"You beauty!" the guy said appreciatively, reaching out like he wanted to touch it. Yeah mate, good luck with that, Sam thought, shifting the duffle bag strap on his shoulder.
"Little ripper, ain't she," Dean said proudly. Sam hid a snort of laughter.
"'69 Holden Monaro, right?" The guy stepped closer, then backed down at Dean's warning gaze.
"That's right," Dean said. "Been looking after her all my life." He patted the Monaro happily. "Original upholstery, paintjob, everything. V8 Chevrolet engine, works like a charm."
"Well, good on ya, mate. Don't see enough genuine Aussie cars around these days," the guy said mournfully. "What with all this imported shit. I reckon European cars are too posh, you know, plus Japanese cars are just flooding the market. American cars, they're decent, I'll give them that…but you know. American."
But he just said it had a Chevrolet engine, Sam thought to himself. This whole America-hate thing Dean and his car friends had going on was like doublethink, or something. It was weird. Maybe he was just doing it to piss Sam off. In that case - well, two could play at that game.
"American," Dean agreed loudly, shaking his head.
"Why," said Dean savagely, "do. The. Fucking. Tourists. Never. Listen." He punctuated each word with a gunshot.
Sam fought down the wild urge to laugh. "Because no one in their right mind ever believes drop bears are real?" He decapitated one that was trying to tear his face off.
"Then fuck the idiots who go around trying to convince tourists the buggers exist! I mean, come on!" Dean waved the gun to illustrate his point. "They spend so long trying to fool the foreigners that drop bears are real – I mean – no one is that stupid. Especially 'cause they don't believe it themselves. So the tourists don't believe it, and so you end up with some poor bastard walking under a gumtree and then splat and we have to save their sorry arse-"
"Dean, BEHIND YOU-!"
"I know," Sam said for the tenth time. "Dingo-ate-my-baby crazy. And for god's sake stop saying that, she was innocent. I mean… how was she supposed to decapitate the kid with nail scissors?"
Dean stared at him for a while. "Okay, maybe there is something to this time-loop crap."
Sam found out later that day that it was, in fact, possible to decapitate someone with a pair of nail scissors. He woke up sick to his stomach, that fucking song by that band America playing on the radio again, wondering just who was toying with him and where they got their sick sense of humour from.
"New Zealand, though," Dean said, looking at the time. Ten o'clock AM, time for a drink. He went to the fridge and grabbed a beer.
"Yeah," Sam agreed, sipping at his mug of Milo.
"Our lives are being filmed in… New Zealand."
"In Christchurch. Sure it works for Lord of the Rings, but our lives? It doesn't even look anything like Australia there. Bloody Kiwis with theirfush and chups accents. And the sheep, christ. I can't believe fake-you had a sheep in your goddamned back garden."
"Well I can't believefake-you was on Home and Away," Sam said with relish.
"Shut up," Dean growled, making for the fridge again. "Beer?"
"No," Sam said sternly. "It's ten o'clock and no one should be drinking this early. Reckon I could go for a Vegemite sandwich. And Tim Tams." He paused. "God, tell me we have some Tim Tams."
"We're all out," Dean said cheerfully. "I think there's a milk bar down the road?"
Sam pursed his lips bitchily and snagged some barbecue shapes on his way out.
"Fucking pollies," Dean muttered, stabbing at the remote. ABC News fizzled into Seven, which changed to Nine, which changed to Ten, which changed to SBS, which changed to the ABC. Tony Abbott scowled at them out of the TV.
"You know," Sam said, deadpan, "I reckon you two have a lot in common. Same nose, same attitude–"
"Shut your mouth or I will shut it for you."
Dean flicked through the channels again, all five of them. He sighed.
"Channel surfing would probably work better in America," Sam said. "Don't they have like fifty?"
"Sellout," Dean said. "By the way, fuck this guy, I bet he's a leviathan."
"Dean," Sam said, "there's no more leviathans here. They're probably all being Republicans over in America or something."
Dean did remember. Cas had gone stumbling into a local creek and hadn't come out, and all that was left was black goo in the brown water. The leviathans, after their initial invasion, had spent about two weeks trying to figure out how to turn Australia into a viable food source before they packed up and took a jumbo jet to the States to start a new life.
"They probably thought we were too small," Sam added.
Dean glowered. "Us? Too small?"
"I mean our population is about an eighteenth of the size of America's," Sam said gloomily. He was laughing on the inside. "We're just not worth it. You know, sometimes I wonder why the angels and the demons and all that crowd even bothered us in the first place. We're just a great big space of nothing. Sometimes I feel like we've saved everyone in the country already. Twice."
