Not Where He Eats
Disclaimer: The show's not mine. The boys aren't mine. Very stingy of Kripke considering it's Christmastime and all.
Summary: Sam and Dean are asked to take care of a little problem with a dog…
This originally appeared in Brotherhood 6, a beautifully put together fanfic collection if you can get your hands on it. The story was written over a year ago, so there are older issues afoot here than the current post-resurrection problems.
The need we have to use you did provoke our hasty sending.
- Hamlet, Act II, Scene iii
Dean sat down in the booth and sucked in a pained breath.
Sam halted his movement to take his own seat and reached a hand toward him. "You okay?" he asked quietly.
Dean waved Sam away, his jaw tightly clenched. Freakin' thing had clawed him right across his back, and the gun he'd tucked into his waistband had rubbed across the injury. Dean surreptitiously reached back, pulled the gun out of his jeans, and shoved it into his jacket pocket.
He knew he hadn't been quite stealthy enough, however, when he heard the tiniest gasp from a booth across the aisle. Dean looked up to see a man in his forties eyeing him warily. He was wearing a dress shirt and tie, and looked just uptight enough to call the cops.
"I've got a permit," Dean said nonchalantly. He didn't, but Mr. Uptight didn't need to know that. The man just kept staring at him until finally Dean raised an annoyed eyebrow and cleared his throat. "Is there a problem?"
"No," the man answered, quickly turning back to his lunch and studiously keeping his gaze focused on it.
Dean just snorted. Nerves of solid steel on that one. Dean wasn't even wearing his whole annoyed face, just the one eyebrow.
"You know, you could've left it in the car," Sam said reproachfully.
"Murphy's Law," Dean replied. "I'm not walking around without one." Not to mention he really did feel naked without a gun, especially these days. The way they lived their lives wasn't exactly conducive to being relaxed and easygoing. Armed was good. Armed to the teeth was better.
"You really think somebody's gonna walk in here in broad daylight and rob a place that probably doesn't have more than a couple hundred bucks in the drawer?"
"It could happen."
"Yeah, and a bee could fly out of the flowers on the counter and sting us to death, or a sinkhole could open and swallow the entire diner. It's just lunch, man. Not World War III."
"I think the odds are a little higher of a robbery, but I've got some bug spray in the trunk." Dean nodded thoughtfully. "It's one of those that'll spray, like, ten feet. Good catch, Sammy."
Sam glared at him, though a smile was suspiciously peeking at the corner of his mouth. "You're such a jerk."
"I'm a well-armed jerk who's prepared to save your unarmed ass."
"Do asses have arms?" Sam asked, completely deadpan.
"Now who's the jerk?"
"It's a serious academic question."
Dean just snorted and picked up the menu sitting at the end of the table. He was deciding between a burger and a burger when he had the uncomfortable feeling of being watched.
"The dude in the next booth staring at me again?" Dean asked.
"Yeah," Sam answered without looking.
"Great." Dean threw the menu back down. "You wanna go?"
"We'll get it to go."
"We've been driving forever. It's why we stopped," Sam said plaintively.
"Fine." Dean stood back up. "Order me something. I'm going to the bathroom. Call me when he's gone."
"Take your time," Sam said, adding a long-suffering sigh.
Dean headed toward the other side of the restaurant. He walked into the bathroom and was pleased to find it was at least semi-clean. It was hard to trust a restaurant with a dirty bathroom.
Dean's cell phone rang, and he quickly pulled it out of his pocket, looking at the screen first for the caller ID. "Hey, Bobby, what's up?"
"Hey, Dean. I've, uh…" Bobby cleared his throat nervously. "You boys all right?"
Dean's mind slowed at the uncertainty in Bobby's voice. Bobby wasn't known for being tongue-tied. He was more of a here's-the-ugly-truth-so-deal-with-it kind of guy. "What's going on?" he asked worriedly.
"A friend of mine sent me somethin'. Somethin' for you," Bobby said after another pause.
