Sam Winchester's New Clothes
Author's Note: This was originally posted on my LiveJournal. (I'm mandraco.)
x X X x
The chupacabra took the last of Sam's hole-free shirts and his best pair of jeans, so before turning in for the night, Sam found himself lurking on the front steps of a second-hand clothing store until it opened at half past eight in the morning. He wasn't exactly thinking clearly after having been up all night and was no longer high on adrenaline, so he didn't pay any attention at all to the woman who served him at the counter.
If Sam had been paying attention, he might have noticed that she was paying rather a lot of attention to the hole in the armpit of his shirt, and the sweat stains in his undershirt. He might have noticed the way her eyes lingered on the oil stains on the seam of his jeans, and the mud splatters at the ragged hem above his boots. He probably would have noticed her scowl and the way she reached under the counter when he accidentally tripped over something and knocked a pile of clean women's shirts to the ground. Most importantly, he would have noticed the way she muttered something rhythmically under her breath as she slid his newly purchased clothes into a bag for him.
But Sam didn't notice anything at all strange about his shopping trip. He went through the rest of his motions absently. He went back to the motel, tried not to disturb his sleeping brother while he showered, then changed into sweatpants and an old t-shirt, and crawled into bed with the covers pulled tight around his neck.
x x x
Sam woke to the not-quite-suffocating feeling of a pillow landing on his face and his brother having a conniption.
"Dude," said Dean. "Put some pants on. The first thing I want to see in the morning is not your balls. I never want to see your balls."
Which was a strange comment to make, since, unless this was some poorly thought out prank of Dean's, Sam was pretty sure he was already wearing pants. And even if he wasn't, he had a blanket and a couple of sheets on top of him. Plus, it was actually the middle of the afternoon.
"What the hell, dude?" asked Sam. He sat up, and Dean was still deliberately looking away.
"I should be asking you that," said Dean. "It's minus a hundred outside and while I'll give you that it's a little warmer in here, it is definitely pants wearing weather."
"I'm wearing pants," said Sam.
Dean darted a glance over his shoulder, then quickly turned away again. "I can't believe I fell for that," he said. Dean got up and went to the bathroom. "You'd better be wearing pants when I get back."
Sam stared at the closed door, then shrugged. He got dressed and powered on his laptop. He might as well start looking for their next case.
x x x
"Are you kidding me?" asked Dean when he got out of the bathroom. Once again he avoided looking at Sam. "It's one thing to lie on your own bed naked. It's another to sit on all the furniture."
"Seriously Dean?" said Sam. "This joke was never funny."
"Then put some damn clothes on!"
"I am wearing clothes!"
Dean just stared at his brother, lost for words.
Sam stared at his brother and slowly it began to come to him. "You can see through my clothes."
"You're not wearing any clothes."
"Gee Dean," said Sam. "You think I'm just wandering around in here naked? Don't you think maybe I'd be a little more self-conscious than that?"
"You weren't when you didn't have a soul," said Dean.
"Oh because that's the litmus test for normal."
"It's as good as any," said Dean.
"Which shows how insane our lives are," said Sam.
Dean sighed. "So you're telling me what? Your clothes are invisible?"
"I can see them," said Sam, looking over and checking his reflection in the toaster. He went over to his duffle and pulled out the clothes he'd woken up in. "Can you see these?"
"A dirty t-shirt and sweats?"
"This is what I was sleeping in last night," said Sam. "This is what I was wearing when I woke up."
"But I woke you up," said Dean. "And you were naked."
Sam unbuttoned his shirt and stripped it off. He was about to ask Dean if he could see it when Dean's eyes went wide.
"Where the hell did that come from?" asked Dean.
"I was wearing it," said Sam. "I just took it off."
Dean looked at his brother. "Tell me you've got another shirt on under there."
Sam looked at him. "I do."
"Well good," said Dean. "Because you just stripped right in front of me."
"You already think I'm naked."
