They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Summary: John Winchester rarely ever went on a hunt with another hunter, but when his friend, Bill Harvelle called in need of help, he just couldn't say no. My take on what happened on Bill Harvelle's last hunt.

A/N: This story is quite different from any other story I've written, so I really hope you like it. It focuses more on John than anything, so don't let the whole, Bill/Ellen/Jo thing turn you away.

Disclaimer: I don't in any way, shape, or form, own Supernatural, or anything you recognize from the show. If I did, I doubt I'd be writing fanfiction. lol.

I also do not claim ownership to the line "They shoot horses, don't they?" It belongs to the really old movie that goes by the same name. I heard the line from the movie and it intrigued me so much, it sparked this little plot bunny.


­Bill Harvelle and his wife Ellen had known John Winchester for nearly three years now. Bill knew from the moment John stepped into the bar that he was a hunter. He had that cautious, badass, hunter way about him. John started stopping by the saloon every once and a while after a hunt. At first, he was very anti-social, always keepings his eyes trained on his glass of whiskey, never daring to say a single word besides his drink order. He'd sit there, always by himself, jotting down notes in his journal while looking at old newspaper clippings and pages from mythology books.

After seeing John in his bar quite a few times after a period of five months, Bill decided to make the first move. He approached John while he was pouring over an old theology text book and scribbling down notes in his journal.

"Whatcha huntin'?" Bill asked as he slid onto the barstool beside John.

John looked up from his book and gave Bill a steely gaze. He didn't say anything, but looked at Bill suspiciously.

"You are a hunter, aren't you?" Bill said, with a knowing smirk.

"Yes," John said evenly. "How did you know that?" he asked. There was an underlying tone to John's voice that said, "If you give me the wrong answer, you'll be dead before you hit the ground."

"Hunters have been known to pass through here. I know the type," Bill explained. "Especially since me being one, myself," he added. John's expression remained steady and unfaltering. Bill figured that John wasn't a very forth coming kind of guy. He gave a soft laugh and extended his hand. "The name's Bill."

John glanced down at Bill's offered hand and then back up at Bill, quickly determining whether he was a friend or foe. He sensed no immediate threat, so her gripped Bill's hand, in a strong hand shake. "John."

From that point on, whenever John entered Harvelle's Roadhouse he was greeted with a welcoming hello and a smile by both Bill and Ellen. Months would pass, and Bill and John talked more often, discussing the hunts they went on, theories on how to kill some of the things they encountered, and of course, their families.

Before long, Bill and John, as well as Ellen and little five year old Jo had become rather close, John being like the brother that Bill was never fortunate enough to have.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

A couple years had passed since John and Bill's friendship developed. They had come to know one another, know each other's hunting style. So naturally, they knew that neither one of them rarely ever hunted with another person; they were both more of the 'do it solo' kind of hunters. But Bill was working on a case in Louisiana, and unlike John, he knew when to admit when he was in over his head.

Bill had called home that afternoon to do his routine check up on Ellen and Jo. While Bill and Ellen talked over the phone, she mentioned that John was there.

John was among some of the best hunters that he'd met. He had a lot of experience and knew a lot about a lot of things, so he thought maybe John could help him out with the hunt. Bill asked Ellen to hand the phone over to John so he could talk to him and she agreed.

John took the phone in his hands. "Bill? How's that hunt going for you?" he said.

Bill sighed into the phone. "Not so good, actually. I know you usually work on your own and you have to get back to your boys, but I would really appreciate it if you could come down here and give me a hand," Bill said sincerely.

John looked down at his watch for a moment and then said, "I'll be there by 5 o'clock tomorrow night."

Bill gave a silent sigh of relief. "Thank you, John," Bill said.

John was silent for a moment before saying, "I'll be seein' you, Bill." With that, he handed the phone back over to Ellen. John stood up from his place at the bar while Ellen and Bill said their goodbyes. She hung up the phone and turned to see John slipping on his old, beat up leather jacket. John tossed a few bills onto the bar to pay for his drink before looking up at Ellen.

