Word Count: 2550
Summary: Preseries. Dean sees himself on daytime television. He investigates. Prequel to 'Days of Dean's Life'
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Supernatural or Days of Our Lives. Lines said on TV are directly from an episode of Days of Our Lives.
The first time it happened, Dean rolled with it.
“Hi, Eric.” The girl giggled a little, pink infusing her cheeks. She looked away, almost shyly.
Huh. That was new. Most of the girls that approached Dean were, to put it politely, forward. Occasionally they blushed or stumbled for words, but that was usually when it was Dean approaching them. The waitresses he flirted casually with in diners or the girls at supermarket checkouts that he gave his best smiles to and made friendly conversation with, were the ones that went shy and looked away. It was only the ones that weren’t used to the attention, or weren’t secure in their attractiveness that blushed and stammered.
But this girl, she was hot. Like, really hot. In a really obvious kind of way. Heavy make-up, low cut top (and what a magnificent view it revealed), short skirt, high heels. She was wearing fishnet stockings. Clearly looking to get laid. Dean knew how to pick them. She was definitely not shy. And yet, here she was blushing, and sneaking glances at him through her lashes.
Dean smiled at her. “I’m Dean. What’s your name, sweetheart?”
The girl blushed a brighter red, words tumbling from her mouth in a nervous rush. “Oh, sorry. I mean, I know your name’s not really Eric. I know you’re an actor and you just play him on TV, but I just OMIGOD YOU’RE SO HOT I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.” She stopped suddenly, an expression of horror crossing her face. Covering her face with perfectly manicured hands, she groaned. “I can’t believe I just said that. Oh, God you must think I’m such an idiot. I should never have come over here. I’m just going to go hide in the bathroom and you can pretend I was never here.”
That explained it. She thought he was some guy on TV. Dean put his hand on her shoulder. “Hey, hey, it’s okay. I don’t think you’re an idiot. You’re doing fine.” He decided not to tell her he wasn’t this guy. If she was this embarrassed now, imagine how she’d feel if she found out she’d been embarrassing herself in front of a guy who wasn’t even who she thought he was. Or worse, if he told her now, she might think this Eric guy was trying to get rid of her because she was making him uncomfortable.
“Really?” The girl looked up hopefully, tears of embarrassment in her eyes.
“Sure,” he gave her his most reassuring grin. “How about I buy you a drink?”
Three drinks in, the girl stopped being shy and invited him home with her. Dean figured they both won. The girl got to believe she’d slept with a TV star, and he… well, Dean always counted a night like that as a win.
The second time, Dean rolled with it again. Hey, she might have been twenty years his senior, but older women have experience, and boy did she use it. It wasn’t until he was back at her place that she asked if she could call him Eric. A woman who could do that with her tongue could call him anything she wanted.
The third time, Dean was walking down the street with his father. Dean had twisted his knee running from a werewolf the night before, and he’d just ducked into the pharmacy to restock the first aid kit while Dad bought the groceries next door.
Dad came out of the supermarket carrying two bags of food and wearing a perplexed expression. He frowned at Dean. “Did you tell some girl you were a movie star?”
Dean sighed. “No, why?”
Dad pointed behind himself. “You wanna tell me why there’s a group of teenage girls stalking you, Dean? They asked if you’d done that on set.” He nodded at Dean’s leg.
Dean peered around his father, down the wide main street of the small town. Sure enough, five girls of fourteen or so were lurking with false casualness in the entrance to the supermarket, pretending not to watch him. One of them whispered something and pointed at him, and they all fell about in uncontrollable giggles.
Dean shook his head and shrugged, limping off towards the Impala. It was weird, but there were more important things to think about.
The fourth time, it was a little girl of about six. He felt a bit bad about lying to her, but at the same time he didn’t want to disappoint her. He signed her piece of paper with a smiley face and an illegible scrawl, and followed her request to kiss her Mommy on the cheek.
When he finally figured out what the hell was going on, it wasn’t because someone told him. His Dad had sent him on a hunt by himself. It was just a simple vengeful spirit, but it had knocked him around a bit, and he was giving himself a couple of days rest, waiting for the bruises to fade before he joined back up with Dad. He was just lying back, flicking on the TV for a bit of company, and there he was. On the TV.
