Dean’s been a demon now for a couple of months and he’s done hanging around Crowley so he’s out in the big bad world all on his own. Trying to make it bigger and badder for all those who are unfortunate enough to run into him. It’s freeing really, being on his own like this, not being tied down to all those human concerns, after spending his whole human life worrying about his little brother, For now it’s like all of that is still there, but it’s hidden behind a greasy film that he could pull back if he wanted to, but he doesn’t, nope. That’s not his thing, not anymore. His thing is to have as much fun as he can squeeze out of his days and nights. At least that’s what he’s trying to convince himself is true.
Now that there’s nothing for him to be tied down to, he’s free and easy with his time. He spends days practicing his car stealing skills, hopping from one to another every hour on the hour. Twenty-four cars has got to be some kind of record, right? He turns to the passenger seat to ask, but it’s empty, it’s always empty now. He reminds himself that’s how he likes it, how it’s supposed to be from here on out. Empty, no little-brother baggage to haul around.
Ever since Crowley had brought him back with the First Blade, he’s been doing his damnedest to howl at the moon as loud as possible. Drown out the guilt and second thoughts that play on a loop, the regrets he tries to drown in booze and willing flesh. He hasn’t gotten this much ass in years and the stamina he has now as a demon, it’s really something. He wonders if all demons are like this, maybe that’s why Sam was so into Ruby all those years ago. Even thinking those names still hurts, and he mentally slaps himself, that’s the second time in just a few minutes that he’s thought about Sam. Definitely means it’s well-past time for a pitstop.
He’s somewhere north of New York City, along the Hudson, maybe Stony Point? It doesn’t matter anymore where he is, all that matters is that he can maybe drink the damn memories of his brother away for the night.
He spies a flickering neon bar sign up ahead on the dark road and pulls off into the gravel parking lot. The hot-wired car sputters to a stop when he pulls the wires apart. This was a good car, this last one, if it’s still here when he wants to leave, he might just re-steal it. Or maybe he’ll take that enormous motorcycle that’s leaned up against the propane tank at the end of the small brick building. Its chromed fenders gleam in the neon light just enough to catch his eye. He hasn’t stolen a cycle in a while, maybe that’ll do, feel the wind in his longer hair, all that good stuff. But that’s for later, now he needs the inside of the bar, the booze, maybe someone to distract him for a while until he’s blacked-out drunk enough not to remember why he needs to be distracted.
The greasy wood door opens too easily under his demon-strength. It’s still new to him, controlling it so that it doesn’t attract attention. But a mountain of a man sitting at the bar definitely has noticed. His eyes track Dean’s approach, assessing, evaluating, weighing. Dean exaggerates his swagger just because, and to see what the man will do. First there’s amusement on the broad black face, then he swears he hears a chuckle over the sound of the jukebox playing one of those god-awful new country songs.
He doesn’t bother to ask if the seat is taken, because he’s taking it. Mounting the barstool like he means it. The enormous man next to him moves slightly to accommodate him, keeping the personal space bubble that demons love to puncture. Dean leans in, almost brushing the nearly bare bicep with his own. The man’s head turns in a snap and he glares, flaring his nostrils slightly like he’s taking the rest of Dean’s measure by scenting him.
Dean signals the bartender, points at the man’s empty glass and points at himself. The bartender hustles over with the top-shelf whisky bottle and pours their measures out. Dean raises his glass in a small salute, waiting to drink until the man returns it.
It takes a lot to get Dean drunk now. Demons have a high tolerance for alcohol and other drugs as he’s found out through copious amounts of research. He’s found that the faster he bombards his system, with the higher alcohol percentage beverages, the better it works. And whisky has always been his go-to for that, so he’s glad to start out on the right path. He downs the double shot and signals the bartender.
“Leave the bottle, wouldja?” Dean asks when the bartender comes back, ready to pour.
“Uh…sure, but you gotta pay up first,” the bartender says.
Dean digs in his jacket for his roll of cash and pulls off a fifty, hands it over. “Keep the change.”
The bartender nods and then makes himself scarce which is fine by Dean. Better to get acquainted with his bar neighbor or the bottle, he doesn’t care which.
“You live around here?” the man asks, voice a deep rumble that shakes something loose in Dean’s stomach.
“Nah, just passing through, you?” Dean asks.
“Thinking about moving here, maybe buying this bar,” the man says.
“Why would you want a shit-hole like this?” Dean asks, sneering into his glass.
“True, good point. Guess I miss the one I had back in the city,” the man says. “I’m Luke, what’s your name? Thought I should ask since you bought me the drink and all.”
