They say the boys came out of Kansas, a long time ago.
How long? Well, now. That's where it all gets complicated. There's some'll tell you they remember the sound their boots made, clank of the spurs on cracked leather, clank of the heels on cracked earth, that metal-red southwestern dirt. There's some'll say it was years back, the tall one behind his brother, the West all wild around them and the two of them fast together, hip to hip and gun to gun.
Nobody knows how long.
Those who're fond of records, they'll look 'em up and tell you there's a Winchester here; here, see? Here, two boys of the nineteen-eighties who drove their father's car through a half-century modern. That's what they'll tell you, but there aren't any records of what those Winchesters did after the school district lost track: other'n that they killed some and got killed, and then killed again, and who-all can die twice?
Well, now. Guys that do, they got a name for them. Guys who drink and shoot and go down swinging, get a bullet in the head and do it all again, that's what legends are. The Winchester boys are guys like that. They die in the dirt thrice over, and then they get back up and walk, knives stuck in their spines, gunshot and whisky in their stomachs. The Winchesters keep on dying, but they say they can't be killed, so who's to say they were ever born, either, like normal folk? Who's to say.
So maybe they grew up on Kool-Aid and the Ninja Turtles, maybe they did. The other story's better. Two boys out of Kansas, hats pulled low on their foreheads, dead men's gold in their pockets. They say they got a gun made by Samuel Colt, a gun that fired over the Alamo. Colt made that gun for a hunter back in thirty-five, thirteen bullets and a ticket to forever. Let's say that hunter was John Winchester. Who's gonna argue? Pick a legend, any legend.
So. Picture the scene: two brothers roll into a saloon, dirt on their boots and blood in their mouths. They've rough-ridden wild over half the Wild West, Route 66 and Lincoln County road, and they've sure as hell gotten right to Armageddon more than once. You can get anywhere if you keep driving.
The car's all wrong for the story, but that makes no odds, not really, not the way it cradles their bones like it was born when they were, as they were, instead of twenty years before, a hundred years after. Man's gotta have his horse, and she's theirs. She's theirs.
Anyway, this saloon. There's plenty of 'em still, all over the west, half-doors on creaking hinges, sawdust on bare boards. The older brother is the shorter, but his face is set like flint, this hard-edged beauty that'll shoot you where you stand. Green eyes, all the stories remember that, and he moves with the bow-legged swagger of a man who cut his teeth on someone's ranch, breaking in stallions, a real caballero. (Maybe they're wrong about the car. Some say Baby was a black mare with a silver blaze on her forehead, clean-shod, glorious. Could be true. No-one ever wrote it down.)
The younger one's a half-step behind him, too close for other people's comfort, barely close enough for theirs. Always had to be close. Some say a curse was responsible, bound them up together for eternity when they messed some witch around. Some say something went wrong with demons, left them with only the one soul between them, and they have to be close for it to work right or you'd wind up with one human and one empty thing that's only fit for killing. One story has it they weren't ever brothers at all, the closeness due to something else entirely, but that one's hogwash. This guy behind, he's the younger brother.
He's a big guy, six feet six (six-eight, seven-one). Keeps a flask of demon's blood (or so they say) next to his gun; keeps his hat pulled down over his eyes. Nobody knows what color they are. Green, maybe, like his brother's, and no-one thought to mention it. Black, maybe, like Baby, like their blood, and no-one dared. Yellow.
People say all sorts.
Two brothers roll into a saloon, blood in their mouths, dirt on their boots, guns at their hips. We can all agree on that. The older one's handsome, straightforward, captivating. The younger has an edge like a bloody knife, a sharp, unhappy beauty like the calm after a massacre. (They both have improbably lovely teeth. That part'll be a fabrication.)
"Sam," says the older one.
The man at the bar pulls his shoulders in, folds himself up like he's scared. The silence expands right to the corners of the room.
"Sam," says the older one, "how about we clean this place out?"
The man at the bar, inexplicably, turns round. He's turning so we can see how his eyes are black, turning so we know where the story is going. Really, he probably hotfooted it out of there without taking his eyes off the ground, if he ever set foot in the place at all. Hell, if the place was ever there.
Still, that's the way of stories. The man at the bar turns around, and his eyes are black, demon-dark.
"Exorcizamus te," says Sam.
The older one shoots from the hip, the Colt smoking. They say it only had thirteen bullets, but he always has enough. They say it blows holes in demons, makes them melt, turns them to ash that'll cure any ailment you got. They say all kinds of things.
A saloon ain't always pleased to see the Winchesters roll in, but it's cleaner when they leave. Even with their blood all over the floor.
"Gotta get me some pie," Dean says. They say black cherry is his favorite, or maybe Key Lime -- ha! -- in the nineteenth-century old West. Who the hell knows. Never liked apple, though. Some kind of bad association.
Sam puts a hand low down on his brother's back. Have to keep close, one soul in two bodies (or so some say). They're both of them bleeding from the bulletholes in their stomachs, the gashes in their spines, but they're years old now and the boys still thirty, can't be killed. Not until the red dirt's dead, and that'll be a long while yet.
"At the next exit," Sam says, tips his hat down over his eyes and rolls his shoulders. They get in the car, on the horse together; Dean gets on the horse and Sam's behind him in the cart. Sam's riding shotgun, gun over his knees, guns in the trunk, gun in the saddlebag. "Come on, Dean. We got work to do."
They say they came out of Kansas, a long time ago. They say a lot of things.