Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural, nor Dead Man's Chest. (for the record, I adore them both)
A/N: This was written for P.L. Wynter's movie challenge. Enjoy!
A/N/N: Takes place after Bloody Mary.
Only At The Movies
"I can't believe you actually bought popcorn."
Shovelling another handful of said salty kernels into his mouth, Dean Winchester sent only a quick glance towards the dark shadow which was his little brother before returning his gaze to the vast, flickering screen before him. "Why?" he mumbled, spraying a few flecks of half-digested popcorn towards the other hunter. "We're at the movies, aren't we?"
"Yeah, Dean, on a hunt," Sam retorted, flicking a stray piece of what used to be popcorn off his light jacket. "We're here to work, not to enjoy ourselves."
"Says you," Dean countered, chewing loudly as he watched a certain pirate captain banish one William Turner to a cage hanging precariously between two jagged cliffs. Readjusting the shotgun clasped between his right arm and his body before reaching in for another handful of salty goodness, Dean looked over at his brother curiously. "So, you got any theories?"
"Yeah," Sam replied, scanning the countless rows of uniform red seats as he made his way up the main aisle of the otherwise empty theatre. "I think that whatever it is, it's haunting the actual cinema, like a modern day phantom of the opera or something." He frowned. "From what the staff said, it sounds like the thing stays pretty much within this cinema."
Following his brother up the wide stairs, which were edged with a dim glow, Dean shook his head dismissively, eyes still fastened on the screen. "Not about that, Sammy, about why Captain Jack just put that dude in a cage."
"Can you focus just a bit, Dean?"
"Nope." Plunging his hand into the already half-empty popcorn tub, Dean grasped another large batch of his favourite saline snack and levered it precariously towards his mouth. He frowned as a couple of pieces, which had been clinging tenuously to the sides of his handful, fell to the floor, leaving little specks of salt scattered where they impacted against the gauzy circular design of the carpet. Pausing in his trek up the stairs, Dean glanced at the popcorn, which lay tantalizingly on the ground before him, almost begging to be picked up. Coming to a swift decision, the hunter bent down, one arm outstretched towards his prize.
Straightening so suddenly that his back cracked, Dean spun round, eyes stabbing through the half-darkness, almost expecting see his little brother held in a stranglehold by some spirit or other. Yet Sam was just standing there, watching him with a disgusted expression on his face.
"You weren't seriously considering eating that?"
"Eating what?" Dean asked innocently, returning the other hunter's sharp gaze steadily.
"That popcorn you just dropped."
The two brothers matched gazes until finally, Sam nodded. Dean waited until he had turned back to scanning the wide rows of seats before grinning. "It's been longer than five seconds now."
"I can't believe you still follow that stupid five-second rule," Sam muttered, shaking his head as he moved forward a couple of rows. "You do realise that the floor of a movie theatre generally isn't all that clean?"
Dean allowed a smirk to creep onto his face. "Hey, man, I'm not the one who used to eat grass."
"I never ate grass."
"Yeah you did, when you were five. You told me it tasted like chicken." Dean shook his head, still perplexed at his brother's behaviour despite the years that had passed. "You sure were one weird kid."
"Yeah, well at least I grew out of it," Sam shot back as he crouched down, disappearing from sight behind a row of seats.
Ignoring the other hunter's retort, Dean turned his attention back to the screen. "You know," he said thoughtfully, watching the flickering images at the head of the cinema, "Johnny Depp's kinda hot."
"Excuse me?" Sam's disbelieving voice echoed from somewhere between rows, vaguely muffled as it resounded in the limited space between the chairs and the floor.
"I know what you said, Dean, I mean why the hell would you say it?"
Dean held up his hands placatingly, yet the grin on his face widened. "Hey man, I'm comfortable with my sexuality. But, awesome big brother that I am, if it makes you uncomfortable talking about the attractiveness of other men, I'll stop." His smirk deepened at the silence which followed this statement. He could practically hear Sam rolling his eyes. "Besides," he added, when no response came, "he looks kinda like a girl."
