Here is an extraordinary man doing something ordinary. His name is Dean Winchester, and he is unusual for a number of reasons, such as having a) sold his soul, b) been dragged to Hell by Hellhounds, c) been dragged out of Hell—by an angel, no less, d) visited Heaven repeatedly, and e) being the owner of a 1967 Chevrolet Impala with more than three million miles on it, an unofficial record surpassed only by an anonymous taxicab in Beijing..
At the moment, Dean is doing something that several thousand other American men are doing on this sultry Saturday afternoon: He is at his local DIY Megastore, trying to persuade his Significant Other that the $500 5-burner grill with smoker is far superior to the effete $150 grill Lisa is arguing for, and that she is impugning his manhood by even suggesting a tabletop model.
In the middle of Lisa's declaration that the task of cooking hamburgers and hot dogs does not require NASA-level hardware, Dean disappears. He doesn't wander away while her back is turned; she is looking directly at him and watching him roll his green eyes at her diatribe, when he is simply not there any more. Some women might have hysterics at such a dramatic event, but Lisa knows that for Dean, this is not without precedent. She shrugs, views it as a favorable conclusion to the discussion and takes the less expensive grill.
Really, she thinks as her purchase is rung up. It's a backyard barbecue, not rocket science.
Meanwhile, Dean finds himself standing in a spacious gallery with a vaulted ceiling, surrounded by a milling crowd of people. The chief difference between this place and the Megastore is, instead of barbecue grills and lawnmowers, there's a tank nearby and an old biplane overhead. An aficionado of the History Channel would identify the plane as a Sopwith Camel.
Okay, he's been kidnapped by Snoopy, Dean thinks, blinking. Stranger things have happened, and he surveys the crowd, trying to get a handle on the situation.
No one seems startled by his appearance, although he's probably the most normal-looking person there. It's as if he's been dropped into a casting call for time travelers and assorted weirdoes. There are men in top hats and frock-coats and leather armor, women in everything from flapper dresses to saris. The cast ranges from a handful of preteens to a few oldsters who look vintage enough to have flown the old Camel.
One of the most gorgeous girls he's ever seen is staring at him. She's dressed in late Victorian rag-bag but she has a delicate beauty that captures Dean's attention. Her hair is spiky and shaded red from copper to burgundy. Her eyes—he can't quite tell what color they are in this light, but he's willing to stand there looking at her until he's figured it out.
Then a figure steps protectively in front of her. Dean starts to glare at him—and his jaw drops, registering surprise for the first time. The man confronting him bares a remarkable similarity to Dean himself, not quite his twin, but a startling resemblance nonetheless.
"Who the hell are you?" Dean demands. "And for that matter, where am I?"
"This is the Floating Market," the girl says as if anyone would know what that meant. Her accent reminds him a little of Bella's. "We're in the Imperial War Museum."
At the same time, his doppel-ganger says, "I'm Richard Mayhew." Also an accent, but different, more like…Sean Connery. He's combined a battered tweed suit-jacket over a waffle-knit Henley pullover with grubby cargo pants and wingtip shoes. He looks like a yuppie explorer who's been on a particularly grueling expedition to the file room.
"He does look a bit like you," the redhead says thoughtfully, "but older, of course."
"It's not the years, sweetheart, it's the mileage," Dean quips. It's something of a reflex reaction on his part. He's been quite happy with Lisa, but this gal is hot, and he's only thirty-three, that's not exactly ancient.
"Ignore him, Door," says Richard Mayhew with disdain. "He thinks he's Indiana Jones."
Door tilts her head. "What's that?"
"Never mind. It's not important." He calls to someone beyond Dean. "So what's such a big deal about this prat, anyway?"
"He's very good at what he does," drawls a familiar voice. Its owner is lounging against an 18-pound artillery gun.
"Crowley!" Dean growls. "What the hell is going on here?"
The individual so addressed is standing to one side of the throng. He's a compact figure with thinning dark hair, He wears a disco-era leisure suit in avocado green over a chartreuse shirt Surrounded by the crowd of oddly-dressed folks, he doesn't look nearly as out of place as Dean does in a tee and jeans.
"So your commoner looks a bit like Sir Richard Mayhew," says Crowley's companion. He's tall, slender and elegant, wearing a poufy-looking frilly shirt and an elaborate coat, uber-goth to Dean's way of thinking. "So what? My champion slew the Great Beast of London!"
"Who are you calling a commoner?" Dean grumbles.
