PROMPT:Jo wants to be a knight and her brother Ash wants to be a sorcerer. So they switch places, and Jo's well on her way to knighthood when she comes across Dean Winchester, king of thieves.

author's notes: honestly, this is prompt made me so happy I wanted to rewrite the entire series this way, but I stopped myself because a) i will never do it justice and b) this was supposed to be just a comment fill. Anyways, I hope the OP is happy with it, even if I wish I had time to do more.

When their father says that Ash will go to train as a knight, and Jo is off to the convent, they do everything they can to change his mind. But it’s too late, and they’re bound for their fates the next morning when Jo comes up with the idea. She grins, wide, and Ash knows that never bodes well for anyone.

“We’ll switch places; I’ll cut my hair, and I’ll take your place. The convent takes boys for the first few years, then you can go to the cloisters and learn magic there. Father will never even know, I promise!” Ash is reluctant at first, positive they’ll be caught, but he forges letters from their father and goes along with the plan.

It’s an easy enough switch once they have Missouri, the village healer, in on it. She swaps Bobby’s ale for something a bit stronger, and Jo cuts off her hair, switches clothes and they’re halfway to Corus before Bobby even realizes that it’s Jo he’s riding next to, not Ash. He curses up a storm, vowing to take her back the next morning, but between the hangover and his relief at not becoming the laughing stock of the other guards (Ash is talented, but not as a fighter) they never turn back.

A week later, they make it to the city, and she breathes out, “Goddess, it’s so big!” Bobby just grins, and leads her on.

Coming from her father’s tiny hold of Sioux Falls, Jo has never seen anything like the capitol city. It’s crowded, it smells, and as they lead their horses through the teeming mass of people no one seems to care for personal space. Bobby motions for her to stick closer, raising his voice to say, “Watch yer purse...Jon. Some would sell their own mother’s honor.”

Jo glances around, curious to see what caused such a response. Her gaze falls on what has to be the most handsome man she’s ever seen, his blonde hair shorn close to his head, freckles standing out on his tanned skin, green eyes sparkling. He grins at them, and asks, “Who, me?” before slipping away into the crowd.

Her first days at the castle fly by with too little sleep and not nearly enough hours in the day to finish all of the work her teachers assign. By the time she catches up in her studies, she’s still struggling to keep up on the physical aspect. Her only saving grace is the Prince and his friends. She met Prince Castiel the first afternoon she arrived, and he appointed her sponsor, Gabriel of Naxen. It’s constant work, little sleep, and she’s still behind but she feels like she belongs.

It isn’t easy; she’s small, smaller than all the other boys her age and there’s one boy, Gordon of Malven, has made it his mission in life to torment her. He teases her mercilessly, escalating to physical violence and mean pranks quickly when she refuses to tattle to the prince,
She doesn’t see the young man from the city again until her first visit to the market, three months after her arrival. Gabriel takes her, and grins at her open-mouthed shock. “Close your mouth, country boy, before you let in the flies,” Gabriel says with a laugh, and they move on browsing the booths until someone taps her shoulder.

It’s the young man from her first day in the city, the one Bobby called a thief. He introduces himself as Dean Winchester, and when they accept his invitation for a drink, and are led to a small pub. Gabriel confronts him about being a thief almost immediately, but they come to an easy truce and spend the rest of the visit playing cards and gossiping. The time flies, and soon enough it’s time to head back to the castle. She and Gabriel return, all smiles, and thoughts of the mysterious Dean Winchester behind them.

Weeks pass, and Jo grows stronger. She’s still small, still no match for the other boys, but she doesn’t feel like she’s going to die. Her father writes, and calls her Ash—the Duke easily accepts her explanation that he could never tell them apart, and she’s comfortable in her lie once again.

She’s alone in the stables when Gordon corners her when she is completely, utterly alone for the first time; she refuses to curry his horse and knows no good will come of it when he stops away. They head to the swimming hole after that, her and the Prince and their other friends Lucifer, Michael, and Gabriel. When Gordon tries to throw her in the water she scrambles away, chest heaving when she yells at him, “I don’t like getting in the water, as you well know! And next time you try and throw me in, I’ll make you sorry!”

He laughs, but Castiel and the others don’t. Gordon climbs into the pool where they grab him and pull him down, holding him underneath the water until he’s half-drowned. When he pops up, Castiel shoots him a dark look and mutters, “You heard Jon. See that you don’t forget it.”

Jo knows it won’t be over, but for now Gordon is reluctant to bother her with the close watch being kept by her friends. The peace doesn’t last long; a week later, Gordon beats her black and blue when she’s in the stables, and it’s all she can do to keep her friends from going after him right then. It continues, even after Michael beats Ralon within an inch of his life; in retaliation, Gordon breaks her arm. In her desperation, Jo sneaks into the city and calls on Dean.

It’s late when she arrives, telling the imposing red headed woman guarding the door, “Dean said I could find him here,” and Jo easily gains entrance.

“Jon! Lad, what brings you to my little corner of the city this late?” Dean asks, pleasantly drunk and relaxed.

