July 17th, 2011
Supernatural: Dean/ofc, preseries, R, 3,940 words.
In truth, it was pretty clear how the whole thing was going to end when he walked ragged and rainsoaked into her bar and asked for a whiskey, double, thanks babe, with a smile that turned into slightly murderous when somebody shoved a quarter into the jukebox and overrode Johnny Thunders with something twenty years and a Clapton's worth of guitar genius away from being classic.
Lucy could tell herself that she should have known better, but in truth, it was pretty clear how the whole thing was going to end when he walked ragged and rainsoaked into her bar and asked for a whiskey, double, thanks babe, with a smile that turned into slightly murderous when some asshole shoved a quarter into the jukebox and overrode Johnny Thunders with something twenty years and a Clapton's worth of guitar genius away from being classic.
He looked like he hadn't slept in a week and when he leaned in over the counter, she saw that his black shirt was dark with something redder than rain. "If that's yours, you need an ambulance, not whiskey," she said. "Or else you need a whole hell of a lot more than a double."
"Double's a good place to start, though, right?" he said. His breath smelled like beer, but then, the scent tended to permeate the bar. "Only the human part's mine."
"Yeah, and what's the rest?" She didn't need to look away as she reached for a glass; the glasses were in the same place they'd been for the past ten years.
Flash of his tongue between his teeth as though in thought and then his mouth quirked. "Dunno. Fucker had fangs, though, and a real bad attitude. Guess it wasn't used to visitors."
She poured, set the glass down in front of him. "You get bit?"
"Nah, fucker had claws, too." He lifted the glass, savored the mouthful for a moment before swallowing. "I'm Dean."
"Lucy," she said.
"I love Lucy," he said, taking another swallow. "The show, I mean. I love 'I Love Lucy.'"
"Would you believe that's the first time I ever heard that one?" she said, cocking an eyebrow.
He grinned crookedly. "Pretty girl like you, I'd believe every word outta your mouth."
"Honey, I might not be old enough to be your mother, but I can guaran-damn-tee you that I've heard a lot more lines than've ever been spoken by your pretty mouth, and believe me, that one don't impress."
He pursed his lips, drained his glass. "You know, I think you're the first bartender who's ever called me pretty who I haven't punched in the nuts."
"Should I take that as a compliment or just be glad I don't have nuts for you to punch?"
"The first," he said. "Definitely the first. Though I'm glad we got the nuts thing outta the way, 'cause if you did, it would'a been one mindfuck of a revelation in bed."
She poured again without asking; he nodded his thanks. "Are you always this forward or is tonight special?"
"Hey, I might be dying of whatever the fuck tried to tear my ribs out," he said. "Could be my last night, I wanna make every moment count."
"Oh, they're counting," she said. "Believe me, they're counting. Guy comes into my bar, bleeds all over the place and then assumes I'm gonna do anything more than eighty-six his ass and call the cops? Counts for a hell of a lot."
"'Bleeding all over the place?'" he echoed. "Are you always this much of a drama queen or is tonight special?"
"'It's just a flesh wound,' right? Last hunter who went with that one near dropped dead half an hour later, fucked up my nice clean floor."
"So you're used to hunters, then."
"Eighty percent of my business, kiddo. You're telling me outta all the bars in the world, you happen to walk into mine with a story about something with fangs without knowing that?"
He lifted one shoulder in a half-hearted shrug, winced like the gesture hurt more than he'd expected. "Okay, so maybe I heard a thing or two."
"Yeah, maybe you did," she said, just as blandly. He shrugged again, more restrained this time, and looked down at his whiskey. She bit her lip for a moment, went back to polishing the bar. Not that it really needed as much, but it wasn't like there was much else to do, being fully stocked already and what with it being past two on a Tuesday morning. Even the asshole who'd turned off the Johnny Thunders was shrugging into his coat, staggering for the door. It was good to know there were still some people in the world who had to get up at a decent hour. She hadn't been one for a long time. "So you come to town to hunt something you don't even know what it was and you nearly get yourself killed in the process."
"Looks like," he said. "Except for the nearly getting killed part. Like I said, flesh wound."
"Uh-huh," she said. "And you end up here looking for what, exactly?"
"Hey, sign above the door said 'bar,' I thought maybe it'd be a good place to have a drink. You get a lotta people looking for something else?"
"You'd be surprised," she said. Glanced at his empty glass. "Last call." Pitched for his ears only; there wasn't anybody else in the room anymore.
He nodded. "The thing is," she said as she poured, "most hunters, they patch themselves up before they go out looking for a victory drink."