The younger hunter's head appeared above the top of the seats, his brow furrowed beneath the long bangs which covered his forehead. "No he doesn't."
"Yeah, he does."
"Well, so does he," Sam retorted, pointing to the newest figure who had just appeared on screen, trapped in a bone cage with a group of other scraggly-faced men.
Dean cocked his head slightly, considering the dark-haired figure currently urging his companions to climb themselves, and the gruesome prison, up the rough cliff. "Yeah," he admitted. "But I prefer Johnny."
"I did not just hear you say that," Sam muttered, disappearing behind the seats again.
Dean grinned, his gaze flicking back to the screen, where the picture had changed again. The pirate captain, tied to a spit and hoisted over a fire, was bouncing up and down, trying to lever the pole he was tied to off its supports. Dean frowned and opened his mouth, but Sam's voice interrupted him.
"Hey, you got the EMF?"
"What? Oh, yeah." Eyes still on the action, Dean reached into his pocket and, after fumbling round for a few seconds, pulled out his old Walkman. Chucking it distractedly in the vague direction of the other hunter, Dean watched as the pirate captain, now free from his fiery trap, ran along a low stone wall, wooden pole still fastened on his back, looking very much like a surprisingly fast, yet extremely ungainly, turtle. Dropping down in one of the cushiony seats for a better view, and leaning his shotgun against his left leg, Dean gradually became aware of a low, uneven whine beginning to encroach through the strident sound effects coming from the surrounding speakers laid into the walls of the theatre. "Dude," he said reproachfully, voice cutting above the two conflicting clamours.
"What?" Sam's head popped up for a second time above the seats he had been scanning with the EMF.
"Can you stop that already? I'm trying to watch the movie."
Sam frowned. "I think we've got more important things to attend to, Dean, than finding out whether Jack escapes."
"Captain Jack, Sammy," Dean interrupted. "Give the man his due. And I paid good money to see this film."
"No you didn't. You sneaked in through the delivery door."
"I paid for the popcorn, didn't I?"
"Yeah, because you couldn't figure out how that popcorn-maker-thing worked from behind the counter."
"Well if you wanna be all specific…" Dean muttered, slumping back in his seat as he watched two native women use Captain Jack for target practice. He frowned. "Now see, that's just not possible."
"It's a movie, Dean."
"So? Doesn't mean they can make a pirate-shish kabob and expect the audience to just accept it. And there, see, anyone who fell from that height would be dead!"
Sam finally stood up from his position behind the seats, EMF still in hand. "He's Captain Jack Sparrow, mate."
Dean blinked, taking his eyes off the screen to stare at his brother. "Did you just try and make a joke?" he asked, eyebrows raised.
Sam reddened. "I didn't try, Dean, I made one-"
But Dean was grinning. "That's my boy, Sammy! I knew I couldn't have gone completely wrong with you!"
"What's that supposed to mean?" Sam demanded heatedly.
Dean looked at his brother, a smirk playing around his lips, knowing that he'd never tell his brother the real reason why it was so good to see him show any sign of humour after Jessica. "It means, Sammy, that even though I'm the funny one, you are allowed to make a joke sometimes."
"You're not the funny one," Sam objected, reaching up to nudge his hair out of his eyes.
"Sure I am. And you're the sidekick, aka 'the butt of the jokes.'"
"Yeah way, now shut up, I'm trying to watch."
Dean kept half an eye on his brother as the younger hunter, grumbling to himself, shuffled through the various rows of seats until he was standing directly in Dean's line of view. Even when Sam sat down, Dean found himself faced with a tall silhouette rising nearly half-way into the screen, cutting off a large percentage of a shot showing a graceful ship setting sail, her flag, which was pretty much all that Dean could see, waving high as the vessel moved through the warm waters of the Caribbean.
Dean leant to the left, trying to see around his annoyingly tall little brother. Yet minutes later, his view was blocked again as Sam slumped over, resting his left arm on the armrest. Stifling a growl low in his throat, Dean leant to the right, only for Sam to switch position once again, mirroring his brother for a second time.
