"I'm bored. Find me a hunt," Dean says, kicking his feet up on her table.
"I eat there," Jess tells him.
"Congratulations," he says. "Now find me something to light on fire."
"Do I look like your TA?"
"Do it yourself."
"I tried," he says. "But there is fucking nothing in all of Palo Alto or Stanford that needs to be hunted."
"So you thought I could make you a hunt?" she asks.
"Well, you're the only one I know who has actually found hunts out here," Dean admits. "So I figured you could find me one, and I could have something to do with my day besides think up new ways to cockblock Sam."
"Thank you for that, by the way," Jess says sarcastically. "When Sam doesn't get to have sex, I don't get to have sex."
"All the more reason to find something for me to hack the head off of," he tells her with a huge grin.
"Sorry, Captain Fluffy, but your Jolly Green Giant of a brother is usually the one who found all the hunts," Jess admits. "I'd just study and do papers, and then Bobby or someone else would call me up and let me know there was a hunt in the area."
"Fucking figures," Dean curses, finally taking his feet off the table.
"Sam won't find them for you?" Jess asks. She's got a smartass grin on her face like she already knows the answer to that.
"It was a perfectly valid fight, okay? Colleges are always haunted—especially ones built because of a ghost."
"That's not true, you know."
"Said Leland Stanford," Jess counters. "He always said it came to him in a dream."
"Yeah, because if he told the world his son's ghost told him to build a fucking college, he would've been committed."
Jess rolls her eyes and ignores him. "It's not that weird that Stanford doesn't have anything to hunt here."
"See? That's why Sam doesn't want you to hunt alone."
"Fuck you very much," she tells him.
"You know," Dean says, leveling a look at her. "You're pretty hot when you curse."
"Is that what you do? Tear down women so they blush and get all grateful when you compliment them? Because that's disgusting."
Dean laughs wryly and clenches his jaw. He wasn't actually trying to push her buttons that time, but he must have because she only ever ends up in "you hate women" territory when he's really pissed her off.
It takes him a moment to ignore his knee-jerk reaction before he responds. "One? You are kind of ridiculously hot, yeah, but you're Sammy's girlfriend. No one is hot enough for me to do that to Sam, okay? Two, I didn't insult you because you're a chick. I insulted you because you seem to think you're a great hunter who doesn't need help, and yet you don't think it's weird that a school that's a hundred years old doesn't have any ghosts anywhere in the entire town."
"I don't need help hunting," Jess says. "I was raised hunting, just the same as you and Sam."
"No," Dean tells her. "You weren't. No one was raised in it the way me and Sam were. I shot my first bull's eye when I was six. Sam could nail bull's eye before he even knew why he had to know. You got a house and play dates and birthday parties. Me and Sam got pop quizzes in the car about how to kill Black Dogs and what our last names were gonna be this week."
"How about we make a deal?" Jess proposes. "You stop treating me like I don't know my head from my ass, and I'll stop calling you on it. Sound fair?"
"Oh, sweetheart," Dean starts, purposefully condescending this time. "I treat you the exact same way I treat pretty much everyone I'm not related to. And I gotta tell you, Sam's been trying to change my personality since he was old enough to talk back. I haven't done it for him, and I'm probably not gonna do it for you."
"Wow," she deadpans. "You must have flocks of friends."
"I don't need friends," Dean tells her honestly. "I have Sam."
Sam finds them a hunt.
"What do you mean 'you two'?"
"I mean," Sam says, "that I have had it up to here—" He gestures with his hand to right around the height of his hairline. "With you guys getting along one day and then not speaking for the next three."
"That is not my fault." Dean holds his hands up in surrender.
"Of course it isn't," Jess says in a sarcastic tone. "I'm a psycho for wanting to be respected."
"That!" Sam yells, gesturing to the two of them."That right there! You two are the most important people in my life, and you need to get along because I'm not choosing between you two. I can't."
"So you decided that leaving us alone with guns was a good idea because then we'd choose for you?" Dean asks.
Jess doesn't roll her eyes, but Sam can see the effort it's taking her not to.
"I want you two to hunt together," Sam tells them. "Think about that: I'm actively encouraging you both to go endanger your lives and possibly not come back because I'm that desperate for you to get along."
"Fine," Jess says.
"Fine," Dean agrees. "But if she comes back with a dick or wings or something fucked up like that, don't blame me."
"What?" Jess asks. "Is this something I should worry about with you?"
Sam practically shoves their weapons at them as he herds them out the door.
"This is the worst hunt I've ever been on," Jess says, catching herself as she stumbles over a slime-covered rock.
"This isn't even in the top twenty for me," Dean says. He resists the urge to shake the gooey junk off of him like a dog. Jess would probably appreciate that even less than Sam does. "Maybe not even in the top fifty."
Jess eyes him up and down with a look of such disdain that if Dean weren't already keeping his dry heaves in check, he might feel sick. "You must be a really shitty hunter."
Dean scoffs, taking the opportunity to choke and spit out half a lung full of nasty all over the dirt. "Because I've hunted more than you?"
"Because we didn't get the thing, we don't know what the fuck it even is, you got sneezed on by it, and there are still fifty worse hunts above this."
