Rating: PG - Gen - hurt!dean
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Beta: Thank you Kat!
Summary: A man who lost big in a rigged poker match shows up unexpectedly with a gun.
Bloodshot eyes and the sour aroma of sweat just gave professional drunks that special something extra.
Especially when you were forced to breathe it all in first thing in the morning.
Dean glanced down at the puke stains splattered in a blast pattern over the big guy's jeans and work boots. Smoking cigarettes down to the filter had left the places between knuckles inflamed and red. Blotchy skin of the cheeks and nose brightened into a cheery Santa-like glow from burst capillaries and the flush of fever. Not a whole lot of signs of a man in an ideal state of mind. The meaty hand shoved in the jacket pocket was pretty steady though.
And that was the one holding the gun.
Shifting in his seat, Dean resisted pushing at the muzzle when it slipped sharply under his sternum. Considering the rotund man welding the weapon was extremely pissed off, reason dictated it may be time for some concern. But at the moment, all he could concentrate on was how fucking hungry he was.
He considered the stranger squeezed in beside him at the back corner table.
“This is kinda like that scene in uh,” he patted the powder pink pleather that cushioned the booth. “In Star Wars.”
The guy's seething anger shifted minutely towards confusion.
“Whas that now?”
“Ya know, that bar in space? There was a booth just like this one.” Dean looked around to see if anyone had noticed the new arrival to his table. The elderly waitress on duty was busy juicing oranges and the only other customer in the place was snoring into his oatmeal. “Han Solo vs. The Green Dude.”
He doubled over when the gun was heaved unpleasantly yet somewhat discreetly into his diaphragm. Although the weapon was concealed in a coat pocket, it didn't take a genius to discern the shape under frayed nylon was the real deal. The ploy of a well propped pointed index finger didn't quite feel the same when slammed into your ribcage anyway.
“Y-You would be The Green Dude in this scenario by the way.” Dean added.
A heavy rain hissed and splattered against the glass behind lace curtains.
There was no denying it was a cozy a place as any to be held at gunpoint. After ordering breakfast, Dean had had precisely 30 seconds to enjoy his raging hangover before the bastard had come out of nowhere and ruined his morning. If this douche bag wasn't practically sitting in his lap, he could have been doing some hardcore zoning out via the tiny restaurant's window by now. All he had to do was watch the storm clouds and soak in the comforting scent of burnt coffee grinds. He pressed himself into the wall when the large man somehow leaned in even closer. The dude might have been gigantic but all that padding sure wasn't hiding anything soft.
“You shoulda hit the highway.” The guy had an unfortunate lisp that didn't quite suit his girth. “You shoulda got lost.”
“Story of my life.”
Dean tried not to gag in the potent exhale of used whiskey, the words slurred with outrage and the eloquence of a 24 hour buzz.
“Where's mah money, you motherfucker?”
The correct answer was 'in my gas tank,' but Dean decided that the truth, as usual, very rarely set you free. There was only one thing to do with an armed drunk and that was to agree with everything they said. That or toss caution aside and attempt an ass kicking/retreat. Okay, there were two things to do with an armed drunk. Besides, that money hadn't just gone to fuel, fun and some more boxes of that nifty hollow tipped ammo. Nope, some of it was paying for the chow that Dean was ready to mainline as soon as it hit the table.
“You dun walk away from a poker game like that,” the man kept his voice reasonably low. “Not with my whole goddamn pay check.”
“Life ain't fair is it?” If this asshole really wanted to get into a philosophical debate on who was winning the Life-Unfairness-Game, Dean would be more than happy to light up the scoreboard. The first 100 points would be all his for having to deal with shit for brains card players that couldn't work a deck even if it could shuffle itself. A bonus 1,000,000 for said individuals who were disgruntled enough to follow a lost jackpot into diners the morning after a clean out. “Maybe you shoulda folded when yer friends told ya to.”
The man's glazed eyes narrowed.
“Hell, maybe you shoulda folded when I told you to.”
As heinous as the scent of regurgitated booze was, Dean's stomach growled. He tried to squirm around again in an effort to escape rancid breath and the edge of the windowsill digging into his back.
“You plannin' on snuggling any closer?” He unzipped the rest of his jacket to alleviate the unwanted share of fragrant body heat. The weight of his own gun was sitting ready and unreachable in the inside pocket. “I'm a cheap date but not this freaking cheap--”
“Keep your hands where's I can sees 'em.”
