Man, I'd forgotten how great a beer tasted. Buying a case should have been my second stop all those days ago. If it was maybe I wouldn't be such a crazy, edgy mess. Thinking back it amazed me I hadn't even thought of it. Especially now I remembered how the stuff could calm me. So weird. First Dean, second beer. It was the most logical step.
Downing the first glass before Dean took his second gulp earned me another anxious glare. If only I could convince him this was a good thing. I was having a few beers with my brother in public. Granted, there were only five other people in the place - total. But they were five more people than I could have coped with yesterday. Things were finally looking up.
'Slow it down a bit.' Dean ordered when I gulped down another half a glass. It was a good idea of mine to get two at once. At the time it was purely so Dean wouldn't leave me alone to order more; now I was just glad it was already waiting for me.
Another glass down.
Could I go to the bar and order another two? The way Dean was frowning at me made it quite clear I had no chance of encouraging him to get me another. If those two big, burly guys would just sit at a table instead of those stools, I reckon I could do it. They didn't look like they intended to move though. Maybe if I stood at the other end of the bar. I mean the barman would think I was a bit strange, but beats being so close to those men. That could work.
'Want another?' I asked Dean looking from the bar to him and then back to the bar. It wasn't really all that far to be honest. I could do this.
'Does it look like I need another?'
I had to get that frown off his face. Then we could finally relax and enjoy ourselves. It was about time.
We were sitting by the window in the far back corner. It was my choice; I led him to this particular table. When I saw it, I thought it was more out of eyeline than any of the others but the moment we sat down I suddenly felt constricted by the corner yet too exposed by the window. How both those things were possible at once I couldn't really explain but either way, I was proud of myself for not running away.
I stood up and took a step. Was it possible to take a huge breath without actually taking a huge breath? I think I did that. One foot in front of the other; that's all I had to do. Not hard. Very possible. Time to try. Just use that newfound confidence; even if it was alcohol induced. Whatever worked. One foot in front of the other. Go. Every single person's eyes were on me, as if they all knew my secret. It nearly made me turn around and hide behind the security of my brother but it was too late; I had to keep going and so I did.
'Hey man.' Some guy nodded as he stepped past with his own beer.
'Hey.' I smiled back. Okay so that wasn't so bad. He was nice.
There was no way I could get further than the closest edge of the bar. Luckily for me, the barman was already walking over to that side. 'Another three.' I said to him. Easy enough. He smiled and complied. The waiting was tough but within a minute I was making my way back to our table, the tray somewhat shielding me. I'd done it.
'Is one of those for me?' Dean asked as I placed the tray on my side of the table.
'I didn't think you wanted one yet.'
I'd done it. I mean I'd really done it.
'So you brought three for yourself?'
'Yeah.' Three - It saved having to do it again for awhile.
'Hey guys. Want a game?' Some dude holding a cue stick asked. I hadn't even noticed him approach our table; I was too busy watching my brother take his final gulp of his seventh beer.
Before I looked up at him I caught Sam raising his next glass. 'Ah, no man, we're cool. Thanks anyway.'
'Just one game.'
'No. We're cool.'
'Let's do it.' Sam said shocking me to the core. So the beer was having the desired effect I see. Damn it to hell. This was dangerous. Sure I wanted him feeling good enough to converse with people, but having it happen under the influence of alcohol was not the way I wanted it to go down.
'I don't think so.' I smiled at the guy who refused to take a hint or a straight out "No" and glared at my brother.
'We'll be over in a minute.' Sam slurred. 'Set it up.'
'Excellent.' The guy wanted to hustle. I could see it in his eyes; it was the same look I had when I targeted drunken suckers. No way in the world was I going to let my brother go up against these chuckleheads. I could only shake my head when the jerk finally stepped away with a smirk on his face. At least I was never that obvious.
Sam was looking a little too proud of himself. 'These guys want to hustle.' I told him leaning over the table.
'So let's hustle back. Make some money.'
'No freakin way.'
'For old time's sake.'
Was he aiming for my heart when he stabbed me with those words? 'No Sammy.'
'Come on Dean.'
'No. No way.'
'Fine. Then I will. Gonna have to do this on my own from now on anyway.' He stood up too fast and almost fell backwards. The wall was the only thing that saved him. When I bolted up and reached to help him, he shoved my hands away with his own and went to take a step.
'Sam sit down.'
'No, I'm going.' He was drunk out of his mind. He made another move and when I grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back, he frowned. 'Dean I can do this!' So he had something to prove. Okay I got that but this wasn't the way. These guys were in it for the fight and if I knew one thing; my brother was not ready for a fight with these bozos.
Unfortunately that meant he had to fight me.
'Sit down or we're leaving. Sammy I mean it.'
'No.' He tried his hardest to rip his arm out of my grip but he was so weakened by his state – his every state – that it didn't work. 'Dean, don't.'
'I told you to sit down, so sit down.' I was not playing around. The last thing I wanted to do was use brute force with the kid, but if he wasn't going to listen to my words, maybe he would listen to my hands shoving him down into his chair. Hard.
Thankfully he listened to my words. What a relief. Only now he was sulking and frowning and depressed. Yay for us!
'You want to go back to the motel?' I sighed rubbing my eye.
'No, I want to play pool.'
'That's not a good idea. Maybe another day.'
This time he leant over the table to scowl at me. 'Don't you want me to get better?'
Was he kidding me or was that a trick question? 'Losing all your money and getting beat up by these losers is no way to get better Sam.'