"I'll have you know, Dean single-handedly took War's ring." Crowley counters. Okay, this is bizarre. Crowley seems to be using him to rank the other guy.
At this point, Door steps around her protector and comes closer to study him. He still isn't sure what color her eyes are. They seem to sparkle like opals, and in his experience, that usually indicates something's wrong. This isn't quite the eye-flash he associates with shape-shifters—although the jury's still out on that character with her—but she and her pals seem to be chummy with Crowley, which automatically renders them suspect: She could be a demon.
"Christo?" he says to her interrogatively.
"No, I'm the Lady Door, of the House of Arch."
"Is that anything like the Golden Arches?"
"You're not funny," glowers Mayhew.
"—prevented the rising of Islington, the destroyer of Atlantis!" Poufy-shirt announces haughtily.
"Dean brought a halt to the Apocalypse."
As novel as it is to have Crowley singing his praises in whatever screwy one-upmanship contest this is, Dean can't let that claim go unchallenged.
"No, that was my brother, Sam," he contradicts the demon.
The conversation comes to a screeching halt. Crowley shoots Dean a disgusted look.
It's true; Dean has an extraordinary brother—it runs in the family—whose role in halting the Apocalypse is somewhat greater than Dean's. (Dean, on the other hand, was inadvertently responsible for breaking the First Seal, an event without with no Apocalypse would have been possible. Understandably, both he and Crowley are willing to downplay that particular point.) Still, Dean won't take credit for something he didn't do.
"Is it true you bear an angel's mark?": inquires Poufy-shirt.
"Who wants to know?" Being treated like a show-and-tell exhibit is wearing on Dean.
"Where are my manners?" says Crowley smoothly. "Dean, this is my very good friend the Marquis deCarabas. I've been telling him what a sterling individual you are."
Sighing, Dean tugs up the sleeves of his shirt, revealing matching welt-like handprints on either bicep. "I've got Enochian sigils carved into my ribs, too," he adds, "but you'll just have to take my word for that."
"Sir Richard escaped Islington unscathed,"
Crowley sniffs. "Really, deCarabas, Islington was here in London Below. Dean emerged from Hell itself with just handprints to show for it.. It's a completely different level of difficulty."
"Very well then," says deCarabas, which suits him much better than 'the man in the poufy-shirt', "if he's so bloody resourceful, let's see him successfully emerge from London Below."
"Look," Dean says to the demon, "I don't know what all this bullshit is, but I was in the middle of something when you grabbed me. How about you put me back and you can continue with your little tea party. Love the suit, by the way."
Crowley preens, ignoring the sarcasm in Dean's voice, a vision in lurid green, complimented by pointy-toed tan ankle boots with large buckles. "I'm fond of it myself," he confides, "but this is the only place I can wear it anymore without extreme sartorial shame."
"Okay, great. Now, pop me back to the Megastore. I need to buy a barbecue grill and go char some burgers."
"Eh, not so fast there, sport. First you have to get out of London Below."
"What the hell does that mean, anyway? 'London Below'?"
"You can't do this!" Door exclaims. She looks at deCarabas. "You can't destroy his life on a whim!" She turns to Crowley. "Put him back before it's too late!"
"Yes, please," adds Sir Richard Mayhew, his brows knitted together. "The last thing we need is for this fool to become a permanent part of the scenery."
"Well then," says the Marquis, "You'll be motivated to help him out, won't you?" He smirks at Crowley, who smirks back. Crowley puts a hand on his arm, and they both disappear.
"No!" Door gasps, looking stricken. "Oh, how could they?"
"It's okay," Dean says with a smile at her, although he's pissed. Crowley has gone off and left him,, and now he's going to have to cadge a ride home. He's still not sure exactly where 'here' is; 'Floating Market' sounds like it could be some kind of moving rave, and tonight the clubbing is happening at this museum—she did say museum, right?-but how far is it from Cicero, Illinois? "I'll work something out."
He fumbles his cell phone from his pocket, but there's no signal.
"That's not a good sign," Sir Richard says solemnly. Dean still thinks it's strange, James Bond's voice coming out of his mouth. Or his slightly younger self's mouth. Or…whatever.
"The building is probably blocking the signal," Dean says impatiently. "Where's the exit?"
"It's that large sign that says 'Way Out'."
"Huh. 'Way Out'. Far out."
"You're really not as funny as you think you are," Richard mutters sotto voce as he and Door trail behind Dean toward the egress.