Straightening in his seat, Dean glared at the brown mop which was the back of his brother's head. "Sam," he said evenly, quite proud of how calm his voice was, "I'm starting to think you're doing that on purpose."
The younger hunter turned halfway round in his seat. "Doing what?" he asked, puppy dog eyes on full alert even in the near darkness of the theatre.
"Don't give me that. You know exactly what I'm talking about."
"Sorry, man, I have no idea."
Reaching quickly forward, Dean slapped his brother on the upside of the head. Hard.
"Ow! What the hell!" Sam twisted furiously in his seat to face Dean. "What was that for?"
"Move that freakishly tall body of yours or I'll do something worse," Dean threatened.
Muttering something Dean was sure was uncomplimentary, and probably about him, Sam sank sullenly into his seat until his head had all but disappeared. About to settle down and watch the movie, Dean suddenly remembered something. Leaning forward, he cuffed the top of the brown head buried in the chair in front.
"OW! Stop that!"
Dean shifted until he was on the edge of his seat. "Aren't you meant to be hunting a poltergeist or something?"
"Theatre ghost," Sam corrected, slumping back down. "Or maybe a spirit. And so are you."
"Nah, I don't want to." Leaning back, Dean lifted his feet, resting them on the top of the seat in front. However, he quickly found them being shoved back down by the resident of said seat.
"You can't just decide you don't want to hunt," Sam argued.
Dean shrugged. "You did." He watched as Sam's face fell, yet the look turned quickly to anger, then to a hint of regret, and, finally, to stubbornness. The older hunter grinned to himself, knowing that his little brother was now sure to get rid of the ghost, purely out of sheer guilt. A little voice in his head suggested that perhaps it wasn't very nice to manipulate his brother's feelings, which were far too active on the best of days. However, the voice quickly shut itself up as Kiera Knightley appeared on screen. Smirking, Dean settled back in his seat and prepared to enjoy a feast for the eyes.
Sam had stood to his feet by this time, and Dean tilted his head to the left as the tall frame once more blocked his view. "Move it, Sammy," he murmured distractedly.
Sam's face hardedned. "Fine," he retorted. "Fine. I guess I'll do it by myself."
"You do that," Dean responded, reaching another hand into his popcorn. "And try and keep it down a bit, would you? I'm trying to watch a movie here."
Content that his brother would handle the ghost or whatever he had said it was, Dean happily returned his attention to the movie, still leaning slightly to the side as Sam had not yet moved. The younger hunter, however, suddenly folded one arm across his body, still standing in front of Dean, and brought his other arm up, pulling the first one gently back.
Dean cleared his throat loudly. "Ah…Sammy? What the hell are you doing now?"
"Stretching," Sam replied innocently, all hint of annoyance having dropped from his expression. "Don't want to pull a muscle when I'm fighting whatever's haunting this theatre…all by myself," he added pointedly.
"Can't you stretch somewhere else?"
Sam glanced around the vast, empty cinema. "Nope" he replied, and lifted his arms over his head, pressing upwards.
Sam kept stretching, looking mockingly at his brother as though daring him to make him stop. Dean raised a challenging eyebrow.
"Am I gonna have to kick your ass? 'Cos you know that I have no problem doing it."
Lowering his arms, Sam shrugged. "I'd like to see you try."
Debating whether or not he could be bothered to get up and hurt his brother, Dean noticed a small shift in the air behind Sam. Straightening in his seat, he narrowed his eyes, an uneasy feeling forming in the pit of his stomach as small vapours of white mist began to materialise. As he watched, smoky tendrils began to drift lazily together, slowly forming the shape of a man standing on the back of the seats.
"Sam, get down," he demanded, placing his bucket of popcorn carefully on the seat beside him. "There's something behind you."
"You really think I'm dumb enough to fall for that," Sam scoffed, not moving. The thing was now fully formed, and Dean could see pale eyes beginning to emerge distinct from the clouded form.
