Title: Trains, Planes and Automobiles
Summary: Dean versus Public transport. Oneshot, humour.
Disclaimer: I make no profit off the boys, they all belong to Kripke and the CW.
A/N: This is a rather self-indulgent fic, many of the events based on what happened to me on my most recent fun with public transport and others from times in the past. I just thought it'd be fun to see how Dean would cope.
No offence is meant with some of the stereotypes included – they are merely there to plague Dean.
"Last frigging time I let Sam borrow the Impala." Dean thrummed his fingers impatiently on the cold metal pole of the bus stop. Admittedly it had seemed like the sensible idea at the time when Sarah had called with an urgent job while they were cleaning up the last odds and ends from the last job. Apparently she had been visiting some antique market in a town called Kevlea and happened across a painting with a similar history to the one that they had dealt with before: three murders had followed its path so far and she was worried that more would come.
It made sense that Sam should go. It made sense that Sam would need the weapons cache and fake ids from the Impala. It made sense that Sam trying to hide a huge bag of weapons on public transport post-9/11 and England's July the Seventh would be practically impossible. All that common sense left Dean at a freezing cold bus stop waiting for a bus that was already twenty minutes late.
An old lady tottered along to the bus stop, every foot step placed with infinite caution to avoid sprawling onto her face, "Waiting for the ten twenty four?" She asked in a voice akin to a dying wheeze.
Dean glanced at her on his lowest setting of hostility, "Yeah, it's late."
"Oh, I know. It's always late on Tuesdays, usually thirty minutes late. On Wednesdays, it's ten minutes early. Thursday, it depends on whether Harry or Winston is driving. Harry is usually on time but his wife just had another baby, a girl named Dixie, anti-Bush Harry is, so he tends to leave a bit late on his first run in the morning. Winston is usually ten minutes late, he has another job in a supermarket and his boss makes him stay late."
As the old lady continued her day-by-day analysis, Dean glanced over the bus timetable Sam had left him with to see if any of the cryptic squiggles and lines translates to the information the old dear was giving. Nothing seemed to, just the same charts and big red circles where Sam had marked the bus Dean would need to get. Like li'l old Dean wasn't college smart enough to read a timetable but then Dean had seen Latin spellbooks less fucking complicated.
"…And then on a Sunday the bus doesn't run unless there's a market on in Kederring and then there's three buses a day but the two pm is the last one and means you have to miss all the bargains at the end of the market. Ah, here's the bus now."
Dean followed the old lady's gaze to where a bus was rounding the corner. It looked like it was held together by spit and a prayer and as Dean watched, the bus driver, who looked old enough to be the lady's grandfather, misjudged the corner and went up on the kerb.
As the bus drew up, the doors opened with a dying gasp. At least one of them did, the other changed its mind halfway through and just hung there awkward. Dean let the old lady on first and promptly regretted it as she launched into a telling of her week so far to the bus driver who looked like he'd taken the opportunity to either nod off or die quietly, Dean couldn't tell. Finally the old lady took her seat and Dean paid the bus driver who'd pulled a Lazarus. He purposefully took a seat as far away from the old lady as possible and fixed in his earbuds, letting the soothing noise of Metallica calm him.
It was only fifty minutes later that Dean realised his stop should've been ten minutes ago. He took out the earphones and made him way up to the front of the bus, tilting from the see-sawing of the bus, "Have we got to Fenbridge station yet?"
The driver turned to face him, disturbingly taking his eyes off the road, "This bus doesn't stop at Fenbridge station anymore."
Dean gaped, "But I said single to Fenbridge station and you took my money!"
The driver nodded, "You can get off at Fenbridge high street and it's a ten minute walk to the station."
"Fine, when is that?"
"About ten minutes ago."
Dean wished that he hadn't left the holy water with Sam as there had to be something demonic about this guy, if just to explain how he was still alive at one hundred and seventy something that this guy had to be, "Fine," Dean said, resisting the urge to punch the man, "How can I get back there?"
