Don't Touch That Dial
Author's Notes: This was inspired by a very brief conversation with (sakebi). It was conceived and partially written before I realized that there are two Sams. Uh. This is only aslight problem from a narrative standpoint. Work with me.
Edit: Thanks, Elf, for reminding me that Camaros only have two doors, not four. That's fixed, now...
Sam makes sure he's got everything ready – the newspaper clippings spread out on the motel desk in front of him, everything and sorted and organized in his head, Google Maps up on his laptop screen.
Because, damnit, he's not going crazy. He's got something here.
Then, "Okay, Dean, look what I got."
Sam waits for one second, and then two. And then he clears his throat so loudly not even Dean can pretend he didn't hear it; sure enough, his brother's eyes roll up over the top of the People magazine he's holding up in front of his face.
"Dean," Sam repeats. "Look what I got."
Dean snorts. "I see what you got there, Sam. A stack of papers."
Yeah, it looks like Dean's about to blow him off for the second time in as many days. No, he's not starting to take their job any less seriously – in fact, if Sam wasn't getting so damn irritated he might even understand. "Dude," he says. "Listen. These are newspaper clippings from over a dozen sources in this part of the country, and I really think I'm onto something—"
"It's funny, though." Dean flips another page, his eyes drifting back to the pretty pictures. "'Cause you're not."
"You—" Sam stops. And he seethes. He rolls his eyes and then he clenches his jaw and then he rubs his temples. He's definitely onto something, and Dean's going to listen whether he wants to or not.
Dean glances over at the alarm block on the nightstand beside him. "What time's checkout?"
Sam picks up the first article and starts reading.
"A ghostly big rig truck haunts the highways of the American Southwest, insists this twenty-five year veteran of the Nevada Highway Patrol. 'I've seen if three, maybe four times, and never have I seen a trucker behind the wheel.'"
"That's really awesome, but—"
Sam snatches another cutting up off the desk. "—and sources say the 'Phantom Officer' enjoys running vehicles off the road, often using the emergency lights to confuse drivers. Witness reports of the driver are inconsistent, and sometimes nonexistent. Sighting have been reported in five different cities, but each local police department denies affiliation—"
"Sam, I get your point, but—"
"Inexplicably," Sam interrupts. "witnesses claimed that the driver of the vehicle, identified as a black GMC pickup truck, hesitated before fleeing the scene of the accident. No description of the driver could be obtained—"
"Okay, okay, I get the friggin' point." Except he doesn't, because his face looks like it's stuck between a smirk and a yawn. "But riddle me this."
And that's the rub. Okay, no one's dead yet – the hit and run was the fault of the other driver, and even the victims of the nefarious police car have all come through their low speed accidents okay. But there's a trend here, a trend of cars possibly running errands without their drivers.
Sam drops the clipping back on the desk, and he's seething again. "If you'll listen—"
"'Cause we've done the ghost car bit already, you remember, and as fun as that was…" Dean is sure to give Sam a moment to remember how much fun that wasn't, and then, "If no one's in danger, it's not really our place to—"
"Or, just maybe!" Sam jumps out of his seat, and he starts pacing the length of their tiny, slightly smelly room. "Maybe we could show up before anyone dies! Isn't that a novel idea?"
Dean looks at him carefully. "And what makes you think anyone's gonna die?"
Sam shakes his head. He hasn't has a vision, this is just an old-fashioned hunch. "I don't know anything, but—"
"Sam, we've got real cases."
"This is on the way."
"Real cases, real victims."
"I think it'd be irresponsible to just—"
"Yeah." Dean chuckles. "Looks like you've been doing enough thinking for the day, brainiac. How's about you let me—"
Sam swipes a packet off the desk and throws it on Dean's bed as he storms by. It's a collection of maybe five different stories on the same damn muscle car; Sam's found enough on it to warrant a whole paperclip. "All the activity is centered around one city, Dean. And that car, that one has been—"
"That," Dean interjects. "that might just be the second coolest car in all of creation. This is what you say's been driving itself?"
Sam looks back.
Dean's set the magazine on the bed and he's staring hard at the photograph of the small, flashy, almost definitely haunted yellow Camaro.
God.Now he had Dean's attention.
"Yeah," he says, holding back a sigh. "Yeah, that's it."
