Touch The Car And Die
By: Karen B.
Summary: This is a story about an uber dirty motel, a bucket of ice, an eighteen-year-old bottle of Jameson, a cherry-red El Camino, and two brothers who love their car. Hurt/ comfort, brotherly moments, and other stuff.
Rated: It's all about the car!
Disclaimer: Not the owner.
'Woah! Listen to her purr! Have you ever heard anything so sweet?' – Dean Winchester 2:03
I had no choice but to pull over at the first blinking red vacancy sign I came across. The second I'd burst through the holey screen door I knew Joe's Motel sucked. Everything about the joint was filthy dirty. Even the thin, shabby looking man behind the counter, wearing an oil-stained white undershirt and loose fitting pants, sporting a short, grizzly beard and uncombed greasy, black hair was a wreck. His face was full of wrinkles, every wrinkle embedded with dirt. He did, however, have kind eyes and smiled politely announcing he was Joe and what could he do for me as I rushed up to the counter.
"Need a room. Now!" I slapped my credit card down on the sticky counter.
"Got a sick one, huh?" He peered past me out the window at the Impala where Sam sat inside, all bendy and twisted, passed out against the passenger door.
"Yeah, bad case of the flu," I said, bouncing up and down on my heels all jittery. Come on.
Joe frowned and quickly swiped my card. "Flu can turn into pneumonia. My wife died of pneumonia," he said sadly.
"Sorry," I muttered, really not caring about this guy's life story, and glancing over my shoulder to check on Sam. Friggin' pneumonia would be a step-up. Kid hadn't moved a muscle the last few miles it took to get here and his breathing was way too shallow. I turned back around and watched as Joe rummaged for a room key, flies buzzing around his head, seeming to follow him as he moved. "Can you hurry it up," I growled.
Joe stepped up his pace, coming back to the counter and handed me a pen. I had to hold my breath while I signed. Joe smelled like a sardine and mayo sandwich baking in the sun. I had a sneaking suspicion if the guy stood in a scalding hot shower for one week straight scrubbing himself raw using steel wool and a wire brush, he'd still never rid himself of all the dirt and stench.
I shoved the pen and paper back at him.
"It'll all be okay dokey," Joe handed me the key then bent down and pulled a bottle out from behind the counter. "Here, compliments."
I scowled at the unopened bottle of Jameson - Low class joint serving up top shelf booze?
"Place wasn't always a dump," Joe stated, obviously reading my mind. "Take it. You'll need it." He gestured toward Sam.
"Fine. Yeah. Okay, thanks." I took the key and bottle and raced back to Sam, not really feeling bad about being rude.
Parking the Impala right in front of our room, I wrangled Sam inside. Place was the size of a closet and as dirty as Joe. Sam and I would be lucky if we didn't get crabs or pick up an S.T.D the moment we crossed the threshold. I truly debated on staying here, but Sam was already showing signs of infection and generally in a very bad way. I needed to get him stitched up and he needed the rest. Bouncing around America's highways with his long geeky self-jammed in the backseat of the Impala wasn't going to cut it.
I lay Sam out as gently as I could on his back on the only bed in the room, then hurriedly went about gathering up the supplies I would need and set them on the nightstand.
"Right here." I rushed to pull up a chair. "Right beside you," I said bending over him and as tender as possible hiked up his shirt to check the jagged wound in the upper right part of his stomach, just below his ribs.
"How-how's it look," Sam swallowed hard, lifting his head up so he could see.
I peeled away the old bandaging and tossed it aside, sickened by how soppy-red it had turned. "Looks like a zombie tried to eat my baby brother's liver, that's how it friggin' looks," I barked angrily, pressing a fresh wad of material over the gaping hole and wincing when I felt the fast flow of warm blood. "Jesus, crap." I leaned in, pressing harder.
"Uhhhh," Sam drew in a sharp intake of breath, his head collapsing back down to the pillow, belly trembling beneath my hand.
"Easy. Easy, Sammy."
"Grrrr." Sam weakly struggled, gasping, eyes rolling up in the back of his head as he slipped into a state of half-consciousness.
