The Night Dean Winchester Ruined His
Date's Prom (But Got Laid Anyway),
or How Lyla Durand Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bad Boys
"So I take it that was your ex-boyfriend?" Dean asked, as Lyla stood stunned, watching Bradley retreat into the woods.
She managed to nod.
"And was he a zombie when you two were together, or did that happen later on?"
Lyla stared back at Dean, blankly. That was a particularly bizarre and badly timed joke. Or it was some kind of slang from wherever it was he lived before he moved here. "What?"
Dean picked himself up off the ground. "Zombie? You know, Prom Night of the Living Dead and 'braaaaaaaains' and all that?"
Lyla only managed to ask, "What?" again.
"Your oh-so-charming ex back there? I'm pretty sure he's a zombie."
"And when you say 'zombie,' you mean . . ."
"Reanimated human corpse."
"That's not even possi—"
"Okay, sweetheart, we kind of don't have time for me to ease you into the whole 'there's a lot of freaky weird shit out there' thing. You ever heard the expression 'don't wound what you can't kill'?"
"Well, that's especially true of supernatural shit. So I need to go find that thing and kill it, before it comes back to kill us."
"You're going to kill Bradley?" Lyla asked, finally latching onto something.
"No, I'm going to kill the zombie that used to be Bradley. There's a difference. Bradley doesn't live there anymore."
"Dean, look. I know, trust me I know, that Bradley wasn't exactly acting like himself this evening, but he's not . . . that's just not possible."
"Oh, believe me, it is. So is a lot of other weird shit. None of which I have time to explain right now."
Lyla frowned. "So, you're . . . you want me to believe you're some kind of monster hunting expert person?"
"I really don't care what you believe. But right now, you are gonna go back in that gym—"
"Like hell I am," Lyla said. There was nothing on Earth that could induce her to go back to that prom.
"I am not going back to the prom. Especially not alone. There's no way."
"Why the hell not?" Dean asked.
"Because it's just too humiliating."
Seriously, did Dean know how to pick them, or what?
"You're insane," he told Lyla.
"You want me to believe that my ex-boyfriend is a zombie, and that you hunt zombies, but I'm the insane one?"
"Your ex-boyfriend is a zombie, whether you believe it or not." Dean was losing all patience with this conversation. "And I need to go deal with it before he hurts someone, which, given the whole Fatal Attraction thing he had going on there, is probably gonna be you, sweetheart."
"Stop calling me 'sweetheart,'" Lyla said.
Because, yeah, that was clearly the most relevant point.
"Look, let's say you're right," Lyla said.
"Which I am."
"Fine. If that's the case, if Bradley is a . . ." there was a long pause, and Dean could see her trying to make herself say it, ". . . zombie, well, then, it's not like anyone in there is going to know what to do if he turns up looking for me again. And if he's coming for me, then I kind of want to stay with the guy who says he knows what to do about it."
She rubbed at her wrist, and Dean could already see bruises forming there. "Look," Lyla said, "you may be crazy, and you may be a jerk, but at least you haven't hurt me. I'll take my chances."
Dean sighed. He really did not have time for this. Besides, she made a good point. If Bradley the zombie was looking for her . . . he might come to them, rather than Dean having to look all over town for his undead ass.
Hey, Dad had never said anything about not using your prom date as bait. Besides, it wasn't like he was gonna let anything happen to her.
"Fine," Dean agreed. "But you do exactly what I tell you to do, unless you wanna wind up the bride of the zombie prom king, understand?"
Lyla nodded. "Okay. So, um, what do we do first?"
"First we find a phone. I need to make a call."
Lyla sat on the bench next to the pay phone in the school lobby, listening to Dean's half of a conversation and trying to make it make some sort of sense.
She was having limited success on that front.
"Hey, Dad. No, prom's great. Yeah, I think so. She looks amazing, actually. Um, her mom took some. Yes, sir, I'll ask about getting copies, sure."
Lyla looked up at him. Were they talking about . . . pictures? Was this really the right time to be talking about prom pictures?
"Right. Actually, Dad, got a quick question for you. If I needed to kill a zombie, how would I go about that?"
This was surreal. Lyla, a little reluctantly, finally let go of the idea that hidden film crews probably were going to jump out any second now, and this would all be an elaborate hoax.
"Just one, I'm pretty sure," Dean was saying. "Jesus, Dad, no, I can handle it. Sorry, sir. But, come on, Dad, I'm eighteen. No, sir. Yes, sir, of course, I know, but I'm pretty sure I can handle it on my own. I just don't have the resources to do my own research right now. Yes, I can wait. Hey."
