby to sleep. A part of her was still a little disbelieving that they'd actually managed to make a baby at all, and yet, watching Dean with Bertie, she couldn't be happier about it. She knew for a fact that their children would never be anything less than loved. "You are such a DILF."

"Well, I guess that's better than a FILF," he replied with a chuckle as he pulled the door closed, leaving it open just a little. Unlike his own home growing up, there were plenty of wards in place to keep their son safe from any possible threat, supernatural or otherwise. "I guess that makes you a MILF," he said, circling his arms around her to draw her close.

Drawn into the circle of his arms, she slid her own about his waist, grinning as she looked up at him. "If I'm a MILF," she said thoughtfully, "does that mean I need to get breast implants, wear too much make up, and start wearing heels and mini-skirts around the house?"

"No, I love you just the way you are," he assured her, before setting out to prove that fact in a way that would leave no doubt in her mind. Even if Bertie only napped for an hour, it would be an hour well spent in his parents' opinion.

Who would have thought that the Winchesters would ever manage to carve out a slice of domestic bliss together? Yet here they were, with a grown son engaged, and an infant in the house, enjoying the hard-won peace with the normality that so much of the world took for granted. Perhaps married with children wasn't too much and not enough all at once. Perhaps, for the first time, what they had was all they needed. Just enough.

Disposable Heroes / Re: Making Plans
« on: February 20, 2017, 01:07:27 PM »
Sam's sigh was audible on the other end of the phone. Despite the fact that he was taller than his mother and not all that much younger, she still insisted on calling him by that ridiculous pet name, but he'd learned there was no point in arguing with her. "If you two can be serious for five minutes, Becky and I have some news," he informed them both.

"I don't know, how about you remove the stick from your ass and try again?" Jo suggested, her smile more than audible in her voice. Sam should have known better than to try and be the more responsible adult in the conversation. The fact that Becky's voice was suddenly audible, spluttering with laughter, proved that they, too, were on speaker.

"Mom, come on. I'm serious ..." Sam pleaded, despite Becky's laughter. Maybe Sam was a little too much like the uncle he'd been named for for his own good sometimes.

"It's okay, Sammy. What's your news? Becky isn't preggers, is she?" Dean broke in. "I warned you about using a condom. No glove, no love," he added helpfully. Or not. He gave Jo a thumbs up and a wink, proud of the parenting job he was doing.

"Do you spend a lot of time wondering about our sex life?" Becky asked through her laughter, sending Jo into fresh giggles. She definitely approved of Becky, even after the stabbing incident. The girl was perfect for Sam.

"Uh, no," Dean replied. "Do you wonder about ours?" he countered.

"This is hopeless," Sam complained, his voice a little muffled as he handed the phone to Becky. The first people he'd wanted to share the news with was his parents and they were acting like five year olds.

"I don't need to wonder about yours, you made my fiance with your sex life," Becky informed Dean as Sam handed the phone off to her. "How about you congratulate him?"

"Wait, your what?" Jo asked, her laughter fading as a truly delighted smile crossed her face. "You finally asked her? That's wonderful!"

No, she finally said yes, was Sam's initial reaction, but he didn't say that. He was slightly annoyed with his parents' nonsense, but they wouldn't be them otherwise, and he couldn't help but love them. "Yeah, we just need to pick a date," Sam said. "Do you think a destination wedding would be out of the question?" he added, though he had not consulted Becky on that detail. Greece was the most beautiful place he could think of for a wedding. It sure beat the hell out of Sioux Falls.

"Uh, does that mean we'll have to fly somewhere?" Dean asked, tentatively. He'd do just about anything for his loved ones, but he was still not terribly fond of flying.

"Well, no, Dad. We could scramble your molecules and transport you there, since you seem to think you're a Starship Captain," Sam retorted, a hint of his father's sense of humor in his voice.

"What destination is this?" Becky asked, her voice a little muffled as she turned away from the phone.

Jo's smile deepened to a grin as she shook her head at the familiar ebb and flow of conversation. "Congratulations," she told her grown up son fondly. "I guess the hunt went well then, huh?"

"Covered in sewage and I still said yes, so I'd say it went well," Becky countered cheerfully. "And who said anything about flying? You're related to a supernatural taxi service."

