2.7k, PG-13, It's Vegas week and despite everything, Dean's got his money on Sam showing up.
This one's a spn_j2_xmas gift for lyryk! Your likes and dislikes exactly match up with mine, and I'm in love with your prompts, especially because I've been wanting to write about the hunters from Dark Side of the Moon. Writing this was so much fun and I hope you enjoy it! (now with bonus podfic by colls!)
Dean put all his money on eight, which is when Sam was supposed to show. But now it's an hour and a half past and it's looking to be a losing streak.
Over by the pool tables, some guy's hustling a biker, fake-fumbling the stick as he holds it, wad of money smacked down on the tinsel they've strung the table with. Oversized Christmas ornaments are clustered in corners and fake frost is painted around mirror edges. Dean rolls his eyes at yet another girl who curves in coyly against some lowlife who's dragging her in for a kiss under the mistletoe with an arm crooked around her waist. It's three days before Christmas and everything is holiday-themed. It makes Dean want to punch someone in the face.
"Can I get you another?" The bartender's probably been standing there for half a minute while Dean's been locked in his head thinking murderous thoughts about holiday cheer. She's dressed like a skanky elf, but the sarcastic kind, and Dean thinks she might be the only sane person in this bar.
"No," he says, leaning back. "No, I'm good."
She eyes his half-finished drink, gives him a once-over, then a smile. "Cutting back?"
"Dry for a while," Dean says. "Not by choice."
"How long you been in Vegas? Been gambling?"
"You might say that."
When Dean doesn't answer, she goes to pull a couple beers out of the fridge, cracks off the tops, and hands them to the girls a few seats over, then returns to wiping down the counter in front of Dean.
"You always this heavy or are things badder than worse?"
Dean rubs a hand over his face. It's not exactly a good sign when the bartender takes a vested interest in your emotional state. "Sorry. Yeah, no. I'm just waiting on someone."
Dean snorts. "Yeah, something like."
He looks around again, like Sam might suddenly be there. Instead, there're guys in nice shirts, rumpled, and guys who look three drinks past drunk, too, but the real sad thing is that they all look happy, like they're among friends and they've got fireplaces to go home to. That night, Dean's planning on booking a single at the terrible motel that he and Sam always stay at, which sits five blocks off the strip and is Christmas-themed all year round.
He stares into his drink a little and mutters, "Why the hell not?" then downs what's in the glass and taps the rim.
The bartender pours him another and says, "You tell me if you need anything else, peaches," and then moves down to talk to a couple other sad sacks who're in Vegas this time of year. Dean starts in on his second.
"Holy shit," someone says behind him.
He swings around. There are two guys in jackets and flannels and boots— how Dean usually dresses when he's not sober in a bar in a navy button-down and his best jeans to impress his brother.
"Oh," says the first guy.
"Hey!" the second says, taking a half-step back.
It takes him a minute of hard staring to place them, but when he does, Dean experiences a peak of anger before cold resignation. "Roy." He turns to the other guy. "Walt?"
"Shit," Roy says. Walt works his jaw and Roy sways on his feet like he's about to bolt, eyes flicking to where Dean's hand's gone to the inside of his jacket on instinct.
Dean jerks his chin to the space next to him at the bar and says, "Don't let me stop you."
Roy slowly folds his hands onto the bar top and Roy flexes his fingers and takes stock of the room then says, "You're alive."
Roy's eyes are wide, nostrils flaring like he's seen a ghost and now he's sitting right in front of him. "What're you going to do to us?"
Dean raises his eyebrows. "I'm sorry?"
"Just, I mean, what with the way— And how the hell are you even here—? I mean, we'd heard rumors, but—"
"Look, guys. I don't really have time for small talk, so get your drinks and move on." Dean turns back to the bar and raises his glass to his lips, sips to clear his head.
There's a long silence next to him, tense in the din of the bar, before Walt says. "Where's the catch?"
Dean says. "I know I said I'd kill you, but at this point you are so low on my list of priorities, it's hilarious."
"Look," he says, slamming his glass down on the bar. "I don't have time for this showdown crap. I couldn't care less about the two of you sniveling dickbags if I tried. Now go, before I get pissed."
"Okay," Walt says, hands raised in front of him, and the settle down is so clear that Dean almost does give good for good and shoot him in the chest right then and there, but he holds off. He's gotta wait for Sam. It's already trouble being here. Last time, he'd had gotten kicked out, told never to come back. Dean can't risk getting kicked out again in case Sam shows up and thinks he ditched him.