It took Lyla a moment to realize this last was directed at her. "Yes?"
"You got another quarter?"
Lyla dug around in her purse till she found another one. Her mother was a big believer in always carrying enough change to make a half dozen phone calls if you had to.
"Thanks," Dean said, dropping it in the phone.
"So that's your dad?"
"So, what, this is like some kind of family thing for you?"
"Family business," Dean said. "Only, you know, without health insurance and paid vacation time. Yes, sir?" Dean said, turning his attention away from Lyla again. "'Nail him back into his grave bed'? Well, I'm not sure he has one. Apparently he just disappeared a few months ago and turned up tonight as a zombie. No, sir, I know. I just – wild dogs? Really?"
Lyla looked up, and then back down. She didn't, she really didn't, want to know what wild dogs had to do with anything.
"Silver? Silver I can do," Dean was saying. "Well, I stabbed him earlier. With a silver knife. No, the one you got from Caleb last summer, actually. It was just the shoulder, but it seemed to bother him. Silver bullets to the heart should—wait, and then set fire to it, or set fire to it instead?
There was a long pause, while Dean listened to something.
"Okay, I'll try shooting it first, and then burn it either way. Salt, too, or – well, yeah, always better safe than sorry. Yes, I'll call you if I need anything else. Yes, sir. You can tell Sam the sandwiches were great. Okay. Thanks, Dad."
Dean hung up the phone.
"So," Lyla said, before Dean could say anything. "You have to go find my ex-boyfriend who is now a zombie, shoot him with silver bullets, and/or set fire to him?"
"And this is like a normal Saturday night for you?"
"Honestly? This is better than most." Dean paused in the doorway of the school, and drew his gun, looking out into the parking lot before he held the door for her.
"That's another thing," she said. "Why did you bring a gun to the prom?"
"I didn't really. It was in the Impala."
"You keep a handgun in the trunk of your car?" Lyla asked.
Dean just grinned at her, and headed for the car.
Dean had to work to keep from laughing at the way Lyla's eyes widened at the weapons cache, when he opened the trunk of the car. "So," he said, "what do you know about guns?"
"Um, that getting shot with one is bad."
"Right," Dean said. He had expected as much, and he handed her a knife. "That's silver. Try to aim for the heart, and make sure the person you're stabbing ain't me."
"Don't give me any ideas," she told him, but she took the knife. She looked puzzled, though, when Dean handed her the canister of rock salt.
"Trust me," he said, before she could ask. "We might need it."
"Oh, and you need to lose that crown, princess," he added. "I don't need every damn bit of moonlight bouncing off your head like a damn mirror ball."
Lyla's eyes narrowed a little, but she didn't say anything. Just took off her headband and tossed it into the trunk amid the holy water and the shot gun shells. "Anything else?" she asked.
"Just be careful," Dean said. "Let's go."
For several moments, they just walked, through the woods, following the direction Bradley had seemed to be going.
Dean stole a look over at Lyla, and watched her flinch. He wasn't sure why – she didn't say anything about it – until he saw it again, and realized that the trees and brambles were catching at her dress and scratching the bare skin on her arms and shoulders. She really wasn't dressed for hiking.
"Here," he said, shrugging out of his jacket and putting it over her shoulders.
"You don't have to –" she started.
"Tones down the red," he said, quickly.
"Thanks," she said, slipping her arms into the sleeves.
After another moment, she said, "So, um . . . how does someone wind up a zombie, anyway?"
"Magic. A lot of it. And not the rabbit in a hat kind. This is dark stuff."
"Look, this is insane. There's no way Bradley knew how to do that. There's no way Bradley even knew that he could have known how to do that."
"Well, it was probably somebody else, really. My money's on the blonde he was at the prom with."
"Shannon? She's what, like a witch? No way. I . . . okay, yeah, so there are some stories about her grandmother being a witch, but no one takes them literally. She was just a really mean old woman."
"Yeah, well, let's take 'em literally for a moment. You know this Shannon chick. That seem like something she would do if she could."
"If she could . . . maybe? She was always a little obsessed with Bradley, and she never got him. And well, he did show up as her prom date, and he said he did it because he owed her, when I asked him why."
"You asked him why?"
"Hey, I didn't know he was a psycho zombie at the time," Lyla said defensively.
"Okay, let's assume she did it. She has to be keeping him somewhere. You know of any place she'd have access to that would be quiet, and remote, and secure?"
"Um, well, the Costas have a boathouse out at the lake."
"And that's through these woods?"
