Disclaimer: Kripke-verse is theologically warped; in Monkee-verse, anything can happen. I don't own either one. The premise of this story is not realistic in the least. Just go with it, 'kay?
Warnings: AU of the Monkeefied crackfic variety. Spoilers for most of SPN Season 5. And possibly some made-up words.
Setting: Sometime between "The Song Remains the Same" and "Dark Side of the Moon" (March 2010) for Supernatural, early Season 2 (October 1967) for The Monkees.
Soundtrack: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones, Ltd.
A/N: For Laura of Maychoria, whose stories I would recommend to anyone, and who was good enough to have a birthday and come up with a prompt that got me writing the Monkees again for the first time since undergrad. Cheers, luv!
I Need a Change of Scenery
By San Antonio Rose
It would be Gabriel who caught the supernatural flu.
Not that it was any picnic when slowly-fading Castiel picked up a normal human bug somewhere. The last time the outlawed angel caught a cold, it left Sam and Dean Winchester changing forms every time he sneezed; fortunately for everyone's sanity, it was only a twelve-hour virus, and Cas had been too miserable to take blackmail pictures no matter how much Bobby Singer begged him to. But somehow Pestilence had engineered a virus that affected only envesseled angels, and he unleashed it as soon as Team Free Will got too close.
Too close, in this case, was westbound on a back road in Nebraska while Pestilence was wreaking havoc on the campers at Lake Tahoe, but no one could accuse a Horseman of not being cautious.
Cas had, at this point, faded enough that he wasn't too badly affected, only complaining of sudden fatigue and a slight fever. Gabriel, on the other hand, fell straight through the roof of the Impala (without leaving a hole) and landed sprawled across the back seat with his head in Cas' lap.
Startled, Dean swerved and slammed on the brakes as both he and Sam cursed loudly, since none of them had known Gabriel was anywhere nearby, let alone right above the car. Cas simply looked down at Gabriel's pale face with a puzzled frown. Gabriel groaned as the car came to a stop about halfway into a U-turn.
"Are you ill, Gabriel?" Cas asked.
Gabriel fumbled for the box of Kleenex in the floorboard and grabbed a tissue just in time to catch a minor sneeze. Suddenly both angels were in flannel pajamas and fuzzy slippers.
"Great," Dean grumbled. "That's just what we need. A sick archangel to babysit."
"'Msorry to drop in on you like this, guys," Gabriel croaked. "Don' think it's contagious, but you've got a lot more experience... in these... things..." He trailed off as another sneeze threatened.
The Winchesters braced themselves, but Gabriel managed to stave off the sneeze, and everyone relaxed. Cas leaned his head against the window.
Sam looked at Dean. "We should probably go back to that motel we passed."
"Yeah." Dean eased the Impala into the eastbound lane and started back.
After five miles of the radio station changing every time Gabriel coughed, however, disaster struck. Try as he might, Gabriel couldn't not sneeze, and when he finally did, the sneeze was so violent that he sat bolt upright—and space-time warped around the Impala with a bright white flash.
Dean braked hard again out of pure instinct, and it was a good thing he did. When his vision returned, the Impala was stopped just inches from the edge of a cliff that overlooked a beach. As in ocean. As in Pacific Ocean, since the sun was very clearly headed toward the horizon in front of them.
For once, he was too stunned to swear. He simply shut off the engine and slumped back in his seat, staring out at the waves and the setting sun.
"That felt like time travel," Sam observed breathlessly.
Gabriel moaned and manifested a pile of quilts and pillows around himself.
Cas blinked. "I thought you had a fever."
Gabriel's "Shuddup" was too muffled to be anything but pitiful. But Cas suddenly found himself wrapped in a quilt of his own.
Cas ran a hand over the red and white quilt blocks, and his face softened into something close to a smile. "Jacob's Ladder. Thank you, Gabriel."
Gabriel mumbled something in reply and sniffled.
Dean started to turn around to say something but stopped when he caught sight of the state of the seats. They looked brand new. "Dude, did you just... de-age the car?"
Gabriel blinked blearily at him before making a negative noise and snuggling further into his cocoon. "Di'n' do anything."
Sam glanced around, taking in the changes, then met Dean's confused frown with a shrug. "Maybe it's a clue."
"A clue about what?"
"Where we are. When we are, I mean."
Dean's frown deepened. "You think we're in 1967?"
"Malibu," Cas added, blue eyes drifting shut. "We're in Malibu."
"How do you know that?" Sam asked.
"Someone coming..." And Cas was asleep, and so was Gabriel.
Frustrated, Dean got out of the car, noting that the doors didn't squeak, and pulled out his cell phone to call Bobby. And got the "No Service Available" screen. And swore silently and stuck it back in his pocket.
"No service?" Sam asked from the other side of the car.
"Nope. It's as dead as when I went back to '73."