"No dying on me, bitch. I'm warning you, man. Don't you fucking dare," I murmured more sweet nothings and not so sweet nothings as I continued to do what I had to do - ignoring Sam's flinching body as I did it.
I sat at the small rickety card-sized table, Sam's laptop in front of me. It was early evening, the room dimly lit by the setting sun casting its rays through the rags-for-curtains that were far too small to cover the single, broken-glassed window of our crap motel room. Curtains that were so dirty I didn't know what color they were.
We'd been here three long days. Three days of nursing, pacing, drinking and surfing porn. I was bored and I was worried and I was tired of having no one to talk to. I shut the laptop, feeling eyes on me.
"What?" I turned to my shadow cast across the dirty floor and attached to my feet. "I've seen enough of Susie Kim and if you had eyes… you'd have seen enough of her too," I quipped, standing.
My shadow stretched and shrunk as if to respond. Shadows were creepy, sinister things. I'd dealt a lot with shadows. Ghosts lurking in the shadows, monsters, shadow people. Hell, Death was a shadow. That thought made me shiver. "Screw you, buddy." I pointed a stern finger at my shadow. "You're never getting him."
There came the muffled sound of a man laughing. I shook my head, and continued gawking at my shadow. I was going stir crazy. Three days stir crazy - talking to my shadow, and now my shadow was laughing at me - not cool. A door slammed and more laughter followed. Took a second for realization to hit, and I sighed in relief. Wasn't my shadow laughing, just people, people milling around outside the motel.
"Stupid, Dean," I reprimanded myself.
It'd be a bad thing should my shadow start talking back. Can't leave a shadow behind, and If he started telling baby brother all my personal secrets and favorite porn sights…I shuddered to think. Speaking of… I glanced over at my baby brother, lips slightly parted in sleep. He wasn't such a baby anymore. His giant body taking up the only bed in the room, and even though it was queen-sized his feet dangled off the end. That nose and big mouth used to be so tiny, those hands tight little fists holding onto my thumbs. Now those fists were gorilla-sized and had not only dropped their fair share of monsters and morons, they'd dropped me to my ass on a few special occasions.
I pulled a bottle of Southern Comfort from my duffle and unscrewed the lid. "Looks like we're going to be here at least another three long days," I absently told my shadow, taking a deep swig and nearly gaging. Stuff was cough medicine compared to the smoothness of Joe's eighteen-year-old Jameson that I'd polished off a day and a half ago.
My shadow nodded agreement, but thankfully didn't say a word.
With the night winding down, my shadow about to disappear, I took up post again. Sitting in the torn leather chair - I'd not been sleeping in - next to the bed. I tossed down a few more swigs of the cheap whisky. "Sammy, Sammy, Sammy," I muttered wiping my mouth. "What the hell am I going to do with you, dude?"
From the first time Mom placed my baby brother in my arms, I'd been careful of him, watching out for him. Yet, as hard as I tried I couldn't keep him from finding his fair share of bumps in life.
"Bumps," I laughed, setting the whiskey bottle down.
I bent over Sam, my face close to his, studying his breathing. Steady, warm puffs of air hit my cheeks. Check. His eyes were closed, but they moved rapidly under his lids. He was dreaming again. I sighed. Double-check. At least in his fevered dreams he could avoid the cottony haze of confusion and pain. Even if I was climbing the walls and my shadow was the worst company in the world, I was glad Sam was mostly out of it.
I did a pulse check, two fingers to his inside wrist that hung limply off the side of the bed. Sam's heart skipped a beat, then another and another. I didn't like that and decided I needed to rouse him from this particular dream. Besides, I needed to get some fluids into him.
"Hey." I picked up his limp hand and gave a squeeze.
No reaction. Just more rapid eye movement. I could set a dozen mousetraps off by his ears and the kid would sleep right through all the snapping. I tucked his hand under the covers. "Sam," I spoke louder; gently resting a palm on his forehead, feeling his high fever, and knowing my hand would be like an iceberg touching the sun.
"Guh." Sam stiffened, his body jerking slightly.
"Sammy, it's just me."
Sam's eyes flicked open, narrow at best, looking right through me.
"Hey, you want to join us here in the real world again?" I laughed nervously.
