Chocolates, Plans, and Music
Four hours later, Cas looked up from the computer and went looking for Bobby, who had Sam's computer on his lap.
"Perhaps breakfast would be a good thing to raise spirits. We might find Mr. Scrooge in the dining hall."
"That's a good idea. I'll wake up Dean if you'll get sleeping beauty there."
Cas leaned over Sam and nudged him. "We thought breakfast in the dining hall might raise everyone’s spirits. It would give us a chance to speak with Mr. Scrooge. A meal might make Dean feel more like himself. I know you are not the eater he is, but it would revive you."
Sam rubbed his eyes, sitting up. He noticed Dean following Bobby back into the room.
"You okay, Sammy?" Dean looked tired, but the energy was there.
"I feel exhausted honestly. I hope they have plenty of coffee in there."
"They did yesterday. It's the emotions, Sammy. We've gone on a lot less sleep then this. I ought to be dragging. I feel like I should be, but there's something to be hunted. My mind always takes over when that happens."
Bobby shook his head. "Screw the coffee at first. Drink some hot chocolate when we get in there."
Dean's eyes lit up. "Reckon he'd have some mint, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup?"
Sam gave the first grin in a while. "If not, we're going out to find the nearest one."
“I'll drive. I go faster."
He snickered. "Sounds good to me."
"Your laptop is still open. Where's the nearest? We'll pick up four of their largest and meet Bobby and Cas in the dining hall."
Sam pulled it up and grinned. "A mile east of here."
Dean went into the bathroom, brushed his teeth, and combed his hair. He came out, sat in his chair, and put on his boots. He headed to the closet and grabbed his coat. "You coming?"
Sam was pulling on his shoes. "Hell yes!"
Bobby laughed. "We'll meet you in the dining room."
"Don't get coffee. We're bringing something better."
"All right, Dean."
Dean started the motor of the Impala and turned on the heater. A new day, he thought. It had to be better then last night.
Sam slipped into the seat next to him, quiet except for the occasional yawn.
"Sammy, when this is over. Maybe we need to talk. About being kids and Dad and the things that happened. Some you know. Some you don't. I gotta feeling I don't know everything that concerned you either."
He looked over at his brother. "I think you're right, Dean. It's past time we were completely honest about it. I love Dad, don't get me wrong, but am I a horrible person for saying that Bobby is more of a father than he ever was?"
"No, you're not. Even when he died, Dad was selfish about how he did it. He just had to be the hero without thinking how it would effect everyone. I know, Sammy.
"Part of me wonders if he did it because he knew we'd keep after it. Like he counted on me being upset about Jess enough to push and find the Colt again." Sam sighed, rubbing his face. "It's horrible, but I can't stop thinking that he used himself as a martyr for his own cause."
"Yeah. I never talked about this. Sammy, it wasn't the car wreck that hurt me bad enough to kill me. It was dad with old yellow eyes in him. It was a power play, Sammy. He hurt me bad. I cried out to Dad to not let him kill me. Dad couldn't do it. He couldn't fight. You're shooting him stopped it. Bobby had that demon and with the demon's power and my not wanting to hurt Bobby, and I was in big trouble Sammy. I called out to Bobby inside there. Bobby fought and turned that knife on himself. I know Azazel was powerful, but we're talking Dad here. I was his son. That should have given him the strength to fight back. Bobby did."
He stared out at the windshield. "Dean...when he was possessed and was trying to kill you, I didn't even think about Dad when I shot him. God, I saw you being attacked and reacted. I kept seeing you when I was five and you were so sick. I'd been so scared to lose you..especially after being alone so long. And all I could think of was to make him stop before he took you away again." It hurt to admit it...he'd kept it secret because he'd been afraid of Dean being angry.
Dean's voice sounded choked up. "I love you, Sammy. You know I knew Azazel had him but when faced up close, it was like he was trying to prove he was better then me. Talking into my face and against my neck. It was a power thing, Sammy. If Azazel was doing it, he took it from Dad. Dad always tried to prove himself better then me. It was what he did. I was supposed to be the good son, the little soldier. He didn't want anything else."
Sam reached over, touching Dean's shoulder and squeezing it hard. "I know. You know, thinking back on it. The one who taught me more about being a hunter was you. Dad barely spent time with me." He sighed. It was Dean's teachings that had kept him alive so long. "You know. One thing I remember was when I finally learned what Father's day was, I got angry at the teacher."
