It’s been a year and a week since Lucas Daugherty killed the Winchester brothers, and he knows this because it’s been a year and a week since the nightmares started. They’re not vivid or arresting in any way that lingers in Lucas’ mind after he wakes up, but they stay with him; under his skin, festering like infection and plaguing his waking mind with shadows that aren’t there and a tinny sort of ping like the chime of a shop door opening that jerks him awake sometimes when he’s just beginning to relax.
He’s never had to own up to killing the Winchesters -fingers knotted in the taller one’s hair and a knife held to his throat as he shouted for the other one to put down his weapons and the tall one started to jerk, shout “Dean!” and Lucas just… reacted, slotted the knife deep into his throat and then jerked his pistol and squeezed off a shot and a half before the other could even lurch for his discarded pistol, the “Sam!” frozen in his throat and muffled in the echo of gunfire- and he’s not sure how he feels about that.
Nobody kicks up a big fuss about two convicted felons dying for the third time.
They saved the world, Lucas muses sometimes. And all they got out of it was a guy like Lucas hunting them down for putting it in danger in the first place. Once was forgivable. Twice was understandable. Three times the world falls into the Winchesters’ palms, something’s got to give, and it wasn’t Lucas.
Maybe it’s the unsettling feeling of murdering heroes that keeps Lucas up at night.
Maybe the job’s getting to him.
Maybe he just needs to drink less coffee.
He shrugs to himself as he shoulders his way through the clear panel of one of those generic 50s throw-back diners with the waitresses in pink and the busboys in bow-ties. The bell above the door pings.
”Can I help you, sug?” The hostess props herself up on the podium, speaking up over the dull roar of a mostly full restaurant. She smiles, all bright red lipstick and white teeth and smacking pink bubblegum.
“Just me,” Lucas shoots her an approximation of a smile back, but can’t muster a fraction of the vitality she’s pumping through hers.
“Bar’s full,” she jerks her head over her shoulder to indicate that, sure enough, the bar is full, “is a table alright.”
He kneads at the bridge of his nose, pinching hard for a moment. “A table’s fine.”
She shoots him another dazzling smile and leads the way with swaying hips to a table meant for four. He swings out a chair and she hands him a thick vinyl menu, nodding once instead of raising her voice over the din of clanking silverware and competing conversations to wish him a good meal.
He tosses the menu off to the side. He wants coffee and he wants it hot; everything else is details.
He closes his eyes, scrubs at his forehead and down over his face, feels four days of stubble scratch against his palm, and thinks about the face Dean Winchester made when he killed his brother.
His waitress is old, tired, overworked and wants to go home almost as bad as Lucas does, so he keeps it short and simple and by the time he’s got a cup of coffee seated in his palms with curls of steam wafting up into his face he’s starting to feel a little human.
He brings the chipped old mug to his lips and lets the coffee scald his cheeks and tongue, slip like lava down his throat, welting and blistering all the way down and something clenched up tight in his stomach starts to loosen when he hefts out a satisfied sigh.
The tensed muscles in his shoulders start to uncoil.
The noise falls out of the room, all conversations coming to an eerie, natural conclusion simultaneously all across the building, leaving everyone acutely aware of the deafening silence.
The man that slips through the door is dressed all in black, has a goatee that looks like it belongs there and a mess of strawberry blond hair that can’t decide which direction it wants to stick out in. He smiles idly to himself when he holds the door open behind him for a woman who is all hips and lips, with dark hair that’s twisted in a sloppy braid down the back of her thin, pale neck.
She shoots the man a dark look when he sweeps a broad hand out and bows a gentlemanly gesture, and he grins back. The darkness bleeds off of his clothes and into the air around him, out of her hair, their eyes.
Lucas reaches subtly for the pistol tucked into the back of his waistband, not sure what’s happening here, but positive that he’s not going to let it hit him blind.
The silence of the restaurant hyper-focuses on the newcomers who bypass the podium and the bubbly hostess and the tables without making a sound. They weave through tables nimbly, like they’re stretching.
Lucas is only half-surprised when they both take the chairs opposite him.
“Do I know you?” Lucas asks in that too-cool-for-my-shit tone he’s perfected as a hunter.
Just because the silence is broken doesn’t mean it goes away.
“Well, shit,” the man laughs throatily, eyes crinkling up as he flashes bright, sharp teeth. “I’d say you know us pretty well.” He glances to the woman but the woman has her eyes locked on Lucas, face set in hard lines despite the general softness of her features.
“I mean,” the man continues, swinging his gaze back to Lucas without the crinkles around his eyes this time, “they say you never really know someone until you watch them die. Ain’t that right, Sammy?”
Lucas jerks the pistol and Sam -he can just feel Sam in it- throws him, tosses him like a ragdoll into a wall without even lifting a finger.
“Fucking demons,” Lucas coughs, pinned to the panels of wood next to a huddled family of chubby Cubans and an elderly man clutching his cane with crooked, denting fingers.
“Ding, ding, ding!” Dean Winchester laughs, leaping up from his seat wearing the body of some poor stupid bastard who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. “We have a winner!”
“That your girlfriend?” Lucas sneers and the force crushing him into the wall doubles, pressure weighing down onto him from all angles with such a mighty force that he shouts out in pain and panic.
Dean hisses in mock sympathy as he ambles over, all loose joints and black, shark eyes. “I wouldn’t mention the whole dude looks like a lady thing,” he advises as he props himself on the wall next to Lucas with and elbow. “Sam’s a little sensitive. We’ll fix ourselves up after we’re done here. Find the bodies you couldn’t have been fucked to burn, funnel back in, clean house. We would invite you to the Winchesters’ come-back tour but…” he trails off.
Lucas swallows compulsively.
“Have you ever been to Hell, Lucas?” Sam asks, and his voice is liquid; all lilting feminine tones and cold fluid rage. He cocks his head to the side, braid spilling over his thin shoulder. “You ever had your soul torn into?”
Lucas tries to lever himself up off the wall with brute strength like a dumb shit, beating down at the cloying fear crawling up his throat like bile. He wonders for a moment if maybe he can trick them into the holy water at his belt or the cross at his neck, but remembers just who the fuck he’s dealing with.
“You know how many times Dean and I have been to Hell, Lucas?”
Dean’s breath is hot against his ear. “Lots.”
Lucas would have flinched if he could move.
Dean rumbles a dark laugh that’s completely void of humor. “It gets real old real fast. But hey, don’t just take my word for it, you’ll find out soon enough.”
The fear zings up Lucas’ spine, slips out of his pores. “You saved the world,” he whispers, clinging.
He wonders what the real Dean Winchester’s fingers would have felt like around his throat. “I’ve watched my brother die three times. He’s watched me die hundreds. I’ve been tortured, torn up, used up, broken in every way you could possibly imagine. I’ve met Death and I’ve shot the devil. Sam and me? We’ve given up a hell of a lot to save this world. You know what we got in return?”
Sam slides out of his seat onto silent feet and stalks forward. “Killed behind a bar in Texas by some asshole.”
Lucas can feel Dean’s smile sharp against the side of his face, but he can’t see it facing forward, focused on Sam swaying a pace towards the wall, plucking up a steak knife off a plate of a woman who yelps and scrambles away.
“Pardon us, if we’re not feeling so generous anymore.”
Sam’s eyes flux to black when he archs back his arm as drives the knife home in Lucas’ jugular and then -then- the silence breaks into screaming and shattering glass and the chaos of trampling feet and crying children, all of them in an uproar.
Sam licks the blood off his lips and Dean helps.