Ordinarily, Dean's next step would be to confer with Dad, but Dad's off drinking coffee (and please let it just be regular old coffee, not some fussy latte thing) with Ms. Pillsbury so –
She had looked up into Santana's locker and right at the hex bag, when she got there. Before she looked at Dean or Rachel or even Santana.
Which means she knew it was there.
Which means she probably put it there.
The school is now all but deserted, and the lock on Ms. Pillsbury's door isn't that much harder to pick than the one on Santana's locker.
He finds the jars of herbs and supply of little drawstring bags in a box labeled "Extra Copies of Brochures."
He's about to call Dad and warn him, somehow, before he gets roofied by a witch or something, when –
"Dean, what are you doing in my office?"
Apparently, it doesn't take that long to drink a cup of coffee.
Ms. Pillsbury's eyes go to the box he's still going through. Dean decides that a good offense is the best defense, and tosses the hex bag he took out of Santana's locker to her. "Home ec project," he says. "Thought you might have some pointers on making my own."
"It's not what you think it is," Ms. Pillsbury says.
"I think you're a witch."
"Okay, maybe it is what you think it is," Ms. Pillsbury says.
"What did you think I thought it was?"
"Lady, I know a hex bag when I see one."
"It's not a hex bag," Ms. Pillsbury says. "It's a protective sachet."
"That's, like, French for hex bag." He probably ought to be more concerned about the fact that there's a witch between him and the door, but it's just kind of hard to find Ms. Pillsbury all that intimidating.
"The intent is completely different." She spreads a tissue out on her desk and pours the bag's contents onto it. "Angelica root, fennel, salt – all for protection. I'm a good witch."
"Yeah, you're a regular Glinda," Dean says. "I'm sure Santana would agree."
"I feel just awful about that. I don't know what I did wrong. Unless it was the orange peel."
"What's the orange peel for?"
"To make it smell better."
"Oh, yeah, that would be my first concern in spell work," Dean says.
Ms. Pillsbury sighs and sinks into her desk chair. "I guess I'm not a very good witch. I mean, I guess I'm not very good at being a witch. But some of those spells require things that are just very unhygienic, you know. Look, Dean, believe me or not, but I would never hurt anybody. I know that isn't what hunters usually expect from witches—"
"What do you know about hunters?" Dean demands. "And how do you know about hunters?"
"I'm the one who told Bobby Singer about Burt Hummel's needing a hand at the garage. I know what you and John—your dad—do."
"Wait, you know Bobby? How come you know Bobby?"
Is there anyone who doesn't know Bobby?
"Why does anyone know a hunter, Dean? He helped me out with something. The point is, we're on the same side here. Something felt really wrong in the choir room last night. I thought there might be something after you Glee kids. I was trying to protect you."
Dean studies Ms. Pillsbury for a moment. The whole concept of a real life "good witch" sounds, well, nuts. But then, what doesn't sound nuts in Lima at this point? And it is kind of hard to imagine Ms. I-Buy-My-Hand-Sanitizer-Wholesale trying to ritually slaughter a bunny. Or deal with any bodily fluids, including her own.
Besides, if she knows Bobby . . .
"No casting love spells on my dad," Dean says.
"I would never do something like that," she says, obviously insulted by the very idea.
Dean nods. "Okay, then." He's not still wild about any of it, but bigger problems and all that. "So, if you didn't make Santana's hair fall out, what did?"
"Well, I've been thinking about that," Ms. Pillsbury says, and then stops as Dean holds up a hand. "What?"
"Did you hear that?"
"It sounded like . . ." Dean stops, as there's another shattering sound from the hallway, ". . . breaking glass." Ms. Pillsbury get up and grabs the broom from behind her door. Dean looks at her. "A broomstick? Seriously?"
She hands him a dustpan. "Broken glass can be dangerous. Someone could get cut."
His life cannot get any weirder.
You Think You Got the Right, But I Think You Got It Wrong
It's obvious, though, that there's way more broken glass than they're going to be able to deal with using a single broom and dustpan. The trophy cases look like the victims of a series of run-ins with a sledge hammer, and cheerleading awards are scattered across the empty hall.
And then they hear the voice from around the corner.
"I demand that you return that trophy to its rightful place immediately."
