three hundred sixty five.

Eliot remembers meeting Dean. He remembers the time before alcohol, when both of them could function without seeing the world through an amber glaze of scotch. Before the bruises, blue-green-yellow drizzled across the skin like careless strokes of a paintbrush. Before Dean lost everything, and before Eliot went to hell.

He remembers when Dean smiled at him in the morning when they woke up tangled in each other's arms. He remembers the feel of sweat slick skin against his, he remembers the taste of Dean in his mouth, the smell of him on his skin. He remembers when they used to sleep together, not just try and fuck each other through the brick walls of alley ways. When they used to go to the bar to talk, and hustle pool, not to get drunk and hurl abuse at each other, words and fists colliding in mid-air. When beer was something to enjoy at the end of the day, not the only thing that he has to help get him through it. Before the exact moment he realized he couldn't choose who he hated more, himself or Dean. Before he didn't know whether he loved him or hated him. Before he had to choose between letting him in, and letting him go.

Before he knew he couldn't do either.


Eliot meets Dean six months after he sells his soul. The other man is taller than him, with sandy hair and jade eyes. He's constantly looking around, watching his own back, and Eliot notices that he's perfected the art of pretending to take a drink, while actually just tipping the bottle skywards and swallowing nothing. He's sitting at the bar, carefully slumped, but his muscles are tensed and Eliot knows he's ready to fight or run.

He'd put money on it being the first option.

He's tired when he enters the bar, limping almost imperceptibly, and an eight inch gash hidden under a not too dirty shirt pulled out of a canvas bag. He changed in the car, tossing the bloodstained and ripped shirt in the trashcan outside before deciding that he really, really needs a drink. He knows he looks a mess, even with the new shirt, his jeans faded and torn at one knee, and he has a black eye and blood crusted above one eyebrow, but he can count on one hand the things he cares about less right now.

There's a pool table in the corner, a couple of guys playing, just drunk enough to be hustled, but not drunk enough that the pool cue is the only thing holding them up, and he's low on cash, should really clean em out, but there's a bottle of scotch behind the mahogany bar top calling to him, and he just thinks fuck it,, sliding onto a barstool, trying [failing] not to wince at the newly un-dislocated knee. He can hustle drunks later.

He orders a drink, and Christ his voice is rough, but he's been through the ringer, so the state of his vocal chords goes right to the top of the Things He Couldn't Give a Flying Fuck About list. Next to him, Green Eyes is still sipping at his beer. It's half-full, so he must be drinking it, but god alone knows how long he's been here. Eliot gives him the once over, work boots, ripped jeans, and a black t-shirt under a plaid shirt under a too-big leather jacket. There are bags under his eyes, and there's a hairline scar on his jaw, just the faintest hint of yellowed bruising discolouring the skin. Green Eyes rubs at the back of his neck, tipping his head backwards to expose the long line of throat, just begging to be licked slowly, and fuck, Eliot's nowhere near drunk enough for that, so he curls stiff fingers around his tumbler and takes a long drink. It hurts to swallow, but he sighs happily at the burn sliding down the inside of his chest. He cracks his neck and shoulders, makes a mental note to never do it again, and shifts round in his seat to survey the rest of the bar. Seems like typical fare for a bar in Bumfuck, Nowhere, lots of truckers in ballcaps and local girls in barely there denim shorts and breasts as big as his head. He considers picking one up, but none of them have the right shade of almost-brown hair or dark green eyes and where did that thought come from, because Green Eyes is attractive sure, but he wasn't aware he had a type. And he sure didn't know that his type was him.

He glances down by chance, and curses under his breath, because the wound on his chest in leaking blood again, through his shirt, and he knew that wearing a white tee was asking for trouble, but it's too late for that, so he swears again, loudly, and clambers off the barstool, earning a glance from Green Eyes and fuck, he's even more beautiful head on, freckles dusted across his cheeks, barely visible in the dull bar light. His lips are a dusky pink and wouldn't be out of place on a woman. Kid's younger than he thought too, despite the hunched shoulders like he's carrying the weight of the world on 'em, his face is unlined by age. He's almost girl-pretty, but there's something in those eyes that Eliot thinks would make people think twice about crossing him. He's staring, and he knows he is, so he drops his gaze and heads for the bathroom, one hand curled loosely around his chest.

