For the record, you don't need to be versed in both fandoms to understand this story. There are allusions to elements of both, but nothing obtrusive.

End of Days

She can tell he's not from around here as soon as she walks in.

(She's not from around here either.)

At a certain point, a bar looks like a bar, and she's gotten pretty good at sussing out the local drunkards from the floozies from the now-and-then-ers, and this man looks like none of the above. It's not so much he doesn't fit in—dark hoodie, blue jeans, mop of brown hair, air of mystique, yadda, yadda, yadda—so much as he fits in too much. Like he's trying.

She doubts others can tell, but she can.

(She's gotten pretty good at telling.)

It's the way he sits, she thinks. Hunched in on himself, guarding from whatever seen or unseen dangers may try and harm him. Tensed, the muscles coiled so tightly under the hoodie's fabric she wonders if there'd ever been a time they'd been otherwise. The faint bulge on his lower back that, though the company she keeps (used to keep) were weapons themselves and so rarely carried any, she knows to be a gun.

But she's not here to care about that—in fact, she's here to uncare—and so she sidles up to the bar, doing her best to ignore the man that clearly wants to be ignored in the first place.

"Whiskey," she orders the barkeep. In a more respectable establishment, the bartender would check for ID, but in a place such as this, in which the proprietors only care that they get their money and not whom it's from, he doesn't. Perhaps glances at her all judgy-like for a second, but then sets down a shot glass and fills it to the brim with amber liquid from a bottle of whose label is too faded to tell the brand.

She downs it in one (she's had practice), motions for another. Downs that. Motions again.

She senses eyes on her and looks to her left, enjoying the heady feeling dawning on her already. (She's a light drunk, but she considers that a benefit, specifically at times like this.) It's the trying-too-hard man she'd seen on her way in, nursing a whiskey of his own. His eyes are a dark hazel, murky and unreadable, and though she settles on a bit shy of thirty, the invisible mask on his face bears him decades older.

"Need something?" she snaps.

(She's done with polite.)

The man only quirks a side of his mouth; not even a quirk, really. More of a twitch. He says nothing, just turns back to his drink. He doesn't down it, doesn't even sip it, just stares into it like he'll find answers to some unanswerable question.

Frowning, she looks into her own glass, idly curious. She sees nothing. Nothing but more catalyst to numbness, and so she tips back the glass, welcoming the burn down her throat, sets it back on the sticky counter. She signals for yet another, smiles sweetly at the barkeep (has he always been that attractive?) as he, albeit more hesitantly, places the requested in front of her.

She thinks she senses the trying-too-hard man's eyes on her again, so she looks to her left, but he's vanished. She frowns again and swivels to look behind her, focuses past her inebriation and the smoky haze of the bar. She thinks she sees what must be him; he's tall—very tall—and though the place is filled with guys in leather jackets, her instinct's never led her wrong yet.

She looks back at the whiskey she'd just ordered, thinks about the man, and then humphs. "Whatever," she mutters, and consumes the glass's contents.

The bartender finally cuts her off after another shot and a beer, and she'd hit him if she thought she could aim right, but instead settles for a glare and tosses the due money at him. Hopping off the stool with more grace than many in her position, one of the many now-smashed men puts his hand on her arm as if to help her out, but she elbows him (she can do that much), and he relents.

She ambles (not quite stumbles) out of the bar, doing her best to remember where her motel is. The town is minuscule, she's sure she'd run across the motel eventually, but it's the middle of Pennsylvania in the middle of December, and though she's not exactly dressed skimpily, she's not dressed for meandering either.

In hindsight, she supposes she should have seen the damn thing, but fuck it, it's foggy and she's cold and she's drunk and it's black, so it's entirely not her fault that she walks straight into a hunk of metal she soon finds out is a car.

More precisely, she runs into flesh lying on said car.

It's the unintentional kick to her stomach that really seals the fact that she's no longer walking the direction she'd meant to. (Not that she'd been walking in any particular one, but.)

"Watch where you're…"

She doesn't recognize the voice, but once she mentally slaps herself until her eyes are no longer seeing double, she does recognize (sort of) the face. As does, apparently, he.

Neither says anything for a few seconds, but then, for all the despair she'd pegged him carrying, he seemingly does have some ingrained sense of manners. "Oh, hello," he says. His voice is scratchy, low, and it's strange at first. Like he'd recently been sick, or screaming. "You were in the bar."

"Yeah," she answers simply. Then she realizes that the situation itself is odd. "But you—you left. Why're you still here?"

She does her best to not slur her words (for being a lightweight, she generally does well at concealing it; she hopes), but isn't sure whether or not she succeeds. "I, uh…" he begins, a weird mix between edgy and disinterested. Instead of responding to her question, he goes with, "I'm Sam."

Sam. Not exactly the least common name in the world. But, she amends as she peers a bit closer at him, he looks like he could legitimately be one. "Elena," she says, figuring that her name is also not the least common, and so for all he knows, she could be lying. She supposes it doesn't matter.

"Can I give you a ride somewhere?" asks Sam perfunctorily, a bit, well, trying-too-hard.

