Rating: PG - Gen
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: The boys stay with an old family friend to restock on supplies.
The economics of their lifestyle had always been slightly complicated.
A raw part of their deal was when they needed to restock their necessities they couldn't just stop just anywhere for the items that sat in their trunk. They tended to have to head to very specific locations with very discreet and what some may call eccentric people. The off the grid types. The paranoid and the brilliant. The wise and the borderline schizophrenic. For probably lots of reasons, their line of work didn't attract the most stable of employees.
Dean smiled to himself as they bumped down a dusty dirt road. He was pretty sure he wasn't allowed, even in the privacy of his own thoughts, to consider anyone else with a word that resembled the term unusual.
The closest contact this time around was in a Montana town they had spent various days in various summers of their childhood. Following the ranch road he hadn't seen in over a decade, they finally pulled up in front of the house that sat at its end.
A small older woman was standing in the doorway with a broad smile on her face. She looked almost the same after all these years except that the long blond braid that had draped over her thin shoulder had turned a shock of premature white.
Dean was a little surprised when she ignored his out stretched hand and gave him a brief but tight hug instead. She laughed a bit when Sam had to lean down for her.
"You boys got so tall."
"Happens." Dean smiled back.
The inside of the house smelled like he remembered. A memory he hadn't even been aware that he had even kept. Like bread and cinnamon. Like dust on dried roses. Her furniture was all exactly as it had been when they'd been kids.
They conducted the reason for their visit pleasantly in her living room over a tray of cookies and some herbal tea that Dean gulped so he wouldn't taste it. She mentioned some helpful information that circulated amongst people like themselves. They gave her what they could back in exchange.
Business and other sundries aside, she managed to persuade them to stay for some dinner. She just happened to be roasting a chicken stuffed with corn bread dressing and she couldn't possibly eat it all herself. As they ate, they talked about the weather. The condition of the Montana highway system. She asked them if they enjoyed that new television program about becoming the nation's best singer.
They both admitted they had actually never seen it.
Scrubbing a greasy baking pan with chicken remains in it, Dean honestly couldn't remember having ever liked washing dishes before. Sam didn't even give him any lip when he told him to take the garbage out to the special container she had out back to keep the animals out of it.
She told them everything they needed was right back in her barn if they'd care to help her gather their supplies and put it all in their car.
If memory served, her barn wasn't exactly like most barns in the area.
But that was why her and all the people that Dad knew tended to live in the middle of no where. The nature of the business required those to live out their self allotted lives in relative secrecy. The kitchen might have had checkered quilted oven mitts she had sewn herself, and the bathrooms might have had little baskets filled with pastel soaps shaped like sea life, but her workplace was all business.
Once those weathered barn doors swung open, you quickly dropped your sense of rustic charm.
Building and maintaining ordnance while simultaneously stocking hard munitions had kept her very busy over the years. All the eye could see were cluttered work tables with disassembled firearms and racks of sub automatic machine guns. There was a temperature controlled hermetic windowed off area for what looked like electronic assembly and a bank of about six televisions broadcasting different news channels.
Dean noticed a small glass vase filled with fresh cut daisies sitting next to an open tool box of drill bits and the innards of a flame thrower.
Slightly wide eyed, he wondered for the first time if maybe Dad had had a thing for this chick.
It was late by the time they had sorted through it all and got what they needed packed into the car. With one last thank you, his younger brother politely asked for directions to the nearest motel. One look at the hour and she scoffed at the idea of them heading out to search out the run down joint at the edge of the nearest town.
The next thing they knew they were being shown to her cozy extra bedroom with the first unobjectionable bed covers they'd seen in months. The mattress was soft under Dean's back, the blankets filled with feather down and with that scent right out of a dryer.
Dean wondered if this was as close as they'd come to having someone they saw every other year on some winter holiday. In some other version of the world, this might be the kind of person that would put crisp twenty dollar bills in birthday cards that always arrived one week early just in case the mail ran slow.
"Remember when you fell off her roof that one time?" Sam murmured sleepily from across the room.
"Technically," Dean responded. "It's a not a fall if someone pushes you."
Sam laughed a little in the dark.
Dean drifted towards sleep to the sound of coyotes and the strange silence of no one's TV coming through the wall.
Maybe, if they weren't too busy, they could head back this way next year.
Just to restock when they needed to again.