By: Karen B.
Summary: A companion piece to my 'Sam' centric story 'Drink'. Dean finds his way to a bar -- trouble abounds. Set soon after Dean's confession of hell to Sam.
Disclaim: Non profit dreaming. I just borrow the W. boys... I don't own them. They are just action figures in my mind's eye.
I opened my wallet, damn, down to my last fifty bucks. You'd think tackling demons, monsters, hell, myth, legend and lore would earn us a hefty paycheck. Not a friggin' chance. I was only three fourths of the way drunk from the flask of whiskey I kept hidden under the front seat of the Impala. I needed a lot more to finsih off this tie on. Fifty bucks would have to do.
I'd left Sam sound asleep at the motel room, and walked down the road to one of American's great institutions -- the Bar.
I knew it wasn't such a hot move, but I couldn't help myself. I'd been going round and round the toilet bowl, a piece of shit boat with no oars. I tried to keep my time in hell private, tried to convince Sam that I was fine. But truth was, plunking smack dab into hell wasn't like having a bit of car trouble. It was like facing a firing squad composed of every hideous, ugly, horrible thing you could ever imagine -- without a blindfold -- over and over and over again.
I should feel lucky, relieved, special even. My sorry ass had been ripped from hell. I could have so easily become a permanent resident. I felt sick inside. I tried to pretend I didn't remember what happened during my time in the box. I didn't want my baby brother knowing big brother had lost his humanity, maybe even his sanity.
I figured if I faked not remembering long and hard enough, I might forget the cannon ball sized hole that was now blasted through my soul. I hadn't meant to tell Sam what I'd done in the pit. My time was my time, but I just couldn't hold the feelings inside any longer. Against my will, the truth fired out of me like rapid fire at a rate of 800 rounds per minute.
Dragging the truth out of myself didn't help change what I'd done. Fessing up could never console what was inconsolable. I would never forget how I allowed evil to take over me. How the insatiable need to torture every mother in the pit made me feel almost euphoric. I'd gone full on Terminator. Had lost count of how many souls I'd turned into sloppy piles of guava jelly. All I knew was -- at the time -- the thirst to unleash my rage, to get a little payback -- was like a drug.
I had no more strength, no more will to fight Alastair than an ant could fight off a giant shoe stomping down on it.
I'd worked side by side with the demon for ten years, enjoying every minute. Alastair could have, and probably did chase my dad halfway across the universe, but John Winchester never gave in. Me -- after only thirty short years -- I started ripping apart anything that was square in my sights.
Hell was my life, until the hand of an angel latched onto my shoulder and towed me -- broken -- back into this world.
On the side of the road, sitting on the hood of my car, under the bluest of skies, with a beer in my hand, I'd spilled hell's broken reality to Sam. Tears streaming down my face, burning like hot embers. Crying in front of Sam -- just wasn't cool.
"Dean," he'd said. "I don't care what you think, you're not Batman. Nobody could withstand…"
"Damn it, Sam!" I shouted, not wanting a pitty party in my honor. "Don't!" I angrily swiped the tears away, hopped down off the hood, and chucked my beer bottle into the weeds. "Friggin' just don't!"
Things would never be okay again. I made my escape, crawling back into the Impala and turning the radio up full blast. Sam got in a moment later. There was a silent void between us. A void I felt stretch out farther than hell's stomping ground. I didn't look at Sam. Didn't want to see the sadness flashing in his eyes. I started the car and headed down the road. Even over the amazing sound system that was my radio, I could hear Sam breathing hard. Worried. Scared.
I took in a few of my own hard breaths composing myself, then said, "It's okay, Sammy." I kept my eyes fixed on the road. "I'm good."
When Sam didn't respond, I risked a glance. He just gave me a weak smile, and nodded once, turning to look out his window as I drove us to yet another roadside motel.
Reaching the entrance of the bar, I shook my head clear and entered. The place was dark, a half dozen guys looking like they just got off a long prison sentence, and a couple others looking like 250-pound apes walking upright. The tables and floor were filthy. The only lights, plain forty watt bulbs hanging from the ceiling. I watched a few flies buzzing and bumping about the illumination, until they drop dead from the bulbs' heat near the tips of my boots. Shaking my head, I looked up just in time to see a large forearm bump into me.
"Excuse you," I muttered reading the words 'your mama sucks' --"
I quickly turned my eyes away from what should have been a censored tattoo. Any place a man finds insult involving his mother's anatomy etched on some guy's hairy arm, isn't the type of place you should be hanging out alone in.
Against my inner hunter, I took a seat at the bar. This certainly wasn't a friendly place.
"Hey, stud." I looked up. Behind the bar, deeply scowling at me with her one good eye stood a very large witch with long, stringy hair and a few teeth bashed out. "What'll it be, sailor?" she growled.
"Beer," I said as politely as I could, hoping not to be another chip in her black nail polish. "Bulla," I added reading her nametag.
"What kind?" More scowling, and growling.
I started to worry she might be part werewolf. And here I was without my silver bullets.
