Over the course of their years as hunters of the supernatural, Sam and Dean Winchester have already gone to a variety of exciting, exotic and dangerous places. They have been to haunted houses, to the lair of a dragon, to the Wild West, to purgatory, to hell and even to comic conventions. In most cases, several times.
But it was once, and only once...that they went to England.
And things, of course, went horribly wrong.
Chapter 1: The Not-so Friendly Skies
"What?" A well-built man in his thirties, wearing a cargo jacket and a facial expression that promised trouble, pointed toward a large window.
"You're telling me that this airport," he said, indicating their surroundings which consisted of that very special version of applied Chaos theory that was Heathrow, "this largest airport in this miserable country where it's constantly raining," he went on, "is closed because of snow?"
His arm, trembling just slightly, was still extended and pointing to the weather outside the large window of the Heathrow departures counter.
"You call this snow?!" he asked, while a rather pathetic snowflake fluttered to earth outside without much visible enthusiasm, sort of clung to the window a little and then seemed to give up and melt.
"I'm sorry sir, but due to the weather forecast no flights will be leaving from Heathrow International Airport for at least the next 24 hours," the receptionist replied primly, looking the agitated man up and down while obviously wondering why some people were even allowed on planes.
"Look-" the man with the crew cut began again, but was stopped this time by a taller male with longer hair stepping up behind him, gripping him on the shoulder and trying to get him out of the face of the woman behind the counter.
"Dean. Stop it," he hissed, before flashing a sort of pained grimace at the receptionist, who was now giving the two a distinct 'Americans'- look of British Disapproval.
"I'm sorry for my brother. It's okay. We'll wait until the airport re-opens," the taller man said, at the same time trying to gently but firmly steer the one called Dean away from the counter and back toward the exit of the airport. Dean didn't seem to be too happy about it.
"I psyched myself up for this flight, Sam! That took time!" An angry shrug shook Sam's hand off and Dean re-adjusted the strap of his backpack, which was the only item of luggage either of the brothers had.
"Yeah. I know." The taller man tried to speak in a manner as calming as possible. "Let's still leave before we get arrested in yet another country, okay?" Sam gave a meaningful nod of his head, indicating the security that was already looking their way.
"Fine," Dean grunted, but at least stomped on ahead of his brother toward the exit now. To Sam's surprise, however, he didn't turn down the walkway leading to the trains they had taken to get here, but instead walked straight over to the parking decks. His older brother's mood seemed thunderous enough that it took Sam a couple of minutes to bring it over his heart to tell Dean what he had apparently forgotten.
"Er, Dean? We returned the rental, we don't have a-"
"No." The older of the two had stopped abruptly as he'd said that, dropping his backpack to the ground and turning around, his index finger raised threateningly. "We do have a car. We always have a car. It just isn't here yet."
"What?" Sam looked around at the deserted level of the underground parking garage they were standing in. "Are you seriously planning to-?"
"Why not? He had no problem picking up our gear and the bones before we went through customs, so he obviously can transport things a lot easier than people." Dean shrugged, then turned around again, facing the wall and glancing vaguely upwards.
"Cas?" he asked the thin air. "Look, you may not be able to zap us home, or even stay here for longer than a minute, but at least get your angel mojo in gear for this. I want..." he cleared his throat. "No, scratch that. I need my ride."
"He's fighting a civil war in Heaven, Dean," Sam pointed out, his tone a bit like a pre-school teacher who was currently explaining to the class why their angel friend sadly couldn't drop in anymore, "He's so busy fighting against Raphael, he's not even answering my prayers half of the time. You can't seriously expect him to-"
There was a distinct sound like the fluttering of wings. Sam paused mid-sentence, mostly because Dean standing in front of him was now wearing the biggest shite-eating grin.
"The Impala is standing behind me now, isn't it?" the taller man asked.
"...angels playing favourites is so totally unfair."
"Get over it. As long as we don't have to ride friggin busses again," Dean said, at the same time stepping over to the driver's side of the car, dumping his backpack on the back seat and sliding behind the steering wheel with an obvious sigh of pleasure.
