A/N 1: just for the heck of it, I'm saying this is in Season 6, because I want Dean & Sam to be brothers again in Season 6.
A/N 2: another story that isn't my usual.
It should've been easy. A Friday night, a working class town, a Mom & Pop storefront restaurant that did a land-office fish fry every week in Lent. Me and Harvey would announce ourselves just before the owner left for the bank deposit and we'd be out again with a few thousand dollars before anybody could do anything.
It should've been easy.
Harvey was there for muscle, I was there for brains. It was the first time I took him with me on one of these jobs, the wife wanted me to break him into the business, he's her kid brother. We'd been casing the place a couple of weeks: long about seven P.M. the crowds emptied out and we'd be facing a young cashier, a pimply waiter, an elderly owner, and no automated alarm system. Gloves and masks and a few minutes was all it should take.
It'd be easy.
It started out easy.
We got the three of them in the back, away from the windows, on the floor, just getting them tied up with those plastic pull things. Easy peasy.
Then the bell on the front door chimed and I stared at Harvey. He forgot to lock the door. Like I said – brains he ain't.
"We're closed." I called out.
"Yeah, you're closed when I get the order I called in forty-five minutes ago." Some pissed off guy called back.
Knowing it was easier to give him his food and get him gone, I motioned with my gun to the cashier to take care of business and do it careful. She rabbited out to the front and I stayed out of sight at the door to be close by if she got stupid too.
"Hi. Sorry. What name?" Her voice was shaking. He better not notice.
"Dean. Two dinners. Extra coleslaw on one, extra fries on the other." He still sounded pissed. Good. He'd wanna be out of here that much faster. Two bags with the name 'Dean' were sitting on the counter in back and I handed them to the cashier when she came looking for them, and I warned her with a glance to stay not stupid.
"That'll be $18.26." She told Dean. I hoped he paid in cash so he could add to our haul. For a minute give or take all I heard was the cash register. I couldn't get a good look out without risking being seen, but the cashier seemed to be behaving herself.
"I didn't mean to be grouchy." Dean said. "But my little brother was already pissed that we ran out of Lucky Charms this morning. If I go back home with no dinner, he will be seriously pissed at me."
"Oh. Yeah. Ha." The cashier was still wobbly but still behaving. All Dean had to do now was leave.
But he wasn't.
"So – what time do you get off work, tonight?" He asked the cashier. Great, he was flirting. The moron was flirting.
"Uhh – later. Later. We just closed up. We – uh – uh –."
If Dean was smart, he'd keep being a moron and think she was nervous just talking to him.
Dean might've been smart or not – Harvey wasn't. He got impatient, he got stupid – stupider - and barreled out to the cashier with guns drawn. I should've just turned and gone out the back door, but the wife would never forgive me if I left her kid brother to swing in the wind. So out I had to go to, two seconds after Harvey.
Interesting tableau I found there.
Harvey had the cashier in a headlock, with his gun pointed at Dean, who had a gun of his own pointed right back at Harvey. He must've guessed or figured out that the waitress had company. For a minute, I really wondered whose side I should be on; sticking with Harvey was liable to get me killed. But moron kin is still kin. I pointed my gun at Dean.
"This doesn't have to end stupid." He said. I recognized the tone, the confident and casual way he was reacting to this whole mess; the look in his eye that said he'd been through this and worse before, and come out alive.
"Great, you moron." I railed at Harvey. "You pulled a narc into this. Just freaking great."
"A narc? Whaddya mean a narc? He ain't no narc. Whaddya talkin' about, Dowd? How'd you know he's a narc?"
"SHUT UP!" Wife's kid brother be damned – he spills my name he spills my blood. "JUST SHUT UP."
"No, please – don't shut up." Dean said. He was ticking the muscle in his jaw and staring straight at Harvey. He knew Harvey was the weak link, he knew that all he had to do was get Harvey to break and the show was over. "Keep talking. I bet you've got lots to say I'd like to hear."
The cashier was whimpering and hanging hard onto Harvey's arm. She was my only hope at the moment so I grabbed her away from him and pressed my gun to her head. That changed the game; I could see that Dean was reconsidering his options.
"C'mon, Dowd. Let the girl go. She doesn't have to be part of this."
"Shut up. Put the gun down or you get a side order of brains with your coleslaw."
He wavered. I wouldn't ice the cashier, I always kept jobs clean as possible. Maybe Dean could see that, and maybe he couldn't. Maybe he'd dealt with enough scum worse than us that he'd be afraid to take the chance.
Whatever course Dean chose – I was never EVER using Harvey on a job again.
"What's it gonna be?" I growled, yanking on the cashier, to make her blubber, to make my point.
"All right." Dean gave in and held his hands and his gun up. "Just let her go. You've got me. Let her go."
"Fat chance." I pointed my gun at him. "Gun on the counter, slide it over to me."