"Yeah, well, I don't want you to be actually naked under your nakedness," said Dean. "Put your shirt back on."
Sam could see the exact moment that his shirt disappeared on Dean's face. "What do you think it is? Witches? Cursed object."
"How could it be a cursed object? What could you have seen or touched that I didn't?"
Sam looked to the bag he'd brought back from the second-hand clothing store that morning. "I got myself some new shirts. Old ones."
"Cursed shirt?" said Dean.
"But I haven't touched them," said Sam. "Not since I picked them up." Neither brother made a move toward the bag of shirts. "I guess there could be a hex bag or something in there."
"Well I'm not touching it," said Dean.
Sam rolled his eyes. But he'd touched everything in there last night, so it wasn't like anything worse could happen. The bag was clean and there was no EMF either.
"I don't remember running into someone strange."
"Maybe the spell's not on you," said Dean. "Maybe it's on me."
"You mean you've suddenly developed x-ray vision?" Sam raised an eyebrow, but it was a reasonable conclusion to draw if it didn't sound so comic book.
"Maybe," said Dean. "So we have to check."
"Fine," said Sam. "You go out and see if you can see through anyone else's clothes."
Dean smirked. "I'm going to find myself a busty brunette."
Dean left, and came back ten minutes later with a smirk on his face.
"So you found yourself a brunette?" asked Sam.
"I did," said Dean. "But she was wearing like ten layers and I couldn't see through any of them."
"Then what's with the stupid look on your face."
"Well it's your turn to go out, Sammy," said Dean. "Because we need to know if I'm the only one who can see through your clothes. Or if it's everyone."
"No thank you," said Sam. "I do not want to take that chance. I'm not leaving this room until you can see my clothes."
"That's too bad," said Dean. "Because I used a card to pay for this room and another night's going to push us over the limit."
Dean didn't need to spell it out for Sam to get it. Dean wasn't going to go out there and pay cash for their room. If Sam wanted to stay another night, he was going to have to leave the room. Sam hated his brother.
x x x
After a circuit of the motel where Sam drew disgusted, lustful and amused stares instead of the usual nothing, Sam had to conclude that there was something wrong with him. With no other leads, they had to retrace Sam's steps to the clothing store.
Thankfully it had grown dark while the brothers had argued. If Sam climbed out the window, no one else would have to see him naked until he got into the Impala.
"Sam," said Dean when Sam voiced this opinion. "I am not letting your naked ass inside my baby."
"I'm not naked!" said Sam. Whoever was in the room next door hit the wall and told them to keep it down. Sam walked over to his brother, and slid his jacketed arm across the side of his brother's face.
Dean pushed him off.
"Not naked," Sam repeated.
Dean still looked unconvinced, and poked at Sam's sleeve experimentally.
"Should I repeat the demonstration with my ass?" asked Sam.
Dean backed out of the room quickly. "It's bad enough that I have to see it."
x x x
Sam directed Dean to where he was certain the store had been that morning. There was nothing there but an abandoned storefront.
"It couldn't be easy, could it?" said Dean.
"At least now we know it was the clothes," said Sam.
"And it was probably a witch," said Dean. "I hate witches."
"Right now," said Sam. "I think I hate them more."
"You're not the one who has to look at you." Dean looked up at the graffiti on the window, then got out of the car to examine it more closely. "I think she left you a message," said Dean, pointing to one particular part.
"Respect your clothing?" said Sam. "What does that even mean?"
"I guess we'd better figure it out if we want the spell to wear off."
x x x
After Dean paid for another night in the motel, they had time to experiment. The more they knew about this spell, Sam figured, the easier it would be to get rid of it.
Everything disappeared when Sam tried to use it as clothing. It didn't have to be made of fabric, like that morning's sheets. Newspaper. Trash bags. Toilet paper. Trash cans. And on one occasion that completely freaked out Dean: the Impala.
