Author's Note:I don't own Supernatural or the characters. They belong to CW, Eric Kripke, et. al. I am making no money from this.
"Come on, come on." I glance over my shoulder, taking three or four big pulls off the cheap bottle of whiskey before pouring the rest on the ground so my shoes soak up the fumes. I collapse into the puddle of booze; roll around in the garbage around me like I'm trying to get up from falling over. I don't like looking too conspicuous. I gotta sell this performance if I'm going to lock my target in. Yeah, I used the word conspicuous; sue me. Sammy's not the only one with brains in this family. I've worked hard to cultivate this drunk-ass redneck cover. Speaking of which: "Hey, man, you see a…um…a really tall fuckin' dude walk by here? I'm so fuckin'…fucked up, and he's s'poseda be my ride."
The guy's smiling at me like he's won the lotto. "Yeah, might've. What's his name, buddy?"
"Christo…" I'm only half-pretending to try holding back vomit. That shit was disgusting. "Christo…uh, fuck it. His name's Chris. Fag keeps wantin' me to use his full name, ya know? Stupid fuckin' idiot."
I see the flinch, but the demon's just thinking I'm dinner. Who'd suspect the filthy drunk lurching around an alley, right? "This…Chris, what's he to you?"
"AA sponsor," I slur. "Please tell me you saw 'im; he ain't harda miss, freakin' Sasquatch motherfucker. He's gonna be fuckin' pissed. Fell off th'wagon, man. Screwed the fuckin' pooch tonight."
Demon boy's eyes light up. "I run a meeting in the community center across the road, if you want to join me. We can help you sober up a little before he gets here, maybe get to the bottom of why you…screwed the pooch, as you said, and decided to drink tonight."
Yatzee. I'm in. I've been trying to get into this guy's lair since last weekend. I know there've got to be more than one of him inside; this is strictly recon. I can play tragic drunk for a night, scope out how many are inside, then start planning. I stagger along behind Mr. Clean-cut Missionary into a craptastic office building that's been converted into a place called "The Walking Wounded." More than one something in this place's been taking guys out of bars and turning them into dinner for a few months and the death rates ratcheted up from one to about three or four every couple weeks. People noticed.
"What's your name, son?" a grandfatherly former biker type asks as I stand behind Mr. Missionary with my eyes glazed over. The three belts are hitting me a little and my head's buzzing
"Dean." I make sure my eyes are wandering all over the place, not settling down. Drunks aren't exactly known for being attentive to what's going on, which is what I'm banking on. Biker grandpa's looking at me like I'm some pathetic shit-stained, kicked puppy or something. I'd been working up the post-cry snot nosed look earlier, too. It helps, trust me.
"Hoo, boy." Grandpa says, waving his hand in front of his face. "You need to get outta those clothes. Let me take you to the bathroom and help clean you up a bit."
"Christo…Chris ain' gonna like you takin' a'vannage of a…a guy like that, man," I say with a cheesy grin. "He's got stannards about no crossin' sponsor lines like that. 'Sides, I like girls, dude. Not drunk enough for you to be that pretty."
Biker Gramps laughs good-naturedly but doesn't flinch at Christo; he isn't one of them. Good. "Kid, you're in AA, the others ain't gonna be able to get comfortable so close to the smell you're giving off."
"Oh yeah." I lean into him like I'd lost my balance and let him steer me toward a bathroom. I don't like this development, but I have to get him to trust me. "Forgot. Sorry."
Gramps, he says his name's Bill, helps me out of my jacket and shirt. I go as limp as I can, being as uncoordinated as possible. I trip on my pants a couple times, don't mean to, then I'm standing in a bathtub in my boxers.
"You want to tell me about what made you fall off the wagon, son?"
I blink up at him. "Ain't that wha' I'm gonna do in the group anyway?"
"Not if you don't want to."
I lurch back and trip on my feet when Bill turns showerhead on and the freezing water hits me full blast. I nearly conk my head on the wall, but he catches me.
"Whoa, easy there, buddy."
"F-f-fuck! Th-that's c-cold!" I'm not kidding, either. The shrinkage issue alone has me gasping and sputtering. "T-tryin'a k-kill me?"
He chuckles and hands me a washcloth and soap. "Just give it a minute, you'll be fine."
I have to keep the charade moving, so I slink down into the tub and wrap my arms around me knees. The story I came up with is a nice tear-jerker; hell it even choked me up when I sounded it out in front of a mirror. Now I just had to tell it right.
"Sure you're all right, Dean?" Bill asked, leaning forward on the toilet to get my attention. "You don't need to go in front of the group if you don't want to. It's okay to talk here."
I glare up at him with a full blast of distrust and paranoia; easy to fake if I just imagine Grizzly Adams there trying to get into my pants. "I ain't no fag," I spit at him.
