A/N: This is a crossover with Karen Chance's book, Claimed by Shadow. Should stand alone, but probably won't make total sense unless you've read it. Either way, it was fun to write!


Summary: Bobby won't let the boys go just anywhere to get a tattoo.

"You sure about this?" Dean asked, not bothering to hide his frown.

Across from him, Sam's grimace was almost a perfect match to his own. They sat in silence for a moment, both regarding the squalid-looking tattoo parlor from the relative safety of the Impala.

Dean was the first to look away. He glanced at his brother. "Check the address again."

Sam studied the paper in his hands and shook his head. "This is the place."

"And Bobby said this guy was the best?"

"Actually, he said he'd kick our ass if we went anywhere else."

"Crap." Dean suppressed a shiver. It wasn't like he was expecting a five star rating on the place but come on. Was Bobby serious?

"What?" Sam asked, cutting in on his thoughts.

Dean chewed his lower lip, choosing his words carefully. As helpful as it was at times, namely on the job, when working together was the only reason they survived a charging black dog or a rampaging banshee, it really was annoying that his brother could read him so easily. "I don't know," he answered, "Maybe I'm just not really feeling like getting some kind of freaky blood disease today. AIDS or Hepatitis B or whatever it is you get when they use dirty needles."

"I hear ya, man," Sam said, fidgeting, "But Bobby said the guy was legit. We should at least check him out." He threw a nervous glance back toward the shop before offering, "Maybe it's cleaner on the inside?"

Dean returned his gaze to the dilapidated structure. A bright neon sign glared back at him, the words MAG INK flashing on and off. He sucked in a breath. "Yeah. Maybe." If it wasn't, Bobby was going to have some serious explaining to do. "You sure you wanna do this?"

"It'd be better than carrying around those charms all the time."

Dean had to concede. It really was a good idea, and Sam had done his homework. Nothing save ripping the flesh from their bodies would be able to break this defense. Demons were getting more and more active these days, and there was just so much that could happen to something as fragile as a charm on a leather cord during a fight. A couple of punches, off slips the necklace and wham – instant possession. And that's so not happening again. Just thinking about Sam, his eyes black and his mouth curled in a wicked smile, aiming the gun, taunting, pulling the trigger...

It made Dean shudder to think about and, impulsively, his hand reached for the scar on his shoulder.

He stopped himself, and if Sam noticed the slip up, he didn't say anything. The fact that his eyes tightened though, before glancing back out the window, had Dean lowering his hand and scrambling for a change of subject.

"Well, then I guess that settles it," Dean said, with as much gusto as he could kicked open the car door, Sam following suit. "It's a good thing I trust Bobby with my freaking life."

Sam chuckled, and then bent his long body over the seat to grab his notebook. He flipped through it, tore out a page, and stuffed it in his pocket before climbing out himself.

Dean swiped his brow, annoyed at the moisture automatically beading his forehead. Midday Nevada heat had already settled in, and he and Sam were both sweating and rolling up their sleeves by the time they reached the door.

A cheerful ding announced their arrival. It was, very likely, the only thing "cheerful" about the whole place, especially since it was almost as hot inside as it was outside.

The shop itself had definitely seen better days, but it wasn't dirty, and Dean felt slightly better after that first assessment, albeit only slightly. There was a rattle coming from the somewhere in back that, after a moment of listening to it's desperate wheezing, Dean identified as the thrum of a dying air conditioner. No wonder it was so hot inside.

Taking in the rest of the room, he eyed the carpet, which was an awful shade of brown that reminded him a little too much of a hotel in Philly - or was it Denmark? - where he forbade a young Sam to take off his socks for a week straight. An equally unattractive brown curtain divided the room into two parts that, as well as the worn laminate counter, separated the back from the front.

At least there was plenty to look at. The walls were covered from ceiling to floor with hundreds of brightly colored tattoo sketches, each of them hand-drawn.

Dean moved to the counter, where a little silver office bell sat next to a pile of magazines. He picked up the topmost one - Crystal Gazing, go figure - and read the headline aloud. "Dracula sighted in Vegas. The scourge of Europe alive!" He thumped the magazine back on the counter. "Looks like we found the right place."

"Hello?" Sam called.

When no one answered, Dean popped the bell.

"I'll be out in a minute!" The voice came from behind the thick brown curtain and had a slight accent. British? Australian?

