Title: Baba Yaga's Chickenlegs Diner
Characters: Sam, Dean, Castiel, Bobby
Word Count: 3,000
Summary: A beloved fable, as related by Dean Winchester.
Notes: This takes place some time during season 5.
"Bedtime story?" asked the angel perched on the lumpy motel room bed.
"Have you been into my porn stash again, Cas?" grumbled Dean from the kitchenette.
"Yeah, Cas," said Sam, stretching out his long legs and tipping back a frosty longneck. "People tell them to their kids. At bedtime.”
"To get 'em to shut the fuck up," added Dean, returning to the main room with a tray full of sandwiches. Dean Winchester had just spent the greater portion of the day playing chauffeur for his brother and the daffy angel while they ran around all over town gathering this, that and the other old thing for the big exorcism they had planned for tomorrow. Annoyingly enough, Sam and Cas had spent the whole time clucking like a couple of old biddies hunched over some witches brew. Hey, look, rosewater! Whoopy-do! Dean was not in the mood, so he just kept his damn mouth shut and drove where they told him to.
Then at long last they had dragged their tired asses back to Sam and Dean’s motel room. Since Sam was on one of his intermittent health kicks, the kid had insisted on getting a room with a kitchenette, so they could cook their own healthy food (instead of feasting on deadly but delicious diner fare), of course conveniently ignoring the fact that neither of the Winchester boys knew diddly squat about actually cooking anything other than canned Dinty Moore’s. They had pushed in the door and tottered in bearing bags upon bags upon bags, but while Dean had wanted nothing more than to prop his feet up and kick back with a cold one, the two nerdboys had instead started fussing with their treasures, spreading them out over one of the faded twin beds as despite the kitchenette there wasn't a decent table in the place. It was like an episode of Ghost Facers. A particularly bad episode of Ghost Facers. Which in itself wouldn’t have been so bad except everything was in a wrinkly crinkly plastic bag, so even if you tuned out to watch bass fishing on the outdoor channel, there was a crinkledy-crinkledy-crinkledy noise: crinkle crinkle crinkle crinkle. It was enough to drive a man … well, it was enough to drive a man to make sandwiches. Tomato, meet knife.
Dean shot a glare at Sam, who was occupying the motel room's one good chair, a comfy-looking armchair upholstered in a fabric that might at one point deep in the recesses of time have been paisley, complete with matching faded ottoman. Dean sighed and instead planted his ass on the bed next to Castiel (the bed that wasn't piled high with exorcism crap), situating the tray of roast beef sandwiches between himself and the angel.
"Oh, we have stories like that!" said Castiel, greedily helping himself to a sandwich.
"There's no raw meat in there, you know," Dean told Castiel.
"What's an angel bedtime story, Cas?" asked Sam, going right for the bait.
Castiel had his legs all curled up into a lotus position, like some kind of mad guru, Dean thought. "There was once a righteous warrior of heaven!" Cas related between bites. "He slew many foes!"
There was a pause.
"Uh, yes?" said Sam.
"Yes what?" asked Castiel, wiping spicy brown mustard from the corner of his mouth on the sleeve of his trenchcoat.
"What's the rest of the story?" asked Sam, though his brother was already shaking his head.
"That’s the story! It's one of our best!" said Castiel proudly.
"That's not a story, Cas," said Dean.
"Of course it's a story!" protested the angel, who was trying to pick a caraway seed out from between his teeth.
"I could tell you a better story!" said Dean, popping open a beer,
"You’ll tell us a bedtime story, Dean?" asked Castiel, eagerly reaching for another sandwich.
"No," said Dean.
"Dean doesn't know any bedtime stories," laughed Sam.
"I do too know a bedtime story! And.... And it's a great fucking bedtime story!" protested Dean.
"OK, let's hear, Mr. Big Talk!" urged Sam.
Castiel craned his neck at Dean. "Dean's mouth doesn't seem any larger than average."
"Quit looking at my mouth!" Dean told a very puzzled Castiel. "OK, I'll tell you a story if you all shut up. But there better be a pie in it for me."
"I'll go get you a pie. If you actually manage to tell a story," said Sam.
"Once upon a fucking time..." said Dean.
Both Castiel and Sam leaned forward.
"This is already an excellent story!" commented Castiel.
“It’s not finished yet!” said Dean.
