Author's note: A little gentle parody. Set vaguely in early season four, but no real spoilers for anything past "Lazarus Rising." Not mine, etc. On-A-Dare did a lovely beta for me.
Even in the face of an impending apocalypse, some days you just need a break.
There's nothing too pressing on the radar. No jobs or signs or leads, no missions from God or dealings with demons. No reason not to spend an extra twenty-four hours in the latest Middle-of-Nowhere-ville they've found themselves in. The motel is reasonably clean and reasonably quiet, and there's wi-fi access and a decent diner across the street.
After lunch, Dean says something about sparkplugs and timing and finding a decent auto supply place. Sam walks into the town, finds the public library, and spends the day reading paperback mysteries in which everything is neatly solved in 250 pages. It's as much about needing to give each other space for a few hours as it is about the Impala or the books.
A little before 8:00, Sam's reading is interrupted by an apologetic librarian who says she's sorry but they're closing soon. Sam thanks her, puts the books back where he found them, and goes back to the motel. He stops at the diner to pick up dinner, and lets himself back into the room.
There's a certain amount of wariness from either of them when a door opens, whether they're opening it or in the room it opens into. But Dean is lying flat on his back on his bed, staring at the ceiling, and he only glances over briefly when Sam comes in.
"Dean? You okay?"
"Yeah, fine," Dean says. He sits up slowly. He nods towards the bags in Sam's hand, and Sam tosses him his burger, then sits down at the rickety table by the door.
Sam's halfway through his own dinner when he realizes Dean is just sitting on the edge of the bed, holding the bag from the diner.
Ignoring red meat.
With extra onions.
And staring at his younger brother.
"Dean? You sure everything's . . .?"
"Yeah, everything's fine," Dean says. "I'm . . . I'm fine."
"Okay." Sam takes another bite of his own burger, and looks for something to say. "So, ah, how's your baby?"
Dean drops the bag. "Baby? What baby? I don't have any babies."
"Ahh, the Impala? Who you refer as your baby about twelve times a day?"
"Oh, the Impala, right. She's good. She's great, even. Got her all squared away. Thanks."
"Good." Sam goes back to eating his burger. Dean goes back to watching Sam eat his burger. "Dean, are you sure—"
"I don't want to kiss you, man," Dean says, suddenly.
Sam learned a long time ago that it's best to just expect anything and everything, with the lives they live. But that . . . that was something he never expected to hear Dean say.
"Ummmmmm, well," Sam says, "I don't want to kiss you, either. So, um, so I'm really not sure how that's a problem."
"Right. Right." Dean lies back down on the bed, then sits up again. "And I don't want any little sisters in the backseat."
Sam blinks. "You're making birth order a condition of who you hook up with where?"
"No, our sisters," Dean clarifies.
"Okay, you remember the part where we don't have any, right?" Sam asks.
"There are hundreds of them," Dean says weakly.
"Dean, man . . . what's wrong?"
"I don't know, Sammy. It's like . . . like I'm thinking these thoughts, and they don't make any sense, and I can't stop. It's . . . it's horrible."
Sam frowns, and then asks carefully, "Is it—is it hell? Are you, like, having flashbacks?"
"Flashbacks, flashforwards, flashsideways, one flash-frickin'-diagonal." Dean pauses. "That one didn't entirely suck."
"Dean, maybe you better tell me what you did while I was gone."
Dean shrugs. "Nothing special. Worked on the Impala, had a beer, watched a little TV, looked a couple things up on the computer."
Sam (correctly) translates both of the last of these as porn. So, yeah, nothing out of the ordinary for Dean.
"And when did the . . . thoughts start?"
"I don't know, man. They just did." Dean reaches out and grabs Sam's sleeve. "You know I never had an affair with Jess, right?"
"With Jess?" Sam asks. "My Jess? Dean, you didn't even know her."
"Right. So there was no affair. You know that, right?" Dean asks, sounding alarmingly concerned.
"Yeah, Dean, I know."
Dean nods, lets go of Sam's arm, and lies back down to stare at the ceiling again.
There's no reply. Dean twitches a little, and says something that sounds like, "Jesus Christ, not with Bela again, please."
Sam watches him for a moment, waiting for a response. When Dean doesn't say anything, Sam grabs his phone and steps out into the parking lot to call Bobby.
"Think I might have a problem here," he says, after a perfunctory exchange of greetings. "I don't know. Dean's acting weird. He said . . . he said he didn't want to kiss me."
There's a long moment of silence before Bobby answers. "And that's a problem, is it?" Sam can almost hear the look on his face.
"God, no, no, not like that—nothing like that, no. No. Absolutely not," Sam says. "It's just kind of weird that he felt the need to announce it, you know? And then he started talking about little sisters and how he never had an affair with Jessica."
"Aw, crap," Bobby says. "What have you boys been up to today?"
"Nothing special. There's no case right now. I went the library, Dean stayed at the motel, worked on the car."
"He been on a computer today?"
"All right," Bobby says. "See if you can get to the browser history. But whatever you do, Sam, don't click on anything."
"Right," Sam say, letting himself back into the room.
Dean is still staring at the ceiling. He's muttering something about not wanting to be a chick. Sam doesn't ask, just opens up the laptop.
"Okay," he says to Bobby, "looks like the last site he visited was something called, ah, wellendowed Japanese hotties. Before that—"
"Dammit," Bobby says.
"The idiot's probably contacted a computer virus."
"He's what?" Sam asks.
"Mystical variety. They take some pretty significant power, but you pick one up, you're thinkin' whatever the virus designer wants you thinkin'. And that's exactly the sort of site where Dean would manage to pick one up."
"So . . . someone designed a virus that's, what, specifically targeted to Dean and—"
"You better hope not. Specifically targeted viruses are a heap of trouble. Before you know it, you'll have mothmen in the basement and people paintin' flags."
"Dad took care of the mothman years ago, Bobby."
"Forget it. Just ask Dean what he sees."
"Okay. Um, Dean? Hey," he says, managing to get his brother's attention away from the ceiling for a moment. "Hey, can you tell me what you see?"
"Twelve point Verdana on a white background," Dean says. "It burns."
"Right," says Sam. "Um, Bobby? He said something about Verdana on a white background. That mean anything to you?"
"Hey, is that Bobby?" Dean asks, sitting up again. "Ask him if it's true about him and Ellen."
"And now he's asking about you and Ellen. Bobby, please tell me you have some idea of what's going on here."
"He's downloading fanfic," Bobby says.
"Oh," say Sam, realization dawning. "Well, that would explain the little sisters."
"So, what do I do, Bobby?"
"Keep an eye on him. And keep him off the computer. I'll see what I can find on removing malicious brain programming. And I'll call you when I know how to debug your brother."
Sam hangs up.
"Hey, Sammy, you ever heard of a place called Sunnydale?"
Dean is so gonna owe him for this.