Disclaimer: The re-enactment belongs to Kripke. The original llama moment? All mine.
Unbeta'd. Yikes! All errors are mine, mine I say!
Dedicated: To my real life hero - my husband.
Time Line: Between Provenance and Salvation.
Sam fidgeted in his chair trying to get comfortable. They'd rid Amanda Chillen's house of a particularly nasty poltergeist the night before while he played decoy. The plan had worked like a charm, but left him bruised and sore. So, Dean had dropped Sam off at a small, local coffee shop and he had gone to replenish their supplies. That was thirty minutes ago and already Sam's back was protesting the hardback chair.
Thunder rolled as rain came down in sheets. Water filled the streets, the drainage system barely able to keep it from turning into a flash flood. Hail clinked off cars parked outside and plunked noisily on the café roof. Lightning seared the sky, thunder following closely on its heels. The lights inside the shop flickered.
His laptop sputtered, and then recovered. "Phew, that was close," he muttered under his breath. Opting to unplug the computer and work from the battery alone, Sam saved his file. He took a sip of latte leaning back in his chair to stretch. He glanced around the café. A couple sat in the corner sharing knowing looks and smiles. A balding man in a suit had his nose buried in his Blackberry. It was the young woman in the back, frantically doing something to her computer that caught his attention.
"No. No, no, no, no, no," she groaned in litany. "Please, no."
He swallowed another sip of his drink, turning to look out the window again. No sign of his brother. Sam's attention was drawn back to the blonde. One hand was pounding on the keyboard; the other dialing her cell phone. He slid the laptop into his messenger bag, slinging it over his shoulder. It looked like she could use assistance, and since Dean wasn't here yet, it couldn't hurt for him to look.
She didn't notice his approach. "You know, technology and violence aren't good bedfellows," he said. She looked up – way up – at him, her eyes open wide. He'd obviously startled her. Sam resisted the urge to sigh. He was accustomed to his height intimidating people and did his best to look smaller when he interviewed witnesses. There were times he thought his shoulders might become permanently hunched and his hands forever glued inside his pockets. When people were sitting and he was standing, however, there wasn't much he could do to make it better. "You sound like you could use some help."
"I, uh, I could," she said. "I've been trying to get in touch with my techie friend, Joe, but he's not answering. Tell me you know something about computers." The blonde gestured to the empty chair at the table and Sam sat down.
He smiled, placing his bag on the floor. "I know a little something."
"Thank, God," she said, returning his smile and holding out her hand. "Tanya."
"Well, Sam," Tanya explained, "it turned off when the lights flickered and it won't come back on. The lights and the fan work, but it isn't even trying to boot up and the screen is black."
"May I?" Sam asked, gesturing towards the computer.
"Please," Tanya said, leaning back in her chair, holding out both arms as an invitation.
He turned the computer around, held the button, and powered it off. He waited thirty seconds, tossing the woman a smile in reassurance, and tried powering it back on. The fan whirred, the lights worked, but it didn't boot. Across the table from him, Tanya sniggered. He lifted an eyebrow. "What?"
"Sorry, sorry," she apologized, "it's just, I've tried that twenty times already."
Sam chuckled. "Hey, it's the universal fix-all. I had to try it."
"Sure, sure," Tanya said, attempting to turn the laptop around. "Thanks for trying."
"I'm not done yet," he said, waving her off. "I've got a couple more tricks."
"I just bet you do," Tanya replied. Sam's head shot up and he felt the red heat climbing up his face at her suggestive smile. He rubbed a hand on the back of his neck, clearing his throat. Then, turning his attention back to the woman's computer, he removed the battery. This time when Sam hit the power button, the laptop obediently booted up. "Oh my God, you did it!"
Tanya was up and around the table before Sam had time to finish plugging the battery back in. She wrapped her arms around him, squeezing tightly. He bit back a groan as she pressed on sore bruises. He did have some dignity after all. A low chuckle sounded from his left, whipping his head around. There stood his brother looking slightly the worse for wear and very wet. Hazel eyes danced in amusement. "I see you've made a friend, Sammy."
Dean was enveloped in residual enthusiasm as Tanya turned and hugged him. "He's a hero and a lifesaver!" she gushed. His brother's eyes went wide with temporary surprise at the embrace, followed by a slowly forming smirk.
"He certainly is," the older man replied. The blonde made a face, pulling back from Dean.
"You're soaked," Tanya commented, wrinkling her nose.
"It's raining," Dean said, pointing out the window. "Of course, you're welcome to warm me up." This time, it was Tanya who blushed.
Sam rolled his eyes. "Let's go, Dean." He reached under the table, picking up his messenger bag.
"Don't go," the blonde woman implored, grabbing Sam's sleeve. "Stay. Have another coffee with me, my treat. It's the least I can do."
"I'm sorry," Sam said. "We really have to go."
"Oh, okay," Tanya said, the smile dropping from her face, "thanks again, Sam."
"I'm just glad I could help," he said. "Bye, Tanya."
"Bye, Sam. Dean."
