Summary: Dean goes undercover as a model. Written for a prompt at SPN_Bigpretzel.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Supernatural. Not for profit.
“Why do I have to be the model?” Dean complained, stuffing three fries in his mouth. He chewed slowly and deliberately with his mouth open. Little brothers who tried to trick you into walking along a rickety wooden death-trap in embarrassing clothes in front of a crowd deserved a view of semi-chewed French fries.
“You’re the handsome one, Dean. You said so yourself,” Sam was hardly even pretending not to laugh. Bastard.
“When?” He jabbed a couple more ketchup-covered fries into his mouth for good measure.
“Uh, all the time, Dean. Come on, all you have to do is offer to be the new model, ask a couple of questions, sweep for EMF, and walk up and down the stage a couple of times. You’ll be fine.” Sam gestured across the food court to the portable stage that had been set up in the centre of the mall. “You have to walk, like, twenty feet. Nobody even watches these shows anyway.”
Dean narrowed his eyes at the stage. It looked wobbly. It was made up of four sections of thin chipboard. They didn’t fit together right, so there were cracks between the pieces that would have been bad news for a woman in high heels. Time and damp had warped the wood, which the organisers had tried to hide using artfully draped carpets (slightly worn) and advertising banners. On either side of the runway, tall lamps on flimsy poles threw out a bright, unflattering bright light when they were switched on. All except the third one on the left, which was blown. At one end of the stage were a set of green curtains that the models emerged onto the runway through. They cut off a portable wooden room which was presumably where the models got changed.
“If I have to be a model, you have to be a model,” Dean told Sam.
Sam shook his head, the infuriating smirk remaining in place. “One of us has to be in the audience to see what happens. Remember, it’s just the models that are disappearing. We can’t both be models. Besides, I’m heavier than you. I don’t think that stage would hold me.”
Dean shoved the last of his fries in his mouth and grumbled, “Do I look like a guy who shops at ‘Maxwell Martin’s Modern Menswear’ to you?”
Sam’s eyes lit up. “Not yet,” He grinned. “We’ll have to go shopping. You can ask about the modelling job while we’re in there.”
Dean took a final gulp of coke and stood up, wiping his greasy hands on his jeans. “Fine. Let’s get this over with. But I catch you laughing and my revenge will be sweet. Got it?”
The store was worse than Dean had imagined. It looked pretty bad from the outside, tucked between a hairdresser and a women’s clothing store, and somehow more sissy than both of them combined. Maxwell Martin’s Modern Menswear was inscribed in curly purple writing across the top of the window. The paint was old and flecking off in places. Beside it was a logo in purple and silver that looked a bit like a sheep caught in a blackberry bush, but was probably meant to be something else entirely. Beneath the name were three headless mannequins, lit from below and wearing – well, Dean didn’t even want to look.
“Come on,” Sam grabbed his arm and dragged him through the door.
Much to Dean’s surprise, there were other customers in the store. Two middle-aged men and a woman in her forties were browsing the racks, and a man about Dean’s age was in the fitting room, emerging every now and then to ask the shop assistant for an opinion. Huh. Were there no thrift stores or army surpluses in this town?
“Try these on,” Sam thrust a pile of clothes, almost certainly the ugliest ones he could find, into Dean’s arms and shoved him in the direction of the fitting room. “Don’t forget to come out and pose in them.”
Dean glared at his brother and made an inward vow never to let Sam win an argument again. He slipped past the man in the first fitting room, who had over-gelled black hair and looked like he enjoyed discussing brands of moisturiser. The shop-assistant was wearing a long-suffering expression as the guy modelled a far-too-tight t-shirt for him.
“Can I?” Dean nodded towards the second fitting room.
“Certainly, Sir. Is there anything I can help you with?” A slightly desperate note crept into the shop-assistant’s voice as he leapt at the chance to escape.
“We’d love some opinions,” Sam jumped in before Dean could say no, “As you can see, neither of us is all that fashionable.”
“Of course. Now, Cody, why don’t you take what you’ve chosen over to Sally and she’ll ring it up for you,” the shop-assistant suggested to his customer, “I’m sure if you need more help, she’ll be happy to assist you.” He turned to Dean, “Why don’t you try on the first outfit? Is this for a special occasion?”
Dean took his pile of clothes into the fitting room, Cody’s glare hot on his back.