Dean sticks his hand out to shake and shivers a little when Luke’s warm hand envelops his own, completely covering it. “I’m Dean. So you owned a bar in the Big Apple, huh? What happened to you to sink you out in this area?”
“Arson, which meant insurance hassles, and girlfriend trouble on top of all that, it’s complicated,” Luke says, leaving the details to be imagined.
“Shit, that sucks. Well, here, drink up,” Dean says, pouring the whisky out until Luke’s glass is near to overflowing.
“Whoa, whoa, that’s enough, buddy, I gotta ride tonight,” Luke says, tipping the bottle up with one meaty fingertip.
“Oh I like the sound of that,” Dean says, turning the lascivious grin all the way up to eleven, it’s usually fifty-fifty that it works on a guy. Luke seems like one of those men who are secure enough in their masculinity to be able to let go and appreciate sexual teasing even if they’re not into it.
Luke laughs then, a deep boiling tremble that turns into a wheezing full-on laugh. Dean laughs along with him, and it feels good to laugh, even if he’s being laughed at. He’s glad that Luke’s laughing and not beating on him, even though he’d heal up quickly since he’s a demon, it still would hurt, he hasn’t seen a man this built in ages.
“You’re a riot, dude,” Luke says, wiping at his eyes with the back of his hand. “I meant my motorcycle.”
“Ah-ha, so that’s your beauty out front, huh? I was thinkin’ of stealin’ it later,” Dean says, starting to drop his g’s as the welcome buzz turns up in his system.
“You don’t want to do that, man. She’s all I got left from my old life right now,” Luke says, eyes going downcast as he focuses on the inch of whisky left in his glass.
“Well, I won’t since you asked so nicely. Plenty of other fish in the sea, or cars in the parkin’ lot,” Dean says. “I just haven’t gotten to ride on a bike in a while.”
“I’ll give you a ride if you want, when you’re finished here,” Luke offers.
“That’s not the kind of ride I was lookin’ for tonight,” Dean says, pouring himself another shot.
Luke laughs again, long and hard, shaking hard enough to bump into Dean’s shoulder. “You’ve got it all planned out, huh?”
“Sure, get wasted, find a body, wake up, steal a car, do it all over again,” Dean says, knowing it sounds like a crappy macho-man boast, but it’s pretty much the truth of his last few months.
“Why waste your life like that?” Luke asks, like he’s actually curious to hear the answer.
“Because I can, finally no one’s dependin’ on me, nobody knows where I am or even cares. Mostly ‘cause it’s what I want to do,” Dean says, it’s the internal spiel he’s been using to convince himself. It’s hard to rearrange your life when you’ve been used to having the same prime directive for all but four years of it. Even though he’s a demon, he misses have a point to still existing.
“So you’re trying to forget someone, huh?” Luke asks, downing the last of his whisky.
Dean feels his fingers clench into fists and a red rage flows through him just at hearing the question. He’s put so much effort into forgetting that he’s trying to forget. Getting asked about it makes it all circle around to a point he doesn’t want to face. It’s not working.
“You got me, yeah,” Dean says, feeling as defeated as he sounds. He downs the shot he poured and pours out another one.
“Hey, I don’t know you, but I know what it’s like. Losing someone, it’s not easy to get through, but hang in there, it won’t ever go away, but time makes the hurt easier,” Luke says, clasping him on the shoulder.
Something inside Dean melts at the human caring that this hulking man touches him with. “Thanks. But I don’t know if it’ll work, since I’m pretty much tryin’ to forget myself.”
Luke’s eyebrows go up at that answer, like he’s heard something similar before. “My girlfriend, the one I’m having trouble with, she was doing the same thing for a while.”
“Did it work?” Dean asks, downing his shot in a rush, the warmth of the whisky spreads through him, keeping the parts of himself that Luke’s melted warmed.
“Nope, and it’s a big part of why I’m out here without her. She’s got to figure that out on her own. You will too, Dean. Like I said, hang in there.” With that, Luke squeezes Dean’s shoulder a final time and then stands up.
Dean looks up at him, the familiar height and spread of shoulders makes his stomach contract with hunger. He grabs his glass and salutes it at Luke, splashing a little onto the bar. “Thanks for the pep talk,” Dean says, sarcasm covering up how small he feels inside, black and shriveled and useless.
Luke smiles widely at him. “You bet, Dean. And if I didn’t have a girlfriend, I would’ve given you a ride to remember.”
Luke walks out before Dean can react, much less say anything out loud, so Dean’s left to stew about what could have been. Being with a man like that might have let him forget himself and everything else for a while, maybe even without having to get drunk. But that small chance is gone and he’s left with half a bottle of whisky and an eternity in front of him to get through.