Ch 8. Farewell My Sweet Jacket
Very late the next afternoon, Sam strolled into MacClaren's pub and was waved over by Ted.
"Hey guys, have you seen my brother? I'm supposed to meet him here," he said.
Ted nodded toward a booth in a corner. Sam followed Ted's sights to the corner of the pub as a group of girls blocked his view. When the girls dispersed, he saw Buffy and his brother huddled together in the booth, both glowing immensely. Buffy was nestled under Dean's arm, feeding him fries and adoring him with smiles. Dean munched on the fries she fed him, fervently pulling her onto his mouth for a kiss after every bite.
"Aw, look at them!" Lily sighed in glee.
As the public display lingered on, Sam couldn't help but stare for awhile.
"Normally, I would tell him to get a room," Sam stated. "But I kind of don't mind seeing it, I mean, my brother is happy and I'm happy for him."
Sam pulled a chair up to the table and took a seat.
"Yeah, and to think we all had a hand in getting them back together," Lily sighed.
Barney frowned with offense.
"Hello, it was I, Barney the Magnificent! I waved my wand and created a magical moment for Jacket and his girl."
"Yeah, you did Barney," Ted acceded. "You fixed what you messed up."
Marshall hitched his large finger to the back of his ear lobe.
"What's that? I hear a...slap bet in the distance!"
Marshall drew a goofy grin as Barney gulped with anxiety. He slumped in his chair and moped.
"Okay, okay," Barney acknowledged. "One second."
Barney shook out the ice in his glass into a napkin and balled it up.
"It's not here yet," Marshall stated. "You just have to sit there and wait for it to arrive."
Barney got up and wandered to the bar. Carl dropped a glass of aged scotch in front of him.
"I didn't order this," Barney said.
"It's from the couple in the corner booth," Carl said.
Barney swung his eyes to the corner of the bar and drew a look of astonishment.
"Oh, well, wow."
Barney picked up the scotch, took a sip and grinned. He skipped over to the corner table and perched as the make out session continued. As he scooped Buffy into his lap, Dean sighed, catching an annoying presence in his periphery.
"...what do you want Stencil?" he asked gruffly.
Dean reluctantly shifted his eyes away from Buffy.
"Dean, remember what we talked about?" she asked softly.
Dean met her eyes as she swept a finger across his cheek and smiled. He heaved a sigh of acknowledgement and glanced at Barney.
"Right," he said. "Uh, can I help you...Bar...ney?"
Dean widened his eyes in awe.
"That's weird to say it," he muttered.
Barney adjusted his tie and raised his glass.
"I just wanted to say thanks for the scotch," he said.
"Oh, uh, wasn't my idea but, no problem."
Dean turned back to Buffy as she gazed lovingly at him. He hooked a thumb under chin and pulled her mouth into a long kiss. Barney smiled with satisfaction.
"You two are the pinnacle of awesome in love," he remarked. "Cheers."
Barney took a sip and ambled away from the booth.
A little while later, after Sam and the gang shared conversation over burgers and beers, Dean strolled over with Buffy nestled under his arm.
"You ready to go Sam?"
"Yeah," Sam said as he got up. "It was nice meeting you all and...conspiring."
Sam gave a wave as the gang exchanged various acknowledgments. Lily clutched her heart as she gawked at the reunited couple.
"Oh, you two are just the cutest," she said.
"Yeah, don't forget about us when you send those wedding invitations out," Marshall said. "Seriously don't."
Marshall shined a hurt look as Buffy shaded bright and gulped.
"Anyways, we gotta get going," Dean cut in.
"Okay, don't forget to slap Barney goodbye," Marshall said casually.
Barney did a double take. "What?"
Marshall waved his big hand.
"Oh, I decided, after what you did to break up Dean and Buffy, I would pass my fifth and final slap bet to him."
Barney gulped with apprehension as Dean regarded Marshall.
"Are you sure man? I kind of like the idea of you holding that over his head for the next ten, twenty years."
Marshall nodded. "Yeah, I want to give it to you."
"But...you, you can't do that!" Barney protested. "Slap bets aren't transferable."
"Let's take it to the Slap Bet Commissioner," Marshall said.
Barney stared at Lily.
"I have mulled over the situation and I will allow it," Lily declared. "Slap bet goes to Jacket for being swindled by a Suit."