Dean grumpily pulled on the shirt and pants at the top of the pile and opened the door to glare at Sam.
The shop-guy was staring at him. “Oh my,” Dean saw him swallow, “That shirt flatters your shoulders perfectly.
“Do a twirl, Dean,” Sam instructed, doing a twirling motion with his finger and struggling not to laugh.
Dean turned in a circle, hissing at Sam through gritted teeth: “These pants are shiny, Sam. I am not wearing shiny pants in front of people.”
Dean went back into the fitting room and replaced the shiny pants with his own jeans. There was no way on earth he was getting back into the shiny pants, and he wasn’t touching the kilt with a bargepole. He swapped the shirt for the next in the pile.
“Huh,” said one of the middle-aged men, who was on his way to try something on in the fitting room vacated by moisturiser-guy. “I didn’t know anyone could actually pull that off.”
Damn right, Dean could pull off pink. It didn’t mean he was willing to wear it in public though.
The next shirt got a “You know, I think I’ll buy one of those for my husband,” from the only female customer in the store, and a “You should wear flowers more often,” from Sam.
The one after was a cable knit jumper in mustard yellow that Sam had obviously grabbed from the clearance shelf.
“No way,” said the guy in the next fitting room, who came out in the same item. “This isn’t fair.”
By the time Dean had buttoned himself into the final shirt in his pile and opened the door of the fitting room, everyone in the store was gathered around. The original shop-assistant, Sam, the two middle-aged men, the woman shopping for her husband, and Sally from the counter. The only one who wasn’t was moisturiser-guy, who was pretending to browse while sending Dean a death glare from the other side of the store.
“Wow,” said Sally, “That colour green really makes your eyes pop.”
Dean grinned at her. She was quite pretty, in a mousy sort of way.
“You know,” said Sally, “I’m in charge of organising the store’s show for the Mall fashion week, which we have every year, and we’re down a model. Would you be interested in helping us out? You’ll be paid fifty dollars for your time, and receive a four hundred dollar gift voucher for the store.”
Dean felt ridiculous. He plucked at the collar of the green shirt and waved away the mascara wand the guy next to him was offering.
“Are you sure?” The dude asked, “Those lights totally wash out your face. If there are any talent scouts in the audience, they’re gonna want to be able to see your eyes. I’m Steve, by the way.”
Dean froze. “Talent scouts? I thought no-one watched these things.” He was going to kill Sam.
“Sure. A guy a couple of years ago got picked up by Versace from one of these mall gigs. It’s why I keep coming back even though the pay’s so bad and all the weird stuff keeps happening.”
“What exactly is the weird stuff?” Dean asked, “Should I be worried?”
“A couple of guys have disappeared during the show in the last couple of years. The pool of male models in this area is getting pretty small. They were going to have to use Cody Poole again this year until you showed up. He’s the guy who filled in last year when Barry disappeared. You might have seen him around. Black hair, kind of a douche…”
Dean made a mental note to keep an eye out for moisturiser-guy. He must really want to be discovered badly if he was making people disappear to get a chance at modelling. And Dean had just cut him out.
“Two minutes, guys,” Sally came in and ushered them over to the curtains. Crap. He wasn’t going to get a chance to sweep for EMF.
“So did they disappear before or after the show?” Dean asked Steve, calculating in his head how long he had to work out how Cody was doing it.
“During the first show,” Steve told him, “Off the stage. Like a magician’s trick. Usually they show up a few days later perfectly fine but talking about really weird crap. Except Barry didn’t come back last year. It happened two days ago to the new guy, Jason.” He looked sad for a moment, and then forced himself to smile as the music started.
Dean watched Steve push through the curtains and stride confidently onto the stage. His heart thundered in his chest as he caught a glimpse of the people gathered to watch the show. He clenched his hands into fists to stop them shaking. This was ridiculous. He was Dean Winchester. He had faced down demons and archangels without a quiver. He wasn’t afraid of a few people looking at him. He breathed slowly and evenly, and hummed a few bars of ‘Nothing Else Matters’. It didn’t help. Sally tapped him on the shoulder. He jumped. He’d missed his cue. He pushed the curtain aside and walked out onto the stage, trying hard not to look at the crowd or think about the speeches he’d been forced to do at school.