"Go onnnnn," grinned Sam, who had grabbed a sandwich and was somewhat churlishly (Dean thought) peeking under the bread to see what lie within.
"There were these two brothers,” dean Dean. “And they lived in a dark forest. They were … Deansel and Samel."
"Those are strange names, Dean," noted Castiel.
"They were strange boys. Especially Samel,” said Dean, shooting a look at his brother.
"Why do I have to be the girl?" asked Sam between bites.
"Because I'm telling the story!" said Dean. "So, there were two weird brothers, and their evil stepmother wanted to get them lost in the dark enchanted forest."
"Why would she want to do that?" interrupted Castiel.
"Evil stepmothers are evil." Sam explained.
"Comes with the job," said Dean. "Now stop interrupting! Anyway, Deansel was a smart kid...."
"I'm scared, Deansel," said Samel, after their wicked stepmother had ditched them for like the umpteenth time alone in the dark scary woods.
"It's gonna be OK," Deansel assured his little brother as they walked through the dark enchanted forest. "See this sandwich?" He held up a fine beef sandwich on crusty bread made with French’s spicy brown mustard.
"Yeah! I see. You wouldn't give me a bite,” pouted Sam.
"That's because I've been tearing off bits and scattering them along the trail. See? We just follow the trail of sammich crumbs and it'll take us home." Deansel started confidently back down the trail, but Sam hesitated. "What's wrong now?” asked Deansel.
"I'm not sure I wanna go home,” said Samel. “Our stepmom is a bitch."
"Yeah, she is," Deansel had to agree. "She really is. But look, it's getting dark and cold, and if we make it home, there are gonna be more sandwiches. Hey, and maybe pie!”
Samel looked grim, but he finally shrugged and accompanied his big brother. They hadn't gone far, however, before the trail of sandwich crumbs petered out.
"Hey, where's my sandwich?" asked Deansel, who was squatting down running his hands on the forest floor. He suddenly became aware of a weight on his shoulder. A big black bird had come to perch there.
"I'm Crowstiel! Were those your bread crumbs?" cawked the bird. The bird could talk. Because this is a fairy tale.
"Stupid bird! You ate our only way home!" complained Deansel.
"I couldn't resist! They were delicious. Besides, I'm a crow. It's in my nature to eat bread crumbs."
"But now we can't get home!" Deansel told him.
"I didn't want to go home anyway," moped Samel. "Our wicked stepmother is a bitch."
"That's her nature," said Crowstiel. "Anyway, now that you gave me your bread crumbs, I owe you a favor. I'll lead you some place better than home!" promised their new friend. And with that, he cawed and took wing.
"Hey, wait up!" yelled Deansel, for it was getting dark, and it was terribly difficult to see a black bird against the night sky.
"No, listen, you can hear him!" said Samel.
Deansel paused from inventing newer and more creative curses for Crowstiel, and instead listened to the rustle of wings. "Oh, there it goes," said Deansel. “Wait! Sammy!" he called: for his impetuous little brother was already running after Crowstiel, and nearly out of sight.
Panic rising in his stomach, Deansel raced headlong through the forest after his little brother. It was rough going, as Crowstiel wasn’t following any path, and the underbrush was thick.
Dean was scratched and bruised and out of breath by the time he caught up with Samel. The boy had stopped just outside the most marvelous structure. Deansel had never seen the like: by some magic, many of the walls were completely transparent, and even in the darkness the whole place was lit up like noontime.
Up near the roofline were magical glowing letters.
"Baba Yaga's Chickenfoot Diner," read Deansel. "Sammy, I don't think this is a good place."
“No, look Deansel!” said Samel, who was pressing his face against one of the wondrous transparent walls. Deansel came up next to his brother to see where his was pointing. He gasped in wonder.
The front of Baba Yaga’s Diner consisted of many fine-looking seats and tables, the seats upholstered in a fine, smooth fabric. Behind this was a counter with many stools, and then behind that, what looked like a grand kitchen, with stoves and burners and some fanciful equipment Dean couldn’t name. There were pots and pans aplenty, and dishes and cups and glasses to fill some nobleman’s dining hall.
But what had attracted Samel’s attention, and now Deansel’s, was a marvelous case set at the end of the long counter. It was transparent, like the walls. And on the shelves within, it held what was probably the most wonderful and amazing selection of mouth-watering pies the world had ever known, or would ever know. Deansel, who knew his letters, read out some of the cards: apple pie, banana crème pie, peach pie, huckleberry pie, gooseberry pie, strawberry pie…. One was labeled, “Four and Twenty Blackbirds,” though, which didn't sound terribly appetizing. At any rate, Deansel wiped his chin with the back of his sleeve, as he had started drooling.
