theladyscribe: Etta Place and Butch Cassidy laughing. (bobby)
a subtle sort of brilliance ([personal profile] theladyscribe) wrote in [community profile] avandell2009-01-08 03:42 pm

when it rains it pours down

Title: when it rains it pours down
Characters: Jo, ensemble (no pairing)
Rating: PG
Word Count: 858
Summary: There's three extra horses hitched outside when she gets there, and she'd know the black mare dancing in the middle anywhere. The Winchesters have come for a visit.
Notes: AU. Written as a Christmas gift for [personal profile] quiet_rebel. Title is from "Devotion" by The Indigo Girls.

when it rains it pours down

"Storm coming," says Bobby Singer when he's helping Jo load up her saddlebags with the sugar and flour and salt. "You best be quick getting home."

He's right as he always is, and thunder rumbles across the plain as Jo makes her way to her mama's house. There's three extra horses hitched outside when she gets there, and she'd know the black mare dancing in the middle anywhere. The Winchesters have come for a visit.

They only pass through Valentine a few times a year, but they always stop by. Jo's ma puts them up for a few nights, feeds them, darns their socks and patches their clothes if they need it. They need it more frequent than not.

Jo likes it when they come through. Sam brings her dime books to read and their daddy brings cloth and ribbon from Chicago. Dean doesn't bring a thing but himself and his big black mare, but sometimes he'll let Jo ride behind him and go tearing off across the fields with Sam giving chase.

Jo scurries down off her little filly, pulling her inside the barn just as the first fat drops of rain start to fall. She runs between barn and house with the saddlebags flapping against her. Pushes into the kitchen, calling, "I'm home, mama, and there's a storm rolling in!" when she sees the somber looks on Sam and Dean's faces. It's the first time she can remember that Dean's not had a smile on his face.

He stands and takes the saddlebags from her, says quietly, "Sam, take the horses inside the barn." Sam heads outside without complaint.

She wants to ask what's going on, but the way they're acting can only mean one thing: something's happened to their daddy.

"Dean?" It's her mama's voice brings them out of their little tableau. "He's askin' for you."

He nods tightly, lips a thin gash on his face, as he turns and walks to the hallway.

"Mama?"

"Good thing I sent you out for supplies today," she says conversationally, not giving a real answer. "Winchesters're gonna be staying a few days."

There's a flash of lightning as Sam comes back in the house, followed quickly by shaking thunder.

"Your daddy's awake now, Sam. Your brother's seeing to him. You can go, too."

Dinner's quiet that night, not the usual laughter and teasing that comes with the Winchesters. The storm still rages outside, rumbles of thunder and daggers of lightning across the sky. Dean picks at his food, pushing his plate away before slamming out the kitchen door into the rain. Jo's mama keeps her and Sam at the table until they've cleaned their plates, makes Sam help her wash the dishes after.

Jo slips out the door to the barn when her mama's not looking. Dean's in there, cooing soft words to his mare, old cowboy song about the war his daddy probably taught him. When he hears her come in, he stops, snaps, "What do you want?" without even looking at her.

There's rain drops in his hair and he's snuffling like he's got hayfever. It's not 'til he turns around that she realizes he's got streaks of tears on his face. It reminds her that he's only sixteen, still just a boy for all his bravado.

"What?" he says again, fists clenching and unclenching.

Jo finds her voice. "What happened?"

"None of your business."

Dean gets mean when he's upset. Jo remembers the last time he was like this: Sam had broken his arm when Dean cajoled him into climbing as high as he could in the apple tree. It wasn't a bad break, but Dean spent the rest of their time here surly and snappish.

"Your daddy's sleeping in my bed, which means I have to sleep in the attic with your stinky self 'til he's better. That makes it my business." It's trying to fight fire with a straw broom – it'll either work or the broom'll go up in flames – but she's not sure what else to say to get him to talk.

There's another rumble of thunder, and the horses whicker. Dean turns back to his mare, brushes a hand down her neck. "He took me huntin'." Speaks so softly, Jo has to move closer to hear him over the rain pounding outside. "We were in Colorado, and there was a were-cat. I was supposed to stay back, keep outta the way, but the thing came right for me. I shot and missed, and Dad went straight for it, distracted it so I could reload."

Jo's right beside him, but he still won't look at her. "I killed it, but not before it got him across the stomach." He sniffed again. "Wound didn't look so bad at first, but yesterday mornin' it smelled so rank, I could tell it was infected, and Dad wouldn't wake up. Sammy and I brought him here, fast as we could."

"But he's gonna be fine, right?"

He shrugs. "Yeah, maybe."

She slides her hand into his, gives it a squeeze. "He's gonna be fine," Jo repeats, sure that if she says it enough, it'll be true.

*

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