"Greece," Sam replied, his own voice a little muffled as he answered Becky's question. Of course, there was still plenty of time to debate that, so long as they weren't getting married tomorrow.

"Yeah, I almost like the idea of flying better," Dean complained, but even he wasn't selfish enough to dampen the mood. "Anyway, congratulations! It's about damned time you two got engaged," he couldn't help but add.

"So eager to be a grandparent," Jo teased her husband fondly, hiking the sleeping Bertie more comfortably onto her shoulder. "You guys should come 'round sometime. I promise I won't let your father cook."

"He does good pancakes," Becky defended Dean, but she was clearly distracted by something going on at the other end of the phone.

"I make friggin' awesome pancakes!" Dean agreed with an audible grin. "I knew I liked that girl for some reason," he muttered with a chuckle. "You know, if you guys have a kid before we have Hope, they'll be younger than their aunt. Wouldn't that be weird?" Dean pointed out. It was times like these that it boggled his mind.

"At least we're going to do it in the right order," Becky countered in amusement. "You do know you're the first people we've told, right? Be honored, or I won't share the secret of how to make truly epic pumpkin pie."

"Oh! Are you making that for Christmas dinner? We've decided we're hosting dinner here this year. Christmas dinner with all the trimmings!" Dean declared, though he had promised Jo it was her decision. He didn't mean to be obnoxious; he just knew whatever she decided, in the end, it would be awesome. "Why don't you two stop over later and we'll celebrate in person?"

"Make it a lot later," Becky snickered, and abruptly yelped. "Sam, that's cold!"

Jo's eyes met Dean's above her grin. It didn't take a genius to guess what might be going on between those two. "No glove, no love," she murmured teasingly.

"That's my line!" Dean interjected, laughing. "Well, the offer's still open, if you two can manage to keep your hands off each other for a little while later." He winked at Jo, excited by the prospect of a daughter-in-law, but deciding he'd tell her that in person.

"Okay, gotta go! We'll see you later!" Sam was heard saying, before the phone went dead.

"Like father, like son," Dean remarked before flipping the phone closed and setting it on the coffee table nearby. "Shall we tuck the little man in and have a little afternoon delight of our own?" he asked, waggling his brows at his wife.

Laughing at the hasty exit, Jo rolled her eyes. "That apple didn't fall far from the tree, did it?" she teased Dean fondly, chuckling at his active eyebrows. "Not that I will ever complain about the tree. I got lucky it's a fast-growing hardwood." She winked at him cheekily.

"Oh, it's hard, all right. Wanna see?" he asked, going for his zipper, despite the fact that little Sam needed to be put down for a nap before any hanky panky went on in the Winchester household.

"Find a glove, since you're so insistent on it, while I put your son down," she told him laughingly. "The poor child does not deserve to be scarred for life just because his parents can't keep their hands to themselves."

"A glove?" he echoed, looking puzzled. "What the hell do I need a glove for?" She couldn't be talking about a condom, could she? What did they need one of those for when they were married?

Disposable Heroes / Re: Making Plans
« on: February 20, 2017, 01:06:55 PM »
"So, go find one," Dean told her, turning his gaze to the little boy curled up peacefully on the floor nearby. His gaze softened, never tiring of that view or of the fact that he was a father. "Jo, do you ever worry about Sam?" he asked, referring to that same little boy, but the one who'd come to them from the future.

She sighed softly, reaching out to spill her fingers through Dean's hair as they talked. "Not so much now as I did before," she admitted quietly. "He's more open now. He talks to us when he needs to. But after Hope went forward ... he was so lost. I don't think he knows just how much he needs Becky. The way I need you."

He smiled at the affection in her caress, reassured with just the touch of her hand. "I'm not sure how to be a good father to him. I mean, we didn't really raise him. I'd never take him to hunt a rugaru the first time around. He has memories of us that haven't happened yet and probably never will. It's like we're his parents, but we're not really. I guess maybe that's how Bobby and Ellen feel, too. They have us back, but I'm not the Dean they knew and they don't remember you."