Sam kept staring, obviously not back to full consciousness. Always took a few minutes for his swirling, fevered brain to play catch-up. But even then, for the past three days, he'd been more asleep than awake.
"Dean." He finally gave a weak smile.
I nodded and waited, knowing it was only a matter of seconds for the pain to play catch-up as well.
Moving his head with effort, Sam looked away and moaned, "Mmmm."
"Yeah, I know. Sorry," I said, "Take a deep breath and hold it in, buddy."
Sam did as he was told, sinking lower into the bed, then slowly turned back to me, damp bangs sliding over to hide his face.
"Let it out, Sammy."
Sam let out a long, shaky breath, his left hand clutched at his bandaged side. His right, the one I just tucked away, came crawling back out, fingers creeping toward me, each tiny movement seeming to send pain splintering through him.
"Better?" I asked hopefully.
Sam blinked hard, his eyes foggy, but didn't answer.
"It's okay," I said. "I'll take that as a yes."
I lifted up the blanket taking a peek at the reddish-brown stain that had seeped through the large square piece of gauze taped just under his ribcage. Made me sick, thinking of how Sam went down. How fast it all happened. How I was practically standing right next to him and couldn't do a damn thing watching a bubble of bright red drain from his side. How I couldn't stop it. How that friggin' bitch nearly killed-
"Wha' you doin'?" Sam slurred, glancing at his wound.
I hurriedly brought the blanket back up and tucked him back in; I'd change the bandage once he was completely under again. "Nothing," I gave a fake, cheerful smile, "What are you doing?" I shot back.
"Jus-"Sam smacked his lips, "Laying here."
"You're damn good at it too," I chuckled, reaching for a cup of water on the nightstand.
Before I had the cup in my hot, little hand, Sam tried to lift up, but he was too weak and had no muscle control, his head flopping to one side.
"What the hell do you think you are doing, man? Come here." Being careful not to jostle him, I slid a hand between his hair and the pillow and straightened his neck, carefully lifting his head up. "You're such a baby. Here, take a sip." I put the cup to his lips.
Sam took one, tiny sip, feebly coughing up the small amount he drank.
"Don't you want a little more?" I frowned; kid was going to get dehydrated.
"Too warm," Sam grouched.
I eased him back into the pillows. "Yeah, about that, we're all out of ice," I admitted with a twinge of guilt.
The bucket had melted hours ago, but I hadn't wanted to leave Sam and go for a refill. Guess if he was going to drink more than a turtle sewn into his shell, I'd better go get more ice. I stood.
Sam coughed again, and before I could take a step away he had my hand in a hard white-knuckled grip. "Wh…what are you doing?" he could barely ask, the pain of pulling stitches and messed up innards obviously cutting deep.
"The princess wants cold water, the princess gets cold water," I laughed, but not whole-heartedly. My brother was a mess. "Won't be long," I added, still trying to hold a smile.
"Dean?" Sam's grasp quickly loosened.
"Yeah?" I gave a reassuring squeeze.
"Don't be long."
"Already said I wouldn't be."
"Good-" Sam's eyes fluttered upward. "You're a good big brother." His fingers went lax as he slipped back under.
My throat tightened and for a moment I stood frozen, teeth digging into my lower lip. "Damn baby brothers," I snarled. "Pain's in the ass. Always screwing up, always slowing you down, always making you worry and scaring the hell out of you." I continued to stare at Sam without blinking. He was so tired and looked like crap, but I knew he was going to be alright. I wouldn't stand for anything less.
Outside, the annoying sound of laughter grew louder, but Sam never stirred. I thumbed his runaway hair out of his face and felt a tear prick the corner of my eye. I turned to stare at the wall. Eyes or no eyes, my shadow stared back. "Awww crap." Me and my shadow do a lot of things together, but having our very own chick-flick moment – not happening. "Shit." I placed Sam's hand down at his side. "One cup of cold water comin' right up, bro." I rubbed the tear away and roughly grabbed the ice bucket off the table and went to the door.
With one last look at Sam – sleeping soundly – I pulled the door open and stepped out, closing it softly behind me and being sure to test that it was locked.
