The Peacock Farm – Chapter 1

Summary: Who knew Dean was an X Files fan? Sam thinks that Dean's obsession is what's taking them north of the border, but it has more to do with the Benders than the Peacocks. A little romp in metafictionland.

Disclaimer: No animals were abused in writing this, except for the cat, who had to hear me read it aloud. Ad nauseum. Oh, and I own nothing.

Rating: T for tough language. Spoilers abound, but let's face it: if you're reading Supernatural fan fiction, you've watched every episode, haven't you?

"You're joking, right?" Sam didn't really expect an answer; he knew that look. Too cocky by half, wanting him – no, daring him – to get worked up. Like he was five or something. Something younger, pick an age. Not much to do about that, not now. One of those things he could do nothing about, no matter what, the fact that he was always going to be younger.

"Joking?" Dean repeated, shifting the car forward as the line moved up towards Canadian Customs and pointedly ignoring the brochure Sam was waving around like an accusation.

"Don't tell me," Sam ventured after a moment, slumping down in the seat, trying for bored indifference. Failing. "This is your first international trip, isn't it? What, did you catch a late-night infomercial on starving orphans? Cause, man, if that's the case, we oughta be heading south. Not too many starving orphans up in Canada."

Dean leaned over suddenly, popped open the glove, fished around as though he didn't know exactly what he was looking for. Sam glared at the back of Dean's head, shifted his long legs to make it harder for him. As if; Dean knew the contents of his car in the same way some people knew all the lyrics of Broadway musicals. Then, on cue –

"And here we go...passport?" As though offering an open packet of M&Ms. As if, indeed.

"How did I get a passport?" Sam asked, finally, unable to truly understand how Dean did what he did.

"Well, technically..."

Flipped it open to find a distressingly bad black and white photo of himself that looked as though Dean had snapped it while Sam had been sleeping or drunk. Scanned the name. Samuel Elton John.

"You're joking, right?"

"Heard that one already."

"And you are?" Snatched the other passport fast out of his brother's loose grip. Meant to get it, of course. Dean Geddy Lee. Fantastic. Grinning that shit-eating grin that could get them into fifteen different sorts of trouble.

Not bothering to give his brother the satisfaction, Sam snapped the passports shut, threw them on the dashboard where they baked momentarily in the July heat before Dean gathered them together in anticipation of the upcoming booth. One car to go.

"Don't you think," Sam asked, for maybe the thirtieth time, "that the guns might present some problems for us? You know, international terrorism and all?"

"They won't search us," Dean replied, perfectly certain. "These are Canadians. If we're going to find trouble, it'll be coming the other way. We'll go through the mountains on the way back. No worries."

"And all for this?" Sam held up the brochure again. "You're joking. You gotta be joking."

"Told you - I've heard that one already," Dean said, a genuine smile crossing his face, making something in Sam slide sideways like butter in a hot pan. God, he was believable.

"You were up late, weren't you?" Sam murmured, looking at the brochure again. They'd picked it up just outside of Seattle, at one of those tourist information kiosks by the side of the highway, where they'd stopped to use the toilet. A detour, Dean had suggested. Some fucking detour. A few years in high security prison, more like.

"Now, what do you mean by that?"

Sam watched in dismay as two customs officials approached the car in front of them, started to talk to both driver and passenger. California plates. A flashlight came out to inspect the undercarriage, then a dog. Shit.

"I'm thinking that's when you saw the reruns, when I was asleep and couldn't complain."

"Reruns?" Dean's face twisted into a complicated mix of disbelief and pride. "Hell, no. I'm a first run guy. Been a fan for-ever."

"Really? You probably saw the movie, too, didn't you?" Sam smiled gently, momentarily taken aback by Dean's happy disposition. For the last month, ever since they'd parted darkly from their father, left Chicago like the big shiny trap it had been, Dean had been a little, well, preoccupied. Preoccupied with putting miles between themselves and any of their father's usual hunting grounds, any place to which their father might return. As far away as possible, another country, even. As though something as abstract as a border might stop demons or fathers. Sam had stewed and worried; Dean had been like an arrow in flight, destined for some place Sam couldn't imagine. Not that Dean had shared any of his thoughts on the matter.