"Really? I'm sorry, Sammy. I know we never had the kind of Dad you'd want to do something for on Father's day. You had to take psychology in college didn't you?"
"No. that wasn't what I got angry at the teacher over. I made the card for you and she said it wouldn't count. She tore it up."
Dean pulled the Impala over. He looked surprised. "For me?"
To his surprise, Sam blushed as he stared at the dashboard and nodded. "Yeah."
Dean sat back. "Sammy, do you know why I felt naked after I gave that pendent to Cas? It was because you gave it to me when Dad didn't show up for Christmas. You'd mentioned earlier that Bobby had given it to you to give to Dad. You gave it to me. I've kept it and worn it all these years because of that. Thank you for it and thank you for that card." Dean turned and put the car in drive and headed to the Starbucks.
"I remember. It made me happy to see you wearing it every day."
"Letting Cas have it to look for God was the hardest thing I'd ever done. I already thought I'd lost you, Sammy. That was like cutting the last cord."
"I'm a bad penny, Dean. I always turn up. You're stuck with me."
Dean laughed as he turned into the parking lot. "You reckon you and I will need two large? Bobby and Cas won't drink more than one. I need the sugar and caffeine. To be honest, I just need that hot chocolate."
"I'll be your best friend for life," he teased.
"That's a deal!" Dean got out, entered the coffee shop, and stood in the line.
Sam got out to stand with him. It felt good to get some of that off of his chest. He'd been holding it for way too long.
Dean was feeling the same way. He was beginning to realize that Sam was a man, his brother, and his friend. The time to keep things hidden to protect Sammy was gone. It only hurt him and did an injustice to the man Sam had become. It would take some time because Dean had too many stories."
Finally. They were able to place their orders. Sam was near bouncing in anticipation..or rather would be if he had the energy.
They ordered six of the hot chocolates in the largest size Dean could get.
"Forgive me if I start drooling but they smell so damned good!"
Dean handed one to Sam and started on one himself. "Damn, I needed this!" He didn't notice the whipped cream on his upper lip.
Sam snickered, handing his brother a napkin as he started drinking his first one.
Dean grinned and wiped his mouth. A few minutes later, they pulled into the parking lot of the B&B. The had four chocolates in a large bag and the ones in their hands. They went to the dining hall, Dean sniffing appreciatively.
"Something smells delicious."
"Yeah. We didn't eat anything last night and we had a rough night. My knee hurt so bad, I didn't want any. No idea why y'all didn't eat something. I'm hungry now. Dean set his drink and the bag on the table. He handed Bobby and Cas a chocolate and put one by Sam's other chocolate and one by his. Bobby's eyebrows raised as he grinned.
"We're addicted," Sam confessed after he finished his first one.
Dean had piled a plate with eggs, bacon and a potato covered with a cream sauce and bacon bits in it. He had some toast, butter, and jelly. A small bowl with some white grainy stuff in it, was next to the plate. Someone said I should be sugar in this. It's grits. I was told it's made from corn. I don't think corn and sugar would go well together, do you? I figured, butter, salt, and pepper." He poured Tabasco sauce on his eggs.
Sam put some food on his plate as well, sinking into the seat to nibble on his food. He wasn't really hungry but needed the energy.
Dean always ate for energy, and for the pure enjoyment of the food. Listening to his memories of his childhood and life on the road, the others began to understand the odd ways Dean had developed in his life.
Dean put a bit of the grits on Sam's plate. "You'll like these."
He tried a bit and nodded. "Those are a pretty good."
"Yeah. Grits. That's a weird name. Wonder why they call it that."
Bobby shook his head, sipping his hot chocolate. He'd noticed Castiel had focused more on the beverage than his own food. "I don't know."
Dean followed Bobby's gaze and grinned. "Cas, you okay? You're not eating."
"I’m enjoying the hot chocolate," was the answer.
Dean looked at Sam and mouthed. “We didn't get enough.”
Sam snickered. "We'll pick up some more later today, I promise." Castiel nodded with a slight smile. He rather enjoyed the chocolate.
"I never took you for a chocoholic, Cas. Good to know."
Dean looked up. "There's Ben."
