Broadway's dark tonight
A little bit weaker than you used to be
Broadway's dark tonight
See the young man sittin' in the old man's bar
Waitin' for his turn to die
He always appears around 10PM, just as the place is beginning to empty. Once a month. Regular as clockwork.
His routine is always the same. He saunters inside, looking at no one and nothing; grabs two longneck beers; seats himself in the far corner of the bar. Nursing his drink while staring at the empty space on the other side of the small booth. One beer in his hand, the other full and sitting across from him, the condensation slipping down the amber colored bottle. He remains there, never talking though his actions speak volumes, until closing time.
As long as she's been tending bar, she has never seen a hunter quite like him. Sure, most hunters cloak themselves in danger and arrogance, but this one… He isthe danger. Cockiness is his mantra, even as he strides through the door, hitting the bar for a beer. She watches another bartender serve him, paying close attention to the way his shoulders are stiff with false pride, eyes staring at nothing. There's a darkness within him, something eating at his soul. Probably driving him crazy. It's what keeps him hidden in the shadows, behind the noise and cigarette smoke. He drinks one beer while the other one sits full, opposite of him.
As often as possible, she approaches him, under the guise of offering more liquid refreshment. She pays close attention to the pain-filled orbs as he slides the empty bottle her way, never glancing away from the booth seat facing him. He never asks for food; it seems he only wants the sweet forgetfulness only alcohol can offer.
She gets a small, vacant smile for her trouble, his lips curving upward as he mutters his thanks and slaps a Twenty on the tabletop absently. He is more than distracted, she senses, walking back to the bar for his drink. He's on another planet, in another time. Some other place. Eyes haunted by memory. His broken heart and soul written on his torn jacket sleeve, though he doesn't seem aware of that. Popping another bottle on his table, she understands. He drinks to revel in and forget yesterday.
One night, however, he seems different when the doors open and he strides in. She's been watching for him, standing behind the bar, wiping down glasses distractedly. She takes in his purposeful stride to the bar, smacking his hand on the booze-soaked wooden surface and ordering his usual. The way his eyes scan the sparsely crowded bar, lets his eyes linger on her face for a fraction of a second. She notices a spark of awareness in him, like he knows where he is… why he's there.
It's the reason she grabs two extra bottles of his favorite beer and walks to his hiding spot, plops into the seat across from him, sliding a beer to him while she ignores the annoyed look that crosses his eyes. She boldly stares at him, not letting his eyes look anywhere else but into hers. They sit shrouded in darkness, though the air is thick with unspoken words. His words. Whatever's been bothering him for the last several months, he wants to talk about it. The irritation is replaced with a look of profound sadness as he opens his mouth to speak.
He talks about his brother, a man she's never seen before. Speaks of their life growing up, of all the silly pranks they played on each other as children, starting with the time he put Nair in his brother's shampoo bottle. His eyes stay on her face, painfully guilt-ridden. His face is an empty canvas, but his dark hazel eyes glitter against the dimly lit room, filled with the multitudes of anguish and despair.
The words seem to fall from his lips like a leaky faucet in dire need of repair. Things that have been bottled up inside him for some time, as if he hasn't spoken to anyone in a very long time. At first she's confused: he mentions everything from a house fire to how their father, John Winchester (a man who held a star-like quality in the hunter community) taught them how to shoot a 22-gauge shotgun. She knows it was a hard life he led, this Winchester son: his words paint a myriad of images that would haunt her dreams for days to come.
All at once, he stops abruptly, taking a long swallow of beer, his face twisting in a grimace because the beer has turned warm with time. It doesn't stop him from finishing it, however, in another long gulp. Silently, she slides another full bottle towards him, urging him to lay it all out on the table. To her, a stranger, the easiest kind of person to talk to, she believes.
His eyes drop to the table, and his shoulders quake just a little. She reaches across with her hand, gently taking his hand and squeezing it a little. Encouragement is what she thinks he needs, but when he suddenly brushes her off, she leans back in the booth, a frown on her face.
"Why are you sitting here?" he asks gruffly, voice filled with emotion.
"Because you look like you could use someone to talk to," she replies frankly, shrugging her shoulders a little.
"Because you're a bartender and like to listen to sob stories? Sorry, sister. That ain't gonna happen with me." His words are biting, sarcastic. Hard. He looks up, glares at her. Trying to scare her away.
"Fine, whatever," she says, gazing intently at him for a long moment. She swears she sees his lower lip tremble a little and his eyes fill with unshed tears. "Just answer me one question before I leave you alone." She leans in a little, putting her elbows on the table.
His eyes spark with aggravation, but he doesn't verbally berate her out of the booth.
"Tell me why your brother isn't here with you tonight, hasn't been since you started coming in here. If you two are so close… where is he?" She chooses her words carefully, afraid of the surge of anger she feels might emanate from him.
His eyes instantly turn dull and his face contorts into utter despair. He looks like she just hit him in the face. "He's dead," he says simply, voice devoid of any emotion.
Despair and defeat return, but this time it's all over his face. She can't look away; her gut feels twisted up in knots, her heart thumping hard in her chest. She wishes she could wipe that look from him face: the look of death.
"Did I stutter?" he asks calmly, trying to muster a smile. "He was trying to save my life, and he died because of it." Looking at the bottle of beer in his hands, the cool water from the exterior moving between his fingers, he laughs bitterly. "To think, I sold my soul for him, and now there's nothing I can do to bring him back."