Dean nods approvingly. "Pretty cool."
"Oh, yeah," Sam agrees, sinking pack into his chair. And he almost chokes on his own sarcasm when he parrots Dean's words back to him. "It's awesome."
Pretending to be inanimate is a lot like pretending to be asleep, Bumblebee's decided. Left to his own devices, out in public, there's nothing more to do than sit by the curb and idly scan his surroundings. Sometimes he has poignant thoughts. Mostly, he waits.
Twenty minutes isn't that long, but Sam seems to walk so slowly.
Especially when Mikaela walks with him, Bumblebee's noted. Perhaps if he offered to let them walk the entire way by themselves, he could motivate them to walk fast—
"Very nice," a voice says, and it's followed by a low whistle.
He's not unused to pedestrians stopping to admire his paintjob, but the fact that he missed the approach bothers him. So much for thinking poignantly.
"Very nice," the man continues, "but…" And then he walks straight up to Bumblebee and peers in the window.
Bumblebee peers back.
The human appears unremarkable; he's tall by human standards, with a bit of stubbly growth on his face, and he seems to be looking for something. He knocks on the glass lightly. "Anyone home?" he asks.
A fear gears click under Bumblebee's hood, completely silently, of course.
And as suddenly as the man appeared, he steps back and vanishes.
He's not gone. Bumblebee can still see him, fifteen feet away, only slightly concealed by a tree. It's a hiding spot that would fool only the most incredibly unobservant, and Bumblebee can't even imagine why he's chosen to retreat there.
He only has a minute or two to contemplate this strange development, because then he's picking up approaching footsteps on his audio sensors.
Bumblebee parks on this road partly because it's close to the high school and primarily because it typically goes unused. The odds of it beinganother stranger is unlikely. No, it's Sam, and he's strangely alone.
And unfortunately talkative.
"Sorry I'm late," he says as he approaches. He pats Bumblebee's hood as he walks by and then he pulls open the door, tossing his backpack inside. "Mikaela's having dinner with her dad and we're going to see a movie tonight, but I don't have any homework. I thought we could—"
Sam slams the door shut and spins around.
Beinginanimate, there's nothing Bumblebee can do, except watch unhappily as the man steps out from behind the tree and approaches again.
Sam looks at the man blankly for a moment or two, and then he crosses his arms and assumes a confident post he probably learned from television. "Hey," he answers.
They stare at each other.
"That's a nice car," the strange man says.
Sam nods. "Yeah. It is."
The man steps closer, pretending to admire the paintjob, as if he hadn't done that already. "Is it yours?"
A slight hesitation there, one Bumblebee would have found incredibly amusing under slightly different circumstances. "Yup," is the best Sam can come up with.
"Uhhuh." The man doesn't bother hiding his skepticism, not that his disbelief is terribly surprising. "I'm from the DMV, and I've got some questions regarding—"
"I have to go."
"—your car. We believe it may have been—"
"Seriously, I have homework." Sam steps towards the driver side door, and Bumblebee heartily approves of this attempt to retreat. If only Sam would be a bit more… consistent.
The man doesn't miss it. "That so?" He follows Sam, but not closely. "A minute ago you said you didn't."
Sam's facing Bumblebee, so he makes a face like he wants to knock his head against the window. He must not know that his expression is clearly visible in the polished glass.
The man smirks. "Who were you talking to, anyway?"
Sam reaches for the door handle. "I'm leaving."
"Hold on, kid." The man closes the distance between them and catches Sam by the arm. "I just want to ask you a question or two. It's important."
Sam shrugs, trying to dislodge him. It doesn't work. "Hey," he snaps. "Let me—"
And that's a good cue.
Bumblebee's door hits the man at about the knee, hard. Not hard enough to do permanent damage, but more than enough to hurt.
"Sonofa—" The man sputters as he falls forward. As soon as he stumbles into range, Bumblebee snaps door open again. It catches the strange man nicely across the forehead.
He spins and falls into the grass.
Satisfied with his work here, Bumblebee slams the rear door shut and honks, which means Stop staring and get in!
Sam pauses a second longer, and then he jumps in and pulls the door shut behind him.
"Sorry, I'm sorry." Sam groans and beats his head against the steering wheel several times. "I screwed up, didn't I?"