Sam waved a good-bye. Exiting the shop, he hesitated under the awning trying to see through the heavy rainfall where Dean had parked. The cuff on the back of his head caught him off guard. "What was that for?" he asked, forehead scrunching.
"For being an idiot," Dean explained. "Come on, Sam, how often are your geek powers gonna get you a woman that hot?" He pointed inside at Tanya. "Go, have your coffee. More importantly, have some fun."
Sam frowned. "Why are you always trying to hook me up with someone?"
"Why aren't you?" Dean asked. The question was flippant; his brother's expression was not. Genuine concern laced his words. Pie, sex, and music fixed a lot of things in Dean's world, but he was not his brother. Then again…
He shoved the messenger bag into the older man's chest. "Don't wait up for me," Sam said, opening the door to head back inside.
As the door slowly closed behind him, Sam heard his brother's voice over the pounding rain and the bustle inside the coffee shop. "That's m'boy."
AN: Friday I left work early with the intention of digging into the second half of either chapter two of Noodles or the second half of the last chapter of Vampires. When my friend CharlieGirl called needing to borrow our truck to move a china hutch she'd just purchased, I hastily rearranged my plans, picked up our truck and my son and we headed out to move her furniture. Afterwards, I stopped for crickets for our bearded dragon, pizza for my son, and finally, finally made it home at 19:00.
All I wanted now was a little dinner and two hours alone with my laptop and 'the boys.'
I hit the power button, then went to start a load of laundry and run the dishwasher while I waited for it to boot up. By the time I returned, the screen was black. Thinking it had taken longer than I thought (and the PC had gone to sleep) I prepared to hit the power button again. That's when I noticed that all the green lights were on, but the screen was black.
"No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no."
The fan was running its little heart out, but the computer was not running.
I powered it off. Waited. Then turned it back on (thank you, Sam Wesson). Nada.
My husband has the exact same laptop as I do so I switched batteries with his to see if that was the issue and powered up again.
"Oh God, no."
Because, see, after all the times I've coached people to back up their work (at work). After listening to Sherry tell me about her experience in college. After knowing Wysawyg had to restore factory settings on her laptop twice and finally purchase a new one. After many times of saying, "I should back up my files."
I never did. Not once. Never.
I went about my business, attempting to be a mature adult and not panic. Instead I went a little OCD on the house and completed a couple of small projects, then lost myself in fanfic. By the time Fred got home from Bunco, however, I was ready for him to work his I.T. magic (and yes, my husband works in I.T.).
The first thing he did? Powered it off. Waited. Then powered it on (I laughed, he knew why, and shot me a look of long-suffering).
The second thing he did was remove my HDD and his HDD and switch them. Voila! My hard drive worked like an obedient little sucker. So, I carefully moved all my stories, and any stories ten other authors had ever sent me (three of which included NOVELS), over to a memory stick.
"Um, is it working? There's only 47.9MB in all that? That can't be right. I'm still not going to get my files!" (Oh yeah, I was working myself up to a full head of frustration. So close and yet denied?).
"Yes, hon." (it is with supreme effort I didn't smack him for the tone of his voice. I'm not sure if he was trying to keep me from combusting or enjoying my panic.) "I've tried to tell you that before. Text is nothing."
I raised my eyebrow and gave him my best 'oh boy, are you headed for trouble look.'
"I mean, it doesn't take up any space."
"Yeah, but ALL of that? Really?"
So, the 4G memory stick? Total overkill. I only had ten pics to move (one of which is my avatar that Wysawyg made me) and…yeah…it was still nothing. LOL.
The next day, we headed to Eugene (180 miles north) to take my laptop to Best Buy. I purchased the extended warranty, so if they couldn't get it working, it would be sent to Sony and all would be good. Four hours later we walked into the store and I headed straight to the Geek Squad desk.
The nicest guy was working, but he definitely fit the normal computer-geek profile. The first thing he did? Power it down. Wait. Power it back up. I snorted. A genuine snort. He looked at me and I scrambled to cover. "Sorry, sorry. It's just the first thing everyone tries. It amused me."
Luckily, he laughed it off and removed the battery, then powered it up. Lights came on, the screen lit up and it started booting just like it should. "Wha…?" (Oh good, Moe, that sounds intelligent).
He explained that lithium batteries will literally start on fire if they are overcharged. So, to prevent that, there's a circuit between the AC power and the battery. Apparently, there's a half a second of time while it is booting up or powering down that if the power source is disrupted (thank you electrical storm) it trips the switch. As long as the battery is in place (thusly why switching batteries didn't work) the switch stays tripped. Remove the battery, the circuit resets and the computer works fine.
I gushed a thank you, quite embarrassed that I'd never heard of such an issue before. He claimed no one does unless they've ran into it before and typically it is people that use the battery without the cord.
So, for the mere price of gas, a hotel room, a video game for Caleb (it was a birthday present), dinner, two shirts for Fred, and more gas, I got my laptop fixed in under two minutes.
It screamed story to me – so, there you go.
The moral of said story? CALL tech support before you go traipsing halfway up the state for a two minute fix. But most importantly, back up your data!
Hope ya'all had a great weekend!