The bar was a dive. Dark. Seedy. A place for the desperate. Or the desperately trying to forget. In other words, the perfect place for a disgraced ex-Air Force pilot and disgraced, soon-to-be-ex-LVPD detective. John's lips twisted in a self-mocking smile. How far the mighty have fallen. He downed the shot in front of him and signaled for another.
He should, he supposed, leave Vegas once the inquiry was over. Assuming they didn't decide to file criminal charges, but he didn't think they would; he hadn't done anything so blatant that it couldn't be covered up, and the LVPD didn't like drawing attention to internal corruption. Besides, he thought that McKay might step in if it came to that. He didn't think McKay particularly liked him, but they owed him, and McKay had admitted as much in his one short visit to John's hospital room after they'd pulled him out of the desert.
He could start over. He'd done it once before. Give up gambling. Move. Build a new life somewhere else, somewhere where no one knew that he'd once been a hotshot pilot who'd accidentally killed twelve people. Or a worn-at-the-edges police detective who'd betrayed everything he was supposed to stand for.
He'd learned to live with guilt and shame once before. Maybe the second time would be easier.
John ordered another drink--beer this time, because he wasn't so far gone as to let himself pass out at two in the afternoon, especially not with the inquiry still pending--and noticed for the first time that the guy three seats down seemed to be paying more attention to John than his drink. John had noticed the guy when he first came in--he was still enough of a cop to keep track of things like that, and this guy was worth noticing, if you were into noticing guys, which John sometimes was--but now he gave him a more careful once-over.
Young. Tall. Clean-cut enough that John wondered for an idle moment if he was military, and felt a twinge of pity for the guy if he was, remembering what it was like to stare at guys in bars and long for something he didn't dare take. Not like now, he thought bitterly, thinking of a long string of casual encounters and still not daring to tell anyone that he swung both ways, because while they couldn't officially kick you out of the LVPD for sleeping with a guy, they certainly could drive you out, and it wasn't like he had a whole lot of allies there. (He didn't think about the people he had told, once upon a time. That didn't matter now. There was no one left to give him away.)
The guy had clearly caught John studying him, because he'd upped his surveillance of John from surreptitious to blatant. When John did the same, lifting his gaze to meet the guy's eyes, the guy tilted his head in a question. John shrugged. It wasn't exactly how he'd planned to spend his afternoon, but it had been a long time and it wasn't like he had anywhere else to be. Plus he suspected this guy had too many things to hide to go around demanding other people's life stories.
The guy set his beer down in front of the seat next to John. "Come here often?" he asked, sitting down.
"Real creative with the lines, aren't you?"
"I like the tried-and-true approach," the guy said. He held out his hand. "Dean Winchester."
John shook his hand, smirking.
"The name. If you're going to use an alias, you might consider picking something a little less obvious."
The guy--Dean--looked surprised. "What do you mean?"
"You know," John said, waving his hand toward the door. "Winchester, and here we are just outside Winchester county. Look, it doesn't matter to me what you want to call yourself. I just think it's funny."
"I'll keep that in mind for the future," Dean said, voice dry.
"Good. I'm John Sheppard, by the way. And as it happens, this is my first time in this particular fine establishment." No reason not to give his real name. He didn't think Dean was going to try to go out him to the inquiry board.
"If you're calling this fine, I don't think I want to see the places you usually drink in," Dean said. He paused to take a drink of his beer, and John watched his throat as he swallowed, aware that he was staring and not really caring. "I take it you're from around here," Dean said.
"Not originally. But I've been here a few years."
"Moved here by choice, huh?"
More or less. John still wasn't sure what had driven him back to the desert after nearly breaking in one half-a-world away. Masochism, maybe. Or just wanting to prove something. And then of course there had been the question of who was willing to give him a job. "What's wrong with that?"
Dean shook his head. "Nothing. I've just never liked Vegas."
"And yet here you are."
"Conference?" Las Vegas was the city of conferences, mostly attended, in John's experience, by very boring people who found Vegas pleasingly exciting. He couldn't picture Dean as one of them.
"Something like that."
