A/N: This is my first published Supernatural fic, so thanks for stopping by and giving it a try! It's kind of like my own way of coping with the terrible wait for season 9. My only hope is that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. :)
This takes place after season 8, and though there aren't really any major season 8 spoilers in here, it'll make more sense if you've watched it (or most of it) and are already familiar with what happened there.
The idea for this came to me in two parts: 1) after watching the season 8 episode Hunteri Heroici, when Sam and Dean wouldn't let poor Cas ride in the front seat, and 2) after a friend showed me a video of the SPN panel at Comicon this year, where Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins argued on whether or not Castiel would ever get to drive the Impala. My imagination took off from there, and, well, this was the result. ;)
I apologize for any mistakes, for I'm sure they're in here despite my attempts at vigilance. (I'm also sure I'll eventually see them all, but only after I've published this, if the past is any indication.)
"Yeah, you're a dead man." said Sam, leaning back on the chair and away from the tiny motel table, running his hand over his face.
"But it was an accident." Castiel protested, leaning forward in his own seat and glancing anxiously towards the door. "I didn't do it on purpose."
"Doesn't matter. He's still going to kill you. And me, for letting it happen. In fact, he'll probably kill me first." Sam sighed gloomily.
"But the scratch isn't even that big." Cas insisted stubbornly.
"Then you can tell him that." Sam muttered.
"But it's not that bad!"
"Face it, Cas. This is our last day on Earth. You maimed his baby." groaned Sam, resting his head and arms on the table. "I never should have let you drive." he added, voice muffled be his arms.
Because, sad as it was, Sam was right. Dean could forgive a lot of things (starting Armageddon, letting leviathans loose on the world, beating him to a bloody pulp, ect.), but, accident or no, the four-inch long scratch on the passenger's side door of the Impala was not going to be one of them.
In retrospect, though, it wasn't really all Cas's fault.
Cas had been bugging Sam and Dean for weeks, pestering them to teach him how to drive. And though both the brothers had seen the logic in it, there was one point Dean had made very clear: Not in the Impala. Actually, his exact words were that he would slow dance naked with bigfoot before he let a novice driver like Cas behind the wheel of his baby. Really, he didn't even let Sam drive unless he was sleeping, ill, unconscious, or dying. There was no way Cas was going to without even having any experience.
Cas pointed out that it was the only readily available car to teach him in, and Sam agreed with him. Dean replied that they could steal one. Sam said that seemed kind of petty. Dean called Sam a hypocrite, and Cas complained they were just making excuses so they wouldn't have to teach him. Eventually, a compromise was reached, and Sam rented a car for Cas's first driving lesson (which really was hypocritical of him, as he rented it with money they had obtained via questionable means).
Cas rear-ended a pick-up truck on his first try. In his defence, Sam hadn't specified how hard he should have hit the gas.
He backed over two garbage cans and a cat on his second try, despite the fact that he wasn't even supposed to be in reverse, and just barely missed running over someone.
After that, Dean proclaimed Sam a terrible driving instructor and took over, though it didn't get much better from there. No cats or people died, but the poor car they used did suffer greatly, especially after Cas drove it into a ditch. (Later, this would be the prime example Dean used when loudly explaining just why Cas was not to drive his baby.)
Eventually, with practice, Cas became less of a Oh-my-God-we're-gonna-die-with-him-behind-the- wheel driver and more of a just plain bad driver. With even more practice, he became what Dean had deemed an 'acceptable' driver. Cas seemed pleased with that, but was dismayed when Dean still wouldn't let him drive the Impala.
And really, no one with knowledge of Castiel's driving skills could blame him. Even after all the practice, Cas was, well, intense behind the wheel.
This translated into whiplash inducing hairpin turns that no sane human would take, as well as tire-screeching stops when he slammed on the brakes. He had absolutely no care for speed limits, and either drove at speeds that alarmed even Dean when they were on a back road or straight-away, or, if he was in an urban area or city, poked along at a snail's pace that would have most old grannies yelling for him to speed up or get off the road. He was terrible at judging distances, and was constantly bumping into or scraping against things. He also had a bad habit of drifting off the road, especially in the direction of whatever had caught his attention in the scenery.
All of this got a little better with time and practice, but still. Dean loved his baby, and as long as he was around to draw breath, Castiel would not be driving it. End of story.
Or so it would have been, had the guys not taken that job with Garth in Indiana.
Though Garth had originally thought it might have been demons and wanted a little back up, it had ended up being a simple case of one pissed-off old ghost. A simple case that had been complicated slightly when Sam got caught breaking into one of the victims houses by a neighbor (who also happened to be the town sheriff).
After knocking the sheriff out and driving like thieves away from the scene, Sam and Dean met up with Garth and Cas, and it was decided that, just to be safe, Sam and Cas would head back to the motel in the Impala to keep a low profile, while Garth and Dean headed over to the cemetary to burn the bones.
This is, of course, is where the story takes its terrible turn.