He did it, smooth, his gun ended up right where I wanted it. I pushed the cashier away, behind me, grabbed the gun and waved Dean into the back room with the rest of them. I didn't like him, Dean. For a lot of reasons, but right now mostly because he wasn't freaked by what was going on. A freaked hostage is easily cowed. A calm hostage, a confident hostage, is trouble. Lots of trouble.
I didn't trust Harvey to tie Dean up so I took care of it and Harvey tied up the girl again. She was still sniveling and begging us not to hurt her. I told her to shut up or I'd make her shut up. When I stepped back from tying Dean up and checking him for more weapons, he was looking at me, appraising me. I didn't like that either. I considered wiping the look off his face with the butt of my gun.
"What?" I knew I shouldn't let him get to me; a calm robber gets to be an old robber. But he was getting to me.
"Just wondering how tough you gotta be to take on an old man and two kids."
"Sure, why don't you untie me and see if you can make me?"
All the while, he was talking like we were only shooting the breeze, not like I had all the guns and he was a hostage.
"How stupid do you think I am?" I asked him back in the same tone. See, I could be calm too.
Until Dean lifted an eyebrow and looked from me to Harvey, then back to me again.
"Do I really need to answer that question? Dowd?"
That was it, I pulled my hand back to threaten him a good one – and all he did was smile and wait for it. Clean jobs or not, I swore if he wasn't a narc, he would've been so wasted so fast just for looking at me like that. Just as I was about to let fly though, his cell phone rang. If I hadn't been so pissed, maybe I would've let it ring. But I was pissed. I pulled the damn thing out of his jacket pocket, held it up to him just long enough for him to say 'hello' then put it to my own ear to hear whatever was going to be said.
"Dean, where the hell are you? You've been gone over an hour. We've got a case to investigate, in case you forgot."
The partner then. He sounded impatient, annoyed, and young. This'd be easy.
"Dean's a little tied up right now." I growled into the phone. There was a pause.
"Who is this?" Came growled back at me.
"I'm the guy who's got a gun pressed your partner's neck. Who's THIS?"
There was another pause, I guessed I'd given him something to think about and I expected to hear the babbled questions and useless demands of impotent rage, or the hackneyed questions of wanting to keep me on the line long enough to GPS us. What I got was a new voice - the same voice, but pitched so low I almost couldn't believe it was the same voice. He spoke every word low, slow and distinct.
"I'm the guy who is on his way to rip your heart out."
Then the connection cut off and I was left with a stupid brother-in-law, three scared hostages, and Dean, who looked all kinds of smug.
"Who was that?" I asked. He shrugged.
"That was my little brother."
Right, the little brother who got upset because they ran out of Lucky Charms that morning? Tell me another one.
"Who was that?" I demanded this time. "Was that your partner? Does he know where you are?"
"I told you," he said in that smug 'I know that you know that I'm lying straight to your face' tone, "That was my little brother. Sammy. He's waiting for his dinner."
He smiled again and I did haul off and whack him a good one across the face. I was getting pretty damn tired of this whole mess and since the wife would never let me near her again if I was to take it out on Harvey, it was Dean I wanted to make suffer for it. But, despite the split and bloody lip I gave him, he was still smiling.
"Tough as all that, are you?" He asked.
Behind me, Harvey was getting more nervous, more twitchy, and more a giant pain in my ass.
"C'mon, Dowd. Let's just get out of here. Let's just take the money and get out of here. Before his partner brings the whole damn police department down on us."
I really never wanted to hear him say another word as long as I lived.
"I swear to God, Harvey, if you don't shut up -."
I knew my mistake the second it was out of my mouth. Now Dean knew my name and Harvey's name. I knew it, and he knew that I knew it. And it put a grating gleam in his eye. Well, if I was going to have to waste the lot of them, I was starting with Dean. I knelt beside him, grabbed a handful of his shirt, and pointed the gun at his eye.
"C'mon, Dowd." Even with my gun in his eye, he was calm and understanding. "You haven't done anything stupid yet. This can still be easy. It doesn't have to get messy. You've got the money, just take it and go."
Behind me, Harvey was sputtering, the girl was whimpering, the pimply boy was trying not to cry and the old man was murmuring what sounded like a prayer. This should've been easy. Like all the rest of my jobs, this should've been so easy. And it all blew up just like that. Just because Harvey is a moron and Deanneeded to feed his little brother.
"Don't think I won't blow you to hell." I threatened him. He only huffed like I'd suggested he was supposed to mop the floor and he thought it was funny.
"I've been to hell, Dowd. And you know what?" He leaned closer to me, a snarl in his voice and in his eyes. "For a while there, I was in charge of it."
This was starting to get scary, and the scariest thing was – with that look on his face, I believed him about hell. I stood up just to be farther away.
Well, what needed to be done, needed to be done. We had masks and gloves and I had Dean's gun. I'd use that on Harvey just to tell the wife it wasn't me who shot him. Harvey had to go first, just so I didn't have to listen to him whine anymore. I turned to him and he just looked at me. He was such a dimwit, he didn't even know what I was about to do. I wasn't going to miss him.
