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Maybe, One Day

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    Novalee checked her makeup in the mirror. Her friends were due to arrive at any minute, and she was running late. Her work had kept her late for inventory, and Nova knew her friends wouldn’t forgive her if she made them late for Ladies’ Night at their favorite club. It didn’t matter to them that her boss had gone missing two days before, Ladies’ Night reigned supreme.

 

    Nova primped her hair, letting the flaming red locks fall on her shoulders. The soft blue eyeliner in the corners of her eyes helped to bring out the orange flecks in the pools of light brown. She straightened her midnight blue dress, making sure the knee-length skirt wasn’t likely to ride up while dancing.

 

    She groaned when she heard her friends beating on her front door, “Nova! We came ova! Now let’s go find a Casanova!”

 

    She went and grabbed her handbag before opening her front door, “That rhyme got old a long time ago.”

 

    “Hot mami,” her friend Sarah grinned. “It’ll never get old!”

 

   “Girl,” Amber, her other best friend laughed, popping her tongue. “We’ll make you a new rhyme when this one gets old. Maybe, Novalee! Let’s go see, if us three, can get some D!”

 

    Nova rolled her eyes, “We’re thirty, not fifteen!”

 

    Amber looped her arm through Nova’s, pulling her from the doorway as Sarah shut the door. “Chickadee, we don’t talk ages! As far as the guys know, we’re fucking ageless!”

 

    Nova laughed and followed her friends. Amber and Sarah had been her best friends since childhood. Their parents joked all the time about the day they had met on the first day of Kindergarten. Amber’s long blonde hair was in a tight braid that she hated. Sarah’s short brown hair was spiked by her single father and Nova had her bright red hair pulled into a tight ponytail. The three girls sat at the same table as their parents got ready to leave and Sarah and Amber threw identical tantrums over their hairstyles. Nova sat staring at the two girls, a calculating look in her eyes. Finally, Nova stood, fingers slicking Sarah’s hair back before unbraiding Amber’s hair and pulling her hair tie to give Amber pigtails. The three had been thick as thieves ever since.

 

    Nova still acted as the problem solver for her two friends, always doling out advice or helping them out of tight spots. Amber was the beauty guru. She could spend hours finding the perfect first date dress or the perfect job interview outfit. Sarah was their techie. She kept them up to date with the newest gadgets and could find anything out within a few minutes.

 

    The three took Nova’s car to the bar, piling into the Honda Civic and blaring music on their way. Sarah was telling them about the newest Samsung Galaxy as they poured out of the car and walked into the club. They quickly fell into their usual routine. Amber ran to the bar to get the first round, Sarah searching out their usual table, and Nova patrolled the bar looking for any easy targets for the night.

 

    Nova found two guys, both Sarah and Amber’s types before sitting down with the women and filling them in. “Two guys, both smoking hot. The guy at two o’clock has that hipster haircut you love to tug on, Amber. Sarah, the guy at five was talking to some other guy about his new computer part. He just put in a new graphics card, and he’s regaling him with the improved picture. Oh! And he’s got a BOD for a nerdy guy. Arms are thick and juicy.”

 

    Both girls squealed and turned to look at the guys, the two smirking when the guys noticed them and batted their lashes before Amber giggled, “Oh, my guy is going to be a synch. Can’t wait to play with that hair.”

 

    Sarah bit her lower lip and gave her guy a coy smile, “I think I’m in. Novalee, what about you?”

 

    “Night’s still young, and you guys know how picky I am.” Nova shrugged, “I like my guys tall, dark, and gorgeous. I’ll settle for two out of three, but none of these guys are hitting any spots for me.”

 

    “You need to get off your ass and get out there,” Sarah scoffed. “I’ve only met maybe four vatos that would cover what you want. Hard to find a guy for you when you are so picky.”

 

    Nova took a drink of her hard cider, “My guy will turn up one of these days, and you’ll shit yourself.”

 

    Amber laughed, “At least you don’t have my problem! No guy likes dating a girl who’s only five three. I get called kid and shorty constantly. It’s a huge turn-off.”

 

    “You’re gorgeous,” Novalee praised. “And if a guy calls you kid, run! That’s just skeevy.”

 

    Sarah choked on her drink, coughing out, “O.M.G! Nova! I think your guy just walked in and my panties are now soaked.”

 

    Nova looked through her lashes at the guy that walked in, jaw-dropping. “Oh yeah. That’s my type!”

 

    The new guy was tall, really tall. His dark blue suit hugged his broad shoulders, and the red and gold tie hung loosely around his neck. She smiled and turned her face up to get a better look, wondering if his long brown hair was as soft as it looked.

 

    Sarah nudged her with her shoulder, “Chica, you look like the cat that got the cream!”

 

    Nova hummed, “I’d take his cream.”

 

   “That is just wrong,”  Amber groaned. “And dirty. And I feel soiled just hearing it.”

 

    Nova smiled at her friends, “Okay, should I do a run by or sit and try to lure him over?”

 

    “Fly by.” Sarah brushed her curly brown hair off her shoulder. “Vato looks tasty, but he’s a bit overdressed for a club.”

 

    Nova nodded and stood, downing her cider before straightening her skirt. She winked at her friends and started her extended circle around the club, dancing across the floor before slowly walking to the bar, empty bottle in hand. She leaned her chest across the bartop, giving the bartender a quick wave as he talked to Tall, Dark, and Yummy.

 

    Devon waved back and excused himself, chuckling, “Hey Nova. You want a drink or info?”

 

   “Both, please,” she urged.

 

    He reached behind the bar, grabbing rum, a lime, and the other ingredients needed for a Dark ‘N Stormy, Nova’s favorite drink. “He’s FBI Agent Jones. He’s investigating those disappearances over the last week.”

 

    He worked slowly, mixing her drink while filling her in on the agent before she whispered, “Think I have a chance?”

 

    He looked out the corner of his eye at the guy, and Nova leaned back, giving a small giggle. “Oh, I think you do. He’s been sneaking peeks at you since you leaned over this bar.”

 

    She grinned and took her drink, watching the ginger beer, lime juice, and rum swirl. “Thanks, Devon. If he asks, put in a good word.”

 

    He winked and took her money before walking back to the agent. Nova took a sip of her drink before smiling at Devon and Agent Jones. She gave a small finger wave, smothering a giggle when the agent gave her a shy smile and turned to Devon. Nova walked back to her friends, grinning at them and giving them a small thumbs up. Her friends clapped and bounced in their seats.

 

     Nova spent the night trying to flirt with the agent while drinking coyly. Small smiles and quick glances were exchanged before he finally got up and started walking over. Nova’s stomach felt like it was going to burst with butterflies, making her more excited to talk to him. Amber had already left with her guy, and Sarah was making out with her's in a booth in the corner. She finished her second cider, setting the bottle next to her old mixed drink cups. She was starting to feel the effects of the alcohol and worried she would make a fool of herself.

 

     She was used to selling things. She worked at a local clothing store and shoppers regularly needed to be talked into things they thought were not needed. Nova was the top seller for her shop, being promoted to temporary manager shortly before her boss disappeared. Sitting in a bar reminded her of her job. She had to sell herself to the guys that she wanted to go home with and this guy looked like a tough sell.

 

    She drank in the sight of the man as he walked over. His suit looked good on him, the color only a shade deeper than her midnight blue dress. His hair was parted down the middle, the ends almost brushing his shoulders. His suit jacket was buttoned, and his tie had been tightened. Nova looked down at the table, sucking on her bottom lip as she wondered if she could make this sale.

 

    She studied her empty bottle, suddenly feeling shy as he came over and stood next to her, “Are you Ms. Novalee Prince?”

 

   “Um, yeah,”  she hesitated, taken by surprised by his formal tone as she looked up at him. “How did you find out my name?”

 

    He gave her a quick smile, “I have a few questions for you and Devon, the bartender, pointed you out to me.”

 

    She turned and glared at Devon, who burst into laughter before she turned back to the agent. “May I ask who you are?”

 

    The agent nodded and flashed his badge, “Agent Jones, FBI. I’m here working a case. We’ve been informed that several older men have gone missing over the past two weeks. I understand one of them was your boss, Mr. Arthur Russell? Can you tell me anything about his disappearance, Ms. Prince?”

 

   “Novalee is fine, and Art was the owner of the clothing store I manage,” She sighed and started picking at the label on her cider bottle. “He came to work Monday, helped me close the shop, and then never came back to help me do the inventory like he promised.”

 

    Agent Jones pointed to the chair next to her, and she pushed it out with her foot before he sat. “Did anything strange happen that Monday night? Was he acting strange, Novalee?”

 

   “He got a call from his wife,” Nova shrugged. “He sounded panicked, which is strange because he was always very level-headed. We locked up shortly afterward, and he left for home like usual.”

 

     The agent leaned onto the table as he inquired, “Do you know how to get ahold of Mrs. Russell? The number we have has been unavailable.”

 

    Nova pulled her phone out of her handbag and rattled off the phone number before sighing, “So, Agent Jones, you were just looking to question me?”

 

    He gave her a shy smile and blushed, “Devon told me your name after I asked about the pretty redhead at the end of the bar.”

 

    “Really?” He nodded, and she plucked up her courage, “Um, Agent Jones, do FBI agents get time off?”

 

    He flashed her a gorgeous grin, “Yeah, we do. Usually after the case is finished.”

 

    She reached into her bag and grabbed a piece of paper. She wrote her name and number on it before picking it up. Twirling it between her fingers, Nova noticed his surprised look.

 

    Nova winked at him and held it out, “Call me when you have some time off, Agent Jones. I’d love to hear from you.”

 

    “Okay. Um, thanks, Novalee.” Agent Jones stammered as he took the paper and looked at it for a second before slipping it into his suit jacket.

 

    She jumped as Sarah’s fell onto the back of her chair, arms wrapping around her shoulders, “Oh! Ese looks yummy, but I’ve got this vato over here I’m going to take back to my place.” Sarah leaned her lips close to Nova’s ear, trying to whisper in Spanish but yelling instead as she slipped a condom into Nova’s hand. “Nova. Loba, take this principe home and have some dirty, yummy fun. If you don’t make him speechless or blind, keep going. I’m going to take your car.”

 

    Nova groaned, sneaking the condom into her handbag and Agent Jones looked away, suddenly blushing. Sarah took her keys and shimmied away before Nova could stop her. Shaking her head, she mentally tried to figure out if she had enough for cab fare.

 

     Nova grabbed her phone and used it to check her bank account. “Crap! Guess a taxi is out.”

 

    “Did she leave you without a ride, Ms. Prince,” the agent inquired.

 

    Novalee nodded, “Novalee, please and, um, how much Spanish do you know, Agent Jones?”

 

    His face reddened further, “Enough to pass freshman Spanish in high school.”

 

    “Please don’t take what she said to heart,” She groaned. “We all had a lot to drink tonight, and she’s perpetually horny.” Nova covered her mouth and sighed before hiccuping. “What I mean is… Ugh. There is no good way to fix that sentence.”

 

    Agent Jones laughed as his phone went off. “Don’t worry about it. My partner gets that way when he drinks or breaths.” He checked his phone before sliding it back into his pocket. “Why don’t I give you a lift home, Novalee? My partner just messaged, and I’ve got some free time.”

 

    She flashed him a brilliant smile before frowning, “Are you sure? I don’t want to be a bother, and I live about fifteen minutes away.”

 

    “No bother. Can’t leave a beautiful woman stranded in a bar.”

 

    “Well, I’d appreciate that, Agent Jones. And I promise not to try to jump your bones. Handcuffs can be fun, but not when you’re being hauled into the police station for assaulting a federal agent.” She blinked after realizing what her drunk mouth had just said and groaned, “Oh man, I need coffee or to sleep this off. I had WAY too much.”

 

    “Come on.” He gave a quick laugh and stood, his hand under her elbow helping her get off of the stool. “I’ll make sure you get home safe.”

Chapter Text

    Agent Jones walked Novalee out to the parking lot, helping her to stay upright when her heel twisted under her. She was cursing her stupidity for drinking so much when she saw the classic car he was driving.

 

    “Oh wow! That has got to be the prettiest car I’ve ever seen. What is it?”

 

    The agent laughed, “It’s a ‘67 Chevy Impala.”

 

    “It’s a beauty.” Nova walked over and ran her hand over the hood. “The bureau lets you drive your own car?”

 

    Agent Jones shrugged and walked over, his hand softly touching her back as he led her to the passenger side and helped her climb in. “They haven’t said anything yet.”

 

    Novalee buckled herself in as he shut the door and came around, climbing into the driver's side. “Well, that’s a nice perk.”

 

    He gave her a quick smile, and he pulled out of the parking lot. She gave him directions to her home as they talked, the night air coming through the windows helping her to feel a little soberer. She was enjoying talking to him about books and couldn’t help smiling the whole ride home as they discussed their favorite authors. When he pulled up to her apartment building, she got out slowly, making sure she had her things before stepping onto the sidewalk.

 

    Agent Jones slid out of the car, and she smiled up at him, “Thank you for getting me home, Agent Jones. I’d offer you coffee, but after my friend’s little, um, pep talk, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. So, yeah.”

 

   “I wouldn’t mind a cup if you want to talk some more, Novalee,” He chuckled, and she couldn’t help but notice his dimples.

 

    “I’d like that.” She started picking at the hem of her skirt. “I’d love to know more about that book you said you were reading.”

 

    He shut his car door after locking it, and she led him up to her apartment on the top floor. She grabbed the key hidden under a loose floorboard and opened her front door before flipping on the lights.

 

    “Come in; I’ll start making coffee.”

 

    He followed her in, closing and locking the door behind him, “You shouldn’t leave a key hidden there, Ms. Prince. It wouldn’t be hard to find it.”

 

    She laughed and walked into her kitchen, smiling at him as he stood in the doorway. “It’s the only place I have to hide it, and Sarah and Amber are always snagging my car keys. I’ve thought about keeping the spare key in my purse, but I’m kind of forgetful, and I have a feeling I’d leave it somewhere and forget where it is.”

 

   “ I can understand that. Maybe you can make a couple or find somewhere safer to stash the key.”

 

    She pulled down two coffee mugs and leaned against the counter, staring at the dimples gracing his cheeks and resisting the urge to walk over and kiss them. “Maybe you can help me find a place, Agent. I’ve had Sarah and Amber try to help me, but you saw where they found.”

 

    “Maybe I can,” Agent Jones leaned against the door jamb.

 

    She hopped up on her counter, crossing her ankles so her underwear didn’t show, “So should I keep calling you Agent Jones or is there another name I can call you?”

 

    His eyes were on her thighs, and he cleared his throat before looking up into her honey-colored eyes, “John. You can call me John.”

 

    She brushed her flaming locks from her shoulders, “John Jones, it’s very nice to meet you. You can call me Nova.”

 

    “It’s nice to meet you too, Nova.”

 

     Novalee noticed the coffee was done and jumped off the counter, fixing her skirt before pouring them both a cup. Walking over, she handed him his cup before leading him into her living room and sitting on her couch.

 

    “Oh! I forget that not everyone drinks coffee black. Do you need any milk? I might have some sugar in my cabinets.”

 

    “I drink it black too.”

 

    She cradled the cup in her hands, leaning back against the armrest as he sat at the other end of the couch. Nova curled her legs under her and blew on her coffee to cool it. Looking up at him to see him staring at her lips, she took a sip to hide her smile. She wasn’t trying to flirt with the agent, but she was flattered that he was looking at her the way he was.

 

    He cleared his throat and took a drink, “So you were saying that you just started rereading Tolkien?”

 

    “Yeah.” Nova grinned, cradling her cup in her lap. “I like the story, but he’s very detailed in his writing, and I’ve always struggled to sit through as he describes every minute detail of each piece of furniture in the room.”

 

    John Jones put his cup on the coffee table, turning towards her. “Yeah, it can get a little tedious. Sometimes I breeze over the descriptions to get to the good parts.”

 

    “I’m glad I’m not the only one,” she chirped. “Sarah always tells me that a book is meant to be read completely, not just breezed through.”

 

    “She should try reading a ten-minute description of how a table is engraved and how those engravings caught the light. It’ll bore you to tears.”

 

    She set her cup down on the table. “She’s into that kind of thing though. She likes to know exactly where everything is in relation to the characters. I’m much more interested in using my imagination.”

 

    They talked about Tolkien’s writing for a long while before switching to Salinger and Nabokov. Nova argued with John about Nabokov’s Lolita for a while, pausing only to refill their coffees before launching back into the strange story.

 

    “I’m telling you, John! I couldn’t finish it! It just skeeved me out so bad. Some older guy is talking about how this kid is turning him on. Yuck!”

 

    “I’m not saying it isn’t,” John refuted. “I’m just saying the writing itself was well done.”

 

    She shrugged, “I couldn’t get past the subject. I felt like a pervert reading it.”

 

    Novalee leaned back on the couch, keeping her skirt down as she curled up against the backrest, shivering. His smile turned sweet, and he pulled off his suit jacket and put it over her bare legs, tucking the edges around her. Smiling softly, she huddled under the large coat.

 

    “Thanks, John. I guess I could go change into something warmer, but I’m enjoying talking to someone who knows books as I do.”

 

    Grinning, he leaned back on the couch. “I know what you mean. My partner doesn’t read a whole lot, and I don’t get much of a chance to talk to anyone except suspects, witnesses, or informants.”

 

    She picked at the lining of his suit coat, “Well, I’d really like it if you called me next time you're in my neck of the woods. Maybe we can do something that doesn’t involve my friends trying to drink me under the table and then handing me a condom.”

 

    His chuckle made her smile, and he agreed, his hazel eyes dancing, “I’d like that. I’ve had a lot of fun talking to you, Novalee.”

 

    “Well, as I said.” She hugged her knees under his jacket, chin resting on top of them, the smell of sandalwood and old books from his coat surrounding her. “You are more than welcome to call me next time you happen to be close to San Diego.”

 

    John’s phone went off in his pocket, and he frowned, pulling it out and fiddling with it a moment. Nova watched him, her eyes suddenly heavy. He groaned, and her eyes flew open to see him stretching, his shirt pulling tight against his body. She blinked the sleep from her eyes, suddenly wide awake as she watched the shirt shift over his broad chest.

 

    When he looked at her, she blushed and looked down at the couch. “Sorry, I can head out and let you sleep.”

 

   “You’re fine,” she waved the idea away. “Is everything okay with your partner?”

 

    “He’s fine. Just letting me know he’s going to have a friend in the hotel room.”

 

    She laughed, “Is that code for he’s getting laid?”

 

    John chuckled, “Yeah, not a very good one, huh?”

 

    “Not really. You’re welcome to camp out on the couch if you want to miss that show.”

 

    His fingers combed through his hair, and Nova had the urge to reach out and brush a stray lock of his hair behind his ear. “You sure you’re okay with that?”

 

    “Not like you’re some creepy murderer.” Nova giggled, “You’re an FBI agent. Can’t get safer than that!”

 

    “It should be fine.”He shifted in his seat. “I can always sleep in the car until his friend leaves.”

 

    She stretched her legs out, nudging his hip with her toes, “John, stay here. I don’t mind. I mean, I don’t have anything that would fit you to sleep in, but I’ve got spare blankets and pillows at least. I think my longest pair of sleep shorts would be booty shorts on you.”

 

    He chuckled, “Yeah, it’s not easy finding clothes that fit me properly.”

 

    She stretched her arms above her head, sighing as her back cracked, “I’ll grab you some blankets and a pillow. The couch is a comfy place to sleep. I’ve fallen asleep many times on it.”

 

   “Thanks for helping me out, Nova.”

 

   “It’s no big deal.” She waved him off. “Need you bright eyed and bushy tailed so that you can catch the bad guys. Give me a second to grab that bedding and change into pajamas.”

 

    He nodded as Nova handed him his suit jacket back and she walked back to her room. After finding pajamas, she went into her master bathroom and changed, washing her makeup off and brushing her hair back into a ponytail. She grabbed a couple blankets and pillows from the hall closet and made her way back to the living room.

 

    Novalee stopped when she heard John talking. “Yeah, Dean. I’m just going to stay here… No, I’m fine… She gave me a little information, but not anything we need right away. It’s basically everything we already knew… No, I stayed to talk to her and make sure she’s okay… No, Dean. It’s not like that... Alright, I’ll call you in the morning and check in. Night.”

 

    She waited a minute before coming back into the room, carrying the bedding and seeing him put his phone away, his tie discarded and the top button of his dress shirt undone. “Call from your partner?”

 

    John startled, stammering, “Uh, yeah. Just wanted to know if I had any new information. Told him I’m going to stay here so he can do whatever it is he is planning on doing.”

 

    “Don’t you mean whoever?”

 

    He gave her that adorable smile again, and she felt like she had been bowled over, “I guess that would be the proper word there.”

 

    “Well, at least he’s having fun, I guess.”

 

    John shook his head and huffed, taking the blankets from her and setting them on the coffee table. “Thanks again for letting me stay.”

 

    She nodded and set the pillows on the couch, grabbing a blanket and fluffing it over the sofa before grabbing the other and doing the same. “It’s not a big deal. I’d offer you my bed, but I’m kinda protective of it. I just bought it a couple of weeks ago, and I’m still relishing the new mattress feel.”

 

    “I don’t think I’ve ever slept on a new mattress,” he laughed. “I sleep in a lot of motels.”

 

    She stared at him wide-eyed, “Have you at least laid on a new mattress? It’s like sex; you can’t get enough.”

 

    “Interesting way of putting it, but no.” His face turned red, and he rubbed the back of his neck,  “I can’t remember ever laying on one.”

 

    Nova didn’t know if it was the lack of sleep or the alcohol, but she suddenly reached out and grabbed his wrist, dragging the big guy down the hall. She opened her bedroom door and pulled him in, smiling when she saw his wide eyes and nervous demeanor.

 

    “No funny business, but lay down and try it out. And feel privileged because I haven’t even let Sarah or Amber lay on it.”

 

    He shuffled his feet, “You sure about this?”

 

    Nodding, she gave him a small shove, and he walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. She walked to the side of her bed she usually slept on and sat down.

 

    “John lay down. I swear, I’m not going to assault you.”

 

    He gave her a small smile and laid back, his head falling onto her spare pillow as he groaned. “Okay, I get it. It’s like laying on a cloud.”

 

    Laying next to him, she rested her hands on her stomach and smiled to herself, taking a moment to enjoy the feeling of sinking into the mattress. “I know. I fell in love the second I tried it at the store. Told them I didn’t care if it took me months to pay it off, I had to have it. It’s got this layer of cooling gel, so you never get overheated too.” She noticed he was silent and she rolled onto her side, propping herself up, “John?”

 

    She softly smirked when she saw him. His eyes were closed, hands draped over his stomach, his chest rising and falling in slow, even breaths. She watched him for a second before grabbing the blanket at the foot of the bed and covering him. Slowly, she climbed out of bed and grabbed another blanket from her closet before laying back down and curling up under it.

 

    She turned over, facing John as he slept. She couldn’t help the smile that stretched across her face. He looked so peaceful, the frowns and concerned looks washing from his face until there was just a calm, tranquil man left. She yawned and nuzzled into her pillow, his deep breathing lulling her to sleep.

Chapter Text

    Novalee woke up to the sound of her front door opening. Her sleep addled brain taking a moment to register before a hand reached over and squeezed her hip. Her eyes flew open, seeing a man lying in her bed. It took her a moment to remember who he was as the last night’s events poured through her again.

 

    Her face broke out into a grin as she took in Agent John Jones’ sleeping face. He had turned towards her in the night, his long body stretching down her bed. His hand pulled away from her hip and curled up next to his stomach as he fell back into a deep sleep.

 

    She heard the sounds of footsteps and keys jingling in her living room and groaned, getting up to find out which friend was visiting so early in the morning. Nova covered John up again and crept out of the room, shutting the door silently behind her. She combed her fingers over her ponytail as she padded down the hall and into her living room.

 

    “So?” Sarah smirked, standing at the coffee table while holding John’s tie and jacket. “That condom came in handy, huh? How was that Guapo in bed? As good as he looks?”

 

    Nova grumbled and grabbed her handbag off the table, reaching in and giving Sarah her condom back. “Nothing happened. We talked about books and drank coffee. Drunk Nova decided he needed to try laying on my new mattress because he said he’d never slept on a new one. So I dragged him back there, and he passed out while we were talking. That’s it.”

 

    “He said he’s never tried a new mattress?” Her friend crossed her arms. “Sounds like a line to get into someone’s bed to me.”

 

    “If it was a line, he didn’t follow through. He seriously passed out after laying down. He’s still asleep so keep your voice down. He looks like he hasn’t had a good night of sleep in years.”

 

    Sarah set John’s clothes down, putting Nova’s keys next to them. “You sound like you like him.”

 

    “I do, actually.” Nova shifted on her feet. “It was nice just sitting here and talking. He’s really intelligent and sweet. I didn’t expect that from an FBI agent.”

 

    “Well, I’ll let you get back to Principe. Sweet dreams, Mami.”

 

   Nova walked her friend to the door, locking it behind her before going back to her bedroom. She leaned on her door jamb, watching John’s chest rise and fall in his sleep. She quickly shook her head, feeling like a pervert. Climbing back into bed, Nova curled up under her blanket and listened to his breathing. She shifted, curling her legs up a little and John’s hand slid over, resting on her knee.

 

    She smiled, the warmth of his large hand seeping through the blanket as John squeezed her knee. Nova looked up to see his hazel eyes open in a curious look. His brow pulled together, and he pulled his hand back, laying it on his stomach.

 

    She sighed, “I didn’t mean to wake you, John. Sarah dropped off my keys, and I was just trying to get comfortable again.”

 

    The furrows on his brow deepened and he looked deep in thought before his eyes widened and he sat up, “Shit. Sorry, Ms. Prince. I should get going.”

 

    She reached out and grabbed his arm as he tried to get up, “Ms. Prince? John, I told you, you can call me Nova. And you don’t have to leave. It’s five in the morning. Get some more sleep. I can go lay on the couch if you’re uncomfortable with me lying here.”

 

    John kept his back to her, his hand running through his hair. “It’s five?”

 

    “Yeah. Get some more sleep. I’ll go into the living room.”

 

    “It’s fine, Nova,” he grunted. “I just… I forgot where I was. I’m sorry that I grabbed your knee like that.”

 

    She blinked, confused. “I didn’t mind it, John. Actually, it helped me to relax and get comfortable.”

 

    John pulled his legs back on the bed, “You sure you’re okay if I lay back down? I don’t want to wake my partner and… You were right about the mattress; it’s really nice.”

 

    “Get some sleep, John.” She pulled on his arm, making him lay back. “Like I said, I can lay on the couch if you’re uncomfortable with me sleeping next to you.”

 

    “No, it’s fine. It was actually kinda nice not to hear my partner’s snoring.”

 

    Nova laughed, “Well, I’ve never been told I snore, and I’ve shared with a room with two of my siblings and a couple of friends at one point or another.”

 

    He shifted on his back, pulling the pillow under his head again before turning his face to her. “I didn’t hear anything, so I think you’re good.”

 

    Novalee hugged her pillow to her chest, her head laying on the corner. She smiled at him, and he put his hands on his stomach again, his ankles crossed. She sat up and grabbed his blanket tucking it in around him and earning a small smile from John.

 

    “Sorry, it’s just weird seeing a guy in my bed. Let alone a guy in a suit.”

 

    He raised an eyebrow, “What? You don’t let guys in your room?”

 

    “Nope.” She sighed and laid down, explaining, “I’ve had a few girls, but normally I’m very private about my room. I told you, you should feel privileged.”

 

    He cleared his throat, shifting uncomfortably. “Um, you mean your friends Amber and Sarah?”

 

    “Amber, Sarah, and my ex-girlfriend, Talia.” She giggled, enjoying watching the big guy squirm. “That’s why I bought a new mattress. She went a little nutso when we broke up and trashed my room. I had to buy two new bookshelves, mattress, and even a new sink in the bathroom. Kinda made me nervous about dating another girl.”

 

    Confusion was all over his face before he looked up at the ceiling. “I didn’t realize you were… That you dated women.”

 

    Nova tried to suppress her laugh, “I’m not a lesbian, John if that is what you’re wondering. I’m bisexual. I date guys and girls, and no, not at the same time.”

 

    He nodded, his confusion erased by a smile. Nova grinned, seeing his dimples peak out. She had to look away, the urge to kiss them coming back full force.

 

    John’s voice was quiet when he asked, “So when you asked me to call anytime I wanted to hang out…?”

 

    “I meant it. If you want to sit around and drink coffee and talk about books. If you need to blow off some steam and go, I don’t know, bowling or drinking. If you just want to get dinner, I don’t care.”

 

    He nodded, “Maybe when this case is over, we, uh, can go out? Dinner, movie, and literary talk again?”

 

    She propped herself up, getting a better look at his face, “Are you asking me out on a date?”

 

    His hand reached up to play with his hair nervously. “Um, if you would want to go out on one with me?”

 

    “I would love that, John,” Nova agreed, smiling widely.

 

    His eyes locked on hers as a huge smile spread on his face, “Really?”

 

    “Definitely.”

 

    John’s hand fell on his stomach, his smile still shining on his face as he rolled onto his side. “I think this is the first time I’ve asked a girl out on a first date while laying in her bed.”

 

    Nova burst out laughing, laying on her side again and scooting up the bed, so she was eye level with him, “I think it’s a first for me too!”

 

...

 

    Three days later, John called her to ask if she had plans that night. They agreed to meet at her place for dinner, a movie, and then to a coffee shop to talk books. Nova called her friends, Amber agreeing to help her find an outfit and Sarah deciding to see if she could find any information about John Jones.

 

    Amber came over at four with several outfits for Nova to try on. They decided on skinny jeans and a tan tank top Nova had found at work that day. The lace back and small detailing on the neckline drew eyes to her chest and back, and Nova felt gorgeous even though it was a simple outfit. Amber talked her into putting on makeup, deciding on a very light amount in the end.

 

    Sarah came over to check out the first date outfit before John arrived at six. She was upset that she couldn’t find anything on John Jones and she told Nova to keep an eye out for red flags. Nova shrugged her friend’s worries off. He had already spent a night with her and hadn’t tried to hurt her.

 

    Sarah and Amber stayed to see what John looked like out of FBI suits. They were all speculating on what he’d wear on a first date. Since they had decided on a casual date, Amber said jeans and a detailed t-shirt. Sarah laughed, saying he would show up in a nice button up dress shirt and slacks. Nova waved them off, not caring what he wore as long as he showed up.

 

    Nova was pacing around her living room, playing with the silver pendant around her neck as her clock chimed six o’clock. “He’s not coming, is he?”

 

    “It just hit six!” Amber laughed, “Maybe he’s just planning on being fashionably late?”

 

    Novalee rubbed her thumb over the engraving on her pendant, trying to calm down. “Should I text him?”

 

    “Chica,” Sarah groaned. “He’ll come. Just calm down!”

 

    A loud rap on the front door made them all jump. Nova ran her hands over her clothes and took a deep breath, steadying her nerves. Sarah and Amber stood up and watched her walk over to the door.

 

    Sarah groaned and pushed past Nova, “Mami, I’m getting the door. A beautiful woman doesn’t open the door on the first date.”

 

    Nova was unable to speak as she stood next to Amber. Her friend hugged her shoulders and gestured to Sarah. Sarah’s dark brown eyes filled with mischief as she grabbed the handle and opened the door.

 

    John had his hand raised to knock again, but dropped it when he saw Sarah, “Oh, hey! I don’t know if you remember me. I’m Agent John Jones.”

 

    Grinning, Sarah replied, “Oh, Guapo. I remember you. Hard to forget a handsome man in a nice suit.”

 

    He shifted on his feet, “Oh, thanks. Um, is Nova here?”

 

    “I don’t know.” Amber walked over to Sarah, inquiring, “Do you have good intentions in mind for our best friend? Do I need to have the talk with you about breaking her heart?”

 

    John’s eyebrow raised, and he cleared his throat, “I don’t plan on doing anything but take her to dinner, a movie, and a coffee shop. No talk needed. I’m pretty sure I get the picture.”

 

    Sarah leaned against the door jamb, her voice a purr. “Too bad. I’d rather hear about a date that ended up with you and her naked.” She turned around and grabbed Nova, whose face was now a shade lighter than her hair. “Here she is. Treat her nice, or I get my cousins and come after you.”

 

     Nova groaned, “Sarah, you just threatened a federal agent. Not your finest idea.” She turned to John and smiled, “Hey, John. You look handsome.”

 

    He smiled and rubbed his hands down the front of his jeans, shoulders drawn up. “Thanks, Novalee. You look beautiful.”

 

    Amber giggled, “It’s so adorable! Okay, I’m going to drag Sarah out of here now so you two can head out. Novalee Prince, I expect a detailed account of tonight tomorrow morning, and if it doesn’t happen, I’m coming here and prying it out of you.”

 

    Nova hugged her friends, and Amber dragged Sarah away. Nova and John watched them go before she invited him int her home. She ran to her couch and grabbed her clutch before turning around to see him smiling at her. Sighing, Nova grinned back, taking in his jeans and blue-black flannel shirt, a white t-shirt peeking out from underneath the neckline.

 

    “So, what do you want for dinner, John?”

 

    His arms crossed over his chest, and he shrugged, “What sounds good to you?”

 

    Nova slug the thin strap of her clutch over her shoulder, asking, “Like Mexican or Barbecue?”

Chapter Text

    John smiled, and Nova nibbled her lip. “Barbecue sounds good.”

 

    She bobbed her head, “Then let’s go to my favorite barbecue place.”

 

    He walked out her door, waiting for her to close and lock her door before he placed a hand on her lower back. Her heart skipped a beat, the heat from his touch making goosebumps prickle across her skin. John led her downstairs and to her car. Novalee unlocked it, and he opened the driver's door for her. She gave him a shy smile as she slid in, John shutting the door for her and jogging around the car to get in.

 

    She drove them to the restaurant, explaining the strange ordering system to him before they got there. Nova giggled when he ordered, John had picked up on the lingo quickly in the car and even got her to tell him what she liked. He ordered for them, paying with his credit card before she showed him to her favorite table. They sat talking about books and the view as they waited for their food.

 

    “So how often do you come here? The guy at the counter knew what you wanted when I went to order.”

 

    She shrugged, “Louis is Sarah’s brother. We’ve known each other since I was kindergarten. When he opened this place, Sarah, Amber, and I were his first customers. His food is amazing.”

 

    John smiled, brushing his long brown hair back, “Wow, so you’ve lived here all your life?”

 

    “Not quite. My dad was in the Navy. We moved here right before I started kindergarten. Before that, we lived in Japan, that’s where I was born, actually.”

 

    “Wow, that’s awesome,” his eyebrows raised, “Do you remember Japan?”

 

    “Bits and pieces. I didn’t like it there. Being a flaming redhead in a foreign land can be difficult. I loved it when we moved here. Mom and Dad moved to Virginia when I was seventeen, and I chose to stay with Sarah’s family to finish high school. Pops was upset, but Ma talked him into it.”

 

    John nodded, sitting back as Louis brought out their food. “Are they still in Virginia?”

 

    “They moved back here after my father retired.”

 

    Their conversation was put on hold as they ate. John had ordered grilled chicken, and a salad and Nova grinned, thinking it strange that he ate so healthy. When he rolled up the sleeves of his flannel, she had to look at her food, biting her lip as she snuck peeks at his well-muscled arms. She ate slowly, enjoying her food in between small talk with John.

 

    When she finished eating, Nova sat back in her chair. “Someday, I’m going to convince Louis to teach me how to make his sauce.”

 

    John smiled, dipping a piece of chicken into the sauce on her plate and trying it. “Oh, yeah. My brother would love this.”

 

    She tilted her head, “You have a brother?”

 

    “Um, yeah.” He shifted nervously, “An older brother.”

 

    She leaned over the table, smiling softly. “What’s his name?”

 

    “D-David.”

 

    “So David and John Jones?”

 

    He rubbed his hands down his pants. “You said you have siblings a couple of days ago. Are they older than you?”

 

    “One older brother, two younger brothers. I’m the only girl.”

 

    “You must have been the princess,” he laughed.

 

    “Oh yeah. Imagine my dad’s shock when he found out I’m a bookworm who didn’t want to learn horseback riding or dance. I just wanted to curl up in the study and read a book in front of the fire.”

 

    “Must have been a shock for him.” John snorted. “Most people think all girls want to be prima ballerinas and princesses.”

 

    Nova grinned, “Yeah, that’s what Pops thought. My mother was a model before she quit to have kids and travel with my father.”

 

    “Your mom was a model?”

 

    “High fashion model. Worked with a bunch of big names in the industry. Get her drunk enough, and she will tell you about posing for Vogue and Elle.”

 

    John laughed, “I’m good. I don’t understand that stuff. But I like the idea of sitting in front of a fire and reading a good book.”

 

    His phone went off, and he groaned, pulling it out and checking the caller id before putting his phone back, silencing the ringer. “Sorry, my partner likes to call randomly.”

 

    Smiling, she nodded, “Makes sense. Gotta make sure you aren't lying in a gutter, hurt.”

 

    They spent time talking at the restaurant before realizing they had missed their movie. They decided to forgo the movie for that night and just to grab coffees and go back to her place to talk. They gathered their things, John grabbing the garbage and throwing it out for them.

 

    As they were leaving, she heard a man yelling and turned to see a tall, reedy man in strange clothing walking towards them. His face scarred, but his eyes were gentle as he nodded at her before turning his attention to John.

 

    “Hey, Sam! Sam!” John looked nervous as the man walked over, “Hey, man. Didn’t you hear me calling for you?”

 

     “John, do you know him,” Nova questioned as she looked between the two men.

 

     The thin man looked at her confused before turning back to John. “Right. John, can I talk to you in private for a moment?”

 

    “Not now, Garth,” John grunted. “I’ll call you later, okay? Call Dean if you need help right now. I’m, uh, on a date.”

 

    The man, Garth, looked shocked. “Oh, balls! Alright, S-John. I’ll call Dean and see if he can help out.” He turned to Nova and held out his hand. “I’m a co-worker of John’s. It’s nice to meet you.”

 

     Nova smiled and shook his hand, “Nice to meet you, Garth. I’m Novalee Hope everything is going well for you tonight.”

 

     “Oh, it’s not too bad.” He gave her a goofy grin. “You guys have a nice night.”

 

    He waved goodbye as he walked away, John sighing, “Sorry about him. He’s… new. I’m surprised he’s here. He should be with his wife.”

 

     She shrugged, “He didn’t seem too bad. Why did he call you Sam?”

 

     “I, um, I go by Sam sometimes for cases,” John explained, his hand scrubbing through his hair.

 

    She thought about it and shrugged, deciding to ask more about it later. They grabbed coffee at a coffee shop down the road before heading back to her apartment. She threw her purse on the side table by the door and sat on her couch, holding her hot coffee in her cold hands. John shut and locked her door, sitting on the couch next to her and laughing.

 

     “Are you really that cold, Nova? It didn’t seem that cold outside.”

 

     She whimpered and set her coffee down, rubbing her hands together, “It’s cold to me! You have muscles to keep you warm. I’m just skin and bone in comparison. Nothing to keep me warm like you have!”

 

     He shifted closer, his thigh pressing against hers as he smiled at her. “Let me see your hands.”

 

     She stared at him for a second in shock before holding her hands out. He covered her small hands with his, bringing them to his mouth and blowing on them before rubbing his hands over them.

 

     “They really are cold. Want me to grab you a blanket or something?”

 

    Numbly, she shook her head as he blew hot air on her hands again. “I-I’m fine. Thank you.”

 

    “Don’t mention it, Nova.” He flashed her a quick smile that made her insides melt. “Can’t have you turning into an ice cube on our first date.”

 

    Blushing, she looked down at their joined hands. His hands had stilled on hers, and he brought them to his mouth again, blowing on them. She felt his lips brush against her fingers and she bit her lip.

 

     “I’m gonna grab a blanket. You’re shivering.”

 

    Novalee nodded, unable to tell him it wasn’t cold making her shiver. He grabbed a folded blanket off the back of her armchair before coming back and wrapping it around her. Sitting next to her again, John picked up a book off of her coffee table, studying the cover.

 

     “The Little Princess?”

 

    “My mom would read it to me when I was little. It was her favorite story as a small child,” she clarified

 

    “Looks old.” He flipped to the publication date and his eyebrows raised, “It’s from the fifties.”

 

    She leaned back on the couch, pulling her feet under her, “My grandmother bought it when she got pregnant with my mother in hopes that she would be a girl. It’s always passed down to the first daughter in the family now.”

 

    He looked over at her and smiled, “That’s a really nice tradition.”

 

     She smiled back at him, unable to repress the urge. “Well, it is if I ever decide to have kids. Mom’s a little upset that I haven’t already. I told her that usually involves a guy and I’m not that lucky with men. Apparently, guys don’t like it when you are taller than most of them.”

 

    “I’ve never had that issue,” he chuckled.

 

    She giggled, “I don’t think you ever will. What are you, six three?”

 

    “Close. Six, four.”

 

    She tilted her head back on the couch, keeping her eyes on him. “Good Lord, sir. Yeah. I don’t think it would ever be an issue for you. Me, however? I’m usually the same height or taller than the guys that hit on me.”

 

    He stared at the cover of the book for a second before turning towards her, “Not me.”

 

    “You didn’t really hit on me,” Nova smirked. “I believe I hit on you first.”

 

   John scooted across the couch, laying back on the armrest before pulling his legs up. He slid his legs in front of her before sitting up and grabbing her waist and pulling her against his side. She looked up, staring into his hazel eyes in surprise. Grinning, he set the book on the back of the couch and tucked the blanket around the two of them.

 

     John grabbed the book and held it in front of them, arm wrapped around her as he opened the book and started reading, “Chapter One, Sara. Once on a dark winter’s day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shops blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking girl sat in a cab with her father and was driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares...”

 

     Nova smiled and laid her head on his chest, feeling the rumble of his voice in his chest as he read to her. She slid her arm around his back before resting her other hand on his chest and closing her eyes.

 

    John read through the first few chapters before setting the book down on the back of the couch. His arms wrapped around Novalee and she smiled up at him. He grinned back, brushing a stray hair behind her ear before his hand rubbed over her arm.

 

     “You realize you're spoiling me? Reading to me and laying with me like this on our first date? You’re going to make me think you are serious about dating me,” she teased.

 

     His laugh rumbled in his chest, “Maybe I am serious about dating you. Been awhile since I met a girl that could keep up in a conversation about Nabokov, Tolkien, or Salinger.”

 

     She nuzzled against his chest, feeling the muscles move under her hand as he shifted his arms. “I think I’ve met two guys that could. The first thought women couldn’t hold strong opinions about literary works though. The other would be you.”

 

    “Sounds like that first guy was kind of a jerk.”

 

    “Sounds like an accurate assessment.”

 

     His phone went off in his pocket, and she scooted back so he could grab it from his pocket. “I should take this. It’s my partner.” She went to get up to give him privacy, and he held her in place, smiling. “Stay. It shouldn’t take long, and I’m pretty comfortable.” She nodded, and he answered his phone. “Hey, Dean… Yeah, I’m still with her. We’re sitting on her couch talking about books… Okay, why don’t you and Garth handle it and I’ll meet you back at the room later? … Alright, I’ll do that. Bye.”

 

    She shifted back as he put his phone back and he pulled her close again. “Everything okay, John?”

 

   “Yeah,” he sighed. “They’re just going to follow a lead on a new case. I’ll get the rundown when I go back.”

 

    “I don’t want to keep you from your work. If you need to leave, it’s okay.”

 

    “They can handle it. It’s just research and information gathering for now.”

 

     His hand trailed over her spine, and she shivered, making him chuckle as her hand gripped his shirt involuntarily. “John! I’m comfortable.”

 

     “I’ve been thinking.” He frowned, “Why don’t you call me something else? I’m… I’m not used to people calling me John.”

 

    She giggled, “Well, what else should I call you? Agent Jones? Jones?”

 

    “How about J.J. or Jay?”

 

    “Hmm. I say Jay. JJ sounds like a kid to me.”

 

     He nodded, staring down at her and Nova noticed how confident he seemed. “I’m definitely not a kid.”

 

    She trailed her fingers slowly across his chest, smirking. “Never met a kid that was as tall as you are or as well built.”

 

    Jay blushed and looked over at the bookshelf that was against the wall. “What other books can I read to you?”

 

    “Whatever tickles your fancy.” Wiggling, she turned to look at the spines of the books. “But I’d rather you stay here. You’re warm. Maybe next date you can pick a new book to read to me?”

 

    His head whipped over to look at her, “You want to go on another date?”

 

    “I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea. I’ve had fun.” Her hand picked at a snap on his shirt, her eyes following the movement. “Kind of a great date for a bookworm like me.”

 

    His long fingers touched her cheek and tilting her face to his. “I’d have to agree, Nova. I’ve had a lot of fun talking and reading tonight. The cuddling on the couch is like icing on the cake.”

 

    Nova gave him a soft smile that he returned. His thumb traced her jaw before Jay leaned down, his fingers easing her chin up further. His lips brushed hers and her eyes fluttered shut as she pressed her lips against his. Jay’s hand cupped her cheek, holding her to him. His fingers brushed against her neck before his lips moved against hers and Nova returned the kiss.

 

    He pulled back slowly, and she sighed, looking up into his hazel eyes as he combed his fingers through her hair. “Top Ten best first kisses, easily.”

 

    A flirty smirk played on his face, “Really?”

 

    “Oh, definitely.”

Chapter Text

    Nova picked at her dinner. The large bowl of Chicken Alfredo didn’t hold her interest as she thought about Jay. They had been dating for three months now, and she was finding it hard. He was great about messaging and calling while he was gone, but Novalee missed him still. He came into town when he could, spending the nights at her house after the first month. They had gone on several dates over the months, Jay having taken her to movies, dinners, and even the beach. He was always kind, generous, and sweet when he was with her, which made his absence even harder for Novalee.

 

    Nova’s new boss and Art’s wife, Abby, came into the back room of the clothing store. “Hey, Nova. I need you to finish up your dinner a little early. The store is packed, and we need another hand with a customer who is proving to be a bit wishy-washy. I’ll give you another break later to make up for the rush.”

 

    Nova put the lid on her dinner and got up to put it in the fridge. “That’s fine. I’m not all that hungry anyway.”

 

    Following Abby out into the storefront, she noticed the small store filled with shoppers. The older woman led Nova to the register, where they worked to clear the long line of waiting customers. Once they finished with the last check out, Abby pointed Nova to the men’s section.

 

    “The man’s back there. He’s trying to find something, but he hasn’t been too clear on what he wants. I think Flirty Nova could finish him off quickly.”

 

    Nova smiled and winked, “I’ll figure it out and convince him to buy five.”

 

    Abby patted her on the shoulder and walked away. Nova sighed, hating the fake person she had to be at work or the club with Sarah and Abby. She hated pretending to be the flirty, confident girl she barely felt like lately. Novalee would rather read a book than flirt with random people. But her job was necessary if she wanted to pay for her apartment or any of her bills. She knew she was lucky to have it, the pay was more than generous, and her coworkers and boss were terrific.

 

    Nova straightened her outfit, adjusting her leather mini skirt on her hips and fiddling with the zipper that ran down the side, so more of the lace underskirt showed. She unbuttoned the top two buttons of her black, silk dress shirt, letting more cleavage show and just a little of her blue cami too. Looking in the mirror across from her, she smiled, looking like the confident, sexy woman she needed to be for this sale.

 

    Nova took a deep breath and made her way over to the customer, making sure she added a little wiggle to her walk as she went to find the man. She searched through the men’s department for a couple of minutes until she saw a man crouched down by the shoes. She thought it was Jay, but this man’s hair was shorter, barely touching the corduroy collar of his dark blue bomber jacket.

 

    Nova stood a little behind the man, her voice flirty as she greeted him. “Hello, sir. My boss asked that I give you special attention so that we can find you something lovely to go home with today.”

 

    “What if I want to take you home,” the man chuckled.

 

    She gasped as the man turned around, his legs unfurling as Jay smiled down at her. “Oh! You cut your hair!”

 

    Jay smirked and put his hands in his jeans pockets, “Just a trim. It’s nice to see you too, Nova.”

 

    “I’m sorry,” she groaned before hugging him tightly. “Let’s start over. Hi, Jay. It’s good to see you. I’ve missed you a lot.”

 

    His arms wrapped around her waist as he kissed her cheek, “I’ve missed you, too.”

 

    Nova took a step back, his hands holding her sides, “What are you doing here? Oh, no! Please tell me there isn’t another case here.”

 

    “No, not a case. I was fairly close by and wanted to see you.” His smile turned mischievous, whispering, “I like the skirt.”

 

    She giggled, adopting her flirty work voice, “Well, Agent Jones. We have a wide range of skirts similar to this one. Would you like to see them?”

 

    She took his hand and pulled him back to the women’s section, pushing him into one of the armchairs.

 

    She ran her hands over the leather skirt, “I prefer this one for work. It’s very soft leather and very pliable. So when I have to bend over to pick up fallen clothing, I can do so with ease.”

 

    She smiled at him and turned to the side before she bent down, touching her toes and feeling her skirt ride up in the back. Jay’s eyes were wide as he looked around nervously and licked his lips. Nova giggled and stood up, hands smoothing the back of her skirt.

 

    She faced him and winked, “I really love the lace peekaboo under the zipper. Show a little leg, but still feel covered.” She unzipped the side a little more, stopping just before her panties would show. “What do you think, Agent?”

 

    Jay blushed, and she saw his Adam's apple bob as he swallowed, “Um, it's very nice.”