"Sammy!" Dean said, outraged. "Where's your sense of national pride? And for chrissake stop acting like the roads of America are paved with gold!"
"There is nationalism, which is good. When it doesn't involve racist riots at the beach, of course. And then there is denial. Which is you."
"Rack off," Dean muttered.
"You know we've seen every goddamn Big Thing in the country," Sam said after a while, unable to resist. "Stop laughing, I mean come on – the Big Guitar, and the Big Banana, and the Big Koala, and the Big Prawn, and the Big fucking Merino – shut up –"
"You're the biggest thing around, mate," Dean howled, not mentioning that he really had liked the Big Guitar. You could even play it.
"It's so stupid! It's like every single town is trying to compensate for something. I keep expecting to run across, like, a Big Ball of Twine. This shit wouldn't happen in America."
"Yeah, no, that's too stupid," Dean allowed. "Even Americans wouldn't do shit like that."
"I always wanted to go to uni in the States," Sam said thoughtfully after a while. "Harvard, you know? But I s'pose Melbourne University was bad enough."
"Too right. No way would I have got on a plane just to come get you from Harvard. Jesus Christ."
"'Least it wasn't Sydney."
"Yeah, there's that."
Sam watched the politicians fuck up, snorting occasionally.
"…our economy's better than theirs, I guess?" he said after a while. "Even if the petrol prices here are huge ripoffs. Along with food. And clothes. And everything."
"Bloody Yanks," Dean declared as if that solved everything, cracking open another beer.
On their way to a bunyip hunt in Alice Springs from Brisbane, Dean decided he missed Melbourne after all and wheeled the car around until they were facing due south.
"They do pretty good coffee there," he said.
"Dean, the hunt –"
"Get Bobby to take a squiz at it. He's in SA anyway, he can get there faster. Besides, we can stop in Wollongong."
"…Why do you want to stop in Wollongong?"
"They do a damn good pie."
"You say that at every bakery we stop in," Sam said. "In every town. Ever." He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Wait. I know why you don't want to do this hunt - you just don't want to get red dust all over the Monaro." Dean wilted and Sam grinned victoriously. Busted.
"Sam," Dean pleaded, "you've got to understand - I mean, last time we drove through the red centre you wouldn't let me pay for a carwash! And the fucking water restrictions meant you wouldn't let me hose it down, you were all oh Dean we are in a drought we must conserve water and, look, I mean fuck that! Fuck the fucking outback, mate!" He did like the outback, really, but.
"We'll live," Sam said bracingly. "C'mon. People to save, bunyips to gank."
"You've been watching too much TV. I swear, the American shit they put on there…"
They did end up going to Melbourne, Sam bitching about how there were only like five cities in this entire bloody country the whole bloody way. Dean decided enough was enough.
"Alright Sammy, you anti-patriot you, that is it," he said. "You need some goddamned true-blue Aussie dinkum-ness in your system. We are going to watch the footy."
"The footy. At the 'G. We're going to Melbourne, what else are we gonna do there? Cats versus 'Pies. It is on."
So they went. They ate Four'n'Twenty meat pies with tomato sauce and Sam barracked for Collingwood and stole Dean's chips.
"GO GEELONG!" Dean roared. "CARN THE CATS!" He shot Sam a dirty look, deciding never to forgive him. Collingwood. Jesus Christ.
"God, Dean, you're such a bogan."
After the game they took the wrong train and ended up lost up in Glenferrie or something. A black cat the size of a Great Dane jumped them while they were wandering the deserted suburban streets.
"You know they declared these things fictional the other day," Sam said as he decapitated it. "It was on ABC News Victoria."
"Story of our lives," Dean said gloomily.
Turned out someone happened to be taking a midnight stroll down that very street. She called 000 when she saw two guys violently beheading a cat.
"Knowing our luck this'll end up on national TV," Sam said as they were tearing through the outer suburbs.
They stopped in Goondiwindi and got some coffee and vegemite-and-cheese rolls.
"I really wanted some Melbourne coffee, you know," Dean grumbled as he settled down to sleep in the front seat, having lost the game of paper-scissors-rock. "And you know what else I wanted? Not to sleep in the car."
In the morning they got a call from Bobby.
"G'day Dean, where're you at? Thought you'd be on this job."
"Sam wanted to see the footy," Dean said. Sam shot him a dirty look.
"Well, I reckon this ain't a bunyip. Think it's a yowie we're dealin' with here, and I ain't talking about the chocolate. Could use some help from you boys."
"I miss those chocolates," Dean said thoughtfully. "They had these little plastic toys in them. Sammy, I remember you used to love those toys."