"Snot is nasty as fuck, don't get me wrong," Dean pauses to heave again a little. "But neither of us are dead or hurt. Besides, I think I winged the fucker."
"Do you always curse that much?" Jess asks him. She picks up what's either a large twig or a small branch and starts scraping the junk off of Dean.
Dean holds up a finger and then bends over and vomits into the dirt between them. When he's done, he stands back up and plasters a smile on his face. "Fuck yeah, I fucking do," he says, full of smarm. It would probably work better if he hadn't just thrown up something else's snot.
"So classy," she remarks.
"Fuck classy. I'm covered in snot—inside and out—and you regularly piss yourself when you sneeze."
"I did it twice, and I was sick." She jabs him in the back with the twigbranch.
"Ow! Fuck. Whatever you tell yourself to get through the night, sweetheart."
Dean bids them a farewell of, "Peace out, lesbians, I'm gonna go bring us home some bacon," when he leaves.
Sam rolls his eyes and waves Dean off. "Don't bring back anything you can't cure with penicillin!"
Jess is pretty sure that she stifles the sigh well, but the tilt of Sam's head and arch of his eyebrow say otherwise.
"What's wrong?" he asks.
"Nothing," Jess says.
Sam sighs, loud and dramatic and obviously mocking.
"I just..." Jess tries to figure out a more diplomatic way to say it, but she gives up with a sigh and finally admits, "I don't like how he treats you, okay?"
"Dean?" Sam asks incredulously.
"No," Jess says, rolling her eyes. "I don't like how your old suitemates treat you. That's why I decided to say something now, weeks after you've moved out."
"So sassy," Sam teases her.
"You're the one who asked," Jess points out, annoyed. "If' you're just gonna make fun of me, then I'm gonna call dibs on your TV."
Sam snatches the remote like he's saving her from a deadly animal. "I'm sorry," he says, laughing a little. "It's just that it's Dean."
"It is Dean," Jess agrees. "He calls you names and treats you like you're three and calls you spoiled."
Sam gets the weirdest smile on his face, some kind of cross between amusement and what might be pity. "Well, Dean is three, so—"
"But you aren't, Sam," she says. "And he shouldn't treat you like you're some helpless toddler."
Sam shrugs. "Trust me. Dean's a jerk most of the time, but he would sell his car for me."
And that just breaks her heart, but she can't tell if it's sad or sad. "Sam, the fact that you're worth more than a car doesn't mean you're spoiled."
Sam roars with laughter. He head goes back, and he claps, and it's the biggest laugh she's ever seen from him. It actually takes him a minute to respond because every time he opens his mouth to speak, he starts giggling like a little kid.
"You don't understand Dean and that car," he finally says. "He would cut off both of his arms and teach himself how to drive with his feet for that thing. But if it was between me and the car, he would sell her so fast it would make your head spin."
"He doesn't treat you like it," Jess tells him.
"He does," Sam insists. "Look, I can cook. We both know this. But Dean keeps convincing himself that I'll light all of California on fire if I try to boil water, so he makes me food without having to acknowledge that he does it because he likes cooking for me."
"That sounds like a ridiculously complicated method of spoiling you," she admits.
"I'm not spoiled," Sam objects.
"Oh, you really are," Jess says. "It's just the Dumb Boy method of spoiling you."
Sam smiles a little, huffing out a laugh and threading their fingers together. Her thumb passes back and forth over his, slowly. It's nice and calm in a way they haven't really been able to enjoy in a while.
"I know that Dean is incredibly abrasive," Sam says. "But he is the best person I know. Give him a chance, and I promise you; you'll see it, too."
"Really, Dean?" Sam asks, picking up the movie's case. "Poltergeist?"
"Hey, you said I could pick the movie."
"I'm pretty sure I didn't say that." Sam explicitly remembers telling Dean to get the first Harry Potter movie.
"Shush, Sam," Jess says, stealing a handful of popcorn. "I like this movie."
"Yeah, shush, Sam." Dean grins, snapping off a giant bite of disgusting red licorice. "Besides, you're a grown man. I think if I rented you that movie, my virginity would grow back."
"I will give you five hundred million dollars to never explain the connection between those two statements in your head," Sam tells him. "Did you at least get any Milk Duds?"
"No, but I got you Sno-Caps and Whoppers, so quit your whining and watch the movie."
They make it a good ten minutes into the movie. And then Jess asks if exorcisms really look like that.
"How the fuck should I know?" Dean asks her. "Ask Bobby."
"But you said that you hunted with Bobby Singer," Jess says. It's so weird to Sam that she always uses Bobby's first and last name. "He was the one who sent you to my mom in the first place, wasn't he?"
"Well, yeah, but a hunter can't survive on demons alone," Dean says. Sam knows that tone of voice. "There's only, like, six possessions a year. Worldwide."
"Hey, Dean," Sam says, trying to cut the fight off before it starts. "You remember when we first saw this, and you convinced the nuns at that one school that you were possessed?"
They ignore him.
"I know that, asshole," Jess says. "I just thought if you spent all this time with him, he might have taught you something."
"Hey, maybe we should make pea soup for dinner tomorrow," Sam suggests, desperate.