Sam sighed. "Well, I guess we finally get the night off."
Dean snorted. "Yeah, stuck in the '60s with no money and two sick angels. That's what I call a good time."
Before Sam could retort, a male voice called out, "Hi, there!"
The brothers turned to see a young man—well, younger than Sam, anyway—with shoulder-length light brown hair and serious dimples grinning at them from a few feet away, and Dean had the niggling feeling that he'd seen that face somewhere before but couldn't place it quickly. The man's Nehru-collared shirt, love beads, and bell bottoms confirmed their suspicions about the date; the fact that his belt buckle resided on his left hip raised some suspicions about his sanity. Not that the Winchesters would let on, of course.
"Hey, how's it goin'?" Dean nodded, returning the smile.
"Boy, you guys must be lost! You almost drove off the cliff!"
Sam nodded. "Yeah, we're new here, and our friends are sick. Dean got kinda distracted when Gabe sneezed real loud."
Dimples took one look in the back seat and turned to Dean with wide-eyed concern. "Where are you staying?"
Dean shrugged. "Don't know yet. We just got here."
"My friends and I live just up the street. Why don't you come stay with us?"
The Winchesters exchanged a look. Better than nothing...
"If you're sure your friends won't mind," said Dean.
"Oh, no, not at all," Dimples replied, grin back on high-beam. "If we can't help each other, why are we here?"
"Okay, then. Which house?"
"It's the one with the red GTO, 1334." Dimples paused, examining the car. "Y'know, it's weird—I don't remember seeing you guys drive by. All I heard was the tires screech."
"It's been a weird day," Sam deadpanned.
"So, 1334?" Dean asked.
"Right," Dimples nodded. "The door's unlocked. The other guys are down on the beach; I'll go let 'em know you're here."
Dimples started to leave but turned back. "Sorry, what was your name again?"
"I'm Dean. This is my brother Sam."
Sam nodded once.
"Dean and Sam," Dimples repeated. "Got it. I'm Peter. I'll introduce you to the rest of the guys later."
"Thanks, Peter," Dean nodded.
Peter dashed off, and the Winchesters got back in the car. But it wasn't until his hand was on the key to restart the engine that Dean connected all the dots, and he turned startled green eyes to Sam.
"That was Peter Tork."
"'Hey, hey, we're the Monkees.'"
Alarmed, Sam glanced back at Gabriel, who was still snuffling miserably in his sleep, and then turned back to Dean. "We didn't just jump back in time," he said quietly. "We've jumped realities."
Dean's quiet curse was drowned by the sound of the engine starting.
"Peter, what in the world possessed you to invite four complete strangers to spend the night at our house?" Mike Nesmith demanded.
"They were lost," Peter replied. "Sam said they're new in town, and their friends are sick, and... well, I'd want somebody to help us if we were lost and Micky and Davy were sick."
"Y'know, he's got a point, Mike," Davy Jones chimed in. "And we do have the space."
Micky Dolenz snapped his fingers as an idea came to him. "Hey, maybe they could help us out with our gig tomorrow night at the Vincent Van!"
But Mike was still frowning at Peter. "The Pad is not a hotel, Shotgun. You can't invite just anybody to come stay."
"I didn't invite just anybody," Peter shot back. "I invited Sam and Dean and Gabe and... their other friend. Besides, they have a groovy car."
That caught Mike's attention. "Car? What car?"
"It's a black Chevy... Impala, that's what it is. I think it's new."
Mike wavered. The main thing that had upset him was the fact that Peter had acted on the spur of the moment, which usually meant Trouble. But Peter did have a point, and Mike's Texan sense of hospitality found it hard to turn someone like that away without a good reason, and they did have a nice car... and now he found himself on the receiving end of three sets of brown puppy eyes, and the iron will of Papa Nez turned to mush.
He sighed. "Yeah, okay. They can stay for a night or two."
He might regret it later—in fact, he usually did in these cases—but the smiles on his bandmates' faces were worth it for the moment.
By the time the Monkees got up the back stairs to the Pad, the front door was open, three duffle bags were on the chair by the door, and the guests were in the living room, though only three were on their feet. The tallest and strongest, who also had the longest hair, was carefully settling something wrapped in a crazy quilt onto the chaise lounge, while the freckle-faced one with the shortest hair was steering the darkest, who was shorter but still close to Micky's height, around the coffee table.
"You gonna be okay, Cas?" asked the short-haired guy.
Cas nodded, adjusting the redwork quilt around his shoulders as his friend guided him to the red easy chair. "Yes, Dean. As I told you, I am simply tired."
"Dude, ain't nothin' simple about any of this. But you just sit there and rest, okay? We're probably as safe here as we would be anywhere but Bobby's."
"Yes. We are." Cas settled into the chair and, judging from the way his head lolled to the side, fell asleep almost immediately.