Dean glanced out the front window at the Impala, a habit he had acquired after St. Louis. He wasn't really comfortable being in a public place so soon, not with his handsome mug currently holding position with the rest of the America's Most Wanted. The busy hamburger joint across the street had plenty of people mulling about, any one of them could have easily identified them coming in. Or the car for that matter.

A flash of annoyance cut through him - what was Bobby thinking sending them here? To Vegas, of all places!

To top it all, something was off, niggling at him, irritating him because he couldn't figure out what it was. "Tell me something," he huffed, turning to his brother. "If this guy's as good as they say, how come it took Bobby so long to find him?"

Sam was perusing one of the big blank binders that were attached to the counter by chains. From what Dean could see, the books were filled with dozens of tattoo sketches, each design labeled with a number and a short, identifying paragraph at the bottom. Apparently, it wasn't enough that the walls were practically gift-wrapped with choices.

Sam didn't so much as lift his nose. He was glued to a page, even had his eyebrows scrunched, the way he sometimes did while in deep concentration, so it almost surprised Dean when he answered. "Uh, Bobby said he moves around a lot."

A bang sounded from somewhere behind the curtain, startling the older Winchester - like someone striking a stationary object. A string of curses followed, some in a language he didn't recognize and all in the same frustrated brogue. The grumbled words, "Bloody air conditioner…" from their invisible host and yeah, that had to be Australian.

Sam still hadn't budged from his book.

"You thinking about getting Tweety on your left cheek or something?"

Sam ignored the rib, instead turning his head slightly in his brother's direction. "Have you actually looked at these tattoos? I mean, really lookedat them." There was an odd sort of awe in his voice and he pointed to the open page in front him.

Dean leaned over the counter, scanning the page's contents. "Yeah?"

Sam looked incredulous, as if what he saw was the most obvious thing in the world and in no way, shape, or form should Dean have missed it. "Dean, these are real magic symbols. I'm not talking the little stuff, man. I'm talking serious mojo here."

"Excuse me?"

Dean glanced toward the wall at the abstract patterns, that niggling feeling of something being off about the whole parlor returning. Now that he was looking, there were none of the normal, run-of-the-mill tattoos among the designs that were usually the more popular body art. No weird, wacked out biker designs, versions of rose-encircled daggers or snakes curled around skulls. Dean didn't see a single barbed-wire armband or Tasmanian devil.

There were, however, several designs he did recognize – and not from the numerous tattoo parlors he had graced in the past.

Magic symbols.

They were everywhere, everything from traditional magic sigils to illustrations only seen in hundred-year old tomes. They covered every inch of the parlor's exposed wall: astrological signs, religious symbols, Native American totems, tribal designs, voodoo veves, animals.

Dean shoved his not-so-little brother aside and claimed the book.

Sam didn't object but reached his gorilla arm over Dean's shoulder to point for emphasis. "Check out the descriptions beneath the designs. If I understand it right, all of these tattoos have some kind of supernatural benefit."

Dean wasn't following, and he raised his eyebrows to say as much.

"Like a…like an added power," Sam explained. "Look at this one."

"What is it?"

"An earth worm."

"I can see it's an earthworm, genius. What's it do?"

"Regenerates limbs."

"You're kidding me."

"Sounds crazy, I know."

"Is that even possible?"

"Got me, but some of these are for real, man." Sam pointed to the opposite binder, to a page he'd marked. "I recognize this one from one of Bobby's books. It's a ward. An actual, magical ward. For Protection, I think."

"Huh. What's it doing as a tattoo?"

"That one in particular," a different voice answered, "is designed to protect the bearer by alerting him or her of danger with some kind of pre-determined warning signal."

Both Winchesters looked up to see the clerk emerge from behind the brown curtain, wiping his hands on a grease-stained towel.

Dean had seen a lot since his dad had introduced him to the supernatural world, more than most Hunters and definitely more than the average civilian; rarely being taken by surprise was something he prided himself in. But, try as he might, it was difficult not to stare. Or, uh, keep his mouth from falling to the floor.

The clerk was a skinny bald guy, and didn't look at all threatening. Didn't feel threatening either, despite having the appearance of a former Hells Angel. He was bare-chested, knee-length cutoff jeans and flip-flips his clothing of choice. His long and slightly unkempt gray mustache looked out of balance on his thin face, and even though it was half past noon, his cheeks and chin were already showing signs of five o'clock stubble. But his most prominent attribute were the dozens of tattoos that covered every inch of his thin frame.

