Bobby pulled up the drive, the rain still pouring in sheets, and he grabbed the necessities he had gone out for and hurried in the house through the kitchen door.
"Dean?" he hollered.
"In here Bobby." Dean yelled back. Bobby put the bottles of booze on the table and went into his living room and found Sam standing on his couch tacking a huge tarp over the hole in his living room that was once a window.
"What in the hell happened? I leave you two idjits alone for an hour and I come back and my couch is soaked all to hell and my window is gone!"
"Balthazar." Dean began. Bobby sighed and rolled his eyes.
"Of course. What did our good friends the angels have to say this time that required my window to be in pieces?"
"Balthazar turned over the weapons." Dean said as he tacked the bottom of the tarp.
"The weapons that he stole?" Bobby asked.
"Them be the ones." Dean said, and Sam tacked the top of the other side.
"Again, what does this have to do with the window?"
"In order to screw with Raphael, he gave us a dummy key and sent us into another reality." Sam said as he held the tarp down for Dean to tack the last part of it to the wall. "Got it?" he mumbled to Dean, and Dean grumbled a response that was comprehensible only to Sam and Sam let go of the tarp, and the two of them took one side a piece and began tacking the sides down firmly against the wall.
"Sam?" Bobby prodded wanting the rest of the story.
Sam turned and looked at Bobby, "Oh, right, sorry. Balthazar threw us through the window to get there."
"Corse he did." Bobby took a deep breath and sighed. "Am I going to need to sit down to hear the rest of this?"
"Probably." The brothers said in unison. Bobby hid a smile. There were things he had missed while Sam's soul had been AWOL and being in step with his brother had been one of them.
"Let's get into the kitchen boys, I think there might be some pie left." Dean turned sharply.
"You've been holding out on me old man?"
"When you're here I got to hide the good stuff or it'll be gone before I can turn around." Dean scowled at Bobby and when Bobby turned unfazed towards the kitchen Dean sighed and put the last tack in the wall and the brothers followed Bobby into the kitchen. Dean and Sam both took off their rain soaked jackets and accepted the pie that Bobby put in front of them.
"So, spill it." Dean looked up and caught Sam's eyes.
"Well, we were thrown into a reality where," Sam gestured to the kitchen and the devil's trap above them, "this was all a television show. Your house was missing that wall over there." Sam pointed to the far wall. Truly it had disturbed the living hell out of him to look out and expect to see Bobby's wall and see cameras and lights and stuff that had nothing to do with hunting or with Bobby. It was akin to destroying something sacred. Sam took a bite of the pie, trying to act normally, trying to act as if this was all simply funny, but Sam couldn't pretend the odd feeling in his stomach away.
"Yeah," Dean picked up the story. "When we flew through the window we ended up on a pad, and everyone cheered like we'd done something spectacular." Dean said somewhat bewildered. The people behind the cameras acted like they had just cured cancer, when in reality they had fallen through a window made out of something odd. Put into perspective it seemed silly for all of that adulation for falling through a window the way you were told to.
"Didn't that short bald dude smack you on the ass?"
"Yeah, he said something about it being a good solid fall." Dean said with a shake of his head. It had been unsettling to have his ass smacked, especially by a man, and for doing something stupid like falling through a window. Dean outwardly smiled, he couldn't act like this whole situation hadn't been insanely unsettling for him, he had to fake it like it was all funny, and pretend that he wasn't disturbed by this latest angel induced acid trip. "He wanted to see a good solid fall he should have been there when we jumped out of the attic window of that church a couple of years back." Sam nodded quickly. That fall had been painful, lots of real glass, sharp glass, glass that found its way into fleshy parts of their bodies. Both had acknowledged that day just how lucky they had been that none of that glass had gone deep, had penetrated a vital organ and caused either of them to bleed out. "My shoulder still isn't right." Dean added trying to keep the situation light.
"Anyway," Sam continued, "turns out the whole thing was fake and I was someone named Jared Padalecki." The name still bothered him, and he was unable to ascertain why.
"You were Polish?" Bobby asked. Dean nodded. And that was it. Sam realized when Bobby repeated the same thing that Dean had said back in bizarro Earth. It bothered him because it separated him from Dean. It was no secret that the two of them had certain things in common, eye color and hair color especially, but there were other things that they had definitely inherited from opposite sides of the family tree, skin tone, nose shape, face shape, body type just to name a few. And for someone else to share his skin his body, and to be completely separate from Dean, to be of a completely different blood line, a different family yet still had the same faces, the same bodies, the same everything, put Sam on edge.
"That's what I asked. And then I was Jensen Ackles."
"Jensen? That's a first name?"
"Apparently." Dean said as he inhaled the last bit of pie on his plate. His stunt double was a little too anal retentive, his trailer was immaculate, and an aristocratic air about him, and his name reflected those sensibilities, it made Dean feel less, made him feel less accomplished, less everything.
"And then there was this guy who looked exactly like Cass, and it was some crap actor named Misha." Both thought back to the tweeting weirdo, and try as they might they were unable to reconcile the weak man with the strong angel that was up in heaven right this second fighting a civil war.
"Misha? Where did these people find their names, out of a hat?" Sam and Dean nodded.