The bathroom is as dark as the bar and if possible, dingier. The mirror is encrusted with what looks like months of grime, so he strips off his battered leather jacket and hooks it over the water pipe running down the side of the room and gingerly removes his now bloodied shirt, scrubbing at the dirt so he can actually see what he's doing. He wets the shirt and rubs, aware that the movement is reopening the wound on his chest that had once again almost stopped, and blood drips warm down his torso. He rubs at it with his free hand, scooping up cold water and cleaning away the crimson smears. Eventually, the bleeding slows, and he can see through the layer of God knows what and Christ, he almost wishes he could, because his torso looks like a Picasso, daubs of purple bruising decorating his chest and belly. If he turns and arches his neck carefully, he can see the same pattern on the canvas of his back. He's fully aware of the old adage of if you can't see it, it doesn't hurt, and he knows it's bull, but damn it all if his entire body doesn't start aching. He pushes the pain away, knows all he needs is another drink and twelve hours of shut eye in somewhere that isn't the driver's seat of his truck, and turns back round, stepping closer to the mirror to examine the gash that runs from his left collarbone diagonally down until it stops where his breastbone ends.

'It'll need stiches,' a voice from behind him says, and his eyes flash upwards to check behind him in the mirror. It's Green Eyes, and he's slouching against the doorway to the bathroom, and Eliot makes a mental note to never drink good scotch on an empty stomach, because it's gone right the fuck to his head, and he can think of nothing he wants to do more than peel the layers of clothing off of Green Eyes' body and lick a pathway from his hip bones to his clavicle.

He shuts his eyes and takes a breath, and when he opens them again, Green Eyes hasn't moved, and he's still watching Eliot. He's reminded of a cat, stalking prey, and he's very conscious of this when he licks his lips and replies, 'Probably,' drawling the word out with his ruined voice.

'Definitely,' comes the reply, and Eliot catches the faintest hint of a Texan accent, lost in a Kansas drawl. He drops his gaze and prods carefully at the gash, chewing his lip a little. It's a tic, he accepts this, but he refuses to accept that Green Eyes makes him nervous. 'You were staring at me,' Green Eyes says, and Eliot lifts his gaze again. He's moved closer, no longer lounging on the door, but standing a few feet away. He's close enough for Eliot to smell cigarette smoke, and he's still moving closer. His movements are feline, and the earlier analogy springs to mind.

'Is that so?' Eliot asks, catching Green Eyes' darting looks, and holding eye contact for just a few seconds.

'Mm-hm.' Green Eyes makes an affirmative noise and moves ever closer. Eliot fights the urge to back away. Eventually, he's within touching distance, and Eliot fights that urge too, because he's remembering what happened the last time someone got too close and he wouldn't let go.
But he's not thinking about that right now, he's thinking about how Green Eyes is close enough for him to feel the heat from his body, and smell the beer on his breath, and how he can feel Green Eyes' fingers on his skin, prodding carefully at the wound. 'Shouldn't you buy me a drink, first?' The joke is weak, and he knows it, but Green Eyes smiles and keeps prodding. He's sticking his tongue out, just a little bit, and Eliot decides it's time to keep his eyes firmly on the ceiling, where there's nothing to tempt him. He hears the tap running again, spurting out water that's cold but looks clean and he flinches as the once discarded and now sodden t-shirt is pressed against the wound. Green Eyes has moved away, and Eliot can hear movement, but when he risks a glance he wishes he hadn't, because it's been a really long time, and the sight of the other man sinuously removing first his jacket, then his shirt, and then his t-shirt to reveal an expanse of tanned skin and lean muscles is enough to send one lonely jolt of heat to his dick. Green Eyes hands the black tee over, with orders to keep the damn shirt pressed to his chest underneath it, and the tee is a size too small, stretching over his chest and shoulders, aggravating the bruising painted across his body. There's a wet patch soaked in almost immediately, but he shrugs his leather jacket on over the top, one handed, jumping as a hand closes over his shoulder and he's steered to the exit. He tries to shrug the offending hand off, but Green Eyes just tightens his grasp. 'Dude, personal space?' he tries, growling the words out in gravel tones.