Tattoos that freaking moved!

Dean took it in all at once: the bird – an elaborate, stylized eagle that could have been any biker's tattoo – that stretched it's wings and shuffled it's head on the clerk's chest; the cobra curled around his left bicep that slithered up his arm and across his shoulder to coil at the base of his neck, and so much more.

There wasn't a place on the guy's exposed skin that wasn't marked with vibrant shades of ink that lived and moved and breathed with a life of their own.

"What the…?" Dean couldn't finish his expletive. There was no possible way he could be seeing what he seeing. Or more importantly, for what he was seeing to be seeing him. And apparently, they could. The little lizard, painted just above the clerk's right eyebrow, proved just that when, unlike the two previous creatures, it reacted to them in fear by scampering across his forehead to hide behind his left ear.

Reaching for a weapon was automatic and, without glancing at Sam, he knew his brother was doing the same. As if in response to Dean's movement, a vicious, animal-like growl rumbled from somewhere behind the clerk.

No…no, that wasn't right. Not from behind the clerk – from the clerk!

The skinny guy put his hand to his shoulder, where a pair of orange eyes glared balefully at the newcomers from behind an inked forest of leaves that fanned and rustled across his flesh as if every movement stirred them. "Easy Sheba," he crooned. At his touch, the eyes - which were suddenly attached to a snarling black panther tattoo - shut in pleasure. "It's all right, love. They mean no harm." The clerk turned his unworried gaze back to Dean and Sam. "Sorry, mates. She's a mite bit overprotective."

"S-she's overprotective?" Dean stammered.

The clerk merely shrugged, his action startling the dragonfly perched on his left shoulder so that it took flight across his collarbone to land on his right. "I assume my appearance startled you. Sheba reacted to your surprise, but she's fine now so you can relax."

Dean didn't drop his hand, which had made it inside his shirt to rest on his 9 mil.

"The name's Archie McAdam," the clerk continued, "but you can call me Mac."

Unable to tear his eyes away from Sheba, who was now contentedly grooming herself on Mac's shoulder, Dean gave a curt nod.

"What can I do for you boys?"

Sam recovered first. "We'd…uh…we'd like to get a tattoo."

That was putting it eloquently.

Mac chuckled. "Obviously. Let me guess…Hunters?"

Dean stiffened again. "How'd you know?"

It was a stupid question. The guy had tattoos that freaking moved. It was obvious he knew about the world of the supernatural. Mac was, most likely, thinking the same thing because the smile he gave them was indulgent. "You're the type."


He shrugged again, this time irritating the dragonfly enough that it fluttered up and over his shoulder, disappearing behind his back. "...That and Singer said you were coming."

The mention of Bobby's name was disarming and some of the tension eased. Some, but not all. Dean dropped his hand but stayed wary.

"I believe you were looking at wards when I startled you."

"My brother was," Dean nodded tersely in Sam's direction.

Mac glanced at the page, than spoke to Sam. "Protection wards. These ones here are pretty subtle – kinda like a spider web effect. The one on the next page goes up a step further than to simply alert of danger – it can avert or even be designed to react to danger. But I don't recommend those lightly."

Dumbfounded at the man's casual description of such…well, powerful magic, Dean's curiosity spiked. He opened his mouth, but Sam, ever-inquisitive geek that he was, beat him to it. "Why not?"

This time, Mac's smile was one of genuine amusement. "Well, it's kinda like running a live electrical wire underneath the fencing of your house – sure, you'll fry the bad guy trying to break in, but you'll also toast the neighbor's cat."

Something about the way Mac said it made the whole thing sound funny. Dean met his brother's eyes, and then they were laughing, the incredulity of the situation not lost on either of them.

Dean coughed before clearing his throat. He'd seen too much in his young life to doubt that such things were possible, but it sounded so…so ridiculous.

"That's…uh…that's an interesting way to put it."

"So this is all…real?" Sam interjected. He made a sweeping motion with his hand, indicating the brightly colored designs decorating every available space of the room. "This is what you…?"

"Do?" Mac finished for him. "Yeah. It isn't the battlefield, like some. But I do what I can to help."

"I mean, your tattoos really work?"

