Characters: Sam and Dean (Gen, Crack)
Summary: (Vaguely Season 2) Dean is too impulsive for anyone's own good.
Author's Notes: Happy belated birthday to gekizetsu! You'll recognize the turn this story takes, and I'd blame you for it entirely if I didn't share your weakness! \o/
This began as a 60_minute_fics effort almost a year ago, but Barb and our mutual obsessions were the inspiration I needed to finish it.
"Do you think you could turn that up any louder, Dean? I think the speakers still work."
"Hey, shut up—I love this song."
"Hands off, Dean, I'm driving!"
"Not for long…"
"Ha ha. Hey, what's that up ahead?"
"I am serious. It's a spaceship. Pull over."
They sit there for all of two cautious minutes before Dean decides to get out of the car.
"What are you doing?"
"Checking it out."
"Right, because that'll turn out well." But Sam can't let Dean face danger by himself, so he gets out too.
"This is very cool."
"It's also cool from inside the car, driving away."
"You're such a freakin' buzzkill, Sam, I swear to God…" Dean peers underneath, looking for something, then gives up and circles around the outside. "Looks really smooth."
"Geez, Dean, don't touch it!"
"Huh. Where'd it go? I can't even feel it anymore."
"I’d say we've got bigger problems now…"
And Sam is right.
Dean has always been somewhat unnaturally devoted to his car, and on occasion, people talk. So it's no surprise that when he sees a giant granny tricycle where the Impala used to be, he makes a sound like he's swallowing his tongue.
They walk back over, approaching cautiously. Sam can hear Dean's panicked breathing.
"I know, Dean, I know. At least they left the weapons in the back basket. And the paint's all shiny and red."
Dean sits down on the road. "I think I'm having a heart attack…"
There's a short debate about what to do next, which does not go well.
"We're about three to five miles from Hurricane Mills anyway— we could take turns pedaling while the other one sits on the seat."
"I'd rather die."
In the end, they wade into a field and hide the evil contraption behind a convenient clump of bushes. Jamming their pockets/pants/socks/jackets with weapons, they trek forlornly down the road.
The motel clerk looks Sam over, eyes lingering on some of the lumpier areas, but gives him a room anyway. Dean's out waiting next to the parking lot, his gaze steadfastly directed away from the mockingly ordinary cars.
Sam opens the door to their room and steps in. "That's cheerful," he comments.
Dean's probably too distraught to make fun of the dead wildlife motif.
"We'll figure something out," Sam reassures him.
"My car's a mutant, Sam!" Dean shouts. "This is killing me!"
Yeah, not soon enough. Sam takes off his jacket and flops down on the bed. "Want me to call Bobby?"
"Sure—he probably needs a good laugh. Go ahead."
Sam looks over, but Dean's eyes are set on Death Ray, so he figures that was actually a No. He sighs up at the ceiling, which has water stains the size of buffalo, and waits for Dean to settle down.
Finally there are shuffling noises, random martyred grumbles, and the sounds of guns and metal being placed on the nightstand. Sam's about to ask Dean if he wants to get something to eat, but the idea dies unspoken:
"What happened to your back?"
Wings, it turns out, are not as fun as they might sound.
Hardly anything ever is.
Wings are huge and they don't fit under clothes at all (and Sam's entirely pissed-off that Dean chose this morning to swipe his Green Day t-shirt). In addition, and this should go without saying, they're also mostly made of feathers…
"You can stop any time now, Dean."
"Very fuddy, Sab…Achoo!"
The day just keeps on getting better.
"Take a pill, Dean—I'm going for a walk."
"Hey, you cad leab be here alode!"
Oh, but I can.
Sam's out the door before the next sneeze comes, heading up the street to a nice sunny bench where he can start making all his desperate phone calls in peace.
"It's not that funny," Sam growls into the phone.
"Sorry about the car, son, honestly, but Dean with wings— heh— what's next, a harp and a halo? Of all the people to get hit with that one…"
It takes a couple of minutes before Bobby calms down enough to focus on the actual problem at hand.