'You need that cleaning and stitching up before you contract some kind of nasty-ass infection.' Green Eyes flashes him a smile, and another jolt of heat flashes south. 'I'll even buy ya a drink.'

Eliot ends up half naked on his back in an unfamiliar motel room, swigging gin straight from the bottle. He's waiting for the room to start spinning when the bottle is pried from his hand and the rest of the contents emptied onto his chest. It burns, and not the good kind of burn from expensive scotch, and he hisses and arches his back, which of course opens the wound again. The air is knocked out of him as Green Eyes [and fuck, he doesn't even have a name yet] presses down just below his diaphragm with his left arm, straddling Eliot's thighs. 'Don't be such a damned pussy, Texas,' he laughs, moving his arm so he can flatten it against Eliot's chest, just next to the wound to hold it shut, needle and thread in the other hand.

Eliot knows that stitches hurt like a son of a bitch, so he curls his hands into fists until he can feel blunt nails digging crescents into his palms, and he grits his teeth. Green Eyes smiles, feral, and drinks down the last inch or so of gin swilling in the bottom of the bottle. It doesn't hurt as much as it should, his senses dulled by the scotch and then the gin, and fuck, how long has it been since he ate a meal that didn't come in a paper bag or out of a vending machine? The gin sits on his stomach like lead, and his head swims. He barely notices when Green Eyes clambers off, and the lead weight vanishes. It registers somewhere, a lonely neuron firing, but when he tries to sit up, there's a splitting pain in his head, and his entire body aches. He knows he shouldn't, but damnit he needs a drink like he needs oxygen. He blinks a few times, waiting for the world to stop, and sits up slowly, Green Eyes handing him a beer. He glances down as his chest, covered in a large white dressing. 'Well, that wasn't the most fun I've ever had with my shirt off,' he drawls, and his voice is a little closer to normal, less Dark Knight, more Bruce Wayne. 'And FYI, fishing a half bottle of gin out of the pile of crap in your car does not count as buying someone a drink. Didn't your mama teach you any manners?'

'My mother's dead.' He says it with a practiced lack of inflection, Eliot notices, voice perfectly measured and flat. There's the tiniest amount of clear liquid in the bottom of the bottle, and he swallows it down like a dying man in the desert, before digging around in his bag and coming up with a bottle of Jack. Eliot doesn't apologise, like the human instinct is. He remembers when his own mama died, and he got sick as a dog of people saying sorry every damn day. He just waits as Green Eyes twists the cap off and pours a few fingers of JD into two mugs sitting on the table next to the bed. He hands one over and lifts his own in a companionable gesture. 'Cheers, Texas,' he says and drinks deep, exposing his throat again. The temptation to lick it is no weaker than before, but Christ, he was just talking about his dead mother, and instead Eliot also takes a drink and corrects Green Eyes.

'It's Eliot. Not Texas. Just Eliot.'

'Eliot.' Green Eyes rolls the word around in his mouth, following it with another swallow of Jack. He grins, a genuine smile, not a sneer, or something far more animalistic. He looks human, not feline. 'I'm Dean,' he says.

They drink in silence after that, and eventually the dull ache in Eliot's chest is replaced by the slow burn of alcohol. Neither of them fill the ever present hollowness that seems to be a given presence every time he wakes up. He can't remember the last time he could breathe properly, without that crushing weight of guilt swallowing every breath he tries to make.

It's been six months, and it still sits on his stomach like a lead bowling ball.

