Summary: A hunt in a McDonalds...no way. Set straight after 'Wendigo' so no spoilers. Warning for some bad language and I might have indulged my passion for run-on sentences.
'Sleepy Sam' thanks to Adara-chan67 for her made of awesome beta job.
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or the Winchester brothers but they sure as hell fire own me.
Burger Bars and Bullet Wounds - Part One.
It's not that Sam hates McDonalds. He hates clowns, hates Ronald McDonald with his freaky painted face and bright red old lady perm. The burgers are almost appetizing enough to compensate for the soggy, heavily salted fries and Dean always insists on a side order of golden nuggets which do actually taste pretty damn good even though Sam is mildly disgusted by them, unable to stop his brain from whirring away speculating over what part of the chicken the nuggets have actually come from. Oh, yeah, how could he have forgotten? "Golden nuggets; a yummy blend of chicken lips and that little spot right above the chicken's ass hole," or so Dean had told him when Sam had been six years old and too young to know any better. A time when Sam pretty much used to believe everything that came out of Dean's mouth.
And looking back, Dean used to eagerly gobble up all the nuggets from the grease-stained cardboard container with a look of victory on his face when Sam blatantly refused to eat any, his little bottom lip quivering in a Dean, please don't make me way.
So, it's not that Sam hates McDonalds; he just hates the fact that the nearest thing he gets to healthy eating these days is a limp piece of soggy lettuce and a wafer-thin slice of anemic tomato. He can practically hear the slurp, gurgle, slurp of his arteries clogging.
Dean is a different story. Dean is clearly in seventh heaven, ketchup and mayo smeared over his mouth like he's trying for that whole Ronald McDonald clown look and blissful serenity perched on his face as he chows down, seemingly determined as always on loading his stomach until he reaches the point of 'post-Christmas-Dinner-ready-to-burst-ness.'
Sam puckers his lips in a disgusted expression as he watches Dean lean back in his seat, pull up his t-shirt and start patting at his exposed stomach as though it were Old Yeller. "So, you got anything yet?" Sam asks as Dean returns to Hoovering up the rest of his food.
Dean pulls the ravaged remains of his Quarter Pounder out of his condiment-covered mouth and looks momentarily surprised, as though he'd forgotten Sam was sitting on the chair just across the table from him. "Any what?"
"Anything showing up on the EMF?"
"No." Dean replies assuredly and then coolly sticks a hand in his jacket pocket to turn the monitor on. A few seconds later and the thing hasn't clicked once. "But then we should come back tonight."
"Sounds good to me. Uh, Dean, you've got a little..." Sam motions vaguely in the direction of his brother's face.
Dean raises his jacket sleeve and proceeds to rub the ketchup/mayo combo across his cheek and up into his short sideburns. "It gone?"
Sam huffs, eye-rolls, lifts his soda to his mouth, clamps down his lips around the clear bendy straw and snorts. "Yeah dude, it's totally gone."
A haunted McDonalds. Sam wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't found the hunt himself within the creased pages of a Denver newspaper. It had only been a tiny article, almost sidelined into obscurity by several verbose columns speculating whether or not Jennifer Anniston had succumbed to the allure of Botox and joined the ranks of the frozen faced Hollywood elite, along with the obligatory 'before and after' snapshots. The article stated that several staff members working in a local McDonalds restaurant had reported sightings of a shadowy figure hovering above the tables. The restaurant's bright fluorescent ceiling lights had been flickering on and off almost daily and several objects, namely a large spatula and some plastic napkin holders, had been seen moving of their own accord.
The whole flickering lights and moving objects shebang was so classic that it practically screamed poltergeist at Sam but the shadowy figure was something which Sam found a little trickier to stick a label on. Restless spirit, maybe? Death-echo? Surely it couldn't be some form of screwy demon with a craving for a McChicken Sandwich? Jesus, Sam really fucking hoped not.
Dean had been utterly delighted at the prospect of a hunt which involved scoping out a fast-food joint for signs of ectoplasm because Dean will quite happily munch one of those tasty little chocolate-covered donuts with one hand whilst carrying a salt round loaded shotgun in the other, multi-tasking and all that jazz. But Sam had remained stubbornly dissatisfied and nonplussed by the whole concept. "I mean, come on Dean, who haunts a McDonalds anyway? Some acne-ridden teenager who took a nose dive into the deep fat fryer whilst cooking up a batch of onion rings or maybe some disgruntled employee who never earned that fourth star on their name badge and was really fucked off about it?"
"Sammy, you're just pissy that it's not some run-of-the-mill spooky old haunted house with a turn-of-the-century lady in white for you to moon over."
