Title: The Complex Art of Perfect Toast
Genre/Rating: Gen. G.
Word Count: 968
Summary: Dean and Cas make toast. It's harder than it sounds.

Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.


“What’s up?” Dean lifted his head from his pillow and peered across the room to where Cas was standing in the motel’s kitchenette. Just standing there, examining the microwave.

“I’m making breakfast,” Cas replied, without taking his eyes off the microwave.

Dean raised his eyebrows. “Whatcha making?”

“Toast.” Cas pressed a button on the microwave. Nothing happened.

“Need some help?” Dean offered, levering himself into a sitting position and rubbing his face in an effort to wake up.

Cas stiffened even more than usual and didn’t turn around. Dean could practically feel him frowning. “I’m not a child, Dean. I can make toast on my own.” He jabbed at the appliance again and the door swung open.

“Whatever, man,” Dean said, flopping back on his bed. He figured he had about twenty minutes before Cas either managed to make toast or blew up the microwave. Either way, it was twenty more minutes of sleep for him. If Cas didn’t want his help, fine. He watched drowsily as Cas flicked the switch to turn the microwave on at the wall, and relented. “The toaster’s in the cupboard under the sink.”

The smell of burning woke him ten minutes later. He sat up, coughing, and waved away the cloud of black smoke drifting through the room. Cas was standing at the open door, shaking the upside-down toaster. Dean watched as two black lumps fell out on the stoop. He got up. Cas usually let him help when something was going this wrong.

“Everything all right?” Dean asked, as Cas stalked across the room to plug the toaster back in, an expression of righteous fury on his face.

“There is something wrong with this toaster.” Cas flicked the switch to turn the toaster on at the wall, examined the toaster closely, and experimentally adjusted the knob on the side. He pulled two pieces of bread from the bag and placed one in each slot. He lowered them, and stared at the toaster, waiting for them to pop.

Dean made his way over to join Cas, watching the toaster apprehensively. Pop! The spring in the toaster was violently released. The toast jumped out, one piece landing on the floor, the other hitting Cas, who was leaning over the toaster, watching, in the face.

Dean laughed, and was rewarded with a glare that would send the fiercest of monsters running to hide behind their mothers’ skirts. He stifled it and bent to pick up the piece from the dirty, food-stained linoleum. It flopped around in his hand. “Maybe put it on for a bit longer. Try it so the knob’s about halfway round.”

Cas looked at him. “I did that, Dean. Why do you think the room is full of smoke?”

“Okay, so between the two settings you already used.”

Cas reset the toaster, replacing the bread, and set it going. They stood in the kitchen and watched. And watched. And watched.

“Do you smell that?” Dean sniffed. A new smell of burning was replacing the one that had drifted out the open door.  A thin tendril of dark smoke was coming from the toaster. “Quick, pop it!”

“How?” Cas asked, peering at the toaster.

Dean followed his gaze. The toaster’s sides were smooth and blank except for the slider for putting the toast down, and the knob for controlling the time the toast stayed down. He frowned, narrowing his eyes at it. Didn’t these things usually have an eject button? He pressed the slider down, hoping it would have a release if you pulled it down a little bit further. It didn’t. He twisted the knob right down to its lowest setting. The tendril of smoke was gathering into a cloud. He flicked the switch at the wall and unplugged it, and was rewarded by the red glow disappearing from the elements in the sides of the toaster.

“Shouldn’t it pop up now?” Cas asked. “It wouldn’t go down until I turned it on at the wall.”

Dean turned it upside down over the sink and shook it, wincing at the heat on his hands. The toast didn’t budge.

They tried getting the toast out with a knife, next. Dean vaguely remembered something about not being meant to do that because it was dangerous, but the thing was unplugged, and anyway, it was that or let it win.

When the knife didn’t work, Cas had the bright idea of shaking the toaster until the toast came free. After an almighty shake, one piece of charred bread leapt out and made friends with Sam’s bed, but the other remained firmly wedged in place. Dean smacked the side hard. Something rattled.

“This seems like a lot of effort to go to for toast,” Cas remarked.

Dean scowled and went to get his tools from the car.

                                                                                                XXX

“So, these are the elements,” Dean pointed them out to Cas on the gutted appliance. “One on each side of each piece of toast, and they clearly work fine. We can rule them out as the problem.”

They were sitting opposite each other at the tiny table, the various components of the toaster spread out between them.

“There seems to be some kind of problem with the mechanism for releasing the toast,” Cas said.

Dean pulled it toward him. It was rusty. That was probably the problem. He bent to examine it more closely.

Dean was still looking at it, trying to decide how to fix it when Sam came through the door. “What the hell are you guys doing?” He asked, flopping onto his bed. There was a crunch, then a disgusted noise, and then a piece of toast hit Dean in the back of the head.

“Making toast,” Cas answered for Dean.

“Okay, then,” Sam said, “But the toaster’s busted. I got donuts for breakfast.”


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sameuspegasus

November 2012

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