A/N This story came about really after Pandora Jazz was sweet enough to say that she wished Dean's deal would be sorted so that the boys could revisit Jean & Toby - that was since she knew I'd only wanted to send them back once they had good news and the deal wasn't hanging over them anymore.
Since, however, it seems that we're going to have to wait a while for a proper resolution, I started thinking and decided maybe I could have them take Jean up on her offer of Thanksgiving dinner, even in light of their current situation. So this is set sometime between Fresh Blood and A Very Supernatural Christmas - it's going to be a few chapters, since I apparently don't know how to do a 'short' story g
Thanks to Pandora for giving me the prompt, and also for her kind and detailed reviews on every SN story I've written so far. They are always much appreciated…
Sam looked up as Dean let out the fourth frustrated sigh in the last five minutes. He glanced over.
"You do realise that's not gonna make them go any faster, right?"
Dean shifted his attention from glaring at the car in front to glaring at his brother.
"Yes, thank you – I had noticed that."
"Just have a little patience would you, we'll be out of here soon enough."
"I have plenty of patience, Sam, I just don't see why everyone suddenly wants to be in this crappy little town all at the same time. We haven't moved for the last ten minutes, in case you hadn't noticed."
Sam resisted the urge to roll his eyes.
"Yeah, of course I didn't notice. It's not like you've been sighing and swearing under your breath the whole time we've been sat here."
"Well we wouldn't be sat here if you hadn't made us come into town in the first place."
"And we wouldn't have needed to if you hadn't set fire to my jacket."
"I didn't set fire to it, you left it to close to the grave."
"And you used far too much lighter fluid! It was one corpse, dude, you threw in enough of that stuff to destroy a small forest."
Dean grinned as he recalled Sam's startled yelp as his brother had scrambled back to avoid losing his eyebrows. In retrospect Sam might have a point, it had been quite a spectacular fireball. But it was still definitely partly Sam's fault for not leaving his jacket at a safe distance.
"Whatever. I just wanted to be sure that one wasn't coming back, what with all the trouble he gave us. Anyway, I still don't see why we had to replace it right now."
"Because it's November, Dean, and it's kinda cold. Besides, if we'd left earlier we'd have missed the rush but you were the one who wasn't ready to go until lunchtime."
Dean concentrated on the traffic momentarily as they moved forward all of five inches. The last thing he wanted to do was get involved in a stupid shunt and possibly have to deal with the cops.
"How was I to know it was gonna be like this? You'd think the stores were giving stuff away." he continued, after a moment.
Sam shook his head.
"It's coming up to Thanksgiving. You can't possibly have missed that, Dean."
"Yeah, cos I've been in a coma for the last two weeks – of course I haven't missed that. I still don't see why that makes the entire world suddenly feel the urge to buy every last thing on the planet."
"It's the holidays. Which to most Americans just means more of an excuse to shop."
Whatever Dean had been about to say next was cut off as a blue suburban pulled straight out of a parking space without looking and nearly hit the front of the Impala. Dean's hand gestures clearly conveyed what he thought of that particular manoeuvre and Sam slid down in his seat, saying a silent prayer that they'd actually get out of there in one piece.
"How about you not draw quite so much attention to us?" he hissed and Dean threw him a black look.
"Hey, do you see me getting out and shooting the guy? This is me being restrained, Sam. Show a little appreciation would ya?"
Sam's expression showed exactly how much he appreciated it.
Eventually, an agonising twenty minutes later, the traffic started to space out a little and Dean was able to put his foot down. As they passed the 'Please come again soon' sign on the outskirts of the town Sam breathed a sigh of relief.
He gave Dean a few moments to calm down and relax as he enjoyed the feel of the Impala eating up the road before tentatively deciding to broach a subject that had been on his mind for the last few days.
"I was thinking."
Dean glanced at him.
"Funny. I was thinking about Thanksgiving."
That got him a slightly wary look.
"Since when have you been into celebrating Thanksgiving?"
"I'm not, not really, but I was thinking about Toby and Jean actually. Jean invited us, remember? When we last spoke to them?"
Dean did remember. They'd last visited the old couple just after the whole nightmare at Cold Oak, when they'd finally admitted to them what they did for a living and about the deal Dean had made. It had been a relief when the pair had accepted all that without question. After they'd left, when they'd actually remembered to call and check in just the one time, Jean had made them promise to visit again for Thanksgiving.
They'd both been surprised at how a chance encounter had led to them being practically adopted by this wonderful old couple and it was easy to recall the warm feeling of home that they came away with whenever they visited.
Of course, after last time, Dean had been fairly convinced he wouldn't see them again. Not with what was due to happen. He'd hoped Sam at least would visit afterwards, that perhaps they'd be able to help his brother come to terms with the inevitable. But he'd resigned himself to having said his goodbyes, even if he hadn't told them that.
Sam meanwhile had intended to return with the good news, when he'd found a way out of Dean's deal. Except that had turned out to be more difficult than he'd anticipated.
Much more difficult.
"So what do you think?" he asked, pushing that thought aside, and Dean looked at him, startled out of his own musings.
"Huh? About what?"
"About going to see them." said Sam with exaggerated patience.
Dean shifted uncomfortably.