 

    Nova giggled and chirped, “I think it works nicely for work, especially when you pair it with a nice button up. If you just unbutton a few buttons,” she paused and slowly undid another button, so her royal blue cami peeked out more. “It turns into a very sexy date night outfit. Wouldn’t you agree, Agent?”

 

    His head bobbed as he stared at the blue lace covered cleavage peeking out. Nova reached for the next button, and he stood, grabbing her hands.

 

    “I get it. Very sexy.” His strong arms slid around her waist, “You can stop teasing now, Nova.”

 

    “But, sir!” She replied, innocently, “I was just trying to be a good saleswoman.”

 

    He smirked down at her, “I really hope you don’t act like that with all of your customers.”

 

   “Only the ones I’m dating.”

 

    His hand rubbed over her back, “And how many are you dating?”

 

    “One. You,” Novalee retorted. She grabbed the front of his red flannel shirt and pulled Jay down to give him a quick kiss. “Now, I’m working, Jay. You’re welcome to stay, but we don’t close for another hour. You can go hang out at my place, or I might be able to convince Abby to let you hang out in the back until we lock up.” Jay gave her a brilliant smile, and she groaned, “Yeah, give her that smile, and she’ll definitely say yes.”

 

    Chuckling, Jay bent down and pressed his lips to hers, his hand brushing the hair from Nova’s face. Her hands bunched tighter in his shirt, his hand sliding to the back of her neck and pulling her closer. She moved her lips with his, a soft moan escaping her lips as his tongue slid into her mouth and trailed over hers.

 

    He pulled back a little before giving her a quick kiss, his hands sliding into his pockets as he stood up. “Get back to work, Novalee.”

 

    She groaned and hung her head, hands falling to her sides, “That was just mean. Now I’m going to be distracted at work.”

 

    “Then I guess we’re even.” Laughing, he rocked back on his heels, “I’m going to be thinking about that sales pitch for a while.”

 

    She buttoned the top two buttons of her shirt and zipped her skirt up so that only a little lace showed. “Good! That was the point, Jay.”

 

    He wrapped her in a hug again, “Here I thought I was here to cuddle on the couch and finish reading George R. R. Martin with you.”

 

    She giggled and placed her hands on his chest, “Well, that you be nice too, but we have to wait until the next book comes out to actually be done.”

 

    “Novalee Prince!” Abby’s voice rang out, and Nova flinched. “Please tell me that is your guy, Jay, and you’re not trying some new tactic for getting customers to buy?”

 

    Nova pressed her forehead into Jay’s chest as she blushed and yelled back, “No, Abby! This is Jay, and we’ll stop with the P.D.A.”

 

    She felt his laugh rumble in his chest, and she slapped his chest lightly, “Sure, yuck it up, Chuckles. Maybe I’ll show up at one of your cases and kiss you like that.”

 

    “I think Dean would be shocked, which might be worth it.” He kissed the top of her head before backing away, “I’ll head back to your place now.”

 

    He started to walk away when Nova remembered something, “Oh shit! Jay!”

 

    He turned and raised an eyebrow. “Everything okay, Nova?”

 

    “Yeah. Well, maybe. My dog may or may not like you, which would be an issue.”

 

    His head tilted to the side, eyebrows knitting together, “I don’t remember you having a dog.”

 

    Abby was waving Nova over, and she sighed, “I didn’t the last time you came over. It’s a long story that I’ll tell you tonight. He’s a sweetheart with women, but he hasn’t met any guys yet, so…”

 

    “I’ll take it easy on the guy.”

 

    Nova watched him walk away, grinning like a fool. She jumped when Abby tapped her on the shoulder. Her manager wrapped an arm around her waist and chuckled.

 

    “Oh, honey. You’ve got it bad for that one.”

 

    Nova straightened her clothes and turned away, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Abby.”

 

    “I haven’t seen a look like that in a while.” The older woman laughed, “So dish, dear. Have you?”

 

     Abigail’s eyebrows waggled, and Nova groaned, “No, and even if we had, I don’t think that’s something to talk to my boss about.”

 

    “Oh, come on! My husband has been in the hospital ever since those handsome FBI agents found him! I need something to keep going, and that kiss looked amazing!”

 

    Nova shook her head, smiling. “Well, it definitely wasn’t bad.”

 

    Abby sighed, “I miss that kind of kiss. The ones where you get all giddy and your skin gets all goosebumpy. The best ones are when you feel like you just had a hot flash, but it settles in your skin and suddenly you...”

 

    Nova walked away from the older woman to help a customer. Abby kept talking to herself, heading to the register and leaning on the counter with a wistful look in her eye.

Chapter Text

    Novalee was grumbling as she ran up the stairs to her apartment. Abigail had kept her an extra thirty minutes because she couldn’t figure out the new security system. After showing the woman four times, Abby finally let her leave. It took another thirty minutes to get home and find parking because one of the other tenants was throwing a party and had seemingly invited all of San Diego to it.

 

    Nova combed her fingers through her hair before unlocking her door, surprised that her dog wasn’t barking already. She sighed, pushing the door open and tossing her stuff on the side table, preparing for him to come to jump on her. Novalee waited a moment, slowly realizing the dog wasn’t coming. She locked her front door and kicked off her heels before walking into her living room and finding it empty. The book Jay and she were supposed to read lying abandoned on the coffee table.

 

    Nova made her way back to her bedroom, noticing the door was cracked. She quietly pushed the door open, trying to keep it from squeaking. She peeked her head in and had to cover her mouth to keep from giggling.

 

    Jay was laying on his back on his side of the bed, Nova’s dog laying at his feet. The dog lifted his head, looking at her and huffing before laying back down with his head on Jay’s calf. Nova walked in, scratching the dog’s head as she climbed onto the bed. Jay shifted in his sleep, curling up on his side. She laid down beside him, running her fingers down his arm.

 

    Jay’s eyes snapped open, his face panicked before he looked at Nova and groaned, rubbing his hand down his face. “I fell asleep?”

 

    She shrugged, “I’m late. We’re even.”

 

    “So, I got a bit of a shock when I came into your apartment.” He smiled at her, his hand sliding over to cover hers on the bedspread. “I thought you had gotten a small dog. You didn’t mention you’d gotten a collie.”

 

    Nova smirked, “I have to keep you on your toes.”

 

    “You know he jumped on me when I came in here?” Jay propped himself up on his elbow. “Scared the crap out of me. Then he started licking my hands and spinning in circles.”

 

    “That’s how he tells me he needs to go out.”

 

    He laughed, “I figured. I took him out, by the way. That’s why I’m in my t-shirt too. Guy decided a mud puddle would be a great place to play.”

 

    “Yeah, he has a thing for mud, but he looks clean,” she giggled.

 

    Jay scooted forward, his arm reaching out and pulling her closer. “He is. My coat and flannel are not. My coat got hit with mud, and my flannel got hit with soapy water.”

 

    Nova covered her mouth, tears springing to her eyes as she laughed, “Oh, Jay! I’ll throw them in with my laundry before I head to bed.”

 

    “Don’t worry about it. I can wash them when I go back to where Dean is. So what is this monster’s name?”

 

    Tucking her head against his chest, she mumbled, “I was a little drunk when I named him.”

 

    Jay’s hand rubbed slow circles on her back, and he laughed, “Let me guess, Sarah and Amber were involved?”

 

    “More than a little. Sarah was pouring the tequila and Amber had the rum. A gentle reminder, NEVER give me tequila. Rum is okay if it’s mixed with something usually, but tequila?” She shuddered, “I do very dumb things on tequila.”

 

    She felt his chest shake with laughter, “What did you name the poor guy?”

 

    “Rogue Prince.”

 

    His hand stopped moving, but his chest was rumbling with laughter again. “What?”

 

    “Look, it was either that or Shadow Prince,” she sighed. “But Shadow is so overdone with collies. So I named him Rogue.”

 

    Hearing his name, Rogue crawled up the bed, squeezing in between Jay and Nova. Nova giggled as he licked her face and chest. She tried pushing him back, but the dog dodged her arms and started licking her again.

 

    Jay laughed and grabbed Rogue’s collar, pulling him off of Nova. “I see he’s well trained, too.”

 

    “I’ve never owned a dog! I didn’t even mean to GET a dog. Amber’s new boytoy came over with him in the back of his car. The guy was drunk and had hit him!”

 

    Jay scratched behind Rogue’s ear after making him lay at the foot of the bed, “And he just left Rogue here?”

 

    She scooted up her bed until she was at eye level with Jay when he laid back down, laying her head on her pillow. “Said he didn’t want him and didn’t know if he was hurt. Amber told him to lose her number…”

 

    Jay snorted, “Good on her.”

 

   “I agree. But Sarah, Amber, and I took him to the vet. He was fine except for a minor concussion and some cuts. They stitched him up and kept him for a couple of days. Amber couldn’t take him because her roommate is allergic and Sarah had to move in with her brother after her apartment caught fire. So, they helped to pay for his vet bills, and I brought him home. We celebrated his homecoming and named him Rogue.”

 

    Jay blinked a couple of times before leaning forward and giving her a quick kiss, “Well, I’ll help to teach you how to train him while I’m here, and you can tell me how Sarah’s apartment caught fire.”

 

    She smirked, “Only if you give me another kiss.”

 

    His brilliant smile flashed across his face before Jay moved closer, pushing Nova on her back before leaning over her. His hand squeezed her hip before he slid it into her hair and his mouth descended on hers, lips soft as they pressed into hers. She sighed as her stomach flipped, his sandalwood scent filling her nose. She trailed her fingers over his chest, feeling the muscles under his shirt flex beneath her fingers.

 

    His lips moved with hers, and Nova decided to take a chance. When Jay’s tongue dragged over her bottom lip and she parted her lips for him, letting his tongue in to tangle with hers, she slowly trailed her fingers down his chest to his abs. She could feel them move as he shifted his leg between hers, his body slowly lowering on top of her.

 

    Jay suddenly pulled back laughing as Rogue licked his bare feet. “Rogue, come one, man!”

 

    Novalee giggled, and he looked up at her with a smirk, “Apparently, he’s jealous of you stealing all of my attention, Jay.”

 

    He knelt, one knee still between hers. “Rogue, you get her attention all the time. I get a couple of hours, sometimes a couple of days. Cut me a break!”

 

    Rogue bent his forelegs, his tail and rump in the air as he gave a playful growl. “I think that’s a no, Handsome.”

 

    Jay reached for the dog, and it danced away. “Dude, don’t make me lock you out.”

 

    “I tried that once. He sat scratching at the door and whining for ten minutes. I caved. I couldn’t take the sad puppy noises.”

 

    “You have to stick to it, Nova. He’ll get worse if you don’t.”

 

    Sighing, she propped herself up on her elbows, “But he’s just too damn cute!”

 

    Rogue looked at her and tilted his head before rolling onto his back, his tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth. “He’s adorable, but that doesn’t mean he gets to be bad.”

 

    Nova sighed, “Fine. Rogue, bed!”

 

    Rogue rolled over and jumped from the bed, laying on a large dog bed in the corner. Jay watched, his jaw going lax. He turned and looked at her, his eyes narrowed as he smirked.

 

    “How long until you told me he knew that command?”

 

    She shrugged, laying on her back, “Maybe another ten minutes. The vet told me he knew it. He also knows sit, stay, beg, down, and heel.”

 

    Jay leaned down, his face serious. “I thought you said you needed help training him?”

 

   “No, you commented on his apparent lack of training. I didn’t correct you. Then you offered to help train him if I told you how Sarah caught her apartment on fire. I said I wanted a kiss. Assumptions, dear. I don’t want to be an ass, thank you.”

 

    A smile broke out on his face, and she returned it, her hands holding onto his sides. “Well, I guess you don’t need my help then. I can head out, maybe find a hotel.”

 

    She grabbed onto his shirt and pulled him onto her as Jay tried to roll away. “Nuh uh. Not going anywhere.”

 

    He pushed his hair out of his face and grinned, his body held up on his elbow. “Than I want to hear how Sarah lit her place on fire. You got your kiss.”

 

    “But!” Novalee sighed, rambling off, “Fine. Sarah had a guy come back to her place, and she lit a bunch of candles in the living room. Well, they didn’t stay out there for very long, and while they were distracted in the bedroom, one of the candles lit her drapes on fine. She and the guy had to climb down the fire escape in their underwear.”

 

    Jay burst out laughing, his forehead falling onto her shoulder. “How drunk were they?”

 

    “Very! Poor girl called me crying and slurring her words. A firefighter had to tell me what she was saying.”

 

    Jay shook his head, propping himself up to wipe the tears from his eyes. “I swear, the three of you always find trouble. This time it was Sarah and fire. Last time was Amber and that guy that tried to steal her TV after they had sex. There was the time they got you drunk on tequila, and you decided to be a stripper. The time before that, you tried to show off in those crazy heels and ended up with a twisted ankle.”

 

    “I wasn’t showing off!” Mumbling, Nova blushed and turned her face away, “I thought they were cute with that dress.”

 

    He groaned, and his fingers grasped her chin lightly, pulling her face back to his. “Oh, Nova. I wasn’t trying to tease you. But you have to admit; they were crazy.”

 

    “I admit nothing! I liked those shoes.”

 

    He scowled at her, “Nova. I heard you talking to Amber about them later that night.”

 

    She shook her head, “Nope. Must have been Sarah you heard talking.”

 

   He laughed, “Yeah, because you regularly switch between Spanish and English like her. You don’t ramble in Spanish, trying to find the right word.” He kissed her cheek, “I know the difference between your voice and hers.” She wrapped her arms around his waist, fingers grasping the back of his shirt as he kissed under her ear, “Admit the truth, and I’ll give you another kiss.”

 

    She smiled at him as he leaned back, “They were absolutely insane shoes, and I happily threw them on my parent’s bonfire the next weekend.”

 

    Jay burst out laughing, “I knew it.”

 

    He leaned down, his lips brushing against hers, making her groan when he pulled back. “You said you’d kiss me!”

 

    “I did. I didn’t say I would kiss you right away.”

 

    Her jaw dropped, “What?! That’s not fair!”

 

    He chuckled and lowered his body onto hers, his lips finding hers in a quick kiss. “There’s your kiss, Nova.”

 

    She narrowed her eyes and brushed his hair from his face before leaning up and kissing him, her fingers tangling in his hair as their lips moved. Jay smiled into the kiss as his hand grazed over her side before he leaned into her, pressing her into the bed. His tongue swept into her mouth when her lips parted for him. Nova’s breath hitched as his thigh pressed between her legs and rubbed against her core.

 

    Jay pulled back, groaning, “I’m sorry.” He rolled off of her and laid on his back, his arm falling over his face. “I shouldn’t have done that.”

 

    Nova blinked away her confusion before smiling and straddling his waist, unzipping her skirt almost all the way to give her more movement. “I wasn’t complaining, just caught me by surprise.”

 

    His hands grasped her sides, “I don’t want to push you into doing anything. We haven’t really talked about…” He stopped, his face growing red.

 

    Nova bent down and kissed his cheek, whispering in his ear. “It’s sex, Jay, and we’ve been dating for three months. It’s not crazy to think about sex when you’ve been with someone for three months.”

 

    Jay kissed her shoulder, “I don’t date very often, so it’s kind of new territory for me.”

 

    She kissed his neck, noticing his hands tightening on her waist as she brushed her lips over his neck. “Then go with your gut. If you want to touch me, then do it. I’ll tell you if it is something I’m not ready for.” Nova kissed the skin over his pulse, and his hands slid down to her thighs as he hissed in a breath. “Though, I don’t know how much I would say no to when it comes to you.”

 

    “Guess I’ll have to be the responsible one, then.” Jay left open-mouthed kisses across her neck as his large hands rubbed her thighs, chuckling between kisses.

 

    Nova tilted her head to the side, giving him more access as she joked in a southern accent, “Yes, sir. Because I would just have no clue what to do with myself without my man telling me what to do! Oh, what shall I do when you go back to Dean?”

 

    Jay snorted, his forehead landing on her shoulder as he shook with laughter, “You do that accent way too well.”

 

    “Oh, darlin’,” Nova smirked, leaning back to quirk an eyebrow at him, keeping the accent in place. “What accent? This is how I talked for years until I came to California with my family. Momma and Papa both still have their accents. Made Japan an interesting place to live.” She dropped her former accent and sighed, “Though, knowing Japanese has helped when I have tourists come into the store. Same goes for Spanish and German.”

 

    Jay brushed her hair behind her ear, “How many languages can you speak?”

 

     She shrugged, “German, Spanish, Japanese, English, and a little bit of Latin. I got bored in high school and studied languages in my downtime.”

 

     “So you were born in Japan, and you read, study languages, and work in a clothing store when you aren’t going clubbing and picking up guys with your best friends? Anything else I should know?”

 

    “Well, I’ve stopped picking up men in clubs, and I like to go to my parent’s house to sit by their fire pit or go swimming.” Nova huffed. “I’m supposed to go there tomorrow for my mom’s birthday, but I’ll see if I can visit after you leave.”

 

    Jay moved her down to straddle his thighs before he sat up, arms wrapping around her waist, “Why would you do that?”

 

    “Because I want to spend time with you and Mom might understand.”

 

    He kissed her cheek, “You should be with your mom on her birthday.”

 

    Nova heard her phone ringing from the living room, groaning, “That’ll be Ma. I promised to call her tonight at midnight to wish her a happy birthday.”

 

     Jay let go of her, and she climbed off the bed, running to the living room for her phone. Rogue jumped out of his bed and padded behind Nova, softly barking at her. She shushed him as the pulled out her phone and answered it.

 

    Her accent was firmly in place as she talked to her mother, “Hey Mama! Happiest of birthdays to you!”

 

    Her mother’s high pitched voice rang over the line, “Oh, Novalee! You were supposed to call me at midnight!”

 

    Nova heard Jay sit on the couch and turned to smile at him as Rogue curled up by his feet. “I’m sorry, Mama. My friend’s in town, and I had to work real late. It’s been a crazy night.”

 

    Her mother sighed, and Nova put the phone on speaker as she sat next to Jay and curled up into his side, his arm wrapping around her shoulder. “Well, I hope the friend is worth missing out on calling your mama on her birthday. I only gave you life and spent twelve hours in labor to get you into this world.”

 

    “I know, Mama,” Nova moaned and ran a hand down her face. “I’m very sorry that I missed our call. I had just left work shortly before midnight and was stuck in traffic when midnight finally hit. I should’ve called when I got home but was a bit distracted.”

 

    Jay’s deep laugh made Nova groan and elbow him before her mother whispered, “Novalee Julep Prince! Do you have a man in your home after midnight?”

 

    Jay covered his mouth to smother the sound of his laughs as Nova sighed, glaring at Jay, “Yes, Mama. I do. But he’s leaving to go to a motel VERY soon.”

 

    He leaned over and whispered in her ear, as his hand traveled over her thigh, “I am?”

 

    She slapped his hand as her mother’s stern voice sounded over the phone. “Young lady! Your father and I did not raise you to have strange men in your home so late at night. Your father would have a heart attack if he knew you had some man in your home this late!”

 

    “Ma! I’m thirty years old and not married. I’m pretty sure Pops would be thrilled to know I had a boyfriend at this point. It would mean I don’t have a girlfriend. Again.”

 

    “You didn’t mention you had a boyfriend at Sunday Supper,” Her mother huffed, and Jay snorted with laughter. “How long have you been seeing this man?”

 

    “We’ve been dating for three months. I wasn’t going to mention it until he and I had the chance to get to know each other a little better.”

 

    “Well, I guess you had better bring him tomorrow for Sunday Supper and my birthday.”

 

    “Um,” Nova looked at Jay, whose eyes had gone wide. “I’ll have to see if he’s available to come tomorrow.”

 

    “Nonsense. The proper course for courting a good, Southern lady is to meet with her father so that he can get the father’s blessing. Seeing as you’ve already been dating three months, he’s a little late for proper etiquette, but he should still come.”

 

    “Ma! We aren’t courting! We’re just dating.”

 

    “Young lady!”

 

    “I’m thirty years old, Mama. If I followed your etiquette, I’d have been unhappily married ten years ago and had three kids with James Malone, who would have cheated on me about twenty minutes into the reception.”

 

    Her mother’s faux-sad voice whispered over the line, “You just have to buck all the rules, don’t you? James was an excellent match for you. He was handsome, mannered, and came from a good family.”

 

    Nova groaned and buried her head in her hand, “He was also a manwhore who had sex with five other women in the six months we dated, which is not something I want to discuss while sitting next to Jay.”

 

    “Jay? Jay what?”

 

    Nova rubbed her hand over her face, and Jay answered, startling her, “John Jones, ma’am. Novalee calls me Jay, though.”

 

    “Oh!” Her mother’s voice became sickly sweet as she replied to him.”Well, Hello, Mr. Jones. May I ask what you do for a living?”

 

     Nova groaned, “Mama! You are not interrogating him tonight!”

 

    “I’m an FBI Agent, ma’am. Also, happy birthday, Mrs. Prince,” Jay chuckled.

 

    Nova gave him a curious look, wondering how soon after she hung up that he would be running for the door as her mother giggled, “Why thank you, Agent Jones. Please, call me Lydia. We would be honored if you would come to dinner with us tomorrow.”

Chapter Text

    Novalee rushed to finish styling her hair, Jay watching from his seat on the rim of the bathtub. “Are you sure you want to do this, Jay?”

 

    She watched him fix his blue dress shirts sleeves in the mirror as she scrunched her hair to get her natural waves to define. “It’s fine, Nova. Stop worrying.”

 

    Nova sighed and washed her hands, drying them before turning and checking her white sundress in the full-length mirror on the bathroom door. “You don’t know my family. Don’t be surprised when my dad pulls you aside to talk intentions and Mama tries to show you baby pictures.” She turned around and pointed at him, “Which you are NOT allowed to look at!”

 

    “I’ll do my best, sweetheart,” Jay chuckled, getting up and kissing her cheek.

 

    He turned and checked his hair in the mirror, and she sighed, leaning against the wall. “Pa’s going to have a field day with your long hair. I can practically hear him and my brothers’ jokes.”

 

    He held up the scissors she had on the counter from having to cut tags off her dress, “I could always…”

 

    She jumped forward and grabbed his arms, “Don’t you dare! I like your hair!”

 

    “I was joking! I can tell you’re nervous. You’re excitable.”

 

    Nova glared at him in the mirror, “You have jokes! Let’s see how funny you are when Pa is talking about marriage and my younger brothers decide you look like a great wrestling buddy. They won’t warn you, just throw you in a headlock and take you down.”

 

    He laughed, “Sounds like my brother.”

 

    “Speaking of which, I guess it’s only fair that if you meet my family, that I meet yours,” she sighed.

 

    Jay ran his fingers through his hair after setting the scissors down. “You don’t have to meet my brother yet.”

 

    “What about your parents? Fair’s fair, Jay.”

 

    “My parents are dead. It’s just my brother and me now.”

 

    Nova wrapped her arms around his waist, her cheek against his back. “I’m sorry, Jay. How long ago?”

 

    “My mom died when I was a baby. Dad died in 2006,” His eyes were on his hands as he leaned against the sink.

 

    She kissed between his shoulder blades as she gave him a brief squeeze. “Jay, I’m sorry. I won’t ask anymore. Whenever you feel like having me meet your brother or talk about your parents, just tell me.”

 

    He loosened her grip on him and turned in the circle of her arms, “I think you’d like my brother. Amber reminds me of him sometimes, always looking for someone to have some fun with or something to eat. Protective.”

 

    She ran her hands up his chest before fixing his tie, “Sounds like him and Amber would either be the best or worst couple. Remind me never to introduce David to her.”

 

    “Noted,” He laughed and kissed her nose. “Now, is my tie okay? Your mother was adamant that we get there before two.”

 

    Nova tilted her head and flattened his tie against his chest, “Looks great.” She sighed, “I swear you could wear a burlap sack and make it look good. I, however, take hours to look passable.”

 

    His arms snaked around her, holding her gently. “Not true at all. You looked beautiful without all of this.” He kissed her shoulder, “Especially fresh out of the shower with nothing but a robe on.”

 

    She felt her face heat up. “I thought you were asleep!”

 

    “Hard to sleep when your woman is loudly singing in the shower. Even harder when she comes out of the bathroom in a blue robe to grab underwear.”

 

    “Are you trying to kill me from embarrassment?” Groaning, she hid her face in his chest. “It was bad enough when I realized I forgot them. You’re not making it any better telling me you were awake.”

 

    His fingers tangled in her hair before he gently tilted her face back. “I wasn’t complaining. It was a great way to wake up.”

 

    Novalee was sure her face was as red as her hair, but she could barely care as Jay’s hand ran through her hair. His large hand settled against the side of her neck, his thumb tracing her jaw. She nervously licked her lips, her hands lightly pressed against his chest. Jay smiled softly before he leaned down and kissed her. She slowly moved her lips with his as he pulled her closer to him until their bodies were flush.

 

    Nova felt his tongue glide over her bottom lip, asking for entrance. She parted her lips for him, and his tongue swept into her mouth to dance with hers. Jay slowly spun them around and backed her up until the cold countertop pressed against her lower back. His hands gripped her hips, picking her up and sitting her on the edge of the marble.

 

    Jay kissed across her jaw before whispering in her ear, “How much time do we have, Nova?”

 

    She looked at the clock over his shoulder, “Thirty minutes until we need to leave.”

 

    He pressed a kiss under her ear, “Damn.” He pulled her hips against his, and she could feel his arousal through his slacks. His fingers kneaded her thighs as his lips ghosted over her neck. “Wish we had more time.”

 

    “We can be late.” She held onto his sides, tilting her head to the side. “We can tell them my car was acting up.”

 

    He sighed, his warm breath on her neck sending shivers down her spine. “No, I don’t want that to be their first impression of me.”

 

    Nova brushed her fingers through his hair, kissing his neck. “Then we have to hold off, Jay.”

 

    Jay kissed down her neck, his fingers stopping just under the hem of her skirt as it fell over her thighs. “Or I can.”

 

    She opened her mouth to ask him what he meant, but the words died in her throat as one of his hands slid further under her skirt to cup her ass, and the other trailed over her side. His finger caught a strap of her dress, pulling it down her shoulder as he pressed kisses down her shoulder and over her collarbone. Novalee whimpered as he nipped the top of her breast and his fingers slid the strap further down her arm until her breast was free.

 

     Jay’s thumb circled her nipple, and she arched her back, “Jay, you said you didn’t want to be late.”

 

     He smiled, “I don’t, but that doesn’t mean I can’t touch you.”

 

    “But,” she gasped as his mouth latched onto her nipple, pulling it into his mouth before his tongue flicked over it. He pulled back, waiting for her to finish her sentence. She took a deep breath, trying to calm her rapid heartbeat. “That’s not fair to you, Jay.”

 

    He sighed. “Just say the word, and I’ll stop, Novalee. I don’t mind waiting myself, but you don’t have to if you don’t want.”

 

    She cupped his cheeks, pulling his lips up to hers in a soft kiss. “If you wait, I wait. I’m not going to be happy if I can’t touch you too.”

 

    Jay nodded before pressing his forehead against hers and clearing his throat. “Okay. Yeah, we can wait.”

 

    His hands slid the straps of her dress back in place as Nova fixed the cups of the sundress. Jay leaned back and kissed her forehead, pulling her off the countertop and setting her on her feet. She brushed her fingers over his chest, smoothing the wrinkles in his shirt before leaning up and quickly kissing him.

 

     Jay sighed, his hands roaming her sides and back. “So what should I know before I walk in?”

 

    Nova leaned back on the sink, “Well, Mom and Pops have been married thirty-three years, and I have three brothers.”

 

    “I remember the three brothers, but thirty-three years? Wow!”

 

    She softly smiled, “Yeah, they really love each other. Rarely fight and when they do it’s solved within a few hours. I think the longest fight they had was five hours and by the end, Pops was literally on his knees begging her to forgive him.”

 

    Jay chuckled. “What did he do?”

 

    Snorting, Nova turned around and fixed her mussed hair. “Used one of her good butter knives to turn a screw because he didn’t have a screwdriver that would work.”

 

    He burst out laughing, “Really?!”

 

    “Oh yeah! I thought Momma was gonna kill him. Kept saying, ‘That flatware cost me three-hundred dollars, and you think it’s a flipping screwdriver!’ Rhett and I were giggling so hard in my room. We knew they would make up.”

 

    He grinned and hugged her waist, pulling her back against his chest. “Sounds like they have a good marriage.”

 

    Nova leaned back and smiled. “They do. While all of my friends’ parents have divorced, my parents stayed strong in their vows. Sarah’s dad is a single dad. Her mom disappeared after Sarah was born. The last thing she heard, Baudelia was living in Mexico City with her new family. Amber’s parents divorced when we were all in sixth grade. Amber started sleeping over every weekend at my house. There was a point where she refused to return home for three weeks, and her parents didn’t fight it. My parents bought an air mattress and set her up in my room.”

 

    Jay’s eyes were wide, “They just let her run away?”

 

    “Not quite. Her parents knew where Amber was and that she was safe. They knew my parents would take care of her, make sure she went to school, and that she would be happy there. It worked out pretty well. She went home to her mother’s new apartment, and her parents split the week with her. Amber wasn’t too thrilled about the split week, but her parents live two floors apart, and she could always run to the other parent’s place to grab something she forgot.”

 

    “So you’re home was the place to hide away?”

 

    Nova thought about it, her lips pulling to the side. “Yeah, kinda. Mom and Dad have always been relationship goals for Amber and Sarah, though you’d never guess it by how they act. Sarah still wants the fairy tale. Amber has become disenchanted, but she still hopes.”

 

    “And you?”

 

    “I think it’s a great idea, but I also know it’s rare. Kinda like finding a four-leaf clover, catching Bubonic Plague, or meeting a werewolf.” Jay snorted, his forehead pressing into her neck as he chuckled. “What’s so funny?”

 

    Jay shook his head, “Nothing, sweetheart. I think it’s time to leave though.”

Chapter Text

    Novalee pulled up to her parent’s home, her stomach in knots, as Jay asked, “So your mom is Lydia, and your dad is Waylon?”

 

    She nodded, parking her car in the long driveway. “And my eldest brother is Rhett Beauregard Prince.”

 

    “What about your younger brothers?”

 

    Nova got out of the car, fixing her skirt and walking around it as Jay climbed out. “The twins are Beau Isaac and Bennett Isaiah.”

 

    Jay snorted, “Okay. Mom is Lydia. Dad is Waylon. Eldest is Rhett. Youngers are Beau and Bennett.”

 

    She smiled up at him and nodded before leading him to the front door and knocking. “Yep. You ready for this?”

 

    Jay’s smile as he looked at her made her heart skip a beat. “As ready as I can be.”

 

    She laughed as the door opened, revealing her oldest brother. “Rhett!” She jumped into her brother’s open arms. “I thought Mama said you couldn’t get off duty today?”

 

    Rhett hugged her tight, making her squeak before setting her on her feet. “I might have fibbed about having duty. Once she told me you were bringing a guy, I told her I got it off. Had to meet the first guy you brought home to meet the parents.”

 

    Rhett turned to Jay, his dark brown eyes looking him over. Rhett’s auburn hair was cut close to his scalp in a military cut, and his dress shirt was tight over the muscles on his arms as he flexed. Nova giggled behind her hand as Rhett smirked at Jay.

 

    “Well, sir. I don’t think I can intimidate you on the height front. What’s your name?”

 

    Nova squeaked, her brother’s words reminding her of her faux pax. “Rhett, this is John Jones, my boyfriend. Jay, this is my brother Petty Officer Rhett Prince.”

 

    Rhett held out his hand to Jay, “Nice to meet you, Mr. Jones.”

 

    “Please, call me Jay. It’s nice to meet you too, Mr. Prince.”

 

    Jay took his hand, and Nova cleared her throat, “Can we come in now?”

 

    “Call me Rhett, man.” Rhett stepped aside after dropping Jay’s hand. “Nova, maybe you can convince Pops to let us eat inside. This damn heat will be the death of us if we eat outside.”

 

    Nova giggled and walked in with Jay, setting her purse on the table next to the door. “You want me to try to convince Commander Prince of something?” She snorted, “I’d have an easier time convincing Mama that I don’t need to get married!”

 

    Rhett smiled warmly at her and opened his mouth to speak before her mother chirped. “Perish the thought, Darlin’! Your Papa would spit if he heard you say you won’t marry.”

 

    Nova barely held back a groan as she turned to see her mother come in from the kitchen. Lydia’s blonde hair was pulled into a thick bun, streaks of silver glinting in it. She looked between her two children clicking her tongue before turning her sharp brown eyes to Jay.

 

    “Well, hello. You must be Agent Jones?”

 

    Nova nodded, “Mama, this is my boyfriend, Agent John Jones. Jay for short. Jay, this is my mother, Lydia Prince.”

 

    Jay nodded to her mother, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, ma’am.”

 

    Nova had to hold back a giggle as her mother practically swooned, “My my my! Please, call me Lydia. You are one tall drink of water, Agent Jones. I can see why my daughter is so interested in you!”

 

    Novalee could feel the blush creeping up her cheeks as she hissed, “Mama!”

 

    Jay gave a shy smile, “Thank you, ma’am. I mean, Lydia.”

 

    Lydia looped her arm through Jay’s, leading him from the room. Nova snorted and covered her mouth when Jay looked back at her, eyes wide.

 

    She turned as her brother’s large hand came down on her shoulder. “He’s gonna need smelling’ salts before this night’s over.”

 

    Nova took her brother’s arm and let him lead her to the sitting room. “I tried to give him an out. Jay said he could handle it.”

 

    “Poor guy,” Rhett snorted. “Doesn’t know our Mama used to make Papa’s higher-ups think longingly of going AWOL, does he?”

 

    Nova shook her head, “Didn’t think he’d believe me if I told him.”

 

    Rhett led her into the room as her mother finished introducing Jay to her father. “Sweetheart, this is Novalee’s boyfriend, Agent John Jones, or Jay. Jay, this is Commander Waylon Prince.”

 

    Her father stood from his chair, his light brown eyes meeting Jay’s as he drawled, “Nice to meet you, son. How long have you been dating my daughter?”

 

    Jay cleared his throat, holding his hand out. “Three months, sir.”

 

    “And ya never thought about meeting her parents,” inquired Commander Prince as he shook Jay’s hand.

 

    Nova sighed, whispering to her brother, “Well, he’s starting the talk early.”

 

    Rhett snorted, drawing the attention of the everyone in the room. “Are you shocked?”

 

    Their father gave them a scorching look as Jay answered him, “Sir, I apologize for not meeting you sooner. I wasn’t raised to meet a girl’s parents until you were serious about dating her.”

 

    Her parents gave him a curious look, her mother asking, “Where did you grow up, Jay?”

 

    “I was born in Lawrence, Kansas but we moved around a lot when I was a kid.”

 

    Nova’s father nodded, motioning for Jay to take the seat next to him, “My kids know a thing or two about moving a lot. What did your parents do for a living?”

 

    “My mother was a homemaker and Dad was a traveling salesman.”

 

    Rhett leaned down, “He’s impressing him. Pops asked him to sit with him.”

 

    Nova nodded, unable to tear her eyes away as her boyfriend and father sat and talked and her mother fluttered around getting drinks for them. “I’m just as shocked as you!”

 

    She heard the thunder of footsteps running down the hall and turned before long arms picked her up and swung her around. She heard Rhett curse before he was tackled by one of their brothers. Novalee groaned, kicking her feet since her arms were trapped.

 

    Her younger brother chuckled. “Don’t kick me in the nuts, Novalee! I just wanted to say hi.”

 

    “Then put me down, you overgrown toddler,” she groaned as she kicked his thigh.

 

    He set her on her feet, and she turned, watching Rhett tangle with their other brother on the floor as she straightened her skirt. “Can’t you two say hello like normal human beings?”

 

    Rhett pushed the brother he was wrestling with away from him and stood, pulling their brother up with him. “You know damn well these two don’t know what good behavior is!”

 

    Commander Prince cleared his throat. “Beau! Bennett! Stop fooling around in front our guest!”

 

     Jay chuckled, “It’s fine, sir. I think my brother would have done something similar.”

 

    Nova’s father nodded, “Call me Waylon. Beau, Bennett, this is Agent John Jones. Jay, these are my youngest boys, Beau and Bennett.”

 

    Beau and Bennett waved, and Nova shook her head before straightening her skirt, walking over to sit on the arm of Jay’s chair. Jay smiled at her as she placed her hand on his shoulder. Bennett sat on the couch by their father, his dirty blonde hair messy after wrestling with Rhett. Beau sat beside him, their matching honey eyes mischievous as they grinned at Novalee and their parents left the room.

 

    She sighed, crossing her legs. “I don’t know what you’re planning, Twins. But be warned, I WILL go to my old room and put on some pants so that I can whoop your butts.”

 

    Bennett guffawed, “Like you could, Lady Novalee!”

 

    Beau nodded, “Princess Novalee? Kick our butts? You may be older, but you’re still shorter.”

 

    “By a couple of inches, you genetic freaks.” She snorted, turning to Jay, “I meant that for them only. How they came to be over six feet tall, we may never know. Mama’s five nine, like me, and Pops is just shy of six feet. It just ain’t right.”

 

    Jay grinned at her, “If it makes you feel better, my older brother is shorter than me.”

 

    She sighed, “Darlin, I think everyone is shorter than you.”

 

    “Nova, you are four inches shorter than us and a girl. No way can you beat us,” Beau declared as the twins stood.

 

    Novalee grinned, standing up. “Probably not, but I can do my best to make you remember to treat your sister with a little more respect.”

 

    Rhett grabbed the twins’ shoulders, “Guys, Nova fights dirty. Last time we fought, she kneed me in the nuts so hard I puked. Twice. Back down.”

 

    “I think I just learned not to fight with you, Novalee,” Jay chuckled.

 

    She grinned at him, “Take note.” She turned back to the twins, grumbling. “Besides, I’ll just have Rhett help me take the two of you down. Or maybe Jay will help.”

 

    Bennett stammered, “Th-that’s not fair! They’re trained to fight.”

 

    Beau grinned, his hand squeezing Bennett’s forearm. “We could take them.”

 

    Waylon entered the room, insisting, “No one’s fighting tonight. Novalee, don’t encourage your tempestuous brothers. You will give your mother a heart attack if you go about behaving like common street thugs.”

 

    Nova sighed and sat on the arm of Jay’s chair again, glaring at the twins. “Fine. But only because I refuse to give in to the little terrorists.”

 

    “We’ll see how long that lasts,” her father guffawed. “If memory serves, two weeks ago you only made it an hour before you had Beau in a headlock.”

 

    She flattened her skirt over her thighs, “Two weeks ago, my boyfriend wasn’t here, and I wasn’t worried about scaring him off.”

 

    Jay laughed, “How did you get him into a headlock?”

 

    “I kicked him behind the knees, he fell, and I put him in a headlock.”

 

    Jay laughed harder, and Waylon grinned. “My little girl always did have a temper. I’m afraid she gets it from me. A bit emotional, red hair, and light brown eyes. Her momma always jokes Novalee is all me.”

 

    Nova groaned, “She only says that when I get into trouble or she’s upset because I turned out more like you. I didn’t like modelin', never got on with the ladies at D.A.R., and would rather read or rest than go to the gym and ‘keep my figure.’”

 

    Jay turned a confused look her way, “D.A.R.?”

 

    Rhett burst out laughing, the twins snickering behind their hands as she explained. “Daughters of the American Revolution. Lineage-based organization for women who are directly descended from Revolutionary soldiers or someone that helped with the efforts to gain independence. Basically, a bunch of stuffy, rich ladies who get together to complain about their husbands.” She heard her mother huff and added, “Present company excluded!”

Chapter Text

    Jay turned the car into Novalee’s usual parking spot. “So is it normal for your younger brothers to pelt you with marshmallows at the fire pit?”

 

   “Yeah, it happens frequently,” Nova groaned. “That’s why Mama tried to talk Pops out of lighting the pit.”

 

    He chuckled as he turned the car off. “And do you usually return fire?”

 

    “Absolutely! Usually, we throw most of the s'mores stuff, and it ends like it did tonight, with me trying to wrestle with one of the boys while Rhett takes on the other.”

 

    “Who wins usually?”

 

    She sighed and got out of the car, waiting for him to come around to stand by her. “Like today, I lose a lot. Rhett kicks both their butts and I end up with bruises. Last time, Abby thought you beat me. Took me an hour to talk her out of calling the cops.”

 

    Jay’s eyes went wide, and he pulled her close, arms wrapped around her waist. “I would never hit you.”

 

    She giggled and gave him a quick kiss. “That’s what I told her!”

 

    He brushed his fingers through her hair, leaning down to press his lips to hers. Nova sighed into the kiss and ran her hands over his hard chest, moving her lips with his. His hand cupped the side of her face before a car honked, and they jumped apart, Jay reaching into his jacket.

 

    Nova laughed and flipped off the driver when he yelled for them to get a room. “Gotta love cities. Everyone has an opinion.”

 

    Jay smirked and stuck his hands into his pockets. “Let’s get upstairs, Novalee.”

 

    She nodded and led him through the front doors of her building. Jay grabbed her arm and pulled her into a corner, giving her a quick kiss. He looped his arm around her waist and walked with her up to her apartment.

 

    Nova unlocked her door and Jay opened it, grabbing Rogue by the collar before he jumped on them. “Rogue! No running out the door, dude.”

 

    She grabbed the leash and put it on the dog before Jay took it from her. “I can take him down, Jay.”

 

    “I don’t mind. I’ll take him.”

 

    She sighed and kissed his cheek. “Thank you, handsome. I wouldn’t mind being able to take these heels off.”

 

    While Jay took Rogue out, Novalee took her shoes off and made coffee. Grabbing a couple of mugs, she set them on the counter. She went into her living room and lit her fireplace before grabbing one of the books Jay and her were reading and placing it on the coffee table. Nova messaged her friends, letting the women know about Jay’s first encounter with the Princes. She and her friends messaged back and forth while the coffee brewed.

 

    She was pouring coffee for the two of them when she heard the door open. “Hey, Handsome! You wanted coffee, right?”

 

    Jay walked into the kitchen, Rogue following behind as he took off his cleaned coat. “Yeah, that would be great.”

 

    Nova grabbed the two cups and walked towards the living room before Jay stopped her with a hand on her side. “Thank you, Novalee.”

 

    She smiled at him while he took his cup and kissed her on the cheek. “It’s no big deal. You said you wanted coffee on the way back. Figured I’d make some and we can de-stress from the day with my family.”

 

    He walked with her to the couch after throwing his coat on her coat rack, sitting beside her before putting his cup on the table. “It’s not just the coffee. I haven’t gotten to hang out with an actual family in a while. It was nice to see siblings just hanging out and, well, being a family.”

 

    Nova leaned against him after putting her cup down as well. “Well, I’m glad you got to be a part of it, even if it ended up being a battle of wills between my brothers and me. Rhett and I were shocked at how quickly our parents took to you. Rhett’s brought three women home, and Mama has run every one of them off.”

 

    Jay wrapped an arm around her shoulders, “She didn’t seem that bad. Kept trying to get me drunk, but otherwise, she was nice.”

 

    “Yeah, she does that a lot. I think it’s a weird family tradition. See how well the significant other handles their liquor. If they do well, marry them. If they are a teetotaller, run, because the Princes have always been a family of drinkers.”

 

    Jay chuckled, “Well, I had a couple of drinks, but I didn’t want to get drunk at the first meeting.”

 

    He leaned back on the armrest of the couch, pulling her down to lay on his chest. Jay stretched out, her legs tangling with his as they cuddled up. Nova grinned at him as she rested her hand on his chest.

 

    “Comfortable, Nova?”

 

    She hummed, nuzzling his chest. “Very, but we should probably change, and I should wash all this makeup off.”

 

    “Not yet. We just got comfortable.” He murmured, his arms tightening around her.

 

    Novalee ran her hand over his chest, fingers tracing the seam beside his buttons. “We can stay here then. You won’t hear me complain about getting to cuddle up with you.”

 

    His laugh rumbled in his chest, Jay’s arm wrapping around her. His hand rubbed over Nova’s side and hip, and she sighed, plucking up her courage and letting her fingers slide further down the seam to trace over his abs.

 

    She felt his abs tense as his breath stuttered and she traced the seam back up. “So, do you still want to wait?”

 

    Jay ran a hand through his hair, “That’s up to you, Novalee.”

 

   She smirked and sat up before straddling his waist. “I say, waiting sucks and we’ve both done plenty of it. Besides, I just made you sit through a day with the Princes. Even if you say it wasn’t that bad, I think you deserve whatever you want for not running for the hills when Rhett and my father started talking about grabbing clippers and going at your hair.”

 

    He chuckled, his large hands grasping her hips and giving them a quick squeeze. “My brother threatens me with clippers a lot. Your father and brother would have to get in line.”

 

    She ran her hands over his chest before tugging on his tie. “I’ll have a lot of people to chew out then because I will not be happy if they cut your hair off. So, I’ve given my answer about waiting, what’s your real answer?”

 

    Jay cupped her cheek, pulling her into a slow kiss. Nova moved her lips with his as his other hand slid from her hip to her thigh, fingers catching the hem of her skirt. His tongue brushed her bottom lip, and she parted them. She gave a soft moan as his tongue slipped into her mouth, caressing hers. Jay’s hand slid under her hemline, kneading her bare thigh.

 

     She broke away, gasping before he answered her. “I’m going to have to agree with you. Waiting sucks.”

 

    Nova grinned and bent down, kissing his soft lips before Jay hugged her to his chest, rolling them over, so he was on top of her. His thigh pressed against the apex of her thighs, causing her breath to hitch. His lips moved with hers, her hands fisting the fabric of his dress shirt as he pressed harder against her. Jay’s hand gripped behind her knee, pulling it up as he shifted his body between her legs.

 

    Nova gasped as his hips rocked against hers, his hands gripping her thighs. Jay’s tongue twisted with hers, her fingers threading through his hair and her hips rolling into his. He pulled back, their breath ragged as his kissed down her jaw. He nipped the skin over her pulse, causing Nova’s knees to squeeze his sides.

 

    Jay slid his hands up her thighs and under her dress. One hand gripped her hip as the other slipped between them, fingertips trailing over her panty clad center.

 

    His lips brushed the shell of her ear as he rasped, “Please tell me if I am pushing you too far, Nova.”

 

    She shook her head, whimpering, “You aren’t. Please don’t stop.”

 

    Jay’s fingers slowly applied pressure to her as he rubbed against her. Nova let out a quiet moan and pressed kisses against his neck. His fingers slipped under her nude panties, his middle finger gliding between as she pressed her forehead against his shoulder. His finger swept over her clit, drawing a moan from her before he started to rub circles around the small bundle of nerves.

 

    Novalee gripped his shoulder as Jay trailed open-mouthed kisses over her shoulder and neck. His finger slid down, pressing into her entrance as his thumb took its place, drawing circles against her as his finger pumped into her. She whined into his shoulder, her nails raking down his back.

 

    Another finger slid into her, the two curling to press against her g-spot. Nova kissed the base of Jay’s neck, nipping at his skin. His breath hitched, and she brushed her lips up the side of his neck. She nibbled his earlobe, mouth falling open in a moan as Jay’s fingers quickened their pace. Her body tensed, and Novalee arched against him, her orgasm rippling through her body. Jay’s fingers slowed as he worked her through the waves.

 

    Jay’s hand slid from under her panties, his arm wrapping around Nova as he flipped them over. He settled her against his chest as she tried to control her breathing, her hands bracing her as she sat up to straddle his hips. She trailed her fingers down his chest and abs as she rocked her hips against his covered erection. Jay groaned and clutched her hips, rolling his hips under her.

 

     His fingers tangled in her hair and pulled her down, quickly kissing her before groaning. “Let’s go to your room. Couch isn’t big enough.”

Chapter Text

    Novalee nodded and got off of him and the couch, stepping to the side as Jay got up. He walked over to her, grabbing her hips and leaning down to kiss her again. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and Jay slowly moved his lips with hers before pulling back and walking her backward to her room.

 

    He turned the doorknob and led her through the door, his hands holding her sides. Kicking the door shut, Jay placed his hand on the side of her neck, thumb rubbing her jaw. Nova smiled at him and ran her hands over his chest, sliding them down and pulling his shirt out of the waistband of his pants.

 

    Jay grinned, pulled her hair to the side, and kissed her neck, nipping at her skin gently. Her breath caught in her throat and Novalee loosened his tie before she unbuttoned a couple of buttons on his blue shirt. He kissed over her shoulder, turning and pushing her against the wall.

 

    His thumbs rubbed over her hips as he leaned down to kiss her cheek, his lips dragging over her jaw. Nova grabbed his hips and pulled him hard against her, hand slipping under his shirt to press against the warm skin of his lower back. Jay groaned and rocked his hips against hers, grinding his covered erection on her. She gasped, nails biting into his back as heat bloomed across her skin. His mouth pressed against her neck biting, licking and sucking at the skin as his hands slid over her sides. He cupped her breast, thumb rubbing over her covered nipple.

 

    Nova gave a quiet moan and arched against him, pressing her chest into his hand. He smiled against her skin and kissed down her shoulder. Jay bent down, and kissed, and nipped at the skin on her chest. She groaned as his mouth came down on her cotton covered nipple. She threaded her hands through his long, dark hair and he nipped at the small bud.

 

    Nova cupped his cheeks and pulled his face up to hers, lips demanding against his. His hand trailed down her stomach, fingers sliding down to cup her sex and she pushed into Jay’s hand. Novalee moaned into the kiss, and his tongue slid into her mouth, flicking at hers before retreating. Whimpering, she grazed his bottom lip with her teeth. His fingers pressed against her and she broke the kiss, touching her forehead against his as her breath hitched, her body still oversensitive.

