by Deanie McQueen

With such a long term job in such a small town, they really didn't have much of an option.

"We'll take it," Sam said to the older woman. To their landlord, Dean corrected himself, and remembered to smile his Good Boy smile when Nell looked his way. Sam kept on talking. "We'll take very good care of your attic, won't we Dean?"

"Sure," Dean said, not really caring. He wouldn't be an intentionally shitty renter, of course, but he wouldn't lose sleep over a new stain or two. They'd be here for a month or two, long enough to negotiate new treaty lines with the warring fairy courts, and then they'd move on once things were settled. They'd never see Nell again.

"Well!" Nell's fake teeth were rather brown-looking in the sunshine. Much like the staining color of Tootsie Rolls, Dean thought. "I'm so happy to welcome you into my home! Such handsome boys, you are."

Dean perked up a bit at that, as he quite enjoyed being called handsome. It never really got old, even though he didn't think of himself as a vain person. Just a person that didn't mind being called handsome. It was, after all, a true statement.

"Thank you, Nell," Sam spoke up for the both of them, hand on Dean's back, guiding him toward the stairs. They creaked and seemed to bend under their weight as they climbed, which was rather worrisome, but it was a short distance to the top.

Dean surveyed his new kingdom, not really caring one way or another what it looked like. He spied a bed and a TV and a table and felt satisfied.

The days passed in a rather weary fashion, the treaty negotiations taking longer than either of them had thought. Nell had been away visiting family for the first week, and Dean had enjoyed getting back in the kitchen, whipping out his homemade garlic bread to go with pasta that Sam devoured. It pleased Dean to see his brother eating well, even if Sam complained about carbs.

That night, Dean and Sam were watching reruns of 3rd Rock from the Sun when they heard the creak of the stairs. They turned around to see Nell and Nell's wig.

"Howdy!" she said, and hobbled over to plop herself between them on the couch. Dean opened his mouth to speak, but felt every word die on his tongue. "I thought I'd come up and see how you both were settling in, now that I'm home. Very sorry to have missed the first week."

"That's—alright," Sam said, somehow managing not to sound too confused. "Thank you for your concern."

Please leave, Dean thought at her.

"My father had a wooden leg," she began, and Dean was already lost. "He would tap at it with his cane when he was upset. Scared me and my brother to bits, of course, not that Rodger would ever admit it."

"What?" Dean couldn't help but say, even though Sam shot him a dirty look.

Nell continued on, completely oblivious. "Rodger was a world class arm wrestling champion," she started, eyes trained on no particular thing in the distance. "He would buy me sweets from the countries he visited. The candies from Peru made me sick."

Dean was starting to feel mildly uncomfortable. "Nell…"

"Of course I didn't want to waste the chocolates. I fed them to my parrot Eddy. He didn't get sick."

Dean did his best to shift away from Nell on the couch.

"I was never one for sickness, myself. Coughing is a rather nasty business."

"It really is," Sam choked out.

"Well! I think that's enough storytelling for one night, don't you?" Nell asked, then slapped both Sam and Dean on the knees as she stood up.

Personally, Dean thought he'd heard enough storytelling for a lifetime, but he didn't say this. He couldn't even manage to smile when Nell waved goodbye at the top of the steps. His eyes immediately went to Sam once she'd left, but Sam raised a hand.

"I know," he said, "And there's nothing we can do about it. We have to live here, Dean. I don't care that she tells random stories and creeps you out. We have no other option."

Dean whined.

The storytelling did not stop.

Nell told them about her childhood in the Chinese wilderness, her uncle's pet snake Bo, and her sexual encounters with the Russian mafia. Dean was cornered in the kitchen when he was buttering his toast and was forced to hear about Nell's adventures in the circus, her love affair with a "man of great national value," her time spent undercover in a Chilean jail, and her father's wild past as a tulip farmer. Needless to say, the toast was unappealing.

"I can't take this!" Dean said one night, leaning over Sam's bed, talking at his face. "We have to leave!"

As he'd been asleep, Sam's voice was groggy and still somehow patient. "They're just stupid stories, Dean. Half of them probably aren't even true."

"It doesn't matter that half of them are probably fake when all of them are ridiculous!" Dean whispered this last part fearing that Nell could hear. Perhaps she had microphones. Perhaps she had cameras. Perhaps she was a spy. At this point, anything was possible.

"Deal with it," Sam said, and rolled over.

They were nearly, blessedly finished with the job, which meant that they were also nearly finished with Nell. Dean felt very grateful. His nerves were fraying.

"And that's when I knew his mother was actually his sister." Nell finished her current story proudly and with great flourish, swinging around her spatula in the small kitchen. Bits of pancake batter flew against the walls and unhappily, on Dean's jacket.

"Wow," Sam managed to say, wiping a stray bit of batter from his nose.

"That is certainly an appropriate word," Nell said, and smiled. She turned back to the stove but stopped, cocking her head at them. "Did I ever tell you about the man with the broomstick and the turban?"

Dean needed to escape.

"Leaving so soon?" Nell followed them to the Impala, frowning at their bags as Dean hurled them into the trunk.

"Yes," Dean said viciously, "We are leaving and we won't be coming back."

"What Dean means to say is that we had a lovely time," Sam intervenes. "You were an excellent landlord and we'll miss your cooking."

Nell brightened up at that. "I could bake you a cake to go! If you'd just hold on one second, I'll—"

"NO," Dean and Sam said simultaneously.

For once, Nell seemed to understand. "Ah," she said wisely, "Well, I'll let you be on your way."

Not two minutes later, Sam and Dean were on the road again.