"Yeah, Cas must be the only person on Earth who actually likes riding public transport," Sam said, also taking his customary shotgun seat and closing the door behind him. Dean had started the ignition with the key conveniently already inside, and soon enough the black '67 'Metallicar' Impala was slowly moving out of the parking space and toward the exit. As they emerged from the garage and drove onto the open road, more snowflakes than before were now falling from the sky and Dean's mood noticeably darkened again.
"The weather is getting worse. Great. If these people over here already start closing down their airports when they see even a picture of a snowflake, we'll be stuck here until Crowley back home dies of old age."
"According to the weather forecast it does seem like it'll be snowing heavily for at least the next two days," Sam said, reading the information from his phone. Then he frowned. "Bit strange, though. Most sites are labelling it as a 'freak snow storm' that came completely out of the blue."
"Yeah, I know, snow in winter, what a weird and whacko weather pattern, right?" Dean grunted .
"Well, this is England," Sam pointed out as the Impala rolled onto the M4, making its way back toward London and probably scaring the minis driving beside them.
"Yeah, tell me about it," grumbled Dean, staring at the road ahead of them miserably. "They can't even call fries by their real name. I swear, we shouldn't have declared independence, we should have taken this place over."
Sam sighed. "Let's just find a place to stay for the next couple of nights, okay? And calm down. You're acting like this was some act of cosmic vengeance or something."
"For how many days this time?!" the question had been asked in a tone of dismay, and the curly-haired, kindly-looking man who had spoken actually looked quite troubled.
"Just two. Or maybe three," the other man sitting on the coach across replied serenely, sipping at a cup of tea he held.
From a spectator's perspective, the two hardly could have looked more different – Aziraphale, the anxious blonde on the left with his loose, brown pants and plaid vest that probably hadn't even been fashionable when it had been in fashion, was not only visually a stark contrast to his slim, dark-haired companion. Anthony J. Crowley, as he called himself, was dressed as usual in a tight-fitting, black bespoke Italian suit paired with a dark red silk shirt and snake skin boots - it was an outfit so sharp, it actually threatened to cut unsupecting bystanders.
Additonally, mild blue eyes and an already slightly pudgy middle-aged face and figure meant Aziraphale never quite lost that aura of a mildly distressed armchair, especially when put out by something - but looking at Crowley, even when you saw him just lounging on the sofa like this, for some reason a very old part of your brain would insist that what you were really seeing was something with scales that struck from the grass.
And one other important difference was that they weren't men at all, but actually one happened to be a somewhat bibliophile angel of the Lord, and the other...well, he had been an angel once, but since then had not so much Fallen, as Vaguely Sauntered Downwards. Currently the latter was smiling, but that smile was now slowly disappearing and being replaced with a frown of annoyance as it became apparent that the distraught expression of the angel wasn't disappearing.
"Oh, come on. The closing down of Heathrow is my favourite event in the season. And I kept my promise to you not to do it around Christmas, so everyone could go home for the holidays," the demon complained, only gagging a little around the last sentence.
"But do you have to do it every year?" Aziraphale asked with a sigh, and Crowley grinned again.
"Very well. As long as there are no plane crashes this time around," the angel replied, seemingly resigned to London's snowy fate for now. He picked up his coat. "Shall we?"
"Of course." Crowley rose from his chair in one fluid movement, still radiating smugness worse than a cat that had gotten into the radioactive cream. "The Ritz tonight, then?"
"Yes. Your treat this time," the angel reminded him as they were both about to exit the bookshop. "Though mind you, one of these days I wouldn't be surprised if one of your wiles wouldn't come back to, as they say, 'bite you in the...' well," Aziraphale didn't finish the sentence, but still managed to give an impression of general divine disapproval to convey his meaning.
Crowley snorted as they got into his car, the demon letting the engine spring to life with a snap of his fingers, not because the snapping was necessary, but because of style, and only gave his friend a condescending sneer.