From the balcony above the Large Exhibits Atrium, Crowley and the Marquis watch their departure. "Remind me again why I'm offering up my champion-" Crowley coughs. "That is, why I'm offering up Dean Winchester on behalf of this hare-brained scheme of yours?"
"Because you owe me a favor," deCarabas reminds him, smiling. "And while it may mean nothing to you, it's quite important to London Below. The Lady Door is trying to unite the Underside; She has to have a suitable consort for the job, and knighthood or not, I'm not absolutely convinced that Richard Mayhew is the man for the job."
"I sincerely doubt that you want Dean for the job. Mind you, he's a damned good man in a pinch, but he's American through-and-through. I can't see him fitting in here."
"That's the trouble with Mayhew," deCarabas says gloomily as the trio exits through the foyer. "He saved Door's life and was accidentally drawn into the Underside. After Islington's defeat, he was returned to London Above, decided that wasn't what he wanted after all, and came back Below! He and Door are inseparable, but he's still a bit of a prickly bastard. Killing the Great Beast was all well and good, but I want to see his true character."
"Ah." The demon's eyebrows lift knowingly. "So you've set it up so that he has to either help his rival return to London Above or have to put up with him in perpetuity. Sneaky, that."
"I just hope he can return," says deCarabas. "I really don't think we need him around here."
This earns him a guffaw from Crowley. "I assure you, dear boy—Hell couldn't hold Dean Winchester. Your little inter-dimensional amusement park doesn't stand a chance."
From the outside, the Imperial War Museum proves to be classical in structure, with a huge onion-like dome rising above it. Banners announcing the current exhibits hang between the columns, and Dean trots down the front steps, checking his phone for bars. The battery is charged, but there's no signal showing.
He has to angle the phone to see the display, because it's almost dark out. Funny, he and Lisa had gotten to DIY Megastore a little after noon. On the street, a funny-looking vehicle goes by, and Dean registers that it a) is on the wrong side of the street, and b) has the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car. The penny drops.
"Wait a minute," he says to Door and Richard, who've caught up with him. "This is London, England?"
"Quite," says Richard with a smirk. "What did you expect?"
"Well, there's a London, Kentucky," Dean says glumly, "which wouldn't be that far from home. But freakin' England? No wonder I can't get a signal—I don't have an international calling plan on my phone. I swear, I'm going to kill Crowley."
"If we could just get you back to America," Door muses.
"Too bad that's the wrong museum," Dean says. They look at him, perplexed. "The 'Spirit of St. Louis' is in the Smithsonian."
"That's the first plane that ever crossed the Atlantic, solo," Richard informs Door.
"Very good," says Dean, with a tone midway between approval and snark. "Well, I guess I'll wander around for a while until the American Embassy opens for business. It's nine to five, right? Might as well do a little sight-seeing, since I'll probably never be over here again. Which way to Big Ben?"
Door seems genuinely anxious. "Really Dean, I don't think you understand," she says earnestly. "London Above and London Below…for the most part they look the same. But if you spend too much time enmeshed with London Below, It's like, London Above doesn't recognize you any more, like—"
"Like you've suddenly become invisible," Richard interjects. He doesn't look at Dean or Door as he speaks. "People stop noticing you. You can't hail a cab, or use your credit cards and the people you've worked with for years don't know your name." His voice become more clipped. "Your own fiancée doesn't recognize you."
There's no mistaking the hurt and sincerity behind his words. Dean shudders sympathetically. He doesn't completely believe this fairy-tale, but it's close enough to the stuff of his own nightmares that he's not going to argue with the guy.
Door takes her companion's hand. "I didn't think you missed it."
"I don't! I was always worried about stupid reports and projects and numbers that were glanced at and thrown aside—Good God, I was 23 and middle-aged! Now…"
"You're my champion," she says gently, and he hugs her.
Embarrassed witness to a chick-flick moment of epic proportions, Dean looks away. "So I don't get to check out Buckingham Castle, is that what you're telling me?"
"It's Buckingham Palace, you ignorant git," says Richard, but his tone is no longer scathing. He's still holding Door's hand, but his stance is less protective and more affectionate.
"Back to the problem at hand," says Door briskly, "which is getting you back across the pond."
"Too bad none of your family were world travelers," Richard says to her. "No pictures of the Empire State Building hanging in the foyer, eh?"
Door gives a little gasp. Rising up on her tip-toes, she kisses him soundly. "Richard, you're brilliant! That's it! My Great-auntie Architrave went on a tour of the States, oh, ages ago! Now, If I can just remember what she had linked!"