Sliding his hand down to the shotgun resting by his left leg, Dean felt, more than saw, the spirit, or whatever it was, lock it's eyes on Sam. Without warning, it moved, stretching a lightning-quick, almost corporeal, hand towards the oblivious, not to mention idiotic, hunter stretching in-between the rows of seats.
"SAM, DOWN!" Dean roared, his tone brooking no argument.
Sam dropped instantly. Raising the shotgun lightning-fast, Dean fired several rounds into the creature, who jolted back several rows with the impact. Barely a second had passed before Sam was bobbing up from behind the seats, staring at the misty, yet somehow solid, form which lay spread loosely over a couple of chairs. "What is that thing?" he gasped, backing quickly out of his row and moving to stand alongside the older hunter, who was now also on his feet.
"I'm guessing it's that opera ghost…spirit…thing…you were blabbing about, Sammy," Dean replied, hand delving into his pockets for more caps of rock salt. Swiftly, he reloaded and began to back towards the main aisle, nudging Sam before him. Once they were out of the narrow rows, Dean quickly led the way to the front of the theatre, thinking that they would at least have more room to dodge the spirit if it attacked again. "So Sammy," he began casually, watching the swirling grey figure. "You got any plans to beat this little ghostie?"
Sam nodded slowly, keeping his eyes on the wraithlike form, and reached into a pocket inside his jacket, pulling out the journal. "It's a spirit, I think," he murmured. "And if it is, there's an exorcism which Dad found." He began to flip through the pages, all the while keeping a sharp eye on the spirit which was beginning to straighten up in midair. "Apparently it was used in Illinois on a haunted theatre there."
"What do you mean 'apparently?' Did it work?"
Sam shrugged, his gaze flicking quickly back to Dean before returning to the smoky form. "Dad didn't say."
"Right." Dean inclined his head. "You mean that we have an evil ghost-"
"-spirit, and a ritual which may, or may not, kill the sucker."
"Technically it's already dead, but yeah, basically."
Dean swore softly under his breath, watching as the thing began to float towards them, moving over the seats as though walking on water. "I guess you'd better start reading then, huh, Sammy."
Sam nodded, casting a quick glance at Dean. "Can you distract it for a minute while I read the ritual?" he voiced. "I don't have my shotgun and if it sees me trying to kill it…again…it may get kinda pissed."
"Sure," Dean replied distractedly. A few silent seconds passed before his brother's words registered. "Sammy?"
"Why the hell do you not have a shotgun?"
"I thought it'd set off security so I didn't bring one."
"What security?" Dean demanded. "We came in through the delivery door! And I don't think they even have metal detectors in a cinema."
"You don't know that," Sam protested. "They might have."
"I got through with a gun, didn't I?"
"Yeah, I know, but I figured by that time it was too late to go back for mine."
Dean paused, his eyes still tracking the white figure. "Come again?"
"Well, the movie started at 8:30 in the morning and we were already late 'cos you wouldn't get out of the shower."
"Well maybe if you hadn't insisted on seeing such an early session," Dean retorted.
"How else were we to avoid anyone else being in the theatre, Dean? Or would you have preferred an audience for this hunt?"
Dean nodded slowly. "So this is my fault, is that what you're saying?"
"Yeah, pretty much."
Dean forced himself to take a large, calming breath before he gave in to the rising urge to slap his idiot-of-a-little-brother. "Okay," he ground out. "Fine. I'll risk my life distracting the ghost-"
"-spirit, while you read your stupid ritual. Sound good?"
Sam nodded silently.
"And then I'm going to kill you." Taking another deep breath, Dean glanced at Sam. "On the count of three. Three!"
As Sam bolted for the seats, seeking cover to read his exorcism undisturbed, Dean strode towards the approaching ghost. "Hey! Casper! Over here!"