The tallest guy, who Mike concluded must be Sam, sighed and shook his head. "He really is sick. He didn't even argue with you."
Dean grimaced and turned back to the quilt-wrapped figure on the chaise, which Mike could now see was a brown-haired man who looked younger than he probably was. "Yeah, but it's Gabriel I'm worried about. He actually apologized."
Sam snorted in amusement.
Mike cleared his throat and led the others back inside. "Hello, I'm Mike Nesmith. You must be Sam and Dean."
"We are," Dean nodded, and the newcomers came toward the bandstand to shake hands. "Thanks for puttin' us up like this."
Mike introduced the rest of the band and did his best not to laugh when Sam shook hands with Davy—there was at least a foot of difference between their heights.
"You guys can have our room," Peter offered. "Davy and I can set up the hammocks upstairs."
"That okay with you, Davy?" Mike asked.
"Sure," shrugged the Brit. "I think I know where they are."
Peter and Davy headed off to find the hammocks in the garage, and Micky went to put clean sheets on the two beds in the downstairs bedroom. Dean looked like he was about to ask Mike something when a small sneeze burst from Gabriel—and the fridge and the kitchen cabinets suddenly gained a very psychedelic paint job.
Sam sighed. Gabriel moaned and threw off the crazy quilt without fully waking up. Mike just stared.
"It's been one of those days," Dean said wearily.
Being on The Monkees was not at all like the time Gabriel, in his Trickster guise, had trapped them in TV Land, Dean mused as he stirred the tomato rice soup. Sure, there were similarities—for instance, Seattle Mercy Hospital had looked like a real hospital, not a sound stage, and no one had realized they were on a TV show called Dr. Sexy, MD—but here there was no audible background music, no laugh track, no sign that the Monkees could outsell the Beatles, almost nothing to indicate that this reality was actually a '60s sitcom.
Except that Dean couldn't swear even if he tried. And he had tried when he added the rice to the soup and the hot liquid splattered on his hand. All that had come out of his mouth were incoherent snarls. It was a minor annoyance, all things considered, but it was annoying all the same. He couldn't even ask the Monkees about it, since Mike and Davy had gone to the store for medicines and more groceries and Peter and Micky were still rearranging the bedrooms.
Sam put down the grease pencil he'd used to mark protection sigils on the windows behind the bandstand, double-checked the salt line at the back door, and came back into the kitchenette. "Smells good."
"You think those sigils will still work in this reality?"
"Can't hurt. Better safe than sorry."
Dean suddenly felt a familiar stare boring into his back and turned to see that Cas was awake and looking at him over the back of the chair. "Hey, Cas. You hungry?"
Cas thought for a moment. "Yes, I think so."
As Cas shuffled over to the dining table, Sam found bowls in the cabinet above the sink and spoons in one of the drawers, and Dean dished up a steaming serving of soup for the angel. Cas ate a spoonful and let out a quiet sigh of relief.
"Feeling any better?" Sam asked.
"Yes. I'm not well yet, but I'm better than I was. I understand now why humans sleep so much when they're ill."
A congested groan and the creak of leather announced that Gabriel was also awake. Dean turned just as Gabriel sat up and frowned at the room.
"Mornin', Sunshine," Dean said. "Soup's on."
"Nnnnngh," said Gabriel, pushing himself up off the chaise and stumbling toward the dining table. "You muttonheads slip me some cough syrup or something?"
"Then what are we doing here?"
"You sneezed," Sam, Dean, and Cas chorused.
Gabriel blinked. "Really?"
"Here. This'll help." Dean set a bowl of soup in front of him.
Frowning a little, Gabriel tried a spoonful, then turned to Dean in surprise. "Tomato rice—that was..."
"Mom's favorite," Dean confirmed quietly.
For a moment, Gabriel looked like he might actually cry.
However, the potential chick flick moment ended abruptly as Micky emerged from the upstairs bedroom and slid down the banister of the spiral staircase. "Hey, Dean, that smells great! Can I try some?" the drummer asked as he reached the ground.
"Save some for me," Peter called from the downstairs bedroom.
Dean couldn't help grinning. "Yeah, there's enough for everyone. You want some, too, Sammy?"
And soon everyone was eating happily and debating the merits of various kinds of soup—Peter's defense of cream of root beer earning him unanimous raised eyebrows from the 2010 crowd and a "See, I told ya, Pete" from Micky—and Dean could almost forget they were in the wrong year and the wrong universe and that there was still an Apocalypse waiting for them when they got home.
Until Gabriel had a coughing fit and Micky's hair went from straightened to near-afro in 4.8 seconds, and Cas tilted his head and regarded Micky solemnly for a moment before proclaiming that curly hair was a better look for him.
"How'd you do that?" Peter demanded.
"Why is there salt on the floor?" Mike asked as he and Davy came in from the garage with their arms full of grocery bags, somehow managing not to break the salt line in the process. "Are we expecting an invasion of slugs?"