"Think of it this way." Mac flipped the pages of the binder closest to them, coming to rest on a sketch of a double-edged dagger. "And this is putting it crudely, mind you. Say a woman doesn't like the size of her chest. If she's young and strong, or at least healthy, she can get an operation to get that part of her body enhanced. That's kinda like what I do. You want better hearing, I've got tattoos that will enhance your hearing; you want to move faster, heal quicker, I've got tattoos to do the job."

"Can anybody get a tattoo?"

"Oh no, no, no," Mac shook his head. "You have to have a certain amount of…uh…energy to sustain them. Like plugging a lamp into a wall. To light a room it's got to have a power source, something to constantly absorb energy from. Make sense?"

Dean shrugged. "About as much sense as moving tattoos can make, I guess."

"Which brings us to the next order of business, don't it?" Mac shut the binder, his gaze sharpening, and Dean got the feeling Mac wasn't as harmless as he looked. "What kind of a tattoo were you boys looking for?"

"Oh…uh…" Sam fumbled in his pockets before pulling out the folded piece of paper he had torn from his notebook in the car.

Mac took it, studying it thoughtfully, his brow furrowed. He glanced at Sam, something akin to concern showing on his features. "You know what this is, son?"

Sam nodded. "It's a Pentacle."

"Right, but do you know what it is?"

"It symbolizes the head, arms and legs of a man, representing man's mastery over his animal nature. It's the opposite of a pentagram, which is why a pentagram is flipped and the point is down, to show lower anatomy, representing the animal nature overcoming the rational self."

"Demon possessions," Mac confirmed, looking slightly mollified. "You've definitely done your homework. You draw this?"

Sam shrugged, his cheeks going slightly pink. "Yeah."

"Don't be embarrassed, son," Mac laughed. "You did good."

"Thank you."

Mac motioned to them with the hand still holding Sam's drawing. "Come on back, boys. Don't mind the mess."

Dean made his way around the counter, only to stop short at the sight of a large wolf, tattooed to Mac's back between the shoulder blades, that was peering at them inquisitively. The thing's nostrils flared, like it was trying to catch their scent.

His hesitation didn't go unnoticed. "What's wrong?" Sam lowered his voice and leaned forward, closing the distance between them.

"You don't think that thing can smell us, do you?" Dean whispered.

Sam's response was a reproving shove to the back.

Behind the curtain, the rear of the parlor was as non-threatening as the front, and there was a certain familiarity to it. It took a moment for Dean to realize why. Mac hadn't been kidding; it really was a bit of a mess. Aside from the tattoo table and its equipment, the room sported undecorated brick walls, a wastebasket that was so full it overflowed onto the carpet, and old books and tomes piled on every available surface, including an old cot shoved into a corner.

The kind of "organized chaos" that met his eyes reminded Dean of Bobby's living room, only without the furniture and random weapons.

Huh. Apparently Hunters and…well, whatever Mac was, lived the same kind of lonely, driven life.

"Hey Mac," Dean called, following the skinnier man to the tattoo table, Sam at his heels. "How do you get away with all this?"

Mac chortled. "Get away with what?"

"Those," Dean replied, nodding toward the constant motion of Mac's body art.

"Eh? Oh, give me a minute and I'll explain." Mac turned his back on them to wash his hands and ready his equipment. The wolf eyed them again warily, fixing its gaze on Dean.

Dean glared back at the inked creature and snapped, "What are you looking at?"

The wolf, deciding the humans were far too boring to mess with, snorted and turned on its haunches to peek over Mac's shoulder.

Dean felt Sam poke his ribs. "Don't talk to the tattoos, Dean," he whispered.

"It was staring at me!" Dean insisted. And no, that didn't at all sound petulant.

Immune to the conversation taking place behind him in hushed whispers - immune or just expecting it and not caring - Mac glanced over his shoulder. "Who's going first?"

Dean straightened. "'Spose I will."

"Have a seat," Mac instructed, and gestured toward the padded bench. Finishing his preparations, he turned to Dean. "Where you want it?"

"…Uhh..." Dean looked to his brother, who did nothing but shrug. "Well you're amazingly helpful today, Sam." He turned back to Mac. "Shoulder."

It came out as more of a question, which Dean hadn't meant to do, but somehow he really didn't mind. Mac seemed to know his stuff. That paired with the fact that Bobby knew and recommended him as highly as he had done only reinforced his faith in him.

Mac raised an eyebrow. "Can I make a suggestion?"


"Chest. Upper right. Here," he touched the spot. "Pentacles work best strategically placed."

