Rating: PG - Gen
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: An Indian restaurant, cursed gems and a killer vindaloo...
"What is that smell?" Dean murmured.
Sam ignored him, stopping in front of the shop and looking up and down the abandoned sidewalks.
"This must be it."
"Hold on there, we're going into the smell?" Dean asked in a low voice. "I've been trying to dodge that smell for two and a half blocks."
"You wanted food, well this is food."
"Food?" His brother's interest perked slightly. "Doesn't smell like anything I've ever smelled before."
"It's called curry."
"Hey, that's Indian right? Dots not feathers?"
"Right." Sam sighed, realizing his older brother had inherited their father's harmless way of appearing racist when all they really were was lazy. "Dots... not feathers."
Dean took another strong inhale, taking a good look at the colorful golden tinsel decorating the window in the middle of September.
"Are you really this hungry?" Dean asked. "I bet if we hit the highway the next exit--"
"--Is almost a half an hour away and it's Sunday, everything's closed."
"Freakin' Mennonites." Dean suddenly reconsidered. "How do you think these Indian folks ended up out here anyway? Place is whiter than my ass."
Sam didn't much care just as long as he was about to get his hands on some coconut chutney and a vegetarian samosa.
It was a small place.
There were about six tables, one of which was occupied by an Indian woman in a stunningly purple and silver embroidered sari who was gently chiding a small child that sat next to her.
"Check that chick out." Dean murmured. "Wearin' her sheets."
Sam declined to explain what and how a sari was worn, but watched his brother continue to check out the long shiny fall of jet black hair that fell over her bare shoulder.
"Hi there." Dean nodded to her when she noticed them.
Sam quickly sat down in some effort to separate himself from whatever was going to happen next. The fact the woman had a child with her seemed to do nothing to jam up Dean's radar.
"New in town," Dean explained with one of the many variations of his smile, straddling his own chair and facing her.
Even from where he was, Sam could smell the jasmine perfume she wore, and something else that pleasantly wafted in their direction when he shook out her long hair. Ginger. Cardamon. Cumin. Bright yellow turmeric. The sharp dark red scent of chilies ground into a powder. Sam swallowed. He really hadn't noticed until now that the woman was nothing short of beautiful, large up turned brown eyes and dark lashes, dusky skin and--
"Hey!" Dean hissed at him with a sharp punch to his arm. "I saw her first!"
Sam realized he was staring.
"Namaste, aap kaisey hain?*" Sam asked her.
Dean scowled at him, a warning of pain to come in the near future. It wasn't Sam's fault he had an Indian roommate at school that spoke Hindi all the time.
She smiled at him, a real one. Of surprise and delight.
That was beautiful too.
Sam ordered for them while his brother was distracted by his cell phone. He hoped Dean would suffer through whatever ended up on his plate or at least not talk about it loudly enough that the owners would hear.
When the food did come it was greeted with what Sam more or less suspected.
"You brought me to a place with no cow or forks."
"Just use your hands."
"I don't know where they've been!"
Sam helped himself to the rice and ignored the fact that his brother commandeered one of the over sized serving spoons as an eating utensil.
Looking around and pretending to admire the decor just so he could look at the pretty woman in the purple sari again his gaze fell on something interesting. Many properties owned by Hindus usually sported a few statues of their favored deities but this one was by far the largest statue of Shiva he'd seen outside a temple. He hadn't noticed it before because it was tucked almost into the back, half hidden in the shadows and obscured by a curtain.
"Stop stuffing your face with vindaloo and take a look at that." Sam gestured. "By the way, that stuff is gonna burn in a sec--"
Dean suddenly paused mid-chew, his enjoyment quickly shifting to betrayed horror. "Jesus!" He lunged for his water glass.
"Right behind you, it's a statue of Shiva."
"Creator, Sustainer, Destroyer. Tons of arms." Dean refilled his glass and downed that too. "S-So?"
"Try using the bread." Sam pushed the plate of naan towards him, eager to point out the real reason the statue had interested him. "So statues of Shiva are pretty common, but this one ... this one has a real ruby in it."