"Tell me it's the new Barbie Dream House I ordered."
"No," Bobby said, not even a hint of amusement showing.
Dean sighed. He knew it wasn't good, whatever it was. Bobby didn't call him just to chat. "Spit it out, Bobby."
"It's a package. Dean, it's from your dad."
Dean's brain stuttered to a halt, and he felt his heart contract painfully in his chest. "Dad…he's been gone for months now, Bobby."
"You think I don't know that?" Bobby asked irritably. "The guy who sent it to me… He was supposed to get it to you if something happened to your dad. He just now heard that John died."
"Why didn't he find me and Sam?" Dean asked suspiciously.
He heard Bobby's dry chuckle on the other end of the line. "You two aren't exactly easy to find, ya know. You keep a lower profile than Jimmy Hoffa."
"I've always kinda wanted to be Jimmy Buffet."
"Why am I not surprised?" Bobby chuckled again. "So, this guy, he heard I'd been working with you and sent the package to me. You want me to hold on to it? Or do you want me to send it to you?"
Once again, Dean hesitated, unsure how to react. Dad. Bobby had something from Dad. "Can you tell what it is?"
"Looks like a DVD. Homemade."
"He sent us a video?" Bobby grunted in the affirmative, and Dean quickly came to a decision. "We'll be at the Knight's Inn in Elsmere, Kentucky." Dean had seen one a couple of blocks back. "Send it to the motel."
"Will do," Bobby said, and disconnected.
Dean opened his eyes and was temporarily disoriented to find himself in a bathroom. He'd involuntarily closed them while talking to Bobby to block out everything but what he was hearing.
Dad. Dad had left something for him. Them, Dean quickly amended.
He started when the bathroom door behind him opened. To his dismay, it was the businessman who'd seen the gun. The guy did a quick scan, and Dean could tell he was making sure no one else was present. When he was satisfied they were alone, he locked the door.
Dean immediately backed up a step so he'd have plenty of room to maneuver. This was so not good.
The man was studying him, and Dean took a quick personal inventory. He was probably looking a little rougher around the edges than normal. He had a black eye and a gash in his hairline that was big enough to still be visible. The guy couldn't see the rest thanks to Dean's clothes, but claw-boy had tried to flay him alive and Dean really wasn't in the mood for a creep bothering him right now. Not that he was ever in the mood for a creep bothering him.
"Hello," the man said.
"Not interested." Dean gave the man the full weight of his glare.
"Look, I was just-"
"Not. Interested," Dean said again. "Go away."
"You're not from around here, right?"
"No," Dean answered through clenched teeth. If this was some pervy sort of pick-up, he was going to kill Sam for not letting him leave.
"Good. Very good."
"Yeah, it's good. 'Cause I'm leaving." The man put a hand out to stop him, but quickly withdrew it after Dean nearly growled at him.
"Your gun looked a little fancier than normal," the man observed. "You help me out, I'll make it worth your while. You look like maybe you're the kind of guy who could take care of… problems."
"Problems?" Seeing red, Dean instinctively put his hand into his pocket. The feel of the gun's smooth grip had a calming effect on him as always, but the man fell back a step, banging into the door.
"Whoa, whoa," he said, holding out his hands as if to ward Dean off.
"Do I look like a hit man to you?"
"No," the man said, looking half-horrified, half-terrified. "No, I… It's not like that."
Dean had actually met a hit man once. Or at least he was pretty sure he was a hit man. He'd been a real nice guy. Dressed kind of like it was casual Friday at the office. Dean imagined he was real nice even while he killed you. He'd been kinda freaky that way.
"I'm in a diner having lunch. You see I've got a gun, you follow me into a bathroom, and you say you'll make it worth my while." Dean realized his voice was getting louder and quickly dropped it back down. "So you tell me what it's like."
"A dog!" the man hurried to say. "I need you to kill a dog!"
"A dog," Dean said, blinking in disbelief. "You want me to shoot a dog for you."