To Dean's horror, the man turned his head to where the old lady sat, "Dorothy, this man needs to get to Fenbridge station."
After about ten minutes, Dean got off the bus knowing far too much about local transport, local history and, bizarrely enough, leeches. Fortunately the next bus was not only on time but also driven by someone who looked like they still possessed 20/20 vision and in both eyes. Dean took his seat and arrived at the station twenty minutes later.
By the time that Dean reached the station the trains that Sam had carefully lined up for Dean had long-since left. Dean bought his ticket and then tried to work out from the various posters which train would take him in the right direction. It turned out to be a thirty minute wait as he'd just missed the latest train which was two trains later than the one he'd wanted to get. When the train finally arrived ten minutes late, Dean had to wait for a never-ending stream of passengers to get off before sinking into a thread-bare seat.
Dean hadn't been sitting for more than ten seconds when he felt long fingernails poking into his shoulder, "That's my seat." The woman attached to the fingernails said.
Dean cricked his neck to the back of the seat and saw no reservation marker. He said as much and the woman grabbed the nearest member of train staff and dragged him over, "This man is sitting in my seat."
The employee, who looked no older than seventeen with more acne than skin on his face, took one look at the compactly muscled frame of Dean Winchester, complete with still-bruised face from the last hunt and gulped, "S-Sir, this appears to be this lady's seat."
Dean briefly considered glowering at the man until he went away but seeing as he had an unregistered small arsenal tucked away in his duffel he figured it wasn't worth it.
He uncurled himself from the seat and stood, ignoring the tug in his side from the stitches, courtesy of a jagged piece of wood in the barn, frigging ghost farmers! He loomed over the woman and then grabbed his duffel and padded down the carriage.
His luck continued as the only seat left was next to a woman vast enough to have her own zipcode and with a personal odour somewhere between fresh compost heap and men's locker room after a football game. Dean considered standing but it was a two hour train journey and he was still bruised from the ghost farmer's game of Squash with Dean Winchester starring as the ball.
"Can I sit there?" Dean asked, deciding that perhaps a polite start was the way to go. The woman nodded and Dean sat, trying to ignore the wobbling of chins. The woman took up one and a half seats and Dean found himself compressed into the remaining space. He stuffed his headphones in and tried to get comfortable while the juddering of the train managed to jar every bruise. Dean suppressed a snarl and zoned out to the music, cranking up the volume until he could feel his eardrums vibrating.
He felt podgy fingers prodding his left shoulder, straight into a barely healed slice. He switched off the walkman and snapped off a bad tempered "What?" to the woman.
"Turn your music down," The woman stated and her body odour had nothing on her breath. Dean suppressed the gag reflex as the contents of his stomach, a meagre overpriced bacon butty, made a bad for freedom.
"No," Dean said and motioned to put his headphones back in. The same employee who'd been called on earlier spotted the situation brewing and rushed headlong out of the carriage before he could be called on again.
The woman snagged the cords before Dean could put the heaphones in and yanked, tugging it from Dean's surprised fingers, "It is polite to turn your music down on the train."
"It's polite not to be so frigging fat that you need almost a whole carriage to yourself," Dean retorted, irritation eroding ay residual desire to be polite, "Bathing and brushing your teeth are also good."
"I have never been so insulted in my life," The woman said in a voice shrill for such vastness.
"Then someone has been too kind," Dean yoinked his headphones back and stuffed them into his ears, curling on his left side away from the woman.
Podgy fingers pushed into his back and Dean could feel the damp sweat from the fingers left behind. Finally Dean spun to face her, face fixed in the kind of expression usually reserved for anything threatening his little brother, "Yes?" The hounds of hell would have turned into snivelling puppies from Dean's tone of voice.
"I asked you to turn down your music. I will call the train manager," She threatened.
"Christo," Dean replied, sighing when the woman didn't so much as flinch. Dean had been hoping that he could exorcise her, or maybe exercising her would be more helpful, "And I said no. I assumed that was the end of the conversation."