"Ghosts," Gabriel replied at the same time Cas said, "Demons."
"Ghosts?" cried all four Monkees at once.
Sam's laughter verged on hysterical, and Dean joined him because it was that or beating his head on the table.
Mike was beginning to get a headache.
As soon as Davy had unpacked a bag of cough drops and a jar of mentholated chest rub, they, the TV, and Gabriel had disappeared into the bedroom so quickly Mike didn't even see the man move. He was at the table, and then he wasn't, just like that. Cas had collected two boxes of tissues once he'd finished his soup, and then he had disappeared in a gust of wind and the bedroom door was suddenly closed. And then, in the middle of cleaning up, Peter had made the mistake of asking Sam and Dean what they did for a living; Davy hadn't believed their first answer, given the salt on the floor and the drawings on the windows; and Micky's insatiable curiosity had pressed for details even though they repeatedly disclaimed that the Monkees wouldn't believe them.
The answer explained a lot, though, especially why they had laughed so hard at the band's reaction to Gabriel a few minutes earlier. But even though they'd gone through the "You hunt monsters?" discussion twice, Mike had the feeling that there was a whole lot the brothers were leaving out, and he was absurdly grateful.
Micky shook his head. "I still can't believe you go looking for those things."
"Cool it, will you, Mick?" Mike finally snapped, not willing to repeat the conversation again.
"They came looking for us first," Sam stated quietly, staring at the floor.
The Monkees exchanged a look, not knowing what to say to that.
Dean cleared his throat and glanced at the bandstand. "So. Instruments. You four in a band or something?"
Somehow, Mike suspected that Dean knew perfectly well that they were a band, but he recognized an out when he saw one. "Uh, yeah. Actually, we need to practice; we've got a gig tomorrow night. Do you think it'll bother Gabriel and Cas?"
Sam and Dean both looked at the bedroom door, then at each other, and said, "Nahhh."
Peter turned the amps way down anyway, and Micky drummed on the coffee table instead of his trap set. But practice went smoothly for a while, until they got halfway through "The Door Into Summer" and Mike suddenly realized that he was hearing too many voices.
Too many baritone voices.
Sam and Dean were singing along to a song he'd just written two weeks before. And they knew all the words—Sam started singing backup with Micky and Peter on the second verse.
Peter caught Mike's eye, and Mike answered his bewildered look with the shrug of an eyebrow. He saw a similar look pass between Micky and Davy. But they made it through the song just fine, and neither Sam nor Dean seemed to realize they'd done anything odd. In fact, they were leaned back in the easy chairs with their eyes closed, simply enjoying the music.
So Mike decided on a quick test and called for the next song to be "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?" Peter handed Davy the bass and picked up his banjo, and after exchanging another look with the band, Mike counted off, determined not to come in on cue.
Sure enough, after the intro, a voice that wasn't Mike's rang out strong and sure: "Just a loud-mouth Yankee, I went down to Mexico..."
Sam sat bolt upright and shot a panicked look at Dean at the same time Dean's eyes popped open and he trailed off, realizing that he wasn't singing with anyone. The band stopped, and Dean gulped and went bright red.
Mike rested his hands on top of Black Beauty. "Mind telling me how you know that song, seeing as how I only just wrote it last week?"
Dean's mouth moved as if he were swearing, but nothing came out. Then he locked eyes with Sam and gulped again. "Um..."
The silence was broken by a quiet sneeze from the bedroom, and suddenly Mike's trademark green wool hat had buttons on it.
"And that!" Micky added. "What is with Gabriel's sneezes?"
Sam looked helplessly at Mike. "Do you want the truth or something you'll believe?"
Peter's eyes narrowed. "Gabriel sneezed you here, didn't he?"
Sam and Dean exchanged an unhappy glance. "Yes."
Mike sighed. "Okay. I have officially had my mind blown enough for one night. Let's finish this discussion in the morning. Unless something's going to eat us in the middle of the night if we don't?"
"Nobody's getting eaten on our watch," Dean said flatly, getting up and walking over to the duffles that were still by the door.
"You're sure?" Davy pressed.
Dean opened a duffle, pulled out a sawed-off shotgun, and checked its magazine with the ease of... well, an experienced hunter. "I'm sure."
Peter looked a little nonplussed at having a gun in the house. Mike was quite sure there were plenty more where that one came from, and he didn't really want to know how many "plenty more" would be.
He cleared his throat. "Okay, well, I guess it's about time we all turn in."
Everyone agreed with that, and the Monkees made short work of clearing away instruments and taking care of things that needed doing downstairs while Sam and Dean double-checked the salt lines. Peter raced up the stairs first, followed by Micky and Davy, while Mike locked up.
Dean caught him at the bottom of the stairs. "Hey, I'm sorry about earlier. I just... it's been a rough couple of years, and we haven't had a night off like this in months, and I guess I forgot where I was."
