Warnings: CAUTION: Contains excessive drunkenness and Bette Midler. Set in Season 3 somewhere, so spoilers for that. Angst, silliness, brotherly schmoop.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, I'm not a biker, and I've never sung Karaoke.
Your Heroes Left Unsung
During his final year, Dean found himself playing a lot of pool. He was fully aware that Sam's pool-playing ability was okay, but his people-playing ability was crap. Sam always focussed too much on the game itself, making the balls clack around the table and into the pockets to play the people. Not the way they needed to be played to let pool be a decent source of income. That's why Sam sucked at it.
Beat a guy at pool, he might beat the crap out of you later to get his money back. Beat a guy at pool and make him believe it was a friendly game and just a bad break that kept him from winning, he'd hand over his money, buy you a beer, and sometimes try to hook you up with his sister.
Dean had started the multi-state pool marathon hoping Sam would watch and learn because god only knew how Sam was going to pick up cash when Dean was gone. Credit cards were awesome, but there was an ever-present need for untraceable cash in Winchester financial planning.
Sam had watched a few games at first, but after a while retreated from each game to babysit a mug of beer for hours and try to squeeze any more info out of the laptop or whatever book he was studying, trying to figure out loopholes in Dean's deal. Each night it was less and less pool and more and more research, until Sam dropped the pretense of watching the games all together and dove straight into whatever phantom hope he was chasing that day.
Dean, well, he wasn't hurt; it was just Sammy being bone-headed. It was easier to keep playing pool to build up a stockpile of cash for Sam for after than to try to drag Sam into becoming a self-supporting pool shark against his will. Each game was still an evening's distraction from how fast the year was passing.
Dean lined up a shot. Tonight was a tough bar. Not that biker bars were a guarantee of trouble, but there was a larger portion of the average biker bar population that trouble came to easily.
Take the guy he was playing pool with. Nearly as tall as Sam, broad in a way that meant muscle and quick in a way that meant he knew what to do with it.
As an extra bonus, the guy was either a bartender or the owner, which meant Dean knew exactly whose side the rest of the bar would be on, should things go south. The game became a delicate balance between playing a 'friendly game' that drops a few hundred bucks and getting his face punched in by a bar full of angry bikers.
Dean had been glancing over at Sam, who had buried his nose in a beer and was staring a hole in the table. Probably the same beer he'd gotten when they'd got to the place. Not with his nose in the laptop or a book though, Dean hadn't even seen Sam bring anything in. So that was... good? Maybe?
He pulled his attention back to the game. Between the social balancing act, the complex calculation of what the optimum amount of cash he could win off this guy was, and the geometry of pool itself, it was taking a lot of Dean's focus.
A while later in mid-calculation, Dean became aware of the singing.
"...You were content to let me shiiiiiiiiine, that'sh your way..."
At first he thought, "Who the hell sings Bette Midler in a biker bar?" completely bypassing the initial questions of "Why is there karaoke in a biker bar?" and "Is someone getting tortured?" as his subconscious had done some subliminal prioritizing for him.
He glanced over at the table and noted the impressive cluster of empty highball glasses Sam's shoulders had been obscuring, lined up in a deteriorating line next to the half-finished beer.
Dean turned to the guy he was playing pool with and grinned. "Uh, if you'll excuse me for a sec, I, uh-"
"Go right ahead," the big man rumbled with a smile. "I ain't goin' nowhere."
Dean took off into the crowded bar, heading for the stage where Sam clutched a microphone stand and howled.
"Did you ever knoooow that you're my heeeerooooooooooooooooooooooooooo..."
Threading his way through bikers of all descriptions which included the term 'would eat your liver for breakfast if you look at them funny', Dean wound through the crowd. On the way through, he noted most of them were armed, all of them were looking at the stage and quite a few had their lighters out and were swaying in time to the music. Dean refrained from doing a double-take on that last observation. He kind of needed his liver for a few months yet.
"I could fly hiiiiiigher than an Eeeeeeewok."
Dean hopped up onto the small stage next to Sam, glanced out at the crowd he'd just passed through, and grabbed the business end of the microphone. "Oh, yeah. You're higher than an Ewok all right. C'mon Chewbacca."
"Hey!" said Sam, frowning and swatting Dean's hands away from the microphone before seeing his brother's face "Hey! Ish Dean!" Sam beamed.
Dean rolled his eyes and dropped his voice to a whisper, like being quieter would tone down Sam's loudness. "Yeah, Pavarotti, it's me, now can we please get-"
"Hey, hey y'all!" Sam slung an arm around Dean's shoulders and pulled the microphone off the stand with the other hand. "Thish my brother Dean! He'sh my brother! He'sh my hero!"
A concerted 'Aww' rose from the crowd of bikers. More lighters lit up as Bette Midler's background music played on. Dean was vastly disturbed.
"C'mon, Sammy, time to go."
"Can't. Gotta finininish the song, coz yer my. Friggin'. Hero!" Sam punctuated the last few words by whapping Dean in the chest with the microphone, making the speakers thump.
"Cristo?" Dean muttered hopefully.
"HA! 'S funny!" Sam half-slumped over Dean's shoulders like a stunned squid yet maintained his grip on the microphone. "He'sh my hero, he's saved my life more times'n I can count an he's the most awesome friggin' brother ever an' I jus' hadda say somethin' before he... before..." Sam's face began to crumple and his eyes started to fill. "'Fore he's gone."