Barney gasped. "No! He's not part of the group! You can't."
Lily pounded her fist on the table like a gavel.
"It's already done. Slap away Jacket."
Barney gasped inaudibly as he stared at Dean who shined a smirk. Barney clutched his ice pack and gulped.
"Oh fine," Barney moaned. "Just get it over with."
Dean wound back his hand as Barney flinched. When he didn't feel the sting of a slap, he opened his eyes to see Dean with a conflicted look.
"I can't believe this but, I don't want to do this," he said.
Barney sighed in great relief.
"It just isn't right," Dean added. "It shouldn't be me."
Dean shifted his eyes to Buffy as the gang looked on.
"I want you to do it," he said with a smile.
Buffy widened her eyes in disbelief.
"Yeah, I mean, I've been sticking it to the Suit for years, but you haven't had any rewarding torment so, I insist. Take my slap bet."
Dean winked at her as the gang watched.
"Um, I don't know," Buffy said apprehensively.
Barney snorted in amusement and tossed the ice bag over his shoulder.
"Well, I don't need this then," he said. "What a waste of a slap."
Buffy glared at Barney and in a flash, whipped him hard across the face. Barney staggered back in his chair, falling to the ground. He stared up at Buffy in shock as he rubbed his stinging cheek. Dean chuckled as he soaked in the sight of Barney's complete humiliation.
"Oh, um wow, I guess I got um carried away," Buffy said innocently.
The gang shined their awe as Dean pivoted toward the door and eyed Sam.
"Come on Sam, let's go."
Sam nodded as he got to his feet.
"It was nice meeting everyone."
As Barney nursed his cheek, the gang bid their goodbyes. Dean nodded to the gang as Buffy took his hand.
"Erickson, Lily," Dean said. "Mosby, Scherbatsky. It's been fun. Maybe we'll see ya."
Dean snickered as he glanced at Barney still licking his wounds.
Barney frowned in anticipation as Buffy shook her head at Dean. He heaved another sigh.
"Right, no more 'Stencil', I'm officially putting that to rest," he said.
Barney shined his relief as Sam headed for the door. Dean flashed a smile at Barney.
"So see ya...Swarley," he cracked.
Barney widened his eyes in shock and disgust as Dean chuckled on his way out the door.
Barney glanced at the gang until they exuded sheepish looks.
"He twisted our arms," Lily moaned.
Several days ago:
"So, any funny stories about Stencil?" Dean asked.
Marshall drew a goofy grin.
"Oh yeah, plenty! You think calling him 'Stencil' annoys him, you should try a number of variations of 'Swarley'," Marshall imparted.
"Swarley?" Dean repeated, raising an eyebrow in curiosity.
Back to the present, Marshall gulped.
"Yeah, he totally twisted our arms," he said.
Outside the pub, Sam glanced at his brother in wonder before studying Buffy.
"Oh, there's something you should know about my hot little blonde," Dean said with a grin. "She's stronger than you think."
"Ugh," Buffy groaned.
"Demon in that alley across the street, I guess we can't go quite yet."
Sam widened his eyes in astonishment.
"Did you say...demon?"
Buffy fished out a stake from her purse and glanced up at Dean.
"You guys coming?"
"Yeah, you bet."
Dean extracted his knife and stepped off the curb, gauging Sam's increasing look of wonder.
"Did I forget to mention that she not only knows about demons but uh, she's been fighting 'em for years?"
Sam furrowed his brows.
"No, I think I would have remembered if you did."
As they reached the alley, Sam shined his awe when he saw a flash of blonde pummeling the demon with immense skill. When she got herself in a headlock, she ran up the side of the wall and flipped sheer across the demon, landing behind it.
"Woah," Sam gasped.
Dean chuckled and widened a proud smile.
"Yeah, she's amazing huh?"
Sam blinked out of his daze and nodded.
"Yeah, I'm beginning to understand why you were 'giddy as a schoolgirl' about her," Sam cracked, drawing a smug grin.
Dean shifted out of his affable mood and glared at Sam.
"Shut up and fight Sam," he groaned.
One year later:
Barney strolled into a nightclub filled to the walls with lovely young ladies. He adjusted his fabulous tie and grinned as he picked up his drink from the bar.
"The Barnacle is on the hunt!" he roared.
As he scoped out several prospects while weaving through the crowd, he bumped into someone.