"So don't be a father to him," she suggested. Herself, she'd had no choice but to be a mother to Sam as soon as he had arrived. He'd set her into that place in his heart and mind, despite how close they were in years, and she would never leave it. "Be a friend, the way Bobby is a friend to you. Look out for him, don't smother him. Let him talk, let him rant, let him do what he needs to do to feel close to you. He needs you, Dean. He needs the man he grew up believing in, and you are that man, even if you don't believe it."

"It sounds like I was a dick as a father, just like I was a dick as a brother," Dean said. "I don't wanna be like my dad, you know? I don't wanna give my son a gun for his sixth birthday and expect him to learn how to shoot it. I don't wanna take him to hunt a rugaru and scold him when he wets his pants. I don't wanna ignore him when he wakes up screaming from a nightmare or crying because he ..." He trailed off, realizing he was listing all the ways in which his father had failed, not him. Not yet. Even in Sam's past, he hadn't been like John Winchester.

Jo let him trail off, one brow raised above a slightly sardonic smile. "Right," she drawled. "You're such a dick as a dad, you took him to his first professional ball game when he was ten years old. You're such a dick, you set aside one day a week when it was just you and him after Hope was born. Only a dick would start a breakfast tradition that is going to last decades, or teach him how to care for his car perfectly. And he would only have come back in time to save the life of a complete dick." She held his gaze for a long moment. "Want me to go on?"

"No, I get your point," Dean replied, taking another swallow of his coffee before it got cold. He'd never thought much about whether or not he'd make a good father; he'd never had the time to consider it, but now that Hades was dead, and they were starting a family, he had to think about it. He let the subject go, though he still had his doubts. "So, are we making this a religious celebration or not?" he asked, knowing that Christmas was traditionally a religious holiday, but that it also had pagan origins and was quickly becoming more of a cultural thing.

"Can't have Christmas without carols," she mused, still drawing her fingers through his hair. "Seeing as the last time we walked into a church, we got overwhelmed by the walking dead, I'm thinking we give services a miss."

"Silent Night and all that?" he mused aloud, unsure how he felt about religion these days, knowing it was mostly a mix of truth and mythology. He didn't really want to get into a theological debate about the historical accuracy of the New Testament, but that was in part what he was asking. "My parents weren't very religious, but my mom believed in angels. She used to pray with me when she tucked me in at night. She always recited that Guardian Angel prayer with me. Lot of good it did, huh?"

"It wasn't meant for you," Jo told him gently, understanding that even better now she was a mother herself. "It was for her, to comfort her. It's a wish that protecting her baby boy didn't fall totally on her shoulders, because she didn't feel like she could do it alone." But was it Mary Winchester she was talking about, or herself? Jo, too, prayed when she put Bertie to sleep, and she knew better than most how pointless it was to pray to a God that wasn't listening.

To Dean's credit, he knew Jo well enough to know she wasn't just talking about Mary Winchester, anymore than he was talking about John. He touched his fingers to her cheek to turn her face to his. "You're not alone, Jo. You're never gonna be alone in anything, not so long as I'm alive - and Brian and Sam and Becky and Bobby and Ellen and Ayden and Ares," he reminded her. It was quite a list of names, far longer than those they'd left behind in their own world. They were never alone, not even in this, never again.

She smiled, tilting her cheek into the gentle caress of his hand as she met his gaze. "I know I'm not alone," she promised him. "It's just ... he's so small and helpless and ... I still sometimes feel like that awkward kid who couldn't even make a sandwich. And now I'm married, and a mom, and ... it seems so big. It seems like too much, and not enough, all at the same time. You know?"

"Yeah, I know," Dean replied, understanding all of that a little too well. It was a big responsibility raising children, especially when you'd spent so many years just trying to survive and take care of yourself. "We'll learn how to be parents together," he promised her, that soft smile still on his face. There was no denying the fact that Dean Winchester had mellowed, and the reason for it was staring him right in the face.

"And make more, so if we screw this one up, we can try again," she teased, leaning down to kiss him with giggling lips. They both knew that their eldest was going to turn out just fine. As she kissed him, though, an insistent sound made itself known, making her draw back in amusement. "Baby ... your pants are singing to me again."