Coach Sylvester. Perfect. Just what the day needed.
"And don't think some Halloween mask is going to –"
The rest of Coach Sylvester's warning is lost in a crash that sounds a lot like a national championship cheerleading trophy hitting a row of lockers.
Coach Sylvester, in a yellow and orange track suit (and where does she find these things?) is chasing after a girl in a witch's costume, complete with pointy hat, who is headed for the next trophy case.
"Sue," says Ms. Pillsbury, "maybe you should . . ."
"Not now, Erma."
Dean passes them both and reaches the witch. The costume is a little less subtle than he's used to evil being, but sometimes, black and white is nice. "Hey," he says, and she turns to look at him.
Okay, so maybe he should have said black and white and green.
"Yes, Sue, now –" Ms. Pillsbury begins, and then catches sight of the witch's face. "Oh my."
The girl's skin is green. And she looks like –
"You two keep an eye on this miscreant," Coach Sylvester orders. "I am going to call Principal Figgins. And get my superglue. You, young lady, are going to repair every single one of those trophies before you are shipped off to reform school."
The witch watches Coach Sylvester leave, then looks back at Dean, smiles, and vanishes.
"That was the Wicked Witch of the West," Ms. Pillsbury says.
"No," Dean says. "It just looked like her."
"Where did she go?"
"I have a theory about that," Dean says. "Can you handle Coach Sylvester without me? I need to check something out."
"Probably. So you think you know what's going on?"
"No, but I think I know who might."
"Okay," Ms. Pillsbury says. "Be careful."
"Thanks. Oh, and um, can I borrow your car?"
Don't Stop Believing (Just Stop Believing in THAT)
It makes a kind of sense.
Dave Karofsky had thrown a slushie on Rachel and was planning to put itching powder on the Glee Club members' clothes.
Santana made a pass at Rachel's boyfriend.
Coach Sylvester threatened that boyfriend and the Glee Club in front of Rachel.
And that witch had looked a hell of a lot like more like Dean's girlfriend than it had looked like Margaret Hamilton. If, you know, Rachel had green skin and even worse taste in clothes. Ms. Pillsbury and Coach Sylvester didn't seem to have noticed, but the whole situation had been kind of distracting, even before you factor in the effect of green skin. And he's probably a lot more familiar with Rachel's face than they are
But Dean is pretty sure that Rachel, as talented as she is, cannot make herself vanish, which means Rachel wasn't the witch.
Which would be the part where it stops making sense.
Still, whatever's going on, all roads lead to Rachel, including the street Dean's driving down.
The trick, of course, is going to be not spooking her, or tipping her off, until he knows what she's up to.
He's expecting to have to distract her somehow while he searches her room, or the whole house. Instead, he spots it from her bedroom doorway.
Just in front of some kind of exercise machine, there's a foot square wooden shrine thing, decorated with about a dozen seriously powerful symbols from about six different traditions.
"What the hell is this?" Dean approaches it warily, circling it for a better look.
Rachel beams. "Do you like it? It's my Achieve Your Dreams Meditation Shrine. I found it online. The site said that if you focused on it, and thought very hard about what you wanted, you could bring your dreams into reality."
"That's not all you've brought into reality," Dean says, studying the emblems on the front of the shrine.
"This is a Tibetan Spirit Sigil," Dean says, pointing at it. "You use it to it to focus your thoughts, and bring a tulpa into being."
"What's a tulpa?" she asks.
"It's a thought form. A physical manifestation of one. You focus on a symbol like this one, think about something hard enough, and poof, it exists. And this one looks like you."
"There's a thought form that looks like me?" Rachel asks.
"Yeah, only green. Like the Wicked Witch of the West."
Now it makes sense. It's her dream part, after all. She told him so. And, yeah, okay, so it can take twenty monks to pull something like this off, but Dean is willing to bet there ain't a monk on Earth who can focus on his goals like Rachel Berry can.
"Elphaba," she corrects. "And she wasn't wicked—"
"So not the point right now," Dean tells her.
"Have you been thinking about anything else while you stare at this thing?"
"No," Rachel says, too quickly, looking away.
Dean just manages not to sigh. "What was it?"