OK, so there was the hard part. Approaching the guy and trying to be polite while asking about possible family curses. How did one go about that? This wasn't exactly a normal situation.
Dean got up and walked over to Ben. "Hey, Ben, how are you this morning? Enjoy your book?"
The owner looked up from pouring his tea with a soft smile. "I did, thank you. How are you doing so far? Is there anything you need?"
"Well, I could use a good night's sleep, to be honest. Had weird things happening last night. Memories I never wanted to think of again forced out of me in front people I never wanted to see them. That's right...see them." Dean walked back over to their table and sat down. "Let's see what he does with that. He's either gonna come over here in a panic, or he's gonna run for it. I think I can catch him."
Sam watched as the man seemed to slump in on himself. This wasn't what he'd thought the guy would do. He headed towards their table. "When you're finished eating, I'll explain everything."
"You're more then welcome to join us. We might be able to help."
He took a seat, licking his lips nervously.
"So, you're Ebenezer Scrooge? Dickens’s ghost is trying to help you. You get haunted every year?"
The young man rubbed his face with his hands. "Yeah, I do. So does every Scrooge male for the past century or so."
"We're assuming Dickens on the Strand has messed the ghosts' heads all up and you're getting hauntings every night it goes on until Christmas Eve?”
"Pretty much and I can't tell you how exhausting it is."
Dean laughed softly. "You don't have to. We experienced it first hand. Dickens said there was some kind of curse. You wouldn't happen to know what it is would you?"
Ben sighed and shook his head. "I wish I knew. Dickens was supposed to help the original Scrooge and failed. None of us knows why we're being haunted."
"Cas, can you do some kind of sigil that would keep Dickens with us?"
The angel looked thoughtful for a moment, pondering the question.
"I'll need to think on it and see if there is something that would enable him to remain."
"I'm thinking the ghosts might talk to Dickens in a ghost to ghost conversation. Sort of like man to man. Mr. Scrooge, we're going with you tonight.."
"Why would you do that?"
"Being haunted all this time, you ever hear of anything else going on in the occult world?"
He sipped his tea, thinking for a moment. "I've heard rumors of omens and the like."
"Yeah, well a hell of a lot goes on. There people out there who study these things and try to find ways to destroy them. They're known as hunters."
Ben nodded, not looking too surprised at the news.
"You've heard of them? How?"
"In over a century of haunting, members of the Scrooge family have become sensitive to the paranormal, for lack of a better term for it. Some have learned to hunt over the years. My brother was a hunter for a long time."
Dean sat back. "He couldn't figure it out?"
"No. he tried but got stuck in a bad way and didn't make it out of a vampire nest." Ben sighed softly. "Whatever notes he had were destroyed."
"Okay, we're hunters, and we're gonna take it on. We need to know everything you know. I don't guess you can conjure up Dickens any time you want can you?"
"Not that I know of. As far as I know, the curse only activates on Christmas eve. Except for the fact they get confused due to the festival."
"Sure wish Pamela would show back up. We'd have her conjure him. Cas, we really need a sigil if you can."
He nodded. "I'll go to a private place and think on it. There's a lot
to go through."
"Okay, after you eat."
"I'd nearly forgotten about that."
Dean grinned. "You find me a sigil that can keep him with us, for the time being, and I will get you all the hot chocolate you want. I have to get Sam one a the same time though."
Sam tossed a napkin at his brother. "You damn well better."
"Ben, why don't you enjoy your breakfast? We have to figure out what we are gonna do. Cas needs a sigil for Dickens. Meet us in our rooms at Midnight. They can manipulate time, too. Seems they didn't go after you last night, because I was tastier, but they'll get you tonight."
Ben nodded. "I'll do that. And thank you."
Dean turned back to his breakfast. "Well, hunting wasn't exactly what I wanted for this vacation. At least it's something different."
The host went off to work around the place, and Sam shrugged. "You're right on it being something different."
"I hope you guys are right. I'd really rather kill them then dodge them."
Castiel broke his silence. "Were we moved from location to location or do you suppose the surroundings were just altered?"
"I had no coat on. It was cold but not as cold as I remember it. Course I was a kid."
He frowned, occasionally remembering to eat.
“It seemed real enough, but they were creating images of people we knew. Most of them from my mind.”