The rest of the passengers were studiously paying attention to anything but Dean and the woman. Sure, they could hear the bass beat from the music too but on the other hand when someone looking as he did was on a train then antagonising him was usually a bad idea. Plus the large woman had that particular tone of voice that made any sane person want to do the exact opposite of anything they said.
For a moment there was a battle of wills between Dean and the woman until she finally backed down. Dean put his music back in and cranked it down two notches as a consolation prize. The train juddered into Dean's station half an hour later than it should have and Dean found himself perusing the lists once again to find the train closest to Sarah's place. He couldn't find one so he approached the station manager, "When's the next train to Kevlea?"
"Oh," The station manager said, "There isn't a straight through anymore. You'll have to change at Cadeley North. Next train is in five minutes from platform thirteen."
Dean stared in amazement at the man. Not only was he friendly but helpful too, "Thanks," Dean said and made his way to platform thirteen. He had just made it there when a tinny voice came over the tannoy, "Attention, this is a platform alteration. The fifteen twenty to Kenning Hay will now depart from platform five." Dean ignored it as it wasn't his train. Five similar announcements followed until, "Attention. This is a platform alteration. The fifteen twenty five to Haybury will now depart from platform thirteen." Dean immediately saw the problem with a train which wasn't his departing from the same platform at the same time as his. He was fairly sure that the station hadn't mastered inter-dimensional physics to allow the two trains to occupy the same point at the same time so he listened intently for the next announcement.
One minute before his train was due to depart, he heard, "Attention. This is a platform alteration. The fifteen twenty five to Cadeley north will now depart from platform three."
Dean attempted to fight his way through the crowded entirety of his platform trying to get to the new platform while they were jostled by the entirety of the other platforms trying to get to their new platforms.
Finally Dean made it just in time to snag himself a seat. This journey was just a short hop so he didn't bother popping his music in, avoiding any more arguments. The train pulled into Cadeley North thirty minutes later and miraculously on time. Dean headed straight towards the next train which arrived ten minutes later and got on, sinking into his seat and rubbing his thumb on his temple where a headache was rapidly building up. Fortunately this train had a buffet carriage so Dean bought himself an incredibly overpriced soggy burger and a bottle of water to gulp some aspirin down with.
Sam always criticised Dean for being hostile to anyone not wearing a skirt but Dean ignored the nagging voice in the back of his head that sounded like his brother as he put on his forbidding expression, put in his headphones and sunk his teeth into the burger.
Apparently the cow this burger had come from must've been the champion racing cow of the south-west as it was scrawny and gristly with barely a hint of fat or meat. Dean swallowed it down anyway, knowing he needed energy to cope with this day. Two gulps of water sent two aspirins to swirl in his stomach and hopefully get to work on the headache.
By the time that the train pulled into Dean's destination station the headache was mostly gone but his stomach was making protesting rumbles about its meagre contents. Dean double-checked the name of the motel and resolved to get to the motel then drag Sam out to the nearest diner in order to get some proper food.
There was a cab rank just outside the station and Dean sauntered to the nearest one, "How much to the Lonely Pine motel?"
The cabbie glanced askew to Dean, "You mean hotel?"
Dean felt that headache stab its way back into his skull. He knew full well there must be plenty of motels around here just from the look of place which meant his brother had deliberately checked into a hotel and probably the kind of place that Dean hated.
"Fine, lonely pines hotel." Dean hit a harsh sound with the H.
"Thirty dollars," The cabbie stated.
Dean resisted gaping at the man, "How much? Maybe I should just walk."
The cabbie snorted, "Good luck. It'll take you a good couple of hours and it's uphill."
Dean fingered his wallet, checking the supply of cash from his last pool haul. There were only ten dollars left after various expensive train meals and Dean had left most of his cash with Sammy, figuring he would need it more though he hadn't intended on his brother spending it on expensive hotels, "How far can you take me for ten dollars?"