"Well, nothing. Just . . . that it would be nice to be popular and stuff. Not get slushies thrown at me and have cheerleaders mock me and . . ."
"Well, congratulations. You've created an avenging Elphaba. I saw her at the school earlier, smashing cheerleading trophies. She probably cast a spell on Santana, and whacked Karofsky with the music stand, too."
"I'm the reason all that happened?" Rachel asks, sounding suspiciously like she's going to cry.
"Look, let's just get rid of this thing before anything else happens, okay?"
Rachel nods, her eyes watering.
He's probably going to have to do some kind of supportive boyfriend thing here, isn't he?
"Rachel, it'll be okay. We'll just take care of it. And you know you don't need crap like that thing. You're freakishly obsessive and super talented, and you don't need some lameass internet shrine to achieve anything."
Rachel sniffles and smiles a little. "You think I'm talented?"
"You're amazing. You know that."
Rachel throws her arms around him. "You are like the best boyfriend ever."
Dean hugs her back for a second. Maybe this having a girlfriend thing isn't all bad.
A Hard Day's Night (And Apparently Not Over Yet)
Dean reaches into the cardboard bucket and grabs another chicken leg. It's been a busy day, what with witches and shrines and coffee dates, and no one really had time to cook.
"Don't eat all the drumsticks," Sam says.
"There's probably another one in there," Dean says, then turns his attention back to filling Dad in on that afternoon's impromptu hunt. There's been a lot to go over, including the fact that Dad had been on a date (which was news to Sam) with a witch (which, if it was news to Dad, he took in his usual stride).
"Anyway," Dean says, "Rachel wanted to confess or something, but I told her no one was going to believe her and just to stay away from the occult in the future. She said something about paying it forward or getting her karma tuned up or something. So then I drove Ms. Pillsbury's car back, filled her in on what had happened, and that was that. I think everyone'll be okay."
"So you destroyed the shrine?"
"Salted and burned. Torched the sucker in the fireplace." It had been awesome. "And here's the URL for the place she ordered it from," Dean says, wiping chicken grease off his fingers before taking the paper out of his pocket and handing it to Dad. "I thought Bobby might want to look into it."
He's waiting for Dad to congratulate him on having thought of everything.
"And the tulpa?" Dad asks.
"What about it?" Dean asks.
"Well, you know, once one is created, it takes on a life of its own. Destroying the sigil doesn't destroy the tulpa. You have to take care of it, too."
"Totally under control," Dean says. He pushes his chair back from the table. "May I be excused?"
Dad looks at Dean's half-full plate. "You're done?"
"Yeah. Just remembered something I forgot at school."
Dad looks amused. "You gonna need help getting it?"
"No, sir. I'm good."
Dad nods. "Okay."
As Dean's leaving the kitchen, he hears Sam say, "He's going to destroy the tulpa, isn't he? Are we gonna have to go help with that? I have a book report to write."
"We'll given him an hour first," Dad says. "Pass the potatoes, Sammy."
Another One Bites the Dust (To the Sound of the Beat)
The problem is twofold, really. First, he's got to find the damn thing.
And then he has to figure out how to destroy it.
Dean has a hunch on about the destroying part, one which requires a quick detour to pick up supplies. He'll have to hope it works, because he has no real back-up plan. As for finding it . . . well, he heads for the only place he knows the tulpa has been.
William McKinley High School needs better security. Even the lock on the side entrance to the building doesn't put up much more of a fight than the one to Ms. Pillsbury's office did.
Now . . . if he was a tulpa of the Broadway reimagining of a pop culture icon of evil as created by a sixteen-year-old diva, where would he hang out after hours?
Maybe it sings, too? He tries the auditorium and the choir room, but nothing. Rechecks the sites of the attacks on Santana and the cheerleading trophies. Zilch.
He's headed for the girls' locker room (what? it's a totally logical place to look) when he hears music coming from the classroom to his right. Dean tightens his grip on the weapon in his hand and steps into the room.
There's no witch, just a music box, sitting on desk in the middle of the room, playing a tinny version of "Over the Rainbow." It could be freakier, but only if it had been one of those monkeys banging cymbals. Maybe one with wings, to go with the whole Oz theme.
Dean closes the lid to the music box. There's a note taped to the top.
I'll get you, my pretty.