"You be safe now, ya hear?" Ellen said, slinging a damp rag over her shoulder as she leaned on the bar with her hands. John nodded in reply. "And you bring back my Bill," she said.

"I will, I promise," John said, with a faint smile. He walked over to the door, pausing before he stepped outside to turn around and give Ellen one final wave.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

At 5 o'clock the next evening, John entered the Southern Louisiana town that Bill was staying in, just like he said he would. John found Bill's motel room and they quickly stepped inside to discuss the hunt.

Bill said they were hunting some kind of low-level "Hell spawn". It had already attacked and mutilated three unsuspecting campers, leaving them to bleed to death on the cold ground in the middle of the woods. He said how a few old mythology books had said that a simple silver bullet to the heart would kill the sucker, but a select few said how a Latin ritual of some sort, close to that of an exorcism, would send the thing back to Hell.

Bill said that all the victims were all alone and completely oblivious to their surroundings when they were attacked. And each one of them was dragged out into forest and was found dead a few feet away from their campground.

John and Bill devised a plan on how to kill the beast; lure it out, and then, when it's least expecting it, empty a clip of silver bullets into it.

The two hunters packed their supplies and trekked out into the general area where the campers had been found dead. Bill kept a .45 pistol, loaded with silver, tucked safely in the back of his jeans. He walked along the trail, flashlight in his hand, and he kept watch for anything out of the ordinary lurking in the shadows.

John hid behind a bush, a good twenty feet away from Bill, keeping his eyes trained on the surrounding area. He kept his eyes and ears open for any movement or noises in the distance, anything that would suggest an impending threat against his friend. John heard a twig snap in the distance. He aimed his gun at the area he assumed the sound had come from, gazing expectantly at the shadows, waiting for the creature to leap onto the trail.

Bill must have heard the sound as well, because he quickly pulled his gun from the back of his jeans, and propped his gun-holding hand on top of the hand holding the flashlight. He kept his gun and flashlight trained in the area where he heard the sound off to the right of the trail.

After a moment or two of staring at a portion of the forest, and not seeing anything, Bill lowered his gun and flashlight. But as soon as he turned, a large black shadowy figure leapt out from the left side of the trail.

John saw the creature soar from out of the murky depths of the forest, heading straight for Bill. It looked like a large hooded figure in a billowing black cloak. It's menacingly large white teeth and long talons glistened in the moonlight as it flew through the air. John fired off two silver bullets at the creature, but they merely passed through it like it was nothing but air. The silver bullets didn't kill the thing, but John could tell it at least hurt the creature by the agonized shriek it let out.

But the silver bullets weren't enough to fend off the creature, because it tackled Bill to the hard ground as it sliced its long talons through the air.

John ran from out behind the bush, and fired another shot. The beast let out another shriek and bounded at John, knocking him back against a tree. It swung it's talons through the air, but John dodged out of the way in time to just be grazed by the tips of the creature's talons. John winced as he fell to the ground and felt three even claw marks slash the sleeve of his shirt and cut his shoulder. The creature loomed over John's form as he lay on the ground, growling menacingly, showing him its pearly whites. But John lifted his gun and emptied the clip of pure silver bullets into the creature. It screeched in pain and its billowing form slunk back into the shadows, eager to escape.

John stood up from the ground, favoring his injured shoulder, and walked over to where Bill had been attacked. He picked up the abandoned flashlight that lay a few feet away from Bill's form on the ground. John did not know how bad his friend's injuries were, until he cast the beam of the flashlight across his friend's body.

Bill lay on the ground, covered in blood. He was cup deeply in many different places. Bill kept his hands clamped over the two large, deep wounds on his abdomen. Another slash from the creature's talons crossed from Bill's left shoulder down to the right side of his chest and blood was beginning to ooze out of Bill's mouth.

Bill looked up at John, struggling to keep his vision in focus, and said in garbled speech, "Did ya get it?"

John sighed and shook his head. "No, I didn't get it," he said, looking down at Bill gravely.

John looked over Bill's body, noting the large amount of blood that had already been lost and knew that the likelihood of his friend making it out of the forest and to a hospital alive was slim to none.

And Bill knew this too.