"Miller. Draft." I quickly answered, trying hard not to scowl or growl back.
Bulla turned on her heels like the wind, and was back with a tall frosted glass, frothy foam spilling over the lip. She plunked the drink in front of me. I picked up the glass and took a long swallow.
"Ten bucks, sailor." She held out her hand.
"Ten bucks!" I snapped, beer dribbling down my chin. "That's highway robbery" I wiped the drops off with the back of my hand.
"Pay up." Bulla's hand clenched into a fist.
I swallowed another mouthful of beer, certain I could take her, yet knowing in my near drunken state she'd probably knock out a few of my teeth and twist my lips into a knot before I could.
I spun on my revolving bar stool, the action spinning my intoxicated head as well. Every ape in the place was glaring my way. I didn't want trouble. I slowly spun back, pulled out my wallet, and handed her my fifty. She took President Grant with a huge gapping smile and walked away.
"Hey, sweetheart," I tried to keep my charm intact. "What about my change?"
"Tip." She smirked over her shoulder.
Anger filled me, I'd just forked over my life savings. Not to mention tomorrow's gas and lunch money for a lousy glass of watered down beer. I stood dizzily to argue with Bulla, hoping she wasn't the ball-breaker she appeared to be when …
I face planted to the floor. I looked up to see two very large gorillas grinning down at me. One guy was wearing a fox skin cap. The orange sable type with a bushy tail draped over his right ear. Over his left draped -- nothing as he was missing his left ear.
"You get into a dogfight with Mike Tyson?" I half grinned around my bloody lip.
"Smart-ass!" Tall, dark and ugly next to him said, his hair sticking out from under a red knit cap.
"Having a bad hair day?" I asked. "Or do you get your jollies from licking your fingers and shoving them into light sockets," I laughed.
I was back in face plant position, the floor smelling like someone spit shined the tiles with vomit. I'm Dean Winchester. I'm a hunter. I'm Batman. I should have been able to kick ass, but not tonight. My get-out-of-hell free card had done something to my strength of will. Maybe I deserved to get the crap beat out of me. Maybe I'd tortured one of these guy's mother, grandfather, son -- or worst enemy.
I rose to my elbows, slowly climbing to my knees, then to my erratic feet. Every instinct told me to fight back, but my body wouldn't respond.
"That all you got, bitch?" I taunted, wobbling to and fro.
"Name's Buzz, and nope," Buzz chuckled wickedly as another harsh blow was delivered to my stomach.
Congratulations to me! I had easily succeeded in pissing them off more, a booted toe digging deep into my ribs. Neither man let up. Kicking, punching and tossing me back and forth between them like I was a hockey puck. They were doing a bang up job of doing what I couldn't do to myself -- kick my own ass. I deserved every punch. Warranted every stitch I would endure later by the hand of doctor Sam. My blood clung to their fists, just as millions of gallon's of blood hand clung to mine. I didn't stifle my cries of pain, thinking of all those that had begged me to stop the torture. Not until a large meaty hand wrapped around my throat nearly collapsing my trachea.
Scoreboard: Home team ten. Visitors -- that'd be me -- zero.
I was a comic book cliché being tossed around the bar. There was something metaphorical about the torture I was enduring by the hands of these jack-offs. Their swinging fists like a judge's swinging gavel, and in some sick way the physical pain was taking away the emotional.
Then I felt it. A light breeze at first. A breeze that suddenly spun into a twisting cyclone of anger at the sight of me.
"Lay off him now!" A sputtering voice I knew all to well made its way through my haze.
"Sam," I whispered my disappointment, when the judge's swinging gavel stopped.
A hush fell over the bar, like when you put ear plugs in your ears so you don't have to hear your little brother playing the copy-cat word game. I peered up out of my one good eye at Sam. The wrath of God, if there was a God, silent and deadly flooding his eyes. I wasn't sure how he knew I was in trouble. Guess his inner 'Dean' compass was flicking wildly about. Sam normally has a calm stance about him, but right now he stood a straight and powerful force not to be reckoned with.
"I said lay off him!" Sam's voice alone put a choking grip on the hands of the chuckle heads who had me pinned.
The abuse stopped.
The hands cut me loose.
I lay on the bar's vomit shined floor flat to my back, torn to shreds once again.
I could tell that Sam was worried for me, but his anger overshadowed that worry. I felt like I was in a dream, watching him holding his gun with confidence as he moved about the room, like he was the stuff legends were made of.
"Dude," I muttered around the taste of blood in my mouth. "I can handle these chuckle heads."
I felt invisible, nobody paying me any attention -- not even Sam. He was to busy staring down the entire bar, looking like a vampire about to sink his teeth into the neck of a beautiful woman.
"What the hell'd you two brainiacs do to him?" Sam asked in a hot tone.
"Buzz," I pointed at the guy wearing the fox skin hat. "His name is Buzz."
Still, everyone ignored me.
"Who? Him?" Buzz asked, reaching down to pull my head up off the floor with a handful of my hair.
