Summary: Dean and Sam try to keep themselves entertained while hunting jobs are scarce.
Notes: On the grand occasion of terraneanblues' birthday! Originally posted to her super-special community theterrarium here. Huge thanks to javajunkie13 for betaing and support.
Dean started awake, squinting against the sunlight. 'What?' he attempted to say, though it came out more as an 'uh'.
Sam sat on the opposite bed, flicking through the back pages of a newspaper. 'Dude, you sleep like the dead.' He looked up and jerked his head at some coffee on the table.
Dean rolled out of bed to grab it, still bleary-eyed. 'You find anything yet?' he asked.
'No, nothing,' Sam said slowly, closing the paper. 'All quiet, again.'
'Seriously? This is ridiculous.' Two weeks now, and nothing to break the tedium of the insides of motel rooms and the road. Still, Dean was good at finding the silver lining to these things. 'Come on, we don't want to miss breakfast – I heard they got waffles,' he said with anticipation.
Sam rolled his eyes, but followed out after him. Waffles did turn out to be the order of the day, and both of them saw this as a golden opportunity to make elaborate flour-based creations. Sam went for a castle, complete with a syrupy moat, while Dean opted for an ocean liner, breaking off squares to line the plate with floating ice. He added the last porthole with care before admiring his handiwork.
'Remember when we made that entire waffle town?' Sam asked.
Dean grinned suddenly. 'That was awesome.' He then considered for a moment before making a lunge for Sam's tallest turret, stuffing it into his mouth.
'Hey!' Sam's eyes suddenly glinted wickedly and he dived for Dean's plate, which soon escalated into a full on tug-of-war, only resolved when Dean flicked syrup into Sam's eyes. Unfortunately, this occurred just as a waitress came over with a coffee pot, which she hastily deposited before leaving muttering something about fetching serviettes.
Dean sat back casually and started in on his grand creation while Sam squawked and rubbed at his eyes.
He got the last of the syrup out with a grimace after several minutes, by which point neither of them are really hungry any more. 'Were you trying to blind me?'
'Don't be a wuss – now let's go.'
They paid up quickly – Dean with his best winning smile so the surly receptionist didn't quite summon up the energy to think about whether he was really called Robby Steinhardt – and then drove away. They had a system, of sorts, when they were headed nowhere in particular. It mostly consisted of Dean driving just that bit further than Sam wanted to.
'We could stop here, it's very pretty, according to the book – lots of museums, art galleries, and there has to be a good ghost story or two to check out.'
'Yeah, sure, sounds like a great time,' Dean muttered, not even bothering to look at Sam. 'Come on, what's in the next town?'
'Well,' Sam said, leafing through his guidebook, which really was a lame as hell thing to carry around anyway, in Dean's humble opinion, 'they've got the largest collection of sheep-inspired artwork in the state, apparently.' Dean didn't even have to say anything before Sam sighed, resigned. 'Fine, we'll stop off there then.'
Sheep-inspired artwork proved to include all sorts of things. They marveled at a life-size flock made entirely of polystyrene, a portrait of the President created out of wool, and last and most disturbingly, a map of America laid out in entrails.
'Oh God,' Sam hissed, clutching his mouth. Dean peered closer.
'That is nasty,' he said, staring at it in wonder. 'How many of the suckers do you think that took?'
'Dean…' Sam said warningly, and Dean stepped hastily away.
'Woah, woah, okay, don't hurl on me. See, there's a gift shop down there, let’s check it out.'
But Sam disappeared into the restroom, and Dean happily entertained himself for a while looking at tacky memorabilia. He acquired a leaflet detailing the making of the entrails-map, for brother torturing purposes at a later date, and also a model sheep whose eyes bulged when you squeezed it. He showed this with great pleasure to Sam, finding also that after a few tries the sheep started to make pretty weary, but still fun, squeaking noises.
'I'm gonna call him Bruce,' he said decisively.
Sam addressed himself to the sheep. 'Hi there, Bruce. Sadly for you, you've been bought by a complete moron.'
Dean shot Sam a hurt look before snatching Bruce out of harm's way. 'It's okay, you don't have to listen to that evil man.' He saw Sam had to work very hard to suppress a laugh.
They then went to get an enormous bucket of chicken wings, and sat on a wall and watched the world go by. Dean felt restless, and ended up speculating that plenty of the people walking past them had signs of demonic possession.
'If you want to yell Cristo at everyone in this town, you go do that,' Sam said.
'Don't tempt me.' He kicked his heels against the sidewalk.