"Let's check it out, then," Dean said.
Under other circumstances, Lyla thought it would almost be romantic, walking in the woods in the moonlight.
Of course, those other circumstances required different shoes. And different clothes. And different company. And the removal of the whole hunting for a zombie thing from the equation.
But the moonlight was nice.
"Did Shannon, like, kill him?" Lyla asked.
"Maybe?" Dean said. "Maybe she was just there at the right time, when he died."
"God, I hope she didn't kill him," Lyla said. "He . . . he really was a good guy. He totally didn't deserve any of this."
"Good guy, huh?"
"So, if you don't mind me asking, why'd you break up with him?" Dean asked. "I mean, the guy still seems pretty into you."
"It . . . He was at college, and I never saw him, and he's really bad at calling or writing, and I don't know. It wasn't anything really messy or mean, it was just . . . time to move on, you know?"
"Yeah," Dean said. But he didn't seem inclined to elaborate, so after waiting for a moment in case he did, Lyla changed the subject.
"Do we have a plan?"
"I'm gonna find the bastard, shoot it, salt it, and burn the corpse. You're gonna stay out of the way, and try not to die. Or faint. Or any girly shit like that."
"That's the whole plan?"
"You don't think maybe that's less of an actual plan and more of an outline?" she asked.
"It's a plan with room for improvisation," Dean said. "Seriously, sweetheart, all you need to worry about is not doing something stupid."
Lyla looked down at her now ruined $300 prom dress, and over at her only-asked-her-on-a-bet date, and up ahead, where the lake was now just visible through the trees. "First, for the last time, stop calling me 'sweetheart,'" she said. "Second, I'm not exactly batting a thousand on not doing stupid things right now."
"Yeah, well, it's the bottom of the ninth, two outs and the bases are loaded. Hit this next one out of the park, sweetheart, or the game's over."
There was a small amount of mist rising off the lake when they reached the edge of the woods. The clouds drifted past a nearly full moon, and the building Lyla identified as the Costas' boathouse had a slightly rundown, dilapidated look going on.
All in all, it was such a damn cliché that Dean found himself vaguely annoyed.
"I'm kind of waiting to get attacked by a guy in a hockey mask," Lyla said, and a single owl hooted in the distance.
Dean rolled his eyes. "Well, I guess you're lucky we haven't had sex yet."
"Come on, it's like a death sentence in those movies. Have sex and die?"
"Dean, if the key to staying alive is not sleeping with you, I'm going to have a long and healthy life."
"Hey, it's okay as long as you wait till the monster's dead."
"That is never, ever going to happen. So let's just wrap up this little field trip to Elm Street and go home."
Dean took one more moment to leer at her, and then his smile shifted to something more feral. "Right. Stay back, stay down, stay out of the way, and do whatever I tell you." He waited until she had nodded, and then started around the shoreline to the boathouse.
Up close, it didn't look as deserted as it had from a distance. There were clear signs of recent activity, things looked recently disturbed. The door, however, was chained and padlocked shut.
"Damn," Dean said. It would probably be easier to break the door down than get through that chain. Unless he wanted to go all the way back to the Impala for bolt cutters first. He supposed he could try shooting the lock, but silver bullets were gonna be crap for that. Besides, that sort of thing worked way better in the movies than in real life.
"Try 17-9-28," Lyla said, behind him.
"The combination," she said, stepping past him, and picking up the padlock. "17-9-28." The lock clicked open, and she pulled the chain free of the door handles.
"How the hell did you know that?" Dean asked.
"Shannon and I used to be friends," she said. "Are we going in or what?"
"Stay behind me," Dean said.
Inside, it was very clear that the place had been used recently. And not just for the storing of boats in the off season.
"Oh, yeah," Dean said, looking at the rumpled cot in the corner. "This is definitely a zombie love nest."
And while he knew that the whole concept was gross, and that it wasn't exactly a great line, he expected some kind of response. "I said," he began, turning around, and then stopped.
Bradley the zombie stood in the doorway, one hand over Lyla's mouth, and the other at her throat.
"I really appreciate you bringing her back to me," Bradley told Dean. "I'm still going to kill you, of course, but I'll try not to let you suffer. Much."
Dean took a step forward, and Bradley tilted Lyla's head back at an even less comfortable angle. "I wouldn't, if I was you," Bradley said. "It wouldn't be hard to break her neck."
"Yeah?" Dean asked. "Thought she was supposed to be the love of your unlife. Killing her hardly seems like a good way to win her over."
"You aren't going to risk it, though. Are you?"