Just as I was about to raise the gun and plug him right between his squinty eyes, something tapped the window that faced out to the back lot. It sounded like a pebble hit the glass.
It sounded deliberate.
"Hit the lights." I told Harvey and for about the first time that night he got it right, right off the bat. The light switch was right next to him and just like that, we were in darkness. It didn't level the playing field as much as I hoped it would – there was no lights in the back lot, and we had the glow from the front area of the restaurant reaching us, but it was better than being in the plain, open, light.
I didn't move and I didn't see anything moving out there. Then another pebble, and it was a pebble, hit the window, flinging up like it got bounced off the ground and into the glass. Then another one. And another one.
"What the hell is that?" Harvey demanded, and decided he had to be closer to the window to find out. Moron. I almost considered wasting him right then and right there.
"Get away from there!" I hurried to him to pull him back from maybe getting his head blown off by whoever was out there, and at the same time wondering why I cared if he got his head blown off. The pebbles stopped tapping and just as I was registering that that was a bad thing, a rock crashed right through the glass.
Harvey, all six feet of moron that he was, raced to the window, probably intending to empty his gun at all of the nothing that he couldn't see and I grabbed his arm before he could light up the neighborhood with the facts of our being there. The girl screamed, the pimply boy did start crying from the sound of it, and the old man went silent.
Dean was laughing.
"What's so funny?" I had to demand.
And I was reminded that he said he'd been in charge of hell when he said back to me, clear as day and deadly calm,
"The look on your face."
Chills I hadn't felt since I started this line of work rattled up and down my spine. I could believe Dean could see my face in the nearly dark. I barely reined in my panic.
"Who's out there?"
"My little brother."
"Stop saying that. I'm sick of you saying that."
I moved towards him to shoot him or kick him or something, but in the near darkness, I could see him moving, doing something, and suddenly –
"Harvey – turn on the lights."
- suddenly Dean was on his feet in front of me, with his bound hands now in front of himself. The sudden brightness of the overhead light stabbed my eyes and in the two seconds it took for me to flinch away from looking right at it, the back door splintered open and suddenly there behind Dean was the biggest guy I'd ever seen. Dean was big, but he was bigger. He made Harvey look small. Hell, he made the industrial freezer look small.
And he had a sawed-off shotgun aimed straight at me.
He knew what he was doing with it, too. He had it held just right, aimed just right. He was calm and confident, just like Dean. And the look in his eye told me he was only a thought away from pulling the trigger.
Yeah, well so was I.
I raised my hand fast and put the gun to Dean's chest.
"Drop it, or I drop him."
"Dean?" Was all he said. It was the deep voice from the phone, Dean's partner. Still calm, and only calm, and taking a measure of the situation. But when Dean turned to look at him, when Partner got a look at Dean's bruised face and bloody lip, his eyes blazed.
Right at me.
"Him?" he asked. I figured my death sentence filled up that one word.
"Him." Dean said, signing my death warrant, never mind that I still had the gun on him.
"You want me to waste him?" I demanded.
Partner's mouth curled up into a half smile that was bone freezing chilling, and he minutely readjusted the grip he had on his gun.
"I want to blow your head off."
Behind me, Harvey was a ball of anxiety and stupidity.
"Kill him, Dowd! Just shoot him! Shoot 'em all! They're gonna gets us sent up! I'm gonna shoot 'em if you don't!"
I didn't want to take my eyes off the narcs, but I didn't want Harvey hosing down the place either, not if there was still a chance we could run with our skins intact. I turned half a glance towards him.
Half a glance and no more. And yet - the next thing I knew, my face was on the floor, my arm was in the air, my shoulder was in agony, and the gun was in Partner's hand.
Harvey's panic went off the charts.
"Dowd! What the hell!" Sounding like any of this was my fault. Moron. If he'd had any brains, he would've run.
Well, he did run – right at Partner, who dropped my arm, met Harvey's head with the butt of his rifle, tripped him, dropped him, cuffed his hands around the leg of the freezer, pulled out a knife and cut Dean's bonds, gave Dean the knife, and had my arm twisted four ways to hell again, all within seventeen seconds.
This should've been so easy.
"Got him?" Dean asked, as he gave an expert pat-down to Harvey, coming up with a gun, a knife, and a straight razor.
"I got him."
In another half minute, I was cuffed right up next to Harvey and patted down for my weapons, the cashier and waiter and old man were free, and Dean and his partner took up their weapons and were headed out the demolished back door. Dean stopped though, came back and grabbed his bags of dinner from the front counter. Guess he was serious about needing to feed his little brother. On his way back, as the old man was calling the cops and the cashier was comforting the pimply kid, on his way back to the back door, Dean crouched next to me and gestured to his partner filling the doorway he was waiting for him at.
"Just so you know – that's my little brother."
Then they were gone and a few seconds later I heard the roar of classic engine tear up the street. A minute after that I heard the sirens tearing down the street.
"Are we in trouble?" Harvey asked.