Dean was rubbing at his tongue with a napkin when he turned to blatantly inspect the thing.
"Ats ought eel." Dean said.
"Not eel, is astic." He gestured towards a decorative bowl of fake fruits that sat nearby.
"It's not plastic." Sam insisted, lowering his voice when the one and only waiter drifted by to inspect if they needed him.
"Whayouwannado, steal it?" Dean raised an eyebrow as he shoved half a piece of naan into his mouth.
"No!" Sam hissed." I just think it's a little strange, I mean, I haven't seen a gemstone that large that wasn't in a museum."
Dean took another much more careful and appreciative look back at the golden statue while finishing his bread. The many armed figure stood upon one foot over a beast, the jewel embedded into its side, chalky dark and almost pink like most rubies were. Sam stared at it, the haphazard way it seemed to be included into the sculpture was mystifying, the jagged unpolished surface did not shine or glitter in the potential it held inside its misshapen form.
"It's not plas--"
"Can I get you gentlemen anything else?" The waiter asked politely.
Sam tore his eyes off the statue.
"N-No." He stammered, a little bit surprised and suddenly nervous. "Nothing for me."
"I'll have some more of this bread!" Dean smiled. " But um, no more of this um, vengefulloo though, thanks."
The woman that sat across from them was looking at him with almond shaped eyes. Sam blinked back at her. The sari she wore was a vibrant emerald green that swept over her shoulder and brushed the floor. He could have sworn it had been purple, purple with silver... He blinked again, a sickening lurch in his belly making the thought of food unpleasant.
Looking back at the statue made him feel dizzy and nauseous.
"I'm-I'm going to go to the bathroom for a sec, I'll-I'll be right back."
"Kay." Dean muttered as he cautiously dug into some palak paneer.
The bathroom wasn't as ornate as the rest of the place. The simple white linoleum and the small sink reminded him of the tiny mom & pop owned gas stations they stopped at along the wayside. He ran the cold water and splashed his face with it, looking at himself hard in the mirror.
He couldn't shake his sudden case of nerves, they were on edge and everything around him seemed on the verge of out of focus.
When he came back out he was surprised to see that all the tables had emptied but for theirs. The woman was gone, her table vacant, cleared and cleaned with new place settings.
"D-Dean?" Sam felt foolish but he forced the words out anyway. "Can we get out of here?"
The waiter was missing as well.
His brother looked up at him in question. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing, I just need some air." Sam explained lamely.
His explanation was weak but he knew his brother would read everything else that he wasn't saying. He knew they'd be out the door as soon as Dean settled the bill by leaving cash on the place mat.
His gaze was drawn back to the golden form that sat motionless and in shadow. As he watched he thought the hidden side of the many armed statue seemed to move. The curtain that covered it began billowing slightly as if the arms were gently waving in a slow undulation--
Dean startled him when he tapped him on the arm.
It had gotten cooler outside, the midwestern plains brought a wind like no other, and with the sun going down red and orange he shoved his hands in his pockets and walked a little faster.
"It's weird huh?" He said as he watched the sidewalk under his feet.
"Nah, it wasn't that bad, that bread freakin' rocked--"
"No, I mean, this town, there's no body around."
Dean simply shrugged beside him.
There weren't just a lack of pedestrians, there was no traffic. And besides the absence of traffic, there wasn't a sing;e car parked along the streets or in the small parking lots they passed on their way. Sam looked back up at the horizon, the sunset stuck right at the edge of its end, lingering and staining the entire sky with its dying light.
When they reached the lot where they had left the car, Sam stopped and looked around.
"This lot was almost full Dean."
The car sat alone in the middle of it.
"It's late Sam." Dean dug out the keys. "This isn't a party town, people go to bed at 7pm so they can milk their goat and all that shit."
Sam didn't answer, he just got into the passenger side and waited for the engine to turn. Dean paused with his keys and reached for his door again.
"Maybe you have a point, a small one, but a point."
"I'll get my gun, we can drive outta here packin in case the place goes Cthulhu on us." He winked.
