Chapter One: Same old song and dance
A/N: Characters do not belong to me but to their respective creators. I know Something's gotta give isn't finished yet but I'd started this a while back and nearly had a panic attack at the thought it was gone or something but I'm posting it anyway and hopefully my bunny will help me finish both stories soon.Chapter 1: Same old song and dance
Dean drummed his fingertips against the steering wheel as he drove down the freeway headed for San Diego, music blasting as high as it could go. He swung his gaze into the rear-view mirror where his dad followed behind in his truck.
They were headed to check out a case of a haunted house that was supposed to be causing people’s untimely deaths and Dean was in a better mood than he had been in weeks. Part of it had to do with the case they’d just finished involving a few measly vampires that he’d had the time of his life setting on fire. Dean grinned at the memory of the vampires howling and cursing the Winchester name as they flailed.
The other part of his insanely good mood was that he hadn’t had any problems getting back to his old self. He’d had a hard time putting a certain blonde out of his head but downing a few cases of beer and hitting on a different girl in each of the three towns they’d been in made him feel confident.
Dean caught Sam’s muttered complaint about the music as he shook his hair from his eyes, studying the computer screen intently. Casting his brother a sideways glance, he reached across and snatched the book from Sam’s lap to look at the title.
“The Demon killer’s compendium?” Dean scoffed and Sam scowled at him and grabbed it back. Dean chuckled as he turned back to the road then let out a curse when his phone started to vibrate in his pocket and he fumbled, trying to find the annoying thing. Expecting it to be his dad, he didn’t bother to see who was calling and flipped it open to answer.
“Dude, we’re right in front of you old man!” Dean crowed and he was greeted with silence which made him check the rear view mirror again. His father’s truck was dark but he suddenly started to doubt that he was talking to him.
“Dean?” Inquired a soft voice and Dean felt something in his throat catch. He flashed back to the night of her Prom, when he’d seen her in Angel’s arms and fought the urge to soften his tone like he always had.
“Oh hey, I thought you were someone else.” Dean answered, flicking on his blinker and turning into another lane. When there was an angry honk from a car he’d just cut off, he flipped the person the bird and heard Sam mutter something about his driving skills.
"Dude, you want to walk to San Diego?" Dean barked at Sam who returned the gesture he'd just given the annoying driver in the other car.
“Where are you guys?” Buffy asked him and Dean glanced at the map spread on the dash then up at the freeway sign he passed.
“Fuck if I know, I think we’re about an hour outside of San Diego.” He replied and tossed the map at Sam. “Where are we at bitch?”
Sam huffed and held up the map, then clicked on the light so he could read it better, his eyes narrowing as he tried to read the small lettering. “We’re near Descanso. We still have a ways to go to get there. Is that Dad?” Sam asked and Dean shook his head no.
“We’re on a case princess so make it quick.” Dean directed and he could almost picture her confused frown. He wondered if she’d seen him tear out of the parking lot that night but he doubted it, she hadn’t called since, although if she did, he hadn’t answered.
“I was wondering if you and Sam wanted to come and have Thanksgiving with us this year. Mom’s out of town so it’ll just be the gang, I’m cooking everything.” Buffy asked hesitantly and Dean thought it over briefly.
He weighed the pros and cons: pro- free food, con- have to see Buffy. Pro- a chance to get away from a hunt, con- Buffy. Pro- An actual holiday he enjoyed, con- possible chance of food poisoning.
“I’ll talk it over with Sam and Dad and get back to you. I gotta run, going into a tunnel.” Dean answered and snapped the phone shut and tossed it into the cup holder. Dean felt Sam’s look and cast him a glance to see that his brother was indeed watching him with a frown.
“Your face is gonna stick that way if you don’t watch it Sammy,” Dean commented and Sam huffed again and went back to his laptop.
“What did Buffy want?” Sam asked and Dean rolled his eyes but cranked the volume higher to drown out Sam’s voice.
Dean pulled up alongside his dad’s truck once they reached the cemetery where the spirit of a Wendy Pope was buried and pulled the supplies from the trunk of the Impala. Dean and Sam fell into step next to each other until they spotted their father a few feet away digging up a grave.
Dean tossed Sam a shovel and the boys pitched in on the shoveling, grunting from the exertion until John hit the coffin with a loud THUNK! Dean smashed the blade into the wood, splintering the coffin and used the small hole for leverage until the bones of Wendy Pope were revealed. Sam coughed and pulled his shirt over his nose and mouth to block out the smell and hopped out of the grave.
Dean followed and looked down at the remains of Wendy while John poured salt and lighter fluid onto the corpse. Dean glanced around looking for any sign of the spirit and heard Sam yell out in alarm. Dean swung around and shot a round of rock salt at the spirit as it tried to attack Sam, slicing her nails across his brother’s arm with a savage hiss. Wendy flickered and Dean reached into his pocket for a lighter, came up with his Zippo, and tossed it into the grave.
All three watched the bones go up in flames and heard a faint shrieking as the spirit of Wendy Pope passed on from a fiery death. Once they were satisfied, Dean and Sam followed John back out of the cemetery to their cars, shovels resting upon their shoulders. Sam ripped a piece of fabric off his shirt and wrapped it tightly around the scratches, stopping the blood flow.
Once they reached the car, John turned to his sons, “I’m heading off for Michigan, there’s something that’s targeting High School students. You boys follow when you can.” John directed and Dean leaned back against the Impala, debating whether to bring up Buffy’s request. Sensing his eldest's hesitation, John zeroed in on Dean. “Something wrong son?”
“Nah, I mean no sir. Buffy called me a little while ago, she invited us for Thanksgiving dinner, I told her I’d run it by you.” Dean answered, watching his father and ignoring the way Sam’s head whipped around to focus on him.
When he’d torn out of Sunnydale the last time he’d brooded and sulked for three days before he finally broke down and told Sam what he’d seen and his brother hadn’t mentioned the Slayer since.
“We’ve got a lot of cases to look into Dean, I’m not sure how long it’ll take to finish them up.” John answered and Dean brushed away the disappointment rising in him. “Unless she needs our help I’m afraid we have too much work to do.”
Dean watched John climb into the truck and start the engine with a roar, Sam by his side. He fought the emotions flowing through him at his father’s words as the truck rumbled off down the road and into the night.
Pushing off the car, Dean got to his feet and went to get in and Sam reluctantly followed, getting in on the passenger’s side. “Why do you let him do that?” Sam demanded and Dean cast him a sidelong glance. Sam was staring out the windshield, his long legs bent as he scowled in the direction their father had gone.
“Do what?” Dean asked.
“Give you orders without even arguing? I mean what if she does need us?” Sam went on and Dean shrugged.
“Because he’s dad, if he says we have cases then we do the job. It’s the way it’s always been, you know that.” Dean replied though he understood Sam’s anger.
“But you never even argue,” Sam pressed.
“Why should I? You argue enough for the both of us.” Dean shot back and Sam’s scowl deepened. “We have work to do, unless she needs us then we gotta focus.” Dean said as much to Sam as to himself, wishing he didn’t feel a shred of disappointment at the prospect of being able to spend a holiday being a normal average Joe. But he wasn’t one.