He swallowed, licked his lips and downed half of his glass before answering. She waited. She was used to waiting. "So I, uh. Thing is, it's kinda my, uh. My birthday. 'm twenty-five as of, uh, about two hours ago."
"And you're celebrating by getting drunk with your new chest wound."
He scratched the back of his neck. "Looks like, huh? I mean, unless you're offering."
"Nah, I only drink with bruised extremities," she said. She wondered for a moment, when he didn't react, if he'd lost more blood than she'd thought or if maybe it was that terribly unfunny of a joke, and then he grinned.
"Funny," he said. "That's funny."
She shrugged. "So why's it a sweet kid like you can't find somebody to drink with him on his birthday, huh?"
He lifted his glass again and she tried not to watch him swallow. She was nobody's mother and maybe it'd be legal, but that wouldn't make it right; the kid looked like he needed a hell of a lot more than she could give. "That's a hell of a long story," he said. "And one I'd have to be a hell of a lot drunker to tell." He raised an eyebrow as though in invitation, or in challenge. He probably thought it was cute, and he was right. She sighed.
"Lemme lock up," she said. "Do me a favor, put something else on the jukebox in the meantime."
"You got it," he said. She pretended not to watch as he pushed himself up from the bar with more effort than she thought it ought to have taken, pretended not to notice his limp as he maneuvered around tables toward the jukebox. Don't, she told herself. She turned away.
He was back at the bar by the time she was done. He'd helped himself to the bottle and it sat next to his glass on the scarred wood. "Didn't figure you for a Janis fan," she said.
He shrugged. The movement looked less painful, this time, and she glanced at the decreased level of amber in the bottle, thought again that this was a bad idea. Sure, because the alternative, letting him die of exposure and blood loss in some alleyway on the way back to his motel room or car or wherever the fuck he was staying would have been so much better, she told herself, and told herself too that the thought was motivated almost entirely by compassion, humanity, kindness. Not at all because dangerous, pretty boys with tragic stories and heartbreaking smiles were a weakness she'd never managed to outgrow.
She had a whole collection of scars testifying to that, not all of which were mental.
Aly had had eyes like his, huge and green and haunted.
She slid onto the stool beside his, reached over the counter for a glass of her own and poured a few fingers neatly. "So you were gonna tell me a story."
"Sure you don't want a better one?" he said. "I got lots'a stories."
"I'm sure you do," she said. "And if I wanted bullshit, all I'd have to do is listen to any of the assholes in here every night of the week, and they'd be paying me to do it."
"Hey, I'm paying you," he said.
"You haven't yet," she said.
"I haven't finished drinking yet," he said. "It's all on my tab."
"You don't have a tab," she said. "I'm waiting until I hear your story to decide whether to make you one or just to take your ass to the E.R."
He bit his lip. "E.R's not so much an option. There's gonna be cops there and I'm kinda . . . wanted."
There was a pistol below the cash register and she was carrying four knives on her person. She reminded herself that a rational person would be afraid and would be comforted by remembering their presence. "For?"
"You know what it's like, you said you know hunters."
"Point taken. So tell me your story. Twenty-five years old and you're out hunting monsters instead of in some pretty girl's -- boy's?" His eyes widened, narrowed quickly. "Girl's, then, bed."
He drained his glass, refilled it with less than steady hands. "Monsters don't take the night off, why should I, you know?" She raised an eyebrow and he shrugged again. "So normally I would, right, I'd be all over the pretty girl's bed. And all over her."
"But tonight's different."
"Yeah," he said. He drained his glass, slammed it back down on the bar with enough force that it spun out of his grip and he had to reach hastily, clumsily, to keep it from rolling away. "Tonight, tonight I figure, what's the fucking point? Like it's gonna be any different from last year. And there's a job to do, so I go and I, I do it, and this whole time I'm thinking maybe this year's the year he's gonna call, and I'm waiting for my phone to ring, and I'm hoping so fucking hard that maybe he's gonna, maybe not even say anything, you know? Just that his name's gonna show up on my fuckin' caller ID, that I don't even notice when this fucking, like, snake demon with claws comes up behind me and it nearly slices me open before I can even reach my gun."
She took a sip of her own whiskey. Swallowed. "I thought it was just a flesh wound."
"My flesh's wounded," he said. "Works out to about the same thing."
She nodded. Fair enough. "Who's 'he?'"
Dean blinked. "'He?'"
"You said you were hoping that 'he' was gonna call."
"Oh. My, uh. My kid brother, he's at college."
"And you don't talk?"