"Six a year. That's like learning Swahili because you might run into someone someday who only speaks it."
"It's nothing like learning Swahili!"
"I knew I should've gone to the store myself," Sam mutters.
Jess does not like hunting with Dean.
It's not personal. He's not the biggest asshole she's ever met in her life, and she's willing to concede that even when he treats Sam like dirt, he would probably violently murder anyone else who tried to do it.
And he's a good hunter. Great shot, awesome with knives, can even wield a sword... somewhat decently. And he's smart and careful, and he doesn't talk down to her as much as he did when they first started hunting together.
But she's starting to think he pisses monster bait.
There is absolutely no reason why their completely safe recon for the killer seahorse monster should get crashed by giant mutated crabs who either want to eat them or play Edward Scissorhands with their minivan-sized claws.
And yet. It's two-thirty in the fucking morning, and Jess has on a bikini top and jean skirt—it was supposed to be recon, she was blending in, dammit—and her and Dean—in his stupid, stupid jeans and his stupid, stupid jacket and his stupid, stupid fucking boots—are being chased down the edge of the water.
If they make it off the stupid fucking beach, she just might strangle Dean.
Nine bullets and a MacGyver'd flame-thrower pike later, Jess has lost both of her sandals and most of the skin off of her knees. They've also managed to take down a crab the size of a small beach house and drive the others back into the sea.
Dean still has all his clothes and no scrapes, and the hair on his head somehow looks exactly the fucking same as when he stepped out of the car. Jess looks like she got trashed and gave a really bad blowjob. It's probably the bad blowjob part that she hates the most because that's just misleading. She prides herself on giving awesome head.
"You think this is safe to eat?" Dean asks, nudging one of the legs with his stupid boot.
"I think we should light the ocean on fire and hope it takes out the hippocamp with whatever the fuck these things are," she tells him as she tries to shake the sand out of her hair.
"Yeah, but do you think we could eat this? I mean, we'd have food for a month," Dean says, looking particularly gleeful.
"We're not towing a giant dead crab carcass to the apartment." She understands so much more about Sam with every second she spends with Dean.
"Oh, so free food isn't good enough for you?" Dean asks.
She really, really hates hunting with him.
"Just try to have a conversation with her without insulting her," Sam begs. "Please?"
Dean's giving him that stupid look like he's actually offended by anything Sam says to him anymore. "Dude, I have never insulted one of your girlfriends!"
"You told Cheryl Alison that she looked like a horse!" She broke up with Sam in the middle of the lunch room and told everyone he was homeless. Which sucked and had the added benefit of getting CPS called on them.
"She did look like a horse! And that bitch was fucking evil, Sammy. Stuck-up snob."
Like that makes it any better. Dean and his stupid brand of weirdly honest justice is insane on his best days. "See? That. Don't do that with Jess, Dean. Please?"
"Dude, I like Jess," Dean says. He isn't even lying, either. Sam knows that Dean really does like her. But that won't stop him from being an insulting asshole because he can't think of anything else to say or because she irritates him for any length of time at all.
"Then do me a favor," Sam begs again. "Tell her that."
"I don't know, Sammy," Dean says. "If she thinks she can order the sirloin, why settle for the chicken nuggets?"
Sam laughs before he can stop himself. "Because the sirloin will probably give her herpes?"
Dean looks the perfect levels of insulted and indignant. "Fuck you. I wrap my meat before I put it in the freezer."
"On second thought, take her anywhere but dinner."
"You ruin all my fun."
"Which one of these things says steak?" Dean asks as he looks over the menu. He's going to get Sam for this.
"I have no idea," Jess says. "I don't speak French."
"Why did you pick this place, then?"
"I thought you picked it," she says, giving him a look.
Dean tries not to let just how stupid he thinks that is show on his face. She laughs, so he probably didn't do that good of a job. At least she's not offended. "What did you snort that makes you think I'd pick some place that would make me wear a fucking suit jacket and a tie?"
"I don't know." She smiles, taking a sip of her water and leaning back. "Maybe you were trying to impress me. Sam took me to the most expensive place he could afford on our first date."
"Yeah, that sounds like him," Dean says. Fucking kid; he doesn't listen to a word from Dean about chicks but goes out and copies every stupid fucking movie he sees. "At least he made a good impression."
"No way." Jess laughs. "He was so lucky that he got a second date. I was miserable, and he was so... obnoxious. I mean, now that I know him, I know he was just nervous and couldn't pull his foot out of his mouth, but then? I thought he was some rich, spoiled asshole who was trying to show off."
"Well, you got part of it right."
"...Asshole who was showing off?" Jess asks.
"Spoiled and showing off," Dean says. "He's only a part-time asshole, but he's always the most fucking spoiled kid on the entire planet."
"Yeah, I don't know," Jess says. "Maybe I have a different definition of spoiled than you do, but I think there are a lot of people out there who are a thousand times more spoiled than Sam."
"Trust me," Dean tells her. "That kid is spoiled, and he has no idea. I could spend a week making a list of the reasons and still not be done."
The waiter interrupts them then, but they decide to go somewhere where there isn't a chance they might accidentally order snails or octopus or something else fucking nasty like that.