'Cheer up, man.' The voice shocks him, and it takes him a second to remember that he's sitting in a grubby motel room with an almost stranger. He looks over at Dean, sparkling green eyes earnest with a youth that doesn't fit the world weary lines on his face. 'Might never happen.' He winks, and finishes the JD that sits in the bottom of the mug. There's a smiley face on the mug, Eliot notes, too yellow on the blackness of the rest of the mug. Eliot's own mug is plain white, with grubby fingerprints where he's been cupping it in one hand. He knows he's dirty, hasn't cleaned up since this morning, hasn't had a real shower in God knows how long, and there's dirt in the creases of his palms, and under his nails. He needs a shower, wants to stand under the spray of scalding water and wash the blood and grime away until the water runs cold. He lets his head fall back from where he's lying on the bed, resting on his elbows, and twists it from side to side until he hears the bones popping. He arches his back until it pops in a satisfactory manner, and sighs happily. He looks up, and Dean is still watching him. He can't decide if it's a predatory glare, or just a friendly half smile, but there's something about it that makes him feel uncomfortable, a bug on a glass slide, and he drops his gaze to the bedspread he's lying on. It really is a god-awful colour, a kind of vermillion and cream pattern. 'So, cheery McGee.' Eliot looks up again. 'What brings you out here, to Bumfuck, USA?'

Eliot groans, and sits up, folding a leg underneath himself. 'Huntin'. I was just passing through, had to stop for a couple of days, figured I'd pass the time.'

Dean's mouth twitches. 'Hunting what?'

Eliot chuckles, and accepts more Jack. 'Like you'd believe me.'

Dean shrugs, slumping one shoulder up and down. 'Try me.'

Eliot just smiles and shakes his head, finishing his drink and climbing to his feet with a groan of something that's painful, and something that's more than a little fatigued. There's still a little more than half the bottle left when he says 'I better head off, man. Early start, and shit like that.'

Dean looks at him, and his eyes suddenly look bigger, wider, more innocent and Christ, he's pulling the puppy eyes on Eliot. Parker knows just how to push his buttons, and the biggest button is labelled 'In the event of Eliot saying no, ply him with a serious dose of the puppy eyes.'

'Come on, man, you're gonna make me drink the rest of the bottle all by myself? At least take a shower, you look like crap.'

Eliot snorts gently, but heads for the bathroom regardless, because he's not stupid enough to pass up a free shower. 'Thanks, man. Could say the same about you, you look like you haven't slept in a week.'

'That'd be about right,' Dean says, pouring more JD into his mug. He suddenly looks sad, staring into his drink, but Eliot shrugs it off and steps into the bathroom, locking the door.

The water is like heaven on his sore muscles, and he stretches leisurely, arms above his head as the hot shower beats the knots in his back into submission.

The water runs grey and pink, then clear into the drain, and he rubs his face with one hand, suddenly exhausted. He holds back a yawn and leaps out of the spray of water as it suddenly turns ice cold. He dries himself and pulls his filthy and beat to hell jeans back on, grabbing the shirt he borrowed from Dean and rubbing his hair dry with the towel, cursing because fuck, he really needs a haircut right about now. His hair's hanging almost to his chin, so he just scowls and digs a hair tie out of his jean pocket and ties his still wet hair back, resolving to get it all chopped off next barber he passes. He looks in the mirror, and even after the shower he still looks like shit. The bruises are livid against clean pink skin, and the stitches are black and red and garish. There are purple smudges under each eye, and he really needs sleep, more than he needs almost anything else in the world. He slings the towel round his neck so droplets don't fall from his back down his back, and he emerges into the bedroom again, where Dean is flipping through channels listlessly. His eyes flicker round as Eliot emerges, and back to the TV before they slide back round, and Eliot feels naked suddenly as Dean's eyes rove over him, over his bare torso, and he licks his lips nervously as Dean sits up on the edge of the bed, still watching him.

Eliot clears his throat, and it's as rough as it was back in the bar [and Christ, that seems like days ago now, has it really been just two hours?]. 'Hey man, I used all the hot water. Sorry about that.' He's suddenly awkward, holding the shirt out for Dean to take.