Sam was privately relieved when Dean got out and made for the trunk. Although firearms weren't always much use against what his mind sometimes perceived and what ever senses he owned that construed danger, it was still reassuring to have that piece of metal pressed up against his side.
He waited for the familiar sound of the trunk creaking open.
Sam turned around to look out the back wind shield.
No one was there.
Confused, Sam opened his door and got out. Quickly looking around the almost foot ball field sized parking lot, he saw no one. He even ducked down to look under the car in case his brother was making some kind of stupid joke. There was nothing under the car but an oil stain.
"Dean?" He called out.
His brother was gone.
Sam kicked a tire in frustration.
"Here we go."
The sun was still on the horizon as Sam drove slowly down the empty streets hoping to spot well ... anyone. Whatever the hell was going on it had something to do with that statue of Shiva. He was going to go back to that restaurant and ... do something.
Just exactly what he wasn't sure.
Not to his surprise the shop was dark and locked up. Also not much to his surprise, the statue was now in the front window, dominating the pane of glass in its dull shine from what was left of the sunset. He slowly got out of the car and walked warily towards the glass.
The car was gone.
He held his hands over his face for a minute, slowly breathing in and out.
"Okay." He said. "What is it that you want?"
Not really expecting an answer, Sam was a bit startled when he got one.
The closed eyes of Shiva slowly began to open, light becoming light within light on top of light....
Someone was slapping him across the face.
"Hey, you okay there?" Dean was over him, the waiter watching on nervously close behind. "You gave me and Raja here quite a scare."
"Wha?" He was laying on the floor.
"Well, you took out half of the poor guy's buffet table--"
"Where's the car, where'd you go--"
"Hey hey, throttle down there Sammy," Dean had a glass of water.
It looked like he was more likely to toss it in his face rather than offer a drink so Sam quickly sat up and took it from him. The woman in the purple and silver sari smiled weakly at them, startled to her feet by the overturned table of food that Sam had knocked over, and now slightly wary of them both.
The statue was right before them, the closed mediative eyes of Shiva seemed as if they would open again at any second.
Creator... Destroyer... Sustainer...
Sam quickly sought out the stone. "Dean, the ruby, it's messing with Shiva's mojo--"
Dean laughed nervously and shook his head with the waiter. "Musta hit your head pretty hard there dude."
"It causes discord when Shiva is all three of the cycles of life, Shiva doesn't want it, it should be--"
"Right. Look I think we've done enough to ruin Raja's day, right Raj?" Dean was pulling him roughly to his feet. "Why don't we call it a night and say our um, however you say good-bye in Indian."
Several twenties landed on their table as Sam let himself be hustled quickly out the front door.
"What happened, that statue, I think I-- whoa." A wave of dizziness swept over him and Dean grabbed him under his elbow to steady him.
"You got up and touched the thing is what ya did." Dean muttered. "EMF in my jacket went off like it found Hoffa's ghost and you faceplanted into a whole lot of food I can't pronounce."
"But we can't leave it there," Sam insisted, rubbing at his forehead where he realized he now had a bruise. "It spoke to me, it said it wanted the stone to be removed--"
"As much fun as it would be to watch you try and waltz out their door with a four foot statue," Dean mused. "I think I can do ya one better."
Sam blinked at him.
Dean reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the rough uneven opaque stone.
"You stole it!"
"I replaced it." Dean half smiled idly to himself. "With a plastic grape if you can believe that shit--"
"What are you gonna do with it, it's cursed, it's--"
"I'm glad you asked!" Dean put the car in gear.
Sam sat back in disbelief, waiting for his brother's solution.
Dean rolled it in his palm for a second and then with a small nod he reached over and popped open the glove compartment. Without much ceremony, he threw the ruby into its dark depths.
"What? That's it? Yer just gonna leave it in there?" Sam asked incredulously.
"Sam, not even light can escape from that glove box if it ventures too far in there." Dean assured him. "It's perfectly safe."
Sam stared at his brother.
"It's true," Dean insisted. " I dunno why we didn't check for Dad in there in the fuckin' first place--"
"Just drive Dean."
*Takleef - Trouble
*Namaste, aap kaisey hain - Hi, how YOU doin'?