Sam gave him the finger.
"At least the water restrictions are off now?" he said after Bobby hung up.
"What the fuck ever. I was sick of the coast," Dean muttered, stomping over to the Monaro.
"We could see Uluru," Sam called after him. "We never did get to see Uluru."
It was like Sam couldn't keep his mouth shut or something. This time he was going on about how much easier it was to have guns in America and how helpful that would be if -
"Fuck, Sam, what is your deal," Dean growled, gripping the steering wheel tightly and concentrating on Metallica to keep his breathing even. "People can't just be wandering around with their own guns all over the joint, they'd be shooting each other to death every five seconds. I mean, look at the US. The whole freakin' place is like the Wild West!"
"So…we can have guns and nobody else?"
"We're hunters. We don't count."
They stopped at noon in the middle of nowhere and got out some beer, leaning against the Monaro.
The sky was huge and blue and empty overhead, the horizon a harsh clear circle in every direction Dean looked. The soil was very red, years of sunburn and iron content forming flat, dehydrated stretches of cracked orange rock and scarlet dirt for kilometres around. The road stretched into the distance for ever.
Dean breathed in the stillness. He watched a lone dark shape in the sky circling round and round.
"I don't get you, Sam," he said after a while. "What's your problem with it?"
"What?" Sam said, looking up from his beer. He seemed genuinely confused.
Dean waved an arm around expansively. "This. Everything. This entire goddamn place. Australia. I dunno, man, you just…you keep going on about America. What's up with that?"
"Mate, don't tell me you're going all I love a sunburnt country on me."
"Shut up. I dunno, it's just, you're always telling me about how…you know, there's no one here, and shit's expensive and. Come on. You don't really hate it here that much, do you?"
"Of course not," Sam said, sounding amazed, a grin spreading across his face. "You didn't actually realise – you do know I was just doing it to piss you off, right?"
"Oh, yeah," said Dean stupidly, watching the possibly-eagle shape drift down to the horizon. Knowing their luck it was probably a dragon or something. "'Course."
Sam laughed and Dean almost felt that it lit up the entire freakin' landscape, just like that. Sam's smile filled up his face, all bright flashing teeth, and it seemed to echo off the stark blue expanse of the sky.
"Dude, I am so true blue, you don't even know. One hundred percent fair-dinkum Aussie, little ripper, you beauty, all that shit." He grinned even harder, exaggerating his normally-unobtrusive accent until it was ocker enough to maybe punch out a red kangaroo. "But don't worry, I know your secret. You're actually secretly in love with America."
"What the fuck?"
"You totally are, man. It's just you're really shy."
"You're pulling its pigtails."
Dean whacked him over the arm. "Piss off, you little bitch."
"You know I'm right."
"You suck more, you jerk."
Dean grinned. "I'm touched. C'mon, let's go. Places to be."
They got in the car, doors slamming in sync, and started driving.
The thrum of the engine combined with the rattle of the slightly gravelly road, and Dean felt it right up in his bones, the hum of the land. The sun beat down and filtered in the windows and the blue of the sky seemed to seep in everywhere and right then he felt he could just keep driving through this bright huge stillness for a very long time, and it wouldn't mind. It would welcome him into itself, the road going on and on and on, and they wouldn't ever need to stop.
Dean looked to his left at the passenger side. Sam was smiling still, his head leaning against the window.
"You think that's a wedgetailed eagle over there?" he said after a while. "Look – it's swooping-"
"Yeah, probably," Dean said, settling in for a long drive. "Nah – wait – was that –"
"Yeah, pretty sure that was fire. Dragon?"
"...Dragon. Fuck our lives."
They didn't talk about America.
Sam's apparent frustration with Australia's shortcomings and Dean's patriotic tall poppy syndrome are products of my own confused feelings of nationalism. You should hear me sometimes – one day I'm complaining about those bloody Americans and then next thing you know I'm spending months doing nothing but binge-watching a TV show about these two guys driving all over the States and the only non-Americans in sight are a demon and a thief. Plus, if I really hated it I wouldn't spend so much time talking about it. (I'm just jealous really. I think it's an Aussie thing.)
This fic was vaguely inspired by kroki_refur's 'Winchester, Like the Bishopric'. The '69 Holden Monaro was the closest thing I could find to an Australian Impala. All the Big Things mentioned by Sam do exist - I've been to see most of them. Sam only barracks for the Magpies because he was being obnoxious. The Victorian government was in fact investigating the existence of big cats in the state but called the study off – obviously it's supernatural! Finally, about the drop bears…never say we didn't warn you.