Right off I was met with the stink of alcohol and three sets of hard eyes on me. They were big dudes that looked like they worked out lifting weights at the gym all day. I could read people, and it wasn't hard to tell they were all trashed and itching for a fight. Taking in the beer bottles and snubbed out cigarettes that littered the ground, the group had obviously been loitering out here a while.
"Party city," I muttered under my breath.
One guy was leaning against my Baby as if he were relaxing poolside. Another dude was leaning against the door of the room next to ours, the third sat on the curb with a 'you lookin' at me' attitude written all over his face.
"Fellows," I said trying to keep the irritation out of my voice and taking care not to glance back at the room I'd left Sammy alone in.
"Evening," Poolside, the bigger of the three dicks, raised his beer bottle at me, his voice slurred and gruff from drinking.
I wasn't in the mood to play ball with these big boys. And Dad's rule- number five – never go into a fight without backup. I gave a side glance at my shadow. He was shrinking away with the fast setting sun. Great. Both my teammates were benched.
"This your car?" Poolside asked, eyes roaming over the Impala as if she were a fine woman – and wasn't she.
Obviously she was mine. Everyone's car had a parking slot right in front of their motel room. I held back an angry shudder; nobody looked at Baby like that but me.
"Yes she is." I smiled wide with pride.
"What a jalopy," Curb Guy jumped in, taking a puff, a cloud of smoke swirling round his head. His eyes were shifty, scanning the parking lot like a tiger on the hunt.
"Piece of sad shit," Wall Guy grumbled, then tipped his chin toward their parking slot. "Now there's a car that'll win you a piece of tail every time."
I fought to keep the smile from dropping off my face and gave the glossy, cherry-red El Camino the once over. Friggin' piece of Teflon - Chevy or not. Baby was my one true love, one- hundred percent automobile, nothing compared to her in my eyes.
"That's one hell of a wax job," I said in awe, pretending to sound legit and not be the party crasher I had a sneaking suspicion I'd become the second I walked out of the closet of a room.
Poolside stepped away from the Impala to lean against his ride and eyeballing me like I was his next meal. That didn't make me feel too much better about leaving Sammy in the room alone while I went to get ice, but at least he wasn't manhandling my Baby and I'd be quick to fill the ice bucket.
"Wanna put some bets down and race?" Poolside egged me on by pulling out his wallet. "Only have a few bucks, but I plan on winning anyway," he chirped.
Guess I was his next meal after all.
"Wouldn't be a fair race," I said cockily.
That didn't go over so well with Wall Guy, who now stumbled toward me. "What you talking about fair?" His eyes crossed in anger.
"That car," I gestured toward the Camino, "Would wipe the street with mine." My smile was back, though I gritted my teeth.
Poolside snickered evilly. "He has a point."
I took that as my cue. "You fellows have a good night," I said politely and strolled away. "Touch the car and die," I mumbled under my breath what I really wanted to say out loud, but knowing the slightest show of testosterone would probably light the dick's fuses. I didn't need the hassle, or Sam waking up to a drunken brawl.
I made it to the small alcove that held the ice machine. Was just as disgusting here as the rest of the less-than-charming motel. Dead bugs and mouse pellets scattered all around. The machine's electric motor hummed loudly as I pressed the bucket against the metal bar. The machine was slow, of course, but at least it friggin' worked, dispensing hard ice one plop at a time heavily into the bucket. I kept watching out of the corner of my eye to see if the Three Amigos would storm back here, but they didn't. To busy yelling at each other I guessed as their loud voices suddenly pierced the air, though I couldn't hear what they were saying.
Finally filling the Ice bucket, I headed back, hoping the drunken asshats were preoccupied with each other, so I could slip back into the room unnoticed and tend to Sam. I'd already been gone longer than planned. As I rounded the corner, my plan went to hell. The Three Amigos had Joe, the motel owner, pinned up against my car harassing him.
"Pick your poison, Joe," Poolside spat in the poor, old dudes face, fist raised high. "Way I see it you owe us just for staying in this dive. You let us hang here another week rent free, or we beat the dirt out of you, and that's a lot of dirt, hey fellows?"
They all laughed hysterically, Wall Guy and Curb Guy stepped up behind Poolside, fists looking like iron hammers.
