Setting: Somewhere after The Wolf Among Us though not so long after

AU because it's an OC pairing


Bigby simply wanted somewhere that he could drink in peace. Somewhere where he could reliably go and not get his ass handed to him by some pissed off Fable.

This had brought him to Trusty John. The man knew a little of everything and lived to help.

"Where could a tired sheriff get a drink with few to no disgruntled Fables?" Bigby asked, scratching the back of his head and looking askance as he asked. He felt a little like a coward but Fables didn't like him and he was tired of arguing with them over it.

"I've heard the Mortar and Pestle is a nice little place. Cozy and out of the way. But a true bar, not a club or a trendy spot."

Bigby grinned, now certain this had been a good idea. The doorman knew exactly what he was asking.

"And where is this place?"

"Down Kipling a block then turn right. Looks like an alley but you should be able to see the sign."

The sheriff expressed a grunt of thanks and pushed out of the Woodlands and into the cool night. Everything was frosty and he regretted not grabbing a scarf to go with his trench coat.

It took not ten minutes to reach the bar and he hurried inside, closing the door quickly to keep the cold at bay. He winced a little as the thought triggered less pleasant feelings. Snow had been downright frosty to him even since Bloody Mary's defeat. She did not trust him and constantly nagged at him about being "nice" and doing things "by the book." As if he didn't. That was the insulting part. If there was violence, he must have started it. If there were words exchanged, he was asked with a heavy sigh what had he done to provoke them. No credit at all and no trust.

He looked up for the first time, taking in the joint. Warm wood gleamed everywhere through the long but narrow space and a heavy carved bar ran down the right wall partway. There was an improbable fireplace against the far wall and small tables and arm chairs throughout. It was the perfect sort of sleepy European pub that he had been craving.

A woman stood up from where she had been crouched behind the bar. The first, most striking thing about her was her honey-blonde hair, swept back into a thick braid. Her extremely light skin was dotted with freckles over every part of her skin he could see and she was unusually tall for a Fable female.

Blue eyes met his own and she smiled a greeting.

"What'll it be, sheriff?"

He wasn't surprised she recognized him, but he was surprised he wasn't particularly familiar with her. How could she own a business and NOT end up at the Woodlands offices every week like all the other business owners in town?

"Pilsner," he answered, taking one of the stools along the bar.

She pulled a face at him and poured a beer from the tap. "We'll have to work on that," she teased, setting the beer down in front of him.

He smiled back, a rarity if he was honest and his eyes landed on her wrists as they peeked out from the sleeves of her Sarah Lund sweater. Encircling each wrist was a golden feather tattoo, but below the ink, the skin was scarred and thick. This set off something in Bigby's memory but he could not put a finger on what.

"Nice," he said, nodding at the tattoos.

"Thank you," she replied, holding out her wrists and twisting them in the light. "I paid to give them a little glow. I'd say it was worth it."

She turned back to what she had been working at before and Bigby turned his attention to his drink. Behind him and to the left, a chair scraped and Bigby felt his muscles tense. Maybe John had been wrong about this place.

"Well well well..." a voice like buttered rum poured over him.

Bigby knew the voice without even turning to look. "Shere Khan."

"Who would have guessed you would turn up here, sheriff? You seem to assume that you are welcome wherever you please. In our government, in our stores, in our homes..."

"I'm not looking for trouble." Huff and puff, Bigby was tired of saying that.

"But neither were we. And yet you always come looking for us."

"Shere Khan!" Both men jumped, almost forgetting the woman less than a yard away. "If you're looking to get you're ass kicked this is the best way to do it."

"Highly unlikely. I was a magnificent creature. Should the Sherif ever have the misfortune of meeting me in true form..."

"I wasn't talking about him, I was talking about myself. And that's big talk for a man who never pays his tab."

Bigby watched the other Fable's fist tighten but the glamoured tiger knew when it was quits. He threw not nearly enough money on the bar and left in a storm.

The woman smirked as she scooped it into her half apron pockets. "Asshole..." she said to herself amusedly.

"Thanks."

"No problem. Everyone deserves somewhere to drink in peace."

"What's your name?"

She gave him a look he couldn't read for a split second then brightened. "Helen," she said holding out her hand.

"Bigby," he said. As their hands clasped something again rang through him, something deeply familiar.