Chapter 1: Salt and Burn
Detours on the Road so Far,
Why Sam and Dean Need Adult Supervision
1. Salt and Burn
(set some time in season 2)
“They’re abominations, Sam! How can you stand there and tell me to chill out, how can you sit there and be so friggin’ calm when these things exist?!?”
Sam sighs as Dean’s tone rises dramatically. “Dude, seriously? For all that we traveled in the nineties, I swear sometimes you just...dug yourself a hole and shoved your head down as far as you could. These aren’t new. Not even close.”
Dean sneers down at the nearest object of his contempt, gesturing in disgust. “I just...how does this even happen, Sammy? Who could be this cruel?”
“Don’t try to rationalize this to me, Sam!” Dean is clearly beyond reasoning at this point, and Sam comes to the sudden realization that his main job tonight will be minimizing the damage and getting Dean out of town as quickly as possible.
“No, no, you’re right,” he tries, knowing in his heart that nothing he says right now can reach Dean when he’s this deep in a fit of outrage. But he has to try, right?
“I get what you’re saying. It’s wrong, it’s completely wrong, and it should never have been allowed. But you can’t just salt and burn them, Dean. They aren’t possessed, and, as wrong as they may seem, they aren’t evil. You can’t just-”
But Dean is already striding back to the Impala and unlocking the trunk. Sam groans internally when his brother emerges with a half-full gas can and a container of salt.
“If we leave them standing, Sam, it’s the same as saying it’s okay for them to exist. And this-” he gestures expansively around them, “This is not ever okay. You understand?”
“But, Dean, this is a felony. The security cameras-”
But his older brother is already moving toward his first of his targets, salt canister open and ready.
“We commit more felonies in a week than you have fashion disasters of shirts. I mean, c’mon, Sammy, half the time you look like somebody’s grandfather, and half the time you look like a twelve-year-old geek that asks his blind grandmother to pick out all his clothes. What even is that? Are they flowers? Is it wallpaper? Are you wearing it inside out?”
Sam glances down at his shirt, opening his mouth to defend his favorite button-up, but Dean’s deep in his rant and far past reasoning.
“Look, if you’re so worried about the damned cameras, hack ‘em or break in and erase the footage. Let ‘em see me coming, Sam. They’re gonna know this shit ain’t okay anymore.”
Dean pauses to take a breath, contempt written clearly in every line on his face as he glares down at the current target of his ire. The younger Winchester has one shining moment of hope where he thinks maybe, just maybe, Dean is about to come to his sense.
But then Dean speaks again, and Same knows there’s no reaching him.
“I should have paid better attention, Sam. Years...decades, even, and I just...I tried to tell myself when I saw them that they were something else, that they couldn’t possibly be what they said I let it go on too long, and I know this job seems impossible, but we have to start somewhere. And here’s as good as anywhere else.”
Sam nods heavily; it’s not as if Dean is technically wrong. But it’s still too much to simply let him loose and hope for the best.
“Do you have to burn all of them?” Sam asks quietly, sweeping an arm out to indicate the whole lot. “Please, Dean, just...I mean, they aren’t all like this. Some of them are completely different, they don’t...just because these are wrong doesn’t mean they all are. There are some older ones that are still okay. Can you are least try to leave them out of it?”
Dean’s voice was heavy with regret and exhaustion as he sent a volley of salt crystals flying. “I can’t make any promises, Sammy, but you’re right. I’ll try.”
“Quit messing with the music, Sam! I’ve told you, driver-”
Sam swats Dean’s hand away from the radio knobs as he turns the dial, searching for something on the local AM radio stations. It was a long night, and it’s going to be an even longer day on the road. He plans on napping long and hard, but not before he finds some news on their nocturnal activities.
“I know, I know, Dean! Just gimme a minute, alright? I’m trying to find some local news.”
“I don’t see why you’re still so worried, man,” Dean growls, his fingers tightening on the wheel as they speed down the interstate. “They’ve got insurance, they’re covered.”
“Dude, shut up, I found something!” Sam turns the volume up, listening intently. Dean heaves a monumental sigh but settles back and, for once, keeps his mouth shut.
“- was found ablaze the early hours of this morning. Police report some twelve vehicles were completely destroyed, while more than fifty others received varying degrees of fire and smoke damage. Surprisingly, this seems to be a case of targeted arson, as the perpetrator or perpetrators surrounded each of the targeted vehicles with what has been determined to be table salt. What is perhaps most bizarre is that every circled car in the Cheney Chevrolet lot was an Impala model, all produced after 1993. The owners of the dealership, when questioned, reported that it was only their newer models that seem to have been targeted, while the older models from 1985 and earlier on the other side of the lot were left undamaged. Whether this is mere oversight or deliberate, police have yet to determine. Due to the extent of the damage and the theft of the security footage, police have ruled out the possibility of a prank gone wrong and are asking for anyone with information about-”
“See?” Dean cuts in, and Sam just barely holds back a sigh at the sheer smugness in his brother’s voice. “You took care of the cameras, they got nothing on us. We’re gold.”