Bumblebee revs the engine in sharp disagreement.
Sam still has a self-disgusted look on his face, but he doesn't argue the point. Later, Bumblebee will explain the suspicious behavior that had occurred before Sam ever showed up; for now, he'll take him home.
Bumblebee shifts into gear, and plays a song he's told is soothing to young humans.
"Sunny day, sweepin' the clouds away—"
Sam whaps the clock radio panel lightly. "Stop that."
Bumblebee cheerfully raises the volume a couple of notches. He pulls out into the street, taking the road at only ten over the speed limit. It'd be a shame to get in over more trouble.
"Finally. Dean, I've been calling you for ten minutes!"
"Shut up. Bleeding here, thanks."
"… What? The kid—"
"No, not the kid, Sam, the car. The freaking car beat the crap outta me."
"It's not funny."
"I'm not laughing."
"Whatever. Talk to the parents. Oh, and Sam?"
"Don't touch the kid. Trust me."
Judy's only a little flustered as she brings out a fresh cup of coffee, smoothing her hair back as she hands it to the man trying to perch on the edge of the couch – he's a few inches too tall to make that work. She takes a seat herself, across from him. "It's just that we have no idea, Mr.—"
"Rick Allen, ma'am, and that's perfectly understandable." He does understand, you can tell by looking at him. He's the perfect man to work in a high school environment; young himself, calm and patient, not to mention quite well dressed. He takes a sip of coffee before he continues, "You may have noticed, but teenagers are pretty good at hiding stuff from their parents."
"Yeah, you're telling me," Ron says, snorting. Judy wishes he'd sit down instead of pacing, because he's embarrassing them. "Let me tell you, I haven't seen that kid doing homework once since—"
"Ron!" Judy snaps. He knows better than to bring up that.
Rick leans forward. "Mr. and Mrs. Witwicky, if there's anything going on in Sam's life that's taking away from academics, the school would really like to hear about it."
The front door bangs open.
"Mom, Dad, I'm home!" Sam announces, not bothering to look at any of them as he rushes through the living room. "But I have to leave again real soon, sorry, I'll take care of my chores—"
"No, mister," Ron says. "You're going to sit down."
Sam stops short. "I—Dad! I used the path, promise."
"This isn't about the path. Or any part of the lawn," Judy explains helpfully. "This is about—"
"This is about this guy—" Ron points at Mr. Rick Allen, "—telling us that your grades are slipping. What do you have to say to that?"
Sam looks at Rick. Rick looks back at him.
"Rick Allen," the man says. "I'm a guidance counselor."
"I've never seen you before," Sam says. "You work at my school?"
"We have important stuff to talk about," Rick answers. He must know better than to let Sam change the subject like that, and good thing, too. Sam's not much like his father but they have one thing in common: they can ramble an awfully long time. "Take a seat, this won't take long, I promise."
Sam drops his backpack on the ground and slumps into the seat beside Judy. She pats him on the shoulder.
"This doesn't make any sense," Sam grumbles.
"It's nothing to be ashamed about." Rick smiles warmly, and Judy's heart melts a little.
"Listen to him, Sam," she says. "He's here to help."
"He is," Ron confirms.
"Ron!" Judy says. "He already said that!"
"What?" Ron counters. "I was just—"
Rick clears his throat.
They all fall silent to listen.
"Well," Rick starts. "At Tranquility High, we want you to do well, Sam, you have to understand. Which means we want to know if there's anything at all in your life that's… distracting you."
Thereis something distracting him, of course, Judy knows it, Ron knows it, they all know it. But Sam's promised that none of it would get in the way of his homework or his housework, so it's a little disappointing to hear that it wasn't true.
Sam shrugs, stares at the ground, and makes a noncommittal teenager noise: "Hn."
"Your parents tell me a lot's changed in your life in the last few months. Girlfriend, new car… Why don't you tell me a bit about that?"
Sam stares at the man, and there's something really weird about his look. Like he's suddenly seeing Rick in an entirely new light. "About what?"
"Your girlfriend. Are things going okay, there? Or the car, if you want."
"Oh, God." Sam stands up, a panic-stricken expression on his face, and he slowly sits down again. "You, too?"
Judy wants to ask him what he means by that.