Even though they didn't order anything and the waiter acted like Dean wiped dog shit on the table, Dean leaves the dude a twenty. Two bucks a minute seems like a fitting going rate for this place.
Jess says she's fine with eating anywhere, so Dean decides to call her bluff and refuses to tell her where they're going.
"Does it ever bother you?" Jess asks a few minutes later. "That Sam got so spoiled and you didn't?"
"You're an only child, right?" Dean can't remember hearing about any brothers or sister from her. "When you have a sibling, it's different than it looks."
"Becca and Zach fight all the time," Jess insists. "Over their parents getting one of them a car but not the other, or having to share things, everything."
"I don't know," he says honestly. "Maybe it's because they're twins or because they're brother and sister and not brothers. With Sam... I'd gladly fucking eat Ramen for a month so he could eat burgers or steak. That's just... he's my little brother, you know? He's Sam." Dean doesn't know how else to say it.
"You're better than you think you are," Jess tells him. "I mean, I'd like to think that if I had a brother or sister, I'd be close to them, but if I were in your position, I'd probably resent the hell out of them."
"You wouldn't," Dean says. Jess is good, and he likes her. Never in a million years does he think she'd be one of those people, the kid who ditched their little brothers and sisters when they were supposed to be watching them or the fucking grown human beings who haven't talked to their own siblings in years. "You would fucking rock at being someone's big sister."
"That is a really weird compliment, but thank you."
They're stuck at a red a few minutes later when Dean's curiosity finally gets the better of him. "How'd he get the second date?"
"You said Sam was a tool on your first date and was lucky to get a second one. Why'd you give him another chance?"
"Have you seen your brother?" Jess asks him, laughing. "There was no way I was going to suffer through that date and not get to see him naked."
"That..." Dean trails off, shaking his head and trying not to picture his baby brother and his baby brother's girlfriend naked together. "That was definitely an overshare."
"Just think." Jess smiles at him. "If your brother hadn't been so weirdly against sex with a virtual stranger, we might not be here right now!"
There's a... it's not an awkward moment. It's just a moment that is somewhat less than normal. Like every other second of Sam's life. Sometimes he swears his life is a series of weird things broken up by uncomfortable things and Dean's nauseating lack of table manners.
See, Sam's been having these dreams. Perfectly normal dreams, if you've already accepted the fact that you want to have sex with your brother until you both chafe. But they're really vivid dreams with lots of tiny details. And it—Dean—
Sam isn't having trouble distinguishing dreams from reality. He isn't. He's not crazy or anything like that. But the dreams are so realistic, and they have all these details, and Sam might not always realize he's dreaming. Sometimes.
In the dreams, they're on the same couch they own now, and his finger gets caught in the hole at the neck of Dean's shirt Dean makes every time he rips the tag out instead of cutting it out. Dean's lips are soft against his, and there's a slightly coppery taste on his tongue from where Dean bit his own cheek while eating half an hour ago.
Dean's nails are digging into the dip of Sam's back, like Dean's trying to make a fist in Sam's skin and pull him closer. Sam can't contain the hungry moan he makes, and he can feel the huff of air across his cheek when Dean laughs at him before diving back in for more. His neck aches a little bit from the angle, and he can feel the pull in his calf muscle from balancing most of his weight on the ball of his foot where it's perched on the floor.
Dean's murmuring mindless nonsense into the skin of Sam's jaw when they break for air, and Sam has just enough time to gasp in a few breaths between Dean's bites before Dean leans in again for more.
But it isn't real, and he hasn't kissed Dean since the last time he did, when he was seventeen and Dean pushed him away and told Sam he was too old to pretend this wasn't fucked up anymore.
And yet, when they're sitting on the couch and Dean bites his cheek because he eats so fast that accidental self-cannibalism is a real worry, there's a moment where Sam has a flash of déjà vu and isn't completely certain whether he had a dream or if he and Dean making out on their couch actually happened.
"It's not a shark," Dean says stubbornly.
"It's a shark," Jess insists. "We're hunting a shark in the middle of the park, and I really love being a hunter sometimes."
"Did that really have to rhyme?" Dean asks.
"No, but it's more fun when it does!" Jess says with a grin.
It is kind of fun, even though Dean insists that if it's on land, it can't be called a shark anymore.
"Ooh, maybe it's in a pool," Jess suggests eagerly. Dean likes a good hunt as much as the next guy, but her enthusiasm is a little scary. "Don't you wanna ask why, Dean?"
"Yeah, you do, come on. Ask me. Ask me why I think it might be in a pool."
"If you keep talking, I'm going to take out your kneecap."
"Maybe it's a pool shark!"
Dean can't stop himself from laughing. He doesn't want to. He really doesn't want to, but he can't help but appreciate a good pun. And Jess's laugh is a little infectious. Or something.
"Maybe it has a deck of cards with it," Jess wonders out loud.
"Okay, now you're just stretching," Dean tells her.
"What if it has a deck of cards, and it's in a pool, but then we chase it onto land?" She's practically bouncing in place.
Before Dean can respond, though, a thing that looks a lot like a shark if a shark could survive out of water and in a California park, falls out of a tree.
