The Boys of Summer: part 2
It was a fourteen hour drive from Lima, Ohio to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Kurt made it in thirteen, and he hoped that thirteen wasn’t one of the bad luck charms that would count as some kind of omen for the summer. That was the worst thing about being half-trained; enough knowledge to know that some superstitions were true, but not enough to know which.
Kurt turned down the driveway, past the sign that said Singer Salvage in large, uneven letters. The house was at the end of the lane, next to the garage that held the sign aloft. Kurt parked the Nav and looked at the building; it was old and worn, but well patched. He was suddenly very glad that he had left most of his designer clothes at home, packing mostly inexpensive (yet still well-fitting) jeans and t-shirts. And Kurt wasn’t an idiot; he knew that hunting and fashion didn’t mix, and knew the importance of dressing the part, no matter what the part was. And this far from Lima, it wasn’t like anyone would know if his part wasn’t a walking fashion show.
It was freeing, in a way. It wasn’t that Kurt didn’t love fashion as much as he said he did, but life in Lima was all about appearances and keeping up his fashionista persona was hard work. It would be nice to let his hair down, so to speak, without having to worry about anyone asking him if he was okay, or telling him to just be himself.
Realizing he had been staring at the house for longer than he probably should have been Kurt shook himself and got stiffly out of the car; thirteen hours was a long time in the car for anyone. He was just getting one of his bags out of the car, he had three, when the front door opened and an older, bearded man walked onto the porch.
Kurt smiled. The man looked just the same. “Uncle Bobby!” He grinned, and walked over to say hello.
Bobby smiled back, looking a little like he hadn’t had a lot to smile about recently, and opened his arms for a hug. Bobby was warm, and distantly familiar like most things from his childhood, but he still smelled of gun oil, books, and whiskey, and Kurt felt himself relaxing. “Good to see ya, Kurt,” Bobby said, and took a step back, holding Kurt at arm’s length. “You must hear it a lot, but damn, you look like your mom.”
Kurt smiled, but it wasn’t as sad as it would have been a few years ago. After all, he loved his mother, he always will, but his dad and he had Carole, now, and the hole in his family was mending. “I get “sound like” more than “hear like,” but yeah, Dad’s mentioned.”
Bobby nodded like he had heard what Kurt didn’t say, and started down the porch steps. “Let’s get your stuff inside, and I’ll tell you about your training, and you can tell me about those bullies your father mentioned.”
Kurt groaned. “I’m sick of talking about insignificant assholes that aren’t worth the breath they breathe,” he grumbled.
“And yet, you’re here,” Bobby said, raising an eyebrow at Kurt. “And not there.”
Kurt sniffed. “I am here to learn to hunt. Like my mother. They just happened at just the right time to make it seem like I’m running.”
Bobby snorted and lifted the two other bags. “Ain’t nothing wrong with running, kid,” he said.
Kurt closed up the Nav and followed Bobby into the house. He was led up the stairs to the second floor, around a winding hallway and into what was obviously a guest bedroom. It had a twin bed that had seen better days, a scarred desk, and a wardrobe that looked older than the house--and not in an antique kind of way. However, it was clean, the linens freshly washed and the floor swept, and it was enough to keep Kurt from wincing when he put his bag on the bed and the mattress squeaked. Bobby put the other two bags by the wardrobe, and looked Kurt over.
“Come on to the kitchen,” Bobby said. “I know a bit about teenage boys, and you must be hungry.”
Kurt’s stomach growled and he covered it with a hand. He laughed, a bit sheepish, but Bobby just led the way back downstairs and into the large avocado-green kitchen. Kurt paused in the doorway, looking at the walls in horror, before shaking himself. He was a guest in this home, and it wasn’t his place to criticize. He cast another glance and wondered how just how long he’d hold out.
“You’re not one of those vegetarians, are you?” Bobby asked, his head in his fridge.
“No,” Kurt said. “Everyone seems to think I am, though.” Bobby looked at him, and Kurt smiled his best earnest smile. “Oh, well I’m gay, you know. So that must mean that I’m like a girl, and everyone knows girls live on air and diet soda. A-ha!” He finished with a fake titter, and held the face for a moment, before his resolve broke and he laughed at the look of horror on Bobby’s face. “Lima,” Kurt enunciated through a smirk, “Is full. Of idiots.”