"So this isn't the first time they've talked to you about this!" Ron says triumphantly. He always jumps to conclusions, and then Sam gets defensive.
"It really is, Dad," he says. Of course. "I have no idea what he's talking about, my grades are fine, I swear."
"Well, we're going to talk about it. Right after—"
The phone rings. Judy sighs.
"Right after I get the phone," Ron relents. He crosses the room to do that, and thankfully, the argument is over just like that.
"Sam," Rick says. "I'm trying to help you."
"He really is," Judy adds, taking a sip of coffee.
"Hello? Hello?" Ron says, into the receiver.
"Anything you want to tell me—" Rick starts.
"Anything at all," Judy adds.
They sit in silence for a couple of seconds, and then Sam throws himself out of his seat and goes tearing for the phone.
"It's for me!" he shouts, loud enough to startle Ron, who lets his son take the cordless right out of his hand.
"Mikaela? Hi! —Oh, man, seriously? You don't… Are you okay? Are you—I'll head over right now. Right now. Hang on, okay? Okay." He hangs up the phone.
"Is Mikaela alright?" Judy asks, genuinely worried. She's gotten to like Mikaela a lot, even if it sounds like the girl has a hard home life, the poor girl.
"I have to go," Sam insists, grabbing his backpack. "Mom, Dad, it's really important, and Mr. Allen, I'll—talk to you at school. Or something."
Judy expects Ron to argue the point, but instead he's staring at Sam like he's completely lost his mind. She can't remember the last time she'd seen her husband speechless. It was probably a month and a half ago, when Sam stumbled out his brand new car, surrounded by a military escort, and said, "Mom, Dad, we need to talk."
"Sam," Rick says. "It's also really important that you—"
"Okay? Okay!" Sam nods and ducks out of the room, and they can all hear the front door bang closed.
Judy rings her hands. "Oh, I hope she's alright. She's such a nice girl."
Ron shakes his head. "Your guess is as good as his," he says. "That was a telemarketer."
Rick looks at them both.
"We're sorry," Judy says. "He's such a strange boy, sometimes, we really don't know what—"
"I should go, too." Rick stands up, finishing his drink in one massive gulp. "The coffee was very good, thanks."
"But what about—"
"We'll handle it through the school. Thank you very much for you time, and… good luck." He's gone before anyone had a chance to even comment, the front door closing softly behind him.
The silence that filled the room was almost creepy.
"Judy," Ron says. "What just happened?"
She shrugs, sipping her coffee. "I have no idea."
"Now who's not answering their cell?"
"No go, Dean."
"No go? You got nothing? C'mon, Sammy, you're the freaking Jedi Master when it comes to this stuff!"
"I got a little. Like, the kid freezes up when you mention his car and the parents know something is going on."
"I coulda told you that. We wasted an hour and that's all you got?"
"He's not dumb, Dean, and he connected me with you pretty damn quick, and then he bolted. Maybe if you hadn't been so obvious, I could've—"
"Well, it looks like we screwed up the subtle route to hell and back. Time for plan B."
"… You sure that's a good idea?"
"You got a better one?"
"Mikaela, I can't tell my parents what's going on, because I have no idea."
Mikaela leans forward in her seat, considering, drumming her fingers on the dashboard. "Then I don't know."
Sam called her about half an hour ago, canceling their date due to some kind of emergency, and telling her he needed to talk. And sure enough, ever since he and Bumblebee picked her up fifteen minutes ago he's been trying to explain his "really, really weird day." And she kind of has to agree with him, it does sound pretty weird. But it doesn't make any sense.
"So these guys are, what, following you?" she asks. "And you don't know why?"
"It's something to do with Bumblebee, but yeah, no clue. They were waiting for me after school, they were waiting for me at my house—"
"They might even follow you to this parking lot," Mikaela suggests.
"I know! Where am I safe?"
"No, Sam, seriously."
"So am—" His eyes widen. "Wait, you mean…" He turns around in his seat.
The two guys are definitely approaching. There's a taller one and a shorter one, they're both pretty attractive, and they're looking at Sam like they know him. Sam expression tells her that it's the same guys, for sure.
"Crap!" Sam grabs for the ignition and turns the key. Nothing happens. He does it again. "Oh, come on, Bumblebee!"
Bumblebee sits stubbornly silent.