His foot caught on the gap between the two sections when he was halfway down the runway and only his hunter reflexes stopped him stumbling. He looked up, searching the audience for Sam. He found him almost immediately, his brother being about a foot taller than most of the other hundred or so people there. The audience seemed to mostly be teenage girls, despite the fact that this was a menswear show. Sam gave him the thumbs up. Dean glared at him. And then finally, the end of the runway was approaching. Dean took two more steps and turned to walk back to the curtains.
There was a loud, collective gasp of a hundred simultaneous intakes of breath, and then a silence from the crowd, filled only with the thud of the electronic dance music they had been making Dean walk to. Dean looked down at himself. He looked perfectly normal. He looked around at the crowd. A clamour was growing, confused voices rising above the music. Some people were pointing to the end of the stage where he’d turned. Everyone was shouting, one on top of the other so he couldn’t hear what anyone was saying. Except for Sam. Sam was shouting his name, and there he was, running towards the stage, shoving people out of the way.
“Sam?” Dean called, waving at his brother to slow down.
Sam didn’t acknowledge him, squeezing past two teenage girls and leaping onto the stage, which cracked ominously.
“Sam?” Dean said again, turning and walking back down the stage towards his brother, who was still shouting for him. Sam’s eyes searched desperately, but they slid past Dean every time.
Crap. Dean waved his arms at his brother. No response. He waved to the crowd. They didn’t see him either. Someone had turned the music off, and two security guards had run up from somewhere and were trying to calm the crowd down. Dean jumped up and down and made faces at the crowd. Nothing.
He ran over to Sam. “Sam, can you hear me?”
Sam continued examining the stage. Damn. Invisible and whatever the equivalent was for being heard.
Dean picked up the nearest lamp, pulling the stand free from the tangle of wires that ran alongside the stage. He thudded it against the stage. Sam looked up. Awesome.
He paused and then hit the stage again. One long, two quick. D. A pause and then one short tap. E. Another pause, followed by a quick tap and a long one. A. A final pause, then a long tap and a short one. N. Morse code was hard with the stand, but Sam seemed to be listening. He moved to one of the working lamps and tried to repeat the message with light flashes, but his body wouldn’t block the light and it didn’t work. He went back to thumping. D.E.A.N.
“Dean?” Sam asked, “Where are you?”
Dean let go of his stand and reached forward to grab Sam’s arm. Sam jumped, but at least he felt it. Dean spelt his name in jabs on his brother’s arm.
“Dean? What happened?” Sam allowed Dean to drag him by the arm back through the green curtains. “Do you know what caused it? Did you feel anything?”
“Sir, you can’t be in here,” Sally told Sam. Dean stepped aside so she wouldn’t walk into him as she rushed about trying to fix things.
Sam let Dean lead him out of the portable room, out of the mall, and through the parking lot to the car. Dean pulled out his keys, unlocking the Impala’s door, and sat in his seat. Sam didn’t make a similar move.
“Dude,” Sam said, “I think you’re going to have to let me drive. We’ll get pulled over for sure if it looks like no-one’s driving.”
Dean made a face at his brother, but handed over the keys, dancing awkwardly with Sam as Sam tried to sit down while Dean was still getting out of the driver’s seat.
Sam drove them back to the motel, a dive decorated in orange and olive green, and led the way inside, not closing the door until he saw the chair Dean pulled out to sit on move. They opened their laptops, Dean pulling up a word document to write messages in, while Sam researched invisibility on the internet.
I think it’s a spell, Dean wrote. It’s the guy Cody from the store. The guy was helping him before us.
“Why’s he doing it?” asked Sam, continuing to tap away at his laptop.
“He must have a reason that makes sense to him, though. What’s he doing, taking out anyone better looking than him?”
That’s me, Dean typed smugly. He just makes them invisible for a few days. They usually come back fine.
Sam’s eyes bugged out. “Usually?”
Keep researching. This is your fault. Modelling never leads anywhere good.
Sam’s face took on its concentrating look. Dean turned on the TV. Commercials. Commercials. America’s Next Top Model: Men. He turned the TV off. He sat on his chair. He got up and sat on the bed. He got up and opened the fridge. He sat back down in his chair.
I’m bored. I’m going to the health club.
“Stay out of the women’s showers, you friggin’ perve,” said Sam, not looking up from his computer.
Dean smirked invisibly at him on his way out the door. If he had to be invisible, he might as well take advantage of it.