"Time out!" Dean makes a "T" sign with his hands. "What are you talking about?"
"Door" Richard says with a note of pride, "can open portals between one place and another. Her house has rooms in dozens of different places, and the linking points are pictures in the foyer."
Dean raises his eyebrows. "Whoa, I have enough trouble keeping track of the remote in the house where everything is in the same place."
"The trouble with that," Door sighs, "is, bringing him to the house would be terribly risky. It IS the Underside. Damn!"
"Can we walk and think at the same time?" Dean asks. "I mean, that won't be any trouble, will it? Or we could go back inside-"
"Probably not a good idea." Richard shakes his head. "The Floating Market is very much an institution of the Underside."
"And no Buckingham Castle—I mean, Palace—"
"That's it!" Door exclaims delightedly. "And it's close, too—within walking distance! Come on!" She tugs Richard's hand, and Dean trails along behind them.
"Not so fast! Our guest deserves to know where he's been." Richard turns to Dean and gestures at the building. He assumes the droning tones of a tour guide. "Here we have the Imperial War Museum of London, housed in what was formerly Bethlehem Hospital, also known as 'Bedlam'. It was built in 1811. The museum was relocated here in 1936, after the destruction of its original premises—"
"How do you know all this crap? Geez, you sound like my geek brother!"
"I went to a lot of museums with my former fiancée." He no longer sounds melancholy at the memory. "Sometimes, I got to pick which ones. Compared to the Tate, the War Museum is downright enthralling. This lovely area surrounding it is Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park. She was the mother of the man who donated the land. From what I understand, he was a real fascist prick. I wonder what he'd think of the Tibetan Peace Temple over there—" He points. "It was dedicated by the Dalai Lama himself."
"Fascinating," Door says impatiently. "Let's go!"
"And we're walking—" Dean grins, and follows along. "In the tree pit, you'll notice a stand of sunflowers, part of the Guerrilla Gardening project. They're very active in the area; it would be quite a bit bleaker around here if not for them."
There's an open square in the sidewalk with an apathetic tree in it, surrounded by a bounty of tall yellow flowers. Dean pulls out his cell phone and snaps a picture of it. Lisa likes sunflowers.
"Here we have the London College of Communication," Richard says a few minutes later, indicating an unimpressive glass cube of a building. "Journalism school. Houses the Kubrick archives. Film chap. His films include '2001: A Space Odyssey'—"
"''A Clockwork Orange'!" Dean enthuses. "'Full Metal Jacket'-my dad loved that movie!"
He and Richard beam at each other. Door smiles to herself. Men are peculiar creatures, she thinks, not for the first time. They bond over the oddest things.
For all his companions' talk about an alternate place called London Below, it doesn't bother Dean that Richard is a former office geek who's apparently living on the streets and having adventures, or that Door has the ability to bend space. In his world-view, epic adventures are normal, and special abilities…that's nothing new, either. Dean is more startled by the cars driving on the 'wrong' side of the road. He's driven millions of miles on the other side, and this is the weirdest part of this whole evening.
He stares at an ugly building that Richard identifies as Perronet House— "With pansies!" he points out. "The guerrillas have been at work again!"
"There it is!" Door pulls her hand free from Richard's and darts across the road. Fortunately, there's no oncoming traffic.
Richard and Dean catch up to her in front of a red brick building with arched windows above a blue overhang that reads "Elephant and Castle".
"You're not thinking of taking him on the Tube?" Richard asks in a tone that suggests such a thing would be tantamount to murder.
"No, of course not. But…" Door is chewing her lower lip and glancing around in perplexity. "I know it's around here somewhere, I've seen it."
"Seen what?" her companions ask in unison.
"The elephant!" is her exasperated answer. "I know Elephant and Castle has an elephant, I've seen it. I thought it was here by the Tube station, but it's not!"
"That says 'Elephant and Castle'," Dean says, pointing to a sign across the way.
"That's a pub," Richard says, "and since I doubt you have any British pounds on you, there's no use thinking about it."
"You really do remind me of my brother."
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"
"Sam's a pretty good guy. Most of the time. When he's not drinking demon blood." That even gets Door's attention. "You don't drink demon blood, do you, Richard?"
Richard blinks. "No, but I had a close call with a succubus once, does that count? The Velvets, darling," he says parenthetically to Door. "Very pretty, very deadly. Very close call."
Dean nods. Succubae are like that.