 

    Jay’s hands slid up her sides, his fingers hooking under the straps of her top and slowly sliding them down her shoulders. She pulled her head back and grabbed his tie, pulling him to her. Chuckling, he kissed her collarbone, hands pushing the top of her dress down. His fingers trailed over the sides of Nova’s breasts, stopping to pinch her nipples lightly. Her fingers sought the buttons of his shirt, making quick work of them as he cupped her breasts. She took his tie off and tossed it aside before pulling his shirt off his chest.

 

    Jay knelt and grinned up at her as she helped him out of his shirt before tossing it aside. He pulled the dress down further, Nova pulling her arms out before he pushed it down her hips and let it pool around her feet. Jay leaned forward, his tongue lashing out to flick her other nipple. Her fingers ran through his hair as he slowly kissed down her stomach, his fingers hooking the sides of her panties and pulling them down. She kicked them to the side and Jay grasped her thigh, pulling her leg up and over his shoulder. He kissed his way up her thigh, Nova whimpering and holding his other shoulder.

 

     His thumb rubbed her thigh as he licked a long stripe up her folds. She moaned, pushing her hips towards him, and he flicked his tongue over her clit before sucking on it. Gasping, she ran her hands through his hair. His mouth worked over the small bundle of nerves, licking, sucking, and flicking it before his long finger slowly slid inside her. He pumped his finger into her, and she closed her eyes, mewling as her body pulsed. His moan against her sent delicious shivers down her spine.

 

    Jay swirled his tongue around her clit, his finger thrusting into her quickly. Novalee’s fingers tightened on his shoulder, moaning as his mouth sucked on her and his tongue flicked. His finger curled inside her, pressing against her walls and her head fell forward in a soft moan. She watched as his mouth worked against her, her eyes unable to look away from the sight.

 

    He slid another finger into her, crooking his fingers to rub against the sweet spot inside of her. Nova’s legs shook as she got closer and Jay wrapped an arm around her hips, holding her to him as he sucked her into his mouth, tongue flicking over her clit. Novalee’s eyes slammed shut as she let out a long moan, her body pulsing as she orgasmed. Her knee threatened to give out, and Jay stood, letting her leg fall off his shoulder before he picked her up, dropping her on the edge of the bed.

 

    Nova sat up, grabbing his hips and pulling him to her. She rubbed her hands down his thighs, smiling up at him when he grunted as her thumbs coasted over the sides of his shaft. She undid his belt and pants, kissing his abs before sliding his pants and boxer briefs down. Nova licked her lips at the sight of his long, thick erection. Jay kicked off his pants and underwear, his hand coming up to cup her cheek. He leaned down and kissed her slowly as his hand pushed gently against her stomach, telling her to move back.

 

    She smiled into the kiss, scooting back on the bed until she was in the center while he prowled onto the bed over her. “Do I get to return the favor?”

 

    Jay chuckled and kissed her neck, “You could, but I’d rather be inside of you right now.”

 

    She bit her bottom lip, fingertips trailing over his defined chest. She laid back as she pulled his lips to hers. Jay sighed and settled on top of her, lips moving against hers as his hand kneaded her hip.

 

    She pulled away, grinning as she flipped them over, straddling his hips. His hands squeezed her thighs as she leaned up, reaching into her bedside table and grabbing a condom. She opened the wrapper and slowly unrolled it onto his shaft.

 

    “Are you sure you don’t want..?”

 

    Jay pushed his hips up, rubbing his tip against her folds. “Positive.”

 

    She bit her lip before grasping him and guiding him into her. They both moaned as she slid down onto him, Nova having to stop halfway down as her body adjusted. His hands trailed over her sides before settling on her hips. Once her body relaxed again, she moved, sliding up and back down until their hips met.

 

    Nova braced herself on his chest, giving her body a second to adjust to his size before slowly lifting her hips until only his tip was inside her. Jay groaned and slowly thrust back into her, causing her head to fall back in a moan. He held her above him and plunged into her again, hands tight on her hips. Gasping, she moved her hands to his stomach, pushing down to stop him.

 

    “Easy, Darlin!” Her breath was ragged as his hands loosened their grip.

 

    He sat up and pulled her lips to his, teeth grazing her bottom lip. “I’m sorry, Nova.” His forehead fell on her shoulder. “You feel so damn good.”

 

    She kissed his neck and sighed, “So do you, but I wanna take it slow. I’m enjoying this way too much to be quick about it.”

 

    Jay chuckled and kissed her shoulder, arms wrapping around her hips and slowly pulling her onto him, rolling his hips into hers. Nova moaned and slowly moved with him, kissing his jaw. Her hands wrapped around his shoulders, hips moving a little quicker. He kissed up her neck, teeth grazing the skin over her pulse causing her to gasp.

 

    He pulled her harder onto him, whispering in her ear, “You get more beautiful every time I see you, Novalee.” His hand tangled in her hair as the other pulled her onto him again. “I’ve been thinking about doing this for so long.” She laid her head on his shoulder, quickening her pace as she moved on him.

 

    He groaned, nipping at the skin under her ear. “I thought you were trying to make this take longer.”

 

    She leaned back to kiss him, gasping, “That was before you started talking. Now I need you deep inside me.”

 

    He smirked, “I can do that.” Jay rolled them over, pulling her legs up and around his hips. He rolled his hips, and Nova gave a long, low moan as he bottomed out, his tip dragging over her sweet spot as he moved. His arm wrapped around her, holding her hips as he set a quick rhythm. Her nails scratched down his back, and she moaned with each thrust. A hard knot had developed in her belly, and she grabbed his shoulders as each plunge made it slowly start to melt. She moved her hips with his, mewling as he hit the perfect spots over, and over.

 

    His fingers slid between them, thumb rubbing against her clit as Jay drove into her. Nova moaned as the knot exploded inside of her. Jay gave a long moan and pulled her onto him one more time, holding her there as his hips rolled into her as he came. He slowed to a stop and held her to him as her heart beat a fast rhythm behind her ribs. Jay ran his fingers through her hair before he kissed her softly.

 

    His forehead rested against hers, Jay’s ragged breaths coasting over her face. Nova brushed his hair from his face, her hand resting against his cheek as her breathing slowed. He smiled softly, his cheek rubbing against her hand and making her smile.

 

    Jay slowly slipped out of her and rolled them on their sides, before he got up to throw the condom away. Nova watched him walk into the bathroom, enjoying the way his muscles moved while he walked. When he disappeared behind the door, she sighed, moving up the bed to lay on her pillow. She closed her eyes, curling up and waiting for Jay.

 

    Nova startled awake when Jay climbed into her bed, pulling the blankets over them. “Sorry, Nova. Didn’t mean to wake you. I had a message I needed to answer.”

 

    Once he was lying next to her, she grabbed his arm and pulled it over her hip, her drawl thick with sleep. “It’s fine. I didn’t mean to fall asleep.”

 

    He grinned and pulled her to him, letting her nuzzle into his chest. “Apparently sleep makes your accent come out.”

 

    “Exhaustion and anger. Sometimes sex will, but that’s real rare. It’s usually the first hint when I’m angry. There are probably more times, but I can’t think of them right now.”

 

    He kissed her hair, his breath coasting through it. “Get some sleep, Nova.”

Chapter Text

    Nova woke up the next morning to Jay missing from the bed and the sound of her shower running. She tried to roll over, but her body was aching after her battle with her brothers. When she pulled back the covers, she couldn’t see any bruises, but Novalee could tell she had ticked her body off. Slowly, she stretched her limbs, trying to work out any kinks before she climbed out of bed.

 

    Jay’s phone went off on the side table, and she grabbed it. Novalee padded across her bedroom, wrapping a throw blanket around her as she went to the bathroom door.

 

    She pushed the door open, calling out, “Jay! Your phone’s ringing.”

 

    She heard the water turn off as his phone quit ringing and Jay appeared a second later with a towel around his waist. “Thank you, beautiful. Did you see who it was?”

 

    Novalee shook her head, sucking on her bottom lip as she watched a droplet of water slide down his chest and abs. “I didn’t think to check.”

 

    Jay cleared his throat, and she looked into his hazel eyes, blushing. He grinned at Nova, his hand reaching out to cup her cheek before he gave her a quick peck. He took his phone, and she wrapped her arms around his waist, pressing her lips to his. He moved his lips with hers, his thumb tracing her cheekbone.

 

    They jumped when his phone rang again, and he pulled back, “Sorry, I need to take this.” She nodded, and Jay answered the phone, stepping back and running his fingers through his wet hair. “Hey man.” He paused and took a quick look at Nova, smiling. “Yeah, I’m still in San Diego. What’s going on?”

 

    He leaned back against her sink, the smile on his face slipping as Nova watched. “Alright. I can do that. Give me a day or two...” He broke off, and his eyebrows knit together as the person on the other line talked.

 

    Nova left him to his call, lying on the bed after throwing the blanket on her armchair, his voice still audible from the bathroom. “Look, I just want a day or two. We can do some research and see if we can find more information on it when I get back.”

 

    She sighed, rolling onto her back as his voice grew louder. “I get it, man, but I rarely get to get out of there alone, and I’d like to enjoy some time out here. He can wait until I get back or he can find it himself.”

 

    He leaned against the door jamb into her room, eyes traveling over her body. “It’s nothing like that. Just, uh, enjoying the sights.”

 

    She raised an eyebrow, whispering, “Only the sights?”

 

    He smiled widely and shrugged, mouthing More than the sights.

 

    She covered her mouth to stifle her laugh as he continued talking to the person on the phone. “Yeah, let me know. I’ll talk to you later. I just saw something I’d like to do.”

 

    She burst out laughing as he hung up. “Does he know who you’re with?”

 

    Jay shrugged, “He knows I’m here in San Diego. If I told him I was with you, he’d show up and demand to meet you. With a normal person, that wouldn’t be so bad. But Dean can be, uh, annoying would be the nicest way of putting it.”

 

    “I take it he has a case?”

 

    “He thinks he does, but we would need more information first.”

 

    She watched him walk over to the bed, and she stretched out. “So, you saw something you wanted to do, huh?”

 

    He chuckled, “Well, I couldn’t say, ‘Hey, man. I want to get off the phone and say good morning to my girlfriend.’”

 

    Jay climbed into the bed and on top of Nova, who giggled. “Good morning, Handsome.”

 

    He leaned down and quickly kissed her, “Good morning, sweetheart. How did you sleep?”

 

    She grabbed his sides and pulled his body onto hers. “Great. I had this brilliant, sexy guy tuck me into bed and he stayed to cuddle. I couldn’t complain, well, until I woke up alone. That kinda sucked.”

 

    He kissed down her neck. “Yeah, that doesn’t sound like a great way to wake up. How can I make that up to you?”

 

    Nova shrugged, “Coffee, food, maybe some cuddles. Though what you’re doing right now is making me think of something a little dirtier.”

 

    Jay smiled and nipped at her neck, making her gasp. “Pick one for now. We can do the others later.”

 

    She grabbed his towel and tugged on it. “Oh, I’ve chosen, but this needs to go bye-bye.”

 

    He grabbed the towel, lifting himself and pulling it off. “Towels gone. Now what?”

 

    She pulled his face up to hers, kissing him. His lips moved with hers as Jay tossed the towel onto the floor. His fingertips trailed over her side and hip, making her squirm under him. Nova whimpered, her hand running down his chest and abs until she reached the coarse hair at the base of him. He nipped at her bottom lip, and she had to stifle her giggle before she curled her fingers around the hardening base of him. She gave him a gentle squeeze, and he grunted.

 

    Her hand slid up his shaft, the water from Jay’s shower lubricating the movement. He pressed his lips to Nova’s, their lips moving together as she slowly moved her hand over him. She licked his bottom lip, her tongue plunging into his mouth when he parted his lips. Her thumb ran over the slit on his tip, and he pulled back with a hiss. His hips pumped his shaft into her hand before she pulled her hand away to lick it before gripping him again. She scattered open-mouthed kisses across his shoulder as his hips thrust into her hand.

 

    Nova groaned when Jay’s phone went off again, and she let go of Jay, her accent thick as she spoke, “If that’s Dean, I swear I’m gonna find him and harm him.”

 

    Jay grumbled. “I might just help you.”

 

    He got up and grabbed his phone from the table, his cock bobbing as he moved to answer it. “Dude! I just got off the phone with you.”

 

    His back was to Nova, and she watched as his posture changed. His shoulders slumped as he listened to the person on the phone. Nova sighed and grabbed her blankets, pulling them over her.

 

    “Yeah, Dean. I hear you. I’ll get back as soon as I can.”

 

    He hung up and tossed his phone on the table, turning and crawling under the blankets with her. “I’m sorry, Nova. I’m gonna have to leave sooner than I wanted.”

 

    She rolled to face him. “How soon?”

 

    Jay pulled her against him, his hand reaching down to cup her ass. “This afternoon.” He slid his hand down her thigh, wrapping it around his hip. “Which gives me enough time to make sure you have a good morning before I head back.”

 

     His tip slid between them as Jay shifted his hips, rubbing against her lower stomach. Nova cupped his cheek, softly kissing him as his hand cupped her breast. She moved her lips with his slowly, trailing her fingers over his jaw and down his neck to push against his shoulder. He rolled onto his back, Nova moving with him to straddle his hips, neither breaking the kiss.

 

    Jay’s hands cupped Nova’s breasts as his thumbs brushed against her nipples. She rocked her hips, rubbing her wet folds over his shaft. She pulled away from the kiss, leaning up to grab a condom from the table before settling on top of him again. He rolled his hips, making her gasp as his tip dragged over her clit. She dropped the condom on the bed as her hands clutched his chest.

 

    Quietly chuckling, Jay kept at the slow movement, Nova whimpering. He pulled her against his chest, rolling them over before grabbing the condom. He leaned back and opened the foil, sliding the condom on before leaning down to kiss the pulse point on her neck.

 

    His lips brushed against her neck as he murmured, “Do you need more time, sweetheart?”

 

    She shook her head, gripping his shaft and lining him up with her entrance. “I need you, Jay.”

 

    He groaned, slowly pushing into Nova. Jay stopped when she whimpered, an ache pulsing through her. He slipped his hand between them, his thumb slowly rubbing against her clit and calming her body. He pulled his hips back, sliding partially out before slowly rocking into her again.

 

    She whimpered as he moved, Jay stopping and kissing her softly. “Do you want me to stop, Nova?”

 

    She tangled her fingers in his hair, slowly shaking her head as she drawled, “Please don’t. I’m just not used to your size.”

 

    His thumb dragged over her clit again, drawing a soft moan from her. “Okay, but you need to tell me if I’m hurting you, sweetheart.”

 

    Jay slowly pulled out, leaning up to grab a bottle of lubricant from the side table as Nova grumbled under her breath. He leaned down and kissed her jaw, opening the bottle and spreading the liquid over his shaft and her core. Biting her lip to stifle a moan, she rocked her hips into his hand. Jay tossed the bottle on the bed after closing it, his thumb running over her clit as he pressed his tip into her. Nova’s jaw went lax as he rocked into her again, her breath coming out in a soft moan.

 

    Jay rolled his hips into her again, slowly filling her. She pulled him into a slow kiss, their hips meeting and making him groan through his nose. Their mouths and hips moved together slowly, her body gradually adjusting before she wrapped her legs around him, her heels digging into his ass. He thrust quickly into her, and she broke the kiss in a low moan.

 

    Jay pressed his cheek to hers as he pumped into her, Nova’s fingers holding the back of his head. His hands grasped her hips, tilting them so that each thrust pressed against the sweet spot inside her. Gasping, she nudged his head to the side so she could nibble and kiss his neck. Jay growled as she bit the sensitive skin under his ear, his hips driving harder into her.

 

    Novalee’s legs shook as she drew closer to her climax, her fingers clutching Jay’s shoulders. He kissed down her neck, his teeth grazing the skin over her pulse. Her breath hitched, and she whimpered as he braced himself on his arm. His other hand slid down so his thumb could rub over her clit, making her mewl under him. She dragged her fingers down his back and up his chest, feeling his muscles move as he powered into her.

 

    Jay’s fingers pressed into her lower stomach as his thumb swirled around the tiny bundle of nerves and Nova cried out, her toes curling as she reached her peak. His head dropped as he let out a guttural moan, his release making his muscles tense as his hips stuttered. His rhythm slowed as he worked them through their orgasms, his hand coming up to grasp her chin. She turned her head at his urging, sighing as he pulled her into a slow kiss.

 

    His hips stilled as their lips moved together, Jay’s hand cupping the side of her neck. Novalee whimpered as he pulled away. He smiled sweetly as his thumb traced her jaw.

 

    She returned his smile. “Now that’s how I want to wake up with you.”

 

    Jay chuckled and brushed his hand through his damp hair. “I’ll remember that.”

Chapter Text

    “So you haven’t heard from him?”

 

    Novalee sighed and stared at Amber. “Not for a couple of weeks.”

 

    Sarah leaned back on Nova’s couch. “What about before that?”

 

    “He was great for a month. Called, texted, even stopped in once for dinner and once he sent me flowers. Then he became kinda distant. Stopped calling and texting as much. Sometimes he wouldn’t answer my texts for a day or more. Two weeks ago, he messaged me to say that he wanted to break up and that I should move on.”

 

    Amber scratched Rogue behind his ear as the dog sat next to her feet. “And all he said was move on?”

 

    Nova pulled out her phone and pulled up Jay’s messages. “He said, ‘Hey, Novalee. I’m sorry I have to do this in this way, but I think we should end this. My work keeps me away too much, and you deserve better than what I can give you. I hope you find a guy that can give you everything you deserve.’”

 

    Sarah snatched her phone and read it herself, “Wow! I thought he was a good guy, too. Guess you can never really tell. Have you tried calling him?”

 

    “Goes straight to voicemail.”

 

    Amber read over Sarah’s shoulder, “It seems decent by break up standards, except why over text and why is his number going to voicemail? It’s so cold and distant to break up with someone over text!”

 

    Sarah sighed, “Well, I guess it’s a good thing you never had sex with him.”

 

    “Um, yeah.” Novalee shifted in her seat and stared at the floor.

 

    Amber stared skeptically at her friend, “Nova? You didn’t, did you?”

 

    “Twice. The first time was when Jay met my family for the first time. The second time was the next day before he left on a case. He came back a little over a month ago, but he was so tired, and he looked like he’d been through hell. He slept in bed with me and left before I woke up.”

 

    Her two friends hissed in sympathy, Sarah groaned. “Why wouldn’t he wake you before he left?”

 

    Nova shrugged, “I never got an answer. He just left, and when I asked the next time he called, he changed the subject. Then he sent me that text.”

 

    “At least tell me he was good in bed,” Amber inquired with a groan.

 

    Nova blushed, “I can’t complain in that department.”

 

    Sarah smirked, “Good enough to make our girl blush. Damn! Too bad he’s a dick.”

 

    Amber shook her head, “Well, I’m calling Ladies’ Night back on. You need to forget that douchecanoe and find some guy that will show you a good time, at least.”

 

    “Yeah, okay,” Nova sighed. “I don’t know how much fun I’ll be. I really liked Jay.”

 

    Sarah patted her hand and returned her phone, “Mami? We know you did. But what’s the point of sitting around here all sad? We’re not saying to have to meet someone tonight. We’re saying shake the cobwebs off and try.”

 

    “Okay. I’ll come out and have a few drinks, but I’m bringing cab money in case you guys decide to ditch me again.”

 

...

 

    Sarah, Amber, and Novalee sat a table in the small bar. They had decided to try a new one since the club brought back too many memories of Jay. The new place wasn’t bad, as far as small bars go. The music wasn’t too loud, and the drinks were strong. Dart boards and pool tables were scattered around with a little dance floor off to the side.

 

    The women had opted for more casual clothes than they would usually have worn and Nova had straightened her wavy red hair. She didn’t know why she had bothered; she didn’t know that she wanted to find a guy that night.

 

    Sarah had struck up a conversation with a guy playing pool, his opponent grinning as she distracted the poor man out of winning the money they had bet. Amber was flirting with one of the bartenders, who was giving her a run for her money. Nova watched her friends, feeling relaxed as she downed her last bit of Jameson. She set her glass down and watched Sarah take the hand of the billiards player, leading him out of the door.

 

    A gruff voice came from behind her, and she jumped, “I should thank your friend for distracting that guy for me. He was close to sinking that eight ball and taking all of my money.”

 

    Nova cleared her throat and smiled at the guy, “Well, I hope she’ll be happy that she distracted him. If not, then I guess you owe her a drink.”

 

    “How about I buy you a drink instead and we’ll call it even?” The guy leaned his elbows on the table and smirked at her.

 

     Nova looked the man over, forcing her eyes from his clear green eyes. His light brown hair was cut short, and there was a splattering of freckles on his face. He was plainly dressed in a dark over shirt, a blue tee underneath, and jeans. On anyone else, she would have laughed, but he made the outfit look good.

 

    She smirked at him, “I’d like that.”

 

    “What’s your poison, sweetheart,” he inquired as he stood.

 

    “Name’s Nova. Get me a Jameson straight.”

 

    His eyebrows lifted, “Whiskey girl, huh?”

 

    She leaned on the table. “If you’re going to get drunk, might as well enjoy the good stuff.”

 

    He laughed and went to get them drinks. Amber caught Nova’s eye. The blonde woman pointed to the guy behind his back and gave her two thumbs up. Nova grinned at her friend and winked.

 

     The man put two glasses on the table, sliding her glass to her before he sat down. “So, Nova, was it?” She nodded and took a drink of her whiskey. “My name’s Dean.”

 

    “Nice to meet you, Dean.”

 

    “Nice to meet you and your friends. That brunette you were with won me a fair chunk of money. That blonde just scored me a discount on the booze.”

 

    She laughed, teasing, “So does that mean I get another since you got a discount?”

 

    “Honey, I’d gladly buy you another.”

 

    “I’m just teasing.” She waved him off. “This is plenty.”

 

    “I’m serious.” He leaned forward, winking. “I’d buy you a bottle if it meant you’d stay here and talk to me.”

 

    Nova glanced down, her face heated. “No bottle needed, though that’s tempting. I don’t mind sitting here and talking with you.”

 

    “Hey, Nova.” Amber walked over and kissed her cheek. “I’m going to head out with Stan. You okay here?”

 

    “I’m fine, Amber. Have fun with Stan.”

 

    Amber turned toward Dean, pinning him with a glare, “Hurt her, and I’ll kill you.”

 

    “Don’t mind her,” Nova groaned as her friend walked away. “She’s feeling really protective of me right now. Not enough not to go get laid, but enough to threaten a random stranger.”

 

    “It’s cool.” Dean chuckled, his eyes bright as he asked, “Why’s she feeling protective?”

 

     “The usual. An ex-boyfriend,” she sighed, resting her chin on her hand as she leaned onto the table.

 

    “Yeah? What idiot would break up with a hot chick like you?”

 

    “Well, an idiot, I guess. He kept me on the hook for a while and then broke up with me through a text.”

 

    Dean hissed in sympathy. “Damn, that’s rough.”

 

    Nova sat up and waved it away. “Enough about that though. What brings you out to the bar?”

Chapter Text

    Nova opened her front door, dropping her keys on the table by the door. “Come on in. I’ll grab a couple of glasses.”

 

    Dean closed the door behind him, following her into the entranceway. “Sounds good.”

 

    It had only taken a couple of drinks with him before Nova decided to bring Dean back to her place. They had talked and joked for a little while, Dean buying most of the drinks. He seemed like a fun person, and she was excited to get to know more about him.

 

    She went into her kitchen and grabbed glasses and a bottle of whiskey, walking by Dean in the doorway. “Come on. The living room’s this way.”

 

    Novalee sat on the couch, placing the glasses on the coffee table before pouring some of the whiskey. Dean walked over, looking around her place with his hands in the pockets of his canvas jacket. He sat on the couch and took the glass she offered him.

 

    “Nice place you have here.”

 

    “I like it here.” Nova unzipped the side of her boots, pulling them off and setting them beside the couch. “I’ve been looking at houses, but I like my neighbors, and I have yet to find a house that has everything I want. So, I keep choosing to stay here.”

 

    “Can’t blame you there. Seems like you have everything you could want.”

 

    “I’m just glad my brothers took my dog this weekend. Otherwise, there would be piles of torn up paper everywhere.”

 

    “You have a dog,” Dean asked, his eyebrow rising.

 

    She pulled her jacket off, tossing it on an armchair as she explained, “A collie named Rogue. He’s a good dog unless I’m gone too long. Then he acts up and tries to pounce on me when I do come home.”

 

    “Never been much for dogs, honestly.” Frowning, he took a drag from his drink. “I know people seem to love them, but pets have never been my thing.”

 

    “Pets aren’t enjoyable for everyone. Just like whiskey, beer, or sex.”

 

    He chuckled, “Now those I like and who doesn’t like sex?”

 

    “Some people don’t. I don’t know why they wouldn’t, but it’s not my place to judge. I hate flying and don’t ever give me tequila.”

 

    “I’ll agree with flying, but what’s wrong with tequila?”

 

    She curled her feet up underneath her, sighing as she explained, “Oh, I love tequila, don’t get me wrong. Tequila hates me. Last time I had tequila, I ended up giving lap dances to my two best friends. A time before that I named my dog Rogue Prince.”

 

    He burst out laughing, “A lap dance sounds pretty awesome though.”

 

    “They didn’t complain.” Novalee blushed and licked her lips. “Though they were just as drunk and I was topless. If I’ve learned one thing in retail, people don’t complain when skin is shown.”

 

    “Can’t argue with that. I’ve done some stupid things to see a woman naked.”

 

    She grinned, “Like coming back to a random chick’s home for drinks after meeting her in a bar?”

 

    “Hey! Your friend helped me out with that pool game. Had to get to know the hot redhead who was egging her on.”

 

    Nova shrugged, looking at him out of the side of her eyes, “Guy should’ve known better than to play against someone who was so obviously hustling him.”

 

    Dean’s eyes widened, his jaw dropping. “What?!”

 

    “I grew up with an older brother and two younger brothers.” She giggled, playfully pushing his shoulder. “I learned to play pool when I was maybe nine years old. My oldest brother, Rhett, used to take me to the pool halls when he was old enough and we would hustle a couple of games to pay for his cigarettes and liquor.”

 

    “Hell, if I had known that, I would’ve asked you to play too.” Dean winked, remarking, “Maybe I could have made more!”

 

    She put her glass down, leaning towards Dean as she snorted. “What makes you think I would’ve helped?”

 

    He smirked and leaned towards her, his elbows on his knees. “I could try to convince you.”

 

    She raised an eyebrow, her voice skeptical, “You’re welcome to try.”

 

    Dean leaned closer to her, his hand cupping her cheek. He brushed his lips over hers before his other hand grabbed her waist, wrapping around her. He pressed his lips to hers, moving them slowly as he knelt onto the couch, his other hand coming around to press against her stomach. Nova uncurled her legs, laying down and letting him slide his body between her legs as his tongue swept over her bottom lip. She parted her lips, and his tongue slid into her mouth, twisting with hers.

 

    He leaned back, grinning. “How am I doing, sweetheart?” His hand grasped her hip, his thumb tracing over the patch of skin showing between her shirt and waistband of her jeans.

 

    “Pretty good. But I’m still not sure I’ll help you hustle a game of pool yet.”

 

    Dean chuckled and propped himself up on one hand, the other sliding under her shirt to squeeze her ribs. He kissed down her jaw, nudging her head to the side before nipping and kissing down her neck. Nova reached under his shirts, running her fingers up his back as he kissed across her collarbone.

 

    His hand trailed over her stomach as Dean leaned back. He pulled his black work shirt off, dropping it beside the couch. Nova reached under his tee, grasping his sides and pulling him down on her again. His lips found hers again as his hand slid up to cup her breast through her lace bra. Nova dragged her fingers up his chest, parting her lips and letting his tongue enter her mouth again.

 

    Dean’s phone went off in his pocket, and he grumbled, “Give me one second, sweetheart. That might be important.” He leaned back, settling on his knees as he answered. “Hey, Sam. What do you need?”

 

    Nova leaned over and grabbed her whiskey, sitting up to throw back the last of her drink. She scooted away from Dean and got up while he talked, going to the kitchen to put her glass away and give him some privacy. She leaned onto the sink, her stomach churning with guilt as her mind brought up images of Jay.

 

    She sighed, grabbing a bottle of vodka and taking a swig as she listened to Dean talk.  Why do I feel guilty? Jay broke up with me. Dean seems like a cool guy, and that could help me get over this, but I keep thinking about Jay.

 

    She stood up, rinsing her cup and taking another swig of vodka before coming back into the living room as Dean hung up, the vodka left on the counter. “Sorry about that, Nova. My brother needed to fill me in on a few things.”

 

    Nova leaned against the wall, crossing her arms over her chest and smiling as she drawled. “It’s fine, Dean.”

 

    “Southern girl, huh?” He blinked, his eyebrows knitting together.

 

    “Uh huh,” she giggled incessantly, covering her mouth in surprise. “Father’s from Georgia and my momma’s from Kentucky.”

 

    He stood and crossed the room, his hands coming up to hold her hips. “Still want me to try to convince you?”

 

    “I think you’ve been doing a pretty good job of it.” She smirked and licked her lips, her eyes falling to his mouth.

 

    She wobbled on her feet, head spinning, and Dean wrapped an arm around her waist. “Easy, sweetheart.” She giggled, and he brushed her hair out of her eyes. “I think you may have had a little too much to drink.”

 

    “I’m fine. Just lost my balance real quick.”

 

    He chuckled as she wobbled again and pulled her to his chest, brushing her hair back. “No, you aren’t. Let’s get you to bed.”

 

    Sighing, she whined, “But I was having fun.”

 

   Dean grinned and kissed her softly, the hand on her hip squeezing gently. “We can have fun later, but you are way too drunk. Now which way to the bedroom?”

 

   Nova pointed to her room, taking a step and almost falling. Dean laughed and picked her up, tossing her over his shoulder and carrying her back to her room. He turned when he got to the door, and she opened it for him. He set her down on the bed, grinning as she laid down before he pulled the blankets over her.

 

    “Get some sleep, Nova.” He stood by the bed, rubbing a hand over his short-cropped hair.

 

    She nuzzled into her pillow and sighed, “I’m sorry I couldn’t have been more fun.”

 

    “Don’t worry about it,” Dean chuckled before he sat on the edge of the bed. “I had plenty of fun. I’m going to sleep on your couch if that’s okay?”

 

    Nova shrugged, “You can sleep here or on the couch. I don’t mind.”

 

    “Doesn’t matter to me.” His green eyes watched her as she pulled her socks off.

 

    She smirked as she settled under the blankets again. “Then climb in, Dean. You’ll be more comfortable, and you can keep me warm.”

 

    “Alright, sweetheart.” He snorted a laugh, his hand rubbing over his full lips.

 

    He stood and stretched, making his way around the bed before kicking off his boots. Dean pulled the blankets down before crawling under and laying on his back. His arms crossed under his head, Nova watching as the muscles flexed and his shirt sleeves pulled tight.

 

    She bit her lip and closed her eyes, wishing she hadn’t drunk so much so that she could find out what else was under that shirt. Her mind pulled up an image of Dean bent over the pool table, his jeans pulling tight over his ass and she suppressed a groan as she thought of what was hidden under the jeans too.

 

     Her mind betrayed her, though. As the image of Dean stood from his shot, he turned into Jay, his brilliant smile sending a jab of pain through her chest. Nova rolled onto her stomach, hugging her pillow.  Maybe it was too soon for this?

Chapter Text

    Novalee woke up the next morning with a pounding headache. She groaned and rolled over, her hand landing on the warm body next to her. Peeking through slitted eyes, she saw Dean face down on the pillow next to her. Almost fully dressed, only his boots and over shirt were missing. The events from the night prior flooded back to her and she sighed. She left her hand on his back as he breathed, happy that she had picked up a guy that didn’t try to screw her while she was too drunk.

 

    She stifled another groan as the light in her room made her head pound even more. She carefully got up, trying not to wake Dean as she went into her bathroom to find Tylenol and empty her screaming bladder. She stood at her mirror and combed out her matted hair and brushed her teeth, trying to find the best way to get to her coffee pot. Creeping out of the bathroom and bedroom, she made her way to her kitchen and coffee machine, starting a large pot.

 

    Nova leaned back on the counter as the coffee brewed, thinking over the night. A smile played on her face as she thought about her and Dean’s makeout session on the couch. Thinking about waking him up to continue where they left off, Novalee grabbed a couple of mugs for the coffee. She blushed as she remembered how poorly she had handled her liquor and she padded into the living room, picking up her phone to text Amber and Sarah about what they had missed after they left the bar.

 

Nova: OMG! I made a huge ass of myself last night. I brought Dean back to my apartment with me and ended up too drunk to follow through after a makeout session. Now he’s passed out, and I’m making coffee. What do I do?

Sarah: LMAO, What did you drink after we left?! OH! Wake him up with a bj.

Amber: Wake him up with sex. He’ll forget about drunken shenanigans after getting his rocks off.

N: Really, you two?! Is sex the only thing you think about? Not helping. The guy isn’t awake!

S: You know us! You used to be like us! Then Jay came along, and you haven’t picked up a guy since. Well, other than last night. LOL. As for him being asleep, then wake him up and offer head or sex.

A: Girl! He came back with you. He’s still there. He’s interested. Time for Bow-Chicka-Wow-Wow before a quick kick out the door.

N: I tried to screw him last night. But when he had to answer his phone, I felt all guilty and shit, like I was doing something I shouldn’t have been.

S: Still hung up on Jay?

N: Yes! And it fucking sucks! Dean’s hot and seriously sweet. When I couldn’t walk to bed, he carried me and tucked me in before climbing into my bed.

S: Wait, he’s in your bed, and you’re asking us what you should do? Mami! Climb on top of him and blow his mind!

A: Shit, send him my way then. He sounds great.

N: Ugh, I can’t believe I can’t get Jay out of my fucking brain! Sarah, how did you get over Austin?

S: How we always get over our exes, lots of drinking and mindless sex. Couple good orgasms and poof! Goodbye, Austin. Hello, World!

 

    Nova heard footsteps in her hallway and put her phone down, going to the kitchen and pouring two mugs of coffee. “Hey, Dean. Want coffee?”

 

    “Yeah,” His voice was deep and gravelly with sleep. “That’d be great.”

 

    She handed him a mug and jumped onto the counter, letting her feet swing. “Sugar’s on top the fridge. Sorry about last night, by the way. I didn’t realize how much I had to drink.”

 

    “Black’s good, and it’s cool.” He took a swig of coffee before smiling at her. “I’ve been there. You seemed like you were on a mission last night.”

 

    “You could say that,” she snorted, covering her mouth to try not to spit out the swallow of coffee in her mouth. “It was a mission from hell apparently. Mission Impossible: Try to drink away a breakup. Not my smartest idea this time.”

 

    “Sounds like this guy did a number on you.” Dean leaned against the opposite counter, taking swigs of his coffee.

 

    “He was sweet, smart, and sexy. The three S’s most likely to fuck a girl up. Then he broke up with me after almost five months of dating.”

 

    “What’s his name?”

 

    “Jay.”

 

    “Why don’t you call him,” inquired Dean, crossing his arms in front of him. “Sounds like you’re not quite over him.”

 

    “His number goes straight to voicemail,” Nova grumbled, rubbing a hand through her hair. “I’ve left a couple of messages, but he never calls back.”

 

    He hummed, “How long ago did he break up with you?”

 

    “Almost two weeks.”

 

    “Then he probably has your number blocked. No one leaves their phone off for two weeks.”

 

    Nova flinched, and Dean sighed, “Not trying to be a dick, Nova. Just letting you know.”

 

    She groaned, glancing at her feet, “I know. I never thought about that though. Plus, it hurts to hear that a guy you thought likes you, blocked you.”

 

    “Well, we could always call him from my phone.” He smirked, arms bracing against the counter. “I could leave him a message telling him it's his loss for breaking up with you. Throw in a couple of moans and giggles and, well, you get the idea.”

 

    Nova laughed, “Really? Isn’t that a little petty?”

 

    He shrugged, taking a sip of his coffee as he leaned against the countertop. “Maybe. But it’d be funny as hell, and it sounds like this guy deserves it.”

 

    “Okay. If you’re sure," she paused, waiting unil he nodded. "Let’s do it.” She grinned, jumping off the counter.

 

    They took their coffees into the living room, Dean pulling his phone out of his pocket before sitting down. “What’s the number?”

 

    Nova took his phone, grinning at Dean while she dialed Jay’s number from memory. “You’re sure about this?”

 

    “Hell yeah.” Dean took his phone back, his eyes trained on Nova as he hit send. “It’ll be hilarious. Let’s teach that idiot a lesson.”

 

    She listened as the phone rang, her stomach in knots. Dean smiled at her and put his hand on her thigh, giving it a small squeeze. She smiled back, her hand briefly covering his before she brushed it through her hair. Dean leaned over and kissed her softly, winking before leaning back on the couch.

 

    She bit her lip as the phone clicked, Jay’s rushed voice answering. “Hey, man. What’s up?”

 

    Nova gave Dean a shocked look, the man wearing the same look as he replied. “Sammy?”

 

    “You called me, Dean. You should know.” Jay/Sammy groaned, “Are you still drunk? Don’t tell me you need a pickup.”

 

    Dean ran a hand through his hair, “Uh, yeah. Must still be drunk. But no pickup needed.”

 

    “Okay, cool. You still at that girl’s place?”

 

    Nova flinched and had to stifle a groan as he replied, “Yeah, man. You still at the hotel?”

 

    “No. I’m heading over to a friend’s house. I need to talk to her about some stuff.”

 

    Her eyes widened, fear making the blood run icy in her veins, and Dean grunted, “Okay. I’m, uh, probably going to head back to the room soon. Need a shower before we head out.”

 

    “Alright, Dean. I’ll see you when I get back.”

 

    “Yeah, I’ll talk to you later, Sam.”

 

    Dean hung up, and Nova closed her eyes, covering her face with her hands. “So… So you know Jay, or Sam, or whatever his name is?”

 

    Dean looked at the phone, pulling up the number and showing it to Nova. “Was this the number you dialed?”

 

    She pulled her hands from her face and checked. “Yeah. That’s Jay’s number.”

 

    “He told you his name was Jay,” Dean grumbled and rubbed the back of his neck.

 

    “Yeah,” Novalee sighed. “I met him about five months ago. My boss had gone missing, and he was working the case with the FBI, though now I’m wondering if that was a lie too. He interviewed me, told me his name was Agent Jones. Agent John Jones, but I called him Jay. Wait, are you his partner Dean?”

 

    Dean groaned, “Um, kinda. I remember that case.”

 

    “But you called him little brother? So you’re Dean, his partner, but Jay said his brother’s name was David.” She groaned and hid her face. “I’m so confused and way too hungover for this.”

 

    “So am I.” huffed Dean. “Look, I’m going to head out of here before he gets here, ‘cause I’m guessing Sam meant you when he said he needed to meet up with a friend and he doesn’t know that I came home with his ex.”

 

    “I don’t think he’d meet up with Amber or Sarah and I don’t think he knows anyone else here.”

 

    Dean got up and went to her room. Novalee sat on the couch, thinking through everything she had learned. When he came back, he sat on the couch and started pulling on his boots.

 

    “What do I say to him,” Novalee questioned, watching Dean struggle with his boots. “He doesn’t know that I was listening to that conversation.”

 

    Dean shrugged, and they both jumped as someone knocked on her door. Dean grabbed his work shirt off the floor, pulling it on as Nova bit her lip, standing to answer the door.

 

    “Son of a bitch! Look, just tell him the truth. Tell him nothing happened between us. That stuff on the couch doesn’t matter right now. Tell him you know the truth about him for the most part and he can fill in the rest. I-I’ll do something.”

 

    She nodded, and the knock sounded again. “But isn't he going to be upset that you’re here?”

 

    “Probably but I’ll deal with that later,” Dean groaned. “You need to answer that door though, or he’s going to think we were in the middle of something when you do answer.”

 

    Nova whimpered, but turned and went to the door, opening it for Jay and trying not to let her emotions show. “Hey. What are you doing here?”

 

    Jay gave her his most melt-worthy smile, but Nova couldn’t return it. “I wanted to check on you. I know I broke up with you, but…” He stopped when Dean walked up behind her. “Dean? What are you doing here?” He turned to Nova, hurt written all over his features. “You-you’re the girl he went home from the bar with last night.”

Chapter Text

    Nova took a step back, her arms wrapping around herself, as Jay walked in. “He came home with me last night. We talked, drank, and I passed out.”

 

    “Hey, Sam.” Dean crossed his arms over his chest, leaning against the table by the door. “Or should I call you Jay?”

 

    Jay’s eyebrows knit together. “She told you about that?” Dean nodded, and Nova closed her eyes, sighing. “Uh, I should probably explain.”

 

    “I don’t wanna know at this point.” drawled Nova as she walked away. “For the five months we were dating, you lied to me about your name. You lied about your brother and partner. Hell, are you even in the FBI?”

 

    She turned around, halfway down the hall to her room and saw Sam standing by her kitchen, Dean’s hand wrapped around his arm to hold him there. “I-I can explain, Novalee.”

 

    “Save it, Jay, Sam. Whatever your name is.” She hung her head, tears pricking her eyes. “You broke up with me and let’s face it. That’s probably a good thing if you were so ready to lie to me every time you came here.”

 

    Dean cleared his throat. “Sam, let her cool off, and you can explain it all later.”

 

    Nova glared at Sam. “Sam? I don’t need to cool off. You lied to my family. You lied to me. You broke up with me through a damn text message. Unless you got a damn good reason, I don’t give a shit. Hell, even if there WAS a good reason, I don’t know that I can forgive you. I can’t think of a damn thing that would make me lie to someone I was in a relationship with for five fucking months.”

 

    “Really, man,” asked Dean, tugging on Sam’s arm. “A text? And everyone says I’m the asshole.”

 

    Sam’s eyes reminded her of Rogue’s when she got upset with him, his eyes wide as his face fell further. “Novalee, please. I-I don’t know how to explain this all to you. There’s so much.”

 

    “Then get out! Both of you! I don’t want to look at you anymore, and you can’t possibly have a good enough reason for what you did. Out!”

 

    Nova retreated to her room, shutting and locking the door behind her. She could hear the brothers arguing as she laid down on her bed. She hugged a pillow over her head, blocking out their voices and muffling her angry tears. Novalee felt terrible for throwing Dean out. He hadn’t done anything wrong, but she knew Sam would never leave if Dean were there.

 

...

 

    Nova climbed out of bed two hours later, getting in the shower and washing away the smell of the bar. She pulled her bedding and threw it in her washer before leaving her bedroom, checking her apartment for the brothers. The men were nowhere to be found, and Nova sighed, relieved she wouldn’t have to see them again. She groaned when she saw a note on her coffee table, but she refused to read it. She knew it would be from Sam/Jay and she couldn’t deal with that right then.

 

    She grabbed her phone off the coffee table and called Sarah and Amber, asking them to come over to talk. Nova didn’t tell them about the revelation that had been thrust in her face. They agreed, promising to be over for dinner. While she waited for her friends, she cleaned up the glasses and alcohol from the night before and sat down to eat some toast. Nova tried to think of what to tell her friends about the Jay/Sam/Dean debacle, but everything sounded ridiculous to her.

 

    A knock at her door broke her from her thoughts. She checked the time, wondering if her friends were early as she dried her hands on a kitchen towel. She grabbed her fresh cup of coffee and went to the door.

 

    “Ladies, I have a weird story for you,” she murmured as she opened the door, her eyes on the cup of coffee to make sure she didn’t spill.

 

    “Oh, it’s going to get weirder.”

 

    Nova stared at the strange man in her doorway. His voice was gravelly with a British accent, his suit well tailored. His dark hair was short and his skin fair under a trimmed beard.

 

    “Hello, Ginger. Fancy a chat?” He ran his hand over his expensive suit.

 

    Nova pushed her door closed, dropping her coffee, but it stopped halfway and the man tsked. “Oh dear. Is that any way to treat a guest?”

 

    Nova ran towards her bedroom, but something hit her, throwing her against the wall of her living room. The man sauntered in, looking around her place before shutting the door. He walked over to where she stood pinned against the wall. Her chest heaved, icy fear running through her veins as he looked her over.

 

    The man grinned at her. “Now, Ginger, I only came to have a fag and chat with your boyfriend.”

 

    She shook her head, trying to fight the invisible bonds that held her. “I don’t have a boyfriend!”

 

    “No lying, Lovely,” the man tsked. “Where are the Winchester brothers?”

 

    “Winchesters? I don’t know any Winchesters!” The man stared at her, raising an eyebrow and Nova wracked her brain, “Do you mean J-Sam and Dean?” The man gave a brief nod, and she stammered, “I-I don’t know. They are staying at a hotel somewhere.”

 

    “That’s too bad,” he hummed.

 

    “Wh-Who are you?”

 

    “Name’s Crowley. I’m the King of Hell, and I need to talk to your little moose and squirrel friends.”

 

    Nova’s mind reeled, imploring, “What? Who? I don’t know what you mean. Please, I have a family. I have three brothers and a mom and dad. I have a collie named Rogue.”

 

    “Shut up and listen.” He snapped his fingers, and Nova’s arm wrenched to the side, her bones screaming. “You are going to call your little friends and have them come back. I’ve been trying to contact those flannel loving idiots for far too long, and they won’t ignore you.”

 

    “We fought. They won’t come back.”

 

    “Oh, they’ll come, Ginger.” The invisible grip on her let go, and she fell to the floor, panting. Crowley crossed the room, grabbing her phone before tossing it to her. “Call them.”

 

    Nova picked up her phone, calling Sam. She leaned against the wall, her broken arm cradled in her lap and teary eyes on Crowley while she waited. The strange man kept his eyes on hers as he crouched in front of her. The phone rang twice before Sam answered.

 

    “Thank God, Nova! Did you...”

 

    “Ja-Sam,” she cut him off, her voice a rasp. “You and Dean need to come back.”

 

    He paused, and when he spoke, he sounded distant. “Nova, what’s wrong?”

 

    Crowley leaned over and took the phone, putting it on speaker. “Hello, Moose. I’ve just been chatting with your little ginger friend here. Lovely girl, horrible manners.”

 

    “Sam, help,” Novalee yelled.

 

    She heard Sam curse and Dean’s voice came over the speaker, “Crowley, what the hell, man?”

 

    “Squirrel,” Crowley’s voice was a rumble as he stood, “you’ve been avoiding me, so I found someone who couldn’t help but get your attention. After watching you two flirt last night at that bar and her bringing you back here, I figured she would be my best bet. Nice moves last night, by the way. Too bad you didn’t seal the deal.”

 

    Nova stifled a whimper, and when Crowley turned his back, she slowly started to creep back towards her bedroom while Dean growled, “Crowley, you son of a bitch! She has nothing to do with this.”

 

    “But she has done the job that I wanted her to do,” The strange man chuckled. “Now I need you to help me with a little job, and I’ll let Ginger here live.”

 

    Crowley spun around, his hand coming up when he saw her creeping away. She felt something grab her and fling her across the room, her body knocking over a lamp before she was pinned to the wall above her fireplace. Her body screamed in pain, and she couldn’t help the shriek that flew from her lips.

 

    “Now now, Ginger. No running away from me.”

 

    “Sam,” she cried. “Dean! What is going on? Who is this man?”

 

    Sam’s voice was hard as he answered, “Novalee, we will explain when we get there. Crowley, if you hurt her again, I will kill you.”

 

    “Such a tease, Samantha. Toodle-oo, boys. See you soon.”

Chapter Text

    Nova’s body was racked with pain as she hung from invisible ties. Crowley kept her pinned to the wall as he went into her kitchen and found her bottle of scotch, pouring himself some. He came back into the room and took a drink, grimacing as he looked her over again.

 

    “Terrible scotch, Dear.”

 

    Nova glared at him, drawling, “Bless your heart. Thanks for sharing.”

 

    “Just shut up and hang there,” he chuckled and snapped his fingers.

 

    She tried to retort, but her voice no longer worked. She kept glaring at Crowley, her anger building with her agony. She was positive her arm was broken. It was twisted, and the weight of her hand caused it to burn and throb. She could feel sweat dripping down her face, drops falling into her eyes and making them sting as her head throbbed.

 

    Her front door opened, Sam coming through with a knife in hand. Dean followed, his gun pointed at the ground. Nova tried to speak, to beg for help, but she couldn’t. She watched them come into her living room through the corner of her eye.

 

    Sam saw her first, “Novalee!” He turned towards Crowley, growling out, “Let her go!”

 

    Crowley stood and clicked his fingers. Nova fell to the floor, her arms landing under her and she screamed in pain as her arm wrenched under her. She rolled onto her back, hugging her arm to her chest.

 

    Dean kept his gun on Crowley and Sam ran over to Nova, his thumb brushing her cheekbone. “Are you okay?”

 

    “My arm is broken,” she panted, tears falling from her eyes. “Sam, what the hell is going on?”

 

    “Boys, I’m hurt.” Crowley threw his arms out. “You’ve been ignoring me for far too long.”

 

    Dean laugh was bitter. “So you decide to come here and hurt an innocent girl?”

 

    Sam helped Nova sit up, leaning her against the wall next to her fireplace. He barely touched her broken arm, and she hissed in pain, her back going rigid as she fought the urge to pull it away from his hand. He wiped the sweat from her face before pressing a kiss into her hair, his chin coming to rest on the top of her head.

 

     He whispered against her hair, “I’m sorry, Novalee. Dean and I will fix this, I promise.”

 

    Nova nodded, her agony rendering her speechless as Crowley’s lip twitched. “Touching, Sam. But I need a word with Dean about what you two will do, or I come back and do more damage to your little girlfriend.”