"Really. Just because you can't watch the X Files with the lights out, doesn't mean I have to. I like that stuff."

Sam turned away to hide his sudden smirk. Yeah, Dean liked the scary stuff. What a surprise. The X Files, though?

The car ahead was being waved over to the inspection area, where it would be presumably torn apart by thorough Mounties bent on getting their man. Jesus. This might turn out badly, Sam thought as the Impala pulled forward.

Between the grin, the banter, and the silky smoothness that he really ought to bottle and sell, Dean got them across the border in fewer than three minutes. The customs clerk was young, female. It helped. Citizenship? How long are you planning to stay? Business? Pleasure?

Oh, pleasure, definitely. Sam had cringed. Literally cringed.

Only Dean would find anything pleasurable in touring around sites where the X-Files had been filmed. In its glory days, before production had followed David Duchovny's heart south, every stupid little nook and cranny of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia had played a part in the television show. Runaway American productions liked the value for the dollar, the trained workforce, the atmospheric climate. It was a place lush with a slightly off-beat edge. Sam had had friends from Seattle at Stanford; he knew the reputation just slightly north of the border – haven for 1960s draft dodgers, hippies, Wiccans, New Age ley line readers, crystal gazers. Always a fucking flip side, though, wasn't there? Satanic cults, he'd also read more recently. In his father's journal.

Not that John Winchester had ever gone to investigate, apparently. Just noted in his tight handwriting, scratches that had come to mean everything to Sam and Dean. Sam hadn't had the heart to point out their father's description to Dean; his older brother had been far too enthralled with the idea of exploring X-File locations. The brochure described them all, provided a helpful map of the Fraser Valley. Look! Here's where the alien warehouse is (Britannia Mining Museum – small entrance fee applies), and where Krychek's eyes had gone all oily...blah blah blah. Sam had no interest in the X-Files, never had. Less still on the production apparatus surrounding it. Little red location dots concentrated in Vancouver and the outlying areas, according to the map. One lone dot, further out.

One dot, further out, with a short description and a tiny still photo from the series, a ramshackle barn and dilapidated white house, curtains blowing out broken windows. The Peacock Farm. On a side road not far from Abbotsford, far up the Valley. And it looked way too familiar.

Sam's attention snapped up from the brochure's map, his eyes not focusing in time to read the sign as it whipped out of sight above them. Didn't matter. He knew where they were headed now.

"Sam," Dean leaned back into the car seat, one arm draped lazily over the back, steering with one finger and his knees, "What about dinner? C'mon. You gotta be hungry. I heard they make wicked tofu burgers up here."

"Ha ha ha," Sam muttered distractedly, pretty much just going through the motions. Stunned that he, college educated, the smart one, had been so totally suckerpunched by his brother. "Do you mind telling me," he said after a moment's concentration, during which time he'd mapped out about three different ways he could get the truth out of Dean, all which involved violence, "just what the hell we're doing here?"

The grin stayed on Dean's face for a brief moment longer than the smile in his eyes. "X-Files isn't enough?" he asked.

Now that he was looking for it, Sam heard the lie. "No, it isn't, Dean."

"Change of pace?" Dean tried it on like a new suit.

Sam shook his head. "How about the Peacock Farm?"

Dean shrugged, and Sam watched him literally close up, like one of those sea anemones. Damn. "The Peacock Farm," he repeated slowly. "Knew I'd seen it before."

Sam was smiling through this, knowing it wasn't a pleasant smile, that particular one. The one that Jessica had always said made him look as though he'd seen dark things. He'd never been an X-Files fan, and so had no way of recognizing that the Bender place, the farm where he'd been kept, been captured like a live bear in a pit, was an exact double of the farm where – according to the brochure – the "Peacock Brothers had kept their limbless mother under the bed! Creepy!"

Creepy, all right. But no more creepy than the look in Dean's eyes now, which told Sam that he was being protected, and it was for his own good, and that Sam's dark smile was nothing, nothing, compared to what his brother could muster even at a kid's birthday party.

"So, nut burger and fries with miso gravy now. Freaky fucking farm later. We have a deal?"

And Sam remained silent, arms crossed in front of him, letting the salt air stir his hair to tangles, watched as the mountains came up to meet them, herding them up the valley like early aboriginal people used to herd buffalo off cliffs.