Title: like a coin that won't get tossed
Author: Vesper (Regina)
Warnings: Character death (off-screen)
Spoilers: "Fresh Blood"
Summary: "Listen, kid, I'm just trying to let you know what you're in for. You say you're in the market for a partner, well, so's he." 706 words.
Disclaimer: Not mine, except for Hank, and the nameless you. The named OC belongs to my sister.
Archival: If you wish to archive, please link to my website, or my Livejournal post. Please keep all my headers intact.
Notes: A remix of a scene from a story my sister has written, which she has now turned officially AU from this. She gave me permission to make free of her idea. I promised her something different than this, but this is what I wrote. Title from "Old Man" by Neil Young.
The bar is small, closed in, and where you sit, on a quiet night you can hear most of the conversations without even trying. You don't eavesdrop with purpose, but it doesn't make you lose sleep at night if you hear something, and besides, someone's got to know the dirt. You just supply another service, as needed as ammo, but far cheaper, sometimes.
So when Hank, the bartender, nod-points at the man seated in the far corner, not all that far from you, and says, "You see him, that man right there?", you start listening.
The kid he's talking to says, "You mean--the one that looks like he cut his hair with a knife, right? Takes talent to look that ragged."
"Yeah, that's him. Hey, don't stare, he don't appreciate that."
"Oh. One of those types."
"Yeah, one of those. John Sullivan. That's his name. No one really knows when he got into hunting, but the kind of experience he has...probably earned it early."
"So I hear."
The kid can't be anymore than 18, and that fact makes you feel older than you have for a long time. The kid leans back, twists sideways so he can put weight on the arm he slides along the length of the bar. Glances sidelong at the man in the corner and then back to the bartender. Something about that starts the thought you might have met him before, but you can't remember when.
"Yeah, you got a question, he can answer it. Crazy knowledgeable." The bartender raises a finger to his head, not quite the universal sign for crazy, but almost.
"He doesn't look it."
"See, that's the funny thing. He don't talk much to anyone, but sometimes he lets things slip. Like that he spent some time studyin' to be a lawyer."
"Everyone's got a different story."
"But most everyone can remember their story. That one...well. I hear things. Like, that he lost his memory, or some such like that. He'll be talkin', say somethin' like that, and then just stop like he couldn't believe it came out of his mouth."
Hank leans forward, placing his hands flat on the bar. "Listen, kid, I'm just tryin' to let you know what you're in for. You say you're in the market for a partner, well, so's he. But, there are others you can ask. I'm just sayin'. You've heard of Gordon Walker, right?"
"Right. Hunter gone bad. About twenty-five years ago, right?"
"Yeah, that's right. Well, John Sullivan's got the makings of another Gordon Walker. Everyone who's ever worked with him, calls him crazy. He gets the job done, sure, but he's not quite right."
"Well, thanks. But--I'll be the judge of that."
The kid gets off the barstool.
"You do that, kid, you do that."
The kid says, "Thanks," and pauses when Hank says, "And hey, I'm sorry about your dad. He was a good hunter. He'll be missed."
The kid nods, and that's when you remember who he is. Even being on the outskirts, you know who he is. By the time you pay attention again, you're looking at the kid's back and you have to strain to hear, but he's saying, "I hear you're looking for a partner."
John Sullivan takes a slow sip from his beer before he answers, "I am. You're kinda young, aren't you?"
"Older than I look."
"I'm in here, right?"
"Doesn't mean anything. It also doesn't matter how old you are. Just as long as you're not stupid in the field."
"Well, you won't know that until we're out there, will you?"
"You have a fire in you, don't you? Sit down. What's your name, son?"
"Like the rifle?"
"Hah, that's original."
You watch as the late Dean Winchester's son pulls out a chair, twists it around, and straddles it. He says, "Just one thing, old man, don't call me son. Only my dad got to do that. Call me Rob."
You look hard at your drink and stop listening. This isn't your concern. You've never had the pleasure of working with John Sullivan, but you hope Winchester's taught his son well. He's gonna need it.