Dean’s eyes drop from the road for only a moment, sliding lovingly over the sleek dash before looking up again.
“Don’t worry, Baby. We got a lot of road to cover, but we’ll get every single one of those ugly sons of bitches before we’re done. I won’t rest til we wipe every last one of those damned abominations off the planet.”
Chapter 2: 2. Everything Is Awesome
Detours on the Road so Far,
Why Sam and Dean Need Constant Adult Supervision
- Everything is Awesome
(set sometime in season 8)
Sam yawns as he shuffles down the hall, scratching the back of his head and grinning to himself. It still amazes him, even after the months they’ve been here, to have an actual home and comfortable bed to come back to after their days and weeks on the road. Even the hours crammed in the car with his brother and his painfully slow evolution of music is more bearable, knowing there are clean sheets, peace (relative peace, anyway) and quiet, and their very own refrigerator waiting for them at the other end.
He pauses as a new sound drifts towards him from the kitchen, and he frowns. It’s not a bad sound, exactly; he knows exactly what it is. But Dean doesn’t tend to sing this early in the morning, and not ever in the kitchen. It’s not the most wrong thing Sam has ever heard, but it’s strange enough for him to take notice.
Well, he can’t be possessed, so...hex bag, maybe? Their last case in Colorado didn’t involve witches, but there was always the chance they’d run across one without realizing and pissed him or her off somehow.
He cautiously enters the kitchen, hoping that he’s just assuming worst case scenario. He is greeted by the sight of Dean seated at the table, staring intently at a large, clear glass coffee mug as he adds creamer to the steaming brew. So, nothing to out of the ordinary.
“Morning,” Sam says, popping his back as he turns to the fridge. Nothing out of the ordinary on that end, and the singing has stopped, so maybe Sam just hadn’t been fully awake yet. He opens the refrigerator, his eyes already moving over the contents to find something for breakfast that won’t add to Dean’s cholesterol issues he refuses to acknowledge.
Except there aren’t any contents to peruse. The entire refrigerator is completely empty. Not even a wrapper.
He turns back to Dean, the questions dying on his tongue as he watches his brother continue to add creamer to his coffee, the colors swirling in the clear mug. Dean sets the creamer down, watching the coffee cup as if he’s been interrogating it and it’s finally about to break.
“Sammy,” he says, his eyes glued to the object of his attention, “we are never using anything but clear coffee cups again. This shit is magic.”
“Seriously, Sam,” he continues, his eyes lit with pure, childlike innocence and curiosity. “It just...it mixes itself. Food doesn’t do things to itself, Sam. I mean, yeah, Jell-O moves by itself, but no other food does that. But Jell-O is evil, anyway, so yeah. Wait, except for Jell-O shots. Jell-O shots are awesome. But otherwise, Jell-O is a slime creature sent by Eve to torment small children into thinking they’re getting a real dessert when it’s really just ectoplasm’s third cousin. Twice removed.”
And then Dean giggles.
Sam stares at his brother, his jaw hanging down, absolutely clueless as to how to proceed. First, Dean has never said that many words together in his entire life. Second, what the fuck? Third, what. The. Ever. Living. Fuck.
Dean continues adding creamer.
“I think...I think that’s enough creamer, Dean. You’re going to spill your coffee.”
Horror washes over Dean’s face, and he slams the creamer container on the table, dropping down to eye his coffee along the top edge. “Sacrilege! I wouldn’t do that, Sam, you know I’d never waste coffee like that!”
Sam knows he needs to close his mouth at some point, but it’s just too damned early to go with the flow on this shit.
“Dean, are you feeling okay? I know we got back pretty late last night, but you’re acting a little off.” But his brother isn’t acting tired, not exactly. And he’s wearing yesterday’s traveling clothes.
“Dean, did you sleep in your clothes?”
Dean reaches out a finger and slowly pokes his coffee mug. The cream swirls lightly through the dark liquid, further mixing the two, and Dean...giggles.
“It’s kinda sad when they get all mixed together,” he says, frowning a little. Then his face brightens as he grabs the mug. “But now I can drink it, so that's less sad, right? I mean, you can’t really be sad drinking coffee, Sam. You should drink more coffee; you’ll be less sad all the time.”