Mike gave the older man a long look, but he didn't seem inclined to elaborate, so Mike just nodded. "I still think you owe us more of an explanation than that, but it'll wait for morning."
Dean sighed. "Yeah. Thanks, Mike."
Mike started to go upstairs but stopped and turned back when a question that couldn't wait occurred to him. "Hey, Dean? Did... do you really dig our music?"
A look he couldn't interpret passed between the brothers, and Dean smiled. "Yeah. We dig it."
Feeling oddly heartened, Mike returned the smile and went up to bed.
The Winchesters had opted for bedrolls on the floor, and Dean had drifted off trying to figure out how to explain things to the Monkees. But something about this reality managed to quell both his anxieties and his nightmares, and he slept harder and longer than he had since... well, at least since the Apocalypse started, probably even longer than that. And while that was a good thing for him physically, it meant that by the time he woke up, pulled on his jeans, and stumbled out to get breakfast, Cas had apparently spilled the beans about a lot more than he should have.
Cas was slowly eating waffles; Peter was clutching his head; Davy was staring at Cas open-mouthed; Mike was just staring; and Micky, perched backward on one of the chairs from the other table, was frowning in confusion as he munched on what looked like corn flakes in orange juice. Dean groaned and poured himself a cup of coffee.
When he turned around again, Micky was looking at him instead, and he belatedly realized that he'd forgotten to put on a shirt. The drummer's eyes darted from Dean's anti-possession tattoo to the handprint scar on his left shoulder and back several times.
Finally, Micky swallowed his mouthful of corn flakes and cleared his throat. "That's a groovy tattoo, Dean," he said brightly, tapping the same spot on his own chest.
"Thanks," Dean nodded and shot Cas a look over his coffee that clearly said Not. A. Word.
Cas got the message and simply said, "Good morning, Dean."
Dean nodded to him as well and turned back to the stove to help himself to the waffles.
"We were wondering if maybe you and Sam would want to help us out at our gig tonight," Micky continued. "Y'know, with setting up the instruments and stuff."
Well, that was unexpected. But it sounded like a genuine offer, not a safe topic for polite conversation or a cover story for a hunt, and when Dean looked back at the table, Davy had snapped out of it and joined Micky in looking hopefully at Dean.
Dean shrugged. "Sure, yeah. Sounds like fun. Where is it?"
Mike shook himself and answered, "The Vincent Van Gogh-Gogh."
"Well, the Sasquatch doesn't dance, but I'm sure we'll have a good time."
"Doing what?" Sam asked as he emerged from the downstairs bathroom, dressed but still toweling off his wet hair. Dean repeated Micky's offer, and Sam nodded. "Yeah, sounds good."
"Think you and Gabe'll be okay here by yourselves, Cas?" Dean asked.
Cas pondered the question for a moment, probably running through caring-for-colds routines he'd learned the hard way from the Winchesters. "Yes, I believe we will be fine for a few hours," he finally said.
"Okay, then," Dean agreed. "Thanks, Micky."
That seemed to break the guests-from-the-Apocalyptic-future and angels-with-the-flu shock for everyone but Peter, and Davy and Mike got back to eating their waffles while Micky suggested that the Winchesters eat in the living room with him. They had just gotten settled on the chaise when Gabriel dragged himself out of the bedroom, wheezing slightly in a way that told Dean that the congestion had left his head and settled in his chest.
Suddenly Peter was a blur of motion, insisting that Gabriel take his seat, bringing him tea and waffles, offering every conceivable breakfast food that they had and a few that they didn't. Gabriel looked bemused for a moment before holding up a hand to stop the effusive bassist.
"Peter, sit down," Gabriel sighed, and a chair pushed itself into the backs of Peter's knees. Peter sat down hard and suddenly found his own breakfast, reheated, in his hands. Gabriel then looked over at Cas. "Need-to-know, little brother."
Cas tilted his head. "They asked."
The Winchesters rolled their eyes in unison. "You've still got a fever, haven't you, Cas?" Dean asked.
Cas frowned. "Yes. Why?"
Gabriel groaned, enlarged his mug, and started guzzling tea.
"Why are you guys so disrespectful?" Peter demanded indignantly. "Castiel is an angel. Why do you call him Cas?"
"Because he's our angel," Dean shot back, and Cas nearly smiled.
"He's our friend, Peter," Sam added. "You wouldn't treat Mike differently if he were President, would you? Or Davy if he were King of England?"
Peter looked at Mike. "I... guess not..."
"So, Cas is a friend who happens to be an angel."
"And Gabriel is a friend who happens to be an archangel?"
Dean raised an eyebrow. "I wouldn't go that far."
"Thanks," Gabriel said dryly. "But really, Peter, you don't have to wait on me. Humans weren't created to serve angels—and I'm sick, not powerless." He paused. "I could use another bag of cough drops, though."