"I don't believe it," groaned a voice.
Barney shifted his sights away from a delicious brunette and glanced at the person he had run into. He shined his shock when he recognized the face.
"Jacket? You...you suited up?"
Barney looked Dean over in his dark suit and tie with simple white shirt. Dean sighed as he stuffed a billfold in the inner pocket of his blazer.
"Uh, yeah on occasion," he said.
"Well," Barney said with a smile. "Not bad."
Dean noticed Barney sipping a martini, his stance confident and composed and his eyes shifting rapidly around the place.
"So, who you checking out?"
Barney pulled his eyes away from a prospect and glanced at Dean apprehensively.
"Uh, why are you...are you going to sink the SS Barney?"
"Just answer the question," Dean said sharply.
Barney gulped and loosened his tie as Dean rained an intimidating glare upon him.
"Uh...well, I was looking at that one with the nice set of melons."
Dean shifted his eyes over the crowd and noticed a brunette in a red sweater, with an abundance of cleavage. He shined his recognition as he leaned against the bar.
"Oh, well, forget it, you won't be able to pry that one open even with the Jaws of Life," he remarked.
Barney frowned with curiosity.
"Nope, nun, DEVOUT nun...and she talks to God."
Barney gave a casual shrug.
"Well, sounds like a challenge," he cheered with a grin.
Dean shook his head with a stern look.
"No, I mean she REALLY talks to God. Check it out."
Dean nodded toward the brunette. Barney blinked in disbelief as the girl carried on an animated conversation with her glass of water, completely oblivious to the people around her. She glared disapprovingly at several girls in the bar before picking up conversation with her glass.
"Ohhhhhhhhhhh," Barney said in acknowledgment.
"Yeah, so who else?"
Barney stared at Dean in disbelief.
"Why do you want to know?" he asked suspiciously.
Dean gave a casual shrug.
"I'm just curious."
Barney narrowed his eyes for a moment before looking over the crowd.
"Well, the uh, strawberry blonde at three o'clock is looking very ripe for some plucking by Farmer Barney, uh huh?"
Barney grinned and nodded. Dean glanced at the strawberry blonde before quickly shaking his head.
"Unless you're looking to spend a night in a jail cell, move on, she's not even close to ripe, she's...a sprout if you know what I'm saying."
Barney hitched his head back.
"Oh," he sighed. "How do you know all this?"
Dean shifted in his stance as Barney studied him.
"Let's just say I'm in the business of being...observant," he answered.
Dean settled his eyes on a girl in the far end of the club.
"Now that one is your best chance at a quick sink man," he said.
Barney followed Dean's sights to a luscious, curvy blonde in a tight fitting top and skirt, carrying a sullen expression.
"She's alone and just got dumped by her boyfriend," Dean stated.
"Yeah, I heard her talking to the bartender a little earlier...you know what, wait here, I'll be right back."
Barney watched Dean as he weaved through the crowd and approached the blonde. He gulped with apprehension, fearing the Jacket was on the prowl again and looking to block any of his advances on the female population in the club that night. But, a few minutes later, he blinked when Dean and the blonde worked their way back him.
"Jenny, this is Dr. Hamill of the...Alderaan Family Practice. He's the best in the business and can console you in your time of need, isn't that right, Dr. HAMILL?"
Dean flashed a conspiratorial look at Barney. Barney opened his mouth in immense astonishment. The Jacket had just swooped in as his Wing Man. Barney cleared his throat and took on the persona of Dr. Hamill.
"Yes, yes, that is absolutely right," Barney affirmed.
Dean gently ushered Jenny toward Barney.
"Well, I'll leave you two to engage in 'therapy'."
Dean winked at Barney before wandering away.
A short time later, as Dean made his way from the manager's office, Barney caught his attention near the door. Jenny was waiting nearby, her eyes wet with tears.
"Hey Jacket...I mean, Dean...I just want to say...thanks," Barney said. "You uh...you can be my wingman anytime."
Barney drew a genuine smile of appreciation. Dean blinked with acknowledgment as he let out a laugh. He cracked an amused grin and nodded.
"Bullshit, you can be mine," he added before bursting into more laughter.
Dean pivoted toward the exit doors.
"Oh, one more thing, I hope this is the last time I EVER see you, get my drift?"
