Sam stared out the window, the city fading away around them as Dean sped down the highway. Sam was never so happy to leave a place as he was to leave Wichita. Catching sight of his reflection he gave a heavy sigh. Glitter densely littered his hair glinting in the glow of each passing street light, and the dried blood from the wound on his hairline contrasted sharply with the white clown makeup that stained the opposite side of his brow.
With a yawn, Sam wiped at the white makeup with the collar of his shirt, the only part of it not soiled with glitter. Just then there was a chuckle from the other side of the car and Sam caught his brother's reflection in the window, Dean grinning and shaking his head.
Sam turned to look at his brother and glitter, dislodged by the movement, slowly drifted down from his hairline tickling his nose and cheeks and sticking to his lips. Sam closed his eyes before bringing his hands up and rubbing his face vigorously to remove the offending pieces, but the sudden movement had the opposite effect as more glitter rained down his face.
Dean exhaled a sharp bark of laughter as Sam, frustrated, threw his head back against the headrest of the Mercury Cougar they were driving. Another cascade of glitter tumbled down his face, joining the fine layer already on his shirt and jacket.
"Dude," Sam sighed. The only response he got was a new burst of laughter.
"You're covered in glitter. I mean come on!" Dean shrugged as his laughter subsided. "This will never not be funny."
Sam sighed, the corners of his mouth drawing up slightly.
"I'm never gonna live this down, am I?" he questioned as he turned back to the window, trying to ignore the glitter in his reflection while he wiped the last vestiges of the clown makeup off his forehead. Dean simply snickered in apparent agreement.
Despite being uncomfortably covered in glitter, Sam was happy to see his brother smiling and laughing. He couldn't remember when last he'd heard a genuine laugh from Dean yet in the past hour he'd laughed and made multiple jokes at Sam's expense.
Sam yawned again, fighting exhaustion while he scrutinized his reflection in the car window until he was satisfied all the white makeup was gone. Good timing too, Sam noticed, as the car left the last of the city behind and the highway grew darker as they entered the farm country surrounding Wichita.
After the confrontation with the duo of nightmarish, glitter-bombing clowns, the last thing he had expected upon reuniting with Dean was to laugh. From Dean he'd come to expect a few snarky comments, his brother's typical response to most situations. Sam was prepared to hear something to the effect of how he was a wimp doing arts and crafts, in conjunction with a jab about getting his butt kicked by clowns. The laughter he got instead had been a welcome surprise and had lifted Sam's decidedly low spirits. Seeing Dean with a genuine smile on his face instead of the sullen and moody scowl he usually wore was a rare sight. In that moment outside Plucky's, Sam felt his own worries and concerns about his fragile sanity momentarily take a backseat. It felt good, for those few minutes, to forget all the recent pain and just revel in the absurdity of what they'd just experienced.
Sam was still feeling pretty good, the teasing from his brother welcome and more enjoyable than Dean's depression and anger. Sam decided, for both Dean's sake and his own, that he needed to try to sustain Dean's good mood. Dean didn't drink as much when he felt good, and Sam saw less of Lucifer when Dean felt good. It was a win-win situation.
"You good for a few hours?" Sam asked after yawning again, his eyes watering with the reflex as the events of the night caught up to him.
"Yeah, you get some rest there, Rainbow Brite," Dean nodded, smirking.
Shaking his head, Sam sank as far down into the seat as he could to find comfortable space for his long legs. Just before closing his eyes, he leaned forward and turned on the radio to the classic rock station Dean had found when they were on their way into town. Sam turned the volume up slightly, and the sounds of Crosby, Stills, and Nash filled the space. Taking one last look at Dean, who was staring ahead with a slight smile on his face, Sam closed his eyes and tried to sleep. He was able to get a few hours, though visions of exploding clowns made of glitter kept taunting him. But really, Sam would take dreams of glitter-bombing clowns over visions of Lucifer any day.
