It'll help to read "Blind Spot" first. .net/s/4835450/1/Blind_Spot
The tavern was musty and dusty and smelled of beer and sweat and unfinished wood. Dean was sitting behind me, at the bar. He looked so bad he looked like a zombie, pale skin, dark eyes, scratches and bruises still on his face from Alistair.
He wanted to be alone. I could tell. And not just because he told me. It wasn't the usual macho 'I'll say I want to be alone even though I don't because then if you stick with me, you're forcing it on me.' I knew that attitude; I've given Dean that attitude. I knew his present attitude too, 'back off and stay away and yes I really do mean it' attitude. I hated it but I put up with it because it was what he needed.
So we were at a tavern. A smelly, dirty, nowhere tavern. Dean was nursing a beer sitting at the bar half a dozen yards behind me, and I was nursing one of my own sitting there at the table. I had one leg crossed over the other with my knee resting against the edge of the table, reading out of the big-as-a-Yugo book on the Apocalypse I had in my lap. Time was I would try to be as small as I possibly could, sit in a chair in a bar or anywhere trying to take up as little room as possible, be as inconspicuous as possible. Invisible if at all possible. Something Dad and then Dean taught me, drilled into me.
Maybe it was the right thing to do, once upon a time. When I was fourteen and still only half as tall as Dean. When we just learned that Yellow Eyes had plans for me only we didn't know yet what it meant. Whatever the reasons, right or wrong, whatever the reasons they protected me like that, right now I didn't care. As far as I knew, I might never care again. I was gonna take up all the space I needed, all the space I wanted and God help anybody who took exception to it. I was done with being nice, being polite, feeling that I needed to smooth things over with people. Angels, demons, anybody, I didn't care anymore. As far as I was concerned, I was stopping the next place I possibly could and get a t-shirt made that said, 'Back off world, I'm a Winchester'. The only person who mattered to me was Dean and the only thing that mattered was protecting him. Anybody who messed with that was going down hard.
Contestant Number One showed up before I finished my first beer. Older, Bobby's age maybe, gray hair and a dead smile, he turned a chair around and sat at my table. Did a sign go up somewhere 'Sam Winchester's in a bad mood. Get your tickets here' whenever I was pissed? How could these idiots find me otherwise? I barely looked up at him.
"You're Sam Winchester." He said. 'Got it in one.' I thought. 'And I'm not even wearing the t-shirt.' Which was too bad, 'cause he really needed to read the back off part. "I'm told you got a friggin' angel on your shoulder."
I turned a page in the book before I finally did look up at him. He was obviously a hunter, but wherever he was getting his intel, it was a joke. I've got an angel on my shoulder? There was wrong, and then there was wrong.
"As a matter of absolute fact, I do not have a friggin' angel on my shoulder."
"You know what I'm talking about." He was so unctuous I could polish boots with him. I just went back to reading my book. "You really don't want to ignore me." He said, going from oily to menacing. Or trying to.
"You really don't want to piss me off." I started with menacing and ended with deadly. All I had to do was twist my hand and barely concentrate and all anybody would know was that his heart suddenly gave out and wasn't it a shame? All he had to do was give me a reason. Please – give me a reason.
"You think you could kill me? Boy?"
"I think I could gut you, stuff you, and hang you on my wall without even breaking a sweat."
"You know who I am?"
Okay, this was getting old. I went back to my book.
"You could be the dirt I scrape off my boots before I get in the car for all I care."
"I know all about you Sam Winchester."
"If you did, you woulda left before you came in."
Yeah, I was channeling Dean, I know. It felt good.
"You don't got your big brother Dean looking out for you now, do you? Sam Winchester." He kept saying my name like it was the point of his whole conversation. "I can see him from here and I'm guessing it'd be pretty easy to -."
He was not going to finish that sentence. I slammed my book on the table and stood up, leaning on my hands, looming over him. He had the good sense to look scared, even if it was briefly.
"What'd you say about my brother?" I asked, as casually as if I simply hadn't heard him. "You threatening my brother?"
"I'm threatening you." He said and he sneered when he said it. It was almost a disappointment. If he was threatening Dean, I could off him and feel some honest justification that I'd protected my brother. If he was threatening me, I could still off him but it wouldn't feel nearly as good. "What're you gonna do about it?"
All I had to do was think it. Just think it and he'd be a lump on the floor. Threatening me was threatening Dean because I was all the protection Dean had and nobody – angels, demons, nobody - was messing with that. I started to raise my hand and I didn't care. All I had to do…
"Well, Hank Spears, as I live and wish you weren't breathing." Dean was suddenly at my side, glass of beer in his hand. He looked like – well, he looked like he'd been through hell, again, and his voice was still rough from the breathing tube, and maybe he was faking the attitude but at that moment he was all Dean Winchester. Pleasant but pissed, calm but deadly, and no mistaking it. Everything I wanted to be and every way I wanted to be it. My big brother.
"If you don't mind, I'm having a discussion with your brother." Hank Spears said. I didn't recognize that name.
"Which means you're having it with me." Dean told him. "And by the way – you're in my chair."
"You Winchester boys think you're so high and mighty." Hank said but stood as he said it. "You're nothing."
"And let me guess -." Dean said. "You're scared of nothing." He took a sip of beer. "You should be."
"This isn't over."
"Oh, don't go away angry, just -." But Hank Spears was out the door before Dean could finish the wisecrack. He looked at me and shrugged and turned the chair around to sit across from me. He lost the tough attitude and just looked tired. He looked at me again and didn't ask it verbally but he still asked it.
"Yeah, I'm okay." I told him. He nodded. He even looked pleased with the answer. I sat down and picked up my beer – and looked at my hand. I'd been about to off another human being. Yeah, he was a pain in the ass moronic idiot but – I was ready and willing to kill another human being just because he pissed me off. If Dean hadn't stood beside me just when he did –
"What was that all about?" Dean asked, breaking my train of thought.
"He said I've got an angel on my shoulder." I said it as much of a question as a statement. Dean blew out a laugh.
"The only reason we'd have angels on our shoulders is if they want to take a crap."
I didn't laugh only because Dean looked so serious.
"You know him?" I asked.
"Hunter. Dad and I -." He seemed to trip over the words. "Dad and I crossed paths with him, I don't know, five or six years ago. He was bigheaded then too."
"Please tell me Dad tried to kill him."
"No, but after they shook hands, Dad went to a sink to wash up."
We drank our beer then, and didn't say anything, and I looked at my hand again. I felt ashamed how close I came – how much I wanted – to kill Hank, to kill anybody just because I was pissed at what Dean had been through, what it seemed like he was still going to have go through. If Dean hadn't stood next to me right when he did -.
"What?" Dean asked. Even exhausted, half-dead and broken, he could still read my face. "Don't worry about him, Sam. He's nothing."
"Yeah." I agreed wholeheartedly. But as I drank my beer and looked at Dean, I couldn't help thinking, I guess Hank was right, I do have a friggin' angel on my shoulder.