“It’s paradise,” sighed Deansel.
“But how do we get inside?” asked Samel.
“Through the front door. Duh!”
“What door?” asked Samel.
Deansel reluctantly took his eyes off the pie case and looked around. Samel was right! Although the walls of the diner were transparent, there was no door.
“So, do you like it?” asked Crowstiel, who had come to perch on Dean's shoulder again.
“How do we get in, Crow?” asked Deansel. “There's pie in there!”
“You have to say the enchantment, 'Forest to the back of me, pies to the front, let me in!'” Crowstiel told him. And just like that, a door appeared.
“Come on, Sammy!” urged Deansel.
“I don't know about this,” said Samel.
“Remember, if you're ever in trouble, just call my name,” Crowstiel assured him.
“What, like some kinda magical enchantment?” asked Deansel, who didn't really much want to repeat some kind of pansy rhyme.
“'Crowstiel! Help me!' will do nicely,” cawed the bird, who noisily fluttered away.
“Boy, that guy makes a lot of noise for just one bird,” mused Deansel. “Anyway, come on, Sammy, we need to get some grub!” The two boys raced into Baba Yaga's diner, where, clambering up to stools at the counter, they helped themselves to heaping slices of huckleberry pie, plus great scoops of vanilla ice cream.
“My tummy's kind of full,” moaned Samel after starting his third slice.
“You gonna finish that?” asked Deansel, pointing to the unfinished bit of pie of Samel's plate.
“WHO GOES THERE?” demanded a grizzled man who had just wandered in. “Who dares eat Baba Yaga's pie?”
“We're Deansel and Samel, sir,” said Samel, who was holding his aching tummy.
“And we're hungry,” muttered Deansel, who was helping himself to his brother's pie.
“I'm Robert, the short order cook,” said the grizzled old man. “And give me one good reason why I don't kick you boys right out.”
“Uh,” said Deansel. “We're innocent little kids?” He smiled, a big huckleberry stain on his teeth.
“I hate kids,” grumbled Robert the cook.
“Oh,” said Deansel.
“”Cause I brought beer?” asked Samel, producing a long neck bottle from his coat pocket.
“Where did you get that?” asked Deansel.
“If you can steal sandwiches, I can filch beer,” said Samel.
“Hey, that hits the spot!” said Robert the cook, grabbing the bottle and opening it with his teeth. “Wow, I've been cooking for Baba Yaga for ten centuries now, and no one's ever though to give me a damn beer! You kids are OK. Wanna burger to go with those pies?”
“What's a burger?” asked Deansel.
And so Robert the cook made burgers for Deansel and Samel. Deansel thought the place was pretty cool.
“Hey, this place is pretty cool!” said Deansel.
“Well, we'll just have to make sure that Baba Yaga doesn't return and catch you boys here,” warned Robert the cook.
“Why not?” smacked Deansel, who was stealing one of Samel's french fries.
“She likes kids,” explained Robert.
“What's wrong with that?” asked Samel, slapping Deansel's fry-filching wrist.
“I mean, she likes kids. Look, since you kids gave me beer, I have something for you,” said Robert, going to one of the silverware drawers.
“Oh, is it a magical incantation?” asked Samel.
“No,” said Robert, withdrawing a very cool looking antique handgun. “It's a gun. If the old biddy gives you any trouble,” he said, handing the gun to Deansel, “shoot her in the face.”
“Awesome,” said Denasel, reaching for the gun.
Suddenly, the background swelled with a snatch of Cyclone from the Wizard of Oz soundtrack.
“I'll take that!” shouted a toothless hag, who grabbed the gun from Robert quick as Deansel could snipe a french fry.
“Oh, shit, it's Baba Yaga!” shouted Robert.
“Son of a bitch,” muttered Deansel.
“That's the last time you defy me, Robert the short order cook. Or should I say, Robert the pig!” said Baba Yaga! And, zap! Robert was turned into a squealing piggy.
“Now,” said Baba Yaga, “I see I have two fat little boys, waiting to be baked in to pies for my dinner!”
“That's not really dinner, it's more of a dessert,” dissented Samel.
