Between one blink and the next, Dean found himself standing on solid ground, the sneakers and gym shorts gone, leather boots on his feet and a gun in his hand. Glancing sideways showed Sam in a similar situation, a gun in either hand and dressed up in an outfit straight from an old western.
"I suggest you not take your eyes off me," a voice drawled, and Dean was abruptly aware of the three people standing around him and Sam, wearing the same old-fashioned outfits, also holding guns. The man who'd spoken continued, "Not unless you want a couple more holes in you than is natural."
"We're good with the number of holes we've got, thanks," Dean snapped off. One of the others cocked a really big gun meaningfully, which wouldn't have bothered Dean if a quiet mechanical whine hadn't been emitted from the gun when he did that. He glanced quickly at Sam, who had a puzzled frown line in his forehead that meant he was starting to figure this show out. Tilting his gun in the big gun's direction, Dean said, "Mind calling Jumbo off? We don't want any trouble."
The guy growled a little, but the first guy (clearly his boss, if this was any western Dean had ever seen growing up) waved him back. "Hold on, Jayne."
"Mal, you saw what they -"
"Jayne." With some reluctant grumbling, Jayne backed up. His boss - Mal - looked Dean in the eye, his expression perfectly blank. Not a good sign. "You say you don't want any trouble?"
Dean glanced at Sam, who had definitely figured this show out, at Jayne and his big gun, at the black chick with two pistols still held out, and finally back at Mal. "Uh... yeah, that's right."
Jayne bit off something that didn't sound like any language Dean knew, but had the inflection of an insult. "Mal, you saw well as I what happened in that town. Why haven't we shot them yet?"
Mal's expression flickered, but stayed blank. "I am hoping to get some kind of explanation."
"They're nuts, that's your explanation," Jayne muttered. "Doing those things to people... it's as bad as Reavers." He brought up his gun again, aimed at Sam.
"No," Sam said quickly, "You don't understand. That wasn't us - we're here to stop them." And yeah, Sam definitely knew more of what was going on here than Dean did, so he kept quiet and left him to it.
Sam faltered. "We're not sure yet. But that's what we do - we hunt monsters. Just let us get back to our job, please."
Mal looked over at the woman, who had a careful eye on Sam. "Zoe, any thoughts?"
"I don't trust him," she said. Jayne started to say something, but she cut him off with, "But I think it might be worth investigating."
"You do?" Mal asked.
Dean blinked. "You do?"
She turned her gaze on him. "The medical supplies we were commissioned to bring to that town were for a mysterious illness. No one knew the cause of it. If you didn't drain all those townsfolk's blood, maybe this thing you're hunting did. Maybe it caused the disease."
There was a long knife on Dean's belt, he realized. And one on Sam's. Perfect for decapitation.
"Then - you'll help us?" Sam asked disbelievingly.
"Either you did it or your monster did it. Finding out who's our only chance of getting paid for this job. Captain?" Zoe asked, turning to look at Mal.
"Mal!" Jayne protested.
Glancing between Sam and Dean, Mal-the-captain-of-something frowned. And then nodded. Sam sighed and holstered his guns. Mal put his own away, then lifting a finger warningly. "But if I catch a whiff that you're fooling us? You won't have enough time to watch your back before there's a hole in it."
"Thank you," Sam said. Dean nodded slowly, putting away his gun. "You said you were bringing medicine here? Can I see what kind?"
"It's in the Mule," Zoe said, walking over the hill to something that was definitely not the animal Dean had been expecting. Instead, it almost looked like some kind of roofless car, or a cargo carrying... thing.
Dean shifted closer to Sam as they approached the "mule". "Dude," he whispered, "what kind of western is this?"