'I don't have much money left Dean. I got what? Like twenty if that.'
'Fine.' I reached into my back pocket, flicked through Bobby's cash and slammed two hundred dollar notes on the table. 'Now you have money.'
'I'm not taking yours.' He pushed it away.
I pushed it back. 'Take it.'
'Sam, Take it. I mean it. Take it. And when you run out of that, come to me again. I don't want you hustling pool.'
'It never worried you before.'
'Yeah, well it worries me now.' I thought it was a fair enough statement but when Sammy recoiled so intensely and I saw that kicked puppy dog expression that always ripped my heart into a million pieces wipe across his face, I regretted my words instantly. 'You know what I mean.'
'We're ready.' Announced the idiot, bozo, loser eyeing the money still on the table.
'Dude, I told you. We're not interested.' I exclaimed getting sick of the sight of his face.
'Not what your friend said.'
'It doesn't matter what I said.' Sam grumbled.
'Sam.' My warning tone was back. Everyone was pissing me off. Why wasn't this dude leaving and why was my brother so determined to screw himself up? 'Dude, leave us alone. Go find some other jokers to hustle. Sam, let's go'
'I don't want to go.'
'Tough. We're going. Get up.' Snatching up the cash before Bozo could, I crumpled it into my back pocket. I would force my brother to take it later; when we weren't being watched. 'Sam, move it.'
He didn't move a muscle; just kept staring at his glass. Why oh why was he doing this? 'Excuse me.' I said more politely than I meant to the guy who refused to budge. He left me no choice but to push past him to get to my brother. Well, I wouldn't say 'no choice', I mean I could have stepped around him but he was being an idiot so I wanted to shove him.
Thing was he wanted to shove me as well.
Oh shit. Shit, shit, shit. Dean and this guy were fighting. Punching and shoving and – Oh God. Blood. There was blood and it was spurting from Dean's bottom lip. Everything was happening too fast and by the time I stood up there was another guy hitting into him as well.
I had to do something; had to get him out of there. Had to get these guys off him and run away. The second I tried was the second the bigger guy slammed me back into the wall with a complimentary punch right across my face.
'You son of a bitch! You leave him alone!' I heard Dean shriek in a fit of rage.
I forgot how much that hurt. Though not as much as –
The Devil and I.
I shook my head. No. No no no. No. Another hit and I was down. All I could feel was the floor under me and the walls against me. Dean was yelling something and all the movement around me caused me to sink further into myself.
Surrounding, covering, smothering.
'Dean!' I screamed hearing my own horrified terror vibrate through my petrified scream. I couldn't save him. I wanted to but I couldn't move. My body wouldn't allow it and my eyes wouldn't open. The alcohol made my mind swirl and the blackness spin. I had to help him. How could I help him?
'Dean!' I screamed again.
'Sammy it's okay.' I heard him but he was hurting. I could hear it in his voice. His words jolted as he was being punched; breathless and pained. I felt him so close to me which could only mean he was down. Dean was down. My brother was down.
Fight. Keep fighting.
Never give up.
You can do it.
You have to do it.
You can win.
You will win.
'Dean!' All I could do was screech his name.
'It's okay.' He groaned after a sound that indicated a kick to his guts. All I could see was blackness, though I was visualizing it all. My eyes wouldn't open; they didn't want to see but I was seeing it anyway. My imagination was stringing the pieces together.
If I could see, I could help. If I could see, I could help. If I could see, I could help.
Finally I willed my eyes to open; two against one with Dean fighting a losing battle. I found it in myself to push myself up.
Fight. Keep Fighting.
I grabbed hold of the bigger guy by the back of his collar and pulled him back just as he was aiming his next kick to my brother's side. He fell into me but instead of tumbling back with him, I jerked my foot out causing him to trip over it. For the minute, he was out of the way.
Never give up.
Next one. He was still punching but Dean was punching back. He never gave up. Dean would fight till the end. I had to be the same. So much movement. Mind whirling. A break, finally. Push through and punch. Just keep punching.
You can do it. You have to do it.
More blood oozing from Dean's mouth; he was struggling. This guy wasn't giving up either; he was beating into my brother while pushing me away. How was he doing both? I was in a better position to pull him away though so I had to be the one to do it. I was standing at least, not defending myself while attempting to attack from the timber floor like Dean was. If only he stopped moving. I had to do it. I had to save my brother. Got him. Yes. Now pull back. Pull him back into yourself.
You can win.
Two on me now. At least they weren't pounding on Dean anymore. More pain shooting through my jaw and body. These guys were touching me, hurting me, smothering me. I wanted to scream out to leave us alone but instead my fists flew and my legs kicked. The room kept on spinning.
I could hear Dean yelling, but I didn't understand what he was saying. I saw that he was up though; up and trying to pull these men off me.
I was hurting, that was true. But I had been hurt worse than this. So had he.
We could beat this; we could win.
We could, we had won against much worse.
These maggots were nothing. Nothing. No match for the Winchester brothers. No match at all.
Power overtook the both of us when our eyes searched out and found each other's. It was a kind of knowing assurance that if we worked together again, if we found our inner strength; if I could find more of mine, we could beat them. They might have us down right at this moment but they could never keep us down. Not as long as we were working together.
Once we were in the zone, we were a force to be reckoned with.
It was these guys's turn to go down and they were going down.
There was nothing more I was sure of.
You will win.
Yes we will. Me and my brother; together. We will win.
(to be continued…)