Pairing: Jo/Jess, past Jess/Sam
Spoilers/Warnings: No spoilers. AU, set during some not really canon-related apocalyse. Obligatory SMOKING IS BAD PSA, I guess.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Title from Armageddon by Alkaline Trio (which is the first thing that comes to mind what I think of the word "photograph" and kind of inspired this, I guess, not really, idk.)
Summary: She can't help being curious every time she sees Jess pull a tattered Polaroid out of her back pocket when she thinks Jo isn't looking. ~825 words.
A/N: For spnfemslashpact, prompt: photograph. I dunno how I feel about it, but the idea wouldn't leave me alone, sooo anyway. ALSO, go read the hours of love still make shadows (Lisa/Hester, CRYING ACTUAL TEARS NBD).
Jo knows it’s none of her business. They’ve both got pasts they don’t talk about, things they did and people they loved before, and letting go is easier said than done. But she can’t help being curious every time she sees Jess pull a tattered Polaroid out of her back pocket when she thinks Jo isn’t looking. She’s imagined all the people it might be: her parents, maybe, or an old boyfriend or girlfriend; a little brother or sister, or hell, maybe a kid of her own.
She doesn’t know much about who Jess was before they met, but she imagines she had a good life once. Jo was raised with a gun in her hand, knowing about all the things that go bump in the night, but she bets Jess lived most of her life in blissful ignorance. She was probably a good girl from the suburbs, cheerleader maybe, top of her class. She took to the life easily because she didn’t have a choice, but she wasn’t made for it the way Jo was. There’s no point in wishing she could go back to before, whatever that was, now that the whole world’s going to hell, but Jo can’t help thinking Jess just deserves something better.
Finally, her curiosity gets the better of her. It’s coming a fucking monsoon outside and they’re sharing their last cigarette in a bed that used to belong to someone else. She spots the photograph sticking out of the pocket of Jess’ jeans, crumpled on the floor next to her own, and she gets up and pulls it out. She half expects Jess to follow her, snatch it out of her hand, but she just stretches lazily and watches.
The picture is a few years old, the edges peeling and colors fading. In it, Jess is wearing a cutesy nurse costume, her arm around a tall boy with shaggy hair and a lopsided grin. They’re both smiling in a way Jo hasn’t seen anyone smile in long time – they actually look happy. The kind of happiness people used to write songs about, the kind you can't fake. Jo can put two and two together and come up with a pretty good guess of what happened to the guy. Her chest tightens and she thinks, just for a second, about her mom and she suddenly wishes she’d left well enough alone.
But there’s no going back now, so she strides back to the bed, picture in hand. “Who’s he?”
“Ancient history,” Jess says, voice muffled against the pillow and her face half-hidden by curls. “It’s not important.”
“So not important you carry his picture around all the time?”
Jess shrugs. “Just something I want to remember.” Jo doesn’t push any further. She hands the photo back to Jess, who picks it up gingerly, cradles it in her hand like something precious before setting it on the bedside table.
Jo takes another drag from the cigarette and walks to the window, pulls the ratty curtain back just enough to let the light in. The rain is still coming down in sheets, tapping away at the roof. The sun is setting, she thinks – or rising, maybe; it’s hard to tell these days – and it paints the sky in red and orange, a golden light flooding into their little room. She’s sees smoke in the distance, but the view is surprisingly peaceful. She doesn’t hear any shouts or gunshots or see anyone bodies in the street. Moments like this are pretty few and far between.
She lets the curtain fall back into place, takes one last drag and is about to put the cigarette out when there’s a bright flash and a loud clicking noise. She turns around to see Jess’ Polaroid camera (which usually stays in the trunk, because who wants to take pictures of the end of the world?) spitting out a black square and its owner smirking at her. Jo wants to roll her eyes and make some smartass remark about capturing precious moments – she’s naked, for fuck’s sake – but she doesn’t really feel it. She can't help wondering if that’s the same camera that took the other picture.
She puts the cigarette out and crawls back onto the bed, managing a smirk at least, to match the one Jess is still sporting. “Something else you wanna remember?” Jess just keeps on smiling and blows on the picture.
Jo gets under the covers and doesn’t realize she falls asleep until Jess wakes her up. It’s dark out now, the only light coming from dim lamp across the room. “The rain stopped,” Jess says. “We need to go.” Jo groans but she gets up anyway, trying to figure out which clothes are hers and which are Jess’ before deciding it doesn’t really matter.
On the other side of the room, Jess pulls her jeans on and there’s just enough light to see her slip two photographs into her back pocket.