Dean didn’t make it to the women’s health club (it was very poorly signposted), but he did procure a few necessities from the grocery store, and severely freak out multiple people by going for a drive. He also took the opportunity to obtain all fifteen seasons of Dr Sexy MD, thus sparing himself many knowing looks and unwanted assumptions.
He was eating one of his newly acquired chocolate bars when he opened the door to the motel to find Sam still at his laptop.
“Is that you, Dean? I think I found something,” Sam looked over at where he thought Dean was. He gazed at the wall approximately three feet to Dean’s left.
Let’s go then. Dean typed.
Sam drove them to the address he’d found for Cody Poole, stopping briefly on the way to pick up some spell ingredients. Cody Poole lived in a decent, slightly rundown brick house, with a front lawn that was perfectly trimmed, and new-looking red curtains in the front windows.
They crept across the grass and peered in the front window. Cody Poole was standing in his living room, admiring himself in the full-length mirror. “That’s fine, Sally,” he was saying, tensing the muscles in his left arm and moving so they were shown to their best advantage in the mirror, “I’m happy to help. You know I’ll always make time to fill in if you need me.”
“What a dick,” Dean glared at him. He sent Sam a text: Back soon. Don’t let him leave.
“Wait, where are you going?” Sam hissed, but Dean was already on his way round the back of the house.
Dean let himself in the back door and explored the house until he found Cody’s bedroom. He didn’t bother to sneak. It wasn’t like the guy could see or hear him. He opened all of the drawers in chest of drawers one by one and sprinkled the itching powder he’d filched from the grocery store in each one, taking extra care with the underwear drawer. He made sure they were all shut, and then walked into the living room, where Cody was still standing at the mirror, admiring himself in the mustard-yellow woollen sweater Dean had tried on at Maxwell Martin’s Modern Menswear. Dean pulled a black permanent marker out of his pocket and wrote on the white-painted wall: BE CAREFUL WHO YOU CAST SPELLS ON DOUCHEBAG. Then he capped the marker and sent a message to Sam. Come in.
It was all over pretty quickly after that. Cody Poole wasn’t really a fighter. He was too worried about messing up his hair. Dean darted around the room throwing things at him, distracting him while Sam slammed in through the door and dashed across the living room to the altar in the corner.
“Stop!” yelled Cody. “You don’t get it! It was my last chance to be a star!” He threw his comb at Sam with surprising accuracy. Dean threw a book at him. “I will end you!” Cody roared, “You’ll wish you’d never been born! Spirits of the earth, I command thee – “
Dean grabbed him from behind and slapped his hand over the aspiring model’s mouth. “MMMPH!” shouted Cody, and licked Dean’s hand. Dean fought the instinct to let go and vomit, but he held on as Sam smashed up the altar with a hammer, sprinkled herbs over it, and set it on fire.
Dean let go. Cody kept yelling. “What are you doing, you psychopaths? I wasn’t doing any harm?”
“No harm?” Dean exclaimed, “You’re turning people invisible! They’re just disappearing, and sometimes not coming back.”
Clearly, Sam’s counter-spell was working, because Cody heard him.
“They didn’t want it as bad as me! None of them had the burning passion for stardom I have. They wanted to be invisible.”
“I didn’t want to be invisible.”
“Yes you did. You were wishing it the whole time you were up there! People like being invisible. Barry came back and asked me to redo the spell when it wore off. He had debt collectors after him.”
Dean spluttered. He had kind of liked being invisible. Just for a little while. Not forever. “Well, you can’t just make people invisible without asking. And I hate to break this to you man, but you’re like thirty-five. You’re not going to be discovered. If you’re not a model by now, you never will be.”
“I’m thirty-two,” Cody glared at him.
“Come on, Dean.” Sam steered Dean out of the room by the shoulder. At the door, he turned back to Cody. “Witchcraft leads nowhere good. If we catch you at it again, it won’t just be your altar we smash.”
They left the clean-up for Cody and made their way to the car.
“It’s good to see you again, Dean,” Sam said, tossing him the keys. “What did we learn from this experience?”
Dean opened the door and slid into the driver’s seat. “Modelling is a poor career choice.”
A/N: Written for Jennytork’s prompt “they go undercover as singers/dancers/models” at SPN_bigpretzel on LJ