Dean sat up, staring. This wasn’t just some actor who looked a bit like him. This was like staring into a mirror, or watching a recording of another reality, where he was a massive pussy with stupid hair.
What the hell was he doing? The version of him on television was wearing a ridiculous baggy white sweatshirt and having a heart to heart with his father, who, thankfully, didn’t look anything like Dean’s real father. And the hair! Dean shuddered. They were sitting in a coffee shop drinking foamy crap from bowls. Dammit! Why couldn’t his double at least have been on something good? Maybe something with hot chicks and fighting. Or clones. Hell, he’d even have been okay with superheroes. But this sitting around in cafes, talking about feelings crap was disgusting.
“I don’t want the same thing to happen to you as happened to Sami,” the father was saying, “I mean you believe in somebody you also love, and then that person turns around and betrays you.”
“Well it’s not gonna happen, Dad. I know that Nicole loves me. I know that,” Dean’s clone said intensely, leaning forward over his giant cup of coffee to drive his point home.
Dean turned off the TV, fighting the need to take another shower. He rolled off the bed and got dressed, securing his ankle sheath firmly to his leg, and tucking his gun into the back of his jeans. It was time to do some research.
The first thing he did was call his father. Rule out the evil twin possibility. Dean was certain his father wouldn’t have lied about something like this his whole life. There was no way. He trusted his father absolutely. Dad would never keep a secret like that from him. He was like, 95% sure. Still, horrifying scenarios painted themselves in his head. He’d had a twin who Dad had left behind in Lawrence after the fire, and Dean had blocked it out because of the trauma. Dean was one of a pair of twins who’d been switched at birth with Mom and Dad’s real baby. A teenage crack-whore had given birth to twins and Mom and Dad had adopted one, while the other suffered horribly and was forced to act on a soap opera to pay for his mother’s habit. Dean deliberately pushed the thoughts to the back of his mind.
Dad’s phone rang three times, and then Dad picked up, saying gruffly, “John Winchester.”
“Ah, hey Dad,” Dean said, weakly, wishing he’d planned this conversation out before he’d started it.
“Are you finished with the spirit?” Dad skipped the preliminaries, like always. “There’s a suspected kelpie about two hours away from you. I need you to deal with it.”
“I’ll get right on that,” Dean waited for his Dad to give him the details, only half listening, while he tried to figure out how to phrase the question ‘do I have a secret twin?’ After all, he could always do more research about kelpies. Getting back in his father’s good books after accusing him of having a secret child wouldn’t be so easy. “Hey, Dad? Um, I saw someone today. He looked kind of familiar. Do we have any relatives I don’t know about? Maybe a cousin or something?” Do you secretly have another son? “About my age? Looks kind of like me?” Exactly like me.
“Not that I know of,” Dad replied absently, “Call me when you’re done with the kelpie.” There was a click as Dad hung up.
Dean ruled out secret twin as a possibility. If Dad had known anything about it, he would have said something. A lie or an order to stop asking questions would have been suspicious. Dad focussing on the work was just Dad.
He turned the TV back on. It was like the first time he’d seen a dead body. He’d thrown up violently, and then been compelled to glance back and see if it still had no head.
Dean’s clone, Eric, was standing in a hospital being told off by his father, who was saying, “… stupid! You and Billie thinking you were going to investigate the mob by yourselves…”
Huh. Maybe it wasn’t so bad, after all. He kind of wanted to stay and see why they were investigating the mob. He didn’t, though. He had work to do.
A week later, Dean had taken care of the kelpie, narrowed down the possibilities of what this thing was to either a shapeshifter or an insane human with a photo of him and an excellent plastic surgeon, and developed a morbid fascination with the show.
Dean felt a strange pang of regret as he loaded his gun with silver bullets and tucked a small silver blade into his ankle holster. Still, if this thing could use Dean’s face to get a job on a terrible but compelling soap opera, who knew what else he could use it for. Bank robberies. Murder. Modelling. He shivered, throwing his bag into the backseat of his baby. It was time to go to California and deal with this, before it got out of control.