 

    Dean pointed his gun to the ground, demanding, “Then talk.”

 

    “Let’s go in the girl’s room.”

 

...

 

    After Dean and Crowley had gone into Nova’s room, Sam ran into her kitchen, grabbing Tylenol and a bottle of whiskey. “I know it’s not much, Nova, but it’s all I have right now. We’ll get you fixed up once this is over.”

 

    Nova nodded, opening her mouth for him to put the pills in before he helped her take a swig of the whiskey. Sam grabbed a magazine and some tape. He ran back to the kitchen, grabbing a towel before he came back and knelt in front of her. She watched as Sam ripped the cloth into strips.

 

    “Nova, I’ll have to splint your arm. It’s going to hurt while I do it, but it’s going to be better than letting it stay like this.”

 

    She couldn’t respond, her mind overtaken by the pain as he gently moved her broken arm from her chest and wrapped the magazine around it. He taped the magazine edges together, enveloping the magazine with the clear tape. He tied the strips of towel together before wrapping it around her opposite shoulder and under the splint. He tied the pieces over her shoulder, her arm tucked against her chest. He ran to the kitchen and made an ice pack, tucking it into the improvised splint.

 

    Her pain lessened with the sling, and she smiled wanly at Sam, “Thank you, Jay.” She groaned, and he ran his fingers through her hair. “I mean Sam. Sorry, still getting used to that.”

 

    He smiled warmly at her, “Call me whatever you want. I don’t care.”

 

    “Sam, who is that man? WHAT is he? How was he throwing me around like a ragdoll without touching me?”

 

    He sighed and sat next to her, wrapping an arm around her back and letting her lean against him. “His name is Crowley, and he’s a demon.”

 

    Shaking her head, she looked up at him. She wanted to push away from him, to yell and rage, but her agony made her curl into him more. “I-I don’t understand. I thought demons weren’t real?”

 

    “Angels, Demons, Werewolves, Vampires,” he huffed. “They’re all real, Nova. Remember Garth? He’s a werewolf. I’m sorry you had to find out about any of this. I wish you could have stayed out of it. I shouldn’t have let you get pulled in.”

 

    Nova closed her eyes, trying to process it all. “Is this why you broke up with me?”

 

    “Yeah.” His head rested against hers, and she soaked in the warmth coming off of him. “I didn’t want you or your family to be in danger because you know me. I was trying to protect you from all of this.”

 

    Dean came out of her room, anger radiating off of him. “Crowley’s gone. How’s she doing?”

 

   “Not great.” She struggled to focus on Dean as Sam replied. “We need to get her to the hospital. Her arm is broken. What does Crowley want?”

 

    Dean’s voice was a growl as he replied, “We have to find something for him.”

 

    “Is that it,” Sam questioned. “He did all of this just to get us to find something?”

 

    Dean leaned against the wall. “Yeah, but it’s not going to be easy to find, and he gave us a fucking deadline.”

 

    “How long?”

 

    “Two weeks.”

 

    Groaning, Sam’s arm tightened around Nova. “Then we need to get moving. We have to get her fixed up and figure out how to keep her safe while we search.”

 

    Sam slowly unwrapped his arm from around Novalee, squatting next to her. Gently, he picked her up, her head tucking under his chin as she whimpered in pain. Dean grabbed her purse from the entry table, setting it and her phone on her stomach as Sam stood next to him. He quickly squeezed Nova’s shoulder before walking across the room.

 

    Dean opened the door, holding it for Sam as he walked through, shutting and locking it. Nova closed her eyes, trying to take deep breaths as her arm was jostled and pain shot through her. Her head ached fiercely, and she had to fight to reopen her eyes.

 

    Sam quickly moved down the hall, whispering to her as she moaned in pain, “I’m sorry, Nova. You need to get to the hospital quickly.”

 

    She could hear Dean’s rapid footsteps behind them as they made their way down the stairs. Dean ran ahead when they made it to the lobby, telling Sam to wait while he got the car. Sam found a bench and sat on it, slowly settling Nova on his lap while they rested.

 

    “Sam?” Nova tried to focus on Sam’s hand as it smoothed over her black jeans. He made a low noise in his throat, and she whispered, “I think there’s something wrong with my eyes. I can’t focus on anything.”

 

    His hand brushed against hers as it lay in her lap. “Can you tell me if anything else hurts?”

 

    She closed her eyes. “I’m exhausted and dizzy, which is making my stomach hurt, I think. My head hurts, too.”

 

    “Sounds like you have a concussion,” Sam sighed, and his large hand enveloped hers.

 

    “I feel like I got hit by a car. Everything hurts, and I just want to sleep.”

 

    “No sleeping, please.” He pulled away from her slightly as his hand cupped her chin. “You need to open your eyes.”

 

    Nova fought her heavy eyelids, opening them only slightly. “I don’t think I can open them any more than this.”

 

    “Novalee!” His fingers rapped against her cheek. “You have to keep them open. It’s dangerous to fall asleep with a concussion.”

 

    Sam's head turned as a car honked. Carefully, he scooped her up again, and Nova’s breath hitched as a searing pain tore through her. She stared through the glass front door, spotting Dean getting out of a black Impala. He ran over, propping the door open for Sam as he made his way out to the car.

 

    The rear door of the car was already open, and Sam carefully loaded Novalee in the back. He climbed in to sit next to her, gently lifting her head to rest it on his thigh. She heard the engine rev, and Dean pulled out of the parking spot.

 

    His fingers drifted through her hair, and he spoke, “Novalee, you need to open your eyes again.”

 

    Mumbling, Nova continued her battle with her heavy lashes. “It’s not working.”

Chapter Text

    Novalee sat on the hospital bed, listening to the heart monitor. Sam sat on a chair next to her, Dean leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest. The doctor and nurses had unwrapped her arm, and x rayed it before doing a CT on her head. They had given her more pain medication before informing her that her arm had a clean break and she had a concussion.

 

    Nova was fighting to keep her eyes open, the medicine making her mind foggy. The ER nurse turned on her tv before leaving the room. She tried to watch the cartoon, attempting to make sense of everything that had happened that day.

 

    She turned her head toward the brothers, looking between the two as she giggled. “I met a demon today, didn’t I?”

 

    “Yeah, sweetheart. You did,” Dean smirked.

 

    “And he made me fly. Well, kinda.” She looked at Sam, “Does that count as flying?”

 

    Dean rubbed a hand over his mouth, grinning, as Sam groaned. “If you want to count it as flying, go for it.”

 

    She snorted. “It’s as bad as flying on a plane.” Nova shifted on the bed, hissing when her arm twinged and the pain making her accent strong. “Rhett’s gonna be madder than a wet hen when he sees my arm. Beau and Bennett are gonna tease me, but they ain’t gonna be happy either.”

 

    Dean shifted on his feet. “Who are Beau, Bennett, and Rhett?”

 

    “Her brothers.” Sam leaned on his knees, head drooping.“Rhett is her older brother. Beau and Bennett are her twin younger brothers.”

 

    “Rhett’s in the Navy like Papa was. Beau and Bennett just graduated high school last month,” She babbled.

 

    Sam’s eyebrows knit together, “They brought up their grades?”

 

    “Yeah! Little jerks were playing dumb the whole time. They aced every test and final. I thought Mama was gonna spit; she was so angry.”

 

    Sam smiled warmly at her. “Your dad must be happy. He was close to sending them to military school the last time I saw them.”

 

    “Papa just laughed and whacked them over the head. The twins’re talking 'bout going to college now, but Papa said he’d only pay for a community college til they proved they’re serious bout getting an education.”

 

    Sam chuckled, “I can understand that. What do the twins want to do?”

 

    “Beau and Bennett wanna go to either Stanford or Berkeley. Beau’s more interested in Stanford and Bennett wants to go to Berkeley. It’ll be the first time they went to different schools or lived apart though. Mama is worried they won’t be happy apart.”

 

    “I went to Stanford. I was Pre-Law,” Sam replied.

 

    Nova grinned at him, “That’s what Beau wants to study. Bennett’s more interested in Engineering.”

 

    Sam snorted, “I could see Beau being a great lawyer. He can talk his way out of any trouble.”

 

    “Remember when you first met them,” she asked with a laugh. “The twins broke Mama’s favorite vase?”

 

    Sam’s head dropped as he chuckled. “Yeah! Beau sweet talked your mother until she was apologizing to them.”

 

    Nova giggled and looked at Dean, who was watching his brother, a confused look in his eye. “Sam’s gone to Sunday Dinner with my family a few times. My little brothers think he’s the best thing since sliced bread and I think my mama has hit on him every single time.”

 

    “Your mother hit on your boyfriend?” Dean guffawed as Sam’s face reddened.

 

    “I think I would have been insulted if she hadn’t.” She shrugged, “Mom hits on any guy that is taller than her, muscular, and handsome. Pops shrugs it off. He knows she ain’t going anywhere. She’d have a field day if the two of you came to Sunday Dinner. Two handsome men walking into that house and one of them is likely to drink with her. It’d be funny as all get out.”

 

    Sam shook his head as a nurse walked in. “Well, Ms. Prince. I’m Tara, and I’m going to start setting up. We are going to put you in a cast and send you home to recuperate.”

 

    The nurse started grabbing things in the room for the cast as Nova sighed, “This is gonna hurt, ain’t it?”

 

    “It won’t be the best feeling in the world, but I bet one of these young men will come over to hold your hand while we work.” Tara grinned.

 

    Tara helped her move to the end of the bed after disconnecting the heart monitor while the doctor came in. “Okay, one of you get over here, please! I’m a wimp about pain, and I’m likely to pitch a hissy.”

 

    Sam stood by her and Nova grabbed his hand. Tara set a table in front of her with the items needed for the cast on it. The doctor gently took her arm, and Nova whimpered, squeezing Sam’s hand as her bones screamed. The doctor straightened her arm, and she pulled away, holding in a scream as she wrenched her arm away.

 

    “Nope. Not happenin’. Fuck that. Hell No!”

 

    Dean laughed, and Sam grumbled, “Nova. You have to let them do this.”

 

    “Nah, Darlin. I don’t. It fuckin’ hurts,” Nova exclaimed, glaring at the taller brother.

 

    Dean crossed the room, standing beside Sam. “You’re getting the cast, sweetheart. If we have to hold you down, we will.”

 

    “Good gravy, man.” She pinned Dean with a glare. “I’m bout to come apart, and you want me to sit still and let these two torture me? You’d better hold me down, ‘cause I’m gonna fly outta this room if he moves my arm again.”

 

    Sam sighed, “So you want us to hold you down?”

 

    “Hell yeah! I figure that’s about the only way these two are gonna get that damn thing on me!”

 

    “Sam, get on the bed and hold her down.”

 

    Sam climbed on the bed, scooting her to the edge. He settled his long legs on either side of her, his chest pressed against her back. His arms wrapped around her waist, holding her in place. Dean held out his hand, and Nova took it, her hand shaking.

 

    “Well, this has to be a first,” Tara laughed. “A grown woman needing two men to hold her down to get a cast. Usually, it’s kids that need that kind of thing.”

 

    Nova shrugged, “I told ‘em I was a wimp. Bless your hearts; Y'all didn’t believe me.”

 

    The nurse grinned and picked up scissors from the table as she joked. “You sure you’re not doing this so that you can have that tall one cuddle with you?”

 

    “I wish that were the reason.” Nova looked over her shoulder at Sam and smirked. “Hell, either of them could be behind me, and I wouldn’t be likely to complain.”

 

    The guys and the nurse snorted, and the doctor cleared his throat, “Are we ready now?”

 

    “Bout as ready as I can be,” She groaned.

 

    The doctor took her broken arm and Nova’s back arched. Sam tightened his grip on her, his right hand kneading her left hip. The nurse and doctor moved quickly, wrapping padding around her arm before the opening the cast material. Nova turned her face away, her arm throbbing with pain. She yelped then bit her lip when the doctor accidentally bumped her arm.

 

    Sam put his forehead on her head, whispering to her. “You’re almost done, Nova.”

 

    Dean’s hand squeezed hers briefly, and she grimaced at him. “If you’re trying to distract me, you’d best grab those scissors and stab me. That’ll hurt about the same right now.”

 

    “I don’t think the nurse would allow me to do that, Nova.” Dean grinned and poked Sam’s shoulder. “Bite her neck. That’ll distract her.”

 

     Sam shook his head, chuckling and Novalee grumbled, “That’ll start a whole new set of problems.”

 

     The nurse barely contained her giggles as Dean guffawed. “But you’ll forget about the pain from your arm.”

 

     “Nuh-uh. I’ll remember the pain from both, and then I’ll have to find a way to deal with the new problem without my good hand.” She winced when she realized what she had said, Sam’s breath on her neck distracting her as he pushed his head against the side of hers. “Quit trying to distract me, Dean. You’re making me say way too much.”

 

    “That’ll be the meds,” Tara sighed, helping the doctor to finish. “They work well with pain, but tend to make the patient a little loopy.”

 

     Nova closed her eyes and murmured. “I’m already crazier than a cat in catnip. Don’t need the meds for that shit. I mean, I’ve got my ex behind me and his brother holding my hand while I get a cast because some asshole decided I’d make a good airplane.”

 

    Sam groaned, and his head fell on her shoulder as he whispered, “Too much, Novalee. Now we’re gonna have to convince them to let you leave here and not call the police.”

 

    She sighed and hung her head; her eyes squeezed shut. “I’m just gonna bite my lip and act like I’m not nutty.”

 

     Dean snorted. “Good luck with that, Red.”

Chapter Text

    Sam helped Novalee into her bed while Dean found food for the three. Her arm was feeling slightly better, the pain a dull ache that the medications helped her to forget. She was still a little loopy from the painkillers, her mind foggy as she tried to focus on the book Sam brought her.

 

    Eventually, she gave up on the book, curling up in bed to try to sleep. Nova could hear the brothers moving around her apartment. She was still trying to sort through her feelings about Sam and his lies.

 

    Knowing what she had learned over the day, she could understand why he lied about his job. It was unlikely that she would have been able to deal with the truth if she hadn’t seen it. Now that she had, she didn’t know how to process it. Knowing that demons were real, that they could do such terrible things, was horrifying.

 

    She was still struggling with the fact that Sam had lied about his name while they dated. When they first met, she could understand, but they had dated for months, and he never told her the truth. It made her wonder what else he had fabricated.

 

    She heard her bedroom door open, a gravelly voice whispering, “Hey, Nova? You still awake?”

 

    She carefully rolled over, wincing when her arm throbbed. “Hey, Dean.”

 

    “I brought you some food.” Dean stood by the door, a plate in his hand. “Your stomach’s gonna be pissed if you don’t eat something with those pills.”

 

    Nova tried to sit up, unable to with her arm. “Okay, but I hope it’s something I can eat laying down.”

 

    He chuckled, setting the plate on her nightstand before carefully helping her sit up. “There. Now, eat. You gotta get better.”

 

    She sighed as he put the plate on her legs, her head throbbing in the new position. “Scrambled eggs and toast for dinner?”

 

    “Well, Sam isn’t exactly a gourmet chef, and I had to make a few calls.”

 

    Dean went to leave, and Nova murmured, picking up her fork and playing with the eggs. “Hey, Dean?”

 

    He turned, smiling at her. “What’s up?”

 

    “Can you answer a question for me?”

 

    “Depends on the question.” He came over and sat on the edge of the bed. “I’ll do my best.”

 

    “Why did Sam lie about his name for so long?”

 

    Dean snorted. “Going right into the hard stuff, huh?” She shrugged, and he took a deep breath. “What was he supposed to do? Come back for your first date and say, ‘Hey! By the way, my name is actually Sam Winchester. My brother Dean and I hunt monsters. So grab your coat and let’s get some grub.”

 

    Nova smiled, “Okay. I guess I can understand not saying that. But he could have said he was undercover and had to hide his name or something.”

 

    “What? And lie to you again? Look, it’s bad enough that he started with lies, but Sam probably didn’t think it would last as long as it did. He doesn’t exactly have a long happy history with women.”

 

    She frowned, “So, he’s a manwhore or something?”

 

    Dean burst out laughing, which increased Nova’s confusion. “No, Nova. He’s not. The guy has bad luck with women. He’s had some serious relationships, but none that have lasted. If anyone is called a manwhore, it’s usually me.”

 

    “Funny, Sam once told me I should never introduce you to my friend. I’m starting to think he’s right.”

 

    Dean’s brow furrowed, “Why’s that?”

 

    “A manwhore and a party girl walk into a bar? Sounds like a mess and possibly a very dirty one.”

 

     “Oh, she sounds like a fun time.” Dean guffawed. “You sure you can’t introduce us?”

 

    She smirked, “You kinda met Amber. She was with me at that bar. Sarah was the Mexican girl that distracted your opponent. Amber was the one that threatened you.”

 

    “Well, shit. Yeah, I have a feeling I’d get along with her.”

 

    “I have a feeling you would get nowhere with her now that I’ve taken you home. Not unless I told her to go for it. Kinda an unspoken rule with us. Don’t fuck someone another one of us has.”

 

    His eyebrows raised, “But we didn’t, so I’m fair game.”

 

    “They don’t know that. I never got to tell them nothing happened this morning.” She paused, “I’m actually surprised neither of them has shown up here with a baseball bat or machete. They were supposed to come over this evening. Now I’m worried one of them has been mauled.” She looked around her bed, “Where’s my phone?”

 

    Dean grabbed it off her dresser and held it up. “Tell her nothing happened and I’ll give it to you.”

 

    Nova glared. “I would’ve if you hadn’t just tried that shit. Now I’m going to tell her you have the world’s tiniest penis after she and Sarah come here with Sarah’s cousins. And you don’t know humiliation until you’ve had twelve burly Mexicans joking about your pene pequeno.”

 

    He handed her phone over. “I do NOT have a tiny dick, thank you very much.”

 

    “You might. I never saw it.” She took a bite of her food, pulling up her friend's group chat and sending a message to see if they were breathing. “Either way, you’re probably more my type than hers. She likes pretty boys who are also bean poles. You’re too roughneck for her.”

 

    Dean sat next to her on the bed, “Is that why you brought me back here? You like tough guys, cause Sam doesn’t exactly look like a tough guy.”

 

    She giggled. “No, I like tall, dark, and handsome. Muscular is an added benefit. Sam hit four out of four on my scale. You have three out of four, but I can forgive hair color. It’s not like your hair is white blonde.”

 

    He shook his head, “You act like you would still want to screw me.”

 

    Nova stared at her phone, pretending to read the messages Sarah and Amber were sending her before she answered. “I don’t know. J-Sam broke up with me and, while I understand why, it doesn’t clear the board with him. But if I did do anything with you, that would make the situation with Sam worse for both of us. So, probably no, but I can’t help feeling like it could’ve been fun.”

 

    She looked up to see him eyeing her. “Could have been, but Sam and I have a similar rule to your friends and your’s. Not gonna happen.”

 

    Nodding, she shot a message back to her friends. “Good to know. Amber and Sarah are coming over, by the way. Might want to warn Jay.” She groaned, “Sam. That’s going to be interesting to explain to them.”

 

    Dean got up and walked to the door, stopping with his hand on the doorknob. “Just be careful with how much you say. Leave out the demon and us being hunters.”

 

    “Look, my friends have been through a lot of shit with me, bucko,” She gave him an exasperated look as she drawled. “I’m not gonna flat out lie to them, but I understand what you’re saying. I won’t mention anything that I think will put them in danger. You better watch your brother though. Sarah is quick and WILL try to knee him in the family jewels. Amber will eviscerate him with her words. I can only keep ‘em in check for so long and about so much. So I recommend you tell him they’re comin' so he can decide if he wants to go hide or if he’s gonna hang out and take his licks.”

 

    “So tell them to leave him alone. That you two are dealing with it or some shit.”

 

    “I told you. I don’t lie to my friends. Besides, you think I haven’t thought about doing the same to him? Sure, he was sweet at the hospital, but he shoulda been. Same with you. You guys brought me into this bullshit. That Crowley fucker woulda never known my name if it weren’t for the two of you. So go tell your brother that my friends are coming.”

 

    Dean opened the door, yelling, “Your ex is kind of a bitch, Sammy!”

 

    Sam stuck his head out of the kitchen, groaning. “What did you do to her? I know why she’s pissed at me, but she would need a reason to be pissed at you.”

 

    Nova yelled back, “He tried to tell me what to do.”

 

    “Yeah, don’t do that, Dean.” Sam hissed in sympathy, walking down the hall as he dried his hands. “Unless you are going to wear a cup for the next week, I don’t recommend that. The last person I heard tell her what to do was her older brother’s Navy buddy. Brian told her to fix him a drink. I was going to tell him off, but Rhett shook his head. Nova went to the kitchen, grabbed a beer, and dumped it on his head in front of the whole family. He got up and screamed at her, and she kneed him in the balls. Guy upchucked all over her mother’s carpet. Her mom didn’t even get mad at her, just told the guy to grab the mop and bucket and clean up his puke.”

 

    Nova snorted. “Who do you think I learned it from, Sam? Mama doesn’t let no one tell her what to do, except occasionally Pops. Even then, it better be for a goddamn good reason.”

Chapter Text

    Sam leaned against the doorjamb, and Nova smiled. “Speaking of telling her what to do, we need to make some decisions and Nova; we need your help to make them.”

 

    “What kind of decisions?” Nova asked as she picked at the food on her plate.

 

    Dean sat on the armchair in her room and leaned on his knees. “How to keep you safe until we can finish what Crowley wants from us.”

 

    Nova put her plate on her end table and settled her spare pillow under her broken arm. “What are the options?”

 

    “We could try to keep you safe here, but that is going to be difficult since we’ll both need to travel.” Sam came over and sat at the end of her bed. “We could call in a friend, but you might not get along with some of our friends, and you’ll have a stranger in your home.”

 

    “Or we can take you to our home,” Dean added. “You’ll be safe there, and we’ll be free to go where we need to go.”

 

    She looked between the brothers, weighing her options. “What makes your home safe?”

 

    Sam rubbed the back of his neck, “Spells and enchantments. Stuff like that.”

 

    “So you guys do magic too?” She rubbed her forehead, “God, I can’t believe that sentence just left my mouth. Wait, can’t you guys do that here?”

 

    “We didn’t do the spells,” Dean explained. “They were there when we inherited the place. We don’t do magic. I mean, there are a couple of things we do, but not the hard stuff.”

 

    Nova closed her eyes, thinking, before looking up at Sam. “What do you think is the best plan?”

 

     “I think Dean and I should take you back to our place. We can keep an eye on you for a little while before we need to leave. When we leave, our friend Cas could check on you.”

 

    “Who’s Cas and what about Rogue?”

 

    “No dogs in the bunker.” Sam gave his brother a reproachful look. “Nuh uh. Not happening.”

 

    Sam sighed and turned back to Nova. “Could your family keep him for a little longer?”

 

    “I don’t know.” She sighed. “I could ask, but that means I have to explain to my family I’m leaving and I’m guessing we don’t know when I’ll be back.”

 

    Dean looked at his little brother. “We don’t know how long this’ll take. Could be a week. Could be a month or more.”

 

    “And I’m just supposed to pack up my stuff and leave my family and friends with no idea of when I’ll be back?”

 

    “I’m sorry, but yeah.” Sam sighed and put a hand on her leg. “It’s the best way to keep you safe.”

 

    Nova leaned forward and brushed his hand off her leg. “This is bullshit! What am I going to do there? Cook, clean, and putter away my life? I have a job here! A GOOD job. I have a home and a dog! You want me to give all of that up? How am I going to pay for my apartment when I'm not working?”

 

    Sitting back in the chair, Dean crossed his arms over his chest as Sam stared at his boots, explaining, “We know we’re asking a lot, Nova, but this is all we can think of to keep you safe. You’re welcome to stay here, but we can’t guarantee that Crowley or some of his minions won’t find you and screw with you again. We can leave a friend with you, but they might not be able to fend Crowley off until we can get back.”

 

    Sam sighed, “Please think it over. We can stay for a day or two while you mull it over.”

 

    “Fine.” She leaned back on her headboard. “Oh, and Sam? Amber and Sarah are on their way over. You might want to decide if you want to deal with them or run away. I won’t blame you if you run.”

 

    Standing, Sam stretched his back out. “I’ll stay.”

 

    “You sure? Sarah was talking about using your nuts as a hacky sack the last time we talked about you.”

 

    He flinched, “Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me, but I’ll stay.”


...

 

    When Sarah and Amber arrived, Dean answered the door as Sam helped Nova settle on the couch. “Oh, hello there, Tigre. Aren’t you…” Sarah paused as she looked past Dean and saw Sam. “You?! What are you doing here, Idiota? Get your hands off her and get the fuck out!”

 

    “You bastard!” Amber looked past Sarah and glared. “Get away from her, or I swear to God I will fuck your world up.”

 

    Sam put his hands up and walked away from Novalee as she groaned. “Sarah! Amber! Please cool those tempers and let me explain.”

 

    Sarah ran over when she saw Nova’s broken arm. “Ay, Dios Mio!” She glared at the brothers. “Who the fuck broke her arm?!”

 

    “It better not have been you.” Amber walked over to Sam, backing him into the wall. “I don’t care if you’re a fucking giant, I will find a way to hurt you.”

 

    Dean slammed the door and yelled, “Shut the hell up and listen to Nova!”

 

    Nova hissed and flinched, knowing what her friends would do next. Amber turned her head towards Dean, her eyes dark in anger. Sarah straightened her shoulders, her hand slipping into her pocket, taking a step toward Dean.

 

    Sarah pulled out a butterfly knife, flipping it open as she muttered. “Oh, Tigre. Do NOT tell me what to do. I will cut you from asshole to mouth.”

 

    “And when she’s done with that, I will rip out your intestines and make you jump rope with them,” Amber growled as Dean glared at the two women.

 

    Nova slammed her foot down on the coffee table, making the three jump. “The three of you shut the fuck up! How is it the two that SHOULD be at each other’s throats are behaving, and the three of you are acting like fucking children?! My arm and head hurt, and now my foot hurts too. I’m in a shitty mood, and all I want is to sleep and pretend this is all a bad fucking dream. But I can’t because of this damn concussion, and none of this is okay! I am making peace with that, but you two ladies are supposed to be helping me, not making me fucking scream!”

 

     She turned to her girl friends, taking a deep breath as Sam came over and squeezed her shoulder. “Now girls, get over here and let me tell you what’s happened. Guys, go to my room and get some sleep, read, or play with yourselves. I really don’t fucking care right now.”

 

    Sam snorted a laugh and grabbed a book before making his way to her bedroom. Dean glared at her but followed his brother out. Sarah and Amber sat down, Sarah closing her knife and putting it away as Nova started to tell them what all had happened.

 

    She picked her words carefully, trying to give them as much as she could without saying too much and putting them in danger also. It was difficult. She rarely lied to her friends, choosing to omit key details instead. She hated the lead weight that settled in her stomach while she fibbed.

 

    As she finished the story, Sarah sighed. “Mami, it sounds like you are leaving a lot out. Like why a criminal would search you out to get to Jay, Sam, whatever his real name is?”

 

     “It’s Samuel Winchester, I think. I don’t know. Could you use your nerd powers and check him out, please?”

 

    Sarah got up to grab Nova’s laptop, powering it on before sitting on the coffee table and going to work. “Not a problem, Angelita. I’ll see what I can find.”

 

    “So he lied to keep you safe, but that didn’t work.” Amber leaned back on the arm of the couch, her eyes unfocused. “Now he’s asking you to come with them so that they can keep you safe in their home?”

 

    “Seems that way.”

 

    Amber focused on her broken arm. “Sarah, we need that info before I weigh in on this. I’m not comfortable sending her with a guy we apparently barely know.”

 

    “I’m working on it, linda.” Sarah’s brown hair fell in front of her face. “Seems they’ve had a few run-ins with the law, but a lot has been sealed away. I could break into it, but Nova’s computer isn’t really set up for that kinda thing. Could end up with the real FBI breaking down the door.”

 

     Dean’s gravelly voice chimed in from behind Amber and Nova, making them jump. “Yeah, don’t. Don’t feel like talking my way out of another arrest because you’re curious. Sam and I cleared up the shit with the FBI and police. Can’t really explain it to the two of you, but Nova has an idea why we would have run-ins with the fuzz.”

 

     “It’s fine, ladies. Did you need something, Dean?”

 

     “Just running to the kitchen for drinks for Sammy and me.”

 

     Dean disappeared into the kitchen, coming out with two beers and a bag of chips, Nova clearing her throat. “If I find chips in my bed, I’m going to wait until you’re asleep and draw a dick on your face with permanent marker.”

 

     He waved the beer bottles and walked into her room, shutting the door behind him, Sarah chuckling. “I think he thinks you’re bluffing.”

 

    “Let me find a fucking chip, I swear.”

 

    Amber leaned back on the couch, smirking at her friend. “So he’s not a potato chip?”

 

    “No,” Nova snorted as she remembered their rating system. “Too much of a jerk. More a don’t fucking eat in my bed.”

 

    Sarah giggled. “What’s Principe?”

 

    Nova sighed, “Was a powdered donut. I know there’s going to be a mess, but dammit I don’t care.”

 

    The girls burst out laughing as Dean called out for the bedroom, “What the hell are you giggling about?! You’re supposed to be talking about important shit, not acting like school girls!”

 

     Sarah shouted, “Shut it, Tigre! Otherwise, I’m coming back there and putting a ball gag in your mouth!”

 

    Novalee heard Sam’s laugh before he called back, “I’ve stayed here a few times, and I don’t remember seeing one of those!”

 

    “No,” Amber exclaimed. “But Sarah carries one with her for annoying shitheads who catcall us. We’ll gladly find something to stuff in your mouth too, Giant!” She leaned down and whispered to her friends, “I volunteer a body part of Nova’s.”

 

    “No!” Nova blushed as Sarah snickered. “He doesn’t get any of those since he broke up with me.”

 

     Amber nodded, taking a deep breath before playing with her bracelets. “I think you should go with the guys. You need to decide if you are going to pick things back up with Sam like he wants and this way you’ll be able to get to know the real man instead of the lies. We can take care of your place, and I know your family will keep an eye on Rogue. As for your bills, we will figure that out, and you can pay us back when you can.”

 

    “I can’t take your money.” Nova stared at her bare toes.

 

    Sarah huffed, “You’ll take it and be glad we’re offering. I make more than enough to cover the bills here, and if you let me stay here instead of at my brother’s, I’ll do it gladly.”

 

    Nova smiled at her friend. “Are you sure?”

Chapter Text

    Nova looked around the large room, taking in the lighted map table in the center. “Whoa! This place is humongous!”

 

    Sam chuckled and took her arm, walking her through the bunker. He pointed out rooms, showing her the kitchen, library, bathroom, and finally to the hall where the bedrooms were. Dean followed behind, filling in where Sam left off as he carried her bags.

 

    “We’ll set you up in here.” Sam stopped by a room and opened the door. “Dean’s in room eleven. I’m in twenty-one. If you need anything, come and find us or you can text if you can’t get up.”

 

    Nova looked around the room, taking in the brick back wall and the furniture. “Dean in eleven. Sam in twenty-one. Text if I can’t get up. Got it.”

 

    Dean set her bags down on the loveseat in her room. “Need anything else from me?”

 

    She stepped away from the guys, walking over and sitting on the bed. “I’ve got it from here. Thank you, guys. I’ll unpack myself.”

 

    The guys nodded and left. Nova looked around again, unable to shake the sadness that had fallen over her like a blanket since they had departed her home. Sarah, Amber, and Rhett has seen her off, Rhett warning Sam to take good care of her. She had explained everything to Rhett, hoping he would cover for her with her family. He had agreed after talking to Dean privately. When she asked what they had talked about, Rhett shook his head and told her it was a big brother thing.

 

    Nova got up and started to unpack, finding her speakers and turning on music first. She tossed her shoes at the end of the bed and sang along as she put her clothes away in the dresser and closet. Novalee set out her bathroom stuff in a plastic basket on the top of her dresser and grabbed the pictures of her family from her bag. She placed them on a shelf on the side of her room, stopping to stare at her best friends’ and brothers’ faces.

 

    She sighed and sat on the bed, changing the song on her phone. She leaned back against the headboard as Charlie Puth’s “Dangerously” started playing. She turned up her music and sang along, watching as Dean walked by. She messaged Amber, Rhett, and Sarah, letting them know she arrived safely and took a picture of her sitting on the bed, pouting.

 

Rhett: Quit pouting and make yourself useful so you can get back here.

Nova: How?! I don’t know anything about what they are looking for now.

Amber: At least you have the company of two handsome men. I’m stuck with a sick roommate.

Sarah: I’ve got a dog who keeps standing by the door whining! I’ve taken Rogue out three times. I think he misses you.

N: I miss him! I’d rather have him then the two men right now.

A: WHAT?! But you can have dirty fun with them!

R: I’m going to pretend like I didn’t read that and ignore this group message now.

S: Good idea, Rhett. Your sister is a nun and refuses to touch a penis.

N: Ugh. You three are no help. I’m trying to get over Sam, not touch his penis!

R: Then do that and stop talking about dicks!

 

    Sam walked up to her door, smiling at her. “Hey. Can we talk?”

 

     Nova nodded, blushing and turning off the music. “Sure.”

 

    “We’ve got a friend we’re gonna call.” He came in, sitting on the edge of her bed. “We’re hoping he can stop by and help out with your injuries. He’s with a friend right now, but he should be able to step away. I don’t know how long it’ll be before he gets here though. Cas said he wanted to help her for a little while.”

 

    Nodding, she folded her feet under her. “What can he do that doctors couldn’t?”

 

    He ran his hand through his hair as he explained. “Cas, Castiel, is an angel. They can heal people. If he has enough power, he might be able to fix you up and help with Crowley’s job for us.”

 

     “So you’re friends with an angel and a demon?” Nova’s eyebrows raised as she looked at him. “Seems like a strange group you hang out with, Sam.”

 

     “Says the woman whose friends regularly get her drunk and try to convince her to strip or screw random men. Also, Crowley isn’t a friend. More like an acquaintance that won’t leave us alone.”

 

     She gave a quick laugh. “If Castiel can fix me up, I’d appreciate it. It’s gonna be rough trying to cook for myself with one arm and especially with my right.”

 

     “That’s what I’m worried about. You need to be able to shower, cook, and get yourself dressed when we’re gone. Having only your right as a leftie isn’t going to help you do any of that.”

 

    “What about groceries?”

 

    “We’ve got that covered for now. I can leave you keys for one of the cars, and you can use it to get more, but please be quick on your trips out of the bunker.”

 

     Novalee played with her earring. “So are we going to talk about what happened with us?”

 

     Sam sighed. “I explained as much as I could, Novalee. I left you that letter.”

 

     “I never read it. I saw it, but then Crowley showed up, and I forgot about it.”

 

    “I wanted to keep you safe.” His hand ran through his hair. “I lied about my job because that’s what Dean and I have to do on cases. I never thought we would go out on a date and once we did, I didn’t think we could last nearly as long as we did. I thought you would get sick of waiting around for me to show up and you would break it off. That last night I stayed with you? I came to break up with you, but I couldn’t.”

 

     Nova stared at the cross hanging from her neck. “But I didn’t get sick of waiting. Then you broke up with me with a text message.”

 

    “It was the only way I could,” He groaned and hung his head. “If I had called, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I had to block your number so that I didn’t call again and beg forgiveness and so you couldn’t call me.”

 

    “I get it.” She leaned forward and touched his arm, waiting for him to look at her. “But I have to ask you to stop treating me like you’re still dating me. You taking my arm earlier? The touches you keep giving me? We aren’t together anymore, Sam. I allowed it while I was hurting because it made me feel a little better, but I shouldn’t have.”

 

    Flinching, he got up and paced by the door. “I’ll try not to do that anymore, but can we talk about if you’ll give me another chance? I won’t have to lie to you now, and with you here, it might be easier to get to know each other.”

 

    “You can’t promise not to lie again. There will always be a time when you might have to lie. While yes, it would be easier with me here, I’m going home at some point. Then what happens?”

 

    Sam walked over and sat next to her, turning to face her. “Then we figure it out. I can make visits again until we can figure out a better way. Look, you don’t have to say yes, but think about it, please?”

 

    She paused before she nodded and he smiled, reaching up to cup her cheek. His thumb caressed her bottom lip before he leaned over and softly kissed her. His lips moved gently with hers, and Nova couldn’t help melting into the kiss, her hand gripping the front of his shirt and pulling him closer. He wrapped an arm around her, pulling her onto his lap and holding her against his chest, her hurt arm carefully nestled between them.

 

    His tongue swept over her bottom lip before Nova parted her lips and butterflies burst to life in her stomach. Sam’s hand wrapped around her hip as his tongue twisted with hers. Sliding her hand up his chest, she brushed her fingers against the side of his neck.

 

    The sudden realization hit her, and she pushed away from him with her good hand, gasping as she broke the kiss. “Whoa! Okay. That’s what I’m worried about.”

 

   “Sorry, Novalee,” He groaned. “I just… I couldn’t stop myself.”

 

    She blushed and carefully climbed off him, Sam helping her settle next to him on the bed. “I understand completely.” She licked her lips and stared at her shoes. “Give me some time to think, okay? I don’t know what I want right now and you kissing me senseless isn’t going to help.”

 

    “I should go then.” He smiled and stood. “I’ll see if Dean or I can get a hold of Cas to help you out with your injuries.”

 

    Nova nodded and watched him walk out, shutting the door and leaving her to her thoughts. She turned her music back on, blaring The Vamps “Middle Of The Night.” She shifted back onto the headboard and closed her eyes.

 

    She liked Sam, Novalee knew that much. But she wasn’t sure if she wanted to give him another shot. She had been hurt by him leaving her the way he had, and she worried that if they tried again, he would do it again. She didn’t want to risk falling for him just to have him break her heart.

 

    Nova groaned and spun her phone on the blanket. She decided to get to know the brothers better before making a decision about Sam. Maybe getting to know Dean would help her to understand his little brother better. After all, they spent a lot of time together from what she learned on the car ride.

Chapter Text

    Nova woke up to a knock on her door. “Come in!”

 

    She turned down her music, and Dean opened the door. “Hey, Red. Brought a friend for you to meet.”

 

    She sat up as Dean led a man in a trench coat into her room. “This is Castiel. Cas, this is Novalee Prince.”

 

    The man looked her over; his voice was gruff as he greeted her. “Hello, Novalee.”

 

     “Nice to meet you, Castiel. Please call me Nova.”

 

    Castiel came and sat on the bed beside her. “I have to see what injuries are in need of healing.”

 

    “He has to touch your forehead.” Nova stared at him, and Dean cleared his throat. “It’s weird, but that’s how it works.”

 

    She shrugged, and Castiel leaned forward, touching between her eyes. “So how long until you can tell me what’s worth salvaging?”

 

    He didn’t respond, and she shifted under his gaze. She looked him over, taking in his short, dark hair and his tan trench coat that covered a black suit. His blue tie was loose and off-center, and her hands itched to straighten it. His bright blue eyes locked on hers and she held them, raising an eyebrow when he continued to stare.

 

    “Yeah, well.” Dean cleared his throat and shifted on his feet. “It usually doesn’t take him long. But if you guys are going to have a staring contest, I’m gonna grab Sam to referee.”

 

    “He started it,” Nova chuckled, her eyes staying on Castiel’s. “I’m gonna end it.”

 

    Dean laughed, “You realize he has no clue what a staring contest is?”

 

    Nova sighed and dropped her eyes. “Then he shouldn’t start one!”

 

    Castiel looked between them, his finger never leaving her forehead. “I know what a staring contest is. I wasn’t trying to start one though.”

 

    She laughed, “Then what were you doing?”

 

    “You were thinking about me. I was listening, and I found the injuries. I can fix them.”

 

    Her smile fell, and her jaw dropped. “You were listening to my thoughts?”

 

    “Dude, don’t read a chick’s thoughts,” Dean sighed. “That’s a good way to get hurt.”

 

    “She was thinking about straightening my tie.” He looked down and fixed it with one hand. “Better?”

 

    She bobbed her head, and a smile spread across her face as she decided to try something out. She focused her mind on Castiel, drawing his eyes back to hers. She pictured him in a bright neon pink swimming trunks and an inflatable rubber duck float. She made her mind’s image of Castiel dance around a small kiddie pool, singing “Just Keep Swimming.”

 

    Castiel tilted his head to the side. “I do not look like that without a shirt.”

 

    Dean made a choked sound, and Nova burst out laughing. “Wouldn’t know what you look like shirtless. Figured I’d ere on the side of caution and picture you with a little bit of a belly.”

 

    Dean gave her a confused look. “Do I want to know what you were picturing?”

 

    “Him in hot pink trunks with an inflatable rubber duckie around his waist. He was dancing around a kiddie pool singing “Just Keep Swimming.”

 

    Dean burst out laughing, and the angel shrugged, his hand falling. “I thought I was here to see if she could be healed?”

 

    Nova smiled. “I’ll try not to think about naughty things if you try to heal me.”

 

    “Couldn’t have phrased that in a better way,” inquired Dean on a snort.

 

    “Hey! He’s the one talking about what he looks like with no shirt.”

 

...

 

    Castiel leaned back, and Nova sighed, the ache in her arm and head gone. Her eyes focused more easily on the angel’s face as she smiled at him. Cas nodded and got off the bed.

 

     Nova slid the sling off her arm and tried moving it. “Thanks, Castiel. Now, what do I do about the cast?”

 

     Dean pushed off the wall and came over. “Sam or I can cut it off.”

 

    “Well, let’s go, big guy.” She stood and stretched, listening as her back cracked. “I want to take a shower.”

 

    He led her down to the library before running off to find tools. Castiel sat at one of the tables and took off his coat. She walked over and sat across from him, leaning back in her chair.

 

    “Sam said you were helping a friend. Are they okay?”

 

    Castiel’s head tilted, his eyes narrowed. “She will be fine. She’s struggling with some changes in her life. He didn’t...”

 

    Dean came back with a Dremel and large wire cutters, cutting off the angel, “Okay, I’m gonna need you to listen to me and not move around, Red.”

 

    She grumbled and held her arm out. “Quit calling me Red and I will, Pene Pequeno.”

 

    Dean returned her glare before plugging in the Dremel and testing that it worked. “Never call me that again and I will.”

 

    “Fine.” She quirked an eyebrow. “I’ll try not to again.”

 

    He nodded and went to work on the cast, the noise of the tool drawing Sam’s attention to the room. Nova waited until Dean put the saw down before waving at Sam and he grinned and sat next to Castiel. Dean grabbed the cutters and started cutting through the cotton lining as she did her best to stay still.

 

     She pulled her arm out as Dean pulled the cut edges of the cast apart. She rolled her wrist, turning her arm over. She made a fist before relaxing her hand. Grabbing a pen, she twirled it between her fingers, grinning when no pain flared in her bones.

 

    “Nice work, Castiel. Thanks, Dean.”

 

    Dean shrugged and gathered up the tools. “No problem, Nova.”

 

    Castiel stood and grabbed his coat. “You’re welcome, Novalee.”

 

    She got up as Dean left to put the tools away. “So what kind of trouble can I cause in this place?”

 

     Sam chuckled. “Knowing you, plenty. Thankfully, less without Sarah and Amber to help.”

 

    “Do you have any games? Any alcohol? Movies?”

 

    “Yes to all three,” Sam replied.

 

    “Well, I’m going to celebrate having a left arm again. I’m thinking drinking, music, and games followed by a movie. You on board, Castiel?”

 

     The angel shrugged and threw his coat down on the table. “It takes a lot of alcohol to get me drunk, Novalee.”

 

    She giggled. “Sounds like a challenge.”

 

    “He’s not lying. I think he could drink through our entire supply and only get a little buzzed.”

 

    Nova reached into her back pocket and pulled out her wallet as Dean walked in. “Then we need to increase your supply of alcohol. I’ll pay because I’m not gonna be happy unless I’m drunk and you guys are too.”

 

    Dean cast a glance at Sam. “Your ex is about to regret those words.”

 

    “Please stop calling me his ex,” she sighed. “I have a name.”

 

    The oldest Winchester looked her over. “Okay, but you are his ex unless something changed in the last five hours.”

 

    “Nothing’s changed.” Groaning, she turned on her heel. “Let’s see if I buy you extra alcohol seeing as you want to be a dick about Sam and my break up.”

 

    She heard someone cough and turned to see Sam’s hand run through his hair before Dean grumbled. “Fine. I’ll stop mentioning it. Didn’t realize it was such a touchy subject for you, Novalee.”

 

     She huffed. “Yes, you did because we talked about it while we were at that bar and when you woke up the next morning. Feel free to lie to your brother, but I’m over fabricating stories. I do know that Sam looks uncomfortable every time it’s mentioned. Whether I choose to give him another chance or not, I don’t like seeing him like that. So please stop. You’d think, as his big brother, you would be kinder to him.”

 

    “Yeah, okay,” Dean grumbled under his breath and rubbed the back of his neck. “Sorry, Sam. You wanna drive to the store for the alcohol?”

 

    Sam looked up at him, his eyes wide. “Uh, the guys can all go unless Cas wants to stay with Nova.”

 

    “You guys go.” Nova tossed Sam her wallet, the latter catching it out of the air. “I want to take a shower anyway. Sam’s in charge of my money because I know he won’t blow through it. Buy whatever you guys need and pick me up my favorites.”

 

    Sam nodded, and Dean cast a confused look at his brother. “You know her favorites?”

 

    She snorted. “He was with me for five months and went on countless liquor runs with me. He should know my favorites.” Sam nodded, and she smirked. “See. He’s got this.”

Chapter Text

    Sam, Castiel, and Dean left to buy the alcohol, and Novalee ran to take a shower. She had pulled Sam aside and told him to use her black credit card, the one Sarah had set up for her. Sarah had told her to use it for anything Nova wanted, and she wanted to drink tonight. She had had too much happen in the last month and wanted to drown out the memories of Crowley’s attack.

 

    She was coming out of the bathroom when she heard Sam call out to her. Novalee finished drying her hair and threw the towel in her room with her shower supplies before grabbing her speakers. She ran down to the Bunker's living room as the guys brought in bag after bag of alcohol.

 

    Nova laughed, digging through the bags. “Did you buy the store?”

 

    Dean shrugged, “You said you wanted us to get drunk. This is how you get Cas, and I drunk.”

 

    Nova shook her head and grabbed a bottle each of Jack, Johnnie, Jim, Jose, and Jameson. “These are mine.”

 

    Dean gave her a confused look, and she grinned. “They’re my five favorite men. They never let a lady down and always give her what she wants.”

 

    He snorted and went to grab glasses as Sam took his coat off, setting her wallet on the coffee table. “I seem to remember Jose letting you down once. Poor Rogue paid that price.”

 

    “Hey! Rogue likes his name now. Jose did me a favor; I just didn’t know it at the time.”

 

    Castiel grabbed a bottle of rum and sat on the couch. “This is mine.”

 

    “You’re gonna need more than that, Cas.” Sam laughed. “Nova’s on a mission to get us all drunk, remember?”

 

     Dean came back and handed Nova a shot glass. “Take it slow, Red.”

 

    She raised an eyebrow and took a whiskey glass from him, “Okay, Pene Pequeno.”

 

    Sam burst out laughing as Dean glared, “Why Pene Pequeno?!”

 

    “We have an agreement. Dean calls me Red; I call him Tiny Dick.”

 

    She walked over to her speakers and plugged her phone in, turning on her music. She cracked her bottles open and poured herself a Four Horsemen, making it a double. She filled the shot glass with Jose and turned, smiling at the guys.

 

    She raised her glass, “Here’s to new friends and forgetting bullshit.”

 

    She tossed back the shot, licking her lips as Sam shook his head. “Definitely on a mission.”

 

    “C’mon, Sammy and Cas.” Dean cracked a bottle of Jameson and took a swig. “Let’s see if the girl can keep up.”

 

    She leaned against the wall as Sam took a swig of rum and Cas downed a quarter of his bottle. “This’ll be fun.”

 

...

 

    Nova giggled as she poured another shot of tequila. “C’mon, guys! It’s just poker!”

 

    Sam laughed and took a swig from his Four Horsemen. “You’re asking us to play strip poker with two other guys, Nova. One of whom is my brother!”

 

    “Yeah!” Dean nodded, pointing at Sam with his half-empty bottle of Jameson. “I don’t feel like seeing either of them naked.”

 

    Cas dropped another empty bottle into the trash, walking over to grab a new one. “I have to side with them, Novalee. While I’ve seen both of them nude, I do not wish to see it again.”

 

     “Cas, that is a story I need to hear at some point, but guys.” She sighed and grabbed the bottle of rum Cas was holding, handing him the bottle of Everclear instead. “You forget I’m here. Team up and see how fast you can make me lose for all I care. Otherwise, find something else for us to play. I’m bored!”

 

    Castiel looked at the bottle in his hand before opening it and drinking a quarter of it, Nova’s eyes widening. “Damn, Cas. You might want to take it easy on that. That’s 190-proof.”

 

    He tilted his head and gave her a curious look. “I do not understand.”

 

    She sighed and tossed back her shot before responding. “It means it’s ninety-five percent alcohol and one-hundred percent likely to fuck your day up.”

 

    “She’s not wrong,” Dean guffawed. “It’ll ruin your day and the next one.”

 

    Sam leaned back in his chair and stretched his legs out. “Which means something coming from you, Dean.”

 

    Nova giggled as Dean glared at his brother. “So what are we playing? Or do I need to start playing by myself?”

 

    “I told you you shouldn’t have drunk tequila,” Sam groaned as she pulled her sweater off. “You turn into a stripper every time.”