The smell of the earlier whiskey, blood and beer made me gag. I winced in pain, watching Sam -- the legend before me.
Sam's eyes were so hot I swore they could illuminate the darkest corner of hell. I couldn't help but feel some of his anger was directed at me. He knew, where I was coming from. He knew, drunk or not if I wanted to I could have opened fire at anytime and hit every target with a fistful of angry -- and won.
"Who do you think you are?" Buzz's voice wavered under Sam's scrutiny.
"He's my baby brother," I slurred, proud of how Sam owned the place by mere presence alone. "Sammy," I called to him trying to stand, but my body was weighted down by booze and hell fire -- not to mention Buzz's tight grip on my hair.
Sam eyed me angrily, looking like he could pull a shadow demon from the wall and beat the bastard to a pulp with both hand tied behind his back. Sam kept his lips taut, not saying a word. I could see in his eyes all that still was left unspoken between us. I shivered in shame, the hell that was still inside me froze, and if pigs could fly -- they would have.
"Step away from my brother. Step away, now! Sam's tone boomed like the gates of hell had blasted open.
"Better do what my brother says," I informed my captor trying to take in some air, wanting to say more, but couldn't.
"Dean, shut up and let me handle this."
Sam raised his weapon and shot a round into the ceiling, startling even me. Buzz let loose of my hair. I slid to the ground -- a mound of tangled muscle and flesh.
"Ohhh," I moaned, my current position -- no position at all
No one dared sneeze, scratch an itch, or challenge Sam's top dog stare.
"I'll be taking my brother out of here now!" Sam jiggled the gun for emphasis. "Nobody moves until we are long gone."
Buzz, chuckles in the red knit hat, and the rest of the bar bowed out. I think I must have bowed out, too. Everything was spinning like the earth's core, that'd be hell, and all I could feel was Sam's breath hot on my cheek.
"Sam." I tripped over my own two feet, bending at the knees going down to the floor again.
"I got you, Dean," Sam said, struggling with both hands to keep me walking.
"It's okay, Sammy. Me and the floor are getting real friendly."
"Dean, you're crazy." Sam struggled to keep us both upright.
"Crazy enough to pick a fight with a guy named Buzz," Sam replied dryly.
"Guess that's pretty crazy," I admitted.
I felt sick, every muscle hurt, and everything around me turned as black as the hole hell had burned in my gut. A cool wind hitting my face told me we were outside.
"Take it easy," Sam hugged me closer to his side.
Consciously or unconsciously -- I wasn't sure which…I found myself in the passenger seat of the Impala. My ass was telling me this was all wrong. That I should be behind the wheel, but the rest of me just didn't care.
"Dean?" A hand cupped my chin and turned my head.
"Sammy," I slurred.
"Dean, you can't go on like this. Talk to me"
"Dude. Been there. Done that. Got the tee shirt and the snow globe to prove it."
I tilted my head to rest against the seat back, swallowing what felt like hell trying to bust into this world out my mouth. I couldn't tell my baby brother that what I'd done in hell, what I had to live with the rest of my life -- was slowly killing me.
"Dean, what is it that you're not telling me?"
"Simple, little brother." I glanced sideways at Sam, his eyes pleading with me to share-- no way. "When you're not around…" I gave Sam a playful smile. "I like to order a large supreme pizza and eat the whole thing."
"Dean!" Sam ground out between his teeth, in frustration.
"On your bed," I smirked.
"Dean, you know damn well that is not what I'm talking abou…"
"Naked," I added, laughing like Daffy Duck.
"Dude!" Sam let out a breath of disgust. "I hope that is not humor."
"I also prefer…." I held up a hand ticking each article off on my fingertips. "Boxers over briefs, roll-on verses stick, Dove over Dawn, and when I see a woman wearing those happy, fuzzy, bunny slippers… I want to rub up against…"
"Enough, crap!" Sam's eyes narrowed and darkened. "I get it, okay, Dean. Hell talk --" He criss-crossed his hands. "Off limits."
"Thanks, brother." I squeezed my eyes shut, leaning sideways until I landed against Sam's shoulder with an awkward thump.
"No problem, brother." Sam gathered me against him and started the car.
Every bump in the road amplified the pain racing through my body. My heart beat fast, and the streetlights were like flaming balls of burnt marshmallows piercing my closed lids.
"You all right?" Sam barely whispered.
"Going to be sick?"
I shook my head.
"We're almost to the motel. You can have the bed closest to the bathroom."
"That will work."
Sam was quiet and I could feel his tension. His heart racing in competition with mine, his breath's short and clipped. He really was worried about me. I loved the kid for that.
"What about that large supreme pizza?" I asked, breaking the silence, and hopefully the tension.
"That's just sick," Sam groaned.
We both laughed.
Sam closed his fingers around my shoulder. There were a lot of things in this world and beyond that I doubted. But my love for Sam. And his for me. With everything that I had left inside of me -- I would never doubt.
I sighed, for once letting my hell-fire soul rest beneath little brother's protective hand.