Garth and Dean hadn't been gone for more than a minute, and Sam and Cas had just gotten into the Impala - with Sam in the driver's seat, of course - when Cas asked the fateful question: "Can I drive?"
Sam had been in the process of digging the keys out of his pocket, but paused when he heard Castiel's question.
"Can I drive?" Cas repeated, eyes darting from the steering wheel to Sam. He knew what the answer would probably be, but he thought he'd ask. "I haven't gotten to lately, and I...don't want to get rusty."
It took all of half a second of consideration for Sam before he answered. "No," he said, putting the keys in the ignition. "You remember what Dean said. Besides, it's only been a week." Or two, but really, no one got 'rusty' from not driving for two weeks.
Cas had been expecting that, but he still deflated a little. "Okay." he said, settling in his seat in disappointment.
Sam frowned and felt a little pang of sympathy as he watched Cas stare out the window, looking glum. He of all people knew what it felt like to be treated like a child, especially by Dean. Really, Cas wasn't that terrible of a driver; they had even gotten to the all-important lessons on how to break into and hot wire a car in case of emergencies (which Cas was eerily good at). Besides, Sam had the suspicion that Cas liked doing it because it made him feel more useful. Maybe they were being too hard on him.
Mind made up, Sam let the air out of his lungs in a huff, pulling the keys back out of the ignition and holding them out to Cas. Cas stared back, mystified for a moment, before Sam rolled eyes and gave them a little jingle.
"Go ahead," he sighed, dropping them into Cas's now outstretched hand. "Just this once. But," he added, holding up one finger. "Do not tell Dean. Neither of us will hear the end of it. Got it?" Cas nodded enthusiastically as he got out to switch places with Sam, seeming genuinely pleased when he got into the driver's seat and started the car.
"Do you remember how to get back to the motel?" Sam asked, trying to hide the smile that was creeping up on him. Cas's mood was infectious.
"Yes," he answered, carefully putting the car in gear. "Uh, thank you." he added, glancing quickly at him before turning his full attention to the road ahead of him.
Sam shrugged and waved his hand in a 'don't mention it' gesture, even though Cas was no longer paying attention to him.
It was a quiet, uneventful ten-minute drive. Cas looked almost disappointed when he pulled into their parking place at the motel and turned the car off, which made Sam feel guilty again. There had been no whiplash, no horns honking - really, Cas wasn't a bad driver at all, now that he'd been at it a couple of months. Sam felt bad; he and Dean really had been too hard on the guy.
It was with that thought in mind that Sam made the disastrous decision.
"Hey, I'm kinda hungry," he said, reaching out to close his half-opened door. "What do you say to going and grabbing a burger? I saw a place up the street."
"Alright." said Cas, clearly not getting it as he went to open his own door. Sam sighed.
"You can drive, Cas." he hedged patiently.
"What? Oh. Oh, right." Cas said, sitting up straighter and half-smiling to himself when he started the car up again.
"I guess we should get Dean and Garth something, too." Sam said as they pulled up to curb were the diner he wanted was located. "Something with extra bacon and onio-"
That's when they both heard it.
The unmistakable sound of metal scraping against metal.
They both froze for a second, then turned to each other, wide-eyed. "What was that?" Cas asked nervously, eyes flicking to all of the mirrors at once.
"No," Sam half-choked, looking behind him to the very-close parking meter just behind his door. "No no no no no." he muttered as he threw open his door and got out of the car. He reached up and ran both hands through his hair at what he saw.
There was a thin, four to five-inch scratch on the door, just a hand's length over from the door handle. A twisted little piece of metal that had been mostly wrapped around the parking meter was barely sticking out, and it now had a scrape of the Impala's paint-job on it.
Cas got out of the car and stepped around to stand beside Sam, surveying the damage. They both stood there in silence for a few minutes.
"What now?" Cas asked finally, a little hushed.
"We pray," Sam muttered, taking the keys from Cas. "And I drive."
There was no feasible way to get it fixed before Dean returned, which would be any minute now.
"Maybe we can tell him we were attacked by demons." Sam suggested, voice still muffled by his arms as he lay with his head on the motel table in defeat.
"I doubt he'll believe us." said Cas, slumped in his seat.
Sam sighed and straightened up. "You're right. Plus he'd probably try to go after them in revenge." He stood up and groaned, running his hand through his hair for the umpteenth time as he paced. "Damn it, I never should have let you drive."
Cas scowled at him, dropping one of the french fries he'd been picking at. Even though neither of them had felt like eating, they'd picked up the food anyway in the blind hope that Dean would be less angry at them with a bacon cheeseburger in his hand.
"It was an accident. I didn't do it on purpose. That piece of metal shouldn't have been there." Cas grumbled sulkily, propping his head up on his elbow. "The same thing would have happened if you'd been driving."
Sam didn't have an answer to that, mostly because it was true. Anybody could have hit the thing. Really, if anyone was to blame it was the stupid city for their low maintenance standards.