"Dean, I'm a certified clinical psychologist. I am not hitting on you."
Huh, who knew. I take a deep breath and let it out shakily. The cold water helps with that; I'm trembling like crazy. "I…I can't."
Jesus, I almost can't lie to this guy. He's clean, probably in danger, and he truly wants to help "drunk, hopeless Dean." Shit, of all the times to have a conscience. I shake my head to get the water and 'tears' out of my eyes. "I just wanted to forget. What's wrong with that, huh?"
Bill puts a hand on my left shoulder. "Forget what, son?"
I bury my head under my arms. "Them, the..the kids I keep seein'."
"Dean, it's all right."
I look up. "You ever seen someone beheaded right in front of you?"
He sits back; I've shocked him. "Jesus."
"Fuck all right. I'd rather be dead."
"No, you don't, Dean."
I don't say anything for a while; just let the water warm me up now that it's getting hot. He's formed an idea of his own, now time to really sell it. I'd read the news about some soldiers POWs being returned from Iraq a few years back and decided to use the premise for this gig. Makes me feel like shit to do it, considering the situation, but there are greater stakes right now. Just have to make sure it's not too lurid or I can't sell it. Dude, I love that word. Lurid. I think I'm a little drunk. "I thought I had the flashbacks under control, Bill. I swear, I did! I went to therapy and all that shit. I haven't touched the bottle in…two years. I….I just couldn't….I kept seeing those two little girls again and…"
Bill moves so that he can squat next to the tub. "What happened to bring the flashbacks, Dean?"
"They cut their heads off, Bill. Those fucking towel-heads cut those girls' heads off in front of me because I wouldn't tell where the rest of my unit was heading!" I let out a few shudders and sobs. "I just wanted it to go away."
"Dean, flashbacks don't just come up out of nowhere. They're triggered by stress, and even if you don't think so, small events can set that trigger off. What's happened to you lately?"
I look up at him. Dude knows his shit; have to hand it to him. "I…My car…I was rear-ended last week." That was true, actually. Fucking lunatic soccer mom rammed me and I wound up with the ticket even though she was the one who didn't slow down for the stop light. I sighed. "Just a stupid accident."
"There's no such thing as a 'stupid accident,' son." Bill says, helping me to my feet. "Let me ask you a few questions while you wash up. You don't need to answer me, just nod or shake your head."
"You have a lot of scars."
"Are most of them from combat?"
I nod. Just not from the kind of combat he's thinking.
"When you were captured, did they ambush your convoy?"
Huh, give the man a penny, he reads his news. I nod again.
"I'm thinking the flashbacks started shortly after the accident, am I right?"
He looks at me with one of those fatherly stares Dad never quite got the hang of. I can see why he's a psychologist; Sammy's own puppy-dog look isn't even in the same league. This guy's a master. "And they got worse over the last couple days, didn't they?"
I look down at my feet, letting him think it's a yes.
"You felt like you should be able to handle it because you'd been through previous therapies, but then tonight the flashbacks became too much. Does that sound about right?"
My stomach gurgled, I got queasy. Just on time. Thank God for thinking ahead and downing that ipecac with the whiskey on the way in. Sometimes I have to be Method. I make a face and groan as my gut tries crawling out my throat. "I'mma be sick."
"Come on, you're pruning up anyway." Bill turns off the shower and wraps a towel around my shoulders. "This isn't the end of the world, Dean. Yeah, you fucked up, but I understand why. Trauma like what you've been through is harder to heal and drinking until you're numb is understandable. This is why John and I started the Walking Wounded in the first place. I was in Vietnam, kid; I know how these post-war hurts can screw up your life."
Fuck, I didn't anticipate that. These guys being killed in the shelter were homeless vets and I was pretending to be one of them. If they find out I'm a fake, they'll fuckin' kill me. Ugh, never mind that, I just need to get through horking up my last three meals. My arms tremble against the strain of puking and I want to pass out, but Bill's there saying it's not my fault. God, I'm such a dick.
There's a knock on the door and Bill gets up to let Missionary Demon in. I can feel the fucker's evil on the back of my neck. "John."
"I can't do this," I groan.
"He's in rough shape, there's no way he can go to the meeting." Bill is saying. "Any word about his sponsor?"
"Guy never showed," John-Demon says. "Makes me wonder if he even gives a shit about this kid."
Bill growls in his throat. "Son of a bitch; don't they care about these guys? They give up their lives for those fuckers and this is how they get repaid?"
Jesus, Bill's honestly in this for the vets. I can't stop heaving and now I'm crying for real. Shit, I hate puking. I think I took too much ipecac, this isn't good.
"I've got beds in the back, Dean. Come on," Bill says, helping me to my feet. "There's some old donated clothes back there, too."
"I'll leave a bucket by the bed."
I just nod and let him lead me to the back room. I'm too far in it to ditch now.