"Of course," Door says suddenly, as she scans the street. "It's down the road, by that dreadful shopping centre."
"That's 57 varieties of tacky, all right" Dean comments as they approach a vast building painted red. If it's hideous after dark, he can only imagine how lurid it is at high noon. There's a balcony over the entrance, and looming above that on a platform is a bright red statue of an elephant with a tower on it's back as if it's assumed the role of rook in a chess game.
"Supposedly, they're going to rip it down and put up a modern facility in the next few years," Richard offers. "Mind you, I'll believe that when I see it."
"We have to get up to that elephant," Door announces with determination.
Getting up to the balcony isn't that difficult—there are raised planters flanking the entrance, and they manage to scramble up there. Even Door, who is a head shorter than her companions, isn't taxed by the feat.
The platform the elephant rests on is about two feet over their heads, mounted on a smooth metal pole. There's no convenient planter here; even the rubbish bin over by the door is unhelpfully bolted to the concrete.
"I'll go first and get Door up, then we'll both pull you up," Richard proposes to Dean, who nods.
Since the pole is centered under the platform,, there's nothing to lean against, which makes it even more difficult. Lifting him isn't going to work.
"What if you were on my shoulders?" Dean suggests in desperation when Richard steps on his hand after their fourth attempt.
"Maybe. If I climb onto the rubbish bin, I should be about the right level."
It works; Richard sits on Dean's shoulders. Dean walks back over to the elephant, and the platform is now shoulder-high to Richard. Dean gets his hands under Richard's heels, shoving up. Richard wriggles forward onto the platform.
Once again, Door is the easiest member of the party to shift. Dean bends down and cups his hands. She places a dainty-high-buttoned foot into them, one hand on his shoulder for balance, and he raises her without undue effort. Richard, laying across the platform, catches her free hand and draws her up to him.
"Now for the fun part," Dean mumbles to himself. The platform above him is only about four feet wide, and Richard is prone across the span, his boots hanging over the far side of it as he reaches down.
They lock wrists, and Dean feels himself being hauled up. Not close enough to get a grip on the platform to help, he tries to chin-up using Richard as the bar. He gains another couple of inches, then Richard grunts. Dean's weight is pulling him forward, threatening to overbalance them both.
"Let go!" Dean yells. He's liable to get banged-up if he falls, but if Richard pitches off the platform, he'll be lucky to escape with his brains intact.
"No!" Richard shouts back.
Dean can just see over the edge of the platform—Door has grabbed Richard's belt from behind and is lending her weight to keeping him anchored.
Letting go his grip on Richard's right elbow, Dean lunges toward the flat surface, managing to get his arm onto it. A moment later, he gains ground with the other arm. At this point, Richard does let go of his arms, and reaches for his belt instead.
When the three of them are seated safely on the platform, Richard chuckles. "Hope we don't have to do that again. I was afraid you were going to fall and break your back."
"From this height?" Dean looks down and shrugs. "I dislocated my shoulder once, going out of a second storey window."
"I really hope this works," Door says, fretful. "I've never tried this before."
"So, what do we have to do?" Dean asks. He moves as if to stand up.
"No need," she says, drawing in a deep breath. "Take my hand. Richard, grab on somewhere."
"Wait, that's it?" Dean says. He leans forward to look at Richard who's on Door's left side. "We could have just boosted her up here and each grabbed an ankle."
Richard's jaw drops. He makes a strangled sound, and then he and Dean are both braying with laughter. Door rolls her eyes. "If you'll just get a grip," she says sharply.
When they've both gotten a good hold, she extends her free hand to the right rear leg of the statue and remembers her father's teaching, that everything wants to open, that space is a construct, that she can go wherever she likes—
They're in darkness. Warm, stuffy darkness. "Door?" From the sound of Richard's voice, they're in an enclosed space, but she has no idea if it's the right space.
There's a click-click, and a lighter sparks to life in Dean's hand. A wooden spiral staircase looms ahead of them. "Let's see where this goes," he suggests.
"Something smells odd," Richard remarks. Door is behind Dean, and he's bringing up the rear.
"Smells like salt water," Dean comments. He's taking the stairs slowly out of habitual caution. "Why do I have a feeling—" He stops. They've come to the head of the stairs are looking into a long, irregularly-shaped room. "I don't believe it! Lucy!"
"That's right!" squeals Door. "How did you know?"
"I've been here before, a few years ago. How did you know about Lucy?"
"My great-aunt brought back a postcard—"
"Will one of you kindly tell me who the devil 'Lucy' is?" Richard demands.