"Heh, uh yeah. Sorry Sam. Got nothing at my end. Give me some time to look into it."
"Sure thing, Bobby. And thanks—we both appreciate it."
Sam hopes the next call goes better.
"You Winchester boys just can't stay out of trouble, can you? I've been waiting on this phone call almost a week now."
"Sorry for the holdup," Sam mutters.
"You watch your mouth, boy—don’t be getting all sassy with me. Sound like your brother…"
What'd he ever do to you? "Dean's why I'm calling," Sam begins.
"I know, I know—touchin' things that don't belong to him. Is he still human?"
Sam chokes in surprise. "Last time I saw…"
Sam's just past the corner of the motel lobby when his phone rings. He checks the caller ID. "Dean?"
Sam runs the rest of the way and scrambles to unlock the door.
There's a heap of clothes on the floor by the nearest bed, and Dean's phone lies open on the nightstand with the world's crabbiest-looking hedgehog positioned over it.
"At least your hair's the same."
"Chk!" Dean is not amused.
Sam turns off Dean's phone and sprawls out on the bed, thinking over the past couple of weeks and everywhere they've been. A 'pluff' sound draws his attention: Dean's leaped onto the bed and is toddling toward him with unsteady movements, a determined expression on his furry little face.
It's the silliest thing Sam's ever seen.
Sam giggles. He guffaws. He tips his head back and laughs with everything that's been building up over the course of the entire day.
A ball of spines jabs him in the neck, quickly causing him to reconsider: "Ow! Jesus, Dean, what the hell?"
Sam rubs the soreness away. "So you keep saying…"
Hedgehog Dean trundles over to where he can stare at Sam, nose to snout. Sam wishes he wouldn't—it just makes him want to start laughing again. He focuses on the motel art just above the top of Dean's ridiculously spiny little crest—Uh-oh. He shifts his gaze to the lamp. Whew. "Missouri says to re-trace our steps."
"I know, like we wouldn't have thought of that on our own. So—"
Sam's words are cut off when the bed transforms into a coffee table and he plunges right down through it. "Sonofabitch!"
Hedgehog Dean squawks at him and skitters away like it's Sam's fault that everything keeps changing.
"Okay, okay," Sam mutters, working his way upright and brushing off some stray splinters. "Let's try to focus."
He gets out his laptop and turns it on, then digs up a pad of paper and a pen. "Yesterday was Arkansas, a bunch of campers attacked by a Black Dog. They were ready to be our buddies by the time we were done. Probably nothing there."
He logs onto the computer and waits for it to finish processing. "Vampires in Topeka before that. Maybe you pissed off someone at the bar?"
"Oh right, like that isn't your S.O.P.? Who the hell d'you think you're talking to Dean? That's practically a weekly event for you." Sam turns back to the computer. "Ow! Get your spines away from my ankle."
"Fine, I'll pick you up. Here, are you happy? Now you can see everything I'm doing." You little control freak. "My notes, the files, everything. I'm gonna hit the bathroom. Don't break anything, all right?"
It takes two minutes at best, because Sam hurries just in case. When he gets back Dean is poised over the laptop, little paws working the built-in mousepad. The laptop is still a laptop, but Sam's notepad is a pancake. With butter. Sam's stomach growls.
What are the chances that'll change back later if I eat it? He decides not to take the risk, and puts it in the bathroom where it'll be less tempting. "What did you find?" He leans toward the screen for a better look.
"This is Mount Rushmore, Dean. You think a dead president's out to get you?"
"Nice sound, but I still don't get your point."
Hedgehog Dean works the mouse cursor up into the search-engine window and leans one careful paw at a time out over the keyboard to select the letters of a word. It's only slightly slower than the way Dean usually types.
"Soux. Wait, Sioux? With an 'i'?' Who did you talk to, what did you say?"
"While we were checking out those animal possession reports in Rapid City. What, like, a tribal policeman? I don't remember that."
Hedgehog Dean nods his head. That can't be good.
"And you said what? Something smutty, I'll bet."
"God, you know what? I don't need the details. Was it bad and did it piss her off?"
