They tended to put off doing laundry for as long as possible- not necessarily intentionally, it's just not something Dean really thought about until he realized he was on his last clean shirt. And even then, he had to be getting a few odd looks from people even scruffier than him before he agreed it was probably time to stop for a wash. Sam was more of a neat freak but he usually liked to wear out his favorites and only move on from his pretty, colorful plaids to his boring lumberjack ones when he'd sweated through the first choices and therefore didn't notice how low on clean things he'd gotten until it was too late. Anyway, he had more clothes than Dean.
The part about Sam was how Dean explained it to Cas, anyway, when they accidentally called him into a Laundromat in Georgia.
Sam preferred to skip over that part and get to the bit where Dean got so mesmerized by the spinning machines that he finally yelled out that honest to god it'd take a goddamn miracle to get him out of there with his clothes clean and his sanity intact.
Castiel, being a very attentive angel when he had the time, showed up with a rustling of invisible wings.
Now Cas and Dean both sat on a bench, silent and loose-limbed and staring like they were hypnotized into the whirring front-load washers.
Sam genuinely feared for both their brains.
So he shoved Dean's jacket and wallet into his lap, gave Castiel a nudge to bring him back to earth, and reminded his brother of the diner they'd seen on the way through town with the big neon COUNTY FAIR PIE COMPETITION WINNERS SINCE 1997! sign on the roof. Dean's eyes blinked back into clarity with astonishing rapidity and a second later he was out the door, gripping Castiel's wrist and yelling a grateful, "come find us when your panties get dry!" over his shoulder.
Sam knew it was Dean's version of gratitude, and that's what mattered.
A washing machine beeped at him and he transferred the load of Dean's clothes into the nearest dryer. Sam eyed the controls. Why were these things always so complicated? What was the difference between 'Casual' and 'Cottons' and 'Heavy,' anyway? Their clothes were mostly casual, pretty heavy, and generally made of cotton.
Sam frowned at the dials. High heat, medium heat, no heat, extra spin, short spin…well, at least he could definitely rule out 'Delicates.' And 'Wools,' except for some of their socks.
Finally he chose what seemed like decent compromises between the options, and a few random ones, and shut the door. He'd go with different choices on his own load and see which finished soonest.
SPN SPN SPN
Dean was scraping the last of what looked like cherry pie off his plate and Castiel had a pensive face on over his banana cream when Sam pushed through the door of the diner with both their duffle bags slung over his shoulder. He hurried over and took the chair between them, dropping the bags on the floor and pasting a big bright smile on his face.
"Hey, Dean! Hey, Cas. How's the pie?" Sam beamed at them both, pretending not to notice Castiel's usual blank stare and Dean's suddenly suspicious look. Damn, his brother was quick. Well, he'd just have to be quicker. He twisted in his seat until he spotted a waitress and waved a hand, catching her attention. She hurried over, pulling a pad out of her apron pocket. Sam tilted his head and fixed her with the crooked grin middle aged women always loved. "Hi, sorry, I just got here, I'll have a…." He scanned the whiteboard above the back wall. "Could I get a slice of blueberry pie, please? And my brother here will have a slice of peach. That okay with you, Dean?"
Dean narrowed his eyes and opened his mouth, but Sam didn't give him a chance to speak.
"No, don't worry about it, you've been working hard and this one's on me," Sam said brightly, grinning broadly and giving his brother a jovial punch to the shoulder. "Cas, you still all set there? So, yeah- blueberry and peach pie- oh, and three beers. Thank you!" He sent the waitress off with a winning smile and kept it plastered on as he turned back to his brother.
Dean had his arms folded and his lips were thin.
Sam kept smiling, and hummed a little as he picked up his water glass. He half drained it in one gulp.
Dean growled a little- just a quiet, low sound from the back of his throat, but he'd trained Sam well to that sound and Sam sat up straight immediately, meeting eyes.
Dean stared intently back. There was a pause. Then- "Sam," Dean rumbled.