In the end Sam had been reasonable enough to accept that it might not necessarily be the overly colorful McDonalds restaurant—filled with furniture designed by someone on an acid trip—which was the cause of all the supernatural activity but rather the land the building stands on. Four hours spent deep in the racks of a dusty library basement looking through old books with pages as fine as rice paper and Sam had discovered that the site of the restaurant had indeed been a late 17th Century burial ground which had been built over as Denver City expanded. Okay, so maybe the hunt wasn't going to be as much of a let down as he had first thought.
A night hunt often means an afternoon of free time to kick back, relax, drink a beer and throw some darts; at least that's what it means to Dean. Dean had no doubt that for Sam it probably means time for more research or time for doing his pain-in-the-ass little brother routine. Or maybe, more often than not, a mixture of the two.
Sam has been especially grouchy lately, his face scrunched up all the time, like he's just got a whiff of a particularly foul smell and when he's talking to Dean about Dean, there's always a dash of extra-whiny Sammy added to his tone for good measure. Dean, you're such a friggin' pig, can't you eat with your mouth closed? Dean, you've used up all the toilet roll – again. Dean, have you hidden my tampons? Okay, so maybe Sam never actually said the last line but Dean's was still waiting for it to happen, any day now.
Dean desperately wants to find a bar. The safe dark confines of four walls wherein, for a few hours at least, he can be anyone he wants to be. To the hot chick nursing a cocktail at the bar he's a Marine enjoying some rare R&R time, so hustle up, little lady, because shore leave ends soon. To the mid-life-crisis jerk playing pool he's a rookie, never held a pool cue in his life, but he'll still walk away from the table with a swagger in his step and a couple of hundred dollars wedged in his back pocket. To the old guy he stands shoulder to shoulder with at the men's room urinals he's an ear for them to prattle to, he'll listen to them bitch about their wives, nod his head and say, "Amen to that, brother," even though he's never been married and the longest intimate relationship he's ever had has been with his own right hand.
Dean wants to find a bar; he doesn't want to spend the rest of the afternoon hanging around in their motel room, always watching what he says in case he tramples unwittingly onto the subject of Jessica like a blind guy dumped out in the middle of a minefield. Only a week ago he'd made a throwaway comment about how the old lady serving them coffee in a tiny roadside diner smelt overpoweringly of flowers. "Lilacs," Sam had corrected as his face crumpled like a house of cards sent tumbling down. Dean didn't know what the link with Jessica was, he just knew that there was one and somehow he'd gone and put his size tens right in it.
Their motel is the same cheap fleabag joint they always stay in, with rooms available to rent by the hour, broken air conditioning and a television that only picks up two channels - and the reception usually sucks. But then there are still hours of fun to be had with 'guess which actor or actress is hiding behind the snowy picture'. "Dean, there is no way in hell that is Shannon Docherty, it's 'Running Man' so it's gotta be Schwarzenegger." Although the game is generally more entertaining when they've been drinking first.
Sam doesn't argue when Dean mentions he might pay a visit to the bar down the street, just to shoot pool, not to get loaded, not when there's a hunt waiting. Sam trails back to their motel room alone, lies down on sheets that still smell of stale sweat despite the industrial strength powder they've been washed in, and falls asleep, fully dressed, feet hanging off of the end of the bed.
The afternoon passes like many others have before it and like many more still to come. Dean drinks a couple of beers and, with his tongue practically dripping honey, sweet-talks a pretty young thing into a fun and frolics session in the back of the Impala. Sam sleeps, restlessly, twisted in his sheets like a corn roll, lost in dreams plagued with images of Jess, fire and death. The three walk hand in hand now, seeing any one of them automatically means thinking of the others.
Shafts of hazy orange light from a rapidly setting sun tiptoe through the motel room window and pad lazily across Sam's face. He opens his eyes, yawns and stretches, rolls onto his side. Her soft blonde curls are spread, fanned out across the pillow next to him. She's wearing her white nightgown—the one with the lace trim, that's short and tight—and makes her look like an angel, albeit a naughty one. She's still asleep and he lifts his hand, tender fingers tracing the contours of her face.
Abruptly, Jessica's eyes fly wide open and she's no longer laid at his side but on the ceiling above him, pinned and bleeding. Sam gasps and gurgles as his lungs heave for air. Her huge eyes rapidly pool with tears—and a look of pure horror. Her mouth opens, gaping, as she whispers, "Why, Sam?"
