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When Dean wasn't expecting to need the backseat for sex or sleep, it could get pretty junky back there, as they were both willing to let it hold almost anything that wouldn't freak out civilians, stink too much to ignore, or tempt a bold robber. So it took them a couple of months before they noticed that the gas mileage had dropped from terrible to laughable, and that the back of the car was swelling.

****

"It's not mold," Dean said for the forty-seventh time. He'd stopped giving his reasons a while back, but they mostly concerned the lack of smell and the fact that, oh yeah, mold didn't grow in a curve five feet long and two feet high in the center.

"I'm just saying, take up the seat—"

"Yeah, you've done that to a classic?" Dean sneered. "If—and I mean if—I decide to do that, it's not gonna be in the middle of nowhere. If I gotta replace the leather—"

He stopped, struck by the thing he should have seen immediately.

Sam was still bitching about how Dean had made them clear everything out of the car but wouldn't dare to cut even an inch of her interior.

"Sam," Dean said, repeating it when Sam wouldn't shut up. "If this wasn't some hex, don't you think the leather would've torn?" Instead, it had stretched and rounded, looking almost like she'd gotten a punching bag put in underneath the seat.

That put a cork in Sam, but had the unfortunate side effect of making him reluctant to ride in the car all the way to Bobby's, and Dean was letting neither the Impala nor his brother out of his sight. Dean ended up spending way too much cash on a rented truck and trailer, and then he nearly killed Sam himself for getting underfoot while Dean was making sure the car was properly secured on the trailer. Then there was the slow, lurching progress to South Dakota, driving the truck that handled like a donkey with 'roid rage.

By the time they got to Bobby's, Dean was about ready to perform a blood sacrifice if it would have fixed the car, and he wasn't fixing to be all that picky about the source of the blood.

Bobby quizzed them pretty hard about what they'd encountered in the past few months. He came up with a few new insults when they admitted that they had no clear idea of when the problem had started. Dean gritted his teeth and took it, because the Impala was his baby and yes, he should have known.

At least Bobby agreed with Dean that it would be mighty stupid to just try and pop the thing, when none of them knew what kind of danger might come pouring out, and even better, he had the equipment to take a look inside without slicing her up permanently, at least once Dean had spent some time tinkering with radio tubes and copper wire.

It was only when they developed the pictures that they realized how entirely screwed they were.

"Is that—?" Sam asked weakly, then stopped.

Bobby pushed at his cap, then went to get out the whisky.

Dean just stared.

"All right," Bobby said, at the tail end of his second glass, "so your car is pregnant."

Sam tilted his glass so as to get out the last drops, then slammed it on the table and gestured for a refill. "How could this even—?"

Like that, Bobby and Sam swiveled to look at Dean. It took him a minute, but when he got it he nearly punched them both. "There's a difference between screwing in the back seat and screwing the back seat, you assholes!" Jeez, he was easy, not a pervert. And, sure, he might've given himself a happy ending back there a couple of times. But if they thought he'd willingly get spooge on the seats then they'd fundamentally misunderstood his priorities. "Plus, did any part of that look, I dunno, biological?" And now Sam was giving him the 'it thinks!' surprise face, as if Dean couldn't reason for himself. "You know what—fuck you both."

He stomped out, grabbing the pictures, and went to sit with the only one who understood him. He opened the driver's side door and slid in. "Hey, baby," he said miserably. "Kind of a mess we're in, you think?" He didn't know if she could see the pictures, but he left them on the passenger side dashboard just in case.

The lump was already bigger than it had been when they'd first noticed it, so large now that it was above the level of the seatback at its highest. Dean's X-ray machine didn't have great range, so there were only a couple of angles he could get—and now that he thought about it, he wasn't thrilled about exposing her to more radiation. But what he had showed something with tubes—and what looked like two wheels.

"You wanna tell me what happened?" he asked. She had nothing to say for herself.

****

Bobby was the one who noticed that scrap near her was just disappearing, sucked into the thing she was growing. Incubating, Sam said. Building, Dean wanted to call it, but he'd been voted down. Anyway, she was eating metal somehow—never when they watched her, but Dean wouldn't let Bobby hold a stakeout, because what if she couldn't while people were around, and had to start cannibalizing herself? He'd seen rusted-through sides and floors on enough old cars; he shuddered to think of how his baby might be reduced.

Instead, he made sure that she had easy access to a variety of different metals, some rubber, some plastic. A couple of times he found mangled remains of some Ford part or other near her front wheels, like she'd spat it out. Never let it be said that his baby lacked good taste.

