Coda to 5x16, response to the prompt by deidre_c
's Fix-it meme
Princess and the Pea: Sam retrieves and hides the amulet, but Dean can somehow sense where it is.
“Ugh, what is that smell? You forget to wash your socks or something?”
Sam rolls his eyes and falls back onto the orange polyester bedspread. There’s a water stain on the ceiling and the a/c clacks and clatters without putting out more than the passing thought of cold air. One light bulb is flickering, the other is out, but it’s the only intact room in the only standing motel this side of town and, after three rounds of rocks-paper-scissors that ended in draws, they decided to share. Just like old times. Almost.
Dean’s hair is a little shorter; Sam can’t remember the last time he cut his. There’s a fresh scar, fine and pink, across Dean’s left cheek, and the duffel he drops on the rickety wooden table is mended in two or three more places. Sam’s boots have holes at the toes; he’s been travelling on foot mostly, hitching rides when he can, when there’s a truck going the right way, when it’s driven by someone who’s not too frightened or possessed to take him in.
“You saw the omens leading here?” he asks Dean.
“Tip from a psychic,” Dean answers, “Up in Cheppewa Falls.” He pauses, and Sam wonders whether he’s thinking of Pam. “Really, man, that stinks.” Dean follows his nose around the room like a bloodhound.
“Don’t smell it. Sorry.” Sam pushes himself up off the bed and shrugs out of his flannel. He examines the slash across the back of the fabric, edges scorched from shoulder to waist. He sees Dean watching from the corner of his eye. “Thanks,” he ventures, holding up the shirt. For getting here in time.
Dean shrugs. “Wasn’t gonna give those angelic bastard lapdogs the satisfaction.”
Sam doesn’t mention that, for just an instant, he was afraid Dean was going to do exactly that. He looks once more at the rent in the shirt, wads it up and tosses it into the corner. At this rate, he’s going to run out of clothes, and new ones are hard to come by these days. His undershirt is damp and clings to his skin. He peels that off next and wipes the sweat from his neck. “I’m gonna shower,” he says.
“Good. You stink.”
“Think you can find us some food?”
Dean almost smiles. “It is me we’re talking about.”
That’s all I was hoping for, Sam thinks as he watches Dean disappear through the door.
When he shuts off the cool water, the aroma of sizzling meat hits him square in the nose. His stomach rumbles, and suddenly he can’t remember the last time he ate, the last time there was dinner when he stepped out of a shower in a roadstop motel, the last time everything felt so deliriously, painfully normal. He grins as he opens the door. “Where did you find—“
Dean is standing on the opposite side of the room from the hot plate and skillet in which two large hamburgers are smoking. He’s bent over Sam’s bag, holding something small and working it between war roughened fingers. “I found the smell,” he says slowly.
Sam swallows, exhales slowly. “So it worked,” he replies.
He runs a hand through wet hair. “I almost don’t believe it, but… it is a Finding Things—People—amulet after all. I—“ He studies Dean, turned away, not meeting his gaze. “I asked it to find you.”
“Why would you—“
“Because.” Sam crosses the room. This isn’t quite how he imagined explaining himself; when it played out in his head, there were definitely more clothes involved. He tightens the towel around his waist. “Because you’re an idiot.”
“You invoked an amulet powerful enough to locate God, just to tell me I’m an idiot?”
“Yes. Wait. You’re an idiot because, when we died—most recently—you didn’t ask to see the rest of it.
“Rest of what?”
“The rest of my heaven.”
Dean raises his eyebrows. “Didn’t—First, we were a little preoccupied at the time. Second, I think I saw plenty.”
“No. You didn’t.” Sam takes his shoulder and turns him around. “You didn’t see that on the sideboard across from the turkey dinner was the boysenberry pie, the one from that little shop on the beach in Cape Elizabeth, with the pretty blond waitress. You made us sit there for four hours, just eating pie and waiting for her to finish her shift.”
“I puked all night,” Dean said.
“But she was into you. And it was really good pie. There’s more. You didn’t see the room where we figured out how to outwit Gabriel—okay not for good, but it felt like a win at the time. You missed the bedroom back home, when you finished off the poltergeist—it was the first time I ever remember even seeing Mom. Outside that room from Flgstaff was the muddy field and tent where we found that preacher who saved your life. You never saw that the road outside was the one from the clinic, back at Crater Lake--” His voice breaks, but he can see Dean remember the damp morning, the empty street where zombies infected with the Croatoan virus had been just hours before, the sense that they didn’t know how, but they’d dodged one hell of a bullet that day. Together. “They were all there, Dean.”
“Anyone ever tell you that you’ve got a twisted sense of heaven?” Dean asks, but his shoulders relax and he finally meets Sam’s eyes.
“I used the amulet because I wanted to tell you that.”
“Dinner’s burning,” he says.
“I don’t care.” But Sam goes back to the hotplate and flips the switch off. Even having Dean back, listening, doesn’t mean they need to waste a good meal. Especilly because, “And there’s one other thing,” Sam adds slowly, gauging Dean’s response.
He raises an eyebrow. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough.
“You know this whole apocalypse war we were trying to stop?”
“Yeah, Sam. I do.”
“I think I have an idea.”