"Oh, and the guy who played Dean was on a soap opera." Dean shook his head. It was embarrassing for him, and he hadn't even been the one reciting those craptastic lines. But it had been his 18 year old face on the screen, it had been his 18 year old voice saying those words, and it made Dean embarrassed.
"Can you believe that?" Bobby was having a hard time believing all of this.
"And these guys made a crap load of money." Sam added.
"The show was popular? Who would watch your lives? You two ain't all that interesting." Bobby said.
"Right?" Dean said gesturing with his fork.
"I don't think the show was that popular. But apparently the fans were pretty…energetic." Sam said remembering what the interviewer said. Your fans managed to vote you guys onto the cover of TVguide, and they come in the thousands to see you at conventions, and they obsess over every little detail of the show, what do you think about that? What is it like to have that kind of devotion? Do you like it? Sam tried to answer the question, but all that managed to come out of his mouth had been You're serious?
"And that Jared guy was married to fake Ruby." Dean had continued telling he story without Sam's attention on the conversation, Sam almost smiled at the thought of the little woman who was in no way a demon, and the sex they had had that night. Damn. If that was what it was like to be married, it wasn't a bad gig. "And dude you should have seen their house. It was freaking huge! And they had an Alpaca in their back yard."
"Alpaca?" Bobby asked in disbelief.
"According to fake Ruby it is the greenest animal." Dean said, his expression deadpan.
"What the hell?"
"Right?" Dean asked shaking his head in disbelief.
Sam picked up the story from there, wanting to get it away from Fake Ruby and Jared Padalecki. "And then this little guy, who, was like the director or something was named Robert Singer." Bobby's eyebrow raised.
"Yeah. And apparently you were in the show too, and isn't that a douchy thing to do, name a character after yourself?" Dean asked.
"And all of this happened in an hour?" Bobby asked.
"For us it was a day or so." Sam supplied.
"Friggin' angels." Bobby mumbled.
"Weird thing was, that we didn't even talk to each other in that world. We weren't even friends. They kept saying 'well at least they're talkin'." Sam said softly.
"You know, that's starting to be a running joke in these whack a do adventures we've been on in the last couple of years." Dean concluded and pushed his plate out of the way. Silence fell over the three of them.
"You know." Bobby started. "I've been hunting longer than both of you been alive. And never once has someone kidnapped me and threw me into a world where I was a television star. How does this happen to you boys?"
Sam and Dean thought it over and finally Dean chuffed. "Just lucky, I guess."
Silence descended upon the small family again, and Bobby looked from one brother to the other, neither one speaking, neither one looking at each other in the eye, and each lost in their own thoughts. It worried him, Sam and Dean had only recently repaired their relationship, had only recently gotten back onto the same page, the same footing. He couldn't stand to see them lose any of the ground that they had so painstakingly gained.
"You boys okay?" Bobby asked.
"Yeah, yeah, we're fine." Dean answered for the two of them.
"Just tired is all." Sam supplied.
"Night Bobby." Dean said and stood from the table, put his dishes away, Sam following his brother's actions, and they both went up the stairs to their room.
The boys got ready for bed, turned out the light, and each laid there in his own bed, thinking about the events of the past couple of hours.
"You said that every time one of us or both of us goes on one of these acid trips, we find out that we aren't friends…..why do you think that is?"
Dean was quiet for a while, mulling over his answer. "The Djin's explanation was because we didn't have anything in common."
"But these two men who worked for hours and hours along side of each other, how could they do that if they didn't like each other? How could they pretend to be brothers? Pretend to want to die for each other?"
"Don't know Sammy. They're actors, they have to be able to fake real good."
"But how do you fake…" Sam was struggling not to say 'our bond' because he didn't want to scare Dean into silence, because God and angels knew that it didn't take much talk regarding feelings for Dean Winchester to go mute. "Us?" Sam finally settled on.
"Maybe they were really good actors. Truth is Sam, we'll never know. Maybe one of they did something to the other that the other can't forgive? Maybe there was a fight. Or maybe they simply didn't have anything in common either."
Sam heard the implication in Dean's words, and it raised the hair on his neck. "So, you're saying that the only reason we're friends, is because we have hunting in common?"
Dean hesitated before answering, "We have a lot more in common than hunting."
"Hell?" Sam asked trying to get his brother to explain what exactly he thought the two of them shared, Sam wanted to know, wanted to hear the words, wanted to feel like he and his brother were in step again. It had been so long.
"No Sammy. I'm not going to spell it out for you, I'm too tired for a chick flick moment. There are lots of reasons you and I are who we are…we know each other…we trust each other. We have each other's backs. Now go to sleep Sammy."
Sam shook his head, and rolled over, the question still loomed large in his mind. There had to be a kernel of truth to what the angels and demons had been telling them and showing them all of this time.
Sam thought it over a little while longer, and he came to the conclusion that maybe just maybe, God was really out there guiding how some things happened. He pulled the covers up a little higher at the expense of uncovering his feet. He had lost all faith in God, lost all faith in himself, but maybe these trips also showed them that what they had was delicate and precious, and maybe they were there to serve as a reminder of just how lucky he and Dean were to have each other. Satisfied with that answer, and unwilling to allow his mind to conjure up something else, something less pleasant, Sam sent a prayer out, thanking all who would listen for the relationship he had with his brother, and for his life, and allowed himself to drift to sleep.