"I don't think Sam is too screwed up, is he?" Dean asked, as if their grown son was any indication of their future parenting skills. Anything else he might have said was cut off by her kiss, distracting them both from the conversation. "Hm?" he mumbled, distractedly, before realizing his cell phone was going off in his jeans pocket. "You want something inside them to sing to you later?" he teased, as he fished inside his jeans pocket for his phone. "Speak of the devil," he murmured, seeing as the caller was coming up as Sam.

"Define later," she laughed, kissing the tip of his nose. Glancing down at the phone, she grinned. "Cock-blocked by your baby boy, you must be so proud." Snickering, she rose to her feet, leaning down to lift Bertie up from his less-than-comfortable napping position.

Dean flipped his phone open - yes, he was still carrying a flip phone - a smirk on his face as he answered. "Kirk to Bridge," he told the caller.

Jo spluttered, laughing loudly at Dean's greeting to his son. "Baby, if you're going for capable and sexy, should have been Picard," she told her husband, gently jostling the baby she had just woken by accident.

"Picard was bald!" Dean argued, blinking as he heard a voice on the other end of the phone trying to get his attention. "Sorry. Your mother is questioning my choice of Starship Captain," he explained, though it seemed self-explanatory enough. There was a short pause from Dean while he was presumably listening to Sam's voice on the other end. "Uh, yeah ... Hang on. She's right here." Dean drew the phone away from his head for a moment and turned to Jo. "It's Sam. He wants me to put him on speakerphone."

"But the accent, Dean." Jo laughed again, swaying to settle Bertie against her shoulder as he put their adult son on speaker. "Hey, little man, what's up?" No matter what happened, Sam was always going to be "little man" to a mother no more than six years his senior.

Disposable Heroes / Re: Making Plans
« on: February 20, 2017, 01:06:24 PM »
"I could add noodles to the trimmings, if you want," Jo suggested with a gentle cast to her expression. "Baby, Christmas is all about family. And for the first time, we have a family together, we have space to breathe and work out what our traditions are going to be. But that doesn't mean we need to forget the other traditions that came first."

Dean blinked out of his thoughts with a smile of his own. "No, I don't want noodles for Christmas. In fact, I hope I never have to eat Chinese for Christmas again. I just ... I'm not sure what Christmas is all about, except for what I've seen on TV. I know all this is a little over the top," he said, gesturing with a hand to all the glitter and glitz surrounding him. "I know it's supposed to be about family. I just don't really know the first thing about celebrating it anymore. I mean, Sam and I used to exchange sixpacks and porn magazines for Christmas."

"There's nothing wrong with starting over the top and working out what fits and what doesn't," she told him. "What we don't use, we can make Sam and Becky use." She chuckled, turning back into the kitchen to pour out the coffee before returning to him, handing over his cup as she perched on the edge of the couch. Bertie had crawled on top of the deflated snowman and was curling up to sleep, happiest when his parents were warm and comfortable and smiling. "I could tell you what me and Mom used to do, when I was little."

He took the cup of coffee from her with a gratefully muttered, "Thanks." Until this moment, he hadn't thought much about what their Christmas traditions might be; everything he knew about Christmas he'd learned mostly from sappy TV shows and movies he and Sam would watch while John was out hunting. Bobby had tried making the holiday special when he could, but the Bobby Dean had known had been so lost in his own loss and grief, he hadn't been much help. "I'd like to hear about that," he said, staying on the floor, legs crossed as he sipped his coffee, like a boy ready to hear a good story.

Jo laughed a little at the memories, as well as the sight of her husband - the big bad god-slaying hunter - sitting at her feet like a small child. "It's the little things I remember," she admitted. "Like ... Mom used to decorate the tree on the first of December, and it would be beautiful. And then Dad would start changing things every day. Like the topper would be stuck on one of the lower branches one day, and instead of the little angels she liked so much, there'd be these stick figures made out of actual stick. It was like a game. Every day, I'd go to the tree and try to work out what was different before Mom did and put it back the way it was. I loved it."

"Really? Why?" he asked, as curious as a child might be, but all of this was as new to him as it might be to a small child or to someone who had never experienced the holiday before. Though Dean was a full grown adult, there were still many things that were child-like about him, mostly because he'd never really had much of a childhood of his own.