Sam fumes. "You know, Dean, you're the guy who comes across a bad situation and thinks the answer's got to be poking it with a stick."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just type out her name, if you remember it. I need to make some calls."
Sam stands up and pulls out his phone while Dean works. Still a phone, thank god, though there's a turtle on the loose by the door and a corn field sprouting in a corner. "Better hurry."
anna redlodge the screen finally reads. Sam hopes Dean's memory is good.
"Okay, how about moving away from the computer, just in case?" Sam thinks about stepping outside for his phone calls (farther away from Dean has to be safer). He decides instead to keep Dean in sight, in case his brother changes into something else.
Sam himself had better not change, or he will find a way to make Dean pay. Even if they both wind up pieces of wood, Dean will pay.
With that thought, Sam lifts Dean and the laptop up off the table and sets them on the floor in a good open space. He jumps at a sudden flash of movement, but it's just the chair turning into a box of toothpicks.
Nice. Sam hopes he can bring this thing to a halt before the walls start melting. He phones directory assistance for Rapid City and gets to work.
It takes a trail of calls through four people to track down the tribal lieutenant, in which time the motel room loses the TV set and lamp and gains a romance novel and matchbook instead.
"Your brother's a piece of work," Lieutenant Red Lodge says. "Coming onto me was bad enough to begin with, but then he touched my weapon! He's lucky I didn't bring him in."
"I'm very sorry," Sam says immediately, glaring down at the floor where Dean's snuffling oh-so-casually across the carpet. Typical.
"He backed off right away, but then he muttered something about Must not be the go-with-the-flow type—"
Sam suppresses the urge to punt hedgehog Dean across the motel room.
"—and I decided he needed a taste of his own medicine. A couple of days for him to get cocky and comfortable, and then Pow. See how flexible he is, dealing with the unexpected again and again."
Sam sighs—not at her, just at the utter inevitability of the whole thing.
"So how does he like it?" Red Lodge continues.
"About as much as you'd expect," Sam admits.
"Good—maybe he'll think first before shooting off his mouth or putting his hands where they don't belong."
Oh lady, if you only knew...
"So," Red Lodge pauses, and Sam can hear her drumming her fingers on something, "think he's had enough?" She laughs then, the sound surprisingly pleasant. "I'm sure you have, anyway."
"Yeah." Sam finds himself laughing a little too, almost like he knows her. They've certainly got one thing in common… "It's been quite a day," he confides.
He can tell she's smiling by the tone of her voice when she answers, "I'll bet it has…"
The secret, now that the curse has been removed, is to go back to the beginning of the first thing that changed. Sam's not sure if that's the Impala or the spaceship, but they were pretty close together. He at least knows where to start.
He lays it out for Dean, and while he wishes he could say Dean looks contrite, it's hard to tell. Dean mostly looks pissed-off, but maybe that's just how it goes with hedgehogs. Sam opens the motel room door, ready to begin the trek back down the highway, but Dean's sputter of noises reminds him that it's a long way for someone with short little legs. Short-er, anyway. Heh.
Sam lifts Dean up and puts him in one of big pockets on the front of his shirt. "Ow! Stop squirming around in there, or I'm going to make you walk." Dean settles for peeking out the top of Sam's pocket, paws and furry snout resting on the edge of the fabric. "Easy for you—I'm doing all the work."
Sam walks for nearly an hour, his arm swinging up for fake coughs and hair adjustments (blocking the view of his pocket) every time an oncoming car approaches. He's already drawing more attention than he needs.
As he walks, Sam considers the irony of their situation: they were coming to Hurricane Mills to look into a lethal string of bad luck afflicting some of the town's most prominent members. A 'hubris curse,' probably, though they couldn't be sure until they found out who'd cast it.
Anna Red Lodge hadn't cursed Dean because of hubris, but the impulse was the same: the urge to take the person in question down a peg or two.
Dean probably needed a few more pegs than most, Sam thinks darkly.