“We live in a world of idjits,” Bobby said, and pulled a Tupperware container out of the freezer. He popped the lid to show Kurt the lasagna, and put it in the microwave.
“Truer words,” Kurt said softly.
Bobby fished in the refrigerator again. “I got beer, more beer, or milk.”
Kurt raised an eyebrow. “You’d really give me beer?”
Bobby shrugged. “You’re going to be Hunting. A man can Hunt, a man can drink. But only,” Bobby pointed his finger, “in my house.”
“Milk’s fine,” Kurt said. “I’ve done the drinking-for-emotional-fortitude thing. I’m not keen to repeat the experience.”
“Oh?” Bobby asked, pulling out the milk. Kurt waved a hand.
“I went to school dressed like a wino, and puked on my guidance councilor's shoes.” He paused. “Granted, they were ugly shoes, and I thought she was Bambi at the time, but still.”
Bobby put Kurt’s drink on the table. “And school was that terrifying?”
Kurt looked at his hands. “Sometimes. Before Glee, I was tossed in dumpsters every day. I’ve had swirlies and atomic wedgies. I once spent half the day locked in a locker. I’ve been hit by every flavor of slushie. I’ve been pushed, kicked, shoved, and threatened. They’ve called me pansy, and queer, and homo, and faggot. And when they don’t, especially when they don’t because I don’t see it coming, I’m treated as lesser. Or invisible. Or as a girl. Even the teachers, one calls me Ladyface, and another--my Glee advisor, by the way--tells me that I’m imagining things. Or he’ll let Rachel yell at him over nothing, but if I have a legitimate issue, I get sent to the principal.” Kurt drank his milk and the microwave beeped. Bobby didn’t move, just looked at Kurt with old eyes. “So yeah. School can be terrifying.”
“And you wanna Hunt?”
“Monsters you can fight, and win.” Bobby nodded after a long moment, and put the lasagna on a plate for Kurt. He handed it over, and sat down with a beer for himself.
“Your Dad told me you’ve been keeping up with the physical training.”
Kurt nodded. “It’s been easy. When I was on the Cheerios, we had mandatory mixed martial arts lessons. I kept the lessons when I left the squad. And Dad and I still have our “boy’s night” at the range, just to keep my accuracy up.” He shrugs. “If anyone asks, I tell them I was busy with gay stuff. They don’t ask any farther than that.”
Bobby snorted. “Well, I’m gonna wanna see where you are. We can do that tomorrow. But we’ll be focusing on book-learning at first, either way. A Hunter’s greatest asset is information. And the ability to bullshit convincingly,” Bobby paused with the beer in his hand. “I’m pretty sure you’ve got that covered.”
Kurt smiled a “who? me?” smile and polished off the pasta. With his father’s heart healthy diet, it had been too long since he’s had meat sauce on anything.
“But you’ll get some practice at Hunting around people who don’t know.” Bobby scowled. “Sheriff Mills has her cousin’s kid in town, and she blackmailed me into giving him a job. I give him a week before I scare him off, but until then, you’ll hit the books and learn your double-talk.”
Kurt repressed a sigh. More hiding. Wonderful. But he nodded, and stood to put his plate in the sink. It didn’t take long to wash a plate, a fork, and a cup, and when he was done, he excused himself to call his father, to let him know he’d arrived safe.
“Try and get some sleep, if you can,” Bobby said. “We’ll be starting early tomorrow.”
As he walked up the stairs he felt vaguely guilty for not calling as soon as he got there, but really, he had arrived early and his father wasn’t going to be expecting the call yet. So he was fine.
He texted Blaine before calling his father, letting him know he was safe, and that if Blaine wanted to talk, to text Kurt back and he’d call when he was off the phone with his father. He hung up, placing the phone on the nightstand next to the bed, so he could hear the chime. He went to the bathroom for his evening skin care routine. He changed into his pajamas. He crawled into bed, suddenly exhausted. He woke up as the sun rose into his window.
Blaine had never texted.
Dean wasn’t okay, and Sam didn’t know how to fix it. Sam rested leaned his head back and closed his eyes, letting the familiar rumble and sway of the Impala lull him. Dean was driving them home from another hunt, a routine haunting that had quickly become nasty when it turned out to be three ghosts instead of one, and they were both sore from digging, not to mention the aching bruises from being thrown around by the spirits. After everything that happened, they were working more like a team than ever, but--this job shouldn’t have been as hard as it was. Those spirits wouldn’t have caused them half that trouble even two years ago.
