this invisible city (this is how you make ends meet)

by unperfectwolf

rated pg

fandom, pairing: supernatural, het: Victor Hendrickson/Jo Harvelle

summary: this is how to bully a man; this is how a man bullies you; this is how to love a man; this is how to spit up in the air if you feel like it, and this is how to move quick so that it doesn't fall on you; this is how to make ends meet. - Jo meets Agent Hendrickson. Bonus points if together, they fight crime. Set after a href=" ."this is how you set a table for tea/a.

disclaimer: not mine! lies and propaganda, all of it.

notes: 3,800 words. post season three, though obviously "In Jus Bello" did not turn out the way it did in the show. I spell Hendrickson as such because at the time I wrote the first fic no one was sure how it was spelt. I've kept it the same in this fic for continuity. title by The Wallflowers, summary/quote from "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid.

this invisible city (this is how you make ends meet)

"this is how to bully a man; this is how a man bullies you; this is how to love a man; … this is how to spit up in the air if you feel like it, and this is how to move quick so that it doesn't fall on you; this is how to make ends meet." – Jamaica Kincaid, "Girl"

Victor hasn't seen his boss in eleven months. He's talked to him four times in between, though, so he figures it's not too bad. He sits silently through the whole discussion, because if he's learned anything while he's been out of offices it's that he couldn't actually make people listen when they weren't going to.

"It's not your work Victor," his boss promises. "It's just that we—I—think that you would be better suited in a different department."

Victor doesn't say anything when his boss—or, the man who had been his boss—is done, either. He stands, nods, and leaves. Jo's waiting in the reception area, before the metal detectors, twirling his knife in her hands.

He sighs and takes it back from her. He guesses he should have seen this coming. He used to see his boss almost six days a week.

Jo and Victor have been hunting together for almost two years. They hunt both human and supernatural things, depending on which case is more pressing, and when they have to play pretend to get into something on the cases Jo brings to the table, at least one of them has a real badge.

There have been a couple of hunts since he met Sam and Dean that they've teamed up on, but it seems like, for the most part, Sam and Dean don't really want anyone around them. There's this one older hunter, Bobby Singer, who they seem to be willing to make exceptions for, and rumor has it that if Ellen says jump they just ask how high, but Victor hasn't actually seen this for himself.

Victor's new boss is a little confused by him, and Victor wonder's if he should have sidetracked to a motel to shower before coming in. It was just a simple salt and burn, though, so he doesn't think he looks anything other than dusty.

"Victor Hendrickson," he tells the man. He doesn't hold out his hand, but he nods to him, respectful like.

His boss is still confused looking though. "I'm not exactly why you were transferred here, Victor."

Victor shrugs. "Don't you do extractions? And manhunting? Long term engagements of both?"

The man sighs. "No, I get that. I just don't understand why they transferred you to me. I don't have an opening—all my teams are full."

Oh, Victor thinks, and wishes someone else had already explained how he worked so he could have just introduced himself and left. Jo hates to wait in the lobby long, and he's sure she's scarring someone with a how she plays with his knife. "I don't need a team—I already have a partner. She's down stairs."

"Wait, what?" the man asks, shuffling papers around on his desk. "Was I supposed to get her transfer papers as well?"

Victor sighs and rubs the seem on the outside of his jeans between his thumb and his forefinger. "No. She's not FBI. She and I ran into each other, I helped her, she helped me, and now we do it regularly."

His boss doesn't really have anything more to say, so Victor leaves a few minutes later. When he gets downstairs, he rolls his eyes and takes his knife back. Jo smirks at the guards as they leave.

When they go through South Dakota, Victor always makes them stop in and see Ellen Harvelle. Jo might not keep in too good of touch with her mother, but Victor wishes his was still alive so he could see her and he's not letting Jo not see Ellen at least a few times a year since she can.

Ellen lives in the town that Bobby Singer lives just out of. Victor doesn't know if that means something, but Jo rolled her eyes when she explained where he mother was settling after the roadhouse burned down, back when they were first traveling together. Dean and Sam had cracked a joke or two nearly every time they met, and Jo had responded in a bratty tone of voice that Victor never heard out of her otherwise.

Ellen's always happy to see them, which is odd, all things considered. Not that she'd be happy to see her daughter, but that she'd be happy to see him—he knows he made a bit of a nuisance out of himself, back before he met Jo.