"After breakfast," Mike stipulated, and Peter nodded and tucked into his waffles.
The Vincent Van wasn't a big club, Mike told them over supper, and it mostly catered to teens and college-aged young adults; the manager had been hiring the Monkees for two or three nights at a time every few months for almost a year. Dean was more used to honky-tonks than go-gos and suspected that this one didn't even serve beer, but Sam figured that if they were stuck in a family show, he should be grateful just to get out of the house.
They had almost decided to leave even their handguns behind when Micky started regaling them with tales of the weird things that had happened to them at the Vincent Van—all human-caused so far, but you never knew, especially in October—and Dean glanced at the calendar just long enough to see that it was the full moon. So, while the band ran through their set list one last time, Sam and Dean went out to the garage and sharpened their knives, topped off their flasks of holy water, and switched out the clips in their guns for ones loaded with silver rounds.
Before last night, they hadn't had a real night off since the disaster at Carthage. Two nights off in a row would probably be too much to ask.
Dean had just closed the false bottom of the trunk when Mike came out to see which instruments should go in which car, so Sam went back inside to check on the angels. Cas was sound asleep again, his tousled dark hair and fever-flushed cheeks barely visible above the Jacob's Ladder quilt that he'd hung onto as tenaciously as he did that silly trenchcoat. Gabriel had the TV on beside his bed but wasn't really watching it, slumped as he was against a pile of pillows that had him propped in a semi-reclining position. The trash can between the beds was almost overflowing with used Kleenex and cough drop wrappers.
"Gabriel, would you be more comfortable out in the living room?" Sam asked from the doorway. "We're fixin' to leave, so..."
Gabriel sighed, switched off the TV with a thought, and looked at Sam as he considered the offer. "Maybe so," he croaked. "Help me up?"
Feeling a twinge of unease, Sam walked into the bedroom and slid a supportive arm behind Gabriel's shoulders. Heat radiated through the flannel top, and Sam was sure the angel's fever had risen. Once Sam had him more or less sitting up, Gabriel was able to swing his legs off the bed and stand, but they hadn't gone three steps when Gabriel started wheezing softly and instinctively threw an arm around Sam's waist.
"You sure you want to do this?"
Gabriel nodded. "Chest was... starting to hurt... lying like that... red chair should be... better."
"Okay." Sam slowly guided Gabriel out of the bedroom and tried to remember if there was still some Tylenol in the medicine bag.
They had just gotten around the stairs when Peter came in from the garage and ran to Gabriel's side. "What can I do? Can I get you some tea?"
"Tea's good," Gabriel nodded. "Maybe... put the red chair... by the back window?"
"So he can look out at the beach," Sam explained.
"Sure," Peter agreed. The bandstand was clear, so it didn't take much to move the easy chair and an end table to a prime beach-watching position, and Peter even had the tea ready by the time Sam got Gabriel settled with his crazy quilt and the cold medicines.
Gabriel downed five Tylenol with a drink of tea and sighed. "Thank you, Peter," he said with a tired smile.
Micky poked his head in the door from the garage. "Hey, guys, let's go."
"Okay, Micky," Peter called and left.
Sam turned to follow, but Gabriel caught his wrist. "Sam. I take it all back. Thank you."
Dean was right; Gabriel must be really sick if he was apologizing that much. But Sam tried not to let his worry show on his face as he patted the archangel's shoulder. "Rest well. And..." He glanced out the window at the beach, where some teens were already beginning to gather for a bonfire. "Have fun?"
The mischievous grin Gabriel gave in reply told Sam that he wasn't too sick to play Trickster, which was... more reassuring than it should have been, all things considered. Sam chuckled and left.
Dean fortified himself with a hair-metal mix tape on the way to the go-go, so Sam retaliated by putting the Lovin' Spoonful and Petula Clark on the jukebox while they were helping the Monkees unload and set up the stage. And Dean finally managed a "Dangit!" when he discovered that there was nothing in the jukebox harder than the Dave Clark Five. Micky laughed just as hard as Sam did.
Then the kids started to arrive—and they were kids, from Sam's perspective, even though he was no more than ten years older than most of them. Some of the girls evidently thought him even younger than that, given the way they were flirting and studiously ignored Dean's occasional cough of "jailbait." Of course, a couple of them were flirting with Dean, too, and he definitely looked older than Mike when he smiled, so maybe they just didn't care.
"I really don't dance" got rid of some of them. "Nah, we're just visiting" got rid of others. "Yeah, I was pre-law at Stanford" took care of a handful more. But even then there were one or two who thought they liked older men and were not going to be put off by anything short of outright refusal—until:
"Hey, your hair's really short," one of the boys said to Dean. "Were you in the Army?"
Dean caught Sam's eye, then looked back at his Coke and sighed. "Marines, Echo 2-1. Just got back from 'Nam a few months back." And he tossed back a swig of Coke as if it were a shot of whisky.