She peers at him some more. "I'm fine," she says. (She's not, but he doesn't know that.)

"You're so drunk you walked into my car," he observes.

(Okay, maybe he does know.)

"I'd've probably done that sober," she says. It's not completely a lie—she's been known to have more than her fair share of clumsy moments. "And anyway. I wouldn't want a ride from the likes of you. Who the hell sits on the hood of their car behind a shitty bar in single-digit weather?"

"I like my car."

"It's a Charger," she says distastefully. She's not quite a car aficionado, but Jerem…well. Osmosis and all that.

"It runs," he says. She barely catches the "Sorta" tagged at the end, but latches onto it.

"What does that mean?" she asks skeptically, folding her arms across her chest.

"It's nothing," he says. "Damn timing belt's shot. This pinprick of a town isn't going to have what I need, and I don't feel like walking to the city to get it."

Elena raises an eyebrow. "The city's five miles from here," she says. She adds in her head, I think… "You could probably get there in less than an hour with your stride, Sasquatch."

It's dark outside, but she doesn't miss the flinch on Sam's youthful-but-not-quite face at the name, and she's sure she'd care if her brain weren't more or less mush.

"Why were you really sitting on your car?" Elena asks.

Sam sighs. "Ran out of gas. And funds," he admits. "I was looking to hustle some pool tonight, but it didn't pan out."

Elena laughs humorlessly. "What, you're that bad a pool player?"

Sam shoots her a halfhearted glare. "I'm a great pool player," he says. "I just…I didn't care."

Elena gets the sense that means more than he's letting on, but speaking of not caring… "Something you and I have in common," she comments. "I got a motel room down the street if you wanna crash there tonight. You can go pickpocket someone tomorrow or something."

"No, I can't," Sam objects immediately.

Elena smiles, the action foreign. "Afraid I'll take advantage of you?"

Sam chuckles in a similar manner to hers—that is, with little actual humor—and for a mere moment, she thinks she sees a glimmer of life in his eyes. Of course, it could have also just been a trick of the light.

"I haven't had a bed in over a week," Sam admits.

"Then it's settled," says Elena.

She remembers about his car, that they'll have to walk there, but considering the town has fewer than a thousand people in it (she thinks…), she doubts it'll take long. And besides, the cold might sober her a bit.

Her back hits the motel room door hard, but she barely feels it, just feels Sam's lips over hers, his kisses bruising, his large hands gripping her hips as she reaches for the key. His mouth trails down her jaw, and she finds the key just as his mouth reaches her neck. She quickly turns—that spot is sensitive, for an entirely different reason than most girls'—and unlocks it, her fingers jittery.

She barely has time to let Sam in the room and shut and lock the door before she finds herself on the bed, Sam's figure hovering over her, desire and lust in his eyes. She smirks, slides her hand up his rippled abdomen, removes his shirt as he more or less tears hers off. Their jeans and shoes soon follow, and her smirk grows as she sees there's not exactly going to have to be a whole lot of foreplay tonight.

She tangles her fingers in his long hair, and his eyes shutter close at the pain-pleasure, his mouth doing all sorts of things to her she hasn't felt in a long, long time. She's sure in the morning his back will be a mess of raised pink fingernail scratches, and that she'll have some marks of her own (Jesus Christ, he's bigger than she thought…), but she really can't find the capability to care.

Okay, she can care all right. Especially when he does that

They're a flurry of hands and tongues and teeth and sweat and heat, and once or twice she grins at the thought of the neighbors undoubtedly getting a graphic soundtrack, and though she's never been much of a screamer, she decides to be vindictive. Sam seems to enjoy it, actually.

He calls out another woman's name as he spills inside of her, and she calls not Sam's, rather his, but—and she's decently certain she can speak for Sam at the same time—it's not as if they're going for love here. She's using Sam as much as he's using her, two people with need to satisfy and nothing to lose, and, hell, he's not bad to look at, so that helps. She thinks maybe in another time, another place, she could get to know Sam better, but now, here, not so much.

She's trying to get over him, get over there, and if she's gauged Sam right, he's got his own her, his own there, and that's just fine with her.

Eventually, Sam collapses beside her, the room silent except their heavy breathing, and though she curls in next to him, and though he puts his arm around her, bringing her closer, neither really sleep, and neither sees the other as who they really are.

He wakes before she does, and dresses silently (wincing slightly at her ripped shirt, and wondering vaguely where his other shoe is), with the intent to leave. Maybe write a quick note. Not that he'd know what to write. He'd historically never been the wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am type, but he guesses she wouldn't mind.

And yet, he finds himself sitting down in the chair beside the bed (just about the only surface they hadn't defiled), staring at her. If he tilts his head just so, she looks like her, which is both a blessing and a curse. Oh, she's beautiful in her own right, he's not blind, but she's just a little too petite, hair a little too long, face a couple shades too dark to quite be her; but then, he's a master at pretend.

He kind of wonders who she'd been thinking of when she looked at him.

He realizes he's stared longer than he thought when she starts to stir, hand extending over to where he'd rested, and then a frown coming over her expression and her eyes blearily opening when she feels nobody beside her, the warmth from him quickly fading.

