Luckier Than Most

Episode: Time After Time, S 7 E 12, AU

A/N: While I liked Ness' advice, something Dean needed to hear, especially from his idol, it also made me wonder what would've happened if they'd stayed in the car a little longer. Here's my version of what happened.

"Boo hoo, cry me a river you Nancy. Tell me, are all hunters as soft as you in the future? Everybody loses everybody and then one day, boom! Your number's up, but at least you're making a difference. So enjoy it while it lasts kid, hunting's the only clarity you're going to find in this life. That makes you luckier than most."

The silence between the two men lengthened to the point of Elliot wanting to take a drink again. He didn't understand this dark hunter – a snort at the dramatic wording, yet still perfectly apt – because hunting was fun. Well, maybe not precisely fun in the accepted sense of the word, but enough so he could get up each morning and attend his nine to five job hoping with each new case, a supernatural reason would be the cause for investigation.

It was the little things.

Dean Winchester was the strangest and most complicated person he'd ever encountered. If even a tenth of his stories were true, the future seemed grim indeed, though Elliot did feel a wistful pang at being stuck here in the boring 40s – current god nonwithstanding – while the real hunting happened years after his death. It was enough to gnash his teeth at the unfairness of Fate.

"You don't know what the fuck you're talking about, dude."

Dude? Elliot mouthed, but didn't bother breathing life into the word. It was more of the odd terminology this time traveler used; the words he spoke were easily translatable, but not always understood within the context of his usage.

"It might seem girly for me to whine about losing everyone I love, but when you've seen the most important people in your life die, become a ghost, or resurrect time and again, it gets tiresome. Plus, narrowly averting Armageddon or watching as your best fucking friend unleashes something worse than Hell on Earth…"

Dean 's rough voice smoothed out and trailed off as he shifted to look out the window. Elliot was sure he saw the glimmer of moisture in his eyes, but felt compelled to stay silent. Everyone came into the life for one reason or another – though it did seem a high proportion were victims of supernatural attacks – but he himself didn't have a sob story, and since he tended to act alone, he rarely interacted with any of his kind. Hell, until Dean, he didn't even realize there were more of his kind; he'd gone so long between hunter sightings, he was beginning to think he was the last one.

"I still say you're acting like a goddamn Nancy. Don't you know, life's a bitch and then you die?"

Dean started, whipping his head around in shock as his idol repeated the same phrase and motto he'd lived by for most of his life.

"What did you say?"

Elliot heaved a sigh and then repeated his last words

"Dude, that's awesome!"

The older hunter shook his head at the enthusiasm suddenly pulsing through his companion. He was exhausted just trying to keep up with the mercurial moods of one Dean Winchester, unaware he was just one more in a long line of people heaving the same weary sigh and rolling their eyes in exasperation. Either way, somehow his words got through the younger man and when their quarry made his move, Dean reacted with renewed verve, momentarily stuffing his bullshit into the usual trap door in his mind, and reverting back to the trained hunter with keen senses.

Elliot watched the transition with a jaundiced eye and a shrug, followed by the (patent pending) hunter swig of alcohol from a beat up flask, then did his job.