“Just a drink Sam, we’ve got to relax a little. This case is already killin’ me.” Dean says as he pulls over in front of one of the dive-iest dive bars they’ve seen in a while, but this is Philadelphia, and not the nice part of the city.
“God Dean, we just got here and barely got started. Fine, alright, but no hustling tonight. You can’t look beat up for our cover.” Sam says as he gets out of the Impala, slamming the door for emphasis.
Dean rolls his eyes dramatically, “Yes mom, whatever.”
They shove through the door into the place, “Paddy’s Pub” according to the small sign outside, it’s nothing special, a little grimier than some they’ve been in, but at least there’s a pool table in the back.
“C’mon at least play some pool with me.” Dean says, in that wheedling voice he uses when he just wants Sam to cut loose for a few hours and hang with him.
Sam relents, unable to ever resist that voice, but putting up one forefinger, “One game, then I want to go back to the hotel.”
“That’s my boy.” Dean says, clapping him on the back.
“We’ll take two of the house draft.” Sam says to the blonde bartender, noticing that she’s kinda of cute.
“I’ll go get on the list for the table.” Dean says over his shoulder as he struts over towards the back of the bar.
“Fine, I’m not going anywhere.” Sam calls out, even though Dean’s too far away to even hear him.
“So, you new in town?” asks the bartender as she slides over their beers, she really is cute, a skinny but curvy with big intensely blue eyes.
Sam looks up, surprised that someone’s actually making conversation with him, he was so lost in his thoughts about getting Dean out of here in a reasonable amount of time, “Yeah, uh, we’re just kinda passing through really.”
“Your friend seems pretty occupied already.” The bartender nods behind Sam.
Sam turns and sees Dean pressed up in the dark corner by the payphone making out with a girl in a mini skirt and tank top. Sam groans a disappointed, “As usual.”
“He gets a lot of tail I bet.” The bartender observes.
“You have no idea.” Sam answers dryly, rolling his eyes for emphasis.
“Well, since he’s gone for a while, you feel like getting out of here too? Might serve him right for ditching you.” The bartender asks, seeing a chance with one of the most handsome guys she’s maybe ever seen in the bar.
Sam looks her up and down, she seems kind of sad, a little lonely, and a tad desperate even, pretty much how he’s feeling if he’s honest with himself. “You know, that might be nice, is there a good coffee place around here?”
“Yeah, I know one. I’m Dee by the way.” She sticks her hand out over the beer tacky bar surface. Sam takes her small hand and encloses it in his large one. Her eyes go even wider when she realizes how big he really is.
She reaches under the bar and snags her purse and yells over her shoulder, “Charlie, get out here, I’m taking off for a while.” A short man with a beard and mustache comes out of the back room, he has the look of one who is perpetually confused.
“Alright see ya later Dee, have fun.” Charlie says, looking up at a now standing Sam with apparent shock at how tall he is. “You picked a tall one tonight.”
“Shut up Charlie, see ya.” Dee says, coming out from behind the bar and putting her arm through Sam’s, “Let’s go Sam.”
They head out and Sam momentarily thinks that Dean’s going to be pissed that he’s taken off, especially since he’d promised him a game of pool. Maybe he’ll even be worried, depending on how many drinks he has with the girl he picked up. A text from the coffee shop will have to do, even if it interrupts him in the middle of things with the barfly.
“So Sam, up for a walk?”
“Sure, been in the car for a while, sounds good to me.”
“It’s a few blocks, but they have the best scones in Philly.”
“How long you been working there Dee?”
“What at the bar? Oh a while now, my brother and father and his friend are all co-owners, it’s kind of a family thing.”
“That’s what I have, a family thing, that guy was my brother, we have a business together, inherited it from our dad when he passed.”
“Oh I’m sorry, that sucks. That your dad’s dead I mean, not that you have a business. Mine’s a pain in the ass, my father that is, not my business. Anyways, you have no idea, he’s a real jerk sometimes, but at least he’s still around.”
“Yeah, I didn’t get along real well with mine, and I still miss him a lot.”
“That’s nice that you work with your brother though, even if he does score a lot.”
“Ah, I’m pretty much used to it by now. We’ve been together for a long time, almost part of the job by now, new city, new case, new girl for him.”
“Sounds like he’s as much of a manwhore as my brother is, but we love ‘em anyways, what can you do? So what are you P.I.’s or something?”
“Yeah pretty much. It’s never boring.”
“Sam, you really want coffee this late?”
“No not really, just wanted an excuse to talk with you somewhere besides the bar.”
“Want to come back to my place, I’ll even make you coffee if you want.”
“Sure, why not.” Sam puts his arm around her shoulders, and likes how she fits right underneath, like she’s the right size, not too small so he has to bend over.
“This is it here. Elevator’s broken, we’ve gotta hoof it.” Dee starts up the staircase and Sam follows, watching her ass as she goes up several flights of stairs. It’s nice and tight, probably from all the standing she does in the bar. He kind of wants to say something or reach out and touch it as it sways in front of him, but he restrains himself. Still not sure exactly what Dee is after. Or really what he wants.