No, Dean has no idea what the fuck is going on either.
But then it gets weirder because he and Jess each get off approximately one shot before a tiny brunette girl leaps out of the tree after it and stabs it in its evil, people eating, shark-monster head.
Dean is pretty fucking dumbfounded. Jess seems to be at a loss for words, too. Which is pretty understandable, because, seriously. "What just happened?"
"I just saved your worthless asses from being chum," the brunette tells them. She yanks the blade of her pretty awesome-looking knife out of the shark's head and wipes it off on the sleeve of her jacket before sliding it into what is hopefully not just a normal pocket on the inside of it.
"Hey!" Jess protests. "Who are you calling worthless?"
"The two yahoos who just almost got flattened and eaten by shark."
"Don't say it," Dean tells Jess. And then Jess—the bitch—signs at him. Dean's knowledge of sign language is mostly limited to finger spelling, curse words, and the shorthand signaling that gets used on hunts, but he's pretty sure that was "I told you so."
"I didn't know there was another hunter on campus," Jess says to the girl.
"There are a lot more people like me here on campus than you think," the girl says.
Something about her smile rubs Dean the wrong way and puts him on edge. "So, you're the reason I can find any hunts here on campus, aren't you?
The girl smirks and says, "Oh, I do what I can to help protect our future leaders."
"I'm pretty sure you're a jinx," Dean tells her as they make their way back to the car.
"I am not," she says, shoving Dean sideways. "You're just cursed with hunts."
"I might be." Dean nods. "I blame Sam."
"When in doubt, he's the best one to blame," Jess agrees. "It's those eyes, you know?"
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Dean asks her. "I had to grow up with him. Those eyes developed before he did. He barely talked at all until kindergarten because all he had to do was pout and aim those eyes at you and he got fucking everything."
"I can't tell if that's more adorable or more hilarious," Jess admits.
"Evil," Dean corrects her. "The word you're looking for is evil."
All of a sudden, Jess gasps and yanks at Dean's arm, and Dean immediately tries to maneuver himself between her and whatever it is that she just saw.
Except then Jess tugs at his arm again and pulls him around to face her. "Please, please tell me that you have baby pictures of him! He always said he didn't have any, but I say that about my embarrassing photos all the time, too."
"I might have one or two," Dean admits, trying to force his heartbeat back into normal.
Jess bounces a little. "I will love you forever if you show them to me right now."
Dean's stomach might do a very small, almost unnoticeable, flippy thing that he ignores. "If you wait till we get back, I can show them to you in front of Sam so you can see him turn all red and stupid."
"You might not be as big of an asshole as I thought you were," Jess tells him. She's still got his arm trapped in both of hers, and this time when his stomach flips, it's one that's he's used to.
Though, given, it's one that usually happens after he's let Dad down or embarrassed Sam by existing. Dean just smiles a big smile at her and bites back on the urge to call her a name or shove her away. Sam said he had to play nice, after all.
If he said it out loud, Dean is sure Sam would just pick another fight like he loves to do, but there's something really off to him about everything. There is something fishy going on.
There were no hunts in the area. None. Dean knows this. He spent two weeks trying to find even a hint of a haunting or some kind of hungry monster looking for a gooey human jawbreaker. There was nothing. No hunts. Period.
And then, like something was listening, the moment he said it out loud to Sam, all of a sudden, there were monsters coming out of the fucking woodwork. Still not really any ghosts, but anything with a sniffer or a stomach seems to be descending on Stanford like an all-you-can-eat buffet just opened up.
Dean's gut tells him not to ignore this, but he doesn't really want to say anything, lest he tip off... something. Dad would know what to do.
Unfortunately, Dad is also Dad, and has not answered his phone in a week and a half.
Luckily, most hunters Dean knows rely on Bobby always answering his phones no matter what time of the day or night it is.
Jess's opinion of Dean jumps by about nine hundred points when he breaks Brady's nose. She already has a pretty decent opinion of him before that, but after, with Brady's face a bloody mess and Dean being escorted out of the frat house by a couple of scared linemen? He's only just behind Sam. In points.
In reality, he's in front of the charge while Sam actually leaves Brady to follow Dean.
Brady has always been an obnoxious drunk, and Sam babies him like if he leaves Brady's side, Brady will immediately go get high. Until the hunting thing, pretty much every fight she ever had with Sam was about Brady.
So. Dean earns points for flattening Brady's nose against his drunk face and her eternal gratefulness because Brady is drunk and hurt and bleeding and in pain, and Sam didn't even hesitate to leave him in a bloody mess on the ground.
"What the hell, Dean?" Sam yells once they're outside.
"I want a burger."
"If you drive me to the store, I will bake you whatever pie you want right now," Jess tells him.
Dean stops so suddenly that she's sure Sam's going to walk right into him. He doesn't, though, because on their worst day, they're a thousand percent more like twins than Rebecca and Zach on their best day. "Don't joke about pie, Jessica."
"Don't call me Jessica, Dean," she says. "You need a longer name so that works better."
"Jess, you can't reward him for hitting Brady!"
"Dude, if I lose out on pie because of you, Brady won't be the only one getting his nose reset tonight."