Barney watched the affable smile on Dean's face shift into an icy glare.
"Yes, I will not interfere with the Jacket and his Jacket Lady again," he vowed.
"Good," Dean replied as he pushed down the curb.
A short time later, Dean breezed through a motel room and smiled at Buffy as she pecked at a lap top on the bed.
"Hey, Sam still at the university library?"
"Mmm hmm," Buffy said. "But he called a few minutes ago said he'd try to be back in about an hour."
"Yeah, did you find out anything from the night manager?"
"Yep, pulled some surveillance tapes, talked to a couple of witnesses that were there that night, turns out there was a shift change minutes before the thing went down in the alley. I'll get into it all when Sam gets back."
Dean peeled off his jacket and loosened his tie as he settled onto the bed next to Buffy.
"And uh, you'll never guess who I ran into while I was there..."
Five minutes later:
Buffy widened her eyes in mass surprise after Dean related his encounter with Barney.
"So you got Barney...um, a date? You didn't pick on him or anything?"
"No, uh, actually, in a weird way we were kind of uh...hanging out."
Dean widened his eyes in disbelief.
"Who the hell am I?"
Dean reeled a little more disbelief as he shook his head. He scooted back to the headboard, pulling Buffy with him.
"Well, that was nice of you," she said. "Not that I'm um, all that jazzed about you um...scoping out girls..."
Dean waved a hand through the air.
"I wasn't scoping 'em out for me," he stressed.
"Yeah, you were helping Barney."
Dean widened his eyes in disbelief again.
"Yeah, who would have believed it," he replied. "I didn't even intend to it just kind of happened. I mean after everything...I guess I was just, paying it forward you know? And...I've been in a good mood lately. I wonder why that is..."
Dean looked off and feigned a look of wonder before his eyes set back on Buffy.
"So, Sam will be back in an hour huh?"
Buffy gulped when she saw the intense spark of interest flare up in his eyes.
"Yeah, um, about that long," Buffy answered.
Dean drew a mischievous smile over his face.
"Well, we've uh got some time to kill...or...make up for."
Buffy beamed a goofy grin as Dean pulled her down onto the bed.
One week later:
Marshall and Lily strolled into the pub and joined Barney, Ted and Robin at their usual table. Marshall clutched a manila envelope as he took a seat.
"What's that?" Ted asked.
"Oh, it came to my office yesterday," Marshall said. "I haven't had a chance to open it."
Lily glanced at the lack of return address.
"It's just junk mail Marsh," she said.
Marshall tore at the envelope seal and looked inside. He stuffed his big hand inside and pulled out a small vial. The gang narrowed their eyes and stared at the contents.
"Is that a...tooth?" Ted asked.
Lily took the opened envelope and looked inside.
"Hey, there's a note."
Lily took out the note and opened it up.
"Oh, it's from Dean, he says that's a..."
Marshall glanced over the note.
"A werewolf fang?" he finished.
Marshall gaped with excitement as he took a closer look.
Robin scoffed. "Yeah right, it's probably some dime store vampire fang he bought as a joke."
Ted stared at the vial intently.
"That kind of looks like...blood."
"So he added food coloring to it," Robin reasoned.
Marshall gripped the vial protectively and scowled at Robin. Robin snatched the note and read it.
"Oh see? It says here it 'might' be a werewolf fang, that doesn't mean it is."
Robin picked up the manila envelope and scrutinized it.
"And look at the postmark, it was mailed on April FIRST, April Fools? He was joking."
Marshall shook his head in disapproval.
"No, he wouldn't do that to me," Marshall replied. "He's a believer. And if he thinks it's a werewolf fang, than I believe it is too. Your ignorant input falls on deaf ears."
Robin rolled her eyes as Barney looked off in reflection.
"Well, that was cool that Dean thought enough to send you...that," Ted said.
"Yeah, he's awesome," Marshall said. "I...I kind of miss him...and that charming smile of his."
Seeing the awkward looks, Marshall cleared his throat.
"You know, if I was a girl, I would."
"Jacket..." Barney muttered.
The gang drew their eyes to Barney in wonder. Barney tapped his fingers on the table and drew a smile.
"He's not so bad, Jacket," Barney said.
Barney widened his smile as the gang drifted onto another topic of conversation.
And that kids is the story of how the notorious Suit and Jacket made amends...