True, they were getting old. Dean was over thirty, and Sam would be there in only a couple more years, (if they lived that long) and they had taken more physical abuse than anyone he had known, Hunter or not. But--this was something more. This was something--broken.
When Castiel had died, and boy did he know what kinda shit Dean would give him if he knew Sam thought that, that it was a death, even if Dean talked that way himself (and Sam knew, knew, that Dean didn’t believe it, and was trying, in his own way, to make things easier to bear)--when Castiel had died, Dean had shut down. Bottled it up the way he did all big emotions, until they nearly died and something cracked and then Dean was crying in the middle of a field, covered in blood and ichor, clutching a tan trench-coat.
But then again, Sam wasn’t okay, either. He shifted in his seat, trying to get a better angle to relieve the pressure on his lower back, or ease the ache in his legs; he was used to the confines of the Impala, had grown into and around the car like a tree grows around a fence, but there was no substitute for a bed long enough for his limbs.
Sam had patched and pulled his mind together as much as he could after the walls came crumbling down, but it was like trying to walk a line with holographic goggles; he knew reality was there, but could only hope he hit it when he put his foot down. Dean knew--he had helped Sam learn how to cope--but Dean was acting like he couldn’t tell Sam was cracking further every day, so Sam tried harder, hid it deeper, and wondered how things could get so fucked so quickly, skittering away from thoughts of destiny and the notion that these events couldn’t be avoided.
It was getting harder to hide the crazy. Sam rubbed his palm absently. Something had to give.
Dean hadn’t said a word since they drove away from the Hunt, turning up the radio. Thunderstruck growled from the radio, but Dean didn’t bob his head, didn’t tap along on the wheel, and didn’t sing under his breath like he did when he thought Sam was asleep.
Castiel was dead, Sam was crazy, and Dean just stopped. Sam didn’t know how to restart his brother, and was just idly wondering if it wouldn’t take some divine intervention, and how weird was their lives that that wasn’t entirely outside the realm of possibility, when Dean swore and sat up straighter behind the wheel. Sam gave up on pretending to sleep, and looked through the front window.
They had been squatting in an old farmhouse, dilapidated and infested, but it had a working water pump and a mostly intact roof. Now, however, the roof was mostly gone, a large hole had punched its way through, leaving the edges charred. What little glass was left in the windows was gone and, as Dean brought the car to a stop, a dangling piece of shingle finally gave up and fell.
“The hell?” Sam asked, and squeezed his eyes shut, pressing hard against his palm. The pain shot through him like ice in his veins, and he felt the world settle. He looked and felt his heart skip. No way--it couldn’t--his lifeline couldn’t fail now. There’s no way he could be seeing this, he--
Dean made a broken sound next to him and Sam realized Dean saw it, too. Sam wasn’t crazy, or, hadn’t turned that final corner. Then the full meaning of what he saw settled in, and Sam scrambled for the door. He had to get out; he had to see before Dean did, because if Sam was right--if Sam was right, it could kill him.
But Dean was faster, and Sam tried to push himself, but still ran into the house after Dean, nearly running him over when Dean stopped still.
Lying on the floor, sprawled at almost inhuman angles and covered with soot and nothing else, was Castiel.
Sam looked him over, ignoring the squiggles at the edges of his vision; Castiel looked better than the last time Sam had seen him, which wasn’t saying much. He no longer had black veins crawling up his neck and across his face, and he was, well, in one piece.
He looked strangely--human.
Sam found himself fascinated by the dark, tender skin around Castiel’s eyes; had he always had that? Did it always look so--
Dean turned and pushed past Sam, out the door. Sam almost followed, but he knew Dean wouldn’t stray far. Not with Castiel here. He would yell and break things and threaten, but never leave. Sam made his way over to Castiel, treading carefully around traps he was sure weren’t there, but he figured he’d better be safe than sorry.
Carefully, Sam started to move him, relieved to find that Castiel was living-warm, and tried to arrange him more comfortably, rolling him as best he could onto the closest sleeping bag. There were no obvious wounds, but Castiel was unconscious, and had been for how long Sam didn’t know, and Sam wanted Dean to come back.