"Sounds good. Sam?" They both looked toward the youngest Winchester, who nodded his assent.

Dean removed his shirt as Mac pulled a stool up beside him. "Just try to relax," he said.

Dean took a deep breath, betraying his self-consciousness, and blew it out.

"Want me to hold your hand?" Sam offered.

"Shut up, bitch."


"Don't like needles, do ya?" Mac picked up a strange instrument that looked like something out of a dentist office.

Dean shrugged, settling into the chair. "I've seen my fair share."

"I don't doubt it," Mac replied. "Hunters have a reputation of being reckless; getting hurt. Now hold still and breathe normally."

When Mac leaned over him, Dean flinched and sat up. "Wait a second," he said. "It won't move, right?"

Mac chuckled heartily. "No. This one doesn't move."


Forcing himself to relax, Dean settled himself into a comfortable position and nodded.

Mac was quick and efficient, cleaning the area with an alcohol pad before starting. To say it didn't hurt would have been a lie, but Dean had had far worse than the small needle cutting into his skin.

After a few moments of concentrated silence, Dean spoke. "So Mac, you never answered my question."

"What was that?"

"How do you get away with doing all this? I mean, doesn't it freak customers out when they walk in and hear your tats growling?"

"Oh, norms can't see these," Mac answered, pulling the needle up to wipe away a small spot of blood. Out of the corner of his eye, Dean caught the twirl of a small tornado on his right bicep.

He had no clue how Mac got anything done; those tattoos were distracting!

Above them, Sam made a face. "Norms?"

"Normal people. Non-magics, as we like to call them."

This time, it was Dean's turn to make the face. "Sam and I, we're not magic."

"No, but as Hunters you've used magic. Basic magic, most likely, but magic nonetheless. Your aura recognizes it, so therefore you can see it."

"Then what do normal people see when they come in here?"

"Well for starters, norms can't see this place," Mac answered, "so I don't get many in here. It's just an empty lot to anyone passing by. Norms tend to stay away from my kind, with good reason, I suppose."

"What about Hunters? You do any business with them?"

"Oh, they drift in and out. Not many know about me, and I prefer to keep it that way."

"Why's that?"

Mac paused, almost thoughtfully. "Some Hunters see magic and immediately think 'evil'. Granted, I know some of them have a reason to think that. Every Hunter I've ever met seems to have some kind of story as to how they got into it, but most of them are so rage-driven that they see in only black and white and ignore all the colors in between.

"It's a big world out there, boys, most of it the likes of which you've never seen. And yeah, unfortunately there's a lot of evil in it. But…well, I'm going off on a rabbit trail, ain't I? My point is most would try to do me in just because of my appearance, because I use magic. They forget that they themselves have to use magic. Whether it's casting protection spells, banishing a spirit, summoning rituals or making a poultice to heal a supernatural-inflicted wound. Vicious circle, ain't it?"

Dean's mouth quirked. "Yeah, guess it is when you look at it that way."

"What about you boys?"


Mac wiped away more red, his concentration never faltering. "Yeah. If you don't mind my asking, why are you in it? You're awful young. Much too young, in my opinion, to be going after demons."

A few seconds of silence passed before Sam uncomfortably cleared his throat.

"It's kind of the family business," Dean finally answered.

Mac still didn't look up, but it was obvious he understood a sensitive subject when he heard one because something in his voice changed. "Sorry. I don't mean to pry, boys. None of my business anyway. But if you don't mind, I'd love to hear some stories. Never gone after a ghost myself, but I've heard they're mighty tricky when they're angry."

The next two hours were spent swapping stories. Dean was amazed to find that Mac had, at one time, been somewhat of a supernatural hunter himself, though the older man was vague on the details. He had gone after everything from trolls to demons, but something had happened to him while on a job that injured him to the point he was forced to retire early.

"It isn't so bad," he told Sam as he taped gauze over the completed tattoo. "I sleep better now that life's a lot less dangerous. There now. Finished."

Mac rattled on instructions while Sam gingerly put his T-shirt back on, "Leave it taped up for at least two hours and then wash it with a mild soap and lukewarm water. No sun for a couple weeks and no scratching when it starts to itch."

He was still rambling as he led the way to the front and handed both of them a bottle of water from a small fridge.

