Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Author's Note: Seriously...aside from the slalom with semis along the MILES of road construction, driving through Ohio is like living in the suburbs...comfortable Hell, but Hell none the less.
There's a chance, just a chance, that Ohio truly is the most boring state in the continental US. And quite frankly Hawaii and Alaska have to be better too, so, yeah, the most boring state period. To drive through, that is. The bitch ass angry spirit they just freed last night, well that was pretty damn exciting. And painful. But hey, chick dig scars, right?
"What exactly constitutes a monster?"
Dean pauses from his trance like driving – nothing but flat open road in the middle of nowhere tends to cause that – just long enough to glimpse his brother out of the corner of his eye and utter a, "Wha?"
"A monster, what makes something a monster?"
He looks serious, wrinkled contemplative brow, so Dean asks the only question he can think of, "Like a dragon?"
"What?" Sam turns, nothing but confusion peppering his face. "No, not like a…" He pauses, shakes his head disdainfully and sighs. "I'm talking about monsters, like real monsters."
"So you're saying dragons aren't real?"
"Yes, Dean, I'm saying dragons aren't real."
"Where exactly did you get this information?" he asks with faux sincerity.
Sam chooses to ignore him, an action performed so many times over the years that he no longer has to think to do it. Second nature. "I'm just wondering," he says, gazing out the window, "if you have to be evil. Because a lot of the things we hunt aren't exactly evil. I mean, lost souls or misguided spirits…"
"Yeah," he offers, mildly intrigued, "I'm with you."
"But they're still monsters," he says, shifting in his seat to face his brother.
"No, they're ghosts."
Sam looks away, back out to the Ohio wasteland, and goes on unfazed. "The Lock Ness Monster never hurt anyone. Or Bigfoot."
"Or Sulley," Dean chimes in, earning him a look from his brother. "You, now, big blue monster?" Sam shakes his head slowly, expression both hesitant and perplexed. "Monsters Inc."
A flash of realization crosses his face. "The Disney movie?"
"Pixar," Dean corrects.
"You've seen Monsters Inc.?" he asks, ridiculous smirk curling at his lips.
"What?" he laughs out.
"Monsters? Kind of our line of work," he explains as though it were the most obvious thing ever.
"It's a cartoon," Sam spouts indignantly.
"Computer animation," Dean replies, turning calmly to his brother before saying, "Seriously Sam, do you not know me at all? Is there anything about me that would make you surprised to hear I watch cartoons?"
Sam's eyes widen, brows rise, as he nods his head – good point – and seamlessly falls back on track. "Chupacabra."
"Goat Sucker," Dean interprets, just to show he's listening.
"What has he ever done? I mean sure he kills…but not people."
"Dude," he says, turning on his brother with a glare, "Goats are people too."
Sam scoffs. "My point is…I don't know what my point is," he says, knowing full well the only reason for even voicing these random thoughts was pure boredom.
"Well, at least we're on the same page then."
"But," he starts again, twisting in his seat once more, "maybe a monster isn't necessarily something bad, just something different." His voice takes on a high and dreamy quality that Dean's known for years to be the Sammy's onto something tone.
"What about serial killers?" he asks, now genuinely interested in the line of thought.
"They're called monsters, evil even. But really, they're not all that different from you and me."
Sam glares at him, rolls his eyes like a petulant child. "Yeah, except for the whole killing people thing."
"We kill people," he says, tone deep and sincere. "Maybe they're already dead, restless spirits or vengeful ghosts. Or maybe they've been turned into something else, vampires or werewolves." He stops short, chances a glance at his brother out of the corner of his eye, takes note of his gloomy countenance. "They're still people though. Sort of."
Sam turns away, eyes pointed back out the window at the lack of scenery flying by. Patches of brown grass overlapping with patches of green, tall naked trees just starting to bloom new leaves, stagnant muddy water filling the ditches by the side of the highway.
Maybe it wouldn't be so bad, Ohio, in the spring. Maybe it's just the fact that they're here in that time of limbo, when the seasons are caught up between winter and spring, when everything looks dead yet ready for life, and the weather is changing, warm sunny days telling you to expect more.
They'll be in this state at least one more day and night, another hunt lined up a few hours south. And Sam can't help but wish they were in Indiana already. Or Pennsylvania. Or anywhere.
It's two hours before they speak again, two hours of drifting in and out of restless sleep, even for Dean, it seems, because he's pretty sure he's blacked out repeatedly on this never ending stretch of road. They had to stop, get gas, go pee, most importantly, just move.
"Dude," Dean bellows through the bathroom door, "what is taking so long?"
Sam splashes some more water on his face – wake up, wake up – before responding tiredly, "Nothing, I'm coming."
"Uh, yeah, you are," Dean sniggers outside, sparking an odd and questioning glance from his brother as he exits the bathroom.
"What did you say?" he asks simply.