His stomach rumbles fiercely, reminding him that he's missed a couple of meals with all the distraction. Dean's probably hungry too, though Sam's not sure exactly what hedgehogs eat. He looks down to where Dean's listing to one side of the pocket, evidently asleep. Probably all for the good—watching Dean eat is frightening enough already when regular food's involved.
This stretch of road looks familiar enough that Sam stops. "Dean, wake up. I think we're almost there." He gets a sneeze in response.
"I'm taking you out of my pocket now. If you change back suddenly, I don't want it to be while I'm wearing you."
"You wouldn't like it either, Dean, trust me. You'd go right into the dirt."
Dean snuffles in apparent agreement.
Sam keeps moving, with Dean trailing far behind. "Stay off the road, for God's sake," Sam reminds him. Up ahead there's a cluster of bushes with what looks like a telltale flash of red off to one side. "I think that's it," Sam says, moving faster.
He's not sure how this is going to work (though he hopes to God it does, because he really doesn't want to walk all the way back to town). The one thing Sam's clear on is that if the car changes back, he wants to be sure they can get it onto the road again. In other words, on the near side of that big ditch over there.
Sam checks behind him, and there's Dean scuttling along about sixty feet back, raising up a tiny cloud of dust as he goes. Sam can't help laughing. God, I wish I had a camera, he thinks. He's definitely earned the right.
A car passes by, and Sam remembers his priorities: tricycle, tricycle. He needs to move the thing while he can. Wheeling it out from behind the bushes—supplies and ammo still in the rear basket— he moves it to the side of the road, hoping no-one else comes by while he's standing there next to it.
Closer… closer… Dean appears to be picking up speed, now that there's hope of saving his precious car. It occurs to Sam then that the car is bigger than the tricycle, so he steps out of range of the potential transformation just to be safe.
What happens next is more of a surprise than he needs. One second Dean's scrambling along the shoulder on all fours, and the next he's naked and splatted-out in the dirt.
That's got to hurt…
"You okay?" Sam calls.
"Fine," Dean coughs, lifting his head and looking around quickly. "Jesus, Sam, you left my clothes back at the motel!"
"Hey, it's not like this has come up before," Sam retorts. "Try not to get cursed again and you won't have to worry about it!"
"Yeah, yeah." Dean makes a dash for the car, jerking as his bare feet land on twigs and rocks.
Sam opens the passenger door for him. "Good thing I was driving, or the keys would be where your pants are right now."
"Shut up and help me find some clothes before the cops drive by," Dean grumbles.
Sam digs through the trunk—which is a mess now—and locates underwear, jeans and a t-shirt for Dean. The footwear can wait until they reach the motel.
"I hoped you learned something from this," Sam says as Dean squirms into the pants while sitting down.
"Don't hit on women who can hit back? Or the ones who are also cops?"
"And watch your hands, if you want to keep them," Sam finishes.
"Ha-ha. You're just full of jokes today."
"Yeah?" Sam says. "Better than being one."
Dean's dressed now, finally, and Sam's ready to head back to town and find something to eat. He drives onto the road and accelerates up to speed. "It's been a long day, and I'm totally starving now, Dean, so I'm going to stop at a drive-through for a burger. You're probably hungry too." Sam looks over when he gets no response. "Dean?"
"Yeah, sure—whatever you want." But Dean looks distracted more than anything.
"You're not thinking about, uh… what do hedgehogs actually eat?"
Dean shudders and avoids Sam's gaze. "Burger sounds fine."
"So, you think she's still mad?" Dean asks suddenly. "Think it'll start up again?" He runs his hand over the dashboard, like it could vanish at any moment.
"No, I think it's okay now," Sam answers. "Unless you do something to set her off."
"Nah," Dean says. "It's not as if we'll run into her again."
You're not like your brother, Sam Winchester. If you pass through my district, come look me up.
Sam can practically hear her voice now, low and husky once her anger at Dean had lessened. He imagines coal-black hair to go with it and eyes so dark he could lose himself in them. "Sure, right…" he mutters. "What're the chances of that?"
But the truth is, for once he'd like to try.
-------- fin -------
The inspiration, first posted by Barb as "Dean at the laptop." Look at the hair! It's obviously Dean! \o/