Bill lifted a trembling, blood stained hand, and weakly grabbed a hold of John's arm. "Tell Ellen and Jo I loved them, would ya?" Bill mumbled weakly around a mouth full of blood.

John looked down at Bill for a moment, before nodding. "I will," he said softly.

Bill let his eyes fall shut for a moment as he let out a few raspy, gargling breaths. When he looked back up at John, eyes beginning to fill with tears, he said softly, "I want you to kill me, John…. I don't wanna suffer and we both know I'm not gonna make it. I want you to kill me."

John saw Bill's hazel eyes glaze over, saw the paleness of his skin, his blood stained clothes, and closed his eyes as he nodded. John stood up from the ground and looked down at Bill.

One last look of understanding, of compassion, of friendship, of brotherhood, passed between the two men as John fired off two gun shots, killing his friend, Bill Harvelle.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

John pulled into the familiar parking lot of the Roadhouse. He really didn't want to do this, but he had to, he had no choice. He just couldn't not tell Ellen that Bill was dead.

Many times on the long drive back from Louisiana, John contemplated calling Ellen and telling her over the phone, but Ellen had become as good a friend to John as Bill was, and he just couldn't tell her the horrible news like that. He knew he had to tell her, face to face. But how was he supposed to walk in there and tell the family of his dear friend that their beloved husband and father, was dead?

John heaved a deep weary sigh before pulling open the front door of the Roadhouse and stepping inside. Ellen stood behind the bar, wiping down the counter top, and John spotted young Jo at the other end of the room. Her long blonde hair was pulled into two braided pigtails as she sat on the floor, coloring pictures in a coloring book.

Ellen looked up at the sound of the door opening. "Hey, John," she greeted. Her brow furrowed as she noticed something amiss. "Is Bill out getting his things?" she asked.

John didn't say a word, or dared to meet Ellen's eyes, he just stood there with his hands burrowed inside the pockets of his jacket.

Ellen took in John's disheveled appearance, the dark circles sweeping beneath John's hazel eyes, and his blood stained clothes. Ellen felt her stomach drop down to the floor as a feeling of dread washed over her. She tossed her rag onto the bar and quickly stepped around the bar and stood directly in front of John. "John, where's Bill?" she said forcefully. It was then that John looked into Ellen's fear-filled eyes.

At the other end of the room, Jo, no longer interested in coloring her pictures, put down her crayon and stood up from the floor. She watched with big, curious brown eyes as she saw the color drain from her mother's face. Jo watched her mother gasp and clamp her hands over her mouth as she shook her head furiously in disbelief. She watched bemusedly as tears began to stream down her mother's face as she continued to shake her head. Jo looked to John, whose face was pale, but a blank slate of emotion as he watched Ellen weep sorrowfully.

Suddenly Ellen's gaze hardened as she looked at John coldly. "Get out!" Ellen shouted, pointing a trembling finger towards the door. "John Winchester, I don't want to ever see you in my bar ever again! Ya hear me? You get out and you don't come back!" Ellen shouted fiercely through a tear clogged voice.

John stood for a moment, staring at Ellen's grief stricken face, and then nodded. He turned and stepped out of Harvelle's Roadhouse without looking back, knowing that he was never going to step foot there ever again. Not that he thought he'd ever be able to.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

John sat behind the wheel of the Impala as he sped down the deserted back roads highway, heading for Blue Earth, Minnesota, where his boys Sam and Dean were currently staying with his friend, Jim Murphy. The car was unearthly silent, save for the melodic purr of the Impala's engine. John gripped the wheel with his right hand as he kept his left elbow propped on the door. He chewed his thumb nail as a myriad of thoughts bombarded his muddled and somnolent mind.

You lied to Ellen.

"I told her that Bill died," he said to himself.

You didn't tell her that you were the one that killed him.

"She didn't need to know."

You didn't even try to save him.

"There was nothing I could do. It was too late for him."

You killed him. He was your friend

Why did you do it?

"He asked me to."

Is that the best excuse that you got?

"They shoot horses, don't they?"


A/N: Reviews are very much appreciated. :)