"What did you hear?" Dean responds coyly.
And Sam can tell that the conversation despite having just begun is already on a downward spiral. Because his brother has that mischievous glint to his eye, that practical joking, child's look. "Never mind," he mumbles, shifting from one foot to the other.
"So," Dean starts, "can we go?"
"Yeah," he motions for his brother to walk ahead, "I'm right behind you."
It isn't until Dean stops short and mutters something about, "Not if you're coming, you're not," that Sam realizes the rest of the ride is going to be a long one.
So there are certain rules of the road for anyone who sets out cross-country on a regular basis. And not pass on the left and break for small animals kinds of rules either. Real rules, important ones. Like don't let Sammy out on the side of a highway to pee, because inevitably he'll find the only poison oak or poison ivy bush within the entire state and actually touch it – a lesson learned when he was three. And again when he was eight.
Another rule, a simple one, don't leave Dean unattended in quickie mart. Because he'll fill up on caffeine – cheap truck stop coffee, thick and black and smooth as mud, Red Bull, Mountain Dew, anything that says EXTREME! or MAX! – and pure sugar – M&M's, snickers bars, HoHo's, Twinkies, to name a few. And once on the road again, trapped inside the car going 80 towards God knows where, there's simply nowhere for that pent up sugar rush of energy to go, no way to expel it except through childish antics. Or so it would seem.
"You think elves are real?" he asks suddenly, eyes flitting over to Sam questioningly, impatiently awaiting an answer.
"That depends, are we talking Santa's workshop elves, or the traditional Little People of Scotland and Ireland?"
Dean merely scoffs. "Keebler."
"What?" Sam asks, immediately regretting speaking at all. He should have just feigned sleep.
"Sitting in a tree, making cookies elves," he says, nothing but serious.
"Very funny," he deadpans.
"I mean, you'd think, no, they can't be real. Because if tiny little people were baking in trees all the time, there'd probably be a lot more forest fires."
"Uh, yeah, probably."
"On the other hand, if they're not real, who make those delicious fudgy treats?"
Sam almost laughs, almost. "You're an idiot," he mumbles under his breath.
"What?" he asks, turning in his direction. "That's not very nice."
He too turns, meets his brother's gaze, and says, rather incredulous, "You're sitting here talking about fucking elves!"
Dean's hands fly up off the wheel, hitting the air in a defensive posture. "Whoa there, I was not talking about fucking elves."
And Sam moans, knowing exactly where this is going. "Oh, man."
"I would never fuck an elf," he says, eyes returning to the road.
"I mean, I love their cookies as much as the next guy, but you gotta draw a line somewhere."
Sam slouches down in the seat, scrunches his immense frame up as much as possible, as though he might actually be able to make himself disappear. "Please, stop."
"If anyone here's an elf fucker," he says, eyeing his brother warily, "it's you. After all, you're practically a damn fairy already."
"Stop the car," he says suddenly, reaching for the handle. "I'm getting out."
And much to his surprise, Dean actually does stop the car, slamming on the breaks, hard, taking them from somewhere around 80 to a burning, screeching, spinning halt in the middle of the damn highway.
"What the hell is wrong with you?!" Sam squeals, lightly rubbing his forehead that was unceremoniously bashed into the dashboard.
"You gonna get out?" Dean asks with a smirk. It's all Sam can do to keep from throttling his brother then and there, leaving them stranded in the middle of the road, a messy speed bump for a passing semi. He sits stiff and controlled, mouth and eyes both wide open in unabashed shock. "Didn't think so," Dean mutters, slamming on the gas.
It takes forty-five minutes for them to make it to their destination, and Sam's out of the room as soon as they check in, unable to be in the same general area with his brother any longer. He mumbles something about doing laundry, takes the huge bag of dirt-filled, blood-stained clothes and throws it over his shoulder as he heads across the street to the Laundromat
It's another hour before he returns, oddly serene, drooping the bag on the bed next to Dean's feet as he enters. Dean, who lays sprawled out, still jittering from too much caffeine, totally crashed from all the sugar. "Wake up," Sam says, a bit too cheery, as he heads for the computer. "It's almost dark, we got work to do."
"Yeah," he yawns, rising slowly and rubbing at his eyes. "I'm gonna take a shower."
Sam shakes his head disapprovingly – only his brother would take a shower before heading out on a salt and burn – and watches as Dean heads to the bathroom, taking the whole bag of clean laundry with him.
He smiles to himself, once the door closes, sly and childlike, and looks up directions to the town's cemetery. This job should be quick and easy, all the recon's already been done, all they have to do is locate the body and get rid of it. But the story behind the ghost is kind of interesting, a civil war buff who fell on his own bayonet during an inept reenactment. Now he haunts the museum he used to curate. Sam's so in to reading about the guy and his history, that he doesn't even hear the shower turn off, or Dean exit the bathroom, doesn't even realize he's standing right there beside him until a rolled up pair of socks hits him upside the head.