 

    “Good thing I have a tank top under my shirt and shorts under my jeans.”

 

    Dean leaned on his knees. “Thought of the Tequila Strips when you got dressed, huh?”

 

    “Yup.” She walked over to Sam, grabbing his drink and finishing it before refilling the glass. “Now, if I start stripping down to my underwear, I’m trusting one of you to stop me.”

 

    Dean chuckled, “Given how much you’re making us drink, I make no promises.”

 

    She handed Sam his drink back before going to take her shot. She grabbed her mixed drink and bottle of tequila before sitting on the arm of the couch. Cas sat on the couch next to her and took another swallow from his bottle before holding it up and looking at the liquid inside.

 

    Nova grinned, “Trying to see if it’s thinking about you in pink swim trunks?”

 

    Dean snorted before Cas replied. “No. I was thinking you were right about this alcohol. It’s very strong.”

 

    He took another healthy swig, and she shook her head. “Note to self, Angel’s have no sense of self-preservation when it comes to liquor.”

 

    Castiel finished the bottle. “We typically do not imbibe.”

 

    “Sam?” Sam’s head listed to the side and Nova chuckled. “Don’t tell me I’m going to outlast you!”

 

    Dean kicked his brother’s foot, and Sam quickly sat up. “What?! I’m okay.”

 

    “Okay,” Nova sighed. “Who’s taking the big guy up to his room to sleep it off?”

 

    Sam mumbled, and Nova leaned closer to him. “What did he say?”

 

   Dean shrugged, and she got up, walking over to squat in front of Sam before he mumbled again. “I vote you.”

 

    “Yeah, I vote no.” She patted his knee. “That would be a terrible idea.”

 

    He pouted, “Nuh uh! It would be an excellent idea.”

 

    “Dean?” She sighed and stood. “Wanna help your brother up to his room? I’d ask Cas, but I think he’s going to be making his bed on that couch soon.”

 

    Dean handed her his bottle of Jameson before helping Sam out of his chair up to his bedroom, calling down. “Up you go, big guy. You owe me, Novalee!”

 

    She sighed and sat on Sam’s chair, calling back. “I’ll show you my boobs later!”

 

    Castiel tilted his head, staring at her and she sighed. “What, Cas?”

 

    “I was thinking. You flirt with Dean, but Sam is usually who you worry about.”

 

    She groaned and leaned back in the chair. “Castiel, can you leave that subject alone?”

 

    He shrugged, and she decided to explain to him. “Yes, I flirt with Dean, but I know nothing will happen because I dated Sam. It doesn’t matter because I’m Sam’s ex. I think about Sam a lot because I think I still have some feelings for him and being cooped up in here with him hasn’t helped. I’m trying to decide if I will go out with him again, but I can’t help but think about everything that happened. Does that make sense?”

 

    He grabbed the last bottle of Everclear, cracking the seal and taking a swig. “Yes, it does. Would it help to know that Sam thinks about you a lot too?”

 

    “I kinda figured he did. Just like I figure Dean has relegated me to friend-only status.”

 

    “He feels guilty about kissing you even though he didn’t know you had dated Sam and also because he’s thought about doing it again. They were talking about it in the car.”

 

    “Figures. So I’m stuck here with my ex-boyfriend, who wants me back but I don’t know if I do; his brother, who feels guilty about kissing me and only wants to be friends; and an angel, who reads my mind. Sounds like a good time.”

 

    He shook his head as Dean came back downstairs. “Sounds bad to me.”

Chapter Text

    A phone chimed, and Novalee groaned, pulling a pillow over her head. Someone’s arm reached over her and grabbed the phone, silencing it. Staying as still as possible, Nova’s mind raced as she tried to remember who was in her bed and why. Drawing a blank, she pulled back the corner of the pillow and saw the back of his head and his bare shoulders. She covered her face again and held back another groan.

 

     Did I sleep with him? She ran down a checklist in his mind. She still had her tank top on, but her jeans and shorts were missing. She slid her hand slowly down, feeling the lace of her panties. Nova sighed and rubbed her hand down her face. Thank God! That could’ve been awkward. Though I could have slipped them back on afterward.

 

    The phone chimed again, and she rolled over, pushing the pillow off her face. She grabbed it and turned the phone on silent before putting it back on the table. It was then she noticed she wasn’t in her room.

 

    His voice was deep as Dean mumbled, “Morning.”

 

    She reached back and put a hand on his hip, feeling the rough fabric of his jeans. “Morning, Dean.”

 

    She mentally patted her drunk-self on the back for not screwing him as Dean grumbled. “How did you get in my bed?”

 

    “I have no clue. I remember finishing my bottle of tequila and the last half of a bottle of Jameson after you took Sam to bed. You passed out on the couch, and Castiel finished off his bottle of Everclear as I finished off your bottle of Jameson. After that, I got nothing.”

 

    Dean cleared his throat, and she rolled over to face him as he ran a hand through his hair. “We didn’t?”

 

    “I still have a tank top and underwear on, and you still have jeans on. If we did, we would have been too drunk to get dressed.”

 

    “That’s what I was thinking.” He rubbed his face. “Shit, I hope Sam is still asleep.”

 

    She shrugged. “No clue. Want me to head to my room?”

 

    “Probably a good idea. I’m still a little drunk.”

 

    “Lucky,” She laughed and sat up, her head pounding. “I’m already hitting hungover status.”

 

    He glanced up at her before blushing and looking away. “Shirt, Nova.”

 

    She looked down and groaned, noticing her red bra hanging out before she fixed it. “Sorry, Dean.”

 

    He licked his lips and mumbled, “It’s fine.”

 

    She looked over the side of the bed, trying to locate her pants or shorts. “Where the hell did my clothes go?”

 

    “I have no idea.” Dean sat up and looked around. “I don’t even remember coming up here.”

 

    “I guess I could try to sneak out of here without them. Gonna be weird if Sam sees me.”

 

    He got up and looked around. “I don’t see them anywhere.”

 

    She stood and stretched, Dean looking away. “I’ll just have to hurry.”

 

    She went over to the door and pulled it open. Looking down the hall, she saw Sam’s door start to open, and she quietly shut Dean’s before leaning against the wall. Shuffling steps started down the hall, and she rolled her eyes.

 

     Nova whispered, “Great timing, Sam.”

 

    Dean sat on the bed, “Might want to stay until he goes back to bed.”

 

    “Unless he’s staying up, then we have a new issue.”

 

    He shook his head. “Hungover, Sam sleeps for a while unless he has to get up.”

 

    She locked the door, walking over and sitting on the bed. “Just in case he tries to say good morning to you.”

 

    “He probably won’t, but it’s still a good idea.”

 

    Nova grabbed Dean’s blankets and covered herself up. “Sorry for Drunk Me deciding to crash in your room. I don’t know why I did that.”

 

    Dean snorted and laid down on his stomach, turning his head to the side. “Knowing me, it was probably my idea.”

 

    “Knowing me, it could have easily been mine.”

 

    She laid down next to him, listening for Sam’s footsteps as Dean yawned. “Let’s chalk it up to both of us having poor decision-making skills while drunk, Dean.”

 

    He chuckled. “Sounds good to me.”

 

    She turned to face him, and he opened one eye to look at her. She smiled as he pulled the blankets up to her chest.

 

    “I take it I’m not nearly dressed enough?”

 

    “Considering you’re on the no-touch list, yeah.”

 

    She blushed, closing her eyes. She heard Dean roll over and felt the blankets move. When she opened her eyes, he was facing her with the sheets over his hips.

 

    She closed her eyes again and sighed. “Why is this bed so damn comfortable?”

 

    He chuckled, “It’s memory foam. It’s awesome. It remembers me.”

 

    She snorted, her mouth chiming in before she could stop it. “I’m pretty sure anyone would remember having a Winchester on top of them.”

 

    Dean burst out laughing, and Nova blushed and covered her face with the blankets. “I’m just going to kill myself now.”

 

    He uncovered her face and smiled, “Sorry, sweetheart, but that was funny. You sure you aren’t drunk still?”

 

    “I’m not, but I wish I could blame it on that.”

 

    Whispering, he rolled onto his back. “Well, I’ll take your word on it, since I know I’ve been on top of you and I’m guessing Sam has at least once.”

 

    She felt her face blush harder, and she groaned. “You wouldn’t be wrong, and neither is my assessment. Though, you were kissing me. Can’t imagine how hard it would be to forget if we had gone further.”

 

    Dean grunted but didn’t say anything. Confused, Nova propped herself up on her elbow to get a better look at his face. He stared at the ceiling, hands resting on his stomach.

 

    She poked his side, “What’s the grunt for?” He shook his head, and she sighed, “Still feel guilty about kissing me?”

 

    He grimaced. “Pretty much and how did you know I felt guilty about that?”

 

    “Cas told me while we were drinking. Said you had been thinking about it a lot and that you guys were talking about it in the car.”

 

    His hand scrubbed down his face. “What else did he say?”

 

    Nova laid back down. “That I was relegated to the friends only group.” He nodded, and she nibbled her lip before continuing, “But he said you’ve thought about kissing me again.”

 

    His hand stilled, and he grumbled, “He needs to learn to keep guy talk to himself.”

 

    “Is it true? Have you thought about it?”

 

    “Yeah, but I’m not gonna do it.”

 

    She rolled onto her back. “If it makes you feel any better, I’ve thought about it too. I know it can’t happen, but I can’t help thinking about it. It’s like staring at Pandora’s Box. You know something bad will happen if you fuck with it, but you really wanna know what’s in it.”

 

    He rolled over to face her. “Do you know why I won’t kiss you again?”

 

    She turned her face towards him, “Not a clue. Figured I must have been a shitty kisser while drunk.”

 

    He grinned. “You weren’t a bad kisser. No, it’s because you’re in love with my little brother.”

 

    She furrowed her brow. “No, I’m not. I thought I was starting to fall for him, but then shit happened. It’s hard to love someone who isn’t there and doesn’t want to be.”

 

    He smirked, “Hard, but not impossible. Trust me on that. But, you do love him. It’s easy to see in the way you treat him. You care about how he feels and how he’s treated. You don’t do that for someone you don’t care about or only like a little.”

Chapter Text

    Nova crept into her room, quietly closing the door behind her. Her mind was reeling as she thought about her conversation with Dean. She wasn’t sure how she felt about Sam, but she didn’t know it was love.

 

    She went to her dresser and grabbed a pair of shorts, checking her reflection in the mirror in her room. She bent over the small sink, brushing her teeth and hair before heading back out her door. As she walked down to the living room, she heard a door open behind her and Sam stepped out of his room. She cringed when she thought about how close she had been to getting caught sneaking out of Dean’s room.

 

    Sam cleared his throat, “Good morning, Nova.”

 

    “Morning, Sam. Did you sleep okay?”

 

    He shrugged when he caught up to her. “I think so. Kinda hard to tell.”

 

    She grinned and walked down the stairs, stopping when she saw her shorts and jeans folded on the war table. “What the hell?”

 

    Sam looked over and saw the pile. “Wait, are those yours?”

 

    She hurried down the stairs, picking up the pile of clothes and noticing her shirt on the bottom. “What the hell was drunk me thinking?”

 

    He laughed as he came over. “That being a stripper sounds like a fun job?”

 

    She grumbled and elbowed him in the ribs, causing him to groan and clutch his stomach. “Sorry, but you deserved that.”

 

    “Probably, but if your shorts are down here, what did you wear to bed?”

 

    “I’m not answering that.”

 

    He snorted. “So tank top and underwear, like every other time you’ve had tequila around me?”

 

    She sighed. “Not every time. There was that one time I went to bed in just panties, and you slept on the couch.”

 

    He groaned and rubbed his face. “Oh. Well, yeah. There was that time.”

 

    She leaned back on the table and smiled at him. “What?”

 

    “Nothing, Nova. I was trying not to think about that night. I’m sure you can understand why, seeing as you stripped down right in front of me and I had to help you to your room.”

 

    She laughed, “Poor Sam. He got to see his girlfriend’s breasts. Must have been terrible.”

 

    The bitch face he gave her sent her into a fit, and he shook his head. “Laugh all you want, but that was a rough night. You came back to your place drunk, climbed onto my lap, started to make out with me, and then curled up and started to fall asleep. I had to help you get up, but then you started complaining that you were too hot before pulling all of your clothes off. I had to convince you that you should leave your underwear on. After I got you into bed, I made myself sleep on the couch because, well, let’s leave it at we hadn’t had sex yet.”

 

    Her stomach started to hurt from how hard she was laughing, and she took a deep breath, trying to calm down. “Did you ever think that Drunk Nova was trying to get you to have sex with her?”

 

    He laughed, “Oh, I know she was, but I wasn’t going to have sex with you when you were drunk.”

 

    She stood and kissed his cheek, “Well, thank you for that. At least I can say I remember having sex with you.”

    He smiled, and she walked over to the stairs, putting her clothes on a step to take up later. She walked over to the living room, laughing when she saw the mess they had made. Empty bottles littered the floor, having fallen out of the trash can. Castiel was sitting on the couch, trench coat, suit jacket, and tie missing and his shirt half opened.

 

    “Jeez, Cas. Did you get mauled by a horny college student?”

 

    He looked up at her and shook his head. “No, I finished the alcohol before I helped you and Dean upstairs. You decided you wanted to see if I was lying about not having a round belly.”

 

    She groaned as Sam laughed. “Drunk Nova strikes again.”

 

    She sat on a chair and put her head in her hands. “I’m so sorry, Castiel. I hate Drunk Nova.”

 

    “And yet you keep unleashing her?” Sam squeezed her shoulder. “I’ll go get you some Tylenol and a hammer to put you out of your misery.”

 

    She called out as he left the room. “Make it a sledgehammer, Sam!”

 

    She looked at Castiel, noticing the angel was staring at her. “What did I do?”

 

    “Well, I didn’t want to say anything with Sam in the room because it might bother you, but after I helped you and Dean upstairs, you tried to kiss me.”

 

    She whispered, “Oh God!”

 

    He nodded, “Dean grabbed you and pulled you onto his bed. He made you lay down, and then he passed out with his arm on your stomach so you couldn’t get up.”

 

    She groaned, “Well, at least two of us think straight while drunk. Thanks, Castiel. I’ll have to remember to thank Dean. Look, don’t tell Sam where I slept. Nothing happened, but I don’t think Sam would be happy about it anyway.”

 

    His bright blue eyes bore into hers. “You think you don’t love him, but you don’t want him to know where you slept?”

 

    She threw her hands in the air, “No, I don’t think I do. I’m trying to keep him from getting hurt because I know how he feels.”

 

    He shrugged and leaned back on the couch. “You will realize it.”

 

    “Okay, Feather Butt. Wait, when did I start stripping last night?”

 

    “Right before I took the two of you upstairs. I remembered you saying you wanted us to stop before you started to get naked.”

 

    “That’s it. No more drinking.” She leaned back and let her head hang off the back of the chair. “Please tell me I didn’t try to take my underwear off.”

 

    “You didn’t try.” She sighed, and he continued, “You got them off, but I put them back on.”

 

    She blushed bright red and got up. “Sam’s taking way too long with that sledgehammer. It looks like I’m going to have to find it myself. Someone needs to humanely euthanize me already!”

Chapter Text

    The day passed slowly for Novalee. The guys worked on finding information on what Crowley had asked of them while Nova nursed her hangover and messaged her friends about her drunken antics. Sarah and Amber got a good laugh out of what she had done, teasing Nova about having to be sent to bed for stripping again.

 

     Nova sat in the library while the guys worked, slowly drinking her fourth glass of water. She had her phone in her lap as she told them about waking up next to Dean and what he had said about her feelings about Sam. She added that Cas agreed with him and Sarah and Amber chimed back that it wasn’t out of the question, making her frown.

 

Nova: Why does everyone think I’m in love with him?! We dated for five months.

Amber: You were and still are pretty hung up on him.

Sarah: Mami, it’s not ridiculous that you could have fallen for him. I fell for Austin within two months.

N: That’s you! I dated James for six months and never fell for him!

S: Yeah, but James cheated on you like it was his religion. Sam/Jay never did that, did he?

N: No, he’s not like that.

S: Exactly! He spent every second he could with you, and when Sam wasn’t here, he was calling, texting, or emailing. The guy was one of the best boyfriends any of us have ever had.

A: We have shit taste in men, but somehow you found Sam, and he was great, minus the lies.

N: That’s the thing. He lied, and no matter how much I understand why, it’s hard to forget that he did it.

A: But you have to admit he was great to you otherwise.

N: He was. He still is. I miss being with him.

S: REREAD THAT!!!

A: Whoop! There it is. You at least REALLY like him. You have NEVER missed an ex.

 

    Nova groaned, and Sam looked up from his book, “You okay over there, Nova?”

 

    She gave him a half smile. “Oh, wonderful. Apparently, my feelings are easily read by everyone but me.”

 

    His eyebrows raised and Dean snorted into his beer before turning back to his book. “Probably because you’re the one dealing with them. Everyone else just watches and laughs.”

 

    She threw a glare at him, and Sam sighed. “Doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks. What matters is what you think.”

 

    “And I think that I haven’t figured it out and certain people need to shut up about what they think I feel.”

 

    Dean looked up at her through his lashes. “Then stop talking about it so Sam and I can work or I’m going to tell Sam the truth.”

 

    “Eat a bag of dicks, Dean. Like, the whole bag, and choke on a few on the way down.” Sam looked between the two of them before she got up and walked out.

 

    She went to the kitchen and started making lunch for her and Sam, deciding Dean could make his own. Castiel had left a little while ago, and Nova was starting to miss the angel. He had been fun to talk to while the guys worked and she wished he could have stayed to entertain her longer. The guys refused to let her help with the research, leaving her little to do.

 

    She knew as she took the food to the library what Dean would say as she set a salad in front of Sam. “Here, Sam.”

 

    “Nothing for me,” Dean snorted. “I see you only make food for people you are…”

 

    She cut him off, “I didn’t make you anything because I don’t make food for assholes. If you wanna change that tune, Viejo, I’ll happily hustle back into that kitchen and whip you up a sandwich.”

 

    He glared at her, “What the hell does Viejo mean?”

 

    Sam turned his face away, trying to hide his grin, as she replied, “I’m not filling you in. Learn another language, Viejo. It couldn’t hurt in your line of work.”

 

    Dean turned to Sam, “What does it mean?”

 

    She sat down and took a bite of her sandwich as Sam chuckled. “It means Old Man.”

 

    “What?” Dean pinned a glare on her, and she smiled sweetly as she swallowed her food. “Am I wrong? Should I call you Cabrón, instead? Maybe Tonto?”

 

    Sam snorted as he tried to keep from laughing. “The first one means goat, but it’s used to call someone stupid. Tonto means stupid or silly.”

 

    “Maybe I should switch to Japanese or German so Sam can’t translate. How would you like that, Baka? I’m sure it doesn’t sound fun, Blockflötengesicht.”

 

    Dean stared at his brother as Sam shook his head and went back to researching on his computer. “Baka means fool, I think. The other one, I have no clue.”

 

    Nova got up and leaned over Sam, opening a new tab on Google and searching the meaning of it for him. He burst out laughing when he read it. She exited the tab so Dean couldn’t read it when he leaned over to peek.

 

     She settled back into her chair and took another bite of her sandwich and Dean grumbled, “Now I see why you two dated. She’s as much of a brain as you are.”

 

    “You say that like it’s a bad thing, Dean.” She set her plate down on the table, abandoning her food as she glared at him. “You act like you're so stupid, but the fact of the matter is, you wouldn’t be sitting there with three books around you if you were dumb. A fool, sure, but not dumb.”

 

    “Then why do you keep calling me stupid, Princess?”

 

    “Because you keep saying stupid things. Doesn’t make you stupid, just means you aren’t using your grey matter to the best of its abilities.”

 

    Novalee pushed out of the chair and grabbed her food, going to sit in the kitchen. She sat back at the small table and finished her meal before sighing. She got up and made Dean a sandwich before taking it into the library and setting it in front of him.

 

    “Don’t ever say I didn’t do anything nice for you.”

 

    Nova left before he could say anything and went to her room. Turning on music, she laid on her bed, staring at her red Converse as she tapped her toes to the beat.

Chapter Text

    Nova startled awake when someone touched her back. “Sorry, Nova. I wasn’t trying to scare you.”

 

    “It’s okay.” She rolled onto her back and smiled at Sam. “Did you guys find anything after I left?”

 

    “Not enough. We’ll have to keep looking, but we’re taking a break right now.”

 

    She scooted back, patting the bed in front of her. “Sit down and take a load off. We can think of new nicknames for Dean.”

 

    He laughed and sat next to her, leaning back on her headboard. “I don’t know German, so I don’t know if I can help with that.”

 

    “Then I’ll think of the names and I’ll tell you what they mean later. Did you tell him what Blockflötengesicht meant?”

 

    “I thought about it, but I think I enjoy him guessing.”

 

    She grinned, “I love doing that to my brothers. They have been called every insulting nickname I know in languages they don’t speak. I don’t get to use the Japanese ones very often because only the twins don’t understand the language, but they will ask our parents.”

 

    “Bet they get pissed when you do that to the twins?”

 

    “Oh yeah, but it makes me feel better for a little bit.”

 

    Sam yawned and stretched. “As long as it makes you feel better. Look, I think I’m gonna take a nap in my room.”

 

    She sighed. “Okay.”

 

    He leaned forward and groaned, rubbing his neck. “Sometimes I hate being tall. Leaning over a laptop makes my neck hurt.”

 

    She laughed, “I think everyone gets that, Teufelchen.”

 

    She sat up and knelt next to him, reaching a hand up and massaging the back of his neck as he groaned. “Do I want to know what you just called me?”

 

    Nova grinned as he relaxed. “Probably not, but I’ll tell you if you want. It’s not mean.”

 

    “Then why wouldn’t I want to know?”

 

    She sighed, “Because it means little devil, which sounds kinda mean, but it’s meant to be a term of endearment in German, kinda like saying the person is mischievous.”

 

    He turned and gave her a confused look. “A term of endearment?”

 

    She sighed and moved to kneel behind him, hands going back to massaging his neck. “It’s hard to massage your neck when you keep moving. And yes, a term of endearment. You know, showing affection for someone. Doesn’t mean I know how I feel completely yet, but I know I don’t hate you.”

 

    Sam chuckled and hung his head, letting her rub his neck. “Okay, but why a German one?”

 

    “Because I have to keep you on your toes. Maybe convince you to try learning another language?”

 

    He shook his head, “I’ve never been good with languages.”

 

    “Maybe I can tutor you? I’ve always been pretty good with them. I suck at Math, but languages I pick up quickly.”

 

    “You’re not good at Math?”

 

    “Nope. Ask Sarah. One night we were going to Walmart to grab formula for her niece and she asked me what two plus two was as a way of keeping me awake. I told her it was five.”

 

    “How old were you?”

 

    “Well, I’ll put it to you this way. I’m thirty now, her niece was only a couple months old when this happened. Now, she’s twelve.”

 

    It only took Sam a second to start laughing. “You were eighteen?”

 

    She lightly smacked his shoulder and crawled from behind him, laying down on her side and facing away from him. “Gee, thanks for making me feel stupid. See if I massage your neck ever again.”

 

    He laid down behind her, his arm wrapping around her waist and pulling her back against his chest. “Awe, Novalee! I’m sorry. It’s just I would have thought you were little if you forgot two plus two equals four.”

 

    She huffed, whining, “It was midnight and I was tired! I had studied for my finals all day and Miguel said he needed us to run out for formula for Cheyenne as we were getting ready to go to sleep.”

 

    His arm gave her a quick squeeze as he chuckled. “That was nice of you two. Never would have thought Sarah could be that nice.”

 

    Nova turned around and grinned at him. “Oh, I’m so telling Sarah you said that!”

 

    “Do you want me to get hurt?”

 

    She frowned, “Maybe I should tell her Dean said it?”

 

    “No. She’d kill him.”

 

    She sighed, “True. I don’t want her to go to jail.”

 

    “I hope that doesn’t mean you want Dean to die.”

 

    “No. Get kicked in the balls, yes.”

 

    He yawned. “Well, I don’t think he’ll let that happen, but feel free to try. I’m gonna go take that nap.”

 

    Nova grabbed the front of his shirt. “Stay here, please. I don’t care if you fall asleep, but I hate staying in here alone.”

 

    Sam looked up at the ceiling and ran his fingers through his hair. “You sure?”

 

    She scooted her body against his and wrapped her arm around his waist. “I wouldn’t have asked if I wasn’t.”

 

    He grabbed the blankets and pulled them up over them. “Sometimes, you’re confusing.” She hummed and he explained. “Just yesterday you told me you didn’t want me touching you and now you’re asking me to stay in bed with you.”

 

    “You don’t have to stay, Sam. At that time, I thought I didn’t want stuff like this, but I’m in a strange place and, well, you’re the only person I don’t want to punch right now. Granted, even without that, I still wouldn’t ask Dean to cuddle with me. He seems too distant to be the snuggling type.”

 

    Sam laughed, wrapping an arm around her waist. “I think he’s uncomfortable with you. I mean, I know you guys kissed when he came back from that bar with you. I think he’s worried that I’ll read too much into anything you two do.”

 

    Nova felt guilty as she thought about waking up in Dean’s bed that morning. “I think you might be right.” She pulled back, putting a little space between them as she sighed. “Look, I think I need to tell you something?”

 

    Sam gave her a half-smile. “Is it that you slept in Dean’s bed last night?”

 

    Her eyes widened and Nova stammered, “Wha-How did you know?”

 

    “Castiel told me this morning and I heard your voice in his room when I came back upstairs.”

 

    She groaned and closed her eyes. “Damn it, Castiel.” She looked up at Sam, “I swear, nothing happened. I was way too drunk last night and apparently Drunk Nova decided to see what Castiel looked like shirtless after he had made a comment earlier.”

 

    “I know, Novalee. Castiel told me all about it. He said Dean grabbed you and made you lay down and he kept you there while Cas made his getaway. It’s cool. It’s not like we’re dating right now.”

 

    Nova was surprised by how much it hurt to hear him say that and she rolled onto her back, staring at the ceiling. “True. I guess I didn’t think of it that way. Guess it doesn’t matter.”

 

    He propped himself up on his elbow, placing a hand on her stomach. “Then why do you look like someone just stabbed you?”

 

    “I kinda feel like I did get stabbed, which is surprising considering I thought I was getting over you.”

 

    He pulled his hand away and laid on his back. “Do you want to get over me?”

 

    She thought about it before she answered. “I thought I did. Now I don’t know and I don’t know how to decide. Man, I suck at emotional shit.”

 

    He chuckled and she looked over to see him rest his laced fingers over his stomach. “I don’t think there is anything I can do to help you decide what you want either.”

 

    “What do you want?”

 

    Sam’s eyebrows knit together, “I doubt that would help you to decide.”

 

    She groaned and pushed the blankets off her before getting up and straddling his hips. “I’m serious, Sam. What do you want?”

 

    “I’ve never hidden what I want, Novalee.”

 

    She leaned down, her hands holding her up. She saw his hands twitch and she pulled back, uncrossing his arms and putting his hands on her sides. Nova bent down again and brushed her lips against his before kissing him softly. His hand slid up her back, moving to grasp the back of her neck. His lips moved with hers and she felt her stomach flip as his tongue grazed her bottom lip. She parted her lips, letting it slide in and gently caress hers.

 

    Sam pushed her back and groaned, his breath as ragged as hers. “Not a good idea. You need to make this decision on your own.”

 

    She sat back, hands resting on his thighs as she sighed. “That was helping me decide. It’s not like you kissed me first.”

 

    He smirked, “No, but I definitely could use it against you to get you to make the decision I want.”

 

    “I don’t think you could do that.”

 

    Sam pulled her against his chest and rolled them over while kissing her, blankets tangling around their legs. He pulled her legs free and wrapped them around his hips, his mouth pulling away and pressing an open-mouthed kiss under her ear. Nova gasped and tilted her head to the side, letting him nip at her skin. His hands grasped her thighs as he ground his hips against hers, making her whimper. His hand pulled her face to his and he nipped her bottom lip before fiercely kissing her, moving his lips with hers. She moved her hips against his and he kissed down her jaw.

 

    His lips brushed against the shell of her ear. “Yes, I could easily use a kiss against you.” He pushed off of her and her legs fell as he got up. “I’m going to leave so you can think. You know where I stand on this. I’m not going to change my mind anytime soon.”

 

    Nova watched him open her door and walk out before rolling onto her stomach and groaning into her pillow. She heard someone chuckle and she rolled over. Dean was standing in her doorway, smirking.

 

    She glared at him. “Fucking Winchesters.”

 

    He laughed and leaned against the door frame. “Not the first time someone’s cursed our name. Won’t be the last.”

 

    She grabbed a pillow and threw it at him, watching as he ducked and it missed. “You’re both fucking evil.”

 

    “Again, not the first time that’s been said.”

 

    He picked up the pillow and tossed it on the bed next to her before pulling her door shut. She heard his footsteps recede down the hallway and she sighed. She grabbed her phone off the end table next to her bed and turned up her music. Her cell chimed as a message popped up.

 

Sam: Sorry if that was mean, but I had to prove my point.

Nova: It WAS mean but you were right. It would be shockingly easy for you to make me choose your way.

Sam: Make a decision when you can. Like I said, I’m not changing my mind unless you tell me I need to. Dean and I are going back to work. We’ll probably be working most of the night.

Chapter Text

    Novalee was making dinner with Dean two nights later, choosing to ignore his jokes about her feelings about Sam. “Oh come on, Nova. You have to admit you feel something for the guy?”

 

    She sighed and checked the corn and potatoes roasting in the oven. “Whatever you say, Dean.”

 

    He chuckled and turned the chicken on the stove. “You could have gigantic babies together. That would make your parents happy.” She made a noncommittal sound and went to the fridge. “Or you could get married and finally get to wear the big frilly dress every woman wants to wear.” She was glad he couldn’t see her through the fridge door as she flinched, wishing she did want that dress. “Can you see Sam in a tux? Not a suit, but a full tuxedo?”

 

    She groaned, “Dean, shut up about weddings.”

 

     “Why? Making you want to have one?”

 

    She grabbed a bottle of Sprite and shut the fridge door, keeping her back to him. “No, it’s making me want to knee you in the balls.”

 

    “Yeah, okay. You can lie to me all you want, but every woman wants to get married someday.”

 

    She opened her drink and took a swig, trying to keep her temper in check. Dean kept up his jabs, switching between babies, weddings, and sex. Sex was the only one appealing to Nova at the time, and she leaned back on the kitchen counter as she thought about the kisses her and Sam had shared in the bedroom a couple of days ago.

 

    She had decided what she wanted, but she was waiting to tell Sam later that night. He had been working hard the last few days, and she didn’t want to interrupt him. They had finally caught a break with whatever the demon wanted, and Dean and Sam had been trying to locate the item in question.

 

    Dean opened the oven and pulled out the vegetables, Nova coming over to check them before he put them on the counter to cool. “Are you trying to tell me that you don’t feel anything for him again? Because I’m going to have to call bullshit on that.”

 

    She glared at him her accent thick as she yelled, leaning on the countertop again, “And how is it any of your business anyway? What does it matter to you in the end?”

 

    His eyes went wide and his eyebrows raised as he called out. “Sam, your ex can’t take a joke!”

 

    “How is it a joke?” She growled and pushed away from the counter. “It’s more like you pestering me like a gnat until I squash you!”

 

    She saw Sam walk into the kitchen, rubbing the back of his neck, and she grumbled, “Fine.” She walked over and grabbed the front of Sam’s shirt. “I’m sorry for telling you this way, but your fucking brother won’t leave well enough alone. Yes, I have thought it over, and if you want to be together still, then I do too.”

 

    She leaned up and kissed his cheek before letting go and walking out of the room, hearing Dean sputter. “D-did she just? What just happened?”

 

    Novalee didn’t wait to hear Sam’s reply. She walked through the bunker, going to one of the storage rooms she had found while bored. She sat against a set of shelves and groaned, regretting the way she had handled Dean’s teasing.

 

    She never gave in when her brothers teased her, but they had learned long ago not to tease Nova about marriage and kids. They knew she had a deep-seated fear of both. Her terror of marriage and kids had been embedded in her since she was a small child. Her mother had had to give up everything when she had Nova, and her siblings and Nova wasn’t ready to do that. She still had dreams she wanted to accomplish.

 

    Lydia had told Nova a long time ago that she had given up her dreams willingly when she married Waylon. She had fallen so deeply in love with him that she couldn’t bear being away from him. When she had found out she was pregnant with Rhett; she had rushed to Waylon’s side, telling him the news. They had a quick wedding, and they both would joke about Rhett being the one thing that made them realize their feelings.

 

    Nova often wondered what would have happened if Rhett hadn’t been conceived before their marriage. Would her parents have gotten married? Would they have broken up and found a different spouse? Could they have been happier? She didn’t think they could have been, but she couldn’t help wondering.

 

    A while later, she got up and snuck through the halls, making her way to her room. She knew the guys had more work to do and she didn’t want to bother them. She didn’t know when she would find out Sam’s answer, but she wasn’t in a hurry. She knew he’d find her if he wanted to talk about it.

 

    She walked into her room, quietly shutting the door behind her before turning around and leaning against it. There was a plate of food on the loveseat in her room, and she went over, seeing a note tucked underneath it. She pulled the letter from underneath, and she sat next to the plate of food.

 

     Dear Nova,

 

    I’m sorry that Dean pissed you off. If you aren’t sure what you want, please don’t let him pressure you into giving me an answer. I’ll come up to talk to you in a little while, and you can tell me if you’ve made a decision then. No rush, Novalee.

 

    Sam

 

    She sighed and set the note down, picking up the plate and eating her dinner. Deciding to tell Sam when he came up that she was serious about her decision, she finished eating and set the plate outside her door. She shut her door and laid on her bed, closing her eyes and taking a nap.

 

...

 

    A knock on her door had Novalee crawling out of bed and opening her door. Sam stood on the other side, looking nervous. She smiled and held the door open, gesturing for him to come in. She shut the door behind him, and he sat on the loveseat.

 

    He combed his fingers through his hair. “Nova, I’m sorry about Dean.”

 

    “You had nothing to do with that. There’s no reason for you to apologize. Now, if he wants to apologize, THAT would be called for, but I shouldn’t have lost my temper anyway.”

 

    He rubbed his thighs, saying, “No, you had every right to yell at him. It’s not his decision to make, and he shouldn’t be pressuring you.”

 

    “But the decisions already made.”

 

    He looked at his feet and shook his head. “I don’t want you to choose this if it isn’t what you want.”

 

    “I meant what I said in the kitchen,” she said as she walked over to him, sitting on her heels in front of him. “I thought it over and made my choice long before I started making dinner with Dean. I didn’t want to tear you away from your work, so I never got the chance to tell you before he pissed me off.”

 

    Sam’s fingers touched her jaw, and his hazel eyes searched hers. “Are you sure?”

 

    “Positive.” She smiled and got up, pushing him back on the loveseat and sitting on his lap. “Dean and Castiel were right, the assholes. I still have feelings for you, but I can’t tell you what they are yet. I just know that I like you a hell of a lot more than them. A lot more than anyone else I’ve dated.”

 

    He chuckled and shook his head, his arms pulling her against him. “So you want to try dating Sam instead of Jay?”

 

    “Well, as long as Sam doesn’t try his hand at lying to me again,” she said with a laugh.

 

   “I’ll do my best not to lie.” He brushed her copper hair out her face. “I might have to omit occasionally, though.”

 

    “As long as the omissions aren’t that you are cheating on me or something. If it’s something to keep me safe, then I get it. I can’t take on a demon, and I don’t even want to try.”

 

    His hand cupped her cheek, and he gave her a quick kiss. “Okay, and I’ll take on the demons.”

 

    Nova bunched her hands in the fabric of his open flannel and leaned into him, pressing her lips to his. His fingers trailed up her spine to her neck, caressing the soft skin as he deepened the kiss. Her lips moved with his, and she shifted on his lap, straddling his thighs. Sam’s hand pressed into her back, pulling her against his chest. His hand slid down and under her shirt, his fingertips lightly caressing her lower back. She parted her lips when his tongue flicked against her bottom lip, a light moan escaping when he slipped between them to stroke hers.

 

    She pulled away from the kiss, tucking her head into his neck. “This is going to end up with us in bed if you keep that up.”

 

    Sam brushed the hair from her neck, pressing a kiss on the soft skin. “Would that be a bad thing?”

 

    “No, but you probably need to get back to work tonight, and I’m going to want you to stay in bed with me all night.”

 

    His chest rumbled with laughter. “I think Dean would understand if I took the night off.”

 

    “If anyone could understand, it would be him. Cas was telling me stories of Dean’s conquests on the road when Dean passed out drunk a few nights ago.” She leaned back to grin at him. “I know you told me he might be an alcoholic, but I’m starting to think he might have a sex addiction.”

 

    His fingers brushed through her hair. “He’s not that bad anymore.”

 

    She pressed her forehead to his as Sam’s hand cupped the side of her neck. “How much work do you have left?”

 

    “Not too much. Just pinpointing where to find the thing Crowley wants and hopefully getting the real name of the person holding it.”

 

    His fingers climbed up her back, stopping when he reached her shoulder.  He pulled back and groaned, his eyes shut tight.

 

    “You aren’t wearing a bra.”

 

    She blushed. “It was dirty, and I forgot to bring a clean one to the shower this morning. When no one noticed, I figured I’d just go without today.”

 

     Sam kissed her neck. “How did I miss that?”

 

    “You were distracted by work, and I wore a hoodie most of the day. Dean noticed while I was making dinner with him, which was awkward.”

 

    “What did he say?”

 

    “He said, ‘Victoria’s letting her secrets out,’ which would have been hilarious, except I was bent over grabbing the corn from the fridge. When I stood up too fast, I bashed my head on a shelf in the refrigerator.”

 

     Sam ran his fingers over her scalp, chuckling. “No damage, I take it?”

 

     “Only to my pride, which can take the hit.”

 

    His fingers brushed against her bare side, making her wiggle. “Do you want me to stay up here with you?”

 

    “Yeah! But I also don’t want to be the chick that keeps you away from your work.”

 

    His other hand slipped under her shirt, holding her waist. “Work can wait, and Dean can pick up the slack tonight.”

 

    He reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, Nova shifting off his lap. Sam started messaging his brother, and she got up. Stretching, she walked over to her end table, plugging her phone into its charger.

 

    She heard him get off the leather loveseat and she turned around. “Everything okay?”

 

    He tossed his phone next to hers. “Yeah, Dean’s going to see what he can find, but I need to go down and fill him in on where I left off.”

 

    She smirked, wrapping her arms around his waist. “And how many jokes did he make about you staying up here tonight?”

 

    “Four. Four jokes in six messages. I think he’s going for a personal best.”

 

    “I’m surprised. I thought it would be more.”

 

    Sam leaned down and gave her a quick kiss. “There will be more tomorrow.”

Chapter Text

    Sam had left to talk to Dean, leaving Nova in her room. She waited on her bed for close to an hour before deciding to take her dinner plate down to the kitchen and grab a snack. She wasn’t going to rush Sam through his work, and she was starting to get a little hungry again.

 

    She grabbed their phones and stuffed them in her pocket before grabbing her plate outside her door and heading to the kitchen. When she passed the library, she heard Sam and Dean arguing in hushed voices. She quietly sighed, hoping it wasn’t something serious.

 

    Novalee dropped her plate next to the sink and raided the fridge, finding apples and some whipped cream. She checked the freezer, an idea forming as she found ice cream. She checked the cabinets, grabbing what she needed and setting it out on the counter.

 

    She got to work after turning on music and putting in her earbuds, mixing filling and coring apples. She set the stuffed apples in a baking dish, putting them in the oven to cook. She set a timer on her phone and played games while she waited for the apples to soften. She jumped up when her alarm went off, pulling the baked apples and setting them on the stove top to cool. She grabbed plates and set them out on the counter, startling when she saw Sam and Dean leaning against the wall on the opposite side of the room.

 

    She pulled out one of her earbuds and waved sheepishly. “Was I being too loud?”

 

    “No, Dean smelled what he thought was apple pie. I followed to make sure he wasn’t going to be an ass.”

 

    Dean grumbled, “It’s not pie though.”

 

    “No, but it’s baked apples, which is like apple pie without the crust. All the tasty filling, no crust to dry out the roof of your mouth.”

 

    Dean sighed, “I like the crust though.”

 

    Nova shrugged, “Then make yourself a pie. I made baked apples, and I will gladly eat all of them.”

 

    Sam walked over and kissed her cheek. “I’ll take one.”

 

    She grabbed the whipped cream and ice cream, setting it on the counter. She put an apple on each of the three plates, doling out a scoop of ice cream for each of them. She put a little whipped cream on top and grabbed the caramel sauce from the counter, drizzling it on top.

 

    She watched Dean lick his lips and watch the caramel fall onto the apple. “You sure you don’t want one, Dean? Call it a peace offering after I yelled at you earlier.”

 

    Dean cleared his throat and walked over, taking a plate. “Fine, but Sam thinks I should be the one apologizing.”

 

    Sam glared at the back of Dean’s head as the older brother went to sit at the small table. “You should!”

 

    Nova placed a hand on Sam’s arm, smiling up at him when he looked at her. “Sam’s not wrong, Dean.” Dean turned to glare, and she continued, “And no, it’s not because I like him more that I’m saying that. You were an ass, and when I asked you to stop mentioning marriage and babies, you refused. You never thought to wonder why I wouldn’t want to talk about such things.”

 

    Sam grabbed his plate and sat down across from his brother as Dean sat back in his chair, his green eyes watching her take a bite of her apple. “Why don’t you like talking about marriage or babies? I figured if you two were getting back together, it would only be a matter of time before you had one of either.”

 

    She sighed and cut her apple into small pieces, trying to decide how best to phrase her words. She and Sam hadn’t discussed either yet, and she could see him watching her. She took a deep breath, preparing to possibly disappoint him.

 

    “This is going to sound stupid, but I’m afraid of marriage and having babies.”

 

    She looked up when she heard Dean start coughing, his hand smacking his chest as he choked on a piece of apple. Sam stood and slapped his back, and Dean took a deep breath. He cleared his throat and turned back to her.

 

    She waited for either of them to say something, finally forging on. “I’ve seen a lot of marriages end in heartache. My parents are the only marriage I’ve seen last. Rhett’s been divorced twice, and he’s only thirty-two.”

 

    Sam cleared his throat. “I didn’t know Rhett had been married?”

 

    “His first wife, Amy, married him when they turned eighteen. They had been high school sweethearts, and he was enlisting in the Navy. They were married for a little over a year before he found out she was cheating on him while he was at Basic Training and A-School. They divorced, and a year later he started dating another woman, eventually marrying her. Her name was Francis, and she left him while he was on a nine-month deployment. He came back to find out she had changed the locks on their home, moved in some guy, and she was three months pregnant by the guy. He filed for divorce immediately.”

 

    Sam sat back down and rubbed his hands over his thighs. “Wow. Okay, yeah. I can understand why he doesn’t talk about it.”

 

    “That’s part of the reason I’m afraid of ever getting married. The other part is I’ve seen my parents marriage. Their lives revolve around each other. Everything they do is for each other. It’s hard to believe you can love someone that much. My mother gave up a quarter of a million dollar modeling career when she got pregnant with Rhett and married my father, which is part of the reason I fear having kids too. But she did it, and she's never looked back because she felt that she had fulfilled her dreams as a model and was ready to start on her dreams of a happy family.”

 

    Nova pushed the pieces of apple around her plate. “I haven’t done everything I’ve wanted to do before I marry. Hell, I’ve barely done half of it. As for kids, not even close to ready for those.”

 

    She looked up to see Dean shrugging, and Sam drop his head to stare at his plate. She sighed and pushed her plate away. Novalee set her fork on top of the counter and put the ice cream away. She walked over to the table and set Sam’s phone in front of him, briefly touching his shoulder.

 

    She made her way out of the room, mumbling. “I’m gonna walk around. I-I’m not hungry anymore.”

 

    Novalee found herself in the storage room for the second time that day. She had curled up on the opposite side of the storage shelves from the door, hiding in the shadows as she thought. Sam’s face, when she had finished explaining her fears, kept swimming in the front of her mind. He looked so confused and sad as he picked at the baked apple.

 

    She pulled her knees up and leaned her forehead on them, hugging her thighs and hoping she hadn’t disappointed him. She picked up a strange looking coin from a shelf and played with it while thinking. She didn’t know how he felt about kids and marriage, but judging by his expression, he probably wanted both eventually. Nova wasn’t sure if she wanted them ever.

 

    She heard the storage room door open, turning her head to the side to see a light flicker on. She stayed where she was, frozen to the spot as she listened to someone walk through the front of the room. Watching quietly, she saw Sam walk between the shelving units, turning his head to look down each row.

 

    He stopped in his tracks when he saw her. “Hey! You scared me. Dean and I have been looking all over for you.”

 

    “Poof!” She let go of her thighs and leaned back on the shelves. “Here I am.”

 

    He walked over and squatted down in front of her. “Why are you hiding in here?”

 

    She stared at the coin as she rolled it across her knuckles. “Seemed as good of a place as any to find some quiet, dark corner to beat myself up in.”

 

    He watched her play with the coin, frowning. “Why would you be beating yourself up?”

 

    Her eyebrows knit together, staring up at him confused. “Because I just told you in front of your brother that I am terrified of ever getting married or having kids?”

 

    “Nova, I’m not thinking about weddings or babies. Would I like to have either someday? Sure, but only if the person I’m with wants the same and only if I thought I could keep my family safe.”

 

    She sighed and rolled the coin through her fingers. “See, that’s an issue because I don’t know that I ever want either of them. I’m fine with the idea of a serious committed relationship, but the second big, white dresses and tuxes get brought up?”

 

    She shivered, and Sam chuckled. “Then don’t worry about that. But you do realize marriage doesn’t have to be as all-consuming as your parents’?”

 

    Sam turned and sat beside her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders as she cuddled into his side. “Yeah, but what if the guy I’m with wants that kind of marriage? What if that’s the only way marriage works out? What if I’m like my brother and end up with two divorces under my belt?”

 

    He laid his head on top of hers. “That’s a lot of what if’s and those can drive you crazy. Since you are with me right now, I can tell you that that is not the kind of marriage I would want. But I think it’s too soon to worry about kids or weddings. I’m just happy to have you back. I have enough to worry about with my work and you disappearing into a storage room regularly.”

 

    She sighed and wrapped her arms around his waist. “I’ll try not to worry about it, and next time you’ll know where I’m hiding.”

 

    Sam chuckled and kissed the top of her head. “You want to head upstairs?”

 

    Novalee pulled away, standing up and stretching as Sam got off the floor. “What about Dean?”

 

    “I’ll message him on the way up and let him know I’m taking you to bed.”

 

    She giggled, “Dirty.”

 

    He snorted a laugh and wrapped an arm around her waist, leading her out of the room. They made their way through the bunker as Sam sent his message to Dean and grabbed his laptop from the library. She stopped at the top of the stairs, seeing Dean walk in from the garage. She gave him a small wave, and he returned it before disappearing on his way to the library.

 

    Sam’s hand squeezed her hip, and she smiled at him. “The question is, whose room are we sleeping in tonight, Nova?”

 

    She shrugged, “It’s up to you. I’m not all that attached to the room I’m in right now.”

 

    He walked with her over to his room and opened the door, leading her in. Nova looked around the room as Sam shut the door, smiling as she saw the books on the shelf over his desk. She walked over and touched the desktop, straightening a pile of papers before turning and leaning back on it.

 

    She watched as he turned on his bedside lamp, setting his phone and laptop on the side table as he yawned. “Somehow, this room fits you.”

 

    He smiled and sat on the edge of the bed. “How’s that?”

 

    She pointed at the books behind her. “Books, organized desk, pictures, work stuff carefully put up. It just seems very Sam.”

 

    He shrugged, yawning again. “It works well for me.”

 

    Nova pushed away from the desk and walked to stand in front of Sam. “Okay, you need sleep. Maybe I should sleep in my room.”

 

    “Stay, please.” His bleary, hazel eyes looked up into hers, and he reached forward, pulling her between his legs and hugging her hips. “I’ve missed sleeping next to you.”

 

    She smiled down at him as he nuzzled into her stomach, her fingers combing through his long, soft hair. “Okay, but you have to let go so I can go grab pajamas.”

 

    His voice was muffled as he spoke into her stomach, “You can wear one of my shirts if you want.”

 

    She took a step back, and his hands gripped her hips, pulling her back against him. “Sam! I have to get changed.”

 

    His fingers slid under her shirt, his face pulling away as he lifted the shirt and pulled it off her, groaning when her breasts were bared. “Shit. How do I keep forgetting you don’t have a bra on today?”

 

    Sam dropped her shirt on the floor and trailed his fingers up her sides, his thumbs brushing the underside of her breasts. Nova sucked her bottom lip into her mouth as he kissed her lower stomach.

 

    “Sam, baby,” She sighed, running her fingers through his hair again. “You need sleep.”

 

    “Suddenly, I’m not tired.”

 

    He tried to hide a yawn by pressing his forehead against her stomach, and she laughed. “Nice try, Handsome. Get some sleep. We have all night and tomorrow morning.”

 

    Sam groaned and leaned back, sliding his flannel shirt off his shoulders and pulling it around her. “And if I decide to wake you up to finish this?”

 

    Nova slid her arms through the sleeves of his flannel and Sam buttoned just enough buttons to keep her breasts covered. “Then we will have a delicious morning.”

 

    He laughed, and she walked around the bed, shimmying off her jeans before laying down. Sam pulled his t-shirt off, tossing it onto the sink across the room. He pulled the blankets over them before taking his jeans off and throwing them on top of his shirt.

