"So, it's a double? And in okay condition?" Dean was in his bedroom, whispering into his phone. "No gross stains or anything?" He added, then nodded his head as he listened to the answer. "Awesome. You take a hundred bucks?" He listened again, but this time he shook his head. "Nah man, I'll go a hundred, that's it, but I can come take 'em off your hands today." A grin stretched across his face. "Cool. Where you at." He fished a piece of paper out of the draw of his disused desk and scribbled down the address. "Okay. Got it. See you in a few," he said and slid his phone into his front pocket, just as Sam's head appeared around the corner of the door. Dean jumped out of his skin.
"Jesus, Sam. You scared the living crap outta me."
"Who was that on the phone?" Sam said.
"What? Nothin'. No one. Some marketing dude. I dunno." Dean waved his hand dismissively.
"And you'll see him in a few?"
"I was screwing with him, all right? Asshat deserves it. Anyway, when you get so nosey?"
Sam shrugged, a swirly frown settling on his brow.
"I was thinking though," Dean continued as he pulled his jacket from the back of his chair. "I might take Baby out for a spin. Hit some clear road. Open her up a bit."
"Give me five and I'll come with."
"Yeah. I was thinking of goin' alone. You always complain when I play my music."
"That's because it's deafening. And ancient," Sam said.
"See. You're already complaining, and we ain't even in the car yet!"
Dean watched as Sam frowned harder. He could almost hear his brother's mind whirring.
"What are you up to, Dean?"
"What? Nothin'. I just wanna spend some time with Baby and my tunes. Is that a crime now?"
"No," Sam said, obviously unconvinced. "Whatever, dude. Just get some milk and eggs if you're going out, we're low. And some duct tape. Low on that too."
Dean rolled his eyes. "I wasn't planning on… A SHOPPING TRIP." He shouted the last part after Sam, as his brother stalked off down the hall.
Dean pulled up in front of the house at the address on the scrap of paper screwed up on the seat beside him. He drew his gun from the glove box and slipped it down the back of his jeans as he stepped out of the car. Better to be safe than sorry.
He tapped on the door. When it opened a woman stood in front of him. She looked to be in her mid-thirties with long auburn hair and a pretty face. Dean stood up a little taller.
"Hey," he said. "I'm hear about the recliners?"
'Oh right." She motioned him in. "Dean, yeah? You spoke to my brother."
Dean made a mental note that she said brother not boyfriend, as he followed her down a short hall, through a tidy lounge-room and out into a small backyard."
"Mindy," she said.
"Mindy. Outta interest, why you gettin' rid of 'em?"
"They were my husbands. I got rid of him, so now I'm getting rid of his stupid chairs."
Dean smirked to himself.
Mindy swung around. "And before you get any ideas, handsome, only the La-Z-Boys are on offer today."
"What?" Dean spluttered, totally busted. "I'm only here for the chairs, lady."
She looked him up and down with narrowed eyes. "Okay. Good," she said. "They're in there." She pointed to a shed. "That was his mancave, would you believe? Why men think they need some ultra-macho man only space is beyond me. What do you want the chairs for?"
"Oh. Ah. Me and my brother just moved into a new place. Just tryin' to fit it out. You know? On a budget."
"Right. Well take a seat, see what you think. If you like them, they're all yours."
Dean walked around the recliners. They were ugly as hell, with brown plaid cloth seating and fake leather arms. But somehow that made them even more perfect. He dropped on to one them and pulled the handle on the side. The footrest popped out, and he settled back, wiggling his butt to test the comfort of the cushions.
He moved to the next chair and did the same. They both worked fine. Plus, they were spotlessly clean.
"I thought the ad said double recliner?" He was a little disappointed that he was looking at two singles.
"That table thing over there," Mindy said, pointing at a small side table. "That connects them. If you want it, it's yours. My gift."
"Awesome. I'll take it all."
"Have you got a van to get them home?"
"Nah. But my car's got a big roof. They'll fit on her."
"If you say so. That's one hundred," she said, her palm up.
Dean pulled his wallet from his pocket and counted out the cash.
As Mindy watched, arms crossed, Dean threw a tarp over Baby's roof and then hauled each chair up on to her, tying them down with a rope that he put through one window and out the other-side. They were heavier than he expected them to be, and he could have done with a hand.