Fifteen minutes later, the cabbie stopped the car and held out his hand for the money. Dean slapped the ten dollar note down and scrambled out of the cab. The cabbie had been kind enough to give him directions and it was still a good hour and a quarter to walk. At least by the cabbie's estimate but he hadn't been trained by veteran marine John Winchester.
Fifty minutes later Dean reached the hotel. His estimate was correct, it was just the sort of place he hated: one tower of white, fountains and trees outside, a frigging doorman who smiled obsequiously at Dean as he walked in, aware that his scruffy dress was as unwelcome as his sweaty face.
Dean tried to make straight for the elevator, already knowing Sam's room number. He was intercepted by a smug-faced man in the hotel uniform, "Excuse me, sir, you need to check in at reception."
Dean glanced to the desk, staffed by an immaculately coifed and made-up woman and a smiling black man, both of whom were checking out Dean's ass, "I'm already booked in." He replied, "My brother got here a few days ago. Room two-oh-three."
"Oh, he mentioned his, erm, brother would be joining him." The man's implication was clear, obviously comparing Dean and Sammy's appearance.
Dean scowled, "So can I go now?"
The man just smiled, "The hotel requires all guests not arranged by the hotel check in so we can keep track."
Dean very nearly saw red at that implication. He hustled pool and poker and then drew the line there, "My brother," And he emphasised the word, "should have signed both of us in for the duration. Can I have the spare key please?"
The man shook his head, "I'm sorry it's hotel policy not to allow anyone into a guest's room without the guest's permission."
Dean gritted his teeth, "Then can you call my brother down here so I can kick his overly tall ass?"
The man just smiled and Dean forced his hand to still to prevent punching him right there, "Mr Winchester is out to dinner with a Miss Sarah. I'm afraid I am not aware of when he will be back."
Dean changed his mind about punching the concierge, as the name badge proclaimed, and decided to punch his brother instead. Checking in under his own name was one of the seven deadly sins and how the hell was he going to explain paying with a credit card made out to Mark Knopfler, "Fine. I'll call my brother." Dean flipped open his mobile and pressed speed dial two. The phone went straight to voicemail, "Sammy, this is Dean. I'm at the hotel and you aren't. If this situation isn't sorted in ten minutes, you are walking to the next gig. Oh, and if you've scratched my car, I'll kill you." Dean cheerfully hung up and gave a grin showing too many teeth to the concierge then sat down in one of the chairs.
Fifteen minutes later an abashed Sam arrived in the foyer, dressed up smartly, "Dean, you are late. I thought you might not make it until tomorrow."
"Room key," Dean growled, wanting nothing more than to sleep. After Sam had handed the key over, Dean asked, "So you found out what we need to hunt yet?"
"Oh," Sam blushed more, "Turns out it was some human psycho stalking some artwork his ex-wife had painted. Police arrested him last night so we could have waited."
Dean took one look at his brother and then swung at his chin, pulling the blow a little. It was still enough to make Sam stagger back. Without another word, Dean span around and marched towards the elevator, narrowed eyes daring the concierge to stop him. The concierge wisely averted his eyes and Dean stepped into the elevator. Just before the doors closed, he heard the distinctive voice of the male receptionist say, "Tsk, lover's tiff."
Dean walked into the room, checked his brother's salt lines and then sunk face first into the bed, resolving not to wake up until tomorrow. His last conscious thought was that he was never letting the Impala out of his sight again.
AN: The three incidents that occurred on my journey were the late bus, the late trains and the amazing changing platforms (That was at Birmingham New Street which is living chaos for anyone that knows British stations.) Ironically enough on my journey back, one of the incidents that I'd already written in the story occurred, namely arriving at the station just in time to see the connecting train depart and having to wait forty minutes for my connection.
The hotel staff are based loosely on the staff in Hotel Babylon, a BBC series.
Oh, and I couldn't fit it into the story but the reason Sam checked in under his own name and in a hotel was that Sarah offered to pay for everything. Don't want to make poor Sammy out to be an idjit.
Feedback is always appreciated.