"Not since he told me to get the fuck outta his life." His smile was bitter. It made him look old. Much older than twenty-five. "But I keep hoping, you know? This stupid, pathetic, fucked-up hope. And fuck, I think I'm kinda wasted, I don't know why I'm telling you this shit. I never told anybody this shit, not even Dad."
She hummed in her throat. "You got someplace to stay?"
"You're kicking me out?" Surprise in his voice, though not as much as she'd have expected a little while ago, and not as much hurt as she'd have expected, either.
"From the bar, yeah, but I was gonna suggest going to my place upstairs." She paused. "Unless there's someplace I can give you a ride to, 'cause no way you're driving like this."
"Well, okay then." His grin was brighter now than it had been, less bitter, but she thought that was mostly to do with the whiskey.
She hadn't even known him two hours, and already he was breaking her heart. Well, she had seen it coming.
He kissed her like manslaughter on the stairs, got his hands under her ass and lifted her against the wall, his tongue slipping into her mouth. She reached for the banister with one hand and kissed him back, eased away when her other hand touched the dampness of his shirt. "Let's get you cleaned up first," she said, willing her heart to slow. His eyes were hooded, unreadable in the poor light of the stairwell, but after a moment, he nodded, his head lolling forward for a second until she took him by the arm.
In the bright light of her bathroom, he shrugged out of his jacket and she helped him lift his shirt over his head. Half-naked, he sank down to the floor, his back to the wall like a cornered punch-drunk prizefighter or a caged animal. Blood slicked all down his chest, and when she touched his ribs, close to what she thought was the source of the blood, he flinched. "You should really be seeing a doctor," she said. She already knew that he wouldn't.
"'m fine," he said, his words slurred, his head tilted back against the wall and his eyes closed. Maybe he'd pass out, then, and make this easier. She ran water in the sink, soaked a towel, pressed it to his chest. This time, he didn't react.
By the time his chest was clean and the wound visible, the towel was permanently ruined and he was asleep, breathing heavily.
Claws, he'd said. Sure, some claws looked like knives, but.
Lucy had patched up more than one knife wound in her life, and that was exactly what this looked like.
She wondered what he was wanted for, exactly. "Being a hunter" covered a lot of things.
He didn't wake, not while she bandaged him, not trusting herself to do stitches at the moment, at that angle, and even when she had finished, when she shook his shoulder and spoke his name, he woke only enough to be guided into the bedroom, guided down onto the bed, his head on the pillows. She told herself that it was because he was passed out drunk, and not a little exhausted, too, or that maybe it was because he trusted her for some fucking stupid reason.
She knew herself better than that, though. She knew what it was like not to care anymore.
She shrugged off her t-shirt, stepped out of her jeans, slid beneath the blankets on the other side of the bed. She could hear the garbage trucks beginning their routes long before she fell asleep.
He was still there in the morning, still breathing, still alive, still asleep. She pulled on one of the t-shirts Brian had left behind. It was large enough on her to provide at least a modicum of decency, or at least the illusion thereof. She was making coffee in the kitchen when she heard a small noise behind her. She turned sharply out of reflex and he was leaning in the doorway of her bedroom, barefoot, in the jeans he'd slept in, the white of the bandages somehow startling on his chest despite the fact that she'd been the one to put them there. He blinked red-rimmed eyes at her, flushed. "Lucy," he said, cleared his throat. "I was, uh. Thanks for, for fixing me up. Sorry I was so fucked up."
"The snake demon you said attacked you," she said. "It have a knife?"
His smile hurt to look at, self-deprecating as it was, and it didn't reach his eyes. "You know the world's fucked up when even snake demons gotta go around armed."
She poured him a cup of coffee and he shuffled forward to take it. Their hands brushed briefly. His jaw worked, but he didn't say anything.
"I'm sorry your brother didn't call you," she said.
His shoulder twitched. "I should be used to it, it's been years."
"Doesn't make it any easier," she said mildly.
"I guess," he said. "Look, I'll get going, get outta your hair, okay?"
"You could stay for breakfast," she said. "I'm not a great cook, but there's cereal, or toast."
"Thanks, but I'm not really hungry. And I should hit the road, there's a place I gotta be by tonight."
He inclined his head ever so slightly. "Coffee, okay." She reached out to take his cup from him; she refilled it along with her own and then they sat side by side on her sofa, looking out the window. It had been light for hours, but the air still looked cold, and the rooftops across the way looked glossy with rain. She drew her knees up to her chest like a child. She would be thirty-nine in the spring and she was sitting in her underwear and a band t-shirt next to a beautiful broken boy, just like she had nineteen years ago, a month before Aly had killed himself. She felt older than she had then, felt every one of those nineteen years, but she didn't feel any smarter. She still didn't have the words that would make anything okay.