"Where's that damn brother of hers," he thought as he tried his hardest not to groan from the effort. He flicked Mindy a casual smile over his shoulder, doing his best to look like the whole thing was easy. It wasn't. Not even a little. When he finally got the second chair secured, he grabbed the small table and tossed it in the back, giving Mindy a thumbs up as he folded himself into the driver's seat. When he was out of sight, he let out a loud grunt.
"Holy crap," he said, wiping the sweat from his brow onto his sleeve and adjusting his aching back in his chair. He was going to hurt like hell tomorrow.
Dean drove past the Bunker main entrance and around the back to the garage. He always felt like Batman going in this way. Driving down the well-hidden secret tunnel and through the big double doors, into the underground lock up. The hero's lair he liked to think. He hummed the Batman theme, hollering out "Batman," as he pulled to a stop.
He untied the recliners and awkwardly pulled them down one at a time, struggling under their weight again, careful not to bump Baby's paintwork or chrome in the process. He had decided to change one of the storerooms on the Bunker's lower level into an entertainment room. The recliners were the last thing he needed to complete the job. It would have been a hell of a lot easier to call Sam for hand, but then that would have blown the secret, and Dean wanted the project to be a secret. He wanted it to be a surprise for Sam.
The whole thing started after Sam and Dean headed out to a local bar for a couple of beers and a game of pool one Sunday afternoon. They had been having a rough time of it, what with their mum and Jack being stuck in Apocalypse world. Sam was taking it particularly hard, blaming himself as every path they researched in their hunt for ingredients to open the rift, seemed to lead to a dead-end.
"We should get a pool table for the Bunker," Dean said, as he removed the plastic triangle from the around the balls.
Sam looked up from chalking his cue. "Where would we put a pool table, Dean?"
"The Bunker is huge, dude. We could find space."
"A Foosball table would be better," Sam said, as he potted the yellow ball. "Smaller. I killed it at Foosball back in college."
Sam rarely spoke of the time before he joined Dean on the road anymore. A few years back it would come up now and then, but these days, it was like Sam considered that a whole different life.
"Bet I could whip you," Dean said, as he watched Sam pot the green.
"Bet you couldn't," Sam said, as the red ball disappeared down a corner pocket.
"Next Foosball table we see, you're on Sammy," and Dean winced as Sam sunk the purple.
It wasn't easy carrying out his secret Foosball plan with them practically living in each other's back-pockets the entire damn time. Dean's original idea was to just get a table as a surprise for Sam. Cheer him up a little. But the more Dean researched, the more he thought an entire entertainment room with the works would be way better. He had a lot fun coming up with ideas. Checking out some famous bars online. Looking at various home decorating sites for dens and the like. But pulling the thing together was a whole other story, and he'd be the first to say he might have got a little carried away.
The shelving was the simplest part. There were piles of shelves in various rooms around the bunker. He just had to turf stuff off them on to the floor and send Sam on a beer run when he dragged them down the hall. Because the damn things were noisy. Metal on metal. Clanging all the way. He moved his vinyl collection from his room, and displayed them on the shelves, with a bunch of CDs and a pair of old boxing gloves, to give the place a sports bar vibe. An ancient radio, a few magazines, and a book or too and his idea was starting to take form.
He managed to acquire some beer kegs, from Pooches bar just out of town, to use as hanging lights. That concept had come from a diner him and Sam had stopped at on the way back from a hunt. Even Sam thought the giant silver kegs hanging from the ceiling were "pretty cool." Pooches' barman offloaded a few to Dean for a fifty-buck bribe. Dean only had to give them a decent hose out and get them lit.
Having fixed the wiring in Baby numerous times, Dean assumed he would be able to wire up a couple of bulbs. He was surprised when it wasn't that easy. But just one zap across the room and a two, mysterious power outages later, and the things were dangling from the ceiling and working. He felt relatively confident that the Bunker wasn't going to burn down the first time he turned them on. More or less.
The bar Dean knocked up himself, and he was damn proud of it. Some planks of wood and a pair of cinderblocks that he liberated from out the back of Jackson's store in town; balanced precariously atop an ancient, dusty sideboard that he discovered while searching for shelves, and he created what he thought was a goddam masterpiece. Just as long as you didn't lean on it, it worked great.