"What, and my little dog, too?" Dean asks the empty classroom. "I'm not really in the mood to pass notes in class here, sweetheart."
In response, the classroom door swings shut.
And standing behind it is the tulpa, with its tall black hat and green skin.
It raises its broomstick, in a manner that's probably meant to be menacing, and advances toward him.
Like, really slowly.
Way to completely blow the advantage of surprise. Because, sure, this is all very dramatic and theatrical, but it's hardly a good way to win a fight.
Dean watches the tulpa for a few seconds, then takes the lid off the cup in his hand and throws forty-four ounces of grape slushie over it.
The look on the tulpa's face as it starts to dissolve into the floor is actually pretty priceless.
It looks so confused.
"You're melting, melting," Dean tells it. "And yeah, I know that doesn't happen in your play, Rachel explained all that. But this isn't a play. This is high school."
Dean looks down at the pointed hat in a puddle of purple slushie – all that now remains of Rachel's tulpa. Dean's willing to call it over, but he'll burn the hat and the music box, anyway. And check with Dad. Just to be sure.
He shakes purple slush off the hat as he retrieves it from the puddle in the floor. "If you'd only had a brain."
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Life Goes On
Dean swings by Ms. Pillsbury's office the next day to fill her in on melting the tulpa. He tries to make it sound like he knew all along that he'd have to destroy it, too, but he's not sure he quite sells it.
All she says, though, is "So, it's over now?"
"Should be," Dean says. "I mean, I'll keep an eye on things for a while, but it should be. Just, you know, if anything weird happens, let me know. Or call my dad."
"About your dad, Dean—"
"Look, if you and my dad want to have coffee or whatever, that's fine. But I really don't want to talk about it."
Ms. Pillsbury nods, and Dean heads for Glee Club rehearsal.
On the way, he passes Karofsky, who has a knot on his head and a group of his friends hanging around. He's telling them, in detail, about the huge, muscle-bound guy who attacked him at the concert, and how he fought back, and how close he came to winning.
Dean rolls his eyes. Because, yeah, okay, because the tulpa might have been a legitimate threat, but it was shaped roughly like Dean's girlfriend, who is neither huge nor muscle-bound. And Dean suspects Karofsky didn't see a damn thing before it happened, never mind have time to fight back.
Rachel catches up to him as he continues down the hall, and links her arm through his in a way he's getting used to. She looks back at Karofsky. "Are you sure I shouldn't apologize to them? To him and Santana?"
"Positive," Dean says. "They're not going to believe you, even if you do. At best, people will think you're joking. At worst, they'll lock you up for some intensive therapy."
Though it's possible Rachel could use some intensive therapy.
"I know," Rachel says. "I'll just be really nice to them."
"You do that," Dean says.
Rachel puts on a bright smile when they run into Santana in the choir room door. "Hi, Santana. You look nice today."
"Whatever," Santana says, with a toss of her very convincing wig. Dean probably wouldn't even have noticed it wasn't really her hair if he hadn't known to look.
Dean takes his usual seat between Rachel and Artie. Behind them, Kurt and Mercedes are examining the small gold metal pompom stuck to the end of one of Brittany's fingers. From what Dean can overhear, Coach Sylvester, unable to find the tulpa, has had the Cheerios on trophy repair detail. And apparently, Brittany and superglue are a bad combination.
"Okay, guys," says Mr. Schuester, coming into the room. "Today I want to talk about being spontaneous and improvising. I want you all to get up and sing the first song that comes into your head. Don't think about it, don't worry about whether or not it's the 'right' song, or even if you know all the words. Just get up and start singing." He looks around the room. "Do we have a volunteer to go first?"
Dean puts his hand in the air even before Rachel does.
"Dean, go ahead," Mr. Schuester says.
Dean gets up, takes his place in front of the piano, and sings.
Ding dong! The witch is dead,
Which old witch? The Wicked Witch
Ding dong! The Wicked Witch is dead . . .
Songs Referenced in Part Four:
"Witchy Woman" by the Eagles
"Mickey" by Toni Basil
"Don't Stop Believing" by Journey
"A Hard Day's Night" by The Beatles
"Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen
"Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz
"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" by The Beatles
"Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" from The Wizard of Oz