"Stop treating this like a joke!"
"He should be lucky I didn't shoot him!"
"Children! Get in the fucking car before somebody calls campus security!"
"Dude," Dean breathes. "You made her curse. You are so totally not getting laid tonight."
"I didn't make her curse," Sam protests. "You did! Now she's definitely not making you pie."
"Did you two not hear me? Car."
The fact that it's Dean's car and that no one he isn't related to is allowed to drive it sort of saps out a lot of her power.
She's beginning to hate the back seat. And that damn Army man that she never remembers until she sets her arm on its sharp plastic helmet.
"I call shotgun on the way back from the store," she says, rubbing the sore spot on her forearm.
"You can't call shotgun like that," Dean argues.
"Are you really going to bake him a pie?" Sam asks, turning halfway around to face her in the backseat.
"Baby, I love you, and that is the only reason I haven't knocked out all of Brady's teeth by now," Jess says honestly. "I'd make him a medal if I knew how."
"Pie is better. I'd just melt the medal for ammo."
"I would really appreciate it if you two would stop treating this like a joke," Sam says.
"You know what I would appreciate?" Dean asks. "If you ever had a single ex I didn't want to shoot in the junk."
Sam straightens up, shoulders tense and defensive. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Bitch, please," Dean says.
"'Bitch, please'?" Sam repeats, incredulous.
"That's right," Dean says. "That was so fucking stupid it deserved a 'bitch, please.'"
"Is it, like—is it physically impossible for you to not be an asshole?" Sam asks. He looks so hurt that Jess wants to hug him. The seat is a barrier, though, and she has to settle for rubbing his shoulder, which is probably much more awkward than comforting.
"Dude, I'm sorry," Dean starts. "But Jess might be the first person you've banged who I haven't wanted to take out back and beat."
Jess doesn't think he sounds particularly sorry.
"You can't just say things like that, Dean," Sam tells him. He looks angry. Tense in a way she isn't really used to with Sam.
"It's not my fault you have shitty taste. Not including her." He nods to Jess.
"Thank you," she says, giving him her best smile. It's pretty nice knowing she passes Dean's test, especially now that she knows how much he can't stand most people. "But you should probably shut up before Sam hits you."
"What?" Dean turns to Sam again. "Dude, I've never liked anyone you dated; you can't get pissed at me for it now."
"I'm not mad about that," Sam tells him.
"You are totally mad," Dean says.
"I didn't say I wasn't mad; I said I wasn't mad about that."
"Well, then what the fuck are you mad about?" Dean asks, arms spread wide and smacking into Sam's chest.
"Just a guess," Jess interjects. "But probably the violence and the part where we got kicked out of the party."
"That bitch hates parties," Dean tells her.
"I'm right here!" Sam yells.
Jess raises her voice to be heard over the boys. "You're five inches away from each other. Stop screaming!" They ignore her, of course.
"And you're a whiny little bitch who hates parties and throws temper tantrums, so just fucking get it over with."
"I do not throw temper tantrums!"
"You get mad for no fucking reason over stupid shit. That's a temper tantrum."
"Maybe I didn't tell Jess that I liked guys, too, Dean! Did you think of that? Do you even fucking care?"
"He did actually tell me," Jess tells Dean. "A while ago."
"Wait, so then why are you mad?" Dean asks Sam.
"Did you listen to a single fucking word that I said?"
"But she knows!"
"But you didn't know that!"
"So you're mad at me for something I didn't do? Did you hit your head?"
"I'm mad because you don't care!"
"If you could both stop yelling, that would be fantastic," Jess interrupts. She's pretty sure they're going to ignore her, but to her surprise, Dean takes a breath, and when he speaks again, it's in a more normal tone of voice.
"I don't understand a single word that you're saying. Act like I don't speak Pretentious Stanford Douchebag."
"You can't just out people like that, Dean," Sam says. "What if Jess didn't know? What if she didn't know and didn't like it?"
"Then fuck her," Dean spits out. "No offense."
"None taken," Jess says.
Sam sighs. "You're missing the point, Dean."
"No, I'm not, Sam. If you're dating someone and they only like part of you, then you don't fucking need to be dating them. You need someone who likes all the fucking stupid-ass faces you make and the way you drool all over everything in your sleep."
Jess wants to hug Dean. For someone who claims to hate anything having to do with emotions or being even remotely heartfelt, he sure is awesome at it. Sam keeps opening his mouth, starting and stopping a few times.
"I have an actual valid argument," Sam finally starts, sounding much less heated and angry than he did a few minutes ago. "Reasons and everything. But I can't even... I feel like a shithead for even being mad at you now."
"Good," Dean says, like he even understands how amazing of a person he is. He makes Jess wish she had an older brother half as awesome as him. "Then maybe you'll shut your trap so I can get me some pie."
Dean finally pulls away from the curb, what feels like months later, and Sam mutters something she doesn't catch that makes Dean's face light up as he laughs.
"Just for the record," Jess says. "I'm not a huge fan of the drool, but I do kind of like his stupid faces."
"Good," Dean declares. "If you ever stop, I call dibs on you, though."