"Yes." The man rubbed a hand over his face and let out a loud breath.
They both jumped at a knock on the door. "Dean, you all right in there?" Sam must have seen the guy follow him and gotten worried.
"Unlock it," Dean ordered. "He's with me."
The man hurried to open the door, probably glad to have a witness in case Dean decided to kill him. Sam shoved it open, forcing the man to stumble back. He looked up and up, and paled further at facing a very angry-looking giant.
"Everything okay?" Sam asked, not taking his eyes off the man. He moved to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Dean.
"This guy followed me in here to ask me to shoot his dog."
"Not my dog," the man corrected. "A dog."
Sam and Dean just shared a look. "Why don't we take this back outside?" Sam suggested.
"No," the man said firmly, blocking the exit, and they both stopped in surprise. "No one can see me with you."
"Okay," Sam said, drawing the syllables out.
Dean sighed and scratched a hand through his hair, suddenly exhausted. This guy was annoying him, his back hurt, his head hurt, they'd been driving half the night, and he just wanted to go to the motel and crash. "Dude, just call Animal Control."
"It's my wife's dog," the man confessed. "I'll pay you. You take care of this, and no one will know I asked you to do it."
Dean just grunted and shook his head, while Sam looked toward the ceiling as if asking for help from above. "Look, mister, your domestic problems are your domestic problems," Dean said.
"You'd be doing me a huge favor." The man's tone had turned almost cajoling. "The dog's been acting weird for days now, and he just keeps getting weirder. My wife loves him, though. She won't hear a word against him. You just do a drive-by, take care of the dog, and that's that. Problem solved."
"Plausible deniability." Dean snorted. "You wouldn't happen to be in politics, would you, buddy?"
"How'd you know?" The man actually straightened to correct his posture.
"What did you mean by 'the dog's acting weird'?" Sam asked.
"Dude, we're not dogcatchers." Dean gestured toward the door. "Let's just go."
"Weird how?" Sam persisted.
"Ever since my brother died, he's just been…I don't know…strange. Barking at things that aren't there, twitchy… He was okay before, but he won't let me within ten feet of him now."
Dean's heart sank and he tiredly ran a hand over his face. He couldn't even go to the bathroom now without it turning into a disaster. It had always been sort of a safe haven. "How'd your brother die?" he asked.
"What?" the man asked, taken aback. "Heart attack. What difference does that make?"
"Probably nothing," Sam said. Nevertheless, he shot a quick look at Dean asking, You think it's something?
Dean gave a tiny shrug of maybe. "It was your brother's dog?"
"I thought you said it was your wife's dog," Sam said, frowning.
"I did. It was their dog."
"Holy crap. You married your sister-in-law?" Dean almost laughed.
"It just sort of happened," the man said, glowering at Dean. "I was asked to take his place as acting mayor until the next election, and we spent a lot of time together while I got everything in order after Roy's death."
"You took his job, too?" Dean raised an eyebrow. "And now you're hiring a hit on his dog? Man, was I wrong. Y'got nerve, I'll give ya that."
"Dean," Sam said, trying to curtail him.
"Right." Dean coughed to cover that he was still in awe of the brass on the guy. "The dog."
"Give us your address and we'll take a look. If we think something needs to be done, we'll take care of it," Sam said.
The man nodded and pulled out a business card from his wallet. "Cooper Gentry," Sam read. "And your wife's name is…"
"How much are we talking here?" Dean asked suddenly. "For taking care of your little problem?"
Mr. Gentry shifted uncomfortably back and forth on his feet. "I don't know…"
"How much do you have in your wallet?"
He just looked at Sam, all innocence. "What? He offered!"
"Let's go." Sam actually took his arm and began to pull him toward the door.
"I'll follow in a few minutes," Mr. Gentry said. "It's a little town. I can't be associated with you."
Dean rolled his eyes. "Story of our lives."
They walked back into the diner to see a waitress waving them toward the counter.
"I had her make it to go," Sam said. "Come on. We'll go check out the dog."