Dean's on his feet fast, like a cat or something, and Eliot takes a step backwards because Dean's right in his personal space, and he knows he's drunk now, because his first thought is fuck, he's hot, and that doesn't worry him as much as it used to. Or maybe he's just finally being honest with himself. It wasn't just Alec. Maybe he just likes to fuck guys. Crude, but true. Dean's eyes aren't just green, he notices, but almost hazel, flecks of gold and light brown spattered throughout, and he's close enough to see the light dusting of freckles across the taller man's nose.

He lets out a breath, slowly, but it still hitches on the way out, and Dean's smile curves up, and damn it if it doesn't just make him more attractive. The taller man reaches out slowly, and takes the shirt from Eliot's still awkwardly outstretched hand. He drops it on the floor, but keeps one hand curled around his wrist, fingers on the pulse points gently. He pulls forward slightly, and then they're kissing, and it's not gentle anymore, it's hot and slick as they fight to gain control of the kiss. Dean's tongue is in his mouth, and Dean's hands are in his hair, and Dean's more than half hard cock is grinding into his hip. He moans into Eliot's mouth as the hunter grips onto Dean's hips, holding on hard enough to bruise, and he's distracted enough for Eliot to angle him towards the wall and push, until he's the only thing holding Dean up against the wall, because he's pretty sure the taller man's knees have given way.

He's heavy, but not that heavy, and Eliot chuckles into the kiss before breaking it and biting his way along the strong jawline, leaving sucking kisses and faint teeth-marks in a vague pattern. He reaches the lobe of Dean's ear and he nibbles once, and again when the sound Dean makes sends jolts of heat straight down to his own erection, which is pushing against the zipper on his jeans almost uncomfortably. Dean's hands go loose in his hair, and he pulls back long enough to see that his eyes have gone slightly unfocused, the pupils blown with lust. Eliot bites Dean's ear again, tugging at it and eliciting a growl that makes Eliot think he's going to come in his pants like a teenager, so he moves down to the collarbone, hands moving up from his hips to pull at the buttons on Dean's shirt, because both of them are suddenly wearing far too much clothing. He sucks on Dean's collarbone, hard enough to leave a bruise, still tugging on the buttons, which are far too fiddly for Eliot to be happy with. 'Rip em,' Dean growls, fumbling at Eliot's belt buckle, gasping a shark intake of air as Eliot gets his shirt undone far enough to attach his teeth to one dark nipple and bite down. Impatient, Eliot yanks sharply, and buttons fly off of the shirt. He hears distant pings as they land on tables and the bed, a particularly metallic clink that sounds as though one fell down the heating vent in the corner of the room, but he doesn't care, because he suddenly has an expanse of tanned skin and muscles to run his hands and mouth over. He trails fingertips down Dean's side and he squirms, a high pitched sound breaking free from clenched teeth.

Eliot grins, evil, and does it again, slow and torturous. 'You're gonna wanna stop doing that if you want this to last longer than about thirty seconds,' Dean groans, fingers tight in Eliot's hair again as he drops to his knees in front of the other man. His belt is loose, but Eliot unbuckles it and slides it out of the loops, slowly, before unbuttoning the jeans and teasing the zipper down in minute movements. He slides his hands down into the sides of the jeans and underwear, pushing them down until Dean's cock is there, framed by dark curls. There's a bead of precome on it, and Eliot presses his thumb on the head, just hard enough for Dean to hiss, before he presses the flat of his tongue on it, licking over the head slowly. Dean's knees judder, and he lets out a breath slowly. Eliot takes the head in his mouth and suckles gently, swirling spit over it with his tongue before relaxing his throat and taking the whole thing until his nose is pressed against the soft skin of Dean's belly. He's bigger than Eliot, but not big enough that he struggles to take the whole thing. Dean yelps in surprise, and the hands in Eliot's hair tighten reflexively as he laughs, throat vibrating around his cock. He stays there for just a few seconds, and he can feel Dean's hands trembling against his scalp. He moves backwards slowly, and Dean's hips jerk once, twice, until Eliot's being held in place by strong hands, and Dean's hips are snapping in and out of his mouth until he's coming, and it's thick and warm down Eliot's throat and god, he's almost forgotten what this was like.