"Come on, let her go," Dean said. "Don't you need to go rule the prom with your queen?"
"Shannon?" Bradley asked, and laughed. Lyla shivered. Zombies laughs were just plain creepy. "Shannon has been useful, I guess. But she's not the one I want. Now," he said, tilting Lyla's head back even further, "you are going to—"
"'Useful'?" someone demanded, and though Lyla couldn't see the new arrival, she'd have known Shannon's brand of indignant anywhere. "'Useful'? If it wasn't for me, you ungrateful ass, you'd be in a grave right now, or they never would have found you after you drowned. I'll give you 'useful.'"
Shannon stomped into the boathouse, still in her prom queen crown and sash, her hands on her hips.
"You maybe wanna get out of here," Dean told her. But there was no point in telling Shannon anything she didn't want to hear.
"You promised," Shannon said. "I'm the one who found you floating in the lake and brought you back. And you promised you would stay with me. And go to the prom with me. It was supposed to be my perfect prom, and instead you disappeared in the middle, and then I find you here with her?"
"I lied," Bradley said.
Lyla looked over at Dean, and really hoped he was improvising some kind of new plan. From the way the edges of her vision were getting blurry, Lyla suspected she was not getting enough oxygen.
"You miserable bastard," Shannon said. She stomped further into the boathouse, and pulled a book out from under the tarp that covered the boat. "I'll show you."
"Seriously, sister," Dean said, "you should go."
At the same time, Bradley took a step towards Shannon, dragging Lyla along with him. "What are you doing?"
"Looking for the spell to undo it," Shannon snapped. "I didn't bring you back from the dead for Lyla."
Bradley took another step towards Shannon, and finally let go of Lyla as he did.
Her knees wouldn't hold, though, and as she fell, Lyla's only thought was, My God, Shannon is an idiot.
My God, this Shannon chick is an idiot, Dean thought. But Bradley was right about one thing, she was useful. Right now, she was one hell a useful distraction, one which gave Dean a second or two to think.
Bradley could move, and he was on Shannon even before Lyla had completely hit the ground, throwing her into the wall, and then turned toward Dean.
Giving Dean a clear shot.
He fired twice, and Bradley went down mid-lunge. Dean stood over the re-corpsed corpse, and fired two more bullets into his chest. Just to make sure the bastard was really dead.
Well, and partly because he had pissed Dean off.
He looked over at Shannon just long enough to establish that she was neither dead nor a threat, and then turned his attention back to his date.
"Hey," he said, dropping back on his heels next to her, "don't try to sit up yet, okay? You fainted."
"No, I didn't," she said. "I got half-strangled by a zombie. I might have passed out, but I did not faint." Dean positioned his hands to catch her if she passed out again, but let her sit up. "Is he dead? Or re-dead, I guess?"
"Yeah. I mean, we'll still burn the corpse, to be sure, but I think it's pretty much over."
"Except for burning the body, right?" she asked.
"Well, yeah. But that's mostly precautionary." He took a final look at Shannon (still out), and then helped Lyla up.
"Get the salt and the gas can, would you?" he asked, and hefted zombie Bradley up onto his shoulder to carry outside. No point in burning a building if you could avoid it – too many questions got asked.
"This part is going to be really gross, isn't it?" Lyla asked, as Dean dumped Bradley's body by the lake. He took the can of gasoline and began pouring its contents over the zombie.
"Yep," Dean said. "Salt?"
She handed him the canister of rock salt. "And what's the salt for?"
"It's a purifier, neutralizes a lot of this stuff. There's a lighter in my jacket pocket," Dean said, and waited while Lyla found it and handed it to him. "You might wanna step back a little."
That dress would go up like a torch.
Lyla went up to stand on the dock, and Dean lit the zombie pyre.
He waited till it was going good, and then went to stand with Lyla.
"You okay?" he asked.
She shook her head. "Not remotely. But I will be. I think."
"Okay. I'm gonna check on our other problem," he said, jerking his head toward the boathouse. "Wait here. Scream if you need anything."
Lyla watched Dean until he vanished into the boathouse, and then looked back at what was left of her ex-boyfriend.
It really wasn't the ending he deserved, and she felt like she ought to say something to mark his life, and his death . . . and his undeath, and his . . . redeath? But she had no idea what.
And then her attention was drawn by Shannon's shrill voice, coming from the boathouse. "You give that back. It's mine! It took my grandmother years to find all those, and that's the only copy! Give it back!"
