Title: Community Service
Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Dean freezes naked while Sam tries to keep on schedule.
Dean stood in the shower and shivered.
He blinked up into the weak spray trickling from the shower head and fought the urge to indulge in some self-pity tears. There was always a heinous wait for an ancient motel water boiler to fire up, but this was bordering on torture. A full 10 minutes of this bullshit was pushing it even for his impoverished standards. It was hard to read the watch on his trembling wrist.
10 minutes and 23 seconds.
He was startled as the plastic curtain was nosily jerked aside with a force that almost ripped it right off the rings. But instead of a psycho-killer with a knife it was just Sam allowing even colder air to invade the fragile eco-system of the shower stall. Dean hugged himself and tried to avoid contact with the icy tile at his back. His brother was dressed already. Even had his boots and jacket on.
All that was missing was a smile.
“You almost done?” Sam asked. “Cuz you’ve been in here for-freaking-ever.”
Dean would have provided him with the actual elapsed time but his teeth were chattering too violently in his skull.
“We’re gonna be late, Dean.”
“Late for what?” he tried readjusting the ambiguously marked faucets. “Breakfast?”
“We have to get out of here,” Sam quickly explained. “I-If that manager catches us we’re gonna have to pay for a whole ‘nother day.”
Dean had never heard his brother stress over violating their line of dirty credit before. He paused when he noticed a small spider flailing on the white porcelain and about to slip down the drain. Dropping the poor bastard in the soap dish, Dean wondered if it would revive after it dried off.
“Do you wanna pay for a full extra day just for a shower?”
Losing money that wasn’t theirs was never impetus for Sam to start channeling dad, but there was a first time for everything.
“Do you?” Sam demanded.
“Then you got five minutes.”
“For the love of Christ—”
Dean fumbled dutifully for the last sliver of soap that also seconded as the shampoo. He was too frozen to complain when Sam left the curtain wide open. It wasn’t as if he required alone time but there was something a little Gestapo about quivering naked in front of someone while they shouted orders. Sam slammed on the sink and created a water pressure drop that turned the shower’s trickle into a nice steady drip.
Bracing himself, Dean shoved his head under the water and started scrubbing.
“So when yer done?” Sam asked around a toothbrush. “I thought we could just forget about doing inventory and you know, just get going.”
“Yeah, you mentioned.”
Running out of suds for his upper half, Dean did his best to rub off any remaining stink with a tiny hand cloth he found hanging on the tub. He looked around for one of those stiff bleached towels folded neatly on the rack. The only towel to be seen was crumpled into a soaking wet ball on the floor by the toilet.
“We could go out the back window,” Sam checked a drawer once more before deciding everything was accounted for. “It’ll be a shame to abandon the car but we can get a new one with airbags.”
“Just on the driver’s side.”
“You got it.”
Dean twisted the water off and stepped into the deep freeze of the bedroom. Stripping the plaid comforter off the mattress, he cocooned himself in nonabsorbent polyester and huddled over the rattling heater under the window.
He frowned at the snow flurries drifting gently down over the parking lot.
The motel phone buried under a stack of newspapers started ringing again. Knowing it was either the pissed off front desk guy and/or nobody else, Dean waited for Sam to begin the tirade on losing their last thirty bucks on their last credit card. But instead of a lecture his brother just dropkicked Dean’s unpacked duffel bag across the room. Picking up a T-shirt that fell by his feet, Dean dried his face and hair before collapsing onto the nearest bed.
“What are you doing?”
“Going back to sleep,” Dean muttered. “Now that we’ve paid for another whole day and all.”
“And what am I supposed to do?”
Dean burrowed deeper into the collected tangle of sheets, blankets and pillows.
“Come on!” Sam kicked the mattress. “The cable’s out, I can’t pick up anything on the wireless and—“
“I read that reading is really good to read about.”
Sam slumped down in a chair and crossed his arms across his chest. Taking note of the rejection of even precious literary pursuits, Dean curled into a tighter ball and waited patiently for his body heat to return.
“Anyway,” Sam pretended to yawn and stretch in disinterest. “There’s this place right down the road a few exits? A-And it’s only open on Sundays and it closes really early so I thought if we got out of here we could go there… and maybe…”
“And that maybe… maybe we could have some fun for a change?”
Dean was mildly intrigued by what alternative to lounging was siren-calling his brother out into the wet snow.
And highly suspicious.
“Is it a historical festival of some kind?”
“No! Nothing like that.”
“It’s not another orchid farm is it?”
“In November?” Sam snorted incredulously. “Whatever.”
“Just tell me already.”
“It’s not really open to the public and it’s well… you can only be invited by another member of the organization and Janet said two spots were open this weekend and I said that we could fill in if she wanted—“
“Hold up,” Dean flipped the blankets back off his face. “Who the hell is Janet?”
“A woman I met when I was getting coffee.”
“You have my attention.”
Sam eagerly sat forward. “Do you like animals?”
“I like to eat them.”
“No, I mean wounded ones that need care and specialized hospitalization."
“Yer taking me to a squirrel rehab aren’t you?”
Sam brightened and started collecting all of Dean’s scattered belongings back together in a pile. “Janet says they deal with all sorts of wildlife but they mostly receive small mammals and birds. But what they really need are volunteers for basic maintenance. Janet says that their budget this year is really low so—“
“Okay, okay, shut up already,” Dean rolled over and started struggling out of his blanket burrito. “I’ll go.”
“Wear a thermal,” Sam tossed a few more shirts in his direction. “We’re going to be outside building chicken cages all day.”
“What happened to the cute squirrels?”
“Wild fowl need aid too.”
Dean shook his head and gulped down the cold coffee left sitting on the bedside table. Looking around through his stuff, he spotted two mismatched but likely socks. As luck would have it, his warmest and cleanest flannel was also sitting right on top of the pile. The ladies always liked it when he wore green. It jacked up his average appearance score by at least 5 points.
“Janet better be hot.”