The sensation of slowing brought Sam fully back to consciousness. Rubbing his eyes as Dean pulled into a gas station, Sam sat up and immediately his stomach rumbled with hunger. Dean flashed him an amused look before pulling up to an empty pump. Dean got out and with a loud groan Sam followed suit, climbing awkwardly out of the car. His lanky form was stiff and cramped from hours of riding in the huge, yet still somehow small, car. Stretching his back, Sam slammed the car door a little harder than was necessary.
While Dean busied himself with fueling up the car, Sam strode across the empty lot and entered the store. He avoided the stare of the clerk as he made a beeline for the restroom to clean up. After rinsing his head in the sink and shaking the glitter from his jacket and shirt as best he could, Sam wandered the aisles looking for anything that wasn't junk food. His eyes moved across a freezer full of long-expired ice cream bars and rock-hard burritos, shelves of $3 cans of soup, shelves of chocolate chip cookies and cheese crackers and greasy potato chips, shelves of chocolate bars and candy, shelves of donuts and…PIE!
Sam grinned. This wasn't one of those highly-processed Hostess pie pastries either, but an actual whole pie. It was small, maybe only 8-inches in diameter, but even Sam had to admit it looked delicious. Examining the label he saw the pies were baked locally and delivered fresh daily. iPerfect/i, Sam thought as he grabbed one. He could imagine Dean's surprise when presented with the dessert and Sam almost laughed out loud. The way his brother loved pie made Sam roll his eyes at times, but tonight it seemed fortuitous that he'd found it, considering all the times in the past that he'd either forgotten to get it, or brought back cake instead.
Pie in hand, Sam proceeded to load up his arms with a large package of teriyaki beef jerky, a bag of corn chips (Organic!), a couple bottles of water and a six pack of Dean's new favorite microbrew, which just happened to be in stock in the middle of rural Kansas. At the register Sam spotted baskets of various kinds of fresh fruit and he quickly grabbed a large, red apple. As he rang up the gas and food, the cashier stared at Sam with an amused smirk on his face which Sam chose to ignore, instead taking solace in the fact that he'd left a glittery mess in the bathroom. After paying he shot the young kid a sarcastic smile before returning to the car where Dean waited, leaning against the passenger door.
"Should I even ask?" Dean asked, palms out and expression hopeful.
Wordlessly, Sam held out the bag of food to Dean and the older Winchester took it questioningly. Digging into the bag he immediately pulled out the apple, giving Sam an incredulous look.
"This must be yours," he said sarcastically as he tossed the apple at Sam, who caught it easily with one hand while the six-pack of bottled beer remained tucked safely under his other arm.
Diving back into the bag, Dean hollered with excitement as he pulled out the cherry pie. He tossed the bag with its remaining contents into the backseat next to the rainbow slinky, tore off the plastic and with his fingers stuffed a hunk of pie into his mouth. Grinning, Dean shot Sam a thumbs-up.
"Damn, that's good," Dean said his cheeks full.
"There are utensils in the bag," Sam shook his head with a chuckle, taking a bite of the apple as he rounded the back of the car to the driver's side. It looked better than it tasted; it was too mushy and too sweet. Sam sighed with disappointment and tossed the fruit into the near overflowing garbage can adjacent to the gas pump.
"I also got this, for later," Sam added, holding up the beer for Dean to see before placing it on the floorboard behind the driver's seat.
"I'm impressed, Sammy," Dean grinned at Sam over the top of the gold beast they were driving. "I didn't even have to ask and I got beer and pie."
"You're welcome," Sam nodded with amusement before folding himself into the small space behind the steering wheel.
"Man, we need to ditch this car, asap," said Dean as he leaned in the open passenger door and attempted to wipe away the glitter that Sam had left behind.
"I couldn't agree with you more," Sam replied, his knees uncomfortably snug against the steering column. Fighting with the controls beneath the seat Sam sighed when it moved back only an inch.
"I shoulda made you dump those glittery clothes before we left Wichita," Dean said through another mouthful of pie. "I don't want this crap on me."