"Come on, Sam. They're gonna have their family with them. They're not really gonna want the two of us gatecrashing the party."
"Jean invited us, it's not like we're gatecrashing."
"Yeah, but there's a difference between being polite and expecting someone to actually take you up on it months later."
"You think she was just being polite?"
Dean got an image of Jean's indignant expression in his mind and winced. She'd definitely not appreciate that particular accusation, no doubt about it.
"Ok, maybe she wasn't just being polite. But still, can you really imagine their sons and daughter being thrilled with two complete strangers turning up announced at their parents house for Thanksgiving? I'm sure we wouldn't have."
"Dad never went in for Thanksgiving."
"Stop missing the point."
"I just think it would be nice, that's all. We could do with the break and you know how welcome they always make us feel. It's too quiet over the holiday to do any jobs without drawing attention to ourselves – wouldn't Jean's cooking beat sitting in some crappy motel room with two microwave meals?"
"Of course it would. But like I said, they've probably got their family coming."
"We could ask."
Dean looked at Sam and saw his brother was pulling out all the stops, the patented starving orphan look in full swing. They were both too old for Dean to be manipulated by that look though.
Way too old.
It hadn't worked for years.
"Fine. Give Jean a call then."
Oh yeah. Definitely didn't work anymore.
Sam beamed at him as he dug out his phone and dialled their number. Dean concentrated on driving and tried to look like he wasn't listening in.
"Jean? Hey, it's Sam – Sam Winchester."
Dean didn't even have to strain to hear Jean's excited exclamation and he grinned despite himself.
Sam held the phone away from his ear for a second, to avoid being totally deafened, and chuckled as he brought it back.
"Yeah, it's good to hear your voice too. We just thought we'd check in, see how you were both doing."
Dean raised his eyebrow, impressed at his brother's subtlety. At least he wasn't coming right out and inviting themselves along unprompted.
"I know, I'm sorry – we had to change our cell phones a few weeks back. Yeah, we're both fine. Uh-huh, he's right here." he said, glancing over at Dean.
Jean said something else and Sam suddenly looked away, his smile fading.
"No, not yet. But we're still working on it."
Dean looked back at the road, guessing what Jean must have just asked.
"So, anyway – how are you and Toby?" said Sam, clearly changing the subject, and for a few moments he just nodded, throwing in the occasional 'yeah' to show he was listening.
"That's great, I'm really pleased it's all going so well. Where are we? Uh, I'm not sure actually. We're driving right now. No, I don't think we're too far – why?"
He listened and Dean saw him smile.
"Of course we remember. Aren't your family coming though?"
Sam's eyes suddenly appeared suspiciously bright.
"Right. That's sweet of you to say, thank you. We really wouldn't want to intrude though."
Dean heard Jean's voice rise as she obviously denied there would be any kind of intrusion.
"You're really sure? Hang on, let me check with him."
Sam looked up and Dean wondered why he was even bothering. From the moment he'd agreed to Sam calling them it was obvious they'd be heading there for the holiday. He wasn't sure whether to be pleased or apprehensive.
He realised Sam was waiting for an answer and so nodded, rolling his eyes as Sam's face literally lit up.
"He says yes. Ok, great. We'll be stopping somewhere for the night soon so we'll work out where we are and let you know when we can get there. I know – we're looking forward to it too. Ok, I'll talk to you later. Bye."
As Sam hung up he felt a stir of excitement inside. He'd never really been keen on the holidays as a child, finding that they simply reminded him of the normal life they were missing. But he was looking forward to seeing Jean and Toby again, and a few days spent in the company of family – even if it wasn't technically theirs – was something they could both do with right now.
He looked up and saw Dean was obviously waiting to hear what Jean had said.
"She said they won't hear of us not coming and that they can't wait to see us. Apparently she'd been trying to call for the last week but it was your old number she had."
"Did she say if their family would be there?" Dean asked, trying to appear casual. Sam nodded.
"Yeah, their two sons will be but their daughter is spending it with her in-laws and seeing them at Christmas."
Dean felt a stab of uncertainty. He could turn on the charm and keep up the act when it was strangers, but the reality was he was never all that comfortable meeting new people especially when he was supposed to be himself. Jean and Toby knew them, knew their secrets, but their sons would probably be told the line they'd used at first about being private detectives. He was sure they were nice people, but that didn't make him any less nervous.
"Hey, come on – it'll be fun. With Jean and Toby for parents I'm sure they're really nice. Besides, Jean says we're family too. She said she'll come find us herself if we didn't show up."
Dean had to grin, knowing full well she probably would do just that. Jean may have been small but she was definitely feisty.
"It really will be fine, Dean."
He looked at Sam and saw that his brother somehow knew exactly why he wasn't as excited about this as Sam was. Their conversation a few weeks previous came back to him, Sam's heartfelt expression as he'd told Dean he knew him better than anyone else in the entire world. Annoyingly, he was right.
Dean still hadn't quite decided if that was a good thing or not.
He coughed, uncomfortable under Sam's sympathetic scrutiny.
"Ok, whatever. It's gonna be wonderful. I hope you realise one thing though."
"We're gonna have to stop off on the way and do some actual shopping now."
Sam winced. Maybe this hadn't been quite such a good idea after all.