"Lucy the Margate elephant was built by a real estate guy back in the late 1800s," Dean announces, relishing his own opportunity to play tour guide. She's a four-storey building shaped like an elephant. The idea was, people would come to see the elephant, look around at all the available beachfront property and pull out their checkbooks." Dean shakes his head. "It didn't happen, but if you look out of the eye-hole windows at the front of Lucy, you can see the Atlantic Ocean—looking toward England."
There's enough light coming in through various windows that Door can skip forward with childlike glee. "Come look!" she calls back.
"In a minute. –Well, we've got you back to your own side of the pond, at any rate," Richard says, but there's a worried expression on his face, "but I have no clue what the Underside is like over here. Hell, I've barely figured out the rules over there—" He gestures vaguely in the direction of the ocean. "I hope you're going to be all right."
"Sure, why wouldn't I be? Like you said, I'm back in the U-S of A." Richard looks unconvinced. At that moment, a tinny rendition of "My Girl' echoes through the room, and Dean fishes out his cell phone. He checks the display and grins.
"Hey babe!" he answers. "Don't worry, I'm fine. It's kind of a long story, but I have had one weird day! Would you believe Margate, New Jersey? Yeah, it's near Atlantic City. Let me just wrap up a few things here, I'll call you back in a little while, okay? Yeah, I love you, too."
Richard has joined Door at the oval windows up front, giving Dean privacy for his call. Now he pockets the phone and strolls forward to smile at them.
"You made it back," says Lady Door of the House of Arch. "I'm so glad."
"Me too," agrees Sir Richard Mayhew, who slew the Great Beast of London.
Dean Winchester, Breaker of the First Seal shrugs. "Never doubted it for a minute."
"You know," Door says thoughtfully. "We're so close, I've always wondered what New York Below is like."
"Oh, no, you don't!" protests her protector. "I mean, what would happen to uniting London Below if something happened to you over here?"
She sighs. "All right, but some day—! We'd better get back, or the Marquis will think Dean's abducted us."
Door stretches up and bestows a kiss on his cheek. Where such a display would've earned him a glare a few hours before, Richard offers his hand with no trace of resentment.
Watching his new friends depart through an oval of light that appears when Door touches one of Lucy's walls, Dean wonders where they'll end up—back on the platform with the red elephant, or if Door will take them directly to that 'Floating Market' place.
There's faint applause behind him, and of course, it's Crowley, looking smug. "Good work!"
"You want to tell me what that was all about?" Dean asks. It's definitely put a crimp in his weekend; he's lost almost twelve hours, though it didn't feel that long.
"I owed deCarabas a favor," Crowley says, "and if there's anything I hate, it's an outstanding debt."
As much as he'd like to kick Crowley's ass, Dean is too tired for it right now. He's not sure if it's some weird kind of jet-lag or what, but right now, he just wants to go home. Being eleven hundred miles from said home with no car makes him a little less obnoxious that he would be otherwise.
"Glad I could help. Hell, I didn't even have to kill anything."
"And I'm sure it was a nice change of pace from suburbia," the demon interjects.
"Yeah, that too. Any chance you could drop me off back home? Not the Megastore!" he adds hastily. "They're closed at this hour, and I don't want to have to break out and hoof it home."
"Oh, I think that's do-able."
"Good," says Dean, stretching. "Because I'm starving, and there's a flame-grilled cheeseburger out there with my name on it."
"Off you go, then."
Crowley's accuracy is spot-on; Dean finds himself on the back patio, right next to the new grill. There's still a faint scent of seared meat lingering in the air.
He knocks on the back door, which is locked, and Lisa lets him in. "What did you get that thing for?" he asks after he's kissed her.
"Because you weren't there to stop me." She kisses him back. "Where did you go?"
"Doing a favor for…an old friend. Hey, I took a picture for you—" He pulls out his phone and emails the picture to her. Her computer, housed in a nook in the kitchen, is up, and she checks the attachment. "Pretty sunflowers," she says approvingly. "But why are those cars on the wrong side of the road?"
"Because that's London, England."
"Silly me," Lisa says wryly. "Want me to heat up one of the extra burgers? And put under the broiler with some cheese? It's a little late to start barbecuing."
"Sounds good," Dean says. "I'm gonna wash up."
Dean has already filed the evening's events away as another offbeat adventure, and is looking forward to dinner. When you're an extraordinary man who's led an extraordinary life, there's nothing more special than ordinary things.