“Finally, my floor. Come on in.” Dee unlocks her door and lets them in. Sam follows after and is struck by the niceness of it compared to the hallway. She’s really fixed it up nice for a small apartment in a kind of crappy building.
“Hey this is really nice Dee. I like it.” Sam says after he looks around a little, it’s been a long time since he’s been in someone’s personal space like this, when it hasn’t been case-related.
“So you want that coffee or what?” Dee asks, assessing whether or not this is going to just be coffee and conversation or something more.
“Yeah, I’m actually kind of sleepy, been a long day.”
“Make yourself at home, I’ll get it started.” She turns and heads into the small kitchen.
Sam looks around at what she’s got on a shelving unit, not many books, some dvds and bar coasters. Nothing remarkable really. Finally he sits down on one end of the couch and starts wondering why he’s here in this woman’s place, and what she really expects from him.
Dee comes out a few minutes later with two mugs. “I’ve got sugar and milk if you want it.”
“No, just black’s fine, thanks.” He says with a nervous, hesitant smile.
Dee sits down next to him, setting the mugs on the small coffee table, and reads his increasing discomfort, “Hey Sam, don’t worry, no pressure, okay?” She pats him on the knee,
“Thanks, it’s uh, well it’s been awhile. Long time on the road and haven’t tried talking with anyone outside of work for too long. I might be out of practice.”
“You’re doing fine, you’re probably the most interesting person I’ve met in months. I swear in that bar all we get are the same fifty people cycling in and out. Gets boring after a while.”
“I can imagine. Our cases all tend to be the same after a while too, hard to remember details and where we’ve even been in the last month.”
“Sounds awful really. I can’t imagine being stuck with my brother Dennis all the time.” Dee says, tucking one leg under her and turning towards Sam.
“You two don’t get along?”
“Well, we do, most of the time. But he’s really bossy and controlling and well just really rude a lot of the time.”
“Huh, mine too. But he means well. Usually.” Sam says, thinking of Dean’s attempts to be more honest and open in the past month or so, how he’s shut himself down from really responding.
“Curse of the younger sibling I guess. Here’s to our bros wherever they are right now.” Dee clinks their mugs together.
“You know, he’d kill me if he knew I was wasting time talking about him when I’m in a pretty girl’s apartment.”
Dee can’t help it, she twirls a bit of her hair around her finger and giggles a little at being called pretty, “That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me in ages.”
“What? That you’re pretty? You must hear that all the time.” Sam scoffs.
“No, I really don’t. My brother and other business partner run me down a lot.” Dee says looking down at her lap.
“Well they shouldn’t, because you are pretty. And they’re just jerks if they say otherwise.”
“Thanks Sam. I really think we let our siblings have way too much power over us sometimes.”
Sam’s mind is kind of blown at how accurate that observation is for him, he shakes his head a little, “You have no idea how true that is for me.”
“Well they’re not here, and we are.” Dee says, shifting a little closer to him on the couch.
“Yeah.” Sam says and he’s going to follow up that agreement with something more pithy and profound but he’s interrupted by Dee leaning over and kissing him. A firm, solid, here-I-am introductory kiss. And Sam kind of sinks into it, letting her keep going as far and as long as she wants to. Sam kind of feels like it’s her show since she started it. But he participates, kissing her back long and just as hard, reining himself in since she’s not as substantial as the person he’s used to kissing most often. But he pushes that thought right out of his mind, viciously locking it away under the not-anymore rock he’s stashing all of that stuff about Dean since they’ve gotten back on the road together. It’s not fair to Dee, who’s pretty much kissing his lips off by now, and it’s not fair to him. He needs this random human connection as much as the next person. Maybe more. So fuck Dean and his posturing.
He puts himself into the kiss more, running his hands up Dee’s back, pulling her in close, loving the way she gasps at being moved so easily, licking deep into her mouth as she opens to him. Something trips in him then, a sudden despair that he doesn’t have this anymore from the person he truly wants it from, and he pours that despair out into the kiss. It turns wild and wanton and kind of out-of-control. She bites his neck in that certain place that always gets him and he moans, “Dean” without even thinking that it’s the wrong name, it should be Dee. So close, but miles away.
Dee pushes back, away from him, moving out of his arms and flopping against the back of the couch.
“Wow, what was all that about?” Dee finally asks.
“What?” Sam asks, still caught in the spiral of want and need and lingering despair.
“Just, felt a little angry there all of a sudden.” Dee says, wiping at her mouth with the back of her hand.
“Uh, sorry, I didn’t hurt you did I?’ Like I said, It’s been awhile.” Sam says, looking at her a little like he’s still in shock.
“You know Sam, maybe this isn’t the best idea if you’re feeling like this tonight.”
“Dee, I was into it, kissing you, weren’t you? It felt like you were.”
“Yeah, but you’re not all here are you Sam? And it’s okay. We can really just talk if you want.”
“You’re right, my bad, not fair to you. I think I’ll just go.” He stands up abruptly, smoothing out his jeans, hoping his hard-on isn’t too noticeable. He’s too mad at himself to be embarrassed though.
