She doesn’t blink when he asks for two shots, doesn’t flinch when he nudges one back at her with a tight nod of his head and a twenty on the bar. She downs the cheap whisky, his drink of choice, with him, avoiding his gaze as she brings the glass back to the counter for a quick refill, trying not to notice the new scars, choosing not to notice the deeper lines in his once handsome face. She looks around the near empty bar before slamming back the second shot, wondering if anyone sees, if they care, before risking a glance at the man before her, before moving his twenty silently back across the bar at him.

He smiles at her then, a rueful thing that tugs on what little heartstrings she has left and before long she’s off shift, or close enough to it, perched half on the stool next to him, a quiet sort of companion just waiting for her sign, for that slight brush of his hand against her knee or her arm, for that question in those dark, tired eyes. 

He never asks out loud, never says those things that the other men in her bar say, doesn’t use meaningless words or false pretenses to lure her; doesn’t ask much of her, not until his surprisingly soft lips brush up against hers, tasting of mint and stale booze and a sweetness she’s never been able to put her finger on, whispering her name so soft sometimes she sometimes wonders if she imagines it. 

He takes her hand in his, leading her to the creaky bed in the small apartment over the bar, her bed with it’s white, frilly sheets and girlie flower duvet, a place where he sometimes lays his head, if only for a night. He settles back on the too soft mattress, wincing as it or maybe he creaks, as she crawls onto his lap, straddling him, wrapping her arms around him while she can, giving him the thing he never asks for, the thing she thinks he needs.

His calloused hands roam freely over her body, tugging off clothes in search of bare skin, the cool of a gold band sending chills over her otherwise overheated skin. She doesn’t ask about the ring, never has, the sadness in his eyes tells her all she needs to know. Her answer is in the way he noses up into her, the way he tastes her, messy and wholly and desperate, always attending to her needs before his own, the name he cries out in the dark as his body trembles telling her more than he ever could otherwise.

He holds her after, always holds her, stroking her hair, her skin, making her feel safe and warm until she starts to drift off. She fights it the whole time, begs him silently to stay, though he never does. And she wakes in the morning, goes about her day, tending to that bar, waits for him to walk back through her door.

Notes: John Winchester started life as the dad in Supernatural, and this fic is loosely based on him, mostly in looks and spirit, though I turned him into my own character and started following my own canon. Written not for profit at all.

***

She matched him shot after shot, lined up full from her side on the bar and slammed back down empty from his, a hazy reminder of how much they’d had to drink. He started to count them by twos until she stopped him, reminding him it wasn’t gonna change how drunk he was and it wasn’t gonna get her the money she didn’t charge him for drinking them. ‘You can charge me,’ he told her, ‘but I ain’t got no money to give you, pretty lady’ and sweet mercy that might have been the nicest thing anyone’d called her in a long time. 

“You stop calling me cute little names now, Winchester,” she warned him, “‘fore I go all sweet on you.”

He followed up with a thick, overdrawn ‘You mean you’re not already?’ while she ushered the last of the hunters out of the bar, couple of them grumbling about she never kicked them out so early before and one catching on too quick that she wasn’t kicking Winchester to the curb with them. She threatened to pull out the gun hidden in her boot, talking about how John was family and anyway, it weren’t none of their damn business, was it? That shut them up as well as Winchester stepping behind the bar to lay out his namesake across bar. 

“Well isn’t that a sight?” Ellen questioned out loud to no one but herself as she made her way over to John. “A Winchester stroking his Winchester”

“A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Unless, of course,” he said before grabbing the bottle of Jack off the bar with the hand not fondling the rifle, “you’d rather stroke the Winchester.”

“Again with the sweet talk?” Ellen made herself comfortable on one of the creaky, cracked and torn leather covered stools. “You’re gonna make me blush like some virgin,” she told him, creeping her fingers down the smooth base of the old beauty. 

“A virgin. Well, haven’t had one of those since…,” her fingers brushed against his, over the cool steel of the barrel. “…it’s been a long time.”

Ellen moved her hand on top of his, rough against rough, hands of a hunter. She laced their fingers together, moved his hand slow down over the smooth steel and quick back up again. She looked him in the eye, gauging his reaction, “You holding that bottle for safe keeping or you gonna give us a drink?”

John lifted the bottle of Jack, brought it to her lips when she tipped her head back and poured a finger’s worth into her mouth, watched her swallow most of it down like no virgin he’d ever known. He took a swig himself, their fingers still intertwined as he brought the bottle back up to her lips and poured again, two fingers worth this time. She tried to take it all, swallow it all down like a good girl and he told her so even as some spilled from her mouth and ran down her neck and he chased it with his tongue and a murmur against her skin, a question of whether she was so salty sweet all over.

He traced the line of smoky sweet liquid up her neck, over her chin, across her lips and against her tongue, smooth like velvet. The near empty bottle hit the floor and his free hand came up against the side of her face, up into her hair and back down again and this time he chased the taste right out of her mouth. He felt dizzy, as if all the blood in his body had gone south of his belt, leaving nothing but sweet whiskey burning his veins in its wake. 

“How long’s a long time?” Ellen asked when he leaned his forehead against hers to stop for a breath. 

“So long,” he whispered, voice like sandpaper against silk in her ear, “too long.” 

She pulled away and turned her back towards him, hoisted herself up onto the bar to swing her legs around. “Too long,” he repeated as he grabbed her by the back of the knees and pulled her in towards him, moved his hands up over faded denim.