And Dean did, faster than Sam had anticipated. He paused for a moment when he saw Sam touching Castiel, but walked over quickly enough, and draped something over Castiel. When Dean backed away, Sam saw what it was.
“You kept his coat?” Sam said. His voice croaked and cracked in the middle. He wondered how long it had been since he last talked. A while.
“Knew he’d need it,” Dean said. And that was that.
Except not quite. Dean had a wild look in his eye, a kind Sam hadn’t seen since Alistair, and he had a muscle in his jaw twitching. His hand shifted restlessly, like he was trying to grasp something, and Sam was pretty sure it was a drink. Dean’s eyes never left Cas’s face.
“I’m going to get some clean water,” Sam said quietly, and left the house for the water pump by the barn, pausing only to pick up the sauce pot they had been using for a wash bowl. It was a warm summer night, cool enough to keep them from sweating, but warm enough to set off the buzz and chirp of mosquitoes and crickets.
Sam placed the pot next to him, and pumped the handle a few times to warm up the pump, and wash out any stagnant water. The water pumped clean after a few spurts, and Sam put the pot under the spout and had it filled in two pumps. He caught a little water on his hands and splashed his face, wiping over his hair, and down his neck. It felt better than it had any right to, and Sam wished they had found a place with a working shower.
So Cas is back, Sam thought, leaning against the pump for a moment.
You’ll believe he’s real, and you won’t believe me? Sam closed his eyes, tensing. Closing your eyes won’t make the monsters go away, Sammy.
Sam looked and Lucifer waggled his fingers at him, smug little grin firmly in place. You can’t get rid of me so easily, he said. You’re too smart to believe that.
“Smart has nothing to do with it,” Sam muttered. He grabbed the pot and fairly ran back into the farmhouse. He wasn’t followed.
At first, it didn’t look like Dean had moved. But when Sam looked, he saw Dean had reached out, and was holding Castiel’s hand, rubbing his thumb over his knuckles. Castiel shifted, the first movement Sam had seen, and blinked his eyes. His mouth moved, forming words without sound. Dean, he said, and tightened his fingers around Dean’s.
“Cas,” Dean said, and didn’t move.
This is it, Sam realized, suddenly. The breaking point.
Castiel closed his eyes and the tension left his body. Asleep, again. Sam couldn’t help but think they were living on borrowed time as of this moment.
“We can’t leave him here,” Sam said.
“I know,” Dean said.
“We need to go someplace to regroup and heal. Figure out what happened.”
“There’s nothing to figure out,” Dean said. He stood.
“We’ll head to Bobby’s in the morning,” Dean said. Sam watched Dean, but Dean never looked away from Castiel. Sam bit his lip and watched Dean. Dean glanced at him and rolled his eyes. The move was so normal Sam almost smiled. “All of us.”
“Good,” Sam said.
“Bitch.” Dean said over his shoulder, and splashed water over his own face. “Get some fucking sleep.”
“Night, Jerk.” Sam said. He stretched out on his sleeping bag. He was too tall, still, but at least when he hung over the edges, his limbs weren’t actually hanging. He closed his eyes, and tried to sleep, already impatient to leave behind the old farmhouse with the hole in its roof and the iron dust shaped like Angel’s Wings.
When Puck awoke on Friday, he found a missed call and a voice message from Jody, telling him that she was caught up at work and couldn’t drive him over to the salvage yard. There was a bike in the garage he could use, just don’t forget his key. He groaned and flopped back onto his bed. Great.
He dressed and made his way to the kitchen, drinking a cup of coffee while he waited for his bagel to toast. He ate standing up against the counter, his mind playing out scenarios of how it could go, including one that he was pretty sure was actually the plot of The Sandlot.
Unable to put it off any longer, Puck rinsed his mug, grabbed his wallet, phone, and keys, and dug the bike out of the garage. It was a men’s mountain bike, at least ten years old and covered in dust. It had probably belonged to Jody’s husband. Feeling only a little weird about using a dead man’s bike, Puck rode off down the road Jody had told him would take him over the bridge and out to Singer Salvage.
Puck pulled up in front of the gates to the yard. He was breathing heavy, shirt damp in the growing morning heat. Wiping the sweat from his face, he looked over the property.
