Chapter 3

Four hours previously

It was after nine when they finally made it back to The House of the Rising Sun. Dean’s power nap had turned into a sound sleep and Sam crept round for over an hour, not wanting to wake him. The longer they spent in the motel room, the less time he had to endure in that damned bar. But Dean’s own snoring finally woke him and he wasn’t pleased to discover it was 8.45. He showered in a heartbeat and hustled Sam into the car.

​​A waitress detached herself from the bar and headed towards them, in no particular hurry. Sam put her at around thirty; not the best looking chick on the planet but she’d compensated with a short skirt and clingy top which showed off her generous assets to the max. He heard Dean’s sharp intake of breath and turned in time to see his brother’s dropping eye line.

​​“Oh man, stretch me out on that rack and feed me pie.”

​​It didn’t take the waitress long to notice where Dean’s eyes were fixed and she didn’t look happy. Dean was oblivious and Sam nudged him in the ribs. ​

“Cool it, Dean. She doesn’t look…”

​​He couldn’t finish because she was standing right in front of them. She addressed them brusquely. “What’ll it be?”

​​Dean’s eyes hadn’t moved and now he was wearing an expression of awe. Sam coughed another warning which went unheeded. When he finally got it together enough to speak, Dean addressed the cleavage directly.

​​“Two beers and, uh…” He lifted his eyes only far enough to read her name badge; put a hint of suggestion into his voice. “What else would you recommend, Melanie?”

​​Melanie gave him a frosty smile. If he’d been looking at her face he would have spotted the danger. “For starters?”

​​Dean shrugged. “Sure, why not.”

​​“For starters I recommend you find someplace else to park your eyes, you creepy son of a bitch.”

​​He’d totally asked for that and Sam tried hard not to laugh. Dean’s face was a picture of shock, bewilderment and foundering ego as Melanie turned on her heel and fired her parting shot. “That’s priceless. You should take a selfie.”

​​Dean stared after her; he seemed confused. “A selfie’s like a hand job, right?”

​​Sam could finally let it out and he laughed hard; sometimes he could only wonder at his brother’s ignorance. Dean’s mind was stuck on the immediate issue though.

​​“What was that? Did I just get blown off?”

​​“You wish.” Sam shook his head, still chuckling. “You sound surprised.”

​​Dean was watching Melanie, talking with her buddies at the bar and jerking an angry thumb in his direction. “She definitely plays for the other team.”
​​Sam thought Melanie looked like a totally regular girl, if a rather blessed one. “Sounds like sour grapes to me, man. Must get a lot of that in wine country.”

​​Dean sniffed, ignoring the comment. “Screw her, plenty more fish in the sea.”

​​He looked round the bar appraisingly as the street door opened and a couple of chicks walked in. One of them was just his type; young, dark and slender. Sam rarely made judgements based on appearance but his brother nearly always did; Dean would consider her easy. Fate seemed to be lending a hand in sealing the deal since she was wearing a Led Zeppelin tee shirt. Dean whistled softly.

​​“Check it out.”

​​He started singing the opening line of Stairway to Heaven, way too loud. Sam hushed him hastily, before anybody else heard.

​​“Not in a bar, Dean. Not cool.”

​​He watched as Dean struggled to remember the many road rules they’d established.

​​“Only if they do karaoke, right?”

​​Sam shook his head incredulously. “Especially if they do karaoke.”

​​It was too late. The girl made eye contact with Dean and gave him what could only be described as a green light. Dean leaned back in his chair and eyed Sam triumphantly.

​​“Uh huh…”

​​Sam made a vain attempt to talk him down. “Dude, listen to me…”

​​Dean arched an eyebrow and grinned; a picture of supreme, sexual cool. In his own mind at least.

​​Their beers arrived. Another waitress brought them over and from the way she banged them down on the table and gave Dean the stink eye, it was clear Melanie had filled her in. Dean didn’t even notice. Sam took a bracing swig and tried to steer the conversation somewhere positive.

​​“So we need to talk about this job.”

​​No response. He tried again. “Dean! We need to strategize.”