"If it's in one location, I can keep him with us. If we're moving, that's the hard part."
"Well, it was Dad's voice but that could be in my mind too. You wouldn't know if you were hearing him or another voice, Cas. I always thought ghosts haunted a person or a thing. If he was here in the house, and he was, then they could not really take us anywhere. I don't care what the book said, as hunters, we know better."
"I heard Dad too," Sam said and Castiel nodded. "I believe it was him."
"I'm saying, you know Dad's voice, Sam. Cas doesn't. How do we know Cas heard the same voice we did? I can't remember what I sounded like at 5 and 9. Can you? I think this is all illusion. It's real because they took it out of my memory. That's how real it is to me."
"I can use both rituals, but it will be difficult to set up for the second. However it is better to be safe than sorry."
"Okay, Cas. Thanks so much."
"We may need to find a shop of some kind that sells herbs," he answered.
"Sammy, can you check? Let Sam know what you need. We’ll find some shops and call."
Sam nodded. "Castiel, finish eating or Bobby'll probably try to feed you."
Dean laughed and thought a moment. "That's about all we can do right now? Bobby, Cas, Sam?"
"Pretty much," Bobby was watching Cas, who was still nibbling.
"Change of topic then. Bobby, I'm leaving the keys with Sam so he and Cas can find and buy those herbs he'll need. Would you mind taking me somewhere and giving me some advice?"
The older man nodded. "No problem, Dean. Let me get my wallet and keys."
"Sammy, I know I can't buy tapes any more. It's cds. What do I have to do to play them in my baby?"
"Wait till Santa comes?"
“Okay. Well, I'm buying some cds to put on my computer. I want Bobby's help. He'll know what I want. That okay with you?"
"No problem. Find what you like. It'll be nice to get away from Metal head honestly."
Dean grinned. "Well I'd like some advice and recommendations. I'm breaking free from Dad, but I still like that music, Sam. I just want some other stuff too."
"Try a bit of each genre and just remember that every genre has their ups and downs."
"Yeah, I will. I want those groups that play flute in them for sure."
Sam laughed softly. "Sounds cool."
"Oh, and after Christmas, maybe you could recommend who you listen to. I've had you listening to mullet rock for five years. I'll try some of yours."
"I'd like that. Maybe this time it won't be introduced to the backseat," he teased.
"Yeah. Well I grew up since then, Sammy."
"And oh so well," Bobby laughed as he came in, hearing the conversation.
"Well, I'm past some of it anyway."
"Don't grow up too much on us, kid. Come one, let's get going."
Dean helped with the chair. He climbed into the truck. "There was a nice music department at that grocery store, but I thought a big music store would be better. Sam suggests I try a little from different genres and learn what I like. Did you guys see one while shopping the other night?"
"The bookstore carries a very wide selection of music. First, do you have your computer?"
"Not with me. Do I need it? I was at the bookstore."
"I'd get it before we go. I'm going to give you some samples to listen to at the wifi place so you know what you'd like."
Dean jumped out and ran to get his computer. He didn't take long. "Okay."
Bobby headed to the bookstore and once they were inside, he gave Dean a URL that would take him to YouTube. "First off, type in Jethro Tull."
Dean typed in the name
"Lots of songs on here."
"Thick as a Brick is one of the popular ones."
"Okay." Dean clicked on the video. He turned up his earphones.
He waited, watching his adopted son's face. Dean liked it so much, he clicked on Aqualung.
Bobby pulled out a piece of paper so he could keep a list of what Dean liked and didn't.
Dean nodded to the music, his hands making a drumming motion on some parts.
Bobby chuckled to himself, then poked Dean. "I take it you like that one?"
Dean removed the earphones. "Those are good. You said there was another band that used flute?"
"I remembered another one but they're an older group. Try to find the Mamas and the Papas. I don't remember flute music, but they were good."
Dean typed the name in and found a couple of songs. "Which one, Bobby? Monday, Monday or California Dreaming?"
Dean put his earphones back on and clicked on the video. He started to snicker when he saw them, wondering if people really dressed like that. He looked at Bobby, wondering if he had. He stopped the smirk and the snickering when the group started to sing.