For the big-ticket items, he had to organise an alternative delivery location, because there was no way he'd get them past Sam. So, he hired a unit at the Castle Storage on the other side of town where he had the old-school jukebox and the Foosball table dropped off. Then he just had to U-Haul them back to the Bunker. That's when Dean started to think that he might need assistance, and decided to get Jody onboard, because this part of the project was going to take a bit of time and Sam was starting to smell a rat.
"Where you been?" Sam had said after Dean made a quick trip to pick up some extra electrical cables.
"Promised Jackson I'd give him a hand with somethin'," Dean had said, winging it.
"Yeah? I was just in there this morning. He didn't mention anything."
"You know I do have a life outside of yours, Sam," Dean snarked.
Sam frowned at him, his jaw flexing as he studied his brother. "You're up to something. Spill."
"I'm not up to anythin', Sam. I was simply helping out a neighbour. Geeze."
"A-ha," Sam said, through squinted eyes.
Dean laid low for a day after that, playing it cool, helping Sam with the research. But it was when he caught his brother snooping around the garage that Dean finally made the call to Jody.
"Hey, Jody. I need a favour."
"Sure, Dean, what do you need."
"I need to get Sam outta the Bunker for a bit. I thought you could call him. Tell him you need something."
"Why do I not like the sound of this? You know lying to each other never ends well for you two."
"It's nothing fishy. I'm, ah," he took a deep breath. "I'm putting together an entertainment room. As a surprise."
"Aww. That's so sweet, Dean."
Dean squirmed. "No. It's not. It's awesome."
"Okay, sure. It's awesome. And sweet," she said. "When do you need Sam gone."
"Tomorrow maybe. If that suits you?"
"Sure. I'll invite him around for dinner. Make up some excuse. The girls will be happy to see him. He can stay the night here."
"Oh man," Dean moaned. "Now I'm missin' out on one of your dinners."
"I'll pack you something for Sam to bring back, okay?"
"Okay," Dean said, pouting. "Thanks Jody."
With Sam out of the way, Dean could finally work on the room with no interruptions. He nearly put his back out lugging the jukebox up the flight of stairs from the garage floor to the converted storeroom. He rigged some pulley ropes so it wouldn't fall, or he wouldn't fall, or both. When he finally had it in position, nestled neatly in the corner of the room, he filled it with his favourite LPs, fired it up, pushed the buttons for Led Zeppelin, and cranked it as loud as it would go. Which wasn't very loud.
The Foosball table, the thing that started Dean's entire entertainment room mission, turned out to be a real pain in the ass.
Dean ordered it from Amazon and was horrified when he discovered that it came flat-packed. He glared at the box. Fuming on the inside. And a bit on the outside. He pulled out his knife and cut the tape, ripping the cardboard apart, grumbling and whinging the entire time. Once open, he spread the various pieces across the floor like a giant Lego set. He counted out all the screws, washers, legs, soccer players, balls, rods, handles and various bits and pieces to make sure he had everything he needed. Then he read the poorly translated instructions, sort of, rolled up his sleeves and set to work. It took the best part of the night to put the damn thing together. At one point, he was going gather it all up and toss it in the bin. But he took a deep breath, drank another beer, and started again.
Several deconstructions and reconstructions later, some red raw fingers from the dreaded Allen key, a six pack and a half of beer, and some thunderous bouts of cursing and the Foosball table was upright and working. With only three screws left over. Dean was looking forward to whipping Sam's ass with the thing. Once he could stand to look at it again.
The TV was a lucky break. When he and Sam took down a cursed killer stuffed Dinosaur in a cloud of exploding fluff, the store owner gifted them with a big screen as a thank you. It was plugged in all ready to go just waiting for the perfect chairs to place in front of it.
Which Dean now proudly possessed.
"You get the milk?" Sam said, looking up from a pile of books in the Bunker library.
"Shit," Dean thought. In his excitement in picking up the recliners, and the exhaustion that followed, he'd totally forgotten about Sam's shopping list. "No. Jackson was closed."
"Yeah? He's never closed. Hope everything is okay."
"Probably had to step out, or somethin'. I dunno. He's probably back by now. I'll go down there in a bit."
Sam nodded, with another swirly frown.
Dean was lucky the chairs were the last piece of his grand plan, because he was running out of lies.
"Any cases on the horizon," he said, putting a beer in front of Sam to distract him.