The shorter guy knocks on the window. "Hey, little Sam! Open up."
"'Little Sam?'" Mikaela raises an eyebrow.
"I—I have no idea. Like I said. None." Sam's gazing woefully at the clock radio, looking utterly betrayed.
And as if in response, the radio cracks to life. "—and we have to ask ourselves, why not diplomacy? What can we lose by talking to those we fear so—"
"You're playing the news?"
"I think—" Mikaela starts.
"I know," Sam says, resigned. He opens the door. She follows suit.
"So," Sam says, crossing his arms and leaning up against Bumblebee. "What's up?"
"Just the usual," the shorter of the two guys says says.
"This won't take long," the taller guy confirms.
Mikaela steps next to Sam, and she slides her arm around his waist in a show of support. She can tell it works, too, by how suddenly he stands up just a little straighter. "Who are you guys?"
"Why,hello." The shorter guy's grin is just short of lecherous as he looks at her, in a friendly kind of way. "And who do we have here?"
She likes him, but not that much. "I'm Mikaela."
"I'm in high school."
"—Anyway," Dean turns back to Sam. "Like I said, I'm Dean, and this is my brother—"
"Sam," the brother interrupts. "We really need to ask you some questions about your car."
Sam nods, looking back and forth between both guys. "Okay. Go ahead. Shoot."
"This is going to sound crazy," Dean says. "But we think your car's possessed by something."
Sam stares at them for a long time, and then he starts laughing. Mikaela has to admit, it is kind of funny, but the kind of laughing Sam's doing isn't because he thinks it's funny. It's more like he thinks he's losing his mind, and it worries her a little bit.
Mikaela gives his hand a squeeze. "Hey," she says.
"It's okay," Sam says. "It's just – I am so glad you're hearing this, too."
Dean gives his brother a long look, and they both chuckle a little. "Like I said," he says. "Pretty crazy."
"But," his brother adds. "We're not kidding."
Sam stops laughing.
"Okay, Dean, and uh… Rick," he says. Dean snickers a bit, so maybe Sam got the other guy's name wrong, but Rick still nods seriously. "Why—what are you talking about?"
"Possessed," Dean says. "Probably some kind of nasty spirit. Or hell, maybe not so nasty. Doesn't really matter to us, to be honest."
"And if he is?" Sam demands.
Dean shrugs, and sticks his hands in his jacket pocket. "Then we'll douse it in kerosene. And set it on fire."
"Dean!" Rick snaps.
"A little sensitivity?"
Sam's staring at them both like they'd completely lost their minds, and considering the kind of stuff he accepts as normal, that's saying a lot. And while Mikaela kind of wants to tell them to go ahead and try it – it might be funny to watch – Sam shakes his head rapidly. "Nuh-uh, no way, you crazy freaks. You aren't torching my car!"
"Kid, I understand. Hell, I still have my first car, and if anyone told me they wanted to set it on fire I'd probably break both their legs."
Sam shakes his head. "This really isn't the same thing."
"Why don't you tell us about that," Rick says.
The brother sighs. "Okay, Sam, I lied to you, my name's not really Rick. It's—"
"I don't care!" Sam yanks his door open violently, and the radio's still on inside. "—they gotta catch me if they want me to hang/'cause I'm back on the track and I'm beatin' the flack—"
Dean gives Bumblebee a serious look. "Hey, is that—"
Sam ignores him, climbing into the driver's seat and motioning that Mikaela should get in, too. "Stay away from me, stay away from my car, stay away from my girlfriend – just, just… stay away."
Dean rests his hands on the roof of the car. "We're gonna be hanging around 'til we figure things out, you understand. You can't really stop us."
"Dean…" The brother says warningly.
"It's not me you should worry about," Sam insists, and this time, Bumblebee starts without waiting for him to turn the key.
Both brothers step back, clearly wary of getting in the way of their dramatic exit. "We'll see you around, Sam," Dean says.
Bumblebee speeds out of the parking lot.
Mikaela waits for a minute. Then, "You sure that was the best way to handle that?"
Sam looks over at her, longer than he would if he was really watching the road. "Yeah, why?"
She rolls her eyes. "I don't know, they kind of said they'd be stalking you for forever until they find out if Bumblebee is some kind of monster or not, and you're never going to be able to prove them wrong either way, so unless they get bored…"
"What, now it's funny?"