Dean came back out of the boathouse with Shannon storming along in his wake. He was carrying something, though it took Lyla a moment to recognize it as the book Shannon had pulled out from under the tarp earlier.
"I said give that back! It was my grandmother's, and she left it to me."
"Yeah, well, find a different family heirloom," Dean said.
"I need that! I can't do anything without it. I—NO!" she screamed, as Dean lobbed the book down off the pier onto Bradley's corpse.
Shannon started back down the dock, clearly hoping to rescue her spellbook before it completely burned. Dean reached out to catch her arm, but missed.
But Lyla had no trouble shoving her into the lake, tiara and sash and all.
Dean, Lyla was pleased to see, looked slightly startled. "I've wanted to do that for years," Lyla confessed. She looked down at the splashing, struggling, swearing Shannon. "I was kind of hoping it would melt her. The wicked witch of Washington High, you know?"
Shannon, spitting out both lake water and insults, managed to get her feet under her, and waded out of the lake. She had lost the tiara, and one of her shoes, and she looked just a little deranged. "I am going to rip you both—"
Dean calmly leveled his gun at her. "This is the last time I'm gonna give you this advice. You really should go."
Shannon looked for a moment like she was going to do something else truly stupid, and then she hobbled off to her car and drove off.
"We should probably get out of here, too," Dean said to Lyla.
She took one last look at what had been Bradley, and then nodded.
Dean looked down at his watch. "We might make it back in time for the last dance," he said.
Lyla, helplessly and possibly even a little hysterically, began to laugh.
They didn't talk much – or at all, really – on the way back to the high school. Dean told her to watch out for a tree root or a rock once or twice, and she nodded.
Dean heard Lyla's sigh of relief when they came out of the woods and saw the Impala. He would have sighed, too, if he'd been alone. But not in front of her.
"Hey, look," he said, clearing his throat a little, because damn this was awkward, but he was pretty sure he owed her at least this much. "I'm sorry. For, you know, everything."
Lyla shrugged. "Well, I always said I wanted a memorable prom night. Looks like I got one."
"Yeah," Dean agreed. "Um, I kind of need to ask you not to tell anyone about all this, too."
She laughed again, though without the edge of hysteria he'd heard when she laughed at the lake, thank God. "Dean, who the hell would believe me if I tried?"
He grinned a little. "Well, yeah. There's that. But still."
"I won't tell anyone you saved me from my zombie ex-boyfriend," she said, raising a hand like she was a girl scout or about to take the witness stand or something. "I promise."
There was a slightly awkward pause, and then he reached past her to open the passenger side door. "I guess I should take you home," he said. Or at least, that was what he started to say, but he only got as far as take before she kissed him, her fingers in his hair and her tongue in his mouth. Dean backed her up against the Impala, and it was obvious even before her hands found the waistband of his jeans that it was the sort of kiss that was leading to something else.
Dean stepped back, just for a second. "Thought this was never, ever gonna happen," he said.
"Yeah, well, a lot of things I thought were never, ever going to happen have happened tonight. What's one more?"
"Hey, no argument here, sweetheart," he said, leaning back toward her.
She put a hand up to his chest to stop him. "Lyla," she said, firmly.
"Lyla," he repeated, and slid his jacket down off her shoulders.
John Winchester was not surprised when his elder son waltzed in at half-past two in the morning, grinning and whistling. The zombie was history, no problem. The prom had been great, thanks, and yeah, he'd ask Lyla about copies of those pictures on Monday. He was kind of worn out, though, and he was gonna hit the hay. He'd tell Dad everything in the morning.
Nor was John surprised when he didn't see Dean at all the following morning. If either of his boys was a morning person, it was Sam. Even as a kid, Dean would sleep till 10:00 if John let him. Now that he was a teenager, well, he would get up without complaint if he needed to, but left to his own devices, Dean usually slept well past noon.
But John was a little surprised when he went out to check the supplies in the Impala after lunch. He always did, after every hunt, to see what needed to be replaced or repaired. Nothing broken, that he saw. Canisters for salt and gas needed refilling, and they were going to need to make some more silver bullets. And . . . what the hell was that?
Surely Dean hadn't . . . he wouldn't have.
John walked slowly back into the house, and found Dean sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee and eating cereal straight out of the box.
John dropped the rhinestone headband onto the table in front of Dean.
"Is there anything you want to tell me about that hunt last night?"
Author's note: I have, I know, taken some liberties with how to kill zombies in the SPN 'verse. However, in "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things," Sam found a variety of lore, and as there are any number of stories from all over about the undead, I think it's fair to say that perhaps different zombies are killed different ways.