I paused a moment squeezing my eyes shut. "Son of a bitch," I whispered under my breath, "Always in the right place at the right time, huh, Winchester."
"Leave me alone," Joe sobbed.
And we're off. My eyes snapped open. Poolside had Joe by the shirt collar and was shaking him like a rabid dog. Joe didn't stand a chance.
"Hey," I bellowed loudly, quickly striding over.
All three turned to look at me. I stopped only inches from the Camino and flashed my best 'hi there' smile.
"Mind yourself, pretty boy," Curb Guy threatened. "Or you and me," he paused to crack his knuckles. "We're going to dance the Fandango."
I drew back, brows raised high. The Fandango was a provocative courtship dance performed by Spanish lovers. "'Eh, yeah, how about we never do that," I said. "Never works for me. Does never work for you, sweetheart?" I spat sarcastically.
Curb Guy's eyes were filled with anger, shooting sulfuric daggers my way.
Holy crap, I was in it now. "Why don't you flyboys cool off." I turned the ice bucket over and dumped the cubes onto the hood of the Camino, hard ice plucking to the pretty red paint job.
Worked every time, they shoved Joe away, all eyes once again on me - delightful.
Curb Guy took the first swing and I nailed him with a white-knuckled fist, shattering his jaw and dropping him to his knees. Not hesitating, I charged forward plowing into the other two. We tangled for a few minutes, like angry bulls fighting over the only she bull. I thought I was gaining some ground, when all of a sudden something smashed into my sternum, a whoosh of air escaping my mouth and my head doing cartwheels.
When things stopped spinning and some air returned to my lungs, I noted Curb Guy was back up on his feet, and had me shoved hard against the driver side of the Impala.
Next thing I saw was Poolside next to him, tapping a Louisville in the palm of his hand. How and where the wooden bat came from I had no clue. "Now I'm going to put the finishing touches on your piece of shit car, then I'm going to lay you out on the pavement," he hissed drunkenly.
I reached behind my back for…for…for…"Aw shit," I muttered, remembering what for – my gun. A gun that I'd left back inside the room. Smart, Dean, really smart.
"You better know how to use that thing," I snarled as the Three Amigos crowded in on me.
Poolside stepped up to the hood and raised the slugger about to punch a hole in Baby's windshield.
"Don't touch the car!" A fierce and incredibly loud voice interrupted Poolside's swing.
All eyes, including mine, shifted toward the source of the newcomer. For a second my vision blurred and all I saw was a shadow. I shook my head, wondering how the thing detached from my body. Took another second for me to realize what exactly I was looking at.
Six feet and four inches of formidable baby brother stood straight and tall and tough as nails in our motel room doorway.
I blinked away my shock. "How the hell?" Kid could hardly take a sip of water let alone get off that bed.
Sam's gray tee shirt was sweat-soaked and wrinkled, baby blue pajama bottoms hanging half-off his hips, long bangs hanging in his eyes, while the rest of his hair stuck straight up on end. But best of all Sammy held my gun, steady in his hand and pointed right at Poolside's chest.
I'm not afraid of my brother, not by any means, but looking at him right there… right now…this day…sent a chill through me, and I grinned.
"Who are you supposed to be?" Poolside gripped the Louisville tighter.
"Tommy Gun," Sam snarled like a cougar, flashing his best bitch face ever.
"That's my boy," I muttered.
"Shut it," Curb Guy shoved more of his weight against me, pinning me firm.
Looking past Sammy into the room, I could see Joe, or rather Joe's shadow hovering fearfully in the background.
Wall Guy took a step forward toward Sam and laughed. "You think you're some sort of badass movie star? This is reality, kid. Bet the gun's not even real, made out of play-dough or some rubber crap."
Sam didn't say a word, bitch face still in place. Eyes locked on his target. My heart started beating wild in my chest. Not out of fear, but out of excitement. Sam was awake. He wasn't healthy or fit by any means. But he was fully awake and somehow up on his feet, looking like an angry bear woken out of hibernation in the dead of winter – ready to kill.
"This is bullshit," Curb Guy said, then wrapped his hands around my throat, really putting the squeeze on. "Drop the gun or I'll snap his neck."