'Told you we should have looked at those museums. Would've passed the time.'
'Last time we went into a museum we nearly got arrested!' Dean protested.
'You did, you mean.'
Dean looked indignant. 'How was I supposed to know all that art crap was alarmed? Anyway, you decided that statue was a cursed object.' He stood up. 'Right, back to the Impala, let's get out of here.'
'Best idea you've had all day,' Sam informed him.
It was a hot afternoon, so Dean rolled the windows down and gave the town a good blast of Metallica as they drove out onto the open road again. Sam dropped off, head lolling against the seatbelt, and Dean let his mind drift along the monotony of the highway, which had barely a car in sight. He drove aimlessly, letting acres of farmland and the odd population centre pass by. Wheat fields turned golden as the sun began to set, and all the world seemed completely still apart from Dean and his car. Alarmed by this, he turned off at the next exit into some one street town that at least had a few more people in it.
Sam woke up, looking flustered. 'I wasn't sleeping!'
'Yeah okay, sure. Don't know about you, but I'm starving.'
'Tell me something I don't know. Where are we, anyway?'
Dean shrugged. 'Does it matter?'
'I guess not.'
They sat out the back of a restaurant, armed with the biggest portions of fries Dean had seen in a while. However, he was preoccupied with flicking through his wallet.
'You got cash on you?' he asked, and Sam shook his head. Alright then, hurry up and eat, we need to find ourselves some guys to play a little cards with.'
Denny's Bar was lit up in green neon, and had a row of motorbikes leaning against one side. Inside were grey-haired and grizzly patrons named Rob, Bob, and Lenny, who drank with Denny himself, and would be perfectly willing to let a rookie like Dean play a few hands. This time it was almost pitifully easy, the first few rounds, as they all paid far too much time surreptitiously attempting to catch a glimpse of each other's hands to notice Dean's own activities, and he blandly called beginner's luck as he scooped up his earnings.
Bob took a shine to him, gifting him with beer-laced mutterings about how he could try and hang on to a few bucks before they won all his money back off again. Dean nodded his thanks, with a tight-lipped smile as Bob blew cigarette smoke into his face – a sign of affection, he could only hope.
The empty beer glasses piled up, and so did Dean's winnings, a source of growing irritation to all but Bob, who laughed genially and patted Dean's knee. The other three were eyeing him up when they were distracted by the arrival of a rather buxom woman, who fawned over them all before settling on Denny's lap. Dean watched on in bemusement, before turning back to the table, where all of the round's bets had suddenly vanished.
'Fellahs,' Bob said menacingly, friendly demeanor from earlier evaporated, 'it seems Dean here has taken advantage of our hospitality.' They turned around to see the empty table, and Dean opened his mouth to protest, feeling somewhat bewildered.
'Now take it easy, let's not jump to conclusions here! Your money can't have got far.'
The four of them were more interested in squaring shoulders and cracking knuckles than listening to him.
'Dean, you alright?' Sam strolled up behind him, peering around before whispering, 'Your friend Bob's got the money, by the way.'
'What? The bastard, he framed me!' Dean gave Bob an aggrieved look, only to be met with a glower. 'Oh screw this, we've got enough to get by now, on the count of three…'
Rob, Bob, Lenny, and Denny approached, looking increasingly alcohol-fuelled.
Sam stepped forward, hands held high and appealing with his best mediating tones.
Dean checked behind him, looking out for obstacles, while Sam confused their aggressors with long words.
'Three!' Dean yelled. They turned and sprinted out, flinging themselves into the car before flying out of the parking lot before anyone knew what was going on.
Sam sank back against the seat, laughing. 'What is with you? Even when we're not hunting you attract trouble.'
Dean just shook his head and checked out the rearview mirror. 'Looks like we lost them!' He reached into his pocket and threw his wallet at Sam. 'Count up our winnings, then.'
'There's nothing in here.'
'You're joking. That son of a –' Dean made to turn the car around.
'Ah come on, it's not worth it, we can sleep in the car tonight.'
'But he stole my money!'
Sam was laughing. 'Kind of impressive, don't you think?'
With a sigh, Dean pulled over and shut off the engine. 'If you snore, I'll suffocate you. Or let the engine fumes do the job for me.'
Sam ignored him, adjusting the seat back.
'Heh, goodnight, John-boy,' he grunted to a wearied groan from Sam, before assuming a now-familiar position that was at least faintly comfortable. He'd been woken up in a couple of hours by Sam's horrendously loud snoring, but for now he was out like a light, though not before he'd a chance to reflect that today hadn't been such a bad day after all.