 

    Nova rolled onto her side, facing Sam as he stretched out on his back. He turned towards her, grabbing her waist and pulling her against his chest. He kissed her forehead as she draped an arm around him, her leg tangling with his.

Chapter Text

    The arm around her waist tightened, drawing Novalee back and against a hard chest. Sam kissed her hair, his face nuzzling into it. She slowly opened her eyes, blinking away sleep as she stroked her fingers down his arm before covering his hand with hers. His fingers slipped under the flannel shirt, caressing the soft skin of her belly.

 

    He slid his hand from under hers, brushing the hair from her neck before kissing below her ear. “Are you awake, Nova?”

 

    She sighed as his hand pushed between the open sides of the shirt, resting on her lower stomach. “Yeah, I am, Teufelchen. What time is it?”

 

    He chuckled, his lips pressing kisses into her neck. “Four in the morning.”

 

    “How are you awake,” she groaned as he kissed the base of her neck, fingers tangling in his hair. “We’ve only been in bed four hours!”

 

    He hummed, and his hand brushed up her side before cupping her breast. “I don’t need a lot of sleep.”

 

    His thumb skimmed over her nipple, and she whimpered. “I can see that.” She arched her back as he lightly pinched her nipple and he shifted his hips, pressing his half-erect cock against her. “And I can feel that!”

 

    He laughed through his nose, nipping at her pulse point. “Do you want me to stop?”

 

    Nova whined, “God, no! Why would I want that?”

 

    Chuckling, Sam slid his fingers over the buttons on the shirt, popping them open before pulling the shirt to the side. He kissed over her shoulder as he plucked her other nipple. Nova sucked in her bottom lip, humming in pleasure. He pulled back, his hand pressing against her ribs and making her lie on her back. Sam rolled on top of her, his knee nudging her legs apart as his thumb pressed against her chin, making her lips part.

 

    Sam’s sweet smile graced his lips before he bent down and pressed his lips to hers, sucking her bottom lip into his mouth. His teeth grazed it, and Nova cupped his cheek. His hips pressed against hers and she whimpered, bucking against his. Sam released her lip, moving his with hers as Novalee dragged her fingers down his bare back. His tongue flicked, and she parted her lips for him.

 

    His hand caressed her side before sliding down to cup her sex, drawing a soft gasp from Nova. Sam pulled back from the kiss, nudging her head to the side as he kissed down her jaw. She trailed her fingers down his spine, clutching his hips as Sam bit the soft skin under her ear. Her hips thrust against his hand and he chuckled against her neck. He pressed his fingers against the cotton covering her core, rubbing as her hips drove into his palm and she whined.

 

    He kissed and nibbled his way down her collarbone and chest, his lips brushing against the top of her breast as he asked, “Are you sure you want me to keep going?”

 

    Nova groaned, “If you stop, I will hurt you.”

 

    His tongue circled her nipple before flicking against it. “Good, because I don’t want to stop.”

 

    Novalee tangled her fingers in his hair, pulling his mouth against her. Sam groaned, his mouth latching onto her nipple and pulling it in. His fingers slipped under her panties, trailing over her damp labia. Two fingers slid between them, gliding over her entrance before grazing her clit, his tongue flicking against her nipple at the same time. Nova quietly moaned, her hips moving against his fingers and making them rub against her clit.

 

    Sam growled, kissing across her chest to latch onto her other nipple. His tongue swept over the bud as his fingers moved with her hips. Nova panted as the knot inside her pulsed, her fingers grasping his hair and pulling his face up to hers. Her lips crashed against his, the kiss demanding as she curled her leg around his hip.

 

    Her fingers ran through his hair, Nova moaning into the kiss as Sam pressed his fingers harder against her as her hips thrust against them. Sam plunged his tongue into her mouth, and Nova whimpered and whined into the kiss, her body pulsing as her climax neared.

 

    Sam pulled back, gasping as he nipped her earlobe, “Come for me, Nova.”

 

    Nova gasped, his fingers driving into her as his thumb pressed against her clit, moaning as her body finally responded to his command. Her hips stuttered as she climaxed, Sam’s fingers continuing to work her. Her legs shuddered against his sides as he kissed down her neck.

 

    Sam drew his hand away as she became oversensitive, kissing over her shoulder. He bit the juncture of her neck and shoulder before his tongue lashed over it. “That was hot.”

 

    Nova ran her fingertips over his sides, grabbing his ribs and rolling them over. She straddled his hips, leaning down to kiss and nibble his neck. She skimmed her fingers up his chest, grinning as his muscles flexed at the gentle touch. He leaned up and kissed her neck, his hands kneading her thighs.

 

    Sam’s hand tangled in her hair, pulling her into a soft kiss. Nova let her hands explore his chest while her lips and tongue moved with his and his hands combed through her hair. She pressed her hand to his chest, and Sam laid down, holding her in the kiss and making her follow him down. Novalee pulled away, nipping his jaw and neck before pressing an open-mouthed kiss against the base of his neck. She trailed kisses over his shoulder and chest, settling her body between his legs as she made her way down.

 

    Nova nipped his abs, causing them to ripple as Sam’s breath hitched. She gave the sting a kitten lick, looking up into Sam’s hazel eyes as her hands hooked his boxer briefs and slowly pulled them down. She knelt beside his legs and dragged his underwear off of him, dropping them over the edge of the bed. She shifted to kneel between his legs, her nails dragging up his thighs.

 

    Novalee pressed a kiss onto his hip, nibbling down the edge of the V his muscles made above his hips. She smiled up at him before licking a long stripe up his shaft, swirling her tongue around the glans. Sam took in a stuttering breath, and Nova kissed the tip, her tongue flicking over the slit. Her hand wrapped around the base as her lips sealed around him, softly sucking as her tongue swirled around it.

 

    Sam’s soft gasp had Nova pulling more into her mouth, tongue pressing against the underside of his shaft. His hands gathered her hair, holding it out of her way as she worked her way down his shaft. Novalee took in as much as she could, feeling the stretch of her jaw and his tip pressing against the opening to her throat as her lips touched her hand. She pulled back, her hand following until just the tip was left in her mouth. She drew him back in, her head slowly bobbing as her hand worked his shaft.

 

    Sam’s lips parted as a light moan left his lips, and Nova trailed her now wet hand down to cups his balls, softly kneading them as her other hand took its place on his shaft. She quickened her pace when his grip tightened in her hair, his quiet moans more frequent as she worked him.

 

    A knock on the door had her pulling back and looking up at him, only the tip in her mouth as Sam cursed and groaned, whispering, “I’m going to hurt him.”

 

    She smiled, giving his glans a kitten lick before replying, “Get rid of him, Sam.”

 

    Dean knocked louder, calling out. “C’mon Sammy. Time to get up. I need a hand with something.”

 

    Sam shook his head, and Nova grinned, pulling his tip away from her mouth before licking a wide stripe up his shaft. His abs tightened and his eyebrows knit together as his mouth opened in a silent moan. She tasted the slit, drawing him back into her mouth as Dean knocked again.

 

    “Dude! Seriously, need a hand.”

 

    Sam tugged her hair, pulling her off his shaft before he swallowed and called out to Dean. “I’ll help you later, Deaaaan.”

 

    She suppressed a giggle as she wrapped her lips around him, sliding him into her mouth and making his voice crack as he spoke. His breath was ragged as he pinned a glare on her. Nova gave him the most innocent look she could with his dick in her mouth. Her tongue slid over his shaft as she bobbed her head, Sam’s jaw dropping as he panted.

 

    Dean’s growl sounded through the door. “Quit being lazy and get the hell up.”

 

    Nova quietly hummed a laugh, making Sam gasp, his hips stuttering and voice rough as he replied, “Five minutes, Dean. Five freaking minutes!”

 

    “Oh!” She could hear the awkwardness in Dean’s voice as he grumbled. “Yeah, sorry man. Take all the time you need.”

 

    Nova smiled up at Sam as Dean’s footsteps receded down the hall, backing off and letting him fall from her mouth. “Well, that’s going to be a fun conversation later.”

 

    He glared down at her, his mouth quirking in a smile. “Couldn’t just let me talk to him? You had to keep going?”

 

    Nova shrugged and slid her hand over his shaft. “Seemed more enjoyable to keep going but I’ll stop. I can always go back to sleep.”

 

    “Nuh-uh.” His hands grabbed her under her arms and pulled her up his body. “You know you don’t want to do that.”

 

    She straddled his hips, sucking in her lip as his thick erection pressed against her panty-clad core. “May not want to, but I could.”

 

    He grinned, his arms curling around her as he rolled them over. His lips sealed against the skin on the base of her neck, his mouth sucking as his teeth grazed. Nova whimpered, grasping his shoulders as she bucked under him.

 

    Sam retreated, his tongue lashing against the fresh mark. “Stay, Novalee.” She grimaced, and Sam chuckled. “You took my order earlier. What’s different now?”

 

    She brushed the hair from his face. “Earlier, my body took the orders. I had no choice in the matter.”

 

    He grinned, kissing along her jaw and brushing his lips over hers. “So your body wants you to stay, but you’re going to deny it because of pride?”

 

    “I’m not going anywhere.” Novalee wrapped her legs around his hips, nipping his bottom lip. “But your argument makes little sense. My body wants to eat it’s weight in chocolate sometimes. My mind knows that would be very stupid. I just couldn’t control the face I made at the order. Years of training doesn’t disappear in one night.”

 

    He chuckled and pressed his lips to hers, hand sliding up her hip and side. His lips broke away, kissing down her jaw and neck. He kissed her shoulder, trailing soft nibbles as his hand cupped her breast.

 

     He nipped the skin on the opposite side of the mark on her neck, and Nova whined, “If you are trying to mark me as yours, I’m pretty sure your brother and Cas already know. Also, it’s a little misogynistic.”

 

    Sam snorted and rested his forehead against her shoulder. “I must be doing terrible if you can still use words like misogynistic.”

 

    “On the contrary, you’re doing fucking amazing. It’s been increasingly difficult to keep my head enough to talk. I just wanted to see if I could make you break. It was easier than I thought.” He shook his head, and Nova giggled. “Starting to regret asking me to take you back?”

 

    His head snapped up, and he grumbled, a smile gracing his lips before he peppered her face with kisses. “Not at all. Kinda wishing you weren’t so damn determined to distract me from what I’m trying to do because, at some point, Dean is going to get sick of waiting again.”

 

    Her eyes went wide, and she grabbed his face, making him look at her. “Shit! In that case, I’ll stop screwing around and start behaving.” He snorted, and Nova glared. “If you’re thinking I don’t know how to behave, you would be sorely mistaken. Otherwise, we would have never had sex the other times, and I wouldn’t have a job!”

 

     He leaned back to kneel between her legs, grinning as he brushed his hair back. “I seem to remember you misbehaving a couple of times the last time I tried to have sex with you, and you almost made it to where I was late getting back to Dean.”

 

    She sat up, “Whose distracting whom now?”

 

    Sam laughed, leaning down and capturing her lips. His hand tangled in her hair, gently guiding her back down onto the bed, while he used the other to brace himself. Nova wrapped her arms around his waist, pulling him flush against her. Their lips moved together as Nova traced his spine with her fingertips.

 

    His hips drove against Nova’s, and her breath hitched as his erection pressed against her. Sam’s fingers grazed over her side before hooking under her panties. His teeth skimmed her bottom lip as he sat back, pulling her underwear down her legs. Nova quickly pulled her legs out of them, sitting up to pull him back down on her.

 

    Sam chuckled, holding himself up with one arm as he kissed down her jaw. His hand cupped her breast, his thumb grazing it. Nova whimpered, fingers combing through his silky hair as he kissed his way down her neck and chest. His tongue flicked against other nipple before he nipped at her soft belly. She gasped, her hips bucking against his chest as he crawled down her body, scattering kisses over her stomach.

 

    Nova’s legs curled up as Sam’s thumb brushed over her wet folds before pressing between them to graze her clit. His lips pressed a kiss against her lower stomach as a finger slid into her, thumb drawing lazy circles around the small bundle of nerves. She arched into him, her hips driving his finger in and out of her.

 

    Sam pressed his other hand against her hip, stilling Novalee’s movements as he slid between her legs. She whimpered when his warm breath trickled over her folds, his thumb spreading them. His finger thrust into her as he licked a long stripe up her sex and a low moan fell from her mouth. His mouth sealed over her clit, sucking it in as his tongue flicked over it. A second finger pushed into her as Sam’s mouth pulled back, and his tongue brushed over her sex.

 

    Nova watched through half-lidded eyes as Sam’s fingers and mouth drove her towards another orgasm. Her breath came in small pants and moans as his fingers curled inside her, stroking against her g-spot. Her body pulsed as he licked and sucked on her clit. She coiled her fingers in his hair, his hand on her hip coasting over her stomach to press against her lower belly as she writhed under him.

 

    Sam pulled back, his fingers slipping out of her as he crawled up her body. Nova slid her fingers down his back as he moved. He brushed his head against her, nudging it to the side before he bit the skin over her pulse. She moaned, and he pressed against her, the tip of him skimming over her labia.

 

    His lips grazed her neck as he groaned, “We have a problem. I don’t think I have condoms.”

 

    She drove her hips against his, whimpering, “I've been tested, I'm clean, and I’m on the pill now. Please, Sam. I need you inside me.”

 

    He nodded, kissing up her jaw before seizing her lips in a passionate kiss. His hand skimmed down her stomach. His lips moved with hers as he lined himself up, gently pressing his tip against her entrance. He slowly pushed into her, his hand bearing down on her lower stomach as her hips rolled.

 

    Sam pressed an open-mouthed kiss under her ear, his voice deep as he whispered, “Easy, Nova. I don’t want to hurt you again.”

 

    Nova whimpered, her fingers clutching his shoulders as Sam carefully entered her. His hips rocked, pulling out before inching inside her again. She moaned, pressing her head against his as his hips bore down on her. His arm wrapped around her back, shifting her hips and driving himself deeper into her. Nova’s low moan matched his as he kissed and nipped her neck and her body adjusted.

 

    His lips skimmed the shell of her ear, Sam’s breath hitching as his hips rolled. His deliberate strokes had Nova moaning and her legs folded around him as they rocked. She tilted her head, kissing his neck and shoulder, moving her hips with his as his tip brushed the perfect spot. She drew her hand up his back, fingers tangling in his hair as he quickly thrust into her.

 

    Sam drove deep into her, and Novalee mewled, her nails raking against his scalp. His thrusts became relentless as she dug her heels into his ass, pants and moans filling the room. She nipped at the base of his neck, drawing a deep moan from him.

 

    Nova felt herself teetering on the edge, and she whimpered. “I-I’m close, Sam.”

 

    He kissed her neck and over her jaw before pressing his lips to hers. His arm slipped from under him, the arm around her holding him up. His hand grazed her belly and his fingers pressed against her sex, circling her clit. Nova mewled into the kiss, Sam’s tongue slipping between her parted lips to intertwine with hers. Her legs shook around him before he dragged his finger over her clit.

 

    Nova pressed her forehead against his shoulder as she cried out, her orgasm piercing through her. Sam quickened his pace before he groaned loudly, his hips stuttering as he released deep inside her. His movements slowed, working them through the waves of their orgasms before he stopped.

 

    Sam kissed her softly on the lips, rolling them on their sides as their heavy breathing began to slow. Nova swiped the sweat from his forehead as she leaned back, a sweet smile plastered across her face. He chuckled and wiped his hand down his face before brushing his hair back.

 

    Novalee traced the outlines of the muscles on his chest, sighing. “That was one hell of a way to wake a girl up.”

 

    Sam’s arm draped around her waist. “You told me a while ago that that was how you always wanted to wake up with me.” He shrugged. “Figured I’d see if it still held true.”

 

    A giggle burst from her lips. “I did, and it does. It’s still one of the best ways to wake up. Now if only I could quit grinning like the Cheshire Cat, that would be great.”

 

    He leaned down and nipped her bottom lip. “Hey! I put that smile there. I like it. Don’t get rid of it yet.”

Chapter Text

    Novalee groaned as Sam crawled out of bed. “Do you have to go help him? Couldn’t you stay and tell him to suck eggs?”

 

    “He said he needed a hand with something,” Sam chuckled as he pulled his boxer briefs on, his jeans following. “Plus, I’m hungry, and I’m pretty sure I heard your stomach grumble before I climbed out of bed.”

 

    She sighed and sat up, grabbing her panties off the end table before getting out of the bed. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Teufelchen. A lady’s stomach never grumbles.”

 

    She grabbed his flannel off the floor and pulled it on as Sam came over, his hand grabbing her ass and pulling her against him. “Teufelchen again, huh?”

 

    “Well, you can certainly be devilish, dear.” She grinned up at him. “But I can call you Engel instead. You’re sweet enough to be an angel.”

 

    Sam kissed her forehead. “I haven’t met very many sweet angels, and I’m not a fan of Lucifer.”

 

    Her jaw dropped. “You’ve met Lucifer? Like real deal, no shit Lucifer?”

 

    “Yeah, it’s a long story, but suffice to say, he lived up to his name.”

 

    “Wow. Okay, you have to tell me that story at some point.”

 

    “I don’t know that you would like that story.” He kissed her forehead again before walking over and grabbing his shirt. “It was pretty messed up.”

 

    He pulled the shirt over his head, and Nova wrapped her arms around his waist, resting her head against his back. “As messed up as the king of the demons attacking me in my apartment so that he can talk to you and Dean?”

 

     His arms covered hers, and he grumbled, “That was child’s play next to Lucifer.”

 

    Her arms flexed around him and she pressed her forehead between his shoulder blades. “I’m starting not to like your job if Crowley was a picnic compared to the other shit.”

 

    Sam turned around, his arms pulling her close as he rested his head on hers. “I don’t think anyone likes this job if they’ve seen what Dean and I have, but it’s necessary for us to do it.”

 

    She stepped back, sighing. “I get it, but I don’t have to like it.” She grabbed a pair of his sweats off his dresser. “I’m stealing these too.”

 

    He chuckled, “Go for it. You want me to make breakfast?”

 

    She pulled the sweats up, tying them tight around her waist. “Nope. Help your brother, and I’ll make something. I wonder if you have everything to make pancakes and sausage? That sounds so good right now.”

 

    He opened his door, his laptop tucked under his arm, and she walked out, his arm catching her waist as they made their way to the library. “Probably. Dean usually cooks though.”

 

    Dean called out from the library as they approached, “Jeez, Sammy! If I had known she was going to be that loud, I would have bought a pair of earplugs! I couldn’t decide if you were screwing her or killing her!”

 

    Sam groaned, his hand trailing down his face as they walked into the library. “Shut up, Dean.”

 

    Nova was bright red as she glared at Dean. “You’re just mad that you weren’t the one getting laid.”

 

    Dean burst out laughing. “I’m not mad Sam finally got laid. I’m mad that I couldn’t ignore the fact that my little brother was getting some. My headphones couldn’t even block out those last ones.”

 

    He shuddered, and Nova laughed. “You’ll survive, and next time I’ll try to be louder, just to get on your nerves.”

 

    Sam kissed the top of her head and walked over to the table where Dean was sitting. “What did you need help with, Dean?”

 

    Dean’s nose wrinkled, “You smell like sex. Go stand… further away.”

 

    Sam rolled his eyes, and Nova snorted. “He’s just jealous. Dean wants someone to make him scream. Bet he sounds like Michael Jackson in bed. Thank God you don’t, Teufelchen.”

 

    Dean grumbled. “Can we stop talking about my little brother’s sex life? I’m going to be scarred for life.”

 

    She started making her way out of the room, grimacing. “Yeah, because what you two do hasn’t already scarred you for life.”

 

     She heard Sam’s laugh and Dean’s curse as she made her way into the kitchen to make breakfast. She found what she needed to make pancakes, grumbling when she couldn’t find sausage. She threw the stuff for pancakes on the counter before making her way back to the library.

 

    “Hey, Dean! Do you have sausage?”

 

    Dean burst out laughing, “Didn’t get enough earlier?”

 

    Sam groaned as Nova shrugged. “I would never cook that sausage. Your’s I might chop into tiny pieces, though. Or shove it in a waffle iron while it’s still attached.” She pursed her lips and tapped her chin. “So many ideas, so little time.”

 

    Sam snorted as his brother blanched. “Your girlfriend’s crazy.”

 

    “Stop pissing her off and tell her where the sausage is.” Dean opened his mouth, and Sam glared. “The breakfast sausage. Otherwise, she won’t feed you.”

 

    Dean sighed and turned back to the book in front of him. “Bottom shelf of the fridge, in the back.”

 

    She raised her eyebrows and turned, walking out as she called back, “Thanks, Dean. I’ll bring you guys in plates once the food’s done.”

 

    Nova made breakfast quickly, listening as the two men’s muffled voices floated in from the library. She was putting plates together when she heard Sam curse loudly. Her eyebrows knit together and she grabbed the plates, balancing her’s on her arm as she made her way into the library.

 

    Sam was leaning over his laptop, glaring at the machine. “What the hell?”

 

    Dean pushed one of the books away from him, rubbing his forehead. “I don’t know, man. It’s your computer.”

 

    Nova set Dean’s plate down before setting the others next to Sam. “What’s going on?”

 

    Sam looked up, startled. “Oh, thanks for breakfast.”

 

    Dean took a bite of a pancake, talking while chewing. “Thanks, Nova.”

 

    “Swallow, Dean, and it’s no big deal.” She shrugged, sitting on the arm of Sam’s chair. “What’s wrong with your computer?”

 

    He grimaced and leaned forward, typing as the screen went blue. “Dammit!” He pushed the machine away and ran both his hands through his hair as he leaned back. “I don’t know! Just keeps acting up.”

 

    Nova slid onto his lap, pulling the laptop to her. “Lemme look.”

 

   “I was trying to translate something, and it completely locked out.” Sam grabbed her hips, sitting up and watching over her shoulder. “I’ve been trying to reboot a prior backup, but it’s like they were all deleted.”

 

    She gave a brief nod, and she worked while Dean grumbled, “And you had to sit on his lap to work on this?”

 

    Nova flipped him off. “This is a more comfortable seat, but I can stop working and pull up a chair instead.”

 

    “You’re fine, Novalee.” Dean turned back to his plate as Sam squeezed her hip. “Dean’s just tired and grumpy. Get some sleep, man. I’ll wake you up when we get this fixed.”

 

    “I’ll call Sarah and see if she can help us,” Nova sighed as she pulled out her phone. “Let’s hope this doesn’t take long.”

 

~*~*~*~

 

    “This is what happens when you don’t have proxy servers for your proxy servers, Samuel Winchester,” Sarah grumbled.

 

    Sam groaned, his head landing on Nova’s shoulder. “Can you stop telling me that and just tell me what to do?”

 

    Nova’s friend giggled. “Nova, remember when I tried hacking into the SDPD database?”

 

    “Oh my God!” Novalee laughed, her head never lifting as she followed Sarah’s instructions. “I thought you were going to kill someone when they locked you out of your own computer. How long were you on probation?”

 

    “Two years,” her friend sighed. “Ridiculous! I was thirteen and just trying to find my mother. You’d think they’d take it easy on a kid.”

 

    Dean grumbled, “Not to break you guys from this walk down memory lane, but we kinda need this done quickly.”

 

    “Tigre, you’re starting to get on my nerves. You don’t rush genius or my Loba.”

 

    Nova laughed harder. “Girl, welcome to my world!”

 

    Dean muttered, licking the syrup off his fork. “Feel free to get the hell out of the library then.”

 

    “Even I know that won’t save me from your bitchy ass. Besides, who would fix the computer then?”

 

    Sam leaned back in the chair he and Nova were still sharing. “Can you two stop bickering? Dean, go sleep!”

 

    Sarah yawned. “Why bother? Nova will be done…”

 

    “Now,” Nova whooped. “This queen just rocked this nonsense.” She stood and stretched while the guys stared at her. “Don’t stare at me. You should be kissing my feet!”

 

    Dean pointed his fork at her. “She’s annoying me now. Can I throw my fork at her?”

 

    “No, Dean. You can’t throw things at my girlfriend, especially since she’s right. She and Sarah just saved our asses.”

 

    Sarah’s voice sounded over speakerphone, “Girlfriend, huh? Novalee Julep Prince, you’ve got some ‘splainin to do.”

 

    Nova grinned, grabbing her phone and hissing. “Oh, would you look at that? My phone’s dying. Bye, Muerte!”

 

    Her friend laughed. “You think that’ll st…”

 

   Nova hung up, turning to Sam. “IS everything back up? Don’t want to have to call her back after hanging up on her.”

 

    Sam was going through his computer while laughing. “Looks good to me. Now let’s see if that translation pulled through.”

 

    She pulled a chair to the table, sitting down to eat her now cold food. Sam groaned, closing his eyes and leaning back in the chair again.

 

    “Bad news, Engel?”

 

    “Yeah. The translation is a bust. It’s all garbled. I’ll have to re-enter it into the computer.”

 

    Dean groaned, his head falling onto his arms as they rested on top of books. “Please tell me you are making some sick joke?”

 

    “No joke. It’s screwed.”

 

    She pushed her plate away. “What language is it in?”

 

    Sam’s eyes were wary as Dean looked up and answered, “German.”

 

    She glared at Sam. “Never thought of asking me to translate?”

 

    Dean pointed at her, his face lighting up as Sam replied, “No, I thought about it, but we all agreed to keep you out of this job. I don’t know what it says, and I don’t want to put you in more danger.”

 

    “Yeah, I want identical triplets with huge racks for my birthday.” Dean pushed a book towards her. “Don’t see my wishes being granted.”

 

    “This is easy.” Nova snorted and snatched the book before Sam could grab it, getting up and leaning against a far wall while reading. “It’s talking about a coin found on a demon…”

 

    Sam growled a warning, “Novalee, please stop!”

 

    She waved him off, continuing where she left off. “Says someone called the German Men of Letters took it back to their bunker for safekeeping, but it was stolen by a rogue member and brought to America. There was a hunt for the person and coin...”

 

     Nova groaned, head aching as she read the last few lines. She squatted down and rubbed her forehead, Sam jumping up from his chair. Dean stood, following his brother over as Nova fell onto her side, eyes rolling in the back of her head.

Chapter Text

    Novalee looked into twin pools of bright blue, her eyes fighting to close again. Her head ached fiercely, and she whimpered before a hand pressed to her forehead. She closed her eyes as her headache let up, sighing in relief.

 

    When she opened her eyes again, Castiel was smiling at her. “Novalee, try not to read any more pages written by a demon.”

 

    She sat up, whining, “I didn’t know it was written by a demon until I read the last few lines.”

 

    She heard Sam growl, and she winced as she glanced to see his fuming eyes glaring at her. “You would have if you would’ve listened to me. The pages were covered in sigils.”

 

    “I’m sorry, Sam.” Nova stared at the blanket covering her. “I was just so happy to be of use.”

 

    Sam grumbled and walked over, sitting next to her and hugging her. “There are better ways to help. I could have written the words down on another paper. It only hurt you because you were reading off the pages that had been cursed.”

 

    “I’m sorry. And, well, you should know that you already have the coin.”

 

    Sam pulled her away from him, frowning. “We do?”

 

    “It’s in the storage room that I hide in when I’m upset. I saw it in there last night before you came down to talk to me.”

 

    “Are you sure?”

 

    “It’s the one I was rolling across my knuckles while we were talking. I’m sure of it. The description sounds just like it. So we can go grab it, and you can call Crowley.”

 

    “You’re staying in bed. Dean and I will find it, and you can stay here and rest.”

 

     She mumbled as Castiel stood and walked out of the room. “I’m fine, Sam.”

 

    He got up, standing by the bed. “Stay here for a little while longer, please. I know Cas healed you, but it would make me feel better.”

 

    Nova huffed and laid back on the bed. Sam smiled brightly, leaning down to kiss her forehead before he walked out. She listened to his footsteps dwindle before she sat up, swinging her legs off the bed. She stretched and twisted, waiting a couple of minutes before she stood.

 

    She went to the sink in Sam’s room, washing her face before grabbing the small hand towel and drying. She looked in the mirror, frowning at her pale reflection. She tried to brush her fingers through her curls before pulling the hair tie off her wrist and tying her hair up.

 

     A giggle floated through the bunker, and Nova stared at the bedroom door, her eyebrows knit together. She thought for a minute she had imagined it, but she cracked the door as another giggle bounced down the hall. Novalee touched her forehead, hoping the demon pages hadn’t damaged her mind. She heard Dean’s muffled voice and huffed, leaning out the door. She tiptoed down the hall, standing against the railing on the landing as Dean’s laugh echoed off the walls.

 

    A little girl ran into the room below, her light brown hair streaming behind her before she jumped into Dean’s awaiting arms. The man spun the child, chuckling as the girl squealed in delight. Sam appeared, carrying another small child with black hair. The dark-haired child, a boy, laughed and squirmed out of Sam’s arms, running over to hug Dean’s leg when he stopped spinning the girl.

 

    “Daddy,” The boy whined as he looked up at Dean. “I wanna spin too!”

 

    Nova’s head spun as the little girl called to the other child, “Nuh-uh, Rob! I got here first! He’s my daddy!”

 

    Nova clung to the railing, her knuckles white as a woman walked into the room with Castiel. “Dawn, Rob, no fighting. I should have sent one of you with your Uncle Cas. I had to listen to you two bicker all the way here. I’m over it. He’s daddy to both of you. Trust me.”

 

    Sam laughed, “You’d know, Kat.”

 

    “Hell yeah, I do,” The woman, Kat, laughed. “I was there for the conceptions. Shit, I was married to him for years. Still am, technically.”

 

    Dean cleared his throat as a lead weight settled in Nova’s stomach. “Hey, Katherine. How are you doing?”

 

    Katherine put her hands on her hips. “I’d be better if your spawn would stop fighting over you. I swear, they’re going to drive me right up that wall.”

 

    Katherine pointed to the wall under Nova, her eyes climbing it to look into Nova’s. “Oh! Hi, there.” She glared at Dean. “Didn’t know you had company, Dean?”

 

    Six sets of eyes looked up at Novalee, and she felt her face burn as her knees turned to jelly. She barely held herself up as Sam groaned and the two kids giggled, Dean setting the girl down. The kids ran to Katherine, hugging her waist as she glared at Dean.

 

    “She’s not here with me, Katherine,” Dean grumbled. “That’s Sam’s girlfriend, Novalee.”

 

    Katherine snorted. “So you’re saying she’s smart?”

 

    Sam sighed, “Hey kids, wanna help me convince my friend Novalee that she should be in bed?”

 

    The little girl bounded up the stairs, the boy and Sam following close behind as Cas slipped into the library and Dean hissed. “Why can’t you stop picking fights in front of the kids?”

 

     Katherine growled, “Why do you always run when we fight, Dean?”

 

     Nova felt little hands grip her wrists, and two sets of bright green eyes looked up into hers as Sam groaned, “Let’s get you back to bed and these kids away from here.”

 

     She nodded dumbly as Sam pulled one of her hands off the railing, lacing his fingers with hers. The kids tore down the hall, a muffled argument bouncing down after them. She turned and followed them, unable to stop herself from smiling as the kids bounded down the carpet. Sam called out to them, telling them which room she was staying in, and the kids ran to the door, the boy opening it.

 

     Sam helped her into bed, pulling the blankets over her as the kids sat down on the loveseat. “Nova, these are Dean’s kids and my niece and nephew. The girl is Dawn, and the boy is Robert. Dawn and Rob, this is my girlfriend, Novalee.”

 

    Rob waved, and Dawn giggled. “Hi, Miss Novalee!”

 

    She smiled at the two. “It’s nice to meet you two. Wow, Miss Dawn. You look just like your daddy.”

 

    The girl grinned, elbowing her brother. “I told you he’s my daddy! You look more like Uncle Sammy. Maybe he’s your real daddy?”

 

    “No, Dawn,” Sam groaned, shaking his head as he turned to the kids. “I’m not his dad. I assure you, you have the same father.”

 

    Rob smiled widely, “Yeah, Dawn! Stop being a turkey!”

 

    “You still don’t look like Daddy.” Dawn stuck her tongue out at her younger sibling “All you have are our eyes. You have Mommy’s hair color and Uncle Sammy’s hair length. Even your nose looks different.”

 

    “Rob has my mom’s nose and, before you say something about his chin, that’s our dad’s chin.” Sam sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Dawn, if you keep it up, I’m going to make you eat bacon and fries for dinner.”

 

    Dawn stared at her uncle, shocked. “No, Uncle Sammy! I hate greasy food!”

 

    Sam snorted. “Yeah, that’s the point, kiddo.”

 

    Rob giggled and pointed at his sister. “Uncle Sammy likes me more. Haha!”

 

    “Not the case, Rob and don’t start crap too. I’ll make you eat a salad for dinner.”

 

    Rob turned wide eyes on him, “B-but, Uncle Sammy! I thought you loved me?!”

 

    The man hung his head, and Nova covered her mouth as she giggled. “I do love you, Bruiser, just like I love you, Sunshine, but if you two are going to squabble the entire time you’re here, I’m going to make you eat the foods you hate the most.”

 

    Nova smiled at the kids. “How old are you two?”

 

    Rob smirked, and Nova bit her lip as she saw his resemblance to Dean. “I turned five in April!”

 

    Dawn smoothed her skirt, sitting up straighter. “I’m eight!”

 

    “Nuh-uh!” Rob's eyes narrowed on his sister. “You’re seven. You don’t turn eight until August!”

 

    His big sister glared at him, “That’s only a month away, ROBERT!”

 

    Sam growled a warning, “Kids, I’m serious about the food thing!”

 

    Both kids yipped and mumbled, “Sorry, Uncle Sam.”

 

    Sam leaned down and kissed Novalee on the forehead. “How about I deal with these kids, and you get some sleep?”

 

    She giggled and whispered, “Sure you don’t want to hide with me instead?”

 

    He groaned, “Very tempting.”

 

    Dean appeared in the doorway, “Hey kids. Why don’t you come down and grab your bags? I’ll show you which rooms to put them in for this week.”

 

    The two kids ran from the room with Sam following behind, and Dean stood awkwardly in the doorway. “Sorry about the kids, Nova. Didn’t know Katherine was bringing them until this morning.”

 

    Nova closed her eyes and nibbled her lip. “So you’re married, Dean?”

 

    “We’re separated.” He leaned against the door frame. “Have been for over a month.”

 

    “Are you?” She looked up at him through her eyelashes. “Or are you just saying that so I don’t feel like a whore because we made out?”

 

    “Seriously?!” He looked down the hall with wide eyes before walking in and shutting the door, hissing, “My kids could have been out there! Yes, Katherine and I are separated. If you don’t believe me, ask your boyfriend.”

 

    Dean opened the door, stepping out and slamming it behind him while yelling, “Sam! Your woman is gonna be a damn issue.”

 

    “Well, you’re always a damn issue, Dean,” A woman’s voice barked. “So it’s par for the course for poor Sam!”

 

    Nova snorted a laugh, instantly wanting to like this woman. Her stomach churned as her chest ached. She hoped Dean wasn’t lying because it had only been a week since she had been making out with him on her couch. Now she was lying in a bed while he talked to his wife and his kids brought up their bags.

Chapter Text

    A light rap on her door pulled her out of her self-loathing, the door slowly opening. “Novalee?”

 

    “Yeah, Sam?”

 

    He came in and sat on the edge of her bed. “You okay?”

 

    She thought about his question, shaking her head. “He’s married?”

 

    “Seven years this month.” She flinched, Sam frowning. “What is it?”

 

    “He’s married, and a week ago, I was kissing him.”

 

    “They separated a few weeks ago.”

 

    Nova’s eyebrows knit together, noticing the time difference between the two men’s stories. “A few weeks ago?” Sam nodded, and Nova sighed. “So it’s a lie?”

 

     His frown deepened. “What is?”

 

    “If you are trying to save my feelings, it’s not going to help. I already feel like a whore. Lying about his marriage doesn’t make me feel better.”

 

    “What are you talking about?!”

 

    She growled and sat up. “Dean tells me over a month and you say a few weeks. That’s a pretty big difference. I thought we agreed you wouldn’t lie anymore?”

 

    Sam glared and stood. “I’m not lying, Novalee! It could’ve been longer. I just know a few weeks ago he showed up here, saying he was staying for good.”

 

    Nova closed her eyes and pointed towards the door. “Get out, Sam.”

 

    He growled and she heard his feet shuffle before his footsteps lead him out, the door slamming behind him. Nova laid back down, tears springing to her eyes. She curled up on her side and hugged her pillow, guilt gnawing at her.

 

    A little while later, a light rap sounded on the door, and Nova called out thickly, “Go away, Sam! I don’t want to talk right now.”

 

    She heard her door creak and she sat up glaring before the woman’s light voice said, “It’s not Sam or Dean, but I think we should talk.”

 

    “Oh!” Nova wiped her eyes and cleared her throat. “Um, okay.”

 

    The woman peeked her head in and gave her a small smile. “Hi, I’m Katherine, Katherine Winchester. You’re Novalee, right?” Nova nodded, and the woman walked in, quietly shutting the door. “It’s nice to meet you finally. Sam’s told me a lot about you, but i didn’t realize you were staying here. Sorry about that argument you heard.”

 

    Novalee gave her a small smile as she looked her over. Katherine was around the same height as her with long, black hair and grey/blue eyes. Her skin was a beautiful shade of tan, and Nova looked down at her pasty arm, wishing she could get that kind of coloring. The woman’s body was lean, her arms lightly muscled, with an average chest but larger hips.

 

    Katherine cleared her throat, Nova looking up and whispering, “I think I should tell you that I met Dean in a bar and took him back to my place a week ago. We didn’t do much, but there was a makeout session on my couch.”

 

    “Does Sam know?”

 

    She picked at the comforter. “Yeah, we were broken up at the time.”

 

    Katherine shrugged, leaning back on the wall with her arms crossed under her breasts. “Then it’s no business of mine.”

 

    Nova’s eyebrows knit together. “But you’re married to Dean?”

 

    “He and I have been separated for a little over a month, and he left our home three weeks ago to come here. I get no say in his decisions anymore. Not unless he chooses to come home and if you know Dean, you know that he is going to be a stubborn ass.”

 

    Nova scoffed. “Yeah, that sounds like him.”

 

    “Look, it might not be my place since I’m Dean’s possibly soon-to-be ex-wife, but I’m Sam’s best friend. Sam’s kinda crazy about you. He’d have never brought you back here if he wasn’t and he’d never have fought so hard to get you back if he wasn’t. Trust me, I’ve got a friend at home who got hit pretty hard by the Sam Winchester Heartbreak Express, and she’s just now getting out of the ‘If I see him, I’m kicking him in the shins’ phase. They broke up three years ago.”

 

    Nova groaned. “Bodes well for me, huh?”

 

    Katherine grinned. “Oh, woman. You are so screwed. Winchester men are like crack. They leave you fiending for more.”

 

    Nova leaned against her headboard with a whine. “How do you do it? Joke about Dean leaving and Winchester men? Doesn’t it hurt?”

 

    Katherine came and sat on the foot of her bed, leaning back on her arms. “Because if I didn’t laugh about it, I would curl up in a ball and cry for years. Every time I see him, all I can think about is how much we’ve been through. He helped me find the courage to adopt my nieces, Isadora and Lyla. He helped me raise them for four years. Now, Isadora is in college and Lyla is a teenager in high school. They both took it hard when he moved out, just as hard as our kids. Dean was by my side when I found out my sister had taken a fatal overdose of Heroin and he helped me pick up the pieces for our nieces and myself.”

 

     Katherine sighed, tears rolling down her face as she cast a sad smile at Novalee and sat up. “I loved that man more than I ever thought I could. He’s the best thing that has ever happened to me and sometimes he’s the worst, too. But he and I got into a fight about something I thought was trivial and he moved his things to the upstairs of our house. A couple of weeks later, he kissed our kids goodbye, promising to come to see them, and he left. He stops in every so often, and every time I hope he stays. I hope he talks to me about what happened and he decides to move back.”

 

    Nova scooted down the bed and leaned into  Katherine’s shoulders. “He won’t even talk to you about it?”

 

    “Nope, the stubborn ass. He thinks I said or did what I did on purpose.”

 

     “What was it?”

 

     Katherine shrugged, “That’s the thing. I have no idea! I don’t even know if he remembers anymore! I think he just wants to keep up the charade because he thinks he should. I can’t talk to him about it because… Well, I’m too proud to do it, and he’s too much of a pain in the ass.”

 

    Nova gave a quick laugh before sighing. “If you don’t talk, how are you going to fix it?”

 

    A throat cleared in the hallway and Nova and Katherine looked up in shock. Sam raised his hand, smiling as he walked into the room. He shut the door behind him and sat on the loveseat across from them.

 

    His large hand covered Katherine’s knee and squeezed. “He does remember what you two fought about back then. He’s angry with himself and refuses to talk about it now. If your damn Gunner Pride would break for a couple of seconds, you could convince him to come home, Kat.”

 

    The woman hung her head and swiped at her cheeks. “I can’t do that yet. I can barely look at him without getting angry with him that he walked out. Or I get depressed and want to drive my Beauty into a ditch to put myself out of my misery.”

 

    “Do that, Kat, and Azrael won’t be there to save you. Not anymore. Cas still can’t go into Heaven without the other angels attacking him. If you end up in Hell, we’d have to bribe Crowley to help.”

 

    Nova flinched, and Katherine dryly laughed, “Yeah, Crowley fucking hates me after I tried to stab him in the face with a demon blade for silencing Dawn. Don’t see him doing me any favors.”

 

    Nova giggled. “Oh, I wish you had been able to stab him.”

 

    The woman smirked at her. “I was so close before he got the jump on me and threw me into a wall. That son of a bitch has a toe tag with his name on it, and I’m gonna hand deliver it to him someday. Wanna help, Novalee?”

 

    Nova snorted. “I’m not a hunter like you three. I work retail in San Diego, bout as vanilla as it gets.”

 

    Kat shrugged. “I’m a dancer.”

 

    Nova raised an eyebrow. “Like exotic dancer?”

 

    “Why does everyone ask that,” groaned Kat. “No, I’m a professional dancer when I’m not hunting Crowley down.”

 

    Sam sighed and leaned back in the seat. “You're not hunting anymore, Kat. You made a promise to the kids and me, and to Dean.”

 

    “He made promises to me, Sam!” Kat glared at him, and he threw his hands up in surrender. “Don’t see that ‘til death one going so well, do you?”

 

    “Give him some time,’ he said. “He’s miserable right now. He’s drinking again, and two days ago, I caught him staring at a picture of you and the kids in his room. Trust me; he misses you.”

 

    Nova sighed. “So miserable that he’s picking women up in bars again?”

 

    Katherine turned and stared at her, jaw dropped. “That’s my line!”

 

    Nova shrugged, “Well, I like you, Katherine. You seem pretty awesome, and I don’t like Dean a whole lot most days. He drinks too much, has a smart mouth, and presses buttons that should be left well enough alone.”

 

    “Call me Kat, most people do. I don’t usually go by my full name. Dean can be a handful, but he can also be the sweetest man in the world and sometimes those buttons he presses can lead to two gorgeous kids.”

 

    Novalee snorted a laugh and Sam grinned. “He did help you make me a pretty great niece and nephew when they aren’t trying to get on each other’s nerves.”

 

    “Well, the making was the fun part. The raising? That’s the trick.” Kat stood and stretched. “And for my next trick, I’m going to disappear from this place without breaking down in tears or kicking Dean in the shins. This’ll be my greatest one yet.” She turned and waggled her eyebrows at Nova. “Can she do it? Can she resist the urge to maim the man or herself? Only time will tell.”

 

    Sam stood and pulled Dean’s wife into a hug, kissing the top of her head. “Call me when you get to your home. Let me know you didn’t drive into that ditch.”

 

    Kat hugged him tight before leaning back and kissing his cheek. “I will, Sammy. I love you, bro.”

 

    Sam ruffled her hair, making the woman glare. “Love you too, sis.”

 

    Kat turned to Nova and held out a hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Novalee. Try not to go insane with my banshee offspring running through these halls. If you need a break, have Sam or Cas bring you to my house.”

 

    Nova stood and took the offered hand. “Call me Nova and I may take you up on that if they bicker like they were the whole time they’re here.”

 

    Kat snickered and went to the door, pulling it open as Dean yelled, “Look, you two! If you decide to argue like this the whole time you’re here, I’m going to throw you in the garage and let you duke it out.”

 

    Nova snorted, and Kat grinned. “You sure you don’t want to ride back with me and save Sam the drive?”

Chapter Text

    Sam and Nova walked Katherine out of the room and down the stairs, stopping in the library so the kids could say goodbye to their mother. Kat hugged both kids tight to her and Nova leaned into Sam’s side as a tear escaped Kat’s eye. Dawn bounced away to sit at a table with Castiel and a book, and Rob swiped the teardrop from his mom’s cheek.

 

     Rob kissed Kat’s nose, making her smile sadly. “It’ll be okay, Mommy. Daddy, Uncle Sam and Uncle Cas will take care of us, and they’ll make sure we’re safe. Ms. Novalee can help us send you pictures when you’re sad.”

 

     Dean looked down at his logger boots, leaning back on the table behind him as Kat hiccuped. “I’ll be fine, Bruiser. You make sure you have lots of fun with your daddy and uncles. Try not to cause too much trouble for Ms. Novalee, okay?”

 

    Nova smiled sadly and hugged Sam’s waist. “I’m sure they'll be great, and I’ll steal Sam’s phone occasionally and send you lots of pictures of them.”

 

    Kat sighed and kissed Robby’s head again. “I’d appreciate that, Nova.”

 

    The boy grinned and kissed her cheek, walking away to sit on Castiel’s lap. Kat stared at the floor, crouching down still, and Nova gave Sam a quick hug before walking over and touching her shoulder. Kat shook her head, and Sam cleared his throat, his eyes boring into his brother’s.

 

     Dean pushed off the table and stood in front of Kat. “You okay?”

 

    Nova rolled her eyes before his wife whispered, “Nope. Don’t know if I ever will be okay with this.” She looked up after wiping her cheeks, a fake smile on her face. “But I have to be, don’t I? We’ve got two sets of small eyes on us, and they are going to base their lives on what they see us doing.” She smiled at her kids, “I’ll miss you, guys. All of you.”

 

    Castiel hugged Dawn to his side, his hand ruffling Rob’s hair. Nova gripped Kat’s upper arm, helping her off the floor as Dean’s hand flexed. For a second, Nova’s chest flared with the hope that Dean would hug the woman, but he crossed his arms over his chest instead. Nova closed her eyes for a second before shooting Dean a dismayed look.

 

     Dean huffed and stared at his boots. “Have a safe trip home, Katie.”

 

    Nova’s eyebrows knit together as Sam looked shocked and Kat’s jaw dropped. “Yeah, I’ll try my best, Dean.”

 

    Sam came over and wrapped an arm around Kat’s waist, leading her out as Nova pinned a glare on Dean, hissing. “What was that?”

 

    Dean grumbled and grabbed her arm, leading her into the kitchen and away from the kids. “That was me trying to do my best for my kids. Have a problem with that?!”

 

    She huffed and tore her arm away from him. “Do you have any idea how much she cares for you? Do you understand how much it’s killing her that you left? What is wrong with you?!”

 

    He growled and whipped around, grabbing a coffee mug and throwing it at the wall, the cup shattering on impact. “Everyone thinks it's all my fault. No one asks me how much I fucking love her or how much I fucking care! No, it’s all about Katherine.”

 

    She watched a piece of the mug spin on the floor and sighed, “So tell me. Do you love her? Do you freaking care?”

 

     “Yeah, I love her.” She watched his shoulders slump before he ran a hand through his hair. “I hate acting like this with her, but I don’t know what else to do! With her, it's always giving up or giving in. There is no in-between, and I don’t know how to do that most of the time.”

 

    He turned and shrugged. “So I told her I was going to take some space and think things over. I moved my stuff upstairs into Sam’s old room. It sucked. I wanted her back, but she kept acting like I was the biggest jerk in the world. I knew I had fucked up and she couldn’t forgive that. So, I left and came here. Sam and I had found out about this place a while ago and lived here when we didn’t want the kids to see what our jobs were. I packed up and left her and my kids because I couldn’t face her anger anymore.”

 

    Nova snorted. “You two fought over something, and you’re both too stubborn and proud to apologize? You threw seven years away because of a fight over what?”

 

    “It’s so stupid,” Dean sighed as he sat in one of the kitchen chairs, holding his head. “It was over money. Kat co-owns a bar and dances professionally. I’m a hunter who hustles pool to survive. Not exactly making a lot of money, either. I always felt like I should ask her before I bought something or pulled out money because it’s her money.”

 

   “That’s not how marital assets work. When you married, depending on the state you reside in, everything you brought into the marriage gets divided between you. Besides, I’m sure she knew how broke you were when you married. Didn’t seem to bother her.”

 

    Dean scoffed. “But it bothers me! What the hell did I bring into that marriage? What good am I to her?”

 

    “You were something special to her if she picked you.” She hopped up to sit on the counter. “What you brought and how good you were, well, those are questions for her. I’ve only known her for a couple of hours. Ask her when you take the kids home or when she comes to get them.”

 

    “I can’t. That’s not something I can do.”

 

    She sighed and stared at her knees. “Then be prepared for the day she decides she can’t wait for you anymore. For the day she finds someone who doesn’t run when a petty fight happens.”

 

    She heard the kids giggles and Sam’s chuckle. She sighed and looked down at the shards of ceramic all over the floor and kicked her feet, trying to decide how she would get down. The kitchen door swung open and Sam’s eyebrows raised as he saw her sitting on the counter.