The only things that didn't disappear, were things directly applied to Sam's skin. Band-aids still served their purpose. It turned out paint stayed on, too, and Dean entertained the idea of painting clothes onto Sam so that people wouldn't notice at first, but Sam protested that there was no way he was going to put face paint on his junk. Dean talked him round by saying that he'd do it for him. And though it worked if you had poor eyesight and it was dark outside, even Dean thought it was way too creepy.
It was strange. Sam could hold a shirt if that was all he was going to do with it. He could pull one of Dean's out of his duffle and throw it to him and it wouldn't turn invisible. He could pull one of his own shirts out of his bag and Dean was still able to see it, right up until the second when he moved his arm to put it on.
Things inside Sam's jeans pockets remained invisible while Sam was wearing them, but as soon as he gripped them they turned visible. If Dean stuck his hand into Sam's invisible jacket pocket, it didn't disappear. It didn't look like it had been put inside a pocket at all, though Dean could still feel it.
The only way Sam could hide himself was by standing behind something else and not touching it. As soon as he tried to grab something, it turned invisible. Dean was still trying to figure out how to turn this not-quite-superpower into a hunting advantage.
After a long night, their only plan was to sleep on it.
x x x
The next morning Sam woke before Dean. He relieved himself, brushed his teeth, washed his face, thought about what to get for breakfast, then opened the motel room's door to grab the complimentary newspaper. There was a maid with a cart coming down the hallway and she stared at him. Sam smiled and waved, then went back inside. He'd completely forgotten the events of the previous day. Right up until Dean woke up and told him to put some pants on.
x x x
Sam was confined to the motel room during the daylight hours, so it was up to Dean to ask around town looking for a lead on the witch. Sam thought he might go crazy. He never usually minded spending all day in a motel room after a tiring hunt. It was another to be confined there against his will. He ached to do some research, but he couldn't go to the library. Not like this.
"Dude," said Dean, when he came back into the room that afternoon. "Your clothes are back."
"Really?" asked Sam, looking down at himself. He didn't feel any different. But that had been the problem all along.
"Yes," said Dean. "I guess the spell must have worn off."
Sam looked at his brother. "You're lying. You're just trying to get me to go out there naked."
"Do I look like I want us to get kicked out of this motel?"
"You've done worse for a joke before," said Sam.
"I admit that," said Dean. "But am I really the kind of guy who would send his little brother out there into the big bad world naked as they day he was born?"
"Prove it, then," said Sam. "If you can see my clothes, you can tell me what I'm wearing." He lifted his arms and turned in a full circle. He'd gotten over the idea of Dean seeing him naked, but Dean was still careful to always look up at him, taking extra care to maintain eye contact. Dean was looking at him now, though, gaze purposely lingering on his crotch.
"You're wearing that brown and blue striped shirt over a white t-shirt. And your Lee jeans."
Dean was right. "You can see my clothes," said Sam, unable to help the smile on his face.
"That's what I said," said Dean, matching his grin.
"Did you get the witch while you were gone?" asked Sam.
"No, but let's not look a gift horse in the mouth," said Dean. "Here." He pressed some bills to Sam's chest. "You can buy us some dinner."
Sam took the money and left the room. It only took one crease of the motel manager's brow for Sam to realise his brother had pulled one over on him. Sam went straight back to the room but Dean had barred the door with something.
They probably wouldn't have been kicked out of the motel just for Sam's nakedness. It was a sleazy place that had seen worse in its time (as recently as yesterday). The motel manager took exception to the fact that Sam kicked in the door and upset the other guests by screaming a few not family friendly things at his brother.
Dean cackled as he drove all the way to the next town and Sam wasn't sure whether he was more pissed off or terrified for his life. He settled on peeved. After all, Dean had gotten a lead on where the witch might have gone.
Sam thought he was perfectly justified when the next day he stole his brother's clothes. It was only fair that they be in this together. Dean didn't agree.
x x x
Three days and three towns later, Sam was wondering if the witch had sent them on a wild goose chase. They'd gotten into a slightly odd routine where they would spend the daylight hours stuck in the Impala driving somewhere, so that they could check in and out during the night when it was easier for Sam to sneak naked from the room to the car.
