Spoilers/Warnings: No major spoilers.
Word Count: 4000
Summary: Dean expects the Impala to be right where he left it--and it is. She’s just a little more human than she was when he saw her last. Set pre-series, when Sam is at Stanford.
Disclaimer: I do not own any aspect of the CW’s Supernatural nor do I make that claim. Original creations of this story, including, but not limited to, characters, settings, and plot, are copyright to me.
Author’s Notes: I needed this fic to exist. Now it does. Happy Valentine’s. :)
It’s no secret that Dean Winchester loves his car. And who can blame him? The ‘67 Chevrolet Impala is a beauty by anybody’s standards.
That’s putting aside that the car has been his home since he was four--he’s grown up riding in the backseat, playing with his toys and bothering his brother; the leather interior and black chrome exterior have been his constants when nothing else stayed the same. His initials are carved into her, right next to his brother’s where they belong, and he’s intimately familiar with every noise she makes. It had been a long time coming when his father handed over the keys, declaring gruffly that Dean should take her and treat her well.
As if Dean could do anything less for his baby.
When Sam left for college, the Impala was there for Dean. He sometimes crawled into the backseat and slept there like he used to when he was little, because he couldn’t sleep in the motel room with his father passed out and snoring on the next bed and Sammy miles away. Sometimes he let himself cry a bit, just a little, because he knew she would keep it a secret.
And sometimes he started her up and just drove without a particular destination in mind, leaving his father and brother behind. He would blast some music for a bit, then shut it off and drive in silence, just him and the car and the road. He got into the habit of talking out loud to her, talking about stupid things and his deep thoughts--just his stream of consciousness, really.
Maybe sometimes he wished that she could respond.
Maybe sometimes he wished she wasn’t just a car.
When Dean walked out of his motel room on a non-descript spring morning, intending to drive the Impala through a drive thru for coffee and possibly donuts before starting on research for the solo hunt he was working on, he had fully expected the Impala to be right where he had left it--parked right in front of his door.
Instead, a dark skinned girl clad in a leather jacket and jeans, shiny black hair framing her face, is sitting cross legged in his parking space, her eyes closed.
“Uh, have you seen my car?” Dean asks cautiously.
The girl’s eyes snap open. “Oh, it’s you,” she says. Her voice is deep and somehow familiar, even though Dean’s sure he’s never seen this girl before in his life. “Are we going to get breakfast?”
Dean frowns, jangling his keys nervously. “Who are you? ...and why are you sitting there?”
She looks thoughtful. “Should I try standing? I haven’t done that yet. I thought I’d just stay sitting, two legs doesn’t seem like enough.” She seems to come to a decision herself and stands up, wobbling a bit before steadying and walking a couple steps toward Dean. “Weird. Not bad, though.”
“Who are you?” Dean asks again.
“Don’t you recognize me?” She looks a bit put out, bottom lip pouting out in a manner Dean thinks is all sorts of hot.
“No,” Dean says. “I meet a lot of people. What’s your name? And where’s my car?”
The girl’s brown eyes sparkle with amusement. “I am your car, stupid.”
Needless to say, they don’t go to a drive thru. Instead, Dean grabs her by the collar of her leather jacket and drags her into the motel room, where he proceeds to make her drink holy water flavoured with salt and tests her with a silver knife. She looks almost delighted through the process, and announces that the silver knife must be new, because she doesn’t remember it.
It is new, but Dean doesn’t say anything. Instead, he pulls out his cell phone and calls Sam.
It rings a few times before Sam answers with an out of breath “Hello?”
“I have a problem,” Dean says.
“What is it?” Sam asks, his voice betraying his immediate snap to attention. “Are you hurt?”
“No, no, it’s just--” He glances at the girl. She grins at him.
“Is that Sam? I like Sam. Where’s he been?” She raises her voice a bit. “Hi, Sam!”
“Why is there a girl saying hello to me in the background?”
Dean closes his eyes and breathes out, trying to remind himself that there are weirder things in this world than his car being turned into a hot chick, like wendigos and ghosts and--okay, nothing much tops this. “That’s kind of my problem,” Dean says. “The Impala’s a chick.”
