Part One

"Come on, Baby. Come on," Dean begged, rocking back and forth in his seat as if the motion would persuade his classic Impala to spring back into life and continue down the long hilly roads of backwoods Iowa. But instead, she sputtered twice and died feebly. Hand over hand, Dean cranked the powerless steering wheel until the car rolled to a stop along the snow-covered gravel shoulder.

"Son of a bitch!" For one quick moment, Dean stamped his feet like a child and flailed in his seat, punching the air around him; his curse reverberating loudly around the inside of the car.

In the back seat, Sam jerked out of his sleep in alarm, stammering and smacking his long arms against the black vinyl both to ward off the threat and pull himself up. "Whazzit? We stop for?" Sam's brow furled, his eyebrows pulling high in confusion when he looked out the window at their tree-lined surroundings. "Dean?"

Dean's shoulders pulled up tight around his ears; frustration and tension stretching across his back and then he moved. Putting his shoulder into the door, Dean burst out of the car and slammed the door behind him angrily.

"Goddammit!" He yelled into the trees, his back arching with the force of the primal scream. He flailed again, his fists flying through the air ineffectively before spinning around to glare at the cause of his outburst only to find his brother staring in wide-eyed disbelief through the window.

The corner of Dean's lip lifted in a growl; not at Sam specifically – because Dean knew this wasn't Sam's fault – but at the situation in general.


That's what they were; stranded. Out here— in the middle of nowhere—on a quiet highway, surrounded by snow-covered hills so high Dean's ears popped and valleys so low that he felt the need to ride the brake on the way down; and not a town within twenty minutes big enough to provide both food and shelter. They were screwed blue and tattooed and for the first time in a long time, Dean was mad at his Baby.

Without a second glance, without saying a word, he turned – pivoting one boot in the frozen gravel – and stomped off up the road, back the way they'd come.

In the back seat, Sam's eyes got even wider, his jaw dropping in shock. Scrambling for the handle, Sam clambered out of the car and raced to catch up with his brother; who, although he was travelling on road-weary legs, was moving at a really fast clip.

"So," Sam began, jogging up alongside Dean. He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his hoodie and shrugged off the chill of the crisp December air. "Where we goin'?"

"I'm walkin'," Dean answered tersely.

"I can see that. Where are you walkin' to?"

"This way," he said, flinging an arm in a general westerly direction.

Sam placed a hand out – palm open wide so as not to appear aggressive – across Dean's chest and although his brother looked down at the offending hand with dark, stormy eyes, he did at least stop. Sam took a long deep breath, releasing it slowly and bowed his head.

"Dean," he soothed, "it's too cold for us to play twenty questions. Can we just skip to the part where you tell me what's wrong and we fix it?"

Dean's jaw clenched; his mouth circling around as if he was chewing over the answer, but when he turned to bark his displeasure at his brother, Sam was waiting for him with big, soft eyes that always managed to pull at Dean's heart and Dean knew instantly that he was sunk; all the fight draining out of him.

"My fuckin' car broke down," Dean whined, inwardly cringing at the sound of his own voice. "It's winter. We're in the middle of nowhere, right before a holiday weekend, about an hour before the sun starts to set. We ain't gonna be able to get anyone out here," he whined again, his arms flapping uselessly at his side, "and I'm cold and I'm tired and my fuckin' car broke down, Sammy."

"Feel better?"

"No," Dean sagged, all of his energy spent.

Sam's lips pinched tightly and he drew them into his mouth, biting down from the inside; anything to keep himself from smirking or laughing or giving Dean any reason to slug him. It wasn't funny. They were legitimately fucked, but Dean's melodramatic reaction to their situation was…entertaining? Try as he might, though, Dean's eyes still locked on Sam—specifically Sam's dimples.

"You're laughing at me," Dean pouted.

"I'm not," Sam promised earnestly, "I swear I'm not laughing. Come on," Sam carefully took hold of Dean's shoulder and steered him back around toward the Impala. "We'll go back, you can take a look at her. I'll try and get a wrecker on the phone. We'll get this figured out. Just…don't spaz out on me and step off one of these damn hills, alright?"

"Yeah, alright. But," Dean pointed a sharp finger at Sam, "I'm not a spaz."

"No, of course not," Sam agreed firmly before he turned his head to hide his smile.

"Two weeks? You're out of your damn mind."

Dean seethed quietly, clutching his phone in one hand and the edge of the table in the other, pushing shaky breathes through his nose while the man on the other end of the phone line tried to explain to him how the holidays were making it particularly difficult to get the parts; the parts needed to get his Baby up and running.

Sam slid into the booth just in time to hear Dean make some disparaging remark to the man about making the baby Jesus cry, to which Sam let out a humorless laugh and let his head drop into his hand – elbow braced against the table top – and gripped his throbbing temples.

"Yeah, well, Merry freakin' Christmas to you too," Dean growled, slapping his phone shut. "Dick."

"New best friend?"

"Shut up, Sam." Dean dropped his phone onto the table and slid down into his seat, raking his hands up through the short spikes of hair, his fingers crossing and locking together there. His head dropped back and his frown deepened when he looked at his little brother who had dropped his own head down onto crossed arms atop the table. "Headache?" he asked.

Sam groaned a muffled answer, but lifted his head when he heard the familiar rattle of the Tylenol bottle. Dean had already poured four of the little red caplets out into his hand and was waiting for Sam to get with the program.

Chasing them down with a gulp of Dean's milk, Sam wiped the back of his hand over his mouth and mumbled his thanks.

"The parts won't be here 'til the third," Dean said quietly.

"Two weeks?"

"I know," Dean raised his hands in a 'don't kill the messenger' offering. "S'what I said too. Something about the distribution center being on shut down until the 27th and then shipping time and all that other bullshit. S'not like I've got another choice. I could find a used distributor at a salvage, but how the Hell am I gonna get there? And everything else I had to order anyway. This fuckin' blows and I don't even get to enjoy it."

"That's not our only problem."

Dean arched a brow as if to say, 'what else could go wrong?'

"The tow company just called…my card was declined."

"What?" Dean sat up fully, his eyes narrowing, suspicious. "You just got that card. You can't have maxed it out already. What th'hell you charge to it?"

"Nothing, man. Honest."

"We'll just have to use mine, I guess," Dean submitted.

Sam cringed, ducking his head a bit. "I tried that already."

"Declined?" Dean gaped in disbelief.

Several people in the diner turned to look in their direction, scowling their disapproval and the boys bowed their heads together in the booth.

"What do you mean it was declined?" Dean whispered harshly, leaning aggressively across the table.

"Don't get pissed off at me, Dean."

"I'm not," he growled and then leveled his tone of voice, breathing deep and sagging back into his seat once again, "I'm not. I just…God. Whose dog did we kick for Karma to bite us in the ass this hard? No car, no cards, I've got $40 cash to my name and there's no place to stay in…in…Bumfuck, Nowhere."

"Boxholm," Sam interjected.

"What?" Dean asked, looking befuddled.

"Boxholm. That's the name of the town."


Sam couldn't help but chuckle as he rolled his eyes at his brother.