Sam’s jaw clenches involuntarily as he watches Dean alternate between sips and sloshing the cup around to watch the contents. His brother is obviously not in any distress, but spells have started out like this before, seemingly harmless and then sudden heart explosion or organ disintegration or something else equally nasty.
“I can hear the colors, Sammy,” Dean murmurs, tapping the mug gently. “I think...what, would you say? Beige? Ecru? Does it sound like ecru to you?”
Sam was unaware Dean even knew those colors existed, much less how to pronounce them. Luckily, since Dean is wearing yesterday’s clothes, it makes looking for the hex bag easier. After two unsuccessful attempts to get Dean to go through his own pockets (“But the coffee isn’t in my pockets, Sam, it’s in my hands. Why the hell would I put down the coffee to look through my pockets?”) Sam gives up with a sigh that holds the burdens of the world in it and searches his brother’s clothes himself.
“That tickles, Sammy!”
For fuck’s sake.
His search proves frustratingly fruitless. But if the hex bag isn’t on Dean, then what? A spell? A curse? What the hell is going on?
Sam’s stomach growls, adding another question to the long list. Where the hell is all the food? Well, that, at least, he can ask Dean and maybe get a straight answer.
“Dean, do you know why the fridge is empty? It was pretty stocked when we left. Where’d all the food go?”
Dean grins and points down at the stomach of his shirt, which is a bit rounder than normal. “In mah belleh.”
When Sam’s face finally emerges from his palms, he finds Dean staring at him with alarming concern.
“Are you hungry, Sam? We can go to town and get breakfast! That would be awesome, breakfast is awesome! Do you want pancakes or waffles? Nevermind, you’re huge, you should eat both. You need to eat more, Sam, you’re too skinny.”
“Seriously, dude, are you feeling okay? You’re acting...weird.”
“You know what’s weird, Sammy? I ate two pies, a block of cheese, and all those protein bar things you hide in the back of the pantry. And by the way, you don’t need to hide those things from me anymore, they are absolutely vile. But then I had those bags of chips, and...what else. Oh, yeah, there was some bologna, I think, and I ate the bacon, and whatever was in the vegetable drawer, which actually ended up not being horrible. But I’m still kinda hungry.”
Sam is speechless. It doesn’t happen often, but apparently it can still happen, even after all these decades of living with his brother.
Wait, what pie?
“Dean, we didn’t have any pie here, and we didn’t stop on the way home yesterday. What pie did you eat?”
“Sarah gave me two pies as a thank you. It would have been rude not to eat them. I had a piece last night after you crashed, and it was -awesome- so I had another piece, and then I had to try the other pie, and it was friggin delicious, and then I looked up and some asshole had eaten the rest of both the pies.” He eyes Sam suspiciously for a minute, clutching his coffee mug a little closer to himself.
“And then I got hungry, so I had a snack.”
“What was in the pies, Dean?”
“Dunno,” he says, slurping coffee obnoxiously loud. “Deliciousness. Sarah didn't say what kind they were, just said they were her way of saying thanks for getting rid of the ghost. Called it her ‘University of Colorado Specials’ or something like that. But those pies were made of magic, Sam, delicious, delicious magic.”
Sam leans on his hands to keep from using them on his brother. He takes a deep, steadying breath and tries again.
“Can you tell me anything else about the pies, Dean? Anything at all?”
He thinks for a long moment, then his face melts into a dreamy expression Sam is pretty sure he’s never seen on his brother’s face before. “One of ‘em was this lemon thing that was like a citrus tree starred in a porn. The flavor just explodes in your mouth like-”
“I don’t need to know!”
But Dean is still going.
“A firecracker, Sam, a Roman Candle of delicious. And the other was this...chocolatey, coffee, creamy thing. Coffee, Sam! Coffee and chocolate in a pie! They can do that now! What’ll these crazy college kids think of next?”
He grins at Sam, taking another long slurp of coffee. Sam bites his lip, considering Dean for a long silent moment. He’s pretty sure now that Dean will be just fine and more than likely back to normal by the end of the day...maybe.
“I’m gonna go check in with Sarah. Just make sure she hasn’t...erm...seen anything else weird.”
“But, Sam, we ghosted that ghost!” Dean stops, thinks about what he just said, and giggles.
“I just want to see...how much...we ghosted that ghost. But I’m sure everything’s fine. You know me, I just like to be sure.”
“That’s awesome, Sam. You’re so awesome. But you still need to eat more. Can we go get breakfast?”
“Yeah, Dean. We’ll go get breakfast. I’ll call Sarah on the way.”
Dean grins, his whole face lighting up, and Sam allows himself to see at least a little humor in the situation.
And then Dean starts singing that song from the damned Lego movie, and Sam. Just. Can’t.