"Dean," said Sam, when he realised his brother was pulling into a gas station in broad daylight. "We can't fill up here."
"What's the big deal?" asked Dean. "You can just stay in the car."
"Obviously," said Sam. "But it's full of people. And there are lights and security cameras and I look like I'm naked."
"Hey, I'm not the one who needs to be reminded of that," said Dean. Sam had slipped up a few times over the past couple of days. He felt like he was wearing clothes. He looked like he was wearing clothes. The problem was that no one else seemed to have his perspective. So he felt naked and clothed at the same time. Frankly, Sam was beyond ready for this curse to wear off.
Sam groaned. "Just hurry up."
Dean pulled up to the last free pump and Sam tried to cover himself without covering himself because that would defeat the purpose of covering himself because of this stupid spell. Everything went fine while Dean was pumping the gas. But when he went into the store to pay for the gas and buy snacks, the self-absorbed man at the next pump left, and in pulled a car full of teenage girls.
The two in the back seat saw him almost immediately, and Sam shifted, trying like hell to make it seem as though he was just the sort of guy who liked to go for a drive shirtless in the middle of winter. Of course he was wearing pants, they just couldn't see them. If he thought hard enough, maybe they'd believe him. Then one of the girls rolled down her window and caught the attention of the girl pumping the gas. Standing outside of her car, she only had to take a couple of steps to get a good look at Sam. And spurred on by her friends, she wasn't even being subtle about it.
Sam grimaced and waved, letting them know that he'd seen them. They giggled and- was one of them taking out her phone? Sam hunched in on himself, wishing he could cover himself up. Thankfully he wasn't touching the Impala directly or it would have disappeared again. The increased laughter of the girls was the first indication that Dean was back outside.
"I see you got yourself a fan club," said Dean once he was back in the car.
"I think they're taking pictures over there," said Sam, still eyeing the girls suspiciously.
"Well that's no good," said Dean, surprising Sam with his empathy. Dean got out of the car and went to the girl pumping the gas. Sam didn't hear the specifics of the conversation, but the girl nodded and smiled and handed her phone to Dean. Was his brother actually picking up jailbait?
Dean walked back to the Impala, still carrying the girl's phone. Sam looked up at him questioningly. Dean lifted the phone up, pushed a button and a red light blinked on the phone. And then again. Dean smirked and handed the phone back to the girl. So much for Dean's empathy.
"I hate you," said Sam, once Dean was back in the car.
x x x
When a week had passed with no sign of the witch or the spell wearing off spontaneously, Sam had had enough. He was going to get some research done. There had to be some book in some library, hopefully in this particular town, that had all the information about this spell that he needed. Dean just didn't know how to look properly.
So one night Sam decided to break into the nearest library. He'd just found exactly the right window open when an armed security patrol came in. Sam was arrested for indecent exposure.
Luckily for Sam, it turned out that when you look completely naked, the cops don't bother to search your pockets. Even if you were clearly about to break into a building. Dean was even kind enough to refrain from laughing for two seconds after Sam told him they had to get out of town.
x x x
When the spell finally wore off Sam an odd number of days later, neither Sam nor Dean could pinpoint exactly why it had happened. Sam certainly hadn't learned a lesson about 'respecting' his clothes (leading Sam to believe the 'message' was a very random piece of graffiti). And since Dean couldn't precisely pinpoint the moment Sam's clothing reappeared, they couldn't be sure if it had coincided with some heavenly event. Sam thought maybe they'd gotten too close to the witch and she hadn't wanted to risk their wrath.
Whatever the reason, Sam wasn't going to question it. He just put on as many layers of clothing as he possibly could, then walked down the main street in the little town they'd ended up in. Sam walked straight through the front door of the library and inhaled. How he'd missed libraries.
x X X x
A/N: Hope you enjoyed!