"Nah. It's quiet out."
"No more murderous furries?"
Sam laughed, "No thank God."
Dean nodded. "Okay, well, I'm gonna go give Baby a clean."
"She's been getting a lot of love from you lately."
"So? She deserves it," Dean said over his shoulder as he made his way to the garage and his secret recliner stash.
He dragged, and pulled and pushed and shoved, and pushed and dragged a little more, trying to control his groaning and huffing and hoping his blaring music would keep Sam away. When he finally got the pair of recliners up the stairs and into the room, he placed them in front of the television, shifting them a little to the right, then a little to the left, until they were exactly centred. Then he brought up the side table, positioned it in between them, and connected it to the arms.
He stood back and admired his work. "Perfect," he said with a crooked smile. He just had to hit the kitchen to get a few supplies, and he was finally done.
"What are you doing with all those beers?" Sam said, as Dean tried to scurry past unnoticed.
"Drinkin' them." Dean said, with a 'duh' look on his face.
"All of them?"
"What? I'm thirsty."
"Huh," Sam said.
Dean saw his brother's mouth turn down at the corners. It was his judgement face.
"Stopped judging me, Sam."
"No judgement, Dean," Sam said. Judging.
Dean placed two beers neatly on the table between the recliners. He looked around the finished room with a satisfied smile and took a quiet moment to appreciate his handy-work. It had taken him almost a month to finish. Sneaking around behind Sam's back. Grabbing time in between hunts where he could. Volunteering for every stupid shopping trip so he could pick up something he'd secretly ordered. Two maxed out fake credit cards, a couple of near electrical fires, and one hell of a backache later, and it was pretty much perfect. He straightened the photo of AC/DC on the wall, nodded his head approvingly, and went to get his brother.
"Hey," he said. "What are you doin'?"
"Uh, research," Sam said, without looking up.
"You know, it's the strangest thing," Sam carried on. "I… I can't find anything on a cursed object that actually physically attacks people."
"Dude, it's over. All right?" Dean said. "Be like Elsa… Let it go."
Sam swung around in his chair and gaped at Dean. "Be like Elsa?"
Dean nodded. "Eh? Right?" he said with a grin and a shrug. "Come on, I need to show you something. It's important. Come on"
Sam followed his brother out of the library, "Where we going?" he said, as they headed towards the back of the bunker, and down the stairs that led to the garage.
"You'll see," Dean said. He hated to admit it, but he was damn excited. His heart was even pounding in his chest a little. He stopped outside the storeroom.
"You ready, Sammy?"
"For what? To go into a storeroom?"
Dean rolled his eyes dramatically and threw open the door with a flourish. "Behold!" he said, turning on the lights and hoping they didn't explode. He suddenly felt a little embarrassed that he'd done the whole thing with his brother in mind, so he made it all about himself. "The Dean-cave. Or, Fortress of Dean-a-tude. Just…still trying to figure that one out." He walked into the middle of the room. "We got Foosball," he said, careful not to put too much importance on the table. "We've got jukebox - all vinyl, obviously. Double La-Z-Boy recliners." He leaned down on their backs, demonstrating their softness. "And, of course, the bar. Still a work-in-progress. It's gonna have a kegerator because... Well, it's gonna. And finally," he picked up the television remote. "The pièce de résistance," he said, pointing the remote it at the screen.
"Okay. Hold on. Hold on," Sam said, reaching out to stop his brother. "When did you have time to do all this?"
"When it's important, you make time, Sammy."
"Wh -wha," Sam stammered.
"Let's give this bad boy a test run, huh?"
Dean pointed the remote at the television again and hummed the opening bars of 2001 A Space Odyssey.
"Dah..dah..Dah..." He clicked the remote, "Dah, Nah."
A purple spark flickered from behind the television.
He stared at the screen, as the purple spark turned into a glow and filled the black space.
"What the hell?" Sam said.
Dean cocked his head to the side, wondering if this was something to do with his keg wiring. Maybe he'd screwed the whole thing up.
Then, without warning, a dazzling purple beam shot out of the screen and zapped Sam and Dean in the chest.
The tiny soccer men on the Foosball table shook a little before they rocked to a stop and hung perfectly still in the empty room.
***CONTINUED IN THE EPISODE SCOOBYNATURAL – 13X16***