So instead, Dean sneers at them and looks away, into the dredges of what is only his second drink in two hours. There's the ka-chings of slot machines in the air, the clatter of a penny jackpot showering down the slot, and Dean sloshes whiskey around in his glass and thinks about how two dicks who killed his brother are alive and well at his elbow. Roy whispers, "But we shot him—" and Walt mutters back, "We left him for dead, but maybe he wasn't."
"I swear, it's like talking to children—" Dean starts, turning to tell them to really, get the fuck out, but Roy and Walt look past his shoulder with twin expressions of horror.
Dean spins his slow bar stool, then pauses and straightens.
Because there's Sam. Sam, standing in the doorway with a backpack slung over one shoulder, squinting around the bar for Dean. Dean's first impulse is to wave and call over to him, but more than anything he wants to preserve the moment, watch Sam, wait till Sam's eyes land on him so he can see the emotion there before all the posturing that's sure to follow.
But then Walt says, "Sam Winchester," under his breath like murder, double homicide, and Dean sees red. He spins and gets his gun up under Walt's ribs without a thought and says, "Go," through gritted teeth.
Walt takes a breath, and even that's too much.
Dean leans in closer. "You know," he tells him. "When you shot us, when we looked down the barrel of your rifles still half-asleep, when you made me sit by and watch while you shot my brother, well, me and Sam went to Heaven. I can't promise that's where you'd've gone, but there's no question now. You know why? Huh, Walt?"
Walt shakes his head, a tiny jerk motion. Dean has him by the jacket collar, breathing into his ear, can feel Walt trying to subtly turn his head away while Roy stands by, torn between splitting or surrender. Dean says, "Because my good pal Cas destroyed the place last year, so when I kill you, there's only one of two places you're gonna go." Dean's senses tell him that Sam's spotted them by now and is heading over. He goes on nonetheless, conversational, "You were right about one thing. I could waste you in a second. You look at Sam again and I'll pump you full of holes, and there's only one of two places you'll end up."
"What are you—erk!"
"Hey!" Sam says, closing in.
"Purgatory," Dean breathes, a harsh whisper."Hell. I've been there, too. And believe me, it's no cakewalk. It ripped me apart and didn't put me back together right."
Dean steps back, eyes still on Walt who jerks his jacket straight, gives a curt, freaked out nod more to the floor than anything. "Winchesters," he says, then grabs Roy and they take off.
Dean turns to Sam, like Walt unable to make eye contact. "Hey," he says to Sam's chin. "Hey, what took you?"
"Dean, what the hell?" Sam says, and Dean is about to drain his drink and defend his actions, when a bulky guy in black, the bouncer, appears in his periphery, heading toward them
Dean puts on his best smile, but it's nothing much given circumstances, and the bouncer says, "Hey. You the guy from last year?"
"Huh?" Dean asks.
The guy shakes his head. "Again, really?" He yanks a paper out of his pocket and holds it up to judge against Dean's face. In the picture, Dean's wearing a fake mustache.
All Dean wants to do is talk to Sam. He tries, "That's obviously not me."
The guy waves his hand, dismissive. "Aw, get out of here. We're trying to run a business here."
"Fine," Dean says. "But— Fine. Come on, Sam."
"You were late," he says when they're in the car, driving out. Sam hasn't made mention of however he'd gotten there, which is a relief because really Dean doesn't want to think of Sam anywhere but here, now. He glances over, "Didn't think you were going to show up."
Sam's mouth flattens into a line. "Oh, so you're pissed?"
"No. Sam—" Dean raps his fingers against the steering wheel and sighs, changing lanes to get past a slow buildup. It's sprinkling rain and people who live in Vegas think rain means the end of the world.
Sam says, "You remember what bar that was that you were just at?"
"Yeah. The first one we always hit. Every year."
"You remember how you got kicked out of there last year? They said you were banned for life?"
Dean shrugs. "What's your point?"
"My point is, I spent the last hour going to every other bar we go to. I finally went to that one, on the off-chance, and it's lucky I did."
"Why didn't you just call me?"
"Well why didn't you call me?" Sam counters.
The only sound for a while is the slick of the wheels and a Christmas song playing low and static over the radio. The dash is fogging up and Dean wipes it with his jacket sleeve and waits for Sam to get to it.