Bobby watched him quietly. It was a special thing to be able to introduce Dean to new things like this. Dean had his eyes closed, actually swaying to the music, a slight smile on his face, making the older man wish he had a camera. The younger hunter played the video again, picking up some of the words, he was singing softly. Bobby grinned, unwilling to lose this opportunity to capture this moment. Damn, Dean still couldn't carry a tune but it was really cute. He used his cell phone and recorded this moment. Dean decided to try Monday Monday while he was at it. The harmonies were fantastic on the California Dreaming.
Bobby wrote the name of the group down, seeing how Dean seemed to like them. The older male couldn't wait to show Sam the little video. Dean started his drumming routine with Monday Monday. He was enjoying the music, sitting on the floor Indian fashion, humming with the song.
Monday, Monday ended.
"Hey, Bobby. They have a fantastic sound. They looked strange though. When did this group sing?"
Bobby grinned, giving him the dates the group was active.
"Wow! That's almost 50 years ago. Any others? Didn't you say there was another with flute music?"
"Moody Blues, Nights in White Satin."
Dean started hunting and finally found it. He hit play. Bobby waited, watching to see Dean's reaction to it. Dean's eyes widened. It sounded like classical music. This couldn't be a rock band? Could it? The singer started singing, Dean settled down. He kept shaking his head in surprise. Rock music that sounded like this. Every few seconds he'd mouth wow. An older woman walked up and looked over Dean's shoulder and smiled. She looked at Bobby.
"Teaching your son about the good rock and roll I see."
He gave her a smile. "I'm definitely trying."
"Give him a little Wishbone Ash and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. They qualify for the Moodies category. Let him hear the Moodies really rock and roll also. Might surprise him. Have fun." The lady left.
Dean was so rapt up in the music he never saw the woman. When the video was over, Dean was silent. He looked up at Bobby. "Wow, Bobby."
"That group broke records in regards to making new headway in the field of music. Try a few more of their songs, see what you think."
"Which ones would you recommend, Bobby? They have Slide Zone, Singer in a Rock n Roll Band, Tuesday Afternoon, and I Know You're Out There Somewhere."
Dean clicked on the title. The music started up and his mouth dropped open. He looked up questioningly at Bobby. He nodded encouragingly at him. Dean looked at the video and recognized that it was the same band. Dean was beating his legs in rhythm with the music. He started beating the air, his eyes closed, getting down. He chuckled softly, recording this as well.
When the song was over, Dean looked up. "Damn, Bobby, they're good. What else you got?"
Bobby listed artists in the rock field for Dean to check out. "Now, there's other genres you could try too."
"Yeah, Sammy said I should. What kind of genres?"
"There's classical, new age, country. Jazz and blues. There are many types in each of those."
"Come on, Bobby. What kind of classical music would I like?
He grinned. "Transiberian Orchestra and Manheim Steamroller."
Dean typed in the orchestra. "It's mostly Christmas music, Bobby."
"There are some straight up stuff but I figured this would get you into it."
Dean hit play on one. With the earphones on, he did not realize he'd spoken loudly, when "Holy crap!" echoed from where he was sitting.
Bobby started snickering at that.
Dean hit two more of the orchestra's songs. His eyes wide, a look of awe on his face. After the third one, he looked up at Bobby. "I want everything they got."
He laughed and wrote that down. "Did you want to try the new age stuff?"
"Sure. Why not. Just don't give me any off the wall crap, okay?"
"Try Enya." Bobby spelled it for him.
"She's got a ton of stuff, here. The one with the most hits is something called Orinoco Flow. What the hell is Orinoco Flow?"
"Oh that's a good one. This woman is a musical genius, I swear."
"In what way?"
"She records each track herself. I think she recorded that song over five hundred times."
"It's all her?
Dean clicked on the song.
"I think occasionally she might have help but yeah, it's mostly her."
He hit play. When the song was over, Dean smiled. "She's good Bobby, but that's more Sammy's kind of music then mine. I want to buy it though. I want to share what he likes too.”
"I listen to her stuff when I'm meditating or just relaxing."
"I can see where it would be good for that. I've never meditated, Bobby. To be honest, that Christmas flute music made me relax more then I have in years."
"You probably should look into it. I'll have to teach you and Sam. Okay, here's your list." He handed it to Dean.