The hangers-on scattered, and Sam raised an eyebrow at Dean. "Seriously?"
"Family show." Dean winked, and Sam cracked up.
Removing themselves from the flirts seemed to render them mostly invisible, though, which gave them ample opportunity to watch for potential threats in a crowd that was surprisingly large for a Wednesday night. They'd seen the moon rise on the way to the go-go, so they didn't have to worry about werewolves transforming on the dance floor, and the Key of Solomon that Sam had surreptitiously drawn on the ceiling above the door would catch any demons that might come after them; but that still left all manner of other creatures that they couldn't protect against (though ghosts were probably not on the list, either). And the danger increased the closer it got to midnight.
But the Monkees got through their first set without incident, and the main difficulty in the second set was Peter discovering that he'd forgotten to plug in the keyboard. Micky and Davy each found a girl to flirt with between sets, and if the girls found their sodas a bit thinner than usual or felt a silver pin scratch the backs of their hands, neither paid it much heed. Sam was almost tempted to let down his guard.
Until a girl screamed in the alley behind the club.
The Monkees and the Winchesters were out the door in a flash, the civilians all apparently too scared to notice the sudden appearance of the brothers' guns. Nobody was immediately visible from the doorway, so with a look and a nod, the team started to split up, Mike, Peter, and Sam going left and Davy, Micky, and Dean going right. A second, even more panicked scream came from the left, though, so all six of them thundered down the alley, Sam and Dean in the lead. Perhaps half a block away, they finally saw a struggle taking place in the shadows of a loading dock.
"FBI! Freeze!" Dean yelled.
A male figure stumbled back into the moonlit alley and glanced back at them, and the Monkees gasped in unison because the skin on its face had been torn half off as if it were a rubber mask. The Winchesters fired before Sam even had time to think the word shapeshifter.
Fortunately for all the humans concerned, silver bullets kill that kind of shapeshifter in most realities, and this one was no exception.
Davy and Peter took care of the girl. Mike and Sam took care of the police. And Micky and Dean took care of the remains.
The Vincent Van closed early that night, and the manager gave the boys permission to leave their instruments and the Monkeemobile there overnight; when he stopped to think about what had happened, Mike was too rattled to drive, and Sam didn't feel confident trying to drive through the streets of LA in a car that was even bigger and more powerful than the Impala. Once the victim, who didn't look a day over sixteen, had been bundled into a taxi and sent home with a chaste kiss on the cheek from Davy and the number for the Pad, Dean herded the band into the Impala and drove back to the Pad without another word.
Discovering that Gabriel had had a serious coughing fit that redecorated most of the living room and that he had managed to make several local teenagers swear off beach bonfires for life was... anticlimactic, really. But Dean's cry of "We can't take you anywhere, can we?" served as just the tension breaker the Monkees needed. After a long, hard laugh and a bit of debriefing over a cup of tea, and a shower for Dean and Micky, everyone trundled off to bed, and if anyone had nightmares that night, you couldn't prove it by Sam.
It was another five days before the angels were well enough to leave. Cas' fever never got very high, but it hung on as stubbornly as did Gabriel's upper respiratory symptoms. So the Monkees made the tourist rounds with the Winchesters, and while the brothers never felt they could let down their guard completely, the incident with the shapeshifter appeared to satisfy the multiverse's requirement for making every Winchester vacation a working vacation, and they were able to actually enjoy themselves. Over meals Dean often wound up talking about girls (in a relatively wholesome way) with Davy or cars with Mike while Sam talked philosophy and theology with Peter. Micky turned out to be as big a nerd as Sam and as much of a clown as Dean, absorbing hunting lore like a sponge but quickly changing the subject with a joke if he strayed into painful territory, and the brothers mock-argued over whether or not to adopt him. And of course they could always chat about music. Dean even got somewhat accustomed to not swearing, drinking, or doing more than flirting with a girl.
If it had been just them, or if Bobby had been there, Sam and Dean might have been tempted to stay, maybe even settle down to real jobs, invest in Apple and Microsoft, and live a sitcom-friendly normal life. Or as normal a life as someone with their background could possibly have.
As it was, though, Sam was beginning to go into Internet withdrawal; Dean was beginning to hum songs like "On the Road Again" and "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo" when he thought no one was listening; Gabriel was beginning to play deliberate and increasingly elaborate pranks on all and sundry and managed to make Peter cry once; and Cas was beginning to snap at everyone due to the enforced inactivity. They did, after all, have an Apocalypse to thwart.
So as soon as Gabriel started complaining about the taste of the cough drops and Cas demanded (successfully) that Gabriel give his normal clothes back, Dean knew it was time to go before they wore out their welcome. To his relief, the angels managed to scrounge up some decent human manners for their leave-taking, and Gabriel made amends with Peter by telling him, "You're okay, kid." Sam took the opportunity to whisper a warning in Peter's ear about a pawnbroker named S. Zero, as did Dean about a fake psychic named Oraculo.