"Suck it up," Sam replied as he grabbed the corn chips from the back and settled the bag in his lap, his stomach rumbling noisily.
Dean sighed, than climbed into the car with alternately offended and disgusted looks on his face. Sam wondered if his brother knew he already had glitter on his jacket and pants, and even a few specks on his face.
Hiding a smile, Sam started up the car, popped a few chips in his mouth, and turned them back towards the interstate. Glancing at his brother he was astonished to see that Dean had already consumed a third of the pie.
"Might wanna pace yourself," Sam warned as Dean just grinned and shoved more pie into his mouth.
"Jsstwrmmmmpherrd," Dean said, crumbs tumbling from his mouth and falling down the front of his shirt.
Sam raised his eyebrows as Dean chewed loudly. Reaching back into the bag, Dean grabbed the two bottles of water.
"Hmmm?" Dean held out one of the bottles and Sam took it, wiping pie crumbs and pie filling off the bottle on his still slightly glittery pants.
"Thanks," Sam murmured, hoping Dean didn't make himself sick as he watched him chase the pie with a long drink of water.
"You just watch the road and eat your chips," Dean said finally, smacking his lips as he stuck his fingers back in the pie, mopping up crumbs and a few stray cherries. Sam thought about reminding Dean of the fork and napkins in the bag, but then decided at this point it didn't matter.
"Leave me and my pie be," Dean added as he licked his fingers. Sam just shook his head.
The service station faded in the rearview as Sam accelerated down the highway. Traffic was light and the stars were bright. The Winchesters rode in silence, the only sounds in the car coming from the radio, the highway beneath the tires, Sam crunching corn chips, and Dean noisily finishing off the last of his pie. Turning up the radio to drown out the ambient noise, Sam began to nod his head in time to the song.
"Down on the corner, out in the street," Sam sang along quietly, under his breath, mumbling the parts of the song he didn't know the words too, all the while his thumb keeping time against the steering wheel. He'd never admit it to Dean, but the classic rock music that his brother loved so much had really grown on him.
"Sam," Dean's monotone voice shocked the younger Winchester; he'd almost forgotten his brother was in the car with him.
Looking at his brother, Sam was met with an amused smirk.
"Only you wouldn't know the words to CCR," Dean shook his head and Sam resisted the urge to ask who CCR was.
"And if you're gonna sing along, turn the music up-," Dean reached over and cranked the volume knob. "'cause you suck," Dean added with a smile.
Sam gave a breathy laugh as he felt the speakers vibrate under the dash in response to the increased volume. Like everything else in the car, the sound system was decidedly 1970s, and it sounded like several of the speakers were blown.
"We should really ditch this car," Sam said looking at Dean. His brother stared back at him blankly.
"Obviously," Dean replied.
The CCR song ended, and the opening guitar strums of Zeppelin's "Ramble On" started.
"Oh hell yeah," Dean punched Sam in the arm. Thrumming his fingers on his knees to the backbeat, Dean leaned his head back against the headrest and closed his eyes. The corners of Dean's mouth twitched before his expression resumed its steely façade.
Staring ahead as the headlights reached into the dark and lighting the empty highway before them, Sam tilted his head towards Dean.
Sam heard a snort of laughter. Glancing at his brother, who wasn't laughing, Sam checked the rearview mirror out of habit.
"I'm still here, Sam."
Lucifer winked at him from the back seat and Sam felt a cold pit settle in his stomach, immediately dampening his mood. Quickly moving his eyes back to the highway, Sam's knuckles turned white as his grip tightened on the steering wheel. Heart pounding, he hazarded a glance over at Dean; his brother was oblivious; his head rested against the seat, his eyes closed and his lips moving soundlessly to the words of the song.
Sam took a steadying breath before hazarding another glance into the rearview mirror.
There was nothing. The space was empty.
Slowly exhaling, Sam pushed down on the accelerator as a new song came on the radio.