Dean's hands flex convulsively, and when they're loose enough for Eliot to move backwards he does, releasing his spit slick cock. There's a thin line of saliva running from the head to Eliot's mouth, and Dean's hands move round to the base of his skull, pulling him up off his knees until they're standing, groin to groin, Eliot's still straining against the faded denim of battered jeans. One hand curls around the nape of Dean's neck and Eliot kisses him deep, tongue licking his way into Dean's mouth, wanting him to taste himself on Eliot, smiling into the kiss because he can't remember the last time he felt this good. The other hand is running down Dean's back, and he frowns, encountering uneven skin and the kiss stops, because Eliot knows what scar tissue feels like. Dean surges forward again, breathing words against Eliot's lips, words like please and don't, and Eliot listens, lets himself be pulled back into the kiss and they stumble towards the bed, and the zipper on his jeans is finally pulled down as he moans at the release of pressure, because he's so hard it hurts, and the denim is pushed down over his hips so he stumbles, falling backwards onto the bed. Dean's a moving, touching, dead-weight against him, one with his hands everywhere, tracing all the scars painted on Eliot's torso, mouth biting at the tattoo on his collarbone, sucking and nipping at the sensitive skin there, but he pushes him away, because that's just altogether too much like what Alec used to do. His jeans are halfway down his thighs, and Dean sits up from between his legs, pulls them down further to his ankles until he can kick the material away, not caring where they land because as soon as they're gone Dean is back, hips rolling up over in a sinuous movement, and Eliot can feel waves of pleasure, like the sea is boiling because he's close, damnit, and he gasps as much out to Dean, he smirks, and stills, suddenly, frozen in place resting on his elbows as his face is millimetres from Eliot's. 'Well, we can't have that, can we sweetheart?' Dean purrs out, and he's gone, leaving Eliot to blink before there's a pillow being pushed under his hips and he realises what's happening. He and Alec had never really talked about switching, he knows that Alec used to top other men, but Eliot's never bottomed before. When he brings this up, Dean just flashes him another grin, pressing a forearm across Eliot's hips and tracing a line from Eliot's knee along the soft skin of the inner thigh and says, all Southern seduction, 'Darlin', Winchesters always top.'

Eliot thinks that Winchesters are what his Mama warned him about when he was a boy, but that thought is stolen away from his as something cold and slippery is suddenly pushing against his hole, and it's dancing that line between pleasure and pain that only serves to make him harder, not that he thought he could be. There's a few minutes where Dean's stretching him that rides closer to the pain end of the spectrum, but after that there are fingers moving in and out of his ass and his hips jerk against the arm still holding him in place and there are sounds escaping his mouth that he's never heard before, either from him or someone else. His hands fist in the rough material of the comforter under him, and when Dean's cock eventually replaces the fingers he's already a shaking, sweating, writhing mass, begging and cursing falling from his lips in equal measure until Dean hits his prostate with a careful thrust, and all the words stop and his vision goes white for what feels like hours but can't have been more than a minute or two. Dean grunts and his ass is filled with warmth as he clenches around the other man's cock and they empty themselves.

Eliot blinks a few times, eyes soft and unfocusing. There's come all over his stomach and chest, and Dean is spattered with it too, but he pulls out of Eliot with a smile, and it's the first genuine smile he's seen all evening. He pads into the bathroom and returns with a washcloth, cleaning them both up before he curls up next to the still unmoving Eliot. They lie there in silence for some time, before Eliot lets out a breath slowly. 'Fuck, man.'
He feels Dean's laughter, cool against the sheen of sweat covering his body. 'Fuck indeed, darlin'.'

They fall asleep like that, legs tangled in each other, naked as the day they were born, but happy, and sated, and Eliot feels like he's worth something again, and isn't that the most novel feeling?