There’s silence on the other end. “...can you just repeat that so I can be sure I heard correctly?”
“The Impala is--y’know--a human! A woman.”
“Uh huh,” Sam hums disbelievingly. “Did you wish really hard?”
“No,” Dean says.
The Impala snorts. “Don’t lie, you totally did.”
“I didn’t!” Dean protests, holding the phone a bit away from his face and glaring at her.
She rolls her eyes. “How else would I turn all human? This is probably actually sort of inconvenient. I don’t think you can move as fast with only these two leg things. Talking is sort of fun, though.”
“It’s too early for this,” Sam says. “And I just got out of the shower. I’m going to get dressed. I’ll call you once I’ve eaten or something.” The line goes dead.
Dean turns to the Impala, scratching at the back of his neck. “Uh, do you really think you’re human because I wished it?”
The Impala shrugs. “Probably a whatchamacallit, actually. A curse? Dunno. I just provide transportation. And tunes, man.”
Dean sighs. Sam is totally right. It’s too early for this.
It’s nearing noon by the time Sam calls Dean back. In the time between, Dean had managed to hot wire a total junk of a car so that they could drive to a diner for food. The Impala had not been impressed--apparently she didn’t like that Dean drove cars that weren’t her. Which, Dean pointed out, was kind of a moot point now that she was human. She didn’t seem to be appeased by this, but got in the passenger seat regardless.
They’re just sitting down in a booth when Dean’s phone rings. He flips it open and says, “Sammy.”
“Sam,” he corrects automatically. “Impala still a woman?”
“Yes,” Dean says. “Any ideas as to why this would happen?”
“I Googled a bit, but I got nothing,” Sam informs him. “It might be a witch, s’my best guess.”
“Yeah, that’s what we think, too. A curse or something.”
“Oh, so it’s already we, huh?” Sam teases. “Dude, sorry, but I have a huge paper due soon, and I need to work on it. Text me if you find out something. Actually, you should totally take a picture of the Impala and send it to me. I want to know what it looks like as a she.”
“She’s always a she,” Dean protests.
“Whatever.” Sam hangs up, and Dean sighs at his phone.
“Stand,” he says to the Impala. “I’m going to take a picture for Sammy, if that’s cool.”
“It’s nice that you say I’m always a she,” the Impala says, getting up. “Because that’s totally true.”
“Obviously,” Dean says. “Smile or something.”
The Impala flashes him a grin and Dean snaps a picture and sends it off to Sam.
He gets a response after they’ve ordered. (Well, he ordered for both of them because the idea of eating food seemed to sort of blow the Impala’s mind and she didn’t know what she wanted.)
dude, the car’s a babe
thats my baby youre talking about
shut up, jerk
dont be a bitch, bitch
“What are you doing?” the Impala asks.
“Texting Sam,” Dean says. “He says you’re a babe. I told him to back off.”
The Impala screws up her nose. “That’s what you call me, though. Isn’t it?”
Dean feels his face flush. “No, I call you baby,” he mutters. He clears his throat. “I was going to mention, actually, what should I call you? Because I need to go interview some people today, and I can’t introduce you as ‘the Impala’.” He doesn’t even consider having her stay behind--there’s no way he’s letting her out of his sight.
The Impala just looks a bit lost. “I thought you just said you call me baby.”
“Yeah, but that’s not a name,” Dean says. “That’s a term of endearment or whatever. Other people can’t call you it.”
“I dunno,” the Impala says, shrugging. “You never said where Sam went, you know.”
Dean blinks. “He went to Stanford. College.”
“I know, but what is that, exactly? You’ve never explained.”
“It’s--wait, you know?”
She nods. “Of course. You told me. You were upset about it.”
Dean stares at her. “You... you know all the things I’ve talked about while in the car, don’t you?”
“Of course. I am the car, and I do listen to you.”
“Oh. Of course.” Dean tries not to think too hard about that.
The waitress chooses that moment to bring them their eggs and bacon and pancakes, which is a welcome distraction. It turns out the Impala really likes pancakes, especially covered in syrup. Dean approves.
“Eating is weird,” she declares through a mouth full of bacon. Dean kind of approves of that, too, even though it should probably be gross. “Now tell me what Stanford and college are supposed to mean.”