This time, Bobby Singer is sitting at the bar that Ellen's been tending. Victor almost turns around and walks out the door then, but Jo grabs his arm and Ellen's calling out a greeting to them.

"Clark, Bob, look who's come through," she tells two old men at the end of the bar. "My daughter's brought her man for a visit, looks like."

Victor isn't sure what that's supposed to mean. He and Jo work together, but he's pretty sure that Ellen won't be telling anyone that Jo's working with the FBI. In the circles they travel in, it's not probably the best idea ever. Not with so many people doing so many things that are probably against the law, even if their not harming anyone when they do it. Most of the FBI isn't as enlightened as Victor is these days.

They don't stay the night, but Victor sits at the end of the bar and nurses a beer while Jo catches up with her mother and Bobby. When some big redneck tries to get at her, he's up before he can even think about her or the others taking care of it. He doesn't say anything, just steps up behind her and puts a hand in the small of her back. She looks over her shoulder at him, trusting him to keep an eye on the redneck who's slowly backing away, and smiles.

They only get one motel room these days. They stopped getting two about three hunts in, so it's been awhile. It isn't so much about the money. Victor's never been questioned about what he spends, nor the why or the where of it, but for some reason, they both sleep better if the other is in the room. He try's not to think of the implications in that and gets them a room with two double beds.

Jo salts the windows and doors, writes charms on the windows in some sort of marker made for windows. Victor checks out the rest of the motel as he gets ice that they'll never use. The two of them spend the evening in silence, cleaning their weapons.

This time they're on a case he brought to the table, which almost always means it's an FBI case. He's only ever brought one haunting up, since most of the time even if he sees a pattern, he hands off the details to Jo to let her work out the rest—she's really good at it, and he gets frustrated easy, so it works out.

Victor isn't exactly sure why he and Jo are after this guy—he's not a murder and he didn't do anything to any kids, not that Victor's aware of. He seems to have information that the FBI wants, though, and in the end Victor doesn't really care that much. He cared, once, and invested most of his time and effort into bringing in a pair of men that seemed to be so bad he wasn't sure they'd ever seen anything like them. And then he'd run into this pretty little blonde thing and by the time he met the two face to face, he was on their side.

So now he doesn't look to deep or to hard at the files and figures he'll let the rest of the FBI get inside their heads. He knows Jo will let him know if their after a hunter who shouldn't be brought in, but that hasn't happened yet, so it doesn't matter.

He's still officially the lead on the Winchester's case, but he hasn't even looked at the file in a few years. He does, however, have the only copy of a lot of it. He didn't get around to putting it all into the computer when he was trailing them on the road, and now he's real glad of it.

When they settle into their beds that night, Victor has a gun under his pillow and Jo has his knife under hers. He doesn't really understand her fascination with his knife, but when they sleep or when he goes somewhere she can't follow, he always lets her keep it with her. He doesn't understand, but that doesn't mean he won't do whatever he can to keep Jo happy.

He talks to his new boss every few weeks. Not about anything in particular, not even about his cases—its more like his new boss is checking in, making sure he (and by default, Jo) are still alive.

It's five or six months after his transfer went through that his boss starts their conversation off with, "Your partner is Jo Harvelle, isn't she."

It's not a question. His boss knows, and Victor isn't surprised. She's been in and out of all sorts of federal buildings and he knows that somewhere in one of the offices there is a file several inches thick on the Harvelles. Not that they did anything, but because so many people who were of interest to the FBI had wandered through their roadhouse at one time or another.

Victor doesn't answer, because he's not going to lie, but he's also not going to confirm who she is until he knows if they're going to need to disappear for a while or not. On the other end of the line, his boss sighs. "I don't care who she is, really. I was just making sure, since I figured it's about time she got a real badge. I'm sure she's got a few fake ones on her, if the rumors of the company she keeps are anything to go by, but you two are one of the best teams we have and if she's not FBI it's going to raise some questions somewhere down the line."

Victor smiles to himself, but he doesn't say anything. His boss isn't really expecting it, he knows. The next time they go past, Victor stops in and this time, he lets Jo come up with him. He still lets her hold his knife. The guards aren't very thrilled with this idea, but the sheer amount of weaponry they both have to strip off and then put back on once their through the metal detectors seems to keep the quiet. Go figure.

"FBI, don't move," Jo yells. Victor spins and rounds a corner so that he's facing Jo with the guy they've been looking for between them.