Jess can't tell whether she should feel flattered or offended, so she settles for a little of both and relaxes into the backseat, trying to decide exactly what kind of pie she thinks Dean will have her make.
Sam wakes up with an intake of air so sharp that he starts choking on it, hacking and coughing until there's a glass of water pushed against his mouth and someone telling him to sip, not chug. The water goes down the wrong way at first because Sam's still trying to calm his heart back down and it feels like he just ran a marathon at a dead sprint.
"Nightmare?" Dean asks with his hand high on Sam's back, ready to smack if Sam starts choking again.
"I hate hunting," Sam croaks out. His voice hurts to use, and it makes him wonder if he'd been screaming in his sleep.
"Good thing you don't do it anymore then, huh?" Dean jokes.
It was so vivid and terrifying that Sam can't shake it from his head. Dean and Jess, they were—they weren't hurt. They were just. Dead. They were alive and saving some guy from some monster Sam's never seen before, and then the guy's eyes were black. Not like he'd been punched—but the iris, the sclera, everything inside went solid, inky black and then...
And then they were dead and bloody and mangled. Something happened, but Sam doesn't know what. It's like his eyes couldn't track it fast enough, but it was a dream, so maybe it's more like his brain couldn't track it fast enough.
"You good?" Dean asks him. His hand isn't on Sam's back anymore, but it's on Sam's shoulder now, rubbing just enough that Dean can claim something stupid if Sam mentions it.
Sam wants to say yes, that he's fine, it was nothing. But his hands won't seem to stop shaking, and he doesn't wanna go back to sleep. "What time is it?" he asks instead.
"Too early to run without getting arrested," Dean tells him. "Wanna learn how to make mac 'n cheese?"
"I know how to make mac 'n cheese," Sam gripes, his voice sounding hollow even to himself.
"No, you know how to nuke frozen mac 'n cheese. Come on," Dean says, standing up and dropping his hand from Sam's shoulder. "Get your lazy ass up, and I'll teach you how to feed yourself."
"I can cook, you know. And even feed myself," Sam points out.
"No, you can make food that is usually more edible than dangerous," Dean corrects him. "I can cook, Sammy. The thing about food is that you shouldn't have to settle for something that tastes like crap just because it will technically fit the bill."
It's really too early for Sam to process that many words in a row right now, but he can't keep the undoubtedly stupid smile off his face anyway. Dean always knows the best ways to fix Sam.
"Wipe that dopey smile off your face," Dean grumbles, standing up and pulling Sam with him. "It's mac 'n cheese, not steak and lobster."
Jess is not hiding.
She's just sitting on the floor in the kitchen because she fears that if she were in the other room with Brady for two more seconds, she might accidentally trip and snap his neck. And then Sam would get mad, and Dean would have to help her dispose of the body, and it would be a whole thing.
"But why are you sitting on the floor?" Dean asks her as he leans against the fridge. He's had the same beer for two hours and hasn't eaten in at least three. Jess is not sure how Dean hasn't kicked Brady out and stolen his pizza already. Probably Sam.
"I don't want my knee to lock," she says. She dislocated it last week, and even though it's back in place, the muscles tend to get stiff if she leaves it in one position for too long.
"Wuss," Dean says, sitting down next to her and pulling her leg into his lap.
"Hey! Skirt here!"
"Whatever," he scoffs. "You've got on underwear."
Jess wants to argue, because seriously, but Dean's got his thumb digging into one of the muscles in her knee, and it hurts in that really good way.
"Do you always moan like that when someone touches your knees? Because you probably shouldn't wear so many skirts if you do."
"Bite me," she tells him, rolling her head onto his shoulder. There's a light scraping at the top of her head that she knows is Dean's teeth because he's that kind of ridiculous. "My shampoo taste that good?"
"No." He blows her hair into her face. "You should buy a different kind."
"Sorry, they were all out of chocolate and beer-flavored at the store."
"If that really exists, no wonder it's sold out," Dean says.
It's a toss-up whether Dean is serious or not, so she errs on the side of caution and doesn't say anything else. "I don't want to be that girlfriend, you know? I don't want to tell him that he can't hang out with his friend just because they used to date."
"But it's not because they used to date," Dean says. "It's because that guy is Gordon Gekko with less morals."
Jess isn't sure who that is, but she appreciates the sentiment all the same. "Who actually throws a party at someone else's place, anyway? What an asshole."
"Hey," Dean says, all mock outrage and offense. "As an asshole, I take offense to being compared to that walking hemorrhoid." His thumb isn't digging in anymore, but the way it's swiping back and forth over her knee feels too good to ask him to stop.
Jess sighs. "He wasn't always like this, you know."
"Are you sure you weren't just blinded by his pearly-whites?"
"No, we were friends. Back when he and Sam were going out. He actually introduced us."
"I thought you said you flattened Sam's nose?"
"Well, yeah," Jess admits. "But after that. With names and no people freaking out and trying to figure out if they should call an ambulance."
"For a broken nose?" Dean asks.
"It was a pretty bad break. Anyway, we were at a party, which is funny because Brady used to hate them. All that loud, shitty music that you couldn't hear anyone over used to drive him nuts. Probably why he didn't put any on here."
"And?" Dean prompts again, nudging her back on track.