Dee looks up at him, “I didn’t mean you have to leave Sam.”
“No, I get that. I just, it’s hard to explain, I can’t have something I want, and I miss it, and it’s frustrating. And kissing you just reminded me of it and I’m really sorry to do this to you Dee. You’re a sweet girl, and a hell of a kisser. Thanks for listening to all my craziness.” Sam leans down and kisses her cheek softly.
He’s almost at the door when she says, “It’s him isn’t it?”
“Who?” Sam asks, hand on the doorknob.
“The one you want to get back, he’s the guy you were with, back in the bar tonight. The one you said was your brother. I bet his name is even Dean.”
Sam can’t look at her, his shoulders slump under the weight of yet another person recognizing the connection he has with Dean. No matter if they’re on or off, people can always always see it. It’s like he can never escape it. But he feels like he owes her honesty, maybe not the whole story, but the honesty he can spare. “Yeah, it’s him.”
Dee comes up behind and touches him softly on the waist, turning him around, pulling him into a gentle hug, and speaks softly into his chest, “That really sucks Sam, does he even know?”
Sam feels his heart coming undone just at this kind woman’s touch and soft words, “No, yes, I don’t really know. We’re getting over some stuff, but we have to keep working together. And it’s just too hard sometimes being stuck with him.”
“Well if he knows, he’s a total asshole doing that picking up chicks thing right in front of you.”
“Like I said, we’re in a weird place right now. I was an asshole for just taking off and not telling him.”
Dee looks up at him, examining him closely, “I can tell you really have strong feelings for him. And I think. No, I know, that you need to tell him, as clearly as you can what you told me tonight.”
Sam meets her eye and says with real gratitude, “That’s some pretty good advice, you sound like you know what you’re talking about.”
Dee grins up at him, “Oh yeah, I’ve been around the merry-go-round a few times, and the best thing is to be clear about what you need. Straight up.”
“I wish I could.” Sam says, his voice drifting off a little wistfully.
“Of course you can, Sam, if you want him back bad enough, of course you can. Go get him tiger.” Dee pounds him on the back and steps away from him.
“Thanks Dee. I think I’ll actually try this time, instead of waiting for him to say something.” Sam pulls the door open and steps through into the hallway.
“Life’s short, don’t waste it. The only good thing my dad has ever taught me.” Dee says, resting her head against the doorframe.
“He’s right, it’s shorter than we know. I’m gonna go.” Sam turns to go down the hall towards the stairs.
“Bye Sam. Good luck.” Dee says, her voice full of conflict. Both wishing he was staying and taking her to bed, but hoping that this man is strong enough to go get what he needs from this Dean character.
Sam looks back at her and smiles, “You too, hope you find someone that isn’t as messed up as me.”
“I’m gonna keep tryin’.” Dee says as she closes the door behind him and leans against it, feeling let-down and frustrated but happy that maybe she helped him. Better luck next time, story of her life. Hopefully Charlie won’t say anything to Dennis or Mack about it, she doesn’t want to have to explain how she let tall, dark and handsome get away to reunite with his boyfriend. She’s pretty sure they’d tease her for months.
Sam retraces his steps back to the bar from Dee’s apartment building and is surprised to see the Impala still parked in the same place. He goes in and sees Dean at the end of the bar, slumped over an empty glass. The subbing bartender, Charlie trying to talk to him with not much success.
“Mister, we’re closin’, you gotta leave.” Charlie says, poking Dean’s elbow that rests on the bar.
Dean doesn’t even look up at him, just keeps staring down into the bottom of his glass until he feels Sam’s hand land on his shoulder. He swivels his head slowly to keep up with the double vision he’s got going on, and focuses on Sam’s face. “Thought you’d come back.” Dean slurs.
“Yeah, I always do, don’t I? C’mon, let’s get you outta here so Charlie can close up.” Sam hoists Dean up off the barstool, arm around his waist. “Did he pay ya?” he asks Charlie.
Charlie looks up at the gargantuan supporting the drunk and waves him off, “Yeah, he tossed a twenty at me a while ago, you’re good. You need help getting him to the car?”
“Naw, I’m used to it. Thanks.” Sam says, helping Dean out to the Impala, just like so many other times before. At least this time Dean’s not bleeding.
“You owe me a game of pool.” Dean says as Sam’s putting his seatbelt on for him.
“Next time Dean, not now.” Sam pats him on the shoulder and closes the door before Dean can fall out.
Sam walks around the Impala slowly, taking in a deep breath to steady himself, he can do this, what he talked about with Dee, just not tonight when Dean’s so blotto he won’t remember anything.
Dean’s head lolls against the headrest, pointing towards Sam, but his eyes are unfocused, almost shut, “Where’d you go dude?”
“Tell you later.” Sam says, starting up the car and pulling away from the curb.
“We good Sammy?” Dean mumbles as he collapses against Sam’s shoulder, jostling the steering wheel enough that Sam has to regain control of the car before he can answer.
Sam slows down a little and rearranges Dean so he can drive safely. He answers Dean even though he’s pretty much passed out, hoping he hears it at some level, “Yeah Dean, we will be.”