 

    “Don’t let the kids in, please,” sighed Nova. “A mug shattered and there are sharp pieces everywhere.”

 

    He looked around before his eyes fell on his brother. “You two okay?”

 

    “We were having a chat about marital arguments. Suffice to say, those two were made to drive each other crazy and are just too pig-headed to realize it."

 

    “Oh, I know they are.” Sam chuckled as Dean mumbled and stood, walking from the room. “I watched them fall for each other. It was just as crazy when they were dating. Then again, they had a demon, some shapeshifters, some vampires, and other monsters that helped with the insanity.”

 

    “That’s another story you’ll have to tell me.”

 

    He rubbed the back of his neck. “I’ll have to omit some stuff, and some of it was… Well, things happened, and it fucked all three of us up for a while.” He walked over, kicking shards away with his boots as he came. “Need some help off that counter?”

 

   “I’m sorry for getting angry at you.”  She wrapped her arms around his neck as he stood between her legs. “I was so upset with myself for messing around with a married man, and I took it out on you.”

 

    “I know.” He smiled and kissed her forehead. “That’s why I walked out. I wanted to let us cool off, and I knew Kat would be the only person you would believe. You needed to hear from the wife that you hadn’t done anything wrong. Dean’s had some questionable morals, but he’s usually a good person. They’ve both agreed to take some time apart.”

 

    Nova sighed and tucked her forehead against his neck. “And people wonder why I never want to marry. It gets so messy, literally and figuratively.”

 

    Sam grinned, his hands cupping her ass as he picked her up. “Says the woman who just gave couples counseling to my brother and sister-in-law. I have to admit, you give good advice, too.”

 

    She nipped his neck, giggling when his arms flexed around her. “I may not want to get married, but I’ve watched my parents’ marriage for years. I was bound to pick up something.”

 

    He set her down in the doorway to the library, kissing her neck. “There are kids in here. No more of that until we get in our room with the door locked.”

 

    “Says the man who just kissed my neck.” Nova smiled up at him. “Also, it’s our room now?”

 

    “It’s up to you.” He shrugged, his hands squeezing her hips. “You’re welcome to stay in the same room as me, or you can have your room.”

 

    She leaned up, kissing him softly. “I’ll see you in our room tonight.”

 

    He grinned as Dawn launched herself at Sam, grabbing his leg. “Ms. Novalee? Can you read to us? Uncle Sammy said he and Daddy have to work and Uncle Cas has to leave.”

 

    The little girl’s pout and doe eyes made Nova groan, “Okay. I’ll read you something.”

Chapter Text

    That night, as Nova and Sam lay in bed, she thought about the demon coin and Katherine. She shifted against Sam, his arm tightening around her and tucking her against his side. She traced designs on his bare chest and tangled her legs with his. His other hand laid on his stomach as she pressed a kiss to his shoulder.

 

    His voice rumbled in his chest as he spoke, “What are you worrying about, Nova?”

 

    “Nothing, Engel,” she sighed. “Well, I’m not worrying, just thinking. How are you going to give that coin to Crowley if the kids are here?”

 

    She trailed her fingertips over his ribs, and he fidgeted, his voice wobbling as he grumbled. “I think Cas and I will have to handle it. We should have had Kat stay and help out, but Dean wouldn’t have been happy about that.”

 

    She popped her head up. “Wait. When we first met, Dean said he was bringing someone back to the hotel. That’s why you stayed the night. Were they separated then?”

 

    Sam ran his hand through his hair. “I don’t think he did. I don’t know. I forgot about that... Ah!”

 

    Nova grinned as she poked Sam’s ribs, the big man jumping and grabbing her hand. “So, my big bad hunter is ticklish?”

 

    He groaned and fidgeted as her fingers escaped his grip and wiggled over his ribs. “P-please stop. I hahaha really d-don’t wanna be tickled.”

 

    She stopped, kissing his shoulder. “Why not? It’s not like you can’t make me stop at any time.”

 

    Sam sighed, and her fingers trailed over his hip, causing him to twitch. “Because I-I don’t want to accidentally h-hurt you.”

 

     Her eyebrows raised, she propped herself up on her elbow and wiggled her fingers over his hip, making him squirm and snort laughter. “Even your hips are ticklish?”

 

    He flattened her hand under his, his voice holding a forced strength. “Please, Novalee.”

 

    “Okay.” She sighed and laid back down, nestling into his side. “I was just trying to have some fun and get to know more about you. The hip was an accident.”

 

     “How does tickling help you get to know me?”

 

    She thought about her answer before she spoke, “I never knew you were ticklish. Now, I do. I didn’t know that you worry about hurting me, which you really shouldn’t. I feel like we’ve known each other for a while, but I still don’t know you.”

 

    His thumb rubbed the back of her hand. “And tickling helps you to feel like you know me?”

 

    Frowning, Nova grimaced. “Yes and no. Yeah, because now I’m learning things about you again. No, because you made me stop before I could find out HOW ticklish you are.”

 

    “Ribs, sides, hips, underarms, and thighs.”

 

    She propped herself up and looked at him with eyebrows drawn together, “Huh?”

 

    “That’s where I’m ticklish. Feet never bother me and stomach is only occasionally, but ribs, hips, sides, underarms, and thighs are almost always ticklish to some degree.”

 

    She giggled and slowly slipped her hand from under him, giving him time to stop her. When he didn’t, she coasted her fingers over his ribs, poking and prodding. Sam squirmed and flinched with each jab, his hand coming up to cover his face as he snorted a laugh.

 

    She sat up, swinging a leg over his hips and sitting on top of his hips. His hands kneaded her thighs before she gave him a mischievous grin and set both her hands to work. She prodded his sides, crawled her nails over his ribs, quickly squeezing just under his ribcage. Sam bucked and wiggled under her, his hands gripping her hips as his breaths came out in pants.

 

    Nova licked her lips and trailed her nails over his hip bones before poking his flat belly. A quick laugh burst out of his mouth, and she giggled, fingers working over his body and making him laugh underneath her. Novalee crept her fingers up his sides, quickly tickling his underarms. Sam’s peal of laughter greeted her actions, and she couldn’t help but giggle along. His legs scissored as she continued her assault.

 

    She leaned back, her hands reaching behind her and grabbing his thighs, squeezing them. Sam let out a strangled laugh, sitting up and wrapping his arms around her. He rolled them over, pinning her under him and panting as he captured her hands, holding them above her head.

 

    “Okay,” Sam huffed, his breath trickling over her face. “Can’t take. Anymore.”

 

    Nova giggled, wiggling under him. “Okay, Engel. I’ll stop.”

 

    He let go of her hands, kissing her cheek. “Maybe, I want to find out if you’re ticklish.”

 

    “You could, but I’m going to warn you,” Nova shrugged. “I’m violent when tickled. Rhett used to pin me down and tickle me until I got sick. Kinda ruined it for me.”

 

    Sam’s eyebrow raised and his fingers ghosted over her side, making her twitch. “I don’t see any violence yet.”

 

    “You will.”

 

    He chuckled, leaning down and kissing her neck. She sighed as his lips worked over the sensitive skin before his fingers prodded her ribs. Whining, her legs scissored, and Sam nipped her throat, making her groan. His knee nudged her legs apart, and he laid between them, pulling them around his waist.

 

    Sam kissed under her jaw, fingers tickling her sides, and she whimpered. “Saam! N-not fair!”

 

    He chuckled, pulling the sides of her shirt up and tickling the now bare skin. “Completely fair, Novalee.”

 

    She curled her arms around him, nails biting into the skin of his back as he nipped and sucked at the skin under her ear, his hand poking between her ribs. His tickles and kisses left her squirming against him, small giggles and moans falling from her lips. Sam moved down her body, nipping over her collarbones as his hand gave quick squeezes to her thigh, making her hips buck against him as she burst out with a mixture of a laugh and a moan.

 

    Sam’s head fell against her chest as he laughed. “What kind of noise was that?”

 

    Nova shook her head violently as his hand tickled her side. “A l-laugh a-and a moan? A Maugh?”

 

    “That’s a new one,” Sam snorted, smiling brightly at her. “But you haven’t gotten violent.”

 

    “Because my body can’t decide whether to hurt you or screw you. It’s a very confusing state to be in right now.”

 

    He chuckled and smoothed his hand up her side, kissing the skin above her tank top. His fingers hooked her top, pulling it up and off her as she leaned up. He tossed the shirt aside and kneaded her ribs, making her whimper and wiggle. He grabbed the edge of her sports bra, pulling it off her and throwing it aside.

 

    Sam’s hands coasted over her sides, thumbs rubbing over her ribs as he kissed down Nova’s chest and stomach. Her fingers tangled in his hair as he reached the hem of her sweatpants, teeth catching the fabric and pulling on it. He looked up at her grinning before the elastic pulled from his teeth and snapped against her lower stomach.

 

    Nova bit her lip as Sam pressed an open-mouthed kiss against the delicate skin. He licked and nipped at the flesh at the edge of the pants, making her whimper, and her fingers tightened in his hair. She gasped as Sam nibbled her hipbone, his fingers grabbing the waistband and pulling it down a little. He kissed the newly exposed skin of her belly, slowly moving down as he uncovered more.

 

    He stopped pulling the pants down before she was exposed, nipping at the skin before asking. “Nova, please tell me the door is locked?”

 

    It took her a second to process what he said, and she looked over his shoulder. “Locked, Tuefelchen.”

 

    Sam grinned up at her and leaned back, pulling her sweats and underwear down to tangle around her feet. He ducked under the looped fabric, kissed up her inner thigh. Her legs rested on his shoulders and his thumb traced over her folds as his teeth grazed her upper thigh. His thumb pressed between her folds, lightly brushing her clit as he spread her juices over the bud. His thumb circled before his mouth and tongue ran over her labia.

 

     Nova gasped, back arching as he sucked, licked and nipped at the delicate flesh. His thumb opened her up as he painted a long stripe up her sex, a quiet moan falling from her lips. She felt him smile against her as his expert mouth worked over her, tongue flicking over the small bundle of nerves before dipping into her entrance. Her eyes slammed shut as she covered her mouth, trying to stifle her moans. The slurps and soft moans he made against her made the knot in her belly pulse.

 

     He sucked on her clit, teeth grazing as he released her. Her breath hitched and her fingers in his hair flexed. Sam flickered his tongue over her clit, and his fingers slid into her, pressing against her walls as she mewled. Her fingers raked his scalp as he glided over the perfect spot and his mouth sucked on her. His tongue licked a slow, broad stripe over her before it flicked and Nova’s toes curled, her hips pressing into him as the knot burst. Her thighs clamped down on him as she moaned his name through her fingers, his moan mixing with hers.

 

    Sam’s mouth and fingers worked her through her orgasm. His fingers slid out of her, catching the fabric twisted around her ankle to free her foot. Her legs fell to the side, and he looked up at her, grinning. He kissed her thigh, pulling the clothing off her other ankle and tossing them on her discarded clothes before sliding up her body and kissing her softly.

 

     Nova smiled softly at him, her world fuzzy. “Hi.”

 

     “Hi, beautiful.” Sam chuckled.

 

     His arms wrapped around her as he rolled them over, so she was laying on top of him. She nuzzled into his chest and his hands smoothed over her back. She wiggled, getting comfortable, and heard his quiet hiss as her hip grazed his erection.

 

    She looked up at him and frowned, fingers tracing his sides. “What about you, Engel?”

 

    “I’m fine, Novalee. Get some rest.”

 

    Nova’s frown deepened. “But…”

 

    Sam brushed a lock of hair behind her ear, and her eyes fluttered, making him smile softly. “You’re too tired, and I would rather wait until you can enjoy it too. I think I may have done too well at making you like being tickled.”

 

    Nova sighed, her head heavy as she laid it on his chest and drawled, “I don’t like makin you wait, but I can barely lift my head. I think you’re right, though. I don’t mind tickles if they end up like that.”

 

    She felt his laugh rumble in his chest, and she closed her eyes as his arms settled around her. “I’m sorry I can’t help you, Sam.”

 

    “It’s fine.” He pressed a kiss to her hair. “I’ll just have to see if you’ll let me wake you up the way you like.”

 

    She hummed and kissed his chest. “You better. I’ll be madder than a hornet if you don’t.”

Chapter Text

    Novalee sighed and crawled off Sam, grinning as he grabbed her waist and pinned her under him. “Where do you think you’re going?”

 

    She tucked his hair behind his ear. “Tuefelchen, you’ve had me once this morning, and I just heard your nephew running down the hall. We should get up.”

 

    He kissed her neck, nipping at the skin over her pulse. “Give me a couple of minutes, and we can see if you still hate being tickled.”

 

    A scream filled the hall, and Sam rolled off her, grabbing his jeans and pulling them on quickly. Nova grabbed her sweats and tank top, pulling them on as he did up his jeans. She threw open the door and ran out, running down the hall and to the stairs. Rob lay at the bottom, curled into a ball whimpering as Dawn knelt beside him.

 

    Nova rushed down the stairs, Sam still running down the hall while pulling on his shirt. She knelt next to Rob, brushing her hand over his head as he whined.

 

    “What happened, kids?”

 

    Rob whimpered, and Dawn whined. “He was coming down the stairs and tripped. He tumbled and hit his head.”

 

    Novalee brushed her fingers over the boy’s scalp, feeling for any bumps. “How far down the stairs was he?”

 

    Dawn pointed to the fifth step from the bottom. “Not far, but he yelled really loud.”

 

    “Hey, Bruiser.” Sam knelt next to his niece, checking over Rob. “Do you hurt?”

 

    “No.” Rob sniffled, pouting. “I’m a big boy. We don’t get hurt.”

 

    Nova looked wide-eyed at Sam, and he shook his head, yelling, “DEAN!”

 

    Nova picked up the shuddering boy, cradling his little body in her arms and leaning against the wall. She pressed her head against his as he let out a groan. Sam scooped Dawn up and hugged her to him. Nova repressed a frightful shiver as the thunder of Dean’s racing feet echoed through the halls.

 

    He burst out of a doorway, skidding to a halt in front of Nova and Rob. “Hey, Son. What happened?”

 

    Nova rocked the boy as Rob whimpered, “Daddy, I fell, but I’m a big boy. I won’t cry.”

 

    Nova looked up at Dean as he sat next to her and laid his large hand on Rob’s head. “How bad are you hurt, Bruiser?”

 

    “My head’s all achy and my arm’s ouchy.”

 

    Nova ran her fingers over his arm, trying to feel for any issues. Dean pushed his fingers through his son’s hair, finding the knot on the back of his head. He took Rob’s arm and checked it over before pulling the boy from Nova’s arms and hugging him close.

 

    “I think you got a bump on your noggin and your arms just mad. How about we take you to the kitchen and find something to put on them?”

 

    Dawn pulled away from Sam and started following them from the room as Nova cleared her throat. “Rob, sweetie?”

 

    Dean stopped and turned, letting the boy see her as she stood up. “Yes, Miss Novalee?”

 

    “You should know, it’s okay for boys and men to cry. You don’t have to be tough just because you’re a boy.”

 

    Sam’s arm wrapped around her waist as Rob’s eyes widened. “But Daddy and Uncle Sam don’t cry.”

 

    “Sure they do. They may not admit it, but they cry.”

 

    Sam softly smiled at his nephew. “I’ve cried before, Bruiser, when something really sad or scary has happened. It’s normal to cry.”

 

    Rob looked up at his dad. “Daddy, do you?”

 

    Dean cleared his throat. “I cried the day you were born. Your mom and I were scared because things didn’t go the way they were supposed to go. You were sick, and we didn’t know if you would be okay. I sat by your hospital crib while your mommy was getting fixed up and cried because I wanted you to be okay.”

 

    Rob’s little arms wrapped around his dad’s neck. “I’m okay now, Daddy.”

 

    Dean smiled and hugged his child. “Yes, you are.”

 

    “I remember you crying when Mommy disappeared,” Dawn said. “Robby was a baby then, and Ms. Ashlyn, Ms. Liz, and Aunt Kelly had to help Uncle Sam, a bunch.”

 

    Nova gave Sam a quizzical look, and he shook his head. “You remember that, Sunshine?”

 

   “Daddy was sad a lot, and Aunt Kelly had to stick a tube in his arm twice because he got too sick. He and Ms. Ashlyn argued a bunch and Ms. Liz, and Mr. David had to make him eat a couple of times. It was scary because Daddy was always tough and brave, but then he was sad or angry, and we had to make him go to bed because he was tired a lot.”

 

    Dean cleared his throat again, his eyes closing. “I’m sorry you remember that, Dawn. I didn’t want you to have those memories.”

 

    “You got better, and Mommy came back with Sheriff Andy.” Dawn shrugged. “You were happy, and Rob and I got two big sisters, Issy and Lyla.” She turned a glare on Dean. “Lyla’s mad at you, by the way. She said she wants to see you more.”

 

    “I’ll have to see if your mom can bring her next time. I know she had cheer camp this week. I miss Lyla a lot and Isadora.”

 

    The three left the room talking about the two older girls as Nova turned on Sam. “Who’s Liz, David, Kelly, and Ashlyn?”

 

    Sam rubbed the back of his neck. “Kelly is Kat’s stepsister, but they call each other sisters. Liz is Kat’s best friend and unofficial sister. David is Liz’s husband.”

 

    Nova raised an eyebrow, watching her boyfriend shove his hands in his pockets. “And Ashlyn?”

 

    “Ash is Kat’s other good friend.” He cleared his throat, looking down at his boots. “She’s a dancer at Kat and Liz’s bar, Lore. She’s also, um, my ex.”

 

    “Oh.” She stared at him a second before replying. “Is that the one Kat was saying is still a little hung up on you?”

 

    “It’s probably the one she told you about, but she isn’t hung up on me. She wants to hurt me; she’s angry at me. We ended on bad terms.”

 

    “Bad terms?”

 

    “Ashlyn was a good girlfriend, but she was also Kat’s employee and friend.” He sighed, his hand brushing through his hair. “We started dating after Katherine was in an accident and the grief made me decide to take a chance with the woman even though I knew it wouldn’t end well. We dated for a year before I realized we weren’t ever going to be right for each other. She wanted things I couldn’t give her. Ashlyn wanted this whirlwind romance. She wanted a fairytale. My life is more like the original Grimm’s tales. Terrifying and probably won’t have a happy ending.”

 

    She nodded, nibbling her bottom lip as she thought. “Well, I’m not worried about a fairytale or a horror novel. I just want you as long as I can have you, but I think this is a discussion for another time.”

 

    “Please. Ash and I as a couple and you and I as a couple are completely different.”

 

    “Understood.” Nova turned to face him, wrapping her arms around his waist and kissing his chin. “So, what are we feeding these kids for breakfast?”

 

    He laughed and kissed her softly. “Dean’s probably got that figured out, but you’re welcome to help corral while he tries to get them to sit down to eat.”

 

    Novalee let go of him and went to find the father and kids, Sam following close behind. She helped Dean finish making a breakfast of yogurt, fruit, and eggs while Sam sat at the small table with Rob in his lap, holding an ice pack to the child’s head. Dawn sat close by with a book and Sam read to the two kids while Nova and Dean filled plates and brought them to the kids and Sam. Nova hopped up on a counter and ate while Dean sat next to Dawn to eat.

 

    Nova smiled as she watched the four. Sam ruffled Dawn’s hair when she tried to steal Rob’s fruit, and Dean took a piece of toast from Sam’s plate. Sam hugged his nephew as the boy gave him his piece of toast. Nova quietly pulled her phone from her pocket, snapping a picture as Rob fed Sam a bite of the toast and Dean gave Dawn his orange slices.

 

    Novalee leaned back on her arms, her empty plate next to her as she thought about Dean and Katherine’s situation. Seven years of marriage, two beautiful biological children, and two adopted girls, and they were fighting about money. Money that, in the end, would be gone anyway. She wondered if her parents had ever argued about money and what they had found as a solution. She doubted it would be the same for them as Kat and Dean. Her mother had had a lucrative job before marrying her father, who was climbing the ranks in the military. Dean had never had money.

 

     If Sam and I married, would we have the same battle? He doesn’t make money, but I do. Though, I would never hold that against him, not that Kat seems to with Dean.


    She shook her head as she realized what she was thinking about. That’s if we ever marry. That’s if I ever get over having the cold sweats when marriage is brought up.

 

...

 

    A few days later, Sam and Nova were going through lore and trying to decide when to call Crowley. Novalee sat back in her chair in the library as her phone rang. Sam looked up at her from his book, and his eyebrow quirked as she picked up her phone.

 

    “Hello?”

 

    “Hey, Novalee! It’s Kat. I got your number from Sam when I dropped the kids off. I’m kinda in a pickle.”

 

    “Oh! Hey, Kat. What’s up?”

 

    Sam’s eyebrows rosed higher as Kat replied, “I’m stuck in Lawrence. My car started acting up as I was leaving the bunker and I was able to get in town, but now I can’t get it to turn over. I called Sam, but his phone went to voicemail.”

 

    “He’s across the table from me. He must have left it in our room. Want me to give the phone to him?”

 

    “No, it’s fine. I just need a mechanic that knows classic cars.”

 

    Nova leaned her elbows on the table and turned her phone on speaker. “You’re on speaker. A mechanic in Lawrence?”

 

    “Yeah. I could fix it myself, probably. The problem is I’m not at home with the parts or tools I’ll need.”

 

    Sam leaned towards the phone. “Can you get it back here? Our garage has plenty of stuff and any parts we can have shipped.”

 

    “Hey, Sammy. No, I can’t get it to start. Look, I don’t want the kids or Dean to know I’m still here.”

 

    Nova sighed, “They are up playing in Dawn’s room. I thought Dean was really good with cars?”

 

    “He is,” Sam and Kat groaned.

 

    Kat laughed. “You owe me a soda, Sam. And yes, Nova. He is, but it would be really awkward for him to come fix it.”

 

    Nova rolled her eyes. “But if he’s your best shot at getting home, why not take it? You need your car fixed.”

 

    Dean’s gravelly voice came from behind Nova, and she jumped. “Whose car needs fixing?”

 

    Kat squeaked before huffing, “Mine does. I’m stuck in Lawrence. Beauty won’t turn over.”

 

    “Why didn’t you call me?” Dean sat next to Nova. “I’ve fixed that car about a million times.”

 

    “Because I thought it would be weird, seeing as we’re separated.”

 

    Dean snorted. “Whatever. Did you check the battery, the leads, or the oil?”

 

    “Yes, Battery’s good, leads look fine,” Kat growled, clearly annoyed. “Oil is low, but not bad. Honey, I know how to check a car. I think it’s the starter itself. I have a spare at the house that I’ve been tinkering with over the last few weeks, but I never got around to installing it. Didn’t seem that bad yet.”

 

    “Katie, Sam’s gonna come get you and bring you back here. I’ll stay with the car and see if I can’t figure something out to get it back here. If it is the starter, one of us can head to your house to get the spare.”

 

    Kat’s voice was quiet when she answered, “Thanks, Dean. I-I appreciate it, but I can stay here.”

 

    “Not safe. I want you to come back here until we can get you home. The kids’ll be happy to see you, and I’m sure Nova would be glad to have them out of her hair tonight. They seem to have adopted the poor woman.”

 

    “They aren’t that bad,” Nova smirked. “Well, until Rob tried to come in while I was showering. That was a little awkward.”

 

    Sam snorted as Kat groaned. “Please tell me that little hellion didn’t try to pick the locks again.”

 

    Dean laughed. “No, but he about broke the damn door down because he wanted Ms. Novalee. Except Ms. Novalee and Uncle Sammy were in the shower together, and I don’t feel like having that conversation with the kids yet.”

 

    Nova whined, “I said I was sorry, Dean! It’s not my fault Sam can’t take no for an answer. He refuses to believe I’m fine after reading those damn demon pages.”

 

    It was Kat’s turn to snort with laughter. “Yeah, that’s why Sammy wanted to be in the bathroom with you. Not that his girlfriend was naked and he got a free peek.”

 

    Dean burst out laughing. “That’s what I said!”

 

    “It was purely a safety concern,” Sam grinned.

 

    Nova giggled. “For the first five minutes.”

 

    Kat dissolved into peals of laughter as Dean guffawed and Sam shrugged. “Didn’t hear you complaining until Bruiser decided he needed to do his own safety check.”

 

...

 

    Dean returned with Katherine later that evening. Nova had just finished making dinner with the kids, and they were setting up in the library as the door to the bunker closed.

 

    The kids looked up at her nervous until Dean called out. “Anyone looking for a mom?”

 

    The kids went running into the main room as Nova followed, calling back, “Are you finally admitting to your true sex?”

 

    She walked in as Kat was buried under her children and Dean grinned. “Trust me; I’m all man.”

 

    Nova rolled her eyes. “So you say. Where’s Sam?”

 

    “He’s on his way.” Kat pulled the kids off her, smiling. “He ran by the store to pick up some stuff after dropping us off.”

 

    “Well, dinner is ready. The kids helped me make jambalaya and cornbread.”

 

    Kat grinned, “Helped or hindered?”

 

    “Helped. Dawn cracked eggs and stirred while Rob grabbed ingredients and poured in the stock. They might end up being pretty good cooks. Granted, Dawn seems more inclined to be like Sam and be more interested in the easy tasks.”

 

    Kat chuckled and hugged Nova around the shoulders. “Well, let’s eat before it gets cold. Sam won’t mind.”

 

    They ate dinner after Nova messaged Sam to let him know it was ready. Kat and Novalee laughed and talked about the kids while Dean cleaned up and set a bowl aside for his brother. He took the kids up to their rooms for bed as the ladies went to the kitchen and pulled a bottle of whiskey, pouring glasses for the three adults.

 

     Nova took a sip and sat at the small table. “Dean seems like a great dad.”

 

    Katherine smiled softly. “He is, though he never thought he would be. Their dad wasn’t the best father figure, but Uncle Bobby taught them a lot.”

 

    Nova frowned, “Uncle Bobby?”

 

    “Robert Singer, my dad’s best friend.” Kat’s face fell as she played with the rim of her glass. “He took care of Dean and Sam a lot, and he took me in when I was eighteen and ran from my abusive mother. Closest thing Dean and Sam had to a real dad.”

 

    Nova squeezed the other woman’s hand as it lay on the table. “Is that where Rob’s name comes from?”

 

    “Yeah. Dean and I wanted something special for him. We already had my dad, Donald, covered with Dawn and Sam was covered because her middle name is Samantha. So when Rob surprised us with his arrival, he became Robert Jonathan.”

 

    “Sounds great to me.” Nova smiled and leaned back in her chair. “Didn’t stick them with a name like Novalee Julep.”

 

    Kat grinned. “Or Katherine Sage.”

 

   The women were laughing as Sam’s voice rang out. “Do I want to know what you two are laughing about, Novalee?”

 

    Kat called back, “Debating which Winchester is cuter!”

 

    “Well, that’s going to be difficult.” Sam laughed as he walked into the kitchen and set grocery bags down. “You each fell for different brothers.”

 

    Dean came in behind him, slapping him on the back. “Sounds like we need to have a duel to see which one of us wins.”

 

    Nova snorted. “Robby wins the male Winchester vote. Dawn the female, seeing as I haven't met the other two girls.”

 

    Kat chuckled as Dean and Sam looked scandalously at her and Nova shrugged. “We said cuter. You both assumed we meant hotter. The kids are way cuter and don’t try to have dick measuring contests.”

 

    Dean smirked before grabbing bags to put away. “I know who’d win that battle.”

 

    Kat and Nova snorted as Sam grabbed another bag. “How would you know, Dean?”

 

    Dean chuckled. “Cause I’m the bigger brother.”

 

    Kat bit her lip, her voice thoughtful as she replied, “Depends on if we mean thickness or length, I suppose.” Nova looked at the other woman wide-eyed as Sam groaned, facepalming, and Dean glared. Katherine giggled. “So, Sam didn’t tell you about that, Novalee?”

 

    Nova slowly shook her head. “I have a feeling I’m missing out on something.”

 

    Katherine shrugged. “It was one time, and there was a bitch of a demon involved. Suffice to say, neither of us would choose to repeat the act.”

 

    Sam unloaded the bags. “I used to have a small crush on Kat. That went away pretty quickly after the demon tricked me and she found out she was pregnant with Dawn.”

 

    Nova looked between the two. “But Dawn is Dean’s?”

 

    Kat nodded, and Dean growled, “Damn right, she is.”

 

    “I was already pregnant when it happened. I just didn’t know yet.”

 

    Nova sighed. “I’m going to need a lot more to drink and the full story.”

 

    Sam grabbed a bottle of Jameson and set it in front of her. “Okay, so, Kat and Dean had had a fight and Kat disappeared...”

 

     Nova sighed, “I’m sensing a theme here.”

 

    Dean grumbled as Kat blushed and drew designs on the table. Sam cleared his throat, “Kinda. So, Dean, Uncle Bobby, our old friend Nicole, and I were searching for Katherine…”

Chapter Text

    The two couples were sitting in the library, drinking when Nova heard a pop and a thump. Dean jumped from his chair and ran over as Nova turned to see Castiel laying on the floor, covered in blood. Kat got up, taking a step towards Cas but she stopped and growled as she noticed Crowley next to him, his suit barely mussed.

 

     Nova stayed in her chair as Sam stood. “What are you doing here, Crowley?”

 

    “Hello to you too, Moose.” Crowley waved his hand, impatiently. “I’m just making sure Feathers got home safe. He needs to heal up.”

 

    Kat helped Dean lift the angel and put him in a chair before she turned on Crowley. “What did you do to him?!”

 

    “Ah, Katherine. It’s been awhile. How are the rugrats?”

 

    Kat glared, “Great. Now, what happened to Cas?”

 

    “Why do you always assume it was me?” Crowley glared at her. “I may be King of Hell, but I had nothing to do with this. Ask his brothers and sisters what happened instead, Kitty Kat.”

 

    Kat growled. “Don’t fucking call me that.”

 

    Crowley waved her off. “You don’t scare me, Kitty.”

 

    Kat lunged at him before flying off her feet and hitting the opposite wall. Castiel jerked in his chair, wincing and groaning as Dean ran over to check on her. Sam pulled Nova behind him. Crowley rolled his eyes and adjusted his suit’s sleeves.

 

    “What the hell?!” Dean turned and growled at Crowley. “You come here with Cas bleeding, and you thought she wasn’t going to be pissed?”

 

    Crowley snorted. “I didn’t realize she would be here, Squirrel. Besides, Katherine’s your wife. Why is she so worried about him? Castiel and I had a bit of a tussle with some unfriendlies. He may need some help.”

 

    Nova stepped from behind Sam and Crowley grinned. “Hello, Red. I see you’ve gotten fixed up.”

 

    “Sam, Dean.” Nova rolled her eyes and waved the demon off. “Why don’t you give him that damn coin so he can leave and never come back? I’ll check over these two.”

 

    Nova walked over to Katherine. “How’re you feelin’, Kat?”

 

   Kat grimaced. “Peachy, my peach, except my ribs are killing me, and my head is doing the spins.”

 

    Nova ran her fingers through Kat’s hair, feeling a large knot on the back of her head. She lifted the woman’s shirt a little, noticing the scars running her body and two tattoos on her ribs. One side was two arrows pointing at a dot, a circle surrounding them. The other was the same as Sam’s, but scars were running through it. Nova gently probed her ribs, pulling back when Kat hissed. Dean kept vigil by Katherine’s side, eyes watching Nova’s ministrations.

 

    Nova sat down and looked into Kat’s eyes, checking her pupils. “Nasty head contusion and a broken rib. You’ll survive, but you’ll be sore.” She turned to Sam. “The coin is in our room on the dresser. Can you grab me a medical kit too?”

 

    Sam walked over and grabbed Dean’s shoulder. “You grab the kit and the coin. I’ll keep an eye on things.” He turned to Nova. “How do you know how to check for this stuff?”

 

    Nova pulled down Kat’s shirt and squeezed the woman’s knee. “I learned it from Pops and Rhett. We used to go camping a lot when I was a kid, and someone always ended up hurt. When the boys and I started going off to hike on our own, Mama made sure we always had a med kit and both Rhett, and I knew what to do in an emergency.”

 

    Sam nodded, and Dean didn’t say a word as he walked out. Nova went over and touched Castiel’s arm. His eyes slowly lifted to hers, and his head tilted as he looked into her honey-colored eyes.

 

    She softly smiled and brushed her hand over his hair, amazed at how childlike he seemed. “Hey, Cas. How are you feeling?”

 

    He stared for a second before answering. “Not good. Tired. Need to recharge. I couldn’t heal. My powers were exhausted by the fight. I was only able to heal the things that were life-threatening. Is Kat okay? Can you fix this?”

 

    He lifted his shirt, and there was a large laceration across his stomach. “Katherine will be fine, Engelchen. Let me get a kit, and I’ll see what I can do.”

 

    Sam tapped her on the shoulder, kit in hand as Dean walked out of the room again. She smiled at him and kissed his cheek, taking the bag. His hand touched her lower back, thumb rubbing over the curve of her spine.

 

    “Thank you, Sam. Should I use numbing?”

 

    “He’s gotten stitched without it, and it won’t work well for him anyway.”

 

    “Sam, keep an eye on Kat, please, just in case she has a concussion.” Nova turned to Cas, trying to find the best way to get to the wound without moving him. “Cas, I’m going to have to get close to you to do this, and it’s gonna be awkward.”

 

    Kat snorted, and Nova smiled at her. “Oh, Wings.” Kat’s smile turned soft. “I hope you’re too tired to feel embarrassed.”

 

    Nova giggled and knelt between Castiel’s knees, setting the kit next to her leg. She heard a choked noise and looked up, Castiel’s eyes widened as he looked down at her and up at Sam. She shifted her gaze to Sam, whose jaw flexed before he turned to sit next to Katherine, her hand squeezing his knee. Nova pulled a curved needle from the bag, threading it before leaning in to start sewing.

 

    Castiel squirmed away from her, his legs trying to find purchase on the wooden floors. “Wha-What are you doing?”

 

    Nova sighed and sat back on her heels. “I’m trying to stitch this up. Now stop moving and let me work, please.”

 

    Cas’s hands grabbed her upper arms as she leaned forward. “Uh, I don’t think that is wise.”

 

    She groaned, “Really? Why not?”

 

    “Nova, dear.” Kat snickered, and Sam grumbled, his hand scrubbing his hair. “You keep pushing your breasts into his crotch.”

 

    “Cas?!” Nova looked down, leaning in and snorting when she realized he was right. “I can’t get to this cut any other way, not unless I take you out of this chair. I can’t lift you, and Sam needs to stay with Kat to make sure she doesn’t pass out. So let me stitch, and if you poke me with something, I’ll poke back!”

 

    Kat burst out laughing, cutting off with a groan, her hand hovering over her ribs. Sam snorted, his head shaking as he held back his laughter. She looked up at Castiel, and he was watching her with wide eyes.

 

    Crowley’s voice chimed in from behind her as she started working. “Have you ever had a woman that close, Feathers? All warm and soft flesh. It’s wonderful while it lasts.”

 

    Castiel looked up at the ceiling, his voice a growl as Nova pulled the thread through his flesh. “I have had intercourse, Crowley. I don’t want to think about it while Novalee is… there.”

 

    Nova giggled, trying to lift her chest off him as she worked. “Intercourse? Engelchen, it’s sex. If you want to have it, call it sex. If you want to have it fast and dirty, it’s fucking or screwing. Slow and steady? Making love, though you might wanna save that last one for a girl you really like because she might read more into it than you will.”

 

    Cas grunted, turning to watch Kat and Sam as Kat nudged the taller man. “Your girlfriend has bigger balls than I do. I wouldn’t talk about sex to Castiel when I first met him. Here she is, teaching him the different names.”

 

    “Oh, I’ve met Castiel before,” Nova sighed. “But honestly, I have no shame right now. It’s not like I’m trying to screw him. Put me in front of an attractive guy I barely know and tell me I have to talk about sex? Nope. Not gonna happen unless I’m piss drunk. Right, Sam?”

 

    “That was an interesting interview,” Sam snorted. “Sarah handed you a condom and told you to screw me blind.”

 

    Nova blushed, and Kat whimpered. “Oh God, don’t make me laugh. Ugh, I need to meet this Sarah girl. She sounds like a great friend to have.”

 

    Nova tied off the stitches and cut the thread, patting gauze over the wound to check the bleeding. “She’s pretty amazing when she isn’t embarrassing the hell out of me. I think she could even make Crowley there blush.”

 

    Crowley huffed, “I don’t blush, dear. I’m sure I could teach this young lady a few things.”

 

    “Not likely. We call her Muerte for a reason. She’ll be the death of us all.”

 

    Sam chuckled as Kat sighed, “Are all your nicknames in other languages?”

 

    Nova nodded and started putting away the supplies. “I’m Loba usually, means wolf. Sarah says it was reinforced when Shakira made the song ‘Loba’ because I was always on the hunt. What’s the lyrics? Um. ‘Not looking for cute little divas or rich city guys that just want to enjoy. I'm having a very good time and behave very bad in the arms of a boy.’ It’s been fitting for most of my life.”

 

    Katherine nudged Sam. “Oh, I like her. I like her a lot.” She turned back to Novalee with a grin. “What about your other friends?”

 

    “Sarah is Muerte, death, and Amber is Tramposa or Linda. Tramposa means cunning. It’s kind of like calling someone a trickster. Linda means pretty. Friends also call me Mami, Angelita, and Princesa. Mami is sexy. Others are Little Angel and Princess. Sarah calls Dean Tigre, tiger and Sam is Principe, or prince when she likes him. Last time she saw him, he was Idiota and Giant. I call him… names.”

 

    Kat snorted, looking up at Sam. “What does she call you, Sammy?”

 

    “Names that I’m not sure fit.”

 

    “They fit just fine,” Nova leaned against the wall next to Cas, keeping an eye on him as she grumbled. “I call him Engel and Teufelchen.”

 

    Kat blinked, “Okay, I don’t know those. Is that Russian?”

 

    Nova shook her head, and Cas looked up at her, “You call him Angel and Little Devil?”

 

    Kat burst out laughing, hands holding her ribs as Crowley snorted. Nova blushed bright red, Sam rubbing a hand down his face as he blushed.

 

    Nova scuffed her shoe on the ground. “Sometimes he’s sweet, and sometimes he’s devilish. What did you call Dean, Kat?”

 

    Kat leaned against the wall, frowning. “Called him Honey, because he was smooth, golden, sweetness that does the body good. He’ll even leave you sticky sometimes.”

 

    Nova burst out laughing. “Does he have a nickname for you?”

 

    Kat smiled sadly. “Katie. No one else calls me that and no one will. Otherwise, it was the usual. Babe, baby, sweetheart, darling. But Katie was the special one.”

 

    She nodded as she thought it over. “I’ve never had a guy call me by a special nickname. Hard to make one up based on a name like Novalee. Also, Sarah and Amber took all the Spanish ones. My family calls me Novachan, Princess, or ‘Hey, Daughter.’” She sighed and smirked at Kat as she sighed. “Guess you gotta be something mighty special to get a guy to take the time to think something up for you. Never really been able to keep a guy long enough. I had one guy that called me Mazora. Wasn’t until later I found out it meant ugly or gap-toothed.”

 

    Katherine hissed in sympathy, leaning back on the wall. “I’ve had so many slurs and insults thrown at me. Injun, Redskin, Squaw, Pocahontas, Sacagawea, Heinous Bitch, No Tits, Dike. Been told I’m too muscular to be cute, too thin, too scarred… I could go on for hours.”

 

    Novalee smiled sadly. “It sucks. Ginger, Red, Soul Eater, Soulless, Curly Sue, Ms. Frizzle, Tchotchke, Slut, Whore, THOT, Cock Tease, Cunt, Prostitute. I’ve been told I’m too tall, tits are too big, that I’m too promiscuous. Even been called fat. Oh, and Cum Dumpster.”

 

    Sam glared at the opposite wall as Kat shook her head. “Wow. Don’t think I’ve been called Cum Dumpster.”

 

    “Be glad,” Nova huffed. “Nothing makes you feel worse about yourself, even if you aren’t doing a damn thing wrong. Just like when I interned at City Hall the summer after I graduated college. All the older ladies called me the Skintern because I was young and supposedly dressed inappropriately. Apparently, a well-tailored double-breasted skirt suit is lingerie when you are fresh out of UCLA.”

 

    Sam’s lips pressed into a thin line. “I didn’t know you went to college. Why didn’t you tell me?”

 

    “Because I never did anything with my education after that internship. I was just a joke to them even though I had earned an MBA with my focus on consulting and a Bachelors in PoliSci.” She sighed, pressing Cas against the back of the chair as he slumped forward. “So I stopped using my degrees and started just living. I did all of that work to be the laughing stock of the office because I have young tits and a vagina.”

 

    Sam stood, groaning as he pulled her into a hug. “I’m sorry they treated you like that.”

 

    She smiled and hugged him back, groaning when Crowley spoke, “This is touching and all, but I want my coin, and I’m growing tired of waiting.”

 

    Novalee pulled away from Sam, turning to glare at the demon. “Then I guess you’ll have to wait for Dean to come back. We’re a little busy talking and making sure these two aren’t too damaged.”

 

    Crowley growled at her and Sam pushed her behind him. The demon glared at Sam before walking out of the library and standing at the base of the stairs. Sam kissed Nova on the cheek before squatting in front of Kat and rechecking her pupils.

 

    Novalee knelt in front of Castiel, brushing his hair back and smiling at him. “How are you feeling, Engelchen?”

 

    “Aching,” He grunted, hand resting on the bandage on his stomach. “I think that’s the word for this.”

 

    “I’m going to grab a washcloth and try to get some of this blood off you, okay?”

 

    She walked from the room, going to the sink and leaning against it after she turned on the water. She grabbed a dish towel and held it under the warm water, letting the water soak in as she took a deep breath.

 

    A warm hand pressed against her lower back and she sighed as Sam kissed her shoulder. “You okay, Novalee?”

 

    She hung her head, taking a deep breath and wringing out the towel before turning around with a forced smile. “I’m fine.”

 

    He took the towel, laying it on the counter after turning off the water. He stepped closer, his body inches from hers as he caught her chin. “You’re not fine, Novalee. It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it. Please don’t lie to me, alright?”

 

    She groaned and rested her head against his chest, his arms snaking around her waist. “I’m sorry, Sam. I just… Can we talk about it later? One, I don’t want to leave those two alone for long and two, it’s just hard to talk about it.”

 

    His head laid on hers. “Dean is in there with them, and Crowley is gone. If you want to talk about it later, I’m fine with that. Don’t shut me out though, baby.”

 

    He kissed her hair, and she smiled, tilting her head up and kissing his jaw. “I’ll do my best not to, Engel.”

 

    She pulled away, grabbing the cloth as Sam lead her from the room, the warmth of his hand on her hip seeping through her jeans. She wrapped her arm around his waist, leaning her head on his shoulder as they walked. She heard him chuckle and looked up to see him grinning at her.

 

    Nova stopped by Castiel, kneeling in front of him. “Hey, friend. Let’s get your face cleaned off before Dean and Sam help you upstairs. Don’t want the kids to see you covered in blood.”

 

    She put the cloth in his hand, and he stared at it. “I’m so tired.”

 

    Dean cleared his throat behind her, and she jumped. “Look, Cas. At least get the blood off your face, just in case. Don’t want you giving my kids nightmares. I’ll help you get into the shower once I get Katie in bed upstairs.”

 

    Nova turned and raised an eyebrow at Kat, who shook her head as Cas replied, “I don’t think I can lift my arm.”

 

    She took the towel, touching his knee. “Would it be okay if I did it?”

 

    Cas looked over at Sam, who was helping Kat off the floor. “Will Sam be upset?”

 

    “I think he’ll understand. It’s not like I’m helping you in the shower. I’ll leave that to Sam or Dean.”

 

    Sam stopped beside them, Dean scooping up Kat into his arms and carrying her out as Nova giggled. “For a man that left, he sure isn’t acting like he wants to be gone anymore.”

 

    Sam knelt down next to her. “I don’t think he ever did. He felt like he should, though.”

 

    Nova smiled at Cas, who was staring at the door. “Tilt your head up a little, and I’ll get the worst of this off you.”

 

    The angel’s eyelids drooped, and Sam sighed, carefully laying the angel’s head back as Nova swiped the towel over his cheeks. Cas hummed, and she grinned as she finished getting some of the blood off. She ran the cloth over his chin and neck until the rag turned rusty and he was mostly cleaned. Sam took the towel into the kitchen as Dean returned.

 

    Dean helped the angel from his chair, the shorter male’s arm over his shoulder as Dean lifted him. “Let’s get you washed up, man. Then I’ll let you rest.”

 

    Nova watched the two men leave, standing and leaning against the library table. She grabbed the cups and alcohol, taking them to the kitchen. Novalee sighed when she noticed Sam wasn’t there. She went upstairs, hearing the three men’s voices in the bathroom as she passed on her way to Kat’s room. She checked on the woman and both kids before going to Sam and her bedroom and washing the old blood off her hands. Nova peeled off her sweats and her tank, grabbing one of Sam’s soft flannel shirts. She put it on, buttoning it up before crawling into bed and burying her face in her pillow.

Chapter Text

    Novalee shifted, half awake, as the bed dipped and Sam’s hand smoothed down her back. “Hey. Sorry if I woke you.”

 

    She reached out blindly and grabbed his damp shirt, pulling him down onto the bed next to her. “Cas okay?”

 

    “He’s resting down the hall.” His head pressed against hers. “Dean’s keeping an eye on him and Katherine. He sent me to get some sleep, and we’ll switch off in a couple of hours.” She nodded, and he kissed her hair, “Let me change out of my wet clothes, and we’ll get some sleep.”

 

    Nova sighed, letting go of his shirt and turning her head to the side so she could see him. A sweet smile graced his face as he kissed her forehead. Sitting up, Sam pulled his shirts off and threw them across the room. He stood, taking his jeans off and leaving them in a pile on the floor before climbing back on the bed. His chest was warm under her hand as she ran her fingertips over the scars that littered it.

 

    Tracing the tattoo on his chest, Nova thought about everything they had been through together. She knew they hadn’t seen the last of Crowley. The pages she read flashed through her mind, and she thought of the ways the Demon Coin could be used. Novalee and the guys had discussed the repercussions of giving the coin to Crowley before Kat had come back and they assured Nova it would turn out okay. She couldn’t shake the fear though.

 

    She shivered at the thoughts running through her head, and Sam’s hand covered hers. “You okay, Novalee?”

 

    She closed her eyes and shrugged. “Worried about Kat, Castiel, and that damn coin.”

 

    He rolled on his side, her hand falling on the bed beside him as he brushed her curly hair behind her ear. “It’ll be okay. Kat and Cas are fine, and Crowley can’t use the coin without hurting himself too, and he is too narcissistic to do that.”

 

    “I know.” Nova rolled onto her back, staring at the ceiling. “And I know he said he had no intentions of using it. It’s just fear, and we both know it’s not always logical.”

 

    He chuckled, his voice warm and gentle, “No, it’s not, but I’m going to keep you as safe as I can.”

 

    He kissed her cheek, and she turned towards him, smiling softly. Their lips brushed as Sam shifted closer, the heat radiating from him and into her fear-chilled body. He palmed her jaw as he moved slowly, his thumb brushing against her cheek as he rolled on top of her. His hazel eyes stayed locked on hers.

 

    Nova felt a difference in his gaze. Where before there used to be laughter and fun, now there was something softer, more delicate. She trailed her fingers over his side, and he bent down, pressing his lips to hers in a gentle, slow kiss. The need to have him closer burned through her body as their lips moved together. She wrapped her hands around his back, pulling him down onto her until his whole body pressed against her.

 

    His hands ran down her sides, fingers catching behind her knees and pulling them up around him. She moaned into the kiss and the heat from his hands soaked into her thighs as he rubbed them. His tongue caressed hers as his hands slipped over her hips and under the flannel.

 

    Sam paused, pressing his forehead against hers as he looked down her body. The pressure on her chest lifted as he pulled his chest off hers, watching as his fingers slowly unbuttoned the shirt. He leaned back, slowly brushing the shirt back as his eyes took in her form.

 

    The look in his eyes reminded Nova of someone opening a prized gift, “Beautiful.”

 

    His hand slid over her stomach, leaving a trail of warmth in its wake. The smile he gave her when he looked into her eyes made butterflies burst into life in her stomach, and she couldn’t help smiling back at him. He pressed his body into hers again, his lips gentle as they met hers.

 

    Her fingers trailed his spine as Sam kissed her jaw and neck. Nova cupped the back of his head, nuzzling his hair as his lips moved over her shoulder and collarbone. They brushed every inch of her visible skin, his tongue darting out to taste and teeth grazing occasionally.

 

     Nova’s breath came in soft puffs as Sam’s tongue traced the edges of her areola. His rough hands rubbed her sides as his mouth sealed around her nipple. His hot mouth on her made her moan as heat bloomed in her stomach. His tongue flicked over her nipple, and she gasped, her hands grasping his forearms.

 

    Sam looked up at her and smiled before trailing open-mouthed kisses across her chest and gave the other nipple the same treatment. Nova fidgeted and squirmed under him, his mouth, tongue, and teeth tasting every freckle and imperfection on her body until she thought she would burst.

 

    He moved further down her body, kissing her hips as his fingers caught the edge of her panties. He leaned back, pulling them slowly down her legs and tossing them aside. He kissed her inner thigh, taking his time to taste every inch as he made his way up. She gasped as his tongue swept over her clit, his thumb opening her up. His mouth moved lazily over her; each touch dragged out as she moaned and whimpered. His tongue slid into her, and she gasped, the gentle pressure making her eyes drift closed.

 

    His tongue slid up and over her clit, his lips still pressed against her as he moaned. “You taste so damn good.”