“Just sayin' I've been around the block a few times,” he shrugged as fingertips twitched against the blood warm grip of his semiautomatic. “Small town like this one, rumors get started on whole lot less, lemme tell ya.”
A bullet to the heart was one thing but the pistol now sliding into his crotch was a completely different and much more worrisome story.
“Okay, that works too.” Dean quickly placed his wandering hands above the table in compliance. “Whatever you say, dude.”
There was the unpleasant sensation of hot breath in his ear as the next words were annunciated as carefully as the finest moonshine would allow.
“Where. Is. My money--”
The sudden sound of ceramic shattering against the floor startled them both.
Dean wasn't a big believer in scaring a nervous person with a loaded firearm, most especially if the trigger happened to be in the vicinity of his junk. In fact, it was enough to spread the metallic taste of copper across his tongue and sharpen his vision into a dizzying crystal clarity. But he still wasn't in the position to make a move, not yet. When his new friend relaxed slightly, Dean decided it would be a good idea to start breathing again. They both watched as the waitress reached for the broom to clean up the remains of the bowl she'd dropped.
“Just take it easy.” Dean assumed his best soothing voice. He'd been told a few times it wasn't very soothing but it was better than anything else he had to offer. And when all else failed there was always the life preserver of bullshitting to grab onto. “Look, you want your money? Fine, it's all yours. It's sitting right outside in my car.”
Things looked a whole lot brighter when the trembling hand holding the gun calmed again.
“Where's da car?”
“It's parked around the corner--”
“Order up!!” The cook rasped.
Christ Almighty, it was about freakin' time.
And why exactly was it that anything he ordered always took forever and a day to get accomplished anyway? He could ask for a plate of air with a fork on the side and he'd still have enough time to hum the entire 'Alice Cooper Goes to Hell' album one and a half times. The sound of heavy platters of food being placed on the table were like music to his ears.
“Sorry, hon,” the old waitress said. “Deep fryer took a while to heat up. Don't get much call for this stuff so early in the morning.”
Not long ago Dean had been ready to gnaw on the napkin holders glued to the sticky tables for nourishment. Waiting for the ancient lady in the apron and failing ballpoint pen to fill out his order had been physical torture. And now? Sitting around passively within open sight of onion rings simply wasn't an option.
Neither was eating those suckers plain.
“You mind passing the ketchup?” he asked.
The flustered man looked in distraction at the assorted condiments.
“And the salt.”
The shaker was shoved across formica along with the crusty bottle of Heinz. Although Dean was wedged in the corner he had enough room to get his elbows on the table to assume a serious eating position. The waitress wandered back again to refill the lukewarm coffee.
“Your friend here need somethin'?” Her heavily lidded eyes shifted uncertainly between their huddle and the roomy booth. “Got Hollandaise sauce made up special every Sunday.”
“Nope.” Dean liked how the napkin that came away from his mouth was almost see through with grease. “He's watching his cholesterol.”
With a snort, the lady departed back to her duties and left them alone.
“I'll waste her too,” the man beside him muttered half-heartedly. “I don't give a shit.”
Dean arranged the plates of various battered items into a tighter orbit around a central bowl of ketchup.
“Come on.” There was a faint note of exasperation in the guy's voice. “I-I don't got all day--”
“Look, it's not a long walk and I'm starvin'.” Dean needed to buy just a little extra time. To eat his food while it was still lava hot and to think about what exactly he should do next. “You look like a guy that knows his way around a mozzarella stick, why don't you help yourself--”
“Get the fuck up,” he hissed. “Right the fuck now.”
The infuriated creases in the big man's face deepened and the cloudy blue eyes hardened into determined desperation.
Time was up.
Dean dropped an unidentified deep fried lump and settled on the last of his options. There was nothing as tricky as an angry lush with a loaded weapon. But what made them brave also made them slow. Not slow enough to forget all about a trigger but enough that Dean might be able to avoid a few new holes in his body. At least in all the important spots.
Taking one last gulp of coffee, he readied himself to be taken for a nice drag.
It was at that exact moment that the doors to the bathroom swung open.