"One of my wiles backfiring on me?" the demon asked in a patronizing tone while the angel rolled his eyes, both of them completely oblivious to a very different black car currently speeding toward London. Crowley laughed.
"So we're stuck in London," Dean stated for what felt like the hundredth time, both brothers walking along the wet pavement and shuffling past other pedestrians. The mood of the older Winchester had not improved. "They don't even have motels here. Or diners. No culture, I'm telling you."
"Come on. The curry around this Soho area is supposed to be decent," Sam once again tried to mend the US-Europe relations, but without much success. They had found a cheap-ish hotel closeby that also offered a parking space for the Impala, but trying to drive around in London during the day, the receptionist had said, was 'a bit of a bother', so the two brothers had left the car and were now searching for food on foot.
"That looks like an okay place," Dean pointed at a pub across the street that (unsurprisingly) had a big picture of a pie on its menu. The younger Winchester nodded as Dean had already started to cross to the other side.
"Yeah, okay, let's g-"
And it was at this point that Sam saw death coming for his older brother, and it was black, elegant and travelling at at least at 70 miles per hour.
It was only because Dean hadn't looked toward the correct side. Sam lunged forward, desperately trying to grab him, to pull him back, do anything to prevent him dying here, in London, from something so stupid and trivial as a car accident, but even then he could already see he would be too late. Sam screamed his brother's name at the exact same moment the '27 Bentley made contact with Dean's skin.
In the manner of all shotgun riders of crazy drivers, Aziraphale was grabbing onto random things in the car, clinging on for dear life. It was doubly useless, not only in the way that grabbing onto anything in a moving car wouldn't save you in the event of a crash, but also in the sense that Aziraphale was an immortal angel, and therefore very likely to survive a traffic accident anyway.
That still didn't mean he wouldn't hold on the handle bars, though, nor keep Crowley from actually getting into crashes in the first place. Fortunately, for an angel, moving objects like street lamps, or hapless people like the young man just now by simply altering reality with a small miracle wasn't that hard of a task. Also, after driving around with Anthony J. Crowley for the better part of a century, keeping anyone from getting killed during their outings by now was pretty much a mere subroutine for Aziraphale.
"You almost ran over a pedestrian!"
It was still angelic duty to point it out, however.
The demon at the steering wheel shrugged. "It's on the street, it knows the risk it's taking."
"You were driving at over 70 miles per hour in the middle of London," Aziraphale stated dutifully. "I don't think anyone is prepared for that."
The dark-haired demon gave an irritated wave with his hand. "So? They looked American. There's too many of them around, anyway."
"What the hell! Where'd that car come from?!" Dean shouted, just as Sam had managed to pull him back to safety at the last second before he could step onto the street. He shrugged his younger brother's grip off, straightening his jacket as he looked after the pitch black antique racing away at a speed that shouldn't have been possible in the middle of the city.
"Although being run over by that actually wouldn't be the worst way to go," he added with a somewhat grudging appreciation. "Just would like to see the bastard driving it like that."
Dean had said it in a casual tone, but, as he turned back to Sam and actually saw his younger brother's expression, stopped himself from saying anything more. Sam seemed to have trouble getting his breathing under control, and his eyes were too wide, his face entirely too pale.
"...what?" Dean asked. "I'm okay, Sammy. You caught me in time."
"Yeah..." his brother agreed, the expression of fear now slowly dissolving, but instead being replaced by one of confusion. "But...weren't you in front of that car just a second ago?"
Dean looked at his brother. From anyone else, that question would have sounded like nonsense, because if he really had stepped onto the street earlier, he probably would already be having a meeting with a very bony gentleman, but...for some reason what Sam had said sounded like it was right. But it couldn't have been.
"No..." Dean replied, but he didn't seem so sure. Most people would have dismissed a weird, near-death experience as a trick of the senses, but when your family name was Winchester...
Sam looked at his older brother worriedly.
"It's not Tuesday, is it?"
To be continued...