Sam does not disappoint. "Look," he says. "I was all set to say let's cool it. You know, take a breather. That was a fucked up thing you did. I had to talk to Amelia which wasn't something I wanted to revisit. After saying I betrayed you, basically telling me to leave. Man, and every time you talk about— well, every time you talk about Benny I want to punch him in the face. Punch you in the face. Punch anyone in the face. And I swear to god I will next time."
For some reason that makes Dean want to get Sam in a headlock, in a good way. His violent little brother. "But?" he asks, looking for the edge.
"But it took forever to get here," Sam sighs. "And now I just want to go to bed."
"So I wore you down?" Dean clarifies.
"Something like that."
It's one hell of a romance, Dean thinks, that's for sure. There're warm fuzzy feelings blooming out in his chest, anyway. He reminds himself that Sam's basically still ready to split, just said it, but Dean's spent the past week listening to lonely road ballads on late-night drives and now here's Sam, back and filling up the space like he's meant to, and Dean forgets the lack of him.
When they pull into the motel parking lot, Sam breaks the silence again. "Roy and Walt. The way you threatened them."
Dean's not moving on that one. He doesn't answer until they're out of the car and under the overhang, out of the rain. "I would do it again," he says, shoving his hands in his pockets. "I swear to god."
"Chill out." Sam says, and when Dean only grunts, continues, sounding smug, "The look on their faces."
He shakes his head and Dean watches his mouth curve into a smile. "What?"
"You're all macho and shit," Sam laughs, then makes an approximation of Dean's voice, "'I'm gonna hunt you down.' 'You touch him, I'll kill you.'"
"It's true," Dean says, looking away. He grabs the door handle to the motel office. "I meant it. They put one finger on you and I'll find them. I'm sick of that shit. It's just boring now."
"Oh, yeah?" Sam laughs.
"Yeah. Boring and awkward." Dean pushes open the door. The bell jangles overhead and he's about to step in, but then Sam stops him with a hand to the shoulder.
"Hey," Sam says, and he's looking all hopeful.
"I don't want to talk about it," Dean warns.
"No," Sam says. He looks up.
There's a sprig of mistletoe over the door and Dean knows immediately it's fake. It's off-green plastic nailed to the frame. It's fake but it might as well be real the way Sam looks down away from it, back to Dean, how his hand's on Dean's shoulder like he's warning him against a fall.
Dean gets a headrush that's worse. His neck goes hot and his feet might as well be stuck in concrete, the rush of nighttime cars swishing by on the road and the warmth of the motel office on one side of them, and Sam basically wedged with him in the doorway. Sam's obviously messing with him and it's really not funny.
And it's really not funny how, the longer Dean looks at Sam, the more Sam looks just as uncomfortable.
Sam looks like he's steeling himself for something, and Dean says, "Dammit, Sam," but it doesn't impede Sam anything. The back of Dean's head knocks soft against the door frame when Sam's mouth presses against his, fingers touching Dean just above the belt.
After a ten second dry run in which everything inside him's on a held breath, Dean breathes out through his nose and hears himself make some small noise and, worse, finds to his horror that his hands have slid up Sam's chest and he's been winding his fingers in Sam's soft shirtfront. But the horror is fleeting and he yanks Sam closer to him by the lapels because hell yes, and also he's been waiting his whole life for this. He angles his face up so he can kiss Sam right and Sam crooks an arm around his waist and tugs him in close and eases his mouth open under his.
"Aw, really?" comes a voice.
Sam jolts and tries to step back but Dean's got a hold on him. As it is, they turn to look. The shrimpy motel guy rolls his eyes and pulls a paper from others on the bulletin board behind the desk. He takes a look at them and then back to the page.
"Yup," he confirms. "You guys can't stay here."
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but last year you left this place with a ripped out phone and five gunshot holes in the mattress."
"Dean?" Sam says.
Dean's is a guilty silence. Last year was when Dean thought Sam was marrying someone else. It was an emotional time. He steps away and straightens his jacket and nods to the guy at the desk. "Sorry about that."
The guy shrugs. "It's no problem, we needed to replace that mattress anyway. But you should probably go."
"Dean," Sam says, and it's full of all kinds of feelings. "Was that about—"
"Whatever," Dean says. Because it doesn't matter, and the odds were against him but Sam came back anyway. He's going to make sure this a lucky flush because he wants it that bad. It's the ace up his sleeve.
"Merry Christmas!" the guy says as Dean steps outside, Sam at his shoulder. Sam's hand slides down the back of Dean's arm and touches Dean's palm.
Dean looks back and tells the guy, "Yeah, you too."