Dean explains post-secondary education to the best of his ability while the Impala listens and stuffs her face. It’s a good thing she understands the concept of school, or that might have been a more difficult feat.
“And you miss him,” she fills in when Dean’s done rambling. “You feel like he abandoned you, even though you’re super proud of him for it. Which I always sort of thought was one huge contradiction, but being human isn’t as easy as being a car, I guess.”
“It’s kind of creepy how well you know me,” Dean says.
She gives him a lopsided grin. “You’re my boy,” she says. “It’s my job to know you. And to take you places, obviously.”
“I’m your boy?” Dean can’t stop himself from asking.
“My boy, my Dean. You’ve been my favourite since you first touched me in 1973.”
Dean grins stupidly. Then he frowns. “I wasn’t alive in 1973.”
She nods, swiping syrup off her plate and licking it off her finger. “No, you were older than you are now.”
“I was what?”
She shrugs. “I don’t know. You were there, and John bought me, and you left. But I knew you were coming back.”
That is just a whole other level of weird, and Dean isn’t going to touch it with a fucking ten foot pole.
“So, what’re we hunting?” the Impala asks. She’s practically skipping back to the stolen car (Dean likes to think of it as ‘borrowed’, because he’s totally going to leave it near where he got it from once his car is a car again). Dean has no idea why, but her enthusiasm for everything is kind of infectious.
“Uh, ghost,” he says. “Simple salt and burn, probably. Just gotta talk to the family and find out who snuffed it and where they’re buried.”
Something occurs to Dean as they get into the car. “Dude, what did you do with all my stuff? Like, the things that were in the trunk?”
The Impala frowns. “I’ve got it here,” she says, as if it’s obvious. “What do you want?”
Dean blinks. “Uh, how about some salt?” he asks experimentally.
There’s nothing in her hands one moment, and in the next she presents him with a bag of salt--the same one he’d ripped a bit of the top off of yesterday.
He stares. “How the fuck did you do that?”
She shrugs. “Just did. Can’t be weirder than how I can talk now, can it?”
She has a point. “Put that away,” Dean says, reaching down to hot wire the car into starting again. “Don’t need it at the moment.”
He takes her with him to interview the family, and she charms them into spilling a boatload of information--a lot of shit Dean did not care to hear, to be sure, but a hell of a lot more than they ever would have told him on his own. Sure, he can generally get the necessary information out of people, but never with as much grace as his father or Sammy ever had. Apparently even the car is better at it than him. He would be bitter, but--well, the car talks. He can’t complain about something he wished for, right?
“You’re really annoying,” he complains. They’re back in the motel room, waiting for the sun to set so they can go burn some bones in the local cemetery, and the Impala has been ranting about the finer points of the motel room (mainly how it didn’t have many) while Dean attempts to have a nap. “Do you ever shut up?”
The Impala looks hurt. “Hey, loser, don’t be a hypocrite. I never tell you to shut up.”
“That’s because you’re a car,” Dean rationalizes.
Her face comes into view above Dean’s, and he’s struck by how good looking she really is. She reminds him a bit of Cassie if he squints, but mostly she just looks, somehow, like the Impala. But human. Dean honestly has no explanation for this phenomenon, but hell, when does he ever have an explanation for anything. “I’m not a car right now,” she tells him. “And I like talking.”
Dean sighs and pats the empty space on the bed next to him. “Lie down. Try sleeping. It’s a fancy new human concept, I promise.”
She actually looks intrigued and lays down without protest. “How do I sleep?”
“Close your eyes,” Dean says, “and just... breathe evenly and let yourself drift off.” He has no fucking clue how to describe falling asleep.
There’s silence for a good few minutes, long enough that Dean is actually near to being unconscious, and then the Impala declares, “I don’t think I’m tired.”
Dean groans and opens his eyes. The Impala is leaning over him, staring down into his face. She’s way too close for comfort, mere inches from his face, and Dean swallows. “Uh, bit close there, baby?”
“I like it when you call me that,” the Impala says softly. “I want to try something, okay? A human thing. Don’t move.”