The ghost…spirit…whatever it was, turned towards him, ice-cold eyes searing. Coming to a stop when he reached the first row of seats, Dean matched gazes with it. "Come and get me, bitch!" he yelled. Next thing he knew, he was sailing through the air, arching over the spirit and landing with crash several rows back, right where he had been sitting earlier. Groaning, he levered himself onto his elbows, and found himself looking up into the concerned eyes of his brother.
"Dean! You okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," he growled. "Get the son of a bitch already, would ya?"
Sam nodded, rising to his feet. "Where's the gun?"
Fumbling in the darkness next to him, Dean realised he must have let it go when the ghost had sent him flying. "See," he rasped, pushing himself to a sitting position, "this is precisely why you always bring two shotguns. Of course, if someone decides not to bring his-"
"I think we've got bigger problems than who's to blame, Dean," Sam muttered, eyes half on the approaching spirit and half on the journal he held in his left hand, flipping furiously through the pages with his right.
"What do you mean 'who's to blame?' You're to blame, dumbass!"
Sam shrugged. "Sorry, man. But, um, we've got an attacking spirit here so if you could focus for a sec?"
Right. Spirit. Dean pushed himself onto his knees and glanced over the seats. The silvery-white form was only two rows away and moving quickly. "We need a weapon. Find a weapon, Sammy."
"Right, weapon, got it."
Dean watched as Sam glanced about him, eyes searching. "Get a move on, Sammy!"
"Aha!" With a lunge, Sam seized the popcorn Dean had bought earlier in the lobby of the complex, which was lying a couple of seats away.
"Sammy, I don't think-" Dean started.
But it was too late. Sam had hurled the tub at the ghost, sending little popcorn pieces sailing through the air, travelling right through the swirling form to hit the floor at the front of the theatre.
Dean looked disbelievingly at his brother. "Your weapon was popcorn?" he demanded. When Sam just blinked at him, Dean shook his head and rose to his feet. "Do I have to do everything?" he grumbled to himself. Shoving Sam down, he gave the spirit a flip-fingered salute. "That the best you can do to me?" he yelled, and darted off along the row of seats, hoping like hell that he wouldn't get hurled across the cinema again. Still running, he glanced back over his shoulder. "Sam, it would be a good time to start that ritual right about now," he called. He heard his brother swear to himself. "Sam!"
"It's too dark in here! I can't see to read it!"
"Ever heard of a flashlight, College Boy?" he yelled back, ducking as a misty white hand shot over his head. "Or did you leave that in the car too?" He heard a muffled "Oh yeah," and a quick muttering which meant that his Stanford-accepted brother had finally begun to read the Latin ritual. After that, it was only a few seconds before the creature spun across the theatre with a strangled howl, clutching at the seats it passed for all it was worth, before finally vanishing with a small pop.
Both hunters climbed slowly to their feet. Dusting down his jacket, which was spattered with salt, Dean glanced at his brother, one eyebrow raised. "Dude. How the hell did you get into Stanford?"
Sam frowned, closing the journal and tucking it into his front pocket once more. "What do you mean?"
"It's too dark?" Dean questioned sceptically. "I don't have a gun? Or, how 'bout my personal favourite, using popcorn as a weapon against a damn theatre ghost!"
"Spirit. And shut up."
Dean slumped down into the nearest seat. "Don't speak to me for the rest of the movie and maybe I won't kick your ass when we get out."
To his credit, Sam dropped sullenly into the seat next to the older hunter without another word. After a few minutes had passed, however, Dean could not keep back the chuckle which was rising low in his throat. He felt Sam's eyes travel from the screen and come to rest on him.
"What?" Sam asked.
Dean shook his head, letting out a bark of full-fledged laughter. "I can't believe you threw popcorn at a freakin' ghost. "
"It was a spirit, Dean, and it was either that or the journal," Sam retorted. "So shut the hell up."
Still grinning, Dean settled back into his seat. "Hey, Sammy?" he said, watching as the pirate captain on screen traded a blacksmith in love to a walking-talking squid man.
"You so owe me some new popcorn."
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