Sam shrank a little, but tried valiantly to keep pretending nothing was wrong. "Yeah?" he asked, still going for cheerful.
Dean kept staring. "Sammy."
Ohhh, not good. The rumbling voice came out of his chest that time, and Sam had an uncomfortable flashback to when he was ten or twelve and Dean caught him trying to pretend that he hadn't snuck a stray cat into their room. Dean was just learning how to use his baritone voice back then and easily worked it to make Sam feel like a little kid about to get spanked. Kind of a Pavlovian response by now, Sam thought petulantly.
But Dean wasn't letting up on the glare, and Sam slouched lower in his seat, playing with the condensation on his water glass.
"So…you know how sometimes the new eco-dryers are really complicated? Because they have like…a million settings and no descriptions?" he started hesitantly.
Dean's glare went icy. "Sam, what did you do?"
"I didn't mean to!" Sam cried. "I tried to use the settings that made the most sense but I guess I picked the wrong ones-"
Dean groaned and dropped his face into his hands. "Sam, please tell me nothing of mine turned pink."
"No no no, nothing like that," Sam said hastily. "It's just…I mean, it's not even a big deal, really, you probably wouldn't even have noticed if you hadn't just given me the freakin' third degree over it-"
"Sam," Dean snapped. "Quit the babble and fess up, dude."
Sam sighed and reached into one of the bags at his feet, digging out Dean's plain black t-shirt. He unfolded it, gripped the shoulders, and held it up.
Dean's jaw dropped in horror.
Castiel frowned a little. "I wouldn't've thought that would fit you," he said, sounding confused. "The material doesn't appear to be able to stretch around the girth of your chest, and the length would stop around your navel." His eyes cleared. "Is this a new fashion?" Cas asked, clearly proud of himself for working it out.
Dean slammed his palms on his thighs and Sam could see his fingers digging in tight. "No, Cas, it's not a new fashion," he forced out through clenched teeth. Sam winced at the tight muscles in his brother's jaw. "It's little brothers about to get their asses kicked." He finally took his eyes off the tiny shirt and met Sam's guilty expression. "The rest?"
Sam set the shirt on the table and reached back into the bag. "It's really not so bad," he tried. "I mean, you're always saying you can make anything look good…." He pulled out Dean's favorite perfectly-broken-in olive green t-shirt, now just as small as the black one, and a pair of slightly shrunken jeans, which he held up. "See? I bet you'll even thank me when you try these on, girls love tight jeans." He eyed the denim speculatively. "Tight ankle jeans."
"On them, not on me!" Dean exploded, snatching his clothes and bending over to rifle through his bag himself.
Sam winced. "They'll make your ass look great?" he suggested.
"If you ask me, honey, he doesn't need much help," their waitress said with a smirk and a wink, setting down a tray and handing out their pie and beers. She planted a hand on her hip and smiled. "You boys need anything else?"
"I think we're good," Sam answered with a weak smile, definitely knowing they were anything but good, and picked up his spoon.
"Well, you just let me know." She tossed Dean one last teasing wink and left them alone.
Sam watched as Dean seemed to struggle over whether to lay into his pie or his brother. Deciding that every little bit helped, he cautiously nudged his own plate over next to Dean's. "You can have mine," he offered, and looked up with his best big, remorseful puppy eyes.
Dean struggled for a moment longer, then sighed, and took the plate, digging in with violent motions of his spoon.
"And you can borrow my clothes until we fix yours," Sam added.
"Yeah, because all I need now is to walk around in your gigantor cowboy flowery shit," Dean grumbled, but ate both pieces of pie without further comment.
Castiel- whether because he didn't like banana cream after all, or because he felt bad for Dean too, Sam didn't know- pushed his own plate of barely-touched pie across the table to join the other two. "I grieve for your pain," he rasped quietly to the older Winchester.
Somehow, that didn't make Sam feel any better.
Neither did Dean draining his beer in two swallows, and promptly stealing Sam's.