"FBI? Lady, they don't make FBI as pretty as you," the guy tells her. Victor can't see his face, but his tone is leering so he assumes that is too.

Jo just makes a disgusted sound. "Put your hands on your head and get down on your knees."

The perp must make a face of some kind, because Jo makes another sound. As soon as the guy has dropped to his knees, Victor is there to frisk him and cuff him. "Watch your mouth," he tells the guy as he jerks him up. "That's my partner, and you really don't want to upset my partner."

The man pales when he seems Victor, and Victor grins at him. Jo told him once that he looked like a crazy killer when he grinned like that, laughing as he did so. He wasn't sure what that said about them.

They guy didn't say a word the whole way to the closest FBI location. Victor couldn't really blame him.

Victor isn't sure how Jo talked him into this. He doesn't like holidays, hasn't for a long time. He had plans to sleep most of Christmas away, so that he didn't have to see or talk to anyone but Jo.

Jo, however, has other ideas. The only redeeming thing in all of this is that Jo managed to convince the Winchester brothers to show up too. Sam and Dean both look like they'd rather be chasing down a pack of Wendigos, so he's not sure what Jo said to convince them to come.

The holiday's are being held at Bobby Singer's place. Bobby doesn't look to thrilled at this, but he doesn't seem to have the heart to say anything about it to Jo or her mother. Ellen is going all out, cooking a ham and sweet potatoes and a blackberry pie and even making up some homemade cranberries.

It's not the food that makes Victor want to run, it's the fact that he's celebrating Christmas. The last two years have found him and Jo on a hunt, so he had an excuse to just buy her a Christmas dinner in a diner. This year she made him and the Winchesters promise to show up. And so they all did.

Once they're all sitting at the small table and eating, it doesn't seem so bad. They didn't bring a present for anyone but Ellen, and Victor doesn't think the boys brought anything for anyone. As far as he can tell, Christmas isn't really a big deal with hunters. He doesn't know why really, but he can make a few educated guesses.

When Dean makes a bitchy comment about holidays, Jo glares at him. "You keep quiet, Dean Winchester. Just be glad you're here to see the holidays."

Victor knows what she's referring to in that he knows that Dean Winchester was supposedly in Hell for a week before his brother tore apart a group of demons and got him back. He doesn't know the whole story, and isn't sure he wants to, but from the look on his face when Jo says that he's pretty sure that's an okay summary of the ordeal.

Sam doesn't say anything, but he glares at Jo. There's not hate for Jo in the glare, but somewhere beneath the puppy dog eyes Victor sees a hardness that tells him that, yes, Sam Winchester would kill just about anyone or thing to keep his brother alive, and he probably did.

The table is quiet after that. Dean and Sam bring up a hunt they were on not too long ago, and Victor and Jo tell a few stories about the dumbasses they've hauled in. Ellen and Bobby keep quiet, just watching them like a set of proud parents. Victor tries not to think about the implications in that.

Victor and Jo spend a lot of time in bars. It's where their human marks hang out, for the most part, and where they go to find a lot of witnesses on the not so human ones. Besides that, they fit in in bars. Victor didn't before, not really. He was too much shined shoes and tailored suits before he hit the road, too much government official and not enough road weary hunter.

Now they fit into bars like they've been their all their lives. And for Jo, it's the truth. But for Victor, even after three years of traveling around the country with Jo, it's still sometimes a shock.

They're in his hometown one night, a bit on accident, a bit because the fastest way from point a to point b is to take the highway that goes through it. They stop at a motel on the side of the highway, straight across the street from a bar that Victor vaguely remembers from when he lived there.

He'd forgotten, or maybe he never knew, that this was a bar that the cops liked to frequent. He hadn't ever been a cop, so it wasn't like he'd been invited, but his dad had been a cop and he'd been FBI so he'd known a good few of them local authority.

He and Jo walked in and Victor knew he wasn't going to have a good night. He figures he knows a good half of the people he thinks are cops. Jo seems to have a pretty good count on them too, looking up at him and asking silently if he wants to bail and go somewhere else.

He'd never had a partner that could read him like she does, and he'd never cared enough about any partner to take the time to learn to read them like he can her. He shakes his head, nods towards the bar, and makes sure he has a good look at the room. He knows she's looking too, and that they both know the exits and what around them could be used as weapons if they need to, which they shouldn't since they're both pretty heavily armed.