It looked--like a salvage yard; like someplace the fight club would have met. Puck shifted; the thought left an odd taste in his mouth, something half-wistful, half-shame. He got off the bike. There was no reason to stand there. Badasses didn’t hover in doorways. Badasses didn’t hesitate.
Puck ignored the voice that said that attitude might be the cause of his problems. It sounded too much like his mother for him to listen to.
As he passed through the gates, something glinted on the fence, the flash catching his eye. Puck stopped, and looked closer.
The fence was twofold, metal chain-link in front of tall wood planks. There were bits and pieces of metal woven through the chain-link, forming patterns. Symbols. They looked old, too, worn by weather. Puck had seen pictures of things like this before, found object art made by hippies to make things like abandoned buildings look pretty ’n’ shit. The part that caught Puck’s eye was part of a pattern that looked a hellova lot like Hebrew. So much so, that as Puck walked the bike up the drive, he wondered what kind of salvage yard would need a Hebrew blessing of protection hidden in found object art on its front gate.
Puck rounded the corner and saw the house ahead. There was music playing on an old stereo on the front porch, a song Puck recognized as one Carole would play when he was younger and over at Finn’s house; Blue Collar Man by Styx. Movement drew his eye, and he saw a slender man dressed in mechanics blues, moving his hips to the beat as he was bent over the engine of a car. His face was hidden from Puck, and Puck took a moment to--ahem--appreciate--the way the blues stretched tight, emphasizing the way the muscles moved as the man danced. Puck smirked. It was a nice ass; tight, and firm, and familiar--
Puck knew that ass.
The ass froze, and Kurt Hummel pulled his head out of the car’s engine. His hair was wilder than Puck had ever seen it, he had a streak of grease across one cheek, and his eyes were wide with surprise. His mouth fell open and Puck had to swallow. He looked like one of Puck’s favorite fantasies.
“Puck?” Kurt’s voice was high, and a bit strangled. He coughed and turned away, hitting the power button on the stereo with enough force to knock it backwards. “Shit,” he muttered, and Puck raised an eyebrow, feeling his smirk return. He would never get tired of seeing Kurt caught unawares. Kurt dropped the wrench he held on the porch, and turned back to Puck, nervously smoothing his hair. Puck considered telling Kurt that he had just smeared more grease into the style, but decided against it. If he played his cards right, he would get to see Kurt freak about it later.
“What are you--” Kurt started, and then stopped closing his eyes. “You’re the Sheriff’s nephew, aren’t you?”
“Cousin, technically,” Puck said, “but yeah. And you’re the boy Aunt Jody was hoping I’d make friends with.” He leaned the bike against a dusty old Ford, and saw a smile start on Kurt’s face.
“I dunno,” Kurt teased. “We have so little in common.”
Puck snorted. “Yeah. It’s not like we share any hobbies. Or interests. Or friends.”
Kurt laughed. “Well,” he said. “I was ready to face this summer alone, but it’ll be nice to have a friend around, after all.”
“Fuck, yeah,” Puck said, and leaned on the Ford himself. “So what brings you here?”
Kurt shrugged. “Bobby’s my uncle. Dad suggested staying for the summer, and I agreed.
Puck raised an eyebrow. “I thought you’d want to say in Lima, closer to your boy.”
Kurt’s face fell, and he turned away, rubbing his arm. The motion pushed up the short sleeve of the jumper and revealed a dark purple bruise. Puck was at Kurt’s side before he knew he was moving, pushing up the sleeve himself to see the injury. It was long, and had obviously been made with a stick of some kind.
“Who?” he asked.
“Cooper,” Kurt said.
“Cooper came after you?”
Kurt pulled his arm away. “No. The hockey team came after me. Cooper was just the one who left that.”
Puck let his arm fall. He felt disconnected with his body, his fury rushing in his ears like his pulse, and he felt the need to lash out, to hit something. There was a sound like metal buckling, then pain in his toe. It was enough to break the haze. He looked at the dented car door in front of him. He had kicked it, in his anger. There were hands on his shoulders, pulling, and he let them walk him back. Someone was speaking, and--Kurt. Kurt was talking to him, pulling him away.
“...don’t need to break something, damn it, Puck.”
“Sorry,” Puck said. His voice shook. “It just--I thought it was getting better. We put the fear of Puckasaurus into those fucks.”