"Because it was silly and fun, and Mom loved to complain," she laughed, shaking her head. "Because sometimes Dad wasn't there to move the ornaments around, and she'd be sad about that. But I never moved them myself. Because there'd be that one morning when something would be different, and her face would just light up, because Dad was home and it was Christmas and ... I don't know. I guess it started as a game between them - you know Mom always had to be in control, have everything her way. Dad wanted her to lighten up, and it turned into a game that they played every day they could. A perfect tree isn't Christmas. My mom's smile - that was Christmas."

"Is it weird to have your Mom back, even though she isn't really your mother?" he asked curiously, moving past the talk of Christmas to a subject that was even more important. They'd skirted the issue before, but he'd never really come right out and asked her. He was overjoyed to have Ellen and Bobby back, even if it meant they were different from the Ellen and Bobby he'd known and loved back home.

She quietened, looking down into her coffee cup for a long moment. "She died for me," she said softly. "Because of me. And it was the right call. I was gone before the hounds were where they needed to be. And she looked death right in the face and joined me without a second thought. How do you stop feeling guilty for that? And now she's here, and she's Mom, but she's not Mom. This Ellen is ... she's happier, so much happier than she was with my dad, and I can never thank Bobby enough for how happy she is. I can't put it into words. She's my mom the way my mom should have been, and ... I'm still a freak with a knife collection." She laughed, shaking her head. How did you put it all into words?

Dean frowned, never believing it was Jo's fault that Ellen had died. If anyone was to blame it was Meg, but he couldn't help but share some feeling of guilt about Jo and Ellen's deaths in their own world. "It wasn't because of you. Do you know how hard it was to leave you there?" he asked her, but they'd been over all this before, and it no longer mattered, except for how it had shaped them and how it had created an unbreakable bond between them, once they were given a second chance. "I'm not the Dean they loved, but it doesn't seem to matter, so why should it matter if she's not the Ellen you loved?"

"That's just it, it doesn't matter," she said, her tone more wondering than she would have liked to admit. "The mom I knew would never have accepted me back like this. This Mom? She wanted me even before I remembered who I am, remembered who she was to me. Honestly? It's the second-best part of getting a second chance, and I don't think Aphrodite even considered that it was important."

Dean snorted at the mention of Aphrodite, though maybe he shouldn't. There was peace between them and the Olympians, but that didn't mean the gods weren't still a touchy bunch. "All she wanted was for us to defeat Hades," Dean said, though he knew that wasn't quite true. He didn't believe for a minute that the Olympians had brought them here so that he and Jo could have their happily-ever-after, anyway.

"She got her wish," Jo drawled. "Not sure she was counting on losing Ares to a mere mortal, though." They'd done their own research on Ares as soon as Ayden had told them how she was feeling about the God of War, and what they'd learned had made them fear for Dean's little sister. Now Ayden was an Olympian, however ... well, Jo would have put money on her in a down and dirty fight with Aphrodite.

"She lost Ares centuries ago," Dean remarked, knowing the history as well as Jo did. But they had digressed beyond the original topic of Christmas. "So, what do you think? Tinsel or garland?" he asked, though they'd bought both, just in case. They didn't even have a tree yet, but he wanted to do that the old-fashioned way and chop down his own.

"Tinsel on the tree, garlands on the doors and mantels," she answered promptly. "And lots of mistletoe, because that never gets old." She grinned at him, taking a sip of her coffee. Not that she needed an excuse to kiss him, but she could not wait to see what happened when Ares got caught under a bunch with anyone who wasn't Ayden.

"Good to know I've still got it," Dean remarked at the mistletoe comment with the crooked smirk of his, assuming his wife wanted any excuse to kill her husband. It never occurred to him she might want mistletoe for any other reason than that. "Tell you what ... You leave the decorating to me, and I'll leave the meal planning to you. Sound like a deal?" Gift-giving, now that was another matter.

"Sounds like a deal," she agreed, though she was already planning on messing with some of his decorations, just to see what would happen. Her eyes slid to Bertie, curled up on a deflated snowman with a fist-full of tinsel rubbing against his cheek. "I never have a camera around when I see these moments."

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