The cops at the bar eye them, recognizing their type. They look like trouble to a cop, even if the bartender is giving them a smile that Victor's come to realize means they know you fit into their bar.

Jo nods to a table against the back wall, in a corner, and Victor nods. She heads over there and he heads to the bar. "Two beers," he tells the bartender.

The bartender doesn't ask, just hands him two bottles of what must be local brew. He puts a ten down, raises and eyebrow, and the bartender nods.

He can feel the cops watching them, can feel the assessment in their gaze. He ignores them, even the ones at his back, trusting Jo to let him know if anyone's coming up behind him that he can't sense on his own.

They're three beers a piece into the night when a cop steps up to their table. He's in plain clothes, but even if Victor didn't recognize him he has that air about him that all cops have, on or off duty.

"Yes, officer?" he asks, when the cop doesn't say anything.

The guy raises an eyebrow. "Hendrickson's son, right?"

Victor shrugs, but doesn't say anything. He can feel Jo tense and knows there's another cop coming up behind the first. "Victor, how are you?" he asks, when he gets there.

It's Danny Walsh, his dad's old partner. "Doin' okay, Danny," he tells him. Danny'd been as much of a father figure as he could once Victor's dad had died. It hadn't been a whole lot, but he'd done what he could and Victor never held it against him.

"How's the FBI treating you these days?"

Victor shrugs again. Jo shifts and the two cops look over at her. Victor sighs. "Danny, this is my partner, Jo. Jo, this is my dad's old partner, Danny."

Jo nods her head, shifting, and just like the first time Victor met her he knows that Danny and his new partner, if that's what they still are, saw a flash of her gun. She's nothing if not good at setting people she doesn't know on edge.

The cops eventually leave them be, and they finish their beers in silence. The two of them leave in silence, ignoring the rest of the bar.

Victor wants to be able to say it was an accident the first time it happened, that it was because of alcohol or stress or that he was just too fucking tired to know any better. But, it wasn't. The first time they kiss they're two days off a hunt, it's midmorning and their both sober. She's leaning against the car, waiting for him to finish paying the kid behind the counter at the gas station and the sun is at her back.

When he comes closer, she smiles at him, one of those smiles he's not sure anyone but he gets to see. It's happy and relaxed and she looks gorgeous, even in a tank top with a blood stain that will never come out and a pair of jeans that really could use a good wash.

He doesn't even think about it, just steps up into her space and kisses her, soft.

The second, third and fourth time they kiss, she kisses him. Victor hadn't really expected her to kiss him back the first time (not that he'd ever really thought about kissing her at all), but he sure as hell hadn't expected her to kiss him again as soon as he pulled away.

The third time happens when they get out of the car at a diner that night, and the fourth time happens before they got to sleep. The fifth time, he kisses her and it's as she comes out of the bathroom in the morning, her hair wet from her shower.

He doesn't really keep track after that.

Things don't really change. They do, obviously, in subtle ways, but for the most part they stay the same. He's not sure what that says about them before they kissed, before anything happened, but he doesn't really care, so it doesn't really matter.

"You're still the lead on the Winchester case. You know that, right?" his boss asks him. They haven't seen each other face to face since they picked up Jo's badge. They still talk a couple times a month though. He thinks maybe his boss is just trying to make sure that they stay alive—loosing agents looks bad on your record.

"Yeah, I know," Victor tells him, slapping Jo's hand away when she tries to steal his fries from his plate. She pouts at him and he gives in, pushing the plate towards her.

"The file hasn't been updated in more than five years." His boss isn't telling him anything new and they both know it. "Is it ever going to be?"

Victor shrugs, even though his boss can't see him. "Probably not."

There's silence for a while. "Can you tell me why?"

Victor isn't really sure what he can say to make his boss understand. The door to the diner opens and Jo smiles at whoever enters, waving them over. The ring on her finger glints a little, and Victor smiles. "Sorry, boss," he tells him, and hangs up right as Sam and Dean step up to the table.

Jo slides out and sits down next to him, letting the other two take the other side of the booth. There's not really enough room for the two, but they don't seem to mind being shoved up against one another.

"You guys ready for Christmas this year? Ellen says we have to bring presents, and we can't forget like last year," Dean tells them, making a face.

Jo laughs. Victor shares a glance with Sam. The four of them will head over to Bobby and Ellen's the next day, coming up from the south together. Victor wonder's if this is what it's like to have a family, and thinks it probably is.