After a month, there wasn't much room left in the back, the windows nearly obscured by the wave of black, and Dean was beginning to worry about how the—whatever, the baby, was going to come out. If he took out all the trunk modifications, maybe he could go in through the back. If he could figure out when was the right time. If, if, if.

When he opened the back door to check on the bulge, the door swung funny, like the bolts were loose.

"Sam!" he yelled. Sam came pounding out of the house, book still swinging from one hand, gun in the other. "I think it's time."

"What?" Sam stared at the open door, and Dean pointed to the sagging metal of the hinge. He'd been reading what he could about pregnancy, and that looked an awful lot like what an animal's body would do to get ready to get something too big out of a small passageway.

"We gotta get the door off and get ready."

For whatever reason, Sam had decided to defer to Dean's judgment—or as he put it, Dean's crazy ideas—and he let Dean order him around, setting up a workbench with padding on top to support the door as it came off. Bobby came and watched, and occasionally commented on the precise mixture of foolishness and magic at work. Dean ignored the insults; if worst came to worst, Bobby'd do what he could to help.

Finally, Dean was ready to reach inside her. He was really, really hoping that he'd been right about the whole 'nothing biological' thing, because car guts were comforting; people guts were not.

He pressed gently against the edges of the seat, where it would have been just about at a ninety-degree angle if the car had been in factory-normal condition. The leather made a shushing sound and separated.

Working as quickly as he could, Dean peeled back the leather, keeping to where the stitches were coming up of their own accord, trying to move the padding without tearing it.

At last he uncovered—"Holy fuck," he said, which was pretty stupid given that he was arms-deep in a pregnant car, and if there was something unsurprising that might have come out he couldn't picture it.

"Dean?" Sam demanded. "What is it?"

He pulled, but the tubes and protrusions kept getting caught, and he wasn't sure if he was going to bend something important, and he was sweating buckets which also couldn't be good for the metal. Finally he decided that dilly-dallying was doing nobody any favors and gave one enormous tug, twisting as he went so that the thing would be angled right to get out the door.

What felt like half a ton of baby motorcycle popped out of the car and fell on him. There was some yelling, from him and from Sam and Bobby, and he'd be limping for days because they rolled it right over him, but then he was staring up at open sky and Bobby was exclaiming over the baby.

Dean scrambled to his feet, torn between immediately fixing his girl and taking a look at this new creature he'd brought into the world. His head whipped back and forth—the seats in the Impala already looked like they were returning to their original configurations, but he needed to check; meanwhile Bobby was testing the engine on the cycle, which gave a pathetic little cough.

"Gas!" he said frantically.

"I'll take care of the car," Sam said, and Dean spared him a grateful nod before rushing over to grab the handlebars. He rolled the cycle over into the shade of Bobby's garage. Dean hadn't ever been a hog fan, but she was gorgeous, black and silver, with a stylized impala across her front just above the wheel. He grabbed a gas can and filled her with shaking hands.

This time she started up with no problem. He checked every spoke and antenna to make sure that nothing had gotten bent on the way out; he was no expert, but she looked and ran just fine.

Bobby couldn't find a trace of the mystical about her, no matter what kind of tests he tried. Same with the Impala, now. Even the back seat cover just needed a bit of restitching.

It was a mystery, but it was probably the best mystery they'd ever failed to solve.

****

Jo came and took the cycle out for a test ride after Bobby swore on a stack of Bibles (yes, an actual stack of Bibles, though not all of them were exactly the standard versions) that it wasn't dangerous magic.

When she returned, Dean was there on the porch to watch her take off her helmet and shake her hair out, walking towards Bobby's house with her leather jacket and her tight jeans. Sam looked over at his slack jaw and glazed eyes and snorted. "That ship has sailed," he warned Dean, but Dean didn't pay him any mind. Wasn't like he was planning on doing more than looking, anyhow. Him with the Impala and her with the kid—it would just be weird.

"You'll call and let us know how she's doing, right?" Dean asked again when she was getting ready to leave.

Jo didn't bother to roll her eyes. "Yes," she repeated, sighing.

"Good," Dean said, nodding. "Kid's got to get out on her own. Doesn't mean we don't want to know how she's doing."

"Right," wearily, and if Jo was just being tolerant, Dean couldn't find it in himself to get mad.

The Impala didn't react when Jo peeled out of the yard. She was back to being inert, and Bobby couldn't find anything magical left about her. But Dean could watch the cycle disappear into the horizon for the both of them. And if the dust got in his eyes, well, that was nobody's business but his own.

END

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