A couple of the bikers holding up lighters sniffled.
Dean pulled one of Sam's arms from around his shoulder only to have the other one nearly throttle him. "Sammy, c'mon man."
Sam, one arm still wrapped around Dean's neck and shoulders, swung around with the microphone in the other hand and belted out another line from the Karaoke prompter. "D'you ever knoooooow that you're my heeeeeeeeeerooooooooooooooooooooo..."
Dean disentangled himself from is younger brother's far too freaking long arm and tried to pull Sam off the stage. "That's enough Sammy, come on."
"Hey!" shouted someone from the crowd. "Your brother's telling you he loves you, asshole. Shut up and fuckin' appreciate it."
Dean turned on the crowd with a scowl to tell whoever had shouted to stay the hell out of his family's business and was faced with a sea of annoyed hair and leather.
Maybe it would be best to wait this out. The song was nearly over anyway.
"Flyyyyyy high against the skyyyyyyyyyyy, so high I almos-" Sam suddenly went pale. "Ohmigod. Gotta puke." He dropped the microphone with a loud clonk-wheeeee of protest from the speakers, and stumbled out the door. Dean followed him off stage and out into the parking lot to the sound of rough cheers and large, hairy sniffling.
Sam was on all fours in the gravel parking lot, throwing up behind the long row of bikes.
"You all right, Sammy?"
Sam tried to get to his feet and landed on his butt instead, careening backwards. He looked up at Dean with an amazed expression. "I moved the rocks."
Yeah, okay. Whatever that means. Dean got behind Sam and ducked under one arm to lift him. "Come on Sammy, let's get you back to the hotel room."
Two meaty hands that had been recently wrapped around a pool cue wrapped around Sam's other shoulder and hoisted.
"Hey!" shouted Dean.
The bartender Dean had been playing pool with earlier shrugged and released Sam's shoulder, hands palm out in surrender. "No trouble intended. Figured you might use a hand."
"We're fine. Thanks." Dean maneuvered Sam into the 'stunned squid' configuration he'd managed in the bar.
"When's your check-in time?" the bartender asked.
"You're out on day parole, right?" The guy smiled. "I know the look."
"Uh..." Dean smirked, willing to accept an offered cover story, "Sure, yeah. Couple days."
"Sweet deal. You're doin' good if they gave you a couple days."
Dean shifted Sam who seemed to be getting heavier by the second. "Yeah, that's me, poster boy for good behavior."
The bartender nodded at Sam. "Your brother reminds me of my brother. Only yours isn't an asshole. Took the rap for mine too. I went up for five years. He didn't even say thanks."
Dean noted the sad far-away look in the bartender's eye of an incoming reminiscence. "Yeah, little brothers are like that. Listen, We gotta get going-"
"Right. Hey, you were up, what, two hundred on the last game?"
Dean grimaced, "Uh, yeah. About that, I-"
"Nope. I always pay my debts." He pulled a out folded wad of cash and stuffed it in Dean's top coat pocket. "You and your brother go have a good time while you're still out. Probably best you move on though, or the crowd in there might be asking for an encore."
The big man headed back into the bar. Dean aimed Sam towards the Impala.
"Dean?" Sam mumbled as they crossed the parking lot.
"Yeah, I bet." Dean propped Sam up against the car. "You need to puke, you do it now, right?"
"'Coz if you make a mess in my car, I'm gonna kill you. Then I'm gonna make you clean it up."
Sam nodded like his head was on a loose spring. "I'm okay. Got it all out." He giggled. "I made rocks move."
"Awesome." Dean opened the door and folded Sam awkwardly into the passenger seat.
"Bikers're great, Dean." Sam muttered as Dean shut his door.
"Heh. Yeah." Dean crossed around the front of the car and got into the driver's seat. "You lucked out with that bunch there. Most of the ones I've met in the past would not appreciate the unique vocal stylings of Sammy, Emo King of the Chick-Flick Ballads."
Sam burrowed down into the passenger seat, knees propped against the dash. "Bikers're great. You too Dean." Sam pawed at Dean's shoulder muzzily. "You're awesome. I love you, man."
"Yeah, you love the whole world right now, Sunshine." Dean smirked and started the car.
Sam's muzzy pawing turned into a solid grip.
"'M serious." Sam's face looked as serious as a five-year-old who'd dropped his ice cream. "Never say this stuff 'coz it sounds lame. You've been my hero since forever, Dean, long as I can 'member. More 'n Dad ever was."
"Not more than Dad," Dean said flatly.
Sam shook his shaggy head but dropped the point. "Jus' wanted, y'know... wanted you t' know. Wan'ed to tell you."
Dean snorted. "Yeah. Me and a couple hundred bikers in a bar in Fayetteville."
Sam pushed at Dean's shoulder. "Dean. Shuddup 'n lissen."
"I'm listening! You're drunk."
"Don't care. You're m'brother, an' you're m'hero an' I love you. Alright?"
Dean looked over at Sam's earnest expression. "...Okay, Sammy. I get it."
"Good." Sam let go of Dean's shoulder and burrowed down into the passenger seat. "'S long as we're clear on that." He was snoring wetly, head propped against the door-frame and breathing noxious fog onto the window, long before Dean finally put the car into gear.
"You say the craziest things when you're drunk, Sammy," Dean said quietly, pulling out of the parking lot and into the dark.