Clean shaved and freshly clothed, Sam hefted his bag on a shoulder looking as happy as a ray of sunshine on a nude beach. At least for the few seconds before his contented gaze fell in the direction of their booth. Dean wasn't making a huge effort to broadcast his distress but the gun jammed between his legs wasn't a fact he could disguise gracefully. His brother's mouth fell into a grim line and his eyes locked with the glowering stranger sitting at their table. The pain digging into the family jewels finally eased away.
“Thanks a bunch.” Dean grumbled.
Sam didn't bother to spread his arms wide and begin the peace talks. Dean was pretty happy to see that there wasn't going to be any waiting around for any explanations at all. In one smooth gesture the duffel dropped to the floor and Sam was already reaching into the inside front pocket of his jacket. Dean's friend starting shaking again but this time it was with pure astonishment at the sight of his brother coming towards them at full stride.
“W-Who the hell is that?”
“An even bigger freak show than you are,” Dean said. “But with better breath. Kinda.”
Sam stopped in his tracks at the flash of the gun pushed under Dean's chin.
The senior waitress did an impressive dive behind the counter when his brother's voice boomed a warning for everybody to get down. A clatter of pots and pans in the back kitchen meant the cook was doing the same. Dean decided to take advantage of the momentary chaos to go for broke. Bracing himself for the deafening ring of a close discharge, he used all his strength to shove himself sideways. In the brief struggle he grabbed hold of the weapon and to his utter amazement, it came loose in his grasp.
It was all his.
“What the hell...” He blinked in disbelief at the thing that had been hidden in the guy's pocket. The revolver wasn't a fake but its only real function was pure theatrical. He'd been trapped here all this time by a frigging fancy paper weight? “You son of a--”
The click of his brother's real gun made him cut short the heartfelt sentiment. Expecting a hail of bullets, Dean instinctively began to slip under the flimsy shelter of the table.
A strong hand didn't allow him to go very far.
Dean was yanked out of the booth by the collar of his jacket and the next thing he knew cold rain was hitting his face. Finally given some room to swing a fist, his strikes felt as effective as punching at a brick wall. He sent another fist right into the sag of the man's gut and was rewarded with a backhanded whip across the face.
With his jacket still wadded up in the man's grip, Dean stumbled along behind, disoriented and nauseous from the blow to the head. The alleyway flashed by with the wet smell of garbage and the dull flicker of lightening overhead. He quickly realized the window for theft was over and now he was nothing but a convenient body shield.
“Where we goin'?” Dean panted. “W-We didn't leave a tip.”
His boots almost left the ground when he was pulled up for a face to face meeting, the man's panic bright hot and fueled with a gallon of adrenaline. There was something childlike about the abject terror in his wide eyes. Dean didn't want to understand that this guy had just been looking for lost rent money. Probably didn't want to end up living on the street one more time. The dude hadn't even brought along a working firearm.
Dean felt his cheeks burn a little with some unexpected shame.
Sam's steady footsteps were coming closer.
“Play dead.” Dean told him.
“You think you can run a minute-mile?” He tried to shrug backwards out of the sturdy grip and failed. “Yeah, I thought not, so why don't you listen to some good advice and--”
Dean spotted the glimmer of the knife too late. So much for not coming prepared to do some damage. The serrated blade was going to sink into his side and fillet him like a fish. He didn't shut his eyes when the tip began to sting his flesh.
Sam rounded the corner and didn't shout out a warning this time.
The wound on the guy's leg didn't look like much but Dean knew what molten metal searing a path through your skin felt like. It was the second one right over the other kneecap that put him down.
Dean collapsed against a dumpster and waited a few seconds to see if Sam was just fucking around before finishing the guy off. With some astonishment of his own, he watched the smoking weapon lowered and the blank look on Sam's face fade away. The concern that replaced the anger was something Dean could recognize, the familiar cast of worry on his features brought a smile of relief.
Touching shaky fingers to his eye, he saw the blood and nodded his head to Sam's unspoken question.
Kicking the knife into the gutter, Dean stepped over the fallen heap of his former poker buddy. The guy had either decided to heed sound advice or finally passed out. Patting Sam firmly on the shoulder, he let his hand linger to feel his brother's heart hammering at about 100 miles per hour. It made him suddenly consider following some of that good advice that was going around lately.
Hitting the road and getting lost were pearls of wisdom he could get behind. Even if he was still hungry as hell.