Dean opens his mouth to ask what exactly she’s planning on doing, but he’s cut off by her lips on his and oh, that’s what. Well, okay. He can roll with that. He kisses back, raising a hand to cup her cheek, and it’s a bit of a sloppy kiss, to be honest, but he can’t really expect better for someone’s first time. Oh, right. He’s kissing the car.
Cool. Totally normal.
She pulls away and grins at him. Dean hates that stupid grin already. (He loves it.) “That’s kissing,” she says.
“I like kissing. Let’s kiss more.”
“Uh, o--” Dean starts, but she’s already kissing him again.
“Don’t get me wrong, this is fun, but I really prefer what we were doing before,” the Impala tells Dean.
Dean snorts. “Yeah, I have to agree. Especially since all you’re doing is standing there holding the flashlight while I do all the hard work.”
“Holding the flashlight is a worthy chore,” the Impala says haughtily, crossing her arms and consequently pointing the flashlight away from the grave.
“Only when you actually point it down here,” Dean says, digging the shovel into the dirt again and hitting something hard. “I think we’ve hit the jackpot, baby.”
“Oh good, does that mean we can go back to the motel soon?”
Dean laughs. “Soon.” He breaks open the wooden casket, brushing the excess dirt off it, and hops up and out of the grave. “Magic me up some accelerant and some salt and we’ll light ‘er up.”
The Impala hands over the requested items and in no time the bones are burning with no trouble. Dean watches as the ghost appears and disappears in a scream of fire, then claps his hands. “Perfect. Now help me fill this back in, baby. It’ll go a hell of a lot faster with two.”
They’re almost finished with the grave when the Impala opens her mouth and says, “We should have sex.”
Dean nearly drops his shovel. “Uh, what?”
“We should have sex,” the Impala repeats. “I’m pretty sure that’s what comes after kissing, and I think it would be fun.”
Dean stares at her. “How do you even know that? Do we talk about sex in the car, like, ever?”
“Sometimes, sorta. And, well, my backseat...” She trails off, shrugging.
It takes a moment for it to sink in. “Oh, God,” Dean mutters. He is never fucking in the Impala. Never ever ever again.
“So?” she prompts, dropping the last bit of dirt on the grave and patting it down.
Sex with the Impala is probably a lot less scarring for her than sex in the Impala. Which... is a tragically flawed thought, but Dean knows what he means. Besides, he can’t give up the opportunity to have sex with a hot chick when she’s offering. Even if she is his car. Maybe because she’s his car. It’s not like this happens frequently.
“Okay,” he says, tossing her his shovel. She catches it and it disappears. “Let’s go give you the full human experience.”
She grins her stupid grin at him.
The next day Dean wakes up to the Impala biting his lower lip gently. “Goooood mooooorning,” she says brightly, trailing kisses along his jawline.
He smiles despite himself, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her closer to him to give her a proper good morning kiss.
“Mmm, that’s nice,” she says against his lips. “But you taste really gross.”
Dean laughs. “Morning breath, baby. So do you,” he teases. “Did you sleep?”
She nods. “It was weird. Nice, but weird. Most human things are like that.”
“Well, if I ever get turned into a car, I’ll be sure to tell you all about how weird car things are.” He shifts and sits up, stretching.
“What are we doing today?” the Impala asks. She’s not making any attempt to cover up how naked she is now that Dean’s dislodged the sheet, and he’s momentarily distracted. Her curves are just as flawless in human form, in his opinion.
“Uh, dunno. Probably gonna skip town now that the hunt’s done with. What do you want to do?” He thinks for a moment. “Oh, we should probably figure out how you got all... human.” He has to admit that he’s not nearly as itching to do that as he was yesterday--she may not be his trusty car, but she’s good in a hunt, she talks back when he talks to her, she magically produces helpful items so that Dean doesn’t have to lug them around, and she’s a hell of a good lay.
Well, of course she is, he thinks fondly, grinning at her.
She smiles back. “I want to go on a road trip,” she informs him.
He raises an eyebrow. “Not that I’m not up for that, but don’t we do that all the time?”
“I have a feeling it’ll be a bit different as a human,” she says. “Just pick a car that isn’t a disgrace to my name this time, okay?”