"Hey, Sam," he says, calm and casual as his brother turns to glare at him, "got a question for you." He reaches down to pick up the missile that bounced off Sam's scalp, and asks simply, "Why are all my socks pink?"
Sam narrows his eyes. "Is this a riddle?"
"No," he booms.
"Scientific inquiry? Why is the sky blue?"
"Sam," he hisses through clenched teeth.
And Sam merely turns back to his computer and shrugs. "I dunno. Maybe something red got mixed in with the load."
"Maybe something…" he stops, too angry to go on, and shouts, "You're such a freaking child!" lobbing the socks at him once more.
Sam explodes, pent up bitterness dripping from his words. "Yeah, like dotting my face with self-tanner while I slept two weeks ago was soo mature."
Dean cocks his head at him, glares steadily. "At least that was funny."
"Hilarious," he deadpans, standing to his full height so as to loom precariously over his brother. "You told everyone I had leprosy."
"Again," he starts, backing away, "funny." He picks up the bag of laundry, dumps a pile of pink socks out onto the bed. "This, this is truly juvenile."
"Juvenile?" he questions, hands on hips. Then, holding one hand up to his face, thumb and pinky extended into a mock phone, "Uh, hi, Kettle, this is Pot, yeah, you're black."
"What?" Dean asks, scrunching his face in confusion. "Pot? Kettle? Are you planning a tea party or something?"
"Funny," Sam utters, returning to his seat in front of the computer. "You're an ass."
"And you're a freakishly gigantic girl," he retorts.
Sam spins round wildly. "At least I'm not a freakishly stupid…boy."
"Nice, Sammy," he smiles.
"So you admit you're a girl?" he asks, smirk growing wider.
"Do you admit you're stupid?"
Dean picks up the remote and flops down on the bed, nearly content with having won. "I admit your face is."
"Only because you fucked it up with self-tanner," he mumbles under his breath, turning back to the article he had been reading.
"Ha," Dean laughs to himself. "Dude, it's freaking hilarious."
"You're an idiot," he snipes with a roll of the eyes.
Dean, now mostly engrossed the end of a rerun of Full House, utters absently, "Yeah, so's your face, Samantha."
Only to be met with Sam's snotty and triumphant, "I'm not the one wearing pink socks, DeeDee."
But Dean ignores him, save an asinine mocking head wobble, and starts flipping through the channels. Infomercial. Infomercial. Infomercial. Another episode of Full House. Oprah – can't watch when Sammy's in the room…never hear the end of it. "Dude," he says suddenly, "Check it out, Buffy."
Sam doesn't look up from the computer screen, he only rolls his eyes, his arrogance over having pulled off a superb prank now overshadowed by the memory of Dean's, admittedly, better one. "That's great."
"Dude," he repeats, "it's Buffy."
"Uh, yeah," he says, feigning interest. "I heard."
"She kicks ass."
"Yeah?" he mutters, not even really aware of what he's saying, eyes still scanning the article in front of him.
"She's a born fighter, and damn near indestructible," he chimes from his prone position on the bed.
"Yeah. Well, no, I mean, come on, she's just a chick."
"Uh huh," Sam mumbles. "And a made up one at that."
"Most chicks I fantasize about are made up," Dean says matter of factly.
And, okay, Sam can only ignore so much. He turns around to face his brother. "You fantasize about Buffy the Vampire Slayer?" he asks, seemingly surprised, even though, yeah, not really a shock.
"What?" he says, eyes bouncing back and forth between the TV screen and Sam's incredulous glare. "She's hot. She kicks butt. She's blond. What's not to like?"
"Well, gee," he says, "when you put it that way, Sarah Michelle Gellar might as well be Farrah Fawcett reincarnated."
"Who?" he asks, genuinely confused for a second before, "No, man. Kristy Swanson."
"What?" Sam says, confusion now infiltrating his face. He leans over to look at the television and, sure enough, there's Luke Perry and Kristy Swanson.
"Movie Buffy," Dean replies shortly. Then, under his breath, "Sarah Michelle…what a prissy ass…"
"And Kristy Swanson's not?" Sam questions, not even allowing Dean to finish his undoubtedly profound thought.
"Sam," he says, turning to him, "I am not going to debate the merits of Buffy related levels of hotness with you."
"But," he tries, brows scrunched.
"And for the record, neither of those chicks could ever be the reincarnation of Farrah."
"Yeah, I know," he sighs. "She's not actually dead, so…"
"Yeah, yeah, that too," he mutters with a dismissive wave of the hand. Then, so as to make his point utterly clear, "No one could come close to that level of hotness."
Sam leans forward, speaks slowly with a wide grin on his face. "You know she's like sixty now."
Dean doesn't so much as blink, crossing his arms behind his head and leaning back, he says simply, "GILF."