She glances away and asks,

“Could we speak alone? I need to ask you something.” He nods, face going immediately serious, and leads them to his quarters.
“There’s this boy, Gordon,” she begins, but he interrupts her, asking, “Ah yes, young Master Malven. I heard he’s been givin’ you some trouble. It’s a beating you want for him then? Or perhaps a quick chat in a dark alley with some of my lads?”

Jo doesn’t think she’s ever been so angry with Dean, face red with rage as she exclaims, “I was coming to ask for help fighting! But if you think so little of me I’ll just be on my way!”

Dean catches her arm and offers quick apologies. He coaxes her back, with a promise to train her, and they start right then. For weeks Jo sneaks out to him and they go through trick after trick, Dean teaching her to win no matter the cost, to win with a knife and to never give up. It’s a month or so later and she’s at the pub when he hands her a big glass of ale and she looks at him.

“Well? Are you gonna wait until you’re old before you challenge him?” She eyes the glass and asks, hesitant, “Do you really think I’m ready?”

The next morning in training one of Dean’s paid spies leads her teacher away and Jo moves to the center of the mat, calling out all manner of insults. When Gordon responds with fists swinging she beats him easily, and as he lies on the ground she hisses, “Don’t you ever mess with me again, Gordon of Malven, or you’ll regret it.” Castiel and Michael are patting each other on the back, grins wide as they exclaim “I knew he could do it!” and “Well done, Jon!”

Gordon drops out of training and returns home within the month.

With the bully gone, things fall into an easy rhythm. She introduces her friends to Dean, one by one, and he even finds her a horse. Everything is going good, no one suspects her ruse and she’s enjoying life in the palace, until she wakes in the middle of the night and her sheets are soaked with blood, clothes and bedding ruined. She panics, unsure of why she is bleeding there, of all places. Jo doesn’t know what else to do, so she flees to the city. With practiced ease, she climbs into Dean’s window intending to wake him. Only, it turns out he’s awake already and before she can blink has a knife to her throat.

“Didn’t your momma ever teach you not to sneak into a stranger’s window?” He asks, arms tightening around her as the dagger pricks her skin.

“Stop!” She calls out, and he freezes and asks, “Jon? Why’d you climb through my window?”

She pulls away and faces him, shaking with her fear of revealing the truth. “I need a female healer, one who isn’t known at the castle.”

He regards her curiously, but doesn’t speak, waiting for an explanation. “I’m a girl, Dean.”
He gapes, disbelieving, she starts to tug her shirt over her head, but he blushes and tugs it back down. “Goddess, Jo, keep your clothes on! I believe you!”

When he realizes how close he is, and still bare from sleeping, Dean turns even more red and makes Jo turn around, while she explains what exactly happened to get her here.

They go to his mother, Mary, and she explains about a woman’s monthly cycle, and gives Jo a charm against pregnancy, though the girl insists she will never use it. On their way back, Dean grins at her and says, “I intend to call you Jo from now on; it won’t do for you to forget just who you are.” She makes a face, but agrees. “Just don’t say it in public. It wouldn’t do to have anyone else know.” He agrees with a laugh, and escorts her back to the castle.

For sneaking out, Jo is confined to the castle for three longs months, and time passes easily. Before she knows it, it’s her just fifteenth birthday and Castiel is turning 18. She’s the last of the boys to become a squire, stuck as a page for another year as her friends slowly go through the Ordeal of Knighthood.

She’s visiting George tonight, having been sent her gifts for the Prince from Ash through him. He attached the strongest spells he knows onto the beautiful chain mail and Jo is content in the protection it will offer. As she drinks and laughs with the others, Dean pulls her aside.

“How old are you now, lass?” She looks up at him, confused, and responds, “I was fifteen this winter, you should know that.” He grins, and places his hand along her jaw, tilting her to face him. She freezes, blushing and suddenly nervous about the look in his eyes. “We marry as young as that in the city.”

She brushes him off, suddenly angry, and the words come to her lips, unbidden. “I don’t ever intend to marry, Winchester! And if I do, it would be someone befitting my station, not a commoner like you!” He simply smiles at her, and says, “I won’t speak of it again, lass. But you have to know how I feel. I had to try.” She ignores his words, and for the rest of the night avoids him.

Dean escorts her back to the castle when it nears morning. With the packages, Jo is loaded down and it’s good she has company; she couldn’t fend off a petty thief this burdened. They stop before a tree, just before the Palace roadway, and Dean tugs her in close. His eyes are sparkling, and for a moment, Jo’s breath catches in her throat. He wraps an arm around her waist and pulls her in close. “I’m doin’ this now, because there’s no tellin when I’ll catch you with your hands full again.”

His lips on her are soft, and she tenses up for a moment, torn between pulling away and melting into the kiss when she gives in and parts her mouth to his. When Dean finally pulls away, he’s flushed and she is breathless. He traces his hand across her lips and murmurs, “I must go. You’ll be safe from here.”

By the time she makes it back to the castle her lips are still tingling, and she brings a hand to her mouth, brushing where Dean’s lips were only minutes before. “Oh,” she says quietly, and thinks, so much for not falling in love.



September 2013



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