 

    The vibrations from his hums and moans left her panting as he slipped a finger into her. She whimpered as the digit skimmed every sweet spot inside of her and his tongue continued to play with her clit. Her body tingled with each movement, her fingers tangling in his hair. Her back curled as Sam’s lips sealed around her, a low moan escaping her lips as her hips moved in time with his finger’s thrusts.

 

    Her voice was breathy as she drawled, “Please, Sam. I-I need you.”

 

    A quiet moan greeted her words and his forehead pressed against her lower stomach for a second. His finger slipped from inside her before he slid off his boxer briefs and crawled up the bed, his body covering hers. Her hands slid down his back, Nova relishing every inch of his warm skin pressed against her.

 

    Nova tilted her chin, capturing his lips in a sweet kiss as his large palm cupped her cheek. Sam pressed his forehead against hers, breaking the kiss as he licked his lips. She drank in the sight of him as he breathed, his long eyelashes glowing in the dim light. His thumb traced her cheekbone as he lined himself up.

 

    Nova quietly moaned as he entered her slowly, his lips falling open in a low groan. His lips pressed into hers, his deliberate strokes inching him into her. Every movement felt amplified while every sound outside of them dulled until she only heard their stuttering breaths as he fully seated himself inside her.

 

    Sam kissed down her jaw, his hips stalling as he leaned back. His eyes were intense as they watched her, making her heart skip. She turned her head, nuzzling into his palm before kissing a scar at the base of his thumb. She saw him smile out of the corner of her eye before he nestled his head against hers.

 

    Novalee wrapped her legs around him, his hand coming down to smooth over her thigh. His hips pulled back before plunging into her, a low moan wrenched from deep within her. Her hands gripped his shoulders from behind, his hips rolling in and out of her. She skimmed her fingers over his back, whimpering and moaning with each lazy stroke. Her body begged for more as she kissed his shoulder, the muscles in his back flexing under her fingertips.

 

    His lips brushed under her ear, and she tilted her head, giving him more access as he pressed kisses into the soft skin. Her hands explored his body, unable to keep still as his thrusts stole her breath and made her body ache with need.

 

    Her hips twisted as they moved with his, a strangled moan falling from her lips as he slid over the perfect spot inside of her. His hand gripped her hip, pulling her into each slow thrust. Nova’s head swam, her breathing difficult as Sam hit every sweet spot she had. The knot in her belly ached with each movement, begging for release as she listened to his pants and moans.

 

    Everything felt different this time. Sam's movements were slow, his touch delicate, his skin felt hotter. She relished in every bit of it as they moved. Her hands smoothed over his biceps, her fingers curled into his hair and traced his jaw and neck, unable to touch enough of him.

 

    He leaned back, his eyes tender as he watched her unravel under him, his skin glistening with sweat as he kept up his slow pace. His hips pushed deeper into her, and her head fell back in a silent moan, legs tightening around him as her orgasm struck. Her eyes slammed shut, and she heard his gasp as her nails bit into his back, his moan as her legs quivered. His hips drove into her before a soft moan spilled from his lips, his cock releasing deep inside her.

 

    Her eyes fluttered open as he stilled, her hand cupping his cheek when his forehead rested against hers. She traced his bottom lip, feeling it stretch in a lazy smile. His hands slid up and down her thighs, the only noise in the room their heavy breathing. He started to pull away from her, and she grabbed his shoulders, holding him in place with a whimper.

 

    He chuckled, kissing her jaw before whispering in her ear, “I’ll be right back. I just wanted to get you something to clean up with, Carissima.”

 

    Nova couldn’t help but smile. “So I get a nickname?”

 

    His lips brushed against her ear. “Definitely.”

 

    “What does it mean?” She ran her fingers over his back, giggling when he shivered. “Sounds like Latin or Italian.”

 

    He leaned back, brushing his hair back before answering, “It’s Latin and means either dear or darling.”

 

    “I like it.” She ran her fingers through his sweat-soaked hair. “Thank you.”

 

    He chuckled, his arm wrapping around her waist and holding her close as he rolled them onto their sides. He pulled a blanket over them, her leg curling around him as he settled. Sam brushed her damp hair over her shoulder.

 

    “There’s no reason to thank me, Novalee. I’ve been trying to think of something to call you for a while. I know terms of endearment are something you love. Carissima felt right when I said it.”

 

    He tried to pull away again, and she whined, “Don’t go. Stay here with me.”

 

    Sam sighed, his head resting against hers as she used his arm as a pillow. “Okay, Novalee. I’ll stay.”

 

    Her eyelids were heavy as he kissed her hair and pulled his pillow under his head. His hand held her thigh over his hip, thumb brushing over the skin. She ran her hand over his arm, gently trailing her fingers over his shoulder as the warmth he had spread through her settled in her chest. She rested her hand under his ear, fingers curling into his hair. She watched as his eyes closed and his breathing slowed and became more regular. His thumb quit moving, his hand relaxing as he drifted off. She bit her lip, wanting to speak, but nervous about the words on the tip of her tongue.

 

    She sighed, working up the nerve before she closed her eyes and whispered, “I love you, Sam.”

Chapter Text

    Sam’s phone went off somewhere in the room, and Novalee heard him grumble as he lifted his head from next to hers. His hands were gentle as he slid her leg from over him and pulled her hand from his cheek. The bed shifted as he got up and Nova whimpered, rolling onto the warm spot he left behind.

 

    His low chuckle greeted the action as his phone lit up the room. “Sorry, beautiful. Gotta go sit with Castiel and Katherine.”

 

    “I know. Do you want me to come with you?”

 

    She felt his fingers brush her hair before he kissed her bare shoulder. “I’ll be fine. Get some more sleep, Carissima.”

 

    She smiled softly, opening her eyes to see him pulling on a clean pair of jeans. She rolled onto her side, grabbing his pillow and hugging it to her. He tugged his flannel on, and she thought about what she had whispered to him while he slept. She clutched the pillow tighter, burying her face in the corner. She could hear him moving around, and she peeked out to see him buttoning his shirt.

 

    His hand was on the door when she sighed, laying her head on the pillow as she murmured, “Sam?”

 

    He looked back at her, his face in shadows. “Yeah?”

 

    Nova swallowed thickly. “Did… Um, did you hear what I said last night?”

 

    Sam’s murmur was barely audible, “Yeah, I did. I love you too, Novalee.”

 

    He opened the door, and she could see the pained look in his eye as he turned and walked out. Her heart lurched, her breath catching in her chest. She frowned, nestling into his pillow as she worried her lip. She breathed deep, taking in his scent from the pillow.

 

     I thought he would be happy. Why isn’t he? She thought about it for a while, her mind reeling as she troubled the idea. I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t think he would have enjoyed hearing it. I thought he’d want to know. Her lip quivered as her eyes threatened tears. I shouldn’t have said it. I should have just fallen asleep and waited until he said it.

 

    She sat up in his bed, looking around the room. She climbed out, grabbing her clothes and roughly putting them on. Picking up her phone, she went to the door and left.

 

    She crept into her old room, gathering her things and tossing them in her bags. I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t have taken him back. I need to go home.

 

    She pulled her phone out of her pocket, pulling up her group messages and sending a text to Rhett, Amber, and Sarah.

 

Novalee: I’m coming home. They handled the situation, and I need to be with family.

Rhett: Are you okay?

Sarah: What about Sam?

N: I’m ready to come home. Sam and I… It’s not going to work.

Amber: What happened?

R: If he hurt you, I swear to God.

N: I told him I love him.

A: WHAT?!

S: Why would you want to leave then, Mami?

N: Because when he said it back, he wasn’t happy. He looked sad and hurt.

R: Novachan, you can’t get all of your information from a look.

A: Maybe he’s been hurt before. Maybe he hasn’t loved someone before.

S: There’s more to this. Ask him.

N: I can’t. He’s taking care of a couple of friends who got hurt, and I wouldn’t know where to start.

A: Ask Dean.

R: Don’t ask his brother. This is a conversation between you two.

S: What about one of the friends, Rhett? Any interested third party available, Angelita?

R: That would work if you want to know if he’s been hurt before, but you need to talk to him.

N: There’s someone I could ask, but he’s sitting with them. Gonna be hard to explain.

 

    She sighed, dropping her phone on her bed. Nova stared at her suitcase, the picture of her mother and father laying on top of her clothes. Her fingers traced the edges of the frame, her mind racing as she tried to plan.

 

    She grabbed a pair of jeans from her bag, finding her blue crop top and underwear also. She ran down to the showers, wanting to wash his scent off of her. She couldn’t handle the small whiffs of him that clung to her skin after seeing that look. She needed to feel like herself again, needed her mind cleared by hot water.

 

...

 

    Nova quietly knocked on Kat’s door. She waited a second until the woman’s voice called out. Opening the door, she stuck her head in and smiled.

 

    “Hey. Want some company of the female persuasion?”

 

    Katherine laughed. “Please! The guys are driving me nuts with all of this babying crap. I want a hot shower!”

 

    Nova walked in, giggling. “Can’t blame you.”

 

    The older woman sighed. “Oh, you smell amazing! What is that?”

 

    “It’s called A Thousand Wishes, I think? It’s my body wash. You can use it when they let you off bed rest.”

 

    Kat grinned, “I’d love to. Smells like wintergreen and something else.”

 

    Nova shrugged. “I think it’s wintergreen, lemongrass, and juniper berry. It helps me clear my head.”

 

    “Makes sense and sounds like you need it after the couple months you had. Sam’s been filling me in.” Nova looked around, and Kat smirked. “He had to go check on Cas.”

 

    She sat next to the other woman, leaning back on the headboard. “How are you feeling?”

 

    Kat shrugged, “Like I got thrown into a wall and have had to sit with my possible ex-husband for hours. Then my best friend comes in here looking like he’d just been shot.”

 

    Nova hung her head, playing with the edge of the comforter. “So I didn’t imagine the look?”

 

    “Nope,” Kat huffed, leaning back on the headboard next to her with a groan. “Wanna explain why it was there?”

 

    “I told him I loved him.”

 

    She looked up the see Kat closing her eyes and grumbling, “Of course that’s why. I should have thought of that.”

 

    “Why is he upset that I love him? Shouldn’t he be happy? He wanted to be together, and everything he does with me makes me think he loves me too.”

 

    Kat played with a bird necklace around her neck, chewing her lip. “He does love you. He’s probably happy that you love him back. The problem is, Sam’s never had a happy, healthy relationship. Ashlyn drove him nuts about marriage, kids, and growing old together. Sam’s a hunter; they don’t get those things. They die young and childless, and no one knows who they are. One lady he dated for a year was separated from her husband, and Sam left her to go back to hunting when the husband came back into her life. One was a demon that tricked him into starting the apocalypse. There was Becky, who used a love potion to marry him, and Jessica, his college sweetheart who was killed by a demon.”

 

    Nova’s head swam as she took in this new information. “Wow. Dean had said that Sam had had a rough time with women. I knew about Jessica and Ashlyn, but the rest? I get it now.”

 

    “I don’t think you do. A lot of the women he’s been with have died. I’m guessing he’s terrified the same will happen to you. It’s kinda par for the course for our Sammy.”

 

    “But I’m not dead, and I have no intentions on dying yet.”

 

    Kat’s raven hair fell forward as she stared at her hands in her lap. “Neither did I, but I did. I was lucky enough to come back, but it’s all the same.”

 

    “So what can I do? He’s never going to give up on that fear because he feels it’s been proven true. I have to give up on the man I love and leave?”

 

    Katherine frowned, staring blankly at the covers. “The best advice I ever got? You love him anyway.” She shrugged, glancing at Nova. “What happens, happens. Either he will stop fearing you dying, which will take a while, or he will always be afraid. But that doesn’t change who he is, Novalee. Kinda like Dean and I, I’m terrified of telling him I want him to come home, but I still love him and I always will. He gave me my kids and has helped me through some tough spots.”

 

    Kat jumped as a gravelly voice came from the doorway. “Nova, I need to talk to my wife.”

 

   Nova looked up to see Dean in the hall before smiling softly at Kat. “Now you’ve told him, and you’ve helped me understand more about Sam. Thank you.”

 

    Kat shook her head slowly, growling, “You set me up?”

 

    Nova shrugged as Dean walked into the room. “You needed to talk to him, and I needed answers. I saw an opportunity and took it. Sorta like what needs to happen here.” She turned to Dean as she stood. “You’re welcome, Dean. Now talk through this bullshit, kiss, and makeup. Hell, give her some damn cuddles because she’s been through hell and probably needs them.”

 

    Kat giggled, “You’re talking to a man who has been to Hell. Don’t think what I went through is comparable.”

 

    Nova shook off the questions about Kat’s death, Sam’s previous marriage, and Dean’s trip to Hell before she hugged the woman’s shoulders, walking out and almost tripping over Sam’s legs. “Sam? What are you doing here?”

 

    Dean’s gruff voice called out, “You’re not the only one that can set people up, Novalee. He’s been a sniveling mess, and I don’t want to deal with him.”

 

    Sam stood up slowly, his long legs unfurling as he groaned, “I’ve dealt with you for a month, Dean. You couldn’t take a couple of hours?” Dean shrugged and shut the door in Sam’s face. “Jerk.”

 

    Sam sighed and turned around; his chin lowered as he started down the hall. Nova sighed and followed quickly behind, grabbing his arm and pulling him to a stop. He shook his head, his hand swiping down his face before he carefully pulled his arm from her grasp.

 

    She mumbled, her hand smoothing down his back. “Talk to me, Sam.”

 

    He walked away, going to her door and throwing it open. He pointed to her packed bags and sighed. “When were you planning on telling me you were leaving?”

 

    Closing her eyes, she sighed and went to stand in front of him. “I was going to tell you when you got done taking care of those two, but I changed my mind while talking to Kat. I don’t know if you really love me or if you WANT to love me, but…”

 

    Sam growled, his fingers raking through his hair. “I meant what I said! I don’t say things like that lightly, Novalee.”

 

    “I understand,” she sighed. “Can we go into my room and talk? I don’t want to wake up the kids.”

 

    He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. “Fine.”

 

    Walking in, Nova stepped to the side as he followed and closed the door behind them. “I don’t want to fight, Sam. I want to talk and figure out what’s going on here.”

 

    Sam sat on the loveseat, his elbows resting on his knees as he hung his head. “Nova, I would never tell someone I loved them if I didn’t.”

 

    Her eyes closed as she sat on the edge of the bed closest to him. “So why did you look so hurt when you said it?”

 

    “You heard Katherine. It’s not like I’m the poster child for good relationships. How the fuck can I think about bringing you into this life? The shittiest part is I already did! You got dragged in because of me, and I have to find a way to keep you safe while fighting monsters.”

 

    Nova touched his knee, trying to get him to look at her. “Dean and Katherine figured out a way. They fight over trivial things like money, but they both trust each other to stay safe...”

 

    He snorted, cutting her off again. “Kat was a hunter. She knows how to deal with the things we fight. You aren’t. You have no idea how to kill a demon or stop a ghost. If a skinwalker came here, you wouldn’t know how to tell if it was us or a monster.”

 

    She groaned. “I can learn all of that. I can learn how to fight vampires and angels and whatever else there is.”

 

    Sam made a strangled noise. “I don’t want you to learn it. I want you to be happy and live the life you dreamed of, not the life I was raised to have. There are no happy endings in this life. We get death and destruction. Dean worries about his kids constantly, about Kat constantly. Hell, he worries about me. You say he trusts her? Does that sound like trust?”

 

    Nova got up and sat next to him, her leg touching his until he pulled away. “Maybe I don’t want that life anymore, Sam. Maybe I’m fine not becoming a politician. I want to be with you. I want...”

 

    He huffed, his fingers scraping his scalp as he whispered, “And are you okay with losing your family? You wouldn't be able to see them very often, if at all and it would put them in danger if you did.”

 

    Her chest ached as she thought about a life without her family, her voice small as she whispered, “I didn’t think about that.”

 

    Sam stood, walking over to the door. “Maybe you should go home. I’ve put you in enough danger with the whole Crowley thing.” He opened the door, his voice carrying in as he shut the door. “This whole thing was a bad idea.”

 

    Nova’s heart ached as Sam’s words sunk in. Her breath hitched, and she curled into a ball, tears streaming down her face. His words echoed in her head, each word stabbing into her as she sobbed. She couldn’t breathe. Her insides twisted and lurched as she laid her head on her knees and hugged her legs.

 

    Her phone went off on her bedside table, and she got up, laying on her bed as she read the message.

 

Katherine: Are you okay? We heard Sam yell.

Novalee: He just broke up with me again.

K: Oh God! I’m coming in there.

N: Stay there. Talk to Dean. Fix your relationship.

N: Don’t let it end like ours just did.

 

    Nova threw her phone across the room, hearing it bounce off the door and slide across the floor. She rolled onto her side, hugging her pillow. Her body was wracked with pain as a realization hit her. Her first real love had just broken her heart, and she wasn’t sure she could get over it.

 

    Her door opened, Katherine peeking her head in. “Novalee? I’m coming in.”

 

    She shook her head against her pillow, her voice weak and wobbling, “Please, Kat. Don’t worry about me. Just spend time with Dean.”

 

    She heard Dean clear his throat and she looked up, seeing the two in the doorway. “Kat’s coming in here with you. You two can talk while I go beat the shit out of my brother for being an idiot.”

 

    Dean helped Katherine onto the bed, Kat curling up next to Nova as she whimpered, “Don’t beat him up, Dean. He’s just doing what he thinks is right. I wouldn’t be able to keep myself safe, let alone my family and friends. I can’t give them up either. They're my world. Sarah, Rhett, Ma, Pops, Amber, Beau, Bennett, even my dog Rogue.” Her breath hitched with another sob. “And Sam. I don’t want to give any of them up, but I can’t protect them either.”

 

    Dean growled and sat on the bed. “There’s no reason you can’t learn to protect yourself and your family. Shit, Kat’s family knows what we do. None of them have been attacked.”

 

   “I have four siblings. One died of a heroin overdose, but the rest are alive and kicking. Sam’s not thinking straight. He’s scared and hurt.”

 

    “I’m already packed, guys. He’s asked me to leave, and I wouldn’t feel right staying.”

 

    “It’s not his home. It’s all of ours.” Dean stood up, crossing the room. “I say you’re fucking staying. He needs to figure out his shit? He can go to a hotel and do that, but you aren’t leaving yet.”

 

    Her door slammed behind him as he left, Kat sighing. “Good luck changing his mind. He’s as stubborn as an ox.”

 

    “I’m going to turn on some music, and we’re going to lay here and let you get all of your sadness out.” Katherine got up, finding Nova’s speakers and plugging her phone into it. “Then, we are going to plan.”

 

    Music filled the room, the first notes of Demi Lovato’s Tell Me You Love Me playing as Nova sat up. “You’re being so nice. Why?”

 

    Kat sat on the bed, hugging her ribs as she leaned against the headboard. “You helped Dean, and I start to fix our marriage. You love my best friend and treat him the way he should be treated. You took such good care of Castiel, and me, my kids, Dean? I could go on for a while here. Suffice to say; I want to help the woman who has done so much for my weird family.”

 

    Kat hummed to the song, leaning against Nova’s side as she sang the words. “What about the kids? Won’t they wake up?”

 

    “Dean’s kids? You’d need a wrecking ball to wake those two up.”

 

    Nova giggled as a new song started. “I didn’t think anyone else listened to Adore Delano.”

 

    Kat smiled. “This song got me through a lot over the past two months.”

 

    She laid her head on the woman’s shoulder. “‘I Adore You’ is one of my favorites. It fits right now.”

 

    She felt Kat’s shoulder vibrate as she chuckled. “This whole playlist is break up songs. I made it when Dean moved out. It starts sad, but builds to getting over them.”

 

    “I don’t want to listen to the end then. I’m not ready for that.”

 

    The women jumped as a crash rang out in the hallway. Nova sat up, staring at Kat as she got up and paused the music. Something hit the wall, a growl sounding through the wood of the door. Nova shivered, and Kat sighed. A loud thud and someone grunting floated through and the women raced to the door, opening it as Sam hit the wall beside it.

 

    Dean’s nose was bleeding, his hand rubbing his jaw as Sam held his stomach, a cut under his eye oozing blood. Sam rushed at his brother, pushing him against the wall. There was a dull thud as Dean’s head bounced off the wall, and he grabbed Sam’s shirt, pulling his brother against him before tossing him aside.

 

    Kat glared at the guys as they fought. “Winchester Problem Solving. Beat the shit out of something until your head clears. This’ll go on forever if we can’t stop it.”

 

    Nova sighed, calming her screaming nerves before walking over as Dean pinned Sam to the wall and punched him in the stomach. She grabbed Dean’s arm as he went to swing again, quickly pulling it back and behind him. She used the hold to drag him away from Sam, kicking his knees out from under him and dropping him to the ground. Sam made a frustrated sound in the back of his throat, stepping forward and aiming a kick at his brother.

 

    Nova pushed Dean down, stepping between the brothers. She laid her hands on Sam’s chest, hooking his legs as she shoved him backward. A shocked look rushed across his face as he fell onto his ass, his head bouncing against the doorway to his room.

 

    She growled in frustration as she glared at them and spoke quietly. “Enough! You two are worse than the twins. Good gravy! Can’t you two talk like normal people? I mean, this is gettin' ridiculous. Dean, how are you going to explain this to your kids? Sam? You got any ideas? Grow the hell up and act like men instead of children. If this is how you two want to act, then take it to the garage. But don’t be surprised when I come out there with a damn switch and tan your hides.” She huffed, brushing back her hair as she walked back to Kat. “Those two could piss off the pope, I swear.”

 

    Katherine burst out laughing. “So much for not being able to protect yourself. I don’t think I’ve ever seen those two look so shocked.”

 

    Nova heard shuffling and saw Sam and Dean get up, Dean pushing Sam’s shoulder when they were upright. “I swear to the Lord above; I will cancel your birth certificates you start up again and wake those babies. Neither of you has the good sense God gave a goose.”

 

    Kat doubled over, holding her ribs. “Oh man. I’m going to die if you keep this up.”

 

    Nova sighed, leaning against the wall. “They’re out here tearin’ up Jake, and those babies are tryina sleep. I don’t know how you aren’t screaming at them. If those babies were mine, I’d be pitchin’ a hissy.”

 

    She took a step into her room, Dean’s grumble making her stop. “If they were yours, you’d have run for the hills.”

 

    She sighed, hanging her head as tears threatened to spill. “If they were mine, I’d treasure them.” She turned her head, glaring into Dean’s emerald eyes. “If they were mine, I wouldn’t get into tussles where they could easily hear it. So don’t be tryin to start fights with me, Dean Winchester. Take care of your children and let them snooze. I know that’s what I’d do.”

 

    He scoffed as Kat went over to check his nose. “You said yourself you never want to have kids.”

 

    Nova shook her head, her voice cracking. “Depends on who their daddy is. Kids don’t scare me as much anymore. Having my heart broken again, that’s terrifying.”

 

    She shut her door, locking it before she broke down in tears again.

 

...

 

    Novalee waited until she heard everyone’s footsteps recede down the hall and doors closing, sitting on her bed for another hour after the last closed. She grabbed her bags, tossing her duffle over her shoulder before grabbing Kat’s phone. She peeked out of her door, making sure the coast was clear before walking out, her bare feet silent on the wood floors. She quietly shut her door, turning and making her way down the hallway.

 

    She stopped in the library, placing Kat’s phone on a table and laying an envelope next to it. Her fingers slid over the paper, a tear slipping from her eye as she left her note for the family. Hefting her bags higher on her shoulders, she made her way to the front door, occasionally stopping to say a silent goodbye to the memories that flooded through her in each room.

 

    Pulling her shoes on, she knew the front door would wake Sam when she opened it. He didn’t sleep as heavy as Dean, and she wanted to be quick about her getaway. Novalee couldn’t stay anymore. She didn’t want to see Sam’s face or hear his voice. They only made the pain in her chest worse. She told herself wasn’t running away. There was nothing to run away from there. Kat could still contact her, as could Dean. She had blocked Sam, for now, thinking someday she would be in a better place, and it wouldn’t hurt to hear from him.

 

    She took one more look around before hauling the front door open. The grating noise filled the bunker, and she flinched before pulling it closed behind her. She made her way to the long drive up to the bunker, looking around before seeing the lights of Lawrence, Kansas. She turned down the road, carrying her things with her towards the town and away from Samuel Winchester.

Chapter Text

    Novalee took a sip of her coffee, sighing as the hot drink woke her up a little. She had made it into Lawrence, Kansas late at night, checking into the first hotel she found before heading out to a coffee shop down the road.

 

    She put her drink down, turning her attention back to her laptop as she looked up train fare back to San Diego. Nova groaned when she realized the train wouldn’t be back to Lawrence for three days. She messaged Rhett, letting him know her plans before switching off her computer and leaning back in her chair. This trip would deplete her bank account at the rate it was going, and she didn’t want to use her credit card for the six hundred dollar train ticket.

 

    She packed up her computer, grabbing her coffee cup and heading back to the hotel, hoping to get some sleep. She looked around the city streets, thinking about the almost thirty-seven-hour train trip home to San Diego. Nova wished she liked flying, the journey by plane much shorter than the train. She hitched the computer bag further onto her shoulder before heading out.

 

    She watched people pass her, many college students preparing to go back to school. Novalee kept her head down, forging on down the road to her hotel. When she saw the doors of the hotel, Nova stopped in her tracks, spying a tall man standing outside of them. Her heart skipped a beat before he turned around, and she realized it wasn’t Sam. She took a deep breath, trying to calm her racing pulse before continuing on her way.

 

    Nova kept her head down, pulling out her key card as she walked through the lobby and up the stairs to her floor. She could hear voices from the rooms as she walked down the hallway, the sounds muffled and distorted in the quiet hall. She spun the key card over her thumb, her mind wandering as she made her way to her door.

 

    “Novalee.”

 

    Her heart jumped into her throat as she looked up, Katherine staring at her as she leaned against the wall by Nova’s door. “What are you doing here, Kat?”

 

    Her new friend smiled and shrugged. “I couldn’t let you leave without a proper goodbye. The kids were upset when you weren’t there this morning. Sam’s out wandering the streets looking for you with Castiel. Dean’s at home with two kids who can’t stop crying.”

 

    Nova groaned. “Man, you’d give my momma a run for her money on the guilt trip front. You lay a good one.”

 

    Kat smirked. “I learned from my mom. Trust me, that woman is a gold medalist in guilt.”

 

    Nova opened the door and held it for Katherine as she entered. “I thought you wanted to say goodbye, not make me feel worse.”

 

    The shorter woman shrugged and sat on an armchair. “Imagine how I felt when I read your letter. ‘Sorry I couldn’t stay... It hurts too much to see Sam now. Call or text if you want to talk. I’ll miss you all.’ Couldn’t have waited until we woke up to leave?”

 

    “That would have meant Sam would’ve been there.” Nova sat on the bed with a groan. “I couldn’t face him. Better to be the bigger person and respect what he wanted.”

 

    “He woke us all up, you know.” Katherine leaned back in the chair. “He heard the door and jumped out of bed. Went tearing through the halls when he found out it was you leaving. Thank God Cas heals quickly. He had to catch him and bring him home before he ran through Lawrence in his pajama pants.”

 

    Nova stared at her red Converse. “Why does he care? He wanted me out, so I left.”

 

    “Sam doesn’t want you gone. He wants you with him, but only if that’s what you want.” Kat leaned into her knees, wincing slightly. “Are you really afraid of having kids?”

 

    Novalee leaned back, laughing. “I was, still am a little. It’s a long story, but marriage and kids were never part of the plan for my life.”

 

    Kat chuckled. “They weren’t for Dean or me either. Look where we are now. Married seven years with two biological and two adopted kids. Sam always wanted to marry and have his own kids. I think being a hunter has made him jaded though. Guy gave up his dream of the apple pie life and just tries to keep his family safe and together now.”

 

    “I didn’t need hunting for that to happen. I watched my friends’ parents divorce over and over again. My own brother has been divorced twice now. I love kids, just don’t want to bring them into this world only to have their daddy decide he wants someone or something else.”

 

    Kat snorted. “Nothing you can do about that. It can happen to anyone and in every relationship. Best you can do is roll with the punches and love your kids.” Kat stood and stretched, one hand holding her ribs. “Doesn’t matter yet anyway. No kids to worry over and I’m guessing you’re using birth control.”

 

    “I’m on the pill.”

 

    Kat laughed. “That’s how they get you. My friend Liz found out the hard way on the pill. Her youngest is because she forgot to take it. She didn’t double up on the next dose either. The woman was pissed when she found out she was knocked up.”

 

    Nova blanched, going to her suitcase and pulling out her pills. “Fuck!”

 

    Kat walked over, frowning. “What did you do?”

 

    Nova held up the pack. “I forgot three days this week.”

 

    “Oh, that’s not good. Did you and Sam use a condom?”

 

    Novalee tossed the pills in her bag, walking over and flopping face first on the bed. “No.”

 

    “Not good. People need to learn to double up on protection, pills, AND condoms, IUD and condoms.” Katherine sat on the bed next to her. “Take a pregnancy test in about two months. You’ll pop by then. I wouldn’t worry about it though.”

 

    Burying her face in her pillow, she groaned. “Yeah, because getting pregnant after the guy breaks your heart is nothing to worry about.”

 

    There was a chime, and Kat pulled out her phone. “It’s Dean. Kids are getting antsy. I need to head out.” She stood and patted Nova on the back. “You’ll be okay, woman. Just keep your head on straight. Think about this Sam stuff. He’s a good guy. He’s just scared. What do you want me to tell him?”

 

    “Nothing. There’s nothing to tell him.”

 

    Kat sighed, her footsteps moving towards the door. “Call if you want to talk or need anything. Dean, Castiel, and I will help in any way we can.”

 

    “I will. You do the same, all of you. Bye, Kat.”

 

    “Bye, Novalee.”

 

    The door closed behind Katherine, and Novalee grumbled into her pillow. “Please don’t let me be pregnant. Please make this all go away. I can’t take much more.

 

...

 

    A little more than a month later, Novalee stood in the doorway of her apartment and groaned. “Rogue Shadow Prince! What did you DO?!”

 

    Her dog’s ears lowered, a whine escaping as he flattened on the floor. She looked around, her apartment littered with ripped up papers and garbage. Nova shut the door and threw her keys on the side table along with the bags she was carrying.

 

    “You are so lucky that I love you, young man. This is getting ridiculous!”

 

    She stooped down, picking up the trash as she shuffled around. “What do you think you’re accomplishing by tearing up stuff? You know you just get into trouble for it.”

 

    Her collie whined again, retreating to his bed. He huffed as he flopped on his side, his eyes tracking her as she cleaned. She sighed as she filled her hands, throwing out the first load before stooping down to grab more.

 

    She paused as she saw the old pregnancy test on the floor. Her eyes slammed closed as she saw the results again. Picking it up, she tossed it on the counter and continued cleaning.

 

    “See if I give you the good food now, Rogue. Digging into my bathroom trash like a heathen.”

 

    She finished cleaning and grabbed the bags from the table, taking them into her room. She pulled off her work clothes and dug through her drawers for pajamas before grabbing a bag and heading to the bathroom.

 

    She picked up the new pregnancy test, turning it over in her hands. It had only been five weeks since she left the bunker. Her period never came, but she hoped it was just the stress of work, bills, and the break up getting to her. She knew she had to be sure though. She put the test on the counter.

 

    She dressed in her pajamas before whistling for her dog. Rogue came running in, ears pricked up and tail wagging. She knelt down, rubbing his sides and kissing his nose.

 

    “I can’t stay mad at you, little man. You’re just too damn adorable.”

 

    Her phone chimed, and she yanked it out of her discarded dress pocket.

 

Katherine: Any word yet on the results?

Nova: First test was neg, but I took it two weeks ago. Doc said to test again in the morning.

K: Is it wrong that I kind of hope for a positive?

N: YES! That would be horrible.

K: He misses you. He slept in your old room two nights ago. He and Dean left my house yesterday.

N: I miss him, but that doesn’t change the fact that he ended things.

K: So find a way to tell him you miss him. He can’t call you.

N: I unblocked him after a couple of days. He’s never tried to call me that I know of.

K: Either way, I can’t help picturing a baby that’s half you and half him. Talk about cute!

N: And possibly disastrous for Sam and I.

 

    Nova set her phone down on the bedside table, heart aching as she thought about him again. She climbed into bed, patting beside her as she whistled for Rogue. He bounded onto the bed, curling up next to her.

 

    She was half asleep when she heard a knock on her door. Rogue growled as she got up, grabbing her new pistol from behind her bookcase before walking to her front door. Rogue stood behind her, hackles raised in a silent growl. Nova looked through the peephole, but the person stood too far to the side.

 

    “Who is it?”

 

    “Carissima, can you open the door?”

 

    Her stomach churned as Sam backed up, his face drawn as he looked at the peephole. Nova lowered her gun before unlocking the door and cracking it.

 

    “What are you doing here, Sam?”

 

    His lips quirked up on one side, and she saw his Adam's apple bob. “I wanted to talk to you.”

 

    “So talk.”

 

    “Can I come in first?”

 

    “No. Whatever you want to say, say it. Then I’ll decide if I should let you in.”

 

    He tilted his head, swallowing again before he mumbled, “I’m sorry for how I acted at the bunker. I shouldn’t have told you to leave, and I shouldn’t have broken up with you.”

 

    “Again.”

 

    He nodded. “Again. I thought about what you said, and I talked to Dean and Katherine. I should have talked to you about everything, about Jess and the other women, and about why I was scared to be with you. I shut you out after asking you not to do that to me. It wasn’t fair.”

 

    She sighed, opening the door and leaning against the jamb. “No, it wasn’t.”

 

    Sam looked down at the gun in her hand. “When did you get that?”

 

    Nova tucked the gun into the waistband of her shorts. “A week after I got home. Rhett took me to the base shooting range, and he and a friend retaught me. They’ve also been reteaching me some defensive moves. Katherine sent me silver and iron rounds and Dean showed me how to make holy water. Castiel came by three weeks ago and taught me a banishing sigil. He came back a week ago with Kat, and they took me to a tattoo shop to get my anti-possession tattoo.”

 

    Sam’s eyes went wide as she pushed down the waistband of her shorts to show him the symbol on her hip before settling the elastic back in place, and he cleared his throat. “Why didn’t they tell me?”

 

    “I asked them not to, so they didn’t. They’re good friends.”

 

    He stared at his boots, and his hair fell forward, the need to brush her fingers through it making them twitch. “Can I come in, Novalee?”

 

    She sucked in her bottom lip before she pushed her door wider, holding it open as he came in. Rogue growled in earnest, his forelegs bending as he lowered his chest. Sam sidled in, his hands lifting from his pockets as he watched the dog.

 

    Nova sighed and shut the door. “Rogue. Achtung! Sitz!”

 

    The dog huffed, sitting down and panting. “Good boy.”

 

    Sam raised an eyebrow. “You turned him into a guard dog?”

 

    Nova walked past Sam, patting her leg as she made her way to the living room. “Rogue, Fuss!” She sat on the couch, her dog sitting by her feet. “The potential was already there. He’s been keeping an eye on me ever since I got home. I just showed him what to do and taught him all his commands in German.”

 

    Sam took off his blue jacket, laying it over his arm as he stood in her living room. “It looks like you’re doing well.”

 

    She snorted and looked at her hands in her lap. “Yeah, I guess so.”

 

    His feet shifted on the wood floors. “Maybe I shouldn’t have come then.”

 

    “Outwardly, I’m doing great. I’m all kinds of fucked up on the inside, Sam.”

 

    He sighed. “Me too but I’m fucked up on the outside too.”

 

    “You asked me to leave because of a fight.” Nova looked up to see him watching her. “You didn’t let me finish what I wanted to say, and you bulldozed over me every chance you got.”

 

    His eyes closed for a second and his hand brushed through his hair. “I’m sorry, Nova. I should have let you speak.”

 

    “Sit down, Sam. You’re making my neck hurt trying to look at you.”

 

    He lightly chuckled and sat on the edge of the coffee table, his jacket lying next to him. She looked him over, noticing his shirt was wrinkled and his flannel had a stain on it. His eyes had dark rings under them, his face more drawn.

 

    She gave him a half smile. “You look like hell, Sam.”

 

    He gave a short laugh. “I feel like hell.” His hazel eyes filled with worry as he stared at her. “Do you remember what you tried to tell me?”

 

    “Couldn’t forget it if I wanted.”

 

    “So tell me now.”

 

    Nova shrugged, scratching Rogue behind his ear. “What would it matter, Sam? It would only make you hurt more, and I don’t want to hurt you.”

 

    His large hand covered her knee. “Please, Carissima? I want to know.” She shook her head, and he sighed, sitting next to her on the couch. “I need to know. I don’t care if it hurts.”

 

    “Fine, but I don’t think it’ll help.” Nova sighed, mumbling. “I was going to tell you that I don’t know if you really love me or if you want to love me, but I don’t care either way. I want to be by your side through whatever comes our way because I love you. That I would take anything if it meant we would be together.”

 

    Her voice broke as she spoke, a tear falling from her eye. Sam cleared his throat, his fingers twitching on her knee.

 

    “I’m sorry I didn’t let you say that. I don’t think any of this would have happened if I had let you. I was just so upset that you had packed up and were going to leave that I lost my temper. I figured if you wanted to leave me so badly that I should give you a reason to stay away. I didn’t want to deal with the heartache if you came back. I didn’t realize I would fall apart this badly.”

 

    Nova sniffed, swiping at the tears on her cheeks. “We did this before. You didn’t think it would hurt again?”

 

    His hand lifted from her knee before he rubbed over his legs. “I thought I could handle it this time. It had happened before, and I would be able to distance myself this time.” He huffed. “I was wrong.”

 

    “And what do you want now,” she whispered.

 

    “Something I can’t have.” She hummed, and he continued. “I want this break up to have never happened. I want to go back and let you finish what you were saying so that I could hear it then. So that I would realize you weren’t leaving, that you were hurt and needed reassurance and not me kicking you while you were down.” His head dropped. “I want you but that wouldn’t be fair to you. I keep hurting you when all I wanted was to love you.”

 

    Nova sighed and squeezed his thigh. “Let me think about it, Sam. You can stay here tonight if you want and we can talk more in the morning. I had a long day at work, and this is all a lot to deal with right now.”

 

    “I can get a hotel room if that would be better. It sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate.”

 

    Her thoughts drifted to the pregnancy test in the bathroom, and she groaned. “So much more than you know. Stay here. Save your money. You can take the bed tonight. I don’t think you’ll fit on the new couch.”

 

    “I’ll sleep here. I’m the jerk in this situation. I should be the one that’s uncomfortable.”

 

    She sighed, standing up walking towards her linen closet. She paused as she passed the kitchen, noticing the old pregnancy test on the counter. Peeking back at Sam, Nova watched him uncurl from the couch. Groaning, she snatched up the test and tossed it in the trash.

Chapter Text

    A tear slipped down Novalee’s cheek. The results of the pregnancy test wavered in her sight as more tears welled in her eyes. She leaned on her bathroom counter, head drooping as she grabbed her phone. She took a picture of the test, sending it to Kat.

 

    A soft rap on the door made her jump. She hid the test in her cabinets, straightening her hair and wiping the tears from her cheeks. She opened the door, Sam leaning against the wall on the other side.

 

    He frowned and touched her shoulder when she stepped out. “You okay?”

 

    She shrugged and sat on the armchair in her room, pulling her throw blanket over her as she curled up. “Not really.”

 

    Sam sighed. “Wanna talk about it?”

 

    “Go to the bathroom, and we’ll talk afterward.”

 

    He nodded and closed the door after entering. Nova pulled her phone from her lap, staring at the picture of the test. Rogue’s nose nudged her arm, and she patted his head, her body switching to autopilot as she stared at the image.

 

Katherine: OMG! Oh wow. I don’t know what I should say. Is this good or bad?

Novalee: Both.

K: I thought you didn’t want kids?

N: I didn’t, but I couldn’t help thinking about it ever since I left the bunker.

K: And?

N: I was getting excited about being a mother. I knew it would be hard, but I wanted to try.

K: I’m sorry it’s negative, then. At least you know that kids are something you want someday now.

 

    Nova heard the sink in her bathroom turn on, her heart pounding in her chest. Rogue whimpered and shoved his head under her arm, his nose lying on her belly. She smiled at him, scratching behind his ear.

 

    Sam stepped out of the bathroom and sat on the foot of her bed. “You ready to talk?”

 

    She took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. “Sam, there’s something you should know.” His brow furrowed and he leaned on his knees. “When I was staying with you, during the time that Dean’s kids showed up, I, um…”

 

    Her throat felt like it was closing and she shut her eyes. “You what?”

 

    She cleared her throat, the words coming out in a rush. “I missed three days of my pills.”

 

    Sam made a choked sound, and she peeked at him. His hazel eyes were wide, a mixture of fear and hope shining in them. He rubbed the back of his neck as he hung his head.

 

    “What are you trying to tell me, Nova?”

 

    She got up, letting the blanket fall as she went into the bathroom. The pregnancy test still showed the results as she picked it up and crossed her room, setting it on Sam’s knee. She stepped back as he gripped the edge.

 

    “I guess the good news is I’m not pregnant, but it made me think.”

 

    Silence echoed through the apartment. Even her dog didn’t make a sound as he laid on the floor. Sam sat on the edge of the bed, his head down as he stared at the test.

 

    Novalee fidgeted. “I think we were pretty good while we lasted. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not pregnant. I don’t know where you want to go from this, but I wanted you to know that it had been a possibility. I told you I’d try to never lie to you. I won’t say that I didn’t like the idea of having a baby, but that wasn’t in the cards. Now, I have to decide what is. Or, rather, we need to decide.”

 

    A soft chime came from her phone and Nova sighed, ignoring it. “Sam, any input?” Her phone went off again, making her groan as she got up to check her messages. She was distracted as she spoke, “Whether we had created life doesn’t matter anymore. We didn’t, so no point thinking about it, I guess. But during the time I thought I might have been, I thought a lot. About kids, marriage, you. I think I have to give up on you because that’s what you asked of me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care or that I won’t love you still. I have to move on from this scare and see where I can go from this.”

 

    Her phone went off again, and she glared at it, pulling up her messages. “Okay, Katherine. I get it. Give me a hot second.”

 

    She shot a message back quickly, before turning around. Sam stared at her and Nova groaned.

 

    “What?!”

 

    “You said you love me still.”

 

    She chewed her bottom lip before replying, “I do. It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that. Love doesn’t just disappear after a month apart.”

 

    Nova climbed into the bed, tossing her phone on the mattress as Sam brushed back his hair. “Do you want me to be a part of your life?”

 

    She huffed and rolled onto her back, staring at the swirls on the ceiling. “I hope you want to be, but I won’t force it on you. I’ll survive if you choose to walk away. This is something that you have wanted and not wanted in the same day because of fear. I want you beside me, but I don’t want to be pushed away again.”

 

    “I can work on that but I told you, I don’t want to hurt you anymore. Is it going to hurt you if I’m here?”

 

    Closing her eyes, she let the question hang in the air a moment. “Truthfully, I think it would hurt more if you weren’t here. It's up to you. I never asked you NOT to be a part of my life.”

 

    She felt the mattress shift, and his warm hand gripped her waist, pulling her side against him. She looked down as his hand let go, hovering over her stomach for a second before he laid it on his thigh. Nova huffed, seizing it and flattening it over her lower belly.

 

    Sam closed his eyes and laid his head next to hers. “Is it bad that I’m a little sad there isn’t a baby?”

 

    Novalee’s eyes stung with tears. “You wouldn’t be the only one. I thought about it a lot, and I started liking the idea. A baby that was half you and half me. Could have been adorable.”

 

    “I… If you wanted, we could try once we figure out what the hell we are doing. No pressure to try, only if you want to and it might not be for a long time. I know we need to fix this and I don’t want to lose you, Nova. You were right. I have to trust you. That was Dean and Kat’s problem. But you learned how to keep yourself safe, and Dean and I can teach you more. Just… I want you to be happy. Could you be happy in this life?”

 

    “I can’t promise to be happy all the time. I know I’ll be waiting to hear that you survived whatever case you guys take on and that’s a terrifying reality. But I’d be happy to know that you are mine when you’re with me.”

 

    “What if I asked you to come live with us in Kansas?”

 

    “My family would understand if I couldn’t visit a lot and Rogue is used to Sarah now. She and Amber know his commands. Sarah would be happy to take over the apartment and bills. My landlord loves her, so Sarah can ask her to let her take over the lease.” She looked up at him and smirked. “I’ve put some thought into it.”

 

    “I see that,” Sam chuckled, brushing her hair behind her ear. “Do you want to live with us?”

 

    Novalee nibbled her lip, weighing the options again before answering, “I would. It would give me more time with you, and I can help with research, especially if it’s in another language. I can get to know your family and friends more, which I’d love to do because Katherine and Castiel have been amazing this whole time.”

 

    “They are pretty great, but not everyone in my life is. Some people are dangerous, and we don’t know it right away.”

 

    “I can handle it,” she smirked, palming his cheek before pulling him down for a kiss.

 

...

 

    A few weeks later, the Prince dining room filled with laughter as Dean blushed and Novalee’s mother practically swooned over him. Lydia poured him another glass of whiskey, standing just far enough away for propriety, but flirting the line. Waylon watched his wife, his smile slipping as he turned to look at Sam and Novalee.

 

    “So, Daughter? You’re planning on leaving us and going off to Kansas?”

 

    Nova looked up from her plate with widened eyes. “Yes, sir. Jay wants me close by, and things at the store aren't going so well since I got back.”

 

    His frown deepened. “You know, Rhett told me some stuff about your fellow here.”

 

    Rhett sat up in his chair, Nova’s eyes quickly darting to his before Waylon continued. “Seems he ran a background check on your boy and got a lotta good info. Funny how mine came back with bupkis.”

 

    Nova visibly flinched as Sam rubbed the back of his neck. Lydia glared at her husband, taking her seat and pursing her lips. Nova wracked her brain, trying to figure out what to say to him.

 

    Her oldest brother cleared his throat, “Pops, I can explain…”

 

    “No need. You would only lie again. Mr. Jones, you are the one that needs to explain.”

 

    Sam licked his lips before replying, “Sir, it’s a long story.”

 

    Waylon snorted and leaned back in his chair. “Don’t see me going anywhere.”

 

    It took Sam and Dean the rest of dinner and dessert to explain. The group had moved into the family room for drinks before Waylon nodded and held up his hand for silence. He thumbed his bottom lip, the quiet in the room absolute. Even the twins had restrained themselves in favor of listening to the story.

 

    “So you’re Samuel and Dean Winchester?” The two men nodded, and Nova’s father sighed. “I hope you know I’m going to check up on you two again. I don’t like the idea of my daughter going to live with some men who were lying to my whole family. I don’t like the idea of her living with two men, but she’s grown and has to make her own decisions about this.”

 

    Dean nodded, his posture relaxing. “We understand. I don’t know that I would be happy with one of my daughters moving in with two guys I barely knew.”

 

    Lydia blinked. “Daughters?”

 

    “My wife, Katherine, and I have four kids. The two oldest are adopted, Isadora and Lyla. My two youngest are biologically ours, a daughter, Dawn, and a son, Robert. Ages range from college-aged to kindergarten.”

 

    Beau snorted, “So you’ve got the opposite problem to Mama. She’s swimming in the Testosterone Tide, and you’re in the Estrogen Ocean.”

 

    Bennett gave an identical snort. “Sucks to be you, man.”

 

    “Wife handles most of the estrogen issues. I’m just the mediator.”

 

    Waylon nodded. “A wife, huh? How long you been married, young man?”

 

    “Seven years.”

 

    Lydia smiled, “Still early in the marriage, still learning about each other.”

 

    Sam and Nova relaxed as the subject shifted from them and Dean replied, “Yeah. We got into a bit of an argument a couple of months back, and we’re still trying to get through the aftermath.”

 

    Waylon chuckled, and Lydia sighed, “We had a few of those, huh, Waylon? How you respond to the fight is how well you will be able to fix it. If you respond with kindness and caring, you’re more likely to fix it. Anger and resentment will only push you further apart.”

 

    Nova barely caught the guilty look that flashed over Dean’s face. “You and Kat will be fine, Dean. You’ll figure out the best way to go forward.”

 

...

 

    Dean pulled his green jacket over his shoulders as they stood by the two cars. “Well, that’ll hold off your dad until the background check comes back. Then it’s your problem, guys.”

 

    Nova smirked and leaned against Sam’s side. “We’ll be gone by then, and Pops would have to find us.”

 

    “Which I think he could do,” Sam scoffed. “Your dad is intelligent.”

 

    Nova shrugged. “We’ll figure it out.”

 

    “You better,” Dean chuckled. “Now, I’m going back to my hotel room and calling my kids. Then I’m going to the bar for a nightcap.”

 

    “Mama didn’t get you drunk enough?”

 

    “I think she gave up trying. Besides, I’ll need a beer after talking to Issy.”

 

    Sam glared at his brother, “Dean…”

 

    Dean shook his head as he climbed into his Impala. “I’ll be fine, Sammy.”

 

    Sam glared at the car as Dean drove away, mumbling under his breath. “I’m not worried about you getting hurt. I’m worried you’ll do something stupid.”

 

    Nova looked up at him, frowning. “He said he’s trying to fix things with Kat. They’ve been back together for almost two months. He won’t do anything dumb.”

 

    “I hope not.” He turned and hugged her before opening the passenger side door for her. “Now, let’s go get your stuff and give the apartment keys to Sarah. We can get a decent night’s sleep before heading out. It’s a long drive back to Kansas.”