I struggled to breath, my feet scrambling at the ground. My hands tried to pull his off me, but I couldn't move out from under the big dicks weight. "Errrr," I groaned, eyes shifting back to Sam.
He still hadn't moved, but I could see his finger was on the trigger, safety off.
"Nice bluff, kid, but you lose," Poolside said, raising the bat higher.
"Yah, do it," Wall Guy exclaimed, hopping about in anticipation, obviously thinking this a lot of fun – they all did.
The gun went off.
One round plowed through the pavement between Wall Guy's feet, the other cracked the bat. The wood splintered in half, the jagged piece flying to whack Curb Guy in the head. Curb Guy yelped, gripping the side of his bloody face rolling off me and I dropped to my knees.
"I said don't touch the car," Sam repeated, his tone low and gritty, strained, but he never moved out of the doorway.
I quickly climbed to my feet and ripped the broken half of the bat out of Poolside's hand, raising it in an 'I'm going to smash your head in' pose.
"Okay, okay, man," Poolside said, raising his hands and stumbling backward. "We were just goofing off, wasn't really going to do it."
Joe stepped out from behind Sam. "I want you off my property now." He spit on the ground, obviously marking his territory.
Sam trained the gun at the three Amigos, the muzzle oscillating like a fan between them as if he were debating who he'd shoot first.
"What about our stuff," Wall Guy whined, moving to help Curb Guy and keep him standing.
"It's mine now. Consider it payment. Get out!" Joe shouted, pointing at the Camino.
All three scurried into the half-truck, half- car. Poolside slid behind the wheel, shoving his keys in the ignition and starting up the engine.
"Hey, wait a second." I tossed the broken bat to the ground and stepped up to the rolled down passenger window, poking my head in. "Just to clarify… this," I tipped my chin at the Camino, "Is not even a car. The Partridge Family bus has more class. That." I pointed a stiff finger at Baby. "Is an automobile, a priceless work of art." I straightened and moved back. "Now you can go."
Poolside bit his lip, shoved the Camino into gear and peeled out of the lot.
"I didn't know what else to do. Didn't know," Joe kept stammering.
Four quick steps brought me to the room. Sam stared down the road after the Camino, standing straight and tall, all wild eyed and wild haired.
"Sammy, you need to work on your pigtails or put a shower cap on," I joked trying to lighten his mood. "You okay?" I ran a hand across Sam's forehead shoving his bangs aside and feeling his fever.
Sam still didn't make eye contact. "I'm fine."
"I just didn't know," Joe gripped my forearm.
"It's okay, Joe." I tried to sooth the old guy who was babbling and shuffling nervously about.
"I used my spare room key," Joe rambled on, "And shook him awake. I didn't know what else to do. I didn't know if-"
"Joe," I clamped a hand to his shoulder and spun him toward his office. "You did good. Now go get yourself a drink."
Joe nodded, shakily shuffling off, a cloud of dirt and flies following close behind.
I pivoted back to Sam. "Don't touch the car? Don't touch the car," I chimed. "Dude, I almost got my head squeezed off."
Sam took a deep breath and looked at me. "You get my ice?" he whispered with a smile, closing his eyes as all his strength suddenly left him and he went down hard.
"Sam, hey, hey." I caught him just inches before he hit the ground. "I gottcha. I gottcha." I lugged him up. Sam's arms dangled loosely, head wobbling. "That's enough fun and games for you for one day, bro." I relieved him of my gun and shoved it in my waistband.
"I can do it." Sam tried to gain his footing, got half-way up before he collapsed against me again.
"Okay, that's it. Come on," I urged, manhandling him back inside and over to the bed. He was dead weight. Good thing we didn't have far to go. "Don't know what you were thinking." I lay him down gently.
"Was thinking Gotta take care of the car. Don't want you haunting my ass," Sam explained.
"It's not all about the car, man!" I scolded drawing the covers up.
Sam scrunched down. "Wha' 'bout my ice?" he sleepily asked.
"Warm water's all that's on the menu from now on, bitch."
"I hate you," Sam mumbled nodding off.
"I know you do." I patted his chest and sat back in the chair. "Sleep well, Sammy."