​​Dean was totally distracted by the chick; pretending to talk with her friend while throwing out teasers. Provocative poses, moistening of lips, little hair flicks… Dean was lapping it up like a horny dog and Sam was losing patience. He prodded his brother hard and finally got his attention.

​​“So when we meet this kid, what do we even say to him?”

​​Dean let out a frustrated sigh and leaned in close, totally serious now.

​​“I figured something like this: ‘Hey Joolz with a zee, I’m Dean. A hundred and eighty pounds; give or take. I’m carrying a Colt .45 semi-automatic, it’s loaded and I’d like you to find some dead people for me’. How would that go over?”

​​Sam wondered how a punch in the face would go over. “You think that’s funny?”
​​“I’ve got an idea, Sammy. Let’s do this tomorrow.”

​​The last of Sam’s patience deserted him. “Dammit, Dean. Why does everything have to be about your basic… instincts?”
​​He wished he hadn’t used that particular phrase the second it was out his mouth. He could see the comeback gunning down the highway at ninety and Dean didn’t disappoint.
​​“If you didn’t have that rod jammed so far up your ass you’d have the same basic instincts as regular guys. Hell, you might even get a boner for Sharon Stone like regular guys.”

​​Sam was getting riled. “It was you dragged me here, remember? All I’m asking is you give me a few minutes, talk about the job, then go hit on the chick.”

​​Dean flopped back in his chair. “I’ve been driving for two days, man. I’m tired. I can’t even think straight.”

​​Sam seized the moment. “Okay, then here’s a wake-up call. Winchester Academy Drill Rule number one: focus on what’s important, not what’s right under your nose, however good it smells.”

​​He knew from Dean’s face that all could smell right now was the chick at the bar. The rejoinder took a moment longer than usual.

​​“Rule number one is don’t get killed, Sam. Actually rule number one is watch out for your prissy kid brother, even when he’s acting like a little bitch.”

"Jerk." The word came out of Sam's mouth automatically, though he really wanted to say something much worse.

​​Dean chugged half his beer and banged the bottle on the table. It was a clear warning. “You’re bringing up The Drill after all this time why? You hated that crap.”

​​Sam glared at him. “So did you.”

​​“Nah, it was regular Boy’s Own stuff. What kid wouldn’t want to see the world, shoot some guns, gank some monsters…”

​​Sam completed the sentence. “… Set bones, stitch wounds; live in fear of something ripping your guts out…”

​​Dean slapped his hand on the table. “Good times.”

​​“Enough with the sex talk, Sam. I ain’t gonna fight you.” Dean took a more measured swig of beer. “Anyway, I thought you were cool with that whole gig.”

​​Sam shrugged. “I accepted it.”

​​“Awesome. Can we move on?” Dean’s voice was dismissive, remote and it got right under Sam’s skin.

​​“I accepted it. I never said I liked it. You know what? Maybe I should just work the job alone.”

​​“There is no job”. Dean spoke slowly, like Sam was some kind of moron. “We know where the kid lives; tomorrow we go talk to him. If he pans out great, if he doesn’t we catch a little R&R. What part of that needs a friggin’ discussion?”

​​Sam was silent, trying to get his anger under control before he said something he regretted. Dean had no such reservations.

​​“Oh I get it. Your feelings are hurt. You wanted some quality time, huh? Share and emote, cry over REM? Well suck it up, Sammy, I ain’t in the mood.”

​​Sam hated the way Dean could read him like a book, and he was right on the money. After so long out in the cold, wandering soul-less and emotionless, looking at his brother like he was a piece of meat rather than flesh and blood, he really would have liked some quality time together. It was upsetting how Dean didn’t feel the same way but the biggest disappointment lay in the words. Dean knew exactly which buttons to press and his comments were designed to hurt. Well Sam could press a few buttons of his own.

​​“When I had no soul all you did was bellyache. Now you’ve jammed it back in you’re still more interested in chicks than spending time with me. What are you scared of?”


​​That was Dean’s don’t fuck with me voice and most people heeded the warning. Sam wasn’t most people though.

​​“Screw you, Dean. I’m going back to the motel.”

​​Dean shrugged. “Do what you gotta do.”

​​“And I’m taking the car.”

​​Dean dug in his coat pocket and tossed over the keys.

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