Dean closed up his computer, and headed into the music racks looking for the artists on the lists. He found a CD of the Moody Blues that was four cds long and had over 50 songs on it. He found Thick as a Brick but Aqualung was not available. There was a Mamas and the Papas Greatest hits. He located five by the Trans Siberian Orchestra. He found a collection of Enya cds in a case. He looked at Bobby and grinned as he made his purchase. "I'm gonna put these on my computer for right now. Got to figure out how to use them in the Impala. Thanks, Bobby."
"You're welcome." What Dean didn't know was that Sam had already had the Impala issue covered. The younger Winchester had purchased an IPOD and jack for the car so Dean could dump the songs onto the device and store the cds at Bobby's for safe keeping.
It was almost 12:30 when they left the store. "Should we pick up lunch, Bobby? There's a Kentucky Fried Chicken. We could get a big family box to go."
"That sounds pretty good actually," he said as he changed lanes to get to the fast food place.
"I can run it if it would be easier for you?"
"If you don't mind."
Dean went in and stood in the line. He ordered 10 extra crunchy and 10 original recipe, 4 ears of corn, mash potatoes and gravy, fried okra, 8 biscuits, and 4 desserts, all chocolate.
Bobby waited, smiling to himself. It felt good to have that woman call Dean his son. Truth was, he considered them his boys and that just made his day, honestly.
His 'son' soon came out of the store with two big bags. He smiled when he saw Bobby. Dean's smile always made him look a lot younger then he usually looked. He chuckled to himself. It was good seeing him look this way.
Dean hopped into the truck and set the food in the floorboard. "I got a little of everything, including both kinds of the fried chicken. I made a pitcher of iced tea last night before all hell broke loose."
"Now that will hit the spot with a meal like this."
"Hope so. Should a called and made sure it was okay with Sam and Cas. Hope they got their running done."
"You want to call them and double check? Great thing about fried chicken is that it's great cold too."
"Yeah, maybe I better. I don't want to force it on them." Dean dialed Sam's cell.
"Hey Dean," Sam had picked up on the second ring.
"Hey, uhhh..we picked up Kentucky Fried chicken. I just thought I'd better ask. We can put it in the fridge and get something else if you'd rather."
"Actually, that sounds pretty good. I was about to call and ask if you wanted me to order in but you beat me to it," he laughed, then coughed. "Damn Cas, what the hell is that?!"
"He nearly choked me to death in the new age store with the damned herbs. He's setting up candles and god, they REEK!"
"He smelling up the suite? Sheesh, I thought it would be some drawing and an incantation of some kind."
"Yeah..and I'm dreading when he lights those suckers."
"Hurry back so I don't have to suffer alone!" There was an almost puppy dog whine to his voice.
Dean laughed. "We're on our way. "
"Be careful, see you when you get here. Alright." Dean hung up the cell and looked at Bobby.
"We may regret this. Cas is doing some kind of spell or something with candles and herbs. Gonna smell really bad. Sam says hurry. He doesn't want to suffer alone."
Bobby burst out laughing. "Well isn't that just kind of him?"
“Well, I did ask him. But I honestly thought it would be something the ghost would wear or stand in. I don't know. He knows what he's doing though."
"As much knowledge he has, yeah, I'd say he does. I'm thinking he's setting up for two to cover both scenarios."
"Yeah, that's what he said. You know I am dreading another one of these nightmare trips. We got to find out the curse either from Dickens or trap the other three ghosts and find out. Or we'll be doing this over and over ‘til we do. I got a bad feeling that if it don't work out tonight, they'll be coming after us again just cause they can and we screwed with them."
"So we end it tonight," Bobby pulled in and parked. "No ifs, ands, or buts. After lunch, I suggest we ask and see if there's any journals or any documentation from his family about the time of Dickens."
"Yeah. I asked Ben to come by. If he doesn't soon enough, I'll hunt him down."
He nodded. "All right, let's get in and get warmed up."
"Let me get your chair for you" Dean unloaded the chair and brought it to Bobby. He helped him get into the chair and head towards the entrance. Dean grabbed the food, the cds, and his computer.
Bobby grabbed some of it to help free up his hands.
"Thanks, Bobby." Dean raced ahead to open the door for him.
He wheeled his way through the door and headed towards their suite. Dean walked behind him. He leaned over and opened the door and pushed it open for Bobby.