"Morning," he says, for he gathers at this point there's no purpose in departing (not yet, anyway). He's great at being undetectable, but he doubts even he's skilled enough to bail without her knowing.

She jolts a little, body instantly tensing and her eyes zeroing in on his. Once she puts together his appearance with her memory, she unwinds somewhat, relaxes her grip on the sheet.

"Morning," she replies, only the barest hint of awkwardness between them. She notices his state of dress, and then comments wryly, "What, leaving so soon?"

"Figured I should probably make myself scarce," he replies. "At least try and rustle up some cash somewhere."

"There's an okay coffee place around the block if you want to wait a few minutes for me to get dressed," Elena offers. At Sam's confusion, she elaborates, "I'm sensing a killer hangover coming on."

"I'm surprised," he says. "Thought you'd want rid of me."

Elena shrugs. "Cup of coffee couldn't hurt."

Sam simply nods. "Sounds great."

He doesn't tell her his last name, and she doesn't tell him hers, but she finds out he's twenty-eight, his family's whacked, and his soul is fucked six ways from Sunday (she's not sure she believes that last). He finds out she's nineteen, her family's whacked, and most of her friends are of the supernatural variety (he believes her, but doesn't say so). They laugh, this time with some legitimacy, and agree that it probably would've been better to just stick with the sex.

Over a croissant she sincerely doubts was made fresh that morning, she asks, "So who was I last night?"

Sam chokes on his toast, regarding her warily. "What do you—"

"Oh, please," she says. "It wasn't my name you moaned."

If she didn't know better, she'd say he almost blushes. "She's just, uh…" Sam pauses, getting an almost placid veil coming over him. It erases ten years, and Elena thinks it makes him look all the more handsome. But a moment later, it disappears. "She's just this girl I met a long time ago. I made her a promise but didn't keep it. Went to finally make good on it, but she wasn't there anymore. I have no idea if she's dead, or alive, or something in between."

"Unfulfilled promise or not, clearly you've thought about her," Elena says with a laugh and another bite of her croissant. Sam does that sort-of-kind-of blushing thing again, but this time it's unaccompanied by the de-aging.

"And what about you?" Sam volleys, sipping his coffee. "Last I checked, 'Sam' has only one syllable. And begins with an 'S.'"

Elena purses her lips, wishing she could escape Sam's intense stare. She knows physically she could, and that he probably wouldn't go after her, but that greenish-blue gaze bores into her, cementing her to her seat.

"He's just, uh…" she finds herself repeating Sam's clumsy intro, and looks down at the table. "He's a guy I shouldn't have fallen for—really shouldn't have. But I did. And as a result ruined everything. So I ran. Hooray me."

Sam replies, "If it makes you feel better, I ran, too. From my brother." Elena takes a drag of her coffee, eyeing him. "Told you about that whole soul thing. I couldn't take his disappointment. Hooray me."

Elena holds up her coffee up and toasts, "To cowardice."

Sam taps his cup against hers and repeats the sentiment. They both drink, shared misery bouncing around them. As if feeling he has the responsibility now to both speak and say something of little import, Sam says, "I hear Pittsburgh hockey is the thing to do on the weekends this side of PA."

Elena snorts gracelessly. "Like hockey, hate the Penguins," she says.

"Hey, all I said was that it's the place to be," Sam says defensively, "not that I liked the team. More of a Sharks guy myself. Well…I mean, okay, last time I caught a game was years ago, but…"

Elena hums noncommittally as he trails off, hearing some sadness she knows she won't find out the cause of in his words.

Their coffee runs out eventually, and although Elena still has that same opinion—that under different circumstances she'd like to get to know Sam some more—she knows now's not that time.

He suggests she return to Mystic Falls, to him. She suggests he return to his brother, to her.

Both share a smile, in that smile each saying Ha. Not a chance.

She never hears from Sam Whatever-His-Last-Name-Is again, is just as lost as before, the only change being that walking is a bit more painful later that day and into the next.

He never hears from Elena Whatever-Her-Last-Name-Is again, is just as sorry as before, the only change being that her face is brought even more glaringly into his mind than ever.

But, more than once, Elena thinks of tracking down Sam's brother, thwacking him upside the head and telling him that he's an idiot. For quite what, she doesn't know, just that he is. (Though she'd leave out the part about Sam being a fantastic screw.)

But, more than once, Sam thinks of strolling into this Mystic Falls place, punching some sense into the man Elena was apparently not supposed to love. (Though he'd leave out the part about screwing her.)

Yet, they won't. Because living in maybes and insouciance and anonymity is much more comfortable than absolutes. Absolutes lead to heartbreak, just plain break, and despite traversing different paths to end up here, both are quite certain of two things:

They're sorry for so much (fucking up the world, fucking up lives). And—

They're just plain…lost.


In case there's confusion (since I'm guessing more TVD fans will be reading this than SPN ones), the she is referring to Sarah, from "Provenance," whom I sorely miss and with Sam is my OTP. The he I'm pretty sure you can guess on your own.