“They don’t learn,” Kurt said. “Especially not when they travel in packs. And flying off like this is why you’re here, isn’t it?”
Puck scowled. Yeah, but-- “You’re my boy, Kurt. Nobody hurts you.”
Kurt snorted and let Puck go. “I’m a big boy, Puck. I can take care of myself.”
“Not saying you can’t,” Puck said, rolling his shoulders and trying to settle. He could still feel where Kurt has his hands. His boy was stronger than he looked. “I’m saying I should have been there to have your back. You don’t have to fight alone.” He shrugged with one shoulder. “Not anymore.”
Kurt looked away, and Puck was pretty sure the pink in his cheeks wasn’t from the sun. “Thank you, Puck.”
Puck shrugged again, but stood a little taller. Kurt had gone from being the only one fighting to having other people fighting his battles. This was probably the first time somebody offered to stand with him, and not for him.
A screen door slammed, and Puck turned back to the house. And older man, younger than Puck expected but still grey, stood on the porch scowling from underneath a trucker hat. Puck tried not to shift. There was something about the guy that reminded him of Burt Hummel--and especially after everything that happened with Kurt’s bullying, everybody knew not to piss off Burt.
Singer spoke. “You must be Mills’s nephew.” His voice was exactly what Puck expected, rough and tough and slightly pissed. Puck guessed he wasn’t too keen on having two teenage boys underfoot, even if Kurt was his nephew.
“Yes, sir.” Puck said, and stuck out a hand trying to remember everything about polite behavior he had ever heard from Coach Beiste. “Noah Puckerman. Everybody calls me Puck.”
Bobby looked at the hand, not taking it. Puck refused to take it back, refused to fidget. Badasses didn’t fidget. Especially not when channeling his best Rachel-Berry-if-she-wasn’t-crazy-oh-and-
“Puck is from Lima, too. He goes to school with me,” Kurt said. “We’re in Glee together.”
“And football, for a hot minute.” Puck said. “The dancing was kinda lame, but my boy can kick.”
“Didn’t hurt that I won your only game that season,” Kurt said, and Puck could hear the smirk in Kurt’s voice.
“Puck, huh?” Singer said, finally taking Puck’s hand. Singer’s hand was calloused and strong, but he didn’t try to crush Puck’s hand like some guys did; like they had something to prove. Singer didn’t need to. Mentally, Puck bowed low. He was in the presence of an original badass. “Interesting name.”
“Football,” Puck said. Shrugged.
“And mischief, from what I hear,” Singer said.
Puck swallowed. He had been anticipating this question. He spent a long time thinking about what to say. He hoped Singer believed him. “Teenagers can be stupid, sir,” he said. “But sometimes, it’s the only way to learn. I’m not proud of what I did, or who I was, but I am trying to do better.”
“And he is,” Kurt said. Puck looked over his shoulder, and Kurt shrugged. It was an elegant move, despite the grease and blues. “I’ve noticed,” Kurt said.
“The only one,” Puck muttered under his breath. He looked back at Singer.
Singer’s expression hadn’t changed. Puck doubted it ever did, but there was something lighter there.
“What do you know about cars?” Singer asked.
“Two years of auto shop,” Puck said. “B both times.”
Singer nodded. “I just got a new batch of Junkers in. You can help Kurt process them. He’ll show you what to look for. Start with that, and we’ll go from there.” He turned to go, stopped, turned back. “I’ll be in my office,” he said to Kurt.
“Okay, Uncle Bobby,” Kurt said.
“Thank you, sir,” Puck called. Singer raised an eyebrow at him, and Puck raised one back. What? he thought. I have manners, even If I pick and choose when to use them.
But Singer smirked at him. “Call me Bobby, kid,” he said, turning back to the house. He called back over his shoulder. “I ain’t ever been a ‘sir.’”
The screen door slammed again, and Puck looked over at Kurt, who was watching with a bemused expression.
“He likes you,” Kurt said. “I can tell.”
Puck snorted. “Yeah, well, tell me how you can tell, and I’ll be happy.”
Kurt just laughed, and briefly pressed a hand to Puck’s arm as he passed. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s get you a pair of overalls.”Puck watched Kurt’s ass as he walked away for as long as he dared before following. The summer was starting to look up.
Part II: The Boys are Back in Town