She looked over at him, at Dean. He was studying his hands. They looked like boxer's hands, fighter's hands. They were. "It wasn't a snake demon," he said suddenly. "I was hustling." He didn't look up.
She set her cup down on the coffee table and reached over to take his from him. He let it go easily and she set it alongside her own. She placed her hands on his face, on his jaw, and he let her. Stubble rasped against her palms, making them itch. "Sweetheart," she said. His eyes were lowered; he still wouldn't meet hers. She leaned in, kneeling on the cushion. She wanted to say something else, something more, but she couldn't think of what. "Sweetheart," she repeated. It was repetitive, but at least it wasn't asinine.
"You don't gotta say anything," he said. Her hands were still on his face and she could feel his mouth moving as he spoke. "I just wanted, I thought you should know the truth."
"The truth is that you got hurt," she said. "The way it happened doesn't make it better or worse."
"Yeah," he said. He looked up at her at last, eyes like the broken bottle glass lining the alley two stories below. His hands found their places on her face, a mirror of her own on his, and when he kissed her this time she thought, or remembered, that sometimes sorrow and grief tasted like nothing more than coffee; sometimes they were intangible and indefinable and that made them easy to cover up, but so much harder to drive away.
He fucked her slow and easy on the couch; she mouthed at his neck, bit at his shoulders, but was careful not to touch his chest any more than she had to, any more than he demanded. She knew that hurt helped, sometimes, so she didn't tell him not to aggravate the wound, didn't tell him to be careful. The clouds came over the sun again and darkened the room and she heard a siren pass by somewhere far off. His jeans were caught around his calves and she was still wearing Brian's t-shirt. He palmed her tits through the fabric, slipped one hand down her belly to stroke her between the thighs. When he came he buried his face against her neck, in the tangle of her unbraided hair, and what started as a curse ended rough and raw. She didn't come, but she hadn't expected to, and she didn't need to.
They lay together for a little while, his head resting on her shoulder. She wondered, not at all for the first time, how it would have been with Aly, but that was a dangerous thing to think about, and nothing good ever came of it. She wanted a cigarette, but that was such a fucking cliché and she didn't even know where she'd left her pack. Dean kissed her neck and eased himself up, standing so that he could do up his jeans. She sat up, too, and tugged up her panties, adjusted the neckline of her shirt so that it wasn't hanging off of one shoulder.
Dean licked his lips. "Do you, uh. My shirt, the one I was wearing yesterday, was it salvageable?"
"Only as crime scene evidence, kid," she said. "Bedroom closet, shelf all the way on the left, there's some shirts my, a friend left, should fit you if you wanna try one of 'em."
He nodded. "Thanks." She smiled, ducked her head and reached for her coffee. It had gone cold, but it was drinkable. He was wearing one of Brian's shirts beneath his jacket when he came back, and he was wearing his boots, too. He ran a hand through his hair, shifted as he stood before her. "I should, uh."
"The place you gotta be by tonight," she said. "Right."
"Right." He slid a hand into the pocket of his jacket, came out with a wallet. "The tab from last night, did you, uh, get a chance to calculate it, or--" He'd flipped the wallet open as he spoke and he paled abruptly when he caught a glimpse of its contents. She couldn't see much, from where she was sitting, but she could see enough to know that it didn't contain any cash. She wondered how much he'd lost, if it had been money at all.
"On the house," she said. That, at least, she could do. It wasn't much, in the scheme of things, but it was better than nothing. "Happy twenty-fifth."
His breath, when he exhaled, was shaky. He looked shaky. She looked at him and saw a scared kid in army boots and a leather jacket, battle-weary and pretending to be tougher than he thought he was, she looked at him and saw the pretty girl she'd seen and fallen in love with the day that she met Aly, she looked at him and saw the way Aly had wanted to see himself. She wondered if that would have been enough to save him.
She looked at Dean and she wanted to save him, too, but in the end, she'd only ever been able to save herself, and not very well, either.
"Get your chest checked out," she said. "Once you're across state lines or . . . wherever."
"Yeah," he said. He sounded like he was lying, but she had no choice but to believe him, if she wanted to be able to sleep at night.
She hadn't been good at sleeping at night for a long time. One more thing to keep her up wouldn't matter, not in the long run.
"Okay then," she said. "Take care a' yourself, Dean."
He smiled crookedly at that, and he raised a hand in something that was half-wave and half-salute, and then he left.