Davy presented them each with one of the band's trademark blue eight-button shirts, in their right sizes, "so you'll have something to remember us by." The brothers were too choked up to respond with anything but a hug.
"I'm sorry you have to go," Micky told Dean. "It's not like I want to be a hunter or anything, but... weird stuff happens to us a lot."
"Research," Dean replied, giving Micky's shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "You've got the right instincts, and now you know some of the right things to look for. And besides, the rules are probably different in this reality. We lucked out on the shapeshifter."
"You're not as much of a target for the really nasty stuff as we are, either," Sam added. "Don't worry, but stay aware, and you should be fine."
And Dean was fairly sure no one else saw Sam slip a silver knife into Micky's pocket when he pulled the drummer into a hug.
"Mike." Dean gave the guitarist a firm handshake. "Thanks for everything."
"Y'all take care of yourselves," Mike returned. "And I know it isn't likely, but if you ever do end up in this neighborhood again, come see us."
Dean chuckled. "Yeah."
"Keep singing, Mike," Sam added. "The world needs good music. And this band... you're one of the best, even if the record companies can't see it."
Mike's eyes were suspiciously bright as he shook Sam's hand, but Dean decided not to tease Sam about it, because really, how often do you get to say something like that to the stars of your favorite Nick at Nite show?
It was more of a wrench than Dean had thought it would be to drive away from 1334 Beechwood. It was also harder than he'd anticipated to find a place to park where the sudden disappearance of a Chevy Impala would go unnoticed. Sam finally suggested the alley behind the Vincent Van, which seemed to be a magnet for the bizarre anyway, and Dean agreed with a shrug.
"You figured out how to get us home yet?" he asked Gabriel as soon as they were parked out of sight.
"Oh, stop worrying and close your eyes," Gabriel retorted.
Sam rolled his eyes and muttered something about a TARDIS, but they did as Gabriel asked, keeping their eyes tightly shut until the jolt of traveling through time, space, and dimensions had passed. Dean took the sound of Gabriel slumping back against the seat with a slight wheeze as his cue to open his eyes, and he discovered that they were parked outside the motel in Lincoln that they'd been trying to get to before their inadvertent jaunt into TV Land began and that the Impala was as worn as it should have been in 2010.
"Are you okay?" Sam asked worriedly.
Gabriel took a couple of labored breaths before shaking his head. "One more night."
"I am well enough," Cas replied. "I must resume my search."
"Okay," Dean nodded. "You know where we'll be."
Cas nodded back and vanished in a flutter of wings, leaving the Jacob's Ladder quilt folded neatly on the seat.
Gabriel looked at it for a moment. "You're rubbing off on him, y'know."
Sam snorted. "Yeah. Dean's a bad influence."
Gabriel didn't look away from the quilt, but the corners of his mouth quirked upward in what could only be called a fond smile. "No, he isn't. Not really."
Sam and Dean exchanged a look, and Dean cleared his throat. "Now I know you're still sick."
Gabriel let out a crackling bark of laughter that was just shy of a cough as Dean got out of the car to check them into the motel, but nothing crazy happened.
It wasn't until much later that night, when both Sam and Gabriel had finally succumbed to sleep, that Dean discovered that Micky had gotten into his journal, added sketches to his entry about the shapeshifter incident, and had all four Monkees sign a page to which Micky had appended a note: "Hang on to these, they might be valuable someday!"
Oh, Mick, Dean thought with a quiet, bittersweet laugh as he took a drink of bourbon, if you only knew...
Two months later in 1967, Micky was halfway through his latest library book, Hero Tales and Legends of the Rhine, when Davy came home and announced that he had a date with a girl who looked like she needed some sun. "She seemed like a groovy kid, though, so I couldn't very well turn her down."
"What's her name?" Mike asked.
Micky's eyes went wide, and he flipped back through the book just as Peter started singing, "Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten, daß ich so traurig bin..."
"Peter, what are you on about?" Davy frowned.
"Lorelei," Micky answered, finding the right page and handing the book to Davy. "That's the name of a siren that lives on the Rhein."
Davy read the description, gulped, and dashed for the phone to cancel the date. And when Lorelei and her vampire uncle showed up at the Pad that night, they found that not only was the house well warded, the scrawny twenty-somethings inside were armed well enough to not be worth the trouble of attacking.
Word spread through the supernatural grapevine that there were hunters in Malibu, and the Monkees saw neither ghost nor werewolf nor vampire ever again.
And twice in the spring of 2010, at moments when his resolve was weakest, Dean Winchester looked his younger brother in the eye and heard Mike Nesmith's voice in the back of his mind: ... 'cause baby, in the final analysis, love is power. And together they proved him right.