John glanced around to make sure they weren't being observed, then reached out and tugged on Dean's wrist, turning his hand palm-side up. He ran his thumb along the calluses and watched Dean shiver. "Let me guess...insurance salesman?"
Dean snorted. "Yeah, exactly." He pulled his hand free. "And you're what? A computer technician?"
"Someone's got to keep the slot machines running," John agreed, straight-faced.
"You're not going to try to convince me that Vegas isn't so bad?" Dean asked.
"I think a man has the right to his own opinions," John said. "Why? Were you hoping to be convinced?"
"I'm open to the possibility," Dean said. "I figure the right tour guide could maybe show me a different side of things. Make me reconsider."
There was something to be said for the straightforward approach, John decided. He downed his beer and set the glass down. Dean had already finished his. "Let's take a tour," John said.
He wondered as they left the bar whether Hendricks or IA were having him tailed. He'd watched for that when he pulled up, but there were some good guys in IA, if they really wanted to go after him. Well, let them. For all they knew he was continuing his drinking spree with a friend. Besides, it wasn't as it they could put it in his official record.
They ended up at Dean's motel room, after John argued that his place was too far away. It wasn't a complete lie--the sooner he could get Dean's clothes off, get Dean off and hopefully get off himself in the process, the better--but he also wasn't eager to lower his walls, and he had a feeling that Dean was perceptive enough to pick up on a few things if he saw where John lived. How John lived.
Dean didn't seem to mind. As soon as the door swung closed behind them, he had John pressed up against the wall, tugging John's shirt over his head before leaning in to kiss him. He was hard against John's thigh and John couldn't help moaning a little, because this was better than he remembered, and he really, really needed to remember to get laid more often.
John twisted them around so that it was Dean who had his back against the wall, and then pulled on Dean's belt to get it open before going to his knees, taking Dean's jeans and boxers with him.
"There's a rubber in my back pocket."
John reached around and pulled out the small square, tearing at it with suddenly clumsy fingers. As he rolled the condom on, Dean leaned his head back against the wall, eyes closed. He was gorgeous like that, almost golden in the light, and John watched him as he slid his tongue along the underside of Dean's cock, tasting latex and trying to lock the image into his head for his own private use later on.
Dean opened his eyes when John began to suck, looking straight down as if he too was adding to his private collection of images. John had figured Dean for a talker during sex, but he didn't say a word, just kept his gaze fixed on John, breathing hard, fingertips pressed against the wall.
John decided Dean had gotten laid a little more recently than John had because he held on for a while like that, back against the wall, head angled down to watch. And then he finally slide one hand into John's hair, locking his fingers to hold John still and began thrusting fast in John's mouth before finally coming with a low, gasping sound that left John's cock aching.
Dean pulled on John's arm, urging him up, then maneuvered them both toward the bed. John shed his pants along the way and let Dean push him onto his back before demonstrating that he didn't like to waste time with sex any more than in anything else and oh yeah, John really, really needed to get laid more often. For his next career, he decided, he was going to pick something where no one cared who you slept with as long as you showed up on time. And then he was arching and gasping because he didn't remember Dean introducing lube, but that finger was going in awfully easily and this wasn't usually something he went in for--too many hang-ups left over from his Air Force days--but--two fingers now and John spread his legs a little more to give Dean better access--Dean was making a pretty convincing case that maybe he should. And then Dean twisted his fingers and sucked hard, and John closed his eyes and let the orgasm wash over him.
The post-sex dance was smoother than John was used to, which kind of led him to believe that Dean had some practice with this. That didn't surprise him, considering. What did surprise him was Dean suggesting they go grab dinner.
"No one's expecting me for a couple of days," he said easily, sitting on the edge of the bed to tie his shoes. "And I don't know the good places around here to eat."
"Are you sure you trust me to choose?" John asked, bemused. "You saw my taste in bars."
"Can't really complain about that when I was there too," Dean said cheerfully. "Just as long as wherever we go has decent pie."
"Pie, huh?" John said, mentally running down the list of possibilities. He wondered what IA would make of it, then shrugged. He was probably out of a job no matter what, and they weren't going to throw him in jail for this. It had to be better than spending the next two days sitting alone in a bar. "I think I can do that."
Dean opened the door with a flourish. "After you."