Sam gave a frustrated sigh. "It doesn't matter now whose fault it is. We're in this together, now. Look, we'll just play it cool, and, and-" They heard the sound of car doors. Cas lifted his head up to peek out the window, then jerked back. "He's here!" he hissed, looking panicked. Sam darted over to his abandoned seat and opened his laptop.
"Just follow my lead," he muttered just as the door swung open and the man of the hour himself stomped in.
"Do you know what I just saw out there?" Dean demanded, tossing his bag in the direction of his bed and gesturing out the door. Sam and Cas exchanged terrified looks, but before either of them could say anything Dean broke out into a laugh.
"Come on, you guys didn't see it? There was this big sign in front of the diner across the street-free pie!" he exclaimed excitedly. Cas and Sam both blinked and looked at each other. Pie? Dean was excited about pie? Not murderously infuriated with them for the destruction of his car?
"Well, with purchase, of course, but still! They had like ten different flavors listed on the sign." he added, misunderstanding their looks. "Come on, can I get some excitement, here?"
"Uh, yeah, great." said Sam, kicking Cas under the table. "I-I like pie." Cas said, clearly not knowing what to do with this information. Did this mean he wasn't angry? Were they really going to live because of pie? Why hadn't they thought of that when they bought the burgers?! For that matter, why the hell hadn't they walked across the street to that diner instead taking that ill-fated burger run?!
"Of course you like pie! Who doesn't like pie?" Dean scoffed, walking to the bathroom to wash his hands. "So, I say we blow this joint and fill our pieholes with all we can eat! Whattaya say?"
"Uh, yeah, sure, why not?" Sam called, before leaning over to Cas to hiss "He hasn't noticed yet!"
"Only because he hasn't seen the car yet." Cas muttered back, distressed. "He'll find out the second he gets a good look at it."
"So we don't let him get a good look at it," Sam whispered, casting a quick glance towards the closed bathroom door. "If we don't mention it and he doesn't notice it for a day or two, maybe he'll think someone else scratched it or something."
Cas glanced nervously at the bathroom door for a second, and was just about to ask if Sam was sure that would work when Dean came back out, still grinning like a fool and whistling the Scorpions' 'Someone Like You'. Unfortunately, at the same time, Garth came through the motel door - having finally done whatever it was he'd been doing in his car - pointed back out the door with his thumb, and said "Hey, Dean? How long has that scratch been on the Impala?"
Cas and Sam both winced, while Dean froze. "What?! WHAT scratch?!"
"The long one on the passenger's side door, right above the ding." Garth said curiously. Sam winced again; he hadn't even noticed the ding. "I was just asking 'cause I don't remember seeing it earlier. Hey, Cas, something wrong? You look kinda sick." Oh, Garth was a dead man, when Sam got ahold of him.
Dean made a strangled zombie noise and ran out the door to check the damage to his precious baby, while Cas gave Sam a wide-eyed look very akin to terror. Garth moseyed out after Dean, and with a sigh, Sam got up and followed suit.
"Sam," Dean growled. "Explain. Now." Sam took a quick look at his brother's face, before arranging his own in what he hoped was a believable expression of innocence.
"I have no idea, Dean, it wasn't there earlier."
"My ass. What. Did. You. Do?"
"I didn't do anything!"
"Sam, I swear to God-"
Garth wisely left the brothers to their argument and went back to lean against the door frame of the motel room. Cas, who'd been standing in the doorway with a faintly miserable expression, didn't immediately notice and jumped when Garth spoke.
"So," he asked conversationally, his hands in his pockets. "What did happen to the door?"
Cas sighed. "I hit a faulty parking meter."
"Oh." Garth looked thoughtful. "No biggie, man. Accidents happen."
"I don't think Dean sees it that way." Cas replied as Dean started advancing on Sam, who bid a hasty retreat around the Impala, shouting "Come on, Dean, be reasonable!"
"Well, the scratch ain't that big, really." Garth commented, while Cas wondered if he should just grow a pair and admit to Dean that he'd been driving, before he actually caught Sam. Dean, as if sensing guilt, stopped giving chase and froze in front of the Impala, glaring at Cas.
"Cas," he said in a half-choked voice, pointing at the damaged door. "Do you know what happened here?"
"W-well..." Cas felt himself start to sweat a little, and noticed Garth had pushed off the wall away from him, apparently afraid of getting between Dean and his new prey. Sam, who was still making sure there was a car between him and his brother, shook his head frantically at Cas.
Dean took a step forward. Cas had seen demons less intimidating.
"Sam said it was okay for me to drive," he said, and no, it didn't come out as a whine. Not really, anyway.
A/N: This was originally supposed to be a one-shot, but the second half ended up taking on an entirely different tone. So, to compensate, I took that part (about 2k words) off and will publish it as a second chapter, making this a two-shot. I hope to get that up soon as well (as soon as I get done with the last minute editing).
So, how was it? Loved it? Hated it? Please let me know in the reviews, I always appreciate feedback!
Thanks for reading! ^_^