Dean actually rents a car (with a credit card that says ‘Jimmy Page’), because he doesn’t really want to steal someone’s nice car and drive it hours away when he doesn’t have to. He shells out way too much money for a fancy Mustang and is met with grudging approval from the Impala.
“Way too many buttons. It’s totally just showing off,” she informs him, but she proceeds to play with all the features with a silly half grin on her face, so Dean doesn’t take her seriously.
“Which way should we go?” he asks.
She shrugs. “I’ve never had to decide before. I don’t intend to start now, either.”
Dean rolls his eyes and flips a coin--first for north or south, then for east or west, then for west or south.
They head west. Dean makes it a point to take back roads, because he’s always liked them best. They’re quiet, the kind of place where the world dissolves into just him and his baby and the road.
The Impala rolls down the windows and closes her eyes, the wind blowing back her hair. She looks perfect for a split second, and then she’s suddenly producing a cassette tape from thin air and frowning.
“There is a place to put this, right?”
The car isn’t so new that there isn’t, which Dean is infinitely grateful for, because his baby’s got taste.
Hours pass with classic rock blasting and the wheels of the car putting miles of road behind them. The Impala talks Dean’s ear off, and he finds he doesn’t mind so much. She’s actually really funny, and yet when he gets to talking about his feelings somehow, she’s totally serious--and she responds. Dean doesn’t think he’ll ever get over that.
Around two in the afternoon, the Impala has her bare feet up on the dashboard, toes pressed into the windshield, and is stuffing her face with Doritos.
“This is great,” Dean says.
She nods, humming around a mouthful of nachos.
“No, really.” He glances over at her. “I just--I want to thank you.”
“For being there, I guess. For listening. And for being the best god damn car ever.”
She grins. “No problem, Dean.”
“You already said that.”
“Yeah, but--thank you.”
The Impala considers him, taking her feet off the dash. “Pull over,” she orders.
He does. He’s barely turned the key to shut the car off when the Impala’s on his side, practically sitting in his lap, and attacking his face with her lips.
“Whoa--wha?” Dean attempts to say in between kisses.
“We are going to fuck in the backseat of this car,” she informs him.
He blanches. “But--how did we get from thank you to fucking? And I don’t really want to scar this poor Mustang.”
She snorts. “Please, this car is a rental. It’s about as far from sentient as you can get. As for how we got here--you communicate a hell of a lot better without words. I’m not sure if you get it from me or if I get it from you.”
He’s pretty sure that was a joke, but he’s too busy pulling off the Impala’s stupid leather jacket to laugh.
They spend the night in another motel, flipping back and forth between crappy made-for-television movies and the Discovery Channel. Everything feels surreal to Dean--he can’t stop going over the day in his head, from the Impala knocking over an entire candy rack in a gas station and the two of them running away before anyone could yell at them, breaking down in hysterical laughter, to the way the Impala sounds when she laughs, so similar to the rumble of her engine, to the way silence never made the air between them awkward.
It’s almost like having Sammy back, only with more sex and talking about feelings. Because Dean is against chick flick moments, but they don’t feel like they’re from chick flicks when they involve his car. She’s way too bad ass for that.
He falls asleep during a documentary on seals, the remote in his hand and the Impala curled up against his chest, and when he wakes up he’s alone.
He wants to think that maybe she’s still here, just gone to the bathroom or something, but in his gut he knows that she’s gone. Sure enough, when he stumbles to the door and pulls it open, blinking blearily out into the light of the rising sun, the Impala in all her one hundred percent vehicle glory is sitting in the parking lot.
“Oh, baby,” he whispers, laying his hands on her hood. She feels warm, like the engine was just running. “Did you go somewhere without me?”
He can almost hear her indignant response to that question, and he chuckles to himself.
He wants to say something like ‘goodbye’ or ‘I’ll miss you’, but that seems stupid. She hasn’t gone anywhere. She’s always there for him. He almost wants to say ‘thank you’ again, but that seems stupid, too.
Instead, he turns back to the motel room and collects his bags, packing them neatly into the Impala before going to check out. He slides into the driver’s seat and turns the key in the ignition. The engine roars to life, and Dean smiles.
“Where to?” he asks, and it means all the things he didn’t want to say and more.