A/N: And...another one-shot. I should mention that there's a character death and a healthy dose of angst/booze. I'm fairly mean to Dean even though I love him, and this is set during the Apocalypse. To those of you waiting for the sequel to Disorientation...I suppose I lied when I said it would come out in the end of November/beginning of December. I'm stuck on it, so it might not come out until the end of January/beginning of February. We'll see whether or not I'm lying this time too. Anyway, enjoy!
Disclaimer: I hate these freakin' things. I own season one and season two on DVD, does that count for anything?
Bad Jokes About Bars
As the world outside was ending a man staggered into a bar. The bar, called Johnson's, was on the corner of the street, an old place with peeling paint that had seen better days. With every blast outside the foundations shook, but the patrons of the bar drowned their sorrows, toasted the end, and pretended that they couldn't hear the screams.
The man staggered inside. His jeans were ripped, the denim stained rust-colored with dried blood; one of his eyes was puffing up and there was a purplish bruise on his cheek; a gash on his forehead bled sluggishly, the crimson trail tracking down the side of his face. His black t-shirt was ripped across his chest and one sleeve was torn off, revealing a bicep with a handprint burned into it.
The man paused on the threshold, letting the door thud closed behind him. He limped to the bar and sat on the nearest stool with a thump. The bartender—a man named Buck—appeared in front of him the moment he sat.
"What's your poison, mister?"
"Whiskey." The man croaked. His voice was harsh and raspy, not louder than a whisper.
Buck poured a shot and set it in front of the man, who downed it and motioned for another. Buck obliged and leaned on the bar, wanting to say something but held to silence by hesitation. He chewed on the inside of his cheek and then looked at the man. "Is it bad out there?"
The man's hazel-green eyes lifted and they were dark with pain and heart-sickness.
"Yeah." He said, after a long moment. "It's bad." The entire bar was silent, hushed, every man and woman craning to hear every word that the man said. The man looked around the bar and gave a half-smile that seemed strange on his beaten face.
"How bad?" Buck said, asking the question that everyone wanted to ask.
The man's eyes closed for a brief moment and then opened again.
"If you still believe in God you'd better start prayin'." He said.
There was a particularly loud explosion and a burst of screams; the bar shook, the walls shuddering, the floor rolling beneath their feet. The man flinched, clutching the bar so hard his knuckles turned white. Buck poured him another shot when the walls had ceased to shake. The man tossed it back like it was nothing.
The door opened, the bell overhead jingling cheerfully as if it were still the days of Before, when there was such a thing as cheer. Buck and the patrons turned to look at the man standing in the doorway; the man at the bar didn't turn his head at all, just let the whiskey slide down his throat, burning.
"The world is falling apart, Dean, and you're getting drunk." The man in the doorway said, moving forward.
The man at the bar—Dean—flinched, his fingers tightening around the shot glass in his hand. But he didn't turn around.
The man in the doorway stalked farther in. "Dean." He said sharply. "There is work to be done."
Dean gritted his teeth together, still not turning around. "Go fuck yourself." He ground out. Buck poured him another shot.
Dean downed the shot and slammed the glass down on the table. "I don't care, Castiel. I don't care about "the Lord's work". I don't care if the world is ending. I. Don't. Care." He turned to face the man he knew was an angel.
"The world can still be saved, Dean." Castiel said. The humans in the bar watched the scene in silence. "But not without your help."
"I did everything you wanted to. I did everything that I was supposed to do. I gave up everything. And I don't care anymore."
"You do care, Dean. You care what happens to the people in this bar, in this town. You care whether they live or die. We need you. We need you to end this. The other side will win if you sit here in this bar and drown your sorrows and do nothing."
Dean's eyes were shadowed and he shook his head. "Don't you get it, Castiel? Don't you get it? Sam is dead." His voice wavered and he choked back a sob. He looked down at his hands, staring at them as though he had never seen them before, as though they belonged to another person entirely. "I killed my own brother." He said, in a little voice, the voice of the scared child he never had a chance to be. "I killed Sammy." He closed his eyes; a tear tracked its way down his cheek, following the trail of blood from the gash on his head.
"Did he die for nothing?" Castiel shot back. "Did he die just so that you could sit here and let the world be destroyed? He wouldn't want this!"
Dean shook his head. "No. He wouldn't want this." He turned his back on the angel; a speechless Buck the Bartender poured him another drink.
"Then fight, Dean."
"I couldn't save my own brother, Castiel. No one could, not even you and all of your "divine" powers. How can I save the world?"
The angel approached and touched his shoulder gently; he jerked away but the angel's hand gripped him tightly.
"Do what you've always done. Fight."
Dean downed one last shot and stood, shrugging the angel's hand away. "How much do I owe you?"
Buck looked from him to Castiel and back. "On the house."
Dean nodded and turned, heading for the door, Castiel right behind him.
"Start prayin'." He said over his shoulder. Then the bell over the door rang and the angel and man were gone.
Buck bowed his head and began to pray.
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