“They're meat pies!” protested Baba Yaga.
“It's still not balanced nutrition,” complained Samel.
“I'll give you balanced nutrition,” shouted Deansel, flinging his plate at Baba Yaga. He grabbed Samel's hand. “Come on! We're outta here!” Pulling Samel along, Deansel rushed to the front door and flung it open, only to come screeching to a halt. The diner had sprouted immense chicken legs, big as tree trunks, and the diner was now perched up at least 20 feet high, and rushing through the forest.
“Whoa!” said Deansel.
“Come along! Don't you want to be my dinner?” taunted Baba Yaga, who was looming over the boys. Deansel looked from the witch to the forest floor far below. There seemed no way out.
Samel whirled around and shouted. “CROWSTIEL! HELLLLP!”
Suddenly, the pastry case was flooded with an eerie light. The mysterious pie labelled “Four and Twenty Blackbirds" began to dance and spin. And then it exploded! A flock of black-winged birds burst out and flew around the diner. They all converged on Baba Yaga.
“No! Stay back!” the witch screamed. But like some freaky Alfred Hitchcock movie, the birds were all around her, flapping and pecking at her eyes and mouth and ears. As Samel and Deansel dove for cover, the Baba Yaga shrieked a terrifying witch shriek and dove out the open door, plunging down and down to her death on the rocky floor below.
“See? I told you I would help!” cawed Crowstiel, who was resting once again on Deansel's shoulder.
“OK, I have to admit, that was pretty cool,” Deansel told him.
“Can you help our friend Robert the cook?” asked Samel, indicating the squealing piggy.
“I like him better that way, actually,” opined Crowstiel. “Are you sure?”
“Yeah, we're sure, Crow,” said Deansel.
Crowstiel shrugged his wings. “All right. Robert! Stop being a pig!”
And suddenly, Robert the cook was a grumpy human instead of a squealing pig.
“So what do we do now?” asked Deansel.
“Since you defeated Baba Yaga,” said Robert, “you boys are now masters of the diner.”
“And it looks like we have a really nice location by the coast,” said Samel, looking out the windows to the ocean below.
“This is great!” said Deansel. “Hey, Robert, can I call you Bobby?”
“No. You can't,” said Robert.
“Uh. OK. Anyway,” said Deansel, “I have some ideas about those burgers. Check this out: bacon!”
“Now that's a bedtime story,” said Dean. “Cas? Cas?”
But the angel had slumped over, and was making a noise that appeared to be.....
“Snoring?” asked Dean, regarding the heap of supernatural being on his bed. “Do angels sleep?”
“I guess ours does,” laughed Sam.
“You gonna help me clear off my bed so I can sleep?” asked Dean, grabbing the sandwich tray and making for the kitchen.
“That's your bed?” yawned Sam, hiking a thumb at the bunk piled high with exorcism crap.
“Yeah. My bed is the bed without the snoring angel,” called Dean from the kitchenette. He gave the tray a quick rinse and stuck it in the drain. “And don't forget, you also owe me a pie!” he added, as telling the story had made him hungry, despite the sandwiches. “And maybe a bacon burger!” he added. Dean returned to the main room. “Sam?” he asked. He noticed his brother was now slumped over in the chair, and that the beer bottle he grasped was pitched now at least 45 degrees from the vertical. Dean stooped over and grabbed the brew just as his now slumbering brother was about to spill it on the motel room carpet.
Dean helped himself to the last swig of Sam's beer and scanned the room. “So much for my pie,” he muttered. He thought of grabbing up pillows from a bed, but that floor looked cold and hard. Frowning, he approached Castiel and, grasping his ankles, pulled out his legs, more or less straightening out the angel. Cas grunted, but didn't wake. “OK, stay,” Dean ordered. The bed was pushed up against the wall, but now there was a Dean-sized strip of space between Cas and the wall. Dean stripped to his underwear, and then skillfully insinuated himself into the open bedspace behind Cas, gratefully burrowing under the covers. He nestled, pulling the blankets up under his chin, and turned his back on the sleeping angel.
He had just closed his eyes when he heard Cas mutter something and stir. Dean felt a whack to his shoulder. He opened his eyes to spy one trenchcoated arm now wrapped around his shoulders, the feel of warm angel breath on his neck.
Dean rolled his eyes and sighed deeply.
“And they all lived happily ever after,” he muttered, just before drifting off.