"And he introduced us. 'This is my friend, Jess. This is my boyfriend, Sam. Bond over single parents and having weird accents.' We were really good friends, too. I liked Brady."
"Not that I don't think you're awesome for Sam, but I can kinda see why you and Brady might not be blood brothers anymore."
"You mean because I have a vagina and would be someone's sister?"
"Or because his friend and his boyfriend started banging each other," Dean says. "I mean, if I were him, I probably wouldn't be your biggest fan, either."
"It didn't happen like that," Jess says. "He and Sam were long broken up by the time Sam asked me out. And I stopped being friends with Brady way before that."
"He went home for Thanksgiving break and, I don't know. He came out to his family, and they took it badly, and when he came back, it was like he was a completely different person. He started drinking a lot and doing drugs, and cheating on Sam with everyone he could, and just... Sam is the only reason he didn't overdose or flunk out. And then he got his act together, dumped Sam, and turned into this frat boy fun-fest douche."
"And Sam blames himself," Dean says.
"Of course. What a fucking moron."
"You're still not allowed to call Sam names," Jess says as she snuggles into his side.
"I changed his diapers." Dean puts an arm around her shoulder. "I can call him whatever I want."
"You're four years older than him."
"Exactly. You ever seen a five-year-old try to change a shitty diaper? That bitch will never stop owing me as long as he exists."
"You're disgusting," Jess says.
Dean's response, whatever it may have been, is cut off by Zach and his green-haired date coming in to the kitchen for some reason. Zach gives Jess kind of an awkward look, but she can't feel bad. She knows how it looks, but it's Dean. He's handsy, and he's her boyfriend's brother, and she loves Sam. She does not appreciate Zach's... Zach.
"This isn't a restaurant," Dean finally says. "Get back in your cages before I have to break out the hoses."
Zach backs out, still never having said a word, and Dean sits more upright, drawing his hand back from her knee and subtly shifting until there's an empty gap of space between them.
"Come on," he says, getting up and kicking her ankle lightly. "If we leave Sam alone with Shit-For-Brains any longer, he might rush a frat or something."
Sam wakes up choking on air again. He's coughing and wheezing, and it feels like his lungs are on fire. Dean's there with another glass of water again, and this time, he doesn't have to tell him not to chug. The water goes down the wrong way again, and he starts choking, which sets off another cycle of water and coughing until he manages to push the glass away.
"Another nightmare?" Dean asks, rubbing Sam's back lightly.
A cold shiver runs down Sam's back. "Same one," he admits.
Dean slides his hand up Sam's back and into his hair, ruffling it once and then tugging it quickly. "Come on," he says. "I'm gonna teach you how to not fuck up stir-fry."
"I don't think you should go," Sam says in the middle of dinner.
"What?" Jess asks.
"The hunt," Sam clarifies.
"No shit, dumbass," Dean says. "Pretty sure she was asking why we shouldn't go on it."
Sam's pretty confident that telling them that he dreamed them dying on the hunt would not really make them stay. "Because," he says. Intelligently.
"Oh," Dean says. "As long as you have reasons."
"You don't have to be an ass," Jess reprimands him.
"Of course I do," Dean argues.
"Just... let someone else do it," Sam begs them. "Please? I just have a really bad feeling about this."
"You always have a bad feeling about it," Jess points out.
"It's true," Dean agrees. "I'm all for listening to your gut, Sammy, but you always have a bad feeling about our hunts, and they always go off fine."
"Except for the last one where the girl saved herself," Sam points out. "And the one before that where the shark fell out of the tree, and the one where you two ended up hunting a completely different thing than you thought it was."
"You sent us on that hunt," Dean points out.
"In fact," Jess adds, "you made me and Dean go on that hunt."
"That isn't the point," Sam tells her.
"Dude, if you can give me a legitimate reason not to go on the hunt, we'll stay," Dean tells him.
"Someone else can do it," Sam says immediately.
"No, they can't," Jess says. "The nearest hunter is four hours away."
"What about that girl you two didn't save?"
"Don't say it like that," Dean complains.
"I don't have her number or know anything about her. I don't even remember her name," Jess says. "We can't just leave it and hope that she finds the hunt before someone else dies."
"It was some kind of stripper name," Dean says, "Diamond, I think? Besides, she was a tiny chick, and she was here. The hunt we're going on is an hour away."
"It's half an hour," Jess corrects him.
"It's the same thing," Dean says.
"It's really not," Jess says.
"Please," Sam begs them. "I have a really, really bad feeling about this hunt."
"People are dying, Sam," Dean tells him. He sounds sorry, and Sam knows he probably is, but that doesn't make it any better.
Sam's stomach churns, and he can feel his eyes burn a little. He jaw hurts from clenching it, but he's afraid that if he stops, he might do something stupid like cry because every fiber of his being is telling him that if Jess and Dean go on this hunt, he won't see them alive again.
Sam clears his throat once, twice, and tells them, "Then I'm going, too."
Dean and Jess stare. They don't say anything. They just stare.
"I'm sorry, what?" Dean finally asks.
"You heard me," Sam says. "If you two won't stay, then I'm going on the hunt with you."