Sam jerks awake, bolts upright and pants breathlessly, like an eighty-year-old with chronic emphysema. It takes him a few minutes to slow his breathing to a point where he no longer feels like he's about to hyperventilate himself to death. A few more minutes and his eyes have scanned the entire expanse of the motel room. A normal motel room. No Jess burning on the ceiling, just a faint water stain and swirled patterns embedded in the plaster. No Dean but Dean's safe and sound, simply drinking beer or getting laid somewhere. Sam lets another handful of minutes trickle though his fingers before he lifts himself off of the bed and lurches into the bathroom, flicking on the light as he leans over the toilet bowl, preparing to say hello to his McDonalds lunch for a second time in the same day.
Dean turns his key in the lock and pushes the door ajar with a gentle shove. The two cold beers he has enjoyed have loosened him up nicely and the young woman he's spent most of the afternoon with has helped loosen him up a hell of a lot more.
He stands still for a moment holding up the doorframe, wanting to test the water before he goes ahead and jumps right in. This particular good mood is too fine an occasion to waste and so Sam is the yardstick he'll measure his decision by; 'bitchy little brother' Dean goes back out, 'well rested affable little brother' Dean goes in.
The first thing he sees is Sam tapping away at his laptop and Dean's Cheshire Cat grin wavers. He hadn't realized until this moment just how badly he had been hoping to find Sam asleep, for his little brother to have gotten himself some much needed rest. But Sam's a big boy now and Dean's not the 'tucking in at night' type so he lets the issue drop without even having vocalized it.
Seeing as Sam hasn't instantly shot Dean down with a grumble fired in his direction, Dean rolls into the room, bringing instant chaos to Sam's order. He removes his jacket and throws it towards one of the chairs but misses and it lands in a heap on the floor. He kicks off his boots so that they fly like guided missiles towards Sam's head. Sam doesn't even look away from his laptop, he simply ducks and the shoes thud against the far wall. Dean hurls himself onto his bed, settling there, propped up by his pillows like King Canute. "You dig anything up?"
Sam glances over, his face lit by the bluish glare of the laptop screen, and he looks old in the sickly wan light. Exhausted and haunted, a look he's been carrying for a good few months now, since leaving Stanford, since Jessica. "Kinda. There's a whole heap of folks meant to have been buried on that site, Dean. And the majority would have been buried in unmarked graves, paupers' graves."
Awesome, Dean thinks, discouraged. "Anything else we could go on?" And yet ever hopeful.
"What, besides the hundred plus unmarked graves? There are no real burial records and any one of them could be a restless spirit but...there was a murder."
Dean's eyebrows rise, moderately interested now. "On that site?" Dean prompts.
"In the McDonalds."
"No way." Jackpot!
"A young woman, Melissa Hornby, in 1996. She had an argument with her boyfriend and half a dozen witnesses saw him blow her away. Case like that, with all those witnesses, they threw the book at him, he's serving life in prison."
Dean puffs up his cheeks and blows out a breath, long and exaggerated. Imagines the scene; the bustling McDonalds filled with loved-up couples, students, families with young children all busily consuming their food and then 'bang' — some happy freakin' meal all right. "Man, I knew your geek research superpowers would come in useful one day."
"They come in useful most days, Dean."
Dean grins, amused, but doesn't disagree. "Well, then, let's gear up and go hunt this sucker down."
They prepare in silence. Dean checks their weapons, efficiently and with undivided concentration because Dad had always entrusted him with that particular job and Dad might not be here right now but Dean will be damned if he doesn't do the job and do it well. Even from a young age, Dad had made sure it was hammered home to Dean that a misfiring weapon could cost him his life, could cost him Sammy's life, but that would never be allowed to happen, not on Dean's watch. Dean works busily, frowning once at the sluggish slide on one of the semi-automatics before proceeding to swab out a build-up of crud with a rag.
Sam rummages through their packs pulling out a large container of salt picked up during their last supermarket visit. Once that's crossed off the list he starts gathering together items required for a banishing ritual because like it or not, unless they are planning on packing a JCB digger truck, there is no way they are getting to salt and burn bones which are buried deep beneath a garish tiled floor and God knows however many tons of concrete.
With that done, Sam disappears into the bathroom to take a hot shower. By the time he comes out, feeling half human again, Dean is seated on his bed, still cleaning weapons but with a huge pizza box open in front of him and a blob of melted cheese stuck to his chin. The pizza smells good and Sam's suddenly hungry, especially considering he ate lunch but then didn't. "We eat, then we hunt," Dean mumbles around a mouthful of mushed up pizza, although it sounds more like "mu-meat, hun we munt," to Sam.
"Tell me there are some vegetables on that pizza?" Sam asks, promptly wishing he hadn't as a sliced mushroom pings off his forehead. "Thanks, Dean."
Please review and let me know what you think.
Part Two to follow shortly.