Title: "another scar will fade"
Author: monimala
Fandom: Supernatural/Roswell
Rating/Classification: no adult content, John, crossover, gen, no spoilers.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. Title is from Tom McRae's "Packing for the Crash."
Summary: Tonight, John doesn't much give a damn. 1144 words.
Notes: Apologies for any glaring inaccuracies. I only catch Supernatural every other week but couldn't deny the plot bunny.

The girl is off. He's been at this long enough to know, to sense it, to practically smell it on her. She sits too perfect, her hands crossed one over the other on the bar -- except when she fiddles with blond hair that hasn't moved a lick from the tightest braid you ever saw…any more than she's moved since she walked in the door. She's no ghost. Her chest rises and falls and every guy in the joint notices because she's got quite a set of…lungs. Not a vampire either. Maybe a witch or a sprite of some kind. Maybe lethal, maybe not. But that's just a female thing more than anything else. Deadlier of the species and all.

And what it all boils down to is that, tonight, John doesn't much give a damn.

He's been at this long enough. Too many years. Two sons worth. And he just wants a drink in peace. One drink. A mocking toast to the nasty sonofabitch demon that killed his Mary, and set him on this road, and then down the hatch.

But his hand hovers at the side of the brimming shot glass. Double pour. "Son, make it worthwhile," he'd told the bartender who was younger than Sammy and barely old enough to shave.

Because the girl is off and he doesn't give a damn but he can't stop watching her. It's in his blood. The hunt. The cataloging of things that go bump in the night…especially if the bumps are delicately pretty and totally out of place in a dive like this.

Her cheap white wine is untouched. Drinking it would require something other than messing with her hair for the tenth time in two minutes.

Damn, but he can't help himself when he catches her hand on the 11th pass.

She turns startled brown eyes on him and he feels the flash of…something. He's not sure what. Yet. Whatever it is, she tamps it down good and tight, like the rest of her. Wrapped up in secrets and hairpins.

"Miss," he says, gently, "you're wound so tight you're liable to snap half the customers right outta this place."

And given that there's only three other sorry assholes in the place besides them, that wouldn't leave much business for the kid at the till. She follows his eyes, noting the obvious, and actually gives him a tentative smile. Her lips are full and lush, but the smile is sincerely shy. Borderline uppity. He can rule out succubus. They're not uppity. They're just sluts with a fatal streak.

"Isabel," she murmurs, softly, taking back her hand and reaching for her wine. "I'm Isabel."

"Nice to meet you, Isabel." He watches her swallow a sip, maybe two, before he raises his glass, drains it, and slams it down. Before he pushes her perfect braid aside and whispers low and fierce into her equally perfect ear. "Now, what the Hell else are you?"

***

Her motel room is just up the parking lot from his. In a 16-unit establishment, there's not a whole lot of choice, not a whole lot of privacy. The walls are paper-thin and somebody in 5 is having a good old time. It makes her blush and she tugs at her hair again, rubbing her arms like she's cold even though the desert temperature hasn't even dropped yet for the night.

"I could kill you," she says. Repeats, actually. Because it's what she said back in the bar right before he kindly escorted her out with a firm hand on her elbow.

He believed her then and he believes her now.

"If you're worried, Miss, I could kill you, too. Wouldn't even blink."

He can still taste the whiskey in his throat as she chuckles. She's not much older than Dean. Maybe she's even a few years younger and the age is just from weariness. From tension. From wine she never drinks and hair she never lets down.

"Do you dream, John?" she whispers, even though he can't recall having told her his name.

"Wastes time," he tells her, because it's true. And because dreaming leaves you vulnerable, leaves you open, and he can't afford that. He's much more comfortable with the "sleep with one eye open" approach, if he sleeps at all.

She nods, agreeing, rubbing the back of her neck now, pacing the cramped space between two double beds -- neither of which looks like its been used. "What about running? Do you run?"

He gets the feeling she doesn't mean on a track or a treadmill and he has a hard time believing she's ever broken a sweat. She's too icy to be human…but too human to be anything else.

John still doesn't much give a damn. He has to push on. He has to keep moving. Keep tracking. The gas tank is half-full and he has to top it off before he leaves this little outpost that doesn't even count as a town.

But he answers anyway.

"I've been running longer than you've been alive. Toward something. Away from something else. You gonna tell me what you're running from, Isabel?"

The rumble of a motorcycle is loud right outside the door. She stops moving, goes stock still like she was at the dive. And as if she knows he's reaching for the gun he has stashed under his jacket, she raises her hand. "No."

He figures that's an answer to the gun and his question. No, he's not going to learn what she's running from. No, he's not going to put his finger on what she is or the trigger.

The girl is off and he feels her palm, cool, against his cheek, rubbing at two weeks worth of beard, before his eyes flutter shut and everything goes dark.

***

He dreams of a girl who knows how to laugh. Who checks labels on mini-skirts and only buys them if she recognizes the name. She likes her food spicy and sweet and her kisses taste like red hot pepper sauce.

He dreams of a girl who would break Sam's heart and give Dean a good run for his money. Who did break hearts and buried friends and didn't look back. Couldn't.

He dreams of a princess with a slender neck and gray fingers. Of betrayal.

He wakes up when the palace starts burning and the planet follows.

***

The sun is up and bright as he climbs into the truck, stashing his duffel on the seat and jamming the key into the ignition.

He should've gotten his start hours ago.

He should've done a lot of things.

"Make it worthwhile," he'd told that bartender.

But it wasn't the bartender who did.

The needle on the fuel gauge is tilted at 'Full.'

John hits the highway with one less mystery to chase.

And two more taking its place.

--end--

April 21, 2006.

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