Rating: PG - Gen - humor
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Beta: Thank you Kat! (& tammylee)
Summary: Sam binge shops. Dean has psychotic observational skills.
Parking garages never gave you much of a view.
Sometimes there were gray heaps of snow from the plows and a few left over crusty wreaths from the holidays. Some places had colorful bands of paint meant to lead disoriented shoppers through the labyrinth of identical concrete floors. It wasn’t exactly a place Dean thought of when it came to people watching.
Serial rapists, brutal muggings and grand theft auto sure, but none of the really good stuff.
When the nervous kid walked past the Impala for the fourth time, Dean shifted uncertainly behind the wheel. Just like every other orbit the guy had made, it started all over again through the near empty parking level that had only two other cars in it besides the Chevy.
“Weird,” he mumbled.
“Nothin’,” Dean slumped down further in his seat. “Just some guy.”
Sam tossed several crumpled plastic bags into the back seat and kicked the rest of them out of his way. Flipping out the largest blade in his pocketknife, he got ready to open another box from the pile around his feet.
“That guy.” The window was cold against his cheek. “Caucasian, mid-teens, ‘bout 5‘6”, no jacket, no shopping bags—“
“Sounds like a nice guy.” Sam mumbled as he searched through another sack. “So what?”
“So what the hell is he doing?”
The vicious ripping of paper and the violent shredding of cardboard brought Dean’s attention back to the annoying mess growing in the car.
It took a few moments to truly soak in the damage Sam had made on their current line of dwindling credit. A couple hundred dollars of wholesale electronics and his brother had transformed the entire front seat of the car into a mediocre Christmas Morning. Sam’s broad grin only grew as the items in the bags were removed one by one and stacked across the dashboard.
“Check this out?” Sam held up a tiny packaged handheld police scanner. “5000 channels on memory and 28 hours of emergency power. Best part? It only takes 30-minutes to recharge.”
Dean was way too tired to get a hard-on about some 2000mAh High Current NiMH cells. His brother apparently wasn’t too tired at all.
“And get this!” Sam said. “It’s got a GPS, trunktracker, Alpha-Tagging and a fire decoder.”
Sam wasn’t the kind of guy that found rudimentary joy in the simple things, but expensive and updated technology guaranteed a grin no matter what. A trip through a snazzy Radio Shack and a couple electronics outlets always seemed to do the trick. But all the cutting edge equipment right off the boat from Asia didn't inspire the amount of glee required to really get Dean off. He’d personally found the real thing to be found in much dustier and mismanaged places. The used and discarded. No warrantees and no 24-hour tech support.
He pushed a worn cassette into the player and smiled as its ancient parts all whirred to life. As far as he was concerned there was absolutely no need for the future when you had plenty of the past to spread around. Frank Zappa's electrics keened loud enough to drown out most of the new tech stats Sam felt an urge to share.
Dean looked up in distraction when the kid passed their parking space for the fifth time.
Without thinking much about it, he laid down the horn as hard as he could. The horn was pretty loud under normal circumstances but within the confines of the garage it reverberated into a racket 100x its usual glory.
“What the hell was that for?” Sam growled.
“I think that guy is fuckin’ with me.”
“Hey, look!” Sam nudged him painfully in the side. “I got some games too.”
Dean’s aggravated gaze flickered down at the box coated in a thick sheath of plastic he wasn’t even sure a chainsaw could cut through. Beneath that was regular cardboard covered with enough adhesives to safely contain a live viral sample of SARS. Curious as to what was so important to make a trek through a mall, he flipped the box around in his hand. The cartoon rendition of the familiar piece of ass with the camouflage shorts and duel pistols made him frown.
“Don’t we already have Tomb Raider?” he asked. “From like… 100 years ago?”
“It’s the anniversary edition.”
Sam grabbed the package from his hands and struggled to open it.
Dean didn’t quite get how it was all that exciting to open stuff that you bought yourself, but Sam had been into the ritual of the reveal ever since he could remember. The random things tucked inside got Sam off even more. Director's cut booklets. Sleeve art. Tiny sales catalogues. Dean might not have understood the inexplicable contact high from carefully peeling off colorful labels and shiny paper, but a smile was a smile.
Settling back into his seat, he idly wondered where exactly all this shiny new crap was going to live.
Better yet, when would they even have a chance to even use it? Dean had a brief fantasy of an entire month of silence in which all they were required to do was look at Lara Croft’s ass. Make it two months so he could spend another few weeks checking out that hot chick in the zombie dog flicks—
“Do you mean that guy?” Sam noticed a hefty security guard lazing around in the warmer climes behind the glass doors of the mall entrance. “That guy is fine.”
“Not that guy.” Dean gestured in the opposite direction. “My guy has been walkin’ in circles for the past forty minutes.”
“Maybe he’s lost.” Sam guessed.