Security was surprisingly lax on the set of the soap opera. Or maybe it was just that everyone thought he was on the show. No-one even checked him for weapons.
A harassed-looking woman in her thirties rushed up to him, grabbing him by the arm. “I’ve found him,” she said into her headset. A reply that Dean couldn’t make out crackled into her earpiece. “Copy that,” she answered. “On my way.” She pushed the mouthpiece down to talk to Dean. “Where have you been?” she hissed, “You’re wanted in make-up. They’ve been waiting for you for fifteen minutes!”
“Look, I’m not feeling well,” Dean said, freeing himself with difficulty from her iron grip on his arm.
“No one cares if you’re hung-over, Mr Ackles. Get to make-up now, before you put the whole schedule behind.”
“I think I’m gonna hurl,” Dean made gagging noises for realism. What kind of a screen name was Jensen Ackles, anyway? If monster-him had consulted him, at least he would have come up with something cool. Like James Bond, or Keith Richards. The woman hesitated. He sprinted past her, searching for the door with fake-him’s fake name on it.
Dean cornered the shapeshifter in his dressing room. The actor was putting his contacts in, his back to the door as he used a mirror with lights across the top. It was strange seeing himself from behind. He barred the door with a chair and cleared his throat.
The monster turned.
Dean aimed his gun steadily at him. “Think you can steal my face, assclown?”
“You won’t do it,” the shapeshifter paused, one contact lens in, one out. “You can’t shoot yourself.”
“Maybe not, but I can sure as hell shoot a monster who hides his laser-eyes with contacts and plays a wussy pretty-boy on TV.” Dean cocked the gun. “But tell me something first. Why me? You could turn into anyone. I’m sure there are people out there who’d just love to be on TV.”
“Oh, honey,” said the shapeshifter, “Look at me. I tried for years to get a break. I spent fourteen years cleaning up the puke from hotel bathrooms, because all I could get was bit parts that wouldn’t pay the rent. And then I saw you. It was in a bar in LA. There was a guy talking to you. A modelling scout. And you just shut him down without even considering it.”
Dean thought back. Now that he thought about it, last time he’d been in LA for a case, he’d been hit on by a disturbing number of dudes pretending to be talent scouts. It was where he’d learnt how to make it believable when he did it.
The shapeshifter continued. “It wasn’t fair. It’s cruel of you to have a face like that and not use it.”
That wasn’t true. Dean used his face. For eating, and talking and stuff. And to get laid, or get free food. But he couldn’t imagine wanting to be on camera, or pose for photos. It gave him the creeps just thinking about all those people looking at him. He could think of a thousand things he would rather do than act on a soap opera. Being eaten by lions sprang to mind.
“That doesn’t mean you get to take it.”
The shapeshifter ignored him, stepping gracefully closer. “So I took it. And you know what? My first day back in Hollywood after I took your face, I got this job.”
Dean tightened his finger on the trigger. It was harder than he’d thought it would be, shooting himself. And now that he thought about it, the guy hadn’t really done that much wrong.
“I don’t kill people. I’m not harming anyone by using their face. Think about it, I could have killed you when I took your face, but I didn’t. I’m just taking an unfortunate genetic defect and using it to my advantage.”
It was like there were two people fighting in Dean’s head. One saying monster. Kill it. The other saying person, actor. Me. His hands shook.
“Dammit!” Dean exclaimed, lowering his gun. “Fine. I won’t kill you. Today. But you put a foot wrong and I’ll be back, and I just because you’re wearing my face doesn’t mean I won’t shoot you in it. And if you’re still on this show in two months, I will come back and shoot you. It’s not even a cool show, dude.”
“So what? I keep wearing your face, but I have to find a part you like better?” The shapeshifter looked torn.
“Damn straight,” said Dean, “Something with fighting and clones, or superheroes or something. No more sensitive bitches.”
Dean didn’t leave the set until he’d heard the guy quit.
He drove out of town praying that Sam never managed to catch a re-run.