She had known better, she told herself, sitting cross-legged on her couch and listening as his footsteps faded away, down the hall and down the stairs, going somewhere she didn't know. He hadn't lied to her when he'd left. He hadn't made a promise that he didn't know he'd be able to keep. She wondered if it would have been easier if he had.
She carried both mugs to the kitchen and set his in the sink. She ran hot water over it, and she turned off the tap. She refilled her cup with hot coffee, hot enough that she could barely taste it over the way it burned her mouth.
Current Music: emmylou harris, "michelangelo"
This hurt to read, for Dean and for Lucy.
Very richly written characters.
The first sentence was so good.
I'm glad it worked for you -- thank you! :)
Oh my goodness, that's so sad, for both of them. I really hate to think of Dean alone like that -- his loneliness is so palpable in this, so - to use a kind of a melodramatic word for a not-melodramatic fic - tragic. Your OC was interesting, too, world-weary but not without tenderness. Lovely and sad.
I'm so glad that the story, and the OC, worked, despite the sadness (and that it didn't come across as melodramatic!) . . . thank you! <3
This one of those devastating fics, but it really brings to life what Dean's life was like before the start of S1, and for that it is invaluable. It's one of those I would definitely rec to anyone who didn't seem to understand. And also for having incredibly in-depth OCs, and oh such tragedy, what you do to me.
Always you say such kind things. Thank you! <3
This is really a very powerful story, I like it a lot! Very well written and with such likeable characters! And Dean, well ... I just want to hug him and tell him everything's gonna be ok and that Sammy will call ...
I'm so glad that you enjoyed it! Thank you very much for the note. :)
Wow, this is a beautifully written character-study - of both characters. What an awesome, awesome OC. <3
I've just recced this here
Thank you so much for the note, and for the lovely rec! I'm delighted that you enjoyed this. <3
Beautifully done- one damn thing after another, and in the end you even know why she can't even try to help. And you created another hunters' bar, for which you must be honored.
Now, if you could just have Sam remember to call Dean- or John, at least:(
Thank you, very much! :)
(I think that Sam spent the whole night thinking about calling. Not that that makes it better, since ultimately he didn't . . .)
Ouch! Great character voice, and I like the melancholy mood.
This was a beautiful character study and beautifully descriptive as well. I particularly loved:
He looked up at her at last, eyes like the broken bottle glass lining the alley two stories below
Reading that line, I could really see his eyes and the expression in them so clearly.
This was a very moving story without ever being heavy handed. Awesome job:)
I'm so glad that this worked for you. Thank you very much for the lovely note! :)
Oh, very nice.
"...sometimes sorrow and grief tasted like nothing more than coffee." Isn't that the truth?
|Date:||July 20th, 2011 03:38 pm (UTC)|| |
So wonderful, honey. The emotion in the details has me choked up something fierce. I can't wait to read this one again.
|Date:||July 22nd, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)|| |
Oh, thank you -- what a gorgeous rec! I sincerely appreciate it. :)
Lucy is an amazingly well fleshed out character for such a short piece of writing. I like that you made her aware of hunters. Her observations of Dean are very revealing. Dean just hurts to read. Very nicely done.
I'm so glad that Lucy worked for you, and that the story as a whole worked for you, as well. Thank you, very much, for the note! :)
Oh, guh. This is absolutely perfectly stunning. ♥
|Date:||July 23rd, 2011 02:14 am (UTC)|| |
|Date:||July 23rd, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)|| |
You filled this with so much texture and just enough hurtin' to really pull me in. Wonderfully drawn encounter.
I'm delighted that it worked for you! Thank you very much for the note. :)
Thank you very much for the kind words, and for letting me know! :)
This felt real and true to what Dean's situation could have been around that time. His loneliness was palpable and believable, and Lucy came across just as layered as if she were a character on the show. Thank you for writing sharing this little gem.
|Date:||August 12th, 2011 02:51 am (UTC)|| |
Thank you for reading it, and for leaving such a lovely note! I'm so happy that this worked for you. :)
Oh! This is so very gorgeous! And kind of painful, too.
Not at all because dangerous, pretty boys with tragic stories and heartbreaking smiles were a weakness she'd never managed to outgrow. ~ LOVE that line. ♥ It sums up the Winchesters perfectly.
And I always adore your OFCs so damn much!
Thank you, so much! You always say such kind things. :)
Goodness me, this was one of the best Outsider!POVs I've ever read. The Lucy you've created here was so full of life and grief, experience and memories, an awesome, outstanding original character. Her interactions with Dean were precious and painful, and Dean being so messed up and alone really broke my heart.
Thank you for writing and sharing this gem!