"You boys take care of yourselves now," Mac said, his face turning serious when they were once again on opposite sides of the counter. It was an odd look for him; the laid back, G'day, mate attitude that Dean had enjoyed in his new friend had melted away, replacing itself with a genuine concern. "Hunting demons is dangerous business. I won't pretend to know why you do what you do, but it's not my place, either. You boys just be careful. And check in with Singer when you can. He called before you got here, and I reckon he worries about you two."

"Thanks, Mac," Dean said, shaking his hand.

Behind them, the door chimed brightly. "I'll be with you in a min…" Mac called, then abruptly stopped. Recognition flooded his features, followed by shock and a little apprehension. "Oh bloody hell," he mumbled.

Both Dean and Sam turned to see a ruddy-faced man stomp into the shop.

The newcomer was a mess, clothes and appearance disheveled like he had just come out of a bar fight. He had chaotic blond hair that put even Dean's short spikes to shame and he was dirty, too. Dirty and…and bloody.

Dean froze, feeling his brother at his side do the same.

The stranger fixed Mac and his company with clouded green eyes. "Am I interrupting anything?" he asked, all business with a hint of you really don't want to mess with me right now rolled into a cultured British accent.

"John," Mac answered, shaking his head. "Well don't you look like something the cat dragged in."

And he did.

At first glance, the guy didn't look injured, didn't have so much as a limp, but one leg of his jeans was torn open and the material drenched in red. Blood had also dried in streams down his neck, starting at his ear and ending at the collar of his long, thick trench coat.

Despite himself, Dean blanched. The amount of blood on his clothes alone screamed hospital, not tattoo parlor.

For that matter, it was well over 90 degrees outside. What the hell was this lunatic doing wearing a leather trench coat?

He got his answer when the man prowled – there was just no other word for it – across the room, squeezing past the Winchesters and sliding behind the counter without a word. Or a sound.

What the…?

Dean almost reached for his own weapon. The man's coat had flapped open when he passed the counter – revealing the glint of weapons. Lots of them.

Some kind of tool belt was slung low across the stranger's hip and crossing his chest. Dean caught sight of at least two handguns, one holstered to one thigh, a knife to the other, a sawed-off shotgun, several blades, a crossbow, and an odd assortment of what looked like little corked bottles.

Mac, apparently, was unalarmed at the bloody state of the new arrival because he clapped him on the shoulder as soon as he was in arm's reach. "What can I do for you, old friend?"

The stranger eyed Dean, then Sam, sizing them up as if he had just met them in a dark alley. It was a moment before he turned his attention back to Mac. "I need a patch up," he said gruffly.

"Looks like it, don't it?" Mac reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. "John Pritkin, meet Dean and Sam Winchester."

Out of courtesy, Sam extended his hand. Predictably, the man just glanced at it.

"John. These boys here are Hunters." Mac added congenially.

"A pleasure," he said, not looking like he meant it in the slightest.

"All right, all right," Mac said, handing John the keys. "You look like hell. And what in the Circle's name is in your hair?"



"It's been a rough day."

Mac looked like he wanted to say something else, but the stranger – John – eyed him dangerously. "Fine," Mac relented. "Go clean yourself up. There's a towel on the cot, you know where everything else is."


Without another glance, the stranger disappeared behind the brown curtain.

Mac's manner was casual, as if his friends dropped by all the time looking like they had gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson. Blood and frosting? Dean really didn't want to know.

"You'll have to excuse John," Mac said. "He looks like he…uh…he's had a bad day."

"Apparently," Sam replied.

"Well, if you'll excuse me, mates. Duty calls."

"It was good to meet you," Dean added, nodding at him.

"Take care, boys."

Dean didn't move until Sam grabbed his arm and pulled him to the door.

"Dude," Dean was saying as the door chimed shut behind them. "I think we just saw the Terminator. Who was that?"

"I have no idea," Sam answered, shaking his head. "But did you see the firepower he was carrying?"

"Looked like he was ready to start a war under that coat."

"You think Mac'll be okay?"

Sam glanced back at the shop. Mac appeared in the window and flipped a hanging OPEN sign to CLOSED. Catching sight of them, he gave one final smile and wave. Sam just barely caught sight of the tattooed snake around his neck snapping at something small and quick – the lizard most likely – before Mac disappeared once more.

"Yeah. Yeah, I do," he said. "Besides, I don't know about you, but I don't think I'd wanna pick a fight with Mac. Like ever."

"No joke. Those tats were freaky."