Dean gnawed at his lip as the kid started the sixth lap around the sparsely filled lot.
The glove compartment had a flask of holy water, and a compact bible earmarked to a few choice pieces of dangerous verse. He swung his door open and braced himself for the frigid chill of January air. Before he got out, pure habit made him check for the pistol tucked in inside pocket of his jacket.
“Be right back.”
“Sure,” Sam warned as he ripped into a new box. “But I just opened the Flash Fire LED Lenser. 40 hours of power on a single set of batt—“
“Then I’m sure you’d both like some time alone.”
It didn’t take much of a walk to catch up with the young man. As Dean got closer he thought of what he would say. No one liked to be confronted alone in a strange place. Hell, most people didn’t like it happening on their own doorstep.
“Hello?” Dean called out. “Hey… uh, you?”
He was confused when the kid ignored him and kept walking alongside the concrete support slabs.
“Hey.” Dean decided to go for broke. “Hold up a sec’.”
He grabbed hold of the kid’s skinny shoulder.
Dean knew right off the bat that he’d startled the ever-living crap out of the guy. So much for the potential of something ethereal. Even though this parking garage echoed every noise like a souped up amphitheater, this dude had no idea anyone had been walking directly behind him.
“So yer alive.” Dean deduced from the frantic breathing and look of terror. “D-Don’t worry, I’m not gonna hurt you.”
Backing up a step, the guy stared uneasily back.
Cocking his head, Dean noticed that the boy’s confusion wasn’t isolated to the language that was coming out his mouth. This guy hadn’t even reacted to the blare of a car horn. If there was anything a Winchester could do fairly well, it was putting 2 and 2 together in no time flat.
He snapped his fingers and pointed in triumph.
“Yer not the undead, yer deaf!"
The smile seemed to put the young man at ease. The flurry of hand signs that followed only stopped when Dean used his own hands to physically bring it to a halt. The kid’s exposed skin was freezing, the absence of a coat a few days after New Years left him shivering and his cheeks flushed red.
“It’s ok. It’s no problem.” Dean nodded reassuringly as he dug into his jacket. “I got ya covered.”
The young man eagerly took the pad of paper and quickly wrote something down with the offered pen. He shoved the paper back into Dean’s hands with a hopeful look on his face.
“Oh man.” Dean felt his stomach sink. “For real?”
“What’s going on?”
Dean was slightly surprised that his brother had been able to excavate himself out from under all the junk in the car.
“He’s deaf and he doesn’t speak English.”
“You heard me!” Dean tossed up his hands. “He’s a deaf French dude! I bet that security jerk off sent him out here for a laugh.”
Instead of adding to the ire, Sam was busy with what looked like a miniature typewriter that fit in one hand. Fresh out of its plastic wrapping it was beeping and clicking as quickly as Sam could type.
“Guess we should look for some real cops.” Dean considered the mall doors. “Maybe someone in there speaks ‘Deaf-French’—wait what are you doing?”
Sam handed the device to the kid whose face lit up in profound relief.
“You learn French sometime today and didn’t tell me?” Dean demanded.
“International translator.” Sam smugly crossed his arms over his chest. “Speaks and translates over 500 languages including slang, variation and regional dialect.”
“Lemme guess?” he sighed. “With batteries that last longer than the sun?”
Sam quickly checked the accompanying instruction booklet.
Dean took the small machine back from the kid and read the digital display.
“Well,” he read. “This kid’s name is Julian, its very nice to meet us in our lovely country of the United States of America, he’s visiting from Belgium and he got lost looking for the ATM and could we please, please, please show him where the titty bars are?”
“Shut up.” Sam yanked back his toy.“It doesn’t say that.”
“Right there.” Dean helpfully pointed at the screen. “He underlined the please, please, please, pleas—oh there were four pleases, my mistake—“
Sam shoved it under his shirt.
“All right, enough of this.” Dean made extravagant waving motions towards the car. “Come on, let’s go. It’s International sign for Move Your Ass This way.”
“Dean, we don’t know where he’s going or if he has friends waiting for him.”
“Yeah, real awesome friends he has.” Dean shrugged as he got into the driver’s seat. “He can give them a call... or whatever, later.”
Sam slammed his door and dug around in the debris until he found the scanner.
“Fire up that fancy GPS you got there,” Dean adjusted the rear views. “Let’s get this kid downtown!”
“Okay. I think I got it.” Sam mumbled. “Take two lefts and a right and in about .5 miles you’ll hit what you’re looking for.”
Dean grinned encouragingly at the kid who took a cautious seat amongst the boxes and styrofoam remains of binge shopping.
“Where we goin’?”
“Chez Pierre’s Palace of Boobs.” Sam rubbed at his eyes. “But hey, it’s French? Maybe he’ll feel right at home.”
“That’s the spirit, Sammy.”