"No, it's just… me and Bumblebee kind of talked about it a little. I didn't get to tell you that part yet. We've got a plan."
She gives him a skeptical look. "A plan?"
"Yup. A plan."
"What,what? Stop looking at me like that, man. You're making me uncomfortable."
"I can't believe you."
"So I took a risk."
"Dean, he thinks the thing is his friend! What the hell did you expect?"
"Dude, did I really park there?"
Dean swore up and down he knew where the hotel was. And now? "Trust me, Sammy," he says, turning the volume down just a little so that Metallica was a notch below blasting. I've got this figured out. We're just gonna double back, take a left, and then—"
"You're lost." And Sam doesn't have a told-you-so tone in his voice as he says it, definitely not. He's just a little bummed out about spending the last thirty minutes circling strange neighborhoods. He could be researching. He could be watching television.
"I'm not lost," Dean retorts.
Dean rolls his eyes, pulls into a parking lot and does a quick U-turn. "And so what do you suggest, Sam? Call up little Sam Witwicky and ask him the best way to get to Motel 6?"
"We're going to have to talk to him, Dean. Really talk to him."
Dean cuts off a pickup truck when he skids back into traffic, gives the other driver a friendly wave in response to their honk. "Don't worry, we'll get him to see sense, one way or another."
Sam gives him a look. "You're awfully determined."
And Dean points at his forehead. "See this pretty bruise?"
"I get it. You want to get back at a car."
"Hardly. I just think, you know, it'd be irresponsible, as you say, to just leave things as they—"
The Impala shrieks to a halt.
Sam nearly hits his head on the dashboard. "Dean, what the hell—"
"It wasn't me!"
The car takes off again.
"It's not me!" And to demonstrate, Dean takes both hands off the wheel. The Impala doesn't veer in the slightest. And then the wheel turns on its own – they go right.
Sam goes for the door handle.
"Sam! We are not bailing out, here." It doesn't matter, though. The doors are locked, nothing turns. Dean tries it for himself. "What the fuck!"
"Three guesses." Sam has no idea if one spirit or a lot of them were floating around, but it seems like whatever entity's been possessing cars chose a good time. All their gear is in the trunk. Their only chance is… "Where's the notebook?" he asks.
"In my bag."
"In the trunk."
They drive in silence for a few minutes.
"We should bust the windows," Sam says.
"Or break the—" Sam tries.
"Last thing you'll ever do."
They drive in silence for a few more minutes. Sam tries to figure out if Dean only kind of means or really means it. Yeah, it's the Impala, and he gets that, but the thing could kill them both.
"I'm working on it, Sam. I really am."
The Impala drives sharply off the road, through some low bushes. Dust is flying everywhere, and as if the thing was considerate, all the vents snap shut. Sure, it's probably going to drive into a river or something, but it'd be awful if they had to choke a little bit beforehand.
"Car," Dean shouts, kicking at the floor. "You are not an off roading vehicle!" He kicks some more, and Sam guesses that as long as he's not doing lasting harm to the interior, it's okay.
He tries the door again. It's still stuck.
The car skids onto a dirt road.
"This car is a horrible driver," Dean says.
"It learned from the best," Sam snaps.
Dean grumbles his response; Sam doesn't bother trying to make the words out, because he's looking at the clearing coming up fast. It's mostly empty – except for the yellow muscle car hanging out in the middle of it.
"Oh, and guess who," Dean says bitterly.
It's unsurprising, really. Sam Witwicky's sitting on the hood of the Camaro, watching them approach with a grin on his face.
The Impala's door swing open, the car spins, and Sam and Dean are both tossed out.
The car rolls backwards ten, fifteen feet, and then it stands up.
It doesn't do it right away, first all the doors open up again and pieces start to move. Big pieces, small pieces, everything is rearranging itself, and Sam wishes he had a shotgun. Anything to defend himself. Not that it'd matter, because Dean would shoot him before he could lay a hand on the precious Impala.
The kid is, of course, watching the scene completely unperturbed.
The shifting, transforming, whatever, slows down, and Sam realizes with a kind of horrid fascination that the car has features, now. Limbs, a body, a face. It's looking at them.
