Challenge: Pumpkin Pie #3 - Potion
Word Count: 817
Summary: Cas is trying to find his mark, but isn't finding it a pleasant experience.
Notes: This got a bit away from me. Didn't quite go the way I intended... supposed to be more drink and less threateningness.
The photo was slapped onto the bar hard enough that the framework trembled and cloudy drinks shook in their glasses. The barman leapt too, although more likely through shock, and almost lost his grip on the glass he was polishing. A glass which, Cas observed without surprise, was filthier than when he’d started. “Seen this man?”
The man’s mouth opened and closed repeatedly without a single sound being emitted and for a moment it seemed he’d rather turn and bolt than answer the question. What kept him in place probably had more to do with the guns holstered across Cas’s back than any genuine wish to answer the question. “I-”
“Don’t say ‘no’ without even looking.”
Grudgingly the glass was placed, less than steadily, on the sopping bar and the man leaned forward to take a look. Eyes flicking from Cas to the picture and back again with a rapidity that made the big man wonder if he was actually seeing any detail, his head was in mid-shake before he paused. “Wait.”
The barman picked up the photo in one hand, holding it up towards his face with an expression of concentration that Cas had no doubt meant he’d have a headache the next day. “How old’s this, anyway?”
“Five, six years.” The date was in the bottom corner for fuck’s sake; how he resisted the urge to shove the image into the man’s face he had no idea. “This one’s newer.” A second picture hit the bar with at least as much force as the first; some of the puddles slunk sideways.
The barman sneered at it, flicking the first with a grimy fingernail. “The most you can see in that one is his hair. Plenty of blond men pass through. This one,” he flicked it again, “this is the goods.”
“Why?” That picture, Cas decided, was going to need a bloody good clean when he was done here.
“Those weird-ass eyes.” He jabbed one finger at the smiling image, leaving a smudge. “That blue-green thing he’d got going on. Not normal round here, you know. Dark blue, yeah, or brown, or the poor sad freaks with the purple shit,” he smirked, “but that kinda colour? Not normal.”
“That,” Cas leaned one hand on the bar, ignoring its protesting creak, “is the biggest load of shit I’ve heard.”
The man’s expression closed, eyes becoming flat and emotionless. “Only people with eyes like that’re the freaks and the City types, and they ain’t stupid enough to come out here.”
Cas jerked the picture from the barman’s hand with a speed that he’d clearly not been expecting. “And yet here he was and you didn’t fucking care.” He threw the picture onto the counter with the first one. “I should break your fingers for wasting my time.” And for the fingerprints he’d left on everything.
“You can’t call this a waste of time.” Not chancing it, the barman took two steps back, away from the glowering mercenary. “You know he was here.”
“And that’s good for what, exactly?”
The man smirked a tombstone smile. “It was only a week back. You still got a chance to catch up.” On seeing Cas’s carefully blank face and recognising that this probably wasn’t the expression - or lack thereof - that promised a reward he’d care to receive, added, “no one can survive for more’n a couple of weeks travelling on their own.”
“He’s either off east or south. South’s a rest-stop, pretty popular with the caravans, east’s an oasis. ’Least, it used to be.” He turned another of his camelesque smiles towards Cas. “No idea if it still is. Won’t be so good for your man if it isn’t, right?”
Cas picked both pictures up from the bar, shaking them gently to dislodge a few drops of something - he had no wish to examine more closely than that - and replaced them in his satchel. He was halfway toward the door, the stench lessening with every step, when the barman shouted across, “you’re not even gonna buy a drink?”
He glanced over his shoulder and the man recoiled; whatever he saw in his expression wasn’t fully intended to be there but Cas wasn’t going to complain. “I’d sooner drink my own piss. Less likely to kill me.”
Again the mouth opened but if he’d planned a retort, he sensibly thought better of it. Cas left him glowering at the customers failing to stifle their sniggers.
Really, he’d have quite happily killed for a drink. But only one he had good odds on surviving. Cas paused only for a moment at the dusty crossroads before heading deeper into Mellesur to find a cleaner, more pleasant bar. David Deor would either reach his destination or die on the way, whichever made little difference to Cas. Deor was a dead man either way; Cas had no intention of following him.