"That's better," the Impala says, stretching its arm and rolling its shoulders. It dances on its feet a little bit. "I told you two, that vehicle is the wrong size! I had to fold and I had to crunch, I barely managed to fit—"
"My car." That's all Dean can say. "My car."
"Not exactly," the kid says. "And sorry, Ironhide, Bumblebee couldn't do it because—"
"Hn, it's alright," the Impala responds. The pieces that make up his arm fold and whiz, and Sam and Dean are both staring down a set of giant… canons, apparently "Shall we take care of the problem, then?"
The kid jumps off the hood of his car, running towards the giant thing. "No, wait! No, we're going to—"
Dean grabs the kid by the collars as he passes.
"Dean, that's probably not a good—"
"My car, where's my car," he asks flatly, ignoring Sam, looking like he wants to wring the kid around by the neck. But he's learned his lesson, apparently, because he stops himself, and takes a step back. His hands are still hanging in midair, clenching into fists.
Sam puts a hand on his brother's shoulder and hauls him back. "Sam. We need you to explain what's going on. Right now." He points up at the Impala.
The kid nods. "Yeah, about that."
"Are you really going to tell him?" the Impala asks.
"I think we kind of have to, at this point."
"I don't like them very much. We could always—" the Impala continues.
"Wait, wait, what?" Dean shoves forward. "You don't like me? Son of a—everything I ever did for you, you freaking—scrap heap!"
The kid shakes his head. "It's not your car. We replaced your car with a robot so that we could talk to you—"
Sam looks at the kid, his brother, and then up at the Impala. "Robot."
"My car is a robot," Dean repeats, robot being the only word he'd heard, apparently. "Awesome." His voice sounds hoarse.
"An alien robot, actually." The kid scratches the back of his head, and he chews on his lower lip. "See, they're not possessed—they're… alive. And we can't have you guys around, you know?"
Dean starts cussing. He walks in a circle saying every nasty word he can think of and ends up right back where he started, and he doesn't look any happier. "Where's my car?" he demands.
"I can get it back for you," the kid says. "I think. I mean, I wasn't the one that hid it, but I told them to make sure not to hurt it much, and…"
"And your car," Sam says as quick as he can, because he can see Dean's face changing colors. "Your car does the same thing?"
The kid looks over his shoulder.
The Camaro's not as tall as the Impala, and it's not half as imposing, either. Sam and Dean still take a giant step back when the thing peers down at then. Even if it looks like it's smiling.
"I see," says Sam.
"Um," says Dean.
"Sam," the Camaro says. "You should tell them."
"I was going to! I'm doing it now! Okay." The kid turns back to them. "You guys, you—don't have to stand that far back, you know."
No one moves.
"We're fine," Dean says. "Really."
The kid hesitates. "Okay, well, anyway, have you guys heard of—they're not going to hurt you, you know?"
Sam glances at the dark bruise next to Dean's temple. "Of course not."
"That was just a one time thing," he says quickly. "They don't hurt humans, that's part of what I'm going to explain." The kid hesitates some more. "They could go back to being cars, if that'd make you—"
"Spit it out, kid!" Dean snaps. "I don't know 'bout your alien friends, but we don't have forever."
The kid remains silent for a few more seconds, and Sam realizes that he's stalling. He doesn't seem nervous or afraid, he probably doesn't really care if the things are making them nervous or not – he just has no idea what he's going to say. "Hey," Sam says. "It can't be any crazier than your car being possessed, right?"
The kid looks at him, startled for a second, and then he grins. "Nope, I guess not." He looks up at his car, who nods at him. "Okay, right. Did you guys hear about Mission City?"
"Sam, I don't care what you say. That shit's way crazier than a possession, man."
"What, you don't believe him?"
"I don't really know what to believe."
"At least they gave us the Impala back. I mean, that's good, right?"
"But Dean, dude, can you imagine? Aliens. That makes some of the stuff we do seem almost—"
"The car likes AC/DC, okay? It's not as crazy out of this world as you think it is. So, what've we got next?"
"Looks like Tuolumne, and I'm not exactly sure. It looks like we've got reports of… they might be fairies. They've only carried off one kid so far, but…"
Dean sits back in the driver's seat, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel, the ghost of a smile crossing his face. "Thank God," he said. "Something normal."